Endometriosis

On the morning of my appointment to find out the results of my MRI, I made sure to eat breakfast before the appointment to calm my nerves. I’d already skipped breakfast before my MRI and some of my other appointments due to my nervousness. This would be the appointment where I would go in with a full stomach which I thought I really needed since I was going to finally find out if my pain was coming from more than ovarian cysts.

I thought back to the MRI just a couple of weeks earlier experience, but couldn’t’ help it. I remember it being much like I imagined being raised down into a coffin would be. And my feet got really cold. I remember regretting my decision not to wear bigger, warmer socks. I remember the woman who did the MRI being really nice, how she’d asked what kind of music I would like and I said anything but head-banging music and country. Then I remembered where I was and felt bad, trying to redeem myself saying that it wasn’t that bad even though I really did thin it was. She only blinked, smiled and said, ‘Everybody here likes country, I understand it gets to be a little much.’

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I bring Woman Code everywhere I go now so that I can refer to the food plan. I felt really lucky to find Lettuce Inn, a plant-based restaurant in my hometown of Concord. I stopped by for a Flo-friendly meal. 

I remembered how the music wasn’t nearly loud enough to drown out the machine’s  deafening sound. I wanted desperately for it to be over so I could get up and out and finally figure out which song was playing. Oh, and what was wrong with me.  I remembered how I’d asked her after it was over if she saw a mass on my left side and how she’d turned away from me uncomfortable, scared to say too much. How when I assured her that I understood that she couldn’t offer too much information, she’d confessed that there was a large mass followed quickly with a comment about how the doctors would take care of me. I remembered how I’d wanted to push her aside and see the screen for myself. Unsure, really of what that would do other than give me a very short-lived bout of control over my situation that may very soon lead to dread.

I shook the thought and came back to my current appointment and put my nose back in my book. I was reading Woman Code for the third time. Finally the doctor came in and got straight to the point. She said that it wasn’t conclusive but that it looked very much like I have endometriosis. A condition where the cells lining the uterus, endometrial cells, begin to form outside of the uterus. These endometrial cells respond to the rise and fall of hormones that occur during and around your period. Which is why menstruation can be so painful for women with endometriosis.

My whole period life flashed before my eyes, all days spent in excruciating and hundreds of toxic tampons and pads used, ruined underwear, depression and anxiety, all symptoms I’d deemed normal occurrences for any woman who had her period. Now here I was, 20 years later finding out that these were all warning signs. My body trying to tell me that something was up. A woman’s menstrual cycle, it’s flow the pain involved, thoughts surrounding her period, are all an indication of the health of a woman. I was wishing I had paid attention earlier and done something about it before now. But there was no sense in looking back and regretting. I’d done enough of that this past year when it came to the death of my Mom. If I’d learned anything over the past year, it was not to wallow in regret. The best thing to do was to feel my feelings, work through them and allow them to inspire a better present and future.

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Back at my Mom’s house visiting with my sister and aunt, I stayed in the Flo food plan with wild salmon and roasted pumpkin that turned out amazing! Just preheat oven to 400 degrees, drizzle Chosen Foods Avocado Oil on the pan, lay down slices and cover with oil, pink himalayan sea salt, black pepper and roast for about 40 minutes, turning halfway through. 

For me that meant not seeing my endometriosis diagnosis as a death sentence. Yes, it was true that it could cause infertility and was already causing me a lot of pain at times. I’ve read accounts where women end up in the hospital from the twisting of organs, internal bleeding and other complications that were enough to send me into a total tailspin. To make matters worse, my choices for pain relief and possible removal of the endometrial tissue were hormonal birth control and surgery. I denied the hormonal birth control and  Alissa Vitti’s article on synthetic birth control can briefly explain why but I’ll go into more detail with another blog in the future.

Next, the my gyno told me that we could do laparoscopy to biopsy it to make sure it’s endometriosis and remove the mass. I assured her I’d be back in touch about my decisions, took her pamphlets and proceeded to retreat to my car to absorb this new information. I knew immediately that if it could be avoided, I didn’t want surgery. I’d read before that masses can grow back if you didn’t get to the root of the problem and that could mean more surgeries. I shook my head as if someone were still sitting across from me insisting on surgery. But there wasn’t.

The next things I could think of to do was to book an appointment with an Integrative Doctor, one who could help me get to the root cause of my issue and provide support through supplementation and counseling. The only problem was, I didn’t really have a home. I was staying with Mando and his Mom’s house which was so wonderful to be able to do over the summer and to heal after my Mom’s sudden death. But both Mando and I were feeling that familiar itch again, one that’s hard to explain to the people around you, but we both know all too well, means that we’re ready to go.

We had plans and I had vowed that I could take care of my health anywhere as long as we were doing what we loved. It turns out that another associated cause of endometriosis as seen by really getting to know her clients in Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, Dr. Christianne Northrup notice that the majority of her patients with endometriosis were having a creative struggle in their lives of some sort. Many times she could connect the link between women who were struggling with the choice between children and career. Something I have not talked about very much but I can certainly relate too considering it’s something I’ve often thought about over the last several years without considering its impact on my life.

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I made this Flo-friendly meal in our AirBnb. It’s not always easy to eat well on the road so I recommend getting a kitchen when you can. 

This is also something I will talk about more in a future post but for now I want to share the symptoms of endometriosis, foods to avoid and food and lifestyle practices that I’ve found to be helpful against endometriosis symptoms.

