Endo Story

November 2013

I wake suddenly, confused, several pairs of eyes staring down at me. “Hello Cathryn, it’s okay, everything went well, you’re in recovery now.”

I start to cry and the lady holding my hand asks if I’m alright, but I’m shivering fast and feel too sick to answer.

The surgeon appears at my side. Nervous, I move my oxygen mask to the side and ask him what they found. “You do have Endometriosis, Cathryn.” He says to me in a very matter-of-fact manner.

As I’m left to process the news, I think back to when it all started for me as a teenager with excruciatingly painful and heavy periods. “It’s normal.” The doctor would say, so for many years, I put up with it. It was through my mid to late twenties that things grew worse, especially after the birth of my son. For three weeks of the month, I’d be suffering debilitating pelvic, lower back and leg pain. I experienced constant Urine infections, extreme fatigue, nausea and vomiting. I would even suffer fevers, extreme bloating and bleeding from the bowel.

I felt embarrassed to discuss many of my symptoms but also worried in case something was seriously wrong. For years I got passed from Osteopaths to Chiropractors to Physios. The doctor convinced I had a bad back. I went through manipulation, acupuncture and even steroid injections in the spine. All the while I was getting worse and soon became the ‘sicknote’ at work. With the doctors scratching their heads and nothing obvious showing on scans and x-rays, my mental health took a complete nosedive.

“We’ll refer you to the pain clinic,” the doctor had said. “I’m sure they’ll be able to help you there.” The pain clinic, I’d thought expectantly, finally, I’m getting somewhere.

I recall sitting in the waiting room, clutching my pain diary filled with pages and pages of notes on how my life was being so badly affected by countless symptoms and endless pain, I had felt hopeful.

Upset and now angry too, I remember sitting in the cold, sterile room waiting in silence as the doctor read through my notes. “So, we haven’t actually found anything wrong with you,” he said. “I can see you’ve had a scan; an x-ray and you’ve tried physio.” I’d stumbled over my words trying to make the man in front of me understand how there WAS something wrong with me and that what I’d been going through for all those years had been rapidly destroying my life.

That’s when he’d said it, the words nobody with chronic pain wants to hear. “It seems that your pain, Mrs Northfield, may well be psychological.” My heart sunk and my body was wracked with an onslaught of sobs and tears.

“You seem rather upset, should I get someone to speak with you? Are you going to hurt yourself?” These were the things he’d said to me in quick succession.

“What do you want us to do?” he’d asked, as a student doctor passed me a tissue. It was then that I explained my sister had been training as a midwife and had come across details about a condition called Endometriosis. I seemed to have all the symptoms, so I requested, almost begged, that they refer me to Gynaecology.

“I really don’t think you have Endometriosis, but as you are so upset, I’ll refer you for your own peace of mind.” This was said with such mock sympathy, I’ll never forget that experience.

My thoughts are disturbed as the surgeon returns and I hear him say, “we can offer you a hysterectomy.” I look at him confused and ask how bad the Endometriosis is. “It’s very severe, unfortunately, you have stage 4 and what we class as a frozen pelvis.”

I look to the lovely nurse who is still holding my hand, distraught, I explain that I want another baby. She kindly asks the surgeon if there are any other options.

“We’ll refer you to a specialist and they will be able to discuss things further with you.” He replies, then he walks away, likely to get ready for his next patient.

I lie still as I cry tears of sadness and tears of relief. My fight to diagnosis was finally over but my fight with Endometriosis had only just begun!

Thank you for taking the time to read my Flash Non-Fiction story! Most weeks I get creative on my blog and write a bit of flash fiction, but I really wanted to do something for Endometriosis awareness month and I thought what better way than to use my love of creative writing and tell a story.

Sadly, everything you’ve just read is true and happened to me! I’m pleased to say once I was passed to the specialist, I underwent major surgery to remove what Endometriosis they could. I also went on to have a lovely baby boy in 2015. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Endometriosis, and I struggle to this day with the condition and the damage it has caused to my body.

