There are many women who have been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis or crohn’s disease (or IBS) many years prior to discovering they also have endometriosis. In fact, the many women I have spoken to have had it unfold this way. For me, however, I had suffered with endometriosis for nearly 20 years before I knew I had IBD. To be honest, I didn’t even think I had IBD. I didn’t even know the specifics of my colon and never thought to think the diarrhea I experienced every month along with my period was anything other than ‘period poops’. So to be told, a week into what I thought was the flu, that I now have a chronic autoimmune disease?! Woah, slow down! But that is now my reality. The first struggle with having IBD is that I had spent 20 years defining the various types and degrees of pain I experienced over the years and now I was forced very quickly to add new descriptors of pain to my repertoire. The second, and maybe even bigger challenge, was to keep the inflammation down while still obtaining enough nutrients. I definitely did the BRAT diet for many many months, and then slowly but mathematically introduced one ingredient at a time over the course of 3 years. And the journey continues.
It has been a day. I mean it has really been a mind-boggling day. It started early this morning as my alarm clock went off and my body was in so much pain. More precisely, my lower back was broken and I was not going to be able to manage without my cane. As usual… Continue reading What ‘fighting for care’ really means
I haven’t written a post in so long, and honestly, I was afraid that with everything going on I would just be a wet blanket. The fact is I was going in circles trying to figure out how my gut health – something I have worked so hard on – could all go down the… Continue reading The Shittery -volume 1
I cannot poop. It is not lost on me how ridiculous that sounds. It is not lost on me how much of an exaggeration and an over simplification this sounds to someone else. ‘What do you mean you can’t poop?’ they ask. ‘There are things you can take for constipation’ they suggest. But it’s not… Continue reading I cannot poop
I was able to hold it together for so long, with the endometriosis pain running my life, and the new diagnosis of an immune disease changing my life forever. I could hold it together while I was alone in Vancouver, but then I moved. I moved a day late because of a pancreatitis flare that… Continue reading The Chair Technique
I wanted to do a post about medical marijuana as I think this is such an important topic. The legalization of these products has opened the eyes of individuals who would not normally smoke a joint – let’s say – to explore the effects of cannabis on pain, as these products are becoming more accepted… Continue reading Cannabis for chronic pelvic pain
Lately I have been able to channel my energy into my passion – an organization I am developing here in Ottawa, Canada – that allows me to put my advocacy into real action. While still in the early stages, the organization will turn into a pain center devoted to women with unresolved chronic pain, and… Continue reading Our voices are much stronger when we shout together
During the last year I have battled with my health, and as a result have battled with loving myself. When I look in the mirror I see scars from surgeries, cellulite from poor lymphatic systems, bloated belly from something Ive eaten or just a mere buildup of poop. I see swelling and tension. I see… Continue reading Divorce and Chronic Illness
Cramp My Style Blog is expanding. The new initiative is focused on neutralizing gender-biased outcomes in pain treatment. On the onset, the goal will be to understand the challenges presented to women (and transgender) when confronting their healthcare practitioners about pain. Once this initial information has been collected, the focus will be to lobby for,… Continue reading Pain Survey
I would like to entitle this blog post “taking matters into my own hands” simply because the last month has been complete and utter HELL and I have not heard a peep from either doctor despite my concerns. I should preface this by saying I feel confident my doctors respect me so I don’t think… Continue reading Listening to my body – Part 3
I’m not sure why I thought this would be the end of my journey – a perfect harmony of data points that would lead me to become a normal human being once again. It started out as if everything was happening in tandem like the parting of the sea, but no, not quite that easy.… Continue reading Listening to my body – Part 2 (B sides)
It’s hard to tell whether I will lose some followers on this one, just because of how complicated this journey is getting. So I left off on part 1 telling you that my 1) entyvio infusions were being moved from 8 weeks to every 4 weeks 2) Im due to meet my Endo specialist and… Continue reading Listening to my body – part 2
