7 Things I’ve Learnt Since I Started Blogging

So the other week saw in my 2 year blog birthday and despite not quite believing how quickly those two years have gone, it also got me thinking about how much has changed and how much I’ve le…

Source: 7 Things I’ve Learnt Since I Started Blogging

Advertisements

2017 is going to be a better year … Well I hope so! 

Happy New Year  to readers old and new! This time of year the internet is full of resolutions and  fitness information. I have decided not to make resolutions this year but wishes, I never stick to them and then I feel like I’ve failed. My main wish is to be more positive and as part of this I am planning on trying to post positive quotes on my Facebook page daily, so pop over and have a look.

I thought it would be good to do a general update for my first post of 2017 and then expand further in future posts. Last year was a tough year and I couldn’t wait for it to be over.  Christmas was good, first year in ages that myself and my husband had Christmas dinner at my parents instead of his. It was so nice to be surrounded by all our families that day. New year was also epic! Fantastic night with fantastic friends and I really enjoyed the non alcoholic wine I had!

Best memory from 2016- it has to be seeing The 1975 live at the Bournemoth International Centre. I went with my younger sister Charlie (she now has a new blog check it out here) and we had an amazing time.

Weight loss – over Christmas I lost another pound and slowly moving towards my target. I am getting back into th swing of healthy eating and looking forward to my health and lifestyle improving.

Fertility treatment- after my scan, see previous post, I had a check up appointment with the specialist and started treatment. Unfortunately cycle one was unsuccessful but I will do a detailed post about this.

Family- I have good news to share, my little sister is pregnant! This has been difficult due to my personal infertility but I am coming to terms with it and looking forward to becoming an auntie!

Fibromyalgia- currently in a slight flare after Christmas, the weather doesn’t help and I have been struggling to sleep. Been prescribed some slightly different meds so will get back to you once I know how they are helping.

Work- work is busy. Lots of things to do and as usual not enough time and with my fibro flaring I have had to really work on pacing myself so I don’t burn out.

So I know it has been a bit of a whistle stop tour of an update but I will be back to weekly posts soon.

Gentle Hugs

Hannah 💜

Hysterosalpingogram 

This post is only based on my experience/views on my personal infertility journey. I am not a medical professional. Please seek medical advice if you have concerns or questions related to infertility. 

This week I had to go and have another fertility test and after reading up on it I was anxious and a little scared. I wasn’t planning on writing a post about my experience but there are a lot of horror stories out there and although I found the procedure uncomfortable and very painful for a short time it wasn’t as bad as I expected. Also as a fibro sufferer I was concerned how the test might impact my condition and I was unable to find much online about other spoonies who have had the test, so I feel it is important to share my experience. 

What is a Hysterosalpingogram? 

So I had to have a Hysterosalpingogram or HSG scan which is an X-ray, using a dye contrast, of your uterus and fallopian tubes. The test helps determine if there are any issues with the uterus or fallopian tubes that could be resulting in fertility issues. The test is carried out by day 10 of your cycle and you must abstain from sex between day 1 and the test. The test actually only lasts a few minutes but my appointment was about 20 minutes long as they explain the test, set up and then give you time to gather yourself after. 

What happens during the test?

When I arrived at the hospital I was first asked to remove my bottom layers of clothes and put on a hospital gown, I then had to wait a few minutes to be called through. Once in the X-ray room I was greeted by two female members of staff and the door was locked so there would be no interruptions. I was first asked to lay on the bed and the radiographer explained the procedure and then went through some legal questions regarding day of cycle, checking I wasn’t pregnant and discussing any known issues with previous uterine infections.  She explained that the pain level of the test varies from woman to woman depending on what their periods are like, the shape of the uterus and if there are any blockages. It was explained that they were looking at two things in the test; whether the uterus was a normal shape (upside down triangle) and if the tubes were clear of abnormalities. The actually test involves placing a speculum in the vagina to open the cervix and then passing a small catheter into the hole in the cervix to allow a clear dye to be passed through the uterus and fallopian tubes. The radiographer explained that the procedure is similar to when we have a period. Normally our uterus fills with fluid (blood) and then when it can’t go any further it spills out through the fallopian tubes. During the test I was told it would feel like period cramps as the brain doesn’t distinguish between blood and the dye. 

As the catheter was inserted I felt a little discomfort and it wasn’t until the dye was being injected that it started to become uncomfortable and painful. The actual test only takes a few minutes and it is like a sudden onset of your worst period pains, I admit it took my breath a way. I have quite painful periods so this was expected and as soon as the catheter was removed and the dye was able to leave the body the pain receded immediately and it felt like the last days of a period; slight cramping and an uncomfortable feeling. Whilst the dye is being injected images are taken every coupleof seconds  and I was able to watch the screen to see the fluid moving around. 

I do admit that during the two minutes (which felt like 10minutes) of intense pain I questioned whether I even wanted to have a baby as I’m not good with pain, but the pain receded quickly and that thought disappeared. 

After the test/results? 

