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Health & Wellbeing

My Endometriosis Journey – Update

May 13, 2018

When I woke up in hospital in February, and my surgeon said he found and removed, a large chunk of endometriosis, I didn’t consider the magnitude of my diagnosis and I thought the future would be simple from here. I had assumptions that I would start to feel much better, that I would resume to normal life, and that would be it for doctors visits for the next few years or so. After all I’m usually someone who toughs out the bumpy times in life and pushes on through. But over the next few months, I’ve realised that this is a ‘thing’ I might have to learn to live with and I have to learn to be kind to myself. Gone are the days of ‘pushing’. I’ve pretty much said no to all things social until I have recovered from my next operation, put the halt on pushing myself to do hard-core training (walking and yoga are my new friends) and I’ve had some good weeks and bad weeks.

From my first surgery, there were a about six weeks when I really thought I was on the mend. I was training again, eating healthily, had my energy back and didn’t have any sick days at work.Then the pain crept back like it did before my first surgery. It’s not just a bad time of month for me. It’s an all the time kind of pain that can happen any time. It can feel like a stitch, lower back pain, upset stomach and pressure on my bladder which worsens at night, sometimes so intense that I need to knock myself out with sleeping tablets. This is because the endometriosis is in my bowel and possibly my intestines, and is basically fucking up the zen of my whole digestive system. They could not remove it at the time of my surgery, because I was not aware it was there, and they need a bowel specialist and more testing done. So the last few months have been recovery, tests, and more appointments to talk and talk and talk so I am prepared for what lies ahead. Continue Reading…

Daily Life, Health & Wellbeing

Waiting

April 10, 2018

I’ve been keeping a kind of low profile on the blog over the last few months, it has been busy at work and I’m also hammering away at Hotels With Cats, launching some products (more on that soon!). I’m spending a lot of time at home and just trying to be as healthy as I can and training when I can. I have largely recovered from my first operation in February and have now been sent to another whiz bang endometriosis specialist to look at the extent of the growth of it it on my Bowel. I’m relatively pain free, except for that-time-of-the-month which can really knock me around for a week or two. We now need to decide once the next set of tests are in if the surgery is worth it or not (bowel surgery can go very wrong.)

So I continue to try my best with things that are within my control, I had a bit of a waylayed March on the non drinking front, and figured that it is easier to be abstinent than try to moderate, so I am back in the non drinking camp until my birthday in June. I’m back into training, swimming, and yoga and have signed up to 28 By Sam Wood. I did it before, and had some success, just making the meals vegan. I enjoy the accountability of the Facebook group and the yummy food. Plus 28 minutes of exercise is not so daunting, especially that you can do in your loungeroom and I am just up for building up some strength at the moment. I still have 7kg to lose but I am trying to think of it from a health perspective. I have lost 5 since our trip in October but no doubt my body has been hanging on to fat due to stress. The next surgery should help even out my hormones.

Being in this waiting zone is a little bit annoying, especially for my mental health (I am such a planner!). Not knowing a date, or when, or how is driving me a little bit crazy. All should be revealed in the next two weeks and I keep reminding myself that I have much to look forward to once this is all over: Greece in August (yaaaassss), The Cat Lovers Show in Melbourne in September, and Queenstown Half Marathon in November.

Thanks for all your well wishes and understanding!

Ashleigh

Linking with Kylie for IBOT 

Health & Wellbeing

Endometriosis As A Childfree Woman

March 13, 2018

I wasn’t planning on writing about my endometriosis all over the internet. But that Big Magic thing happened one night, at 1am when I was in so much pain. Literally the words flew out of me onto the computer. I finessed the piece with a few quotes, and pitched it and here it is, published for SBS Life! I’ve been working so much on Hotels With Cats that I have not had time to write much of late, so this gave me a confidence boost that I still remember my freelance skills.

The link is here! 

Enjoy and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Any experience with this horrid thing?

Ashleigh XXX 

Linking with Kylie for IBOT

Daily Life, Health & Wellbeing

Recovery

February 13, 2018

Well it’s been about ten years since I have had the joy of the knife on the belly and I don’t know if it’s age but this time it’s taking me a while to recover. I’ve had the pleasure of many things go wrong down there, an adhesion, appendicitis, a burst cyst to name a few. Last Thursday after a series of stomach pain, bad monthly cramps and a feeling like I had to pee all the time for about six weeks I had a laparoscopy to find out the cause.

(Oh what joy being a lady).

Anyhow, the surgery was a success in that my lovely surgeon found the cause, Endometriosis. Which is a delightful condition in which the lining that’s meant to stay inside your uterus grows outside and in other places, forming painful scar tissue. This can make for a very painful period (and at other times) indeed and in some cases even the organs can get stuck together. Gross. (The wonders of the female body). So part one was removal if it from my abdomen, part two (which I shall find out tomorrow) will be removal of it from my bowel. I am not sure when this will be but I am inclined to get it sorted sooner rather than later. Feeling very sorry for myself despite my attempt at starting this year super healthily! (Vegan and alcohol free still going strong by the way, despite feeling sorry for self.)

