I have lousy form when it comes to gynaecological history, and to be honest, I’m not one for sharing my personal stories. So, you’ll rarely hear me discussing the gory details about “my journey.”
Even the thought of that makes a little bit of sick come up. However, that’s about to change thanks to an ironic twist in my hormone fairy tale, or rather my hormone horror story! It’s a little-known secret, but I have an impressive gynaecological CV including…deep breath… PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), endometriosis, adenomyosis, ovarian cysts, infertility, menorrhagia (heavy bleeding), dysmenorrhea (painful periods), dyspareunia (painful intercourse), pelvic congestion (varicose veins in the pelvic area), friable cervix (prone to inflammation, bleeding and tearing) and dyskaryosis (dodgy cervical cells). Although amazingly, I’ve managed to dodge fibroids… every cloud and all that.
I’ve used the proper words above because I think it’s important to understand your conditions and symptoms, so you can adopt the appropriate terminology when conversing with your medical team. Also, it helps when deciphering letters and communications between your consultants and GP. You may be pleased to hear that I’m working on an A-Z of helpful definitions due to feedback from my clients.
I’ve gone through my entire reproductive career jumping through the necessary hoops to stay relatively healthy and in control with help from functional medicine, nutritional therapy and, of course, the gynae-goddess Miss Sovra Whitcroft. I couldn’t possibly write this blog without mentioning her because she has dragged me out of some very dark holes over the last 14 years.
During a regular follow up with the mighty Whitcroft in 2019, I was thrown a massive curveball in the shape of the H-word…a HYSTERECTOMY.
Yes, a bloody job lot hysterectomy; ovaries, womb, cervix. The whole lot; lock, stock, and barrel!
Due to my ongoing issues, especially my friable pre-cancerous cervix and persistent chronic pain, it would appear I’d reached the end of the road and was being handed my gynaecological retirement notice; wow!
It was as if I’d been working for the same company for 30 years, and although I’ve experienced plenty of ups and downs and tried to resign several times, I’ve essentially stuck with it due to a sense of loyalty, commitment and bloody (pun intended) determination. Like many women, I guess I’ve always had a love, hate relationship with my reproductive organs, but it was time to hang up my tampons.
So how did I feel about this life-changing event?
I left the appointment feeling detached yet at the same time quite philosophical. For starters, I don’t need my womb anymore, its surplus to requirement and has been my nemesis for three decades. The mere thought of having another baby brings me out in a cold sweat, and never having another smear test or period sounds like a fine idea.
And just think about all that cash I’ll save on sanitary gear. Kate Spade, here I come… Of course, I’m being flippant but let’s not forget how a total hysterectomy will eradicate several potentially deadly cancers, including endometrial, uterine, ovarian, and cervical.
Remaining stoic and objectively reviewing the science of my predicament, I was feeling quite positive. However, I’ve always been my own case study in some ways. I realise this isn’t entirely healthy but storing my symptoms and medical care in a box seems the most effective way of keeping an emotional lid on things, for now anyway.
What happened next?
Well, I was referred to see the ever so charming Mr Andrew Kent, who, from what I can see, is the endo-super hero of Surrey and evidently a gynaecological force to be reckoned with. I’m not sure what I expected him to say, but he pretty much echoed Miss Whitcroft and agreed my aged, defunct, and malfunctioning reproductive organs needed to come out.
The first step was a hysteroscopy with Mr Kent so he could take a gander of my insides and make sure there wasn’t anything too grim up there. However, there really wasn’t much to see, thanks to the stealth-like behaviour of adenomyosis and endometriosis.
So that’s my story…for now anyway. Forest Gump was dead right, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get!”