Share Your Story: Lakia

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Lakia was diagnosed with Endometriosis when she was 29 years old, after suffering with symptoms since the Sixth Grade.  Now she’s 30, living in San Diego, and she’s found our little support group.  I met Lakia just a few weeks after her diagnositic surgery and she’s recently undergone a difficult decision for her second surgery! Lakia has proven to be an amazing and incredibly strong woman, and someone I am proud to call friend.  Her story follows…

Lakia’s Journey: I always thought in my mind that my reality was normal. But what is normal? My first period was in sixth grade. I remember being so excited because I finally felt like a woman! I stuffed my bra everyday, secretly shaved my legs, and wore tinted lipgloss. But that first period felt like a rite of passage. All of the boys will like me now! Little did I know what was ahead…

Every month during school, I would bleed through my pads because of the heavy flow. I was too afraid to get up during every session at school, and didn’t want the attention constantly drawn to me when I had to leave the room with a pad or my purse. Everyone would know… Instead, I would bring jackets and sweaters to school, and keep them wrapped around my waste to soak up the leakage. This became my sixth grade’s self normal.  In high school is when I recall the pain becoming unbearable. But, all girls complained about their period. What would make mine different or more significant? When they became irregular, I finally was put on birth control pills. I took 1000mg of naproxen every 8 hours when I was in my cycle as well as the polls through college. The medicine helped with the pain for the first few years, but over time the cramps became debilitating again. After college, I decided I need to give my body a break and stopped all medication.

Fast forward to 29 years old, and I’m living in San Diego. January 2016, the year of 30 kicks off with a vengeance. The worst period of my life- vomiting, debilitating cramps, flooding from bleeding, you name it, I had it. When the bleeding stopped, the symptoms didn’t. I decided to go to the ER after trying to push through it for a week. Diagnosis was a hernia, fluid in my lungs, anemia, and fibroids in my uterus. They couldn’t do anything for me except give me pain meds and send me on my way. For the next three weeks, I visited 10 different doctors, has CT scans, ultrasounds, blood tests, X-rays with not solution. I lost close to 10 pounds living on norcos to ease the pain. In an transvaginal ultrasound, they found a softball sized mass in my uterus. The GYN wanted to operate immediately due to its location. Unfortunately, I was anemic which would likely mean I would a blood transfusion during surgery. I had a month to iron overload.

Surgery is complete.  Unfortunately, my GYN was not able to remove the mass as it was attached to my bladder. She drained it and assured me that it would be back. What should have been a laparoscopic surgery became a lapraromy as soon as they went in due to the their findings of severe stage 4 endometriosis. I got to spend a night in the ER. Post surgery, it only took about a week for the pain to return. I was told to start taking two birth control pills a day to help with the bleeding and pain. My GYN said she didn’t feel comfortable operating my endo because it was so complex, so she referred me to another doctor.

He, also after reading my surgical report didn’t feel comfortable doing a procedure, and suggested Lupron and referred me to a gynecological oncologist. I originally agreed to the shot. While I waited to have it administered, I took a month to do some soul searching and listening to my body. It wasn’t right. I couldn’t take the shot. The oncologist agreed to the surgery. He did admit to me that he felt a bit of ethical concern giving a woman who has never had children and only 30 years old a hysterectomy and gave a bit of pushback before agreeing to the surgery.

December 13, 2016- surgery day! I had a full hysterectomy. He wanted to try to keep some, but they were all obliterated by the endo. In the middle of the procedure, he had to call my dad because the disease has spread to my bowels and appendix. About 5 inches of my small intestine, 5 inches of my large intestine, and my appendix were removed requiring that he perform an organ resectomy. He predicted that I would have had to have emergency surgery due to organ failure caused by the endo within the next few months if he had not operated on it that day. My doctor was relieved that I went with my gut, and pushed for the surgery instead of waiting.

After six days of being attached to IVS, living with a draining tube coming out of my stomach, and hour long sleep sessions, I was free!!

I’m in the process of recovering still (2 months post-op), and I never would have imagined that I would feel this amazing! I know I have a long road ahead, with the possibility of the endo popping back up, but every decision made, tear shed and prayer prayed has been absolutely worth it.

Words of Advice for Us:  Sisters- two things that are so incredibly important through this whole journey… SUPPORT!- Thank God that a friend found the Bloomin’ Uterus group for me! It’s incredible to have a connection with so many strangers that can relate, mentor and just listen when you need them. And friends!!! My friends and family have completely blown me away with the amount of love, compassion, and time they have spent learning and loving me through this process. My Dad came to every single appointment with me, and I even had over 50 people show up for a going away brunch for my uterus!!! Knowing that you’re not alone is half of the battle! LISTEN TO YOUR BODY- like I said, my doctor wasn’t gung-ho about the surgery, but was incredibly happy we went through with it in the end. A hysterectomy is not the answer for everyone. It’s certainly not a cure. But push, plead, fight for what’s good for you and your body. You deserve it!!

The Last Word:  Thank you Lisa Drayton for your positive energy, informative posts, and constant encouragement!!! You are truly an incredible person!!!

If you wish to contact Lakia, you can email her here.

I want to send a special Thank You out to Lakia for being brave enough to share her personal story, struggle, and victories with us today.  I am so grateful that you found us and that we met, but am especially grateful that you followed your instincts!  A second surgery is never easy – ad your decision to undergo the full hysterectomy was a difficult one, but I am SO VERY HAPPY for you!  Good for you for pushing self-advocacy!!!  Wishing you a continuous good recovery!  I will walk proudly beside you on March 25th! Yours, Lisa.

downloadAnd if YOU would like to share your story, you can do so by clicking here.  The best part about this disease is the strong network of love and support from our fellow EndoSisters, and our friends and family, too.

