Author Archives: 50diary

Goodbye Mirena Coil IUD

And for me at least, it is good riddance. After six years, it was definitely time for us to part ways. I’m 52 and single so it’s not needed for birth control, and I’m on HRT and take progesterone tablets, so it’s not needed as the progesterone part of HRT either.

The Mirena coil is used as effective birth control for about four years so it was even, by now, out of date. So although the nurse I saw six months ago persuaded me to keep it in (against my instincts) I decided I’d had enough of there being a sizeable piece of plastic in my womb for no reason at all, and asked the doctor to take it out today this morning. She agreed.

I stripped off the bottom half of my clothes and lay on the bed. The (female) doctor then switched on the lamp and aimed it between my legs. Awkward… but necessary! Then she inserted the speculum and dilating instrument and cranked it up to widen the cervix to about 5cm. I tried to relax and she told me to take deep breaths, but it was pretty uncomfortable (although not exactly painful). Then she inserted a grabber thing, like a miniature litter picker, and a few seconds later told me to cough… in the same instant I obliged she pulled the strings of the coil and it pinged out onto the bed. That part didn’t hurt at all, and I was delighted. I’d given birth to a t-shaped piece of polyethylene! Straight away I started feeling cramps, and these continued for several hours along with light bleeding, but by late afternoon the bleeding had slowed right down and the cramping had become mild.

So that’s it. I am free of the implant in my womb. Just got to get these large silicone breast implants out now. Five days until the big op….

This time two years ago…

August:

“Mum is struggling after coming home from hospital ten days ago. Although she’s up and about, she’s not back to her usual self physically or psychologically. In fact, the personality change is the most troubling thing. She’s extremely tense, as if in a state of perpetual fear. She had an apparent bad reaction to the anaesthetic and although she was given a powerful anti-sickness injection, a day after she arrived home the nausea and trembling began again. I’ve never seen her so weak and unwell. She could barely open her eyes or move. She was white as a sheet and complaining of dizziness, nausea, trembling and weakness. She couldn’t eat and could barely drink. She couldn’t walk. A doctor was called to her bedside and diagnosed a possible post-op infection and Meniere’s Disease — which was unexpected and seemed strange to me, but my mum accepted it straight away. I’m more inclined to think it’s something to do with the operation or the anaesthetic. She was fine before the op, desperately ill afterwards. It would be a huge coincidence if she suddenly got Meniere’s Disease in that short time, but maybe the operation has sparked it off, if that’s possible? I don’t know. But for the last week or so she’s been taking new medication prescribed by the doctor which has given some relief, and she does seem to be recovering. I feel uneasy about it though. Something doesn’t feel right. I’ve tried to say this a few times but she’s not interested. She wants to accept the easiest and first diagnosis, and while she’s weak and ill I’m not going to press my point, she’s in enough distress as it is.”

A month ago mum finally got a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. It was as I feared. It’s interesting how I diagnosed her with the condition two years before the medical profession got round to it. She’s now on medication to help curtail the symptoms but her leg is still painful every day all day, and the “internal jitteriness” (as she describes it) has not gone away. They haven’t given her a CT scan of her brain yet so I’m not sure how they can be so certain of a Parkinson’s diagnosis. I agree her symptoms are in line with the disease but it could still be something else. Something really bad. Here’s hoping she’s not too long on the waiting list.

Sanex Zero Sensitive Deodorant Skin Reaction

In case anyone else has a bad reaction to Sanex deodorant, sensitive version, and is wondering if they’re unusual, this is what happened to me:

I chose this deodorant because it doesn’t have aluminum in it. Medical research shows that aluminum from antiperspirants can build up in your body (if applied frequently) and there are some who suggest that there is a link to breast cancer, but no direct evidence shows this and I’m skeptical. However, since I do have breast implants and many of the symptoms of Breast Implant Illness (BII) I didn’t want to add an extra layer of risk.

So this morning I applied the Sanex Zero Sensitive deodorant under my arms and immediately felt a stinging sensation. After five or ten minutes I had a look and the skin was angry and red. I hastily washed it off with soap and water and the redness and stinging quickly went away. I’ll never use it again. There is some bad ingredient in there! I’ve never had this reaction to an antiperspirant or deodorant before.

