A New Level of Fatigue? Get Your Bloods Checked!

 

blood-test-service-500x500

Image From Google Image Search: IndiaMart

Those of us used to living with Pots and EDS will know that fatigue (sometimes extreme) comes as part and parcel of these conditions. However in the last year and a half to 2 years I had developed a new level of fatigue that had just crippled me! I pretty much needed to sleep most of the day. I got up, had a shower, eat breakfast and by the time 4 hours had passed, my body was crying out for bed again. Every 4 hours or so I would need to sleep at least 2 hours and this continued throughout the day until I went to bed at night, it got so bad that my husband was beginning to miss me as I was always in bed!

I had my meds reviewed, I was on a new diet which had helped my gut related symptoms hugely but nothing I tried would help my fatigue.

I decided to get my bloods checked in July this year and promptly found out that I had anemia. My vitamin B12, Folate and Vitamin D3 were all very low and contributing to my major fatigue and related symptoms.

My doctor put me on a regime of B12 injections, once a week for 5 weeks then once every 3 months there after to maintain my levels. She put me on D3 liquid supplements and also on Folate tablets once a day for the next 6 months or so.

After my 5th injection which is due the next time I go in, they will do more bloods to see how my levels are doing and we can maintain accordingly after that.

What are the symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

“Vitamin B12 is needed by all cells of the body in order to allow them to multiply. A shortage of vitamin B12 mainly affects red blood cells, because millions need be made every minute. A lack of red blood cells can lead to anaemia. The common symptoms of anaemia are tiredness, shortness of breath and palpitations.

There is also a type of B12 deficiency anaemia caused by lack of intrinsic factor. This is called pernicious anaemia. A shortage of intrinsic factor means that B12 cannot be absorbed properly. Pernicious anaemia has the same symptoms as anaemia, including tiredness, shortness of breath and fatigue. Other symptoms of anaemia can include:

  • soreness of the tongue,
  • loss of weight,
  • pale skin, often with a lemon tint,
  • intermittent diarrhoea,
  • menstrual problems, and
  • poor resistance to infections.

If the deficiency goes on too long, the nervous system is liable to be affected, causing:

  • tingling of the fingers and toes,
  • muscle weakness,
  • staggering,
  • tenderness in the calves, and
  • confusion.”
  • – HSE.ie/b12deficiency

 

What are the causes of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

” The immune system normally makes antibodies to attack bacteria and viruses. Pernicious anaemia is caused by an autoimmune disease, which causes the immune system to make antibodies against other parts of your body. In pernicious anaemia, antibodies are formed that attack the stomach lining and damage the cells that produce intrinsic factor. This stops intrinsic factor from attaching to B12, and so the vitamin cannot be absorbed into your body.

Another cause is where the bowel cannot absorb the vitamin B12 because it has been damaged by disease (e.g. Crohn’s disease) or shortened by surgery (usually to treat bowel disease). If the bowel has been shortened by surgery, these problems can contribute to a condition known as short bowel syndrome. Short bowel syndrome is a group of problems affecting people who have had half or more of their small intestine removed. Common symptoms are diarrhoea, cramping and heartburn. Some people become malnourished because their remaining small intestine is unable to absorb enough water, vitamins, and other nutrients from food.

Occasionally, some people who follow a vegan diet may become deficient in B12. This is because B12 is not found in vegetable foods (such as fruit, vegetables and grains). ” – HSE.ie/b12causes

 

So have the injections and supplements helped so far?

I definitely found the vitamin B12 injections and the D3 especially were really good initially as they would give me an initial burst of energy for a day or two but recently I haven’t found them as great, but, I am sleeping less now which is great, however, I still need a lot of sleep throughout the day.

Now I get up in the morning and can stay up until evening time around 6 or 7 pm where I have to go to sleep for about 2 hours or I simply wont feel refreshed enough to get up before 2 hours. Then I get up at around 8 pm and can stay up until we go to bed for the night. Sometimes I may need another nap in the evening but usually I just go to bed for a nap now just once in the evening which is a huge improvement and has given me more of a life back.

So, no it’s not a cure by any means, but I believe if I didn’t get my bloods checked at the time that I did, I would still be sleeping my brains out all day so my simple advice to you is, if symptoms change and you notice a new level of fatigue that you haven’t experienced before then there surely is something causing that, don’t just automatically put it down to your EDS or Pots or regular diagnosis, if it’s new get it checked out and I would recommend getting your bloods checked. At least they are something that can be fixed and managed and may play a huge role in your level of fatigue.

Just be aware, explain to your doctor what is happening with you and ask for bloods to cover anything that may impact fatigue as I was told that Vitamin B12 and D3 bloods need to be checked for separately to regular bloods. So just for you to be aware of that ūüôā

Best of luck,
Lette ūüôā (Fainting Goat)

 

My Personal Diagnosis Story; Updated 2018

 

Hi, I am Lette and I have EDS, Pots, Gut Dysmotility, Neurogenic Bladder Dysfunction, Severe hearing loss and a host of secondary complications to all of these. I will try and keep this as concise as possible but I feel it is still going to be a long post, please bear with me!

It all started on a Tuesday morning in April 2011. After a lifetime of silly ‘Mickey Mouse’ symptoms that didn’t lead to anything conclusive, I just thought I was feeling a little under the weather.
I got up to shower and get ready for work and as I was coming out of the toilet, I suddenly felt really weak, faint and overwhelmingly dizzy. I called out to my husband who got to me just as I lost consciousness and he caught me before I hit the ground.

