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Fatigue

I’d say over the past six or more months I’ve needed extra sleep at the weekends in order to get by.  I go to bed at a reasonable hour on Friday night.  I’m up at the usual time on Saturday morning.  I have an extra hour or so during the day and repeat the process on Sunday.  The fatigue has grown from just needing a nap on one of the weekend days to both weekend days.  Just before I go to bed for my afternoon naps I get the oddest sensation – I’m not exactly tired, it’s more as if I’ve already gone to bed and I’m dreaming.  Someone has switched off my brain and my eyes are showing their “no one’s home” signs.

During the week I’ve coped reasonably well without the extra sleep during the day.  Aside from PMT times, I’ve been alert and sharp.

I was a bit disturbed when my brain switched off last night.  About 8pm I was finishing off a few emails, facebook posts, etc when all my sense was switched off.  Despite being keen to watch the rest of the football game, I was unable to keep my eyes open and I dragged myself to bed at 8:30.

I can’t help but wonder if there was something different about yesterday that made me more tired than usual: I was having some sharp pain in my ovaries during the day.

Or is my body reacting to the exercise I’m getting in going to and from work?  The last time I got this much exercise it was the summer of 2010 and I was going out at 6am for a walk to and from the station and still had plenty of time to get ready and meet my friend to carpool to work.  Of course all that stopped when those horrid miscreants made me think I was going to be murdered and my mangy carcass thrown into a field…  I still occasionally think about that day but I’m not filled with dread anymore.  My home town is stupidly safe.  I rarely have to remind myself of it now.  Also, these days I carry items that would help me defend myself – nothing scary.  Sometimes I just roll up a newspaper – a jab in a delicate place with a rolled up newspaper would easily enable me to slow down an attacker enough to let me get away safely.  Don’t let the Hollywood films fool you – if you’ve managed to stop an attacker – run for your life!  Don’t stop until you get somewhere safe.  Then call the police.

Or am I not feeling myself because I need to have a period? The first day of my most recent one was 27thAugust.  I probably should have given myself one when Helios and I were on holiday in  November but I was so busy that I didn’t want to – and who could blame me really? My periods are bad enough now that I really need three days to get the worst of it out of my system and the next time I have enough time off work is at Christmas.  While I’ve got all the time off between Christmas and New Year, it won’t necessarily be a pleasant holiday.

Hanging on until Christmas may be a challenge because, aside from the curiously-strong fatigue, I am having dull pain most days, sharp pain in my ovaries at times and a slight bleed through on some days.  This after I insisted that I don’t have any blood apart when I’m getting my period…  I doubt it’s a sign of something sinister.  I’m probably still not accustomed enough to having longer and longer cycles.

When I finally get my surgery dates I’ll think about having another period while I’m off with that – with any luck I’ll be on so much medication that any more pain won’t be an issue.  (?)

It’s at times like this that I’m ever so grateful that I’m accustomed to being organised because my brain isn’t working properly. For the past couple of days, particularly in the afternoon, I’m getting that woolly-headed feeling where I’m in a bit of a daze.  I used to feel like this when I had fruit and yoghurt for breakfast and I’d wind up being in a mess for the rest of the afternoon.  However, I know it’s not my diet because I’m having my usual egg/mayonnaise sandwich in the mornings (on low-GI bread) and for lunch for the past couple of weeks it’s been turkey with tomato, green pepper, low-GI Rye crisp breads and humus.   A couple of days ago I tried a wheat pita at lunchtime with my obligatory seeds in and within an hour I looked about six months pregnant.  when I’m most certainly not!  Did I have a reaction to  wheat? Within a few hours all had settled back down again but the incident made me wonder if there is anything else that I ought to be avoiding…  I’ve made an initial appointment with a food tolerance expert to see what else I can be doing.

You may remember that I’m on a slightly restricted diet anyway due to my insulin resistance.  When I first started getting diagnosed with my many maladies, I was told I had PCOS and insulin resistance.  For the insulin resistance, I was told to limit my carbohydrate intake to 20g per meal per day; I started lose weight and feel like my old self after a month or two.  Of course, I was depressed and my endometriosis diagnosis was in my future.  My entire life needed changing in order to feel happy but the change of diet was a good start.  At that point I didn’t notice any odd bloating, but so many things on my body seem to have given up working since then that I feel a bit of a lemon!

