Archive for the ‘hysterectomy’ Category

>It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve written here and I feel very guilty. It’s not that I’ve been incredibly busy (or any more than normal), or that I have nothing to say. It’s actually, I’m embarrassed to say, my phone’s fault. Yes, I got a new phone, and I’ve been spending my spare minutes playing..er..working on it. So let me catch up on what’s been going on, then I’ll fill you in on the new phone. First of all…

Olivia and Lily

When I last posted, Lily and Olivia were newcomers, just settling in and joining our pack. As you can see from the video below, they have bonded together beautifully. That’s our Cattle Dog, Sydney in the foreground.


These two little dogs are incredible. It has been so much fun to have “lap dogs” for a change. Our other dogs, while still a little jealous (you can see Sassy in the background of the video peering out at the two little ones), they seem to have accepted that they have two new sisters.

As I sit writing this, both dogs are sleeping on the couch next to me. They are healthy and happy, probably being loved for the first time in their lives. Both are housebroken, although Lily is afraid of the doggy door and has to be let out, and Olivia won’t go in the backyard and has to be taken out front. Minor issues that will all work out. Need I say, that Alan and I are loving our new “kids?”

Headaches and Hormones

When I last wrote on this topic, I was trying out my new hormones (still synthetic) that had been recommended by my new GYN. I wasn’t happy, but decided to give it another month. Well, I am happy to say that my almost daily headaches have diminished considerably. I did, however, have a whammo migraine on Wednesday, that knocked me down for the day, with both the headache and the nausea.

I was speaking (IMing actually) with a girlfriend yesterday (my best friend from grade school, reconnected through Facebook). She has also dealt with headaches over the years and she suggested I try a Naturopathic Doctor. She feels they look at you as an individual, test your body for what you need and what is actually wrong or missing in your system. It’s definitely worth looking into. Thanks, DV!

Cross Country

Our first cross country meet is tomorrow at the Palm Springs Challenge. We are excited about the season starting. Practice started back in July, so we’ve been running all summer long. Cross country athletes are tough, either getting to practice at 5:30 in the morning, or running in the heat of the day. We get a bit of a reward next weekend, when our meet is in San Diego. After the races, we head to the beach in Encinitas.

Wish us luck. Go Aztecs!

Cycling and Centuries

As of today, I still have not ridden my August century (I’m on the make-up plan, remember). The weather has not been conducive, let us say. After two relatively cool days (work days, of course), the forecast is back up to 108. I’m pretty tough, but I just don’t have it in me. The forecast for Sunday is only 100, so I may have a chance this weekend to get the first of two centuries I need to ride in September.

I have been riding, though. This morning was nice, starting about 6:00 am and finishing by 8:00 before it got hot. Nothing exciting to report, just a peaceful, easy ride. I like them like that, sometimes.
Now, the Telephone

Now, on to what has been keeping me occupied for the last couple of weeks, my new HTC Touch Pro, which is a Window Mobile Smartphone. This is my third smartphone, it was just time to upgrade. It has all the bells and whistles, internet and email, which is all pretty much old hat by this time. But the fun is in the personalization. Adding backgrounds, themes, applications and so forth. So I have kept myself busy, jazzing up my phone. Below are a few screenshots:

So, it may seem a silly waste of time, but, I’ve enjoyed myself. I pretty much have the phone set up the way I want it, so I can focus on important things, like, um, blogging.


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>Today is my “Hysterversary!” It is one year since my hysterectomy. The time has gone so fast, that I thought that I should slow down for a few minutes and think about the changes that I have been through in the last year.

First, my recovery. From the very beginning, I had a great recovery. I attribute much of that to the good shape that I was in before my surgery. Plus, I took care of myself. Even though I felt good very quickly, I didn’t try to do too much too soon (okay, I was walking six miles by week four, but it felt right). I was back at work by day eight, being very careful not to work too hard or lift anything heavy. Because I work in a gym, one great advantage was I could make use of the treadmills, starting by walking 1/4 of a mile and working my way up.

