Do you suffer from nausea? Did you know there’s a drug-free device that may help ease those symptoms? What??
First, an introduction: If you follow the Bloomin’ Uterus Instagram account, you’ve “met” Nicole Tamillo. She’s my friend, confidant, an Admin of our Facebook group, and fellow EndoWarrior. And she is far more tech savvy than I!
Anyway, one of Nicole’s major symptoms when she’s having an Endo-flare is nausea. Extreme nausea. I had heard about a wristband that may help with nausea, so I reached out to the company to see if it would help with Endo-induced nausea. The wonderful folks at ReliefBand offered to send her a complimentary ReliefBand Premier to try out for her Endo-nausea. HOW AMAZING!!! Nicole and I wanted to share her unbiased review, thoughts, results, and excitement with you:
Hello! My name is Nicole Tamillo. I am 27 years old. I was officially diagnosed with Endometriosis at the beginning of 2017 with laparoscopic surgery. Although I experience many different endometriosis symptoms, my two biggest complaints are pain and NAUSEA! My pain can range from uncomfortable to unbearable, but I can normally get through it with minimal complaining. Now nausea on the other hand…. nausea is the bane of my existence. I have self-diagnosed Emetophobia. What is that you ask? EXTREME fear of vomiting. I REPEAT EXTREME FEAR OF VOMITING. I am not talking about being uncomfortable with vomiting, I am talking about full-blown panic mode!! So when endometriosis causes nausea I can not function as a human being. All I can do is lay in the fetal position on my bathroom floor. And the anxiety that comes from nausea only increases my pain. It becomes a vicious vicious cycle. And I have tried so many different things to try and lessen the severity of my nausea. I have tried OTC medications, essential oils, teas, ginger chews, pressure point wristbands, and prescription medicines. But once my nausea has hit, there is no stopping it until it runs its course. That is until I tried the ReliefBand 2.0 (aka the ReliefBand Premier)!
The ReliefBand 2.0 is a class II neuromodulation device that is cleared by the FDA for the treatment of nausea.
How does it work?
When the device is in place on your wrist and turned on, gentle pulses stimulate the median nerve at the P6 location located on the underside of the wrist. This nerve is connected to the nerve in the brain that controls nausea. When stimulated using neuromodulation the brain signals the stomach to reduce nausea. The signals have a rebalancing effect normalizing nerve messages from the brain to the stomach reducing symptoms of nausea, retching, and vomiting.
What does it work for?
The device has been clinically tested to relieve nausea, retching and vomiting associated with motion sickness, morning sickness, chemotherapy, postoperative, and vertigo. In addition, they’ve received FDA clearance this year to also treat nausea and vomiting associated with anxiety, physician diagnosed migraines, and hangovers!
How to use:
1. Finding the starting area (P6) on the wrist. You can use either wrist. It is approximately two fingers down from the wrist crease, between the two tendons.
2. Clean the area and apply the provided conductive gel. You only need a thin layer about the size of a large coin.
3. Put the device on and adjust to line up the contact over the gel on the P6 location. Fasten device snugly.
4. Activate the device by pressing and holding the power on button. Adjust the intensity by using the up or down buttons. You should feel a slight “tingling” sensation in the palm or middle fingers.
After using the Reliefband 2.0 for a few months, I can honestly say that it has helped me tremendously! I can’t imagine battling a major endometriosis flare-up without it. Although, it hasn’t been clinically proven to reduce nausea associated with endometriosis, I believe that it can make a big difference for women battling nausea related to endometriosis.
It looks like any other fitness tracker. It has a sleek look and doesn’t stand out.
It is rechargeable.
Easily kept in your purse or bag for unexpected nausea episodes.
The intensity is adjustable
No Side Effects
The price point: $224.99. It is on the steep side.
When not used for a while it will die. So if you have a sudden spell of nausea and haven’t used it for a while, you will have to charge it before using it.
In my opinion, the pros definitely outweigh the cons! And the company provides a 30-day money-back guarantee.
If nausea is something you suffer from, have you tried the ReliefBand? They have two different models at two different prices. If you’ve tried it, we’d love to hear your experience in the comments below. Did it work? Did it not work? What else helps with your nausea? Home remedies? Pharmaceuticals? Anything? Share!
I’d like to send a HUGE thank you to ReliefBand for their interest in helping a friend. And Nicole for opening up, making herself vulnerable, and sharing her symptoms and experience! I’m so glad it has helped you!!!
Friends of mine, Raul and Yuliya Montes, have started a small company creating and selling natural bath and beauty products (and a few other things!). I’ve purchased and fallen in love with several of their items and wanted to sit down and pick their brains for a few minutes and share the news about Special Flower Oil, Co.
…pssssst…they make CBD oil bath bombs…
Looking for all-natural bath bombs, soaps, lip balms, and more? Read up a bit on who these guys are, what they make, and then go peruse their wares!