With so many things happening to my body at once, I spend a great deal of time discerning between endometriosis pain, ulcerative colitis pain, anxiety, stress and just an off day. I run out of spoons a lot, and I am starting to look at my body with disdain – something I don’t even want… Continue reading Listening to my body – Part 1
How do we get around the redundancy of the current triaging system? In the last 12 months alone I have amassed quite a thick file of medical records; from scans to diagnoses and undefined medical revelations. Add that to the 20 previous years of fruitless ultrasounds for burst cysts, a gallbladder removal, and many many… Continue reading My medical records could be a best-seller
To all those out there who are listening for a second there are a few reminders I need to tell you; While this holiday you want me to join you in the adventures, to be honest, I’ll only be able to endure a few. I wake up in the morning feeling pretty achy and… Continue reading A spoonie Holiday Poem
Do you know someone with an autoimmune disease? Are you unsure what to get them for the holidays? Many of us autoimmune sufferers chat on social media almost every day about things that have worked for us – either therapeutically or mentally. Sometimes its as easy as a smell or a feeling. To help you… Continue reading An Autoimmune Gift List
Talking through endometriosis, ulcerative colitis, hysterectomies and more Rachel Egan, I am so delighted to be interviewing you today as I think your story, while complicated, will resonate as a whole – or in parts – to a lot of people. To give people a background, I was admitted to the Vancouver General Hospital almost… Continue reading Leaning on your spoonie support system
Why we need to listen to our bowel symptoms So many young women have approached me about endometriosis – and its related symptoms – to help determine if they have the disease. Because of their age, the vast majority have been told by their doctors that it is likely they have endometriosis but it has… Continue reading Periods and Poop
The Ulcerative Colitis Journey between week 6 and 8 of my Entyvio infusions Being on biologics is a love-hate relationship. When the infusion goes in there is this dread of ‘what symptoms will I feel this time?’. I end up feeling this dull ache in my belly (even when I prepare by taking ibuprofen and… Continue reading Putting Humpty Dumpty back together again
The meaning behind the logo For the last 20 years I have been trying to better understand and ‘treat’ my endometriosis with surgeries, birth control pills and pain medications. In the latter years I started to get wiser about the effects of nutrition and thus started to explore dietary solutions to mitigate the symptoms associated… Continue reading The Reuleaux of my health
The battles of submitting your fecal calprotectin test When I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis almost 8 months ago now, I met my GI for the first time. She and her team were the ones to perform the colonoscopy that would reveal my diagnosis as well as the particulars about the severity of the disease.… Continue reading What the poop?
Working on you, when you are ready I refuse to be called a millennial and in the grand scheme of things I dont think Im that stubborn. But I have noticed a trend in my life: that I can only do things when I am ready. For instance, when I was 12 years old my… Continue reading Dont tell me what to do
The Support Network of Spoonies It has been 23 days of constant (chronic pain) and sadly I dont see a light at the end of the tunnel yet. I am trying my very best to live, and breathe and be positive but some days are better than others. To say the least I have been… Continue reading My new sistas!
Between Ulcerative Colitis and Endometriosis Where did I leave off? Oh yes. So I kept you hanging with the MRI results, and still no word from either doctor. On Monday morning I called to make an appointment with both my GI and my endo specialist. My GI had just returned from holidays and I was… Continue reading A pendulum between two diseases
Undiagnosed abdominal pain I dont know how to begin this blog article other than to really start at the beginning of this journey. I thought for sure this wouldnt be worthy of an article as I just assumed this pain would go away through a fart, or a bowel movement, or maybe by way of… Continue reading My abdomen is not happy
Having multiple autoimmune diseases I was born a fantastically healthy baby, with no jaundice, asthma, or abnormalities that would see me through to adulthood. Until I was 14 and the much raved about menstrual periods started. I was overjoyed by the fact that I was part of the club that I didnt bother mentioning to… Continue reading My body is attacking itself
What happens when your biologic starts wearing off Those of us with autoimmune diseases know our bodies so well, and while we often cannot explain what we are feeling, we know something is up. Starting in February I had my three loading doses of Entyvio, and then experienced my first 8 week interval without the… Continue reading Where did my Entyvio go?
