Endometriosis

Saturday, February 22, 2020
My best friends visiting me at the hospital, Dec 2014



Chloe Bennet’s Instagram post opening up about her battle with endometriosis was so refreshing to see. In better words, sis snapped. Not only because she’s talking about a health issue a lot of women struggle with, but because she’s advocating for women’s health and how to manage our feelings of discomfort when speaking up about our health issues. It’s terrible that society raises women to believe we should keep hush-hush about periods, or that symptoms of extreme pain when getting your period are normal. I find no other explanation as to why women are more uncomfortable pooping than men than the ludicrous belief created by an extremely patriarchal society that women should be delicate, hairless, odorless, and have our nails painted pink. It’s some dumb crap, if you ask me. Ha-ha, get it?

I find it irrational that we still reduce womanhood to reproduction and it’s interesting to see how women are treated by health care professionals. I once told a gynecologist that I probably didn’t want to have kids and she called me selfish. Then I switched gynecologists. I’ve always hidden my pads or tampons before heading to the bathroom, and I’ve always felt awkward telling someone I was dating that I was on my period. I’ve never been able to talk about periods on Instagram without getting DMs from men saying: “TMI.” I’ve rarely been able to tell someone I probably won’t want kids without them responding, “Wait ‘til you get married,” “Don’t say that,” or “You’ll change your mind!”

As a side note: You don’t hear people dismissing men when they say they don’t want kids. You also don’t hear people wondering how men struggle to balance work and family the way women do when they have kids. And the truth is... yes, I might change my mind. When I was 13, I promised I wouldn’t have sex before marriage. And when I was 15, I swore I would NEVER drink alcohol. When I was 17, I said I would never get a tattoo. And even at 25, I swore on my life I WOULD NEVER pursue a master’s degree. And yet here we are. That’s the thing with people. We change our mind, and we change it again. And while it’s important we recognize that not every decision is absolute, it’s also important we validate the decisions we do make at present time as they are not less valid because "we might change our mind." Or because we are women, or because the world likes to raise housewives.

Endometriosis 

Let me tell you the story of how I found out I had endometriosis, and how suddenly every pain I had ever felt during my period made more sense. I’ve always had painful periods. There was a time in college that I couldn’t even get up from bed because my cramps were so painful and strong, they felt like 1000 rusty needles stabbing through me. My periods were regular, usually lasting 3-4 days, and my only major symptom was really painful cramps. I Googled it, I asked around, I talked to my doctors about it, and heard the same conclusion again and again: “This is normal. Take some pills for the pain and put a warm bag of rice on your stomach.” So, I mastered the art of managing really painful periods for years because no doctor ever validated my concerns, so this must be normal.

Until one day in December of 2014 I had a really terrible stomachache. I went to urgent care (thinking it could be appendicitis) and they found a mass in my ovary and fallopian tube. I was immediately sent to a hospital where they did further analysis, and it turned out that the mass was a massive cyst. Insanely, my first thought was, “how embarrassing.” I felt embarrassed! Isn't that wild?

Within 24 hours, I went into surgery to get the cyst removed, and that’s where all the magic happened. During surgery, the surgeon noticed I had been suffering from endometriosis and, right then and there, removed as much of the endometrial tissue as possible. I had no idea that I had been suffering from endometriosis, nor that cysts can result from it.

Endometriosis is hard to understand. By definition: “Endometriosis (en-doe-me-tree-O-sis) is an often painful disorder in which tissue grows outside your uterus. With endometriosis, the tissue can be found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes or the intestines. The most common symptoms are pain and menstrual irregularities. Effective treatments, such as hormones and excision surgery, are available.” But what the heck does that even mean, you know? Doctors have explained it to me, I have read about it, I have heard people talk about it, and had plenty of chats about what it is. But still. What the heck does all that even mean?

