Doing a dry run test for London!

So yesterday and today I have been doing a dry run for London, meaning I have to try and stay up for at least 11 hours straight, without bad symptoms kicking in, to be able for my flights and trip to London on May 13th. Sounds easy right?… yeah! I am having trouble and I still have 3 hours to go today!! I usually last about 4 to 5 hours up before bad symptoms and desperate fatigue get in the way and I need to rest in bed again so I need to be able to do this to go on the trip.

The itinerary starts for the trip on May the 13th at getting up at 5am to check in on time and fly out for the 7:30am flight to London, then I have to make it to London and to the specialists appointment at 12:30pm and wont be at the hotel until at least 4pm, so that is 11 hours from getting up at 5am! Then and only then will I be able to rest for the first time on the trip. To anybody else this would be simple but not for me.

I got up at 9 yesterday and made it to 8pm last night, then watched The Expanse and then passed out cold in bed for a couple of hours, I really needed the sleep and symptoms had kicked in pretty bad throughout the day. I simply do not have the stamina and health like I did the first time I went to London so I decided to do another dry run of it today. I got out of bed at 10am this morning and I have to make it to 9pm tonight and I have to say I am finding it tough!

I have the tickets bought for the trip and I really don’t want to have to change or cancel them so I have to be safely able to do this without bad sickness and symptoms getting in the way.

If I do this successfully, Ill let you know, but, I am finding it hard and may have to change the itinerary around a little to be better able to compensate my physical needs, but hopefully that wont need to happen.

Here’s to the next 3 hours, let’s do this!!! (I hope!!)

Lette xxx – (Fainting Goat!)

Off To London Again!

Finally I have a date set to go to London for a consultation and possible treatment with a Neurogastroenterologist who specialises in EDS named Prof. Qasim Aziz at The Princess Grace Hospital.

I will be flying out on Saturday the 13th of May early Morning and the appointment will be at 12:30pm in London. I am going, not only because I have been recommended by my doctors here, both in Cork and Limerick that I should go for advice and more targeted help by a professional who knows EDS but because of all the trouble I have been having with my gut related issues, by far my gut problems give me the most trouble and upset with almost constant pain, nausea, vomiting and weight loss as well as occasional swallowing problems and my already diagnosed  Gut Dysmotility.

My Doctor in Cork is coordinating his treatment with Prof Aziz in London so I am having a Gastric Emptying Test on the Monday before I fly out which will help as one of the tests that needs to be done before going over. I have already had a Barium Swallow X-Ray done in February and thankfully that was all clear, so thats another test already down!

I am really hoping Aziz will help me out if he can, it would be great to finally get some sort of relief from all the symptoms. Even if he can get a treatment plan sorted that my Doctors here in both Cork and Limerick can do more needed tests and know what more to do with me, that would be a help in it’s self but he may also want me to complete treatment or tests in the UK which I can’t plan for until I know if that is even happening, so I will have to wait and see and I will keep you all posted as usual.

Keith, being my carer as well as my husband will obviously be going with me as there is no way I would be fit or healthy enough to do it all by myself.
Even as it is we have the flights over booked but won’t be able to book accommodation or flights home until we know more from the appointment, as Prof. Aziz may need me to stay over for further tests etc. So we will leave that until the last minute when we know more.

That’s kind of it for now until we fly over and it won’t be long before we will be at the day, it’s going to be a long day traveling for me and I am not the healthiest at the moment, I have had to cancel going to London from the last time until now as I wasn’t strong enough to go for a long time, but I can’t wait any longer and it must be done now. May was the closest appointment I could get so I took it.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who fundraised and helped with my medical fund over the last while to help me get there, without you these trips wouldn’t be possible and with no EDS specialists in Ireland, with I as well as others fast running out of any help, we have to travel for treatment and help as we are completely alone here, medically, in Ireland.

Thank you all once again and I will keep you updated on everything that happens.

Lette (Fainting Goat!) xxx

Ambulance Time Once Again!

On August tenth we had to call an ambulance yet again!
I had been in bed for weeks at that stage nursing a savage pain on the right side of my abdomen. This wasn’t the first time it has happened, and probably wont be the last! It got to a stage where I was trying to manage the pain myself at home, trying to avoid going into hospital, but I had to face facts and call it as it got too bad to manage on our own this time.

