July 9th, 2024

July 2024 health update

I was going to start this post with an apology for me writing about me again, but then I thought well, it's my blog, isn't it? I don't know anyone else or have friends to write about, so I have to be writing about me, don't I?

Anyway, this seems to be a point about blogging that I haven't really embraced before this one. And, as it happens, the ongoing tumbling of the quality of health in the downwards direction on the staircase of life is at least supplying me with a subject to write about while I'm sat here rubbing my head at the bottom.

There is now so much going on, I've started adding the the month name and year to the title now, so I can keep up with what I've told you.

I feel like perhaps the June before last, when my heart suddenly started giving me problems - at a time I believed myself to be relatively fit - was just the starting gun (the loud bang of which probably wouldn't have had the effect of starting me but have made me suddenly stop and clutch my chest and fall over frothing instead) for a load of my internal bits and pieces to gather together and say "Well, look, he's had a good run, but it's time to all draw lots then take it in turns to give him the impression he's starting to rot now. He is quite old after all."

I'd like to point out that at fifty-ahem, I'm not really old, and I don't smell like I'm rotting most days, but I haven't succeeding in convincing all my organs about that.

So you know about the MS, which thankfully hasn't developed into being any worse than it was when first diagnosed 18 years ago really. And I've touched on the stroke - a result of me living from age 17 to about 45 like a hedonistic youth (which I was at 17, and still pretending to be at 45), smoking and drinking like I was immortal, putting on too much weight, and going through the stress of a divorce (unsurprising really) and losing custody of my young children (unsurprising again - perpetually drunk fathers don't seem to win these things).

I had met the current Mrs S by the time of the stroke. She was instrumental in both saving my life at the time it happened, and helping me fight back and rebuild myself afterwards. I went from total right-sided paralysis, needing help to be fed and to get around, to jettisoning the smoking and drinking, losing more than a quarter of my total mass and being able to go for days out cycling 100 km or more by myself, in about three years.

I still can't walk without a stick, but I can ride my bike fine - apart from looking over my shoulder backwards while moving. I still find that really hard, despite a year of trying to train it into my muscles on a static trainer before I was confident enough to take a bike outdoors in the early days.

But, as fit as I felt just over a year ago, there's that history of smoking and drinking for many years before. The sort of history that, when you visit the doctor and tell him that although your wheezing, gasping for air, and violent cough originating in your chest you had for two months straight has gone at last (it coming on immediately after finally having the successful heart cardioversion heart shocking procedure), you have now lost your voice, have an irritation in your throat that makes you cough some more, and there are traces of blood in your phlegm. This will cause him to say "I see you have a history of smoking... I think we probably need to get you seen by the ear, nose and throat specialists for a closer look."

Yes, he mentioned the c-word too.

So we trekked down to Cornwall's main hospital (100 mile round trip) for an appointment two weeks ago, where I had to explain everything again to this specialist doctor, and then have the bendy cable with a camera on the end stuffed up my nose and down my throat to have a look. The doctor explained, after uncomfortably fishing the camera out, what he'd found. Apparently there was what he described as a polyp in my larynx, below the vocal cords. This accounted for my low quality voice - although Mrs S describes the gravelly whisper as 'quite sexy actually' - and he told me he thought it was probably benign.

The next stage was him ordering both MRI and CAT scans, before then going on to an operation for them to get in there and hoick the thing out to analyse it, before they could then give a 100% certain confirmation on it actually being benign.

Yesterday we made the journey to the hospital again, where I spent half a day having both the MRI and CT scans. I've been given an appointment via video call to discuss the results with the consultant, who intends to carry out a panendoscopy and biopsy (I can write it, can't say it).

But the consultant has delayed that - it was going to be next week at first - because I told her I am also due to have a heart MRI soon, which is hopefully the last stage of the cardiac department having me on their books. Unless of course they find anything that needs sorting before they allow me to go under anaesthetic and have the ENT panendoscopy operation.

It's been a busy time, shuttling between departments, going in and out to the docs for BP and pulse check ups for the heart procedure monitoring, and now a new set of the health services specialists have given me another set of steps to climb alongside the first ones.

Yes, you're correct. This is not one of the entertaining posts, but I need to record all this somewhere, and my blog seems to make sense as the right place.

Right, what's next?

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