We didnt know what was going on, My husband was brilliant trying not to panic but everytime I would come around and try to stand I would lose consciousness again!
He got me to lay on the bed while he called the doctor and got advise to either immediately call an ambulance or get me to A&E straight away.

We opted not to wait for an ambulance as it would be faster to drive me directly to the A&E.

Long story short I ended up staying nearly a month in the hospital under an initial doctor who tried some tests but ultimately seemed to be very dismissive of me and in the end told me to get up out of bed and just ‘walk it off, and you’ll be grand’, great advice to give to someone who was shortly thereafter diagnosed with, ‘a very impressive case of Pots’, after this we had to demand a second opinion knowing something was seriously wrong with me. I couldn’t sit or stand upright without losing consciousness and I was just told to walk it off?!

Needless to say the second opinion doctor took my case very seriously, did many more tests, one of which was a Tilt Table Test and we discovered that I did indeed have Pots and NCS (Neurocardiogenic Syncope) but the cause was unknown. I was medicated heavily for my issues (very low BP, High HR, Nausea, Joint pain, Sweating, Syncope sometimes with respiratory arrest (without breathing), given some lifestyle advice like eat more salt and drink plenty of black coffee to raise blood pressure and sent on my way.

The following months after my Pots diagnosis I was continuously being admitted into hospital and fighting to find a cause for the Dysautonomia, In October 2012 I was diagnosed by a Reumatologist in Cork that I had Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Type 3, Hypermobility Type, which in turn would be the organic cause of the Pots.

My symptoms at the time were progressively getting worse, I was fainting very regularly throughout the day sometimes without breathing which in the worst of cases led to new seizure type activity and short term paralysis in my legs causing long lasting neuropathy. I was getting severe headaches and excruciating pains in my joints, very low BP, High HR, Dizziness, easy bruising, Blue Sclera, Excessive Fatigue, severe nausea and vomiting with gut related pain.

This happened for months off and on without any reprieve until April 2013 where I slowly improved at the start of the year, well enough where I decided to go back to work for Apple Computers from home.

Everything was going amazing until my Pots started acting up, sometimes I had to put people on hold as I hacked into a bucket! The pain in my pelvis, hips and lower limbs became so much worse that crutches no longer supported me well enough.

By August I was in a wheelchair, In September I was admitted to hospital for 11 days for investigations and pain management. The specialist advised that I didn’t return to work.

Things went downhill fast with my health and I soon learned that I would have to fight the HSE with some of my issues. I had to do my own phone calls to start Physio and Occupational therapy as nothing was being done from the hospital side. My Consultant who looked after me for Pots also had some problem with the diagnosis of EDS that I got in Cork, they never took it seriously and tried to convince me that I didn’t have EDS but I only had ‘Benign Hypermobility’, which they said would have no bearing at all on my health or any of my issues!

In July and August 2014 I was at my worst health wise. I was admitted to hospital after being rushed into Resus via ambulance after having a very long seizure. I was admitted again for nearly a month where I ended up in ICU and HDU (High Dependency Unit) because of these seizures. The consultants sent me to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin via ambulance again to rule out Epilepsy of which all was clear thankfully and they put the prolonged seizures down to a major reaction I was having to the antiepileptic drugs they had me on to manage them, I was promptly taken off these drugs and in turn the seizures stopped almost immediately. It looked like the first ever seizure I had may have been a once off dysautonomic seizure caused by lack of oxygen and it was the antiepileptic drugs they had me on that made matters worse.

It was during this time that I decided something had to be done to try and help myself. There are no EDS specialists anywhere in Ireland and the closest place there were any was in London. I started a GoFundMe campaign and slowly raised enough to go to London and meet a Professor in rheumatology who specialised in EDS to get a proper diagnosis that would confirm to my consultants (and myself) that I did in fact have EDS and to get some sort of treatment plan that my consultants here could work off. This trip was a success. I met Prof. Rodney Grahame, got an official diagnosis, a treatment plan for my consultants at home and it was only after I got my letter from Prof. Grahame that my consultants started taking my diagnosis seriously and actually followed the advice given on the treatment plan.

Things started running smoothly for a while with my treatment, I was getting regular physio and occupational therapy, regular pain management and outpatient appointments to keep an eye on everything.

Slowly though, in 2015 things went downhill again and I started having severe gut related trouble. Over the course of the following couple of years I was in and out of hospital constantly, I lost a huge amount of weight, couldn’t eat anything without nausea or vomiting, got extremely weak and fatigued and my seizures returned after a year of being dormant, my consultant at the time wanted to operate on my gallbladder thinking that may be the problem with my gut. Other than that, he admitted to me outright that he didn’t know what to do or how else to help me and advised I seek help elsewhere if I knew where to look.

In 2017 I had to fundraise again to return to London to meet another Professor who specialised in EDS and Gastroenterology, Prof. Aziz. Thankfully since this consultation in London and following the advice he gave me I have improved greatly, with regards to my gut trouble at least.

I still get serious symptoms and there is no cure for EDS. There are no EDS specialists in Ireland and it is clear from my, and others diagnosis stories that there is little help within the health system in Ireland. We are already fighting illness, we should not have to also fight the health system for treatment that should be readily available here and we should not need to travel or worry about organising funds to do so when we are in this state and yet, we need to or we will just be forgotten about.

I worry that my symptoms will continue to flare and get worse as time goes on. I worry something serious may happen and that the doctors here may not be able to help me or others in this situation if that happens. My story had some major up’s and down’s and yet I am not the worst I have heard. There are others out there that have had much worse experiences than I have.

