Personal: Living with Chronic Pain


3/01/2015


"I want to share my excitement and enthusiasm about this quest. So remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious, and however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up." - Stephen Hawking 


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I feel like I always have lots of things that I want to write about, but nowhere to really do it. Normally, I just keep this blog as a place to share my personal style and maybe the odd beauty or lifestyle post. However, I would really like to get in to the habit of writing more personal blog posts, including updates and news I want to share with you all. 



Just like everyone else, I always have lots of things going on behind the scenes and just before Christmas I had surgery to remove an ovarian cyst (10x15cm, it was huge!) and tissues that were growing on my ovaries and pelvis. 



I had been feeling really unwell for just over two years before the procedure and for a long time I had no idea why. In the beginning, I started to experience abdominal pain and my GP thought I had a UTI, so he prescribed me with antibiotics, which obviously didn't do anything to help. After that, he thought I had a kidney infection and the same thing happened again. Over the next twelve months, I visited a number of different doctors who all told me the same thing as the first one. However, I knew in my own mind that something else was wrong. 

I gained weight, felt exhausted every day and eventually became very anxious and depressed all time.  I felt so anxious that I began having panic attacks.  The pain I was experiencing became worse and I could no longer live my life the way I was used to. I eventually had to quit my job and defer a semester of university. I was basically living with chronic pain, and desperately upset because I couldn't understand why I wasn't getting any help. 

Determined not to become bitter and just give up, I attempted to work whenever I could and I threw myself into my blog. However, some days this just wasn't possible. I also continued to visit my GP relentlessly so that he would refer me to see a specialist.  However, I think the more I went to see him, the more I just seemed like a hypochondriac. The ball didn't get rolling until I went to a walk in clinic and a female doctor examined me. I had never experience pain like it in my life and she suggested that I could have endometriosis. I had never heard of this before, but just hearing someone put a name to what I had been feeling, strangely felt really satisfying. I went to private clinic for a consultation and a scan. and doctor told me that he could see growths, and he agreed that it could be cysts and endometriosis. However, surgery would be the only way to see for sure.

I couldn't afford to pay to have the procedure done right away, so my GP referred me on the NHS. I never, ever want to complain about free health care, because I am fully aware that it's an absolute gift. However, when I heard that I could be waiting for another year, I couldn't help but feel disappointed.

Over time, my family and friends convinced me that I needed to stop being such a walk over. So, the next time I felt a searing pain across my lower abdomen, I hurled myself into A&E until someone took me seriously.  I did this a few times and eventually had my surgery waiting time cut down ever so slightly to seven months. I know it sounds very dramatic, but this little victory made a huge difference to how i was feeling at the time.


After the longest seven months ever, I had my surgery, which was a surprisingly easy-going experience. The doctors laughed at me for smiling so much on my way in, but I honestly felt so overjoyed that this chapter of my life was about to be over. This procedure was the answer and I could hardly believe that it was finally happening.

 The surgery itself went really well, but took a a bit longer than usual because they found more growths than expected. I was then diagnosed with endometriosis (or endo, for those in the know) which means tissue that normally grows inside the lining of the womb, grows outside of the womb on other parts of the body. In my case, it was basically growing everywhere, even near my stomach.

The doctor also told me that I have a retroverted uterus, which means it is titled backwards inside of the pelvis. Generally speaking, this shouldn't really cause any health problems, however it can cause some pain from time to time. I was so surprised that I hadn't been told this before, as if it is something that I should have already known on my own!

I've been warned that even though I had all of the growths removed, it could all grow back again in the future, however, it's essentially harmless and can simply be removed again. however, the idea of having to go through everything again definitely stresses me out to be being honest.

It has been almost three months since the surgery and I'm only really starting to feel the difference now. I think it will take me a long time to get back to feeling like myself again, but I couldn't be happier to have the pain and stress of it all behind me now. I'm looking forward to once again taking up the things that used to fill my life with so much joy, such as going out my friends, cycling every day and NOT feeling like I have a bowling ball growing inside my body, just to name a few things! I'm also enjoying making small realistic changes to help myself feel better, such as being more organised in my every day life, eating better and worrying less.  I'll never be able to thank my family and friends enough for all the love and support I've been surrounded with all this time. A very special mention goes out to John, for being more wonderful and supportive that I could ever have imagined. 

Phew, what a long post! I hope you guys enjoyed it, that is if you managed to get through it without falling asleep!


I think adding that personal element is really important when it comes to writing a blog and I guess I have always been a little bit wary of putting myself out there too much.  Please let me know if you like reading posts such as this one, I always love  getting some feedback and reading your comments!

xoxo Karen

4 comments

  1. I'm so glad this experience is now behind you - living with chronic pain is so draining both physically and emotionally. You're very brave to share this as an inspiration to others and a reminder that 'this too shall pass'

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  2. Your blog is amazing! I do really like it! I know how much time it requires, but you did a really good job! Keep doing it!) I’ll be happy to see you in my blog!

    Diana Cloudlet
    http://www.dianacloudlet.com/

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