2 Spuds in a Pod

Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing.

Category: General (page 1 of 4)

A quiet kind of calm

IVF Update

Rosie and I went to the yet another specialist with regards to our IVF journey. This time it was in the private sector. We had decided we would try all avenues so it made sense for us to try this too. I admit that you pay for what you get. We got a doctor who knew what he was talking about which is always a good start. Rosie and I could ask any questions to him even if they did seem silly. He was patient and spent time with us. A big thing for us was he acknowledged Rosie as much as a potential parent as I would be. We felt when we visited the NHS doctor they didn’t really see us as a “proper couple and potential parents”.

The bad and the good news

However, with all the facts our doctor also gave us some good news and then bad news. The good news if that I have a lot of eggs in the ovaries. The bad is that the quality of them with Endometriosis is not good. The figures he had were even less appealing. With an IUI procedure there is an 8% chance of it resulting in a pregnancy. Apparently even less if it was to be done naturally with a man (luckily this option is a definite no go but always good to know all the facts and it made Rosie and I laugh!!!). With IVF there is a 50% chance. If you haven’t guessed already it looks like we are heading straight to the IVF route.

Natural

This is the question. Rosie and I had wanted to try the IUI procedure as it is a lot less invasive than IVF. With IUI (intrauterine insemination) the washed and concentrated sperm is put straight into the womb around the time of the egg release from the ovary. As I like to say it sends the swimmers in and hopes for the best.

Or not so natural

With IVF (in vitro fertilisation) it is an entirely different procedure and unfortunately one that is invasive with many different steps. With IVF you need to stimulate the ovaries, retrieve the eggs, add the sperm, wait for fertilisation and an embryo to develop before putting everything back into the womb and finally having a blood test to see if it a positive transaction. Again in my words, more hurdles, hoops, obstacles, lots of prodding and poking and then hoping for the best.

Endometriosis

One interesting point the private doctor mentioned was about Endometriosis Grading. Grading? We didn’t know it had a grade! From what we had told the doctor he suspects my grade to be at least a 2 if not a 3 out of 4. In other words, not good news while trying to get pregnant. It is still worth trying IVF which is positive. Also on the plus side, when the egg retrieval specialists go in to look for eggs they will be able to determine the good and bad. With the good eggs there is a chance these can be kept and frozen for the next round. Again some good news but we will not know anything further until we get there.

Where does that leave us?

So, where does that leave us? It is a good question. Yes, we could go down the private route. Rosie and I feel we would both be looked after from the start too. However, if you rack up the costs for one round of IVF privately you are looking at re-mortgaging the house or robbing a bank. And that is for one round only. One! Not quite the options we were looking for.

The short answer

The short answer is I have to keep working to get my BMI number down so we can go on to the wait list with the NHS. That is it. Keep working, jumping over hurdles, trying to avoid the obstacles, going through the hoops which I am sure make sense somewhere and most of all keep hoping. In that recent film about being “frozen” with a “singing snowman” the song lyrics states “this will all make sense when I am older”. You can’t argue with a singing snowman either!

Personally

As a partnership we are incredibly strong but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t taking its toll on Rosie and me. We try not to let it put us down but when you are trying to achieve a dream you take it a lot more personally. I get frustrated that it is not a straight forward system and hard work is not being noticed. Rosie is constantly asking what she can do to make it easier (there’s not much unfortunately). As I have said before it feels like we are being punished for living our lives in a different way. We get angry, upset, tired, confused, anxious and the list could go on.

We will not give in!

Finally we try to find answers and ask questions which will one day lead us to the front of the IVF queue. We have come this far and have even further to go. We will not give in. One day it is going to make sense but right now we are in that quiet kind of calm while we process and prepare for the next part.

-Helen

Rehab training

Rehab training is a very important part of recovery from both a physical and mental crisis. I will be discussing my own rehab training which has taken place over the last few weeks. I have been mentioning it in some of my other blogs but want to dedicate a full blog to it too.