The cause of endometriosis involves many factors-

  • Diet
  • Lifestyle
  • Stress levels
  • Amount of exercise
  • Relationships
  • Genes-although diet and lifestyle triggers this otherwise dormant issue
  • Occurs mostly in women of childbearing age
  • Estrogen and progesterone levels
  • Emotional issues such as the struggle women go through to decide career over having children
  • Feeling stuck creatively

Symptoms of Endometriosis 

  • Painful periods
  • Heavy periods
  • Depression
  • Long periods
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Pain during sex
  • Infertility

Women make experience, all, some or none of these symptoms.

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Getting into the ‘flo’ and synching my cycle with exercise. In this ‘ovulatory’ phase, high impact, group exercise was appropriate. In the luteal phase energy may still be high in the beginning so keeping exercise high energy is good. Then scale back during the final five days with walking, pilates or vinyasa yoga. Menstrual phase requires rest, walking and light yoga. Follicular phase is a good time to try something new that you’ve been meaning to try like Zumba or yoga sculpting. 

Foods To Avoid

  • Alcohol: consumes Vitamin B and compromises liver function
  • Caffeine: increases abdominal cramps and estrogen levels
  • Refined Carbs, including bread, flour, and anything made from refined flour
  • Dairy: causes inflammation
  • Fried Foods and Fats: promotes negative prostaglandins
  • Red Meat: promotes negative prostaglandins
  • Sugar and Honey: causes inflammation
  • Wheat, including breads, pasta, and cake

*list taken directly from floliving website

Foods That Fight Endo

  • Beans, Peas & Lentils
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Green tea or Rooibis tea
  • Leeks
  • Live Yogurt
  • Onions
  • Rhubarb
  • Seeds
  • beans, peas and legumes
  • brown rice
  • quinoa
  • fruits and vegetables, especially dark leafy greens like kale
  • oatmeal
  • whole grains *not wheat & rye
  • Artichokes
  • Beets
  • Burdock
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Lemon & Lime
  • Dandelion & mustard greens
  • Watercress

Of all the great food I’ve listed, however, just as much attention has to be put to the other aspects of life. For me, being able to put down roots again get into a good routine with exercise, cooking and eating, is something that I think I very much needed and was preventing me from getting better. My stress levels were still a little up and down not knowing where we would be resting our heads for the foreseeable future. I’ve always loved having a space to share with Mando and to have for myself to decorate, cook and be creative. The moment we began bringing our belongings and some furniture into our new home, I could feel myself getting better already.

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Massage is another great form of self care that I learned to love because my Mom loved getting massages. 

Lifestyle and stress tips for endometriosis encourage getting in touch with your creative side, putting yourself first especially if you tend to be the type of woman that gives too much before giving and taking care of yourself. It has been referred to as the woman who is mothering everyone else before herself. It turns out that making time to ‘mother yourself’ and practice self care daily is vital for good health.

Consider some of these forms of self care-

  • Meditation
  • Take yourself out to a movie or lunch-just you!
  • Baths-especially with essential oils and epsom salt help with endo symptoms
  • Solo walks
  • Face masks
  • Exercise
  • Essential oils like clary sage are great for endo pain. Just use a little and rub over cramping area
  • Castor oil packs
  • Spending time in nature
  • Time with friends and family
  • Creative time for painting, writing, knitting-whatever you like to do!

All of these things and more add up to provide ultimate self care that is easy to forget about. I also think that it’s hard for some people to see what self care truly is after ‘treating’ themselves in the wrong ways for so long. For me, self care used to be having a drink after a stressful day of work or smoking pot and watching a show. I’m not saying these things make you a bad person if you do them, I’ve just come to find that they don’t always help to relieve stress in the same sustainable way that say, exercise or therapy do. So if you’re finding it difficult to practice healthy self care, just try throwing on a face mask between glasses of wine and Netflix, I promise you’ll feel better.

1 in 10 women suffer from endometriosis….

Do you or anyone you know suffer from endometriosis?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms I’ve talked about, don’t be afraid to make an appointment with your gynecologist today. 

Resources-

Woman Code by Alissa Vitti

Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Dr. Christianne Northrup

Me Too…

I’ve debated whether to write this or not as I know many women all over the world have debated whether to share their stories as well. In my case, it’s gotten to the point where I realized I no longer have a choice but to share what happened to me, too.

I’ve realized the decision to not talk more about this story, a few people in my life know about it, comes from fear. But the inability to share my story has led to far too much pain and discomfort and has manifested itself as endometriosis. So I find myself with no other choice than to share.

When I was six years old, two neighbor boys one my age and another older than me by a couple of years, I ended up in the back of my Dad’s broken down cheroco pinned down. It all started playing house and ended with the young boys deciding that they would have sex with me.

I was terrified and screaming as one pretended to drive and the other tried to spread apart my legs. I can still remember the pain in my upper thighs from trying desperately to hold my legs together. Eerily a similar feeling I have as a symptom of my new endometriosis diagnosis. By the grace of God their little sister who was there playing too knew it wasn’t right and ran home to tell her parents what was happening. From there I only remember being swaddled by my angry and scared mother and crying. The aftermath is a blur of finding out that they had been ‘beaten’ by their Dad as punishment. I remember that it became hushed after that and not talked about again for years.

