Endo Prayers: I Need You

Dear Lord,

I need you.

There are so many things that I could say, but my words fail me. The weight of my heart is weighing me down. The words unspoken, sap my strength. You see the cries of my heart even before I mouth them. You know all things, you see all things, you are able to do ALL things.

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Lord, I ask you to help me feel you even in this state of being overwhelmed. As I feel like it’s me against the world: I stare at the pain, hospital bills, the societal expectations, my own expectations of myself and I feel weak. Unable to move.

You see the battle within, the fight of my life to try and stay afloat when I feel like a boulder in the deep, wallowing in the blues.

Wrap me in your arms. Remind me of your promises. Speak to me again.

Help those who feel like me, help them know that they are not alone.

In Jesus name, I pray and believe,

Amen

 

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Energy Forecasting With Endometriosis

There are days I have the energy to change the world and other days that I want to put the world on pause and sleep. The latter is especially when Aunty Flo is in town. I usually have no motivation to do anything. I just want to sleep, but life, oh life must go on.

Fatigue is like a leech that sucks the life out of you. Sometimes I think that I am draining more than just blood; my mental energy is usually at an all-time low, and the desire to do things that I normally would is at zero.

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One day in December I woke up running on reserves and on that day a simple thing like wearing earrings felt like so much work. A few years ago, this would have seemed so strange and out of character for me, now it is (almost) a non-issue. After I had children, I stopped wearing small earrings, to reduce the items that they could choke on, I miss how light and pretty they were. Now, when I do wear earrings, I wear big ones, that tend to make me feel like I am lifting weights using my earlobes. God forbid they get stuck on something, or better still, my Ky yanks them.

As I am more self-aware and seeing the pattern in my life, I am learning to plan ahead and forecast my energy. There are days that I have energy coursing through my veins and those are the days that I write books and put things in order, and there are other days that I have to access my reserves to try and make it through the day. Especially when Auntie Flo is in town, she has a way of depleting my energy even before it comes to the surface.

My energy graph would be high when I am not on my period or close to my period and (almost) non-existent when I am on my period. During those days I only do what is absolutely necessary, the funnel I use to decide is pretty small, so doing my hair and wearing earrings seem like too much work.

For these days I plan ahead to have help, especially with the girls, I sleep, oh, I sleep, this is my current symptom of Endometriosis, a wave of sleep that will not go until I enter bed for a couple of hours. I (try to) eat well, so as to keep my energy up and avoid constipation, Auntie Flo and constipation make for a horrible duo. I do my hair a few days before to avoid walking around looking like I came in to close contact with high voltage and wear simple outfits that do not need matching or ironing, long live dresses. I think about my meal plan in advance, otherwise, we will eat the same thing every day, because the energy is limited to surviving. Anything that needs order and analytical skills is avoided during this time.

I am grateful for a good support system, my husband and daughters are so understanding when it comes to these couple of days. I desire to increase my energy levels so that is a work in progress, but good planning is definately working in my favor.

 

 

 

 

Post-Valentines Love

Aunty Flo ruined red for me, she was such a drama queen, who wanted to use my whole life as her runway as she strutted her stuff. Red for me was a reminder that she was coming into town, and that meant my life would change, I should have adjusted and adapted since her visit was periodical ( pun intended) but it still shook me every time. She was always EXTRA, robbing me subtly until she decided it was not worth hiding and did it in plain sight.

Then came Endo, Aunty Flo’s sidekick who refused to leave. She was like a leech, going in for blood; a permanent guest with terrible manners, hogging all that was mine and redefining me to myself. I was moody, understandably so, and irrational. My relationships suffered, and it was hard to give love when I felt like I was hemorrhaging the essence of who I was.

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The thing about living with pain is that sometimes you miss out on celebrating special days, because of pain, fatigue and/or other complications. When you are finally well enough to celebrate the after-party clean up has already been done.

This Valentines (week), we are taking time to celebrate the MVPs who are constant through the pain, those who are present, pillars of strength, voices of encouragement, bearers of hope even when they do not fully understand the pain that we undergo.

For those who help us feel like roses: soft, beautiful, vulnerable, dainty and precious, when in reality we feel like thorn bushes,  horrible to be around, offensive, not the best to look at and dull.

We celebrate you and we thank God for you. Thank you for being in our lives and loving us. Our journeys are a little easier because of you.

Endo Prayers: Missing Out On Opportunities

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Dear Lord,

My heart is heavy, burdened by the weight of all the opportunities that I have had to say ‘No’ to because of the pain and discomfort. Many times I am willing to take up great projects but my energy levels fail me. The pain overwhelms me. I fail myself.

Please help to be patient with myself, to do the things that I can in this season, and to find the silver lining in the midst of the storm. Grant me your contentment, joy, and peace to get through this.

In your time, please give me other opportunities to be there for those that I love, to do the things that I love and to be the person that I would have loved to be.

In Jesus name, I pray and believe,

Amen

Endo Prayer: When My Cycle is Erratic

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Dear Lord,

I can’t seem to understand my body. My period cycle is everything but predictable. My hormones are all over the place and this is affecting my life as a whole.

I’m struggling with feelings of anger, and I feel like I am losing control over my emotions and my body as well. When my periods come, the flow is irregular and the duration fluctuates from month to month.

Please help my hormone levels to become balanced. Help my body to have a predictable cycle. Please forgive me for the things that I have said and done as I have used this state as an excuse.

Reveal to me the things that I need to do and stop doing to help my hormone levels get back to normal. You knit me in my mother’s womb and I know that nothing is too difficult for you. Revert my hormones to the optimum levels.

In Jesus name, I pray and believe,

Amen

 

Endo Prayer: Struggling With Lifestyle Changes

 

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It’s February and I haven’t been able to sustain the lifestyle changes that I set out to make. I’m discouraged because I feel like I keep disappointing myself. I can give excuses but deep within I know that I have been my greatest barrier.

Lord, please help me to see myself through your eyes. To love every part of my being. And to see these changes as a good thing, not a punishment, so that I do them out of a place of love.

Give me divine wisdom to know what to do, help me find what will work for my body. Change my attitude as I do this.

Strengthen me and renew my resolve to be kinder to myself in all that I do, to eat well and exercise. Help me to be a good steward of the body that you have given me. Even in the moments of pain, help me to see that you are right there with me.

In Jesus name, I pray and believe,

Amen

Endo Prayers: I Feel Misunderstood

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Dear Lord,

This is hard. My tears have become my food and I feel as though I am falling apart. The pain is not only during my periods but all through my cycle and I do not know how to explain it to those around me.

Though I look okay on the outside, I am caving in on the inside, and I feel alone. Hurtful statements have been said by those around me, some of which have pierced the little space that Endo isn’t already crunching on. The pain has multiplied.

Lord, you see my heart and my inner being. Please give me peace, strength, and understanding. Help the pain to go away because I feel like I’m clutching at straws. Help me to love even though I am hurting.

For those around me, I pray that you will help them to see the pain beneath my smile, help them to be more understanding and kinder in their speech.

May you be glorified in and through this.

 

In Jesus name I pray and believe,

Amen

Stories Wanted!

Never underestimate the power of a story. It has the power to transport, transform, reassure and encourage.

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This March,  I would like to share an Endo story every day to help raise awareness for Endometriosis.

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Let us show the world that you do not have to look a certain way to have Endo. That the beauty and fragrance of the rose do not take away the prick of the thorn, it still hurts.

If you would like to share your story please send me an email via yellowendoflower@gmail.com and I will be in touch.

Thanksies.

Endo Prayer: When I Feel Overwhelmed

There’s a dark valley that the Endo journey plummeted me into. In that space, I have struggled to keep hope alive, stay positive and pray.

I’m not where I used to be, but because I know no-one is immune to the darkness and the feelings and thoughts that come when in that place, I will be writing Endo-prayers, little prayers that you can whisper when you feel like an assortment of emotions.

Some days have been harder than others, but there in the darkness, I have seen a glimmer of light and hope. I know that even in the difficult moments, God is there.

Here is the first prayer:

Dear God,

I thank you because you formed me in my mama’s womb. There is no part of me that you do not know. You see all of my organs and see where the Endo cells have carved out a home.

I feel overwhelmed, and sometimes so helpless because I’m struggling to understand your plan in this place of pain. I desperately long to see Your face in this phase, but It’s hard to focus when my tears are all I see.

Please comfort me and ease the pain. Remind me of your love for me.

In Jesus name I pray and believe,

Amen

Blessings!

If you need to talk, or a sounding board, you can send me an email via yellowendoflower@gmail.com

5 Ways To Navigate The Endo Inspired Energy Rollercoaster

I seem to have found the spring in my step. Some mornings I wake up feeling like an Energizer bunny, it is such a good yet surreal feeling. One of the aspects that I hate about Endo is how it hampers with energy levels.

I went from being an energetic teen to a mostly-tired human being. Sometimes the fatigue was physical, other times it was mental, but it was altogether overwhelming. I’d wake up in the morning after an 8-hour sleep feeling like I had been digging all night with interval naps on a bed of thorns. An exhaustion where even your skin is tired. It is hard to glow when you feel so tired. It is hard to be excited about anything when your whole being is just focused on mere survival, no thriving, just living.

Over the last year, I have found a few things that have helped me navigate this tumultuous journey.

  • Keep a Period Diary

My period diary has shown me that my cycle affects my energy levels. This has been so critical to understanding my body has also helped me be kinder to myself and prepare in advance. Putting systems in place to help me on my low energy days makes them more manageable. I am most exhausted when I’m on my period, on day 1 a flood of sleep sweeps over my being. Once I have slept, I wake up feeling brand new.

I have more energy to arrange and do administrative work after my periods, so I schedule such tasks after my period and prepare for this low energy phase by doing them in advance.

  • Check your weight

After I took Lupride, my limited level of energy diminished, I was now getting energy from my reserves. I was surviving on the morsels. Meagre tasks felt like they were so much work to do. Pregnancy caused my weight to yo-yo and the hormonal imbalance also took a toll on my energy. I didn’t look overweight, but I felt so heavy.

Now that I have lost some weight, I am feeling more energetic. Ready to get back to an active lifestyle this year.

  • Check your diet

The fastest way to deplete my energy is to eat too many carbs. My body is in a somewhat complicated relationship with wheat. It tolerates it in small quantities if I have too much of it, I bloat, get cranky, fatigued, constipated and get canker sores. That is a horrible combination.

My pick me up drink is ACV, it has been so invigorating, though my three-year-old daughter is so high-nosed about my elixir. I wake up early to drink it in peace because, in her words, ‘it stinks’, but I love it. The benefits far outweigh the bad smell. It’s an energy drink sans the hidden sugars, preservatives, and palpitations.

  • Avoiding mental stress and fatigue

We often underestimate the effect that mental and emotional stress has on the body. The body and the mind are connected, when you feel drained emotionally you may also feel physically fatigued.

There are days I have woken up after 10 hours of sleep, physically rested but mentally exhausted, which means still unable to perform the tasks that I need to do. I am more sensitive to my emotions because they affect how much energy I have at my disposal.

  • Find something that fills you

Self-care is absolutely important. When you are fatigued it is hard to do things for yourself, but these small things are great pick-me-ups.

I am writing a list of the things that make me happy so that I can plan to do more of these things and fill my cup. You can’t pour out of an empty cup, when you fill yourself then you have something to give.

Here’s to more energized and happy days.

7 Truths Every Endo-warrior Needs to Know

The Endo journey is colored with a lot of pain, uncertainty, darkness, medication and anxiety. Here are 7 truths that every Endo-warrior needs to know:

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1. It is not all in your head

Pain and discomfort are personal. There is no scale that it has to be measured by for it to be termed real. The manifestation of Endometriosis and it’s symptoms differs from person to person. You do not need any person, or physical depiction to validate your pain. Pain is your body’s way of asking for help, so it shouldn’t be ignored or covered up, but treated with the seriousness that it deserves.

2. You are not alone

One in ten women suffers from Endometriosis. Invisible diseases can be very difficult to live with, the truth is that many people may not understand, but that doesn’t mean that no one understands. There are communities of women who are willing to walk with you and stand with you. If you are in Kenya, you can plug in to Endometiosis Foundation of Kenya, Endosisters East Africa or contact me via Yellow Endo Flower. For the international community, please look for the Endo foundations or orgnaizations in your area.

3. You are strong

Holding on takes strength. When you are low on spoons and wonder how you will make it through the day, remember that your strength is intact. It is not measured by the things that you do or achieve; being takes strength, choosing to fight another day takes strength, crying takes strength, acknowledging your limitations takes strength. Oh, dear Endo warrior, you are strong, even when you feel like everything but it.

4. You are your greatest advocate

It is good to have a support system and good team of healthcare professionals. The truth is that they may let you down, and in the moment of despair you may feel defenseless and alone. Deep within you need to understand that you are your greatest advocate. No one can fight for you like you can. If something doesn’t feel right, stand up for yourself. Listen to your gut, the small voice that whispers the ‘buts’ and then speak up.

5. Information is power

There is a lot of information out there about Endometriosis, when you have the energy, read and research. Interact with others online and learn from their experiences. Read the fine print of pamphlets, then listen to how your body responds to medication.

Ask your health provider questions, and try to understand the procedures and treatment plans that s/he prescribes.

6. Your voice matters

When you are ready to share your story, please do, because your voice makes a difference. There are so many women who have no idea that Endometriosis exists, so many women who are suffering in silence.

If we all speak up we will cause a revolution, and many women will be able to get the proper diagnosis in less time and quality health care.

You can read stories of Kenyan Endo warriors here. If you would like to share your story please drop me a line via yellowendoflower@gmail.com

7. You are a star

Deep within you, there is a light that no amount of darkness can dim. Even the depths of Endometriosis and the darkness that it brings cannot hold you back. Take it a day at a time and try to see the silver lining on the grey clouds.

Shine. Dazzle. Be.

Reclaiming What Endo Stole From Me

Happy New Year Everybody!

I have this spring in my step after getting some much-needed rest and relaxation.