Five weeks ago

About five weeks ago yesterday the hospital was wheeling me down for emergency surgery after finding two cysts one on each ovary. This is the second surgery I have had in three years and the third issue with Endometriosis. The funny thing is all the outside has healed and I have little scars now to add to my collection. However, the inside is taking slightly longer which is normal. I have to keep reminding myself that I am only five weeks post op.

My personality

My personality is very go, go, go and I am not very good at sitting still. I mean I was back in a Zumba class around ten days post op and haven’t slowed down since. In fact, I have been increasing what I do (within reason). Yes I say I have been in a Zumba class but it has been very controlled and there has been no jumps or bouncing. Jumping around at that stage would not have helped my recovery.

Training

So what have I been doing except for Zumba? I have been walking, walking and walking some more. Starting on a treadmill going to number five on the incline with a slow walking speed. I then progressed it up to incline level fifteen with a much faster pace. Today I did forty minutes. I use one minute for each incline, plateau at the top for five minutes then come down the other side. It has taken a few weeks to get there but with determination I feel it has gone well.

Other gym kit

I have also been using the rolling escalator stair machine thingy. Once I had found the correct spaces for my water bottle and book I was a very happy lady. I can walk on that machine for a good forty minutes before getting tired. I have also been using the cross trainer and bike.

Weight vest

A weight vest was a present from me to me. It is a great piece of kit which gives you a little extra weight to challenge yourself on treadmills, rolling escalators and the like. The funny part about the weight vest is it is exactly ten kilograms at full weight. This is the weight I have lost to date so to put it back on again it quite an experience. It feels heavy and awkward but then again for most of last year that is what I carried day in and day out. I am working with four kilos at the minute but hoping next week to progress to five. Once my core has healed and got back to its normality I will progress to ten and see how that feels to work out in.

Resistance training

Now, I am still banned from lifting any heavy weights but that didn’t mean I have to stop completely. I found using the lateral pulldown machine and low row were perfect for keeping my back from getting too tired and niggly. With low weights, low reps/sets and a longer break in between each round it worked perfectly. You see I didn’t have to lift anything heavy to have a workout.

Bands

And no I don’t mean the ones in the top forty music chart. I mean resistance bands. These are a fantastic way of training when you need to slow things down and concentrate on the deeper muscles. Now I prefer my training to be fast, moving in all directions and breaking a sweat. Something that I am not going to get with resistance bands in a rehab setting. I had to slow it right down and concentrate on activating the muscles which needed attention. This was mainly my back and will shortly involve me core muscles too.

My core

My core work can start now as well. However, my five minute plank will have to wait. I need to start with the basics and the regressions of most core moves. It means I will have to separate out my upper core muscles, lower and obliques (they live on the sides) and concentrate on activating each to get them strong again.

My mental health

Why am I keeping so active? That is a good question. First of all I point out my blog called “sitting still is tricky!”. That sentence says it all really. I find it really hard to sit still and do nothing. The idea of a beach holiday, reading a book, drinking an ice cold drink and so on scares me. I am wanting to know what water sports are available, is there a bicycle track or even a walking track and when the next activity is. So you see my point. My mental health sitting still would get bored, frustrated, irritable and many other words to describe that. My mental health doing this kind of exercise is happy, less stressed, active and smiling. And that is my point. Active body equals happy mind.

Conclusion

I hope that has given you a little insight into my training as I rehab from my surgery. I feel the main point is you can work out to an extent post operation/illness/injury you just need to be careful (always double check if you are unsure). Feel free to ask me any questions, talk to your own GP or local gym and see what you can do.

-Helen

Positivity vs Negativity

What is it?

According to the dictionary positivity is defined as:

“the practice of being or tendency to be positive or optimistic in attitude.”

And according to the dictionary negativity is defined as:

“the expression of criticism of or pessimism about something.”

People

People tend to either sit in the positive club which usually means you feel happy go lucky most of the time, or the other side which is the negative club where you don’t feel so happy go lucky. I feel the best way to do it is to have a little be of positivity and a little bit of negativity. A bit like a seesaw for example. Somewhere you can adapt your attitude depending on the situation. I think it is healthy to have a little bit of both. Sometimes you will feel positive but it is ok to feel negative as well.

