Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Monday, June 07, 2010

Pain Clinic

I went for my six monthly appointment with Professor Nurmikko today 7th June at the Walton Centre.  He has invited me to take part in a research project called Trans cranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)...... TMS is a painless way to 'switch on' very small parts of the brain by a magnetic pulse.  It all gets a bit technical but I have been given a three page document telling me all about it. One of the problems is that I will have to travel to Walton for 2 days a week for 3 weeks.  I will talk to my GP (Dr Mulla) about it and try to arrive at a decision.  I have already had a brain scan in advance of the treatment.  The scan said my brain was normal.  (My wife Anne said they must have had someone else,s)
Have decided to go ahead ... start on Wednesday 30th June 10am
9th July 2010
Had two sessions now.  First session mapping my brain ..... see pics.  Second session was the actual TMS yesterday.... actually totally relieved pain in left leg.   Unfortunately by the time I got to the next session the pain had returned.
However, I think that I am getting ahead of myself.  It is now the 17th July and perhaps it would be easier to  just  write about the sessions rather than do a diary.  I already do a daily pain diary which I complete each night before going to bed. Dr. Paul Sacco does the sessions and he makes really good coffee. Apart from being a good coffee maker Dr. Sacco is a neurophysiologist.
OK then back to:
 Mapping my Brain:
The first session was really to find out which part of my brain needed stimulating by the electric magnets and that is basically what the orange dots are about on the pictures of my brain.  For this I sat in a 'dentist' chair' had glasses put  so  infrared can let Dr Sacco know if I move my head.  The magnets were put on my head and when they were switch on I heard a clicking noise but felt nothing.  This happened on several occasions with breaks of 30 seconds or so in between..  

 In identifying the places needing to be stimulated first of all Dr Sacco showed me all the different areas of my brain that operated the several parts of my body (it was absolutely fascinating).  Then he attempted to stimulate those parts with the magnets.  First of all he made my right hand twitch and then my left.  He then tried to do the same with my feet.   No success with my right foot but fascinatingly when he tried to stimulate my left foot (again with the magnets) my right hand twitched again.  The Dr. was excited about this and said that he had identified a problem which may been causing my pain but certainly the area which he would concentrate stimulus (or is it stimuli :) ) on.

However, I have moved on too fast and should first have mentioned the: 
Sensory Tests:
I should have mentioned that firstly I had sensory tests which all diabetics will be used to.  Touching little brushes and pins on my skin with me saying how many times touched.  Then I had tests to see if I could feel hot and cold.  This was interesting as in the main I did identify the different heats but at different strengths.  I did not though feel the cold on my right leg.

All in all so far it has been absolutely fascinating (I nearly said fabulous but that would be stretching it)
TMS itself

I've done all that rabbiting but have not really mentioned the T.M.S itself.  Well first of all the reason I have had this  is as a result of the pain that was left after the removal of Fistulas from my spinal cord.  I have been on many tablets which did reduce the level of pain quite a lot but Professor Nurmiko thought I would be a good candidate for the trial.
The T.M.S. had me wearing some special glasses as already mentioned then the magnets were placed on my head and the stimulation started directed at the points identified from the previous procedures.  Dr Sacco did it in short bursts (I was in the dentist chair which is one of the most comfortable chairs I have sat in.  I would have gone to sleep except I was finding the whole process fascinating.) for about 20 minutes pausing to ask what I felt.
I did feel my right calf and shin  area go cold and at the first session was actually free from pain (this lasted a day)
in my left leg ....amazing.
One side effect has been that after the first session I felt extremely tired.
I do have difficulty completing the pain diary.... not really sure how to recognise the relativity of pain (if you can understand that )
watch this space
21st July 2010
Had a session today ... felt warm and cold sensations in right leg and pain seems to be less in left leg.  I should have said that the T.M.S. is just the same as the mapping (at least to the patient).  The magnets on head and it is done is short bursts felling nothing on head apart from hearing clicking noises.  I took my camera today and had some pics taken.  The guy holding the magnets is Dr Paul Sacco.  You can see my brain on the computer screen in the left side....this was done under MRI several months ago.

31st July 2010

I am to go again on Friday 13th August for a repeat T.M.S. and sensory test.

There is a very handy car park which charges £2 unfortunately my blue badge isn't accepted there.

