Laprascopic Hysterectomy -a personal view

Ten weeks ago today I had a total laprascopic hysterectomy.  I had my uterus, remaining ovary & tube & cervix removed. I am 46. What led to this major surgery?  Endometriosis and adenomyosis.

I have always had problematic periods and pain. Over the years I have seen gynaecology doctors and been given piecemeal information about what has caused this.  I have had times when my cycles seemed to settle but then I have had huge ovarian cysts drained, had pain so bad no pain killers would touch it, flooding so bad no sanitary towels could hold it, an oophrectomy to remove an ovary which showed signs of change,laprascopy & hysteroscopy procedures, abnormal smears, loop diathermy & an endometrial ablation.

Last autumn I began to experience the worst pain I have ever had in my life. I was doubled up in pain, my abdomen was swollen, I could barely walk and no prescription medication touched the pain. I went to my doctor  who sent me for a scan. The scan operator asked if adenomyosis had ever been mentioned to me. I was mystified and went home to look up this condition. My doctor referred me to the gynaecology department of my local hospital and I waited for the appointment to come through.

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When the hospital letter dropped through the letter box I opened it eagerly only to find -probably not unexpectedly that the initial appointment to be seen and assessed was nearly 3 months away. I had gone through 2 cycles of periods with the unbearable pain which lasted over 2 days each time and was absolutely dreading the next one. I went to my doctor to see what else could be done or if the referral date could be fast tracked in anyway.  I had already presented to the local Urgent Care Centre and had an ambulance take me to A&E because of the pain. Apart from stronger pain relief there was little my doctor could do. Both the Urgent Care Centre & A&E rang the Gynacology Dept to ask them to come and see me. Both times they refused. The first time they told the doctor to send me home with mefenamic acid which did nothing and the second time, in A&E, the attending doctor did an ultrasound, noted an abnormally large uterus but still they refused.

I had joined Benenden through my work several years ago and talked to my doctor about this. He was happy to refer me there. A few days later I collected the referral letter,  scanned it and rang Benenden.

I was asked to email the referral paperwork to the hospital and my case would be considered. It also gave me the time to read the referral paperwork. It was a lovely letter from my doctor with copies of paperwork from the hospital with my gynaecological history.  To my surprise,  on the paperwork about my ablation several years ago, the gynaecologist noted the presence of ….adenomyosis!  I was fuming. I only had my diagnosis of endometriosis in my early 40’s in a casual throw away remark from a gynaecologist even though I had suffered most of my adult life with this.

It is my body on the operating table, my body that suffers and the very people who are there to diagnose you are the people who do not let you know exactly what is wrong with you and leave you worrying.

About a week after my referral email, I had an appointment letter for Benenden. I saw a lovely man there who was so reassuring and said that I had suffered enough and that a hysterectomy would be the answer. He listened to me, he had read all my notes, he explained the procedure and various options in great detail and I signed the consent form to go ahead. I had some of the pre-op assessments while there and returned for a few more. I asked the gynaecologist  about the pain as I was dreading the next cycle of my period. He wrote to my doctor to advise on an implant, Zoladex that would effectively shut my remaining ovary down and this should ease the symptoms but it would throw me in a medical menopause.

A week later I went to my doctor and had the first implant done while waiting for a date for my operation.  The implant had to be injected one side of my belly button and it felt like I had been skewered! I had to book another appointment for 28 days later in case my date had not come.  I had to have another implant done and then my date came through.  It was for early January. I could have done somersaults …if I had felt able to!

I began making preparations for my surgery.  I tidied the house from top to bottom and threw away loads of stuff I didn’t need. I brought comfortable leisure trousers and tops and night clothes. I showed hubby where everything was in case he needed to get me anything.  I also began to suffer with major hot flushes as the implants had caused me to go fully into menopause.  I could no longer go to sleep and wake up 6-7 hours later. I was awake over and over having major hot flushes, covers on and off all night. I felt like I had a nuclear reactor inside me that kept going into meltdown. I was still in pain daily but not quite as much as before.

