This is not ok… 

This is not ok… 

*WARNING!! This blog post contains a graphic image of violence and racism which is likely to be upsetting to see. But I have had to include it for the integrity of the piece. 

Today I have been very ill, struck down with a serious bout of vomiting that has left me incredibly dehydrated and flaring in every sense of the word. Writing a blog post was hands down THE last thing I thought I would be doing tonight. But sometimes, life has other ideas.. 

Recently I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the goings on in America. As someone who has a lot of American, and Jewish, friends it’s a subject I feel to be of great importance. To be honest, even if I knew nobody from the US I’d still feel the same. Why? Because in this day of social media, internet stardom and cameras recording everything, no one country stands alone anymore. Everything that happens in America filters across to us in Europe. It affects us. It influences us. 

If people in America are able to get away with racism and hate speech, then suddenly it becomes ok in the eyes of our children. It is my belief, that thanks to the vast and intricate social network we’ve created, that all the ugliness spilling out onto the streets of America will soon be occurring here in the UK. 

A huge part of that social network is Facebook. I defy anyone in the modern world not to have at least heard of Facebook. Even my elderly Father knows about it, whilst not partaking himself. Mark Zuckerberg has become one of the richest and most powerful men in the world, all because of his premise of bringing people closer. But with that power comes responsibility. A responsibility to ensure that people aren’t using Facebook to promote hate and violence. In particular I’m referring to racial violence. 

That’s where the community standards came about… 



This brings me to the main point of my blog. Now, I consider myself as a fairly open minded type of gal. My ethos is very much ‘live and let live’. As such, it takes a lot for me to report something to Facebook for a review. 

But today, I saw something which prompted me to do just that. The image was posted in a group where videos of spots being popped are shared. (Yes I’m one of THOSE people). It graphically shows a white Neo Nazi (complete with swastika emblazoned on his chest) about to violently stomp on the head of a black person. Possibly a child. Along with this is the words ‘You’ve been popping blackheads all wrong’ and laughing emojis. It truly is a violent and disgusting image, and I’m only sharing it now to prove I’m not making this up. 


Obviously I was shocked and appalled. So I immediately reported the image to Facebook, rather than commenting and giving the original poster the attention they had hoped for. Then I tried to put this putrid piece of diatribe out of my mind as I spent the remainder of the evening drifting in and out of sleep and attempting not to vomit. 

Some hours later I received the notification that my report had been reviewed. Intrigued I clicked on the banner… 


‘It (the picture) doesn’t go against any of our community standards’. Seriously??!! How doesn’t it??!! Have I read the wrong ones?? Clearly this image is glorifying violence, racist violence. That’s a direct violation of not one but TWO Facebook community standards!! 

Now, I could have taken the easy option and simply blocked the original poster, as Facebook so kindly suggests. But what will that achieve? How will that help the situation?? By standing by and doing nothing we make these actions acceptable. Now is the time to take each and every opportunity we have to stand up and say NO! This new world full of hatred we live in is not ‘just one of those things’. These posts are not just ‘harmless talk’. THIS IS NOT OK!! 

So, in response to the lack of action from Facebook I chose to write this blog. I chose to push myself to use whatever voice I have online, and shout from the rooftops. I shout to you Mark Zuckerberg! I ask you, what is the point in having community standards if they are not upheld? What kind of world do you want your children to grow up in?? And just who is checking these standards??? 

I know for a fact that the people employed to check these reports do not have to submit anything more than what you would for a general job position. My source tells me that you don’t have to give any kind of background check whatsoever. So, what’s to stop the people ‘policing’ Facebook allowing it to become a racist and hateful place?? Nothing it seems. 

I will not stand back and watch as these images cross my path, doing nothing to try to change things. To ignore the situation our whole world, not just America, is in right now is to be as bad as those perpetuating things. So Mark Zuckerberg, if you see this… what are you going to do about it??? 

A desperate plea… 

Below is an email I sent this morning to a specialist I saw last year. It’s not professional. It’s not the right way to go about things. But it’s real. It’s my life. It’s the level of desperate I’m now at. I’m not sharing this for sympathy. I’m sharing it to highlight the thousands of people out there who are just like me, living  with these problems. Sharing this isn’t easy. It’s hard not to be embarrassed and disgusted with myself. These are issues often kept behind closed doors. But I’m opening them. I refused to be ashamed. It’s not my fault I have to live like this. 

