Advertisements

The Continuing Heatwave: Anxiety

I know that my last blog was: Tips for Staying Safe in Heatwaves and I follow the tips strictly, but when I wrote the blog I wasn’t expecting the heat wave to last so long, and with each passing day of this warmth, I find myself building with tension and anxiety fearing that I may become unwell if the temperature doesn’t soon begin to cool.

I don’t want to complain about the nice weather, it brings us together and people of all ages are appearing to have a wonderful time in sun.
Have you ever noticed how the heat in the UK always seems different to abroad? I have been to places like the Mediterranean and Australia and as I have exited the plane the warmth embraces you. At home it seems so much more stifling, and as a country we don’t seem to be equipped for the heat either – or any extreme weathers we are used to receiving such a mixed bag. I think this may be part of the reason why I find heatwaves here so difficult.

I have been seizure free for over five years and naturally I’d like it to remain that way. My triggers are normally from sleep deprivation and stress and the fact that I haven’t slept properly since the heat wave began is starting to make me just a little bit anxious.

I know that I am not the only person who is currently feeling this way and I know what I have to do. I have to take it easy, keep doing the good things; i.e. drink plenty, get rest whenever I can, keep as cool as possible, and hardest but most important thing, is to try to take my mind off things remind myself that everything will be fine and that this is Britain, the heat wave will be gone soon – hopefully.

My heart also goes out to everyone who has been unwell with epilepsy during this weather, I have been there, I know how horrible it is, and I think you’re doing great.

If anyone else is feeling anxious you’re welcome to send me a message,
Thanks for reading,
Becky 🙂

Advertisements

Tips For Staying Safe In Heatwaves

FullSizeRender(5)I can’t be the only one that has a love hate relationship when it comes to summer and hot weather.  You want to be outside enjoying yourself, but you overheat too quickly. You spend most of the day walking around like a zombie after been awake all night, and your are either coping with auras and seizures or worried that due to the heat something is bound to appear soon. Then you worry about worrying – that awful cycle.

I used to always dread summer, and it would be a time where my health would decline. Thankfully, the last few summers have been good and here are 5 tips that I follow.

I hope these help, even now I am learning more things to help me stay protected from the heat.

  1. Stay hydrated

This is a really important tip. The moment you feel thirsty grab a cold drink. Avoid teas and coffees and energy drinks as the high caffeine content may dehydrate you.

I have bought myself a glass drinking bottle, and it is always in the fridge with lovely cold water waiting for me, and if I’m going out I can take it with me.

 

  1. Apply plenty of sun cream

You may think this sounds obvious, but it’s surprising how many people don’t bother.  I will also share this tip I recently learnt. When buying sun cream check the UVA & UVB star rating as well as the SPF. As we know, UVA & UVB protection blocks the harmful rays from the sun, so if your sun creams UVA & UVB rating is low it’s not protecting you from the harmful rays. If you’re worried that good sun cream will be expensive, it won’t. I bought a SPF50 sun cream with a UVA star rating of 5 (the best) for £1.50.

Suncream

This suncream gives 5* UVA protection and medium SPF protection

It’s also useful to renew sun creams every year, to make sure they are working their best.

 

  1. Head for shade

When out and about be mindful of how long you are staying in the sun, especially during the middle of the day. Don’t push yourself if you start to feeling hot or tired and take a break and relax in the shade.

 

  1. Invest in a fan

It’s never a good thing when your sleep gets interrupted because of humid nights. It’s important that we get our rest! Fans can be an excellent solution to this problem.  Tower fans are usually good as they are not pushing hot air around, and they are not too expensive.

  1. Relax

Last but not least, relax! One of the worse things that you can do in hot weather is exhaust yourself. Its only natural that you are going to have busy schedules, and that combined with hot weather can be a dangerous mix, especially if sleep has been disturbed during the night. The most important thing you can do is recognise when you are feeling a little depleted and take a break, head for shade and have a drink.

cropped-img_2800.png

I hope these few tips have been helpful,

Hope you all enjoy the sun, stay safe.

