Geocaching

I’ve spent the last 3 weeks really sick with the flu which turned into bronchitis. I just finished my second round of antibiotics and still have a bad cough. While sick I was thinking about ways to get outside and get exercise and fresh air this spring, summer and fall and even the coming winter months and I thought “what about geocaching?”. What a great idea!

What is geocaching you might ask? To be honest I’d heard of it but really didn’t know much. So, here is a video from geocaching.com to explain:

Seems pretty fun and a good way to get out and get moving. I can’t wait for us to start. I plan for us to start with a few geocaches that are really close to my home in Cornwallis Park and up a few roads within walking distance and then go from there. I’m hoping to do a few over the next few weeks close by to get started.

I think it will be a great way to get some fresh air, enjoy the spring weather which has turned really sunny and nice and get hiking. I can’t wait to learn more. I noticed there is a facebook group for Nova Scotia and I am sure there are other people in my area. I would love to go to an event as well so we can meet some new people or perhaps even reconnect with some people from my high school days.

I’m so excited! I plan to blog about it a bit more and maybe even if it’s something we really enjoy I might create a blog specifically for it down the road!

Pain, Hospitals & TMI

I’m going to apologize in advance as this post may contain a little too much information. I admit sometimes I feel a little bit embarrassed or hesitant to talk about certain things, however that being said I feel it’s important to talk about women’s issues and health and it’s my blog and my life and what I’m going through so if you’re a bit squeamish, don’t like talking/reading about women’s health issues this post might not be for you.  So don’t say I didn’t warn you

This is also going to be really long! So, I’m going to jump right in.  As a teen, I had heavy, uncomfortable, painful periods that happened more often and lasted longer than most other girls my age. At 15, I suffered from numerous cysts on my ovaries that ruptured leaving me doubled over in pain, throwing up, feeling clammy with a high heart rate. I had numerous trips to the ER but luckily no surgery was ever needed. I was never diagnosed with PCOS but it was mentioned when I was younger.

Maybe that should have been a clue but I was always told that despite that it was normal and that as I got older it would even out. The cycle would get longer between, the periods lighter and less painful and shorter and this actually did happen and the cysts stopped, and for about 23 years things were pretty normal other than moderate cramping and headaches and maybe some mild to moderate PMS symptoms.

My last few periods have been heavier and I’ve noticed more clots and they are lasting an extra day or two as well as the time between went from about 27-30 days to about 30-33 days in between.  My PMS symptoms have gone from mild/moderate to severe and pretty debilitating. To the point where I am useless for a week every month because I feel even more crappy then I already do.

Last Thursday I started my period what seemed to be 10 days early on day 23 of my cycle. It seemed to be a moderate period, with some pain and a headache and the normal heaviness. I didn’t think much of it other then it was odd that it was early. 2-3 days is one thing but just a bit more than 1/2 way through my cycle was odd for me.

The night before last we went to bed as normal around 11:30 p.m. and I was feeling fine and I pretty much thought my period was over as I was at the end of day three and the flow had stopped.  I woke up around 1 a.m. due to the cat scratching at the door for food because someone forgot to feed him. I went to the washroom and noticed I was bleeding really really heavy and I had a bad headache. I changed my tapon and pad which I use as backup incase the tampon fails at night.

Eddie woke up when I did so I yelled to him to feed the cat while I was in the washroom. We went back to bed and I fell back to sleep even though I was feeling a bit odd, but I didn’t think much about it. About 3:30, I woke up from a dead sleep and stretched out and just about screamed out in pain.

I got up and hobbled over to the washroom and realized I had completely soaked through the tampon and soaked the pad almost to over-flowing in a little less than an hour and a half from the time I changed them last. Usually I don’t have to change them at all overnight unless I sleep more then 7-8 hours. For safety sake I never go more then 8 hours overnight as recommended.

I kinda felt like something was wrong but still shrugged it off and hobbled back to bed. The pain increased so fast and so much that I was doubled over by the time I made the 10 steps or so back to bed. I tried to shake Eddie awake but couldn’t move because the pain was so intense. I pretty much yelled at him to wake up. I grabbed the long pillow and curled up in the fetal position and told him something was really wrong.

I grabbed my phone and checked my heart rate which is normally about 60-65 when resting and it was 98bpm. I called 811 and spoke to a nurse who of course said go to the hospital. She checked the Digby regional hospital for closures as it closes a few times a week due to a doctor shortage and said it was open and I needed to get there ASAP. She wouldn’t say what she thought it was just that I needed to be seen now, not later.

