Seeing the good in bad

In August I got really sick one day. I had abdominal pain which got worse and worse. I went to the ER and found out I had massive fibroids on my uterus and cysts on both ovaries. I also had significant scarring from endometriosis.

This was all news to me; I had just seen the ob doctor about a year and a half prior and everything was fine. I didn’t have problems with my cycle and had no idea there was an issue.

I was in shock. They had no answers for me in the hospital, just to follow up with my doctor within two weeks.

I couldn’t get in to see the doctor right away; she was booked solid. I spent that week at home on the couch in pain.

When I finally saw her, the first thing she said was that I needed surgery. I figured this was the case so I was not surprised.

The surgery was scheduled for the following week so I didn’t have time to even worry about it or be nervous. I was still in shock.

The surgery had complications and ended up being much more extensive than originally planned.

What I wasn’t expecting was the feelings after the surgery. I had never planned to have children as I was raised in a very abusive household and I didn’t want to risk passing that on to someone else. I refuse to repeat what my mother did to me. However after the surgery I found myself deep in a period of mourning.

I mourned the loss of part of my body, and the choice of having children one day. I was shocked and it took me completely off guard. I had been so sure. I’m still mostly sure, but wow,  I was definitely not expecting those feelings!

I fell into a deep depression over the next few months. It’s now been 5 months since my surgery and I’m still struggling with those feelings.

Last night I had an epiphany with the help of a good friend. While the surgery really was awful, and I’m sad that I don’t have the choice of giving birth, many good things have happened as a direct result of the surgery.

Yes, you read that correctly. Good things have come from my hysterectomy. Many in fact.

First, I started this blog which has helped me deal with many things in my life.

Second, I have talked to and been supported by so many amazing people on WordPress!

I found another blogger with a lot of the same interests and issues as me. We became fast friends and are able to support each other through everything.

I reconnected with my cousins and my aunt. They have all been amazingly supportive throughout everything and I’m so thankful to have them back in my life.

We adopted an amazing and adorable bunny who always makes me smile even during the worst times. He was a vital part of my recovery from surgery and kept me moving around when I just wanted to hide in bed for days.

I had time off of work, which is never a bad thing!

Last but not least I found out who my true friends are. People I would have never expected stepped up and showed me amazing support. Others that I thought would be there showed their true colors.

It’s often hard to imagine that there could be good things in the worst thing. But often things happen for a reason, and many great things can occur as a direct result of even the shittiest thing.

As they say, when one door closes another one opens. The childbearing door closed, but another door opened to my family, new friends, a pet and a whole Internet’s worth of love and support.

Getting back on the “horse”

This morning I went on a walk in an attempt to get back into exercising. I was going to the gym daily and channeling my anxiety into physical activity; losing over 20 lbs during the summer. Unfortunately I had an abdominal hysterectomy September 2, 2015 and wasn’t able to exercise. By the time I had recovered from the surgery, my anxiety was out of control since I no longer had that physical outlet. I’ve also fallen into a pretty deep hole of depression since the surgery.

I never wanted kids, but something about having that option taken away from me at the age of 33 really threw me for a loop. I still don’t necessarily want a child, but I am still grieving. I haven’t been able to put my finger on the complete reason, and it’s really bothering me. I feel if I could just figure out what I’m grieving and why, I could move through it and heal.

Seeing people with their children now strikes a nerve with me and makes me sad. Pregnant women, and when people talk about getting pregnant also make me sad. I don’t know how to describe it, I feel incomplete somehow, like something is missing.

Feeling like I have a hole inside of me isn’t anything new. I never knew my father, my mother disowned me, after abusing me from a young age until 15. Foster care from 15-18 was less than a pleasant experience, however I did receive enough therapy to become a functional adult.

Since surgery I’ve tried to fill this missing space inside with a lot of unhealthy habits; food, alcohol, mindless TV, however nothing has worked. I did get a pet rabbit, Bailey, and he has helped a lot. It is easier for me to be open and vulnerable with a pet than other people. He makes me smile, and loves to be cuddled and petted.

I realized this morning that I have gained 30 lbs since the surgery, and that I need to get myself back on track. I went outside and walked for 23 minutes and a little over a mile. So, 4 loops around my apartment complex. It’s not amazing, but I suppose it is a start. It didn’t help that it is 17 degrees outside and a little icy. I should get some of those things that go over shoes to keep from slipping. It is supposed to warm up to 50 degrees by Saturday, then back down to the 20s and snowing by Tuesday (welcome to crazy Cleveland, Ohio weather). I will have to play it by ear with the weather but I really want to get back into the habit of exercising. Maybe I could get a cheap elliptical or stationary bike for the winter.

I love playing basketball, and we have a court in our apartment complex. It is difficult to play in the winter because the court is only open from 9am-9pm. I leave for work at 7am and get home between 5pm and 6. When I get home it is already dark, so walking will have to do for now.

