Okay, because I was out of town last Friday, I’m giving you TWO quotes today 🙂
My friend and mentor recently shared a quote that I fell in love with, and I wanted to share it with you. I’d never heard it before, but given who said it, you think I would have!
“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” ~John Wayne
And this one I found while scrolling through uplifting quotes:
“You do not need any more strength. You only need to realize how strong you already are.” ~Vironika Tugaleva
So what are you going to do this weekend? Next week? Next month? The rest of the year?
I hope you are able to look within yourself, sense your inner strength and beauty, and move ahead full steam…with whatever you may have on your plate, or what you’ve been putting off, or what’s been hindering you, or what’s lurking in the shadows…Just close your eyes and go. You can do this.
After suffering from horrible periods and cramps since 13 years old, Erika 18 years old when she diagnosed with Endometriosis. Living in Ireland, she shares her tale with us just three years later:
Erika’s Journey: This is just a short story of the life and pain I’ve been living in! My name is Erika, I’m 22 and was raised in Dublin. I still live at home with my mother and brother seeing as its so hard to find a home at this minute in Ireland. It all started when I had my first period, I was in a lot of pain and had no clue of actually what was happening to me? All young girls oh I can’t wait for my periods to come so they would feel more mature ‘grown-up”. Where with me it was a different story completely, from my first periods all I remember was pain, very severe pain and didn’t know how to control it.
So, today I had an appointment with my gynecologist and surgeon, Dr. Mel Kurtulus. It was to discuss my Endometriosis symptoms, which I felt have been worsening. My (two) July periods, and my August period were horrendous. Going through my 2017 Pain Diary, March and April were also up there on the pain scale. I was all prepared to go on in and ask for another surgery…and possibly a hysterectomy just to rid my life of periods (since that’s when most of my pain is present). I know it’s not a cure, but it would most certainly help some…
Then, last Thursday evening I started my period: the night before I was to leave for a family camping trip…I was devastated. I expected to be fully-medicated the entire weekend. I packed my Naproxen Sodium, my Tylenol 3 with Codeine, my Tramadol, and my Zofran. BUT…surprise surprise…my period cramps NEVER rose above a 1 (on a scale of 1-10) for pain levels! I didn’t even have to take an Ibuprofen…the ENTIRE weekend! (Insert elated exclamation here)
WHAT? I contemplated canceling my appointment for today. I mean, if I could have ONE good period in the midst of horrendous ones…maybe surgery wasn’t required. In fact, I knew it wasn’t. But…I didn’t cancel. I wanted to let my doctor know about the good news!
So, in I went. And I was greeted with his customary smile and handshake. Closing the door behind me, I immediately let him know I was going to be his easiest patient all day. I proceeded to tell me about my previous heartfelt determination to come in and ask for surgery, followed instantly by my good news about my most recent period. And again, he smiled. I told him how amazing it was how quickly hope resurfaces just because I had a pain-free period. How it brought about this sense of…I struggled to find the right words, so my doctor found them, “I can do this.” And it’s true. He asked about my previous period pain levels and rather than struggle to remember, I handed him a 15-page printout of my 2017 Pain Diary. And he took the time to go through EVERY page and every line, commenting here and there about my notes. He didn’t seem impatient or put-out or annoyed. He genuinely took his sweet time. He asked about my pain pills, if they’re working, if I wanted to go back on birth control, etc.; to which I answered each one.
And our plan with my Endometriosis?
Continue to monitor my pain, symptoms, and diet. We discussed diet some (and he gave me a few questions I’ll ask Merritt Jones at her Optimal Nutrition & Endometriosis workshop).
Take pain pills, as needed. Starting with Naproxen Sodium, and if those don’t kick in to proceed with 1/2 a Tramadol and a Zofran. Tylenol 3 doesn’t work well for my pain, so I consider it out of the picture.
If my symptoms and pain become unmanageable by medication and become consistently worse (the key word here is “consistently”), then we will discuss surgery.
Those are the only two choices with this disease:
Symptom management (whether it be medicine, diet, acupuncture, etc.), and
Surgery to remove as much of the disease as possible…but always with the risk of recurrence.
And that’s it. And I’m okay with this plan. As is he.
