What’s that quote about best laid plans? I think I’m living it at the moment. For the past two years I’ve been trying to deal with an issue that impacts millions of women the world over; endometriosis. I was diagnosed with endometriosis about 11 years ago when we first started down the assisted reproduction path. It wasn’t a shock. I have a strong family history of women with endometriosis and endometrial cancer so I knew I was bound to experience some issues at some point. When I initially received the diagnosis I didn’t really ask much about it. I wasn’t being impacted by it and I was told that for 98% of women having a baby cures it and I was determined to have a baby so I figured I wouldn’t have to worry too much about it.
Lucky for me I’m in the 2% that having a baby doesn’t fix it. I also have Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome and so my menstrual cycle has always been a bit of a logistically nightmare. However, for the past year or two my life has been at the mercy of my period. My mood swings, my cycle, my body – all thrown into chaos once every 30 days. It’s been horrible. But this year my body took it to a whole new level. Every month now I’ve been incapacitated for a day or two with crippling pain. And this past cycle I’ve spent a week in and out of bed and taking pain killers, something I never do. (I had stomach surgery, didn’t take any painkillers post-op. I had a c-section, didn’t take any painkiller post-op. I have a period, I’m taking painkillers. It’s nuts.) My whole body hurt. Hurt to the point of being in tears. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t look after my son. I couldn’t work. I could barely breathe.
On Friday I saw my long suffering GP and talked to her about what’s going on and she assured me that what was happening was the endometriosis and I’ve been referred to a surgeon to take care of it. I cannot begin to tell you how happy this makes me. I’ve been begging for a hysterectomy since I was 36. My uterus holds me hostage once a month and I’m over it. I can’t leave the house, I’m horrible to be around, it’s horrible to live with, it’s impacting everything and it’s just a matter of time before I get the diagnosis that I’ve got uterine/cervical/ovarian cancer. I want it gone so that I can get back to doing all the things I used to do (like horse riding, swimming, playing tennis… jokes, I never did that nor did I ever understand why they were the things women were shown wanting to do in tampon ads?!?!?!).
So within the next month I’ll be having an interim surgical procedure that should take care of the endometriosis (well it does for 80% of patients so here’s hoping I’m not in the 20% on this one!). If it doesn’t I’ll be getting that hysterectomy I’ve always wanted. Either way, by the end of this year I’ll have a solution to the ticking time bomb that is my lady organs. Now I share all of this with you for two reasons; 1. to shed some light on why I’ve been a tad bit unreliable with sew-alongs this past year and why things have been super quiet on the blog and 2. so that if you’re reading this and you’re going through something similar you know you’re not alone.
As women we never talk about our bodies and our menstrual cycles. I get it. I’m with you on it. I hate it. I feel gross every month because of it. It’s not something I would generally speak to strangers about. BUT, I’m tired of hiding behind excuses as to why I can’t do something. I’m tired of cancelling plans with some weak made up excuse because I’m in pain or my period is so heavy I can’t leave the bathroom. It’s 2018 and women the world over are still hiding something that’s natural and happens to all of us. I’m in no way suggesting we now talk about it at every opportunity, but we should be able to talk to each other about it and remind each other to go see your doctor if there’s anything worrying you. Get regular pap smear tests. Keep track of your cycle and any changes you’re going through. You do not have to suffer in silence and make excuses. You also shouldn’t have your life cut short because you were embarrassed to talk about these things. Talk to someone about it. Find a friend to go with you to the doctor if you’re scared to do it alone. If your doctor doesn’t listen – find another one. And for the love of all that is unmentionable vote for universal health care.
If you’re reading this and thinking “It’s alright for you to say that, you don’t have a problem talking about it.” let me correct you on that. It mortifies me to talk about this stuff. I’m a massive prude. I don’t like talking about my body, I don’t like showing my body to people and I sure as heck don’t like admitting that I have a menstrual cycle. I hate it. (And I don’t use the hate word often or lightly.) When we went through IVF it wasn’t the procedures, the drugs, or the inability to conceive that I had the hardest time with, it was the letting multiple strangers poke and prod in places that I had rarely shown anyone else. I remember laying in the ultrasound room with tears silently rolling down my cheeks as a nurse administered the fifth internal ultrasound I’d had that week because yet again there I was up on the table with all my bits on display. Trust me when I say this, I resent so strongly that we’re having this conversation today. I loath that this impacts my life. I’ve spent years covering up how I’m impacted by this, I’ve missed out on so much because of it. I’m telling you this today because I want to show you that it’s important that you have these conversations with your doctor. It’s important that you know you need to look after yourself and that you need to get regular checks. I’m telling you this because I don’t want you to have to live like I have. I’m telling you because I don’t want you to die to something that was preventable. I’m telling you because if I, the eternal prude, can tell you (and the internet) about what’s going on then the least you can do is tell your doctor.
