I get back up..

I’ve mentioned several times about families, friends and the amazing support network I have, there are times when we probably take for granted exactly what and who we have, life throws many an obstacle at us and we all have varying coping mechanisms, it’s part of life to experience ups and downs, and we want to be with people who understand us and can be depended on when we go through a tough time, we need people who are honest with their answers when listening to us, there has been research that has shown, that having a support system has many positive benefits, such as higher levels of well-being, better coping skills and a longer and healthier life. Studies have also shown that social support can reduce depression and anxiety. Some people do best having large support group, while others need just a small support system. Giving and receiving support from others is a basic human need.

There may be people in life who say they don’t need anyone and that’s their prerogative, I am however needy I need a support network, I need those friendly vibes, I need people to bring me back down to earth  now and again, I need people to tell me it will be ok, I make no excuses for myself – I can be a right miserable mare who can only see the worst case scenario at times and that’s why I need my support crew to put me back on the straight and narrow.

A week ago I received the phonecall from my Neurologist to say that the surgeons had said no to a shunt in my back, he said he himself couldn’t understand why they had said no but he couldn’t go over them as they were my second opinion, so the shunt would of done the job of a lumbar puncture  that I have every other month in reducing the pressure as and when needed, but apparently the back ones cause a lot of problems and are a last resort, only used if your sight is failing – I’m blessed that though my right eye has some permanent damage my sight remains ok, which is a positive and my eyes are checked every 2/3 months but it’s still hard to hear, after he had said that,  any words that he was saying to me were falling on deaf ears, I was crying to him asking what exactly was going to happen to me now – I would be stuck like this forever – had he any idea of the pain I was in at times etc etc (sorry moaning again). Poor man just didn’t know what to say except – Kirsty I’ve booked you in for a Lumbar Puncture with me next week – talk about adding insult to injury lol.

Now for me I knew I had been holding onto the fact a Lumbar Shunt might be the answer to my prayers – so that phonecall destroyed me – without sounding like a drama queen – I hit rock bottom right there and then, this makes me feel guilty reading/writing it because I know there are some really poorly people out there fighting horrendous illnesses and I feel selfish, but I did – and this is where my support network came into play Kev shot out of the shower to hug me tightly – Mum was round like a rocket to console me – she knew with her mothers intuition I needed her,but there are times when your own selfishness takes over and nothing anyone says or does can help how you are feeling inside, just that everpending feeling of doom hanging over your head like a black cloud.

I ranted to my friends, I posted on Instagram, the response was amazing (You are all best by the way) support from every which way, I wonder if people realise the impact a simple uplifting text has, or the kind act of giving a bunch of flowers and telling you that you are amazing really has, or the empathy received when you ring a close friend  and cry so much before you can actually speak to them – there they are listening and gently reassuring you because it’s all got to much.

I won’t lie I WAS and FELT until today hell on earth emotionally and physically, I was fed up because my LP was looming, which actually went well, and because I felt like there was no end to the IIH.
We don’t just need our support for illness we need to share our  support in our day to day living, I would like to think that I try to be there for who needs me!

When you have people looking out to you, your support – be it family, friendships, people via social media, some of whom you may have never met, you should feel blessed, I know I do, I’m grateful to literally everyone who likes a post, who reads my blog, who send me postitive vibes – you make me stronger, remember a strong person is not the one who doesn’t cry, a strong person is the one who cries and sheds tears for a moment, then gets up and fights again.

Massive thank you as always!

❤️ ASIBTAF xxx

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Brain problems

Monday morning, and off to the place I seem to reside the most…Hospital. My Neurology appointment with my Neurologist Simon Shields, who has been through this journey with me, he diagnosed me with IIH back in July 2015.

Without giving off an air of negativity, when I have appointments with him it’s as if he expects me to tell him what we are going to do next, rather than vice versa, each appointment I explain how the last 3 months have been, generally they  are pretty much the same!!, pressure pain, lumbar puncture, eyes tests, repeat lol, we discuss the dosage of Acetazolamide (also known as Diamox) that I am taking, this drug is a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor used for glaucoma, some types of epilepsy and fluid retention. It reduces CSF production in most patients. However the side effects of taking Diamox , include  tingling of the fingers and toes are the most common, on  high doses I find that my side effects are horrendous I literally cannot function, I feel like I am walking everywhere in thick mud, I have palpitations, sheer exhaustion just walking around the corner, and extreme tiredness like you can’t imagine, this seems to be the only drug on offer for sufferers of IIH, I read that we all pretty much have the same side effects which day to day can be debilitating. I take a dose now that means I can manage each day and most importantly manage my family life, a higher dose may help me more,  but I have no quality of life whilst doing this, so it’s a catch 22, either spend each day in bed comatose or be on less and suffer the threat of Lumbar Punctures.

My progress on Diamox is  monitored closely and I  have regular blood tests to monitor the levels of electrolytes (eg sodium and potassium) and the levels of blood cells in your blood.

Back to the appointment, we discussed the eye appointment if last week, he said he thought the visual field test was only a small negative change, and he would discuss with the ophthalmologist what she thought,(case of déjà vu as she said I should discuss with him!!)

He also brought up maybe we should go down the shunt route, now I can never understand why he does this, it’s as if he doesn’t remember I have already been to an appointment at Southmead, an appointment that I went to with my husband, both of us  full of optimism, I was scared but happy that this may be the answer to my problems obviously no one is excited at the prospect of brain surgery but nonetheless if it helped I would do it.

That day marked probably my lowest point of having this condition, both of our hopes, positivity and almost excitement that I might get better, shot down in a millisecond.  After waiting what seemed like an eternity for the Surgeon to appear and take me in to discuss surgery in the future, we sat there almost in shock as he explained there was no way they would operate on my brain to put a shunt in, as my ventricles are to narrow for a shunt, I don’t think either of us could believe what we were hearing, he explained that they would only do this if my sight was literally going, as it would be to save my sight, but they couldn’t do it now as it would mean I would be really unwell with infection where the shunt would rub, he was really dismissive and almost shocked we had been sent to him, I can remember bluntly saying ‘so what I’m stuck like this forever’ to which he replied ‘I can’t answer that’.
I came out of that room and my heart broke, for any of you that have visited Southmead you will know its a very large space, a space where my crying echoed around the building, Kev hugging me tightly his face etched with disappointment. I cried all the way home, being selfish in someways I guess, thinking that I was stuck with this crappy condition, why did I get stuck with it, what did I do so wrong to end up with it, I remember being even more selfish thinking for a split second that I’d rather not carry on like this.. a thought I’d never repeat, the bollocking I got from Kev for saying that even though it was just words will stay with me. You have to think of the positives I have two amazing children, I have an amazing family, friends who would do anything for me, and actually a caring happy community to live in, as mentioned before all of these contribute to making my life a much happier one.

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So after reminding him of this, he still said maybe we need a second opinion, so I said in 6 months I would agree to this, but first let me lose some weight, (by the way I have lost more and now 8lbs down) then I would consider it,  he agreed that would be a sensible idea, we scheduled another Lumbar Puncture for the end of Feb/beginning of March which he will do, I actually feel ok when he does them, so that didn’t fill me with too much dread!!

So though it feels like we never move any further, it’s all steps in the right direction, I am really lucky that my neurologist is usally a phone call away, and I can if I’m really unwell get an appointment generally quite quickly I know other sufferers have to wait for months, a LP will help, and the only person who can help with other things is me, I’m the one who can help myself, by taking my meds, follow a healthy eating programme and remember that though I hate the pain, I’m not dying, I am actually blessed with my life!

Have a lovely day wherever you are
Lots of love ASIBTAF 😄