The full list of ingredients is:

Aqua, glycerin, stearth-2, PPG-15, stearyl ether, dimethicone, steareth-21, parfum, lactic acid, sodium lactate, caprylyl glycol, sodium benzoate, calcium silicate. One of those isn’t good for the skin at all.

How I Could Have Died Getting Breast Implants on the NHS

It was Spring 2004, and the day after my breast augmentation operation I developed a really weird sloshy ring, like a spare tyre, around my waist. I asked one of the nurses what it was and she dismissively replied, “oh that’s normal dear.”

I’ll never forget those stupid, wrong words. It wasn’t normal. I never had a spare tyre of sloshy liquid around my waist before in my life. I was a skinny minny, 5’9″ and only 9 stone. There wasn’t an inch of fat on my body – except now there was a completely liquid ring around my waist. I guess the nurse must have thought that I was being vain and complaining about a bit of fat on my body, but she didn’t stop to discuss it further, she was already walking away in irritation.

I didn’t know it at the time but it was blood from internal bleeding (because I didn’t have drains put in post op). The next day I fainted when I tried to walk to the toilets. In total, I was in hospital for five days. All the other girls had recovered and been sent home, yet I was struggling and exhausted and still utterly feeble. No-one thought to question this. It was decided that I’d been occupying the bed for too long so was sent home without any checks on my health. I must be fine – it had been five days since the operation – I was a lazy slacker (or at least that’s how I was made to feel, as if I was taking a long time to recover on purpose).

I continued to feel unwell for a couple of months (weakness, feebleness, headaches every day, fatigue, tiny appetite) and eventually, after really insisting, pressurising various GPs and getting nowhere, I went to A&E. They said, “you have a tension headache.”

I knew in my heart they were wrong so I insisted that it wasn’t. Thank God I had the strength to battle. A young doctor reluctantly ordered a few blood tests and not long after that I was hastily admitted. The next day I had to have a blood transfusion I’d lost so much blood – leaking out of my breasts into my abdominal cavity and settling around my waist…. It was my first ever blood transfusion, and I haven’t needed one since. I will forever feel annoyed that I was forced to have one because of the surgeon’s error.

“Have you been bleeding?” he demanded to know when he came to see me. “You weren’t a bleeder during the operation. The blood must have disappeared somehow!” I didn’t say anything because I didn’t know what to say. The only thing that had happened to me was the operation he performed. I was fine beforehand, unwell afterwards. I didn’t realise that his failure to fit me with drains caused the problem and risked my life. But he must have known as he interrogated me with his ridiculous question.

I was lucky the situation wasn’t any worse.

Are My Breast Implants The Cause of All My Health Problems?

Seventeen years ago I had two Mentor Siltex Contour Profile Cohesive Gel-Filled, 280cc breast implants done on the NHS. They’ve served me well in the sense that they gave me what I needed at the time.

But things have changed now that I’m older and wiser and care more about my health – my health that is deteriorating almost by the day. I’m worried my implants have caused me to have an auto immune illness, just like these celebrities in this article.

My state of health today is: a hip that has “severe” degenerative changes (arthritis) and needs replacing; multiple slipped discs in my back; and two knees that keep subluxing (partially dislocating).

A recent blood test shows I have raised centromere antibodies, so rheumatology think there might be an underlying autoimmune disorder – I’ve previously been diagnosed with Crest Syndrome, then undiagnosed with it. Also fibromyalgia, then undiagnosed with that too. No-one knows what’s going on.

I have very frequent and intense migraines. This could be to do with the fact that I’m peri-menopausal, or partly due to this fact. But many women report that their migraines stop when they have their breast implants taken out.

I recently found a UK Breast Implant Illness group on Facebook and was astonished (and a bit horrified) to read that thousands of women (in this group alone) who all have breast implants – many the exact same type as mine – suffer from autoimmune type symptoms to varying degrees. And those who have had their implants taken out (explanted) say their chronic symptoms have mostly vanished.

Among this group we’re not glad we had our breasts augmented. We wish we’d never gone through with it, we wish we’d known it could seriously effect our health, and we now face an explant operation in the hope that we can get healthy again.

