trixtah: (Default)
My wee episode a week or so back of chucking up while trying to drive home one evening seems to have heralded a renewal of a problem I had for a year or so while I was living in London - incredible bouts of nausea from just walking around. I couldn't even make the bus on Friday night - merely 5 metres away - since I was too busy trying not to puke.

As it was, it was lucky there was a convenient rubbish bin by the bus stop, because I did have to make brief use of it (and got a very WTF expression from one bloke obviously wondering why be-suited me was so drunk as to be puking at 6pm).

It's vile - l  still have the problem when I haven't eaten for hours, but eating and walking briskly (my usual walking speed) is going to bring on some rough moments. Antacids help. I was wondering if I was going to be able to walk home after having lunch up the road today, but chomping on a chewable antacid tablet and sitting to allowing to work for 10 minutes got me home.

I can't help wishing it were more classic heartburn - I'm sure that's horrible, not to mention painful, but it's not so potentially messy. Shouldn't wish for some things, I suppose.

Anyway, I'm going to try a homeopathic remedy for this. There is one that looks pretty damn good, actually, Theridion (made from a spider - isn't homeopathy marvie?):

remedy stuff )
Anyway, I'll give it a go, and we'll see what happens. I've trimmed some of the symptoms that aren't relevant here, but one of the interesting ones was for tremor in the hands. On a practical basis, I did all the testing for ulcers and helicobacter a couple of years ago and found a big fat nothing. I don't want this crap to continue forever, so I'll try a potion first before the doctor again to possibly get a bump up of antacids - I find it annoying enough I have to take something before I try and sleep, and I don't want to be popping pills, even antacids, all day long.
trixtah: (Servalan)
I've had a day of feeling somewhat "off", but put it down to having a few glasses of wine at a work celebration last night. However, as I was walking out the door to go home, I started feeling decidedly crook - everytime I moved, I felt exceedingly nauseated.

Cut for moderate grossness )
Having sat rugged up at home for a few hours, I've not thrown up since, and I've had some soup and toast. I hope like fuck it doesn't happen again tomorrow. I was also feeling fairly angstful about having made a mess of my car, but on thinking of it, riding a jerky bus home would have been worse. Walking was out of the question.

The really irritating thing is that I was going out to dinner at the swanky Courgette restaurant this evening - we finished off a major project last week, and the project team were having an exclusive dinner celebration, and I was one of the select few invited (the general drinkies for everyone involved at all levels was last night). So, missing out on a free dinner there with fairly pleasant company (the project team are quite a nice bunch of people) really really sucks.

And while I'm grizzling, I've run out of soy milk. I really want nurturing cups of tea tonight, and I actively dislike normal black tea served without milk (teas like jasmine and green are of course fine without, but I don't actually call those nurturing). Fuckity fuck.
trixtah: (Default)
Site Cervical swab
HPV DNA Assay Not Detected
The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Hybrid Capture assay is a screen for the presence of 13 HPV types known to be associated with cervical neoplasia (16/18/31/33/35/39/45/51/52/56/58/59/68). A negative result does not remove the need for appropriate gynaecological follow-up.

Well, yay. So, time to book a vaccine, then!
trixtah: (Tattoo)
Part of the reason last week was so speshul for me was that I went to get my lovely lady parts checked up by the doctor. Possibly not the best time to do it, but it was a bit overdue, and I specifically wanted to get screened for HPV, and get the vaccine if I'm negative (the vaccine only covers a few HPV strains, but vaccinating against some of the more virulent kind is better than nothing, and it would be really annoying to develop cervical cancer later on if I was clear up to now). The doc reckons my risk is low - his method of asking was, "Has there ever been PEEN in here?", heh, and while there has, there hasn't been much - but it's good to know one way or the other.

The other thing I wanted to find out about was getting a genetic test for the two genes that have been associated with increased risk of breast cancer (BRCA1 and BRCA2). My mother's sister has had breast cancer twice, when she was under 50, and my grandmother died of cancer (I don't know where it started, but she was apparently riddled with it when she died). And, of course, I don't know anything about my paternal side. This puts me in either a "moderately increased" or "high risk" category. I need to find out what kind of cancer my grandmother died of.

The doctor would have been delighted to refer me for it, but it would cost up to $3000. Fucking jesus christ hell. He says that while most genetic testing comes in at less than $200, the BRCA test has not reduced in price since it was first developed. I bumped into [ profile] saluqi at lunchtime afterwards and grizzled about this fact, and she observed that it's probably due to the procedure still being patented. Of course, and if I hadn't been so discombulated by the morning's events, I might have twigged myself.

Now, on doing some research, it turns out the licencee of the BRCA tests (licensed from Myriad Technologies in the US) in Australia and NZ, GTG Technologies, was planning to assert its patent rights, but backed down because of the uproar that took place over it. Prices still haven't dropped, though. And this epitomises what is fucked up about the patent system. I certainly understand granting a patent for developing a new genetic assay method (although I think 20 years is excessive - 10 would be more than enough). What I strongly disagree with is patenting a diagnostic system based on a specific gene (or set of genes). They didn't invent the fucking genes, and any genetic researcher, on knowing the association, would be able to test for exactly the same thing. It's like patenting a business method, or thought process, neither of which are legally patentable in many jurisdictions. Or software patents, but we won't get into that one (because I naturally disagree with such things - should I patent every regular expression I write to filter a log?) What's even more galling is that in Europe, the patent for the BRCA1 test was revoked years ago by the EU Patent Office.