We seriously need an EDS specialist here in Ireland to help us. I am forever surprised by the constant stories I hear of peoples GP’s and hospital consultants not knowing what EDS is. It is 2018, is it really that far fetched to imagine having a consultant here that specialises in EDS or at least some training for our doctors? I think not! #EDS4IRE¬†

Lette

 

Saturday Submissions – With MeggioMum

Todays Saturday Submissions is brought to you by MeggioMum A.K.A Heather, who lives with Pots and EDS, be sure to check out her wonderful blog about ‘Two cents from a Midwest Mom’,¬†HERE.

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Potsy Mamas: What We’re Hiding

No, I’m not talking about marijuana, though that would definitely be an interesting article. I’m actually talking about coping with chronic illness while raising a family. Perhaps you’ve heard of Disautonomia, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Perhaps you haven’t. But these conditions are very real, and being a mom of four (soon to be five) while living with them is a surreal experience full of both suffering and beauty.

Imagine for a moment that, like every mother on the planet, you have more things to do in a day than are physically possible to accomplish. Now imagine trying to tackle that when your body feels heavy like you’re wading through thick mud, and coffee only makes the feeling worse. You’re exhausted like you’ve just run a marathon… ALL THE TIME. Walking up the stairs is like mountain climbing without oxygen. You have to constantly write yourself notes and set alarms on your phone because your memory is swiss cheese. Complex situations are overwhelming because your brain is in a fog, like when you first wake up in the morning, except it never goes away. The mere act of standing makes your heart jump in your throat, and the smallest movements can dislocate a rib or hyperextend a knee. And you are in significant pain every waking moment.

What happens when you live like this every day is both heartbreaking and inspiring. A series of things start to unfold. The first thing to go is your house. Dishes and laundry pile up, as does random clutter everywhere. You forget to clean the cat box and don’t have the energy to mow the lawn. Your house starts to look like an episode of Hoarders and you’re too ashamed to invite people over or even let your kid’s friends inside to play.

Then goes your self esteem. You blame yourself for all the things you know you should be doing. You feel lazy and worthless. Thoughts creep into your mind like ‚ÄúI‚Äôm not trying hard enough‚ÄĚ ¬†‚ÄúI‚Äôm such a burden‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúMy family must be so disappointed in me.‚ÄĚ You curse your body for not working right, and feel resentment towards both yourself and towards healthy people who live more mainstream lives. Your marriage suffers, both physically and emotionally, and you start to tell yourself that your spouse would be happier without you.

The guilt and self-blame are the worst when it comes to your children. You want to give them the world, and instead they don’t even bother to ask if you’ll take them to the park because they know that pained look in your eye all too well. You teach your children to be self-sufficient and independent; more out of necessity than anything else. You are proud that your teens can cook dinner, wash their own clothes, and fix their own bikes. You love how your younger kids can quietly entertain themselves outside in the fresh air without you hovering over them. But you also know that their childhood is flying by at lightning speed while you’re laying in bed trying not to throw up.

Then comes the judgement squad. Doctors not familiar with your condition, random people on the street, your kid‚Äôs teachers, coworkers, sometimes even your own family members. Everyone has an opinion on how severe your illness is and how you should be handling it. A lot of people don‚Äôt even believe your condition is real because you look ‚Äúnormal‚ÄĚ on the outside. Your slurred speech and shaky movements means you sometimes get mistaken for an alcoholic or drug addict, and then treated with open disdain and discrimination.

Some people will be sympathetic, but insist you’ll be cured if you would just take more ginseng, or stop eating gluten, or do more yoga. My personal favorite is when they tell you to think positive and visualize yourself healthy.

I am a strong believer in homeopathy, clean eating, healthy exercise, and so on. But none of these things are magic cures that will stabilize the blood flow to my brain and keep my joints from dislocating. None of these things will keep my autonomic nervous system from misfiring like an electrical short. This is what leads to the final stage: the mask.

You start hiding your condition as best you can from the world. You grit your teeth and smile through the dislocations and spasms. When someone asks what‚Äôs wrong, you tell them you‚Äôre ‚Äújust a little tired‚ÄĚ instead of telling the truth. People get tired of hearing about your symptoms and start to tune you out. You avoid social interaction as much as possible, and start lying to cover up for it. (‚ÄúOh I‚Äôm sorry I missed the meeting, I had a flat tire‚ÄĚ). You completely shut down in stressful situations because everyday life is already stressful enough, and you just can‚Äôt bear any more. You decide it is so much easier to put on the normal facade than wasting energy trying to make everyone understand. (Because 80% of them never will.)

I am trapped inside this body like a butterfly in a cocoon, except I don’t get to break free and fly.

There is an odd beauty to it though. This purgatory of inbetween health- not sick enough to be disabled, but not healthy enough to be normal- is like slowing down and living your life in stop motion. You learn to appreciate tiny moments like the sun warming your skin, the crinkle of smile in your daughter’s eyes, the earthy flavor of a hot cup of tea. You appreciate the people who stick by your side, and love them fiercely for it. You learn to let go of the things that don’t matter; like messy hair,  dirty kids, and judgemental people. You learn to slow down and just breathe.

We are moms (and dads) worth knowing.

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Thanks so much to Heather for submitting this post today, does this relate to you? How do you find juggling parenting and family life with chronic illness? If you relate, please leave a comment or consider following the directions below and submitting your own post to share!

‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ Wanna Be Part of Saturday¬†Submissions?‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ-

All you have to do is tell us a little about yourself and write a blog post (Any word count) in relation to your chronic illness, or how a relation/friend/patient with an illness affects or interacts with you, etc. all welcome!

You can include photos (preferably your own, if found online be sure to add links to where you found them)

Be sure to add links to your social media accounts so people can link back to you OR You can write it anonymously if you like just be sure to put your details in the email so I can respond to you personally¬†ūüôā

You can send your submissions to: irishpotsies@gmail.com

Report From Prof. Aziz

I received a full report of my visit to Prof. Aziz on the Monday after meeting him that Saturday. It arrived very fast and it covered everything and a few things I had left out in my last blog post about the trip, so I said I’d go through it now.

In the report he outlines everything he went through during the visit.
He goes through my Diagnosis, My investigations to date, Current Symptoms, Medications and then he goes on to outline the visit in detail. Listing everything we had gone through and explaning the examinations he had done.

The main bulk of the new information about my abdominal pain is as follows, from the report itself:

On examination in addition to features of joint hypermobility she had severe allodynia which extended all the way around from the right side of her abdomen to the back, there was superficial tenderness over her abdomen, she also had severe tenderness on the left side of her abdomen, although less so than on the right side. She had evidence of angular stomatitis.

I feel that at least part of her abdominal pain is related to the anterior abdominal wall and she has a number of tender trigger points and there may be an element of anterior cutaneous nerve entrapment syndrome. The possibility of spinal nerve root compression causing pain, particularly all the way from the right side of the back to the abdomen also needs to be considered.

She has features of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and likely has vitamin and mineral deficiencies. We also discussed the side effects of the drugs that she is currently taking, particularly opioids etc which will significantly affect her gastrointestinal function.

I have added links to explain all the new terms in there so be sure to click in and read those, I know I had to look them up!

His recommendations then are as follows:

  1. Slowly reduce Opioids as they are slowing gut function. Stop, Reduce and increase some medications as explained during the appointment.
  2. For small intestinal bacterial overgrowth I have suggested a prescribed antibiotic twice a day for 2 weeks following which she should take a probiotic.

  3. I would suggest that she sees a senior pain management specialist locally to consider splanchnic nerve blocks but it may also be helpful for her to have a spinal MRI of the thoraco-lumbar spine to make sure that there is no nerve root pressure.

  4. I have given her detailed dietary advice and have generally suggested a diet low in sugar and grains but high in white meat, vegetables and healthy fat such as olive oil. Overall I have also suggested that she should reduce the histamine content of the foods that she eats and have suggested some resources that she can look at. I have also suggested vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, B complex, omega 3 and chelated magnesium.

That outlines the most of it, the next thing now is to make sure my doctors here get a copy of the report so that I can get the nerve blocks and other bits and pieces sorted out so I can properly start this diet.

I have started the food related side of the diet already and find it good, I just have to sort out the probiotic, vitamins and minerals now to go along with it.

My GP got a copy of the report this morning and my next appointment is for my Pain Specialist next Friday and I will fill him in on what needs to be organised regarding the nerve blocks and the MRI.

Thats it for now, I just wanted to fill you all in on what the report said. Thanks for reading this humble little blog and if you are out there reading, leave a comment to say hi! ūüôā

Lette (Fainting Goat!) xxx

Meeting Prof. Qasim Aziz in London

Day: Saturday 13th May

Time and Itinerary:

5:30am – Wake up, get ready!
6:30am РArrive at Shannon airport

6:35am – Check in
6:45am – Get Breakfast

7:00am – Board Plane with the help of Disability Services

7:15am – Flight Take Off

8:15am – Flight Land at Heathrow

8:45am – Get through security and make our way to the Heathrow Express Train

9:15am – Heathrow Express arrives at Paddington
10:30am – Hang around Paddington for a little while, get coffee

11:30am – Taxi to Consultants Appointment at The Physicians Clinic at Devonshire Street
12:15am – In appointment place, fill out forms and go into meet Prof. Qasim Aziz

Prof. Aziz was very welcoming, I found him to be thorough, interested, very educated and deeply experienced with EDS and it’s comorbidities.

I had everything written out over two A4 pages, Which he said he was delighted with and wished more people would come prepared! It had My Diagnosis, Investigations done to date, Medications, All my doctors listed, Current Symptoms etc. So he went through everything with me.

To make a long story short I was there over an hour, he didn’t rush us at all and listened to everything both my husband and I had to say about all the symptoms, pain and weightloss I have been going through with my Gastrointestinal problems.

He did a few basic tests with me while I was there and then sat me down to explain what he believes is going on with me.

He reckons I am high in ‘Histamines‘, meaning that I am all inflamed and raw throughout my body as a result it all contributes to my various symptoms even outside of gastro problems. He said that a ‘Low Histamine Diet‘, would be of huge benefit to my lifestyle for 6 months and then I can introduce other foods back into my diet.

He added things like, taking probiotics 2 to 4 times daily with the diet as well as the supplements that I may be lacking in like, Vit.C, Vit B Complex, Omega 3 and Chelated Magnesium.

He went through all my medications and changed them about as well as adding some to help my tummy. Apparently a few of the meds I am on to help my gut are in fact paralyzing it, so I have to cut back on those and my opiates as they are slowing my gut function down.

As the LowHistamine Diet is sugar free, he has also changed the Fortisip Compact calorie drinks I have been taking as he said they are full of sugar, so he changed them to E028 Cartons instead.