Yours, Lisa.

Feel Good Fridays

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Welcome to another Friday morning!  I hope you’ve had a great week.

Steven Maraboli once wrote,

“Sometimes life knocks you on your ass… get up, get up, get up!!! Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.”

I know sometimes we’d like to wallow.  Just sit there in our suffering and cry…and that’s okay.  But, always remember that we DO have to get up and move on.  And you don’t have to do it alone – ask for help.  Extend a hand to someone you notice may need assistance “getting up.”  Be there for each other.  And, hopefully, find a little bit of happiness.

Over the past week, I’ve updated several past blog entries with new studies.  If you’re interested in giving them another looksy:

Bladder & Endometriosis: added 2 2017 studies

C-sections & Endometriosis: added Jan. 2017 study

Cervical Endometriosis: added Jan. 2017 study

Lungs & Endometriosis: added Dec. 2016 study

I hope you have an incredible week coming up!  And find time to rest.

Yours,

Lisa

2017 Bloomin’ Uterus Endo Walk is MAXED OUT!

First, I’d like to start off by dancing and shouting, “YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!”

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As you may know, we were given a permit by the San Diego Port Authority for 100 people to attend our walk.  And…we’ve reached 100 registered attendees!  And I cannot wait to walk with so many people!  Support, Awareness, and Community! ❤

If you’d still like to try to join us, please still register here and I’ll add you to the Waiting/Cancellation List.  If any of our registered attendees cancels, I’ll be in touch with you!

Yours, Lisa

 

Our 2017 Walk & FREE Bracelets!

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Well, our walk is 58 days away from today and we’re nearly at capacity! We have 98 registered walkers (as of this very moment) – and we are only allowed 100!  The San Diego Port Authority permit and our event insurance has maxed us out at 100 participants.

I cannot wait to walk with you!  Anyway…FREE STUFF!

Once you arrive at the Island, find our little shade structure and check-in, you’ll be able to earn your free Endometriosis Awareness Bracelet.  There will be a small sign with instructions, a box, some pens, and a bunch of freebie bracelets (one per person, please).

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Put your thinkin’ caps on!  Or be prepared to meet new people and ask them what they know about Endo!

Not going to our Walk, but still want our bracelet?  Submit an entry to our Coloring Contest (going on from now until April 1, 2017)…and see if you win!

 

New Study: Self-Tracking Your Endometriosis

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An article published in the December 2016 issue of the Journal of Participatory Medicine focused on women with Endometriosis tracking their symptoms, diet, etc.  In this day and age, there are several smartphone applications that can help you do this. Or…find your own system.

I myself use Google Slides to track my daily food & drink intake (and bowel movements), as well as any pain or symptoms I experience, and sexual activity and pain.  I’m a visual kind of person, so I also have an image that I draw little red squares where I have pain…These slideshows may come in handy at future doctor’s appointments – not to mention help me understand what may (or may not) exacerbate my symptoms.  It’s also how I learned that strawberries (mmmm delicious strawberries) really, really, REALLY wreak havoc on my bowels…ohmigawd.

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Screenshot of 10/18/16 symptom journal
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And from last week – since recovering from surgery, I have *mostly* pain-free days

Anyway – back to the study!  I’m not the only one who enjoys doing this!  Twenty-seven women in New York participated in a study wherein they tracked their pain; menstruation; diet, exercise, and weight; GI issues; fatigue, sleep, or sickness; life events; mood and emotions; comorbitities (other illnesses); and treatments.  These women also attended weekly focus group meetings at the Endometriosis Foundation of America.   It empowered these women to participate in a research study, better communicate with their providers by documenting their symptoms, and manage their symptoms by better understanding their triggers.

Like I said earlier, I enjoy Google Slides (it’s easy, accessible on all my platforms, and I can keep it organized per month).  The women in the study also learned what they liked best: some used good ol’ fashioned pen and paper, others typed notes, others used Excel spreadsheets, others used Google Docs or Google Sheets, and yet others used their electronic calendars.  Many of these women (myself included) used a smartphone application specifically for monitoring their periods.  And now there are smartphone apps specifically designed for tracking Endometriosis.

If you’d like, there are several Endometriosis tracking smartphone applications available to either Apple or Android devices.  I’m not going to recommend any here because I want you to find the best one that suits your needs.

Self-tracking can very well give you a sense of control and empowerment over Endometriosis.  If you track your symptoms, food, pain, etc., I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.  What do you use?  Any tips or tricks for our readers?  How has it helped/hindered you in any way?

Resources:

Journal of Participatory Medicine – (Article; Dec. 2016) Exploring Self-Tracking as a Participatory Research Activity Among Women with Endometriosis

 

~ Again, I am a layman.  I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge.  Please take what I say with a grain of salt.  If curious, do your own research 😉 Validate my writings.  Or challenge them.  And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always.  Yours ~ Lisa

Feel Good Fridays!

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We did it! Wrapped up another week! And here in SoCal, it’s a soggy one! YAY! I love the rain!

Today’s quote is inspired by our present state of rain.  Written by Tony Hillerman,

“From where we stand the rain seems random. If we could stand somewhere else, we would see the order in it.”

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Again, it’s all about perspective.  Take a step away from your present chaos, try to look from the outside…see if there is, in fact, order and reason to whatever it is you may be going through.  Or at least a purpose.  Muddle through it, get wet, fight.  It will cease, and you will pull through it.

