Categories
Brave Women, Unique Tales Story Time

Brave Women,Unique Tales: A Bonus Story

Hi I’m Linda aka Stella aka Linda Stella aka Ella aka Kelly (Only one person calls me that) Two months ago I thought up a blog series Brave Women Unique Tales which at the time was meant to be a quick series of only three people. Along the way more ladies reached out to me and it lasted longer than I expected.

Episode or Part 7 is the last tale of the first BWUT series but it is not the end. Feel free to visit the blog and read all the stories that have been shared if you have not already. Link to our last story is here.

This is a bonus story which is also my story. (Could not end the series without mine) Following the question prompts that were used in all seven parts, here is my unique tale on living with hormonal imbalance and a chronic illness.

1. When did you learn that you had hormone imbalance?

Seven years ago on a doctor’s visit after my periods had lasted for about two months. It was the beginning of my second last year in high school.

2. How do you normally explain your hormonal imbalance induced chronic illness to people?

Normally I say I have complicated and prolonged periods. That’s for people who ask and don’t seem interested to know more. When I sense interest I’ll go all out and give them the 411 on everything endometriosis. (Its fun watching their facial expressions)

3. How would you describe your pain and what is it really like living with a chronic illness/hormonal imbalance?

The pain is excruciating and very annoying. It’s too much and also very unbearable. Personally the pain killers don’t work for me, taking them is such a waste of time. I use ginger, hot water and cinnamon. That’s just to reduce the pain not stop it. Living with a chronic illness is really tough but lately I prefer to say it’s challenging (both in a good and bad way) I would not know the things I know now if I was normal. That’s why i prefer to call it challenging.

4.Have you ever explained your pain to a guy? If yes how?

I’ve told only four guys. I’ll name them A,B,C and E for identification. Guy A is an ex boyfriend who really didn’t take our conversation about my condition seriously. Guy B found out after i’d cancelled a number of our scheduled appointments. I was going through it and my guilt was going over the roof so i had to explain why i was a no show. I don’t remember how i shared to Guy C and E.

5.What was their reaction?

Guy A’s reaction was disrespectful. Guys B,C and E handled it rather well. One of them even went to YouTube to watch a visual representation of what i was going through. (How sweet!!)

6. What coping mechanisms have helped you survive life with hormone imbalance/chronic illness?

Truth be told all my coping mechanisms are trial and error. This month they’ll work and three months down my body will play numb to them. A few include eating nut free meals during a flare up, avoiding caffeine of all sorts (I’m addicted to coffee) and not owning bright colored clothes to save myself the embarrassment.

7.Has the hormonal imbalance/chronic illness affected your eating habits?

After my extensive research on endometriosis i learned that i’d been consuming tonnes of food high in inflammation. Yes it has affected my eating. Now my focus is much on anti-inflammatory foods, fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins and fiber. I don’t think my tongue can taste ice cream anymore.

8.What myths /assumptions have you heard people say about your hormonal imbalance?

In regards to the long and heavy periods caused by hormonal imbalance, we are the most fertile women. That is such a myth other wise we would not be worried about conceiving, would we?

9.What would you want the world to know about living with a chronic illness/hormonal imbalance?

It’s special. Before I got so interested in my illness I lived normally. By that I mean, wait for my heavy almost two months long periods and the excruciating pain then sit back for three months and wait for the cycle to repeat itself. After researching, reading a couple of blogs and watching stories of women dealing with such conditions. I’m proud to say we are special, despite our differences we are special and so are our conditions.

10.Lastly, two people you would like to thank for supporting you when times with the illness get tough.

God tops my list. There are times I deliberately didn’t pray because I was angry at God. Kept asking myself why me, how can you give one person this much pain and all the other rants you are familiar with by by now. I’m not healed biologically but there’s a special healing I feel. It’s only God’s love and grace which has given me that feeling.

My family (not one person but rules are meant to be broken) They’ve been there and listened to my rants not forgetting how patient they were with me. Some have felt the pain with me. They call and ask if anything has changed. You are the best and I love each one of you.


PARTING WORDS (Only to end the series): Thank you so much to all the contributors. You are amazing, uniquely and wonderfully made. Now more than ever i believe in the phrase “there is power in numbers”. Thank you so much to all our readers, those who shared and even those who reached out to me when i had taken a break.

