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End of Endo, Message from an Endo survivor
November 23, 2003
I want to share a valuable message with you today. This is a ‘reply’ message that was posted at the Message Board for EndoNatural, by Carol who is the ‘owner’ of the group. Carol stated in her introduction to her posting that she rarely replies to messages left on the board due to time constrains. But in this instance she felt almost duty bound to reply.
The original message that Carol replied to, was regarding one members thoughts and feelings of despair of gaining any relief from Endometriosis. In the message she went on to say that she felt the only way to gain any relief from Endometriosis was by having a total Hysterectomy.
What follows is the reply from Carol, which was posted at her message board for all members to read. Her message struck a chord within me, and her views also echo my own feelings - not only about hysterectomy and Endometriosis, but also the whole approach to healing and how to restore your health.
I wanted to share this message with you for a number of reasons. The more times you hear about the natural and alternative methods to restoring your health, the more you will grasp the validity of this approach; learning of other women’s successes will boost your confidence; Carol also reiterates that using the natural approach to healing is not a quick fix. It has taken years for your body to become dis-eased, and it will probably take a few years to mend, but it will; just be patient. The slow, diligent journey back to permanent health is far better than temporary relief.
So here is Carols message……………………………………
Hysterectomy is NOT a sure cure to treat endometriosis, nor is Lupron, nor is synthetic estrogen and/or progestin, nor is Synarel, nor is laparascopy/laparatomy, or any other barrage of drugs or surgeries that Allopathic/ Western medicine provide as our choices of treatment.
Natural healing choices such as progesterone cream, herbs, vitamins, minerals, dietary changes, body work such as acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, etc., exercise such as yoga, pilates, meditation, visualization and any other natural, non-invasive forms of treatment are also not a SURE cure to treat endometriosis.
Truly healing the body, mind and spirit from this disease, and any other disease requires a different mix of help for each individual person. Some may get relief from using a combination of both Western medical healing and Natural healing. Some may find relief by using just one approach or the other. And what a myriad of choices in natural healing to mix and try; you can never run out of possibilities. While Western medicine is pretty limited in treatments for this disease, the world of natural healing provides limitless choices. One herb may not work for you, but combine it with another or several and all of a sudden you're getting relief...it's a fascinating (and I admit, sometimes extremely FRUSTRATING) journey to achieving good health.
I have been endo-symptom free for about 10 years now and I believe this is from using natural approaches to health. I had the total hysterectomy and removal of ovaries at the age of 30 to "cure" this disease once and for all (also did several laparascopies and the Lupron for 6 months before this point, plus many other allopathic approaches), and endo symptoms came back to me within 10 weeks of the surgery; I was also put on synthetic estrogen immediately after the surgery because the doctor said I "needed" it for by bone health and heart health, blah-blah-blah. It was a very low dose, and he said it wouldn't cause any endo to grow, and unfortunately I just didn't know any better at the time. Even without the estrogen, I'm sure the endo would've come back as my endo implants were on other organs like the bowel and bladder and I know that the surgeon did not remove it from those areas as it was "too dangerous". If there are any implants left in your body at all after hysterectomy, even microscopic ones that cannot be seen, your endo is most likely going to cause you problems again afterward.
Your whole body changes after such a radical surgery in ways that you don't even imagine before the surgery. I was in even worse shape after that hysterectomy, I had the endo worse than ever before and I also had to deal with all the extremely awful menopausal symptoms. I had to practice Kegel exercises for months before I was able to even somewhat "hold my pee", and even to this day I don't have the control I did before that surgery. I was always thin, never had weight problems, then all of a sudden after this surgery I started putting on weight very easily...another legacy I'm still trying to correct now, almost 12 years later...and the bulging tummy; another gift I can't seem to get rid of no matter what exercises I do. There were a lot of awful symptoms and health issues I got on top of the endo after that awful surgery that I have since corrected with natural approaches, but it did take time.
I can completely understand how we are led to "want" hysterectomies when we've been suffering for so long with this horrible disease; we just want RELIEF. We want someone to come along and take all of this pain and suffering away, we just want our lives back. Now with natural healing choices becoming more mainstream, it's very difficult to sort through all of the information and mis-information out there to know what choices we have for treating this disease. While many of us want to use more natural, non-invasive forms of treatment to help ourselves, it's hard to know what to use, and who to trust. I feel very blessed that when I started my own natural healing journey, I was fortunate to have a local herbalist (who had also suffered with endo and had gotten well by using natural approaches) who got me on the right track with a brand of supplements that was very high quality, and made some simple suggestions of products to start with. I was also fortunate that I started feeling better almost immediately which fuelled my own thirst for knowledge about natural healing choices, and I became my own healer very quickly. I did not get "well" overnight, but was able to get physical symptoms of endo under control within about a year's time, also helping some of the depression and other mental issues that sprang from coping with this illness for so many years.
I took a whole lot of supplements, made some dietary and lifestyle changes and read anything I could get my hands on concerning herbs and other natural healing approaches from every viewpoint. I learned more about endometriosis than I had ever known at that point from The Endometriosis Sourcebook by Mary Lou Ballweg of the Endometriosis Association; I can't describe how I laughed and cried reading through this book. How awful, but how wonderful to know that so many other women had suffered with this disease as I had, I had felt so alone in my illness up to that point. I started experimenting with aromatherapy blends and making my own herbal teas and that was when I knew I had found what I wanted to do with the rest of my life; actually getting my hands in the herbs and breathing their scents and the wonderful aromas from the essential oils made me feel I was "home", that this was my true calling at last.