Dungeons & Dragons & Donuts : how RPG games may help with (fill in the blank)

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(Now, Mom…I know you’re reading this. Don’t freak out!)

One of our local EndoSisters, Toni, had a brilliant idea to get the gals together for a little bit of roleplaying fun.  She had read that roleplaying could be beneficial to people who suffer from pain or in need of a happy-boost – and besides we wanted to get together for some good laughs and R&R.  I thought it was a great idea, and off she went, planning our adventurous day together!

We teamed up with Linda Dami of Donut Panic, who let us use her comfy couches and tables for the afternoon.  We also had access to delicious vegan donuts and gluten-free vegan cupcakes. Thank you, Linda!

“But, Lisa,” you ask, “what does roleplaying games have to do with this?”  Aaaah, I’m glad you asked! Well, let me tell you what I’ve learned:

There’s a man out there named Charlie Brown.  He suffers from major depression and anxiety, as well as borderline personality disorder.  He says gaming saved his life, and it continues to, every day.  He pushes passed his anxiety, goes out, meets with friends and strangers – finds himself encouraging the shy to break out of their shell.  And he says, “Often its better than medication of traditional therapy . It heals, and bonds, and fills in those cracks.  The world for a bit is a little more tolerable. I know this because I can move back into it .”  Tabletop gaming has helped Charlie.  You can read his amazing story by clicking on the link in “Resources” below.

Some therapists out there are actually having their patients play Dungeons & Dragons as the therapy session.  They say it helps with social anxiety, problem solving, communication, building friendships, and empathy.  Gaming may also boost happiness and reduce stress!  I can tell you that I, personally, felt uplifted and refreshed after our game on Sunday.  Well, all of the players mentioned that they all really had a great time and couldn’t wait to get together again.  It gets you out of the house, lifts your spirits, gives you something else to think about…

An article in Psychology Today pointed out that D&D (as well as other tabletop RPG games) bring people together, boost imagination and creative thinking, encourages improvisation and quick-thinking.  It may very well be a confidence booster.

It really was a feel-good day for us.  It raises Charlie Brown’s spirits and social ability.  It helps patients progress through issues.

When you suffer through (fill in the blank), a feel-good day with friends may be just what you need.  Even if it’s not D&D or RPG games, I encourage you to go out and find that “feel good” activity that gets you out of your present situation and into something…enjoyable. Boost those Happiness Chemicals in your brain.

Toni wanted to tie in Endometriosis awareness into our day of tabletop fun, and she created these wonderfully whimsical and informative Endo character sheets!  We didn’t use these in our game, although they were inspired by D&D, but they were placed out for people to read and learn and enjoy! And, c’mon, they’re adorable!

The Endometriosis Monsters

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The EndoWarriors

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Six of us gathered at Donut Panic on Sunday – none of us have played before, but we were all eager and willing to learn!  No judgments (well…Morgana was a judgmental Druid…), no expectations, and all ears (is that an Elf joke?).   We had our DM, and we each received character sheets, introduced our characters, and our journey began.

The best part of sitting around the table with these guys and gals was interacting, thinking together, creative problem solving, laughing, and just letting go of our present situations to immerse ourselves for a few hours in this story we all helped create together.  I was glad to see people still honor their bodies during the four-hour game: standing breaks when sitting became too much, pee breaks, getting more water to drink, etc.  We also had a seemingly endless supply of cupcakes and donuts!

The next day we were all a bit tired and our DM is more so because of all the work they put into the campaign, learning the rules, and keeping us on track.  Everyone worked together as we ran across questions of operation and procedure, and it truly was a team effort.  And, thank you Toni for putting this all together!! It was incredible!

If you’d like to see photographs of our little maiden campaign, here you go!  And if you’d like to read our little Adventure as it played out, our story will follow at the end of the photographs…although it will likely be meaningless and not hilarious to you since you weren’t there. HA!  But we all had SO much fun!

Jan. 15, 2017

It all begins…

Five friends are sitting around a table in a pub.  Bartholomew, the halfling monk; Eru the high elf wizard; Mew of Death, the drow elf rogue; Morgana, the human druid; and Aria, the tiefling warlock.  And just how did these five come to know each other?

A tricky thing about some elves: they’re a little difficult to tell which is male and which is female – an androgynous race.  So, forgive me if I switch between he and she and she and he…because sometimes even I can’t tell.  Eru, still an adolescent female of 150 years old, met Mew, who is now 315 years old, through an act of roguish deceit.  Mew, wearing his stolen signet ring, introduced herself to Eru as the Earl of Duque, another noble-born.  And the two had remained friends ever since, even after learning of Mew’s deception.

Mew and Aria are both members of the Zhentarim and knew each other from their private gatherings and mercenary assignments.

Bartholomew and Morgana both seek to protect the common folk.  United in their personal beliefs, they bonded over their common goal and travelled together.

As our band of friends were marveling over how they’ve come together over a pint or two of ale they were approached by Gundren Rockseeker with an easy and rewarding job.  He’ll ride ahead, but the five follow and deliver this cart full of goods to the city of Phandalin.  The band agreed, with visions of adventure, wanderlust, and money, money…MONEY!

Shortly into their trek along the trail to Phandalin, our adventurers run across two bloated and dead horses in the road, obviously killed in some sort of robbery.  Arrows jutted out of the carcasses and the saddlebags were ransacked and empty.  Mew searched the horses and packs for any belongings.  Morgana began picking berries along the trail, stowing them away in her pockets.  Eru repeatedly poked the dead horses with her wand and stole one of the empty bags.  Bartholomew was eating his first lunch of the day.  And Aria was making a small bag to hold her magical bits and pieces she’d collect along the journey.

