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!

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.