After the test the radiographer explained to me that I had a normal shaped uterus and that there were no obvious blockages. This doesn’t explain why I am having fertility issues but is a good sign. I’m not sure if all radiographers tell their patients the outcome but it is clear when you see the scan on the screen. 

Screenshot picture from shadygrovefertility.com

After the test I was given a few minutes to sit as the dye will run out and then allowed to clean myself up before going to change back into my clothes. I was given an after care sheet explaining that there may be some bleeding (I only spotted immediately after) and you can have period type cramps for a couple of days similar to the last days of a regular period. I was also told that if I bled a lot or if the pain was really bad to see my GP. I only suffered mild tummy cramps the day of and morning after the test and have been fine since. I returned to work after my scan and was able to carry out my normal routine. 

Top tips

  • As advised in appointment letter take your normal painkillers for your period an our before. I also have fibromyalgia, so I took ibuprofen and cocodamol as I am in a flare at the moment so wanted to limit the risk of increasing symptoms. 
  • Take a sanitary towel with you to wear after for any left over dye leakage and/or bleeding.
  • Try to relax, take deep breaths and remember the test only lasts a few minutes.

Now what? 

I now have to wait to see my consultant in December and see what he believes is the right course of action. I am hopeful that I will become pregnant soon and if the rumours on the internet are true maybe my fertility may be increased after having the test? I find this highly doubtful but you never know! 

I hope this post has helped, especially if you have a chronic illness and suffering with infertility. There isn’t much information for spoonies on infertility and pregnancy. The blogs and YouTube channels I read and watch are where I get most of my inspiration in knowing that my chronic illness doesn’t have to stop my dream of having a family and that it can be done. 

Gentle hugs

Hannah 💜

Chasing trains 

Trains … 
Lay in bed, pain reverberating through my legs, I suddenly realise my life is like chasing a train. I feel like I’m always so close to grabbing hold on jumping on but never quite able to make it. Something always gets in my way just as I’m about to pull my self on and take a breath. 
As you know, if you read my posts regularly, I am a full time teacher working within the SEN sector and I have a chronic pain condition called fibromyalgia. Being a teacher is hard work anyway but having a condition that makes you constantly fatigued and in pain adds to the workload and makes life just that little bit harder. In September I made a vow I would try to find a work life balance and manage my condition better and to some extent that happened during the first few weeks. I was working longer days during the week and trying to relax and recuperate at weekends but then work began to mount, little jobs came up, pain levels began to grow and I am back to working all weekend and going to bed at 7pm on a weekday. 
Currently I am getting over a flu/cold/virus thing that I have had for a couple of weeks and now I feel better the fibro monster has decided it is her turn to come and play. My whole body hurts, I’m ridiculously tired and I don’t know how I’m going to get through the rest of today let alone work. But I can manage my flare without having time off, I often find working through small flares mean I don’t go into a major flare. If I stop, I stop and this can be fatal for me. I know it isn’t good to work through a flare but we all do it. I have completed as much work as I can so that I can get plenty of rest in the evenings next week. 
I can’t afford to be sick now, my weekends are busy running up to Christmas and I am super excited to be going to see The 1975 just before Christmas. How do you all pace yourselves over Christmas? 
Gentle hugs 
Hannah 💜

The dreaded cold …

After fighting it for a week and a half the cold/virus/flu thing I had finally defeated me and I had to take time off work. I really didn’t want to but my body was refusing to move. 

I hate that a cold causes me to become so anxious and fearful, that it makes it harder than normal to function and that it can seem like you are exaggerating to others. I have been struggling with the fatigue recently, sometimes waves of tiredness that makes my body feel like I need to sleep right there and then and this cold has not helped. I battled on for as long as I could but I couldn’t keep going, my body just said no, and I felt so guilty about missing work. 

Getting even a cold can be a nightmare for someone with fibromyalgia. It hits you like a ton of bricks and can completely knock you out for days. It’s like having a cold on top of the flu, like staying awake for days on end and then running a marathon and it can trigger flares quickly. But as I’m sat here, starting to feel better I know that in a couple more days I will be back to my normal and can continue plodding on with life. 

A couple of days of Netflix, blankets, hot water bottles, fluids and of course my trusty mess have gotten me through this minor set back, now it’s time to build my strength back up for work on Monday!

 I have no more time this year to be ill so can all germs please stay away! 

Gentle hugs 

Hannah 💜

Time flies…

I am back! I can’t believe how fast the last 6 weeks have gone! I’ve had hardly anytime to do anything other than work, let alone write, read or relax! I am currently sat watching my sister at her swimming lesson and it has given me time to reflect and think about the last few weeks. It is nice to finally be able to have a few minutes to write and it is at these unexpected times like today I am most productive in writing for my blog. I wasn’t supposed to be taking Millie swimming, I should be working, but I popped to my parents to drop a few things off and offered to take her as my mum had a fall and isn’t well. 

