Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Preparing for a Doctor Visit

In an endometriosis community the other day, a woman brought up an important point that I want to pass on to other readers. Some simple advice that I feel is invaluable for anyone with endometriosis or know knows someone with it. It's good advice and I want to pass it on.

For those who do not know, endometriosis is not a very well understood disease. Usually people have never heard of it--even though as many as 1 out of ever 10-20 women have it. It's a complicated, misunderstood, and difficult to understand disease. It's got different stages, different levels of pain, and different consequences. And none of these factors ever really correlate with another. Not to mention it can only be surgically diagnosed.

These conditions make this disease a perfect one to be swept under the rug by most doctors. Even though early diagnosis and treatment are crucial in deciding how the disease plays out. A lot of times they don't get it. I've had a doctor tell me that getting cysts the size of oranges and twisting my ovaries was all part of being a woman. I had another doctor insist that my pain must be an STD... despite me trying to explain that I had missed a few crucial steps (well, step really) for such a predicament. She tested me and of course it came back negative. But I was no closer to treatment. Even when I finally had an official diagnoses of endometriosis, it has taken me three years of stubborn work to really learn how to handle doctors. I wish I had learned sooner.

Now I have a plan for whenever I go to the doctor. I'm writing it out here so that people who see me with my crazy folders may understand, and women with endometriosis can form a plan for themselves.

First, I make sure to find doctors that have experience in treating endometriosis. Endo-resolved is a great resource for listing some nationally recognized doctors. Not all of those are in driving distance though. Look at reviews of different gynecologists in the area you can reach. Google usually lists different reviews from different sites. Try to find a doctor that has at least some experience treating endometriosis and also listens to his/her patients.

When you go to the doctor, take a folder and notepad with you. In the folder have all you past medical records that have to do with endometriosis. Surgery photos, diagnostics, blood tests, whatever. Have a list of current medications, with dosage, frequency, administration, etc.. Write down personal pain histories and descriptions of symptoms you believe related to the endometriosis. Write down the questions and answers you have for/get from the doctor. Research online and be prepared for that appointment. Continuously add information and records to that folder. Get records whenever you can. Show doctors those records when you have appointments--if they don't take them seriously, move on!

With the notepad you bring, write down any important information the doctor gives you. The answers to your questions. Make sure they answer you questions and seem interested in what you have to say. Make sure they are interested in you as a patient. If they aren't, pack up and move on. You don't have to torture yourself with a sub par, disinterested doctor.

Also, make sure you doctor actually aims to make you better. Some doctors will just endlessly prescribe pain medications or endless rows of birth control pills without caring if your symptoms improve. If that is the case, pack up and move on!

Prepare for your doctor's appointment and be prepared to stick to your guns. If you aren't satisfied, move on!

I suppose later I will add a checklist to this post--what to bring and what not. For now, I am tired from surgery, so I am signing off--Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Rest and Recover--update

[Note: This post was imported from the original blog this site is based on. It is a personal account of my experience and is not very relevant to the current website. I have kept it out of respect to the journey that led me here.]

These are my lovely healing incisions.
ps- please ignore how the roundess of my inflated belly
make it look like my pants are pulled down :P

Today marks three days after surgery (almost). Three whole days. I am doing much better than I was at this point last year, but I still sure do hurt. My incisions have bled a little and look a little bruised/scary. And my stomach is distended from inflammation, pumped in gas (for the operation) and loose blood. I look in the mirror and cannot help but think I am looking like an early pregnancy.

I cannot really muster the energy to write a well thought out and inspiring blog post today. That is not to reflect a sort of depression. I am actually feeling very positive currently. But I am extremely tired from all the energy draining my body has gone through to repair itself. I am dizzy and sleepy. I am light headed and achy. I'm easily annoyed. And I am so exhausted that I will doze off any chance I get, even in the car passenger seat (which I normally cannot do).

