1 week into my recovery from surgery and I caught a chest infection.
My throat felt grainy and dry and hurt to cough not just in my abdominal area around the incision area but in my throat, it felt fiery and coarse, reminiscent of when you first wake up from surgery and the world seems strange and blurry as you slip in and out of a haze of morphine, anaesthetic and delirious relief that you’re still alive.
I spoke to my wonderful friend Lewis who’d advised me not to stop taking the prescribed co-codamol and ibuprofen which I had been given for pain because doing so would prevent my lungs from expanding fully and taking deep enough breaths helping the chest infection to gain traction and get worse. Who knew eh? That’s a little tip for your post recovery notebook ladies!
I love learning something new about my body and I’m really fortunate to have great friends who work in the medical profession to give me tips and advice I wouldn’t have otherwise known but none of this is the point of my post. I really wanted to talk about the way in which illness especially with inflammatory conditions such as endo or endocrine disorders such as PCOS can just hit you like high speed train that you didn’t realise wasn’t stopping at your station.
Like most women and perhaps even most of you reading this I experience the symptoms of my conditions every single day of my life. From the moment I wake up until I rest my head on my £7 asda pillow (which definitely needs upgrading, no disrespect to asda but it’s been a few years!). My body is continually reminding me of how hard it is working to just get by each day fighting against the jumble of endometrial growth that’s plaguing my reproductive system.
No Pain No Gain?
On an average day my pain can sit around a 6 or 7 and that’s just inflammation in my uterus. That doesn’t include the hip, knee and lower back pain that I’m often plagued by throughout my cycle or when I’ve consumed too much sugar (read wine). That’s not accounting for the sickness, nausea, light sensitivity, the uncontrollable bladder, bleeding when I take a squit, irregular periods, hot flushes, cold sweats, insomnia, bloating and endo belly, brain fog… the list goes on…and on…and on. I’ve twigged onto the fact that it usually rears it’s fiery head around 2pm in the afternoon after sitting at my desk for a significant part of the day. I try to do some yoga stretches every hour or so usually a combination of upward and downward dog and sun salutation. Stretching is exceptionally good for reducing pelvic inflammation as a lot of the pelvic are pain can be due to tension or spasm in the muscles.
I’ve lived with a relatively high level of pain each day since I first became unwell in December 2010 after having the coil fitted which led to me getting pelvic inflammatory disease followed by a fluid filled ovarian cyst on my right ovary and the eventual discovery of a benign dermoid cyst which was squatting inside my ovary hoping to remain undetected. Since this time I’ve had a combination of mid level to chronic pelvic area pain almost every single day. I know it’s a good day if I can rate my pain around a 4-5 on the scale and the universe is REALLY smiling on me if I drops as low as a 3 but this is exceptionally rare.
I’ve moved past the point of taking painkillers to manage my pain because it was distorting elements of my daily life, functionality and capabilities, and don’t get me wrong so does my pain but I’ve learnt to manage this effectively around my most productive times, around my routine, my diet, my lifestyle and even with all of this careful planning somedays it still hits harder than Anthony Joshua.
It’s All Fun & Games…
It’s easy to get caught up in enjoying and often over doing the days when you are most well, which is perfectly natural you might not get another flare free day for a while so why not manically dance on the sofa, go for a jog and eat all that non gluten free avocado chocolate cake? The problem is when your chronic conditions decide to bite back it’s often with a vengeance and without warning because robbers don’t tell you when they’re coming to steal all your shit. You just wake up one morning and everything is in chaos and you can’t tell what’s missing and that’s what it can feel like. It’s having days of your life, fleeting moments stolen from you because you have no control over your bodies response to certain things. Missing days off work or a friend’s birthday or that hot date, your 6am spin class or that networking event… whatever it might be it’s that ongoing frustration that unlike all the other wonderful women around you your life is dictated by your bodies internal fight with itself and not always by your own hand or uterus as the case may be. But in the words of Tu Pac ” I know you’re fed up ladies but you gotta keep your head up”