A few days before Christmas, I met up with a few Endo warriors and we talked, laughed, and loved being in a space where we could identify with each other. I have many thoughts on Endo, but the one that struck me during this meet is that Endo is  THIEF.

Endo is the kind of person who comes into your house and turns it upside down, a person who doesn’t respect boundaries and wants to leave a mark on every part of your life. The one who drives you up the wall and then has the nerve to ask what the matter is. The biggest naysayer, the one who makes you doubt yourself, your abilities and your dreams.  Endo is like a rat that bites your toe as it blows, then one day it turns into a vicious animal and eats up your whole foot. Endo is a sneaky thief that deserves to be lynched in public, in other words, we need a cure.

“What has Endo stolen from you?”I asked the ladies.

When it was my turn to speak, I shuddered at the thought. Over ten years ago, I loved to hike, in fact, the revolutionary period where Endo reared its ugly head was on Mount Kenya. I had this dream to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and participate in other exciting adventures. These dreams and desires died a natural death, endo has a way of suffocating the life out of dreams. When flare-ups, chronic fatigue, and emergency visits are the things that you think about often, you forget that your heart can beat for anything else other than survival.

 

Endo stole a part of my life and I even forgot about it. After the meeting, I was determined to reclaim what Endo stole from me. Over Christmas, I had a chance to walk along Lake Elementaita, it was beautiful and humbling. It was my first walk clad in sneakers in 11 years. I didn’t feel the weight of my daughter on my back, I felt liberated and restored. If my sneakers could talk, they would tell a tale, one filled with adventure.

 

I’m writing down a list of the things that Endo stole from me and reclaiming them one by one.

Here’s to rediscovering ourselves post-endo, pursuing adventure and dreams coming true in 2018.

Happy New Year!

 

Auntie Flo’s Words of Wisdom

Auntie Flo’ gave me a dose of common sense earlier this year. As she ended her TEN-day visit, which was much longer than she was welcome, she said, ‘Ess, I am the tip of the iceberg. I’m just here to show you what’s going on within.’

I was upset! First, you overstay your welcome, which is very expensive by the way. I didn’t know that many pads could be used in a month, then you want to get all ‘Snippets from a wise lady’ on me. Puh-lease.

But there is something about truth. It sinks into the deepest part of your soul unless you suffocate it with a blanket of ‘What-do-you-think-you-are-doing-here?’. I tried to use this blanket, but truth kicked like a baby in utero after the mama has had a cold sweet drink. I could just see the kicks all over, to boot, my soul, in the depths of my belly, was playing ‘Moves Like Jagger’ and I had to stop and listen to the music. It wasn’t a coincidence.

After you’ve bled for 10 days you sober up. Whatever stupor of denial you were in ends with immediate effect. And then you begin to process the words that were said.

Zen Function Wellness puts it really well, ‘Your period is like a report card, either reporting that you have fantastic hormonal balance, a nourished and well functioning system with easy, smooth, predictable periods, or that you may have a deeper health issue resulting in a not-so-great report card with irregularity, cramps, pain, nausea, severely erratic moods.

Knowing your cycle is actually a wonderful tool that women get to have to help keep track of their health status, a monthly report on if they should pay a bit more attention to their health and their bodies.’

The thing that I liked about report cards in school is that there was always room for improvement. In Class 3 I aced my Math test and the teacher wrote, ‘ Good job! The sky is the limit.’ Then, I was over the moon. Now I know that I should always strive for better. For well-balanced hormones, for smooth skin instead of fewer pimples, for a regular, pain-free period.

As I reviewed my period that month, I knew that I was failing. Auntie Flo’s extended visit was my body’s way of telling me that something was not right. That I needed to pay attention to my internal environment and make necessary changes. I am still recovering from that bad month, it affected my whole cycle by adding an extra day to my regular cycle, which is one day too long. But, I am working on getting my body back to normal.

This week I am doing a period audit, going over my period diary and plotting graphs to see the cycle from another perspective. When you zoom out, you see the bigger picture.

Have you done your period audit for the year? Here are some questions that can answer to get the conversation going,

How has your cycle been this year? Regular or Irregular? Painful?

What has your body been trying to tell you?

What changes are you making to boost your health?

If you would like to know what to look out for in your cycle, how to keep a period diary and chart the patterns, keep it locked here. My book ‘Bloom – A practical guide for your period journey’ is out this week. I am extremely excited to equip and empower more girls and women to track their periods and begin to decipher what their bodies are trying to tell them.

Happy Blooming!

 

 

 

The Path To Adoption In Kenya

At the heart of adoption is a conviction, one that sets your feet in motion. Good intentions are not enough to navigate this road, but with good directions and signage you will make it to your destination safely.

Grace Wanunda of Adoption is Beautiful – Kenya, shared a step-by-step guide to help anyone who wants to adopt in Kenya.

The Adoption Agency

  • Identify an authorized Adoption Agency to work with.
  • Visit the Agency for initial interview. They will ask you why you want to adopt, at this point feel free to ask as many questions as you like about all the aspects of adoption e.g costs, what it entails, procedure, home study, placement, foster and the legal process.
  • You will be required to fill forms, attache relevant documents as requested by Agency and return within the shortest time possible.
  • A social worker will visit your home and file a report if the environment is conducive for the child.
  • You pay the facilitation fee to the Agency.
  • Attend counseling as directed by the Agency.
  • Your documents are presented to the Case Committee.
  • You are approved or deferred, your Agency will advise you in writing.
  • Matching and placement is done by your Agency

The Foster Period

  • The duration of the first 3 months that you  have the baby at home is known as the Foster Period. During this time you visit the Agency twice and give a report on how you are bonding with the baby.  Feel free to raise anything that you would want the social worker to know concerning the baby. The social worker will visit you again to see how the baby is doing at home.  He/she will file a report on the same.
  • If you’ve bonded well with the baby during the 3 months you can start the legal process of Adoption.

The Legal Process (Adoption)

  • You can represent yourself or hire a lawyer if you are not conversant with the legal process.
  • The first appearance is appointment of Guardian Ad Litem – This has to be a parent, they can either be your friend, relative or a social worker.  This person should be very familiar with your journey as she/he is expected to write a report and file with the court on why they feel you should be allowed to adopt the baby.
  • The court will ask the Children’s Department officer in writing to visit you, see how you have bonded with child, write a report and file it in court within a period of time. You are expected to follow them up and make sure that they make the visit within the expected time.
  • The Legal Guardian should be a couple married by law, they are expected to swear before the court that should you die before the child is 18 years, they will stand in for you and take care of the child until the child attains maturity.
  • The Agency that declared the child free for adoption is expected to appear before the court and explain why they declared the child free for adoption and why they think its in the best interest of the child for you to adopt them.
  • The Judge will study all the documents presented and give consent for you to be the legal parent of the child. The parental rights of the biological parents are terminated thereof.
  • The Judge will issue you with a court order and a copy of the judgment.
  • Your lawyer will apply for the adoption certificate, where the child is entered into Adopted Persons Register.
  • You can apply for the birth certificate in your name.

The requirements for adopting a baby:

You must be

  • A Kenya citizen
  • 25 years and above
  • 21 years older than the child you want to adopt
  • Have a home, rented or owner occupier
  • Of sound mind
  • Free from criminal records

Also note that:

  • A single female applicant can only adopt a girl, unless under special circumstances and vice versa.
  • Married couples must be married for three years and above, they can adopt any sex. They need to work as a team.
  • Your medical report – HIV and Urine tests are mandatory (People living with HIV can adopt)
  • Financial proof that you can take care of a child, e.g salary slip/bank statement/business ownership etc

To ease the experience, please avoid,

  • Soliciting a child from anyone other than legal adoption agencies. This includes relatives.
  • Offering money to buy a child.
  • Adopting without a ‘Free-to-adopt’ declaration by a legal or authorized adoption agency.
  • Working with a lawyer who is not well acquainted with the adoption process as this may cause unnecessary delays.

Ensure that you get written parental consent from the parent or relative giving out their child for adoption.

If you feel for any reason that you have not bonded well with the child, please feel free to talk to your agency or social worker.

You are free to do a medical test on the child you are adopting, before you commit to take the child.

When choosing a legal guardian, choose someone you can trust, they are your child’s second parents.

It’s important to note that not everyone who supports you right now is for your child. Write a will and include your child in it prior to your demise, this will reduce the chances of him/her suffering in the hands of relatives.

Every Adoptee has a right to know who they were before adoption, feel free to walk them through the journey, if you don’t tell them, someone will do and they might not tell them in the right way. It can lead to rebellion!

If you would like someone to hold your hand as you walk this journey, please give Grace a call via 254-724-841-245.

 

Adoption is Beautiful

‘Family doesn’t only happen genetically’, is a quote that needs to be shared widely.

November is Adoption Awareness Month. Some of the stereotypes that surround adoption are, ‘Adoption is for the rich, foreigners and people who have difficulties conceiving. However, the narrative is changing, more and more people are embracing adoption as a beautiful option.

Grace Wanunda shares her life and heart with us; adoption was never really her option, but it became one of the best things that she ever did.

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Grace is the epitome of grace, she is strong yet tender and a well of wisdom. She is a born again Christian, and an introverted, single mother of one adopted beautiful daughter called Angel Faraja. She has never been married and doesn’t have any biological children. Her and Angel are blissful together.

Some of the things that she loves are good worship songs and listening to her favorite preachers Bishop Noel Jones and T.D Jakes. Praying is also at the top of her list of things she enjoys doing.

A person that is in need of help tags at her heart strings. She believes that her humble background and wilderness experiences have made her heart beat so hard whenever a situation, where someone needs her help, presents itself.

What inspired you to Adopt?

“It all started in my dreams,” she says, “I had a dream that I didn’t understand the meaning, after much prayer asking God to reveal the meaning to me, He started speaking to me more clearly.  However, because adoption had never been my option, it took sometime before I got to understand what was in the mind of God for me.  Every time God would bring another dream, and I would not connect it was about adoption, because I was completely against it.  I remember, I kept praying like this ‘O God of all secrets, according to Deuteronomy 29:29 reveal to me the hidden meaning of this dream, whatever it is I will do, I will not fear men, but I will live to fulfill that which you have called me to do’.

I watched a TV program called Faraja by Jamila Mbugua, she interviewed a couple who had adopted two children due to infertility, it’s there that I learnt that a single person can adopt.  There was an adoption officer who explained the process, though I didn’t know of any agencies at the time.

I continued praying and one day I went to the salon and my hair dresser, Josephine, gave me a True love magazine and on the cover was Caroline Mutoko and her adopted daughter Nduku, I literally trembled as I opened up to her that I had been dreaming so much of adopting. I shared with her my ‘good’ reasons of why I can’t adopt, but Josephine took the opportunity to encourage me on how adoption is a blessing. She said that I should pray over it and reconsider. As we spoke she promised to connect me with one of her clients called Hellen, who happened to have adopted, and worked for Little Angels Network Adoption society.  As we were speaking, Hellen walked into the salon, that was not just a coincidence, it was a confirmation that God really wanted me to adopt.  I took her number and promised to call her to know more about adoption.

Then came the roller coaster of emotions

“I rushed out of the salon and went straight to my car and broke down. I was mad at God! However, I recollected myself, went to my house and I prayed, “God, this is my last test, if you are calling me to adopt, I am going to call my mother now! I will tell her about adoption and whatever she say, that I will do, so speak through my mother.”  I called my mother, and spoke to her about adoption and explained all the negative things that people say about adoption. When I was done, she asked me “What have you been waiting for?” She continued, “No one takes care of another person’s child, unless God is involved.  If you thought about it know that God has called you into it.  Go ahead and do it.  Let no one stop you.” She continued “Who adopted Moses? She was the daughter of Pharaoh, she was unmarried, let no one stop you.  God doesn’t look at your marital status he looks at your heart.  You have my blessings, go ahead and adopt.”

I was overwhelmed with emotion. Adoption was not my option, I expected my mother to say “NO” so that I could tell God, ‘You see, she refused and I have to obey her,’ then I remembered I had asked God to speak through my mother, therefore, I knew that it was God speaking through my mother.”

Two months later ,in denial, I decided to visit Hellen and she shared her journey and fulfillment. She took me through the process and later gave me the number for Little Angels Network Mombasa Social Worker called Anne.  I called Anne and visited her in office. There I took the forms and started the adoption process.”

What was the process like?

“From application, my approval took about two months, however, the placement took about 6 months.  A single applicant can only adopt a baby of the same sex, therefore, I could only adopt a baby girl.  Statistics show that many single ladies are adopting, meaning they only adopt girls, on the other hand, most couples prefer girls to boys, making the demand for baby girls shoot up and that leads to a longer waiting period for placement.

After placement, I took my daughter home for a foster period of 3 months.  When the time lapsed I hired a lawyer who filed the case with the High Court of Mombasa. She charged  Kshs. 40,000/=  as the legal fees. The legal process took another 8 months to be granted the parental rights. In case a parent doesn’t have the legal fees, they can represent themselves in court.”

What was the biggest challenge that you faced?

“My biggest challenge was the anxiety as I wait for placement. I was so depressed because of the fear of unknown! I thought it would be easy as pap but the 6 months really weighed me down.  Nevertheless, my daughter was worth the wait!”

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How did life change when Angel came home?

“My life changed for better! My priorities changed, Angel was at the top of my priority list. My investments changed they became more baby-oriented, I took an Education and Health policy immediately. I started going home immediately after work, I would go home for lunch and there are times that I sneaked from office to check on her.

My MD gave me one month and I thank God for him, for all the support that I received. My journey has been one of the best! The most successful and fulfilling thing I have ever done in my entire life is Adopting. My precious Angel is a miracle baby, she has been in good health all through. Now,  at 3 years, I only attended clinics.  Her growth has been from glory to glory, she feeds very well and sleeps throughout the night. She is full of energy, loved and favored by God and men.”

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Grace is the Chairperson of the Adoptive Parents Support Network that offers support and advice to adoptive parents. They have a Whatsapp support thread that is a safe space for parents to share their challenges and celebrate their victories. Their intention is to reach as many parents as possible, to walk together and to enjoy the journey.

