When It Floods – Endometriosis & Heavy Flow

Big girls wear diapers too.


My girls talk a lot about diapers, my little one is potty training herself. No, really, she woke up one day thia6 week and declared that she was a big girl who didn’t need to wear diapers.  So she graduated to knickers when we are home, this isn’t without accidents and a love-hate relationship with the potty. But, the bottom line remains, diapers are for little girls.


One of the things that I loathed about my periods was that I always received the el-nino version, complete with hail stones, also known as the clots. It was heavy, messy and destructive. It had me longing to stay indoors, to stay tucked in bed, except, it stormed in bed too, and sheets aren’t woven to absorb the red sea. 


I’ve legit thrown away some garments before. I made the grande error of washing off – more like, attempting to wash off – a blood stain with hot water. It bonded. The red carved a home in the threads and refused to leave. I’ve been terribly embarrassed by my periods. Had my self esteem plummet during my periods. I couldn’t trust my uterus not to let me down. The flow sometimes felt like a breast-milk let down, urgent, forceful and absolutely beyond my control. 


I’ve layered and improvised to try to contain the flow. I’ve set reminders to wake up and turn during the night, because the pad just wasn’t loyal. Even layering the pads was not effective in holding back the red sea.

An endo-sister recently shared with me that the one thing she wished that she knew is that adult diapers were an option. 
I never thought of them as an option, in fact, I always considered maternity pads the next best thing. I think it’s a brilliant idea. A lifesaver, and self esteem redeemer.


Big girls wear diapers too. 

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Invitation To Partner

I could talk about periods all day long. What used to make me cringe and uncomfortable is now what make I have chosen to spend this season of my life talking about and training on.

I trained a group of ladies from Moi University a few days ago, and I loved it! There are way too many assumptions about menstrual health. The stigma surrounding menstrual health means that the lies have become truths, and there is no avenue to ask questions or to seek clarifications.

In some communities, girls are having sex soon after their menarche because the boys believe that sexual intercourse can cure cramps. Parents, religious insitutions and schools’s voices are faint compared to the uproar of their peers.

Sex is not a cure for for menstrual cramps. Pregnancy may provide temporary relief, but I believe that teenage pregnancy should not be a band-aid for underlying problems. Pregnancy and motherhood may come with other challenges.reach out and give someone a great big hug!.png

There is a great need out there. To some, this may just seem like just another period campaign, but it is more than just a period talk. It is the demolishing of myths, it is teaching of life-changing truths, it is the restoration of dreams and hopes, it is unveiling the – often-marred- beauty of being a woman. It is showing another side of the rose, while hoping to take away the memories of the prick of the thorn.

There are several opportunities that are coming up to train, inspire and mentor girls, and the truth is that I cannot do it alone.

If you would like to get to know more about the training sessions and how you can help to change a girl’s life, please send me an email via yellowendoflower@gmail.com.

 

Hemorrhoids. Be. Gone – 8 Home Remedies for Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids. The pain in the butt that no one ever wants to have.

Courtesy of Endo, I was acquainted with hemorrhoids at a tender age. I didn’t know what it was, but it seemed like the lesser evil compared to being backed up, thanks to chronic constipation. The bowel issues began before I was 10, and by the time I started my periods, Things Were Bad! During my periods, I would battle, cramps, heavy flow, and bleeding hemorrhoids. Just thinking about the pain gives me chills. Some months I wasn’t quite sure where the bleeding was coming from. It was a messy affair.

Over the years, things have gotten better. Here are some home remedies that I have tried and have worked:

1. Hydrate

Drink enough water, at least 6-8 glasses of water a day. The liquid will help to soften the stool.

2. Eat more fiber

Eat fiber-rich foods such as fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. The fiber will help to soften the stool. Reduce the intake of foods that trigger and worsen constipation.

3. Don’t push too hard

Avoid bearing down excessively when passing stool. It may put too much pressure on your veins.

4. Don’t postpone the urge to go

When you feel like using the bathroom, use the bathroom. The longer you wait, the stool will become dehydrated.

5. Don’t sit too long

Avoid spending to much time perched on the toilet seat. Reading on the toilet may cause more harm than good by straining your veins.

