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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

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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

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

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

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