Classic case of the anxiety of living on the cliff edge for so long and lack of sleep led to almost panic over the last two or three days as my head went into catastrophising (is that a real word?) mode.

On Saturday I ventured out again with my Mum, Lisa and our Lily to go to a garden centre but within minutes of getting there I’d started to get a pain in my chest – just below and behind my sternum and it was gradually getting worse and worse.

The original symptoms of the ‘main event’ had just such a pain in a similar area although more on my sternum but pain is not the easiest thing to pin down it’s exact location; additionally there is an ongoing anxiety around my heart and liver from the iron overload that is still to be treated. So in my head I was varying between a re-occurence of the main event which I eventually managed to put to bed, and then potential failure for my liver and/or heart.

The pain intensified as the day went by and Lisa and I were Googling symptoms – we know, not the most sensible thing you can do but the temptation when you are feeling very scared is too high and I was too scared to phone the hospital too. To be honest part of me wanted to take the risk as it could have led to final relief from all this – dangerous territory but that’s the reality – Man Up pills and spoonful of cement in order….. Everything though pointed to heartburn/indigestion/constipation and we tried to rationalise that out. Over the last week or two I had discovered a new favourite food in the shape of sugar free Alpen and would often eat two large bowls of it a day along with a handful of grapes on top so lots of lovely insoluable fibre at the same time as I had been low on drinking the right amount of water. It has to be the answer – didn’t it?

We tried Milk of Magnesia – no effect; codeine and paracetamol didn’t touch the sides and I had been taking codeine for the last couple of days too for the pain in my man sausage and bladder and codeine can bind you up too. A teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in a glass of water didn’t help, nor did buscopan and neither paracetemol nor codeine even touched the pain which was by now really quite horrible and I was bloody scared. At times in tears along with Lisa as we thought this could be the moment the cliff edge gave way but trying to convince ourselves that everything pointed to the combination of heartburn/constipation/indigestion. After around twelve hours and the contribution of a nice warm bean bag the pain subsided and I was left with a point in my upper abdomen feeling really quite tender which intensified if I laid on my side in bed.

I’d drunk a fair bit of water during the day, meant to be back on 3 litres a day, and so when I finally did get to sleep I was also back onto weeing every 15 minutes during the night so come Sunday morning was in zombie land even more than usual. At least Sunday promised a couple of hours in front of the TV hoping for an interesting Monaco Grand Prix and despite the best efforts of Red Bull and their dodgy Red Bull engine, Verstappen starting at the back and LeClerce crashing into Hartley it proved to be very boring until the last few laps when my chest started to hurt again to the same level as the day before.

I think part of it must be anxiety related as I was aware I was getting wound up hoping against hope that Ricciardo would actually get across the line first and hold off Jonny German, Vettel, so as to minimise any damage to The Hammer’s Championship lead. I feel that my stress rev limiter is just below the red all the time so that if anything else comes along, even the GP result, that adds to any stress then we are bouncing off the rev limiter and in this case it fired up the bowel problem I was hoping for rather than main event/heart issue/liver issue. Oh, and I forgot, one of the first symptoms of Graft Versus Host disease making a come back can be bowel issues and at the moment I am on a schedule reducing my anti-rejection drugs, so that was a further worry in the mix.

Lisa, always there to hold my hand…xxx

The format was the same – the pain intensified over the coming hours and nothing seemed to make a difference; Lisa and I battled along, still too scared to call the hospital as we convinced ourselves it was more to do with Alpen, dehydration and stress than anything really nasty, plus I was due in hospital the following morning anyway. The hours went by, the pain settled at just below intolerable and the tears flowed for both of us again. I persuaded Lisa to go to bed around midnight but I was waking her at 1.30am as I was now really frightened and simply wanted some company and a hand to hold – poor Lisa once again takes the brunt. I’d now taken two doses of Movicol laxative and it was a transformation – the pain went, the discomfort with it that I’d not really noticed before went too and in the morning the bomb bay doors opened and a good bit of blitzkreig followed. Nothing too ‘violent’ but it certainly got the train out the station and made room for the next one!

By about 2.30 the pain had gone and it was back to bed, getting up every 20 minutes or so until it was time to get off to hospital at 8am for a 10am appointment for my immunoglobulin treatment which is a four hour drip and was a welcome relief as I had no chest pain and felt quite comfortable despite being aware I was a bit dehydrated.

