Daily Life, Health & Wellbeing

Recovering & Gratitude

Well it’s the eve of my 37th Birthday! It’s not going to be the most exciting of days tomorrow, but I have much to be grateful for.  I could use this post to have a rant about how shit the last six months have been. How I’m sitting around at home for the last ten days like the bubble boy. How I have been surrounded by cats and heat packs (not so bad). How I have spent most of our savings on medical care this year. But I am trying to process the experiences I have had through a lens of gratitude. Because I have so much to be grateful for about all this.

I’m grateful for top medical care.

I’m grateful for speaking out about Endometriosis and getting so much love and support.

I’m grateful for going to a good hospital when I needed it.

I’m grateful that my body just knows what to do when recovering from a major operation. Seriously. It’s in the worst shape of its life, covered in scars and bruises, but this body? I love her so much for what she’s got me through.

For those of you who had been following my journey, I had my initial diagnosis of Endometriosis in February through a laparoscopy. It started with something not feeling right, and a range of symptoms jumbled up together to indicate alarms I could not ignore. In my first operation, they removed what endometriosis lesions they could from my abdomen, but the problem was that it was on my bowel, and they didn’t know how deep it would be until they started to dig. One thing was for sure that my endometriosis specialist was not going to touch it without a bowel surgeon present, and they were absolutely not going to touch anything without my consent. So I went through the next couple of months of them going back and forward with how they were going to treat it, talking, planning, consenting. In the meantime I was sent for a number of tests to rule out any other issues, cystoscopy, colonoscopy, blood tests (goodbye money).

(This is how this fucker of a disease fucks with you, if you want a simple explanation by the way).

Endometriosis from Endometriosis.org on Vimeo.

In the end, the date was set. When the surgery came around I could not wait for the day to come. I only understood how complex the procedure would be when about 187 different doctors and assistants introduced themselves to me in the bay when I was being wheeled in. Bowel surgery is mostly fine when you’re young, but there is a high risk of infection or puncturing the bowel. There is also a risk you might need a colostomy bag when your bowel is mending. Something I was not super keen on, but didn’t really care at this point.

I was keen for them to do anything they needed to make me feel better.

And I was grateful for the 187 doctors and assistants in that room, because I ended up having a whopper of an operation for almost six hours. They re-sectioned part of my bowel, where the endometriosis had permeated through the whole wall (no wonder I had a stomach ache for six months!), scraped around my uterus, bladder and removed a chunk of scar tissue around my appendix which was causing pain and problems.

When I came to, I was super sick from the anaesthetic and don’t remember much between vomits and painkillers for the first three days in hospital. But I must have been posting that life was glorious whilst I was high…. ahhhhh. On day five I stopped throwing up, got off the drip and started a sloppy food diet, that made me want to start throwing up again. On day six, I started low-residue foods (basically white carbs!), and got sent home to my kitty cats, who diligently took up nursing patrol, under the eyes of The Ginger Hunk.

The road from here will be another week or so of rest (I only left the house for the first time today, I still get super tired!), slowly introducing more fibre over the next three weeks and I can start light exercise again in two weeks time. I’ll be seeing a nutritionist to look at low inflammatory food and crossing my fingers and toes that the next few years are pain free and what they did will slow the growth of this disease – unfortunately there is no cure.

So that’s where it’s at for the eve of my 37th year.

It’s not party central, but things could be much worse!

Much Love, Ashleigh

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