?! Appendicitis August Part 4 ?!

Oh hey again,

We have almost reached the conclusion of this crazy month August. In my last post I discussed my journey from short stay and my hard fight that led to the small win of finally being admitted onto a ward. The CDU2 (surgical ward).

I awoke on what must of been the fourth or fifth day of being in hospital roughly st 8am, when I was delivered breakfast, I ate it and then was given my morning meds and introduced to the morning staff. A nice nurse came and did the usual obs routine, blood pressure, temp, heart rate etc. Everything seemed normal, she walked out of the room for a moment and then came back in holding a tiny little medicine cup with two round white pills. It was my first lot of medication, the nurse watched to make sure I swallowed it and then walked away. It was a little past 10AM now and mum had arrived back to visit me in the ward. The next few hours felt like so long, like being in a drugged up hospital daze of nurses and doctors walking in and out and eating hospital provided meals and trying to watch tv and every time I was just about to fall asleep someone else would come in and wake me up with something different, just like clockwork.

The elderly lady next to me had been discharged, I couldn’t believe how old she was, she was 91 and still fighting fit walking to bathroom and doing everything for herself, she was only in there for a small fall and couldn’t wait to get back home to her cat. I had the room to myself for most of the day, I thought I might of had an alone room for one nigh, I was wrong, late afternoon another lady was wheeled up from the ED department she was a bigger woman, she had a drip connected to her and every five minutes she  would howl in pain, so there went any chance of me getting any sleep.

Mum had been with me all day so I sent her home because I didn’t believe anyone was going to see me on this day. However not long after mum left two doctors, a male and a female gynecologist came to see me, I had gotten up to go to the toilet when they arrived so I listened to what they had to say from the chair the hospital provides for guests and patients. Some major discussion between doctors and the different medical teams must have happened because when these doctors came to see me they told me the best news that I had been fighting for the whole time, they said;

“We are going to do a diagnostic laparoscopy procedure to rule out any gynecological problems and insert a Mirena IUD for contraception and to help with the pelvic abdominal pain.”  

(a surgical procedure in which a fibre-optic instrument is inserted through the abdominal wall to view the organs in the abdomen or permit small-scale surgery.)

(Mirena is a type of long-acting, reversible birth control called a hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) and is manufactured by Bayer Pharmaceuticals. An IUD is a small, flexible, T-shaped device that is implanted in the uterus.)

They explained to me that my surgery will be tomorrow, but they weren’t too sure when and if it would even go ahead or if it would be moved back because I was just on the emergency cancellation board and said thank you, hoped back into my bed and then they both left. The girl then came back in a few minutes later with surgery consent forms and then explained them to me and what this medical procedure would entail. She left. I then rang mum straight away and she said that was good news and then to message her tomorrow before I went into surgery. That night I had a drip inserted to keep my fluids up, as I was no longer allowed to eat anything. I was exhausted so I was given pain meds and went to sleep.

The next day, the day of the operation all happened super fast, I was woken up at 5am for all the nurses to do the usual Obs, Bp, heart rate, temp and give me morning meds. I could feel and hear my tummy grumbling from not eating, and no my body kept pushing out my drip so the male nurse on morning staff took it out. At 7am I was given a surgical gown to put on, I remember having this queezy feeling in my stomach and someone arrived at my bed, a surgical nurse and said “Someone will be up to get you in the next few minutes”.

I smiled and said “Ok” even though I was freaking out, I then rang mum straight away, She hadn’t even gotten up yet and I told her I was about to go down any minute now, I was a bit irrational because I kept asking what if I went down and she wasn’t there, she just replied and said I’ll be there when you wake up. I literally got off the phone to mum and within seconds a ward person had come to take me down to the operating theatres, I remember thinking gee that was fast, wasn’t even 10 minutes. I was parked on my bed in a waiting bay where the nurse who seemed to be organising all the theatres and what surgeons were in which one could see me. Opposite me was a little girl in a bed getting ready for her surgery. The nurse at the desk could tell that I was having a bit of anxiety and nerves, she said that’s completely normal, she offered me to go to the bathroom and then put a warm blanket on me. I laid there for about 20 minutes and then asked if I could use the bathroom again, she said yes, I went and very little came out, I told the nurse and she said that’s normal its nervous wee, because your anxious about the surgery. I literally hopped back into a bed when a surgical nurse came round and got me, she introduced herself and then wheeled me to the operating waiting prep room. There I met the junior anesthetist and the head anesthetist, I had told them how my drip had come out and how they  had to put a new one in even though my veins are really fine and deep. Just writing and talking about it now I can still feel the pain from that moment. He smiled and said I will try my best. Whilst they were trying to jab me in the right spot to be able to put me to sleep, a surgical nurse had come in to see if I understood the procedure that I was about to undergo to which I said yes. It was funny and lucky because it just so happened to be that the strong female surgeon who believed me happened to just come out from that operating theatre and walked into mine she said to me “While we are there, we will just take out your appendicitis as well, so that you or no one else can ever blame your appendicitis again.”

I just nodded okay and the anesthetist had finally gotten the drip in, I was prepped and ready, they then wheeled me into a giant metal silver operating room with a black operating chair table, it literally looked and made me feel like I was in Grey’s Anatomy or Private Practice, or House or something like that. They pushed my hospital bed right up next to the operating table and told me to scootch my touche until I was laying on the black operating table. Once I was stablised a bunch of doctors and nurses swarmed around me, the put a blood pressure and heart rate monitor on me. A cold thing that sticks to your leg, made sure I was wearing beautiful surgical stockings, a nurse was holding my hand because she could see that I was getting a bit worried. The anesthetist then said he was going to start giving me a little bit of stuff, it was funny because I knew I was going to have to have a catheter in and all I was worried about was that I didn’t have surgical undies on. They said it shouldn’t matter and then someone brought over a giant blue tube thing that either had oxygen in it or sleeping stuff because I was talking to a nurse and within seconds I was out.

The next thing I remember is having a nurse calling my name to wake up, and suddenly my eyes slowly opened and I was in recovery, my blood pressure was really high and the pain was still pretty bad so they kept pumping me with stuff until it went down, I was almost on the full amount of whatever drug they had given me, when I was down to a pain level of two they wheeled me back up to the ward where mum was waiting for me. I do not remember much of the rest of the day except for the fact that I had apparently been really chatty. Pretty much everyone in my family had come to see me, once I had talked myself out I kept going in and out of sleep.

(Before Surgery)                                   (after surgery)

I had a few more difficulties with people before discharge but that’s another story, I was discharged two days after my procedure on the Sunday which meant I had spent a whole week in hospital fighting with doctors. I was sent home with pain meds and was told I would get a follow up phone call a month later.

Fast Forward to the start of September an unknown number appears on my screen, I answer the phone it’s a surgical doctor doing the follow up phone call, he starts by asking how I am doing and then proceeds to explain the procedures that were done. I almost laughed when I heard his final sentence. His final words to me were;

“We were lucky we took out your appendix when we did, as it was really inflamed.”

