Recent Hurdle

(Note: This could be distressing, caution advised)

That morning started like any other morning.

Up at 7am, dressed and out the door by 8:15am. I felt good. So good, I had heels on.

As I made the commute to work, I sang my heart out. Singing along to my Disney playlist, I was happy.

About 10 minutes away from the office, I felt a strange twinge in my side. With my insides being as angry as they are, god knows this wasn’t anything new. However, the severity of the pain and the rapid onset was. How I made it to the office, I’ll never know, I can’t remember the rest of the drive. Something was very wrong.

I abandoned my car just outside the building, fearing I wouldn’t be able to walk the distance from the car park. I could barely walk. It took all my strength to stay standing. The pain was so intense I had to hunch over, taking slow steps, like an old lady.

I could hardly breathe.

I stumbled into the building, the first to arrive, I clutched the walls as I staggered to the bathroom. How is it possible to feel like I was going to be sick, pass out and scream all at once? What was happening?

This agonising pain increased from 1-10 in just twenty minutes. I didn’t have time to reach for my rescue meds, to apply a heat pad, to do anything. I was alone & scared. Shaking, I dialled my husband’s number. Knowing he would be busy at work, I held my breath, squeezing my eyes shut against the pain.

Between sobs, I cried for the receptionist to pass the phone to my husband.

In all the time I have been struggling with Endometriosis and pain flares, this was the only time where I’ve made a conscious decision to call an ambulance.

Nick reassured me, told me to call 999. I did.

As I was on the phone to the emergency services, my manager walked in. She took one look at me and took over. She will never know how grateful I am that she was there, with me, that day. I laid my head on the desk, crumpled in pain, trying to breathe, trying to stay conscious.

I felt like I was dying. The pain was so bad. Something was very, very wrong.

Three calls later, we were told help was on the way. It felt like it would never come. Just when I thought I couldn’t hold on, Jade said, “Oh! They’re here now.”

The sigh of relief I released was immense. In that second, I thanked everything that they made it.

Like angels, the paramedics swooped in and immediately took over. They took one look at me and hooked me up to Gas & Air. I then had lots of stickies on, that told them how my heart was doing. It felt like it was aching.

‘Why is this happening? Again?’

I had to shuffle to the ambulance, a paramedic by my sides, sucking on the gas.

It was all hazy as I drifted in and out of pain. I remember Jade wishing me well, giving me my bag and then we were on the way to the hospital.

I laid on the gurney, unable to straighten my legs out. It was like my body instinctively knew to curl into itself, to guard against pain.

I winced against the jerky movements of the ambulance as it stopped and reversed at the hospital. And again I was awash with relief as the ambulance driver opened the doors and I heard, “Is this your husband?”

I lifted my head and our eyes locked. And I cried. I knew that I could collapse because I knew I could lean on Nick, that he would watch out for me and pick me up again.

I was wheeled into A&E and I braced myself for the onslaught of questions…

“What’s your name? Date of birth? What’s happened Aimee? How is your pain now?”

It was the same routine, just a new hospital and new faces. These doctors didn’t know me.

I think every woman with Endometriosis struggles with new doctors, reliving all the traumas, the medical history and desperately trying to make the professionals see how bad the pain is, what it’s like and that it’s not all in your head.

The notion that I might not be taken seriously and discharged is always a very real fear, in any hospital visit.

Luckily, something was shining down on me. I was blessed with a very understanding doctor who could read the pain written all over my face. She overruled other doctors and some less-empathising members of the nursing staff, she held my hand as I cried and rolled around the bed in pain.

She heard my “Please. Please help me.” and answered…

with morphine.

There’s always a question that I dread, not because the doctors have to ask it, but because I have to answer. “Aimee, could you be pregnant?”

Something squeezes around my heart each time, I answer in the negative.

Despite my constant rambling about previous surgeries and cysts and MRI results and ovulation pain stories and pain killer lists, there still seemed to be a lot of confusion about what was actually happening to me.

Some theories were:

  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Appendicitis
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • Some sort of infection

All theories that I’ve heard before, bouncing around my head. Theories that have all been proven wrong. This was my Endometriosis.

The doctors, thorough as they were, insisted on an Ultrasound scan and an X-Ray.

