Finding Your Strength

This month is now a month for two anniversaries. For many years it was the anniversary of the day I married my husband, March 3rd 1970. He died almost ten years ago and yet he gave me the greatest gifts ever. The gift of discovering how much I could do on my own and the gift of learning how to live alone. Without him I would not be the whole and strong woman who writes these blogs today. For thirty four years he gave me freedom. Freedom to think for myself and make my own choices.

Up until that time my life had been all about regiment. I was told when to get up, when to go to sleep, what to eat, chores to do and everything possible about what I should do with my life. When I met him I was almost twenty-two years old and had never spent a day alone, nor made any decisions concerning my life without the approval of my parents. It was the way things were when I was young as part of a household of ten people, eight children and two adults. I didn’t question because to do so would more than likely end up with punishment. So I did what I was told because it was easier than causing stress. Then I met the man who I would marry.

From the moment we met he thought I was an amazing young woman who should be able to think for myself and do whatever I wanted to do with my life. Then a year later I had arrived in Singapore from England and he was still on the rig, waiting for a relief worker so he could leave and we would plan our wedding. Before leaving England, he had sent me instructions of hotel and other details in case he was stuck out on the rig. Even though I had flown thousands of miles alone to marry him, I was young enough to not be worried or fearful. My marriage to this man began a life filled with amazing journeys. The early years also became about my struggle to learn how to be alone while learning to enjoy the time alone.

My husband worked on offshore drilling rigs and that meant he spent more time offshore than at home. He came in a day after I arrived in Singapore and I had already been exposed to so many firsts. First time in a hotel room by myself. First time learning how to use the air-conditioning controls because in England I had never seen one. A night of fear when awakened by fire crackers for the Chinese New Year celebrations. I thought someone was shooting guns until I finally plucked up the courage to look outside my window. First morning going down to eat breakfast without knowing a soul in the world I had chosen to move to. I worried what if he didn’t show up. Worried what I would do then. I had a return ticket, so knew I could fly back to England but my mind was full of worries. Fortunately he arrived at the hotel later the next day and all was well.

Everyone predicted our marriage would never succeed. There were several reasons. He was worldly and I had never left England. He was seventeen years old than I and divorced. I had never been married and was much younger. We were from two worlds and two countries. But because of the man he was, it did work. It worked because he believed in freedom of mind and body for every human being. He was indeed an amazing man.

I knew what his job entailed of course. I knew he would be on a rig fourteen days and off only seven. I knew he would be travelling a day each way to get back to me in Singapore. His rig was off the coast of Indonesia and at the time it was not a good place for families to live so we lived on the Island of Singapore. I knew all this before I flew out there to marry him, but nothing can prepare you for reality. We married three weeks later when he came back in from the rig after his next hitch. It was then all about my learning curve that gave me the strength to live alone in many countries and find my way when things did not go right. That is why I am able to fight hard now and to figure out what to do without anyone having to do it for me.

In three days it will be another anniversary. Not a pleasant one either. It will be four years since the mesh sling was put into my body and my life became a nightmare. A series of figuring out how to find the strength to find a different doctor when I was not treated well. Last year was a particularly hard year. Two surgeries which made three in nine months. Flying far from home when I had other complications. But I look back and know it is because I dug deep to find the strength to keep going that I am still here.

This past week women have told me of their struggles when insurance companies cancel their surgery just before the date is due. This happens often sadly and then they have to find the strength to force the issue and get done what they need badly. I know women want to give up at times. I understand it because at times I have too. But we don’t deserve to be treated this way and my way is to have a good cry one day, then get up the next with new resolve. I gained that kind of strength because of who I married and all I can do is tell women that they are worth saving. They do not deserve bad treatment by doctors or insurance companies. Fortunately they find the strength they need and get done what is needed to make their lives better.

There were times last year I hit rock bottom. I was tired of fighting. But instead of giving up I piled up pillows on top of my stomach because I could stand anything touching me, and used my laptop and my phone until I found someone to listen to me. When I got nowhere I stopped for the day, had a good cry and rested. Then I got back to work the next day and fought again until I won. It is all here on my blog. Every bad turn of events that felt like a one way war. But in the end I got through it and I am still here.

I know many women have not been privileged to a marriage like I had, but it may amaze you to discover how strong you really are on your own. If no one else will help you, you can do it. You deserve to live and have a better life. So don’t stop fighting. Find the strength I know you have. Look in the mirror and tell yourself you are worth it. I know you are but you have to fight and believe it. Then it is worth all the time I write here to support other women.

If you find yourself alone because of mesh remember you are a complete person alone and you may just find out how great you are by yourself. So don’t give up. Find a new way of life and enjoy living it. You are worth it.

2 Comments

  1. Adrenna

    Hi Linda – thank you again for this website, it has been my saving grace. I turn to it almost every day. I’ve had my family go to it to understand more about what is going on with me. They were all confused since I am a person who can handle a significant amount of pain.. but they read stories on here and it honestly helped them to understand. So again.. thank you.

    I head this Sunday to UCLA to have the mesh that has erroded into my bladder (and caused all kinds of other issues) removed. I am having Dr. Kim do it, so I will keep you all updated as to how good things turn out. Her schedule is a little less filled than Dr. Raz who she works with, so it might be an option for other women who can’t wait. Crazy thing is I am actually pretty scared about the upcoming surgery. I want it to “cure” me of all my pain and symptoms, but I also know it may just improve my health (at least that horrible stuff will be out of me), but things may never be the same again. She said it will take more than one surgery, but this one coming up is the big one I think – getting the mesh out. I will cross whatever bridge I encounter when I get there. The idea of flying home with a catheter after the surgery is also overwhelming.. but you gotta do what you gotta do. Thanks to your recomendation I have had wheel chairs get me to connecting flights and to our car.. (even with my 1st appt earlier this month) and I recommend anyone who is travel to get better to swallow your pride and use one. I’m only 46, so I was embarrassed at first, but knew I wouldnt be able to make it without one. So thank you again Linda for your advice there as well.

    When I am finally better, able to go back to work full time and live my life again, I am jumping on the band wagon to yell and tell the world how much damage this has done to so many women. I will write all the morning shows, talk shows, etc. I’ve decided to do my best to help get this issue more publicity. People need to know what is going on. I will help anyone who is fighting this fight.

    Please wish me luck.. this time next week I pray I am totally mesh free! then soon I will be able to be a strong voice for fighting this stuff!

    Reply
    1. lavalinda

      Adrenna. First we all fear the surgery and you are human so it is normal. It often takes more than one surgery and you can book the next one before you leave, at least 4 months away. Your body needs to heal and all swelling to go down before another. Start a good supplement program of which I have written about many times so all blogs are there. If you can’t find them, let me know and I will add them to any comment you leave. You will need to rebuild your immune system and if you have any leg pain you can check the last blog. Get everything as soon as possible and you can order stuff on line while you are away. I do understand your embarrassment about the wheelchair because everyone feels the same, but you can’t do this without all the help available. Dr. Kim is a good surgeon and I hope you will say hello to her from me. She knows what I do and said it was a good thing. Post when you can and let us know, but more importantly take a slow way back and don’t rush into getting back out there. Everyone wants to get up, get exercise etc., but you must sit back, and take it slowly. I do wish you all the luck in the world. XX

      Reply

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