Monday, 25 September 2017

Advice on hearing those 3 words: ‘you have endometriosis'.

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This week's Endometriosis News column is now live! You can have a read of it here and it's some advice for all you newly diagnosed 'sisters'. I hope it helps make you feel a little less lost!

I've also linked my column on to the tabs at the top of the page now so if you click on the 'Column' tab, it will take you straight to it!

I'd love it if you could head on over and have a little read!


Saturday, 23 September 2017

Follow EMLWY!

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Did you know that there is a whole range of ways that you can follow EMLWY and keep up to date with all my posts?

If you click on any of the links on the left then you can follow me on all the usual platforms - Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, where I'll always keep you up to date if there is a new post out.

There is also a little box on the left under "Subscribe to EMLWY" where you can enter your email address and then my latest blog posts will be sent directly to your email inbox!

And, finally, there is also a little black "Bloglovin" box below all the above where you can follow all of your favourite blogs in one place, instead of having to visit them all separately.

So, you've got no excuses now! Come on over and say hello!


Friday, 22 September 2017

Nexplanon implant: one month on.

I've had my implant in for a month now so I thought I'd give you a little update on it all.

When I had it put in to my arm, I had been on my period for two days already. My period was just it's normal self at first, but, the day after having the implant put in, it ramped up and became incredibly heavy. I'm talking the heaviest it's been in years and I was needing to change pads every half an hour because, sorry to be so blunt, but it was just pouring out of me. The next day it was still as heavy and that morning I almost passed out from it. I was actually sat on the toilet when I suddenly didn't feel right and got this horrible pounding in my ears. If I hadn't have gotten down on to the floor quickly, I would have gone. It was pretty scary. Although I didn't put two and two together at the time, it's no coincidence this happened only two days after starting a new treatment.

My period lasted two weeks and I was in just as much pain as usual. I had a one week break and then this month's period started early and I've been on that for over a week now. This month has been much easier (so far). The pain has been very bad still, on one night in particular it felt like I was having contractions as it was coming in waves, but the bleeding has been reasonably light and I haven't had any new, red blood. 

I'm going to give it another few months to see what happens with it and then have a think about going back to the doctors if I continue to bleed. The fact that I'm still in the same amount of pain as when my period is at it's heaviest but I'm actually having quite a light bleed, is a big concern.

Besides effecting my periods I've also noticed a few other things.

My moods have been terrible. The first 2 weeks were the worst as I felt up one minute and down the next. I was incredibly irritable and was snapping at everyone. That's settled a little now I think (maybe Danny would tell you differently!), but I am quite emotional and very sensitive still. I've felt very down over the last few weeks and have been crying a lot - every day in fact. I know it's to be expected because I've had this sudden rush of hormones put in to me, but it is quite hard to deal with when you've felt quite level headed for a good while now.

I've also been getting frequent headaches, a daily upset tummy, my acne is definitely worse already, my breasts are so tender I dread even my t shirt rubbing on them let alone letting my breastfeeding toddler near them, and my libido has completely gone out the window.

So, all in all, I'm just not feeling very good about myself right now. 

Oh, and the bruising! Oh, the bruising! It was so bad, I had people coming up to me while I've been out asking what I'd done! And to think the bandage was there to help reduce the bruising! I've popped a photo up above of it at it's worst which was about a week after it was 'implanted'. I've still got some bruising now but it looks more like a pale stain to my arm rather than a multicoloured gangrenous rotting mess!

I know that things should all settle down in time but I'm experiencing everything I didn't want to happen at the moment. It's such an odd feeling when you go from only having your own natural hormones in you to the rush of a hormonal treatment. I feel separate to myself, if that makes sense, and I really don't like it.


Monday, 18 September 2017

Some exciting news: I'm a columnist!

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So, I've been keeping something a little quiet from you all (not so quiet if you follow me on Instagram!), but I was contacted by an editor over at Endometriosis News last month and asked if I would be interested in some writing work with them and of course, I jumped at the chance! After submitting some of my work to them, I got the job and I now have my very own weekly column with them!... I'm absolutely over the moon!

My first column has gone live today so you can have a read of it here.

I'll pop the links up here on a weekly basis so you can have a read of the posts. I'm aiming for them to be a little different to the very personal posts I write over here at EMLWY and have a more generalised feel to them.

Endometriosis News is just one of many disease specific publications run by BioNews Services, a leading online health, science and research publication company, delivering daily, targeted news, information resources and social media content.

The Endometriosis News site is an excellent resource with news stories, social clips, information on endometriosis and other columns run by fellow bloggers and those who have experience with endometriosis, so please go on over and have a look and check out the other columnists and their sites.

I've linked everything in the Endometriosis Library at the top of the page, but will pop the links below also.


