Saturday, September 25, 2010
Tietze's is swelling of the cartilage that holds the ribs onto the breast bone. When I have a flare-up the swelling initially causes pain that is sometimes sharp, like knives in my chest, and sometimes it feels as though someone has tied a belt around my chest and pulled it as tight as they could. Sometimes the pain spreads to my left arm, causing numbness and tingling. This time I had the lot!
The symptoms are very similar to someone experiencing a heart attack. When the flare-up first hits, it causes me to panic. I usually start with a pain in my chest and then it spreads down my arm. Even though I have had my heart checked several times in recent months, I still worry that this time it isn't Tietze's. Because of the panic, I start having palpitations (panic attacks) as well, just to add to the fun, until I am able to calm down and convince myself that it is 'just' the Tietze's again. :-)
After a while, the pain settles down to the chest contraction (the tight belt around my chest) with intermittent stabs, and that is when the shortness of breath hits home. I'll try and do something physical, like walk upstairs, and be panting and out of breath by the time I get up there. This is because the swelling prevents my lungs from fully inflating when I breathe.
This was how things were for me on Thursday. I had gone down to the Co-op to pick up a tin of meatballs for Tara, and the pain started right under my left breast as I was walking back. I had to slow right down, and was clutching myself, in a lot of pain, as I walked the bit of hill to the house. Once I got in, I sat down and waited a few minutes to let it settle down. It spread out across my chest, and my shoulders and down my left arm, before settling down to a dull ache that got sharp if I moved around much. Within an hour I couldn't get up the stairs without struggling for breath.
By the time I got to bed that night the pain was easing a little, and I was able to get some sleep. :-) On Friday morning the pain was lessened some more, only hitting me when I moved in an awkward way, so I was able to at least do some basic stuff. Today the acute pains are almost gone, but the tight belt is still there somewhat, and I have pain in my back. This is most likely from holding myself hunched through the worst of it. I'm breathing a bit better, though I haven't tried to walk anywhere today. The stairs are definitely easier though. :-)
Now, I go through a form of the five stages of grief when the attack is bad. Not denial though. Bit difficult to deny the pain is there. *grin* Instead I get panic as my first phase.
Then I get angry. I do. I hate that it is a totally unpredicatable problem that can flare up and cause panic and stop me getting on with my life, so I get angry with the pain. Then I bypass bargaining and go straight into depression. I can get through all these emotions in one day, sometimes within a few hours, depending on how bad the flare-up is.
Then I backtrack to bargaining, so Thursday night I was asking it to please be a bit better tomorrow so I can at least get this or that done, even if I have to forget about the rest of my plans. :-)
Then I get my stubborn phase, which isn't part of the five stages, but is part of me. I will NOT let this fiend ruin a second day. So I do stuff in spite of it, even if it takes me four times as long, and I have to keep sitting down every five minutes to rest. The slow walking yesterday was part of that stubbornness. :-) I had also planned to clean the house from top to bottom yesterday to give me the weekend in a nice clean house. Well, at least we made a start even if I couldn't do anything like as much as I had planned. :-)
And then I realise I have accepted the flare-up and am adapting to it again. :-) Today I got some more of the cleaning done, and tomorrow, if I feel it is eased enough, I will attempt a short, very short walk at my normal pace and see if I am ready to get back out there on my Walking Plan. It will probably be another day or two before that is possible actually, because the dratted thing got one heck of a grip this time. But we will see. :-)
OK, so maybe I don't let the stubborn go completely. *grin*
So, that is my Tietze's. I say 'mine' because different people have different levels of it, and some have it so bad and for such a long time that they can't function day to day. I am lucky in that it knocks me sideways for a few days, and then usually eases up on me.
And this is why God created a sense of humour! :-)
Saturday, September 25, 2010
I'm still here. :-)
The sinuses are improving with the regular steaming and nasal spray. This is the good news. :-) It looks like I won't need antibiotics this time, though I do need a new bottle of the nasal spray, cos the current one is running out. I'll have to pop up to the surgery and pop the repeat prescription in.