Lisa: Special Flower Oil, Co.? That’s a great name! How’d you come to be?
Yuliya: We have this inside joke between the both of us that we’re a bit “special” two peas in a pod and all, and we came up with this saying “You’re my ‘special’ flower,” when one of is being a little on the – well… less than intelligent side. We always knew we wanted to own our own business, and at the same time wanted to do something that we both enjoy that benefited other people that we could do together – so one day while taking a shower together, we noticed how many ingredients were on some of the items – and we decided to work on something more natural.
Raul: It pretty much started with this weird rocking side to side, that kind of evolved over time. Our company name is literally our way of making fun of ourselves and each other, even though people outside, likely think that it has to do with the oils we use and such. As far as the start – we woke up one morning thinking, “wouldn’t it be nice to quit our day jobs do something we enjoy more?” Well, we haven’t quite quit our day jobs, but we’re doing what we enjoy.
Lisa: What do you feel sets you apart from the endless stream of competition out there?
Yuliya: We do hours of research over every single ingredient that we use, we refuse to take shortcuts. We believe that we need to be producing a product that we, ourselves would use before selling it to others, and having integrity in the ingredients that we use.
Raul: I think it’s unique that you’ve got a small business co-owned by a married couple, one being a woman, one being an OIF war vet. My background is in combat medicine, and in that I’ve discovered that improvised treatments and at times alternative treatments can have huge impacts on quality of life. Aromatherapy in and of itself isn’t just about chakra crystals and weird blessings, there’s some solid science behind it, including cognitive improvement in Alzheimer’s patients who have used rosemary, lemon, lavender and orange.
Lisa: As a person who suffers from a painful chronic illness that is often influenced by chemicals, parabens, and hormones, I appreciate your dedication to pure and body-safe ingredients in your products. I see you guys use organic and locally-sourced ingredients. Why is that important to you?
Yuliya: Back in 2013, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s – an autoimmune disorder that attacks and destroys the thyroid, and because of it I will be on supplemental thyroid hormone for the rest of my life. The more I did research, the more I found that body care products are ridden with harsh, endocrine-disruptive chemicals, affecting the body – and being a woman, I was using these chemicals all over my body. I threw out a lot of my stuff and began seeking out items that were natural or organic – but these are expensive, so I decided to make my own. I mean, with the skin being the body’s largest organ, and it absorbs a lot (up to 64% of contaminants from water alone), it’s easy to see that what we use on our skin ends up in our bodies – often in our blood streams and lymphatic systems, and it seems like the majority of mainstream body care products contain a horrible cocktail of carcinogenic chemicals, allergens, and irritants. Knowing who makes our ingredients, knowing how they are sourced, and using them ourselves first, always ensures that we’re creating the perfect product.
Raul: I completely echo everything Yuliya said. I think that knowing where an ingredient is from, how it’s sourced, and having a relationship with the ingredient producer is important. Case in point, our Goat Milk, Honey, and Oats soap uses organic goat milk and oats, and raw honey from a local beekeeper, who also happens to be a fellow combat medic. Up to that point I’d never had fresh raw honey – and my god does it taste amazing. These are just glimpses into the items that we’re using in our soaps and bath bombs. I want people to feel as good about the product and the way it’s made as they do while they use the product.
Lisa: A lot of our readers suffer from chronic pain. I see that you have “hemp isolate” bath bombs; can you tell us a little bit about what that means…and how your bath bombs may help someone in pain?
Raul: CBD. It’s CBD plain and simple. I’ll be really honest – its really hard to sell items online that contain them, regardless of the farm bill passing. As such I wanted to make sure it was something that if someone said, “oh what is hemp isolate powder,” that they could type it in and the first thing they would see is CBD. We’re covering ourselves while trying to afford a completely legal and THC free item to those who need it.
don’t entirely know how CBD works yet, they think that it interacts with
receptors in the brain and immune system. Moreover, it helps as an
anti-inflammatory as well as can help those who suffer with chronic pain, and
associated insomnia without adverse side effects. Now – when its combined with
other anti-inflammatory and pain relief oils such as lavender, yarrow,
eucalyptus, and chamomile – and of course Epsom salts, it creates a beautiful
pain relief cocktail that you can literally just envelop yourself in. I’ve also
got some CBD soap curing right now that I whipped up earlier today using the
goat milk oats and honey base. I’m excited to use it!
Yuliya: CBD is nature’s way of affording us a pain relief option that doesn’t involve using drugs, while being able to indulge in the experience. Imagine it, you pour a hot bath, enjoying the hot steam – you toss in one of the bombs and soak for a half an hour, letting your skin absorb these pain relief oils and CBD… Oh you’re ready for painless sleep.
