Pain Journal: October 2020

Summary of pain from Oct 2020; contains text and a graphic of a female body with red squares around abdomen

I know I’m late in publishing October’s journal, but this week is the first time I can comfortably sit at the computer, even for just an hour at a time. And I’ve updated my pain logs since surgery (finally!), as well as my data spreadsheets! I’m so excited!

I’ll update you on my surgery (what they did, what they found, what they removed) in a separate post, but the pre- and post-op pain is a night and day difference! And the pain I’m now experiencing is me healing from the intense surgery…and I mean intense.

Okay, on with the show! (I cannot wait to update you on surgery!! Stay tuned for that post!)

My entire October pain and diet tracking journal can be viewed one slide at a time here. It even includes the medications and struggles/victories while I was in the hospital for four days:

And here’s the breakdown of my pain during October on statistical scale:

Table showing pain levels throughout Oct. 2020

What are you looking at? It’s my pain levels every day during October. The green row shows my date of surgery. And the red rows are when I was on my period. I attribute all post-op pain due to the intense surgery that was done as well as my period. I wholeheartedly believe non-period pain will fade as I continue to heal from surgery.

  • We only had sex once in October (sex has become just too damn painful) and that hurt. So, sex hurt 100% of attempts during October.
  • My bowel movements hurt 89% of the time before surgery, and ZERO percent after surgery. YAY!
  • The lower left abdomen hurt 95% of the time before surgery and 27% after surgery.
  • The lower right abdomen hurt 15% of the time before and 9% after.
  • The lower mid abdomen/uterus area hurt 5% before and 45% after surgery.
  • My lower back hurt 42% of the time before surgery and 36% after, most of which was while I was laying in the hospital bed or on my period.
  • It hurt 10% of the time to pee before surgery and 0% after
  • And, of course, I had 0% incision pain before surgery and 100% after. This too shall fade!

I had to take a moment to sit back and cry yesterday when I finished updating my October tracker. Look at that difference before and after surgery!!! I can’t even!! Zero bowel movement pain. Very little lower left quadrant pain. Very little lower right quadrant pain. Zero pain when I piss. And, again, I know the rest will fade as I continue to heal! And, hell, I’m all emotional again. I can’t wait to update November’s pain tracker!

Okay, now my favorite part…the poopy pain charts!!!

Bar graph showing pain levels when pooping
Click the image to enlarge

If you can’t read the tiny numbers on the above-chart, it shows I had painful bowel movements (whether it was a solid poo or diarrhea) almost the entire month of October, some reaching as high as a 9 out of 10 on the pain-scale. It took me a few days to be able to poop after surgery, but every poop in October after surgery has been 100% pain-free!

pie chart showing 72% of poop was solid and 28% of poop was diarrhea

Again, I cannot express how pleased I am that Dr. Mel Kurtulus and Dr. Matthew Schultzel spotted and removed the Endometriosis from my guts. And then some…I cannot WAIT to write about my surgery! Take that, diarrhea!!!!

pie chart showing various pain levels with diarrhea

And want to see something that JUST NOW made me cry as I created it? October’s solid poop pain…the pain when ya pass something NOT diarrhea:

pie chart showing various pain levels with solid poop

I cannot express, CANNOT EXPRESS, how important it is to track your symptoms and diet. Sharing my pain journals with my Endometriosis excision surgeon and my colo-rectal surgeon led them straight to my Endometriosis during surgery. Straight. To. It.

I know that oftentimes Endo pain can radiate and be tricky and the lesions can be elsewhere, too, which is why it’s important to have a surgeon skilled in spotting and excising it from everywhere…BUT…I’m a firm believer that Step One is tracking. We have to do our diligent part to not only learn and know our own bodies, but do it in a way that we can share with our healthcare team.

I look forward to sharing about my surgery! And am really excited to transcribe and analyze November’s pain journal!

I hope you’re all doing well. And if you’re not doing well, I’m right here for you. Always.

