Facebook Endo Awareness!

Endo Awareness Facebook frame around Lisa Howard's profile photo

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month!!

I created a Facebook frame thingy!! If you’d like one, just go to your profile on the Facebook app and tap “Edit” on your profile picture. Then tap “Add Frame”. Do a search for Endometriosis Awareness Bloomin and search for the frame by Bloomin’ Uterus

🙂

And yes, that is my face covered in a charcoal mud mask holding my demonic cat whom we love (and fear) dearly ❤

Wear that yellow ribbon, loud and proud!!

Feel Good Fridays

Man checking off a "no" box

This one goes out to all of ya who have to say no to many events, happenings, parties, or even yourself. Self-care is so very important. And you should never feel guilty for having to decline an invitation or cancel plans because *you* need to rest and take care of your body.

“Let today mark a new beginning for you. Give yourself permission to say NO without feeling guilty, mean, or selfish. Anybody who gets upset and/or expects you to say YES all of the time clearly doesn’t have your best interest at heart. Always remember: You have a right to say NO without having to explain yourself. Be at peace with your decisions.”
― Stephanie Lahart

I hope that you ARE able to care for you, first.  And I hope you have a beautiful and relaxing weekend.

Love, Lisa

Feel Good Fridays

A super rainy week in Southern California, and I just love the weather!!! So, here we are, a Friday – the end of another week. February is halfway over – are you ready for March?

On to today’s quote. Another one chosen at random, and if it was meant for you today – then so be it.

“If people refuse to look at you in a new light and they can only see you for what you were, only see you for the mistakes you’ve made, if they don’t realize that you are not your mistakes, then they have to go.” 
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

This may be easier said than done, but it can be done. And sometimes it is absolutely necessary for your survival. You have to take care of you, first. If you don’t, how can you care for others?

I know today’s Feel Good quote may be a bit of a downer, but I need you to understand that we are worth the effort and the love. And others cannot get passed the past and judge you for it, cut them loose. Surround yourself with those that unconditionally love you. Move on.

I love you guys. And wish you the best weekend possible. ~Lisa

Share Your Story: Melanie

Melanie standing in front of a cart of fresh baked artisan breads

Melanie Rossiter is writing a book about Endometriosis (which is available on Amazon) and wanted to share her Endo journey with us today.

Melanie’s Journey:

This story is taken from the introduction of my book ‘Reclaiming Feminine Wisdom: An Empowering Journey With Endometriosis’.

My struggle back to health began two weeks after the birth of my second child. I had to have postnatal emergency surgery for a retained placenta, which was followed by pain, adhesions (scar tissue sticking tissues or organs together), and endometriosis.

Continue reading

Recap: End Endo FUNdraiser 2019

Sister Donatella Soul and Saint Birthday Suit pose together at an Endometriosis Fundraiser at a bar

Each year, a few gals get together and take over Shooter’s Cocktails, a local bar, to raise money for the Endometriosis Foundation of America. And this year was no different.

On January 27, 2019, Tanya Linda (aka Saint Birthday Suit), Sister Donatella Soul, and the San Diego Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence came together and raised almost $400 through general donations, drink sales, and online donations! A local band, the Ass Pocket Whiskey Fellas, also rocked the house and donated CDs to the cause.

Donatella and Tanya, who both have Endometriosis, agreed to share with us why they do what they do…

Tell us why you choose to raise money for Endometriosis awareness and research.

Tanya:
It is all I can do so I give it my all.

Donatella:
Tanya chooses to organize this fundraiser for her birthday every year with the help and support of The San Diego Sisters. It is important for Tanya as she manages living with endo. Five of the members of our Sister House in SD have endo, so it us important for us to support awareness and research and provide outreach to those in the community looking for understanding and a little joy. The venue we use, Shooters Cocktails, allowed our use for this fundraiser as one of the owner’s relatives has endo.

Can you tell us more about the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence?

