Endometriosis and Me: 2

Hello again.

So for a long time now, I have been suffering from a chronic condition called Endometriosis. However, I was not diagnosed officially until March 2016. It took lots of begging before anything would be done, and finally there was an answer. But in the 1 year and 9 months that has passed since my diagnosis via laparoscopic surgery, my symptoms had not got better. The hospital I was referred to was appalling, making nothing better or easier. So, I asked to be referred to a different hospital, where the doctors seemed much better. Again, after a couple of appointments, it was agreed that I would have another laparoscopy. I was nervous and absolutely bloody petrified, but I felt that this time, I would have an answer.

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So on 04.12.2017, I had my second operation in just under two years. This was to ‘treat’ my severe Endometriosis. I saw the anesthetist and the Doctor who would be performing the operation, who went though my consent form and the possible side effects that could occur during and after the procedure. I asked if she would check my Fallopian tubes, as infertility was something that had worried me. Well, that and the poor information I had received from the first hospital I had been referred to. I then spent four lonely hours in a waiting room, downright scared.

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Then they came to take me to theatre, where I was given the anaesthetic and knew no more. Around two hours later, I came around from anaesthetic and I am not gonna lie, I felt like utter shite. My head hurt, my tummy was agony and I could have brought up my whole body weight in vomit. I didn’t know what was going on, I had this hideous blood pressure band thing going off every 15 minutes and I was laying on my cannula tube, too scared to move in case I ripped it out. After what seemed like an hour in recovery – I think it was that long, but as groggy as I was, it could have been fifteen minutes or 2 hours – I was wheeled around to another ward (and just in time, cos the man across from me overreacting to a colonoscopy was making me fuming.) I was given toast and what I would like to call holy water, because thank God I was given it: it made me physically sick. I no longer felt groggy and spaced out; I felt slightly better and able to walk to the bathroom, have a wee and change into clean clothing that weren’t bloodstained and knickers that weren’t made from the same material as hair nets. I then felt like eating, managing a slice of toast and jam. I had not eaten for 12 hours and as anyone who has ever been poorly will know, eating makes you feel slightly more human and less lethargic.


A little while later, the doctor who had performed the operation came to see me. Although I was fully dressed, she pulled the curtains around my bed and my heart sank. I had a feeling that there was something bad about to be said; like she was going to give me bad news. She sat on my bed and told me that they had lasered away the active Endometriosis, inserted the Mirena coil that would hopefully make my bad periods and chronic pain manageable and easier to live with and that they had done what I had requested and had a look at my Fallopian tubes. I knew that there would be an issue with my ovaries and general fertility, because Endometriosis does that to those with a severe form of the condition, and in the past I had suffered from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which can also affect fertility. The Doctor then told me that one of my Fallopian tubes was damaged, the ovary connected not carrying enough eggs to have children in the future. The other tube and ovary was already damaged, so I now knew what it was causing many issues that I was suffering from, alongside my Endometriosis symptoms. I nodded and accepted this information, finally glad to know what was wrong and what could be done. The doctor was happy with what had been done and said that being discharged and allowing the Mirena coil chance to work was the best option now, with regular check ups in the future. I was far too tired and groggy to properly understand what was going on and so just nodded and continued eating my now-cold toast. The nurse then rang my partner and he came to pick me up from Gate 40.

After being picked up by my lovely (and very patient) boyfriend, I went home with codeine and a stroppy attitude. We got back to his house and we ordered a Chinese but I just could not eat the food. So I just  had an early night and went to sleep, hoping that I would feel miles better the next day.


On Tuesday, 05.12.2017, I felt even worse. My tummy was utter agony, I had to force myself to have a wee and my throat feels like I’ve swallowed glass, making coughing painful and causing a build up of mucus on my chest. My temperature was very high, i was exhausted and completely fed up and bored. I tried to get university work done, but I just could not get myself motivated and it hurts to even think. However, I managed to keep some food down and had chilli for tea; it was literally the best meal I had ever had, I was that hungry. I could also finally have a shower, which made me feel loads better and less-scruffy. A better nights sleep helped massively, too.

