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Yvie Burnett: Health scares teach us to live life to the full

Yvie was due to fly to LA this week.
Yvie was due to fly to LA this week.

I can’t believe it’s only been a week since we had our last little chat. I seem to have packed so much into the last seven days that I’m half expecting a medal!

After a day of filming for Channel 5 – yes, we are still talking about ’80s and ’90s hits every Friday night if you are interested – we rushed down to London to celebrate Ollie’s 25th birthday, which was lovely.

He didn’t want anything big, just a nice meal out in town and then we finished the evening with a game of Scrabble.

That night I had trouble sleeping with pain in my left shoulder, and by the next day I was in excruciating pain – on the scale of being in labour – and couldn’t move my arm at all.

Eleven years ago I had a lump of calcium appear on my right shoulder and I knew this was the left one feeling left out.

After years of being encouraged to drink milk, Yvie has been left with excess calcium that has caused problems. 

Anyway I was so lucky to get a cancellation with my surgeon and obviously so lucky to have a shoulder surgeon on speed dial because of my previous encounter.

And yes, a lump of calcium had indeed decided to take up residence in shoulder number two.

I’d be very interested to know if any of you have had this condition. It’s acute calcific tendonitis to give it its full title.

Anyone can have it but it loves middle-aged women.

I always find it ironic that we are encouraged to drink milk and keep up our calcium intake to prevent osteoporosis in later life and I have too much of the damn stuff!

Anyway, 11 years ago the operation to remove the lump on my right shoulder was pretty big and I had about six weeks of physio and recovery.

This time, I was due to fly to LA in a few days and I certainly wouldn’t be able to when in this much pain.

Yvie didn’t want anything to stand in her way of getting to LA.

However, I hadn’t accounted for improvements in technology.

“Let’s get that lump out on Monday,” said my surgeon, “and you should be fine to fly the next day.”

Instead of a full-scale operation, I could have a needle inserted, guided by ultrasound, to inject local anesthetic, suck out the calcium and fill the space with steroids – sorry if this is too graphic!

Well, I can’t say it was the most pleasant thing I’ve experienced, but it was incredibly quick and I could lift my arm horizontally straight away.

Compared to the weeks of recovery I had last time, it was hard to believe it was a different version of the same procedure.

After a 12-hour plane trip to LA, I still had taken no pain relief and my arm was working almost normally.

Now, as you know, I find that gratitude makes me happy.

I have been counting my blessings for being able to have this treated immediately.

I’m so sad when I hear of people in a lot of pain who have to go on waiting lists for treatments or operations.

The stars aligned for me, as they say, from the appointment becoming available to the immediate treatment, and I feel very lucky.

Nothing is more important than our health, and this week we have had the incredibly sad news that Deborah James, the bowel cancer campaigner, has come to the end of her treatment.

Deborah James has been raising awareness of bowel cancer for the past five years. Photo by Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock.

For those of you who don’t know Deborah, who is known as @bowelbabe on social media, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bowel cancer aged just 35 and has worked tirelessly for the past five years to raise awareness.

She has said goodbye to all her followers and is now having “hospice care at home” surrounded by her family.

The bowel cancer awareness that Deborah created through her social media posts, columns, podcasts and appearances on television, lives on and she will already have saved many lives.

I hope that gives her family some strength over the coming days.

Deborah really wanted to live, and her message this week was to really enjoy life because it is so precious.

Feeling tired with jet lag and tempted to pull the covers up over my head, I instead got on my running shoes and went to my happy place in LA which is called Runyon Canyon.

Yvie loves the view of Los Angeles from Runyon Canyon.

Hiking up there to see the wonderful view of LA is the perfect way to start the day, and with Deborah’s “carpe diem” attitude in my ear, how on earth could I stay in bed?

Have a good week everyone.

Look after yourselves.

Yvie x

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