Sweet Enough

The end of the honeymoon is fast approaching and it is time to move forward with grace and acceptance..."Each difficult moment has the potential to open my eyes and open my heart" ~ Myla Kabat-Zinn

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Packing

I have rediscovered that I dislike packing immensely!

It is not the physical nature of the process, not the organisation structure that needs to be in place, not having help (though I have plenty of offers), not having enough boxes, etc.......it is the emotional rollercoaster that you hop onto when you decide to uproot yourself and move on.

This is a very big step for me.....I am going from being comfortable and familiar to the unknown....the only thing that I know is that my family is there so I have that support, but everything else is a very big step.....I have an extremely low self-esteem and low self confidence so this is a chance for me to start afresh and grow as a person and move forward......but still.....

Anyways packing and the emotional rollercoaster - going through all your possessions it brings up a lot of happy and sad memories.......can you believe I found assignments from highschool, what is with that, why do I still have them.....I found some treasured photos and jewelry that I thought I had lost......I also came across stuff that reminded me of different thing that have happened in my life, some that were not too pleasant.....I started thinking what do I get rid of and what do I keep......do I really truly need this???? It was like I was throwing a part of me away, but at other times it was quite cleansing......

Over the past few days I have changed my mind so many times about this move and new job that yesterday morning I decided nope that is it I am going to call up my old work (boy that sounds odd I only left there on Friday) and beg for my old job back and things can go back to normal and I can go back to my secure little existence.....and then the phone rang......

It was my sister and she was saying are you excited, how did it feel this morning to get up and not go to work and I grumbled back that I am still working my butt off packing and she goes I know - it is an awful job, remember that I did it less than a year ago. Then she says that someone wants to talk to you and it was my 2 and half year old niece Hailie - and she goes Hi Auntie Carolyn and chatters away - I picked up a word or two to be able to follow what she was trying to say (she has moved from 2 worded sentences to three worded sentences now - very cute) and then she was handing the phone back and goes love you and then says see Carolyn soon and my heart melted and I was like yes sweetheart I will see you on Thursday and I hope you have those hugs and kisses waiting for me.....

So I keep on packing and the dislike for it keeps growing - less than 24 hours now until the removalists arrive - UGH panic is starting to set in.......

Friday, February 24, 2006

Question of Disclosure

When I applied for this job, on the application form there was the standard question do you have a medical condition or disease that would effect your capabilities of performing the job. I always struggle with this question - do I have to disclose my medical history or not and usually I tick the 'no' box because I have always done administration positions, being on elbow crutches has not effected my job performance and has not stopped me performing any duties that is expected of me or that is outline in the Job Description Form (JDF).

This time it was a bit different - the Diabetes is new, blood clots are new and I know that I am not back to 100% yet from all that happened then I am at about 80% so I questioned myself what do I do? I spoke to my work, which is really handy because they deal with work safety and also labour relation and consumer protection so they know all the ins and outs of this and what I have to disclose etc. We went through the JDF for this new position and they said there is nothing listed there that you can not do, so you do not need to declare anything......they are an equal opportunity employer so therefore you will be fine.......so I ticked the 'no' box.

I sent of my application and was called less than a week later for an interview, but they said it would be a phone interview because they are so far away (I was hoping they would fly me up so I could spend the night with my family :-)). I did the phone interview and deep down I thought no I won't get the job because I have no self confidence and I had been warned that it would be extremely competitive and that if there was someone already up there they would likely take them, but I got a phone call a few days later telling me I had been selected for the position. I was over the moon and you still can't wipe the smile of my face, I get to be with my family again.

Since then I have been panicking and having self doubts - they have not met me face-to-face, they still have no idea that I am on elbow crutches.......

Will they freak and panic when I walk through the door on the first day?

Should I get in contact with them now and declare this?

Does it really matter, should it really matter?

