My Story….Endometriosis

On March 8, 2022 I had surgery to remove my uterus and was also diagnosed with endometriosis. To get to this point I had to see 3 different gynecologist, this is my story….

In late 2018 I started to have a lot more issues with my period. I was sadly used to painful periods as I have had them ever since I was a teenager but this time it was accompanied by a lot more symptoms including heavy flows and blood clots. 

In early 2019 I paid a visit to my GP and she recommend that I have a pelvic ultrasound to make sure that there wasn’t any fibroids as I have a family history of them. Keep in mind this was before the pandemic and I still had to wait 7 months, I was even on a cancellation list. For those that haven’t had a pelvic ultrasound they start by doing the ultrasound on the lower portion of your abdomen. After that they do an internal ultrasound that will give the doctor a better understand of what could be happening. Picture a long and I mean long wand wrapped in a condom and covered in lub. The one thing that they don’t tell you is that endometriosis does not show on the ultrasounds. 

I head to my doctor’s to get the results of the ultrasound as something was found. My doctor tells me the results. I have congested pelvic veins and she doesn’t know why. She decided to send me to a gynecologist to find out the reason why. By the time I receive these test results and get the referral to the gynecologist my symptoms have gotten worse. Painful heavy periods but the worse part was the migraines and next level fatigue that accompanied those symptoms. I couldn’t make it though a work day without wanting to take a nap. My energy to do anything was at an all time low and I spent most of my free time on the couch. I felt mostly normal only 1 week out of the month. 

I had high hopes that the gynecologist would be able to help me get rid of my symptoms. I also went in with questions of my own. By this point I was seriously thinking it might be best to have a hysterectomy. 

Lets just say that those hopes were dashed after spending 5 minutes talking to the doctor. After I explained my symptoms to her, so told me her treatment plan. That was to put me on a newer hormone that was designed to help patients with endometriosis, keep in mind that at this point I wasn’t diagnosed with endometriosis. This was a shot in the dark diagnoses with no proof that I actually had it. I asked if removing the uterus was an option if the hormones didn’t work. She told me that she would just put me on strong hormones. Which is not something that I had wanted to do. I had also mentioned to her that at this point in my life I was in my mind too old to have kids. Something that I have accepted and I am perfectly happy being the fun Aunty. She told me that I was still young enough to have kids and that she had other patients that are older then me that have had kids. During the course of this visit I felt like I was completely ignored by the doctor and that she was more interested in pushing hormone therapy on me then actually looking for the root cause of my issue. Needless to say I wasn’t a happy person.

I decided to try the low dose hormones because at this point anything was better then nothing. They helped with some of my symptoms for about a year. The symptoms slowly started to come back so I decided to go see another doctor to see if they could help me.

The second gynecologist I saw told me that there was nothing more that she could do for me other than put me on birth control pills and even that might not help.

By this point I was frustrated and almost ready to give up, until my friend started talking about the gynecologist that she was seeing. I decided to ask my doctor for another referral as by this point a lot more of my symptoms were starting to return. For my first appointment with Dr. Walters, it was a night and day different. She listened to me and everything I said. When I asked if removing the uterus was an options she was completely on board. Needless to say I was completely surprised by this and informed her of my previous experiences. What she said to me has stuck with me:

“If a 20 year old is mature enough to have a baby, then a 38 year old women is mature enough to make the decision to not and have her uterus removed” Truer words have never been spoken, society looks at most women like they were put here to have babies and that is it. Having a kid is just as permanent as having a uterus removed. 

Dr. Walters tells me that the surgery will be within 5 months. Keep in mind this was during the pandemic when we had a lot more restrictions in place. In fact I was expecting that my surgery would get cancelled at least once. The first date for my surgery that they gave me was Feb 10/22 and it would take place at the Victoria Hospital, that date ended up being cancelled. My new date for the surgery was March 8/22 at the newer HSC Women’s Hospital. My pre-op appointment was done virtually and Dr. Walters walked me though the steps they do to remove the uterus, cervix and fallopian tubes. The surgery is done laparoscopically and you end up delivering the uterus like a baby. They also have to pump you full of gas so that they can see all the organs properly. 

During this time the Manitoba Government changed the amount COVID tests one needed before surgery. I had to do 1 test 10 days before my surgery and the other one was done 1 day before my surgery. Let me tell you those PCR COVID-19 test aren’t the nicest test to have to go though but it was necessary. 

