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Body-Building & Living with Endometriosis (a female perspective)

Endometriosis by dictionary definition is: A condition resulting from the appearance of endometrial tissue (the lining of the uterus) being outside the uterus and causing pelvic pain, especially associated with menstruation.

Endometriosis by my definition is: Years and years of mid to end cycle bloating, cramping, cravings, chronic pain and lots of crying followed by the first day of bleeding. Feeling like there is some kind of devil inside me that is clawing at my uterus and tearing me apart, slowly but surely.

Jaime has built a champion body-building physique all while living with Endometriosis.

I was diagnosed at the age of 14.

    Twenty-eight years ago now, the “doctor” told my mum the only way to fix it was for me to have a baby. 

    At 14!!! 

    The funny thing is, back then a diagnosis of endometriosis meant that you were pretty much infertile. So having a baby (even at 14) would have been an interesting feat of nature. 

    And let’s just say I did fall pregnant, the chances of an ectopic pregnancy was extremely high. So not really a solution to the problem right. Nor should that solution be discussed with a 14 year old who was so desperate she'd try absolutely anything to stop the pain every month.

    We left the “doctors” never to return again. 

    Jaime competed in her first ever body-building competition last weekend, and took home 3x gold medals, proving anything is possible.

    Over the years, I have had some good months (they really are a blessing) and some horrific months. 

    I remember one time in my early twenties calling an ambulance for myself. I lived alone, I was vomiting profusely from the pain. 

    I didn’t want to go to hospital, I just wanted pain relief. 

    I also remember when I was on holidays in Belgium in my early 30s, it was a last minute trip and I wasn’t prepared, you’d think I’d have known better. We’d just checked into our hotel and it wasnt long before I was curled up on the bathroom floor in a pool of my own sweat and literally yelling out the top of my lungs at whatever was inside me, to get out. Hotel security was promptly called by other guests concerned about the female screaming in the room next to them.

    The symptoms can vary from what some refer to as dysmenorrhea (painful menstrual periods), to being curled up in bed screaming due to the cramping of my uterus. I’ve never had a baby, (hats off to those ladies that have) but I think the pain follows a similar fashion to contractions. It comes in waves. I get a few mins of peace swiftly followed by a feeling that my uterus is in a vice and someone is winding the handle closed - tight. Followed by another few mins of peace. 

    Sometimes painkillers work and sometimes they don’t. It’s pot luck and that’s frustrating. 

    Jaime's journey to the stage has been full of obstacles and challenges - which makes the end result all the more rewarding

    Everything in my life must be organised, down to the absoloute last letter. 

    Apart from being a right royal pain in the ass, every single god damn month, like friggin clockwork, it means that planning things like holidays and outings need to be considered carefully. 

    I lost count early on in life with the number of times I let friends and family down through being confined to my bed, toilet and shower. Females are very sympathetic, but sometimes I felt they just thought I was being a pussy, I mean how bad can the pain be. Those that don’t have painful periods (bless your lucky souls) will not understand.

    And it’s not just “that time of the month”. During my cycle, if I’m not careful the pain can come on without warning. Interestingly, if I do a hectic cardio workout, in the hours following, it feels like I have a brick sitting in my uterus with the corners digging in like knives. 

    I’ve been known to have to take my pants off at the gym (after crawling to the ladies room thankfully) in the hope of relieving some of the pressure on my uterus. 

    Jaime's gym sessions are carefully planned so she can take into account when her periods are particularly painful

    Luckily I’ve not had to do any cardio for over 12 months now, but weight-training is no different. 

    It takes planning. I know when I absolutely am not going to be able to lift, so I plan accordingly. 

    Sometimes I’m caught off guard or “I’m early” and I need to either make my workout a priority, like literally right there and then, or I’ll have to wait, often resulting in missed workouts and inconsistency. 

    It never results in an awesome workout, but if I can get it in the bank that’s gotta count for something. Yes it does make me feel better, but I often have to give up half way through and race home to bed.

    And this is a monthly occurrence. 

    If I’m lucky, I get 2 maybe 3 weeks, where life is “normal”. Every 28 days without fail. 

    For 28 years and still counting. 

    It’s daunting, exhausting and depressing.

    Jaime travelled all the way from Perth to Melbourne in November 2019 to spend time at the Ab Factory and brush up on her lifting technique

    Since commencing this new way life with training and nutrition, I have noticed big improvements. 

    Is it the increase in nutrient dense food, the elimination of a lot of highly processed foods (not all, coz you know the hormonal cravings are real), is it weight training or something else? 

    I personally feel it's due to all of these factors, but I can almost pin-point it even more. I personally feel it’s down to flaxseed oil. 

    I dunno if this is true, but I believe it is. When I’m compliant with my flaxseed, meaning flaxseed with every meal, the months are definitely not as bad. When I’m not compliant (traveling etc) it’s noticeably worse. 

    Maybe I should go and visit that “doctor” from 28 years ago and perhaps recommend he not suggest a 14 year old to have a baby, but maybe start by cleaning up their diet. 

    Call me a crazy lady- but maybe that’s a better option/starting point. ;-)

    Jaime xoxo

    Jaime's next body-building competition is on Sunday 25 October 2020. Stay tuned for more updates!

    PS: Read more about Jaime here

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