Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Our Last Meeting

Hello again all!

First I have to apoligize for my last rant.  Honestly one of the most emotional days of my life.  I find writing very cathartic so I appreciate the reads and the fact that none of my followers decided to un follow me after that.  So back to Forever Friends.

We had our monthly meeting on Sunday night.  We are lucky that we have a library in town that lets us have our meetings there.  So a big thank you to the Qu'Appelle Branch of the South East Regional Library.  We used to have our meetings at our houses and rotate through but then one of us always had to clean our house so this is a great alternative.  Although now that I think of it, the snacks are not as good as they used to be and sometimes we don't have snacks at all.  (I may have to bring that up...)

We had our normal house keeping to look after.  An update on the upcoming night at the casino, an update on the ticket sales for the quilt raffle, and some printing bills to pay. 

We also had applicants.  We had four applicants this month.  Amazingly enough we had all four of them come in the last week.  We are very blessed at FFOH.  Although now that I think about it, I guess we have designed it that way.  We don't have a lot of rules binding who we help.  We have been entrusted with money from our fantastic community.  Part of this trust I think is based on the fact that we try to do the right thing. 

Usually we help women.  However we got an application from a seventeen year old girl who needed a wig.  For her Grad.  In June.  Because we don't have a huge time constraint we are able to reply to her almost immediately.  She wants a wig that she can style.  Girls plan for years about grad.  Cancer should not take that away from you.  We won't let it. 

We heard from a woman that was going to face the loss of her house on Monday.  The day after our meeting.  We had to have the cashiers cheque to a courier before noon or they were sending everything to the lawyer to start foreclosure.  She had reconstructive surgery in December and then got an infection in her back and couldn't work for weeks.  We all know what it is like to get behind and then not be able to get caught back up.  She is still taking some pretty strong drugs to keep the cancer away now and for the next five years.  She works part time for minimum wage.  She can't work anymore than she does physically.  We helped her with the two payments she was behind and then with two more so she can catch her breath and heal both her heart and mind. 

We got an application from a woman that is now on palliative medication.  She was falling behind by 350 dollars a month.  We looked after the shortfall and a little extra for four months.  She is able to ask for more after four months if she needs it.  I would like to tell you more about this woman's story but her string of horrible luck is so bad that it could have only happened to one person in the last year and we don't want people to know who she is. 

Our last applicant was living on 1100 dollars a month.  She is married.  Her husband has health problems as well.  Her cancer fight was many years ago but she needed a new prosthetic.  Most of her prosthetic was covered by Sask Health because of their low income but the remainder we paid for. 

So this is the update from our last meeting.  Once again we are honoured with the trust our community has in us.  Thank you all for the ability to do this for women, for families. 

Thanks for reading. 

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Twenty Years

I do a lot of volunteer work but sometimes the one who needs help is me.  I realised this today when I was sitting in the doctors office crying because someone finally listened to me. 

It started with a nurse practitioner in town who listened to my complaints about my chronic head aches and took steps to actually help me a few months ago. 

Over the years I have suffered with head aches.  I remember my first head and stomach ache in grade three.  I remember the doctor telling my mom that I probably just didn't like my teacher. 

After my kids were born a doctor told me "You have kids, what do you expect?" After a few years another doctor told me "You're a woman, that's what happens."  A few years after that one said "As long as you're working sixty hours a week don't come back to see me about this."  (And for the record, after I sold my business and didn't work at all for six months and the head aches were just as bad.)

Throughout the years I envied people with what I considered low grade headaches.  You know the people.  The ones who can take one or two Advil and the headache goes away.  I couldn't even imagine it.  To put it in perspective, when I get a head ache I take three extra strength Advil and two extra strength Tylenol about every two hours for three to five days.  I do this so I can function.  My headaches wake me in the night.  I was given Demerol, however that was kind of a joke.  (That by the doctor that told me I was a woman.)  I was also given a type of Aleve that was apparently quite strong.  These were not helpful unfortunately.  These all dealt with pain. 

My headaches peak in the evening usually in the third or fourth day.  And by peak I mean they get so bad that I will lay on the bathroom floor.  I have, in those dark moments, contemplated banging my head against the door frame.  The thought is that if I hit my head hard enough I would pass out and it wouldn't hurt anymore.   Even typing it sounds crazy.  But I know I'm not. 

Because I was lead to believe that my head aches were normal, it never occurred to me to go to the hospital.  (Which apparently does help you get noticed by the medical types.)

In all this craziness of Demerol, Advil, Tylenol, Maxolt and anything else I could try, I would wake my husband in the middle of the night to tell him what I was taking.  I wanted him to be able to tell the EMS if anything happened.  It became a running joke in our household because what could we do but laugh. 

So with my last really bad headache prompted my husband to tell me to go to the doctor again.  And he supported me/ badgered me until I went.  And this is when Angela came in.  She listened.  She ran some tests and tried me on some stronger pills.  (Maxolt is the spelling I think)  My pharmacist came into play here too.  She warned me about the pills, watched my refills and when I came back for the third refill in less than three months on a prescription that should have lasted a year, told me to go back to the doctor.  She told me the drugs weren't doing what they were supposed to.  Took the time to explain what they were supposed to do.  The best thing about a small town is that these people are your neighbours.  They care about you. 

The new pills reduce the size of the blood vessels therefore taking the pressure off in my brain.  They would take my pain away for a few hours but it would always return.  I know nothing about pills.  What I just told you is a dumbed down version of what they told me.  Most of what they told me I don't really remember.  I do remember Kelly telling me not to accidentally kill myself. 

But I understand how it happens.  How much you want the pain to just stop.  In March I had nine migraines.  With Maxolt they lasted two to three days.  Mathematically I had about nine or ten days without a migraine.  After every headache I have a half a day of a "brain bruise"  so what does that leave six or seven days in a month with no pain. 

When I type it its seems awful.  But my life is good.  Just this one area is tough. 

Today I went to a neurologist.  I got referred by Angela.  Again he listened to me.  Validated my pain and gave me something to try to prevent the headaches instead of treating the pain.  He told me that in three months my life will be better.  I believe him.  I cried.  I told him how much I appreciated him helping me. 

So here's to me and getting my life back. 

And because this blog is supposed to be about Forever Friends here's the tie in.  Some of the people in the medical field are fantastic.  Some aren't but in Canada we get health care so we can have a second opinion.  If you are in doubt about any aspect of your health go to a doctor until you get what you know you need.  I am a huge believer in intuition.  I have heard lots of stories with women that know something is wrong but get brushed off.  If you KNOW then trust yourself.  Go until you find someone that will listen to you. 

This is not to dog on doctors that have missed something.  To err is human.  This is to hold up the people that listen, to the members of the profession that are fantastic.  If you know them, tell them.  They deserve to hear it. 

Thanks to you all for the read today.