Let me explain

My general personality is to be positive most of the time. Rosie often refers to me like the Duracell Bunny. Someone who can be positive and active twenty-fours a day and seven days a week. However, she is also pleasantly surprised when I do have a negative thought as she remarks that I am only human after-all. Rosie’s personality was more negative than positive. At the height of her illness it was negative twenty-four hours a day seven days a week and that is something that can rub off on a carer like myself when I was looking after her. Today Rosie is much more positive and she has worked hard to get to this, and she will continue to do so. Together we find we have the right mix.

Negative people can bring you down

It is very true. If someone is negative most of the time and you hang out with them most of the time, then at some stage it is going to make you feel a little down. You have probably heard of the term “vampire friend”. This is someone who zaps your energy after you visit them for a cup of coffee as they spend the whole session talking about themselves and their negative thoughts. Yes, they ask you upon arrival how you are and you say “I’m fine”. Inside you are thinking I want to tell them you’re engaged, I’m going on holiday in three months to Thailand and that Henry (the pet bunny) is sick. But after “I’m fine” that is as far as you get. They then spend the next few hours discussing their situation even if it happened six years ago. You start to wonder why you are so tired, drained, in need of a nap or some “me-time”. That is the basics of it. Your friend (either consciously or sometimes unconsciously) has zapped your energy.

Vampire friend

To some degree it isn’t their fault. Some people may not even be aware that they zap your energy and it will take a very well worded conversation to tell them so. However, I need to stress that you need to choose your time wisely with this. Some people at the height of the mental illness may be negative and I feel they need some time to work through this. It is ok. My point is the people who are dealing with the same issue from ten years ago and are struggling to move on may be more negative than others. There may be ways to help them but they are unwilling to take sometimes simple steps to get there.

Rosie’s negativity

As I say at the height of Rosie’s mental health breakdown she was negative a lot of the time. However, it was more her Depressive Illness talking than Rosie. I would say something like “lets go for a drive and a walk”. Rosie would answer with it is raining, the sun isn’t shining, it will be cold, the clouds are grey, I don’t want to go”. Can you see the difference? It may have been raining but I knew that a walk in the fresh air would do her good. Today even though she still has her Depressive Illness she is much more positive and isn’t stuck two years ago going over and over the bad stuff. She turned the negative into a positive.

How to turn negativity to positivity

Most people who come into contact with me remark that I am a positive person. I have learnt over the years that being positive helps me deal with whatever situation I need to go through. As a person I tend to want to make people laugh too. Usually I will try and tell a silly joke with an obscure punchline, I will do a silly dance or attempt to do the “floss dance craze” from last year and so on. This is my point. I can’t do the “floss dance” for love nor money but it makes Rosie laugh at my attempt and therefore I do it. I find if you are laughing you are going to be fine.

Laughing

Did you know that there are laughter clubs around (and no I don’t mean comedy clubs). There are special groups where you can go and laugh. There is even laughter Yoga. Now if you can’t get to a laughter club near you then there are several options. Watch a comedy on tv, listen to a comedian doing their thing or hang out with friends. Try anything to make yourself laugh. It doesn’t matter what negativity you are going through just try to find the positive.

Benefits of laughter

Yes, benefits! Laughter can relax the whole body as well being good for your muscles and heart. It can also help your immune system and release endorphins (the happy chemical). It can make you turn that frown upside down too. I mean what more could you want. Find something funny, get laughing and try to gain a new perspective on whatever was negative.

-Helen

Happy New Year!

Best wishes to you all for the new year! 2020 will be a fabulous year. We all need to look after ourselves and those around us. If you see someone struggling, offer to help: it can be as easy as a smile and a few kind words.

Take some time for reflection: what do you wish to accomplish in 2020? Do not dwell on the negative experiences, use them to learn from and to not go there again. Try to stay positive. The power of the mind is so powerful, and you will soon notice that thinking happy thoughts does have an impact on your overall wellbeing. Dream big!

Have a great start to the New Year!

-Helen and Rosita

They say a photo speaks a thousand words! (weight loss before and during, I’m not quite finished but a great start).

The trick!

