All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


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The mystery is solved

As I mentioned in my last post, my physical health has been somewhat of a problem since the beginning of this year. Abdominal pain led to pancreatitis which led to hospitalization and, since I was discharged from hospital, a mysterious abdominal pain that has zapped me of my strength, energy and motivation. In fact, it left me a doubled-over-in-pain, nauseous, vomiting wreck of a human being – and all I wanted to know was what was wrong with me. So last week, after numerous consultations with my GP, I was sent for a scan.

The scan took two hours. Two – tediously boring – hours! First of all I had to force myself to drink nearly a litre and a half of water. I don’t know why I had to consume so much liquid, this was never explained to me, it was just brought out to me and I was asked to drink it as quickly as possible. After making myself feel quite nauseous I was summoned into the scanning room where, after changing into a nifty hospital gown, I was laid on the CT scanner and was told I would need a canulla inserted in order to pump me full of the radioactive contrast medication that enables the scan to be viewed more clearly. This isn’t a problem if you have strong veins…but I don’t. After a gloriously failed (incredibly painful) attempt, the man summoned in his superior who would hopefully have better luck. They didn’t. So they decided (thankfully) to run the scan without the medication. Alas, this didn’t work, so they tried again to install a canulla into my quivering body. This time they wheeled in the ultrasound lady to try to locate my veins through technology. Two further (extremely painful) attempts later they finally managed to get the wee medical equipment into my vein and we were good to go. As the scanner man said “it took forty-five minutes to do something that should have been done in five”. At least the scan itself took only a couple of minutes.

The wait for the scan result, however, was seven days of anxiety inducing madness. As each day clicked over my mind flooded with all sorts of possibilities that could be causing this (at times) excruciating abdominal pain; could it be pancreatic cancer? Maybe it’s stomach cancer? Or an ulcer? Maybe it’s several ulcers all conjoining to create the world’s most grotesque stomach growth?

Yes.

I have hypochondriac tendencies.

It’s not fun!

But after seven days of waiting I finally got the results of the scan yesterday. Apparently what is causing the pain is a 4x7cm cyst that has nestled itself into my pancreas and is happily doing whatever cysts do, much to the chagrin of its host. The GP said this might require surgery (which I’m not too keen on) but because the pain has subsided slightly over the last few days, he hasn’t referred me to the surgeon’s knife just yet. He’s going to monitor me over the coming weeks and, in a couple of months time will send me for another scan (which I’m not too keen on given the canulla nightmare of my recent scan) to see what the cyst is getting up to.

Strangely enough I’m not too fussed about having a cyst. It’s a little disconcerting (especially given its size) but it’s wonderful to know that there is an actual cause of the pain and that it’s not just some depression/anxiety induced psychosomatic symptom. It’s also wonderful to have a doctor that seems to genuinely care about what I’m going through. He really has been fantastic over the last several weeks, putting up with all sorts of paranoia, hypochondria and anxiety from this most stressed out of individuals.

In fact, it’s safe to say that I have never in my life felt this ill (even when I had glandular fever, which is the closest comparison to my current woes). And when I feel ill, I don’t function well mentally. My mood turns sour, depression creeps in and life becomes bleak and unenjoyable. So hopefully, as time ticks on, and my physical health improves, I will find my mental health improving alongside it.

For I really am completely over hospitals, canullas and abdominal pain. Although I do quite like the gowns, as they show off my cute wee behind! :p


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Pancreatitis, pneumonia and abdominal pain, oh my!

It’s been nearly seven months since my last post and sometimes I don’t know where the time goes, for I certainly didn’t plan on being absent for so long. Last year (2014) was a nightmare for me from beginning to end; one elongated depressive episode that sapped my strength and rendered me incapable of performing even the most basic of tasks. I was lost from the first minute after New Year to the last tick of the clock twelve months later, and the only solace had been the hope that 2015 would prove to be “better”, for want of a better word.

Alas, this year has got off to just as bad a start, albeit for totally different reasons.

In early January I began to feel sick; abdominal pains, aching limbs, nausea, vomiting, the list of symptoms were as uncomfortable as they were endless. Then, a few weeks later, the abdominal pain became so severe I was forced to do something I have never in my life done before – I called an ambulance. At 3am, I crawled in agony from my bed and dialled 000 in order to find someone who was willing to help me with my physical torment. Fortunately, the ambulance was quick to arrive and even quicker to inject morphine. A short trip to the hospital later I found myself being connected with all manner of tubes, catheters and heart monitoring equipment. Another short trip to a different hospital later (my local hospital is on the small side) and I found myself in the critical care unit being diagnosed with acute pancreatitis; an illness I was told “could prove fatal”.

All in all I was in hospital for a little over two and a half weeks and every second of it tested every coping mechanism I have. The pancreatitis, I was told, had been caused by the mood stabilisers I was taking, so they were immediately stopped, causing for a little over a week all manner of paranoia and delusional thinking. At one point I believed the operators of the CT scanning equipment planned to murder me. At another point, I believed the hospital was under attack by a cursed Egyptian Princess and only I could save it. Fun times.

Because of my experiences in boarding houses when I was homeless I can’t deal with sharing my space, so being in a ward with three other gentlemen and only a thin curtain between me and them proved highly anxiety inducing; cue anxiety attacks, panic attacks and long sleepless nights listening to what can only be described as a symphony of snoring.

Eventually – after a brief bout of pneumonia which I picked up in hospital – I was fortunately discharged with a bag of pain meds and sent on my merry way. You would have thought this would have been the end of it. That my weeks in hospital would have fixed any physical ailments plaguing my body, but alas, over four weeks later I continue to suffer through an assortment of symptoms that no-one can explain.

The abdominal pain has continued but, rather than being related to the pancreatitis (which I’m assured has healed), is focussed on my stomach. Thus, I have spent much of the last month doubled over in pain whilst simultaneously vomiting and being unable to stomach virtually all foodstuffs. To say I am “over it” would be an understatement. I miss having energy. I miss being motivated. I miss my appetite. I miss feeling ‘healthy’.

Tomorrow, I am going in for another scan (which I’m told will take an hour and a half) in the hope that it will shed some light on whatever is causing my body to rebel in such a painful, uncomfortable and yucky way. For, nearly three months into the year that I hoped would be “better” than 2014, I’m still unable to enjoy a single minute of it.


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Does this post need a trigger warning?

Once again I feel the need to apologise for not writing anything over the last few weeks. Life hasn’t  been terrible, but it hasn’t been all that great either, just a continuation of the flashbacks and depression that have been plaguing me since the heat of the Australian summer took hold – and simply refuses to release it’s suffocating grip.

There are posts that I want to write (that I will write) when I am able to do so. Unfortunately it’s not just a mental block that is preventing words from flowing, but a minor physical ailment has reared its ugly head. On Saturday evening, as I nonchalantly washed my dishes, one of the plates decided to break as I was holding it and the cracked surface of the ceramic decided to gouge a rather impressive chunk of flesh from my thumb. The sheer amount of blood that flowed (and spurted) around my kitchen was rather disturbing and – after twenty minutes – refused to stop. A trip to the hospital revealed why this was the case; I had nicked an artery!

Thus, several stitches and a rather clumsy compound bandage later, I’m having trouble doing everything from rolling cigarettes to menial chores to typing. Alas the stitches and bandage will be a requirement for another week or so, when I hope to finally rouse myself from my current malaise and get back to doing the things I love.

Hoping everyone is well (and having far better luck doing the dishes than I)!

 

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