Share Your Story: Jazz

text that reads: "don't be afraid to ask for help. Always trust your gut. Don't be afraid to ask stupid questions."

Diagnosed in 2017, Jazz shares her Endometriosis story with us today.

Jazz’s Journey:   I am 23 and was born in Northampton, UK where I continue to live with Cerebral Palsy and Stage 1 Endometriosis. I was born with my disability and I was diagnosed with Endo in November 2017. At 16 I started the pill, Femodette, because my periods were really heavy and really painful. I was given Mefanamic Acid to help relieve the pain and it did nothing. I was taking Paracetamol and Ibruprofen and was even told to stop crying in school because “it sounded like I was giving birth.” I was given another pill to take after Femodette failed to work called Regevidon.

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A beautiful breakdown of treatment options for Endometriosis

A pile of open books
Photo by Amanda George from Pexels

A new study about Endometriosis is out regarding the modern treatment of the disease.  This includes birth control, progestins/anti-progestins, GnRH agonists, aromatase inhibitors, danazol, NSAIDs, surgery, and alternative treatments. It identifies the pros and cons of each.

The study closes with this beautiful phrase:

“The pharmaceutical or surgical treatment require an individual approach and deliberated informed consent of the patient. Pharmacological treatment is only symptomatic, not cytoreductive, therefore, to remove endometriosis lesions, surgery should be performed.”

It’s uplifting to see a study bluntly state that medications only treat the symptoms, NOT the disease itself, and the Endo lesions need to be removed.  AND that each case of Endometriosis must be reviewed on an individual level.

Deliberated informed consent of the patient” means (to me) as having a fully-informed patient who is made well-aware of the pros and cons of each choice, the side effects, risks, and potential outcomes; as well as having performed their own research before agreeing to the treatment.

Even with excision, though, there’s always a possibly of recurrence or new growths. And not all physicians are skilled enough to recognize each lesion. Not to mention many surgeons still practice ablation (the burning away of the lesion, leaving rooted tissue to regrow).

Welcome to an EndoWarrior’s very frustrating pursuit for competent medical care.

I encourage you to read the study for yourself and share it.

Resources:

Journal of Education, Health, and Sport (Article, 2019) – Available Treatment Methods for Endometriosis

Share Your Story: Zoe

Zoe, a brave EndoWarrior, shares her journey with us today…even while she has another surgery pending. We wish you all of the best of luck, Zoe!!!

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I started my period by having waterfalls for periods with no regularity from age 13 but was put on the pill to manage that at age 15 and that worked. I from my teen years thankfully had no interest in having children. I am not a career woman either, I just don’t get the clucky feeling other women get when they see kids – I get that feeling when I see animals instead so I have fur babies.

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Share Your Story: Stephany

After suffering with horrible periods and cramps since 13 years old, Stephany was 31 years old when she finally received answers: her Endometriosis diagnosis.  Two years later, she shares her story with us.

Stephany’s Journey: I was 13 the first time I had a “bad cramp”. From then on they never went away & just got worse. I would double over in pain, movement in general while having a cramp just made it worse like a nerve being shocked in my abdominal area. I would just have to stay still until the cramp passed. I would ask to stay home from school during the first day or 2, and luckily a few times my grandmother let me. I tried things like Midol & other off the shelf pain meds but they didn’t do a damn thing. It was like I just ate a skittle to try to manage my cramps, no relief.

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

Bloomin' Uterus logo surrounded by question marks

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.

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Share Your Story: Sarah

text that reads "23 years after first seeking help, I got it

New to San Diego, Sarah was diagnosed with Endometriosis when she was 38 years old, after seeking help for over 20 years.  Today, a year later, she shares her long and difficult Journey with us.

Sarah’s Journey:  I’m home from this year’s Endo March. I met some lovely people, reconnected with new friends (I’m new to San Diego), and learned a lot. One of those lessons was hard. It’s not as simple as saying Endometriosis changed my life or changed me.

It’s that it, along with other health problems, shaped me and, as all of this runs its course, my identity is changing. Parts of what I value about myself have shifted and this time the change is so deep that it may be irrevocable. I don’t know if I can get those pieces of me back. I used to be strong. I used to be fast. I could paint a painting in a day, code a website so that your head spun, learn a skill and build a 16 hour class around it and teach it inside a week.

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Endometriosis in Captive Critters?

monkey in a tree
Female Mandrillus Sphinx

So we’ve previously read about a German Shepherd being diagnosed with Endometriosis. Today we’re going to talk about Mandrills (a form of primate that used to be considered a Baboon) who had been diagnosed with Endo. I’ve read a lot of previous studies where Endometriosis was purposely implanted into critters for study and dissection, but these primates weren’t for study.

There was a study from 2012 about a Mandrill that had died after showing signs of weakness and peritoneal bleeding.  Upon autopsy they found her uterus was covered in blood clots and it was stuck to her ovaries and pelvic wall.  The biopsy confirmed she had Endometriosis.  This is considered the first confirmed case of Endo in a Mandrill.

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Endometriosis & Leg Pain/Sciatica

Woman soaking in a bathtub. All we see are her legs.
Photo by Elizaveta Dushechkina on Pexels.com

I have heard from several EndoWarriors that they suffer from leg pain; whether it be their hips, upper thighs, or radiating pain down their leg(s).  Today we delve a bit deeper into leg pain complaints and Endo.  Have upper leg pain? Lower back pain? Tailbone pain?  So do a lot of people…but so do a LOT of women with Endometriosis.  A 2011 study surveyed 94 people with Endometriosis.  Of them, 51% complained of leg pain.  Cysts may also be contributing to leg and lower back pain. And although you may have some of these symptoms and think you have sciatic Endometriosis…please be aware that it is considered incredibly rare. And it may just be that your symptoms are a result of pelvic floor muscles being too tight (pelvic floor therapy may help) OR that adhesions and/or Endometriosis has pulled your anatomy out of whack. But, please, do read on:

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Endometriosis & The Heart

Diagram of human heart

I’ve read bits and pieces here and there that Endometriosis can grow on your heart (or the lining of your heart).  And have heard from a friend that she may have it on her heart.  That’s scary business!

Which got my juices flowin’ to find the documented cases of Endometriosis on the heart, how it was excised (if at all), etc.  Here goes ( PS – there’s not a lot out there…)!

Endometriosis is usually found within the pelvic cavity, but has also been known to travel northward and latching onto the liver and diaphragm.  It has also been found on the membranes surrounding the lungs.  Even rarer, it has been found on the brain, in the lymph nodes, and on the eyes.  But today, we focus on the heart…which is also SO INCREDIBLY RARE. Please, I’ll preface it by saying this is so super duper rare.

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