The short answer there isn’t one. Diet, exercise and time. There you go. That is the trick (and a lot of hard work).

-Helen

Looking forward to 2020!

What are you looking forward to in 2020?

That is a good question. With all the stress of the last few weeks we sometimes forget that 2020 is a brand new year for us to contend with. We also forget that it is only a few days away. We start thinking about things and start asking ourselves those big life questions.

Questions arise like:

  • What are we going to do in 2020?
  • Is 2020 the year I change that dead-end job where the manager is a bully?
  • Am I going to go away in the summer to that place I have been saving up for?
  • Will I actually tell my partner that I love them and want to marry them?
  • Do you think I am going to get through this particular health scare?

All of these are very valid questions.

Planning

I say jump into 2020 with a plan and see what happens. Make plans to get to your goal. Set yourself little targets, do one for the week, the month then the full year if you wish.

SMART goals

I tend to use SMART goals a lot for work. They do help to process and plan for a particular goal. SMART stands for:

S – Specific. Is the goal specific? I would like to run a 10km.
M – Measurable. Is the goal measurable? I am going to track the 10km and further training on my running app.
A – Achievable. Is the goal achievable? Yes, the goal will be challenging but achievable with the right training.
R – Realistic. Is the goal realistic? Running a 100km run with no training would be un-realistic but a 10km is realistic.
T – Time. How long will it take? Training for a 10km I estimate taking around 3 months.

What happens if you don’t meet the goal?

A good question and my first piece of advice is to not panic. My second piece is to re-evaluate. My third is to change the plan to get yourself back on track. Sometimes goals need time to get to you as well. For example, we have been working towards the IVF goal since early summer of 2019 and as much as we want to be several months down the pregnancy line we are not. We have to keep reminding ourselves that the timing is not right just now for whatever reason. It will happen: just not right now.

December

My plan is still to lose enough weight to get us on to the IVF. In December I ended up with emergency surgery to sort some cysts on my ovaries. That was a curve-ball I didn’t see coming and left me unable to train in the gym at my usual level of exercise. However, what I did do was to carry on as best I could within my current exercise limits. I have been doing 30 minute spin classes, walking and even tried Zumba. Now my Jive in Zumba is a little tricky as it is too jumpy for me right now but my Salsa steps are perfect. The short answer is I do what I can. The weight loss has slowed down but at least I am keeping it going. As I say, don’t panic, re-evaluate and change to get yourself back on track.

Write it down!

Do just that. It is easy to think of a goal and keep it in your head but it makes it a little more concrete when you write it down. 2 Spuds did a blog a few weeks ago on lists and writing it down. You can see it here.

The 2 Spud plan

Obviously we have a plan for 2 Spuds next year. We have sat down at the beginning of December and asked ourselves what do we want to achieve with 2 Spuds. We have many different ideas but the jist is to push the 2 Spud business further than it is now. This means we will go out and about a lot more putting on Mental Health Wellness days as well as the Mental Health Awareness Certificate days.
We are still practising the NLP and are planning to get this up and running in the New Year.
Rosie and I want to keep writing blogs for you guys and share our experiences. There are more plans as we get through 2020 and those will become apparent when the time is right. Stay tuned!

Helen and Rosie’s goals

As a couple we are continuing with weight loss and IVF goals. We are also hoping to extend our family further by adopting a rescue dog. Another goal for us is to complete a long run/bike ride/walk, which is yet to be decided.
Rosie wants to further her Yoga practice, both personally and professionally, as well as continuing to search for her purpose (in practice this means continuing her counselling sessions). She will also continue to explore different avenues to improve her mental health recovery, with an aim over the next few years to be medication free.
I want to carry on my work and qualifications to become a specialist in the rehab and mental health fields. My heart is set on completing a sports massage qualification by the end of 2020. I want to take Rosie away on holiday somewhere. I’m not sure where yet but it will be fabulous! In the summer of 2020 I want to go back to my passions of cycling, hill walking and kayaking.

The point

The main point is to think about your goals, write them down, welcome in 2020 and then go for it.