There’s so much more on the way and i’d love for all of you stick around and enjoy what is yet to come. Visit akellolinda.com search for Brave Women, Unique Tales to read all our stories on the series.

Categories
Story Time

Story Time: Where have I been?

Jeremy Bentham a wise man who i don’t know once said ….“the rarest of all human qualities is consistency”.

Where have i been? That right there is a million dollar question. I wish i was here to say my non existent boyfriend proposed or that i just returned from a month long trip better yet that i got my dream job. Unfortunately none of that happened and i come bearing sad stories and a few good ones.

As many of you may know, Allure Lounge was on a role with the Brave Women, Unique Tales series. Some stories were too deep, i was asking myself if what i had started was appropriate. Along the way i learned some got worse, others have seen doctors and have updates on their conditions. So i’m very proud of myself for creating our little community with these beautiful women. It’s a step in the right direction at least i choose to believe plus we have more story contributors.

Fun fact i’m an endometriosis and hormonal imbalance victim (for those who don’t know by now) July through August was a tough phase for me this year. For a long time i had managed to handle my condition or at least that is what i thought. I had successfully managed to go through the bad days without taking the pills my doctor prescribed. I had also adopted a semi-natural lifestyle which now that i think about it was really helpful.

Semi-natural being mindful and healthy eating. Lucky for me i love vegetables and fruits more than junk food so this has never been a difficult shift. Believe it or not i love working out, in the start it was more about losing weight than being healthy but with time that changed. My body was just in that state of not expanding which for me was an achievement. Manageable body weight and a somewhat clean diet had a direct effect on my hormonal imbalance. That is just how i managed to live without the pills and i must say those where my happy times.

Interrupting Story Time with This Beautiful Piece of Art.

Back to the last two months. My body decided to expand, yes that is my subtle way of saying i put on a couple of kilograms. I also stopped working out and boy oh boy it didn’t end well. I’m literally recovering from continuously stuffing fried chicken down my throat for the past months. Whoever said treat your body like a temple did not lie, that readers is some food for thought. So I’ve been dealing with the worst endometriosis break out. It stressed me out and (the devil is a liar) i also thought it wise to stress eat. So imagine oil, pain, mood swings, sugar, blood, work and a social life. *Pause to Imagine* Exactly you can’t make a decent imagination from what i just mentioned but that is what my body was going through both externally and internally.

It broke me so much to put the blog on hold but i had to heal some how before i could come on here and pretend to be strong. I’m getting better but mostly setting my priorities straight. Every passing day i realize there is no cure to this madness. No seriously, on my lunch break it will hit me that there is no cure and for a few minutes i’ll panic. What i do with that information is entirely up to me. To summarize my endless banter, i haven’t been well but i’m getting better. Most importantly i’m learning new and better ways to live with my condition and how to handle it naturally.

Hello to all the 99 followers, yes the readers keep growing. Thank you so much for taking a few minutes of your time to read our posts. I truly appreciate and promise to keep you glued here somehow. The other good news is the #BWUT series is back *insert happy dance* The long wait is finally over, prepare your tissue and strength to finish the stories. Women are dealing with quite a lot, God have mercy.

It’s safe to say we are back online, thank you for being patient. A special shout out to those who hunted me down to find out why i was not writing anymore. I’m truly lucky and i don’t take that lightly. Do you want story time to be a thing? Every Saturday i could just come on here and tell you my not so funny stories, let me know if you think it’s a good idea.

Have a lovely weekend folks, continue to be safe and cautious. Corona virus is real.

ALS

Categories
Lock Down Challenges

Dear Endo

Today we are sharing about grief, loss and healing. It’s the 16th day of the WinterABC challenge and congratulations to everyone that has made it thus far.

I’ve always wanted to write a letter to my chronic illness and i can’t think of a better time than today. Enjoy.


Dear Endo,

In a few years to come we are celebrating a decade since we crossed paths. I hated you so much in the beginning, you made me feel inferior at the peek of my teenage years. The doctors did not make it any better when they revealed that only death could do us part. I was extremely scared and worried that my life would never be the same.

Before you, i’d never heard of any chronic illnesses in our family so i worried a lot that one day in my younger years i’d eventually kick the bucket and be gone from this world.

