Thursday, March 12, 2015

The flu, going brown to blonde, and we bought a home!!

Hello from the land of the living! I had the flu. More like it had me. It pushed me down and slapped me hard. So brutal! It's been years since I felt so sick and I'm finally on the upswing. I dropped 7lbs in 3 days despite not throwing up once. I just had no energy or apetite to eat and Solomon was extra clingy and nursed nonstop. I managed a protein shake each morning and crackers or something at night. 

Being sick, like knocked down and dragged out in a snowstorm and left for dead kind of sick, makes you really realize how productive you normally are. I've been off Facebook for over 3 weeks. I haven't logged in even once. It remains one of the best decisions I've ever made. A dear friend quit facebook on her own accord and on the same day as me and she jokingly said, "I wish I could go on facebook just to tell everyone- get off, life is amazing out here!" Ha! But it's true!! I have been accomplishing so much in my newly freed up time. Tile and grout in 3 rooms was scrubbed spotless, my double ovens sparkle like new, the kids craft hutch was completely emptied, sorted, and reorganized. I mean, wow! In addition to the cleaning, I have faithfully done PiYo every day and fit in outdoor walking/jogging when I can. I'm not super human, I just have a lot more drive, focus, brain space, and energy now that I'm not on Facebook. Solomon doesn't nap unless he is on me (like right now) and same for nighttime. So the workouts, cleaning, jogging, etc, it all happens with him right with me and often climbing on me. I don't have the luxury to wait for naptime and knock out the chores. If I did, forget it- this place would shine!! ��

So yeah, super productive and then BAM, the plague hits. My hard work on routine, deep cleaning, working out...everything flatlined. On an emotional level, that is angering. It's hard feeling so useless and crappy and knowing your muscles are weakening and your endurance will need some work to catch up, etc. I had a minor cold a few weeks ago and I worked out with it, but best advice says if you have a fever do NOT work out. I was hovering around 102 and aching so bad I could barely move. PiYo was not in the cards. Today is my first day fever-free in 3 days and I am trying to start slow getting back into life, which means no PiYo today. �� It's not the end of the world, right? Just a sad end to 3 weeks of faithful daily kickbutt workouts. I am supposed to do Sweat next. Last time I did Sweat it was like a scene from Biggest Loser. I could hardly breathe and thought I was going to vomit for about 3 minutes in the middle. Then I pulled my ish together and finished strong. Haha! Sick on the couch to that might be interesting. Maybe tomorrow? Eek. 

Last week was a big week for us. We bought a house!
We've lived in this house for 10 months so thankfully don't have to move, but we own it now! Our monthly payment increases, but after scouring the market for months and realizing other rentals would be as much as a mortgage, we knew this was the best choice for us. We are excited to own again and we love this house. It's the first time in the 11 years we've been together that we live somewhere we can stay. Our first home was 763sq ft. Even as we signed papers we knew it wasn't forever. Then we sold it and rented for 3 years. Now we are here in a remodeled split level, 1800sq ft, a big back yard, and 5 minutes to church, Central Market, Craig's work, etc. Thank you, Lord, for Your provisions! 
Karin Kay is awesome and we can't say enough about her as a realtor. She is sharp as a tack, responds swiftly, and has always given us solid advice. She gave us this adorable flower and cookie basket. If you need a realtor, she's your gal!

Right before getting sick, I changed my hair. I started like this, a dyed dark brown:
Beauty bloggers told me to skip bleach and try this:
The bloggers lied. It didn't work. At all. It made me look insane. 
Brown hair and yellow roots. Oh Gawd NOOO! It was 7:15pm and like a crazy person I hauled my kids to Safeway (wearing a hat) to buy hair bleach.
My hair is longer and getting thick so it takes two boxes of everything.  I followed instructions precisely and got this. Do I look horrified? I was. 
Orange. Yup, totally orange. Not wanting to risk my hair falling out I decided to let it air dry and sleep on it. I realize now I should've bleached one more time to lighten again. You know what they say about hindsight! I tried this in the morning as bloggers told me the ash would balance the red. 
It helped a little. Not a lot.
I was so embarrassed of my orange hair that I wore a hat:

So then, again like a crazy person, I drove my kids to Silverdale to the nearest beauty supply store for a Wella Toner. 
It goes on purple and it designed to remove the brassiness. My hair should've been lighter to start, 
but like the beauty store owner said, "it's not gonna get worse!" Oh hunni, you got that right! This is after Wella:
Getting better, right?
It's still a bit dark and reddish for me, I want lighter and ashy, but it'll take time. I think I'll buy a Wella light ash blonde dye next and then tone again if needed. Ps, toner is cheap. Like $8 and it was enough for my whole head.

