Sunday, 7 October 2012

Closure, Endings and FIN

Every good story needs an end and every shite situation needs closure. We all need to say 'FIN' at some point and now is my time.

So much has happened since I last wrote anything. Why did I stop writing? Basically, I went through a sticky patch at work and that affected my life. My contract at British Council finished and no renewal. In retrospect, this was the best thing that could've happened but that period of uncertainty really didn't help recovery. Now, I've moved into teacher training. It can be slow and unreliable but I'm happier. And more to the point, still in Mexico City and with friends and not making a new start when physically and mentally I wasn't ready.

Why did I want to complete the blog? I got the impetus in August and if you don't mind, I'll give you all a little background information. In March, I travelled alone to Tepotzlan. This is some little hippy town two hours from Mexico City. I planned to Couchsurf and then got stood up. No big deal. I decided to enjoy my romantic weekend with me. Now Tepoztlan has some ruined pyramid. I decided to climb it and after one third of the way up, got pains and realised that such a decision was stupid after having an organ removed 6 weeks before. In August, work took me to Cuernavaca and I decided to take a trip to Tepoztlan. I saw that pyramid and this time, I knew I needed to summit it. I did it. No one there was aware of the significance of such a climb and not even a huge one. To this day, no one really knows why this was important. I climbed down and drank a huge michelada. That was my closure.

What has my recovery taught me? Lets in true Fishwick style, write a list:

1. I'm a survivor and if I can get through a hysterectomy and recovery, then I can cope with many things and many more than what I thought.

2. I never once lost my sense of humour

3. It's important to keep on reminding people that I'm not there yet and this recovery can never be rushed. Some still don't get it.

4. It's fine to trust instincts and stay where is best. Some assumed that I'd be leaving Mexico like I'm some backpacker. My support network if anything is here. Nine months after a hysterectomy, I was still quite precarious healthwise and a move would probably cause a setback. And with people I don't trust. It takes time for me to open up and then that would lead to another unnecessary mess.

5. I've had up and very down days. I'm not sure if that's me or the operation.

6. Learn to be open. It's the strongest thing a person can do. I'm still learning.

7. Periods suck. I hated mine. I'm very relaxed with not having them. I used to dread that time of the month and how much pain I was in. There's no way I could do my job now. Or have my life

8. I've become even more pro child free life.

9. Not everyone gains weight :-)

10. Never give up. Even on the worst days. I have my life back. I do what I want. I haven't suffered for a while. I can safely say I'm 100% better. It took time. It was a process but really, I'm back to what I am and better.

Time for me to close the blog and continue with my new lease of life. I hope this blog if anything, will help a woman like me. Even just one and that means that what I went through and what I wrote has achieved it's purpose.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Barbeques in the sun

Some of the cool things about living in Mexico City is a fabulous climate when Europe is cold and rainy; flats with roofs (though mine lacks one) and regular barbeques. The last one sounds odd due to my dietary choices but all is possible with tofu, some tasty marinade and to make sure that the designated cook does not put my lovely animal free food next to burgers and ribs. Cross contamination and all that. And, also make sure that I at least get something. These bloody omnivores has some curiosity to see what some weirdy vegan eats and more to the point, they love it.

It was a barbeque marathon weekend. Three in the space of two days and a danger of barbeque overdose. Or at least, death by marinaded tofu kebab. Each one was different. One was at a guy from Couchsurfing and no, I'm not turning into a CS addict but it was good to get back into talking to new people. The one on Sunday afternoon was organisd by the other Senior Teacher for the ex Teaching Centre Manager who had since moved to China. I actually met him at a conference and my feeling was 'good networking' which could be important. Then, a friend from work who I manage too, birthday barbeque so it could be all out carnage.

Now, I'll probably get shot by other post hysterectomy patients but really who else can do it? The whole weekend involved lifting bags and perhaps more than I can carry. I'm not a fan of taxis as my Spanish is limited (unprofessionally speaking, it sucks) and also why be part of the problem this city has with the worship of the car. I'm against it. Also, walking is the only exercise I ever it's a case of 'kill or cure'. Not the most responsible post major surgery attitude, I agree.