All things considered though, I am still recovering much better than I did last time. My last blog I listed all the contributing factors that I believe have played part in my better recovery from surgery. I won't go over those again and bore everyone! I just wanted to confirm that my healing has continued at a quicker/easier pace than my other surgeries. I have been rewarded for my diligent preparation and I am happy for that. I am going to continue doing even more experiments to better/speed up my healing, and I will post on those when I first get the chance!

As of now, I am just going to leave with a short recount of my current surgery recovery status. I can walk; very slowly, and not very far, but I can do simple things like limping up and down stairs and getting the mail. I can sit up in a chair--it kills my sliced abdominal muscles but I can! I don't need help getting dressed, can sort of open heavy doors, and can eat all normal foods again. Which I have been gorging on liberally. I can get on and off beds without help. I can prepare simple/instant meals. I am on slightly less pain killers. Most important... I can type! :)

Thank you so much for all the love and support and prayers, things went so much better than I expected!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hospital, My Stay with Thee

[Note: This post was imported from the original blog this site is based on. It is a personal account of my experience and is not very relevant to the current website. I have kept it out of respect to the journey that led me here.] 
Hello lovely readers. Tonight I am posting from the outpatient recovery room in Ogden, Utah. My mother and I journeyed up here so I could have surgery from the nationally recognized endometriosis specialist, Doctor Arrington. It has been a slightly chaotic day for surgery, but I am happy to say I think it went splendidly. I am in a significant amount of pain right now, and on morphine, but I will be headed back to the hotel soon.

It has been a much better experience than my last surgery. Last time, I was crying coming out of drug induced sleep, begging for pain relief, wishing I was dead, had some very mean nurses, was stuck in the hospital for two days... it was awful. I had a good, capable doctor but a horrible recovery. What was meant to be an outpatient procedure turned into a long nightmare.

But this time, things have been much better. Everyone (not just my doctor) has been amazingly kind to me. I came out of sleep in a recovery room with my own tending and thoughtful nurse. She administered pain relief quickly and chatted with me to help distract me from my pain (First nurse, I am sorry but in my drug induced blur, I cannot remember your name. But where ever you are, thank you so very much.). My second nurse, Annie, was amazing as well and helped me above and beyond what I expected. And I have been given the pain medication I need to handle what's happening. Everyone was encouraging, thoughtful, and helpful.

However, despite the wonderful qualities of McKay Dee hospital and my capable endo-specialist surgeon, these are not the sole reasons for my better initial recovery. There is a whole spectrum of reasons. Unlike my last surgery, I have been very mobile leading up to this one. Even though it hurt, I did some form of exercise almost every day (mostly biking, yoga, and swimming). I kept up on my chores and tried to stay independent as long as I could. I was up on my feet everyday.

But wait--there's more! I endeavored to keep my narcotic pain relievers to a minimum before this surgery. Both my doctors believe that my rocky recovery last time could be somewhat attributed to the high level of tolerance I had built up to pain killers. Even morphine was inadequate to manage my pain. This had somewhat to do with my worsened condition prior to surgery. My insides were red as a tomato, I had a tumor, and a lot of endometrium. I was in pain, my pain pills were justified. But this time, I fought harder against the pain and managed it better.

Another important quality of this surgery was my mood leading up to it. Being bedridden and isolated for so long before the prior surgery made me depressed and pessimistic. I was stuck in a dark place. Negative moods impact healing and I think it countered my body's efforts to heal. This time I have worked hard to stay positive, happy, and optimistic. I believed that this surgery would help me, more so than I did last time.

The last tip I can throw in for having an easier recovery from surgery may not apply to everyone. But for those it would help, it is an invaluable tool. You can't know if it will help until you try it for two months. My gluten free diet has helped incredibly with my inflammation. I was the least inflamed this time between all three of my surgeries. Put simply, I was more pink than red this time--a huge achievement for me. I think it hurt less to be cut open too.

I know everyone is different. Every endometriosis case is different. The methods and doctor I chose made a huge difference for me. My doctor last time was great, but my endometriosis is very difficult to treat. I am a 'special case' as one doctor put it. I needed an endo-specialist. And I have to acknowledge the small chance that this surgery won't help in the long run. But I believe it will and I know my preparations in the months leading up to it made a difference. Take the time, learn what works, and prepare. Play an active role in your own healthcare and recovery!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Importance of Laughter

Today I am prescribing a medicine that is highly addictive, a muscle relaxant, reduces tension, releases feel-good chemicals, and can lead the user to be dependent and constantly crave its use. That's right. I'm prescribing laughter! (cue cheesy laugh track).

