New Study: migration of Endometriosis cells throughout the organs of mice

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On April 6, 2017, Oncotarget published an article which I’ll be briefly discussing here today.

Researchers took mice and implanted Endometriosis cells inside of of their pelvic regions wanting to see if the Endometriosis cells would migrate to extra-pelvic organs.   They later analyzed the organs for microscopic Endometriosis-derived cells throughout the mice and found that it had migrated to the lungs, spleen, livers, and brains in many of the mice.

The authors suggest, “…that endometriosis in locations distant from the pelvis may be more common than previously recognized. Endometriosis should be considered a systemic disease that is often subclinical.”  They suggest that these Endometriosis-derived cells residing in other organs may influence symptoms of Endometriosis, such as fatigue, eating disorders, sociopsychological issues and other symptoms which lessen our quality of life.  It also discusses thoracic Endometriosis and Endometriosis on the liver, and those side effects.  Further research, of course, is always needed.

The entire published study is free for us to read and is very, very interesting.  I fully encourage you to click here and read the study and the conclusions.  And please feel free to correct me if you feel I’ve misread the science-y bits. ❤

Resources:

Oncotarget – (Article; April 2017) Micrometastasis of Endometriosis to Distant Organs in a Murine Model

 

~ 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

How to you manage? Endometriosis fears, doubts, and uncertainty

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So, my last period was severely painful (the worst since my 2016 surgery), but I’m trying to remain positive about it.  I missed a day from work, stayed in bed, and popped NSAIDs.  I suffered through another two days at work, still on NSAIDs.  The rest of my bleeding days were maintained by Ibuprofen.  It may have been stress-related: walk planning; wedding planning.  You know: stressful things were afoot in March and April.

But what do you do when the doubts creep in?  When symptoms begin to rear their ugly heads?  When your back begins to ache.  It hurts to poop again.  Or worse: pee.  When the cramps set in – when they force you to the floor, squeezing your stomach tightly – hugging yourself to death.  When you’re forced to take a day off of work or cancel plans to lie in bed, medicated and useless.  When you dread the start of your next period…mine is supposedly gonna show up sometime next week.

Or when not on your period and those little pains and discomforts visit for a few minutes near your belly button, your hip, your bowel, your back.  Sharp pains that last a few seconds to several minutes, at no fault of your own.

You’re eating well.  You’ve changed your diet and lifestyle.  Your minding your body.  You’re not overdoing things.  You’ve had excision surgeries.  You follow the published studies and read the books.  You surround yourselves with women who know what you’re going through, and have the support of friends and loved ones.

In the meantime, you hoard your sick time and vacation days.  You’re fearful to plan extended trips, long weekends, or days off because you may need those days for a future recovery.  A prisoner to your own body – unable to truly plan things to go out and enjoy – those valuable days off of work or school and money spent on vacations may be needed for surgeries looming in the distance.

Yet…what do you do when those whispers and fears creep up from the depths?  You hear stories of women who have had complete relief after their excision surgeries; yet others (some who have even seen “Endo Specialists”) continue to suffer.  And some EndoSisters have a return of symptoms even weeks after their surgeries.  Others go a few years without needing another.

“Is it my Endometriosis?”

“Is it adhesions?”

“Is it something else?”

“Do I just need to fart?”

“Do I need another surgery already?”

“How many surgeries are in my future?”

and…”Am I just being paranoid?”

Each of these are valid questions that fly through my mind.  Each I try to smoosh down with a “it’s too soon to tell” or “wait until your next period to see how it is”…It could be *anything* – it may not necessarily be Endometriosis.  But it’s the first thought that comes to mind.

Do you feel the same way?  Do these doubts creep in?  What do you do to stay sane?  To not give up and cry?  Or to not be furious at an illness you truly have no control over?

I breathe.  I write things down.  I try to let them go.  There’s nothing I can do about it right now…they are just words.

