Just the rantings of a sick person

Today I feel like utter crap. It was our work Christmas Lunch and I had to leave early. I felt dizzy and faint and I had stomach pains. I. AM. OVER. IT. Emotionally, I am over it. Logically I know these things are not so easy to diagnose and I also know that guessing, therefore risking the wrong treatment, is not the way to go. I know my medical team is doing their best to get me an accurate diagnosis.

It seems the two highest candidates at the moment are lupus and rheumatoid arthritis – or I could be really unlucky and have both! Or it could be neither: could be something more obscure. Then there is the complication of the thyroid, but that can also be involved in auto-immune conditions so it could be related rather than just happening at the same time. These aren’t the sort of conditions with a single blood test. Diagnosis involves looking at combinations of tests plus my anatomy plus my experience (fatigue, pain, malaise) and other considerations as well.

My GP (general practitioner for overseas readers) is lovely, but is about to go on holidays. Luckily for me one of the other doctors in the practice is also lovely and across my case, so I’m covered from that perspective. I’m also being sensible and seeing a psychologist: this crap is emotionally draining. Dr G said to me he thinks I am coping really well as usually patients only have one diagnosis at once to cope with, while I have at least three at the same time, maybe a fourth looming.

The hardest part for family, friends and co-workers is I don’t look sick. Most of the time anyway. I don’t have an arm in plaster, I’m not on crutches, I don’t have my head swathed in bandages. There is no visual indication I am sick. The blood tests are a different story altogether. I don’t have the results yet of the fifteen x-rays and whole body nuclear bone scan I had on Monday, so what they say I cannot share. I stare at them from time to time wondering what they mean. I won’t know until next Friday.

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Do you hate going to the doctor?

Are you one of those people who hate going to the doctor? I’m Radioactive Robyn and I’m here to share my current experiences with my medical magicians in the hope you might change your mind. Your health is important and so much can be treated so well if detected early enough. I remember a friend who was too scared of the medical world to even go and have a pap smear, let alone a breast screen. If you are one of those people, be strong and get those tests and check-ups DONE! That includes the men – your bits need checking too guys, never forget. Hurry up if you are in Australia – the rate our government is attacking the medical and science fields, these things might disappear! We can fund training for priests, but cut funding to the CSIRO. Guess which field of study I trust more to fix me.

Fish Tank

Fish Tank – ED Waiting Room, Royal Children’s Hospital

Just a reminder: if you feel unwell, no, it isn’t because you hate yourself! As I finalise this, I had to go and lay down: at 9 am on a Sunday morning. Because I feel nauseous. The nausea can be so debilitating I cannot be upright. Makes it hard to actually go about a normal day. I have to get this fixed!

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One Year Anniversary – SMOKE FREE

Smoke Free

Feel free to leave your congratulations in the comments section! 😆🌠

For those of you out there trying – IT CAN BE DONE!

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The impact of our parents on our lives

As parents we have the power to do or say things that have a life-long impact on our kids. We need to remember that at all times.

As most of our readers know, I’m a little on the unwell side at the moment. Miss O 2 said the other day, “I think you’re sick because of what they did to you in March” (gall bladder removal).  I was impressed she made the connection, but gently explained it was more likely we found the gall bladder was crook and that was the end of the story. Are my doctors to blame for that? No, I think I am. Actually, I think my mother is. If there is even a connection, which of course there may not be.

My mother - 1949

My mother – 1949

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If you love Australia

If you love Australia, I highly recommend you take a few minutes to read the following three articles.

The first is by our master of getting to the point with humour, John Birmingham. He looks at the funding cuts to our wonderful CSIRO. Love John’s work here!

 Who do these clowns think they are, lounging around in their underpants and lab coats, expecting the poor old taxpayer to mop their enormous throbbing brows and carefully drop peeled grapes into their mouths?

Sophie Morris shares a disturbing attempt by Scott Morrison to grab more autonomy that he already has. Dangerous. If he succeeds, this sets a dangerous precedent for other government ministers. Scary, scary stuff. That department is already much too powerful.

“As an elected Member of Parliament, the Minister represents the Australian community and has a particular insight into Australian community standards and values and what is in Australia’s public interest,” it says. “As such, it is not appropriate for an unelected administrative tribunal to review such a personal decision of a Minister on the basis of merit, when that decision is made in the public interest.”

In other words: trust him, he’s the minister.

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My version of M*A*S*H

Before you read this, please consider when I was young my sole desire in life was to be a doctor. For family reasons, that didn’t work out, but the medical process doesn’t freak me out and I do like to look on the lighter side where at all possible – it helps retain sanity!

Early in the piece my specialist ordered some tests. SO MANY tests they didn’t all fit in the space provided on the pathology form.

There was this one word, faeces, with three or four little arrows going to different test names as only one part of the litany. After the lovely pathology staff performed their vampire duties with great aplomb and left me wondering if I had any blood left, they handed me three little containers, you know the type. One was special – a white lid, it contained POISON!

So home I go and explain to the kids what these containers were for. DO NOT TOUCH was the strict instruction!

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We’re better than this

Read the full story in The Guardian.

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Steering Australia to where, exactly?

In a fit of drug (medical) addled frustration, I sent out a tweet.

There were a few follow up comments, such as

A couple of suggested additions to my meagre list:

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Sarah Wilson versus Amy Stockwell: stress, “self-hate” and health

According to Sarah Wilson, Dr Habib Sadeghi “cites self-hatred as the real cause of chronic disease, particularly in women.” I’ve watched the whole TED talk video and I didn’t get that message at all. I have included the video at the end: see if you get the same message as Sarah. Maybe I just missed something.

As someone currently returning medical test results pointing to an auto-immune condition myself, naturally I was drawn to both Sarah’s article and a response  article by Amy Stockwell, “Sarah Wilson says she knows why women get sick. And she’s wrong“.

A couple of days ago I wrote “What I’d like to say to Chris Bowen if I could“. For those new to our history, Chris Bowen was the Minister for Immigration at the time I battled the Australian Government for the civil right to choose my own husband. In that article I talk about the role of cortisol in health. Dr Sadeghi also talks about the role of cortisol in his recovery.

A few words from Sarah:

I always say that I can spot an “auto-immune type”. They have an intensity about them, a desire to impress. They’re always the ones at the front of my lectures, frantically taking notes. They have an air of ‘I’m not good enough as I am’. I know as I write this, many heads out there are nodding.

And a few from Amy:

Women don’t get sick because they hate themselves. It’s tantamount to saying that disease is all in our heads.Telling women that it’s their own fault that they are sick is mean and foolish.

One thing is for sure, I don’t hate myself. I don’t consider myself an “auto-immune type”.

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What I’d like to say to Chris Bowen if I could

As I sit here propped up in my bed, a folder containing a string of medical referrals and tests staring at me, I can’t help but wonder how much of my health problems have been caused by what your and your staff put me through. Oh, I can never prove it, of course. But that’s the point isn’t it? The Public Service is immune. Especially the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Very well protected. Sadly Australian citizens aren’t so protected from the department.

Do you know what cortisol is, Chris? It is a flight or fight hormone. The Mayo Clinic says:

The long-term activation of the stress-response system — and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones — can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Digestive problems
  • Heart disease
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight gain
  • Memory and concentration impairment

That’s why it’s so important to learn healthy ways to cope with the stressors in your life.

There is also research showing a correlation (not yet proven a causal relationship) between cortisol and breast cancer. Research is continuing. No, this doesn’t apply to me, but is a good illustration of the potential of cortisol to damage the body.

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