Friday, 9 August 2019

The Truth Behind My Back

Today I am starting a new series of blogs about the ongoing treatment for my back.  I am hoping that by sharing my story not only will people understand a little better what's going on in our life, but also maybe my story with help others in the same position as me.

I had an email from a friend this week, in fact I had a number of emails and the content was much the same.  They all said "I'm really sorry Kate, I don't think I realised how bad things were for you guys" and it occurred to me that perhaps I haven't really let people in and let them know what's going on in our lives as much as I should have done.

It's easy when you are sitting at home feeling sorry for yourself to just think everyone should magically know how you are feeling!  But of course none of you are physic and as far as most people know I had a bit of a fall and I have a back ache.

So where to the beginning I suppose.  

On New Years Eve I was pottering in the garden at home, when I took a tumble down all the terraces and landed in a heap on the floor.  I realised at once I had done something to my back as the pain was excruciating.   Charlotte was the only person at home and had the sense to immediately call an ambulance and call our beautiful next door neighbour friend Nikki over, who is a nurse.  Poor Craig was in Robina and got a panicked call from Charlotte to come home.

They scooped me up off the ground, now an ant bitten mess and took me to Robina hospital where I spent the next 10 days with nothing happening at all. Complaining constantly I had done something awful to my back. I took another fall there in the bathroom injuring myself further.  At the 10 day point we asked if I was ever going to be seen by a specialist and they admitted they didn't have one and I would need to go to one of the other hospitals.  They didn't offer to find me anyone so I was left sticking a pin in the phone book to find a neurosurgeon or spine specialist.

I was taken to Gold Coast Private hospital where I seen by a specialist who never laid a finger on me, I had no examination whatsoever but instead a couple of CT's.  I complained constantly that I thought it was the discs in my lower back, an injury I had had before and that I thought I had finally finished them off. I was ignored, misdiagnosed and given the wrong operation, a bilateral sacro iliac fusion.  After the fusion I was in a bad way but sent home to effectively get on with it.  I spent 12 weeks watching everything getting worse, now completely dependent on crutches to get around.  

I finally saw the specialist again but he didn't care and further misdiagnosed my problem as bursitis in my hips due apparently to my age and sex.  Told me I shouldn't need to be using the crutches and told me to go home. I protested once more desperate for him to take a look at my back as I knew this is where the pain was coming from.  Except now not only did I still have the original pain in my back, I now had a new pain that felt like a tooth ache in my left lower side.

I started physio that week and it was absolutely horrendous, the worst pain I have ever felt in my life, equal to childbirth.  I cried, I complained, I tried to explain but no one was interested they said I needed to work through the pain, that it was all in my head.  The physio became increasingly impossible and I became weaker and weaker. An MRI was done and the results not given to me, so I contacted my wonderful GP and he told me I had a possible infection and that one of the screws from my fusion was potentially touching a nerve and he strongly suggested we should seek a second opinion and not return to the original surgeon.

The second opinion came in the form of a brilliant doctor called Dr Francois Tudor.  He saw me and listened to my story, he thoroughly examined from top to bottom, something the original surgeon never did.  At the end of the consult he told me yes I had mild bursitis and three tears in my glutueus medius likely caused during the fusion operation.  But that this was not my most immediate problem.  He confirmed my own suspicions that the lower discs in my back had finally given up and that this was the cause of my problems. Not being a spinal doctor he sent me for a third opinion.  He did not charge me for the consult, telling us that medicine needed to do better and that I had been badly let down. By now my pain meds had increased ten fold and without them I cannot deal with the pain.

I had an excellent consult with the next doctor who also asked me to see his senior partner for a fourth opinion.  They did discograms of all three levels, which I have to say was the most painful procedure I have ever endured. My language was horrendous and I screamed and cried like a baby, it was truly horrible.  I had an EOS scan, numerous CT's, MRI and another test that brought tears to my eyes, a electrical nerve conduction study to try to work out what nerves if any were involved.

The test results came back and sure enough we finally had a diagnosis.  I have three collapsed discs. L5/S1 L3/4 L4/L5.  The best course of action would be a three level disc replacement however here is Australia health funds or the government system to do not cover this procedure.  Instead all that can be done is a two level fusion and a 1 level disc replacement.  This by no means is ideal and will leave me in a pretty poor state on top of an already fused SIJ joint which can't be undone either.  I listened to my surgeon telling me it would alleviate some of the pain but he couldn't guarantee the outcome.  He also told me that because they fuse the spine in a standing position that when I sat down it would feel like I was standing.  I came home full of worry and I was the most frightened I can every remember feeling.  What an earth did the future look like from here?

