Monday, 15 September 2014

Health Update–September 2014

Following my last health update, I have been taking the Omeprazole for some time now, and it definitely seems to be helping with the reflux, although I am still aware of something at the back of my throat. I am not coughing as much, and haven’t been disturbed at night by acid in my throat, but the GP said I should definitely see the ENT surgeon just to make sure everything was OK.

I had my hospital appointment today, and after a brief consultation he shone a light in my mouth, and palpated my neck. I thought that was going to be it, but no… he then sprayed some local anaesthetic up my nostril and proceeded to poke a light up my nose!! It was very small, on the end of a flexible tube, but despite the local anaesthetic, it felt like a lamp-post! It was pretty unpleasant. My nasal passages are apparently very narrow (which would explain why my nose is so often blocked). He said he needed to examine my vocal cords and the back of my throat in general, and said that there was still evidence of reflux there.

He prescribed Gaviscon Advance for six weeks, and said to continue with the Omeprazole, and then see my GP. The Gaviscon puts a blanket layer over the top of the stomach contents, and along with the acid-reducing Omeprazole, this should sort the problem. He also recommended propping the head of the bed up on bricks to elevate my upper body so my hubby is going to sort that – although what it will look like I don’t know – it’s a four-poster and might look like a ship on the high seas!

I saw the gastroenterologist a few weeks ago about my ulcerative colitis, and he continues to be pleased with my condition, which is responding well to the Pentasa medication. I had thought that my next colonoscopy wouldn’t be until August 2015 (two years after my first one) but he wants me to have it in February, which will be something nice to look forward to after Christmas (not…)!

Following a recent blood test, I have been told I am still mildly anaemic, so continuing with the iron for another few weeks. I am probably bleeding from the bowel although I’m not aware of it, but it could be enough to lower my haemoglobin sufficiently to need medication.

I bought a circulation booster from Ebay and it really helped with the swollen ankles. Now the weather has cooled off, the problem really isn’t so bad, and I have stopped using the machine for now, but it’s there if I need it.

Since my recent heart attack, I haven’t really been feeling myself – not exactly depressed, but feeling under the weather and a bit down, and rather unsettled. This is very unlike me because I’m usually very upbeat and bubbly. My creative mojo seems to have departed a bit recently, too. I had put it down to the constant low-level stress I suffer from with Mum in the house, but the other day I thought to myself that whenever I’ve had a day feeling like this, after a good night’s sleep the feeling generally disappears, but recently this has not happened. I mentioned it to my hubby at this point, and he said he wished I’d said something before, because he knows that it is very common indeed for people to get depression after a heart attack. I had no idea, but since then have spoken to several people who have experienced it. My hubby told me to Google it, and 18,900,000 search results appeared!!! He said, “Well, get reading then…” and I said if I read all that lot I’d be severely depressed by the end, not to mention still being at it well into the New Year!! It made me feel a lot better knowing that this was quite normal, and although I felt very down a couple of days ago, I’m feeling very much better again today.

I think I have to accept that it’s going to take time, and that my whole system suffered more of a shock than I was aware of. The most important thing is not to worry, and to know that it will pass. I don’t feel it’s bad enough to approach the doctor with.

My M.E. is ongoing, of course, and fluctuates from day to day, but there’s nothing new to report there, except to say that the dry mouth problem was probably a recurrence of this very common M.E. symptom, which has now gone into abeyance again. I have been continuing with the Sterimar routine before bed, and making sure my nose is as clear as possible before I go to sleep, and this is helping.

Ending on a cheerful note, I have been doing the 5:2, or “Fast” diet since our return from holiday towards the end of June, and am happy to report that this is the most brilliant diet I’ve ever been on. Because you reduce your calorie intake on only two days a week, and eat normally for the rest of the week, it is sustainable. Having to watch one’s diet every day, and deprive oneself of all the things one enjoys, soon becomes very tedious, and this is why so many people give up, especially when the weight loss tends to plateau, sometimes for several weeks.

I have had a three or four week plateau when I lost no weight, but I’ve stuck with it, and over the past couple of weeks, the weight loss has started again, resulting in a further half-stone coming off! I have now lost a total of 1 1/2 stone since June, and I am highly delighted. It doesn’t seem to be showing much – at least, not where I want it to (my stomach and bum) but one or two people have asked me if I’ve lost weight as it’s showing round my face, apparently!

So, generally speaking, I am pleased with how things are going. I am hoping that will be the last of the hospital visits for the rest of this year, at least for myself!

Mum, on the other hand, seems to be constantly going to the hospital or GP surgery these days. She had a TIA (transient ischaemic attack, or mini-stroke) a little while ago and has been undergoing tests since then, resulting in a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation (AF) and she is now on Warfarin, necessitating a weekly blood test until they stabilise the dose. Her blood pressure continues to be very high, and she is therefore at increased risk of another TIA or more serious stroke. She has bashed her leg again… and a few weeks ago, Phoebe, one of our kitties, scratched her arm, both of which needed an A&E visit and dressings which required changing – each time she has such an injury to her paper-thin skin, she digs her heels in and refuses point-blank to go to the hospital and we have to go through the whole process every time, of my hubby getting really stroppy with her and bullying her into submission! She never learns… she has no idea how serious such things can be at her age (93), and how they could easily get infected and lead to ulceration and worse. Oh well, my sister can deal with it for 10 days – we are currently enjoying a lovely break! After everything that’s happened recently, I think we deserve it – my hubby especially, as he is the one who has to drive her, and pick up all the prescriptions, etc.


  1. Oh my. What a lot you have on your plate. Hope all gets sorted out and you'll be back to your old self. Enjoy your break x

  2. Thank you Shoshi for the update. Very interesting reading about your many visits to the doc. I smiled when you mentioned the four poster 'ship'! I can just imagine. If it looks utterly ridiculous, you can always buy (or make) a large wedge to put under your pillows.
    Are you going somewhere nice for your break. I'm already looking forward to seeing the photos of the lovely places you go to.


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