I like it rare! A little personal update from me (warning: graphic content)

First and foremost – this is a very personal blog of what’s been happening with me over the past few days, and some of the contents of this post are not for the squeamish! While I’ve kept the majority of the gory photos off here, if looking at or reading about medical stuff isn’t your thing,  please click to a different page, where there are plenty of delicious recipes and food news that are less health-based. For those of you who have been asking me and wondering what’s going on at the moment – read on!

I’ve had a few messages from those of you who have already noticed that the past couple of Eatscooksreads posts haven’t been from my kitchen, or a restaurant – rather they’ve come from Ward 41 of Auckland Hospital.

Those of you who have followed me since the beginning of my website last year will remember I had a nasty riding accident in February 2017, crushing my femur. It was a big moment, but like all things, it wasn’t all bad – it was the catalyst for starting this website for a start, which I’d been wanting to do for ages! The injury was quite significant, and it has required some long-term rehab and a bit more surgery after the initial theatre session, in which my femur was put back together by my very clever orthopaedic surgeon, Mr Peter Misur. Without his expertise, I wouldn’t have a leg at all.

19 months and three operations later, and I thought it was all over. Eight weeks ago I had the giant massive HUGE metal bar that had stuck me back together at the beginning, taken out of my thigh and replaced with a smaller (but still huge!) bar, which was attached to my femur with several pins. And that, I thought, was that.

Alas, no. A large lump at the top of my thigh that we all thought was a haematoma (a solid blood clot that forms outside the blood vessel), turned out to be something no-one expected. An emergency ultrasound on Thursday revealed something I’d never heard of – a false aneurysm.

A false aneurysm is a very unusual condition: Mr Misur says he hasn’t seen one in 10 years of surgery, and even my sonographer at the ultrasound, a specialist in vascular treatment, said he’d never seen one anything like mine – and certainly not as large! (As the title suggests – I like most things to be rare!)

My false aneurysm has been caused by the femoral artery being ruptured, probably during the surgery 8 weeks ago. But instead of becoming obvious and bleeding profusely, the arterial blood hid itself; it created a cavity between my thigh muscle and adductor muscle, and pumped blood into it with every heartbeat. For eight weeks. And for those past eight weeks, the arterial tear has been enlarging and expanding, pressing on every nerve, tendon and muscle available. Now I understand  why the lump in my leg was becoming so painful! The aneurysm was so large, surgeons had no choice but to cut the artery above the tear, but I’m told I won’t feel any difference once it’s mended.

Unsurprisingly, this has been a bit of a shock; hearing words like ‘life-threatening’, ‘urgent’, ’embolisation’ and ‘aneurysm’, and told to get straight to hospital without even going home for an overnight bag when you just popped in for an ultrasound, is terrifying. But as I sit in my hospital bed, my overwhelming feeling is that I am incredibly lucky. Yes, lucky.

Since my accident, I’ve kept my leg thanks to a brilliant surgeon, had my life saved by a remarkable vascular surgical team, and been cared for every step of the way by the best rehab crew I could possibly have hoped for. The team at TBI Health on Auckland’s North Shore have been my rock on every level, watching and advising me at every stage to ensure the best recovery possible. And this time, they did it again. It’s because of this team’s care and vigilance (and all round wonderfulness) that I went on Thursday for the emergency ultrasound which revealed the false aneurysm.

As of now, I’m still in hospital, and my job is to mend. I’ll still be coming up with as many ideas as I can for you, and as soon as I’m home I’ll be back in the kitchen – it’s my happy place! Thanks for being a part of Eatscooksreads with me – I love hearing from every one of you!

Catherine xx