In a better place

So much has changed since my last post. I have continued to feel much better than I was, although not quite where I want to be. It’s been enough for me to begin to claw back some fitness. I became an ultra long-distance runner by just bimbling around for a very long time. I’ve been trying to get back there with a little more focus. I’ve still done plenty of slow stuff, but I’ve added some structured sessions to work on my pace and hill running. I’m beginning to see benefits and I’m also testing out sessions to use in my coaching, because taking on more work is starting to feel possible.

This week has been different. I have temporarily ditched the structure. Why? Because I have finally moved. I got to my cottage in North Yorkshire on Monday evening and I’ve been exploring. I’m sussing out routes, working out where I can take Gus and getting used to much more hillage. I’m also preparing for the arrival of a second dog and need to know where I can take a puppy on his first walks.

Gus enjoying his new surroundings

The move has been planned since January. A stagnant housing market in Bedford (I blame Brexit) and my Hashimoto’s diagnosis delayed things. Not only was I struggling to sell, I also could not get my head around the practicalities of moving when just getting out of bed was an achievement. The physical side of packing up was utterly beyond me. As luck would have it, when I began to feel more proactive, I found a buyer. There have been some hitches, and we still haven’t completed, but I have moved and am expecting to complete on the Bedford house this month.

The irony is that my health prevented me from packing up and going, but now that I’m getting better I have ended up in a much better healthcare situation. I have moaned in every previous blog post about the poor GP service I received in Bedford. It is only fitting that I praise the outstanding service I now have on my doorstep.

I knew I would be due a blood test shortly after moving. I collected a supply of my thyroid medication from my old surgery a week beforehand and then registered online at my new practice before I’d actually moved. This enabled me to make an appointment for three days after moving. An actual appointment. No questions asked, no waiting list.

The ease of getting an appointment raised my hopes that I would no longer have to pay to see an endocrinologist to get my blood results looked at promptly. However, my Bedford GP surgery deemed my previous results to be ‘no further action’ despite them not being in the normal range, so I wasn’t sure if my new GP would agree with the endocrinologist’s treatment plan. I therefore went to my appointment armed with copies of all my endocrinologist’s letters. I needn’t have bothered.

My endocrinologist was aiming for a thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) below 2. My own research suggested that it should be below 1.5. My new GP had already read the notes that had only just been sent from my old surgery. He told me that he would like to see my TSH closer to 1 than 2. He also checked in on other conditions, and he would’ve had to go back a long way in my notes to be aware of these. When he asked me when I wanted to see him again for a review I was momentarily speechless. It’s been a long time since I could get even a telephone call unless it’s a medical emergency.

This GP gave a shit. He had time to get to know me and to listen. I haven’t had a GP like that since I was a very dysfunctional teenager. It’s amazing what can be achieved when caseloads are manageable.

I’m used to collecting a blood test form from the surgery’s reception, taking it to the hospital and then getting a deli-counter style ticket to wait a very long time for my turn for a blood test. My new surgery do the tests in-house. The doctor went onto the computer and one of the health care assistants was free straight away and I was having blood taken within 5 minutes of finishing my doctor’s appointment. What is even more astounding is that the doctor then texted my results the same evening. I saw a GP, got a blood test and had the results and consequent actions all within 11 hours.

My TSH has come down from 4.57 to 3. It’s still moving in the right direction, but rather slowly. I increased my levothyroxine by 25mgs today and will get another blood test in 6 weeks. I didn’t get as efficient a service as this when I was paying for private treatment in Bedford. It puts my current levothyroxine dose 50% higher than that which the medical algorithms predicted someone of my weight with no thyroid function would require. I’ve always been complicated 🙄.

I’m not disappointed that my results are still not where they need to be. It means that things can get even better than they are now. I am functioning again and I’m able to get out and appreciate my new environment, but it would be nice to need a little less sleep and to see further improvements in my running. I also need to have the resilience to bring up another puppy.

Ned comes to us on 30th September. He will be 9 weeks old. His breeder is keeping him a week longer than usual to give me time to unpack and get Gus settled. I could not have contemplated another puppy a few months ago. They initially need to be taken outside to toilet in the night and they don’t understand the concept of a lie-in. I feel ready to take this on now, and I think Gus will love having a little brother. North Yorkshire is a perfect environment for dogs. It will be hard work initially, but I am so looking forward to bringing Ned home.

Ned

Moving is stressful, but I feel like I’ve landed on my feet here. This environment is where I belong. It’s beautiful and the trails just demand running. Hills are plentiful. I stayed in Bedford for too long after I no longer needed to be there for work. There is so much more emotional space up here, but also more efficient public services. I know there has been a postcode lottery for some time for things like fertility treatment and new medicines. I honestly think we should be attending to the postcode lottery that is emerging in basic primary care. I did not move for a better GP surgery, but with the year I’ve had, that now seems like a good reason for someone to move. My faith in the NHS has been boosted, but there shouldn’t be such discrepancies. I will get back to 100% much more quickly just by having moved to a new surgery.

Despite the unpacking that remains, I’m on a high with all the beautiful trails on my doorstep. I’m so glad that I’m well enough to appreciate them, and I’m excited that things should improve further with the latest medication increase.

6 thoughts on “In a better place

  1. So good to read that things are heading in the right direction for you. I hope that being somewhere so beautiful as well as now having access to excellent GP care will all add up to your health continuing to improve. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like it’s finally falling into place for you, it’s crazy how different the service from the NHS can be. Whether down to an individual doctor or the system more wildly it’s rubbish. But also amazing what fresh air and space can do for you and finding an environment that makes you happy. We moved from Swindon to South Wales last year and while we weren’t exactly unhappy in Swindon moving here has really made us realise how much better life can be. Good luck with the puppy though, I still maintain having a puppy was harder than a baby 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sarah, So sorry to hear you’ve been so unwell but pleased to hear that you’re feeling stronger and getting better care. All the very best in your new home and with Ned and Gus and I’m sure that your new life in North Yorks will be amazing. I have fond memories of some beautiful bike rides up there. Warm regards Kathryn

    Liked by 1 person

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