Sep 11, 2018
Listen to Wendy talk with Joanna from USA about her successful journey on Heal Endometriosis Naturally, 12 Week Online Foundation Membership Program with Wendy K Laidlaw.
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Read the full transcript below:-
"Wendy: Hi, this is Wendy Laidlaw here from Heal Endometriosis
Naturally. I am joined today with Joanna, which is very exciting.
Joanna: Hi, Wendy.
Wendy: How are you today?
Joanna: I am doing really well.
Wendy: Well, thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed with me today. I know everyone that first comes on to be interviewed -- it's a bit nerve-wracking. It's kind of like "What questions is she going to ask me?" but I was particularly excited about interviewing you today because you're coming to the end of the foundation program. You've had stage four Endometriosis. You've had cysts. You've had adhesions. You've had everything. And I think people will really be interested in your stories so I thought maybe you could just give a little bit of background. I know you've read my book and that lead you to the foundation program, but perhaps you could tell a little bit more about where did you see information about the book, what you got from the book and then we can get more information from you then.
Joanna: Okay. So I didn't know that I had Endometriosis and about last year I started getting a lot of pain. I've always had painful periods. My periods started when I was 13 and I had to leave school the day it started. I was in so much pain and it's been like that forever. It's always been taking time off work and leaving a college class in the middle of a session because your pain was so intense and crying all the way home because your legs were going numb. And I always thought that was normal. I had no reason to question that that was not normal to feel like that during a period, more so because my sister was like that, my cousins were like that. It ran in the family. I don't tend to talk about other girls about how do you feel when you have your period, so I based it on the people around me and just went on with life and it actually started getting worse as I got older but more so last year. The week before my period my insides would start to feel like they were on fire and very sore like somebody kicked me or punched me in the gut. Then I would get my period and it would last 8 days and be horrifically heavy and you'd be so sick and then the whole week after, up to two weeks after sometimes, I would be, again, with this super sore gut. And that was completely new, as a whole new phase for me and I would get maybe four good days and then the next period would start. So it became pretty cumbersome to deal with that. It started affecting work and life because I would go to work and I'd start to get this sore feeling and it would always start near my ovaries but I always thought it was my appendix. That was "Something's wrong, it's got to be my appendix," because, like I said, I never thought it would be my reproductive system acting up.
Joanna: So I work in the school district. I work with kids so I'm always on my feet, very active. I'm a very energetic person so I like to participate with the kids and last year, May, I started with this extra pain and I couldn't function with the kids. I would miss about three days a week from work. That would be going in and begging the principal, "Can I please go home? I can't even carry my own weight right now. I'm in pain." So eventually I had to make the call and put my notice in because I wasn't reliable anymore in my job and started doing test after test, seeing doctor after doctor, and every test was coming back "There's absolutely nothing wrong with you. Your imaging looks perfect. The ultrasound, the CRT scans, X-rays, everything is great." And I was doing two CT scans a month. You'd do it, you'd go home, the pain would intensify, you end up back at the urgent care and another CT scan. Eventually they started calling me an enigma saying, "There's nothing wrong, it's all in your head. Yeah, you're saying there's this pain but we're not seeing what you're saying." So that went up from early June last year until September I had the gynaecologist finally say, "Well, I don't even think it's gynaecological. I'm gonna send you to a GI. I think it's in your gut." And the reason was I was experiencing a ton of gut pain every time I had my period. That bruising was all in my gut.
Joanna: So of course I went and the GI wants to do a colonoscopy. So, okay. I prepped for that, which is, by the way, horrible. I mean, you're already not feeling well and then they put you through this 10 day prep regiment and you go through the procedure. And that came back nothing's wrong, because internally they couldn't see anything wrong. I ended up having a very close friend of mine through church that had just gone through a hysterectomy. When she was able to come back to church everyone was kind of hearing that something's wrong with Joanna. "She's not well," "We're praying for her," but she didn't quite know what was going on, so she sat down with me and she said, "Do you mind telling me what are your symptoms? What are you really feeling?" So I started telling her about the pain, that my legs would go numb, my back would hurt, my intestines were always sore, and the ovaries and the period were horrible, and her first reaction was, "Have you ever asked about Endometriosis?" Because that's what she had. She had stage four and unfortunately did not know about things like this. She's one of the ones that ended up getting a hysterectomy from it all. But I had never thought about it.
