My Journey with Endometriosis

October 25, 2019

My Journey to Diagnosis with Endometriosis

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I receive countless messages a day about women fighting their battle with Endometriosis and reaching out for any kind of encouragement or guidance to help them push through the hard days. I am thankful to have a platform that allows me to speak up about my diagnosis and my struggles but also about what has helped me move past this disease defining me as it did for so long. 

I was diagnosed with Endometriosis nearly 11 years ago when I was 19 years old. If you are not familiar with endometriosis, it is a disease where the lining of your uterus grows on the outside of your uterus and can lead to infertility. 1 in 10 women are diagnosed with Endo but often it can be hard to diagnose because the symptoms are so similar to that of other health issues.

It took 2.5 years of countless misdiagnosis and operations to finally find out Endometriosis was the underlying issue I was suffering from.

Prior to being diagnosed, I couldn’t figure out why I was in pain ALL the time, why my cycles caused me to get physically ill, why my stomach would stick out like I was pregnant, why I was constantly exhausted for no reason, why it hurt to have sex, and why I felt like I had zero control over the body I was living in.

Once diagnosed, I was on and off a number of birth controls, prescribed laxatives as a treatment, told to get pregnant, and constantly reminded that there isn’t a cure for this disease, only treatments such as the ones I mentioned. I know that birth control is an incredible line of defense for many women suffering from the pain of Endometriosis, I just wish I would have taken the time to learn more about this disease and how I could help myself through natural remedies rather than surgeries and birth control.

A laparoscopy was how I was officially diagnosed and then I would continue to have that surgery every 2 years for the years to follow. After my 3rd surgery, I was informed that the scar tissue from my surgeries was causing more damage than good so it was advised that I did not continue with the surgeries. 

At this point, I was struggling with  hormone imbalances causing even crazier cycles, horrible hair loss, random emotion/mood swings, and weight gain.

I let this disease define me for so long. I let it put my life on the fast track because I felt like I had to have it all figured out in order to still have my life unfold the way I had planned. Since the disease could lead to infertility I did anything and everything I could to get my “adult” life moving forward. I graduated from undergrad, went straight to grad school in hopes of getting my career moving on the fast track, I pushed my relationship at the time to focus on our future because I wanted so badly to have kids. It was as if I was living in a tunnel and was allowing this disease to dictate my every move.

I finally woke up one day and decided to no longer let this disease define me! I dropped out of grad school, started traveling, met my husband and started LIVING! That is all for another blog though lol

Fast forward to now, I am 30 years old and FINALLY no longer letting this disease define me or run my life 🙏🏼

I still have awful days, I still deal with the pain, fatigue, and endo belly, but it is NOTHING like what I used to experience AND it does not control my life anymore. My husband and I are now trying to conceive and I know we will be successful in trying! It is crazy to think how much of my story has been rewritten once I finally stopped living according to the restrictions I let this disease place on me.

One of the most common questions I get asked is “Can you share more about how you deal with Endometriosis?”

I am no longer the victim in my own story which I think was my biggest battle I struggled with when it came to my own thoughts and feelings towards my diagnosis. I felt so bad for myself and didn’t know how to live with this disease and the pain that was associated with it. I also didn’t know how I was going to handle the potential future struggles of trying to have kiddos. I was so focused on “why me?” that I was unable to live my life.

We are ALL going to have different stories and journeys with this disease and each of us will cope with it differently.

Once surgeries were no longer an option for me, I had to make some lifestyle switches. For me this was focusing on reducing inflammation in my body through diet and supplementation and learning what helps MY BODY and MY PAIN levels.

I went off of birth control to focus on hormone regulation and remove the bandaid that was helping me cope with this disease. 

I also started educating myself through reading and researching and two books that REALLY helped me were “The Woman Code” and “Beyond the Pill.” I highly recommend these books to anyone with Endometrosis, PCOS, trying to get their cycle back, or someone considering going off of birth control. 

As far as dietary challenges and added supplementation, the following list are things that have helped ME (again, EVERY situation is different, but natural remedies have been been my game changer)

  • SEED CYCLING: can help aid in hormone support 
  • GLUTEN AND DAIRY FREE – these both cause inflammation in the body
  • FULL MEGA: high quality Omega 3 to help reduce inflammation in my body (I double my dose around my cycle), it also supports reproductive functions during the follicular phase of your cycle (days 1-14)
  • OPTI REDS: high quality antioxidants to help with inflammation in my body 
  • OPTI GREENS: helps reduce inflammation BUT also ensures I am absorbing my nutrients properly by supporting a health gut. Without a health gut, we are unable to absorb our nutrients 
  • HARMONY: aids in balancing hormones, can help with the breakdown of estrogen in our body. PCOS and Endometriosis are estrogen dominant issues.

This is what has worked for ME and is my “daily protocol” to help manage my pain and Endo symptoms.

You are not alone in this fight. I know you might feel defeated. I know you might be waiting for your diagnosis and still on the end of misdiagnosis after misdiagnosis. Your symptoms might not fall into a perfectly checked box which makes it harder for doctors to help you.

If you can, help your body out. Make a few small changes here and there.

Take the time to LEARN about what YOU can do for YOUR body, not what a doctor might tell you is best. 

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