Suddenly, four goblins emerged from the woods, surrounding the group.  SURPRISE!  Mew struck the first goblin down with her dual wielding, shortsword and dagger, in one smooth sweep of his blades.  They don’t call them the Mew of Death for nothing!  Morgana promptly whipped the second goblin to death. No mercy from the druid!  Eru, excited to put her spells to good use, produced an acid bubble…which merely *popped* on it’s way to it’s target…and she immediately knelt down and wept.  Her preppy and spoiled upbringing did not prepare her well for disappointment.  Bartholomew flung two darts toward his target, and they whizzed right by.  Aria, casting Eldritch Blast, sent a crackling beam of energy toward a goblin, who promptly dodged.  Amidst the scurry, Bartholomew was slashed by a goblin, but remained on his feet to fight.  Morgana cracked her thornwhip once more, but it simply snapped in the air, catching Bartholomew’s cheek in the process.  Eru hurled a fire bolt at another goblin, burning him to a crisp and a smoldering pile of bone.

There was only one goblin left…Bartholomew, with all his halfling stature, lunged and grappled the goblin to the ground, and tied him up.  A captive!  He had no desire to see this goblin die at their hands – always seeing the good in others, he wished peace among them.  Aria, being the intimidating hellspawn that she was, successfully interrogated the little goblin – who spilled his guts to our little party:  the goblins were following the orders of King Grol by kidnapping Gundren Rockseeker and his escort and they may have been at the nearby Craigmaw Hideout, or further northeast at Craigmaw Castle.  Learning all they could from this minion, Mew took great pleasure in killing him.

The friends looted the dead goblins, taking weapons, armor, and shields.  Bartholomew celebrated their victory by devouring a second lunch.  [Out of Character moment: Enjoy the Cupcake o’Victory!  We survived our first attack!]

Our group of friends had a decision to make:  did they continue on toward Phandalin and simply sell the wares of Gunder’s cart (which only had some mining equipment and meager provisions) or did they attempt to rescue their acquaintance from the goblins?  Seeing as they wouldn’t be paid for their trouble if their benefactor wasn’t alive…the obvious choice was onward to Craigmaw Hideout.  Bartholomew used a healing potion from his pack and the group was on their way.

Armed with the detailed layout of the trail, including traps and pitfalls, our adventurers found themselves at the entrance of the Hideout – but still had to cross a river to get to the cave.  While discussing how best to traverse the river, including having Morgana transform into a giant turtle, arrows zipped at eastern shore.  Two goblins, hidden by the briar thorns, appeared and attacked!  Mew was struck with an arrow, but was able to retaliate, shooting the same goblin that struck her.  Bartholomew shot at the goblins with one of their stolen bows, but missed.  Aria was oblivious and still talking about the turtle-transformation.   Eru summoned an acid bubble and flung it toward the remaining goblin – only to have it burst on one of Aria’s horns.  Morgana attacked with her whip, and missed.  The goblin retaliated and poor Bartholomew was struck again.  Aria cast Eldritch Blast and killed one of the two goblins. Mew dispatched another arrow, sending it straight into the last goblin, obliterating it.

Whew.  Now that the threat had passed, our adventurers still needed to cross the river in order to get into the cave.  Morgana did, in fact, shift into a gigantic turtle, everyone climbed aboard her shell, and she ferried them across the river.  While crossing, Bartholomew caught three fish.  Shifting back into human form along the new shore, they again ransacked the dead goblins for more armor and weapons.  It was decided a little reconnaissance would be necessary – so Morgana was asked once more to shift into an animal. This time: a bat…and she disappeared into the darkness.  What she saw…well sonor-saw…nobody knew.  Her party waited for her outside the cave.  Bartholomew shoved some briar thorns into his pack.  Aria gnabbed a newt from the river, mumbling something about eyes, as she shoved it into her pack.

Morgana returned from her recon mission, shifted back into human form, and told of all she’d learned:  a cavern with three chained wolves, and a small fissure leading off somewhere; the river continued inside the cave, originating out of two small pools and a waterfall she named “Sweaty Butt Valley” and “Butt Falls” for the glorious shape of the pools and falls; a winding tunnel that led to a cavern with boxes and a treasure chest; a bridge 20’ above the cave floor which crossed the river and to a set of carved stairs – she didn’t explore further up that tunnel because of the unmistakable reek of goblins and cooking.  She didn’t want to become their next meal – stinking goblins eat anything, including bats!

A plan was formed…Bartholomew had wished for a less-fatal plan, but the group overruled him.

Mew whipped a goblin disguise out of his bag (a rogue and her tricks!) and he donned the armor of one of the previously slain goblins.  Aria tore out her herbalist kit and poisoned the three fish he had procured earlier.  Armed with his wits, climbing gear, and the three poisoned fish, Mew entered the cave.  The wolves, smelling and seeing one of their Masters (or is that Mew-sters?), eagerly devoured the tasty fish…and promptly died.  She squeezed into the fissure, which turned out to be a trash chute with rotting filth at the bottom, and employed his pitons and skillfully climbed up the 30’ chute, peering into the cavern above.  Just as Morgana relayed, there were boxes of what may have been provisions…but lo and behold, there were also three goblins and a wolf on the other side of the smoldering coals beneath his ledge.  Mew overheard two of the goblins bickering about the third goblin, whom they called Klarg.  Mew descended the trash chute and returned to her friends to report.  Morgana and Aria slipped inside the cavern and skinned the wolves, even butchering some of the meat for a later meal.

