My name is Jessica, and I'm not going to shut up anymore.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Things I sometimes forget but shouldn't.

Endo is the liverwurst. (AKA: THE WORST)

I've been suffering from on-and-off pelvic pain in my lower abdomen for about 3+ years now. It sucks, but it's something I've learned to deal with. I hate saying that I "deal with" my endo pain, but honestly it's a place I needed to get to in order to negotiate my day-to-day life. I needed to find a middle place where I could, when necessary, reside and still have fun, make plans, go to work and live my life!

But there are some things that I forget, so instead of keeping my not-so-secret pain "remedies" to myself, I've decided that I'll share.

1) Poop. You have to poop.

Not having regular bowel movements puts extra strain on your lady parts. When you have endo and are still having your menses (some women have the Mirena--like me--to help stop menses and thus, stop continuous endo growth), your lady parts are inflamed. It's simple:
Endo + Menstruation = Ultra Inflammation = Pain
Endo(iflammation) + Full Bowels = More Pain due to increased pressure on inflamed parts of the body, like your uterus and ovaries.

So, if you have been diagnosed with endo, make sure you are drinking PLENTY of water, eating fiber, and pooping regularly. Here are a few of my poop tricks:

*Senna Tea: Not for the weak of heart. A natural laxative, senna tea or oil stimulates the bowels. Since I have IBS, this stuff can be a little too "potent" for me to stand, but it does the job if you prefer to use herbal products.

*Miralax: My personal preference. Instead of traditional stimulants like Ducolax (also the liverwurst), Miralax draws moisture into your bowels so that you poop pretty naturally. Remember to drink lots of water with it, and if you're on pain medication, it's a good solution to help keep you regular.

*Colon Cleanse: For those of us who can't get the job done with typical OTC remedies, I've heard from patients at my physician's office that Colon Cleanse can be a "life changer." You can purchase it on I've never tried it, but others who have tried all else and failed swear by it.

2) Pee. Don't hold it in like you're trying not to say the f-bomb in your grandma's presence on Thanksgiving. (I've never been there....ever...)

You know when you're busy and forget to pee? Or you're sitting on a conference call so you hold it in and later on, you lose the urge to pee? Yeah. I've done that before. And later on, when I finally have to go, I REALLY have to go. And it huuuuuurts. Not only does it hurt for your bladder to be extra full and, like a full bowel, it puts unnecessary pressure on your inflamed lady parts. Thus, you have abdominal pain that you might have avoided if you took a regular trip to the toilet when nature calls. Just remember: in this case, yellow means go, not slow down.

3) Stay away from the following common "trigger" foods like:

*Alcohol. It's poison. Delicious and theraputic. Sometimes magically solves all of the world's problems except for the problems in your uterus. But essentially it's poison.

*Fatty cheeses. Like brie, bleu cheese, other high-fat cheeses. Which are my favorite. [sad face]

*Fried foods. Need I say more?

*Lots of caffeine. I HEART tea in the morning. Also coffee. Lattes. Espresso. Dear God, caffeine is amazeballs. But just make sure you aren't over-doing it. Like drinking a pot of coffee or having more than 3 "cups" of tea/day. Followers of the Endo Diet stray from caffeine because it can be a natural inflammatory.


No all "trigger foods" are the same for everyone. In fact, some folks swear by coffee with cinnamon to help. The message is to make sure you pay attention to whether or not you feel especially crappy after a night where you only had 2 beers with a healthy dinner. I've always had nerve issues after a night out on the town where my nerves would be extra sensitive and my forearms would "fall asleep" randomly. Since endo pain can be caused by "neuroangiogenesis" (when new nerve cells form with new endometriosis/blood cells), having more nerve pain after drinking beer was a definite "trigger" for me.

4) Stay hydrated. Drink water. Lots. Also remember to pee.

5) Try melon or berries. Cantaloupe is my "go-to." For whatever reason, it really helps alleviate some pain if I'm having a bad day. Berries and melons are natural anti-inflammatory foods.

6) When in pain, find ways to distract yourself.

For me, I get my fat pants on, a comfy tee, lie down on my couch with a tall glass of ice water or gingerale, get that heating pad going, and lose myself in bad Lifetime Movie Network movies like "The Surrogacy Trap" or "Lying to Win." Sometimes I call a friend. Other times I don't. Other times, my husband (God love him) will rub my feet or scratch my back. It helps me forget that I'm in pain. Forgetting isn't curing your pain, but it sure beats going to the ER.

7) Download a period app like "MyCalendar."

I don't care if you've had a hyster or not. I soundly believe that our bodies operate cyclically. Sometimes, I can almost pin-point with my app when I'll most likely have a migraine, have bad endo pain, or feel really tired. I don't get my period anymore due to being on not one, but TWO lovely hormones, but my pain is still quite cyclical. My pain is the (liver)worst right before I have to change my NuvaRing. And if I forget to get my new NuvaRing, I'm late on putting it in or whatever, DAMN does my uterus hurt. Pamela Beard (my uterus' name) get pissed off and lets me know about it.
Bottom line: don't think that because you're not menstruating that you will be asymptomatic. (I hope you ARE w/o symptoms!) But I'm saying this because often times women will have issues, call their doctors, and aren't sure how to advocate for themselves. For me, since I keep track of data on my phone, I can answer my physician's questions or point to possible links between my hormone therapy either working or not working. It's good to have that kind of information in YOUR hands. Because it's YOUR body.

8) Make peace with your uterus.

Having a chronic illness means there is no cure. It means you aren't fully in control. Neither is your doctor. You wish you were. You wish you could make everything better on your own. But you can't. Like the "Spoon Theory," everyday can sometimes mean that you have to make decisions that will effect today, possibly tomorrow. And the next day. For example, coming to terms with my pain means that I wish to have a social life again. If I start to have bad pain symptoms, I evaluate the situation: I could go to dinner with girlfriends or go home. No one would be angry or upset with me. But I ask myself: What would YOU like to do? If you are okay with fighting over that current wave of pain and meeting your girlfriends to see if you can make it through dinner, go for it! I've decided to come to terms with Pamela--by taking back some of my power. Which means that some days, I'll feel great and go for a run. Others I'll walk. Others I'll lie around on my couch. ALL OF THOSE CHOICES ARE OKAY. Your life will never be the same as it was before you were diagnosed. And it's okay. Make peace. Shalom.

Shalom, EndoSisters. Shalom and ahavah. [Peace and love]