Mental Health

Although I am physically feeling better, I found myself battling depression late last year.  It all started because my father in law’s health was deteriorating – his remission from prostate cancer came to an end.   You may recall that my father died in August 2011 so to go through it all again was extremely daunting.   You may already know that once depression takes hold, it is far too easy to focus on the negative of any given situation.  I even found myself feeling guilty that I was physically feeling better!  I had some counselling and this, together with prescribed anti-depressants, have really helped my state of mind.

I now feel that being able to help my husband and his family through grief, I have been able to let go of the guilt I felt at not being there for my own father.  Let me be clear – I was there as much as I could be bearing in mind that I live on the other side of an ocean.  I never stopped loving my dad and was deeply scarred when he died.

I continued to take antidepressants even after I started feeling better mainly because Helios and I are trying to move home and this process in the UK is extremely stressful – so much so that the closer we get to finally exchanging contracts, the less the antidepressants seem to work for me!  I have promised myself that I will stop taking them once we get into our new property.  In the meantime, I’ve also continued meditating at least once a day.  It is difficult to put everything that’s going on in my mind to one side for even a few minutes but I always emerge more calm.  I have found it really helps.  Finding something that helps is a relief in itself.

Foxy

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Pain-free

I’m not in pain anymore.  I haven’t had my usual unbearable pain for about a year after my hysterectomy.  I am no longer dreading the next time I have to subject myself to my monthly agony.  For me the hysterectomy worked brilliantly.  I feel as normal as I did when I was in my 20s, back when the birth control pill was all I needed for pain management.

Immediately after my hysterectomy I was very cautious: I simply wanted to heal and see how I felt.  Healing took time and I would recommend the full six weeks off work – not the four that I was lumbered with.  Those first couple of weeks after my time away were very draining and, although I managed to work, I really was not 100% for work until six weeks after the surgery.  Other things took even longer but going slowly and taking things easy has helped tremendously.

Over the past year I have spent my free time taking photographs and  I’m doing an online photography qualification.  I’ve started an online photography blog.  Helios and I will be to a bigger home so that our family and friends can come to visit from time to time.  Consequently I’ve been looking at interior decoration and have a number of ideas for our new home.  I have helped to organise a charity pub quiz evening at work, which took a lot of effort!  I have visited friends without needing to check and double-check my calendar for fear that I’d be too tired or in too much pain to have fun.  I have started an online resource for my sister who is planning to get married next year.  I have been able to concentrate on family when my father-in-law passed away in January without needing to hide in bed for my pain.  When Helios said that his sinuses couldn’t cope with the smell of bleach, I researched cleaners and now have a recipe for bathroom and surface cleaner using vinegar and bicarb of soda – which doesn’t irritate my love’s nose.  Helios and I went on holiday to Spain for a week in May and had a wonderful relaxing vacation.  I’ve seen movies.  I’ve visited friends.  I’ve sent letters.  I’ve not needed time off work.  I’ve been available for people I care about.  In short, I’ve had a life.  I have checked in.  I am switched on.  I have energy.  I feel like a whirlwind has been unleashed inside me.  I have taken the bit between my teeth and done things without a care to my health issues.

Writing all this makes me feel a fraud – as if my current health condition will cause you jealousy.  I’ve been embarrassed to write this as I know the agony that some of you are still experiencing.  I wish the hysterectomy worked for you.  I wish that you don’t have to have a hysterectomy.  I wish that endometriosis was cured with a tablet or a sonogram scan – just a quick wave of a wand and it’s gone!  Wouldn’t that be nice?

I am still involved with raising awareness for endometriosis and am a member of Endometriosis UK.  Now that I have the energy, I’d better put it to good use for us!

Foxy

A new perspective

I have had a number of sessions with a counsellor.  She rarely speaks.  She just sits and listens, only occasionally asking pointed questions.  I spend the time recounting tales of how I felt when my father died, how I missed his funeral, when I visited his grave.  I expect I will always feel guilty for not being there.

However, since my father in law has died, I have a new enthusiasm for life: I have my husband and his family to look after.  I have a future to focus on – a living family that need me.  I told my counsellor that I found it odd that with the death of one good man, I could drop into despair while with the death of another good man, I remembered my strength.   My husband doesn’t need my strength – he just needs me to be there for him.   Believe me, I am.

I’ve discovered, quite by accident, a metaphor.  One of the few things I’ve enjoyed all along is taking photographs.  I like seeing things from new perspectives and showing my perspective to anyone who would like to see.  I try new angles.  I look at colours.

Foxy

Counselling

I was back at work as per usual on Tuesday this week.  There seemed to be something surreal about being back in my normal routine.  I had my annual appraisal at work where they acknowledged how wonderful I am.  How could they not?  I’m hoping that my good scores will lead to a pay rise.  I can hope!

I went to my counsellor on Thursday.  The loss of my father-in-law has left me feeling as though there’s another grey cloud around my heart.  In talking to her I remembered my father-in-law, a gentleman with a kind heart, and how happy he always appeared.  Remembering that I didn’t attend my own father’s funeral, I felt I wanted to do all I could for this one.   OK, it won’t make up for missing my dad’s funeral but, considering the circumstance, I have to believe that Dad wouldn’t have wanted me to travel 4000 miles and six time zones away in order to attend a funeral only to quickly hop a flight back home so that I could get back to work in good time.  It would have cost me thousands and I would have ended up struggling with jetlag as well as grief.

In my mind I thought if I brought the family together by being at this funeral, that my karma would go some way towards making up for missing my dad’s funeral.  I’m not saying that my English family aren’t close, but step families can be difficult.  I’m hoping that by being kind, I can keep lines of communication open.

I’m finding my counselling sessions to be a help.  I am remembering that I’m only human.  I’m remembering not to be too hard on myself.  When I feel bad, I send gifts and make people laugh in order to make me feel better.  I’m a good person, I just need to remember it.

Foxy

Funeral

I was full of dread going to the South West.  For ease of travel, we decided to go by train.  I wanted to be able to chat in comfort rather than wade through traffic for four/five hours.  Also, I am getting to the great part in my book and I wanted to try to finish.  It was a lovely journey.  At one point we were on the coast and I took a number of photos.

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We had some fish and chips for tea with Helios’s mum that first night.  I had a heart to heart with his mum.  The trouble between Apollo and his grandmother is that he doesn’t get in touch enough.  I gently reminded her that there is a certain loyalty that children have for their parents – especially children raised by single parents.  Helios’s children are only now beginning to have the emotional maturity to question what they used to take as truth without question.  They are only beginning to realise that truth can have several sides.

The next morning we got up and got ready for the funeral.  I wore my black dress, black tights and black boots.  I swept my dark multi-coloured scarf around my neck.  Helios’s sister and I had a hug when the hearse arrived.  Flowers in the shape of DAD were at the foot of the coffin.  We set off in a limo behind Helios’s dad.  I was in the back seat with Helios’s mum and she and I held hands to the service.

Apollo was there when we arrived and I threw my arms around him.  I wanted to be sure he sat with the immediate family – including me.  People from the funeral home carried the coffin into the service.  Immediate family went in first followed by other family and friends.  I sat with my brother-in-law on one side and Apollo on the other.  Helios and his sister were on both sides of his mother.

I managed to keep from crying until the vicar said the following words from First Corinthians 13:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;  6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I sobbed and grabbed Apollo’s hand.  We held hands throughout the rest of the service and, when we were directed to leave the church first, we remained holding hands until we got outside and began to meet friends and family so that they could offer their condolences.

Initially we stood together.  I confessed that I only knew a few people there – I knew Apollo would have the same problem so I introduced him to the few people I knew.  I tried to ensure he was comfortable.  I think he’s rather shy.  He has always been good with me but, having been shy as a youngster, I know how uncomfortable being in big crowds can be – especially if the crowd has a particular expectation of you.

All of us piled into the limo and headed for the pub.  I told Helios’s sister that every time I saw her father, he was had a smile on his face.  My father-in-law was a lovely man.

After the service we went to the pub for catered sandwiches and drinks.  Apollo and I again sat side by side for a bit.  I didn’t want to monopolise his time so I wandered off from time to time.  I figured he needs to know these people – most of whom are family – a bit better.  He didn’t move much and only drank a soft drink for the hours that we were there.  I know the feeling – if you don’t have much money you don’t want to accept drinks because you’d end up owing people an expensive round.  However, at this kind of occasion he could have let us treat him.

I learned that Apollo wasn’t always so shy.  When he was very young (about 4) he used to walk up to complete strangers, clamp himself to their legs and say “I love you!”  Helios’s mum said “You had to watch him!  Before you knew it he’d be off again and around someone else’s legs!”  Apollo grew red with embarrassment when he remembered.

There was more than enough food but we had only hired the pub until 3pm so we each headed for home.  Apollo went home and we did the same.  I gave Apollo a hug before we sent him on his way.

The next morning we went back to the funeral home and I took some photos of the family flowers.  I managed to take the photos without crying.

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It was the next morning when we realised Apollo had sent flowers for the funeral.  What a thoughtful boy.

The rest of our time in the South West was spent going through my father-in-laws items with my mother-in-law.  She gave Helios a number of small items.  My concern is, as always, for them.

Foxy

 

Get back up!

I’m finding it strangely ironic that, when it seems as though I finally found a permanent end to my pain, I’ve been struck with anxiety and depression.  If there’s a God of Irony, He’s laughing His polka-dotted socks off!

So my battle to feel better continues.  I am managing to go to work and stay there all day.  Oh sure, I get a little panicked right around lunchtime.  I find myself thinking “I could just go home” but I tough it out.  The more I’m there, the more I achieve just by being out in the wide world.  The more I’m in the wide world, the more natural it feels to be at work and interacting with people.  My list of “out of the ordinary” things to find intimidating is therefore lessening.  I even had lunch with my work colleagues on Friday – something I’ve only done once or twice before.

