Monday, 11 May 2015

Control the Controllable

Every one you ask, will tell you that I am a worrier. A planner. A little bit of a control freak. I over think everything, play out various scenarios in my head, imagine a million possible outcomes for just about every situation I am faced with. Looking back, I've kinda always been like this. I like knowing (pretty much exactly) what to expect from what I am going through.

To put it frankly, it is exhausting! I have realised lately that I can not possibly control every aspect of every moment of every day of my life. I can not possible predict every reaction that other people have to a scenario. I, personally, have no way to control the global job markets, to influence someone's health, to manipulate someone else's circumstances.

In the past few weeks, I had someone special tell me that their motto in life is 'Control the Controllable'. How true isn't that thinking? In any given scenario, there are only a few factors that we really, truly, have control over, only a few aspects we can influence. No matter how much we worry, and stress, and over think, there will always be situations outside of our control.


What do we gain by constantly worrying about situations that we can not influence? What can we possibly wish to achieve from all this constant stress about things we can not control? How does that help you as a 'control freak', if you have no control over most of the outcome anyway? These realisations hit home for me over the past week, and I have decided it is an area of my life I would like to work on. Yes, I am still allowed being prepared for situations that may arise, but I will no longer spend countless hours in a tizzy about things that are out of my control.

I hope I can inspire you to do the same.

As always, remember that happiness is a choice! 

Sunday, 3 May 2015

When happiness is not simply a choice

I always tell people that happiness is a choice, that it is as simple as deciding to be happy, and having that feeling manifest itself in your life... But I have realised lately that it isn't always that simple. What is, no matter how hard you try, you can't muster that feeling of happiness? What happens if you can't shake that sadness, can't wish that heartache away...

I know that I have been quiet on here lately, and this realisation is exactly the reason why. I have been in an unshakable funk for the past few weeks, and I couldn't muster the energy to preach happiness if I wasn't feeling happiness in my life. After tossing around post ideas with my little sister (Hi Sis!) a few weeks ago, she told me to just write and see where I come. I spent a while after that looking for some way to write a post brimming with inspiration and love, but I kept coming up blank. Eventually, I realised that writing about my current feelings might be exactly the therapy I need to get my groove back.

Over the past few weeks, I have noticed lack of focus and direction, jumbled thoughts, loss of interest in my friends and family.  I started dreading most of the things that usually bring me joy. I lacked energy. I felt like I was just going through the motions, and it took me a while to realise that what I was feeling was a form of depression. Now, the reason for my sudden de-motivation is unknown, but I do know that I am going to take it as a learning curve, and turn it into a positive experience.

As with anything in life, I think the first step towards any healing is to realise that there is a problem. Knowing myself well enough meant that I realised I wasn't feeling like myself. I had a few people close to me also point out that they had noticed me withdrawing. I was able to pick up the signs, before they lead to potential disaster.

Sometimes, what we need most, is a bit of self love. When we know ourselves well enough to realise that we need help, we can make sure that we are open to receiving that help. Take it easy on yourself, give yourself time and space to work through your emotions. Say 'no' to people, to obligations that would further stress you out. Confide in someone close to you that you are struggling. Take all the time you need to work through the situation, but don't allow yourself to be caught up in it. Analyse it, acknowledge it, deal with it, and then move on.

Spend time on what you love, while you let yourself heal. Indulge in a good cup of tea, read a good book, eat a chocolate, whatever will make you happy in those small moments. Make sure you know that this situation, these feelings you are struggling with, are just temporary, and that they do not define who you are.

Take the opportunity to regroup, and refocus on your goals. Never doubt your self worth, or your potential, not even in your weakest moments.


You are a powerful being, created to do more and achieve more than you ever thought possible. Stronger than you know, more determined than you think, you are more than just your current situation, you are more than your temporary feelings of weakness. Each time that you fight a personal battle and come out stronger, you prove to yourself, and to the world, that you are a force to be reckoned with. A beautiful, caring, loving, powerful force, ready to go on and make a difference in the world.

So remember, happiness may be a choice, but it remains your choice, your battle to fight, to come out on top.

Love always!

*Disclaimer - this post is based on my personal experience. If you struggle with depression, please seek professional help. You are loved! *

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Motivational songs 2

I did a post on my favourite motivational songs before the Easter holiday. As promised, here is part 2 of my personal top 10 songs to boost my mood.

6. Avicii - Wake me up

Lyrics:
So wake me up when it's all over,
When I'm wiser and I'm older.
All this time I was finding myself 
And I didn't know I was lost

This song is very close to my heart. I have been on a big journey of self discovery for the past years or so. I didn't know how lost I had been until I sat back and took stock of what had been going on in my life.

7. Frank Sinatra - My Way

Lyrics:
I've lived a life that's full
I traveled each and ev'ry highway
And more, much more than this, 
I did it my way

I am a stickler for Frankie's soothing voice, and this song is by far my favourite by him. Each of us has our own path to follow in life, our own journey to travel, and this song helps me remember that no-one can judge the choices you make.

