Chronic Illnesses · Endometriosis · Fibromylagia · Hypothyroidism

Struggling with the Reality of Chronic Illness

Hello Beauties, 

It’s been a while since I wrote about chronic health and I figured it’s time to dive into another post about that. 

I have been using CBD oil for several months now, and through using that I’ve been able to completely get off the anti-depressant I was on. This feels good, but I just had labs done and got the results back today and I feel a bit defeated with the results. 

I was hoping that using the CBD oil would help boost my labs and show good results. But no, my hormones are still way out of whack. My thyroid panel seems to indicate that I really may have an autoimmune issue going on. OBVIOUSLY! I am not a dr but I do know how to research and how to weed out the bad information and find the good solid information. 

I had a dream a few weeks ago about my primary care doctor leaving the practice she works at. Not even 12 hours later, I got a phone call from her assistant confirming the labs I had requested and to tell me that my doctor was leaving the practice. I’ve really been wrestling with this, especially since this is the first doctor who has really heard me and listened to my symptoms. It was because of her that my extremely sick gallbladder was caught before I got deathly ill. It was because of her that I shifted my way of eating and cut out gluten, losing a significant amount of weight due to diminished inflammation. It was because of her my thyroid issues and hormonal imbalances were discovered and then acted upon. 

It’s really hard to be facing a probably disruptive shift in the management of my health by a professional. I have a report with her and she knows my medical history. I trust her, and I loathe having to meet new doctors who don’t know anything about me. It’s exhausting to have to go over my full medical history yet again. Ya know, that 6 page list of symptoms that got me diagnosed with hypothyroidism was only scratching the surface of what I’ve dealt with for a very long time. 

I am not feeling very well today. I ran out of my thyroid medication last Wednesday, then wasn’t able to get it refilled because my pharmacy ran out and didn’t get anything in until the following Monday. That was 5 days of being out of thyroid medication and I started to feel extremely sick and am still feeling wiped out and run down physically even though I was able to get meds again on this past Monday. 

I had have a running theory for a few months now that my hormonal imbalances are the worst during ovulation. And I believe this month has been double confirmation of my theory. I believe my endometriosis flares up the most during ovulation instead of during menstruation. And I don’t really know what to do about that. I don’t really know where to go from here. My body feels better in some regards, but I feel right on the verge of getting a cold and everything – and I mean EVERYTHING – just rushing downhill. I know that if I do get sick, my EBV and CMV (chronic Epstein-Barr and Cytomegalovirus) will flare up instantly. I still have the bottle of EBV drops in my medicine cabinet, ready to start taking them at the first time of feeling ill. 

I think the biggest emotion I’m feeling right now is a strange disappointment. I had really truly hoped that the CBD oil would have helped a lot more with my thyroid and hormones. Maybe that was just wishful thinking. Or maybe it is going to take a lot longer to get results because my body has been so screwed up for so long. 

Not being able to take my thyroid medication for almost a week really messed a lot of things up I think. Because I was actually feeling really decent up till not being able to take it. I even started a new multivitamin and after tweaking the dosage, have been feeling pretty good taking it. I discovered that if I take a full dose, the Niacin in the multivitamin makes me have really bad hot flashes. But taking a half dose has gotten rid of that issue. 

I see my doctor tomorrow and I have questions for her. First and foremost, asking for a recommendation of where to go from here since she’s leaving. But we’ll see. I guess I’m just not in a very good place mentally right now about the physical state of my body.

Chronic Illnesses · Endometriosis · Fibromylagia · Hypothyroidism · IBS · Naturals & Non-Toxic · Products

Breaking A Stigma – Health Edition

Hello Beauties (again)!

Most of my posts have to do with my chronic illnesses (yes, plural). But one of the things I have’t talked about are the supplements I take and the medications I have taken or am no longer taking.

With having fibromyalgia, endometriosis, and hypothyroidism, flare ups are sometimes hard to avoid. I have noticed that when I have multiple emotional/mental triggers, having a physical reaction or flare up is nearly impossible to avoid. I have been able to push myself physically more this past month than I have been able to in a long time. And I contribute that to one single supplement; CBD oil.

Now, hold on, before you start judging me, hear me out.

I was raised conservative Christian, the kind of christianity that doesn’t acknowledge mental health or that trauma is even something that would strongly affect the body/mind. I was raised to view pot and those who smoked as beneath me and irresponsible people. However, as I am no longer in that world anymore, AND considering I now live in Colorado (and no, there are not high people on every street corner…CO is considered one of the healthiest states in the nation….and it’s not because of all of the pot smokers), I started doing some research on CBD oil. I discovered something interesting, as long as there is less than 0.3% THC in the oil, it is 100% legal in all 50 states and multiple countries world wide. The THC is what makes someone high. But there is a lot of anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety/depression benefits to the CBD oil. Because my spouse works on a job that would mean he could very quickly lose his job if he had any contact with THC, I had to make sure that CBD oil would be okay to use.

Two months ago I was hitting a really low low, and physically was starting to feel so utterly defeated with my health. I was taking extra strong doses of Aleve (the only pain reliever that ever does anything for me) and I knew that was only destroying my gut/stomach even more. A friend uses CBD oil for Interstitial Cystitis and had told me how much the oil was really helping her. I was getting desperate so I ordered a bottle. My only hesitation with using the oil was the price. CBD oil in its purest form and from a reputable seller is pricey. Living in Colorado, I was able to find a seller with a highly concentrated formula with a bottle that would last 3-5 months for $89. Like I said, it’s pricey, and I didn’t want to start taking it, discover it works for me, and then try to figure out how to afford a bottle every month. Which is why I’ll be switching to this new seller in two weeks when my current bottle runs out.

Before I jump in to how CBD oil has helped me, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of the oil.

Adding in CBD oil to my daily supplements has significantly improved my quality of life. I had a really rough therapy session on Tuesday, slept terribly Tuesday night because of a BAD fibro flare up due to emotional/mental triggers. Woke up Wednesday feeling like crap, but had to run a lot of errands and keep the boys out of the house since some of our windows were getting replaced. Wednesday was even worse than Tuesday night. Woke up yesterday morning (Thursday morning) barely able to move without significant pain. I took a full dropper of CBD oil instead of the 1/3 of a dropper I usually take. Within a half hour, my pain levels had dropped from 7/8 down to about 4/5.

I have been using this website, ThoughtCloud.net, but because of how small their bottles are and because of how much they cost, I will be switching to another company I found at a local farmer’s market.

