Friday, July 29, 2016

Walk with Me

Last year I found myself pulled toward water. As my body slowly healed, my soul was nourished with weekly walks along the waterfront. 

Sadly 2016 kicked our butts, and changes to our weekly schedule has seen us prioritising other stuff. Our slow meanders along the waterfront stopped altogether. 

This term I decided enough was enough! No matter how exhausted we were by weeks' end, we needed a moment to let the wind mess our hair, to feel the sun on our faces and the squishy sand between our toes. On Friday's you can usually find me stuffing ice-cream into my face then taking a wandering stroll up the beach (which is actually down because technically we are walking south!) 

There are few people up this end of the Island and as we wander I can usually capture nature photos with only my child photo bombing. 

The squishy-ness of the crab balls delight us and the small one tries to jump on as many as she can, or pick up a handful without breaking them. 

I delight (and never tire) taking photos. The small pockets of water that remain long after the tide runs out. The mank smell of the stagnant water, the way the shadows fall across the small stretch. 

And of course I am photo bombed by my own shadow (who somehow thinks it might be batman!) 

My tired feet push on, leaving a gentle footprint or five hundred through the cloud of crab balls. They crumble softly beneath my feet as we walk. 

We search for shells, broken glass worn smooth by the wash of the water and collect seed pods or strange looking crab like flowers. 

The small child runs and cartwheels. She writes words with a stick and even buries treasure complete with an X marks the spot. Her face is smeared with ice-cream and she squeals with wild abandon (having been locked in class the entire day) 

Some days I wish we lived in one of the houses backing onto this stretch of water, alas we are not millionaires and I wonder if we would appreciate if it was at our doorstep. I yearn for a sea change, and then I return home and I look around me and I realise that I have everything I need and more right here. It is grand to dream a little though! 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Something changed...

April 1st was my one year anniversary of my Hysterectomy. Lets call it my hysterversary. I have struggled to find the words about how I feel about it. Some days I wonder if I should move on from it and place the entire fiasco firmly in my past & forget about, but it is also one that I want to honour because it played such a huge part in my journey.

One year on; physically there is no stopping me.

I can walk 4klms return in less than an hour without breaking a sweat (okay so I do tend to breathe a little harder on the return journey - totally blaming my sinus issues on that! And maybe my thigh muscles do begin to scream at me)

It doesn't sound like much huh?

Before my operation I could never plan on weekly exercise because the pain was too bad. The bleeding was too heavy. The fatigue enforced full days of couch rest.

Now I have a weekly walking date with a friend and the only things stopping us are:

1) really windy days where you can't feel your face

2) wussy dogs who when faced with the above mentioned wind, lie down in the grass and expect you to carry all 15kgs of them.

3) magpie season.

I am the healthiest I have EVER been and now nearly 16 months later I have zero regrets and honestly wish I did the operation sooner.

Emotionally I am cruising, I still feel as though part of me is missing (well duh) but I am no longer groping for the missing pieces. It is as though an acceptance has floated over me and I am co-exisiting with an empty room. (I can no longer use the term "empty womb" because there is no uterus)

It would appear I can joke about my situation without all the tears too.

Mentally is a little harder to get my head balanced. I still have a lot of grievances, anger at the injustice and residual pain from those long years of infertility. It has been a real struggle to move from that never ending spiral that defined the old ME to the new ME.

Over the past few months since my Hysterversary; something changed within me. I have shed all the tears I am able to cry. I feel nothing when seeing pregnancy announcements, big beautiful pregnant tummies, newborn photos. I have accepted that our path to single child parenting was as it was meant to be; I am not happy about the way shit fell, but I am no longer grief stricken. I have stepped into the Acceptance phase of my journey of grief and that is okay. I know within I do have a longer journey ahead of healing fully, but I am grateful to be exactly where I am in this journey for today.