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Despite the seriousness of what was to come, I actually was looking forward to the operation and packed my bag eagerly. My husband drove me to the hospital and I was met by lovely staff. I felt really calm which was surprising given that I have white coat syndrome and usually my blood pressure and pulse go through the roof. Amazingly they were slightly raised but okay. I spoke with the Consultant and shortly after changing, I was off to my surgery.

I woke up several hours later, having strange memories of talking to my Consultant in the recovery room and then i was back in my room. I felt okay considering what I had done but I hadn’t tried to move at this point. I did everything the nurses asked of me, I drank plenty of fluid, water initially, then tea then had something to eat. I took the offered pain relief regularly and told the nurse when I was starting to feel pain so they topped me up. Initially I had a catheter in and a drain from the surgery. I had the surgical stockings on and strange tubes around my lower legs which inflate and deflate to prevent DVT’s.

I am not going to give you a blow by blow account of the next ten weeks other than to say, I spent 2 nights in hospital, came home to continue my recovery and followed the chart I was given to help with this and took regular pain relief. There have been highs and lows and lots of emotions and I cry at nothing at the moment but so far, no major complications or infection, just a “swelly belly” which inflates and deflates through the day. My mum came to stay for 2 weeks which helped hugely and my other mum and dad kept popping in to check on me. At this point I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to my mum, my other mum and dad and my hubby for all your love and support during my recovery.

I was told over and over by various medical staff that you only really get one chance to recover properly from this and they are right. I am frightened of doing too much too soon or having a prolapse. In the first 6 weeks, I was on HRT patches and not sleeping well at all due to hot flushes, I went to the doctor to review my progress and discuss this with them. I was given something to help me sleep and told to allow up to 12 weeks before the HRT could be reviewed.

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I brought a gel cool mat for my bed to help with the flushes-although I think I boiled it with the amount I had. I spent the sleepless hours looking on the internet. I found the most amazing site – the Hyster Sisters site- any question I had, I could find the answers here and I had a lot of questions. I started taking sage tablets to try and help with the flushes, it is early days but I think they are helping.

I also brought an abdominal support which made a huge difference when I walked or did gentle housework activities.

Nearly ten weeks on, I can begin to feel the benefits of having had this surgery already, I am no longer in the major pain and discomfort that has plagued me for years. I know that each week I feel better and better and can do more. I was told not to measure my recovery with anyone else’s as everyone recovers  differently and to follow the chart as a guide with the understanding that “if it hurts, ease back and rest and try again in a few days or so”.

This is a personal view of my laprascopic hysterectomy and I do not regret having it done, it is already showing me what impact the endometriosis and adenomyiosis had on my life. coming out the other side, I am feeling stronger and better each week. I feel if I had waited for my NHS appointment, that i would still be waiting for my surgery now and still suffering. I don’t want pity or sympathy. I want to get the word out that it’s okay to talk about women’s issues openly and seek answers, don’t suffer in silence. Xx  

On the upside, my hubby thinks it’s hilarious that I have gone from the one who always felt the cold in our relationship to the one who is now feeling hot and flushed all the time….hurry up HRT and work!

funny hot flushes

 

 

Week One Hundred & Thirty Seven – Mary Berry’s New Year Tipsy Cake & Baked Alaska

I can barely believe it but I am typing my final…..yes FINAL baking challenge blog. Yes this is the final two recipes from Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible and my journey has come to an end.

you can do it too

I saved Mary’s New Year Tipsy cake and her “bingate” of recipes- the baked alaska as my final recipes and hopefully finish on a high note rather than consigning either of these to the bin!!! I began with Mary’s new year tipsy cake.

