Guest Post: From the Hysterical Runner

Great blog name, right?  I have been enjoying this blog for a couple of reasons.  One, she only recently had her hysterectomy, so her posts are really timely for me.  Second, she runs.  A lot.  I am not a ‘runner’ by any means but I have been enjoying getting out for some short runs over the last couple of years.  I’ll never be a long distance runner, that’s for sure.  But I still enjoy the runs that I can do.  I’ll have more about that in an upcoming post.  Meanwhile, enjoy this post from the Hysterical Runner, you’ll definitely want to head over to her blog to read the rest of her story!

Hysterectomy, Part 1 – Preparing to lose “it”

The day of my operation (7th of March) started very early, at 5am, as I wanted to get one last run in before the anticipated 6 weeks off recovering from the operation. It was still dark when I left my cozy bed for the wet (but remarkably warm) London streets. I ran in a t-shirt for the first time since last autumn when it was last possible.
 
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 The run itself was quite tough; I felt tired, my legs were heavy and my head wasn’t in the game. There was a moment at around 6 o’clock when I realised that the horizon was starting to get lighter (I won’t wax lyrical how this was a good omen).  This was the first early morning run that I haven’t ended in pitch dark – the spring must be coming! This observation was enough to carry me the last of the 12km home.
 
I wanted to make the day as normal as possible so sent my husband off to work and took my son to nursery. I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink after 11am so I did my best to get some chia seeds in before then. I love mashing a banana or two and mixing this with 3 large tablespoons of chia gel, natural set yoghurt and honey. Really delicious.
 
I have been debating whether to reveal the name of the hospital where the procedure took place as I feel it takes away some of the anonymity but my experience was so positive that I think they should get the credit where this is due. So, I checked into (drum roll..) The London Clinic at 1.30pm. I was due to check in at 2pm but I am always (always!) early and the journey there took less time than I had anticipated (we live about 4 tube stops away – I have run past the clinic on a few occasions). I was given a form which already had my details filled in – the hospital had even checked all authorisation codes with my insurer. I confirmed the details and was then taken to my room. Benefit of going private, the room was private and I had my own en-suite.
 
I had my laparoscopy at the same hospital last year and remembered from then that the food is actually amazing here. And you won’t have to just eat whatever slop they give you, there is a menu you can order from!
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“Darling, how about a lovely Chianti to go with the morphine drip?”
 
The operation would not take place until sometime after 5pm when the surgeon started working the list. I was the second on the schedule with the first operation being a “minor” one.
 
 A short while after being shown into my room a lovely Irish nurse came in to do my pre-op check; blood pressure, weight,pulse, MRSA swab. She also taped over my ring, I suppose to protect it, and gave me my gown, bathrobe, slippers and lovely surgical knickers. I also had someone come in to take some blood samples.
 
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Around 4pm the anaesthetist came in to discuss the drugs he should use to put, and keep,  me under and to control the pain. I am a bit of a freak and allergic to paracetamol and also get a bad reaction from morphine (makes me throw up worse than mixing jaegermeister with wine and beer). We had a long chat during which he explained the different options we had and together we decided to go for a spinal block before the operation. I would also be kept under by administering the drugs during the operation via IV rather than gas. Apparently normally you would be put under with the IV drugs and then put onto gas but he suspected the gas might make my nausea worse. He also explained  bit about how the procedure would work and about the fact that the table would be at a 14 degree angle (head down). Overall I had a lovely chat with him and felt instantly reassured that I was in the best possible hands.

 

I was also visited by my husband and son who came to wish me luck before the operation. I was feeling a little nervous at this point but also weirdly excited. What was probably worrying me the most was knowing that I was going to have the spinal block and that this would not be too comfortable. I had an epidural when in labour with my son and had hoped that would be the last time I ever had a needle in my back. I settled on the bed to watch some mindless tv and waiting for the knock on the door…

Part 2 will follow later.. 

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All Clear

Image  I had my 6 week post-operative doctor visit this week and got the news that everything has healed wonderfully.  That is what I expected but it was nice to have the official word.  Having laproscopic surgery versus an abdominal hysterectomy set me up for a quicker recovery (2-4 weeks instead of 4-6 weeks).  However, my gynecologist booked my appointment in for 6 weeks after surgery.  I spent the last 2 weeks in a bit of limbo then.  I was feeling fine and knew that average recovery time is no more than 4 weeks, assuming all goes well.  However, I was also told not to resume regular activities until after I got the go ahead from my doctor.  2 weeks in the summer here, with beautiful weather and many tempting activities like bike riding, running, and swimming, made that time go by slowly.  I did do some basic bike riding in that time but that was about it.  I didn’t want to risk doing something and end up with an even longer recovery time.  Needless to say, I was very much looking forward to my post-op appointment then.

  The appointment itself was interesting.  I had been told by several women to expect to wait a long time before getting in to see the doctor.  I did bring reading material but apparently not enough!  I ended up waiting one hour before I got in.  Not too bad I suppose but I tend to like everything to run exactly on time.  The time in the waiting room though gave me some time to go over some of the questions I wanted to ask the doctor.  During my recovery I came up with many things I wanted to know more about, as did many of my friends (Oh, can you ask your doctor this…) so I had written down a lot of questions.  I narrowed down the list while in the waiting room to about 5 or 6 key questions.

  Finally it was my turn to head into one of the doctor’s rooms.  I figured I would be waiting here for a long time too.  However, my doctor walked in about a minute after the nurse sent me in – whoa!  She had a lookey-loo at everything and said it was perfect and that I could resume all regular activities.  And then she was getting ready to walk out of the room.  Oh no – I have a list…questions…wait!  Unfortunately I was stuck on the doctor’s table in no position to run and grab my list.  I quick asked the doctor one or two of my questions (the ones I could remember!) and then off she went!  Not at all like I had planned.  I expected to come out of there as an expert in all things hysterectomy related 🙂  I did find out that my family doctor has a copy of her reports so I am trying to get a copy of those.  But other than that, I know no more about my hysterectomy than I did when I went into that room.  My whole time in that room was complete in literally less than 5 minutes.  When I returned to the waiting room to meet my husband he looked at me wondering how I could be standing there again so soon.  Oh well.  I will talk to my family doctor soon and hopefully get a little more information from him.  Right now, I’m just happy to have a clean bill of health.  Now I need to get ready for my first run in a long time – yay!

Do you feel like you get enough time with your doctor?  Do you have any tips on how to get the information you want from health care professionals?

Lady Parts

Here’s a post I have chosen to reblog as it tells the experience of a women and the Mexican health care system. I hope you enjoy it!

VSVEVG (very simple very easy very good)

I know you’ve all been wondering how my peri-menipuase is coming along. Apparently I am a terrible diagnostician

I am not experiencing said affliction but rather, a more complicated illness; the treatment will involve expulsion of offending lady parts. The good news, other than that I anticipate feeling better soon, is it affords another opportunity to tell you about Mexico’s healthcare system.

Since my self-treatment for the ongoing aliment  did not alter my symptoms sufficiently I was forced to see a specialist. Having just read Babbitt and The Unsettling of America, specialist, comes out sounding like a dirty word these days.

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On Gratitude

blog pic 1I always do this and every time I do, I say it will be different next time…but it never is.  So, right now I am going to simply try to appreciate it while I’m in it.  I’m speaking of gratitude.  Whenever I ‘recover’ from something, whether it’s a cold, the flu, or even a good run, I have a period of time where I am very thankful for my health and ability to do certain things (such as go for a good run).  Inevitably, that feeling of gratitude dissipates and I continue on with life as normal, forgetting how truly lucky I am to have my health, family, community, etc.  I begin to accept all of these wonderful things as just a part of my reality.  However, the reality is that none of these things are guaranteed to me so I want to be thankful for them while I do have them.  It’s definitely something I want to keep working on.

Of course, life has a way of reminding me of these things simply by changing things from the expected.  I had such an experience recently with my emergency visit to the hospital and subsequent surgery.  Since that day, I have had constant reminders of things I am grateful for.  Of course, the big one is family and friends.  As soon as my hubby shared the information with others about my hospitalization, my family dropped everything and were up at the hospital that day…from out of town no less!  Of course, I knew they would be there for me…but sometimes I forget how awesome family is and this was a great reminder.  And of course my hubby was amazing through out all of this, taking time off work, ‘sleeping’ on the hospital floor, feeding me, and basically just being at my beck and call.  Again, I wouldn’t have expected anything less, but sometimes life’s busy-ness makes it easy to forget. 

Then there are just the practical things for which I am thankful.  For instance, upon returning home from the hospital, everything took a lot of effort on my part.  Even heading off to the washroom was challenging for the first couple of days.  I can’t say I have ever thought of being thankful for ability to use the washroom effortlessly before, but I do now!  The thing I most enjoy being grateful for these days though is not having to face the monthly ordeal that was my period.  I am positively gleeful that I was able to have surgery and come out the other side of it much better off.  I don’t doubt that all of this will soon become my new ‘normal’ and I’ll forget how grateful I feel right now, but I hope this post will continue to remind me of all the things for which I am grateful!

