Pain Journal: November 2019

Summary of my November 2019 pain

November was gone in the blink of an eye, but while it WAS November, it felt slow! And this was my most painful month since last year’s excision and bowel resection.

I still get mild staple discomfort if I eat too much. And my bowels still react if I have too much cheese or alcohol.

On November 2nd, I started feeling some pain in my lower right abdomen area, but I figure that was bowel-related since I had some diarrhea that day. November 4th, however, brought pain to my lower left abdomen and the same mirrored location on my left lower back. Not pain at my uterus! That pain started as a 3 out of 10, but escalated to a 6 out of 10 as the day progressed. Heat didn’t help. I wasn’t allowed to take any Naproxen or other NSAIDs (Aleve, Advil, etc.) because of a colonoscopy I had scheduled for November 8th.

Why all the pain? November 5th: I started my period. Great. And the pain progressed. It now hurt when I went pee, the pain never ended the night before and interrupted my sleep, and the pain levels of that same spot in my lower left abs and lower left back spiked to a 8-9 out of 10. So, I popped Tylenol when I could, I used herbal pain spray, my Livia unit, my heating pad, and even hopped in the shower. Nothing really worked, but the pain fluctuated between a 6-9 throughout the day. A day that I took off work to be miserable at home. I had to drive to a pre-planned appointment with my excision surgeon to discuss some ultrasound results. My pain during that visit was an 8-9 out of 10 and I couldn’t help but do the usual bend-myself-in-half trying to choke out the pain and I cried in the lobby like a boob. He gave me a referral to a pain management doctor (which I’m still trying to set up the appointment), and we had “The Talk” about another excision surgery and hopefully a hysterectomy. I will see Dr. Kurtulus again in February to give my body a few months to see what happens with my pain and the pain management referral.

On the 6th, I woke up NO pain! I was so excited, but it all flooded back (once more only on the lower left side of my abdomen) by 8am when I drove to work. It fluctuated between a 0-7 out of 10 throughout the day and I took Tylenol when the pain was too intense.

The next day, driving once more to work brought my pain from a 0 to a 6 out of 10, once more only on that lower left side of my pelvis and back. But I didn’t take any Tylenol because of the colonoscopy scheduled for the following morning.

On the 8th and 9th, I had some residual pain on that lower left abdomen, but that was it. I didn’t have any further pain until I started my period…again…on November 29th.

An interesting note, sex hasn’t been painful (we avoid doggy style, though) all year. But on November 27th, we couldn’t do it because I was in severe discomfort with insertion, even well-lubed and aroused. I suspected my period was looming. Two days later: she hit.

November 29th: I woke up with uterine cramps (yay, not in the lower left like last time!). The cramping was about a 4-6 out of 10, but I had been dreaming of period cramps. A hot shower didn’t help. I took a few Naproxen that day (the pain fluctuated up to an 8) and helped reduce my pain.

November 30th’s cramps were between a 0-7, and again I had to take Naproxen a few times.

Day 3 of my period (December 1st) brought small cramps throughout the day (0-6/10), but they were quick pulses that came and went, rather than a constant pain. I’m now on Day 4 and have had even less cramps.

I’m glad that my pain appears to only be when I’m on my period, but am extremely disheartened to I think my Endometriosis is back. Especially with how intense my early-November period was. But am pleased to wait for the pain management doctor and February’s consult. If you’d like to watch my daily food, beverage, poo & pain tracker, here it is:

The good news? It still doesn’t hurt when I poo. 😀 Although the bowel prep was lengthy and violent: I poo’d 32 times on November 7th after I drank the prep, and another 43 times on the morning of the 8th before my procedure! But…NONE OF THAT HURT.

Speaking of poo, here’s my poo-chart! Would you look at that “Diarrhea” chart during my bowel prep?!!?? OHMYGOD, may it never be that high again!

December is here. I’m already on my period. And, if my counting is correct, I’ll be on it again for Christmas…we’ll wait and see how that one does!

Pain Journal: October 2019

Summary of Oct 2019 pain journal

Boy, October was interesting!

Throughout the month, I’ve had a few bouts of abdominal cramping. As I go through my pain journal, most of that was either diarrhea-related or getting close to my period. I did, however, have a few odd episodes of stabbing or throbbing pain toward the lower right and lower left of my abs. And when I cough, sneeze, or twist a certain way (hubby and I have recently signed up for a yoga class), there’s a pulling sensation on my lower right abs.