– Helen

Ps. Please note that Wednesdays blog will be on Tuesday next week. We will be back to normal after the New Year.

How many calories?

I thought it would be a good time to talk about calories and exercise. I am aware that there is a big holiday coming up next week so I thought why not. What I plan to do is take you through some Christmassy calories and exercise. I will also tell you how you can be sensible but still have fun. In my book it is quite simple at the end of the day.

Calories

I read a BBC news article a few weeks back that stated it would take you around four hours of walking to burn one pizza off again. Wow! A full four hours of walking just to walk off one pizza. Yes I agree the article has a point of making packaging more informative but at the end of the day how many pizzas do you eat in a month? In the month of December I think I have had 3 (this isn’t my point!) but then the months of September, October and November there were none. So that is my point usually my pizza intake is non existent and I am a pizza lover.

Some more calories

FoodWalkingRunning
5 pigs in blankets (70 kcal)12 minutes6 minutes
450g Christmas pudding (1280 kcal)210 minutes110 minutes
100g brussel sprouts (35 kcal)6 minutes3 minutes
Mince pie (245 kcal)20 minutes40 minutes
Small glass sparkling wine (105 kcal)17 minutes9 minutes
Chocolate bar (229 kcal)42 minutes22 minutes
Leftover turkey sandwich (445 kcal)82 minutes43 minutes

The verdict

The verdict from the above table. Well, if you are a fan of the brussel sprout then you are good to go and eat as many as your wish. However, if you are a fan of the Christmas pudding then perhaps take it in moderation. According to Google the average calorie intake for the whole of Christmas Day is around 6000 calories. I’m not even going to calculate the walking and running times for that. It is one day a year that we all eat too many calories. On Boxing Day most of us are seen outside with our latest presents taking a walk.

Everything in moderation

As I mentioned above how many pizzas do you have in one month? The same goes for how many Christmas Dinners do you have in one month? I bet the answer is one and it is usually the 25th of December. This is my point: everything in moderation. Many people come January will be hitting a detox programme and getting a new gym membership and this is all well and good. It is good to let the body detox after such a feast. I myself have been eating a lot more mince pies and Lebkuchen (German cookie) during the month of December but as they say “it is the season”. I am also aware that come January that I will go back to eating a Rich Tea biscuit if that.

Exercise

Now here is where we can get our own back on the calories. The most important news is that exercise can be whatever you need it to be.

ExerciseCalories burnt (1 hour)
Sleeping60
Slow walking180
Yoga280
Light cycling500
Swimming620
Boxing800

The verdict

I am aware that sleeping isn’t quite a workout but seeing as most of us will be doing it after that Christmas meal I thought I would add it in. So you can see from the chart in one hour your can burn a lot of calories depending on what you are doing. Take a two hour walk and suddenly you have close to four hundred calories burnt (and that is at a slow pace). My personal favourite is boxing. Take out the stresses of Christmas Day on the boxing bag.

The point

Christmas comes round once a year so eat in moderation, drink in moderation, have a good nap on the day and most importantly have fun and don’t worry about it. I know I’m not going to worry and I also know that I am going to enjoy my walks.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas for next week from 2 Spuds in a Pod.

-Helen

Ps. There will be no blog on Wednesday, 25 December for obvious reasons. 2 Spuds will be taking a well deserved break.

How to cope with a big family event!

The poll

The December Facebook poll has been and gone. 2 Spuds asked you the following –
How to cope with a big family event
Or
Steps to coping with December and January
The majority went with how to cope with a big family event.

So how do we do it?

I would love to turn round to you and say eat, drink, be merry and speak your mind but we all know that could end you up in more trouble than it is worth. However, you can still have a great Christmas with these simple ways.

Look after yourself

First things first is to look after yourself. Remember that 2 Spuds likes the “me time” approach. This can work in two ways. One way is to read a book, take a bath or go for a walk but the other side to “me time” is to remove yourself from a stressful situation. Take time to breathe, think about what has happened in a stressful situation (or argument) and then be able to move on from it as well. We are aware that it is easier said than done but trust us.