Pain Journal: September 2020

September flew by all too quickly. October is now upon us! And hopefully I’ll find out when my next surgery will be! So much to look forward to.

I was certain I was going to skip my period, but alas it just started very late. LOL. Damn thing. I was due around the week of the 8th, and I thought that I was going to start with the full-gambit of pain I had that week. But…nope. I started 15 days later.

As you can see, I had a lot of left-sided pain this month, which warranted 14 Naproxen and one-and-a-half Tramadol. Blech. If you like stats:
  • 100% of sex was painful. We only had it once in September and it hurt so much I’ve been too terrified to try again. At least my partner is incredibly patient and understanding.
  • 79% of my bowel movements were painful.
  • 80% of the month had pain on the lower left side of my abs
  • 30% of the month had pain on the lower right side of my abs
  • 10% of the month had uterine/mid-ab pain
  • 23% of the month had lower back pain

During my consult with my colo-rectal surgeon earlier this month, he took a peek up the poopchute to make sure my pain wasn’t caused by something else. He found a tiny hemorrhoid (which he has since banded), but just having the butt-speculum (anoscope) and a finger up there caused such an intense flare up on the left side, I had to take half a Tramadol to calm it down.

Here’s my daily slideshow of my pain and diet journal:

Movin’ on to the painful poopchute! It’s frustrating: never knowing if it’s going to feel like the left side of your guts is ripping out as you drop a deuce. Most times it does, sometimes it doesn’t.

I told you nearly 80% of my bowel movements were painful. Here’s that play-by-play! Blue lines indicate painful solid poops and red lines indicate painful diarrhea. If there’s no color, but there’s a date, that was a successful pain-free poo!

Chart of painful bowel movements

And, my favorite, the pie charts o’poo!

I’ll be sure to keep you posted when I get my surgery date for my bowel resection on the left side.

Do you track your symptoms? What system do you use? I’ve fallen in love with Google Slides and Google Sheets for my homemade trackin’.

Pain Journal: August 2020

Another month is behind us. I have my consultation with my surgeon on September 15th to discuss my deep-infiltrating Endometriosis on my sigmoid colon and (hopefully) schedule a surgery with he and my colo-rectal surgeon to handle it.

So, in preparation for those meetings, I’ve been tinkering with my pain journal with how better to visualize or express my symptoms to others. And here’s what I’ve come up with:

As you can see, while I was on my period (the cells shaded red), pain levels were higher across the board, and more consistent on a daily basis. The “glass guts” feeling when I poop has calmed down a lot to where it’s just a painful sharp stabbing when I go half the time. And pretty much most of the other pain I experienced during the month is an odd sharp stabbing or ache every once in a while on the right or left of my lower abs.

A third of the month, I experienced days of pain of the lower left side (hello, Sigmoid Colon?). And 20% of the month had pain on the lower right abs, don’t ask me why. Most of the 12-16% of lower uterine/middle abdomen pain and lower back pain occurred while I was on my period.

Here’s the usual daily pain and food tracker, if you’re ever interested in the play-by-play:

And I still track my bowel movements and pain on a separate tracker. What goes in must come out, eh? This chart will be of particular importance to me as I head in for my bowel consultations.

During the month of August, I poo’d 41 times. Only 25 of those times were pain-free, so a little more than half. Every date on this chart represents a poo. If there’s multiple dates (like the 3rd, for example), I poo’d multiple times that day. If there’s a blue line, it means it hurt with a regular poo. If there’s a red line, it was diarrhea with pain. So, for example, on August 14 I poo’d and it stabbed through my guts with an 8 out of 10 pain level. Ugh. And the most painful poos (8 out of 10) only occurred while I was on my period. If there’s a date with no blue or red line, it was a pain-free poo.

And the charts continue! Of my August poops, 63% of them were diarrhea. That’s alotta shit. Well, a lot of loose shit…

And of those loose and watery bowel movements, a whopping 64% of them were pain-free. But when it did hurt, it varied between a 1-8 on the pain scale.

