Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Good grief, Charlie Brown where has the time gone?! 

Ok so back on with the excitamentability of my woes. (It's a word, look it up) 
So the lovely teeny tiny Chinese doctor hands me over to the also teeny tiny Chinese male doctor. Ok I lie, he was not teeny. He asks me a million questions, I answer him. I often feel like handing over a manila folder with my life story and sit there with a cup of tea for an hour or so just to avoid having to go over it all again verbally. He says, when I get to the part about bleeding from my bot-bot regularly, 
" What?!How often, when, how much, how long?" Whoa! Slow down, buddy! One question at a time!  I tell him, often, like almost every month. Bright red, and fair bit of it and often the day before my period. I  explain I know my period is coming the next day by the fact I bleed there about 12 hours before hand. 

 He is not impressed. He requests me to go to a specialist who deals with bowel endometriosis.  Until I get that looked at he will not deal with the uterine issues. He does however allow me to stay on the Microgynon 30 till then. Referral in hand and a grimace on my face when he tells me I will need a bowel cleanse for the ultrasound. Great. Fun. Not. I HATE bowel cleanses with a vengence!

 Night before the ultrasound with the lady I have to eat basic food and then do a 14 drops of Ducolax and a Fleet enema in the morning. My dear friend David organised a lovely B & B stay nearer the ultrasound place, as we live too far away to do the enema and stay intact then do the drive. We live more than an hour away. I was rockin' on the dunny by morning! I tend to just let loose and not stop! Pain was intense each bowel emptying and by the time I got to the ultrasound place I was terrified of soiling myself and constantly kept running to the loo. 
 Sophie the doctor asked me questions and was concerned that I probably do have bowel endometriosis. She is one of the few who does this type of ultrasound vaginally as most radiologists place the transducer on the cervical area to look whereas she places it behind the cervix and moves it around the bowel area. A little uncomfortable but not painful. 

 Here is a video on youtube of what is involved with the ultrasound. The lady talking was my doctor that day. 

She spent alot of time with me but I had no evidence of bowel endometriosis. She was very puzzled. "A medical mystery, " as she put it. I said, "Well, I AM a medical oddity!"
 It hurt like heck when she got around the right ovary area even from that position! It was unbelievably painful. I have this problem every time I have an ultrasound when they push on the right lower groin area. I shoot off the table!  She told me she had no idea why I would bleed regularly rectally as it sounded on paper like bowel endometriosis. 

 After going back to the gynie and him saying, "Now we know it isn't bowel endometriosis, I want you to go to my colleague next week." Wow! Rush job! I went to the colleague who insisted I had a high hemorrhoid and all would be good and he asked why were we rushing this if it was something so simple? He'd do it next month. I told him I was going to have a hysterectomy on January 17th and that we needed to rule out the botty bleeding first in case something was sinister. He snorted. " I doubt it!" I didn't like his attitude. He told me it would be very very painful if he had to loop an elastic band around this imaginary high hemorrhoid and I would have to put up with that and the hysterectomy pain. 
 As fate would have it, the day before I had to start the bowel cleanse I get a call saying he had a major car accident and smashed his foot and did I want to rebook the colonoscopy he was going to do to find my high hemorrhoid? I gritted my teeth. It was to have a looksee not deal with a hemorrhoid for crying out loud! Man!!!! 

 Gynie was beside himself. Oh, boy! Rush job again. He was talking cancer. CANCER? When did this word come up? Oh surrrrrre, it was in the back of my mind but really??? Ok ok I DID have a massive bleed back in September and it DID cross my mind one time it could be, but surely the period time bleeding was bowel endometriosis, hey? No. Oh, ok......
  So yet again, rush job appointment. This time with a really nice cancer doctor. He was lovely. Sadly, he told me,  his wife was having chemo. He always took the 3rd Thursday off to be with her for her chemo round. What a sweetie! Thursdays were when he did colonoscopies. Luckily for me I could get to have him see me in two days! TWO DAYS! GAH! Luckily for me the receptionist had forewarned me and I had started the pre-cleanse diet of bland boring food. Cottage cheese and rice crackers and apple juice. Yum yummy. Not. 

