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Month: August 2018

Peace out uterus, it’s been real.

I’ve been living with something weird for over 5 years now.  It’s wildly hilarious to me now, because OF COURSE it would happen to me.  Of course it would.  In August, 2014, my uterus fell out.  I was away for a few days with a friend and our kids while our daycare was closed.  Upon our return, I jumped into the shower and began my usual routine of overthinking everything while the water washed my sins away.  Dramatic, no?  I’d been suffering from some weird abdominal pain, and what I discovered, I’d never forget.  Something was…sticking out of me.  Truth bomb…my first thought…HAVE I HAD A PENIS ALL ALONG?!?!  AM I REALLY A MAN?  Panic.  Sorry Chris, this has all been a rouse.   Get out, dry off, grab a mirror and panic.  WHAT.  IS.  THIS.

I’m 36, and at the time, I was only 33.  Was this a weird fetus?  What in the hell??  I went to emergency, because that’s what you do when an alien is exiting you.  And because I’m me and I use humour to deflect panic, I’m sure the admitting team had a field day that evening.  “Sorry, you have what?”  “Like, some kind of organ coming out. Or an alien, or I’ve grown a penis.  Please don’t call psych, I’m being serious.”  Phew.

The doctor who got to take a look was maybe a doctor for 28 minutes.  He mentioned this was his first shift and he was nervous.  Cool, man.  The feeling is mutual.  He got out his ultrasound machine and I braced myself for impact.  If it’s a baby, I’m gonna be…freaking out.  If it’s a penis, I don’t even know.  So…this doctor, being new and me being beyond freaked out, starts ultrasounding at my heart.  Ok, there it is…beating away.  You’re too far away from the main event, pal.  He got to my abdomen, empty uterus…THANK GOD.  Not going to lie, the last thing I wanted to take home that day was a penis, the second was a baby, so we’re in good shape so far.  He furrowed his brow, and then said, “Well, this is weird.  Your uterus is not were it should be.  That thing hanging out?  It’s your cervix.”  Ummmm….I’m fairly positive that’s not supposed to be there, but sighs of relief.  That doesn’t sound so bad?  At least it’s my anatomy and not a foreign body or extra part.  Celebrate!  CELEBRATE.  He called it a ‘spontaneous prolapse’ and said there’s no way that, given my age and the fact that I’ve had one child, it was serious.  It could be from strenuous activity and not to worry, but to follow up with my gynecologist.  That I can do.  So, we left.

My GP is a fabulous man.  He’s patient, kind, knowledgable and funny.  I can say that once we’ve even been at the same wine function.  He’s just a cool guy. He was puzzled.  And referred me to the gynecologist who performed my repair surgery from after having Jack.  OH, perhaps you don’t know that story.  My body never healed after giving birth, so I had to go have a surgery to fix it all, which was so enjoyable.  Maybe that’s for another day.

This gynecologist, he has no time for anyone.  He got me up onto his exam table, and gave the cervix a big tug.  I’ll never forget that, it was so abrupt. Is that how you determine a prolapse?  By yanking it out?  This is the worst.  “You had a spontaneous prolapse, nothing to worry about.”  OK!  Doctor number 3.  This must be fine.

Fast forward to the end of 2016.  Things had gotten progressively worse.  I was referred to pelvic floor therapy, where they discovered they couldn’t help me, after lots of aggressive internal work, which I could have seriously done without.  I had suffered from month long bladder infections, pushing through business ownership, working, mothering, volunteering, sports, etc., with my uterus hanging out and a low grade fever every day.  Doctor after doctor, everyone determined this was ‘normal’ and will ‘go away’.  Aaaaand then….I got a referral to Burnaby Hospital.  I met a doctor who was appalled that this was left alone.  She told me I had the body of a 90 year old woman, and this needed to be repaired before everything fell out, including bladder and bowel.  “How have you functioned this long?”  I just have.

I was placed on a waitlist for one of three specialists in BC that could perform my repair, as it had gotten so bad.  Whichever one got to me first.  I got a call a few months later, and went to visit.  She sat me down and let me know that this was critical, dangerous and needed to be fixed as soon as possible.  Not to do anything crazy, no running, no hockey, no, no, no.  I’ve been on her waitlist for surgery for a year.  And FINALLY I have my date.  Having had surgery before, I know that you can get bumped.  Hopefully I won’t.  November 7th.  It’s on.  Or…it’s out? Either way, it’s happening!  Let’s have a party!

