Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Spitting and spitting and spitting and spitting…

I just realized that I never did get back to my explanation of the Salivary Testing I am doing with the Women's Life Balance Program at iQuest. Sorry about that!

So here's the short of it. On my second visit to iQuest, (the one where I told Dr. Sheehan that I loved her), I was given a little cardboard box, and inside that box were three tiny plastic vials and a page of written instructions.

Marsha, the lovely young lady at the front desk, explained the process to me, and I took my little box and headed home to begin.

Over a series of 7 days I was required to fill the little vials with… spit… yes, spit! But you already know that saliva is spit. What you probably don't know is just how much spit is needed to FILL one of these little vials. Marsha had warned me, with a smile, that "the vials seem to expand when you have to fill them"… but to be honest, I didn't pay much attention to what she was saying at the time. That is, until day 1, when I sat on the edge of my bed (hubby tucked safely away in the shower) and begin to delicately spit into the vial.

The first couple of spits weren't too bad. But then my mouth mysteriously dried up. I mean I had to concentrate really hard to produce any moisture at all. I found this very funny, because when I'm at the Dentist, the exact opposite seems to happen. I can't imagine where all the spit comes from when I don't want it to be there. You know the sucking machine they use to take away spit in the Dentist's chair… well, in hindsight, perhaps this salivary collection process should have been done in conjunction with a visit to the Dentist. But, that's not what happened.

What happened was I kept spitting, I spat and spat and spat until all I was spitting were a very few bubbles. And I prayed that the definition of 'filling the vial' would include the air space that the bubbles took up… because I really didn't have anything else to deposit after about 10 minutes of trying. So, I placed the top on the vial, labeled it neatly, and put it in the freezer. Three mornings later I did it again (maybe it takes that long for the saliva to build up again???) And then, three days after that I 'filled' my last vial, placed it into the freezer with the other two, and planned a trip to iQuest to drop them off.

All fun and games aside, the salivary testing is being done to determine hormone levels in my body, and so will be a very helpful baseline of information to then move forward with recommended treatments. As opposed to blood tests which are a static sample of hormone levels, taking saliva samples over a series of days allows for a much better picture of levels, as hormones fluctuate from day to day. The testing is done by a lab out of town, so I anticipate that the results will be available in another week or so. I'm sort of excited to know, sort of anxious about whether the findings will be really out of whack!

I remember a friend who went through menopause about a year ago had some testing done (blood work, I believe) and when the results came in her Doctor said, "I can't believe you are still walking around!" Now, that's a real vote of confidence that I don't need.

Anyway, that's the process involved, and you can see by my photo that I'm still working on building up the moisture levels in my mouth again… just kidding!


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