Another year, another doctor’s appointment

Green-brown frog with lots of warts

We’ve had a bit of a hairy holiday, and when I say hairy, I mean hairy. We’ve been dog sitting left and right, three shedders followed by one non shedder. Jelly has enjoyed the company, although it appears that familiarity breeds boredom. As I write, Jelly and her bestie are sleeping soundly on their beds.

But time stops for no cancer patient, and so yesterday, when many workers and schoolchildren enjoyed a day off, I was visiting the only blood lab open in the vicinity. Then today, the first Tuesday of January, J. and I traipsed off to see Dr. Blood. The appointment was largely uneventful but even uneventful appointments are instructive.

Shall I review which blood tests were wonky and which were improved? I could but that would bore all of you. Also, the numbers are only a small piece of the puzzle. Lately Dr. Blood and her proteges have been stressing that how I feel is more telling than any lab test result.

But one wonky result is too intriguing to skip: yes, I have too much uric acid. I can’t tell you what uric acid is but I know that having too much of it, whether because of overproduction or underexcretion, can result in gout and kidney stones. Although gout used to visit me regularly, I have been surprisingly pain free for a very long time now. I have never had a kidney stone, although I hear they are not much fun.

Dr. Family suggested the uric acid testing when I showed her a few small painless bumps on my hands last month. I thought one bump might be a wart, but the ineffectiveness of the do-it-yourself wart remover told me otherwise. (A word from the experienced: Do not use wart remover to remove anything but a wart. That stuff burns like the devil.) Dr. Family reassured me I was not turning into a frog.

She diagnosed my bumps as tophi, not warts. Tophi are deposits of uric acid crystals that can develop over time if uric acid levels are elevated. My polycythemia and leukemia and other various medical anomalies may be to blame for my predicament.

Thankfully, Dr. Protege, or shall we call her Dr. Fellow, reviewed this finding with me and stressed that my high uric acid level is less important than how I am feeling. I told her I am feeling bumpy but goutless. She is not especially concerned, and made no mention of my morphing into an amphibian of any sort. Phew!

In the meantime, because the Great Sugar Revolution has so successfully lessened my fluid retention (in other words, it has deflated the water balloon that is my midsection), J. is encouraging me to ask Dr. Liver whether I can reduce my diuretics. These drugs deplete the body of fluid and can, in the process, elevate uric acid levels. If I lower my diuretic dosages, maybe that will slow down the development of those unseemly bumps. I may not be turning into a frog, but I still don’t want to look more and more like one.



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