From Imgur: Because who doesn't like Bear Humor?
But seriously, along with optimism and other factors of believing you will feel better, laughter is an easy way to boost your immune system and help cue natural feel good drugs. Essentially, it is a quick way to feel better even when you cannot sum up the energy to believe you can. In fact, on days I am finding it hardest to feel good, I search the internet for all the funny stuff I can find. Because even fifteen minutes of laughter can force me back on the track of feeling better. And I'll explain why.

Laughter has positive, multifaceted effects on our bodies and minds. Today I will cover not only why laughter is healthy for any person, but I am also going to go over some of the specific benefits it entails for women with endometriosis. (note: I am sure it will also benefit those with IBD, but to be honest I focus my primary efforts on endometriosis, as it has had the greater negative effect on my health. And, luckily, usually what ever is good for endometriosis (non-medication speaking of course) is usually good for IBD.)

Found this gem on Redditor. If you don't notice, he eats the evidence
First, let's go over some of the benefits of laughter pertaining to the body. In some ways, this is the most important effect. As anyone with a chronic illness can tell you, it is much more difficult to feel happy and optimistic when you are sick than when you are healthy. And any body boosts that can help the body recover are coveted and desired. Laughter enters here.

Laughter helps the body by releasing tension. Both muscles that do and do not participate in laughter are relaxed for up to 45 minutes after laughing. Often endometrial pains are because of and/or are intensified by muscle tension. Relaxing those muscles with a good laugh helps reduce that pain and relax your body! Additionally, laughter helps you relax in general. Studies have shown that women with endometriosis release excess adrenal hormones (stress hormones) when under stress. Not only do these hormones raise blood pressure and affect the heart, but high levels increase inflammation and impede the body's ability to heal and prevent scar tissue. Laughter helps relax the body and limit these damaging hormones.

Besides relaxing the body and preventing negative hormone release, laughter can also help increase beneficial endogenous chemicals in the body. Laughter releases endorphins, the body's natural 'feel-good chemical'. These are actually opioid peptides, which means they act on the same receptors that narcotic pain killers do. Producing this chemical through activities such as exercise or laughter can thus result in lesser experience of pain. So this is both physical and mental benefit (less pain, better mood).

Aside from altering hormones and chemicals, laughter also lowers blood pressure, increases oxygenation of blood vessels (improving healing and cell regeneration), and boosts immunity. Endometriosis sufferers are more prone to infections and other immune diseases. It's part of the disease. These woman almost always have compromised immune function, thus benefits such as these are a boon for them. Laughter helps beef up all your body's natural defenses and protectors.

Even better than all that, laughter also benefits people mentally and socially. Physical responses of laughter, such as reduction of stress hormones, increasing endorphins, relaxing muscles, help to produce a feeling of euphoria and contentedness. Your mood is lifted and you are resilient to negative experiences that would otherwise dampen your mood. Endometriosis is a huge downer sometimes. Not only because of pain and suffering, but also because excess/turbulent hormones can actually increase your proclivity for depression. Essentially, your body is making it extremely difficult to be happy. Thus, simple things such as laughing at funny videos really helps to combat that depression; it lifts up your mood whether or not you want it to.

Last, laughter helps foster bonds and closeness with those around us. Having a good laugh helps you feel more connected with the people laughing with you. It helps to diffuse social conflict. Endometriosis can put a lot of strain on relationships. Not only because you miss out on social functions because of feeling sick or in pain. Because it increases the volatility of your mood, it makes you more likely to have knee jerk reactions to tense situations and 'say things you wish you hadn't'. Having a good laugh about things helps to ease the strain on those relationships and allows you to form close bonds with people you care about. And having good friendships really does help one deal with the pains and frustrations of endometriosis. Friendships are important for anyone, but with a disease that constantly receives little understanding or empathy, friendships become invaluable sources of strength and support.

