Gimme my belly back

I have decided to share this story because I know that someone will get the encouragement he or she needs from it.

Here I am, 36 years old.

Sometimes it freaks me out… I’m 5 years older than my father was when he died. Yes, my dad died at the age of 31 (when I was 5 years old – we have never met – my parents divorced before I was born).

He had a brain hemorrhage.

12 years later, when I was 17 years old, we figured out what was the real reason…

I ended up in ICU in life threatening conditions. My left leg was swelled to double the size of the other one and it was grey.

It was the first deep vein thrombosis experience of my life. ( I am purposely not saying that ‘I had’ or that ‘I have’… I believe in the power of words and thoughts. And I do not own any of this shit.)

The first experience was very stressful for everybody around me… The doctors didn’t know what to do… Should they take me to surgery and risk that I probably die during the procedure or just simply put me on anticoagulants and wait for a miracle – that was equally risky.

They have decided that the risk of me dying during the surgery is too high, so they just let me wait. I got I.V. anticoagulant, my leg was up in a rail and I wasn’t allowed to move. (yes, it means that you do everything in your bed.)

They didn’t tell me anything. I was too stressed. I couldn’t stop crying and my blood pressure was over 200…

They didn’t plan. They said to my friends, that if I survive the night, we’ll take it from there.
My mom was working away from home at the time and she was due to come home 3 days later. I didn’t let anyone call her. No point for her to stress for 3 days when she couldn’t possibly come any sooner. (don’t forget it, we are back in 2001 — well before cheap flights existed.)

The doctors didn’t allow anyone to tell me how big of the problem is because they were afraid that I couldn’t process it and if I was given it up, it would be even worse.

The funny part is, that I clearly remember asking them if I’ll be able to go the ‘Foam party’ (it was really cool back then – does it still exist?) the following week because the boy that I was hopelessly in love with, will be there.
— turned out: it wasn’t that hopeless… [winky face]
— also turned out: total pig… [laughing face]

To cut the long story short, I have spent the next 11 days in ICU.
After 7 days, I had to learn to walk again because of my left leg completely…. I don’t even know what happened to it…
The other one was OK.

It took me 20 minutes to walk from my bed to the door.
The pain was excruciating. Just to make it easier for you to imagine what pain is: back home, I peed myself in my sleep from the pain.

To make it more fun, I had to put bandage on my leg from top to bottom every time I was up… Back then, we didn’t have compression socks and stockings… I had 4 roll of bandages that I had to roll up on my leg…

Did I mention that it was the SUMMER of 2001? —- In Hungary, it means 36-41 degrees… CELSIUS. Yummy…. —-remember, I’m a 17 years old girl…

It seems like a lifetime happened between then and now.

Later I got diagnosed:
Heterozygous Factor 5 Leiden mutation (there is more risk of a blood clot on any given day)
What is that mean? — I asked

And the doctor said:
-you can’t have a job where you are standing all day
-you can’t have a job where you are sitting all day
-you can’t use sunbed
-you can’t use sauna
-you can’t swim in cold water
-you can’t take hot bath
-you can’t have children
-you can’t fly on an airplane
-you can’t travel long distance where you can’t stand up for a walk
-you can’t go to the dentist
-you can’t get waxed
-you can’t get facials
-you can’t drink any alcohol
-you can’t eat a list of food
and he went on and on…..

Remember, I’m still a 17 years old young woman.

Thank God, now we have a lot more knowledge about this condition and we know that the above list is a complete bullshit. — well, parts of it.

I have learned to live with it. I don’t know any other way for the past almost 20 years. I have made my peace with it.

In 2019, I got a really bad flu… I was sleeping for 5 days.

With my condition, the two major ENEMIES are INACTIVITY and DEHYDRATION.
After sleeping for 5 days, not drinking and not moving, I knew I fucked up.

Two days later I started to feel the scary, familiar pain in my left calf.
Ones you have it, you will never forget the pain.
It wasn’t excruciating yet. But it was horrifyingly familiar.

The problem is, that it starts with a muscle-pain like feeling…
Most people don’t even bother. That’s why it’s so dangerous.

In the U.S. and Europe, deep vein thrombosis kills more people than AIDS, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and motor vehicle crashes combined.

It’s not a fucking joke.

So I went to the hospital. I said that there might be a DVT situation going on…
They took my blood, but the results didn’t make it 100% certain.
Yet, because I knew so much about it and about the symptoms, they sent me for an ultrasound. The E.R. doctor was very honest and said that I clearly know a lot more about it than she does, since it’s not her specialty – therefore she will send me to every possible test to make sure I’m ok.

I only had to go for the ultrasound, because the little fucker was right there in my calf where I pointed my finger on.
A tiny little blood clot. A tiny little fucker, that smaller than a dot… It can still fucking kill you in a second.

It’s been 16 months….
14 months on injections… It’s over 400 injections into my belly.

400 injections in the area of 5cm radius from my bellybutton.

400 scars

It looks awful. No, it doesn’t hurt… Most of the times…
But sometimes, when you hit a bad spot, it goes black. It’s painful.
Sometimes you can’t laugh because your skin hurts.
Sometimes you can’t wear anything because it hurts when it touches your skin… Sometimes you don’t even realize that you have hit a bad spot until you start washing the dishes and your body leans against the countertop. Or when you have an Oscar puppy and jumps on your belly. Sometimes you can’t sleep because it hurts in every position. And sometimes it hurts when you are trying to make love. — I know.. It sucks…

But today, it is over. I stopped the injections. And hopefully, soon enough I will be able to stop taking the tablets too…

Why have I told you all of this?

Because it’s been quite a journey. I have learned a lot from it.
I have learned to appreciate the important things.
And because I want you to appreciate life and appreciate your body.

I love my body – even though my skin is not ‘perfect’, my hair is not ‘perfect’, my belly is not ‘perfect’ and I have well enough cellulite for an entire Ladies book club, I STILL LOVE MY BODY because I AM ALIVE.

I LOVE MY TINY WRINKLES – because I am getting older. So many people didn’t get the chance to get old. My father probably never had the chance to have a wrinkle. I salute every little new line…

I LOVE ALL 3 OF MY GREY HAIR – same reason… Not everyone lives long enough to have wisdom-highlights.

We need to learn to LOVE LIFE.
Enjoy life, enjoy LOVE, and say it out loud.
We have to learn to be kind to ourselves and to others.

I hope my story makes you stop and think.
Even if only for a second.
Please, do me a favor a look at the mirror and see how beautiful and perfect you are.

And because I have no other way of knowing if you have read my post, please leave a comment on my social media post.
I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thank you for being here.
xxx, Dorina

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