No, this is not a blog on piercing and body modification (I can assure you, that’s the blog I’d rather be writing). Instead, it’s the tale of how I’ve become a pincushion in 2017.
I can confidently and proudly say, I’ve never broken a bone in my body. Not one. A few years ago, before hospitals and surgeries took over, that was my claim to fame! I’d had operations before but nothing I felt was anything more than routine, I’m learning in the UK that C-Sections aren’t actually routine so that statement is null and void anyway. I had my children, via the sunroof, that was the sum total of my time spent in hospital.
In 2013 (I think), after spending many days in the dentists chair, I had oral surgery to remove most of my teeth and pack bone into my gum. That was (what I thought at the time), a pretty big op. I was operated on in a day clinic, out same day and the recovery was fairly speedy. Much to everyone’s irritation, my verbal diarrhoea was back with a vengeance and paired beautifully with my shiny new teeth.
I have always thought that I have a high pain threshold, this is evident in the long hours endured in the tattoo chair and voluntary piercings despite my fear of needles. Nothing could have prepared me for the medical nightmares I’ve had to endure since I’ve been in the UK – Thank goodness for NHS!
In 2016 I was diagnosed with endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome. After a year long fight for funding, monthly injections and multiple doctor and specialist appointments, I finally had a hysterectomy and bilateral oophorectomy in March this year. Despite having two past Caesarean sections, nothing could prepare me for the recovery time after the hysterectomy. I was (am) older, this took longer, other aches and pains arose and for 8 weeks I was held up in bed trying to remember why I made the decision to have this drastic surgery in the first place.
Post hysterectomy and a few months down the line, my body started to positively respond to the HRT’s that I take daily to prevent an early, medically induced menopause. I was feeling good, my body was returning back to normal (barring a few extra kg’s) and life was looking up, I thought that at the age of 32, my serious medical concerns were behind me.
Apparently, 2017 had other plans.
In September I flew out for a brief stay in Johannesburg to join my sister as her matron of honour for her wedding. It was a beautiful wedding, a gorgeous day and it looked to be an even wilder reception. For everyone else. If you’re Shevy, you stand up (pre dancing) and make your way to the dance floor and your knee decides it has other ideas. I took a step and my knee couldn’t bear any weight, it buckled beneath me. Before dinner was even over, so were my MoH duties and the next 48 hours would be brutal.
At breakfast I nurtured my knee ‘egg’ with an ice compress and hobbled around before getting my bum on a plane to get home. On arrival back in the UK, I called my GP immediately and saw him the same day where it was ascertained that I had torn an MCL ligament in my right knee… nothing too bad, some rest, some Naproxen and a knee brace would have me right as rain in 6-8 weeks.
Apparently a combination of a short, long haul trip only a month ago combined with a knee injury and prolonged use of the same HRT that has been making life bearable have me at the doctor yet again yesterday with a suspected DVT. I woke up on Sunday, my entire leg was blue and swollen and my groin was unimaginably painful. I gave in and yesterday went to the GP where she immediately sent me off to A&E (Accident and Emergency, not Anything and Everything as the posters mention) and I spent 7 hours being pricked, poked, prodded and pushed while they tried to figure out what was wrong with me. After a few more Dr’s, a whole load of blood tests and a special appearance by an orthopaedic surgeon, I was asked to come back today for the final scans and testing.
I’ve just gotten home from being at Royal Berkshire all day and between the DVT clinic and the ultrasound room, it’s been confirmed that I have a DVT in my femoral vein (possibly up to my iliac) with possible clots in my lungs. It sounds worse than what my body was trying to do, haemorrhage a foreign body that decided to take residence in my pelvis and block blood flow in my leg. After a morning spent with one of the most honest and supportive nurses, I left feeling positive about this situation and ready to take these anti-coagulation tablets to stop the clotting and let my body break it down so I can get back to regular programming.
What I can’t seem to shake is the feeling that the universe is trying to tell me something and it’s taken to shouting and screaming now so I’ll listen.
As you can see, I’ve had my fair share of medical experiences (car accident excluded) and this journey is far from over but for the first time, I was afraid. A DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) is not something to be overlooked or untreated as 1 in 10 will develop into a pulmonary embolism (PE) if ignored. Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a disease that includes DVT and PE (both of these are forms of VTE) and is responsible for a death every 6 seconds globally. The threat of this is real, left untreated this could have been a lot worse than it currently is.
When so many medical occurrences present themselves in a short space of time, it’s easy to feel like a hypochondriac. I push through the pain and sometimes don’t say a word because I fear people with think I’m over exaggerating or attention seeking. The sad reality is that this ‘tough’ exterior was almost the reason I didn’t go to the doctor yesterday and could have ultimately been the cause of a much more serious situation. It isn’t fun to be pummelled by one health issue after the next and I’m at a point where long term decisions are in planning, where lifestyle choices and career changes are in the very near future and where my health will no longer take a back seat to career or materialism. This was my wake up call, universe I am listening.
It is my birthday month and I couldn’t have asked for a better present. The gift of realisation… so while I won’t be getting any tattoos or piercings for the next 3 months, I remain a human pincushion on loan to the NHS temporarily.
I have officially been told to stop my HRT therapy, hello Menopause