The party decided to split up – Mew and Aria would climb back up the trash chute.  Mew, still disguised as a goblin, would attempt to persuade the two smaller goblins to join forces, overthrowing Klarg in a mutinous attack.  Morgana, Bartholomew, and Eru would traverse around the tunnels, waiting at the entrance of the cavern in case Mew and Aris should fail and need back-up.  Bartholomew, the peace-loving monk that he was, fully approved of this plan.  Diplomacy, empathy, tact!  But…plans don’t always work out…

Mew got halfway up the chute before losing her footing and falling and getting knocked unconscious.  Aria quickly healed Mew and attempted to climb the chute herself, but couldn’t even manage the first leg.

Meanwhile, Bartholomew, Morgana, and Eru edged their way through the dark cave.  Eru, with her elvin genes, could see in the darkness and led the group.  She spotted a goblin guard on the bridge above their heads…and quietly snuck beneath him.  Bartholomew followed suit, sneaking under the bridge.  Morgana, though, tripped in the darkness, alerting the goblin guard who signaled to other goblins – goblins who were positioned at Butt Falls and they smashed out the support beams holding up the dam to one of the pools of Sweaty Butt Valley.  Water filled the cavern, rushed down the tunnel, and swept our three adventurers out the cave. Aria and Mew heard the shouts, the rush of water, and turned just in time to see their friends pass by their cavern entrance. The water lapped at the ledge of the trash chute, but did not affect Mew and Aria…which is good because Aria couldn’t swim!

Battered and bruised and bleeding, Bartholomew, Morgana, and Eru caught their breath and rested along the rivershore.  While they recovered, Mew successfully climbed the trash chute and waited at the top for Aria to join her. Aria tried a second time to ascend, got halfway up, and fell 15’, landing once more on the cave floor.

Recovered from their “swim,” Bartholomew had come up with a great plan.  Eru, armed with her darkvision, crept back into the cave and snuck her way around the corner of the tunnel.  She aimed at the guard on the bridge and cast magic missile…into the darkness…and all three magical darts struck the goblin, flinging his dead body over the rope bridge, falling 20’ to the cavern floor below.  She regrouped with her friends outside the cave.

Aria tried once more to climb the trash chute.  She got halfway up the chute when her tiny little T-Rex (that’s Tiefling-Rex) arms couldn’t hold on and she tumbled to the floor, yet again.  Not discouraged, she tried again and finally joined Mew at the top. By this time, Eru, Bartholomew, and Morgana decided they’d join their friends up top, rather than risk the unknown amount of goblins waiting in the mists of Butt Falls.  Eru attempted to climb up, and failed miserably, hitting her head on the way down.  Morgana and Bartholomew both made it to the top in their first try.  Eru tried again, and managed to climb to the top, even with her head wound…which Morgana quickly healed with her Healer’s Kit.

Mew, still disguised as a smelly goblin (moreso now from his extended stay in the trash chute), called one of the goblin’s over to the smoldering fire.  He persuaded the goblin of her goblin-heritage and asked it to bring it’s friend over.  So Goblin #1 walked away, and returned with Goblin #2.  All the while, Klarg and Klarg’s wolf stomped around the cave, shouting something about making the cave great again.  The goblins introduced themselves as Edgar and Horrace, and explained how unhappy they’d been with Klarg’s behavior and politics of late.  Mew, in all his charismatic ways, laid out the plan:  they would all band together and overtake Klarg, split his loot, and live their lives as they wanted to!  It wasn’t long before Edgar and Horrace unsheathed their swords and the mutiny began!

Edgar charged at the unsuspecting Klarg wielding his sword high, swung…and missed!  Morgana followed through, but missed – luckily, she had a dagger at the ready and flung it through the air, striking Clark and doing some damage.  Aria placed a hex on Klarg and simultaneously attacked the wolf with Eldritch Blast and struck it.  Unphased, Klarg struck at Bartholomew and rendered him unconscious.  Unable to immediately help the monk, the party continued their attacks.  Horrace lunged toward Klarg, but Klarg dodged the attack.  Eru once again launched an acid bubble, but Klarg dodged (nimble goblin!).  Mew focused her attention on the wolf, stabbing it DEAD – on his face, even!  Edgar struck at Klarg, but missed (yet again).  Morgana attacked, but missed.  Aria’s hex lifted and she, too, failed to strike Klarg.  Horrace, the mutinous goblin, swung at Klarg and dealt the final blow.  Klarg fell, dead, on the cavern floor.  With no time to think, Edgar and Horrace turned on our band of friends – they weren’t going to split this loot!  Eru launched a firebolt at Horrace, rendering him to ash.  Mew shanked Edgar, doing some damage.  Morgana attempted, but missed – and instead turned her attention to Bartholomew, whom she roused from slumber.  Aria attacked Edgar, missed, and hexed him.  Now awake, Bartholomew shook off the veil of sleep and furiously attacked Edgar, killing him.

The adventurers, victorious, studied the room around them.  To many, all they saw were boxes – but the trained eye of Mew, the thievish rogue, spotted the rusted treasure chest among the crates of provisions.  He picked the lock and *voila* our heroes were rewarded.  No one saw Mew and she slipped the jade frog into her pocket.  The frog with the golden eyes was worth 40 gold pieces, easily.  The party split the 600 copper pieces and 110 silver pieces amongst themselves and Morgana was gifted with the two health potions found within the chest.

Exhausted from the fight, our adventurers took a rest among the crates and bounty.  The scents and sounds of the dank cave echoed off the walls.  Darkness lay ahead.  As did unknown numbers of goblins, the fate of Gundren Rockseeker and his escort, and endless adventure.

