This is for the much appreciated supportive readers who are following my health challenges. Even though we are postponing Christmas, we wish everyone a wonderful and safe festive season with friends and family.
We’ve postponed Christmas because I’m just not up to it. I’m also not Radioactive Robyn, as it turns out.
Over the last week or so, the results have started to come in. You know how I mentioned two of the specialists said I was seeing too many doctors and we needed to reduce this? Yeah, well, I see all three specialists again in January, so I guess that reduction in numbers isn’t happening any time soon! I’m expecting Medicare to investigate me for medical over servicing any moment! The drugs are increasing too. Gone are the days I never even had Panadol in the house. Missing below is the Prednisolone I was on briefly as a trial and may yet be on again. Banned is the diclofenac that can be useful for the knees but is not on the gastroenterologist’s approved list for me. None of them are really serious shit like chemotherapy drugs, thankfully, but I have a feeling there are more to come.
First Dr Gastroenterologist. Basically not too bad. Hiatus hernia and diverticular disease confirmed, no real nasties just one polyp that puts me on the “review in twelve months” list. I am seeing him again at the end of January after the blood people do their thing – again. He’s also ordered some breath tests, something about hydrogen versus methane, for which there are no Medicare or health insurance rebates. $315, thank you very much.
Next stop was Dr Rheumatologist. Osteoarthritis and very early rheumatoid arthritis, but please see Dr Endocrinologist first and fix the thyroid. I’d asked for the thyroid scan report to be sent to Dr R as well, luckily. In his experience (and he has quite a bit) there is often a relationship between thyroid problems and auto-immune conditions. He didn’t explain the damn fifteen x-rays to me yet, or the nuclear bone scan. I’ll pin him down on that, next visit. He wants the thyroid dealt with first. Process of elimination, I suspect. Back to him in the first week of February, after more blood tests (of course).
Third and final stop was Dr Endocrinologist. The radioactive pill idea was not going to work because I have too many over active nodules. So I’m on a medication to suppress the over activity. I should feel better in about two weeks from the thyroid problems. The problem here is some people react to the drug and the side effects seems very like the symptoms the drugs are trying to cure! I’ve been to the (euphemism warning) bathroom ten times today. I’m was itchy all over on Monday but that seems to have settled. I have joint pain, but is that the arthritis or the thyroid or the medication? Your guess is as good as mine, all are possible. There is a small risk I could get some dangerous blood problem, but the risk is so small I’m not worried about it. Back to him in five weeks. And yes, more blood tests there too. If the cops pick me up for anything I’ll have needle track marks at this rate!
Sleeping is a problem and the local doctor gave me Serepax to help with the anxiety of the diagnostic process. What do I have? Will I be able to still work? How is this impacting the family? The brain never stops. If we include my gall bladder surgery, I have had five medical findings this year, four since the middle of October. Just to top it off I have suspected trochanteric bursitis which causes pain in my right thigh at night so I’m having an MRI of that and possibly a cortisone shot next week. I’d been putting that off since I was spending so much time having all the other tests, scans and doctors’ visits, but when it kept me awake most of Monday night I decided enough was enough and booked in for next week.
Dr R wants me to exercise, but the fatigue makes that hard. I did manage thirty laps of the pool on Sunday, a far cry from my 100 laps not so long ago!
You know when you have a cold and your nose gets red raw from the tissues so you need the aloe vera ones? Trust me on this, your nose isn’t the only part of your body that can suffer tissue trauma. Hence the packet in the top picture hidden under the drugs. Highly recommended, by the way. There is also a cream for that, but believe it or not, if you are not careful it can give you a headache! I kid you not.
The Nexium is to protect my digestive system from any of the other drugs that my tummy may not like. The brain fog is so bad I have to set alarms in my phone to take the important drugs (the vitamins and fish oil I think I remember). Even then, when I took the Nexium tonight I’m not 100% sure I hadn’t already taken one. The brain fog is crappy – if this Carbimazol fixes that I’ll be very happy!
Is it any wonder I bought myself two new dresses today?
Interesting learnings, too. Studies have shown up to 80% of patients who develop auto-immune condition can describe a major stressful event in their lives prior to developing the condition. Smoking is also implicated in combination with genetic predisposition for rheumatoid arthritis and yes I smoked. Studies show about 25% of patients with an auto-immune condition develop more than one. The incidence of auto-immune conditions in the population is increasing – the question is why? The health costs to the community are huge and auto-immune disease is one of the top 10 leading causes of death in female children and women in all age groups up to 64 years of age. Auto-immune conditions are more common in women than men. Why? Gender specific hormone factors? Read Rosemary’s story of her battle with rheumatoid arthritis on the Arthritis Victoria site.
My boss says to just write off 2014 and look to 2015. I agree. 2015 has to be better!