Thanks for reading,

Becky 🙂

 

 

Fathers Day, Thank you Dad

Hello, happy father’s day everyone! Today I have decided to talk about my dad.

There is no mistake that everyone in my family was effected when I was first diagnosed with epilepsy, but for my Dad I think it was a little different. I saw a type of fear in his eyes, I was his only daughter and up until that point he had been able to protect me from everything  I had feared, and now I was facing something massive that neither of us could control.

I know my parents didn’t have a clue what was happening when I had my first seizure at 14. As I have mentioned in a previous post, my dad noticed that my lips went blue straight after I fell unconscious, believing that I was choking he put his finger in my mouth a bid to clear my airways. This is when the seizure began. Obviously I bit his finger and he needed stitches. I was horrified when I discovered what happened – probably more than I was about the seizure.  (note: don’t put fingers etc. in people’s mouths when they are have a seizure, you’ll be sorry)

Over the years my dad has been a huge support to me from being; my taxi, my counsellor, my mentor, my mechanic, my handyman,  my friend,  my father. There is no one quite like him. He will do the utmost to support his family. He has always put my health and wellbeing as a high priory, something which can hard to recognise as a teenager, but today with controlled epilepsy I cannot help but look to

IMG_5119

Thought this years card was apt!

my Dad and thank him for everything, as I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without his love and support.

 

Thanks for reading,

Becky 🙂

Celebrities with Epilepsy

As I have mentioned in previous posts,  a few years ago I was feeling a little isolated  with regards to my epilepsy.

In a bid to see how achievable a full and exciting life can be, I decided to Google celebrities who had been dealt the same hand as myself. I was a little reluctant to do so, afraid of what I may find.  Many people with epilepsy have a certain stigma attached to them, in that they may not be as intelligent as others – which we all know is a myth, or worse, that epilepsy has connections with madness, an even older myth.

I have overheard conversations of people discussing how they believe epilepsy is connected with insanity. It really hurts to listen to it, knowing that they couldn’t be more wrong. This was one of the reasons that I was a little afraid to research this topic. I was expecting a tiny list, where celebrities of the past were too afraid to be open about their diagnosis.

You can only imagine my amazement when I discovered the full list of famous people with epilepsy throughout history. It’s a list that includes names of leaders, inventors, writers, artists and musicians. Many of whom I had admired all my life.

I have compiled a list of their names and here it is, dating from 500BC to the present day:

  • Pythagoras (570BC – 495BC)
  • Socrates (470BC – 399BC)
  • Aristotle (384BC – 322BC)
  • Alexander the Great (356BC – 323BC)
  • Julius Caesar (100BC – 44BC)
  • Alfred the Great (849 – 899)
  • Michelangelo (1475 – 1519)
  • Leonardo Da Vinci (1452 – 1519)
  • Martin Luther (1483-1546)
  • Charles V of Spain (1500 – 1558)
  • Louis XIII of France (1601 – 1643)
  • Sir Isaac  Newton  (1643-1727)
  • George Frederick Handel (1685 – 1759)
  • Peter the Great (1672 – 1725)
  • James Madison (1751 – 1836) 4th U.S. President in 1816 potentially he had epilepsy suffering from attacks which were similar, Madison wrote that he had “a constitutional tendency to sudden attacks somewhat resembling epilepsy which suspended all intellectual function…. They continued throughout my life with prolonged intensity”
  • Paul I Russia (1754 – 1801)
  • Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832)
  • Nicolo Paganini (1782 – 1840)
  • Lord Byron (1788 – 1824)
  • Hector Berlioz (1803 – 1869)
  • Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849)
  • Robert Schuman (1810 – 1856)
  • Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870)
  • Fyoder Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky (1821 – 1881)
  • Lewis Carroll (1832 – 1898)
  • Alfred Nobel (1833 – 1896)
  • Peter Tchaikovsky (1840 – 1893)
  • Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)
  • Theodore Roosevelt (1858 – 1919)
  • Agatha Christie (1890 – 1976)
  • Bud Abbott (1895 – 1974)
  • George Gershwin (1898 – 1937)
  • Truman Capote (1924 – 1984)
  • Richard Burton (1925 – 1984)
  • Neil Young (1945-)
  • Danny Glover (1947-) Actor
  • Margaux Hemmingway (1955-1996)
  • Prince (1958-2016)
  • Hugo Weaving (1960-)
  • Susan Boyle (1961-)
  • Lil Wayne (1982-)
  • Dai Greene (1986-)