Family events

2 Spuds is fully aware that family events can be a stressful experience. You have your great Aunt Joan asking you when you are settling down to start a family and you have just broken up with your partner. You could have your Uncle Lenny asking you what you are doing with your life now that you seem to be unemployed (again!). Your parents are doing their best to welcome your new fiancée to the family but have gone so far over the top that it is just embarrassing. You could have a child who has decided that now is the best time to come down with a chest infection/chicken pox/the flu and many different people are giving you their top tips to help soothe them. The list is endless of scenarios and that is before we have gotten to the dinner table where the chef has prepared all day and last minute finds out that Tony has become vegan and forgot to mention it. Or Sandra is now allergic to turkey.

NB: All names and scenarios have been changed to protect people in the story.

NB (again): My parents were fantastic with my fiancée and 2 Spuds enjoys a full Christmas meal with all the trimmings and extra chocolate.

The point

The point of the above is that it could be you on Christmas Day. All you want to do is huddle under the duvet cover with Christmassy films, a massive box of chocolates, glass of wine and for someone to wake you up when it is all over. However, you find yourself in your best dress, with a paper hat, pulling a cracker and saying oooo when the turkey arrives on the table.

What do you do?

Well the short answer is to try and get on with it as best you can or alternatively try and see the funny side of it. I personally find that if I am laughing at the situation it can’t be that bad. Be upfront with people and don’t be afraid to say, I’m sorry I don’t want to discuss the inner workings of my relationship over the Christmas Pudding. Remember also to take some time out. Again don’t be afraid to say I am going for a walk, I am stepping outside for a few minutes or I am going to go and read a book for an hour and so on. This is your Christmas as well as everyone else.

Alcohol

Not being much of a drinker these days (I am sure there is a certain ex work manager who will recount a Christmas story of the River Thames and a glass of Whisky back in my youth but I will leave that story for another day!) I can’t say too much here. However, what I am aware of is a lot of alcohol and a stressful environment is not a good combination. You have more confidence when tipsy but that may not be a good thing. You don’t want to be remembered the following Christmas for standing up on the table and ranting about how much you would like to be in sunnier climes or found crying under the Christmas tree.

What happens if we have an argument or someone makes me cry?

Don’t panic is the first step here. The second is to remove yourself from whatever the situation is and breathe. These steps are simple yet effective. Take time to recover, call a friend or speak to a family member as well. Also try and draw a line under the situation and carry on having fun.

Side note into loneliness

I know we are talking about families but there are two more sides to a family event. One may be that you are surrounded by family on a big holiday and you have never felt more alone. It is that weird thing when surrounded by people that sometimes you feel like you are on an island. I would say talk to someone about this. Try and talk to a family member about you feel or in any doubt call the Samaritans helpline.

The other side to loneliness

Some people may be on their own this Christmas. Either through choice or through a situation which is out with their control. Again try and speak to someone. A friend, relative, neighbour, Samaritans or equivalent.

The bottom line with loneliness

There is no need to suffer through loneliness this Christmas. There are many people out there who can help you. You are welcome to drop 2 Spuds an email as well to say hello.

Boxing Day

Try and go for a walk to blow away any dramas from Christmas Day. Go out with your friends or your favourite uncle. Go to the local pub for a pint of orange juice. Watch Christmassy films on TV. The list is endless but the point is Christmas is one day a year, make the most of it and most importantly look after yourselves.

-Helen

PS. If you do need support over the festive period please visit our support page or contact 2 Spuds in a Pod.

Sitting still is tricky!

We are about one week on from my emergency surgery to fix two orange sized cysts on my ovaries. So far everything seems to be going in the right direction. The surgical sites are healing nicely and I am now on the lowest pain killers possible. Except for feeling tired a lot of the time I would say that I am doing very well.

Sitting still!

My main issue is this sitting still thing. I have never been very good at it and I am being less good at it now. Before last week I was doing an active job, making sure that at least six out of the seven week days I was in the gym and I was walking most places I could. I would happily go from one thing to another, to another and to another. I would plan lots into my day so everything was completed. Now I can do a few hours of activity before a sit down and then I can repeat.

It’s a good time of year!

