Sunday, May 22, 2016

Butterflies and Blades

I debated whether or not I should write this, but I think it could be important.  People have a right to know that they're not alone.  Especially when it's something that society says you shouldn't talk about.

I don't know that I'll be able to collect my thoughts well, so bear with me.

When I was 14, I started down the dark, lonely path of self harm.  I'm not going to get into the whys and the hows of it, it is what it is (or it was what it was, I guess?).  Long story short, shortly before I turned 19, I made a promise that I'd never do it again - that's what the butterfly tattoo is that's on my hip.  Fast forward to now, I'm 6 years clean, and I almost threw that away today.  I still knew exactl how to take apart a razor; it was like I'd done it yesterday.  I felt hurt, lost, and like someone had ripped my heart out of my chest.  My world was crashing in around me, and I was quickly losing my sense of who I was.  I felt out of control.  I felt hopeless.  Thankfully, I did the right thing this time.  Because I have a best friend with a beautiful heart and soul, I get to continue counting upwards without an instance of relapse.

I'm not writing this for sympathy, and I'm not writing it for attention.  I'm writing this to let people know that if you're struggling with this or anything like it, there is absolutely hope.  I'm not going to tell you that it's easy, because it's not.  But if I've made it to 6 years, then so can you.  It can be done, and you shouldn't give up, no matter what.  You are not alone, and you are strong enough.  You are enough.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

"The Most Common, Devastating Disease You've Never Heard of", by Shannon Cohn

Start here:  http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/12/the-most-common-devastating-disease-youve-never-heard-of/

What a great article, finally.
Ah, yes, "It's normal." Or "some women just have bad cramps." We're definitely vomiting and crying to get out of class, that's for making me feel like a hypochondriac and a liar./heavy sarcasm
If your period makes you cancel your plans, miss school, etc, that's NOT F*CKING NORMAL. I don't care if 10 doctors have told you that it is, every single one of them is wrong, I promise. 

Endometriosis isn't rare. (Also, world, it's not a damn typo, so stop underlining it!) There is no cure. It doesn't necessarily damn you to a childless life, if it's caught and excised early. Pregnancy sure as hell doesn't cure it (did you forget the part where we said there was NO CURE?) It has nothing to do with sexual assault. It's frequently misdiagnosed as IBS, because it can have a lot of GI symptoms as well (want me to tell you how much fun it is to feel like there's a fire poker shoved up your rear? Spoiler alert: it's not, and it will more than likely make you cry in public places).

There is such a lack of understanding when it comes to endometriosis. It's not just "bad cramps", and please, for the love of god, do not compare yours to mine. Do not belittle my pain, do not try to make me feel like it's not as bad as it is. Do not make me too scared to tell employers or coworkers because I think they'll think I'm just exaggerating.
Yes, I'm one of the lucky ones. I had excision done 3 years ago by a specialist, and that is literally the only surgery I've ever had to have for it. BUT, I also most likely have adenomyosis (a lovely sister tag-along disease to endo), which means that I HAVE to be on continuous birth control, or else I literally cannot work full shifts when Aunt Flo is in town. I cannot function properly. The pain is mind blowing at times. You don't get used to it, no matter how many years you've been suffering.

The pain was so intense at times I would have hot flashes, then dissolve into a shivering, sweaty mess on my cold bathroom floor." This. Imagine the worst case of the shakes that you've ever had from a hangover, and add a razor-wielding octopus inside your abdomen who is desperately trying to escape.

We do not need pity. We need awareness. We need doctors that actually have a clue what they're talking about. We need parents that are educated. We need school nurses who know how to look for the signs. We need OBGYNs that know when to send you to a specialist instead of carelessly performing a useless surgery on you that does more harm than good. We need people to pay attention, and we need people to LEARN.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Response to: Ask The Dietitian: What’s The Deal With Shakeology? by Abby Langer

After coming across this on facebook today, I thought I'd add in my two cents.
I think the tone of this article was a little "high and mighty".   To be frank, the entire second paragraph was childish and bitchy. That aside, I feel that there were some very critical things wrong here:

"You can’t fairly compare whole food to a drink." - You are very correct.  Whole foods are definitely the best option for nutrition.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of people struggle with that, for various reasons.  For me, I have sensory/texture issues that make it so I cannot eat most fruits/vegetables without triggering my gag reflex... so Shakeology fills that gap in my nutrition for me.  It's obviously a better alternative than not eating any fruits or vegetables at all, don't you think?

"The only thing Shakeology should be replacing, if anything, is $41 worth of crap food like the chips and chocolate bars that are in your pantry." - Also true.  But you're failing to acknowledge that THAT is what people struggle with the most, in my experience.  Do you have any idea how hard it would be for a person to go from eating junk foods all the time to being a perfect whole foods eater?  That's completely unrealistic.  There's nothing wrong with learning how to get there, and getting help in the process.  And yes, my chocolate shake is MUCH healthier than any chocolate bar in someone's pantry.  Does your chocolate bar have superfoods and probiotics in it? ;)

"Essentially these are protein shakes, but the 17 grams per shake is a bit below the 20-25 grams of protein that I recommend per meal." - It's not marketed as a protein shake, actually.  And if any person is advocating that Shakeology is a protein shake, then they're misinformed or under-educated about it. Not to mention, you can easily kick that protein up to 20-25 grams by adding milk, peanut butter, yogurt, etc to your shake.

