Tough Decisions

I recently posted about my struggle with infertility and bringing some awareness into infertility as a whole.  I wasn’t going to do a follow up post, but I saw something on Facebook that kind of boiled my blood.

Let’s back up.  On my last post I discussed that I was seeing a fertility doctor and that we would soon learn the results of my blood work.  Well we did.  I still have Endometriosis of course, and I also have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)  Not one, but two fertility disorders.

I was a little crushed.  Actually, I was sobbing in the car because the only way forward is to receive treatments which are about $1,200.  I don’t even have that saved up in my bank account!  I’m still paying off medical bills from my Endometriosis surgery in July, and other medical bills.   It seemed like a slap in the face.  A cruel joke from God or something.

I called my older sister who told me to stop looking at things like this as brick walls, and see them more as speed bumps.  It was hard, but I did.

Originally we were trying to figure out how to afford the treatments.  We thought we’d pay off our credit cards and then use those.  We started selling our books to Half Price Books, and were considering what valuable things we own that we could pawn.  Anything to put some cash into our savings account to be able to maybe afford one or two treatments.

But I’ve been feeling differently since my grandfather -in law died.  Shortly after that, his wife was whisked away to Florida where her daughter lives, and it looks like she will be living there permanently.  Our huge rush reason is gone.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I still want a baby so bad that it hurts.  But after my husband’s grandmother left, I felt this big weight lift off my shoulders.  I no longer have this feeling like I’m racing the clock against her disease.  The chances of her meeting our children have decreased so significantly because of the move.  While I still want her to meet our children, it really doesn’t look like a possibility at this point.

I’m also part of a Facebook group of women who are trying to conceive but are having trouble.  There were some posts about the treatment I was about to undergo that made me a little nervous.  Posts about feeling sick from the medications, and that treatments don’t always work.  I was told that this treatment will put me on roughly the same level playing field as someone without fertility issues.  Want to know what that percentage is?  15-20% per cycle.  And with my Endometriosis he says that I’d really only be at 8-12% without doing an IUI (insemination which is an extra $800)

I’m not in such a big rush to pump my body full of synthetic hormones just yet.  Especially not for that low of a percentage.  My body has never liked synthetic hormones, and they aren’t guaranteed to work.

Here is our big decision.  Wait a year while trying naturally.  I’ve read some books about homeopathic treatments for PCOS and discovered Cinnamon.  Sounds crazy right?  Check this out:

WebMD Article on Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a homeopathic treatment for Diabetes.  PCOS is often treated with Metformin ( a diabetes medication).  PCOS is an insulin insensitivity disorder.  Take cinnamon supplements, and regulate your insulin.  In turn the regulation of insulin will help the body produce the RIGHT hormones to trigger ovulation.  Makes sense to me!

I’m on a slew of vitamins and supplements now (prenatal multi vitamin, biotin, cinnamon, green tea extract, folic acid prescription, fish oil), we’ve started exercising, and we’re both eating healthy now.  I’m going to try this for a least 6 months before I complain about not seeing any results.

In the meantime, I will be saving my money like crazy in the event that this year doesn’t pan out with a positive pregnancy test.  If it does, then I’ll have some cash saved up for the down payment on a house one day to put that baby in!

On to the issue that irritated the crap out of me.  It happened on a Facebook  group I joined called Beg, Barter & Sell.  There are a ton of these, and they’re all region specific.

A woman with what looks like the same story posted a fundraiser there to help them raise money for the exact same treatments.  They aren’t cheap, and like I said, probably won’t always work the first time.  Her request was met with a lot of negativity.  That’s what pissed me off.   People were telling her that if she can’t afford this, she can’t afford kids period.  I’m sorry, but I don’t know what kid costs 1,200 up front all the time.  Yes kids are expensive, but you’re not constantly having to dole out that much to support them all up front.  These fertility treatments don’t operate on a payment plan or a bill.  You pay the whole amount at the time of treatment.

Then there were the people harassing this poor girl about why she wasn’t adopting, and that if she can’t have kids naturally, she should take it as a sign.  What the hell ever!

If God was trying to tell her that she can’t have kids, then he wouldn’t have made the doctors who created these treatments.   Just because you are having trouble conceiving on your own doesn’t mean you should totally give up on it.  While adopting a child is a noble thing, some of us want to have that experience of carrying our own child, and there is NOTHING wrong with that.  It does not make us selfish either.

I know with my own personal experience, that if I can’t get pregnant this year, I will try the treatments at least three times.  If it doesn’t work, then I will go the adoption route.  I will probably end up adopting a kid regardless.

I seriously considered doing one of these fundraiser to help me get the money to do the treatment right away.  But with the decision to wait a year, I changed my mind about it.