8. Anastacia - Paid my dues


Lyrics:
I done made it through
Stand on my own two
I paid my dues, yeah.
Tried to hold me down
You can't stop me now
I paid my dues

Anastacia's catchy beats and empowering lyrics are amazing. She reminds us that we are strong enough to get through everything that life throws at up. 

9. Queen - We will rock you


Lyrics:
We will, we will rock you
We will, we will rock you

This song has been a battle song for generations. It encourages strength and passion and a will to fight.

10. Titanium - David Guetta ft. Sia

Lyrics:
I'm bulletproof, nothing to lose
Fire away, fire away
Ricochet, you take your aim
Fire away, fire away
You shoot me down, but I won't fall
I am titanium
You shoot me down, but I won't fall
I am titanium

Sia has one of the best voices of our time in my opinion. This song by her and David Guetta reminds me that I am stronger than what ever is trying to cut me down.

So there we go, the top 10 songs on my Motivational play list. I hope they mean something to you as well!

Please share your favourite motivational songs with me via comments here or on my Facebook page :) 

And remember, happiness is a choice!

All videos sourced from Youtube; lyrics sourced from azlyrics.com

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Motivational Songs

I recently started Ballroom and Latin dance classes run by a dear friend of mine. I love it! I love hanging out with good friends and laughing and moving, but most of all I love the music!

Music has always been a huge part of my life, from playing various instruments from a young age, to singing in choirs and bands throughout school. I listen to a wide range of music, and always have something playing in my car or office. I am that crazy person you see in traffic, rocking out full blast in my car to whatever is playing.

Music has always seemed to describe my own feelings better than I could scribble them down or voice them myself. I love the fact that music is so universal, that the emotions the song is meant to portray can generally be understood by anyone, regardless of the language the song is sung in. I love how specific songs can be used to compliment or enhance any mood we can find ourselves in, and also how specific songs will always invoke specific memories. In honour of the magic of music, I have decided to share my personal Top 10 Motivational Song list, which will be featured as a 2 part series.

In no particular order, here are the first 5 songs! :)

1. Kelly Clarkson - Stronger

Lyrics:
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone
What doesn't kill you makes a fighter
Footsteps even lighter
Doesn't mean I'm over 'cause you're gone

Although originally a 'break up' song, the lyrics carry so much more meaning to me now. We have all been through so much, and need to be proud of ourselves for surviving it all until now.

2. Helen Reddy - I am Woman


Lyrics:
Whoa, yes, I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained

If I have to I can do anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman

I heard this song for the first time during the 'Sex and the City' movie, and loved it instantly! Although it is an oldie, for me it just reiterates how strong women were created to be.

3. Katy Perry - Roar

Lyrics:
I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
'Cause I am a champion and you're gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
'Cause I am a champion and you're gonna hear me roar

This is definitely one of the songs I belt out often in my car! If I could dedicate one song to all the haters out there, the people who don't want me to succeed, it would be this one!

4. Bon Jovi - It's my Life


Lyrics:
It's my life
It's now or never
I ain't gonna live forever
I just want to live while I'm alive
(It's my life)
My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said
I did it my way
I just wanna live while I'm alive
It's my life

I love this song because it reminds me to live my life the way I want to, to grab every opportunity that comes my way, and to never back down from my goals.

5. Lucy Hale - Bless Myself

Lyrics:
I can bless myself
There's no need for someone's help
There's no one to blame
There's no one to save you from yourself
I can justify all the mistakes in my life
It's taught me to be, it's givin' me me
And I'll survive
'Cause I have blessed myself

This is one of those awesome feel-good girly songs that puts me in a good mood every time I hear it! It helped me realise that there are no mistakes in life, they are lessons that help you shape a better future!

I hope you enjoy these songs as much as I do! Check back next week for part 2 of my Motivational Top 10 list!

And remember, happiness is a choice!

Monday, 23 March 2015

Endometriosis Awareness - Leandri's Story

Leandri Laubscher is another of the inspirational women I met through the Endometriosis Warriors Facebook Group.

 If you are in South Africa, and have been diagnosed with Endometriosis, please join us! We even have a spouse support group!

1.       Please tell my readers a little bit more about yourself, your family, career etc?

I am currently 26 years old, turning 27 in August. 
I have two addictions in life - tattoos and coffee.  I am a "coffeeholic" and cannot start my day without my first "cuppa", with that said I am not a morning person at all and am in my element over weekends when I get to sleep late.  I enjoy shopping, which girl doesn't and using hubby's card is an added bonus. I also enjoy spending time with friends that are very close to my heart, these are the people I trust and I know I can rely on.  I absolutely love animals and if my husband didn't stop me, I would most probably take in every stray animal I see. Talking about my husband, I am a hopeless romantic at heart and believe in fairy tale endings.  I married my best friend (we attended the same school since grade 1) and high school sweetheart in November 2013.
I am a personal assistant to a financial planner and really enjoy my job as I get to interact with clients and like to build a relationship with each one of them to get to know them a bit better on a personal level and not just another client.