Donatella:
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence started Easter weekend, 1979, in San Francisco. The Mission is to promulgate joy and expiate stigmatic guilt. The Sisters were the first group to recognize, inform about, and fundraise for HIV/AIDS. The Order has spread and Houses and Missions may be found worldwide.

Tanya:
My favorite activists in SD. Bawdy, Funny, Informed, Helpful and without Shame!

This year a little something special occurred. The San Diego Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence granted Tanya a Sainthood! What’s that?

Donatella:
Personally, I have wanted Tanya to be sainted for some time for her support and promotion of The Sisters. Being able to include her efforts in endo awareness and fundraising was a Joy. I think it is an important inclusion as it means representation for those in our community managing endometriosis. A Saint of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is a member of the community who supports the work of the Sisters. In Tanya’s case, her endo outreach has enabled The Sisters in our outreach and fundraising efforts for endo. A Saint is a member of The Sisters who does not have voting privileges. They are community members who support the work, but do not have a calling to be a Sister or Guard.

Tanya:
I am honored to help our Sisters help those in need in our community.

I know that Tanya serves special Endo-themed drinks every year at the FUNdraiser. What’s up with that?

Tanya:
Warning! Bawdy and we make no apologies for that!

Donatella:
LOL, Tanya and I wanted to create drinks that brought some joy, that the women could have a chuckle at. Also, the names make an impression on the men so in a humorous way we can get some points across about pain and discomfort. It is fun to hear the men get into it and yell, “I’ll have another Heavy Flow!”

Note from Bloomin’ Uterus: a portion of the proceeds from each of these drinks were donated to the Endometriosis Foundation of America. The drinks included: Heavy Flow (a bloody mary), Moist Vagina (a delicious shot), and Yeast Induction (a beer & a shot).

Anything else you’d like to share?

Tanya:
Derek French is an acupuncturist here in Mission Valley (San Diego, CA area) who has been treating my early stages of Endo with herbs and weekly acupuncture for over a year and my painful periods are now a whisper of what they were. Derek has treated Endo patients in more advanced stages with great results his number is (619) 993-9297.

Donatella:
I have found the End Endo event to be a wonderful way to let those suffering have an afternoon of fun and camaraderie with others who understand. It has worked to bring out women who have just been diagnosed, but do not know where to turn for information.

**

I cannot thank Tanya, Donatella, or the Sisters enough for doing this year after year. And Shooters for housing the fundraiser! AND a huge shout-out to the Ass Pocket Whiskey Fellas who were absolutely incredible (and will be joining us for our March walk)! Annnd than you Richard for the photographs and video!

If you missed the FUNdraiser this year, don’t fret: they’ll do it again NEXT YEAR!!! Thank you, Sisters! ❤ It’s always a blast and it’s for such a phenomenal cause.

All of these photos were taken by Richard T. Reyes (Saint Angel con Cuernos) and used with his express permission:

EndoWhat? A Free Screening

Flyer for EndoWhat screening in San Diego on March 16, 2019

Do you have Endometriosis or know someone who does?  Or maybe you think you may it?  

Join us for a free screening of the EndoWhat documentary in San Diego, followed by a Q&A panel hosted by Dr. Sally  Rafie of The Pharmacists Clinic, Sister Donatella Soul of the San Diego Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and Lisa Howard of Bloomin’ Uterus.

Come to meet other EndoWarriors, like yourself.  Bring your friends and family and educate them about our illness.  Empower yourself and educate others.  Together we can do great things!

Seating is limited to 250 people, so please reserve your tickets today.  

Tickets available at EventBrite.

March 16, 2019; the screening will begin at 1:00p.m. UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences; HSEC Auditorium; 9500 Gilman Drive; La Jolla, CA 92093. There will be free parking on the campus.

**

Endometriosis or “endo” is the most common, devastating disease that most people have never heard of. It affects 1 in 10 girls and women. That’s approximately 176,000,000 people on the planet.

