2 Spuds in a Pod

Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing.

Tag: physical health

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



Why does life have to be so frustrating?! I mean sometimes we are only trying to get from point A to point B. In the way there are obstacles, hoops, wrong phone numbers, people who are no help at all. You find yourself three steps backwards and feeling down from doing such a simple task.

Customer Service

Now I could talk about customer service for hours and hours. However, for the point of this blog I will keep it short. Having worked in many a customer service role you could say I have a fair amount of experience. I also have a lot of people experience.

My current line of work

In my current line of work I deal with people who comes from all walks of life, from different careers, who have different illnesses or mental health conditions, who have different fitness goals and different life goals. Everyone in my book is treated with respect. A seven letter word that means so much but is quite often forgotten about, don’t you think? My point is with everyone I met I try to display professionalism, friendliness and a quirky sense of humour. The bottom line is that in my book everyone is treated the same. I try to give the best customer service that I can give.

When it goes bad!

I struggle when I have a big problem to solve and no one out of a customer service role is ready to help me. May be I am asking too much but then again may be I am not.

Let me paint you the picture!

Let me do just that. There is one more test I need to do for the IVF criteria and it something called a HyCoSy scan. Google can fill you in. In order to do this I need to have a Mirena coil removed.

Too many phone calls!

First of all I called my local GP but no, they apparently do not do such things. I was given another number to phone. But that number wasn’t recognised. I then got on to Google and had a search around other practices in the area to help us. But there were no phone numbers that I could see on their website. I tried the one number I could get and got through. But again no, they apparently stopped doing coil removal earlier this year. I was given yet another number. My poor phone was beginning to wonder what it had done to be calling so many different people. I got through to the last number and the lady asked had I spoken to the GP. My exact words were something like, “I have and they don’t do it, I have been sent on a wild goose chase, can you help?”.

I finally got a date!

After a few questions and a few calendar dates I finally have a date. It took about an hour to do all of that but I finally made it to the end. And here is my point. Did it really have to be that challenging to do such a simple thing?!


To me this is just another hoop we need to get through with a few obstacles thrown in. It is like we are being tested to make sure we are ready to progress down the children route. It is frustrating, it is challenging and it is darn right annoying as well. To do something so simple, which is to have children of my own, I need to go through many, many hoops.

What else do they want from me?

Exactly that. I have changed my diet, changed it again and finally changed it so it makes even more sense. I now eat a lot more than I did. The first few weeks were nerve-racking and scary while I looked at the amount I had to get through. Now I willingly make my own breakfasts and lunches making sure I have the correct meals and snacks. Admitting it now that I do like to snack. My appetite is back and I am not hangry as often. We have discovered that I have more muscle than fat and that is what is making my BMI and weight loss is challenging.

What else?

I changed my exercise regime and now run. Run! I do many more gym classes. In the rain, the sun and the cold I train. I do exercise when I really want to sit on the couch and eat cake. I do my own research into how best to go forward with IUI or IVF. Rosie and I ring many different people to try and get an answer. We have become massive Google fans as well. We read articles, forums and much more just to see if there is anything else I can do except wait.

I know it will be worth it!

Now, I know in the end it will all be worth while but I am also aware we are going through many different hoops. A lot of hoops before we even get to the massive ones that IUI or IVF will throw at us. I know I will have a little rant and then pick myself up and carry on. I have a goal to get to and I am going to try my hardest to get there.


Coming back from illness

We have spoken a lot about mental health on these blogs but today I wanted to change the tone a little bit and look at coming back from an illness. I have brought myself back from one through good nutrition, exercise, sleep and looking after myself.

Ouch, something isn’t right

I had woken up on a Monday morning not feeling quite right but well enough to go into work. I completed the day with a slightly sore stomach, nauseous and a ghost white face. People kept asking if I was ok and I would answer with I am sure it is a 24-hour thing and nothing to be concerned about. Little did I realise at this point what was about to happen. The Tuesday morning, I woke up and was to go and do my final training run for a duathlon I was to take part in at the weekend. I had been training for months and had finally managed to get my 5k up to scratch and master the run-to-bike-to-run transition. Rosie was ready to go and was waiting with a half a banana energy boost to get us going. I didn’t touch the banana noting that I wasn’t very hungry. Now if you know me then you will know that I am constantly hungry, I blame it on all the exercise I get. People will know that if I am not hungry then something is very, very wrong. So out to the park we go on this run and I am not feeling like moving at all. I say to Rosie to run ahead and I will walk/run and see what happens. I was very aware this was the last training session and I was still thinking this was a 24-hour thing that should go away shortly.

Oh no!

But oh no. The pain intensified in my left side and by the time Rosie had completed her run and was returning to me she noticed I was walking with bent in the middle on the left-hand side. Rosie immediately took charge and we phoned the GP. Off we popped to get a check-up. Then it all went downhill.  From the basic observations the GP did, we were sent straight to A&E and within a few hours of being there I was in emergency surgery. It turned out that I had a cyst on one of my ovaries which had burst and in turn had inflamed everything in its path including my appendix. The surgeons had to clean up the mess, take out my appendix and sew me back together again.

I’m still doing the duathlon

I woke up from surgery and the first two questions were; where was Rosie and am I going to be ok to run at the weekend. Once I had found Rosie, who had been busy drinking coffee and pacing the hospital corridors, I turned my attention to the fact I would be running, cycling and running at the weekend. The doctors, the nurses, Rosie and my family were all saying no, it would not be the case, but I was determined to get better in 4 days and ready to go. I am going to blame the painkillers entirely on this irrational thinking. Apparently according to Rosie and the nurses I was on cloud 9 and having a whale of a time there.