Joanna: I grew up in Canada and would go to the doctor and tell them about the period and Endometriosis never came up. It was never a word we would hear about, so I never had reason to think about it. So I said I would go to the gynaecologist again and asked to see if you could check for Endometriosis. And apparently there's no test. You have to get a surgery. Well, I had to go to three different doctors to convince them to do a surgery. It's not like everybody goes in asking, "Can you cut me open? I want you to see what's going on." And finally I kind of have to lie. It wasn't a full lie but I had to then think back about my family history and say "I don't know if it's Endometriosis but my grandmother had severe pain and my mom had this and my sister had this. And fibroids run in the family." And as soon as that came up, then he goes, "Okay, I don't think it's what you have but I'm willing to go in." So I had a [?] [00:07:46] booked a month after the colonoscopy for endometriosis diagnostic. And that was in November of 2016. And when he went in I remember coming out of the anaesthesia. You know they say you're not going to remember what we tell you. I remember everything he told me. He came and he sat down and he goes, "Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is you were right, we found Endometriosis. The bad news is by the time we've done the surgery it's so far gone that there is nothing we can do about it." He said, "I was able to burn off a bit on your ovaries but it's all over your intestines and we can't burn your intestines." Which I'm glad they didn't try to cut my intestines.
Wendy: I'm glad, too. Yes.
Joanna: I just remember crying. It was so overwhelming to hear that you have this. Sorry, I'm going to cry now. It's really overwhelming to hear that you have a disease that they could have done something about but they refuse to help you. That's kind of what the medical system is. But yeah, so I had these pictures and I just remember going home and staring at these pictures of my gut, black, covered with these black blood things. I can't even describe it. It looks like you're invaded with something. It wasn't just a little bit, so of course it's overwhelming. And to know coming out of it that you have to live with this pain now. That's their theory. So I didn't take very well to the surgery and I don't do well on the drugs so I was very sick from that and two weeks later he had me come back in to go over things in more detail. The first thing he wanted to push was Lupron. I have a friend who has breast cancer and she was on Lupron. I told them, "This is what you give cancer patients." He says, "Yes, it's a very strong drug, but in your case this is what you need to go on." And he started describing the side effects, and it was like if I take this you're telling me the pain might get better but I'm going to have all these other symptoms that sound terrible.
I mean, it was you're going through menopause, you might throw up, you weight gain weight or lose. Just all these things, and I got scared, and I think it was really good that I got scared or else I would have taken it. I've always just done what the doctors tell me because they're doctors and they're supposed to know better and they're supposed to be there to help us. So I had told him, and kind of just based back on my friend, she was taking a very natural route so I told him that day that I wanted to hold off on the Lupron if I could and seek alternative medicine. And the moment I said that he wrote me off. He literally said if that's what you’re going to do I can't work with you anymore. That those are not doctors. They have no medical educations like we do. We do not consider them to be actual doctors. So I said okay. There was nothing I could do. I was actually shocked that that was his response. So basically, "If you don't want my drugs that's it." So I went home very upset and my husband sat down with me and said, "You know well. You want to do the alternative medicine." We hadn't found a natural path yet but I started doing research online and I just typed in "healing Endometriosis naturally" and lo and behold one of the first things that popped up was your book. And at the time I was too cheap to buy it. At the time we didn't have Kindle, so I said, "Ooh, if I get Kindle I can get a free 30 day trial and download the book."
Joanna: And I, despite having been a teacher and now being a substitute teacher, I really have to be interested in a book to sit there and read a whole book." And I started reading your book and I couldn't put it down. I literally read it in like a day. It was like I was reading my own story. Everything I had found online -- there was all this do this, do this, do this, but there was nobody that really made me feel like "This is what I went through, this is what I'm feeling, and this is what worked for me." And I was skeptical because I'd never believed in taking a natural route. I've really always been a Western medicine type of person, but the book really spoke to me and just opened my eyes to the possibility that, wow, if this is true I can fix things without having to go the medical route. So we started going through and I saw you had the cookbook, so I also downloaded that. I ended up buying both. I actually read your book three or four times because I'd always go back through and highlighting things and making note of what I could do. So I decided to try to follow the book to see if I could fix myself that way. I actually had not seen that you had the foundation program yet, so it was very hard. It was not easy to follow in the beginning because you're so used to eating what you want, eating how much you want to eat. I loved bread, I loved fast food. We went out and ate all the time. So for me to see no dairy, no soy, no sugar, it was like "WHAT?"
Joanna: Luckily I have a very loving husband who said, "Okay, if we're going to do it, I'll do it with you." So we started slow and the first thing we took out was the gluten, and it took about a month to finally get past that you're always feeling hungry and you're always wanting something fatty and sugary. But by the end of the month we were actually able to take away all four of those things, and within 8 weeks of starting, on my own, following what I was trying my best to on your book, I started getting a lot of relief. And the biggest thing that excited me was the [?] [00:15:03]. That was the first thing that kind of popped out to me. I did my own research on it and I said it seems like it's okay to take. So I started with 40,00 for like a week. And I believe I had emailed you. I did not expect you to email me back. You emailed back and you had told me you started with 40 and went up to 80, so I did that. I was reading in the book about how it can break the adhesions down. One of the things that had come out of the surgery in November was that we were infertile because Endometriosis had completely sealed my tubes shut and the surgeon had come in and said that if you ever want a chance at having kids, you would have to try IBF and even that would probably not be successful. Like, that's how bad your tubes are. That was really hard because what I failed to mention was that what initially put me into the doctor was we were starting to consider having children and I had this pain and they said before we look at fertility, we ought to check this pain out. And that's how it progressed towards what it is now.