Unfortunately, due to the death and funeral of my father-in-law, I think my anti-depressants aren’t working as well as they were.  I’m hoping that, once my extra stresses diminish, my tablets will start working well again.  Also, I’m skipping two weeks of counselling sessions due to not knowing when the funeral was taking place.  However, this does mean that I’ll have LOTS to talk about when I get to see her again.  She’d better be ready for me!

I would like to thank Syn at Expiation for getting in touch.  Your blog is an inspiration!   I am grateful in particular for The Spirit of Counting Spoons and reminding me that I am not responsible for my illnesses nor my current depression and anxiety.  I am responsible for getting back up.

Foxy

Depression, Anxiety and Counselling

As well as taking anti-depressants, I also have been seeing a counsellor.  My first appointment was all about what brought me to her door in the first place.  At the beginning of the second appointment I was pretty agitated and I said that I thought she was going to tell me that wasn’t as good a daughter to my father as I am to my mother.  We skimmed over my issues because she wanted information about my background and I went into detail about my childhood.  So far so good.  Nothing particularly controversial. After both appointments I was reasonably relaxed.

 The nice thing about the second appointment was that afterwards I remembered my parents are two different people and of course our relationships would differ.  Although we didn’t go into the reasons why I’m feeling so insecure, I felt happier.

 The third appointment started to deal with the meat of the matter.   I hope you can respect me when I say it was a good appointment and we can leave it at that.  There are some things I cannot tell you.

 I’m working hard to feel better.

Foxy

Anxiety

Anxiety is a strange thing.  It’s more than just a worry about passing your exams.  Worries,  like some fears, are healthy – worries remind you to do things in good time so that you’re prepared.  Anxiety is different.  It’s a shadow that looms over your every move.  It saps your confidence.  It haunts you day and night.  It can leave you unable to perform the simplest of tasks.  You know, I could easily succumb to agoraphobia.  Even now, parts of me would love to stay at home and never emerge.  However, in forcing myself to get out, I am keeping my confidence up and the anxiety is being kept at bay.

I am managing to get to work on time and am doing all the usual tasks.  I will admit that I find myself going over certain things (emails to clients for example) over and over again before I have the courage to complete it.  However, I am doing it and I have to focus on the little achievements sometimes: I am getting the job done and it’s taking all my strength to do it.  I should be given a medal.  I think one of those London 2012 Gold Medals would suffice.

Life goes on.  At work I’m managing to do my job.  I’m involved on a couple of committees where I have to organise and attend meetings.  The more I do at the office, the more comfortable I am with being there.  However, I do still fret when it comes to doing things outside my normal routine.  When it snows I find myself panicking about being able to get to/from work.  I have to keep reminding myself that I can only do what I can do.  Luckily I’m only 4 miles from home so if the trains stop running altogether one afternoon (which is unlikely) I can walk home and complain like mad the next morning.

So I’m getting by with a lot of effort.

Foxy

Anti-Depressants and Counselling

Anti-Depressants

I’m now taking 20mg Citalopram every evening.  I’m feeling better than I did but still not myself.  I’m finding anxiety to be difficult.    The trouble with living in England is that the country grinds to a halt after the first few flakes hit the ground.  Monday evening I was due to see Les Miserables with my husband and my film club.  That morning it snowed and I found myself struggling.  I had a hard time breathing.  My palms were sweaty.  My heart was pounding.  Once again, it was another out of control moment.  I struggle with things that are out of the ordinary.  I was unsure if we would be able to get home safely if we went to the movie.

Luckily that afternoon the snow turned to rain and I felt a bit more confident about being able to get home after the film.  I calmed down and saw the film.  Good film too.  I’d recommend it.  It probably wasn’t the right thing to watch if I’m feeling down but it was an epic and I appreciated it.   I enjoyed it.  I don’t normally like musicals.

Otherwise, I’m starting to find going to work a bit more natural.  I’m walking to the train station and home – which is about 30 minutes each way a day.  I generally get a bit of sweat out during my exercise.  Every morning I take lots of photographs to take advantage of the early morning light.  I really enjoy taking photographs.  I try and look at things from different perspectives.

Counselling

I’ve had two counselling sessions.   One a week ago and one yesterday.  During the first we talked about what brought me to counselling and how I feel.  I told her about Dad’s birthday and how I’ve been feeling since then.  I told her that I was determined to feel better.  Oh sure I had a problem with depression after my divorce, a depression that realistically took me years to get over.  I am NOT going to struggle for that long with depression ever again.  I made an appointment for the following week.

Between appointments I was thinking about the relationship I have with my mom and the relationship I had with my dad.  By comparison, I think I’m a better daughter to my mom than I was to my dad.   However, the counsellor wanted to know some of my history.  It took me all of my appointment to get my life story through to when I arrived in England.  My parents divorced when I was 4.  My dad got remarried and redivorced when I was 6 and 8 respectively.  My sister was born when I was 12.  I talked about my friends in junior high and high school.  I talked about my decision at university to leave elementary education for European History and French.

After my session and going through my childhood, it felt good to remember that my parents were two very different people and that I ought not compare my relationship with my dad to my relationship with my mom: I communicated in a very masculine way with Dad and I have to remember that I owe him a lot for teaching me how to appreciate men for who they are and how they communicate.

Today I had a terrible throat so I stayed at home.  I’m grateful I did because it started snowing at about 10am.  If I had been at work I’m sure I would have panicked about being able to get home.  What a relief to be at home and admire the snow with no where to go!

I’m getting better slowly.  It’s a process.

Foxy

Depression and Anxiety

My first week back to work has been more full of anxiety than I’d care to admit.  Who would have thought that three days at work would leave me shaking and ceaselessly wringing my hands?  I needed a follow-up with the GP to get more anti-depressants and got an appointment on Friday morning.  While there, I was given a repeat prescription and a phone number for a counsellor.  I had thought that I might get counselling through the NHS but the number I was given was for a service that charges an astonishing half-price for January of £99.  (!)

Of course I started to wonder what a counsellor might actually do for me and if I really needed the help.  My depression/anxiety started on the occasion of my deceased father’s birthday in November.  Am I still wrestling with the idea that I was a terrible daughter to him?  Yes.  I still feel guilty that I wasn’t there for him.  I missed my own father’s funeral.  While I did what I could at the time to mourn, but the guilt is there too.  I wasn’t there.  I feel I was never there.  Not for him, nor any of my American family.  It’s a constant and dark guilt that became sharp when my father died.  I had missed the opportunity to tell him how much I love being his daughter.

Not long after Dad died I had a dream.  I was in Dad’s house.  Helios was there, wearing a light blue and white bathrobe.  He walked from one room to another.  Then, I walked down the hall to the kitchen where Dad was holding a miniature version of me.  Dad was young, had a full head of hair and no sign of his Parkinsons Tremour.  He tickled the pint-sized girl under the chin the way he used to with me.  He pointedly looked at me and then to the child and then back at me.  He stood the girl on the chair and pointed at her and me as if to say “Look!  It’s you!”  It was as if we were unable to speak to one another – I wanted to say “I understand”;  I wanted to say “I miss you”.  At the time I took the dream as a sign that Dad had forgiven me and he still loved me.

I think what really set me off wasn’t just Dad’s birthday but the fact that a friend at work was unable to go to her grandmother’s funeral in Ghana.  The two events made me feel the full press of grief all over again.  Bearing this in mind, before I ask for counselling, I’ll speak to my friend and hear her story.  Perhaps after I speak to her I’ll feel a bit more positive about being able to leave the flat, go to work and feel a bit more like myself again?

Of course there may be other reasons why I am feeling the way I’m feeling but this is my most obvious starting point.  In the meantime, I’ve looked at more local counsellors and have  been recommended to speak to someone who only charges £20 per hour.

Foxy

Christmas Break

We had quite a journey to the West Country between Christmas and New Year.  I thought it would be a good idea to take the train – a more relaxing way to travel.  We got there in the end but public transport doesn’t always go to plan.  Our transfer at Reading Station took a lot longer than we’d anticipated and we spent nearly two hours standing in the cold awaiting our next train.  Luckily for us, we hopped on and found a seat where we could – in first class – and stayed there.

Our journey in first class ended at Tiverton Parkway where we took a bus replacement service to Exeter because there was flooding on the rails between Tiverton and Exeter.  Ultimately our journey that should have taken about 4½ hours took nearly 6½.  Understandably, we were pretty tired when we arrived.

My mother in law had a pizza on hand for us together with a wide variety of cakes, sweets, drinks and other food that we may or may not like.  I was reminded of visiting with my mom – who stocks up with enough provisions to feed the Romanian Army when we come to visit!

The next morning we awoke and got ready to see my father in law.  We have to time our visits well because he tends to be easily distracted and has been known to forget to eat.  We were told that the best time to go is 11am.  Thanks to my time with my dad, I feel I have an idea of what to look for in a nursing home.  It’s set in what could be a manor house.  There is a large dining room to the right just inside the front door.  To the left, a few comfy chairs where my father in law was sitting.  It seemed a clean and bright place where the staff smiled when they saw us.

My father in law beamed with a smile when he saw Helios.  It’s clear that he recognised him but was unable to put a name to his face straightaway.  He got my name right though and we were thinking that there is probably a reasonable explanation: he has only known me as an adult whereas he’s known Helios all his life and may be trying to match the mental pictures he has of a child to the adult standing before him.  My father in law was on good form as he was hoisted from his chair and wheeled to the dining room where we could have a visit in private.  While the move was being undertaken, Helios went to his dad’s room.   In the meantime, I sat with my father in law and listened to how much he liked the place and how nice it was festooned with festive paraphernalia.  He loved the attention and I was pleased to be there.

Later that afternoon we met Apollo, Helios’s son.  He’s a lovely kid and I just adore him.  I made sure to tell him how much my mom appreciates him looking in on her every so often.