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Mary asks you to put some of the eggs plus egg yolks and sugar into a large bowl and whisk over hot water until the mix left a trail. I have been guilty of not whisking this type of mix long enough in the past so I made doubly sure that this mix was thick and mousse like. Once you have done this, whisk the egg whites in another bowl until stiff and fold into the mix with the flours and lemon rind, pour into the prepared tin and bake. Once risen, and yes this cake did rise well, allow to cool and then try and follow Mary’s instructions on how to cut into it so it’s like a flan case with a lid…not easy and I read it a few times before attempting it.  Prepare the sugar syrup and add the sweet white wine and brandy and pour some over the sponge, add whipped cream and orange segments, put the top back on, finish the syrup on top, cover with cream and decorate with a few slices of orange. Not the prettiest of cakes but I think I could be tipsy after a slice or two of this!

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The second recipe was the dreaded baked alaska. I had watched the bingate Great British Bake Off episode where Ian’s had gone so dreadfully wrong and hoped I would avoid having to do THIS!

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I began with the sponge. Mary asks you to whisk the eggs and sugar together until think and creamy and left a trail. Again, I kept on going until I was totally sure that this was as Mary asked. I baked it in the oven and then left it to cool. I then prepared the strawberries and piled them up on top and covered these with some strawberry ice cream and no, i didn’t make my own, nor does Mary suggest you do in this recipe. I then put this into the freezer for a few hours.

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After a few hours, I began to prepare the meringue by whisking the egg whites until stiff then began the tedious task of adding the sugar a little at a time until the meringue was thick and glossy. i got my base out of the freezer, smothered the meringue all over it , sprinkled it with some flaked almonds and put it in the pre-heated oven for 4 minutes. I must say, i was amazed with the result and had the chief tasters on standby with their pudding bowls to collect their part. We ate half of this between us and thoroughly enjoyed it but now feel full and a bit icky!

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Well it is with a mixture of happiness and sadness that I have finished this baking adventure, I began it having read Annaliese’s challenge rising to the berry and she was my inspiration. I have also watched and loved the Great British Bake Off challenges especially when they have covered Mary’s recipes and one’s that I have done. I would like to thank you all for popping by, either as a one off as you stumble across this blog or as regular readers and visitors. All of your support has been appreciated on this journey.  I have learned so much over this time and after having a rest from baking for a while, I will continue to bake but not with such frequency.

I would also like to thank my mum and my other mum and dad also known as my chief tasters along with my hubby. Thank you for being brave enough to sample everything even when it didn’t always look very appetising!

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I have had a lot of ups and downs on this journey too and thank you all for bearing with me through thick and thin. I will occasionally pop back to blog about other things and look at the viewing figures which have been amazing.

the end

If you have a dream or fancy a challenge, I would suggest you try it, you never know where it might lead and if you blog about it too, others can join you on your adventures, either as occasional travel companions or some who will be beside you every step of the way.

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I would like to dedicate my final blog to each and every one of my gorgeous dogs, past and present, each a faithful and loving companion who spent time with me in various kitchens “helping” in my creations.

Week One Hundred & Thirty Six- Mary Berry’s Gateau Saint Honore & Chocolate Mousse Cake

Week 136 and I am catching up with my blogs all in one go….this week’s dip into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible brought forth her gateau saint honore and her chocolate mouse cake.

I began with Mary’s chocolate mousse cake and had read the rising to the berry blog to see how this had gone for Annalise – my inspiration for doing this challenge. I read her blog carefully and set off.

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I halved all the ingredients so not to make too much and began with the sponge, another whisk the eggs and sugar together and then fold in the flour. This time I made extra sure that it was well whisked first and left a good trail. I poured the mix into two small tins and put them into bake. When the time went, I was really pleased to see well risen sponges and let them cool. I then put them on a cooling rack and got on with the next stage.

