Endometriosis Strikes Again! What a Blow!

20150702_081812On July 1st, I had my second Oophorectomy (the surgical removal of an ovary) due to Stage IV Endometriosis. I had an 7 cm chocolate cyst on my right ovary. The doctor wanted to save it considering I have no children but there was just too much damage done. I was devastated when I first got the news that there was a cyst on my ovary because having been there before I already knew what it was and knew what the outcome was most likely going to be. Having children is all I ever wanted in life but surprisingly I’ve been holding up incredibly well considering. I think a part of me is kinda relieved because now I know where I stand. The last 10 years have been very difficult not knowing if children were a possibly or not. Trying but failing to conceive over and over again is very tiring and stressful. So, now I make peace with it because now I know. I’m sure it’ll hit me one day but today I’m okay.12

I tried so hard with changing my diet and trying to do everything I could to prevent this from happening but maybe it was just too little too late. It was 5 years after my first surgery that I made the necessary dietary changes. So, maybe the damage had already been done. But, my change in diet was not in vain. It did stop the daily pain I was experiencing with the Endometriosis and it think I has aided me in speeding up the healing process since having this surgery.

I appear to be healing a lot faster this time around. I was released from the hospital in 3 days as opposed to the 5 days it took the first time around. My first surgery I still could not eat solid foods for almost a week after being released. This time around I was eating solid foods before I was even released. I am able to walk around without being hunched over or in pain sooner. I am already off on my pain medication. And, my surgical scar is healing very nicely. I think all of this is it’s due to my body being in an overall more healthier condition than before.

My first surgery was in 2005, I had a 18 cm chocolate cyst on my left ovary. There was also damage to other organs as well that I didn’t have this time. I didn’t even know I had Endometriosis at the time, nor did I really know what Endometriosis was. It wasn’t until performing the surgery that the doctor even knew what was going with me.

Due to the fact that both ovaries have now been removed, I am in what they call “surgical menopause” and have to take HRT (hormone replacement therapy). I don’t like depending on pills so just like with my Endometriosis, I am trying to find natural ways as to how to balance my hormones.

If you know of any natural ways to deal with menopause, please leave a comment. Or, if you’d like to submit an article about your experience with dealing with menopause, endometriosis, or other invisible illnesses naturally you can email us at diego2memphis@cbpublish.com.

Low Carb Turkey Burger (Endometriosis Friendly)

Carl’s Jr. (or Hardee’s in some states) offers a low carb Turkey Burger. It’s a charbroiled turkey patty, special sauce, mayonnaise, red onions, tomato, whole-leaf lettuce, and dill pickles on a honey wheat bun (or you can get it on a lettuce wrap instead of a bun if you are looking for an endometriosis friendly alternative) .

This was a delicious alternative to a traditional burger. Actually in my opinion it was more tasty than a beef patty. When I try to make turkey burgers at home they tend to come out dry and not as flavorful. Unfortunately there is no Carl’s Jr. or Hardee’s near me or I’d get it all the time. I’ve been having a hard time finding endometriosis friendly options at fast food restaurants where I live that are this tasty and where I don’t have to make special requests. I highly recommend this to anybody who is on a low carb diet or anyone living with endometriosis.

Carl’s Jr. also offers a Low Carb Chicken Club, a Trim It Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich, and several other gluten-sensitive options. It’s a relief to go into a fast food restaurant, see what you want and order it right off the menu just like everyone else without the added frustration of miscommunication with the cashier.

Let’s Talk About Endo!

For the life of me, I cannot remember if I’ve ever mentioned my sister Coco‘s tumblr blog, Let’s Talk About Endo.  I apologize if I haven’t because it’s a hidden jewel full of info on celebrities who are battling Endo, Endo facts, affirmations, quotes and other forms of inspiration for those suffering or know someone who is suffering from this condition.  It is definitely a site worth checking out!

If you feel so inspired, I’m sure any words of encouragement that you could leave there on her Tumblr page would be appreciated by her as she has been suffering from pain in her legs due to Sciatic Endometriosis (click link to read an article that she posted a while back on Sciatic Endo).

Coco has also posted several posts, recipes and other information here on this site about Endo.  Click here to check out all of her posts (including natural hair posts and how-tos) : Posts by Coco

Here’s the link to her tumblr blog: http://talkaboutendo.tumblr.com/

Let’s Talk About Endo!

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. This month I was hearing a lot of rumors that Tia Mowry-Hardrict, best known for her role as Melanie in BET “The Game”, announced that she was expecting her first child inspite of endometriosis. I wasn’t sure if it was true, I knew she was pregnant but not about the endometriosis. I didn’t want to make a post about it because I couldn’t find the source from where she said it. Therefore, I posted a tweet on twitter asking if the rumor was true. She responded saying she did have endometriosis (see below). She is not the first celebrity that I heard come out about endometriosis. Since this is endometriosis awareness month I decided to start a tumblr highlighting all these celebrities who have come out about endometriosis. These celebrities included Padma Lakshmi, Jillian Michaels, Julianne Hough, Lacey Schwimmer, and many more. Not only that I’ve posted other facts about endometriosis along with some graphics and recommended reading material. Please check out my tumblr at: http://talkaboutendo.tumblr.com/.

Yellow Shirt Day!

Yellow Shirt Day is March 1st, the first day of Endometriosis Awareness Month. Yellow is the color of the endometriosis awareness campaign. Wear a yellow shirt on March 1st to support the millions of women suffering from Endometriosis.

Endometriosis a disorder of the female reproductive system in which small pieces of the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) migrate to other places in the pelvic area. The endometrial fragments may move to the fallopian tubes, ovaries, or other pelvic structures (e.g., the bladder or rectum). The migrated tissue retains its character and changes with the fluctuations of the menstrual cycle, bleeding at the time of menstruation. The blood becomes trapped in cysts that can grow from the size of a pinhead to the size of a grapefruit. Symptoms of endometriosis can be absent or can include painful menstruation, severe abdominal or low back pain, painful intercourse, and rectal bleeding at the time of menstruation. Symptoms often disappear with pregnancy, but 30%–40% of women who have endometriosis are infertile.

The cause of endometriosis is unknown. One hypothesis is that the endometrial fragments move back up through the fallopian tubes rather than leaving the body with the menstrual flow. Diagnosis is by pelvic examination or laparoscopy. Treatment, which depends on the severity of the disease, may include a course of oral contraceptives, or danazol if the patient is trying to conceive. In severe cases surgical removal of the cysts or hysterectomy may be performed.

Endometriosis. (n.d.) The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia®. (2005). Retrieved February 26 2011 from http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/endometriosis.

I wear yellow for my daughter.

I wear yellow for my sister.

I wear yellow for my auntie.

I wear yellow for myself.

I was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2005. One morning, I noticed a large lump in my lower left abdomen and immediately scheduled a pap smear. The doctor referred me to a specialist who performed multiple exams on me until it was discovered that my left ovary had grown to the size of a softball. On May 25, 2005 I underwent an exploratory laparotomy with left salpingo-oophorectomy to have my left ovary and fallopian tube removed and that is when it was discovered that I had stage IV (severe) endometriosis. My symptoms include chronic pelvic pain, heavy menses, infertility, dysmenorrhea, nausea, spasms, stress incontinence, lower back pain, deep chest pain, sciatica, migraines, irritability, heart palpitations, and chronic UTI’s. Most of these symptoms have been eased by a change in diet and use of vitamins & supplements.

Ease Endometriosis with Vitamins and Supplements

Certain vitamins and supplements can be very beneficial in easing the symptoms of Endometriosis. Below are a list of vitamins and supplements I am currently taking. All the ones on my list I originally started taking for other problems but realized they were also beneficial in treating the symptoms of Endometriosis.

Sublingual B-12 Vitamin Supplements: In 2009, I was diagnosed with a B-12 deficiency. My B-12 level was dangerously low and I had to get shots in my lower back every other week for 3 months to get it back to normal. Now, I just have to take supplements everyday for the rest of my life. Plus, women with endometriosis naturally have a low B-12 level during menses so B-12 vitamins is good for all women with endometiosis to keep around.

Olive Leaf Extract Herbal Supplement: I was having chronic UTI’s for over a year and after a lot of research I decided to try the olive leaf extract and I haven’t had a UTI ever since. I haven’t had a cold, flu, or any other infection or virus for that matter. So, this is a must for me.

Fiber Gummies Supplements: An endometriosis diet should be high in fiber because fiber decreases estrogen production.

Omega-3 Gummy Vitamins: Omega-3 stimulates the production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins which can aid in soothing your pain.

Feverfew Supplements: I originally started taking feverfew due to chronic migraines. In my research I have found that feverfew is a natural pain killer that can help calm the uterine muscles and reduce cramps during menses. So, I’m killing two birds with one stone with these supplements.

Vitamin C: Not only to help boost my immune systems but it also lessens heavy bleeding during menses and encourages the healing of scar tissue.

