Monthly Archives: February 2015

Endometriosis

I’ve had an extremely busy half term, having gone on a school trip to Berlin for 4 nights, the remaining time I spent at home was solely dedicated to my Mum who has recently had an operation.

For the past few years my mother has been complaining about pain in her pelvic region, and has visited the doctors several times to try and diagnose the problem. This pain is on top on various other ailments that she suffers from.

Fortunately, last summer it was confirmed by an ultrasound scan that she was probably suffering from endometriosis. She was then transferred to a specialist who proposed a laparoscopy operation to assess the extent of her condition.

Hence, last week she endured surgery, which was successful in that it was discovered that one of her ovaries had a cyst around it and her fallopian tube was diseased. The surgeons were able to remove her left ovary and clear the diseased area. [Figure 1 shows her healthy ovary and figure 2 shows the cyst on her left ovary.]

Healthy ovary
Healthy ovary

Just one week later, although she has limited physical capability, the operation has taken a turn for the better. She is no longer in agony in this region of her body, however she still suffers from neck pain as well as severe headaches due to some unknown problems which are yet to be diagnosed by doctors.

Cyst on left ovary
Cyst on left ovary

Helping my Mum run the house has really brought me and my brothers and sister together. We have been working hard to ensure dinner is cooked, cleaning is done and making sure our Mum gets all the rest needed for a healthy recovery. Hopefully, in the near future her other problems will be resolved and she will be able to look forward to a relatively pain free life.

I’ll keep you up to date on any developments in my mother’s health and if you want to find out more about endometriosis visit this website: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Endometriosis/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Me and my Mum
Me and my Mum

Discovering Parkinson’s Disease

While working at my local nursing home I noticed that some of the residents were shaking a lot. I asked one of the staff why this was and discovered that several had Parkinson’s disease. Intrigued by these unsettling tremors that are shown persistently throughout my visits, I decided to look into the condition.

Parkinson’s disease is a result of the loss of nerve cells in the brain, leading to a reduction in the amount of a chemical called dopamine. What actually causes this loss is still unclear, although experts claim that it’s linked to genetic and environmental factors.Areas affected by Parkinson's Disease

Symptoms commonly develop in people over the age of 50, and there are 127,000 people in the UK with the condition. This suggests why the residents I am working with have the disease, as it blatantly affects a multitude of older people. Involuntary shaking of particular parts of the body, slow movement and inflexible muscles are a few of the symptoms that doctors use to diagnose the problem, however the disease develops slowly as the brain becomes progressively damaged over many years.

Effect of Dopamine levelsThe disease currently has no cure; however there are various treatments which the residents at my nursing home undertake. The nurse told me particularly that many are on medication which improves their symptoms but does not cure the condition. Many are on Levodopa, a medicine absorbed by the nerve cells in your brain turning it into the chemical dopamine. This chemical is used to transmit messages between parts of the brain and controls the nervous system. Hence, increasing dopamine, improves movement problems.

The people I observed with the condition still suffered quite severe symptoms even though they have been taking medication for years. After researching the disease I discovered that levodopa does not have a long-lasting effect, because as more nerve cells in the brain are lost, there are fewer of them to absorb the medicine. Therefore, long term use of levodopa can cause jerky muscle movements, aka dyskinesia, as well as a condition where the person will suddenly switch from being able to move to being immobile.

This presents the need for a cure of Parkinson’s disease with medication only having a short-term impact. Indeed, this is in process with clinical trails and research through organisations such as Parkinson’s UK, who since 1969 have invested more than £65 million into research. Of course this charity could not exist without generous donations and volunteers. With one in every 500 people having Parkinson’s, the public need to be more aware of the situation and join in the chase for a cure.Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease

One day you or a family member could be affected by Parkinson’s disease. It’s awful for me to witness the condition every week when I go to work even though I do not actually know the sufferers well. In this modern age, with our technical capabilities, if we work together we can cure Parkinson’s disease.

When I become a doctor I hope there will be a cure for Parkinson’s disease, or at least more effective treatments. Either way, when I diagnose those with the condition I hope to support them in the process of their treatment and make sure I offer them all the assistance available to ensure they are able to live their later life to the full.

What can you do today? Get involved, donate and support at: http://www.parkinsons.org.uk/

Work Experience

I’ve just started working at a local nursing home every Sunday where I get to go round talking to residents, making sure they’re comfortable and feeling fine. The experience has been great so far, last week I entertained a few of them by playing classical tunes on the piano. It was an amazing feeling to know that I’d added some enjoyment to their life.
I’ve also been going around the home moisturising their hands or painting their nails, to make them feel good about themselves. In addition I’ve been joining in reminiscing about their school life, which was a real insight as many were born during World War 2 and so lived through an important historical age.

I enjoy interacting with the friendly staff who know the residents well, and it’s been great to become a part of their working life. They’re very caring people and its inspiration to see how they dedicate their lives to others every day.

Having been returning to the home every week, some of the residents are starting to remember my name as I become a part of their weekly routine. I look forward to going there now and hopefully will be able to keep working there for a year or so. I’ll keep you up to date with the different situations I encounter during my work experience, as well as the lessons I learn.