  Nature’s Best Relief – 2oz $89 (this is the bottle that’s supposed to last up to 5 months)

I am grateful for CBD oil, it’s made my pain a lot less and has had a positive effect on my anxiety and depression. So maybe put aside your negative connotations of CBD and consider possibly trying it? I am not a health nut, I am not a conspiracy theorists, I am only someone who’s struggled with chronic pain for a very long time, and when I find something that helps my pain and inflammation I want to share it. I also believe the CBD oil has helped my IBS too. That and eating very low carb, my IBS has seriously calmed down and I rarely have a reaction anymore. Which, okay, it’s been YEARS since I’ve gone this long without having almost daily IBS flare ups. It’s still weird to me that I can actually eat and not get sick anymore.

Anyway, thanks for reading. I know there are a lot of bad stigmas about CBD oil and I hope maybe this can help change some of them.

Beauty Favorites · Chronic Illnesses · Endometriosis · Foody Stuff · Makeup · Naturals & Non-Toxic · Products

Favorites for 1st Half of July – foody stuff and makeup

Hello Beauties,

Ugh, it’s been awhile again since I last posted. I realized yesterday that for the first time in about 6 1/2 months, I feel like I can finally take a breath and not worry that I’m heading in to another health crisis. I can definitely say that being in crisis mode and dealing with hyper-awareness physically hasn’t been good for adrenal fatigue and just over all stress levels.

My body is now in management mode, meaning I’m doing my best to listen to my body and let myself rest when I need to. I’ve added something to my supplements that I think is actually helping me wean off my anti-depressant. THAT IS NOT TO SAY I THINK EVERYONE SHOULD WEAN OFF THEIR ANTI-DEPRESSANTS! I have been on Zoloft for the past year and half, and I am actually feeling decent now. I’m curious to see if I can wean off of it, but trust me when I say if things start going downhill, I’m going right back to taking it. I guess this is testament to how much work I’ve done the past year. The fact that I feel stable enough to start decreasing my anti-depressant is HUGE.

But talking about depression and anxiety isn’t the reason for the post. I wanted to share some of the favorite things I’ve discovered AND eaten the past few weeks. I am still 100% on board with Keto WOE (way of eating) and in fact I am feeling better with my IBS and overall energy. I have found some of my go-to recipes and my new favorite drink. I used to do a glass of cold brew coffee every day with some dairy free creamer, but I don’t think my body responds very well to caffeine like that. So instead of coffee, I’ve switched to making my own version of Starbuck’s Pink Drink! And boy oh boy, is it yummy! Super easy to make, and I’ve honestly found that Torani Sugar-Free Vanilla syrup is actually really palatable. All I use in my drink is a cup or cup and a half of Tazo Passion Tea, a tablespoon or two of Heavy Whipping Cream, and a tablespoon or two of Vanilla syrup.

Honestly, I was a bit thrown off by using sugar substitutes with keto especially since I hate the after taste of almost every other sugar free substitute I’ve ever tried. Then I found out about Monk Fruit. Beauties, this stuff is amazing! It gives just enough sweetness without being overpowering, nor does it have any after taste. I really like Lakanto Monk Fruit Sweetener.


Highly recommend it if you just really need something sweet but don’t want to use sugar. Speaking of something sweet, this has been my go-to “snack” lately.

This is AMAZING. So creamy and delicious especially with the blueberries. It has a savory flavor that is still sweet and it’s really really yummy and super easy to make. I usually make three portions, give my hubby one, eat one for myself, and then have another one for the next day! I’ve tried doing different berries, including using cherries last week. I just made one with pureed strawberries too that was actually really yummy!

One of my favorite meals last week was making a big pot of this Keto Chicken Chili

OMG, so delicious, and I actually used canned chicken (all I had on hand) and canned jalapenos since I didn’t have any fresh. Even Phil liked this chili, and my little ones enjoyed it too!

Another favorite was this Meatball Casserole. I was so surprised the meatballs were so easy to make, and EVERYONE in the family loved it! I will say with the casserole though that it definitely tasted the best day of, still was okay for leftovers, but they didn’t taste quite as delicious.

I know kind of going backwards, but let’s talk breakfast really quick! I have actually been doing intermittent fasting most mornings now, I feel a lot better, I have less IBS flare ups on the days I do IF, and I have actually started feeling sick when I do eat breakfast at a normalish time. BUT, that’s besides the point. My oldest asked me for waffles the other day so I made Keto waffles with a base of coconut flour. I wasn’t sure if they would really turn out fluffy like the recipe said, but wow was I surprised! And my oldest? Yeah he ate at least 2 full waffles. Keep in mind, with the coconut flour, they are super filling, I could barely handle eating 1!!

Okay, so let’s move on from food to makeup! Yay! My favorite.

I’ve talked about before how I am trying to clean up my skin care and makeup. My skin care is, besides my facial cleanser, all non-toxic and/or organic now. My face is clearing up and I know now that when I do have breakouts its directly lining up with having a flare up of my endometriosis or hormones feel off. But one of the areas that has definitely been a lot harder to switch out has been my makeup. I discovered an all natural company called Silk Naturals. I was intrigued at first because they market their foundation as entirely customized….in other words, you can actually mix your powdered foundation to the exact shade you need! I’m really not a fan of powdered foundation so I hadn’t looked in to their website all that thoroughly. That is, until I realized that they carry stick foundations! Not only that, they have a cool toned section, a neutral toned section, and warm toned section! I ordered one of the cool toned sticks and wasn’t sure if I would really like the foundation. The ease of having foundation in a stick was really nice, but it wasn’t going on my skin very well. Once I used a more “slippery” primer, I have had really good luck with using the foundation stick! I can build it up for as much coverage as I need, or I can have just a thin coverage, more like a bb cream than foundation.

The other thing with my makeup I’ve been able to switch out is mascara. I got one mascara and wasn’t excited to try it, but was less than thrilled with it’s coverage on my lashes and with how thin the mascara itself was. Thankfully, the company worked with me and gave me a refund. Which I then turned around and spent on another mascara that was actually better rated. I am in love with this other mascara!

The brand is Naturally Rooted, and the formula is definitely thicker than the other mascara I got. It does require several swipes to get my lashes completely covered, but I get volume, and my eyes don’t itch, and so far, I haven’t noticed any flaking. Another plus? It comes off super easily with water when I wash my face at night! Definitely recommend this mascara for sure. Oh, and a price point of $14 for natural non-toxic mascara? I usually use mascara for about a year before replacing it (I know, I know, it’s supposed to only be 6 months or less) so $14 a year for mascara that’s good for my eyes and lashes, I’ll take.

alright, so that’s it for now. I’m hoping with feeling a bit better I will have more energy to kick out posts more often than once or twice a month! Thanks for bearing with me!

Chronic Illnesses · Endometriosis · Fibromylagia · Hypothyroidism · IBS · Self Care

Surgery #5 and other things

Hello Beauties,

I went through my fifth surgery yesterday morning. When I had another ovarian cyst a few weeks ago, I decided it was time to take a drastic measure; I went in for an endometrial ablation. Which means that the lining of my uterus was completely burned away, and my iud could be removed. My strong suspicion was that my iud was causing the cysts, especially since one of the biggest potential side effects of the iud I had was cysts. I had never had any issues with my first iud several years ago. And I really only had the iud for period management. So the only way I was okay with getting the iud removed was doing something (the ablation) that would manage periods. I wasn’t willing to keep risking my only remaining ovary with getting more cysts.

