Safari Yangu Na Endometriosis

Jina langu ni Esther Mbugua – Kimemia. Mimi ni mwandishi na mwanzilishi wa Yellow Endo Flower na The Yellow Flower Initiative. Mashirika haya mawili huelimisha na kuwawezesha wanawake, wasichana na wazazi wao juu ya afya ya hedhi.

Kuligunduliwa kwamba nilikuwa na uugua ugonjwa wa Endometriosis nikiwa na miaka 19,hii ni baada ya kuteseka miaka sita kila nilipokuwa katika  vipindi vya kutokwa na hedhi.  Kila ilipofika wakati wa hedhi nilishikwa na maumivu yasiyoelezwa, hakuna daktari aliyeweza kueleza ni nini haswa kilichokuwa cha fanya niwe na maumivu makali. Hadi sasa nimeenda hospitalini kwa upasuaji mara  tatu. Mara  ya kwanza  ilikuwa kuchunguza kibofu cha mkojo wangu, ili wabaini kwa nini nilikuwa nikipata UTI mara kwa mara. Upasuaji wa pili uilikuwa laparoscopy, hapa ndipo waligundua endometriosis ilikuwa imeunganisha tumbo langu kubwa na ovari ya kushoto. Baada ya hapo nilipewa madawa kali ambayo yalinipa dalili za menopause. Upasuaji wa tatu ulikuwa kuondoa viambatisho na kuondoa kipengee changu pia.

Endometriosis ilinipigia ndoto zangu, kuna siku nyingi ambazo nilikuwa nimechoka sana,hata singeweza kuondoka kutoka kitanda changu. Endometriosis ilifurisha tumbo yangu na hewa au gasi nyingi  hadi nguo zangu zengine zilikuwa zinanikaaba sehemu ya tumbo. Maumivu makali pia ilimaanisha singeweza kufanya kazi yeyote. Nilikuwa ninajilaza juu ya sakafu ya tiles ili baridi ya tiles ipunguze maumivu.

Kila nilipokuwa katika vipindi vya hedhi nilikuwa na maumivu makali!  Maumivu ya mgongo, gasi au hewa mingi kwa tumbo, uchovu, kutokwa na damu nyingi nzito wakati wa hedhi, kuvimbiwa na tumbo au constipation kwa kingereaza, maumivu ya kichwa na kuhara.Maumivu  huwa yaweza kupata mwanamke ata kama hayuko katika kipindi chake cha hedhi. Kwa mfano, nilianza na kusikia maumivu tu wakati wa vipindi vyangu vya hedhi, kisha maumivu yakaanza kuja ata nikuwa na ovulate na pia siku chache kabla ya vipindi vya hedhi kuanza.

Nilisikia hadithi za ugomvi kabla ya kujua ukweli, la kwanza ilikuwa kwamba mwanamke akimpata mimba itaponya endometriosis. Kwa kweli kila wakati nilpokwenda kwa hospitali, niliulizwa kwa nini sikuwa na ujauzito. La pili ni kwamba mwanamke aliye na endometriosis aidha ako na mapepo ama amelaaniwa.

Nilikuwa nikibeba madawa mbalimbali za maumivu katika kibeti changu. Wakati maumivu yangekuwa makali sana, basi hapo ilibidii niende hospitali kupewa sindano ya kupunguza maumivu.

Mara ya kwanza,Madaktari walidhani kwamba nilikuwa na hali ya kibofu . Pale kibofu ilipopatikana kwamba haina shida ndipo madaktari waliendelea na matabibu yao hadi kupatikana kwa endometriosis.

Hakuna tiba inayojulikana ya Endometriosis. Upasuaji wa excision ndiyo kiwango cha dhahabu katika kutibu ugonjwa wa endometriosis . Kuna madawa mbalimbali ya homoni yaliyotolewa ili kusaidia kupunguza dalili za endometriosis na kupunguza maumivu. Madawa haya huchukuliwa kulingana na maelezo ya daktari, utumiaji ya haya madawa  hutofautiana kutoka kila siku au  kwa kila wiki au kila mwezi ikiwa sindano.