So, what does this all mean for me? If I was an Ashkenazi Jew, there would be no question of my running into the genetic testing clinic and demanding a test. Of course, I don't know what half my family background is. The other thing is that 8% of women will develop breast cancer in their lifetimes, but only 0.4% of women will develop a breast cancer associated with either of the BRCA genes (I don't know how much that number will change as more women get genetically tested - I don't even know if it's routine these days for any women with breast cancer). So what I'll do is find out from my mother what kind of cancer my grandmother died of, and ask my aunt whether she was ever genetically tested after developing breast cancer in both breasts. And maybe during the next few years, the price of the test will reduce.

If I did have such a test, and it was found to be postive for either of the mutated genes, I think I'd have prophylactic surgery. I initally thought that such a measure was pretty extreme, but I'm not exactly attached to my breasts (although I feel fonder of them than I used to), and better to get rid of most of them before trouble arises. Well, we'll see - I'm not exactly looking forward to either of those conversations with my mother or my auntie.


Aug. 25th, 2008 10:15 pm
trixtah: (Default)
Probably not applicable to 50% of the population but, hey, I'm all about accumulating useful information: How to hide an unwanted erection. It's notable for the number of synonyms that poms can come up with for "trouser snake". Tee hee.

(Actually, I was on this site looking up gardening tutorials - it's pretty good for all kinds of info, although the "How to fold a shirt" one seemed crap).

While I'm on the topic of PSAs, here're Trix's handy hints on how not to get a cold over winter:

  1. Personal hygiene. Wash your hands lots, especially after touching other people (particularly the known germ-infested ones and children), money, doorknobs, things at work, and public transport. I'm not suggesting anyone get all OCD about it, but getting off as many greeblies as you can before touching yourself (especially your face, you filthy-minded people) is good sense.

  2. Breathe through your nose as much as possible. This may sound a bit odd, but the nose has a lot more hair and mucous and suchlike up there designed to trap particles and germs. It's also relatively easy to keep it clean, and it tends to be self-draining anyway when it's a bit chilly. Breathing through your mouth means that any germs have a much more direct path to your lungs, and also the air is not as conditioned as it is when you breathe through your nose.

  3. Common sense - stay away from people who are obviously sick, or smokers. If your resistance is lowered because of the stress cold weather puts on your body, don't add to it by breathing in second-hand smoke. If you're walking around on the street, and someone is coughing and spluttering, give them plenty of room, and remember the nose-breathing (I confess that I tend to hold my breath until I'm well out of the blast zone). If you need to shake hands with someone who's showing symptoms, have a good scrub of the hands as soon as possible.

  4. Eat decent food (lots of veges and protein) and sleep enough. I need 8½ hours minimum myself - know what you need and take it. Also take a vitamin supplement (see below) if you're feeling run down or under physical siege (but I wouldn't take one routinely - it's not a substitute for eating properly).

  5. If you feel symptoms coming on, step up the good food (dose up with garlic, ginger, chilli and suchlike - it may do nothing, but a psychological effect is probably helpful in any case) and the rest. Go home an hour early. Go to sleep earlier.

  6. Finally, if you're surrounded by dying people, or your throat is definitely feeling a bit scratchy or the nose is running, take the magic potion, Blackmore's Echinacea ACE + Zinc. I don't know if it's the echinacea, the vitamins or the zinc, or a nice synergistic effect, but it's clobbered threatening colds each time for me. I take one a day if I'm surrounded by sick people at home or work, or I take three a day with meals if I feel something seriously coming on (I've not had to take it for more than 2-3 days max - I don't think herbs, or anything, should be taken by rote if they're not actively needed).

    Eating a hot Asian-style soup, popping some magic potion, and heading off to bed by 9 has helped me avert disaster at least twice this winter, and I hope it continues to work when necessary.
trixtah: (Default)
Thank you all so much for your birthday wishes the other day; it was lovely. It was nice getting all those good wishes when I was feeling a bit feeble.

I am slowly getting to grips with online stuff after only just getting to eating real food today. I was going to work this week, but the bug (and the fact I was only eating when I felt I was going to keel over from lack of energy) certainly kept the old energy levels down. Still, I imagine I'll be bouncing back over the next few days and boring you with my normal levels of comment and rantings.

Oh, and the miracle cure for actually eating real food today was my finally hitting on taking a probiotic supplement via capsule. I'd been desultorily eating good quality yoghurt (it's too cold, really), and [ profile] faxon suggested the wee Yakult-type shots, but since I don't drink milk, the idea of sculling one of those made me pukey just thinking of it. Taking the capsules - duh! - gets around that particular problem, there are generally more organisms in a dose, and the capsule design supposedly delivers more of them intact to the lower intestine (rather than mainly the stomach).

