Category Archives: Life Lessons

How to Be a Spiritual Warrior

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 2.29.08 PMA lady friend of mine asked me recently how I felt about personal responses to my book.

“Do you get triggered?” She asked politely. We were at a dinner party and I could tell she was trying to be sensitive to certain topics I write about. Abuse, alcoholism, and dysfunction aren’t exactly super fun dinner conversation.

“What do you mean?” I asked. I wasn’t sure what she was trying to figure out.

“When people tell you about their pain… does it bother you? You know, bring it all back?” I was beginning to wonder if she might have something she wanted to share.

“Occasionally I despair for our species,” I laughed, “But when people feel compelled to share their stories with me (whether in person on online), I am really very honored. I think of their impulse to share with me as a sacred trust. But it doesn’t upset me. Not at all.  And since I finished the book, my past is just a story for me. It’s a true story, and my story, but it’s just a story. (Thank God). EVERYONE has a story.”Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 2.25.32 PM

But this conversation got me thinking. Since everyone has a story, that means everyone suffers. It is simply a fact of human life. How we choose to deal with our suffering is what creates our character.

Some people like to hold their suffering close to their heart. They nurture it as if it were a precious plant they were keeping alive. I have heard many, many people say something like this: “I will never forget what so-and-so did. It will always echo in my mind.” I’ve said it myself! I take this to be a sign of two things:

1) That the event that occurred was traumatic

2) That the person holding onto the trauma might (unknowingly) be defining themselves by that event.

So it doesn’t sound like I’m being judgmental here, let me tell you how I know this is true. If you read my book, you will know I had a crap load of craziness to deal with. Even though I later figured out I had all the symptoms of PTSD, I couldn’t think of myself as a survivor because I hated the word. It still seemed so limiting to define my whole self in relation to a past I could do nothing about. But I couldn’t think of myself as someone who HADN’T gone through these humiliations. That would be a lie.

I was in a pickle. How could I define myself WITHOUT my past informing everything?

Then I had an idea, inspired by a saying from 12-step meetings: “We will know a NEW freedom and a NEW happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it…”

I loved the word “freedom.” It rang in me like a bell for years. Could I find freedom from the pain I was feeling AND freedom from the past? Could that be possible? I didn’t know, but it was an idea that compelled me to go forward and at least try.

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 3.15.56 PMDeep down, I knew I was a fighter. I was tough, without a doubt, but I didn’t want to approach life as a battle, always having to fight off this or that asshole. I decided that the best way to describe myself was as a spiritual warrior fighting an internal war. This worked for me. Every day I would go to war against my internal pain and memory of my past.

Having grown up on the TV series “Kung-Fu,” I remembered there were students, deciples, and masters. I decided that I would stay a student, endlessly willing to be taught, until I really had something to pass on. I decided that going forward, no matter what, everything that happened in my life, and everyone I met would be a teacher.

My pain? A teacher. My past? A teacher. My body, my anger, my fear?  A teacher. Even my resistance to being taught would be a teacher.

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When I looked at my life from this perspective, I found myself in a position of choice as to how to think about myself. I could choose to feel at the effect of another’s behavior, or make another choice.

When I chose to fight for my peace of mind, to find the wisdom in the pain, I was actually fighting for my FREEDOM from that pain.

Now I do this as often as possible. Sometimes I forget (hey, I’m only human) but as soon as I can remember to it gets me out of pain and into FREEDOM from pain, which I like to describe as peace of mind.

Here’s how it works:

Let’s say I get an uncomfortable feeling: a blast from the past, a moment of shame, loss, grief, or fear I will be attacked unjustly. Or say I suddenly feel deeply judgmental of myself, and I’m no longer “enough” in any category. (You know how the mind turns on itself. It can be such an a-hole!)

Instead of fighting the thought, I say, “Hello teacher. What do you have for me to learn right now?”

Usually, the upsetting thought says something like this, “Oh, I just wanted you to know that I was here.”

Then I say, “Okay. I recognize you. Perhaps you need something. Do you?”

And sometimes it needs a hug, or for me to cuddle in a blanket and watch TV. Then I do that.

Sometimes, however, it just wants me to know it’s there.

