“Your body is a wonderland….”

No, wait, I mean Omnishambles…

My body is an omnishambles, not unlike my house.

A few weeks ago, my right hand developed a sudden, excruciating pain in my forefinger joint and along the tendons. It was incredibly painful, so much so I couldn’t type or use my mouse or keyboard, and took about a week or so to subside. My fingers swelled up and ice helped a bit, though ibuprofen frankly did nothing at all.

I called the doctor, but it took 2 weeks to get an appointment with the GP and it had mostly gone away by then. It still hurts a little but WAY less that it did before. They sent me off for a blood test to investigate.

In the meantime my daughter had a nasty virus of some sort, with intermittent high fevers for ages and was generally pretty unwell. And then I got sick too.

On Wednesday night I developed a sore throat, and on Thursday I felt worse and worse as the day went on, sore throat, tiredness, and by the afternoon I was shivering and shaking with a high fever. To add insult to injury, I went to pick up A from after school club, shivering the whole way, and when I walked in the door I sneezed and wet myself. To say it was a shock is an understatement! I thought only women who had given birth had that problem!

Anyhow, Friday brought with it a killer sore throat and my fever went down but the glands in my neck swelled up like balloons and were incredibly painful.

On Saturday I had more sore neck/swollen glands and was generally feeling so exhausted I couldn’t form sentences. I managed to get an out of hours GP appointment and was prescribed some antibiotics, though frankly he said it could just as easily be a virus so no idea if the antibiotics will help or not.

Saturday was supposed to be my night off, a much-needed night of self-care. It was carefully planned, weeks in advance. My friend had offered to have both girls for a sleepover, and while I was doubtful that A would actually sleep, nevertheless I needed it so I had planned a fun night out with my friends to have cheap noodles and drinks locally.

Of course, after realising there was no way I could go out, as I was feeling so ill, I burst into tears in the pharmacy, went home, dropped the kids off at my friend’s house and lay in bed and cried for most of the afternoon/evening. It was all very sad and pathetic.

A of course did not sleep much at all so my poor friend was up all night with her, and she certainly won’t be offering to have them over again any time soon. My chances of a rescheduled night off another time pretty much evaporated.

Anyhow, Sunday was exhausting all round, and I had a day off work on Monday to try and recover – I felt so knackered for days with this weird bug!

On Tuesday I was starting to feel better and then I got a call from the doctor to tell me that my blood test results suggest I probably have gout. Which is a form of extreme sudden-onset arthritis that explains why I suddenly couldn’t use my hands a few weeks ago….

It also shed light on some other problems I had back in 2020 – a sudden unbearable pain in my toe (and a subsequent lump I was told was probably sesamoiditis) and pains in my thumb joint/wrists which they put down to RSI at the time. Those were probably gout attacks too.

Honestly, I thought gout was one of those illnesses that mostly old people get, or, you know, fat tudor kings, but it turns out that fat 40-year old women can have it too (though it affects far more men than women in general).

The main thing I have to do to prevent future attacks is to lose some weight, as being overweight doesn’t help the condition. Honestly it’s always bloody diet and exercise with those people. No more bingeing on chocolate and eating late night cheese. But also in the event of another attack I need to call the doc straight away and request significantly stronger painkillers, as she said ibuprofen definitely wouldn’t help with that sort of pain.

I also have to give up eating lots of things although most of the foods on the list I rarely eat on a regular basis…. things like coffee, red meat, offal, shellfish, beer, etc, but also things like asparagus which I rarely eat but I love! And weirdly things like fish and spinach and broccolli are on there, which will make dieting harder. They also said you can’t go on a high-protein diet or starvation diet as those can bring on another attack.

Those foods are all high in purine, which produces uric acid, which my kidneys apparently can’t filter out so it builds up in my bloodstream until it reaches a critical point, whereby the uric acid crystallises into the joints causing extreme pain (usually the big toe, but also thumbs, fingers, wrists, elbows and knees etc). Testing for gout is notoriously difficult because you have to test the blood BEFORE an attack to see the high urate levels. Once the pain starts, it’s already crystallised onto your joints and is no longer present in the blood (or something similar). And you never know when an attack might come on – they can be months or years apart.

So yeah, my body currently feels like a total disaster area. I have to lose a fairly hefty amount of weight (pun intended) and cut right down on sugar and alcohol and other things. Bleaurgh. Right before Christmas too.

Ah well, such is life. Wish my luck on my boring old weight-loss journey….

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