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Today was better, with much less pain and I don’t need painkillers as much anymore. However, my throat is worse and I am pretty sure I am getting a chest infection. I am also going completely out of my mind with boredom. University work is completed and I have watched Only Fools and Horse over and over again, going barmy trying to find something different worth watching. I also just want to be cuddled properly but it hurts if I get squeezed. But, compared to my last operation, I feel loads better and I can wear normal clothes, not just pyjamas and joggers; fingers crossed it stays that way.

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I will never understand why this condition is one that is not well-known. It affects millions of women, is a chronic condition and can heighten your risk of ovarian cancer: the latter being the worst gynecological cancer with the most dire prognosis.

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So guys, the whole point to this post is to make more people aware of what Endometriosis does to you. It makes you need hideous laser treatment called diathermy. It makes you hurt all over and makes you want to vomit whenever you eat. It makes you cry and it makes you stroppy. It makes you not want food and it makes you sleepy. This condition is something Doctors don’t like to tell you about, because they have to go to such lengths to diagnose it.

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So ladies, push and fib and beg for a diagnosis, even though it’s hell! Because once you know what it is causing agonising pain, painful urination and bowel movements, heavier and less-frequent periods, infertility and a large number of other symptoms, you can work out how to manage it all and make your life easier and more bearable. Because speaking from experience, anything that makes it bearable is worth trying.

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Endometriosis and Me.

Hello all.

I haven’t written a blog post in a while and now, after weeks of recovering and working, I have the time to write about my recent Endometriosis diagnosis. Many people will not know what Endometriosis is. It sounds like the name of a plant cell, doesn’t it. When I was told what it was that had been causing me problems for just under a decade, I was confused (and not just because I had just come around from anaesthetic). Not only had I never heard of it, but it sounded very much like something that could kill me. I’m slightly over-dramatic, you see. As it turns out, Endometriosis was not something that would kill me. But it was what had caused me gynaecological and sometimes personal problems since I was just 16 years old.

If you are easily grossed out, or you shy away from talk about ‘women’s problems’ then you probably don’t want to read this post. I’m going to talk about what Endometriosis is and what it can do to affect you and your body: it is NOT pleasant, but hopefully it will raise a small bit of awareness.

Illustration of yellow ribbon for Endometriosis
Illustration of yellow ribbon for Endometriosis

My Story.
I have suffered problems with my periods since I was 16 – at the age of 25, I have had less than 15 periods. My Doctors could not tell me why, nor did they seem concerned by my symptoms. This was unnerving and upsetting – it’s their job to help and care for scared and poorly patients, right?
At the age of 21, I suffered a miscarriage. I was unaware that I was pregnant, but it was still heart-breaking. My main worry about lack of periods was that I would never have a baby, so suffering the miscarriage made me think that I was okay and just underweight. I left it and did not go to the doctor’s any more.  Over the next few months, the bleeding became significantly heavier and the pain became so unbearable that I had to have time off work due to being physically unable to get out of bed. It took me collapsing for anything to take off with doctor’s. I was referred by my GP to the Gynaecology ward at St James’s Hospital in Leeds, Yorkshire in September 2014. In December of the same year, I had many ultrasounds and was at first diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. I decided to take the doctor’s word for it and accepted a 12 week wait for a follow up appointment at the hospital. By the time the 12 weeks were up, I had gotten worse and another ultrasound had shown that it was not PCOS after all, but they were unsure as to what it was. I was put on some more tablets and told to come back in 6 months. It was not until November that I had my next appointment and here, I saw a new Doctor. He told me that he was concerned with my lack of periods as well as the pain that I was experiencing and asked me what I thought about having a laparoscopy. He told me what it was and I immediately said yes!! I just wanted the endless A&E trips and countless days off work to end – I wanted to be like every other woman.
So, over the next few weeks I had my pre-assessment blood tests done and just had to await a date for my operation. On March 2nd, I rang the hospital as no appointment date had been given to me. There and then she gave me a date of Monday March 7th 2016 at 11am but I needed another set of blood tests taking, so I went through it all again and that was that.
On Monday March 7th my boyfriend took me to the David Beevers Unit at St James’s Hospital at 11am and I naively thought that I would be in and out within three hours. Instead, it was 4.30pm before my operation and I did not go home that day.
As I came round, I felt extremely groggy, confused and the pain was unbearable. I felt as though my body was not my own. I ate and drank, which you are required to do when you come around from your procedure but I just could not wee. The agony when I tried was too much and so I had to stay overnight. My boyfriend came to see me, bringing me a ham sandwich (the best ham sandwich in the world, I was starving!!) Although I knew I wouldn’t feel on top of the world when I came round, nothing prepared me for the truth. The pain was the first thing that I noticed. The second being that no amount of water would mask the pain in my throat and chest: I mean, I’d had a tube down my throat for around an hour.
When I finally managed to have a wee, the agony was so bad I became hot and dizzy, eventually having to stop and go back to bed. This cause excruciating pain in my stomach. All I could do was cry and wish I had never had the operation – I just could not see any way of getting better.
The next day, my dad picked me up from the hospital and I stayed with him and his partner. I slept all day and drank lots but I could barely eat. Whilst asleep, I had rolled onto my stomach and made one of my ‘wounds’ bleed. I was petrified as well as in pain. I eventually ended up back at the hospital because I had no bandaging and did not know what to do. They re-dressed my stitching and sent me home with painkillers, giving me a good night’s sleep.
For the next two weeks, I was poorly. I developed a bladder and kidney infection as well as a chest infection. I then got tonsillitis over Easter, so I had the equivalent of 2 weeks off work – how I still have a job I do not know. But work were supportive and eventually, after stitches coming out at 3 am and trips to the hospital because they were bleeding, I was better and could finally wear something other than pyjamas, joggers and high-waist leggings.
The incisions are now little scars that you can only see when you look in the mirror. They even look like little smiley faces! 🙂

