26 January 2016

For the want of a nail

Do you remember that old poem "For the want of a nail, the shoe was lost"? For those, who don't know it, you can look it up here. Basically it reminds us that sometimes seemingly insignificant things can have enormous consequences and how one thing can lead to another.  My life seem a bit like that at the moment. A seemingly small thing has has become enormous and taken over my life.

About eight months ago I started to have slight indigestion. Nothing that I couldn't cope with, but I noticed I'd get the occasional excruciating pain in my lower abdomen. I didn't go to the doctor  it hardly seemed worth the bother and in any case they'd probably prescribe indigestion tablets which I could get myself. A few months on, I noticed it was getting more frequent, so I decided to keep a food diary to see what exacerbated it. Things like beans and peas seemed the main culprits, but also onions, cheese and fizzy drinks (not that I drink these hardly at all, I swear, but I had had a few on ice while we were in baking-hot Rome). The list started to get longer. I started to think maybe I should go to the doctor, but always made excuses not to go - too much to do and it wasn't after all that serious. However, in late October I managed to pass some black blood over the space of three days and that made me sit up and  take notice. So I finally went off to the doctor imagining they'd say it was something simple like an irritated bowel or something minor.

Instead, the doctor said black blood indicated I had been bleeding from my stomach (only red blood comes from the bowels, apparently) and instantly referred me to a private hospital to see a consultant  gastro-enterologist. Now, I do not have private insurance, but I am told that these days in order to help the National Health Service get their waiting lists down, private hospitals have been helping the NHS by taking on NHS patients. Along I trotted in mid November and got seen in luxurious 5-star circumstances by the private consultant. His view was that, as I had obviously had  a gastric bleed, he needed to send a camera down into my stomach (gastroscopy) to see what was going on in there.

The gastroscopy  was on 16 December and revealed I had a tumour, a grand-sounding Gastro-Intestinal Stromal Tumour or GIST, in my stomach. Biopsies revealed it was benign but it would still need to be removed as they can turn malignant and it had already obviously bled. However, the case was becoming more complicated than the private hospital could deal with, so I was referred back to the NHS for further treatment.  Because of the nature of the beast, I was to be fast-tracked, so I saw an NHS gastro-enterologist a few days later on Christmas Eve. He decided I needed to have a full-body CT scan and a colonoscopy to make sure there was nothing else lurking within. Those tests were done in early January. 

The colonoscopy revealed nothing at all, despite that being the area where the original pain was, but the CT scan revealed some questionable deposits in my lung, so now I have to see a respiratory consultant next week. Meanwhile, because the stomach tumour is rare and not all hospitals can deal with it, the operation has to be done at a Central London teaching hospital and they have first asked for another gastroscopy with ultrasound, in which an ultrasound probe is put down into the stomach together with a camera, so that the ultrasound can be done from within and get a clearer picture than it would on the skin surface. That will happen this week. I am so not looking forward to that.

See what I mean....... what turned out to be something simple is now becoming a hospital fest. My 2016 diary is full of hospital appointments and we're only in January. Add into the mix the fact that my 92-year-old mum, for whom I am sole carer, is having a knee replacement operation in 5 weeks' time and you can see life is getting a tad complicated.

Image result for hospital  signpost

11 comments:

nappy valley girl said...

I do indeed know the poem and it is so very true, particularly when it comes to health matters.

I really hope it's nothing serious and best of luck with all the tests. Is there anyone else who can help with your mother? Sounds like it's an awful lot to deal with x

Shadow said...

Wishing you a speedy and successful way toward 'Exit!'

Jennifer said...

I hope everything works out fine and you're quickly on the path to recovery. Take care and keep us posted.

auntiegwen said...

Keeping all fingers and toes crossed for a speedy return to normal x

afterthefire1964 said...

Thinking of you and hoping for healing and recovery

Flowerpot said...

Oh Addy I am sorry - keep us posted and hope you are soon fighting fit. Having gone through those hospital rounds a lot recently I can well sympathise. Take care X

Nota Bene said...

Hope it turns out OK...sure it will. Thank heavens for the NHS.

Gingerly Rosanna said...

Oh crikey. Not what you wanted the new year to start with. I'm sending healing and positive thoughts your way and praying that you'll be absolutely fine. It does sound like the NHS are doing a good job though, and getting you seen to/sorted out as quickly as possible.

xx

Maggie May said...

I'm really sorry. Hope it turns out to be simple to get rid of.
Similar symptoms with me turned out to be Hiatus Hernia.
Maggie x

K Ville said...

well here's a to-do. I wouldn't kick yourself too hard for not going to the doctors sooner, you'd have only bounced around the system until you were at this point anyway. I feel a bit frustrated that I would like to offer my help whilst you are both out of action for a while but I can only offer my long distance support. Benign is such a cracking word isn't it :) I had that report this week too from the clinic I had to go to and they are happy just to leave mine to sit and grow for a while(but it is very minor). Fingers crossed for conveniently timed ops and for speedy healing. Much love.

Trisha E. said...

Hope all your tests came out well Addy and that the surgery will quickly fix all of your symptoms. It must reassuring to have Kay nearby for doctorly advice when needed.