I remember as the years past feeling bad for the boys that they had been beaten, that had gotten them in trouble. I remember continuing on like it was nothing, playing with the boys and even developing a crush on one later in life. The years passed and as a teen ager my mom brought it up one time, angry at the memory. I was too but couldn’t admit it and snapped at her for mentioning it. I felt ashamed about it, afraid to address it.

I can’t count how many times after that I’ve been grabbed, pinched, butt-slapped, had horribly perverted things said to me, etc. and I’ve laughed it off, brushed it off or only been made temporarily angry by it enough to speak out or do something more permanent. I felt as though that was my role to make things easier but not saying anything. To have defended myself or someone else in a similar situation would’ve caused discomfort and I’ve always wanted to avoid that.

Take care of things quickly and make the problem go away was the action taken in response to what happened to me. Out of fear, out of a lot of things I’m sure and I forgive the people involved and the lack of responsibility taken. But I am no longer afraid to speak out about it. It’s important because things like this don’t go away.

Years later, when I was still living with my mom and had just come home from work, one of these young boys now a grown man, was back to check out the neighborhood and wanted to come inside the house. I could tell he was drunk and that uncomfortable, sick fear rose again in my throat, a similar feeling I’d had when I was six and in the back of that car. The whole short time he was there reminiscing I kept the front door wide open like I used to when I was afraid someone might be in the house. It was silly and irrational but I felt safer.

He left eventually but it reminds me today that it never goes away, you have to talk about it, address it, hold the people accountable because living your life in fear is just not an option. Tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth. Share your story. Further, be someone who other people can share their story with. It’s because of fear, discomfort, shame and judgement that we don’t share our stories. Allow other people to feel comfortable sharing something with you, be there for them, do what you can to help them.

It reminds me why this is happening in our country today. We have a reality TV star president to promotes ‘grabbing pussy’ and describes his relationship to women as one where we let him ‘do whatever he wants.’ We idolize sports figures who in their private lives physical and sexual abuse the women in their lives. We watch Woody Allen movies without thinking about if the rape and molestation of his daughter are true, we are shocked when people like musical artist Kesha’s story abuse sexual assault and abuse in the music industry comes out and find it in our hearts to demonize people like Tiger Woods for adulator-us, yes, but consensual sex but not equally men who rape, sexually assault, abuse and discriminate against.

When you marked Trump on the ballot you okayed sexual abuse toward women. When you bought that _____ jersey you okayed sexual abuse toward women. When you watched that Woody Allen movie you okayed molestation. It may not seems like it but not speaking up about it if you know it’s true makes you part of it. When you support

You may say that you don’t know for sure if all of these acts of sexual abuse by women is true or that you didn’t know about it. That’s fair. Then I challenge to see where in your life sexual discrimination, assault or abuse toward women exists in your life because it is no doubt there. It may be subtle, like a joke between co-workers that doesn’t paint someone in the best light or a comment about a woman’s size or shape at work. It may be more obvious like your girlfriends husband that gets a little too aggressive when he drinks. Maybe you notice a boy in your kids class who is mean and abusive to all the girls in class. Maybe that boy is your son. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, speak out about it. The women of the world need you too.

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School photo of me in the second grade around the time my me too story occurred 

If you don’t feel inspired to do this I would ask you to consider the women in your life-the mothers, daughters, sisters, cousins, wives, aunts, nieces, grandmothers, great-grandmothers and granddaughters. What are we teaching them is OK in our daily lives and interactions with others? How are we defining what a women is and what male female relationships should look like?

I learned that it was my duty to let go of what happened to me, not to talk about for fear that I would make people uncomfortable because it made me uncomfortable. I see the boys now as grown men here and there through social media and I wonder….I wonder if they know what they did was wrong and if they think about it today. I wonder if I made a mistake by not telling my story sooner. If it could’ve helped more young girls or grown women. I wonder why it’s just become the norm to not talk about these things and how life can just go on. But the best I can do now is share my story, forgive everyone involved and strive to change.

This new me requires me to put my foot down in relationships when I know something is good or bad for me. It means making decisions for me and using my voice to speak up about wrong doings. It means taking responsibility for my own wrong doings. The timing of finding out that I possibly have endometriosis colliding with a time in history that we as people and more importantly women, are finding the courage to come out and tell our stories, is no coincidence. As I’ve mentioned before, any female ailment related to the vagina, ovaries, uterus, etc, can be related to sexual abuse, shame regarding femininity, femaleness and the female body. I can’t ignore this revelation and I’m happy for this message my pain has been trying to get across to me and am grateful for my endometriosis.

Now, I’m working toward forgiving the boys now men, for what they did, their parents and their strict religion, my mom and myself for letting fear hold us back from what we knew was right, my dad being for being absent from this as he was most things at that time in my life and everyone else involved in the hiding of this secret. I understand know why and how this could’ve happened because as it turns out we all had one thing in common, we were afraid.

I’d like to be the first of us to stand up and say that what happened to me was wrong. It should’ve been acknowledged, talked about and some resource should’ve been brought in after such a traumatic experience. The boys should’ve received help not punishment in the form of physical abuse however, I’m not entirely sure of their truth and what happened to them. I only know that it was back to normal, playing on our neighbors lawn and I played along because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do.

Even sitting here now I feel bad for the people involved. Should I be writing this post? What if one of the men were to read it? I fear them being held responsible Well, I’ve heard that voice before, that fear and this time, I’m telling it to take the backseat, someone else is driving.

