Scan me baby.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jdhancock/

Before I start this post I want you to know that this is not being written to gain sympathy. There are so many people in my life who struggle far more than I with health. I also want you to know that I write this post as a record to and for myself and out of bemusement of what seems to be either an incredibly different, more proactive medical system here in Oz (which I am grateful for) or a sign that, nearing my mid 30s involves the start of bits falling off and it can only get worse from here ( which both amuses me and inspires me to eat better and get more exercise). I should also end this paragraph with a statement about how there is really nothing to worry about and I am perfectly fine 🙂

In in the past 8 weeks I have had an x-ray, an ultrasound, an MRI and a CT scan. If four square did medical badges I think I’d have earned one by now. These tests have all been for different things too! Since I arrived in Australia I seem to be making the most of the medical system. Symptoms which would most likely be ignored for a while in the UK seem to get jumped on super fast here.

1) DUFF KNEE

This ailment is responsible for the ultrasound, X-ray and MRI scan (and the subsequent out of pocket expenses)

Imagine the scene…. On the back veranda (yes my British friends we have one of those) there is a fabulous water play table in the shape of a pirate ship. On the patio below, lies a square of plastic foam mat with a printed road on it. These mats are designed to give Twisty somewhere to ‘drive’ and sit in comfort and safety from the hot, hard floor.  I’m am carrying Twisty (all 14kgs /2.2 stones worth) to the car. We’re going shopping. I step down from the veranda and onto the foam highway. There’s water under that foam. One leg slides forward the other buckles under me and I end up smacking my knee with the accumulative weight of my body, Tristan’s and the extra force created by the drop from the veranda. In short. OUCH. Of course, because I’m me (and possibly stupid) I then just get up. Get Twisty in the car and carry on with my day… I’ll put ice on it later.  Four weeks later and now it’s really hurting. It’s also a funny shape and when you press the knee cap it’s all squidgy and bubble like. (that bit was just to freak out Kelly).

Needless to say, I headed off to my doctor who, as usual – because I don’t think he can quite get over how long I seem to wait before I sort these things out-  tells me this this is a bit unusual. Probably bursitis… go get an X-ray and an ultra sound.

I did. Yes it is bursitis. That’s probably OK and will go on its own. But… There’s an unusual shadow in your bone marrow. My Dr actually used the word tumour – which really wasn’t wise because that word is associated with the OTHER word that I fear most of all. Amusingly, under pressure and strain, my brain went into the same mode I use when dealing with fighting teens. Deep breath, remove emotion, calm voice, eye contact… go… Right what steps do we need to take to find out why this is? The radiologists letter described it as an enchondroma which is harmless thing but we better make sure and have an MRI.  They cost a lot of money so I’ll refer you to a knee surgeon who can request it under Medicare and it will be cheaper (Still $800! although i go a large chunk back in a rebate – phew)

So i get to have an MRI.  Is it OK to state that although I was terrified by the word tumour, when i saw the machine a tiny part of me was excited? It looked like something out of a sci-fi movie! Very cool! Any hoo. It turns out that the thing in the centre of my bone is indeed a benign enchondroma.  The new Dr referred to it as a growth..  which seemed a better word.  As my leg bones stopped growing as a child no one told the cartilage and it got over excited.

Harmless.  Phew

2) EAR INFECTION / SINUS ISSUES

This ailment was the reason for the CT Scan

So this is still going on.  I had a the worlds most nasty bout of sinisitus (It made my teeth hurt it was that bad) and, being me, I didn’t go to the DR… I then ended up with ear ache and constant fuzzyness.   This time, when I let my Dr look he gasped and said something like “What’s happened to your ear? Can you hear OK?” Apparently my ear drum is very dull…  I’ve had 4 lots of antibiotics and it’s still dull… So… I asked to be referred to an ENT (Ear, nose and throat specialist).

He told me that my ear is fine.  It looks great because of the damage done to my eardrums by infections when i was kid.  I have to be honest that hearing those words was very vindicating for me.  I was sure that, just before my GCSE Music exam, my ear drum had gone very wrong.  I went to the Dr having woken up with green gunk on my pillow and tri-tonal hearing (not helpful when you have a listening exam in a day or so).  My not -so -fabulous Dr told me he couldn’t see in my ear drum because it was to gunked up, chided me for not cleaning my ears properly and advised that I fill my ear with water and tip it out to remove the ‘wax’…..  The worlds most stupid Dr with the worlds most idiotic advice.   Suffice it to say, pouring water into a tiny hole in your damaged ear drum does the exact opposite of help… I still got an A on my GCSE music though so there!   Anyway, it was good to know that there really was a problem with my ear when I was a kid and I wasn’t imagining it!

It was even better to know that my hearing has remained unscathed.  Lots of twanging of tonal forks and holding them in various positions on my head has proven that I have a full range of hearing thank you very much!  Excellent.

I still have all this nasty pressure though and occasional ear aches.  Thus the CT scan on my sinus.  That’s like a little MRI machine.  Far less Star Trek though – sadly.  I get my results for that on Thursday.  So hopefully there isn’t anything stuck up there 😉

3) MOLE!

Some long months (maybe even a year ago now) the fabulous “beauty marks” on my face began to itch and tingle.  Australia is famous for it’s fast response to skin ailments. Mainly because of it’s high rates of skin cancer.  So… of course, I was referred to a dermatologist who promptly told me the mole looked fine. Hairy, witch like growths on your face are apparently the least likely to ever turn nasty.  However, once I had followed all of her advice about getting rid of my cleaning products and replacing them with more gentle ones the itching didn’t cease.  I was advised that it was probably nothing but that it’s better to be safe that sorry.  So… today I went to a plastic surgeon… that’s something I never thought I’d ever say.  I realised that my desire to appear to be not vain enough to have these moles removed was actually standing in the way of sensibility.  I was actually being vain in keeping them… PARADOX!  So… i went to see a Dr and he cut them off 30 mins after my first consult.  Just like that. Gone.  I now have two lovely bits of skin coloured tape where once there were moles.   The offending moles have been sent to a lab and I will get those results a week today.  Of course, the Dr is quite convinced that there was nothing nasty about them.  He repeatedly told me so. So I’m happy to go with that.  I’ll just have it all confirmed next week.

4) Child … the next

All of the embryos are exhausted. Gone.  So, this means that if we want to have a brother or sister for Twisty we need to go through a complete round of IVF again.  Hormones, injections, surgery, implantation … the works.  I am not looking forward to this at all but it’s one of those things that I have to do.  This will be the last time I do it though.  One more round and we’re done.  If no one appears as a result we will be eternally grateful for the miracle of Mr T 🙂  He, however, will be cross.  In order to do IVF I have to stop feeding him. We told him about how if he wanted a brother or sister he needed to give up the milk. He was so keen to have new pal that he agreed (with a little protest) and has been off the juice for nearly a month now (should I get him a medal… AA style I wonder?).  Of course, he’s a little confused as he hasn’t seen his sister yet.  He keeps asking where she is.  I have sat him down and explained that we’re working on it and that he should note that sisters don’t come about “play ready” – they have to learn to hold there heads up and things first.

Needless to say.  I sincerely hope that all the above medical craziness turns to nothing so that I can concentrate on item 4 and that item 4 yields results. If not, I’ll have the wrath of a 2 year old to contend with EIK!

 

 

 

 

 

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