Next time when you hear someone say something a little in insensitive or you have a day where you feel that nothing is possible, just remember this list of people who achieved amazing things despite their medical issues and ignored what others must have said to them.

Some used their experiences to their advantages and incorporated it into their writing giving us famous and  now beloved works.

I do not doubt that throughout history having epilepsy must have been hugely concerning especially without the medical knowledge and medication that we have today.

This only in-grains my belief that if they could tackle life and still achieve their dreams, so can we.

Thanks for reading,

Becky 🙂

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

 

 

 

My Journey: 2017

My Journey: 2017

Over the past few days I have heard and read hundred stories relating to other people’s 2017, each one unique to the individual.

For me, my past year has been one of personal growth. Never in one year have I learnt more about myself, and this New Year’s Day is unusual as for the first time I am looking forward to the year ahead rather than dreading it.

This journey of self- growth began on New Year’s 2017. I was recently out of work and gloomily looking toward January. No one likes being unemployed, and other people’s advice didn’t help my situation. They insisted that careers and money were paramount and that’s what I should be perusing. I didn’t completly disagree with them, but they wanted me to walk straight into another career that I was unhappy with. Inside, I knew I wanted to help people, as I mentioned in a previous post of epilepsy and the work place. I was disappointed by my last job, they’d received the news of my epilepsy poorly even when I explained it wasn’t an issue. It had been the first job I’d had since my epilepsy was fully controlled, I never thought it would be and an issue, I could even drive! So, I was disappointed to find that other people’s lack of education was still making me sad. I thought about everyone else who must be experiencing the same every single day. This was my first inspiration to help others. I wanted to do something to help, but I wasn’t sure what.

In that same January, a Facebook friend shared this video, it was exactly what I needed at that moment in time:

It’s so rare to find a video that reaches to you. It reassured me and ignited hope. It gave me the inspiration that I required to start some important work. Some of which is the work you are reading now.

By the February, I had set up my Blog, ArdentJourneys and became a volunteer with Epilepsy Action, all with the aim to help, inspire and to raise awareness about epilepsy.

You may be wondering if you have only read the title of the video, ‘Talks by Professor Noel Fitzpatrick’, how could you be inspired to create a blog etc. after watching a video? However his motivational talk highlighted to me that helping others and perusing your dreams was far more important than pursuing any trivial material wealth. In his opening lines he said;

‘I’m going to try and change your minds a little bit, it would be rude of me not to. What I really want to try and do is focus hard on where you’re going with your journey and why should it matter to you?…In a society ever more divorced of what matters… Dream as if today is your last day on earth. What if that dream came true? You have to dream big, and you have to have a reason big enough.’

It was if this video landed in my life at the perfect moment, showing me the right direction.

From that moment, I began to listen to myself and set my own goals that I wanted to achieve rather than society. Without question, during 2017, I have been truly happy and content within myself and that has been a huge achievement.

Sometimes I wonder what might have happened over this past year if I hadn’t come across that video. It certainly provided me with the push I required.

As I found it such an inspiration to me last year, it is my New Year’s gift to you, and I hope it brings you equal amounts of motivation.

I have been overwhelmed by the response I have received in 2017 for my humble blog, thank you to every one for your support. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my posts, follow me, and email me, it means so much!

I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store.