BioNews Services

Endometriosis News

Endometriosis, My life With You - a Column by Shireen Hand

Living with Endo - a Column by Jessica Duffin

Jessica Duffin's website: This EndoLife

Hot Mess - a Column by Serena Lawrence

Serena Lawrence's website: Worship and Tribute

Dachshunds & Duvets - a Column by Jessie Madrigal-Fletcher

In This Together - a Column by Chris Robson

Spoons and Sunflowers - a Column by Kimberli Davino

Friday, 8 September 2017

Feedspot's Top 30 Endometriosis Blogs and Websites.

Image courtesy of Feedspot

I received an email today from Feedspot to say that EMLWY has made it on to their list of Top 30 Endometriosis Blogs and Websites and I'm really thrilled! It's ranked number 7 alongside some other brilliant endometriosis resources. You can view the list here, but all the other blogs and websites also feature in the Endometriosis Library which can be found at the top of the page.


Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Nexplanon implant.

I mentioned on my "Consultations and progress" post that my new consultant wanted me to give the implant a try as the next treatment option for my endometriosis, even though my doctor didn't think it would help because of everything I've tried previously.

Well, I had it put in today...

I'd been super worried about having this. Not so much because of the pain or nerves over whether this treatment would help or not... Actually it was over something which might sound really superficial and silly. I'm really worried about the side effects and mainly whether this causes my acne to get bad again. I've just worked really hard over the last year or so to get my skin looking OK again and I really do not want it to look how it did before again. But also, it's this thing with having something in me that shouldn't be. I had exactly the same feelings about the Mirena coil. That feeling that I'm having to depend on someone else to choose whether to take it out or not if it doesn't work or something goes wrong. That feeling that I have zero control over this thing. 

There is this major overhanging doubt about it working also though. I've tried all manner of contraceptives and hormone treatments over the last 18 years and not a single one of them has worked. I mean, even the doctor doesn't think this will work... But, I have to try it don't I? I have to give everything a go, right? To me, it just seems like a big waste of time. Putting my body through more undue stress for what? Just another big "I told you so"?

The actual procedure was fine. The needle looked like a spear it was so big and I have to admit that I was a bit scared! My doctor explained that contraceptive wise I would be fully covered in 7 days though that's not the reason I'm having this. We also spoke about taking a progesterone pill alongside the implant if I get breakthrough bleeding and she is fully happy to try that but she wants to see how the implant is working for me first and then if I do try a pill alongside it then it will only be for a short time and not for the duration of the 3 years that I have the implant in for as again, she'd like to see how my body is responding to the implant.

I had to lie down on my back with my left arm (left arm as I'm right handed) bent out and upwards. She cleaned the area of my upper arm that the implant was being placed in and then she numbed it with a local anaesthetic. This was actually the painful part as she had to put quite a bit in to my arm and in a few places. Once that had taken effect, I couldn't feel her put the implant in - just a bit of pressure. It's been about 4 hours now and my arm is still numb!

She let me feel the implant but explained to me how some women like to fiddle around with it and that can lead to it moving but even the thought of that made my stomach turn and when I touched it, well, I don't think I'll be doing that again! It felt like a hard tube/rectangular shape below the skin, but yeah, it's all a bit too icky for me! You'd think after all the things I've been through with my health I would have a stomach of steel but nope! I think I'm getting more squeamish as I get older!

My arm is now wrapped up with a bandage and I have to keep it wrapped and out of water for at least 24 hours but preferably 48 hours if I can, so no showers for the next few days, only baths. The bandage is to prevent bruising more than anything else but as I bruise like a peach, I'm pretty sure it'll be pretty colourful under there.

So that's my update on it all for now. I've just, as always, got to see how it goes and it's up to me if I have any further medication if I can't deal with the bleeding. My appointment for the consultant came through for January 2018 which is just over 4 months away now so.... Let's see how this one goes.


Wednesday, 9 August 2017


I went in for my scan on Monday morning and if you follow me anywhere online, you may have seen me having a little rant about it because I just felt like it was a massive waste of time. 

First of all, I wasn't comfortable with the situation at all, as not only was the sonographer male, but there was also another man and a woman in the room and although the curtain was pulled across the door in case anyone walked in, it wasn't pulled across where the other people were sat. Not really the type of situation you want to be in when you are there to have a transvaginal scan!

The sonographer said he'd do a 'normal' ultrasound scan first and if he couldn't see anything on that he would do an internal scan - even though I was supposed to have an internal scan anyway. He had a look, pressed super hard (to the point where I was gripping on to the bed!) and then yeah, that was that. He said I'd get the results in a week. 

