All posts by Dijana

Open myomectomy – my experience

The subject I will write about today is not comfortable or nice, but I think it is necessary. Women’s reproductive health is very important and raising awareness about it is even more important, especially today when we have a huge spike in various reproductive diseases, infertility and infections.

Two weeks ago I had an open (abdominal) myomectomy and today I will share with you my experience hoping that some of you will find it useful if you have any doubts or similar problems.

What is Myomectomy?

Myomectomy is a major surgical procedure that involves making an incision through the skin on the lower abdomen, known as a “bikini cut,” and removing the fibroids from the wall of the uterus. The uterine muscle and the skin are then sewn back together using several layers of stitches.

How did I discover that I have fibroids?

Three years ago (2017) I went for a regular follow up with my gynaecologist in Bosnia. During the ultrasound, he found a small fibroid and told me to do Laparoscopic treatment and remove it while it is still small. However, I decided not to touch it and to wait for some time to see if it will disappear by itself. It DIDN’T!

Why I decided to wait with surgery?

When I was 20 years old I removed breast fibroid and 6 months later it returned. So, I decided not to go under the knife again knowing that it can always return. I thought that the body can clear itself naturally and I tried to live as healthy as I could afford.

What symptoms I had?!

Pain in the lower back, increased urination because of the pressure on my bladder and occasional pain during intercourse. Recently, I also started feeling bloated, especially days before the period. Also, I had very low levels of energy and I would get tired very fast.

Why I decided to finally remove it?

During my last ultrasound in Dubai, the doctor told me that fibroid reached almost 9 cm which is the size of a baby head. Because of its position, my fibroid is called submucosal and it grows in the middle muscle layer, or myometrium, of my uterus. After a consultation, the doctor told me that I could have problems with conceiving. In case I manage to conceive there is an increased risk of miscarriage during pregnancy or preterm delivery. And as I still didn’t have kids, she advised me to remove it to avoid problems later. The ultrasound also showed that one more big fibroid has formed as well (7 cm). Sometimes this fibroids can grow extremely big and they can damage or displace your other organs or make your belly look big.

Required Tests Before Surgery

Before they scheduled my surgery I had to do Covid19 test, regular blood test, an x-ray of my lungs and an interview with the anesthesiologist. Once it was confirmed I am negative on COVID, I received a call from the hospital to confirm my surgery date and time. The nurse called me a day before to tell me that I need to fast 8 hours before (no water, no food) and to come to the hospital 3 hours before the myomectomy.

Day One

The Day of Surgery

F. took me to the hospital and stayed with me until I woke up from anaesthesia. Before surgery they connected the venous catheter for medication fluids, they checked my blood pressure, oxygen level, temperature and I had to change to a special hospital gown. I was getting more and more nervous, however it was too late to run. A little bit before 4 pm I was taken to the operating theatre, I inhaled 2 times and everything went black. The next thing I remember is waking up around 7 pm at intensive care, feeling high, nauseous and with a sensation of a full bladder. A few minutes later F. was beside me and I was taken to the private room. He stayed with me for some time, he informed my Bosnian friend that I woke up so she can inform my parents (because of the language barrier). As soon as he left, I fell asleep again. The whole night nurses were coming inside the room to check my temperature, blood pressure, the oxygen level in the blood, to give me more and more medications and to empty my catheter. At one moment I thought I will vomit so I called them to bring me a bag, however, I didn’t. Also, my temperature increased to 37,8 degrees as a reaction to the surgery shock.

First Day Post Surgery

The next day, around 6 am, the nurse woke me and forced me to get up. I was taken to the washroom where they refreshed me, changed my diapers and hospital gown. In the meantime, the housekeeper changed my linen and refreshed the room. I felt mostly tired and drained and as soon as I lie down in bed I fell asleep again. Around 10 am my gynaecologist came to check on me and informed me that I will need to carry a catheter for the next 14 days due to bladder injury. Soon after the urologist came as well and told me the same. I found catheter so uncomfortable first day and I had a feeling that my urine is not draining and that my bladder is still full. I also had blood in my urine which made me more nervous and anxious. That day my belly was painful and full of gases and overall I felt horrible. Although, I felt extremely bad, having gases is apparently a good sign.