As i grew up, i noticed you changed too. Some days you’d cause me so much pain i’d wish to die and others you’d be silent and I got to enjoy normal painless life. God knows how hard i prayed to have you stay silent for a long time. He did answer my prayers for a bit and those painless months were my favorite.

Hysterectomy - Stage 4 Endometriosis (The Struggle is real ...
Above all you gave me an Endo Soul

Are you aware you also mess with my mental state? Anyways i had to learn later in life that many of the times i was depressed, anxious or out of my element it was because of you. Endo you broke me, made me have low self esteem and that made me miss opportunities, experiences with my friends and so much more.

What you don’t know is you helped me accept myself. Knowing i had you was one thing but accepting you to be part of my life was another. I like to talk about you so much i started a blog just for you. The day i accepted you is the day i became free just like taking shackles off my feet so that i can dance. (Stolen from Mary Mary – Shackles)

I hope to meet other females like me so that we can build an entire Endo community and use it to do good for ourselves (because we need it) and for less fortunate females carrying their own dose of not just endo but other female fertility concerns.

I love you Endo, thank you for finding your way into my body. If it wasn’t for you i’d be somewhere in the world regretting my decisions but you’ve kept me grounded and disciplined. Will not forget how annoying you are sometimes but i love you regardless. (kinda)

I pray you don’t kill me or cause me even greater problems. I’ll eat right, keep my body active and most importantly i’ll listen to my body when i feel you complaining.

Love,

Your Victim.


So for those of you who don’t know yet, i have a chronic illness (i prefer that to saying i am sick) I have a couple of write ups on it here and here. Be sure to check them out and get more insight on it.

Lovely week to you my esteemed readers.

Categories
Endometriosis Journey

Endo Medication Trials

At the start of the week i was very excited about planning for the sequel of my story infact i jotted down a few things but my anxiety has been all over the place so i didn’t get to finish it. I made a promise about showing up so i’m going to get to work regardless of how unprepared i am, after all procrastination is the fear of success.

The most annoying thing about having endometriosis is the numerous medications we have to try only to make the illness bearable. In the months before my diagnosis i simply took Ibuprofen which is the common pain reliever for menstrual cramps and it worked just fine. With growth came body changes which is why i’m here spilling my menstrual medication secrets.

My first medication trial was herbal/organic medicine which were a powder mix that healed over ten different illnesses and an iron supplement that was really tasty. Remember the school nurse from part 1, she was so hard on me but it was for the better. I had to be at the school dispensary at exactly 7am and 6:30pm respectively to start treatment. The powder mix tasted like matcha green tea which by the way has no definate taste so you can imagine the struggle. Later on in life (not that long ago) i learned it was medication suitable for people hitting their midlife crisis years. At least i can say it made my body feel refreshed but i was not amused with the idea of a teenager taking old people medicine. Whenever The Red Cross team was in school for the blood donation drives, I’d be excited to donate but the nurse was always on the look out. Three failed attempts and to date I’ve never donated but I understand now that you can’t give much from a glass half empty. The herbal medicine was effective for only a year and a half but I am grateful because it made me hopeful.

Luckily, the first trial did not have side effects because many “artificial” medicines are known to have them. My gynaecologist prescribed pills which are my second and current trial whose name i will not disclose in today’s wrtite up. I will share all the available options only after thorough research and with guidance from the professionals. One fact about them is they work by mimicking the effect of a missing hormone in the female body, to sum it up my whole hormone community is a lie. The said pills are also a prescription for breast cancer patients and it scares me a lot that we have to borrow medicine for other conditions to simply make our pain minimal.

Some of the side effects i’m struggling with include but are not limited to;

  • Acne
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Weight gain
  • Dizziness

It never occured to me that one day i’d wake up sick and never get better. The truth of the matter is there is no cure for it and for most of us it is the most hurtful thing.

I am a sufferer of endometriosis. I didn’t want any young women to go through what i went through. I thought that people should know about it.

Padma Lakshmi

Today’s take away is if you have a sister, girlfriend, wife, workmate you name it, that has mentioned they have menstrual conditions kindly reach out to them or nudge them a little to speak up. They may not be aware of what they are actually experiencing. If you are a victim do not be shy to share your condition with people you trust. Talking about it makes you more aware and confident with time.