I now have a wonderfully supportive GP and Endometriosis consultant but knowing how bad my journey was to diagnosis I didn’t want anyone else to suffer like I did and feel alone, so in 2017 I set up an Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain support group for Devon & Cornwall. I’m pleased to say it works wonderfully to this day.

Please do share this blog post to help raise awareness.

After my excision surgery in 2014
With my miracle baby 2015

What is Endometriosis? (Taken from the Endo UK website)

Endometriosis (pronounced en- doh – mee – tree – oh – sis) is the name given to the condition where cells like the ones in the lining of the womb (uterus) are found elsewhere in the body.

Each month these cells react in the same way to those in the womb, building up and then breaking down and bleeding. Unlike the cells in the womb that leave the body as a period, this blood has no way to escape. 

It is a chronic and debilitating condition that causes painful or heavy periods. It may also lead to infertility, fatigue and bowel and bladder problems. Around 1.5 million women in the UK are currently living with the condition. Endometriosis can affect all women and girls of a childbearing age, regardless of race or ethnicity.

Links for support:- https://endometriosis-uk.org/get-support

https://www.facebook.com/groups/126302984703079/?ref=share

Curtain Call

Photo Prompt ©️ Dale Rogerson https://adelectablelife.com/

Eleanor rushed to the stage for the curtain call.

It was a standing ovation, the audience’s rapturous applause resonating throughout the auditorium.

Eleanor had always dreamed of performing in the west end, she was ecstatic when she got the part of Fantine in Les Misérables.

Tears cascade down her cold, pale cheek as she remembers hurrying home that stormy night, excited to tell her fiancé the good news.

Too quick came the blinding lights from the truck and the beeping of the hospital machines. “So sorry, she’s gone.”

The curtain falls, Eleanor remains, joining the spirits of Drury Lane Theatre.

I hope you enjoyed my mini-story for the Friday Fictioneers. As always thank you to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for organising FF & for emailing out the photo prompt for us writers to use to create a piece of flash fiction, in 100 words or less. Thank you this week to Dale Rogerson for the photo. Dale is so lovely and very supportive of my flash fiction stories 💕

I love going to the theatre and have always been fascinated with stories about hauntings and reported sightings of spirits at different theatres. I chose the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane for my story as this is reported as the most haunted theatre in the world.

Spooky fact about Drury Lane Theatre, from http://www.whatsonstage.com – The Man in Grey is the most prominent apparition – eyewitness accounts have long reported a man dressed in a cloak and tricorn hat stalking the upper circle of the theatre. His partner in crime whilst haunting the theatre is the ghost of comedian Joseph Grimaldi.

Another fact is that Les Misérables hasn’t actually been a performance shown at Drury Lane. I felt it went well with the story though and after all it is just fiction 😉

I really appreciate any feedback so please do comment and share. Thank you so much for reading 💕

Hope Close

My Rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟

My Review

A fantastic read, full of intrigue that will keep you in suspense throughout!

Welcome to Hope Close a cul-de-sac in the countryside with just four houses, who’s occupants prove that so much more goes on behind closed doors!

The story is told from four POV’s – Layla, the unhappy housewife who has just had to agree to send her beloved son to boarding school.

Nicole, the bored, lonely housewife whose children have all flown the nest and whose husband pays her little attention.

Joan, an elderly lady who seems to despise her husband and pretty much anyone or anything!

Then there’s Andy the new resident on Hope Close, who is fresh out of rehab and has a very mysterious past.

All very different types of people but one thing the ladies all have in common is that they are all very nosey neighbours! As Andy wants to keep himself to himself and let his secrets remain in the past, I think he has picked the wrong neighbourhood to move too.

I really enjoyed reading this book, it felt like starting with a jigsaw puzzle where all the pieces are initially scattered around but they all come together by the end. It was very easy to read, and the chapters flit perfectly between each character. I love the way Tina makes things so intriguing in her books that you just want to keep turning the pages. It is the third book I have read of hers and each one I have been wowed and haven’t guessed the outcome.