*Do you have a me too story? I encourage you to share it here or in whatever style/platform is comfortable for you. The more we talk about it, the more we heal ❤

Doctor Fear

Sitting in my new doctors office for maybe the fourth time and I can’t believe how much has changed from that first visit. As I think about it I watch as a man says goodbye to the nurse, “I’m taking this,” he says holding up a Shape magazine and walks out, the nurse not even blinking an eye.

I laughed out loud and thought about how lucky I was to be in Mt. Shasta. Not because it has the best health care in the world and everywhere else doesn’t, but because I came from a big city where dealing with these health concerns would take considerably more time. It wouldn’t be as intimate as the experience is here. Where doctors know each other because their office is just across the street. With that said, things like broken MRI machines wouldn’t interrupt my appointment like here, because where I’m from, there’s more than one machine.

Since I came up to Northern California this July, I’ve been to more doctors appointments than I have my whole life combined. This all came about because I was ignoring pain that I had been feeling since last December. I’ve always looked at my menstrual pain as a final judgement put on me that I could do nothing about. It is what it is, I thought. Every woman must go through this and it’s the norm. Little did I know that my pain was trying to tell me something important about my body.

So why then, would someone like me who prides themselves on being interested in all things health, shun the one community that could help her? Well, it begins like all fear begins, with a story, a history of discomfort and the general attitude that doctors are Gods on top of their pedestals making important decisions about our fate.

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Me in the hospital after fainting which led me to discover that I have two cysts. This visit really turned out to be a blessing. 

That’s how I always felt anyway until I reached high school and my Mom took me to our family doctor because I was depressed. I remember feeling like I didn’t care about anything, like life din’t matter for me. I couldn’t find the joy in things and I hid my depression from everyone except my Mom. At this particular doctors appointment I saw not my primary physician but another doctor working with him at the time.

It is still one of the most uncomfortable memories of my life, being asked, in front of my Mom if I had been molested or abused. Because, obvious to my doctor but not me, this could be the only reason for my depression. I was stunned, embarrassed and uncomfortable. My answer was no but the fact that he had asked in such a manner changed my perspective of conventional doctors from that day forward.

I left that appointment with a prescription for prozac which I came to later find out he had prescribed to more people in my family than just me. After that appointment my fear of doctors grew and began going to see the doctor less. At first, it seemed like a good idea. No unnecessary money spent and wasted time. I’d seen lots of people go to the doctor for no reason at all so I was happy to learn that I didn’t need to go every time I sneezed.

Flash forward to 2015, I’m enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and still proudly not seeing any doctors because I believed with the new knowledge I had, I could take care of myself and I had the proof. Time after time I’d used whole foods and holistic treatments for ailments and began rarely getting sick because I’d changed my diet and lifestyle.

But behind the facade of healthy eating was a person desperately trying to control everything that went into their mouth without really giving attention to the other aspects of my life that were beginning to unravel. It took a while for me to admit something was really wrong with me. I had a lot of excuses for what could be causing my pain. I’d taken a Soul Cycle class with a friend that left me hurting for weeks on my left side that I connected with my cyst pain. I also blamed work and their terrible chairs and tiny work spaces. I didn’t know a cyst could be the issue until I started focusing my studies on female health.

While reading Women’s Bodies Women’s Wisdom by Christianne Northrup, the idea that I may have a cyst crossed me mind. My symptoms matched up with those described in the book so I made a gynecologist appointment. At the time I was still San Francisco. I told the doctor I had pain but also said it may be from work so she ignored the comment. All my tests came back normal so I let it be but couldn’t ignore the pain eventually and knew deep down something was wrong.

Once I moved up North for the summer I made a gyno appointment right away which after a vaginal ultra sound, determined I was right, that I actually had two cysts. So what have I learned from this whole ordeal? I’ve listed some myths that I’ve come to find are just that, myths and resources beyond conventional medicine.

Doctor Myths Busted 

  1. My doctor knows it all-This is a dangerous one. Although conventional medicine has offered us so much especially recently with its developments, it is usually better for a band-aid fix and not prevention. This means that doctors rarely have other options than to slice, stitch or prescribe. Although I went into my situation cautious about conventional medicine, I was still shocked when my new gyno didn’t have any advice to give me on pain management for cysts or reducing their size other than hormonal pill form birth control. Something that she profits from and probably learned in medical school was the only solution. Which is just not true. So don’t worry if you feel let down when you go to your appointments, you doctors aren’t supposed to know it all and they don’t. There are plenty of other resources available to you like health coaches, integrative doctors, acupuncturist, etc.
  2. I Shouldn’t Ask Questions-I get it, the doctor has been rushing around the office and has no time for you and now that they’re finally there, it’s like they can’t wait to leave. You don’t want to bother them with questions or take up anymore of their time. Ditch that thought. Your health is more important. Be sure before your appointment to jot down some questions that you have about your ailment or in general. Feel free to do some of your own research and check with your doctor to see their accuracy. Don’t feel ashamed or worried if they aren’t comfortable answering. You have every right to ask questions and if you’re not getting the answers you need, it may be time to find another doctor.
  3. I Don’t Need to be completely honest about lifestyle/food choices with my doc-It’s easy to feel like we don’t want to be judged by our doctors. The first time I ever wrote down how many alcoholic beverages I consumed in a day, I was shocked at myself, embarrassed and worried what my doctor would say. But the reason this is so imperative is so that they can better help you. The more they no about you the better they can make a plan that will work best for you and your ailments. So be honest!
  4. I Don’t Deserve Health care-Regardless of your job, income, race, age or religion, everyone had the right to good health and the resources we provide for this health. Never feel bad about yourself or think you deserve less care because you are on medicare More money shouldn’t buy better health and doesn’t make you more deserving of it. We should all want our neighbors to have the best health care because when everyone is healthy they are at their best and can then become thoughtful members of society.
  5. There are no other alternatives and if there were, my doctor would’ve told me-This last one relates to the first but it’s so important because there are always alternatives. More importantly, there is always someone else that has gone through what you’ve gone through. Get out there and find them, connect with them and learn. Never assume that your doctor knows all the options out there because they may not. Do ask because there are plenty of great doctors out there and they may have some valuable resources to share with you.