Yeah, I say that – but the fears and doubts still exist.  They still linger, floating at the back of my consciousness.  I still want to cry from time to time because of this “new me” and my inability to live as carefree, outgoing, and demanding as I used to.

How do you manage?  Drop me (and all of us in the same boat reading this today) a comment below.

Lisa

 

I asked my Doc about CA-125

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Many of you EndoSisters may have heard, or are following, the use of the biomarker CA-125 as a possible indicator of the presence of Endometriosis (read more here).  I had my annual pap smear appointment this week and figured I’d ask my doc to see if they’d run blood tests with my usual annual bloodwork.

I went in fully aware and understanding that CA-125 is considered an unreliable test for Endometriosis for many reasons: it could be elevated due to other factors, it may read a false positive, or CA-125 levels may vary naturally throughout our menstrual cycles.

The conversation went pretty much as expected.  My request was ultimately denied, but at my acceptance.  Had I insisted, I’m sure it would have been accommodated.  Reasons given for denial:

  1. CA-125 test results may be false positives;
    1. The levels vary throughout our menstrual cycle;
    2. Even if I only have an ovarian mass that is non-cancerous (which I don’t…), my CA-125 levels may still be elevated, leading to a false positive;
    3. Elevated CA-125 levels may be due to several reasons, not just Endometriosis;
    4. If a false positive were received; a whole slew of tests would have to take place: why is it positive?  Indicative of cancer? Endometriosis? Something else?
  2. I have no family history of ovarian cancer;
    1. If I had, then MAYBE the test would be justified.
  3. Insurance may not cover the cost;
    1. Without proper justification (aka ovarian mass or history of cancer), insurance would likely deny payment…and it’s over a $500 blood test.

Given the fact that the many studies of CA-125 and Endometriosis tend to express that CA-125 is not (yet) an accurate indicator of the presence or recurrence of Endometriosis, I’m okay with not testing my CA-125 levels.

I was nervous asking because I knew of the general opinion associated with the tests for Endometriosis.  BUT, I asked anyway.  I also don’t feel like my doctor judged me for asking.  And now I don’t have to wonder…

But I know there are gals out there who DO test their CA-125 levels and I must ask: how’s that working out for you? What has been your experience? Did you have to convince your doctor? Does your insurance cover it?  Share in our comments below!

(This is PURELY my opinion.  Please feel free to express yours, and always feel free to counter what I say.  I’m just a gal with Endo.)

~Lisa

 

 

Another New Endometriosis Infographic

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I was contacted by Juno Medical – they’ve released a new Endo Infographic for Endometriosis Awareness Month and I’d like to share it with YOU!  Please feel free to visit their webpage (here) about Endometriosis for more information, as well as share their infographic all over the place.  Like Tim said in his email to me, “All the effort is wasted if we don’t manage to raise awareness for the topic.”

 

Natural Products that I’ve Fallen in Love With

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I’ve turned into a girl…and had to buy a kaboodle!

Many of you may have read about parabens, dioxins, and endocrine disruptors that may play a role in influencing my Endometriosis symptoms (plus I’m a dirty hippy deep down inside).  I’ve kind of been on this little crusade since last year to go through my personal products and read the labels and find alternatives that I like as much (if not better). Well, my little collection is growing and I figured I’d share what I’ve fallen in love with during this search.  I’ve still got a few products in my cabinets that I’m looking to replace..but that’ll come eventually.

I’m not being paid or compensated to do these reviews.  These are just products that I’ve discovered and truly enjoy and wanted to pass on the word.  As I bump into more products that I love, I’ll continue to update this page with links and my thoughts…so feel free to come back and check it out.  More info on the products, including their ingredients, can be found on their respective links!

AND if you have a natural product that YOU love, drop the info in the comments section below (maybe I’ll fall in love with it, too!) !