Days Spent in Hospital

The third day finally I got rid of diapers and I was able to wear my personal underwear. I managed to pass stool in the morning and in the afternoon I managed to walk a little bit around the room. I had an issue with my catheter as it got blocked because of blood cloth and they had to change the tube. Thankfully, the new tube was much bigger and finally, I could relax a bit. Feeling slightly better, in the afternoon I had a cup of warm coffee and some cookies. However, my “slightly better feeling” didn’t last for a long time. Half an hour later I got diarrhea and spent the next three hours in the washroom. The nurse brought me probiotics to calm down my belly and that night I put on some sleeping music with the moon and ocean and I slept like a baby. Even nurses asked me what is that nice calming music each time they would enter the room.

Most of my days in the hospital I spent lying on the bed, watching the clock on the wall, connected to medications, trying to post occasionally on social media. My vision was blurred due to heavy medications so I was not able to read books or watch movies as I planned. Most of the time I also felt drained and tired and the time was passing very slowly. Firstly, I was supposed to spend 3 nights in the hospital, but they extended to 5 nights due to bladder complication. The third day I had a little meltdown in the morning and started crying as I was scared and under shock, however, I couldn’t even cry as my belly hurt so had to stop immediately. The same day my venous catheter got blocked on the left hand, so they had to change it to the right hand. Also, my back and heals were sore from lying on the bed and they put on some special socks for blood circulation to avoid potential blood cloths.

The fourth and fifth day I felt much better, I managed to walk around the room, my belly calmed down and my wound was healing well. Finally, on the 6th day, F. came for me around 5 pm. I was able to shower before, the doctor prepared a discharge summary, the nurse gave me a final dose of painkillers and antibiotics and a bag full of medications for the next 7 days at home. They scheduled me to come for a follow-up and removal of stitches three days after.

Home Healing

On the 6th day, I was released home where I had to spend the next 8 days with catheter and drinking lots of fluids and medications. I noticed that my hair starting falling out a lot, my skin got super dry, I got dandruff, my nails got weaker and I was thirsty all the time. Later, a friend told me that is because of anaesthesia. Considering that my natural hair is very thin and weak let’s hope I don’t get bold in the next few days.

All 8 nights I slept very bad as I had to empty catheter during the night, plus I could only sleep on my back. Finally, three days after they removed my stitches, and 8 days later my catheter was removed after I did cystogram. During cystogram, the radiologist and urologist injected contrast dye into my bladder and took x-rays of it. The contrast dye gives a clear photo of the bladder and the doctor is able to see if the injury healed. After receiving positive news from a doctor they removed the catheter. The process of removal was just a little bit uncomfortable, but it was not painful. The catheter is a thin, sterile tube inserted into your bladder to drain urine. The part that is inserted in bladder looks like a little balloon.

Two Weeks After

Today, after 16 days and catheter removal, I am learning how to pee again. The side effect of the catheter is the high risk of infection and problems with urination. For the next few days, each time I will need to pee I will feel pressure and burning sensation. I was also advised not to let it get full and to drink plenty of water. I got one more antibiotic shot in the hospital and they gave me one more box of antibiotics at home to avoid infection. I have got two more weeks of sick leave as well.

My Message to All Women Out There

Please, get your reproductive health seriously and react on time. Although I did visit gynaecologist every 1-2 years, did regular papa smears, didn’t have any special problems with infection or bacteria, I still ended up in the hospital and in the operation room. Why fibroid grew so fast in such a short time, I really don’t know?! Maybe because of genetics, maybe hormones, maybe stress.

