Saturday, 20 October 2012

I'm back...with a new diagnosis, or two...

Well.  Where to start?  I have so much to tell you.

I finished work at the end of September (it was a maternity cover contract), and I went out on a real high.  I had managed to sustain working four days a week for the best part of a year.  I had proved to myself that I could still be competent in a work environment.  I had developed strategies for working around pain and fatigue.  I knew that the trade off was having no evenings (my bed time was generally around 8.30pm) and things not getting done around the house, but I thought I was achieving a good (enough) balance between work, health and family.  On reflection, I had not been paying attention to certain health issues that I really should have been.  I was just so focused on keeping going.

During the last couple of months of my employment, I was under quite a lot of pressure trying to complete particular projects.  I also had some family issues to deal with.  And I was writing tenders for freelance work as the opportunities had presented themselves.  My body responded by coming out in angry red sores, starting on my right arm, and spreading across my torso and down my legs.  My first thought, given my condition, was that this might be psoriasis.  But the first GP I saw thought it was more like an eczema.  I treated it with a steroid cream for four weeks, which calmed it slightly, but the spots were still coming out in new places and broadening out.  I saw my regular GP on Thursday, and he instantly identified it as psoriasis.  So it looks like my diagnosis may finally be refining itself, and this may be psoriatic arthritis.

I was due to see my Rheumatologist next week, but that appointment has been rescheduled for New Year's Eve.  I discussed this with my GP, but he advised that the refined diagnosis would probably not affect my treatment, so there was no real advantage to bringing the appointment forward.

He then looked at his screen and said he needed to discuss my latest set of blood tests with me.  We had ordered various tests because of a cluster of issues that had been concerning me, but that I had put off fully acknowledging, let alone dealing with, until I finished work - bloating in my abdomen, my monthly cycle becoming shorter, nausea and vomiting in the run up to my period, and a borderline smear result.  The tests showed that my CA125 level was 'slightly' raised.  This is the test that indicates what the GP who ordered it delicately described as 'ovarian health'.  It is a potential indicator of ovarian cancer.

Now I've done a bit of reading about the CA 125 test, and it has its issues.  There are various other benign factors that can produce raised levels, such as hormonal variations, and various other conditions that can affect it, such as endometriosis.  I am currently waiting for an appointment for an ultrasound scan to investigate further.