That’s when I say, “Okay. I hear you. Don’t stress. I got this. I can handle almost anything, remember? I’m a warrior.”

And that seems to do the trick.

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Roles in an Alcoholic Family

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 4.30.44 PMI grew up in an alcoholic family system.  The illness in my family effected all who were in it, or around it.  It took me years to recover.  To this day, my recovery is a practice, a never ending series of decisions and growing awarenesses.

I have learned that alcoholism is only one face of addiction.  There are many things to have addictive relationships with: anger, sex, shopping, food, exercise, TV, sugar, drugs, pills, work, gambling, even the internet!  Here is a good definition of addiction from Psychology Today.  In effect, addiction is a compulsive reaction to stressors, a need to take action rather than deal with or “feel through” the feeling that is bothering you.

Typically, an addict will deny their behavior because they feel it is essential to their surviving whatever stress they feel. Addiction is compulsive and yet cunning. It is important to note that being an addict doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you a person who has something to overcome. So many of today’s heroes are people who have overcome great obstacles!

In order to help myself overcome what I experienced growing up, I find it is very helpful to continue to look at the behavior and emotions around alcoholism/addiction, as well as its effect on those around it.

The following is attributed to a book that is, unfortunately, no longer available by M. Davis, called “Surviving An Alcoholic Family.” I find it a very clear description of the roles we are often assigned in a family struggling with alcoholism/addiction. If you recognize yourself in one of these roles, please do not feel ashamed or hurt by it. You are also not a bad person, but someone who is seeking wisdom and happiness! Those who seek are those who want to find!

Awareness is always the first step toward healing.

The Alcoholic

- other family members revolve around this person
- likely to be experiencing quite a bit of pain and shame even though they may not see it as the result of excessive alcohol or drug use
- as things get worse, the alcoholic is faced with increasing feelings of shame, guilt, inadequacy, fear, and loneliness
- develop a number of defenses to hide their shame and guilt – may include irrational anger, charm, rigidity, grandiosity, perfectionism, social withdrawal, hostility, and depression
- project blame or responsibility for their problems onto others including family members who take on unhealthy roles in order to survive


- children of alcoholics feel guilty for their failure to save their parents from the effects of alcohol

- “The alcoholic parent is not satisfied with his own childhood, he wants yours too… When the father vanishes into alcohol, the son/daughter lingers and lingers, searching for a lost part of him/herself.”

Codependent/Enabler/Caretaker
- steps up and takes control if the alcoholic loses power
- enabling is anything that protects the chemically dependent person from the consequences of their actions
- spouse often takes on the role, but children and siblings can also be enablers (multigenerational alcoholic families will sometimes designate a child in this role, a sign of more serious pathology)
- tends to everyone’s needs in the family
- loses sense of self in tasks of a domestic nature
- never takes the time to assess his/her own needs and feelings
- person never gains what they need most in order to get better: insight
- never are confronted with the facts that would drive home the point: drugs or alcohol are destroying their lives and their family
- as long as the enabler and the chemically dependent family members play their game of mutual self-deception, things never get better – they get worse
- others cannot bond with the caretaker due to the bustle of activity
Caretaker’s purpose: to maintain appropriate appearances to the outside world.

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Hero
- high achiever; takes focus off the alcoholic because of his/her success; perfectionist; feels inadequate; compulsive; can become a workaholic
- alcoholic bestows this role onto the individual whose accomplishments compensate for the alcoholic’s behavior
- often the oldest child who may see more of the family’s situation and feels responsible for fixing the family pain
- child excels in academics, athletics, music or theatre
- gets self worth from being “special”
- rest of family also gets self worth (“we can’t be that bad if one of us is successful”) – his/her deeds assure the family that their definition is more than alcohol
- hero does not receive attention for anything besides an achievement; therefore, inner needs are not met
- he/she loses the ability to feel satisfied by whatever feat he/she has manifested
- as things get worse, the hero is driven to higher and higher levels of achievement. No level of super responsible, perfectionist, over achievement can remove the hero’s internalized feelings of inadequacy, pain, and confusion
- many others grow up to become workaholics and live under constant stress as they work in the service of others seeking approval for their extraordinary effort
- they often end up distancing themselves from their family of origin
- interestingly, many family heroes grow to marry alcoholics and become enablers
Hero’s purpose: to raise the esteem of the family.