Thank you for reading, I hope you've enjoyed the videos/pictures I included to evoke a good laugh. May your day be full of laughter!

Some links:

Why printers are sent from HELL
Design me pie charts. For Free. (Language warning--PG-13)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

An Alternate Route

No straight lines here.

Hello readers, I know it is not Tuesday.

It's barely still Wednesday.

When I started this website (even before I started it), I made it a personal goal that I would do a weekly blog post every Tuesday. I could do extra posts other days, but every Tuesday, I expected myself to make a post. This was for many reasons. First, I love writing in my book and short stories, but I often suffer from writer's block. I personally believe it's not a valid excuse not to write; unfortunately, whatever I write (story wise) during my writer's block, it turns out rather awful. By holding myself accountable for weekly posts, I felt like I could change my subconscious unwillingness to write. Second, I wanted to be reliable for readers. I wanted friends, family, endometriosis sufferers/supporters--anyone who read my blog--to trust my ability to consistently write. It seemed the professional thing to do. Third, I didn't want to forget my blog or let bad-moods keep me away from it. A quota would stop that from happening.

And now, the third week into my new domain location, I blew it. No post on Tuesday. I didn't forget and I wasn't depressed--not exactly, in general I was pretty happy. I had ideas to write but I suffered from block. Not the same kind I get for stories. I felt unable to write anything worth reading. I was suffering a lot of personal feelings of defeat because I officially withdrew from college this week. I actually knew I would be unable to return since early December, but I had not officially withdrawn from classes until one week after the semester started. I could not bring myself to do it earlier. In the back of my head I kept thinking I would some how miraculously recover and be able to charge into my studies. In the back of my head, I believed that if I was focused enough, I could somehow do it.

I was supposed to graduate over a year and a half ago. I had a 3.98 at a very difficult university, was a professor favorite, had a great resume and great references. I've had teachers sincerely tell me that I could do anything I wanted to because I was a star. And then I got sick. I went from super student to sick student. Instead of complimenting me for my school performance, my professors were always asking me if I was getting better (healthier). My grades dropped. I took a semester off. I dropped out of a semester. I dropped out of college. And I felt like a failure.

Everyone tells me that I just need to be patient, that when I get better I'll be able to finish. But I never know if I'll get better or just learn how to better manage my pain and fatigue. I'm not sure if I'll ever return to the level of achievement I was at. And it's depressing. I can often shirk off that feeling of depression/failure, but there are some moments when it really 'shines' through. And hitting that 'drop all classes button' the other night was one of those moments.

I might be carrying on now, blabbering, etc.. I'll try not to circle down the drain of depression on my blog (which is intended to inspire, believe it or not). The point is, every time I sat down to write, I just kept thinking to myself, "How can I write and tell others that this is all okay, when it's not?". And tonight, I realized that I didn't have to.

Part of making progress, inspiring yourself, growing stronger, is encountering bumps in your path and getting past them/learning from them. It's not all, "Look how great life is, despite my struggles!" Sometimes those struggles really hit you hard and can ruin your spirit for a time.

But there is something beautiful in this. I've realized that it was never my dream to finish college in four years, then wait one year, then go to grad school for five, etc. etc.. That might have been my plan of action, but it was never my dream. I've wanted to do my best in school, learn as much as I can, and have a career that continues my academic education while I get to help others. Those were my dreams. Endometriosis really screwed up my life plan. That's a fact. But it's not stopping my ambitions and has not ruined my life. It's forced me to take an alternate route. And that's okay. I'll make it work and I'll be better for it.

