If you follow me on Instagram, then you know in December 2017 I did a 21 day elimination diet. I was advised to do this diet by my doctor and nutritionist because of ongoing symptoms related to my reproductive system. This will be a two part post: my experience before and after surgery and how I learned of my leaky gut and took an holistic approach to healing.
In 2015, I was diagnosed with uterine fibroids. I had two very painful menstrual cycles and went to my gynecologist to get an understanding of what could be the issue. I had a transvaginal ultrasound which showed a large fibroid. The next steps in the process were over the course of one year. I was referred to a specialist who recommended surgery and that I lose weight. I waited another three months for the surgery. In the meantime, I ate more plant based for one month and lost ten pounds prior to the surgery. My recovery time was about two weeks and I was back to work (which was too soon but I didn't want to use all my sick time). At the follow-up I was told I also had endometriosis (when the uterine lining sheds out of the uterus onto other organs) and this may have also contributed to my pain. I was hopeful I would get some relief and this would the journey to healing.
What I didn't know was the emotional toll this experience would have on me. I intellectualized the whole process from start to finish. I read up on the procedure (myomectomy, read more about it here), I asked as many questions of my Doctor as I could, I watched youtube videos, I read blogs, all of this was my way of coping with the fact that I was having surgery on my uterus. I was scared y'all. I cried almost every time I went to an appointment. I was scared because I want to have children and every woman in my family who had history of fibroids eventually had to get a hysterectomy. I was scared because I didn't want others to know the pain I was enduring daily and I just wanted to feel better. But I refused to cast a shadow of doubt on my healing and decided to go through with traditional medical advisement.
Endometriosis can be difficult to treat and most likely isn't diagnosed without exploratory surgery. Many women have the symptoms which are often attributed to some other reproductive issue or they are misdiagnosed. I can't recall how aggressive my endometriosis was but it was recommended I start taking birth control to minimize the possibility of reoccurrence after it was removed in surgery. Several celebrities have been outspoken about their experiences with fibroids and endometriosis helping to bring light to an often minimized ailment effecting "200 million women worldwide" according to Endometriosis Foundation of America. From what I have been told and have researched, there is no known cause and no known cure at this time. Despite this, I chose to be optimistic. I had to focus on healing.
After surgery, the body can take up to a year to heal and feel normal again. Nobody told me about the mood swings, lethargy, and change in my cycle that occurred. Ugh. But I was determined to take care of my body. After almost two years, I continued to feel discomfort, suffered through continuous vaginal infections, bloating, and mood changes. I was searching for a way to be completely healed because traditional medicine did not heal me 100%. In Bali, my now friend Lauren said to me, "Something is causing your chakra to be off. I believe that's how this is manifesting." I thank her for that epiphany. This situation was teaching me something, there was something in my habits, in my lineage, in my being that was contributing to the ailment I endured in my reproductive area for two years. She suggested I start looking into herbs and essential oils and a possible diet change. I started cutting back on dairy (which is known to cause inflammation), made it my job to eat more plants, and practiced yoga and meditation visualizing the healing of my body. I knew I had the ability to heal my body by making different choices and figuring out how to treat it well.
In part two, I will share my journey to working with a holistic gynecologist, nutritionist, and how I am feeling today.