Wednesday, 7 January 2015

The meaning of...

It's been a while since I last posted on my blog...

I had a blood patch done early in December, in the hope of helping with my debilitating headache. This took place in Southmead Hospital, Bristol, after my neurosurgeon referred me to a new neurologist (someone who deals with the workings of the brain). A blood patch is done under local anaesthetic in an operating theatre under sterile conditions. I had been told before the procedure that it's a bit like having an epidural. The anaesthetist takes my own blood while another inserts it into my spine. Sadly the blood patch has not helped with my symptoms which was a huge disappointment, as I had high hopes that it would work. In fact, there isn't a word strong enough to describe the utter sadness and despair I felt when I realised that the procedure had not worked. It felt like it was my last hope in getting my headache under control, as I've tried all the pain medication there is and not one has helped in the slightest.

When I came home to Northern Ireland I felt sad as I knew that the blood patch was my last hope. I'm naturally a very positive person, I always see the glass as being half full, not half empty; but this time I felt I had lost the battle.

It's been several weeks since I've come back from Bristol after the blood patch and I'm feeling a little bit more positive. I've discussed with my mum and dad about trying alternative treatments to help with my symptoms. I now take two types of natural medicines and on Tuesday I began acupuncture with a charity called, Action Cancer. Action Cancer provides therapies like this and support to people affected by cancer. I had an idea of what to expect as my dad has had acupuncture on his arm quite recently and a friend of mine has had acupuncture too. After completing the usual "about you" forms in the waiting room which I find very boring, the acupuncture practitioner called me into her room. It was a small room packed with a desk, three chairs, book shelf, filing cabinet and in the centre of the room was the therapy bed. The practitioner was a small petite lady, who had a calming presence, just like the soothing music playing softly in the background from her CD player.

As she inserted the needles it felt like a small pinch. I'm not afraid of needles, partly because I'm practically a human pincushion now due to all the surgery and blood tests I've had over the years. I was more afraid of moving and knocking the needles out of place.

When I came home from having the acupuncture late that evening, I felt very tired, and went to bed quite quickly. I woke up the next morning feeling as if I had a good deep sleep, I don't normally sleep well due to the damage the hydrocephalus has caused to my brain.

I'm hopeful that the acupuncture will help with my headaches, pain around my eyes and chronic fatigue, even in the slightest way possible.

The meaning of my motto, "Stay Strong, Keep Positive... Always", isn't just about being positive all the time, it's about riding the waves of emotions that come with life and feeling them in order to stay strong and keep positive.

My mum and I taking a selfie in the operating theatre after my blood patch.

Danielle X