Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Doctor thinks I have Endometriosis

Well on top of EVERYTHING my doctor thinks I have Endometriosis. Surgery is the last resort so my dr's want me on this diet for the next few months to see if it helps alleviate the pain at all. Even if I end up having the surgery most likely I will always be on this diet...

The following are 10 foods to avoid with endometriosis -

1. Sugar - Sugar, in all its forms (refined, artificial, natural), can produce a more acidic environment which can encourage the inflammatory pain of endometriosis. Therefore, it's a good idea to limit the consumption of chocolate, sweeteners, drinks and sweets with high levels of sugar, and honey.

2. Wheat - Wheat contains phytic acid which can aggravate endometriosis symptoms. Furthermore, wheat contains gluten, and studies have found that many endometriosis sufferers appear to have gluten sensitivity which can cause and increase painful symptoms. Products containing wheat and gluten should be avoided or limited.

3. Soy products - Like wheat, soy contains phytic acid; however the levels of phytic acid in soy are considerably higher than wheat. Phytic acid is known to irritate the digestive system and reduces mineral absorption, especially calcium. Soy is found in many food products including granola, pasta, imitation meat, soy milk, soy based cheese, etc.

4. Caffeine - Caffeine, especially when consumed in high amounts, has been found to increase estrogen levels, which can trigger endometriosis attacks and cause the condition to develop. Caffeine foods to avoid with endometriosis include coffee, tea and soda. Consuming more than two cups of coffee a day may cause estrogen levels to rise.

5. Alcohol - Alcohol eats up vitamin B stored in the liver. Liver function plays an essential role in clearing out excess estrogen which helps to control endometriosis. Eliminating alcohol on the body puts excessive stress on the liver, hindering it from expelling other items from the body.

6. Dairy products - Dairy products stimulate the production of PGE2 and PGF2a, which can worsen symptoms. The primary dairy foods that you should avoid with endometriosis include milk and cheeses. To help keep calcium levels up you can find other sources of calcium in sesame seeds, almonds, salmon, sardines, seaweed, figs, and calcium fortified foods (I.E. tofu, orange juice, etc.) Note: Remember to be careful when substituting dairy products such as pasteurized milk with soy milk, as soy can also aggravate symptoms.

7. Red Meat - Meat promotes PGF2a production. Furthermore, red meat may contain growth hormones that include estrogen. If meat is your main source of protein, you can obtain the protein you need through other protein-rich foods such as beans, tofu, tempeh, walnuts, cashews, chestnuts, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, sesame seeds, and peanuts.

8. Saturated fats and oils - Foods that are high in fatty acids stimulate the production of PGE2 and PGF2a. Fatty acids are found in saturated fats, oils (IE coconut oil, palm oil, etc.), butter, margarine, lard, organ meats, and plenty of fried foods.

9. Refined carbohydrates - refined carbohydrates (I.E. white bread, pasta, flour, pastry, cakes, etc.) have had most of their natural nutrients removed. Refined carbohydrates deplete the body's nutritional stores as they are needed in order for the body to absorb the nutrients in the refined carbs. This can lead to endometriosis symptoms. Instead of refined carbs, stick to unrefined carbohydrates such as wholegrain breads, pasta, rice, etc.

10. Additives and preservatives - processed, frozen and pre-packaged are foods to avoid with endometriosis as they are full of additives, preservatives chemicals, and many other ingredients that promote ill-health and PGE2 and PGF2.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Needs of a Child Sexual Abuse Survivor

Every survivor of sexual abuse has their own unique and individual needs and they each have their own way of reacting to the abuse. Every survivor can find hope and healing and there is no preset timetable for healing. Each survivor must decide for himself or herself at what pace the healing process will take place. The list of needs below is certainly not a complete list of needs but rather a general list that would apply to almost all survivors of sexual abuse.

Survivors need and deserve to be loved.
Sexual abuse survivors are frequently filled with confusion about what love really is. I was told by my abuser that he loved me and what we had was a "special kind of love." This led me to be confuse sex with love, attention and affection for many years.