It is now seven, nearly eight months after the fall and I have to admit to feeling very low.  The pain has increased over the last few weeks and I am back having to use both crutches again.  I sleep very little and I am kept up most nights with excruciating pain.  I can't be left alone anymore after another fall in the shower.  I can't drive or get around on my own anymore.  Trips out require scooters or wheelchairs now as I simply can't walk any distance.

We are looking into alternative operations and hope to have answers in the next week as to whether they may be another option.  But for now things seem pretty bleak and life is difficult.  

I am only grateful to have such wonderful support from Craig, who does just about everything for me, even puts me in the shower and washes my hair bless him.  He takes the kids to school, cleans the house, does the washing and takes incredible care of me without so much as one complaint.  My girls are being good too, helping out where they can, but I feel like half a Mum at the moment.  My folks are also absolutely amazing, and I am so grateful to them for everything they do for us and the kids, without their support life would be much harder than it is.

So for now I am just trying to retain my sanity and try to stay positive which I couldn't do if it wasn't for the amazing people around me.  Whist we wait to find out what we do next and where that journey might take us. 

Kate x

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Juicing for Joint Pain

For years I have suffered from joint pain.  I would wake up in the morning with sore fingers and find myself running them under the hot tap just to get them moving.  I had loads of tests but the doctors couldn't find anything wrong.  They suggested I had fibromyalgia, which seems to be the diagnosis they give when all other testing has been exhausted.  I was miserable and at the time very overweight.

I watched a programme called 'Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead' and decided I would embark on a 30-day Juicing diet, see if I could lose a few pounds. I am not going to lie to you,  it was the hardest diet I have ever embarked on.  However the upside to this hellish experiment?  The weight just dropped off, some days it was as much as a KG a day, I was thrilled.

More amazing though, as I woke up on day 10 PAIN-FREE! I didn't need to warm my hands under the hot tap.  My hands didn't hurt.  I got out of bed and I realised nothing else hurt either, not my knees, hips, arms nothing.  I wandered around my bedroom thinking this is impossible and maybe I was just having a 'good' day.

However, the more days I juiced, the better I felt, the pain never returned.  It was amazing.  It was at this point I decided to start researching some of the fruits and vegetables I was juicing to see what qualities they might possess as far as anti-inflammatories go.

It turns out some of these ingredients are superstars, in fact, all of them are in their own way.  For example, pineapple is literally natures anti-inflammatory.  It has a something called bromelain, a protein-digesting enzyme known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, one cup of fresh pineapple is a great source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C, so you really can't lose.  The more I researched the more I realised that these fruit and vegetables had to be the reason for my lack of pain. My favourite recipe in our book and is heavy on the pineapple is 'Pineapple Pleasure'. This one really is a pleasure to drink, it's sweet goodness is delicious.

Unfortunately,  I am allergic to all over the counter synthetic anti-inflammatories which over my life has been a complete pain.  But now if I get pain caused by inflammation I revert back to juicing.  A side note is I have found pineapple a lifesaver during chest infections too, especially with my kids. 

I wanted to share my findings with the world! So, I thought the easiest way to do this was to write down all the recipes I have been using over the years in an eBook.  With the help of my lovely partner, we have just finished writing 'Juicing for Joints' and it is my great hope that you will get as much relief from these recipes as I did.

I would absolutely advocate you do at least a 10-day juice fast to cleanse and detox your system, to begin with, and then just add one of these delish juices to your diet every day.  Definitely watch 'Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead' it is so inspiring.

I intend to follow my own advice as over the last couple of years I have fallen back into old ways.  I have lapsed with my juicing and my joint pain has returned.  So, this is day 1 for me too but what's great is I know that what I am embarking on really works. 

I would love to hear how you get on, which juices you love and which juices you least favourite is anything green and my favourite is anything yellow.  However, knowing something is really good for you and is actually helping can really make something more palatable!

You can pick up our book from the Kindle store on Amazon.  It's called 'Juicing for Joints'

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

"Why can't the English?"

"Why can't the English teach their children how to speak" I can hear Rex Harrison crooning in my head as I start this post today and oh how I agree with the sentiments of that song!

Listening to a pair of teenagers in the library this morning was the final straw!  Their conversation went something like this -

"So well like I saw him 'an I just foght he was kinda like cute and I like I said to him like why dont we go aat like together like" the first girl says

"Oh f***** hell like that is so sick like" the second girl replies

Then to my surprise the first girl then replies "Yeah I well pleased like"  I totally misunderstood the conversation!!

I had to walk to away it actually hurt my ears to listen to them!  It did start the inevitable argument in my head of what's happened to the English language 'like'.  With Shakespeare, Wilde, Austen and  such masters of the English language to be so proud of how did we get to the point where conversation became so shortened and ugly, how did we fall so low?

