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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Good News, I'm Not Dying

A couple of weeks ago I noticed a lump on my wrist. It didn't hurt and would go away for a short while if I pressed down on it. I watched it to see if it got worse or went away. Well neither, and I still had to look at this mystery lump. I have to say that mystery lump = worry in my brain. So last week Friday I called the doctor. I got an appointment right away. No one said don't worry, no calls from the nurse hours later suggesting a treatment, just an appointment on the next day the office was open. Well that didn't exactly put my mind at ease.

I am a worrier. If you are late I automatically think you are dead. That is just what I do. I know not everyone is like that, but still I would think mystery lump should earn me some concern from my spouse. I told him about it a few days after I found it. I didn't even get a reaction. So I asked if he heard me. Yes, lump, wrist, I heard you he said. Seriously I am trying not to freak out and he pretty much ignores the fact that there is an uninvited lump on my wrist.

Today I went to the appointment. I had a couple other things to talk to my doctor about. I have a patch of ick on my ankle that sometimes hurts (another thing I am trying not to worry about) and I want to ask him about dyspraxia - a movement disorder that I seem to have a lot in common with.

So let's talk dyspraxia. My son has asperger's and his handwriting is awful. I mean doctor level. Watching him write is enough to make you cringe.

So I Googled "asperger's and handwriting" I found a lot of information on dysgraphia. Why didn't I think of that? I just finished my Master's in elementary education. I remember the classes vividly where we talked about learning disabilities. I never connected that to my son though. So I read many articles and did many searches. I asked the school to evaluate him for dysgraphia and he finally is getting some handwriting help. One of the words I kept running across was dyspraxia. I had never heard of it and I was curious so I clicked on it. I guess I just stumbled on it. That will be funny in a couple of paragraphs.

Wow, it was like reading a description of my life. I have to go back to third grade. I met with a guy many times during the year. I loved the times he would pull me out of class. He always gave me a piece of Fruit Stripe gum. The one the multi-colored zebra was pictured on. I loved that gum. He would have me draw pictures and do some fun stuff. Fast forward a few years I was struggling at school. I couldn't spell or do math. My parents had to hire a tutor for me and sent me to a special learning center. This continued through high school.

Then college I was still struggling but now I didn't have to go to class so I didn't do very well. When I was ready to go back to school I mentioned my trouble to someone and they asked me if I had a learning disability. No, I said, but my mom said oh I thought so in elementary school and I had you tested for it. What? Why didn't I know about that? So she told me that nice man who pulled me out of class (she didn't know about the gum) was a school psychologist and he evaluated me and didn't find anything. I wish I knew who suggested it but they said I should pull a copy of his evaluation.

I went to the municipal building and got there only a few months before they got rid of my records. My mom and I checked it out as soon as we got to the car. My mom is a special education teacher. She know what all these results mean. I really didn't understand what a Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children was or what a stanine was. But as soon as she saw it she got so upset. There was a gap in my stanine levels and if she had known that she would have had me reevaluated.

So now I wondered if I had a learning disability. But no one would tell me how to find out if I did. I spoke to people who told me to forget about college, I just wasn't meant for it. Seriously. And I did for a while.

I am going to pat myself on the back here. When I went back to college I made the dens list constantly and graduated Magna Cum Laude. I went on to graduate school and am graduating this May with a GPA equivalent to an A-. I just had to change the way I learned in the classroom.

Now it has been many years since I was evaluated in the third grade and I have moved many times. Boxes of my life had been thrown away or lost. Things I treasured are no more. But those two Xeroxed pages of my psychological case file I still have. And I know exactly where they are. I recalled that one of the things mentioned in it was that I was uncoordinated and had problems with gross motor skills.

One thing that I can't get away from is if I walk I will trip. If I am holding something I will drop it. If I am eating I will spill it on my clothes. I cannot get my hair to part or apply make up. I try, but it never turns out right. Friends of mine still tell stories about the silver eyeshadow that flaked onto my face. I am uncoordinated. I can trip on a flat surface and miss a door and walk into a wall.

When I looked at the signs of dyspraxia I swear I was reading a biography of me. Was someone following me? One of the signs was difficulty driving. I had such a hard time learning to drive that I was in my late 20's before I learned and even then I didn't drive. Another symptom was difficulty applying makeup, poor hand eye coordination. I still can't catch a frisbee, baseball or any ball for that matter.

So I went into that doctor appointment with a lump, ick and dyspraxia. The doctor walked in looked at my wrist and announced it was just a cyst. No worries it is common and I can get rid of it if I hit it with a book. No jokes, when I looked it up online that was a real treatment for it. I opted for no books hitting me and still have my lump.

He prescribed me a steroid cream for my ick on the ankle and after he read my report from the third grade and watched me move he is sending me to a neurologist for a movement disorder. So I am not dying, my foot isn't going to fall off and I may be clumsy but I have a movement disorder and hopefully will get some exercises or something to keep me from running into walls.

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