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!

Pain Journal: January 2019

Summary of Lisa Howard's pain journal from January 2019

I’ve decided to start publishing my pain journals; not only in the hopes of documenting my Endometriosis Journey, but possibly helping others with theirs. Let’s get intimately familiar with my habits, shall we? 🙂

I use Google Slides to track my food, drink, bowel movements, medication, sex, and pain levels. I also track the location of my pain. And I’ve found this method helps me stay more in touch with my body and it acts as a great aid for my doctor and surgeons. I can access Google Slides from my PC, my phone, and my tablet; so it’s never too far away. And if I’m too lazy to open the app, I just shoot myself an email with a timestamp and description of what’s going on (i.e, 2:45pm ate a bowl of vanilla ice cream). Then the next day (or whenever is convenient) I rebuild my Google Slides with that information.

There are several Smartphone Apps out there that act as diaries and symptom trackers, too, but I’m all paranoid about permissions and developer access. 😉 BUT…the most important thing: you do what’s best and easiest for you.

So, welcome to my world. I will likely retroactively post my prior pain journals just to have them all in one place and can compare!

I’m pleased to say that January was relatively uneventful! Surgery was a huge success and most of my pain has been discomfort from my incisions and staples, learning my new bowels (and what NOT to eat/drink), and very very mild period pain. I literally forgot I was on my cycle for 99.9% of my period!

You can feel free to scroll through the slides of every day in January:

I also wanted to start tracking my new bowel movements by type and pain levels. I’m a visual kind of person, so I like all the info in ONE place. And I simply cannot believe the difference since my surgery! To poo almost EVERY day multiple times a day and to have zero pain most of the time is incredible! AND to see the difference when I’ve eaten (or in this case…drunk) something that didn’t agree with me. January 25th and 26th were Life Lessons, that’s for sure. I’ll most definitely have to go back in time and rebuild my pre-surgery poop charts!

Blue is the number of poops in a day, the orange line shows if I had any diarrhea (and how many times in a day), and the red line shows pain levels during bowel movements:

I am so grateful for my Endometriosis surgeons: Dr. Mel Kurtulus (my gynecologist and excision surgeon) and Dr. Matthew Schultzel (my colo-rectal surgeon). You have given me my life back.