Wednesday, 7 September 2011

This is my body... and I live in it

This week, amongst other things, I have been thinking about my body. I spend so much time thinking about what goes on in my head and how it affects me and I do spend a lot of time hating my body; but it puts up with all of me... all of us. When it works, I want it to break so I don't have to go on. When it doesn't work I blame it and worry about it. I never stop to appreciate that this old bag of mush that drags me around has actually put up with quite a lot of abuse. I never appreciate that it may not look the way I want, but it keeps me going. I have a lot I should be thankful for. At the moment, my body has been struggling a bit and I haven't really been doing anything to help it. Here's what's happening in a not so little nutshell...

I've been in the doctors more times recently than I care to say. I feel like I am falling apart at the seams without actually having any definitive clue about what's wrong with my body. I'm still waiting for my hospital appointment with the liver specialist, however I have now found out I have something wrong with one of my kidneys too, which showed up on the scan I was getting to assess my ovaries... which, I have also now been told have lots of cysts on them. The thing with my kidney is something that happens as a result of some other underlying condition. My research tells me that the two main underlying conditions causing this kidney problem are pregnancy and cancer. My GP sent for me to bring in a urine sample which I have since found out was to test for pregnancy, which was negative. As paranoid as I can be, I very much doubt I have cancer so goodness knows what is causing the problem. I'm guessing that's going to mean a referral to the kidney people too. My lovely doctor is off on her jollies though so that will have to wait. She told me to come back in a month last time I was there anyway as she wants to keep a check on my mood (i.e. recommend for the 100th time that I start antidepressants again).

I was back today because I've had some pains which feel like they're coming from inside my womb and are like the pains I had when I first got the Mirena put in (No, not the place where you park your ship) and was worried in case it has perforated my insides (Arrgh!). I was really nervous about going as my lovely doctor is away and I know all of the other doctors there are men, one of which is like Indiana Jones in his approach to medicine and who I stopped going to see after he whipped a thermometer out of his blazer pocket to stick under my tongue and then rinsed it for about two seconds under a tap before popping it back in it's place in his blazer (which, to be frank looked like it's older than I am). So I wouldn't want to imagine what he's doing when assessing ladies' parts. One of the other doctors is the husband of someone I know so don't go near him with a barge poll and the third... well, he's actually OK, but is still a man.

I was happy to find out there was a lady locum doctor there today, not that I am happy in general to be prodded at in that region but I guess it has to happen sometimes. She was a bit patronising and spoke to me like I was seven. I may be getting old or something but she looked younger than me and also, I don't go to the doctors for the fun of it. I know when there's something wrong. She told me that as far as she can tell the IUS is in properly and seemed happy with that conclusion... gave me a smile and a nod as if to say: "You're fine; put your pants back on and off you trot". I reminded her that I was in some pain, that was much worse when I twist and came on suddenly and also that I had checked the IUS myself and the strings felt different and also that Adam felt it during intercourse which he never had before and what the heck was that about then? So she said she would send me off for a scan just to 'put your mind at rest'. I said nothing.

She was also asking me questions about where I live and what I do for a living. I didn't like this; maybe she was just being friendly but I like to keep the fact that I work in health care to myself and my normal GP. I recognised her name from referrals etc at work. I can't explain why I don't like it, but I don't. I also saw her clicking on an entry my GP wrote about my mental health (which she has recorded as 'dissociative (conversion) disorder'... what the heck?) and having a good read through it which I felt was really just nosiness. But then, I do the same with my patients too, so maybe I shouldn't be so judgemental. I think I was just paranoid because she was so young and where I live is such a small community compared to other countries; there's a good chance she knows people I know etc. I think I am being too harsh on her: I have experienced much worse GPs.

She said the pain could be a cyst that has burst (fair enough) or a UTI (also fair enough: I have had some kidney pain but I thought that might be the kidney thing aforementioned) and that it looks like I've got a yeast infection in my uterus. I suspected I had another infection; I seem to get these a lot, but to be honest, I've had so many reasons to go to the doctors lately that I haven't wanted to go about that again because I just feel I need to prioritise what I ask for help with in case my doctor gets fed up and tells me to piss off and stop draining the NHS of money. Plus having these infections makes me feel like a minger, even though I know it's not as a result of me doing anything wrong. I do everything right to prevent them but they just keep happening.

