Saturday, 11 April 2015

Another Boring Health Update (April 2015)

It's been about a month since my last health update, so I thought it was about time I stopped by to tell you what's been happening.

If you read last month's post, you might remember that I'd just been diagnosed with an inflammatory condition, but was waiting to see my doctor to find out which one I'd been diagnosed with.

So, the big news?




I couldn't tell ya!

I still don't know.

It's been six weeks since I received the letter which brought word of a diagnosis, and I still don't know the full picture.

I naively thought the process of finding out would be pretty simple; phone up the hospital, make an appointment, see the specialist for a chat, come up with a new plan of action, come home, the end. Sadly not. It's been frustratingly complicated.

For starters, it took me the best part of a week to get hold of my specialist's NHS secretary to make an appointment, only to be told I need to get referred back again by my GP. (My specialist is a private spinal surgeon, but he chose to take me on as an NHS patient in early Autumn.) I've just spent four or five months going to physio with his osteopath colleague- who he referred me to- in the same hospital, but because I've not seen him personally in three months, I have to be re-referred. It's frustrating because my specialist sent me for treatment, got my blood tests results, made the diagnosis, and sent me the letter to tell me. Surely that should count as being under his care?? Apparently not to his secretary.

I wasn't thrilled about having to go back to see my useless GP after all that had happened. I think I even expressed how determined I was to never see him again in my last update. He'd made too many mistakes. I couldn't deal with the stress of going to see him, so I put off phoning up for an appointment for a week or two, to give myself a break. I finally manned up, and went to make an appointment about a month ago... only to learn he'd had a stroke that weekend. Poor guy. As useless as he's been, he is a nice man, and he didn't deserve a stroke. I don't know how bad it was, but I guess even mild ones can be life-altering. It's sad because he's only fifty-something.

I made an appointment to see a different GP who I have seen in the past, but I had to wait a few more weeks because all of the doctors were busy taking on his appointments as well as their own.

I could have gone to see my specialist privately the same week I received the letter, but I thought it was stupid and careless to pay £175 to see him (the fee for a 10 minute consultation), when I could wait a little longer and see him for free. £175 is a lot of money to waste and there are so many better things it could be spent on. It's the reason why my specialist offered his services for free; he said he'd rather we spent the money on treatment instead of wasting it on his consultations.

On Wednesday, my doctor's appointment finally came around, and shock horror, she was even on time! I asked her for the referral, but she said she couldn't refer me back to the specialist because the specialist's last letter didn't say I needed to see him! She could refer me to the rheumatologist he wants me to see next, but she can't refer me to him. I had to explain the situation a few times, but she wasn't having any of it. I wanted to bang my head against a brick wall. Seeing a private doctor on the NHS can be a pain in the arse at times; it's hard for some people to get their head around it. She said she'd phone his secretary to find out if I need to see him and get back to me by the end of the week, but that never happened. I never got a phone call. This is why I leave every NHS appointment wanting to tear my hair out. Nothing ever gets done.

Six weeks have passed since the letter landed on the door mat, and I still don't have any real answers or even an appointment with my doctor.

My parents now just want me to make a private appointment to see him, to get it over and done with. They think too much time has passed already. The last appointment I had at the hospital was in February. I've been trying to refuse, because I don't want to waste their money, but they're refusing my refusal, so I think I don't really have a choice. I'll probably end up going for a private appointment soon. They're off on holiday on Monday, so it's buying me a little time.

I personally don't mind waiting, because I don't think the diagnosis is going to really change anything for me. Even having a full diagnosis, I'm pretty sure I'm still going to have the pain and other symptoms every day, along with all of my other daily challenges. I know it'll be easier mentally and emotionally knowing the whole picture, but I doubt my life will change physically from day to day; at least not to begin with.

Nothing has been confirmed officially, but the GP I saw this week does seem to think I have rheumatoid arthritis. It didn't say so in black and white on screen, but she was confident by what she read. (Which is interesting since my usual GP told me my results were negative!) It's actually been my number one guess since I got the letter telling me I have an inflammatory condition. I can relate to what I've read about it, and it makes a lot of sense- particularly since I've already had some arthritis found in my lower spine. I guess I'll know for sure before too long, and if I have got it, hopefully I'll be able to find out if it's causing any of the pain, and if anything can be done to make me more comfortable. But, one step at a time...