My gynecologist also explained you can treat it with either birth control or surgery. When I found out I had Endometriosis, I felt weird and uncomfortable about it. However, it was soon after I discovered that a lot of women suffer from endo – 1 in 10 to be exact. Some women are asymptomatic while others have intensely severe symptoms. Many women have the condition most of their lives without being diagnosed because doctors and others around them attempt to pacify them by saying things like, ‘Your pain is normal. Just take some pills. Use a bag of rice.” Or simply because they don't have any pain and can live with it. Endometriosis is more normal than people think it is, and it's treatable and manageable.

That surgery was the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Now I visit my gynecologist frequently, and I speak up whenever I feel abnormal discomfort, which doesn't happen as much. About 4 months ago, though, my pelvic area felt sore. I concluded, DR. CABI, that I probably had a cyst, so I spent a whole afternoon at the E.R. getting all sorts of tests done. Turned out... my jeans were just too tight.. lol.

I do get painful cramps sometimes, but they are nowhere near as terrible as they were before. I try to talk openly about periods on Instagram (despite the DMs I get from some men saying ThiS tOo muCh iNFormATIOn, Ew). I just want to normalize the conversation, for me. So I never feel “weird” about my health again.

And I want to encourage you to do the same. Any discomfort, any pain, any concern. Tell your doctor. Get yourself checked. Get that pap smear you've been putting off. Check and check again. Your life may literally depend on that one doctor visit you just don't have the time for. Make time for you.

Speak up.

Be kind to people.

 -Cabi

My top meals for weight loss

Saturday, November 09, 2019
Chicken, breaded chicken, white rice, brown rice, and vegetable soup
I get a lot of questions about what I eat for weight loss. And the truth is, I eat the same meals all the time because I’m a creature of habit. I do between 1450 and 1500 calories a day, whether I work out or not.

These are the meals I have Monday to Friday. I eat everything, and don't count macros, just calories. On the weekends, I'm less strict with what I eat (It's currently Saturday and I'm about to eat some fried rice, YUM!) but I still watch my calories. However, weekend meals are not cheat meals. They are just different meals. All the meals below are meals I truly enjoy eating, but I have found a balance between healthy and tasty. I practice: Healthi-er, not healthy. I thought I would put them all together here. Please know that just because I buy a product from a store you don’t have access to, it doesn’t mean there won’t be a product similar to it out there. These won’t be recipes, as I don’t have recipes, but just general ideas of my meals. Season to taste.

Breakfast ideas:




-1 scrambled egg (Cooked with avocado oil spray) mixed with bit of ham, 1 wheat toast with light butter, fruit (berries, blueberries, etc), and drinkable yogurt or coffee, or sometimes green juice (I buy my green juice ready from a vegan store).
- Egg salad wrap (Boiled egg, mixed with light mayo and either ham or bacon). Crepini’s egg thins for wraps, or a pita pocket bread. Then a banana, and unsweetened almond milk.
- Chicken salad wrap. (Boiled chicken mixed with light mayo). Crepini’s egg thins for wrap, or pita pocket bread.
- Breakfast in a rush: Almond milk, coffee OR drinkable yogurt, a banana, and a built bar.
Find a brand you like, and measure according to how many calories you permit yourself.

Crepini Egg Thins
Avocado Oil Spray
Drinkable Yogurt
Smart Pockets
Almond Milk
Built Bars

Lunch ideas:


-Trader Joe’s stir fry cauliflower rice with chicken, adding extra peas, corn, and kale. Seasoned with garlic powders, Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel seasoning and oregano.
-Trader Joe’s stir fry cauliflower rice with chicken. Seasoned with soy sauce.
(Cauliflower rice measure: One cup mixed with chicken)
-Trader Joe’s carrot spirals with Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs, marinara sauce and parmesan cheese.
-Bowl of salad: tomatoes, lettuce, chicken, shredded cheese and salsa dressing (Preferably from Chicken Kitchen)
-Half breaded chicken with 1/2 cup of rice.

