Tuesday, 16 July 2019

4 yrs 1 mth 3wks - Scary blood part 3 Rise of the UltraSounds

Blood bit is further down where the blue writing is ..... this post was created over 2 days

And there goes another week. I’ve been a good girl taking care of me and so far there is nothing to report on the Haematologist front. The next appointment is on August 16th at 09:40am - a month tomorrow and as Gareth reminded me is also the day our holiday starts. Fortunately all we need to do is drive down the M4 to get to Watchett and being there for 3-4pm is infinitely do-able after the appointment. Another bonus for deciding to stay home this year J
The weekend was nice and relaxed, a little Oxygen therapy, some shopping, dog walking, the obligatory weekend Rib Of Beef on the BBQ followed by England winning the World Cup (cricket) in one of the most incredible games I have seen in my life. It really was one on the last ball of the Super Over. Edge of the seat, nail biting stuff and just to add a little spice – I had £1 on England to win J (my idea of what constitutes gambling is pretty pathetic)

I’m also a very short haired brunette now (dammit video ….. will sort it) I had my hair cut on Friday and decided that it looked pretty crap in boring blondness for a little while I even considered jet black hair but the traumatised memories of 15 year old me with black permed hair looking like a bad Kevin Keegan drag act reigned that impulse in J
Dog care for the wedding at the end of the month is sorted – it’s confirmed and paid for and Megan the lady who is taking care of them is lovely so we can relax and just look forward to it.

I’m going back to my 16:8 eating regime properly this week, with no cigarettes and almost no booze this should be pretty easy to manage. I’m sitting here at my desk at work toying with the idea of making my 8 hours that I can eat 12:00-20:00 today which will allow me to have lunch and dinner ….. I’m not entirely sure a cheese sandwich and a packet of crisps at lunch time is going to help in this effort though J
AAAND it’s now Tuesday – I started typing this yesterday and never got round to hitting the ‘post’ button

Something different has happened in my dull, dull existence now …..
it’s got me more than a little alarmed.

I’ve had a call from the Dunedin Spire Hospital this morning saying I need to come in for an ultrasound. It’s an abdominal ultrasound that is being done, but the request was for it to be performed by a specific person who I couldn’t  see until next Wednesday - not helped that I know what her specialisation is and Gareth’s been googling and shared what he found and has (not literally) scared the shit out of me.
Now I have an appointment tomorrow morning at 11.20am to get it over and done with.

Message left for Dr N’s secretary to call me back ASAP – I want to know what’s being looked for and where we are on results so far – all of a sudden that appointment with Dr N on August 16th seems much too far away L
Watch this space

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

4 yrs 1.5mths - Bloods behaving badly - ongoing


Monocytosis, Neutrophilia and Leukaemia – 3 very scary words.

It's really very odd to have a conversation about these things and it's not just the things in general, or about other people, but to be talking about you.

They’ve taken a lot of blood samples from me – some for in house tests and some which have gone out for genetic tests and will take about 4 weeks to come back.

I’m fairly chilled about it all if I’m honest and not straining at the bit to get all the results back ASAP. This could of course be that I’m in denial or I’m being an ostrich and sticking my head in the metaphorical sand – until it comes back I don’t have to deal with it – and I’m honestly expecting it to come back and say it is lifestyle related and can be managed.

^^^ this might sound like I’m trying to play things down, but when I saw Dr N on Saturday morning, he started with the comment ‘as a haematologist I have to tell you that your blood results spreadsheet is absolutely brilliant and even without the Dr’s referral letter I looked at the sheet and knew immediately why you were coming to see me’

Everything is there on my Blood spreadsheet – it’s been there since day 1 and I hadn’t noticed

– SOMETHING HAS BEEN GOING ON SINCE BEFORE I HAD ROUND 1 IN 2015 –

·       They were both over the high level on my pre-treatment baseline bloods that were the first entries I put into the spreadsheet.

·       Both my Monocytes and Neutrophils were regularly pushing and exceeding the upper levels since BEFORE I had round 1 of Lemtrada in May 2015

·       It’s there on my spreadsheet – it’s been there for years

·       For some reason I hadn’t marked either up as red or amber before this morning.

(I'm going to upload the updated tracker showing in the bad behaviour now to the 2 facebook groups so you can find all the new pretty red and amber highlighting)

So whilst my request to get this looked at was as a result of me raising the concern about the recent trend – actually it’s been going on far longer than the last 12 month and this makes me less concerned about it because if it really was something more horrible then I’m pretty sure it would have become evident before now.

Both Dr P and Dr N have both said this could be related to my having smoked throughout this period of time - well that has changed now and hopefully will show in the next lot of bloods I have done on the 26th of this month when my regular monthly bloods will be drawn.

