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.

2018 – A Year in Review

Happy New Years!!! Well, it is New Year’s Eve and tonight we are heading to my parent’s house for a new years eve party. They invited a bunch of friends of the family and we are staying the night as we don’t want anyone drinking and driving. We’re going to bring our blow up air mattress we got for camping a few years ago for our honeymoon and sleeping somewhere, though I am not sure yet where. We are going to play games like Uno and Bad People a game my parents got for Christmas.

Anyways, I’ve written and re-written this a few times. I find it a bit hard to look back on a whole year, mostly just because it’s hard to remember what happened when and also I never know what is the best way to write about it. Sometimes I feel writing is not one of my strong points, even though I have been blogging for almost 20 years – more than half my life! I’m just going to jump in though and sort of go in chronological order and do the best that I can to remember everything, not that there really is all that much to remember.

Edward gets his learners permit!

In January of 2018, Edward took and passed the test to get his learners permit and I have been teaching him all year to drive. I am really proud of my husband for this one and I know it seems like it’s his accomplishment and not my own, which it 100% is, but I am proud of myself for teaching him and helping him realise that he could do it. I’ve learned a bit about myself in the process. I am a pretty patient person and never really thought myself to be. Sometimes I get annoyed and forget he’s just learning but I am sure that if he was my child and not my husband I would probably do the same thing.

Getting my Freestyle Libre system

At some point in January while at my doctor’s office I mentioned to him seeing an advertisement for the Freestyle Libre flash glucose monitoring system. He told me that one of his receptionists Michelle was diabetic and used it and that she loved to let people know about it and told me to go talk to her and then do a little research on if my insurance would cover it and come back to him in a week and he would write me a prescription if I still wanted to try it. I decieded to go for it after speaking to Michelle and confirming with my insurance it was covered.

I can’t express how much I love the Libre. It’s helped me determine which foods and drinks really raise my blood sugar. It’s helped me determine how being sick affects my blood sugar and it’s helped me get my A1C down from 8.2 to the latest one which was 6.6 and it was even lower at one point at 6.2 which is the lowest I have been in a few years since being told I may be pre-diabetic.

It’s easy to install, with easy to follow instructions and other then sometimes stinging a little or occasionally getting a “bleeder” which is just a little blood coming through the hole in the sensor if you hit a vein, it’s virtually pain free and means that I only have to do a finger poke occasionally to ensure the sensor is working rather than when I get up, before and after each meal, when I go to bed and in the middle of the night overnight. With neuropathy in my fingers, it is really painful so I am glad to minimize the number of times I have to use test strips and a drop of blood and the Libre allows this.

Spending the summer and fall on crutches

In June I hurt my left knee and ankle when I slipped on my parent’s basement stairs. At first, I literally got up and walked up the stairs and went upstairs and sat down. Later when I got up to go home I noticed my knee was swollen and hurting a lot. I limped out and the next day Eddie took me to the emergency department because it was really swollen and I couldn’t put any weight on it and I had also hurt my neck and back as well. They sent me home without doing an x-ray or anything and just said it was sprained and to keep off it and take a few days off.

After about 7-10 days it was not getting any better and was really painful and swollen so I went back and it was x-rayed and I was told there were no fractures but I did have a bad sprain (grade 2) to both my knee and ankle and would need to see a specialist. I was told no weight at all on it until I started physio and to continue using crutches. I ended up being put off work for a while because I had to keep my leg elevated due to the swelling.

At the end of July I was bored but still in pain but wanted to try going back to work so I started back early August after they gave me the all clear.  I was back 2 weeks (while still using crutches and waiting to see a specialist) when I slipped in the shower and landed on my left side, the same side that was already hurt. I ended up re-hurting my knee and hurting my hip. This time an on-call doctor at my doctors office was really concerned I may have fractured my hip and sent me for x-rays after the hospital sent me home for a second time without them, but I was unable to get in the position they needed for the x-rays due to the pain and swelling so I was told I needed to stay off my leg completely and stay in bed for a week while they waited for the swelling to go down and try again. During this time I developed numbness, discolouration and tingling as well as more pain in my groin and thigh.

The x-rays showed nothing but my family doctor was still concerned and after talking with my physiotherapist who at that point refused to touch me until I had more x-rays of my whole leg and hip, referred me to an orthopaedic surgeon. He sent me for first a CT scan and then after finding what he thought might be something a bone scan which came back negative. It took me another month to get back on my feet enough to go back to work. I was off until the beginning of October when I convinced them to let me go back.

In October I got the final results of the x-rays, CT and bone scan and the orthopaedic specialist said that it appears that I damaged the bottom of my spinal cord and nerve endings coming out of the bottom of my spine and through my hip. He figured it was causing the pain, swelling, numbness and causing weakness when trying to walk. I was told to continue using crutches and slowly increase the weight bearing until my leg could handle it. I still have pain, swelling and numbness now but I am able to bear weight and walk short distances unaided and am slowly increasing the walking each day or two.

Making the move to Digby and new jobs

During all the above chaos my parents let us know that they were moving to Digby, they had been talking about it for a few months, my cousin who lives in the US was looking for a retirement/vacation home here in Nova Scotia and she asked my parents who she knew wanted to move back to Digby that if she could find the right place if they would move in and take care of it for a reduced rent and they said yes. Mom actually found the perfect place and my cousin came to see it and fell in love with it and her and her husband bought it. During that time my parents decided they wanted to purchase a small house near Digby for them to move into when my cousin and her husband moved here in a few years. They found and purchased a small cottage on October 1st.

We’d been saying for a while, Edward and I, that we wanted to move out of the city but it seemed like a long way off. After my parents bought the cottage they mentioned renting it out on Airbnb for a few years after fixing it up a little or finding someone to rent it to on a more permanent basis for a few years. Somewhere along the way we brought up the idea of renting from them if we could find jobs down there and they agreed and we decided that the first one of us that got a job we would move. Eddie got offered a job right away and we ended up giving notice at workplaces and I took a transfer leave to see if I could find a position with the bank down here and we moved around the middle of November but we still kept the apartment another month until the end of December so we could take our time packing and moving.

Eddie’s job kind of fell through but we both have jobs here now and are getting settled in and starting our jobs both on the 3rd of January. In the meantime, I am working from home transcribing which I actually really enjoy and am going to keep doing part-time on the side for my mom’s company. I will be working part-time in an office doing tax returns and part-time at home transcribing and Edward’s going to be working in a department store.