The Dark Side

Anyone with endometriosis can tell you that the disease is more confusing than it is anything else. There are days when the mental repercussions are far more debilitating than the physical. (And depending on your symptoms, the physical are quite debilitating). Sometimes this is due to what I like to refer to as “woe is me” syndrome. An inability to move past the what-ifs and day dreams about what living a “normal” life would be like. That sort of mental state makes living with the disease exhausting.

Other times, it’s simply an extreme influx of hormones. Because having physical disabilities isn’t bad enough, us lucky endo ladies get to enjoy the perks of abnormally increased hormone production on top of it all. This is probably the symptom I personally hate the most. The physical symptoms are atrocious, don’t get me wrong. But they can be explained and in most cases understood by others. What I struggle to explain to away are the moments when I am seemingly fine, in the middle of a work day and suddenly I’m fighting back tears over nothing at all. Quivering lip and all. Like a 13 year old puberty ridden girl trapped in a grown up’s body, I become ashamed. That was me last week. I broke in to tears no less than 3 times at my desk over nothing at all in one day. I’m was exhausted for days because of taxing emotions.

How are we supposed to be successful career women with this disease? I am learning to command respect in other ways but often I wonder how far I will go in my career with what is considered a visible weakness often peaking through.

Advertisements

A Little Ranting And Some Roast Chicken

Sundays never seem to last long enough. Am I the only one who feels this way? There is just so much I want to get done on a Sunday but I want to do it all from my bed hahaha. This last week has been painful to say the least and I decided that no matter how much was on my plate, I will not leave my bed until noon at least. So here I am, watching Moonrise Kingdom and drinking coffee from bed. This is happiness right here.

My bed time last night was 7:30pm. I slept for a whole 12 hours and damnit I needed it!!!

Waking up refreshed

Waking up refreshed

Woke up this morning feeling refereshed and healthy again (thank goodness) after a week of feeling beaten and bruised.

Unfortunately, the stress of my big girl job got to me this month. I have been fighting off a cold, working my hiney off and burning the candle at both ends all month long. To top it off, my endo symptoms are back with a vengeance, this week particularly. They are so overwhelming it sucks the life out of me most days. I come home and my body feels so bruised and beaten and all I can do is climb in bed and hope I wake up better. On top of the exhaustion, earlier this week I started experiencing excruciating pain in my lower back and legs again. This is the first time since my surgery that they have gotten this bad. Most days this week I was able to make it until 3 or so without it interfering too much. But by 3 pm I am stretching every hour, popping ibuprofen and holding back tears. When you are trying to be productive, this sort of situation is nothing short of impossible. Normally I would go home early or take a sick day if necessary but that really wasn’t an option this week : ( Truthfully, the scariest part of my week was Thursday evening. After three hours of unbelievable pain, I headed to a dress fitting for a wedding I am in this fall. As I sat in the dressing room slipping on the gorgeous flowing dress, my entire right leg went numb. I lost complete feeling from my hip to my toes. All the while, my left leg remained in excruciating pain. I took a deep breath to hold back tears, unsure of how long it would last. I regained feeling after about 20 minutes, finished the dress fitting and went home to take a hot bath.

These are the moments I fear the most. There is so little that can be done when I am in them and even worse, there is nothing that can be done to prevent them. I refuse to let them interfere with my life but honestly, it was very scary. Does this mean its time for surgery again? Should I dish out the money for another docors visit? Or wait it out and see if the symtoms calm down next week? Ugh. So, needless to say, I am taking it easy today and giving my body anything it needs!

On the flip side, there are so many great things happening in my life right now that I can’t stay frustrated too long lol. I am only 5 days away from my first long vacation in 2 years!! YAY!!! I’m taking today to plan out my vacation/staycation to Portland. So very much needed. I will also be, as usual, meal planning today and decided it was absolutely necessary to FINALLY share my roast chicken recipe with the world.

Recipe for Perfectly Simple Roast Chicken

Time to cook this baby!

Time to cook this baby!

