It is 2018… How did that happen?! Everyone says it, but 2017 truly went so quickly and I can not believe we are in a new year! 2017 was a huge year for me and at times it was pretty traumatic, but when I think of all the goals I set at the beginning of last year, I feel so happy and proud of just how far I have come and so grateful for all of my blessings! So here is my reflection of 2017 at a glance- Enjoy!
January was a pretty cool, whirlwind of a month. I booked my first holiday with my partner to the Lake District for the next month and I became an Auntie to my beautiful niece. It is also when I became very aware of my health. The previous month, I went to A&E with severe pain in my abdomen and it was clear something was wrong, but none of the doctors could figure out what. The pain was getting worse but I still did not know what was up. Little did I know what 2017 had in store for me…
Holiday time! This was the month I went to the Lake District with my partner and it was absolutely incredible. A few days before we went on holiday, I went to see a specialist at the hospital and I had a CT Scan of my abdomen to figure out what was wrong, but I wouldn’t receive the results for another week. The holiday was a great distraction and I felt very relaxed. We climbed the Via Ferrata and saw some of the most beautiful scenery. It was a super active holiday and we squeezed in as many activities that we could! All was going wonderfully, but the day we returned home from our holiday I received a phone call from the hospital that completely shocked me. I found out that I had what they believed at the time to be a huge ovarian cyst (I later found out it was something else so keep reading!) and that I would need a major operation to remove it along with my left ovary and potentially my right ovary too. I was very upset, but I just thought about what a wonderful holiday I had and that everything would be okay. I finally knew what was causing me this awful pain. The operation was supposed to be in 2 weeks time, but if you followed my blog last year, you would know I had to wait over 2 months due to lots of issues with getting the right surgeons and the complicated nature of the operation.
March was a bit of a blur to be honest. I was so stressed out about needing an operation that it was my sole focus. I became to ill to work as I was constantly fatigued and in pain and the weight of what i was carrying in my stomach was unbearable. I looked 9 months pregnant and all I really remember was being in a lot of pain. However, March was the month my blog really took off! I held my first giveaway and got to know some of my lovely readers. I discovered some great blogs and received a lot of support from all of you. Thank you so much- You got me through a really emotional time and I am so grateful!
April was the month full of some highlights of my year. I turned 21 and celebrated my birthday with 20 other people at Zizzi’s! I will admit that i was incredibly sick on my birthday. I had been vomiting all morning and my health was getting worse and worse, but due to all of the wonderful people I was with, I ended up having an unforgettable night surrounded by some of those that I love the most. In April, my partner and I adopted a rescue cat. His name is Gustavo and he is the most perfect little guy ever. He came at a time where I needed comfort the most. He is my best friend and the best thing that happened in 2017! (I am obsessed with my cat, I know.)
April was also the month that I got my operation date for May 16th, so that was a weight off of my shoulders. I could finally prepare properly for what was to come and know that soon the pain would be gone.
May was of course, the month where I FINALLY had my operation. I had to have an open surgery- sort of like a c section and I have a rather big scar on my tummy now. The growth on my left ovary was full of 8 litres of fluid. Litres. No wonder I was in pain and looked pregnant. Also, on my right ovary they found a large dermoid cyst the size of a melon. They removed both growths along with my left ovary and fallopian tube and a bit of my right ovary. By some miracle, they managed to save my right ovary, though it is a bit smaller now. I lost a stone in weight just from the removal of the growths, so obviously I felt pretty damn good after. The doctors had changed my life. After two years of pain, it was gone after a 4 hour operation. Recovery would take 3 months, but I felt better than ever.
In June I went to Brighton for my 21st birthday present from my partner to stay over and see my favourite band The Staves and also Mikaela Davis. We stayed in a luxurious hotel called The Charm Brighton Boutique with the most beautiful sea view. We were so lucky with the weather as it was sunny and warm! We even fell asleep on the beach! But the most incredible thing about the trip were The Staves. They are so talented live and such down to earth girls. I will never forget it! You can check them out here:
July was hard and it changed everything for me. I know that sounds dramatic but I will explain why. I went to the hospital for a checkup and to discuss my biopsy results from my operation and it turns out that it wasn’t a cyst they found on my ovary- it was a borderline mucinous ovarian tumour that was partially malignant. It was not a benign tumour, but luckily for me, surgery was enough to remove it and I did not need chemo or anything like that. You can read more about borderline tumours by clicking here. Borderline mucinous tumours are not quite the same as ovarian cancer, but they can develop into cancer and are still not a great thing to find out was inside you. Because they saved my right ovary, there is a small chance the tumour can come back. I will be monitored regularly for the next 5 years and will need another operation this year, but so far everything has been healthy and my CA125 blood tests have been clear. Although it is scary, I like to think of the positives and being regularly checked up on by the hospital is a very privileged position to be in- especially as I receive free healthcare from the incredible NHS. Health is the most precious thing we have and I am so, so grateful for mine and what a fortunate position I am in.
By August I felt pretty good in terms of recovery and I started to enjoy the summer and begin to exercise a bit more. Things were looking up and after a stressful year, i felt calm and content. Here are a few snaps of my cat Gus and I playing in the garden!
Hola Majorca! In September I went to Majorca with my partner and his family. We went on a horse trek in the mountains, met lots of cool animals, soaked up the sun and had the most relaxing time. I definitely ate far too much food and drank too much sangria, but what else should you do when you go to Majorca?! It was beautiful.
I finally got back to work in September as well as I was now pretty much recovered and in the right state of mind to return back to work after a bit of a traumatic experience. After my operation, I suffered really bad anxiety and panic attacks, partly due to all the medication and partly because it was quite an ordeal to go through with lots of fear, confusion and uncertainty. The anxiety was harder to get through than the actually physical pain itself and it reinforced the fact that we need to take the best care of our mental wellbeing over everything else. When you are going through a hard time, do not be afraid to call the shots and say when enough is enough and do not be afraid to talk to someone. Talking to people, including you guys, got me through my struggles this year and it kept me strong and motivated to get through it all!
In October, I started my degree part time alongside my full time job! I know I am crazy, but I always wanted to do this degree and it was the best decision ever. I am studying a Bachelor Of Science (honors) in Health Sciences. Due to my interest in physical and mental health, it felt like the perfect fit. I am not going to lie, its pretty damn hard, but so well im doing pretty good! Working full time and studying part time is very time consuming. I also am doing a Level 2 NVQ in Support and Learning in Education at the moment as well, so im pretty busy. Blogging took a backseat, but I am doing my best to keep it going! I love my blog and it makes me so happy! Starting my degree was a big achievement for me as my previous experiences of University were not the best, but it is so different this time and I am finally enjoying what I do. I quite like being a scientist 😉
November and December
I am not going to lie, I start prepping for Christmas in November so this time period was a whole lot of festivities and mince pies and reflecting on the year I just had. Here are some of my favourite pictures and memories from the year:
I learned a lot in 2017 and realised that I am surrounded by incredible people. Despite the awful things that happened, there were far many wonderful things that happened and it actually was an amazing year…weirdly, it is one of the best years I have ever had. I have learned that I am an ambitious, determined and resilient person and that I have the most wonderful best friends, partner and family. I experienced so much in 2017.
I hope 2018 brings good health and lots more memories and experiences that I can cherish as I did last year. Goodbye 2017; you were quite special.
Happy New Year Everyone <3 xox