Joanna: So it was very emotionally really hard. We're in our 30's now, and to hear that there's maybe no chance. Part of looking up the Serrapeptase, I came upon a lot of women saying that they had taken it and they had done a test. It's called an HSG test where they put a dye in and they check your tubes with this dye. It's like an ultrasound. Most of them, I was reading, they were saying, "My tubes are open." I was super skeptical and I said I'm going to try -- Wendy's book says 12 weeks on Serrapeptase and good things can happen. So twelve weeks later. I started January, the Serrapeptase, and then late February, early March -- I want to say it was the first week of March -- I made an appointment to do an HSG test. And here you have to go to reproductive clinic. It's a whole little process, but knowing my history the doctors there were pretty skeptical that what they're gonna see is maybe it's a little better but it's probably the same situation. So I was going with the same idea, and I remember doing the test which was, for me, actually pretty painful. I don't know why it hurt. Some women say it doesn't hurt, but other women it does. It feels like you have this burning liquid going up, because they take a balloon and expand your uterus. It's not a comfortable test to put yourself through, but it was worth it if it came back positive. The doctor was in there and I'm like clenching trying to get through it, and she stopped and she goes, "It looks perfectly fine. Your flow is so good." So the dye flows through the tube and she goes, "Everything is passing through. So your tubes are good." She goes, "There's a little bit of residue from scar damage, but it's not blocking anything.”
I just remember being so happy. That was one of the best news we'd received since all of this had happened. It was just really good to know that, wow, now we have a chance to have kids. This Endometriosis can be stopped and things can get better. So after that was when I had, somehow, online, I had just happened to be going through stuff online. Your book popped up again and below it said Foundation Program. And I don't know how I didn't notice it before and I clicked on it and realised I could work one on one with you. And at that point your book had helped me so much, I was really excited to be able to have the opportunity to work with you because I knew I could get more than from just the book. And so yeah, I started working with you -- I don't even remember if it was May or June.
Wendy: Beginning of June, I think it was.
Joanna: Okay. And I probably wouldn't have done it if things had continued to go well, but after the HSG, about a month after or so, at the end of April, I remember emailing you saying something's wrong. My pain is coming back and I'm not quite sure I'm following everything that I'm on, but it's like everything's reversing. I'm going backwards rather than forwards and I was seeing a natural path at the same time because I figured I've gone away from believing in doctors but now I'm listening to everything the natural path is telling me because how can natural stuff hurt? Unfortunately, the natural path -- So I had done a blood test that tested everything, all my vitamins, all my hormones, and it came back that my DHEA levels, which is a hormone that you produce naturally in your body, were low. So she decided to prescribe me DHEA, which I actually in the office asked her, "Does this have any side effects?" And her response was, "No. If you take too much your liver's just going to detox it and out it goes," and whatever. Actually, I was on DHEA way before that, in January. It was about four months I was taking it for, but the effects did not hit me until April. And it was you that mentioned after starting the program, when you looked at what the natural path had me on, you said, "Oh my goodness! You're on DHEA what?" and I had never -- even though I questioned what the medical doctors were trying to put me on, I never questioned the supplement.
Joanna: And in the beginning of June when we started you told me, "You need to stop right away." And I did not. So you said you need to look it up and when I looked it up I was shocked to find out that DHEA increases your estrogen levels immensely. It is considered a steroid so for men it basically takes estrogen and it converts to testosterone and they use it as a replacement for steroids. But for women it basically doubles up your estrogen level. And when you have Endometriosis you don't want to be doing that. And I had come across that article I shared with Wendy that there was experiments done on mice and it showed that they were on DHEA for 16 days. They were put on 16 milligrams, which is a lot for a mouse -- for 15 days I was on 10 to 20 milligrams a day for four months -- and they all had massive cysts in their ovaries. And that just hit me, and the reason I'm saying that is about mid june the pain got so bad that I ended up having to go to the ER and they found cysts on my ovaries. Again, I thought it was my appendix going, but no. I had a cyst on my right side. One had ruptured and one had not and it was causing immense pain. I couldn't walk. I couldn't do anything. Function. And I remember you telling me, "Even though you stopped the DHEA it's still gonna be in your system.