 

HOWEVER.  You can help someone else in the same situation.  Chloe Jones wants a baby just as bad as I do, and she doesn’t want to have to wait.  I don’t know her, but I can sympathize with her cause.  If you’ve never wanted a baby, you can’t understand what it feels like.  It’s an ache.  A painful ache that doesn’t go away.  It’s a pain that gets worse every time you see a friend with a child, a commercial depicting happy families, or when you pass by the baby aisle in the store.

Here is her fundraiser, if you want to donate.  I know I will.

Chloe Jones Fertility Treatment Fundraiser

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Infertility Awareness

Infertility does not make me a failure.  This is a mantra I’m having to repeat a lot lately.  It’s been a rough week.  A full on struggle.   However, a new week is beginning, and perhaps with that will come a clean slate.

We’ll start off with some soul searching.

I learned that this last week was Infertility Awareness Week.  If anything, I am going to try and help bring awareness to you with some honesty and openness.

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This awareness week surprised me, because as someone who is currently struggling with infertility, I had no clue there even was an infertility awareness week.  This made me wonder who else knew about it.  Not just the week of awareness, but about infertility in general.

It’s a sensitive topic for most.  A “hush hush” thing that we don’t talk about.  Something most feel embarrassed about.

I’ve been posting about my Endometriosis for a while now with my “Endometriosis Diaries” series, and after my surgery in July I expected to get pregnant right away.  We’ve done temperature charts, tracking my periods, eating healthy, and we’ve tried the “forget about it” method.  That’s the method that everyone else tells you to do, as if your body will get its crap together if you’ll just simply forget that you’ve been wanting to be a parent for years.  No dice people.  You can’t just forget.

People tell you out of kindness to just “let it happen”, to “relax”, to just “enjoy your time together”, or to “just be married for a while first”.  I know they mean well, but those phrases are so irritating.   We were engaged for three years and have been married for almost four.  I don’t want to have “more married time” with my husband.  We’ve had plenty of time together.  I don’t want to travel.  I don’t want to party.  I don’t want to live it up or experience more life.  I want to be a mother.  My husband wants to be a father.

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And if one more person points out to me how sick I’ll be when I’m pregnant, or how much sleep I’m not going to get as if I didn’t know this already, (or as if this is going to be the life altering sentence that decides me against being a mother), I might just hit someone.

Every negative pregnancy test has felt like a failure.  Every period has been slapping me in the face with a big fat NO.

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My periods have been ridiculously irregular.  I ended up going to see my OBGYN about it who prescribed Clomid.  I thought for sure it had worked, but when I got my period two hours before the follow up appointment, I wanted to scream.  Not a single one of my ovulation tests had confirmed a yes.  Due to the time constraints my Endometriosis has put on me, she sent me off to see a fertility specialist who believes I have Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome on top of my Endometriosis.  No exactly fair.  He thinks I’m not ovulating at all.  To cover our basis, he ordered a LOT of blood tests run.  Test results will come back on 5/6 to either confirm PCOS, or tell me what is causing the problem.  Check out the damage.  I’ve never had that much blood drawn before.

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My husband had a semen analysis run, and he got a great report back.  So that just leaves me.

Infertility can affect your life in so many different aspects.  Most that you don’t even realize.  It isn’t just a want and desire.

My husband was raised by his grandparents.  His grandmother has had dementia for about four years now, and we’ve felt like we’ve been racing against the clock with her illness so that she could meet our first child.  On Easter we were informed that his grandfather has cancer, and we later learned this week that he only has five months to live.

Crushed can’t even begin to describe how we’re feeling right now.  Personally, I’m not allowing myself to feel anything about it.  When I start to even let my thoughts wander to the subject, or how I feel on it, I start suffocating with grief.  I think of all the things we’ll never do with him again, the regret I feel for moving away my husband from his grandparents, that his grandfather is very unlikely to ever meet our children, and how much I love this man who has been my grandfather for the past eight years.

If I feel this way, how is my husband feeling?  I can’t even fathom that level of sadness.  There’s also turmoil amongst the other family members which is adding to the stress this news is causing.  This is a very hard time.

I’ve had several days this week where I’ve seriously hated myself.  Why couldn’t it just work?  I’d be several months along if it would have just worked.  I have a grudge against my body, and I don’t want to forgive it.  A friend pointed out that forgiveness is what my body needs to move forward.

He’s right.

I need to forgive my body for not being pregnant yet.  I need to forgive it for the pain it’s been causing me both physically and mentally.  I need to forgive it for not looking the way I want it to.  None of this is my fault.  I was made this way through God’s plan, and who am I to question it?  Infertility does not equal failure.  I am not a failure.

This isn’t a matter of IF.  It is a matter of WHEN.