My interest was piqued when one of the gals at work did a food-intolerance test just about three weeks ago and now she’s been following the regime and she’s looking amazing.  I don’t know how much weight she’s lost but because she’s only taking on board exactly what she needs, her body is obviously happier for it.

Foxy

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So Tired

I could easily miss a step, fall over like a tree in the forests and be asleep half-way to the floor.  I didn’t sleep well Thursday night.  The past few days I’ve had problems with what Helios calls “defecation frenzy”.  I didn’t miss work but I have had to take more time than usual to attend to calls of nature.  Thursday it was 4 or 5.  Friday it was 8.  This morning so far it’s been two and I’ve decided that I probably need to fast now to get it out of my system.

I dreamt last night I was in the US.  I was in the car with Foxxy (an old friend who, in real life, shares my name but with a slightly different spelling) and her boyfriend.  They were chatting away in the front of the car and, every so often, they would giggle at a shared joke.  I contented myself with looking outside the window.  We drove for some time to another city.  It was a beautiful journey – I couldn’t help but notice how green the grass looked.  The US is so vast!  For some time we didn’t see another car or person – which doesn’t happen in England.  It was pristine and I thought that if all of the US was so beautiful I wouldn’t mind living there.  However, things weren’t as nice when we got to the city: people seemed to be crossing the road any old where and we had to swerve to dodge them.  It reminded me a little of where my sister used to live – with University students flooding the streets to get to their next class on time.

We finally arrived at our destination: we were visiting our friend at the hospital.  I remember him from high school but cannot remember his full name.  He’s called John and he was in our gang.  He was the one that wore the T-shirt “I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person.”  He had had a car accident and had a number of broken bones.

We parked well away from the building to avoid paying the parking fees.  I put one sock on but the other fell down a crevasse.  I could have retrieved it but I didn’t.  I just put my shoe on my right foot.

I worried that the smell of the place would make me sick.  When I was in high school I made the mistake of visiting a friend who’d had a car accident and the smell made me sick – I had to run to the toilet!  Very embarrassing!

We weren’t allowed to see John immediately – which was a good thing.  I didn’t notice any overpowering smell – so I was OK there.  I started gearing myself up to see a John that looked a lot worse than he probably was (in order to honestly say how good I thought he looked) and I thought of things to tell him like “You look just like you did in high school – except for the odd broken bone of course!”

We were shown to a seat near a TV where there were some patients and visitors.  The visitors didn’t look worried – they looked dirty – like how I’d expect the residents of Dale Farm to look.  Dale Farm is a Gypsy site in Essex that has recently evicted half its residents because they only had permission for a certain number of mobile homes.  The story made national news and, politically, I found myself siding with the local council.  I just don’t understand the traveller way of life in order to understand their plight or why they choose to live the way they do.

In the dream I didn’t pay them any attention.  I was pacing and worried that I’d lost my right sock because (and we all know how odd dreams are) even though I’ve not seen John for at least 20 years, he’d given me that pair of socks and I didn’t want him to think that I’d lost one.  The next thing I know all the other visitors leave and Kate, my line manager and someone I really respect, smiled at me and said “We have to ask them to move – they’re always wanting to sell us their dead.”

I woke up with the word “Dead” ringing in my ears.

When Helios got up I told him that I thought I ought to fast today to get my bowel back to normal.  Helios suggested that indigestion may have an effect on our dreaming.  Then he said I should take a paracetamol and codeine.  I can’t help but remember what he said about his time in Kenya– he came back with a “shit yourself thin” diet!  Thursday I was uncomfortable but in a good mood all day.  Friday I felt a bit worse and grouchy.  Today I’m hungry and afraid to eat lest I suffer with more bowel trouble…

I’m going to have to go back to bed.