So I'm sorry I missed my dead line. I'm sorry to myself and anyone else who's reading this. But I'm very glad I took the extra time to process what I was thinking. I could have put a half-hearted, weak entry on something I did not care about that day. But I don't ever want to be fake when I write. I haven't been yet and I don't plan on it. I admit I am still down about dropping out. That's not something I ever saw myself doing. But I could have never predicted anything else that's happened in my life, so I really just need to stop trying to plan it all out. I'll have dreams, ambitions, goals, and do things worth while. But I'll go about it my own way.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Another Surgery, A New Goal

Two important dates are coming up for me this January. First, it is my 23rd birthday this January 16th. I am rather excited, I admit, especially because it is even a national holiday this year. Why is this important? The next date of importance was intended to fall on the 17th of this month. But I refused and rescheduled because I did not want to be lying in the hospital the day after my birthday and (even worse) performing surgical prep the day of my birthday. And yes, that is correct, I am getting another surgery this month. It will be my fifth procedure, third surgery, for my wonderful (insert sarcasm) illnesses.

Through one of my favorite endometriosis resources (Endo-Resolved) I found an excellent new doctor in Ogden, Utah. His name is Dr. Jeff Arrington and he is an endometriosis specialist. For those who don't know, although women's specialists are pretty common, finding one who specializes in endometriosis is extremely difficult. Especially because, more often than not, common OB/GYNs will claim to specialize in endometriosis simply because they are experienced in studying female parts. Unfortunately, endometriosis is a complicated disease and very difficult to treat. This is the seventh doctor I've found on my journey to treat my endometriosis. The sad thing is that some of my previous doctors were talented, intelligent doctors who did have experience treating endometriosis; however, none of them could successfully treat mine. Often they would shrug their shoulders and say, "well, you're a difficult case."(And some of my doctors were rude and mean and treated me like I only wanted attention and/or drugs.)

I am only 22 (going on 23) and already my endometriosis has done its absolute best to ruin my life... And although I am young and the disease has not had a chance to progress to the state it often reaches before diagnosis, it's progressing aggressively. Even on Lupron, which is supposed to chemically force my body into menopause, I was still producing endometrium and experiencing almost all of my normal symptoms. And I'm sure I'm not the only lady with this disease that has this unsettling aggressive form. Heck, I'm sure that I am lucky compared to some. But the problem is that, seeing as I have this unmanageable disease, I need a doctor that actually knows what s/he's doing.

Enter Dr. Arrington. I am so excited about this doctor. From what I've read and watched, he is one of the most knowledgeable doctors out there when it comes to surgically treating endometriosis. Largely because it is the primary focus of his practice. An actual endometriosis specialist!

Hopefully, in the future, more and more doctors will make treating endometriosis the focus of their practice and not just a feature. Because, as it is now, the current model for standard treatment is like having an acne dermatologist treat skin cancer. Endometriosis is too complex of a disease to be treated by the same doctors who deliver babies. And I'm not saying that to insult any doctor or to play down the miracle of birth. I'm trying to say that pregnancy and endometriosis are very different medical issues and should be treated by their own specialists. Pregnancy is a normal function of the female body, whereas endometriosis is a horrible dysfunction/disease of the female body! We need our own doctors!

As I was saying though, Dr. Arrington is an endometriosis specialist and is performing his unique brand of laparoscopic surgery on me January 24th. Whereas most OB/GYNs laser off endometrial implants (those nasty colonies of endometrium-like cells), Dr. Arrington scraps suspects layers of tissues completely off. This reveals hidden, deep tissue colonies that are often missed by traditional surgery. I am completely confident in his abilities, for several reasons: (A) I cannot find a single negative review of him online (all positive), (B) he's got amazing bedside manner, (C) he says he can eliminate symptoms in 70% of patients, and (D) he's an amazing surgeon--he is even capable of doing a hysterectomy completely laparoscopically. Although I am never excited for surgery, I've got to say I am as excited as possible for the possible benefits of this procedure. I'll talk about the surgery more in posts to come, but that is not what prompted this post.

My first Tri--I'll be there again soon
Now, there are two titles in this blog post. To be honest, I was not originally intending to write about my surgery much. But I realized that the goal I wished to post about would not make much sense unless I explained the surgery and situation that prompted this goal. Last surgery I had was a traditional endometriosis surgery, which was endometrial implant laser removal and also required polyp and tumor removal. I did not heal well at all from this surgery, was in the hospital for two days, and felt awful for months. I could barely walk for weeks. Now that I am getting a special surgery, I want to have a better recovery. And what is the best ingredient for speedy/efficient recovery? Exercise!

