For life's little ups and downs.
I started this blog to tell my story, about who I am and what I do. On top of the health problems and raising awareness for those, I also use my blog as a way to help promote other causes, particularly ones which affect the most vulnerable. I live with a number of different and complex health problems but I refuse to let anything get me down. I know how it feels to be discriminated against or thrown aside. This is me. This is my life. I live it and do what I want with it. Nature sets the limitations. We set the boundaries.
I'll flap my broken wings and erase it all someday... You'll see.
Wednesday, 6 September 2017
The problem with chronic pain is that it can be difficult to explain to someone what the difference in an acute pain and a chronic pain is. To me, a chronic pain is like a constant ache, a constant feeling that someone has tightly laced a corset around my entire body. Sometimes even a slight movement in bed can leave me cringing with my back or I go to get something and my elbow dislocates and sends a shooting pain through all my nerves in my arm (old injury that is giving me bother 5+ years after I had the fall). Not to mention the pain left over from my lungs and other problems, I have to take strong medication in order to be comfortable but the price for comfort is being ridiculously sleepy afterwards. I then have the issue with my back which makes my legs weak and my nerves feel like they're being hit constantly from my neck, down to my bottom. You see, along with my small curve and previous fractures to my spine (the worst of which was when I was 10 and was messing around with my brother, imitating wrestling moves, long story short, my back was damaged when I hit the wood on the bedframe. Made worse by my Dad picking me up and making me walk, I spent 6 months trying to walk properly again and when my Mum asked the doctor, we were told that it would only be known as I grew what lasting damage was done but I should have gone to hospital and would have probably needed treatment for it), I have my Spastic Paraplegia to deal with.
HSP (Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia) is something I have had issues with for as long as I can remember. It meant that as a child. I couldn't run around or do things like other kids did. I wasn't very athletic and struggled with things at times, I couldn't even straighten out my legs properly, and I still can't. When I was about 12, we saw a specialist who gave my Mum these exercises where I would lie on my back and she would have to manually lift my legs and hold them there, the pain was often unbearable and I would almost scream the house down. My Nan on my Dad's side of the family had the same problems I have in her legs too, along with eczema and a squint which I inherited as well. It did improve for a while in my late teens when I used to ride bikes everywhere, but nowadays its just an issue that I will have to live with. HSP has no cure and it is degenerative (most people don't experience the worst symptoms until they reach adulthood and the nerves that supply the lower part of the body start to have problems). It does mean that I am reliant on my wheelchair to have any kind of independence.
My wheelchair is the thing that allows me to do whatever I need to do. I would prefer to not have needed one but I think that I did OK. They told my Mum that me ending up in a wheelchair was inevitable but I managed to keep myself out of there until about 4 years ago when I started realising that I was really struggling to move around. My lungs were struggling to cope as well. Since getting my oxygen, I do manage to do things but it does take more out of me. When you only have 30-40% lung function at best, it does feel like you're working extra hard to do the same things that other people do so easily. It sucks, but the thing I am always reminded of is that somehow, I am still here, even if there are days where I feel like giving up. I had a bad day recently, I don't want to get in to it as it was horrible, but I managed to talk it out rather than doing something I would have regretted.
I have those days sometimes where I am questioning myself as to why I keep at this even when it looks pretty bleak and depressing. Those are the days where I am sat there looking at things and I get the dark thoughts, thoughts that I find hard to get away from because they hurt so much. Sometimes I feel like they follow my every move, like some kind of ghost, ready to strike with a nasty comment or thought that will plague me for a while and its awful. I hate this but I have to take medication to slow my thoughts down and calm the manic part of me that wants to run riot. The manic side of me can make me feel like I could take over the world with little more than a pair of pants and a stick and ten minutes later, I feel like the whole world has fallen apart and I can't find a reason not to cry about stuff, but that is the nature of bi-polar disorder and its something that I think people have a hard time in understanding about me. It isn't something I have a lot of control over on my bad days.