He mentioned that he has had people like me come into him in wheelchairs and after this diet and the other extensive recommendations he gave, they are now walking, relatively cured and back to work, living a normal life once again as the symptoms are now controlled.

He also said that everyone is different and what may work for one person may not necessarily work for me but it is certainly worth a try for 6 months at the very least.

I still have a lot of research to do to get my head around this new diet but he wrote out loads of recommendations so I know what to look for, I found him to be very helpful.

I have already received his full report, he had it emailled to me within 2 days, by the Monday after the appointment on Saturday, I thought that was very smooth and professional.

14:00pm: Finish appointment and get Taxi to the Hotel.
14:35pm: Check in and unpack and relax for a few hours to recover from the morning.
14:55pm: Pass out for around 2 hours
17:00pm: Wake up and go get some food
17:15pm: Make our way to the food plaza across from our hotel and find a sushi place

17:30pm: Too tired to deal with crowds so decide to bring sushi back to the hotel to enjoy in peace. Then just relax watching TV for the rest of the evening as we were both wrecked and I was beginning to feel really poorly after the busy day. I did ok though but we didn’t get much sleep as there was a Hen party in the room next door to us so it was really noisy at times but either way we got through the night and were up bright and early the next morning, Though we were both impossibly tired and I was barely able to move!

We get up, shower and get ready, check out of the hotel and get a Taxi to Paddington again to get the HeathrowExpress train into Heathrow Terminal 2 to catch the plane.
We grab breakfast and all goes as normal through security and onto the flight.

I always laugh at the sheer difference between the security in Heathrow compared to Shannon, Shannon are so lazy about everything and you literally walk straight through without little hassle but in Heathrow they want to examine every inch of you and your bag, which is great that they are so thorough but the difference in the two always makes me giggle.

Either way we got home safe, landed, went to collect our dog from my parents house and hit for home where we both crashed and burned pretty hard! I know right, just one day and were done, useless we are! I felt incredibly sick and my husband caught a flu on our travels so he has been hit pretty hard too since coming back. We both still haven’t recovered properly!

Next up now is to make sure my doctors and consultants here get a copy of the report he has sent me and to start a food plan to get this diet started once and for all. I am still following the Low Fodmap diet until I have everything I need to start this new Low Histamine diet.

I am looking forward to the adventure over the next 6 months or so with this new lifestyle change, and of course I will share it with all of you as I go along!

Thank you once again to everyone who made this trip possible, John Steele¬†and Mick Dolan¬†for organising the Bowie Gig in February which raised ‚ā¨2000 each for both Zondra Meaney and myself and also to everyone who contributed through my¬†Go Fund Me Page. I am deeply appreciative to all ¬†of you for your help and support, thank you.

Lette (Fainting Goat!) xxx

Saturday Submissions – With Denis Murphy – Parkinson’s Disease and Self Expression

Parkinson’s Disease and Self Expression.

Hi, my name is Denis Murphy and I’m from Cork city. I am currently living in a little village in county Sligo.
A major turning point in my life came in 2007 when, at the age of 48,
I was diagnosed with early stages of Parkinson’s Disease.

I would like to share some of my thoughts, feelings and emotions with you as I believe by sharing, we can better understand what we are going through,
which often seems like a lonely struggle.
It can also bring a better understanding to our family, friends and loved ones.

We can get caught up in our own worries and forget that our disease or condition not
only affects our own lives but those around us and they often feel as frustrated and
confused as we do.
I am very lucky to have such an understanding wife.
She has had M.S for over thirty years so she has great patience,
empathy and understanding through her own experiences.

As anyone who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease,or has a family member who does,
will know and understand that it brings about drastic changes, both physically and mentally.
It can be very difficult for people with Parkinson’s to
express their emotions, feelings and
to cope with their loss of power and independence.

One of the many physical conditions is called “The MASK “.
This is when the face muscles become stiff and rigid and expressionless.
The eyes appear to lose their sparkle and the mouth seems to be
permanently¬†in¬†a¬†‚Äúsad‚Ä̬†position. To¬†the¬†outside¬†world¬†this¬†appears¬†as¬†if¬†the¬†person¬†with¬†Parkinson‚Äôs¬†Disease
( or PWPD for short) is uninterested, bored and
apathetic. But behind this stern facade lies a sea of feelings and emotions.

Another symptom of Parkinson’s is a problem with vocal expression.
The voice becomes weak and we lose our strength and with
this we begin to lose confidence in ourselves.
We find it more difficult to express our opinions
and ideas in public as we struggle to be heard.
So between difficulties with facial and vocal expression
we can withdraw into ourselves and stifle our emotions.
All the more need for an outlet to express these
emotions, feelings and fears.

So many PWPD find this through art, be it painting or crafts or writing.
While Parkinson’s Disease severely restricts our physical and mental activities,
there is one advantage.
Whether it is the disease itself or the side effects of the medication
but it seems to stimulate the creative areas of the mind.
So it is only in the last two years I have begun
to compose and express my feelings through my poetry.

The main themes of my poems are about coping with Parkinson’s Disease
or any disability and the fears and hopes and also about our
relationship with Nature and with ourselves.

So enough about me, I hope that you will enjoy the
rantings and ravings of a mad Corkman and that my words may
stimulate your mind and make you think about life,
changes, and above all, appreciate this wonderful
gift we have been given.

Р c/ Denis Murphy 23 April 2017. 