I don’t get much free time to spend with Millie and it nice to see her back in the pool. My little sister is one tough cookie. Like my mum, my sisters and I all have fibromyalgia and Millie also has Chiari Malformation of the spine which leaves her in a lot of pain. It is heartbreaking that at 10 years old she can’t be like the other kids, she can’t trampoline, go on rides take part in certain sports and she get more tired than her peers. I find it difficult to cope with work and fibro but I can’t imagine being a kid with it. 
The last few weeks it has dawned on me that I may be in pain for the rest of my life, that could be another 50-60 years! I have had fibro for 4 years and I am already sick and tired of it! I feel like I have to choose between my job, my family and my friends daily and I can only choose one. At the moment i feel like it is my job that takes up 98% of my time. I love my job; I have an amazing class, I enjoy my work and I have some very supportive and understanding colleagues but it is taking up all of my time. It makes me angry that this disability has taken so much away from me. I envy those who go to work and then still have the energy to talk to their husbands or make dinner, envy those who can meet up with friends and still do their work at the weekends. Currently my weekend routine consists of Friday night being in so much pain I find it hard to move, Saturday morning/all day crashing on the sofa too tired to move and then Sunday comes around and I spend the day working. 
I hate the fact that to go out to the cinema with my friends on a Friday night means I will suffer until Sunday because my body can’t handle a week at work and then social activities. I hate I have to cancel plans to meet friends or go out with colleagues. I hate that it takes me longer to do things because of the fibro fog and fatigue. Or the fact that I have to get more sleep to try and compensate for being so tired. I don’t know how I do it but like I say when people ask me how I do it, you just do. I always find a way to fit in meeting family or friends or that extra lesson resource, normally at the expense of spending time with my husband. I’m lucky he is understanding but I hate that I always feel like I’m not there for him. I really need to crack the art of pacing and a work life balance! 
On a positive note this half term has gone super quick, probably because I have had a never ending list of jobs to do. But the hard work is paying off. It will be half term at the end of next week and along with some relaxing I plan to work as much as possible to try and help free up some weekends to chill. I’m actually actually looking forward to having time over half term to rearrange my classroom and set up new classroom areas without the consequence of burning myself out!
Does anyone else work full time with a chronic illness? How do you do it? What strategies do you use? I have no idea how I will manage work and pregnancy when that finally happens!! 
Gentle hugs 
Hannah 💜

Wow

 

Wow! This video brought a tear to my eye. Being in pain all the time is hard and this week has been tough. I often want to give up fighting the pain, to stay in bed and let it consume me but I know I have an amazing life. A fantastic husband who doesn’t bat an eye lid at having to help me dry my hair or get me out of the bath, an understanding family who are always there to talk to, friends who will even offer to cook for me and, although I moan, a job I do love. There are many other chronic pain suffers who have it worse than I do, I’m one of the lucky ones. My chronic illness makes me thankful for the things I do have, I can’t take anything for granted like I used to and it has given me a different outlook on life.

Slow and steady…

Update time and this week I have lost 2lbs giving me a total weight loss of 5.8lbs. Only 34.2lbs to go till target number one is reached! 

It might not seem like much but to me it is a good start. I am determined to lose the 40lbs I have to get rid of but I am in no rush. I want to lose the weight slowly and also keep it off. As I briefly mentioned in my previous post, I have been using MyFitnessPal to roughly track calories to help me become more aware of what I am eating. I am not being strict and when I’m in a rush I’m not measuring accurately, which I know isn’t the idea of calorie counting but it is working for me. 


I hate diets and if I start being strict and counting every calorie or stressing if I go over my daily allowance I know I will give up. I’ve tried many diets and nothing seems to work long term as I get bored of how strict they are. So I have decided that I am just going to eat mindfully. It has already helped me stop secret eating (I was terrible and would even lie to myself about food consumed in a day) and I have become more aware of my bad food choices and started to alter them. 

I’m still having the odd treat,like fish and chips with the in-laws or a breakfast butty with friends,  but try to compensate by making healthier choices the rest of the time. I know that with my fibro sometimes a takeaway or something unhealthy might be the only option because I’m too tired to cook or I’m in a lot of pain and I have found by changing my mindset and not beating myself up about it. Also I haven’t let my eating spiral when I have had something naughty.

 In previous years if my fibro flared or I had something not on plan I would continue eating rubbish and then feel crapabout it (self sabotage ), but this time is different. Yes I need to lose the weight to qualify for treatment but I also want to lose it to become healthier and I believe that it needs to be a balance between being happy and being careful. I can’t be strict as I know I won’t stick to it, so I have allowed myself to go over my calories some days as long as I am truthful with myself and log everything I eat. 

A longer post than I was planning but I feel it is important to share my reasons for the way I am trying to lose weight so that it might help others who are beating themselves up for not sticking to their diets. Life is too short to denie yourself what  you want all the time and the most important thing is to be happy with your life; you only get one!! 

Gentle hugs

Hannah 💜

Weight loss update 

Now I’m back at work and (touch wood) keeping a good routine with food I am starting to get into some better eating habits. I am tracking my calories roughly using an app on my phone and planning out meals in advance. 

Here are some pictures showing how my journey is going and I will post more when the hectic first few weeks at school have calmed down!! 


Gentle hugs

Hannah 💜