There are 84 parents in the group to date. Anyone who has done adoption the legal way or who has been approved for adoption, is welcome to join them.

To help create awareness on matters adoption,  Grace founded a Facebook group Adoption is beautiful – Kenya where she shares regularly.

 

Gems of wisdom that you’d like to share with someone thinking about adopting?

“Adoption is divine, it is godly, it’s a blessing, it is doable, it’s not only for the rich nor the barren, but for all of us.  There are so many children in the homes who need us.  The Government of Kenya banned inter-country adoptions, meaning, no foreigner is allowed to adopt a Kenyan child, for a long time there was a perception that adoption is for foreigners and the rich.  Now that they are not allowed to adopt our children, would you consider adoption? No child deserves to live in a home. By adopting a child you will give that child an opportunity to be raised in a family set up, which is far better than most homes.”

Jesus said  Matthew 18:5-7 5And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”

Grace’s story has been such an encouragement to me. Adoption is beautiful.

If you would like to contact her, please reach her on +254-724-841-245.

Blessings,

 

 

Yellow Flower Network

Invisible illness can be lonely, confusing and consuming. There are many times you doubt yourself and the manifestation of the pain. Leaving your bed on somedays can feel like doing calculus, it has to be a calculated move. Some days the method makes sense and on other days, you don’t even know where to start.

The idea to start the Yellow Flower Network was birthed a few weeks ago when I realized that I want to support women in Kenya and give them the personal touch, but I am not physically able to.

My inbox is a buzz with women looking for support, women who have just had surgery, women who would like to meet other women to let them know that they are not going crazy, and that the pain is not all in their heads.

Yellow Flower Network

My desire is that no woman will walk alone, that every Endo-warrior will know that they are not alone. That the thing that tried to break her, will reveal a reservoir of strength and it will enable her to be encourage others.

If you are interested in supporting other Endo warriors in Kenya by texting, calling or visiting them when they are in need (in hospital, post surgery), please send me an email via yellowendoflower@gmail.com and I will be in touch.

To start us off, one of our Endo sisters, Jahmby, needs our help. Let us support her in any way that we can.

Jahmby Koikai

*endometriosis

 

The Kenyan Endo Story: Reshma Maru

It’s difficult to tell the battle a woman is fighting by looking at her. Endo is an invisible force, it is tiny and mighty. It attacks from the inside out, Endo pain is something that all girls would love to live without.

There is a resilience, a fire in her eyes, a desire to win that Reshma has that lets you know that she is determined to beat Endo.

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Reshma Maru is a 27-year-old who works in procurement for a furniture store. She graciously shared her story with us.

What makes me smile is a face of a child-the innocence they show and so pure at heart. If there is something I can smile about, it is fantasizing about how I can hold my own child and just hold them close to me.

 

I started my periods at the tender age of 11. I would hear girls in schools saying that it is like a disease where if one touched a girl who had her periods it would spread, so I kept it hush from friends and even my mother. Being the only girl brought up in an Indian family I didn’t have someone to confide in, the day that my mother found the bed sheets stained she was furious that I did not tell her I had started my periods. In the Indian culture it is important to tell your mother so that she can explain to you that when you are on your periods you do not go to the temple or touch someone who is going. So many myths came together with this.

 

I went through years of painful periods that would last 7-8 days. Panadol was my best friend and without it I would not last any of the days, I just knew that ahhh its periods they are always supposed to be painful, so it is normal.

 

The pain got worse when I was 24 years old. I would have the normal painful period but the pain would continue even after the periods were over. So two weeks down the line I was like ‘This cannot be period pain, it must be something I have eaten.’ I went to a general doctor and explained all my symptoms to him, and he said that it sounds like amoeba. He took a stool sample and said that he found traces of amoeba and that was a sigh of relief as I knew there are medicines to get rid of them. I was on medication and a few days after ovulation I was pain free.

 

The next month came and I got painful periods and the same pain after the periods. This time I ignored it and took antibiotics for two weeks and voila I was back to normal. I just thought to myself that since the previous periods were painful I may have a less painful one next month. Come next month the pain was worse. I would get hot flashes, nausea, lack of appetite, and pain all over my abdomen especially my left side.

 

Since I had a medical cover at work I decided to go see a gyno and just get things checked out as it may be a small issue and besides since I wasn’t for it why not. I got advise from fellow workmates on which gyno to go see since they were using the same. The gyno advised I do a blood test and a scan so that she could have a clear view of what was causing the pain. When she saw the scan report she looked at me and said you have been diagnosed with Endometriosis. At first I was like ‘Huh? that is a long name to even pronounce let alone spell.’

 

I took the prescribed medication and decided to google the sickness she had talked about. After the research, I concluded that it was a common disease so may be the Vissane that she had prescribed would cure it as the box read specially for Endometriosis. I took it for 6 months as I went for regular checks with the gyno and I was really really happy. Vissane suppresses your periods, so no periods = no pain for me.

 

I was three months away from my wedding and pleaded to the gyno for me to continue the medication until my wedding and honey moon were over. She agreed and said that I should get a baby and all these problems should disappear. I was happy that I was pain free, able to work, plan my wedding, run around here and there.

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I actually ditched the contraceptives when I started gaining weight and getting very emotional almost every day. I started going to the gym to lose weight but after 3 sessions max and I could hardly keep up. I was always tired, my feet always hurt, my shoulders felt like someone was sitting on them, I would cry for no reason over the tinniest things. My husband would be like, ‘What is the matter be strong,’ and I would just look at him and just cry and cry.

 

This time time when my periods came, the pain killers did not work at all. I could feel the pain like I was being stabbed on my left side but nothing was working. I even went to work in all that pain just waiting for the painkiller to kick in and may be get distracted from the pain while working but nothing worked. I rushed to my gyno and pleaded she does something about the pain. She injected me with stronger painkillers but nothing changed. All helpless I now asked her, “Please just tell me anything else we can do because I don’t think I will last a day like this.” If I saw a knife that day I would have stabbed myself just to remove whatever it was causing the pain as I knew exactly where it was.

 

She advised that I be admitted right away for a Laparoscopic surgery. Without knowing the details I was ready to go through it just to pass through this hell. In the evening as I was prepping myself for surgery, I started thinking ‘What is this I have agreed to do?’ but I prayed all will be well and went for it. A surgery that was to take 2 hours ended up taking 4 hours. I came out of surgery with a numb tummy and no pain I was like ‘Wow! I like this feeling.’

 

The pain started after I was out of hospital, I was constipated, healing from the surgery itself, dealing with a dry throat caused by the tube they insert down your throat during the surgery, extremely emotional and hating on those who didn’t come see me in hospital including a Best friend who I decided to let go of. I went back to the gyno for my report and to ask why the surgery took so long and she explained that I had a normal cyst and inside that there was now an endo cyst growing both being 5.5cm. These were on the left ovary therefore causing the excoriating pain. They were removed but since they were on my ovary the top tissues were removed as well so healing would take some time.

 

Post-surgery, I am still struggling to join this diet plan that endo patients are asked to follow but my work mates give me support and also join me in eating right. I do not want to lose a job or give up on life because of this. Believe me it is so hard, I lived for food and now I get told do not eat this or that. You think like where do I start looking for organic food and even when you do find some you are too weak to cook it for yourself.

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But believe me nothing is worth your health. The bills that you get with medication and surgery are more expensive than just eating right and taking care of yourself. I am now hearing of foods or herbal meds and I’m willing to give them a try.

 

This has really changed me in many ways – I am closer to God more than ever, thinking of him everyday – I am more positive and really willing to help someone else through this because NOTHING is possible without the support. When you are left alone your get negative thoughts play in. Even just listening to someone vent is good enough for me because we all at one point want to do that.

 

I always want to help and be there for anyone going through this as no one understands your pain like a fellow endo-sister. I believe this will be a thing of the past but this can only happen if we create awareness and research on what works or doesn’t work for each other.

 

What I always keep in mind that God gives the toughest battles to those he loves the most. Let’s not give up and always be there for someone whenever you can because time is short, let’s not run out of it!

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courtesy yesofcorza.com

My favorite flower is a black rose as it is unique and rare to find just like you!!

You can connect with Reshma on:

Facebook – www.facebook.com/reshma.maru

Instagram –https://www.instagram.com/drop.dead_diva/

Are you an Endowarrior living in Kenya?

Would you be interested in joining a community of women who support each other in this journey?

Do you suspect that you could have Endometriosis and are wondering where to start?

If you answered yes, please leave me a comment or send me an email via yellowendoflower@gmail.com and I will be in touch.

Despite the adversity and circumstances that surround us, we will still bloom and dazzle the world with our presence and beauty.

We are flowers; delicate, resilient and strong.

Yellow Flower Mail

The cold floor and I were once good friends, not by chance but as a result of circumstances. When Auntie Flo’ checked in, the pain would overwhelm me and the cold floor was my happy place. The pain felt like a furnace was in my belly, the painkillers seemed like drops of water trying to put out a raging fire.

My eyes were always moist, dust particles had an eviction notice every other day. Crying sessions were part of my routine, the pain made me feel like God, the world and my body were against me, no one wanted me to prosper. As I balanced on my sides I wasn’t seeking prosperity, it was survival I was after. I just wanted to survive, to be well, to be pain-free.

Eight years later, my story has changed, I’ve come a long way and the pain has subsided, I have energy and I have a testimony.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (AMP)

Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts and encourages us in every trouble so that we will be able to comfort and encourage those who are in any kind of trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

I want to share the comfort that I have received with other ladies fighting Endo in Kenya through handwritten letters of hope.

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If you are an Endowarrior living in Kenya and you would like to receive Yellow Flower Mail please fill in the form below and I’ll get writing.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/M6G3NQ2

If you would like to support women living with Endometriosis please send me an email via yellowendoflower@gmail.com and I will be in touch.

Prepping for Auntie Flo’

After many miserable months of barely surviving during my periods, I realized that I could make my experience better by preparing my body in advance. The little changes have had such a huge impact, incorporating certain foods into my diet a week before Ms. Flo’ checks in has proved to be beneficial and made certain symptoms one less thing to worry about.

Constipation, cramps, clots, bloating and migraines made me dread my periods, my only saving grace was that I had a long cycle which meant 11 periods a year, I was counting all the blessings I could think of.

The game changer for me was the migraines. I had found a way to live with the other symptoms but the migraine was the one that made having to stay home from work worse, I couldn’t read, think or sleep.

Here are a few of the things that I have since incorporated that are giving me some much-needed relief.

I’d love to know what is working for you, I am open to trying out new things, so please leave me a comment below.

Under Wraps

There were certain things that could not be discussed at the table. Menstruation was one of them. It was discussed in the shadows, amidst whispers. Truth seldom lurked in those shadows. That’s how I was convinced that painful periods were normal.

I suffered in silence. When I tried to speak up, I was told that it was normal. When the pain got excruciating, I was told that it was all in my head. It seemed my head had a circulatory system, an SGR that helped it move from the North of my body to the Equator, my waist.

The first time I set out to buy pads as a young girl, I walked praying that I would find the shopkeeper’s wife. It would be easier to ask her for Always. When I found the shopkeeper himself, I thought about going back home and coming back later, but I needed the pads urgently. I mustered all the courage I had within and asked for pads.

“Habari yako? Tafadhali nipe Always.” I said as I looked at the stock behind him.

“Mzuri. Oh! Unataka Always?” he asked with half a smile on his face as he connected the dots, I was finally menstruating, no longer a little girl.

“Ndio.” I answered as I looked at the ground. It was already an awkward conversation, we didn’t need eye contact to make it worse. He hurriedly picked a packet of Always with wings, wrapped it in a newspaper and then put in a black paper bag. I was embarrassed. This action spoke volumes to me, it said: periods were to be kept under wraps.

A painful diagnosis with Endometriosis got me talking about periods on any platform I could find. The pain of surgery and hormonal treatment eradicated the illusion of shame. I shared a bit of my story on my Vlog.

We need to talk about periods at the table, even from the mountaintops if we can. There are too many women suffering in silence, too many girls languishing alone, hating menstruation, yet it can be a beautiful thing.

As our girls are home from school, I encourage us to talk openly and freely about periods. Ask them about their periods the last couple of months and take steps to help them.

Let’s talk about periods over a cuppa.

Dream Again

I’m having a little party today. Celebrating a new beginning.

I found out I had Endometriosis when I was ready to change the world. It interrupted my life, plans and dreams. I was young, naive and somewhat full of energy. The endless opportunities in my horizon excited me, that was until Endo got the best of me. I went from being energetic to psyching up to do simple and mundane tasks such as showering. Leaving the house was difficult, while keeping my dreams alive seemed like folly.

My periods had taken over my whole life. Pain was my companion and medication had become my cuppa. My previously blemish-less tummy, now held scars that were the only proof that my pain was real. That it was not a figment of my imagination. They vindicated me, though they remained hidden.  The color had been erased from my world. My rainbow had become a Zebra.

Even after I got better, it took a while to reclaim my mind. To change my mindset, to embrace the new season. I was scared to be okay, because I thought that a flare up was lurking in the shadows. When I had a series of good days, I almost felt guilty. One day, it dawned on me that I had given myself to Endometriosis. Yes, I had Endometriosis, but it too had me. I was stuck and suffocating. Life without Endo seemed foreign, like it was too good to be true. Like a privilege that I wasn’t supposed to enjoy. Fear held me captive, the possibility of having a normal life and then relapsing to the dark valley where I could barely do anything scared me.

I managed my life, expectations and dreams. Endo had taught me to cope, never to thrive. Somewhere in the midst of it I forgot how to shine, so I settled for mediocre. This mindset reduced my dreams to naught.

A  few months ago, I had an idea to start a Vlog, I had the episodes all lined up in my head, but the voice deep within, screamed that I couldn’t do it. So I buried the idea, but it kept resurrecting, no tomb of darkness could contain it. It became clear, that part of my life’s mission was to create content.