Wosia wangu kwa wanawake wanao ishi na ugonjwa wa endometriosis ni kuwa mtetezi wako mwenyewe. Anza kusikiliza mwili wako na kuelewa maamuzi na mifumo yake. Usiogope kutafuta maoni ya pili, na soma sana juu ya Endometriosis. Jiunge na kikundi cha msaada. Shirika la Yellow Endo Flower huwa na mkutano wa kundi la msaada mara moja kwa miezi miwili huku Mombasa. Shirika la Endometriosis Foundation of Kenya na Endo Sisters East Africa Foundation pia hutoa msaada kwa wanawake wanaoishi Nairobi na sehemu za bara.

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Endo Story – Devon

When we share our stories, we empower and encourage other women. The pain is not all in your head, it is real. Endometriosis is real and you are not alone.

Devon is an endo warrior who lives in Yorkshire, UK. She was 25 years old when she was diagnosed with Endometriosis, now a year later she tells her story. This story is a reblog from Bloomin’ Uterus.

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Devon’s Journey:   Honestly, I couldn’t tell you if my journey started at 14 or 24. Many women have a long and traumatic timeline of events, knowing something was wrong and battling for an answer. Me? I had a life of this or that bothering me, visiting the GP, being told I’m normal or a hypochondriac (dependent on the GP I saw that day). I am the sort of person who somehow gets through life but no one, not even myself, really understands how I’m managing it so I never really pieced together that various symptoms may be linked. I just carried on and when something anomalous occurred (severe heavy bleeding out of nowhere, the kind of tiredness I just couldn’t shake, pain that just wouldn’t go). I’d sort of absent-mindedly visit my Dr, apologize for taking up their time and take whatever they said as gospel, fully trusting that they would know if something was wrong.

So it was that two years ago I popped into my GP’s office: “I’m sorry for visiting but I have a pain in the right-hand side of my stomach. It’s been there for a few weeks and it’s getting worse. At first, I thought maybe I just needed a poo…but I’ve pooed since then…” The Dr felt my tummy, tested me for pregnancy and sent me straight to hospital where a bed was waiting with advice that I probably had appendicitis. 3 days, 3 blood tests, 3 further pregnancy tests and an Internal Ultrasound later I was in Theater about to have a 6cm Ovarian Cyst removed. I woke up an hour or so later and was cheerfully informed by the surgeon that the Cyst was, in fact, bigger than expected at 8.5cm but he had removed it and didn’t spot anything such as Endometriosis whilst inside.

That is why I don’t know if my journey started 2 years ago or 12.

2 years ago a surgeon didn’t see any Endometriosis yet now I am armed with a diagnosis and extensive knowledge of the condition, I know that for years I showed signs, subtle signs, but signs. I spent my 15th Birthday in Hospital with unexplained stomach pain that was eventually dismissed as “probably an infection.” I remember periods always being heavy, very heavy and I remember them always hurting. At 16 I remember them being so bad one month I struggled to get out of bed. My boyfriend at the time wanted to go somewhere so I manned up and we went to Costa, I ordered my favorite drink, a hot chocolate – I tried to ignore my cramps and sip my drink but felt too nauseous through pain, eventually I had to admit defeat and beg to go home.

This level of period pain was fairly normal but it seemed to ease around the time I went onto the implant for contraception at 16/17 – I never put two and two together. From there I just continued as I was, my periods were heavy and long but the pain was okay, it wasn’t so bad as I couldn’t get out of bed anymore, so I figured it was all okay.

At 19 I had started a new relationship and was noticing Intercourse was painful. I visited my GP and then a specialist, I had a number of tests, swabs and internal exams carried out until I was finally sent away with: “Just try to relax more during intercourse” Excellent advice – why on Earth hadn’t I thought of that before?!

A year later I had the Mother of all periods – I don’t know why that month my womb decided to suddenly put her all into the “spring clean” but man I got a shock. So off I went to my GP, still a little traumatized that last time I went I had effectively been told not to be so frigid by a Dr and still at an age I was grossed out talking periods and stuff. I will never forget what this GP told me: “Some women have heavy periods, some don’t. This is just your lot I’m afraid, it’s certainly heavier than most but that is just your normal” At this point I had bled through tampons and pads within the space of an hour at a time, I felt dizzy and I was in pain, I had really thought this was abnormal but the GP delivered the statement so bluntly, I felt stupid for visiting.

