This past couple weeks have been about striking a balance between pushing my body to heal and not pushing it too hard. After all, I am actually still experiencing quite a bit of pain. From the surgery a bit, that much is sure. I still can't heal up my incision wounds. I limp still some days and some nights I wake up frequently, despite sleep medications, crying from pain. The doctor says this is largely due to immune system shock and lack of protein.
I gained 12 needed pounds before my surgery. I am 5'6" and went from 108 to 120. Endometriosis can make you gain weight because of the hormones. But because I have colitis (which can cause absorption problems, meaning the food I ate wasn't being properly consumed), combined with the excessive pain from both endometriosis and colitis (so I wasn't eating enough consistently) made it impossible for me to keep weight. I went from 130 to 108 in a matter of months a couple years ago. But the medications and treatments I got fixed this. Well, post surgery and treatments pains, combined with treatment nausea, has made it difficult for me to eat. I am now 112 pounds, lost in about 4 weeks, a clear indicator that I am NOT getting the nutrients I currently need.
Food has been a bit of a battle this past month. To anyone recovering from surgery and/or undergoing lupron treatment, I can attest to the difficulties you can have eating. I can also attest to the necessity it is that you FIND a way to eat. I will maybe do two posts today, to make up for my lack of efforts recently, to detail ways I've found to still eat healthy. To put it briefly, I have made some sacrifices to get quality food and spent more time cooking to make the healthiest, most nutritious food I can and eating as often as I can. Exercise has also made it easier for me to eat. A little pain is worth it.
Most of what I have been working on is refiguring a balanced life. I have to pretty careful--autoimmune diseases are fueled by stress. If I push myself too hard or get frustrated, I could end up back in bed. Which isn't an option anymore--I have finally been returned my scholarship (which was taken away because I had to drop out for medical reasons and didn't defer because I thought I would be shortly back) so I need to start school in six weeks. So I can't afford to be sick. I am trying to regain strength and energy and the ability to balance life. Surprisingly, when your only focus for months has been beating a disease, you lose a lot of skills and abilities you would think are instinctual. I am sure cancer patients would know much more about this than I would, but returning to normal life (especially when your body still isn't ready) is kind of scary. I feel easily fatigued and overwhelmed by common requirements of a person.
It occurred to me that endometriosis, the severe kind at least, is kind of like a hormonal cousin of cancer. It makes tissues grow where they should not, can ruin organs, causes tumor growth, affects the whole body, makes you weak, and, if the cysts it causes rupture in the wrong way, it can kill you. But, unlike cancer, it's more easily treatable and does not claim nearly so many lives. I personally believe there are more risks in the treatment, as far as death is concerned. The treatments I am undergoing greatly increase my risks of breast cancer, strokes, and other problems. But here again is a balance--yes, I risk a grave sickness, but I can't live my life with this disease constantly dragging me down. The most important connection me and my disease have with more serious kinds, is that a positive attitude and a sense of balance (weighing risks versus benefits of drugs) is necessary.
I balance medication and injections with natural remedies. I get periodic injections of Lupron, a drug that induces temporary menopause, and take pills for 'add-back therapy'--replacing some of the hormones this drug robs me of, to keep me from going crazy (getting depressed, losing bone mass, hotflashes, etc.). I also take medications for colitis and asthma. To balance this, I exercise, eat a very healthy diet (when I can eat), and try to do yoga. I also removed dairy from my diet, which has helped somewhat. My body also gets very tired. I frequently have to rest more than I would like. To balance this, I bike on beautiful bike rides, try and do yoga, and swim. I feel a lot of pain the next day sometimes, but I know it's good for me! My body can't heal if it's overly coddled--I need to build up strength.
So, if endometriosis, colitis, any sickness, or just life is beating you up, when you try to heal up, keep perspective and try to balance. Easier said than done--I sometimes tip the scale more one way than the other. I suppose the key is not to get discouraged. It's difficult at times, but staying positive is the only real choice I have. I guess my best advice is not to let bodily dysfunction consume your life. Stick to balance and try to beat it while, at the same time, just riding it out some days.
(picture up top is from my bike ride this past weekend)