The not-so-good-news is that the Tietze's is determined to hang on tight to me. Thursday was the worst pain-wise. It didn't loosen its grip all day, and I had no choice but to sit and suck it up, doing the minimum movement possible. On Friday the pain lessened so that Tara and I were able to go to Waitrose for a few bits and pieces, as long as I walked slowly I was ok. If I tried to walk at my usual pace my lungs couldn't cope and I got breathless and dizzy within moments. As I understand it, the swelling of the cartilage impedes the lungs from fully expanding, so I have to take shorter breaths and slow down during a flare up.
So I walked for about 30 minutes, plus around the shop.
Friday then got interesting, because when we got back from Waitrose I discovered that the mayonnaise jar we had bought had a foreign object apparently embedded in the glass. We couldn't keep it in case whatever it was contaminated the contents, so we walked slowly back to Waitrose to get a replacement. I was astonished to discover that rather than just replace the jar, they also refunded the cost of the original jar as an apology for the inconvenience of having to get a replacement due to poor quality! Just when I don't think Waitrose can impress me any more, they do it again!
So I had walked another 25 minutes. :-)
We had a bit of a debate outside the shop, because the mayo refund meant that I had just enough cash left to buy us each a cakey thing, but we decided that what we really fancied was not going to be found in Waitrose. Tara wanted her favourite choc desserts from Tesco, and I really wanted a doughnut! I haven't had one for about a month, so I figured it was time for a treat! :-)
So we went home, dropped off the mayo jar, and waked up to Tesco Express to get the goodies.
So I walked another 40 minutes.
In spite of the dizzies and intermittent pain, it was great to be outside in the fresh air, watching the rain clouds scudding by in the wind, occasionally lightly dropping a few drops as they passed by.
It was great to spend the time with Tara too. She isn't always easy to persuade out of the house, but she really needed the exercise too.
So, the walks combined in total should in normal circumstances take me 75 minutes. It probably took me about an extra 15-20 minutes on top, but it was good to be out there. :-) Plus we REALLY enjoyed our treats for elevenses when we got home. We got two items each, so second helpings for the next day! The doughnuts are sold in packs of two, so what can a girl do? *grin*
After lunch, we cleaned up downstairs - I hoovered the lounge and kitchen, which were badly overdue, and Tara got down and dusty with the cloths and polish and made mincemeat of the dust on everything except my ornament and book shelves. They needed more effort than I had energy left for yesterday.
This morning I felt raring to go when I got out of bed. Still not brilliant physically, but I'm feeling more positive in myself. So within ten minutes of getting up, breakfast was in progress (porridge and cooked apple to top it) and I had my singalong playlist blasting away while I made occasional leaps onto Tigger, just for the length of a song here and there. After breakfast, instead of leaving all the dishes from last night and this morning until later, I decided to take a leaf out of CHRISTURTLE's book and do the flylady task of cleaning my sink. I cleaned the sink, around the sink, and the window ledge. Then I did the dishes. Then I got really inspired and pulled everything off the counter tops and cleaned them. I also cleaned the glass top of the cooker, though I have saved the cooker itself for another day.
I did find scrubbing difficult, as it catches the Tietze's if I get vigorous, which is part of the reason for not tackling the main body of the cooker for now. Fortunately a lot of the mess was just dust, and dead moths. We get a lot of moths in, and they don't have very long lifespans, I guess. Shame. I have a real love of moths and always try and catch them and pop them back out if I can. There are still a fair few that don't let me reach them.
A break for a cuppa and my second doughnut later, and I was upstairs with Tara clearing some stuff out, and making space for the new bookshelf. We got it in place, dusted everything down, and then I hauled the book and file boxes out of the airing cupboard and filled the shelves with all the books and folders that have been boxed up in the airing cupboard for about two years!
I am very excited about this because I have a very eclectic spirituality, and these books and folders reflect that, with a good number of different beliefs represented, both ones I have been connected with and those I am curious about. It is going to be nice to have them so easily accessible again. :-)
Well, they aren't alphabetical. Yet. LOL
So, I've had lunch, and an iron tablet, and I am now catching up on SP a little. I'm ready to Zzzzz now. Time for a bedtime story perhaps?
Well, maybe not bedtime yet. LOL
So, back to my inbox. See how all my Sparkpals are doing. *waves*
Hope you are all having a great weekend.
