Friday, September 9, 2011

Not the Average Week

Warning: This Post May Distress Some Readers

Hello, dear blogworld.  Yes, I am alive - although I'm sorry to say it was actually slightly touch & go for a moment.  I did not manage to blog between coming back from holidays and going in for surgery - however, I have a draft holiday post on the go so that will come.  It was just so slow loading photos that I haven't finished.  But anyway, far more important things have been happening & I need to share my story, if only to get it all down properly so it's a bit clearer for myself.  Please bear with me.

I went in for my fibroid surgery on Wed 31st Aug, first up in the morning.  It was at a small private hospital in Sydney's eastern suburbs, as there were only 2 hospital choices given to me by the surgeon.  Afterwards the surgeon came in & said the surgery went well although took a bit longer than he expected.  He started laproscopically but could not do it that way & had to do open surgery, which meant a bigger cut and a longer recovery time.  He removed 10 fibroids, including one really large one.

The next day the nurses told me my haemoglobin was low (this all didn't mean much to me, not being a medical person) and the dr wanted me to be given a few units of blood, via my IV.  Okay.  The dr came back to see me later & seemed happy with everything, and that what was coming into the drain had lessened & asked the nurses to take it out.  I won't go into all the details, but as soon as they did I lost a lot of blood, my blood pressure dropped very low and they were all trying to stem the blood and get my pressure back up - which they did.  So I didn't think there was anything to worry about.  There was a time when they tilted the bed back, so my head was lower than my feet.  Apparently this helps raise low blood pressure.  However, I felt something (that I assumed was wind/gas, as I had been pumped full of air when the op began laproscopically) rising in me, into my chest, behind my rib cage & I was struggling to breathe.  I got very distressed & was crying at this point and they tilted me back ... and everything settled down.  A dr on duty put a few stitches in the wound & then everyone left me, I thought all was okay now.

About 5 minutes later, a nurse came in and said my surgeon had requested I have an ultrasound just to check everything was okay inside and, as they didn't have the facilities, an ambulance would take me to St Vincent's hospital.  I was thinking, "Tsk ... I don't want to go anywhere, I'm fine."  but the ambos arrived & off I went, chatting to them on the way.  It was a short journey to St Vinnie's ... and this is where things changed.

We got there, and there were about 20 people waiting for me in the ED.  They were surrounding me, all concerned faces and lots of questions - everyone seemed to be asking me the same questions & it felt kind of chaotic.  And they had stuffed an oxygen mask on my face so it was a bit hard to answer.   Then one dr said, "So Natalie - do you understand that you've been brought here for emergency surgery and this may involve a hysterectomy?"  (as opening lines go, it needs some work, right??)  I was going, "No NO!" and starting to cry.  There was an older lady dr there who gave him a look & kind of took over the conversation.  She was much more gentle & reassuring in her communication style.  I said the reason I'd had the fibroid surgery was for fertility purposes, and she explained that they would do everything they could not to resort to this, but had to warn me that if it was required to save my life, it was a possibility.  He needs to work on how he communicates this to (relatively) young women.

Then the senior surgeon/Consultant (basically the head gyno guy at St Vinnie's) introduced himself, and there was a social worker there who asked me if there was anyone she could call.  I said yes, my husband and amazingly, was actually able to tell her his mobile number off the top of my head (WTF?).  Then the surgeon said "I'll call him" and he popped out to personally call my husband.  I then remember actually being wheeled into the operating theatre before they gave me the anaesthetic.  That did not happen with the first surgery.

And then I woke up in Intensive Care and my husband was there.  The crux of it is that I had massive internal bleeding and was essentially near death ... but didn't even know it.  They did not remove anything I was born with, they were just able to stop the bleeding.  I was then in ICU for about 24 hours, then moved up to a ward early Fri evening.  The dr who made the tactless opening remark about the hysterectomy turned out to be the one who came to see me every day - he is called the Fellow, which I think means he is the right hand man of the Consultant.  I was finally allowed to come home on Tues evening, which was good as I was not going to stay there another night!