By this point, I had been given paracetamol, a diclofenac suppository and a whole lotta morphine, along with the two tramadol I had taken myself whilst still at work. I know I sound like a drug addict. But that’s just how bad the pain was. I can’t even describe it now, like I’ve blocked it out.

I could barely stand still for the chest X-Ray. I held onto the machine, my legs shaking, biting my lip to keep from crying out. It was all too familiar, all too much. I lowered myself back onto the gurney. The Radiologist hurrying to make a call to the Ultrasound department. She managed to squeeze me in, luckily. That meant that I wouldn’t have to wait for 7 hours for a scan.

I was taken back to A&E before being taken to the ward. I would be admitted. I was shown to a bed, and waited as my husband went to the car to collect my overnight bag (as practised as we are at this, he knew I would need it).

While I drifted in and out of restless sleep, the drugs starting to overpower my senses, the doctor came. I struggled through an internal exam, I gritted my teeth against the dismissal of my accounts. The gynaecologist told me everything would be fine, told me it wasn’t a problem with my cysts, or my Endometriosis. I couldn’t understand what else it could be. Dazed, I returned to my bed, texted my husband, who quickly returned and wanted to speak with the doctor.

She retracted her original comments, telling Nick she suspected the Endometriosis was the culprit, along with an internal infection. I was filled with antibiotics; a large dose via IV and 2 lots of oral antibiotics. What had caused the infection? 

I will never know.

I was discharged the next day, after being told I should have plenty of medication and pain relief at home and should therefore be able to manage the pain. I was ensured that things should start to improve now I was on the antibiotics.

I doubt that there was ever any infection.

When I had failed to ovulate after stopping the zoladex injections, my doctor prescribed me Clomid. This drug works by stimulating the ovaries, to encourage ovulation. I believe that the Clomid irritated my ovary (and in turn, the attached cyst), increased its size, which then aggravated my Endometriosis and caused the flare up. The fluid in my pelvis, could have been just another consequence of this.

And following a tense few weeks, waiting for a hospital appointment, my Gynaecology specialist confirmed this… Right before he offered me a ‘final’ solution.

I think that’s enough offloading for now, don’t you? Just know that I am incredibly appreciative of all the support and light I have received, and I will be alright in the end – after all this will only be a small part of my journey.

xo

Advertisements

Things I wish I’d said Vol.1

safety-pin-lips-things-i-nver-said

Things I wanted to say but never did:

  1. There are more important things in life than making sure your eyebrows are symmetrical. I’m sure the feller running late for work, or the overworked carer just finished from a night shift, or the mother juggling a lunchbox, book-bag, P.E. kit and a whiney child on the school run- have all failed to notice your wobbly brows. Relax. 
  2. Don’t think I didn’t catch that, you’re not subtle. -Responding to every person and their facial expression after they hear the age difference between my husband and I (FYI, it’s 16 years and IDGAF – he’s a GOD). We neither want nor need your approval.
  3. No I don’t like drinking and if that makes me boring, I’m fine with that. But good for you and your 6th glass of JD- crack on. I’m happy being out, with my Coke- I don’t feel sad and you don’t have to pity me or pressure me into a vodka shot. Thanks though, and good luck with your hangover.
  4. I don’t have my life figured out yet and I don’t have a 5 Year plan. Does this make me anxious? Sometimes, yes. But you’re not making it any easier by mentioning it or looking at me with “poor you” eyes.
  5. Did you forget we all went to the same school? Yes I was there, witnessing your Tango years and seeing you bully others less confident than yourself. Remember that before you look down your nose at me from the top of your ridiculously high heels.
  6. “Have you tried…? What about…? That tablet is crap…” – Yes, please tell me how you’re going to cure my chronic illness, and please list all the things I’ve already tried while I smile and nod with my mouth tight shut (I know you mean well)
  7. I am 26 years old. I know to look both ways before crossing a road, I know not to talk to strangers and I always take care (thank you Grandad, ILY). You don’t need to remind me to drive safe or eat plenty of vegetables, I have managed to live this long without (too much) mishap.
  8. I should not be labelled a hermit, shut-in, shy or introverted just because I spend all day inside, in my room, reading a book. I like spending time by myself. This is not a cue for intervention, I do not need to get out, be forced into social gatherings or be dragged on a brisk walk for fresh air. I’m fine.
  9. And whilst I’m about books- Yes, I am reading a ‘saucy’ book and it’s bloody fantastic. As my husband calls it: “Porn without Pictures.” Allow me to lend you a copy so you can remove that stick from your butt and join the rest of womankind who are also on the Fifty Shades Train (Most of us have been riding for a while, and we shouldn’t be ashamed of it anymore!)
  10. Don’t ask me to explain how I got that bruise. I don’t need a safe word. I am just clumsy. I can laugh at myself, please laugh with me- not at me!
  11. “You don’t want more than 1 baby?” As if it’s an easy thing to do?! It’s basically making a person! Unfortunately, for some women it isn’t as easy as A, B, C. Please be more considerate.
  12. Don’t pass judgement on my diet. Yes, I like chicken nuggets and smiley faces and ketchup. I know this sounds like the diet of a toddler, but I also like spinach and Brussels sprouts too. Just not as much as I loooooove cake.
  13. “It’s been a nightmare, are you sure you want kids?” Of course I’m sure, this decision wasn’t made after hearing that baby-making is super fun and motherhood is a breeze! Neither will it be swayed by an awful afternoon of tantrums and smelly nappies.
  14. “You can have mine!” Don’t say this, because next time I’ll show up at your front door with adoption papers and a bottle of fizz.
  15. It was not my intention to offend with this list. I have to right to Freedom of Speech. A fact I must remember the next time someone offends me with their ignorance, arrogance or lack of consideration.