29th September 2010

I had a break from TMS (3 weeks) and in that time the pain came back.  (no flashes) .  I did though have a holiday which involved some driving but more importantly I was out of my own bed (electric) which always causes back problems which leads to sleep problems and lack of sleep means more pain in legs.
However last week I did have some TMS which again has helped my left leg and to some extent my right leg.

I believe BBC2 are interested in the procedure for their Horizon programme.

Next time I go to see Dr. Sacco I am having my brain mapped again to see if he can help with my right side.
Saturday 1st October 2010 
Last Wednesday I went to Walton and Dr Sacco did a further brain mapping session.  This proved to be really interesting.  Apparently my brain is working in an unexpected way (rather like the incredible hulks:) ).  It seems that the part of my brain that is activated  when I am supposed to be thinking about doing something is actually doing it, or something like that.
However, that evening things went a bit awry.  My right leg started to receive quite sharp pain flashes and at times felt as though they were against an open fire.Then I had static pain.  Worst of all I went into a deep depression.   Anyway I went to bed and in the morning all was restored to normal.
I reported the situation to Dr Sacco and he seemed quite concerned as did Professor Nurmico.  The Prof contacted France who said that the pain would prob. be only temporary.  It was so no need for any concern.  I thought it good that it had produced a reaction as that would mean they had something to work on. 

20th November 2010

I'm still going for T.M.S. and have to say it has been of real benefit to me.  The bad reaction described last time is not happening.  I am now in far less pain than when I started.  No more flashes of pain either. But I do have to go for boosters. 
Having said that I do get very painful flashes of pain in my feet at night which are quite a recent event.  They are at a pain level of 8 out of 10 and wake me up.

One day it won't be available on the N.H.S. and so I suppose that the pain will return!

The B.B.C. thought that I was too old for their programme would you believe.  Once more the B.B.C. is being ageist.

Anyway I look forward to more developments........ watch this space.

19th January 2011
A month ago I went for T.M.S and my pain had really increased.  Prof. Nurmiko was there and he said that he would refer me to Mr Piggott for an M.R.I.
Two weeks later the pain became unbearable and my GP Dr Mulla put me on pain patches.
Had an interesting session today.  I was on pain patches and the T.M.S. reduced the pain in my left leg to nil pain in right leg from 3-5.

I also was filmed and interviewed having my treatment for a DVD being made for a presentation at the Liverpool Town Hall when the Pain Foundation is to be given Freedom of the City award for all that it has down for the relief of pain. Which is of course well deserved.  I have received so much help and don't know how I would manage without them. 

My mobility ar present is not good at all.  I can hardly walk and lose my balance so easily, I really hope the MRI will happen soon then we can move on to finding what the present problem is.
Had a fall on 21st Jan.

A Letter to those without Chronic Pain
In the spirit of informing those who wish to understand ...

... These are the things that I would like you to understand about me before you judge me...
Please understand that being sick doesn't mean I'm not still a human being. I have to spend most of my day in considerable pain and exhaustion, and if you visit, sometimes I probably don't seem like much fun to be with, but I'm still me-- stuck inside this body. I still worry about school, my family, my friends, and most of the time - I'd still like to hear you talk about yours, too.

Please understand the difference between "happy" and "healthy". When you've got the flu, you probably feel miserable with it, but I've been sick for years. I can't be miserable all the time. In fact, I work hard at not being miserable. So, if you're talking to me and I sound happy, it means I'm happy. That's all. It doesn't mean that I'm not in a lot of pain, or extremely tired, or that I'm getting better, or any of those things. Please don't say, "Oh, you're sounding better!" or "But you look so healthy!¨ I am merely
coping. I am sounding happy and trying to look normal. If you want to comment on that, you're welcome.

Please understand that being able to stand up for ten minutes doesn't necessarily mean that I can stand up for twenty minutes, or an hour. Just because I managed to stand up for thirty minutes yesterday doesn't mean that I can do the same today. With a lot of diseases you're either paralyzed, or you can move. With this one, it gets more confusing everyday. It can be like a yo-yo. I never know from day to day, how I am going to feel when I wake up. In most cases, I never know from minute to minute. That is one of the hardest and most frustrating components of chronic pain.

Please repeat the above paragraph substituting, "sitting", "walking", "thinking", "concentrating", "being sociable" and so on ... it applies to everything. That's what chronic pain does to you.

Please understand that chronic pain is variable. It's quite possible (for many, it's common) that one day I am able to walk to the park and back, while the next day I'll have trouble getting to the next room. Please don't attack me when I'm ill by saying, "But you did it before!" or Oh, come on, I know you can do this!" If you want me to do something, then ask if I can. In a similar vein, I may need to cancel a previous
commitment at the last minute. If this happens, please do not take it personally. If you are able, please try to always remember how very lucky you are--to be physically able to do all of the things that you can do.

