Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Perfect Christmas

I've entered the Sainsbury's competition to win the Perfect Christmas - have you seen the TV ads? Snow? Carol singers? Tree? Fireworks and lots of food and drink - woo hoo!

We're in the finalists zone which is very exciting - and it has been a very welcome distraction these past few days.

The pain continues, relentless as ever. Really about resigning myself now to this may be as good as it gets. Not made any better by knowledge my post is being put at risk of redundancy tomorrow.

But hey - let's remember the Gratitude Book :-)
  • I had a nice glass of wine and long chat with a good friend this evening.
  • The tube was on time tonight and I got home in an hour!
  • It's freezing outside but we can still afford to heat the house!
  • The Vicar of Dibley is on TV and making me smile :-)
  • I have a warm bed to sleep in tonight with a memory foam topper...
It's not that hard really, we do have a lot to be thankful for.

Sleep well


Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Costoplasty Clarity

I belong to a support forum for people with scoliosis. I thought I would mention that again, though most of you know already. Those who don't know sometimes seem to wonder how it is my circle of friends seems to include so many people with spinal issues ;-)

Over on SSO I've been asking for some clarity re costoplasties - a procedure that trims some bone from a protruding rib hump to improve the cosmetic appearance of your back after corrective surgery. I was booked in to have this done but in the end I was told Mr Tucker didn't feel it was necessary - he obtained a good enough correction by loosening, de-rotating and fusing my spine.

However - he did do a thoracotomy and remove one or two of my ribs so he could get in and collapse my lung, and gain access to the front of my spine to remove a few discs and loosen it up (nice huh - hope you're not eating).

The point of going through all this is I am trying to work out where the intractable pain is coming from. If you google thoracotomy it's not great news in terms of long term recovery and freedom from pain. Yet costoplasty is widely regarded as the most painful procedure. I simply cannot imagine anything more painful than the agony I went through so am grateful that didn't have to happen!

Having written it all down it seems an irrelevance now.The pain is there no matter what the source. As I write it feels like a red hot knife is being twisted below my shoulder blade. Well, how I imagine that might happen as thankfully no one has done that to me for real!

Off to get a shower and dressed, then onto a breakfast meeting with my team. Another busy and distracting day, which perhaps in the end is the best way to cope whatever the cause.

Laters xxx

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

New Notebook

Time to buy a new notebook perhaps.

Bee reading about the idea of keeping a Gratitude book. Yes it sounds cheesy but who am I to complain about a nice ripe Camembert or slice of Stilton?

The idea being, every night you write down five things to be grateful for. Seems this has been proven to help people with ailments from depression and chronic pain to athlete's foot. Well maybe that last bit's a fib but you get my gist?

I told a friend about it over lunch yesterday. Their initial reaction suggested cheese wasn't their favourite thing but as we chatted I think we both concluded what harm can it possibly do? To be a bit thankful, grateful, appreciate things more - smacks of counting your blessings and that has certainly stood the test of time.

I think the idea of a notebook is a good one. You do this last thing at night so you don't want to be logged on and have all that electronic stimulation stopping you from sleeping. I fancy a nice William Morris print notebook to inspire lovely thoughts, and perhaps a fountain pen to help me write neatly - or at least legibly.

Meanwhile - for one night, or rather morning, only. Here's some I thought of earlier.

  • Had to go into work for a meeting, the outcome of which was much better than expected
  • An old friend was around and we had time to grab some lunch on the South Bank - always a treat
  • We managed to find enough money to fly Rachel home (don't ask!)
  • Had one of those nice baths where you get the water temperature just right and could stay in there all night.
  • Slept really well, didn't wake for painkillers once
You get the idea? Still loving the notebook thought but there's something about sharing the gratitude that's kind of nice - what does everyone else think?

Wishing you all a wonderful day with lots of things to be thankful for xxxx

Sunday, 14 November 2010

To Blog or not To Blog

Hi again,

As you may know, or can work out from the dates of my blog posts, I blogged practically every day for three months. And then I stopped. Not altogether of course - I continued to squirrel away my thoughts and feelings in a journal and it still remains my aim one day to sit down with a box of tissues and a large glass of wine and read all about it :-)

In fact I may print the blog and the journal, probably in double line spacing with a margin either side, and send it off to a publisher (probably need an agent first...) as I remain convinced this story needs to be told. And read. And heard. As scoliosis is still something that so many people are ignorant of. The few that have heard of it are often misinformed and it continues to concern me that there is no screening programme to identify AIS - adolescent ideopathic scoliosis - in the early teenage years.

There used to be - that's when mine was picked up. But "back in the day" surgery was lengthy, risky and unlikely to produce a significant correction. Which of course is why I never had surgery years ago.