I'm fighting and I think that will be something that I will always have to do. Does it scare me? Yes it does sometimes, but I don't have to go it alone because there are always people around to pick me back up again, help me dust myself down and then I can get going. After all, none of the things I have to deal with are more than just setbacks and it really is up to me to not let those temporary setbacks have long term effects.
Friday, 18 August 2017
Living with an illness means that you are constantly battling against your own body to stay alive. On my good days, I can still get things done but I am still exhausted afterwards. My bad days, which seem more common recently, are often spent by me trying to do things, getting exhausted and then getting frustrated when I can't do something so simple. My day is regimented by a routine of medications which have to be taken at certain times, not to mention reordered, queried, chased up multiple times and then eventually at the end of a week getting them sorted (this in itself is extremely annoying when you have 30+ meds to keep on track of). This is a weekly thing and it is annoying. It is tiresome and the routine of it makes it daunting to start the process every week but there are things in life you just have to get on and do otherwise they won't get done and if you don't get it done, you WILL suffer.
I do try and give myself other things to keep me occupied though during my treatments. I like to draw and do craft. Obviously I can't do that all the time, its actually quite a demand on on the body when it doesn't feel up to much. Sometimes I am happy to read, watch TV or even play games but again these things are only really what I do on better days. Heck, I've still got 2 boxes of Opus cards that I need to sort through, binders to update (Yu-Gi-Oh and FFTCG). I keep telling myself that I will get it done, I think I am just waiting for a day when I have the energy to do it. Or a day when my pain is a lot less restricting.
Jace and I have been playing more duels between each other and we've been working on our newest decks. My deck is probably one of the strongest I have used, based off Zane's "Underworld" deck (complete with Cyberdark Dragon and its 3 components) and I have been really working round my ideas and strategy there. It's been a lot of fun and it has been a good mental work out. I've really taken to it lately, but then again, I have always enjoyed a good game. Even more so when that game is a good test of the mind. I like keeping an active mind, I always have.
I'm back on antibiotics again (usual Levo/Co-Amoxiclav combo) for 3 weeks this time to see if a little extra time can kick this infection back a bit. Its gotten to the point where I am spending my mornings trying to get as much purulent muck out as possible and its even had moments where it's been bloodied, after pained nights and poor sleep as it even hurts to just rest down. Not pleasant, but respiratory infections rarely are and I have had to nap just to keep myself going. The problem is that when these things get ingrained. They get ingrained and they take a lot of effort and work to get rid of again I'm having to be patient with myself and take my time in doing things. No running myself ragged or doing things when I don't really feel up to it.
I guess that for now, I need to just let my body fight this thing and get stronger.
Saturday, 12 August 2017
I have Bi-Polar Disorder.
I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
I have Borderline Personality Disorder and Schitzophrenia.
I have borderline Aspergers.
I have attempted suicide more times than I can say.
I do struggle with my urges to harm myself.
My body covered with scars.
I have accomplished a lot of things.
I have always managed to regain control of myself before it's too late.
I have wonderful friends and family as well as my fur-babies.
I have a boyfriend who loves me despite the things I have wrong.
I have my own little place.
I have always been me. I will always be Wendy.
With all the things around suicide (particularly the death of Chester Bennington, still can't believe that) and people actually embracing the fact that they have fought that mental battle. The way it can make you fight to just find a reason to keep moving. There are times when you want to just do it, despite the fact that it would only cause your family to suffer. People say that those who do take their lives are "selfish" but try and see it from their side of the fence. When you get to the point where all you want to do is close your eyes and just not -be- anymore it's hard to get past that. It's almost impossible to get that out of that place. It can be extremely overwhelming and it can be terrifying.
Reaching out when you feel that way is hard and because of other people's attitudes it can be embarrassing. The worst thing is when you are at the point of falling apart and you have to try and tell someone for them to either not care, not understand or just offer an old cliche response. People have asked me "why do you feel this way?" and I just looked at them. The weird thing is that sometimes I will explain it, sometimes though, I just can't. I can't explain why I feel hopeless and like giving up when I can't even understand it fully myself. I find it even worse when I feel like I have to justify myself and how I feel and it can be so insulting when someone almost expects me to explain myself. I feel like saying things like "can I not just feel the way I feel?" or "Why should I explain my reasons? Why can't it just -be- what it is?"