Trader Joe's Cauliflower rice
Trader Joe's Carrot spirals
My nephew says: ['][frweo8*(°&(8u7-0p--------pp-
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 Dinner ideas:




-Half of Amy’s Margherita Pizza, adding condiments like salt and pepper.
-Breaded chicken with brown rice, or tomato salad (made with 1 tomato, garlic paste, olive oil and one lime)
 -Subway’s Tuna Salad (Just tuna, lettuce, and shredded cheese. No dressing because the Tuna already has mayo)
-Turkey sandwich with provolone cheese, boiled egg, lettuce and tomato.
-Breaded chicken wrap with lettuce and tomato.
-Anything else with the remaining of my calories.

Amy's pizza
Cheese
Bread

Snacks: 
-Built Bars in either Peanut Butter or Coconut. I’m not diggin’ the other flavors as much lately. Pretty hooked on the Peanut Butter flavor nowadays.
-Banana
-Oranges

Dessert: 
-Halo Top Ice cream
-Rebel Ice Cream

Halo top ice cream

The measurements of these meals are based on my calories and hunger. Sometimes I’ll have more cauliflower rice for lunch, and less dinner. It just depends on how my day is going and what has been working for me that day. If I eat an egg at night, then I don't add a boiled egg to my turkey sandwich later on. If I have white rice for lunch, I don't have white rice for dinner. I also try to have one of my snacks before I work out, either a banana or a protein bar.

Be kind to people :)

-Cabi


Heartbreak, Bumble & Worst Date

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Like many people in the world, my first real heartbreak occurred in high school. I was around 17 and had my first breakup with a boyfriend, who started dating someone else 10 days after breaking up with me via text message. It was fun! Looking back now, I know I was in love, but I can’t remember why. I think it was the novelty of the relationship that made me feel in love. The teenage rush, the sneaking out of my house to see him in the middle of the night, the head-first dive without fear of wiping out, the walking around a golf course and watching the stars together for hours. You know,  the first. I was in love with the relationship, with the feeling, but I can’t remember what I loved about him. Which is silly, considering I cried about it for a year after. Okay, fine, like two years. Whatever. 

My most recent heartbreak—self-inflicted, I should probably mention—occurred about two years ago. I ended a relationship with someone I thought was going to be in my life forever but who wasn’t what I was looking for… That didn’t mean I cared about him any less. I still sometimes wear the earrings he gave me, or listen to music that reminds me of him. Sometimes people are meant to be in your life only for a while, to teach you something about yourself, and once you’ve learned what you need to learn, you have to let go. It’s how life works—the whole “know what you want and don’t settle for less; settling is not the same as compromising” kind of heartbreak I chose.

Sad and all, I was relieved I had made the right choice for my life. He truly was a lovely guy—really nice, really selfless, really loving. However, if I had to write a chapter on that relationship, it would be titled “Sorry about the heartbreak, but your views on life are bullshit.”

So I texted my best friend and ended up where I always go when I’m sad: my best friends’ house. We went out to eat Latin hamburgers, talked about him, listened to their wise advice about LeTTiNg Go oF pEoPLe ThAT aREn’T gOOd FoR yOu, and then got a Bumble account. Well, well, well, wasn’t that quick?
(I’m kidding, I got the account a few months later)

Speaking of Bumble..
I don't like meeting guys online. Not that there's anything wrong with that, and I have, but I like the whole: “Let’s be friends first, then let’s date, text but don’t call me because WHO likes to talk on the phone. Also, give me space, but still talk to me, but don’t text too much because that's overwhelming. I will for sure put my walls up, and you’ll have to try really hard to get me to commit to you—despite how much I do like you—all while respecting my individuality. You also have to be woke, but not fake woke. Anyway. I’m fun. Good luck dating me!!!!”

Just kidding. I’m not complicated like that.

I’m much more complicated. Does anyone wanna date me?