 Ok, I am trying to make this short and sweet but so much happened in those few weeks here that I am trying to condense it down. I really ought to have blogged more often but oh well.... 
 So bowel cleanse number two in 3 weeks. Lordy that stuff seriously is horrible. Makes me wanna puke. Lemon flavoured is just a lure to make you think it is healthy. Try Dish washing flavour more like! Gross! I reckon if I farted I could make bubbles. 

The date I wrote on the top left is incorrect. I WAS due the first colonoscopy on my darling son's 23rd birthday on 3rd January, but it was canceled so I just used that pack instead of getting a new one for the colonoscopy on 10 January. 

 Looking back, I could probably have got away with only 2 packs. That stuff works too well on me!

I have a lot of issues health wise so was advised to go to a major hospital to have myself monitored in case anything went wrong. Under anaesthetic I tend to have my heart play bongo beat. It stopped twice in one surgery. I shall tell you all about it another time! The Epworth Richmond in Melbourne is an acute hospital, so I knew I would be in safe hands.  Luckily for me it is almost right next door, and is the one used, by the cancer doctor!
 I met the lovely anaethetist who was fascinated with my knowledge and also of my many conditions. He told me he would take great care in making sure I was ok. I had to break away at one point whilst he was talking to me to run off to the loo! He remarked how my bowel seemed too stimulated for the clean out. 
 As he gave me the 'juice' he wanted me to let him now how I felt. 
"Mmmm that's nice......" 
"Bit more now..."he watched me as I watched him push the syringe a bit more. 
"Ah, Milk of Amnesia." I stated. He laughed
"Yes, it is! How you feeling now?"
"Oh, that is verrrrrry pleasant." He laughed at me as I started to let my eyes close. 
"Ok, here we go. Night night, Sweet Princess."

 As I came to, I was dreaming of a large serpent inside of me, and this was in fact a reality! My insides shook as I was coming to and felt the long camera coming out of me. What a weird feeling!
 I was the only patient left for the day in recovery. I am a hopeless recovererer! My blood pressure drops, I take forever to come to, and this time was no exception. The drug used is Propofol and has been known to be a truth serum. I believe it! I couldn't shut up! Anyone asking me anything personal would have known all about it. Once I got started talking about something, it all just kept coming out! Poor nurse when she asked how many kids I have got the full story on how and why and where my marriage ended as well as the basic info of ages and sex of the children. I kept giggling to myself at how crazily I was rambling. Not a drunken slurry kind of rambling, more of a 'gotta tell all this before I go have to go catch that bus" kind of way. I stayed in recovery for nearly 3 hours then out in the holding area for about an hour and half. Blood pressure was only 80/90. Wasn't allowed home till I could prove I was ok. My male friend annoyed me deliberately and 112/90 was deemed 'outta here' A wheel chair ride to the car was rather nice to help my giddiness. All the other people who had been lined up for their colonoscopies had long gone and were probably hoeing into a big t-bone steak or something and having a nap by now!
  Lovely doctor came along as I was dozing and called my name. I hate when they do that. You don't even know your name, then it hits you, 'Hey! That's me!' and you wake with a start. Not a nice feeling. Anyway, this time, I didn't do that, but lazily opened my eyes and said, "Oh , I was dreaming about you!" He looked stunned! I then told him of what I was dreaming about and he looked shocked. Seems that I was having some kind of psychic type of dream and he was totally taken aback at how correct I was. ( I won't say here what the dream was as it was personal to the doctor and I have to respect his privacy, I will say, it was about his wife, whom I have never met.) Once he got himself together he told me,
"No cancer"
"Phew!" says me. I notice he looks a bit worried so I assume it's bad news....but wait! Cancer is bad right? I don't have cancer. Hey????
"You have 4 small AVMs in your left side colon." Say what? AVMs? Since when did I get them? (AVM is Arterio-Venous Malformation where the arteries and veins instead of being separate are one big tangalation. You are born with them. They can bleed for no reason. If they burst you can bleed to death. Joy. Not.) I make a joke and he says that he will find out what the gynie wants to do about them. Cauterise or take out a bit of bowel. Like do I get a choice? Hmmmm
  Gynie books him to be there at the hysterectomy. Oh Lordy! I have a hysterectomy in one weeks time. I have to have another bowel cleanse just in case they decide to cauterise or do that bowel chopping and dicing thing. AGAIN? Oh come ON! 3 bowel cleanses in 3 weeks? I haven't even had a proper meal since a month ago! Waaaaaah.

