I met Sasha through a mutual girlfriend and ever since I met her I have been in awe of how much this lovely mummy packs into her life! She is one of those gorgeous mummy's who you'd love to hate but her warmth and generosity makes it hard to do so. I am really proud to have her write for the 'glammy mamami' blog.
Sasha lives in Istanbul with her husband and two children. An LSE graduate, she went on to work in the film and music industry developing programs for both MTV and the Discovery Channel while working on a development deal with Columbia records in New York as a recording artist. For the last 5 years she's been busy as a marketing exec for one of the UKs largest online directories and also having babies! She is currently working on her own business to be launched in June this year.
We moved to Istanbul from London last July. It was an incredibly exciting time. My husband had been offered an awesome job with a great package and we were all excited at a new life in a vast city that is both dramatic and romantic and at same time chaotic and a bit medieval - the opposite of London in everyway. My husband found us our dream house after months of looking and I organized the move. With two small children it was probably the most exhausting thing I’ve ever had to do and that summer while waiting for our possessions to arrive I thought the reason I felt utterly “spent” was because the move had knocked me sideways. I should mention I noticed my periods were getting heavier and heavier and the need to pee became more and more frequent but still I didn’t go see my gynecologist. Feeling nauseous and dizzy were also a daily occurrence that I managed to put at the back of my mind.
We spent Christmas in London with my family and I was bad tempered with everyone including the children because I couldn’t lift this feeling of utter exhaustion. So unlike me, I’m a hyper kind of girl and always had boundless energy for everything but I still didn’t think that perhaps I should consult someone with some medical knowledge. The start to the New Year was great fun with a big dinner party and a romantic get away weekend with my husband. It all went wrong on our return. Our 5 year old had picked up a crazy virus that had her temperature soaring over 40 degrees every 2 hrs. , her 3 year old brother caught the same thing a couple of days later and so did I. I spent a whole week calling paramedics, going to hospitals and showering them in luke warm water and waking them up every 3 hrs. in to give them a never-ending rotation of calpol , then nurofen and antibiotics to keep their fevers down while simultaneously trying to hold off collapsing from the virus that had taken hold of me too. Luckily the children got better but I just seemed to get worse.
On day 10 of feeling ill I got excruciating abdominal pains and had to be rushed to hospital. After an x ray and blood test the dr came back and said I was seriously anemic with very low hemoglobin levels and should start iron pills immediately. They sent me home and I booked myself in for full check up at the hospital a week later including a gynecological check On the Saturday I said goodbye to my husband and children as they went off to watch a Pinocchio pantomime only to be called back 30 mins later by our housekeeper. I had been sitting down at the table eating my breakfast and was searching online about “anemia” and the causes and then I came to “fibroids” and “heavy periods” when the screen went slowly black; I found myself playing with the children in the garden only to wake up to the screams of our housekeeper and the nanny as they picked me up off the floor and carried me onto the bed. I’ve never fainted before in my life and I really thought at that moment maybe I was dying. My husband rushed back, an ambulance was called and after finding my blood pressure was much lower than normal they gave me a drip and a sedative. At this point I knew something was really wrong with me. I’d made 2 appointments with 2 separate gynecologists that day because not knowing any of these doctors, I didn’t want to put all “my eggs in one basket “
The first gynecologist I saw spoke English extremely well and as the image of my uterus came on the screen from the scan he inhaled a sharp intake of breath and said “ohhhh” . To me all I could see was a big black empty space, which I thought, must be good – it turns out that empty space was actually a huge fibroid. I sat shocked as he told me I had a 10 cm fibroid that had taken up the whole of my uterus and I would need surgery immediately.
I left the hospital in shock. I knew I had fibroids. They were present when I was pregnant with my first child and had grown and then shrunk through my second pregnancy but never caused any problem. At my last gynecological scan I’d had one that had been 3cm, which my obstetrician had said, we should keep an eye on but nothing to worry about. Such a throw away comment I hadn’t even thought about it and that was 2 1/2 years ago.
The visit to the second gynecologist in Istanbul was even more traumatic. She asked me not to tell her what the first gynecologist had said and started doing a scan. A look of confusion swamped her face as she scowled at the image of my uterus on the screen. In a heavily German accented English she told me that she would have to remove the whole uterus surgically as she couldn’t see how it was possible to remove the fibroid and keep the uterus intact. As I sobbed uncontrollably in her office she questioned why I was so upset at the prospect of a hysterectomy after all I already had two healthy children! Who in their mid thirties expects to hear they need a hysterectomy, something only women in their 60’s or 70’s have to endure and the prospect of having my fertility taken away forever filled me with despair as I realized how much I wanted a third baby. Having had a termination when my youngest was only 12 months old because it was not “the right time” to have yet another baby with such a small age gap, I now felt the bitter sweet irony of what a mistake that had been.
In hysterics I called my husband and we made plans to get to London as soon as possible to visit my own gynecologist. I saw him on the Monday and he removed this “alien monster” as I like to think of it the very next day! It was indeed the size of a grapefruit and at the time of the operation much bigger than the scan had showed. He needed to call a colleague into the theatre to assist him as this was a “four hand job, not two” and inside it they found out it had it’s own blood supply and was leeching blood off me daily. It was so bad that my gynecologist said had I left it another couple of months I would have been so severely anemic I could have died. They gave me 3 units of blood to build up my hemoglobin levels and lots of painkillers. Best of all my uterus is intact and still there. Thank you God, thank you!
Now back in Istanbul a week later I have only 3 small incision wounds with dissolvable stitches to show for this. It is incredible what they can do and I’m so grateful I got sick when I did and fainted which prompted me to get a full check up otherwise I would have left this another couple of months and who knows what would have happened then. No longer a stiff upper lip person, my headaches worry me (brain tumor?) I worry about our diet here, Turkish farmers injecting their produce with hormones is prevalent and the organic sections of supermarkets slimmer than a supermodels waist. Estrogen grows fibroids and I’m convinced something in my diet or the creams I am using must have contributed to the fibroids rapid growth
So I’ll be regularly having myself checked up from now on and will never murmur “wuss” under my breath when my husband moans about man flu. Seriously those of you, who were like me putting your own health last on the list, too busy caring for the little ones and citing lack of time, don’t do it or they may not be more time. That saying “only the paranoid survive” comes to mind and now I really think that’s a true statement.
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