Joanna: So the fact of me seeing this research article and now here I am. I've been on this stuff. It's only been four months and I have cysts. I believe that it is what helped to cause that. The gynaecologist disagrees, of course. So that happened and then it went from "you have a cyst" to "you have a twisted ovary." And then it went from "you have a twisted ovary" to "it could be something else." "It could be your [Indiscernible] [00:24:09] Endometriosis. So we were back on the Endometriosis bandwagon again and again the emotions hit because I was doing so good. I was back to work, back to normal life. I would do my photography. Everything was good and then I got hit and life just went down. It was really hard. I don't think I've ever cried so much as I've cried in the last two months.
Joanna: So I ended up -- because the theory was the ovary was twisting, it was laparoscopic was the answer I guess, to untwist it in case the ovary was dying. So I did not want to do laparoscopic. I started doing the [Indiscernible] [00:25:00] massage for a bit ,and it would help but it wouldn't take all the pain away, and so I finally agreed to do the laparoscopic. Of course they go in -- and this was just recently, two and a half, three weeks ago on the 20th of July -- I went in for laparoscopic and I came out and the doctor said, "So there's no Endometriosis that we can see." She said there was one thing on your uterus and one thing on your bladder, and their tiny. They're like peas, tiny little things. And she goes, "There's nothing on your intestines at all." And it was mind blowing to hear that. What do you mean there's nothing? They said there's nothing that can be done. I've been doing this thing with Wendy but there's got to be something! She said, "No, there wasn't," and I think that was one of the best news that we had gotten.
Joanna: It’s still shocking to know that here you were told only a few months back in November that once it hit your guts like that, that's it, you've got to be on these heavy drugs and there's nothing we can do. The likelihood it can spread, get into your lungs -- they really scare you. And now to hear it's basically in remission state, it's going away, was just amazing to hear. So it really just proved -- and in a short while, January to July, everything cleared up. But I'll show you the pictures. I don't know if you'll be able to see them well. That was my ovary in November. Completely white, marbleized, and the black dots on it, the stuff he burnt off. I mean, even to see your ovaries scalded like that is not [Indiscernible] [00:27:13] to look at. And then it's really hard to tell, but that's part of my gut and it's really black. It looks like it's black and blue. And I have a couple of other pictures I couldn't find, but basically a lot of my gut looked like that, just purpley black growth.
Joanna: So when I went in and I got my new pictures -- so let me find it. This is in the exact same area. That's my ovary now. It's got a little bit of white, but it is not a marble. It's pink and fleshy and squishy like it should be. And my gut, the same area of my gut, is up here and it's completely normal. It was really amazing to see. I can't put it into words. It's just really exciting. i can't even find the one now. Oh, here we go. So this is not bad. It might look bad, but that was black before it looked white and the reason it's white is the Endometriosis left and it kind of left a little shadow of itself. So that is scarring but I know if we continue with the program that can all go away because obviously it's gone away on the other parts. So yeah, it's just been really good.
I still battle with the end result of adhesions. It's left behind a lot of adhesions but with the myio-fascial massage and all that, I know it can be fixed. And I'm still taking my serapeptase. So I'm on this road now to being so close to back to where it was, which is super exciting.
Wendy: Well, it's fantastic to hear your story and I'm so pleased that you're sharing this story because I know it's been an emotional rollercoaster for you, where you've been where doctors tell you there's only one route and it just feels quite hard to follow with the surgery and drugs and there's no way out. And then you take a way out and you speak to a natural path and you think you're doing the right thing and they don't understand them to be choices[?] [00:29:53] so they're giving you something that's feeding Endometriosis. Because not a lot -- natural paths promote, it's fantastic, but unless they understand Endometriosis and how expensive it is to [Indiscernible] [00:30:05] estrogens or any other traditional estrogens that you can blame it so quickly, and of course that's what happened with your insides, is they [Indiscernible] [00:30:13] but equally as well, I do remember you telling me when you went in that your cysts had gone as well.
Joanna: Yeah, they were. So basically my reproductive area looked really good. No cysts, my appendix looked great. My appendix in November was marbleized. It had been attacked at one point and he didn't remove it because he said he didn't see any growths, but it was all white as well. But she said my appendix looked, great, my ovaries looked good except for the two little things they found. They did burn them off or whatever they do. And the gut looked great, so yeah, it was good. She mentioned the adhesion. That she could see, which I kind of expected that that would be there, but that's a small part of everything else.
Wendy: Absolutely. And I know that you were reticent about going for the surgery, but you were in so much pain because the DHEA had inflamed your insides [Indiscernible] [00:31:18], which as we've found out is now partial bowel obstruction as part of the adhesions. You were always frightened and scared into having the surgery, weren't you, which you were reticent. You didn't really want to do. But we've joked about it afterward saying I'm so glad you did because I have had women say, "Have you got surgical proof that your program works?" and I'm going, "Well, normally the proof is the reduction and elimination of pain and symptoms." That's proof enough, women coming out of bed, having normal periods. And it's being normal, like a day and a half period or very light. No clots, not bloating no period pain. That whole shebang. And then as I say you've gone in and -- so how does that feel to kind of see those photographs?