I was a bit confused so I asked him what he was looking for exactly/what was on the request form from my consultant (she had just said at my appointment on Thursday that she expected to see some smaller cysts so I assumed this scan was to check for larger cysts) and he said he was just having a look around to see if everything looked normal and that he couldn't see anything. He also said that my lining all looked normal. I asked if there were any cysts and he said no. He then said "you had endometriosis?", I kind of corrected him with my reply saying that "yes, I have got endometriosis" and he said he couldn't see any of that, as if to imply that it had magically cleared up! I mean, where's it going to have vanished to!?

I'm annoyed because I know from when we went through IVF how much shows up from a transvaginal scan and I know endometriosis doesn't show up on a normal ultrasound, so I feel like I've not only had a wasted trip to Leicester (since I could have had an ultrasound at a closer hospital) but also a whole weekend of worrying about an internal for nothing. 

I'm just hoping it's shown up enough that I don't have to go back in the next few weeks again for another one.


Sunday, 6 August 2017

Consultations and progress.

So, when I wrote on EMLWY a few weeks ago, saying how I'd been referred on to the hospital again, I assumed that it would be months of waiting for an appointment... NOPE! 3 days later I received an appointment in the post for the following week! When did hospitals suddenly move their butts so fast!?

I had my appointment on Thursday 3rd August and my new consultant, Miss Potdar, (the Prof. has now retired) is the doctor we saw when we were referred on to the Subfertility Clinic back in 2013. She said she had remembered me before she even read through my notes because of how upset I had been when she saw us! I filled her in on what has happened since I last saw her (which is rather a lot) and we spoke about mine and Danny's plans for the future with regards to fertility and children and about my c-section. She was happy that the Naproxen I started taking a few months back seems to be helping. She then proposed a plan which involves starting at the 'easier' end of the scale...

I had mentioned how the doctor I saw a few months ago had suggested the implant to me and another doctor had said she didn't think it would help because of how I've reacted to other similar treatments in the past, so we spoke about that in a bit more detail. Miss Potdar thinks it's worth trying the implant. And to be fair, what have I got to lose? I did explain my concerns with it: how I didn't like the idea of something in me that I couldn't control, how bad an experience I'd had with the Mirena and how I hadn't planned to ever go back on to any pill/IUD form of contraceptive ever again, but it's the easiest option right now and if it doesn't work then it doesn't work. And it could always work, couldn't it!? Yeah, I'm as sceptical as the rest of you but, lets give it a go and see. So, I'm booked in to have an implant fitted on the 21st August and I may also have to take a progesterone pill on the side to counteract any breakthrough bleeding. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. My skin is pretty clear now, my weight is under control and I know roughly where I stand with my periods - I just hope it doesn't have a bad effect on any of that... Or my endo!

Following on from the implant, the next step to try, if that doesn't work out, is a different progesterone-only pill to the Cerazette I was on after having Hunter, but back to back this time around.

After that I would try Depo-provera, a contraceptive injection, for 3-6 months. This might be a bad option for my borderline-osteoporosis but we'll cover that when it comes to it.

And then, the final option would be surgery with the aim to remove my left fallopian tube since it's blocked and not of any use, to free up a little space on my bad side.

When my doctor referred me back to the hospital, she wrote in her letter about a hysterectomy but Miss Potdar thinks that this is too drastic an action to take, especially at my age and she thinks that removing my ovaries would have an adverse effect on the rest of my health. And above all, she said it might not even help! I know, right!? I've only been told the opposite since I was 21!! So that is the very final thing to try, when we've finally finally exhausted all other options. 

She wants me to go for an 'urgent clinical scan' so I'll be going in for that first thing tomorrow morning. I'm super nervous because it's an internal scan and they really hurt me. I'm not completely sure what they are looking for but she did talk about cysts and how she expects to see smaller cysts so I think this is to check for larger ones.

So, all in all, I think it went pretty well. My new consultant is really friendly and I feel very at ease with her. She seems to have a fresher outlook on endometriosis and I'd even go as far to say she understands it more than the Prof. ever seemed to. She was great when we saw her 4 years ago so when I knew it was her I would be seeing again, I had high hopes for some progess and that's exactly what we've made. Progress. We have a plan!

I see her again in December so here's to the next 4 months.


Monday, 31 July 2017

My Story: Katie Awdas.

I started with what I now know to be endometriosis symptoms when I was 16. As this was 15 years ago, the doctors put me onto the combined pill as that dealt with my heavy periods. I came off the pill when I was 21 as I was concerned about news in the media about long term use of it. 6 months later, my periods stopped. I went to see the GP who did a pregnancy test (which was negative) and sent me for a scan to check for PCOS. 