Despite its prevalence, women see an average of 8 doctors for 10 years before diagnosis. During that time, many are forced to miss school, leave careers they love, abandon dreams of having children and watch their personal relationships suffer. They’re often told incorrectly by doctors that pregnancy & hysterectomy are cures and that pain is normal or in their heads. After diagnosis, they’re usually prescribed an array of drugs & undergo multiple, ineffective surgeries.

It’s time to break that cycle. It’s time for a new normal that doesn’t mean multiple doctors, drugs, surgeries, misdiagnoses and years of pain. The only film of its kind, Endo What? gives an accurate, up-to-date base of knowledge straight from the experts.

It’s a film to educate & put power where it belongs – in the hands of girls & women.

**

Where: UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; HSEC Auditorium; 9500 Gilman Drive; La Jolla, CA 92093. Follow the stairs outside the building down to the lower level.

Exterior of building of Skaggs School of Pharmacy at UCSD campus

Parking: There will be free parking available at the parking structure in the blue-highlighted area:

Map of where to park for screening at UCSD campus

I’d like to extend a HUGE thank you to Dr. Sally Rafie and Sister Donatella Soul for all of their hard work in helping me bring this event to the San Diego community.

**

We hope that you can join us!

Feel Good Fridays

Bristlecone Pine tree
An ancient bristlecone pine; From a trip with friends Sept. 2018

Another Friday is upon us and the first week of February has come to a close.

For today’s quote, I opened up the book of “Quotationary” that my Mum bought me and selected a random quote on a random page. May I present to you (Page 207, first column, second quote):

No tree becomes rooted and sturdy unless many a wind assails it. For by its very tossing it tightens its grip and plants its roots more securely; the fragile trees are those that have grown in a sunny valley. ~Seneca the Younger


Of all the random quotes in this 961-page book, my finger landed on this one. And I love it. Not only because I feel it a personal testament … but I also find it a testament of all of you strong Sisters and Warriors. We’ve become stronger by our adversity, our illness, our community. We aren’t a lone battle-scarred tree perched on some forlorn hilltop. No! We are a mighty forest, a tended orchard, a protective thicket, and an oasis in the desert.

Think of the aged and gnarled and resilient bristlecone pines that stand for thousands of years. When we visited the park in California in late 2018, I cannot begin to describe the ferocity of the winds that assailed the top of the mountain…yet the pines stood tall and proud.

We are great in number and greater in spirit. And we are made so by each other and those who support us and hold our hands during the rough times.

You are not alone, my beautiful strong-rooted Ones. Have a wonderful weekend. Love, Lisa

Blogs I Updated This Week:

Bladder & Endometriosis – added a 2019 study of a woman who developed ureteral endometriosis which blocked the flow of urine from her kidney

Endometriosis: Finding the Silver Lining – added Brandy and Amanda’s thoughts on how Endometriosis has positively affected their lives.

Endometriosis & Leg Pain/Sciatica – added a Nov. 2018 study about Endometriosis-induced sciatica

Endometriosis & the Appendix – added a Jan. 2019 study, as well as my Nov. 2018 surgery and personal experience with appendix-endo.

Endometriosis & the Bowel – added a 2019 study of a woman with a bowel obstruction and cecum mass which led to an emergency surgery; turns out: it was Endometriosis.

Endometriosis on your Skin – added a 2019 abstract of a woman who developed a skin-colored nodule that ended up being Endometriosis.

My Fourth Endo Excision Surgery – I received an update on my surgery billing. My insurance covered the hospital and anesthesiologist bills and paid my copay. I’m still waiting for the insurance to approve my pathologist’s bill, as well as waiting for my colo-rectal surgeon’s bill to arrive.

Orlissa: AbbVie’s New Drug to Manage Endometriosis Symptoms – added a 2019 abstract of the Phase 3 Clinical Trial outcomes.

Reader’s Choice: Can Men Get Endometriosis – added a 2019 study of a 54-year-old man who developed Endometriosis at the base of his bladder.