The mousse was interesting to make and I read the recipe really carefully and melted the chocolate with some brandy while sprinkling some gelatine on some water to begin to “sponge”. Once the chocolate had melted, I put the gelatine bowl over the hot water to allow this to dissolve gently.  I then mixed the egg yolks into the chocolate mix, whipped the cream , folded this in and stirred in the gelatine. Finally I whipped the egg whites and folded them in.  The next job was to slice the cakes in half and return the bottom half to the tins, fill with the mousse, add the sponge top and put in the fridge. I left mine overnight.

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The next morning I removed the cakes from their tins and the mousse was solid. I whipped some cream to cover the cakes and decorated with chocolate curls.

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The second recipe was a really long one – the gateau saint honore. Mary asks you to make patte sucree pastry and when ready, roll it out and cut out a 7″ circle and bake.

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The second part of the recipe was to make choux pastry and pipe out a 7″ circle and small walnut sized shapes. Bake these according to the recipe and prick them after baking to allow the steam to escape. The next part of the recipe was making the cream patissiere which involves several steps too.  I boiled my milk and vanilla, I beat in the eggs, sugar and flour and returned to the heat and cooked until thickened and then poured into a bowl to cool with cling film on to prevent a skin forming.This recipe was proving to be challenging and I wasn’t even halfway there yet and hoped it would be worth the effort. Once the mix was cool, I had to whip some cream and mix this in with the mix and then chill. Once this was chilled, I put it into a piping bag and filled the choux pastry. Finally I followed Mary’s recipe for the caramel- tricky stuff and began to assemble this dreaded thing!I started with the pastry base and put the choux ring on top, i dipped the small choux buns into the caramel and stuck them in a ring around the edge and filled the middle with the rest of the creme patissiere.

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It was not a thing of beauty but it was another recipe ticked off…..the count down had now reached….2

Which means that next week is my final two bakes and this amazing journey on my challenge to complete all the bakes in Mary’s Baking Bible will finally be at an end.

finish line ahead

I have left the New Year tipsy celebration cake as one of the recipes and …. the recipe that filled the Great British Bake Off contestants with dread…the “BIN-GATE” of all recipes….the Baked Alaska!

The 1 & 3/4 hairy hoolies are in the swing of the baking….but the pesky puppy did manage to run off with a crem pat filled choux bun! They liked the cream though….

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and now seem to be becoming good cuddle buddies too.

Cuddle buddies

Tune in next week for the final of Kim’s Cake Challenge!

you can do it too

Week One Hundred & Thirty Five- Mary Berry’s Quick Boiled Fruit Cake & Hot Chocolate Souffles

Week 135 and the end is nearly in sight now…and the puppy is getting bigger…no excuses still, I now had the last few recipes marked with book marks and dipped with some sadness into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible and came out with her quick boiled fruit cake and chocolate souffles. I was in awe of the souffles as I had watched them on the Great British Bake Off and it did fill me with dread….

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Anyhow, I began with the strangely names quick boiled fruit cake. The main stay of this recipe is condensed milk which you pour into a saucepan and add the butter, fruit and cherries. Mary asks you to heat slowly until the butter has melted and then simmer well for five minutes and then set aside.Measure out the dry ingredients, add the eggs and fruit mix and stir well and pour into the prepared tin. Bake for 1 1/2 hours and allow to cool in the tin, then tip out. This cake was quite a contrast from the rich fruit cake and was quite sweet in comparison. I must say I loved this and would make it again.

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Now for the hot chocolate souffles. I prepared my ramekin dishes and then began melting the chocolate. I added the milk then removed this from the heat.

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In another pan, I melted some butter and stirred in the flour, cooked on a low heat for a short while and then stirred in the chocolate milk, brought it to the boil until thickened and then left it to cool. Finally I beat the egg yolks into the cooled mix, added the sugar, whisked the egg whites and folded this into the mix. Finally, I poured the mix between the souffle dishes and put them in the oven for about 10 minutes. I made a quick call to the chief tasters who were present with spoons at the ready when the souffles came out of the oven.

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All I can say is thank you to the Great British Bake off, I think watching the contestants go through it before me helped and they were rather tasty!