Fast forward to being 26 and I was suffering with pain throughout the month. My periods were a nightmare, I'd be taking time off work every month as I needed to be in bed for the first 3 days of them. I woke up one morning and was in so much pain that I knew something had to happen. I could barely move. I rang 111 who suspected I was suffering an ectopic pregnancy. I ended up in A&E that afternoon. A&E did a pregnancy test and a urine dip and discovered I was suffering from a water infection (!) and sent me home with pain relief and antibiotics. I was back the next day as the pain was getting worse. They admitted me on the spot and referred me to a general surgeon. 

The general surgeon refused to refer me to gynae (even though his registrar wanted to) and decided it was my appendix (which an ultrasound had ruled out!) so I had an emergency appendectomy. Whilst recovering from that, my GP did a home visit with thrush treatment (because that's just what I needed at that point!) and said she suspected endometriosis. At this point I started to do some research about it.

I was then referred to gynae, who initially knocked me back! To cut a long story slightly shorter, I had a laparoscopy in August 2012 which diagnosed endometriosis and life as I knew it changed. In January 2013 I started on Prostap which put me into a temporary menopause. I've been in and out of the menopause ever since. 

I had my second laparoscopy in May 2014, my 3rd in November 2014 and my 4th in April 2014. I have a history of bowel adhesions which have damaged my ovaries quite severely. I am now infertile, endo has taken any chance of having children. Yet the battle does not stop. In July 2017, I was listed for my 5th laparoscopy this time with excision. 

I live each day as it comes, I've had 3 flare ups in the last 2 months, so something has to give. I've got my final placement coming up in September and I will need all of my strength for that! Surgery looks like its going to be in January, just as my degree comes to a conclusion... It's a good job I like a challenge! 

Thank you for sharing your story Katie.

If you would like to contact Katie, you can follow her on Twitter @katieatheart222.

Remember, every one of us has a different story, and the more shared, the more we can learn. If you are interested in sharing your story, please contact me at


Sunday, 30 July 2017

Endometriosis isn't a competition.

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I didn't want to ever have to write this sort of post, but, to be honest, I'm getting a bit fed up of getting trodden on, so now I feel like I have no other choice.

EMLWY might be a personal website but it's all about you ladies and endometriosis in general too. I do everything I can to share others stories, list others personal blog sites and resources and help with any fundraising where I can. For me, none of this has ever been about competition. There are much bigger blogs out there, much better Instagram accounts than mine - but so what? It's not about how many followers you have. The whole point of this is to raise awareness of endometriosis and get that word out in the world for people to question and learn about, is it not?

Unfortunately, some people don't seem to think that way.

One of my posts in particular seems to be 'taken' again and again and used as others own work. The post I'm referring to is my Celebrities with Endometriosis post. Don't get me wrong, as with any and everything on EMLWY, I want it to be shared. I want to get that knowledge out there. However, that's exactly why I spent hours writing that post. That's why I spent hours on the internet creating a one stop place with all that information - because it wasn't all in one place. The wording you've seen and read hasn't been copied and pasted. I've written that. I've put it all together. I'm the one who is constantly updating it with new people and information. No one else. Just little old me.

What I don't want is for it to be stolen and used as your own work - word for word, picture for picture - with no credit to EMLWY. And that's all you have to do: just give a little one word of credit. No one's going to suddenly stop following you and rush over to me. That's just silliness. It's about supporting this community and helping to spread the word. Not everyone relates to my blog, as I don't relate to every one else's. That's exactly why we need to support everyone though - to make everyone feel a little less alone.

I feel like I'm having to write this now because not only have I seen other blogs taking this post but there is one particular Instagram account which has a following much bigger than mine, that insists on doing this over and over again. I have contacted them and they have chosen to ignore me and still do it. I won't name and shame because I have no other issues with them. They are sharing information on endometriosis and I in no way want to stop that - but I do expect a little courtesy. I would never steal someone else's pictures, let alone a blog post, and not credit the person or place it came from. Even if you change the picture used, I still know it's been taken from EMLWY because, like I said, that information was never just in one place.

So, please, please continue to share information on endometriosis. Please continue to share the posts I and others write. But please don't steal. We all deserve support here, no matter how insignificant you might think we are in this world of endometriosis - we are all trying to make a difference.

Endometriosis isn't a competition.


Thursday, 27 July 2017

My story: Anneeda Pekeur.

Endo, oh endo, where do I begin? You have been crawling under my skin for the longest time possible.

At age 10, I began to spot. Nothing serious - just an early bloomer everyone thought. I was so embarrassed when I had my first bleed. My mom assured me it was nothing to be scared about. It's Mother Nature taking it’s course.