Tomorrow may well be a different story.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Obscure Nothings

It has been sometime since I graced this blog with my presence. Nearly two months and no words to be found. If I am completely honest with myself I considered not returning.

I am plodding through life. Slow and steady, yet I jump from project to project with wild abandon - I feel as though all those months last year when I strived to find "me" amongst the health crap are now in overdrive - I am everywhere but nowhere.

Each month I list my intentions and then plonk down on my bum watching the distant settling dust from the bandwagon that banished me from its side. Of course my banishment comes from a shiny *NEW* project that just needs my attention. Who said I shouldn't have 15 current journals on the go (sadly... this is the truth!)

And then I was still. Nestled between each new shiny thread of new projects was a sense of being. Of living in the moment and allowing myself to flow with each new endeavour.

Today I am sick. Last week I told my hubby that since my op I have never felt so darn well. He agreed and said the past year has been the best I've ever been.  We jinxed it. I succumbed to man flu. I've been sick since Friday! Of course I am milking it.

I have attempted reading the Artists Way and trialled the all important Morning Pages. I have realised a very important thing about myself - I am not a Morning Person. Therefore my morning PAGE (singular - none of this plural 3x A4 size pages first thing every morning) is usually a mishmash of nothings (a little like this blog post) somewhere between a brain dump and five minutes of Free Writing. While it helps to siphon the excess off my head, I just cannot get my brain or hand working before coffee and as a fallout I've averaging 4 mornings in a row before missing 5 days. It is really most frustrating and I am contemplating dropping it as a bad joke.

Of course I am not too disheartened because today's bright idea was to commence a 365 creative writing exercise.... because my track record at attempting anything of a daily nature seems to fail after 3 - 4 days was not enough to deter me... I'm sticking to pocket Moleskine Cashiers since I just happened to have several lying around. I can do this right? Totally.

I'm sure I will awaken from my man-flu sometime in the next week and will wonder what on earth possessed me to think I could manage a 365. Time will tell 'eh?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Gentle Eddying

Life continues to flow around me. At the start of this week as I opened my eyes to a new week and saw all that I still needed to do. I felt stuck. Stagnant.

Then I pulled up my big girls panties and reached for coffee number three of the morning (bad, bad habit of mine, but I have zero other vices) and I started writing.

I have currently abandoned all pretence of looking like I have my shit together. I don't.

Instead I am letting the tide carry me and I am going with the flow because I am tired of swimming against it.

Some good has come of surviving the past week. We have a backyard that is now dirt with teeny tiny grass shoots. I have replanted my ugly hibiscus that throws out the most glorious flowers. I have a NEW dishwasher. AND a new OVEN!

After an entire day decluttering, I can see the floor of my daughters toy room again (FIVE bags + 2 boxes to the op shop, 3 overflowing bins! YAY ME!) and for the first time in a very long while, my five minutes of free writing is free of whining about how I need to do and be everything.

Now to get through the final week of school.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Just Keep on Bouncing...

You know those moments you think *now* is the perfect time to start Landscaping and installing new fences?

Yeah. Perfect time. My arse!

As it stands, I have dirt (actually no... with all this rain we are experiencing I have MUD) covering 2/3 of our backyard.

The temporary fences are failing as our 9mo pup is either practically walking over them, or sticking her head through and forcing holes in it.

Our septic system was off for the entire day as the only line available was right where they were working which meant NO WASHING.

And my dishwasher died. Because you know needing a new oven right now wasn't a big enough expense when added to the cost of the landscaping.

My floors are a mess, I am not getting a decent run with anything and every other minute I seem to be standing at the sink washing more dishes. And would you believe I told hubby I would wait for a dishwasher, that I was HAPPY to continue washing up. Seriously who is this person.

Hubby on the other hand told the Sales man we will probably see him on the weekend. Secretly I don't think I will last until then ;)

To add fuel to the fire - yesterday I declared I was quitting this housewifing gig. After fighting with a brand new clothes trolley that was worse than an ikea flat pack. I managed to wash not one but a bundle of tissues. Tissues I could have used as this thing they call life nips at my heels.