This was the third surgery I’ve been put under general anesthesia. The second one I didn’t wake up extremely nauseated from or in a lot of pain. I am hoping hoping this ablation will work and I won’t bleed during periods.

A week and a half ago, I hit a really really bad place. It was the closest I’ve come to being suicidal in years. The thing with having multiple interconnected chronic illnesses is that what may work for calming one illness down may cause another one of the illnesses to flare back up. It’s a battle of finding some sort of balance with managing all of my illnesses. I deeply hope that now that my iud is out, my body will have one less thing to deal with that contains foreign matter.

Hitting that low low place was really hard for me. Namely because I felt so alone and defeated. It was that feeling of rushing down a slide, knowing there’s a huge pit of mud at the bottom, and desperately trying to find something to grab on to to stop the falling. I could see what was coming, I knew how I had gotten to such a bad place, but I also didn’t feel like any of my catching mechanisms were kicking in.

Dealing with a singular chronic illness is hard, it’s seriously sucks. Dealing with multiple chronic illnesses is excruciating. Chronic means long term, long lasting, and even in some definitions, something that lasts for longer than 6 months (which, hahahaha, I’ve been dealing with chronic illnesses for over a decade now). Depression and anxiety are constant bedfellows with chronic illness. Not only that, there aren’t many people who can even relate or understand what it’s like to fight to get out of bed every morning, and dread going to bed at night knowing there’s a pretty high chance you won’t fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning. Oh and what about flare ups?! Battling chronic illnesses means that was may have been previously dependable is no longer reliable.

I hate making plans and then having to cancel last minute because of a damn flare up. This happens more than I’d like to admit. For those who are on the receiving end of the cancellations, understand it isn’t our fault, it’s our bodies deciding to take over and make our day hellish. This doesn’t mean we, those with chronic illnesses, don’t want to be invited or asked out for a girls’ (friends’) day out. Fighting with chronic illnesses is not something we can take a break from. We are literally at war with and for our bodies. Having people come alongside us and give us a boost on the bad days really does help.

Friendships falter and shift and end when chronic illnesses rear their ugly heads. Not a lot of people can handle hearing someone say over and over “no, I’m not okay.” It’s easier to leave the ill person in the dust and try to forget them. Those of us with chronic illnesses stop even answering the “how are you” questions. It is easier for us to tell lies than tell the truth and risk losing that friendship. That’s the thing with invisible illnesses – it’s hard for people to believe there is anything even wrong when the illness is not “visible.”

Coming out of my fifth surgery yesterday felt like my normal. I know that’s not how it should be. Having surgeries should not be normal. But I am hoping that this surgery will mean one more step towards getting my body to a manageable and mostly healthy place. I am waiting for labs to come back too, as I got 8 vials of blood drawn a week ago. I may have inadvertently messed those labs up. Whenever I’m getting labs done, I usually try to stop taking all of my supplements a few days before, and then stop using my progesterone cream the evening before getting labs done. This time, well, I forgot to stop taking my meds/supplements, and even put on progesterone cream the morning of getting labs done. I really really hope that doesn’t screw up the results.

The past 6 months has consisted of very careful counting of my spoons every day. Even still, that hasn’t been enough to keep me from falling down. My therapist mentioned a month ago that she felt like I was just maintaining and wasn’t feeling normal life ups and downs. Maintaining is my way of coping when things are really bad. Having four more chronic illnesses added to my list in the past two months has been absolutely hellish. I’ve faced a lot of anger because I’ve been dealing with these things for years, and my parents did nothing, and in fact, they sabotaged any doctor’s visits I had. I’ve been allowing myself to feel more, and I think that’s part of what hit me down so low the other week. I was finally letting myself feel the suffocating heaviness of my illnesses. Since then I’ve been up to high highs and down to low lows. Which yay? I’m feeling? I found my childhood medical records and found a lot of evidence that backs up why I’m so sick in present day. It was validating but also made me feel really sad.

Anyway, sorry this is a heavy post. My mind hasn’t been in the best place lately and I just needed to get these things out. Thanks for reading.

 

Chronic Illnesses · Endometriosis · Fibromylagia · Hypothyroidism · IBS · Self Care

5 Way I Cope Through The Flare-up Days

Hello Beauties,

I am feeling a little bit better today, more so because I have a game plan than my body condition is improving. Thus is what life is like living with chronic illnesses; the body rarely changes for the better, but outside circumstances can make you “feel” better.

I want to talk a little about the things I use, rely on, or do for coping through the really hard days/weeks. I used to use comfort as the one thing I went to when my body was screaming at me. But with having significant and un-diagnosed food intolerances that always made food really unsatisfactory. Besides, it usually made me feel worse, but I didn’t want to admit that. I’ve already talked about a few clothing choices for when I’m having flare ups, so this post is going to deal with some of the other coping mechanisms I use.

  • Yoga –I have been mostly consistently practicing yoga for roughly 6 years now. This is most definitely NOT a one size fits all practice for those with chronic illnesses. When I was diagnosed with Fibro 9 1/2 years ago, I blindly accepted my fate of always being in pain and never having any energy. I never did any research about what options I may have for *MANAGING* (<– that’s a key word there…more on that later) my pain and energy levels. When I started my yoga practice, I was amazed that within a week of doing yoga almost every day, I had gained a big increase in flexibility and my back didn’t hurt as much. It wasn’t until about 4 years ago during my first pregnancy that I really started consistently practicing yoga. I will however be the first to admit that on bad flare up days/weeks, I do not pull out my yoga mat and practice. When everything is flaring up, like things have been the past two weeks, my yoga practice is one of the first things to go. So please don’t take this as me saying you HAVE to do yoga. This is merely something I’ve used to manage my day to day pain and energy levels. I can do another post later on about what specific poses I’ve found helpful and why. But for now, I’ll just say I do yoga roughly 3x a week, and every yoga session includes some bit of core work.

 

  • Vitamins/Supplements –I kind of poo-pooed vitamins or supplements all of my childhood and early teens. I remember trying to take vitamin D and magnesium at one point, but I must not have been taking the right amount because I felt worse than before I had started taking the vitamins. I started taking a good prenatal vitamin 6 years ago and honestly even though I’m done having kids, I’m still take the exact same vitamin. Only, I’ve added a ton of other supplements now. I’ve noticed that most people who struggle with chronic illnesses have some sort of vitamin deficiency or multiple deficiencies. When the body is fighting constant inflammation then the cortisol levels are almost constantly raised. When this happens, the adrenal glands get drained and don’t do what they’re supposed to.**BIG NOTE** Have your doctor test for deficiencies. There are certain vitamins that those with hypothyroidism seem to be lacking, but not everyone’s body works the same way. So if you want to add vitamins and supplements into your daily routine, start with a multi-vitamin (the natural the better) and then work with your doctor to figure out what other supplements may be helpful for you.

