Monday, 17 April 2017

The power of suggestion

I've been very quiet on the blogging front for the last couple of weeks because so much has been going on here and I've been somewhat reactive rather than proactive. Last month I went to my GP for a standard blood test as required every few weeks or months to check that my thyroid medication is at the correct level.

The GP said that she was concerned that my need for an increase in medication combined with a couple of other symptoms that we had discussed, may actually be masking something more sinister. She then went on to tell me that she wanted to test for uterine and ovarian cancer, heart disease, kidney malfunction and lung cancer. 

Well, talk about pulling the rug out from under somebody's feet, I was horrified and terrified at the same time. I'm sure she said lots of 'don't panic' type phrases, but if she did, I didn't hear them. All I could think about was that my father had suffered and eventually died from heart disease and my mother of liver, spleen and lung cancer. Having nursed my mother through those last few weeks, the memories of the, quite frankly, hideous death that she had came flooding back. All the images that I had locked away were now swimming around my brain.

So I went for an ultrasound scan, a chest x-ray, a raft of blood and urine tests, an ECG and more blood tests. I was called back in for additional blood tests, twice! For almost a month I was walking around wondering whether my body's automimmune disease had finally turned on other parts of my insides. 

Until the GP raised all these potential issues I had felt fine, absolutely marvellous actually and now I was wondering if my shortness of breath wasn't just due to being overweight, but was it a symptom of one of the conditions that the GP was looking for? Every niggle became a nag and a worry.

Now I know that it is pointless in worrying before the event, but our minds play tricks on us and I was losing sleep, losing a lot of sleep, worrying that I was harbouring a silent killer. Yes I know it all sounds ridiculously dramatic, but when you are staring at the ceiling at three in the morning yet again, everything becomes somewhat out of perspective.

Life on the smallholding continued as much as possible as normal, I kept as calm as I could on the surface and cracked on with the jobs that needed doing and making plans for the garden, the poultry and the house. Mr J had to rearrange a couple of work days so that he could take me to appointments, but otherwise things seemed normal. The chicks were growing well, the chickens were happy, we took delivery of some new chickens, life carried on as it should.

But in my head it was a very different matter, I have been in a state of panic for a month and inevitably that takes it toll on the body and on one's mood and I am sure that I have been pretty difficult to live with over the last month. Thank goodness Mr J is so understanding!

Finally on Wednesday this week, a full month since the previous appointment that started this chain of events, I returned to the GP to hear the results of all the tests. It seems I am not harbouring anything unpleasant and there appears little to worry about. 

There is an anomaly on my ECG and given my father's health history, she is referring my results to a cardiologist to check whether any other action should be taken, but I'm not really worried about that. When I was having the ECG done I was half sitting, half lying on the most uncomfortable couch so I'm not surprised that it was showing as having a minor blip, I was in pain and not really relaxing as required. And, she is referring my ultrasound results to a gynacologist just to check that there are no issues there, but she couldn't see anything untoward.

I can only tell you that this has been a very difficult month. I have felt very alone and very frightened. I have also taken stock of my life and am really rather happy with how I'm living and what I'm doing. 

I decided that if I had either heart disease or cancer of some kind that I would enjoy each day, live life to the full, celebrate the new morning, be grateful and thankful for all my blessings. And, that if I didn't have a health issue then I would do the same, but also celebrate my good health each and every day.

It has taken a few days for my brain to readjust, to stop panicking and to start this celebratory routine. Last night, for the first time in quite a while I slept for seven hours non-stop and have woken up feeling refreshed and ready to start this next chapter.

So here's to good health, to a loving family, to a bright future!

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