The reason I am all uptight about it is that the HR department rang me up on Wednesday asking if they could email a copy of my contract so I could have a look over it before I arrive so if I have any questions I can let them know when I arrive. I am like sure no problem and then I thought I would ask about dress code etc as I would be working in a hospital was there a uniform or was I expected to wear certain colours?, etc. She said it is totally up to me there is a uniform but it is personal choice as long as you look neat and tidy and that you wear appropriate footwear everything is ok. She also said that because I will be working in the Finance Department in the Maintenance and Purchasing section I would be moving boxes etc so it is up to me. So I have been stressing about this - there is nothing in the JDF about moving boxes or any physical activity - I mean I can do all that, I do all that now I still move boxes etc. and I work for WorkSafe and they make sure I do things safely, but they know me, these people don't - so are those questions above relevant????

People here are saying no I don't need to say anything. If they needed someone who is physically capable they are an equal opportunity employer they know that they have to stipulate it in their JDF if there is anything that would prelude someone. My Dad works for the government and he has been on interview panels that have done phone interviews and he said if you think about weight - how is the person doing the interviewing know if the person weighs 190kgs or 54kgs - it should not matter.

Sorry for going on and on, but it is really bothering me......

Moving

Last week I was offered a job, which I accepted, which involves me moving 17 hours away. This is awesome because I will be with my family who have moved up north in the last 2 years and I am missing them dreadfully, especially not being able to see my niece and nephew growing up. I have been waiting 3 years to finally get a permanent position in the Government......it gives me a bit of security, especially considering my run of health problems of late, I don't need to stress that if I need to take some time off that I won't have a job to go back too, etc.

It has all been a rush because I start the new job on 7 March and I leave Perth on 2 March and I finish my old job today. So much to do in such a short amount of time. Everything was going perfectly and then Wednesday I got a phonecall from the removalist company telling me they could not move me on Wednesday that they had overbooked and mine would be delayed until the 7 March. I was dumbfounded in what I was going to do because I needed to find someone else to do it in less than a week - thankfully I have found someone to do it - more costly but it will be done when I need it to be done - so everything is back on track......I hope.....

I have only my car to organise and book my flight, but leaving the flight late as possible just in case......oh and finishing packing a 4x2 house......

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Walking Medical Museum

I was 15 years old and attended a sports carnival at high school, but I was accompanied with a letter from my parents saying that I was not to participate in any events. I have hypermobile joints and was always rolling my ankles and knees. I was also a competitive artistic rollerskater and had my proficiency testing coming up in 2 weeks time and could not afford to injure myself.

As they day went on I got talked into competing in a novelty race and they needed just one more person so me being me said sure why not........it was a 20-legged race what could go wrong??? Ten of us had all our ankles tied together in a circle and we had to go 50 metres and the first one to cross the line would win.....we never crossed the line we all fell and I was on the bottom of the pack with a sprained ankle.......Oh boy did I hear all about it when I got home.

Anyway I did all the usual RICE treatments, etc but after a week and a half the ankle was deteriorating the pain was so intense and my foot was freezing cold. I went to my GP and he ordered x-rays to check for fractures - nothing and sent me for physiotherapy. I did that for 3 weeks and it just got worse and worse until the Physio refused to treat me anymore because she was sure there was something wrong.

I was sent to a Sports Doctor where he thought I had RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy) and sent me for a bone scan and the Radiologist agreed with him. From there it has been another journey in itself. For me it has spread nearly full body now and not much can be done for me now, or nothing that I am prepared to do, but I never lose hope.

As you can see I have had an interesting health journey in this lifetime, hence the title of this post, the name my GP gave me after all I went through in the last 14 months. How can one person have so much go wrong and such obscure conditions. Obviously this is what I was supposed to go through - it has definitely made me a stronger person and someone who appreciates all aspects of life..........don't get me wrong sometimes I do go into the 'Why Me' scenario, but not so often these days.....it is all good :-)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Denial = No Insulin

For the next 6 months I did everything right - tested four times a day, ate three meals a day, stuck religiously to eating the right foods, giving the injections and I had no problems with coping, etc and just got on with it and realised that this was just the way things were going to be and that was ok.......I did all the crying and the why me when I was first diagnosed, etc. Seriously the only problems I had was the eating three meals a day I am not a regular eater so that was challenging, but I knew this is what I needed to do to keep healthy so I did, oh and I didn't like the finger pricks my fingers were getting very sore, especially as I could only use one hand.......but again I knew it was something that I had to do so I did it.