Please understand that "getting out and doing things" does not make me feel better, and can often make me seriously worse. You don't know what I go through or how I suffer in my own private time. Telling me that I need to exercise, or do some things to get my mind off of it¨ may frustrate me to tears, and is not correct if I was capable of doing some things any or all of the time, don't you know that I would? I am working with my doctor and I am doing what I am supposed to do. Another statement that hurts is, "You just need to push yourself more, try harder..." Obviously, chronic pain can deal with the whole body, or be localized to specific areas. Sometimes participating in a single activity for a short or a long period of time can cause more damage and physical pain than you could ever imagine. Not to mention the recovery time, which can be intense. You can't always read it on my face or in my body language. Also, chronic pain may cause secondary depression (wouldn't you get depressed and down if you were hurting constantly for months or years?), but it is not created by depression.

Please understand that if I say I have to sit down/lie down/stay in bed/or take these pills now, that probably means that I do have to do it right now - it can't be put off or forgotten just because I'm somewhere, or am right in the middle of doing something. Chronic pain does not forgive, nor does it wait for anyone.

If you want to suggest a cure to me, please don't. It's not because I don't appreciate the thought, and it's not because I don't want to get well. Lord knows that isn't true. In all likelihood, if you've heard of it or tried it, so have I. In some cases, I have been made sicker, not better. This can involve side effects or allergic reactions. It also includes failure, which in and of itself can make me feel even lower. If there were something that cured, or even helped people with my form of chronic pain, then we'd know about it. There is worldwide networking (both on and off the Internet) between people with chronic pain. If something worked, we would KNOW. It's definitely not for lack of trying. If, after reading this, you still feel the need to suggest a cure, then so be it. I may take what you said and discuss it with my doctor.

If I seem touchy, it's probably because I am. It's not how I try to be. As a matter of fact, I try very hard to be normal. I hope you will try to understand. I have been, and am still, going through a lot. Chronic pain is hard for you to understand unless you have had it. It wreaks havoc on the body and the mind. It is exhausting and exasperating. Almost all the time, I know that I am doing my best to cope with this, and live my life to the best of my ability. I ask you to bear with me, and accept me as I am. I know that you cannot literally understand my situation unless you have been in my shoes, but as much as is possible, I am asking you to try to be understanding in general.

In many ways I depend on you - people who are not sick. I need you to visit me when I am too sick to go out... Sometimes I need you help me with the shopping, cooking or cleaning. I may need you to take me to the doctor, or to the store. You are my link to the normalcy of life. You can help me to keep in touch with the parts of life that I miss and fully intend to undertake again, just as soon as I am able.

I know that I have asked a lot from you, and I do thank you for listening. It really does mean a lot.

Author - Anonymous. 

25th January 2011
The Pain Patches seem to be doing their job but I hope that Mr Piggot the surgeon soon arranges for the MRI as the uncertainty is wearing me down.

11th February2011
Talking about pain I had a really bad fall today and my ribs are still hurting like mad!!!!

24th May 2011
Unfortunately the fall mentioned above led to more ill health..... I got water in lungs and was sent to A & E by doc.... there I was diagnosed with heart failure and spent a fortnight in hospital.
Then I went on Warfarin.

At the end of last month the pain became so intense that I took an overdose... unfortunately I didn't take enough and ended in a Psychiatric unit which was absolute hell.  I am complaining to the chief exec and a copy of letter will be put on my blog.  

Revd D Wesley Fairhurst
12 Shellfield Road
Tel: 01704 226392
Mobile: 07590728660
25th May 2011
Mr. Alan Yates
Trust Headquarters and Chief Executive's Office 
Mersey Care NHS Trust 
8 Princes Parade 
Princes Dock 
St Nicholas Place 
L3 1DL 

I am writing to make a formal complaint against the set up of the Hesketh Centre and the members of staff who were responsible for my treatment.  I regret that I feel it necessary to make this complaint as the circumstances that led to my stay at the Centre were self inflicted.  However complain I must.

  On 30th May 2011 I took an overdose of Temazepam and Diazepam from a ‘stash’ that I had collected over many years.  Whilst I was in the superb observation unit at Southport Hospital a man from the Psychiatric Department came to see me and said would I like to stay in a ‘nice two bedded ward in the Hesketh Centre where doctors etc would come to see me.’  I said I would as long as I was not on the main ward.  I always understood this to be voluntary.