After weeks of toying with the idea, burying it, fighting it while embracing it, I decided to start it. What a relief it is, to finally just start. The hurdles seem bigger when you are stationary, when the ball starts rolling you see that your dreams can become a reality.

Karibu Yellow Endo Flower . To start us off, I talk about my journey with acne and why I stopped drinking coffee.

Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCQOngXT4WM&feature=youtu.be

Meltdown

Walking with an irritable, overstimulated and exhausted toddler is like carrying a ticking time bomb. It is only a matter of time until it goes BOOM, and you are left dealing with the shrapnel. So you hope and pray that the bomb goes off in the comfort of your home. This tense situation is the reason I stopped going shopping with my little girl at lunch time. It was just a recipe for disaster. Sleep is like the ocean, sometimes it comes subtly, other times, it rages and turns calm water into volatile waters. One minute she is calm, and the next she is on the floor wailing, all because she wants to sleep.

After 1pm, you will rarely find me tagging along Miss K. If we didn’t go together in the morning, I go by myself. And shop in peace, while she takes her afternoon nap in peace. This arrangement works for everyone.

Going shopping when hungry is a horrible idea. Everything calls out your name, and your otherwise disciplined body wants everything that it lays its eyes on. You go from craving chapati, to ice cold soda, to chocolate, to ice cream. to chevda,  to chips. And you ask your body, ‘Who are you? How can you possibly desire all these things at once?’ The thing is, hunger just wants to be sated. It makes you desperate. You become like an indecisive little child who doesn’t want to share. Your body screams ‘Mine!’ every time you pass an item that it likes. It has a meltdown.

If you give in to the all the cravings, they taste good while you are eating them but a few minutes later, you belch and bile rises to the top of your oesophagus. You are instantly disgusted by your actions. Regret fills your belly.

To avoid the meltdowns and body tantrums, I have identified my triggers. Hunger is one of them. So I try to go shopping when I am full. I have my oat smoothie or sweet potatoes before I leave the house to avoid eating a mandazi later. When I am hungry, mandazis look like manna and Quail looked to the Israelites in the desert. Heavenly.

There’s an exhaustion that sleep cannot solve. This fatigue doesn’t befall you overnight like a thief in the night, it fills up slowly like the waning drops of rationed water in a bucket. It takes being aware of your emotions and fatigue levels every day or week to notice the exhaustion, before you find yourself in a meltdown.

Understanding when you are most vulnerable helps you to be proactive, this minimizes your chances of having a meltdown.

Misunderstood

‘Who hurt you?’ I asked aloud, referring to my uterus. I was tired of her tantrums. She behaved like an old bitter woman, who was trying to hurt me and cramp my style. Her negative attitude was like a pregnant dark cloud in my bright blue sky. My positive attitude was like the blaring sunshine before it rains. The proverbial ‘Hii jua ni ya mvua.’

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The mention of Eve’s name would make me cringe. I blamed her for my uterus’ monthly anger. Why did she have to listen to the serpent? Of all the trees in the garden, she chose the one that was forbidden. Curiosity killed the cat. Curiosity also harmed Eve and her descendants.

One day I woke up and called my uterus to a meeting. That morning, I blasted some worship music, wore the prettiest top I owned,  sprayed some nice smelling perfume, and read up on how to deal with a hurting individual. Then I prayed and I set out, well, more like set in, to have the discussion of the day.

I had decided that nobody, or uterus for that matter, was going to dull my sunshine.

“Hi Missy! ” I said in a high pitched voice.

“Hmmm!” she grunted

“First, I’d like to say sorry about all the mean things that I’ve said about you. I didn’t meant to make you upset.”

“Go on, I’m listening.” She responded. My sandwich approach seemed to be working. I was apologizing before stating my case.

“I’d like to call a truce. Help me to help you to help me.” I said, almost pleading.

“Y’know, you sound like a really nice person, when you are not talking badly about me. I think that I can help you, I’d like to give it a shot.” Uterus said as the smirk on her face turned into a gentle smile.

The voices in my head shouted “Hallelujah!”. I was excited that I was making some progress, but I needed her to tell me exactly how we could work together.

“What can I do to make your living conditions a bit better?” I asked.

“Thanks for asking.  This is going to be a long response, you better get a pen and a paper.” I quickly removed my notebook and pen, and put my phone on ringer. Nothing was going to disrupt my peace negotiation.

“What makes me most upset, Ess, is when you eat all that oily food, dairy and wheat and your stomach bloats all up in my business. It’s difficult to breathe with your intestines in my face. How would you feel if you had balloons constantly poking at your face? Huh?  Bananas make me happy, They relax my muscles, I’d like more of those. It wouldn’t hurt, if you’d drink some more water. Chill out on the alcohol and coffee.” Missy said then paused to catch her breath.

“Ess, Heat is bae. Snuggle up with hot water bottle, I’m cold. I want some love. Have a cuppa and warm me on the inside. I know you want to lie all day, but I need you to keep moving. Give me some endorphins. Boost your levels of fish oils and magnesium, those help me feel less cranky. Finally, if I cause you too much pain, please remember that it is not personal. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t enjoy losing a part of myself every month. If you are in a lot of pain, please pop a painkiller. If it feels as though I am screaming each month, or cutting you from the inside, do us both a favor and see a doctor. Lord knows we need all the help that we can get.”

“Oh Uterus, you had a lot on your chest. Thanks you sharing your thoughts and the tips. I will definitely take them into consideration. I want us to live in peace. I’m sorry you’ve been hurting so much all this time. Honestly, I thought you were just a grumpy old lady. But, it turns out that you are pretty cool. Let’s hug and make up.” I said as I stretched out my hands to embrace my fiend turned friend.

“Ess, I’d love to hug you but your intestines are all up in my space.”

“Oh! I’m sorry about that. I’ll work on the bloating. Now, let me eat a banana and make you happy.”

It turns out, I’d gotten it all wrong, Miss Uterus is not a bitter old woman, she’s just misunderstood.

 

 

The Overflow

During the period talk in primary school, one key detail was forgotten: ‘What to do when you have heavy periods.’ Nobody prepared me for the overflow that would come with my periods. The first time I soiled my clothes, I thought I was dying. It seems silly, but then, it was a crisis.

I was a happy camper as long as I was sitting, when I stood up, gravity would come in to full effect and the rivers of Babylon would flow. I felt completely powerless, there was nothing I could do to stop it. It felt like my womb had turned into a waterfall for a few minutes.

My primary school dress was a mixture of white and grey, so a red stain stood out like a blob of jam on toast. It was not supposed to be there. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that you are not supposed to use hot water to remove a blood stain. Sigh. I learned the hard way.

How to deal with the overflow

For months, I ended up soiling my sheets, I eventually learned how to cope with the heavy periods. Here are some of my tips to handle the overflow.

1. Save your pretty panties

I used to wonder why anyone would want to wear granny panties during their periods. Especially since they are everything but sexy. Then I had a heavy period that painted my panty red like a toddler with a paintbrush. On that day, no one needed to tell me to have separate panties for shark week.

When you are struggling with bloating, a bikini cut may not be the best option. Choose something with a some allowance to grow. Comfort is key, your uterus is already having a battle on it’s own.

2. Layer!

Back in the day, I used to layer my pads. When I first saw a pad with loops, I was baffled. I kept asking myself, ‘Who wears such things? How is it worn?’. Fast forward to the first day post delivery, and I was so relieved that I could elongate my pad. Their adhesive is horrible but they make up for it with absorption.

Maternity pads are great for heavy flow. They cost a lot more, but they are very effective. We need more affordable pads like these for women with heavy flow.

Putting an old towel beneath your bum helps to protect your bed sheets. Set an alarm to change your pad in the middle of the night so that you can avoid the accidents.

 

3. Cold water

When it comes to cleaning blood stained clothes, refrain from soaking blood stained garments in hot water. It will cause the stain to set in to the fabric. Instead, use cold water. You can soak the clothes in cold water for 30 minutes then . You can use either salt, bicarbonate of soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide or ammonia to make a paste on the stain and rub it.

4. Stock up

It is easy to become iron deficient if you have heavy periods. Eat more iron rich foods like beans, leafy greens, dark chocolate, peas, meat and liver, all through your cycle.

If you feel foggy, tired and have to change your pad or tampon every hour, please see a doctor.

Heartbroken

Pain is a powerful thing. It roars and gnaws at you. As it increases, it overpowers you, and as you lay in the depths of despair, you are at crossroads. One side of you wants to fight, and another wants to give up and drift off to a happy place. A place void of suffering, discomfort and anguish.

Warrior is a term used to describe a brave or experienced fighter. Women living with Endometriosis are warriors. They fight invisible battles every day. They paddle like ducks, trying to stay afloat in a sea of despair. They dabble between wanting to stay in bed, all day, every day, and trying to live in purpose. They give themselves endless pep talks and flood their pillows with tears when they get overwhelmed. They pop pills like popcorn, and struggle with pain and symptoms unspoken.

They fight. Most times they win. But, sometimes they lose.

When you are living with chronic pain feeling alone is the order of the day. It is difficult to find someone who gets you. When you do, you cling to them like an infant monkey hangs on her mama. Thanks to the internet, there is a strong and growing endo community out there. The pain of Endometriosis has brought women from different backgrounds together. As you interact with other warriors you realize that you are not alone. Sometimes you wail like a baby when you read their stories. Overall, you connect with women you’d otherwise never have met, and you love. Oh, you love them.

The Endo community is heartbroken. This week we lost an endo-warrior, Allison Kimberly. A beautiful endo warrior who didn’t get the treatment she needed when she went to the hospital.

We Are Heartbroken

Our hearts are broken. We’ve lost one of our own. We are hurting. We are vulnerable and we need many things. We need our loved ones to believe us. We need our medical care service providers to help us when we say that we are in pain. We need to hear that we matter. We need a cure.

Even a warrior gets exhausted. Some days it’s harder to paddle. Some days it’s harder to smile. Some days we just need a break.

Today, I am saying a prayer for all Endo-warriors who are in pain- physical and emotional pain – that you may experience God’s peace, and healing. If you need someone to talk to, please send me an email via yellowendoflower@gmail.com.

May Allison’s soul rest in eternal peace.

Again we ask: please believe us and please help us.

Fight and Shine

There is no shortcut to treating Endometriosis. Nope, non at all. You have to put in work, and try different pain management strategies. The truth is some may work and others may not work as well. Endometriosis affects different women differently. In the same way, one treatment method may work for one woman and give another woman -a hell on earth- experience.

The first time I looked at the Endometriosis diet I concluded that all I could eat was air. My diet at the time was predominantly made up of everything that I ‘wasn’t’ supposed to eat. I was conflicted between wanting to be pain free and needing to eat for comfort.

It was hard. Every thing about that season was difficult. I felt as though Endo was taking too much away from me – first my ability to perform and then my comfort food. What was a girl to do?

It had never occurred to me that I was an addict. I was addicted to the bad foods. My body was in serious pain but I couldn’t comprehend how I would survive without my staple foods. Coffee without milk seemed like a bad dream. Sugar-free tea seemed like a punishment, and my body needed a reprieve.

DEAR eNDO wARRIOR,ONE DAY YOU WILL FIND WHAT WORKS!

A lot has changed since then, I am stronger and wiser now. I have tried many things: hormones, pain killers and diet changes. Through the process the question that I have learned to ask is, ‘ How does this form of treatment make me feel?’. The first couple of days of quitting wheat made me feel depressed, foggy and sluggish. Earlier in the journey, I would throw in the towel on the third day because the headaches were driving me nuts. Little did I know that freedom from wheat lay a few days down the road.

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment. What one woman sings at the top of her lungs works, may have you crawling on the cold floor in regret. Take the advice and suggestions that you receive with a pinch of salt. Do your research, pray and then give it a go.

Hormonal acne has humbled me. It has taught me that not everything I try will work. And I have tried lots of things. I remember one time, I read that if you apply your morning urine on your face, your acne will disappear. The good Lord saved me from trying out that option, through it crossed my mind severally. But I have tried neem soap and lotion, shea butter, tomato juice, potatoes, lemon, honey, yogurt, steroids, black soap, coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil, sandal wood, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, rose water, lots of cleansers and moisturizers. Phew, that’s a mouthful but I’ve tried many things and most of them have not worked. I’m still here, hopeful that I will find what works.

I’m now trying to treat it from the inside-out. I’m diligently taking my morning elixir  which consists of ACV, honey and cinnamon in warm water. I’m using bentonite clay on my face, we have to thank God for this gem, it works. I’m drinking lots of water and I have cut out dairy from my diet.

I won’t stop trying. I believe that one day, God willing, I will hit the jackpot.

Hang in there, dear warrior. Keep trying, keep fighting and keep shining.

Ess

 

Listening To The Whispers

Conversation is food for the soul. Having insightful conversations refreshes me. I enjoy listening out for details, chiming in and processing the information later. It never occurred to me that my body would try and communicate with me at any one time. I used to saunter through life without a clue that the pain and symptoms were my body’s way of trying to get my attention.

Hormones are powerful little things, trust me, I have learned the hard way. Puberty humbled me enough to respecting these chemicals. From the acne that wouldn’t go away to the Endometriosis symptoms; my body was constantly trying to tell me that my hormones were imbalanced but I was too distracted to listen. I screeched to a stop in my passive tracks when I couldn’t walk because of the pain.

Pain is the body’s way of saying, ‘Help me!’. Excruciating pain has taught me that I need to listen to my body when it whispers before it screams and I can’t walk anymore.

2020 SummerPet Picnic!

Over the years I’ve discovered that it’s difficult to identify abnormal symptoms when you don’t have a baseline to work with. Finding the baseline takes time. One has to listen to their bodies daily and take note of the symptoms and emotions.

I’m kinder to my body now. I’ve chosen to be deliberate as I listen to her speak. I take note of the symptoms that I experience after eating food, experiencing stressful seasons, being on medication, and using beauty and cleaning products.

It has helped me feel more in control. I’m able to avoid pitfalls and the pain that results from bad diet and lifestyle decisions.  I have managed to be constipation free through watching my diet. After years of experiencing pain and discomfort, I can eat and have a bowel movement without tears and the help of softeners.