What are you grateful for right now?

Guest Post from No Children, What Now?

Here is a post from another blog I have enjoyed following. It’s from a perspective and experience quite different from mine so I find it an interesting read. You may want to read more of her stuff over at No Children, What Now? Enjoy!

 

Childlessness and dealing with babies

I would say that for the most part, I am finally pretty strong about having a childless future. Yes, I do get upset from time to time, but I am able to get through a day without thinking about it, crying about it or talking about it. Things are definitely better.

Yesterday, we were having a get together in the staff room for the caretaker who was leaving. All members of staff from the school were there, and we were drinking wine and having a chat. Then, the lady who I am covering maternity leave for, walked in with her baby. We have all seen the baby before, so people didn’t coo too much, but there was still a broody reaction around the room. I had a space next to me, so she plonked her self down there with the baby on her knee.

I have got quite good with babies recently and it didn’t bother me too much. She was (is) a cute little thing, looking a bit tired, but watching everything that was going on around her. The mother was talking across me to my friend about how much she is sleeping, and what will happen to the baby once she goes back to work etc etc. Usually, in these situations I would have stood up and sat somewhere else, but the staffroom is so small, I was stuck. So, I sat and listened, smiled at the baby and pretended to be interested by nodding a lot. I couldn’t look the other way, or talk to others because they were talking across me and I was in the middle so it would have been seen as rude.

Then I did something silly, that wrecked my strong emotional wall. I stroked the baby’s hand. I thought I’d be ok, and I didn’t want to look like a hard faced cow, especially when everyone else was wanting cuddles and kisses from her. So, I thought I’ll just touch her hand so I look vaguely normal. As soon as I’d done it, and felt her little grip around my finger, I had that swirling feeling in my chest. To take my mind off my prickly tear ducts, I concentrated on my drink, and tried to listen in on other people’s conversations.

As I was looking around the room I made eye contact with the headteacher, who was sat directly opposite, but quite along way away. She was looking over at the scene and straight away she mouthed, “Are you ok?” which of course made me feel worse, because sympathy always floors me. I managed to nod, and knowing I wouldn’t be able to hear, she shouted to me a random question. It was a plan that forced me to go over to her to hear her more clearly. She budged up the seat so I could squeeze in beside her.

She didn’t mention the baby, or my reaction, she just helped me to esape. She knew it would be upsetting for me, because as I’ve mentioned before somewhere on this blog, she’s been there, done that and got the infertility T shirt. I just thought it was so lovely of her, even with everything else going on in the room, that she was looking out for me. She is in her 50s and adopted twin girls years ago, so I doubt she she feels emotional about babies anymore, but she knows, she “gets it.” That little act of kindness and thoughtfulness made my day!

Hysterectomy and Fibroids

  ImageFibroids are the number one reason women require hysterectomies and account for 40% of all hysterectomy surgeries.  So, who’s at risk for fibroids?  According to “The Essential Guide to Hysterectomy” by Dr. Streicher, there are 4 main factors that are associated with a higher tendency for fibroids (a summary of her findings are described below, please read her book for a full description). 

  The first is family history.  You may have inherited your mom’s curly blond hair and your Grandma’s ability to bake, but if either of them has a history of fibroids, you’re more likely to get them yourself.  The same is true for if your sister or aunt has them too!

  Next is African-American heritage.  Not only are fibroids found more often within this community but the fibroids also tend to be larger, cause more symptoms, and appear earlier in life than for their Caucasian counterparts.

  Your pregnancy history also comes into play.  It is not yet understood why, according to Dr. Streicher, but women who have had no children are at a higher risk for developing fibroids.

  Finally, your diet can also impact the development of fibroids.  There is a correlation between eating red meat and developing fibroids.  Unfortunately, once the fibroids have started, reducing red meat consumption does not reduce them.

  Of course, any woman can develop fibroids.  There is no history in my family of fibroids.  I am not of African-American descent.  Not only do I not consume red meat, I have been a vegetarian for more than a decade.  The only risk factor I had was the fact that I had never been pregnant.  As well, many women have fibroids and are completely asymptomatic.  I, on the other hand, had one small fibroid (3cm) and it was causing a whole lot of problems!  I will have some more information on fibroids in a couple of upcoming posts, but just remember that fibroids are always benign (though cysts and other things may not be…more to come soon!).