Pause…(game resumed 2/26/17)

Rested from their battle, the party decides to head deeper into the cave north toward Butt Falls.  As they round a corner, they see two goblins playing near the water.  Mew (while still disguised as a stinking goblin) draws her crossbow, fires, and strikes one of the oblivious goblins in the head.  It falls with a splash into the water.  The second goblin charges at Mew with its shortsword drawn, slashing across his chest – and she falls unconscious against the cave wall in a slump, bleeding profusely.  Eru hurls a fire bolt at the goblin, but it whizzes past the goblin and is snuffed out by the Falls.  Morgana steps protectively over Mew’s body, drawing her scimitar and attacking the goblin, but it ducks – *whoosh*.  She counters with her dagger, but the goblin again avoids her attack, jumping backward.  Aria’s reaches deep within her Inner Soul and emits a crackling burst of energy, casting Eldritch Blast toward the goblin.  It didn’t stand a chance, withers, and dies. Just as the party was going to focus on Mew’s wounds, a swirl of light from around the corner of Butt Falls surprises the Adventurers.  “WHAT?!?”

Bartholomew decides to investigate and rushes toward Butt Falls, rounding the corner.  He sees a goblin and a dwarf in combat!  He drew his shortbow, let his arrow loose, and killed the goblin!  Bartholomew had made his first kill!! (Insert celebratory dance here.)  He and the dwarf meet…cautiously at first.  The dwarf introduces itself (should this be its-Electric-Boogaloo-ness, or is it too early?) as Therkahn Battlebeard, a cleric, but it’s difficult to tell if this dwarf is male or female…we still don’t know.

Aria dresses Mew’s wounds and he awakens.  Therkahn offers to help, fully healing Mew with his cleric-skills, while solidifying a sense of friendship and trust with the party.  Bartholomew busied himself looting the body of his kill – he kept 3 rounded pebbles, tattered leather, and a fish skeleton, but gave one copper piece each to Aria and Mew.  Morgana fished the second body out of the water and gained four copper pieces, giving the tattered leather she found to Aria to later craft a pouch.  Remembering the earlier misfortune with the flooding of the cave, Morgana destroyed the remaining dam which held back Butt Falls’ collected pool.  It rushed harmlessly beneath them.

Backtracking up the cavern, the Adventurers found the bridge which allowed them to cross to the other side of the chasm.  Each of them clanked and creaked and stepped loudly as they crossed, curving around into a small cavern with a dimly-lit fire, which appeared to be hastily snuffed out.  The party pushed themselves flat up against the cave wall and could hear evidence of enemies ahead (or overhead?), lying in wait.  Morgana, hidden in the darkness, but confined by the close-quarters, awkwardly changed into the extra goblin costume and stepped forward with Mew around the corner and up the stairs.  The two “goblins” were greeted by six goblins waiting on the ledge, poised to strike.  Mew convinces some of the goblins that he’s just their for the food and could smell it throughout the cave, and three of them head down the ledge to tend to the meal.

The larger goblin, however, (dressed in chainmail, I might add) calls her out and assumes a battle stance.  Morgana unfurls her thornwhip, cracking and flicking it toward one of the goblins before her – it strikes, the tail of the whip wrapped around the goblin’s arm, and when she pulls back, the thorns gouge through the flesh, nearly dismembering its left arm.  Without hesitation, Mew lunges at the chainmailed goblin with her shortsword, but is deflected by his scimitar.  Seeing an opening in the parry, Mew jabs with his dagger, nicking the goblin’s unprotected armpit.  Meanwhile, Eru rushes into the throng of goblins around the campfire and casts Thunderwave, filling the air with a loud boom which forcefully flung two goblins into the adjacent cavern wall – breaking one’s neck and the other just slumped dead on the cavern floor.  The third goblin hurled through the air and landed hard on the stairway above, it’s leg obviously twisted and broken – all it did was scream out in pain, whimper, and sway in a useless lump.  Therkahn cast Sacred Flame at the stairs, but the goblin writhed in pain and coincidentally evaded the falling fire.  Bartholomew charged up the stairs and slashed at a goblin with his shortsword, cutting it across the abdomen.  Aria followed behind, and cast Eldritch Blast, but unfortunately Bartholomew stood in her way and she had to adjust her aim to not strike him and she missed the goblins completely.

The armored goblin suddenly announced their surrender and Morgana insisted they all get on their knees (well, except for that pathetic writhing goblin on the stairs) and disarm.  Bartholomew orders the goblins to strip naked and, of course, they complied.  Behind the kneeling gobins, the Adventurers see the unconscious body of Sildar Hallwinter, the traveling companion of Gundren Rockseeker.  Morgana knelt beside Sildar, arousing him from his slumber.  Mew rummaged through the belongings of the chainmailed goblin and found 3 gold teeth, which she kept for himself, along with the chainmail armor after asking each member of the party, in turn, if they wanted it.  She gave the 15 silver pieces to Morgana in an uncharacteristic display of generosity. That near death experience must have temporarily addled his sense of self.