I have learned to pay attention to the whispers so that I won’t be paralyzed by the screams.

 

Drowning On Dry Land

I have struggled with chronic fatigue for half of my life. It’s one of the perks of having Endo. On top of being inflamed 60 percent of the time, you have to deal with being tired all of the time. There is nothing exciting about feeling sluggish, in fact, it’s hard to be excited about anything.

Seven years ago, a friend of mine was tired of hearing me say how fatigued I was day after day, so she gently told me, “Ess, you needed to suck it up and find another response. Perhaps you need to pray a little harder.” Deep within, I was sad that I couldn’t shake off the feeling. It wasn’t just in my head, it was in every fiber of my being. I felt like on top of losing to my period every month, I was losing to life every single day. I was drowning on dry land.

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The thing about living with an invisible disease is that you hear all sorts of comments minus the sensitivity your heart desires. I was told to pray some more because Endo is a curse, exercise because endorphins would do me some good, and find a shrink because it was all in my head. I tried all three strategies, but I have had to change my approach over the years.

There is a desperation that comes with being sick, you can try anything. I stopped judging people who go to witch doctors for help because of sickness or believe in seemingly skewed doctrines. When pain and despair threaten to tear you apart cell by cell, you become desperate enough to believe in a higher power’s ability to save you from drowning and dying slowly.

To combat the fatigue and sluggishness, I am using Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). I have one tablespoon of ACV in warm water with honey, lemon, and cinnamon every morning and my energy levels are off the charts. I’m a little energizer bunny, I actually wake up excited to to see the day.

I’m still fighting other battles but I am definitely not drowning on dry land.

Ess

Let’s Talk About Periods And Endo

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Join me for a Twitter Chat with an amazing panel hosted by @MtotoNews today from 3.00pm – 5.00pm EAT to help break the silence and build awareness about the fundamental role that good menstrual hygiene management (MHM) plays in enabling girls to reach their full potential. The discussion shall also focus on highlighting solutions that address these challenges.

This year’s theme for Menstrual Hygiene Day is: Education.

“l’m also excited that Endometriosis is part of this conversation and we shall elaborate further on the how a normal period should feel and look, Endometriosis and the warning signs to look out for. Every girl needs to learn to listen to her body when it whispers, so that she won’t be bedridden when it screams.”

#MHM
#menstrualhygieneday #menstrualhygiene #periods #pain #endthesilence #endometriosis #endometriosisawareness
#yellowendoflower #girlchild #hygiene

 

The Workout Hiatus Has Come To An End

I’m determined to get my sexy back. ‘Where had she gone to?’ you ask, well, I seem to have lost her somewhere between being pregnant and lactating. I’ve been pregnant twice in two years, my body has ballooned, carried life and found a new form. The thing that I have learned about my body is that it’ll never quite be the same. But that’s not an excuse to let it go.

The WorkoutHiatus HasCome To An End

The gym is not really for me. The last time I seriously decided to work out I ended up in an operating theater having my second laparoscopy to remove endometriosis adhesion and a burst appendix. After that surgery, I took the doctor’s advice seriously. For a long time, I made ‘take it easy’ a way of life, but I miss being fit. Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro and taking part in a triathlon are still on my bucket list.

After I had my first born, I was the heaviest I’ve ever been. I woke up one day and decided things had to change. I stopped taking sugar, dairy and reduced my wheat consumption. I worked out at home and I was able to lose the Lupride weight that I had been carrying around for years. Tiffany Rothe, God bless her, really helped me work out and I loved the results.

After the second baby, I’ve taken longer to start working out. There was so much going on and I wanted to make sure that the wound has healed. But I’m back! Yesterday was my first day and I felt great. I’m doing low impact workouts that won’t leave me feeling inflamed. I had a spring in my step yesterday, I was feeling on top of the world. Today, on the other hand, I’m feeling muscles that I didn’t know existed. Lactic acid is at work. But I know that my body will be grateful, well, eventually.

Before you begin a regime please consult your doctor. Go easy on your body and choose a workout that suits your needs. What works for one woman may not work for you. Listen to your body and enjoy your new regime.

Blessings,

Ess

The Diary Kenyan Endo Warrior: My Journey With Hormonal Acne

I’ve struggled with hormonal acne for well over ten years. As a teen it was nerve wrecking. One day I woke up with pimples on my face that seemed more like mountains, and they just wouldn’t go back to where they came from. I was told that apparently acne during puberty runs in the family and that it would disappear once puberty was over. I waited with baited breath, but it never disappeared. I’m well in to my twenties and I still struggle with acne.

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Seeing a dermatologist didn’t quite help, the medication set me up for greater disappointment. I tried topical creams, oral medication, different facial cleansers, toners and moisturizers. The only time that my skin has been smooth, I have been on a form of hormonal therapy. Smooth skin and manageable periods were about the only positive effects of the hormones on my body. Despite the acne, I am much happier off the hormones.

The acne intensified when I had recurring ovarian cysts. But not even that prepared me for the horror that was acne during my first pregnancy. Oh my word! I had pimples on my face, chest, back and arms. It was horrible. Horrible! They weren’t just pimples, they were cystic bumps, that would scar if you tried to burst them. Yes, I know that shouldn’t burst a pimple, but man, sometimes all the things that you should do don’t seem to work, so you result to throwing your hands up in the air and just bursting them. Because they are yellow, shiny and ripe (read: gross) and you can’t wish them away. The number of prayers that I have said for my face, I think that there is a scribe in heaven who has almost run out ink.

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I was listening to a podcast on hormonal acne and endometriosis, and the thing that shocked me is that Paige’s dermatologist told her that the life cycle of a pimple is about two months. That means that a topical treatment may not be enough to get rid of the pimple. You need to heal from the inside out.

An endo sister encouraged me to choose three products and just be consistent. So I chose to keep it simple with more like five products. I am using the Simple cleanser, Rose water to tone and Simple moisturizer. I scrub twice a week and put a sandalwood and turmeric mask every week. Keeping my hair off my face is also helping, goodbye versatile hairstyles.

On the inside, I am still pursuing (the somewhat elusive) hormonal balance. I’ve been craving (and satisfying the craving for) lots of dairy. I need to find alternative sources of calcium and take my supplements. I want to detox again to help reset my body and then I can watch what I eat.

I decided a couple of months ago not to reduce my self esteem or worth to the presence or absence of pimples on my face or chest, arms and back.

The truth is, it’s not the worst that it’s been, and I am relieved, but I’d like to balance my hormones naturally. So, here’s to resetting my hormones and getting smooth(er) skin.

Have you struggled with hormonal acne? I’d love to hear what has worked for you.

Blessings,

Ess

 

 

The Cheat Meal Is Just Not Worth The Pain

When I moved to Mombasa, there are two things that I absolutely enjoyed, going to the beach and eating the local cuisine. I just couldn’t get enough of the mitais, mahamris and biriani. My body on the other hand, was not too pleased. If anything, it was having a hard time processing the wheat, sugar and high amount of fat. My face looked like rocky terrain, it was screaming ‘You need to stop!’ but my taste buds were in a mini-heaven. And my taste buds were boss. So I kept struggling.

From a tender age I had bouts of constipation. This was made worse by the Endometriosis adhesion that were on my large intestine. When I moved to Mombasa, it got worse. My diet was perfect for constipation. So I would eat happily and then wail in the bathroom. Each and every day. In retrospect it seems like madness.

The Cheat Mealis Just NotWorth the Pain

Then one day, I had enough! I decided that though the mahamris and mitais were tasty, they were just not worth the pain I felt when I pooped or the pain during and after my periods.  Nothing was worth that pain and I needed to start saying ‘NO’ to my taste buds.

Over the last two weeks, I’ve had conversation with Endo warriors who told me that the food that they avoid (wheat and dairy)  is just not worth the pain that they feel when they eat them. They’ve both felt the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

Is the cheat meal worth the pain that you feel? Is it worth the hours spent in the bathroom, praying, trusting and hoping that the pain will end? Is it worth the pain during and after the periods?

I’ve asked myself these questions and my resounding answer is NO!!

What has your food and pain journey been like?

Blessings,

Ess

 

The Kenyan Endo Story : Faith Muraya

Endometriosis is an invisible disease. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Pain has been normalized and so has the use of painkillers. Faith Muraya gives us a glimpse into her life as an Endo warrior. She shares with us her journey of pain, and the lifestyle changes that she has had to make.

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The journey of Periods and womanhood is the norm for women. As with most girls, my periods begun in high school. To be more specific, mine begun on a fantastic holiday in Naivasha where I now had to explain to all why swimming was not an option.

 

I am now a 25-year-old daughter, sister, cousin, niece and, for three months now, a proud wife.

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From the information I gathered, my endometriosis began in high school when I was around 17. The periods became more intense. I would narrate the pain to my mum who would tell me it is okay to pop a pill. I always thought lightly how my mother took comfort in pills not realizing my mother and I faced, and still face, the same battle.

 

As a teen I had severe acne, and the dermatologist prescribed birth control pills. The relief was instant. The pain decreased. At such a tender age and not knowing the side effects of pills, I began to experience anxiety, depression and heart palpitations. I was a newly initiated health freak and I got to reading. This method was not going to work. I stopped and so did my menstrual cycle. I uncovered that I loved to read about health and wellness. I become a vegetarian. Yes people, by choice. And let me tell you my family took turns at challenging my new lifestyle. I am glad to say 9 years and counting. The diet change made a small difference on my pain levels.

 

For over 5 years, I continued with Ponstan, Panadol and hospital visits to relieve the pain. One major symptom held me down every month, I was fatigued.

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Yes, 18 and fatigued. I was still not aware of endometriosis. I continuous blamed myself for not being good enough. That I was lazy. So I exercised two to three time a day. Pushing my body further into a vicious cycle of fatigue, insomnia and pain. I would bloat so much that I could not button my trousers.

 

 

In 2014, as I went through the wild fun of university, I began to drink and neglect my health. With school and a part time job, my body began to deteriorate and even though I was not eating well. I had gained 5 Kgs. What could this be? I was well rested but exhausted no matter how much exercise I did. The weight would not budge. Then my period did not come for one, two, then three months. I panicked!

 

With an insurance cover I insisted on getting during the year, I took to the hospital. The doctors told me I was pregnant and my hormonal balance was causing the issue. This was without any positive urine or blood test. Doctors!

 

As my symptoms grew worse, I researched my symptoms and diagnosed myself with either an ovarian cyst, PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) or endometriosis. The next time, I marched into the hospital and demanded an ultra sound. And lo and behold there is was a 10cm * 10cm ovarian cyst in my right ovary! The doctor did not even apologize for the misdiagnosis. After three months I had had enough, I packed my scans and patient history never to return to the hospital again. I booked an appointment with a gynaecologist who came highly recommended.

 

With my appointment on the Monday, I continued my weekend with hope. Unfortunately, my ovarian cysts ruptured, at the time I had no idea. I fell to the floor in agony, sweating and feverish as my boyfriend confused helped me into the shower for a cold rinse. The pain subsided and I insisted I was fine to wait for my appointment.

 

In the morning, my boyfriend insisted on accompanying me. When I got to the clinic, the nurse took my temperature and blood pressure asked me how and felt and left. Two seconds later the gynaecologist entered the room and confirmed the tests he then asked me if the night before I had suffered severe pain and I confirmed. He calmly explained that my cyst had ruptured and I had internal bleeding. He drafted a letter for surgery the same day and off I went. Emergency laparoscopy surgery! At this point, I was scared out of my mind, I was not mentally prepared for this. The surgery was successful.  As I sat there in bed, my mother took to the university with doctor’s letter for leave of absence almost coming empty handed as the university did not understand. With only two weeks to recuperate, I took to the internet, YouTube videos, articles etc. I began my lifestyle change.

 

When I resumed university, a stinging pain began to torture me. The doctors confirmed that an infection was imminent and I had to rest. It was either I failed my classes for missing them, or the infection spread. Neither was a choice. This is when I accepted help. My boyfriend took to helping me with life. Feeling vulnerable and weak almost sunk me.

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I discovered Ayurveda in the quest to grow my hair. That is a story for another day. Ayurveda has a lot to offer in natural ways to heal your body. I use Eve Care by Himalaya Herbal healthcare. This helps stabilizing my hormones and diminishing the pain significantly. I take it for six months and it keeps me going through the year. This does not work alone. My diet has changed through the years, coffee or anything with high caffeine causes the pain to return instantly. I rarely eat processed food, no sugar or junk food. This year I’m on the quest to have a gluten free diet, needless to say, I’m struggling.

 

Last month, I had my first flare up in two years. It’s said that after two years after surgery the symptoms are more than likely to return. I had been drinking a lot of coffee to get through the day for one year and my body was done. As the month began, I started vomiting every morning. I could not eat. I started to gain weight, I have chronic backache, pelvic pain, fatigue, fainting and hair fall. For one year, I have been deemed ‘overwhelmed’ at work. Embarrassed and ashamed, to share the real story, I said that this year, It’s about accepting the situation and acting to change it.

 

 

The challenges of endometriosis mean that as an outgoing lady, I’m easily reduced to a crying helplessness due to the pain, fatigue, confusion, frustration. Chronic fatigue can make a professional career difficult. Where do I get the strength to get to work? to be productive? The constant explaining to friends and family. And of course those who doubt you.

 

Now that I’m married, I have been advised by gynaecologists to get a baby as soon as possible or I may struggle in future. My husband and I are left with the decision to wait or believe in God. He is my Warrior.

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As I type this article, I have spent the day at Aga Khan Hospital. Something has changed. I begin chapter 2. I urge all my sisters to be you, research and the most crucial action support each other.

You can follow Faith on Instagram and connect with her on Facebook.

Thank you so much, Faith, for sharing your journey with us.

We pray that you will have many pain free days ahead and babies to fill your quiver, all in God’s time. Grace upon grace unto you.

Blessings,

Ess

The Kenyan Endo Story: Rachel Shivachi – Part 3

Recovery was not a walk in the park for Rachel. Post surgery complications made her life rather difficult and her family and friends decided to take her back to India again.

