Monday, 28 November 2016

Life after a hysterctomy....... Does it work?

After years of suffering from a hormonal based mood disorder,its now been 4 years this week exactly since I took the step to have a radical hysterectomy, along with the removal of ovaries. This came after an exhausting battle with PMDD, and an even longer battle with both psychiatry,holistic intervention, life style changes and trying every available medication known to man, to try and put an end to the monthly misery.

Nothing worked....or rather nothing worked for the long term, and everything that did work, gradually lost its efficacy. I was also sick of trying and being lulled into a false sense of security until once again, the next intervention failed, it was just so draining and well,tiresome.
 In November 2012, I finally underwent major surgery and because of the oophorectomy, added back the necessary hormones I needed in order to protect my heart and bones. I can tell you now that my life has been transformed in so many ways, and the brutal cycling which had been with me since early adolescence had finally come to an end.

Or so I thought.

The change was so great and so complete, that in May this year I decided to begin to taper off of anti-depressant medication in the hope of being free of them and the side effects. The weight gain in particular had begun to effect my self esteem, and I relished the thought of having an increased sex drive.

Firstly, I researched the correct way to approach the taper, and after taking lots of notes and advice , used the ten per cent rule which seemed to be the most effective. I took away ten percent of the SSRi weekly, thus avoiding any unnecessary withdrawal and minimising the discontinuation syndrome.

The first couple of months appeared to be absolutely fine,and I had no adverse effects at all. I seemed to gain more confidence as I finally dared to hope that I had conquered my own disorder. Sometimes I felt a little euphoric and the pounds just melted away, with lots of people commenting on my slender waistline. Gradually however, things began to change, and by October I was only using a  minuscule amount of medication. Sure enough day by day, sometimes hourly, things went rapidly downhill and I was filled with the onslaught of the familiar mental chatter.

The first thing I noticed was a return of my misophonia (severe hatred of sound). Slowly and surely the irritability returned and an incomprehensible rage came over me which filled me with a sense of dread,as I knew by now what was likely to happen. Despite my knowledge of the disorder, I still managed to convince myself that I would be able to override this latest set back, and  I desperately tried to practise mindfulness, affirmations and relaxation techniques. I increased my supplementation and vitamins, and desperately clung onto any coping strategy that I could think of while all the while I was sinking.......and sinking fast.

I'm not going to say how much further things went, but what I will say is that a week or so down the line I was once again having suicidal thoughts, was extremely paranoid and bordering on delusional. My thought processing was completely out of control,I was wildly racing and completely irrational.

This my friends is serious, and not to mention dangerous.

So what was going on? And how have I managed to rationalise this in my own mind?

Since feeling better, and yes I've had to start taking my medication as a matter of great urgency, I've researched extensively. So here now are my findings and the possible causes for this latest setback.

1. The discontinuation syndrome caused by the SSRi was too fast and caused a sudden decline. This is quite probable as I have been on medication since I was 14 years of age. It has also taken three weeks or so to stabilise, so I'm pretty sure I had hardly any in my system at all.

2. The effects of the hysterectomy have 'run out' and as before, my body has started to cycle again. Its hard to say as yet whether the cycling is regular, but there were two consecutive months of symptoms but not a third. The third would be now covered by the SSRi so I'm  afraid I cant categorically answer this (sorry).

3. My original diagnoses of PMDD was running alongside something else, so therefore a PME diagnoses would have been more likely (Pre-menstrual exacerbation). Scientists call this a 'co-morbid' disorder which means that two or even more illnesses are running alongside each other and so the diagnoses is both sketchy and disorganised.( This is the most likely I have found).

4. As I've now been on medication since I was so young, my brain has simply forgotten how to produce its own serotonin and even how to regulate it. Scientists also confirm that this can happen and I have also rated this explanation as highly probable.

5.Last but not least, I am simply a loon with more disorders than can be mentioned and no hope of finding out which came first. This would mean a complicated chicken and egg situation which may have no firm answers. This is of course a great concern to me, and as much as I hate to bring you this sudden decline in mental health, I've always written with honesty and integrity. It is my wish that any fellow sufferer knows all the facts, even though they may be hard to stomach. I'm obviously concerned that anyone who is waiting for a hysterectomy maybe desperately worried as they cling onto that one possibility of a cure.

One thing is for sure and that is, I still maintain that the hysterectomy has indeed transformed my life. I've had four 'clear' years and now the SSRI works, where as before, it didn't work at all.  As I write this blog I'm now stable, free of anxiety and filled with clarity. I just have to accept that my body through what ever reason, simply doesn't produce serotonin. Its highly probable,inevitable even, that I will be on medication for the rest of my life.

 I'm not going to say that I'm not disappointed because I am, but anything is better than the misery of this dreadful mood disorder, whatever it may be. I just need  so desperately to be here and to look after my family, to stay alive and because of that I have to do whatever it takes.

Today I can categorically say to you that I am well. And that I am grateful.

I Blame the Hormones can be purchased on Amazon under the Pseudonym of Caroline Church. It can be downloaded onto Kindle, Smartphone, IPad, PC or any tablet. Please leave a review.

God Bless, Suzi x