The countdown is getting scarily low….it’s now at the head heights of….

4

almost there

The puppy is ever growing and now joins the other hairy hoolie in greeting me when I bring the shopping back but he insists then on laying on all the bags! At the rate he is growing, I guess  I know have to say 1 & 3/4 hairy hoolies at the moment!

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Week One Hundred & Thirty Four – Mary Berry’s Gateau Moka Aux Amandes & Rich Fruit Cake

Week 134 and I make no excuses for the lateness of these blogs, just blame it on having a puppy in the house! Time just flies by and I have done nothing of substance! This dip into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible brought forth Mary’s gateau moka aux amandes and her rich fruit cake.

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I began with the gateau and read Mary’s recipe through….but obviously not well enough. This is a sponge mix where Mary asks you to whisk the eggs and sugar together until it is “thick enough to leave a trail” (big clue in the recipe there) and fold in the flour. Who only knows what my brain was thinking but I mixed away, folded in the flour, put the mix in the tin and put it in to bake, expecting to see a well raised sponge when the timer went…boy was I disappointed. It was plain to see that I hadn’t spent enough time on the whisking and it looked like a pancake.

failed sponge!

I carried on and made the creme au beurre moka and cut the sponge in half….covered it and decorated it. Hubby and I sampled it …took one mouthful each and…..

failed gateau moka aux amandes

condemned it to the food recycling bin! Oh well, chalk that one up to experience.

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The second recipe, Mary’s rich fruit cake began the night before when I measured all the fruit out and chopped the apricots and cherries and soaked the mix in brandy.

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The next  day I lined my tin carefully, and measured out the dry ingredients and the soaked fruit and mixed it all together and poured it into the tin. Mary suggests you decorate the top with some blanched almonds and cherries and put it into bake. Hours later, the timer went ping and out came this beautiful cake. I let it cool in the tin and turned it out. Mary suggests then feeding the cake with  more alcohol but I thought it was rich enough. I left it in a tin for a few days and sent half to the chief tasters and “forgot” to mention the failed bake of this week!

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The countdown continues and there are now……6

bakes left.. This is a quick glimpse of the little pickle who is taking up most of my time…and yes he looks like butter wouldn’t melt..but remember, appearances can be deceptive…

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Week One Hundred & Thirty Three – Mary Berry’s American Chocolate Wedding Cake

Week 133 and this week I had to try and see if Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible would come up with a cracking recipe to suit the occasion. It was the Chief Tasters Golden Wedding Anniversary so I found the perfect recipe. Mary’s American Chocolate Wedding Cake.

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When you read this recipe, you realise this is a MONSTER of a recipe and if followed to the letter, the three tiered cake would feed over 100 people. Now I made a decision to scale this down to a realistic level. I chose the middle tier sized cake to make and split the mix between three sized tins to create the tiers. Even making this one mix, involved melting obscene amounts of chocolate ! I followed Mary’s recipe carefully and carefully separated the eggs and beat the yolks with one whole egg and the sugar, then whisked the egg whites until thick and light then added the melted chocolate and ground almonds and a taste of coffee. the mixture did not want to fold into together and it took a little while to wrestle this mix into shape! I then poured it into my tins and waited for them to bake.

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The sponges came out well and I left them to cool. I then melted yet more chocolate and butter for the covering and drenched each sponge in this, smoothed them as much as a I could with a palette knife and stacked them. I was fairly pleased with my miniature version of this enormous cake. i decorated mine with golden edible bits and gave it to the chief tasters as part of their anniversary present…as their main present is still ” in production” and yet to be dispatched. I would like to wish you both a very happy anniversary with much love x

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We enjoyed an amazing meal with them to help them celebrate.

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The 1 1/2 hairy hoolies seem to have settled into a relationship of sorts and he is such a character! He is certainly keeping us on our toes and we are certainly sleeping well at night…in exhaustion!