I WILL get pregnant, and I will be a mother one day.  I have to trust in God, I have to trust in my doctor, and now I need to trust in myself.

forgive-yourself

If you’re struggling with infertility like I am.  Forgive yourself.  It’s not your fault.  It’s no one’s fault.

Here’s where the awareness comes in for the rest of you.

If you know someone who is struggling with infertility, the best thing you can do for them is be there, be a shoulder to cry on, and don’t try to talk about it unless they initiate.  Don’t ask them when they’re going to have children.  Don’t suggest In Vitro, or adoption.  It won’t make them feel any better.

In Vitro Fertilization can cost anywhere from 8k – 15k a pop, and it doesn’t always work.

Adoption can cost anywhere from 30k – 45k.

Unless you want to shell out the cash to help them pay for these options, don’t even bring it up.  It doesn’t even feel like an option.

And if you’re like me, having someone suggest that you could just “always adopt” makes me feel like crap.  I want my husband’s child.  I want a child that comes from my DNA.  I want to carry it, and give birth to it myself.

Facebook Mom’s, a request if you please.  You may not realize it, but some of your posts are really frustrating.  If you’re pregnant, don’t complain about your morning sickness over and over.  Keep in mind that those struggling with infertility would give anything to be throwing up for that reason.  Moms with kids, stop complaining about your messy house, or how tired your kids are making you.  I know my husband wishes that our house was covered in children’s toys, and I’d give anything to be exhausted with a hyper kid.

Yes, I know there are tons of moms out there who have been trying much longer than me.  I know there are moms who have given up.  There are moms who have carried their babies for only a short while before miscarrying.

Having the desire to be a parent and being denied that for whatever reason hurts like hell.  We’re getting closer and closer each long month to a year of negative tests.  Each month that passes stifles my chances a little more as the Endometriosis grows back.  It’s getting closer to a year of stressing out, getting excited, and falling on our faces again with defeat as that test reads the negative line.  It feels like forever.

I don’t want any pity, or sympathy, or anything like that.  Just be aware of yourself, and that there may be many more friends than you realize around you that are having the same issue that my husband and I are.

One day I will get that wonderful gift.  Hopefully soon.  But for now, I need to remind myself as do the rest of you struggling with infertility.

You are not a failure.  Your day will come.  Forgive your body, and forgive yourself because you’ve done nothing wrong.

Baby-Dust

 

 

Controlled

Oral contraceptives, or better known as Birth Control Pills, are a topic I’ve been wanting to discuss for a while.

First off, I am NOT a doctor, nor am I a nurse.  I’ve never been to medical school, and  I am not advising you in any way to do anything regarding your health without consulting your physician first.  This post is purely based on observations made by me from my use of oral contraceptives.

Let us start with some honesty.  I’ll start off with how I really feel.

I HATE THEM.  Something I did not realize until a few months ago.

I didn’t used to hate them, and they were necessary for a long time.  I started taking birth control back in 2006.  I had super irregular cycles for the longest time.  Sometimes I’d get one, and then not get one for another three months.  Sometimes two in one month.  Sometimes a six month break.  You get the picture.  Needless to say I was always pretty concerned about having an “oops baby”.  Not that it would have ruined my life, and I find it pretty ironic now given the circumstances.

So fast forward a while to the part where I started having lots of low sided pain.  They misdiagnosed it as a small cysts, and from there I began my birth control journey.

If there’s a kind of oral contraceptive, I’ve probably tried it.  Just to rattle off a few:

Ortho Tri Cyclen
Loestrin 24 FE
Camrese
Yaz
Yasmin
Seasonique

I took so many, and some for only a month at a time.  I’ve forgotten all of their names.  Anyway, back to before birth control.

Any guy that has ever known me can tell you that I’m a relentless flirt.  RELENTLESS.  Anyway, so when I got together with my husband (back then was my boyfriend), he used to complain about my flirtatious ways.  Then one day I suddenly didn’t have that desire anymore.  My flirtatiousness was cut down by more than half.  I was so proud of myself.  I thought, “Wow!  You’ve really matured!  Look at you being a good girlfriend.”

I’d been with Justin for a long while by that time and we can go ahead and cue in the birth control at some point.  I became so docile, and what went from nightly romp sessions, whittled down to maybe one to three times a month.  Libido went down the tubes.  I just decided that it’s something every couple goes through right?  You spend enough time with one person and you just get relaxed right?  It becomes less exciting?….right?

Another strange thing that happened around this time was my anxiety.  I went from having minor anxiety to full blown, can’t leave the house, can’t drive, antisocial, paranoia anxiety.  I also became pretty severely depressed too.  I don’t think I would have made it had it not been for the awesome therapists my college provided.