Anyways, whether or not it's a coincidence, my digestion seems a heck of a lot more normal today, after starting them yesterday (no TMI, blergh), and I actually had an appetite for lunch and dinner. With protein. And fats. OMG!
trixtah: (Servalan)
I'm off to the UK the day after tomorrow. Yesterday I was diagnosed with shingles. GAH!

I'm also lucky I have an observant g/f. I have had an itchy rash on my side for a few days, and was busy rewashing most of my laundry because I thought it might be hives/contact dermatitis from the new soap powder I was using. The idea of shingles had vaguely crossed my mind, but I didn't feel crook, it wasn't painful, and it wasn't showing the characteristic rash (the rash was a few smooth red areas with a spot in the middle). Also, I tend to resist "blowing things out of proportion" when it comes to health matters.

I showed the CDL on Saturday, and the first thing that she reckoned it might be was shingles... but again, no lurgy symptoms and no blisters, yadda yadda, although, hm, it is odd that it's one-sided, and the spots are kind of in a line. I was paying attention to further developments after that assessment, as can be imagined. Sunday, still the same, and I had rewashed everything washable by then, and rinsed with vinegar. Bah.

Yesterday morning, dah-ding!, I woke up feeling snuffly, and my rashy areas had lots of little spots in them, and were feeling prickly. Off to the doctor I ran, and sure enough, it's a "classic" case. Along the T10 dermatome, as it happens. The rashy bits still haven't joined up - there are about 5 spots of 2cm diameter - but they are growing a wee bit.Apparently the doc has seen several cases in the last couple of weeks. Not too sure what that's about. I haven't been feeling that rundown myself, although I felt that it was taking me an unusually long time to get over my last blood donation (just over a week ago), and I did a real number on putting my neck out a couple of weeks ago, which required three trips to the osteopath in a week-and-a-half.

So I now have antivirals - I've never taken anything like that before - and some antiseptic cream that is keeping the itching mostly away. I've also luckily found the perfect homeopathic remedy - rhus tox - in my stash at home, so will be guzzling that. Rhus tox is made from the poison ivy plant, and one of the symptoms is craving immersion in hot water - I've had four baths in the last week (in addition to my usual morning shower), and even then I was wondering if I should take Rhus for my neck being out - it's good for "stiff neck" (no laughing). Hah, maybe if I had taken it then, I'd have avoided this flare-up. The potion is good for prickly itchy painful rashes that are worse from getting overheated in bed at night, muscular aches and pains, colds and so on. It's pretty specific for chicken pox itself as well as shingles.

I'm off work today - two of my colleagues haven't had chicken pox - and I'll have to be aware of who I'm nearby when travelling. Hopefully someone who's severely immune-compromised won't be flying in any case. I'll also have to suss out whether the people I'll be seeing when I'm over in the UK have all had chicken pox. I have good personal hygiene, and I'm not coughing or sneezing, but best to be safe than sorry.

But thank goodness for astute g/fs who put ideas into my head, when I might have discounted the whole thing as hives-with-a-24-hour-cold-and-mild-fatigue - not something I'll generally visit a doctor for. Forewarned is forearmed and all that. :-/
trixtah: (Tattoo)
Man, I am completely and utterly wiped, still. At least I don't have any doubts whether the remedy is working or not. Often, with homeopathics, you have an "aggravation" where your body is stimulated to launch into action to fix itself, but because it's all out of whack still, that stimulus means you feel a bit worse for a while. Later on, everything starts coming into balance, and you feel better. Also, the nice thing is that if you're already at your lowest ebb, the balancing thing starts right away (you can't get worse if you're already at rock-bottom).

But, wow, I've never had such a strong physical reaction. Interestingly, I've just been loaded up with a pile of work - I have to migrate 9 or so Exchange servers to new hardware by the end of the month, and the boxes arrived on Friday - but I'm not feeling particularly stressed about it right now. Or, I kind of am, but it's not stressy stress. However, one of my sidekicks has been piping up about clustering the Canberra (and maybe Brisbane) servers now - which I've been lobbying for for only 3 years - and maybe with his support, we might be able to force it through. That does add an element of a bit more stress, but in the end, we will either be able to do it... or we won't. We shall see.

On that note, though, I will be hitting my bed. I've been zonking out between 9pm-10:30pm since Thursday night - which is at least an hour earlier than my usual bedtime. Velly interestink.
trixtah: (tired)
[cute poochies, because it'd be nice to have one to cuddle up to right now]

Well, I've finally gotten around to going to see a homeopath myself, for the first time in years. While after doing 4 years of study in homeopathy (and actually qualifying), I should probably be able to diagnose myself, if I'm suffering from something or other, I find it quite tricky. It's hard to see what a pathology is when you're right in the middle of it.