My three montly results were perfect and I mean they were in the fours and fives and I never had to adjust my insulin doses I was on 8 units of Novarapid three times a day and 8 units of protaphane at night - easy.......but then I started to become complacent where I skipped a meal here and there so therefore I didn't take the insulin and my levels were still fine so then I thought ok why don't I go a day with out taking any and see what happens nothing all was fine, and that day turned in to two, etc, etc....till i had gone nearly two months and I was coming up for my Endocrinologist appointment and was panicing thinking oh no what am I going to do they are going to kill me but my result was fine i was in the low 5's, and they said excellent you are stll honeymooning and I said yep and I am not taking any insulin and that did not go down to well but I explained my theory and they were fine but i must keep an eye on things.

I went for my latest check up in January and my test was 5.9 so slowly creeping up and they asked how things were gojng and I said fine, and i still keep to eating correctly etc, but I had to admit that over the last week that my levels had been slowly rising especially in the morning and the two hours after a meal......so I have been told to keep a closer eye on things and look out for symptoms and at the first sign of trouble to call them directly and they will sort things out for me.....

So as of now my levels are still slowly rising and I will have an occassional nasty 20 plus reading but then by the next day it is fine again so I am thinking this honeymoon time is slowly coming to an end and I will have to get over this denial thing and switch my mind back into the right mind set and appreciate that I have had a nice intermission, but there is going to be no more of them......SIGH......but if only..........

My Brain Is Not In My Little Toe Part Two

I went by ambulance to Royal Perth Hospital and my Mum and sister followed by car and I arrived there about 5:30pm and was met by the Neurological Registrar who I have to say was an obnoxious and arrogant Doctor. Seriously, he interrogated me for nearly three hours and asked so many questions in between me throwing up and screaming at him when he was doing his neurological examinations (which I understood he had to do, but it was the way he went about it when he knew I had RSD/CRPS nearly full body).

My Mum kept trying to step in and answer the questions for me and he started interrogating her as if she didn't know what she was talking about. It was like he didn't believe there was anything wrong even though he had the scans sitting in front of him. He decided to admit me but said he didn't think it was necessary to call in the Radiologist to do an emergency MRI. I was past caring anymore I just wanted the pain to stop and just wanted all the bright lights to be turned off and to be left to sleep or die or something. It was 9:45pm then and I told my Mum and sister to go home, there was no point hanging around.....Mum refused to leave at first but the nurses eventually talked her into leaving and they promised to call her if there was any developments.

At 10:30pm the Registrar came back in and said that he had spoken to the Consultant and he wanted an MRI done immediately and he rolled his eyes at me - I couldn't believe it....so at 10:45pm I went for my first MRI and OMG that was not a pleasant expereince - the noise and vibrations was horrendous and trying to stay still and calm - and half way through the CD they were playing stopped so the noise was more intense and then the Radiologist couldn't talk to me so I had no idea how long I was going to be in there - it was absolute torture.....

11:45pm I was finally taken to the Stroke ward and started on a heparin drip and it was a long night because they were doing neurological checks every 15 minutes. I eventually saw the Neurologist late morning and he was the nicest Specialist I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. He sat down and explained that I had 4 blood clots in my brain (Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis) and they didn't to start dissolving them and work out why this had happened. Straight away he goes whats wrong with your eyes - and I explained the blurry vision and the shimmer effect and the intense pain and he looked at his Registar and said you didn't tell me about this and they left my room.......after that day the Registar treated me with a little bit more respect.

In the end they thought it was a combination of me being on the contraceptive pill and because of the Diabetes - they explained that because we don't know how long my sugar levels were out of control that having high blood sugar levels causes the blood to become thick and sticky and this had caused clots to form and I was very lucky to be alive. I was in hospital for just over 2 weeks and had a small stroke which caused right side weakness and effected my taste (everything tasted like fish and i mean everything.....btw I hate fish)

While in the hospital I saw the Endocrinolgy team and they said they got the test results back and it was definitely Type 1 Diabetes and I also showed positive antibodies for hypothyroidism so they would need to keep a close eye on that as I am jsut borderline at the moment. I experienced my first hypos while in the hospital - well apparently I did I had no idea it was happening - they were testing my sugars that many times a day and I remember one occassion I was on the phone to my Dad, anyways I stuck my finger out for the prick and the nurse went into a panic because it was 1.7 and I am like what and she said you have to get off the phone now and drink this stuff (some glucagon drink) and I am like why I feel fine and she says well you are not fine.......and this happened quite a few times while I was there and I had no idea each time. It was something I would have to keep an eye on in the future......