I can remember asking Justin several times over the years we’ve been together.

“When did I get like this?  I wasn’t like this when you met me.  What happened to me?” I’d ask him, and he’d just shrug.  But nothing significant had happened to me.  I wasn’t raped.  I wasn’t beaten or abused.  No muggings or stalkers.  No car accidents.  Nothing that would make me all freaked out the way I was.

I should have seen the huge red flag the day the gynecologist wanted to put me on this one birth control that required that I take supplement hormone pills to prepare my body for them.  For weeks I cried about EVERYTHING.

I shit you not, I bawled like someone had kicked my puppy at a SUBWAY COMMERCIAL.  Everything I watched, ever song I heard.  I was like a freakin faucet.  But hey, you trust your doctor right?  Eventually my hormones seemed to taper out and the waterworks stopped.

At some point I stopped taking it but when I was diagnosed with Endometriosis in 2008, I was instructed by my physician to take it full time, back to back.  Literally no periods ever.  Okay great, sure that sounds awesome but think about this.

I took oral contraceptives full time for 5 years.  So from 2008 to 2013 I consumed about 1,825 pills that had the potential to cause blood clots, migraines, heart attack, stroke, and now coincidentally there are multiple articles showing that women who take birth control for longer than 3 years (like me!) are at twice the risk of developing glaucoma.  Good thing I’m going to get my eyes checked soon.

What frightens me most of all, is some of the drastic hormonal side effects I experienced from the drugs.  I was put on Beyaz at some point and spiraled into the darkest depression of my entire life.  I thought at the time that it was because of Justin’s grandmother (whom I love so dearly).  She was amidst a losing battle with dementia and all I could think about was the things we would never get to do together.  I thought she was going to die.  I thought it was devastating me.

It wasn’t until one morning when I had no reason to be sad.  Justin’s grandmother was doing better but I was still sobbing hysterically on my couch at 6:00 am.  I decided that everyone hated me.  That everyone would be better off if I was dead.  That’s when I was smart enough to call my gyno.  I made a pretty frantic call, recognizing the suicidal thoughts and realized that they were not normal.  I’d never been this depressed.  My doctor ordered me off it that instant, and a few days later I was fine.  That to me is truly frightening.  What if I hadn’t been smart enough to call them?  What if I’d lived alone or didn’t have the friends and family to point out to me just how out of character I was acting?  It’s a sobering thought.

Anyway this stuff went on for 5 years.  Recently I had surgery for my Endo and I decided to stop taking the birth control.  For several reasons of course, the first being the only obvious reason for not taking birth control.  🙂

But I also wanted to be hormone free for a while.  Just because.  And within two months I began to feel a drastic change.  I literally felt like I was shedding a skin, and leaving a shell I’d been living in for years.

I was laughing more.  Crying less.  Anxious feelings gone.  And I actually wanted to be romantic with my husband again.  Not to mention I was suddenly attracted to guys in general.  Before, a hot dude would pass me and I would think “eh..”.

What the hell happened?  I may not be a doctor but there are too many coincidences here.  And I’ve heard this story from SO MANY friends recently.  Guy friends telling me that their sex lives are dead.  Suddenly killed off without any explanation, and they’re feeling pretty dejected.  And it’s not that their girls are not attracted to them.  They just don’t ever “feel like it”.  Sound familiar?  And the one thing in common amongst all of them is can you guess?  Recent prolonged use of birth control.

I literally can’t express enough how strongly I feel that birth control is just not right for some women.  I urge you that if this sounds like you, to at least go see your physician about it.  It’s not normal.

I can’t tell you how different I feel except that as cliche as it sounds, that the picture above fits it to a tee.  I was trapped in myself and didn’t know it.  My personality was being suffocated.  It makes me wonder really.  The amount of medications we just take without thinking about it.  The medications you hear for silly things like “dry mouth” or “back pain” or “belly fat”.  Things that are normal, but some drug company has swindled a buck out of you to use their phoney medication chronically.

I wonder what the world will be like when I’m old.  And that wonder is often tainted by worry.

Just some food for thought.  While I hope that no one has had as bad of an experience as mine, I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Endometriosis Diaries #6 – Surgery

The last couple of days are a blur.  I’m still groggy and kind of woozy.  I had surgery on Monday, July 1st for my Endometriosis and it was a success.  They found it on my intestines, behind my bladder, behind my uterus, and they removed my appendix for good measure.  Although it sucked to deal with the symptoms, I’m glad they found it where they did.  It’s a big relief to know that it wasn’t all in my head, and that I wasn’t being a big baby or overreacting.

