This weeks' focus is on the tips and tools for staying sane and generally being an endo warrior. There are plenty of material items that can help. Just a sample:
- Heating pads - Pelvic Pain Solutions offers some microwavable pads shaped for the pelvic region with a belt that allows you to use it while going about your day or simply keeps it from sliding off if you are in bed. They are more natural than most products. The boyfriend thinks it smells a bit like popcorn.
- Pain patches - A similar idea. I actually love capsaicin patches for both my back issues and endo....though they do mean it when they warn not to shower too close to wearing it and I'd add don't get sweaty too close to wearing/removing it.
- Bed (a comfy one that feels like you) - Sometimes you just need to lie down (often in the fetal position). The right pillows and blankets just help you relax.
- Stuffed animals - When I mention that I often hold Teddy MM (really called Teddy "insert fiance's name here") when the pain surges, I find so many women relate. It helps to hold something really tight, tighter than would be ideal with an actual person.
- Books/TV/DVD - Sometimes you need distraction. Sometimes it has to be fairly low effort and brainless.
- Medications - Are they ideal? No. Would a cure be a million times better? YES! But pain medication helps women with endo (or anyone with chronic pain) cope. They allow you to function or simply allow you to sleep. Medication is a personal choice between a patient and a doctor (though patients shouldn't hesitate to change providers if their views on meds don't match). Yes, people abuse pain meds. They also have a purpose. People can be physically dependent without being addicted....the fact that a patient may have withdrawal issues and may need regular doses does not mean she's an "addict" or an abuser. I don't think it is a decision that anyone else can judge.
There's also the world of Endo Sisters. You might find one in person, but many of us have found them online. There are blogs and communities where you can find women who just plain "get it." This is invaluable and I might go so far as to call finding a community a "must" for newly diagnosed women (I wish there were more aimed at partners of women with endo). In many of these places, you can ask the most embarrassing, personal questions and receive actual answers and support (look for CLOSED groups on FB....the posts there will not appear on your timeline or in newsfeeds). The majority of endo sufferers also fight other ailments and you'll find support on those too (meaning no one will chastise you for going off-topic). Beyond the advice, these women provide motivation. They show you that there are FIGHTERS out there, BRAVE women who make the most of the life they've been given. I admire so many of them and I am proud to call them Sisters and friends. Thank you all for supporting me (a special thanks to one Canadian endo sister whom I've "known" for many years).