That it is and I don’t mean that there are more colours around, trees looking fancy, mince pies everywhere you turn, music blaring from speakers and generally everyone seems to be in a better mood. I mean that there has been a lot for me to do. Friends and family have been coming over to the house to either take me down to the supermarket, taking me out for a drive, taking me for coffee and so on. I mean I have had small tasks to do most days.

The good thing!

The good thing about it is I am moving around. I have a theory that the more I move, the better I get and the quicker the recovery period so I can go back to Zumba and boxing. You may not think it is a big element to recovery but believe me it is. Little movement like walking from one room to the other, walking up the stairs, standing to seated and seated to standing, crouching down to pick something up (I can’t quite bend in the middle yet) and much more. All of this moves muscles, helps the cardiovascular system and more importantly the brain and my mental health. Yes, I would love to say that I am booked on to a Zumba and circuit class this evening but I have to wait. I have to wait until my core has healed.

Food

I thought I would add a quick note in here about food. I mean it would be great to kick back and eat all those sugary foods to make us “feel better”. But I am not. Having come so far in my weight loss journey it would be a great shame to start going backwards. I am aware that I may gain a little from in-activity but I am doing what I can to counter-act that. I have allowed myself the odd Christmas biscuit but I am also mindful that I don’t want to go over board with it either. I am sticking to the good foods. The proteins that will help my muscles recover. The fruit and vegetables (vitamins) so my whole body can recover and the water to flush out all the bad toxins.

Exercise

As mentioned above I am moving as much as I can. I am also going for walks. Nothing too big at the minute but I can now happily manage anything from a half hour to an hour. I have been to the gym once since last week. I did a half hour cycle and a half hour walk on the treadmill. I vary my days to walking outside to gym days and make sure when I feel tired that I remember it is my body telling me it has had enough for that day. I will increase these times (and resistances) as I come through the rest of December and hopefully post festive season will be back at the gym to start building my strength back up, Zumba and boxing.

Conclusion

Be kind to yourself. Let the body heal. Try not to rush into anything and be aware that if something doesn’t feel right or a twinge is a bit too much then stop. There is no harm in taking a break (I am trying, I really am!).

-Helen

Then it went a bit pear-shaped!

My week this week was meant to have loads of fun and exciting things in it. We had tickets to the cinema on Monday evening to see a live performance streamed from London’s West End of Les Misérables. We also had tickets to go and see the rescheduled John Barrowman Fabulous Christmas Tour. A trip to see Frozen 2 and ice climbing was for Friday and then away for the weekend for Rosie and my first-year anniversary treat. On top of that we had PT booked at the gym, many Zumba classes, some of my favourite clients where I work and a routine that would have made the week amazing.

8 in total

As I write this blog, I currently have four keyhole marks on the abdomen, two jab marks on my elbow from where bloods were taken, one in my hand from an IV and a further one in my bum from medicine. If you haven’t guessed already, I had another emergency surgery on my ovaries.

What happened?

A good question. I had woken up on Monday in the wee small hours with my ovaries playing tennis (pain), took some pain killers and had gone back to sleep. I woke in the morning to a non-existent appetite. Not thinking too much at this point I ate what I could of breakfast and toddled off to work in Glasgow. Later in the afternoon I started to feel sick, had a sore stomach and after my lunch felt even worse than I had previously. Alarm bells were starting to ring as I had had similar symptoms the last two years when this had happened.

Rosie took one look at me!

I called Rosie and warned her that something wasn’t right and then called my Mother to talk things over. Rosie came home from work a few hours later, took one look at me and had me in the car up to our local A&E. I was prodded and poked there for a couple of hours before it was decided to transfer me to the specialist unit in another hospital a good half hour drive away. It was getting late at this point, but we did what we were told. The consultant in the next hospital again took a look and I was admitted for scans the following day. The diagnosis was a possible cyst rupture again.

The next day

The next day we discovered there were no specialists for that specific scan, so we had a new consultant do a trans vaginal up in a little room off the ward. I walked down to the room in my Harry Potter pj’s, Doc Marten Boots and black t-shirt. Excellent combination and I am sure London Fashion Week will be calling me any day now. With the help of my Mother the consultant had a good look around. Now considering they had done the finger check for the ovaries the previous day which left me doubled over you can imagine my response to the probe. My Mum helped me to stay calm, keep my breathing under control and issue words of comfort.