From that day on, whenever asked “And do you have heavy periods?” I would reply “Oh, kind of, but I know that’s sometimes just normal, it’s normal for me”. From that appointment I kind of just coped – I had felt so stupid and embarrassed in her office I never wanted to go back. So I just battled on with my 10-14 day heavy and irregular periods and the ensuing pain. I had my implant replaced when needed and that was that – until my Cyst 2 years ago.

Following the surgery to remove my Cyst I had my implant removed, I wanted a break from the hormones I had been on for around 8 years. In the months following its removal, I was a frequent visitor in A&E, unable to manage the pain of ovulating and menstruating, both of which had suddenly started intensifying. I saw a Gynae and was placed on a list for investigatory Laparoscopic surgery, the date of this surgery was moved forwards as I became less and less able to manage the pain.  In May 2017 I had a Laparoscopy in which they found and removed Endometriosis whilst inserting a Marina Coil to treat and prevent it.

To this date, I am not entirely sure where it was found or how much, all I know is that they only had 45 mins free to carry out the surgery – so they treated what they saw and no more. Laparoscopies should provide roughly 1-2 years of relief, I received 4 weeks before the familiar aches and pains started again. One year on and I am no better off than I was before the surgery. Currently, I am awaiting a referral to a new specialist, I am doing my best and learning to live as a chronic pain sufferer.

Most of all, I am educating myself.

Throughout my journey, it has felt like The Blind Leading The Blind, Dr’s know so little about the condition, it is hard to have faith in them when they have so little confidence in what they are advising. They don’t always spot the clear indications, the textbook symptoms and then once you are diagnosed, they know there is no easy answer, no magic pill. So yeah, that’s pretty much my story. There is so much more to it than a Timeline of events but I have tried to keep it as brief as possible whilst including all the important bits… I hope today is a good day for anybody reading!

Words of Advice: Be your own advocate – you have to go home and live your life. Push for a diagnosis, do research, ask your Dr any questions you have, find the treatment plans YOU want to explore. Seek support from the Endo community, find ladies to talk to for advice or just comfort. You will feel alone and overwhelmed at times but so many women understand. Mostly, be kind to yourself. Accept your limits, with them, remind yourself this is not a choice you made but an unfortunate part of your life. You can still choose how you live it.

If you would like to e-mail Devon, you can do so here and you can follow her blog.

Thank you for sharing your story Devon, I could relate with many parts. I pray that the docs find a cure, Lord knows, millions of women need it. Grace, peace, and strength unto you.

The Endo Blues ~ Battling With Depression

I thought I was losing my mind. Instead of feeling better after the laparoscopic surgery I was feeling worse. Granted there was no pain in my abdomen, but I felt like a sedated prisoner in my own body. I desperately wanted to fight, but I was often too tired or sleepy and disinterested.

Getting out of bed was difficult, leaving the house felt impossible. I remember I would cut two pieces of paper, write ‘Yes’ on one of them and ‘No’ on the other and then pick one with my eyes closed. As I picked, I prayed that I would pick a ‘No’ so that I wouldn’t have to leave the house. Sometimes the voice inside overrode the ‘Yes’ I had picked and I would stay at home.

I was depressed, and I had no idea.

The hormonal treatment to treat Endo combined with Endo had hurled me into a dark corner, burdened my shoulders and I was forced to surrender. There was no happiness. There was no joy. Laughter was a mystery. I dragged my feet as I walked, and wondered why the nights were so short. I slept but never felt energized, and desperately wished that this aspect could manifest itself physically.

My doctor was only looking out for the physical implications of the disease. Not once did he ever ask how I was doing, psychologically and emotionally. Perhaps it wasn’t his place, but he could have brought someone to the table to shed some light on that aspect.

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I was nineteen and lost at the big blue sea. I was drowning on dry land. I was fighting phsycially and paddling to stay alive. I hated it. I cried bitter tears, if we wrung my pillow we’d fill a bucket or two.

I felt alone.