My goal, for better recovery, and an easier recovery, is to exercise every day up until my surgery. Whether that be yoga, biking, swimming, dancing, whatever, is not that important. I just want to exercise every day. It will improve my muscle tissue, improve blood flow, cell regeneration--I will be a exercising-healing machine.

Exercise is a great way to improve the health of cells (the building blocks of our bodies). By improving blood flow, you improve the delivery and circulation of oxygen, nutrients, etc.--everything the body needs for efficient growth and regeneration of cells. By exercising every day, I hope to build a network of nutrients/ingredients for cell health throughout my body. If I am successful, by the time my surgery arrives, my body will be in prime condition for repair.

I am completely, 100% sincere about this goal. I dislocated my shoulder recently, and still I've been exercising daily. Nothing will stop me! And to hold myself accountable, every week I will update my site with pictures and numbers recounting my goal progress.

So wish me luck! Hopefully my experiment will go off without a hitch and you will all hear my success story come the end of January.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Foods I Eat and Foods I Avoid

Although there are lots of foods I avoid, I can still make and enjoy darn good sushi!
Last week I did a post about how to avoid problem foods--basically, how to strengthen one's "health-diet-resolve". It was a fun post to do because for friends it explained some of my weird eating habits/preparation and, for those with endometriosis or inflammatory bowel disease, it gave (perhaps) valuable information. However, I got so many questions asking what these specific problem foods are,  I decided to do a whole post on certain foods and why I avoid them.

My disclosure before this post is this: Although I study biology/medicine/psychology, I am NOT a doctor. Do not treat my advice like doctor's advice. If you would like to try some of these diets, do so under the supervision of a licensed doctor. Thank you.