So a whole week has to go by before that double whammy surgery. 
It was a long week. 

More next time!
Stay tuned!



Thursday, 3 January 2013

The Great Big No No.

So time has moved on and I must get a paddy whack on the botty for slacking off. Actually I didn't slack off, I was ill. Again.

Ok so I WAS going to do this whole blog thing in order or in some kind of semblance of flowing narrative, but I think I am going to just go to the latest issue in my life and just get it all out there. I need to vent! Bear with me as I jump all over the place in time and occurences, but you will figure it out as you go along with me.

I was due to have a colonoscopy today, Thursday Jan 3 2013. Seems the lovely colorectal surgeon who was to perform his art has smashed his foot and had surgery himself, yesterday. Hmmmm, well lots of people would say, 'Yay! No hose up the butt today!' Well, yeah, that and the Draino cleanout! Yik!
 I needed that colonoscopy done now not next week, not next month: NOW!

I had a Mirena IUD inserted in May 2012. Lovely little thing with its progestin releasing coating and long black 'string'. String, my butt! That thing is like teflon! I never did get to have sex with it but I sure as heck wouldn't want to be the poor unsuspecting bloke who got that in his doody!
I got it inserted due to bleeding which had at the age of 47 since age 12 been regular now started being longer in between each period and somewhat weirder. I would have episodes of small bleeds in between periods and sometimes a couple of days of it. I wasn't overly worried. I mean for crying out loud I was 47! Perimenopause and all that! But I just knew something wasn't quite right.
 (As an aside; Here in Australia it is routinely inserted under a light general anesthetic. How the heck you Americans have it put in at the doctor's office beats me! Our doctors at least have some empathy!)

The lovely lady doctor (who shall remain nameless as will all my doctor's unless I have their permission to publish.) raved about the wonders of the IUD being 'brilliant' for either stopping or reducing flow. I was not overly convinced. I have in the past reacted badly to any hormone treatment. Yet again another oddity of mine. Put me on progesterone pill immediately after the births of my children, I bled like a stuck pig and I mean bled. For days. Months. Long months.
I figured well, what the heck, might as well give it a go, not wanting a hysterectomy and anyways, they aren't too bad the periods at this time, just damn annoying not to know when they are coming.
 Of course, she did a hysteroscope. This is where they have a look around with a camera, No silly, not a whopping Lumix, or Canon, but a thin itty bitty one on a flexible stick thingy. Dilate and Curette (commonly known as a D & C, NOT DNC as I keep reading on other blogs! Lazy language skills!) was done for fear of Endometrial Hyperplasia. ( The lining of the uterus can over grow and cause cancer in time) My lining was getting to 10cms and at different times of the cycle this is not a problem, it goes up and down with the menstrual lining thickening then shedding. However mine was 10cms immediately AFTER a period!

 No endometrial cancer was found, so off I go la de dah, to have what should be a wonderful life. First 3 months, I bled almost every day. Lightly but there. Still got periods which were wonderfully light but not stopped. Weird. Give it time, I was told, this happens alot to many women. 12 months later it was still every damn day! I was now worse than I was before! Pantiliners every single day! What drove me mad was that it was always too damn light for a regular pad and too damn heavy for a pantiliner. Also I noticed the smell straight away. It was pungent. I am medically inclined and I DO know it was the progestin on the Mirena giving off that smell.
By now it was November 2012 and my bleeding had not stopped. Perhaps I was one of those stupid percentages who have continual bleeding. Then I remembered I used to bleed constantly with the tablet so what difference was it being directly on my lining instead of orally through the blood stream. Big fat nothing is what!

I know this is long and it gets longer but please keep going!

I had had continual pain in my Right Lower Quadrant (RLQ) just near the ovary area for many years. At least 2 at that time. I had seen a gastroenterologist in middle of 2010 after having a 'negative' colonoscopy for any bowel involvement or celiac disease.  He gave me Movicol and Agiofibe and explained my serious constipation as a child was to blame, that the bowel gets 'lazy' and stretches and just has no idea when to poop. Ok, sure I get that, but 12 months on and STILL having wonderful stabbing pains in the RLQ? I kept having great bowel movements but oh boy the pain!
 Lady gynie decided to do an ultrasound and saw an ovarian cyst. No biggie, had them before. The pain was incredible though when the radiologist pushed on that area. To say I was like Sylvester the cat in the cartoons up on the ceiling would be no exaggeration. So into surgery I go.
 November 28 2011. Now I have always had trouble with anesthetics and drugs and the fact I have had reaction to Iodine was making things tricky. The lovely aneathetist did wonders for me, no vomiting at all! Woohoo! But we did an experiment which failed. I seem to be allergic to iodine topical (Betadine) they use to clean you before making incisions. Not fun I can tell you to feel 'figure eights crawling all over my tummy...and why are my lips so fat?' Drugged up makes you say silly things!

