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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?

How to enjoy your job even though it is not something you wanted to do?!

“Look under your feet. The great opportunity is where you are. Every place is under the stars. Every place is the center of the Universe.”

Do you often think that somehow you just can’t find your way?! You don’t know what is your dream job and what is your passion while everyone around you is telling you that you have to do what you love, otherwise, you will not feel fulfilled?! As per many different research you are not the only one. Many people don’t like their jobs, but they still have to do it to be able to survive, support their families and pay their living expenses. And there is nothing wrong with it. However, even if you are stuck with the job you don’t like it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be miserable or unhappy. Furthermore, you know how they say “do the best you can with what you have, where you are“.

Photo credit goes to @kaboompics

So how exactly you can still enjoy your job although it is not something you wanted?

Firstly, you would need to change your mindset and instead of thinking how you are going to survive one more day from the “nightmare” think about it as something that you just have to do, a part of your daily routine. Try to see it more positively – maybe you will meet new people, learn or hear something new that might open you some other doors in the future.

Secondly, you are not your job so find time for your hobbies, sport or social activities after working hours. This will give you more motivation to finish your work so you can go and enjoy something you like. Now, don’t tell me that you don’t have any hobbies as that is just impossible today with so much choice. I have lots of different interest, however the hobbies I always go back to are yoga and blogging. Currently, as I spend more time at home due to Covid19 I do lots of walking and I am part of a book club with my friends so we can exchange our thoughts about different books. I have also decided to invest more time in my blog in the next 6 months, so these days I am spending lots of time reading, studying and exploring the internet.

Photo credit goes to @dpopbes (taken from Pexels)

Thirdly, try to find a higher purpose in your job. Maybe, your company is providing some products or services that are useful to the wider community. Maybe, you are an inspiration to somebody and you don’t know it. So try to be nice to people you work with and most importantly never take things personally. I have noticed that many times the problem arises as people start taking things too personally or they get offended and change their behaviour based on their feelings.

Finally, you have to believe. I love the following quote from Churchill: “There comes a special moment in everyone’s life, a moment for which that person was born. That special opportunity, when he sizes it, will fulfil his mission – a mission for which he is uniquely qualified. At that moment, he finds greatness. It is his finest hour.” This quote gives hope that one day we will find that special thing we like to do. In the meantime, work on yourself and your skills. Read good books, educate yourself, listen to TED talks and podcasts, follow inspiring people, do online courses. Try to keep up with new technologies, learn new skills, find yourself, mentor, study a new language, volunteer, help someone, meditate, and socialize with people who take out the best from you. And one day, sooner or later your time will come to shine. And all the hard work, invested time and hurdles will eventually pay off.

Stay safe everyone, and use your time wisely. 🙂

Kathmandu Wedding Bells (Part I)

I honor the place in you where the entire universe dwells. I bow to the place in you that is love, light and joy. When you and I bow to our true nature, we are one. My soul recognizes your soul. We are the same, we are one. I honor the place in you that is the same as it is in me.

So much love and peace and meaning behind simple Namaste!

I had Nepal on my bucket list for quite some time and mostly because of the Himalayas. However, as I still don’t have enough money, stamina and courage to visit the base camp (I have no interest in climbing the summit and ending up frozen across the mountain like 200 other bodies found until now) I decided to opt for free drinks on the wedding of my work colleague in Kathmandu. I was also attracted to Nepal because of it’s people who are one of the most peaceful and welcoming people I have ever met. In Dec I have received a beautiful red invitation written by the hand of his uncle. The tradition in Nepal requires the oldest family member to invite the guests and his uncle was the eldest. The wedding was planned to last for 2 days with the first day being the most important one.

So here we were, 6 of us, flying in small Fly Dubai Boeing, drinking beers and looking forward to this “cultural” trip. On 24th of Jan 2019 for the first time in our lives we have touched the ground of Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. If you have Bosnian passport like me you can get tourist visa on arrival which costs 25$ for 15 days. Before passport control you are required to fill in “arrival card” and after that you need to visit the airport kiosk and fill in the online form. After you fill the form, the kiosk will give you a little paper and with that paper you will go to cashier to pay for the visa. After the payment you will proceed to the passport control and immigration. If you are lucky (and I am obviously not!) you will go through it fast. Otherwise, you will end up 1 standing 1 hour in a line waiting for deadbeat officer to ask you questions like “When you were born?”, “What is your name”, “Where are you going?”. Finally after this torturing we were outside the airport trying to avoid taxi scammers. Our friend told us to look for registered stand and to negotiate the price before so we followed his advice to get to the accommodation. We booked little hostel Peacock close to Patan Durban Square. During the taxi ride I spotted the tangled electrical cables, dirt, crazy traffic which is so typical for Asian countries and I could still see the consequences of 2017 earthquake.

Tangled Electrical Cables

After a long 45 minutes, we have finally arrived at our destination. Peacock has 7 rooms in the offer and they are not made for people taller than 1.60 cm. However, they were a super cute mix of old and new, wooden rugs, electrical blankets, gas water heaters, and coffee machine, hence I was ready to live like a hobbit for the next 4 days.

In the evening we went for dinner in a probably overpriced, nearby restaurant where I ordered traditional dish Dal Bhat (“dal” means lentils and “bhat” stands for rice) and mulled wine. For beer lovers, I would recommend ordering 650 ml beer Mt. Everest which does justice to its name. After the dinner, we went for a walk around Patan Square built in distinct Newar architecture style which is a mix of woodcarving, stone, brink, and brass craftsman and belongs in the list of the highest achievements of humankind (I read that somewhere). Around the square, there were so many little streets and pathways with cute cafes, rooftop bars playing rock silently, Hindu temples, and stray dogs.

Peacock Hostel

By midnight I was in bed, but all my hopes for a good night sleep were flushed down the toilet. I could hear people shouting, moving house, the dog was barking and as soon as I closed my eyes I could hear my alarm buzzing. At 9 am the driver picked us up and took us to the groom’s house were we have received with a warm welcome and attention. Most of the women were dressed in red sari’s because red is considered to bring love and happiness to the newlywed home, so if you are not sure what to wear to Nepalese wedding you will not make mistake with red dress or any other detail.

Funny fact: I have left my mobile phone in my husband’s car and only figured out when I was already at the gate. And as one of my friends said I was “shamelessly taking photos with my big iPad for the next 4 days”.