She shares her experience below:

While we were in India, it was Zulekha’s birthday and we had a little celebration at the apartment.

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When I was well enough to travel, we came back to Kenya. I wasn’t getting any better and I had to be readmitted at Nairobi Hospital. I was in adult diapers due to secondary fistula and I kept getting high fevers due to the infection from the kidney stents.

 

I was on antibiotics for more than 10 weeks before friends and family decided that I go back to India for the removal of the stents and catheter. Upon going back to India I was found to have severe jaundice & infection from the stents which the body was rejecting.

 

Below is an excerpt that I wrote after my second visit to India.

25th November 2015

 

To my family and friends who made it possible for me to see this day.

Psalms 105 :1-2

Psalms 115 : 12 -15

It’s great to be back home where everything is so familiar, friends and family, food and mostly language isn’t a barrier because you are spoilt for choice with at least Swahili or English to choose from.

 

We thank God for his mercies last forever and ever. He has remained faithful and if you seek him he shall not let you down. Numbers 23:19

 

We got back from India on 18th November. The two procedures were successful: removal of the DJ Stent and Ureterotomy.

 

I could barely walk after 12 hours of travel, but God’s favor was with us all the way, I managed the trip with no incidences despite the state of my health.  The chills, fevers and the pains were somewhat controlled. All I kept reciting was Psalms 23.

 

Upon our arrival at Columbia Asia Hospital, within five minutes, we were whisked into the Chief Urologist clinic and I spared no details of my journey of the past 10 weeks post surgery in Kenya. The doctors were very concerned and a myriad of tests were carried out, CT scan, usual blood and urine tests including Culture Tests (read what culture tests are for and their importance). I was admitted the very next day after the results were availed. I was also found to have severe jaundice because my liver was straining from the medication.

 

The initial procedure to be carried out was just removal of the stents, cystocopy, however, this changed.  Dr. Manohar, the Chief Urologist, later explained that I had suffered infection (Klebsiella Pneumoniae) from the DJ STENTS, which is a normal occurrence  sometimes with such procedures.  This he mentioned should have been picked during my admission in Nairobi hospital in by having culture tests done and immediately the stents should have been removed.  Additionally, the removal of the Catheter was premature causing my urethra, bladder distress.

 

I had to be on IV antibiotics for 12 days to clear the infection even after the procedures.  Amazingly, I was discharged from hospital after two days, and five days later, I could comfortably walk, sit, eat; I was recuperating well. Daily visits to the clinic were for IV injections at the ER and simultaneously check ups on my recovery. Jeremiah 30 :17

Doctors treat But God heals .

God is faithful as I could can now walk, sit and pass urine without moaning, screaming and crying because of excruciating pain. I could now sleep on my tummy or either side and sleep through the night without chills and fevers and endless trips to the bathroom notwithstanding the spasms from the DJ Stents. I could now control my bladder and the trip to the bathroom didn’t have to be an emergency. I could now eat without throwing up after every mouthful. Psalms 126:1-6

 

The liver infection was taken care of by the supplements to rejuvenate it. I chose not to worry about it.

 

I have now discarded the use of Adult Diapers because my bladder is now back to normal.

 

The only medication I came back with were supplements.

 

One more thing, removal of the ovaries reduces the aggression of endometriosis as the disease thrives on hormones. However this hastens menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, mood swings and also low libido. These symptoms shouldn’t worry you, again diet and exercise will carry you through.  research on the same. In extreme symptoms, there are supplements too that can help. Please note, not HRT (hormonal therapy) as these may predispose one to breast cancer. Cranberry tablets should be considered. Again, read and seek advise where necessary. So, when you see me on a very cold morning flapping a few pages of the newspaper seeking cold air against my face, just open the windows for me 😂😂😂, it’s what my friends call menostop. I promise to be happy always. Proverbs 15:30.

 

My medical follow up is every three months for urine culture tests, liver function test, CT scans to ensure the kidneys, ureters and liver are well healed.

 

I have chosen to give details some of it not so pleasing (gory details) for those out there with terminal illness or going through a similar condition as mine. I have learnt the following in the last few months:

 

  • Support systems are important, be it family or friends. NO ONE can walk this kind of journey alone, you will easily give up and die. Treat people well, care for them and when you need them they will be there.

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  • He’s a forgiving God and always faithful no matter who you are, don’t let the devil cheat you that you are only going to God during distress and you shy off renewing that relationship with him. 2 Corinthians 5:17

 

 

  • If your body doesn’t feel right, see a doctor, ask questions and always seek a second opinion. Don’t ignore health issues, I have had friends, family who have lost their lives when they could have lived if the problem was nipped at the beginning.

 

Endometriosis has no cure but you can continue to have quality life with lifestyle changes, diet and exercise. Basically lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, have three colored fruits everyday,  additionally eggs, fish, nuts like ground nuts and almonds.  Cereals such as beans, green grams are recommended.  Meditation is also key, yoga too.

 

Once again, my family and I are so so grateful for standing and walking with us during this difficult period. We were and are still overwhelmed by your support both financially and spiritually.  Your prayers were not in vain.

 

God is good all the time and that is his nature!

God bless you abundantly! Numbers 6:24 -26

 

❤ Rachel

 

How are you doing now?

I am well and do not have any pain at all however secondary menopause has kicked in and the effects can really put one down, the hot flashes, mood swings, depression, low libido and lubrication, tiredness and lack of energy. Though supplements and gels really do help. I have gone through the anger -denial -acceptance process however I still cannot get myself around expectant mothers and new born babies, I get very emotional.

 

My children are all grown up now: 10, 12 and 20 and have been very supportive through the years. They have been through a lot as well since my marriage was equally on the rocks but we have since re-united.

 

Lifestyle changes had to happen, no wheat though I have cheat days but rarely, this was advise from the doctors. I also do lots of vegetables and fruits. No soda at all, fresh juice mostly and no junk. A little exercise and I have to maintain a certain weight. Oh and an egg every day.

 

They say Yoga is a very good relaxant and if practiced will help with the menopausal effects

 

But most of all I thank God for the quality of life I lead right now.

 

Rachel’s story has brought me to tears. She has reminded me that God is good, and that is His nature. Thank you for being vulnerable with us and letting us into the most painful and private times of your journey with Endometriosis.

Blessings,

Ess

The Kenyan Endo Story: Rachel Shivachi – Part 2

Endometriosis is a multi-faceted disease. Hysterectomy is not a cure for Endometriosis. Rachel shared her medical experience in Kenya yesterday. After that, she sought medical intervention in India, not once, but twice. She shares her first experience in India below.

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My friend Zulekha and I (she would be my medical attendant whilst in hospital) left for India on August 17th 2015 armed with all my past/recent medical records that included CT scans, MRI doctors notes you name it.

 

Upon arrival in Bangalore after an 8 hour flight we were received by the hospital’s arranged transport and driven straight to the hospital.  We were thereafter ushered into the international patients lounge and of course welcomed with soft drinks by very pleasant staff.  All the paperwork was ready and put together and we were immediately sent to our consulting gynae. Things were happening fast; in exactly 4 hours all tests had been done including MRI et al. We were later ferried to the apartment where we would rest until our next day’s appointment.

 

These guys are professionals and everything is computerized. Medical tourism as they call it is serious business and a big revenue earner for them, they are efficient!

In summary, the first week and a half were spent shuffling between more tests and consulting with the three senior most consulting doctors, Gynae, Urologist and GI surgeon; and decision making. My condition had become complicated.

 

I was now being treated for endometriosis stage 4 which means the endometrial tissues were now attaching themselves outside the uterus (since this was already out ). Thing is these tissues can attach themselves to any organ.  In my case, they had aggressively grown and attached themselves to the right ureter and my bladder.  This explained the recurrent UTIs and abdominal pain and sometimes lack of control of my bowels.

 

An interesting point to note is, a few weeks before leaving for India I had an MRI done in a prestigious city hospital including other tests and they were all clean, are these machines different?  I ask myself or is it the lack of knowledge on interpretation of these complicated reports or is lack of training? Not to mention the cost, this had almost dissuaded me from my trip.

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The results I got after week in India led to the involvement of three specialists. This was going to be a very sensitive surgery so they kept informing me. I remember being given a whole day to consult back home on the options availed.  One of them being a hormonal jab every three years but the side effects would be equally damaging.

The surgery was scheduled for August 26th at 7:30am, notwithstanding the risks already explained. I was prepared and we had our praying session with Zulekha before I was wheeled off to theatre.

This was my sixth surgery due to endometriosis. I hoped it would be the last.

I was going to be in theatre for six hours. I was taken through what each doctor’s role would be in relation to the endometrial tissues. The urologist would ensure my kidneys were safe from harm, whilst also checking the damage to the bladder. The GI surgeon would check the level of damage from the colon to the rectum. Whilst the gynae would remove the endometrial tissues from any possible place they could identify, and do a total cervical clean-up which included removal of the ovaries; the biggest contributor to the advancement of the condition. Most important to them was the pain management, so the epidural procedure was carried out while I was awake; I can never ever explain the trauma of having that done. I’m yet to get over it.

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They asked me to pray and have faith before they put me to sleep.

 

Pause! This is where I also take issue with us, the patients, do you read the doctor’s reports, summary discharge from hospital. Do you request for interpretation, why the particular course of treatment, etc? I remember arguing with the Indian gynae about the hysterectomy done back in Kenya.  In the numerous reports I had one report that stood out, it indicated that I had gone through a total hysterectomy but I argued with her and told her as far as the doctor had informed me it was a partial which meant I still had my ovaries et al, imagine my shock! We resolved by agreeing that once in surgery she would confirm.

 

I woke up hours later with several tubes inserted in various parts of my body. The catheter, kidney stents, a tube to discharge the fluids in my abdomen, bandages over my abdomen and a load of IV meds to take care of infections and pain; of course these I saw from the images Zulekha took after I insisted.

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Remember the total hysterectomy, it was actually partial so the doctor confirmed. It was so embarrassing!

To me the actual journey had just began.

Allow me to digress, earlier in 2013, I had rushed to Kakamega with my friend Sabaya to visit my old man after he was found with an enlarged prostate. Our biggest fear being it was cancerous, however , God is good, it wasn’t,  the surgery was successful. This is what amazes me about Men, they don’t share especially when it’s medical, you would be surprised even to their spouses. Would you believe the old man hadn’t passed urine for over a week, so at the point of getting him to hospital, it was a dire situation. He was stubborn and could not be admitted, so we took him at home. For most part of the evening he struggled with the catheter as it kept leaking and it bothered him, we completely ignored him, it made him comfortable. He even joked about it later on.

Zulekha can be gentle yet tough, day by day she informed me how I was progressing and would provide the necessary support including stolen showers (as I was not allowed out of bed, she would make it happen). She was strong for both of us and she asked and repeatedly asked for clarification when we were not clear what was going on.

Four days later it was time to leave a hospital and recuperate back in the apartment. As I got ready to leave the hospital I was presented with an adult diaper and a catheter bag. I was devastated despite the fact that Zulekha had prepared me for this, I guess I had blocked my mind to it. This was all occasioned to the mess they’d found in my abdomen, Fistula was inevitable! !

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So here I was with a pee bag strapped to my leg and wearing diapers. it was humiliating! All because of endometriosis.

HOW DID I GET HERE ?

Was it it ignorance? or sheer bad luck , is it a curse?

Should I have tried to learn more about my condition?

Should I have asked questions and more over the years?

Was I embarrassed about the condition?

Should I have sought second opinion? Should I have challenged the doctors here in Kenya whenever they carried out this and that procedure?

I’ll share part 3 of her story tomorrow. Rachel is a warrior! Her experience reminds us that Endometriosis awareness is crucial. The pain is real. Endometriosis is much more than a painful period. It needs to be treated seriously.

Every Endo warrior needs a Zulekha in her life. A friend who is willing to stand with her, cry with her and fight Endo with her. Zulekha you are a pillar of strength; a friend in times of need. May the Lord reward you.

If you would like to share your story, please send me an email and I will get back to you.

Blessings,

Ess

The Kenyan Endo Story: Rachel Shivachi (Part 1)

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An Endo Warrior is a fierce and brave woman, one who fights many battles that don’t meet the eye.

Over the next couple of days I will be sharing the story of Rachel Shivachi. A woman whose story has moved me to tears. She has known pain, hope, grace and strength.

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I am a mother of three young adults, a wife, sister and a friend to many. I have worked in the Telco industry for more than 15 years in the sales department, high pressure job but I enjoy it. I turned 42 years last month and I believe in Live Life, Love Life.

Here goes my journey with Endometriosis and Adenomyosis.

if you have been diagnosed with the above I can say that there are going to be long days ahead however with proper management, care & support this need not stop you from enjoying life, ladies, research and read and always seek second opinions to be able to make the right decisions. I am grateful that we now have a forum that helps demystify this disease as well as providing the much needed support.

Very little is known about these two diseases and so when in and out of hospital and people ask what you are suffering from, almost immediately one goes to Google to understand this long worded condition.

I will still not go into the details of what the disease is (this is to encourage but you to research and read about it) but I will take you through my experience from an early age.

My menses were a nightmare from an early age of 16, I would not attend school or college including work a few days before and when they came.  Instead I would spend my nights on the cold floor wailing and screaming because then it was what I knew best.

My father having given up on Buscopan and Panadol introduced me to his painkillers – Ponstan. I remember in form 2, dad was so frustrated that he traveled to Kakamega to get miti dawa coz he couldn’t take the wailing anymore. At this time we discovered Dr Nyamu and he put me on contraceptives at the age of 16 and they worked for at least 6 months. So yes there you go, the disease thrives on certain hormones. But then the contraceptives had side effects that we had to discontinue. Before my form four end of year exams, I had to get medication to hold off the periods so I don’t have the pains. This meant that we had to learn pain management.

I don’t remember the last time I traveled without a cocktail of meds in my bag. I’m the first aid box in my own rights. Remember the side effects of long term use of some of these meds. My stomach lining is eroded to mention but a few.