The Ambulance arrived promptly and began to tend to me. They were a crew of two, Male and female, and were excellent. Friendly, Professional, funny easing the mood when needed and seemed to take a genuine interest in what both Keith and I had to say and contribute.

Unlike the last few ambulance calls, this visit from them wasn’t rushed. It was calm, sedate and gave us time to properly prepare to go into A&E. While they took their time trying to locate a vein on my foot, Keith ran upstairs to the computer, got ready and printed off an A4 sheet with simple information on it about me and my condition, highlighting the main issues I present with, medication I am on and what would be needed when first admitted like fluids, Pain control and Catheterisation, etc.

The reason for this sheet was because through previous experience we have found to be constantly repeating ourselves while giving out my information to different people and yet only parts of the overall story get heard by all different people and nobody has the full story! This time we  said we would try getting this sheet in as a common denominator of information in my files so that everyone will be literally be on the same page regarding my care and see what happens. It was worth a try at least.

After getting a vein in my foot and administering some morphine for pain relief, we were eventually ready to go to the hospital and the ambulance crew were brilliant with everything as well as taking on the information sheet, which they said they thought it was a fantastic idea and wished more people were that organised!

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We quickly made it to the hospital, after getting more Morphine on the Ambulance, I was brought straight into the A&E main area, Thankfully I wasn’t rushed into Resus at any stage this time, it was calm and sedate and a far better visit this time round.

I was delighted to hear back from the Female paramedic that she passed on the sheet Keith had given her, to the triage nurse and that the nurse also commented on what a good idea it was to have all the main things highlighted on one page where everyone can see it. She said she would put it in my file so that all the doctors would see it too. So far so good for our little A4 sheet!

While waiting around for a short while, waiting on the triage nurse to find a place to put me as it was busy in A&E that day, The Paramedics were chatting to me and told me they knew some student and new paramedics who were doing papers based on me for some exam that was due the next week! Morto! I found it funny that they would pick me based on my rare or under diagnosed EDS condition or as I like to call it, ‘my awkwardness!’ :p

I once again had terrible trouble getting veins in me, doctor after nurse after doctor tried and failed and it started getting really sore. The vein the Ambulance crew had gotten was already failing just a few hours after it was put in, my foot swelled up  and they were worried as they really wanted to administer fluids and iv meds so they wanted a vein soon. Throughout the following week while in the hospital, this continued. a vein would be gotten and it would fail almost immediately until in the end the anaesthetics team had to be called and they had no trouble getting a vein and thankfully now a note has been put in my file to say that only anaesthetics are to place a cannula on me and no one else, so hopefully all the prodding and poking will come to an end now.
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After spending no more 24hours in A&E this time around, I was admitted to the surgical ward. While in the A&E I had all the usual tests, xrays, scopes, exams, the usual trouble of about 50 different doctors trying to get a vein after a brief moment of being cocky and saying something like, “Oh I’m good at this, don’t you worry”, or,”Oh really? Bad veins, huh? well, I like a challenge!” and then just end up being unsuccessful anyway! That always provides me with a giggle especially towards the cocky ones who think I wont post a problem, cha! Say that to me after 20 mins of trying hopelessly! :p Being admitted after 24hours was quick though, considering that I have often had to wait over 46hours before.

I always like being admitted to the surgical ward. Not only does everything seem to be more up to date and cleaner, but Compared to the medical wards, The mood on the ward is generally brighter both from the staff and the patients. The Nurses seem to genuinely care, are not as dismissive as others I have encountered on the medical wards. They get upset when you get upset, they don’t like to see you in pain or discomfort and as much as they are able, they won’t keep you in pain for long and will treat you asap when they are asked to, a lot of the time, they don’t even need to be asked, they will notice themselves and will get you what you need to help ease your discomfort. Also, the electric beds are well cool! :p

I saw My Surgical team the next morning bright and early and they took the situation serious when they saw I had lost over 3.5 stone with the nausea, vomiting and general pain and discomfort I have been having with my gut issues.

As well  as my pain team to cover my Occipital and Sacroilliac joint Nerve Blocks which were due once again, They called in a dietician, a tissue viability nurse to talk about any difficulties I may be having with the chair, thankfully theres nothing serious going on there but she wanted to refer me to a Dermatologist for a small bit of irritation caused by the chair that was easily sorted with some long term antibiotics (starting with an 8 week course and if it needs to continue after that it could go up to 16 weeks), will just have to wait and see how it works. Then they wanted to get a serious OT assessment for me as my own local OT never properly assessed me for manual chair or a bed, given my situation, these are the two basic things my surgical team wanted to be covered while I was admitted.

