Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

Monday, 31 August 2015

You Never Know What's Around The Corner!



So this is the second time I have written this blog as my laptop decided during the week to just delete the first one…. Cheers bud!

Anyway...

I had planned for my next blog to be about my mini holiday to Spain with my parents, to have a bit of an update about where I was, but as the title suggests, you just don’t know what life is going to throw at you next. After the response I got from my last blog, I was hoping to write a lot more, but as you will soon see, the last few weeks have been a little tough on the old girl!

I will track back a little bit to when I came back from my weekend away as it is where the story begins. A few days after I arrived back in the country, I started getting quite bad back pains. Now I’m not really a ‘weights in the gym’ kinda gal, so I knew it wasn’t to do with straining any muscles, so I went to the doctors to be on the safe side (I’m not a hypochondriac, honest!). After a urine sample (sorry if this is TMI), and a prod around my stomach and back, the GP diagnosed me with an upper UTI, or water infection for those who are lucky enough to have never had one!

I did a bit of research and found out that there are two types of UTI. Without going into too much detail about my symptoms, the GP said he knew it was an upper one as I wasn’t having trouble in the lower regions, and my pain had been localised to the middle part of my back. Although I was feeling very nauseous and tired, the antibiotics I was prescribed seemed to do the trick… or so I thought!

Fast-forward a week or so to last Wednesday, (the 19th August to be precise) the day after I had stopped my antibiotics, and this is where the fun began! If you don’t know me that well, that’s sarcasm. It was hellish. No exaggeration.

So I woke up on Wednesday morning with a bit of a stomach ache, but suffering from IBS already, I just put it down to that and took one of my tablets that is supposed to help things out. I went to work, and got on with everything, but the pain just didn’t shift. It got to the point where I just felt like I needed to lie down and not be crouched over at my desk, so I took a few hours to work from home. After some lunch and a quick lounge makeover of couch cushions on the floor, I thought I was in the right position to get on with my tasks for the day.

About 2.30pm, I decided to head back in as the pain wasn’t getting any better from being horizontal, and I had deadlines back at the office that I needed to meet. By the evening, I still wasn’t feeling great and could only manage a few pieces of toast for tea without feeling like I was going to be sick. As one of my friends was over from Abu Dhabi for his annual visit, I dragged myself out to see him, but as they were all eating curry, I opted for a plain bit of naan bread to overload my body with carbs as per, and washed this down with lots and lots of water. By this point it was getting late, and I was so drained that we took ourselves home to bed!

I thought that a good nights sleep would help ease the pain, as well as taking paracetamol, IBS tablets and rennies to properly drug myself up, but it didn’t. I woke up on Thursday and the pain was worse. I rang for an emergency doctors appointment and went in that morning. They had a prod of my stomach again (in which I was almost sick) but the doctor said he just didn’t know what was causing the pain - I should mention here that the pain was much worse than any IBS pain I have ever felt. I don’t just like to waste the NHS’s time and get out of work: Honest!

The doctor sent me on my way with some more antibiotics to clear any infection up that may have been caused or lingering from the UTI, and hopefully kill anything that was lying around my stomach making me feel ill, and asked me to go for blood tests ASAP. He also put an emergency request in for an ultrasound, but said that could take up to 2 weeks to be organised. I wont lie, I felt slightly uneasy when leaving the GP’s as he said to go to A&E if the pain got worse as one of his friends had suffered similar symptoms to me and had appendicitis, which was diagnosed incorrectly… so that was fun to have lurking in the back of my mind!

I went for the blood tests on Friday morning, and carried on into work. During the day I was so busy, but I didn’t manage to not notice the pain. Being a pale person anyway, it is quite hard to tell when I’m not looking well, plus I wear makeup as the other 99% of girls in my office… but during the day, people were telling me I looked much more pale than usual. I don’t know if you remember the weather on that Friday, but it was on and off raining and sunny, but it was overall quite warm. Because I didn’t want to have any extra pressure on my stomach, I opted for a long black top and midi skirt, as I felt like this would be lose enough and not put pressure on my stomach. When I went out on lunch it had reached about 22 degrees, which would usually be too warm for a long top, but I was shivering and just couldn’t get warm. The rest of the afternoon was a blur of a fever, having to visit the toilet every 20 or so minutes in order to walk around, and hot and cold sweats… and of course the stomach pain that I still couldn’t get over.