I’d already massively cut down on the alcohol I was having, but I’m now depriving it of even more - not completely, but weekdays nothing at all, weekends very little. This has 2 benefits, I’m not damaging the non-smoking effort, and my calorie consumption has significantly decreased thus also helping with weight loss efforts. I’m having homemade Asparagus soup for lunch and a freshly prepared salad for dinner tonight.

Funny (not funny) how things like this really focus the mind, all those things I’ve talked about every now and again on here along with my propensity for procrastination and then laughed and said ‘here I go again’ or ‘oops again’ now seem so very important when in reality had I been more diligent before then discussion might not have been needed.

Really looking forward to the wedding at the end of the month in Portsmouth – it’s going to be an awesome day and very special indeed. Dogs are sorted for the day (nearly – confirmation tomorrow) and just need to get the finer parts of outfits sorted (the theme is Red, White & Blue)

Our holiday is 5 weeks away now, I’m really looking forward to just getting away for a week, it will also be awesome to see Aunty Kathy for the first time in an age (I’m such a rubbish niece)

Winston is being swapped onto a different med tonight so see if we can take the edge off his anxiety about …. well pretty much everything.

Apart from being crushingly good, healthy, sober and as dull as hell …. Well that’s pretty much it I’m back to being crashingly boring, no exciting tales of epic nights and shenanigans, just a whole load of not a blasted lot at all. Sorry about that L

Much Love T xx

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

4yrs 1mth 1wk - scary blood thing


*DISCLAIMER BEFORE I START*
I’m overweight, I smoke(d), I drink, I don’t do lots of exercise and it’s not often I manage the full 5 a day of fruits and vegetables …….. I’m the poster child for all that nasty stuff we’re advised will happen to us if we don’t become gym bunny teetotal vegans – so please bear that in mind when reading through todays post J

I’m writing this because I need to, but I’m not entirely sure I will actually post it – I might wait a couple of weeks and then post the outcome rather than the ‘in flight situation’
But then I did promise right from the start of this to always post everything, the good, the bad and the downright blah …

The quandary
By writing about it now it is going to make people’s minds race and wonder – but then goodness knows mine is doing a fair amount of that too and I said I would be honest and share so here goes ….

I saw Dr P yesterday about those neutrophil and monocyte counts that have been over the high level for the last 12 months. I’ve been referred to an haematologist – I’ve also played the BUPA card since in my opinion, I should not be taking up a space in an NHS queue when I don’t need to and making someone else wait for longer.
The intention is to rule out nastiness. A quick google search will tell you what high levels of each of these can be caused by.
To save you the effort of google,
-        one has ‘can be the C word’ response as the top result
-        the other has ‘can be the L word’.
Dr P was quick to say if it had been either of these for the last year then he’d expect me to be in a right ‘shit state’ right now (my words not his because he’s far more polite than me) so we’re in the process of ruling out nasties and investigating why my bone marrow is cooking up a recipe with too much seasoning.

I had googled prior to the appointment,  so the L word being part of the conversation wasn’t a complete shock,
However

it’s distinctly uncomfortable to have someone use that word in connection with yourself. Anyway the appointment with the specialist is on Saturday morning at 09:50am when I’m sure I’m going to get poked at and blood removed.
I must stress (and it might just be me being weird) that I’m not massively stressed about this, it’s all okay and I’m expecting them to tell me that it’s nothing more sinister than that I smoke(d) and need to eat more veggies …..

I put my last cigarette out yesterday after 2 weeks of listening repeatedly to Allen Carr’s - The Easy Way audio book I was ready to do it – 2 weeks of analysing every puff, the taste, the feeling, the smell, my heart-rate, ability to fall asleep and just thinking about each one – He’s right when you actually think it through you’re not giving anything up at all – its kicking an unpleasant, nasty addiction which I don’t even like, so I’m now officially a Non Smoker and I have had a big smile on my face J
It looks like I’ve sorted out the dogs for the end of July and mid-august holiday in Watchett is getting closer.