March 8 arrives and its surgery day. I had been told before hand that I might need to spend the night in the hospital. Not something that I had wanted to do and I went into it thinking that I would be going home at the end of the day. I wake up from surgery and wholly crap do I have such pressure in my lower abdomen that I want to pee, weirdly though I had no pain. The nurse told me that it was too far for me to walk to the bathroom since I had just woken up, so my only option was the bed pan. Which is awkward and not gonna lie a little weird, since I was in an odd position I couldn’t go. The nurse figured that it was from the surgery and decided to give me some IV pain killers which I believe was fentanyl and also some anti-nausea meds for the nausea. Shortly after the nurse gave me the medication she noticed that every time she would talk to me my heart rate would spike. She ended up having the anesthesiologist come and take a look at me. She checked my chest to make sure that none of the gas bubbles had gotten into the chest area. She also request that I have an EKG done to rule out anything. 

Since my heart rate remained high she recommending that I be admitted for the night in order to be monitored and to see if they could bring my heart rate down. They took me for a ride up to my room which was on the 5th floor of the hospital. Now let me tell you the hospital rooms were almost as nice as a hotel room. I had my own room with free cable tv and you could also use your Netflix account there if you wanted. I was way to high and out of it to even remember my Netflix log in! Once I was situate in my room, Dr. Walters came to see me to tell me how my surgery went. She mentioned that it went very well and that I had minimal bleeding. She also told me that they had discover some endometriosis. It wasn’t until later on that I found out the endometriosis was on the uterosacral ligament. These ligaments are what help support the uterus and this type of endometriosis tends to be quite painful. She probably told me more things about the surgery but its hard to remember the details. 

I was hooked up to an IV with fluids the entire time I was admitted, by 2am my heart rate still hadn’t come down. They were trying to bring it below 100 beats a minute and at this point started to treat me for dehydration. I had multiple bags of IV fluids plus 2 rounds of half a bag of IV fluids. The 2 smaller bags of IV fluids were pumped into me over a hour time span. I was finally able to go home around 3p on the 9th. It took me roughly 10 weeks to full recover to where my energy returned to normal. I had gotten so used to feeling tired and crappy that I completely forgot what it felt like to feel good. 

What have I learnt from this experience, you and only you can advocate for your health. It is completely ok to ask for a second or third option. Don’t feel shy about saying it either. In fact I wish I would have done it sooner. I have no regrets on having my uterus removed and every woman that I know that has had it remove say it was the best thing they ever did. Some doctors perception on periods need to change. Too many times I have heard from people that their GP’s tell them that a painful period is normal. Being curled up in a ball on the couch in pain is NOT NORMAL. As well doctors shouldn’t just assume that a women wants to have kids. Not everyone does, and to tell them that they won’t remove the uterus because you might change your mind isn’t acceptable. Unfortunately there are a lot of things that could have been done differently within the health care system. 

I will leave it at this having the surgery was the best decision I ever made and I would make it all over again multiple times to be pain free and have my live back to normal. If I hadn’t had the surgery I wouldn’t have been able to capture some of the images that I have this year. Including spending 4 hours on the beach photographing an amazing northern lights show.

Sunrise & Golden Hour Photography Walking around The Exchange District

The Historic Exchange District in Downtown Winnipeg is one of my favourite places in the city to shoot. The area is over 20 blocks of beautiful older buildings, which I absolutely love to capture. 

However I have never done a sunrise shoot, so I decided one weekend to do a morning shoot. 

A little bit about The Exchange District

The buildings in the Exchange District where built between 1878 and 1913. During that time Winnipeg was going through a boom and the Exchange District was at the heart of. It even got the nickname “Chicago of the North”. Throughout the Exchange District there are hand painted “ghost signs” on a lot of the buildings. This was how the businesses in the area advertise their products and services. They also make for a great subject to photograph! 

In 1997 The Exchange District was declared a National Historic Site and has become a favourite place for locals and tourists to explore! 


I prefer shooting sunrises instead of sunsets. Most people sleep in on the weekends which makes it a perfect time to shoot sunrises, especially if you are wanting an empty street look that I had wanted for my images. 

Shooting sunrises can be challenging, as you are pointing your camera towards the direction that the sun rises in. The camera has a hard time seeing dynamic range like our eyes see. If you are wanting to do silhouettes this is the perfect time of the day to do them. I wasn’t looking to shoot silhouettes that morning. I had wanted to capture the golden light hitting the buildings (more on that later in the blog)

I haven’t expected to get any colour in the sky that morning, but I was presently surprised when I did. One of my tips when shooting either a sunrise or sunset is to look in every direction, as you can get colour in the sky where you least expect it. 