 The gynie was shocked later she told me when she saw a large ovarian cyst on the right. A corpus luteum cyst, which is really nothing, they just won't burst of their own accord sometimes. They are puss kind of breaking down cysts after the egg has released. So that went. Then there was the fimbrial cyst on the left. The fimbria is the dingle dangle part of the fallopian tube where the egg is picked up. Doctors know that the fimbrial ones are where the ovarian cancer cells seem to 'drop on by' to the ovary. Good thing THAT went bye bye! I had had one largish cyst there a year prior with septation and slight vascularity, meaning it could turn cancerous but it resolved (reduced and went away) all by itself.
 The biggest shock for every one, but not me though, coz I am a smarty pants, was the massive omemtum adhesion wrapped around the lower bowel loop. Yeeeeeehaaaaaa! I KNEW I wasn't imaging it! I was so happy you could have punched me and I would have said, "Go on! Do it again!"
 The omemtum is the fatty apron which holds your guts from spilling all over your pelvic floor. Who wants spilled guts!

 You bored yet? Go get another cuppa or a glass of wine and keep me company while I write.

Ok, so once I shut the heck up from babbling; "Told ya so!" I was informed all should be wonderful again and here is the new Yaz birth control pill to stop further bleeding. Oh yeah? I lifted my eyebrow. Ok, let's go!
3 months of periods being regular was great! 4 days of lactose pills to make you have a period instead of the traditional 7 days ( Lots of women were getting pregnant in that 7 day window)It helps with PMDD, (it's PMS but with more letters and more aggro. I get it, you don't want to come near me when I am in my PMS/PMDD mode.  A diuretic to help stop the old belly bloat and cankles. Worked like a charm. No PMS/PMDD! Then it all seemed to go weird again. Bleeding would start on the 3rd or 4th day back on the pill after the 4 days off. Then it would go for over a week and didn't seem right. It was regular in some ways that I knew it would come say the following Thursday after the stopping on the pill on the Friday before, but it really just felt wrong. Then over a few months, same old pattern, bleeding in between. 

In June/July 2012 I wake up one morning to the most violent pain in the uterine area. Felt like something had 'dropped' and laying on my right side was incredibly painful. Local GP did an ultrasound, "All good," he said. I wanted to see the picture as he often let me in the past for the cysts. "Nope, IUD still in place, " and quickly turned it off and shoved it back in the corner. Hmmm me thinks, you Sir, are hiding something! He gave me antibiotics for the flu I was having and off I headed to the luxury of my bed, to die.....sleep, whatever.....

 So in August 2012 after having had the worst flu in many years. (Guess which dummy forgot to get the vaccination that year? D'oh!) I noticed foul stenchy discharge. Peeeeeuuuuwwwwww! Even in the supermarket I noticed people surreptiously holding their noses and taking a few steps away.  I had had continual RLQ a month after the surgery in November 2011. Perchance something had gone wrong, and infected? Lady gynie sees me, does a swab, and a Pap smear, and decided after seeing the that day's transvaginal excruitating painful ultrasound, there and then to 'see if we can shove the IUD back. It's 1/4 way out." EFFING Heck! Thanks for the warning love! Man, scale of pain level....about a 4 hundred and 57. Ok, I lie. It was a 10 for that moment. Days later she sends me the swab results and a prescription for antibiotics. Bacterial Vaginosis. WTF???? I wasn't even getting the hoochie coochie on! Where'd that come from? Seems, I got it and it is common with the IUD of any type. Oh, another thing they forget to tell you when you go to get the IUD! Sheeesh!

Ok, now I need a wine!
Ok where were we? Oh yeah.