I drove for two hours to see the homeopath (in Mittagong), since she's a graduate of a very reputable homeopathy school in Sydney (which is a branch of a NZ school, which is how I know of it). Of course, she promptly told me of a homeopath here in Canberra whom she recommends... and whose name I've just found now on the HomeopathyOz website. I think what puts me off that site is the fact their qualifications aren't listed. I'm afraid I have a prejudice against someone with a qualification in naturopathy practising as a homeopath (since it generally won't be "classical" homeopathy). I also wasn't too sure about the role of the Australian Homeopathic Society, but it appears they're not a grab-bag of randomly qualified practitioners - so now I know where to look in future!

Of course, the annoying thing is that once I made the appointment, my brain promptly kicked into gear, and I thought of a potion that I could have taken about umpteen years ago. And that's what she ended up prescribing to me today - go me! (I was very careful not to cast the interview in the direction of the potion I was thinking of. I hope.)

So, why a potion? Of late, I've been getting increasingly irritable, and it's starting to bug me. I'm definitely one of those people of whom it is said "her bark is worse than her bite", but there is a limit to how much snappishness - which I don't normally express at targets, actually - I can put up with in myself. It's kind of a defensive mechanism for when I'm feeling oversensitive/stressed - I'm much worse if I'm disturbed in some way after having done nice relaxing things like tai chi, osteopathy or sex - but there are probably more constructive ways of filtering trivial aggravations rather than just reacting.

The homeopath seemed quite challenged (in a good way) by the fact that I have been impatient and irritable my entire life. Homeopathy will never get rid of that kind of thing altogether, but it should hopefully be mitigated and the energy directed more constructively. If the remedy works.

At the same time, my general inertia and procrastination has been bugging me no end, so hopefully something will kick that into gear as well. She also pounced on the fact that I got knocked back for a blood donation last time and pointed out that while I'm not exactly anaemic, I'm obviously not great on the iron count. And she found the tremor in my hands quite entertaining (in that sick homeopath kind of way - the more distinctive the symptoms, the more we love it). So she pointed out that some of the lack of energy and so on could be due to simple mineral deficiency, so I need to get tested for my general iron and magnesium levels (among others). It seemed like a balanced approach.

I hate pill-popping, including vitamin supplements (being of the school that reckons if your system is working properly, you'll absorb it from your diet), but she did point out - sensibly enough - that some of us require more of this and that, and the iron thing is a clinical effect that's been made obvious already ...essentially I need to suck up the fact that I might need to take a supplement if I'm not going to guzzle red meat. Bleah. (Hah, according to that blood type diet "theory" - which seems like bollocks to me, btw, I require some degree of evidence (yes, I know, I know, I am into homeopathy) - I should be scoffing as much red meat as I can find. *snortle*)

Anyways, I took the potion, which is simply rock salt, prepared homeopathically, and called "natrum muriaticum". You know all that stuff about homeopaths shaking remedies up in a special way that makes them active? No, actually, it's when we use the Latin names for the substances - that is the magic. :-D

Anyways, I'm officially wiped out - whether by the potion or the 4 hour drive - and we will see what happens. Possibly an all-day workshop at work tomorrow about a topic I feel very cynical about is not the best timing, but I will endeavour to keep my mouth shut. Of course, we only got informed about it earlier this week - a whole day out of my schedule! - and I'm not that enamoured of the 8:30 start time. I can sense it will be fun fun already.
trixtah: (Default)
Jesus, it all happens at once, doesn't it? I had that lurgie last weekend, my period this week, and I've spent the last 36 hours contending with a fairly vile gastrointestinal something. I may have to thank homeopathy for the fact I didn't throw up or have unfortunate episodes in the loo, but the fever and chills, stinking headache, painful shoulders, back and hips, constant nausea, painful stomach (with xtra bonus cramps last night), and inability to eat anything other than 3 mouthfuls of porridge and 12 Japanese-style rice crackers since yesterday morning have been sufficiently bothersome all on their own. In fact, I have never felt so ill in my life as I did last night, except perhaps when I had hepatitis as a kidlet (I had the horrible thought that somehow I was having another dose, but I'm not jaundiced, or, indeed, vomiting, thank god).

Also - and this is a symptom of how my energy's been worn down - while I'm fine with living by myself almost all the time, things like that make realise how difficult it could be if I were ever seriously ill. I felt rotten enough last night that I was laying plans for how to get to the A&E clinic if I felt I was getting severely dehydrated or more feverish. Sure, I have a couple of people to call on if it gets that bad, but it's awkward. And embarrassing actually. I suppose I just need to suck up the fact I can't be capable all the time. Hah.

Come to think of it, though, if it was a norovirus-type something, it's better to not have anyone else around. I haven't done anything projectile-ish with my body fluids, but reducing the amount of potential exposure to the greeblies is a good thing. At least I'm clean in my personal habits.

Must get myself a thermometer, though. I didn't have a clue what my temperature was at its worst, and it might have helped some of my more paranoid thoughts if I knew it wasn't high enough to be something like meningitis.

You know, I had much more fun plans for my weekend. It sucks.
trixtah: (Default)
I wandered across a supposedly all-new woo-hoo! easy way of making onigiri... which I've been using in a less-complicated way for the last twenty years. Sure, you can wet your hands and make them that way if you don't have any plastic wrap, but the "cheating" method has always worked well for me. But in that blog post, I don't know why the poster is futzing around with the small cup - hands work just fine. Mmm, I should get some bonito and/or furikake mix, pickled daikon, nori and decent rice, and get cracking. The nice thing about that post is it describes how to make the toasted ones. I love those.

There was a cool Japanese shop by Piccadilly Circus in London, which had the super-duper prepacked ones that you have to unwrap (scroll down the page a bit for the instructions - it took me a while to RTFM too). I couldn't find a place that served fresh ones, for the life of me. Or a place that did chirashizushi... for less than 30 quid.

And I wagged work today. I didn't think I was that unwell - I've been functional over the weekend - but I decided to stay away another day to get rid of most of it. So, I sent my bosses an email at 8am (yay Blkberi!) and crashed out... until nearly 1pm. I must have been less well than I thought. I certainly don't feel overslept. Back on deck tomorrow!
trixtah: (Servalan)
(And I'm not just saying that because I'm being painfully visited by the goddess, only four days late, only one day before I'm joing on a fun jaunt overnight to Sydney with the CDL, oh no!)

HRT puts you at a much more elevated risk of getting cancer, especially breast cancer. I knew this 15 years ago, when my aunt (who'd been on HRT for nearly a decade due to a full hysterectomy) had to have both breasts removed due to malignant growths. When she went on the HRT, there was no mention of that risk. When she developed the breast cancer, there was some feet-shuffling and some muttering about "higher incidence due to artificial estrogen" from the doctors. Oh, and my grandmother, her mother, died of cancer, so it's not as if there were no other risk factors at all. Fuckers.

So, how many of you knew that fact? How much is it in the public consciousness that HRT will appreciably up your risk of cancer? From the amount of of prescribing in that area going on for menopausal women, I'd say it's not very much in the public consciousness at all.

What about the transwomen out there who have been or are on HRT? How much was it mentioned that your risk is greater too? And what about those high dosages (higher than for menopausal cis-women) that are often prescribed for transwomen for the first several years? What about the risks there? Even the usually-comprehensive T-Vox site is fairly quiet on the risks associated with artificial estrogens.

The reason I'm on about this is due to the release of a recent study that shows that users of HRT are at 63% higher risk of developing ovarian, uterine or breast cancers than women who have never had HRT. Apparently, regulatory bodies in the UK have said in the last 5 years that HRT should be used as little as possible and for as briefly as possible. I'd say that message hadn't trickled down either.

Perhaps the fact that The Lancet is publishing the study, and that there is obvious media interest, will get the word out. Finally.

My thoughts? Don't use HRT unless you have to. For me, it won't be until I'm 80, and suffering from brittle bones (if I ever do).

For MTFs, if your treatments weren't carried out in conjunction with anti-androgen measures (and thus incurred higher estrogen doses), you'd probably want to reduce as many of your other risk factors as possible. Check your breasts regularly (I suppose not having a uterus and ovaries is a help, in this instance). And I bloody hope that someone gets off their arses and specifically studies the kinds of risks MTFs are exposed to in this realm. Perhaps reaching puberty in a male body helps? Or hinders? Who the fuck knows, at this stage?

Perhaps a higher profile will lead to some research on the causes of the elevated risk. Is it something about the artificial form? Taking a hormonal substance that isn't produced by your own body? The dosage? The delivery of that dosage (which would be more homogeneous than the body's natural cycle, with its daily, not to mention monthly, ebbs and flows)? Let's hope some momentum starts happening in this area.


Nov. 26th, 2006 11:59 am
trixtah: (Default)
I'm done, and I'm home. My knee surgery went brilliantly, with no problems whatsoever. I can walk around, although stairs are a bit challenging, since lifting my foot more than 10cm is a bit tricky. It hurts less than what it has for the last four years, and the slight ache is more than kept at bay by a combination of codeine and paracetamol. It feels more stable already.

The kind of injury was a "parrot beak" tear, which had also some degeneration, and there were cysts in the joint too (which caused most of the pain, I believe). Having the anesthetic was interesting - I didn't realise you conked out with no warning. No side-effects other than a bit of nausea on waking, which was knocked on the head with a shot of something. I was booked for 6:15am, was in surgery by 7, and was walking out the door before 10am. Just amazing.

Piccies - one v. slightly ick )

So, although I was booked to stay in Sydney till today, there was no point hanging about, so the OGF and I took a leisurely drive home through the Blue Mountains and had tasty lunch.