Foxy

Five things Friday

  1. I cannot stand Cricket.  I find it painfully boring.
  2. My mom will be sad to read that I’m still having problems with my feet.  The tendons on the soles of my feet – particularly the one linking my big toes and my heels – occasionally experience a momentary white hot pain that makes me immediately stop walking.  It’s not a daily problem but it’s more and more regular – especially if I walk a lot.  I have a new appreciation for my feet.  If I have the same foot problem that Mom does it’s another chronic condition called plantar fasciitis and is characterised by inflammation of the feet.  OUCH!  At the moment I treat my feet by doing a lot of stretching, and massage with calendula oil.  It helps but doesn’t prevent more pain.
  3. I was delighted that my sister sent me a link to inspire my blog-writing.  More details of that in the days to come…
  4. I love cooking and not just cookies.  I make a great risotto, baked salmon, chilli con carne, chicken stroganoff, curry, etc.  It’s another way to be creative.  I also use cooking to express my love for someone.
  5. I’ve temporarily given up on the Endometriosis Tea.  While I find it terribly tasty, I also find myself wondering if it will counter-indicate with my birth control pills.  Does anyone want my leftover ingredients to give it a go?

Cookies

Yesterday I made a double batch of chocolate chip cookies.  I sell them at work in order to raise money for Cancer ResearchUK.  I will be participating in a Relay for Life event in July and need to raise money.  Well, I don’t sell all of them, as Helios helps with the process I always make sure he has a few before I organise the rest to go to the office.

Feel healthy everyone!

Foxy

Embarrassing Bodies – Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Recently PCOS has featured a couple of times on the TV show: “Embarrassing Bodies” here in the UK.  As if having Endometriosis wasn’t bad enough, I’ve got PCOS as well.  I therefore had no problem identifying the PCOS sufferers on the programme.

As with endometriosis, PCOS can take a few years to diagnose.  In my case, I can almost understand the confusion when diagnosing: I don’t have the principal symptom of menstrual disturbance because I’ve been taking the birth control pill for so many years.  However, when I was a young teen, my symptoms included: acne (At one point I was on a course of tetracycline for my acne), a slight excess of hair growth (Hey Mom!  Remember how sensitive I was about developing a moustache when I was still in high school?!), skin tags and dandruff.  As far as I was concerned, my skin and hair couldn’t possibly be related to my ovaries!

Infertility is also a symptom and I was found to have the characteristic multiple small cysts in the ovaries during an ultrasound scan.  The three symptoms that define PCOS are: polycystic ovaries, raised male hormone levels and reduced ovulation.

Other symptoms for less lucky women include more severe male patterned hair growth and male patterned baldness.  For me, the excess dark facial hair and dark back hair were the obvious symptoms that identified the patients on Embarrassing Bodies.  I felt sorry for them and I feel I have to ask: how desperate must you be to go on national television in order to get treatment?  I don’t know why these people cannot seem to get treatment they need from their own doctors but I find it scandalous that someone would feel the need to parade themselves on national TV.  Could it be that people want to raise awareness for their maladies?  Or are they irretrievably stupid?

As with endometriosis, women with PCOS have a higher risk for other illnesses.  For PCOS these include high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, depression, cancer of the endometrium (uterine lining) and endometrial cancer (uterus).

While I’m not overweight, obesity is associated with PCOS.  I also have insulin resistance (which I regularly call prediabetes for ease of understanding).  Women with PCOS are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes – particularly if we have a family history of diabetes.

Like endometriosis, there is no cure for PCOS and treatment is normally directed to manifestations of PCOS: I am on a PCOS diet and may be prescribed with Metformin (Glucophage) should my insulin resistance symptoms worsen.  For women with particularly low oestrogen levels, they are given HRT patches.  Unfortunately for me, it was the HRT patches that worsened my endometriosis symptoms and ultimately made me beg for my third laparoscopy to clear the growing endo.  Balance of hormones is, for me, the trick that I’ve had to work to achieve.

Finally, like Endo, PCOS is frightfully common.  Research studies of women who had an ultrasound scan of their ovaries found that up to 1 in 4 women have polycystic ovaries.  Many of these women were otherwise healthy, ovulated normally and did not have high levels of mal hormones.  It is thought that up to 1 in 10 women have polycystic ovary syndrome (i.e. at least two of polycystic ovaries, raised male hormone levels and reduced ovulation) but it is thought that these figures may be higher.

Wishing us all a healthier tomorrow!

Foxy

PCOS Diet

Well, by PCOS I mean Insulin Resistance.  Studies show that up to 30% of women with PCOS have insulin resistance.  I’m one of the lucky few…  There is a lot of speculation that one may cause the other but so far it’s just a correlation connection.