Move on to Me in the garden, can't bend over without pain in the uterine area. One sunny late October day I felt my uterus scream out as if in labour and my whole body was wracked in that pain where you have to stand very still and breathe. Crampy, tightening, hot, horrible. My neighbour coming home from work looked at me oddly and I waved and pretended to be panting from exertion from digging. Man, it hurt!
 That was it for me, I had had enough! Back to Lady gynie and within minutes she had whipped that little bugger out before I could say, "Hey! Where's the drugs!" Oh my effing gawdfather! I could have slapped her. What was wrong with this woman? She got PMS or what?  Then says, 'Ok, let's change the pill to something that works better. Oh and you can not possibly be bleeding on day 3 or 4 after going back on the pill after the 4 days of lactose pills' I'm like, Hey lady! Whose body is this???? I tell her I have had Microgynon 30 in the past and I bleed like stuck pig and it never works for me, that I gain tons of weight due to increased appetite. Hard enough being a hypothyroid patient without that as well! Give it go she says, for 3 months, she says. Ok, I leave dejected and in agony.

So meanwhile, back at the ranch ,known as the Shoestring. (I have another blog called Renovating on a Shoestring, but am slack on that one, too!)Bleeding like a regular period for a few days, ok no biggie. Then WHAM!!! Pain out of nowhere! Pain hot hot burning intense labour ohmyeffinglawdygawd kind of pain. Then bleeding. Holy cow! Never knew I could bleed so much in one moment! Goopy clots and oh..........Call her up. Oh take the Traneximic Acid to stop bleeding, she says. It DON'T work, I say. Oh ok, let's put you on the pill. I AM on the pill, I say through gritted teeth. I hang up and think; Time for a new gynie.
More pain, more bleeding, more weight gain, more crankiness, at least the migraines I used to get are gone. But HEY!!! I'm in pain here! Freakingly bad and why the heck am I STILL bleeding 2 weeks on? My dear male friend who loves me to death and back was about to get his wish; me dead, if the bleeding didn't stop! He rang around to find any gyneacologists who had a brain and could see me urgently. One lovely Chinese lady doctor tut tutted over me.  Shook her head. "No no! BIG NO NO!", she exhalted. She stated that whilst yes, it is good to have IUD to help stop bleeding, after a year it was obvious it ain't gonna work. Why throw a mix of hormones in there which only skewed things even more? I could have kissed her.
 She listened, she read, she looked. She stated bluntly (god bless her!) "Ok, you wanna go on like this or you wanna get rid of that?" pointing to my belly. "You've tried everything, now time to think about hysterectomy." I gulped. There. The H word was out. One I really didn't want to have done, but alas! my uterus had other plans for me. I stated, "Yes, I think the time has come." So next thing we know, my friend, myself and the teeny lady doctor are off running outside to her neighbours house (it was all like a normal street but doctor's along in the houses converted into doctor's offices.) With heart tripping over myself, I watched as she organised and appointment with this other bloke she seems to know and suddenly I was thrown into the beginning of a new life.

You know what? I'm tired. I think you and I need to put down our glasses, both the visual and drinkie poo kind and I shall let you know aaaaall the excitement which ensued from then on, tomorrow!
Trust me, the colonoscopy part really is relevant to this long winded story! It's not what you think!


Saturday, 8 September 2012

Fun in the Sun

As a 7 year old my family  moved to Bendigo, Central Victoria. I loved being outdoors and playing till after dark. I loved going swimming. I couldn't swim, just pretended to be a seal alot and tried to pretend to be an exotic pearl diver and see how long I could hold my breath. My sister and I would peel each other's backs after the blisters had eased off from our sunburns. Getting the biggest piece of skin intact was always an ongoing competition!
  Around 1981 there was a skin cancer campaign going. Australia had the highest death rate from Melanoma in the world. Reason? Our typical skin type was Irish or English heritage. Only a few generations from having arrived in Australia, our skins were not tolerant of the higher latitude of piercing UV rays. Our lifestyles of being outdoors in the sun was ingrained into our very core of our nationality. However this was also our undoing.

This is the ad from 1980 which was catchy and got the point across!

Click the link above to watch the ad!

Slip Slop Slap

One of the most successful health campaigns in Australia’s history was launched by The Cancer Council Australia in 1981. Sid the seagull, wearing board shorts, t-shirt and a hat, tap-danced his way across our TV screens singing a catchy jingle to remind us of three easy ways of protecting against skin cancer.

