It’s My Party and I’ll Cry if I Want To

Geriatric (adjective): Relating to old people, especially with regard to their healthcare

Many people wished me a “Happy Birthday” this week – thank you, that was really considerate of you. So I didn’t go full-circle, but the cards, charity donations, parcels were incredible and a wonderful distraction. It was not entirely a happy birthday, it was surreal, and not for just the obvious reasons. Hold on to your seats, you’re overdue a few updates and you’re in for a big surprise.

Please note that I am not medical and no such advice should be taken from this blog (I know you know this, but there’s no harm in reiterating it, just to be responsible. I simply mention the medical terminology so that if you’re in the same boat and want to chat, we can share our thoughts etc).

Reason to cry #1: Happy geriatric birthday

You know this one: turning 35 means I’m officially a GERIATRIC in gynaecological terms now. That’s a depressing fact. If I ever get pregnant again, I’ll be labelled a geriatric pregnancy. Thanks for that (!) Last year on my birthday I was happily 7 weeks pregnant and concealing it from friends. This year? Well, this year, you’ll see that it couldn’t have been any further from the last.

Reason to cry #2: Birthday wish? Daily injections, please!

I blogged previously about testing positive for the PAI 4G/5G mutation, apparently it’s something that’s more common with women with polycystic ovaries and from an Asian background (two ticks for me then). I won’t bore you with the details (mainly because I don’t understand them), but it’s something to do with how my body does/doesn’t break down blood clots. What this means is, for all future pregnancies, I will have to have daily injections from conception, right through to 24 weeks. As someone who always disliked taking pregnacare (the capsules are HUGE, like swallowing bullets), the first thing I said to James when thinking about having to inject myself daily was “that’s love, that is”.

Reason to cry #3: Pre pre pre pre cancer

What? Yeah, you read that correctly. You know what word usually doesn’t go with birthdays? Cancer. Well in my case, it’s pre pre pre pre cancer cells (it’s not cancer, but it raises the risk of developing cancer in the uterus). My birthday was on Wednesday, but I received a call on Monday night to say that they have found some abnormal cells from the recent surgical procedure I had. All of the consultants seemed a bit baffled, as apparently the simple endometrial hyperplasia is usually found in very obese women; I have none of the usual symptoms. I genuinely wanted to laugh, it’s all just so preposterous now. My immediate response to the consultant was “I don’t care about not getting cancer! I care about getting pregnant”, huge apologies if that sounds flippant, but it was my bruthful gut reaction.

Reason to cry #4: In hospital on my birthday

Due to the above bombshell, the doctors called me into hospital on Wednesday morning (yep, my birthday), as they wanted to start treatment for the cells.

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve been in a semi state of shock, I’ve felt mostly numb. I woke up on Wednesday and was on complete autopilot. I stupidly hadn’t thought through the day ahead and at 9am, found myself sat in the waiting area where I’ve previously been sat for all of my midwife appointments (i.e. for all three pregnancies). This was my second cry of the day (the first was in the cab on the way over, when my friend M sent me a beautiful poem he had written about Summer). My third cry came in quick succession: the nurse saying “I need a urine sample, for a pregnancy test”. Again, I’m a bit stupid, aren’t I? All those urine samples for procedures and it never once occurred to me, what for. But of course the day I had it spelled out for me, was the one day I didn’t want to hear I’d be failing one.

Reason to cry #5: Physical and emotional pain

The treatment for the cells is a hormonal device which is inserted into the uterus. I was awake for the procedure and the amount of pain is essentially dependant on the sensitivity of the cervix… Let’s just say ouch, shall we? However, by far the worst part of all this is the emotional pain. The treatment device also acts as contraception, and I have to have it in for 6 months. Yep, the woman who was upset about a six week delay to being able to try to conceive again, is now being delayed by a minimum of six months. This means a few things: I definitely won’t be pregnant for Summer’s birthday in March, I won’t become a mum to a full-term baby aged 35 and the icing on the birthday cake? The day we’ll be able to start thinking about a family again, will be the two year anniversary of BoC’s due date.