2.       At what age where you diagnosed with Endometriosis and what initial symptoms prompted you to seek medical advice?

I was diagnosed in September 2012, 6 months after having an ovarian cyst removed laparoscopically and was 23 years old and was in the process of planning my wedding.  Initially I thought that the ovarian cyst had come back because the pain and symptoms were similar.  After running a few tests, the results for all the tests were negative, the gynae at the time decided to do investigative surgery.  The night before the operation I started to think that I am going crazy and that the pain was all in my head.  With a lot of emotions going through me, I went for the surgery the next day.  The gynae came to me post-op and diagnosed me with Endometriosis.  After being diagnosed I had mixed feelings.  I was relieved to find out that the pain was not just in my head, but I was also confused because I had no idea what Endometriosis was.

3.       Do you have any other medical issues which complicate your Endometriosis diagnosis (eg. PCOS, IBS)?

No, I have no other medical issues that complicate my Endometriosis.

4.       Have you shared your diagnosis with others? If so, what reactions have you encountered on sharing your story and diagnosis with others?  If not, what has stopped you from talking about it?

I have shared my diagnosis with others, most family, friends and work colleagues.  These were people that knew I had gone for surgery and wanted to know what the outcome was.    The most popular response I got when sharing my diagnosis - "What is Endometriosis?", followed by confused expressions when I explained to them.   Because I don't look sick, it is hard for people to understand.  They also don't get as to why I have to have the same surgery over and over.    

5.       Have you been for surgery? What other avenues of treatment have you explored?

I have to date been for 5 surgeries to have the Endometriosis removed.  The most recent operation was done on 21 January 2015.  I opted to get a second opinion and he also operated and confirmed Endometriosis.  He has also informed me that I have a high risk for recurrence.
I have not tried any other avenues for treatments.

6.       How would you say living with Endometriosis affects your daily life, including work and relationships?

Living with Endometriosis has affected my entire life! 
The pain being the worst.  I have booked off sick or left work early on so many occasions because of having too much pain.  The pain also hinders me to do daily activities.  I literally just lie in bed with my warm water bottle, pain killers, hoping and praying that the pain will pass soon.  It is a pain that is indescribable!
Endometriosis has not affected my relationship with my husband too much.  I am one of the lucky ones I guess, who has a husband that is supportive.  For every surgery he takes leave from work to sit at my hospital bedside.  He sits with me in pre-op holding my hand as the tears roll down my face, making silly jokes to take my mind off the surgery ahead.  I hate surgery!  When I get back to my ward after surgery, he is always there waiting.  We have had some fights about Endometriosis but that is because he hates seeing me in pain and there is nothing that he can do about it and also he cannot understand how there can be no cure for Endometriosis. I am truly blessed to have him support me and no words will ever be adequate to thank him enough. 

7.       What is one thing you wish you knew about Endometriosis when you were first diagnosed?

The one thing I wish I knew about Endometriosis when I was diagnosed would be to have had more information on the disease.  I did not even know that this diseases existed until the gynae diagnosed me with it and explained to me what is was.   More awareness should be made about this disease.

8.       How would you describe what it feels like living with Endometriosis?

Living with Endometriosis is a constant battle between physical, mental and emotional pain for me.  Yes, I can take pain killers for the physical pain and wait for the pain to subside, but then there is the mental and emotional pain which no one, except someone who is living with Endometriosis, will understand.  It can sometimes consume.  It definitely drains you.  Getting my hopes up with every gynae visit that it will not result in another operation, only to be informed that I need to have another operation.  People have said to me that you cannot be "sick" referring to the Endometriosis because you look so healthy.  Yes, I look healthy but in the inside it is a whole different story.  When I get undressed either to change or have a bath, I see and feel the scars left behind from all the operations and this is a constant reminder that I have Endometriosis - a disease, yet not life threatening, for which there is no cure! 

9.       What advice do you have for other ladies suffering from Endometriosis?

My advice to other ladies suffering from Endometriosis is to stay strong!
Be positive.  Don't be afraid to talk about your feelings, even if you write about them. Remember that you are not alone.  Find a support group where you are able to talk to people that are going through the same experience as you.  There are others out there suffering from the same disease. 
When it comes to your gynae, do not be afraid to ask questions, do your own research and arm yourself with sufficient knowledge so you can ask questions, and if you are not happy with something speak up.  Also if something doesn't sound right to you or you are not comfortable with something, get a second, or even third, opinion if you need to. 
This disease does not define who you are.  I often tell my husband that my biggest wish it to want to be normal and the one day he said to me that with Endometriosis I need to accept and adapt as this is now my "normal".
Take it one step at a time, one day at a time and don't ever give up!

10.   What have you learnt about yourself while living with Endometriosis?

I have learnt and realised that no matter what life throws at me, I will always walk away stronger.  Things happens for a reason.  Like the saying goes, "When life gives you lemons, take a shot of tequila". 

