Unless you have psychic abilities or prophet like intuition, who knows?!
Before I explain why I asked the question above, I’d better give you a quick update on what’s been happening as I know some of you have been wondering! I’ve almost recovered from the renal infections, the e-coli has gone and the uveitis has cleared up. All positive, except I’ve managed to get a really nasty chest cold pretty much straight away. After 3 weeks of it, it’s clearing up now. If you haven’t had it.. you’re next!!! It’s doing the rounds at the moment! I can’t seem to go anywhere without hearing sneezing, coughing and nose blowing. If you have yet to catch it, start dosing up on your vitamins now or better still, hibernate until March-ish!
Anyway, apart from the chest cold, I still have a low haemoglobin count and mysterious bruising on my legs – my consultant is keeping an eye on both of those issues. I’m hoping the haemoglobin sorts itself out soon as it has really affected my fitness training, I feel so unfit.
So, back to the question at the top. It doesn’t really require an answer as it’s more of a rhetorical question, but the fact is, we really have no idea what’s around the proverbial. It all came to a head this morning when I was as usual, listening to BBC Radio 5 Live on my drive into work. The headline news was that the Australian cricketer Phil Hughes, had died after being struck by a cricket ball two days earlier – he was only 25 years old. This news filled me with sadness, not because of his age but the fact that he had died from a ‘freak accident’, a blow to the side of his neck. Having heard this, I was trying to make sense of why it happened and why he had to die. And it was all borne out of what I went through and what had happened since my last blog entry.
The same week I posted the last entry, I received news that two of my friends within 24 hours of each other were diagnosed with cancer. One with Myeloma and the other with Uterus cancer. A few weeks later, a friends 7 year old son was diagnosed with Leukaemia. Each of those families are going through hell at the moment, and no doubt the family of the Cricketer is also going through hell. That radio report really hit home when it was juxtaposed with a news story about mindless violence and the David Mellor taxi driver rant. I couldn’t help but wonder whether some people could do with a little perspective and a little reminder of their own mortality. I’m not saying they should be struck down with anything nasty – oh god no, I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone, but if there was a way to make them realise how short and precious life is, maybe they would think twice about their actions. Wouldn’t the world be a better place for it?! God, I sound naive.. but that is what perspective does for you. I’m not saying I’m perfect, I’m far from it, but what I do know is that the way I viewed life 3 years ago is vastly different to how I view it now. I appreciate it for what it is, I enjoy life a lot more, but I’ve also developed a fear that I’ve never had before. The fear of not knowing what will happen next – to me, or to the people I love. It’s absolutely terrifying which is all the more reason to appreciate and treasure the life and the time you have on this earth. Like the cricketer, it could be snatched away when you least expect it. Nothing is beyond the realms of possibility. As the last few weeks has proved, no one is immune to freak accidents, illnesses or anything.
On that philosophical note, I shall leave you to ponder (or go to sleep)! Next time you see someone you care about, give them a hug and appreciate them, you won’t regret it – even if you do come across a bit weird!
It’s been over a week since I blogged and some of you guys have contacted me and asked how I’ve been, so I better update you on my progress. I’ve now been off work for two weeks and I’ve been signed off for the rest of this week, but I’ve been told that this time, I have to FULLY recover before going back to work and fitness training. Quite a few people, including doctors have already said to me “don’t be too brave Kat”. Seems they know me well enough now to know that I’m really no good at sitting still and relaxing. Most of the medical team that look after me still think I’m an absolute lunatic to have even competed in a triathlon just a little over a month ago (more on that later).
You be pleased to know that I’m not in hospital and that I’ve been home about a week. The first week I got ill, I was admitted for almost a week. I became one of those awkward patients who threatened to discharge myself as I was so upset with having to be in a ward that I pretty much lived in in 2012 and 2013. The moment I started asking about discharging myself, I was assessed by a few doctors and they decided that I could go home with a bag of drugs and under supervision.
What was/is wrong with me? As I said in the previous post, there were a selection of issues.
(1) I had renal infections – so we’re talking bladder and kidney. It had got so bad that it had caused severe discomfort and pain which affected my renal function. When I had tests, the doctors found an elevated creatinine level, it should be in the region of 100 or below, but mine was as high up at 142 which is far too high. Creatinine is a chemical waste molecule that is found in the kidneys and it’s a very good indicator of how well they are functioning. Kidney infection and disease can lead to renal failure which in turn can be fatal. I was placed on a continuous fluid drip to help bring down the levels, but it didn’t work, it served only to make me go to the toilet every 90 minutes throughout the night, so I developed a sleep deprivation problem.
(2) Low haemoglobin – I should be up at about 130, but over the course of a few weeks, it started dropping. When I was in hospital it dropped to as low as 79 – this is blood transfusion territory.
(3) E-coli – I was tested positive for e-coli. When I mentioned this to a few friends their immediate reactions always went to whether I ate something bad, but that’s actually a common misconception. Everyone has e-coli in the gut, but it’s usually harmless. But sometimes, something in your body can cause it to flare up and in my case, renal infection was the suspected cause.
(4) Uveitis – I’ve been getting really cloudy vision and it baffled my doctors so much that I was sent to an ophthalmologist at the eye hospital. I also baffled those eye doctors too and was eventually referred to one of the top professors in the country for complex eye problems. Turns out that the first two eye doctors just wanted his opinion because of my history with cancer and they wanted a second opinion regarding whether to take an eye biopsy. Thankfully, the professor said it wasn’t required and he believed that with medical eyedrops and time, it will return to normal. What I had was severe inflammation which came along at the same time as everything else. He wasn’t sure whether it was related to the infection or my compromised immune system but confident that I will make a full recovery.
So there you have it! The list above is what I’ve had to put up with the past couple of weeks. The state of play now is that my haemoglobin is up to 100, my creatinine levels have dropped to 129, as far as I’m aware the e-coli is under control, I’m not getting any soreness or pain in my bladder. My sight has also improved and the permanently bloodshot right eye looks normal now. I had an MRI scan of my brain and head yesterday and the results came out clear. My 18 month PET scan has been brought forward to Thursday now as my doctors want to test everything this week and rule a lot of things out, so I’m now worrying about that. But apart from that, I’m feeling the best I’ve felt in a good few weeks. I keep being told that I’m still quite ill, but at least now, I’m improving, albeit at a glacial pace. Hopefully in a week, I be back to work and fitness training.
I’ll keep you posted on my PET scan too, so expect a blog on Friday night or Monday. Please pray that it’s clear and my remission can continue.
As promised earlier – my triathlon! At the risk of boring you I’ve added photos below rather than give you a full report that only triathletes will find semi-interested. All I want to say is that this was the second time I competed this course and I managed personal bests on the swim, bike and transitions. My run wasn’t great but my overall time was also a personal best, so I’m extremely happy with that! Given I only had less than two weeks to train after my bout of shingles, I’m proud! I also raised over £2000 for the Lymphoma Association and Cancer Research too, so thank you to those of you who sponsored me and had faith in me to do this!