Lisa: If someone doesn’t want a “hemp isolate” bath bomb, do you offer them the option?
Raul: Of course, we understand that CBD is still considered one of those edgy, experimental type of products – because of that we have the same bath bombs and soaps completely hemp free.
Yuliya: All of our products are customizable. If you see an item of ours that has hemp, and you want a hemp free version, just reach out – we’re more than happy to make custom products.
Lisa: I’ve gone through numerous pain management and stress-reduction workshops over the past five years and I’ve learned that sometimes to help reduce symptoms and pain, we need to try to calm our nervous system. Take a moment. Breathe. Meditate. There’s a great connection between pain and a heightened sense of “FUCK, EVERYTHING HURTS (and I wanna die!)”. That being said, I know you make scent roll-ons. I’m partial to the “Palomar Skyline” blend as I find it very soothing, calming, and the scent jettisons my mind up into the mountains. Are your essential oil roll-ons intended to aid in relaxation and calming techniques? Or just smell good? How can your customers better use your roll-ons to help calm and de-stress, both physically and mentally?
Yuliya: Absolutely, I deal with constant anxiety. I’m currently testing an experimental mixture that I’ve named “Natural Xanax,” Which I use pretty regularly to reduce my overall stress levels. Our oils are designed to both smell nice (and not overpowering) while helping the customer come off the proverbial edge. They also work amazingly while meditating. Our goal here was to help the customer find peace in the moment.
Raul: I’ve got some that I’ve made just to act as a cologne, such as the GWOT Christmas, but by in large the scent oils are designed to help center someone. Dealing with PTSD, I’ve learned that sometimes a couple of dabs of the Palomar Skyline can help pull me out of a moment – whether its dealing with chronic pain due to spinal compression (or a recent shoulder surgery), or dealing with the existential hell my mind likes to throw me into. I always recommend using the oils on pulse points – or if you so choose, diffuse them, close your eyes, and focus on the smells. As odd as it sounds, I personally practice a verbalization of what I “see” when I close my eyes and focus on the scent. It really helps to pull me out of the mind-storm and places me on a mountain, in a lavender field, or in an orange grove…
Lisa: Do any of your roll-ons have pain-relieving capabilities? My Mum buys me an essential oil spray that does the trick for acute pain. And a friend of mine gifted me with a roll-on that also helps with surface pains.
Yuliya: Yes! Like Raul said, certain oils have pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties. Rolling or dabbing them on the skin can help with pain and inflammation in addition to the calming nature of each one of the oils.
Lisa: I’ve read your soaps use goat milk and locally-sourced honey. Why is that better than ingredients that may be found in other soaps (handmade or otherwise)? Sell me on their magic!
Raul: Goat milk alone is an amazing item. It contains Alpha Hydroxy Acids that help to unbind dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, giving a more rejuvenated look, vitamin A, which has been proven to reduce lines and wrinkles, cream – which keeps the skin moist (especially during those winter months) and minerals like selenium, which has been praised in recent years for its ability to prevent skin cancer.
Then honey helps to
balance the skin’s natural bacteria, helping to reduce the appearance of acne,
as well as speeds up the healing process of the skin.
Combined they can help with eczema, psoriasis, and even candida overgrowths on the skin.
Lisa: I’ve never made soap before and imagine it’s much like making Jell-o: throw everything in a bowl and *tada* I have soap in a few hours. I know that can’t be true. So… how what all goes into creating a handmade bar of soap? Help me appreciate the process and effort, please.
Raul: Soap can be a real pain in the ass to be honest. It starts off with research and figuring out what items I want to use to make a soap – for example, if I want to make a beautiful swirly soap, I need to use canola oil, keep out the shea butter, and make sure my fragrances and essential oils aren’t going to accelerate the saponification. The next part is selecting my fats – which are oddly enough, often the same oils we use for cooking – coconut, canola, sustainable palm, olive, and the like – melting them down and mixing lye (yes lye) with either distilled water or goat milk (which has to be frozen to avoid curdling). Once lye mixes with a liquid, it creates a lye solution which is the basis for *all* true natural soaps.
Let me restate this:
all real soap is made with lye – anything without it is a detergent and not a
soap. Yes! Real Soap is made with lye. You might wonder where the lye is on the
ingredients list of your favorite soap – “saponified oils of –“ or sodium
followed by cocoate, palmate, palm kernelate, tallowate, or olivate. Soap
makers know that people are afraid of the word “lye.” None remains in the
The lye is then blended with the oil, it begins something called “trace.” Trace is the point in soapmaking where the oils and lye have emulsified and the lye begins saponifying. Once this happens the lye and oil molecules combine and are chemically changed into soap and glycerin. From this point it’s put into a mold for a few hours or days, then cut, and left to cure for four weeks.
Lisa: What’s been your favorite product to make?