Scapegoat
- goes against rules; acts out to take the focus off the alcoholic; feels hurt & guilt; because of behavior, can bring help to family
- lightening rod for family pain and stress
- direct message is that they are responsible for the family’s chaos
- family assigns all ills to the person who harbors this role, e.g. “Mom would not drink so much if (Scapegoat’s name) were not always in trouble.”
- in reality the misbehavior of the Scapegoat serves to distract and provide some relief from the stress of chemical dependency
- child has issues with authority figures as well as negative consequences with the law, school and home
- on the inside the child is a mass of frozen feelings of anger and pain
- may show self-pity, strong identification with peer values, defiance, and hostility or even suicidal gestures
- this role may seem strange in purpose. However, if there were no scapegoat, all other roles would dismantle. He/she allows others a pretense of control
- alcohol is not identified as an issue – often, the scapegoat is identified as ‘The Problem.’
Scrapegoat’s purpose: puts the focus away from alcohol thereby allowing the alcoholic to continue drinking.

Mascot/Cheerleader/Clown
- uses humor to lighten difficult family situations; feels fear; others see him/her as being immature; limited by bringing humor to all situations even if inappropriate
- this individual most popular in the family; brings fun and humour into the family
- learn to work hard at getting attention and making people laugh especially when the anger and tension of substance use are dangerously high
- often named a class clown in school; frequently demonstrates poor timing for the comic relief; most people don’t take this child seriously
- often hyperactive, charmers, or cute
- inside, they feel lonely knowing no one really knows the real person behind the clown’s mask
- may grow up unable to express deep feelings of compassion
- may put themselves down often as well as cover up their pain with humour
- accepts laughter as approval, but the humor serves to hide inner painful feelings
- the laughter prevents healing rather than produces it
Mascot’s purpose: to provide levity to the family; to relieve stress and tension by distracting everyone.
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Lost Child
- no connection to family; brings relief to family by not bringing attention to the family; feels lonely; does not learn communication and relationship skills
- has much in common with scapegoat – neither feels very important
- disappears from the activity of the family
- sees much more than is vocalized
- reinforced for causing no problems
- build quiet lives on the edges of family life and are seldom considered in family decisions
- they hide their hurt and pain by losing themselves in the solitary world of short-term pleasure including excessive TV, reading, listening to music, drugs, object love, eating and fantasy
- favorite places for the lost child are in front of the T.V. as well as in his/her room
- due to the sedentary lifestyle, a lost child tends to have issues with weight
- as adults they feel confused and inadequate in relationships
- may end up as quiet loners with a host of secondary issues such as: sexuality problems, weight problems, excessive materialism, or heavy involvement in fantasy
Lost child’s purpose: does not place added demands on the family system; he/she is low maintenance.

In my experience, it is easy to fall into more than one of these categories. Sometimes I was “the scapegoat” in my home of birth, other times “the mascot,” and other times “the hero.” As I moved into having adult relationships, I was often an “enabler,” while feeling like “the lost child” within myself.

Now I know that I do not need to be any one of these things. There is a greater role I must BE: that of my authentic self. If I sense that I am falling into a role, or having one put upon me, I can recognize that this is only an old, familiar system, and I do not have to play the part that is being thrust upon me. Nor do I have to react or respond to any accusations. I know who I am, and I know what the truth is, for me.

I hope this blog has been of some insight or help for those of you struggling with similar upbringings or issues.

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Love,

Cady

 

 

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“Murdering My Youth” and Y&R

You might not believe it, but it’s a totally BIZARRE coincidence that I am both releasing my book, “Murdering My Youth,” publicly, and having my first air day on Y&R TOMORROW, April 16th. I assure you, I planned to release the book in March, and then one hundred and one things got in the way. When I was able to get down to the nitty gritty of dotting every “i” and crossing every “t” it took far longer than I anticipated. Then Michael Logan asked when it would be ready and I forced myself to set a date. Which I missed. Then it just happened that his article and my release date coincided. Magical, weird, wonderful… and SCARY!