I also wonder if the weight gain could be associated with my depression medication change about a month ago. I went from 40 mg of Prozac daily to 150 mg of Effexor XR. After the surgery I maintained my weight within 5 lbs. I gained some weight in November when I went back to work (I was up 10 lbs.), but it seems to have really picked up speed within the past month. My depression, eating and drinking habits have also gotten significantly worse since returning to work so it is hard to say which is affecting my weight the most. I will just have to keep trying to exercise; weather permitting, and get my nutrition back on track.

Props to My made up hard life and Musings of a 20-something-year-old for inspiring me to get back on the proverbial “horse” and start exercising again!

 

Imploding

This morning I kind of figured out how I feel overall. Since the surgery it has been gradual and I didn’t notice it at first. I’ve had a few slight upswings but overall it’s been downhill. Each day I care less and less. If it isn’t something I have to do for survival like go to work, I for the most part don’t care. If not for the tiny voice inside yelling that I need to tell someone about this, I probably wouldn’t bother with that either.
Pre-surgery I was exercising, eating right and taking care of myself mentally and physically. I lost about 20 lbs. Now I’m not. All I want to do is veg out in front of the TV. I gained the weight back plus some. I’ve been eating like crap because I don’t care enough to cook or go grocery shopping. I’m not exercising. I don’t go anywhere I don’t have to go because the social anxiety is too much. I don’t care enough to fight the anxiety so I give into it. It’s a struggle to care enough to take my meds. Otherwise I wish I could just lay down and let the world go on without me because I don’t care enough to keep up. I think part of me wants to implode. Wants to spiral downwards. Stop caring completely because I’m just so tired of fighting. But the part of me that demands perfection won’t allow complete implosion. It’s exhausting really.

Self abuse

My mother raised me to feel like I’m not good enough.  Ever.  No matter how hard I try I was never good enough. If I could just behave better they wouldn’t have to hit me and punish me. 
Now I have taken this role over myself since my mother isn’t in my life.  That dialogue continually runs in the back of my mind and everything I think is governed by the word “should”. 
I should be better,  faster,  smarter,  prettier,  etc etc.  All day,  every day.  I shouldn’t do that,  I should do this.  If I really take the time to think about it,  it is nauseating. 
I suppose it is not my mother’s fault for teaching me this.  It’s highly likely that she has this same dialogue going on in her head too.  I know she is bipolar,  and while I don’t personally know what that feels like,  I can imagine it’s difficult.  I try to think that she was doing the best she could with what she was capable of at the time.  I try to think that I’m doing my best when these “should”  statements come up. 
In reality I have taken over the role of my abuser and now abuse myself.  I have a history of self harm like cutting.  I run this inner mom dialogue and cling to it like it’s my last hope because it’s all I know.  There’s an odd comfort in continuing the abuse.  I don’t have anyone in my life that abuses me,  so I comfort myself by abusing myself.
While I haven’t cut in a long time,  I still verbally and emotionally abuse myself on a daily basis.  The “shoulds”  and impossibly high level that I compare myself to cause me pain and suffering.  I never feel good enough.  Even when I tell myself that I’m doing the best I can,  there’s a tiny voice in my head that’s chanting,  “no you’re not,  you should do better”. 
I think the worst part is I most often don’t even realize that I do it.  It is a running dialogue in my subconscious that never shuts up. 
Often the actions of others exacerbate these voices that tell me I’m not good enough.  Even the slightest perceived rejection by another person is enough to spiral me into a whirlwind of self hate and self abuse. 
Recently I had surgery and was on medical leave from work for 13 weeks.  When I came back some of my coworkers aren’t speaking to me and acting weird.  I assume they are angry because I was out for so long.  Logically I realize that this problem lies with them,  that they are miserable people.  I wouldn’t say having that knowledge helps much,  but I keep trucking and telling myself it’s their problem and I didn’t do anything wrong.  But secretly,  deep down I feel like I should have come back to work sooner,  I could have recovered from surgery faster and better.  I should have pushed myself harder. 
It is so difficult to take these internal thoughts and eradicate them.  No matter how loudly I shout at them they are still there.  My therapist says it will just take time and practice and keep at it.  So I suppose I have nothing else to do but keep being aware of my abusive thoughts and telling them they’re wrong.  The more aware I am of my self abuse,  the more I can correct it until it goes away.  Right? 
I’m not feeling hopeful that something so deeply set inside of me could be corrected.  But I have no choice but to try,  because I’m a survivor after all and this is what I do.  Like the Phoenix, every time I burn down to ashes,  I find the inner strength to rise up and try again.  I’ve come this far,  I can’t quit now. 

Answers please?

For all of you out there that share the abdominal hysterectomy experience with me, I have some questions for you!