This blog is in no way meant to discourage anyone from seeking medical help via conventional medicine. It is not a call to get off medication or swear off conventional medicine. I am incredibly grateful for the health care I’ve received especially in the past few months that I’ve been in Mt. Shasta. This post is instead intended to raise questions about conventional, medical advice and tactics when other, less severe options are available to us. I intend and hope you will as well, to continue to use both conventional and integrative medicine throughout my life and not be afraid to ask questions, seek advice, or challenge anything I’ve learned because when it comes to my body, I’m really the one on the pedestal.

So what are your options if conventional medicine doesn’t have something to offer you or you aren’t comfortable with your choices?

Your choice is something know as integrative medicine. You may have also heard it called functional medicine, eastern medicine, alternative medicine or holistic medicine.

This type of medicine differs from conventional medicine because it looks at alternatives to surgery and medicine and instead tries to get to the root of the issue using whole foods, therapeutic practices, supplements and exercise.

  • Integrative doctor-they will test blood, hormones, talk to you about diet, lifestyle, relationships, family medical history-they dig deep. And the deeper the better.
  • Acupuncturist-they can help by talking to you about what your symptoms are and where pain lies and accordingly use metal pins and insert them into areas of your body to relive pressure. Helps relive pain by moving restricted blood around.
  • Regular massage, Thai Massage or massage specifically geared toward female healing-This can offer pain relief and is just a great practice of self care if you can get one once month or whenever possible.
  • Holistic Dentist-They will use safer practices while teeth cleaning and can remove your fillings and replace them with something newer and less toxic.
  • Health Coach-Health coaches can really add to your life by providing help with a lot of these resources and support throughout the process of healing. They are your biggest advocate to help get healthy and stay that way. They help you adopt new healthy habits that won’t fall by the wayside like they typically do when you try to go at it alone. They consider all aspects of your life that may be affecting your health and have helpful information to your specific body. I went to school to be a health coach at IIN so I’m a big advocate for health coaches and how they can help someone achieve they health goals.
  • Holistic therapy-I specifically looked for a holistic therapist because I didn’t want to be offered medication and I wanted someone who was familiar with the approaches I’m comfortable with. She also offers things like nature therapy which is a perk of seeking out a holistic therapist. Therapists also tend to have lots of other great resources to give you and I think are an important part of a healthy lifestyle for anyone.
  • Groups like Al-Anon and AAThey aren’t holistic but depending on your individual situation a group like this might be beneficial for you. I started attending Al-Anon meetings, which is for children, family and friends of alcoholics and I think it’s been a great addition to my well-rounded healing. The experience and stories from the people there offer something that therapy or talking to a friend doesn’t offer. It helps me to feel less alone and refocus my life on myself. It’s also helped me with my decision to stop drinking but more on that in another post.
  • Holistic General PractitionersI haven’t looked into this thoroughly but I know they exist. I wanted list them because I think it’s important to note that there are doctors out there who have studied and gotten degrees from medical school who have taken their studies further to include eastern medicine as well.

Do you have any to add to the list?

Sensitive

I am so sick and tired of being called sensitive. My whole life, I’ve been the ‘sensitive’ one in my family. The one who cries the most and ‘feels’ the most. It was a rarity that I could share my feelings without an eye roll, being told I was taking something the wrong way or ultimately, being invalidated.

I’ve always gone through life being told to suppress my feelings. That they were too much or too loud. As an adult, not much has changed. People hide from feelings and emotions. They feel better when feelings are kept to themselves. Adults get uncomfortable when children cry, trying immediately to fix whatever is making them feel that way-silence the emotion. It’s in our nature to not want to address the emotion behind the act of crying.

Why is this? Why do we avoid feelings? Well, digging into them would be messy and would require work. Work that some people just don’t want to do. If you’re a sensitive person, then you know what I mean. You’ve always been the cry baby and it’s everyone else’s opinion that you should get thicker skin.

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Typical things a sensitive person hears daily, ‘Get over it,’ ‘Calm down,’ ‘it’s not that big a deal,’ ‘why are you so upset?’ It creates a problem for sensitive people to try to live among others. When every emotion becomes judged, you learn to guard them carefully so as not to be judged by them. Everything you say is wrong and drenched in too much emotion. This is really sad. Sad that I was hiding my emotions to please others. Sad that I wasn’t being myself. Holding on to so much causes pain and illness and in my case, may have caused my cysts.

Somehow as a sensitive person you get attacked for feeling. I think it’s put us in a bit of a predicament. We’ve become an unfeeling society, one afraid to address real issues. That’s left us with a lot of unacknowledged pain and discomfort. When people don’t talk about things, feel things, they begin to fester.