The next day we visited my father in law again.  I found this visit to be harder because he looks so frail and, as we were going, I couldn’t stop myself thinking: “I may not see you again in this life.”  It’s hard not to adore such a kind-hearted and positive individual.  I fought  back the tears as we were leaving.

That afternoon – perhaps to take our minds off how ill my father  in law is – my mother in law has arranged to see a number of her family at the Conservative Club in town.  Uncle R met us at the flat and walked with us to the Club.  Lucky thing he did, one of the door handles fell apart in Helios’s hand so Uncle R fixed it (with a bit of tin foil in the end) and we were off.

One of the things I love about blokes in families is the lively banter they affectionately give one another.  The teasing can be relentless but it’s never malicious and, I think, is a replacement for the more obvious affection that women give one another.  Well, Helios was being teased something chronic that afternoon but he gave as good as he got.  I couldn’t stop chuckling.  So when they started playing darts, we ladies joined in and had a great time.

That evening we had a Chinese delivered and enjoyed a quiet evening with my mother in law.  It’s unusual for us to spend so much time with her because her flat is too small to comfortably sleep four people.  With her husband in the nursing home, I think she was glad to have company, if only for a couple of days.

The next morning we went to the train station and started our epic journey home.  Luckily the flooding had subsided and the rails repaired so we didn’t have the problem of taking a bus-replacement service near Exeter.  Our connecting trains were all on time and we arrived home in the early evening.  Good thing we had New Years to get ourselves prepared for more work and daily routine.

I hope you had a peaceful Christmas and New Year.

Foxy

Goodbye 2012

Well friends, I cannot let the end of 2012 pass without pondering how it all went.  I have to say, 2012 was a long year.  At the beginning of 2012 I was still rather bloated and in a lot of pain.  I had a laparoscopic surgery in March where I expected endometriosis to be found and cleared.  Unfortunately, a new malady was found and, where possible, cleared.  Fibroids were the cause of my period pain this time.  For treatment I had two choices: I could live with it or I could have a hysterectomy.  It took a couple of weeks to come to a decision but, as soon as I had another period, I knew I had to have a hysterectomy.  I was at wits end and needed to wait three months for relief.

Meanwhile, during my recovery from my first surgery of 2012, I organised to go to the US using the money my father left me.  Emotionally, it was an intense trip.  It’s so hard to do and see and say everything that I want to within just a few days.  Having said that, I had a wonderful time and wouldn’t trade it for anything.  Thanks Dad.

In June we celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  I didn’t go to London but I did enjoy all the festivities from the comfort of my own sofa.  Brits don’t normally make a big deal about patriotism but, on this occasion, it was an astounding success.  It made me proud to call England home.

Shortly after the Jubilee, my sister and her boyfriend came to visit.  What a wonderful time we had!  England, despite periodic rain, has rarely looked so lovely.  I did my best to keep up with her but, I’m sorry to say, she has more energy in her little finger than I have in my entire body.

The London Olympics and Paralympics was an amazing experience.  I saw the Olympic Torch go by in person.  My husband and I went to see the Men’s Road Race event in person – because 1) it was reasonably close, 2) we didn’t need tickets and 3) we could say that we were there.  I absolutely loved the whole atmosphere of the country during the Olympics.

The wait continued for my hysterectomy.  Rarely has a mere 3 months felt more like 6 years!  In some ways, the wait was a good thing as I was able to do a number of things to lessen my recovery time overall.  By the time my date arrived I felt fat, bloated and uncomfortable.  I will never forget the sensation of constantly needing the loo –  my uterus was so full of fibroids it was pushing on my bladder and bowel.  They removed 2 kgs of material in my surgery – so I’m not surprised that I was uncomfortable beforehand!  My time in hospital passed without serious incident.   Afterwards I had a nasty stomach bug – which did nothing to shorten my recovery time!  However, the rest of my recovery time passed without incident.

Coming  back to a normal routine and finally feeling better has proved to be more of a struggle than I’d hoped.  After my dad’s birthday this year I’ve had problems with depression.  I think, after all the struggles I’ve had – not to mention two surgeries in the space of just a few months – my body may just be recovering from the various traumas in its own way.  You know how it goes when you’ve been really stressed for a few months and then, as soon as you get the chance to relax, you come down with a cold?  I think my depression may just  be the same sort of thing.  I’ll feel better overall once I get over my “cold”.

Let’s hope that everyone has a happier, healthier 2013!

Happy New Year

Foxy

What the doctor said…

I arrived early for my 8:30 appointment.  To be honest, I knew I needed to see the doctor again but didn’t know what I wanted from the appointment.  Normally, I have in mind what I want to get out of it and treat it like a business meeting.  I have a list of symptoms and have a rough idea of what to expect from each appointment.  This time, because I’ve been up and down and am on my second set of prescription anti-depressants, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I knew I needed something but wasn’t sure what I wanted.

Basically I am still struggling with my emotions – anxiety and depression.  I feel down all the time and get apprehensive at the thought of going to work (even though work have been marvellous about supporting me through my health problems) and at the thought of doing anything outside my comfort zone.  I was painfully anxious about going to the doctor this morning and found myself wringing my hands in an effort to keep them from feeling sweaty!  I was so upset that I found myself feeling desperate for the toilet!

 I had noticed that my nausea had subsided a bit over the weekend but returned with a vengeance Sunday afternoon.  Taking this into consideration, the doc has given me more of the same tablets in the hope that, if I’m not feeling so anxious, the nausea will disappear.  I’m to take 20mg instead of 10mg at night.  We think that the current stomach trouble is due to anxiety rather than a side effect of the medication.  (Based mainly on how I’m reacting to remaining in my comfort zone.)  I’m not exactly delighted but strongly suspect she may be right.  I have been asked to attend another follow-up after the holidays and am satisfied that, at the very least, I’m being looked after properly.

As well as upping my tablets, I found a recommended website that I’m finding to be helpful.  There are links to books and other standard advice for handling depression and anxiety.  I’m not enthusiastic but don’t have much enthusiasm for anything at the moment.  It certainly looks good.

As well as seeing the doctor, I picked up the turkey this morning and fought my way through crowds to get some vegetables.  I wish I felt more festive.  Perhaps the tablets will kick in by New Year?

Foxy

Better?

I did half days most of this week because of my nerves and nausea.  I thought I’d finally felt better yesterday afternoon when I found myself bouncing around the room to the jingle of an advert.  I was not nauseated and had a brighter outlook.  “Finally,” I thought, “I’m more like my old self!”  I’m pleased to report that the nausea has come and gone since.  I still have it but it’s not quite as fierce as it was.  I will still mention it to the doctor when I see her tomorrow.

I will also need to mention the other end of my digestive system.  Not good!

I’m having a strange side-effect:  I’m sweating.  My feet and hands are permanently wet at the moment.  At first I thought it was my shoes so at work I went back to wearing an older pair, sure enough, my feet were still wet and cold.  I have it at home as well.  I seem to get warm and then I’m back to ice cold because my feet sweat so much.  Yuk!

As well as anti-depressants, I’ve been taking Rescue Remedy in the hopes that it will help keep my nerves calm.  I will admit that some days it helps more than others.

I think the side-effects aren’t helping my mental attitude.  It’s true that I am feeling brighter and more capable but at the same time I’m also feeling uncomfortable and unsure.  I’ll be sure to mention all this to the doctor.  With luck she will be able to either give me something more suitable or suggest something else that I can be doing.

The only thing that appears to have not changed since I started displaying symptoms is… (drum roll please) my sex drive.  I still cannot believe how much my hysterectomy has effected my desire for my husband.  I could happily jump his bones with a little more regularity but I may just wear him out if I’m not careful!  Luckily he doesn’t complain much. He actually lets me catch him when I chase him around the bedroom so I don’t think I’m at risk of damaging him yet.

Speaking of my husband, after reading my blog he pulled me aside and gave me a few homes truths.  He said he was grateful when I said that I didn’t want to have children.  He is delighted with the kids he has but didn’t particularly want more.  Had we met earlier in our lives, perhaps we would have had kids, perhaps we wouldn’t.  It doesn’t matter now.  What matters is that I’m healthy and happy.  Carrying around guilt for something that is out of my control is unhealthy.  Then, he shook his finger at me and said in a stern voice “So stop it!”

The nice thing about my husband is that I’ve never felt any pressure from him to be anything but myself.  In such a calm and nurturing environment, I’ve been able to let go some of the things that have plagued me.  I no longer feel guilty for the wrongs I committed during my first marriage.  I no longer feel as though I’m not living up to my potential in my career.  For the first time in my life I am content and it’s something that I am enjoying.  Now if only I could stop fretting, sweating and feeling nauseated…

Foxy

And you’d smile about it…

At work some people are kindly asking how I’m feeling.  I’m still nauseated.  I’m not struggling with how to answer but I am struggling with my emotions when they ask.  Don’t get me wrong – I’ve not been crying.   Quite the contrary, I felt nothing when one of the girls asked after me.  I coyly said that my symptoms were caused by tablets and I’m going back to the doctor for it.  When she asked if it was another gynaecological problem and I had to say no.  She laughed and said that “Foxy, you’re a wreck!”  I laughed but felt nothing.   I told her one of these days one of my legs would fall off.  She said “And you’d smile about it too.”  I smiled but felt nothing.  I could have done with being able to cry or be picked up by these comments (and I’d like to say how lovely everyone is that I work with) but I’ve felt nothing.

I think what I’ll do is stop taking the anti-depressants.  I have a follow-up with the GP on Monday and will ask for something other than drugs.  Maybe St John’s Wort will be a better choice for me?  Maybe I could do with some counselling?  I’ll speak to the GP about it all and hopefully I’ll start to feel better in the new year.

Foxy

Bah Humbug!

I wish I had a better update but I only managed a half day at work today.  I’m still feeling nauseated but, what’s worse is I’m feeling down again.  There’s a cloud around my heart.  I don’t feel like doing anything.   I don’t want to go anywhere.  Even Beatles Tunes aren’t lifting my spirits.

