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


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.


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!


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!


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.


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!


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!


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.


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.