Your eyes are not deceiving you, I am back! I have been away from my blog for just over a year and I have missed it so much. Writing is such a creative release for me and not being able to do it has been incredibly tough but now I am back and hopefully better than ever.
My first post of 2019 is going to about where an earth I have been and what has been happening these last twelve months.
Some of you may recognise the title of this post as it is some song lyrics from Rent the musical. The song itself asks how do we measure a year? In laughter, in strife or in tears? Well, my last year has been full of all three! Let’s start with the not so good and end with the positive.
A Year in Pain
In spring 2018 I was living my best life, about to finish my second year of university, about to be in a a play that was going on tour to Paris and feeling really confident. Of course, the world decided that my happiness should be short lived and I was struck down with hideous pain running along the lower part of my jaw caused by Trigeminal Neuralgia. I was diagnosed with the condition two years beforehand but it was under control with medication however they stopped working. The pain according to scientific studies is worse than childbirth and I would not wish it on my worst enemy (check out a post on my condition here.)
I could not eat without applying strong anaesthetic the inside of my mouth, I didn’t wash my hair for about twelve weeks, I could not brush my teeth and I could not talk for long periods all because it would set off the pain. I was swiftly taken under the care of specialists as priority and was in The National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery for two weeks. I was told I would need minor brain surgery to correct the problem, however I had been put on twenty tablets a day just to manage the pain and I was told I would have to be weaned off those before I could have surgery as it was too dangerous. I had to wait four months to be fully off the drugs. This was heartbreaking news as it meant I would not be able to return to university for my third year and I was also not well enough to be a bridesmaid at my brother’s wedding.
My surgery was in November 2018 and was extremely scary as there were many potential serious complications and due it to being brain surgery the risk was much higher. I was sat waiting wondering if I would come out being unable to talk. If I would have personality changes. Or even come out at all.
Luckily it went very well! Once I had woken up I realised the whole of the left side of my face was completely numb and it was bizarre. It was so numb I ended up biting a huge chunk out of my lip which then swelled to the size of a ping pong ball! I stayed in hospital for three days and had my mum with me every step of the way.
Now you may be thinking ‘great her surgery went well and she has gone home and is getting better!’ Well I thought that too until three days after I left hospital. I awoke in the middle of the night with a throbbing headache. I clutched my head and crawled along the landing to my mum’s room crying out in pain. She phoned an ambulance immediately. They ran lots of tests and decided to take me in as they weren’t familiar with my condition. I had never been the patient in an ambulance before so I guess I have ticked an item off my bucket list!
Once I got to my local hospital the lights blinded me and I had to have a flannel over my eyes to ease the pain. They had to ring up my Neurosurgeon for advice and long story short, I had developed Meningitis as a result of the surgery! I was in hospital for a further week hooked up to antibiotics and having multiple lumbar punctures which are not fun. I finally returned home determined to stay there two weeks later than planned.
I have been recuperating since and am only just starting to feel like I am returning to normal. I have been slightly knocked back by abdominal pain which started just before my surgery which has since been discovered to be an ovarian cyst/ possible endometriosis so I am having exploratory surgery in a couple weeks to sort that out! Then hopefully my health will be tip top!
I am also pleased to report over the last few month I have repeated the part of second year I had to miss last year and have passed all my assignments so I can start my third year in September.
Now that the horrible stuff is out of the way I can talk about the couple of positive things that have happened in the last year whilst I have been unwell.
First of all, my brother got married last summer! As I mentioned before I was meant to be a bridesmaid but I simply was not well enough to fulfil my duty. However I dosed my self up and was so excited to celebrate that I put my ill health to the back of my mind and managed to have wonderful time!
Another great aspect about my brother getting married was that my family from New Zealand came over for the occasion! I hadn’t seen my cousin and auntie for about eight years so it was amazing to reconnect. Unfortunately one of my cousins couldn’t make it but I am hoping I will get to see her soon!
My third piece of positive news might just be the most wonderful. I have officially become an auntie! That’s right my brother and his wife had a gorgeous baby boy in April and he is precious. He has only been in the world two months but already has a firm grip on my heart! I cannot wait to see him turn into a proper little human (and to see my brother and sister in law cope with his tantrums!)
So there we have it, it has been an awful year health wise but pretty damn good family wise. Being so unwell has definitely made me see who actually cares about me and I have cut a few ties but all in the name of having a more positive life! I am so excited to be back on my blog and share my ups, downs and in betweens with you all.
Thanks so much for reading and sticking with me,
Hannah Jayne Artis ❤