I’m trying not to feel guilty for not feeling Christmasy.  I just know that sometime in February I’ll finally start to feel like Christmas and I’ll have missed it.

I am going to bed.

Foxy

Still not right

Last night I felt I barely slept.  I went to bed at 8:30 and drifted off quickly.  I woke up at 2am and was still awake at 6am.  When the time came for me to get up I felt I couldn’t possibly have managed to get dressed, much less go to work.  I stayed home.  I’m exhausted and so nauseated that I’m wondering if I’ll get an ulcer.  Perhaps all I really need is for the first anti-depressant to work its way through my system?  Fingers crossed I’ll feel better tomorrow!

Foxy

Side Effects?

I finally started to feel a bit brighter.  Much more my old self.  I was able to work without my recent anxiety.  Then, on Friday, I started to feel a bit sick.  I’ve been nauseated all weekend.  I dragged myself to work but felt so awful with nausea that I went home after just a couple of hours.  Am I losing weight?  Well, that can’t be a bad thing…  but I feel so rough I can barely stand upright.  Looking at my anti-depressants, nausea is a common side effect so I have a GP appointment at 5pm today.  I’m hoping that I’ll feel better with a different anti-depressant.

Foxy

Healing is a Process

I’m a little surprised.  I’m finally in virtually no pain aside from muscular pain in my shoulder – which to my mind doesn’t count because, although it’s a painful annoyance, it’s nothing like what I’ve been through with my gynaecological issues!  So why am I feeling down?

I think it started a few weeks ago when I woke up from a disturbing dream: I was at Helios’ office and I was speaking to a number of his colleagues.  They were all women and they were all heavily pregnant.  All of them asked me when I was going to have a baby.  I had to say I’ll never have a child because I had a hysterectomy.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want children.  Having a hysterectomy was an easy decision for a number of reasons.  I certainly don’t regret doing it.  However, I think something in the back of my brain may be surprised at the lengths I’ve gone to.  I’ve been left with the feeling, once again, that no matter what I do I’m just not good enough.  Perhaps I will always have a voice in the back of my mind telling me these things…

I have a number of other very stressful things happening at the moment: my father in law has cancer and has been very ill; the building where we live has a structural issue and all the flat owners are negotiating who will pay for what and how.  I’m finding that situation very stressful.  So I suppose it’s little surprise since the night of the nightmare I’ve been feeling less like my old self.  In the run up to Christmas all I want to do this year is curl up in my bedroom and read my way through the winter.  I really don’t have any desire to do anything.  I simply cannot be bothered.  A cloud is settling around my heart.

I decided to do something about it when I found myself crying in the toilets at the office on my dad’s birthday.  He would have been 68.  I went to the GP on Friday afternoon and asked for advice with the hope that she would decide some anti-depressants would be appropriate.   She agreed and I’m under strict instructions to see her again in two weeks to make sure I’m getting on OK.

Foxy

Back in the Saddle

I’ve been holding off telling you about how I got on during my first post-hysterectomy fully-penetrative sexual experience because I’m trying to put my usual (funny I hope) spin on events.  The trouble is that getting back into the saddle proved to be rather serious business.  I mean, I would have felt awkward climbing back on the horse after all this time even without the added complication of ensuring that none of my internal tenderness gets pushed about.

The hospital said that I would be perfectly OK to “climb aboard” between 6 – 8 weeks and we tried a small amount of penetration during the 6th week with no discomfort.   So just before the 8th week, I decided I could wait no longer and threw myself at him.

I am delighted to report that all the things I really like about intimacy with Helios are still there.  Everything appears to work and I’ve not been turned inside out during the experience.  However, my stamina isn’t what it was and I asked to stop before I began to feel uncomfortable.  Also, the following day or two I did feel a bit sore – as if someone had been poking a bruise deep inside.  I didn’t bleed, but I was moseying like John Wayne the next day.  It’s a fetching look if high fashion takes a distinctly “redneck” turn.  (!)

To be honest, I probably should have looked at the hospital guidelines and added two weeks.  They’ve got me on some sort of naff “speedy recovery” plan but let’s face it, a body can only recover so quickly after a strenuous surgery!  I still think that, had I only had access to public transport, I would not have been able to manage after only four weeks recovery.  It’s only because my work have been keen to look after me that I’ve had access to a car parking space so close to my office which, in turn, has enabled me to return fully-functioning to work as quickly as I have.  With hindsight, I feel I should have known that waiting just a bit longer would have made the first journey in the saddle a bit more comfortable for me.

As it is, I feel as if I’ve taken a step back because I’m aware of where my cervix is.  That may sound bizarre but I know my body and if I am aware of something, I generally find that it’s not quite right.  This sensation, it’s not discomfort, it’s an awareness of that exact part.  If it were working properly and totally healed, I would have no notice of it.  I would take it for granted.  I think of it like my laptop or my refrigerator – I know it works well and only notice when it’s not.

The plus side is that so far I’ve only had a little spotting for a couple of days about four weeks after my hysterectomy.  I may be expecting more from time to time but I’ve not had more just yet.   I’m still recovering well and am still taking care to pace myself.

Foxy

Will power

Apparently everything is healing nicely.  We’ve not had actual post op penetration but, after a bit of fun, what little discomfort I had when fooling around is now gone.  I’m finally in the position to contemplate “the full Monty”.  You’d think that I would be more mentally wary about the idea of any sort of penetration but I’m married to someone very gentle.  The thought of me being in pain is a turn-off for him.  Although I am not having a problem with desire, and there are times when I simply want to do all the things that I love doing with Helios without waiting a second longer, I’m also in the mood to be cautious.  Given Helios’ gentle nature, I am concerned that he will feel terrible if I experience any pain or discomfort.  I worry that he may never want to be with me again if I rush us in the bedroom.   I know if I pace myself with him everything will go smoothly but I hate waiting.  I may be patient in other areas of my life but not when it concerns Helios.  It’s a good thing he has more will power than I do!

Road to Normal

It’s been just over 7 weeks since my hysterectomy.  While I still feel some discomfort at my wound sites, it is only a minor discomfort.  Now I’m only restricted to not lifting things and intimacy.    Lucky for me, I have plenty of people to help with the heavy lifting and I’m enjoying fooling around as much as something more physical.

I’m still going well at work.  I’m tired but not as exhausted as I was before the surgery.  My days are going more quickly again and I feel my weeks are whizzing  by at the usual blurring pace.  No doubt I’ll pause for about 5 minutes for Christmas break in a day or two…

Foxy

Pacing myself

It’s been over 6 weeks since my operation and I’m now officially back into the swing of life at work.  My first week back was semi full time as I managed 35 out of 37.5 hours that week.  Last week and this is the final run up to the final production of a project at work so I’ve been doing slightly more than I probably ought – I did 38.5 hours last week and am set to do more again this week.  Luckily, the project deadline (emphasis on DEAD) is Thursday this week so I’m hoping that my working life will quieten down soon.

Having said that, I do still feel well looked after at work: I have had a car parking space outside the back door since my return to the office so I really cannot complain.  I prefer to get into the office early and then I leave on time.  I don’t get too stuck in traffic on either journey and I’m doing the hours required without the extra effort of a hike to and from the train station each way every day.  As the nights draw in, I’m planning on taking the “park and ride” (Aside: this is a car park outside the city where we leave our cars and take a bus into the town centre.  The price is a painfully cheap £7.20 per week but means an extra leg on my journey.  It’s worth it when the weather is OK and I don’t have free parking provided by work.) which will require a bit more effort but not as much as walking to the train station every day.  Once the weather takes a turn toward winter I’ll be on the train again.  I much prefer public transport when the roads are bad.

Physically I’m doing well.  I’m not in pain per se but I am still a little uncomfortable on my left hand side.  At the weekend I climbed into a pair of jeans and felt a bit sore an hour or two later so I climbed back into my pyjamas.  Helios thought that the jeans may be pushing on some scar tissue and that might be what is causing my discomfort.  I’m going to ask about it at my follow up (Date and time TBA) so I’m taking it easy and trying to pace myself when and where I can.

My stitches have finally fallen off on their own – which was a relief when it happened!

The other good news is that I am just managing to keep my hands off Helios while I’m healing internally.  I am finding holding back to be difficult because I feel more like myself now.  It’s also tricky because I only associate good things with being physical with Helios and my mind and body are saying “Climb aboard!”  However, it’s that time in the healing process when I could set myself back if I’m not careful so I’m being good and keeping well away from him for now.  So far when Helios and I fool around I’ve experienced some pain – basically when I climax I have the feeling that I’ve pulled a little at my stitches.  It’s sharp but not agonisingly so, followed by a dull ache.  It’s not terrible, but it is a localised and specific sensation.  Needless to say, it’s not put me off wanting to be with Helios at all but it has given me a better idea of how well/quickly I’m healing inside.

I would like to say that I’ve been good and have been doing my Pilates everyday but with this project effectively hitting the fan at work, I’ve not been as good about taking some me time everyday as I was before the operation.  It should get easier to find the time next week…  I suppose it’s little wonder I’m still feeling a bit on the fat side.  After my operation and stomach bug I ate and ate and ate with little heed to what it was that I was eating or why.  I don’t look too bad when I stand properly (Shoulders back, tummies in ladies!!) but I know I’m not as trim as I was pre-op.  Again, I’m trying not to be too hard on myself and am doing what I can, little and often.