The most difficult thing for me to learn is that I can be loved and cared for by people that honestly do have my best interest in mind. Survivors do need unconditional love.

Survivors need acceptance and recognition
Many sexual abuse survivors have a very low self-esteem and often see themselves as not good enough. In the minds of many survivors of sexual abuse, nothing they do or say is worthy of being noticed.

One of my talents is sewing. When my daughter was a small child, I made most of her clothes. As soon as a project was finished, all of my friends and family would comment about how cute it looked and how it was well made. It sure wasn't that way in my mind. I would focus on the smallest invisible flaw and despite the number of comments my daughter would get about her new dress or summer outfit, I couldn't see it as worth noticing.

Still many people around me showed me acceptance and eventually I did learn to accept myself and learn to value myself and my many talents.

Survivors need nurturing and support
Survivors of sexual abuse are accustomed to meeting the needs of others and neglecting their own. As children, they were not protected and instead of being cared for and nurtured, they were used for the sexual gratification of the abuser.

The need for nurturing is a strong one and for many survivors, this need was completely abandoned in their childhood and they were left with feelings of confusion. This need still remains when the survivor becomes an adult and the result is a tremendous emptiness in their lives. Supporters of sexual abuse survivors can help fill this void by nurturing them and helping them get their emotional needs met.

Survivors need help learning to trust again
Sexual abuse teaches the survivor not to trust others. The abuse experience itself taught them that them that their feelings, needs and just about every part of them clear down to their very soul has been exploited. They have lost their sense of safety and this makes them feel vulnerable. As a way of coping, they don't automatically trust anyone. It is often difficult for the survivor to know who they can trust and who they can't. They often adopt the philosophy that nobody is to be trusted until they earn trust.

Supporters can offer the survivor their unconditional support and reassurance can help the survivor learn to trust again.

Survivors need to feel safe
Many survivors feel that they need to take additional steps such as purchasing security devices or weapons, or creating new living arrangements to make their homes and lives safe. While some such measures can increase safety and security, encouraging the survivor to be alert to his or her surroundings is a very important safety measure to take.

Recommended Reading:

•Beginning to Heal (Revised Edition): A First Book for Men and Women Who Were Sexually Abused As Children

•I Never Told Anyone: Writings by Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

•The Sexual Healing Journey: A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse (Revised Edition)

•Allies in Healing: When the Person You Love Was Sexually Abused as a Child

•What About Me? A Guide for Men Helping Female Partners Deal with Childhood Sexual Abuse

"Sexual abuse distort’s a child’s understanding of sex and its wholesome purpose when used within God’s design. Sexual abuse interrupts a child’s delicate process of emotional, social, and sexual maturation."

What is sexual abuse?

To understand the damage of sexual abuse, we must first identify what it is and how victims are affected by it. Any sexual activity initiated by a peer or adult without consent is abuse, including physical, visual or verbal stimuli.

Unsurprisingly, many abusers themselves were sexually abused. Most are male, but more cases of female abuse are reported each year. Most abusers are people the victim knows—a family member, friend or trusted authority figure, and they’re in the churches, grocery stores, schools, theatres, scout troops, anywhere children are found. They are citizens of every socioeconomic, racial and ethnic status of our society.

As a victim of child sexual abuse, I can personally attest that the effects of abuse touch every aspect of my life—emotional, physical, relational and spiritual. I am living with a victim mentality . For over twenty-five years now I have only seen myself as a victim. Only recently have I started to try to see myself as a survivor.

I was and still am angry with everyone, and afraid to trust anyone. Shame and guilt are my constant companions, convincing me that I somehow encouraged the abusers' advances. I have built protective barriers to avoid loving and being loved. This in itself is what is causing even more harm in my life. You see I am married. I am married to a wonderful man who is extremely comfortable with his sexuality. Who needs to show love and see love through sexual intimacy. I am killing him softly everyday when I run from his advances or flat out reject him. I still wonder why he decided to marry such a broken person like myself.

