I Have A Weird Diagnosis!

Kage Baker used to complain when I got sick. Not the mere fact of my getting sick – I was healthier than she was by a long shot, until she contracted something fatal.  Kage was actually pretty sympathetic to my ailments. She had a lot more ordinary maladies than I ever did.

That was the source of her complaint. When I did get ill, it was often something weird. It was bizarre in this information age of modern medicine, out of proportion to the number of times I fell victim. She said she was so very tired of my coming home with bizarre diagnoses.

It was a fair complaint, and one made both then and since by other friends: usually the ones who have had to support me off Faire sites, or take me to the hospital. I’ve had two monographs written up about me. I don’t think I am as bad as some folks, but I have defied odds, norms and medical opinions several times.

As I’ve mentioned, I was born with a tumour over one eye: but it wasn’t my fault, I was exposed to fallout in utero from an atomic test. (What, is that not normal?) I managed to develop gall stones at age 30 – much too young, according to the literature – as a side effect of dysentery. I caught a weird skin disease from a mulberry tree, and another from contact with titanium tetra chloride. My late right kidney raised repetitive hell for half a century before it was finally evicted, without ever quite failing.

I developed a rare cancer a year after Kage died of an even rarer one. I was diagnosed with a bizarre blood infection called klebsiella – which has since become an iatrogenic plague in hospitals, but that no one at Cedars Sinai had heard when when I caught it. Through all this, my immune system – which I appear to have inherited from ancient Celtic heroes – has functioned to defeat most normal infections. It has to be coshed over the head and shanghaied, apparently, before a doctor can figure out what is wrong with me.

So, I have this pain in my leg. No clots, no blocked veins, no aliens hatching in my blood stream (I did consider that …); no torn muscles, no water on the knee: despite the frivolous opinion of my cardiologist’s assistant. No enemy of mine sticking pins in a dolly somewhere.

No, what I have is: a Baker’s Cyst!

What, you may ask – as I certainly did – is a Baker’s Cyst? Well, it’s a cyst, a kind of organic water balloon filled with synovial fluid from behind the knee-cap. It is caused by standing up a lot, so it was initially named after bakers: who do most of their work standing at a work table. Now, I have not stood up a great deal in several years. In fact, I have been markedly sessile; but prior to that, I used to spend quite a lot of time on  my feet behind a bar, serving beer. So maybe in my case it’s a long-delayed Bartender’s Cyst?

I neither know or care. What I have learned is that it’s common, evidently outside the purview of a cardiologist, well-known to my GP, and easy to treat. I might get cortisone. I might have surgery to remove the cyst entire. Or they might just stick a needle in me and drain the nasty thing.

Who cares? It’s easy and treatable, and soon it will be gone. I’m being referred to an orthopedist, because I guess mucking about in a knee joint requires some skeletal expertise. Until then, I just have to stay off my feet a lot and favour the left leg. I can do that, as they say, standing on my head … if I could stand on my head. Which I can’t. But I can sure as hell stay sitting down.

In all events, I am content, with a diagnosis that is simple to handle. Kage would be rolling her eyes again  (“You have a what?”) but she, too, would be pleased it’s something that can be fixed. Kimberly is pleased, especially since she had to bully me into going today – I was sure my complaint would be dismissed out of hand, and it was raining like hell besides.

But no! My pain is real, there is a cause, it’s not that weird, and it will soon be fixed. And there, Dear Readers, am I happy.

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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5 Responses to I Have A Weird Diagnosis!

  1. Dina says:

    Yay! for the “Not that weird” and very treatable! You have more than enough to deal with, with the other stuff that is going on in your body. How soon after treatment will you be up and around? Sending you Great Good MogglieGooglie Healing Juju!


  2. buggybite says:

    That’s an ailment which has bothered two of my friends over the past couple of years. And you’re right …it’s a strange one. But totally treatable and curable AND not dangerous in the least.

    One friend’s cyst cured itself by bursting the day before she and I were due to go on holiday together. It wasn’t a pleasant experience for her (scary as hell, as it hadn’t been diagnosed yet! She’d been thinking she was developing arthritis…) —and it did impact the holiday to a certain extent (she was less mobile than she wanted to be)—but it cleared up soon afterwards and didn’t return. The other person had hers diagnosed, drained, and again, no problems—and no drama.

    Look at it this way: occasionally you win one.


  3. atheneatllos says:

    “When I did get ill, it was often something weird. ” Often weird? ALWAYS weird. Relieved that in this case the weird is nothing more than an annoying blip, treatable by cortisone. Three more gray hairs named after you, dearie.


    • Kate says:

      Yeah, and you’ve seen me through a lot of this weirdness, too. When I developed terminal gall stones the night before Kage was due to have her terminal tonsils out, Athene was the one who got Kage to the hospital in my absence. Not to mention helping carry me off Faire site when the gall stones crippled me. Not to mention TONS of other occasions when she was involved in weird diseases, unlikely driving incidents, and the time I set the couch on fire while we were practicing folk songs in the living room. Life around me is … unusual.


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