I am so glad to be home, but will now need 4-6 weeks off work.  I am sore and bruised, and extremely spun out by what has happened.  And can you believe that the original surgeon has not contacted me at all to check how I am?  And, according to the two drs at St Vincent's, they both called him as a courtesy and he did not call either of them back.  So a big thank you to the drs and staff at St Vincent's ... and no thanks at all to my original surgeon.

A long story but there it is.  That's where I've been and what I've been up to.  No pretty photos this blog.  Hope I haven't upset anyone with my story.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Birthdays & Boozehounds

I've been a bit quiet on the blogging front this week, as I've been busy tying up loose ends at work before my holiday.  But birthday update - what a lucky girl I am!

My lovely hubby took me for dinner on Wed night (which was the worst day ever, weather-wise, I must say!) to the wonderful Blancmange in Petersham.  We have been there a few times and it's always good.  This time I discovered that afternoon, when workmates asked where we were going for dinner, that my colleague's flatmate is the head waiter there.  My colleague rang him to tell him to look after us ... and when we arrived, right after he seated us he came back with two glasses of bubbles and said "these are from Paul".  Awww, how sweet. I won't attempt to write a review but I'll just say, if you're in Sydney and you haven't been there - go, GO.  Especially go on a weeknight, as they have a wonderful special deal on Tues-Thurs of 3 courses for $55.  That's right - good deal for the quality you get.

On Sat I had a haircut.  On the spur of the moment, based on a photo of Zooey Deschanel that I saw in the magazine I was reading while my colour was on.
Yeah, like a haircut is going to make me look like that.
You may recall that on Christmas Eve I kind of went for the semi-fringe - the sideswept, Clayton's fringe.  Well, this time I just said bugger it - go the whole hog.  All based on that photo and a whim ... and the nagging feeling that I might be running out of time to get trendy haircuts on a whim so I'd better do it now.  So I did!

Crappy iphone pic - and yes, my husband took it, which is why boobs are the focus of the shot, not the haircut!

It is a too long & thick on the left-hand side ... but will try not to worry about it until I can get it fixed.

Then, on Sat night I had a fantastic dinner with friends, which is where this photo was taken, at the also wonderful Thanh Binh in Newtown.  This is also an old favourite of mine - if you like a good fresh rice paper roll, this is the place for you!  There were several wonderful friends there, including the always hilarious Mel who has a great blog called King St Challenge.  I'm sure she will do a better review!  Luckily she had not already been to this restaurant, so it was not only a birthday dinner for me, she managed to knock another one off her list.  We then joined Mel and others the next day to knock off another one, for lunch at the Coopers Hotel.

So it was a very boozy time, and I just haven't really managed to stop since then.  Have slid into holiday mode.  I had all good intentions of being a perfect angel this week - no booze, lots of gym, only clean food.  And then I went - ah well, it's nearly holidays, it's still my birthday week/fortnight/month ... so who cares?  I will have so much hard work to do when I get back from hols!!

We fly out on Saturday, early evening.  So excited!  Not about the journey - as a former Qantas employee who became far too accustomed to staff travel, the thought of flying in Economy on Jetstar for 10 hours is practically giving me hives.  But I am very excited about getting there.  Our first place is the treehouse in Volcano Village on the Big Island - it has an amazing spa bath and fireplace.  And I was even able to arrange a romantic candlelight dinner, cooked by a local chef & delivered & set up in the cottage for us ... he is even picking us up a nice bottle of wine.  I think this will be perfect for our first night & I'm treating it like part 2 of our honeymoon.  Better go pack!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me


Thanks Rover - that about sums it up!  It's my birthday today.  I'm 36 ... downhill slope now.  But there's so much to look forward to in the next year.  Holiday to Hawaii in 10 days time - woo hoo!  Then getting the surgery out of the way (that in itself is not something to look forward to so much), then spending 3 months recovering, having good times alone with my husband & preparing ourselves before hopefully getting up the duff fairly quickly (whilst having fun trying!).  We'll see ... will be interesting to see what's going on around here next year on my 37th birthday.