Ingredients:
1, 5 lb Whole Chicken (preferably organic, hormone free)
1/2 Yellow Onion
1 Small Lemon
5 Sprigs Fresh Rosmary
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
1/2 Tablespoon Pepper (I prefer to use Penzey’s ground pepper)
0193a6cd2a26c10a2ec6dade2ad6d6810fbc821b85
Preheat oven to 400.
It cannot be overstated how unbelievably easy this recipe is. Don’t over complicate it! I swear, for me, it’s simple nature makes it taste that much better haha. First step after turning on the oven is to rinse off the chicken. Reach inside and make sure that any and all remnants inside the chicken are discarded. Wash out the inside as well as the outside until the water runs through the center cavity, clean. Pat chicken dry. Place the chicken in the roasting dish (I use my favorite casserole dish because its the perfect size and allows the juices to stay close to the chicken while it cooks)
0111a4d7b6641f39573cb530da5d993df0c2c8f7e9
Sprinkle the salt and pepper on the top and bottom of the chicken then coat with olive oil. Rubbing the entire chicken down, make sure that all outer surface is equally coated with olive oil, salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the onion and lemon. Now that is the step that I have been messing up for the last two years. I have been chopping the onion and lemon and putting the chopped pieces and slices in the cavity. DO NOT CHOP ONION!!!! Cut the onion in half, remove the outer skin and stick the whole onion half in the chicken. Cut the lemon in half and stick the lemon halves in the  chicken as well. Once this is done, make sure chicken is properly positioned in the pan (see photo) and top with rosemary sprigs.
010fb10a24f2050be5457932f454794031c9368c18
01a82d230cc5e858402d9f61a6349aab07b08cca3a
Cook chicken for aprox 75-90 minutes depending on the size of the bird.
Basting is key!

Basting is key!

Make sure to baste every 20 minutes or so with the juices accumulated in the pan.
0141cec540ca8427961e38ff7fd34eeae6df002885
And voila! You have a perfectly juicy roasted bird : ) Enjoy!

 

Boss Girl In The Making

blogspot1
 Time to get a little personal. I want to talk about goals tonight. Understanding why we choose to do something is just as important as setting up a plan of attack to reach our goals. Do you have goals right now? Are they to get healthy? To get stronger? To get faster? Stop for a second, you, whoever you are reading this (thanks for reading by the way!) and ask yourself why this is something you want. What is motivating you to reach this goal? Be really truly honest with yourself.

You’ve heard me say it before and I will say it over and over again, it wasn’t until I was diagnosed with endometriosis that I truly started focusing on getting healthy. It wasn’t that I thought I was healthy before. It just didn’t matter as much then as it did now. Some people have gone so far as to call me “lucky” for being diagnosed. I have to fight myself from punching these people. But in a way it’s true. My motivation changed when I realized the answer to the pain I had been experiencing MIGHT be partially in my control. After my first surgery, I promised myself that I would do whatever it took to take care of my body in the hopes that I wouldn’t have to have another surgery too soon.

Before my surgery I talked options with my doctor. She said there was very little that could be done to help my symptoms, which at this time were becoming largely debilitating. Chronic back and leg pain, mind numbing cramps, ruptured cysts and highly inflamed digestive tracts just to name a few. She said the best option for me post op would be to begin medication which would cause me to start early onset menopause. Yea, Im pretty certain your face looks something like mine did when I first heard that. Imagine being 24 years old in a doctors office being told that is really your only option. We also discussed a hysterectomy. This all seemed way to drastic and of course was not anything to be taken lightly. So I spent the next couple months researching my disease and reading anything I could get my hands on.

Almost everything I found was too confusing or of no help at all. But then I found an article that discussed several women’s success changing their diet. It seemed too simple when compared to menopause and hysterectomy’s. The more and more I read, the more it made sense. While not much is known about what causes the disease, there is no doubt that a large amount of symptoms are affected by fluctuation in hormones. So of course the smart thing to do is balance these hormones as best as possible.

I could go on and on forever about this topic but I’ll cut to the chase. This was the beginning of my focus on nutrition. Looking back now I realize that what I thought was a healthy life was very very very unhealthy. The first thing I cut out was soy, dairy and any meat that was not labeled “hormone free”. This was a huge struggle for me. Let me tell you! I felt like the whole world was against me. I had to change by habits and that was not easy. I felt very alone in my struggle and had no idea if it was really going to work. I was wandering in uncharted territory and I’m a control freak so that didn’t mix well. In time I felt comfortable with these changes and integrated more. By May I decided it was time to do a 30 day clean eating challenge. This was when it all changed.

Now nearly two years later I am shocked by how much my goals have changed. By the things my body can do and how strong I have become. I still have a lot of days I feel discouraged. When I’m not seeing results fast enough or my time hasn’t increased like I want it to. But then I remember where I started and where I’m going and it helps me put things in perspective.