At any rate I should feel a whole lot better in a few months. I hesitated about oversharing this on the blog but I felt I should let you all know while I’ve been silent. Plus it’s just a part of life isn’t it these things? I certainly have a new found wonderment and admiration for women who have caesareans then go home and look after a newborn! No wonder your stomach muscles are never the same. Anyhow for now I am snoozing a lot and it’s hard to sit up for too long but today is the first day I have felt a decent bit better, to sit up and write this at least.

So back to bed with my trusty nurse cats for now. (They have not left my side, little angels.)

Fingers crossed for more chirpy updates soon!

Ashleigh XXX

Kylie for IBOT. 

Health & Wellbeing

A Naked Mind – 42 Days Off Booze

February 4, 2018

At the beginning of the year I declared my word for 2018 as ‘intention’. Rather than a set of milestones or achievements, I decided to live each day with intention. This meant aligning my daily actions to my values by taking smaller steps to working towards what I wanted to achieve in my life as a whole rather than ticking said items off a list. It is working for me so far, but this meant changing my ways to making:

  • intentional choices about food which aligned with my tolerance for cruelty to animals,
  • intentional choices about reducing my waste and not ignoring plastic on the street,
  • doing something small to progress my Hotels With Cats Mission each day, and
  • doing something each day for my health.

One of the things I had to tackle to achieve this last point was to drastically reduce alcohol intake. I decided to aim for six months off. At the end of last year, I was in an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Call it what you will, an addiction, a dependence or a habit might be a little extreme. But again it might not be. Here is the thing, I was drinking A LOT. A bottle or so with The Ginger Hunk a few times a week, add-on a few beers each session, then weekends would be spent being even more boozy at least two of the days. I can name about five occasions when a hangover hit me like a ton of bricks and I ended up super sick and wasting an entire day. I hated this. I freaking hated myself for it. I would never get that day of my life back again. (Coming back to the intention thing, is this what I intended for my life?)

Despite this feeling of regret I would again order a case/bottle/have-just-one and then it would be gone.

The same cycle.

The same regret.

Stopping for a while until the next hangover hit me or training missed.

I was feeling sluggish, overweight, tired and anxious.

But, wasn’t it extreme to give up all together?

No. 

Couldn’t I reduce my intake without giving up for six months?

Probably not. 

Was I classified an alcoholic to need to give it up all together?

Maybe. Continue Reading…

Daily Life, Health & Wellbeing

With All Best Intentions

January 19, 2018

I started off 2018 with all the best intentions after a firstly stressful and then decadent 2017 which saw me lose 5, then gain 8kg over the course of a year. Returning from Europe in 2017 on the back of two overseas trips, gym closure, and stress eating/boozing saw me at my heaviest weight in October. I’ve put on and lost 5 kilo over the years here and there but the thing is at this point that I had reached is that I no longer felt healthy. The sight of myself in a swimsuit made me cry. I stood on the scales for the first time in a long time and realised that changes need to happen. No fad diets. No keto. No starving. Just changing my lifestyle back to what it was before the shit of the last few years which saw me reaching for food and wine as a relief.

I’m all for embracing and not beating up myself like I was in the past but here is the thing.

I was no longer healthy. 

Training was an effort. 

My knees hurt.

My ankles cracked.

I felt shaken and weak.

I could no longer fit into my “comfy” clothes.

It was time to make changes. In a forever kind of way. Over the last four months, I’ve stuck relatively to Michelle Bridges, albeit for a 3 week hiatus after Christmas and I’ve managed to drop 4.5 of the 14 or so kg I need to lose. Which I was pleased with, as Christmas is hard, and I gave myself some slack.  I’ve stuck to a swimming program and signed up for a half marathon, as well as the next round of Michelle Bridges. I’ve also gone vegan, and tooting my own horn (AND LOUD here!) but I have not had a drink in TWENTY DAYS, which is a miracle in itself.

I was starting to feel great. But, in the last two weeks, doomsday on the transformation has approached. Some issues with my inner lady workings have reared their ugly head again (sometimes it sucks being a woman), and I am booked in for some minor surgery on the 8th of February. This will set me back two weeks with my running, and I have to sit around with the feeling of a constant stitch in the meantime. Just for icing on the cake, I came down with the crustiest cold sore in the land this week.

WHY DO THEY ALWAYS FEEL BIGGER THAN THEY ARE?

So despite all the best intentions for 2018, I am on ‘hold’ for the next few weeks.

But, what I can do and I do have control over is my healthy eating, strengthening for my knee, and being bloody grateful in my mind that I can receive the best possible care here in Australia. There’s always a bright side to these things.

Are you on a health kick in 2018?

How is it going?

Better than mine?

Much love and happy weekend!

Ashleigh