Joanna: Yeah it's good. It's weird to be looking at a photograph like that, but it was actually one of the prettiest pictures I've seen in awhile. It was really good, and I've actually even never seen my husband that excited since we got married. Because really the doctor didn't even talk to me first. She went to them because I was still coming out of anaesthesia and when he came to see me, my husband, he just had this big smile. I was crying partially because of that but also because we did find there was a little bit of a bowel obstruction because the adhesions had twisted my bowels a bit. But we are working on that. But he goes, "I know you're overwhelmed that there's still this pain in your side a little bit from the bowels, but this is so exciting." He was so happy to see that. And I think that's a big part of what this program has really helped, too, is it's really hard to deal with Endometriosis. It's not a disease that people consider a disease unless they have it. It's something that I have even battled to talk to women about because I've had a lot of women come to me and say, "I have Endometriosis and it's not that big of a deal. Why are you making it such a big deal? It does not hurt the way that you're saying."
Joanna:So I think even as women, the education is not there, to know that there are different stages and it really can debilitate a person. Because it completely knocked me -- I was bedridden for weeks. It really does affect you. So that was hard. You feel very alone, which what I really loved about the program is not only having you, but you do these conferences and we get to see these other women we're talking to face to face and it's just so nice. It's really refreshing to have that, but it's also given me the confidence to build a better relationship with my husband because now we understand what are we really dealing with. It's not just, "Oh, she's whining again. Her period. Okay, whatever." And for him to even notice things like, "Hey, you remember last year you were having eight day long periods and it's like three days now and you're fine?" After surgery I was scared because two weeks after I was getting my next period. I hadn't had one in between and I actually called the doctor and said, "I don't want to do this. I'm on this natural path, but I think I need you to give me some painkillers because when my period comes it's going to be bad." Because I had to stop all my supplements I was on because they had me on a lot of things. And my period came and it was fine. I mean, it hurt a little because I had surgery pain and stuff, but the cramping was an hour, maybe two hours -- gone. And the period was generally really good. It lasted three or four days and that was it. And I was expecting to be in excruciating pain, so it just goes to show it just changes you so much overall. So it's been so amazing. It's been a really amazing journey.
Wendy: Well now remember when you said that you were expecting your periods and the cause of all the drugs morphine and anaesthetics and stuff you really thought like, "Brace myself. I'm going to be in a big thunderbolt of pain." And that in itself is very interesting isn't it, because how does that differ from the periods you used to have before?
Joanna: Oh, they were excruciating. Like I said before, I remember even in high school having to call my dad to leave work and come and pick me up and you are using every ounce of your strength to walk out the door because you cannot feel your legs. And you're getting this wave of pain and it was intense. And it was always like that. And to go from --
Wendy: I remember your shock when you're like, "And my periods came and no pain and I think that's really wonderful. Full credit to you for following the program, following the suggestions and being consistent and persistent with it because even in spite of the surgeon frightening you into having this surgery, which I knew you didn't want to have, so much good has come from it, really, in your case because you've seen your insides. You have physical proof of your insides healing. Isn't it interesting even with everything that's going on, your periods have improved because you've got such great healing in there and you've been removing systematically the inflammatory factors and swapping them out with things that re soothing and healing so the body's healing naturally. How does it feel? Do you think that that doctor six months ago, who pretty much wrote you off -- if you could speak to him now --
Joanna: Well, I don't know. If he sees this. [laughter] No, but you almost want to go and wave the pictures in their face and say look, I did this all naturally. But you know what, I still feel like with how stubborn some of the medical system can be that they could still say, "That doesn't prove anything. It wasn't as bad as you think it was anyway."
Wendy: You're right, they would dismiss it, because I did the same when I got better. I went back to my doctor and back to my surgeon and said, "You need to share this with other women." And they dismissed me with the back of their hands. I think you'd got referred to as an enigma, and what I got referred to too. But I think when you understand the body's always wanting to heal itself and if it's not healing there's something stopping it. And then you're looking for what's stopping my body from healing. And that, to me, was my first -- when I was lying in my bedroom for three years in a gross, dreadful state with all but giving up home of carrying on and I got a cut on my finger and I noticed it was healing. And then I started to think, if that's healing, why are my insides not better[?] [00:38:46]? And then understand, as you said earlier, it's an estrogen-dominant condition. It's a hormone imbalance, there's lots of inflammation, so if you systematically -- and of course, as you say, people do normally need support because you're in pain, you're struggling just to get through the day, and that's where the foundation program came about because people were emailing me saying, "I read your book. It's great. It's starting to help but I've hit a wall," or, "I need more help," or whatever. So what particular aspects do you like? Is there a lot of emotional support, would you say, in the foundation program that you felt had been beneficial?