Congrats if you made it this far reading!! 
This dude sleeps hard! 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Less of me, more of you

Today is my 5th day off of Facebook. I had to look at the calendar to discover that it had been so long! 

I have not logged on once nor snuck a peak on Craig's Facebook. I've Instagrammed a bit and have been using Pinterest while I'm stuck on the couch under a sleeping kid. 

I am surprised to say that I don't really miss Facebook. I can see how Facebook kept me busy but not actually doing anything. I have been working out every day, making Craig's lunches again, and cleaning. Lots of cleaning. Sometimes I find myself just standing at the kitchen island and I think, "what am I supposed to be doing right now?" Then I realize I'd usually be on Facebook. So I clean instead. It's awkward to stand around doing nothing in my own home. Haha! I have taken the couches apart and vaccumed and rotated cushions, wiped down cabinets, the front and back of the cabinet that slides out with the garbage can, decluttered the kitchen island, took apart and cleaned the vacuum beater bar, cleaned the keurig and replaced the filter. I would say most notable is the kitchen island. It is EMPTY now. Holla!! I noticed these areas of mess before but put off dealing with them. Now I just do it. There is plenty of clutter and mess to keep me busy for a long time, but I am making progress.

I started PiYo (pilates and yoga) on the 19th and am really enjoying it. I sweat a lot in the 20-30min and feel sore all day. Today was PiYo rest day so I drove to my mom's after dropping Elly off at school and pushed Evie and Solomon in the double Bob stroller for over an hour along the water of Fjord Drive and Lemolo. I even jogged some of it! Yay me!

Something I've been thinking about since getting off Facebook is how Facebook creates a feeling of elevated self importance. We post things and notice how many likes or comments a post receives. Each like or comment is a kudos and a virtual self esteem boost. Our house might be a disaster, maybe we've yelled at our kids so much we are actually going hoarse, and we haven't had a real conversation with our spouse in days, but we post something like, "my kids are cavity free! #6monthcheckuplikeaboss" and 42 likes later we feel successful. But, we are missing the point entirely and realizing this actually makes my heart hurt. 

Matthew 6:1 (MSG) "Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don't make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won't be applauding.

John 3:30 (MSG) This is the assigned moment for him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines. (He must increase, I must decrease).

I don't want to parade my life as though the 'likes' of acquaintances have any real baring. I want to be real with my kids and my family and real life friends. I don't want to feed the selfishness in me that requires likes and comments and the show of Facebook. If my kids are pushed to the background, and my spouse is mistreated, but on Facebook I look like a million bucks- what is the point? What a waste of life and the gifts God has given me. 

I have noticed that life is a bit lonely now that I'm not filling it with the static of Facebook. My husband isn't much of a talker and he's not one to prod into my feelings. But, this is an area I can grow in. And I can pray and find security in Jesus, something I need to get back to doing, rather than Facebooking. 


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Finding Life After Facebook

This morning I deactivated my Facebook account. I've done that a few times before, each with a week or month goal as a break. My hope this time is to make this permanent. Maybe I'll cave and eat my words, but I'm here doing this thing and really trying. 

This has been an issue on my heart for months. Maybe even years. I spend too much time online. Too much time responding to questions or posts of internet only relationships. Too much time comparing my life to the best case scenario things that other people post. Too much time being hurt or angry by the ugliness that appears when people are hiding behind their device. Too much time being irritated that half my Facebook is ads or friends trying to sell me whatever they're pitching. And mostly...too much time feeling guilty about the wasted time. 

It's a daily thing for me, to think and ponder about getting rid of Facebook for good and what that would do for my life. I think about 10 years from now when my girls are older and I will have spent SO much of their childhood only half seeing what they were doing and only "uh-huh'ing" their artwork or dance while I respond to the pressing and "important" comment thread on Facebook. Let's be honest, that is just gross. My kids are not the distraction. My husband is not a distraction. They are my purpose and Facebook is the distraction. 

Will my kids' memory of their mom be me glued to a device? 

It doesn't have to me. It's up to me. 