I’ll phone the hospital next time.

I decided today that I had to take more spoonfuls of cement to ‘harden the f#*k up’ and actually watch the canula being put in – this is partly down to my Tom who breezes through blood tests and weirdly seems to actually enjoy them?! Weirdo. Anyway I thought I had to step up so not only decided to watch it going on but I was going to video it for the benefit of everyone else as well – well chuffed as I didn’t even break sweat let along pass out:

The good thing about the drip being for a few hours and also being a bit dehydrated was a remarkable effect on my wee frequency and I had at least three one hour spells between each wee so got some sleep for a change. That is the temptation with fluid intake, to leave it and get some sleep but then get a bollocking as my kidney creatinine level goes up which is a bad thing for my already struggling kidneys. I do give in to temptation sometimes though but with the dehydration sooner or later comes bladder and sausage pain. 3 litres a day for the next few days at least then, but nice to have a break.

I’d also re-stocked my meds the other day and one, a broad band anti-biotic, has been stopped altogether and as I said I’m on a reducing schedule for the anti rejection drugs. This now means I only take pills at 8am and 8pm with nothing in the middle but it is still quite a lot of pills every day, with 10 in the morning and 3 in the evening –  a long way away from my peak of 33 tablets a day. If all goes well I will be dropping one more anti-rejection pill a week on Friday as they reduce by one tablet for a two week period. Fingers crossed it all goes to plan.

Drugs, drugs and drugs…

Well I’m writing this around 2pm today, Tuesday and have still not had any pain in my abdomen/chest and it looks like the Movicol did the job. Lisa and I have popped in on my parents for a cup of tea and to review Dad’s and my fishing plan in the river along with a couple of mates and also to have a look at his inherited dinghy.

What shall we call this – when she is the right way up!

The latter looks like fun and Dad and I will be getting stuck in with sanding, prepping and painting over the coming days so that the kids can get out on the water – funnily enough none of them seem to want me to go in the boat with them – can’t think why!! It will be good for me to get tinkering on a boat again and we are looking at a coming up with a name for her between us in the family – I have a feeling I know what my mate Daniel would suggest…

Lunch possibilities – catch it, cook it, eat it….and help the environment of course!

The other thing will be to start ‘developing the swim’, I think is the right expression, in the river so we can catch some massive (?) fish as there are apparently some big pike and chub in there – lunch is like as not going to be fresh caught crayfish cooked up in a pan of boiling water and washed down with an alcohol free beer for me…..summer’s coming!

So it’s more of the usual really, background fear, some stresses and strains, emotional moments and then some really lovely moments with family – be it over a brew or texting daft things with the kids.

Things could be worse, just got to keep rowing the boat….

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Challenges, Ian's Blog

Join the conversation! 13 Comments

  1. The boat name: in homage to you putting your hospital toilet out of action, “The Floater”.

  2. Bloody hell Ian! Ring the sodding hospital next time!!! Either that or take shares out in a tissue company, you might as well profit from all the tears! 😉

    Seriously, feeling for you, all that sleep deprivation makes you very prone to anxiety attacks, ask any menopausal woman! 🙂

  3. When Diana was ill, I got bollocked very firmly for not ringing the Hospital – that’s what the’re there for. So next time don’t self analyse, let the medics do their stuff.
    Phew got the ebeejebees reading that last bulletin.
    Don’t tip Dad in from the canoe, he was a good rower but not sure about his swimming!

    • Understood Anthony, I know I should have called them, was at the end of my tether with pain, anxiety etc etc. There was a part of me thinking that if the boat capsized it would be a relief – then I grabbed the Man Up pills.
      The river looks like the Tideway stream at the moment going by theirs so Michael Phelps would struggle, in fact an ‘eight’ would struggle to make headway – still, he’ll have a life jacket!

  4. I think you should make a film about your life so far, Lisa can play herself as can the ‘children’. You would direct but who will play you.? It would certainly get an Oscar, you and yours are b….y fantastic

  5. Told you it would turn out to be wind ?? All that talk of chest feeders ???

  6. You poor man! Codiene is hugely constipating, and that can be so painful. Pick up the phone whenever you need to to your ward, they won’t mind. Do they have a community liaison service? xxx

    • I knew that about codeine but despite taking it in spells before had never experienced it – now I have, horrible!!


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