Today is officially 12 weeks since my surgery. I had 4 fibroids, my uterus, 2 ovarian cysts, and part of my cervix removed. They could not get all of my cervix because part of it is fused to my bowels from the endometriosis. I’m still having pain and exhaustion and the doctors can’t seem to tell me anything so I’m reaching out to the world wide web in hopes someone else knows something I don’t.

I have nearly constant pain at the bottom of my right rib cage. If you drew a line down my middle it would be in the middle of my right side. According to the doctor it’s near my gallbladder. Sometimes it moves over to my left rib cage too. But rarely leaves the right side.

I have a lot of back pain, lower and upper which gets worse when I move around a lot or sit for a long time. It is often in the middle of my back, maybe where your kidneys are?  It is often dull and achey, but sometimes like a muscle is knotted.

My left hip also hurts often. Like a dull ache. It seems to help if I press on it.

Pants hurt my stomach around my belly button, or any pressure in that area. There is also still numbness there and down my right thigh which the surgeon says is from cutting so many nerves.

Has anyone else experienced any of this? The surgeon’s only response was that it may be scar tissue. My PCP said to get massages and try swimming for my back and to make sure my posture is good. They did a colonoscopy to make sure I do not have Crohn’s disease (there was some thickening on my bowels) and that came back ok. I have depression and anxiety which I know can cause tiredness and pain but I didn’t feel like this before the surgery. So is it all in my head? Or is this random pain that moves around normal 12 weeks after a hysterectomy? Does it go away???

The most frustrating thing, and I know I’ve mentioned this before is that I did not have pain before the hysterectomy. I was not one of those people that were miserable for years every month. I had normal periods and not much pain. So to find out I even had endometriosis was a shock, let alone the huge fibroids and cysts! A dose of abdominal pain sent me to the ER and they divulged all of these secret things that have apparently been growing inside me for some time! So it’s frustrating to go from being healthy one day, to horrible pain, to surgery, to constant pain and inability to do anything. My PCP said maybe it is deconditioning. Prior to surgery I was working out 2 to 3 hours a day to manage my anxiety. Today I wiped down my desk at work and was exhausted.

I appreciate any info anyone has. The online community has been amazing during this ordeal and I would be lost without all of you.

Everyone struggles

Having an abdominal hysterectomy at 33 was bad. Hell, it was terrible and the hardest thing I’ve faced. Which, considering what I’ve faced in my life, seems extreme. And it was. The surgery was extreme, the recovery has been extreme. Dealing with that without any other issues would be extreme. Dealing with a hysterectomy with depression and anxiety is impossible. I feel like that alone is too much.

Last week I started back at work. I’m using up the rest of my vacation days to work half days for two weeks because I can’t physically handle more than 4 hours at a desk. The pain and exhaustion is too much past that.

What’s worse is the attitudes of my coworkers. I understand being resentful because you just did all of my work for 13 weeks, and now I’m only working half days for 2 more. But believe me, if I could trade, I would do all of your work for the rest of time to avoid what I’ve been going through. And your snide comments about me leaving early and “enjoying my afternoon off while we keep this boat afloat” isn’t helping. If anything, it is making my recovery worse and making it even more impossible. I’m not sure what you think I’m doing in the afternoon that I’m enjoying so much, but the reality is I’m stuck on the couch in pain with no energy to even get up and get a drink of water. The reality is I have to drag myself out of bed every morning to even manage to get ready for work, let alone find the energy and willpower to work those 4 hours. So feel free to continue to be angry at me for taking time off to have surgery. Continue to talk behind my back and make comments to my face. Continue with the silent treatment and cold shoulder. I’m sorry that your life has been so terrible that you cannot find any empathy for another person who is clearly having trouble. I’m sorry you are so miserable that you have to make their hard time worse by dragging them down even further. I’m also sorry you are so spineless that if I confronted you about this you would deny that anything was going on. Clearly you must think I’m really dumb.

I guess the gist of what I am trying to say is that everyone is having a hard time. Some have it harder than others. I just don’t understand why we have to take our own pain and put it off on other people and make their life experience worse? I am trying my hardest not to take the recent events of my life and negatively impact others. I have stopped telling the truth when people ask how I’m feeling because I don’t want to bring dark clouds on their day. I say “I’m ok” when I’m really not, because I know you have your own problems and I don’t want to put mine off on you. So couldn’t you do me the simple favor of putting aside the grade school playground mentality with your cliques and gossip and act like a normal person for once? You don’t have to feel sorry for me, I don’t need that. You don’t have to even ask me how I am. Just stop treating me like a pariah and giving me the silent treatment. Because honestly, I already have so much going on I’m barely staying afloat as it is. Pull your head out of your own sand for a second and realize everyone is going through something and stop adding to it by acting like a 5 year old.