I hate 2020 with a passion not just for Covid-19 and not being able to see anyone but I also hate it because it has been a year of non stop health problems. It is driving me insane and I am starting to feel that “normal people” / “well people” or even people that don’t know me that well are thinking that I am either a) exaggerating the impact on me or b) I’m attention seeking. I rarely say much on social media about my health due to this. I am probably more honest on Instagram than I am anywhere. But a few times i have mentioned health issues on my own account on Facebook and now I am left doubting myself, worrying that people will think awful things about me. Believe me if I wanted attention there are a million and one other ways I could get it, being sick wouldn’t be the one I would use!
So this year I am struggling with Migraines, Menopause ( I am just 4 months away from officially being in it although technically I could have been in it at any point in the last 5 years, with the pill stopping my period I can only properly count from last December), bowel adhesion’s, ptosis and now my absolute favourite my CSF leak is back. I’ve had two good, well reasonable years with minimal symptoms. My symptoms when they have shown up have been in the evening with a dull headache and light sensitivity. Suddenly out of the blue last Thursday, my head started hurting and when you have had a spinal fluid leak you know that headache there is no confusion, the pain is like nothing else.
To describe a CSF leak headache is difficult, purely because there is really nothing else in the world that feels like it other than a post lumbar puncture headache or meningitis. I am extremely lucky at the moment that it is mild, strong enough to have me lying flat but not hugging the toilet bowl waiting for death. I was on my embroidery machine when I lent forward as I moved back my brain felt like it had been slammed between two bricks . Then my eyes were struggling to cope with the LED lights on the machine. I finished up as quickly as I could and then lay down on the sofa. Slowly over the space of an hour the pain eased. Although that was a good thing, it also chilled me to the bone as only a CSF leak headache eases so quickly on lying down. So my worst fears had been confirmed.
When Jay got home from work I spoke to him about it. He replied with “well don’t panic just yet you get days where it plays up more than ever”. Whilst he was right , this was different, this was stronger than it has been before. I could hardly blame him for trying to be optimistic maybe I would have been had I not already suffered two migraines that week and forgotten to write a blog post. It hadn’t been a good week and now it was getting worse. I replied that yes he was probably right and maybe a good nights sleep would help. I really hoped that it would be but I knew in my heart that it wouldn’t.
On waking up on Friday morning, I didn’t get the electric shock like feeling like I would back in 2016 when it was at it worst. I managed several hours upright before the pain started. I am afraid I pushed it and stayed up longer than I should have done. I did exactly the same on Saturday, staying upright and not resting like I should have done. I don’t know why I did it. Probably I was in denial and I was determined I wasn’t going to let a “little” thing like a leak get the better of me. There were things I wanted to do, I refused to go back to the dark place I was in, during 2016.
However health problems don’t work that way, when things are bad you can’t pretend they aren’t happening. There is no distracting yourself from the pain when you have a CSF leak as the longer you try to ignore it the worse it gets and it wont stop until you lie down. If you push it too far eve lying down won’t stop it. From Friday I had increased my salt intake upping my salt tablets back to 10 a day, I had also increased my caffeine intake. Both caffeine and salt increase CSF production.
With the Menopause involved this time increasing caffeine has the added bonus of triggering hot flushes. The more caffeine I consume the worse the hot flushes are getting. Which is just fucking fantastic as caffeine is the only thing that helps quite quickly. So I spend the whole time stripping off due to getting overheated and then no sooner has the flush started I am then freezing cold. Hormones have a lot to answer for.
By Sunday I had completely blown it, my head felt like it was in a vice my eyeballs felt like they had been set on fire every time I looked at my phone, used my laptop or watched the TV. I ended up spending all day lying down either in bed or on the sofa. But as like in 2016 and 2018 ( my first re-occurrence of the leak), my back due to EDS wouldn’t let me do more than 12 hours flat. I felt so down about the pain being so bad and I really felt like maybe I had been an idiot fighting against it for three days .
Thankfully 24 hours of lying flat has got it to a better place but I am still having to lie down much more than I want to. I managed 4 hours upright on Monday and 3 hours on Tuesday before lying down. I was much more careful on Tuesday ( today) as dog training is re-starting . With it being held in the evening which is my worst time for the head pain, I am having to rest a lot to ensure that I don’t end up having to battle through the pain whilst there.
To add a little variety into the mix at 6.50am I woke up in agony with bowel adhesion pain. I keep getting bouts of it out of no where. I ended up having to wake Jay up so he could get me a drink and a hot water bottle as I couldn’t move without making the pain worse. I took some Buscopan, Oramorph and thought there would be no way I would get back to sleep and then the next thing I knew it was 9am and Dembe was snuggled up beside me. I can’t work out what the hell is going on with this year. It is exhausting me with all the plot twists. If my life was a TV drama most people would be complaining it was unbelievable, no one is that unlucky….I’ve also lost my hospital consultant as the health authority he works for has decided that he is not allowed to see patients outside his catchment area. The hospital I used to go to before him, has no PoTs clinic at all as the consultant has retired. So basically if you are outside Plymouth you have been thrown ti the wolves.
But apparently my health needs no consultant input, as I am such an easy patient to manage! I hate 2020!