Saturday, September 29, 2012

Readjusting: Writing and a PSA

I have been very sick this week and tired from trying to make up work and find my equilibrium after such a wonderful weekend in NYC. That's the bad news. I have some good news though and also, I want to talk about why I was sick. I don't recommend you read that part if you're squeamish when it comes to women's issues, but I felt the need to put it out there today.

The Litr-rary News:

I had a new publication come out this week in EDGE, which I'm really proud of. Actually, I had forgotten that I submitted it and that it was accepted almost a year ago, so when I got the email asking for my address and where to send the contributor's copy, I was thrilled. I reread the piece, cringed and smiled, and clapped my hands. It's a beautiful magazine, and I'm in there with some AMAZING writers, such as Stephanie Dickinson, who I read with in New York last week.

The personal news, and a PSA for women of childbearing age, or anyone who knows women of childbearing age:

I don't talk about this here because a lot of people don't feel comfortable with it and I'm not big on talking about my body in this capacity anyway, but I have this bitch of a disease called Endometriosis. I've had it since I was fifteen, had two surgeries for it in 2005, and still, it affects me. It's basically an issue where my body believes I'm pregnant when I'm not, so my body releases too much estrogen and goes through some of the motions of pregnancy, which results in immobilizing stomach cramps, hormone issues, and general sickness. It's oddly common among redheads, and it is worsened by foods that raise the estrogen in our bodies that include:

  • Soy (tough to be a vegetarian and suffer from this disease)
  • Milk (Dairy)
  • Red Meats
  • Wheat
  • Anything fried
  • Alcohol
  • Anything with a lot of preservatives (Damn it!)
  • Anything that causes an inflammatory reaction (such as sugar)
  • And worst of all: Caffeine

Seems we can't eat anything but veggies, beans, and other health foods. In a way, though, it really keeps me in shape. What I find worst about this disease is, it's a womanly disease, so it makes people incredibly uncomfortable. And more, when you say you have stomach cramps, many times people dismiss it as common (oh, yeah, I get those too, you must have a low tolerance for pain). Believe me, this level of pain is not common.

So why bring this up here, now? Listen folks: when the painful stuff is talked about, we're far more likely to cure it and/or find ways to live more comfortably with it, so I'm putting it out there. In my research over the years, I have found a few things that helped. I do not respond well to birth control or other hormonal therapy because I find myself getting really depressed, and I'm not willing to sacrifice my mind or feeling of control. Further, it was only after I began (and this is just me) hormonal therapy in 2005 that my condition worsened to the point of needing surgery. So, my research has been largely based on a quest to find natural cures.

These are the specific foods that are consistently mentioned by doctors and websites that are supposed to help re-balance hormones, or at minimum not exacerbate the situation:

  • Green Tea
  • All green veggies except spinach (I've actually been advised to stay away from spinach)
  • Almonds
  • Garlic
  • Beans
  • Berries
  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon
I've also read many times that castor oil packs are good for this condition. I have tried this only once to some relief.  Exercise helps a lot. When I'm even a little out of shape, my condition worsens (nice motivator there: excruciating pain). Acupuncture is supposed to help a lot as well. I do not know about this one.

If you go through the sort of pain certain months and people, even doctors, have dismissed it as a low-tolerance for pain or presume again and again that you're pregnant, then say you're fine when you're not, again, you probably have this disease, and I'd suggest finding someone who is familiar with the condition as, sadly, it seems many OBGYNs are not.   

If you think you have it, don't be shy asking me questions about my experience or anything I've tried, learned, etc...

Okay, so I'm feeling better for now, and I'm ready to have an amazing weekend. It's rainy and dark in San Antonio, there have been UFO sightings this week (WTF Texas?!), and I'm thinking somehow it's going to be an awesome weekend. I hope it is. Enjoy yours!

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