I managed to keep up with the times by downloading the self-proclaimed feminist app Bumble. (Shout-out to the guy I met on it who said he didn’t believe in feminism because he didn’t believe in ideologies but then added that he was a "conservative Christian Republican who voted for Trump"… all in the same sentence.)

Bumble was founded by Whitney Wolfe, who created the app so that women could feel safe and comfortable dating online while minimizing their exposure to online sexual harassment. In this app, women monopolize the power to initiate the conversation after matching; if you don’t go first, men can’t talk to you. THE DREAM. That really squashes all the “sup sexy?” messages from men holding dead fish on boats. If only IG had that option. Everyone say, “Thank you, Whitney Wolfe!”

Bumble was really fun for a while. I’m not on it now, though. Still, I’m sure I will be at some future point—either for casual conversations or fun dates with interesting guys. Depends on the mood.

Bumble generated really interesting experiences while I was on it that I will one day write about- wait til you hear about the homophobic lawyer- but nothing beats my worst dating experience to date. Which interestingly enough did not happen through bumble. But here it is.

The Worst Date
I was still a bit shaken up by my first heartbreak when I flew to Europe for a study-abroad program early in college. I had dated some boys between my first boyfriend and college, some which I had liked even more than I had liked my first boyfriend, but even then, I was still shook by the first. Despite having had my heart broken and my newfound fear of vulnerability and commitment, it was nice meeting European boys.

One in particular. Let's call him Nik.

My university had four floors, noisy stairs, and no elevator. I had to walk up three flights to one of my classes every Tuesday and Thursday, and I was always completely out of breath by the time I reached the third floor. There were about 20 students in that classroom, all taking Intro to Sociology. It was in that class, out of breath and sweating a little, that I saw him. Nik was a typical European guy with light brown hair and green eyes. He sat at the corner of another table and always rested his back against the wall. I thought he was cute. What’s that saying again? “Girls shoot their shot by staring at you for two seconds and then looking away, hoping you’ll notice?” Yeah. That’s what I did. For days. Until he noticed and started doing the same. For the next few days, I felt Nik staring at me. So, naturally, I avoided him like the plague. After a few more classes, the stars aligned, and the professor put us in the same group for a class project. That’s when things got interesting. He introduced himself and we hit it off right away. He laughed at my jokes, attentively listened to my project suggestions, and ignored everyone else in the group.

Then, after class, I was two minutes into my walk to the train station when I heard him behind me. “Hey wait up. I’ll walk you to the train station.”

He added, “Are you liking the city? What are you doing here?”

I told him about my study-abroad program and that I was from America. We chatted for a few minutes until we reached the train station. He said, “I’d like to keep talking to you. Could I have your number?”
He-e-ey, the staring game worked!

After a few weeks of chatting back and forth, he finally asked me out on a date. He asked if I wanted to have dinner with him and offered to drive me around the city at sunset. I said yes, hoping he wouldn’t be a serial killer. What could possibly go wrong being alone with an unknown dude in an unfamiliar city not knowing the language?

Just my luck, one of my best friends was visiting me. I felt bad about leaving her alone for a whole evening, so I decided to cancel the date. However, sweet as the guy was, he said he had no problem with her tagging along because he really wanted to hang out with me. I was reluctant to go on the date by myself, so it worked out to my advantage.

The date
On the day of the date, he showed up late. I brushed it off because he was being kind enough to drive me and my friend around the city, and, honestly, it happens. We got into the car, and I felt excited but a little weirded out by the circumstances of our date. As promised, he took us uphill to watch the sunset. In what it felt like the middle of the woods. It didn’t feel like the safest experience in the world, so I was glad I was with my friend. He talked about the neighborhood a little bit, and then we got back into the car.

There, he asked if we were hungry. I said, “Sure.” He proceeded to take us to a bar, hoping it would serve food. While we were there, he said, “Let’s do takeout.” I asked why a couple of times, but he wouldn’t say. “This is it,” I thought. “He’ll take us to his place and this is how he’ll kill us.”