Yes, being on Y&R has been a whirlwind: great writing, incredible actors, an amazing directing and producing team… it’s really a dream come true. And let’s not forget the fantastic Peter Bergman, who has been my sherpa, so to speak, helping me get into the groove of the studio et al. I count my blessings every single day.

As for the book: I am offering a better price on my website (order form below or just email me at blueglitterfish@aol.com) for those who want an autographed copy, or just want it cheaper.  It may take me an extra day or two getting to you, but it will cost $9.99 plus shipping from me. I have to ask a bit more on Amazon and Create Space since they take such a big bite out of the price (I see 5 bucks from the $15.25) however, you will be able to buy the ebook version there, which I can’t provide, and the book itself will probably get to you much faster.

I must warn you: the book is intense. It is also FUNNY, (as they say, “Laugh and the world laughs with you. Fart, and you fart alone”) but I don’t want to sugar coat it. It’s my story of my upbringing and it’s a real one. I won’t blame you if the book is not for you, (I’ve thrown one or two books across the room, myself) but I DO hope you check out Y&R if you haven’t already! I’m having a BALL and I think the story is wonderful. Good, old-fashioned, daytime DRAMA!

Yea SOAPS!

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My Book: “Murdering My Youth”

cover design by Andre Provedel, photo by Courtney Lindberg

Cover design by Andre Provedel, Photo by Courtney Lindberg

Cover design by Andre Provedel, Photo by Courtney Lindberg

I just had the honor of being interviewed by Michael Logan for TV Guide. Look for his article in the April 21st issue!

In the article you will find out that my book, Murdering My Youth, is being released April 15th.

You will be able to buy it through my website or on Amazon. I am doing my best to make sure it is at a reasonable price as things are still tough out there.

If you would like to pre-order or have a signed copy write to me at blueglitterfish@aol.com or use the contact form below.  I will contact you to arrange payment and shipping.

Thank you in advance for your support of this book.  A warning: it is a fast read but not a light one. Issues of child abuse, death, trauma, and grief are dealt with in detail. Yes, there is humor, and sometimes there is strong language but I do not mean to offend, minimize, or sensationalize. My hope is that in sharing my story those who can relate will feel less shame, those who once judged will feel more compassion, and those who suffer in silence will consider reaching out for help.

 

 

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Children's Hospital Video Screenshot

What doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger

Not only am I a huge fan of this song, this video that the Seattle Children’s Hospital made takes it to a whole other level. It’s so moving I thought I would share it with all of you.

Watch this video and be inspired!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihGCj5mfCk8

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Moving Sucks Big Moose Balls

I am moving.  After living in New York City for twenty-five years, I am moving.  Where to, I don’t want to say just yet, just that in the last two or three weeks my world sort of turned upside down.  Well, I turned it upside down, actually.  So I can’t complain.  It’s actually a good thing, a positive move, a choice, a decision landed upon, an adventure, new life, new land, a new civilization.  I just wish it wasn’t so much hard work, risk and stress on the body/mind and spirit, but there is no way around those things.  Change is change is change.  It was my decision.  Burp.  Where’s the wine?

A friend of mine is also moving, from a house she lived in for many years, had children in, a career and a huge life, to another state where she also has a life, but a new life.  A life with history, but not the same history as when her children were little and cakes were made and homework was checked.  She knew I have moved a rather large amount in my life (literally about 27 times in 42 years) so I was pleased when she called me and asked, “How do you do it?  How do you manage this moving thing?”  She sounded really depressed, and understandably so.

Inundated with my own impending day of change, I decided to sit down and write her an e-mail.  I had a lot of ideas rolling around in my head and sometimes, well most times, I write better than I speak.  I don’t know why, my brain just stops sometimes and I can’t recall a certain name or very obvious word.  I blame years of memorizing lines.  So I wrote her an e-mail and then called her back.

She told me not only did my e-mail help her but that I should publish it.  This was a very sweet thing to say.  So here goes.  If you are moving I hope it helps you.  I may have to read it a few times myself to remind myself of what I know when the moving trucks come.

Dear Friend,

I do understand the pain of moving. All I can assure you is that it’s always hard, but it’s SO much harder if you’ve been living in one place for a long time.

