25 April 2021

The joys of being seventy

I have been a pathetic lump these last couple of months or so. I just seemed to have lurched from one ailment to another in a sort of continuous chain reaction. I don't seem to have been normal since Christmas (no rude comments about when have I ever been normal, thank you). The first few months were taken up with the sore throat and "sliding hiatus hernia" as documented here. The sinus washes that the ENT doctor also prescribed led to me being dizzy for a few weeks, so that even walking across a room has been challenging.....like being drunk, but without the joys of getting drunk in the first place. Then yesterday I was sitting at my desk writing some emails when I felt something crunch in my foot. How on earth could that happen while I was peacefully sitting immobile? A searing pain shot into the ball of my foot and one toe making it impossible to weigh-bear on it. Several paracetamol tablets, ibuprofen and an ice pack later I was able to get some mild relief and today it is a little better. During all those catastrophes I have also had my two covid vaccines, thankfully with little worse than a sore arm, but I shall be glad to see the end of the last few months and hope that I can hobble or stagger into summer with some degree of better health. Being seventy stinks, I tell you. I hope it's not all downhill from here.

12 April 2021

Five years on

Today mark's the fifth anniversary since I had a tumour removed from my stomach. Here is the account of the where, what and when.  The tumour was at the very top of the stomach near the sphincter that shuts off the oesophagus, so my stomach is an unusual shape now, as one-eighth of my stomach was removed rather accentuating the crescent shape of it at the top.  I have been doing remarkably well since - until recently.

Shortly after Christmas, I developed a sore throat that refused to go away. Swallowing was painful and I was even aware of it in my sleep. After some weeks had passed trying to use various over-the-counter remedies, I had to seek the advice of my GP. At first, I could not get a face-to-face appointment because of Covid restrictions, but eventually, as the throat did not improve, I managed to see my GP who took a swab to see if there was an infection. The results came back negative. My GP then put me on a fast-track 2-week programme to see the ENT (Ears, Nose and Throat) department at the local hospital. They in turn fast-tracked me for a CT throat scan and a barium swallow.

The results of those tests are both good and bad - good in that there is nothing seriously wrong with me; bad in that it showed I have a "sliding hiatus hernia". Following my surgery 5 years ago, my stomach is now a strange shape and very narrow at the top which means it can now slide through a small space in my diaphragm up into my chest and the stomach acid can be squeezed into my throat, causing my sore throat symptoms (oesophagitis is the medical term). I particularly have problems with reflux at night now, so cannot eat beyond 7pm in the evening or eat anything too spicy or too large a portion.

I suppose we all have something go wrong as we get older, but, given that I enjoy my food, it is a little hard to get used to. It could be worse, I know.