My insides healed well, too. I had no real setbacks. My scar, while noticeable, it small and pliable, with no scar tissue build up (thanks to dedicated scar massage).

Next, my hormones. A total hysterectomy (meaning: they took everything), sets you into instant menopause. For the first few weeks, your body kind of runs on what was left, but after that, well, it is different for every woman. For me, I started with a few “warm flashes,” which turned into “hot flashes,” which developed into what I would term “anxiety attacks.” While these were relatively mild, they were something that I had never dealt with before and it was that feeling of edginess and anxiety that finally led me to try Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

This is something that I am still working on, trying to find a perfect balance. I began by trying an over-the-counter product, which uses soy isoflavones to simulate estrogen. After a couple months I really didn’t notice any difference. So it was on to my doctor, who prescribed a synthetic hormone. While that helped (I stayed on it for about eight months), I felt that I had some issues that could be better served with a different type of HRT.

I had been hearing a lot about bio-identical hormones. I did a little research, then found a doctor that prescribed them (who was also on my insurance). I liked him (much better than my previous GYN, who did my surgery), so I took his advice and tried another synthetic hormone that he recommends, which comes in a patch form. So far, I am not really a happy camper. The issues that I had with my first choice have not changed, plus I seem to have a few new ones, including an increase of hot flashes. I’ve stuck with it for two months (necessary to get a good idea as to it’s efficacy), but I plan to call the doc and this time insist on the bio-identicals.

The main issue that I speak of above is also my third point-my migraine headaches. I’ve had them for years and always felt that they were hormonally triggered. There were always certain days during my menstrual cycle that I could count on to have headaches. I had women tell me that their migraines had disappeared after menopause, so I held great hope. Well, no such luck.

The first month after surgery I continued to have headaches, partly from the remains of anesthesia, partly because of the hormonal battle that my body was experiencing. Then, suddenly, no headaches. NO HEADACHES!! For the first time in 40 years!

This was during the time when I was not using HRT. As my other symptoms developed, and I started on the hormones, I still was not having any migraines. Well, that lasted about five months. Then, suddenly, not only were the headaches back, but I was having them daily! They were not all severe, but nothing but my (expensive and limited by insurance) migraine medicine would touch them. Tylenol-nothing, Advil-nothing, Excedrin-nothing. Of course, that doesn’t mean I didn’t try those medications, so here I was taking a load of over-the-counter pain meds that weren’t working. Insurance allows only six per month of one of my migraine meds, and nine per month of the other. This was not good.

In the time period from January (they the headaches returned) until today, I’ve had four of what I call “super” migraines. Those are the ones that put me to bed, unable to carry on with normal activities, make me nauseous, and generally last 10-15 hours. Not even the migraine medicine will help. That is slightly more frequent than before my surgery.

So I will keep on my search for the perfect hormone treatment. Wish me luck.

The last topic in my recovery experience is my athletics and fitness. After my six week recovery, when no exercise but walking was allowed, I gradually started running and cycling again. In my athlete’s brain, I figured that my body would have rested up during that period and that I would return stronger than ever after a short build up.

Silly me. I felt like I was starting from scratch. Running was hard, even after several months. I would have to take walking breaks and I was very, very slow. Cycling was better, but I had to adapt to the seat all over again! I felt like a brand new rider.

But, I kept with it. By planning to ride a century a month in 2009, I gave myself some motivation to increase my mileage. My running also improved, I have completed a couple half marathons since the beginning of the year. I am finding, though, that because of the heat this summer my running is suffering. My mileage is down again, where I struggle to complete five or six miles. Between my work schedule and the heat (it is impossible to do any outdoor activity in the afternoon), I usually can run only two or three days a week, and ride only two days.

