Sunday, 4 October 2015

Life Is Beautiful....

Just recently I was faced with a life threatening health issue which has really put things into perspective for me.
I have been feeling unwell for quite some time, since around the time that mum passed away last year, I have had quite a few trips to the Emergency Department at the local hospitals with nothing being found and me being sent home, with a diagnosis of "anxiety".
Just last week , on the 23rd September, it all came to a head. I seriously thought that I was going to die!!

It all started with me waking and feeling unwell, slowly throughout the day, it built in symptoms - dizziness, breathlessness when moving short distances, a dull ache between my shoulder blades and a pressure on my chest that slowly built in intensity until it felt like I had a small child sitting on my chest.

Hubby was off at work and I decided I would try to ring him and see where he was and if he could take me to the hospital. After many attempts to call him and no answer - (he was on his rideon mower and couldn't hear the phone), I decided to call an ambulance.

The paramedics arrived and took one look at me and started going through the motions of treating me for a Heart Attack!!!! Here I was at 47 years of age, fearing for my life and thinking that I was going to die without seeing my husband and children ever again.

Off to hospital we went, where they put me straight on to monitors and took bloods for testing. The weirdest part was, everything looked normal. There was nothing showing on the ECG, blood tests came back clear on the first run, oxygen levels were good. They had no idea what was going on.

They told me that they would send off a second set of bloods, 6 hours after the initial episode, because that is when they would be able to tell if anything had actually happened to my heart.
The second set of bloods came back positive, showing risen levels of troponin and cardiac enzymes, that show there is possible damage to the heart. So I was admitted.....

Testing started, with me being put on a Holter Monitor for 48 hours, regular blood tests and bed rest. The cardiac specialist came to see me and told me that he thought it would be beneficial for me to have an angiogram done as well, just to see what damage had been done and work out the next course of action for me. I had an echo-cardiogram done and I was told that the results looked fantastic. Blood flow was normal, there appeared to be no blockage or damage done that they could see. But the angiogram would be the most accurate of all tests to see exactly what was going on.

I was scheduled to have that done on the 28th September, which meant being in hospital over the coming week, while we waited for a spot to become available for me.
On the 28th of September, I woke early in the morning and found my husband sitting beside my bed, waiting patiently for me to wake. They were hoping to get me in early in the morning, so we began the waiting game,

Finally at 12.30pm, I was collected and taken to the Cardiac Lab where the angio would be performed. Terry was waiting outside in the room for the procedure to be done. We had been told that it would be a short amount of time to do the test, 30 - 40 minutes, unless they had to insert stents or do any ballooning.
Little did he know, the doctor had been called away to the theatre to help with a pacemaker procedure and the nursing staff had been sent on a much needed lunch break, so the 30 - 40 minutes, ended up being 2 1/2 hours!

Terry had no idea what was happening, that I hadn't even been taken in for the test yet, so he was starting to get very anxious, as you could imagine. Luckily, one of the nurses from the ward I was in, came in to make some notes in my file, so I asked her to please let him know that I was ok and still waiting.

Eventually, I was taken in for the test, which took the routine time of 30 - 40 minutes and the results showed that there was no damage at all. My heart was perfect!

We still have no idea if what I experienced was an actual minor heart attack or something else. I have been sent home with a whole new range of medication - blood pressure medication, cholesterol medication (even though my levels are normal, this will supposedly help to keep the arteries from building up any plaque, etc) and aspirin, which I will most likely be on for life. I've also been signed up for Cardiac Rehab which will run for 12 weeks and during that time, I will not be able to return to work.

Through this whole experience, we have learned a very valuable lesson. Never take anything for granted, appreciate what you have and make the most of each day!

The bittersweet part, but probably also a bit of a godsend was, I was in hospital for the anniversary of my mother's passing away, so I didn't have time to dwell on it. Terry bought flowers and placed them on her grave and I went to visit her when I was released from hospital. Those 12 months have gone way too quickly! I still miss her, but it doesn't feel as raw as it did before.

Just remember, when you wake each morning to a brand new day....

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Still Breathing....

It seems like forever since I have had a chance to stop by and sit for long enough to write anything substantial. This has been a whirlwind of a year for me, some good and some bad, but I'm still alive and breathing, and that's what counts!

My health has been my main problem in the past few months, I have been diagnosed with Hypertension, finally! after months of not knowing what was going on with me. It all started with anxiety attacks, which resulted in me being admitted to the Emergency Department at the closest hospital, 50 kilometres away from us.
The anxiety attacks aren't as bad now that I have been diagnosed and am on medication to treat the hypertension, but they still rear their ugly head from time to time, mostly when I am stressed out about something. Along with that, I have the joy (NOT!) of paying a visit to my GP every week for an injection to treat a Vitamin B12 deficiency. Don't believe it when they tell you that you will just feel a little sting, those suckers HURT!!! lol

Aside from all that has been going on with me, our daughter has been struggling with her mental health and some days are a lot worse than others. She has been diagnosed as Bi-Polar, with a few other things going on and her mental health is not the best at present. But she's still with us and fighting to get through each day, and as long as that keeps happening, I feel some sense of relief. I am so proud of her and how she managed to survive like she has, with all this being dumped on her plate of life. She is a trooper and she is a lot stronger than she likes to think she is! I couldn't imagine my life without her in it, through all the good and bad days and everything in between, I'm so glad she's a part of it.

Love you, to the moon & back, Naggy! ♥

Our son and his wife are settling in to married life well, they have their ups and downs as all couples do, but they are still together, still in love and happy. We don't see them as much these day, now that they are "all grown up" (lol), but when we do, we make the most of it. Josh, just left for Melbourne this morning, he will be gone for 3 weeks, working down there. His area manager put him forward for the job and he is the only one from country Victoria that is travelling down for it. It's going to be strange not having him around for those 3 weeks, it's probably going to be even stranger for Amanda, they haven't really been apart all that much since the wedding, and never for this amount of time. I think this will be a real test for them. Maybe it is a lead up for bigger and better things for Josh, he may be getting groomed to move up the ranks at work, which would be a great thing for him. He works his butt off and deserves the recognition. I'm so proud of him!

The Lovebirds! :) 

My husband has been my rock through it all and has been beside me every step of the way. I'm lucky he has some pretty broad shoulders to carry all the weight of the problems all the girls in his life seem to be having this year!

My Rock!

As well as having to deal with me and my health issues and our daughter with her mental health issues, my mother-in-law has also been going through a tough time. A month ago, her partner passed away and she has become very reliant on my husband for everything. She has never been alone before, she left home to move straight into her married home with my father-in-law, then when they divorced, she moved in with her partner and they had been together for 19 years. So it's a real wake up call to her, to find herself alone and having to do everything, after always having someone there.
This has lead to my husband getting numerous phone calls and visits with her, because she has no idea of how to do anything on her own and he has had to assist her with just about everything. It's a real strain for him, and it shows, he is trying to run his own business, make sure I'm ok, deal with our daughter's issues and also deal with his mother, it can't be easy for him at all. But he is the type of person that is always there when you need him, and for that, I am extremely thankful and find myself very blessed to have him in my life.

Next Tuesday (29/6) will be the 1st anniversary of mum's passing. I can't belive that a whole year is gone already. The days are easier to get through now, but I still have my moments where I miss her like crazy and I think I always will. She was my whole world and I have found it so hard learning to live without her, but I'm getting there.

I miss you...

Well I think that will do for now, there only so much I can write and if I don't stop now, I don't think I ever will.

'Til next time....

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Spring Into Summer

Mother Nature has definitely been playing a strange game this past year.
We have just moved into Autumn (Fall) here in Australia, after a Summer that wasn't as "Summery" as expected. It was more Spring like.

Flowers were blooming when they shouldn't have been, new growth was sprouting on trees and babies were being born!

We were lucky enough to have a new family created in a Bottlebrush tree in our front yard and I was lucky enough to have a decent camera to document it all.

My husband called out to me one afternoon and asked me to bring the camera. What greeted me, once I got out there, was a nest with 3 eggs sitting in it, tucked neatly into the tree.

The adult birds were never far from the nest and kept watch from a distance whenever we were outside, but it seemed they trusted us, and we never touched them.

Investigation showed that the birds were Noisy Minahs - they definitely live up their names too!
For more information and to listen to how loud they can be, there is a great wikipedia article. 

We watched the nest every day. The older birds would come and play tag at sitting on the nest. About a week later, we were greeted with these:

Sadly, one of the babies didn't survive. We had a major thunderstorm and I think it was just too much for it. One of the eggs took longer to hatch than the others, and we're guessing that the one that passed away, was the "runt" of the litter.

As the days wore on, they got larger, and noisier!

Finally, about 3 weeks after they first hatched, they started to resemble the birds that they would become, full-feathered and ready to venture away from the nest

Finally, they decided it was time to move on and they left the nest. The empty nest is still sitting in the tree, waiting to see if we have another family move in, sometime in the near future.