I tried all the vegan soft serve in Ottawa

I tried all the vegan soft serve in Ottawa. I probably missed a few but I did try a lot of them. I have lived in Ottawa for two years and I was still transitioning from vegetarian to vegan when I moved here. I don’t remember having a lot of soft serve in Vancouver when I did eat dairy. I only remember having it at McDonald’s and buffets. I didn’t even know vegan soft serve was a thing until I moved to Ottawa. I tried six places The Merry Dairy, Oddburger, Little Jo Berry’s, Chocolate Favouris, IKEA, PastelXCoco, and 2 bonuses dole whip from Cinnaholic and the plant based dilly bar from Dairy Queen. I also went to Mavericks but they have been having supply issues and the soft serve is currently not vegan. Let me know if I missed any and maybe I’ll update the post in the future.  The Merry Dairy was the first vegan soft serve I had in Ottawa. I remember thinking I had to wait in line to get into the store only to learn soft serve was at the truck with no line. I was super excited that I

Fibroids, Ultrasound, MRI and UFE during a pandemic

This has been a two year journey so far I am not sure why I have been procrastinating on writing this. I think it’s very important to that woman talk about their experiences. I did not know what fibroids were until I was diagnosed with them.  

I went to my doctor one day because it had been a few months since I had a period. Previous to that I was getting them every 2-4 weeks. There was no chance that I was pregnant and I had started a job where I was the only female in the office. In the past my cycle was influenced by other woman. I was not around any so I originally thought it was normal then I wondered if I was going into early menopause. I was in my forties and started my period when I was 10. 

My doctor assured me that because I have hypothyroidism and low iron irregular cycles are normal. I have a good doctor so she decided to take a look at my pelvis she noticed it was swollen. Then she told me to go get an ultrasound. It is easy to get an ultrasound appointment here. I have never had one before I was nervous about it but it was super easy. I was scared they were going to do something vaginally but they asked me if they could I said no and that was fine. The hard part was having to drink tons of water before and not being allowed to pee for two hours I was so grateful when the technologist said you can go to the bathroom now. 

The doctor explained to me that I had fibroids many of them and I needed to go for an MRI. The MRI took 3 months to get an appointment this was before the pandemic my appointment was in January of 2020. I am a germaphobe so going to the hospital for the MRI was nerve wracking. I watched some YouTube videos to know what they were going to do which really didn’t prepare me. I was not told anything except to fast for some time I can’t remember how long it wasn’t a full night. They had me change in to pyjamas not a gown which was nice and put my things in a locker. I was scared that I was going to lie still for the hour but that part was fine I pretended I was on a low budget airplane that’s what it felt like. The noise is as annoying as a bad flight I think they were playing music in my headphones but I couldn’t hear over the noise. The part I wasn’t prepared for was that they would put an iv in my arm and inject contrast material to enhance the pictures. It may have been a good thing it was a surprise so I didn’t get nervous about it. I did have cramps the next day and later found out that you are supposed to drink water to flush it out of you. I don’t know why they don’t tell you this they actually say you don’t have to change anything. When I was done I changed as fast as I could but there were other people in the change room I tried to avoid them and left. 

My doctor gave me the MRI report which I have now lost but it had the size of the fibroids, my uterus, and one fibroid was degenerating. My doctor told me I would have to see a gynaecologist and prepared me that I would most likely have to have a hysterectomy because the fibroids were pushing on my bladder. It would depend on what the gynaecologist thought. The symptoms and problems fibroids cause vary most commonly heavy bleeding, pushing on the bladder, enlarged uterus. I have the enlarged uterus and have been mistaken for being pregnant. At the time I only thought I was dealing with missed periods everything else bloating and a big belly was normal to me and also related to hypothyroidism. 

It takes a long time to get an appointment with the gynaecologist it was scheduled for April 2020. Then March of  2020 things shutdown for Covid. I was able to have a video chat with the gynaecologist I was so grateful for that. It is one of the good things that have come out of the pandemic not having to get to a doctor office. The gynaecologist said immediately you need to have a hysterectomy your uterus is to big. She asked me if I had heavy bleeding I told her what my cycles were like I didn’t think it was heavy she told me that was heavy bleeding. I think it was in the past but I didn’t recognize it and it’s still irregular. I had already seen some videos on uterine artery embolization which is a non invasive way of getting rid of the fibroids. I had two doctors say you need a hysterectomy so I didn’t bring it up. The gynaecologist actually brought it up because she thought the fibroids are too big for a hysterectomy and it would be better to shrink then before a hysterectomy. Remember I am in Canada everything takes a long time here and this was the beginning of a pandemic. She said she would send the referral out for both and I could do whichever came up first. 