Pain Journal: January 2019

Summary of Lisa Howard's pain journal from January 2019

I’ve decided to start publishing my pain journals; not only in the hopes of documenting my Endometriosis Journey, but possibly helping others with theirs. Let’s get intimately familiar with my habits, shall we? 🙂

I use Google Slides to track my food, drink, bowel movements, medication, sex, and pain levels. I also track the location of my pain. And I’ve found this method helps me stay more in touch with my body and it acts as a great aid for my doctor and surgeons. I can access Google Slides from my PC, my phone, and my tablet; so it’s never too far away. And if I’m too lazy to open the app, I just shoot myself an email with a timestamp and description of what’s going on (i.e, 2:45pm ate a bowl of vanilla ice cream). Then the next day (or whenever is convenient) I rebuild my Google Slides with that information.

There are several Smartphone Apps out there that act as diaries and symptom trackers, too, but I’m all paranoid about permissions and developer access. 😉 BUT…the most important thing: you do what’s best and easiest for you.

So, welcome to my world. I will likely retroactively post my prior pain journals just to have them all in one place and can compare!

I’m pleased to say that January was relatively uneventful! Surgery was a huge success and most of my pain has been discomfort from my incisions and staples, learning my new bowels (and what NOT to eat/drink), and very very mild period pain. I literally forgot I was on my cycle for 99.9% of my period!

You can feel free to scroll through the slides of every day in January:

I also wanted to start tracking my new bowel movements by type and pain levels. I’m a visual kind of person, so I like all the info in ONE place. And I simply cannot believe the difference since my surgery! To poo almost EVERY day multiple times a day and to have zero pain most of the time is incredible! AND to see the difference when I’ve eaten (or in this case…drunk) something that didn’t agree with me. January 25th and 26th were Life Lessons, that’s for sure. I’ll most definitely have to go back in time and rebuild my pre-surgery poop charts!

Blue is the number of poops in a day, the orange line shows if I had any diarrhea (and how many times in a day), and the red line shows pain levels during bowel movements:

I am so grateful for my Endometriosis surgeons: Dr. Mel Kurtulus (my gynecologist and excision surgeon) and Dr. Matthew Schultzel (my colo-rectal surgeon). You have given me my life back.

Feel Good Fridays

We’ve made it through yet another week. And the first month of 2019 has drawn to a close (already?!?).

I had an incredibly relaxing weekend celebrating my husband’s 50th birthday last weekend. And he’s been on vacation this week, too. So today’s quote is all about finding a moment to relax.

And this quote really hit me square between my shoulders…literally. Take a moment, become aware of your body, and try to let it all go….

“Relaxing the shoulders is vital for relaxation in general. However, owing to the effects of gravity, relaxation is problematic unless we let the shoulders remain in their natural place. Let the shoulders drop, or settle in harmony with gravity, into their most comfortable position. It isn’t too difficult to do this for a moment, but to sustain this condition unconsciously in our lives is another matter. We raise our shoulders unnaturally when we lean on a desk or hold the telephone between our shoulders and ears, when we are shocked by a loud noise, and who knows how many other times throughout the day. And the unsettling of the shoulders doesn’t have to be large to produce anxiety, stiff necks, and headaches. Just slightly raising them will create tension, and this tension throws the nervous system out of balance.


When do we raise the shoulders in daily life? What are we feeling at that moment and leading up to that moment? Remembering that the body reflects the mind, and that the raising of the shoulders not only creates tension but also is a physical manifestation of psychological tension itself, what are the roots of this tension? Bringing the mind into the moment, let’s observe ourselves in a state free of preconceived ideas or beliefs. Don’t guess at these questions. Observe yourself in relationship to others and the universe” 
― H.E. Davey, Japanese Yoga: The Way of Dynamic Meditation

I hope you are able to better center yourself, breathe, and let things go. I will try, at least for today, to be aware of my tension and shoulders (especially because they DO tend to ride high near my ears) and to just…relax.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Love, Lisa

Blogs I updated this week:

Endometriosis: Finding the Silver Lining – added Zoe’s silver lining.