Medical Menopause – The start of my recovery

Medical Menopause – The start of my recovery

4 weeks ago I was discharged from hospital having undergone the worst case scenario for my hysterectomy surgery.  I’d had a discussion with my surgeon that if my ovaries could be saved to save them as it would save me going into a medical menopause at the age of 46.  When I messaged home to say that I was OK and back in my room my husband mentioned that my ovaries couldn’t be saved and it was only when my surgeon came to see me the following morning that I found out what a state my ovaries were in.  When a healthcare professional screws up their face when they describe how bad they were, you’re happy that they made the right decision on your behalf.  In fact they were so bad, she felt that they were the reason I’d been feeling pretty rubbish over the last year.

HRT was a topic of discussion at my post-op check-up  and to be honest I’m not a big fan of extra hormones.  My surgeon explained that I’d have around 4 weeks of natural hormone stores but when they ran out I’d start to feel symptoms of the menopause.  She suggested that I experience some hot flashes to see what they’re like so that I could make an informed decision about whether I wanted to start HRT.

Last week, 3 weeks post surgery it started.  I went to bed as normal, but in the night I kept waking up hotter than the sun.  When describing how it felt to my husband he wondered if the heating was to blame so he suggested I felt the radiators the following night if it happened.  Each time I got up to feel them, and it was several times in the night, the radiators were stone cold and I was like a BBQ with glowing embers, no sweats thankfully!!!

Over the next few days more symptoms started to show themselves.  My sleeping became more disturbed which isn’t great news when your 3 year old twin sons like to get up anytime from 5am, 7 days a week and of course they were still getting used to the clock change!  My saliva dwindled to the point that I barely had enough spit to swallow and the inside of my mouth was dry and sore.  On the plus side my skin had dried out when I’ve spent most of my adult life with acne/blemishes.

It didn’t take many days of this for me to realise that my life would be very different if I just went with the menopause, so after yet another night of hot flashes, a mouth like the Sahara Desert and eyes springing open and 3.30am and refusing to shut, the decision was made to visit my GP.

My consultant, a specialist in all things gynaecological had given me her HRT recommendations in a letter which was copied to my GP so getting a prescription was pretty straight forward.  In my mind I’ve come to terms with having to take HRT.  My body isn’t able to produce oestrogen anymore so I’m using HRT patches to give my body enough oestrogen to make me feel ‘normal’ instead of my old self because before I was extremely irritable and anxious with pains in my lower abdomen in the area where my ovaries were.

I applied my first patch on Monday and although I did have a couple of hot episodes in the night, my sleep was less disturbed and my mouth wasn’t so dry.  It’s still very early days, and I’m still experiencing pain from the surgical site along with a lot of swelling but I am glad that I had the surgery.

I’m not quite ready to hit the menopause with my young family and I really don’t need the distraction of it because I am still in the middle of my nutrition course although my studies have been put on hold while I recover and as a consequence I’m quite behind. I have so many plans for recipes and food videos that I need my ‘A-game’ to give you my best.

Ever since my last blog I did consider how much detail to go in during my recovery.  I decided not to take daily pictures documenting the reduction of swelling because I didn’t want to worry anybody about to go through the same process as ultimately we’re all different and we all react differently to surgery.  If I’m honest, I was so swollen that my tummy button reflected how I was feeling, it looked like a sad stretched mouth and that’s not the kind of Kodak moment I want to relive as a Facebook memory in years to come.  I’ve had a few low moments, too bloated to wear my normal sized joggers and skinny jeans even though the joggers I bought to wear post-op were starting to feel quite loose!

One day last week and quite unexpectedly I started feeling really emotional.  It was the strangest thing and I felt compelled to talk about my experiences on my Instagram stories.  I started to receive lots of private messages from other ladies who’ve gone through the same experiences.  It’s really comforting to know that what I’m going through is entirely normal and the support you’ve given me has really carried me through this period in my life.

I started blogging 2 years ago when I started the 90 day plan by The Body Coach, to blog my meals and workouts so that if by some miracle I managed to lose some weight, I could look back and see exactly what I did.  It serves as a great reminder that I achieved all of this by eating real food, exercising in the privacy of my own home while bringing up my twin 18 month old sons along with my husband who was and still is supporting me all the way.

The last 10 months have really been hampered by my health issues and I’m really looking forward to getting back to exercising to building up my fitness again.  I’ve really missed being able to exercise regularly and the positive impact it has on my mental health and general wellbeing.

Being mum to now almost 4 year old twins you don’t get very much ‘me time’ and the ability to take yourself away from lively boys and fill your head with some uplifting music or an interesting podcast can work miracles on your general mood. But the added bonus is that my children see exercise as being part of a normal life and when they see me in my workout clothes, they know mummy’s going to get fit and strong. Believe me, I need to be fit to run around after my sons, as my Instagram stories will demonstrate!

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Nella Foulds
Nella Foulds

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