Then a long time goes by where I have lots of time to research what to do about fibroids. I knew they could grow rapidly and I have concerns about my bladder. I was starting to have the symptoms of having to pee a lot although I drink more water now. My lifestyle had also changed because of Covid in a good way. I always knew that vitamin D was added to milk here so I never paid attention to it until the pandemic and realized that I drink very little dairy. The brand of plant milk I was buying did not have vitamin D added so I switched to a brand with Vitamin D. I also exercise and try to walk outside everyday. Now that I work from home I also get enough sleep. These things were really helping me but there was also stress of a pandemic. At the same time I was nervous of what happens as the surgery gets more delayed because of the pandemic. I tried not to worry about it but did a lot of research. My cycles were coming back to a more normal schedule but my stomach was still getting bigger and the bladder was getting worse. 

I had tried to follow up with when things would get scheduled but no one knew. I live in British Columbia so most things are still open here. Then I got a call from a different hospital my name had come up for UFE. First I had to do another MRI to see if I was a candidate. This is at a research hospital and the MRI experience was different they told me to empty my bladder a few times before which was so helpful. They asked me what radio station I wanted to listen to and many times I could hear it over the noise of the machine. I felt like I had been upgraded to a middle class airline. Due to Covid I had to wear a mask while in the enclosed spaceship but it kept me cozy. The back of the spaceship is open when though I was fully inside it but having that opening where I could see light calmed me. They did offer to give me something to relax me but I chose not to I rarely take any medicine. I just had to keep pretending I was an economy flight to a beach. This time I drank lots of water and the cramps were mild compared to the previous time. Due to Covid I also didn’t have to deal with other people in the change room and I felt better about germs. 

Then I had to wait until March 2021 to speak with an interventional radiologist (IR) which is a specialized doctor. They gave me a brochure on all the  details of UFE at the MRI. They put a catheter in a vein an block of blood supply to the fibroids. The procedure itself is not painful but afterwards when the fibroids die it can be painful. There is a one night hospital stay for pain management and average two weeks to recover. The fibroids will die slowly over time so this isn’t a 2 weeks it’s over procedure but hopefully the worst is over in 2 weeks.  This is so much better than a hysterectomy even though I have never wanted children I would like to keep my body parts. There is still a chance I will need a hysterectomy but this a good thing to try and I’m sure the waiting list for hysterectomy is years now. 

The IR are very busy they gave me a 3 hour window of when I would get a call and it was right at the end of that 3 hours I got the call I was scared they were not going to call me. I did not have many questions for the IR. He told me I was a candidate and have 4 fibroids. The risks are 20% I will go into early menopause, I will get flu like symptoms for a couple weeks, and I will most likely expel the fibroids which could lead to an infection. I asked about needing a hysterectomy or if this will work he said they hope it will work but definitely wasn’t given a firm answer. In our discussion I have bulk symptoms which are big belly, irregular cycles, sometimes I have to pee urgently. I have changed to a vegan diet which has helped my symptoms so much. 

One of my other considerations in proceeding with this procedure is that I have a job that is secure and I can take time off. I’m also working at home currently which makes returning to work after recovery easier.  Although I work with all men my boss has been very supportive. I know things can change in my work situation if I wait longer. 

The procedure was originally scheduled for April but we suddenly had a worse than ever Covid wave here. It has been postponed to next week. I feel very fortunate that I don’t have symptoms I cannot deal with. I feel very bad for people who have terrible symptoms and their surgeries are postponed. I have since joined a Facebook group for people having UFE which has been so helpful I wish I found it before speaking to the IR. Some people the group have had theirs postponed so long that they are no longer candidates as their fibroids grew. I am so grateful that everyone in British Columbia came together to slow down the pressure on hospitals so surgeries can continue. I will continue this post after the procedure I think it’s really important that woman share their stories. 


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