Tuesday, 20 August 2013

August 2013 - the 'Test'

So finally the big day arrived, the 'Short Synacthen Test'. This meant that despite the high importance placed on me taking Hydorcortisone tablets regularly, I needed to stop taking the tablets 24 hours before the test. A whole 24 hours without my lifeblood steroid tablets, but how did I feel first thing this morning? Well, I had a stonking headache and felt a bit lacklustre but otherwise no ill effects. But I was very nervous about the test, principally about having a Cannula jammed into my arm.

So at 10:30 sharp we turned up and was seen by the Endocrine nurse specialist, who weighs me and takes my blood pressure and I give a urine sample, all fairly straightforward so far. She then explains what happens during the test, Cannula, blood sample, Synacthen injection in the bum cheek, blood sample 30 mins later then another blood sample 30 mins later, Cannula out....go home.

So in the event, the nurse whacks the Cannula (or "Venflon" as she referred to it) into the vein without drama, and there I am with this contraption dangling from my arm, a long tube to which she attaches a syringe to draw the blood from, loads of it - in between blood samples she injects saline solution into the tube, and my arm, to flush the tube out of blood to stop it blocking up, lovely. Then the injection in the bum and then a 5 minute lay down to make sure I don't suffer any ill effects from the synthetic drug, designed to simulate the message from my Pituitary to my Adrenal glands to produce loads of Cortisol. 5 minutes later, no ill effects and we're sent off to the waiting room with a lovely cup of coffee (and tea for Deb).

30 minutes later, I get called back for the second blood sample, then again 30 minutes later. Before I know it the Cannula is out and we are on our way.

The results should be with us in 1 to 2 weeks, the nurse discusses the results with Dr. Kar the consultant then he will likely call me in for an appointment to discuss, who knows what the results will be. The nurse said it is not unknown for them to repeat the Synacthen test several months later, if the first test shows I'm producing no Cortisol, then it isn't impossible that it could take some time for my Pituitary to come back online. But I'll have to wait and see.

The nurse took loads of blood and has asked for all sorts of tests to be carried out, so I should also get a snapshot picture of where all my other hormones are at too.

So, was it worth getting all nervous about? No, not really, it was all over almost before it begun....I didn't feel any ill effects and my arm didn't fall off having had the Cannula in it. The key piece of information, is the bit I won't know for a while and I'd love the result to be positive. But for the time being, I am leaning towards a negative result, then I can only be pleasantly surprised if it is good news. Roll on the results!


  1. I understand your desire to get them, but not 'roll on the results' because that'll mean I'm back from holiday (boo hiss). Let's just say - may the time pass quickly for you, but slowly for me.

    In the meantime, I'm currently sat at my local surgery, waiting (that's why it's called waiting room) for the nurse to blast hot waste into my ears. How did we get so old that everything is falling apart?!