In this beautiful month of June I’ll be featuring inspiring stories of fellow endo sisters on their journey to find Peace with Endo. I’m super excited to share this with you.
It continues with Chandelis’ story. Check it out below.
I’m a reporter for NBCNews.com working in the Washington, D.C. headquarters.
I am not married and I don’t have children. BUT I do have a four-legged fur child. Her name is Laila and she is a 3-year-old miniature pinscher.
I first met Aubree in person on March 29, 2015 in Washington, DC during Endometriosis Awareness Month at a session where she discussed her book, From Pain to Peace with Endo.
Suffering in Silence
I was diagnosed with Endometriosis in 2007 at the age of 18 when I was a freshman in college. It was found during a laparoscopic surgery to drain a grape fruit-size cyst that was on my ovary.
I was shocked because I had never heard of endometriosis before and I was scared. I was scared of what my life would be like, what other health problems it would cause, etc.
I felt lost, ashamed, and I didn’t know where to turn for treatment because there was very limited information back then and no support groups.
After my diagnosis I went from doctor to doctor trying to find someone who would understand and treat this disease while also taking different types of medicine such as birth control pills, pain meds like Ponstel, etc.
I wanted to keep it a secret from people and not talk about it out of fear of judgment, so I basically suffered in silence.
Something needs to change
I wanted to stop the pain I was experiencing every month on my cycle and the lower back pain I was feeling all the time.
I felt like my body was toxic and everything I was putting in it (medicine included) was making things worse.
I said to myself, “I have to do something to feel better and what I have been doing so far is not working. Something has got to change.”
It was like something was telling me, “What do you have to lose?”
When I first learned that there was a holistic way of managing endo, honestly, I was surprised and then not surprised at the same time.
I had heard of people doing it for other illnesses, and I believe anything is possible. So it wasn’t a foreign idea to me.
I did have doubts about the holistic path along the way and doubtful thoughts still come to me today. I had thoughts like, This isn’t going to work and You won’t stick with this.
But ultimately it made me feel empowered that it was okay for me to take my road to healing into my own hands. It was like I was giving myself permission to trust what my body was telling me in light of everything doctors and others were telling me to do.
I discussed it with my doctor, that I was tired of taking birth control and other forms of hormonal therapy and meds.
He was respectful and supportive of my decision, while also reminding me of the risks.
I heard about Livia and tried it for pain, and it worked!
I told my doctor about it and he was happy I had found something to manage pain outside of medicine.
So after that I said, “Okay, if I can use this and not take pain medication, then what else can I do?”
Changing my eating habits
I made the decision to change my eating habits and cut back on certain foods.
I’ve always loved milk, but I started drinking almond milk instead. Today, I even use almond milk when I cook stuff like cornbread.
I also cut out sugar and I mean the sugar in the bag, that cane sugar. I don’t have it in my home. I will use Splenda when necessary.
It was weird and hard at first. I had to get used to the almond milk taste, but it grew on me.
When I wanted a glass of milk I would try to drink almond milk but it was nasty to me that way. So I didn’t drink milk at all which helped me switch over.
Once I got used to one switch, I switched something else. I was always reminding myself, ‘Don’t eat that. We’re not eating that today.’
I could feel my body thanking me
I was thinking, I’m not going to be able to stick with this. I know I’m going to back track, and honestly I did.
I told myself, “Nothing beats a failure but a try,” and just went with it!
I was excited about change and doing something new in uncharted territory. I knew I was not treating my body right with what I was initially doing, though I was trying to heal it.
It was hard, but I could feel my body thanking me for the changes I made. I felt good mentally and spiritually.
By committing to a holistic path, I was scared I was going to make things worse and not feel better. I also thought I would damage my body.
But, on the flip side, it felt GOOD.
Eating healthy on a budget
I think some people are misled on how much it costs to eat healthy by what they see on social media and in commercials.
Sometimes it feels like in order to eat healthy you have pay a lot of money, when in reality you don’t. Some of the food prices we see today are unbelievable, which can discourage us and make us eat junk, but what has worked for me is meal prepping for the week and budgeting.
I’m all about buying off brand and going for the cheaper price. The same $10 you spend eating out for one meal can be used on a home cooked meal that can last you a whole week.
I also say think about alternatives when it comes to cooking. Instead of frying food, bake it if you can. That also helps your wallet a little because you’re not buying oil and you’re also one step closer to eating healthier.
I think some people are also confused on what eating healthy really means.
Everyone is different and you have to figure out what eating healthy means for YOUR BODY.
For example: My favorite protein is chicken, but fish may be someone else’s favorite. I don’t eat seafood, but although I don’t eat fish, I can still get the same nutrients fish has from something else such as vitamins or another protein.
And don’t feel pressured to do something just because it’s part of the food trend, that can also help you save money.
It starts on the inside
If I had not followed a holistic way I think I would be worse and I would probably have added to my health issues.
I think I would have continued to put things into my body that shouldn’t be there and things my body was telling me it didn’t want.
Endo has made me put my mind, body, and spirit as a priority. Before I would just eat anything to satisfy a craving or hunger bug, now I really sit and think about what I am going to put in my mouth.
To those who are skeptical about a holistic path to treatment, I say healing isn’t just a physical thing. It is an old saying that we can “worry ourselves sick,” and that is true!
When it comes to healing for endo or any illness, it starts on the inside and encompasses your mind, body, and spirit, it’s not one track.
It all pays off
Since I’ve lost weight, I’ve noticed my pain is minimal. The only thing I take is a water pill for bloating because I drink so much water.
I don’t take anything for pain, however, if the pain is excruciating I will take ibuprofen and that has become a rarity.
I am also more confident in myself and have a good sense of well-being in general.
It has encouraged my family because they used to worry about me a lot, and they felt helpless when it came to my pain. They are happy that I am happy and some of the things I do such as meditate, they do now also. They are also changing some of their eating habits.
There are days when I have slipped off my healthy eating lifestyle and I feel so ashamed of myself, but I don’t stay there.
Now that it is warmer outside it has definitely been a struggle to stay on track, but I just remind myself of what I committed to do and get back into it.
I have come too far and have been through too much to stop or turn around now. I am proud of myself and I am happy I made the decision I did. But I have to remember that just because I feel good doesn’t mean I don’t need to go to the doctor for a checkup.
Every day is a learning process and I’m still learning on this journey to healing.
Today, I am not fearful. I feel I have somewhat control over the disease. I’m not fearful of what could happen or worry about it as much.
I am more informed than back then and there are plenty of resources, including support groups and endo sisters who are also friends that I can lean on and relate to.
I am open about it and I have no shame.
Anything is possible for those who believe.
There is nothing you are experiencing or have experienced that you weren’t built for, you can tackle any obstacle or challenge, including endometriosis.
As long as there is breath in your body, life is not over and never give up!
You are more powerful than you think, so never let anyone or anything (including endo) take that power away from you.
I was raised in the church and I have a deep foundation in Christian principles.
One of my favorite scriptures is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
It empowers to believe in myself and is comforting when I feel I want to give up on something.
I believe every one of us has the power within to overcome and succeed, no matter what the situation looks like.
Have faith and believe in yourself.
Want to connect with Chandelis further? You can follow her on Twitter @chandelis, on Instagram @chadelisroshae or she has a Facebook page here. You can also email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.