 

  • Revamping My Diet –My first sign that something was wrong with how my body reacted to food was suddenly being hit with intense non-stop nausea for more than a month when I was about 14. Shortly after that I tried to eat a yogurt and spent the next hour huddled in the bathroom feeling like my entire gut was being ripped to shredded. When we got married, my hubby and I were a penny-pinching nanny and college student and we got the best food we could afford and I know that didn’t help my gut at all. But that was all we could do! and I don’t regret that time at all. Three years ago when I found out about my gallbladder rapidly deteriorating, my primary care told me to go gluten free; GF and as anti-inflammatory I could manage. I lost 10 pounds within the first week of eating strictly GF. I firmly believe all of that weight was all inflammation. Even after two years of eating GF, I still wasn’t feeling good, food was still an issue, and leading up to my surgery three months ago, almost every single thing I ate was making me sick (i.e. running to the bathroom with painful diarrhea after every meal). So in March I decided to cut out all grains and switch to a mostly Ketogenic diet. This was out of desperation due to how everything I ate made me sick and food was 100% the enemy at that point. I also switched because I found a good bit of studies and research papers talking about how Keto can help with IBS. Three months of keto has made a huge difference and I am starting to actually like food again, which is kind of huge. Because I’ve done so much work with managing what I’m eating and being strict about what I eat, my gut/stomach aren’t usually contributing to the bad flare up days. Even still, on those bad days, I will get even more strict with what I eat, simply meaning, I basically eliminate anything that could possibly contribute to the pain.So if you have chronic inflammation from your chronic illnesses, then consider looking into what you’re eating and maybe even try an elimination diet (removing foods, then slowly adding things back in to see if you react). I was never a huge supporter of diet changes due to food intolerances…that is until I realized how many things made me sick and I got the point where I just wanted a break from everything making me sick.

 

  • The Comfort Things –Ahhh, comfort. Although, those of you who deal with daily pain know that comfort with chronic illnesses is often hard to come by. My list of the things I turn to for comfort isn’t very long, and it changes. Right now, I have two pairs of shorts that leave minimal pressure on my abdomen and several t-shirt dresses that I’ve been pulling out more often now. Comfort also looks like having cold water in my water bottle that I constantly have with me, and curling up in front of the couch (yes, not on the couch) and binge watching a favorite show while the boys nap or have quiet times. Comfort looks like the fuzzy blanket I sleep with bunched up in front of me in bed. That fuzzy blanket has been a constant companion for nigh on 7 years now. My body physically sighs with relief whenever I curl up with that blanket. Let me stop right here though and say something I think is really important; there is NO SHAME in binge watching tv shows or movies because you can barely function. There is no shame and no guilt for barely being able to get a meal made because your energy levels are so low you didn’t even have enough spoons to get out of the shower this morning. There is no shame or guilt allowed for when you are so sick and so uncomfortable that bed is the only place that is only just tolerable. When it comes to chronic illnesses of ANY KIND, it is extremely important to create space and give grace to yourself to allow your body to rest. This means surrounding yourself with the things that bring you any kind of comfort that means you can rest or at least try to rest. I promise I’ll get to a spoon’s theory post sometime soon-ish, but for now, those with chronic illnesses, you know what it means to have to count spoons. Anything comfort means not using more than 1/2-1 spoon.

 

  • Distractions –Just after I had my first (who btw is turning 4 years old today!!!!) I started dealing with significant nursing aversion. I mean huge rushes of nausea and anxiety whenever I sat down to nurse him. The ONLY thing that helped at all with that was immediately pulling out my phone and scrolling through Pinterest. There’s a reason I have about 11.5K pins. On really bad pain days, almost nothing can be a distraction because high pain = severe nausea for me and that usually turns into a migraine. But Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, games on your smart phone, are all legit distractions. I have felt guilty in the past with spending so much time on my phone, but some days, that’s all I can do between feeding my munchkins their meals, making sure they’re happy and safe and then curling up in a corner to wait for a headache to past.

 

  • BONUS! Research – Research is overwhelming. Especially when you just have no idea what to research. I use and have used research in the past to help me understand something I’m dealing with. Whether it be the right types of supplements recommended for my diagnoses, or understanding the right kind of questions to ask my doctors when trying to get them to take me seriously. This is one of the reasons I like Pinterest so much; researching on Pinterest adds an extra layer of focus to the research.

These are just a few of the ways I work through bad days/weeks. And honestly, all of these go out the window if I’m having such a bad day or week and nothing seems to help or make me feel better. These are just the options I tend towards on the mild pain days.

What are some of the things that make you feel comfortable or are able to manage flare ups better?

Chronic Illnesses · Endometriosis · Fibromylagia · Hypothyroidism · IBS

The Pain of a Lose/Lose Situation

This is a weary venting post, so just ignore it if you’re not okay reading this sort of thing right now. 

Hello Beauties,

Three months ago last week I had surgery to remove my right ovary. After months of consistent cysts, I scheduled surgery to have it removed. Lo and behold, my right ovary was, at a bare minimum, 4 times bigger than my left ovary. It was full of cysts and my doctor also found a significant amount of scar tissue, or adhesions, within my pelvic cavity as well. I talked with multiple other gynecologists after that surgery and one even said he wanted to put me on a mini birth control pill to keep my left ovary from developing cysts.

However, because of how seriously unbalanced my hormones are right now, and because my entire system is still fighting again a Mono/CMV flare up, I am glad I didn’t go with his advice. A birth control pill would only make things worse. But, since surgery, it has been a deep seated fear of mine that my left ovary would start getting cysts just like my right. Since surgery, my cycles have been like clock work (which doesn’t even make sense considering how much stuff is going wrong with my body right now) and every month has felt like my body has been trying to cause a cyst. Well, this past Monday, that is what happened; my left ovary had what I believe to be a cyst that then ruptured in the evening on Monday. From the pain it caused, I’d be willing to say that it was close to the size of the cyst that sent me to the ER back in January.

Endometriosis sucks. Ovarian cysts suck. I am in a lose lose situation right now as I feel like it’s a valid point to consider it my Mirena IUD causing the cysts. Even though I had my tubes removed a year and a half ago, I got the Mirena to manage periods. So I could get the iud taken out, and hopefully no more cysts? But then I’d be dealing with massively painful and extremely heavy periods. OR. I could keep the iud in, have barely any bleeding during a period and no extra pain, but probably keep having cysts.