The setup reminded me a lot of Desperate Housewives which I used to love watching! I think this book would make a fantastic TV drama.

An awesome curtain twitcher read which bought out the nosey neighbour in me!

Thank you so much to Tina Seskis, Amazon/Lake Union Publishing & NetGalley for my ARC of this book. Publication date 24th March 2020.

Book Description

Quiet street. Perfect homes. Not so perfect lives.

Hope Close: a leafy, tranquil backwater in the heart of the English countryside. But when Andy Meyer moves in, it soon becomes clear that picture-perfect homes can hide less-than-perfect lives. Fresh from rehab and with no interest in meeting his neighbours, Andy erects forbidding gates to keep the ghosts of his past—and any prying eyes—at bay.

Next door, in the grandest house, Layla is unhappily married to a much older man and desperately misses her young son, who has been banished to boarding school. When lonely Nicole from over the road confides her own secret heartache to Layla, the two women form an unlikely bond—until one of them attracts the attention of their mysterious new neighbour.

The only person to sense something dangerous about Andy is busybody Joan. But will her suspicions bring her more than she bargains for?

As the past catches up with the residents of Hope Close, it becomes clear that the intriguing new neighbour isn’t the only one with something to hide…

About the author

Tina Seskis is the author of five novels, including the internationally bestselling One Step Too Far, which has been translated into eighteen languages. Before starting to write novels, Tina worked in marketing and advertising, with varying degrees of success. She lives in North London with her husband and son.

Link to pre-order/purchase:- https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hope-Close-Tina-Seskis/dp/1542093600/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?keywords=hope+close&qid=1582583626&sr=8-1

The Barn

Photo Prompt ©️Dawn Miller

I run as fast as my legs will carry me but I’m weak and repeatedly stumble.

The sky grows dark and thick drops of rain merge with my tears. My body aches but I keep going.

I turn and take a fleeting look at the place I’ve been held captive in for so long, but my vision is blurry, and I struggle to focus.

As I reach the woods I fall against a tree, my noisy breath the only audible sound.

Then I hear him, his footsteps hard and fast-moving.

I silently pray, but it’s too late, I’ll never escape…

Hello and thanks for reading this weeks flash fiction story for the Friday Fictioneers. Each week I’m emailed a photo prompt from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields and the aim is to write a mini story inspired by the picture, in 100 words or less. Thanks Rochelle and thank you to Dawn Miller for the photo.

This week I saw the photo and my idea came to me straight away, yet it’s been my most difficult one to write! Trying to find the right words and get in as much detail as possible within the 100 word limit, hasn’t been easy!! Hence why I’m a little later publishing it than usual.

I’ve had a bit of tough week health-wise as I suffer from a chronic illness and I’ve been poorly on top of that. What with work for a couple days and the rest spent entertaining the kids for half term, I’m wiped! As always though the writing is a great distraction for me. Finishing my story today has helped me to focus on that rather than how horrendous I’m feeling!

So I hope you enjoy this weeks story, please do comment with your thoughts, I love to know what you all think. 😊

The Secret Mother

My Rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

My Review

Addictive, Brilliant, Captivating and so much more!!!

There is honestly not a single thing that I didn’t like about this book; I was drawn in from the start and hooked until the very end.

What would you do if you came home to find a 5-year-old sat in your kitchen asking if you were his mother?! Am I dreaming? Am I going mad? How did he get there? These are just some of the thoughts I know would run through my mind.

Tessa thinks all the above, but she does do the right thing and after calling her ex-husband, she gets him to contact the police. They come and collect Harry and place him with social services, whilst trying to locate his family.

The story will grip you as you follow Tessa in her mission to find out how Harry ended up in her house! I could really feel the emotions Tessa must have felt as her past is pulled to the present. The cruelty of the press as they label her a child abductor made me want to reach into the book and help support this poor woman. Everyone seems to label her as crazy, well all except one! Ben Moretti who in my eyes is a knight in shining armour and every woman’s dream man.