By age 14, my agony began. Intense pain, bloatedness, fatigue, headaches and extreme moodiness. I was told it's just normal teenage hormones. I shrugged it off until the agony increased, more and more painkillers and one hormonal contraceptive to another once my body got used to it.

It wasn't all bad - I had my good days with no complaints. Up to mischief that caused mom lots of headaches and heartache. I tried to do everything all at once for I knew when the pain strikes, I won't be able to do what others so easily do.

As the years went by, this ever consuming illness intensified. By age 16, I had been to every clinic and doctor in our small town. The pain got so severe, I started lashing out at everyone. Rebellion struck with a vengeance because no one understood the pain I endured from cycle to cycle, uninterrupted and misunderstood.

I started to question my sanity. Feelings of intense loneliness hit for I was young, where is this all coming from? From doctor to psychologist, I was just more and more misunderstood. Being told it's all in your head, that I'm uncontrollable, jumping between happy and sad. I sucked it up and tried to move on but endometriosis didn't want to be left alone. I was seeking for love and acceptance, someone to understand what I was dealing with, but with no diagnosis in sight, my call for help fell on dead ears with no solution in sight.

Went to college at 18 years, missed a few days class, saw another gynaecologist, was given another prescription to pop some other hormone concoction.

Fast forward to when I entered adult life, started to work but had to take more sick leave than I was actually at work.

22, turning 23, my pain peaked just before I got married. Had my first laparoscopy, just to nonchalantly hear: “You have endometriosis, but it's not severe”.




Hysteroscopy number 2.

Laparoscopy number 2.

And then the final big one: colon resection, where they found my insides were a huge mess! Uterus, rectum, colon - everything was fused together, even my tube looked funny, like stuffed sausages! Stage 4 endometriosis spread through my intestines. I have never cried so much of sheer pain, exhaustion, not being able to eat… But most of all, thankfulness that now at least someone figured out what was wrong and why I was misfit, not fitting in. It wasn't all in my head, I wasn't losing my mind, contrary to popular belief.

Had blood transfusions and started life over, learning to adapt to my new normal. I couldn't work, I couldn't eat. All I wanted was to sleep.

After 4 years of marriage, we headed straight to IVF, just to hear no, you need something more intense like ICSI. At age 27, I had my 1st embryo to transfer, just to lose that one a few weeks later. At age almost 28, another 2 embryos, maybe-babies, were transferred. Seeing those magical two lines on a pregnancy test - it’s phenomenal!

Then came the low, when I lost both of them. 1 found in my tube - ectopic pregnancy. I lost a part of me and my left tube too.

Now, here I am, almost 29. The agony I experience is still so intense. Now I struggle with daily pain in my right shoulder that intensifies every time I get my period, every 32 days stat. No doctor can make a connection, even after another surgery. That prompted me to start my own research… And I think I found my answer. Lucky me, it’s so rare, no one can figure it out. I show all the signs and symptoms of diaphragmatic endometriosis but no one is qualified here to have a look.

So my struggle continues with this hateful illness. My days are spent crying painful tears of lost dreams and hopes because of this damn illness. Doctors looking at me funny is a common thing. My tummy is a mess. The medicine isn't working no matter what they try. I'm in pain daily. It's felt everywhere. I am so tired of going to the doctor, hoping, praying someone or something will give me relief. I am tired to the core with disbelief. So until someone starts listening and figures this out, my life is filled with daily doubts. How will I survive this black tunnel with no light insight?

Endo I hate you, that I can't deny.

Thank you for sharing your story Anneeda.

If you would like to contact Anneeda, you can follow her on Twitter @anneeda_pekeur.

Remember, every one of us has a different story, and the more shared, the more we can learn. If you are interested in sharing your story, please contact me at


Monday, 24 July 2017

It's been a while...

I've had to take a little time away from the blog again because I've been feeling so poorly all of the time recently. I finally planned to sit down and do some work a few weeks ago and gave up because my head was so fuzzled. So, apologies if you've been in contact and I've not replied - I've just not been in the right place.

I don't know why I've felt so under the weather recently but it seems neverending at the moment. I can't remember the last time I woke up and actually felt good. Most days recently I've been staying in bed till past 9am whereas I've always gotten up at 7am to get a shower before Danny heads off to work. Not that staying in bed has helped at all. I'm still just as tired no matter what I do.

The worst thing I've been facing recently with all my health issues has been the fatigue more than anything else. Some days I am honestly floored by it. I really have to drag myself out of bed in the mornings and doing anything has been the biggest effort - let alone looking after an energetic toddler! I've even been having to climb the stairs on all fours recently. For about 4 days I didn't even change my t-shirt and leggings and although I managed to wash myself and my hair that was as far as I would get with making any effort with my appearance. You know, I'm used to living with pain. I've lived with it since I was 12 years old, and although sometimes it takes me by surprise, I can somewhat deal with it. But the fatigue. No. Just no. I can't take it. When you have no energy to even speak properly and you're so exhausted you are crying every day at nothing at all, it's just horrible. I feel like I'm wading through sand constantly with thick fog around me and bricks tied to every limb. I hate it.