"Each shake has only 160 calories, which is about 340 calories short of an actual meal by my recommendations. You’re basically relying on 17 grams of protein to keep you full until your next meal or snack, and good luck to you." - Once again, almost everyone I know adds things to their shake (milk, fruits, veggies, etc), upping the caloric content.  Secondly?  Shakeology DOES keep me full, for about 2.5-3 hours, and I know for a fact that I'm not alone there.

"Something that does irk me about Shakeology, and I have to mention this, is the ‘Team Beachbody’ thing that it’s associated with. Can we please stop talking about beach bodies? A beach body is a body in a bathing suit. A fat body, a thin body, a pink, green, yellow, or orange body. Whatever body you have is your beach body. Let’s stop idealizing the ‘perfect bikini body’, because that BS doesn’t exist. Be the healthiest and happiest that you can be, and stop trying to fit into society’s warped vision of ‘beach body’, which we all know is unrealistic for 99% of us." - I'm sorry you're so angry about this and clearly feel attacked, but not ONE of the coaches on the team I'm a part of talks about getting a "perfect bikini body".  We're all here to help you be the best version of you that you can be.  Quite frankly, my entire business revolves around the fact that "skinny" isn't a goal you should have (#strongnotskinny , anyone?).  A Beachbody IS a body on a beach.  And you should be happy with that body and proud of it, no matter what it looks like, as long as it's healthy!  That's why good coaches exist in this business.  That's what we're here for.  So please don't trash a company due to your incorrect views of it.

Shakeology isn't the healthiest thing ever on the planet Earth.  But do you know what it IS?  Way healthier than the majority of what people are eating on a daily basis.  A wonderful source of vitamins and minerals that a lot of people lack.  A great source of pre- and probiotics to help your digestive system.  A great substitute for the breakfast that I don't eat.  A good substitute for fruits and vegetables that I'm lacking due to my texture issues.  A source of nutrients that's helped my hair and nails be so much stronger than they ever were.  An energy providing drink that's a clearly way better option than soda.  The only thing that's ever been able to even TOUCH my levels of fatigue when my body spends too much time attacking itself.

And it's delicious.  I rest my case. :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Invisible Illness Awareness Week 2015


The picture on the right, on it's own, probably doesn't look so bad. But when you compare it to the way my body normally looks, it's a different story. Endometriosis (and probable adenomyosis) is an invisible illness in so many ways, for me. It went undetected for almost 6 years, which is actually a much shorter time than average, statistically speaking. I had doctor after doctor tell me that it was normal, I just have bad cramps, when I voiced my concerns. So I believed them.

Until one day, I didn't. I started doing research, found out more about my family history, and knew that something wasn't right. I'm not one for people self-diagnosing, but I was right. And I knew it. Thankfully, I connected with a wonderful woman on Facebook who directed me to a legitimate specialist in Massachusetts. I had my consultation with him, and he was also in agreement about my findings and suspicions. We scheduled my laparoscopy (and excision, if endometriosis was found), and things got real. When I came out of surgery, I found out that I was diagnosed with Stage II endometriosis. I also learned that the stages aren't really any reflection of pain level at all. You can have a stage II in excruciating pain like me, and a stage III with a lesser level of pain. Everyone's body handles damage differently. No one who is suffering is weak.
Yes, I had my excision surgery in February of 2013, and yes, it's the only surgery I've had so far for treatment. Yes, I feel significantly better than I did before my surgery. In fact, I got almost 2 completely pain free years out of it, which is incredible for someone who thought they were going to be stuck with it forever. But last night was a very clear depiction of what happens when my 'angry dinosaur' gets upset. My invisible illness is not less real just because you can't see the twisting pains and probable scar tissue inside me, or the fatigue, or the depression, or the horrendous side effects from the birth control I was prescribed to treat the probable adenomyosis (migraines and bipolar level mood swings, sounds like fun, right?).
I believe in advocacy, awareness, and education above all. My illness may be invisible, but I am not. I am ‪#‎endostrong‬.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Who Am I?

Who you are is important.  Where you've been, where you are, where you're going.  All of those things matter.  Every life matters.

I started this blog for myself, so I don't believe that I ever really touched on who I am, other than the fact that I have endo.

My past isn't pretty, and I don't enjoy talking about it.  I feel like people think I'm looking for sympathy or support, when that's not what I want or need.  I just hope to make people see that they're not alone.  My past contains things like bullying, depression, self injury, sexual assault, getting laid off of two different jobs before the age of 24, bad relationships, and a whole lot of growing, learning, and discovering life's truths.