A couple of the images below were taken facing south and south west. Which allows for easier exposure of the buildings as you aren’t shooting towards the sun. I also thought that I would share my exposure settings, that I have used to capture these images. 

Gear used for the shots below:

Canon 5D Mark 3

Canon 16mm-35mm Lens f/2.8

  • Image # 1
    • Aperture – F/7.1
    • Shutter Speed – 1/200 sec
    • ISO – 1000


  • Image # 2 
    • Aperture – F/7.1
    • Shutter Speed – 1/100 sec
    • ISO – 1000

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  • Image # 3
    • Aperture – F/7.1
    • Shutter Speed – 1/100 sec
    • ISO – 1000


The Golden Hour

This time of the day is absolutely beautiful to shoot in. You have 2 chances each day to shoot during the golden hour. The first is after sunrise and the second is just before sunset. Shooting during this time in the city can be really tricky because some of the building is lit by the sun while the other parts are in the shadows. When I am shooting during the golden hour I like to shoot in manual mode, this allows me to pick the exposure that I would like. In order to get details in the shadows I will slightly over exposure the sky. I shoot in camera raw which allows me to get the detail back that was over exposed, in post production. 

The angle of the sun changes throughout the year which will create different lighting effects on the buildings. For instance in the summer the sun rises, more to the north in the eastern sky and in the winter it rises more towards the south. 

Going out during different times of the year and watching how the light hits the buildings will help you learn about lighting. 

Gear used for the shots below:

Canon 5D Mark 3

Canon 16mm-35mm Lens f/2.8

  • Image # 1
    • Aperture – F/8
    • Shutter Speed – 1/160 sec
    • ISO – 1000


  • Image # 2 
    • Aperture – F/8
    • Shutter Speed – 1/160 sec
    • ISO – 1000


  • Image # 3
    • Aperture – F/10
    • Shutter Speed – 1/160 sec
    • ISO – 1000


Hope you have enjoyed reading my blog! If you have any question about photography please feel free to ask!


Tips for Cityscape Photography


Cityscape photography is dynamic and fun to shoot. It can also be challenging to shoot but I am here to help you out with those challenges!
Let’s get started!

Before we dive into the tips for shooting cityscape photography, I want to make a suggestion that will help you with your craft. When I first started out in photography I was told to read my camera manual from front to back. Yeah I know that sounds boring, so why am I recommending it? Well, it helps you understand what your camera can and can’t do which makes you a stronger photographer. If you know what your camera can/can’t do it will help you when you are out shooting.

1. Lenses to use for Cityscape Photography

My favourite lens to use is my Canon 24mm-105mm lens. It’s the perfect walking around lens for shooting cityscape. It gives you both a wide angle lens and a zoom lens. Having a walk around lens is perfect when you are doing cityscape photography, as you aren’t carry a bunch of heavy lens around.

If you want to go even wider then the 24mm lens then I would recommend using a 16mm-35mm lens. When you are shooting with a wide angle lens you need to remember that the edges on a wide angle lens are curved, which will result in making any straight lines curved. We will talk about how to fix that later in the blog.

A zoom lens would be a great lens to use particularly if you are wanting to do abstract or more detailed shots of the buildings. The great thing about a zoom lens is it compresses the scene that you are shooting so it makes objects look closer then what they appear to the naked eye. Keep in mind that these lenses tend to be heavy and I won’t recommend walking around with them for a long period of time.

2. The best time of day to shoot

The Golden Hour – Happens after sunrise and before sunset, it’s a beautiful time of day to shoot. The sun being lower on the horizon create’s beautiful long shadows in the scene. This time of day adds a beautiful golden tone to the image. It’s truly a magical time of day to shoot.


The Blue Hour – Happens before sunrise and after sunset, this is the perfect time to do cityscape photography because the lights will be on in the buildings. The best part about this time is that there is still detail in the sky and your images will have a wonderful blue tone to them.


3. Settings

This is the tricky part of cityscape photography and its also the personal preference of the photographer.

While your settings will very depend on the lighting and time of day you are out shooting. Here are the settings that I tend to us the most. I generally shoot in manual mode and adjust my shutter speed as needed.


  • Aperture – My go to aperture setting is usually between f/8-f/11. The higher the aperture number, the greater the depth of field, meaning more of the image will be in focus. The lower the aperture number, the shallower the depth of field, meaning more of the image will be out of focus.