Therkahn asked Sildar where Gundren was, since he wasn’t found within the cave.  Sildar recounted his tale of how they were ambushed on the road and taken by the goblins.  Gundren and he were looking for Wave Echo Cave, a long-rumored magical and mystical cave filled with treasures which was destroyed long ago.  Once captured, two bugbears hauled Gundren off to an unknown location…

Eru vanished down the ledge to loot the two bodies by the fire.  She kept two wooden dice for herself and gave two copper pieces each to the members of the party, including the newly-added Therkahn.  The goblins were ordered to carry supplies from the cave to the wagon waiting at the entrance, and as everyone disappeared across the bridge, Mew lingered behind.  The cries of the wounded goblin on the stairs wafted across the chasm, until suddenly – silence…and Mew of Death joined the rest of her friends across the bridge, a smile creased his lips, back to her Drow self again.  The unclad goblins were ordered to load up all of the crates from Klarg’s cavern onto the wagon, too.  Once fully loaded and the cave plundered, the party debated on what to do with the goblins.  Mew, of course, wanted to kill them.  Bartholomew wanted to bring them along as sherpas.  Eru wanted nothing to do with the filthy beasts.

So, it was decided they would be released.  Bartholomew, enamored with the smallest goblin, handed him the fish skeleton saying, “Thank you.”  Bewildered, the goblin shyly accepted the gift, but having no pocket or pouch to put it in just stood there, holding it awkwardly.  Therkahn fed each of the goblins from his rations, Bartholomew also paid the unwilling and unclad sherpas 3 copper pieces each and gave them back the previously-looted goblin attire, and Mew, the lying man that she was, stated he supported Bartholomew’s kind gesture…

Sildar stated he was with the Lord’s Alliance and there would be a reward for his rescue and safe return to Phandalin.  And since our travelers were going to Phandalin to deliver Gundren’s goods and seek a reward for the Lionshield Coster supplies, they agreed to travel together.  Upon arrival in Phandalin, Sildar paid for the entire party to stay at the Stone Hill Inn, and each member retreated to his or her respective room to soak off the day’s adventure.

Clean and refreshed, everyone (well, except Sildar) reconvened downstairs in the pub.  Bartholomew and Therkahn bonded over ale and religion.  Mew braided Eru’s wet hair beside the hearth.  Aria worked in the corner crafting her spell bag.  Morgana sprung for a gallon of ale to share with her friends.

Mew and Therkahn both spotted the beauty that was the Innkeeper’s wife, exchanged a few heated words over who got to seduce her…but Mew allowed Therkan the honor.  Therkahn sidled up to the Innkeeper’s wife, ordered a mug of ale, claiming it was on Sildar’s tab…which it WASN’T, but earned himself a free beer regardless!

Aria sidled up to an old weaver, Frida, and learned a few useful tips and tricks about weaving.  She then wove enchanted  friendship bracelets, giving one to each of her companions!

Morgana befriended Pip, the 8-year-old son of the Innkeeper.  Pip told her about a tunnel he and his friend found near Tresendar Manor – she gave him a copper piece for his tale.  Meanwhile, Therkahn was still flirting with the Innkeeper’s wife and learned about Daran Edermath, a retired adventurer who now owned an apple orchard in town.

Mew and Eru spotted a dusty miner and they enticed him into conversation: he mines up north, mostly iron, for the Lionshield Coster.  He warned the two that if they intended to head up north to beware of orcs along the Triboar Trail.  Eru asked if he knew anything about the Wave Echo Cave and he thought it may be in the northeastern mountains, but wasn’t sure.  Mew, charming vixen that he was, encouraged the miner to buy she and Eru a beer…which, of course, he could not resist.

Bartholomew befriended a farmer, Narth, in the pub and learned about Sister Garaele’s recent distraught return from the woods.  Narth is also is a friend of Daran.  Bartholomew, gracious man that he is, bought an ale for Narth – and subtly asked for some free crops in return.  He was…denied!  Mew joined them and asked the farmer about the weather conditions up north and learned that some heavier clothing may be in order.

Sildar appeared at the foot of the stairs, pulling out a purse and paid the party members 50 gold pieces for their efforts, which they split 8 gold pieces per person.  Since there were two pieces left, Mew suggested a group cash purse, affectionately called “The Kitty.”  Since nobody trusted Mew to tend the purse, it was given to Bartholomew for safe keeping.  Exhausted and sated with ale, the Adventurers retired to their rooms.

Bright and early, Bartholomew decided to go shopping!  He entered Barthen’s Provisions with the intent to buy food for his party, including fixins for breakfast burritos, and sell Gundren’s supplies.  Mew was already awake and shadowed Bartholomew, watched him step into the shop, but a few seconds later he turned around and exited the shop, the shopkeeper shouting, “Um, okay…come back soon!” – Bartholomew headed back toward the Inn, scratching his balding head.  He promptly woke the rest of the party to join him.  Aria was livid that he hadn’t already procured and prepared breakfast.

The party all returned to Barthen’s Provisions.  Aria took charge of negotiations while Barthen inspected Gundren’s crates.  Barthen had made a deal with Gundren to pay 10 gold pieces to five people…but Aria pushed for 15 gold pieces for 6 people.  Barthen countered with 10 gold pieces for five people, plus the wagon and “burro fixins – whatever those are.”  Aria was relentless and Barthen finally caved, paying 15 gold pieces for each party member having delivered Gundren’s supplies.  Aria sweetened the deal by giving Barthen a petrified eye of newt.  Eru purchased new robes and changed in the back room out of her  filthy trash-chute covered robes. Therkahn bought rations to replace the ones he’d gifted to the goblins yesterday.  She(Electric Boogaloo?) also purchased a miner’s pick and a blanket.  Aria bought a grappling hook.  Bartholomew bought a blanket, playing cards, and lamp oil.  Then he stood in the center of the widest aisle juggling the three pebbles he had looted from the goblins previously.  Mew decided to go and sell her  chainmail at the Lionshield Coster – Bartholomew tagged along.