At this stage I should mention that I am in continual pain all the time and am severely disabled.  This of course was known before I left Southport Hospital. There are no facilities for the disabled and so I had great difficulty getting around.  I was shown one toilet which had a drop down handle and that was all.  I went to it and it was full of excrement.  Later on in the week that toilet was closed.  The other toilets were not clean to say the least.  I have photos of them on my camera but don’t know how to retrieve them.
Yes the lack of facilities for the disabled at the Hesketh Centre is wicked and I will be taking this up elsewhere.  I normally travel around on a scooter but didn’t have it there.

When I arrived at the ward in the Hesketh Centre I was very quickly bundled out onto the main ward as they could not deal with my disability on that ward. I was sat and left in the dining room on a very uncomfortable chair for my condition.  After some time a so called nurse called Des came to speak to me.  I explained to him that I felt that I had been brought there under false pretences and as I was there voluntarily I was going home.  He became very angry and said that there was no way I would be going home until I told them where my ‘stash’ was and let them have it’.  I said he couldn’t stop me.  He said he would use the mental health act against me.  We then had a row during which I said ‘that I was being kept there against my will and would sue for false imprisonment’.  He laughed at that and said that I would be sectioned.
Later on three nurses came to talk to me in my awful bedroom again about the stash.  We had a massive row, well they did with me I was just insistent that I was being held illegally.  At one time someone mentioned ECT as a threat but this held no fear for me as I have already benefitted from such treatment.  In the end they just walked out of the room.  Des really got bad tempered causing me some fear.

I had a nice tea and then saw a doctor who asked the same old questions (I have been treated for clinical depression for years but this in fact was reactive depression). In fact it wasn’t depression at all it was as a result of intense chronic pain.

I asked for my mobile phone to be charged and a nurse I think called Bradley (he was helpful) took it away.  Later I was told that I could not have it back (seemed like some kind of punishment).  However I went to the office later and asked someone who hadn’t met me before and asked for the phone to be returned and it was.  (what was going on there).  Whilst I didn’t have a phone I used the public phone provided to ring a clergy friend to tell him of my false imprisonment.  I was on the phone to him in Wales for some time but could not complete the call because the phone was in a corridor (where everyone could here) and I had to stand up, there being no seating facilities.

Later that day I was sitting in a room on my own and was crying, I was really upset.  A nurse very kindly came to talk to me and she was helping.  Then she noticed that I had some chewing gum on my hand (picked up from the unhygienic conditions of the place) and said that she would go for a wet wipe.  She never came back.  Of course I could deal with the chewing gum myself.  But she never came back.  Later I found out that she had gone home. That was an example of the lack of care in the place.

There were many examples of this, another one was when one day I overslept and missed breakfast.  This is the conversation I had with a nurse:

ME :‘Am I too late for breakfast?’
Nurse: ‘Its 8.45’
Me:’Is that a no?’
Nurse: ‘It is quarter to nine’
Me: ‘Is that a no?’
Nurse:’The Trolleys gone’
Me: ‘I am a diabetic ‘(which of course she should have known)
Nurse:’I’ll get you some cereal’

Her attitude to me was one of treating me like rubbish.

All in all it was like living in purgatory staying at the Hesketh Centre.  I hope you are able to deal with this complaint with some sympathy to the staff as I know some patients can be extremely difficult to deal with as I once Chaplain of Cheadle Royal Psychiatric Hospital.  Just on that matter I asked to go to church on the Sunday and was told that I couldn’t even though I know other patients were going.  They also said that there was no Chaplain available …that of course was nonsense!

Yours Faithfully

Revd D. Wesley Fairhurst.

P.S. I started to listen to your Podcast on your website but it was irrelevant to me as you started talking about money.  Looking at the Website you can see why there is a problem with Merseycare it hard ever mentions patients.

I have an M.R.I.due on 7th June 2011

10th July 2011
Just to update.  Since I came out of hospital for the heart failure I have kept falling asleep.  I had my MRI on 7th June ...didn't show anything different in my spine.  I saw Professor Nurmicco and asked if pain killers could be reduced.  We decided to have an experiment...pain killers reduced  made no difference to pain and also made me more alert.