I mentioned previously that I had been to the doctors and that he had suggested the implant as a treatment option for my endometriosis. Well, still not knowing whether I wanted to give it the go ahead or not, I went to see another doctor about it at the end of June. As soon as I mentioned it to the doctor she basically shook her head and said she didn't think it was even worth trying. Given my past history with treatments, the fact I've tried add-back therapy 3 times before as well as various pills (etc etc etc!), she didn't think it would benefit me in any way and that I would definitely bleed through it - which is something the previous doctor had said wouldn't happen (but he didn't talk to me about previous treatments I've tried). She was happy for me to try it if I wanted to but as I wasn't sure anyway, her opinion on it completely put me off. 

The doctor decided that the best thing to do would be to refer me back to the hospital, so that's what I'm waiting on now. It's something I'd previously said I didn't want because I know their first suggestion will be surgery so they can see what they are dealing with, but it's got to happen at some point and it'll be a few months until I see them for a consultation and then a few months on again before any surgery so I've got a bit of time. She did think that my specialist has now retired though so I don't know yet who I'll be seeing. I mentioned that I had seen another specialist there and he was the one who initially diagnosed me with endometriosis back in 2005 and then referred me on to the Prof. so I might be going back to see him but I don't know yet. It's all a bit scary but I knew I'd have to go back at some point. 

She also spoke about fertility and prompted me to start thinking about whether or not hysterectomy is an option for the future. It's something me and Danny have to face at some point but it's nothing to worry about right now.

In the mean time, she suggested some other tablets for me to take. I've been on Naproxen for about a month now and I'm just about to start on another tablet today to combat the sore throats I've had every day since starting them! I used to take Naproxen a few years ago but they were a lower dosage and I never felt they really did anything. But I definitely think these have had a positive impact on my pain levels. I now take Amitriptyline for my fibromyalgia every day, Naproxen for my endometriosis everyday and then from there take Paracetamol as needed and if needed I then go on to Dihydrocodeine which is much better because they are the tablets I absolutely dread having to take because of the side effects. 

Now that I'm on more tablets, I've also applied for a prepayment certificate which should save me quite a bit on prescription costs. It's something I asked about years ago when I was on lots of tablets before but the doctor was very unhelpful and I left feeling very confused about it all. For years I was stuck paying my medicine costs myself. I think a lot of people think that I get free prescriptions because I'm on the Employment and Support Allowance benefit but I'm on the contribution side of it which means I've paid enough in to my National Insurance from working which in turn apparently means I can afford it. Which isn't the case at all! It wasn't worth getting this pre-payment certificate again until now so I think I've looked in to it at the right time. I now pay £10.40 a month for 10 months and then effectively have 2 months free and with just 1 prescription costing me £8.60 at a time, it's definitely going to be a huge help! I'd really recommend looking in to a PPC if you have two or more prescriptions a month.

In my last personal post, I mentioned we were going away for a few days. Well, we went away to Tattershall in Lincolnshire in May and we had the loveliest week. It was mine and Danny's 7 year anniversary so it was so nice to spend some time together and holidays with Hunter are so much fun now because he gets so excited about everything! We love taking him out to different places and a week away means we get to explore new places together. We were only about 1 mile away from RAF Coningsby as well so we got to see lots of planes in training every day - it was like being at an airshow - and being complete plane geeks, we absolutely loved it!

We went to a beautiful family wedding at the end of May. It was Danny's cousins wedding and we got dressed up to the nines - the first time I've properly dressed up in years! It was a lovely day but it was the first wedding we've been to with Hunter and boy was it hard work! I spent the majority of the day running round after him so I was absolutely shattered afterwards! He looked super cute in his little outfit though.

My mama, also treated me to an evening at a health spa last week. She had received it as a gift from her half-sister but my Auntie suggested that I go with mum instead of her. It was so nice to relax for a few hours and we both had a full body massage (minus the tummy area!) and then we had a 3 course dinner. I had been feeling particularly low that week with really bad fatigue so I was so happy I was able to go.