_______________________________________________

 Background information on the poem РA Parky in the Pub

This is the first poem I ever wrote about Parkinson’s. So it was an important step for me
in revealing my personal feelings and exposing my emotions publicly.
I used humour to write about a serious subject.
I¬†do¬†not¬†like¬†the¬†term¬†‚ÄúParky‚Ä̬†but¬†in¬†this¬†case¬†it‚Äôs¬†just¬†a¬†play¬†on¬†the¬†word¬†party.

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A Parky in the Pub

I’ll head down to the pub for a drink and the craíc
Sure I’ll be dead long enough on the flat of my back
So I make my way down to my local bar
On the other side of town for a chat and a jar
Some sit alone, some sit together
Talk of the match or of the weather
And after a pint or two
I need to visit the loo
So I shuffle and stagger around tables and chairs
Aware of the glances, the pity and stares
Through the noise and the clatter
The gossip and the chatter
I make my way back to my friends and my table
Slow progress but thank God I’m still able
The lads at the bar exchange advice and opinions
To the world’s problems and all their solutions
While the girls at the table share secrets and giggle
And walk pass the lads with a sway and a wiggle
The winking and nudging, the secret half glances
Some of the lads even fancy their chances
The smutty jokes and clinking glasses
The lad’s loud laughter like braying asses
As they drown out the music like crows in the nest
It’s time to go home for some peace and some rest
So I say my goodbyes in words and mumbles
And make my way home in staggers and stumbles.
The journey home seems twice as long
But I’m on the right road not gone wrong
Two steps forward one step to the side
Steady as she goes watch that stride
Left foot right foot no downward glance
Sure I might yet get to star in River Dance
– c Denis Murphy Aug 2015

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Thanks so much to Denis for todays Saturday Submissions post. Be sure to check out Denis’ own blog and make a connection. I love the poem and the play on words here to show the symptoms of Parkinson’s akin to those of being drunk. How do you feel about his poetry, does it resonate with you? Be sure to leave some feedback for Denis and share the love! ūüôā

‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ Wanna Be Part of Saturday¬†Submissions?‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ-

All you have to do is tell us a little about yourself and write a blog post (Any word count) in relation to your chronic illness, or how a relation/friend/patient with an illness affects or interacts with you, etc. all welcome!

You can include photos (preferably your own, if found online be sure to add links to where you found them)

Be sure to add links to your social media accounts so people can link back to you OR You can write it anonymously if you like just be sure to put your details in the email so I can respond to you personally¬†ūüôā

You can send your submissions to: irishpotsies@gmail.com

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!)

Saturday Submissions – With Ciara Chapman

In Today’s Saturday Submissions, I speak to the lovely Ciara Chapman from ‘My Chronic Pain Diary’,

Ciara is from Cork here in Ireland and is 34 years old. ¬†As yet she is undiagnosed¬†but has been experiencing chronic pain as a result of a nerve problem for 2 years now and she’s¬†been getting through the experience by creating a¬†beautiful¬†illustrated diary.

Taken from the ‘About’ page on her site:

“I started ‘My Chronic Pain Diary’ in January 2016 as a form of Art Therapy to help me cope with the mental and physical toll Chronic Pain has taken on me. It’s a very lonely and isolating experience, even if – like me – you are fortunate enough to be surrounded by and supported by the people you love. I found the medication I was prescribed made it difficult for me to read, the words were fuzzy and I had my fill of television so I turned to my love of drawing. I hope by sharing this diary it will reach people in similar situations, whether you are experiencing physical, mental or emotional pain it is so important to remember we are not alone.” – Ciara Chapman – http://www.mychronicpaindiary.com

Please take a look at these images, I think they are so full of meaning, fun and life, very beautiful and excellently executed. I love them! Enjoy!

 

33_Twostepsforward

One step forward, two steps back.

3_Physio

Physiotherapy

5_OpinionAfterOpinion

Opinion after opinion after opinion…

7_Endless nights

Endless nights with little sleep

9_V2OutToSea

Out to sea

51_HelpWanted

Help Wanted.

52_RainRainGoAway

Rain, rain go away

53_Knowingyourlimits

Knowing your limitations

56_IveStartedMeditation

Meditation

14_Ifeelguiltysometimes

I feel guilty sometimes

36_TimeFreeze

Time Freeze

 

Thanks so much to Ciara for sharing her wonderful illustrations with us, they really are stunning, please be sure to check out her link above and make a connection and please leave a comment or feedback if you relate to any of these images.

‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ Wanna Be Part of Saturday¬†Submissions?‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ-

All you have to do is tell us a little about yourself and write a blog post (Any word count) in relation to your chronic illness, or how a relation/friend/patient with an illness affects or interacts with you, etc. all welcome!

You can include photos (preferably your own, if found online be sure to add links to where you found them)

Be sure to add links to your social media accounts so people can link back to you OR You can write it anonymously if you like just be sure to put your details in the email so I can respond to you personally¬†ūüôā

You can send your submissions to: irishpotsies@gmail.com

Saturday Submissions – With Stephanie Baxter

I know, I know! I am late with this again, I am so sorry, I just couldn’t get to the computer the last few days because of the health once again. I will have to do them during the week and have them publish automatically on the Saturday morning. I will do better, I promise!

________________________________

In this weeks Saturday Submissions, we speak to a good friend of mine that I know through Facebook as ‘Tuffy’, She has a host of chronic illnesses and this is the first ever telling of her own story. So lets hear it for Tuffy and give her a warm welcome to the world of Blogging! ūüôā

_________________________________

Saturday Submissions With Stephanie Baxter

I’ve never told my story before because it’s weird and I’ve ended up with a bunch of rare things. People tend to get either bored or uncomfortable with the full version. I’m having to come up with some creative reasons why I’m in my wheelchair.
I’ve summed up with a Sword fight. I don’t get such a fun reaction. I’m thinking of changing it!