I said thank you and hung up. I then punched the air like a fist bump as I was right the whole time, I knew something was wrong with my body and I was glad that no matter how exhausted I was I never gave up the fight. I was and still am very thankful to all the people who offered to put me through private medical, to the kick ass girl surgeon who believed what I said was real, to the private gynecologist who made a lot of phone calls to the public system. This is me saying thank you I couldn’t have done it without you.

and to all you people out there who suffer from an invisible or unseen illness please remember to always believe in yourself, fight for your rights, remember you are not alone and together we can educate the world.

Lauren x

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?! Appendicitis August Part 3 ?!

Welcome back fellow bloggers, readers and anyone who suffers from any unseen or invisible illnesses, lets bring you back into the story of the blurred month of August. In my last post I had just described my journey from the clinical decisions unit (CDU) to the short stay unit, to eventually getting to a CDu2 surgical ward after three days of fighting with doctors and nurses.

So lets take it back a little, so I can give you some  more insight into what I endured over that week. It was 11pm when a ward person had come to collect me from (CDU) and transfer me into the Short Stay Ward which was still another part of emergency,once I was settled I sent mum home because it was late. I remember laying there for half an hour uneasy to sleep because I was running back and forth to the toilet whilst trying to wheel a drip with me and not dirty my cloths at the same time. Once I was finally able to stay in my bed for longer then five minutes, I remember calling the nurse for my night time meds because I take amitriptyline (Endep) for my nerve illness. (This medication is used to treat mental/mood problems such as depression. It may help improve mood and feelings of well-being, relieve anxiety and tension, help you sleep better, and increase your energy level. This medication belongs to a class of medications called tricyclic antidepressants. It works by affecting the balance of certain natural chemicals (neurotransmitters such as serotonin) in the brain. Or Nerve Pain. )

The nurse answered and said she would be right with me, when unfortunately her time was suddenly obtained by a woman next to me who seem to be suffering from a fainting spell or was unconscious, I wasn’t too sure what was going on I could only make out bits and pieces of the sounds coming from behind the curtain that came between me and this other patient. I felt sorry for her, I thought yes I am in extreme pain but I also felt sorry for this woman who had only now come back into consciousness and was told she wouldn’t be going home to see her family anymore only for her safety.

I was suddenly interrupted from this hospital daze when a doctor, the young woman gynecologist who was the first person to see me was standing at my door (hospital curtain) She looked at me and said “Frankly I’m surprised you’re still here”  I was still in a shocking amount of pain and she could see it, so I kind of just dismissed her comment because it was late and I was sick of arguing. She did the same external test she had done on me two days prior and same results, she then opted for an internal examination, which as a patient you have to give consent, I was willing to do anything at this point to find out what was wrong with me. She then went away, I had finally just been given my night time medication when another woman appeared, a doctor, a different one. She was a general surgeon she had introduced herself I can’t really remember her name but apparently she remembered me. She said that she had read my hospital files and had found an extensive report that she had written about me back before my nerve problem was diagnosed. She had such a strong female presence about her, she did the same as every other nurse and doctor that had been to see me, I started to sound like a broken record 10/10, yes, excruciating etc and then after a quick examination she said the best words that I have ever heard in my life.

She said “So all that psych stuff is bullshit right?”

It was the first time I had smiled throughout this whole journey and I said yes it is. She said right let me just make a few calls and have a conversation with my boss and I’ll get back to you. I said thank you as she left the room.

By now it was like 12:30/ 1 am, my hospital television was on in the background, I could feel my eyes start to close, I was in an out of a sleep daze, my eyes were closed but I could still hear the different beeps and weird noises that came from each hospital bed. Just before I hit full rem sleep at about 1:30 AM, I was woken up by the same young gynecologist woman who was wearing blue scrubs, a bald Indian man, clothed in black scrubs was standing with her. She introduced him as her boss, he then introduced himself as the head consultant gynecologist at the hospital. She stood behind him at the end of my bed as he listened to my story, I don’t know if she was having a crappy day or if she just didn’t like me but you could tell she didn’t really want to be there as she rolled her eyes as I continued to tell her boss the same story I had been telling.  He then asked me if he could do the same external examination that everyone else had done I said yes. He saw how much pain I was in, constantly crying out when people touched me and even when they didn’t, when they pushed down and when they let go.

He then stood at the foot of my hospital bed and said here is the plan;

“We are going to admit you up into the CDu2 Ward (Surgical Ward), We will keep you up there and try and manage your pain by giving you different strong medications more regularly instead of like here in ED where you only get it when you ask for it, and we hope that by managing your pain it will still get better. You will then be attended to by the doctors on the morning rounds does that sound good?”

I nodded my head yes, I was happy to finally be admitted to a ward, so even though it was such a small win, it was a win after fighting with doctors for three days straight. They left. I then went back to sleep for what literally felt like 2 minutes before a wardy came to collect me. They wheeled me up to a room and I was sharing with an elderly woman who was sound asleep because it was now 2am in the morning. The ward nurses came to see me did my usual obs told me how to use the tv/ computer to order food and to watch tv. They left and I sent mum a message to let her know where about’s in this giant hospital I was now located and I finally went to sleep for that night.

 

This was such a long journey/ month which is why there will be 4 parts, in part 4 I will tell you everything that happened to get to my positive outcome. Please I encourage you all, if you have a story of invisible or unseen illnesses I would love to be able to tell it, share it on this blog. You know your body the best and sometimes you need to fight, believe in yourself, back yourself and together we can educate health professionals and the world.

Lauren x

 

 

?!Appendicitis August Part 2 ?!

Hello fellow bloggers and readers welcome back to what was a whirl wind month of August 2k16. In my previous post I started telling the story of my unbearable abdominal pain, which involved a lovely trip to the Gold Coast University Hospital, where I was poked and prodded, dosed up on pain medication that didn’t seem to be helping the pain at all. So I was transferred to CDU (Clinical Decisions Unit) the place where you go to wait to see if you will be transferred to a proper ward for further investigations or sent back into short stay just to manage pain. (Kind of like the cycle of emergency or not)

 

(The following events transpired over the 16th and 17th of August, It was very fast and much of it is a blur.)

On the 16th of August very very early in the morning I was seen by two young female gynecologists, they asked me similar questions to what the ED doctor had asked? Where is the pain? How bad is it out of 10? Does it feel worse if I push on it? To which majority of my answers were YES and Excruciating and 20/ 10. They didn’t stay for long and just told me that they didn’t believe that it was gynecological related and because of the pelvic ultrasounds I had done whilst under the ED team and there were no clear results they left.