Foxy

My first full week back to work post hysterectomy

I completed my first full week back but only did 32 hours out of the usual 37.5.  Although I am a secretary and not a manual  or skilled labourer, I was still incredibly tired by the end of each day.  Monday was tiring.  I went home at 4:30pm instead of my usual 5pm.  Tuesday was fantastic.  I felt great.  I was nearly bouncing around.  However, in an effort to pace myself I left the office at  4:30pm.   I was tired on Wednesday but went to a friend’s house for dinner.  Although I got home at 9:30  – which under normal circumstances is certainly early enough for me to feel fine the next day especially as I didn’t have a drop of wine!  I had a little sore throat and I started to wonder if I was picking up Helios’s cold.  I took a night nurse and slept like a log but I was tired again on Thursday.  I left the office before lunchtime and had a nap on the sofa.  I went to bed that night at 7:30.  After sleeping like a log, I managed to stay at my office at 3pm on Friday.  I may have done better had I paced myself last week.  I’ve had another good rest this weekend.  I slept overnight and had a nap on Saturday.  I slept well again last night.

Tomorrow I’m back to work again.  I am still fighting off a cold but am eating well and (clearly) sleeping a lot!  I have a car park space just outside the back door of my building and I’m sure my stamina will return quickly!

In other news, because I had a sub-total hysterectomy I can expect a little bleed every 4 weeks.  Well, I had my first period which consisted of a couple of days of a light  bleed requiring only panty-liners.  I had pain but nothing that a paracetamol couldn’t handle.  It may mean that I will finally feel like a normal woman – and all it took was a hysterectomy!

I spoke with my clinical nurse about my stitches which still haven’t fallen off.  She suggested that I go to my GP if I’m concerned about it and they can take them off but I’m enough of a wimp to leave it for a while longer to hope that they fall off of their own account.  Also, regarding scars, I cannot recommend Bio Oil highly enough.  My scars have shrunk  measurably since I started using it – just add a little dab on the scars twice daily is all it needs!

Foxy

First day back to work after Hysterectomy

My first day back to work after 4 weeks away was Friday 14th September.  I have to say I’m feeling very lucky.  We only have 4 dedicated car park spaces at my office reserved for managers, partners and clients.  However, I had one of those spaces on Friday and will again all next week.

Coming back on a Friday was a good option because very few people were in: I had a quiet time to get back up to speed with what I’ve missed.  I should be able to hit the ground running tomorrow!

I am a secretary at an accountancy office so I’m not expecting to do anything manually strenuous.  Having said that, I found my first day back to be tiring but good.  I’ve obviously been moving around more at work than at home and my left-hand side is in pain (again).  I left the office about 30 minutes before quitting time because I was so tired on Friday.  With any luck, I’ll have more stamina next week.

Foxy

Looking forward to going back to work

This time next week I’ll be back at work.  I can’t say I’m exactly looking forward to it but needs must!

I’m certainly feeling up to the task.  I’ve been walking in the garden every day and only experience the odd discomfort.  I still tend to take Paracetamol (Tylenol) before bed because of my discomfort on my left-hand side.  I’m still waiting for the letter from Mr Big’s secretary to tell me why I’ve been so uncomfortable on that side.  From how I feel, I would say that I’ve been scraped on the inside along that side.  Perhaps my fibroids were harder to remove than previously suspected?

A friend told me that I could expect to lose weight while off work and at first I did – after surgery and having a stomach bug, it was to be expected.  However, I have also been eating little and often – as instructed by my clinical nurse.   Bearing  in mind I have insulin resistance, grazing does not suit me.  Before the surgery, thanks mainly to Pilates I think, I dropped a dress size (UK14 to UK12) but I fear I’ve gone back up to 14 when I indulged in grazing and stopped doing the Pilates every day.  When I get back to work and into my usual routine, I’ll go back to my usual diet of large meals mainly consisting of meat and lots of vegetables.  Of course I have carbohydrate too, but my usual diet has just 20 grams of carbohydrate per meal per day.  Lucky for me, I’ve not given away my bigger clothes yet!

Foxy

Good days and bad

I don’t know if it’s a bug or if I’ve eaten something but my bowel isn’t happy.  It started churning last night and hasn’t really let up.  I struggled to get to sleep last night and had vivid dreams.  I dreamt I was in London, shopping for Helios’s birthday and on my way home.  Although I knew I was in London and there were Black Cabs everywhere, the streets and buildings looked American.  My brain successfully merged both homes into one comfortable place.  I woke up when I was trying to get home from London; I was trying to decide how best to get to Waterloo station.  I was looking for an Underground station but kept seeing a lot of  Black Cabs.

Unfortunately I am uncomfortable today.  Hopefully it will pass soon!

Foxy

Fooling Around

The strangest side-effect I’ve experienced after my hysterectomy regards my libido.  I’ve been horny.  Who would have thought that losing an organ wouldn’t have effected me so strongly but there we are.  I’m chasing Helios around the flat the way I used to when he and I first got together.

I finally relented and we fooled around last night.  Now, I will say I’m not stupid: no actual penetration occurred.  Despite this, we enjoyed ourselves.  Afterwards, I found that I was a little sore.  My cervix in particular felt just a little sharp.  It’s not agony by any stretch of the imagination, but I have had some discolouration of my discharge today.  Luckily, I’m not in any discomfort.

Foxy

Recovery Update

I think I can safely say that I’m feeling a bit better. I walked around the garden a couple of times yesterday. I’m feeling a bit stronger. I am still having a problem with pain on my left hand side. However, I think this is due to the surgery as that is where they had to open me up to get at my uterus. I have cut back on the painkillers that I’ve been taking: managing nicely with just Tylenol. It’s all looking up!

I have spent a lot of time reading in bed. The latest book was a badly written but very informative biography of Marilyn Monroe. If you were not already aware, she also had endometriosis, suffered a number of miscarriages, endured a number of gynaecological surgeries, had problems with depression and took far too many pain medications with champagne. She even wrote into her filming contract that she would not work while she was menstruating!  I was reminded, as if I needed reminding, how much one’s physical health can affect your mental health. I find it sad that I have so much in common with her. However, unlike Marilyn, I seem to have the strength that she never did. Once again, I have to consider myself a lucky individual!

Foxy

Hysterectomy: A Small Setback on the Road to Recovery

A lot of what I’m about to say may be a bit TMI so if you don’t fancy it, don’t read on.  I’ve had a rough few days.  On Tuesday evening I had some very painful wind which was different from the post-op wind that I’d been having. The post-op wind had very little odour.  The wind on Tuesday night was more malodorous!  Helios was not impressed but when I told him how much it was hurting, he was sympathetic.

I woke on Wednesday to diarrhoea, then vomiting.  Lucky for me it was more the diarrhoea than the vomiting – twice shouting at the porcelain god was bad enough when I’ve got all these stitches in my belly!  I was hot.  I was cold.  I was hot again.  Helios was worried and we called my nurse before the vomiting started.  My nurse said that if my symptoms worsened then I needed to call a doctor and that’s precisely what Helios did when I started vomiting.  I felt rancid.  I didn’t even have enough energy to crack a joke (which, for me is saying something!) I wanted to go to sleep for about 3 days.  I was worried that I’d done some damage to myself by retching.

When the doctor arrived for the house call she gave me some tablets to place between my lip and my gums – to allow this to dissolve and this did finally help with the nausea.  She also checked my belly and said that I seemed to be healing OK.  She was satisfied that I’d merely picked up a bug and that I ought to be feeling better soon.  I, however, felt I’d taken a step back in healing.  I was still hot and cold and struggled to drink anything.  Helios was scheduled to go to work in the afternoons on Wednesday and Thursday but he stayed home with me instead – he said the office can wait,  I’m more important.  I will digress here for a moment and say that the last husband went back to work after my first operation.  He thought I would be well enough to supervise the builders that were in the house at the time, which I certainly was not well enough to manage at the time!  Needless to say, I am grateful for my life with Helios now!

Speaking of grateful, I also received a couple of “Get well soon” cards and even some flowers from my work on Wednesday.  Needless to say, Helios took them in, gave them some water and took a photo on his phone to show to me.  They’re still lovely but I was in such a state on Wednesday that I could merely glance at the photo on his phone and say “Oh those are nice!  I need some more sleep.”  Helios took care of telephoning his mum (who sent one of the “Get well soon” cards) and forwarded the photo to my line manager at work.  He didn’t give any details of my condition – he said that I could do that when I was feeling better.

Helios also Skyped my mom who was concerned until she heard that he had organised the doctor to make a house call.  Firstly she was delighted that I’d seen a doctor earlier that morning and she was also amazed that doctors in England make house calls.  In the US, she says, if you cannot make it to the hospital under your own steam, you call an ambulance.  Doctors do not come to you!  When Helios relayed the conversation to me he said “England is a civilised country.”  Because I pay for the National Health Service in my taxes, I didn’t have to get out my cheque book to pay the doctor when she arrived.  Of course we paid for my prescription but that is a standard fee that is applicable to every prescription.  I don’t think that £7.50 is an awful lot for something that you need.  £7.50 is slightly more than the cost of a  standard sized fast food meal consisting of sandwich, fries and a soda (which is about £6 per meal at my favourite outlet in Town).

On Wednesday night Helios managed to talk me into eating a little plain boiled rice for tea – I managed about half a bowl full after a whole day of eating nothing but small nibbles of one rye cracker.  I did better drinking water as the day went on so I decided I was confident to take a couple of paracetamol (Tylenol)  before bed.  After spending hours going back and forth being unable to sleep, it was nice to get a good 6 hours in!  I woke at 3am and read.  Poor Helios, in order not to wake me, stayed on the sofa.

Thursday morning I managed a little yoghurt and a banana.  It wasn’t good for me because of my insulin problem but it was nice to have some actual food in me.  I had some more diarrhoea throughout the day but at least the nausea appeared to finally be a thing of the past – as was the fever and chills! However, I still had very little energy.  I got up and watched half of an hour long TV show and then went back to bed.  I just couldn’t stay sitting up for any longer and went to sleep.  Helios stayed with me again all day Thursday to be sure I was OK and wanted for nothing.  Again, he slept on the sofa Thursday night and I was grateful for it – I’m not sleeping whole nights at the moment and thought he’d probably get a better night’s rest without me tossing and turning beside him.