An ultrasound yesterday found my right ovary may be slightly stuck to the underside of my uterus, which may account for the right-sided pain. The cyst on the left ovary appears to be collapsing. I have my official meeting with my physician on Tuesday to discuss the ultrasound findings.

Sex is still painless, but I do think again it’s in part to the fact that we’re avoiding positions that we know cause me pain (aka doggy style).

My period showed up on October 7th, announced with cramping. Throughout the eight-day period, I only had to take 3 Naproxen and those knocked the six out of 10 pain down to a one or a two. So those still seem to hold their own and help. When the Naproxen wore off, I cuddled my heating pad and suffered. There was one night where the pain kept me awake.

If you’d like go scroll through my pain journal, here you go:

Boy, I ate a LOT of fast food in October. What? That may explain the excessive diarrhea throughout the month. Oh. My. God. And a lot of alcohol…Too much food, crappy food, too much booze: it all goes straight through me. Again, I really need to get better at that. I feel like I type this sentence every month…

And here’s my pooooooo-craziness! Although there was A LOT of loose bowels…I’ve made it through another month with NO pain when I poo! I simply CANNOT believe it! Thank God for my Dr. Kurtulus finding the endometriosis on my bowels and involving Dr. Schultzel for the bowel resection! My pooping is SO much better, and it’s almost been A YEAR!

I’m ashamed to say this is probably my most diarrhea-filled month since surgery. I failed October miserably and vow to make November easier on my body and bowels!

What do you learn about yourself when you track your pain, symptoms, and diet? I’m still learning!

Pain Journal: September 2019

September is behind us…and I’m spending my lunch hour reviewing and publishing my pain journal. A good use of time, right? I think so, too!

Let’s just start by saying it’s October 1st…and I still haven’t had my September period. I wonder if it will arrive in a few days? Back in August, I started my period on the 26th…so we’ll see if I am graced with two periods in October?

Okay, let’s review September’s adventure!

On September 6th, I woke up with a bit of abdominal cramping. Oh no! Is my Endo back already? No…I just had a big ol’ fart and all that cramping ceased the second I let ‘er rip! C’mon, laugh with me. Sometimes it’s all we can do. But seriously, the “oh no it it back already” thought did enter my head. I’m glad it was just gas…although my husband was none-too-pleased with the funky morning aroma.

I continue to experience staple-area pain around my new guts if I eat too much. And I still either get insane diarrhea after I drink too much booze…or I don’t poop at all for a day or two. Ten months since surgery and I still lack a lot of self-control when it comes to delicious things.

On September 7th, I contracted The Plague: some sort of craptastic upper respiratory infection that led to a chest cold, bronchitis, sinusitis, laryngitis, and hives. It was a doozy! Three weeks later and I still have a little bit of chest congestion and my voice isn’t quite at 100%. BUT…I blame the sudden spike in diarrhea and medication-use over the next few weeks on fighting the Plague. (PS – if you didn’t already know, sugar-free cough drops or throat lozenges GIVE YOU DIARRHEA!)…

A few impromptu roadtrips with my husband in September led to some fun and pain-free sex. So that’s still super exciting to not have insane pain. I mean, we have to still avoid deep penetration poses, such as Doggy Style, because of my unique anatomy (two cervix which still hurt when they’re bumped), but at least there’s some pain-free sex in my life. So woohooo!

A lot of the abdominal discomfort I experienced in September can easily be attributed to the aforementioned liquid-shits…but every once in a while a sneaky “what the hell was that?” sharp pain would kick in out of nowhere:

On September 25th, I had the only true amount of sharp pain that had me worried; everything else in September was still on the level of “discomfort” and was easily explained away due to The Plague. But on that particular Wednesday, I had already pooped three times that day (just a good ol’ normal poo). That morning, I had an appointment with my colo-rectal surgeon for the last of my hemorrhoid band ligation procedures; a relatively simply and painless (mostly) procedure. At 2:30 that afternoon, I was poopin’ and had a sharp, horrible, agonizing pain on the left side of my lower abdomen that literally took my breath away while I sat on the porcelain throne. But, it was quick. At 5:20 that same afternoon, the pain returned while I was driving home and lasted several seconds. Then again at 5:26pm, it returned…and didn’t fade until 6:00pm. Was it poop-related? Was it my cyst on my left ovary rearin’ it’s ugly head? Was it a sign I’d be starting my period? I didn’t have any other pain that day, or any following day, until a little throbbing discomfort in the same area on September 29th. Still, though, no period. And that throbbing pain was minimal and quick.