Cleansers:

dry_clean_daily_brush_cleanser_natural_organic_grande  Orglamix Dry Clean Daily Brush Cleanser: I use this pleasant-smelling spray to clean my make-up brushes after every use.  It’s a way of keeping them ungunkified between monthly washes. It contains a lot of essential oils, and a smidgen of alcohol.  Runs about $12.

20170420_183231  Seventh Generation Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner – Made with essential oils, this all-natural disinfectant is a nice way to keep our bathroom clean and germ-free.  This is meant for non-porous surfaces and I can’t stop cleaning my toilet seat and counters anymore. 🙂 It smells great and makes me feel better about my home and health.  Typically runs $4.30 a bottle, but you can find it cheaper at other sources.

Dental Hygiene:

flossDental Floss by Desert Essence – I enjoy the Neem Cinnamint flavor, but they also make a Tea Tree version.  Lots of essential oils to help kill the bacteria between our teeth and gums *yuck*  And I hate flossing… so very much, but I feel better about doing it with this product.  It’s about $4.

toothTooth & Gums Tonic by Dental Herb Company  – my amazing holistic dentist turned me on to this stuff!  Herb extracts, water, and glycerin…and that’s it!  And it’s wonderful!  It lasts forever because a little goes a long way, and gives me incredibly fresh (and bacteria-free) breath.  It’s about $30 for an 18-ounce bottle, but that bottle lasts me a few months.  Seriously concentrated stuff.  And you can have your dentist order you a free sample from their webpage!

Deodorant:

16807330_10209973822794627_7238184405966673233_n.jpg    Organic deodorant by Life by Recipe – oh man…ask anyone who knows me: I work up a sweat and I stink.  Years ago I tried to switch to an aluminum-free deodorant.  Um, no.  No matter what brand I tried, I always sweat through my shirts and my funk prevailed.  This deodorant is perfect for me.  I rub it on my armpits with my fingers, wait a few minutes for the oils to soak in, and get dressed.  So far, I’ve not sweat through my shirt (but then again, it has only been winter), and my funk is only overwhelming when I crawl into bed after a long day.  It’s got baking soda and probiotics,too!  I just love it!  About $8 for a 4-oz jar, and I’ve been using this for the past three months (as of today, March 7, 2017) and the jar just now hit the halfway mark.

Feminine Hygiene:

emeritaPads by Emerita – These cotton pads are a God-send.  I’ve been stepping away from conventional bleached cotton pads for over a year and have been on a crazy safari looking for an unbleached pad that a) was absorbent, b) didn’t have cute little printed designs or dye on the pad, c) actually stayed in place on my panties, and d) wasn’t as thick as a tree-trunk.  These…do all of those things for me.  Emerita also makes pantyliners, tampons, and an overnight pad.  These run about $10 a pack.

Laundry:

18121256_10210540955132581_6373795835327516956_o  Anders Farms wool dryer balls – All natural, unscented, undyed wool balls that replace those chemical-laden dryer sheets.  They soften clothes and soak up moisture, so your clothes dry even faster!  I toss 8 balls into the dryer with a large load…or 3 balls with a small load.  Anders Farms sells these on Etsy for 3 balls for $10 or 5 balls for $15.  They supposedly last about 1,000 loads of laundry!  AND if you’d feeling really fiesty, you can add a few drops to essential oil to each balls a few hours before using them for a bit of scent (I haven’t tried this yet…).

Make-up:

Growing up, I never wore make-up.  My cousin’s boyfriend did my make-up for my senior prom, my friend did my wedding make-up when I was 21, and I’ve literally owned the same tiny travel case full of crusty, well-expired make-up for nearly a decade.  I’m a Tom Boy, but am now beginning (in my late-30’s) to embrace make-up and the fun of it all…plus I want to cover my zits…

Au_Naturel_Mascara_-_Natural_Organic_Mascara_grandeOrglamix au naturel mascara  – This is the first mascara I’ve ever tried that doesn’t make my eyes burn. I told you I’m sensitive! HA!  Anyway – I bought it in “espresso” and it looks fantastic! It has great coverage (I usually only need one coat), it doesn’t clump or make those horrible little spider legs, and I don’t find it on my face in the middle of the day in little specks of mascara-dust!  It’s not waterproof, so if you’re prone to turning on the waterworks, may not be the best choice for you.  But I’m hooked. It’s $20 and it’s not a full-size tube (but it’s not small either)…well worth the money just so my eyes don’t burn and I feel good about what’s going onto my lashes.