I remember my first real "breakdown". I was about 14 and I had had 3 years of verbal, physical and even sexual abuse in school (including one of the bullies trying to get me to pleasure him sexually in the bus parking area otherwise I was going to get beaten up) and the teachers of the school weren't doing anything other than trying to blame me for everything. I'd started getting in to trouble just so that someone would even notice I was stressed, leading to being branded a "problem child", I remember I was getting ready for school, I was dressed, ready to go until I was about to go. I just calmly sat on the stairs. At first my Mum responded, like most would, with firmly trying to tell me to go and get my bus, then, understandably she got angry, then when I finally told her why I was not going anywhere from where I was, she phoned the school authority and thats when it all came out. I did go back for a couple of weeks afterwards, I was told to write everything done to me down but when even the teachers seemed to have it in for me, I couldn't do it. Imagine the shock my Mum had when she came home to find me sat behind the sofa with a kitchen knife. 3 weeks later I was taken out of school. I never ever went back to that place. They did try and get us in trouble but the Education Authority were amazing, they backed us and got me accepted in to another school which was nearer to my home.
The fact is, mental health is real. It isn't a joke and it isn't a shameful thing. It can damage every aspect of your life and because people can't always see it, or you don't fit the picture, it is often treated as though it isn't there or genuine. If someone does try and say "OK so my mental health is being an issue", please don't shun them. Please help them. Please tell them that they aren't alone. Please make them feel loved, and if you're the one whose suffering, please don't give up. Please reach out.
If I hadn't when I did, I don't know where I would be now.
Thursday, 3 August 2017
Today its just been a bit of a struggle to keep myself at a relatively safe level and not have to neb every so often, usually though, when I am having to do it more than hourly, we know I am running in to real danger. At the moment though, we seem to be averaging out to 2 hours. Usually a neb should last me for 4 hours but unfortunately, no one seems to have told my asthma that. Its pretty frustrating sometimes because I feel so restricted on what my body will allow me to do yet there are so many things out there that I am itching to work on or get done. I get really angry with myself sometimes because there used to be times when I could do this stuff and more and not break a sweat. I have to remind myself that I didn't ask for this. It didn't happen to me because I did something wrong. It just is.
Jace and I have been watching more Yu-Gi-Oh recently (we finished the original series, all 5 seasons, as well as GX and have watched the first season of 5Ds) and have been inspired to build new character decks and cosplays. We won't reveal too much just yet but when the time comes, but lets say this, it will be pretty cool! I have been busy experimenting again with Cyber Dragons (I love those things!) and currently have some new strategies and combos that I can't wait to try out and play with.Of course, building the deck has been the easy part, learning to use it at it's best is the challenge and probably the most fun part. With the Cyber Dragons, its all about getting the groundwork put in, then it's pretty easy from there. Once you have the right cards in place of course then things just kind of, well, happen.
I suppose that I look to things like games, sewing and other things to help me to work through the troubling side of life. It's just my way of coping really and it has worked so far. I try and think that every day that I manage to finish without incident is a day where I have won the battle.
Thursday, 20 July 2017
Today, one of my favourite singers from probably my all time most beloved band died. If you knew me growing up (well, in my teenage years) you would have remembered my deep adoration for Linkin Park. Their music helped to shape me from what I was back then to who I am now, even being a catalyst to me ending up here in Redditch after leaving my hometown (twice). The story about that lies in my membership to LPU and meeting my first boyfriend Mike, although that never worked out how we thought it would, for 2 kids, we did OK. I celebrated the start my adulthood with them (seeing Linkin Park live with my Mum, one of my most cherished memories) Chester Bennington was a huge part of how I, and millions of others who were in the same boat, managed to get there and his influence and legacy will live on through the hearts and minds of those who will remember him.
