Updated: Jan 3
It's 2020, huzzah! It feels amazing starting a new year because, in all honesty, 2019 was a bloody crazy year. Now if you're wondering if this is another post where I make excuses for why I've been so inactive on social media and on my blog then the answer is:
Last year was one of the busiest years I've ever had. EVER. So for my benefit, I need to remind myself of why it was okay for me to disappear and not hit all my 2019 goals. Plus, in retrospect, the craziness I went through is kind of entertaining. So here are last year's stats:
Countries I've lived in: 3 - Kuwait, Saudi and UAE.
Time in each country: Kuwait: 1 month, Saudi 1 month, UAE, 10 months.
Combined Residences: 3 hotels (5 different rooms), 2 flats, 1 house.
Babies added: 1 (2 in total)
Doctor appointments for me and kids: A billion.
Number of times I had to move my life completely: 2
Books written: 2- finished drafting my rom-com plus a second picture book.
Published: self-published picture book. (Translated it too)
Querying: on and off for three projects.
Books read: 5- I think...
Blogging: What blogging?
This is becoming way more mathematical than I expected. Half tempted to plot everything on a graph :p
February: Moved to Dubai.
April: Moved into our flat after a two month search and stay at hotels.
September: Gave birth.
November: Moved to Saudi.
This sounds stressful and was exactly that, especially after giving birth because that was when all the medical drama began. Breastfeeding was the first culprit:
Then I started to get so exhausted and stressed with moving and life that I didn't even realise I was stressed and started to get weird symptoms: feeling faint, dizzy, tingly all over my body and face, feeling like I was going to die (will get to this one later). This all happened two weeks before our moving-out day. My hunch at the time was that I had a B12 deficiency so just to make sure all was well, I booked an appointment with a GP in Dubai and got loads of tests done including a pregnancy test. I was worried something serious was wrong but more worried that my tests would all come back okay, because being the neurotic person that I am, I knew exactly how things would escalate if nothing showed up in my blood:
blood test= neurologist= MRI
Surprise! That's exactly what happened. Blood test results were fine so I was referred to this hilarious and very perceptive neurologist who asked me questions like this:
Would you say you're an anxious sort of person?
I suppose that ahem, would be an accurate description of me (I literally said this) I just had a baby.
Doctor: Have you been visiting Dr Google recently?
Doctor: What do you think you have?
Me: Tingling is a symptom of B12 deficiency, stress or MS, an autoimmune disease (Yes people I know my shit. Thank the Lord for the NHS website)
Doctor: Hmmm. I don't think you have MS but you just had a baby and you're a woman and young so let's get you an MRI test.
Me: (inwardly) Not the creepy tube they slide you in like a bun in the oven.
Does the MRI have any side-effects seeing as I'm breastfeeding?
Doctor: MRI's don't emit radiation.
Me: (inwardly) Bloody mind-reader.
Can't we just wait and see if the symptoms just go?
Doctor: That is a second option. But I really recommend you just get the MRI.
That MRI lasted a whole hour. A whole hour of you in nothing but a hospital gown and undies in a very cold room. The technician was this grouchy lady who didn't explain anything except that I shouldn't move. Move what? Do you know how hard it is to not move at all? I swear even dead people twitch. At one point I was so confused, I thought she was going to stick a needle into my brain before realising you can't do that because, you know, skulls. Duh. I did get an injection though in the middle of the scan and that chemical isn't breastfeeding-safe so I had to give my baby milk that I had expressed earlier for 24 hours.
But the story doesn't end there.
Two days before our flight, we go back to the hospital to get my results, and the doctor goes:
Everything is fine...but your pituitary gland is slightly bigger than usual.
So I get referred to another doctor on the same day. She requests more blood work to check my hormones but one specific test has to be done between 8 to 9 am. So, I had to wake up early, leave the kids the day before our flight to get the bloody test done. In the end, everything was fine alhamdulillah. But those final two weeks in Dubai were madness. Going back to the whole thing with me feeling like I was going to die, I realised after all the medical drama that my symptoms were related to stress and a possible panic attack.
So what I've learned the hard way is mental health is sooooooooo important you guys. Take care of your mental health this year. This is definitely going to be one of my resolutions.
If any of you want to share some 2019 crazy stories, let me know in the comments. (By the way, there are two comment sections, one for the post and one for the entire website) Also, if you guys want to know more stuff about my time in Dubai/pregnancy/birth, let me know. I am happy to oblige your stalker-ish curiosity.