Yuliya: Soap! Always soap. There are endless possibilities – from scent combinations to oil combinations. Each one of our handcrafted small batches is completely beautifully unique in its own right, and it should be, because it reflects us as people.
Raul: Soap. It might be a pain in the ass, but it’s totally a relaxing activity for me, and I can design each bar as meticulously as I want to. I can’t draw. I can’t paint, so this is my art.
Lisa: Have you had any mad scientist concoction failures with any products yet? Tell us a funny story…
Yuliya: My first round of lip balm. It was horrible! It was rock hard. Completely solid. We ended up scrapping the whole batch because I was being stingy with oils. It was like trying to rub a candle on your lips.
Raul: My first round of bath bombs. Oh God, they were horrible. I’m not even sure where they went wrong… well the worse part was – I’d made two batches – the first was great, and we had gotten our first order when we’d opened the Etsy. Guess which ones got sent? Yeah… as soon as I realized, I contacted the customer (who thankfully hadn’t used it yet) and sent out another set of bath bombs free of charge. I mean, we saved the day, but it felt really dumb.
Lisa: Any sneak peeks at items you’re working on that aren’t released yet?
Yuliya: Massage candles, therapeutic body butters, tinted and flavored lip balms, face masks, and beard balm for the guys.
Raul: A few more soaps. I want to have seven main “flagship” soaps, and run a special “soap maker’s” batch once every month or so – which will just be a few of our “left-field” ideas thrown into action
Lisa: Do you take custom requests?
Not only do we take customer requests, we look forward to it!
Lisa: Anything else you’d like to add?
Our goal is to give back to the communities. We like working with 503s and other small businesses. We also have wholesale options (we make it, you sell it as your own).
A li’l more about Special Flower Co.:
Early in 2019, we were discussing the prospect of having a wedding reception, and began discussing what kind of party favors we would use. Initially we settled on bath items, like soaps, bath bombs, and scrubs, but after looking, we felt like nothing really fit the people who had always been there for us. There were plenty of quality goods out there, but none that were uniquely “us.”
That’s where Special
Flower Oil Co. began.
uniqueness are what make an item special. It’s the time taken to make a unique
item that isn’t mass produced and misleadingly called “handcrafted.”
It’s about the time and effort we take to perfect our art, whether that be the
scent in a bath bomb, the particular composition of a soap, or the one on one
focus on customer service.
We are Special Flower
Raul and Yuliya
NOT JUST ANOTHER “HANDMADE” BATH PRODUCT
Our products utilize top of the line organic, fair trade compliant, rain forest safe oils. Moreover, we source local products from goat milk to honey, as often as we can, utilizing veteran owned businesses where available. We also source our herbs from local, organic, pesticide free gardens – because you deserve to feel as good about a product’s background, as you do when you use the product.
You can find Special Flower Oil, Co. on the interwebs:
I want to extend a huge thank you to Yuliya and Raul for not only creating some amazing products, but for being the exceptional human beings that they are…and for taking the time to give us a sneak-peak into their lives and business. We wish you continued success in all endeavors!
*I was not compensated for this interview. It’s just something I wanted to do for them…and you.
I don’t know about you…but even after my surgeries and recoveries, sex can still be painful with deep vaginal penetration; mainly when my husband boinks up near my cervix.
Sometimes it’s enough to knock the wind out of my sails and we have to stop.
Why does it hurt? It could be related to Endometriosis or adhesions. But it’s more likely due to my abnormal anatomy: I have two cervix, side by side. Deep sex has always been painful to me; I only learned it was abnormal after my Endometriosis diagnosis! We’ve adjusted our sexual positions and found several that are doable without deep penetration…but…let’s be honest: I miss some of the many positions we can no longer do.
But there’s hope!
Have you heard of the Ohnut? It’s relatively new and was specifically made to help with that sort of deep-penetration pain. It’s like a sleeve/barrier that wraps around the penis (I can’t type that out without snickering….) and prevents total penetration. It’s customizable in length, too, if not 100% of the device is needed.
I received ours today! It retails for about $70, but we budgeted it into our finances and hope it’s worth every penny. I’m grateful my husband is willing to give this device a try; a lot of the online reviews from men were positive. Many said they couldn’t feel a difference or didn’t feel like they were being robbed of the experience. And we both look forward to trying it out (insert sheepish grin here).
Expect a review hopefully on the coming weeks. Coming? There’s a pun in there somewhere …
If you’ve been following our adventures for a while, you’ll notice this new format. Scroll to the bottom for the summaries and links to each of our sessions…
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.
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
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
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!
(if you would like to comment on these documents as you read them, each link has given you permission to do so…unless someone is crude or crass or just a horrible human being and ruins the “comment” option for everyone…)
Chapter 1 (1/15/17): It all begins. Meet our adventurers as they accept their first quest…and come across their first obstacles!