What is Endometriosis?
Apart from being utterly shit and causing horrendous pain and problems, it is not life threatening. Endometriosis occurs when part of the lining of the womb – or endometrium – appears outside of your womb as opposed to being attached to your womb. Usually, these pieces of tissue can be found in other parts of your body such as your bowel, bladder or fallopian tubes. It can cause pain in your pelvic area and abdomen during the times outside of your period, which will get worse during your period.

“Who ‘gets’ it?”
Endometriosis affects around 2 million women in the United Kingdom, with most women being diagnosed between the ages of 24 and 40. However, if you have gone through the menopause, you are highly unlikely to be diagnosed with the condition.

What are the symptoms of Endometriosis?
There are a great number of symptoms associated with this condition, the most common of which are:
Pain during and after sex
Heavy and excruciating periods
Exhaustion
Frequent diarrhoea and pain when urinating
Severe pelvic pain.

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Chart of Endometriosis symptoms.

All of these symptoms are just a select few: there are many more. Of course, one person many not experience all these symptoms. Some symptoms are so rare that they are not on the list, such as weight gain. For me, the scariest symptom of all was the lowered chance of me having a baby in the future. It is a symptom, but it does not remove all chances of your conceiving – it just reduces them. One other thing that I have learned is that the amount of tissue found does not determine the pain you experience. One small piece of tissue could be agonising if found in areas such as the lung or ovaries.

“Retrograde Menstruation”
Relatively unheard of, it is this that is considered to be the main cause for Endometriosis, although the exact cause is currently unknown. This kind of mensuration sees some lining of the womb not leave the body properly during a period, causing it to attach itself to organs within the pelvis. However, this theory contradicts itself due to the number (albeit small) of women who suffer from Endometriosis despite having had a hysterectomy. Therefore, there is ultimately no cause for Endometriosis. However, there are small possibilities of the condition being caused by Environmental issues, genetic and immune problems and even ethnicity is said to play a part in the cause. I, however, have no opinion on what causes Endometriosis – they all contradict themselves and leave major loopholes.

How is Endometriosis diagnosed?
The condition is diagnosed through a laparoscopy, also known as keyhole surgery. Small incisions are made into your abdomen whilst you are under a general anaesthetic and a small camera is inserted by the surgeon. Here, they fill your stomach with gas and look at all your lower organs, with particular attention on your womb, pelvis and pelvic organs such as ovaries and fallopian tubes. If a diagnosis of Endometriosis is made, they will remove any pieces of tissue there and then. They will then allow you to come round from your operation and discuss your options and recovery.