Shalini is a hugely talented writer, I love her fast-paced style of writing that is so descriptive, you can imagine the characters and set perfectly. This book was so easy to read and so hard to put down. The plot was very well thought out and the ending was simply fantastic.

I asked Shalini to choose which of her books I should read, out of the ones on my kindle and this was her choice, so thank you Shalini for an awesome selection. I can’t wait to read to read the rest.

I also highly recommend The Other Daughter by Shalini, which featured in my top 10 reads of 2019!

Book Description

‘Are you my mummy?’

Tessa Markham returns home to find a child in her kitchen. He thinks she’s his mother. But Tessa doesn’t have any children.

Not anymore.

She doesn’t know who the little boy is or how he got there.

After contacting the police, Tessa is suspected of taking the mystery child. Her whole life is turned upside down. And then her husband reveals a secret of his own…

Tessa isn’t sure what to believe or who to trust. Because someone is lying. To find out who, she must confront her painful past. But is the truth more dangerous than Tessa realises?

About the author

Shalini Boland is a USA Today bestselling author of psychological thrillers The Girl from the Sea, The Best Friend, The Millionaire’s Wife, and The Child Next Door. Shalini lives in Dorset, England with her husband, two children, and their cheeky terrier mix. Before kids, she was signed to Universal Music Publishing as a singer/songwriter, but now she spends her days writing suspense thrillers in between school runs and endless baskets of laundry. She is also the author of two bestselling young adult series as well as a children’s World War II novel with a time-travel twist.

Links to purchase this book:- https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-Mother-gripping-psychological-thriller-ebook/dp/B0751GJLRN/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?keywords=the+secret+mother+shalini+boland&qid=1581875242&sprefix=the+secret+mother&sr=8-1

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-secret-mother/shalini-boland/9781786813183

Not Today…

Photo Prompt ©️Rochelle Wisoff-fields

Tears well from deep inside and run down my face, faster than the rain pours down the windowpane.

Shaking, I bring the bottle to my lips. The unpleasant bitter flavour of the vodka makes me wince, but I gulp it down getting a strange satisfaction as the liquid burns my throat.

More gut-wrenching sobs escape, making it hard for me to see as I open the patio door. The rain hits my face hard causing indescribable pain.

My head spins, I can’t breathe and the pain in my chest is so intense I slam the door shut.

Not today…

Here is another piece of Flash Fiction that I have written for The Friday Fictioneers. Each week Rochelle Wisoff-Fields emails a photo prompt and the idea is to write a story in 100 words or less, using the photo for inspiration. This week the photo is also provided by Rochelle.

When I saw this week’s photo my first thought was the feeling of being trapped. The rain coming down so thick and fast would make most people want to stay inside. Which got on me on to thinking about those that have to stay inside due to a condition or illness.

I chose Agoraphobia as the illness for the character in this story. I am somebody who loves to be outside so couldn’t begin to imagine how it must feel for someone who it causes physical pain and deep distress too, to just open the door!

I also chose to not create a character and give them a name but to write as if it was happening to me. By doing this and researching a bit about Agoraphobia it made it easier to portray the feelings and emotions.

Please do comment with your thoughts, I love to know what others think of my writing ✍️

The Guest List

My Rating 🌟🌟🌟

An enjoyable Murder Mystery Thriller, Perfect for those who love a who done it?!

Jules and Will – the power couple! Invite all their friends and family to their wedding on a remote island off the coast of Ireland. They’ve not been together long, so it’s a bit of a whirlwind romance, how well do they really know each other?

The story is told from the POV of 5 different people. Aoife – the wedding planner and co-owner of the venue with her partner Freddy. Jules – the bride, Olivia – the bridesmaid, Johnno – the best man and Hannah – the plus one of Charlie who is best friends with the bride.

All the above named seem to have secrets, (as do others in the wedding party,) which are slowly revealed as the story progresses. You know early on that there has been a murder but what I quite liked was that not only did you not know the killer you also did not know who had been murdered!

