March is Endometriosis Awareness Month so I wanted to share a little bit about my experience with this chronic illness that affects so many wonderful women. I have come a really long way on my journey so I wanted to share to help inspire other women in the same situation.
Managing an invisible disease can be a challenge as it is hard for those around us to be aware of the pain, fatigue, digestive and hormonal issues that go with it. Surgeries and other obstacles that we can face over the years with chronic illness can become the new norm and part of life.
No-one wants to be a moan and be constantly complaining so most of it goes unsaid a lot of the time as we suffer in silence with a brave face on. Feeling totally unplugged and ancient when you’re a young woman can be a dreadful experience and only those who know what that feels like can relate.
I had experienced a lot of pain in earlier years but thanks to many therapies that I practice I don’t have much at all in more recent years. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) was a game changer for this. I have had extreme bouts of fatigue which was literally like being “unplugged” and Juice Therapy has helped incredibly with my energy levels.
I have had food allergies and chronic constipation which I monitor as a nutritionist and am ok now once I’m adhering to my dietary needs. Many therapies like yoga, meditation and sound healing have greatly helped with this too thank goodness but it needs constant support and self care to lead a normal life.
Endo can however be a gift and a blessing when facing ourselves deeply within to learn how to get back into balance and align ourselves with our truth and true purpose which is not the illness we are managing in our lives.
It can also a blessing to make us STOP and go within to find our talents, gifts and true purpose. I have been managing stage IV Endometriosis for many years. I had my first surgery of five in 2008 and this condition constantly makes me stop and not take on too much (although this is a constant lesson as I am so passionate about many things in life!).
My doctors said that it was one of the worst cases they had seen. They explained that it was like someone had poured a pot of glue in my abdominal area and stuck everything together. My womb is stuck to my bowel which is stuck to my ovaries and bladder. I have had surgeries to remove chocolate cysts and once what they thought was a cyst the size of a 20 week old baby turned out to be my fallopian tube so swollen that it had to be removed.
The doctors told my family that even though I didn’t have cancer that I would have to manage my life as if I did. I said “NO WAY”! I have been on a mission ever since to create the best quality of life for myself that I possibly can. This led me to train in nutrition and many other therapies to help myself …and now help others too here at Butterfly Cottage Retreat in Westmeath, the heart of Ireland, where I relax and nourish guests to restore and recharge anyone heading for burnout or in need of a rest and a dose of feel good healthy lifestyle.
I simply need this type of lifestyle now to function well. Gone are the days of long weeks at the office, gone are the days of partying, gone are the days of doing cross fit and playing full contact rugby. Towards the end of my accountancy career when I worked a full week it would mean that I could have absolutely nothing else in my life because every smidge of energy was used up and I was absolutely wrecked or “cry tired” as I liked to call it.
I tried to go back to work as an accountant four times and the last time after only five weeks I was back in hospital again. That was including having to go to my car every day at lunch for a sleep to try and cope. Nuts! My body simply said NO so I had to stop full time work. I transitioned from the life of a busy chartered accountant to turning my home into a small holistic health and wellbeing retreat in 2014 where now I am surrounded by nature and living “the good life”.
I have discovered so many things on my Endo journey…
If I overdo it and push myself too much there are still some tough days when I feel “unplugged” and I have to rest and reconnect with myself for a day or a few days until I’m at my optimal level again. It has meant that I have to learn to stop before I crash.
I have learned that I have to eat a super clean diet with lots of juicing to have a decent amount of energy. I need nature around me to feel alive and I love to chant, dance, do yoga and meditate to feel really connected to life.
I love to grow food and forage and need a beautiful environment to thrive with this condition. I learn to prioritise what is important to me and let go of things that I once enjoyed that don’t work for my health anymore.
I have learned to take responsibility for my own health and have had to make self care a top priority and part time job to function well. If I ate what “regular people” eat and worked as much as other “regular people” do I would literally be crashed in bed and sick all the time.
I have learned to accept this and make the most of it and have a great quality of life and can be thankful that the condition brought me to discover wonderful things that I may not have come upon if I lived my old life. I love my new career and healthier hobbies.
Hats off to all the women out there coping enormously with many challenges on a daily basis and to everyone with a visible or invisible illness.
#breakthesilence #brisanciunas #endometriosis #chronicillness #invisibleillness
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