It’s an entirely different kind of flying, altogether.

Goodness me. My post yesterday blew up a bit – I’ve had a few messages to check in on me. Honestly, I am fine. I process things better when I write, so you’re gonna get this journey, warts and all because if I write about it, then I won’t stew on it. In turn, if my waffling helps someone else, then I have done my bit to leave the world a better place.

We have a date for the funeral, 23 July. I’m booking flights this week to land at Heathrow and spend the week with Ian, heading back home to land over the weekend so I can keep a OBGYN pants off appointment on Monday 30 July.

Ladies, the things we do.

I can’t change that appointment, I’ll be waiting for ages to get in again – it’s my second review after surgery to check my stitches.

I’ve also had to pull out the 10km run I was doing (Run Melbourne) with Kath as I’m either going to be mid-air coming into land, or on the way home from the airport.

Today BossLady took me for lunch, we both had a list of things to talk about, but instead we just went for lunch and chatted. It was nice to get out the office and other than my interview, it was the longest time we’d been able to spend together on our own.

As an aside, I’ve not been there a month and my mailbox is full. To say I had a sense of humour failure about that would be an understatement. Not least because, whatever they’ve done (aside from giving us microscopic mailboxes) when you archive something – you can’t search for it in Outlook again. I’ve got some training and a meeting tomorrow, but in the afternoon I’m going to have a chat to IT to work out WTF.

I dialled into Book Club last night, in bed with a cup of tea. It’s all glamour. It was good chatting to everyone, although not the same as being face-to-face. When it was time for me to leave home I thought ‘Well, I could drive there ok, but when it’s time to go home – I’ll be too tired’.

Poor Hubs, last night I asked him to pass me my splint (like a custom mouth guard so I don’t clench my jaw overnight), he was watching the end of the Grand Prix, so I popped my eye mask on, ear plug in – again glamour puss. The next thing I remember is him shaking me awake to say goodbye as he headed off to get the bus and train to work.

I think the Valerian worked!

Surgery recovery

The days are melding into each other. Some days I sleep, some days I don’t. I have visitors that I have to book in, because doing too much tires me out more than I thought it would.

I’m not doing much reading, my plans for a 100 books this year are up the wahoo by now. I can’t concentrate on the words, or I find myself reading the same paragraph over and over again.

I have churned through TV and movies though; Stranger Things, The Fix, and The Cook and The Chef, Nigella and Rick Stein on SBS on demand.

My periods have been the bane of my life pretty much since they showed up. After a buffet of medications, trial and error (including two mirena implants) on 8 April I had my long-awaited hysterectomy. I was first on the list for Simon’s afternoon surgery, went into theatre about 1:30pm. I can remember crying from a mixture of relief and happiness as I was put under.

After that, time is relative…

Random photos on my phone while I was still groggy, show I got taken to the ward about 5pm. Hubs and Archie came to visit, I was in pain, but while I sat up in bed eating I FaceTimed them to show Arch I was feeling better.

About an hour after that, I barfed my food back up again. It was the single most easiest vomit I’d ever done, I know – TMI, but it was instrumental in pain relief as it meant I got a second bag of tramadol :D I was helped by the nurse on shift overnight, Olivia, who helped me tidy myself up and clean my teeth. My tummy settled and Olivia and another nurse gave me some morphine tablets. I put my audiobook on, earbuds under my pillow and an ear plug in and I got three straight hours of most excellent wafting.

In the morning I was visited by Simon and two of his doctors who showed me the requested photo of my uterus, (huge, chock-full of fibroids) all three inspected my wounds. I staggered to the bathroom, had a shower, sitting down in a chair, but still bliss; my dressings were changed and I was sent home. Less than 24 hours after surgery.

I was sent home so quickly, the physiotherapist missed me completely. The social worker managed a corridor conversation with us to make sure I wasn’t going home on my own, this was interrupted by the pharmacist who took my prescription and told us she’d meet us at the pharmacy. The Mercy oncology department (don’t stress, Simon is a specialist in difficult cases) have decamped to another part of The Austin while plumbing works take place in the Mercy tower; they’re the only department that can be transferred into and out of the Austin. All the preemies, OBGYNs and other specialised lady-bits doctors and departments have been moving up and down the tower floors while the works take place. The ward the oncology department are working from is in the Harold Stokes tower, basically I was on was on the other side of a large hospital. I was as weak as a kitten and my insides felt like they were falling out, there was no way I was going to be able to walk to the car.

