Treatment Update Six
Oh, and a timely reminder to read the disclaimer here – please don’t post a reponse to anything here until you have had a look.
All that is lodged in my memory from Doctor McBride’s session in early November (I’ve been away having fun … I mean working, since) is that my progress has regressed at tad. And I have regressed further since then I am afraid to say. That’s obvious from the physical side: then, I had a few light patches on my arms, and now (at the time of writing I’m seeing her again in just a few hours) there are shadows on my arms and sides. Shadows with a dusty surface and a reddish tinge. Let’s be fair, I’ve not looked after myself as much as I did when I was at the Edinburgh Fringe; wheatgrass shots and fruit/veg smoothies each morning, a strict exercise regime that had me in the gym nearly every day, no alcohol, pretty early nights. Since then I’ve let myself go a little bit, so surprise, surprise my Cholesterol is at a whopping 6.7 (I had it down to 4.5!!) which is not good, whilst my Triglycerides (fat in the blood) are at 3.6. I can’t remember if that is good or bad but it’ll be interesting to see how they compare to the blood I gave yesterday. “Gave”? I make it sound like I am benevolently donating something as opposed to having my plasma sucked from me so that it can be broken down into numbers in order to discover what level of the Unhealthy Scale I have ascended this month. I asked Dr McBride if we could hold off with statins and so keep my daily intake of pills below the hundred mark and in return I would endeavour to get as healthy as before; I am convinced that self-discipline might be a better long term option than pill popping.
Well, I think I have probably failed.
I went to a Doctor Who convention (don’t snigger at the back) in Chicago (see, I got to go to Chicago for free, oh ye sniggerers) at Thanksgiving, where I ate American food and drank American drink. The latter is like English drink but weaker, not as nice or three times more expensive, but not especially better or worse for you. The former is like English food but with added dollops of fat, syrup, sugar and insanity. Like sweet potatoes? Not until they’re topped with marshmallow you won’t! So I have put on weight and developed very, very dry(but not red, sore or painful – I’m dusty rather than crusty) patches on my arms and sides. My scalp could single-handedly provide the snow for the world’s entire collection of nativity displays. So bad has it been that I have adopted an entirely beige clothing policy in order to minimise the embarrassment and camouflage the cascade of detritus. My lips have also been drier than a sarcastic Martini but that is because of the acitretin (which, coupled with ubiquitous Stateside air conditioning has left my gob like the lunar surface but with slightly fewer golf balls).
Now, of course, we don’t know if food is a trigger (probably not) but general physical well-being is definitely important. However, my visit to Doctor Mazara yesterday (2nd December) indicates that various personal and professional stresses are responsible for my mild flare up. I don’t need to go into the whys and the wherefores (especially not after my last, rather maudlin, blog), but the fun times in Chicago have been karmically balanced by some less joyous developments. As ever I have tried to greet each unwelcome visitor with a smile and Dr Mazara helps me to do this by offering good advice; only control what you can, life isn’t always easy, and accept the fact that one has to work to keep one’s personal life happy and that the profession I’ve chosen generates frustration and upheaval. Irrespective of what is happening, we are responsible for our own moods; dwelling on the uncontrollable gets us nowhere and taking life by the scruff of the neck and staying positive can work wonders. So that’s the prescription – open the advent calendar doors and make sure there are only happy scenes behind them.
There are certain things I have to do to change the things that aren’t going so well, and I am working on them. Dr Mazara cites coming to her and getting to grips with the emotional side of the disease as positive steps and examples of why one shouldn’t bottle one’s feelings up. Interesting, having gone to her feeling fairly rotten I reacted well to the idea that just being there and talking openly was a marked improvement on how I would have approached this a year ago. In plucking a positive (and you’ll note, one that put me in a good light) from all the surrounding difficulties she managed to spin me out of my self-indulgent miasma (by indulging me!). My visits to her have made me a little raw when I think about the disease, but she assures me that this is a good thing. Great – crying makes one better apparently. That’s no good if you’re on a bus! Oh well then, there’s no alternative fellow sufferers – never mind the pills, just watch Old Yeller or Bambi once a week and you’ll be fine.
So – let’s see what my physical readings are when Dr McBride goes over my bloods later. I also have agony in the joints of three of the fingers of my left hand. I am worried this may be the result of some kind of related arthritis, but let’s not panic … he said, having been panicking all month. But that’s the point, I don’t know if it is or not until I find out, and the only way to find out is to do something about it. Don’t fret about what might be, only deal with what is (oh no, I sound like Yoda except all my words in the right order are). Accentuate the positive. No humbug this Christmas then …