 

More life stories up soon.

xo,

Steph

 

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Stop Feeling Like A Failure, You Probably Learned Something

Today is a funny day.  It marks one day before my tenth year of marriage, and one year from the middle of one of the most epic small business journeys I’ve ever taken.  The memories are strong, the trip was fast and furious, and the future was bright on that fateful drive home.  Looking back, the energy and excitement (mainly from giant Dutch Bros iced coffees) is something I’m not sure I’ll feel again.  We were headed into the unknown, which always gives me hesitant, yet overwhelming excitement.  And my favourite saying, which I learned from the VERY talented Emily Chow, “you don’t know what you don’t know” rings true.  And it does every day, in all walks of business.

So let me tell you abut that trip.  Amelia and I had signed up to do a large, two week long fair in the big city.  It was expensive, it was a commitment (12 hour days, 7 days per week), but we got our staff on board, scheduled it out and braced ourselves for the largest event we’d ever done.  For this – we’d need stock, lots of stock.  We buckled in, and drove the 26 hours to the Los Angeles Fashion District, where we had been several times before, to load up on stock.  With the back of our car filled to the brim, we hustled back to get ready for the main event.  56 hours, 3 states, two hotels, one swim in Lake Shasta, several coffees and one stolen hotel towel later, we returned home.

So…the main event.  Looking back, yes, there were a lot of things we didn’t consider, but again, how do you know?  Our friends had done it the year before and gave it the seal of approval. They had done so well, and felt it was definitely worth it.  Move in day arrived and we arrived for set up, only to find that the building we were setting up in was not air conditioned.  It was hot. Sweltering hot.  So hot, we had to buy cooling towels and bring fans.  I remember going to the washroom with the cashbox, and just sitting in the stall because it was in the basement.  Taking a breather.  We weren’t doing well.  We were tired, we were stressed, staff were cancelling, literally writing nasty messages about us on Facebook and everything was falling apart.  We were hot.  We weren’t making sales.  We wanted it to be over.  We worked the last day together, 15 hours, including take down.  Taking turns beside our tiny fan, sharing angry glances over the pitches we were so tired of hearing over the last 15 days.  We were jammed into this building with the electro magnetic healing slippers, fake eyelashes, knives and mops vendors.  We were out of place, far away from our friends that had been arranged into a nice fashion centre.  We were stuck inside, on the back row of a building that everyone walked through to use the bathroom.  We. Were. Miserable.  We were failing, and (I’m blaming the heat) it felt like everything was crashing down.  Our friends were doing GREAT.  We were doing anything but great.

BUT.  We finished it.  We worked those extra shifts, we screenshotted angry messages, discussed them and got over it, we made the most of those dark, hot days.  We even did two events at the same time, with one of us sitting in a park with only medium clothes (woops!) and the other at the big show.  We did it, with the gracious help of our awesome friends who recognized we were struggling, and stepped in to take a shift or two from us.  (Jayne and Sarah, seriously, we’re indebted to you).  It was the end of the summer and we had so much summer stock left over, we weren’t sure what to do with it, but it was over!  We rested.  It’s a possibility that we didn’t talk for a week. School started.  Fall came, winter happened, spring, and, here we are.

We decided not to do the big event again.  Our friends are all going back, but we’re standing strong.  Yes, sometimes there are those feelings of FOMO, but we’ll get over it.  We learned that we work well as a team.  That we’re willing to take big risks, financially, emotionally, physically.  We learned that we’re stronger than a building that’s temperatures soar into the 80’s, with the sun setting into our booth.  We learned that having staff is hard, and being clear of your expectations is very important.  We learned that you have to do big things, fail big, before you can win.  If you don’t know the bottom, it’s hard to understand the climb to the top.  We learned that staying true to our brand and ourselves is super important – while our friends were outside doing so great, we were trying to stay focused.  And although it was really hard, looking for the silver lining.

The first thing they teach you in skating lessons is how to fall.  Falling means failing, sure, but learning how to fall is important. Don’t forget why you’re there.  Don’t forget why you came.  Failing is a part of business, a part of life.  Failure makes you learn.  Take the leap.  If you fail, you will learn something, I promise.  We shit the bed at the main event, but we changed those sheets and moved on, knowing so much more than we did before.  No regrets. (Maybe an ice pack suit.) .

I’ll leave you again with this quote:  “You don’t know what you don’t know.”  Leap.

 

Xo,

Steph

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