I’m lucky and blessed to have had children so am told but my pregnancies have always been difficult and through caesarian section. I later learnt that CS also predisposed me to the adenomyosis.

I have had 8 Surgeries in total, which started in 2005 with the accidental removal of my appendix whilst it was an orange sized cyst, and, a mass in the uterus. I have had to learn medical terms such as laparoscopy and laparotomy.

So in between the years it was ovarian cysts and abdominal mass that would be found sitting in my uterus and they would be removed through surgery.

The feeling of being pregnant all the time, endless abdominal pains, unplanned menses, long periods of menses, you name it, the disease can drive you insane. Not to mention it limits your social life as you never know when the pains will strike. Nairobi hospital ER became my go to place .

I remember the gynae recommending a one year treatment in 2012 of a hormonal drug called Lupride,  a jab to your abdomen on a monthly basis.  The treatment was expensive, about 10,000/= a jab, and although it provided relief the treatment was a nightmare. I almost lost all my family, friends to name but a few, Leah Murimi, Zulekha Osman, Juliet Kanana, Mbathi Mutuota Penny Waweru; due to the side effects, hot flushes, extreme mood swings et al, but they held my hand.  Immediately we stopped the treatment, endo came back, quite aggressively and I slid into the next phase.

Have you ever gone to the Gynae, he feels your tummy and tells you, you are pregnant and you argue until he eventually sends you for a pregnancy blood test & scan and instead it’s a mass in your uterus and not a fetus? That was the norm!

I will never forget specifically December 2013, I was in so much pain I could not sleep, sit, eat or think because of pain. The abdominal pains, the backache was extreme and I even developed diarrhea. I was over-dosing painkillers just so that another day could come whilst I was avoiding going to hospital, I had the lousiest Christmas. After Christmas and upon arriving Nairobi I was rushed to Nairobi Hospital where my gynae advised for Laparoscopy which would give me relief. Unfortunately, three months later the pain was back and worse than before and eventually in May 2014 when I couldn’t take the abdominal pain anymore I opted for a partial hysterectomy. This the doctor assured me would give me relief for several years.

This was a BIG mistake as I learned later since my ovaries were left intact and my condition was aggressive so it was in vain.

By April 2015 the abdominal pains were back and this time around I developed recurrent UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections) – every other week. Jan Mwenjwa became my office nurse for these emergencies.  Thanks to her I don’t know how I would have coped.  I always looked pregnant, was always bloated and I could only sleep on my right because I had this mass that would pull if I dared sleep otherwise. I had to wear a pad every other time just in case. I always had brownish discharge which was sometimes smelly.

I was very afraid!

In August 2015 friends and family came together and we resolved to seek specialized treatment in India.  We had a harambee and thanks to my wonderful Orange colleagues & family and in August 17th I left for India with Zulekha one of my two best friends that I have.

I’ll share part two of her story tomorrow.

If you’d like to get in touch with her, you can reach her on Facebook.

Blessings,

Ess

Dear Kenyan Endo Warrior, You Don’t Have to Walk Alone

Living with endometriosis can be hard. A majority of my memories are lonely, scary and empty. But, times have changed. I know that in the event I have a flare up there are women that I can call for advice, support and prayers. Women who get me, and don’t think that I am faking the pain or being unnecessarily sad.

Dear Kenyan Endo Warrior

The Endo community in Kenya has grown. It warms my heart to see the different people shining their lights and encouraging other women. The truth is just because, I walked alone doesn’t mean that other women should walk alone.

If you are looking for women to walk with, cry with and navigate this season with, please see below:

Endometriosis Foundation Of Kenya

It was founded by Elsie Hadassah Wandera. You can read her Endo Story and see what her journey has been like.

There’s a closed Facebook Group for women living with Endometriosis, a Facebook Page to create awareness about Endometriosis and a Whatsapp Group to support Endowarriors in Kenya.

They have meet ups from time to time.

Endo Sisters East Africa

It was founded by Doris Murimi.

They have an office in Thika at Gospel Preachers Church, Karibaribi, Thika, near Mary Hill Girls school. You can follow the conversations on their Facebook Page.

They have their first monthly meet up on Saturday 6th May 2017 at Cake Plaza next Prestige Plaza, off Ngong Road, at 3pm – 6pm.

They go to schools and talk to girls about Endometriosis. If you would like to invite them to your school, you can send them an Email.

Waiting Wombs Trust

It was founded by Editah Hadassah Trip. You can read her Endo Story and see how the Trust was born.

They have a closed Facebook Page where they walk with women who are waiting to conceive and encourage them.

They will have their first meet up on 17th June 2017 in Nairobi from 2pm at a venue to be confirmed.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and depressed and you would like to talk to someone, please send me an email and I will put you in touch with someone who can walk with you.

Please don’t suffer alone. As always, I am here to pray with you, cry with you and laugh with you, because I believe that one day, soon, we will laugh.

Blessings,

Ess

#TheKenyanEndoStory: Hadassah Trip

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It is always uplifting to read the stories of other Endo warriors who are braving through life and shining their lights. Our third Endowarrior is Editah Hadassah Trip. She is the founder of Waiting Wombs trust. Hers is a story of pain, grace and hope. She is walking with women whose wombs are waiting and sharing a message of hope.

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After our grand wedding in 2007, I wasn’t keen on conceiving in the first 3 years. We were on honeymoon hence I didn’t see any hurry. I had also lost my sister during child birth and it crushed me.

Fast forward to the fourth year, I experienced horrible cramps, visited a doctor and was treated for cysts. That was the beginning of our waiting journey and the medication process. I was put on some strong hormonal medication that nearly killed me, they had to be flushed out of my system fast.

I experienced my first “societal punch” when someone asked me to try different positions and stop wasting time. (I never lack sober responses for such questions – trust me )

We kept trying, started visiting doctors who confirmed that all was well with us.
I had a laparoscopic surgery in 2010 where the doctor removed 12 fibroids and 6 cysts. I remember asking him how so many growths could be in one petite person.
I recovered and went back to my normal routine.

Later, a pal gave me some herbal medication that worked for her after a long waiting period. This totally affected me and resulted in fresh cysts, said the doc. Reversing the effect was a painful process.

In 2014, I experienced another flare of pain and ended up in the theatre again, this time for an emergency open surgery. I was diagnosed with severe Endometriosis. Was put on the those jabs that drive you straight to menopause (at least some of us know what menopause feels like lol!). How do our mother handle hot flushes?
I remember one day fanning myself ( July) and a client asked me ” madam, ni kushuta ama joto?” (Madam, are you feeling hot or did someone fart?) lol!!
Anyway, I faithfully took the medication for 6 months. This time I was confident that I had recovered and my twins would come any moment – those twins are still coming :).

I have since gone for six Hysterosalpingograms which is an X-Ray to see the inside of the uterus and Fallopian tubes. I’m not doing it again because the last one left me limping, crazy medication, horrible herbs, uncomfortable procedures. At some point my hubby and I promised ourselves that we’d only visit doctors if we must. Oh how I hate hospitals!!

PREGNANCY KITS

I need to mention how uncomfortable I feel buying the pregnancy kits. Knowing that it could be another 200 shillings washed down the drain. I know you understand that feeling only too well. There’s a time I was sure that the babies had at least settled in (Dr. Google can be a monster eish!). I took the tests thrice just because I wasn’t prepared for another negative result. I even tried putting on a different set of specs just in case my eyes were a problem. Call it “honest deception”. I think I cried for an hour or so after finally accepting the results.  My eyes were so swollen the next day and I had to go to work. I survived

Anytime I was put on hormonal medication e.g Clomid, my reaction was extreme. In one instance, I developed severe Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. I react to everything! Literally!

THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS

Two months ago I was upcountry. An old lady relative approached me and said ” I saw the cause of your childlessness in a vision. Give me some money and let me pray for you “. Thank God my husband was there who politely told her off.

Some of the uncomfortable comments I have faced as I wait are:
” what are you still waiting for? ”
” you are pretending to be happy yet you aren’t”
” why are you wasting your husband?”
” you keep postponing this issue thinking you’ll be young forever- shida yako”

Why am I sharing this? Why am I still hopeful and waiting? Does it mean that I don’t have low moments? No. I do. Am human and a woman for this matter.
We have however accepted that children come from God. See the bible cases where ” The Lord opened wombs and conception occurred “? I cling onto such promises. I have faith that my conception will be natural because there’s God in heaven who can do the impossible.
Doctors can talk about infertility or barrenness but I don’t buy that, I am a waiting womb. Adoption is an option for us whether our Samuel comes or not. And as we wait, we’ll make the best childless uncle and auntie by God’s grace.

Should The Lord in His wisdom decide to withhold this blessing from us, we’ll still trust and serve Him. Doesn’t He have good plans for us? He’ll provide the strength needed to hang on.

PARTING SHOT

Let’s be encouraged dear ones. Don’t allow your current situation to define you. You are special, you are loved.

There may be pressure from within, from in-laws, spouses ,society and all, hang on. Even Peninah could only do so much until The Lord remembered Hannah.

 

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Her favorite flower is the red Rose. It is a symbol of love. Promoting family love regardless of situation.

If you know a woman who is waiting on the Lord for a child, you can refer her to Waiting Wombs for more information. You can connect with Hadassah directly on Facebook.

If you’d like to share your story on this platform, please send me an email via yellowendoflower@gmail.com and I will be in touch.

Blessings,

Ess

The Diary Of A Kenyan Endo Warrior: The Game-Changer: The Day I Couldn’t Walk Anymore

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Dear Diary,

By the time I was 17 years old, I was pretty much used to painful and dramatic periods. I had somewhat accepted it as my lot. What else could I do? In those days I seldom heard of anyone going to hospital for painful periods. We resulted to be being amateur pharmacists. In retrospect that was SHEER. FOLLY!

All was well-ish until the day pain paralyzed me in the heart of Nairobi city while on Moi Avenue near a stall selling jewelry. That was scary. My body was overcome by such a sharp pain on the left side of my abdomen. I couldn’t walk and could hardly breathe. I felt hot, a warmth covered my body. I was scared yet I had to put on my brave face on, because the city center is not a place to show your fear when you can’t move.

I inched towards the jewelry stall and sat. God bless the woman who helped me with a seat. She tried to ask me what was going on but I was as clueless as she was. My abdomen was hot and I was balancing tears. Minutes felt like hours as I waited for the wave to pass. When it finally did, I got a matatu and went to school. By this time I was already late for my class. I walked as fast as I could to the school clinic and met the ever patient Dr. Jack. He believed me, he didn’t look at me like I was crazy.

He gave me a place to rest and then treated me for a bad Urinary Tract Infection. After a course of antibiotics, painkillers and urine alkalizer, the pain subsided; only for a few days.

Till next time,

Blessings,

Ess

The Diary of A Kenyan Endo Warrior: I. Am. Tired!

 

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Dear Diary,

I doubt that it’s normal to wake up tired, spend the whole day tired and sleep tired. For so many years this was my normal. My first response to the question ‘how are you?’ was Tired. But there’s only so many times that you can answer tired, until the other person gets, well, tired, of hearing your response. That was the story of my life.

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What I was more tired of, was being sick and in pain. Being sick is a draining process. It literally sucks out the life out of you, and the desire to live. When you have been in pain day after day, you want to cry. I vividly remember crying to God, praying that He would take the pain away. I was fed up of watching my life slip between my fingers. How badly I wanted to live life fully, but my body wouldn’t let me.

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It was more than just physical exhaustion; more like an all round exhaustion. When I found The Spoon Theory  by Christine Miserandino I was besides myself. Finally, someone had put into words what I had been struggling to say for a long time. Her description of Spoonies perfectly described me. “Spoonies are people that live with chronic illness; theoretically measuring personal daily abilities much as one would measure the proper amount of spoons needed for an event or occasion… sometimes having an abundance, other times coming up short.”

I was tired but I realized that I needed more grace,strength and spoons.

To the Spoonie struggling to express her exhaustion, you are not alone.

Blessings,

Ess

5 Things To Do Before You Start An Endo Diet

A few years after I was diagnosed with Endometriosis, I found the Endo diet. It was nice to look at, but it was so much work. it meant giving up all that I knew, and so I started it for a short while, then I quickly fell off the bandwagon because I had not taken certain things into consideration.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve seen many women asking about the diet, and I thought I’d share some tips that I’ve learned over the years.

First off, IT WORKS! For the Endo warrior wondering if changing your diet makes a difference, well, it does, It may not reduce the pain completely but it makes you feel so much better.

5 things to do before starting an Endo Diet

 

Before you start the diet, I’d encourage you to:

1) Read about the diet

Do your research about the diet and internalize why you need to reduce the intake of certain foods. Understand the hormonal balance that you are trying to attain using food. When you begin to view food as medicine, it changes your thought process when you are serving food on your plate.

2) Know what you are dealing with

Endometriosis cannot be treated in isolation. Look back at your medical history and identify any food allergies and take them into consideration. What is good for one woman may not be great for you. If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Ulcers, be sure to avoid any trigger foods that may seem healthy.

3) Make a plan

What they should tell you is that eating clean is not easy, Nah! It isn’t. It takes hard work, planning and self control. The food you are supposed to avoid is so easily accessible. Wheat products, taste and smell so good. They are affordable too, well in the short run.

If you want to be successful, you need to plan your meals in advance. Anticipate hunger. Find restaurants that serve foods that you can eat and enjoy. Look for locally accessible food substitutes. The ingredients that you read about online, may be costly. Remember that food is medicine.

Make your food exciting, eating clean doesn’t have to mean eating boring food.

4) Keep a food and feeling diary

The first couple of days, it is easy to get discouraged especially because you feel horrible being off wheat, dairy, soy and caffeine ( they are the popular ones).

Keep a food diary that allows you to write what you eat and how feel physically and emotionally each day. Remember that you may see results immediately, but you shouldn’t write it off until you’ve tried it for 2 months.

