Chapter 1…

chapter 1 edit

These past few days have been days of “firsts”…

The most important “first” was my first period…

Obviously not my first period EVER (I wish!!) but my first period since surgery.

I was warned by multiple people who have had the same (or similar) surgery to me, that the first period after surgery would be hell on earth, and they certainly weren’t lying!!

Yesterday I woke up in absolutely agony, thinking, “oh god, my uterus is trying to kill me, AGAIN!”

It got progressively worse throughout the day, despite painkillers and another first (the first bath since before my surgery!)

However, I am really trying to be positive.

It’s difficult because I really thought surgery would help go a long way to solving my pain, and at the moment it is really feeling like it hasn’t.

But… having read countless stories like mine, this doesn’t seem to be unusual so soon after surgery, and I’m hoping next month (well, firstly, that it well actually be next month and not two weeks like it has been for the past year) I won’t be in as much pain.

As a result of aforementioned first period, I am not really feeling much better. I am also incredibly bored, trying to rest and relax at home, it’s much more difficult than I ever imagined.

Anyway… let’s loop back, because this post is getting both boring and tedious, rather like my day to day life at the moment!

Another first… I’ve just ordered a pair of maternity jeans off eBay.

Yes, you read that right… maternity jeans!

Currently I am still HUGE, or rather, my stomach is still HUGE.

I am supposed to be visiting beautiful Paris with my best friend and her family at the end of July, and I am concerned I will still be huge when I travel. I currently can’t fit into any of my normal clothes and am slobbing around in pjs for most of the day. The only times I have been dressed in relatively ‘normal’ clothes have been the handful of times I’ve left the house, and even then I’ve been wearing a maxi dress or loose joggers. I am really trying to not feel negative about the fact that I look like I have a pregnancy bump when it’s the absolute opposite, and rather try to embrace the fact I am slowly getting better and this is part of the healing process. That being said, I am so uncomfortable and so nervous about looking awful in Paris, that I’ve succumbed to maternity jeans in a bit to be comfortable and look relatively nice too. Any other suggestions would be much appreciated, as we have a charity event to go to on the first evening as well, and I have no idea what I will wear to that!

I guess the fact I am focusing on these kinds of things means I am getting better, as I’m not in complete and total agony all day everyday like I have been.

Now, time to watch some more White Collar and wish Matt Bomer was A) Not gay and B) My future husband!!

Neal_Caffrey's_moto

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“Oh my darling, you are nowhere near ready to go back to work…”

So today I saw the lady who is covering for my normal GP while she is on holiday. While I wouldn’t say I’m the world’s biggest fan of my GP after the battle I had to fight for a diagnosis, I do like her, and there is something remotely comforting about the familiarity of seeing the same person every time you go in to talk about your “female problems” (which, for me, has probably been on at least a bi-monthly basis for the past 12 months).

This “cover doctor” (is that what you call them?! I’m not sure what you call them! You can tell I’m a teacher!! ‘If there’s somebody doing someone else’s job while they’re absent they must be a cover blah blah because the lady teaching my classes while I’m off is a cover teacher.’) Anyway, the queen of digressions has digressed again!

Where were we?

Ah, yes.

Cover doctor.

A petite, white-haired woman at least in her early 60s, who turned out to be the bolshiest (is that even a word?! Well, it is now, I’ve decided!) Swedish woman I’d ever met (and, believe it or not, I have met quite a few Swedish women in my time!)

I sat down, a little petrified, and also sweating from the crazy hot flushes that seem to be plaguing my otherwise “young” body at the moment (that’s what everybody keeps saying to me, y’know, “Oh you’re young, you’ll get through this no problem!” Like that isn’t annoying in the slightest…). I was worried for the following reasons

  1. It wasn’t my normal doctor and I really didn’t want to explain everything all over again.
  2. I was worried about being told to take more time off work when I want to be there, and I miss it, and I miss my colleagues, and I miss my kids (and the list goes on and on and on….despite the fact I tell aforementioned kids to never ever use ‘and’ more than once in the same sentence!)
  3. I have severe social anxiety anyway (yeah, I know, hilarious for a teacher!!) and am always incredibly self-critical and conscious of what people are thinking about me… or, rather, what I think people are thinking about me, because, contrary to what my brain tells me a lot, I am not a mind reader! Funnily enough, this anxiety only kicks in when I’m around adults… never children!

With these things in mind, I take you back to little old me, with my huge tummy, sitting, sweating profusely, on a little red plastic chair, in front of Swedish-cover-doctor-lady.

I opened my mouth and uttered the words, “12 days ago I had a laparoscopy with excision of endometriosis, as well as a…”

She stopped me there.