Here we go: (note: Today I'm very busy, so I don't have time, but at a later date this week I will post links to various research journal articles that helped inspire my unique dietary advice)
  1. I try to take certain supplements for helping with endometriosis. I've read before that endometriosis affects the efficiency of one's digestive system, and poor nutrition enhances the perception of pain. Proper supplementation of the diet can reduce pain. It can help relax the muscles and treat implants. Extra nutritional elements can also help reduce the pain.
    1. A B Vitamin Complex. This can help the body better break down excess estrogen (B vitamins are an ingredient of the break down process). Additionally, when taken in the correct combination, they help act as an analgesic (pain reliever).
    2.  Vitamins C and E both help to reduce the histamine release in the body, dampening the inflammatory responses of certain immune diseases (like Endometriosis or IBD). Vitamin C is a necessary ingredient for the immune system's proper function (or better functioning). Vitamin E has been shown to reduce cramping. 
    3. Magnesium helps relax muscles by reducing the spontaneous firing of neurons. It's like a natural chill pill. They can help one sleep at night (I suffer from sleep walking and magnesium helps with that even). They help relax the spasms and spontaneous pain signaling of endometriosis. 
    4. Fish oil and Flaxseed Oil: quality, well structured fats can help reduce inflammation and increase the integrity of existing cells in the body. These oils can help 'smooth the walls' of our insides because they are interlocking and not kinked (like trans fats). Smoother insides make it more difficult for endometrial implants to attach and stay locked. 
    5. Echinacea: this is a great herb for helping the immune system properly function. I take it in tea form, though I've heard good things about some pill forms.
    6. Red Raspberry Leaf: again, in tea form. I drink this because it is rumored to help with balancing hormone levels, reducing cramping, combating anemia... etc. etc.. It also has a whole wagon of vitamins and minerals, making it an excellent, natural, multi-vitamin.'
    7. Plenty of water: helps increase distribution of nutrition (vitamins, minerals, etc.)
  2. There are also certain foods I try my absolute best to avoid. Usually these are after reading articles in research journals, and I try two months avoiding each. Some help more than others, and I still have pain, but avoiding the following has certainly helped:
    1. Gluten: any wheat/rye products are completely eliminated from my diet. It is by far the biggest complication and difficulty of my health diet. In America, EVERYTHING has wheat in it. Not just pasta and bread and crackers. Hardly anything is gluten free, even things like soy sauce, gnocchi, pot stickers, some yogurt snacks (pretty much any mainstream snack) has SOME gluten in it. And gluten does a number of bad things. It aids the inflammatory response (making my insides 'angrier' than they already are) and is suspected of actually exacerbating endometrial implants. The exact nature of the effect of gluten is unclear, but various studies have shown 50-70% of women experience lesser symptoms when on gluten free diets. 
    2. Hormone Foods: certain foods contain estrogen or estrogen mimickers (xenoestrogens). These hormones in the foods aggravate my symptoms. Often these are injected into animals to increase food/meat production (yuck!). My general rule is that these foods are okay when organic (no additive hormones) but really bad if non-organic (because of the additive hormones). Foods like: meats (chicken, beef, etc.), dairy (cheeses, milk, etc.), and soy products (soy contains estrogen). These must always be organic if I wish to consume them. 
    3. Red Meat: I cannot remember the exact reasoning for this, I apologize. I read in several research articles that cutting red meat out of the diet helps to improve symptoms but I cannot remember why. This will be homework for me. For now, just accept that by cutting out red meat, I help reduce the growth and force of my symptoms. 
  3. And specifically for IBD (which, surprisingly, is less affected by diet than Endometriosis: 
    1. Fibrous Vegetables: when I am in a flare or starting one, I have to cut out all fibrous, uncooked vegetables. It's unfortunate, because my body constantly craves these, but these vegetables are hard to break down uncooked and the fibers can further irritate one's bowels. So, when sick to my stomach or getting any 'runs', I shut down my intake of fibrous vegetables. 
    2. PLENTY of water: my absorption of water is compromised by IBD and my flow needs more water to help prevent symptoms. By drinking my weight of water in ounces everyday (I weigh 110, I drink 110 ozs) I help reduce symptoms.
So remember, if any of the above dietary restrictions/additions seem like they could be worth a shot, try them for a couple of months and see if symptoms improve. But do so only after asking a DOCTOR. Use a food journal to track your intake and symptoms. If unsure whether or not something helped, try reintroducing the food (or take away the supplement) and see if symptoms worsen. It's a lengthy process, but trust me--finding out which foods do or do not agitate my unique body has been immensely helpful for me. It's the new year now--maybe a special diet can be a new year's resolution.

Hope this weeks entry has been helpful. Helped individuals with my diseases get ideas for dietary treatment, and helped those without (my friends/family) understand why I have such difficult dietary needs. I hate being 'that person' who is difficult to feed. I cry about being such a needy person, sad as that sounds. I wish I had no special food requirements. But I do, and the reasons above are why.

What are your special food requirements? What diet do you follow? What could you maybe change?
Happy New Year to all, thank you and much love for reading!

*NOTE: I wanted to add something that I found important to add, and hopefully will be capable of doing a formal post on. Every women with endometriosis has certain foods that act as her triggers. For example, for some women, the estrogen in eggs is detrimental. Thus, I need to state that my particular diet is not the PRIME example of what foods are good/bad. It's a basic guideline. Sometime in the future, I would love to do an entry on all the different foods that can potentially interact with endometriosis. However, for now, please take this entry with a grain of salt!

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Contact me at bedhead@bedriddenhead.com

About The BedRiddenHead

I want to be happy. And this site is about that chance. How to strive to thrive in the body I've got and maybe turn my experiences into something worthwhile.

This site aims to help educate and reach out to people all over that struggle with pain or illness. To try and make something helpful. I work as a medical research writer, my background is in neuropsychology and biology, and I want to share what I learn in a way that is easy to understand. I am not a doctor. I'm definitely not your doctor. I am just some lady who wants to make someone's (anyone's) life a little bit better. Whether you have endometriosis, a chronic injury, a struggling friend, or just want to learn something new, I hope to make a place that has what you are looking for.

Thank you for stopping by, I wish you strength in your health and happiness.