“If you are always trying to be NORMAL you will never know how AMAZING you can be.” -Maya Angelou

 

I am not unreliable. My illness is.

After having yet another troublesome half a year, health-wise, I once again find myself in a state of unrest. Awaiting further surgery and battling monthly flares courtesy of my Endometriosis, has left me feeling weak and lost. Unable to fulfil my role in my new job, I am unsure of where that leaves me professionally. I could get a part-time job, get stronger, strive for more responsibility and more hours but then I crash down again once my illness dictates I’ve done enough or too much.

I never thought I would have to plan out every aspect of my life, constantly asking myself; “What if I get sick? What if I need more surgery?”  I have never felt more reliable in my life. Lately, it feels like this illness is who I am now, it’s my life and I have forgotten what I enjoy, what my goals were, and who I am. It’s almost as if I need to learn who I am, reconnect with what I want from life. It saddens me that I have forgotten what I was like before my symptoms first started. Was I fun? Full of energy? Outgoing?

I look out from my office window, watching the clouds float by, blurred in the winter breeze, the sun shines to hide the cold. The clouds move so slowly and I feel dizzy as I watch, it’s almost as if I can feel the minutes tick by, me frantically trying to catch up to life.

As I sit in my pyjamas, on a Friday morning, writing this entry, it is difficult to look beyond the 8th of December, the date of my next surgery. A surgery that will remove my faulty ovary and in its place, a gaping hole. What do I fill that hole with? How can I mend myself from the inside out?

I don’t know the answers to these questions yet, I may never know, but I will stumble along as we all do in life, trying to do the best that I can, with people that I love, with patience and understanding. 

 self

 

I regret that I cannot publish more light-hearted posts at this time, but my thoughts are hectic and do not always make sense, but I use this blog much like a journal, and hopefully my sisters with illness can relate and will take comfort in knowing we are not alone. Please reach out to me, if you are struggling today.

Single vs Plural

 

writer and her dog.jpg
A writer & her dog

I’m going to say what no feminist, or girl gang member, is supposed to say; I like being in a relationship. I love it, I love being a We, being an Us.

I feel safer around others, don’t get me wrong- I love my own space. I like sitting by myself, reading, writing (sound like such a geek!) and watching the TV I want to watch.

I read a lot of Danielle Steel novels through my adolescence, the trauma of heartbreak and the drama of finding love made a lasting imprint early in my life. I was transformed from a shy girl to a hopeless romantic within a year, as soon as the wave of hormones took me over at 13 years old.

I watch re-runs. I can watch episodes over and over until I find new bits to laugh at. I watch shows like Sex and the City, Friends and Downton Abbey. As I nervously giggle at Samantha’s sexcapades or cheer Carrie on in her fight to win Mr Big, or cringe at Chandler’s bad luck in early relationships and frown at Mary’s stand-offish, stubborn attitude – I am thankful that I am not alone, that I have found my other half, and that I’m NOT single.