If someone told you they had a prolapse, would you think it a big deal? Would you expect it to seep into every aspect of their lives? Would you realise that it could be on their mind of every second of every minute of every day? Probably not. Well… maybe this may open your eyes to what it’s really like…

Hello Dr ##1##, 


I’m sorry to contact you directly, but I’m unsure what to do. I feel I have to take things into my own hands. 


I have had my surgery in October with Dr ##2##. She addressed the cystocele and prolapsed uterus by performing a vaginal hysterectomy and anterior prolapse repair. No mesh. 


However she refused to touch my rectocele, which continues to get worse and worse. I now cannot pass wind without pressing on my perineum, or bulge within my vagina. The only time I pass any stool is when my laxatives cause me to have violent and painful loose stool. However some of this always collects in the pockets of bowel and quickly hardens and blocks it. Mostly I have to manually remove my stool. This involves putting a thumb inside my vagina and two fingers in a v around my anus (which when I need a motion bulges out to varying degrees). 


I manipulate the whole area in order to push the stool out, as my lower section of bowel doesn’t push at all. Often times I then have to insert a digit into my back passage to try and help the process along. Inside is a large cavern. It feels almost flying saucer shaped. (Sorry that’s all I could think of to describe it) I have to sweep my finger around to collect stool and mucus. Above this area it seems to become tighter again, but still won’t push, though the muscles around do clench. Since my surgery however there also seems to be a large grissly bulge protruding into that upper area. 


Unless the laxatives cause me to have severe cramping I very rarely can tell if I need to pass a motion anymore. The only things that alert me are bloating, a heavy feeling, and being unable to urinate. This also happens with the large amounts of trapped wind I get. You don’t realise how much you must naturally pass throughout the day until you can’t do it anymore and it’s all stuck. Let me tell you, there’s a lot! I could power a wind farm. The only way I can tell which it is is to feel whether my bulge is full of gas or stool. Then get it out. 


Every single time I go to the toilet is an ordeal. I’m left feeling in pain, bruised and without any dignity. Because of my POTS and EDS the positions I get myself in often cause my joints to hurt and sublux. My legs go completely numb and my heart fluctuates. I also get hot sweats and dizziness. All this combined means my husband often has no choice but to supervise me on the toilet and help me back to bed. I can be on there an hour or more at a time, and bed is always where I end up. It takes so much out of me. Plus, I never go just once. Often there’s at least three trips to actually get the entire stool out. 


I have ended up in tears, wishing for an ostomy over this life. How crazy is that? I know it’s crazy. But I just cannot go on like this. 


The only thing that Dr ##3## can think of is regular irrigation. Possibly even weekly, from now until kingdom come, to get my bowel cleared and hope that in between I feel ok. He said he doesn’t believe I have crohns. There’s no sign of it on any recent test. But he told me, if it’s IBS it’s the strangest and most aggressive type he’s ever seen. 


Please will you help me. Dr ##2## was lovely. But you are the best in colorectal surgery. I know I’m a complicated case. I followed your instructions. I saw a different doctor. I did everything you told me to. Now, months down the line, the problem I came in with is just getting worse and worse. You wrote to me saying if I was still having problems to get back in touch. Whilst writing this letter I got a call back from a Secratary. She told me my GP must write in and I have to wait all over again. I feel like I’ve been waiting forever. I feel like the main issue I need help with was pushed aside and I’m just left here to suffer. Now to hear I’m starting from scratch is devastating. 


My in laws have booked to take us to Disney in early 2018. They’ve already put it back two years because of my health. They can’t move it again. How do I tell my kids I can’t go because I can’t go to the toilet like a human being and it’s ruining my life? I struggle to even wear clothes due to the extreme bloating. How do I tell them that after all the waiting and the surgery I am right to the back of the pack again? 


I know I’m just another face in a sea of patients begging for your help. But I took your advice. Please, now will you try to help me? I’m not too proud to beg. 


If you got to the end of this letter I appreciate it. Most doctors would bin it immediately. I really am sorry for contacting you directly. But desperate times and all that. Also, Dr ##2## really was lovely and treat me very well. She just hasn’t fixed the thing that most impacts my life. 


Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. 

Regards,

J

Please. If you know of anyone with these problems, don’t make fun or make light. Be aware of the fact that these issues can make you feel sub human and worthless. If, like me, you are going through this. Don’t just sit back and wait in line. Dig your heels in and kick up a fuss. Push hard for the treatment you need!! 

If by some miracle any Doctors happen to read this blog. Well, to you I ask this. Please try to understand that prolapse can impact a persons entire life. Many people in support groups Im in are teetering on the edge of a complete breakdown. Treat us with respect and care. But also with a sense of urgency. The longer we live like this, the less human we feel. 

