Body

A hysterectomy, a break-up and a near-death experience: More FM Radio Host Lana Searle's Year From Hell

After a harrowing few months Lana is finally on the mend.

By Amy Prebble
Last year, bubbly radio presenter Lana Searle went through a hysterectomy, a break-up, a job change and a life-or-death rush to hospital after losing litres of blood in her bathroom at home.
She still isn't in perfect health, but the More FM star is looking forward to a less dramatic 2019!
"A few years ago, I did the Taupo cycle challenge through work. I got into it and trained properly, and had a really good time. I got sick shortly after, so I never got to do it again, but I remember how rewarding it was," she says wistfully.
"I'd like to do something like that [again], so that gives me all year to work away at it."
Despite her traumatic experiences, Lana's still smiling and says family, friends and maintaining a perspective got her through the ordeal.
The 31-year-old's health woes began in 2016, after a doctor recommended she try the contraceptive pill to counter ongoing hormonal issues.
What Lana didn't realise was that her family history of blood clotting and strokes meant that was a very bad idea.
"I was on the pill for about 10 days and I started getting blood clots in my legs," she says. "So I stopped taking the pill and starting taking aspirin, which turned out to be one of the worst things I could have done because that just made me bleed out everywhere.
"I ended up in hospital and had seven blood transfusions. It was just a really rare reaction to the pill. It happened to a girl in the UK and she actually died from it."
Lana didn't recover quickly.
"I spent two years going on and off different hormones to try to trick my body into fake menopause. It was a mess.
"Ultimately, we were trying to avoid a hysterectomy because I was 29 at the time. My specialist had a lot of empathy and she was really trying... but nothing worked."
Lana finally reached the end of the road with different treatments. "When your iron is constantly low, you just turn into this animal. I was trying all these ridiculous fitness things and my body literally couldn't carry me to do that stuff because I was so weak all the time.
"It became normal to feel so average. It got to the point of it's going to have to be a hysterectomy for quality of life."
Her health wasn't the only thing suffering – while waiting for her operation, Lana separated from her fiancée Jordan Gledhill (25).
"It was really devastating and awful," she says of the split.
"Having to move house and divide all the stuff... Now whenever anyone's going through a break-up, I really try to rally around them."
Things at work also got a shake-up. Her job at More FM changed, with Lana moving from the afternoon shift alongside Jason Gunn to the breakfast show with Gary McCormick and Jason Mac.
Lana relished the opportunity to join the breakfast show, but was gutted about no longer working with Jason.
"It's tough when you get to work with your best friend and then all of a sudden you don't," she says. "Jason and I saw each other every day for eight hours a day and the rest, so that was tough in the beginning.
"Also, I had to start getting up at 3.50am. That's not right. You age so much getting up that early – unless you're Simon Barnett; he doesn't age!" she jokes.
Lana's big year of changes included a move to The Breakfast Club with Jason and Gary.
When Lana received the date for her hysterectomy, it hit home that she would never have children.
"It was very daunting. Suddenly everything came together and I was like, 'Oh, my God, I won't be able to have kids.' I was gutted because the choice was taken away – to even have the option of whether I wanted children.
"I have a friend who got pregnant and she felt bad about telling me. I said, 'You don't need to feel bad – that's your own journey.' But deep down, I was like, 'Man, this sucks!'"
Unfortunately for Lana, the hysterectomy didn't go smoothly.
"I went in, came out and everything had gone to plan, but it was more the days following. I got some really rare superbug inside my bladder. It was horrendous; it was actually very painful. I think because my immune system was so low from the two years earlier, I wasn't in peak health at the time to face such a big surgery."
After being discharged from hospital, she got another infection.
"I lost, like, five litres of blood all over the bathroom floor... That's when the ambulance came.
"There was so much blood that by the time we got to the hospital, it was borderline status one. They cut my clothes off – I'm still gutted about that!"
Lana says she still has nightmares about that incident.
"I was like, 'I've had the hysterectomy, I've done what you said to do and it's still going.' The lowest of the low was that moment."
Lana has found love again with flight attendant Katie.
Lana's friends and family gathered around, taking care of her throughout the ordeal.
Mum Sarah (52) came down to Christchurch from Dargaville and sister Penny (29), a first-response worker, was on hand when she hit rock bottom.
"The thing that kept me going was perspective," she tells. "At work, we hear stories of people losing their partners, cancer and car crashes. I kept thinking, 'Nobody's dead.'
"I have a really good support network of friends because I'm not from Christchurch. Everyone really stood up during that time. Jason was with me pretty much every day because when he had his heart attack, I was pretty much with him every day."
Things are definitely looking up this year. Lana has a new love in her life − she's dating flight attendant Katie Cochrane (36) − and is quietly optimistic about their blossoming relationship.
"We've known each other for years just as friends," she says, smiling. "Then it was like, 'We are way more than that.' It's definitely one of the good things to come out of 2018!"
She's also enjoying working with Gary, whose sage advice to avoid naps has helped her cope with the punishing early-morning starts.
"We're very similar and I didn't think we would be. He's so funny and clever with his words. He's taught me about politics, Donald Trump and the law. He's been great."
And aside from tackling her fitness goals, Lana is also ready to deal with the emotional trauma of the past few years.
"I need to get counselling because I'm not sleeping. I'm having really bad dreams about being back in emergency surgery pretty much every night... I feel like counselling is something I'm ready for now."
She says it's obvious to those around her that she's on the mend. "I've had workmates tell me to shut up lately because I'm feeling better and I talk so much. I said to Katie the other day, 'I just want to do something big. One big thing, so I know all of that wasn't in vain and I'm back.'"

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