As it is July, I've certainly had my share of crappy weather birthdays in my life.  But I think this one might just win.  Hope everyone in Sydney stays dry and safe.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I Haz Broccoli!

Look - I have grown vegetables!  Yay.  These photos were actually taken about a week ago, the broccoli is bigger now.  Must take some more shots.

This is one of about 10 showing heads now - this was the first & is the biggest.

Still no heads on the cauliflower - it seems to be a much slower grower than the broccoli.

And even leeks too ... although I'm not really sure these will grow to proper size. 

Maybe I wasn't supposed to plant them in clumps like that.  As seedlings they came in clumps and were like tiny chives, so I just planted them as they were - did not think I needed to separate each one.  But now I think maybe I was supposed to do that, as they seem now to not have room to grow to proper leek size.  I did the same with the onions - not sure if they'll have the same problem.  Any expert opinions out there? 

The lettuce & rocket are still going strong & I have just planted some more of both in a long, rectangular pot too.  There are some promising looking carrot tops as well, but leaving them there until after we get back.  Of course the broccoli will all be ready to harvest when we're in Hawaii.  Boo.  Oh well - a cocktail on the beach at sunset might help me get over it.

But home grown veggies - yummy!  Even Lucy is licking her lips in anticipation!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

More Wedding Bells

Well, I had a phone call late this afternoon from my friend Suze (she was our bridesmaid).  I missed the call, but she left a very happy sounding message saying she was calling from Byron Bay (she is a teacher, so on holidays) with "some news".  I felt pretty sure I knew what the news was going to be, and I was right.  I rang her back, and her boyfriend had proposed last night, on the beach up at Byron.  How lovely for them!  This made me crack open some bubbly we had in the fridge.  Nice to have an excuse to do that on a Tuesday night!

In other news, I haven't posted since my appointment with the surgeon last week.  He didn't pressure me into having the surgery, but from the information I'd been given, it really seems the best option.  Once I said I was definitely going to have it, he agreed this was the best choice (I'm sure he wasn't just saying that because of any monetary benefit for him!!).  He told me a bit more about my fibroids, and said the biggest one is the size of a baby's head!  That is enough for me to want them out, right there.  Because we're going to Hawaii at the end of this month, I'll be waiting until after that for the surgery - even though I'm very aware of them now & know now that the stomach pains I get are probably because of the fibroids.  I can't wait to get them out, although I am not looking forward to the recovery.  My surgery is booked in for 31st August - first up in the morning.  He will not know until he starts playing around whether he'll be able to do the whole thing laporoscopically or if he'll have to cut me right open to do the job properly.  So I won't know until I wake up whether it will be a 2 week or 4-6 week recovery time.  Hmmm, fingers crossed for the former.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


So, I think I can definitely call myself a non smoker now - it has been over 2 weeks and not a single puff.  Hooray for me!!!  However, on the downside, I have done what I swore I wouldn't. I have been eating sugar: lollies, chocolate, cake, you name it.  Also drinking wine every night.  I very rarely eat that sort of stuff (umm, the sugary treats, that is - wish I could say the same about wine) & definitely did not suddenly want to become a food-scoffing pig in place of cigarettes, because that brings a whole new swag of problems!  But alas, I admit I totally lost all interest and motivation for healthy eating or gym going, and had a bad couple of weeks on the healthy lifestyle front.  Honestly, it was like I just didn't care anymore.  This has been me.

Not sure if this has been due to the stopping smoking, or finding out about my fibroids, or maybe a combination of both ... maybe I just needed a bit of relaxation & comfort eating.  But no more!  I have been healthy the last few days & went to the gym yesterday (getting sore now). 