Mew held the goblin-crafted chainmail up to the Lionshield Coster shopkeeper for inspection, hoping to get at least 20 gold pieces.  The shopkeeper scoffed, offering 10 for the poorly-crafted armor.  She only intended to melt it down to make it into a far superior armor.  Bartholomew kicked up the charm and talked her up to 12 gold pieces.  Mew still wanted more – and Bartholomew threatened the shopkeeper with a “secret order” that Mew belonged to, as well as spreading a bad reputation among the order about the shop.  The owner crumbled beneath the threat, offering 17 gold pieces for the chainmail.  Mew took the 17 gold pieces and offered Bartholomew one piece for his silver tongue.  And, yet again, he negotiated the split to a 50/50 split of 8 gold pieces, plus one to The Kitty.  They exited the shop.

Therkahn, Eru, Morgana, and Aria meet up with Bartholomew and Mew in the street.  They’d come to collect their reward for securing and delivering the Lionshield goods safely.  They stepped inside the shop while Bartholomew stayed outside and Mew slunk back in, ducking behind a barrel to eavesdrop…little did they know the shopkeeper was already in a foul mood from the transaction just a few moments before and from being roughed up by the Redbrand Ruffians earlier.  Aria performed some quick magic tricks to try to lighten the mood, but it didn’t really work.  The shopkeeper offered 50 gold pieces for the entire booty.  Aria tried to offer some protection to the shopkeeper from a “secret guild,” for six gold pieces, but the shopkeeper grunted mentioned that Halia may be in cahoots with the Zhentarim.  Of course, Aria’s ears perked up…she’d have to remember to tell Mew later…Therkahn tried to namedrop the Lord’s Alliance, but that noble name didn’t sway the shopkeeper on her price.  The Earl of Duque (Mew in disguise) stepped into the shop, waving his nobility around to haggle a better price…and failed.  Finally the group took the 50 gold pieces, split it six ways and put the remaining two pieces in The Kitty.

Aria nudged Mew aside and whispered about their Halia being a member of their Order.  They begged off to “go shopping” and split from their friends.

Therkahn, Morgana, and Eru decided to find Sister Garaele to inquire about her observed state of distress the other night.  Upon reaching the Sister’s house, they were told she was praying at the Shrine of Luck, and they headed over.  They found Sister Garaele, who informed them that she wasn’t attacked the other night, but simply fell and tripped in the woods, tearing her robes.  Therkahn didn’t believe her one second and Morgana pressed her a bit further and learned that she had actually been looking for a spellbook.  A ghost named Agatha supposedly knew more about the whereabouts of said book and could be found about a day away northeast of the Triboar Trail at an old house near the ruins of Conyberry.  Eru was truly interested in finding this spellbook and learning its secrets with Sister Garaele.  The Sister gave Eru a silver comb she had found near the ruins and thought it may belong to the ghost, but wasn’t sure what good it would do.  Therkahn, interested in something far greater than spells, asked, “What’s in it for us?”  The Sister stated if the party were able to return with the spellbook, she would give them several healing potions.  Of course, our three Adventurers needed to confer with the rest of their party before committing, and headed off to find Mew and Aria.

Mew and Aria had found Halia’s house and knocked on the door.  When she answered, they both immediately offered the secret handshake of the Zhentarim.  Mew asked about the tunnel she had learned about from Pip at the Inn…and Halia stated it was the hideout of the Redbrands!  She had been thinking of having the Redbrands leader, Glasstaff, assassinated and stage a coup.  She insisted, however, that as many of Glasstaff’s minions as possible be spared; and, in true Zhentarim fashion, she equated each Redbrand’s life to money.  Halia offered to pay 50 gold pieces to each Zhentarim member if the assassination attempt were accepted.  Mew and Aria agreed…intent on forging Zhentarim documents for the rest of the party to reap ALL THE MONEY!

Around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, all of the party members met up again with Sildar in town.  He let them know that his good friend was missing, and was last seen near the Manor, but since it was getting late, the party decided to wait until tomorrow to help Sildar find his friend.

Instead, the Adventurers went to the apple orchard to talk to Daran.  Therkahn started the introductions and learned that Daran was a member of the Order of the Gauntlet, and they shared tales of grand adventure.  Daran had long-since retired to the life of an apple farmer and mumbled tales between bites of a juicy apple that that orcs could be killed with a blade and the bodies of trolls needed to be burned.  He also told tales of some trouble at the Old Owl Well and that the undead have been reported chasing off prospectors.  He mumbled a few other things beneath his breath, apple crunches between words, and offered the party a bushel of apples.  They thanked Daran and headed back to the Inn to meet up with Sildar to decide what they would do tomorrow:

Search for Sildar’s friend?  Hunt Agatha the ghost and the mysterious spellbook?  Stage a coup?  Investigate the rumors of the undead?  Tomorrow will come soon enough…

To be continued…

***

Resources:

Geek & SundryDungeons & Dragons As Therapy

Health Fitness RevolutionTop 10 Health Benefits of Board Games

Psychology TodayDungeons & Dragons, 40 Years Old, Makes You a Better Person

Technology Advice4 Chemicals That Activate Happiness, and How to Gamify Them

View story at Medium.com

~ Again, I am a layman.  I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge.  Please take what I say with a grain of salt.  If curious, do your own research 😉 Validate my writings.  Or challenge them.  And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always.  Yours ~ Lisa

Feel Good Fridays

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We made it through yet another week! They fly by sometimes, eh?

Today’s quote is from America author, Maya Anglelou:

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

This one hit me hard…and is very close to home.  I feel so many struggles in my life have made me who I am today – a stronger and better person.  And I hope the same for you.

❤ Lisa