  • Shutter Speed – This will very greatly depending on the lighting and the effect that you are going for. The shutter speeds that I use are fast enough to freeze the motion and that allows me to walk around without a tripod. They are generally between 1/200 & 1/400 second.


  • If you are wanting to show motion in the image then a shutter speed of 1/8 second or lower is perfect. You will need to make sure that your camera is on a tripod for these types of images.


  • ISO – Keeping your ISO low will reduce the noise in your images. I usually keep one at 100-200.



I do most of my editing in Camera Raw and Photoshop. I prefer spending more time shooting then behind the computer so I do minimal editing with my photos. I generally teak the exposure and add some clarity to bring out the details in the image.

The biggest thing with cityscape photography is to make sure that the buildings are straight. This can be done with the Camera Raw Filter in Photoshop. This video is extremely helpful and it’s really easy to correct the distortion.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog! If you have any question about photography please feel free to email me.

Fog, Tree, and Dress Series

Its Friday night and I am at home watching the Bomber game, when I noticed the fog start to roll into the stadium. I got excited because I love shooting in the fog and we don’t get a lot of foggy days here in Manitoba. As I was watching the game the fog got thicker so I started to get my gear and my dress ready for the next morning. I wanted to be in Bird’s Hill Park before the sunrise. The next morning just before I was ready to leave for Bird’s Hill Park I checked the webcams and didn’t see anything so I knew it would be foggy in the park. The minute I hit Highway 59 I got really excited, the fog was thick and it was gorgeous out.

I knew exactly were I wanted to do my shots. The minute I entered the park I felt like a kid on Christmas morning. I parked the car close to the trees that I wanted to use in my images and the minute I step out of the car I was greeted by this beautiful but slightly eerie silence. The morning air was crisp and cool with no wind, which is perfect conditions for fog. I gathered up my gear and walked to the tree to set up my first shot. What I didn’t expect that morning was the amount of moisture that was on the ground and I made the mistake of wearing my runners. By the time I got to the tree that I wanted to shoot my feet were wet.

The first idea that I wanted to try out was for me to be reaching up to the tree. I set up my gear and looked at the scene in front of me. The thing I thought was were should I position myself in the frame to achieve the image that I wanted. For me the right side of the tree had the perfect branches. As I was positioning myself in the right position I heard this dripping sound, when I looked up at the tree I notice a ton of tiny water droplets on it. Which made me realize I should have brought my macro lens with me so I could also shoot the water droplets! Next time I will remember to bring my macro lens with me.


My next stop was to one of my favourite places in the park. I stopped at one of my favourite trees to try out a couple more shots but I wasn’t entirely happy with how they turned out. What did catch my eye was another scene, it was a trail that led into the fog with a tree on the left hand side of the trail. I thought this place would be a perfect place to try out a running shot. Only problem was that I was wearing my runners and I didn’t think that would be a good look with my dress! Since my feet were already wet I decided why not try running bare foot. It was a little chilly on the feet but once I got used to it I was fine. When I got back to my camera I realized that I didn’t have a towel to clean my feet so I dug into my camera back and found some kleenex! After I put my shoes back on I looked at the back of the camera and I liked the results but I wasn’t blown away by them. I decided to try a couple more shots with different poses and the image below was the result.



The next scene that I was drawn to, was one that had large trees and then smaller evergreens. I love the different scales of trees in the scene. Another thing about the scene that I loved was the way the fog was making the smaller evergreens look, they were beautifully silhouette by the fog. I knew I wanted to place myself in between the evergreens and I wanted to be looking up at the taller tree. It took a couple of different shots to get the placement right but persistent paid off! I even got a little lucky with some wind, so there is a little movement in my dress.


Before I left the park to do my errands I decided to head back to the same place I was when I first was in the park. I ended up walking out to a tree that was out further in the field. At this time the fog got even thicker. I wanted to do some sitting down shots for this one and I wanted to make sure that I face away from the tree so that the viewers eye would be first drawn to me and then out of the scene. I wanted the feeling of this image to be a bit of desperation, which is why I ducked my head into my knee. With the final image I ended up moving the camera closer to the tree as I found that I was getting lost in the grandness of the scene.


I never had any intention of these images being part of a series but in the end that is what they became. I am extremely happy with the results and I look forward to more foggy mornings!