And the best way we can show that is through solidarity in mental health and by choosing to live on. Choosing to never give up. Listening to Meteora now, it's like the lyrics hit a deeper meaning to your subconscious. Maybe the saddest thing is that the depth of someone's depression, not just the sadness but the anger, frustration, loneliness (when you're in a crowd, it's still possible to feel totally alone) and isolation. Maybe it's true when they say that an artist's message is deeper when they're no longer around.
Chester was a deeply tormented man. He had overcome more things before his 20's than most people overcome in their entire lifetime. When I first found Linkin Park, I was only about 13. I didn't really like the screaming at first but over time, I came to love it and would find it comforting and moving. Like someone was saying "it's OK, you'll make it out of here and when you do, you'll be a stronger person for it."
There's something inside me that pulls beneath the surface...
I didn't really understand back then what that was. Depression is like that, it kind of swells under your skin, deep in your heart and mind. It writhes and grows. We try and hide it but eventually the cracks start to show and the pieces fall away until you see yourself looking at your own reflection and you have to face that is where you are. It's sobering. It's frightening. And it's hard to take it, stand up once again and realise that you aren't going through it alone.
It's crushing to hear that Chester is gone but I'm not sad, I'm just thankful that for nearly 20 years, the music he and the others made served as guidance, support and a reminder that no matter what, there was nothing you couldn't achieve as long as you turned your strength to it.
Thank you Chester. I hope that now you are able to find the peace you were fighting most of your life for.
Thursday, 1 June 2017
Sometimes you even need oxygen at home to help you cope with day to day life which can add an extra level of complexity, going out you have to check that you have enough oxygen in your cylinder for the time you will be out for, tubing (don't even get me started) and making sure that everything is set up properly. Asthma to me has been a difficult thing to work out but somehow I've managed it and through conscious effort and thought, I've not allowed myself to be a victim of circumstances, instead I have chosen to thrive, although there are still things that do throw me for a loop but that is OK too. At the end of the month, I am starting with CPAP to help with my night symptoms and desaturation, I feel a bit uneasy about it still, I mean it is still a huge thing to get my head around and its not surprising that I am a bit worried about how this is going to work.
So, here's to a month of good stuff!
Wednesday, 31 May 2017
Tuesday, 23 May 2017
Tuesday, 18 April 2017
My Mum and her Partner Dave brought this little one to me just after Christmas last year after we lost our Kaiba-mop and we had to spend time introducing him properly to Yugi and he's definitely put some weight on and is growing up well. Its only a shame that his ears will never grow out and he will always have a slightly shocked expression. He was a bit skittish at first but when I first held him, he just settled and nuzzled in to me.
I have to say that I have always liked the idea of patchwork quilts. So I am making myself one. I've got some gorgeous soft pink fleece to line the inside of it as well as ideas for some special patches that reflect life and everything that makes me tick. And butterflies. Such beautiful and amazing little creatures, the way they flutter after spending time hidden away as they develop from a caterpillar and then emerge in spectacular colour. I also love the way they feature in cultures from all around the world. One of the most beautiful in my opinion is the idea the Native American legend that if you tell a butterfly your deepest wish, they will carry it high up in to the heavens and have it granted for you. I love that.
Also today, I had a wonderful email from Healthline that once more my blog has made it in to their top asthma blogs for 2017. This always makes me feel proud because I started this when I was in such a different place emotionally (and physically) and its my readers and supporters who have kept this going for me. So THANK YOU! to everyone who reads this and everyone who follows and finds something that helps them in their own journey. Also, you should check out the other blogs too, its nice to read other people's insights in to their lives and their emotional strength is something to admire
So, that's enough from me for now hopefully things over the next few days will be a bit more positive.
Thursday, 6 April 2017
I am glad I stood my ground on that one as well because that was wrong and it shouldn't have been allowed to happen. Maybe it bugs me especially because it was allowed to happen and had it not then maybe things would have been different. It is a sad truth that my local NHS trust has failed me and no one knows why I slipped through the net as many times as I did. Why didn't they listen to me? Why did they ignore the data they had right there because it "didn't fit" with what they wanted it to? Someone was held accountable and things did happen as a result but thats little consolation considering now that I have to live with the consequences and no amount of "You're very young to be going through all this" or extra money from PIP will ever make that better and that's what makes me feel so angry about the whole thing. I am unlikely to be able to recover fully from all of this and the damage has been done and it can't be undone.