I was told to pray, and I prayed. The blues, well, they remained, the dark shades made way for the lighter hues. And as time went by, I begun to see the sun in my sky. I begun to feel the warmth of it’s rays on my skin. I knew that I would be okay.

My heart goes out to Endo warriors who are grappling with this darkness. You are not alone. You do not have to walk alone. If you would like to talk to a professional please call Faith on 0737861671. She has graciously agreed to help Endo warriors navigate these choppy waters at a discounted rate.

You can reach me via yellowendoflower@gmail.com

You are not alone.

 

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

 

Why I Keep A Period Diary

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Ever since I was a little girl , I always kept a diary. It was my outlet and a way of keeping a record of the little details of my life.  Unfortunately, I was not very detailed about my periods and their patterns, so when I needed this information, it was nowhere to be found. I answered the doctor with a lot of ‘Umm, I can’t quite remember’ and blank looks with several breaks in between as I tried to run up and down the corridors of my memory trying to remember key details. I am sure that there are many ‘little’ important details that I left out during these consultations.

After many years of trying (and failing) to recall from memory I finally discovered the Period Diary app and it literally changed my life. I was finally able to document my period journey daily, and a couple of months later I begun to recognize patterns in my cycle.

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I quickly realized that my menstrual cycle is not just about the day(s) that I shed the lining  of my uterus. It is about what I experience through the whole cycle, my emotions, diet , ovulation. It is the vaginal discharge all through, the color and texture of the actual shedding. Keeping a period diary has helped me to be more in control of my body, as I know what it’s triggers are and what to anticipate at different times. I am definitely more prepared for the occasional pain, PMS symptoms and actual periods.

Keeping a diary has helped me to see the cause and effect of different things that I’ve tried. For instance, when I detoxed and started taking an Apple Cider Vinegar elixir every morning the inflammation and pain during my cycle significantly reduced. I also figured out that the monthly headaches were reducing over the months, so I was definitely doing something right.

I recommend keeping a period diary to all women, both young and old, whether you have complications or not. It helps you to understand your body, it’s functions and your emotions.

Mothers with teenage daughters, I urge you to ask your girls to keep a period diary as soon as they start their periods. After every couple of months, sit down and review it with them. Talk about the patterns that you both recognize. Many girls don’t know what a normal period is. They often just take their periods as they are,  persevere, until they are adults and realize that something was wrong all along.

There are several period diary apps that you can choose from on the Play store. This is the one that has worked best for me.

If you opt to keep a physical diary, these are some of the details to record:

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Blessings,

Ess

My Period Is A Part Of My Life

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After weeks of waiting and wondering how the first monthly sighting would be, my period finally came. They were not what I expected. On one hand I expected to feel different, I felt different in a gross kind of way, not a,’I am now a woman’ kind of way. On the other hand, I knew this was IT. The beginning of the end of my innocence. Remember my introduction to periods conversation? I felt as though a part of me was dying. Seeing blood supported this line of thought. I had been conditioned to believe that, seeing blood meant you should rush to a hospital immediately; yet, now I expected to sit tight and wait for it to pass.

whats a periodMy first period was weird. The theory had not prepared me for the practical. I wasn’t prepared me for the sensation, duration, color, flow or the pain. I had to acquaint myself with adhesive matters, because as women, we all know, that in matters pads, the glue matters. And wings too. You are only bothered by the quality of chicken wings, until you wear a pad without wings and have to walk around with your thighs touching each other on purpose. Then, you appreciate the genius behind pads with wings.

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NOTHING prepared me for the leaks, stubborn stains got a whole new meaning. To wash with hot water or cold water? that was the question of the week. Incase, you are wondering, cold water any day.

Periods are and can be beautiful.

For the longest time, I just never thought of them like that. The truth is, I didn’t quite understand them. I thought I did, but beyond the ‘monthly shedding of my uterus wall’ I was as clueless as they come. I didn’t understand what was really happening in my body, the hormones et al, and how genetics, the food I ate, the chemicals I exposed myself to could play a part in all; after all, it was just the ‘monthly shedding of my uterus wall’. I’ll talk more about this in my next post.

What was your first period like? Did it live up to your expectations, if you had any?

‘Big Sis’