This past week I’ve thought so much about the women in our community that live with chronic pain and illness. I’ve met so many women that use sewing and quilting as their way of dealing with the impacts from a life filled with uncertainty because of their health. I know that while what I’m going through is a big deal in my little world, it’s nothing compared to some of the things that others deal with. I’ve thought about those that are unable to access healthcare because they can’t afford it. I’ve thought about the families that lose loved ones too early because of these issues. It’s just so overwhelming and heartbreaking and I would hate for you to read this and think that you’re alone and that you don’t have options. So please, suck up the courage to spend 15 minutes with your doctor having the uncomfortable conversation so that you can spend the next 15+ years fondling fabric.
And with that, I’m off back to bed to try and get some sleep on this public holiday. I wish you a fabulous week filled with love, laughter and much fabric fondling.
PS. I know the urge may be strong to email me or comment with some horror story about someone you know that thought they had endometriosis and it turned out to be cancer. Please don’t email me or comment with those stories. I am a horrible hypochondriac at the best of times and I’ve just spent the past week crying because I was convinced I was dying and I would be leaving my precious boy to grow up without his Mother, I don’t need any other horror stories to add to the internal drama. I know that you do it out of a place of concern and love for me, but I’d really appreciate it if you didn’t share those things. Show you love me by helping me keep my mental game strong and free of horror stories.
PPS. I also hate saying this, but I’m probably going to be a little unreliable for the next few weeks until I get this taken care of. I’m hopeful that it’ll work and I’ll be back on top of things once it’s all sorted. I’m also hopeful that even if the worst happens and this surgical procedure doesn’t work that I’ll be able to have my hysterectomy before the end of the first half of this year so things can get back on track for the rest of 2018. In the meantime I’m implementing a plan to make sure the big ticket items aren’t impacted and I thank you for your patience and compassion while things are taken care of.
Have you seen this month’s specials, bundles and more from my Sponsors? Check them out by clicking here.
Loving the free tutorials for this Modern Cogs Quilt by Heritage Threads on the Moda Bake Shop website. Click here to read more.
I love a good churn dash and I’m digging this tutorial for a scrappy version from Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts. Click here to read more.
For those of you looking for a way to fussy cut while foundation paper piecing, Charise from Charise Creates is sharing a link to a video on how to do just that. Click here to read more.
If you’re feeling lucky (and who isn’t?) then why not check out this cute little free project from April Rosenthal as she guest posts on Diary of a Quilter. Click here to read more.
I loved this post by Rachel at Stitched in Colour about what we can do to counteract projects stalling. Click here to read more.
Have you got an event, a charity drive, a pattern release, a class schedule or something else that you think my community would be interested in hearing about? Why not drop me a line and let me know – I’d love to share it with my readers. Click here to email me.
- The Etobicoke Quilter’s Guild are making Bunny Bags to promote their upcoming quilt show. The bags are so very cute and they’re sharing the tutorial on how to do it with everyone so they too can make their own bags. You can check out the tutorial by clicking here. You can also find out more about their upcoming Quilt Show by clicking here.
- Paige Anderson, of the Wild Sweet Pea, has just debuted her website and Etsy shop and you can check out her new site and find out more about her by clicking here.
The Modern Sewist is launching their 2018 Block of the Month on March 20 and it looks to be a corker of an event. They’ll be using The Quilt Cookbook by Amy Gibson to make 12 blocks and in a beautiful modern layout. The blocks, fabric and layout are contemporary with a fresh modern vibe! The blocks, while appearing intricate, are relatively uncomplicated, making each a very enjoyable design. Suitable for a confident beginner and with enough variety for accomplished piecers, this BOM will appeal to all levels. You’ll be working with traditional piecing, gentle curves and basic paper piecing. For more information, and to sign up, click here.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase those items through my links I will earn a very small commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link, in fact in some cases I can offer you a better price via an affiliate link. I will not recommend something that I do not use myself. These commissions help me keep being able to provide you with great content for free. Thank you, in advance for your support!
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