So it’s important for me to voice this as a sensitive person. To voice the need to speak out no matter how other people feel about it. To cry when I want and need to. To feel when I want and need to. It’s also important so that can break the pattern of attracting people to me that don’t honor my sensitivities and see them as a super power. When I change how I feel about myself, I attract others that feel that way about me as well. Those who judge, make fun of or think my emotions are too much, well, they know where the door is.

Day 4 Of My 4-Day Detox

Ever since my Mom died, and even a few months before that, I began waking up around 4 or 5 am without being able to go back to sleep. Typically I smoke pot to help me back to sleep and to help with the pain of what I came to learn were my inflamed ovarian cysts. But today, the last of my cleanse, I did something else instead. I’ve been wanting to adopt other healthy ways to start my day even through the grief I’ve been experiencing, because of the grief I’ve been experiencing and for cyst treatment and pain management.

So today, when I awoke around 5:30 or 6 am, I put on my headphones and listened to school videos instead. I didn’t fall back asleep but I did get some more rest, do something productive and positive and caught up on some school work. It may seem like a small thing, but for me, someone who has depended on pot and alcohol to help through painful experiences in my life, this is huge.

It felt really nice to feel like I was giving myself a fresh start. At least on this day. I was also really excited that it was the last day of the cleanse. Even though I planned on sticking to the program indefinitely, which is not the same as the detox, I missed nut butters and dark chocolate, potatoes and chips! Which is really just more potatoes, but hey, what can I say, I like potatoes.

Dinner
This is what I had for lunch and dinner as well

But back to my last day of the detox…..

I was on such a high from, well, not being high, that I didn’t care I was eating the same thing yet again. I’ve realized these past four days how much fruit fills me up, how long it takes to chew and how much energy I’ve had afterward. Instead of the hard drop in my stomach that I feel when I eat a load of heavy carb. This isn’t to say I think I can eat like this every morning and nor do I think I should. This was about giving my body a detox of extra estrogen in the hopes of reducing the size of my cysts. It was also so I could give myself a good start to this new way of life now that I will be cycle synching.

I went for a nice walk with Mando and Jackson after eating my fruit and when we got back I read the material for the day. It was all about goal setting. Following is a little bit from that Flo Living material.

Day 4: Using your Body as a Tool to Create Your Best Life

The focus for Day 4 is intentions and goal setting. Your reset is also creating mental and emotional clarity for you right now, so take advantage of this special time to set some goals for your New Year, starting now with a meditation. Pick two things that you don’t have in your life right now and describe exactly how these new things will change your life and how you will feel when you have them. Now imagine that these things and experiences are present in your life now. Feel the feelings of already having what you want. Notice any self-doubt or skepticism and set them aside. You are programming your your body and mind to expect to receive these things into your life.

I sat for a while and thought about the two things that I want to manifest in my life…..

The first was very typical of my astrological sign of the Cancer–what I imagined first was a home and community to immerse myself in. The second thing I wanted to manifest was a writing career where I could help women change their lives for the better through holistic nutrition. I described in great detail each of these manifestations and sat quietly a while with my eyes closed, smiling. I pictured what I wanted clearly and felt the feelings that I would have as if I had them now. And I do!

pumpkins
My pumpkins from the pumpkin patch

I focused on the feelings of joy, pride, accomplishment and gratitude and let them wash over me. I felt relaxed and confident afterward and it inspired me to complete some homework and dive more into the Floliving program. Then Mando and I went shopping for our Goddaughter’s birthday and to the pumpkin patch, grabbed some pumpkins and played some games. I feel really blessed to be with someone whom I can express my child side with because it always brings me the most joy in life. I believe doing these things are really important for a happy life and I’m really grateful for this detox for opening my eyes to the other joys in my life that surround me other than food.

At different times food has been center of everything I do. It pretty much went like this-Do you want to go the carnival? What food do they have there? Wanna go bowling? Yeah we can eat there! The Raider’s game is on, want to go watch it? Do they have food there? What do you want to do? Let’s go to a restaurant!

I think you can tell who I was in the scenario and hopefully you get the point. This isn’t to say I’ve changed for good; I just feel a little less worried about my next food venture when I’m preparing more food for myself and sticking to a plan that makes it easy to eat delicious food that also works well for my body. I’ve learned that I really like food prep and having meals ready to go so there’s not so much focus on food throughout your days, and more time for other things.

To finish my day, I took the advice of Floliving and took an Epsom salt bath to help complete the detoxification process by drawing out toxins. Epsom salt baths are also good for alleviating pain caused my inflamed cysts so it was a two-for-one. I also put a little tea tree oil in because it’s suppose to be good for cyst pain. I used two cups of Epsom salt and 6 drops of tea tea oil for my bath and stayed in for 20 minutes. I ran mine a little too hot, as always, but really enjoyed it.

Breakfast 

Fruit bowl of apples, blackberries, ground flaxseed, lemon juice

Snack

Apples, tea, chlorophyll water

Lunch 

Wild salmon, quinoa, ground flaxseed, liver cleansing melody

Dinner 

I was supposed to just have quinoa but I didn’t finish my salmon for lunch so I had it for dinner. I’m still working on eating more during the day and less in the evening. It’s a process for me.

That’s it for my 4-Day Detox but this won’t be my last time doing it. I think that it would be great to do it every once in a while for a reset. Now my focus is cycle synching according to Woman Code and the Floliving program.