20170418_074022.jpg  Orglamix Chroma Lip Shift – I figured I’d try out this new product ’cause…why not?  It’s pitched as a color-shifting iridescent lip gloss…and IT is!  I purchased the color Bewitchment, which is a blend of mauves, roses, silvers, and blues.  This handy-dandy pen-type dispenser works with a spin of a dial and product fills the brush.  Word of warning: don’t add too much product to the brush! That was my mistake!! Smooshed it all over way too thick. Ha!  BUT, just one or two clicks will suffice and a little goes a long way.  I wear mine over my Fate lip gelee and it adds such a deep richness and subtle shimmer! And it feels super moisturizing and stays on well.  I love it!  And the little brush applicator is perfect! Keeps my finger clean, pop the lid back on, and keeps my purse clean, too 🙂  But at $19 a piece, the price is a little steep for me.

magnetism_eye_primer_grande     Orglamix eye primer – I had no idea what primer was…let alone that my eyes needed their very own primer!  I tried bareMinerals eye primer, but found it gunky, hard, and sticky.  Orglamix’s primer goes on smooth, isn’t sticky, and it’s natural (my favorite part!).  My shadow stays put all day, looks vibrant, and my eyes feel great.  $15 for a 10g pot.

Sprite_793_grandeOrglamix eye shadow – I’ve tried the loose mineral eye shadow – very different than the packed shadows I played around with over the years.  Tap a little into a lit, transfer to your brush (or finger) and apply.  They also offer pressed or cream shadows.  You can leave it subtle, or layer it on for a *pop* of color!  There are oodles and oodles of shades to choose from…it’s kind of a new addiction.  $12 for a pot, or you can get a sampler (you choose up to 3 colors and get a brush set) for $22 here.

Sprite_366_962e693b-9b4d-406c-bc3b-6b5d9e4ce926_grande  Orglamix HD powder – A finishing powder to lock make-up in place and make those fine lines and wrinkles disappear.  This replaced my bareMinerals mineral veil.  Also gives my skin an airbrushed appearance and smoothness.  I love it!  And if I get a bit of an oily sheen throughout the day, I just poof some of this on and *magic*…$24 for a 6.5g pot.

20170306_205158  Orglamix Lip & Cheek Gelee – these two shades came to me as a gift.  Incredibly smooth, creamy, hydrating lip and cheek tints.  The colors are very, very subtle, despite their vibrancy in the pots…and I love them.  And their scent is so light, yet pleasant.  I’ve recently received the “Fate” color in an Orglamix Mystery Bag and I am infatuated with the color!! Runs for $18 for a 10g pot.

20170307_060317     Orglamix lip balm -Okay…of all the products I’ve found since beginning my Natural Scavenger Hunt: these are my favorite.  The most amazing lip balms I’ve ever tried in my life! And I consider myself a connoisseur of lip balms!  These are incredibly hydrating, my lips feel rejuvenated and nourished, my lips don’t peel AT ALL anymore, they’re soft, supple, and movie star lips!  The flavors are fun and incredible!  You can get a grab bag of 5 random flavors for $16.  I can’t shut-up about these!

peach_color_correcting_cream_grande  Orglamix miracle worker color corrector cream – I received this as part of my Orglamix Mystery Bag.  It’s a creamy concealer that hides discolorations such as blemishes, blood vessels, dark circles, and freckles.  Just a little dab’ll do ya!  So far I really like it!