0113829d0cc6e1cd404bfdecb91d62eb59127d05c5

011d6a0ad0de383eef4b5ee94249b51efe565105e6

I came to terms a long time ago with the fact that I was never going to be thin. Ive got big hips and thunder thighs and very broad shoulders. Such a build does not a skinny girl make. But a boss girl. Now that I can be. Have you seem the boss girls. SOOO MUCH MUSCLE! I’m not there yet but I like to think of myself as a boss girl in the making. Not one of those ones posting the slutty skanky pictures but the one fully clothed mid squat with the tight core and thunder thighs that you can see through spandex! That’s my goal. Those girls aren’t skinny, they’re strong. Stronger than a lot of men. And they worked for every ounce of that muscle.

I’ve got some mighty goals right now and they are just for me. I don’t want to be that skinny girl anymore. I want to be strong. Every ounce of muscle lately makes me prouder and prouder. I fought for that. Fought hard. Its rewarding in a way I have never experienced. Its something no one can take from me. No one can tell me it doesn’t exist or alter its significance because its mine. And I love that.

I’ve always carried my weight a little heavier than the rest of my family and in my younger years this was a huge insecurity for me. Now that Im getting older I take pride in my strong athletic body and Im doing everything I can to nourish it properly. I eat and eat and eat. Man do I love to eat. But I eat now to fuel and to help me reach my goals. And knowing what my goals are, is what keeps me focused.

An Important Medical Breakthrough You Probably Wont Hear About

“A new breakthrough in a disease that no one likes to talk about” was the tag line for a tweet by The New Yorker this morning that caught my eye. Having a disease no one likes to talk about, I was drawn. Assuming it discussed Chrones or Colitus, I figured it would be ample news for my cousin who is currently raising money for the disease.

I burst into tears the moment I read “endometriosis”. Writing this now I am still fighting back tears.

On of the hardest facts to swallow when being diagnosed is that not only is there not a cure, but the disease is so universally overlooked that even the cause is still unknown. This leaves very little hope at seeing any sort of cure during our generation. This is not to say there are not steps each woman can take to lessen her symptoms in one way or another. Just that there is no known explanation or cure for those of us with the disease.

In the Spring of 2013, after my first surgery and reading anything I could get my hands on, I decided to cut out soy and most dairy from my diet. I switched all meat and dairy products that I still consumed to “hormone free” options and noticed a drastic difference in my day to day functionality. Was it easy? F**k no! But it was worth it.

The most simple thing to understand about endometriosis is that, whatever symptoms you are experiencing, are fueled by hormones. The more regulated these hormones are, the less intense the flair ups. When you consume soy (might as well be a straight shot of estrogen) or dairy/meat products that have been fed added hormones, those hormones are going into your body and adding to your existing hormones. For a woman with endometriosis, this is highly troublesome.

Aside from regulating hormones I tried to eat better all around. I increased exercise and tried to remove all added toxins in my home (primarily by making organic kitchen/bathroom cleaners). I have seen great success with all of these steps. And yet, in August of 2013 I started having severe symptoms again.

Another problem when living with this disease is the wide variety of symptoms. Because the tissue can grow on any organ, every woman has different symptoms. For me, I have sever issues with my bladder, bowl, colan, intestines, stomach and uterus. I have had several days where the muscles from my back and legs have been so severely effected that it makes walking or sitting extremely painful. I have found that the more active I am, the less I experience these symptoms, however, they have never really gone away. This being said, I have read stories of other women with no symptoms at all or with entirely different sets of symptoms. You can imagine how difficult this would make it to find a reason for the disease let alone a cure. Until recently there seemed to be absolutely NO common thread between symptoms and patience. NONE! Lets emphasis the fact that I said, until recently.

The article discusses how researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been working together to find a common thread between patients. “The study is important because it shows the power of a new method now being used to probe a complex disease” writes New Yorker journalist Amanda Schaffer. For people who are not familiar with the disease, this may seem like an insignificant fete. But to those of us aware of the complication of the disease, this is the first of what I can only hope is many steps forward.

You could say that I have more or less come to terms with the fact that I will live with this disease and its progressing symptoms for the rest of my life. It is not an easy fact to come to terms with but its the body I was given and I have the satisfaction of knowing I do my best to take care of it. We will only find a cure when the disease becomes one that is universally addressed. Please share this blog, the article, or any information you find about the disease. While today’s new was uplifting, the greatest step that can be taken now, is universal acknowledgement.