The 3E Centre programme gives us all the option of a big liver cleanse as part of the month. As there will be a staff member staying as 24-hour support over the 5 days of the liver cleanse, we cannot choose the date, but have to do it as scheduled in the monthly programme. Given all my results from the dark field microscopy test and the acid base balance test indicate that my liver is not working at its optimal level, I really want to do it. But: my period is due.
In addition to the daily coffee enema or optional colon-hydrotherapy, the liver cleanse means a bicarbonate soda enema every morning and evening. You drink apple juice and grapefruit juice at specific times and the only meal allowed is lunch. The cleanse seems to be an intense 5 day experience that only Andy and I are well enough to do anyway out of our group, and I just don't think I can hack it if I'm on my period.
I opt against it. Andy does it and we all follow his daily well-being and progress. He is our hero and it's almost like he suffers it for the group. At the end, he actually passes lots of little green stones, a sign that the cleanse worked and debris is being removed from the system. I'm in awe of our body. What an incredible design!
On day two of Andy's liver cleanse, I wake up at 3am in agony. My period has arrived. The morning's activity is laughing yoga - our favourite - but I feel so weak and I am in such a lot of pain, all I can manage to do is lie in my room with the window open, listening to the others having fun. Various thoughts go through my head.
I'm so fed up with this. I hate this pain. Why me?! Tears.
Then: no! Focus on the laughter you can hear. You are here to heal and you can feel something is changing already. Be positive! You're on the right track.
What am I doing? Is any of this going to work? Have I just wasted lots of money? Will I ever not be in this pain?
I hate this illness! No. I shouldn't be hating it, I need to make this illness my friend. Are they fucking joking? How can I ever see endometriosis as my friend?!
I remember the mental health training we've had and start breathing deeply. The waves of pain come, but I can breathe through them and instead of cramping and going into full blown muscle spasms, I manage to let the waves wash over me. Wow, this definitely helps with the pain. I realise how much worse the pain gets when the body is tense. I really focus on relaxing as much as I can into the pain, relaxing between the waves that hit in intervals. Deep breaths in and out. It is a bit like the labour breathing they teach you when you're pregnant. It does help.
More large chunks of grey tissue seem to come out all ways. I check with the resident healing practitioner and she seems unconcerned: it's all part of the body's cleansing and detox mechanism. It's a good sign. She advises to skip the daily coffee enemas until I feel a bit better. My bowel is extremely tender and it feels like some of those skin bits have shaved of my intestines. I obviously cannot prove any of this, but I feel extremely sore and wounded inside. This may all be rubbish, of course, but imagining my body ridding itself of layers of endometriosis tissue helps stay positive and that in turn helps get through the pain.
Apparently a woman's period is a great outlet for toxic waste removal. Remember that our main detoxification organs are bowel, bladder and skin? Well, in a female body, once a month a fourth detox mechanism joins the gang: our period. Our clever system knows that once a month, the flood gates open and the body can rid itself of a large amount of rubbish. It sends all sorts of waste to the womb, so it can all be flushed out with the period blood. Men have to detox much more through their skin, which is why they tend to sweat more than women. When a woman's periods stop in menopause, we start to sweat more too, which is simply the body's way of eliminating toxins from the system through the skin.
While it's a very painful first period day, I seem to feel okay much quicker than normal. I can usually be in pain for seven to ten days. This is bearable after day two and slowly eases off after about five days. A positive sign? Staying positive is all I can do. After all, I have spent years of searching for a solution, if this doesn't work, I will give in and have surgery. But my gut instinct says I am taking my first baby steps towards healing. I cannot explain it, but there is an inner voice that keeps telling me that I have finally found the solution. Fingers crossed!