In other news, I have been to the specialist and he was very nice.  He thinks getting the fibroids surgically removed is the best idea & has referred me to just the guy to do it.  Hopefully he will be able to this via the keyhole type of surgery, which requires much less recovery time than full-on abdomen surgery.  However, there is always the risk that, while under, something may happen that necessitates a hysterectomy.  Obviously this would be terrible and not at all what I want.  The doctor told me, although it is a risk he has to inform me of, he has never seen this actually happen.  I will be seeing the surgeon dude on Wednesday & hopefully can book in for the procedure really soon.  Regardless of whether he can do it the keyhole way or it's full open surgery, either way we will have to then wait 3 months before starting to try for a baby.  It's just that the keyhole surgery would be a much shorter and easier recovery for me.  I will give an update after I see him.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


So, I still haven't had a cigarette - last one was Friday night.  Yay for me.  I even stood with a guy at work today while he had one & didn't buckle.  It was my first day back at work, and there were times I really had the urge to go out & have one (well, would have had to buy some or bludge one first) ... but I resisted.  However, I did get a second coffee & a piece of cake for morning tea.  I never do this & am annoyed with myself for doing it.  Definitely not making a habit of it!

The reason I've had the last 2 days off work is not such great news, I'm afraid.  So, as I mentioned in my last post, I had an appointment on Saturday for a general check-up to get the go ahead for trying to conceive.  The things I was worried about & dreading were the thought of her lecturing me on: a) being a bit old, and b) could do with losing a few kgs.  She didn't say either of those - but what did happen was something that never occurred to me!  She felt an "abdominal mass" that was quite large, and seemed very concerned about it.  In her opinion, it was most likely a large fibroid but could also potentially be something more sinister on either my ovaries or bowel.  She rang an imaging place to book me in first thing Monday for a CT Scan, then back to see her ... and insisted that I couldn't go to work.  So I did that, and she seemed very relieved that it was in fact a fibroid.  I guess she was more worried about the possibility of something else than she let on. 

But she wasn't satisfied with the images, as they couldn't get a view of my ovaries.  So then she rang an ultrasound place & got me in urgently that afternoon.  So back to the same building I was in that morning!  The ultrasound was good - better than the CT Scan, that's for sure.  The Dr rang me afterwards to see how I went & was pleased they'd said the ovaries were fine.  She then rang me again on Tuesday, satisfied it was definitely uterine fibroids (one of them is 12cm x 10cm - that's massive!).  She has referred me to a specialist - I'm pleased with how much urgency she has treated this.  She clearly feels strongly that she wants us to be able to try for babies & there isn't time to muck around.  So anyway, it's been a bit of a whirlwind, but I managed to get an appointment with the specialist for Friday morning as there was a cancellation.

Will see what happens.  I was debating whether to blog about this, but decided I needed to tell somebody.  But no pretty pictures for this blog.  :-(

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Operation Quit

This is it - the first day of my life as a non smoker.  I have just read Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking.  He instructs the reader to keep smoking whilst reading the book, and kind of implies all the way through that there will be some magical instructions at the end that will make it all seem so easy & it will be no problem when you get to the end.  To be honest, I was a bit disappointed.  These "instructions" that he keeps referring to are just a repetition of points he has made during the book, and is of course all stuff I already know.

The key is the difference between knowing it and really knowing it .... consciously feeling it.  I can't say for sure if I do, but I know I need to stop.  So that was it, I smoked last night and said whatever was left would be thrown out this morning.  There was one left and Ant (my husband) threw it out, with my lighter, this morning.  I know when I have real drive and determination to do something, I can.  After all, it is a conscious decision whether to smoke or not - just as it is a conscious decision whether to go to the gym or not, or what you put in your mouth, etc.  So, in accordance with Mr Carr's instructions, I have not "given up" anything.  I am now a non smoker, and will rejoice in that fact!

 In other news, I am off to the GP later this morning.  This is the visit where I say, we want to start trying for a baby so what tests do I need, etc?  Silly I know, but I am a bit nervous just about this visit!  haha  I had planned to stop smoking well before this visit (it had been booked for a few weeks), so I could confidently tell the doctor that I no longer smoke.  Just took me longer to get through the book than I thought it would.  I definitely want to be well shot of smoking before potentially becoming pregnant, of course.  I suppose it is not a lie to walk in there today and say, no I no longer smoke ... don't have to mention that this is only since about 11pm last night!  haha  Anyway, will see how I go at the quack - hopefully it will be all on for next month.