I know, sacrilege! An independent woman, declaring that she needs to be in a relationship, needs to have a man next to her, am I mad?

But, now I live with a chronic illness, I have begun seeing myself as somewhat unreliable, with a fragility that I cannot control and an insecurity that sometimes gets the better of me, despite how hard I try to get a hold of myself.

 

The thing is, I can’t even remember what I used to be like before I was plagued by chronic pain and worrying if I would be ill again next month, or trying to describe and explain every single pain I feel, desperately waiting for my next Dr’s appointment.

And to imagine dating, or trying to explain why I am the way I am, to a stranger, doesn’t bear thinking about. My illness has turned me into a needy, insecure, reassurance-seeking, crying, stressy mess. A mess which my husband is legally obligated to clean up. I feel incredibly guilty that I wasn’t like this when we first met, it’s almost like I’ve lured him into false pretences, like the don’t worry I’m on the pill trap, only with less sex and more late night chemist runs. Nick is incredibly patient and understanding, and I know I married a great man.

So, while it’s awesome having ‘me time’, and that I’m irrevocably in love with my husband, I’m also close to him, like best friend close. And the fact that I can tell him everything, makes life with this bag of shit illness easier to live with. He gets it. He gets me.

If I didn’t have this best friend, I wouldn’t be living it up with my single girlfriends like the girls in Sex & the City. I’d be living at home with my parents, sharing a room with my little sister, spotty and an emotional wreck.

After just 7 words; I’ve leap-frogged back to 2004. I’m a prude, a bof & socially anxious. I have the same school friend that I have now with the same senses of humour but without the worldly knowledge we possess now.

In the words of Ace Ventura: “No, spank you very much.” My life may not be perfect right now, but it’s a damn sight better than it was back then. That’s good, right?

Progress.

 

Too beautiful not to share

I need someone

who knows struggle

as well as I do

someone

willing to hold my feet in their lap

on days it is too difficult to stand

the type of person who gives

exactly what I need

before I even know I need it

the type of lover who hears me

even when I do not speak

is the type of understanding

I demand

 

-the type of lover I need

By Rupi Kaur, milk & honey

The Worst Thing about Periods

Being a woman is never easy. It doesn’t get any easier no matter how old I get. One of the crappiest things is getting my period.

Unable to control it, we are slaves to our bodies. I will forever be in awe of women that know the exact date their period is due, who still manage to function and look amazing, even whilst their uterus punishes them for not having a baby.

 

juanbarquero
Juan Barquero’s Nudes 07

 

There are lots of things I dislike about my period. Because of my Endometriosis, my periods mean horrendous cramps and a heavy flow.

At 16, tired of the ick factor surrounding the sanitary towel (I don’t know why they call it that!) and fed up of running to the toilet every 10 minutes during lessons, I swapped to Tampax, ignoring the TSS scare from my mum.

Using tampons immediately eased some of my period anxiety. I felt cleaner, there is nothing worse than physically feeling that ‘bleugh’. I even got the Compact ones which avoided any embarrassment when I, winner of the Clumsy Queen award 2007, dropped my bag, emptying its contents on the classroom floor. Aimee 1, Period 0.

 

I hate the False Stop. It has happened to me a lot recently. It makes me groan outwardly every single time it happens and I hate it. The False Stop is when you’ve had 12-24 hours of clean pad or dry tampon and not a speck of blood, so you think my period must’ve stopped. You grab your sexy lacy knickers out of your drawer, hiding your white cotton M&S specials until next month. You’ll go out, make plans, maybe even have sex. But, your uterus is just luring you into a false sense of security, setting you up for a cruel joke, that you’ll never find funny. Five minutes in your new knickers, one cocktail down, or mid-sexytime, you’ll get a suspicious something ain’t right feeling.

BAM! Mr Red is back. And his timing is shitty.

My eyes hit heaven and I facepalm… FML. Aimee 1, Mr Red 1.

 

I hate that I’m forced to carry around essentials and my bag has to be big enough to find my top drawer in it. I look like a Nomad. It’s a nightmare because you can guarantee that the one time I don’t take all this stuff (just in case!) I’ll need it. Although, I do get to buy some pretty beautiful bags. Aimee 2, Mr Red 1.