Tomorrow is another day and meanwhile I shall keep on bouncing. And washing up.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Endo Poster Girl

Earlier this week several of my Facebook groups (I follow MANY endometriosis group pages) exploded in the news that Lena Dunham (from Girls fame) will be taking time out because of an endometriosis flare up. The explosion came about after CNN health reported an entirely UNTRUE report on endometriosis. 

In the past 24 hours there has been a flurry of people advocating for the truth and CNN has not retracted but changed the wording in their article. 

I won't share the article as I do not believe it benefits the unknowing girl who stumbles upon it via my blog, but I wanted to make a point about one incorrect myth that featured in the article and is the same one that has the majority of women up in arms. 

"A hysterectomy CURES endometriosis"  WRONG... it does NOT cure this disease. 

I have Endometriosis. 

I have also had a hysterectomy. 

We shall let that dangle in the ether while we absorb the incorrect facts of the article and my choice to send my uterus packing.  

It took me four years of extreme pain after my excision surgery in 2011, many mental blocks and an avalanche of emotions to come to terms that for *ME* a hysterectomy was my only choice. 

I took birth control pills and spotted daily for 6 months. 

I went natural and bled uncontrollably for 6 out of every 19 - 23 days. 

I did NOT experience a natural 28 day cycle. 

I was in unbearable pain and experienced a myriad of side effects toward the end that I could see no other option but to go to the extreme. Remembering though I already underwent two excision operations with ZERO relief for my pain. 

I walked into my specialists office and asked for a Hysterectomy with excision of endometriosis. 

My surgeon remained hopeful that with skilled excision of my endometriosis I would hopefully not have a reoccurrence. 10 months later I have not at any stage taken a painkiller specifically aimed to relieve my pelvic region. I have experienced some pain and some I have a niggling feeling is perhaps a sign that my endometriosis is returning - however on a whole I have my life back. 

It turns out that I didn't just have endometriosis - I also suffered from Adenomyosis (I like to think of  Adeno as Endo's beefed up cousin on steroids!) 

Hysterectomy CURES Adenomyosis. 
Quite simply because Adeno is endometriosis INSIDE the walls of the uterus. Without the uterus contracting (& trying to birth itself every single month) we are free of pain. 

Except for Endometriosis. 

So why did I do it? Why did I make such a radical choice when at the time I didn't realise that my main symptoms of the past four years were actually caused by the Adenomyosis and more than likely masked the pain of Endometriosis? 

It was desperation. 

I sat with a beautiful friend 5 months before I saw my Specialist and she asked me - can you live with the pain for another 18 months? (at that point I was still stuck with my head deeply buried in the sand pretending that one day the pain would dissolve & that if I could wait just one more year it would suit my family with recovery) 

In the end - the fear of another 18 months and likely 22 cycles scared me MORE than the entire list of possible side effects from a Hysterectomy. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Spirals and Creativity

I am a creative soul. I am always doing something and I am never whole within myself if I leave the house without a small bag of creative things. Be that a journal and pens. Watercolours and washi tape. A crochet project or three. A knitted something.

During 2015 my creativity fell apart at the seams. I wanted to be creative but my creative persona was hiding behind all that befell me. I yearned to do something, I searched myriad blogs, saved hundreds of pinterest photos for inspiration and I doggedly continued to write my way through my blocks.

My creative writing words and stories lay beneath my foundations, every now and again a character would pop up and I would struggle to write a single page. Words refusing to flow. Again I would take to my journal and lament.  

I yearned to paint art journal pages but each one became a layer of meh. Then I took up painting at an easel - like a real artist… what was I thinking? Thinking I would return to a raw art form and be able to suddenly churn out all these soul paintings depicting all that I felt was missing within. Instead I managed a mishmash of colours on pages. Blurring together until all you could see was murky quagmire of paint. Don't believe me.... oh honey you better believe it! 

