Leg Update 8: The Final Update!

13 01 2009


It looks like my updates have come to an end!

About my leg anyway!

In my last update – the doctor had told me to go off the contraceptive pill, continue using my compression stocking and take 100mg of aspirin every day.

Ironically, after ten years of pain this seems to have had an amazing effect!

Before the aspirin I’d be lying on the bed unable to move a muscle lest it aggravate the pain before the painkillers set in …

Before the aspirin I’d be waking up in the morning planning to only take 20 steps for the entire day; and those were all full of pain …

Before the aspirin, I had to use a walking stick to get around and I actually understood where Dr. House was coming from in every episode!

After the aspirin, I can get up and walk around freely, do about 200 steps a day and even help a friend move house!

I only wish one of the many doctors I’d seen before hand had managed to suggest the same thing …

Still much better than the Korean hospital that wanted to remove a third of my leg muscle … so glad I walked away from that idea…

Yeah that was a terrible joke …

So according to the doctor the plan is to stay on the aspirin for the next twelve months as it should keep working.

If at that time things go bad or to how they were before then I’ll have to see about the alcohol injections etc but that is something to be used if the current course of action doesn’t work.

Anyway, the doctor has given me the all clear to go back to Korea for twelve months …

Yay! I’m ecstatic!

Finally, I have my life back!

It’ll probably take us about a month or so to get jobs and go through the fun task of applying for visas etc

Now the next fun task; to find a job.


Leg Update 7: The new Specialist!

18 11 2008

Oh wow – we’re up to number seven already …

Kill me!

But at least I can see a possible end in sight…

I think…

It might be a bit dim …

Nobody told me there was a dimmer switch on the light at the end of the tunnel!

Stupid interior Decorators!

So I trekked over to my new hospital in Brisbane to see the new specialist, doctor Bob (yeah I’m changing the name just so I don’t get sued!)

I was shown into a room where I was greeted by a female doctor …

Huh? Bob, you’ve gotten more attractive all of a sudden … I thought to myself.

She explains that she assists Dr Bob.

Then starts the usual rigmarole;

We go through my past medical history

She throws in an “Oh my god I can’t believe you’ve had this for ten years”

I hold back all comments about the quality of certain doctors in this country but can’t resist throwing in a “Well it has been mis-diagnosed a couple of times”

She takes my blood pressure and listens to my heart …

“Mmm … that’s interesting” she says

I can feel my mouth go dry and my blood pressure increase.

It’s never good when a doctor says something is interesting …

unless you’re in a restaurant ordering food with them …

even then It’s still an 80% chance it’s still bad news!

“Oh yeah what’s that?” I attempt as calmly as I can manage

“It seems you have a very faint heart murmur” she replies calmly

Dear God! What the hell did I ever do to you, some strange leg malformation and a curved spine weren’t good enough you had to throw in a heart murmur for good measure huh??

Then she goes to get Dr Bob …

Who swans into the room surrounded by an invisible cloud of self importance like Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice…

The female doctor reads out the recommendations from my last specialist …

Dr Bob seems skeptical but decides to shove a stethoscope onto the troubled area …

“Pfft, that’s just vein issue” he proclaims after listeneing for all of five seconds. “We don’t need to do an Angiogram for that!” he continues.

Holy crap this guy’s a maverick! Who needs tests when I can listen for five seconds and determine everything that is going on!

I look at him and realise he bears a striking resemblence to Dr House on that TV show.

Then comes the inevitable …

He starts poking the swollen muscle …

Please tell me why doctors feel the need to poke it? Is it to see me jump ten feet and then put my hands around their throats until they stop??

I restrained myself from hitting the guy in the face … this time …

Instead I opted for cowering in the corner furtherst away from him!

Yeah, I’m an empowered woman!

Then some discussion went around about my options etc

Surgery, Injections of alcohol, Blood thinners or live with it.

Surgery is not that great – it’s impossible to get it all and harder to operate on the next time.

The injections of alcohol to basically kill the veins that are malformed and not working properly is successful in 80% of cases.

In 10 % it is ineffective.

In the other 10% is when the alcohol leaks out into the muscle killing off bits that you need (that never repair) … I already knew this bit and am not perturbed if I can live without pain…

Then he tells me that in some cases the alcohol leaks to the skin causing nasty painful ulcers that don’t heal and you have to have skin grafts to get it fixed etc (swapping one pain for another I’m not keen on)

I take it he’s seen some of these cases because he was very serious and sombre while telling me about them…

Typically, I’ve gone a nice shade of white during his explanation.

Then he asks me if I’m on the pill.

“Yes” I reply

“Oh well we have to get you off that, it could be contributing to the problem … the pill is known for causing blood clots … have you ever had a blood clot?” he says

“Ummm, not that I’ve noticed” I say

Can anybody tell me why in all the years I’ve had this not one bloody doctor has suggested taking me off the pill?? The time I suggested to a doctor he scoffed at me and told me that wouldn’t help.


“Are you alergic to aspirin?” he asks

“Not as far as I know” I reply

“Okay we’ll get you taking that to thin the blood and check on you in a month. After that we might send you to have the injection treatment depending on how it goes” he says

So essentially, I’m stopping the pill and taking 100mg of aspirin a day.

While I’m desperately hoping that this will work and I won’t have to risk going through the injections with the nasty side effects …

If this actually works I think I will go postal!

In ten years it was this bloody simple to fix?

What the … heck???

My next appointment is January 12th.

A Long, Bug Filled Summer

10 10 2008

In some previous posts I wrote that my doctor has me wearing a compression stocking on my sore leg to help with the pain.

