Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Checkup Time - In Front Of A Live Studio Audience

Right ... I'm going to write this quickly tonight!

I had a follow up appointment with the consultant today. Firstly I was weighed and my BP was taken (93 / 53 .. pretty low but apparently that's just me .. hmmm).

So my consultant, Dr A, takes me through to his office and explains on the way that there will be a few people with him. Apparently there is a 3 monthly session held at the hospital where anyone with a vested interest in the subject turns up. Including the head of department, trainees and the regional specialist from nearby Oxford.

I walked in to the room - there was Dr A's desk and a couple of chairs next to it for me and my wife. Behind him were six of these people sitting watching the consultation. It was around this time that I was glad my issue was prolactinoma rather than piles or prostate (any bloke who's had a prostate check knows how bad this would be in front of an audience).

In summary, I was told the following:

- Prolactin levels have dropped from circa 200,000 ng down to 9000 ng. Still about 20 times higher than the target but a massive improvement. The drugs are working.

- There is no point in operating unless the drugs stop working. Operations come with risks and are unlikely to clear the issue totally so there is a likelihood that I would still need drugs after the event. Most likely scenario is that I will take Cabergoline for the rest of my life but at a reduced dose. Cabergoline is most effective because it hits every prolactin producing cell.

- My visual field test came back positive. I had taken this the day before but not blogged about it because there isn't much to say. I got called in to a room, stuck my head in a box and clicked a button every time I saw a dot flash somewhere. The good news here is that I'm not going to be told to stop driving. In a way this is a shame because I had been offered a day out driving high performance sports cars as a reward for hard work over the last year. I turned it down because I couldn't guarantee that I would be medically road worthy. Arse! I had always wanted to drive a Ferrari. I consoled myself by imagining that they rev limited the cars anyway!

- The bone density scan came back with warnings. The bone is getting thin, especially in my lower back. Just as well they caught this when they did then because the last thing I want to see is that crumbling away whilst I'm in my thirties.

I think the 'gang' of doctors in the room were pretty pleased with progress until I opened my mouth and dragged them back to the very beginning. As far as I was concerned (and still am) the lump in my head could be the size of a grain of sand - or an ostrich egg - I don't care. I told them this. My issue from day one has been the punishing physical and mental fatigue that has blighted my life day in day out for the last few years. And it's not just this either. My character has changed from easy going - fun loving guy to outright irritable arsehole. This has to stop.

As Roy Batty realised that he was fading from this world, he fought and kicked - and he screamed the immortal words "I want more life fucker / father" (depending on which version of Blade Runner you happened to be watching). Well I'll have some of that if you don't mind. The medical profession were coming from a 'Sex Pistols' point of view - kind of 'Never Mind Your Bollocks - Here's the Prolactinoma'. I made it clear - I have no intention of sitting on my hands waiting to see if my Testosterone level finally floats back up to an acceptable level.

'The Gang' were remarkably sympathetic and prescribed me some Testosterone Gel straight off the bat. It will mean periodic blood tests to see if I need to keep taking the stuff but if it helps me climb out of this fog ridden pit, back up to the sunlight then it's worth it. I was given strict warnings a) Not to rub it directly on my nuts as it's alcohol based and could hurt. b) Avoid transferring the stuff to my family - directly or indirectly. Yeah - I get this! The last thing I want to see is my wife or my boys (3 and 1) running around with facial hair and deeper voices than me.

Next appointment is in three months time!

Now then, could I find a pharmacy that sells the testosterone gel I had been prescribed? No .. surprise surprise! I'll have to wait a day for that to turn up. Naturally, the effects will be something to blog about.

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