IMGA0420a   Orglamix “plump up the volume” lip plumper –  ooOOooooOoooh! This contains all kinds of oils that not only hydrate your lips, but puckers them up just a bit.  Buyer beware: heavy cinnamon and anise flavors…and if you’re like me, you tend to lick your lips.  I like to apply this plumper to my bottom lip, smoosh my lips together, wait a few minutes for the tingly effect, and I follow it up with some lip balm or tint.  Kissably soft, a slight plumping, tingly-goodness, and masks bad breath.  And my favorite tiny detail?  The vial is glass!  I’ve also had no issues with it leaking in my purse or pocket.  One of these runs about $12.50.

Paper Goods:

Natural-Value-Bathroom-Tissue-Double-Rolls-2-Ply-400-Sheets-Per-Roll-Fragrance-Free-706173003618  Natural Value Bathroom Tissue – Unbleached, undyed, no fragrance added, AND made from 100% recycled product! What more could a pseudo-hippy chic ask for?!  Figure if I’m changing my feminine hygiene products, may as well change my TP, too!  Granted, it’s not as soft as Charmin, but it’s also not stiff and scratchy 🙂  Feels good, gets the job done, is two-ply (yes!!), and is safe for sewers and septic systems.  Four double rolls ran me about $4.60 on Vitacost.  I’ll keep this stocked!

Skincare:

bronners   Dr. Bronner’s pure-castile soap – I have loved Doc Bronners’ soap going on seven years now!  It lasts FOREVER! It’s an incredibly versatile product (housecleaning and body cleaning!), and a little bit goes a really, really, really long way.  AND minty-tingliness to wake me up in the morning.

Sprite_25_grande.png Konjac sponge – this natural bamboo & charcoal konjac sponge has since replaced my facial brush and washcloths.  It’s a nice way to exfoliate my dry and … blackheady face.  It’s a vegetable fiber sponge, which I soak in water for a few minutes before using.  It’s soft, yet scrubby, and can be used for 2 to 3 months (with proper care) before having to toss it.  This one runs about $12.50.

8190.png  Now Foods red Moroccan clay  – this is relatively new to my regimen, but so far it’s fantastic!  There’s one ingredient: Montmorillonite (a natural mineral silicate).  Just add water and *poof* an amazing clay that tightens my skin and sucks out my blackheads.  I bought mine for $5.

17814668_10210382741897349_8638974977886041091_o.jpg  Orglamix Beauty Box – A monthly subscription box of that boasts between 4-6 Orglamix products!  Each one is a full-size product!  And every month the themes are different!  I received the March 2017 beauty box as a gift (squee!) and it contained 1) pineapple & papaya enzyme mask, 2) a bronzing hair/body oil, 3) a bath bomb, 4) a little pot of solid perfume, and 5) an eyeshadow pot.  Items found in the Beauty Boxes are often limited editions and not sold on Orglamix’s site.  A subscription is $29 per month, but you get a discount if you pay for more than one month at a time.

20170306_204934  Orglamix Milky Jelly Cleanser – I’ve recently replaced my Andalou 1,000 Roses foaming facial cleanser for Orglamix’s milky jelly cleanser.  I love that I can pronounce all of the ingredients!  It comes in a 1oz glass bottle (yay for not plastic!), and all I use is 2 squirts on my fingertips.  It comes out a thick cream, but you rub it on your face and it rubs into an invisible oil.  I gently exfoliate with a damp cloth and rinse will cold water.  My skin is soft, clean, and well-taken care of.  My first time trying this, I was doubtful…c’mon – it’s OILY!  Um…nope.  I tested it by following my face wash with toner…and the cotton pad was clean and perfect.  Now I don’t even follow-up with toner.  My skin is so happy!  $12 for the 1oz bottle and one bottle lasts me about a month.