My Lifestyle For the Last 5 Years

  1. I don’t smoke
  2. I drink only occasionally and mostly wine or beer
  3. I don’t use contraception pills, although I did use them when I was younger. To be honest I don’t like to drink any pills not even painkillers.
  4. Last 10 months I am doing yoga regularly and I always did some activity here and there
  5. I walk a lot and I like swimming. Sometimes I go to the gym.
  6. I don’t have a problem with my weight
  7. I never had heavy periods or PMS
  8. I avoid using bleach and other harsh chemicals
  9. I didn’t dye my hair for the last 3 years either
  10. I am trying to eat healthier food, but today there is so many information that sometimes I am not even sure what does it mean healthy food?! Recently, I developed allergic reaction to milk so I am avoiding it, I am trying to eat less meat and I stopped using white sugar. But, how can you be sure what your body needs?! That green juice or a good piece of steak?! We have different bodies and different food requirements and one size can’t fit all.
  11. However, I live in a very hot and humid climate where I spend the whole year under A/C. I am drinking water from plastic bottles, and very often I eat food that doesn’t have a taste at all. I work very long hours, drive and sleep most of the time. And to be honest all these years in Dubai I didn’t enjoy much as I was stressing a lot about money, jobs, long working hours and climate.

Final Conclusion

Myomectomy I had was almost like a C-section but instead of the baby, I popped out 8 fibroids. During the procedure, they found 2 big fibroids and 6 small and they removed them all (you can see how fibroids look on the photo below). My uterus is cleaned, however, during incision, I got bladder injury which postponed my recovery for almost 2 weeks. Instead of recovering 3 days in hospital and 2 weeks at home, I ended up 5 days in the hospital, 14 days with a catheter, and 2 additional weeks at home. Full inside healing will take approximately 3 months, and I can start doing yoga after 6 months again. I can’t get pregnant in the next 6 months to 1 year. The fibroids can return and if I do have kids the chance to have natural vaginal delivery are very low. Probably, I will be recommended to do C section again and I hope that when that time comes I won’t have any other complications. Finally, it seems that our emotions, thoughts and reactions on life problems and stress have a huge impact on our health so it is necessary to find something to filter all the bad emotions, mean people and stressful situations we encounter every day.

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Embarking on a trip to financial independence

 One skill that we should all master in life is “How to manage our finances”. This is not an easy skill to learn, however, it is necessary. Although I did make some mistakes in regards to money, there is always a room for self-improvement and self-advancement. And, if this Covid19 pandemic taught me anything that is how to be careful with money.

Learning how to spend, save, invest and make money is invaluable and helps you to live debt and stress-free life. I don’t suggest that you should be tightwad, however, choose your battles smart. Although I still have a long way to go, below I will share my experience on what I do to cut on my expenses and increase my savings.

Less is more. Don’t be a spend-thrifter. Don’t waste your money and time on buying the things you don’t need or to impress people you don’t like. Nobody needs twenty pairs of shoes or a full wardrobe of clothes they don’t even wear. Nobody needs tons of pairs of sunglasses, watches and bags. Nobody needs a big expensive car if they can’t afford to maintain it. Don’t waste your hard-earned money in expensive restaurants, cinemas, clubs or luxury resorts. If you can’t control yourself try to figure out what triggers you to buy things you don’t need and what you can do to stop this. Buying things would bring you short term pleasure, but bigger pleasure would come from knowing that your bank account is getting bolder each month. To summarize, think before you spend.

Reconcile your credit card. When I just moved to Dubai I got my first credit card. My salary didn’t meet my expectations so I didn’t have enough money to pay the rent check. As I didn’t know any other way how to get money fast I opted for credit card cash advance with 18 instalments (literally the worst thing you can do with a credit card). Once you enter this vicious circle your debts just keep accumulating and as the time goes by it gets worst. Soon after, I applied for a second credit card with an even higher limit. As I didn’t have lots of understanding about credit card charges I kept purchasing things through instalments and after 3 months my monthly payment for my credit cards reached half of my salary. About that time my company organized a finance workshop and I was advised to reconcile the card with a personal loan. The idea was to close my credit card with a loan so I can increase my monthly cash-flow and at the same time buy a car. And yes, my financial situation did improve after CC reconciliation.

Track where your money goes. The best way to track your money is through an excel sheet or mobile application. Try to keep consistent for at least 3 months and you will get an idea where your money goes. How much you spend on rent, on utilities, on entertainment, food, debts, gas, etc. Tracking your expenses can help you to decide what expenses you can cut down in your daily life and that money you can add on your saving account instead.