I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year,

Thanks for reading,

Becky 🙂

How Much Does Epilepsy Affect Our Family? Part 1 – My Brother

How Much Does Epilepsy Affect Our Family? Part 1 – My Brother

Families come in all shapes and sizes, and even though they can get on our nerves sometimes, we always love them. We can also never forget that having epilepsy doesn’t just affect us personally, but it also has a profound impact on the people that we are closest to. We can sometimes forget that they can worry just as much or more about our health and welfare than we do.

So I have decided to have a heart-to-heart with different members of my family to see how my epilepsy has affected them. I’ve begun with my younger brother, as I was keen to see how he really felt about the experience of my first seizure to being diagnosed with epilepsy a few months later. I always thought it must have been very difficult for him as he was only ten years old at the time. Yes we’ve reflected on these events, but I have never been brave enough to ask him how he felt.

Here’s our interview:

Can you remember the day that I had my first seizure?

Yes, it was a sunny, summers day, we had not long finished dinner and I was eating desert with Rich (our other brother) in the Livingroom. You had been unwell all day; we thought you might have had a stomach bug. Mum and Dad were in the bathroom looking after you, and I suddenly heard a loud cry from Dad. He was screaming out to Mum that you were biting his finger *. Dad then asked Rich to fetch our neighbour who was a paramedic – he was out, and Mum was phoning for the emergency services.

The paramedics quickly arrived and disappeared into the bathroom to help you, I then finally saw you been taken out on a wheelchair, wearing an oxygen mask and looking disorientated. I was confused and worried, I didn’t know what had actually happened or whether you would be the same again.

I followed you up the drive to where the ambulance was parked, and at this point Grandad had arrived and was now diverting traffic. Dad went into the ambulance with you and mum followed. I was looked after by Grandma and Grandad.

I was relieved when I eventually found out that you would be ok.

 

Did my first seizure come as a surprise to you or had there been warning signs?

No, I was completely surprised, I thought you just had a stomach bug.

 

Can you remember when I diagnosed with epilepsy? How did you feel? What did you think?

No I can’t really remember it, I just accepted it, but I can remember Mum teaching me first aid and how to look after you if you were unwell.

 

What has been the most daunting experience about having a relative with epilepsy?

As a child, it didn’t really upset me, but being an adult, I fully appreciate that it is a serious condition and that worries me sometimes.

 

Has there been an aspect that has been positive?

Having a sister with epilepsy I find that I have good knowledge and empathy about the condition when I learn that others have it.

 

What advice would you give someone who has a relative with epilepsy?

Make life as relaxing and easy as possible for them and help them to avoid their triggers.

 

I am glad that I had this conversation with my brother, as he is the youngest in the family I have often worried that he found my epilepsy the hardest to accept, but on reflection of this interview I think that by being brought up with it, he has embraced and it’s now normal to him.

Naturally there are times that he will worry, I would instantly remove my epilepsy for him to eliminate this, yet I have strong memories of him caring for me when there was no one else around, and although I was panged with guilt, at the same time his caring nature was greatly needed and appreciated. I believe this may have helped shape him be the immensely, compassionate individual that he has become today.

I look forward to sharing the other iterviews!

I hope this has shed some light onto how epilepsy has its impact on so many other people, not just the person who has been diagnosed.

Thanks for reading!

Becky 🙂

 

 

 

*(TIP: DO NOT PUT FINGERS ETC. IN PEOPLES MOUTHS IF THEY ARE HAVING A SEIZURE! My Dad, like my brother didn’t know what was wrong, I fell unconscious with blue lips. My dad in his panic thought I was chocking and decided to try and clear my mouth with his finger as the seizure began… I was mortified when I found out!)

Epilepsy and The World of Work

Epilepsy and The World of Work

Today, I thought I would share with you some experiences of epilepsy in the workplace.

