The nurse called late this afternoon and told me that the dopamine levels in my urine sample were high. I asked her what that meant, and she hedged and said, “The doctor will talk to you when you come in on Thursday.”
When he ordered the test, he said it was because a certain tumor on the adrenal gland can cause increased levels of adrenalin, of which there are three kinds; dopamine is one of the three.
A google search of increased dopamine levels showed three possible causes: schizophrenia (I may be a little crazy, but not that crazy), addiction to drugs like methamphetamines and cocaine (no secret habits here), and pheochromocytoma.
Some research into pheochromocytoma shows these symptoms: feelings of adrenaline surges, nausea, heart palpitations, sweating, anxiety and panic attacks, chest pain. It’s like a laundry list of everything I’ve been experiencing.
I see my doctor on Thursday, and I’m guessing the next step will be an MRI or CAT scan to see if this is what we’re dealing with. The good news is that 90% of these tumors are benign and can be removed with laproscopic surgery instead of major surgery.
I’m scared. I was really expecting this test to come back normal and I still feel kind of in shock. If you feel like praying, these are the areas I would covet your prayers in: peace of mind, that I would be able to sleep, that if this is a tumor it will be easily spotted with a CAT scan or MRI, and that it would be benign and not have spread to any other part of my body. Also pray for Kevin, my husband, who is worried and already deals with anxiety disorder.
Thank you for all of your comments and encouragement. It is such a blessing to know that in addition to my “real-life” friends, I have all of you standing with me.