Can Endometriosis be cured?
To cut a long story short, Endometriosis CANNOT be cured. It can be managed, but never cured. Hormone treatments such as the contraceptive pill can be used to balance out your hormones and – depending on the pill you choose – they will stop the periods, thus relieving you of pain or you can regulate your periods and give your body experience of natural menstruation and hopefully remove symptoms of the condition.

The reason I have posted this is because I want to raise awareness for the condition nobody appears to know about. When someone tells you that you’re overreacting when you’re in pain, it hurts. The pain is not something to be taken lightly and the long-term effects can be devastating. It is not as serious as cancer, but why should it be ignored and brushed under the carpet?

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Ladies, if you have ANY of these symptoms go and see your GP and tell him you want them to refer you to a gynaecologist. If your GP doesn’t listen, book another appointment with a different doctor until you get referred. It takes a while but it can be done. DO NOT take your symptoms lightly, because no matter what people say, it isn’t ‘just a stomach ache.”

If you have got this far, thank you for reading. It’s a big deal to put this on here, so thank you!! 🙂

Love Lizzy

xx

The reason I have posted this is because I want to raise awareness for the condition nobody appears to know about. When someone tells you that you’re overreacting when you’re in pain, it hurts. The pain is not something to be taken lightly and the long-term effects can be devastating. It is not as serious as cancer, but why should it be ignored and brushed under the carpet?

Ladies, if you have ANY of these symptoms go and see your GP and tell them you want them to refer you to a gynaecologist. If your GP doesn’t listen then book another appointment with a different doctor until you get referred. It takes a while but it can be done. DO NOT take your symptoms lightly.

If you have got this far, thank you for reading. It’s a big deal to put this on here, so thank you!! 🙂

There is a contact form for any queries that you may have!!

Love, Lizzy

xx

It is not taboo.

This post is extremely personal and something I’m doing for someone very important to me. I will not be naming names but they know who they are anyway: I just feel that this is a subject in need of discussing.


For reasons that no sane person can comprehend, the term ‘depression’ is seen as a taboo subject. Why? Nobody knows, but people just don’t like to talk about it. Whether it’s because they have been through it and are embarrassed, they have witnessed it happening to a loved one and they feel uncomfortable or sad talking about it or they simply just do not understand, people cannot bare to bring it up.  In my opinion it is time this changed and people became more aware of it.



What is it?

Nobody knows what depression is and I do not think anybody ever will know for sure what it is that affects around 5 out of 100 adults each year. We all have shit days where we are down in the dumps and just want a cuddle but for someone who is depressed it is far worse. I have never suffered from any form of depression but what I have seen of it and how it has affected that person’s life gives me a small idea of how drastically effecting it is upon the sufferer. For a person with depression, everything that seems like nothing to another person will feel like the end of the world to them. Whether it is a change of plan, the tea burning or not getting the payslip you originally thought you would, one second everything can be fine and the next, that person is on the floor crying and confused.

Seeing this first hand is horrific but not something the person suffering should ever feel embarrassed about. I am not a person who deals well with unknown situations and when one of these ‘attacks’ hits my friend, I have no fucking idea what to do. It’s so scary and so upsetting so imagine how the person suffering feels? I can imagine that it is 100000000% worse and then some. 

Why do people not like to talk about it?

This is something I will never understand and something I feel is extremely ignorant and old-fashioned. It is as though people do not trust the term and so look at it as a ‘taboo’ subject. When people say the word ‘depressed’ have you noticed the reaction of people around them? Some roll their eyes, some change the subject and some just cannot believe the word has been uttered so bluntly. It is not as if it is Harry Potter and someone mentioned ‘Voldemort’. It is a serious situation because when someone says they’re depressed, how do you know that they aren’t? How do you know that they aren’t trying to reach out to you and are asking for your help? You don’t know that and unless you try to understand, you never will. At least that’s what I thought but after a conversation with another friend, the only person who should understand is the sufferer: but even they don’t grasp why they react and act the way that they do when confronted with certain situations. Why can’t people be open about such things? Maybe it is because they just don’t understand what the hell is going on. 