It's been a bit odd because even though I knew myself what was going on, to have it confirmed was like saying "I told you so.." to the teams of doctors and nurses who were making decisions about my treatment without properly investigating as to why things were the way they were, I think that was probably careless at best. At worst, they could have removed something from my already complicated regime which could have resulted in a serious situation, like when they tried stopping my ipratropium, switch me back to Seretide and try to stop nebs in total, which went really badly. Although from that EDS, it was telling a completely different and untrue account of things, the truth had been that I had been mistreated by someone I should have been able to put my trust in and the consultant made fun of my mental health in front of a whole ward of patients and nurses. Being told that I needed a psych assessment not medical treatment.
I was glad that my psych at the time spoke up for me and said "No, she isn't going mad, she needs to have her asthma helped because its making her life hell." and another doctor took a look at me and reinstated all the meds that the other fool tried to cut. In some ways, having what I was saying confirmed was a bit more troubling because it was like I had had to fight to get this properly looked in to and to get whatever treatment I have already and it annoys me because I shouldn't have had to. I'm not going to be one of those people who decides that they're entitled to everything when they aren't but I was being denied the basics at times. It took a long discussion with the o2 nurse to get the sleep study done (at my request) as well as me badgering the doctor for new lung function tests for 6 months before they were done (
That experience was awful and so humiliating, luckily the nurses backed me up when I complained. Luckily as well, it was only a one off, I never allowed that consultant near me ever again. I remember being so angry about how I was treated on that admission and it was like I hadn't been through enough as it was and then that happened. Maybe that's the thing I am struggling with, knowing that they were going on little to no real evidence and trying to make huge decisions about things that would really affect me and my quality of life. I think I wanted to ask "So, anything else about MY life that you think that perhaps I would like to know?" on more than one occasion, but I managed to hold my tongue. And believe me, that was hard. The lasting impact has been that I have been too frightened to go in to hospital and will push to try all at home options before throwing the towel in and giving in.
I think that demonstrating the actual, real story of what I have to contend with when it comes to my lungs may have been a huge part of this. These tests have been important to us because they have re-identified the clinical indications for my oxygen and other medicines. I did all these tests before bit the reports for the results were minimal and often ignored what was right there, no idea why that was but apparently 10 year old basic spirometry results have more bearing than a full lung function test taken in the last month, doctor logic? This has included a whole host of new tests, scans and other things that I had to do over the last year or two. I said a while back that I was willing to humour the doctors and nurses with whatever they wanted to attempt to do to/with me and work with them because lets be honest, had I not, well I don't want to think about where I would be now and what state I would have been allowed to get in to had I not been as assertive and wanting to get this straightened out once and for all.You can't spend a whole lifetime avoiding something just because its not convenient.
Unfortunately, avoidance never works for anyone. Ever. Ignoring that little niggling pain often allows it to get worse. Its better to just bite the bullet and get things checked, especially when there may be a slight chance that things could be better. OK so it could be difficult and it could be a bit final on some things when you want to still have some deniability with. I think that although I was the one who suggested it, I was the one who needed the most convincing that I wasn't mad and that things were really happening and the reality was that this disease does have an effect on pretty much every aspect of my life. Whether that be from having to plan everything down to the last moment (knowing what I need/when I need it, do I have enough oxygen on board/ how long will I be out for?) to having to sit for a moment and recover from just doing simple little things.
I don't think that I ever expected to be turning 30 (well we didn't ever really think I would get this far at some point or another) and have nearly that many meds on a repeat prescription, but that's how things panned out. As much as I hate the fact that my lungs don't play ball anymore, it isn't something I can really do much about and to be honest I have accepted that, well I had to, didn't I? I couldn't just stamp my feet and have a hissy fit over not wanting to be sick anymore because it wouldn't change that. You just learn to make the best of the situation even on the bad days. Even the days when you feel like you just want to wave a white flag and give up, and there have been a fair amount of those days, trust me.