Facebook creates an environment in which we are hyper aware of what our friends (I'm using that term liberally, as Facebook does) are eating, wearing, doing, buying, etc. Moms unintentionally compare their kids sleep, walking, talking, size, and everything else. Because Facebook is 24/7, the comparisons are 24/7. 

There are a million reasons to keep Facebook and I've used those reasons for years; family in other states, friends in other states, I'm a stay at home mom so I need the interaction, it's a hobby and kills time while the baby is asleep on me, I help run a group, I have dear friends whom I only see on FB, party invites are always on FB now, etc. Those are all legit reasons. There is a downside to no Facebook. I'm not sure myself or my kids will be invited to much anymore since I'm not on Facebook. I will miss updates and conversations with friends all across the world. I love seeing what my brother is up to on a daily basis, or my highschool English teacher, or my bestie who lives in South Carolina.
But for me, those reasons do not outweigh what is most important to me. I want to be present in my actual real world life. I want to work on house cleaning and projects, and color with my kids and read more- to them and just for me. I want to work out more and I know it's cliche...but where I am, I want to actually BE. 

If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, does it make a noise? If we live life but don't post it on Facebook, is it really happening? 

Today, with no Facebook, I did day 1 of PiYo, swept the whole upstairs, took the couches apart and vacuumed them, cleaned the playroom (that is a JOB), vacuumed upstairs and downstairs, caught up laundry, stripped our bed and washed bedding, towels, and the bathmat.  Instead of just wasting minutes on FB in 3-10 minute chunks, I'm getting stuff done around the house. I've talked more with my kids. 

I plan to blog more like I used to, to journal my life, so here's to a 2015 filled with meaningful and intentional interactions. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

When Cry It Out Doesn't Work

What is a parent supposed to do when their child doesn't fit what is considered normal? It seems only a matter of time before we question ourselves and our method of parenting. It doesn't take long for others to weigh in and give their unsolicited opinions about why our child is the way they are and how what we've done or not done as parents is the cause. Then we circle right back to where we started; what do we do when our child doesn't fit what is considered normal? 

For me right now, it has to do with my youngest and his inability to sleep unless he is touching me. Just me even saying that out loud is usually met with eye rolls and comments like, "well I wouldn't be able to handle that/ I need my sleep/alone time." These comments imply many things like 1) I chose this by my parenting method, 2) I don't like sleep or alone time. Family members have told me to let him cry as long as necessary for as many days as is needed for him to "adjust", they've told me I have conditioned him to be this way. People seem irritated when I have to remind then yet again, for the 30th time, that evenings are very difficult for me to make plans and if you invite me to something I will probably decline as I will be home with a lightly sleeping baby on my lap. No I can't bring him with. He's a busy toddler and is exhasuted by 7pm. You want to see what that looks like at 8 or 9pm? I think not. No I can't pass him off to Craig. No I can't put him in my bed, his crib, the couch, or anywhere that isn't me for him to sleep. He wakes up the moment he is not in my arms. 

This has been my life for 14 1/2months. He has always been this way, despite me trying every method of sleep training and repeating it all every month or two. He doesn't sleep, cry it out, figure out his crib is lovely, or even tire of crying. Our ped says when he's tired enough he'll sleep and eventually he won't cry in his crib. But that seems like a far cry to our reality as in the last 30 hours he has only slept a total of 9 hours. Not anywhere near enough for a baby. He is terrified of his room now. He screams when I start walking back there just to change a diaper! I am nearly falling asleep while driving because I am awake hearing a baby cry for hours and hours. 

As exhausted as I am by him needing me SO much, I am almost more exhausted by feeling like I have to make excuses and justifications for my situation. I realized this week that the comments I frequently hear boil down to this- I am not a good mom. When you say, suggest, hint, or imply that he would be a "normal" sleeping baby if it weren't for me, you are blaming me for my situation and it hurts. When you berate me that "still? Geez, you need to just let him cry a bit", it doesn't help me. It makes me feel judged and isolated even more than I already am. It says I'm not a good mom because I have failed at something so basic as getting my child to sleep. 