Remembering New Year.  

This time three years ago was my last New Years out on the town. A teeny size eight I slipped on my favourite dress and sky scraper heels. My eyes were smoky and my hair was done with a swoosh of product through the funky style I was rocking at the time. Looking at photos I can honestly say I don’t recognise myself. I looked a million dollars, and a million miles from the way I look today. 


I remember that night so clearly. I remember people complimenting me. Women liked my dress, my hair, my heels. Men buoyed with drink liked the way my dress sat just below the crease of my ass, showing off the only pair of tights I had on hand at short notice of a night out. You know the type? They look like stockings… I remember the smiles, the selfies and the shots. Kissing a stranger at midnight. Singing along to the music. 


Fast forward to tonight and my New Year was spent very differently. Tonight I had a take out for my tea. I showered and then I watched a film in bed. Sounds boring right?? Wrong. For me, it was absolutely perfect. 

To understand why, you might need to look a little deeper into my New Year three years ago. My night out was last minute because a friend convinced me to leave my doldrums and head to town. She was worried about me being alone. When I say alone, I don’t just mean for New Year. I mean totally and utterly. I was estranged from my entire biological family. The person who had been stringing me along for the entire year had also chosen this time to cut me loose. My daughter was staying at her dads and I had little in the way of close friendships. Well, except for one. One who convinced me to get out and feel better. My body was a size eight because the intense stress I was under had caused a flare up of a condition which makes my body completely unable to process food. Weight was dropping off me at an alarming rate. My funky hair? I had that done after a close family member passed away. I don’t know why. I just needed to do something, and chopping all my hair off was it. 

So I went. I slapped on the makeup, painted on my smile and toddled off up to town. 

I remember that night so clearly because I was in a place I’d been frequenting for over ten years. Surrounded by faces I recognised and many I knew well. I was smiling and singing and playing along. But I had never ever felt more alone and miserable in my life. Never.

Just after midnight I had a lift pick me up and fetch me home. I took one last ‘happy’ picture before bed, then I cried myself to sleep. My makeup staining the pillow with a blurry reminder of my pathetic (to me) existence. 


The next day, as I languished in bed watching the hours tick by, I decided I had to make some changes. 2013, and the years leading up to it, had seriously brought me to my knees. Now was time to get back up. 

I decided to start putting myself first, and saying no to people. If they only wanted me around because of what I could do for them then why did I want them in my life? The same went for men. No more men who thought they were doing me a favour by spending time with me. No more men who treat me badly. No more being used. I would rather be single and happy than in love with the wrong person. 

For the first time ever, I stuck to my New Years resolutions. I fought hard for myself. I put myself first. I ‘found’ myself, and my smile, again. Not long after I found my husband. The man who had been right under my nose all along. I always knew he’d treat me well, and that we had a connection; but I pushed him away. I see now that it was because I was afraid. Afraid of falling too hard and getting hurt. Afraid that he’d realise he deserved better. Afraid of losing him before we even tried. 

But try we did, in late February of 2014 we started dating. At Easter we were engaged. Our wedding was September first. Some thought it was too fast, but we knew it was right. I knew it was right. Why wait? 

So here I am. In my bed. Writing this blog. On one of the biggest party nights of the year. Gone is the size eight body and funky hairdo. Gone are the sky high heels and skimpy dresses. The makeup very rarely adorns my face. But what I have instead is so much better. 

I have peace, in my life and in myself. I have a daughter with a step daddy who adores her. A step son whom I feel lucky to have in my life every single day.  My sweet baby boy, who lights up the room with his smile. I have my husband, my partner, my best friend and my soulmate all rolled into one. We get on each other’s nerves, we argue and we grump. But we tell each other we love each other more times than I can count in a day. We are there for each other through thick and thin. We love each other. I have a love in my life. The love of my life. I have made and kept a select few real friends who treat me well and I endeavour to do the same for them. Finally, possibly most surprising of all to the me of 2013, I have worked hard on rebuilding a relationship with someone very important to me. They have worked hard too and we seem to be doing great. That too makes me happy. 

So you can keep your parties, your nights out, your drink and dance. That’s not what matters. It might entertain a person, but ultimately happiness isn’t what you find in a bar. Happiness is being content in your own skin. Happiness is love. Be it for yourself, or for others. Happiness always starts with love. 

So, if you have one New Years resolution that you plan on keeping, let it be to love yourself. Because if you love yourself, others really will follow. The right ones will remain even during the times that love for yourself is a little bit lost, and they’ll love you that little bit extra. 
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!