It has not been an easy journey, this "new life" of mine since getting physically well from endo. I am still dealing with financial issues that started in the endo years (all the missed time from work, medical bills, buying supplements instead of paying bills, etc), have a body that will tend to age more rapidly because of the hysterectomy, so I have to make sure I'm supplementing and addressing these issues to retard that process, and hardest of all has been the inability to have children. I find that that is a process that just keeps processing! At certain times since the hyst and especially since getting well, I have thought that I was "over" those childlessness issues, but passing time just makes me realize I am probably going to be processing that all of my life in some shape or form. While both my husband and I have certainly come to terms with this change in our life plan for quite some time now, there are still moments that anger about it just comes up out of nowhere.
And anger has been another process that I continue to go through...anger at the doctors for putting me through hell, anger at God/Higher Power for getting this disease in the first place, anger at myself for having the hysterectomy...I can be logical and intellectually know that this anger hurts me and by holding on to this anger, it is not hurting anyone I'm angry at, just me, but oh, how hard to really FEEL that way!!! Something I practice constantly because I know how important it is to really internalize this and know this in my deepest depths. I can tell you that I have most definitely NOT been a positive person in many steps of my healing journey. I think that there is something strong within me that has kept me going somehow through all of the trials and tribulations and I call this the Great Spirit (my higher power). But at many times that strength is buried very deeply and I have felt (and continue to feel) that I just can't go on. Sometimes I pray and that helps, sometimes I'm too angry to pray and just let myself ride the wave of anger and other negative emotions until they're spent and gone and that helps, too. Sometimes I use Flower Essences, sometimes I get massage, sometimes I practice Reiki, sometimes I meditate...all of these things can be helpful, too. All I know is that I find my way back to peace somehow, and I think that it is indeed very important to feel these negative emotions (whether caused from endo and its hold on our life, or other problems we are facing) instead of trying to shut them out all the time; honey, don't I know, they just keep coming back when I try to repress them!!! I have learned so much about myself in this process of healing, and know I will continue to do so.
Since my journey into natural healing, I have not had to go to an allopathic doctor in about 10 years, I have been fortunate to be able to treat any illnesses that come up myself; what an empowerment this is!!! While I don't take anywhere near the amount or number of supplements I used to take when I was first getting well from endo, I still use a few things that address my immune system, glandular system, and intestinal/digestive system. I try to eat right, but I don't have that great of a diet these last couple of years, especially compared to the changes I had made when I first started healing from endo. This is caused by lack of money, not a lack of wanting to do so! I try to practice some forms of exercise and will do well with it for a while, then fall off for several months. I am not perfect, nor am I doing all of the "right" things, but I am still well. The aromatherapy helps a lot to ease the mental-emotional issues, along with keeping me healthy physically.
Since I have been a practicing herbalist for quite a few years now, I have certainly learned a lot about people and disease and the many paths to wellness. From my experience, the clients who get well the quickest are generally the ones who try to learn as much as they can about how their bodies work and what their illness is. They take a more active interest in finding their own choices for healing, and just seem to participate more in the overall process. The clients who take longer to heal are the ones who just want to give the responsibility for their health over to me, or to whoever they're seeing for treatment. This is not true in every case, but it seems to be the rule in the majority of people I treat. We have to learn that we are responsible for our own health; we can use herbalists, naturopaths, homeopaths, acupuncturists, medical doctors, etc. as TOOLS to attain our health, but we cannot give them the responsibility of our own individual health. This idea may seem like too much to take on when you're really sick and suffering, but the power to get well ultimately is within all of us. The hard part is figuring out what steps and choices to take, and I'm not kidding, this can be very difficult for a lot of us. But, I guess the things really worthwhile in life are never easy...that's what "they" say, anyway!
So, I hope that the EndoNatural list is a good place to start on that natural healing journey...so much good information has been and continues to be provided by other women who have suffered with this horrible disease, many of them well because of choices they made, sharing that info because they hope it helps someone else. Do y'all realize how much information can be gleaned from this list just by going through the archives alone? And then there's all the links to endo information and other natural healing information, the files where there's an incredible source of information about Homeopathy...I hope all members of EndoNatural are using these resources that are available on the homepage (that have been slowly added to throughout the years since I started this group. It takes time to read through all of these things, but well worth it and FREE!!!
Peace and Love,
Carols message is very candid, open and honest, and she expresses the total effect that endo has had on her life without glossing these issues over. The way Endometriosis manages to consume your entire life soon becomes evident to every woman who has this disease. As Carol said in her message, the anger stays with you even after you restore your health and Endometriosis is no longer an issue.
This is a subject I would like to explore further another time. I do feel the same anger myself at times, and have had many of the knock-on effects which have continued in my life. There have been long term effects on my career, my finances, my confidence, my relationships to name a few.
I feel that launching endo-resolved.com, and beginning to communicate with other women is helping my confidence to grow. I feel as though something positive is AT LAST coming out of my experience with Endometriosis. I am gradually receiving communication from my sisters around the world, through e-mail left at my site, and messages at my Guestbook, and I hope this increases. We need to share and support each other as much as possible. It stops the feeling of isolation, and practical ideas, hope and inspiration can be shared.
I am aware that the tone and theme of my website may seem somewhat up-beat or too positive for some women - almost a sense of disbelief in what I am trying to convey. But I do believe whole-heartedly in the possibility of you being able to regain your health. I have done it, Carol has done it, and so have many others.
I am resolute and unyielding in the message and overall theme of my website. It has been written in a way to give you a ‘kick-start’, to show you another view, and to provide a huge breath of fresh air. Stay with the positive and dismiss the negative.
If you wish to join the Message Group at EndoNatural, then Carol is more than happy to see new members join the group, who are interested in sharing news and views of the natural approach to combating Endometriosis. You can join at www.group.yahoo.com/group.EndoNatural
Yours with healing thoughts
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