Dr. Mangal had explained that the 2 main factors in controlling endo post-op are diet and birth control. Diet, because endo and your bowel are closely linked, and birth control to control the hormones that spike during menses. Since mine was already so bad, he speculated he would put me on continuous birth control so I would only have 4 periods a year. FOUR? Let’s just get rid of it entirely. Blood = bad news. I would not be mad at never buying tampons again. Or “elephant tranquilizers” as my friends like to call them.
The diet part made a lot of sense considering my GI tract was in the habit of giving me the middle finger daily. Here’s how Dr. Mangal explained it:
Your stomach is a lake, your bowel is a snake, and endometriosis is a tree growing by the lake. When the leaves from that tree fall into the lake, the lake gets dirty and the snake gets super agitated, and the snake stays agitated until the lake is clean. Dr. Mangal’s job is to remove the tree and leaves in the lake, but after that the lake is still dirty, and the snake is still agitated. That’s when the gastroenterologist Dr. Mathias comes in, to clean the lake and get the snake calm again through diet and medication. Dr. Mathias will be my primary doctor in controlling this thing after surgery….and probably for the rest of my life.
So in addition to pain and super glued organs, endo is also the cause of my digestive issues: daily nausea, bloating, distention, etc.
I had a little over 2 weeks until surgery. But I had serious issues with just sitting around waiting for it. Some may call it being impatient; I call it being proactive. I started researching what I could do now. Since a diet change was imminent, I figured why not go ahead and start that? Let’s get this show on the road.
I reach out to my future sister in law who has endo, had surgery with Dr. Mangal 8 years ago, and has been on an extremely restrictive diet since. Like, “I might as well kill myself” diet. But I’m serious about getting better, and if I can start anything to get the healing process underway, I’m going to, ya know? I know that the calmer my bowel is for surgery, the easier it will be on everyone.
Me: I want to go ahead and start the endo diet. What do I need to eliminate?
Her: Red meat, gluten, dairy, soy and caffeine. Those are the big 5 that are getting you.
Me: And what about….(gulp)…alcohol? please say no please say no please say no
Her: With the amount you drink, you’re fine.
SIGH OF RELIEF
This does mean saying goodbye to my frothy stouts, thick ales, and ice cold Abita Strawberry during Jazzfest. We had a good run, friends. No – we had a great run.
But in the end, there’s still wine. There’s always wine. And she will gladly carry me through this time.
Giving up coffee? There goes a piece of my soul. And CHEESE?!?! One of the greatest pleasures I take in life is ordering the cheese plate at a restaurant. One of the other greatest pleasures is going to Central Market with Marissa, buying about 5-6 cheese orphans, and having our own wine and cheese night. WHAT WILL I DO?!?!? As a self-ordained foodie, I declare this unreasonable.
I’m gonna be the salad girl. You know, the girl who only orders salad every time you go out to eat. Everyone hates that girl. “Dressing on the side, please.”
However, within 3 days of eating on my new plan, I felt a significant change. Better than I’ve felt in months. My bowel was no longer distended, my nausea and bloating went away, and most importantly, the horrific stabbing pains that made me double over in agony had subsided.
Therefore, my bitchiness eased up about 30%, which is good news for everyone around me. So maybe these doctors know what they’re talking about after all.