The diagnosis

They had found two cysts, one on the right and one on the left which were both the size of an orange. The right one had grown since it was last scanned in August and that was the main suspect. We had mentioned to the consultant that we were in the middle of IVF tests so they had suggested I had the coil removed, the Hy-Co-Sy scan complete and a general look around whilst I was asleep. Answering any questions, I had the consultant put me on the surgical list for the next day. I was an emergency but could be controlled on the ward. My main concern was if the cyst was a pain in the ass, I was at risk of losing a one or both ovaries. Not want you want to hear if you are sitting at the start of IVF.

Later that afternoon

Back on the ward I was told to start eating and drinking as I had been fasted until this point, this was as the operation would take place the next day. I had a few sips of water but nothing more. A lucky move.

Then it really kicked off!

Within about an hour of being back on the ward I had the consultant, the consultant’s colleague, a surgeon, an anaesthetist, two nurses and two surgery porters ready to take me to theatre (and I don’t mean the all singing, all dancing kind). There was a gap in the schedule, and they were going to use it. I was changed from my pj’s into a sexy hospital gown complete with very sexy hospital stockings, tucked into bed and wheeled down to theatre. Rosie came with me and I had the two porters cracking jokes which put me somewhat at ease. I was taken into the surgical waiting room and it was the coldest I had felt since I had arrived. I was then wheeled into theatre.

The theatre

At this point I wish it was the all singing and all dancing variety. There were lights, surgeons with big cloaks and masks on, a black table, lots of other machines, I had people moving me, prodding me, hooking me up to various and bits and pieces and straps put on to my legs. The porter said to jump from my comfy bed to the table. I took one look at it and crumbled. I was scared. A nurse stuck out her hand and said you can hold on to that for as long as you need. I held on good and tight until I was put to sleep. So, to that theatre nurse, thank you so much and I hope I didn’t crush your hand too much.

Recovery

Surgery is weird. You are put to sleep and then after what feels like a massive nap you wake up again. My first questions apparently were:

  • Where was buddy? (Rosie) – she was upstairs waiting for me
  • Did I still have both ovaries? – yes
  • Are you Tony (I was to ask for Tony when I got to recovery so I was just checking) – he was Tony

I wasn’t in recovery for long before I was taken back to the ward and to Rosie.

The surgical diagnosis

I apparently had endometriosis cysts which were drained and burnt. I had the coil removed and I had the Hy-Co-Sy scan completed. We are still a little confused as to the PCOS/Endometriosis diagnoses. I have been told for years it was PCOS and now it may be something completely different. It is one of our questions for January when we see yet another consultant. Apparently, the thing with endometriosis cysts is they can come back. Now the fact they are in my ovaries only means I have a good chance of falling pregnant but what are they to do in the meantime? They have given me a jab in my bum to shut down my ovaries temporarily. The side effect, I may experience menopausal type symptoms. So, at 35 years old I may get hot flushes, night sweats and mood swings. Something to look forward to.

The next day

The next day a nurse popped by my bed to say I was going down for my scan at lunchtime. I lifted my t-shirt and said erm, I think they did it already. It was a small funny moment in the grand scheme of things.

Rehab

I am now back at home and being looked after by my family. I am sore and swollen but doing well. Stairs are tricky but we will get there. With regards to rehab, I feel very lucky as I went through a similar surgery three years ago, so I know what to do with regards to rehabbing me back to normal. I am currently banned from high intensity training, weights, heavy gym work, boxing and my favourite, Zumba. The ban is in place for the next six weeks. I can walk and when the swelling in my abdomen subsides, I can start stationary cycling in the gym.

Thank you

A massive thank you to Rosie and my Mum who saw me through the hospital procedures, you were both superstars. My friends and family for their well wishes. The theatre nurse whose hand I could hold on to. My work colleagues who have re-arranged all my schedule and classes.

-Helen

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