Thursday, June 03, 2010


I have 33 rabbits at the present time .... in a fortnight I will be able to sell 15 to the pet shop (or rather Anne will) if they want that many and then later on others will be weaned and be sold. I also take guinea pigs to the pet shop for my brother in law. The pet shop seems to be having difficulty at the moment and I am just hoping that they will be able to continue in business.

In the meantime if anyone wants to buy any they are £15 pounds each.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Some more pics

Aside Woodmouse on bird table
Below Julie Aaron and Luke and

me on my new machine!!!

Cell Group

From May 4th - 6th Cedll Group met for the 26th year. We are a group of Anglican and Methodist Clergy who trained together at Queens College Birmingham from 1982 - 1984 (some until 1985). Queens College is the only truly ecumenical college in the country. Towards the end of our journey together which was quite tough 9 of us decided that we would meet together every year and send a Christmas letter every year. It is now 26 years later and 6 of us still meet. Where did the other three go ? Well one unfortunately was an alcoholic and being an Anglican he didn't tell the first Parish that he was stationed in which was in Southampton and started draining the communion wine and receiving drinks from his parishioners. One thing led to another and eventually he was forced out of the church. (We have lost contact with him...he was and is still welcome at Cell Group ...his name is Revd Andy Anderson and if anyone knows where he is will they please let me know at revwfairhurst@live.co.uk). Another was and is still a Methodist Minister but he wasn't happy with the way we treated his theological stance which we are in our maturity deeply ashamed of so he left us.... the third to leave went into Education and so can't get the time off to come to the group. I have attched a pic of us this year when we went to stay at St Deniol's Library (Gladstone's Library in Hawarden).

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Back again

Well it is now September 29th and I really think that I am still  called to lead worship.  I keep coming across St Paul's words 'keep on until the race is won' and Charles Wesley's hymn 'preach him to all and cry in death behold behold the lamb.....and other pulls onto me.

Worshippers at Lane Head on 16th May

Well it has been a long time since I have blogged ... forgotten how to use this blog. My present situation hasn't really changed except for several more falls and stays in hospital. On Sunday 16th May 2010 I am to preside and preach at a Eucharistic service at Lane Head Methodist Church which I am sad to say will be their penultimate service and my last service ever. I no longer feel well enough to prepare ( I haven't anywhere in my house to use what books I have left) as I get anxious and then even more anxious the nearer the time to lead the service. Then there is my disability.... apart from other things I can no longer distribute the bread and wine.

I am doing a great deal of keep fit .... Mon, Wed, Fri. at the gym having undergone a GP referral scheme and then Thursday afternoon sit down aerobics.

19th May 2010
Final service now presided at!! It was very emotional and I just cannot understand why Lane Head Methodist Church has to close. It only has a small number of elderly worshippers who have no energy to do the jobs. Their worship is really good and there is a certain spirituality about the place which cannot be reproduced in many other places. Lane Head was one of my smaller but more supportive churches when I was Superintendent of the Makerfield Circuit (Methodist Speak). Anyway it is due to close on Sunday 23rd May at 4.30pm. That will be a very sad service.
This is the sermon I preached at that service.... it was the Sunday after Ascension Day:

Sunday after Ascension
55  But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
56  "Look," he said, "I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!" Acts 7: 55-56
So died Stephen, the first recorded Christian martyr.  He was one of seven elected by the entire body of the first church in Jerusalem, and ordained by the apostles to the ministry, probably to what later was called the diaconate.  He is named first, and described as a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.  These seven deacons were elected in the first place to take charge of the distribution of funds to the needy widows in the Christian community.  But Stephen was too convinced and passionate a Xian to confine himself to the office of administration and was soon notorious throughout Jerusalem as an eloquent preacher of the Christian Gospel and a charismatic personality in the original meaning of that debased word.
So often we disable our workers by slapping them down with administration, we cripple our mission by being too churchified thinking more of bricks and mortar than spreading the good news of Jesus Christ.
In a short time Stephen followed his Lord into conflict with the religious authorities and to a fearful death.  He was accused of blasphemy.  His enemies stirred up the mob, and he met a hideous death by stoning, whether as a judicial action or in a kind of lynching is difficult to decide.  What is made clear is the manner in which he met his death.  The account reminds us of Calvary.  He looked beyond the scene of violence and hatred and gazed into heaven in which he deeply believed .   "Look," he said, "I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!".  Then as the stones rained in on him he dropped to his knew and cried aloud: ‘ Lord do not hold this sin against them.
On this Sunday after Ascension day I give you the story of Stephen because it sums up this time of the year with the resurrection, ascension, Pentecost and Trinity Sunday.  I suppose I could have bored you by talking at length about the Ascension and referring to the Apostles creed which says that Jesus ascended into heaven ... but I don’t think you need to be told that ascended is a figure of speech such as we use everyday when we talk about the sun ‘rising’ which is doesn’t or refer to someone in business as being on the way up.  Whatever language the Bible uses, it is not too hard to realise what we are being told ...... that Jesus, having shown himself alive after his crucifixion, disappeared from mortal sight and entered the dimension of heaven ... not just as one more good man to be so translated, but united forever with the power and the glory of God himself.
This is what Stephen saw through the opening in the sky ... a vision of Jesus, the humiliated, crucified, endlessly loving Son of God, at the very centre of the universe.  So this morning we are not talking about some theological conundrum, but about a human being  like us facing the kind of ugly mob scene of fanaticism, hatred and violence that is familiar to us ...at least at second hand... about a man meeting his death which is something that we each have to do.
When it comes home to us that Stephen was only the first in an enormous list of men and women who deliberately accepted death rather than renounce their faith don’t we want to know what gave them that courage, what inspired them to meet their end unshaken, what kept them believing that the last word on this mortal scene is spoken by a God of love.