It got to 4 o’clock, 15 minutes before I was due to finish work, and my manager told me that I needed to go to hospital as I looked too pale and grey. Being a normal human being, I panicked at the thought, and proceeded to say that I was fine and was going to go home to bed, but that I would see how I was later on. The drive home was excruciating, and as soon as I made it in the house, I burst into tears on my bed because the pain was getting too much. It was at this point my mum rushed me to A&E.

As you can imagine, a Friday night in A&E, isn’t the most pleasant place to be, but although there were about 20 people in the waiting area, they took me through almost straight away and lay me down in the ward to wait for a doctor. The doctor gave me codeine and paracetamol and asked me what felt like, every question under the sun, in order to determine what was wrong. Because my symptoms were all over the place, I was hard to diagnose (soz guys!) About 20 minutes after I’d had my first dose of painkillers, they had to give me morphine because I was in so much agony. Now a lot of people I know have been on morphine and told me that it’s great, but I absolutely hated it. Plus, I was still in pain!

After the word appendicitis had been thrown around a fair few times as the pain had moved to my right hand side, they took me to the surgery assessment ward to wait to be seen by the surgeon. They hadn’t really got any other ideas of what it might have been, so by this point I was massively freaking out and trying not to cry again. The pain had slightly lessened from a 9 to about a 7.5, but I still couldn’t really talk much or sit up, and I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink a thing until I had seen the surgeon.

When I was first taken in they took blood samples from me, as unfortunately they didn’t have access to the ones I had done that morning, but the nurse said it could be anything up to 4 hours to get the results back. Finally after a few hours, and a lot more painkillers later, the surgeon came to see and put my mind at rest to say that he didn’t think it was appendicitis from the blood results, but that I would have to stay in overnight for observation and have an ultrasound the next day.

Up until this point I had never stayed in hospital before, so I didn’t really know what to expect. What I experienced was 6 hours of broken sleep, and a lot of nurses coming in every hour to check my blood pressure, and someone taking more blood off me at 5am… so that was nice to wake up to! The next morning they said they didn’t know when my ultrasound would be, but I was eventually taken down about 12:30pm.

I’m sorry if you’ve read to this point and wondered what the hell was wrong with me, but the fact of the matter is that I had convinced myself it was appendicitis, but in fact it’s kidney stones, which also triggered a stomach infection, which was giving me the back pain I was experiencing, and also the terrible stomach pain. The doctor who gave me my results said that I would have to go back and see the urologist to have a proper scan to see what they can do, as the kidney stones are too big to pass naturally. So right now I am waiting for my appointment! The doctor couldn’t tell me how I got them as I am usually quite a healthy person and if anything I drink over the amount of water I should, so I am rarely dehydrated…. It’s a mystery!

A week and a bit later though the stomach pain has completely gone, but the back pain is still there; It’s not as severe, but it’s still not right. Every so often I’ll get a bit of a twinge in my kidney, but overall I feel like I am on the mend. I’ve had a few days where I feel so weak and tired and nauseous, but I hope to have some answers in the coming weeks. So I will keep you all posted!

But back to the title of the blog… I wasn’t expecting that trip to hospital or even that I would ever experience something so horrible. If anything, I was looking forward to that weekend, and spending time with friends and family, but you just never know what life is going to throw at you!


x
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Wednesday, 5 August 2015

What's Going On In My Head?!