Not so much as interrupted me, but stopped my speil.

“Oh my darling, you are nowhere near ready to go back to work yet… 12 days…. zis is serious surgery my dear. Let me look at ze notes.”

(I am aware here that in typing her accent I could be seen to be partaking in a little cultural appropriation, but I am not, this is exactly how she sounded, and it was unexpectedly comforting for me!)

Cover doctor studied the letter sent by Dr Busby (remember, my amazing, wonderful, brilliant, miracle-worker of a gynaecologist?!) (That sounded sarcastic… it’s not meant to be, I do literally worship this woman!).

She then asked me to lay down on the bed.

“I vill examine at your tummy.”

As it turns out, she didn’t really need to…. the moment I pulled my dress up there was a sharp intake of breath and cover doctor said,

“Oh my goodness, my poor darling, no you are not healed, you must rest, you must sleep, you must get better.”

It would have been comical if it wasn’t so disturbingly true.

She did examine me. I just wanted to clarify that – so you all know Swedish cover doctor is doing her job properly!

She also took my temperature and was really not impressed! Apparently it was “borderline” and I have to monitor it very closely as I could be developing an infection.

Oh the joys!

She explained to me that while my external wounds may look small, my internal wounds are not and that I had had major surgery and should not take that lightly.

Suitably dressed down and actually also feeling a little relieved, I left with a sick note for a further two weeks.

I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about this, but I know I must take the doctor’s advice. I can’t afford to make myself worse by not recovering and healing properly, as I most certainly don’t want more surgery and more time off work (especially when I’m in a job I love so much!)

So, my lovely, ever-growing list of followers… Please promise me something…

Promise me you will make sure I rest properly and take time to heal?

I am rubbish at sitting around, sleeping, resting, doing pretty much nothing, but that is what I need to do. If I am to get better, I need to listen to my body rather than my mind for once.

Now… how do I go about relaxing?!

The Biggest Wobble Yet…

Today I feel awful.

I honestly feel like I can’t go on anymore.

All my positivity has completely vanished out of me and I feel completely broken.

My body isn’t happy – I know this because I know my own body.

I am in agony.

I have tried to get back to normal and, every time, my body tells me “no” “You’re absolutely not ready yet, stop trying to push yourself. Go home, sleep and rest.”

Nobody told me recovery would be the hard part.

I thought I would have my surgery and I would get better.

Alright, I knew there would be a bit of time while my wounds healed.

But then I’d be back to normal – surely?

Well, not even normal, the normal I was before this goddamn illness stole who I was.

That’s the thing with endometriosis, and I’m honestly starting to wonder…

Do you ever go back to the way you were?

Do you ever have a ‘normal’ life again?

Does it ever truly go away?

I know there’s no cure.

But the consultant made it seem like I stood a chance of being okay again.

“There’s a 30% chance it will come back.”

That’s a statistic I thought I could live with.

I foresaw me getting my life back. I saw me being pain free and having a future.

Right now, currently, in this moment, my pain is worse than before I had surgery.

My superficial wounds seem to be healing okay, but my internal ones don’t feel like they’re healing at all.

My hormones are all over the place – worse than ever before.

My pain is worse than it was and I’m still dosed up on cocodamol (which was supposed to be a short term solution, and I’ve now been on it for 3 months).

Today I’ve completed the tiniest of tasks and this has resulted in me drenched in sweat, sitting on my sofa, unable to move, sobbing my eyes out.

This is what I’ve done today:

  • Got up
  • Had a shower
  • Made my breakfast
  • Ate my breakfast
  • Watched Jeremy Kyle, This Morning, Loose Women and Judge Rinder
  • Looked at some school work then realised my brain fog wouldn’t let me do anything productive
  • Nipped out to the garden centre to buy some compost

Surely those don’t constitute strenuous tasks?

And it’s the same each time – I’m no better – there’s no marked improvement.

Since coming out of hospital a week last Friday I have left the house 3 times. One of those times was to be driven 5 minutes around the corner to my in laws house, where I ate lovely home cooked food and sat propped up on their sofa for 3 hours. Again, hardly strenuous tasks.

I’m petrified.

I am due back at work on Monday, and I literally have no idea how I’m going to teach for 5 hours a day when my body is like this.

I feel like I’m letting everyone down.

I’m part of a team and I haven’t been there to contribute for weeks.

I haven’t even been able to help them mark the piles of exam papers they undoubtedly have.

I feel like an awful, awful person. I am literally no use to anyone right now.

Everybody who has had this procedure span things in such a positive light. So much so, I thought I knew what was coming. I didn’t even hesitate signing that consent form. I thought I would be fine. In fact, I thought I would be more than fine, I thought I would be better. Now I’m wishing I’d just carried on dealing with the pain, because at least I was at work. At least I was doing something, instead of just being a huge pointless potato consuming ridiculous amounts of daytime TV and crying on my wonderful fiancé every time he gets home from work.