I apologized for not canceling my appointment since it was just to confirm what I already knew…and he brushed it off. He smiled gigantically, once more shook my hand, let me know this was a “social visit” and I could come back at any time. He loved these kinds of appointments. And as I was leaving his office, he insisted that I let him know if there was ever anything he could do to help our Endometriosis Support Group or any of our gals. He genuinely cares.
But why am I sharing all of this with you right now? Well, because I am so overjoyed, elated, and uplifted by the understanding and relationship I have with my doctor. I feel confident enough to face my next period head-on, with no fear or dread. And YOU can have a similar relationship with your doctors. Just take the time to talk to them. Be patient when they are running behind. Forge those important bonds and trust with your healthcare providers. And if you absolutely despise or distrust your physician, find another. There are good ones out there. Ones that will listen. Ones that will understand. And ones that care.
It’s FRIDAY!!! Already!?! This week moved so slowly, but now that it’s over I feel like it sped by!
This week I’ve been privy to a lot of stories of pain, suffering, and strength. Some incredibly heartbreaking. Others uplifting. And once more I’m reminded that good things can rise out of crap and suffering.
T.E. was diagnosed with Endometriosis when she was 28 years old. Now 31, she shares her story with us:
T.E.’s Journey: I was diagnosed with Endo around 28. I saw my gynecologist for painful sex and cyst rupture after sex and he recommended me seeing an infertility doctor for possible Endo. I saw the specialist and he said I did have chocolate cysts and suggested surgery to get a good look at what’s going on. I had the surgery; I did have lesions and my chocolate cysts were drained. I also had a low count of eggs at the time so I had to decide if I wanted to have kids now or never so I never started the pill after surgery.
Fast forward six months, I was back in pain and now till this day, I have had new symptoms arise. Hip pain and the bottom of my feet are new symptoms. I walk for a living so it’s been difficult. I still get leg pain, which is not even around the time of my period and mood swings. I also get lower back pain and severe cramps. My infertility doctor says he can’t do anything else for me so I have been trying other ways. I saw a holistic doctor and went that way and it did help, but the pain came back. I’m going to try acupuncture soon. Wish me luck!!
I want to send a special Thank You out to T.E. for being brave enough to share her personal story and struggle with us today. Wishing you the BEST of luck with acupuncture!! You are a beautiful, brave, and strong woman. Thank you!!!
And 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.
Our Endometriosis Family Support Group meeting will be on Wednesday, September 20, 2017, at 7 p.m. Our scheduled speaker for this month is Devra Densmore, Associate Director of Advocacy Relations at Continuum Clinical. If you have ever wondered about joining a clinical research study, this will be a wonderful opportunity to learn!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name to register!
One of our readers, Jocelyn, emailed me this question:
Thanks for doing this! I was diagnosed with Endo in May 2017. After of course many ultrasounds, bladder scans, colonoscopies… you name it. The laparoscopy in May only revealed 2 very tiny cysts on my ovaries. My doc was able to get a tiny sample sent it off and then after much debate, they gave me the Endo diagnosis. My pain was very severe. I could barely complete normal activities without taking either 800 mg of ibuprofen every 2-4 hours, tramadol, rest, etc. With that being said, my question is even if the Endo is so small can it still cause a great deal of pain? I’ve heard women who have Endo all over their bodies. I tend to question myself because the cysts were so small. I apologize for the ridiculously long response. It’s just been very heavy on my mind. Thanks for listening and all that you do!
Well, another week is behind us. Welcome to Friday!
I’ve picked up a new hobby: knife throwing. I’m completely new. I’ve had two short lessons with my mentor and I’ve been practicing this week. Sometimes good. Sometimes horrible. And I’ve yet to be frustrated over the whole process…
That’s new to me and my mental state. Normally if things aren’t going the way I want them to, I get frustrated, depressed, angry, upset. So I sat back and pondered what was different about this endeavor.
I know I’m new to the skill. I know I’m bad at what I’m doing. And I know I can only get better. I’ve stayed focused on the “I can only get better” aspect of this task, and have not dwelled upon the more frustrating failures I’ve experienced this week. I want to compete. And I can only compete if I get better. I’m holding on tightly to that end goal.
So, what are YOU doing (or are going to do) where this quote can help you? Share about it in the comments below. Whether it be learning a new “thing,” or making doctor appointments, or putting up with people that drive you crazy; how can today’s quote help you muddle through and beyond the frustration?