My present consists of a lot of change.  Just under 3 months ago, Justin and I moved to North Carolina.  We weren't running away, we weren't "starting over".  We made the decision to pursue better opportunities in life, and do that together in a new place.  I recently got a promotion that I interviewed for, and am finally moving up the ladder for the first time in my working life.  I'm still working on my binge eating, and I'm working on learning how to love myself.  I love working out, and I'm so incredibly happy to no longer have a goal that involves weight.  There will be no more obsessing over the scale, obsessing over calories, all while pretending that that's normal and/or healthy.  I believe that the choice to become a Beachbody Coach was one of the best things I could have done for myself, because I now have such an incredible team of supporters behind me any time I need them.

My future has parts that I can control, and parts that I can't.  Lately, I'm learning how to differentiate, and I'm going to try to accept and let go of the parts that I can't control.

There's so much learning, if you just open yourself up to the opportunity.  I have already wasted so much time unwilling to learn, but that door never closes.  That's something you can control.

Live with love.  That includes loving yourself.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Time to return..

When I'm feeling lost, I usually end up back here.  I started this blog to chronicle my journey with endometriosis, but that't not really a part of my life anymore.  That's been confusing to some people, because, no, there is not a cure.  But there is a choice.  I chose to have excision surgery, and my pain has almost completely subsided.  Because of that, I chose to not have endo be a big part of my life.  Sure, it's always on the back burner, but it doesn't get to control my life.  It only ever dragged me down, and life has enough challenges on it's own without me letting this be another challenge.  I don't intend for that to be offensive, I promise.

I think it's time for me to start chronicling my fitness journey instead, since that's way more relevant to my current life.

Just over a year ago, a good friend of mine got me to try Shakeology.  I hated it for the first week or so.  It's now 13 months later, and I can't imagine my life without it.  I used to need to take a nap every single day, or else I couldn't make it through the day.  My fatigue was nothing short of crippling.  I was so tired that working out wasn't even an option.  If I didn't have the energy to make it through a normal day, how on earth was I supposed to have the energy to make it through a workout, too?

I'm so thankful that my friend introduced me to a different way of living.  My progress has not been huge, and it has not been fast.  But it has been a hell of a learning experience, and I'm still continuing to learn and make little changes every day.  The biggest changes have been in my heart and in my mind, and the stronger that I make those, the easier it will be for my body to follow.


If you're interested in following my journey on a more personal level, you can find me at facebook.com/coachmissyr

Monday, March 30, 2015

Stories Like Mine

I know this is the first post I've done in a long while.  I don't like writing without inspiration, because that leads to boring posts.

Saturday, March 28th, 2015 was the 2nd Annual EndoMarch.  This past weekend was filled with meetings, reunions, laughs, tears, and lots and lots of stories.  It's the stories that have driven me to write this post.

The vast majority of women who suffer from Endometriosis all have a similar story.  10+ years to get diagnosed, many times being misdiagnosed, numerous surgeries, most of them unhelpful, unnecessary hysterectomies, you name it.  They're horror stories.  They break your heart into pieces and make you cry.  No one should have to have a story like that.  No one deserves it.

But their stories are not at all like mine.

Yes, it took me ~6 years to get diagnosed, and that's far too long.  But I was never misdiagnosed, I never had drugs forced upon me, and I did not let any doctor/surgeon touch me until I found a specialist.  When I let myself acknowledge that was I was feeling was NOT normal, I started researching.  So much researching.  I was blessed enough to have an endosister find me, and let me ask her so many questions, share my fears, concerns, and confusion with her.  She directed me to her excision surgeon, who was in Boston.  I called and set up a consultation, and right then & there, we agreed to proceed with surgery to diagnose and excise, if endo was found.  That's right.  I had my diagnostic lap & excision done in the same procedure.  I have only had one surgery.  I have never been on Lupron.  I have not had any organs removed.  This is not to say that I was never told it was all in my head, or that I just have "bad periods", because I was told all of that.  But that's nothing compared to the medical torture that other women have been put through.

I want there to be more stories like mine.  I wish I could make all future endosisters' stories like mine.  I had access to the information I needed, and I'm thankful that I knew enough to go out and look for it.  Not everyone is that lucky.  I'm unsure how to reach the girls and women who need help before they go under the knife.  I'm unsure how to get through to people, when they're being told incorrect information from their doctors.

Early diagnosis and excision is CRUCIAL when it comes to regaining your best quality of life.  The longer you wait, the more irreversible damage is done.  The longer endometriosis is allowed to ravage your body, the more scar tissue is formed, and even the best of doctors can only do so much at that point.  We need to educate younger, and we need to push that the first person to open you up is a skilled expert, not your regular OBGYN.  Sure, your regular doctor can diagnose endometriosis, but that's all they can do to help you.  Ablation is not helpful, and is not successful, long term.  Only a specialist should be allowed to do procedures on you, or else you're just putting yourself through an unnecessary surgery.

I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I want to make a change.