The Dietician was concerned for my weight loss compared to my height and prescribed a high fiber, high calorie diet as well as Fortisip Calorie drinks to take twice a day along with my usual daily food intake to help at least maintain my current weight if not try to increase it. Sshe also prescribed a new tummy med to take with the other ones I am on to try and help with the nausea and vomiting as well as to try and increase appetite. So I have now started these and I was thinking of doing quick video reviews of the different drink flavours on offer, if you are interested that is! Let me know and I will do it if you like 🙂

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Throughout there was non stop testing to find out what was causing the pain in the right side. Xrays, Ultrasounds, CAT and MRI scans, Scopes, blood tests, you name it, it was done.

In the Ultrasound Room!

In the Ultrasound Room!

One outcome is that they have ruled out any Gallbladder issues. There definitely seems to be Sphincter of Oddi, Severe Gut Dysmotility and Neurogenic Bladder Dysfunction problems, as well as a large and painful Lymph node on the inside of my right hip which is causing a lot of pain too and is currently under investigation, all these are contributing to the pain as well as the Ehlers Danlos Pain itself, but they have ruled out Gallbladder and Appendix issues, which is good!

I had 2 major cardiac events while I was in, though I had been battling low Bp all week, these events were the opposite, they came out of nowhere in the middle of the night, they were raging high bp and very fast heartrate, the ecg showed some abnormalities but thankfully they didn’t stay long (about 2 or 3 hours) and after they administered some medication to lower my bp and hr, I seemed to return to my regular low bp self, they were scary though as the pain in my chest when it happened was frightening and I was soaked through with a tempreture. The nurses seemed concerned as Long story  events came out of nowhere. Thankfully though after a few hours I returned to normal and could get some sleep.

Long story short, I got to see everyone that was called for me except OT. The final team was the pain team with the good professor who loves to give injections and this time was no different! He administered my usual Occipital and Sacroiliac joint nerve blocks under ultrasound which he did at my ward bed, he had a little portable ultrasound machine or at least that’s what it looked like and he went for it there and then. The pain team in conjunction with the anestetic team said that I may have chronic piritonitis ( information or even tearing of the abdominal lining that holds your organs) this is still being investigated and will continue as an outpatient appointment along with all the other teams I had to meet while I was in.

The surgical team try everything they can and they are so good to want to learn but they still are not sure exactly what is causing the severe pain and weight loss. I had mentioned to them about a Gastroenterologist specialist in Cork university hospital who is very well up on EDS and speaks regularly as well as trained under Prof Aziz over in London whom I hope to see as soon as i am able to travel. They said go to see him, just to see if he can help and my surgical team said they would be delighted to consult with both him and Aziz going forward as they are of the mind that more on the overall team to help me then the better!

In the meantime my team wanted to bring my case up at an EGM (emergency general meeting) where the head consultants and specialists of a department get together and discus special cases at a count table meeting so that other people’s views and suggestions can be taken on board, then once they have news they  will call me for a new outpatient appointment or send me for further tests if required.

 Unfortunately the OT never turned up and there were questions as to wether she would turn up anyway as she usually only sees Stroke and Neurology patients so my surgical team along with the head nurse on the ward rang her boss as well as had to write a letter in order to argue the case as to why they felt I was a special enough case for her to make an exception and come and see me, alas I was left waiting all over the weekend just to see her and she never turned up so my team decided to send me home at this stage with some new meds and a ton of outpatient appointments and they would follow up with her to get me a much needed appointment as my local OT isn’t really doing what she is supposed to do. 

In the meantime I have made a new appointment to see that Gastro specialist in Cork, his name is Akbar and I have heard great things so I really hope he can help. That appointment is on the 20th of this month (September) and of course I’ll fill you in on how that and any subsequent appointments go.

For now, I’ll just chill and try to recover 🙂

Thank you as always for taking the time to read.

Lette ( the fainting goat!)

Latest Fund Update – Jan 2016

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Please click on this image to be taken to the fund page – Thank You

GoFundMe Update
Posted: 19th Jan 

Happy New Year everyone! I am sorry that I haven’t updated in a while but I was pretty unwell over the holidays then life, the universe and everything got in the way since!