My Story……Living with a Mental Illness


I have struggle with whether or not I should share my struggles with anxiety/depression. I have decided to be brave and share my story. My goal with talking about mental illnesses is to help break the stigma that there is towards mental illnesses. My hope with me sharing this is that it helps someone and if I manage to help one person then it will be all worth it.

I first notice some depression when I was a teenage but I didn’t really think much of it. I kinda of brushed it off as me just going through normal teenage things. I really started to notice in my early twenties how bad my depression really was. At the time I was going to school, working full-time and planning a wedding. It all got really overwhelming for me and I ended up slipping into a deep depression. I would spend most of my days on the couch unable to motivate myself to do anything. Having a shower was a chore. my fiancé at the time(now my ex) encouraged me to see the doctor. My doctor ended up putting me on anti-depressant pills, which didn’t help one bit. At one point my doctor had tried me on a wide range of different antipsychotic. I tried taking these meds for one day only. Why? I ended up being so drowsy that I spent the entire day sleeping only being able to wake up enough to eat a small amount of food. My doctors prescribe these to me thinking that I was bipolar – which wasn’t the case. She ended up recommending me to the mood disorders clinic. The wait list is incredibly long and could take up to 2 years to sit with one of the their doctors for half and hour. While I was on the wait list my symptoms got worse. It was to the point were I would lose touch with reality and try to hurt myself. I didn’t do this because I was suicidal I did it because all I wanted was to feel something anything was better than nothing. That’s the thing with depression sometimes is that you lose all feeling. You don’t feel pain, happiness or even sadness. It feels more like an emptiness that you are a shell of a person. Once I saw the doctor at the mood disorder clinic she ended up diagnosing me with borderline personality disorder. Which is what is now known as bipolar. I understood the borderline part because I do tend to keep people at a distance. It takes me a while to let people in. I ended up getting better slowly. The medication eventually started working and I was able to go back to work. Later on I would be told that I was miss diagnosed and that I had a generalized anxiety disorder.

I have found that as I have gotten older my depression has gone away and all that is left is anxiety which is a completely different beast. For those that don’t suffer from anxiety its like a never-ending movie that keeps replaying over and over in your mind. You over analyze everything to the point that you end up second guessing yourself. My anxiety began to creep back shortly after my ex asked for a divorce. It has been present ever since. There are days and times when I am able to control it. I tell myself that everything is going to be ok and it’s not as bad as I am making it out to be.

I recently took a 1 month leave of absence from work. Looking back on it my anxiety had been an issue for the last year and a half. I had symptoms that I ignored thinking that I had a handle on things when I didn’t. I would shake like a leaf at the slightest of confrontations. I had a lot going on with taking a college course, learning a new job, and trying to do my photography. The worst part of it was that I started to not sleep properly. The thing I have noticed is stress triggers my anxiety which then triggers fatigue because you don’t sleep. I ended up spending periods of the night lying awake worrying about things that I said or things that I couldn’t change and had no control over. Why do we do this to ourselves? In my case it’s because I have a mental illness and I am not afraid to own it anymore. I was so afraid to take a leave of absence as I was afraid I would be seen as weak. The moment I realized that I had to take a leave of absence was when I was at the cottage I looked into the mirror and didn’t recognize myself. I looked exhausted like I was fighting an internal battle with myself which I was. I had a lot of different symptoms the worst of which was the trouble concentrating and remembering things. I would talk with someone and instantly forget parts of the conversations. Once I finally went on my leave I had time to decompress. This allowed me to sleep and did I ever sleep. I had never felt so tired before. It took 2 weeks before I felt somewhat normal. While I was decompressing I hated leaving the house. I wanted to stay in my “safe” zone and not go out into the cruel world. I forced myself to leave the house even if it was just to get groceries.

My doctors recommend that I try taking medication again. Initially I fought going on the medication – my doctor told me that I couldn’t take a break from life which made me realize that I needed some help. The first medication started to help me until I had an allergic reaction to it.

Luckily I was able to find another medication that worked. I will say that the initial side effects of the medication can be difficult to live though but once you get though the side effects it is worth it. For the first week I was extremely agitated to the point that it felt like my skin was crawling.

I feel like my old self again. I have energy and my anxiety levels are almost nothing which is great! The medication helps with my anxiety but I have realized that I do need help with dealing with stress.

Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. Whether that is asking a friend for help or asking your doctor. I have found that a lot of my friends are amazing and have offer to talk with me should I ever need it. I am lucky to have an amazing support system.