I suppose some of it is my age and the young people of today would accuse me of not 'getting with it' or to write the way they do is 'sick man' but I don't care I don't want to shorten every word in the English language to suit this new ridiculous fashion.  It took me near on half an hour the other week to work out a text message a dear friend in the UK, (granted she is a few years younger than me), it went like this -

"Hi K8T twas so gtsu we musm lik hope lyf n NZ S goin wel n its nce 2B hom d gals r luvly n twas realy nce 2 mEt em we'll cum n SYS we hope B4n" 

I am sorry to "dis" this way of talking but come on people!!!  I get it that young people would look at this and just know what it says but I just think it's a crying shame that this is what our beautiful language has become, through sheer laziness and need for instant gratification.  I thought it was just here in New Zealand but sadly upon research it's seem to be a worldwide phenomenon in English speaking countries.

It's not just the way we speak either even the words being added to the Collins dictionary of late are telling of the way our culture and language is changing.

For your amusement :-

Bridezilla - a woman whose behaviour in planning the details of her wedding is regarded as intolerable

Blootered - intoxicated; drunk

Bashtag - a hashtag that is used for critical and abusive comments

Cyberbully - someone who uses electronic communication to hurt, persecute or intimidate people

Facebook - a popular social networking website

FaceTime - an application for a mobile communications device that enables people to speak to each other while simultaneously observing each other on a video display

Faff - to dither or fuss

Amazeballs - an expression of enthusiastic approval  (new one on me, might have to use this one!!)

Floordrobe - a pile of clothes left on the floor of a room (my daughter's have one of those!)

Frenemy - a supposed friend who behaves in a treacherous manner

Lollage - the practice of using the text messaging abbreviation LOL (do we need a word for this?)

Mummy porn - a genre of erotic fiction designed to appeal to women

Sick - good; excellent

Thanx - thank you (this one really grates on me!)

Bang tidy - of exceptionally good quality

Tiger mother - a very strict mother who demands that her children reach a high level of achievement

Believe me this is just a selection of the ridiculous words that have found their way into the dictionary of late.   I wonder whether we will now start dropping the letter 'u' out of half our words too like so many other countries around the world.  It drives me mad when the spell check wants me to change colour to color, it's just sheer laziness!

In all seriousness though it is sad, in an age when technology is taking over and believe me I am not averse to technology, I blog, I twitter and I facebook (look at all those new words I am using!) but what I suppose that concerns me is that we are losing something truly beautiful and replacing it with something so very ugly.  It would be so much better if we first taught our children the beauty of the English language and then 'like' let them ruin it 'like'.  At least then they might first appreciate it's poetry and beauty and the great writers of the centuries would not be lost to gather dust on library bookshelves.

I know that fairly recently Emma Thompson (Emma Thompson's Rant) went on a rampage in the UK totally 'dissing' the use of 'like' and 'innit' and frankly Ms Thompson I agree!  It's time to fight for our beautiful language and teach our children to appreciate and use it properly, otherwise we stand to lose it forever and with it the great writers of hundreds of years as they become lost to a language that people will no longer be able to decipher.

I am going to stop ranting now (I could go on and you know it!) and leave you with two beautiful examples of why we simply have to stop with the 'like' 'innit' 'bro' 'sick' and 'dissing'.

Sonnet XVIII by William Shakespeare 

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

I won't tell you how many words the so called spell checker underlined in that piece!

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

"If you will thank me," he replied, "let it be for yourself alone. That the wish of giving happiness to you might add force to the other inducements which led me on, I shall not attempt to deny.  But your family owe me nothing. Much as I respect them, I believe I thought only of you".

Elizabeth was too much embarrassed to say a word.  After a short pause, her companion added, "you are too generous to trifle with me.  If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once.  My affections and wishes are unchanged; but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever"

Elizabeth, feeling all the more than common awkwardness and anxiety of his situation, now forced herself to speak; and immediately, though not very fluently, gave him to understand that her sentiments had undergone so material a change since the period to which he alluded, as to make her receive with gratitude and pleasure his present assurances.  The happiness which this reply produced was such as he had probably never felt before, and he expressed himself on the occasion sensibly and as warmly as a man violently in love can be supposed to do.  had Elizabeth been able to encounter his eyes, she might have seen how well the expression of heartfelt delight diffused over his face became him; though she could not look, she could listen, and he told her of feelings which, in proving of what importance she was to him, made his affection every moment more valuable.

They walked on, without knowing in what direction.  There was too much to be though, and felt, and said, for attention to any other subjects....

Now THAT's 'Mummy Porn'

Have a great day folks!

Kate x

P.s On an unrelated note and in regards to an earlier post 'Single Mum and the Dating Game' my first date with the man who only has one very nice head was totally wonderful 'like' and I am now nervously excited waiting on the second date 'like'!