Joanna: I think it's everything. I feel like you're a combination of a nutritionist, health coach, life coach. Yeah, it's really helped with my emotions to -- I mean, you pushed me to start meditation, which I hated doing and now I really appreciated it. The journaling was horrific, but now it really helped me to get my brain wrapped around things. It helps me to have a method of venting, because as a woman fighting a disease like this it can be overwhelming on those around you and you can get whiney and you can get complaining and sometimes you can need a break. And I saw that, that it was getting a lot for my husband and my family to handle, and having the journal kind of gives you that break too where you're not complaining out loud. It gave me an outlet to put my thoughts down and I was starting to even figure more stuff out about how I was feeling and my symptoms and connections between, "Hey," I wrote, "I had a really stressful day and my pain level was like a 9." And it kind of helps you become that investigator that you spoke about.
Joanna: And then on the other hand, just the nutrition side, I know that I can come to you and say, "This got recommended to me. What do you think about it?" and just having tht person to go back and forth with really makes a difference. You can do research online, but it does make a difference to have a person to speak to. So yeah, I loved it for all aspects of what it's done. The friendships it's created -- I feel like Susan, who's in the program right now, even though I've never met her, it's really enjoyable to be able to sit and talk with her every two weeks with her. So you kind of create a community.
Wendy: Yes. And as you said that's so important. You've said it a couple of times and I know I felt that you feel so alone in this disease. I think someone has cancer, everybody seems to understand what cancer is and there's a degree of sympathy that people get with that condition, whereas Endometriosis, I know you had people saying it's an enigma, you've got such a small cyst, why is it causing you so much pain -- you're always being pulled into questioning. You have ot fight to be believed. For people to come together who are going through that -- that's why I start these programs every couple of months with people coming together, starting at the same point and going through it together so you don't feel alone, you feel that you're all in this together and it makes you feel like you can do this. Especially on the bad days, especially on the weeks you're just like "I can't be bothered" and "I really want to give up," because it is a twelve week program and you need to keep going through the program to get through.
Joanna: And it's not easy. There's a lot in the book about you. Like, Wendy's telling me to keep doing this and I just want to stop.
Wendy: Of course. But that's where I come in. I see myself as your coach, your champion, running along beside you saying, "Come on, you can do this," because I know how hard it was because I've been there and that's why I've created the program with the different levels of support, to say you can do this. And I never said it was going to be easy but it's absolutely worth it to get the results.
Joanna: It is. As soon as you get that -- it could take four or five weeks, but it just takes a little change in your pain to realize something's changing, or to be able to come off painkillers. That's a huge thing, because they really don't make you feel great, and you don't realize that until you stop taking them. But yeah, I mean, I'd encourage any woman who, if you just even have periods that just don't feel right, to question it and get it looked at and question everything now. I learned after the natural path thing to even question the supplements and I even find every time I google a recipe or supplement or something, I always put Endometriosis at the end of my search to see does it clear up estrogen. What does it do? Is it a phyto-estrogen? Is it a xeno-estrogen?
Wendy: And do you find now because you've got the education, education webinars through the program on the membership site, do you find that you feel more confident now with what's going in your body and you understand it's effect?
Joanna: I definitely do. I actually feel like I go in with more knowledge when I go in to see -- so I'm seeing a new natural path now and everything she suggests I say we need to look up how that affects estrogen. She says, "Why?" Because I have an estrogen-dominant illness and I know there are a lot of things that we might not think -- for example, turmeric. They say take turmeric and turmeric is a phyto-oestrogen. So just little things that we eat or put in our bodies. So it's actually been kind of fun to go in and say, "Hey, I actually know this about my disease. This is the type of blood work I need you to test." I didn't mention that the reason she did the DHEA is my bloodwork did not come out that I had extremely high estrogen. She did not look at all of the different parts, I guess, which is what we get from your program and there's no actual estrogen. There's three actual components that make it up and if we had done that then we would have seen. So later down the road, the next blood work, yes, it showed it, but initially it didn't which was why the DHEA was prescribed because "you don't have an estrogen problem."
Wendy: Well, that said I think, again, medical profession are trained in a certain way. They're not trained in nutrition. Natural paths don't understand, again, the hormonal perimetar of women with Endometriosis and don't tend to -- what the program does is look at the whole of you, not a one result or a one symptom. It looks at all of the different aspects together and then forms a picture, and that's where, when you and I are working together, we're working together as detectives, Sherlock Holmes going, "Right, let's look at this a bit closer," because there's always a reason why you're getting a symptom or something while you're going through the program. And I think what I've really noticed with you since the beginning of the program is your confidence. Perhaps you could share with people how you felt about coming on just 10 weeks ago?