 

I never get to buy the sheets I want. I see these awesome Pinterest Homeware pins and sigh in wanting. I have come to understand that I will never own white bed sheets, white towels, white jeans. I only just waver this rule for white cotton pants! And even then, I have tie-dyed a handful of them. It’s just not worth the risk. I’m an accident-waiting-to-happen when it comes to spill-able liquids or foods that stain, and I’m cursed with crappy hormones and periods. Both would ruin white 500-count Egyptian cotton sheets. Aimee 2, Mr Red 2.

 

As I’ve always tried to be more a ‘the glass is 1/2 full’ type of lass- 50.9% of the UK population are female. And this means that there are approximately 32,555,572 girls and women in the UK right now. And all of them will know the unpleasantness that is menstruation. We’re not alone. Women everywhere & Aimee 3, Mr Red 2.

So far, it looks like I’m winning and I need a win so I think we’ll leave it here for the time being- whilst the odds are ever so slightly in our favour.

Ladies,  what do you think is the worst thing about periods?

 

NOTE:

The art I have used in this post is by French artist Juan Barquero. Please go look at his creations. He is a master artist, his work shows such poetic sensibility. I’m yet to find a painting that describes the way I feel about the weaknesses of my female form with as much clarity. Image result for twitter logo png transparent backgroundImage result for instagram logo

 

 

 

 

LOL S1 Ep2

I apologise in advance if this is too honest/too gross/too cringey for your delicate eyes.

This is the 2nd episode in my LOL stories – I hope it lightens your day.

Read, laugh and try not to judge me too much.

I am 3 days post-op. I am on my period and grumpy. I have the stomach of a heavily pregnant lady; only it’s not a baby, it’s just swelling. I’m feeling grotty and I’m in pain.

 

On this morning, my husband is up for work. It’s 6am and he’s passed me my hot water bottle and pulled the covers back over me. He’s downstairs somewhere, sleepy and drinking tea.

And suddenly, I’m awake. I’m running to the bathroom with awful stomach cramps. I sit on the toilet and grimace as I get rid of everything (including my spleen and a lung). I’m hurting and a little bit overwhelmed. I’m sitting with my head in my hands, feeling awful and cursed.

As if I need this right now?!

And that’s how I’m sat as I hear my husband climb the stairs and walk down the hallway. He knocks and with concern in his voice, he says: “Are you okay, bab-?”

Only I cut him off and scream at the closed door “DON’T COME IN HERE!!! DON’T COME IN!”

Jesus, I can’t let him in here. After all the other shit he’s had to deal with and all the talk about periods and babies he’s had to listen to and all my crazy mood swings he’s had to accept whilst trying this contraceptive or that hormone injection. I just couldn’t let him in.

Like the loving husband that he is, he opened the door just a crack; just wide enough to see me sat on the loo with my jama’s around my ankles, head in my hands, taking deep breaths as I fought to hold back sobs. He quietly closed the door and waited until I was done before going to work- tucking me back into bad and kissing my forehead before he left.

Don’t worry- this “aww!” moment was not lost on me. No matter how much pain I’m in or how much crap (in this case, literally) I have to deal with, I am still so grateful to have him. I appreciate him and how much he looks after me when I’m poorly.

 

Anyway…

So I had a horrendous toilet experience, luckily I wasn’t having to travel to the hospital and had the luxury of locking myself away in my own bathroom.

And before you ask- no this is not the end of the story. If you can believe it- it gets worse.

After hiding in bed for a few more hours, I pull myself together and head for a shower. Everything pretty normal so far. Only- I felt something, not quite right, down there. I thought: Well I’ve got Endo on my bowel, it’s probably pretty pissed off after being traumatised this morning. And shrugged it off.

I felt lots better after a shower. I got dressed (at this point, by ‘dressed’ I mean put on clean loungewear/jammies) and decided to make a brew. And still I knew something wasn’t right. Something was new, different. Whilst the kettle boiled I headed to the bathroom to investigate.

I had what seemed like a growth/lump/parasite on my bum. Well this is new.

There was a small voice in the back of mind telling me I knew exactly what it was. I slapped it around the face to shut it up. Can I get a break- PLEASE?!  No, I can’t have haemorrhoids; not on top of everything else I have to deal with right now. My body hates me.

 But how could I be sure? My curiosity got the better of me.

Continue reading “LOL S1 Ep2”