I feel this was a slow-paced read, which I did struggle with, but I am also not opposed to as it helps tell the background story for each main character. From about 65% the story really got going with some good shocks and surprises that I wasn’t expecting. I was suspicious of everyone from the start and I think plenty of them had a motive! I did guess the outcome, but I don’t mind that at all, in fact, I quite like being right!

I gave this book 3 stars just because I struggled with the pace and I did get confused with the number of narrators. It doesn’t mean that would be the same for everyone though. The plot is very clever and well thought out.

If you enjoy a good murder mystery, then definitely give this a read.

This book is due to be released on Feb 20th 2020.

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Lucy Foley and HarperCollins UK for my advanced readers copy of this book.

Book Description

On an island off the windswept Irish coast, guests gather for the wedding of the year – the marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater.

Old friends.
Past grudges.

Happy families.
Hidden jealousies.

Thirteen guests.
One body.

The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped.

All have a secret. All have a motive.
One guest won’t leave this wedding alive . . .

About the author

Lucy Foley is the No.1 Sunday Times and Irish Times bestselling author of The Hunting Party and three other novels. A trip to Connemara, from where half of Lucy’s family hail, on the west coast of Ireland sparked the idea for her latest book. Struck by the wild, rugged beauty of the islands off its shores – the perfect setting for a wedding, yet dangerously cut-off – Lucy began to plot a new murder mystery. An island with no escape, old friends and family reuniting, emotions running high. What could possible go wrong? And so The Guest List came to life. Previously a fiction editor in the publishing industry, Lucy now writes full time. Her novels have been translated into nineteen languages and her journalism has appeared in publications such as Sunday Times Style, Grazia, ES Magazine, Vogue US, Elle, Tatler and Marie Claire.

Link to pre-orderhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Guest-List-Lucy-Foley/dp/0008297169/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?keywords=the+guest+list+lucy+foley&qid=1581540595&sprefix=the+gues&sr=8-1

The Choir

Photo Prompt ©️ Ted Strutz

Jean wandered through the mall, taking in the sights and sounds that were so merry and bright.

It was her first Christmas without her darling Bob, Jean held on tight to her daughters’ arm as they pressed forward through the crowd.

They arrived just in time as the choir were making their way to the first floor.

Before long their sweet melodic sound filled the centre. Jean smiled as her teenage granddaughter stepped forward to sing her solo.

As her heart swelled with pride a lonesome tear rolled down her cheek.

Silent night was Bob’s favourite.

Another week and another piece of flash fiction for the Friday Fictioneers. Writing a story from a photo prompt in just 100 words or less is harder than you’d think. I tend to type my story and then edit it several times until I’m happy with it. Sometimes what I have initially typed has completely changed by the final edit!

I really look forward to receiving my photo prompt each week and seeing what ideas come to me from it. It’s all great practice for me as well as I’d like to write my own novel one day.

Thank you to everyone who reads my posts and to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for running the FF. This week thank you to Ted Strutz for the photo prompt.

Close to Home

My Rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I felt last year I read from my kindle too much and neglected my poor books on my shelf. This year I have made a promise to myself to mix it up a bit more and make sure I read real books as well as Ebooks. I picked Cara Hunter’s Close to Home as my first real book read of 2020.

My Review

A gripping crime thriller, that kept me guessing right to the final pages.

Sharon & Barry Mason live with their two children Leo and Daisy. From the outside they seem like a normal family, Sharon a bit uppity and Barry a hardworking, loving husband and dad. Is there more to them than meets the eye though?

As they never had a housewarming, Sharon decides to throw a family party/BBQ for their friends and neighbours. It’s at this party that all their lives change forever, when they realise that their 8-year-old daughter Daisy has gone missing.

The story follows DI Adam Fawley and his team as they try and find out what really happened to Daisy on that fateful day. Did someone take her? Did she run away? Or does somebody a bit closer to home know more than they’re letting on.

This book is so full of shocking twists and surprising turns, I think I suspected everyone at one point. I often get a little smug when I think I’ve solved a crime in a book or on TV. Not this time though, I was way off!!

