I think I’ve only ever tried to build a house of cards, or even a two storey small pyramid of cards when I’ve been somewhere pretty grey, dull, rainy and boring. At the moment, my health is boring me so I’m going to describe it as a shoddy pack of cards…no grand designs here!
At the moment, I have this list of things wrong with me – imagine them each as a layer of playing cards in the pyramid. I’m not sure which is the foundation yet because they all interact with each other and set each other off.
- Tracheomalacia – the floppy part at the top of my airway
- Inducible laryngeal obstruction (ILO) – the restriction of my airway at the top of my larynx/vocal cord area that causes breathlessness and my voice to go funny. My breathing patterns seem to also be disordered which is linked to ILO
- Asthma – some degree/severity of it that’s probably linked to allergies but it’s quite hard to tell how severe it is at the moment because of items 1 & 2
- Mannose-binding lectin (MBL) deficiency – affects the immune system and makes me more prone to infections, particularly those of the upper respiratory tract which is handily where all my other problems seem to be located
The four conditions above or ‘layers’ in the house of cards seem to all depend on one another and if one seems to be prodded and fall down, the rest of the house collapses and makes me unwell. It really does seem to be that flimsy.
When something triggers any of the first three items on the list, it causes symptoms which overlap and can be attributable to any and all of the above. It causes a tangled mess of breathlessness and coughing which also affects my speech. This makes it difficult to treat because it’s hard to unpick what has triggered an attack and therefore how to solve the problem. I’m currently in speech therapy for my ILO and we’re under no illusion that we need to get that under control before being able to even address some of the other issues. My consultant described it to me with this scenario:
“Imagine having a leak in your bathroom that needs to be fixed and hiring a plumber but the plumber is unable to even access your house because the front door is also broken. The front door needs to be fixed first before the plumber can even begin to deal with the problem in the bathroom.”
I guess it’s a case of being a patient patient and trying to fix and/or strengthen the foundations before we can build any impressive house of cards. It’s going to take some time and meanwhile, I’ll try my best to stay away from any gusts of wind that can knock my unstable card structure over!