Joanna: I mean, I did not want to show my face. I think we were doing a conference call or something. Yes, I work with children. I can be super outgoing with kids, but when it comes to something like this -- I mean, I'm still nervous right now. Don't get me wrong. You're exposing yourself. You are. And I know this is going to be public, so you're vulnerable, but I feel more happy to share it because you do get that confidence and the excitement gives you that confidence and the knowledge gives it to you. So I want to help other women because, like, I said, I thought I was doing great and it literally hit me. I went one day fine and the next day suddenly --
Wendy: But you were really unlucky because you were doing great and it was just an unfortunate thing that your natural path didn't understand Endometriosis.
Joanna: Yeah, but this is even before your book. So last year, it went from super active to Endometriosis hit me hard. That can happen to anybody and you don't realize it. I think it's important as soon as you start feeling symptoms you really start to look into it and what is causing it, what's going on. It's worth the effort on your part as a person to look out for yourself.
Wendy: And what would you say to women who are considering the foundation program now?
Joanna: I would definitely recommend it. It is worth it. It's worth, if anything, having that support network. I mean, I know you have the advanced program, so I know there's a possibility you're not going to be 100% fixed at the end of the 12 weeks, but what it did for me -- I think we're on week 11 now. We're almost done -- what it did for me, it gave me the tools that I didn't now to have. I wouldn't have even thought to take -- I had never heard of Serapeptase. I had never heard of the protein powders and never considered them.
Wendy: I think that's it I think that's what my aim was with the programs, everything in the book. But the program was to give you a toolbag. A toolbag can be the support network, give you multi-learning at different levels. You have the webinars, audios, handouts, downloads, Facebook group, group Q&A calls every fortnight, the one on ones with me. So there was that level of support, because normally people stop off really well with great enthusiasm and they hit a wall or life gets in the way and that's where they need that additional support.
Joanna: Yeah, and I think that's kind of hitting the nail on the head. If I have to encourage anyone with the program, it would be you will have moments where you hit a wall and you will feel like it's not working or you're going backwards. It's almost that saying of it's going to get worse before it gets better, and you do go through that within the first couple weeks.
Wendy: I'd like to call that being tested. You're being tested as if to say "do you really want to get well?" because this program works if you work it.
Joanna: Yeah, and you have to push through.
Wendy: But sometimes that's where the support comes in and it's normally six to eight weeks before people start to see the benefits, but it's that combination of factors with one had coming down through the layers of the onion and looking for the core of the information, and on the other hand putting great seeds in to get great roots of nutrition and amino acids and vitamins and minerals. So you're feeding your body with everything it needs to heal itself whilst removing and swapping out what's causing the symptoms.
Joanna: And you feel better. Like, food wise, I told you I love food. I love fast food. I love everything, but now we eat so much better and we call it fancy food because you're having really good quality things that you would go to a restaurant and pay $50 or whatever a plate for and it's by no means that much when you make it at home. But you do start eating really well and it can be really fun. It is a really fun journey once you can get past -- stop focusing on your pain and your Endometriosis and start focusing on you getting better.
Wendy: Absolutely. I think you told me a funny story about your husband as well. It was a bit funny about the food to start with and then he went out and had some horrible food and then came back and --
Joanna: Yeah. We had been going gluten free and dairy free. I'd cook him his huge meal and 20 minutes later he'd be starving. That's something we learned. Our body is just taking in everything, so for the first little while like 20 minutes in you're like, "Man, I just had dinner and I'm hungry again." But he hated that feeling and he goes, "I need my sugar. I need my gluten. That's what made me feel good!" I said "Okay, there's nothing physically wrong with you. You can go back on sugar and gluten. I don't care. Thank you for being there for me, but I'm good now. You can go back." He went out for a burger or something and he goes, "Ugh, I feel terrible. I'm never eating gluten again!" So he's actually away on a work trip and he's eating all gluten free, dairy free, soy free, because he says he feels so much better. And he's not the one that has an illness. So I think it's good for everybody.
Wendy: Well that's it. I think the program does have rippling effects. I know families and partners get involved as well to help support the necessary lifestyle change that needs to be made. It has rippling effects out to everybody, which is fantastic.
Joanna: Yeah, and I think when it comes to doctors, the hard thing is you have the foundation but you still have the doctor on the side. And I wouldn't say get rid of your doctor, but I think it's important -- like, what I had to do is I had to really search out a doctor that would listen, and I am blessed now that I am working with the surgeon that did this recent surgery. She's so supportive of me taking the natural route and she knows that my goal is to be as natural as possible. So yes, she would love me to take the medical medications if I agreed to, but she's okay. She goes, "I want you to try everything for you that you feel will work for you and I'll be here if -- " let's say, Wendy's program never worked, then they're there but it works. I can't say it doesn't work. So you need to seek out people that will hear you.
