It's been several weeks since I've written and what a few weeks it's been. I had my second jab mid June and within a couple of weeks was unwell. I had a reaction to the first jab but it only lasted a few days.
By the beginning of July I was getting pains in my lower back and tummy and felt generally run down. I tried to see a Doctor which was not a simple thing. After phone consultations I was prescribed Antibiotics. After a week there was no improvement and the Doctor decided I needed to be seen. He examined me, did a urine test and confirmed I had a kidney infection so further antibiotics were given and I was sent for blood tests.
After a few more days I was getting worse. Back to the Doctors! Again I was told I had a kidney infection but some of the other symptoms I had didn't fit. Due to my medical history there were other concerns and I must admit I was worried.
In May 2013 after almost 9 months of being told I had constant infections I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. When I was finally diagnosed I was relieved as it felt that I hadn't been believed for such a long time. I had a radical hysterectomy on 2nd July 2013 but they decided to leave my ovaries so as to avoid early menopause for as long as possible. I had all my lymph nodes on both sides removed. The surgery was a success and I was fortunate enough not to need chemo or radiotherapy. I was checked regularly and was signed off in 2018 and told I was 5 years cancer free.
8 years on and it felt like history repeating itself. My Doctor referred me to QA for urgent tests and within 5 days I had a Cystoscopy. A camera inserted into my bladder. The consultant told me there and then that he wanted me to also have an urgent CT scan and more blood tests. After my appointment I fell apart. When I had cancer previously I was so positive and determined it wouldn't beat me. After my Cystoscopy I felt very alone and scared that it had returned. Last time I was able to have my husband come with me for tests and appointments. This time due to Covid I had to attend all on my own. My children and parents were incredibly worried as they could see how poorly I was. My Mum kept hugging me (something she doesn't usually do).
The hardest part is the wait for results. Trying to keep my mind occupied whilst feeling unwell is incredibly difficult. I had amazing support from friends but it's the nights when you are all alone and your mind starts talking to you. I didn't want to add to my family's worry so I did what I always do and tried to keep a brave face. Most of the time I pulled it off although one occasion I did break down in front of my parents and instantly regretted it. I could see how worried they were and the exchange of looks between them just confirmed they really were thinking the worst.
After 5 courses of antibiotics I was informed the CT results showed no recurrence of Cancer. The relief was immense. I cried again in the consultant's room with absolute relief. I was informed I have a large kidney stone and that is the cause of the infections. I've been referred to the Renal department to decide what course of action will be taken.
The same day I was given my results I went out for coffee with my parents. We were sitting outside the coffee shop enjoying the sun and I noticed I'd been bitten a few times on my leg by a mosquito. Annoying little things! My Mum popped off to shops and came back with some Anthisan. Insect bite relief cream that I have used for years. I got home and put a few spots of the cream on my leg. Within an hour the area I had put the cream on had gone bright red. Within 2 hours my entire thigh was covered in a red blotchy rash and my hands were sore and swelling. By 7pm that evening my whole body was covered in a rash and my hands were so swollen I couldn't bend my fingers. My face had started to swell and my lips were tingling. My throat also became very sore. I was a little worried so I phoned 111. It took nearly 50 minutes to get through but then 15 minutes later the lady on the phone had sent an ambulance to me.
The ambulance arrived within minutes and I was checked over, given antihistamine and observed. After an hour the paramedics left but told me to phone 999 if I got worse. I felt dreadful. Dizzy, itchy and hot all over. I went for a cool shower and layed on my bed. After a couple of hours I started to feel worse but I didn't think it warranted using precious 999 resources so I took more antihistamine.
At 5am my son came down as he had work at 6. He took one look at me and said he was not going in. I could barely see as my eyes were closing due to the swelling. I assured him I was OK even though I felt far from it and as soon as he left for work I phoned my parents. My dad came straight round and we went off to the hospital.
I arrived at A and E and was informed there was up to a 20 hour wait. Ambulances were queuing and apparently there was not one available bed in the hospital. My Dad was unable to come in with me so I prepared myself for a long time on my own. Within 5 minutes I was triaged and then taken to a bed in A and E. A couple of minutes later I was hooked up to the blood pressure machine and told I needed an ECG as my heart rate was all over the place. I had a cannula inserted in my arm and blood was taken, then I was given IV antihistamine, steroids and hydrocortisone.
I felt so dizzy and my breathing was a little laboured. I was told I was having a massive allergic reaction. My throat felt like it was closing and everything seemed so strange. I dozed on the bed as I felt as if the plug had been pulled and all my energy had vanished. The Doctor came to see me and confirmed I'd reacted to the Anthisan cream. I've used this stuff for years and was puzzled as to why I had suddenly reacted now. I was given more steroids and told if this didn't work I would be admitted into hospital.
Fortunately the medication worked and the swelling on my face started to reduce. After awhile the Doctor said I could go home but I have been referred to allergy clinic to see if this was due to a combination of meds, infection and being incredibly run down or whether I have developed an allergy that may require an epinephrine auto injector (epipen) for future.
The reaction was two weeks ago this weekend. After being discharged from hospital I was given 4 days of Steroids and have antihistamine on hand. I'm awaiting referral appointments to both Renal and Allergy departments but as of this week I feel really well.
It has certainly been an awful few weeks and has given me a lot to think about going forward. I've some amazing people in my life who have been fantastic support over the past few weeks. I've got lots planned for this month and I'm really excited to be seeing Madness at Victorious Festival in a few weeks. I've said for a while that life is short and we need to live not exist. These last few weeks have reiterated that to me even more than before.