 

I went in on July 1st with absolutely no sleep.  I wasn’t able to even drift off the night before because of my nerves, and sitting in the waiting room at 4:30 am wasn’t the most fun.  But I have to tell you, I have had SO MUCH support.  Big shout out to all of my friends and family who checked on me every day, texted me or Facebooked me to make sure that I was okay.

My sister and husband are AMAZING.  They sat with me, keeping me laughing up until the moment when they wheeled me into the prep room.  I also had friends emailing me on Facebook or texting me while I waited, wishing me good luck.  Thanks guys.

I was required to shower before, but not allowed to swallow any liquids or food after 10 pm the night before.  No make up, and check out my sexy pre-op attire.  And literally everyone wanted to stick me with a needle.  Also, I found out that I’m O Positive.  Neat!

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In the prep room they tag teamed me, asking me the same questions over and over.  What surgery was I having?  Could they see my wrist band?  How was I feeling?

The next thing I knew, I had a IV in my hand and a wave of good feelings washed over me.  I can remember asking my doctor if they’d just given me the cocktail drug and she nodded; smiling.  I told them I knew, because I was feeling like I was back in college which brought a laugh from everyone.

A few moments later I was on a much narrower table, unsure of how I got there, and a mask was over my face.  I remember seeing one of the nurses had this flower clip on her scrubs that was holding up her name tag.  But it looked like it was made of wax circles.  I asked her about it and I can remember her telling me what it was made of, but I don’t remember what she said.  (I later asked again when seeing another one and was told that it was made out of the caps that cover the anesthesia bottles) Cute!

The next thing I knew, I was waking up in recovery feeling yucky.  The surgery took about two and a half hours to complete, and my recovery took about two more hours.  I can remember waking up and being pulled right back under.  I told the nurse that I felt nauseous, or that I was in pain, and they’d put something in my IV.  I realized I’d been in there a while because the first time I opened my eyes, I saw lots of people in the room on other gurneys recovering.  When I opened my eyes another time, I was the only one left.  Eventually I just started asking the nurse questions when I could wake up, just to keep myself awake.  I wanted to see my husband and sister.

From getting back in my own small area with Heather and Justin, I waited to get more pain killers and be allowed to leave.  I was required to pee before I could do that which was no small feat since they’d just taken a catheter out of me.  My throat was also very sore and dry from having a tube stuck in it during the surgery.  Yuck.  Pretty much felt like I’d been hit by a train.

From there I was taken home and put to bed.  However, I ended up back in the hospital the next evening.  The pain increased significantly at some point during the day and just wouldn’t quit.  I felt terrible.  Just getting up to go to the bathroom brought tears, and I could barely move.  I eventually called my doctor to see if she could up the dose on my meds, but that resulted in her asking me to come back to the hospital.  They were concerned that something may have gone wrong or that they’d perforated my bowel or something.  From there they did a bunch of NOT fun tests and required that I stay overnight for observation.  I got little sleep with people taking my blood pressure every couple of hours  Not looking forward to that bill.  However, I went home with extra strength Vicodin.

The pain calmed down a lot yesterday with the majority of the gas they’d use to inflate me gone, to the point where the Vicodin was just making me very loopy.  At some point my father was watching over me, kindly letting me nap on his shoulder, and I remember calling my big sister to tell her that something was weird.  I told her that my phone was warping into a Barbie phone as we spoke, and that my body wouldn’t stop getting bigger and smaller.  She said I was as high as a kite, and that if I was like that when she came over, we were going to be hopping in the shower to sober me up.  Fast forward to several hours later on half that dose, and food in my system.  I was much more cognitive and the incisions only twinged.  I can deal with that.  No more Barbie phone please.  But even with half a dose I’m still so out of it.  I’ve taken like five mini naps while writing this.

BEHOLD MY BATTLE WOUNDS!

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The blue is ink where they were making decisions about where to cut.  It won’t come off…  >.<  They closed the incisions with medicinal super glue, but the rest of that is bruising.  I have four cuts total.  And one is in my belly button, which I’m still too scared to look at up close.  *shudder*  gross.  Currently wearing a long nightgown, so I don’t have any reason to accidentally see them.  I also have a small rash on my tummy from the Vicodin.  Oh well.  I’ll take it.

Today is my first day up and alone.  I predict that I will be sleeping on the couch and watching a lot of movies.  Sounds good to me.  Time to go edit this and take a few more mini naps.

 

I’m Expensive

It’s been a while since my last post.  Just been so worn out lately!  I still haven’t done much writing, but I suspect that might change sometime next week.  When I’m awake I’ll have plenty of time to do anything that doesn’t require me to get out of bed.

I’ve almost finished preparing myself mentally and my apartment for my surgery next Monday.  I’ve been pretty stressed out about it, though I’ve been trying hard not to be.  I know that nothing bad is going to happen, but I know how it feels after the surgery and I’m not looking forward to it.  It’s like when you’re getting a shot in your arm, and you’re waiting for the doctor to just do it!  That initial intense feeling you get in your guy while anticipating the pain.  I’ve felt like that for the past two weeks.  My pre-op is this Thursday, and let’s just hope I pass all the labs and there are no issues.  And also say a prayer for me that no woman goes into labor and needs my doctor to deliver her baby.  I really just want to get this over with.

So there’s the surgery to pay for, and yesterday I went to the dreaded dentist.  I have SEVEN cavities!  I brush the crap out of my teeth everyday, but apparently that doesn’t mean anything unless you floss every day as well.  Which I don’t.  I hate flossing.  It’s uncomfortable and I have crooked teeth so it’s all awkward.  But because of my bad flossing habits, I might have to have a root canal.  And I’m also trying to get my wisdom teeth scheduled to be out.  So however much the surgery is, plus however much the wisdom teeth are, plus paying up front somewhere between $700.00 – $1,100.00.  I’m gonna be so dirt poor!!!

Send me your good thoughts, prayers and happy vibes next week!  I’m going to have a medically induced stay-cation.

Le Sigh

I can’t wait to have my surgery, for several reasons.  I’ve never been so excited to be cut open and let someone dig around my insides.  I’m sick of feeling sick.  When I don’t feel well I don’t have any motivation to do much of anything.  I’ve got some serious writers block going on, and I can’t seem to get rid of it.  No matter what I do, or the old techniques I try, it just sits there looking all harrumph at me and refuses to move.  I’ll open the word document, read what I’ve recently written and then stare at the screen for half an hour with a blank mind.  I’ve been spending my writing time going to the gym or Facebooking instead.  I guess one of those things is good for my health.

 

You can only go for so long feeling crappy before it sucks you down into a deep depression.  I will never think that people who suffer from depression are weak.  I’m exhausted, I ache like I’m sick, and the littlest things people say can set me off and ruin my entire day.  And I know it’s irrational.  I know it’s not normal, but I know it’s coming from feeling bad.

I came home from work early yesterday not feeling well and laid on my back on the couch, staring at the ceiling until I fell asleep.  The whole time I laid there I felt like I was suffocating.  I hate not being in control which I readily admit, and this evilness inside of me keeps me far from control.  The only thing I can do about it is take pain meds and hope it works.

Speaking of which, I was recently prescribed an opiate; a pill of happy that dulls the pain but turns me into a half awake dummy.  Needless to say, the first time I tried it I was at work and was very lucky that all of the attorneys were traveling.  I spent the day staring at my stapler, eyes half closed.

My older sister keeps me positive about the waiting I’m having to do until July when I have the surgery done.  She pointed out that I’ve dealt with the pain for years, so what’s a few more months?  She’s always telling me that I can handle it.  I hope she’s right.  I’m trying to be a tough cookie, but it’s hard.

I’m hoping that this writers block is just frustration and depression induced.  Maybe once I have the surgery and start to feel good again, the creative juices will start flowing.  Until then I’ll be in a half stupid opiate state and stalking my Facebook friends instead of being productive.  Bleh.

 

 

Endometriosis Diaries #5

It’s been a while since my last post, and I’ve got to say that on a writing note I’ve done ZERO WRITING  lately.  Part of that is because I’m worn out, and the other part is that I’m forcing myself to the gym in the morning during what would be my regular writing hours.  Also…I’m consistently sore.

Anyways, after my last post, things didn’t get any better with my Endometriosis.  They actually got a little worse, and finally I got fed up and made an appointment to see my gynecologist.  After telling her my symptoms she gave me a very sympathetic look and said “It’s time…”

What she meant was that it’s time for me to have surgery again.  (This is what she told me last time I saw her months and months ago, but I wasn’t ready to face it.)  I had it done in 2008 on election day (voted early!), which is when they diagnosed me with it.  So it’s been almost five years since last time, and I’m not too thrilled.  At the same time I’m a little relieved to have a plan in motion.

I will be going in on July 1st (given that my doctor doesn’t have to deliver any babies that day), and have all of me cleaned out.  Not just my uterus or cervix.  In fact she thinks based on my symptoms that it’s on my intestines, appendix, ovaries, and bladder.  My doctor’s husband is a vascular surgeon, so he’ll be there too in case she’s right.

Procedure:  They fill you  up with gas so you expand and they can see everything.  Then they go in with a camera to look for the endo tissue which can be pink, black, grey, white, or even clear!  I tried to find a picture of it, but they all looked nasty.  This is the least nasty photo that I could find that depicts what I’m talking about.  The dark blobs you see are endometrial tissue.  When they see the tissue, they’ll take a laser and burn it off.  OR, a scalpel and scrape it off.

Cool news.  This badass bad boy is what they’ll be using to remove the nasty tissue.  The Da Vinci surgery device.

It’s a robot that will be controlled by the doctor just a few feet away.  An assistant, like you see there will stand over and monitor me while the procedure is performed.  The coolest things about it are that it has precision movements, its camera is in 3D/color, and that it can get RIGHT up close to my organs with no shaky hands to remove all the bad tissue with a laser beam.  Pretty neat right?

I’ll be down and out for about a week.  OH, and they’re also going to just go ahead and take out my appendix.  No arguments from me.  I suggested it.  Nobody likes you anyway appendix.

Interesting thing my doctor said when I asked her about it.  She doesn’t think the endometriosis diet is even worth it.  She said the effects of it are minimal to nothing, and it’s an exhausting diet.  She did agree that caffeine and soy can cause some inflammation, but aside from that she didn’t see a point to me limiting what I want to eat.

I kind of agree.  This disease is depressing enough…why would I want to eat a completely restrictive and depressing diet all the time on top of it if it doesn’t really do much?

I told my husband, and we celebrated by going to Smash Burger.  And it was good.

Endometriosis Diaries #4 Some Truths

I’m beginning to get frustrated.  Things were going so well up until around Easter.  With all of the chocolate bunnies and delicious eats I couldn’t help myself.  But once I had a taste of chocolate after not eating it for four months, I went a little nuts.

Since then, I can’t seem to get back on track eating my restrictive diet.  I know this sounds like whining  but it is a HARD diet to stick to!  There are so many temptations, and few restaurants to eat from unless you want to eat just salad all the time.  I feel like there’s this repressed fat kid that’s wanting to burst out!  My body is saying no, but my mouth is saying YES!

For the past couple of days I’ve been relatively fine during the day, but when the evening rolls around I’ve been completely plagued by vicious pain, and a frightening amount of bleeding.  I know it’s TMI but I feel like there’s a crime scene inside of me and I need to wear some yellow tape around my waist.  CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS!  I can’t even stay on my feet the pain is so bad.  Most of my food cheating has been because I don’t feel well enough to stand in front of the stove for more than a few minutes before I’m curled in a ball on the couch.  And I don’t even know why it started.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been eating bad for me things.  Who knows?  Maybe I just need to have the surgery again to clean out the lesions.  I have no clue.

What’s so irritating to me about this problem is that it’s kind of embarrassing to talk about and most people don’t understand how bad it is because most people don’t talk about it.  People judge you about it.  They don’t understand what’s wrong with you because they can’t fathom how it feels.  It’s not just like a bad period.  It’s doubled over, sweating, shaking, rocking back in forth pain.  In public, I’ve become very good at keeping a straight face when it comes on.  In reality I want to tell people who need to talk to me to please go away.  To leave me alone so I can put my head on my desk.  But who wants to tell their boss “I really can’t focus on work right now because I feel like someone is dicing up my uterus.”  Especially when their boss is a male.|

And I’m exhausted.  Being in pain all the time makes you super tired, and most people who have endo suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  I HATE it when people tell me I’m too young to be tired.  I know I’m too young to be tired, but I’m also too young to be dealing with this all the time.  At first when people say that I’m like…wow they’re so insensitive…but then I realize that most people I interact with on a daily basis don’t know the battle that’s raging inside of me.  And even as I write this my brain is like “You’re so mellow dramatic” but I know I’m really not.

#preach #invisibleillness #fightlikeagirl #endometriosis

I just recently heard on a podcast from an endometriosis surgeon that when hooked up to the monitor that measures contractions, women with endometriosis experience contractions in the cervix during their periods twice that of giving birth!  Most women develop a high pain tolerance from it.  Myself included.  Getting a tattoo on the top of my foot where there’s no meat was nothing.

Lupron For The Treatment of Endometriosis - "As per the @FDA, Lupron is considered an effective and medically safe treatment for endometriosis. I BEG TO DIFFER."  Blog entry about a woman's negative experience with Lupron.  Endometriosis research.

I want to know what to do.  I hate that the only options I have are surgery, pain meds, or this highly restrictive diet.  I wish there was a way to just make this go away…

Endometriosis Diaries #4

More show and tell time!  I’ve found some new items that I’ve fallen in love with.

I was missing burgers far too much.   Like a lot.  Like I mourned each time I passed a burger joint, or somewhere that sold burgers.  This turned out pretty delicious.

New items that make this amazing burger.  Rice Swiss Flavor Cheese, and Udi’s Hamburger Buns.  I found the cheese at my local HEB, and the buns at Whole Foods.  If you don’t have access to either, ask your local grocery store if they can stock these items into their inventory.  Most of the time, grocery stores like to hear what their customers want.