At some point my nurse who is monitoring my recovery called.  She wasn’t as concerned about the diarrhoea as I was: I wasn’t putting any pressure on my stitches by pushing.  Despite the fact that I was uncomfortable, I was also relieved that my wounds are safe.

Friday was finally uneventful.  I had something small for breakfast, chicken and rice for lunch and then Helios brought home some soup for tea.  I was feeling so bright that I insisted he go to work that afternoon (as previously planned) but before he left he changed and boil-washed the sheets and fed me lunch before he left.  As I was feeling better in myself (or should I say I was feeling more like myself), it was nice to have a little time to sit and vegetate on the sofa without a doting husband around.

I Skyped my mom yesterday afternoon because I knew she would worry if I didn’t call and she seemed pleased with my colour.  Of course seeing Mom in person is better but Skype is a wonderful thing to keep in touch!  Not only could she hear that I was sounding OK but that I looked and moved OK and that I was clearly drinking enough water as we were chatting.  Brilliant invention!  And it’s FREE to use if both parties are members!  My favourite price!

Hopefully now I’m well on my way to feeling like a new woman!

Foxy

Laparoscopic Hysterectomy – My Experience

I’m home now.  My time at hospital was really nice.  I went in on Friday morning.  I was doing what I usually do: cracking jokes and trying to put everyone else at ease.  I figure it’s easy to feel good when everyone around you is relaxed.  I was 3rd on the list that morning so I had some time to wait.

While I waited, I was asked again if I really wanted to keep my cervix – I am still at risk of cervical cancer with a cervix and so will still need to have smear tests.  If I need to have more surgery there, it will be harder than having everything out at once.  I said I wanted to keep it.   I told the nurse that part of the reason I was so keen to keep it for two reasons: the first was because of how I have orgasms.  I know my body well enough to know that I have vaginal, cervical and uterine orgasms.   Lucky for me the uterine orgasms were very rare indeed.  I think I had two or three over my lifetime.  The most recent one made me felt as though I’d been kicked in the womb.  Consequently, I don’t think I’ll miss my uterus after all.  However, the other two are very common for me.  Vaginal orgasms, for me are nice but small.  I can have a few of those before I have a cervical orgasm.  It’s the cervical orgasm that instantly satisfies.  It’s a lot stronger than the vaginal ones.   Generally after a cervical orgasm I go straight to sleep.  Having said that, more recently, I would have back pain before I was able to fall asleep.

The second reason I wanted to keep my cervix is because I feel as though I’m still making up for lost time with my first husband.  I realise I have been with Helios for 6 years so I should have gotten over the whole “wasted time with the ex” thing but after 12 years of being with a man who only wanted to be physical with me once every 6 months or so, it’s little wonder I still chase Helios around the bed.  I’m delighted that Helios lets me catch him!

I think from the discussions I had, usually women choose a total hysterectomy when they get the chance to get the surgery.  I found out after my surgery that the lady across from me had everything removed.

What really surprised me was how many nurses remembered me.  As I was wheeled to theatre, I was chatting with the nurse and said “Thanks for the ride!”  I suppose they don’t get very many former Yanks in a UK hospital who are very good at cracking jokes.  I didn’t remember to write on my belly this time so I just told them that I was only in for a manicure and, when the anaesthetist was putting me to sleep I started singing:

“Good night sweetheart, well it’s time to go.  Doh Doh Dee Doh Doh…  Good night sweetheart well it’s time to go  Doh Doh Doh Doh  I hate to leave you but I really must say…  Goodnight sweetheart, Good night!”  OK, I didn’t get to finish but I made them smile.

While I was under, I understand, I had to have some fibroids cut away and removed via the laparoscopic tools in order to make my uterus small enough to pull through my vagina and cut my uterus away completely.

In recovery I was well looked after.  I had a bit of discomfort so I asked for some painkillers and was given oxygen.  I was sent back to my room.  I have three holes in my belly this time.

I was wheeled back to my multi-occupant room.  I know some people find multi-occupancy a bad thing but I was comforted by the fact the woman across from me was having the same operation and we got the chance to get to know one another just a little.  It was nice to have company.  Of course, I was cracking jokes and trying to let everyone feel better.

I had to stay overnight  because the nurses wanted to remove my catheter at about 11pm.  I dozed off and on the rest of the night.  I was finally allowed to go the next morning after I could prove that I could empty my bladder effectively.  I’m feeling amazing after the surgery.  So far I only have had ibuprofen and paracetamol for the pain; bearing in mind I’ve had so many problems with pain, I’m impressed I don’t need stronger medications after a major surgery!

Foxy

National Health Service

Hi Sandy
I wanted to reply to your comment with a comment but I found myself writing an essay.  Please forgive me if the below looks like a rant!

Although I can understand that a lot of Americans think I’m crazy to say that the national health service is a good thing, please see it from my view. Since 2005 I have had five laparoscopic surgeries and a multitude of trips to various doctors for problems relating to my existing conditions and otherwise. I truly believe that, had I remained living in the US I would not have received such good health care treatment because 1) I would be constantly worried about the cost of visiting the doctor and therefore wouldn’t go as often as I ought; 2) I would constantly be worried about the cost of prescriptions and would have to choose which medicines to take – not on a basis of need but on a basis of what I can afford; 3) I believe achieving a diagnosis in the US is a bad thing because it allows insurance companies an excuse to reject health care cover; 4) from speaking with American friends and family, I have to note that the extra stress involved in forcing insurance companies to pay for the procedures that they have already authorized is intolerable and can easily aggravate the health of patients; and 5) I feel it is worth mentioning that I get world-class care from my local hospital.  I am recovering surprisingly quickly after my operation!

Now, I’m not saying that National Health in the UK is perfect: 1) we have to wait our turn for elective procedures (as my hysterectomy was not treatment for a life-threatening condition, it is an elective operation); 2) there are problems with having adequate numbers of nurses and doctors; and 3) there are other bureaucratic problems that have emerged – money that might be better spent doing x and y rather than wasting money on a and b.

As you can see, I obviously feel the pros outweigh the cons.  I sincerely believe that, had I remained living in the US, I wouldn’t have such a successful working life because I would be constantly battling my body and insurance companies.  I would have struggled to hold a job due to my illnesses and pain.  I certainly wouldn’t have been able to afford the five surgeries I needed over the recent years!

I believe that, as a productive member of society, I have an obligation to others and part of that obligation means contributing to the National Health Service.  I think everyone should have the same opportunity for  a healthy life!

Foxy

Once and For All

I rang the hospital on Monday this week and found that I’m still not at the top of the waiting list.   The waiting list isn’t 16 weeks, it’s 18.

Because I was expecting the surgery to happen in early August, I organised what I thought was  my last period several weeks ago.   I was delighted!  The last of the agony!  More recently, I started to have problems with my symptoms but I thought the surgery would happen sooner rather than later.  Sure enough, I started to bloat out terribly and I was having some spotting.  Despite my taking the birth control pill every day, I was having some spotting.  I was struggling!

So on Monday when I was told that I’d need to wait for another two weeks, I gave up and decided to have another period.  I started my period yesterday.  I didn’t bother going into work because I was up in the night from the pain.  I was having the same problem last night.

On top of my period, I have a nasty head cold that my husband kindly given me.  I’m probably not making a lot of sense.  I’m home again today and am trying not to be in too much pain.  Between struggling to breathe and being unable to stand up properly, I’m feeling a bit like I’m falling apart.

Foxy

Brain Dead

I don’t know if I’m just not sleeping well or if it’s because I’m fighting off Helios’s cold but I haven’t felt right for a number of days now.  I’m hot then I’m cold and then I’m burning up again.  I am extremely tired.  I’ve been having crazy dreams.  I think I’m concentrating at work and then I find a detail that I’ve missed or something that I’ve said was correct when it wasn’t.  I’m sweating.  I’m anxious about all the things that I’ve got on the go at the moment.  Of course by *a lot* I mean just the usual day to day bits and pieces – birthday cards to organise, I’ve got a parcel that I want to send to a friend but need to be sure they’re not out of the country before I send it, I’ve got some money that needs to go to the freehold of our flats so that the roof above my upstairs neighbour can be fixed, Helios and I are seeing the mortgage company on Saturday to add money to the mortgage to pay for our portion of the complete re-roofing project, and I’m also trying to work out what to take with us on our weekend away.  I’m keenly aware I’ve got another surgery coming up even though I’ve not had a date through yet.  However, I’ve started my handover notes at work (As I’ll be out for 4 weeks I expect I’ll need to do some sort of handover!) to save me time when I do know when everything will happen.

I’m still managing my Pilates moves twice a day.  I can hold *the 100* pose for over 2 minutes!  I’m also doing some arm and leg moves to get everything back into the shape I was when I first met Helios.  Having said that, I’m so bloated that it’s hard to tell if the Pilates is doing any good!  Some days I feel as though I’ve already lost a dress size and then the next day I resemble Jabba The Hutt and I climb into my bigger trousers.  It’s such a disappointment for a girl!  Despite looking like a blimp I simply refuse to have another period even though my body is asking for it.  I figure I’ve had enough time off work/school/life because of my illnesses that I’m not letting it get the better of me this time.  I’ve got 4 weeks off work planned and my body will just have to wait until then!

So for now I’m doing what I can to get by and still keep on top of my projects.

I’ve Left Twitter and Facebook

I must apologise for not being online as much as I want.  I haven’t been writing as much as I’ve intended and am trying to simplify my life.  I can still be found here.

I am finally being given more responsibility at work, which is a very good thing.  I am still trying to learn Japanese, if only for the joy of learning another language.  I read for pleasure.  I am trying to get ready for my surgery, hopefully happening in August.  I feel the things I want to do with my life have started to outnumber the hours I have in a day.