I didn’t take part

Although I tried, I admitted in the end that it was not going to happen with me taking part in the duathlon. All my hard work, training, preparing of the bike, buying new trainers, eating the nutritional plan we had been set and so on was lost. I would still be at the event on the Sunday, but I would be there as a spectator cheering Rosie on from start to finish.  I cannot explain to you the devastation of being at the event and not being able to take part. It was heart-breaking.

The medal

On the upside I asked the event organisers if I could still have my medal. I explained what had happened and as a consultation price I got it. I just felt that with all the training and particularly that fact I had come from not running a centimetre but to running two full 5k’s this was a big moment for me. Luckily the person I spoke to understood the situation as well.


This was long and involved a lot of patience. As Rosie kept saying it takes times for the body to heal, you need to be nice to it and her favourite saying to me was “don’t be an idiot!”. Again, for those of you who know me will know that I do not sit still for long periods of time. I always find some washing up to do, a room that needs tidied, a gym programme that needs me to experiment with, the grass needed cutting, and the list goes on. So, to put me under enforced bed rest from both Rosie and my mother, it took a great deal of patience on my part to get better.

A lot of walking

I realised early on in my recovery that I could walk without much discomfort and that is what I did. I started going around the block which was a matter of five minutes or so in the early days and then progressed back up to that 5k one which would take a good hour or so. Luckily for me this happened in a September and it was one of those sunny and warm ones. I just kept walking my way back to health.

Further training to recovery

After I had myself back at the hour of walking, I went on to using a spin bike in the gym followed by some light weights. The abs exercises came last. I had had key hold surgery which is much better than having a full one but still they had to go through my six pack muscles which meant I had to wait for that to heal before doing any crunches. I managed to modify a lot of the ab exercises I did. From doing plank on my knees, to concentrating on the deep muscles during a bridge I worked my way back into crunches, bicycles, leg extensions and so on. I would keep the sets and reps low as I built it up again, but I got there in the end.


Throughout my hospital trip, recovery and beyond I tried to stay positive in what I was doing. I knew it was going to be a long and hard recovery and I knew at times I would be in discomfort and wanting to rush into things too soon. But I also was aware that was lucky that in that grand plan we call life I would get there. This is the main point: if you put your mind towards something you will achieve it. Whether that is running a 5k, coming back from illness, getting out of bed in the morning and so on. Trying to stay positive will help get you there.


Just in case you are wondering. I unfortunately never made it back to take part in the duathlon but that was more the fact I moved away from the area than anything else. One day I may decide to do one. You never know.


I am what I am!

I am pretty sure from the title you will already know the singers. There are three that come to mind. These being Gloria Gaynor, Shirley Bassey and John Barrowman. Everyone of them has sung it, put their own take on it, performed it live on stage in various countries and at various points of their career. It has become an anthem of sorts and it is an important one.

The reason I am telling you this

There is a reason. I was at the John Barrowman Fabulous tour yesterday evening at The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. It was 30 years of his career, his family, his husband and marriage, his dogs, his charity work, the LGBTQ community and his MBE all nicely packaged into a two-hour music extravaganza. Now this is a man who has had a varied career, has built it from the bottom, has taken opportunities and run with them all the while learning along the way. However, at one point during the show he says there is one thing I have done throughout my career. I have not listened to what other people have told me to do or told me not to do. I have done things my way. The lights then dim, and, in the shadows, there is this one line. I am what I am! The music picks up pace, the lights get brighter and he belts it out for everyone to hear. It is a very powerful song and Mr Barrowman has done it justice. At the end of the day (and in my opinion) Mr John Barrowman is a wonderful performer who just does what he does best, entertain and does what makes him happy regardless of what others may think.

Go and see the show if you can

I encourage you if you don’t have tickets to see any of his shows in the next week or so to get on to ticketing websites and get some. It is a fantastic feel good performance. Just right if you are feeling a little down right now. It is funny stories, it is photos, it is a live band, there is a little dancing but most importantly there is music and lots of it.
(2 Spuds is not into promotion however, we are into good music and feeling fantastic!)

The lyrics of I am what I am

The lyrics to this song are very important as they say look at me. I am me and I am the best of me. I need to accept the very best version of myself and then I need to shout it from the roof tops. Some people may not like me but that is ok. Not everyone is going to, but I am ok with this. At the end of the day I am what I am. The Gloria Gaynor version of the song has a slightly different ending where it states –

“I am, I am, good/strong/somebody
I am, I do belong
I am, I am, useful/true/worthy
I am as good as you”

Personally I feel it breaks down the lyrics a little more and gives a lot more meaning to an already fantastic song. At the end of the day you can repeat these words to yourself be the greatest person you want to be.

Life can throw curved balls

This is very true; life can throw us curved balls and it usually happens at a time when we are least expecting it. Both physically and mentally we can be changed and challenged. Your confidence can be knocked down, thrown in the washing machine, had a trillion spin cycles and then handed back to you to try and put it back together. But this is the thing. Rise above it. Get back to being the best version of you. This may take time, but you will get there. Because as the above lyrics state you are strong, you are useful, and you are worthy.

Go ahead

So, go ahead, find the version you like on Youtube or in your Spotify list. Turn that volume up and shout it loud and proud from the rooftops, because at the end of the day:

I am what I am!

– Helen

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