Pardon The Dust...

Simply Endo Life has been evolving from the beginning. Right now, I am in the process of cleaning up old posts and links. So for now, please excuse the dust!

-Mary Tice

My Endo Life Part Two

My Endo Life Part 2 - My New Normal
I wake up everyday with endometriosis. I spend most of my free time discussing endometriosis with my endo sisters. I only eat food that I know shouldn't trigger endo belly. I don't apologize for my condition, you either accept it or GTFO of my life. I don't have it in me anymore to care if discussing my symptoms weirds you out. I'm not mean about it, in fact I willingly explain what is going on inside my body if you ask, but I also don't feel I should hide my condition from the world. Endometriosis may one day enter my brain or lungs without the ability to remove it. I know if that happens, this disease will most likely kill me so I choose life every single day. And I choose to live that life in a way that can help others and myself heal this never-ending pain.

Before reading about my new normal, be sure to check out My Endo Life Part 1 - My Story. I go into detail what my life was like before I decided to take control of my health through dietary changes and natural healing.

My Endo Life Part 2 - My New Normal

So what do I consider my new normal? Honestly, it isn't too different from my old way of life, I just make more conscious decisions and do my best. For example, the old me didn't always eat the best. I often ate pizza, fast food, pre-made meals and drank a lot of coffee and soda. My morning drive to work would usually result in me stopping for food or coffee. If I got food, it was usually a bacon, egg and cheddar sandwich on an everything bagel from a local bagel place. Coffee was either a simple latte with non-dairy milk (I have been lactose intolerant for years) from the coffee/surf shop next to my office or a black and tan mocha from a local coffee shop chain in town (be forewarned, they are addicting both as hot and iced drinks).  Lunch would either be fast food, a sit-down meal with Mom about once every month or so, leftovers or something I would skip if I had eaten breakfast or felt crappy. Snacks were Doritos, Mountain Dew and chocolate. Dinner was always my best meal of the day because I usually feel guilty about feeding Phil crap, so I would try to make dinner. But in order to get food on the table quickly, I often used prepacked, processed products. We also had a horrible habit of getting takeout a couple times a month. (Won't lie, for awhile after my surgery, we ate quite a lot of takeout just because it was so easy.) Snack cakes never lasted a week in our house because we would devour them in front of the TV.  When we were each trying to lose weight, we would cut out most of the bad and it would last for a good while, but eventually one of us (namely me) would want fries or burgers or pizza or just anything not made at home and we would cave and the cycle would start again.

After my surgery and being told I needed a treatment plan, I decided no more birth control since I refuse to go through the side effects of acne, weight gain, insane mood swings and just unnaturally balancing my hormones, instead I knew I needed a new way of living. I pulled out my herbology books and started reviewing what I knew about endometriosis and what the books said about treating it. I took a lot of notes, did a lot of web research and decided to try the Endometriosis Diet.

I started cutting out items known for triggering endometriosis symptoms. So long soy, booze (though I rarely drink anymore), trans fat, processed snack cakes, and most red meat. Hello everything healthy! I noticed I was having adverse reactions to gluten, so that was the next thing to go. My beloved Nacho Cheese Doritos are now the enemy. Coffee which had been on my daily list except on flare days was nixed completely. I actually tried an iced black and tan the other day and thought my gut was going to explode. So my other beloved treat is gone as well. Eventually I will fully cut out sugar and caffeine, but with so many changes to my diet, I am not being super strict on those just yet.

Now my mornings are a bit different. If I feel healthy with no pain or flares and I want a hot, sweet beverage, I will make myself hot chocolate using cacao powder, coconut sugar, coconut milk or water with a splash of cream (which doesn't affect my lactose intolerance for some reason), turmeric, cinnamon and black pepper. Bad days may mean a breakfast of hot water with lemon or fresh juice if I have ingredients on hand. (My personal favorite is spinach and pineapple juice with a banana either on the side or pureed in. It gives me loads of energy to keep me going for hours.) On my worst days, I skip putting anything in my body for as long as possible and keep my butt in bed or at least keep myself sitting comfortably. Because I don't know if food will trigger anything, I now often skip breakfast unless I am really hungry, and then I whip up an egg, make buttered gluten-free toast or bowl of quinoa. I would rather be a little hungry but able to go to work than full and in the bathroom praying to every deity to make the pain and swelling stop. Now if I am home all day, yes I eat. I will eat peanut butter on toasted gluten-free bread or hard boiled eggs with tomatoes and basil or even a protein shake of almond milk, banana and cacao powder. My portions are always small in the morning. In fact, I keep all portions small until dinner just to ensure that I won't overeat and swell up.

