Chronic Pain, Disability, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Lifestyle

2020 Round Up

2020… what a year! 

I think I speak for us all when I say that at midnight on 31st December 2019, none of us could have even imagined how the year would turn out.

Despite the country being in lockdown for the majority of 2020, my year has actually been surprisingly hectic, so I thought I would do a little round up of some of the things that happened this year.

Knee Surgery

In January, Mr M confirmed that I needed knee surgery and talked me through what needed doing to my knee. In March, my surgery plans were thrown into disarray when Covid-19 started rapidly spreading, and the whole country went into lockdown. By June, Mr M had increased my clinical priority to the highest, but elective surgery was still cancelled at my hospital, so surgery was still a no-go.

On 30th July (the day after my birthday), I got a call offering me a surgery date to have it done privately, which meant I had 7 weeks to get everything prepared and to get all of my work done for the rest of the year. 

Surgery was finally completed on 19th September at 12:15pm, and I now have a lovely, shiny screw in my leg. 15 weeks on and I am feeling great, I haven’t had any instability, rehab is getting easier as time goes on, and I can walk without a knee brace for the first time in over a year. My knee still hurts a lot whenever I move it, and I can’t kneel yet, but I am so glad I bit the bullet and had surgery, as it really has changed my life. 

Maldives

I can’t believe I am even writing this, but in February this year I travelled to the Maldives for a week of pure relaxation with my Mum. It was the ultimate mother-daughter holiday, and we were incredibly lucky that we got to go, as lockdown was announced 2 weeks after we got back. This holiday also marked the first time that I admitted I was disabled, and it made the whole trip SO much easier. I got to go through a special disability security area, so that I didn’t have to queue for ages and risk fainting, and I got transport to the gate, and from the plane to baggage reclaim. All of this meant that I could fully enjoy my week away, without having to suffer severe pain from pushing myself to do things that my body can’t cope with.

Moving Out

At the end of March, I made the decision to move out of my family home in order to protect my Mum. I work in a hospital, and have a lot of contact with doctors and surgeons, and so the risk of me bringing Covid-19 home to my mum, who is clinically vulnerable was too high. 

My brother and I ended up swapping over, with me moving into his flat for 5 months, and him moving home to help Mum through lockdown. 

I spent my first birthday away from family, but I still managed to have a lovely time. I spent the day at work with my colleagues ensuring I had a great day, and then I came home and spent the evening on facetime to various people, with my best friend making my day so special, despite being miles away. 

Health

Where do I even start with this one? 

I attended 28 medical appointments in 2020, and have gone from taking 2 tablets a day to taking 20 a day. A 24-hour ECG showed that I have significant sinus tachycardia, and after a 5 month fight to gain access to my results, I was finally started on medication to help slow my heart rate down. An hour-long MRI scan showed that I have Degenerative Disc Disease and Osteoarthritis of my spine, and I was started given a new medication regime of 11 tablets a day as my baseline pain medication.

I spent 8 months fighting against the NHS to get my cardiology care transferred to a new hospital. I finally won the battle and now officially have both a local team and one in London who will be working together to help me manage my constant tachycardia and BP drops. 

Whilst I was living alone, I went through an 8-week long flare, with many days resulting in me being bedbound. However, whilst it was really hard to go through it alone, it also enabled me to realise just how bad my health was getting. I started opening up to my work colleagues and my friends and I found that things became easier to cope with. I also finally sought help for my mental health, and was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder. I started medication and began therapy and can honestly say that I feel better than I have in years. 

2020 has been horrendous in so many ways, but I will forever be grateful for this year because it has given me the time to slow down and really focus on my health. 

Not only that, but this year has seen me make some of the most amazing friendships as a result of being more open about my health. 

So, thank you 2020 for giving me some of the best memories during a time when the world turned upside down. 

Lauren x