Sciatic Endometriosis

For the last few days I have been experiencing a pain in my left hip that radiate down the leg. I have experienced this same pain years ago when I was first diagnosed with endometriosis, I didn’t think anything of it and eventually it went away. Today as I was experienced this pain again I was looking through my copy of “Living Well with Endometriosis: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Tell You…That You Need to Know” by Kerry-Ann Morris and discovered there is something called Sciatic Endometriosis. Sciatic endometriosis is an uncommon form of the disease that involves the sciatic nerve. Symptoms include

  • Cramping in the left leg when walking for long distances.
  • Left foot drop and weakness.
  • Lower back discomfort that radiates to the left leg.
  • Difficulty walking.
  • Pain in the hip that radiates down the leg.
  • Pain that begins just before menstruation and lasts days after menses.
  • Tenderness of the sciatic notch.

I currently have 5 out of the 7 symptoms. However, I have not seen a physician to confirm or deny whether I am experiencing sciatic endometriosis. I never knew this form of endometriosis existed so I thought it would be interesting to share because someone else may be experiencing this and may find this helpful. In my experience the pain goes away on its on but I did find that in some cases surgical treatment to remove endometrial implants is sometimes undertaken in the hope of relieving the hip joint pain associated with endometriosis.

(Morris, K. (2006). Living Well with Endometriosis: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Tell You…That You Need to Know (p.63). New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.)

Living Well With Endometriosis

Suggested Reading: Living Well with Endometriosis: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Tell You…That You Need to Know by Kerry-Ann Morris

[From Back Cover]

Endometriosis is a debilitating reproductive and immunological disease that affects 7 and 11 million American women each year, significantly affecting fertility and often causing severe pelvic pain. The results are often emotional and psychological as well as physical.

As someone who suffers from endometriosis, Kerry-Ann Morris is the perfect person to guide sufferers through diagnosis, treatment, and living well with the condition. She offers strategies for coping with the psychological aspects or endometriosis, including how best to tell others about the condition; treatment options including alternative and complementary plans; dealing with infertility; and weighing the hysterectomy option.

With stories from endometriosis patients around the world, this vital guide will provide you with the information that you need to become aware and informed, as well as provide hope and encouragement.

Kerry-Ann Morris was diagnosed with endometriosis in the summer of 1999. In September 2002, she founded the Unveiling Endometriosis Project, whose mission is to educate women, teenage girls, and their loved ones about the disease. She lives in Jamaica.

Book Review:

This book is like my Endometriosis bible. Every question I ever had about Endometriosis was answered in this book. It explains Endometriosis, discusses treatment options, explains what you should and should not eat, what supplements to take, and more. An excellent book to have if you have Endometriosis.

The Endo Diet

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is very important when living with Endometriosis. Changing my diet has considerably changed how I feel on a day to day basis. I use to have pelvic pain and nausea on a daily basis prior to changing my diet. Endometriosis is an inflammatory disease. Therefore, by cutting out pro-inflammatory foods can improve your symptoms. Some dietary changes that can relieve your Endo symptoms are:

1. Remove Wheat. Some wheat-based products include flour, bread, pastas, pizzas, and other pastries. I thought I was doing good in this area by cutting out the obvious but now I realize that gluten is in more food products than I originally thought. It’s going to take a lot of work and effort to cut it all out.

2. Reduce Red Meat Intake. I cut out all meat except for poultry. Only meats I will eat is fish, chicken, and turkey. Any meals that call for ground beef I substitute ground turkey. However, I try to avoid fried chicken as much as possible due to gluten in the flour (and the fact that fried is just not good for you).

3. Remove Dairy Products. Dairy is my biggest weakness. I’m having the hardest time cutting out dairy, especially cheese. If I could never eat nachos again I don’t know what I would do. I have decreased my dairy intake but I just haven’t been able to cut it out all together.

4. Reduce Coffee and Alcohol Intake. I have never drank coffee and never plan on it so that is not a problem for me. As far as alcohol, I rarely drink it. I only consume alcohol maybe once or twice a year so this is not a problem for me either.

All these foods aggravate your symptoms. If you cut these foods out of your diet you should minimize your Endometriosis pain. If you have a hard time cutting these foods totally out, at least reducing your intake will help manage your symptoms. Since making these dietary changes I only get pain through strenuous activities.

A cookbook you might want to pick up is Recipes for the Endometriosis Diet. I bought this book a few months back. I admit I haven’t used it much yet. I’m very visual and this book has no pictures whatsoever of the recipes inside so I’m not really interested. However, in the beginning of the book it does go into details of what foods you should and shouldn’t eat and why.

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