I have updated the blog with the most up to date hospital admissions, appointments and NEW NEWS about finally getting an appointment for the Harold’s Cross inpatient rehabilitative treatment, That had been recommended as part of one of my next medical treatment steps, by Prof. Grahame while I was over in London!

Read the blog update on: www.irishdysautonomia.wordpress.com

Harold’s cross starts on the 8th Feb. I will initially be admitted for a week where I will undergo an intensive daily schedule of Physio, Hydro and occupational Therapies along with pain and medication management to help me live and cope easier at home with these medical conditions that I have as well as making me more mobile and hopefully gets me out of the wheelchair for good!
I can go home Sat. And Sun. for a rest before being brought back up for another week if it is deemed necessary to continue. This treatment may continue for a number of weeks or months.

Once Harold’s cross is done for a few weeks, I hope to be well and strong enough to travel back to The Hypermobility Unit in London again for further diagnostic tests and to meet with specialist consultants who specialise in EDS, of which, there are none, in Ireland.

This time it has been recommended to me by my doctors here that I go meet with a Nurogasteroenterologist named Prof. Aziz who will be able to treat me in relation to my Gastroparises , Gallbladder and Slow Gut Motility problems, as the surgeon here has tried everything he knows but is lacking knowledge in relation to EDS in order to help me further.

My Pain Specialist Here has suggested I may need an ‘Upright MRI’ also to confirm or deny possible neck and head instability problems , as well as, possible Chiari Malformation.

It is more than likely a long shot but with the severe pain, migraines, Seizures, pins and needles , weakness and many other symptoms I present with, it is considered possible enough for me to get it checked as soon as I am able.

Again I would like to stress that, without this fund and all your help, my medical treatment and diagnostic tests would never happen as there is no specialist consultant or medical centre available anywhere in Ireland for EDS. People like myself, our only option is to travel. And the cost of everything medical abroad is impossibly and prohibitively expensive.

I want to take this opportunity once again to thank everyone who has helped out in this fund so far by Donating money or Donating your time in organising Fundraising events. I can’t thank you enough from the bottom of my heart.

Let’s hope 2016 brings good health to all of us 🙂

THANK YOU!
Lette xxx

*Please click on the image at the top of this post to go to the fund page
**Alternatively, you may click HERE 🙂

ERCP In The Morning!

It is happening!

I got the appointment for the ERCP on my ‘Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction’ (SOD) a few weeks ago and confirmed the date for tomorrow, the 21st July in UHL.

I rang this morning to confirm everything was going ahead and I was told that because of a few emergencies that have to happen first, I may not be called at all so I was left waiting until after 4pm today to see if I would in fact be called for the procedure!

I was irked to say the least as I have been admitted to hospital twice since December for the pain and have been in constant pain since last being left home in April. The pain has also increased in the last couple of weeks and has gotten pretty bad the closer I got to this appointment. I think the pain meds I am on are losing their strength and the pain in the last few days especially has been bad enough for us to consider going to A&E, but I held off from going in knowing this appointment was coming.

It turned out that at about 3:30pm, I got a call back from the hospital and was told I was on the list for the afternoon and I have been called in so… yeah! It’s happening!

Until I speak with the surgical team tomorrow I am unsure if I will be staying in or not, but apparently this is only the first of a few ERCP’s on the SOD I need to have done. I was told that to weaken the muscle they would need to repeat the procedure a few times, but I know nothing else about what may happen or how often they need to do it, dates, recovery time, illness in between, anything! Which is currently preventing me from making plans to get back to London for further treatment. Until the pain is eased enough for me to travel (and I have been too unwell to travel since last December) and the procedures need to be out of the way but as soon as I see a clear path I will be making plans once again.

So in I go at midday, will hang around for a couple of hours I am sure, then will have the op, I will be knocked out for the procedure and it should be straight forward enough… have I ever been straight forward though?! They should monitor me for about an hour after to make sure all is OK and will then either admit me or send me home, no idea!

Either way, I will fill you in after the event!! 😉

Heading back to London

Or at least that’s the plan!

I have my email sent for a new appointment to see Professor Qasim Aziz over in the Hypermobility Unit at the Hospital of St. Johns and St. Elizabeth. He is a Neuro Gastroenterologist who works alongside Prof Grahame, whom I have already seen. I’v been told by both Gastros I have seen on the 23rd of this month that going back to London is recommended as the best next course of action, to see specialists knowledgeable in conditions related to EDS.