The garden is now done (well it needs mowing), but sadly I haven’t done the video – sorry about that – I’ve just texted Gareth to remind him to remind me that I need to be reminded to ensure I remember to do it J (try saying that 5 times really fast J)
Amber has had another stroke over the weekend, smaller than her previous 2, but her balance has really worsened over the weekend. She’s still herself and happy and Beagling everywhere but sometimes it hits right in the heart that time is becoming shorter and ‘when the fun stops – stop’

I guess that’s all I can say for now, will report more when I have more, and Gareth replied to that text I sent and said he’d film the video at K9 tomorrow night when we walk the dogs.
It’s all going to be fine J
Hope you’re all having an awesome one xxx

Monday, 24 June 2019

4 years + 1 month blood results

Another month and another set of blood results. Lymphocytes and TSH are both playing ball and looking pretty good. Monocytes and Neutrophils however are a different matter. I took a look at the history when I was loading in this month’s results and they’ve been on the high side for a year now and they’re getting worse not better. And yes I’ve done what I advise everyone not to and asked Dr Google (he’s a rubbish doctor) and scared the crap out of myself. I’m seeing the doctor next Monday morning to ask for some investigations to be triggered and look into it because I’m stressing about it now and that never makes things better. My trusty Excel Spreadsheet has been sent in advance so the results can all be seen in one place in the easy to read format.

The gardeners didn’t make it this weekend – they’re confirmed for Wednesday though so video will come soon.
In other news, Bob has an awesome cup holder now that has been custom made for him by a wonderful volunteer at a charity called Remap. The cup holder is epic – it attaches facing forwards from the front of the arm. It’s made of steel so it’s damn near indestructible and looks fantastic. I’ve sent a good size donation to them this morning to say thank you to them and help them to help other people who have ‘equipment needs’ to help manage their disabilities.

The weekend has been lovely with sunshine, dog walks and BBQ’s a little wine (but not too much) and plenty of sleep. Oxygen therapy on Saturday was definitely a good thing – I’m being good and going consistently right now, I’d got quite ‘flaky’ about it all in the last 12 months and missed a lot of weeks so I’ve been pushing myself to not miss it unless I have no choice.
Yesterday would have been my Mum’s birthday, today it’s 4 years since Ian’s funeral – FaceBook has kindly rubbed some salt in those wounds over the last couple of days (as if I was going to forget them) It’s been okay, it really has. The grief counselling I had last year and the balance I’ve found as a result has made such a difference to how I manage these occasions now.

We are still struggling to get dog care sorted for the last weekend of July for 24 hours – it’s a bit of a nightmare really, with school holidays everywhere and everyone is fully booked and has been for months. I’ve not given up yet, but I have to admit I’m starting to flap a bit about this challenge.
So anyway here are this month’s blood results for your enjoyment - thyroid seems to be being well behaved :-) xxx

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Sleeping update


Sleep update for those who are interested.
After 5 days of actively trying to get better quality sleep I can report that I’m feeling really good. I have had a couple of evening ‘catnaps’ on the sofa, but I’ve had significantly less of them than has become ‘normal’ in recent times. So what have I changed ……

·        I’ve actively been making myself go to bed earlier (about 30 minutes)

·        I’ve also been foregoing a nightcap (I have already massively reduced m alcohol intake over the last few years

·        I’ve stopped going for a last cigarette before bed (yes sorry but I do still do the ‘bad thing’)

·        The central heating is switched off until my stingy ‘northern-ness’ insists it is switched back on

·        The bedroom window is open through the night to keep the room cool and make sure there is fresh air (it also helps vent out the collective dog farts emitted through the night)

·        I’m also not touching my phone or iPad later on in the evening to minimise the amount of ‘blue light’ I’m getting (in recent times they’ve  been my constant companions in the evening playing games and just mucking about on the internet)
I’ve slept really well, I have more energy and my brain feels more alive. I haven’t needed to use Bob this week at work. I feel calmer and more balanced.

I’m pretty sure it’s freaking Gareth out somewhat because I’m not being ‘normal’.  I’m declining a G&T and a before bed smoke and chat. I think he’s starting to regret buying the book – he’s not picked it up since I started reading it and I think he is wondering if I’m going to turn into a teetotal sleep zealot. For a relationship built on late night conversations fuelled by wine and a packet of Marlboro Gold this must seem a very strange and disturbing behaviour change. Perhaps I should have gradually led into it rather than doing everything at once.

Only other thing worth mentioning (and a potential cause of sleep loss) is that the gardener who came last Friday and quoted has gone ominously quiet, neither sending the written quote or confirming that they can do this weekend.  Bugger …. Back to the drawing board on that one I guess L

Monday, 17 June 2019

4 years and 1 month - The power of sleep - Time for another experiment on me


Another week is now done and dusted. It’s been a ‘different’ one for want of a better description.
The notable high point was Gareth came home from work and brought me a massive bunch of roses on Friday with a bottle of Silent Pool Gin and a lovely big gin glass. He came home from work on Friday, said to stay home and cuddle the cat and took the dogs to the park. I found the flowers and gin in the kitchen 45 minutes later with a note propped up on the front simply saying ‘Happy Friday’

