Hi. I am Larissa. I am a pharmacist and blogger. I am living with endometriosis. I am also living with chronic pain. I want to share my story with you today.
My endometriosis story
I was diagnosed with ENDOMETRIOSIS in 2014, 16 years ago. Numerous surgeries and medical treatments later: I now have it in my abdomen, bladder and pelvic area. It is present in areas where it can’t be removed. This causes severe chronic pain.
I have had my appendix and fallopian tubes removed. I am childless and will remain so. I am not writing this article for pity. I want to create awareness. If I am able to help at least one person that will be great!
My chronic Pain story
I am currently on meds that block the pain signals in my brain. This helps with my chronic pain. I do experience breakthrough pain often. Sometimes, its mild and responds to regular painkillers. Sometimes its crippling. It lasts for days. I am unable to stand up straight or walk. No exaggeration.
When Drs tell you that they can’t help you, you have no choice but to help yourself. You become an advocate for your own health. You have to find your own solutions. You may not be able to cure yourself, but you can find things that will make you feel better.
Things that help
So, I am going to share according to my experiences, things that help me to cope and a bonus 3 tips on things that make it worse.
Some of these tips may seem like common sense to you. But remember that when you are faced with extreme or severe pain, you can’t think clearly. It helps to have a written down plan or notes to refer to.
- Rest, rest, rest
- Heat pads, heat packs, electric water bottle or warm baths really soothe pain especially period pain.
- Magnesium or Epsom salt soaks
- Deep breathing exercises
- Netflix and chill with the hot water bottle and chocolate
- Green tea: to help with the brain fog and to detox from all the pain meds
- Dark chocolate or your own favourite foods
- Gratitude: even for simple things like friends and family
- Journaling: emotional release is very therapeutic
- A creative hobby: this has been life changing for me. My blog is a welcome distraction where I focus my mind and energy towards creating content. I forget about the pain.
- Positive affirmations: say them when you feel like only. Having no time to say them is not an excuse. Say them when you are brushing your teeth or walking from your car to your office.
- Cry out loud if you feel like. You may feel better than keeping all those emotions in.
- Warm soothing drinks. Less coffee more turmeric lattes, tea, , chicory or rooibos. I find earl grey tea particular soothing.
- Eat nutritious meals that are easy to digest.
- Have faith. Pray.
- Try Be joyful.
- Dress up, do your hair and makeup and keep up with your grooming. When you look in the mirror you will feel better. When you look good you feel good.
- Wear comfortable clothing. I do not own a pair of jeans. After so many surgeries in my abdomen they are impossible to wear. I only wear pants with elasticated waists. Make adjustments to what suits you best.
- Wear clothes that you feel confident in. Have go to outfits that you don’t need to fuss about. You will have one less thing to worry about like is my tummy looking bloated in this top.
- You know your body better than anyone. Listen to your body.
- Read self help books. Louise L Hay’s book You can Heal Your Life was life changing for me! its available from Takealot.com.
- Write down what helps with this episode in a notebook together with other useful tips. Next time if you experience pain, you can refer to it.
Things that are unhelpful
- Feeling sorry for yourself. Why Me mentality is not going to solve anything. Everyone goes through something in life. You rather own it or it will own you.
- What did I do to cause this pain? Was it my diet? Lack of exercise? Stress? A bad habit? If there was a probable cause then there would be a cure. Don’t beat yourself up. Rather help yourself feel better. Even if it was something you ate that aggravated the pain, you can’t undo it. You can learn from it.
- Worrying about sick days. This one is particularly hard for me. There are many times when I take leave without pay because I choose to rest and recover. I remind myself that I did not choose to be sick. Prioritise your health. It is your greatest wealth. Redo your budget. Try to save money elsewhere. You may find this previous article interesting.
I hope that you found this useful. If you did please do share this article with someone who is also experiencing a debilitating illness or will benefit from these tips.
Please do share your own tips on how you cope with endometriosis or chronic pain in the comments section below. I would love to know what helps you or if you or someone close to you suffers from endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome.