And boy, was I wrong. These things were not the reason for my symptoms at all. Well, not most of them anyway.
It was a natural and logical choice to choose the Jean Hailes Foundation for Women. Wimminz Stuff. It's what they do. And they do it well. I was lucky enough to get an appointment the week after I rang. And doubly lucky to be introduced to a most excellent doctor, Dr Geraldine Edgely. Geraldine was thorough, going over my family history, my symptoms, etc. and eventually pronounced me a walking cliche of menopause. Nothing like feeling individual!
A thorough physical examination, breast examination and Pap smear were done.
Then she took my blood pressure. The reading was 170/100 mmHg. She took it again at the end of the consult just in case I was suffering a bit of white coat anxiety but it was still way up there. In case 170/100 mmHg means nothing to you, take a look at this:
Yep. Hypertension. Quite bad hypertension. Could-stroke-out-at-any-time bad hypertension. WTF? I've always had quite low blood pressure. In fact in my early 20s I was treated for hypotension (low BP) and my readings were always in the low-normal range. So why do I suddenly have Stage 2 hypertension? I have no idea. Well yeah, bit fat, but not massive. Jeez.
|Yep. This is pretty much how it is.|
But I filled the script, went home and immediately stopped eating all the things I love so dearly - no biscuits, lollies, chocolates, cakes - you get the idea. And I dusted off the treadmill. Literally. It was covered in cobwebs!
After four days on the Coversyl I was feeling a bit weird. I had a buzzing feeling all over my body (this is known as paraesthesia). Not unpleasant, a bit like having 3 glasses of wine before you tip over into officially drunk. But I was pretty sure this wasn't how I was meant to be feeling. So I went to see my GP who decided I needed to do home BP monitoring for a week to see if my BP really was that bad. He sent me home with one of these:
|See that reading? In my dreams!|
So here we are. Horribly hypertensive. I've had a raft of blood tests, which have all returned normal, my vitamin D is horribly low at 24 and I'm taking a liquid supplement (liquid vitamin D! Tastes like sunshine!), and a women's multivitamin (Dr Steve recommended Swisse Women's Ultivite). I got very excited in Chemist Warehouse at all the things!
I've also had a thyroid ultrasound, a PV ultrasound, and a MSU (mid-stream urine) - all totally normal. Cholesterol a little up but not alarmingly, and I'm not pre-diabetic.
Hypertension is generally a symptom rather than a condition of itself.
But it appears I have idiopathic or essential hypertension. My blood is struggling to push through severely narrowed arteries. It's not good.
So here we are. I'm getting on the treadmill for 30 minutes each day (it probably should be more but it's just really hard to find that time! I'm self-employed, remember? No work - no $$), I'm eating much better and, importantly, much less. No snacks. I had my first glass of wine last night - having gone three weeks without any alcohol. And I probably should stop watching Q&A!
It seems that I've walked right up to the line. And I don't want to cross it.
Menopause stuff can wait. I'm too busy trying to avoid a total eclipse of the heart!