Foxy

Wedding Anniversary

I’m delighted to say that I’m married to the best man ever!  Four years and I’m looking forward to the next four, and the next four and the next…

Foxy

Diamond Jubilee

It was the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this past weekend.  I’ve got a busy few months coming up so I thought it would be a good idea to fit a period in during the four days off work.  These days,  I try not to risk having time off work because of my pain.  I therefore organise my periods during long weekends to save needing to use a sick day.

So, I’ve got everything organised, now all my body had to do was cooperate.  I took the last birth control tablet on the Friday morning and waited.  Saturday came and went without incident.  Sunday came and went without incident.  Monday I was finally feeling a bit like it could happen and that night I started.  So of the four day weekend where I wanted to have my period and get it over with, I didn’t start until 2½ days in.  How can I possibly organise my life around my period when my body doesn’t cooperate??

As always, it’s pretty bad.  I’m taking Mefenamic Acid and a paracetamol/codeine mix during the day.  Strangely, I rarely have problems during the night.  But, having said that, because the pain is so bad during the day, I think I deserve some sort of respite at night!

Well, when I say I don’t have problems at night, that doesn’t include last night.  My pain woke me up before 5:00 this morning.  I got up, ate a hard-boiled egg and knocked back my tablets before crawling back to bed.  I didn’t think I’d manage to drift off again but soon I was dreaming my usual strange dreams.  This week I have a car parking space at work (which is very unusual) so I took the opportunity and got a bit of extra sleep before I rolled out of bed and down the hill into work.  I think I might have called in sick had I not been able to use the car today – that’s how bad I felt this morning.  Although I was taking it easy all day, I did feel uncomfortable.  There were moments where I just had to sit with my head on the desk and try not to cry but then the tablets would kick in again and I’d feel a little better.

I hope this will be my very last period!  I’m on the waiting list for a hysterectomy and should be given a date in August.  If the date for my surgery happens in early to mid August I probably won’t try to squeeze in another period.  However, if it looks more like end of August or September, I’ll probably have to give my body some sort of period break to prevent how bad I felt before Christmas.  Christmas was  the last time I stretched out the time I had between periods: I was trying not to have a sick day and knew I could give my body a period in just a few day’s time.  In the end, I had a lot of spotting and was in constant pain.  I managed to make it to Christmas but had a terrible Christmas holiday because my body was keen to punish me for making it wait so long to have a period.

I felt bad this weekend because of my period but also because I have thrush again.  I thought I’d sorted this out a couple of weeks ago but it’s come back.  So I’m in pain and thoroughly irritated!  Not a good combination!  I don’t know what I hate more – thrush infection or paying for the treatments.  It’s £8.99 per pessary and I cannot take the oral tablets because it turns out I’m allergic to it.  Grrrrr.

 

Organised Period

When I was young and I couldn’t control when my periods were happening, I would miss school from the pain.  I resisted starting birth control because I was afraid that it would make people think I was “easy”.  But then when I started taking birth control I thought “Why didn’t I do this before?”

These days the birth control tablets don’t work as well as they used to.  I have as much pain as I used to when I was young.  The only thing that the birth control does is allow me to  have fewer periods.  Fewer periods = less pain.

These days I organise my periods around my life, which means when I have time off work – the Diamond Jubilee weekend for instance when I am planning to relax – I have a period so that I don’t have to take time off work as sick from my pain.

I’m hoping that the period I have this weekend will be my last.  Oh dear God, I hope it’s my very last!

Foxy

Looking forward to Hysterectomy

I must admit that I found the whole idea of a hysterectomy to be very daunting at first but, after having spoken to a number of women, I’m more confident about the procedure.

I spoke with a girlfriend recently who had her hysterectomy done at my local hospital and she couldn’t have said nicer things about how she was treated.  She was done a few years ago and has a scar where one would have a caesarean scar.  She stayed in for four days.  She was therefore pleasantly surprised at how my procedure will be performed and how quickly I’m expected to recover.  I’m due to have another laparoscopy to remove my ovaries (which will be attached to the sides of my abdomen – not just floating around) and then they’ll pull everything remaining through my va.  They’re going to remove my cervix and everything else.  They’re going to close everything back and voila! I’m expecting to go back to work within 4 weeks but have been told by my work that if I need my first week to ease me in gently (i.e. just work mornings or just work 3 days…) they would be happy to give me that opportunity.

I was chatting with my mom a few weeks ago about the procedure and what I can expect.  I said I think it’s a good thing that I have to wait bearing in mind that I have 3 months or so to get myself into better shape than I am now.  I think I’ve needed the excuse to trim up.  Since 2008 I’ve grown two dress sizes.  I’ve called it my “happy weight” and not given it much thought but with a goal in mind, I’m consciously working on my posture and trying to take more exercise.  I’ve been doing a little standing Pilates exercises everyday which I hope helps.  I occasionally do “the hundred” as a Pilates mat exercise and I’m delighted that I can still do it!  I’ve also been taking the train to and from the office which means I’m walking between 20 and 30 minutes each way a day – both journeys have a significant hill involved.  The duration usually depends on how much I’m carrying and what shoes I’m wearing.  Generally speaking I get home at the end of the day and I’m glistening – which isn’t a bad thing healthwise!  Finally, I don’t have a terrible diet but I’ve been eating more and more salads lately.  The weather has been so unseasonably hot in England lately that I haven’t fancied anything else!  I’m sure it all counts for something at the end of the day.  Even if I don’t lose a dress size or two, I’ll be happy that I’ve at least made the effort to get myself into the best shape I can before my next operation.

Speaking of losing a dress size – do you think they’ll give me a little liposuction while they’re in there?  Just trim my stomach, bum and thighs?  I expect I’ll ask that next time I’m on the table and they’re about to wheel me in…

Foxy

Hysterectomy Prep – Pilates

I’ve been doing a bit of Pilates practice in order to have a quicker recovery after my upcoming surgery.  Thanks to Fiona the Fibroid, I’ve been having problems with bloating.  I look as if I’m a few months pregnant!  However, I’m finding that the Pilates makes me feel a bit more trim.

I saw some friends yesterday and one said that I’ll be very likely to lose a lot of weight post hysterectomy.  It’s another reason to look forward to the surgery!

Foxy

Hysterectomy Prep

I went along for my follow-up to my follow-up.  Helios came with me.  I asked all my questions.  I got answers.  In particular, I said, in no uncertain terms, that I was afraid that I would lose the ability to have an orgasm if I had everything removed.  The consultant asked me if I have orgasms now.  I laughed and said yes.  She said, “well if you didn’t have them before the operation you won’t have them after – I’m not a miracle worker!  But I’ve never been told that a woman loses her ability to orgasm after a hysterectomy.”

I also mentioned all the other maladies I endure – the endometriosis, the polycystic ovaries, the insulin resistance.  She said I had “The full whammy!” and I said I was indeed a very lucky girl!  Because these other issues won’t go away with the hysterectomy, I mentioned wanting to stay on my birth control pills in order to maintain my current hormone levels.  She said I should try life without them first and concentrate on feeling better.  I reluctantly agreed.

As certain as she was that the hysterectomy would be a great thing for me, I’m still apprehensive but satisfied that a hysterectomy is my best of all my options.  I suppose I’m still apprehensive because I’m still not entirely sure that this change in my body won’t effect how I feel when I’m physical with my husband.  However, I feel I don’t have much choice – the pain I have with my Fiona the Fibroid is too much for me.

The consultant asked Helios how he felt about me having more surgery and he said that he was concerned about me and would support any decision I make.  Only I could decide how much pain I could endure.

I now know what they’ll do to me when I’m under:  they’re opening me up at the belly button again and moving my ovaries to the sides of my abdomen before pulling everything else out my vagina.  They will take the cervix, my uterus, and fallopian tubes.  Normally they don’t bother taking the cervix but I’ve had a number of instances over the past few years where precancerous cells were found on my cervix.  I was told that they could leave the cervix but if it needed to be removed at a later date, it would be a very difficult operation to undergo.  It is better to have it out now and I reluctantly agreed.

As this surgery is more involved than all the others I’ve had, I’ve been told that I need to start Pilates classes again: a strong pelvis is important for a quick recovery.  I’ve also been warned about other post-op issues like constipation and what to eat when in order to keep my strength up.  I was a little concerned that the consultant was a little surprised that the surgeon’s confidence that the hysterectomy could be performed vaginally (Fiona the fibroid is a big girl!) but, because it’s being done this way, my recovery time should be between 3 and 4 weeks.  If I had a more physically demanding job it would be more, and less if less.  Helios has enough holiday to stay with me during my first week.  The waiting list is about 3 months so I’m looking at August for the surgery and recovery.

I’ve told my work recovery will be four weeks, just to be on the safe side.  They have suggested, if I need to ease myself back into a 5 day week, I could build up to it over a period of weeks.  I do feel very lucky to be in such a supportive environment!

I’m still feeling down about it.  I’ve been telling myself that losing my uterus and other accoutrements wouldn’t make me feel less like a woman but I’ve associated physical love with being a woman for so long.  I’m afraid that if I lose my libido or my ability to have an orgasm that I won’t feel like a woman.

I need to focus on the positive: with Fiona gone, I’ll never have another period and, potentially, never have pain again.  It could be that my endometriosis comes back in a few years but I’ll have to cross that bridge when I come to it.

Pain, pain go away and don’t come back another day

I’ve been in pain today.  I’ve tried so hard for years to work out a treatment that eliminates my pain altogether.  I was lucky in my 20s and the birth control pill kept my symptoms at bay.  Oh how I wish I could have truly appreciated those years!  If only I had understood how lucky I was and done more with that time.

But now is not a time to look backward.  I don’t have time to regret what I could have been without my constant companion.  Now is the time to take more painkillers and try to stop crying.