This is when the date really got interesting. We ordered food to take out and sat waiting for it at a table. While we waited, he decided he would tell jokes. Like … jokes. He was a stand-up comedian, and we were his audience. The first joke he told was about an olive. It was awkward, but kind of funny. His loud and obnoxious laugh, however, was not. Now, as for the second...

The punchline of the second joke involved his taking a big gulp of water and spitting it out, pretending to be an older woman spitting out jizz after giving her husband a blowjob. The water was supposed to be jizz.

I watched him tell this joke, horrified. He obnoxiously laughed as water ran down his face. I inwardly said … “Check, please!”

I didn’t object to paying for my own meal, although, in a patriarchal society whose men set their own rules for courting women, I found it strange that he didn’t follow the normal dating routine in which men feel obliged to pay for a meal to make an impression on a first date. Still, I didn’t mind. Not the norm, but didn't mind. After the food arrived, Nik drove us to a crop field, which is how I discovered that there are dark, barren crop fields in middle of Europe. What was this, Iowa?

“He really could be a sociopath,” I thought. But let’s be real, sociopaths are charming and wouldn’t tell jizz jokes. We were safe. He found a spot to park in the middle of the crop field. It was dark and cold, but he still made us eat our food outside. I think he meant for it to be a romantic experience, but all I felt was cold.

After finishing our cold meals standing, looking at the dark, deserted field, we finally decided it was time to go home.

That’s where the story ends.

Ha ha.

You’d think, right?

We got into his car, but, as he was trying to take off, the car started making sounds. Specifically, the tire. It just wouldn’t move. The car wouldn’t move. It had started fine, but it wouldn’t go. After a few attempts, he climbed out and assessed the situation. The tire was stuck in the mud. That’s also when I realized that my Converse were full of mud.

He got in and explained what was happening.

Then, he said, “Can you guys get out and push the car while I steer the wheel?”

That’s it. This is how I die. He will steer his way into the horizon and leave us here to die.

“Sure” I replied.

So there we were. Two girls in the middle of a dark crop field in Europe pushing a car in the mud. I wondered how we had gotten here, and all I kept replaying in my head was the dirty joke he had said back at the restaurant.

Finally, we got the car to move, and it took off for a bit. I watched the car go while we got full of mud head to toe. I looked at my friend and asked, “Think he’s coming back?”

And just as I said that, I watched the red headlights light up and the car came to a stop. And there, in the middle of an empty dark crop field, I watched this white face come out of the dark and run straight to me from the distance. He was running towards me, full speed, ecstatic that the car had gotten out of the mud. He hugged me, tried to pick me up, and couldn’t because I was too heavy, and then I was mortified. That’s the moment I decided to change my identity and never return to the life I was living because what’s the point?

Just kidding.

Worse.

I got back in the car with him. And to make matters even more awkward, I sat in the backseat of the car with my friend instead of the front with him. So, in the middle of the night, he drove us home as our Uber driver.

When we got home, our shoes were so full of dried up mud, I had to throw mine away. I still miss my blue converse, RIP.

It was the strangest experience of my life, but I made it out alive. I left the city soon after and went to Madrid.

In conclusion.
He meant well. I know he liked me because he continued to text me, even after his date had gone terribly wrong. I actually saw him again after that. Redemption or whatever. He wasn't a good kisser. That's the tea. Dating is rough out there in ‘em streets. Lesson to learn: Don’t date boys that don't have good manners at the table.

Thanks for reading.

Be kind to people.

-Cabi

How I've handled fat shaming in my life

Saturday, October 19, 2019

I think it’s a waste of time to get upset, especially over things you can’t do anything about. Being upset can be a useless emotion. If you get in a car crash, for example, that sucks. But there’s nothing you can do about it. You can either choose to be happy or upset about it. It won’t change the circumstances, so might as well try not to stress about it.

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