Low point – As I posted last week, Monday’s torrential rain brought down a massive tree / bush in the back garden. I had a gardener round on Friday to give us a quote to get rid of it, along with a load of other general ‘grooming’ work for the garden – the bill will be 4 figures to get all of the work done but I’ve seen sense and I’m going to have them come in for a couple of hours each month going forwards o keep on top of it. We actually dissected the thing yesterday in the sunshine. It’s really rewarding to be doing something so physical, but let’s be honest, I got  a bit carried away did far more than I should and properly broke myself as a result. It’s now down the side of the house waiting to be taken away either in the week if our friend can get his Landover and trailer down the lane or at the weekend by the gardeners.
I’ve also discovered a new reading experience – something completely out of the norm of my usual fiction diet of vampire, werewolf and big kids ‘action stories’. Gareth had bought the book ‘Why Do We Sleep’ by Matthew Walker. I had to buy my own copy as Gareth is actually reading a ‘real book’ one made of paper. Mine is the eBook variety, but I’ve also ordered the Audio Book version to listen while I’m working (I’m listening as I type) The concept of sleep as a prescription for human beings and it’s benefits for physical and mental health. There are some incredibly simple concepts about how and when sleep provides benefits to us.

I should add that whilst I often ‘nap’ on the sofa in the evening these days which I’ve put down to the side effects of my thyroid going on the frisk. I’m pretty rubbish at going to bed it’s usually around midnight on weeknights or at weekends. My alarm on weekdays goes off at 7am so I’m functioning on 7 hours sleep at the most. The research and studies in this book show that is the equivalent of losing a whole night’s sleep each week – which is pretty obvious really when you bear in mind that 8 hours a night is the recommended amount for general health and wellbeing.
At the risk of becoming an anorak about the subject, the Light NREM sleep,, Deep NREM sleep and REM sleep time and duration has proven to be fascinating. Explanations of why our behaviours and type of sleep have proven really fascinating. I’m going to make some changes to how I sleep and do a little ‘research’ on myself’ to see if it makes any changes. I’m thinking that work won’t be up for the idea that a 90 minute nap early afternoon will be beneficial for my overall daily productivity but I’ll certainly be going to bed earlier in the coming weeks to see if it has some beneficial effects.

I have my monthly bloods this Friday the first batch of year 5 – I’m still rather nervous at the idea that this is my last year of bloods – I’m going to not mention that it’s only for 5 years again at the doctors, just go in each month and see if anyone notices that it’s only supposed to be for 5 years.
Yesterday was Father’s Day here in the UK, always a little poignant but yesterday even more so as it was also a year since Gareth and I took our cat BamBam on his last journey a year ago in order for him to cross the Rainbow Bridge and join his old friend Gizmo again – I hope they’re having fun again together as well as ‘hunting’ – I put the hunting in quotes as they were both pretty talented at ‘hunting’ BBQ food and would through the summer bring home successfully ‘hunted’ Kebabs on sticks, bits of burger or just lumps of unidentifiable BBQ’d goodies. Anyway what I was getting round to (slowly) is that for father’s day the animals and I bought Gareth another bottle of the nice scotch that I got for his 40th birthday.

I’ve not done the video for YouTube yet – this is simply because it hasn’t stopped raining here in the UK all week. It’s been wet and windy and really quite crap. Today the weather seems to be better so if I can get Gareth to help I will have a crack at recording it tonight perhaps at the dog park if it’s nice and not too windy. Failing that it’s likely to be later this week or the weekend (I’m tempted to wait until the garden has been done and it’s prettier since I want to do it outside with the dogs wandering around and doing their thing) – I’m not going to welch on my promise – I promise J
Anyway that’s enough from me for now unless something exciting happens over the course of the week.

Stay well and try to get a good quality 8 hours sleep
xx

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Over 200,000 views

WOW Just WOW

And it's finally stopped raining here in Berkshire but it hasn't been without it's toll on the garden which you're going to see on the video since the tree / bush that's fallen over is quite likely to still be there - actually Gareth has said he will at least disect the thing into man-handleable chunks tonight - then it can be put down the side of the house until our lovely friend who has a LandRover, a trailer and a great big farm where he regularly burns his fallen shrubbery can get over to us next week.

Apart from that, the only other interesting thing is that I had to go back to the opticians last night and chose another frame for reading glasses because the prescription for my elderly (and somewhat damaged left eye) is so high that the 'rimless frame' simply can't hold that much weight .... EEEK - so a Dusty Pink Ghost Frame has now been chosen and hopefully they'll be here soon.

Anyway here you go, proof I'm not just making up stats about the blog being read and just sitting here whittering away at just you lovely reader.