Flossenburg 1945, he knew he was being summoned to die. ‘It is the end’ he said ‘and for me the beginning of life’  I believe that as he was hanged he too was ‘gazing into heaven’ seeing through the rift in those terrible skies the Lord he had served with all his heart and all his mind and all his strength.
In Ecuador a few years ago three missionaries were killed in a remote village in the Andes.  to the astonishment of all who knew the area the widows of these men went back to continue the work of these martyrs and the neighbourhood is totally changed.  In every century and in every country the story goes on.
But you don’t have to die a martyrs death to give this witness to the power of this vision of the ascended Christ at the right hand of God.  A well known writer once told the story of being at the deathbed of his father, who was a simple and secure believer ... ‘I would give anything’ he said, ‘To have that kind of certainty of heaven.
When we say ...He ascended into heaven, we are not trying to conjure up a picture of the levitation of Jesus but are declaring that the ultimate ruler of all things in whose hands we are, has the mind and heart of Christ ... Through the rift in the sky I am seeing Christ ...The Christ whose glorified scars speak of his intimate knowledge of the worst this world can do, and whose love is now triumphant.
Jesus is Lord and if we keep that vision of the ascended Lord ever before us we shall emerge with a new perspective on our troubled world, a new confidence in a God who cares and a new desire to reflect this love of Christ to others and continued courage as you move to another church.

Lane Head 16th May 2010

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mark's Wife

She has been creating all sorts of problems for Mark..... Abbie Marklove broke her wedding vows along with thousand of others.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Ignore date at top. Told you I had forgotten how to us this blog.

Yesterday 10th March I went for and MRI on my spine. The surgeon thought that he would have one last look but didn't hold out any hope at all. He actually said that he wanted to look at his handiwork which was fine by ne. Any went into tunnel seemed to be much more noise than usual....they pulled me out and said well that's your head done now we will have a look at your spine. I was in the tunnel about an hour and came out quite dis-orientated. The surgeon didn't tell me he was looking at my head so I am wondering now what is going on. Some time ago I collapsed and my G.P. thought it was a stroke but the hospital said that it wasn't. Perhaps they will find out that my G.P.was correct. Anyway it is all a little worrying.

Well here I am again, been so long away from the Blog I am not sure how to use it. I am still struggling with my disability and it seems that I will be like this for the rest of my life.

Recently I have become very angry with the Methodist Church. We are going down a road of Centralisation which has always proved to be a disaster. Maybe the best thing is to give the Methodist Church Pallative care and let it die.

Since I last wrote my Son Mark got married to a wonderful young woman called Abbie.

I have started to breed rabbits

This is Sandy my buck rabbit. So far he has bred 20 young uns (kittens)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Health 2 plus eggs

16th February 2008

A variety of eggs off the farm...the two white eggs are duck eggs the blue one is actually off a hen.