Educate yourself. To be honest I find it very difficult to focus and understand the markets, funds, investments, stocks, ETFs and crypto market. However, I am aware that I need to learn and understand these terms and better sooner than later. If you not sure where to start, check if you have any friends who are investing money and can give you a head start. After you gather some basic information start reading the books about money, investments and savings, watch youtube videos, follow inspiring people who did it already and spend time educating yourself. Probably, the time you spent on this will pay you off later and you will be glad that you started early.

hey you!

(Pink Floyd)

Hey you, out there in the cold
Getting lonely, getting old
Can you feel me?
Hey you, standing in the aisles
With itchy feet and fading smiles
Can you feel me?
Hey you, don’t help them to bury the light
Don’t give in without a fightHey you out there on your own
Sitting naked by the phone
Would you touch me?
Hey you with you ear against the wall
Waiting for someone to call out
Would you touch me?
Hey you, would you help me to carry the stone?
Open your heart, I’m coming homeBut it was only fantasy
The wall was too high
As you can see
No matter how he tried
He could not break free
And the worms ate into his brainHey you, out there on the road
Always doing what you’re told
Can you help me?
Hey you, out there beyond the wall
Breaking bottles in the hall
Can you help me?
Hey you, don’t tell me there’s no hope at all
Together we stand, divided we fall!

This song is so powerful and touching. There is always light at the end of the tunnel even though we might not see it. I feel like the song is calling us and talking with us, saying that we should never give up no matter what. Especially today when our lives are changing in so many unprecedented ways.

What is your favorite song from Pink Floyd?

5 THINGS THAT COVID19 PANDEMIC TAUGHT ME?

“This letter is to You. The You that’s had a rough week. The You that seems to be under constant storm clouds. The You that feels invisible. The You that doesn’t know how much longer you can hold on. The you that has lost faith. The you that always blames yourself for everything that goes wrong. To you. You are incredible. You make this world a little bit more wonderful. You have so much potential and so many things left to do. You have time. Better things are coming your way, so please hang in there. You can do it.”

Jodi Ann Bickley

This week was a tough one. I felt anxious, stressed, emotional and I suffered from insomnia and a headache. I always react like this on bad news, but usually shortly after I pull myself together and start looking for solutions and positive things.

I reminded myself that I lived through worse times in my life, I survived the war and there are no many things out there that can compare to that. I lived and worked on a cruise ship which is quite different from life on land. I left my family and friends and came to another country to look for a job, I slept on my friend’s sofas, I was without money, job and family. And still, there was always light at the end of the tunnel, so this shall pass to.

Reflecting on the previous 3 months in lock down, below I have listed 5 things that Covid19 taught me.

HAVING A GARDEN OR WEEKEND HOUSE IS PRICELESS

After everything that was happening since March, buying an apartment is not an option anymore. As there is a very high chance that this kind of situation will happen sometime again in the future living in a big city and a small apartment is not something that I want. Hopefully, in the next 5 years, I will be able to move to the countryside, have my own garden and be self-sustainable.

EVERY JOB HAS ITS END

Each time you take a job, be aware that it will have its end. Don’t restrict yourself that you only need to work in one industry field or build one career. In today’s world, you will probably have to change a few jobs if you planning to survive. This week we were reminded about this as my husband has been made redundant. He worked for the airline and we know that this industry was one of the most affected due to imposed travel restrictions. We were aware that this could happen but didn’t expect it this fast. Let’s see what the Universe has in the pocket for us next?!

THE WORLD WILL NOT BE THE SAME AGAIN

I don’t want this to sound like the end of the world prediction, but the fact is the world will not be the same as it was. I don’t know yet if it will get worst or better, but I am sure that we are entering a new decade that will be something we haven’t seen before. We need to adopt new skills, new approaches and innovation. One of the best things about this is that Mother Nature had some self-care time and there is a positive environmental impact. The ozone and ocean are healthier, the people reconnected with nature, the animals are taking over the land and the pollution is reduced. Finally, the skies are blue above China, the water is clean in Venice and you can see the Himalayas from Kathmandu. I only hope that it won’t get worst later when things pick up.