Aman, a lovely porter who also refilled my water jug first thing in the morning, took me to the pharmacy in a wheelchair. Hubs got me the hard-drugs from the pharmacist and Aman popped us all in the lift. I managed to get from the lift to the car, then thought ‘Oh shit’. My mouth was dry, I felt dizzy and really quite awful.

We stopped at the 711 around the to get me some water, I swallowed some pain relief and sucked on an anti-nausea pill then Hubs gingerly drove home. For a 20 minute journey, it took hours. Getting out the car my lips were blue and teeth were chattering. Archie took my shoes off, I crawled into bed and stayed there for two days.

Three weeks later, all the work I’d done leading up to the surgery was worth it; I’m walking and recovering well. I am listening to my body, if I do a bit too much it’s counterbalanced out with a nap. I’m not in any pain and already my energy levels are improving. I’ve still got a few weeks off work to carry on resting up and I’ve got an appointment with a trainer at the gym the week after next. I don’t want to go charging back to the gym, I need an all-round, gentle program to get me back to fitness.

The pathology results came back as benign, Simon called me himself to let me know. I really couldn’t have been in safer hands. I’m going to miss hanging out with him every six months.

Well, that explains a lot

I had an ultra sound last Thursday; the technician was awesome, she explained everything that was going on all the way through the appointment. Short story, I have endometriosis.

She asked heaps of questions; how long I’d been struggling with my periods – um, for as long as I can remember? Was I ever in pain – yes. On and on we went. We found lesions all the way through my uterus, luckily it hasn’t migrated anywhere else, but it looks like it’s done enough damage as it is.

I am acutely aware I’m very lucky as all my organs are moving around freely, nothing like a good stomach palpitation to check that out *crosses eyes*. Other women who have this condition diagnosed can have lesions that migrate around their abdomen, causing all sorts of problems when it adheres to different structures.

Unlike most, I don’t actually remember my first period. but I remember thinking I had it one evening before a swimming club Christmas disco. I do know my periods always had a big impact on my moods, my life. Some days I was so sluggish in swimming races I didn’t even make my qualifying time (to get our entry fees back); a time a few weeks earlier that I’d been able to meet with ease. I remember one 200m breaststroke heat at Crystal Palace, it felt like I was swimming through treacle. My parents and coach were disappointed, I did the second turn (50m pool) and was in tears through the underwater phases, everyone in my heat had turned miles ahead of me. I just had to keep on going otherwise I’d be disqualified. I was just too slow, my arms and legs going through the motions, but not getting me anywhere.

As I hurtle towards the menopause, I do wonder how much longer I can do this. Sitting at my desk on broiling hot days with hot water bottles on my stomach, carrying undies around ‘just in case’. Le sigh. To add insult to injury, I’m now going to have to see my GP for paracetamol and codeine – from February, the hard stuff isn’t available over the counter any longer, which is a good thing. Unless you need it because you can’t move and are curled up in a ball in bed, as I can’t now send Hubs to get it for me. [As an aside, if you can’t get into your GP to help manage long-term pain issues, what do you do?]

I cannot believe that a few days shy of my 43rd birthday, probably thirty years after they first announced themselves, I get this diagnosis. The technician also said to me last week that if it was any consolation, my ovaries are in overdrive with heaps of active follicles. No, it wasn’t any consolation thank you very much. o.O To my girls who have struggled through trying for, IVF-ing or miscarriage – I’m sorry that apparently I’m a veritable battery chicken over here.

Anyhoo, I see my OB/GYN early next month as what precipitated this entire event is that the mirena that I’d been ‘given’ decided of it’s own accord to fall out just before Christmas. Simon wrote “any changes to periods, refer back to me” Thank goodness, the ultrasound was the first part of investigating what the umpity-ump is going on. It’s a start, and hopefully the end as I argued for and lost the battle to have a hysterectomy a few years ago. But I’m done. I am sooooo done.

periods

Picture credit – the inimitable Sarah Anderson