I’ve been toying with the idea of writing this blog for a while, which may explain why I have been a bit MIA recently… I say that, but I rarely blog anyway!
But back to the present day.
I have spoken in the past about suffering from high levels of anxiety on a day to day basis which I have accepted is part of my life. Some days it is worse than others, and some days I don’t notice it at all. One thing I have never spoken about it having panic attacks, mainly because they happened much more frequently when I was younger, but also because I still feel there is some stigma when people say they suffer from them, and that I might be making this up for attention or sympathy – which is not the case.
For me, living with anxiety is something I have learnt to do; however, when I have a panic attack, it feels as though the whole world is crashing down around me, and that I have lost control. When I was younger, I didn’t notice as much the feelings of anxiety, possibly because there were other teenage girl hormones swimming around my body, making it hard to differentiate the feeling of worry with the regular feelings of just being a normal teenager. Thinking back, this could have been the reason that my panic attacks were much more frequent back in the day (that makes me feel so old!) because I didn’t know how to deal with the levels of anxiety I was feeling, making an attack more common.
Nowadays I have my ways to get around them. If I’m feeling anxious, before I start to feel like I might have a panic attack, I try to distract myself, whether that’s painting my nails, going on my phone or writing. It helps me to focus on something new, and takes my mind off the feelings. I’ve found that if I draw attention to the anxiety it tends to get worse and could potentially turn into a panic attack where I feel like I am no longer in control, which wouldn’t be ideal if I was in work or out and about.
When I’ve been reading up on this area in the past, a term that I have come across is disembodiment, where you feel unreal or detached from your surroundings. Although it might seem quite farfetched, the only way I can describe this feeling is being unable to function in the way you are used to. For me, when I have a panic attack, I feel as though I am on a different physical level and I am looking down on myself and I can’t control how I am feeling or acting. I feel like the panic attack is at its worst when I am at the highest, and as I slowly come back down to reality, it begins to ease off. It might seem quite strange to read, but there is no other way I can describe it.
You may be wondering why I am writing this all down; well, my mind seems to clear better when I have something new to think about. Although I am talking about a very sensitive and personal subject, I don’t feel anxious writing this. I have been planning on writing this blog for a couple of weeks, but I haven’t found the time to really sit down and write about my feelings, mainly because I don’t want to overthink anything that could potentially turn into a panic attack, but also because I didn’t know how people would react to reading this.
One of the other reasons this blog was on my radar is because after not suffering from a panic attack for over a year, I had my first one a couple of Fridays ago. I wasn’t doing anything stressful, I hadn’t had a bad week at work, and I felt generally in good spirits; it was just a Friday night spent at home with my boyfriend, playing with the cat, then out of nowhere… BAM. It was a horrible experience for him as I haven’t had one since we have been together, but the only thing I could do was sit on the floor, stroke Simba, drink water and walk back and to from the kitchen to take my mind off it. One of the positive things I have read about panic and anxiety attacks is that usually the most they will last is 20 minutes; and although that can seem like a lifetime when it is happening to you, it is good to know there is an end in sight.
I can’t pinpoint when I started to have panic attacks, but I know my anxiety has become worse in recent years. Although this seems like a bad thing, it does mean I suffer less from panic attacks than when I was younger.
Until recently I never spoke openly about having anxiety or panic attacks. The fact of the matter is that until I opened up about the way I was feeling, I began to realise that I wasn’t alone. I remember when I went on a group holiday around 8 years ago during a time that my panic attacks were at their worst, I felt like I had to pre-warn my friend that I was suffering from them, which made me anxious about how he would react, but I was shocked to find out that he too suffered from them which is when it dawned on me that what I was feeling was completely normal. Although it probably doesn’t seem like a big step, to me it felt like a massive breakthrough.
Throughout college and University I still suffered from a high level of anxiety when it came to my work, friends and relationships. One of the times when I thought I would never get over my panic attacks was when my Granddad passed away in 2009. If you’ve read my other blog posts you will know that I went to University in Nottingham in the same year and absolutely hated it, which meant me moving back home only two months into the semester. I think the stress I was feeling about putting on weight, being in a different city and not fully being strong enough to live away from home all blew up in my face at once, and I felt I had no choice but to move back to Manchester.
Strangely enough, the day after I had my last panic attack, I saw that my auntie had posted this on Facebook. For next time I am feeling anxious or panicky, I am going to refer back to this. I felt compelled to pass this on, and hopefully it will help someone in the future. 


If anyone would like to know more then this website has a lot of information MIND


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