Archive for the ‘Physical health’ Category

So I went to see the lung specialist yesterday and got mixed news.

On the plus side, I’m special. On the negative side I’m special in that I’ve got a rare lung disease called pulmonary alveolar proteinosis which could kill me within five years – this happens to a quarter of the people who have it.

I’ve decided it’s not going to.

It’s weird really. I’ve spoken before about being stuck emotionally in the state I was in when my addiction really started which was as a teenager. Teenagers famously think they’re immortal. I’ve thought a lot about my own death and even tried to precipitate it a few times with suicide attempts. But I’d just started to think about the future in a more adult way, to plan ahead. I have a test next Wednesday to confirm the diagnosis. I’ll have to stop taking the Naltrexone before then because I’ll be under some sort of sedation to have tubes stuck down my lungs. Boo!

Yesterday I was frightened and in shock. Today I feel a lot more positive.

I’ve started in on reading a self-help book by The Barefoot Doctor and it talks a lot about visualisation and thinking positively. I’ve already started turning the thought, “I refuse to be ill” into some sort of mantra and I’m going to seriously take this on now.

I’ve kept up pretty well with my exercise and meditation doing either one or the other or both every day.

I’m off to see Desmond in a while to talk about setting up a website to earn us some money. We shall see where that leads.

If you spent it, thank you for your time.



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The last three days have started brilliantly. I may have gone off track a little after that but the beginnings have been good.

Did you see what I did there? I attributed the good stuff to something abstract (the days), and the bad stuff to myself. Mmm. Vaguely interesting. I suspect if you’re an addict or suffering from depression you probably find yourself doing the same.

So. I have started the last three days brilliantly. The challenge now is to keep it up. I’m exercising. Woohoo! I know it’s good for my mood. I’ve done this before and not managed to stick at it but for the moment I feel exponentially better for my little morning workout. It’s nothing major: I jump on the exercise bike and cycle as long (not very long) and hard (not very hard) as I can. Then I do 10 press ups (this number will hopefully increase with time) and 30 crunchy things. After that it’s what I can remember of the Tai Chi warm up routine and running through the form as far as I’ve got (not very far) 10 times. Then I meditate for 15 minutes.

I’m off to the hospital tomorrow to find out what the scan of my lungs reveals. What my exercise reveals is that I get out of puff pretty damn quickly. I smoked too much over Christmas, I’m back at lower levels now, but I should quit. But smoking, like drinking, has an enormously powerful psychological role in my conception of myself as an adult – foolish I know, but these lessons learned (in adolescence in this case) take some time to unlearn.

It beats the hell out of lying in bed wishing I were dead and throwing up as a start to the day.

My experiment is actually around vitamin D. I did some writing for a company on the ‘winter blues’ and there’s some recent research that vitamin D may help alleviate depression. So, I’ve got 100 tablets of 1,000iu vitamin D3 (there’s a D2 as well, but what I’ve read suggests three is better), which cost me £4.99 and I’m taking one a day to start with. I don’t get out enough at the best of times – being fair of skin and reddish of hair I’ve the sun has not always been my friend. And, while my diet is good I’ve read that it’s tough to eat enough liver, eggs and so on to get our daily jolt of vitamin D. Once you start looking into things the advice you find online can be so contradictory that it’s confusing as hell. Hence the 1,000ius a day (I’ve seen up to 5,000 recommended).

We shall see.

Onwards and upwards.

If you spent it, thank you for your time.


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Well, here we go again. Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a tedious ride.

Come on TCC, sell it. Well, OK.

I had a good today. Today was a good day and, like Ice Cube, I didn’t have to use my AK. I don’t have an AK of course.

It started well, it’s gone a little off track since but that’s par for the twisty course.

I got up and exercised! Woohoo! Hooray for me etc. But really that’s a good thing, it makes me feel better, it starts me off on the right foot. I meditated too. And, by 11am I’d done more than I’d do in a whole day in the general run of things.

Since this morning’s fine start I’ve fallen behind a little. A quick trip to hospital for a CT scan. This should be worrying me but it’s not. I’d like to cut down and then stop smoking but it doesn’t seem something I have the time for.

The Shelves of Destiny are still on hold. I tried though, but I can’t find anywhere that sells wood of the right size, I must do some googling straight after this post.

So, moving slowly forward but not fast enough.

Usual sort of stuff.

If you spent it, thank you for your time.


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I went to the Thin City Hospital yesterday for further check ups on my lungs.