I was told I wasn’t allowed to eat all day in case I had to go and have more tests, I ended up having to go for another X-Ray and when the results came back they said they couldn’t see anything except that I was heavily constipated and my bowel gas was blocking visuals of anything else. So the only treatment plan I had in place was to manage pain and to give me movical and an enema to help loosen my bowels.

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This day is all a bit of a blur with so many nurses and doctors walking in and out of my room and my pain still not dulling at all, I was exhausted because I hadn’t been able to sleep and to make it worse there was no TV in my room to help distract me, I was bored and I felt like I was going insane with pain.

I had already been fighting for my patient rights for one night and I remember one of  the nurses on change over , she had to do my regular obs,blood pressure, temp,heart rate and she asked me the same question “How is your pain level out of 10?”

and when I replied with 10 she said “no your not, you would be screaming and crying if you were”, just because I didn’t have any tears left in my eyes from crying the day before I was dehydrated. This comment didn’t sit well with me, because I thought how would she know? She is not experiencing my pain and everyone’s pain tolerance is different. I had been dealing with pain since I was 16 so I had to have some sort of coping mechanism to deal with the pain right? So I asked her as I burst into tears, so much so that I was no longer able to speak for myself and mum now had to step in and speak for me. She explained to the nurse that I was just fed up and incredibly frustrated because I have had to fight and face comments like that all my life. The nurse then became very sympathetic because she could see how upset I was and she had not wished to upset me. The nurse and mum then tried to explain to me it was the chart used to help the nurses to help me so what I thought was a 10 may have been an 8 so they could provide me with the proper dose of medication and that she did not mean it in a way that my pain was any less then I had been describing. I now understood she was just doing her job which I respected and felt sorry for her that I was being such a pain. I was now physically and emotionally exhausted so I tried to sleep.

I was in and out of sleep when suddenly I awoke with the horrible pain again, I sat up in my bed crying and clutching my stomach, it seemed like there was no one around now, mum had gone to the food court to get some dinner. I felt like I was in so much pain and the halls were empty when suddenly a doctor/ surgeon or someone pointed at me and said she may have a kidney stone as well so get her a test done. I waited and waited and nothing….

it was almost 7pm at night now when I was seen to by a gynecologist, he seemed above the level of the two girls I had seen earlier, he had a feel of my stomach and went through the same questions again. “How is your pain out of 10?” Does it feel worse if I push on it?” “Is it a sharp or dull pain?” “Where does it hurt the most?” I answered with all the same answers as before yes, it’s excruciating, the pain isn’t getting better. To which he then turned around to me and said ” Look I don’t think it is Gynecological related, all I can do is either discharge you from here because I do not see the need for further investigation or put you into short stay and let the morning doctors discharge you.”  This made me furious I had already been fighting for a few days, I yelled at him and said the surgeon before wanted to check my kidneys and no one did that, I am in agony, the pain meds haven’t been working, I haven’t eaten in three days, and my GP wrote me an emergency referral to come into  hospital because when I was at Robina they wanted me to get a laparoscopy done. To which this surgeon basically tuned around and told mum and I that because of the money, and the stupid public system they would not do the diagnostic surgery unless I was physically dying and because all my test results were clear they couldn’t do anything. I argued and said if bowel gas is in the way how do you know something isn’t wrong if you do not look?

He replied “I’m sorry, that’s just the way it is, I can help with the bowels but I can not promise that you will not be discharged tonight.”

I was sobbing now and hyperventilating, I couldn’t breath, I was so upset, I thought I’m not getting sent home just to come back again tomorrow to go through the same thing. Mum was furious she got on the phone to her private gynecologist told him the situation and he asked to speak to the public doctor and basically told them that they were idiots for not checking everything. The public doctor just said the same thing he said to us that there is only a certain amount of money allotted to the public system to perform operations. Now all he was saying was that he would transfer me back to short stay and under the care of the ED doctors again. I was overwhelmed by the generous amount of support from Facebook and people offering to pay for my private health if the public system refused to give me tests.

It was now  11 pm at night, I had been given some more movical and another enema and once that kicked in things started to flow like a fire hydrant, It would suck because I would be in bed, then I would feel this horrible flushed feeling on top of the pain and would have to rush around the corner to the toilet, this happened five or six times within the space of 10 minutes to the point where mum just said stay down there, I also now had another hydro lite/ saline drip to keep me from being dehydrated because I hadn’t eaten all day.

When I finally got back to my bed, I found that there was a wardy there waiting to transfer me to short stay in ED, I remember asking him if my bed was next to a toilet, luckily it was. Once I was transferred I was allowed to eat something, not that I really felt like eating because I had been so sick, I now had a TV in short stay and had finally been given my night time meds, I started to get settled in and it was really late so I sent mum home. There must have been a conversation between mums private gynecologist and someone up high at the public Gold Coast Hospital because within an hour of my getting transported to short stay the head consultant of the gynecology team was at my bed and had decided to speak with me. He did the same tests as everyone and then said they would be transferring me to CDu2 which is the surgical ward just to manage my pain on a more regular basis. It was 2am by the time I was transferred to the ward, so I fell asleep pretty much straight away.

In my next post i will continue this story and my journey and fight to not give up on my body and to always believe in myself.

Lauren x

 

? Appendicitis August ?! Part 1

Hello blogosphere,

Here we are again, you cruising over other peoples pages you may wish to look at and even read and here I am sitting in a Gloria Jeans coffee shop on a not so sunny day on the glorious Gold Coast preparing to write yet another invisible illness story. I have titled this post ? Appendicitis August ?  with the question marks and all because the month of August was such a whirlwind of a crazy month. This story starts only two months after being discharged from Robina Hospital with the unsure diagnosis of ‘Pelvic Inflammatory Disease’ (PID).  (Quick re cap: PID is inflammation of the female genital tract, accompanied by fever and lower abdominal pain.) I was prescribed two very strong antibiotics Flagyl and Doxycycline, and even though they gave me horrible side effects they had seemed to have cleared up the painful symptoms which seemed like the end of it.

Now lets fast forward to the month of August, my cousin Jacob had only just recently been in and had his appendix taken out. His family ended up opting for the private health care route as he was stuffed around for multiple hours at Robina hospital. I however am not as lucky to have the option of private health care as it is too expensive.

I was on a film set for a film myself and a few others had been shooting for a few months now to raise awareness about Invisible Illnesses and Mental Health such as depression etc. We had just eaten and I seemed fine and then out of the blue filming in the middle of beaudeseret and an abandoned train track I felt the most excruciating pain on the right side of my stomach that I had ever felt. It felt like someone had sucker punched me right in the gut, I crippled over in pain, at first I thought perhaps it was because I had eaten really unhealthy junk food (McDonald’s) and that my body wasn’t agreeing with it. Then I wondered perhaps whether it was my nerves playing up because the pain didn’t stay there the whole time. However I had some sort of feeling that this was not my typical nerve pain because I had only recently had my (RIF) T12 nerve ablation surgery done. (Radiofrequency ablation (or RFA) is a procedure used to reduce pain. An electrical current produced by a radio wave is used to heat up a small area of nerve tissue, thereby decreasing pain signals from that specific area. )

and even though my pain was in the same area on the right side it was a pain like any other, I had never ever felt something so excruciating in my life, and I was convinced that it was something different when the other crew members that I was with told me that “I looked pale” and that “I should sit down and drink water”. So that is exactly what I did, sat down and had a rest and then I soldered on and pushed through the rest of the day and to my surprise I thought the pain had gone away.

