Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Unanswered questions finally answered!

It's SO reassuring having the heart/lung specialists' support, for so long now I have put up with the judgement of people who look at me and assume I have problems I do not (eating problem/depression etc.) and I have thought I was going crazy at times, as I KNOW my diet is fine and yet the weight was climbing (and asthma worsening). It has in no way changed since I was a svelte 62kgs in my twenties.

Yesterday I got my lung function and breathing test results, as well as my sleep apnoea test results and I have mild sleep apnoea which does not need treatment prior to surgery which is great, and my lungs, for a severe asthmatic, are looking good... they always are loads better in summer.

Seeing these professionals who just want to help me and don't judge me and make assumptions is so refreshing and new. I cannot tell you how many nurses/doctors have told me 'you know Jen, you really need to look at your diet, and lose some weight'. They knew no better, neither did I at the time, now I do, and I feel empowered. I bariatric nutritionist told me I actually don't eat enough food.

The two heart/lung specialists who run the respiratory clinic at C&W Hospital have a fantastic Asthma Clinic at Brompton Hospital and when they sign me out as an outpatient at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital (in 6 wks time hopefully), they will take me on as a patient at Brompton and re-evaluate everything for me, put me on totally different meds (they've already changed my inhalers)... meds that work but don't have the side effects I currently battle with.

They're fabulous these two, masters in their field, and for someone who has only been under the care of a GP for my asthma for so many years, this is just the thing I need. There's physio etc. I need to have too, which will help my lungs, which I never knew about! GPs are limited (obviously) in their respiratory knowledge.

I was at interested to hear from the bariatric specialist that 10-15% of bariatric patients are the size they are due to medication... I am not as alone as I thought I was :)

I have had loads of tests done for respiratory and bariatric stuff... cholestoral, lung function, breathing, sleep apnoea, depression etc. etc. I have seen quite a few people involved in the surgery already, including the surgeon himself.. have yet to see the anaesthesiologist.

Being a severe asthmatic... next stage is critical care asthmatic.. and many of them are awaiting heart and/or lung transplants... I do NOT want to get there... and they say I'll be there within 10 years if things go on as they are. The respiratory team think I need the surgery urgently (before winter kicks in as my lungs are at their strongest now for the anaesthetic... its FAR riskier for me in the colder months), I hope the bariatric team recognise the urgency too and bring me to/near the top of the 6 month waiting list for surgery! The heart/lung specialist is writing a report stating the urgency, I am onto them too.

My faith in God and knowing He won't give me more than I can handle is something that sees me through the darkest hour. I have had incredible pain and discomfort for some time now, I've also had some upsetting occasions (living as an obese person here is not easy, I am scorned and vilified, I cannot begin to tell you the nasty comments/jibes aimed toward me here... this does not happen in SA) and even with that, I still count my blessings, am grateful for my Lance, my family, my close friends, my home, my job... all of which I love and value.

We were planning on going home next September (2011), but now we have prioritised the surgery, and the year after surgery it is important I am here for follow up checks, as infection chances are higher the first year.

We can always come back to the UK in the future if we want to, being British citizens... but Africa is where our heart is, our family are (mostly) there, we can adopt, we can become involved again with children's outreach in the settlements. I am also keen to get my product design business going again (under a new name and not as big as before though), using recycled materials etc. as before.

It's good to make plans for the future and dream... but I am taking things one day at a time. Healthwise I can have a brilliant day the one day, and the next a terrible one, so am taking it easy, have lessened my work hours, don't go out much, rest my back on the wkends.

I have only just started letting friends know about the impending surgery, as it's taken them this long to ensure I am well enough to actually have it.

I have answers FINALLY ... that have gone unanswered for too long.

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