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The Countdown is now at the heady heights of ….

eight left to go

 

The recipes left to go are:

Mary’s Rich Fruit Cake, Quick Boiled Fruit Cake, Chocolate Mousse Cake, New Year Tipsy Cake, Gateau Saint Honore, Gateau Moka aux Amandes, hot chocolate souffles and….the “bin-gate” of the last Great British Bake Off- the BAKED ALASKA!!!!

Week One Hundred & Thirty Two – Mary Berry’s Walnut & Raisin Loaf & Cranberry & Apricot Fruit Cake

Week 132 and again apologies for the tardiness of the posting but losing our beloved hairy hoolie Bailey, dampened spirits and moral and a lot has happened since then…but more of that later. I delved into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible and surfaced after a brief browse with the last of the bread bakes, the walnut & raisin loaf and the cranberry& apricot fruit cake.

I began with the walnut & raisin loaf as this was going to take a while.I mixed together the flour, salt, sugar, cinnamon, melted butter, water and yeast into a sticky dough and by hand too this time, back to traditional methods for this last yeast recipe. I kneaded it for a while and then put it in an oiled bowl and covered it and left it to rise. While this was doing it’s thing, I weighed out the walnuts  and began the tedious task of chopping them, then weighed out the raisins and when the dough had finished rising, I had to knock it back and add the raisins and walnuts and divide the mixture into two loaves. I placed them on a baking tray and covered them with a bag and left them for a final rise. I then sent them to the chief taster’s to bake as my other bake was in the oven for a long slow cook and these guys needed a hot quicker bake.

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The loaves arrived back hot out of the oven after about 25 minutes and finished their cooling here. I then sent one loaf back to the chief taster with half the other bake.

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The second recipe was the cranberry and apricot fruit loaf. Mary tells you at the beginning of the recipe that this cake is robust enough to pack for a picnic but could also make a great alternative to a christmas cake.  I had to begin by draining a large tin of pineapple , coarsely chopping it and drying it as much as possible which involved lots of kitchen roll. I then had to cut the apricots into pieces and chop the almonds. Finally I was ready to mix all the ingredients together and pour into a tin and level the top. I didn’t decorate the top with whole blanched almonds as suggested- I forgot!!!

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The cake baked for about 2 1/2 hours and finally was ready, I left it cool as Mary suggested before turning it out. I got great compliments from the chief tasters who thought it made a really tasty fruit cake and dropped big hints about it being nice as a christmas cake!

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I have still been following the Great British Bake Off but with a heavier heart than before , and I have been keeping a close eye on Paul, Tamal and Nadiya and would be happy to see them in the top three.

As you may have read in my last blog, we were devastated to lose our beloved Bailey so quickly. The poem, The Rainbow Bridge gives us both comfort and hope that we will be reunited with all our dogs when it’s our time.

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The day after we lost Bailey, we went to see our friends who had bred both our dogs to tell them about Bailey as they have his mum and his brother. We couldn’t tell them on the phone and there were lots of hugs, tears and tea. It’s funny how things happen. Three months before, they had another litter of puppies that we enjoyed spending time with and helping to socialise and then we waved them off to their new homes. The day we lost Bailey, they had contact from one of the new owners asking them to take back one of the puppies as they were struggling to cope with him. Our friends knew we were still raw and heartbroken about our Bailey but asked if we would consider having him. We went away and spoke lots about it. Our other hoolie was very down and quiet as she had never been an only dog and was missing him lots…as were we. We came to the decision that when they collected the puppy, that they should bring him back via us to see how the two of them got on….and he never left. We now have 1 1/2 hairy hoolies ! He is not a replacement for Bailey- Bailey can never be replaced, he will always hold a special place in our lives. However, the new young hoolie is helping with the heartache as he needs a lot of attention. He is learning about my baking challenge already and has learned that the oven gloves are fair game!

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The count down continues as is now….9 recipes left to bake!