I have tried for so many years to do something that kept my endometriosis pain at bay.  Then when I finally don’t seem to have any active endometriosis lesions, I develop something (truly) just as bad for me: fibroids.  The pain is shooting down my legs.  The pain is making my ovaries burn.  I’m sitting here on the sofa crying, unable to see any reason not to have a hysterectomy.  My Fiona the Fibroid has to go.  I have had enough pain in my life.  I’m ready for drastic action.

OK, I’m still apprehensive about having another surgery (and who can blame me) but I’m tired of being in pain.  I’m tired of living my life in fear of my pain.  I’m tired of organising my life to fit around my periods.  I can’t take anymore.  I need some sort of relief and if it means taking away body parts and throwing them to the dogs – so be it.

I’m sorry.  I’m feeling a bit down.  I’m angry and fed up.  I’m tired.  I shouldn’t be sitting here feeling sorry for myself – I know so many people are dealing with so much more than me – but I’ve had so many years of pain…  I’ve done a quick calculation and I’ve spent more than four years in pain already.  Not constant pain, clearly, but pain that has prevented me from being at my best.  It’s time I did myself that favour and have the hysterectomy.   I absolutely cannot wait any longer to do something!

Foxy

The Post-Op Follow Up

So, the follow up… I don’t have many fibroids inside the uterus but the walls of the uterus are so full of fibroid material that it’s now between 2x and 3x it’s normal size. I also have fibroids the uterus – attached. I’m very disappointed because I had hoped that the cysts would be easily removed. The doctor has said I realistically have two choices: I can live with it or I can have a hysterectomy. Neither choice is very appealing.

I have another follow up at the hospital on 30th April to discuss all the possible side effects and to help me finally make a decision. I’ve started talking to Helios about the choices and he is very supportive – with whatever I decide.

These are the questions I have for my next appointment:

  1. Will I still be able to have an orgasm after the hysterectomy?
  1. My husband is very well endowed.  I don’t have problems accommodating him now.  Will I after the hysterectomy?
  1. Do I have to worry about vaginal prolapse?
  1. Where my organs will end up after the removal of my uterus?
  1. What is the best way to eliminate risk of ectopic pregnancy?  Will the fallopian tubes be removed?
  1. Would it be a good idea to continue my birth control tablets – bearing in mind I have PCOS and the recent surgery found no active endometriosis lesions?

I have to ask you, is there anything else I need to be aware of?  What issues have you encountered?  Any input that you may have will be gratefully appreciated!

Foxy

One Leg Shorter than the Other

I’ll admit it – I’ve been worried.  My stitches seemed to take a very long time indeed to fall off and I began to wonder if they were the sort that needed to be removed.  After six weeks I wasn’t enjoying the thought of someone giving my stitches a pull and watching my right leg decrease in length by a full 6 inches!  (Sorry about my over-active imagination!)  Luckily the stitches have finally started to fall off – a sure sign that I won’t have to worry about being pulled inside out in my follow up appointment on Tuesday.

Of course I’m still concerned about the appointment but I’m not afraid of physical pain now.

Foxy

Second Guessing and Painted into a Corner

Because I know what the doctors found when they opened me up on 2nd March, I’ve looked up the usual treatments for fibroids, I have a rough idea of what the doctors are going to say to me next week at my follow up.  I can’t really help myself – I like to work out all the permutations ahead of time so that I can get the most out of every doctor’s appointment.  I think my choices are:

1)      Cutting off the blood supply to the cysts.  This involves a procedure where they insert a catheter into my leg and navigate around to the womb where the blood supply to certain parts are burnt off.  This is a good option only if the fibroids are in strategic locations.  I may not be a good candidate for this due to my reliance on the birth control pill – so the cysts will probably just come back.

2)      Ultrasound can be used to attack the cysts  but this treatment is only seen as partially effective – which I’m really not interested in.

3)      It’s rarely mentioned on the websites but hormone therapy may be an option.  I will need to have a very low oestrogen level (which I thought I had already thanks to my PCOS).  This may involve the drug-related hysterectomy or it may involve something else and will take several months.

4)      Hysterectomy.  This is the one that I’m dreading and thinking it may be my best option all at once.  I’m tempted to ask them how they think it would work if they removed my womb but left my ovaries and then if I carried on taking my birth control pills (because at the moment I seem to have no active endometriosis).  The plusses for this option are i) I’ll never have a period again and ii) theoretically my hormones won’t change and so I won’t change “in myself” (and by this I mean that I won’t necessarily mentally change).

The down sides of hysterectomy include my concern as to how I will feel about myself after a hysterectomy.  This has nothing to do with me ever potentially having children.  I am more concerned with feeling womanly and my physical relationship with my husband.  I’m probably going to sound rather base here but, frankly, I really like sex with my husband.  If I let them remove my womb, I may never have an orgasm again. Would you want to take that chance if you’re having amazing sex at home?  On the other hand, I’ve been having pain immediately after intimacy for a number of months now and it’s only a matter of time that my body starts to associate intimacy with pain so I have to do something!

Another down side of a hysterectomy is that I’ll need more time off work.  I’ve used up my sick allocation for the year so I’ll be given Statutory Sick Pay for the time that I’m out of the office.  SSP isn’t a lot of money – certainly not enough to live on, but I can save up for the event and hope I can get back to work within just a couple of weeks.  Money is not a critical issue (thanks to a number factors that I won’t go into here) but it’s something that I need to consider.

Having said all that, the hysterectomy may take care of my fibroids but a hysterectomy is not a cure for endometriosis.  OK, at the moment I don’t have active endo lesions but there is a chance that my endo will flare up again and consequently my pain will not diminish after a hysterectomy.  Can you imagine how I’d feel after that? I think I’d demand some anti-depressants, painkillers and Lord-knows-what-else after that!

I suppose what I really want is some indication that one direction is the best thing for me (even if it leaves me with a little, manageable pain).  At the moment I feel like I’m painted into a corner.  No option looks better than the others.  No option leaves me with the guarantee of a  pain-free existence.  It reminds me of the choice of the next leading politician – there is no good choice, just deciding the lesser of all the evils.

If I have my Buddhist hat on, I am reminded that suffering is a mandatory part of living – the choice we have is to endure, or to not endure what pain we have.  If I have my Christian hat on I am reminded in the Lord’s Prayer that it’s “Thy will be done,” not “My will be done”.  So no matter what happens, it  is my lot in life to be trapped in this body.  I have no one to sue for life not living up to the advertisement.  The fact of the matter is that I’m here and this is the hand I’ve been dealt.

Foxy

Grateful for Endometriosis Awareness Month

As this is the last day of Endometriosis Awareness Month, I wanted to take a few moments to reflect:

  1. My surgery on 2nd March found no active Endometriosis.  OK, I have to say that I’m unhappy with a new diagnosis but at least I know what the problem is and am better prepared for another fight.
  2. My surgery on 2nd March gave me the perfect excuse to talk about Endometriosis with people with whom I wouldn’t normally talk about my health.  I was wary about mentioning my health at the office but felt I had no choice.  I wanted to turn my negative into a positive and I think I managed that.  I expect some people may treat me differently as a result of my discussions but, as I was displaying symptoms at the office, I felt that people would start to treat me differently negatively if I didn’t.   At least this way I am  in control of the information and they know I’m doing everything I can to feel healthy.
  3. Just before my surgery, I had my annual appraisal.  I was told that they were very impressed with my efforts over the last year.  Since then I’ve been told to expect a significant pay rise and a bonus.  I cannot discuss this at work because, due to economic climate, not everyone will be given a pay rise.  After the tough year I’ve had at the office, I feel I deserved it and am delighted that they recognise and value my efforts.
  4. Furthermore at work, I’ve been well looked-after.  I merely have to ask and various people have gone out of their way to lift and carry things for me.  I feel supported.  I am in a nurturing environment.  Oh sure, I work hard but after all the places I’ve been, it’s wonderful to feel appreciated.
  5. I have the constant and wonderful support of my husband.  He allows me to be who I am without trying to change me.  He supports every decision I make.  He never makes me feel guilty when I’m not feeling 100% and is great at helping when I need it.  I am stronger with him.

Meet Fiona the Fibroid

I’ve been getting to know about my recent addition to my list of maladies.  I’m assuming what I have is actually a collection of fibroids.  Perhaps the collective noun should be a Fiona of Fibroids?  Fiona is a benign tumour in my uterus made up of muscle and fibrous tissue.  Fibroids are linked to oestrogen and tend to increase in size when oestrogen levels are high and are known to shrink when levels decrease.  Fiona is common – it is thought that around 40% of women develop fibroids at some point in their life.

The good news is that, depending on where Fiona the Fibroid is and how big she’s gotten, I may not need a hysterectomy.  There is a much less invasive treatment involving a local and a catheter in an artery that will cut off the blood supply to Fiona and she can just waste away.

Of course, I may not have a choice in the matter.  Fiona may be up to no good and could give me no end of pain until I beg for a hysterectomy.

It’s been 2 ½ weeks since my surgery and, as far as I can tell, the symptoms that made me want the surgery in the first place have not diminished.  I’m still tired all the time.  I’m in pain nearly every moment of every day – granted at the moment I’d call it a 2 out of 10 but the point is that the pain hasn’t diminished.  My pain increases after a bowel movement, urination or after fantastic sex.  I’m still bloated.  My first period after the surgery was painful but, as I was taking the massive painkillers that the hospital gave me, it didn’t seem as bad as before.  As far as I can see, there has been no great improvement in my health after my operation.

It’s only natural that I consequently feel a bit down.

At work I’ve been moving a lot more slowly than usual.  I’m taking my time with everything.  I’m remembering to not lift anything.  I’m more careful than usual going up and down the stairs.  I have to say that everyone in my office has been very gentle with me, they’re also still treating me with the same gregariousness that I’ve come to love.  They tease me but in a good way.  It makes me laugh and I know when they do it that they’re really saying “We missed you!”  It’s lovely to have great support both at work and at home.

I’ll find out more about Fiona on 17 April.

Foxy