11.   What are your fears regarding your future living with Endometriosis?

My fears regarding my future living with Endometriosis is the uncertainty that lies ahead - not sure what the outcome at the next gynae visit will be etc.  Being unable to know what is about to happen next or what will come has always been one of my fears.  I am a very organised person and I like to plan ahead, but with Endometriosis this is not possible!
 
12.   What is your one message for the community, regarding Endometriosis and living with the disease?

This in an "invisible" and sometimes misunderstood disease.  We look and come across looking healthy but inside is another story.  It is not as easy as you think to just take a Neurofen and lie down for bit.  It is also not just a case of "We all have painful period".  You will and cannot understand what we are going through and it is not always possible to explain.  

13.   Anything else you would like to share?


I saw this beautiful quote not too long ago : " It might take a year, it might take a day, but what is meant to be will always find its way".


Thursday, 19 March 2015

Personal Growth

Today marks the one year anniversary of possibly the hardest thing I have ever had to go through.

I remember spending that morning overcome with more emotions then I knew how to express. I remember the fear, the uncertainty, the worry. I remember clearly how shaky I felt, sitting next to my mom who was my greatest support on that day. I remember wondering the direction my life would move in, after this big step was finalized. 

The months leading up to this momentous day were emotionally some of the toughest I have ever experienced. I was on an emotional roller-coaster that I felt would never end. One minute, I was filled with hope and a future, the next I would be in the middle of an anxiety attack about what my future might hold. I was losing so-called 'friends' left and right, had to move house, went through financial difficulty, I was worried sick about our future, all while putting on a brave face and keeping it together for the sake of my two little boys. I spent many nights crying after they were asleep, questioning every decision that lead up to that place in my life. Some days, I wondered how I would ever get through it all...

Today, a year later, I look back over a life that I never thought I would deserve. I think about the wonderful people I have met, the amazing friends I have been blessed with, the family that has stood by me and rooted for me every step of the way. I look forward to a possible career change that is beyond anything I have ever dreamed of. I remember adventures that I never would have thought to experience. 

I am amazed at the change and growth that I could go through in only 1 year. Never in my wildest dreams did I think my life would turn out the way it has. Never would I have thought I would be sitting where I am at the moment, but, looking back, I wouldn't want to change a single minute of it.

Each of us is born with a spark of brilliance within us, a tiny flicker of hope that we mostly forget is there. It is in the darkest times of our lives that this tiny little flame burns brightest. It is in the night time of our lives that we use this little flame to guide us. It is in the midnight hours that this little flame burns brightest. No matter what your personal circumstances are, no matter how dark they seem, trust in this flicker within you, trust that it will burn bright enough to light your way out. 


Hope is the strongest human emotion, and without it, we are nothing.

Stay strong dear readers, no matter what you are going through.

And remember, happiness is a choice. 


Monday, 16 March 2015

Endometriosis Awareness - Kefilwe's story

Kefilwe Ntshabele is another of the wonderful ladies I met through the Endometriosis Warriors Facebook group. She was kind enough to volunteer her story as part of my Endometriosis Awareness blog series.


I have been so amazed by the strength and fighting spirit of every one of the ladies who I have been so blessed to meet! I can't say enough how much of a help it has been to me to be able to share my experiences with ladies who are going through the same things I am. 

1.       Please tell my readers a little bit more about yourself, your family, career etc?

My name is Kefilwe Ntshabele, from Letlhabile (Brits) – originally from Swartklip. Born on the 2nd June 1978. I’m the youngest of 9 children, 5 sisters and 3 brothers. I did my primary and middle school studies in the rural areas of the then Bophuthatswana (1984 – 1992), then went to a Girls Convent School (St Anne’s High 1993-1995).I’m a Biotechnologist by profession, having completed my NDip at Tshwane University of Technology in 2006, but I’m currently working in a petrochemistry consulting laboratory in Kempton Park.

2.       At what age where you diagnosed with Endometriosis and what initial symptoms prompted you to seek medical advice?
I was diagnosed with endometriosis at age 32, +/-16 years after suffering from around age 15/16 with heavy, painful and irregular periods, painful intercourse, swollen ovaries and legs which were of course painful.

3.       Do you have any other medical issues which complicate your Endometriosis diagnosis (eg. PCOS, IBS)?
I haven’t been officially diagnosed with IBS, but my physician suspected when I went for a check-up last year (2014).

4.       Have you shared your diagnosis with others? If so, what reactions have you encountered on sharing your story and diagnosis with others?  If not, what has stopped you from talking about it?
I have shared my diagnosis with family, friends and colleagues, most of them still believed it was just a bad case of period pains. Some have shown interest in learning more about endometriosis, some just brush off the topic, and others still believe in the “panado” scenario which will make all the pain disappear. Some went to an extent of recommending a traditional healer who’d cure me in a bit.

5.       Have you been for surgery? What other avenues of treatment have you explored?
I have done 3 laparascopies so far - June 2010, November 2010, and the last one June 2014. I have tried homeopathic remedies which helped to an extent and I dropped that due to financial constraints. This is one form of medication I still would love to explore further once I can afford.

6.       How would you say living with Endometriosis affects your daily life, including work and relationships?
Negatively I’d say. I broke up with a guy in 2009 because of this horrible disease. We fought too many time as he clearly thought it was either in my head or an excuse for being lazy. Not that I would blame him because I was going from one doctor to the next and none could “see” anything wrong but horrible periods, not to mention the countless infections I had. Somehow I think my then boyfriend thought I was cheating and being plain careless when it came to infections. I also lost interest in being intimate because of the horror of pain and bleeding almost every time I had sex.

7.       What is one thing you wish you knew about Endometriosis when you were first diagnosed?
The fact that I would have cysts that would rupture once in a while, causing all the pain and infections.

8.       How would you describe what it feels like living with Endometriosis?
Being locked in a secluded space, away from the world and everybody else. People do not understand when you cancel on commitments, and don’t eat some of the foods as well as not being involved in other activities they know I grew up loving L

9.       What advice do you have for other ladies suffering from Endometriosis?
Insist on a relevant medical treatment and not allow to be told it is “normal” for periods to be painful.

10.   What have you learnt about yourself while living with Endometriosis?
I got to understand my body better, and I got to better my relationship with my Creator.

11.   What are your fears regarding your future living with Endometriosis?
Not being able to have a normal social life like everybody else. And the fact that I might not be able to be a mother L

12.   What is your one message for the community, regarding Endometriosis and living with the disease?
We’re not asking for anyone to fix anything in particular but we just want to feel cared for, understood better and supported.

13.   Anything else you would like to share?
No one has to travel this journey alone any longer. There is so many forms of information available, support groups and endo sisters willing to help. It is important to equip yourself with information, that way doctors will not take advantage and just take your money and send you away with a pack of panados. Research is important, make sure you find out as much information as possible about a doctor before consulting. Hysterectomy is not, and never has been a cure for endometriosis, as much as falling pregnant. Endometriosis is treatable, but not yet curable. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.




Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Endometriosis - Rechelle's Story

Throughout my own Endometriosis journey, I have been blessed to meet other ladies who are experiencing what I live with. One of these ladies is Rechelle Heldsinger. 


Rechelle heads up a number of Facebook Groups specifically for South African Endo Warriors, and also arranged this year's Endo March, of which the main one will happen at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 28 March 2015. She is an inspiration and role model for so many women. 

Listening to her story breaks my heart; she displays such strength in the face of such terrible adversity. Below is part of her story, taken with her permission from her blog

On her diagnosis:

I started my period at age 12. (1996) I remember that day so well. It was the day that I became a woman. I remember how excited my mom was and how she told me about the birds and the bee’s.
Mom did warn me that it could be painful., but that I just have to hang in there, because it’s part of being a woman. Mom also battled with excruciating painful periods, so she thought it was normal.
1998 - (14 years old) the year all my problems began.
I had such bad periods.  It felt like someone was ripping my uterus and ovaries apart while pulling barbed wire around them.
We finally went to a Gynaecologist.  He suspected Endometriosis but played it down as a hormonal imbalance because I was too young to have endo and I was not even sexually active then.  He put me on a birth control pill. Yes, someone who was not sexually active was put on a birth control pill. The side effects were horrific but I tried to hold out.
2001 (17 years old) – after being on birth control pills for 3 years, you would think that it was going better with me. Nope. Not the case at all. It was only after I collapsed for the 4th time in one week, with my mom fighting and demanding further investigation that the gynaecologist agreed to do a laparoscopy.   Well low and behold, I was diagnosed with Endometriosis. I remember the Dr. saying that I might have trouble conceiving one day. But hell., I was only 17 years old and I did not even think about having kids then. I was still a virgin, and did not even have a boyfriend.
On infertility:
I had many boyfriends who walked out on me as soon as they found out I had Endometriosis and that I might not be able to have kids one day.  As soon as I was in such bad pain that I couldn’t do anything or did not want to go anywhere, they turned their backs on me. I got so used to being disappointed, that when I met my husband, I thought he was going to do the exact same thing.
I met my hubby in 2009, and I played open cards with him from day one, of course waiting for him to walk away.  He didn’t, he stayed and he has been there every step of the way. He has been with me through every surgery from 2009 till now, he is the one person I need with me before I go into theatre, and he is the first person I want to see when I wake up.

It has not been an easy road for us, the emotional turmoil we have been trough, the countless doctors we have seen, and the countless disappointments every month when that damn witch shows up, and just breaks our hearts in two. I cannot explain the hurt you feel when this is the road that was chosen for you.
I got to a point that with being in excruciating pain the whole time because of the Endometriosis, and the fact that I am not falling pregnant, I climbed into my own little black hole. I was crying constantly, I was so badly depressed, that I had to use anti-depression drugs just to make it through the day. I did not like those pills at all, it made me feel so numb and dead inside. I eventually managed to pick myself up again, and move forward. But I wouldn’t have been able to do it on my own, I had wonderful support.
It has been 5 years of trying for a baby, and so many Dr. visits. My hubby kind of made sense, when he one day said to me that all these doctors are like mechanics, they all find something wrong, and all end up blaming the other doctors.
On why she fights:
I am 30 years old. I have had 8 operations for Endo.  My last one was 25th June 2014, a laparotomy (open surgery).  My bowel was stuck to the left pelvic wall. I had endo on the colon that had to be excised.
This disease is the reason why we don’t have kids yet. The emotional trauma it puts you through is so hard to explain to anyone who has not walked this road.
This is just me sharing my story. But keep an eye on this page. We are trying to raise awareness in South Africa.
And I will not stop fighting until we have done that.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Poetry Week - Round Up

I decided to host a poetry week this week. I don't write much poetry any more, but I love how poets capture such feeling in so few words. The use of language, the styles, how it all comes together to form such a cohesive and touching piece of writing. So, here are some of my favourite poems for you, as seen on my Facebook Page.

Monday:

'Hope' is one of my favourite topics, and this Emily Dickinson poem has been etched in my mind since I saw in on a hospital wall in 2010.

Tuesday:


A copy of this poem has been stuck on my office wall since August 2013. I reread it often, as a reminder to keep going, even when times get tough.

Wednesday:

This poem is beautiful in it's simplicity. I love the bird theme, which matches so well with the Dickinson poem above.

Thursday:

This is another wonderful reminder that. no matter what, the bad times will pass.

Friday:

This poem by Joyce Alcantara speaks to dearly to the inner struggle which we all face, the hidden battles we all fight on our own.

As an added bonus, here is a poem that I wrote. The inspiration for this one came while watching a sun set from my kitchen. I hope you like it!

I hope you enjoyed these poems as much as I do!

And remember, happiness is a choice!

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

My Endometriosis Journey

I was diagnosed with Endometriosis on March 15, 2013. March also happens to be Endometriosis Awareness Month, so I will be sharing my journey, and the journeys of a few incredible women with you.

Endometriosis is a incurable disease affecting up to 1 in every 10 women. In simple terms, endometriosis is caused when the lining of the inside of a woman's uterus (endometrial lining), starts growing on the outside of the uterus, on the ovaries, intestines, bladder etc. These excess cells continue to function as endometrial cells, thickening, shedding, and bleeding with each menstrual cycle. The excess tissue gets trapped within the body, leading to irritation of surrounding organs, which can cause scar tissue and adhesion's, which binds organs together.

Symptoms of endometriosis include painful periods, pain during intercourse, pain with bowel movements or urination, excessive bleeding, and infertility. Although most women admit to pain during their menstrual cycle, women with endometriosis experience so much pain that it interferes with their daily life, putting strain on relationships and work life, and in many cases leading to depression.

The cause of endometriosis is not known, and there is also no definite cure. Most patients undergo countless surgeries, intense dietary changes, lifestyle changes, hormone therapy and pain therapy just to keep in under control.

I count myself under the lucky ones, and have a very mild case. I have always struggled with painful, heavy periods, but after the birth of both my children, things seemed to get a little better. From 2012, however, my menstrual cycle become very painful and heavy again. I experienced intense pelvic pain throughout the month, cramps that had me double up in pain. Intercourse was incredibly painful. I tried various hormone treatment, none of which made much difference. Pelvic scans revealed nothing noteworthy, and after quite a few months of searching and struggling, my gynaecologist suggested a Laparoscopy.

The surgery was painful, recovery was hard, but I was relieved to finally have a confirmed diagnosis and a treatment plan. They removed several white and chocolate endometrial masses, a few cysts, and scar tissue from my uterus. I had a Mirena (IUD) inserted during the surgery to help control the heavy bleeding, and my doctor wanted to prescribe further hormonal treatment which I refused. Endometriosis seems to feed off the oestrogen in your body, and the medication he wanted to put me on would halt excess oestrogen production. I felt I was too young to be messing with my hormones in such an intense way.

Things seemed to improve after surgery. My pain levels were manageable, my period disappeared all together thanks to the Mirena. I was convinced my endometriosis was under control, and for about 7 months everything seemed to be going well.

Slowly, however, my pain increased, I was swollen and uncomfortable again, I had stabbing pains under my rib cage that left me gasping for breath. Disheartened, I went back to the gynaecologist. I had a few cysts on my ovaries, which I was treated for, but my pain levels didn't subside. He wanted to book me for another surgery (less than a year after my previous one), but again I refused. I researched alternative treatment, and finally found a homeopathic doctor close to home.

My sessions with the homeopath were life savers! For once, I was treated as a whole, not just as a collection of symptoms. My levels were all over the place, and even the doctor said I was a mess. After a thorough treatment session, we discovered that I am gluten sensitive as well. Within 2 treatments, I felt like a new person. My levels were all almost back to normal, and the doctor was surprised at how much better I seemed.

Cutting out gluten went a huge way towards improving my overall health. I also cut back on sugar and caffeine, as well as soy products, and products treated with excess hormones. I function normally on most days, and only resort to taking pain medication in dire circumstances. I practise meditation, eat healthily, and try a positive, holistic approach to managing my own disease. I know I am not cured, but for the most part feel I have a grip on what is going on within my own body.

For a long time, I was ashamed and scared to share my story with others. This March, however, I am taking a stand, I am speaking out, and I am doing so on behalf of millions of women around the world who suffer like I  do, every single day!


And remember, happiness, no matter what your circumstances, is a choice!




(source ; source)

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Take the plunge

I am a cautious person.

I think, a lot. I rethink and analyse and over think and contemplate and re-evaluate pretty much every decision I ever make. I look at things from all sides, I compare pro's and con's, draw up lists, ask for advice. It's how I've always been.

Don't get me wrong, I am adventurous. I climb mountains and jump off bridges and sail down rivers, I get out there and enjoy life, but when it comes to the important things, I think, a lot.

Unfortunately, this means that most of my dreams, most of my ideas, never get past the planning phase. I sometimes tend to get so caught up in the thinking, that I fail to get to the doing.

This year, I am trying to cut back on my excessive over thinking. I am trying to learn that, no matter how hard I try, I can't control every aspect of every decision I make. I can't ensure that everything turns out exactly according to my plan, but I can ensure that I am flexible enough to roll with the punches as they come. I am working hard on trusting my own decisions, not second guessing myself, and no more dwelling on the worst possible outcome in every situation.

That doesn't mean I am going to go blindly rushing into any thing that comes my way, I will still be cautious in game-changing situations, but on the small things I will take more chances. I would rather live a life of 'oh wells', than a life of 'what ifs'.
(image source unknown)
So come on, take the plunge with me. Think of one area in your life where you can afford to let loose the reigns a little bit, one are where you can just let things happen. Share your decision with me in the comments if you like, and keep me posted on the outcome!

And remember, 
Happiness is a choice. 


Monday, 16 February 2015

Perfectly Imperfect

Have you ever been completely happy with your life, and then on closer examination noticed the little cracks that run through it? Little imperfections that mar the surface? At first, these examinations made me angry, desperate to 'fix' the problems. But recently I have come to realise that it is these moments, that add colour to the fabric of our lives.

It is forgetting to stock up on milk and having Green tea in the morning instead of coffee. It is footprints on an otherwise spotless beach. It is plans that go awry. It is thunderstorms in February that pull leaves off the trees. It is a pimple on the day of a date, and blemishes on perfect white roses.

Life is not perfect. There is no fixed set of rules. The pressure we put on ourselves to fit into this image we have created of 'perfect' is enough to break us. These little imperfections are part and parcel of our every day lives, and the sooner we learn to accept them as such, the happier we will be.

Embrace your imperfections, celebrate the blemishes in your life, and realise that the only person you need to impress, is yourself.
(own image)

And remember,
Happiness is a choice

Monday, 2 February 2015

February - the month of love(-ing yourself)

Wow... Is it just me of is time flying? 1 month of 2015 down and only 11 left to go. Are you still sticking to your New Year's goals?

For most people, February is the month of love. Roses, and chocolates and big Valentine's day plans, it is so easy to get caught up in the hype of the holiday. As a hopeless romantic myself, I love celebrating Valentine's day. I don't buy big, flashy gifts, but I love acknowledging the people in my life with small tokens of love and appreciation throughout the month.

This year, however, the month of February is going to take a different direction for me. This is the month that I am going to love myself, acknowledge my eccentricities, embrace my flaws, celebrate my strengths. I am going to invest in myself, spend time on myself, and what feeds my soul.

I have come to realise lately, that the most important person in my life, should be me. That I need to take care of myself, in order to properly care for my children. For me, this is a new concept. I have always been so caught up in being the best for other people, that I forgot to be the best for me. It took a lot of heartache for me to acknowledge that I need to stand up for myself, be in my own corner, and stop sacrificing myself.

And that is my wish for all of you, that you steal some time during this month of love, to focus on yourself. Read a book, bake cupcakes, go for coffee, carve out some time in your busy life, to love yourself. You are worth it.
source unknown

Be happy, my loves, because happiness is a choice! 

Monday, 26 January 2015

Never Compare - Monday Motivation 26/01/2015


Have you seen this saying floating around the internet before? I sure have. I always glanced over it, not giving it much thought, until recently.


For some reason, I always thought it referred to relationships, love stories. The saying brought to mind images of princesses and princes and perfect love story endings. It reminded me to not compare my grandparents’ 53 year marriage to the beginning of my relationship. While that is an important reminder in itself, that every story ha a different path to follow, it was only recently that I realized I had analysed the saying all wrong.