It is new to me to have actual evidence of things being wrong with me. I've always had strange physical ailments like IBS, aches and pains, migraines, random feeling sick and vomiting etc but I know so much of it is psychological i.e. my body's way of expressing stress. At times in my life when I have been suppressing things inside the most, I have also been the most ill. I don't think it's a coincidence at all. Could this be an extension of that? Maybe my body has been 'ailing' for so many years that it has now started to cause it to have actual diagnosable problems. Or, have I done this to myself? Could these things be a result of past bulimia and laxative abuse?

It would be good to get to the bottom of things though and find out what's wrong with my liver and kidney and now what the pain in my womb is and to find out for sure if it's chronic fatigue syndrome or something else that makes me so tired. I get overly anxious when there's something wrong with my body, even though I do my best at times to try to destroy it. It's funny that, isn't it?

So in the words of Tim Minchin:
"This is a song about that feeling I think we all get sometimes...where you feel like you're the smallest doll in a babuscka doll."
He doesn't know how true that is for some of us...

This is my body
And I live in it
It's thirty-one and six months old
It's changed a lot since it was new
It's done stuff it wasn't built to do
I often try to fill it up with wine
And the weirdest thing about it is
I spend so much time hating it
But it never says a bad word about me

This is my body
And it's fine
It's where I spend a vast majority of my time
It's not perfect, but it's mine
It's not perfect


Pandora said...

The thing I hate about most GPs is that as soon as they see a psychiatric history on your notes, they think legitimate physical ailments are psychosomatic. Having the term 'conversion disorder' on your notes can't help that at all!

I mean, I get that many symptoms are psychologically converted, but a gynaecological one? I'm no doctor but, particularly since this is a new thing, it does seem odd. Still, at least she did refer you in the end, and hopefully whatever it is can be identified and quickly treated at/after the scan.

I think most of my most debilitating physical problems are psychosomatic - very severe IBS and migraines especially. But I now refuse to see any GP but one specific bloke unless I'm really, really ill, as none of the rest of them seem to take me seriously :-/

(By the way, I wrote a long comment on your last-but-one post ((the one re: not believing yourself re: DID)), but Blogger threw a fit at me and lost it, and in my ire I couldn't recompose it. Suffice to say, although I don't have DID, I do strongly empathise. I'm mostly convinced that I have False Memory Syndrome and/or some sort of factitious disorder. It's hard to think otherwise, I know).

Take care

Pan x

TWCrew said...

Not to play backseat doctor, but do some research on Polycyctic ovarian syndrome. It caused me terrible pain, and it can cause a lot of symptoms throughout the body as it messes with hormonal levels. Anyway, best wishes, and I hope you get answers and relief soon.

Sandy said...

When I was 20 I went to the GYN w/ pelvic pain. He examined me and said I was fine. I went back a couple days later when the pain increased and saw a different doc. She looked at my labs and said "You have cysts, I can tell from the LSH and FSH tests we drew. The levels are reversed, the one should be higher than the other and its just the opposite."
Then she examined me and sent me for an emergency sonogram. She told me that I had so many cysts surgery may be needed. The point of my story is that poly cystic ovarian syndrome is incredibly painful. I had trouble working. The pain was everywhere, mid to lower back, abdomen, and I felt terrible. I was exhausted and frustrated.
They put me on the pill, but it made me a crazy lady and after three months I had to stop. However, that is how I got pregnant with my son - the cysts weren't shrunk down and they tell me the abrupt changes in hormone levels could have caused ovulation. After my pregnancy the cysts did not return.
I hope that your tired body gets some rest. Maybe you could pamper it a little for being so tough all the time :) A well deserved reward.

ellen said...

The second a GP thinks you have a mental disorder, they stop taking you seriously...that's been my experience, so I keep any mental health issues outside of GP visits as much as possible. I'd hate for her to have a mental diagnosis written in her chart.

Yuck to the consultant with the thermometer!

Good that you're taking care of the physical health problems...hope they get sorted out for you.