This is the 3rd instalment to my Memoirs prep entry series. There is one more in this series after this one and then we move onto the ramblings series where I feel my writing improves [more entertaining]. This entry is not as long as the last one and is also has a more positive outlook on my situation. There has been an 9 month gap in entries which I feel reflects on the fact that my life is good, especially considering my melancholy rumblings are so far and few between.
6 September 2014
Since December 2013 a few things have changed. My joints aren’t as sore as they were, the oedema has reduced some what and the fatigue has improved greatly. This is most likely because my body continues to grow collateral veins to compensate the portal vein and as the pressure eases and the blood is cleaned more efficiently that reduces the effect on the rest of my body. I remember how drained I felt all the time and am so glad that has been kept away pretty much since January this year. I am also more active which is awesome. Thank God.
My husband and I went away to Cowra for New Years. It is a quite town and very lovely. We stayed at one of the local caravan parks and to say it was hot would be an understatement. The day we got there my feet had swelled badly, I had to sit with my feet in a bucket of water which helped. I also purchased a spray bottle in town the following day to spray over my legs and feet during the day when I felt them swelling. This worked a treat. We loved the time there and if I remember correctly we were there for 4 days. By the 3rd day I noticed a change in me. Day 1 & 2 I still found I was fighting fatigue and aches and pains. By Day 3 I realised late in the afternoon that I had not had a sleep nor did I feel the need to have one. I think it was the dry heat or something who knows, but Cowra obviously agreed with me and blessed this body of mine. Since then I have only had a few times that I have needed an afternoon nap. This is when I can tell my liver is acting up.
I think it was in about Feb/March that I felt the fatigue coming back, the itchy skin and the oedema that caused quite a nuisance with pain. I was also feeling a lot of right upper quadrant abdominal pain again. I took myself to my GP and asked for a new ultrasound to have look see and find out if all is well. She agreed. The radiographer, a young man of obvious experience, performed the scan and was quite concerned about the appearance of my gall bladder (this is a common occurrence but this time he was insistent I look into it further), he had the doctor review it and they told me they wanted me to go back and have it done again the next morning. I think they were doubting my ‘fasting’. Next day same problem, funnily enough. I was again told that I need that to be looked at. I spoke with my GP who decided that as I was seeing my Gastro within the next week or so she would ask him to review and comment.
At the Gastro appointment I reported what the radiographer told me and the GP and he looked at the imaging. He explained to me that my gall bladder is quite small and the walls were thickened and seemed not to have bile build up. He referred me for a Nuclear imaging and an MRI. The nuclear radiologist (if that is what they are called) reported that they could not find my gall bladder and I was asked more than once if I had had it removed. Bit of a funny question I thought considering that is what I was there to have scanned…… hmmm. She advised that the dye was bypassing the gall bladder all together and going straight to the intestines. MRI done and funnily enough he also asks me if I had had my gall bladder removed. Needless to say I had to bite my tongue on both occasions as really they were silly questions and would imply a level of ‘naivety’ on my & my doctors part (to put it nicely) by having a scan on a part of my body that had been removed – if that had been the case. My Gastro refers me to a Hepatopancreatobiliary and Transplant Surgeon who was very intrigued by my case. He took it away and had a conference with other doctors as to what the best course of action would be. The surgeon also informed me that he is convinced that my gall bladder is the cause of my health problems, he explained that a severe gall bladder attack can cause blood clots, which was interesting to find out. It also explained a bit. In retrospect, I tried to remember when I first started to get the severe upper right quadrant abdominal pain, it was about 12 months before my wedding. It is not clear what caused the gall bladder to malfunction but it has. At the time of my first consult with the surgeon I would only have an attack maybe once a month and it would only last about 15 minutes, that I could remember. Since seeing him I have noticed a slow and steady speed up in frequency, length and pain level of bouts. One bout just after Easter landed me in hospital. Apparently all of my intestines, pancreas, spleen etc. were all swollen and they were concerned I had developed ischemia. This bout lasted almost 2 weeks, I was hospitalised for 4 days and I am sure they wanted to keep me in there. A general surgeon reviewed me for possible surgery to have a look in there but I think my case scared them just a little. Whilst I was in there the Hepatopancreatobiliary surgeon called me and told me that they believe it necessary to take out the gall bladder but the risk of death is about 10 – 20%; he scared me a little with this and I procrastinated on the decision a while. I have eventually decided to go ahead, maybe I am crazy but I believe that God has save my life for a purpose and that this surgery is needed to get me to where I need to be. It would be pointless letting me die now. I have faith in him who created me and his plans for me. So now I am to have a gastroscopy, booked in 22nd September 2014, to check the varices make sure they are behaving themselves and there is nothing new to report. I have to have another CT scan and also blood work done. Then it is back to the Hepatopancreatobiliary surgeon to discuss dates etc. The surgery cannot be done by key hole due to the spider web of collateral veins and it is going to be a ‘pick up sticks’ type manoeuvre for the Surgeon to make sure that he does not knick any of those vessels and cause internal bleeding but I have confidence in him.
As you can see my life just seems to get more and more complicated with one head scratching condition after another. But I just take it on the chin most times not thinking too deeply about it all because when I do it can bring me down.
It is amazing how strong we can become when we need to and we never thought it was in us. We have all been put in situations where we have broken down emotionally or had a mental melt down. But when we come out the other side it can sometimes be easier to deal with the next hurdle. But only if we don’t push too hard otherwise it can take longer to get over.
I liken it to body building. A body builder will deliberately create tears in his muscles because in order to build muscle you have to first tear it / injure it and then your body will repair it and at the same time make it stronger. However, you must be careful to not push too hard that your body cannot just bounce back without an extended out of action period. We must be mindful of our limitations.
Each time a body builder pushes their body to the limits to the point of physical trauma, their muscles tear, they are doing this to grow stronger. Protein is used by our bodies to repair these micro-tears and build more muscle. Each time it is done, the body builder can push themselves further before they reach their limit.
Just like emotional or mental trauma. We will go and go until we can go no more, we will push ourselves until we reach our limit and then our mental or emotional muscle will tear and we break down. After a period of time of allowing ourselves to feel and learn from this we can then get up to walk the path again. The next time going that little bit further before falling to our knees. It is easier to come back from when we have a support group whether it be people going through the same thing, family members or a group of friends that come together and rally around us to donate their strength when we are depleted. With that support, just as the protein helps the body builder get back into the swing of things quicker, we can too.
Until next time readers, have a fantastic day!!