Everything is about to change. Since my last update about Adrenal Fatigue back in January, I’ve deliberately held back from writing. In fact I’ve held back from a lot of things. Almost everything really. I’ve focussed on my health, my family and a small number of close friends who’ve supported us while we bunker down for a while. After selling our house at the end of last year, we slipped into an awesome house-sit opportunity and have settled into life here for 12 months. It would have been lovely to get our own place, but something told us it was the wrong time for big decisions. We put off a 3 month family road trip as well, an adventure we’d been planning for 2 years and were all very excited about. It was a pretty tough decision to make, but the stars were not aligning, and I’m learning to listen when that happens. I’m glad I listened.
When I hit the wall and closed down my business back in July last year I told myself I’d take 12 months to rest and recover. But actually I secretly thought that by early 2017 I’d be a new woman, bursting with grand new plans and plenty of energy and enthusiasm to leap back into life. It had been a tough few years, and I thought it was just Scott’s cancer battle that had pushed me to breaking point. I knew I had to make some changes, but I honestly didn’t understand what that would mean, or how long it would take.
As the months ticked by I slowly started to accept that this was not going to be a short break. Resting didn’t help to rebuild my strength. Instead, my energy went backwards, and every time I tried to start something, no matter how small, I’d slip back even further. Out went yoga, pilates was too much, walking drained me and even writing left me depleted. I was going nowhere fast. Eventually I had to just let go of plans and dreams and future thinking. My only choice was to sit in the present moment. I remember saying to Scott a few months ago, ‘Maybe this is how it will always be. Maybe I won’t get better and I should just get used to feeling like this.’ It made me cry, because I have always known that something amazing was waiting for me in this life. The idea that I might have to settle instead for a quiet life was… well it was unbearable. For a while. And then, suddenly it wasn’t.
All around me was joy. I had my beautiful family, and so much time to enjoy them. Every day I ate good food, sat in a comfy chair surrounded by awesome books, and shared quiet conversations with beautiful friends who cared enough to come over and be with me. I had a garden with veggies growing, a big park out the back gate, a comfortable home for now and the financial resources to own our own space again one day. The idea of anything more than that exhausted me, and gradually a simple, quiet life became less unbearable. And less. Until one day I woke up and realised I already had everything I could ever need. If this was as good as it ever got, I would be happy.
And that’s when I woke up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain. It was like nothing I’d ever felt, surpassed only by childbirth. I couldn’t see or hear or hold myself up. I spent the night on the floor of the bathroom, convinced I was in the throes of a vile bout of gastro. It subsided by the morning and improved a little each day before taking a turn for the worse a week later. My GP sent me for scans, but by the time I actually had the ultrasound I was feeling mostly normal again. I expected nothing – as always. I’ve had 3 investigative ultrasounds over the last 10 years, on top of the usual pregnancy drill, and all have come back normal. But not this time.
I asked the ultrasound operator if she saw anything unusual. ‘Mmm…’ she said. “You have Endometriosis. Biggest nodule I’ve ever seen actually. And Adenomyosis.” And just like that I had a diagnosis. I left the clinic, sat in my car and cried. I’d wanted a diagnosis for 10 years, but suddenly being landed with a proper serious disease was unexpected and frightening. This was not the familiar territory of supplements and massages and restrictive diets. The report that eventually landed on my GP’s desk described not one but two genuine, medically recognised, official diagnoses of legitimate diseases with clear and specific paths to treatment. Doctors and specialist appointments followed in quick session and within 2 weeks I was booked for surgery. It all happened so fast.
Today I got my last ever period, and at 8.30 tomorrow morning I’m having a laparoscopic cystoscopy and hysterectomy. Yep. The whole shebang. The cystoscopy is the bit where they remove the 3.5 cm nodule that was picked up by ultrasound, as well as anything else they find in there. Endometriosis is when the tissue that normally lines the uterus starts growing outside the uterus. It usually grows around the outside of the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes, but it can end up anywhere, so the symptoms can cause back, hip and pelvic pain and even impact on bladder & bowel function or imitate IBS and effect digestion.
The hysterectomy bit is for Adenomyosis. It’s a related but different condition where the endometrial tissue actually breaks through the wall of the uterus and grows into the muscle lining. It causes abdominal cramps, heavy periods and ultimately the uterus swells to significantly more than it’s normal size. Because of the way ligaments connect the uterus to the lower back, this can also have a flow on effect with pain in the lower back, hip, pelvic and sacral areas. Both Endometriosis and Adenomyosis can also cause debilitating fatigue. So here we have, quite possibly, the dual cause of all my troubles, going back 10 years or more.
I’m ready for this. It feels like today is the last page of a story that’s coming to a close for me. I’ve grown so much in the last few years, and the pace of growth has accelerated up to this moment. Tomorrow I step into the unknown. I’m scared, excited, hopeful and anxious. This surgery could change everything, but actually no-one can give me any guarantees. I’m trying not to imagine waking up one morning soon with enough energy to embrace life in all it’s glorious possibility. I don’t want to believe in it, only to be disappointed if it doesn’t happen that way. What makes it bearable is that I’ve seen the alternative and it’s OK. It’s more than OK. Whether surgery changes everything or nothing, when I catch a glimpse of the other side of tomorrow it looks more beautiful than anything I could have imagined.
I’ll meet you there.