5) Love on yourself

Enjoy the journey. Invest in yourself, speak kind words to yourself. The battle is won in the mind, so you can’t expect to succeed in the eating department if you constantly belittle and doubt yourself. Love yourself for who you are and where you are at. View the diet change as something you are doing for yourself, not necessarily because the doctor or friend suggested it.

Some days we fall off, but we have to get back up. If food has been a crutch, try and find a new activity to do.

All in all, I wish you the very best. If you have any questions, please feel free to send me an email via yellowendoflower@gmail.com

Blessings,

Ess

5 Things To Do Before You Start An Endo Diet

A few years after I was diagnosed with Endometriosis, I found the Endo diet. It was nice to look at, but it was so much work. it meant giving up all that I knew, and so I started it for a short while, then I quickly fell off the bandwagon because I had not taken certain things into consideration.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve seen many women asking about the diet, and I thought I’d share some tips that I’ve learned over the years.

First off, IT WORKS! For the Endo warrior wondering if changing your diet makes a difference, well, it does, It may not reduce the pain completely but it makes you feel so much better.

5 things to do before starting an Endo Diet

Before you start the diet, I’d encourage you to:

1) Read about the diet

Do your research about the diet and internalize why you need to reduce the intake of certain foods. Understand the hormonal balance that you are trying to attain using food. When you begin to view food as medicine, it changes your thought process when you are serving food on your plate.

2) Know what you are dealing with

Endometriosis cannot be treated in isolation. Look back at your medical history and identify any food allergies and take them into consideration. What is good for one woman may not be great for you. If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Ulcers, be sure to avoid any trigger foods that may seem healthy.

3) Make a plan

What they should tell you is that eating clean is not easy, Nah! It isn’t. It takes hard work, planning and self control. The food you are supposed to avoid is so easily accessible. Wheat products, taste and smell so good. They are affordable too, well in the short run.

If you want to be successful, you need to plan your meals in advance. Anticipate hunger. Find restaurants that serve foods that you can eat and enjoy. Look for locally accessible food substitutes. The ingredients that you read about online, may be costly. Remember that food is medicine.

Make your food exciting, eating clean doesn’t have to mean eating boring food.

4) Keep a food and feeling diary

The first couple of days, it is easy to get discouraged especially because you feel horrible being off wheat, dairy, soy and caffeine ( they are the popular ones).

Keep a food diary that allows you to write what you eat and how feel physically and emotionally each day. Remember that you may see results immediately, but you shouldn’t write it off until you’ve tried it for 2 months.

5) Love on yourself

Enjoy the journey. Invest in yourself, speak kind words to yourself. The battle is won in the mind, so you can’t expect to succeed in the eating department if you constantly belittle and doubt yourself. Love yourself for who you are and where you are at. View the diet change as something you are doing for yourself, not necessarily because the doctor or friend suggested it.

Some days we fall off, but we have to get back up. If food has been a crutch, try and find a new activity to do.

All in all, I wish you the very best. If you have any questions, please feel free to send me an email via yellowendoflower@gmail.com

Blessings,

Ess

5 Ways You Can Support An EndoWarrior

Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women. This means, if you know 10 women, you know Endometriosis.

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The fact that it’s an invisible disease makes it difficult for women to get diagnosis and for people to relate with her and the pain. Because of the nature of the disease, and the societal norms, women find it hard to speak about Endo and even reach out for help.

It is more than just a woman’s disease, it affects the society as a whole. Women, daughters and sisters are affected. Fathers, husbands and brothers too.

5 Ways Tolove on an ENDOWARRIOR

Here are a few ways that you can support a woman who has Endometriosis:

  1. Believe Her

When she says that she is in pain, believe her. When she struggles to get out of bed, believe her. When she is too inflamed and bloated to fit in her normal clothes, and takes very long to get ready, believe her. When she says sex hurts too much, believe her. When she says she’d love to meet up but she just can’t, believe her. When she says she is on the verge of giving up hope, believe her.

Believe her. Believe her. Believe her.

The best form of love and understanding stems from a place of believing without a shadow of doubt that she is in pain and not pretending.

This understanding will help you be sensitive when you ask her questions and comment on her daily struggle.

2. Listen to Her

Hear her out, don’t dismiss her pain. Listen to her dreams, her fears, her jokes and her heart. Listen to her words and also to her actions; gently encourage her when she sinks into the valley of sadness.

3. Do Your Research

Take a personal interest in the condition and seek to be knowledgeable. There is a lot of valuable information on the internet. Read up about Endo, go onto forums and ask questions. Read the leaflets that come with the medicine that she is on. Research on

4. Be Present

Let her know that you are in this together. Go for the consultations together. Take an interest in her daily routine, encourage her to do things that help her. If she goes on the Endo diet, help her plan her meals. Join her in some of the meals.

5. Love her as she is

Don’t try to change her to be the woman you remember her being or the woman of your dreams. Love her as she is. Accept the challenges that she faces and help her work around them. Speak words of life and love.

Your support means a lot.

Blessings,

Ess

The Diary of A Kenyan Endo Warrior- The Warning Sign We Missed

Dear Diary,

Where there is smoke, there is a fire.

As a little girl, I had trouble with my bowel movements. I hated going to the toilet. When I felt the urge, I’d have balancing tears because I knew the pain and sheer discomfort that awaited me. My diet was fairly okay, and I tried to drink water and eat my pawpaw, but my poop wouldn’t move (pun intended). I was the preteen girl with chronic constipation, I was always tired and cranky. I envied anyone who could poop with pain and problems.

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When I hit puberty, things got worse. It was more like, out of the frying pan and into the fire. IT WAS HORRIBLE. Pooping during my periods was extremely uncomfortable. My tummy was very bloated and I felt a piercing pain as the poop moved through my intestines. Sometimes, I couldn’t walk, I would sweat, in pain, until it passed. Bowel movements became a serious prayer item. Around the same time, I experienced such discomfort when trying to pee. I’d go and sit on the loo but it just wouldn’t come out. I even thought I was stressed. I remember one time we went to climb Mount Kenya and I just couldn’t pee, other girls kept asking what’s taking so long, but it just couldn’t come out yet it hurt so much. After about 20 minutes of squat-waiting, I finally peed. My period came the following day, but I had no idea, then, that there was a connection between the pain and my menstrual cycle.

Little did I know, Endometriosis was nesting in my abdomen.

Love always,

Ess

 

The Diary Of A Kenyan Endo Warrior – My Struggle With Tampons

Dear Diary,

I’m still super excited about the pad dispensers, because I still can’t use tampons. Rather, I still choose not to use tampons. My struggle with tampons begun as a preteen. My mum told me that they were not for young girls, and told me that they could make me sick. Toxic Shock Syndrome was described and I got scared. I envied the girls in school who swore by them. They did not have the pad problems, you know, having to change all the time, no odour ( remember the time Always had THAT scent?). They could swim!! Oh, THEY COULD SWIM! I on the other hand, used to sit on the sidelines watching, enviously.

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Deep within I knew that once I was an older, out of the nest, I would use tampons. When I got an opportunity to try, it went awfully wrong. I could feel it deep within. It was so uncomfortable. The next time my period rocked up when I was least prepared and a tampon was what was available. That has to be the longest night of my life. That was discomfort 101. As if the discomfort was not enough, the flow seeped through. That day, I decided that tampons were not for me.

My biggest question has always been, where do the clots go? Where?? The flow is usually 80% clots, so the tampon definitely is not the most practical tool. Let’s not forget, how inflamed, tender and uncomfortable the pelvic cavity feels at that time. A tampon seems like a tool of the enemy at that time.

A few years ago, I detoxed and felt a newness and relief I had not felt in a long time. As I weaned off different chemicals, I saw a relationship between what I put into my body and how I feel. My reservation with tampons is that I don’t know exactly what I am putting in. My research has shown me, that I need to care about such things. It may seem silly to some, but pain free days are indeed, slices of heaven. They are not to be trivialized. One of the articles I read reinforced my resolve to watch what I put in.

I meet girls who love pads and others who love tampons, periods are personal, and every one has their experience. My advice to both is, do your research well and then choose what is most comfortable for you.

Love always,

Ess

 

The Pad Dispensers Are Here

When people talk about their period cycles, I thank God that I now have a cycle. Meaning, it is now somewhat predictable. Previously, it was more like a period doodle, yup, something out of a toddler’s workbook. I  was somewhere in between a 21 day and 37 day cycle doodle. So I seldom knew when my period was coming. I was caught unawares more than once, hah, Auntie Flo had a way of checking in when I’d just left the house. Perfect timing. Not. When Auntie Flo comes when you are not prepared, you become innovative, as you wait to find a pad. It’s most irritating when it’s easier to find a condom, than a pad in the ladies bathroom.

PAD DISPENSERS ARE HERE

You can imagine my sheer joy when I heard about Inteco Kenya and their pad dispensers. It was music to my ears.

Meet Ms. Munira Twahir, the beauty and brains behind Inteco Kenya.

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Her Story
I was 9 when I started periods and I was told not to touch boys. That was the end of my orientation into womanhood. The last 14 years has been on my own research and exploration which without guidance can be very risky territory to navigate.
Periods need to be demystified. It needs to be talked about so that girls do not feel as though it is a hindrance or a burden. The fact is womanhood should be celebrated. I have noticed there is a clash in wanting to speak about it and cultural norms. What can you or should you tell a 9 year old about sex and reproduction? Yet, they have started their periods and they are at risk of so many things because of this. I read a recent study that some girls have no association with having periods and pregnancy. This is an extreme case but, many girls transition into womanhood alone.
Inteco Kenya
Inteco Kenya aims to alleviate menstruation  related stress and anxiety by providing women a comfortable, accessible and flexible purchase of single sanitary pads. But, we are much more than that. We want to work with partners, individuals, corporations and institutions that share our passion, to celebrate women. Menstruation should not be a burden or a curse. It should not be a hindrance in the girl child education. It should not be a reason to go into seclusion every month.
We have a Sexual reproductive health programme. It’s aim is to give girls information about their body without judgement. Our curriculum covers reproduction, Menstruation, Sex, Risks, Contraception and boys. In each of these topics we have a technical teaching and the emotional side.
We usually have a conversation with the girls in the school to assess their level of knowledge and curiosity. Some schools we have been to are very conversant with menstruation health management but not with STD/STIs and vice versa. This is done as a casual conversation between the facilitator and the girls. The ratio of facilitator to girls is 1:40
Next we come back and get the numerical data of the conversations we had. This is for our statistics and research. It will form our base line.
We then use the two research methods to write a report on the particular school which we will share with the administration. This report will guide us on how to structure our classes and sessions.
The machine is part of the programme. We sell the pads at 10 shillings. The pads are not our own we are more than happy to partner with companies that are in line with our cause to supply their pads to our demographics. In a school, we only need the space in the lavatories.

You can get in touch with her here.

Blessings,

Ess

One In Ten Women

 

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Women are strong, resilient, gentle, powerful, and beautiful. They are powerhouses. Women deserve to be celebrated and appreciated. They don’t hear how great they are everyday, but they are the stars of our society.

One in ten women suffer from Endometriosis, yet we don’t talk about it. 176 million women are estimated to suffer from Endometriosis. If all of those women were to form a country, it would be the seventh largest country in the world.~@Endowarriors, #Endofacts

The most common symptoms of Endometriosis are:

  • Pain, especially excessive menstrual cramps which may be found in abdomen or lower back
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Abnormal or heavy menstrual flow
  • Infertility
  • fatigue
  • Painful urination during menstrual periods
  • Painful bowel movements during menstrual period
  • Other gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and/or nausea

(information courtesy of reguardingwomen.)

Endometriosis is more than just a painful period. It is a pain that disrupts your entire life. Some women describe it as being stabbed from the inside. Pain is not normal. It needs to be discussed openly and early diagnosis needs to promoted.

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Let’s talk about Endometriosis, and encourage women to seek medical advice.

Happy  women’s day!

 

Blessings,

Ess

The Diary Of A Kenyan Endo Warrior: When It Rains, It Pours and Sometimes Overflows

Dear Diary,

My periods, while in high school, started off innocently, like the morning dew, I was relieved to finally be a woman. And then someone opened the tap and they poured and overflowed.

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The number of times that I soiled my clothes and sheets are too many to count. It was the usual, so I hated having to sleep out or stay out late on those days. I remember when we set out to climb Mount Kenya, I prayed to God to save me the agony of having my period on the Mountain. Back then I didn’t know about the pill to postpone my period. So I used another method, I avoided all the girls who were currently on their periods. I didn’t want anyone inspiring my periods to come while on the mountain. Poor girls, had to endure periods without showering. But, I think at that altitude your body is a little kinder to you. Well, I hope it is.

Once we got down from the Mountain, and into the hotel, my periods came. My pink trousers, that I loved, were now a hot mess, a bloody mess. The pain I felt was out of this world. I couldn’t stay to celebrate our victory, i just went to curl in bed. My uterus was punishing me for taking it to high altitude. It was a long night. The flow seeped through my protective sheet, and I was stressed.just-dying

Somebody needs to make pads for Endo warriors. A super long, super absorbent and super comfortable pad. I tried wearing two pads, before, but yo! that was extremely uncomfortable, I got a skin irritation from the pad materials, so I was left torn between heavy flow and irritation. They make for a horrible combination.

I tried adding cotton but that too was uncomfortable. Tampons are a story for another day.

Why are there only 8 pads in one packet? How many is one supposed to use in a day so that they are enough for the cycle? For me to be comfortable each month, I need between  two and three packets. Now, I’m able to buy as many as I’d like, but back then, being a teenager whose flow was out of this world, that was difficult.

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Why don’t suppliers keep their supply regular? It is soo frustrating when you finally find a pad that works for you and then it’s out of stock, or better still, a bootleg version floods the market and now you have to choose another brand and pray your way through your periods. Because your poor bum is so sore.

I’d love to see a pad company, tailor make a pad for girls with Endo. A brand that understands that when it rains, it pours and definitely overflows. One that understands that clots are real and we’d like a cotton top sheet, one that doesn’t irritate our bums. All for the same price, because Endo is already costly enough.

.

Love always,

Ess