I can remember my first appointment with Dr. Seckin like it was yesterday. For the first time, I was meeting with a doctor who completely understood the ins and outs of a disease that had always been misunderstood and misdiagnosed by all of my doctors for most of my life. Dr. Seckin not only understood endometriosis and how to treat it, but he also had extra information about the disease that I had never been exposed to before. As I was leaving my initial appointment I remember him saying to me, “Remember, no gluten or dairy, eat organic and try to stay away from sugar, caffeine and red meat.” In that moment, my whole world changed.
I love to eat. Maybe it is the Italian ancestry pumping through my veins or maybe it is because for a lot of my life I have used eating as a coping mechanism to deal with stress. Having a bad day? A milkshake will surely make me feel better. Ice cream, pizza, Frappucinos, mozzarella sticks, chicken parmigiana are just some of the foods I loved to eat. Yet, I would always notice these foods did not love me. Bloating, cramps, immediate diarrhea and sometimes even vomiting would often come after I ate these foods. In high school, my friends and I would always go to a pizzeria and Starbucks before going to a Wednesday night meeting for an after school activity. I would almost always spend the first 20 minutes of the meeting in the bathroom because I would feel so sick, suffering from what I thought was irritable bowel syndrome. My husband always thought I was lactose intolerant. We knew that if I ate certain foods I would have a certain amount of time to get home to use the bathroom. But it wasn’t just dairy products that made me sick. Eating bagels or too much Italian bread would also make me feel ill.
When Dr. Seckin told me about the Endodiet years of feeling ill after eating certain foods finally made sense to me. Endometriosis is such a pervasive disease that affects all aspects of my life. I shouldn’t have been too surprised that endometriosis and diet were also connected, but I was. It never crossed my mind. Furthermore, after talking to many women in the endometriosis community, they verified that they too felt better after staying away from certain foods. Many women through the process of trial and elimination had figured out just what Dr. Seckin had told me and were already doing the Endodiet. I am continuously amazed and impressed by the ingenuity and wisdom of patients and their drive to improve their daily lives as they cope with this chronic mysterious disease.
It is really hard eating gluten free, dairy free, organic and staying away from caffeine, alcohol and most sugar. There are times I do really well with the Endodiet. There are other times where I do not do as well and then pay the price for eating as I wish. Can eating right cure my endometriosis? I don’t think so. But, I do feel that when I eat right my quality of life improves dramatically. Unfortunately, endometriosis in of itself causes a lot of stress, which then tempts me to eat things that are unhealthy! It takes a lot of discipline for me to cope with my stress in a healthier manner and I fear it is something I will probably be working on for the rest of my life.