I know I’ve talked about how fashion/beauty products help when my insides feel like they are wrapped in barbed wire. The past two weeks though have been at an even higher level of discomfort and pain. My go-to’s for clothes have been bralettes because having anything tight or even fitted putting any sort of pressure around my ribs is excruciating. And t-shirt dresses or swing dresses have also been my first choice. My abdomen has been swollen and painful due to the 6 days of antibiotics I did for strep throat, and then the ovarian cysts made having any sort of pressure around my waist extremely uncomfortable. It’s a special kind of exhausting to look at your wardrobe and pick out clothes based on where they put pressure or don’t.

I am so worn out and just exhausted. It has been non stop health issues since the first week of January 6 months ago. I wonder how much of this is my body going okay you took care of the mental trauma last year, and now we’re going to dump all the health issues on you because you’re strong enough now. The hardest part is realizing how many of my health issues have been there for a very long time and no doctor ever caught them. I am feeling like it’s a higher and higher chance that I have chronic Epstein Barr, meaning it’s chronically flared up and I have a constant flow of EBV symptoms that never really go away. This would make sense with how I am pretty much back to my “normal” and I know there’s no way a full blown Mono/CMV flare up would die down that quickly.

I’d love to go a month without having doctors appointments every week or even several times during a week. Heck, I’d love to go two weeks without having to get blood drawn, or sit across from my doctor going over lab results and having another chronic diagnosis thrown at me. Let’s see, I’m up to four chronic illnesses now?

Endometriosis

Hypothyroidism

Fibromyalgia

Mono/CMV

Plus….

Gluten intolerance/possibly celiacs

IBS

Adrenal Fatigue

Estrogen dominance/hormonal imbalance

 

I sort of long for the days I thought I *just* had fibro. Oh the ignorance is bliss sort of thing. But even then, looking back, I never ever felt healthy, or whole, or like I could do anything I wanted because I had energy/spoons to spare. I have been wrestling with all of these unknown chronic illnesses for most of my life and that fact alone makes me want to curl up in a hole and disappear. There aren’t any cures! There aren’t any quick fixes. There isn’t any way for me to suddenly feel fine and like I have some sort of quality of life back. I’m just worn out.

All Things Beauty · Chronic Illnesses · Endometriosis · Fibromylagia · Hypothyroidism · IBS

Chronic Illness Strikes Again

Hello Beauties,

I am now a week into dealing with strep and what I know now to be reactivated mono (Epstein Barr Virus…EBV) and CMV. I just found out yesterday, or rather got confirmation of what I strongly suspected due to my lab results, that I got sick with both of those viruses at some point in the past. And now, because of how compromised my immune system is due to stress and everything else going on with my health, both of those viruses have been reactivated.

I feel the most worn down and sick today than I did a week ago when I was hit with major sinus congestion. 6 days of antibiotics helped get rid of the strep in my throat, but my primary care believes that it has now migrated to my sinuses. yay. more antibiotics. I am doing a nasal antibiotic ointment, but I think it’s still messing with my stomach/gut. I feel a bit defeated with my health too since it’s going to take at least another 3-4 weeks of trying to rest (ha, ha, I have two kids 4 and under), and trying to bolster my immune system before we can retest my thyroid and hormone levels. AAANNND, the chances of me having chronic EBV are actually quite high.

I don’t really have the energy to do a long post today, merely because I think now that the strep is pretty much out of my system, I am feeling the effects of the mono and cmv. It makes me feel like a walking contaminate, even though I know I’m not contagious. Then, because of where I am in my ridiculously annoying consistent cycles, my endometriosis is flaring up and it feels like my body is trying to pretend I have another ovarian cyst. That ovary is gone, body! Add that endo flare up pain on top of my stomach already being ripped up from the antibiotics and let’s just say food and I are not meshing right now. Now that I can finally mostly breathe again, my taste buds are slowly waking back up, but geez, things taste so weird right now too.

So with antibiotics destroying any progress I had made with healing my gut, endo flaring up, food not sitting well with me, my poor abdomen/belly area is all swollen and sore and heaven forbid any sort of pressure from clothes be put on it. Thus a follow up from my last Curvy post; bralettes and swing/t-shirt dresses are my go-to’s right now because no tight bra straps around my ribs (yay endo pain!) and nothing touching or putting pressure on my abdomen (yay antibiotics damage and endo!).

I think I am going to take a break from posting over the weekend, but who know’s, maybe the muse will strike.

All Things Beauty · Chronic Illnesses · Endometriosis · Fibromylagia · Hypothyroidism · IBS · Self Care

Keto, AIP, Weight Loss, and the “D” word

** Content Note! – if you have in the past wrestled, or are currently wrestling, with an eating disorder or anything along those lines, please read the following post carefully? I’m aware these are sensitive and rough topics to work through. I will not be linking to different things I’ll be talking about, because I don’t recommend those things, nor do I want to give a certain company any more business.

 

Hello Beauties!

I’m sitting here in a slightly darkened house, trying to keep it cool in here while the temps get up close to 80 degrees today. And the windows are closed because there are a few nasty fires down in Arizona and we’re getting some of the smoke.

Anyway, I’ve been wrestling with something for the past week and felt the need to write it out. About two months ago I switched how I was eating to following a fairly strict ketogenic food plan. I did this after my surgery at the beginning of March because how I was eating before was just not working. I strongly suspect Endometriosis to be on my bowels, and that is what is causing my IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) symptoms. BUT, since my [mostly competent] doctor didn’t look around when she was taking out my ovary, I am not willing to go through another surgery right now to get things looked at. Thus, I turned to how I am eating to see if I could manage the symptoms of my IBS better and maybe, just maybe, get to a place where I could at the very least, like food again.

Enter Keto. I did a lot of research on diets that affect or can help manage endometriosis symptoms, IBS symptoms, as well as hypothyroidism. An AIP (autoimmune  protocol) “diet” is highly recommended for managing inflammation, but something about that irks me and I’ve had difficulty convincing myself to strictly follow AIP with my eating habits. I stumbled upon several medical studies talking about using Keto to treat and manage IBS. Ironically, how I am modifying my Keto intake is very close to an AIP diet. Which is good to know and makes sense why Keto can help inflammation.

Here’s a little bit of information about Keto – it’s HIGH fat LOW carb. With counting my macros, my calories should be about 1700, Fat 145 grams, Carbs 22 grams, and protein about 65 grams. 22 grams of carbs seems really low, but when you take out all grains and just about all sugar, it’s very doable. I thought it would be really hard to cut out grains, as I’ve sort of clung to gluten free pasta and rice as needed additions to a lot of meals. However because I had been having an increasingly uncomfortable reaction to even gluten free flours, cutting out all grains was easier than I thought it would be. Which is quite the opposite of what happened when I was told to go gluten free – I cried as I thought it would be sooooo hard to cut gluten out of my life. The thing that made it easier to do so was realizing that gluten really did make me very sick. I thought maybe if I give it a year then I can go back to eating those gluten-y comfort foods. But nope. I tried to eat gluten and it made me feel like my stomach was being shredded from the inside out. Due to this discovery, it is very easy for me to avoid gluten.