Entering the world of work when you have epilepsy can seem like a daunting task, as a teenager I didn’t worry too much about it. I took my first job working in a chemist, while I was studying…safe place to be 🙂

My manager was excellent, and she also taught me that it’s never too late to change a career as she qualified as a pharmacist in her 40s after bringing up her family.

At university and I was glad to find that all my lecturers and friends were also very supportive when they learnt about my epilepsy.

So… I naively thought that my future workplaces would be the same.

Since leaving university I have had a couple of jobs, and I have received mixed responses to epilepsy.

My manager at my first job after uni gave no empathy when I had been unwell and required a day or two off work, he just gave pressure for me to return. When I did, he said, “This better not become a regular occurrence.”  About a year later another colleague was taken on, and when I had the courage to tell him that I had epilepsy I was hugely relieved as he had personal experiences with epilepsy, and wasnt phased by the condition at all. It was good to know that there was someone there if I needed them.

My most recent job shocked me the most. I faced a difficult decision of whether to mention my epilepsy at the interview stage, I decided to remain silent as I was afraid it would ruin my chances of getting the job. But, I got the job!…obviously.

Weeks later, there were talks of me potentially travelling with the company, thoughts of travel insurance and things were bothering me, so I decided to have a chat with my manager and tell him about my epilepsy. He didn’t take it the news well. Although he didn’t say anything bad, he went red, his eyes darted rapidly back and forth for the remainder of the conversation, no matter how many times I told him, ‘it’s mild’, ’It’s controlled’ etc. Things were never the same after that, he didn’t chat to me the same, I think he had become afraid of me in some way, and where we’re originally getting along so well, things had become tense and awkward.

What’s more, I discovered that nearly all my colleagues in the company had very old-fashioned views when it came to epilepsy, I heard them gossiping and laughing about another co-worker, thinking that all seizures are triggered by flashing lights or worse, that it had connections with insanity.  It was this moment that I realised that I could never be open and honest with my colleagues about my epilepsy as they were just not educated enough about the subject, and I was afraid of their judgements.

This company was the biggest that I had worked for, but its employees were the most unprofessional and closed-minded that I had ever seen and it shocked me. The experience at that company has been  the inspiration to this blog as I think it’s important to support people with epilepsy when they’re having a rough time and its vital reach as many people who don’t know about enough about epilepsy to stop stigmas.

 

My advice for work is to find something that makes you truly happy.

Doing a job you love, with colleagues you are also supportive of you.

 

You can find more tips and advice about epilepsy and the workplace at Epilepsy Society

Thanks for reading,

Becky 🙂

Have You Felt Supported By Your Neurology Team?

Have You Felt Supported By Your Neurology Team?

Today I am asking an importing question, have you felt supported by your neurology team? From your diagnosis, through to the altering medications, the life changing moments, and even the highs and the lows that epilepsy brings.

As epilepsy is a life long condition, your neurologist becomes an important part of your life.

You would expect your neurology team to provide you with all the help and support you require regarding epilepsy, however not everyone receives it and I have been one of those people. Today I have decided to share my experiences with you.

This has taken a lot of consideration,  as I wanted to remain as positive as possible about epilepsy, but I realised that if I am open about my experiences I could potentially help other people, and this is what this blog is all about.

 

My Experience of Neurology Teams

Thankfully, I have great memories of my first neurologist. She provided me with all the advice and guidance I could need, in one situation, she even brought in one of the top UK paediatric neurologists to see me. I couldn’t fault the care.

I had a neurologist who asked if I was learning to drive when I was 17, this was his reply when I told him I was learning;

You shouldn’t be learning to drive, your epilepsy isn’t controlled! I demand that you hand your provisional licence into the DVLA at once!… (few minutes gap as no one was talking) I won’t be upset if I were you, I have to tell taxi drivers and bus drivers that they can no longer drive every day, and driving is their living, this is nothing to you!”