Here's the truth. I am a very good mom. I have held him and laid cheek to cheek for him to fall asleep because to fall asleep. I have rubbed his head, held his arms tightly so he wouldn't sleep flinch (something he got from his dad), and breathed into neck because that insane closeness helps him fall asleep and stay asleep. I have protected him and kept him from falling off our queen size bed every single night for 14 1/2 months. I have gotten snacks, used the bathroom, recovered from surgery, and been very sick all while holding a sleeping baby and being as quiet as can be. I have given up girls nights, evening chores, hobbies, conversations with my husband or anyone else, just to keep my baby asleep and not screaming.

We have tried Ferber, CIO, Super Nanny, and all the stuff in between. What happens every single time is that each night is worse than the one prior. Two different times I've tried as many as 5 days, and at that point he cried the entire night. Literally, the entire night. He only stopped crying because the sun was up and I had to get him because the day was starting! He doesn't wear out and fall asleep. He gets so tired he looks sick. He yawns and falls over trying to play. What he doesn't do is fall asleep.

I think it's so incredibly difficult to be in my shoes. I never get a break. I can't put him down for nap and work on laundry or make dinner. I can't put him to bed and finish all of the things I didn't get to during the day. Instead, if it isn't done by 7pm, it won't happen. I clean, cook, shower, etc. always with a baby. No part of my day is time for me or time without a baby. My nights are the same. See? It's hard. Then we add to that equation the judgement from friends and family and it's just so draining. I feel like I have to make him sleep train and cry for hours and hours because, it must be my fault. I've made him this way. 

The truth is that he has been this way since he was born. I have tried numerous major efforts to get him sleeping alone and it's always a huge failure. I have raised 3 kids and he is the only one like this. I don't know how this will end or get better and that makes me worried at times. What I do know is that my job is to love and protect him and that is what I'm doing. Because that doesn't fit into the American way to parent, many don't understand it.

I wonder what life was like in Biblical times. I imagine that a family shared a tent and babies slept rightwith  their mama until they were old enough to wander off and sleep in a different corner/mat. This notion that babies are an inconvenience and must sleep isolated is a modern western theory.  

So, for me and my two dear birth group friends whose 14 and 15 month old babies also are like this, I offer love and grace and the expectation only that we love and protect our babies. The other expectations; that they'll sleep alone, that they won't wake up every hour, that they'll fall asleep before 11pm,etc, are hogwash.

If they require our arms to feel safe and to sleep, it's OK. 

*If you believe Cry It Out is a good method and what I should keep trying, I urge you to read this Psychology Today article-


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

To My Future Self

The blog I write today isn't for pity or a cry for help. I'm writing because I hope someday soon I can look back on this phase of life with awe at what I went through. That life won't always be like this. For Pete's sake, I hope its not always like this.

My craptastic ovaries required surgery almost exactly 2 years ago. At that time a tumor was removed from my left ovary and my right heavily cystic ovary was 'cleaned' out. I felt amazing 24 hours after surgery. Like I was myself again. It was truly wonderful and I was in tears at how much better I felt and the knowledge that how horrid I had felt for months, if not years, was to blame on my ovaries. I was able to know I'm not just a mean, bitchy person. Several months went by and I slowly started feeling horrible again. But by then I was pregnant with our one and only natural pregnancy. I blamed the pregnancy for making me feeling crappy again. But it just got worse and worse. For a long time I thought I was just too traumatized from losing my dad the week after his cancer diagnosis. It was so wrong, so unfair, so deeply sad. I was 14 weeks pregnant and that compounded it all. Then the baby came and I continued to feel horrible. I started Zoloft and immediately felt emotionally better. I was able to look over offenses, not freak out about my kids' behavior, not require much, if anything, from my partner. I could coast and not feel like I was drowning every day. But I gained nearly 30lbs in 8 months. And the other side effects aren't lovely either; increased sweating, low sex drive/function, etc. I decided to stop taking it and after two attempts over a few months, I got off of it.

I think during the last year of all of this I had an increasingly ominous feeling that something was wrong with me. A couple months ago I told Craig I thought I was dying and wasn't sure if it was me just scared after losing my dad or what. A month ago it became very painful to use the restroom, get up or sit down, and intimacy had been painful for a very long time. Any normal person would just go to the doctor. I didn't because of a couple reasons. Sadly, I'd felt so horrid for so long that a small part of me wanted it to be a terminal disease so I could just be done with this miserable life. The majority reason was that I knew I would need surgery for whatever was found and it would take every dime we make for the next year or two or longer. I scheduled my annual appointment, the only thing insurance pays for, and planned to talk to my doctor about my many health concerns. Before that appointment arrived I required a trip to the ER. I thought I was dying. My hands, feet, arms, legs, and tongue went numb. I couldn't move them. I had such excruciating pain it was like a monster was in my right ovary with several knives just having at it. After an entire day in the ER, I had a diagnosis. A 12 1/2 cm growth in my right ovary. I hobbled home, in tears and feeling truly helpless. The next day I saw my Ob surgeon. We scheduled surgery for the coming Friday. I applied for financial aid from the hospital and knew that whatever the cost, I didn't have another option.