I have been spending a lot of time lately thinking about my life, my vision, my dreams, and it was during these musings that the saying ‘Never compare your chapter one with somebody else’s chapter 20’ received new meaning for me.

Have you thought of the people you admire in your career, in your hobbies, in your everyday life? The people who inspire and motivate you?  The people you aspire to be? The ones who are at the top of their game?  Looking at the people who are doing what I want to do lead me to think about where they started. The blogs that I follow which now have thousands of readers, must have started out with only a few loyal readers. The Facebook pages I interact with regularly, must have had only a few ‘likes’ when they began. The motivational books that I've read started as dusty manuscripts.

The difference between those people, and me, is merely time. With perseverance and hard work, I could achieve what they have mastered. If I fill out the blank pages in the novel of my life, eventually my chapter 20 will look like their chapter 20. The difference doesn't lie in how our stories start, it lies in the time and effort that we put into them to get to where we want to be.

So, don't focus on the people who already have achieved everything you want to achieve. Everyone's story has a different path to follow. Concentrate on your own journey, plan how to work yourself to the top, but never compare your beginning to someone else's ending.


Monday, 19 January 2015

Searching for Inspiration

In all my talk and plans of creating and writing, there is something that I really struggle with; Inspiration. I am so caught up in daily life that I struggle to find things to write about. not only on my blog, but in the creative writing I want to do in my spare time too. I have always loved writing, from essays to short stories to poetry, I was writing through most of High school. After high school, I seem to have encountered a block, my creativity seems to have died...

I know it sounds silly, but I feel as if I am missing an essential part of who I am. It is something that I have noticed all the more over the past 2 years or so, and something that I am determined to recover in 2015. I think a lot of it stems from fear, fear of disapproval, fear of disappointment. I have been through a lot emotionally over the past few years and I feel that most of the block stems from that. I let the wrong people have the wrong amount of influence in my life, and in an effort to keep them happy, I killed off one of the most important parts of who I am.

In an effort to combat that, I have started journaling again. I figure the more I write, the easier it will become to write. Like anything in life, writing takes practise. Any form of art does. Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Da Vinci, they all had to start somewhere. And, they also all struggled with some form of writer's block too. In fact, I came across this cute video of Shakespeare overcoming his writer's block which I think we can all relate to in some way.

In the end, I think inspiration is something that we need to find within us. It is the stories and ideas, millions of endless possibilities, that we all have the ability to bring to fruition. Sometimes, it is a roaring waterfall, that picks us up and sweeps us away, but most times, it is a small, quiet trickle, one that we search for like a dying man in a desert, but always, it is the power within us, to create, to inspire, to dream, and to hope.

Go out there, and be inspired.

And remember, happiness is a choice.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Monday Motivation - Let's start 2015 off right!

Wow... today is the 5th of January 2015.... How did that happen???

The last few months of 2014 flew by in a blur! Life got in the way of everything I had planned, there was so much going on... Writing (everywhere except here!) , end of year school functions for both boys, a 3 week visit from my dad (which was wonderful!), a weekend getaway, a family day, and then of course work and freelancing! Add to that Christmas, school vacation, and a birthday getaway, and you'll (hopefully) understand why I've been so quiet! Hopefully, that is all going to get better this year!

I don't like the term "New Year's Resolutions".... It seems so formal and rigid. I have no name for the exercise I do at the end of every year, no brilliant term to group my decision under. I like to take a list of things I would like to focus on for the coming year; areas that I feel I didn't excel in in the previous year that I would like to pour more energy into. This year, my list contains only 3 items:

  • Family ( Me and my loved ones, from eating better to getting more exercise)
  • Friends ( Cultivating new friendships in 2015, and strengthening the friendships that helped carry me through 2014)
  • Making time for the things that make me happy ( From hobbies to family time, I need to carve out time for the things that feed my soul)
Have you watched the movie "Mom's Night Out"? In it, husband Sean (played by Sean Astin) convinces his wife Allyson to go out on a much needed Mom's night out. He uses a beautiful analogy about a flight attendant who tells you that in an emergency, you first have to put on your own oxygen mask before you can help other people put on theirs. That is what this blog is for me, my oxygen mask.

I think we tend to get so caught up in our every day lives, so focused on the routine of scraping through every day, that we forget that we are on this earth to do more! We are here to experience, to live, to love, to laugh, to rejoice, not to rush from one day to the next, merely surviving instead of living.

I'd like to invite you all to focus on one thing that makes you happy, whether it be cooking, or reading, or simply sitting in the sun, and find ways to incorporate more of that in your life. Set aside time, write it in your diary, set a reminder on your phone, whatever it takes, but grant yourself that time to do what feeds your soul. Especially as mothers, we tend to put everyone else's needs above our own. Make this your year, invest in yourself, put on your own oxygen mask first, and make this year about you!


And remember, happiness is a choice :)