Many women seem to feel that they will put on weight when they go through menopause. While I have put on a few pounds, I feel that is because I am exercising less, with less intensity. That is something I can work on, especially once the weather starts too cool. I will continue riding my centuries, plus find a running goal, another half marathon or maybe even a full marathon.

All in all, however, I feel that I have made great strides in the past year. My body feels normal (which is much better than before my hysterectomy), I’m healthy, fit and ready to take on year number two!

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>I am getting ready to go out tonight to celebrate my youngest son, David’s, birthday. He will be 28.

How can this be? I feel that I am barely beyond that age myself. While one one level, I am proud to be the mother of a fine, adult son, certainly happy that my kids are grown and out on their own, I am starting to see the advance of my children’s ages, even more than my own passing birthdays, as the beginning of “maturity.” I use such a politically correct term because I am not ready to face the alternative, “getting old.”

Yes, I know what people say. I look great. I’m healthy. I’m active and physically fit. I still an avid cyclist and runner. And it’s all true. I like myself. A lot. I’m happy with where I am in life, what I’ve accomplished and what I will continue to achieve. I have high goals, in my work, in my personal life, and in my sports life.

But. Time marches inexorably on. I wake up with aches. I get injured more often. I get tired more easily. I have crows feet. My skin care regimin consists of many more steps that it used to. After having my hysterectomy last year, I have gone through menopause, which adds another whole set of aging issues. I worry if I will ever be able to retire.

I don’t know the answer to these concerns. I have always been an optomist, a glass half full type, who always sees the bright side. I will continue to take all these signs of getting older as they come, fight them tooth and nail, but still accept that I am still the same person, only more “mature.” And I will continue to talk it out here.

Happy Birthday, David. You are a wonderful man, but you are still my baby.

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>It’s Time

>I guess it’s time to finally start writing this blog. New month, new year and all that. Plus, I feel that I’m really on the road back to fitness and health…

A little back story: After many eons of taking my health for granted, last summer I found out that I had to have a hysterectomy. Of course, that meant, as my doctor said: “No exercise for 6 weeks.” Okay, fine. It’s the middle of summer in the desert. It’s a great time to take some time off, let the body recover, then start back strong when I’m ready. Ha!

Actually, the surgery went just fine. I had an abdominal hysterectomy, which, of course, slows down recovery, but everything healed quickly. Going into the operation in great shape helped of course. I followed my post-op instructions, walked like the dickens (that was the only exercise allowed), and got back to work quickly. I was feeling great, especially because all the issues that led to the hysterectomy were in the past. Then I started back to running and cycling…

And, damn, it was hard! My 50 year old body hadn’t been resting and recovering. It had been atrophying! I was released in mid-September, and by late November still struggled to run more than a few miles without a walking break. On the bike, I felt like a total newbie–I was so sore after a short ride that I wondered if I would every ride another century, let alone my goal of a double. What was even worse, I didn’t even care that much. I was slacking, but I was enjoying it.

Just when it seemed though that I was destined for life in the slow lane, I stepped on a scale and much to my horror had added about 7 pounds. I decided it was time to take the bull by the horns, find some goals and dig myself out of my slump.

First the goals. It was early December, and in spite of not having run more than 5 miles or ridden more than about 30, I signed myself up for the Stagecoach Century and the Carlsbad Half Marathon. Both take place around the end of January, so I really had to get going.

I decided I had to change my attitude. Instead of giving in when the going got tough, I dug in harder and pushed myself more. Still, between the short training time, the holidays and lots of work projects, I approached last Saturday’s Stagecoach Century ride with only one long ride of 66 miles, and not nearly enough time on the bike to work out my kinks. I contemplated skipping it, but I really hate wasting the entry fee, so I decided just to gut it out.

Well, I did it! I will write a complete report, but for now let me just say I had a great time, the weather was gorgeous, the support was fantastic and I met so many fun and interesting people along the way that the time (almost) just flew by. I am so charged, I feel like I am finally back to business. Carlsbad Half Marathon here I come!

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