Oh, remember how I said I didn't want to tempt fate about my benefits assessment. Yeah, well, that dreaded letter finally arrived. I was actually meant to have my assessment a few weeks ago. I prepared for it, Danny took time off work for it, we dropped Hunter off at his grannies house (after some of the things we have seen at the assessment centre over the years there is no way we are ever taking him there!), we got halfway through the 45 minute journey to the centre and then the phone rang. "We're going to have to cancel your appointment because our computer system has gone down". I was fuming and pretty upset because it takes a lot to prepare for these meetings (both physically and mentally) and this is the second time they've cancelled one of these over the years (funnily enough, the reason behind cancelling my assessment a few years ago was that the assessor was off work because they were sick... Cue enormous sympathy from me...). Anyway, they very promptly rearranged the assessment and I had it on Friday this week. 

I have zero idea how the assessment went. I mean, you can be lying on the floor in front of them dying a slow death and they'd still think you are fit for work. But, I did take Danny in with me this time as a witness which I've never done before, and he recorded it all, so that was a huge support. He seems to think it went well, but I just keep thinking of things I could have/should have said. But then you can only answer what they ask you and I put a lot in the billion page book form they sent out so really I think I did cover everything. 

She did seem to focus on some things rather than others and whereas I've always believed it was just a 'tick the box' system, she did let on that some of the information she had on her computer for me was from past assessments. For example, she asked a huge amount of questions about my issues surrounding depression but this wasn't something I wrote about on the form because I don't feel depressed anymore. But she really focused on that. She also focused a huge amount, even going back to it when we'd moved on to other subjects, on my incontinence issues. Now, having been through a tribunal for these benefits, I know now that based on this issue alone, I should be getting the full amount of my benefits. I think that's why she focused on it so much. But she did seem to be veering to the opinion that I could control it all with thick pads. I just concentrated on the fact that there is nothing I can do about this issue because it's all due to my endometriosis being on my bladder. 

One thing I know went well (for me) is that I really struggled with the physical movements she asked me to do. Some of them like moving my head and hands went fine, but bending over and then lifting my legs when lying down, well, I could hardly do these movements. It actually surprised me with how little I could move. 

But, whether she believed it all or not... I don't know. I'm just so worried about it. I had forgotten how worked up I get about these things and I spent the night before in tears and was shaking with nerves on the day. I've just got to wait and see now and worry away. Danny said that at least we've been through this all before and we know what to expect from a tribunal etc. But months of reduced pay, having to put so much effort in to preparing paperwork and then having to attend the tribunal - I just haven't got the energy for it all again. Even though I do agree with what Danny says - that a tribunal would be the best thing to happen because then they'd be ordered to leave me alone again for a few years. Because I could have gone through all this, get my benefits and then have another assessment in 6 months again. Which is how often they used to assess me. God, I'm so worried. I'm trying to not think about it all because I just want to cry about it all constantly. If you want to have a read of all my past benefits history then just click on the 'Work & Benefits' tab under Repetitive Ramblings on the left of the page.

Come to think of it, it's probably been the reason behind why I've been feeling so poorly: the stress of it all.

I'm in the process of writing up a little 'what to expect' type post on the whole assessment stage though in case it might help any of you out. I'll get that out as soon as I can.

The last thing I want to mention is our diets. We both reached our second targets and decided to go for one more. To date, Danny has lost 3 stone (and has now technically finished the diet) and I've just got 3lbs more to go until I've shifted 2 stone! Since we reached our last targets, we've been a little more lenient with ourselves and have been having treat days every week. It's given us something to look forward to and although we've had to work a little harder during the week it's been far more enjoyable. But 3lbs more and then we can have a bit more freedom with the foods we are eating again... Meals can get very boring very quickly when you are on a diet!

Anyway, I'm so glad I've finally found some energy to give you a little life update! I have so many plans for this blog but sometimes it just has to be put to the side until I have a clear head, hands that aren't killing me and the energy to sit down and type. Keep your eyes peeled though. As always, there's a plan for another post soon (whether or not that will happen we will see!).


Thursday, 18 May 2017

Skin deep 2: a new regime and acne update.

I've been wanting to write an update to my Skin Deep post that I wrote a few years back, for a while now but I've been holding off because my skin has been so up and down.

Just under a year ago now, my acne came back probably the worst it's ever been. I'd had a few years where my hormones were very much up in the air from being pregnant and having Hunter and I think last year they really started to settle down in to what is more 'my norm'! I took the photos above in July last year. I was crying with the pain and the appearance of my acne every day and nothing was working. I have to say though, at this point, my diet was probably at it's worst also. I was eating a lot of chocolate and other naughty foods, next to no fruit, only a small amount of vegetables and I wasn't drinking nearly enough water and instead consuming vast amounts of diet fizzy drinks. My skin was such a mess.

I was always one of these people who felt like my skin had to be scrubbed clean every morning and night because I had spots, and I'd use all manner of products to get my make up off and clean my face so thoroughly it would sting afterwards. I had read time and time again how being gentle to your skin would benefit it far more than harsh acne products, so I thought, what the heck - it can't get any worse right now! So I took one very big step backwards and pretty much started doing nothing

I do just want to point out, before I get any further, that none of the products I mention in this post have stopped my acne, however, they've all helped with the texture of my skin and in making it more comfortable. 

So, my routine... It felt really wrong, but I stopped washing my face with washes and scrubs in the morning and instead I started using coconut oil. I chose Kokoso because it was a brand I had used on Hunter when he was a newborn and I had found other coconut oils weren't as good on the skin - for us anyway. I started gently massaging it in to my skin after I had gotten out of the shower in the mornings and then I'd wipe it off with a hot damp cloth. I didn't even have to use a moisturiser because my skin was moisturised already from the coconut oil. Even from such a simple change, my skin really improved.

I continued with this routine, doing the same in the evening for several months, but unfortunately, as you might have previously read, my skin took a turn for the worse around November, when I started to get a rash across my cheeks and nose and I had to start using any and everything to get some much needed moisture back in to my face. I've written a bit more about 'the rash' over on the update I posted the other day.

Since then, I've started a new skincare routine and it's working much better for me.

In the mornings, I simply wash my face with water while in the shower and then moisturise afterwards. I discovered the brand Sukin in November and I was surprised to see how affordable their products were, even though they looked like a premium brand. I had been using the Facial Moisturiser, which I loved, until the other week when I decided to try out the Super Greens Nutrient Rich Facial Moisturiser just out of curiosity, and it feels so lovely on the skin. So far, even on these random hot, summery days we've had, they've not made my skin greasy and haven't broken me out at all. I'm honestly so impressed with this brand!... Anyway, that's it for my morning routine. Nice and simple.

At night time, I've been switching between a few different products but my routine is much simpler now. On the cleansing front, I've mostly been sticking with the Kokoso coconut oil for a one-pot-fix! Let me tell you, coconut oil is amazing for removing makeup! I just scoop a bit out, massage it between my hands so it melts and then massage it in to my face - straight on to makeup. Once I feel it's dissolved as much as possible, I remove it all with damp cotton wool pads. Occasionally, I'll repeat the process again - but not always - and then I wipe my face with a hot, damp cloth. However, I really hate the feel of putting oil straight on to a face full of make up and then having such greasy, mucky hands afterwards, so on nights where I can't face this, I'll use a cream cleanser. Almost the same steps as before: I massage the cleanser in to my face and then remove with a hot damp cloth and repeat if necessary. This has been my preferred method of late. I've been using Liz Earles Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser for years now and it's an absolute staple in my cleansing routine. It never feels heavy on my skin, never dries my skin out and never breaks me out in spots, and it's so simple and effective to use. I've strayed to other brands occasionally but always come back to this one. I usually follow the cream cleanser up with the Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic which leaves my skin feeling really fresh, but it's not essential to use this as splashing your skin with cold water would have the same effect.

Whichever way I cleanse, I always follow with the same products: Clinique's Turnaround Revitalising Serum and then my Sukin moisturiser.

My skin improved even more and it seemed to love the hydration. 

Although some of the products I use now are a bit more pricey, they last a long time and overall I'm using far less products on it then I was before. And if you can take the feel of the coconut oil on your hands (seriously, is it just me!?) then go for it! It's such a cheap and effective routine and was so gentle on my skin. You'd think putting an oil on your face would make acne worse or make your skin greasier but, for me, it didn't at all. 

In January, as you might have read, we started the Slimming World diet. To date, I've lost 1st 3lbs, my fruit and vegetable consumption has vastly increased, my 'naughty things' consumption has vastly decreased and I'm drinking 2 litres of water (almost) everyday. So, with this and a good skincare routine, let me show you the difference in my skin...

These photos were taken a few days ago - while I was on my period also, might I add. It's a pretty noticeable difference don't you think!? 

I still get spots - I think I always will - but when I do get them now, they aren't making my skin irritated and painful like they were before. My skin is also far less greasy now - but that might be down to when my skin changed a few months back, I'm not sure. But, overall, I'm so happy with it. 

If your skin is like mine, combination/dry/oily/acne ridden/awkward as anything, if you've tried harsher products on your acne and they've stung or left your skin feeling sore, then try a gentler approach - both from the inside and out. It took a while for me to take the leap and try it, I must admit I was scared it would get worse by not scrubbing it clean and feeling that sting (for me, the sting meant my skin was clean!), but when it reached it's peak last year (again) and was making me so upset, I knew I had to try something - anything! I won't be turning back and using face washes or scrubs again and the diet (although we will be a little more lenient once we've reached our target weight) is something that will stay with us.

Gentler routine, cleaner eating and water - all the water - is definitely the way forward!

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