The key thing is finding little things to make you smile. For me, its the small things like the funny "Wheee-eeeeeee!!" sound that Yugi makes when he comes up to see me or watching Loki as he binkies (a kind of weird hop that bunnies do) and of course watching Little-Red popcorn and snuggle right up to me as hes being handled, or that derp-face! There is a magic that animals have, I know it sounds corny and a bit silly but my animals are the closest thing I have to children. I have raised them, taught them right and wrong and loved them from their cutest to when they have been going through the "naughty" stages. Raising animals fills a need in my life to need and be needed by someone. They may not be humans and they only stay with us for a while but the love they give is so real and so precious. I have never lived in a home where animals haven't been a part of it and its not something I think that I could ever do. After all, an empty home is like an empty heart. I have always had a thing for small animals, particularly hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits and even rats. I think that there is so much character and personality in them and they really are fun to get to know, and contrary to what people think, they aren't stupid either. My pets are what has kept me going when nothing else could.
Since Jace came to live with me, things have been so much easier and we are both really happy together. We have our own little bungalow in a quiet area, lots of space and a large garden. We may not have the lastest games consoles or the latest other things but we have one thing that no money could ever buy, we love each other and to be honest, that is something to keep going for in itself.
Wednesday, 29 March 2017
Last night was anything but decent. I was coughing up stuff. To be honest, it is nothing really that strange in itself but it was more in quantity than usual. I literally felt like I was trying to cough up a lung or two and it did get (and still is) very painful so I have had to be careful today and keep up doses of pain meds and other things to make sure that this causes as little bother as possible. The problem is that I am physically and mentally worn out and just want to curl up and sleep, which is difficult when you're in pain. I'm a little worried that a ride with the men in green may be on the horizon but I'll do what I can before I let that happen. Especially as it's someone's birthday this weekend and I want to make it the happiest I can.
Tuesday, 21 March 2017
Ever feel like you're chasing your own tail when you're trying hard to work around certain personality flaws or issues. I am very aware and I know that I suffer from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and NO, it isn't just an obsession with cleaning) and it manifests itself in ways that are a little bit odd for most people to understand. A part of my personal OCD (apart from the excess use of hand sanitiser) is that I am always apologising to people for everything from moving slightly (because I think that I inconvenienced them) to simply asking for help or for a drink or something (because in my mind I always think "Who are YOU to ask anything of anyone. You don't deserve help.") and its even happened as a result of calling 999 during my asthma attacks. It's a tic I've developed as a child that has never really gotten better.
It's annoying. It's frustrating. It even makes me aggressive towards myself if I try to stop it (I have been known to self harm from pinching myself to slashing my arm open with a huge knife.) and it's sometimes hard to prevent. It's like, if I don't keep apologising. I am scared of something bad happening.Usually because when I was a kid, when I didn't apologise constantly to one of my brothers I was "taught a lesson" or "disciplined" in any way that he saw fit. I don't really want to go in to the full story as I find a lot of it is hard to think of, even now after 16+ years but it left a mark on me, inside and out. Its hard to think about and its hard to even put in to words because I know that it makes some situations more likely and there are people out there who have taken advantage of this. Usually when it involves them gaining money or possessions from my vulnerability and my own generally wanting to avoid being "punished" again.
I won't go in to that now as it isn't really worth chewing over again and again, I would much rather keep on moving on with life because it's a better way around things. Besides, it annoys the people who try and make you out to be the "bad one" all the more if you keep moving with your head held high! I made an active decision nearly 6 years ago now that I would not let anyone make me a victim. I've moved on so much over the last few years and to be honest and most of that has come from when I left the old place and moved in to the bungalow and it has just gone from strength to strength since Jace moved in and our lives became shared with each other. To be honest, when I left the flat that last time, it was like closing the door on a chapter of my life and I've improved mentally since leaving it behind. I think my aim in things is to keep striving forward, learn from the mistakes (and I've made my share over my 29 years) and not repeating them. People who hurt me are out of my life for good and they aren't ever going to get back in. To put it bluntly, to let someone who made you feel that way back in to your life is like scooping a poop out of a toilet and pushing it back up your bottom! You just wouldn't do it. Or I would hope!