Slip, Slop, Slap!
It sounds like a breeze when you say it like that
Slip, Slop, Slap!
In the sun we always say "Slip Slop Slap!"
Slip, Slop, Slap!
Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat,
Slip, Slop, Slap!
You can stop skin cancer - say: "Slip, Slop, Slap!"
The Slip Slop Slap slogan has become institutionalised as the core message of The Cancer Council’s SunSmart program. The campaign is widely credited as playing a key role in the dramatic shift in sun protection attitudes and behaviour over the past two decades.
At about age 22 I realised I did not want to be one of the statistics to be dead from undiagnosed Melanoma. I was always burning and totally uncomfortable with my pale, pale skin. So I took myself to a dermatologist to have a look see at my sexy body (cough) to get my 'join the dots' moles seen too.  One was removed on my thigh just near the knee on my left leg. I have the scar which looks like a squashed bug. It amuses small children who truly believe I squished a bug one day and it got stuck there forever. Silly billies probably grew up and told their kids of the Crazy Lady with the Squashed Bug story and gave them nightmares. Hee hee.

 This one had no skin cancer at all. I was very relieved. However the dermatologist reminded me quite seriously of how prone to being burned earlier in life is proven to cause a cancer later in life. This worried me as I was only young (and vain, ok I admit it!) However the healing process was intensely difficult. It would itch and hurt and drive me insane. The scar swelled up and caused me grief. I went back and the doctor told me it was a Keloid scar where it had thickened. I had an injection of something or other, probably clear broth soup for all I know.  I don't recall. The itchiness and redness and pain went away after 2 more tries days apart. I begged him to cut my leg off. I couldn't stand it a minute longer! This was also another Red Flag which I had not seen a connection to till many years later.
  A few years later I worried more about the large black mole on my right calf. It was between two smaller ones. I called them my Traffic Light moles. This one had a Stage 1 cancer.(Basically as long as it is contained within the mole, you won't drop dead) Now THAT scared the begeebees out of me! So I took more care in the sun. I now refer to my paleness as something a Polar Bear would be jealous of!
 I had by now married and had 3 children and moved from the area where that original dermatologist was. I had watched my then husband's cousin die of a melanoma left too long on his ear, and even though they cut off half his ear he died. It was a sobering thing to know of someone who had had the silent killer.
   In the year after my husband left me and with my young baby son, and my two small children, I went on a holiday with my friend and her children. That same Traffic Light mole which had been removed only a few weeks prior had been over an inch wide with a dark centre surrounded by lighter colouring. Both colours were mostly almost black. No cancer. Phew! But my darling son, bless his little heart, stepped on my leg as we relaxed in bed and popped open the freshly removed stitched area and you could see in my leg all the fat and the muscle. Eeeeeeew! That day was spent trying to find a doctor to re-close the wound. It was just taped up and eventually healed on its own.

 Now I have been checked regularly every year without fail. I am lucky so far, no cancer. I have a largish one on my back on the left hip area that is weirdly shaped, has at least 3 or 4 different types of mole in it and is very black. Each time I am told it is ok. I am not so sure! I am seeing the dermatologist soon again and might just ask to have it removed, just to be sure.
 Sid Seagull has changed with the times and he now stands under an umbrella, and does some wonderful good for charity.  There is even a great online checker to follow the UV levels for the day. I use this religiously each time I need to be outdoors any time of the year. Not just summer you can get skin damage!
  That one time stage 1 was a worry, but keeping out of the harsh rays and covering up seemed to do the trick! Till many years later.
    Oh, no it wasn't a cancer. It was lack of Vitamin D!  
 That will be another story for you to listen to and perhaps learn from.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

The saga begins......

Hi there!
 My name is Maria and I live in Healesville, Victoria, Australia. I have another blog called 'Renovating on a Shoestring' but due to my ongoing health issues haven't really been able to blog much of any of the goings on. Namely because there AREN'T any goings on! So I figured I since I am ALWAYS having something going on with my health, it seemed appropriate to make a new blog. That and the fact people have been hounding me to write down my tale of woe for a long time spurred me!