Friday, February 17, 2006

My Brain Is Not In My Little Toe Part One

I was carrying on as normal, while adjusting to having Diabetes and went straight back to work...all was fine except my eyes just wouldn't improve, still experienced blurry vision and having this shimmer around everything and having intense sinus pain and headaches.

I am not a headache person, the only time I get headaches is when it is time for my prescription to be changed in my glasses, which happens approximately every 2 years. On 21 December 2004 while at work my head was going to explode (seriously it was going explode, I was absolutely positive it was going too). I had tears streaming down my face and the Executive Director took one look at me and got someone to drive me home in her car and she said you are not to come back until you are better this time.

Back to the Doctors and more antibiotics saying I had another sinus infection. Christmas came and I was feeling better, but Boxing Day I went down hill again and spent the day on my sister's couch while they were entertaining visitors outside. On 29th when I was supposed to go back to work I couldn't do it and called in sick and that night, it took me that long to be able to manage to make it to the Doctors and he sent me home with another course of antibiotics and gave me a combination of an anti inflammatory and some pain killers and said if it doesn't work within an hour come straight back (this was an after-hours clinic at the local hospital). After an hour I thought that there was a slight improvement that i went back to bed and crashed.

1:30am
OH MY I thought I was going to die, my head was passed explosion point and I was seeing red and stars and started throwing up... all I can say is I have never ever felt anything like it in my life ...and I live with pain everyday, but this was just beyond my limits.

My mum was down from Karratha and staying at my sister's house so I managed to crawl to the phone and call her and said to her I know it is only a headache and I will feel like and idiot but I think you need to take me to the hospital.

2:30am
Mum arrives with my sister and they take me to the local hospital, where every couple of steps I was vomiting. I was taken straight through and they were giving me all sorts of medications but nothing would stop my head from hurting.

9:00am
The Doctor decided to do a CT Scan as no one had done one to check my facial sinuses. I went in and had that done and thought it was real strange when the Radiologist asked how long I had been like this and I just groaned and said that I have had sinus infection after sinus infection since October and a headache that has just grown and grown and they panted my hand and said you poor thing and got wheeled back into Emergency.

After about 30 minutes the Doctor sat down on my bed and said that they had found something in the CT Scan and I automatically said you mean I actually have a brain. He laughed and then got all serious. He said he thought I had an aneurysm and would need to have surgery, but they wanted to do one more test.

10:00am
They sent me back for another CT Scan this time with contrast. Back to Emergency. After about another 30 minutes he said no now we think you have a blood clot in your brain and you need to stay very quiet and stay calm and I am like ok. He says you are not reacting and I am like you said to stay calm so I am staying calm and then I looked at my mum and she had tears streaming down her face (she is a registered nurse). He said that they needed to send me up to Royal Perth Hospital in the city by ambulance where a Neurologist would meet me in Emergency.

The Beginning Part Two

I arrived at my GP's office and didn't have to wait too long. The first thing was the finger prick test - the second time I have ever had one in my entire life and I flinched and boy did that 10 seconds feel like a lifetime and it read HI and I am like what does that mean and he said that you are so going to have to get used to having those finger prick tests. He passed me a urine specimen jar and asked me to give a sample so I went and did that while he saw another patient and I gave the sample to his wife who is a nurse who tested it for me while I waited in his other room. Two minutes later they are calling my sister and getting her to rush me to the hospital.

