About the Wayward Bus

THE BASICS

Well hello there! Things have changed since I started writing here a few years back. That’s pretty much one of the guarantees in life, isn’t it – change. Right up there with death and taxes.

I started this site during a breast cancer scare. Whew, negative after all, but had a few scary moments. But shortly thereafter I received news of a tumor of a different kind. Apparently I have a body that is good at growing stuff that is not supposed to be there.

On February 7, 2011, my doctor called me at 8:30pm. When your doctor calls your cell after office hours, it’s never good news, and of course this was no exception. A CT scan I had done the week before had revealed that I have a 1cm nodule in my left adrenal gland. It’s suspected to be an aldosterone-stimulating adenoma, causing primary aldosteronism and secondary hypertension. Fast forward to October 13, 2011; the tumor was removed and – like magic! – I’m no longer sick. But I was, for at least 13 years, probably longer. And so are a lot of others whose healthcare is being as grossly mismanaged as mine once was.

If you are young-ish (say, under 45 or so) and not prone to being overweight and have no known health issues and you do all the good stuff – you know, eat organic, practice yoga, walk instead of drive, yadda yadda yadda – but have had a diagnosis of hypertension and have no strong family history of this condition, you need to get tested for PA. Now. Find a doctor who knows what it is and who will order tests for plasma renin activity, plasma aldosterone, and plasma potassium. All too often, doctors will treat the symptom – hypertension – rather than investigate the cause. Trouble is, that treatment is not effective. Unless you’re a pharmaceutical company, in which case it is most certainly effective – for your bottom line.

Do NOT let them tell you “it’s just stress.” Do NOT let them guilt-trip you about your diet and/or exercise habits. And DO NOT make the mistake that I did – which was to allow them to prescribe more and more ineffective medications over the years, most of which had some nasty side effects.

(Steps down off of soapbox.) Now let’s see, where was I? Oh yeah…

WHY THE WAYWARD BUS?

The Wayward Bus, by John Steinbeck, has been my favorite novel since I was a teenager. To oversimplify, it’s about a bunch of people who are stuck in a ditch, both literally and metaphorically. I think it’s a nearly perfect depiction of the flawed nature of humans and the powerlessness most of us have to do anything about it – not a judgment or a criticism, just honesty and telling it like it is.

I was stuck in the ditch of the American medical system for far too long. I was also stuck in the ditch of life itself. Nothing like a little tumor to get a person un-stuck!