12th February 2008

Just to let you know what is wrong with me I have a spinal AVM (I think there is some bleeding)

What is an AVM?
1) A congenital disorder (one present at birth) of blood vessels in the brain, brainstem, or spinal cord that is characterized by a complex, tangled web of abnormal arteries and veins connected by one or more fistulas (abnormal communications). 2) An abnormal communication between an artery and vein that may be present at birth or may result from injury or infection. Blood may flow directly from the artery to the vein, bypassing the small vessels where oxygen and tissue nutrients are exchanged. These unusual malformations are often found in the brain and spinal cord, but may occur anywhere in the body.
Normally, arteries carry blood containing oxygen from the heart to the brain, and veins carry blood with less oxygen away from the brain and back to the heart. When an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) occurs, a tangle of blood vessels directly diverts blood from the arteries to the veins.

What is a Spinal AVM?
A Spinal AVM is an Arteriovenous Malformation that is located within, on or around the spinal cord.

What are the symptoms of a Spinal AVM?
Symptoms of a Spinal AVM can be almost anything. The most common symptoms that occur are: numbness, weakness, sensation irregularity, problems with balance, burning or hot sensations, paralysis, headaches and random pains throughout the body. Symptoms can range greatly and can affect your body in ways that you wouldn't think possible. For example, a Spinal AVM can also affect your bowel movements, urination habits & abilities, concentration and many other systems within your body.
The fact is... Spinal AVM's can cause so many different symptoms that it would be impossible and illogical to list them all.

Why do AVM's occur?
It is unknown why AVM's occur. They're usually congenital, meaning someone is born with one. However, they usually are not hereditary. People probably do not inherit an AVM from their parents, and they probably will not pass an AVM on to their children.
AVM's have also been known to be a result of an injury that did not heal properly. This is not very common from what I've gathered.

How common are AVM's?
The popularity of an AVM is far more common then most might realize. It is estimated that one in 200-500 people may have an AVM. Brain and Spinal AVM's, on the other hand, are much less common. A brain AVM is found in less then 1% of the general population. A spinal AVM is even more rare. They're so rare in fact, that there is not a known census to determine how common they really are.

Do AVM's grow or change?
Most AVM's do not grow or significantly change although the vessels involved may dilate. There are some reported cases of AVM's shrinking or enlarging, but this may be due to clots in parts of an AVM causing it to shrink, or to redirect to adjacent blood vessels toward an AVM.
In my personal experience, an AVM can generate an aneurysm which can continually grow over a period of time. The longer blood flows through weakened veins, the bigger they may expand. This is not always true, but in my case, it is.

What causes an AVM to bleed?
An AVM contains abnormal and, therefore, "weakened" blood vessels that direct blood away from the normal tissues. These abnormal and weak blood vessels dilate over time and may eventually burst from high pressure of blood flow from the arteries causing bleeding.

What are the risks of having an AVM?
The biggest risk of an AVM is the possibility of a stroke. In order to have a stroke, the AVM must hemorrhage. The chance of an AVM bleed averages between 1 and 3 percent each year. Over a 15 year period, there is a 25% chance that an AVM will bleed causing damage and stroke. The more bleeds that occur, the higher the risks are that another bleed will follow at any time.
The average risk of a bleed over 10 years from diagnosis is approximately 30%. If the AVM shows signs of "wear & tear" such as aneurysms, it is more likely to bleed (like 50% or more). Over 30 years from diagnosis the risk of a bleed averages 66% but may be as high as 90%.
In the case of a Spinal AVM, the biggest risk is a stroke of the spinal cord. Depending on the location of the AVM it is almost most certainly going to cause some kind of neurological damage or even paralysis. If the AVM is high enough, and large enough, it may also go into the lower portion of the brain and cause an additional brain stroke. Each time a bleed occurs, normal tissue is damaged. This results in a loss of normal function, which may be temporary or permanent.
In the case of a brain stroke, there is a 10-15% chance of death and a 20-30% chance of permanent brain damage.
What should victims of an AVM avoid?
If you have an active AVM in your body, no matter where it may be... you should avoid straining... try not to lift, push or pull anything more then what feels comfortable to you. Do not push yourself. Try to keep your blood pressure from reaching high levels. Avoid smoking .(Smoking will raise your blood pressure, and weaken your veins over time and could increase the risk of a bleed.)
Avoid any medications or medicines that will thin your blood or increase your heart rate/blood pressure. Anything of this sort could increase your risk of a bleed and also make a bleed much worse should you have one.
If at all possible, keep your stress levels as low as possible. I know that it's very stressful if you have an AVM because it's like having a time bomb in your body that could go off at any moment.