So as you can imagine I left that appointment upset. The moment I turned 16 healthcare professionals became obsessed with topics such as pregnancy while never discussing the subject of driving. (I wouldn’t have had lessons otherwise). But a decade later I have no children and I can legally drive 🙂

I will confess that I wasn’t exactly the perfect patient either, up to this point not one medication had worked for me. It’s frustrating when medications begin to alter your mood, increase your weight and damage other aspects of your health for little or no gain. So I decided to see how different my life would be like medication free.

I soon had a new consultant who was overly anxious when she discovered that I was medication free. I consider myself to have very mild epilepsy with perhaps one seizure a year, and although I appreciate that I was at risk without medication when I wasn’t taking medication I felt the same, perhaps better, because I had freedom from side-effects and saw no increase in seizures.

My neurologist would frequently discuss the seriousness of my condition even mentioning that I could die if I wasnt on medication.

I can remembering thinking that if someone has cancer and decides to decline treatment, the doctor respects their decision. But this situation felt pressured…

I was about 18, I was home alone, still medication free, and my support nurse called me. It was obvious that the intention of her call was to get me on medication again. I explained to her that I was doing well and was concentrating on a healthy lifestyle. She told me to stay away from ‘stupid’ ideas (which she apologised for) and later went on to explain to me that she has had ‘patients who have died from this’. I urged to her that my epilepsy is thankfully minor and always produces plenty of notice and auras. Her reply, ‘what if it doesn’t?’  Eventually, I pitifully agreed to begin medication again, hung up the phone and cried. I felt like a push over.

After two years of trying various medications, I found on that thankfully worked.

After my consultant were pleased that my medication was working, I received a letter signing me off from their care.

 

Why did I share this story?

I know I don’t have the most positive experience with some of my neurologists or support nurses, and I have not written this article to slam neurology departments. I fully appreciate that the hospital had to be realistic and had to provide the information related to my condition, and I am grateful for the work they do, but I sometimes wonder how different the outcome would have been if they had been slightly more tactful and resourceful.  There were times where I would leave appointments upset, reaching the car and beginning to sob, but thankfully my mum was there to give me the best encouragement, support…and hugs 🙂

If you have a child, relative or friend who is experiencing similar I think it’s important to place as many positive thoughts in their mind, telling them that you are always there to talk, and reminding them of all the amazing things that they can achieve.

 

How Supported Have You Felt By Your Neurology Team?

You might think that the neurology team are not supposed to be there to support you, just to give you medical and professional advice.

I however think that having a diagnosis of epilepsy is a life changing and lifelong one which requires support and positivity where possible.

I would be interested to know different people’s experiences and views of their neurology team and how supported they have felt.

Thanks for reading,

Becky 🙂

 

Your Thoughts on Hospitals?

Your Thoughts on Hospitals?

Anyone with epilepsy will have their fair share of stories and experiences of hospitals. We’ve been rushed in by ambulances, woke up in Resus, had all kinds of scans and blood test etc. and although we’ve received excellent care from dedicated people, the whole experience can leave us feeling nervous about hospitals. I guess it’s just association e.g. ‘last time I was here I was ill.’

Due to these different experiences, people will have their own varying thoughts and feelings about hospitals, its only natural.

Normally I am fine with visiting hospitals but I was surprised when I recently found myself feeling a little anxious at my old hospital:

The other day I had to take my brother to the hospital for an appointment.

When we entered the building that ‘hospital type’ smell instantly hit me. I felt uncomfortable, and a little anxious, and quickly realised it was attached to old memories of frequent visits to the A&E and outpatients from my early teens.

Being diagnosed with epilepsy at 14 classed me as a child, so I was under the care of paediatric consultants.

As you’ve probably guessed, being classed as a child at that hospital meant that I stayed on children’s wards, and had to go to the children’s outpatients departments as there was no department for adolescents = embarrassing situation for a teenager.

When I was 17 I was classed as an adult and transferred to a different hospital.

We walked past the children’s outpatients department and I briefly stopped and looked at it. It was closed for the day, and it looked dark and sad. It was so much smaller than I remembered – I didn’t think I had grown that much since I was 14.

