I landed back in the UK on the evening of the 12th November (seems strange that even though you’re flying for 24 hours, due to the time difference it was like I’d only been in the sky for 12… result!) and it was amazing to be greeted by my mum and brother. I hadn’t seen them for over a year, so it was quite emotional.
As soon as I was back in the UK I booked an appointment with my GP to get a referral to my specialist. As a precautionary measure, they took some bloods from me due to my symptoms. Low and behold the next day I got a call asking me to go back to the doctor… when I went back they advised that I was severely anaemic (I had a blood count of 8.6, a healthy blood count for a women in her 20s in 12 – 14) and they advised that I would need a transfusion, not ideal!! In a way however it made me feel comfortable that the medical professional were actually standing up and paying attention to my illness and how seriously it was affecting my life!
I managed to secure a cancellation appointment with my specialist on 30th November, which was a result! So I spent the next few weeks catching up with my family and friends. I’d missed my mum’s birthdays for the past four years, so I decided to take her to London for the weekend to see The Bodyguard in the theatre – which was AMAZING! It made me realise how much I truly missed being home with my family and the little things that you miss out on living on the other side of the world.
It didn’t seem like two minutes until the appointment came around – I was actually excited to get some answers and a plan in place!
So imagine my disappointment when I went into the clinic and it wasn’t my specialist that was seeing me, it was one of his team! I’d flown all the way around the world to see a specialist that had operated on me four times, I’d e-mailed him before I left Sydney to tell him I was coming, it was him who told me to get a referral from my GP – so why wasn’t he there?!
His team member seemed v junior and didn’t really understand me or my history. It’s so frustrating when you have to keep telling your story and medical history again and again and again. I actually asked if my specialist was available and explained about the e-mail, he went to go and get him once he realised we’d actually been in touch! He came in and it was great to see him, but he didn’t have the news I was looking for! He told me that my fibroid was very large and that if I were to have surgery to have it removed, it would result in a hysterectomy… I was devastated. He told me that he could give me a drug that would essentially put me into an early menopause to stop my body producing oestrogen in order to try and stop the fibroid growing and hopefully shrink it. As I figured this was my only choice I agreed to have the injection there and then. I was advised that I would have all the symptoms of a women experiencing the menopause… including: night sweats, hot flushes and even hair loss – GREAT!
I figured it was a small price to pay to get my life back and the last thing I wanted was to have a hysterectomy!
My specialist advised that he would see me on 22nd March to see how the treatment was going. He told me I would be sent through an appointment for a base line scan, which would tell then how big it was at the start of the treatment. Then I would be sent through a second scan appointment to take place just before my appointment on the 22nd March…
My 28th birthday, Xmas and New Year came and went… no appointment for my scan. I phoned up admissions and they advised that the paperwork had never been submitted, fab! So they sorted it whilst I was on the phone and sent through an appointment for the end of Jan – eight weeks after my treatment had started – so much for a baseline scan!
I decided to use the time to my advantage, I went to Spain for two weeks with my parents.
When I got back I had the scan and was advised that the fibroid was 12cm – eeeekkkk
I did hit another bump in the road, whilst in London for some job interviews. I had three interviews in one day and was on the way home I suffered a massive haemorrhage on the tube. When I got back to the hotel the bleeding wouldn’t stop, I ended up phoning NHS Direct and they advised that I take myself to A and E, which I did. They kept me in over night.
I was obviously concerned so called my specialist’s secretary to see if I could move the appointment forward, I didn’t hear anything back, I also didn’t get an appointment through for the second scan and was worried that the same would happen that did with the first. This had been happening for over a year and I was really getting towards the end of my tether.
After chasing my specialist for four weeks and getting no response, despite advising that we would pay the private fee if it meant we would get seen sooner, my mother and I decided to explore other options!
I decided that I would be happy to pay for a private second opinion. We spoke to a specialist that came highly recommended. We managed to secure an appointment the following week, result!!
When we went to see the new specialist it was so refreshing, I told him my medical history (again) and he explained to me that he would like to do a scan himself before advising options.
That’s the great thing about private – yes you pay more – but you get everything done there and then!
After the scan we went back into his consulting room and he told me that yes, the fibroid was v large, about 14cm, but it was by no means the largest he’d ever removed. He also reassured me that he was confident that he would be able to remove the fibroid without having to give me a hysterectomy. He has completed the removal of many fibroids throughout his career, but had never had to do a hysterectomy as a result.
S0 for £350 I had the reassurance of a specialist and was advised that I would have a date for my operation that wouldn’t be longer than fourteen weeks away( I could’ve paid £5,000 to have it removed within four weeks, but after my specialist advised that I wouldn’t be at any disadvantage by waiting, I figured I’d waiting long enough anyway – what was another 14 weeks ;))
Imagine my complete surprise when my appointment came through for 17th April, a mere six weeks later! I was ecstatic!
The only problem was that I’d secured my dream job only four weeks prior! They were aware however that I wasn’t well, so I explained that I had to have an operation and they’ve been amazingly supportive! I actually can’t wait to go back once I’m all fixed!
The date for my pre-op came around before I knew it, it was the Friday before (12th). At a pre-op they log your height, weight, blood pressure etc and they also ask you to sign forms about your treatment and talk you through what to expect.
They also take some bloods to make sure you’re not anaemic, amongst other things! Guess what… I got a call on the Monday, my bloods showed a blood count of 7.4 – Not very good, not very good at all!! I was advised that I’d need to go into hospital a day early to have four pints of blood transfused. Again although I was scared, I was glad that the medical profession were actually acknowledging that there was something wrong with me and they were fixing me, yippeeeeeee!!
So the usual hospital procedures ensued – Fasting after midnight, cannula was put in, blood pressure was being checked every blummin hour etc etc
I woke up the next morning and was absolutely starving, so I just decided to sleep! They advised me when I woke up that my blood was now 9.6, which still wasn’t great, but it was a lot better than it was! I was paid a visit by the anaesthetist, who talked me through what to expect before my procedure and before they put me to sleep.
I went down to theatre at 3pm on the 17th and was really relaxed, I was actually excited to have the procedure done – I just wanted it out of me and to be on the road to recovery! I was to have another mid-line incision (navel downwards), the specialist advised me that he would get rid of my previous scar tissue, so in effect I was also getting a mini tummy tuck too!
The anaesthetist’s assistant even commented on how relaxed I was. I really was, as he put the anaesthetic into my cannula I drifted into a peaceful sleep, knowing that when I woke up it would be gone!
Stay tuned for my week 1 recovery diary!