 

It’s okay to have a wobble…

Before I continue with this post, please know I am quintessentially, unequivocally and indisputably British. With this in mind, when I use the term “wobble” here, I do not mean it in the literal sense, I mean it in the very British sense of “having a moment” or “being upset for a short period of time in amongst feeling positive.”

Anyway…

Today I had a wobble, not whilst purchasing baby clothes, but after I got them home.

I should expand, shouldn’t I?

My hairdresser, who is much more than a hairdresser, leaves for maternity leave the week after next. I have my final appointment with her next Saturday.

This long-suffering woman has been colouring my hair, and being a rather poorly-paid therapist (on account of her clearly fulfilling two job roles in one, not because I’m making a dig at her employers and the wages they pay her, just to clear up any confusion!!) for the last ten years. We originally met when I was a weird 15 year old who had dyed her hair jet black, instantly regretted it, then unsuccessfully tried to lift the colour out of it. She promised me she would make my hair blonde again if it was the last thing she did – and she managed! The miracle-worker she is!!

She has listened to the ups and downs of my life, and I have listened to hers. This woman has become more of a friend than a hairdresser. So, when she announced she was pregnant, I couldn’t have been happier for her.

Today I picked up some gorgeous clothes, bibs etc for her little bundle’s imminent arrival.

Surprisingly, I enjoyed picking out the little blue sleep suits, hats, tiny mittens and socks. I thought, given my current circumstances, I would be really upset doing this. I wasn’t. I was still filled with some of the hope I had yesterday.

Normally this is the point in the story where the author would be dramatic and change course. I’m not going to do that. Things didn’t all come crashing down around me. I just had a wobble.

And that was all it was. A wobble.

I brought the clothes home, and I sat looking at them, coming to the realisation that, yet again, these gorgeous baby clothes were not for my baby, they were for someone else’s. That there would not be a baby in my household to wear the clothes. It would not be me waking up in the middle of the night, eyes bleary, completely exhausted, to experience those tender moments feeding my baby.

But it passed.

The wobble passed.

I didn’t spiral into huge hiccupy sobs.

I didn’t even shed one single, tiny tear.

I took a deep breath, I pushed those sort of thoughts to the back of my mind, and I wrapped the presents.

Out of sight, out of mind.

So to speak, anyway.

Just because I don’t have my bundle of joy yet doesn’t mean everybody else isn’t allowed to have theirs.

Just because sometimes I am unhappy because I am yet to have a successful pregnancy doesn’t mean I can’t be happy for those that do. Particularly those people closest to me who deserve happiness and a healthy baby.

One day it will be me, one day Mr Mad and I will have our mini-Mad and the last thing we would want is for somebody to feel sad because of that.

 

We are not living in eternity…

begin

It’s a week and one day since I had my op to remove endometriosis from most of my abdomen. Of course, if you’ve been following my mumblings and musings you’ll be more than aware of that already!

This morning I woke up and realised I still have a long way to go.

Yesterday I left the house for the first time since before my op and went for a short walk. It was difficult, but I managed. Then we had some lovely friends visit in the evening which ended up turning into a late one because we got talking and lost track of time! I don’t think this late night helped me much, as I had a very broken sleep and, as a result, have felt shitty all of today.

My fiancé is also back at work today, so I have to fend for myself! I am coping, just, but more than anything, I miss him! I thought we were at the point in our relationship where we didn’t have the longing to see each other and missing each other incredible amounts when we’re apart, because we’ve been together for so long! But today especially I am really missing his company and his humour! I am not normally this much of a sap, but apparently the events of the past year or so have turned me into one!!!

I am still clinging on to the hopeful feelings I felt at the start of the week. I am trying to remind myself of all the positive changes I decided to make, waking up from surgery. I had my first reflexology session yesterday, which was amazing. I have another session booked for next week. I am reading a book on the holistic methods to fertility and conceiving. I am also reading another book called “f**k it therapy” which is helping me to balance out my life and let go of all the negativity I seem to unwittingly harbour.

Slowly but surely I feel I am not so much on a new journey, but on a new section of my existing journey… a new path, if you like.

Many people, when asked what their dreams are and what they want, money being no object, they talk about travelling the world and going on crazy adventures. All I want, all I have ever wanted, is to bring up my own family. I am happy and grateful that I am on the path towards realising that dream. I may still have a long road ahead of me, I may not. Who knows?

But what I do know is, I’ve survived something massive.

