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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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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

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

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!

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