Eddie called my dad who drove over and picked us up and took us to the hospital. We were in the middle of a snowstorm, I couldn’t dirve and didn’t want Eddie with only a learners permit to drive me in the snow and freezing rain that had been going on for hours with wind gusts of up to 80km/h. It was a bad night all around.

After intake, they put me in a room and told me the doctor would be in when he woke up (not kidding). So we had to wait until 7 a.m. when the doctor finally dragged his ass out of bed. I tried to sleep but was in so much pain. No one offered me anything. Not even so much as tylenol while we waited the 3 1/2 hours for him to come in from the hotel I assume he was staying at. He was a visiting doctor from somewhere else I assume.

He did an exam and when pressing over my left ovary I started to scream and wiggle to get away from him.  He said you need an ultrasound and asked if I had ever had ovarian cysts or torsion before and I said yes I have had cysts and some that ruptured. He said I needed to get the ultrasound ASAP.

Of course, Digby only has a technician in a few days a week. So that meant an hour and ten minute drive to Yarmouth regional hospital for the ultrasound. He wrote it up as urgent and that he wanted me to be seen in the Yarmouth ER after in case I needed more tests or to see a specialist. So after debating about sending me by ambulance, they decided it would be quicker if someone drove me. They called the ambulance but were told it would be a 2-3 hour wait. They simply sisn’t have enough ambulances for a transfer and in the ER. So my dad ended up driving me an hour and ten minutes to the hospital in Yarmouth.

Luckily for me, before I left the Digby hospital the doctor asked if I needed something for the pain. I hesitated because I hate taking anything. He kind of got a bit snarky with me when I looked over at my husband and said “don’t look at him look at me, do you need anything for the pain? yes or no”, so I said okay and he gave me a bit of morphine.

We talked it over decided my husband should still go to work later as he was working 5-9 p.m. so we dropped him off at my parent’s place for some sleep instead of him coming with us and mom took him into work later on and dad and I continued on to Yarmouth. We got there about 10 a.m. and after about 1 1/2 hours they finished the ultrasound. She had issues finding and never actually found my left ovary so it took a long time, luckily the morphine was still working and dulled the pain quite a bit.

When the technician finished she called down to the ER in the hospital to let them know she was sending the results and me down and they refused to take me! They said she had to send the results and me back to the Digby hospital. She tried to explain that I was a possible surgical case and that there was no OR’s in Digby, they still refused. So she called Digby and spoke to the doctor there and he said I needed blood work and a CT but he had no way of ordering either without me being there so he said send me back to Digby.

As we were leaving the Yarmouth hospital I called out-patients in Digby and asked if I was able to have something to eat because my blood sugar was about 3.2 mmol/l and going lower. She asked the doctor and he said I could have something sweet and I could get a bottle of water and only sip it basically just wetting my mouth. So we grabbed a cookie from McDonalds. Chocolate chunk. Not the best option but the easiest.

So dad drove me an hour and ten minutes back to Digby knowing full well there was a good chance he would be turning around and driving me an hour and ten minutes back to Yarmouth in a few hours if it turned out I needed a CT right away. We got back to the ER in Digby and I had to be triaged all over again and wait for a second time to see the doctor, which turned out to be a different doctor. At least the first one told him I was coming and what was going on.

The second doctor noticed that the pain was radiating now to my upper left side of my abdomen and was still concerned it was a cyst but was now even more concerned it had ruptured and that I was bleeding internally. Not all cysts do that but some will cause internal bleeding which can be life-threatening. He was also concerned that it could instead be a bowel blockage or something else and said I need a CT and before he said anything more I said: “So I have to go back to Yarmouth today?”.

He said yes and apologized and I asked if there was any way it could wait till morning as I just wanted to go home and sleep. He looked like he was going to say no but then he said let’s get blood work done and see if there are any indications of an infection or internal bleeding.

We waited another hour for that and the pain was back fully by then. The nurse came in to give me an IV as I had been told through all of this no food or drink and as I am diabetic and had basically no food or drink since the night before and it was almost 3 p.m. at that point even though my sugar was holding steady at 5.6 mmol/l at that point.

As the nurse got ready to start the IV I panicked of course. I don’t mind blood work at all. I don’t mind flu shots or other needles. I don’t mind giving myself insulin injections, glucagon, etc. But I hate hate hate IV’s! With a passion. I panic every time someone comes near me with one or mentions one.