Anyway, I’m an old lady (48) But I’ve had issues with my heart palpation since I was 17 or so. When I was 20 I was pregnant with my first kid. The doctors wouldn’t listen to me. The palpations were so bad anywhere I would go I would have to stop everything for about a minute. Only because my heart was beating so fast and hard. Talk about a massive head rush! But I was also told they were side effects of pregnancy.

So, after a few years and another kid (I really was terrified of dying during birth) everyone around me told me I was fine & if the doctor wasn’t worried, why should I be? Ok First Lesson people!! If it’s your body and Your scared, Start Screaming for Anyone to listen!!

I put up with this for 10 Years before I Finally was diagnosed. I had to get a blood clot first, But hey, your body has to do what it Needs to do. So, I’m 27 years old and finally I’m seeing a Cardiologist. I told him that my heart goes super fast. He asked me if he could check it out. I thought, heck why not. It’s probably nothing.. Wrong Answer!! I’ve got stickers all over my chest and this readout starts printing and the Doctor gets All excited!!!

OK, Lesson number 2, When a Doctor gets Excited, be Scared.. it’s Not good News! I have an inherited disease called (WPW ) Wolff Parkinson White. My electrical pathways were kinda not working right. So it was (is) making my heart palpate.

The doctor told me I was in the 10% of the population, oh and I needed an ablation right away or I can go into a heart attack and die. Yeah, my inner voice yelled at me for listening to all those Stupid people!! Who in the end, didn’t really give a crap.

As I said, listen to yourself… so, I went in for my first ablation. Well, it ended up 2 of them because the first one didn’t quite take. After about 2 or 3 years I started taking Hawthorne supplement. Because my palpations started to come back.

Then after a few more years and a Great deal of stress I was Finally diagnosed with Pots and the WPW came Roaring back.

Now just so we all know, my paternal grandfather had wpw, they didn’t have a name for it in the 2nd war, he would be driving his supply truck in Germany and a bomb went off, he just ended up in the ditch with “heart attacks”. Which is what they were. But there was nothing they could do for him.

Personally it really sucks! Plus the pain is right Nasty. Chest pain and all. Back to me, I got to play with beta blockers & calcium Channel blockers to keep my heart under control, it just ended up confusing my heart, it was up to 300 then it would drop to 30 in just a few seconds. Thus me checking on the floor making sure it wasn’t lonely. I Never did get to pass out, but ya know.. I’m a blonde asthmatic dyslexic.. why add on to that??

The doctors got mightily concerned and decided I needed a pacemaker. My first. Wow, I got to name him. Something fancy, so I came up with Engleburt Humperdink! (You young ones look him up) it fit great!! I went in & as the doctors who have been putting in pacemakers for Decades, they put in the first lead.. that went smoothly it was the upper lead they had major issues, my heart took off and I’ve Never seen 2 Cardiologist freak out before. They couldn’t slow down my heart for anything. They never had this happen before. I suppose they finally found the relaxant. Yeah, it’s a fun story. They stapled me together and within 6 months I had to go in for another ablation.

They made me stay awake. All together in 10 years I’ve had 9 ablations. Yes, they made me stay awake during all of them (the first 2 were exception) as I’ve said I’m Really rare and different. I felt every ablation, just as I can feel my heart go into tachycardia. The last ablation they tried to make me completely dependent on my pacemaker. They were only 95% my heart still goes off but now only for a limited time. Few seconds here and there. Nothing like it did. Now I’m dealing with the pots.

But I found out more family info. My mother had the same thing, so does my niece’s (2) so now I’m finding out its genetic. When it’s genetic the symptoms are severe. Where I Live, I was told that all they can do is just treat the symptoms. I’m getting new symptoms and they are not pretty. So, we moved to a new state for better medical care. My timing couldn’t be worse, Spring is kicking me around like I’m it’s new punching bag. Being bed bound is hard enough, but now we’ve got to find another place to live and paperwork to do plus finding doctors that might just care.

If your wondering, I found Irish Dysautonomia back when I was around 30ish. A Long Time ago!! I found you guys on YouTube. It was the first time I was introduced to what the Crap I really do have. I’m thankful for the support and information that I’ve found. It’s very personal and individual in its attacks.

I’m also bipolar 2. So I’m on a few meds right now. Fludicourt for my blood pressure is the main thing, but then I’m finding out that anxiety is a symptom as well. Which having bi-polar 2 & ptsd Really makes me realize how severe this crap is. I’m very open about my mental health as well as my physical health. I’m one person, why separate? If my stress (anxiety) is affecting my heart why treat my mind and my heart seperate?

So, I’m really big on coping strategies. They Really do help. Anyway, I’m around sometimes on Facebook my name is Tuffy Baxter, I would like to be on Facebook a lot more, but it’s difficult.

Thank you for reading this blog. It is my first at telling this story. I hope if anything helped give a smile or 2. I suppose I shall see you all soon in the funnys!! ūüėćūüėćūüėć

__________________________________________

Thanks hugely to Tuffy for that Blog post, please be sure to check her out on Facebook and make a link and please leave a comment below if you relate to Tuffy’s post ūüôā

‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ Wanna Be Part of Saturday¬†Submissions?‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ-

All you have to do is tell us a little about yourself and write a blog post (Any Wordcount) in relation to your chronic illness, or how a relation/friend/patient with an illness affects or interacts with you, etc. all welcome!