6. Keep the anus clean and dry

Avoid using things that can irritate the skin such as soap and wipes with alcohol. Wash the anus with water and pat dry. Wear loose, breathable materials.

7. Get moving

Adapt exercise into your lifestyle, it can help to ease the pressure on the veins. Also, losing excessive weight may take some pressure off the veins.

8. Use a step stool

Place a step stool infront of the toilet and step on it as you sit. Elevating your legs into a squat like position may help you pass stool with some ease.

There are topical creams available over-the-counter. However, if the pain, discomfort, and bleeding persists, please see a doctor.

Here’s to hemorrhoid and constipation free days.

 

 

 

Bloom

“It is well” is at the tail end of things that I like to hear in times of turmoil. It is a phrase that I heard in the gusts of pain and wondered how anyone could conclude that what felt like a near death experience was something to talk about on a positive note.

10 years ago as I writhed in pain, it was not well. My body was not well, my mind was not well, and, I was not well. Everything hurt; passing urine, bowel movements, ovulating and menstruating were all accompanied by pain. I hated the journey, and I didn’t have good things to say about life. I was drowning on dry land. A few months later, I began my journey to get a diagnosis, which changed my life even more. Endometriosis is a silent, seemingly subtle thief, that lurks in the night at first, and then becomes brash as it matures and steals unashamedly in broad daylight. The pain that I had been battling over the years was all linked to the painful and heavy periods but I had no idea.

Pain is a very good teacher, thankfully we do not all have to attend its classes, especially if we have other people to teach us. My experience through pain and life change bore a desire to teach what I wish I knew as a teenage girl. One year ago, I decided to put the lessons into a book.

Bloom is here

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I am stoked that it is a reality, Bloom is a product of tears, surgeries, questions, countless medications, and a desire to be the change that I want to see.

Bloom is your practical guide for your period journey. It describes how a normal period should look and feel like, it explores the sanitary product options, healthy practices that every female should employ and teaches girls and women how to keep a period diary, the different factors that they should look out for and it includes a one year period diary.

Keeping a period diary over the last couple of years has revolutionized my life. I am now more self-aware, able to identify patterns in my cycle, and kinder to myself, there is a kindness that stems from understanding. I am able to hear my body whisper before it forces me to lay down and listen to the opera of its screams.

Bloom is Ksh 500/=, to purchase it in Nairobi please contact Rosemary via 0731224223. To purchase in Mombasa please contact me via 0746622833 or yellowendoflower@gmail.com.

When you look at a rose from the top, it is difficult to see the thorns beneath the blossomed petals. Sometimes the exterior appearances make people doubt the pain, but just like the sting of the thorn is very real so is the invisible pain that has somehow been branded as normal.

Through the years I have learned to bloom despite the thorns.

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

 

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!

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

 

Tattletale

My body is not very good at keeping secrets. I had a conversation with a friend recently about water consumption. She said that she doesn’t drink water everyday yet her skin is so smooth and supple. I was astonished. If I don’t drink at least two liters of water everyday you will see it on my lips and face.

My body is such a tattletale.

I’ve stopped viewing this as a bad thing and I am making it work out for my good. I use my face as a yard stick to see how well I am doing in the hydration and nutrition department.

My Body Is A Tattletale

It’s easy to forget to drink water when I am busy so I’ve had to be very intentional about it. I carry a bottle of water with me. I rarely drink soft drinks and have one cup of tea a day. If I’m thirsty I drink water. If I’m bored I drink water.

My body has in turn thanked me. I am not constipated ( can I hear a ‘hooray’ from all the Endo warriors?). I get less Urinary Tract Infections. My lips are not chapped and the acne on my face is clearing up, albeit a bit slowly. I feel like I could break into a song and dance as I think about just how far I’ve come. It’s truly a miracle.

I’m learning to celebrate my victories, regardless of their size. I may not be where I would like to be, But I am definitely not where I used to be.

Infusing my water with lemon has really helped. Lemon water helps with many of the side effects of Endometriosis such as cravings, nausea, indigestion, constipation, inflammation and allergies. It also helps to cleanse the liver.

I’m grateful that my body is a tattletale, it keeps me in check.

 

 

 

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.

Drowning onDry Land

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