20170306_205003  Orglamix Mojo– I received this Mojo as a gift as well.  It’s a serum that’s packed full of good extracts and antioxidants to help fight sun damage and the signs of aging.  I use 1 pump, and pat it into my face, and let it dry – follow it with my usual moisturizer.  (Update: 3/10/17, After using it twice a day for seven days, I can tell you that my rock-hard, deep red zits have calmed down dramatically and are barely even visible and not painful at all!!  My skin is soft.  And it may just be the placebo effect…or the serum…but I truly feel like my crow’s feet are getting…softer…less dramatic.)  This runs $52 for a 1oz bottle.

zitzap  Orglamix Spot Remove Acne Treatment – Okay, I’ve waited a week before reviewing this product.  And what a week: our Endometriosis Awareness Walk was last Saturday, I’ve started my period a few days ago, AND our wedding is this Saturday.  Of all times to break out with stress zits…this is the time!  So, I’ve been using this spot treatment (it comes in a roller) twice a day.  My zits aren’t growing, their redness is gone, and they’re shrinking.  It has my gratitude!  One little glass roller-jar costs about $11.

Verbena-180x300.png Out of Africa lemon verbena hand cream – I’ve never been one to get into the habit of lotioning my hands.  But this winter has been rough on my hands and my nails are peeling and it’s…awful.  So I did some research and bought this hand cream. It’s luxurious heaven in a bottle…but man is it expensive! $10 for a tiny bottle…I may end up looking for something similar since my budget doesn’t enjoy that price tag…but man…it feels fantastic and soaks in so well into my hands.

20170313_181949.jpg   Orglamix Cuticle Oil Pen – These self-contained little “pens” have a brush on one end, oil in the middle, and a clicker knob on the other end.  Each click dispenses just a wee bit of oil onto the brush, which you then brush on your cuticles (or anywhere else that may need a little extra hydrating attention).  I use this on my cuticles after I wash my hands – since my cuticles are dry and tearing.  So far, so good!  Each pen runs about $8.  I received the Starfruit Pear scent in an Orglamix Mystery Bag.  And since it’s self-contained, I can carry it around in my purse without any worry of spillage!!! *woot*

Products that I’m still using (or at least using up) that I may eventually replace:

Andalou 1,000 Roses:  daytime lotion, exfoliating scrub, nighttime lotion, rosewater mask, toner;

bareMinerals: blemish remedy stick, blush, Brilliant Future Age Defense & Renew eye cream, matte foundation, prime time primer;

Burt’s Bees lip crayon;

Garnier Whole Blends honey treasures shampoo and conditioner;

Sensodyne toothpaste (although I need this for my sensitive teeth, so not sure will be able to replace.  On the plus side: no parabens!);

Tizo facial mineral sunscreen; and,

Various eye shadows, lip glosses, and lipsticks.

**Updated April 21, 2017**

If you noticed, I’m a bit obsessed with Orglamix…I can’t help it : it’s run by this amazing stay-at-home mom named Cheri who offers incredible (and very personal) customer service!  And amazing, all-natural products.  I love supporting small businesses…and becoming healthier at the same time!

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month!

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What are YOU doing to spread the word?

I changed my Facebook profile photo and linked to our “What is Endo?” entry.  I’m also making similar “frames” for anyone who would like one.  If you would, just shoot me an email with your photo and I’ll whip one out to you.  Let me know if you’d like me to alter your pic to have a yellow tone like mine, too.

Every day this month, I’ll be sharing on Facebook a random story from our “Share Your Story” campaign.  Spreading the word!

And I’ll be creating an Endometriosis Awareness challenge on Habitica.  Do you play?

I’m also wearing my Bloomin’ Uterus t-shirt today, all of my various Endo bracelets, yellow earrings, and some amazing (aka horrible) bloomin’ pants and boots!  It’s a GREAT day!

Looking forward to our walk on the 25th, as well as a support group meeting on the 18th.