Try to remember that all those good times are yours to keep forever in your heart, and now you are moving forward to build new happy memories. Thank god you have happy times to look back on. They will be a great comfort to you when you are old and gray!

I think we always have a dream for our lives when we move into a new place. A dream of who we will be and what will happen there. The fact is, our lives rarely are like those dreams, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t full and joyful. The dream is just the match that starts it all going in a certain direction.

There is no arguing that change, no matter how you look at it, sucks. But it’s an indisputable part of life. There’s nothing you can do about it but accept that change is going to happen. At least this change is one you are choosing, and that’s an important thing to remember. You made this decision and you can always change your mind. If you choose to see it through, remind yourself of the good reasons why: the freedom you will have, the new good times to come, etc. If you change your mind, look at other options!

Memories can sometimes be overwhelming when you are moving.  It’s not good to linger over every dish or every box of toys, you’ll make yourself crazy!  If you can’t get rid if it, get a storage facility and deal later. Sometimes its the only way. Try to remember the present is the most important thing, and you can’t take any object with you when you die. It’s just stuff. The memories live in your heart. If there are bad memories, try not to linger on them too long unless you are going for a therapeutic purge!

That’s the best wisdom I have for you right now.  Try to look forward to the future and make new plans. When you look back, remember how well you have handled situations much more difficult than a few pieces of furniture!  Don’t let the past OWN you!

Finally: Be kind to yourself and don’t overdo it.  You’re only human and moving sucks.

Xoxo

Cady

 

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Endometriosis: An Ignored Female Epidemic

Endometriosis.  It’s a long word for what is in short, a painful and mysterious disease.  No one knows what causes it, but approximately 6 MILLION women in the United States alone suffer from it.

“We now have staggering rates of endometriosis, fibroids, PID [Pelvic Inflammatory Disease], TSS and 1.7 million hysterectomies performed this past year–the most [ever],” she said. “Twenty-five years ago, these were rare illnesses for women.” Dr. Ilya Sandra Perlingieri, retired professor from San Diego State University and author of the recently released The Uterine Crisis.

Google “Endometriosis” and the first word that will jump out at you is INFERTILITY.  Many women with this disease can be rendered infertile, and yet doctors are still not mentioning it when you are describing your so called “phantom pain.”  Why is this?  Are doctors simply ignoring the disease?  Can 6 million women facing infertility really be that inconsequential?

Endometriosis is a disease where the cells from the lining of the inside of your uterus suddenly start appealing elsewhere in your body cavity.  They usually appear around the lower half of your body, but it has been found as far up as the lungs.

What do theses cells do?  They react just like your uterus.  When you get PMS, they get PMS.  When you get your period and bleed, so do they.  There is an internal bleeding every month from these cells.  So much so that over time the cells can form a cluster of blood, or a cyst, and attach to whatever is around.  They call these cysts “chocolate cysts” because of their color.   Yummy, right?  Not really.

These cysts can become quite painful.  In fact, even without a cyst the main symptom is PAIN.  For some women, it’s awful pain akin to the cramps you have just before giving birth.  It makes having sexual intercourse quite difficult, because if your partner hits one of those clusters of uterine cells, you are going to go through the roof.

You may have endometriosis and not even know it.  Maybe you just thought you got “bruised” inside somehow, or maybe you think you just have rough periods.  The disease doesn’t show on an ex-ray, the only way you can find out for sure is having bad enough pain that you need an operation to remove what they THINK is a cyst that shows on a sonogram, or surgery for a fibroid tumor.  That’s how I found out I had it.

A Fibroid tumor is a non-cancerous cluster of cells that latch onto your uterus.  I am lucky, I only had one but it became symptomatic, causing me lower back pain, bladder problems and pain during intercourse.  When they opened me up they found Stage 4 endometriosis.  They weren’t expecting it.  I was in surgery for 6 hours.  That was five years ago.  Now I have to go back in for another operation because it’s painful again.   I know a woman who has had 6 operations for this disease.  SIX.  To me, that sounds abusive.  Isn’t there something that can be done?

Here’s the skinny.  They say they don’t know how you really get it, but there is a good chance you got it from three places:

1) you were genetically predispositioned

2) you have an immense deficiency, perhaps caused by stress, a medical or (possibly) environmental condition

3) the menstrual flow backed up somehow.