I see my gyno/excision surgeon again in November for another transvaginal ultrasound and will be sure to mention that lower left abdominal pain. It’ll be interesting to see if my left-sided 3cm cyst has done anything.

But my favorite news? The only reason I took any pain killers in September: The Plague and my hemorrhoid procedure. YAY! Following is the slideshow of my September pain journal, if it interests you.

Pooping? You’ll see a spike in diarrhea episodes in September. OH MY GOD. Yep, you already read it: the laxative effect of a certain brand of sugar-free lozenges that shall remain unnamed (*cough cough* Ricola *cough*). Here’s the all-over-the-place poop chart…including the first instance of poopin’ pain since i recovered from my bowel resection! And that’s AMAZING!

If you don’t already track your pain, symptoms, diet, and bowel movements, I cannot stress how important it is to understanding and acknowledging what’s going on inside your own body. PLUS it gives us something to tangibly point to out to our physicians: “I hurt…HERE!” If you’d ever like some pointers on what I use to track mine, please reach out to me.

And…welcome to October!

Pain Journal: August 2019

August has ended. The bulk of the month went well, except for one day: Day Two of my period.

A week before before my period began, I had a strange instance of severe pain (8 out of 10) in my lower left abs. It only lasted for a few seconds, though. Day one of my period came with mild abdominal cramping (0-2 out of 10). Day Two was such a painful day that I used my last paid sick day at work, and had to pop 2 Naproxen and 1 Tylenol throughout the day. Luckily, it was just one day. And then the rest of my period went on without a single cramp.

I have my next scheduled transvaginal ultrasound to check on the status of my bilateral endometriomas this Thursday. And I’ll meet with Dr. Kurtulus to discuss the findings early next week.

As usual, I had my standard staple, belly button, and left lower gut discomfort if/when I ate too much. And I still really need to remember to have just one drink; no more than two if I’m enjoying it with friends.

If you’d like to review my journal of food, drink, pain, and poop, here’s the slideshow:

And if you’re intrigued enough to review my poop chart, here ya go:

Bring on September! I hope your month goes well.

Pain Journal: July 2019

July flew by, didn’t it? Which means it’s the first of August and it’s time to review and post my pain journal! How was July? Let’s find out.

There’s still a distinct discomfort at my staples if I eat too much or haven’t pooped in a day. Thanks bowel resection! Most days I poop at least twice a day; sometimes four to five times a day (not a single painful poop since early February!!) And what’s the Number One culprit in making sure I don’t poop? Having more than one alcoholic beverage in a day. Case in point:

The weekend of June 29th, my husband and I enjoyed some R&R at one of our favorite spots in San Diego County. And I sipped on four whiskey gingers throughout that Saturday. I didn’t poop that Sunday. At all…and the discomfort at the staples by Monday, July 1st, was a bit much. Before I administered an enema that morning, I weighed myself; and again after I completed my business. I lost three pounds while pooping!

And I had four beers on July 4th, you know, to celebrate! Did I poop at all the next day? Nope.

I really need to remember to have just one drink; no more than two if I’m enjoying it with friends.

And when I eat too much food? On July 10th, I ate a large dinner and went to bed with discomfort near my intestinal staples. The next morning (2:30am and 9:00am): I had diarrhea. I’ve gotten a lot better about understanding when enough is enough, but there’s totally room for improvement.

I only had a few moments of distinct actual pain in July. Once, I sneezed and had a hard, sharp pulling pain on the lower right of my abdomen. Scar tissue? Endometrioma? Who knows. It lasted a fraction of a second.

I wondered if I was going to skip yet another period as my projected start date (July 15th) came and went. But then on July 22nd, I had some lower abdominal cramps; not enough to even classify as pain. A few days later, I started my period! I had some cramping and lower back pain on the lower left of my abdomen that was deep enough for me to pop two Ibuprofen. Nearly 30 minutes later, it all disappeared! So, I silently thanked the skillful hands of my excision surgeon and went on with my day.

That same afternoon, I had my scheduled follow-up transvaginal ultrasound. I ended up taking one Naproxen that evening because the discomfort of the ultrasound wand bumping around my already-angry female bits enraged my uterus and my cramps swarmed in (at about a 4 out of 10). The pain ceased to exist for a few hours, but mild cramping came back before I went to bed. I didn’t take any more pills as it was just a 2 out of 10 on the pain scale. A few days later, on the 27th, I had a sharp cramp at that same lower-left abdominal location. But I didn’t need a pill.