BOY WAS I WRONG!

I got home and the pain came back worse than before it was so crippling that I couldn’t even move, it was so bad that the F Word left my lips a couple of times, no home pain killer seemed to help, the only thing that made a minuscule difference was a heat pack. I remember sitting up in my mothers bed, crying in pain, hoping that it would go away when I was overcome with a sudden feeling of nausea and literally watched my abdomen grow before my eyes, it looked so swollen like a scene out of a movie to the point of where if it kept growing I thought it might have exploded. I got up, I was bent over holding the heat pack over my abdomen and hobbled towards the toilet, and within seconds of reaching the toilet bowl I threw up everything bar the kitchen sink. Normally I have quite a strong stomach and sometimes have to help force myself to get rid of this feeling (Not a pretty sight, because of the constipation, the uneasy feeling usually just sits in my stomach unless I help it along) but this time no help was necessary, I opened my mouth and out it all came. I wasn’t sure if the vomiting and nausea was related to the pain or not because the week before my mum and my sisters suffered from a horrific 24 hour gastro bug, which started with pain, vomiting and then diarrhea.

This is what I looked like when the pain and the vomiting first started to take place:

For those who know me know that I am pale but never ever had I been this pale before. This all happened on the Sunday, I ended up having to take pain killers and sleeping pills just to get through the night and in hope that the pain might go away when I woke in the morning.

 

IT DIDN’T!

Monday morning the 15th of August, I organised an appointment to see my GP at the time Dr. Jason Lo Tam from Reedy Creek Medical Centre, I explained to him my symptoms of excruciating pain on the right side, the underlying constant pain and the coming and going of the spasm like pain. He asked me to hop onto the bed so that he could feel my abdomen, he hardly pressed down on the stomach area when I was practically crying out in pain from the slightest bit of touch or pressure. He told me that I could get back up off the bed and then proceeded to tell me that he thinks I should go to the hospital to have the proper care and get the right diagnosis. He said that he had hoped he could try and work it out so that hospital care wouldn’t be necessary but he believed it was the best option. So here I was left in pain and now crying for two different reasons,

1. Because I was so sore,

2. Because now I had to wait and face medical professionals who might not believe me about the pain.

In the meantime I had made an appointment to see a gynecologist to do a diagnostic laparoscopy which had been ordered by the doctors at Robina after I had been discharged in June.

Dr. Jason Lo Tam had written me an urgent referral to Robina Hospital, I took the letter went home, packed my hospital essentials (bag of clothes, phone charger, spare underwear) and mum drove me to the closest hospital which was Robina Hospital. A volunteer from the hospital wheeled out a wheelchair, helped me get out of the car  and into the wheelchair and wheeled me to the front desk where I was met with a triage nurse. She asked me all the usual questions, checked my BP and then with a smile simply said “Please take a seat and someone will be with you shortly.”  So that’s what we did, I was in too much pain to sit upright so I laid down next to a mother and her poor little girl, and between listening to the busy rush of nurses and the cries of a man who was covered by a blanket, I looked at the clock and had been sitting there for almost 2 hours now, with no pain relief at all.

I watched a family practically push their way in front of other people to talk to the triage nurse, we were cramped, there was hardly any space left in the waiting room, no beds in emergency and this family of 7 seemed fine but needed to be checked over because they had been a part of the train derailment that had happened in varsity lakes. I was starting to feel claustrophobic and still in an immense amount of pain , still without pain killer, I got up and moved to seats at the back of the waiting room and laid back down. However my pain was interrupted and I was distracted for a moment when I saw a girl who looked worse than me, she was red in the face from crying, tears still streaming down her face, she was crippled over in a wheelchair, clutching pretty tightly to a green whistle which didn’t seem to have helped her pain at all.

Another hour passed by and my mother realised this girl was by herself, asked how long she had been sitting there and if she had any pain relief, the girl replied “Since lunch time, and no, I haven’t had any pain relief.” So mum walked over to the nurses behind the glass and voiced her concern, but Robina hospital was waiting room was even more full now if that was even possible. So this poor girl who had been waiting in so much pain said she was going to go to the other hospital (Gold Coast), mum asked her how she was going to get there  and she replied “public transport” and within that moment mum and I had a sort of telepathic conversation and thought we are not letting this poor girl in so much pain catch public transport to get to the specialist hospital. (Especially since the trains had stopped and now only buses were running.) So we offered to drive her , I realised that if I had to be at a hospital too I may as well be at the place where all the specialist teams were. So mum helped her lay down in the back seat, I sat in the front and we drove another half an hour to get to Gold Coast Hospital.

When we arrived there were no parks in emergency, so mum dropped both of us off at the door and we hobbled through the Gold Coast emergency waiting room together, It was almost completely empty compared to Robina Hospitals waiting room, we stumbled to the front desk the other girl in front said “Hi we have both come from Robina Hospital and we are both in excruciating pain. ” The triage process was a lot quicker now, we spoke to the nurses explained our symptoms, moved on to admin and got told to wait. We didn’t wait more than an hour in the waiting room and I am glad we didn’t because as we both laid opposite each other , a man came out from behind the door we could tell that he was not quite right and he just happened to sit next to us. He too was in pain, we listened to him cry out over and over again saying “Here it goes again, Here it goes again” as he squinted his face right up till it turned a shade of red. He started to ask mum all sorts of weird questions about us girls and she was fine in answering them, it wasn’t until he went to touch the girl that was with us that mum had to step in and say no. Luckily not long after that a male nurse came and did some obs on the girl that was with me and pretty much took her straight through to a bed in ED. Mum was now helping this girl with her bags and I was left laying by myself with this man and in pain, it wasn’t until he started asking me weird questions that I started to feel uncomfortable so I got up and hobbled over to a different lot of seats. I was just about to lay down when my mother returned with the male nurse following closely behind ready to do my obs.