Chapter 2 (2/26/17): Three words: Sweaty Butt Falls. Oh, and meet Therkahn!
Chapter 3 (3/12/17): Our adventurers investigate the Red Brand hideout and run across several baddies while they’re there.
Chapter 4 (6/11/17): A game of Badweather, a talking rat, a talking parrot, and plenty of potions to guzzle. And, may we have the great pleasure of introducing you to Jimbo’s Band?!?!
Chapter 5 (7/16/17): The hunt for Glasstaff continues, as does the quest to locate the mysterious Wave Echo Cave. Drow, ghouls, and Eldran…
Chapter 7 (9/17/17): Bartholomew is drinking strange random potions. Drow, Drider, and Dwarves, oh my!!!
Chapter 8 (10/22/17): Still deep inside Wave Echo Cave, the party continues to explore. And we learn what happened to poor ol’ Eldran…and Bartholomew gets crafty with a staff and hairy zombie head.
Chapter 9 (11/19/17): Journeying out and away from Phandalin toward adventure and glory! We meet Scrum and Hamun.
Chapter 10 (12/17/17): The SpiderBarry song is everywhere!!! Agatha and her comb…fail. Moonbeams from Morgana! And an infamous automatic banana peeler!
Chapter 11 (1/14/18): The adventurers arrive at Cragmaw Castle! Scrum is still drunk off his ass. The AvonBarry calleth. Eru and Dirt become “friends.” And Barry induces vomiting.
Chapter 12 (2/11/18): More adventures through the halls of Cragmaw Castle with Lizard Morgana. We meet King Grol…and a mighty battle ensues!
Chapter 13 (3/18/18): All hail King Dirt! Pub shenanigans and City guards are called. Monte is born. And our friends fight a troll.
Chapter 14 (4/8/18): BUNNIES!!!!!!!!!! Morgana and Mew look for some drunken trouble. Everyone attends a masquerade ball, including a food-flingin’ monkey! And something sinister is afoot!
Chapter 15 (5/20/18): Teds and his buns! And we meet Gub, who likes to have allllll the fuuuun! Morgana searches for more drunken mischief. And our friends make a deal with Krim Breakhandle…and go hunting for a special javelin. (Enter the Medusa!)
Chapter 16 (6/24/18): Some not-so-great work by a cut-rate cleric. And some very bad decisions lead to a very, very bad predicament.
Chapter 17 (7/22/18): Prisoners. Bathrooms. Alligators. And did I mention…some rather clever plumbing?
Chapter 18 (8/4/18): Our adventurers face a tribunal for their actions…and compensation must be made! Research on Eru’s mark leads to some disturbing news.
Chapter 19 (9/16/18): Meet Brinn…and lots of bunnies and forest exploration with a monstrous encounter.
Chapter 20 (10/21/18): They continue to make their way to the old dwarven mines in search of the foundry and mithril cube. Will Brinn lead them safely through the forest? What awaits them inside the mines? And what of that new mark on Eru’s wrist?
Chapter 21 (11/18/18): The battle continues through the mines on their way to the mithril cube. Fresh out of a fight, our adventurers find themselves slammed into another one…with no rest! Will they survive? Will they find the cube in time? Will Bartholomew’s stomach ever stop rumbling?
Chapter 22 (12/16/18): Still stuck in the dwarven mines in search of the mithril cube that will save their hands, what mayhem will they find this session? Orcs, ogres, dwarves, traps? For sure. Death? Destruction? The mithril cube?!? READ ON!
Chapter 23 (1/20/19): And we find ourselves still deep beneath the earth stalking a mithril cube. What epic battle awaits them at the foundry? Will they retrieve the cube? Will they save their hands? Will there be bad jokes, puns, and sarcasm?
Chapter 24 (2/23/19): Two words: Loviatar’s reaper!
Chapter 25 (3/9/19): The party deals with death and meet a mysterious paladin in Eru’s hometown of Silverymoon. There’s a monkey flinging poo, talking dogs, dancing wine goblets, and endless discussions of cheese to lighten the mood.
Chapter 26 (4/13/19): Our adventurers have landed in the Anauroch desert in search of the City of Shade and Zeke, the man with the jars of souls. While in town, they meet a mysterious woman also searching for Zeke. Deals are struck and the adventure continues! Let’s deal with a little bit of heat and sand in places where it doesn’t belong!
Chapter 27 (5/11/19 – typed up, but being reviewed):
Chapter 28 (6/15/19 – typed up, but being reviewed ):
Chapter 29 (7/6/19 – typed up, but being reviewed ):
Chapter 30 (8/17/19 – typed up, but being reviewed ):
Some of you may be asking “What is Livia?” It’s been hyped in the news and social media since 2016 and has recently made a comeback in my Facebook newsfeed. Livia recently won the Gold for Women’s Wellbeing at the Edison Awards. Imagine a tiny device that you can wear around discreetly all day. It retails for roughly $150 on MyLivia’s webpage and Amazon and you can purchase additional gel pads to use for future cycles.
Some have compared the Livia to a TENS unit. TENS units can be large, bulky, cumbersome, and not to mention intimidating with all of the buttons, wires, and knobs. Sure, I can figure it out…but then I’d also have to lug that thing to work, out shopping, etc. The Livia is a small, discreet, and incredibly user-friendly medical device. It supposedly works by tricking the mind by keeping it busy with a little electric pulsing that deflects or confuses the pain signals going up to your brain…I had my doubts.
A study of 163 women who suffered from severely painful periods was conducted, and 80% of them reported that Livia either “helped to either significantly or completely eliminate their use of pain medications while menstruating.” There was a recent 2018 study conducted on the effectiveness of Livia to treat painful periods, and those results will hopefully be released by the end of the year.
As a side note regarding Endometriosis pain (which, as we know, can be far more severe than normal menstrual cramps), Livia’s manufacturer can’t recommend Livia for use in treating endometriosis until an independent clinical study among endometriosis patients is completed in 2019. However, dozens of endometriosis suffers have posted messages reviews on Amazon and other places saying that Livia is very effective in reducing or eliminating their endometriosis pain.
On June 17, 2018, I wrote Livia to inquire if I could connect with someone at the company to discuss their product and how it has helped women with Endometriosis. I also asked if they’d be able to provide me customer testimonials by women who suffer from Endometriosis. I explained who I was and that I suffer from Endometriosis and write a blog about the illness.
A day later, I had a response. After answering a few questions about my blog and my intentions, Livia offered to mail me a unit in exchange for my unbiased opinion and review.
I jumped at the chance!
It arrived from Israel on June 27, 2018. I took copious notes and wanted to share my experiences with you!
The Great Unboxing!
As of the writing of this blog (July 9, 2018), I used the Livia from June 28, 2018 through July 4, 2018. I expected to start my period the week of June 28, 2018. I experienced all sorts of cramping and PMS symptoms, but alas, my period never came (sometimes I skip a month). But, my pain was elevated enough where I believe the Livia got a good test run. And I look forward to testing it out on future painful days. I also had another excision surgery on July 18, 2018, so it will be a few months before I will be well enough to test the Livia again. But test I shall! Stay tuned!
I also learned that Livia is only intended to be used for menstrual cramps and lower back pain associated with menstrual cramps. Due to my Endometriosis and resulting scar tissue, I also experience pain on the lower edges of my pelvic region near my hip bones, and along the underside of my ribs. The Livia is not intended for use in those areas. In fact, any placement of the Livia gel pads near the thoracic region is strictly forbidden. And I asked about the use of Livia for neck or shoulder pain: again, please do not use the Livia for any other area of the body except menstrual cramps and menstrual-related lower back pain.
Okay, on with the show! Below is a summary of my experiences (unless you’d rather read my detailed notes).
June 28, 2018: It tickles. But you soon forget about the tickle and pretty much forget you’re wearing it. For me, my ideal setting was hitting the + Button twice. So, let’s call it Level Two. Anything beyond a pleasant tickle is too much, according to the user manual.
June 28, 2018: PMS cramping pain was a 4-5 out of 10. It dropped to a 1 out of 10 just 17 minutes later. Within an hour of turning it on, I had zeroPMS cramping. I turned off the unit, and my pain returned an hour and 15 minutes later.
June 28, 2018: PMS cramping pain was a 4 out of 10. Within 45 minutes (took some time to adjust the settings), the pain had reduced to zero! Sometimes it crept back up to a one but dropped back down quickly to zero. Turned off the device an hour after turning it on.
June 28, 2018: PMS cramping pain returned within an hour of turning off the Livia. It was a 4 out of 10, but within 15 minutes of wearing the Livia on Level 2, it had once more reduced my pain to a zero out of 10!! Turned off the device after an hour of having it on.
June 28, 2018: Pain returned within 10 minutes of shutting off the device. It was now a 5 out of 10. Turned it back on to Level 2 and within 20 minutes, pain reduced to zero…again! Kept it on for about an hour.
June 28, 2018: My biggest tip to pass on about the Livia? When you have to use the restroom, instead of unclipping the unit from your pants or dress or shirt, simply turn the device off and unplug the gel pads cable from the unit. Mind the dangling “tail” as you pee, then reattach it when you’re done.
June 29, 2018: PMS cramping returned at a 5 out of 10 and I reached for my trusty Livia, turning it on to Level 2. Within 15 minutes, the cramps subsided to a zero out of 10! It turned off the Livia five minutes later. While driving, my Livia pad felt a little squiggly on my skin, and I pulled over and looked down. It had peeled half-way off. Not off of my skin, but off of the flower pad. So I peeled it all the way off and stuck it back on, smooshing real hard. It remained on the rest of the day.