I know there are people of faith reading this blog, but I can’t help but feel that there’s someone having a right good laugh up there.

Reason to cry #6: The change in Covid-9 lockdown rules

On Tuesday, London was open. On Wednesday it moved into Tier 3: all restaurants closed, all plans officially cancelled. It was a lonely day, with James working for the entirety of it, but we live in a Tier 2 area, so I was able to leave my building site of a home and salvage parts of it.

So, as depressing as the above all is, I did manage to muster a list of ‘small joys’ from the day, so I thought I’d share these for balance. Yes, my life has been steered down unimaginable and unenviable paths, and yes “it could be better”, but it could also be worse: I can probably get a Covid vaccine now, I am potentially staving off a cancer I would otherwise have known nothing about and maybe I can travel to zika-blacklisted countries, like Thailand and Peru, in the next 6 months. None of this is as expected, but so little is within my control anyway. I’m just along for the ride.

Small Birthday Joys:

  • High heels & straight hair
  • The Uber driver thinking I was heading into the hospital as a doctor, not as a patient
  • M waking up and writing me a poem
  • The consultant and nurses for the procedure being so lovely and understanding
  • A cup of tea and a chat with the midwives
  • Wearing a new jumper
  • Opening such thoughtful and lovely presents, cards and parcels at home
  • Hitting the £600 Rays of Sunshine Charity fundraising goal for my birthday!
  • Finding the perfect Christmas cards for the children (and ticking that off the to-do list)
  • Got to try the Costa Terry’s hot chocolate orange drink I’ve seen on the ads
  • Hitting 785 instagram followers. I like the 85, seeing as I was born in ‘85
  • Enjoying my sparkly nails
  • Time to respond to all birthday correspondence without feeling stressed
  • Lunch – halloumi, sweet chilli, avocado, poached egg, sweetcorn fritters YUM
  • A Specoloos biscuit. Always makes me laugh.
  • An unexpectedly beautiful hotel room
  • Pulling on a pair of new socks
  • A message from the Rays of Sunshine Charity
  • Video message from the B’s
  • FaceTime with K
  • My niece M’s Christmas jokes
  • A soak in the bath
  • A pretty restaurant and posh lamb donner
  • Comfortable solo dining (finally a grown up!)
  • A slice of carrot cake
  • Rum cocktails
  • Fundraising target exceeding last year’s charity donations: £760 raised!

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(5) Comments

  1. Claudia says:

    I just want to give you a big hug.
    Not a very good comment, but it’s what I feel and that should count for something.

    And not a pity hug – a friendly and loving supporting hug.


  2. Melanie says:

    Anj, I just cannot believe what the universe is dealing out to you. I am in shock. I want to wrap my arms around you and protect you from the world… The only words of comfort I think I can offer is that the time delay seems huge right now, but one day you will look back and it won’t matter. You have to sort out those cells, and maybe the extra time will be a blessing in other ways xxx

  3. Karen Palmer says:

    I love your list of joys. Those are all wonderful. Congratulations on the fundraising and the 785. And how lovely that you had tea and a chat with the midwives. I know, from working in a clinical setting for many years, that it’s a rare thing to find time to sit and chat and have tea with a visitor – so they must really love you!
    As for all the rest, I’m so sorry. And yes, you’re right – it’s so much better to know about these pre pre pre pre cancer cells than not. I’d almost say that one is Providence.
    As for God having a laugh – I think, on this occasion, you’ve been the person that’s shown the astonishing ability to laugh. What a lot you have come through and you’re still able to list all those lovely joys. You’re amazing, Summer’s mummy. Happy Birthday 💕xx

  4. Claire says:

    I always feel like I have a reason to cry on my birthday but these reasons are rarely justified. For you to have these 6+ such reasons is just heartbreaking.
    I am so proud of you for being able to list all these joys in the face of adversity.

  5. Laura says:

    I can’t believe this. I read with my mouth dropping open. I’m so so sorry. You are in my thoughts and I am amazed by your positivity. You are so brave. Hang in there xx

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