It isn't just the mental stuff that has given me trouble recently. I think it's just the fact that I have had a really bad infection and that I have been feeling a bit worn out by the smallest things (typical for me when I get these kinds of infections really) and it is just taking a toll on me a little. That's OK though, infections take time to heal from. I was also thrown a bit of a curveball by my review with the respiratory nurses at the hospital. To cut a long story short, we needed to work out what was happening with my oxygen levels and in a weird way redefine the clinical indications for my oxygen (it got a bit muddled as there wasn't a lot of data to go by from recent tests, actually parts of my records went missing and the nurses were using old instructions to work out what the doctors wanted, it's embarrassing that they quote one letter a year before they saw me and I had seen the consultant since then, no copies of EDS and a great deal of inaccurate information) and general breathing when I sleep. I snore. I snore terribly sometimes and I'll be honest, it is really embarrassing because it is so loud. The other problem which Jace (and other people have pointed out, but why this was never looked in to I have NO idea, think someone dropped the ball here) that I stop breathing in my sleep.
Annoying thing is that I had to ask for the study to be done just so that we had the evidence of what I have been saying for years. The study we did pointed to low oxygen levels at night and sleep apnea. I wanted this sleep study done because I wanted to put things in line and get everyone singing off the same song sheet. Now if only my CT scan from 2 years ago had more available to view than a 1 line report saying that I don't have bronchiectasis and this was all shared with Heartlands (other than copies of the test results that I brought to them) as well as the planned admission which they wanted to do 2 years ago (but haven't had a bed spare), we could be well on the way to a more effective treatment plan and a vast improvement in my quality of life. I don't want to be tethered to this and that and I would give anything to be tube free.
SA is basically where for whatever reason the airways collapse when you fall asleep and your lungs are working extra hard to supply your body with oxygen. The body does counter this in the way of making you wake up a little (often with a rather harsh snort) and the result is that you don't get enough decent sleep. Obviously this in itself has its own set of issues and not sleeping can really have a dramatic effect on your physical and mental stamina . The nurse explained that because of my lungs being as they are and now this, it's like I'm not able to charge my batteries so I'm pretty much like a laptop that can't hold a charge. So that explains why my oxygen levels take a nosedive at night and I wake up feeling like I hadn't slept, which of course exacerbates my other conditions and it becomes almost like a domino effect. Because everything feels worse when you haven't had a good night's sleep. So once the doctors decide the best plan for me, I will be starting on CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure, a type of non invasive ventilator which will involve me wearing a mask that will force my lungs to stay open). I'd be lying if I said that it wasn't bothering me but this is life changing but I have to see this as a step forward rather than a setback.
Tuesday, 28 February 2017
Friday, 17 February 2017
I'm sometimes angry because I see all the people I went to school with, they are living their lives, be that from getting married, ticking off items off their "bucket list", travel or parenthood. I feel angry that because of this disease and the things that made that worse, I probably won't know too many of my dreams. I don't blame people for having wonderful lives, in fact to follow some of the people I grew up with and seeing them as they are now is amazing. I guess the thing was that at 29, I didn't ever expect to be constantly battling chest infections, struggling to even breathe or do every day things. I definitely didn't expect to be disabled to the point where I am practically stuck in a wheelchair and relying on oxygen and nebuliser medication. Maybe it isn't really anger, maybe its a little bit of jealousy because my life didn't pan out the way theirs did but that doesn't take away from everything I have managed to achieve in life so I suppose it balances out.
I don't see the "enhanced rate" of PIP as some kind of bonus. I don't actually WANT to have to have extra money from the government, yes it helps but it also makes me feel sad. Sad that I have to rely on this kind of thing because I can't go out and do the things I want to do. I like to work. I like to keep busy. I hate it when people tell me how "lucky" I am to get high rate disability benefits. I'm not lucky. I'm anything but. I hate it when people say "Oh well, I wish I could get as much as you get on benefits" but it only fuels the anger I feel inside. It makes me even angrier when people attempt to take advantage of me but that is a whole other kettle of fish.