Being in pain of some sort 24/7, 365, has given me a very low tolerance for anything that causes me pain that can be avoided. I had a feeling that if I were to cut all grains out that I wouldn’t be able to add them back in. Especially with how I felt eating prior to surgery. I was willing to change how I was eating to see if it would help me feel even just a little bit better. After a month and a half of eating Keto, I tried to add plain cooked rice back in and whoa boy, my stomach felt similarly to how it feels if I eat gluten – absolutely shredded. For now, I’m going back to avoiding all grains.

Alright, here’s what I really wanted to talk about.

I hate the word “Diet.” I hate the connotations that surround that word, and the misuse it’s been through. I believe in honoring the body and feeding the body with the foods it needs and giving room to be whatever it needs to be. I have seen so many MLM consultants raving about certain “diets” and about how you could lose so much weight. I have watched people flock to the wraps, the dieting powders, the exercise programs – and I admit, they’ve appealed to me. I’ve wrestled with gaining and losing and maintaining my weight and having a positive body image of my own body for a very long time. Better understanding of how skewed my hormones are and have been for a very long time has given me more grace for my body. Not being able to lose weight now makes sense, as does gaining a lot when I was really sick. BUT! That doesn’t remove my desire to have a quick fix. My desires started shifting a year and a half ago when food turned fully into an enemy. I went from limiting how much I ate and feeling sad every time I did allow myself to eat a big meal to pretty much saying “f*ck eating, everything is making me sick!” To be honest, neither perspective is a healthy way to approach food. The first was something I was doing to myself, the second view point is what was being done to me. It felt like my body was turning against me – again. Even though I felt so helpless with my body, I instinctively knew it wouldn’t matter if I put myself on a diet, diets don’t work. At least they don’t work long term. So what was the point of dieting anyway?

Dealing with chronic illnesses took away any energy I may have had to stay active. Dealing with chronic illnesses took away any drive I had for “managing my weight.” On the okay days, it was merely a success to have gotten three meals in during the day. But I wasn’t happy. I didn’t feel good about my body, and I felt like I was barely maintaining a grip on where I was at that point in time. I love following Instagramers like BodyPosiPanda, and I love her take on loving your body and eating what you want and being comfortable with who you are. But I struggle with accepting that for myself. I, at least now, cannot eat whatever I want. I am up against significant food intolerance issues now. The other side of that is I struggle to wrap my mind around “eat whatever you want.” Clothes and how they feel and fit are deeply important to me. If I gained weight and my clothes didn’t fit comfortably, that would be more devastating to me than gaining weight. It would feel like I was wasting money on finding clothes that felt comfortable on, only to have them not fit in a few months. So how does that work? I sincerely ask. How do you maintain a good body image and yet stay practical with clothes? (just something I’ve given a lot of thought to in the past year…)

It was difficult to not getting sucked into the whole “Keto for weightloss!!” trend. I remember Keto being really big a few years ago and how it was the new trendy diet. I hesitated to tell anyone I was starting to follow Keto with my food. I felt like there was this huge unspoken thing when it comes to Keto – I’m just doing it for weight loss. I would be lying though if I said I wasn’t partially following Keto for weight loss. But it is also so much more for me. I am glad Keto is helping me at least lose some fat. But I am also glad it feels like my body isn’t struggling as hard, and I am feeling so much more satisfied and comfortable with food. I’m not reacting as much after meals, and that in and of itself is the biggest advantage of eating Keto. But every other article or recipe I read about Keto gives warnings about how you may lose a lot of weight but you will gain it all back if you switch back to how you were eating before! Which sure, I get. It’s a very different way of eating and it’s the complete opposite of almost every other diet. And that’s why after a month and a half of doing Keto, and seriously craving fresh fruit that wasn’t “allowed” on Keto, I went looking for something else. I doubted how long term Keto could be for me. And I was losing sight of the real reason I switched to Keto to begin with.

I stumbled upon and tried something for a week called IIFYM (If it Fits Your Macros). Talk about conflicting information – IIFYM is the complete opposite of Keto – HIGH carbs LOW fat. Even though Keto was making me feel better, I don’t think I really had realized just how much of a difference it was making in my body. I started researching more information and one article would say that high carbs and low fat is how you should diet. Another article would say no, it’s just the caloric intake that matters! Yet another would say that if you really wanted to lose weight, high fat and low carbs is the way to go. The deeper into the articles I went, the more I lost sight of why I had actually started Keto in the first place. Body image insecurities and doubts that I wasn’t doing things the right way starting creeping in. At the end of the week of following IIFYM protocols, I felt worse than I had at the beginning of the week. I felt so conflicted about what was best for my body (read: best for losing weight). I felt no desire to step on the scale and it felt like my body was getting really inflamed. And inflamed = water weight, bloating, achy joints, and swollen crampy abdomen for me.

When I sat down with my therapist on Saturday, I laid all my conflicted feelings out in the open. I began to see how my desire to find a way of eating that would make me feel better had turned in to how can I lose the most weight. I was scared of trying something and the end result being having gained a bunch of weight. I can accept where my body is at right now, but deep down, I still don’t feel like I am enough, or that my body is thin enough. I realized that in trying to follow IIFYM, I was close to getting obsessed with my weight and counting my macros. I knew this was not healthy and if anything, my body was starting to feel sick again. I tried to put aside all desires and confliction I felt about losing weight and compared Keto and IIFYM side by side. I needed to get back to the root reason for why I decided to start Keto in the first place. As I sat there and took stock of how my body felt and what my body was asking for, I saw that it didn’t matter what “diet” I followed, as long as my body felt comfortable and [almost] healthy. With Keto specifically, I felt fuller and more satisfied by my meals. I wasn’t having a food reaction after everything I ate or drank. When I was hungry, I was really hungry, not just oh I guess I could eat hungry. Can we take a moment to process that? I have not felt hungry hungry in a very long time. This was huge. My body hadn’t felt as inflamed and even though the amount of fresh foods “allowed” with Keto wasn’t very much, I realized I had no issues adding in a higher fruit sugar food if that’s what my body needed.

Then I came across an article about AIP and the foods recommended and I realized that how I’m eating with Keto is very very close to an AIP diet. This gave me the reassurance that my original decision to follow Keto was the right one. If I lose weight following Keto, then that’s great! But that is not my goal with Keto. I know that I need structure, even if it’s just a little bit, to feel comfortable in my day to day life. So having a title to give what and how I’m eating helps. I am counting my macros with Keto, but it is only to make sure I am actually getting enough fats and calories and eating the right amount of carbs. I know by following the macros set for my body I feel the best. Once I feel like I have a routine again, I won’t track as much. But again, for me, it’s giving myself the structure I need. I know this does not work for everyone, and those who struggle with getting obsessed with their weight and tracking things, this could be very harmful. If structure helps you, then track or follow a specific “diet.” But if structure leads you down an unhealthy path, avoid it!