And that was it for my pain. For the entire month of July! It’s uplifting, seeing as my July 25th ultrasound confirmed the presence of Endometriomas on both of my ovaries, my ovaries are both stuck to the sides of my uterus, and the suspicion of adenomyosis grows deeper.

A girlfriend of mine has sworn off meat and dairy for a month; I decided to join her and support her in this quest. It began on July 17th and I haven’t noticed a big difference, but then again: I haven’t been in a lot of pain this year. But, it’s been an interesting, difficult, and fun challenge!

If you’d like to review my journal of food, drink, pain, and poop, here’s the slideshow:

And if you’re intrigued enough to review my poop chart, here ya go:

Let August begin!

Pain Journal: June 2019

I cannot believe that June is already behind us. It was a pretty laid-back month for my Endo. I skipped my period again, but I’m not too worried about that.

I still haven’t learned my lesson about eating too much. And when I do, I still get discomfort near my staples in my guts. I also experimented with having two or more boozy beverages; nope, not good. My body still doesn’t like that. Now, though, instead of intense staple pain my guts just freak out: I either poop uncontrollably or don’t poop at all for a day or two…which causes a discomfort all in its own. And I also experienced some left-abdominal discomfort and/or pain, but it was rare, minimal, and only at times right before I had to poop (and no every time I had to poop, either). And I mostly poo’d between one to five times a day, with a few days of no-poo…but those no-poo days were usually triggered by poor diet and beverage choices.

I did have one instance of “what the heck is that” pain near my lower left abdomen when I was bending over and cleanin’ the cat litter. It was fast and sharp and I figured it was either adhesions or that li’l cyst on my left ovary. Again, I’m not to worried about it.

Although I skipped my period, I did have a few days (around where I should have been bleeding) where I was super emotional and had baby-twinges of cramps. So I think my body was trying really hard to have a period. I spotted a few times during those days, but I’ve picked boogers that made more blood than my uterus did those days. So, seriously, counting June as a skipped period month.

And my favorite part of reviewing my pain tracker? No need for any NSAIDs or pain meds! No Ibuprofen, no Tylenol, no Naproxen Sodium, no Percocet, and no Tramadol! I cannot stress the importance of excision surgery by an experience Endo surgeon, as well as getting in tune with your body and seeing what else it may need: diet changes, meditation, acupuncture, cranial sacral therapy, yoga, pelvic floor therapy; whatever helps you!

Here’s my June pain journal and poopy charts!

Pain Journal: May 2019

Summary of Lisa's pain for May 2019

May was a fun one. I was curious if I’d skip yet another period. OR if having skipped my April period would lead to a hellish May visit from Aunt Flow.

As you can see, I was pleasantly surprised! My period cramps never got above a 2 out of 10! My lower back pain was intermittent on my period at a low 1 out of 10. And I did receive a twinge of pain when I coughed on my period, toward the lower right abdomen area. I only took two over-the-counter Ibuprofen for my mild period cramps and back discomfort on the first day of my period. I had to remind myself, “Why suffer with this pain?” And they killed the remaining discomfort and cramps. TWO IBUPROFEN!

My other pain during May while NOT on my period?

  • May 8th: I woke up at 6:30am with mild lower abdomen cramps, a 1 out of 10. Nothing to be concerned about, but something to note. It only lasted a few minutes; and I wondered if it was gas or poo-related.
  • May 9th: I did it again; I ate too much. A buffalo bacon cheeseburger AND onion rings? I mean, I didn’t finish them…but I most certainly should have stopped eating sooner. This led to discomfort at my staples, 2 out of 10.
  • May 10th: an odd, burning type of discomfort near my staples that lasted a few minutes, 3 out of 10. About an hour later, it was a quick series of diarrhea and poops; so I figure that discomfort was most certainly poo-related.
  • May 12th: I woke up with mild discomfort at my staples; likely related to the night before’s angry bowels…
  • May 13th: this was a new one: a weird discomfort in the area between my belly button and my lower ribs. Similar to the location of my pre-surgery pain, so of course I quirked an eyebrow and monitored this one with extra vigilance. The discomfort was only a 2/10. And didn’t lead to a big poo or anything horrible. It didn’t last long, either.
  • May 14th: a repeat of that throbbing discomfort between my belly button and lower right ribs; it was a 3 out of 10 and lasted several minutes when I woke up. It occurred again that afternoon. It happened again twice more that afternoon…and I found the trigger. CHERRIES! By going through my food journal and timestamps, I realized it MIGHT be cherries causing me some type of gas pain. So…I stopped eating cherries…
  • May 22nd: I, again, ate too much. It was yellow curry with chicken; I mean, how can you NOT eat to much? Well, I haven’t learned my lesson and received my usual staple discomfort, 3/10.