How are AVM's diagnosed?
Most AVM's go undiagnosed until a bleed occurs. Some AVM's are found by accident, meaning they're found during a test for some other medical condition. Most people find their AVM's between the ages of 20 and 50.. and if they're not found by 50, they will usually go unnoticed for the remainder of the persons life.
The best ways to determine the existence of an AVM is by either a CT scan or an MRI scan. These tests are very good at detecting AVM's. They also provide information about the location and size of the AVM and whether it may have bled.

What treatments are available for an AVM?
Well first of all, it must be determined if the AVM can be treated at all. Some AVM's are untreatable. In general, an AVM may be considered for treatment if it has bled, if it is an area that can be easily treated and if it is not too large.
The best treatment depends upon what type it is, the symptoms it may be causing and its location and size.
There are currently only 3 real treatments available for AVM's that may lead to a resolution. All of which are invasive and dangerous.
1. Surgery - If an AVM has bled and/or is in an area that can be easily operated upon, then surgical removal may be recommended.
2. Stereotactic radiosurgery - An AVM that is not too large, but is in an area that is difficult to reach by regular surgery, may be treated by performing stereotactic radiosurgery. Focused-beam high energy sources are concentrated on the AVM to produce direct damage to the vessels that will cause a scar and allow the AVM to "clot off."
3. Interventional neuroradiology/endovascular neurosurgery - It may be possible to treat all or part of the AVM by placing a small tube (catheter) inside the blood vessels that supply the AVM and blocking off the abnormal blood vessels with a variety of different materials. These include liquid tissue adhesives (glues), micro-coils, particles and other materials used to stop blood flowing to the AVM.
When an AVM is completely taken out, the possibility of any further bleeding should be eliminated.

8th February

Well I had the spinal angiogram last Friday am and pm they tried to solve the problem with by going through my veins but too dangerous. Surgery was arranged for Thursday 7th February. On Wednesday major prob was found. I have been taking Clopidogmal to thin my blood as well as asprin. Neither of these had been stopped so they sent me home and said they would ring me with another appointment. I could give a long list of other probs. but just can't be botherered at the momemt.

Some snowdrops to add some hope

I have decided to let my son John have my dog as it isn't fair on him. I can't give him the attention he needs and it is not fair on my wife Anne.

27th January 2008

Tried to help on the farm yesterday but fell over. couldn't get up so Johnny lifted me up.

27th January 2008

Mark's future mother-in-law Sue died last week. It has been devastating for all her family and my prayers are with Jim, Jo, Abby and Mark.

Susan's Funeral is on Friday 1st February and sadly I can't go as I will be in hospital.

As I have said I am going into hospital. I have seen the surgeon and he said he can do three things. Firstly a spinal angiogram which will be done on Friday morning 1st Feb and the if poss. a procedure will be done on Friday pm with a general anesthetic then home. If that can't be done then they will have to open me up as last time and full surgical job will be done. If neither of those can be done then nothing can be done and I will gradually get worse.


Still doing a bit and have got my 'bite' back. Churches are not really designed for the disabled but stewards very helpful.

              Saturday, October 20, 2007

              Carry on Blogging

              Well I have not Blogged for absolutely ages! I have been quite poorly but won't bore you with the details. (I have had two major ops... a Fistula removed from my spinal chord and a quadruple heart by pass ....I am still ill being disabled and awaiting the result of another MRI on my lower back, I am to see a vascauler surgeon next week, awaiting blood tests for Celiac and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

              The upshot is that I cannot farm or garden or even walk Ben I am to try my first Preach and Communion on 4th November.

              I will attempt to post pics. We have four sows and a boar on the farm and this week (20/10/07) they have given birth to 42 piglets.

              This is Henry the Boar.

              Some of his piglets shown below.

                17th November 2007

                Well I did the preaches and presided at the Eucharists and have to say it was very hard.... I couldn't get the 'bite' into my preaching nor use my hands. Lay folk gave the elements out at the Eucharisr. I think that went well but difficult even then to get expression and feeling into what I was doing.

                This is a pic of a Grey Heron I took out of our kitchen window yesterday.

                  Saturday, December 23, 2006

                  New Year

                  At the Gate of the Year
                  I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year
                  'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.
                  'And he replied,'Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God
                  That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!
                  'So I went forth and finding the Hand of God
                  Trod gladly into the night
                  He led me towards the hills
                  And the breaking of day in the lone east.
                  So heart be still!
                  What need our human life to know
                  If God hath comprehension?
                  In all the dizzy strife of things
                  Both high and low,God hideth his intention.
                  by Minnie Louise Haskins 1875-1957
                  Included in King George V1 broadcast 1939