I loved getting to know DI Fawley in this book, whilst trying to solve the case of a missing child he has his own story and heartache as well which you find out more about as the story progresses. He is such a likeable character I can’t wait to read Cara’s other books in which he also features.

This story is fast paced, suspenseful and unpredictable! I can’t believe it has been sat on my shelf for over a year. If it is sat on yours, pick it up now. You will not be disappointed.

I definitely think this could be a TV series. If you’re a fan of shows like Broadchurch then this is a must read.

Book Description

SOMEONE TOOK DAISY MASON . . .SOMEONE YOU KNOW.

Last night, eight-year-old Daisy Mason disappeared from a family party. No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying.

DI Adam Fawley is trying to keep an open mind. But he knows the nine times out of ten, it’s someone the victim knew.

That means someone is lying . . . And that Daisy’s time is running out.

About the author

Cara Hunter is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling crime novels Close to Home, In the Dark and No Way Out, all featuring DI Adam Fawley and his Oxford-based police team. Close to Home was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick, was shortlisted for Crime Book of the Year in the British Book Awards 2019 and No Way Out was selected by theSunday Times as one of the 100 best crime novels since 1945. Cara’s novels have sold more than three quarters of a million copies worldwide. Cara Hunter lives in Oxford, on a street not unlike those featured in her books.

Link to purchase:- https://www.amazon.co.uk/Close-Home-impossible-Richard-thriller/dp/0241283094/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?keywords=close+to+home+cara+hunter&qid=1580856488&sprefix=close+to+&sr=8-1

Behind Every Lie

Rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Happy publication day to Christina McDonald 🥂

I read & reviewed Behind Every Lie back in the summer after winning an ARC on Christina McDonald’s Facebook page. To say I was delighted is an understatement. Having read Christina’s debut novel The Night Olivia Fell, I knew I would be in for a treat.

My Review

I absolutely loved this book, couldn’t put it down! So many brilliant twists and turns, keeping me in suspense throughout. With some heart wrenching and jaw-dropping moments along the way.

I just love Christina’s style of writing and the way it draws you in and you can picture the setting and characters just perfectly with the description given.

The story starts with Eva Hansen waking after being struck by lightning to find out her mother has been murdered. The book then takes you on an emotional rollercoaster of a journey to find out what happened. The chapters jumped from past to present perfectly, each time I thought I had things sussed I really didn’t!

Christina is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. I really can’t recommend this book enough, especially if you love a good suspense thriller!

Thank you so much Christina McDonald, Net Galley & Gallery Books (Simon and Schuster) for my ARC.

Book Description

If you can’t remember it, how do you prove you didn’t do it?

Eva Hansen wakes in the hospital after being struck by lightning and discovers her mother, Kat, has been murdered. Eva was found unconscious down the street. She can’t remember what happened but the police are highly suspicious of her.

Determined to clear her name, Eva heads from Seattle to London—Kat’s former home—for answers. But as she unravels her mother’s carefully held secrets, Eva soon realizes that someone doesn’t want her to know the truth. And with violent memories beginning to emerge, Eva doesn’t know who to trust. Least of all herself.

Told in alternating perspectives from Eva’s search for answers and Kat’s mysterious past, Christina McDonald has crafted another “complex, emotionally intense” (Publishers Weekly) domestic thriller. Perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell’s I Found You and Karin Slaughter’s Pieces of HerBehind Every Lie explores the complicated nature of mother-daughter relationships, family trauma, and the danger behind long-held secrets.

About the author

Christina McDonald is the USA Today bestselling author of The Night Olivia Fell (Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books), which has been optioned for television by a major Hollywood studio. Her writing has been featured in The Sunday Times, Dublin, USAToday.com, and Expedia. Originally from Seattle, WA, she has an MA in Journalism from the National University of Ireland Galway, and now lives in London, England with her husband, two sons, and their dog, Tango.

Link to purchase:- https://www.amazon.co.uk/Behind-Every-Lie-Christina-McDonald-ebook/dp/B07THC4MKY/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?keywords=behind+every+lie&qid=1580766510&sprefix=behind+e&sr=8-1

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