My therapist asked me what my body was asking for. If I was take away all diet protocols, or “allowed” foods, what was left? What did my body say it wanted? This was a helpful way of looking at things. It gave me the space to give my body the space to tell me what it needed. And I know if I’m not listening to my body, then I’m going to end up in the weeds, feeling very sick.

I have a lot more thoughts about dieting and weight and body image that I’ll share in another post. Thank you for making it to the end of this long post!

 

All Things Beauty · Beauty Favorites · Chronic Illnesses · Endometriosis · Fibromylagia · Hypothyroidism · IBS · Products

Let’s Talk Health and Beauty

Hello Beauties!

The theme of my life since the beginning of 2018 has been “How can I heal my body and feel better?” I got some lab results back this past week, and found out that my intuition was right; I have major estrogen dominance which feeds my Endometriosis and Hypothyroidism as well as my fibromyalgia. But I do not have PCOS. So yay? I started on a natural progesterone cream, and while I believe it’s already starting to affect my system, my estrogen dominance symptoms are rearing their ugly heads.

Along with getting answers to health issues I’ve had for at least a decade, most likely even longer, I’ve turned attention to what I’m using on my body – makeup, hair care, lotions, deodorant… – and am trying to figure out what I want to start transitioning to more natural and better for my body products. I spent an hour or so last night researching natural beauty brands and some skin care brands. Half of my skin care routine involves natural skin care (essential oils, rose water, witch hazel…) but the majority of my makeup products and hair care products do not. Now, I have no intention of going full bore with changing out all of the products I use! That would cost and arm and a leg and all of my favorite clothes, but I think it is feasible to slowly change out things purposefully. So today, I decided to switch from my spray deodorant to a Schmidt’s deodorant. I grabbed the Rose + Vanilla one. It has a delicate scent, and I’m eager to see if it will work! I’ve heard good things about Schmidt’s deodorants.

Let’s talk beauty though for a few minutes. I currently use a Korean brand for my BB cream and frankly quite love it! But I’m looking in to a few of the newer beauty brands coming to Target! I’m really excited about trying Hue Noir Foundation and HALEYS Beauty. Which, speaking of Target, I just applied to become an affiliate because I shop there frequently and am super excited about all of the new brands they’re introducing!!

I have officially been diagnosed with chronic illnesses – Endometriosis, Hypothyroidism, and Fibromyalgia. I have also been diagnosed with secondary conditions of adrenal fatigue, estrogen dominance, and unofficially/officially IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Not to mention depression (dysthymia) and anxiety as well. My eyesight is nearly perfect, but I have and get significant eye fatigue and now use 0.75 reading glasses when I’m using my computer. It actually does help my eyes rest and help some of the headaches and migraines I get.

With chronic illnesses, taking care of myself has become vital. It’s also been good for my mental health. Smelling, looking, and feeling good are all connected for me. My body is in such chaos and has been for a very long time that if there are even a few small things I can feel like I have control over the better I can function. There is something very validating in finally getting answers to why my body hasn’t felt good in a very very long time. I honestly can’t remember what it’s like to not be in pain of some kind, or not feel like I’m struggling against wave after wave of fatigue. This doesn’t make me as depressed as it used to though. I know how to function to the best of my ability and I’ve figured out the things that give me a little edge over the pain and fatigue. Things like doing eyeliner, eyebrows, and bronzer or a touch of blush almost every day. Things like wearing the clothes I want to that make me feel good and sexy on my short, short-waisted, and pear shaped body. Things like having to drastically remove foods from my eating-thing (I hate the word d i e t) even though it means I will most likely not be able to add those things back into my eating-thing. Now that I have gotten actual physical confirmation of what’s been going on with my body, I now have the tools to take even better steps towards getting my body to the best place I can health-wise.

What are some of the natural beauty or health-wise things you do? Have you found things that help you feel better? Or what are your comfort items/things/actions that you do when you’re having a bad day?

I’d love to hear from you!!

 

Chronic Illnesses · Endometriosis · PCOS

Having a Laparoscopic Surgery? Here are my tips

** Warning! Pictures of my incisions below **

Hello Beauties!

I am two and a half weeks out from my second laparoscopic surgery (4th surgery overall) and I figured I’d share my top tips for recovery and healing from surgery.

One of the things I have known from previous surgeries is that I don’t handle anesthesia very well – like at all. I had my deteriorating gallbladder removed two years ago, and ended up having to get admitted because I was unable to keep anything down and was in so much pain they couldn’t get a handle on it. So when I went in to have my right ovary removed two and a half weeks ago, I made sure to explain to the anesthesiologist that I needed all the anti-nausea meds they could give me.

First, let’s talk through what typically happens in the week before and day of surgery. You will typically have a pre-op appointment with your surgeon or doctor, then either the same day or another day, usually at the location of your surgery, you will have blood drawn, and sign a whole bunch of paperwork for surgery. Day of surgery, depending on the time of your surgery, you will be cut off with food at midnight the night before, then roughly 5-4 hours before, you will be told to stop drinking everything. I was allowed to take a few sips of water to take my thyroid medication and my Zoloft, but that was it until after surgery. When I showed up to the hospital, I brought along an overnight bag just in case, even though my surgery was technically outpatient. Think bare minimum. If you do get admitted, you will not be up to doing your normal night time routine (if you have one) and I can guarantee that you won’t be up to wearing many of your own clothes.

You’ll get your weight done (this is an important step for anesthesia), leave a urine sample, and get an IV started. I always prefer an IV in my left hand so it doesn’t get pinched in my elbow, or get in the way of my dominant hand. The IV will start a drip of saline, and you’ll get anti-nausea, pain meds, and antibiotics through your IV as well. Then it’s settle and wait for everyone to come see you. The anesthesiologist will come see you and go over everything with you and any concerns you have, then the head nurse for the OR will come, and once you see your surgeon, that means you’ll be wheeled back within minutes of them leaving. When I had my gallbladder taken out, I remember everything up to being strapped down and getting cozy on the operating table. Then everything goes black. For this surgery, I remember being wheeled out of my pre-op room, and then everything peacefully and happily fades. I’m not entirely sure what they gave me, but my awesome pre-op nurse called it happy juice. It kicked in within minutes of her pushing it into my IV, and boy do I much prefer that way of heading back to surgery than being fully aware.

Now waking up in recovery is always going to feel weird. I can’t remember the moment I actually woke up this time around, but I do remember I was just suddenly awake. SUPER groggy, but not nauseated or in pain at all. Which was so incredibly relieving. I could barely keep my eyes open, but I felt amazing. I credit that solely to my anesthesiologist getting the drugs balanced correctly and giving me pain meds BEFORE surgery.

