Life Update February 2019 – Carpal tunnel, sprained ankles, more IVF and new beginnings

I know it has been almost a year since my last life update – but worry not, things have been happening at quite ‘the speed’ around here.

I was glad to see the end of 2018 – it definitely wasn’t our year, but as I keep telling my husband Simon, we are both here to tell the story, and that is what matters.

 

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It is easy to start feeling sorry for one self – and if anything, that is the one thing I tried not to do. As a friend told me, ‘life gives you a little slap and just put out the other cheek for the next one and keep going’.

 

How is Mr. O?

We get so many messages asking us both about Simon following his prostate cancer (he had a radical prostectomy in January 2018) and we cannot thank you all enough. And I mean it – every message has mattered and they really kept us going.

If anything, it helps us feel less alone – with the number of readers I have, there were a few of us going through exactly the same. We were able to compare notes (which was quite funny). “How is your husband peeing?” was not something I thought about asking strangers – and I will always be grateful.

We were always told by many ‘oh, you are so lucky to get prostate cancer! It is one of the good ones’. Everyone seemed to know someone who had been through it – but no one told us that after the surgery, your body forgets how to pee and control the waterworks. It is quite the process for everyone – and Simon graduated with flying colours, 4 months post op, not that it was a race. We are now continuing the recovery process, as those parts of the body need to start working again and the process also has a real emotional impact, so we have also seeked professional help, a year on, to help us cope with everything.

We are together, we are here, and that is the most important thing.

In October, after things started to come together, Simon was diagnosed with severe carpal tunnel syndrome… in both hands. We had never heard of it before – but a lot of friends and readers came to our help with useful information. Not a complicated surgery (takes about 20 minutes), but the recovery has been long (8 weeks for the right hand and 6 weeks for the left hand so far). He is now also doing physio, seeing an osteopath and has resumed ‘normal exercise’ which means personal training and reformer pilates, which were new things to him, but he really seems to enjoy. He’s lost 15kg in the last 12 months which is very good.

 

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On the professional front, he’s left his previous employer after 19 years at the end of 2018 and has set up his own global corporate real estate consultancy firm, which I think is the best thing that happened to him. He’s been overwhelmed by supportive clients and former colleagues and has work offers from all over the world, which really is interesting. Some decisions to be made there, but happy days.

 

How am I?

I am good, thanks. I did have a crap year – and I did break down come October. In September, we had our fourth round of IVF which didn’t even complete. If I could have hit someone, I would have – it was just so so so frustrating.

I took the injections to produce more eggs (the process at the heart of IVF) and took the trigger injection as planned, 36 hours before the procedure whereby, under sedation, your eggs are retrieved. Something happened (the 1 in 10000 chance), and the eggs started to be released as I was on my way to the clinic in London. I was in horrendous pain on the way there (which I now understand), and the doctors were able to save 2 eggs (which is even more unusual).

 

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We did go ahead and fertilised those eggs.. but they didn’t make it. One died after a day, the other made it to day 5 (which is a key day), but stopped developing. On my previous rounds, I started with 10-12 eggs and you end up with 2-3 embryos. This is, unfortunately, a numbers game, so the odds were not in our favour – although as many lovely people pointed out, ‘you only need one’.

And why do I talk about IVF? Because there are so many people going through this – I had no idea. I have about 20 readers on the 3/4th cycle this year alone.. and hundreds hundreds who have been through it (and were able to answer so many of my questions). My mother for example is embarrassed that I do speak about this – and I am very sorry to embarrass her. But I need the support more than anyone could ever imagine – namely from people who understand.

I broke down after everything in October – I did my best, but I couldn’t really cope. And with Simon’s 2 hand operations coming up so quickly, I accepted an invitation to go to Park Igls in Austria for a week – for a destress programme. Simon’s doctor gave him some steroids to buy us some time and it was the best thing I did.

 

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I put on a lot of weight in 2018 – 12 kgs to be precise and I hate the way that I look. I tried everything and could barely shift a kilo or two. I am still smoke-free (it was hard, but important) and that added some kilos as did the 2 rounds of IVF. Plus some comfort eating. But Park Igls changed something – the body did reset and things have started to change.

 

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I fell down the stairs just before Christmas and sprained my ankle (or my foot), which saw me in crutches for a few weeks and limping for 8 weeks, but as we welcomed 2019 in California this year, I decided nothing (and I mean nothing) would get me down.

 

House redecoration

 

 

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After the IVF disaster, we literally got on a plane and flew to Abu Dhabi to get some sun and sleep. We then decided to redecorate our kitchen and living room – which probably couldn’t have come at a worse time, but it really gave us something to focus on. I know it sounds completely stupid – but we both love our home and the drama of furniture delivery took our minds away from some of the pain. I had quite a bit of help from readers on Instagram (I asked for opinions!) and I promise I will do a post soon with some highlights, in the hope that they may be of use to others.

What is coming?

Simon is busy with his new venture, and I had the best year ever in professional terms (even though I wasn’t able to work at all during the first 4 months of 2018). My work as a marketing consultant has been really interesting and I had some really great blog projects too.

I am getting ready for our next round of IVF – funny story here, it was supposed to be last month.. but I trusted the Fitbit app with the days of my cycle and left for a trip thinking that such cycle would begin on my return… well.. I did have the perfect 28-day cycle and Fitbit was very wrong. It is my fault – but as my husband said, ‘things happen for a reason’.

I have also jumped on the self-care bandwagon like never before. After being forced to stop exercising because of my foot (words I never thought I would say), we were able to go back last week. We booked a few private sessions with Nubodi Pilates – our first class should have been filmed! Simon’s hands and arms and my foot made for some distractions -, and we are also working out (separately, not as a couple) with Chantal from Another Level Fitness (who has been one of our rocks throughout the past years – even if it was to get each of us out of the house). Sophie from Balance and Thrive has been amazing too – kinesiology is really interesting and we have both benefited immensely from our sessions with her. I am also resuming my acupuncture sessions with Rebecca Hodson, who I value dearly.

I made a commitment to myself (and said NO to a few handbags) and signed up to Louise Parker‘s 360 programme, which I am beginning in time for some visible transformation on my 40th birthday. I have also booked a coaching and yoga weekend retreat, so I continue this self care journey. I am doing all I can – and I am incredibly grateful that we can have all this wonderful people helping us.

 

life update ivf carpal tunnel

So all in all, we are doing well – I am saying no to everything that seems remotely negative. If I don’t want to do it, I won’t. That means my social time is truly only for those whose company I enjoy.

We have a few exciting adventures ahead (for both of us) and we are really looking forward to finding out what 2019 will bring for us – this is the year of change.

 

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Hoping it is a great year for you too!

xo

Ana & Simon

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