July 3, 2018: I didn’t have any cramps for the past few days, but they came back at a 6 out of 10. So I turned my Livia on to a Level 2 for 15 minutes and my cramps were reduced to a 1 out of 10.
July 4, 2018: Cramping was a 6 out of 10. I grabbed my Livia, slapped on my pads, and plugged it in, turning it up to Level 2. I couldn’t feel the usual buzzing-tickle on Level 2, so I bumped it up to Level 3. About 20 minutes later, my cramps were back down to a wonderful 1 out of 10.
All of the pain I’ve felt since July 4th has been in areas that I was recommended not to use my Livia: my lower pelvis near my hips, my under-ribs, and a weird spot near a cyst that I know exists.
I never tried the Livia on my lower back since that pain was been super manageable at a 1-2 out of 10. But, when that pain exceeds a 2 or 3, I’ll be sure to try it out.
I am the most skeptical person you’ll ever meet. Especially when it comes to products that are marketed specifically for conditions that a large population suffers from: like painful periods. But this device was truly incredible. I’m elated. And flabbergasted. And amazed. And excited.
But was it worth it? Of course, it was for me since I didn’t have to pay. But would it be worth it for $150? I’d like to say, “Yes.” At least for me. Livia offers a 120 Day Money Back Guarantee, although some online reviews mention that you have to pay a sometimes hefty international shipping charge to send it back to Israel. And there’s a 2-year warranty on the product when you purchase it, so if it breaks during that time, you’re covered!
It’s easy to use.
It recharges on any mini-USB charger.
And, for me, it worked like a charm!
Granted, I couldn’t give it the 100% Endometriosis-period test…but it did help with a lot of my PMS pain and cramping. And I also will be doing another full review after my surgery if my painful Endometriosis symptoms return. Again…stay tuned!
Would I recommend it? I’m gonna have to say Yes…but I will also highly recommend you keep your own notes and evaluate how well it works (or doesn’t) for you. And take advantage of that money back guarantee if it doesn’t. There is no shame in returning something.
what others thought:
A few of our blog readers have also started using the Livia unit with mixed results. Everyone’s bodies are different and, of course, not everyone will have the results that I did. So I wanted to share their experiences here:
4/24/19: A fellow EndoWarrior, Kitty, purchased a new Livia unit and calendared the date she had to return it in order to get her refund, if needed. Here’s her short report: My pain was not too bad this month, but uncomfortable enough that I had to take Advil. There are times when Advil doesn’t work. I used Livia a few days straight and a few hours at a time. I can no conclude that Livia or TENS does not work for me. Not even slightly. I am returning the device and I am glad that I am able to ship it back to Atlanta and not Israel.
If YOU would like to share your review of the Livia unit on our blog to help others make their own decisions to try it out, please contact me.
(Updated April 24, 2019)
Clinicaltrials.gov – The Effectiveness and Safety of LIVIA Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) in Women Suffering from Primary Dysmenorrhea.
HealthcareDive.com – (Press Release) Livia – Drug Free Solution for Menstrual Pain Now HAS FDA, CE, and Health Canada
~ 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
Ha! A few of us gals got together and beat the crap out of a big uterus pinata last weekend. It was GLORIOUS! Incredibly therapeutic! And incredibly messy ❤ Forgive the crappy quality…I Facebook Lived this little stunt and then downloaded it…so it’s kind of degraded 😉
Recently, someone brought it to my attention that they’d heard that heating pads are bad for Endo. Now…I live with my heating pad literally attached to my body almost every first few days of my period. So, I was taken aback by the suggestion as I find the heat soothing. And I vowed to do some research on the theory that heat is bad for Endo…and, as usual, formulate my own opinion and share it with you.
Endometriosis News ran an article in August of 2017 highlighting the opinions of Melissa of EndoEmpowered and Aubree Deimler of Peace with Endo, and both discussed how heat may cause fascia to manipulate (or soften) and harden after it cools down once the heat is removed. Aubree tried the heat elimination process to see how she felt, and felt a difference with her pain. If you’d like to try, please follow her example. Melissa interviewed Chris Toal of Azolla Health, who shared a downloadable brochure on the theories behind heat and fascia. Not only does Toal discourage the use of heating pads, but also the use of hot showers or baths. Aubree directly linked back to Melissa’s article and interview.
What is fascia? It’s a thin, fibrous tissue made up mostly of collagen that covers and supports tissue, such as muscles or organs.
From what I gather, the underlying theory expressed in the views of Endometriosis News, Melissa, and Aubree of why heat is bad for Endometriosis pain is that the heat, for lack of a better term, softens or melts the fascia tissue. Once the heating pad is removed, the fascia rehardens and can make the pain worse. This may cause adhesions to shift, form, and harden. Aubree cites to Ida Rolf‘s theory regarding fascia and displacement with energy/heat/manipulation.