Because my abuser was my grandfather, my father's father! I find it hard to trust anyone, even God. I used to think that my family and... God, seemed so indifferent to my suffering . Well correction my Mother, Father, and sister have always supported me and have tried to help me forgive. But early in my life I didn't understand a God who would allowed for my sister and I to get abused. I was afraid of that kind of love, so I rejected God...only now am I turning to him to heal and free me.

I suffered silently for more than twenty years before it became imperative that I face the issues of sexual abuse in my life. I couldn’t carry the burden and pain alone. I had to face the past, deal with the hurts and learn to live in the present. The “protective tools” I selected as an abused child—anger, bitterness and refusal to forgive—is causing me more pain rather than relief. I need to love myself so I can finally love my husband the way he deserves.

I know I need to BUT...I don’t want to forgive. Forgiving my abusers seems to reduce the significance of the crime and their need for punishment. Anyone who abuses others is guilty of a criminal act in all fifty states and in God’s eyes, has committed a wicked sin. I feel warranted in my desire for justice. It’s normal to be angry when an innocent person suffers the consequences thrust upon her by an abusive individual. It’s also natural to be cautious about preventing additional abuse and violation.

I am learning that God is also angry and grieved by sexual abuse, and He promises to repay for the evil that’s done and to avenge any sins committed against children. True justice can be gained only through our judicial system and by allowing room for God’s vengeance and judgment. But what makes my situation much harder is that now I am 28...I was abused at 4. My father's father (I will not call me my gr**father) was immediately asked to leave our house and he returned back to Costa Rica. For almost 25 years he has lived a free man. His wife and other children seem to just ignore it. No one talks about it. No one acknowledges it! Actually my father's side of the family have always shunned my sister and I. They are cruel to my Mother and Father believing my mom "stuck" these things in our heads.

Again my immediate family have acknowledged my sexual abuse but when we return back to Costa Rica I despise having to go visit my father side of the family because HE will be there. I do it anyways because of my grandmother. She is a loving women who though has never accepted her husband is a child abuser "out loud" I believe her guilt is shown by all she does for me. Sadly nothing she can do will give me back my innocence or childhood. Her husband committed murder. He killed who I should have become. I was meant to be happy, to love, to be loved, have healthy relationships...Because of what happened to me I struggle with being happy. I am constantly holding depression at bay but sometimes I get tired and let it in. My marriage is great in all aspects except for our sex life. We have none. I still see sex as a "bad" thing. I love my husband with all my heart but sex is just not important to me. This I know is destroying him. I know if I were him I would struggle so much with all this. So now my abuser hasn't only affected and ruined my life--he is affecting and ruining my husbands life.

I did nothing to cause the abuse—it wasn’t my fault. However, I am responsible for my refusal to forgive and my willingness to hate and harm rather than to love using healthy boundaries. I know I am wrong for judging all people as evil because of the crimes of a few but can't stop myself. Refusing to forgive, to accept and receive love and to constructively deal with my anger and fear is hurting me, not my abusers. I know this. I know I have to stop running from this, but I am afraid.

This realization is sending me into a fierce battle—a matter of life and death. I feel I am teetering on the ledge of sanity versus insanity by the tips of my fingers, my body dangling above the abyss of despair. I am afraid of change, but even more afraid of the pain I carry. But I am not trying to hide from the truth this time.

I understand the abuse was so invasive it will be a lifelong recovery process. Just the thought of letting go of the anger and the grief is hard to bear so I pray for God to send someone who will help me bear the burden and teach me how to forgive. I pray that person is my husband. Eventually, I know God will eliminate the pain from my past. I’m yet learning to deal with the present, which is strongly influenced by my past.

This is what happens to victims of abuse. They need compassion, love, understanding and encouragement to focus on the things gained through their adversity rather than allowing the past to control the present and the future. We need to be held accountable for our actions and our sin of refusing to forgive. The world can gain our experiences and perhaps the continued spread of this crime can be prevented.

Abuse changes lives forever, but healing is possible if the choice is to overcome the victim mentality, and work to become a survivor.