Follow along as I work to find creative ways to follow the program with food exercise, self care and cutting out some hurtful habits like coffee and drinking alcohol.

Have any of you had to change your diet or lifestyle because of health? I’d love to hear from you!

 

Day 3 Of My 4-Day Detox

There’s a reason they say the third day, or the middle of any cleanse is the most difficult. It’s the day they kick it up a notch. They day you don’t like what you’re eating. The day you’re ready to quit.

Which was kind of a bummer because I started  the day so positive and felt good after saying no to something that would’ve required too much energy from me and got to spend most of the alone, relaxing. Well, not entirely alone, I had Jackson, Mando’s sister Dolores’s dog that Mando’s mom now has. It’s pure joy having him here and I feel really blessed to be in his company. I believe just having him around has made me happier everyday.

To get back to my lunch, I just wasn’t enjoying it. I wasn’t enjoying it. I wanted to put some liquid aminos or soy sauce on it but couldn’t-part of the program is laying of soy as it may be bad for cysts and women’s health in general. I was bummed but determined to stick to it. The grocery list in the program listed rice wine vinegar. Why didn’t I get rice wine vinegar? It would’ve added such flavor! I was annoyed with myself. I tried apple cider vinegar but it almost made it worse.

I was eating outside, the weather was nice and Jackson was laying at my feet but I just couldn’t enjoy my food. I set it aside for later and asked myself why I couldn’t eat the meal I had in but was craving other foods and things. Wanting the salmon I’d had yesterday even though that had been two days in a row. I thought I was bored of it. I also eat mostly vegetarian so I thought today would be easier. Wanting something else to eat and unwilling to eat what I had, I decided to try focusing on something beside food.

Jackson. He’s always around, always there. To get you off of your electronics or at your feet. He’s a reminder of the other joys in life beyond food. Playing with him and going back to my food periodically helped. After that I set it aside and ate some extra breakfast I had. There was new juice from the blackberries becoming room temperature. The juice like a special, sweet sauce made for dessert in a fine restaurant. I loved it.

I was getting what I thought I was supposed to be getting out of this. Which is, learning to appreciate things beyond food. I think because I was able to, I could go back to my food and enjoy it. I was ready to focus BALANCE after this detox and be easy on myself too. We’ve all been there and obsessing over what to eat and ended up eating nothing because nothing is ‘healthy enough’ is just as bad as throwing in the towel, hitting the drive thru and getting diarrhea later that night. Or maybe that’s just me.

Later in the day Mando and I had an appointment to check out a house in Mt. Shasta. I made sure to eat before we left, take a snack and have something ready for me when we got back. It was a great experience to see the house and ask questions. I love looking at homes and it’s something we’ve been doing all summer because we really like it up here in Northern California. But this was the first time we actually went in to a house. It was a lot of fun and and I’m glad it coincided with my detox because it’s all about new beginnings, making plans and dreaming big.

When I got back to Mando’s mom’s house I was pretty tired and was experiencing quite a bit of pain. So I took a nice nap which really left me feeling refreshed. I could definitely feel sluggish energy before this.

The reading material for this day was detailed and broken down into a ‘Life Detox.’

  • Appreciation challenge-There is no animal protein the in the eating plan today so it’s important to take today to enjoy each bite. Breath and take the time to chew, notice the tastes and flavors. How is it being vegan for one day? Is it normal to experience cravings and hunger and not always indulge. How are you emotions?

-Even though I eat mostly plant based, today it was difficult for me not to have salmon. It’s all I wanted to eat! Reading that last question about not always indulging brought up a good question. Were there others ways to satisfy cravings besides eating? It’s helped me realized how much mindless eating I’ve done in my life. Just because the bag of chips was there.

  •  Ease your exercise-When doing the woman code detox it’s normal to feel tired and/or a little constipated. The best thing to do is stay well-hydrated and scale back on the amount of  activity done. For instance, take a walk instead of doing a high impact exercise.

-This one is easy for me as I’ve not been good with a regular exercise routine. Which may be the reason why I’m I have this problem in the first place! I say this because I’ve done a lot of research and found that exercise plays a hugs role in preventing cysts. However, the pain and size of the cyst may prevent a woman from being able to participate in certain exercise routines. Restorative, gentle yoga is on exercise that is recommended for cysts and I hope to add to that list as I do more research.

  • Abundance Assignment-Take some time to think of the people in your life that mean a lot to you. Then create a list of the people who give you energy when you interact with them, who support you as you deal with stress in your life, and who support you being the best you. Brainstorm one thing that you can do to show each person how much they mean to you, spending little to no money.

-I thought this was a great assignment! I have my list and am currently thinking of how to best share my gratuity.

  • Bath Product Detox-The products used to clean your bathroom and household are potential stressors on your health. New research shows that many of the chemicals found in everyday house-cleaning products are bio-accumulative and very toxic, which means that once in your system, they stay in your system and allow for increased free radical damage which makes you more vulnerable to autoimmune diseases and cancers. Throw away comet, ajax, windex, lysol, air fresheners, Glad plug-ins, cute toilet bowl cleaners and baby powder. Use BonAmi or Arm and Hammer baking powder in place of Ajax or Comet. Use white vinegar instead of bleach (it cuts grease too)

-Luckily this is something that I have done a long time ago but it’s never a bad idea to brush up on some products. I find ew.org very helpful for finding out toxicity levels in my products.

