Friday, March 30, 2012

5 Signs You May Have Endometriosis

All month bloggers and tweeters effected by endometriosis have come together to talk about this terrible disease for Endometriosis Awareness Month. Endometriosis is a painful and chronic condition that affects approximately 176 million women and girls worldwide; 8.5 million in North America alone. Endometriosis is a disease where the tissue that lines and then sheds from the uterus during a normal menstrual cycle, escapes the uterus and then grows on the outside portion of the uterus, the ovaries, the intestines or other parts of the body. The disease causes internal bleeding which can lead to chronic pelvic pain, infertility, adhesions, inflammation and disruption of the digestive and urinary systems, among other problems. Currently there is no cure for endometriosis, and the only truly effective treatment is surgery, which brings only temporary relief.  Please share this post to promote awareness of this disease, which is often misdiagnosed and ignored by many medical professionals.  Listed below are five of the most common symptoms associated with endometriosis.
1) Painful periods with no relief from over the counter drugs.
      Before I was diagnosed with endometriosis, I remember my gynecologist telling me, “Oh no, pain with period and ovulation is normal.” The type of pain I feel when my endometriosis has taken over my pelvic region can only be described as a leprechaun wearing soccer cleats is doing an Irish Jig on my pelvic region for days. We ladies are really tough, but this kind of pain IS NOT NORMAL! 

2) Mysterious stomach issues that were chalked up to Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
     Good old IBS seems to be the diagnosis that a person gets when everything else has been ruled out and the doctors have no idea what is going on. Early in my twenties I had upper and lower GI series, colonoscopies and yes even blood and stool samples taken. The doctors had no idea what was causing my terrible stomach problems. Finally, after my surgery for endometriosis, I found out that it had spread to my digestive system, causing all of these issues.

3) Struggling with infertility.
      Even a small amount of endometriosis can be known to hinder the fertilization of the egg and implantation of the embryo. But because endometriosis can spread to the ovaries, the fallopian tubes and even the uterus, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy and even problems with ovulation can be attributed to the disease.

4) Pain during intercourse.
     Pain during intercourse should not be a usual occurrence. Endometriosis can grow in spots where intercourse can cause sharp pain and soreness.

5) Allergic reactions and fatigue 
      When my endometriosis was particularly bad I noticed that a few days before my period every month I would break out into hives from head to toe. Doctors are still researching the link between endometriosis and allergies, but many women out there see a connection. Women with endometriosis get significantly more fatigued during different point in their cycle, especially during menstruation.
Many women with endometriosis, like myself, have felt for the better part of their lives that they were crazy.  Before I was correctly diagnosed, I had been to gynecologists, gastroenterologists and allergists, and none of them could figure out what was wrong with me. They attributed my symptoms to stress.  When my reproductive endocrinologist finally diagnosed me with the disease through a laparoscopic surgery, I finally felt like I had the answers to so many of my health concerns over the years. My pain and other symptoms were valid, and I wasn’t crazy after all.  If you are having any of these symptoms, tell your doctor about it. You don’t have to live in chronic pain. If your doctor doesn’t listen, keep searching until you find a doctor that will take you seriously.  For more information about endometriosis check out Padma Lakshmi‘s Foundation: .

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Endometriosis Awareness

Hello my lovely Endometriosis and Infertility Ladies! I came up with this blurb and pic for Endometriosis Awareness on Facebook. So many people have never heard of Endometriosis and yet millions of women suffer from it. Please copy the information below and share it on Facebook. Hopefully it will spread and raise awareness for this awful disease which has no cure.
With Lots of Love,
Light and Happiness,

This month is Endometriosis Awareness Month. Endometriosis is a painful and chronic condition that affects approximately 176 million women and girls worldwide; 8.5 million in North America alone. The disease causes internal bleeding which can lead to chronic pelvic pain, infertility, adhesions, inflammation and disruption of the digestive and urinary systems, amongst others. Currently there is no cure for endometriosis and the only truly effective treatment is surgery, which causes only temporary relief. Please share this post to promote awareness of this disease, which is often misdiagnosed and ignored by many medical professionals.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Conversation Etiquette For Your High School Reunion

My 15 year high school reunion is coming up and I have to admit that I am excited about it, for the most part. I had a great time in high school and was actually really sad to graduate. I went to an all girls private school in the suburbs of New York, and it was the best decision my parents ever made for me. I am looking forward to seeing my classmates, some of which I haven’t seen since graduation.