Explantation isn’t as straight forward as you might think. You can’t just whip out the implants, you have to take the scar capsules that have formed around the implant out too. And if you’re unfortunate enough to have sub-muscular implants like I am, this can be dangerous because the capsules get can get stuck to a rib and become too risky to scrape away (ribs can be broken and lungs punctured). It means that parts of the toxic sac stays inside you forever, possibly leaking silicone particles, possibly causing cancer. It’s a truly horrible state of affairs.

I can’t WAIT to have my implants removed. I have a date with a private consultant in late July, although it’s not soon enough but it’s his earliest availability apparently. As soon after that initial consultation as I can, I will make a date for an explant operation (as long as it doesn’t clash with my total hip replacement – I’m so broken!).

My next task is find a way to get the money to pay for it. It’s going to cost about £8,000 altogether and I have no savings or access to that kind of money. I’ll be looking at credit cards and loans. I don’t have anything I can sell. But getting into debt is nothing compared to living with two toxic bags sitting on my chest. The idea makes me shudder.

Back on HRT – Evorel Oestrogen Patches & Utrogestan Progesterone Capsules

Well I tried. I have been six months completely free of any kind of HRT. I started weaning off my oestrogen gel and progesterone capsules in October 2020 and by January 2021 I reduced my dose to nothing. I was delighted to be dealing with the menopause the way my mum dealt with hers: stoically accepting the natural process. Not interfering with my body’s natural hormonal cycles.

And then came the hot flushes. Although that’s not really a fair way to describe what happens. They’re more like Intense Sweating Attacks.

These happen multiple times per day, starting at the neck, where I feel a sudden mushroom of heat that rapidly expands to my ears, face, whole head, and then the rest of my body. Sweat runs off my forehead and seeps out of my neck. Sweat gathers and trickles down my chest, my hair sticks to the skin on my forehead and the back of my neck, sweat pours out of my arms, back, thighs, behind my knees, elbows, shins… EVERY bit of skin on my body suddenly, within seconds, goes from a completely normal temperature to an INTENSELY sweating, deeply uncomfortable hot mess. Why? Why, body, why? What is the point of this unpleasantness? How does it serve me?

The hot flushes happen about twenty times per day and every time I wake in the night (usually about three or four times). My skin is permanently sticky, my bed sheets and bed clothes need to be changed far more regularly than normal, my pillow is often like a cold damp flannel – sweated on so much when I’m asleep that it doesn’t dry out and just gets cold.

I’ve been suffering like this for six months. I also have other health problems – two dislocating knees, a crumbled destroyed hip, and multiple slipped discs in my back. I am having a total hip replacement operation this summer. I also have frequent and intense migraines.

So I have enough trouble without sweating like an elite athlete just sitting watching TV. It’s just one deeply uncomfortable problem I can do without. And since it’s relatively easy to do something about, I finally gave up trying to be natural like my mother, and asked my GP to prescribe HRT.

I collected my first dose this morning and was so desperately excited to get started that I stuck my first patch on in a Waitrose car park. I couldn’t even wait to get home. I’ll take my first progesterone tablet last thing tonight before I go to sleep (because it can make you feel drunk). And that’s me off. Relief is in reach on the horizon!

How To Get An NHS Doctor’s Appointment Today

Well, it’s a nightmare. It’s a battle. It’s hit and miss. It’s a protracted and exhausting procedure that I’m sure puts most people off bothering.

Today I suddenly broke and realised I can’t continue living the way I am – every day in pain and agony from my hip, back, knees, and head. Something isn’t right. I can’t cope with the pain any more. And why do I have all this pain anyway? What is WRONG with my hip, my back, my knees..? And why do I get a headache every single day and migraines most day? Why do I wake up every morning with a splitting headache? I honestly can’t take it any more. it’s making me a bad mother and a miserable human being. I need to make a doctor’s appointment.

BUT… Gone are the days when you simply pick up your phone, call the surgery, and book an appointment. Gone are the days when you can go online, select a day and time from the list, and make an appointment. No, no. You can’t do anything as simply or easily any more. Why? I do not know. Perhaps it’s because they’re using the coronavirus pandemic (that isn’t a pandemic in the UK now) as a continual EXCUSE to keep patients away so doctors can have an easy working day, but if so, this is a stupid strategy long term. We are all so ill and suffering, and we’re only getting worse and worse alone at home, making our injuries or diseases more complex and harder to treat every day that slips by that we don’t have any medical attention.

