Monday, March 26, 2012

Endo Month Week Four -- Coping

I feels a bit weird to tackle this week's topic for Endo Awareness month.  The topic is coping strategies.  While it is my back issues, not my endo, that's the culprit right now, I'm not coping well.  I went out with the MM for a bit today and tried to put on my "people face" but within a short time I was ready to be back in bed.  I'm pinning a lot of hopes on the pain specialist appointment.

Anyway, I do have thoughts on coping with endo.  There's no cure for endo but using hormonal birth control can help.  I'll refrain from going off too far on a tangent about the debates about covering birth control pills, but, for me, the pill is essential to making it possible to live with endo.  I take the pill continuosly, tossing the week of placebo pills that a normal user would take the fourth week at which point a woman would get her period (side note: a period on the pill is totally different from a "real" isn't any more natural to have a pill-induced period than to skip it).  Some pills are now marketed to help women avoid their periods as a lifestyle choice but I use a standard pill and just go through a pack in three weeks instead of four.  This keeps my body in a steadier state.   If I miss even one day, I get a severe uptick in pain.  Getting the prescription written right is important for getting insurance to cover the quicker rate of use.

A few other things that help when the pain ticks up:
  • Heating pads -- I've got one that is microwavable and has a belt attached which is handy.
  • Pain patches -- I don't like the bulk of Thermacare patches but actually have used BenGay-like patches in the pelvic region.  Honestly, I think they just serve as a bit of a is a feeling other than the pain.
  • The fetal position -- Curling up seems to provide actual relief in addition to being a bit emotionally/mentally comforting.
  • Breathing exercises -- I think some degree of instinct led me to use Lamaze-like breathing exercises.  I don't have formal training in it so it's kind of a tv version of labor breathing but it actually provides some relief.  I think it is also distracting.
  • Medicine -- OTC stuff does nothing for me, but sometimes I've needed strong pain pills in order to get through a bad spell.
  • Endo sisters -- Having connections with other women on the same journey is extremely helpful.  The internet is definitely a great resource in finding "sisters" who truly understand what it is like to battle this disease.
Good personal support is also invaluable.  Too many women with endo find people question their pain.  Having a support team of folks who truly care is a true blessing.  It can be frustrating to see a loved one in pain and I think that's particularly true for men who just want to help a wife or girlfriend.  If you are an endo warrior's partner, please know that just being there, loving us and supporting us makes a HUGE difference.  We don't expect you to be able to take the pain away, but it means the world to just know you want to.

EDITING TO ADD a teddy bear -- Maybe it's silly, but sometimes having something to squeeze always helps me when I'm in pain.  I even brought my teddy bear with me to my back surgery and gave major props to the nurse who ensured he was on my bed when I woke up in recovery.

1 comment:

Jamee @ A New Kind of Normal said...

I totally agree with you re: birth control for endo patients. I had the most pain relief when I was on the Ortho Evra patch but of course when we started TTC, that went out the window! I agree with everything else on your list as well. Something I've discovered recently is that if I'm having a lot of pelvic pain, I get really sore around my incision site so an ice pack really helps too! So if heat isn't working, an ice pack may help!