As we begin a new year and a new decade, in my first column of 2020, I’m revisiting some of the stories I shared in 2019.
In July, I wrote about the detrimental effects prednisone and my vitamin D deficiency have had on my bones. In mid-December, my endocrinologist gave me good news on both my vitamin D level and bone density. My vitamin D has remained at a stable, optimal level all year without the need for supplements.
My bone density scan in August showed a 12 percent increase in bone mass in my spine and hip. Although my doctor wants me to get one more scan before moving me to a biannual schedule, I now only need to see her for a follow-up annually instead of every six months. That’s one fewer doctor’s appointment and copay I have to worry about next year.
I also discussed my struggle with anemia in July. After doubling my ferrous sulfate dosage a year ago from one 365 mg tablet daily to two tablets, my hemoglobin has increased slightly. Moreover, my iron level rose from 19 to 146 micrograms per deciliter, and my ferritin went from four to 47 nanograms per milliliter — both are now within the normal range.
At my gastroenterologist appointment a couple of weeks ago, I asked him about the ulcerative colitis diagnosis I noticed on my discharge papers back in October. He was as surprised as I had been and was puzzled about how the diagnosis got in my chart. He confirmed that I only had Crohn’s colitis and that I didn’t have ulcerative colitis. This clerical error taught me to always read the post-appointment paperwork to fully understand what was discussed and check for inconsistencies. I’m relieved the mistake didn’t cause issues with my health insurance.
My husband, Patrick, has been taking medication for hypertension for a month, and his blood pressure now averages in the relatively normal range of 130s over 80s. I no longer have to remind him to check his blood pressure each morning. Nevertheless, he’s had a few instances where he’s forgotten to take his medicine in the morning at home or bring it with him to work. Fortunately, my mother has been using her nursing background to reiterate to him the importance of taking his medication consistently, so I don’t have to nag him.
Along with our New Year’s resolution to eat fewer sweets, Patrick has committed to using less salt, cutting out potatoes, losing weight, and exercising more. He’s even giving up his favorite weekend cranberry and vodka for the occasional “healthier” glass of red wine. I do most of the grocery shopping so I can easily help him monitor his diet without added stress on my part.
Finally, in one of my first columns of 2019, I discussed my decision to give up the security of a full-time job to freelance. I was doing pretty well and was on target to end the year close to my financial goal. Then, in November, I lost my biggest client: a bank.
The marketing director had warned me of the possibility in September after the bank had been acquired by a larger financial institution that had its own marketing department. She unsuccessfully tried to keep me on as a contractor and gave me the bad news before Thanksgiving.
As if losing the client that provided half my monthly income wasn’t bad enough, my husband and I were hit with hefty expenses when our 10-year-old furnace and air conditioning condenser motors died last year, two weeks after the warranty expired. We bit the bullet and replaced the entire system rather than paying for repairs.
With the timing of these events and Patrick’s health scare, I questioned my decision to freelance full time. Without my bank client and with the unplanned expenses, we faced the possibility of spending our savings to make ends meet.
I spent most of Thanksgiving week sending out resumes for every full-time, part-time, and contract job I found. I even applied for jobs for which I was overqualified because I was in panic mode.
At the time of writing, I have drummed up a couple of new clients and am just waiting for contracts to be finalized. I’m also waiting to hear back about a full-time, fully remote position that will allow me to continue to work from home and have a flexible schedule. With these new opportunities, I’ll earn more than I did with the client I lost, which makes me optimistic about what 2020 has in store.
Thank you for following my journey in 2019. I look forward to sharing more with you in 2020.
Note: IBD News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of IBD News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to IBD.
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