Lunch is usually leftovers or tuna. I love a quick lunch of tuna salad on top of gluten-free corn tortillas crisped up in the microwave. Bad days usually mean I eat very little. I have done nothing but coconut water and a banana or plain baked potato. It's not that I don't like to eat, it's just sometimes easier to save the bulk of my body's energy for digestion when I am at home. No matter what I have, it's small in portion size unless I am having a great day. Occasionally I will meet my mom for lunch, but even then, I eat smaller portions just to be safe. 

Dinner is at home now unless we are out running around. If we run out for fast food, it's Chick-fil-a or nothing. I'm not 100% sure if the corn tortillas at Taco Bell are gluten-free, so I am avoiding them. Chick-fil-a has grilled nuggets, their fries are fried in oil separate from the chicken and who can pass up their tea? I still limit how often I eat there, but it is great knowing I have a quick, go-to option 6 days a week. If I'm going to a sit-down restaurant, I don't ask for special requests, I just ask for things I can't have to be left off and leave it at that. Thus far, I haven't gotten sick from eating out like this, but I also have only eaten at a couple of places. Because I don't eat fast food as often now, I cook a lot. In fact, we probably make 6 dinners a week and that 7th dinner is either a gluten-free frozen pizza, leftovers, or that rare fast food meal. The meals I cook are pretty simple. I make a killer pasta bake (gluten-free of course) with ground turkey, we regularly have lentil and quinoa bowls, ground turkey with brown rice, tacos, bake potatoes topped with chili, homemade mac and cheese with sausage and broccoli. Currently I am focusing on keeping things simple and made from scratch whenever possible. I try to do as many of my own seasoning combinations as possible so I always know what combination of herbs I am using, just in case of an adverse reaction (plus they apparently put flour in every seasoning packet out there).

I do have a few guilty pleasures left. Because I haven't cut sugar out completely, I let myself indulge in cereal to snack on, the occasional candy bar, soda or gluten-free cookie. But I don't cheat with eliminated foods because I can't. Sugar doesn't seem to bother me like lactose or gluten, so these indulgences aren't affecting me the same way a piece of bread or glass of milk would. How do I know this? *Sigh* The hard way. I cheated.

But back to my new normal. My grocery bill hasn't really skyrocketed. Yes some items like gluten-free bread or pizza cost more than their traditional counter parts, but we purchase them less frequently or buy separates since Phil has no gluten or dairy issues. Because we know that the price of pasta has doubled for us, I make our sauce from scratch, which helps with the overall cost. Ground turkey, smoke sausage, and tuna are the only meats we really buy and I buy dried beans and long-cooking brown rice instead of canned and 5-minute varieties. We drink a lot more water now. When I really think about it, dinner each night usually costs less than $6 total unless we grab something out or are making something more elaborate. And unless it's pizza, we always have leftovers for 2-4 servings. Per portion, dinner is almost always $1 or less per serving with the majority being about $0.50-$0.75 per serving. (Now before you start to worry Mom, we always have plenty of protein, good carbs and vegetables in our meals.)

I'm still most comfortable spending nights on the couch watching TV and writing while Phil works on the eBay store, takes care of the house and plays video games. I exercise when I can. Even on flare days, I try to help take the dogs on their walks. I often take a cat nap or go to bed early, but I also stay up late when I can/have the energy, go on dates with Phil where we walk all over downtown, dance like an idiot while grocery shopping, and in general be a normal adult. My friends, family and husband all just know that there are days when I simply can't be everything to everyone.

The ultimate goal is to one day live a life where my endometriosis doesn't rule my life. It will always be part of my, at least until I hit menopause, so I might as well get used to this new way of living and embrace it fully!


To help with medical expenses, a Go Fund Me donation page has been created. If you wish to donate, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/wvfg67-marys-medical-expenses.

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