So I have opened the fund again as this is the only way it is possible for me to get treatment abroad at the moment.

Even if you could share this link ( gofund.me/LetteEDS ), I would greatly appreciate any help and support, thank you and as always I will keep you updated with posts on how everything is going.

Thank you all once again.

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I Was In Hospital yet again!

…but this time it wasn’t directly because of Dysautonomia, but kindof because of the EDS!

I ended up back in hospital 4 weeks ago because of serious pain in the area of my Gallbladder. I had been nursing a nagging in my gallbladder area for a few days prior then out of the blue, a faint and I woke to excruciating pain in my right hand side, up near my ribs. Ambulance called and I was carted to Hospital once again with suspected Gallbladder trouble.

It wasn’t long before I was admitted to the surgical ward under a new surgical doctor and his team who were excellent, their enthusiasm was like nothing I had been used to with my usual team of doctors.  The doctors suspected Gall stones or something to indicate the gallbladder was in trouble. A lot of tests later and it turned out luckily for me that there were no Gallstones but one test did show I had Gallbladder and gut Dysmotility meaning it was not emptying or behaving as it should and this was causing the pain, discomfort and other problems in my gut too.

I was very sick, uncomfortable and in a lot of pain, even though they treated me with strong pain killers and continued some tests. I was then free to go home the Friday of that week.

While at home I was still very unwell and everything I ate hurt me and made me feel worse until that Sunday night, I became very unwell after dinner, vomited and the pain in my side erupted, ten fold! I cant even begin to describe the pain I thought I had been skewered! This continued long enough for Keith to ring an ambulance again.

When the Ambulance crew came they transferred me into the back and called the hospital to fill them in of my condition saying my pain was 10 out of 10, that was no lie, I never felt anything like that before!

One of the guys started to worry about my Blood pressure as it was reading only 80/40 (Normal reading is 120/80) and he was concerned encase I may faint and go into respiratory arrest as I usually do when I pass out. The pain was terrible but they called an advanced paramedic to meet us half way to the hospital and he could administer Morphine until I got to Resus in the Hospital.

I arrived in Resus, blood pressure very low, pain and heart rate very high, they started attaching wires and sensors while I groaned on the bed. This ended up being a very long night, my body started giving out and acting up to the point where a catheter needed to be attached as certain systems in my body had decided not to cooperate because of the strength of the pain meds I was on.

More tests, A very long waiting time in an extremely busy A&E and I was finally admitted to a bed on a ward upstairs.

Long story even longer, I ended up staying in the hospital another 2 weeks, making my overall stay with this thing just over 3 weeks. I had some xrays, other tests and Gut Transit studies done during my stay, these showed that my gut was in worse shape than they originally thought. It has severe dysmotility, most likely all caused by the EDS and Collagen problems in the gut. It is treatable but there is no guarantee it wont continue to get worse on its own.

Going forward my Doctor mentioned I would have to use certain medications to help with the gut transit issues and I have the be extremely careful with what and how I eat as my gut is in danger of dying altogether now that it has gotten to this stage, so I have to treat it like a baby! He mentioned following the Low Fodmap Diet as a matter of necessity not of choice. He also supported me going to the UK for treatment, he agreed that there are no specialists here that are knowledgeable in EDS and its related complications and he was kind enough to ask the ward nurse to look into any financial options that would be covered by the HSE. Unfortunately I heard nothing back on this but it was the first time a doctor acknowledged the need for treatment abroad. I will be making an appointment to see Prof Aziz in London in the new year.

So after getting this info along with a long list of prescriptions, he said I was free to go and he would refer me to his outpatients clinic for the new year to follow up on how I am doing. He also said he wanted me to see a specialist Gastroenterologist and I got an appointment just today, to meet him tomorrow morning, so I will be interested to hear what he has to say. The same doctor has a personal interest in EDS.

I will update tomorrow on how the appointment with the GI specialist goes, hopefully it is all good and helpful news going forward. I hope 2015 is less on the hospital visits than this year has been!!

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UPDATE: 23/12/14

I went and had the appointment with the new Gastro  Doctor in Nenagh General Hospital and he has put me on a new drug to stimulate my gut function, other than that there is no new news 🙂