He hooked up the blood pressure machine, the heart rate monitor and took my temperature and for some reason in that exact moment when he was there my body entered a whole other level of pain, I thought what I had been feeling before was bad, this was 110 times worse. I was now screaming in agony, tears running down my flushed faced and the spasm lasted for a good 30 minutes. The nurse tried to come me down and said he would be right back with panadine fort, he was gone less than 10 minutes when this lovely Indian girl doctor came out and called my legal name Lauren Reich, the nurse ran over gave me the panadine fort. It didn’t even touch the surface, the doctor than asked if I could walk I nodded my head and said “Yes, but very slowly.” I walked to a different waiting room area down a narrow hallway, to a place that said minor emergencies, mum was worried about this, about the doctors not taking it seriously but this lovely doctor smiled and replied “It is just a more quiet and quicker way to get through to emergency. I got changed into a one of those lovely hospital nightgowns and was poked and prodded, finally the doctor came to a conclusion and set we need to get your pain under control, so they inserted a Cannula (a thin tube inserted into a vein or body cavity to administer medication, drain off fluid, or insert a surgical instrument.) into my arm, which is generally a painful experience for me as I have very thin, very deep and very bad veins, I was also very dehydrated from throwing up, and gave me morphine through a drip to help with the pain and a saline/ hydro lite drip to help with the dehydration and then I waited. I waited for the bloods to come back, I waited for my urine to be tested, and I was almost up to my maximum dose of morphine through the IV. I saw that girl again once or twice throughout the night, I waved one time and the other time I was fairly sure I was pretty dazed from the morphine so just kind of smiled.

After the bloods and urine came back normal, and my BP started to drop again, I was sent off for a pelvic  ultrasound, to rule out any ovary cysts or ovarian torsion, I had an external and internal ultrasound which was a fairly uncomfortable ordeal in general because of the pain, but more because my radiologist was a male (which meant for the internal he had to have a nurse sit in with him.

External pelvic ultrasound – In situations where an internal pelvic ultrasound is not appropriate, the examination will be performed by placing the ultrasoundtransducer on top of the lower abdomen (stomach area). To ensure that the inside of the pelvis area is seen clearly on the screen, a full bladder is required.

download

Transvaginal ultrasound is an examination of the female pelvis and urogenital tract (kidneys and bladder). It helps to see if there is any abnormality in your uterus (womb), cervix (the neck of the womb), endometrium (lining of the womb), fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder and the pelvic cavity. It differs from an abdominal ultrasound as it looks at the pelvic organs from inside the vagina.

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The test is requested by your doctor if you have symptoms of pelvic pain, abnormal bleeding, to check for fibroids (muscle tumours of the uterus), polyps (areas of thickening of the lining of the uterus), ovarian cysts or tumours, infertility, or assessment of early pregnancy.

 

I was then sent for an X-ray, and when all these test came back inconclusive and with the only sign being massive constipation, they decided that I couldn’t stay in ED because I wasn’t emergency enough so they sent me to a ward called CDU or (Clinical Decisions Unit) this ward is where you go in order for doctors /  specialist to decide whether you are being sent up to an actual ward for further investigation or whether they send you to short stay just for pain relief. By the time I got to CDU it was 11pm at night and nobody was going to see me till the morning so I sent my mum home to bed.

In part 2 of this blog I will discuss the events that transpired over the next week. If you have a story that you would like to share please send to: thatsteelmedia@gmail.com

Lauren x

 

Not always a Happy Ending

Welcome back fellow readers, bloggers to the world of The Reality of Unseen Illnesses,

Sorry I haven’t written for a few months I have been confined to white tiled rooms we call hospitals, going through the same cycle and struggle of fighting with Medical Health Professionals.

Let’s back it up a bit my last story was the long journey I had taken to discover I had an Illness called Abdominal Cutaneous Nerve Entrapment Disorder (Here is a quick re cap on what that disease is :  (ACNES) is a condition that causes chronic pain of the abdominal wall. It occurs when terminal branches of the lower thoracicintercostal nerves (7-12) are ‘entrapped’ in abdominal muscles, causing a severe localized neuropathic pain that is usually experienced at ventral portions of the abdomen. It is frequently overlooked and unrecognized, although the incidence is estimated to be 1:2000 patients.[1] )

It was an amazing woman, a woman who looked beyond the norm and discovered that this was the main source of my chronic pain, a wonderful woman named Dr Heide Feberwee
Gold Coast Persistent Pain Management Service
Suite 3, Campus Alpha
2 Investigator Drive
ROBINA QLD 4226
Phone: (07) 5668 6825
Fax: (07) 5680 9539

and after having the  (RFA) ablation surgery I was pain free for quite awhile. However because I am only a young 22 year old my nerves grow back quite frequently and I usually have this operation done every 3-6 months.

So lets fast forward a few months to June 2016, I woke up the same as every morning and went through my usual routine and whist normal 22 year old’s morning’s usually consist of breakfast and coffee, this is what my morning consists of 100g of Thyroxine for my under active thyroid (Hypothyroidism) , 1 tablet of inner health plus (because of all the antibiotics I have to take), Movical and Iberogast (to help soften the bowel and help the digestive system whilst on many Opiate related medications. Which is not good. BTW. PLEASE ONLY TAKE MEDICATION AS PRESCRIBED BY GP OR HEALTH PROFESSIONALS.)

So in June 2016 , I woke up and realised I had a very bad pain on my right side and at first it felt like that odd sensation before you need to urinate, when this appeared the pain became so unbearable that I remained in a crouched over position clutching my right pelvic side. So I went through the painful steps of organising a GP appointment, the GP sending me off to get a Pelvic Ultra Sound both Internal and External, and for a girl a first time Internal Pelvic Ultra sound is a bit uncomfortable. Transvaginal ultrasound is an examination of the female pelvis and urogenital tract (kidneys and bladder). It helps to see if there is any abnormality in your uterus (womb), cervix (the neck of the womb), endometrium (lining of the womb), fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder and the pelvic cavity. It differs from an abdominal ultrasound as it looks at the pelvic organs from inside the vagina.

I had that done, got the results and was sent away with the normal anti inflammatory pain killers, but this didn’t do anything so hoped into mums car and drove to my second home ‘Robina Public Hospital.’  went through the usual cycle of explaining the same thing over and over again being pumped with pain killers, getting told there is nothing really wrong, organise another  round of ultrasounds and because of the pain killers the hospital pumps me with I end up having to have a catheter (“uretic catheter”:) draining urine from the urinary bladder as in urinary catheterization, e.g., the intermittent catheters or Foley catheter or even when the urethra is damaged as in suprapubic catheterisation. 

After a major 48 hours I finally ended up with a questionable diagnosis of Pelvic Inflamatory disease: (inflammation of the female genital tract, accompanied by fever and lower abdominal pain.) I was put on two types of antibiotics Flagyl

(Flagyl (metronidazole) is an antibiotic. It fights bacteria in your body.