*this* was one of the better ones... I won't be selling my artwork... ever! 

I carried a set of watercolours with me everywhere and each Wednesday I would pull them out and attempt to yield them across the page and even with my daughters art teacher tracking my dismal progress something was lacking.

I wrote and wrote.

Then wrote some more.

There were failed attempts at crochet projects - frogged (I NEVER frog!) and re-stashed.

I even started writing a memoir style book that ended in a series of anger fuelled words that left me sinking into a funk as suddenly everything became crystal clear and things started making sense.

It wasn’t until this year that I realized – you cannot force creativity. My entire creative self in 2015 was poured into my four little midori journals. Over 60,000 words. They were the whole of my creative side.

They may be slim and thin, but the words within are many and packed a punch.

And of course I prettified the edges. 

Inside there are quotes printed from Pinterest, words and always some type of doodling and lots of colour. 

As always the words were with me. They may not have been the words I craved to write and continue the story of Jack and Emmy. Even my blog posts suffered as I spiralled. In the end it was the blank spaces between the spirals that I found myself exactly where I needed to be in 2015. Creatively wise.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Happier New Year

2015 really kicked my arse to the curb. As it did with so many who took to Facebook to say good-effing-ridance to a bitch of a year.

While I did share a couple of major things that were forcing me down throughout the year, there were many many undercurrents swirling between the lines that kept me shackled. Everything wound together until I was left holding one great big ball of crap that weighed heavily upon every fibre of my being.

I tried therapy, but therapy works better on one issue at a time.

I tried writing it down, but writing works better one issue at a time.

I tried talking it out, but talking works better one issue at a time.

You know how onions have layers. My ball of crap had so many layers it needed to be frogged.

It is ironic really - I chose the word WEAVE for 2015. Thinking I could weave all the areas of my life into some semblance of balance. It was the year I needed this the most.

However I failed to account for the several months of healing and the months upon months of grief upon grief. I did not realise that all my issues would WEAVE together and create this huge ball of crap.

Toward the end of the year I started tackling each problem as one issue at a time. I wrote pages upon pages of words about my hysterectomy. Of losing a useless (to me) organ, of how I felt I was less of a woman and how I was searching for something in this now vapid space in my stomach.

I watched as a friend endured a transplant and was amazed at the way she bounced back ready to face life and live it to its fullest.

Meanwhile I'm over here *waa *waa *boo *hoo.

I seriously started questioning myself after seeing her. But that's just it isn't it. Adenomyosis is NOT a death sentence. It's merely an invisible disease that most people haven't heard of. Nor could they even begin to comprehend the sheer pain it causes + a variety of side effects that are not "linked" however have all but disappeared since my operation.

After much soul searching in the two months since I last wrote, I considered closing the chapter on this blog. I mean I am now over it so what more can I say or do, without sounding like a whining moaning little so and so. I do not (& have never wanted to make this about me) however feel there is more that needs to be said and shared.

Ultimately I want to help others, to show them they are NOT alone. That what they are going through is not all in their heads. To show up and say I am a survivor and to share the extreme isolation you can feel when you are booted from the "invisible disease club" to "you are missing a uterus but hey look at this new baby, isn't it cute club"

So I am officially taking 2016 and am planning to RISE above the stigma of talking about womens health. I am going to take back this space and stamp it with ME and my stories - gore and all. Heck I might even just publish my memoirs here - including where I get all ranty with my medical team (KIDDING!) and maybe just maybe amongst all the ashes I leave behind me I will find my creative writing once more.

As to how I plan on doing all this - I have zero clue. I might even change my mind next week. Or I might not. What you will find here in 2016 is anyone's guess, I'm going to trust in my words and let them shape my journey.

But there will be positivity.

Heck LIFE is for LIVING!!!