When I don’t follow my diet, I feel almost drunk.  I have a woolly head, it’s as if there’s a cloud behind my eyes.  I’m clumsy.  I’m in a daydream with no way to come back to reality.  I’m not myself.  However, when I do follow my diet I am my normal switched-on self.  I am accurate at work.  I feel like myself.  It’s worth the effort to keep to the diet!

Weekday mornings

  • 2 pieces of low-GI bread toasted with cheese melted on top.
  • 2 hard boiled eggs

Weekday afternoons

  • One ready meal with extra chicken and spinach or
  • One enormous salad (including spinach, chickpeas, olives and cucumber) with one full tin of tuna

Weekday evenings

Meal must revolve around vegetables and meat.  I regularly have:

  • Pizza but not eat most of the crust.  Helios likes to eat the bones.
  • Chicken stroganoff made in the slow cooker with brown rice or brown pasta and peas.
  • Fish and chips with peas – heavy on the fish.
  • Sausage and lentil stew made in the slow cooker.  This is a great recipe with chicken broth, tomatoes, onion and carrots as well as sausage and lentils.  I usually throw some thyme in for extra flavour.
  • Burgers with salad

 

You get the idea.  When I’m very strict, I aim to eat only 20 grams of carbohydrate per meal per day.  I’m not always that strict.  Sometimes I allow myself some fruit and yoghurt after the evening meal.

At the weekend I allow myself a bit more variety:

Weekend mornings:

  • Two pieces of low GI bread toasted with cheese melted on top with Mexican beans and an egg.  Sometimes I add olives or jalapeno peppers as well.  It may sound disgusting (and Helios thinks it looks and smells like cat/dog food) but I’m not allowed cereal nor anything fruity.  I’ve discovered that the best way for me to control my symptoms starts with breakfast!

Weekend afternoons:

  • Two pieces of low GI bread toasted with tuna or chicken or turkey and tomato and spinach.  I am allowed mayonnaise and I have been known to use lashings of it in my sandwiches shaped like doorstops!

Weekend evenings:

  • Similar to any other evening.  I don’t mind simple, straightforward meals during the day but I do feel the need for variety in the evenings.  I like cooking and enjoy taking the time to make a full English roast or chicken parmesan.  Delicious!

Foxy

 

 

Foxy Returns

I stopped publishing for a bit and then I stopped writing for a little while.

There was an incident that made me stop writing.  On Monday 26th July I was getting my usual lift home from work.  Normally I am dropped off just down the road and round the corner from my flat (It’s not quite a 5 minute walk from where I get collected/dropped off on the days that I carpool.) when 5 boys came around the corner and were walking towards me.  The one walking ahead of the rest rummaged around in his shorts until he found what he was looking for and then proceeded to try and show it to me.  Unfortunately it was so small that I didn’t get a glimpse of it until I was only a pace or two away from him but I did see a cock the size of a Tic-Tac.  Or rather, I only saw the head of his tiny Tic-Tac Cock.  I was so angry that, as they walked by I shouted “Not very impressive!”  The little rodents shouted out something to me that I couldn’t hear because I was so angry.  If he hadn’t had 4 friends behind him I would have been more tempted to beat the crap out of them but just the fact that he had so many reinforcements put me off.  What kind of insignificant low-life has to do something like that to make himself feel like a man?  And what kind of microscopic penis would really think that I would like seeing his tic-tac cock?

Up to the time of the incident I was already having a typical Monday.  I managed to lose my watch at lunchtime and found myself racing to all the places I’d been in order to try and find it.  I was upset at losing it partly because I knew that replacing it would cost me £40 or so that I hadn’t budgeted for but also because Helios had given it to me in the first place.  Needless to say I gave up and ordered the replacement (exactly the same as the one I’d lost) and coughed up the £40.

That night Helios gave me a cuddle and offered to meet me where I get dropped off.  He didn’t think that they’d be stupid enough to come back but we both knew that no one would try anything that stupid with him around – not because Helios looks like a serial killer but because bullies only go after people they think are weak.  But, as with most of my short walks home, no one else has been around.  Helios now thinks that it was a bunch of boys who, since school is officially out for the summer, decided to have a little fun at my expense and I’m inclined to agree with him because I’ve not seen them before and probably won’t again.