Alright, on to my suggestions!

Nausea-Prone

If you are nausea prone, then I highly recommend talking with the anesthesiologist about getting those anti-nausea meds. Especially if your procedure is supposed to be outpatient. I got something this time around called a Scopolamine patch. It was this little brown/tan patch that went behind my left ear. I did experience some of the side effects, such as blurry vision and headaches AFTER I took the patch off 48 hours after surgery. These side effects were so minor compared to dealing with nausea. I didn’t have any nausea at all post-surgery this time around and it was glorious! Also ask your anesthesiologist if they can give you the anesthesia through your IV instead of giving your gas. That will greatly reduce the risk of reaction and nausea post-surgery. Another note about nausea – have some instant rice or soups on hand. I wasn’t hungry for several days after surgery, but I managed to easily get down soups/broth/rice.

Pain Meds

DO NOT SKIP A DOSE OF PAIN MEDS! Especially in the first 72 hours after surgery. You typically get an IV dose of pain meds while you’re still in the OR (Operating Room), so if you do get to go home after a hours in recovery, it should be time to take a dose of pain meds as soon as you get home. This surgery I took Aleve and Percocet together. Percocet every 6 hours, Aleve every 12 hours. I know from experience I can’t handle prolonged doses of Ibuprofen, and Tylenol does next to nothing for me. Ask your doctor for their best recommendation for pain meds, and then seriously, stick with a schedule. If you fall behind on doses, it will be very hard to catch back up and you will be in a lot of pain.

Cough Drops 

Okay, so during surgery you will have a breathing tube down your throat. This is a given for any surgery you’re fully under for. The nice thing is that you typically never even know you have a tube down your throat…caveat for those who scarily wake up during surgery. The downside to this is a scratchy throat and cough for a few days to a week after surgery. If you’re having any sort of abdominal surgery, this is going to kill and you’ll feel like any cough or aggressive clearing of your throat is going to rip your stitches out. Have 12 hour cough syrup on hand, and a whole bowl of throat/cough drops next to your bed or wherever you are going to sit yourself when you get home. Also, have a blanket or small pillow you can hold over your incision whenever you do cough or blow your nose or sneeze 6 times in a row like I did. My youngest kindly gave me his cold after surgery so I was sneezing and blowing me nose a lot and man that hurt. Another suggestion I have is get a bottle of 100% pure pineapple juice. I had big glasses of pineapple juice and ginger ale mixed together. Pineapple is very soothing to your throat and it tastes good, win win!

Shoulder Pain/Gas/The big “C”

This mainly is helpful for anyone having an abdominal laparoscopic surgery. For that kind of surgery, anything to do with any of your organs, your abdomen is pumped full of gas. It is very easy for that gas to get stuck in pockets after surgery and this typically manifests itself as major RIGHT shoulder pain and neck pain. After my gallbladder surgery I couldn’t lie on my right side for a whole week because every time I tried to lie down I’d almost black out from how sharp the pain was. So I was prepared after this surgery. Get a bottle prior to surgery of ULTRA or EXTRA strength GasX pills or a store brand. And take those almost like candy. I took them every time I took pain meds and I only had a few twinges of shoulder pain for the first 36ish hours. Stay on top of those, and also ask your surgeon if they get as much of the gas out before closing up. Apparently this is thing as my surgeon said she’s rather anal about making sure to get out as much of the gas as she can before closing incisions. Next, get some Icy/Hot cream or Arnica gel, or Salonpas patches. And make sure to have a heating pad on hand as well!! These things will help shoulder and neck pain if you can’t get on top of the gas pain with the GasX. Okay, now this is VERY important. Make sure to have a bottle of stool softener on hand too. Any time you take heavy duty pain meds, constipation always shows up. Take a stool softener as often as you can, and keep taking it until you’re no longer take the heavy pain meds. Another thing to keep on hand are some probiotics. Because of all of the antibiotics they’ll pump in for surgery, it’s a good idea to combat them and keep your gut healthy by taking an actual probiotic (link for my favorite down below).

Clothing

This again is probably more helpful for those having abdominal surgery, but make sure to have loose fitting sweats or yoga pants to wear home from surgery. Or even better, a maxi or swing dress (here are links for my two favorites: one and two). After my breast biopsy/lumpectomy ten years ago, I wore sports bras for a few days, but went braless whenever I could. For abdominal surgery, high-waisted leggings that don’t rub on your incisions are helpful; tunics, and comfy nightgowns were all my go to’s as well. Plan to stay in bed for a few days, just to let your body rest. It is easy to overdo it, especially if you feel good. Take. It. Easy.  Even being two and a half weeks out from my own surgery, I am still needing to take it easy. Lots of leggings and yoga pants still.

Showers/Baths

As long as your incision are glued shut/steri-stripped shut, you should be good to take a shower within 24 hours of surgery. I had to wait like 50 hours after my c-section to take a shower, but that was because I had a 48 hour pain pump attached to my incision and I couldn’t take a shower until that came out. Make sure to ask, or have your partner or who ever is with you and takes you home after surgery ask when you get discharged. I waited until the steri-strips came off about 5 days post surgery and then another 4 days after that before I took a bath. If your incision still have scabs, I’d say wait until those have completely fallen off before taking a bath.

Before I wrap this post up, here are pictures of my three incisions. When I had my gallbladder surgery, it was only one incision in my belly button, but I can’t say I minded having three tiny incisions. I did get some geranium oil (I got this one) which is supposed to be good for healing scars and incision. It has a sort of strong floral/greenery scent. But I swear putting a tiny bit on each incision (AFTER every bit of scab had fallen off) has helped especially with the bruising and tenderness of each incision. Vitamin E oil is good for incisions too, but I’ve always been pretty lax about remembering to put some on my incisions.

 

List of supplies for post-surgery care

Meds

GasX or store brand equivalent (extra or ultra strength is the best!)
Stool Softener
Throat Drops (I used these)
Cough Syrup
Salonpas patches (I use these I did get some bigger patches, but didn’t end up using them)
Arnicagel (I use this one)
Probiotics (I use these I did see these at Costco so when I run out, I’m going to get those instead)

Comforts

Wide waist/loose waist yoga pants
High-waisted leggings (favorite leggings!)
Swing/Maxi dresses (I like this one)
Comfortable loose nightgowns (it’s uncomfortable to have waistbands rubbing against healing incisions)
Small pillow/blanket to hold against your incisions

Foods

Broths/soups
Instant rice mixes (they were still gentle on my stomach, but tasted good)
Pineapple juice
Ginger Ale
Applesauce for if you really don’t feel like eating

**Disclaimer: may contain affiliate links! I will get a very small percentage of anything you purchase through an affiliate link.