Superwoman has left the building!
Thursday, September 23, 2010
I can't believe that I didn't blog yesterday, but I was so tired and sore last night...
So, basically, my entire fitness schedule has been put on hold because I am going through the mill at the moment. I have raging sinusitis, which is bad enough because it plays havoc with my head, concentration etc. Unfortunately, my Tietze's has chosen this week to throw a major flare-up into the works, and this has resulted in a lot of chest wall pain stretching quite literally from shoulder to shoulder both front and back, and impaired breathing on top of the sinus problems. This lot combined has succeeded in triggering random panic attacks just to pop a little icing on the pain cake! :-)
Yes, I am feeling very sorry for myself. *sad face* It is so much to deal with all at once that I actually do not care about my fitness programme right now. Well, no, that isn't strictly true, but it is very low on my priority list right now. I have basically taken the week off, doing what little random exercising I can as my body allows, until things settle back down. But it doesn't mean I have to like it. *grin*
I am very grateful that the full whack of the Tietze's didn't kick into until last night though, because at least it has enabled me to have a couple of good things to report before all hell let loose! :-)
We had a lovely Tuesday evening at our neighbour's. We walked with Anne to Waitrose, thus getting a bit of walking exercise in while having Tara to cling to during the 'dizzies'. On top of the gardening, which my activity meter suggested was the equivalent of about 6000 steps, and the little minutes here and there on Tigger, it gave me a very respectable fitness total for the day in spite of not trying. :-)
The meal, of gluten-free sausages, mash, carrot, swede and fresh peas with onion gravy, was absolutely delicious and within my calories, plus getting me beautifully over the minimum veggies for the day. She also had some glucosamine cream for joint pain, and offered me a dollop for my left hip, which had been paining me all day. Within a couple of minutes, no pain, and touch wood and not wishing to tempt fate, my hip has been twingeless ever since! Gotta get me my own tube of that!
On our way out of the door she offered me a bookshelf she was trying to rehome. It has four shelves and is made of wicker. As I had been moaning a few days before (unknown to her) about the fact that I am short of shelves for all my books, and some are living in boxes in my airing cupboard, this was what you might call a fortuitious circumstance! (Love Mary Poppins. I'm quoting that film a lot today. *g*) If only the pain will let up enough I have big plans for those shelves. :-)
I remember mentioning in my last blog that the Quickstitch lady, Joanne had called to say the bridesmaid dress was ready. Well, on Wednesday morning, as I had dizzies still, but no hip pain, and as a wet two or thee days was forecast from Thur onward, I decided to be brave and go into town to collect the dress, pay a bill, and get some bird seed and a few groceries. Getting there was a struggle. The dizzies were randomly freaking me out, but we made it. Then I got told off for freaking them (Quickstitch) out. :-)
You see, last week when I was on the phone asking about the dress, they got very worried because I kept saying the purple bridesmaid dress, and they didn't have one. It took several minutes before we all clicked that the dress was teal, not purple, and that I had purple stuck in my head because that was the colour of the first dress Bry bought for Tara, before she changed her mind, went with teal instead, and landed us with this other dress that needed altering to fit. The teal dress had been in our possesion for such a short time that I had completely forgotten what colour it was. Ooops!
Well, naturally, I blamed Bridezilla! LOLOL Bryony has changed her mind about so many things so many times that I have hopelessly lost track. *g* I felt terrible about it, because I had scared Joanne and Linda half silly, thinking they had lost a dress, and scared myself half silly thinking the same thing. Fortunately we all had a good laugh about it. They needed a good laugh. Some customers had been really horrible to them about the delays because of the flooding. You would think the fact that nothing got ruined would be a relief, but no, some people were just plain nasty to them about it all.
Anyway, Tara tried the dress on and she looks smashing! I'll get pics as soon as the weather bucks up a bit. It was carefully folded up back into the box, I packed it into Wilbur (my shopping bag on wheels), and off we went, promising that if the Mum of the Bride (moi) needed help with her outfit, I'd be back. :-)
We went to HMV to check a price for Tara. She has a thing for Charmed and wants the box set. :-) Then we went to pay the washing machine rental. After that we walked through Castle Park to get to the pet store.
As you can see, there isn't a lot of colour change in the leaves yet:
Though you can see a bit more here:
If you have good eyesight, here is Super Squirrel:
Faster than a speeding bullet... He was in the shot when I clicked the button, honest!
Aah! Got him! LOL
The walk along the river, looking back into the park:
The river itself:
And an autumn tree! :-)
We got to the petstore a few minutes later, grabbed a bag of seeds, then headed up the road to Waitrose for the shopping. We finally got home about 2.15pm, and I was exhausted. I sat in my armchair for most of the afternoon, alternately dozing and watching TV, cooked a bit of dinner, and headed to bed a short while later, just as the Tietze's was starting to make its presence known.
Got up this morning, feeling ok-ish, but everything just started to pile on again really quickly, and when I went down to the Co-op for a tin of meatballs for Tara, the chest pain started in earnest. So, I have sat here catching up on two days of emails, and sparking, and now I need to go do some dishes and cook a bit of dinner. I hope to do some more sparking and emails later on. My pedometer is going to look wretched today, but it can't be helped, and anyway, it reflects how I am feeling physically today. :-)
I hope everyone's day is shaping up well.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
So much for having a quiet day! :-) I didn't feel up to much this morning, and on top of my sinuses my left hip decided to become a pain in the whatsit, so I decided to take a total rest day. I didn't even feel up to a walk to highwoods. :-(
By lunchtime I was feeling a bit better, and as the weather has finally given us a break and been nice for a couple of days I decided to get out in the garden and get some of it under control. Ha ha!
Within a minute my hip was paining me again, but I persevered, by doing two minutes pushing the mower, followed by several minutes sat in the house, until I had mown down the bulk of the lawn. It would be a doddle if, a) the lawn was level and not a mass of lumps and bumps, and b) it wasn't overgrown. As it was, it was a wrestling match, which I won eventually. :-)
Now I am eating my well-earned lunch and having a quiet afternoon.
This evening, for a pleasant change, we are going round to our neighbour Anne's for a meal. We haven't had a chance to do this for ages. She and her fella have been away for the bulk of the summer, cycling in Spain and spending time with friends in Wales, so we have a lot of news and photos to catch up with.
I really hope things buck up wih my health quickly. I got a phonecall from the lady at Quickstitch today, to say that Tara's bridesmaid dress is ready, and we need to go collect it. I'm thinking Friday most likely, though if I feel back on top of things tomorrow, we might go in then. We are very excited to see how it has turned out. :-)
Have a great day everyone! :-)
Monday, September 20, 2010
I logged on to spin the wheel this morning, and discovered that I have an 80-Day streak for wheel-spinning! 80 days, and the best score I've managed is a 10! LOL
So, over the last eighty days, what have I learned?
I have learned that I love Sparking! I must do, or I'd never have logged in for eighty days in a row!
I've learned that the Sparkwheel has an evil sense of humour. The higher the number of points available to me, the lower the amount I actually win! *grin*
I've learned that I do have muscles. 80 Days has also meant eighty days of activity - walking, strength exercises, bouncing and stepping.
I've learned that I like my food. More importantly that a lot of the food I like is actually good for me, and that I love that!
I've learned that no food is off limits. Just off smaller plates! :-)
I've learned to like water! This is an incredible feat for me. Probably my most incredible one of all. 81 days ago I wouldn't drink plain water, except for a small glass of fizzy water with my evening meal, and a token mouthful or two when out and about. Now I am drinking at least 8 glasses a day, virtually every day! In fact, in the last eighty days, I've only fallen short by one glass on one day!
I've learned that there are some incredible people here on Spark, and that a lot of them have been willing to become my Sparkfriends.
I've learned that there are some great teams on SparkPeople. I've met some of my best Sparkfriends on the teams. *waves*
I've learned that I don't need two mugs of tea to wake up in the morning. Most mornings I am up and out for my walk with just a bottle of water for company, though I am always ready for my breakfast when I get back. :-)
I've learned that the Trivia quiz is HARD! But I've learned from it, and have on four occasions managed to get 3 out of 3.
Most of all, though, I have learned that I LOVE the support we all get and give one another on SPARKPEOPLE!
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE YOU GUYS! :-)
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