Just now I received a copy of my consultant’s letter to my GP with regards to the surgery I had. Reading through it and seeing the words there in black and white really hits home to what I have been dealing with inside of me for all of this time. I now understand why I was in so much pain. I now understand why I couldn’t conceive.

“This patient had laparoscopic excision of endometriosis, adhesiolysis and hysteroscopy and endometrial biopsy today as planned. The operation was performed without incident.

The findings on hysteroscopy were a healthy cervix and normal cervical canal, regular uterine cavity with normal appearing endometrium. Both tubal ostia were seen. Laparoscopy revealed a normal uterus and normal tubes and ovaries bilaterally. There were significant amounts of endometriotic deposits in the ovarian fossae bilaterally, the pouch of Douglas and the utero-vesical fold. These were all excised in their entirety. The ureters were identified prior to excision. Her sigmoid colon was adherent to the left pelvic sidewall and these adhesions were released to facilitate safe surgery.”

I am so proud that my body has been through all of that and survived. I will be even prouder when my body creates a life and brings it into this world.

As women, I think we are fantastic. We are heroes. We are warriors.

I know most of my followers, as well as the people I follow on here, are lovely ladies who are struggling to conceive. I want to tell you to not give up hope. We will get there. We are strong and beautiful and we are fighters. We are not giving up. One day, we will hold our beautiful babies in our arms and we will realise all of this heartache, struggle, pain, pressure, lack of understanding from others, suffering and agony will all have been worth it.

Trust me.

Scar healing…

A slightly different post to my usual, but I thought it might be helpful for those of you who may be recovering from surgery relating to fertility like I am, who have existing scars from previous surgery, or have upcoming surgery and are concerned about scars.

I currently have four healing post-operative wounds. They are relatively small incisions from keyhole surgery, but are bothering me nonetheless, as I have never been sliced and stitched before. As mentioned in my previous posts, I also love my tummy, it’s one of my favourite parts of me! So I’m sure you can appreciate my concern, when my stitches dissolve, what my skin is going to look like underneath.

Previously I have used Bio Oil for a burn scar from a time I burnt myself on the iron. It healed pretty well by itself, with the aid of Bio Oil, but I found the solution rather moist and a little too oily for my liking.

I’ve been looking for something else on the market that I can use after my scabs have gone and stitches have dissolved.

Whilst browsing Twitter I came across something called ‘Remescar’. It’s recommended by acid attack survivor Katie Piper. There are some relatively positive reviews out there and it’s clearly endorsed by Katie herself.

I’m sending my lovely fiancé out today to buy some (as obviously I am still unable to move properly!), so I will let you know how it goes.

I’m thinking of posting updates, with pictures, once my stitches have dissolved and I start the Remescar treatment.

I’d be interested to know your thoughts throughout the process, as I think I have a tendency to be a bit of a harsh critic when it comes to myself.

intro-remescar-en

Post Op Day 5

Not a very inventive title, but still, I am here and I lived to tell the tale!

step right direction

A lot of the anxiety and awful, horrible, soul-crushing feelings I had appear to have drifted away during my anaesthetised state on Thursday evening.

I am sore.

Incredibly sore.

I cannot bear to look at myself in the mirror as my stomach and torso (once my favourite part of my body) is reminiscent of something Dr Frankenstein patched together in his laboratory.

However, I am here. I am okay. I am well on my journey into becoming a mummy now.

My gynaecologist is literally the greatest woman alive!

Honestly, I cannot thank her enough for everything she has done for me. She has given me hope again. I feel like I have my life back.

Yes, it’s early days. Yes, there’s no guarantee I will be totally pain free.

But I’ve made a HUGE step in the right direction.

So, my op lasted 2 hours longer than expected.

They found, to quote my doctor, “A LOT of endometriosis.”

She removed it all.

Hence more incisions than originally planned.

She also had, again, to quote, “A really good look” at my ovaries.

Guess what?

No cysts.

None at all.

do not have polycystic ovaries!!

Goodness only knows why my GP diagnosed me with that condition. I was angry immediately after receiving the diagnosis from my doctor after surgery because I’d just been left by my GP to live with a diagnosis of polycystic ovaries and the impending doom of probably never conceiving. But now I’m okay. My GP is a GP, not a gynaecologist. I got the help and expertise I needed and I’m en route to recovery now.

So there’s a 30% chance my endometriosis will come back.

But that’s okay. I will deal with that if and when it happens.

The main thing is, I have been told, by an expert in the field, I shouldn’t have any problems conceiving.

I feel great.

I feel hopeful.

I feel like I have a whole exciting future ahead of me all of a sudden.

Things are good.

Well, asides from the franken-belly and the fact that I currently cannot stand up or walk.

Things are good.