Sunday 28 January 2018

My Experience of a TCRE (Trans-cervical Resection of the Endometrium)

Surgical team and instruments
Operating Team Image, thanks to Shutterstock

I was keen to write this post as there seems to be very little information on the web about women’s personal experience of having a TCRE. Many, many women suffer in silence with heavy periods and I want to share my positive experience of having a simple day operation that can make the world of difference to your every day life.

A Brief History

I shared in a post a few months ago about how I've suffered with terrible heavy, frequent and painful periods for around a decade now. I honestly cannot tell you why I put up with it for so long, I think it had simply become a part of my life and I'd learnt to live with it. It was only when I was on holiday in May last year and my awful bleeding stopped me enjoying the pool every day with my girls that I realised something had to be done.

I have the most wonderful GP and she sent me off to see the gynae specialist nurse at the Conquest hospital (Hastings, East Sussex) as thankfully she knew I had been suffering for quite some time, having been prescribed Tranexamic Acid and Mefenamic Acid for a few years, as well as having scans for an embedded coil, missing strings and cysts. I was given a hysteroscopy and straight away the specialist nurse could see there were problems and referred me for an ablation of the endometrium.

I was led to believe this would be done by a simple balloon being inflated in me and radio waves passing through to burn off the excess lining of my womb. This is apparently a really simple procedure that the nurse can do, however she told me as my womb was quite enlarged (she didn't think it had ever fully shrunk back after having my twins) that it would be better to be done by one of the consultants with a general anaesthetic.

Meeting my Consultant

When I met the consultant he reviewed my notes and said he didn't feel I was suitable for the ablation due to the size of my uterus, the thickness of my endometrium and also the presence of fibroids. He felt it would be better to do my surgery the old fashioned way, which would mean him using a hysteroscope to see what needed to be taken away and then burning it away accordingly.

He told me I was very overweight and this could make the surgery more complex and he went through the risk factors with the surgery and what could go wrong, telling me I had a 70-80% success rate for the surgery. With those odds, I was happy to progress as I just needed some respite from the constant heavy bleeding.

Thursday 25 January 2018

There is Always a Bright Side #R2BC

I've so wanted to write a 'meh' post this week. It's just the way I've felt, there is nothing majorly wrong but I've felt out of salts. I don't know if it has been part of recovering from my operation last week, or if it is my time of month or maybe because I'm getting a cold and feel a bit yucky.

It's just been one of those weeks, anything I've seen in the news, anything that has gone on with friends, little things that haven't gone to plan and any aches and pains I've felt have all just made me sad and grumpy. I wanted to write a 'life feels bleuugghh' post as there is so much talk of bloggers just presenting the best parts of their lives, of showing that everything is rosy and of course that's not real life. Well not for most of us anyway.

However, I've resisted that urge to write a big fat explosion of my grumps as I don't think it will help and it will make for pretty crap reading. So now I'm going to use Reasons to be Cheerful for the very reason I first started it back in 2011 and that is to look for the bright side. In amongst the stupid and annoying things that have made me grumpy this week there has of course been silver linings and here are a few of those blessings.

Monday 22 January 2018

Review: 42nd Street at Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Review of the fabulous theatrical show - 42nd Street, as seen at Theatre Royal Drury Lane

What a show! I went into 42nd Street having no idea what it was about but assuming that because it was running at a big prestigious theatre like the Theatre Royal Drury Lane it must be a good show and yep, it really was! I'll start by saying, if you're in a hurry you don't even need to read anymore, just go and see it. You won't be disappointed and contrary to what you might believe it's not just for women. My husband loved it too. If you're a fan of musical theatre then it is for you.

From the start this show is spectacular and it's not just one thing that marks it out as exceptional. There's a large cast and a lot of variety. The singing is superb, the dancing is amazing, there are beautiful glittery costumes and the scenery will blow you away.

Review of the fabulous theatrical show - 42nd Street, as seen at Theatre Royal Drury Lane

I don't think it has the strongest story line out of the many shows I've seen but the story felt secondary to the glamour and glitz of the production and that was OK. The show opens with us seeing the chorus line being cast for a new big-money show called Pretty Lady, that will open in Atlanta. The show is being bank-rolled by a rich businessman and for his investment he expects his mistress Dorothy Brock to be cast in the lead role. This frustrates the esteemed director Julian Marsh but he goes with it through no other choice. Dorothy Brock is doing a great job with the singing and the dancers keep her dancing inabilities well hidden but then the new girl from out of town, Peggy Sawyer trips her up accidentally and Dorothy ends up with a broken ankle. No more lead role for Dorothy!

Friday 19 January 2018

5 Reasons to Travel to Belize, Central America

Belize beach
Image, thanks to Luxury Retreats

Belize, it might not be a destination you are too familiar with but after spending a few hours trawling the web, reading about it, watching videos and drinking in its beauty I can safely say I want to visit this small Central-American nation.

In fact I now have big future plans for a second-honeymoon trip for my husband and I, and there are certainly some vacation rentals in Belize that would make our time there super special. The amazing Belize coastline is just 630KM along the Caribbean coastline from Cancun and Playa del Carmen in Mexico. So you can be assured of a stunning white or golden sand beach if this is what you are looking for.

Belize is rich in culture too and shouldn't just be mistaken for a place to visit and sunbath. Yes, you can do that if you so desire and you'll find luxury rental properties and hotels that are unique and outstanding. Whether you fancy being on a private island, staying out on the sea on a stilted property or having a private infinity pool, these are all possible in Belize.

1.  Explore the Maya Culture
The Maya occupation of Belize began as early as 1500BC and during the classic period, between 250AD - 900AD it was thought the Maya population was as high as 1 million people. Compare that to the current population of around 378,000 and it must have been very busy. There are many temples and ancient ruins that you can visit whilst in Belize, including Caracol, which is one of the most grand. A lot of mystery still surrounds this ancient civilisation, making this is a really interesting place to explore.

Caracol, Belize
Maya Temple Image, thanks to Shutterstock

Thursday 18 January 2018

Reasons to be Cheerful - I've had my Operation!

Happy Thursday, I hope you are well.

I had to write this and get it scheduled on Tuesday as Wednesday at 7.30am I went to the hospital for my scheduled operation and who knows what time they would get around to doing it, so the last thing I needed was to be worrying about getting my R2BC post out.

Hopefully if you are reading this Thursday morning (or after) I am lying in bed recovering from the operation and the general anaesthetic that came with it. I'm secretly really looking forward to Thursday and Friday being down days where I just read, watch TV and get waited on!

On the one hand I was nervous for the operation as they always scare you when you meet the consultant in advance and they tell you what could go wrong but I have put my faith in God and know that whatever happens will come to good.

I'm so thankful that we have our NHS in the UK. Of course it isn't perfect and in some areas it is better than others but I've been lucky and had great service from the Conquest hospital and especially my GP surgery. I really can't praise my local GP's enough, they have fit me in at short notice and gone out of their way to make sure my operation can go ahead.

Saturday 13 January 2018

Wearing Orthotic Insoles in my Hotter Shoes

Hotter Leanne shoes are a great choice for use with full length orthotic insoles as they have a removable insole and are deep enough to still be comfortable

It's funny how things change over time. When I was a teenager if anyone had said to me I needed orthotic insoles in my shoes I'd have probably cried and told them no way, they are just for old ladies! Nowadays things are changing, research shows that the orthotic insole market will reach around 3.5 billion dollars by the year 2020. With the increase of diabetes, arthritis and obesity more and more people are seeing their podiatrists and finding that an orthotic insole would help to alleviate some of their problems.

At the age of 44 years I am one of those people. I have been suffering with pain and various foot issues for quite a few years now and some of it I thought was bad luck (verrucas) and others I put down my being overweight. When I first saw a private podiatrist back in 2014 he treated my verrucas and tidied my feet up and I was very happy when the verruca went but the pain didn't so I headed back to see him again.

It was at this point he gave me a visual bio-mechanical assessment and declared I have short calf muscles and these are throwing my body alignment out of sync. As we talked and I told him of having been a tip-toe walker as a child, always having my feet positioned at ten-to-two and the amount of ankle sprains I have had in my life, he said it all made sense and could be the cause of my early-onset arthritis of the knees, the pain in the ball of my feet and my tight and uncomfortable calf muscles.

To cut a long story short, I was lucky enough to be able to be referred to an NHS podiatrist (as I am bio-mechanically incorrect) and have been seen over the last couple of years. I'm stretching every day (in all sorts of ways), I've had an MRI to rule out a Mortons Neuroma and if things haven't improved with my continuing stretching and the use of my orthotic insoles I'll be referred for calf lengthening surgery in a few months.

Thursday 11 January 2018

Things that make my Heart Leap! #R2BC

As I sat in my lounge yesterday doing a couple of bits on the laptop I could hear JJ singing to himself in his bedroom and it occurred to me that it is the small things like this that make my heart sing. It doesn't have to be big trips out or spending lots of money, it really is the simple things, the ones you could blink and miss.

*  Like snuggling on the sofa with both my girls New Years Eve and seeing the year in with them as we watched the amazing film - Hidden Figures.

*  Sitting in the prayer centre, enjoying the warm of the radiator with my feet curled under me as I did some bible reading and colouring

*  Cuddling up with Miss M for two nights in my big bed whilst my husband has been away

*  Finding 4 pairs of knickers in the M&S sale that were my size and just £1.99 each. I normally pay £6 each.

*  Enjoying a cup of tea with my friend Annie as we chat away and put the world to rights

* Getting my orthotics for my shoes, which I pray will make a difference to my leg and foot pain

Monday 8 January 2018

Parenting in the Digital Age - We Have to be One Step Ahead

I was at a digital conference at the beginning of November and one of the streams was for anyone interested in young people and all things digital. It was a Christian conference so there were pastors, youth and children workers and parents like me. I went to a few different seminars and there were quite a few things that really spoke to me and I have pondering and praying on them since.

On the whole I think all the new technological advances have been a good thing and they add a whole new dimension to our world today but I'm not blind. I see how my 14 year old son gets sucked in to gaming on his computer and not wanting to come off and I'm super aware that one of my 10 year old's is already starting to judge herself by what she sees online. Those sorts of things are pretty scary.

You have to be a really intentional and involved parent to ensure that your kids are maintaining balance and not losing their grip on reality and it takes a lot of time and effort if I'm honest.

Look at this slide that was shared in one of the seminars -

We have to be one step ahead of our kids as parenting in the digital age can be scary. We must protect our kids online.

Thursday 4 January 2018

#R2BC - Happy New Year Friends, It's 2018!

Happy New Year friends,

How was the festive period for you? I hope there was at least some times of joy and rest.

In general we've had a good Christmas and new year break, the kids have gone back to school today and I'm ready for routine and normality to resume. Today I'm blitzing the house and getting it all clean and back in order. I'm not particularly good when there is mess and chaos, so this is my kind of day! Yep I know, I'm pretty sad but it takes all sorts, right?

Reasons to be Cheerful is back with me for January and this week I'm sharing some photos of happy moments in December as I didn't manage to get an #R2BC post live at all. I am pleased to say I had loads of time away from blogging though and that was ace!

Miss E made me an advent tub and in it where around 100 little affirmations of how much she loves me. It is something I'll treasure forever.

And there is the little poppet in her new bobble hat!

Monday 1 January 2018

Believe: My Guiding Word for 2018

Out of all the Christmas lights in Brighton on Boxing Day
this was the only one I wanted to take a photo of, I now know why!

I really love the idea of having a word for the year that guides you and keeps you focused on what you want to achieve. I've shared many times that I don't like resolutions as for me, they just end up dragging me down when I break them. I think having a focus word is a lot kinder and I am able to not beat myself up when I don't meet my own expectation of perfection, which of course is often.

Last years guiding word was Trust. I needed to trust more in the Lord and in myself that I could make changes and achieve the things I needed to. When I look back over the last year if I am using my critical eyes I'd say that nothing has changed, that I'm still in the same place as I was a year ago and most of that unloving assessment would come from the fact that I am still very overweight.

However what I have learnt over the last year is that I have far more value than the weight on the scales gives me. I am intrinsically valuable, just because. I don't have to be slim to be loved.

I've been on the Freedom in Christ course and that has been super helpful in making me put down lots of baggage around guilt and past actions. I've also done lots of work on feeling rejected and accepting that I am worth it.

I have my operation for my terrible periods coming up in 2 weeks and that is a big step forward. I also have my appointment for my orthotics to be fitted in a week and I pray that will start to help ease my foot and leg pain. With progress in both these health areas, my weight loss will become much more achievable.

Charity work that had run its course has been let go and I've started new voluntary work to replace it. I'm in a good place with my life generally and I really enjoy all the ways I get to serve my family, community and the Lord.

I need to look through my kind eyes and know there HAS been change and there HAS been progression and it is because I have been able to trust the Lord.

Trusting myself is the part I have found harder and after a lot of evaluation and introspection I have realised that I never achieve the weight loss because I don't truly believe I can. I'm not sure if this is connected to me believing I am worth it or just that I doubt my abilities.

Therefore my guiding word for 2018 is Believe.

I went through so many other words first and it wasn't a quick process to find the right one. Some of those considered were Peace, Change, Free, Fit, Wellness, Shine, Ready and Kind came a very close second. But in the end Believe won as you have to believe to achieve.
  • I need to believe I am significant and worthy of good outcomes
  • I need to believe I can make the right choices with food
  • I need to believe that exercising is necessary and can be enjoyable
  • I need to believe I will lose weight
  • I need to believe I am loved
  • I need to believe my actions make a difference
  • I need to believe the best of others
  • I need to believe I have the time to spend with God each day

"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." Matthew 21:22 

I am believing that at the end of 2018 I will be far more healthy and lighter than I am right now. That is my one goal for the year. To do this year what I have failed to do for the last two decades - lose weight so I can live a full and free life without being held back by my weight or the health issues it brings.

Lord, I believe that when I place my hand in yours and make an effort, I can do this. Thank you for sticking with me. Amen