So.. my 2 months break turned into 9 months being away from my site. I had not intended to stay away from this space for so long but let’s just say it has been one very eventful year. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you may have heard me talking about some of the things that have kept me away, but for those of you who don’t, this is an overview of the year so far…
After a hectic and wonderful 2016, 2017 has been a year of rest. Following a death in the family at the end of 2016, I decided to go ahead with the laparoscopic myomectomy (keyhole surgery to remove uterine fibroids).
The laparoscopy myomectomy procedure itself is not a complicated surgery, and I knew a few people who had done it. I was not going to share in details about what happened, because to be honest I’m embarrassed to have put myself in this situation. But my post surgery experience was a lot more challenging than what others had gone through, that is why I felt I had to share my experiences, to make other people really stop and think about the possible side effects of medication and surgery, which so many people use without giving a thought to what they’re putting into or doing to their bodies.
I discovered the uterine fibroids (or myomas – noncancerous growths of the uterus) 4 years ago during a gynaecological examination. Dr R immediately advised to have the fibroids removed surgically if I planned to have children. Without much explanation from Dr R, I outright refused to have the surgery and went for holistic healing methods instead. I was told by 3 other gynaecologists that in addition to the fibroids, my turning 40 would be a hindrance to fertility.
After 3½ years of trying holistic healing protocols (traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture and naturopathy) to reduce the size of the fibroids, the good news was the 3 biggest fibroids remained the same size, did not reduce nor increase in size. But the fibroids were causing many sleepless nights and digestive problems, inhibiting the free flow inside me as one fibroid was pressing against my spine. Growths could also be caused by stuck emotions and energies in the body. Energetically, I was carrying a lot of stuff that was ready to be removed and released! Then I knew it’s time for me to have them physically removed, not just reduced in size. Hence, I arranged to have the surgery. As the days of the surgery drew nearer, doubts did pop up.
The surgery went well with 300g of fibroid removed. There were also traces of adenomyosis found on the fibroid, which have higher probability of causing infertility. In the daze state out of anesthesia, I agreed to my doctor’s recommendation of using Lucrin injection to put the body in a state like menopause for 6 months, so the adenomyosis can “dry up” or go away in menopause state because of the lack of estrogen, and this could help with my fertility.
The recovery went ok and the wounds healed quickly as well. However, I would get mild reflux and nausea when I slept on my back. So I had to sleep sitting up on the bed for 2 months, to stop the feeling of nausea but I could hardly sleep on most nights. I asked my obstetrician if my symptoms were common after a laparoscopic myomectomy. The reply was that my symptoms were not supposed to happen, and that I could get more acid in my stomach during fasting for the surgery”. So I took it as my digestion issues which I had for years, has aggravated.
In the 3rd month, I experienced a few days of severe reflux & nausouneas after eating. The general practitioner prescribed me with indigestion medication, I did not take them. My naturopath said it’s the effect of anaesthetics and Lucrin, then put me on liver detox. Googling online lead me to abdominal adhesions / obstruction with similar symptoms. “Abdominal adhesions are bands of fibrous scar tissue that form on organs in the abdomen, causing the organs to stick to one another like bowel / intestines. This scar tissue most commonly develops after abdominal surgery.” Remedies for the symptoms include liquid or low fibre food. Immediately after I switch to low fibre liquid food, those indigestion symptoms reduced and blended food was all I had for 2 weeks. I lost 2kg in that time frame.
Thankful to the Internet, I came across different types of abdominal adhesion treatment using manual therapy. I reached out to a highly experienced osteopath. Arie was not 100% sure if he could help, but he had an athlete patient who could not run after laparoscopic myomectomy. By loosening the bonds of scars, he helped her to be able to run again. After my 1st treatment with Arie, the nausea disappeared and I was able to eat soft cooked food. Following my 3rd and final treatment, my appetite started to return and cooking became more enjoyable again. However until now (8 months after the surgery), I am still not able to digest high fiber food like sweet potato, whole nuts and most raw vegetables.
Coupled with mood swings from the temporary menopause, the first 4 months post surgery has been tough. I was depressed a lot at the beginning, feeling at lost as I can hardly eat, no mood for any activity, lost of appetite, and definitely no mood to cook. When I came across an allotment for rent, I immersed myself in gardening. Growing food for a first time (besides growing on the balcony) was a huge learning curve with lots of sweat, satisfaction and also occasional tears. Later, I found a part time job feeding people with healthy food. Instead of moping around, feeling sorry about disappointments; keeping myself busying with gardening and work helped me focused on other joys in life.
Oh and my menstruation finally returned last month! As much as I do not miss the monthly bleeding, I was so glad to be back to “normal”. It was a relieve to have a normal flow, though my body was extremely exhausted the 2 weeks after.
After what I’ve gone through post surgery, would I make a different decision? No. I’ve given myself 3 years of holistic treatment. It worked for some people, but not me. If I had been given enough information by the 1st gynaecologist, I would most probably have gone ahead with the surgery back then. I’m still a firm believer in holistic treatment. I’m so, so grateful for the amazing practitioners surrounding me during this time when traditional routes just didn’t move me forward.
I turned 40 this year.. Honestly yes age is JUST a number, but your body can be trying to argue that statement with you. I have to continue making adjustments thanks to time. I constantly remind myself that it’s ok to slow down. Despite the challenges, 2017 has been a “colourful” resting year. And best, was protecting my mental health and outlook with rest, meditation, travel and self care ninja moves as well as feeling love and support from my family and friends. Most important is making peace with myself. Now that I’m more rested, I look forward to spending more time here.. Hope you have been well.
Much love, Shannon