Health Problems have ended the Career of this Superwoman

I have been quiet, absent from this site for many months due to Health Problems. Firstly it was the Back Pain that I have been complaining about for five years now. I had been seeing a GP for four years with no resolve or treatment. He had ordered me to undergo many Back X Rays plus Bone Density tests, but not once did he report back the results to me. The only thing he did alert me to was my very high reading of Osteoporosis.

In desperation I started seeing another GP in the same practice. She arranged a meeting via Skype with a Back Specialist in Perth. This meeting is enabled by Federal government initiative named ‘e-health.’ E-health recognises people living in country and regional Australia have difficulty receiving specialist medical assistance.

The Specialist prescribed Targin, a painkiller, would help me. But it did not reduce my pain in anyway. My back pain had gradually worsened over the five years, so much so, that I could now only stand for 10-15 minutes before excruciating pain set in. The only way to get relief from the pain is to lay down for about one hour. Of course if I lift anything or do any physical activity the pain is worsened. Normal household duties and activities are severely limited. Even cooking my favourite meals is a very painful experience.

Finally in May 2016 after numerous requests my new GP sent me for another Back X Ray. This time it came back showing I had several fractures on my spine, the result of the Osteoporosis. Bingo, I suggest I have had many fractures on my spine over the last five years. My GP could not refer me to a local Specialist as they are non existent, and she does not appear to be very interested in my predicament.

I have had limited success with getting regular Housekeepers to look after the many jobs around the house. I do have a lovely young friend who has offered to help, but she won’t accept any money or payment from me. She works as a Disability Carer, on shift work and helps other people like myself with small jobs.

I am finding it difficult to accept my deterioration in Health, after being a Workaholic all my life, and keeping an immaculate home and garden.

In mid December 2016 I suddenly developed severe Chest Pains, and a total loss of appetite. I finally went to the Doctor just after Christmas. She did a ECG test and sent me directly to the Emergency Department of the local hospital. They did several tests and concluded I either had a Heart Attack, or was about to have one. After two days, I was then flown by Air Ambulance to St Vincent’s Hospital in Fitzroy.

Numerous tests were conducted, then the Scleroderma Department suggested I would need further testing to investigate a connection. The further tests would not be available until the following week.

I returned to St Vincent’s last Thursday for further tests, which revealed I had PAH, Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. A Rare disease. I will have to wait two to three weeks before I receive the tablets to help cope with this problem.

This is not my first major health problem. In fact I have suffered from Chronic Bronchitis since age 21, and Scleroderma since my early 30’s. With the Scleroderma, it took ten years of searching and tests by various Specialists before I was finally diagnosed with the disease.  It was a young Melbourne GP that recognised the symptoms within five minutes of my appointment. I was referred to a Rheumatologist Specialist, who advised me there was no cure for this very rare disease, and he thought I would only live another five years. His various tests also revealed I had suffered Tuberculosis TB at some stage in my life. Looking back in hindsight I wonder if it was in fact Tuberculosis that I suffered, and was misdiagnosed, rather than Chronic Bronchitis that I was diagnosed with at age 21.

Now the next very important quest is to find relief and treatment for the Spinal Fractures. I believe I will need to get a referral to St Vincent’s Hospital. I am inclined to believe I will finally get the required  treatment from the Specialists down there.  The recent Chest Pains that triggered my admission to hospital, has left the very painful Spinal Fractures ignored by all Doctors and Nurses who treated me recently. The Spinal Fractures have been the biggest limit to my physical activity, and caused me the greatest pain and disability.

Shortness of breath in those early years was finally diagnosed as Asthma in my mid forties.

All these health problems never slowed me down in my goals to achieve a successful and rewarding career, and to look after my family, and all the rescued animals in my care. Hence the Superwoman tag I gave myself so many years ago.

I achieved all I have in my life by believing I had a V8 Engine powering me, when in fact it appears to be a very small 2 Cylinder Engine.

I also believed I would have the same stamina as my late father. My father had suffered from Chest Infections from an early age, including TB, but he was still a very fit man at age 84 years, Breaking In and Training the wild young horses, as well as conducting his Cattle Buying Business. His death at age 84 was the result of misdiagnosis of a Blood Clot in his leg, that was left unattended, when they finally diagnosed it, and amputated his leg, the Blood Clot had reached his heart.

I know we all have a ‘Use by date’, we are not immortal, however I did expect to work in my Tax Consulting Business at least into my 80’s. I loved my job, loved helping others, and looked forward to work everyday.

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2 responses to “Health Problems have ended the Career of this Superwoman

  1. Hi Elizabeth…

    Despite all these limiting ailments over these years, it is true that you have still been on the go and attained much to your satisfaction.

    Spinal fractures due to osteoporosis does create nerve/pain outcomes and you do have to exercise care that fractures do not get worse.

    Like your dad, you seem to have the will and energy to go beyond your medical limits.

    Do pace yourself and I hope that you do get help to keep the house and garden tidy if not pristine……have to adjust to the new situation. I do let the dust and the weeds grow if I cant fine the time to do them.

    I will have you in my thoughts but be as well as you can…..kahwah

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