Flagyl is used to treat bacterial infections of the vagina, stomach, skin, joints, and respiratory tract. This medication will not treat a vaginal yeast infection.)

and …

Doxycycline is an antibiotic that is used in the treatment of a number of types of infections caused by bacteria and protozoa. 

and whilst these medications for the two weeks in combination with strong pain killers did help this pain for a period of time. However because the side effects were so bad I almost considered just living through the unbearable pain. Some of these side effects from both antibiotics included:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Migraines
  •  Bleeding
  • Loss of appetite
  • and the constant feeling of not feeling 100%

 

So i guess where I am going with this story is that not everyone is happy ending, and I still have to fight to prove my illnesses are real only to end up with a MAYBE or Questionable diagnosis. The only good thing to come out of my stories is that I end up making wonderful friends at the hospital going through similar things to me so they are very understanding, so when you are feeling stressed, sick and alone please remember that you are not alone and that there are people out there just like you!

Lauren x

If you have a story about your invisible illness that you would like to share with me and the world please email : thatsteelmedia@gmail.com

 

A story not from me, but by another.

Today for the first day my blog has achieved and started to do what I hoped it would do, give courage and freedom to people like me, who have also been treated and thrown in the “too hard” or “it’s in your head” baskets to not feel afraid, and are not alone  in telling their stories. The more we do this, the more we are united I believe that we can make a bigger difference in the world on educating health professionals and the general public about unseen/ invisible illnesses.

This wonderful person reached out to me and had the courage to share with me their story, however in terms of this blog and their privacy, they have chosen to remain anonymous and out of respect I shall do that. I am just glad that they were able to share their story none the less.

This is their story:

“I just wanted to let you know I both cried and cheered reading your story! I feel so so sorry for what you had to go through. Makes me angry. My story is very long over a decade, and  now I’m telling you because I’m amazed that someone else has been made to feel how I did and still do as my pain journey has not finished unfortunately. I had a simple labrum tear in my hip.”

A hip labral tear involves the ring of cartilage, called the labrum, that follows the outside rim of the socket of your hip joint. The labrum acts like a rubber seal or gasket to help hold the ball at the top of your thighbone securely within your hip socket.

hip_labral_tear_intro01

 

” I was mis- diagnosed for 18 months with everything from post natal depression to depression and attention seeking thrown at me. I’ve since had hip replacement after years and years of battling again for help then back surgery because of a chiropractor that bulged 2 of my disks,  another surgery for that, and after waiting nearly a year for a DR to listen.

I was  called anorexic by people because I couldn’t eat from medication side effects and the constant amount of pain.. And now post 1 week after having my nerve block done my muscle cramping and headaches have not subsided due to poor posture and loss of muscle from not recovering from hip and back was damaged 12 weeks after that huge surgery.

Osteo has worked on me just this Thursday and was amazed at how lop sided my body is due to muscle miss alignment. I have a weekend right arm as I type with nerve pain running from shoulder to wrist . My recovery is going to take forever because I was not taken seriously in forever 😞 I’m 43 and I live in the body of a 90 yr old drives me crazy!”

Anyway that was long winded , thank you for sharing your journey it makes me feel less mental and a lot stronger about telling the medical profession . That I know my bloody body and to help me. Best wishes for you I hope your pain has gone for good you deserve a break xx ”

And I too thank this amazing person for having the strength and courage to open up to me and now the rest of you and share their incredible story which they are still writing, but please everyone remember you are not alone! There are others out there like you! We no longer need to hide, or feel embarrassed. Time to fight, stand up and believe in ourselves, we know our pain, our bodies, our stories and no matter what anyone tells you, you know best! Together if we are united we can help raise awareness about the Reality of Unseen/ Invisible Illnesses.

Thanks,

Lauren x

P.S. If you have a story you would like to share please send it to: thatsteelmedia@gmail.com

The Process to my invisible illness and final diagnosis: ACNE Part 3

Hi all, welcome back to the reality of unseen illnesses blog, sorry it has taken me a while to write the third part of this story, I was currently bed ridden and detained in a hospital bed for a week with no laptop or energy to be able to write about it, but that’s a whole other story in itself which I will write about shortly after this one.

In part two of The Process to my invisible illness and final diagnosis: ACNE, I had just discussed and shared some of my experiences whilst being at Monash for a few months, having numerous neurological tests done, only to find minor nerve damage in my leg but never able to find the cause. Which led doctors to the conclusion that it might be a psychiatric illness, something called Somatoform disorder, which is : A group of psychological disorders in which a patient experiences physical symptoms that are inconsistent with or cannot be fully explained by any underlying general medical or neurologic condition. Or in layman’s terms it means : That I was perhaps not dealing with an underlying psychological issue, such as depression etc, which then caused a physical reaction in my body such as PAIN!

This meant that these health professionals were ready to just transfer me off to the Mental Health team to a program called ‘Stepping Stones’, which was basically a Mental Health Institution for Teenagers and Young Adults. (I know I am re capping on some of my previous post but it is just to help the flow of the blog.) I remember being pushed in a wheelchair having a tour of the ‘Stepping Stones’ ward, clothes packed and I even manage to have my own room, but something just felt off to me, it felt weird, I just knew that in my heart I wasn’t suppose to be there. In that very moment, that is when something started to change, a fire started to burn within me, I knew I had to start doing something to help myself, I had to start believing in myself again and thinking positively. So I opted for out patient psychology, which was better for me anyways as the Psychology offices were located in Frankston, which was literally down the road from where I was living at the time which was In Karingal, in Victoria. It was an amazing experience within my body, it was like as soon as I started to believe in my self, despite still having the pain, I was suddenly able to walk by myself again, dress myself, go back to school and continue to do year 11 and 12.

After a few years of doing okay, my mum and my sisters decided to move to Sunny Queensland as all of my mums side of the family was already living up there. I decided to stay in Melbourne and finish my VCE (Or OP as the Queensland folk call it), because I had missed most of Year 11, I chose to do Year 12 over two years and that was the best decision I ever made. I was living in Melbourne with Kat’s mum, whilst Kat was living at her dads house so we still saw each other pretty much every weekend. I think living away from my family even though I missed them gave me a sense of growth and responsibility, I was now fully looking after myself and had a new sense of life.

However things started to go a bit pear shape again when I turned 18 as the Mental Health outpatient psychologist that I had been seeing were only for Young Adults and I had to see and try and pay for an adult one myself living by myself I had like minimal to no money to pay for these things and of course their was some relationship issues at that point in time. After a few years of constant health professionals telling you its in your head you, a part of you starts to believe it. So now I was anti depressants that didn’t really do much other than make me gain weight and made me sorta sleepy, which just made me feel more depressed. So once year 12 for the second time was over , I decided to move up to Queensland and be closer to my family knowing that Kat was going to move up within the next few years two.

Once settled into Queensland life I started noticing and experiencing symptoms in my abdomen, I was either constipated, or had bleeding or  other weird bowel movements and was experiencing excruciating pain in my abdomen. So I went through the series of my normal steps, find a good GP in Queensland that my mum recommended, he ordered some normal tests, such as bloods, urine, stools and then when I was still having problems he ordered a bit more things like ultra sounds, CT’s. When they came back normal, he referred me to specialists and surgeons who then said it may have been irritable bowel syndrome, so I changed my diet, when that still didn’t change anything, they sent me to see a surgeon again and her team, then referred me to a pain specialist.