I’m hear to help however i can so do not be a stranger even for males that may need help understanding the practicalities of the illness. I gatchu!!

Side Note: Shorter write ups are fun to read plus they keep you on the edge for the next part. Untill next time.

Categories
Endometriosis Journey

The Genesis Of My Endometriosis (Part I)

Seven years ago i was very excited to start my higher level education but i had no idea that one week into the school term I’d be paying my gynecologist a visit over a chronic illness i didn’t know existed.

Endometriosis is a chronic condition where tissue that behaves like the lining of the uterus is found in other parts of the body such as the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, bladder, bowel and others. For further and easier information to comprehend this, please visit https://www.medtronic.com/covidien/en-za/patient-information/explore-endometriosis.html

On my visit to the doctor, very odd tests were done and i was asked if I’d aborted before because what they were seeing was unusual. During the review he opened what i call a doctor’s dictionary and introduced me to this new word Endometriosis. I honestly wasn’t paying attention until he mentioned it has no cure and the only hope to improving the situation was giving birth. I got scared and thought at that age I’d have to get pregnant for this to go away. I remember how scared my mum was when she broke the news to my dad. My adolescent mind was racing on about how i was going to be a young mom and stuff while my mum was making phone calls to priests and other religious people she knew to start praying for me. (As would any African Mother)

Well you can’t stop the pain but better health care services could be a step in the right direction

There’s no cure not even in the first world countries so we are really even on this one. Anyway, there are particular pills ladies like me can take but that helps to reduce pain and balance a few hormones and that’s it. My doctor prescribed them and literally banned me from the hospital, no see me in two weeks time or visit in a month. He left me to battle it out with pharmacists asking why i need the medicine and other similar annoying questions.

During my short stay at home during the school term, we visited a doctor that specializes in herbal and organic medicine. That medicine is just as bitter as Aloe Vera or worse and i started treatment with special supervision from the school nurse. There was no skipping with that woman, she’d send over five different people to inform me that’d been summoned. I always referred to it as torture and a curse from God because why would He send me a chronic illness moreover one that was incurable.

Flash forward to the present day, i know now that the nurse just wanted me to be healthy and get better just as she’d promised my mother. The strict supervision during my treatment is why I’m not as badly off but that is a story for another day. Over the years i started doing more research about the illness and started looking for women, ladies or young girls like me. The pain i was feeling when it was that time of the month, before and after was excruciating. I thought to myself, there should be other females out there like me and i want to know how they deal with this awful pain.

Friend, if i tell you my pain is nothing compared to the stories i read as shared by different women you have to believe me. Some utilize most of their leave days from work to stay home because they can barely walk, one medically hit menopause at the age of fifteen, another quit her job because her colleagues complained about her working from home whenever it was that time of the month. Plus so many others you can check out this one https://www.healthline.com/health-news/personal-painful-ordeal-of-women-with-endometriosis-061815

We Are A Strong Species

The symptoms differ for every female and that’s why some get diagnosed a little later when the condition is ugly. Let me get back to why I’ve decided to write about this. This illness has so much control about pretty much everything in my life. My body physique for starters, i have a hormonal belly which is hard to shred, bad digestion process so i have to watch what i eat, anxiety and depression because i grow fat from stress and people will call me out on it as if i shove 10 butter cream cupcakes down my throat everyday. The hormonal imbalance has me loving someone today and hating them tomorrow and last but not least the intimacy situation. It’s such a load to carry but i handle it with patience and faith that it will get better.

During the lock down, i decided to study my body and assess my life from the past seven years and i realized my endometriosis situation has been controlling me the entire time. If I’d known that a while back I’d have handled life better but we make our choices and that’s not me saying i regret it. I’m proud to say my mental health is stable and I’m happy, extremly thankful to my unpaid therapists at least all our hours of talking have helped me realize what the root cause has been. I even know where I’m going with this blog journey and my life with this unfriendly illness of mine.

The story does not end here, we are going to go deeper into this chronic illness and i’ll share my experience because it feels like i’m reliving some parts. This is part one of my story and i hope you stick around. These stories need to be told and we need to be heard to find one another but most importantly to get help and offer it to those who don’t even know they need it.

Until next time,

Linda