Updated: Mar 8
We all have our journey in life and this is mine: healing from endometriosis and finding myself in the process. Like a mountain hike, each journey has ups and downs. Sometimes, you can just skip or amble along, other times it feels like you're constantly struggling uphill, seemingly unable to reach the top or turning point.
Endometriosis - my very own Mount Everest
My healing journey started in 2011, when I was diagnosed with Stage IV Endometriosis. I had been experiencing excruciating period pains for years and according to the doctors the illness was so advanced, that the only solution was a full hysterectomy with the possibility of having part of my bowel removed. I was shocked, numb and scared. After 6 months of GnRH injections that put me artificially into menopause. I went to Germany to get a second opinion and was told that there was an alternative to such an invasive procedure - nutrition. Was it really that simple?
My father had suffered from bowel cancer previously and my parents had changed their diet and life style with incredible effects, so I was aware of the powerful changes food could make to the body. Assisted by Homeopathy, Life Coaching & Chinese Medicine I started to work on a healthier, cleaner "me". The results were unbelievable. I felt like a different person: I lost weight, I had more energy and felt generally more positive. I was on the right path, but still suffered from long periods accompanied by pains, albeit less intense.
A superb Iridologist/ Nutritionist brought light into my jungle of diet approaches and put me on a regime of supplements. Within a month, the length of my periods had halved and the pains were almost entirely gone. I was thrilled!
However, while my Endometriosis was slowly improving, I had developed Papillomas on my vocal cords. I was so wrapped up in healing my endometriosis, being a young, working mum that I just couldn't imagine adding more to my plate, so I agreed to have them removed surgically. After each surgery (I have now had 5), my endometriosis got worse and I felt trapped in a vicious circle: operation, pains, months of reducing the pains, next operation...
While changing my diet, exercising and supplements had helped, I really struggled with reducing stress in my everyday life. Yoga and meditation tapes helped for a while, but everyday life seemed to always take over again eventually and I would revert back to my old patterns, resulting in an increase in pain and more operations.
In April 2016, I decided to take a Level 1 course in Reiki-Energy-Healing. I had been looking for a way of "doing something for me" and when my local health food store sent an email out advertising a course in my area, I signed up. Having experienced a couple of very powerful Reiki treatments, I wanted to learn more. The course was a true eye opener and I loved it. Reiki made me accept once and for all that I needed to make meaningful changes to how I lived my life and to how I saw myself as a person. I felt I had come "home", got a glimpse of who I really was or who I could be. There was no going back after that.
Life is a journey, however, and although I now knew what I wanted, it still took a few more months to get things going. Physically, I still experienced horrendous pain for 2 weeks every month and often just didn't have the strength to do anything. I hit rock bottom when after voice operation no. 4 in early October 2016, I lost my voice for 4 weeks and not even the doctors knew why. I was petrified. Unable to speak, I was "trapped in my own head". In hindsight, this was the turning point: I was forced to struggle with my inner demons and today I'm grateful for that period, however scary and unsettling it was at the time.
Luckily, I had booked on to a Reiki Level 2 course for the end of October already and I can honestly say that it was the Reiki that got me out of probably the darkest few weeks of my life. Only able to whisper for short periods of time, I really had to "feel" my way through this level, which I suppose in hindsight is the best way to approach an energy healing course. I felt totally "connected" to the energy and learned to trust my intuition. I completed my Level 2 Reiki, allowing me to treat others and call myself a Reiki Practitioner in 2016.
2017 was a real transition year. I was practicing Reiki, but was also still teaching Business German, not quite ready to give up my old life. I kept researching surgical inventions for endometriosis and eventually found excision surgery and a specialist in the North of England, but due to the severity of my endometriosis the operation was very expensive and wouldn't have been covered by my private health insurance.
While I was seeing different specialists, a friend sent me an article on endometriosis she had found, that reported a link between endo and cancer. Researchers had found that "Warburg like effects" were present in endometriosis cells, just as in cancer cells (see my Blog article on Warburg effect). Being German and having had a dad with stage 4 bowel cancer, I knew about Dr. Johanna Budwig and her oil-protein diet protocol that reversed the Warburg effect in cancer cells. So I figured, if cell changes were similar in endometriosis and this diet reversed those cell changes, it might be worth giving it a try.
I started the Budwig diet in February 2017 and debated whether to go to a Budwig Centre I knew of in Germany (see separate Blog article). It was expensive (€10K), but less than a third of what excision surgery would have cost. In the end, I decided it was my health on the line and there was no value or worth that could be put on that. So in June, I flew out to Stuttgart to spend 4 weeks at the 3E Centre (www.3E-centre.com). Apart from finding Reiki, going to Germany was the best thing I could have done! For 4 weeks, I learned all about the human cell, the Johanna Budwig Oil-Protein-Diet and various simple techniques to reduce stress such as breathing, meditation, mindfulness etc. Away from home, without distractions like TV, internet or telephone for 4 weeks, I had time to explore who I really was when I wasn't mum, wife, daughter, sister, friend, working... I discovered what I wanted, what was important to ME, who I really was behind all the facades I was projecting out into the world, as we all do. At the 3E centre, I was able to change my "behaviour patterns" and return home "a new me" - a much more authentic me. The distance and 4 weeks of no obligations other than my own well-being had made it easy to establish a new routine, which I continued back home.
A strict daily routine, including the Budwig diet, meditation, yoga and Reiki self-healing improved my endometriosis immensely. After 2 months I could feel the pain easing. Within 6 months, my endometriosis was under control, I had pain that could be managed with painkillers (which before had only taken the edge of it a little), my periods were down from 7-10 days to around 5 days and I was improving every month. After about 18 months, I was totally symptom free. Periods would be "just periods". Yes, there might be a little PMT the day before, I might feel a little tired for a day, but nothing like the pain and exhaustion I had felt before. Usually by day two I'd happily exercise at the gym as if it was a non-period day. It has been three years since I started this journey and nothing has changed. My endometriosis has not worsened again.
Am I healed? I would say "I have no symptoms". During the 3 years I have had periods of being less strict on the diet, for instance. It has no immediate effect, but after 4-6 months of eating sugar, cakes and biscuits, I could feel a faint memory of the endo pain returning. Not a full blown hurricane, just a little reminder that the sugar and wheat was having an effect on my body. So I've learned to stick to my healthy lifestyle, I indulge in treats when I want, but don't let them become the norm. I eat whatever I like on holiday or when I'm at weddings etc., but prepare delicious, organic, mainly plant based meals at home. If I have become aware of one thing during this journey, it's how much my own choices influence my well-being. That puts the ball in my court. I'm no longer the victim of a supposedly incurable disease. I have the power and ability to control what happens in and to my body. To me, that has been incredibly liberating.
Some people say they wouldn't want to "restrict" their diet. I have found, my diet is so much more varied than it was before. Today I would find my previous diet restricting. I experiment more in my cooking, I'm much more creative with food. I can physically feel how this healthy food gives me more energy compared to the processed, heavy, sugary food I ate before. I would certainly encourage people to at least try it for 2-3 months. If you've suffered for years, have been in too much pain to enjoy sitting in a restaurant or have excruciating pains when going to the loo, is it really that bad to try something for a few months, if it might help?
Even Dr. Budwig allowed her patients one day off a week. In the beginning, I'd allow myself to eat whatever I wanted every Saturday. That's an option and I found it made sticking to the diet easier during the week. After time, my taste buds changed and I found a shop bought biscuit way too sweet or would find my home cooked food much nicer than restaurant food, so would choose the new over the old quite happily.
At the 3E Centre we were taught that about 20% of healing would be down to nutrition and detox, while a whopping 80% was down to stress. I cannot emphasize this enough: just going on the diet, will not give you the full healing effect your body is able to produce. If you feel slight improvements due to the diet, remember: these are about 20% of what's possible.
How can you reduce stress? The techniques are simple, yet will be the hardest thing to implement. Our mind controls us and we have to learn to take back control, to put ourselves back in the driver seat and control our mind, our thoughts. What we think and how we see the world around us creates "our reality". If that reality stresses us, makes us feel negative about ourselves or the people around us, it will massively impact our body's ability to self-heal. So if we can learn to stop the body's stress response the minute we feel it being activated, if we can learn to look at life from a "glass half full" kind of perspective, healing can take place much more effectively. (Look out for another blog article on this.)
I was so excited by the effect all my newly gained knowledge had on my health, I wanted to "change the world" and help every woman who suffered from endometriosis. So I went on courses, got qualifications and totally committed to my new lifestyle 110%. Is that necessary to heal? Of course not. I love it, I'm passionate about health, I enjoy this lifestyle. I get that it's not for everyone. There will be hundreds and thousands of variations of "a healthy lifestyle" and you can create the one that's right for you. The one that still allows you to enjoy the treats you cannot live without - albeit in the right proportions.
I have made health and well-being my personal as well as professional life. As a mentor or guide, I need to carry on going ahead, so I can show others the way. In 2018 I qualified as a Reiki Master, allowing me to teach Reiki. In 2019, I studied to become a Health & Life Coach with the Health Coach Institute, folIowed in 2020 by EFT and Matrix Reimprinting Practitioner. I'm currently on a 14-month shamanic practitioner course. I love what I do and I feel absolutely honored to be helping people to heal themselves. Looking back today, I am grateful for my illnesses, as I would have never become the person I am without them.
I have learned to focus on what's important, to see through the fog and form a clear picture of who I am and who I want to be. My journey taught me acceptance, patience, gratitude and a new joy in life, which I hope to pass on to others through my work as healing mentor and Health & Life Coach. Contact me here, if you fancy a chat about your own healing journey.
People that helped me
Iridologist & Nutritionist: Janet Spence, Warwick - www.janetespence.co.uk
Meditation, Mindfulness, Personal Development, Shamanic Healing: Jenny Critchlow, Claverdon - www.jennycritchlow.com
Reiki Master Level: Grenville Williams, Solihull - www.oneworldreiki.com
Yoga Weekends: Kim Pierpoint - https://kalmnkindyoga.co.uk/
Books that helped me
Endometriosis: A Key to Healing and Fertility Through Nutrition. Dian Shepperson Mills & Michael Vernon. Thorsons (2002).
Heal Endometriosis Naturally: Without Painkillers, Drugs or Surgery. Wendy K. Laidlaw. Create Space Independent Publishing (2015).
Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind. Dr. Joe Dispenza. Health Communications Inc. (2009).
Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself. Dr. Joe Dispenza. Hay House (2012).
You are the Placebo - Making your Mind Matter. Dr. Joe Dispenza. Hay House (2014).
Becoming Supernatural. Dr. Joe Dispenza. Hay House (2019).
The Healing Code. Alexander Loyd & Ben Johnson. Hodder & Stoughton (2011).
The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles. Dr. Bruce Lipton. Mountain of Love/Elite Books (2005).
Flax Oil as a True Aid Against Arthritis, Heart Infarction, Cancer and Other Diseases. Dr. Johanna Budwig. Apple Publishing (1994).
A day in the Budwig Diet. Ursula Escher. Create Space Independent Publishing (2011).
The Budwig Cancer & Coronary Heart Disease Prevention Diet. Dr. Johanna Budwig. Freedom Press (2013).