So, that happened

First Published: Sun Jul 14 2019
Last Updated: Mon Jan 20 2020

You're probably wondering why things have been a little quiet for the past few months.

I mean the last post was early in the year with a list of projects I wanted to get my teeth into this year.

You know, kicking Women In STEMM back into gear, How To Media and a big (well for me) Doco project, that sort of thing.

Well, things got a bit complicated around the end of March. I got sick, and then spent two months in hospital basically learning how to walk again (and I'm still learning that bit) and the next two months recovering at home and working my way up to getting back into the office.

For the curious (and fair warning this might get Too Much Information, so read on at your own peril), what I copped was a drive by virus in the spinal column which triggered an auto-immune response which then went into over drive attacking not only the virus, but the myelin sheath around the nerves in my spinal cord.

Yay me!

The effect of this was pretty much the same as if you'd strip the coating away from an electric wire. Things start going wrong. The first thing I noticed was a pain in my back and my legs getting a bit stiff. Then I noticed that it was getting harder to go to the toilet until I got to the point where I couldn't and ended up having to be catheterised. A couple of specialists later (and I have to say thankyou to them, they were on the ball and responsive) and I was booking myself into Wollongong Hospital for a 5 day treatment of methylprednisolone - a hardcore corticosteriod - to reduce the inflamation in my spine. The next morning, I couldn't feel my toes and I had zero muscle tone.

It took a couple of weeks to an actual diagnosis, Post Viral Transverse Myelitis. It's a rare condition that can be triggered by a few different, the really scary one being Mutlitple Sclerosis (thankfully scans show no lesions or plaques in my skull so far).

So that's where I've been.

Honestly I have been lucky in many respects. I could have been so much more worse off/lesion if the inflamation had been higher in the spine. Paraplegia or even Quadriplegia are potential outcomes for Transverse Myeltis. My recovery has been better than expected (though it's still frustrating and a bit of a slog) and I can walk with the aid of a stick or walking frame (endurance is still something that needs to be working on)

A shoutout to the nurses and other health professionals in the hospitals. They made what was, for me, a deeply traumatic experience bearable by being professional and helpful. The one problem I had was that I was twice the size of most of them and I was worried about hurting them if I fell on them.

I'm going to sign off this post with this. I couldn't be in the place I am without the support of my family. All of you, and I mean all of you, gave me the strength to get through this and come out the other end with some semblance of sanity (to be debated) and hope. I love you.

Oh, the photo is of what's allegedly Chicken Parmagiana. Hospital food, it's all its made out to be.