I hope you are all having a wonderful Saturday. This past week has been a week filled with appointments for me – all to do with my Psoriatic Arthritis. Because of the medication I am on I must have my bloods taken monthly – this is due to the damage that the medication can cause to the liver. My last few blood tests have shown a rise in enzymes and so my Doctor wanted me to go for a scan. I did this on Monday.
My next appointment was with my consultant at the hospital. This was on Thursday. I find these appointments really stressful and I need to get better at writing stuff down throughout the year that I want to say to the consultant. Anyway, this year’s experience was worse than last years – and that was when I was diagnosed so that is truly saying something.
I arrived a little bit late (Stress Factor 1) and was making my way through the labyrinth of corridors in the hospital (at one point I was in a corridor that was clearly from a zombie horror movie – I was pretty sure that a zomber was going to pop their head round a corner any minute!) I got upstairs and there, of course, was a queue at the reception area (Stress Factor 2.) I was quickly ushered into the waiting area where (Stress Factor 3) there were little to no seats available. I had to awkwardly position myself practically on some woman’s knees, which in an arthritis clinic is not what you want – “Oh excuse me whilst I sit on your arthritic knee – I’m sure that’s not painful at all!” Then a nurse called me through to do my annual checks, blood pressure – great (yay well done blood pressure – it’s about the only thing that is okay!) Weight – “should I take my shoes off?” And then – urine. “Where’s the toilet? Oh brilliant back through the waiting room. (Stress Factor 4) So off I popped to ‘supply’ my sample. Then back through the waiting room, piss in hand, to drop it off for the nurse – you’re welcome!
Finally the consultant called my name and very quickly told me that I was meeting with three medical students who were going to take my information. Okay cool! (Stress Factor 5) The first student introduced himself as Matt but to be honest I can’t remember the other two student’s names because I was a bit confused as to why my consultant was leaving the room. Left alone with the three, very caring, medical students they asked lots of questions about my diagnosis, how the year had been for me, what impact the disease has had on my life and numerous other questions. The female student wrote bits and pieces down on my notes and after about 5 minutes my consultant came back in the room. He scanned the notes very briefly before speaking to the students. I mentioned to him that I have been quite nauseous whilst taking the methotrexate of late and he said “Right well we’ll get you on the injection. It’s a pre-filled needle that you just put in your thigh and off you go. It is a slightly higher dosage of methotrexate so the nurses here will have to keep an eye on you.” At which point I told him that I had recently been in for a scan of my liver and was waiting to speak to the GP about what the results were. He quickly brushed the students off to go and look at a patient who “showed real signs of the disease.” Thanks! And whisked me off to his office, where he looked at the results. (Stress Factor 6)
I’m sure this will come as a shock to you all but surprisingly he found that my liver had a small amount of fat on it and because of this he wouldn’t be able to put my methotrexate up and then the best part of all folks. If I wanted to have this put up I would need to lose weight. No, you don’t say Dr! This, however, left me feeling very upset. I can’t believe that there is nothing he could do – I told him that the psoriasis had come back on my scalp, that the next stage is the flare in the arthritis – which will make it difficult to exercise and his advice was to “try the 5:2 diet. See you in 8 months.” I left the hospital (through the same zombie potential corridors) feeling very alone and completely unsupported (Stress Factor 7, 8, 9 and 10!) Had a little cry in my car and called my husband, feeling more supported and less alone, I made my way back to work and my fatty filled lunch.
So this is where the change is going to come. Yes we have made small, amazing, changes such as our PT, Leszek, at Fitness Soul, our introduction of daily smoothies and our meal planning, which we are managing to stick to at least 3 days out of seven, which believe me is an improvement. But we have to get serious now. I know that I will be on this drug, or some other drug for the rest of my life because of this disease, I know that it might eventually attack my organs and shut them down, I know that I might one day not be able to walk at all and be completely bedridden. But that day is not today! I will make every effort to be a healthier person and I will make sure that I can prolong my life as much as I can. And I know I will do it – because I have amazing support from my husband, my parents, my sister, my amazing friends and my wonderful colleagues. And of course, you guys. My ridiculously excellent readers.
This morning I also watched an amazing video by Will Smith, where he talks about the difference between fault and responsibility. So whilst I know it’s not my fault that I have psoriatic arthritis, it is my responsibility to look after your heart, your life, your happiness. Ironically the video was filmed in an in-house gym (is that ironic – I’ll ask Alanis!) It truly resonated with me – but also Will Smith should definitely be a life coach!
So now I need your help, or more my liver does. Tell me your go to healthy recipes and who knows, you may see it on here in the near future. Also, I would love to hear your shares of medical horror stories.