We started this year thinking this would be the best year yet it would be the one where we start living a little more and worrying a little less. I had already lost 2.5 stone and feeling healthier than ever and looking forward to loosing another 2 stone, I had walking challenges set out for throughout the year and we had so much planned to do with the kids with days out and camping trips all booked in too. We were going to be so active on the blog and Social networks updating you on everything that was happening.
So what changed?? That would be my health! around the middle of January I started to feel pains in my abdomen and getting bad head aches. Those who know me know I am not one for moaning or even giving my health a second thought my concern is my family and making sure everyone has what they need. I didn’t expect what was just around the corner instead of going to the doctor or taking time off work I carried on regardless making sure the house ran smoothly as well as our businesses one of which we were only just launching.
I started my first walking challenge on 1st February of walking 100k in 28 days which may not sound a lot to some of you but for an over weight mum of 2 with arthritis in my pelvis walking 5k every day with buddy was a challenge especially in the cold weather and around the boys and work too.
unfortunately this was short-lived as on 13th february I was rushed into hospital via ambulance in the middle of the night. I had collapsed in pain and couldn’t move Patrick had to call 999 and wait for the ambulance to turn up while trying to talk to me to keep me conscious. The first thought that it was a bad reaction to my yeast allergy and that after a few hours in the hospital with painkillers and a drip I would be ok so back home I went feeling rough but happy that the worst was over. Oh how wrong was I The next night I was still in pain but by the time it got to the following morning it was unbearable so back into hospital I go via ambulance as I was unable to move. I couldn’t belive it I felt so guilty for getting the ambulance out that I was wasting their time but I was so grateful to them for coming and for giving me the pain relief to help ease the pain.
This time I was taken in and then taken to the surgical assessment unit as they decided this was something more than an allergy and more likely gallstones. I had not appreciated how painful a few gallstones could be. I am so tolerant of pain that I was surprised how badly this had affected me. But this is me it couldn’t just be gallstones oh no I had to have a few other things too so the fist was that my liver was not functioning properly. common side effect with gallstones but I was reassured that if I stuck to a healthy low-fat diet I would not get the pain any more until they could find a slot to operate on me but that would be approx 6-8 months. I was already on Slimming World and eating healthy had lost a lot of weight already so not sure what else I could do.
Over the following month I was taken in 3 more times with severe pain and turned out I now had pancreatitis too. It was time for me to get the surgery sooner rather than later and patrick made sure he was there talking to the doctors every time I went in trying to get the surgery sooner. My knight in shining armor (truth be told seeing me in so much pain scared the living daylights out of him)
I had the surgery at the end of March to remove my gallbladder but had to have exploratory surgery at the same time to find 4 large gallstones that had come out of the gallbladder and lodged themselves where they shouldn’t causing the pancreatitis and Liver issues. They found them removed them and put drains in to help me recover. The pain from the surgery wow I wasn’t prepared for that. I know I probably should have been but i was that focused on the pain from the gallstones and pancreatitis that I hadn’t given it much thought but the morphine helped!
3 days later I was back at home and then 2 days after that I was starting to feel more human and although I was still sore I was on the road to recovery or so we thought.
By the next day I started with abdominal pain again and although I wondered what the hell it could be I assumed I had done too much and I wouldn’t say anything as the boys and patrick had already been through so much with me so poorly I didn’t see the need to worry them. Throughout the day the pain got worse until the evening came the kids were in bed and I couldn’t stand the pain any longer it was like nothing I had felt up till now and that was saying something! Patrick called the ambulance and my mum my mum arrived and I am so thankful to her as she keep me going reminding me to breathe as the pain worsened. I lost consciousness and my breathing became labored I can’t remember much about what came next but being in so much pain. The ambulance arrived and took me into hospital again this time constantly topping me up with morphine and starting me on the medications for Sepsis!! That horrid word that is enough to scare anyone. Nothing was even touching the pain I was in and out of consciousness the whole way to the hospital and I was rushed into resus as soon as we arrived to regulate my breathing and to try to get the pain under control. They did x-rays, ultrasounds, blood tests, poked, prodded and put onto drips, antibiotics, more morphine. I don’t know how many hours this went on for but patrick tells me the next thing was to give me fentanyl and because it is so strong patrick was told to watch the monitor incase I flatlined. I can’t imagine how that must have felt for him I know if the roles were reversed I would be terrified of losing him.
The fentanyl worked and the pain subsided enough for me to get some rest for an hour or so and then my body went through the painful stage of rejecting the infection I won’t go into detail but it took 12 hours to get me to a stage that I could be moved from resus to a room on the surgical unit. And I was lucky I didn’t need to go into surgery for a more radical treatment.
I was out of it for a few days and finally sent home after 5 days. I was ready to see my boys at home and not in a hospital especially when I had come so close to not coming home to them at all.
The Sepsis had lowered my immune system and had wiped me out completely but I did what every mum does and pushed myself to get better and get stronger the only way I knew how and that was to just keep on going. I rested when I needed to and worked when I could. I stressed about what needed to be done that I couldn’t do but I was thankful for being alive.
after another 2 weeks I started with pains in my lower back and I was having trouble sleeping and was having hot and cold flushes with the shakes. I had a trip to the doctors just to be on the safe side and then sent straight to the Hospital again seriously this wasn’t happening!! I now had a double kidney infection and it was bad they had to keep me in to make sure that it didn’t progress and do permanent damage to my kidneys. I honestly couldn’t believe it what did I have to do to be well again? It was now May we had already cancelled so many plans, camping trips, holidays, they kids had seen me more in the hospital taken away in ambulances or in pain more this last 5 months than their entire lives. I was finally let home again after they were happy with my test results and that I was recovering well I am due to go back to the renal clinic next month for a check up to make sure I am still on the right track.
So after all that I agreed with patrick that life was for living and we were to start planning holidays, days out and camping trips as soon as I was well enough but I had one last hurdle to jump. I now had anemia, exhaustion, folic acid deficiency and honestly I couldn’t go the whole morning without needing a sleep to get me through.
The middle of July came and the end of the school year was approaching so although I was still exhausted we decided to book an all inclusive holiday to Ibiza so the kids could play in the pool in the sun and I could rest and get some vitamin D. There was a kids club with staff to entertain the boys if I was too tired and we could start making better memories than hospital visits. The trip was the best thing we did as I started to feel better after just a few days and by the time we got home I was well rested and finally started to feel like me again.
So here we are now in August and we have just got back from a fantastic camping trip and planning another one soon too. Life is definitely for living and I am not wasting another minute.
If you made it to the end of this post I am sorry for the very long post but trying to sum up this year so far in one post has been a challenge. I hope you can see how life is short you never know what is around the corner and we need to hug our kids as much as possible, create memories with them that will last long after we are gone and make life an adventure for all of us to enjoy!
Please take the time to comment with your experience with severe illness while still being mum x