The hotel in Sydney was fab. They swapped my room for one on the ground floor when I checked in and found the room I originally booked was up a steep flight of stairs. It's an old guesthouse, thus no lifts. They also did not charge me for the extra night when I checked out early, which they totally could have done (and which I expected, to be frank). They gave us plastic wrap so I could cover my knee and shower in the morning, no problem at all. So, if you want to stay somewhere somewhat old-fashioned, without many comforts, but clean, functional, air-conditioning in the rooms, fantastic staff, not fazed by queers, featuring a simple continental breakfast served in a nice courtyard for $5, and very reasonable rates, you can't go past the North Shore Hotel by St Leonard's Park. < /pimping>

The absolute only hassle I had was buying homeopathic remedies from Life Organic on King St in Newtown. When someone tells me that I have to provide a business card or "proof" that I'm a qualified practitioner when I want to buy a few (admittedly high-potency) remedies, because she is "personally liable" for any adverse effects, I get fairly fucking irate, actually. What bullshit. Homeopathics are not controlled substances, and since when has a homeopath been "liable" for a remedy's action? Never. And I wasn't asking her for a consultation, which is the only way I could see that she would be liable. My OGF reckons the fact that I didn't want a consultation was the problem (no consultation fee). If so, a bloody shop shouldn't say they sell remedies then, should they? If they stated they only did consultations, no problem, I wouldn't have bothered them. I got the remedies after 10 minutes of "discussion", but I won't be going back if I happen to be in Sydney. Idiots. It's not as if I (or anyone) can't buy as many remedies as I like in any other homeopathic pharmacy or online anyway. What were they trying to prove?

But anyway (rant over), I'm very very happy with how this has all gone. I also have a DVD that the surgeon did of the procedure, so once I get my OGF to drop it off (I left it in her car, duh), I'll post the interesting bits on YouTube or something. Yay!
trixtah: (Tattoo)
So, it's choppy-choppy day for my knee on Friday. I seem to be alternating between totally forgetting about it and quite a bit of nervousness. I've never had surgery of any description before, nor anaesthetics. However, it's not quite that part that bothers me. I'm more worried about how it will be after. Will it hurt too much? While I've got a decent pain threshold, there is definitely a value of too much that I don't want to exceed. Will I be ambulatory enough? The idea of being totally incapacitated gives me the squicks, to be frank. And, if something stressful does result in that realm (eg. not being able to go back to work on Tuesday), will I manage that well enough? And not unload all over the wrong objects?

While I had chronic bronchitis (which laid me up for weeks at a time) and undiagnosed asthma as a kid, as an adult I've been pretty robust and strong. I suppose it might be an opportunity to learn some humility. Not actually a lesson that has any appeal to me whatsoever (since I don't exactly have a problem with a swollen ego).

However, everything's pretty much at the ready. I have food laid in for when I get back home. The OGF will be driving me there (Sydney) tomorrow and back on Sunday and mopping my fevered brow in between. The king-sized hotel room with kitchenette is booked, although I found out today there is no offstreet parking. Gah, I didn't check when I booked (too late now). The CDL has offered many supportive words and to spring into action if at all necessary when I'm back in Canberra.

The nice thing is that I know that I actually am not a bad patient, I'm exceedingly grateful, even when I feel (rarely) ratshit. Well, we'll see how it goes.

ETA: Anyways, there are always the puppays of extreme preciousness to perve at. They make everything better, and there are even some yappy dogs that can make me laugh.
trixtah: (Default)
I've chucked a sickie at work this afternoon and I won't be in tomorrow. I've had this wee cold all week, and while it's better than it was, I feel pretty much exactly the same as I did Monday evening. In other words, it's not getting better. I almost nodded off at my desk this afternoon - which never happens - and I've just realised I've had a headache all day. I hardly get them, so when I do, it takes me a while to realise. :-)

So, yeah, two days off in a week means 10% of my pay gone for the month. I'll be having two more days off for my knee op (two weeks! eee!), so I'm feeling quite poor. Of course, it's mostly self-inflicted. I get paid shitloads, actually, so if I wasn't also having to pay off monty debt (now increased to pay for the op, not to mention the $1400 tax bill I managed to forget till last week) it wouldn't feel so bad. Joys of being a contractor. Again.

Maybe some constructive sleep tonight and tomorrow will knock the thing on the head. Hope so.


Sep. 28th, 2006 09:11 pm
trixtah: (Tattoo)
So, I went to see the knee surgeon in Sydney today. He basically took one look at it and said, "When do you want me to operate? I've got slots Friday week." In my somewhat-bemused state, I agreed to next week, in the spirit of getting the thing over-and-done-with.

It was funny, though. He had some little junior doctors trailing him, and they got to look at my scans and tsk at them. So, it's the area to the outside of the meniscus which is on the right side of my knee joint. Other than the tear, the thing has degenerated over the last few years, and the cysts are the things that cause the pain. I feel the pain under the tendon that goes up the side of the knee. The largest cyst is right under that, and it also explains why the pain comes and goes - it's the cyst flaring up. He's going to take that out explicitly as well - normally they'd leave them to shrink naturally since they're not being "fed" with more fluid with the meniscus repaired, but this one is too large. Bah.

So, after waiting half an hour for one of the junior docs to track down the receptionist who was doing the booking, she went through the details with me. And this is why I'm starting to have second thoughts about the timing.

Firstly, I won't be able to put much weight on it immediately after the op, and that will take more or less time to heal, depending on what they do. If he repairs the meniscus rather than chopping the bad part out, it will be months of hobbling around, as opposed to a week or two. Still, I decided that I could probably manage myself onto taxis and trains (flying back to Canberra after knee surgery doesn't appeal), so that part's not too bad. What is badder, though, is the fact I'm living up two flights of stairs. Since I probably won't be able to bend my knee much for at least a few days after the surgery, getting inside my flat could be a little challenging.