Why did I stop the public blog? At the time I couldn't have put it into words, other than to say that I felt uncomfortable writing about things and knowing that they were in the public domain. Someone commented to me that my blog was relentlessly positive and upbeat but that wasn't how I was feeling. In fact the time when I stopped blogging was about the time I had some kind of emotional breakdown with all the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. To continue writing positively felt like a lie, that I was deceiving myself and others, so it had to stop.

It was therapeutic to continue writing in a less public place and I am very grateful to those who accompanied me on that very difficult stage of the journey. But the point of this blog had always been to try and offer some help and support to others facing this surgery or recovering from it.If that is you, and if you would like to read more about the dark days, then please do drop me a note or comment below.

It's now a week since the intercostal nerve blocks. No real change to be honest, other than the area under my right boob/breast (delete whichever you are least comfy with) is slightly less painful. For a few days the site of the injections felt sore and stung. Now the pain is back to how it was.

However - having tried just about every prescription drug on offer I did wander into Superdrug yesterday and for £1.09 bought a pack of "extra strong painkillers" Hmmm....

200mg of paracetamol, 300mg of aspirin, 30mg of caffeine. Sounded like chicken feed. Never mind, I gave it a go and by the time I'd added in a couple of gin and tonics the pain had lessened. Always good to know there's something out there that has helped on occasion and may do so again, perhaps cocktails are the way forward :-)

Time for bed - as Zebeddee once said. More soon.

Linda xxx

Monday, 8 November 2010

Intercostal Nerve Blocks

By way of an update here is what I have just posted on the Scoliosis Support Site. With apologies to anyone who has read this already...

Home and in bed now. Somewhat delayed by my omelette taking an hour and a half to arrive. (In the end I got out of bed, feeling very faint, went to the nurses station and said if it wasn't coming then I would go home. They said "but you can't go home until you have eaten something")

I have big sticky dressings on my back, clearly have been bleeding a bit so will leave them until they come off naturally I think. The area is very sore but Mr Tucker said it may take 5 - 10 days for the steroids to take effect.

The last thing I remember prior to the injections is joking with the anaesthetist , getting a bit emotional and his assistant holding my hand, then going into theatre and seeing a pile of pillows on the operating table. I said there was no way I could get on there and lie on my tummy, Mr Kofi said "okay then I'll give you a gin and tonic" and I woke up in recovery!

Mr Tucker was as lovely as ever - but told me off when he came to consent me as I was still in my jeans knitting. He was like "get changed - we're ready for you" when clearly he was not unless he operates in a suit these days ;-)

Linda x

Saturday, 6 November 2010

9 months

Think for a moment about all that you can do in nine months...

Okay now, how many of you said "Grow a baby" ? Gotcha!

You can also live through the tail end of winter, the promise of spring, a somewhat disappointing summer, and somehow find yourself in autumn with the stores full of festive cheer. Almost a year gone, where and how?

It's three months since I blogged on here. I still keep a diary - somewhat erratically it must be said. So I do have a record of all that has gone on since my last post back in August. It doesn't make for the most cheerful reading so I'm saving it for a rainy day when there's nothing on TV and I feel like making myself miserable. I plan to sit down with a glass of wine and a box of tissues, and in one sitting read through everything on here and elsewhere. The hope is that this will bring a realisation of how far we've come, along with a new hope and optimism for the future. So perhaps be a good idea to do that sooner rather than later ;-)

The latest news in the proverbial nutshell is that I am going back into the Wellington on Monday for some intercostal nerve blocks. These are injections of steroids and/or anti-inflammatory drugs into the nerves in my spine. The aim is to stop these nerves from firing off pain signals the way that they do 24/7. In particular if I am startled, jostled, rattled, or bumped. Think commuting into London on the Metropolitan and Jubilee lines and you get some idea of what a challenge this can be. Still not driving as I could never do an emergency stop, firework night was to be avoided at all costs as big bangs are notoriously painful (a balloon bursting at a Halloween party reduced me to tears), and the busy-ness that is our wonderful capital city is a scary nightmare at times.

The jags should reduce the pain for a couple of weeks, with the hope that longer term having had a "rest" the nerve endings may be less sensitive in the future. Mr Tucker was very matter of fact about this procedure and has kindly agreed to carry it out himself, under sedation, on Monday evening. Hey - I'd only have been watching Corrie after all!

This is uppermost in my mind at the moment so little else to blog about. Other than I am of course back at work- part time - and finding that to be both a blessing and a challenge. More next time maybe!

I hope that this finds you all well and look forward to your comments, here and elsewhere. If I have not been in touch recently then I do apologise - but this is why.

Linda xxx