Breakfast-

Apples, blackberries, lemon juice, 1 tbls. ground flaxseed

Snacks-

Spirulina water-I forgot to add it to my fruit for breakfast so decided to have it with water.

Maca water-Maca is a cruciferous vegetable that’s ground into a powder to add to smoothies, etc. It works very well for balancing hormones for both men and women.

Tea

Banana

Pear-fiberous fruit that helps rid of cysts

Lunch-

Quinoa, purple cabbage, leeks, kale, ground flaxseed, green onion, red onion

Liver cleansing melody

Dinner-Lentil minestrone

 

 

 

 

Day Two Of My 4-Day Detox

I was off to a really good start after getting up around 7 and journaling right away to help a little pain that I was having. I then had warm lemon water with cayenne pepper and an 8 ounce glass of water. As part of the Floliving Course I am taking, I’m suppose to be mindful of how much water I’m drinking, at least 8 glasses of 8 ounce water per day. It’s also good to hydrate a lot during a cleanse to help flush out toxins from he liver.

After some other school work I’m doing and checking out some information from this course, I had breakfast. I have to be honest that I yet again wasn’t excited to have fruit and became even more bummed when I realized that oatmeal was only allowed in the transitional three day cleanse afterward. I don’t even like oatmeal! I calmed down though and reassured myself that the detox was only four days and I could last until then. Also, I was able to test an adapted recipe for rice cooker oatmeal for Mando an his Mom and they loved it! I’ll be sharing it later.

IMG_1653.jpg
Similar breakfast to day one but added pears and parsley too

I had a harder time staying away from TV and social media today during meals. Mando also tried talking politics with me at lunch but got the hint when I didn’t respond. I didn’t mean to be rude, I was just counting the my chews. You see, today there was more reading material in my floliving packet and one topic was chewing more for mindfulness, less eating and digestion. Start with at least 15 chews per bite. Then move up to 20 then 30. Notice to tastes and sensations.

I decided to keep away from the noise of electronics the best I could by singing or choosing light music over the news. I also left the room if I didn’t want to watch something or didn’t like the energy. Especially lately. I love to be informed and help in other ways but not by drowning myself with negative news.

I’m also learning that I don’t like a lot of sound and distraction from taking this break. I used to dread quiet but TV just sounds like noise some how. Don’t get me wrong though, I do still love getting a good 90s movie from the library and finding new shows like The Good Place on the Netflix I’m borrowing from a friend, thanks Jenni! 🙂 I watch HBO sometimes too and Ellen with Mando’s mom. Basically I don’t like commercials. It’s more noise and negative images that I don’t want or need.

IMG_1619
Lunch-wild salmon with the same spices as the last on brown rice tossed with 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

 

Commercials are the reason I cancelled cable in my own home for a few years before coming here. But being back around cable has changed that, what can I say, old habits die hard. But I’m regretting it now. Especially during this detox because food commercials really affect me. These images can be really bad for your psyche when you’re trying to stop a bad habit and drive thru fast food was definitely one of mine. So I’m trying to be mindful and get back to less TV.

Breakfast

Apples-Fiji, pear, blackberries, spirulina, ground flaxseed, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon ground flax seed. I ate breakfast very slowly today and mostly peacefully. I ate a little later today which ended up making the rest of my meals later. I think this affected my cravings.

Lunch-Wild salmon same as the last time. I messed up and had cooked greens instead of liver cleansing salad. But I had some liver cleansing melody later to make up for it.

Snack-

Tea

Dinner-

Lentil minestrone-lentils cooked separately, zucchini, can of crushed tomato, garlic, onion, av oil for sauteeing.

Liver-cleansing melody

Sautéed kale with garlic powder, him salt and black pepper in avocado oil

I had a bit of a rushed early dinner and later craved I juicy cheeseburger. Probably because I saw one the day before on TV. Which is one of the reasons I cancelled cable in my own home for a few years before coming here. What can I say, old habits die hard. But I’m regretting it now. These images can be really bad for your psyche when you’re trying to stop a bad habit. And drive thru fast food was definitely one of mine.

 

These cravings led me to reread the detox plan for this day and do some emotional homework. Recommendations for this day included:

1-Chew Challenge-Increase chewing to 15 chews per bite. When you chew for longer, you naturally eat less food.. More saliva is produced which is important for the digestive process. When we skip it we make our stomachs do more work breaking it down and this leads to discomfort and uncomfortable bowel movements.

2-Self-Care Reset-Journal about things that feel sef nuturing to you. The most sustainable forms of self-care come from the little ways we can be compassionate to our bodies every day. For inspiration think of the things that your mom did for you or you would do for your child. Commit to doing one per day for the next week.

3-Kitchen Detox-This is all about getting spices with MSG, partially hydrogentaed oils and stuff that’s old. Because I’m in someone else’s home I didn’t need to do this. I have also done this before and have pretty clean products. I did however, clean up Mando’s Mom’s cuppboard for her and toss out some old products. It’s the least I can do for her letting us stay with her.

4-Treat Yourself-Schedule a massage or acupuncture appointment to help with the detox (in the process of that now)

5-Internal Plumbing Check In-Make sure you’re having a bowl movement first things in the morning without the help of coffee or tea. If not, drink more water especially upon waking otherwise you’re sitting with waste that is days old. I’m good in this department so far and have definitely noticed better bowel movements these past two days.

*What’s your experience with eating for health? I’d love to hear from you!