I have to say that this stocking is the bomb … except it’s a stocking … erm … yeah …

It absolutely does its job – the pain in my leg has decreased a bit so that I don’t have to use my walking stick everywhere I go and I can even manage short walks everyday – you know out of the house – for fun like

I get to experience nature now..

Erm … yay

I’d totally forgotten about the joys of nature … I mean did you know that nature has … um … cute … yeah cute … little bugs?

Well it used to have little bugs …

Unfortunately, they’re gone now …

They’ve been sacrificed to the huge slimey bug with eighteen legs and whopping great antenna antlers that I found sitting on my shoulder the other day.

I think the sacrifice was a peace offering to let the medium sized bugs live.

It was just sitting there all Jiminy Cricket like, soaking up the rays; chilling out.

I think he wanted directions … to where the big bugs were hanging out these days.

Being a nature aficionado I pointed him in the direction of the sole of my shoe. I even gave him a lift by way of my hand … to the ground next to my shoe.

That took seconds off my life … how does a bug even grow that big?

How on earth does it fit on my tiny shoulder?

“Taxi!” … sorry nature … I’m done!

I’ve decided to enjoy nature as the gods obviously intended … looking at it through a car window!

But back to the fantastic compression stocking …

That I wear on one leg …

Did you know that I live in Queensland?

It’s damn hot here …

Do you know how stupid I look wearing shorts with ONE stocking coming out of them?

Did I mention the stocking was a brown or beige type colour?

Did I also mention that due to my travels I haven’t experienced a real Queensland summer in oh say fifteen years?

Yup I’m whiter than Sarah Palin …

And probably more skilled in politics … yeah that was low … but funny

Okay then, I’m whiter than Shaft…

Oh wait …

Fine then look I’m so white people can’t get within a metre of me due to the glare!

Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the same Kryptonite like affect on bugs!

Somehow, I have to get my legs to match for summer …

I might have to lower myself to using fake tan …

Does fake tan come in beige?



Maybe I can start a fashion trend?

Funny that didn’t work when I tried to bring leg warmers back last year …

Or the time I tried to wear my Ugg boots to the beach …

Yeah … maybe not …

Maybe I can wear a leg warmer on the other leg to make it look like I meant to do that?

Erm … Queensland summer … it’s only a notch below hell in terms of heat

Yeah … I hit my pain medication hard before writing this post …

You can tell …

This is going to be a long summer.

Leg Update 6: This is taking forever!

30 09 2008

This isn’t just a whinge; there is actually some news. In the last update at the beginning of September I’d just seen Dr. Duffy, the vascular surgeon who was basically referring me onto another vascular surgeon over at Princess Alexandria Hospital. The new doctor is a public doctor (so free treatment) and also a whiz with this ballooning and gluing thing.

I finally got word that my first consultation with this doctor will be on November 17th. That is a long time away. Patience is not my strong point and this is taking forever!

I’d say you could put money on the fact that I will be in Australia at Christmas time.

Update on My Leg

19 06 2008

I’ve missed a few Instant Messages and the like and here’s the update on me and my leg.

There I was sitting in my fabulous private hospital room that looked more like a hotel room with a weird looking single bed rather than a hospital room – there was a little couch, a fridge nearly the size of me and a remote controlled TV on the wall, plus my own bathroom in the room. It was fantastic.

Anyway, I had a consultation with the resident, who ironically had much better english than the specialist surgeon that I had originally seen (who would be operating on me). He started to give me much more information that I hadn’t been told before, or wasn’t made fully aware of.

The biggest part was that when they cut the tumor out of my leg (and for anyone that doesn’t already know it’s only a benign tumor, but unfortunately it’s the size of a horse at 13cm odd) … anyway, when they cut out the tumor out of my leg they will also being taking muscle away as well. Muscle doesn’t repair, it doesn’t grow back – once it’s gone, it’s gone! This will mean that I will have problems moving my ankle for the rest of my life. Before, I was only lead to believe (or maybe I was kidding myself) that there was only a chance that could happen. (Just so you know I didn’t have a translator or anything when I saw the original specialist because this is a hospital that prides itself on everyone speaking english – cough cough)

I could have handled this end result, except a friend of mine that is a nurse who spoke to an orthopedic surgeon in Oz told me that in Australia they don’t do the big cut, or the big cut is a last resort and perhaps there are other things that can be done. I was also told by that friend that these tumors have a 50% chance of coming back … so I could be potentially cutting out muscle for no reason.

Now there I was, in a lot of pain, hoping for the end to be near but I suddenly realised exactly how permanent this was going to be for the rest of my life … words like cripple kept popping into my head (along with visions of a permanent limp). I also thought that if I didn’t at least go to Australia and investigate possible other options I would wonder “what if” for the rest of my life.

So, it’s probably likely that I will go to Australia and be told that the only option is to have the big cut but at least I would have investigated further and have all the information.

So that is why I promptly checked out of the hospital, and confused the hell out of an entire orthopedic medical staff at Yonsei Severance Hospital. As a side note of humour there was nothing funnier than checking out and having to pay the bill for my one and only meal that I had there (as I hadn’t stayed the night I didn’t have to pay for the room – meal cost $26 though) but the cashier, did a double take, thought the computer wasn’t working, made a phone call it was kind of hilariously funny at that point. It took me nearly as long to get out of the hospital as it did to get into it. I feel really quite bad about that though.

My contract here finishes in 6 weeks, so I’ll be back in Oz to pursue it all further then.

If any of these tags bring any foreigners here looking to do research about Yonsei hospital because they are considering having surgery done there, I’m going to write another post about my dealings with the hospital itself. Or if you want to contact me about it just drop a comment here and I’d be glad to answer your questions.