2023: a year in review

Safe to say that a I sit here writing this the day before Christmas 2023, I am a billion percent happier than I was this time last year. Last year I was determined to enjoy Christmas ahead of my pending operation at the end of January and I think that determination turned into pressure instead of just accepting that I would spend the holiday a little more anxious than usual and it made it ten times worse. So because of that, I spent the whole of January also worrying. We have a trip the second week of Jan to Liverpool and the lakes which was lovely, but my pending operation was ever on my mind. I stopped drinking 2 weeks before and absolutely hammered the gym to try and get as healthy as I could a the main thing I was worried about was the anaesthetic and not waking up after.

You can read about the ins and outs of everything in regards to reasons and the health issues I was experiencing in more detail if you’re interested in what lead me to this but on 31st January 2023 I had a total hysterectomy (apart from keeping one ovary) and, thankfully I was in and out in one day. And that pretty much took over the first 4 months of the year. Recovery was slow but all things considered eventless with no major complications which was a relief. I spent a lot of time on the sofa catching up on Grey’s Anatomy and all my favourite reality TV shows – which of course sounds idyllic but it was also very lonely at times and because of the nature of the operations my hormones were all over the place as my one remaining ovary got used to being the sole provider of oestrogen to keep me balanced. Thankfully I had Dave looking after me and being the perfect nurse and all my family and friends also played binders checking in on me and coming over regularly.

Going back to work was challenging with being off so long, I was worried it would take me months to catch up and would have been left behind. In many ways lots had changed and nothing had changed at the same time. And my work were extremely supportive allowing me to come back on a phased return, which was a godsend considered I caught COVID for the first time the week I was due to return.

Come June, despite me only being back at work a month, we felt ready for some sunshine and took advantage of being down in London for Carolyn and Mike’s wedding to fly to the Greek Island of Lefkas where we stayed in the best hotel I think I’ve ever stayed in. I’m not sure I’ll be able to go back to a communal pool ever again!

Summer was low key and the fact the weather wasn’t very good didn’t help either. We took a trip to Whitby and stayed in a Yurt for a few nights for my birthday but it rained most of the time so just snuggled inside watching Catfish! On the work front it was proving challenging for both of us for different reasons. Dave’s organisation was going through a restructure when brought uncertainty and mine was just crazy busy with what felt like problem after problem after problem. Thankfully though Dave was ‘slotted in’ which meant he didn’t have to apply for his own job. Mine remained busy but I’m lucky enough to have some absolutely amazing colleagues (and friends) and we weathered the storm together.

In September we had itchy feet again and had a brilliant trip to Krakow, which is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go. We only stayed three nights but managed to see all we wanted to and when we got home had a lovely weekend with our friends Lucy, Phil and Trudie visiting.

After this it seemed to take a lifetime for Christmas to arrive. I always hate November anyway as nothing ever happens and the weather is crap. Once it did arrive though, it was one of my favourite ones yet; and absolutely did a good job in reclaiming the Christmas I felt I’d lost last year by being so anxious.

So almost a year on from my operation I’m pleased to say all the worry was worth it because I have absolutely zero regrets having it done. The difference it’s made to my quality of life has almost literally been life changing and aside from a few hormonal issues from time to time and the fact that I lost quite a bit of hair in the early days which was stressful, I feel pretty much back to normal. Since April I’ve been going to the gym regularly and watching what I eat so I feel healthier than ever.

I also rediscovered football this year. Not in any kind of fanatical way I’d still rather watch a game from the comfort of my own living room with a glass of prosecco or in a bar somewhere, but since Newcastle United are actually doing well for a change they’re a pleasure to watch again and me and Dave have enjoyed following them more closely than usual. I even got a home shirt for my birthday i July which has proved to be a £90 back luck charm as I don’t think we’ve won a game since I’ve been wearing it.

We already have a load of fun things planned next year because, well what was the point of going through that operation if I’m not then going to make the most of not being held back by anything?!  We have tickets to see Bowling for Soup, Girls Aloud, Bryan Adams and the Lightning Seeds and I also really want to try and get tickets to see Squeeze too. And travel wise we’re off to Mexico for 2 weeks at the end of January for some winter sun. This time last year I knew what I was going into, I knew what lay before me and I knew it was going to be difficult. So apart from what we already have booked, I have no idea what the next year has in store for me and that’s exactly how I like it.

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