If you don't know, endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus causing chronic, debilitating pain and menstrual irregularities. Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women during their reproductive years and there is currently no cure (not even surgery). That is about 176 million women worldwide. Because endometriosis is a full body disease, it has the potential to spread to other places in the body outside of the reproductive organs such as the chest cavity, lungs, liver, kidneys, bladder and bowels. Many people don't know that there are different types of endo and there are four different stages (I-minimal, II-mild, III-moderate, and IV-severe).
So two years after my diagnosis, what's changed?
My daily life: Overall, my daily life has improved drastically. New meds and adjusting my health regimen again reduced my pain a lot and I am so grateful for this stage of my journey. My brain fog has also decreased which has been such a relief. Last year, business picked up for me drastically which meant more clients. I was worried I wouldn't be able to keep up since I am a solo doula. Even with a backup doula, I was working all the time. Not to mention my part time job. The community center where I teach my Zumba classes closed the building for over a year so I wasn't teaching classes, but my body was still taxed due to stress and pandemic restrictions. I just started teaching again a few weeks ago and it has been great for my mental health and my body is adjusting well too.
My physical health: I have more good days than bad days now. I have changed my diet yet again (surprise surprise). I started pelvic floor therapy a few months ago after being on the waitlist for 8 months, but that was short lived due to scheduling and my extensive dental surgery so I am going to start again in the Fall. The great news is that my endo flares and bad days are few and far between now. Y'all, I can sleep again!!! And of course that has led to me having more energy and time to do all the things. Never could I imagine getting up with the sun after a good night's sleep with endo. But here I am. There are days when I know I need to slow down and rest because I know the signs.
My mental health: I spent a lot of time last year focusing on my mental health for various reasons. I created my Black Tea IG Live series to have a safe space to talk to with others about Black issues, family, life, love, entrepreneurship and health. I have also been writing and praying more which always helps me release and refocus. My walk with God has been very comforting during the highs and lows of this past year. Especially when I have felt the loneliness of this disease. Since my diagnosis, my self care has been a top priority and it entails all of these things.
New revelation: After learning about sciatic endometriosis earlier this year, I believe that I may have this type of endometriosis. I'm looking more into it while I search for the best endometriosis specialist closest to me (Endo specialists are scarce and some individuals have to cross state lines just to find one). Sadly, I am also looking for a new doctor. Dr. Summers was amazing and most importantly, she listened to me. But I was notified in March that she was going on medical indefinitely.
New products: I have been embracing holistic options more and more these days. I take herbal supplements, prebiotics and probiotics daily now instead of countless ibuprofen which I know has made me healthier internally. Last October, I ditched my NuvaRing for Norethindrone at the suggestion of my doctor. She had suggested it months earlier, but I finally decided to give it a try. Not only did it balance my hormones (my estrogen dominance was very real), it reduced my pain by 90%! I went from having pain 5 days a week to maybe once a week. In April, I started taking ENtouch supplements created by my friend and fellow endo warrior, Samantha Denae. They have helped me so much! I am planning to post a full review of the capsules soon. The also recently started using Lilas Wellness pain patches which have been so helpful for my sciatic, hip and back pain caused by my endo. The other day I finally picked up some Semaine supplements from Target and I can't wait to try them.
New considerations: If I'm being honest, I feel like my nervous system needs a total reset and I'm trying to figure out how to best do that. I have been looking into non-traditional treatment options like acupuncture, sound therapy, reiki, womb massage and regular chiropractor visits. I know that I said before that I do not want to have another surgery after the long recovery from my myomectomy. But due to the fact that I have tried nearly everything under the sun to reduce my pain and heal my endo holistically, I am not seeing the results I thought I would at this point. So, I have put surgery back on the table as a treatment option. Is this ideal for me? Absolutely not. But if you know anything about endo then you know that an official diagnosis can only come from surgery. And Lord knows the worse thing that could do is have another surgery just for the surgeon to tell me they didn't find anything (I have heard stories and this is a real fear for many who believe they have endometriosis).
Earlier this year, I became an Endo Black Ambassador. I am responsible for raising awareness about endometriosis and sharing my personal experiences while living with this disease. I have found so much comfort in the Endo Black community because we all have similar stories & experiences that we each can relate to on a deep level. As always, I am working on collaborations and partnerships with other endo warriors as well as some businesses & organizations to continue to spread awareness, increase research & studies and hopefully get some disability legislation passed for those of us with endometriosis and other chronic diseases and illnesses. We deserve more care and support and we will fight for it just like we fight to have normal lives while living with endo. If you would like to collaborate, please feel free to contact me.