Heather’s story: how I beat adenomyosis

by Laura McKnight

By Heather Jacobsen

heather jacobsen

Heather reversed her adenomyosis and IBS symptoms using natural remedies, reducing her stress levels, and addressing childhood experiences. She has a wealth of knowledge that she generously shares in her Facebook group (make sure you check it out). Plus she’s a genuinely beautiful person! Check out her story below…

The diagnosis

In January of 2016, I was alarmed when I began experiencing heavy bleeding mid-cycle (the first time for me), as well as terrible cramping, huge bloating, extreme lower back pain, and profound sadness/depression. My gynaecologist called me over the phone and all in one breath, said, half-heartedly, that I had adenomyosis, it was a progressive disease, and we could try synthetic progesterone, but since that usually didn’t work my only hope was to have a hysterectomy. As if all of this was no big deal. The phone call lasted less than five minutes.

I found the news devastating. I was not ready to part ways with my uterus.

Researching natural options

Luckily, though, I already had experience in medical and nutritional research and I was sure there had to be another way. I spent the rest of the year learning everything I could about adenomyosis, and its related endometriosis, and taking care of my body as best I could.

I learned a bit about how hormones work in our body and that fixing adenomyosis (as well as endo and other gynaecological problems like PCOS and fibroids) can be done, if we fix our hormones.

I already had a thyroid disorder (thyroid has its own set of hormones), so I worked with a different doctor to get my thyroid back to normal levels.

I learned about estrogen dominance and how to rid my body of excess estrogen (dandelion root tea and magnesium worked for me), as well as prevent it from getting out of balance again (live “clean”). And I learned how stress, which produces cortisol, can mess with our hormones as well.

The importance of reducing stress

It turns out that for me, stress was my biggest problem. I was already eating a healthy (paleo) diet, and I believe this helped me to heal faster.

It took me a while to realize that Crossfit, a high intensity workout regime that requires lifting a lot of weights, was causing my body too much physical stress to recover between sessions. This might have been because I was on a low-carb diet, or because I had a pre-existing thyroid disorder or autoimmunity already. Either way, when I became too exhausted to get out of bed and couldn’t walk upstairs without pain, I decided to take a break.

A couple of months later, I started to feel relief. When I was ready, I did go back to exercise, but chose more gentle forms, such as yoga and gardening, walking in the woods, swimming and paddle-boarding in the summer, and making sure to never to overdo it (something I often did prior to my diagnosis).

The impact of ‘Adverse Childhood Experiences’

The other big stressor in my life, which took me time to realize (I thank meditation for helping me discover it), was that I had “Adverse Childhood Experiences.” I scored a 4 on the ACE test, and though I always knew deep down inside that I had had a difficult childhood, I thought that I was tough, resilient, that everything was in the past and that I had moved on.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. The body remembers things our mind has conveniently tucked away.

Through journaling (which is now turning into a creative non-fiction book), poetry, and therapy (EMDR, Sensorimotor psychotherapy), I was able to access old, hurtful memories, free them, and train my body to respond less, physically, to perceived threats.

I also found the strength to confront my father, the perpetrator of lifelong emotional abuse, when I found him attempting to emotionally abuse my children as well. When I asked him to respect some boundaries around my children that I set forth, he refused. This not only reinforced the fact he didn’t respect other people’s boundaries, it also (after a year of being patient with him and waiting for him to say yes to my boundaries), forced me to send him a “No Contact” letter, meaning, I once and for all had to shut him out of my life.

While it was a long and painful year, shutting him out of my life meant that I could finally finish healing, something I hadn’t let my body do for a lifetime. It also meant that my children would be safe from emotional abuse and thus chronic disease later in life.

Relief without surgery

About a year after my diagnosis, I had completely reversed the symptoms of adenomyosis and avoided a hysterectomy, without ever having to do synthetic hormone therapy or surgery of any kind.

Even my IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) symptoms, which I’ve had most of my life—including food allergies, and inflammatory reactions to certain foods—have lessened significantly. Along the way, I have also learned to be patient with myself. A lifetime of holding in difficult emotions, surely can’t be cured in a few short months.

I hope you find my research, my story and my experience inspiring enough to do whatever you need to do in order to heal your body (mind, and soul). I truly believe it’s possible, if you have the willpower.

Get in touch

I started a Facebook group to help others like me, and have begun compiling my research into a document that you can access from the group. Maybe one day it will turn into a book. My personal story is already turning into one—a non-fiction novel about chronic disease, family estrangement and building one’s own self-esteem (sign up at my website to find out when it becomes available).

I believe that you have the power to heal yourself, and deep down inside, you may already know some of what is causing your system distress. You just need a few people, yourself included, to believe in you. I do!

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