Secondly, how much time will I need off work? More than a couple of days will be difficult. Surgery days are always a Friday; I could take an extra couple of days for a very long weekend. I suppose that's not too much pay to lose...

Except, thirdly, the cost. Nearly $6000, of which I'll get less than $500 back from Medicare. The surgeon is $2500, then there's the assistant surgeon (about $500) and the anesthetist. That's the part I'll get the $500 back on. Then there is the hospital charge, which is $2500, of which I will get nothing back. Not bad for a few hours in a bed and the use of an operating theatre, eh? (It's same-day surgery - I wouldn't be staying overnight).

I could go public, but there are big waiting lists, and I don't want any old surgeon tinkering about with my knee. Getting private insurance now would be pointless, since everyone has about a 12-month waiting period for pre-existing conditions. If I'd thought of it when I first got here, I'd be over the hump by now, but I didn't. One of the curses of not thinking of oneself as requiring major treatment. Yes, I know I'm stupid. However, they won't cover 100% of the costs anyway, so I don't know if I'd have saved much in terms of excess payments + premiums.

So, getting it out the way now is feasible - I'd need an overdraft, and it'd put back my debt-repayment schedule, but it's feasible.  Alternatively, I could see if he has slots available in the two weeks I have to take off for Xmas. I don't really care if I don't make it home to the family do. Then there's another 60 days for final payment (for the surgeon's part, the hospital is cash up front), which would take some of the pressure off. Or I could postpone it entirely until after next Feb, when I should have virtually all of my evul debt paid off. And perhaps have done something about my living arrangements - ie. be living in a place where I only have a few steps to get up.

I have to decide tomorrow. Well, I don't have to - I'd just rather let them know sooner if I want to delay things. Hm. Agh.
trixtah: (Default)
Things I have achieved in the last week:

  • Drove up to Sydney to see Vise and Consent (agh, spelling!), which was a BDSM 101 movie that was interesting food for thought. They could have left out the craptacular artwork though; the interviews were good.
  • Caught up with [personal profile] felix_femme and [personal profile] grey_evil_twin while I was there. Lovely peoples, yay. And it's fun getting goss.
  • Found great coffee at Campos, on Missenden St, just off King St. If anyone can explain to me why they close at bloody 4pm on weekdays, I'd be grateful. How stupid. And where is their web page? Mind you, they don't seem to need advertising. It was packed out at 10am on Thursday.
  • Went along to a doctor that [personal profile] saluqi and [profile] faxon recommended, who was a great guy, and recommended me for an MRI instantly.
  • Went and got the MRI done, and got the films back today. I have a degenerative tear of the body of the lateral meniscus with a small multilocated parameniscal cyst. I'm not sure about the "degenerative" part, since I know when I screwed my knee (heavy fall onto uneven pavement), but nemmind. It's really wierd, but I feel relieved that there is actually something wrong there. I'm not a hypochondriac, but I'm not used to something going on for so long... I was almost convincing myself I was making something out of nothing. Well, yay. Off to the doc tomorrow again to see what treatment options there are.
  • Helped [personal profile] saluqi hunt and gather some gardening materials for the organic vege garden that she and her Bear are putting in their backyard. Also provided a shopping list of things to get for the aforementioned garden, which [personal profile] saluqi has well under control. Looking forward to D[ig]-Day this weekend.
  • Finally pinned down the OGF for a night away somewhere - weekend after next. About bloody time; here's hoping nothing comes up to get in the way of our plans (such as they are right now).
  • Had a few bloody nice hours with the CDL yesterday afternoon. Man, I'm so fortunate with the cool people in my life. :-D
trixtah: (Default)
Unless you've been living under a rock these last few years, you'll be aware that the HPV virus is positively linked with cervical cancer incidence in women. Most women who get HPV don't develop cervical cancer, but it majorly ups your risk of gettting it. 70% of cervical cancer patients test positively to one of two strains of HPV infection. 97% of cervical cancer patients in another study showed the presence of any of a dozen strains of HPV. 4 out of 5 women will have an HPV infection some time in their lives - it's mostly silent, although a few develop genital warts. Interestingly enough, the strains that tend to produce warts (which manifest in about 10% of cases) are not the ones which are associated with later cancer. This article from the EMJA sets out all the implications.

On the good news front, an HPV vaccine has been recently developed, which seems to offergood resistence to HPV infections (of the strain in the vaccine). There have been many calls made recently for girls to get vaccinated routinely, generally before puberty (and sexual activity, presumably). Of course, the "wages of sin are death" crowd are jumping up and down and saying that this would encourage sex before marriage and all kinds of other nasty nasty things. My understanding - possibly limited, I admit - is that marriage is not magic protection against HPV either. Maybe married couples are all engaging in safe sex these days.