My ovaries hate me. They don't play nice, they don't behave fairly. Some genetic mutation causes me to have extreme PolyCysticOvarianSyndrome. It makes me gain weight and have trouble losing any of it, it predisposes me to depression, it causes facial hair growth, acne, etc. It means I never have a period (I've had one in my entire life). It makes huge and terrible cysts, and sometimes tumors, grow in my ovaries. It's a terribly mean disease for a woman. Yup, my ovaries hate me.

Because ovaries are a special environment where things are supposed to grow, namely egg follicles into eggs, the ovaries allow tumors and cysts to grow rapidly. Each cell of the tumors and cysts release hormones into their victim. The hormones mess with weight, mental health, and cause exhaustion, fatigue, and pain. This has been my life for almost 20 years, each year seemingly worse.

So I had surgery 2 weeks ago to remove the large growth and also the right ovary. Since then I have been constantly exhausted, moody, fatigued, not feeling like myself, and to add to the fun- my hair is falling out at the root, with the follicle still on it, and in clumps throughout each day. I used to have thick hair, now you can see my scalp. My pony tail is so thin.

I am asked, daily it seems, "how are you feeling? Great since surgery?" I wish I could say yes, but I honestly feel horrible. Every day. And I wish I could just snap out of it or will my body into being healthy, but it doesn't work that way. So now I am waiting for my post op appointment with my surgeon. She can't see me until the 20th, so it's been a long wait. We will do a blood panel to check all my hormones.

After surgery I started Wellbutrin, with the intent it would function like Zoloft but without making me gain tons of weight. I didn't feel much differently on it, but have since learned that Wellbutrin has an occasional and huge side effect of making it's patients go bald. Well shit, nobody told me that. It seems like if there is a horrid side effect besides death, it will happen to me.  So, I've stopped it at least until I can get in and have my hormones checked. It's scary and a blow to my already non-existent self esteem to be losing my hair. Plain and simple.

Amidst all of my health stuff, the kids passed around a puking bug and colds. Two of my children needed surgery and the baby had breathing issues after it. The fridge and freezer crapped out, which we discovered when getting out ice cream for my daughter's birthday party and the ice cream was like milk. And of course there's contract drama between the hospital and our insurance so now I'm looking at up to $40k of bills I have to negotiate between me, the hospital, the lab, the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, etc. Fun, right? This morning I was able to access the statements showing what we owe. It bummed me out for sure. Then my daughter, who did not have surgery yesterday, puked in the car. It sort of feels like I'm living in an awful dream.

I haven't had a date with my husband since July. Before that it had been 7 months. The needs a woman has before she gets married, to feel wanted, pursued, loved, and to be conversed with, don't just go away after she's married. It's been an extremely difficult and lonely season of life. I feel like I have no right to be upset or to wish life was different, since I chose this life, right? I chose to get married and have kids. I didn't choose a genetic mutation, so maybe it's OK to be mad about that? I feel like any acceptance or verbal grievance about how hard life is makes me an ungrateful person. Seems like Christians are supposed to suck it up and be happy. Clearly that's terrible dogma. I don't feel that way and I certainly don't want my friends and family to hide their sorrow and pain.

The sorrow of the last couple years of my life lives deeply in me now and I'm not sure how to get it out. I find myself questioning a sovereign God, one that doesn't intervene. Can't he see I'm drowning? Why isn't he allowing me reprieve? He could heal me. He could heal my kids. But he doesn't. I know the theology...we live on a sinful earth ruled by satan and God's perfection won't be experienced until heaven. I know that, but it's still true that if God wanted to heal, he could. If he wanted to make my 14 month old sleep without having to touch me every second of every night, he could. If he wanted to give us great health insurance, he could. I'm not writing it all off or signing up for an alternative religion....I'm just being honest. Humans struggle. This is the human condition.

