So I had my bunionectomy 6ish weeks ago now, and it wasn’t as straight forward as I hoped. A week post-surgery I contracted an infection that hampered recovery and what I thought would be 3 weeks off work will become 8 (to be fair though, my surgeon said 3 weeks would never have been realistic and that NHS guidelines are 6 weeks, but try telling a manager or work colleagues that and not receiving stressed out looks!).
I’m able now to wear some dorky looking trainers with memory foam padding and my crutches are only for days when I’m on my feet a lot, so that’s good. I’m hoping to start driving the end of next week and see how it goes. Good times.
Whilst I’ve been off, my Consultant at the JR Women’s Centre arranged for me to start counselling to deal with the pelvic pain issues I’ve experienced for the last decade. Not many people know just how much it has affected me, but let’s just say I’m close to rock bottom. Imagine living every day in burning pain in your intimate area. Washing hurts, peeing hurts, everything hurts. Imagine having sex with your partner less than 4 times a year on average and not even once in the last 2 years and you’ll come close to understanding. This past week I’ve wanted to cut away at my vulva, to burn it off, to do anything to kill the nerve endings and give me peace. It wakes me in the night, it drives me to distraction. I can’t sit, I can’t get comfortable. It’s no way to live, yet how do I explain to people who don’t understand? All they see is smiling Sam and have no idea at all how I get through every day.
Anyway, I’m having fortnightly sessions with a specialised counsellor to help me get through this. It’s quite liberating in a way, and never having had counselling I had no idea what to expect. We’re talking about everything: past, present, goals for the future, my job, my writing, relationships, the works. She’s helping me identify things that need to be changed and to prioritise. I look forward to talking to her now, and hope that my remaining 10 sessions (plus some psycho-sexual counselling) will help give me some relief. She asked if I was depressed. I said I don’t genuinely know. I’m worn out, I’m ground down, I’ve had 10 years of pain every single day and I don’t know if I’m depressed or not. I have no idea how I’d feel without this pain because it’s been a part of me for so long. She was surprised at how much I have on and what I do, and we both agreed that yes, I keep myself busy because if I stop, if I relax and do nothing, who knows what will happen to my mental well-being.
The counselling is being paired with physiotherapy. I have my first session on the 10th October and I can’t wait. Please, body. Please let me be ‘normal’ for just a few days this year. I don’t want more surgery that will last 6 months until the nerves re-grow, I don’t want to have to apply numbing creams every day for the rest of my life. I just want to be normal. Or as close to normal as I can be.
The physio will be to help my body relax and allow us to have sex without spasming and closing down. If I can manage this one step, I will have the strength to move forward and tackle the rest.
On Monday I had my first ever massage (amazing, btw!) and was told my hips are out of line and anterior and locked? I’m waiting for the lady to email over the exact problems, but she asked if I’ve ever dislocated my hip as my right one is very locked, stiff, tight and has scar tissue. Now, my Consultant advised me that nerves, muscles, tendons etc in the pelvic area are all interlinked and so we’ve made the decision that I’ll have massages to work on my hips every 2/3 weeks initially and then once a month. I’ll also (on advice of Consultant, Counsellor and massage therapist) start Yoga classes to help with stretching and relaxing. I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to sort my body out. I went nearly all of my twenties with no love life with my husband, I cannot, we cannot, go all of our thirties this way.
So here we are. I’m broken. Again. But guess what? I’m keeping going. I have to.