You can include photos (preferably your own, if found online be sure to add links to where you found them)

Be sure to add links to your social media accounts so people can link back to you OR You can write it anonymously if you like just be sure to put your details in the email so I can respond to you personally¬†ūüôā

You can send your submissions to: irishpotsies@gmail.com

 

Saturday Submissions – With Dr. Liam Farrell

It’s a day late, I know, I know, I’m sorry – (It will be worth it, promise!) I haven’t been well in¬†the last few weeks, I completely forgot all about Saturday Submissions last week and then I do it a day late this week, oh dear! I can do better than this, surely!!

________________________________

This week I speak to Dr. Liam Farrell, yes, a real doctor, or at least used to be a family GP, now better known as an award winning columnist and broadcaster. You can find Liam over on Twitter as @drlfarrell.

 

Why presentations are best served rare

We are doctors; we do terrible things to people. They come into the surgery like healthy folk and go out as patients. If they’re really unlucky we confine them to an institution where the occupants are routinely left immobile, deprived of sleep, fed a diet that is tasteless and nutritionally marginal, and experience the de-humanizing indignity of being half-naked all the time.

‚ÄŹThe average age of a patient in general practice is 75 years old.. Many have multiple diagnoses, and their care is incredibly complex, and above all requires more of our time. But our time is in increasingly short supply, so much of it wasted on the worried well and on health promotion. If we reckon on 15 mins per consultation, a family doctor with 2500 patients would spend 7.4 hours per day to deliver all recommended preventive care and 10.6 hrs per day to deliver all recommended chronic care.

‚ÄŹThis leaves a generous 6 hours every day for those pesky acutely ill patients, sick certs, insurance and passport and DLA forms, paperwork, eating, sleeping, banging our heads against the wall in sheer frustration, toileting and reproducing. But what is never understood, by patients, the general public, the media, bureaucrats, managers or politicians, is the huge numbers of people family doctors see who aren‚Äôt sick, and who have nothing wrong with them; this really can‚Äôt be comprehended unless you sit in with a family doctor for a whole surgery. A huge part of our job is telling people what they don‚Äôt have. Unfortunately, ‚Äėnothing wrong with you‚Äô is a retrospective diagnosis and can only be made after the consultation.

As the threshold for attending healthcare services grows ever lower, there are more and more worried well, too much screening and over-treatment. It becomes harder and harder to pick out the really sick person from amongst the ranks of the worried well; when you are looking for a needle in a haystack, the last thing you need is more hay. There is consequently not enough time and resources to the really sick; so everyone loses, especially those with hard to recognise rare diseases.

As The Fat Man said in The House of God, when a medical student hears hoof-beats outside a window, he thinks it’s a zebra.

Which might be true, of course, in certain circumstances – if you were in practice in the Serengeti, for example (curiously, I was once in the Serengeti, heard hoof-beats outside my window, peered through the early morning mist and saw only an old cow).
A medical axiom used to be that common things are common and uncommon presentations of common diseases are more common than common presentations of uncommon diseases. But this is now known to be misleading. Taken all together, rare diseases, and rare variants of common diseases, are not uncommon. And diagnosing rare diseases is very difficult; it’s not as if there is a are disease specialist we can refer patients to.

I do have some hard-earned experience. As an intern, I saw a young lad in casualty. He had fainted at a disco (yes, it was that long ago, Saturday Night Fever was quite fashionable. Old age is creeping up on me, not sure why but fairly sure it’s up to no good) and he had a few unusual skin lesions and a labile BP.

These days, I doubt if I would be able to recognise a phaeochromocytoma ( a rare tumour of the adrenal glands) if one walked up and assaulted me with a blunt speculum (I’ve been flogged into apathy by too many URTIs and sick certs, rare and interesting diseases only present to other doctors), but I was young then, fresh and sharp and so hip, I could hardly see over my pelvis.

I wrote ‘possible neurofibromatosis?’, ‘possible phaeo?’ on the chart and admitted the young man to the ward. I was too green to realise the importance of hoarding unusual cases to myself, for my own advancement, and sure enough, the rumour spread around the hospital as fast as an epidemic of flaming gonorrhoea.

Later, when I went to check up on my patient, I found him buried under a tide of medical students, SHOs and research registrars, all keen for a piece of the glory, all ordering 24-hour urines, all dreaming of a case report for the peer-reviewed journals and another notch on their CVs.

‘Help me, doc,’ he said, desperately, ‘they’re suffocating me.’ I whipped away the students, but the others were far above me in the hierarchy and I could offer little succour.

‘Sorry, pal,’ I said. ‘It’s a common complication of uncommon diseases.’

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Thank you so very much to Liam for providing todays Saturday Submissions!
What did you think of his post?
Do you relate as a medical Zebra?

Please leave a comment and let Liam¬†know what you think, be sure to check out his¬†Twitter Link and make a new connection! ūüôā

‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ Wanna Be Part of Saturday¬†Submissions?‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ-

All you have to do is tell us a little about yourself and write a blog post (Any Wordcount) in relation to your chronic illness, or how a relation/friend/patient with an illness affects or interacts with you, etc. all welcome!

You can include photos (preferably your own, if found online be sure to add links to where you found them)

Be sure to add links to your social media accounts so people can link back to you OR You can write it anonymously if you like just be sure to put your details in the email so I can respond to you personally¬†ūüôā

You can send your submissions to: irishpotsies@gmail.com