#31 Days Of Endo ~ Shiru Muraya

Day 12 🙂

Endo can push you to the wall, and force you to give up some of the things that you were so sure you couldn’t live without. Then, what started off as a diet becomes a lifestyle, a way of life. Shiru Muraya shares with us her journey of pain, courage and a new found hope.

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My periods begun in high school. To be more specific, mine begun while on a fantastic holiday in Naivasha where I now had to explain to everyone why swimming was not an option.

 

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I am now a 26-year-old daughter, sister, cousin, niece and, for 1 year now, a proud wife.

From the information I gathered, my endometriosis began in high school when I was around 17. The period pain intensified. I would narrate the pain to my mum she’d tell me that it is okay, what I need to do is 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 for me birth control pills. The relief was instant, the pain decreased. At such a tender age, not knowing the side effects of the pills, I began to experience anxiety, depression and heart palpitations. I was a newly initiated health freak and I got to researching. My conclusion was that this method was not going to work, so stopped taking them and this disrupted my menstrual cycle. I discovered that I loved to read about health and wellness.

 

I became 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 that it has been ten years and counting. The diet change made a small difference in 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, I was eighteen and fatigued, and still not aware I had endometriosis. I continuously blamed myself for not being good enough. I told myself that I was lazy, and started exercising 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 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 that 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 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, the ovarian cysts ruptured, and I has no idea what was happening when they ruptured. 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 enough to wait for my appointment.

 

In the morning, my boyfriend insisted on accompanying me to see the doctor. When I got to the clinic, the nurse took my temperature and blood pressure asked me how I felt and she 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 the cyst had ruptured and I was experiencing internal bleeding.

 

He drafted a letter for an emergency laparoscopy surgery to be performed the same day and off I went. 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, and came back 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 stabilize my hormones and diminishes the pain significantly. I take it for six months and it keeps me going through the year.

 

Early 2017, 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 had chronic backache, pelvic pain, fatigue, fainting and hair shedding. For one year, I had been deemed ‘overwhelmed’ at work, but I was too embarrassed and ashamed, to share the real story.

 

The challenge of endometriosis meant that as an outgoing lady, I was easily reduced to a crying helplessness due to the pain, fatigue, confusion, frustration. Chronic fatigue can make a professional career difficult.

 

Let’s just say I was a mess. After some deliberation with my family, I made the decision to leave employment and take care of myself. Some said it was a drastic decision, but it was necessary for my sanity and that of those around me.  I have taken 8 months to recuperate and regain my balance. It has been a lot of sacrifice.

 

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I had to sit and really think about the quality of life I wanted. After quitting my job and sleeping for like two months, I began to research more and more on diet and Ayurveda. I started to eliminate more items from my diet for the long haul. I mentally prepared myself for a transformation. This led me to transitioning from pescatarian to vegan or whole plant-based diet, giving up ALL caffeinated drinks and swimming at least 5 times a week. Ladies, this truly has been a transformation. My body, mind and spirit have been restored. I no longer need days of auto pilot to go through my menstrual cycle. During this transition, I fought hard with myself as I slipped back to cheese or bread. This is not a diet for me, it is my lifestyle now. My symptoms are not all gone, but they have subsided.
In my time off the corporate world, I’ve concentrated on my business @Urban.bantu. A business I had started last year in my kitchen. The facts are out there, that lotion, detergents and beauty products have chemicals that elevate estrogen and cause more harm to us. My history with eczema, acne and un-even skin tone brought about the curiosity to explore DIY cures. I currently offer whipped body butters and African black soap with more products to come in this year.
I have a new spark in my life, I have learned the value and greatness of self-care, sacrifice and family. I will NEVER sacrifice my health and well-being. Remember that no one will understand what you are going through until you speak up. As I continue this journey, I aspire to help endo warriors through their journey of healthy living.

You can follow Shiru on Instagram and connect with her on Facebook. You can make your orders here.

Thank you for sharing with us your story, Shiru, and for inspiring us not to be afraid to make seemingly drastic decisions for our benefit. We hope that you will have more happy, painless, boisterous and hope-filled days. We are looking forward to the other endo-friendly products that are in the pipeline.

❤

 

 

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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.

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.

Calling All Endo Warriors in +254

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. This March, we have an opportunity to wear a touch of yellow daily and share something with our circles about Endometriosis. The information we share could change a girls life and save her from living in shame and silence.

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Let us make this invisible disease, visible and audible. Talk, post and tweet about Endometriosis. Dispel the myths about Endo and help other women know that the pain is not all in their heads and they are not alone.

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The Endometriosis Foundation of Kenya is hosting a high tea for Endo warriors in Kenya. This is a good opportunity to come meet other Endo warriors, and hear exactly what the EFK is, what they plan to do and how you can plug in.

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As always, if you would like to share your Endo story to encourage other women living with Endometriosis in Kenya, please send me an email via yellowendoflower@gmail.com and I will be in touch.

Blessings,

Ess

It’s Time to Declutter Your Beauty Products, Cleaning Agents and Medicine Cabinet

Happy new year 🙂

About two years ago, I formed a tradition. At the beginning of the year, I declutter my hair and beauty products, cleaning agents and medicine cabinet. It’s a tedious but rewarding exercise. The first time I did it, I was shocked by how much junk I had in the name of products. I was just a hoarder, and I was holding on to expired products.I was horrified when I realized I’d been using some expired products without knowing.

I was poisoning myself slowly.

In the process of decluttering, I read the ingredients lists and saw just how many chemicals I was bombarding my endocrine system with. It was too much. So I resolved to use less chemical laden products where possible.

I replaced most of my sweet smelling lotions with natural oils, my hair products with natural ingredient products, commercial cleaning agents with home combinations (vinegar and bicarbonate can do wonders.) My house keeper was surprised to see how many uses vinegar has. I’ll share some of the ways I use it in my next post.

It has been a journey trying to eradicate most of the chemicals, especially since I like sweet smelling products. But it has been rewarding. I have found alternatives that are kinder to my body and I feel much better. The pain and inflammation has largely reduced.

This is the rule I hope to live by: If I can’t pronounce the ingredients, I probably shouldn’t be consuming the product in question.

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Take time out and go through the products in your home. Throw out what needs to go, and start using products that are kinder to your body.  If it doesn’t have an expiry date and it is not a completely natural product, throw it out. Very few commercial products are meant to last forever.

It may seem like you have gone at a loss, but in reality, you have gained in terms of your health. Health is wealth. Your body can now get a breather from the toxin overload.

Here’s to a healthy 2017!

Blessings,

Ess