It didn’t go well. The doctor rather intimidated me (his staff too from the hushed and reverential tones in which the nurse referred to him) and I’m still stuck with the idea that everyone believes that I have TB and that’s what they’re going to treat. More worryingly, they’re not treating my current shortness of breath while they decide what’s wrong with me. I feel stuck.

In my new resolution to take actions rather than just worry, I have written to the doctor this letter:

Dear Dr Intimidating,

I attended your TB clinic yesterday and thought I would write as I am not sure I was able to fully explain my symptoms yesterday. I do apologise for this but my anxiety and depression mean that I do not always communicate verbally very effectively, particularly in stressful situations.

It may have appeared that I was rather resistant to the idea that there is anything wrong with me. This is not the case. I am short of breath and I’m aware of this getting worse. I also have occasional pain in my right lung on inhalation. I also feel more fatigued than I should be. (This is particularly worrying and frustrating as when I managed to give up alcohol previously I was absolutely suffused with extra energy). I’m also aware that I am now on a whole panoply of new drugs – accamprosate, naltrexone, antabuse – which may account for this, as well as already prescribed medication – mirtazapine and citalopram – which will have had a different effect whilst I was drinking.

I work freelance and because of my drinking came close to losing my only current assignment, I’m extremely keen to hang on to this and I’m terrified that the situation with my lungs will just get slowly worse until I end up in hospital again, which is likely to cost me this job.

I have drunk through all the antibiotic treatments I have had, which includes both the course I was given on leaving Gloucester Royal Hospital and the most recent course from my GP. I know that this will have reduced their effectiveness, although all of them have worked to some extent and given some improvement in my breathing.

I’m not sure if I should present to my GP if – as I expect – my shortness of breath continues to worsen and ask if he will prescribe something to help?

Again, I apologise for what is I’m sure not great patient/doctor etiquette; however, it’s just a measure of my concern and my desperate wish to get properly better.

Thank you very much for your time.

Yours sincerely,

Thin City Citizen


Let’s see where that gets me.

I’m off to see Desmond now. He’s going to set up a website for me.

Let’s see where that gets me.

Thanks for listening.

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I’m fresh from my first attempt at meditation.

Cripes it’s hard! I went for what my guide-book calls ‘a structured meditation of the outer way’ as it seemed the simplest. It’s basically a breath counting meditation. I also intend to try an ‘action meditation’ based around juggling.

I know now that any worthwhile progress is going to be hard work and this was very hard indeed. The mental chatter was deafening. But I must persist with this, I’m convinced of the benefits I can accrue.

In my defence, next door have builders in who are very noisily doing something to the roof. And, I do have a lot on my mind – chief antagonist was yesterday’s appointment at the TB clinic (of which more later). And, choosing a breath-related meditation when it can be painful to breath is a double-edged sword.

Chief amongst my distractions though turned out to be this blog – how to describe what I’m doing and why. It’s funny, but I find my mind running along those lines almost constantly, and, in a positive way. I almost see myself as a narrative device and when I get into  thinking ruts, it’s often around that subject – how shall I describe this. That’s why – I think – writing can be such a positive thing for me.

According to the book I was supposed to complete 15 minutes of meditation this morning and try it out for a couple of weeks to see if it’s the path for me. Because of a bit of confusion over timing I did more like 25 minutes. I’ll do a 15 minute juggling action meditation this evening.

Do I feel better for it? Yes, I do. Nothing spectacular but I do feel rather more focused and ready to go this morning.

You should try it.

Thanks for your time. Leave a message.


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I’m tired. Tired and a little bit scared.

My lungs are not good. I’m petrified of going into hospital again. I may have been a little bit negative about my one job – my day’s freelance writing for a magazine company in the FIA – but I am desperate to hold onto it.

When I fell ill in the spring I nearly lost that job. If I go into hospital again I almost certainly will. And, I can feel my lungs getting worse. The shortness of breath increases each day. I’m starting to get pain in the right hand side of my chest when I breath in. So I’m desperate that Monday’s appointment with the chest specialist should go well and result in a resolution of this. I’m convinced that just another round of antibiotics – the first I would have taken sober – would have sorted this out.

But worrying isn’t going to help. Not that that’s ever stopped me.

I do believe in the power of the mind to influence physical health and, with that in mind, I tell you now:


There we go. That’s sorted then.

I am getting something positive done every day, even in this drowsy state. Yesterday I did some work related stuff. Updated one of my online profiles. Applied for a content writing job. Took some photographs for a blog project.

Today, I will register that blog. Start some online pages for my writing work. Take the rest of my photographs.

Then I suspect I’ll go to bed too early and wake too late.

Thanks for stopping by, leave a message.


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