The part I am not that excited about is the inevitable awkward questions that may arise from people I don't really know anymore. Recently hit with the knowledge that I cannot have any more biological children, I am dreading the seemingly innocent question, “So are you going to have more kids?” That got me thinking about all of my other classmates. I am sure there are painful and taboo topics that they all are struggling with in their own lives. Life is really hard for everyone for all different reasons. I am sure they have questions that they may be dreading getting asked themselves. It is not uncommon for women in their thirties to deal not only with infertility, but divorce, unemployment, illness, and loss of a parent, among other things. I came up with a list of ten questions to avoid asking others when mingling at your high school reunion.

Questions to Avoid Asking Others At Your High School Reunion

1.“Do you have kids? Are you planning on having kids (or having more kids)?” You never know who is struggling with infertility, lost a baby, had a miscarriage or just decided for whatever personal reasons they are not having kids. If people have kids, they will share it; if they don’t have kids, your high school reunion is not a good time to explore why, because this topic could be painful.

2. If someone has multiples, don’t ask them, “Did you have fertility treatments?” Even if you are undergoing fertility treatments yourself, that is still a highly personal question to ask someone else. The truth is that many multiples exist without treatments. And many people who have multiples with the help of fertility treatments do not want to share their story.

3. “Oh you have a baby? Are you married? Are you getting married?” People have babies and do not get married to the biological father for a multitude of reasons. Again, the school cafeteria is not a place to grill these hard working single moms about their personal lives.

4. “You have how many children? Oh my goodness you must have your hands full!” Don’t make moms who have big families feel alienated. Congratulate them on their family and ask them how they are doing, rather than assume how their lives are going.

5. “How are your parents doing?” I know many friends who have lost parents since graduation. I also have friends whose parents are dealing with serious illnesses. A better question is, “How is your family doing?” This allows room for the person to say, “They are doing great” without feeling like they have to open up.

6. “Where do you work?” I know it seems like an innocent question, but for someone who may be unemployed, whether recently or not, it could be painful and awkward conversation for them.

7. “Oh my goodness have you lost weight?“ “Have you had work done, you look so different?“ Don’t comment on people’s looks unless it is to say, “You look great.” Some women have gained weight since high school, some have lost weight. Some people have not aged at all, and some may have had a hard couple of years and look much older. Best not to say things like, “You look so skinny now” “You were so skinny in high school” “Wow I wouldn’t have even recognized you.” We all try to look our best at the reunion and we all have insecurities about how we looked in high school and how we look now. It is best not to bring any of those insecurities to the surface.

8. Don’t ask single people, “Are you dating someone?”. If there is someone special in their lives, they may talk about that person, but they also may choose not to. It is also a possibility that they just got out of a relationship or haven’t found the right person yet.

9. If a single person is dating someone, don’t ask her, “Do you think you guys will get married?” If the couple is planning on getting married or moving in together, she will choose to share that information if she wants to. I remember when a friend of mine was waiting for that engagement ring while everyone else around her was getting married. It was torture. The only thing more torturous was everyone asking, “When is he going to propose?”.

10. Finally, don’t ask questions like, “Remember when you fell off the bar with your pants down and vomited all over the police officer?” or “Remember when you got your period in gym and we called you “Bloody Mary” for the rest of high school?” Chances are that person will NEVER forget the most traumatic or embarrassing day of their life, but through therapy and personal growth they have moved on from the experience. It is probably best not to re-traumatize that person.

High school reunions are one of the only times the policy, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is a good idea. Instead of talking about the present or asking about the future, it may be best to talk about the past memories and good times you had with these people in high school. Have fun and keep it light!