Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What I've missed...

As mentioned in my previous post, it has been a long time since I last wrote anything. I feel quite sad about it because, in my absence, an inordinate amount of things have occurred about which I have strong opinions - shocking I know.
Now, obviously, the things which I consider to be worthy of discussion may not be the same as yours - and that is fine, you can express your opinion in the comments, keep them to yourself, start your own blog, or click the 'next blog' button above and just move on.
  • My OU studies continue apace - interesting to me, at least.
  • There was a General Election in the UK and I called it - also interesting to me.
  • ISIS
  • Gay marriage was legalised in the US and the rest of the world went rainbow crazy. 
  • I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia - hereafter referred to as Fibro as I am cool (see previous post for clarification on this)
  • Our son spent almost a year in Toledo, Ohio and didn't really like it
  • I have become a not-so secret fan of The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones
  • People were shocked and horrified when 'private' stuff they stored on the internet was hacked and made public.
  • 'Swarms' of migrants/refugees are trying to come to Europe, by hook or by crook, but usually in totally un-seaworthy boats resulting in the deaths of hundreds of people doing nothing more offensive than seeking out a better life.
  • Our daughter and her husband adopted a standard poodle named Dougal and I became a dog-sitter extraordinaire. 
Right now these are all the things I can think of. Of course there are many more, and maybe you think I have missed something out.  Feel free to add to the list, in the meantime here is my view this morning, well, when I turned around -

See you in the next post.

Monday, August 24, 2015

On being stoical....

Well, it's been a very long time since my last blog post. In reality I suppose I have become an ex-blogger, one of many I suspect.

However, recently there have been a couple of life events that have prompted me to reflect, ruminate and generally wonder about various things, naturally I thought that sharing on my blog might bring about some clarification.

About 20 years ago I was admitted to hospital with suspected appendicitis, in fact I had a massive abscess on (or is that in, I wonder), my uterus. It also impacted my bowel. I won't go into all the gory details, obviously it was serious, obviously the NHS completely rock and obviously I survived and recovered, unscathed but not un-scarred.

The reason I start my current story with this particular life event is that my stoicism is part of the reason I became a medical emergency. I had been to my family doctor with various symptoms, but never all together, I also tend to the self-diagnosis school of medicine, ergo - my periods are bad because they are and I have to put up with them because I am a woman (false!!). Or, I have pain because I am overweight. Or, I am tired because I have two small children, have just had surgery, am overweight, am a woman, etc. etc. etc. Anyway, suffice to say the wonderful staff told me that no woman should ever put up with terrible periods and that a person should always tell the doctor everything.


I recently realised that I have done the same thing. Again.

My regular reader will know that I struggle with mental health issues and have done for many years. In fact, I think I am now a 'shut-in'. A sad phrase I have always thought.

So, something else I have struggled with is pain. Constant, difficult to define, unremitting, movable pain. But, as a stoic, I can come up with loads of reasons for why I am in pain....

  • I am overweight
  • I am over 50
  • I've been overweight for a long time
  • I have a hockey injury to my left knee
  • I am overweight 
I self-medicated this pain for many years (not recommended apparently, who knew?), until recently, in a mental health review, the health practitioner asked me if I had been tested for Fibromyalgia.  Hmm, no says I. Is that a gynaecological thing?

Turns out Fibromyalgia is nothing to do with 'women's things' and more to do with pain. Constant, difficult to define, unremitting, movable pain. The definition says this.....

'a rheumatic condition characterized by muscular or musculoskeletal pain with stiffness and localized tenderness at specific points on the body.'

But, Fibro - which is what all the cool kids call it - is much more than pain.....
  • Lack of restorative sleep - check
  • Fatigue - check
  • Cognitive problems, aka 'fibro-fog' - check
  • IBS - check
  • Stiffness - check
  • Sensitivity - check
  • Headaches - check
  • Feeling too hot or too cold - check
  • Restless legs - check
  • Depression and anxiety - check

So, I went to my GP, he confirmed the diagnosis with a whole lot of blood work which basically rules out any other reasons for the symptoms and then he referred me to the pain clinic. Oh what fun!

I went to the pain clinic today for the initial assessment and was told that I have 'all the red flags for Fibro and most of the yellow ones'. 

Now, I'm not going to lie, I am struggling to get my head around the fact that I have been diagnosed with a condition involving unremitting pain, which has no cure and no known cause. But - I am so relieved it isn't something more serious.
So, there we have it, a life with Fibromyalgia. Is that all of my life? No, of course not. But right now, until I get the hang of it, it feels like that's all there is.

And, I suppose, I shall start to wear a purple ribbon.
The other life event which took place recently was the death of a much loved family friend, one of those 'second mums' so many us are blessed with. This lady was almost 92 and had been ill for sometime, but,  much sadness is felt, plus, any death reminds me of others who have died and who I still miss dreadfully. I suppose that is the same for many of us. Death is inescapable and, I suppose, by the age of 54 I should be used to it. But, I'm not. And that is a tale for another day.