What about the logs? Of those solid non-liquid poos, half of them were pain-free also. And when it hurt, it ranged from a 1-8 out of 10 as well.

Overall, I’m super pleased with August. I only needed one Naproxen for my pain, and that was during my period. The four Ibuprofen I took in August were for headaches and not related to any Endometriosis pain.

I’m intrigued with the poo-data and look forward to sharing with my doctors. And would still like to pursue a path of colo-rectal surgery to look at and remove the DIE on my sigmoid colon. Perhaps after it’s gone, my bowel movements can become more consistently pain-free and solid.

How was your August?

July Pain Journal

I absolutely cannot believe it’s August already. This year has flown by. And what a weird year, indeed.

So here’s my July pain, symptom, and diet tracker.

I’ve had A LOT less pain in July. And also skipped my period, which may explain that (plus the benefits of my excision surgery). But when I did have pain, it was on both the lower right side and lower left side of my lower abdomen (pain ranged from 2-8 out of 10). I also had some lower abdomen pain, like uterine cramping for a few days (1-3 out of 10) with mirrored lower back pain. And I went through the emotional gambit of a period, even though I was blood-less.

I still what what I call “Shifty Poo Pain” from time to time, which is that glass-guts feeling that makes it way through the middle of my guts and especially prevalent on the left side of my guts before I poo. Once I have shifty-poo pain, I usually poop within 20 minutes. Glass-Guts shifty pre-poo pain ranged from a 3-9 out of 10.

And the act of dropping a deuce itself? Now that depends. My graphs have evolved to better help me process (haha there’s a pun in there somewhere) the information!

Of the 50 times I pooped in July, a third of it was diarrhea.

And of the regular poos, here’s my pain levels on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the WORST pain EVER). A not-so-whopping 22% of my poopin’ caused me 0 pain:

And of the Liquid Shits (aka MudButt aka Diarrhea), the majority (64%) remained painless:

Why did I alter my Poopy Pain charts? I have my consult on September 1st to discuss ongoing symptoms regarding the deep-infiltrating Endometriosis on my sigmoid colon and I wanted to arm myself with statistics. My own statistics. 🙂

All-in-all, I’m pleased with July’s outcome. I’m sad about the ongoing glass-guts feeling, but take heart in knowing I have an appointment in September to discuss it.

Pain Journals: March 2020 – June 2020

Wow. It’s already July. I’m so far behind! Hahaha. Well, I wanted to catch up! So, here’s my pain journals for March through June of 2020!

One big shebang! Then I’ll get back on track of my monthly publishing!

March was ongoing pain on both the lower left and lower ride sides of my lower abs (a 4 out of 10), more intense on my period (6 out of 10). Sex and bowel movements were both with and without pain.

April also had the same ongoing pain, but the poopin’ hurt a lot less. The lower abdominal pain also intensified while I was on my period, reaching a 7 out of 10.

May’s pain journal looks terrifying. But it’s also my surgery-month. So, a lot of the pain and discomfort was post-op. But before surgery, lower abdominal pain was about a 4-6 out of 10. While on my period, that number soared to a 9 out of 10. On my period I also had mirrored lower back pain and painful urination. After surgery, I attribute most of the pain (including bowel pain) to healing from the procedure. Everything was angry.

June may still have been a lot of healing/recovery pain from surgery. Sex hurt. Poopin’ hurt (sometimes a 9 out of 10 glass-through-the-guts feeling), and a lot of lower abdominal pain. My period was a doozy and required two halves of Tramadol to control. June had a lot of pain with what I call “shifty poo pain”…pain that usually happens several minutes before I poo. Again, glass through guts. Almost always on the lower left side.

This has been a sit, wait, watch, and hope process. July’s pain journal has it’s own ups and downs (you’ll see at the end of this month), but I’m still watching, waiting, and hoping.