But back to my story. Having decided I need to see a doctor to find out what on earth is wrong with me, I went straight to my GP surgery’s website where I discovered that unfortunately I can’t do anything today or tomorrow because it’s the weekend and, naturally, the doctor’s are closed. You can’t phone, text, email, or fill out a form – they are shut, closed, offline. This is extremely inconvenient.

Meanwhile I’m resigned to the fact that, even on a weekday, I won’t be able to see a doctor face-to-face because… Coronavirus Excuse, so Monday (in two days’ time) is the earliest I’ll be able to fill out the electronic consultation form. I will hope against hope that the vicious triaging guard dogs allow the form to be seen by a doctor, and then hope that a doctor, any old doctor (I never see the same one twice) replies and sends me an email to say that I have permission to phone to book an appointment with him or her, by phone. It definitely won’t be a face-to-face appointment straight away because Coronavirus Excuse. I will then get on my knees my knees and pray that the appointment they make for me isn’t scheduled too far ahead in the future (and not at a time when I’m already doing something important – because I get no say at all about when my appointment will be. If you don’t accept the one they offer you, you get the feeling that there won’t be another one and you’re made to feel utterly ungrateful). It could be up to two weeks away. When I finally do get that precious telephone appointment, which will obviously be without any eye contact or body language or any physical examination, I will have to ensure I convince the doctor about how much pain I’m in every day, and how I can’t go on, and desperately need help. (Why does it have to be that I’m absolutely desperate before I seek help?) After that, it’s anyone’s guess. Most likely they’ll offer pain killers but no exploration as to what’s causing the problem. If I’m extremely, incredibly lucky, I may manage to somehow convince him or her to allow me to come into the surgery and sit down opposite them and have an actual real, life face-to-face appointment. This would be like some kind of miracle, a similar feeling to winning the lottery. If they examine me, they will be shocked at how much I’m suffering and FINALLY, I might actually get some help – hopefully a referral to a specialist. But in reality, a face-to-face appointment with a doctor is extremely unlikely.

This is what it’s like these days in the NHS. No exaggeration. It’s easier to get a hairdresser’s appointment, your nails done, a virgin media technician or even a plumber to come to your house. Massive problems are being stored up for the future and patients will be dying in their thousands because doctors – the first port of call for us ill and suffering people – are trying their best to keep us away as long as possible.

I’m usually proud of the UK and England, but right now I’m losing that. The GP service is not fit for purpose. The NHS is failing its people. God help you (me?) if it’s cancer.

Tonsillitis is HORRIBLE

Amy has tonsillitis. Why aren’t more people complaining about this awful disease?! It’s nasty. A throat filled with pus, agonising pain on swallowing, constant nausea, regular vomiting, can’t even keep water down, aching tummy and ears, a headache, and utter exhaustion from lack of sleep. It’s completely disabling. She can only lie there and occasionally groan. Such protracted suffering for a twelve-year-old.

She’s been prescribed phenoxymethylpenicillin, an antibiotic to treat the infection (in case it’s bacterial) and I’m giving her Calpol for the pain. She also has anti-sickness tablets to control the nausea. I hope it all works to relieve her symptoms.

I’m worried she may be taking antibiotics when she doesn’t need them, because they didn’t test to see if it was a bacterial infection but I guess it’s better than taking the chance that it isn’t. This really is a very nasty illness.

Sigh. Single mother hell. My whole body aches. I’m so stressed and I have a migraine coming on. Amy was up vomiting at 2:30am and I didn’t properly get back to sleep after that. All day today I’ve been at the Urgent Care Centre in a nearby hospital trying to get the drug’s sorted out. I’m really, really tired. No chance for a nap, even if I didn’t need to collect Jack from school and provide him with supper – I’m too anxious and stressed.

UPDATE: Amy had a reaction to the antibiotics. All of them – the penicillin and the non-penicillin. Nobody knows why, or even what causes this – usually you’re just allergic to penicillin and not all the other types as well – but as soon as we figured it out and stopped giving her the pills she started getting better. It’s a bit worrying for the future if she ever gets a bacterial infection (sepsis? another bout of tonsillitis?) but I’ll research this problem and see if I can discover anything. If I do, I’ll post it here.

