A favourite quote and a way by which to approach life.

Today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

The cost of living

I had an appointment with my GP today and although unconnected to my reason for being there, I asked him if he's sent the result of bone density scans. I'd asked my consultant about the result of my most recent scan, but he was rather vague about the results, because he'd only had a chance to glimpse at them rather than really take in what they were. I have some recollection that they weren't too bad, but I thought I'd check with my GP while I was there. The GP said that he wasn't sent results as only the requesting doctor was (my asthma consultant), but that he'd look on my records on the national database and see if they're put up there. As far as he could see, they weren't, but he did have to wade through an extensive list of other tests. Apparantly almost every test you have done in hospital is listed on this database, and as I'm in and out of hospital so much I have a huge list. My GP was rather shocked at the number of chest x-rays I've had, and after counting them he said that I've had 79 chest x-rays since 2000. This is a staggering number and a bit of a worry too. Every x-ray is exposure to a small amount of radiation, and having had so many my chances of developing cancer at some point are significantly raised. My GP also reminded me that I've had a head CT scan in that time too (CTs also use x-ray), and then four bone scans (again, these use x-rays). The risk of cancer is also increased as there have been several cases of it within the family, so there's the possibility of a genetic predisposition too. Obviously there's no point in worrying about it too much at the moment, but it is slightly concerning, and my GP thought it might be prudent to discuss with my consultant the readiness with which x-rays are done on me. The problem is that there is no real alternative to x-ray, and it is important to ensure that asthma attacks aren't being complicated by something like an infection or a pneumothorax (collapsed lung), both of which have been problems with me in the past. It seems that the cost of living/breathing may, at some time in the future, be the development of cancer.


mel said...

hi i was reading your blogs and felt like crying. i was reading the one when you where talking about intensive care which made me cry as my 7 year old son has brittle asthma and has been in intensive care about 20 times and has been ventilated twice in under a year. you said about you being in so much pain you cant tell people it hurts and your afraid, so you try show it in your eyes and then i realised that is the look my son gives me. like he wants me to stop it all because he is afraid, and he doesn't know how to deal with it after, he is only a child and i don't know how to explain things to him. if you could give me some advise it would be helpfull my email is ballright@hotmail.co.uk

BeckyG said...

Hi mel, I've replied to your email address, but I thought I'd also post the reply here too (I hope you don't mind), because there may be others who'd find it helpful to know my thoughts on this. Here it is below:

'Hi Mel,

I'm sorry to hear about your son and that he goes through so much at such a young age. It's hard at any age, but when you're so young you have no idea what's going on. I guess I'm glad that my blog gave you some insight into what it's like, even if it's difficult to read and to realise that this is probably similar to some of what your son experiences.

I think that the best thing you can do to help your son is to talk to him and to let him talk. Obviously when he's really ill he can't speak to you, which is when you see that look in his eyes. I think at these times it's perhaps important to tell him that you know he's scared, and that you know it hurts. Try to reassure him (as I'm certain you already do) that the doctors are trying to help him and that the things that hurt won't go on forever - they will stop in the end. When he's in the midst of an attack, try to hold off from telling him that you're scared, even though I'm sure you are, because that's likely to make him more afraid. He may well know that you're scared too, but it won't help him if he's worrying about you in the middle of it all as well. I suppose that afterwards, when he's home, it might be helpful for him to know that it scares you too so that he doesn't feel alone with his fear, but this is something that he can then assimilate in a time of 'wellness' and perhaps hold in his head when he's poorly. I think it's very important to let him talk about it, and the whole experience, when he wants to. It might well be difficult for you to hear, but it'll help him to get his head around all that's happened to him. Of course, sometimes children have difficulty expressing themselves in words simply because they don't have the vocabulary, or even know what's happened to them, so maybe try drawing pictures or making models with him. If he's still at an age where he likes teddys, maybe you could 'play' with them and let him re-enact what happened to him. Let him make the teddy say everything he wanted to say when he couldn't. Let him make the teddy say how it felt and what he thought was happening.

If there's one thing that breeds fear it's isolation, so the key thing is let him know that he's not alone, and I to help him understand what's happening to him. Different people cope with things in different ways. I'm the sort of person who copes best if I understand what's happening, which is why I've learnt a bit about the mechanisms and physiology of asthma. I also understand the drugs I take - what they do and how they work. This approach might help your son, although of course you'll need to keep it at a level that he can understand. I find that it takes some of the mysticism out of the situation, and I feel as I've armed myself with information so at least I understand what's happening to me on a physical/anatomical level.'


Anonymous said...

Hi, I just read through your blog and I have to say that you are an amazing person. I can't even comprehend what you have to go through. And you helped me put things into perspective within my own life, so thank you.

BeckyG said...

Hello anon, thank you for taking the time to look through my blog and also for your comments - it's always good to get feedback. It always feel a little odd to me to have people say that I'm 'amazing', although it does seem to be said a fair bit these days *embarrassed blush* I just feel as though I'm trying to live a worthwhile life, but I know there are many who would find the perseverence to do so too much. I've been like that myself at times in the past, but my philosophy now is that I have to make the most of every moment that I can - it's the only way to get a sense of satisfaction.

You say that reading my blog has put things in your own life in perspective. This is good in one way, but I hope you don't undermine yourself and your own difficulties. Despite what many think, I'm not a believer in problems being relative ... I mean, if something is a problem for you then it's a problem and it shouldn't be dismissed just because you perceive somebody else's problems as bigger/more important than yours. Everyone and everyone's difficulties have equal merit. Having said that, it's also important not to let the smaller things in life get on top of you, and anything that helps to stop this is a good thing.

*feels like she's beginning to witter*

Thanks again,