I don't want to self-diagnose or jump the gun before I know for sure; it won't do me any favours.

I'll be sure to keep you all posted as it all unfolds! I'm sure I'll have my answers in the next couple of weeks, and when I do I'll write another update.

I just wanted to end this post by saying a big 'thank you' to everybody who read and left such lovely messages of support on my last personal post. Your messages really meant a lot to me, and I'm still so touched that you took the time to write them. I really do have the best readers and blog friends! 

Thanks for reading, and thanks for continuing to tolerate my boring rambles! I promise tomorrow's post will be far more exciting.

13 comments:

  1. Ah, what a nightmare! No wonder you leave wanting to tear your hair out! I do hope that something happens soon about it.xx

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    1. Thanks, Kezzie. I'm sure I'll have my answers soon, so I can move onwards and upwards. xx

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  2. Jaysus wept! What an absolute ordeal. I hope you get your answers soon. xx

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    1. Thanks, Leah. I'm sure I'll have it all sorted out soon. xx

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  3. *Big hugs* it's frustrating not getting any answers.

    Funnily enough I actually have a doctors appointment next week about my own back. It suddenly started hurting around the base of my spine above my bum for no reason a few weeks ago. Doesn't help matters that at the weekend I tripped and jolted it so it's been a little worse since then - along with my arms and sides from breaking my fall. *Rolls eyes* Ah well. Hopefully they'll be able to tell me what (if anything) is wrong but it's still nothing compared to what you're going through.

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    1. Thanks, Stefanie. I'm slowly and surely getting answers, but it's taken years to get them.

      Oh, God, that sounds all too familiar. That's how mine began; I just woke up one morning with pain in my lower back and it steadily got worse. I really hope that your pain goes away really soon, and they don't diagnose anything serious. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. Aww, you poor thing. That must have really hurt. :( It doesn't matter what I'm going through; just because I'm in pain, it doesn't make yours any less important or awful! I really hope you get some answers and feel much better soon. xx

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    2. Thank you! It's been a lot better. The Doctor didn't say much, it may be a slightly pulled muscle or something like that. It has improved but there are still not so good days which may be work related - moving heavy piles of baskets out of the way and such like. Of course the main thing she said was lose weight. -_- Such a boring answer. I am planning to get a bike next pay day though, start cycling to work, mum usually gives me a lift but her work hours and mine run quite awkwardly so I have to walk one way some days anyway so it makes sense to just do both and then she can get more done round the house as she doesn't have to come and pick me up.

      Plus I have selfish reasons to want to lose a little weight - namely the Joe Browns catalogue. They offer some stuff plus sized through Simply Be but it's nothing compared to what else is available *drool* only available up to an 18 in their main range though :( so a size 16-18 is my aim. I'm not so bothered by the number on the scale - although saying that I've always wanted to learn to horse ride and if the local schools state a weight limit it's usually around 15 stone, so that or below would be good.

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  4. O gosh, I'm so sorry. Sending love and prayersxx

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    1. Thanks, Lucy. That's so sweet of you. xx

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  5. I do believe that the doctors are trying to do their best, but at times it can be SO frustrating. Its wonderful living in a country with a public health system - but the processes around this can be very frustrating as well. You handle all of this so well, thinking of you xox

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    1. I think most doctors do try their best, but the ones at my doctor's surgery are awful. I get that they've got a complicated system and rules to abide by, but they are beyond useless. It's why we chose to go private. Nothing was getting done.

      Don't get me wrong, though, I'm grateful that we have free health care in the UK, and the NHS does generally do a fantastic job. (One of my sisters is even a nurse). They were brilliant when I broke my arm a few years back, and they've taken good care of family members over the years, as well as millions of other people every year. They just don't have a decent system for back problems in my county. It doesn't phase me too much, though, and I know I'll have it all sorted out soon so I can go back to private treatment. Thanks, lovely. xx

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  6. I really hope you get some answers soon Hun xx

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    1. Thanks, hun. I'm getting there slowly. xx

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I love reading all your lovely comments, so don't be afraid to leave me a comment or a question below! I'll do my best to reply ASAP!

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