In the end I did ring the police but they couldn’t help.  The police were helpful and sympathetic. He reminded me that I live in a very safe area and that they are keen to catch who did this.  He did give me a phone number for victim of crime support but I’m not sure I’ll use it.  Yes, I am still angry but I’m determined that they will not effect my life in any way.  Having said that, I only feel safe in the office and at home in the flat with Helios.  I’ve stopped going on my morning gym walk.  I bought some wasp spray (because the public in this country cannot legally buy pepper spray) but I’ve not had the courage to go on the walks with or without the spray.  As I say, I may ring the number, I might not.  As the days go by, I feel more confident but then I get to the spot where it happened and I’m grateful that Helios has come to meet me as I’m dropped off by my carpooling friend.

In the meantime I’ve had a horrible time sleeping generally.  I keep going over what I could have said to them instead – “Don’t I know your mother?  She’ll be so proud when I ring her tonight!” or “My husband killed for the SAS – no one will ever find your body!” but ultimately I force myself to remember that there were five boys in total and I ought to count myself lucky that it wasn’t an incident that turned violent.

The first Monday after the incident was very stressful.  I barely slept from anxiety and came out in a rash over my face, back and on my left arm and my right leg.  Helios has continued collecting me from the drop off point since the incident and he said that he’s happy to carry on until I tell him that I’ll meet him at home one evening.  I cried a little in the office that first week and I was initially afraid that I would have a breakdown or need prozac.  I was so angry that it took several days for me to try and get over it.  I’m still angry but not losing as much sleep now.

As always, Helios has been a rock.  At one point during the first week after the incident, I told him that I was still so angry and he just said “me too”.  He’s simply there for me.  If I want to talk about it or not.  Just having him around helps me feel calm and safe.

Luckily I’m not off to see the in-laws and Apollo and Maia until 14th August so I’m hoping that my rashes (some now have a scab over them) fade quickly!  Otherwise I may feel compelled to tell them what happened and I don’t want them to get the wrong idea and think badly of me.

As you can imagine, the incident has overshadowed other events in my life but that doesn’t mean that nothing else is happening.  I’ve had my first period after 8 weeks of birth control pills.  I was hoping that the period would be easier than it turned out to be but it’s still not so bad that I’m begging for surgery.  I did have what I’m calling a “ghost period” at week 4 when my body seemed determined to have a period and I just kept taking the tablets.  Luckily my light spotting and other symptoms only lasted a few days.  However, I have been suffering with exhaustion for the past 3 weeks or so.  I don’t know if it’s psychological because I know I’ve got a little more than a week off soon or if it is accompanying my running pill-packs together or even if I’m just run down and fighting off a cold but, for the past 2 weekends (and I expect this weekend will be no exception) I’ve had an extra nap on Saturday and Sunday.  The first weekend in particular that I did this (24th and 25th July) I was so tired on the Saturday that I was crying in the kitchen when I made sandwiches for lunch.

I’m still having wild dreams.  The most recent was very short.  I was with an old friend who introduced me to the Navy guy I dated at University.  Mom, you remember him, don’t you?  Anyway, this guy said that he was sorry to hear about Helios and wanted to know if I would be interested in his old friend again?  Without pondering why I’d ever be without Helios, I remembered the Navy guy’s body and Helios.  At 20 the Navy guy wasn’t nearly as well decked out as my Helios is at 40 so I said “Thanks but no thanks.”  I think the thought that I would be without Helios stems from a conversation I had with the carpool lady earlier that evening.  As usual, I can’t quite remember how we get onto subjects but we usually put the world to rights by the time we make it to my stop.  The carpool lady is just lovely and, since she has saved me a small mountain of cash, I’m already looking for something special for her birthday in September.

This weekend coming is (hopefully) going to be uneventful.  Helios is working this evening and then again on Sunday but he so rarely does overtime that I’m not complaining.  I may take the opportunity to have another massive clear out.

The good news is that I had a great time during my Relay for Life event to raise money for Cancer Research UK.  I was part of a team that walked around a small track for 24 hours.  Needless to say, I preferred to look after myself – since I have to eat at certain times and really need my sleep.  I only helped out the next morning.  My team raised about £2000 and I enjoyed it tremendously.

Foxy