What Does A Slipped Disc (Herniated Disc, Prolapsed Disc) in Your Back Feel Like?

The pain of a slipped disc in your lower back is a pinching, sharp, burning kind of pain. I describe it as “high-pitched.” It’s not an ache, or a pulsing a pain, it’s more of an intermittent sharp pinch. You can tell it’s nerve irritation and not anything to do with bones or muscles. For me, the pain of a slipped disc can’t be relieved by changing position. It makes no difference if I’m lying down or standing up, the pain is just as bad, resting doesn’t make it go away. If anything, resting makes it worse. Walking and moving feels better, sitting down in a chair increases the pain.

I use a hot water bottle on my back but when the pain from the prolapsed disc is bad it doesn’t really do anything. I could use ibuprofen but I don’t want to drug myself. I don’t like using medication to dull the pain. The pain is there for a reason, and I’d much rather be treated so that the pain doesn’t arise in the first place. When a slipped disc doesn’t get better over years or decades (as in my case) what are the treatment options? I wish I knew. I wish I was under a consultant. I wish I was receiving treatment.

But of course, you can’t get anywhere near a doctor or specialist these days. GPs aren’t minded to refer anyone, and triaging means that you rarely get through to a doctor anyway. The excuse for not seeing patients and keeping them at arm’s length is coronavirus, which doesn’t make sense because there’s barely any around now and we’re all vaccinated anyway. The severe triaging that goes on at GP surgeries, ensuring patients aren’t able to see doctors face-to-face, is a national disgrace. The protracted battle to get an appointment is exhausting and stressful and must put so many people off even trying. Which is the case with me. I have three or four problematic things wrong with me that I would love to get treated but I’m not even trying to get a doctor’s appointment. It’s a waste of time. They won’t see me. It’s a telephone appointment anyway and that goes nowhere. Lets hope I don’t have cancer, like so many others, who aren’t getting seen by the medical profession. We just live in discomfort and wait for a time when GP surgeries are forced by the Government to be welcoming to patients again.

I Had my Second Covid Jab, Here’s What Happened

I went back to the same building where I had my first Covid vaccination injection nine weeks earlier. I don’t know why I wasn’t given a full twelve week wait between jabs (which I would have preferred). They took my details first, checking I was who I said I was and that I was on their system, and then went through to another room where there was a nurse ready. I sat down in a chair and after answering a few more questions she prepared the needle with the solution, drawing it up from a tiny bottle. I let my left arm hand down the side of my body and relaxed. The nurse lifted the sleeve of my t-shirt, said, “sharp scratch…” and gently plunged the needle into my deltoid muscle. I felt barely any pain, and it was only in there for about 1 – 2 seconds, before she pulled it out and pressed a ball of cotton wool on the spot. She disposed of the needle in a special yellow sharps bin and taped the cotton wool to my arm. I then went outside and sat in the corridor for twenty minutes to make sure I didn’t have a rare allergic reaction, which I didn’t, after which I drove home. Easy!

All the rest of the day I felt fine. But late that evening I realised my entire body ached. All the joints in my legs had become painful and my thighs and shins ached. My left arm felt sore and I had a slight headache. I took paracetamol and went to bed, but I couldn’t sleep. I kept dozing off then waking up 45 minutes later. At one point I woke up absolutely freezing cold. I was so cold I was shivering and even my thick winter duvet and thick, heavy throw on top couldn’t warm me up. Luckily I then had a menopausal hot flush so I was boiling hot and sweating profusely. At some point I managed to get a few hours sleep. The next day I took three doses of paracetamol and one dose of ibuprofen for a continuous headache and the body aches, but by the evening it had all calmed down and the pain was gone. I slept well that night and woke the next day back to normal, with perhaps only a tender arm.

So the first dose of the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine gave me no adverse side effects at all, barely a sore arm, but with this second dose I was unwell, although it didn’t last more than about 36 hours.

All in all I feel grateful to have had the vaccine and pleased I didn’t suffer any serious side effects. I look forward to a few months of confidence being completely protected from serious illness and hospitalisation from Covid before I guess we’ll all need to get our update vaccines to protect against the mutations that everyone will have brought back to the UK from their summer holidays abroad.