As I have said I have never been affected personally other than by a close friend suffering with it. Her family are affected in ways I never realised could happen and it is devastating to see. But when my friend has someone who is there for her 24/7 and who keeps her up even when he feels like shit himself, it makes it that tiny little bit easier for her and that is something amazing. It is just proof that if things like this are spoke about more often, more can be done and people can go through it without feeling completely alone and overwhelmed.

I’ve been that shit friend where I’ve cancelled last minute and sometimes I feel as though I am walking on egg shells and I feel isolated and why? Because I have been ignorant and haven’t tried to understand what my friend is going though. It took me cancelling plans to realise just how shit it is for her and how if she doesn’t understand, nobody else will. But even though I feel like this, it doesn’t make her any less my friend and why would it? It just means that she’s a lot more emotional.

Things like this should not be kept quiet: if you are depressed or feel someone is then speak out. It will make things worse if you keep it to yourself. 

The more people talk about it and the less people feel it is a taboo subject, the better chance there is of beating the most common ‘mental health problem’.

It took a lot to write this and I just hope that people do not get offended or upset: that is so not my intention. I just feel that such an important and life-changing subject should be discussed more. People talk so much about nights out, sex and EastEnders so why not talk about depression as much? Why not make more people aware of what affects many people around you?

Your comments would be so appreciated, as always.

Lizzie

Xxx

That advice we give yet never take.

We have all been in that hideous situation: a friend is going through some bad shit and they need us and our fab advice. Naturally, we are 100% there for them: we hand out the tissues, give the best hugs and have a large supply of Ben and Jerry’s ready! (Unless you’re me and my friends: we have wine.)

Yet it doesn’t matter how much advice we give to those we care about, we still never take our own advice when it comes to it. We whinge and whine about how everything is horrible, nobody cares and continue on with our shitty lives instead of listening to our own words of wisdom. 

So: what are the most popular pieces of advice we never take ourselves but dish out like Katie Price hands out wedding rings and bad baby names?

Under no circumstances do you text your ex tonight and no, I do not care how drunk you get.” 

Every lass has been heartbroken. Whether we’ve been cheated on, a relationship hasn’t worked out or we’ve been majorly friend zoned, we’ve all got emotional and cried over a bloke. Then we get drunk, our emotions are heightened and we just need them to know that they’ve hurt us or that we miss them or that we are completely and irrevocably in love with them. During a break-up we are adjusting to not having that one person around anymore and so we have to get used to not texting them. “I only want to say good night” or “I’m just telling him that I miss him” are NOT allowed: you get out there and you meet someone else. After all, they do say that the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else. It’s easy to control our friends when they’re sober and are all there in the head, but what about when they’ve had two bottles of echo falls or half a bottle of Smirnoff? You can’t do a damn thing in that case: I’ve been there and it’s difficult. I go mad, scream and shout and tell my friend to “move the fuck on” until I’m blue in the face but does she listen? Nope. Do I understand that this is how I make my friends feel when I’m pissed and adamant my ex deserves to know he’s missed and the best shag I’ve ever had? Do I heck. 


Rationally, we feel that the advice we give our friends is the best most fantabulous wisdom they have ever had placed upon them but when they tell us the exact same thing we tell them to “stop talking out of their arses” and continue being a whining brat. We text our ex, have a shit night, cry into our jäger bomb and sterling fresh taste and then after a McDonalds we go home. When we wake up we instantly feel crap and cringe because we know what we’ve done the night before: we did the exact thing we tell our friends not to do and what’s the first thing we say to them? “I should have listened to you last night babe. I’m sorry!” Typical.

He will only break your heart so stay away.”

I am yet to meet a female who actually listens to this advice. If you find one who has sense, high five her for me. We each as an individual know what we want and when it comes to a man, we are certain we are right in our judgement. No matter how much we warn our friends against getting in a relationship with the biggest player in town, they don’t listen. Then again neither do we. We go mental when our friends meet a tool and stay with him and it’s all because we know that her heart is going to end up in millions of pieces once he’s through with her. 