The barbeque at Carlos's place was actually enjoyable. I got talking to other people and it wasn't too painful. I happily shared my tofu. Then, my assumption of good weather and barbeque season was shattered. It began to piss it down and thankfully Roberto called who was lurking by my flat and wanted to drink beer with me followed by Andrew who also wanted to go out for a queer beer. Yes, my friends are clearly supporting me getting back to my old life. The rest of the evening was lovely. I like unplanned visits and I like queer beers and being educated on the differences between Shakira and Lady Gaga. I did decline Andrew's suggestion to go to Living. A night of dancing and possibly something illegal with beautiful people..well I know my parameters and limits.

I needed to be ready for a semi respectable barbeque and kind of prepare myself for perhaps something a bit more rock n'roll later. Again, I enjoyed myself though drank far too much and perhaps have ruined all networking opportunities. At least, the guests of honour were both pissed too so one has to be grateful for small mercies and anyone in ELT for the long term is bound to be a functional alcoholic. Now, I was way too hammered to make it to the birthday barbeque and realised that it was for the best. A weird thing is that with my drinking, I always know when it will be socially embarassing to be in a public place.

I got alcoholic neurosis mainly caused by guilt and anxiety by drinking too much on a Sunday. I am thinking was it the operation or just me being neurotic. Possibly the latter.

Here are my post hysterectomy boozing and partying case you like that sort of thing

1. Keep it close to home in case you get a bit wobbly
2. Make sure there's at least one person who you can trust
3. Talking about the operation in graphic detail is a great way to get rid of party bores quickly
4. Avoid clubbing
5. Concerts are probably not the best option right now
6. Try and make the baggy trousers look stylish with a funky top and shoes. Jeans are not an option
7. Don't be afraid to say no
8. Say yes if you're up for's really good to get out and about
9. Maybe don't hook up with a stranger..scars internally and externally are not attractive
10. A few drinks does not do you any harm

More steps to being the Fishwick

Yes, it's been a while since I wrote but there's been a lot going on. More so with work and also back to having fun and getting up to no good. In a slightly restrained way but we're getting there.

Things that I've been doing are going to the weekly Couchsurfing meet up. Now, usually I avoid. The same people and the same questions. I'm a slight square peg in a round hole in many ways and have a strong aversion to small talk so not my usual way to spend an evening. Anyway, a girl from the USA messaged me and she sounded cool. Also, there's been some ruptures on Couchsurfing that the group is exclusive, all about meeting girls and they do the same things. I agree. A night at Lucha Libre doesn't inspire neither does a wander around Zocolo. A few of us were quite vocal including this young guy called Miguel so I wanted to meet him.

Once I got past the boring niceties, I engaged in conversation with Miguel or Hassam and it was enjoyable. Young and gay and some interesting ideas. Definite potential handbag here. Marie was fun too and also saw Roberto and Pedro who knew the full story and were happy to see me out. Naturally, it didn't take me long to flake out but at least it was all about getting out and meeting people.

Of course, this does have some consequences. Marie asked me to come out on Friday for drinks around Condessa. Usually, I'd be in like a shot (literally) but was a struggle to get off the couch.

So that's how it is...I'm getting back to work and also back to having a life. Making belligerant comments, striving and thinking of how to improve an online community and talking to new people. Slowly and in a restrained manner...but nonetheless, getting there.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Nose to the grindstone

Or would it be more apt to say, nose to the desk when I keep on having a sneaky bit of shut eye at work. I was warned but going back to work is really quite tough. The first thing is work clothes. I'm not Ms Corporate Dresser but I am expected to wear something smarter than my uniform of leggings and the dreaded drawstrong trousers. I ended up graduating to tighter t-shirts but nothing could prepare me for the discomfort of work trousers and shirts. Then, I made the mistake of wearing jeans last night. I am still suffering now. Back to the drawstring trousers for a while then. At least outside office hours.

I am making merticulous to do lists and stare at them for a while but am trying to keep them short and with a product in sight at the end. Need to keep my motivation high or at least not wane. That would be a disaster. And trying to limit myself to 7 hours max at work. Not very well but the effort is there. My head is a complete fuzz and full of cotton wool but I'm doing surprisingly well as masquerading as an efficient middle manager. Everyone has commented on how well I look and how chirpy I seem...but I need to give gentle reminders that I'm still a way off. The new hairstyle is working wonders mind you..

Actually, I'm doing quite well at managing workloads but it still comes in. Things need to be done like a tender which has a one day deadline. Shite. But, I'm handling it..slowly but surely and hopefully all will be fine. I've got the perfect excuse if it isn't and I hope it works.

The thing that gets me is that I'm shattered yet can't settle at night. And I wake up early. Then am half asleep at work. Not the best combination but slow steps and some large tasks. Maybe I am getting there afterall.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Out of the frying pan and into...

So, this was it. Almost 6 weeks of being too ill to work and now here was my re-entry into the very real world. It might have been drinking wine yesterday and remaining to my incapacidad schedule but had little sleep. Though, for a Monday, that's usual. Too much partying over the weekend. Going to bed late followed by a lie in and a few cheeky ones on Sunday. Topped off with having Sunday night nagging insomnia over my Monday to do list.

I heard my alarm and knew that snooze wasn't an option. It was a command. I threw myself into my morning routine with minimal fannying around. Besides, I had an appointment for counselling at 9am. I needed coffee so that I could express thoughts and fears at least coherently so that my counsellor could be supportive. Actually, it was a good session and yes, I'm getting a lot better at expressing how I feel and it's helping even if it is just having another person who won't get bored and fed up and will leave their issues out of it. And I don't get the guilt about blathering on about myself for an hour. Surely, that's the point?

It was really like I'd never been away from the overcrowded bus, my ability to find a seat and the fear that the drover wouldn't stop at the Anthropology Museum. Same old, same old but refreshingly the same. Well, I'd only been out of action for nearly 6 weeks.

I sneaked into grand entrance for me. Secretly, I'm quite a shy and modest person who hates all the attention and then broached the task I was dreading all emails. All 444 of them. Thankfully, I had my ruthless head on that probably 75% were irrelevant and enjoyed some over zelaous deleting. What fun. I discovered that there were some priorities and action points and not hundreds. Great.

Colleagues kept on dropping by to say 'hello and welcome back'. I'm not sure how many really knew why I disappeared for 6 weeks. I suspect all knew but most were happy to see me back. I was also pretty open that I was exhausted at erm...12 noon.

The day passed and I think I achieved a lot. I hope. I managed 7 hours work though now I'm shattered. I just hope that this good day hasn't set a precedence that I'm ready for a full on workload or I'm going to suffer tomorrow. No setbacks as yet mind you.

As I suspected, my comeback after a 5 and half week hiatus was far more stressful than I speculated. But that's my character. I am the sort of person who stares at the phone for hours before making a call in case the reciever hangs up especially with men. How unfeminist of me.

All I can say is that I'm totally knackered. I hope there will be no insomnia tonight but a good long sleep for a focus group tomorrow. Yes, I'm really (kind of) back at work.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Back to life, back to reality

If someone made a wurdle of this blog, apart from 'I' (may I apoloise now for my narcissm), the most commonly used word could be 'back'. The analogy or metaphor could be going back to somewhere where I was before. Right now, my feelings are that I'm returning from a long and pretty arduous journey which is pretty disimiliar from most of my backpacking adventures. This one has been a whole new and different experience and one probably not to be repeated. Well, you only have a hysterectomy once and for a good reason. The least of which that it's medically impossible.

My next huge step was returning to work. And yes, this was relatively speaking a massive step. I found my previous leaps were going to the park; washing up; cooking dinner and getting drunk. Oh yes, and one more today was going to the market unaccompanied. My main fear is carer's fatigue. My counsellor thinks that this is in my head. It might very well be. I certainly had a case of 'asking for care fatigue' so did it on my own. Sod the consequences. Actually, it wasn't too bad but a slight pulling on my scar and feeling irritable at those trying to sell their wares. No more than my usual Sunday hangover though.

The afternoon was lovely despite feeling emotionally fragile over a few things...well one thing but that's for me to sort out and not something for a public blog. You'd only think I was being neurotic. Anna invited me round for drinks on the roof and with the booze I'm making up for lost time. Probably too much but there was a lot on my mind which needs a little bit of numbing right now. Sometimes, I wish they put a bit too much anaesthetic in my brain and not in my left thigh (which still has a weird post dentist feeling).

Before I sleep, I'll write a list of:

My post op recovery period achievements

1. Wrote this blog...and am pretty overwhelmed by the supportive comments I've recieved. I am so happy that people have actually read it and as long as it supports someone somewhere, then objective achieved.

2. Watched some films including Oscar winning 'The King's Speech' and 'Black Swan'. Courtesy of private viewings from the private collection.

3. Reconnected with good friends from the past

4. Vegan cooking experiments life plan?

5. Lost 4 kgs though that sounds very pro ana

Post recovery things I should've done but didn't

1. More reading....oops! Well, my brain was scrambled for a while

2. Learn more Spanish...had problems thinking in English most of the time. Failed to read 'The Little Prince' in Spanish.

3. Devise a revolution or at least support a friend with this aim

4. Sleep a was great at the start but anxiety got in the way of that one

5. Find out my life purpose and goals.

6. Help a friend with IELTS...he's busy, mind you so no point beating myself up over that one

7. Sorting out my CD collection...yes, just realised my collection is a total mess and it was on the 'to do list'

8. Organise my book collection (see above)

And in true Fishwick style..and to prevent a nasty and badly timed bout of insomnia, here's my back to work worry list.

1. The emails!!! There will be 100's of them...crap

2. Will I cry at an inappropriate time?

3. How will I cope with work clothes? I'm not comfortable with them at the best of times and now I've got a delightful slash on my stomach and I've dropped a clothes size. Forgot to buy safety pins to hold my trousers together. Bugger.

4. Have I been rendered useless?

5. What's my bloody password?

6. Financial, I didn't put in some claims. Shit

7. My performance plan...none of it done. Oops

8. Am I going to keep my job for another year?

9. Do I indeed like my job?

10. What are my priorities anyway?

My god...there are many, many more. I don't wish to bore anyone with more of my concerns and worries. It could be be like facing a cold pool for a swim. It always seems far worse than it actually is..though that's a poor comparison. I have an aversion to cold water but you get my drift.

Time to sleep and I really hope I do sleep too.

Lets get ready to rumble

Missions of the day included

1. New haircut
2. Buy Eduardo's present
3. Get drunk at Eduardo's party

Not bad in all and really, this was beginning to sound like a typical Saturday for Liz Fishwick.

The hairdressing experience was really quite positive. The salon was four doors away from my flat and run by a gay couple with cool hair so all looked quite rosy. I loved the salon. The two guys were lovely and gave me what I wanted and the atmosphere in the place reminded me of all the the reasons why I love Mexico. It was almost someone's front room with people coming in and out for chats. The multitasking here can be rather irritating like they are not focussing but things somehow always get done in a way that I don't understand or at least I can't do. So, I'm learning to accept it. For the record, my haircut was fabulous. I loved it and gave them a good tip. Nothing like neighbourhood relationship building here.

The day began to go swimmingly. I got home and quickly went on chat. I saw that a friend who I've met a coupple of times in DF also had IMSS issues and a short conversation resulted in a decision to go for beers in the sun. Wow, I needed to air my new look and also sun and beers...what a great combination! And, I found Ed's birthday present...without hassle. Yes, things were definitely getting better. The catch over beers was lovely too. It was really nice to see this friend again and a boost for me. I was back doing my favourite things.

I returned and got myself ready for Ed's party like a regular Saturday night. A few nerves and all about whether I could still socially interact with people and how could I cope moving outside the inner circle of friends. A few drinks and some good chats where I tried not to talk too much about the operation. I didn't want to depress people. But, I managed..and yes another step.

I woke up slightly hungover and had a feeling that I didn't make a fool of myself. I maybe beared my soul but that's the new me. More honesty in communication with those around me. Whether I'll apply it in all areas and at all times, remains to be seen. I need to be brave and strong and it may mean losing friends in the process or finding new respect.