Using Turmeric Liquid Phytocaps for inflammation Alright so this is my big moment of putting my foot in my mouth. Here goes. So for the last 14 years I have been depending – and I dont use this term lightly – DEPENDING on advil to get me through period pain. I’ll be honest, it did nothing… Continue reading I used to miss my pain meds
Using glutamine for gut health My boyfriend recently started seeing a nutritionist who advised him to take glutamine once a day, first thing in the morning with water. I hadnt heard of this before, and strikingly the more I looked it up the more it was indicated for people with compromised gut health. Not fully… Continue reading Cant travel with random white powder
I have mentioned in the past that the diet for endometriosis and the diet for Ulcerative Colitis are quite contradictory to one another. In the years that I only knew about my endometriosis I knew exactly how to avoid getting endobelly – the distended belly that results from inflammatory foods such as carbs. But once… Continue reading Travel Symptoms for UC and Endo
Feeling lost from auto-immune diseases I know this sounds utterly drama-tastic but I literally feel like Im having an identity crisis. Over the last few years I had built myself up to be the strongest, most positive person there was. I was exercising every day, eating a whole food diet, and happy as a clam.… Continue reading Identity Crisis – redefining who I am after endo and UC
Mental exhaustion from endometrial excision surgery I havent been online in almost a month now, and for anyone who is keeping up with my journey I owe you a big update. 4 weeks ago I had an excision surgery to remove (not cauterize) endometrial lesions from anywhere they could find it. The surgery was very… Continue reading Exhausted: Mentally but not physically
Symptoms from Endometriosis and Ulcerative Colitis I feel like my endo and my UC have been doing the tango, competing for first prize. On days when my UC tends to be on the quiet side, my endo craves to steal the scene and do a few painful twirls on my diaphragm. Then they swap back… Continue reading The Tango Between Two Diseases
How alcohol effects my Ulcerative Colitis Pre-emptive to my trip down south next week I thought I would write about my adventures with alcohol since my UC diagnosis. I begin this by saying alcohol and endometriosis are ALSO not friends so I am not exactly being smart by having alcohol in the first place. But,… Continue reading Alcohol and Inflammation: One Size Fits All?
Natural Food and Cosmetic Products for Mood Lifting Ladies and Gents, Im sure there are times when you get so wound up about how your body is feeling, or how its not performing the way it used to, or simply that you’re just tired and irritated in general. Maybe its from your Endo, maybe its… Continue reading I dont know what (my mood) would do without…
Emotionally Coping with Both Endometriosis and Ulcerative Colitis One of the most frustrating things about this journey is I must have had Ulcerative Colitis for years without realising it – or calling it Endometriosis – but now that its here, its like it wont go away. And I keep telling myself that I cant give… Continue reading Its just the beginning but it feels like the end
Being a science major I thought for sure ‘residue’ was implying some sort of metabolic by-product produced by certain foods that would upset the lining of my colon. Nope… the residue is simply the poop mass. Not very technical at all. And therefore the diet is geared around reducing the amount of poop that is… Continue reading What is the ‘residue’ in a low residue diet?
It has taken a lot of effort to do anything today. I woke up early feeling good, and not even two hours later I HAD to take a nap…. for like 3 hours. Is it considered a nap if its for 3 hours, I wonder? Anyways, its nearing the end of the day and I… Continue reading Last day of Prednisone
What a day! I am finally well enough to talk about what happened two days ago. As you know, my GI told me she wants me to increase my salofalk dose from 2 pills three times a day, to 8 pills once a day. Mother of goodness, that is a handful of pills. Not to… Continue reading Too many pills
Initial GI visits after Diagnosis of IBD First let me start off by saying I am so lucky to have this GI. She is smart, thinks outside the box, and has very good bedside manner. She had seen me when I was admitted into the ER and performed my colonoscopy. Unfortunately throughout the 10 days… Continue reading My first GI follow up was no gem
Thought this might warrant its only blog article since a lot of you will either be on your first go at this, or have been put back on prednisone for recurring flare ups. When I was discharged from the hospital after my diagnosis I was put on 8 pills of prednisone a day for about… Continue reading Symptoms of Prednisone
Ha! I dared myself to make that the title, but the truth is for me a good poop is worth a million dollars. Juicing was something I always wanted to do. I was merely curious what all the hype was about and while it made sense to me to consume fruits and vegetables in a… Continue reading Part 3 – Juicing makes good poops
Where do I even begin. OK, so if you read part 1, I had my aha moment and replaced diet coke with seltzer. That allowed me to take out the aspartame found in diet coke and feel the positive affects of eliminating the chemically manufactured sugars from my system. So here is what happened next.… Continue reading Part 2 – cutting out artificial sweeteners