For me, my height was the biggest embarrassment of all. Today I am 5’10 tall and I wasn’t much shorter as a teenager.

So picture me, sat there in that waiting room among all the little children.

I would then frequently have people staring at me or have women engaging in ‘mum chat’ with me and enquiring where my child was.

The other problem was that the nurses had to record my height and they could never reach high enough.

Its one of those things that’s funny to look back on now, but at the time I was really quite sensitive about.

I was surprised by how visiting a place for just a moment could evoke so many memories.

Even though I remembered going to the hospital I didn’t think that it had been that emotional for me.

But to stand back in the same foyer and smell the same hospital smell transported me back, and I remembered just how nervous, embarrassed and uncomfortable I had felt during my visits to hospital as a teenager,  and it all happened in an instant.

 

 

So whats your thoughts and feelings on visiting hospitals?

Do you find that they have a certain amount of anxiety attached to them?

Or do think when your there that you’re in the best place if you become unwell? 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Becky 🙂

The Humanimal Trust: Enhancing Our Outlook on Medicine

Humanimal Trust

Humanimal Trust Logo and picture with kind permission from: http://www.humanimaltrust.org

Many of us have medical complaints or take medications, but how often do we think about the bigger picture?

Did you know that there is a charity that is fully committed to improving how the industry is currently run?

A few of years ago a family friend of ours became a vet and got a job at a famous veterinary practice called Fitzpatrick’s Referrals. If you havent heard of Fitzpatrick’s they have their own TV show called The Supervet, which shows pioneering surgery and treatment for animals.

Before my friend worked there I had honestly never heard of the place, and initially I was tuning in to see if he was on TV – he wasn’t. I think I saw him twice. But it didn’t matter, because I have now became addicted to the programme.

The practice boasts a brilliant and dedicated team and it is clear that for all staff, their job is their passion.

Yes there can be sad moments, but you always know that they give their best and do everything that is humanly possible in order to improve an animal’s quality of life.

The show follows the practice’s owner Professor Noel Fitzpatrick, Noel is like one of those rare teachers you might have had in school with contagious enthusiasm for their subject. He has so much passion about his profession; it makes everyone else just as equally absorbed and you soon realise you have been learning loads while watching the show, to the point where you find yourself talking to friends about stuff like orthopaedics over a cup of coffee!

Noel-Fitzpatrick-Web-300x300

Professor Noel Fitzpatrick, with kind permission from The Humanimal Trust

After discovering about Fitzpatrick’s, and adoring the whole ethos of from ther work to the love and hope that they provide to every patient and family that reaches them, I soon found that there was also a charity, founded by Noel Fitzpatrick. You would expect a charity that’s created by a pioneering veterinarian to be focussed on animal health but it’s not. It’s called The Humanimal Trust, and it focuses on humans and animals equally through the concept of one medicine:

The theory is quite simple:

Human + Animal = Humanimal

One medicine is the idea that humans and animals will be treated equally in the field of medicine.

There are basically 3 main parts to the ethos of The Humanimal Trust and their concept of one medicine:

  1. Clinical communication between vets and doctors.

‘Everyday there are advancements and research breakthroughs in both veterinary and human medicine, yet at present neither profession collaborates to share their information that would progress treatments and procedures using regenerative medicine for the benefit of humans and animals simultaneously.’[1]

A couple of weeks ago, I listened to a BBC Radio 4 interview that Noel had taken part in, it discussed the topic of: ‘Should Doctors and Vets Work More Closely Together?’, an audience member mentioned that while working in Australia as a doctor, he and his colleagues learnt that vets had solved a rare medical issue that had been baffling them, the solution was discovered to be a simply a lack of copper absorption. The veterinary community already knew about it and had been treating sheep for it.[2] communication meant that the problem was easily solved.

When I first heard that The Humanimal Trust wants to improve communication, I thought about how beneficial it could be in sourcing medical solutions and treatment for so many people.