Visualize a brand new, unlit candle. Once lit, the wax begins to melt. Blow out the flame and the wax cools and rehardens, oftentimes in a new shape. Or think of making gelatin: the mixture is liquid while hot and solidifies once it’s in the fridge and cooled off.
The fascia-altering theory is the only argument I have been able to find against using heating pads if you have Endometriosis…so:
Let’s find some proof to all of this…because, like I said, sometimes I live on my heating pad.
Ida’s theory that fascia tissue degrades with manipulation or energy is frowned upon by some. It’s called the thixotropic effect, where the tissues degrade with heat or pressure, then reform upon settling. Paul Ingraham wrote about his opinions in Feb. of 2013 and again Jan. of 2018 on thixotropic effect on PainScience.com and opines that fascia is simply “too tough” to manipulate in such a manner and states that Ms. Rolf found her theory to be “nonsense” as well. Mr. Ingraham cited many studies and professionals to support his opinions. You’re welcome to read both pieces (linked above and in the Resources section below).
But what if it’s not nonsense? According to the Science of Slow Cooking (mmmmm…crock pot food…), collagen begins to break down and liquify into a gelatin at 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, I’m no expert on the human body versus a meat-animal, but…how hot do heating pads get?!?
A study published in Safety Brief in 2015 ran a few experiments on heating pad created by Kaz (Model HP-110). After running the heating pad for 120 minutes, it never exceeded 151 degrees Fahrenheit, uncovered.
Sunbeam offers a FAQ on their webpage about the temperature range of their heating pads: the low setting 110 degrees F and the high setting can get up to 160 degrees F.
Sew4Home conducted their own little science experiment with homemade microwaveable heating pads. They compared rice, corn, and flaxseed. After 30 seconds of heating, the rice was 140 degrees Fahrenheit, the corn was 158 degrees, and the flaxseed was 144 degrees. Five minutes later, each had cooled: 136 (rice), 142 (corn), and 142 (flaxseed).
Hot water bottles should never be filled with boiling water (water typically boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit), due to leakage and safety concerns. Many manufacturers of hot water bottles suggest a nice, easy-to-touch temperature; not scalding.
So, I’m not sure that heating pads (electrical, microwaveable, or hot water bottles) will get hot enough to do any liquifying damage to facia. But, then again, I’m no expert. And several webpages promote the use of heating pads (sometimes combined with castor oil packs) to help with adhesion, Endometriosis, pelvic, or lower back pain.
So, then I was curious: why do heating pads make my pain feel better? Once more, I hit the internet. And, once more, ran into a lot of Mr. Paul Ingraham’s writings and voluminous cited resources, along with other webpages.
Heat may be very soothing, it increases blood circulation to the area, it may relax tense muscles, and a 2006 study found that internal heat receptors may actually block pain signals. So, once more, heat may be good for dealing with certain types of pain.
Again, I’m not a scientist and this is just my opinion after bouncing around the internet for several hours doing research and reading. My conclusion?
My heating pads make me feel better…and I will not stop using them. Am I knocking Endometriosis News, Melissa, Aubree, or Chris? Nope. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I value a broad perspective on things. But, for me? I also value the comfort that a good ol’ heating pad delivers.
What about you? My advice? Do whatever makes you feel better. Hot, cold, or neither. It’s your body and you know it better than anyone.
(Updated March 27, 2019)
Earth Clinic (Dec. 2017): Natural Remedies for Abdominal Adhesions
EndoEmpowered (Nov. 2016): Stop Using Hot Water Bottles for Endo Pain
~ 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
One of my readers, Erin, emailed me asking if I could look into taking Melatonin for Endometriosis pain and symptoms. She had heard that it may help reduce the symptoms, pain, and maybe even the lesions themselves.
So, on goes my Research Cap and it begins!
Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the body as the light fades. Many people take Melatonin to help them fall asleep and stay asleep. It’s been coming out in studies over the past decade that Melatonin may play a role in helping reduce Endometriosis lesions and pain.
A little while ago I attended an Information Day hosted by Endometriosis UK in London. It was mainly aimed at newly diagnosed women and their friends/ families, but I thought it would be fun to go along to catch up with people and to hopefully pick up some new tips.
Image credit: Endometriosis UK
I thought it might be useful to share some of the useful tips I picked up along the day for those of you who wouldn’t be there in person.
1- Find and build your tribe. Having endometriosis is really rubbish, and can feel very isolating and frightening. Invest time and effort building up a support network of fellow endometriosis suffers (aka your ‘tribe’) as they are more likely to understand and relate to your struggles than your family and friends who do not have the disease. Fellow patients can also be an excellent source of information…