And my May poos? ZERO PAIN the entire month. No glass being dragged through my guts. No cramps while I poo. No need to bend over in two and cry while sitting on the porcelain throne.

May 7th holds the record for the most poos in a day: seven and two bouts of diarrhea! SEVEN!?! I hadn’t poo’d well the day before…and this was just my body’s way of suddenly purging all the leftover crap that was still in my guts! Seven…I was exhausted that day. LOL

What were the lessons I learned in May? 1) STOP EATING TOO MUCH! Just take your time, eat slowly, give your body time to adjust to the volume of food, and STOP EATING. Push the plate away, drop the fork, get a doggy bag. 2) My body’s not ready for two drinks a day. It may not lead to that agonizing pain I had in January…but it leads to some poopy issues. 😉 Just leave it to one drink…

If you’d like to read my day-by-day play-by-play May pain and food journal, please check it out below:

If you’d like to see my Poo Chart, please check it out below:

Pain Journal: March 2019

Summary of my March pain journal

March is done and over with. And man was it stressful! I can’t see myself EVER fitting in two big Endo events in March…too much planning, not enough energy! 🙂 But it was MARVELOUS!

AND to make March even better? It was 99.9% pain-free! My period even snuck up on me (again!) – no cramps, no pain. Just suddenly…I’m bleeding! And it remained pain-free during it’s 6-day duration. I did, however, have that sudden and severe butthole ache many of us may be familiar with. Out of nowhere and gone in a few minutes – but it was enough to take my breath away and make me stop typing.

I had a bad episode of food poisoning, which led to a sick day from work and a bit of painful sex (before the food poisoning symptoms started). And later in March learned my lesson the hard way that I can’t drink dark beers. It was quite a poopy month. And I did take two Ibuprofen on March 30th after our Endometriosis Awareness Walk – I was just sore and stiff, but not Endo-related pain.

If you’d like to track my daily symptom and food journal, feel free to scroll through each day:

And if you’re intrigued by my bowel movements, here they are! I’m super-duper-pooper excited to share that there were ZERO painful bowel movements. Just a LOT of diarrhea – oh food poisoning and dark beer…kept my March interesting to say the least. It taught me the VALUE of tracking my food and drink: I can go back and scroll through the day prior (or even the morning of) to see what may have triggered my liquid-poo).

I’m still so very pleased with my progress since November’s excision surgery and bowel resection. And am truly hoping this lasts. Forever. We shall see!

April begins NOW!

Pain Journal: February 2019

Summary of Lisa Howard's pain journal from February 2019

February has ended! And I’m tickled pink with my body’s progress. I’ve learned that I had to distinguish between discomfort and pain…Why? Because it’s not all pain anymore.

Discomfort, to me, means it can pass quickly, or doesn’t warrant a pain pill. It’s not debilitating. It’s like an annoyance or inconvenience.

Pain, on the other hand, strips me of my focus, causes me alarm, roots me to my place, takes away my abilities, causes me to cry out, or curl into a little ball.

I also didn’t need any form of pain killers in February (I know you’re screaming with excitement and clapping your hands as you read this, Mom) – and I skipped my period. Okay, body. What are you up to?

If you’re curious in my progress as February progressed, here are my notes on my diet, symptoms, and pain/discomfort levels and locations.

And if you’re curious and following the progress of my bowels…here’s my poop chart!!!

Being able to compare my poopy chart to my pain tracker has been a godsend! I realize the days that I have pain are usually spurred by my diet choices the day before. And the two days I didn’t poop? One was by choice! I was staying with friends in a tiny hotel room and didn’t want to stink the place up – but my pride caused a painful poop-episode the next day. The second episode of No-Poop? I had pooped SO VERY MUCH the day before that I think my body needed a whole day to recharge! Ha! Diarrhea is usually also a cause of my over-eating. So, little by little, these little visual aids are going to help me reel in my newly-discovered dietary limitations and habits. I can’t believe I’m pooping one to five times a day. That’s unheard of for the Before-Bowel-Resection me. It’s my life now, though.

February was a good month. And I’m looking forward to tracking March!