Arrived at the Emergency Department of Royal Perth Hospital and gave them a letter from my GP and got shown straight through. They called for an Endocrinologist consult and I got their Resident Doctor and boy did I get the run around from him over the next 3 hours. I was questioned and questioned about being 28 years old and because my mum had recently been diagnosed as type 2 then I had to be and the nurses around my bed were like no you need to get moving on this and get some insulin into her and she needs to be moved to Resus and I was like hang on a minute I am perfectly fine thank you just keep the water flowing and give me whatever I need and I am outta here.

The Resident was extremely flustered, I found out later that he had only just recently started this rotation and was still getting the hang of things. Anyways I was admitted and had drips coming out of my arms and feet (I have really bad veins) and was told you have Diabetes but we don't know what type. It was 2 December 2004. The following day I met the Registrar and she was awesome and explained everything very clearly and she said that they had taken tests to check for antibodies and they would not get the results for a month??? They were treating it as Type 1 because of everything I had been through over the last couple of months leading up to it having a virus etc and the sudden onset, loss of weight,etc.

That afternoon I met the Consultant and we had a long talk and after discussing my Mum's history that she has an autoimmune disease (Primary Billiary Cirrhosis) which had led to her developing hypothyroidism and then to developing Type 2 Diabetes and now Rheumatoid Arthritis - they are 99% sure I have Type 1 because I have a 20% chance, as well as my sister, developing an autoimmune condition and he says obviously this one is going to be yours.

I was in hospital for 6 days where I went through their education program etc, and got things started........It was quite an emotional time and the Registrar was very helpful with that and would sit there and answer my questions and just chat in general for as long as I needed to get me through that initial shock.....

Once home I didn't have too many troubles to adjusting, except to the eating three meals a day I am not a regular eater, so that was my greatest challenge........the journey continues to the end of December when things just spin out of control again.....

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Beginning Part One

It all started at the Perth Zoo - who knew visiting the zoo with family and close friends on a beautiful, very warm Spring day would be the start of my diabetes journey.....I was going backwards and forwards to the bathroom (did I say this was scarey because I do not like public conveniences and tend to avoid them at all times, but oh my today was a different story) while walking around the zoo and no one could keep up with the amount I was drinking.......in the afternoon I bailed on the walking and parked my self on a park bench in the shade and layed down with my 1.25 Litre bottle of water and downed that while the others continued and started to wonder why everything was blurry and had a shimmer around it out of my right eye - I put it down to that it was an unusually hot day and I had been really ill about 3 weeks earlier with a nasty ear and sinus infection and some sort of weird virus - residual effect......yeah thats it.....

The week went on and I just didn't improve and by Wednesday at work I just said I can't do this anymore and booked myself some time off to get myself better thinking I let myself get run down........By Friday my face was sore with pressure, my ears hurt and my right eye was really getting worse, my GP put me on more antibiotics saying I had another sinus infection. He gave me a double course of a strong antibiotic and by the following Friday I had no improvement and went back and he sent me to one of the main hospitals emergency departments thinking I needed IV antibiotics as the sinus infection had invaded my eye. I was given all these tests and they didn't think it was an eye infection, they thought I had optical neuralgia and the Neurologist sent me home that night and said to come back on Monday and they would do a neurological test to see if that was it.

I came back and did the test and got a phone call later in the day to come back the following day to see the Neurologist and get the results and it was negative, but he said that he wanted to do an MRI scan just to be sure there was nothing else there but it might take a while to get an appointment (three months in the end). He then noticed that when I was in Emergency that I didn't have the usual standard blood tests and urine tests - why not - I said probably because I was sent everywhere for all these different eye tests, x-rays etc it was missed so he sent me off to get that.

Two days later he called me at home at 8:30 am and said you need to go and see your GP urgently NOW, your blood tests showed something wrong with your glucose levels. So I said sure, but I don't think I will be able to get an appointment because he only works for half a day on Thursday and he said no you don't understand you ring up and say you have to see him immediately. So I rang and got an appointment for 10:30 am and the journey began......


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Outlet To Express Me

I have been lurking for quite a few months reading different blogs, especially ones to do with Diabetes as this is a relatively new development in my life. I thought it was about time that I gave myself an outlet to express what I am feeling and going through.....please bear with me in future posts as I explore what is going on inside this head and body of mine.....