A&E Wasn’t On My To Do List Today…

Accident and Emergency sign

I’ve known about my heart issues for a couple of years, and am used to the frequent palpitations, so when my ticker started feeling ‘unusual‘ at lunchtime I was a little concerned. I’m a firm believer in the adage ‘you know your own body’, and mine was decidedly not right, so when I also started feeling hot and cold and then giddy and faint I figured I needed to get myself seen asap.

Within 10 minutes I was getting into a taxi and 10 minutes after that I was in A&E, struggling to remember my address, shaking like a leaf and clearly looking like hell. All credit to the doctors and nurses at the hospital because I was fast-tracked through, having all manner of tests done until I finally conked out. Luckily, a nearby paramedic helped the nurse get me onto a trolley so I could be swiftly moved to a more appropriate examination area. Once hooked up to the machines I was eventually lucid enough to ring a friend, who spent the next 7 hours by my side.

After constant monitoring, endless blood pressure tests, an xray, and two extremely painful blood tests I was finally given the good news that I hadn’t had a heart attack and was given antibiotics for an infection before being allowed home. I’m very, very grateful to all of the doctors and nurses who, despite being busy, made sure that I was well looked after throughout. I’m also very thankful that I have such wonderful friends…

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Good Friends…

friend

Unlike some, I may not be able to list more than a hundred names in my circle of friends, but I’m hugely grateful to have the small, but perfectly formed, group of people in my life who are always there whenever I’m in need.

After several weeks of enduring a persistent cough, and assuming that there was no reason to trouble the NHS because “It’s just a virus” and “There’s a lot of it about“; not to mention the fact that it’d be easier to get a date with Johnny Depp than a GP appointment these days; I found myself two days ago hardly able to breathe and feeling extremely unwell.

Despite it being late in the evening, my selfless chum came to pick me up, took me to the hospital walk-in centre, and then waited two and a half hours with me until I was finally examined, before returning me safely back home. As it turns out I needed antibiotics, so it really was necessary for me to seek medical assistance asap to avoid things turning nasty.

I’m a very lucky lady indeed and I’ll never take my mates for granted. I really do appreciate everything they do for me. Thank you…!

Some Good News…

heart

It’d been a whole year since I’d last seen my consultant cardiologist, and when I went for my follow-up appointment today for the results of my annual heart scan I fully expected a simple three minute consultation to say that nothing has changed and to return for my next scan as planned the following year. Luckily, a friend took me there and I have to admit it was good to have a bit of moral support. It’s not nice to sit in the cardiology department on your own for any length of time, surrounded by people who clearly have major medical woes.

After hanging around for what seemed an eternity I was eventually ushered into a small consulting room, where my consultant told me that the two iffy valves in my ticker (aortic and mitral) hadn’t got any worse, which is what I’d expected all along but was nice to actually get confirmation. The other positive news was he was now putting me on a new two-year programme, so no more annual scans and appointments – yay! They’re also setting up a one-stop heart clinic, so in the future I can get my scan done in one department and then pop along to see a cardiac nurse for the results the same day, which would be excellent. While I’m obviously thrilled to get such positive news, I’m not entirely sure why I couldn’t have simply been sent a letter with that information; no wonder the jolly old NHS is skint!

I’m Ready For My Close-Up…

heart

My phone rang this evening and it was the hospital cardio-respiratory dept (thought I was finished with all the heart stuff until next April). Basically, they have regular reviews and new quality control measures, that have recently been put in place, which means that they must now produce log books of important clinical results and findings.

Apparently, my heart scan was “so beautiful” and “such a fantastic example” (of two faulty valves to the left chamber) they would very much like me to go back up there for another scan next month, and use my images (anonymously) for their departmental logbook! They’ll pay for my transport and will also provide me with whatever I need on the day. Who knew I had such a photogenic insides?! It’ll be entertaining if they want topless shots showing the scanning process – ooo errrr!!

The Results Are In…

awards

After weeks of hell, not knowing whether the lumps I have on my neck are cancerous, or not; all the scans, xrays, blood tests, a rather challenging morning at the cancer clinic in the haematology department followed by day surgery for a biopsy, I finally have a diagnosis…. I DON’T have cancer (phew!) I DO have ‘reactive lymph nodes‘ that will need further investigation, but I can’t tell you how much weight has now been lifted off my shoulders. To top it off, I’ve just seen my cardiologist and although he confirmed my heart murmur there’s no immediate need to operate (another phew!!) I’ll need to have annual scans but that’s easy peasy.

I am a very lucky girl indeed, and it’s things like this that make you sit up and take notice; appreciate what you have and focus on living life to the full. Right, I must now book my travel insurance – España, aquí vengo…!

Should re-name this blog Life Begins at Fifty Three and a Little Bit…!

Day Surgery…

plaster

Even ‘minor‘ surgery can be an ordeal, not just physically but emotionally as well. I’m so lucky to have wonderful friends around me who offer up their valuable time to take me to hospital appointments, even at the crack of dawn, and who are also kind enough to stay with me throughout the entire procedure.

It’s not just the hideousness of going under the knife that’s hard to deal with, but when it’s a biopsy the mental strain of knowing that this is going to be what decides whether you have a potentially life-changing disease, or not, is a lot to take on board.

I’m so grateful that I didn’t have to face this scary day on my own, and I know that although the two week wait for the results is going to be mental torture, I’ll be well looked after. Some things really are priceless, and genuine friendship is one of them…

Lumps and Bumps…

Untitled-1I’d only gone to see my GP to discuss my upcoming cardiology appointment, but after simply asking for a second opinion on a small lump on my neck the focus swiftly altered and I was immediately booked in for blood tests and a scan! I must admit, all I was expecting was confirmation that all was ‘normal‘ so this sudden turn of events took me totally by surprise.

In less than a week I’d undergone both procedures and a few days later I was back with my GP to find out what the hell just happened. Apparently, anything to do with iffy lymph nodes throws the NHS into panic-mode, which is why I subsequently ended up with an urgent (within 7 days) referral to the haematology department at the local hospital! It’s the first time my doctor said the word lymphoma out loud, but I’m choosing to ignore it and am assuming it’s just a virus of some description.

I don’t have time to be ill – I’m far too busy living the dream