As usual, it’s been way too long. Please forgive me! After the huge fundraising campaign to help us install a new bedroom with ensuite in an unused downstairs room in our house (huge thank you to everyone who helped, we are thrilled with it and it makes life so much easier!), I became very ill with, what I though was a bad chest infection. After a few days my symptoms were increasing and I couldn’t swallow without intense pain in my oesophagus. I was admitted into hospital and was told I had the flu. As my immune system is still very poor, they kept me in for 3 days to do tests and give me an industrial dose of tamiflu and antibiotics. I really wasn’t any better when they sent me home but my hatred of hospitals persuaded me that I’d recover better at home so off I went. The next night was the fundraising finale, a Ceilidh that my friends and I had organised (particular thanks go to Pauline, she did so so much work for that night. She is a wonderful friend). I was so ill, I spent the day torturing myself about whether or not I should go. At about 9pm, I dragged myself along so I could, at least, see the place and say hello to all the people who came along to support me. I lasted an entire 20 minutes before the hot flushes began and the crippling pain in my throat and chest returned. Not sure if I was going to faint, throw up or some combination of both, I had Glenda take me home.
By this point I hadn’t been able to eat anything for well over a week and I was now completely unable to take any of my vital medication or drink fluids as every swallow set my oesophagus into horrifically painful spasms.
The next morning I was admitted into hospital again and hooked up to so many tubes and machines, I had lost count. I was taken to the infectious diseases ward as they still had no definitive diagnosis. The main concern at that point was getting my rehydrated and trying to find alternatives to the pills I usually take that would do the same job. They either had to go through my IV or be injected. I was so weak and so down by that time, I took anything they would give me with no question. After I’d been in for 3 or 4 days, I was taken down for a gastroscopy to find the route of the problem. Straight away they could see how badly damaged my oesophagus was and it looked as though it had been caused by a bacterial infection called gastritis. Its very rare to have bacterial gastritis and in this area, so they really didn’t know what they were looking for until they found it. After that, I slowly began to get better but it took at l east another week to be able to drink without pain and another 3 weeks before I could swallow pills or food. I had to wear a syringe driver which would pump medication into me through a little needle under my skin 24 hours a day. It was very uncomfortable but it was the only way I was able to get out of the hospital so I was happy to take it! This all began at the end of June and I still don’t fully have my appetite back.
I think the worst part about this is that it wasn’t cancer related at all so I can’t blame it on that. It was ‘just one of these things’. Another one? For me? They shouldn’t have! I was meant to return to work in July and that had to be delayed. I had been really looking forward to that so this knock back hit me hard. Life really deals you some crappy hands sometimes doesn’t it!
So, that was the Bad!
The Good is that since then I have gone back to work. This time last year, I didn’t imagine I’d ever be strong or well enough to do that. In fact, I highly doubted I’d still be around never mind being able to work. Don’t get me wrong. I’m still not well. I never will be. But, I can do my best to get out there and claim my space back in the world. My work is really satisfying, social and fun. I missed it a lot. The downside of my job is that it can be very physical and fast paced and I knew this was going to be very challenging. I remember how tiring it was after I first started and I was way healthier and fitter than I am now. The thing I’ve learned, and am still working on is to listen to your body. If it tells you not to do something, its for a reason. listen. That approach is helping me get through. I know I can do up to 4 hours of work but I then need to take it easy for the rest of the day. If I work, then go shopping, then come home and clean the house etc, the next day I will be in too much pain and fatigue to move and my entire day will be written off and there’s no point in that. I still struggle with feelings of being too lazy and beating myself up for the things I should have done/be doing. I’m definitely my own worst enemy sometimes!
That brings me to The ridiculously Cute. Look away now if you are feeling a bit doggy broody…
His name is Obi and he joined our family about a month ago. He had a bit of a rough start in life but is more than making up for it now. He is a joy to be around and is already picking up some basic commands and doing very well with toilet training. He can be a lot of hard work but he is very very worth it!