Below are the slideshows if you care to see my daily journals for each month.

And following are my poopy-graphs, if you’re a visual person and care to follow the pain with poopin’ journal (clicking on a month will download a PDF file). You’ll notice some painful poos in March and April, but an insane amount after the May 13th surgery. I would like to think it’s just healin’ guts…only time will tell.

March

April

May

June

Do you track your symptoms and share your trackers with your healthcare providers? If so, what do you use? Leave me a comment below! Let me know your system!

Pain Journal: February 2020

February. Man. What a weird month for pain and symptoms…

Pain started around February 5th and continued nearly the entire month. I also took a staggering amount of Ibuprofen, none of which was related to my Endo symptoms. I did need several Naproxen and two separate halves of Tramadol, thought.

And although I spotted for several days, I technically didn’t have my period. The spotting took place far off of what would have been my normal period. And when I brought it up to my gyno, they didn’t count it as a period, either. You know, the “first day of your last period” question?

At least the pain continued to only be located at lower left, lower right, and mirrored areas of my lower back. We’ll continue to monitor it and see what my surgeon finds in May.

Would you like to see the play-by-play daily journal?

And the super silver lining? I still have zero pain when I poo! I mean, I still need to figure out what I’m doing to upset my guts on the regular poop/diarrhea scale, but…that’s a work in progress. I know cheese is a big culprit, and likely booze. Meh. I’m not over-indulging in either…but I still feel like they’re both big players in my poo-game.

Pain Journal: January 2020

The first month of 2020 is already over! And I just realized I didn’t share my December pain journal! Whoops!!

So, January. I was lucky enough to start the first day of the new year with my period (I skipped having a period in December). AND then I had it again on January 25th. So, two for one! Yay!

My favorite part? No more discomfort near my belly button and staples! I don’t know if I’ve just gotten better about portion control and eating, or what, but I’m super excited about the lack of spread-out pain and discomfort that occurred in January.

The not so favorable news? Both on and off my period, I experienced pain on the lower left and lower right of my abdomen. Ovary pain? Cyst pain? Something-else pain? It was in the exact same spot both on and off my period. And when on the left, it was almost always accompanied with reciprocal lower back pain in the same location. But the good news? Naproxen made the pain manageable and no need for the newly-acquired Tramadol.

During my periods, I had some uterine cramping and the aforementioned left and ride-sided pain. The highest-intensity pain level was a about an 8 out of 10. I hate it when it’s above a 6…but again, Naproxen dropped those pain levels below a 6 and I avoided Tramadol.

On January 6, 2020, I had two crowns repairs, which meant temporary crowns for 2.5 weeks. During that time, I mostly drank dairy-based protein shakes. Dairy. Ugh. This experience confirmed that I need to stay away!!! Wait ’til you see my poo journal below!

And on January 24th, I received some very stress-inducing news. Upon hanging up the phone, I immediately had a pain flare that lasted several hours on my lower left side. It truly makes me believe there’s either Endo or a cyst or soooommething wrong on that side. And it further encourages me to schedule another surgery when I see my doctor tomorrow.

I’ve also started counting my calories, trying to eat healthier, and have begun a low-impact exercise routine (started the Walk On 21 Day program on 2/1/20). We’ll see how that affects my symptoms. If you’ve been following my journals, hopefully you notice a difference in the types of foods I’m eating and the amount of alcohol I’m consuming!

Ooooooh man. Januarys’ poo-catastrophe!!!! Are you ready? OMG.

See all that red? DIARRHEA! SO MUCH DIARRHEA! Between the beloved phenomenon known as PeriodShits, the dairy-induced liquid carnage, and catching some type of stomach bug, I feel like I had way more diarrhea than I had regular poos. But January is behind us. And I will soon forget the multiple trips to the bathroom and the steady stream of OMG. Whew.

Let’s see what February holds in store!

Do you track your pain, symptoms, and diet? If so, what platform do you use? Share in the comments below!

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!