So after a few months of having multiple health professionals look me over and go to the usual you are in the “too hard basket” it “must be in your head” , I was referred to a wonderful pain specialist who goes by the name DR. Heidi Feberwee , who was someone that was able to look beyond the obvious type of answers. I still remember my first meeting with her, I was running late, so I literally only had 10 minutes with her in her office as she was extremely busy. I remember sitting down with her discussing my symptoms, where about’s my pain was in my abdomen, she told me to lay on my back, pressed on a few places in my abdomen, said where I felt the most pain, she told me to get back in a chair, looked me in the eye and she said “I think you may have something called ACNE” and I was so confused , started touching my face, looking for pimples, I was like ” What are you talking about I don’t have ACNE?” She laughed and said ” No, I think you have something called Abdominal/ Anterior Cutaneous Nerve Entrapment disorder, which is when : Anterior cutaneous nerve entrapment syndrome (ACNES) is a condition that causes chronic pain of the abdominal wall. It occurs when terminal branches of the lower thoracicintercostal nerves (7-12) are ‘entrapped’ in abdominal muscles, causing a severe localized neuropathic pain that is usually experienced at ventral portions of the abdomen. It is frequently overlooked and unrecognized, although the incidence is estimated to be 1:2000 patients.[1]     

She then told me to research it , So I did, she explained that the only treatment was a nerve injection ablation, which basically means burning of the nerves. She booked me in for that treatment, I remember going in for my first treatment/ operation and freaking out because it was the first major thing I had ever had done. During the first half of the procedure you lay awake, the anesthetist gives you a local and Heidi puts a numbing cream over you abdomen and then inserts a giant needle into your abdomen, using an ultrasound machine she moves the needle around till she pin points the nerve, they test the area with a type of an electricity thing and once I can feel it quite a lot on a minimal setting, the anesthetists up my dose and put me to sleep, they then continue with the ablation of nerves and send me to recovery.

It was amazing after the injections, I went home a bit bruised, but once the bruising went away I was FINE! It was like a miracle, suddenly all the pain went away from my abdomen, it also went away from my hands and legs, I started living a healthy life again, losing weight, didn’t rely on pain meds and for the first time i believed in myself again. It wasn’t in my head, it never was, we just were looking in the wrong spot.

I guess the moral of my story and so many of my stories is you know yourself, you know your body. TRUST YOURSELF !!!

Lauren x

The Process to my invisible illness and final diagnosis : ACNE Part 2

Welcome back to the reality of unseen illnesses blog, thanks for reading. In my previous post I started discussing the journey of my invisible illness and how we came to the conclusion that I needed to go to hospital to get some clear answers. This is part two of that story.

Some parts I remember quite vividly and some parts are still very hazy but I shall try and do my best to explain everything to you. It was the day after Katrina’s 17th birthday, I was only 16 at the time and had been staying with my grandparents, they had a friend who was a doctor in neurology who suggested I come in for some tests at Monash Hospital, Clayton, Victoria. I remember being admitted in to emergency quite easily only because my grandfather entered emergency at the same time as me because he had hurt his back. They had already given him so many pain killers that he came round to check up on me and kept asking for my jello which was fine cause I didn’t want it anyway, yet still till this day he claims he never remembers this conversation, he must have been on some pretty powerful stuff.

I wasn’t in ED for very long, I saw a few doctors who saw how much pain I was in they gave me all kinds of medications, even severely strong medications and yet the pain wasn’t any better. They could see that I wasn’t able to walk, shower, eat, dress etc by myself so they soon decided to admit me and transfer me to the children’s ward. I remember travelling in a wheel chair to the lift, going up the lift and entering the children’s ward. The walls were painted yellow and purple , you could see the nurses station as you entered the floor and the starlight room was opposite. They wheeled me down a hallway past all the girls with the eating disorders and into a nice quiet room, with a computer opposite in the hallway that the kids used to study whilst in hospital. I got settled in for a few days, nurses and doctors kept coming in and out trying to do numerous amounts of tests. I don’t remember much as I was on a lot of medicine, which soon switched to IV medicine, it got so bad that morphine didn’t even help me, that they had to put me on a drip that was one thing lower than cannabis, they said to be careful because I could have hallucinated on that drug. I don’t remember seeing anything, but I do remember hallucinating a really bad smell. I only stayed in that room for about a week and then the nurses/doctors decided to transfer me to the other side of the hallway to a room with 3 ten year old’s. Now I had never been a very assertive person before then, I was always quite shy, hiding behind people, was polite and let people some what walk over me and a big part of my illness which I have now grown out of is that I disliked change. So when the nurses/ doctors decided to move me, I finally stood up for myself, not that it did me any good cause I still ended up in that room with the ten year old’s and in retrospect looking back now I probably behaved just as bad as a ten year old.

Once I was finally settled into this new room, I remember bits and pieces of different tests, I remember going up through the chain of doctors till I reached the head of Pain at Monash and the head of Neurology and within no time I had pretty much seen every doctor in that hospital and the whole hospital was taking about me. Some of the test that I had done were so painful, the main ones that still till this day stay stuck in my brain are the most brutal ones. The first one I remember quite clearly was when I got wheeled down to a tiny room where you lay on a bed and they first connect you up to some electrode stuff, then without anesthetic the doctor placed a needle or a rod into my leg and moved it around as if it were a gamer’s joy stick just to find if there was nerve damage. If it wasn’t there before I was certain there would be some after that procedure. I remember coming back from that procedure and I was crying and silent, I would not talk because it was one of the most painful things I had to endure. The second most painful procedure/ test that I remember having done was a Lumbar Puncture which is : The procedure of taking fluid from the spine in the lower back through a hollow needle, usually done for diagnostic purposes.

lumbar puncture

This was one of those unfortunate, unlucky things to happen to me, they had me lay up on a surgical metal type table, just casually left the door open for anyone to come in and see, did not give me any anesthetic before this procedure either and then decided that not 1, not 2, but 3 Interns would attempt to do this painful procedure before getting a head consultant to do it and to make things worse I had singing clown doctors in my face. Now I know the clown doctors were only there to try and help distract me but to someone who is in heaps of pain crying and then sees singing clowns in their face is a bit creepy. To make matters worse after the Lumbar Puncture, I then had to go back to a room full of Ten year old’s with a severe migraine, I wasn’t allowed to move and Nickelodeon had a sponge bob marathon running. Still till this day I hate sponge bob, it was so unbearable that I got up out of my bed and went and laid in the parents room. When I was finally able to return to my room I slept , but when I wasn’t asleep I still had this major headache even on strong pain killers, so the head of Pain came to see me and he said the best thing for it is “Caffeine” apparently caffeine helps migraines. So mum went and brought me some V’s, However because I had been on a cocktail of medicines and now every time a nurse entered my room she told me to chug V, I ended up throwing up so much brown vomit everywhere and have never ever drunk a V again.