 'The Medical Oddity' is the name I came up with after much contemplation. Reason I came up with that name is apparent as you come along with me on my LOOOOOOOOOONG journey. (Bring a thermos of hot tea/coffee/cocoa/scotch/valium.........you're going to need it!)
 Ok.Here we go!
   I was born at a very young age. My mother was there at the time. Back in 1963 when The Beatles were causing many a young girl's (and many secret gay guys) heart aflutter. JFK was killed and my cute little face presented itself to the world. Now this cute little face apparently had gorgeous pale translucent skin which nurses and family and friends cooed over and said how beautiful I was. I can't remember any of that. They probably really said, "Oh for god's sake! CHANGE that nappy!"
 The first disaster of my life was that in the taxi on the cold and foggy morning about 7 days later, on the way to my first home,  I went flying. Yes, just sprouted wings and took off. Ha ha. Truth be told, the taxi almost hit another vehicle in the fog and of course, in those days, Mums could hold bubs rather than strapping them in safely. No seatbelt rules either. So apparently my 9lbs of blub went cascading into the front seat. Again, I have no idea. Probably just some folklore to get a good lot of sympathy. Mum swears it's true, so I guess there you have it.

Don't ya think I'm cute? I look serious.....Hmmmm contemplating all those rotten doctors in the future I will be dealing with!
    Now don't be alarmed by the fact I have only one eye staring at you in the above photo. ( Bet you just looked back at my photo. Am I right? Hee hee) It seems when I was born my left eye was underdeveloped. Medical oddity Number 1. What caused this? No one seemed to know at the time. Gawd, the early 1960's people drank and smoked and did all sorts of things without a thought that this could cause a baby any long term damage. It took till the 1970's to understand  Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. I do not have this.
 Poor Mum was one of those poor women who upchucked regularly and violently pretty much from the second I attached my itty bitty cells to her uterine wall. She did try taking Distaval, an anti-morning sickness medication which we know was a Thalidomide drug. It was banned in many countries in the early 60's but some pharmacists still had stock and would give this if the doctor prescribed similar. Oh the days of non regulated pharmaceuticals! Mum threw most back up and gave up taking them. Much to her chagrin and being evicted out of a flat (apartment) for the noise she was making throwing up 24/7. Thin walls, you see.
  Many years later I tried to be involved in the Thalidomide compensation group which was occurring around the world. The hospital I was born in, 'The Queen Victoria' hospital in Melbourne, Australia had been found to contain asbestos and was shut down. It sat there idle for many, many years. Oddly enough at age 15, I would walk past my birthplace, on my way to work in an office not far from there,  not knowing how important this building was to my future. Years later again, it had been demolished internally and now only the external walls are a reminder of times past.
 I discovered that the records of all patients had been transferred to the new wizzbang hospital Monash Medical Centre in Clayton. (an south eastern suburb of Melbourne) I wrote to them. They wrote back. Records had been destroyed after FIFTEEN years from the date of birth. I was 10 years too late. I sobbed. I was disgusted. I asked the obvious; WHY? The answer? Due to lack of storage space and time and money by the government (The Queen Vic was a public hospital sponsored by our government) they were destroyed. I said, What about Microfiche? I used that when I was 15 at work! Surely they could have scanned them to that! No, that would have involved paying humans to do the time consuming work of transfer to the microfiche films. I shook my head in disbelief.
 Canada, USA and UK apparently keep medical records for much longer than we do here in the Land of Oz (don't quote me on this. It's just my recollection) I contacted the Canadian Thalidomide support group who said that the only way to prove anything,  would be to find documented evidence, either by Mum recalling the name of the drug, (Mum was prrrrrrrrretty sure it was Distaval but seriously couldn't recall the name), that the doctor had record, and/or the pharmacist still had record of prescribing the drug. Well, great. A: Mum had no idea, even with prompting by showing her images of the drug, B: The doctor had karked it and his family had tossed his records in the garbage. and C: the pharmacy is no longer in business and no one knows what happened to them. Just my luck. So I left it at that. Not knowing any more and just accepting I had to wear a prosthesis for the rest of my life. Not knowing if it really was the thalidomide drug or something else. Poooey. It didn't satisfy me. Not one bit. I was determined to find out what had caused me this weirdness in my eye. Oh! It was also discovered at a very young age, I was deaf in my left ear........Now what would have caused they, hey? Medical oddity Number 2.

  There we end today's saga.
Come back real soon for more excitements! We've only just begun!