chronic illness · motherhood · Uncategorized

Why I’m Having A Hysterectomy

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had pelvic pain and horrendous menstrual cycles. Even at young age, the go to was to be on birth control pills to try to lessen the severity of my periods. Newsflash – it didn’t work! It was a band-aid fix, if that. From ruptured ovarian cysts in Afghanistan to laparoscopic surgery to remove free fluid in my belly, it has been an uphill and painful journey.

I’ve been on various forms of birth control over the years in effort to skip or minimize periods. Some of them included the mini pill (postpartum with both kids), implanon (about 10 years ago), nexplanon (currently implanted in my left arm), Mirena, 2 birth control pills at once continuously to all but eliminate my periods.

The reason for my pain – endometriosis. Despite not having a cycle since right before getting pregnant with Colt in 2018, I still experience pain and symptoms associated with endometriosis including pelvic pain, ovarian pain, bloating, low back pain, nausea and constipation. Yes, you read that correctly. Those are just a few symptoms I have despite not having a period. The reason I haven’t is because I was either pregnant or breastfeeding and sometimes when you breastfeed, your period doesn’t return. Hormones, gotta love them 😒

My surgery is in 16 days. I’m confident in my decision to have the hysterectomy done because it is necessary to improve my quality of life, and we are done having children. I’m eager to just have it get here and move on so I can recover and start feeling better on that front (my other medical issues are another story). In addition to the laparoscopic hysterectomy (that is going to be done by a robot 😳), I have to get a bladder sling and fix a slight bladder prolapse… I guess pushing out 2 kiddos that are decent sizes quickly will do that to you. All normal, all not talked about enough so I’m putting it out there. Child bearing people don’t tend to talk about these issues or feel ashamed or embarrassed but I’m here to tell you that this is real life, and I’m going to be open and raw about it. You’re not alone if you’re going through similar issues. When it’s all said and done, I’ll have only my ovaries left as far as reproductive organs go.

We have a game plan in place for the kiddos with them staying at my parents and my in-laws the first night I’m home. I’m thankful the surgery is considered outpatient even though I will be at the hospital. We won’t find out what time I need to be there until the day prior. So I’m a bit anxious about that just because I am a detail oriented person, so the not knowing is annoying but I need to just go with the flow for this because I can’t change it. I have started getting together some post-op recovery items which I will share in another post.

Have any questions for me? Have you had a laparoscopic hysterectomy? Do you experience endometriosis? I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.

Take care, Stef 💜

#endometriosis #hysterectomy #laparoscopichysterectomy #thebevinsclan #endowarrior #endosisters #painfree #bladderprolapsesurgery #bladdersling #enjoylife #momswhoblog #lifestyleblogger #momofboys #momoftwo #chronicpain #chronicillness #spoonie

chronic illness · Uncategorized · volunteering

5 Ways You Can Still Volunteer For Your Favorite Cause With A Chronic Illness

This post was originally posted on Instagram in May 2020. It has been slightly modified.

Do you have a cause that is near and dear to your heart? Something you feel strongly about and want to support? It can be very challenging to feel like you have enough energy (spoons) to give any of your time away to things outside of self care and at home responsibilities.

If you are like me, you have things that you want to do to help maintain some normalcy amidst your chronic illness. I volunteer with an amazing organization called The Lancaster Farm Sanctuary. Now that I have 2 little ones, I am not at a point in my life where I can regularly go and actually volunteer at the farm Sanctuary. My way of helping right now is by sending emails/cards thanking those who donate to the organization. It allows me to stay involved and I still feel good helping 💚

So, how can you help your favorite organizations?!

1) Offer to send thank you notes to supporters who have donated to the charity you want to support

2) Make phone calls (reference phone calls for animal adoptions,  coordination phone calls for events, solicitation for donation)

3) Share the organizations posts on social media, even if you are not even to help in person, sharing their posts and helping them gain exposure and a broader audience could bring in more donations,  supporters and volunteers

4) Volunteer your time during an event. If they have a booth set up during an event,  offer to take a shift and give information about the organization out to event attendees

5) Ask your organization of choice if there are things you can help with from home such as sending emails, online filing, fundraising,  event planning, etc.

I know it can feel overwhelming having a Chronic Illness (or multiple), but if you are interested and feel like you have some time and a spare spoon every once in a while,  reach out to an organization you support to see how you could possibly help.

I hope this post was helpful for you. What organizations do you all volunteer with?

#chronicpain #chronicillness #volunteering #volunteerworkn #animalrescue #farmsanctuary #spoonie #spoons #spoonielife #rheumatoidarthritis #fibromyalgia #endometriosis #migraines #volunteerfromhome #charitywork #charity #5waystovolunteerwithchronicillness

chronic illness

5 Ways to Cope with Chronic Pain

I first wrote this in May 2020 for my Instagram. I updated it a bit to post on my blog.

Before I give a few tips that help me,  I want to give a little background on how my journey with chronic pain started. I was diagnosed with Endometriosis at age 19. I had been dealing with symptoms of Endometriosis for years,  but it wasn’t until I had a very painful ruptured ovarian cyst when I was deployed in the Middle East and subsequently was medically evacuated home that I got my official diagnosis.  I was fortunate to have birth control regulate a lot of my symptoms for about 2 years until I experienced ruptured ovarian cysts again and was hospitalized for about 4 days and has surgery to remove the free floating fluid from the ruptured cysts in my belly. This was only just the beginning of having an actual name for what was happening to me,  chronic pain and chronic illness.I was subsequently diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis,  Hashimotos Thyroiditis,  Insomnia, migraines and most recently, Fibromyalgia.

1) Know your limitations.  Seriously.  I know in the moment you may feel good, but don’t push yourself to the point where you need to spend the next day or two (or three) resting because you over did it.

2) Pay attention to your triggers and also to what types of environments and situations may make you flare up. For example,  if you know eating a certain type of food or doing a certain exercise will cause pain for days after,  skip it! Find an alternative, seriously, I promise you, there’s something just as good out there that won’t leave you in agony.

3) Give your body the rest and support it needs. Literally rest. Try to get a good night’s sleep every night, nap if you need to. Sit in a comfy chair and just relax. Supporting your body sometimes means not doing anything at all, and that’s okay. Just remember,  sometimes resting is exactly what you need to do to cope with chronic pain.

4) Find out what support aids help you the most. Does CBD oil work well for you? A heating pad?  Epsom salt bath? Find out what provides a little relief, and try to implement it as often as needed.

5) If you don’t feel your current medication regiment is working, advocate for yourself and discuss with your doctor. There are so many medications out there, it may just be trial and error initially.

What tips do you have to add?

#chronicpain #chronicillness #rheumatoidarthritis #fibromyalgia #endometriosis #migraines #anxiety #ppd #postpartumdepression #alternativemedicine #holistichealth #health #mentalhealth