MATERIAL THINGS ARE NOT IMPORTANT

Your car doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have where to drive it. Your fancy clothes don’t mean anything if you don’t have where to wear it. Your newest gym equipment and membership are useless if the gyms are not reachable. Your newest watch, iPhone, makeup, perfume, you name it. Nobody cares what you have or how you look if they can’t see you.

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi from Pexels

TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH

We are all aware that our health is irreplaceable. Our immune system will be our best protection we will have against all diseases, viruses and bacterias that could harm us. You all know what you need to do: sleep well, exercise daily, meditate, control your mind, drink 2l of water, don’t smoke, don’t drink too much, socialize with good and inspiring people, don’t use too many harsh chemicals, go green and use natural products as much as you can. Try to spend time outdoors in nature and away from polluted cities.

Photo by Madison Inouye from Pexels

What did you learn during the lock down? Share it in the comments.

Darijina prica

„Na brodu sam već dvije godine, a otišla sam sa 28 godina. Dolazim iz Hrvatske i prvi put sam otišla na poziciju sobarice, a kasnije sam promovisana u supervizorku. Moji razlozi su slični kao i razlozi većine, a to je bila želja za putovanjima, upoznavanjem ljudi i, naravno, dobar novac. U početku je bilo veoma teško, ali nije mi nedostajao život na kopnu koliko sam mislila da će. I ranije sam bila daleko od kuće, porodice i prijatelja, tako da mi nisu toliki nedostajali, ali su mi nedostajala okupljanja porodice i prijatelja: rođendani, svadbe i praznici. Ono što je karakteristično za brod jeste da to postaje vaša druga kuća, vaš drugi dom, a ljudi koje upoznate vaša porodica. Nekad i bukvalno, jer se desi da pronađete životnog partnera baš na brodu. Život na brodu je težak i mnogi požele da daju otkaz i odu kući. Ali, to se dešava najviše iz razloga što je velik pritisak, standardi i dugi radni sati. Osobe koje to ne mogu da izdrže odustaju, a neki se jednostavno naviknu. A kada se naviknete, sve postaje bolje i lakše u vašoj glavi i u svemu tome počinjete da uživate. Posao ima mnogo dobrih strana, ali zavisi iz kojeg ugla ga posmatrate. Imate šansu da obiđete svijet i da vidite mjesta koja drugačije ne biste imali priliku vidjeti. Osim evenutalno na TV-u ili u nečijim putopisima. Dobra stana je i novac, jer na kopnu za isti posao imate triput manju plaću. Ovaj posao će vam omogućiti da spoznate svoje mogućnosti i ojačate svoj karakter. Ima, naravno, i mnogo loših strana. Morate biti mentalno jaki da izdržite sav stres i da se nosite sa svim poteškoćama, problemima i mogućim konfrontacijama sa ljudima i to je nešto što se dešava svaki dan. Stres vas može uništiti potpuno. Nemate privatnosti. Većina posade dijeli kabine i ponekad vam je dovoljno samo 5 minuta da se odmorite od svih i svega, ali to je nemoguća misija. Također, negativne strane mogu biti i loša hrana, nedovoljno sna i neljubazni saradnici. Sve zavisi kako gledate na to. Za neke ljude je loša stvar dobra i obrnuto. Ja i dalje radim u istoj kompaniji i smatram da sam bila veoma sretna. Mnogo onih koji su dali otkaz i otišli da rade na drugim kompanijama se sada vraćaju, a to je činjenica koja govori sama za sebe. Ono što me i dalje motivira da radim ovaj posao jeste moj avanturistički duh koji me potiče da uvijek tražim ispunjen život, a ovaj posao mi to omogućava. Planiram još neko vrijeme raditi ovdje, ali to defitivno nije posao koji planiram raditi zauvijek. Trenutno nemam nekih određenih planova, jer sam još uvijek u procesu traženja same sebe i onoga što želim. I to je upravo razlog zašto bih ovaj posao preporučila svakome. I za one koji imaju plan, jer im ovaj posao daje dobru finansijsku stabilnost. I za one koji kao ni ja nemaju plan, jer ovaj način života vam daje vremena da odlučite o svojoj budućnosti, dok zarađujete novac, putujete svijetom i uživate koliko je moguće.“