Yet we do the exact same thing: we never listen to our friends when they warn us about someone but we feel the need to warn them by advising them to dump the absolute toe rag. It’s the same with the female species all over the world: we never practice what we preach. Ever.

“Everything will be okay in the end and if it isn’t, then it is not the end.”

This is quite possibly the best quote I have ever heard. A quote from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, it’s words speak volumes and mean a great deal. We go through a bad experience and think that everything is over, that things will not get better. We tell our friends that everything will be okay in the end and that there are worse things could happen to them. Yet when it comes to it, what do we do when things get crap? We cry, stamp our feet and declare “everything is over. What am I going to do?” They tell us “it’ll all be alright in the end” and in a frustrated tone we reply, “how the fuck do you know?” 


This happens all the time with everyone going through something bad; we just never ever listen to our own advice. We stay adamant it’ll always be horrific and that nothing will ever be good again. All we have to do is tell ourselves that “everything will be okay eventually” but why would we do that, when we can make our lives hell and torment ourselves? Bright sparks, aren’t we!

“You cannot justify your actions by saying you were drunk; it is still wrong”

This is one piece of advice I always have to give my friends. Why? Because they’re raging alcoholics with a tendancy to make bad decisions whilst drunk. Whether it’s getting it on with a stranger or saying something horrible to a friend you have a particular hatred for that night, we all do dumb stuff after a few-too-many Vinos. I for one make many mistakes when drunk but do I do what I tell my friends to do and admit I was wrong? Do I fuck. I blame it on the booze. Always have and always will. It’s so much easier to say I bit someone because I was drunk and take no blame whatsoever than actually hold my hands up and say, “actually it was my fault. Yes I drank too much but I hadn’t eaten beforehand and I should have done. So I’m sorry for biting you and leaving a mark!” (yes, I did this and yes, she’s still friends with me – surprisingly.) But yeah. We give out to our friends for blaming their hideous actions on the booze but we hypocritically do the exact same thing. Always.


“If you want a hot body, put the cheeseburger down”

I don’t know about you but If someone said this to me I would be absolutely fuming. If I want to be a fat get and eat an alarming amount of cheeseburgers I will do. I aren’t going on holiday so I don’t need to make myself look good for a bikini and if I get lucky, just switch off the light. It’s really that simple, right? Yes it is. But I’m that horrible bitch I hate because I am THAT friend who tells you if you’re not hitting that bikini look. “Put the cake down, dear you almost resemble Michelle Macmanus” and I know it’s awful but we all want brutal honesty from our friends right? Yes, but only if it’s nice things that are said. I don’t want to be told not to eat fattening foods but by god I’ll tell my girls if they need to lose a few cheeseburgers here and there. 


“let’s go for a couple of drinks after college: we’ll go home after two then you can do your essay!” 

What utter bull shit this is. I have never just had two drinks. I go to a pub quiz and end up in Mojo’s at 2am dancing on tables. I go for ONE drink, end up buying two bottles of wine and countless bags of crisps. What spurred me to add this piece of advice to the list is quite simply the fact that this happened to myself and a friend last night. Me and Sarah went to Headingley with the intention of having two drinks. We ended up drinking fire eater and cokes and having a ball of a time. 


It always happens. Once you’ve had one drink you just need to have another! “you are such a bad influence” Sarah said. I am a bad influence: it’s always my idea. I give out the best advice yet I never ever take that advice myself and have just one drink and go home and do my essays or have a cup of tea.


Let’s be honest, taking our own advice is like trying to swallow a paracetamol without water: hard to do and leaves a rank taste in your mouth. We like to think our advice is amazing but if someone gave me that advice I’d be very upset and tell whoever gives me the advice to sod off.  We just don’t like to hear that someone else is right and we ourselves are wrong. Stubborn as shit us women! 

The reason I decided to post this is because my best friend told me that I give the best advice but never take it. It got me thinking and I realised that literally all women do this and we can a relate to one another. 

We all do go through the same shit day-in and day-out.

I hope you all enjoyed,

Comments would be lovely: it’d be nice to hear what people think.

Lizzie

Xxx