That's all well and good, despite the rumptions of the religious right. However, there are two things that are bugging me. One is that the vaccine is naturally only effective if one hasn't already been exposed to the virus. Are they going to test every girl before mass vaccination, because there will be a significant proportion (a small minority, but significant, nonetheless) who will already be infected? It's disgusting to consider, but, if there are negative consequences if the vaccine is given to someone already infected, these need to be thorougly explored before going gung-ho giving it to every girl.

The other is that while an HPV test is available in Australia (of course), it's only offered to women who are already showing cervical abnormalities in a smear. I presume that one could pay the full price for such a test, but I haven't tracked down any pricing information. While 4/5 women have already been infected with HPV, that means 20% have not. Since the only sex I've had with a man as an adult has been safe sex, I think my chances of not having contracted it are good. Yes, lesbians can pass it too, but like many STIs, I'm sure it's harder (I haven't found any comparative statistics tho'). I would like to know whether or not I have been infected. I would also like access to the vaccine if I have not. Obviously, it's early days, but I haven't yet seen any discussion on that.

There would be a cost associated with providing an HPV screening test to all women, and then vaccinating them if they're clear. If there is a latency period between infection and testing positive, that could prove difficult to manage. Assuming not, though, if all goes well, and you get vaccinated, you're presumably at much less risk (3% of the usual risk, going by the above stats, assuming they develop a multi-valent vaccine that will take out the 6 major cancer-associated strains) of developing cervical cancer. If you consider the cost of providing all those 2-3 yearly pap smears to the women who bother to have them, surely it'd cost much less in the long run to vaccinate the fortunate few and then call them in for pap smears at much-reduced intervals? If you say that 5 years is a suitable period for a vaccinated woman  to go between smears (and research might show longer is fine), you've just reduced your cervical screening costs by 10%. Over the course of a woman's lifetime, the savings would be much greater. Not to mention the reduced costs of treating women who do go on to develop cancer. I'm fairly confident that the reduced costs of regular smears (and reduced treatment costs) would more than offset the costs of mass HPV screening/vaccination.

So, how long till the Powers That Be start doing the sums? Not too long, I hope. And not too long for us adult women who might have some options. I'm definitely going to try and track down HPV testing via the private route. We'll see what happens after.

ETA: I just realised that my assessment of HPV infection risk was a bit over-optimistic. There has been at least one instance of the "safe sex" I engaged in failing catastrophically. Huh. Well, there's still a 1 in 5 chance of my point applying to me. It certainly still does to women as a group.
trixtah: (Default)
Off to the osteopath for the first time in months. She's a chickie I haven't been to before, but she certainly did the biz. If it weren't for the fact I need to do some work in the office (can you tell? at least I can let things run while I type, heh), I would have crawled home and gone straight to bed. Man, I'm poked. In a manner of speaking.

The interesting thing about it is that she told me that all my joints are hyperflexible. When I went to get my knee looked at a couple of years ago, the doctor informed me then that my kneejoints certainly were, and the fact I've sprained my ankles severely over half-a-dozen times tended to indicate the same for those. So the osteo reckoned that the reason I'm not flexible in terms of musculature (because I am so not) is that I hold myself with much more tension than the normal person so that I'm not wobbling around all over the place.

I've taken up tai chi over the last couple of weeks after [ profile] saluqi's encouragement (and the fact I've only been meaning to do it for at least 15 years). I was finding it quite frustrating that my ankles seemed determined to sabotage me whenever any lateral movement took place. Finding out that it's a mechanical problem that has always existed rather than my lack of... whatever - moral fibre? - seems to have suddenly shifted my headspace in that area.

Yay! Also, I was wondering why I've been incredibly grumpy this week, and I now seem not to be. Methinks there was a link, in my wee lizard brain. Huh.

Also, ow. Hot bath tonight!
trixtah: (Default)
I have big issues about getting pap smears done, but I don't think that's so unusual. But I loathe loathe loathe going to the dentist even worse.

Part of the problem I have with that problem is that it's irrational. I have precisely two fillings, which I got nearly twenty years ago. My wisdom teeth haven't come through at all (no laughing in the cheap seats!), so I don't have any horror tales about getting them extracted. It's not even as if I have a full-blown phobia, which would make it somewhat excusable.

There are are some things I can identify as being particularly icky for me. One is that I'm stuck in a place I can't move from. I immensely dislike having to "open wide" and have people shove things into my mouth. (ah. eureka.) Also, that scraping they do to get off the gritty stuff erodes my last nerve.

[...See, this is the nice thing about l/j - one can set down all one's most stupid thoughts, and sometimes, sometimes, there is illumination from it. So, there you go, after my entire lifetime, I finally get to the root of what bugs me about dentists. Interesting. But it's ancient history I don't need to blurb about here.]

On the more prosaic front, I got the hygenist telling me I could get braces. Like hell. My front teeth are straight, they all function, why bother? Also, the dentist reckons I must grind my teeth? Odd. I don't think I clench them that much, and I'm fairly sure I don't grind them in my sleep. I'm positive I would have been informed by interested parties by now if I did so. Will have to think on that one.

Still, all clean and shiny now, until the next time I can work up the fortitude to visit.


trixtah: (Default)

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