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My physical health in a nutshell

My Physical health in a nutshell

So part of the reason I’m actually writing a blog is to have somewhere I can let off steam. A lot of the time that steam has built up is as a result of something connected to my physical health problems. I think having the chronic health problems that I do helps me to learn how to deal with a lot of situations in life. Unlike my dog, who if she doesn’t like it, pisses on it and walks away.

So, what physical conditions do I live with that gives me the right to write this blog? Primarily I have brittle asthma. This means that I have a very severe form of asthma that has me hospitalised regularly. I’ve averaged an admission a month since I was 19 and I’m 28 now. So that’s a lot of time spent in hospital as a result of my lungs. It has a big impact on my life, especially when I was in school sitting my Leaving Certificate (Irish A-Levels) and in my 2nd year of uni. At some point I’ll do a separate blog all about my asthma and how I live with it etc, but that’s somewhere a bit further down the line yet! But my asthma is probably the biggest problem I face on a daily basis with my physical health. My exercise tolerance is awful, although it’s not much better not being able to get out and go for a walk or go to the gym at the minute! Thank you Covid-19! But hopefully once this is all over, I’ll be able to get back to doing some kind of exercise! But my main symptoms of my asthma are shortness of breath, tight chest and wheeziness. But not necessarily all at the same time. I’ve been in hospital before and not been wheezy, but have what’s known as a silent chest, which means there’s very little air going in and out of my lungs. This is bad and means I really should be in hospital if I’m not already. But we’ll go into that in more detail later.

I also have a condition called Adrenal Insufficiency (AI). It’svery similar to a condition called Addisons Disease. My AI is actually really well controlled, so long as I remember to take my steroids in the middle of the day (I’m a bit of a nightmare for remembering to take my medication in the middle of the day). I have been on steroids pretty much constantly since I was 19 for my asthma. Until I was about 23 I was on very high doses regularly which confused my body so much that it stopped making it’s own steroids and got lazy. Because I was giving it what it needed artificially, it decided that it would cease making it’s own cortisol. So since I was  23, I’ve been on what’s known as cortisol replacement therapy. So I take the same amount my body would produce in the form of tablets three times a day. I’m god awful at remembering to take them, so more than once I’ve gone into adrenal crisis and needed injected with steroids. Like my asthma, I’m planning on doing a blog dedicated to my AI, as it’s quite a complex condition and I don’t want to waffle on about it on here if it’s not something that interests you!

As I said above, I’ve been on steroids for a long time, and a lot of the health issues I’ve got stem from the amount of steroids I was taking. I developed a condition called Avascular Necrosis of the femoral heads. This basically means that the blood supply to my hips stopped flowing as good as it should and the heads of my thigh bones where they go into the hip socket died and crumbled and I needed to have both my hips replaced at a young age. I was 22 when I had the right one done and 23 when the left one was done. It was tough going, but you wouldn’t even notice it now. I’m sitting typing this with my legs crossed under me!

Steroids have also caused me to gain a lot of weight. I’ve gone from being a size 16 to a size 22 in about 10 years. Partly steroids but also partly down to my own poor diet when I wasn’t living at home. But I’ve ended up with things like problems with my eyes and diabetes because of them. They’ve definitely not helped my mental health and I notice when I’m on high doses of steroids, my mental health goes to pot. Which is why we try to avoid steroids like the plague. My consultant would sooner have me admitted on IV medication for my chest than have me back on steroids. Nasty things! There’s a joke among the asthmatics online that the steroids we take for our asthma are known as the devil’s tic tacs!

But, I will hopefully blog again soon! Will definitely go into a bit more detail about my asthma and AI. Thanks for reading!

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