It’s uncomfortable for me to mention medical woes here. But, with horrible heredity factors and advancing age, I always think that by doing so, if one person is motivated to seek relief with the aid of their health care providers, or in less worrisome situations, consider adding self-care, then my discomfort is justified.
Tom, on the other hand, doesn’t have one medical issue. He takes no medication and keeps his weight under control. No doubt he should be more active. But it’s not as easy to walk on the roads in Marloth Park as it might be elsewhere. There’s no way he’d be interested in walking the three-plus miles, five km, as I have been doing each day, faithfully, since I began a few weeks ago.
It is a rare occasion that Tom has an ache or pain of any type, and when he does, it’s short-lived. I am grateful for his excellent health and a little envious as well. I cook healthy meals for both of us, hoping by doing so, we will benefit. Other than occasional illness or concern for something bothering me, our lives are relatively stress-free, another factor in supporting good health.
No doubt, being happy and enjoying life benefits long-term good health. Our harmonious, supportive and playful relationship has been a big plus for both of us. However, despite all this good juju in our lives, I seem to fall prey to worrisome medical issues from time to time.
In the past year, I had two horrible viruses. After being tested, neither of these were determined to be Covid-19. In November, I contracted shingles that often occurs in the spring months when living in the bush. Also, over the past year, I had a dental issue that lingered from the ten months we spent in lockdown in India, unable to see a dentist due to Covid-19.
This dental scenario resulted in several rounds of antibiotics, which didn’t help at all. Eventually, I had a root canal done and prep for a crown, after which the pain worsened, resulting in the necessity of pulling the tooth. The dentist, Dr. Singh, then went on a two-week holiday a few days later.
I developed a dry socket in his absence, leaving me in awful pain for a few weeks. I had no choice but to see a different dentist who prescribed pain medication and more antibiotics after treating the dry socket. After three rounds of antibiotics, which were necessary due to having coronary arterial disease, I developed some residual side effects from the antibiotics. Oh, good grief, what an awful time that was.
Then, shortly after this all healed, a crown on a different tooth fell out, and I had to have that done, leaving me with pain for several more weeks, which finally stopped in the past month. However, amid all this madness, when I got shingles in November, suddenly I developed a pain in my right breast. Was it due to the shingles on the back of my left leg? Unlikely, said Dr. Theo, whom I visited twice for this issue. He and his brother Dr. Mel examined me, neither finding any lumps, bumps, or evidence of any severe condition.
Despite this diagnosis, I was worried. Dr. Theo suggested I go to Mediclinic in Nelspruit to get an ultrasound if the pain didn’t subside over time. But, I was horrified about going to that hospital where I had open-heart surgery on February 12, 2019. Nor did I want to make that awful drive. Since the doctors didn’t think it was severe, I decided to wait it out.
I used ice, took Naproxen once a day, wore a bra to bed. I used no caffeine, which can cause breast pain. I even gave up red wine for a week to see if that would help. I read several books on breast pain and researched online. Nothing seemed to work or have any answers.
Last week when we shopped at Spar Market, I noticed a mobile mammogram unit in the distant parking lot. I took a photo of the above sign on the outside of the trailer and decided to set up an appointment to see what was wrong, once and for all.
Louise set up the appointment when the call wouldn’t go through using my phone, scheduling it for yesterday at 1:00 pm, 1300 hrs. Rita offered to take me to the appointment, but I didn’t want her to wait if it took a while. Tom kept busy in the car playing with his phone. His usual supportive nature helped me feel at ease.
The setup at the mobile unit was very professional. As it turned out, I had not only a mammogram but also a comprehensive ultrasound. After the tests were completed, the radiological doctor in Cape Town, sitting at a computer, watching as the test results came in, called and talked to me. He had great news! He said the scans were perfect. There was nothing suspicious in the tests. I got a clean bill of health.
No words can express my and Tom’s relief. Why I have pain, I don’t know and may never know. It could be referred nerve pain from heart surgery, a pulled pectoral muscle, or an inflamed duct. In the interim, the mammogram technicians said breast pain is common and suggested I treat it with supplements. Immediately, we headed to the pharmacy to purchase the supplements, and I started taking them right away.
This entire post is intended to remind women who haven’t had a mammogram in a while to get one. I am so relieved. I feel like a new person. I can live with the pain until, eventually, I believe it will go away. Hopefully, now I can be free of medical worries and be my usual cheerful self. Peace of mind is a precious commodity.
On a side note, load shedding started again this morning, and an hour after the service disruption ended, the power went out again. Today is expected to be over 100F, 40C, with a dew point of 73. We’re hoping power will be restored by bedtime. We are meeting Rita and Gerhard at Amazing River View for sundowners since they have big fans on their veranda and a mist spray that cools it down considerably. Without power and no air con, it could be one hot night!
Be well. Be healthy.
Photo from one year ago today, February 3, 2021: