for the ladies… update

Dear friends

Not long after the last post about this, I received two appointments in the post; one for December and one more urgent one, for last Friday, for a hysteroscopy to rule out any more serious condition, such as cancer.

(I decided not to post about my feelings leading up to this appointment, in an effort to reduce anxiety and not appear alarmist. We all have different ways of dealing with anxiety and stress!. The idea is to help someone with my posts, not to create more stress!)

I went to the appointment on my own, my dear husband was working and the younger children needed picking up from school.  I’d met with my Mummy at lunchtime – hot chocolate (with a couple of ibuprofen for me!) – who was very pragmatic about everything – oh, there used to be a very nice gynaecologist at that hospital a few years ago…  it’s probably just a polyp or cyst or something…

A few minutes before my appointment time, Dr M called me into his office where I met Dr H and medical student G. After some banter on comparing lengths of training for doctors versus architects, and the salaries, I was asked to explain everything, in my own words, the situation, everything, and I mean everything.  It was like opening up the bedroom door when my dear husband and I are together.  I knew the consultant needed to understand but still… awkward!  Dr M did a hand drawing of a womb and lining – clearly he had done this many times – and explained the procedure and what he thought, from the ultrasound, the problem was, a 16mm polyp on the womb.  They would remove that during the hysteroscopy.

So then it was time for the procedure.  They were pleased I’d prepared myself with ibuprofen and then 2 nurses came in, screen pulled, strip of everything from waist down and have a seat, use the towel to cover yourself … and there I was, seated on a half chair with leg supports, in my socks (was that a hole in the toe?), when I made known I was ready and the screen was pulled back to reveal the 5 medic people.  I began to focus on ceiling as, with my legs in the supports, not a dignified position said the older nurse on my left, and Dr H began raising the seat up and tilting back (though I honestly couldn’t sense the back tilt).  Speculum….  (attempt 1) … can I have another, long speculum, gel again… (attempt 2 and I recalled a practice nurse telling me to always mention that a long speculum is needed for cervical smears) – let your knees drop down more… you have long legs… Dr M, there’s a polyp right by the cervix opening, you should come see?  So Mum was right, I think, as I hear Dr M come closer and I focus on the ceiling tiles (why are they so unattractive in hospitals when ceiling manufacturers have so many options for so many situations, it looks so dated…) OUCH!!! And I grip the hand rests.  That really felt like a needle went in!!  Ohhhh, I touched it with a cotton bud! (Dr M)  

The older nurse starts making conversation with me – were you at work? what do you do? what kind of buildings do you work on? at least you can go home after this! (Sympathetic smile!).   I join in knowing there’s a long way to go, they’ve not even given the local anaesthetic!! 

OUCH!!! That felt like a needle too!!! Ok, there’s no point continuing, we’ll do this under general anaesthetic. Said Dr M, and that was that! The screen was pulled, I could hear the room empty and when I emerged Dr M was alone, writing notes.  

Give me a minute and I’ll explain all.

Then back to his hand drawn womb to demonstrate what he saw – polyp at cervix opening and area of abnormal cells on the other side which started bleeding when I touched them. So, considering how uncomfortable you were I feel it best to do the hysteroscopy, biopsy and polypectomy under general anaesthetic. Any questions?

I had many but asked him only two.  1. Since these have to be done under general anaesthetic, can’t the right ovary situation be looked at at the same time – surely that’s more efficient? (He had explained earlier that a laparoscopy – small incision in abdomen plus camera – would be required to do investigate the right ovary).  So that’s the plan – he was a little concerned about the length of such a procedure but agreed it made sense. 2. was any of this related to age? Only the irregular, shortening of periods; not the womb thickening, bleeds in between or the pain. 

Dr M did say he’d try to get a date within the next month.  Older nurse came back with form to fill, writing the procedures as Dr M listed – she’s having an MOT – he drily said to the nurse. (MOT –Definition from the free dictionary online for my friends not familiar with UK terms. MOT. [not an acronym] (UK term for a full-body scan medical exam; derived from the Ministry of Transport test car inspection).   Pre assessment were closed that afternoon so it’ll probably be another visit before the procedure.  And then I was free to leave.  

That evening I read up on possible diagnoses (bad idea) … cancer survival rates seem to be measured in chance of living five years… in five years our youngest will be 13 years old…  I read up on how a laparoscopy is done… I also discovered that not all abnormal cells are malignant…  I think you can find anything you want to on the internet if you look hard enough!

Following a priesthood blessing a couple of days later, which my dear husband administered, I no longer feel so anxious! Heavenly Father knows me and I do trust Him that he’ll guide the doctors in all the investigations and procedures. Ultimately, I know everything will be alright.  For now, I need to learn to be patient and wait… 

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perilous times

Dear friends

Family is who you die for

That’s the strap line of a billboard advertising an adult rated game showing several people holding guns. I was going to post a picture but that advertises the game!  So here’s a family stock photo!  

It seems to me that the advertisers have replaced the kill for die and therefore make the whole game seem more… honourable.  Literally glorifying violence! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ 

It’s an(other) example of how we, and our children, are being bombarded with slightly false messaging.  After all, most people love their families enough that if it were asked of them, they would risk their own lives. But this false messaging seems symptomatic of the last days, these perilous times that Paul described (2 Timothy 3 vv1-5), particularly having a form of godliness.  

1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come….

3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,…

5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:

I did listen to this wonderful talk from one of the female LDS church leaders, which speaks of these perilous times and how we, as women, need to rise up in strength.  I encourage you to listen and be uplifted ๐Ÿ™‚

 Bonnie L. Oscarson – September 2016

seeing the good, tender mercies

Seeing the good and tender mercies can missed, like seeing the juxtaposition of old and older in this Normandy village

Dear friends

My last post – small things -set the scene of last week’s events – it was a difficult week! But I should say that during this, I did notice the Lord’s hand and his tender mercies, protecting our family – I especially felt this when the clutch on the car failed.  It could’ve been a lot worse!

It could’ve failed the day before, on our way to church (children and me in the car, we would have all missed partaking the sacrament), or on our way back home from church (all five of us again and none of us took coats – it wasn’t raining but it’s not mid summer!), and we live about an hour walk from church.

It could’ve failed on Saturday when I use it the most – Son2’s piano lessons, Daur1 work (drop off & pick up), Son1 pick up from late shift at fast food restaurant.    

It could’ve failed on Friday, the chauffeur evening, when the three older children were in the car and we were traveling on the motorway at 60 miles per hour on our way to or back from the stake centre in the next city.

It could’ve failed on Wednesday when I had the pelvic scan and in the afternoon I took my dear husband, down the motorway at 60 miles per hour, to an eye appointment at an out of town clinic, before coming home to take oldest siblings to evening Seminary.  

The leak could’ve been nearer the middle of our room, rather than the corner.

And the mouse, well, that could’ve gotten to the front room and scurried all over my dear husband and I during the night… nibbling toes…. eeewwwww….

From Apostle Elder David A Bednar (April 2005):

the Lordโ€™s tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ. Truly, the Lord suits โ€œhis mercies according to the conditions of the children of menโ€ (D&C 46:15).

small things…

Dear friends

Sometimes the smallest of things can make the biggest difference in our lives.  This last week has been full of that for me and our family.

Before that, after one of the big winter storms in the last few years, we noticed a leak on our bedroom ceiling, right in the corner above the bay window.  It really didn’t disrupt our daily lives and it was several months before we got a roofer out.  However the following winter, another big storm, same leaking, another small damp patch appears closer in, remote from the first leak.  After several attempts with the insurance company, they finally agreed to mend and repair, but not replace the valley flashing gutter (above bay window). 

Then several weeks back a roofer came out – did something from a ladder and despite rain we’ve had no further leaks. Yeah! – you may think.  So then the company turn to our bedroom interior.  The artex ceiling is tested for asbestos. It’s a positive result so they arrange for a specialist contractor to remove the ceiling.  This was scheduled for Monday morning.

Before that, a couple of weeks back, a friend spotted a piano being offered for free.  Dear husband and Daur2 looked it over – needs tuning and a couple of hammers fixing but would be good for practice – and we paid a man with a van to help bring it to our house.  It’s been left in the dining room, having come in through the garden, until we clear the front room (another one of those ongoing tasks!)

So, last Monday morning I wake early to start my usual routine of preparing packed lunches for the family – six of us.  As I start with mini baguettes in the oven I see a mouse come out and head back behind the fridge/freezer.  I shriek fairly quietly and gingerly continue, my feet shuffling on the kitchen floor – my theory was to make enough noise so it didn’t come out again.  That didn’t work and so when I saw it again I let out a mighty shriek.  Son1 was the first to reach me and as I stammer there’s a mouse behind the fridge, he says I thought you were being attacked by someone! And promptly turns and heads back to bed.  Daur1 reaches me and stays with me while we finish the lunches but then time has gone and she’s in danger of missing her train.  She begs me to drop her at the station.  

However, before that, over the weekend, my car had been very rumbly.  I knew my dear husband had put oil in (I had moaned to him the Sunday evening since the oil was in his car, rather than in the porch so I couldn’t add some earlier), so despite the strange burning rubber smell, I thought maybe I could make it to the station and back.  

As we sat in the car – me in my pyjamas and fleece – I mentioned maybe I should give you bus fare to get the fast bus to the station and not risk it.  But Daur1 gave her pleading eyes, I gave in and we headed out.  We reached station safely and Daur1 skipped to platforms!  I headed out the station and immediately the clutch pedal stuck – I was crossing the carriageway so was waiting.  I managed to kick it up, back in gear when I saw the traffic clear then as it stuck again at my gear change, I pulled the car over onto the pavement, so as not to block traffic, and stopped.  With the hazard lights on, I call the RAC (car recovery) – we’ll try and get someone out to you in the hour.  An hour! It’s 0730h, I’m in my pyjamas and fleece.  I call my dear husband but no answer… he’s clearly having to pick things up where I left things off… 

Two hours later, somewhat chilled on my part, my dear husband and I arrive back home, children all at school & college and I think, great, I’ll quickly shower, dress and get bus to work.  Don’t forget the asbestos guys are here, they arrived at 8h, when you were out; they’ve started taping things up.  Eeeeekk…. I head to our room to find our wardrobes fully taped up and plastic sheeting across the bedroom door.  All that was missing were the guys in white suits – I knew that was coming, they were in their van on break.  So, all I could do was work from home; take calls, write emails, give a truncated version of the morning’s events explaining my absence – clutch, pyjamas and asbestos.  I did feel quite ridiculous and humbled – if I had listened to the small voice and not taken our daughter to the station, the day would have been largely uneventful, except the mouse and the asbestos removal team.

Ohhhh, and the mouse.  In the 12 years we’ve lived here, we’ve never seen any mice – ants, mosquitoes and slugs but no mice (apart from a small family discovered in the lawn mower box in the garage one spring a long time ago).  So we were a little concerned – are there more?  Son1 admitted to seeing a ball of fluff scurry behind the piano late one night after it’s arrival but failed to mention it to anyone.  Dear husband bought fast action mouse killer traps – one went by the fridge and one in the kitchen.  We put a more traditional trap behind the piano, with peanut butter on cheese for bait!  We had no idea where mouse was.  We were on lockdown – all doors to be closed behind us on entering or exiting a room.  A few days later there was still no sign of mouse.  By now the family began teasing that maybe I imagined the whole thing!  But today, I entered the kitchen and there it was, lying, dead, between the washing machine and a cupboard.  All observed it – except Son1 who was out – before dear husband and Daur1 disposed of it.  Daur2 (& Daur1) seemed rather sad about the whole affair commenting it’s so small… It’s in heaven now… And similar as if I was being completely irrational about wanting to get rid of it!

Ohhhh and the leak. Once the ceiling came down, we spied up into the loft and the underside of the rafters and the water damage was apparent.  And above the valley rafter, in the flashing we could spy a pinpoint of daylight in the lead valley flashing gutter.  The insurance company weren’t interested – it looked to me as if a slate had punctured the lead.  So we’ll have to get some flexible roof sealant and apply from within the loft to make sure we don’t get a random drip onto the new ceiling, which is now in place.  

And the moral of this tale… deal immediately with a problem and listen to the small voice… or squeak…. or leak!

piano, mouse killer, my sock
Part stripped ceiling
Rafters in our loft, above the ceiling
The pinpoint of light!!

for the ladies…

Dear friends

Back in the spring, you may recall if I shared it, that I started experiencing pain/ aching in my pelvis, right side, after my morning jog.  I’ve been experiencing aches on that side for a few years but it started becoming quite intense.  I’ve been to the doctor a few times, the last time the GP (after telling me to lose weight) referred me to physiotherapy (about a year ago) which helped marginally.  So about 6 months ago when the pain started increasing, I knew I should go back but was reluctant since I thought I’d be dismissed.  Then, around the same time as the upping of pain, I noticed more frequent, irregular periods.  Something was clearly happening down there!  After the mammograms, I gained a bit of courage and called the doctor’s surgery.

The surgery has started a triage system, so I had to tell the receptionist why I wanted to see a doctor.  I’ve had this pain for a few years and it’s getting worse.  Doctor will call you back.  An hour or so later a doctor calls me back and within minutes offers me an appointment for the same afternoon.  This was amazing to me, previously one would be offered an appointment the following week, or at least a couple of days later.  Clearly the triage system is clearing appointments.

Dr L was very nice, listened to my story and asked what I thought it was. Self diagnosis!?  I said I’d, of course, been checking the internet and figured either hernia or something with the ovaries, cyst, but, you’re the doctor!  Can you feel anything pushing out? No. Unlikely to be a hernia.  Have you heard of endometriosis?  Based on what you’ve said that’s what I think it is, it can usually be treated through hormone pills/ injection so I’m referring you for a pelvic scan.  At last!!  So the scan was last week.

My appointment letter noted that I was due both an abdominal and transvaginal ultrasound – basically both external and internal.  I’ve had both before – external ultrasound with the children and internal some time ago following an early miscarriage.  My dear husband was also in attendance. 

Same!  Hard work isn’t it?

Said Dr G as I said we had four children and continued to chat explaining what was going to happen and putting me more at ease.  I’ve decided that gynaecological sonographers (they’re still doctors) must be the customer service equivalent of the doctor world – so kind!!  Her previous appointment had cancelled so she had as much as an hour for us!

External scan – while feeling like I was going to wet myself – was relatively quick.  Right ovary looked the right size, nothing on or around it from that view – i.e. no cyst or tumou .  Quick toilet break and then the internal.  I mostly focused on a single spot on the ceiling and my breathing until pain – oh, is that tender?  Followed by a bit more prodding to firmly establish that, yes, that is tender, sore, painful.  It felt like a good 20 minutes and she said little more until I was released to get fully dressed. So the verdict? Right ovary is low down, squashed under the rectum, and could have some endometriosis behind.  And have you heard of adenomyosis?  Well, this is your womb (showing blurry black and white images on the monitor) and normally we’d expect to see a white line showing the edge of the womb about here – she indicated a grey mass – but for this stage of your cycle this is really thick. Adenomyosis is basically endometriosis in the womb muscle lining but the cells can’t shed, so the womb muscle lining gets bulky.  We’re looking for markers for adenomyosis and this is one of them.  I’m going to put you in my book of interesting cases so I can follow up.  Your doctor will refer you to the gynaecologist, and if were me, they’ll probably want a biopsy of the womb lining. 

To be honest, I’m hugely relieved that she found something abnormal – that the pain I’ve been experiencing has a reason behind it, even though it’s not quite diagnosed and I’m not sure what will be done to resolve it, I mean, can surgery raise an ovary, or is it more likely to be removed?  And yesterday I received a call from my doctor, notifying that the referral has been made.  So I’m waiting for the appointment letter and researching on how a womb lining biopsy sample is taken!  

People say things about the NHS but I’m grateful that we have it – I’ve paid national insurance and taxes so I’m glad it’s there.  It may not be perfect, mistakes can happen and things can take time, but at least it’s there for all. 

chauffeur service update

Dear friends

It’s chauffeur night. Actually, it’s been a chauffeur day and right now is my break = ๐Ÿ™‚ I read an article recently about how we feel most at rest when we are alone – I concur!

View from our longest road trip, Normandy, France

I am like many parents I’m sure where personal chauffeur for our children is part of the job description.   And let’s face it, we wouldn’t want it any other way. 

Our eldest daughter, Daur1, has recently labeled this time as older siblings road trip.  For me, it’s when I get to hear what’s really happening at college – X loves college because she can get high everyday!…  I know what weed smells like now!… I’m disappointed with Z, he tried ecstasy! Class A drug!.. The sniffer dogs were in college today.

I’m sure it’s not a complete den of iniquity but I’m glad the children are comfortable with opening up with at least one of their parents.  I tried not to get too concerned about the interest and exposure to illegal drugs! 

So, my chauffeur duties today have been: drop dear husband at train station before 7h; drop Daur2 close to school before 8h20 (so I can get myself to work for 9h meeting); pick up dear husband from station; wait and pick up Daur1 from station; take Son1, Daur1 & Daur2 to Stake Youth Seminary & Activity – older siblings road trip plus one (i.e. Daur2); and then drive back home. 

So, I’m looking forward to the drive home and hearing the news from stake youth. I am grateful that they enjoy being with their peers at church and I know I will look on these days, evenings, fondly… one day… maybe sooner rather than later since Son1 turns 18 years in the coming days ๐Ÿ™‚