When I read number three, I almost fell over.  Back up?  I didn’t think my uterus was capable of backing up blood INTO my body.  I thought the uterus was a contained system.  How could the blood get out any other way than through my vagina?  I was embarrassed to face my naiveté.  There is clearly a place between the fallopian tube and the ovary where they egg has to pop out and get sucked up by the tube to be sent down into the uterus.  What goes down… can go back up.

So what might cause this back flow?  A TAMPON perhaps?  Is it just possible that if you leave your tampon in ALL NIGHT like MILLIONS of women do, that a back flow of blood could occur?

I’m not the only person thinking along these lines.  Here’s a neat little quote from Vital Health.com

“It makes sense that if the tampon is not changed frequently, it can become saturated and may then act as a plug, increasing the back-pressure of blood into the uterus. “

Here’s another little tid-bit about tampons.  Your regular run-of the mill tampon contains DIOXIN.  A chemical that is a bi-product of bleaching.

Here’s another bit from the same article:

” In a 1993 case control study, Darrow et. al. compared tampon use in 104 women with laparoscopically confirmed endometriosis to 100 friends of the patients. Compared to their friends, women with endometriosis under the age of 30 were, on average, 3.6 times as likely to have a history of tampon use of greater than or equal to 14 years.”

and

“Clearly, there was an increased incidence of endometriosis with exposure to dioxin, and an increased severity with the dose of dioxin.”

Where else can you be exposed to Dioxin?  How about these fun facts from Energy Justice:

The major sources of dioxin are in our diet. Since dioxin is fat-soluble, it bioaccumulates, climbing up the food chain. A North American eating a typical North American diet will receive 93% of their dioxin exposure from meat and dairy products (23% is from milk and dairy alone; the other large sources of exposure are beef, fish, pork, poultry and eggs). In fish, these toxins bioaccumulate up the food chain so that dioxin levels in fish are 100,000 times that of the surrounding environment.

You can find them all throughout our atmosphere and wherever bleaching agents are sold.  Oh and BTW, YES.  IT CAUSES CANCER.

Dioxin Exposure Chart 
Chart from EPA Dioxin Reassessment Summary 4/94 – Vol. 1, p. 37
(Figure II-5. Background TEQ exposures for North America by pathway)

Doesn’t that just THRILL you beyond end?

WHAT TO DO:

Go vegan.  That’s it.  No meat, dairy, caffeine or alcohol.  No eggs, fish, butter, pork, poultry… SUSHI.  No ICE CREAM???  When they told me I almost fell off my chair.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  I’m a steak eating one martini a day gal.  What’s this shit?  I had to take a moment.

It seems this is my fate, my destiny to change.  If I want to live, if I want to have sex, if I want to not be in pain, not get worse (god knows what they are going to find when they open me up) I’ve got to give up all the foods I normally eat.  I have to become one of “them,” those “healthy people” who eat at Vegan restaurants and take B-12 and don’t smoke or drink, I have to do Yoga and meditate to lower my stress level, I have to learn to live entirely differently than I do now.

FUCK.

Well, I don’t have to give up swearing.  Thank christ.

Considering it’s becoming a world wide epidemic, I think I may just invest in a Vegan chain restaurant.  It’s not just me saying “world wide epidemic” btw.

It is estimated that there are over 70 million women worldwide who suffer from the symptoms of endometriosis making it a modern epidemic.

Endometriosis affects over one hundred million women worldwide and is more common than breast cancer and diabetes. Up to 10% of women in their reproductive years and a quarter to half of all women with infertility have been diagnosed with endometriosis

Then there is this:

The recent increase in the incidence of endometriosis coincides with the rapid increase of genetically modified (GM) foods in diets around the world.  He goes onto say that herbicide, such as the commonly used “Roundup” can also create an environmental estrogen toxicity.

There is much more to discover, but it’s a disease that is here and we need to get talking about it.  It’s changed my life already.  The frustration and shame over having something that affects my ability to get pregnant is a blog unto itself, but suffice it to say, it sucks.

Please share this article with any woman you know who is suffering from this disease.  All I want is for her to know she is not alone, and that there are people out there who care about how to help her get better.

 

 

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