I was at Monash for quite a few months, we even celebrated my sister Rachael’s birthday in the Hospital, my Friends from Drama had organised beautiful fake flowers with cute notes on them and my best friends Katrina, Rach and Sharna had organised a very special T-Shirt with drawings and lovely messages from all my friends in and out of school. I still have that shirt till this day and when ever I’m feeling down I just look at that shirt and remember there was a worse time and I will always be loved.

 

 

After a few months of mean physiotherapists, which then changed to a nicer one, harsh drugs, harsh tests and only minor results of finding minimal nerve damage in my legs, the team at Monash decided that I had now become a part of the “Too Hard Basket” ad I was sent to the “Stepping Stones” program, which was basically a mental health rehabilitation area for children and young adults. At this point in my life a major security blanket of mine was my mobile phone. It didn’t even have to be on or anything or even have a battery in it, I just wanted, but because of the no phone rule in the mental health department area they wouldn’t let me have it. I remember being wheeled through the halls, seeing the rooms, I was packed, I had clothes ready to stay and the hospital had even managed to give me a room by myself, but then a thought struck me, I AM NOT CRAZY!. I am not making this up and I do not believe I need to be in here. It was at that moment that I stopped feeling sorry for myself and decided I would get better by myself, so I Opted for out patient psychological help. This is when I truly changed, when I suddenly was able to be assertive and  stand up for myself, its funny you know because when speaking to out patient psychologists they actually said that if I had ever entered and stayed with the stepping stones program it wouldn’t have helped me, it would have actually made it worse.

 

In part 3 of The Process of My Invisible Illness to the final diagnosis: ACNE , I will discuss how I found the most amazing doctor who diagnosed me within less then 10 mins.

Thanks for reading, keep educating people on invisible illnesses.

Lauren x

The Process of my invisible illness; To the final diagnosis: ACNE Part 1

Hello fellow bloggers and word press lovers it’s me Lauren and this is the story of the process I had to go through to finally get a diagnosis 7 years later.

In my previous post I discussed how I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, at the age of fourteen, just a quick re-cap:

“Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the body lacks sufficient thyroid hormone. Since the main purpose of thyroid hormone is to “run the body’s metabolism,” it is understandable that people with this condition will have symptoms associated with a slow metabolism. The estimates vary, but approximately 10 million Americans/Australians have this common medical condition. In fact, as many as 10% of women may have some degree of thyroid hormone deficiency.   Hypothyroidism is more common than you would believe, and millions of people are currently hypothyroid and don’t know it.”

I was put on a hormone replacement called Thyroxine, Sometimes called Oroxine. I was fourteen at the time and have been living on hormone replacements since and I seemed like a fine, happy healthy young girl again. I wasn’t as tired anymore, I was back at school, I was a healthy weight and suddenly all was right with the world or so I thought.

AND THEN I TURNED 16:

I had recently just transferred from South Oakleigh Secondary College, where I got bullied severely and moved to a school called Karingal Park soon to be McClleland College where my best friend Katrina was attending, which made the transfer a lot easier because I already knew her and her friends.

I always loved musical theatre from year 7, I made a promise that I would always be in school productions so I also made a lot of friends when I joined the Karingal Park school productions. However half way through production I ended up needing crutches because I had always grown too fast for my body that my knee caps would constantly pop in and out of place. It was always annoying because it would happen randomly and it just so happened to have happened literally straight after another cast member and he used to make claims that “I was copying him” like I had control over my body, and my invisible illness. This is one statement that constantly upsets me because people can’t physically see what’s going on in my body so they claim I have control over it like it was my intention to have my knee caps pop out of place and cause me severe pain every time I walked. Luckily the knee cap situation cleared up pretty quickly.

When it drew closer to the end of year Ten and the start of year Eleven I started noticing some more changes in my body, apparently I was really skinny, so skinny in fact that I almost looked anorexic, however I had no clue of the fact, as I believed I was a healthy weight for my age and I loved to eat.

217218

Lauren in Red (Left), Katrina best friend in Yellow (Right),

Although looking back at the images above you can tell that I wasn’t as healthy as I could have been. Then out of the blue I started experiencing severe stabbing pain within my fingers and toes, which then progressed to my hands and feet, at first I just thought these were growing pains as I was always growing too fast for my body. However within a week this invisible illness had progressed quite rapidly, the sharp stabbing pains that had been constantly occupying my hands and feet had suddenly progressed up through to my arms and to my legs and soon this sharp irritable unbearable pain had consumed my whole body. It got so bad to the point where I couldn’t walk properly anymore, I walked with my knees bent into one another, almost like I had polio disease. From not being able to walk properly my body was so ridiculously heavy, so mum made an executive decision to hire a wheel chair. When I wasn’t bed ridden or laying on the couch, I used that wheelchair to do everything and go everywhere, I even remember attending Katrina’s 17th birthday in my wheelchair.

It was the moment when my invisible illness started causing me more issues than not being able to walk, when I wasn’t able to bath myself, dress myself and even eat without needing the assistance of my mother or someone else, was when my family and I decided after many inconclusive doctor visits that it was time to go into hospital. I was staying at my grandparents house and they were close friends with a neurologist who worked at the Monash Hospital in Clayton, Victoria, So that was the hospital I was to attend.

 

In part two of this blog post, I shall discuss my admittance to hospital and the tests that I went through from what I can remember anyways and the next chapter to how I ended up with my official diagnosis of  Abdominal Cutaneous Nerve Entrapment Disease (ACNE)

Stay Tuned and Keep reading and if anyone has a story that they would like me to share on this blog please email to: thatsteelmedia@gmail.com

 

Lauren x

Let’s start from the beginning; the first diagnosis 

Let’s start from the beginning ; the first diagnosis 
I was born as a happy healthy girl all the way up until age 14, and then things started happening to my body, changes and not just normal hormonal changes. I started to get tired all the time, my body started to ache. Sometimes I would be so tired in fact that I would fall asleep in random places just like that. I would wake up and be like how did I get here? 

So mum thought a trip to the doctor might be necessary. 
There we were in the doctors office and he weighed up all of my symptoms and ordered some tests, did all the usual obs and ordered blood tests. We went away for a few days and when we came back the results were in, I had hypothyroidism (under active thyroid.) 
Hypothyroidism means the thyroid gland is underactive and fails to secrete enough hormones into the bloodstream
I than got referred to a thyroid specialist who put me on a thyroid hormone replacement called thyroxine which I now take 3 tablets of 50mg a day. My weight fluctuates which means my mood can too. However the thyroid hormone replacements have help and now you know the story of my first diagnosis.
HYPOTHYROIDISM 
For more education please click on the link below: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/thyroid-hypothyroidism

Lauren x