Missin Swiss Burgers Recipe

1 lb Ground Turkey
1 tbs olive oil
Your favorite burger spice rub
2 tsp Earth Balance No Soy Butter
4 mushrooms slice thin
1/4 an onion sliced into slivers
Udi’s Gluten Free Hamburger Buns
Rice Swiss Flavor Cheese
Dijon Mustard

*Cooking Directions*
1.  Separate the ground turkey into four patties and season with your favorite spice rub.  Coat your grill pan or grill with olive oil  and cook the turkey patties until done.
2.  While the patties are cooking, melt the Earth Balance butter in a separate pan and saute the onions and mushrooms.  Feel free to sprinkle in a little bit of that spice rub to give it some extra flavor.
3.  Separate the buns (they come frozen) and put each half into the toaster.  Toast for one cycle.  If still hard on the inside, pop into the microwave for about 15 seconds.
4.  When the patties are cooked through place a slice of cheese onto each patty.   Place a pot lid over them to melt the cheese for a minute or two.
5.  When onions and mushrooms are tender, spread Dijon mustard on the buns and assemble!
6.  Perfect with some sweet potato fries, and feel free to garnish with veggies.

More recipes to come!  In other news the only times I’ve felt bad is when I’ve accidentally cheated.  Make sure to ask at restaurants if food is cooked with butter.  That dairy will get ya!  I just tell them I have a serious dairy allergy.  If in doubt or if they don’t know, don’t eat it.  The couple of times I haven’t checked, I’ve paid for it later.

Hope everyone starts feeling great!

Endometriosis Diaries #3 – The Dangers of Soy

I will begin with a happy note that is a follow up from the previous blog about endo.  I have tried all of the items that I listed and I LOVE all of them.  The mayo and butter taste just like mayo and butter!  🙂  The yogurts are interesting, but they are flavorful and taste pretty good!  Check them out.  I know being able to make chicken salad brightened up my week.

Now onto the issue I want to talk about.

So I’ve had some pitfalls lately regarding my endo.  Not really anything that was my fault, but I was feeling discouraged.  I was feeling fine for a while and then all of a sudden I started experiencing pain up my right side starting low and ending near my bottom right rib.  This continued for a few days, and then came the spotting.

This may be TMI (and I’m sorry if any of you people reading are dudes who are like EW!), but this is a big part of Endometriosis.

Anyway I freaked out.  I was so angry because I’ve been sticking true to this diet through every single day for almost a month.  I’ve endured many a salad, checked every label, and annoyed every waitress to make sure that my food didn’t have dairy or wasn’t cooked with butter.  And then THIS?!  What the hell?!

I don’t know what’s causing it for sure but I have a theory.  Right around the same time that the pain started, my chin started to break out.  I rarely get acne, but this was a lot.  Deep, painful acne that felt more like a bruise than a pimple.  I already know that all of these things are hormone related.

I’ve stopped consuming soy altogether.  Most soy is genetically manufactured, and this kind of soy produces a kind of estrogen in your body when consumed.  I think my body is like WTF?  WHERE DID THE EXTRA HORMONES GO?

I’ve been finding countless studies done on the internet where rats were given genetically manufactured soy, and the results are frightening.  One study showed that rats given that kind of soy began their reproductive cycles without being introduced to a male. (female rats usually don’t begin this until coming in contact with a male rat).  Those given organic soy had no reproductive changes, nor did any of the rats fed normal food.

I find it disturbing that my body is reacting so negatively to this diet that is often viewed as extremely healthy.  I have not consumed any saturated fats, or fried foods.  I only eat lean meats and I’m eating a TON of fiber.  So why is my body so angry?  I really do think it’s from the many years I’ve spent consuming things with soy in them.  Not to mention consuming soy based products.  When I was a teenager it was the new thing.  I loved tofu, Soy-joy snacks, soy milk, and protein bars.  (they have soy protein isolate in them which is what gives you so much protein)  But aside from soy based products, it is in literally everything!

I’ve found it in crackers, mayo, meatloaf seasoning, almost every salad dressing that’s not oil based, canned beans, butter, bread, margarine, peanut butter…and it goes on and on and on!  Soybean oil is in almost all of these products.  I literally have had to check every single label of anything I buy just in case now…I’ve found a rare few brands that don’t have it in them.  It’s mind boggling!

The reason why?  It has a high smoke point, it’s a “flavor enhancer” but won’t interfere with the other flavors of food.

I’ll let you decide what you want to do with soy, but I challenge you to see how many items in your pantry have soybean oil or some other product in it that begins with soy in it.

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