Wendy: And I think that's what the aim of the program is, too, to widen your community of support on the other side as well and make sure that you have your voice, know that it's okay to say know, know that it's okay to ask questions because, again, our culture encourages people to be a good girl and a yes girl and kind of "Yes, Doctor. Whatever, Doctor." Too frightened to question and ask. And obviously when you're making that transition away from the conventional medical field and looking at natural routes, it can be a bit daunting, be a bit scary. Kind of take that responsibility. But that's where, again, I encourage women and if they are having to interact with their doctors in any capacity, even if it's just from a reassurance perspective to go "You're still there in the sidelines, aren’t you? Right. I'm going to teach you what is working for my body." And it's wonderful when you get doctors and surgeons -- I had a doctor who started using the same protocols and principals with people in his surgery, in his clinic, and he was emailing me going, "Wendy, this works!" and I'm going, "I know. I've been telling you this for months." It's wonderful when they start to listen, and if they're a good doctor or surgeon they'll be excited for you because the whole ethos of a doctor is to do no harm. That's their motto. Clearly their aim is to heal you, to help you to get better, not to make you worse, so if you are getting better I would hope a good surgeon or doctor who's supportive of your choice to take this route is happy that you're getting better, because surely that's the aim, not to keep you pumped full of drugs and painkillers.
Joanna: Yeah, and you will find the ones that are like that, but there are good ones out there and you just have to be willing to let go of the one you have and search out. And you can. I'm sure everywhere there is someone that you can find.
Wendy: But ultimately it's all about not having that requirement with a surgeon or doctor.
Joanna: Yeah, exactly.
Wendy: It's all about you knowing your body better than anybody. I don't care what they're trained in or how many years they've been in the field. It does not interest me one jot because the women I work with, they know their bodies better than anybody else. They have lost that relationship with their body.
Joanna: Well, prior to my downturn in June, I didn't go to the doctor for the four months, and I was going a lot before that. So, yeah. And I think one of the biggest things that you've really helped me with is learning to say no to people. Not just doctors. To just people and things in my life, because I think I shared in the beginning of the program -- I love to help. No matter how I'm feeling, I'll say yes. We had a friend move and I was feeling terrible and I went and I helped them move and I remember you saying, "What's wrong with you? Why did you do that?" I couldn't say no. And it's taken me awhile to get there, but it's really important to listen to your body and know when to rest and to know when to tell people, "Hey, I'd love to be there but I just can't right now. I need to look after myself. I'm not doing well. When I'm better, yes, I'll be there." So that's been a really big help, because for women, if you have kids -- I don't have children, but for those who have children, you feel like there's a lot of demand on you.
Wendy: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I think you've had an amazing journey so far. I've admired your commitment to yourself even from the beginning to implement the book, and again, just keeping moving forward, keeping being consistent and persistent, listening to your body -- you’ve had life throw obstacles in your path, but you've bounced back and you're living to tell the tale, which is fantastic.
Joanna: I feel thankful to you.
Wendy: Aw, well it's great working with people like yourself. You're really committed. Because the program doesn't work -- people poke it with a little stick and think it's a fad because it is a lifestyle thing. I refer to it as a new path. It is a pathway that once you're on you can't revert back to eating rubbish, you can't revert back to all the various stuff because then your symptoms will return, but you can see from the photographic evidence, which is so exciting, that if you do make the changes your body responds accordingly, and that's really exciting.
Joanna: Yeah, but even without photographic evidence, you were saying like with eating, I have cheated. I've had a bite of something that's got gluten and you feel it right away. Your body starts to talk to you and that's actually pretty neat in itself.
Wendy: Exactly. It's having that confidence of knowing what it's saying and what is happening, making those connections. Thank you so much for coming to chat with us today. I know that lots of women will take great hope and comfort from this and this is why I was so pleased that you were prepared to come and chat with me because I think people think, oh, well it worked for Wendy but it's not going to work for me, or it might have worked for the women on her testimonial page -- probably paid them to say that, which I didn't. Previous students as well. Just the very fact that you've had the HSG test, your cysts disappeared, your ovaries are better, your uterus is better, your intestines are better, and even your period. I mean, wow. In amongst all of that your period improved. I felt that was something people would want to hear because it's a lot of people, if they're maybe listening to this in their bed or bath going, "Oh, there's no hope," with all these drugs with terrible side effects I want to see that their is hope and here Joanna is living testament, as I am and other women, and I just want to thank you so much for taking the time out. It was a wonderful chat.
Joanna: You're welcome. Thank you for having me.
Wendy: No problem at all. Yeah, so thanks very much".
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