So recently I had a sleep study done. This basically involved me having to sleep while wearing 2 pieces of monitoring equipment. One was to measure the respiratory output while I slept, including how much effort my body makes to breathe, air flow and whether or not my poor sleep recently is down to my lungs basically not liking to work anymore. My lung function is around 30-40% on a good day and on a bad day it is closer to 20-30%. That is scary because it doesn't hit home until you attempt to do some seemingly normal activity and then it knocks you for six. You never realise that something as basic as brushing your hair or taking a shower can be exhausting. Basically I may have to have a machine to help me breathe at night although my oxygen levels at night were also something of interest, I will find this out in March. The main thing I am concerned about is the results of a sputum culture that I had done last week. The results came back quickly (which they always told me was a bad sign) and they have called to discuss this. I feel a little wary as to what was found but in a way maybe that is a good thing because if they know the enemy, so to speak, they know the best way to fix it.
So right now I am struggling with an infection of Candida in my lungs and a heavy flu. With brittle asthma as well, this makes for a really vile cocktail in terms of how it makes you feel. I ache. I feel hot/cold. Sweaty and shivery and of course totally sapped of energy. Basically to put it in words, it feels rubbish but to be honest, at least we can get something sorted and after some help I will be back on my feet in no time at all!
Its overwhelming really because there is so much already going on and I really can't stop what is happening altogether and focus on one thing, it just doesn't work that way. It's all come at once really and I feel kind of powerless to do anything about it. I know that I have to keep going and push through it but I feel like I just want to sleep for a month or so.
Saturday, 21 January 2017
Right now, it is one of my lesser conditions that is causing me a bit of grief. Since I was 17, I have had a condition that a lot of women have called "PCOS" or Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome. Basically it means that my ovaries become covered in cysts. Some of these are harmless and go away but lately, I have had a particularly bad one on my right ovary. This one seems to be aggravating my IBS (Irratable Bowel Syndrome) and as a result, I can't really face the idea of eating as it feels like rocks going through my gut. There are other issues around it as well but as you can imagine, theres only a certain degree of graphic that I think should be here. Lets just say this, I am glad for the grab bars in my bathroom or I would have nothing to grasp during particularly painful moments!
Having IBS means that of course, I have to be careful of certain foods that "trigger" the issue. Dairy seems to be the big one for me and often eating milk or dairy can result in some volatile reactions, cramping and (embarrassingly) wind. It can sometimes be so severe that I would happily eat nothing at all for a few days than have to suffer the pain of actually digesting food. This has been a bit of an issue recently and as a result I feel run down and really not well in myself. It doesn't help that my mind is giving me issues as well and I have spent the last month constantly apologising to people (mostly to Jace, even for something innocent enough like reaching over to get something or just moving slightly). It is a bad habit of mine and I think it is a part of me thinking that I did something wrong when I probably didn't. I get very upset with myself more than anything I think.
When I get run down, that's when my asthma really gives me cause for worry. I think that my general health is off colour at the moment and this worries me quite a lot as there is so much going on around me at the moment too. I kind of feel like I can't get this right and that I am unworthy of anything, my personal confidence is currently down but I am trying my best to make this better. Even if it seems hard at times. I'm trying to find positives in things even on days where I would sooner just crawl in to a hole and there are days like that when things just seem to mount up. I feel at ease now because the things that I was concerned about are sorted and things are getting better. Thats the thing about life, as many curveballs as it throws, it also throws good stuff your way too, you just have to keep your chin up and remember that you have beaten things before. You will beat them again.
Oh, and give yourself something to look forward to. For me, its the Sephiroth promo foil card that Jace helped me negotiate with a seller for. There were only 60 non-foils given out and about 20 foils so this card is rare, its beautiful and its going to enhance my deck in ways that we could only dream of! Of course this also means that I now one of each Sephiroth card currently available!