So the nurse left and asked the doctor how necessary it was as my blood sugar was fine and all they were going to give me was dextrose and saline and some pain meds. I said they could give me a shot or pills for the pain meds I don’t care I just can’t handle the IV. So he said fine and she left and never ended up giving me the pain meds or water.

He came back an hour later and said the blood work looked normal and that he was going to let me go home on one condition that I came back to Digby overnight before they closed at 6 a.m. if I had a fever that even touched 100°F or if the pain worsened or spread, had any more bleeding (which had stopped at that point) or in the morning if the pain was the same or worse or a fever and weakness and/or tiredness after a good night sleep or any indication of infection or internal bleeding that I go straight to Kentville or Yarmouth hospital over the next 3 days or Digby if they are open.

So today we have been keeping a really close eye on me. The pain is a bit less, but still there, but no fever or anything. So I have to keep a close eye for the next few days as well as we don’t know for sure but we suspect it was an ovarian cyst on my left ovary that may or may not have ruptured and possibly bled internally but stopped, causing intense pain. Seems to be the story of my life right now. This uncertainty about what is going on within my body.

My mom brought up something that’s been bothering me though. She went through menopause at the same age as I am now, she started at about 38/39 and I am 38 turning 39 this year. Her mom went through menopause starting at age 37 and my aunts were 38 and 39 as well when they started.

I know for the most part you usually start about the same age as your mom and sisters and since I have no sisters and her and her sisters and their mom were all the same age as I am now. I am starting to wonder if maybe I might be going into early menopause myself or at the very least it’s in the back of my mind that they all started around my age.

I also know there is a correlation between Type 2 Diabetes and early menopause as well as a lot of women with Fibromyalgia experience early menopause as well. As I said before I have never been diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and other than the uterine infection that landed me in the hospital a year and a half ago for 4 days I haven’t really had any issues in between the cysts when I was younger and now. Hopefully, this is not just another thing to add to the growing list.

Chronic Pain & Fibromyalgia

The last part of January and the first week of February have been a bit rough. I was diagnosed years ago with Fibromyalgia and for almost 10 years I spent a good majority of every day trying to just cope with the chronic and incessant pain. For the better part of the last 3 years though I have had a huge decrease in pain to the point it was not top priority anymore. However, the last 2-3 weeks has been a bit rough. I am sore all over, my muscles and joints throughout my body hurt. I think maybe the pain in my hip and leg and the falls are what brought it on/brought it back.  That and sitting 10 hours a day or more typing doesn’t help. I tried Lyrica again but at the same time my doctor also put me back on metformin to see if we could get better control over my blood sugar and the side effects of the two made me miserable. Lyrica causes me severe vertigo. To the point, I won’t drive, and I need to drive so I am not going to take it.  My doctor wasn’t thrilled that I refused to take any medication for the pain so instead, he suggested I look into CBD oil, which I am not thrilled about so after researching it a bit I decided that was a no-go as well. Too expensive, not covered by insurance (obviously), etc. Just not an option.

On the plus side, we were able to afford insurance, only for me though and not Eddie which I am also not thrilled about. He will have insurance in another 9 months through work anyways I think, so we were more concerned about me at the moment and making sure I can still afford insulin, my Libre, metformin, etc. The insurance is only going to cover 80% to a maximum of $1000 a year towards medications and for the medical equipment such as my Freestyle Libre sensors it will only cover 80% to a maximum of $1000 in the first year, $1500 in the second and then $3000 in the third year onwards per year which means the first year it will only cover about half of the year for my sensors, but hopefully at that point I will have secondary insurance through Eddie’s work which will cover 50% but again it’s better than nothing at all.

Since I am not taking anything at the moment for the pain which is pretty bad, like 8 out of 10 pretty much continuously all over, almost every muscle and joint, I have been searching for other alternatives and I think the only thing that seems to help relieve and make me comfier, or in other words 4 out of 10, effectively halving it, is heat. I had Eddie buy me a heating pad the other day and it seems to help. So does having the wood fire going, I think it’s maybe the dry heat. I want to get a heated throw blanket. I think I am going to get one next time I have a little extra if I can find one for a decent price. Tea seems to help too. I think it’s the cold. This cottage is so bitterly cold sometimes, it isn’t insulated very well and it’s damp. The weather has either been quite cold, like -20 with snow or it’s been around 3 and raining out. It seems to go back and forth between the two, which isn’t helping at all.