As many of you know by now I have epilepsy, and I can remember thinking that if there was a vet somewhere in the world, who had perhaps made immense progress towards epilepsy which could be of benefit to humans, I would like to know about it, and I think many other people would feel the same.

  1. Medication for humans and animals that is ethical

Ethics in medicine is an important topic, and The Humanimal Trust is addressing this.

Currently, if we have any medication or implants they have been tested on animals in order for them to reach us, meaning a perfectly healthy animal has sacrificed its life for our medicine.

In 2015 approximately 4,300 dogs in the UK sacrificed their lives for human medicine, in the USA, that number was nearer 50,000 [3] . These are shocking statistics, and since I have been a child I have always been concerned about animal welfare. I have never been content with the fact that animals have been used to test drugs, and that our only consolation is that it’s safer than endangering human life. But, there could be a possible solution.  The Humanimal Trust proposes that with the diseases and conditions are practically identical in humans and animals, medications and implants could be trialled on animals that are actually unwell, and then co-operate with pharmaceutical companies, which would then produce more ethical medications. [4] This would be benefiting both humans and animals.

Human medicines are huge business, so there is a risk that pharmaceutical companies may see more profit in the way they currently run business. I once sat next to my GP as we went through a list of generic and branded medications that I could have. I saw exactly how much they were costing the NHS to purchase, and the prices were eye-watering.

  1. Clinical Trials

A vital part of The Humanimal Trust is that they also conduct their own clinical studies; The Trust is potentially the only charity of its kind in the world that is funding clinical research in animals and humans at the same time.[5]

It’s understandable that we all want cures and treatments for our illnesses, but there other problems that can also arise without warning, for example MRSA and Ebola. These bugs are the same in humans and animals, so what’s the best plan for when a superbug strikes? Especially as it’s no news that healthcare professionals can sometimes overprescribe antibiotics:

‘You don’t care about MRSA until it’s in your child and yet The Humanimal Trust is funding a project to look at bacterial resistance with over prescription of antibiotics, it’s the same bug. We have DNA mapped, every bug that comes into my practice it’s the same bug that you or your child would have. Why are we not doing a study in parallel? If doctors are going to be over prescribing antibiotics and vets are going to be over prescribing antibiotics,…we are in a mess.’ (Noel Fizpatrick)[6]

So that’s the Humanimal Trust!

Im grateful for learning about Fitzpatrick Referrals through The Supervet, I believe that they are more than just a referral practice. They show unconditional love and hope to everyone regardless of whether they are animal or human.

I have been equally appreciative to discover the amazing charity of The Humanimal Trust as the charity also provides that same love and hope with the pledge to benefit both humans and animals.

I truly believe that The Humanimal trust has the potential to change the world of medicine, and benefit so many lives (both human and animal!)

Before I knew about The Humanimal Trust I always believed that our health care system was pretty good, and I couldn’t think of much that needed improvement. I’ve now realised that things could be improved and great things could be gained.

The most important thing that we can do is support them. Here is a link to their website if you would like to know more.

If you would just like to spread the word, feel free to share this article.

Thanks for reading!

And thank you to The Humanimal Trust for your support with this article

Becky 🙂

[1] http://www.humanimaltrust.org.uk/ 05/2017

[2] http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04zc7ws ,05/2017,  The Evidence: Humans and Animals. Should Doctors and Vets Work More Closely Together? 18:37

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YF0FAI0eAKc 05/2017 Professor Noel Fitzpatrick at The Hay Festival 2016

[4] http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04zc7ws 05/2017, The Evidence: Humans and Animals. Should Doctors and Vets Work More Closely Together?

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eoeRRcIzt8 05/2017, The Humanimal Trust, Sharing the Message

[6]http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04zc7ws 05/2017, The Evidence: Humans and Animals. Should Doctors and Vets Work More Closely Together?

[7] pictures courtesy of The Humanimal Trust: http://www.humanimaltrust.org.uk/ 05/2017