And I suppose the old adage, "if you have your health, you have everything", is kind of true. I don't have my health and it sucks.

Dear Future Diana,
I hope you have made it to the other side of this valley.

I can barely wrap my head around the message of this, but it's still worth watching:

Thursday, September 25, 2014

80 Years

There was a time when I viewed life in such a way that I believed "normal" was things going well. That relationally, physically, financially things were meant to go well. The tumult that came was viewed by me with almost an outrage. Like, how dare this storm rain on my normal life, I don't deserve this!!

Over time and tons of tumult, that view changed for me. I was wrong. I was actually viewing it opposite. "Normal" human life on earth is riddled with, in fact full of, tumult. The abnormal is when things are going swimmingly. When we view life as a series of hardships interspersed with sunshine and rainbows, it's easier to handle the tumult and appreciate the sunshine. I don't spend half my life pouting in the corner, screaming, "why me!??!!!!" 

Hardship isn't rare and it isn't only mine. Many of us suffer with incredible difficulties. Sometimes the break between hardships is barely long enough to take a shower. This is the human condition! The sunshine and rainbow readers are saying, "geez, Diana, a little heavy handed are we? Don't be such a pessimist!" And I agree! That's why this change in mindset has helped me. When hardship surfaces, I can say, OK, here's another one. I will survive and be OK. 
Before I was vomiting in a corner, afraid of the circumstances and quite busy at a party- a lonely guest at Pity, Party of One. 

There is often no human reason for the hard stuff we face. There is evil and there is good. One is from satan, one is from God. There is no, "if I just try harder, smile more, read scriptures more, tithe more, volunteer more, eat more veggies, then I won't suffer." 
God wants good for me. He loves me. He cares about me. He doesn't enjoy when I suffer.
 But yet, I suffer. 

If you can picture 80 years of clouds with various random rainbows in the midst- that is life. I used to picture 80 years of sunshine and a few clouds in the midst. See the difference? So, I guess it's a matter of learning to live life and find joy and laughter IN THE FREAKING MIDDLE of the storm cloud.

Yeah, I do sometimes feel jealous of people that appear to have more than their fair share of sunshine when I seem to have more than my share of storm. But I don't know what they really go through or what it cost to get that sunshine. Maybe their storm is just up ahead.  Maybe they just survived years of nothing but storms. Maybe my character needs this many storms. Maybe others are learning by me going through these storms.

It oddly does help me if I think of the crap I've faced and that I'm still here. Days so bad I wouldn't want anyone else to ever face it. I'm. Still. Here. 

John 16:21 
21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

John 16:33
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Pain is the human condition. Someday our joy will be made complete and we'll join our loved ones in heaven. For today, we must find a way to live in the storm in such a way that it can't only be described as surviving. 

No, it's not easy!

Me and the canteloup sized growth. Surgery is tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Monster Inside Me

Ovaries. The subject of many-a-blogs on here. The subject of many frustrations for me.

I had been feeling this ominous "something is really wrong with me" for several months. A couple weeks ago I began feeling some aching ovarian pain that increased when getting up from a sitting position or using the muscles needed to pee or do a bm.  I knew it was my ovary/ies. I also knew it would cost thousands and thousands to fix whatever was wrong. About 3 weeks ago I scheduled an appt with my husband's physician, a lady, and she said she'd allow my new patient exam to be my lady annual exam also. Which meant it would fall under my 1 allowed preventative visit per year and insurance would pay for all of it. It was scheduled for Sep 26. I told myself, just power through and make it to the 26th.

Sunday morning, the 21st, I felt even more "off". I hoped a quiet minute alone in the bathroom would help me. I asked Craig to keep an eye on the kids and I locked myself in the bathroom. Within minutes the pain grew exponentially. And then kept growing. Uninvited tears sprang from my eyes. I left the bathroom and told Craig I needed to go to the ER; this was serious. I could hardly walk. Sharp knives were doing a cruel dance in my right ovary and the pain rendered me paralyzed. It was beyond explanation.  In my heart I feared cancer and that this was the end. After losing my mother in law and then 10 months later, my dad, to cancer, I know I have a deep fear of that being my fate.

Craig called my mom for her to take me to the ER while he stayed home with the kids. I hobbled into the shower to rinse off and put on fresh clothes. I sobbed the whole time, both cussing and ask God to help me. The knives in my ovary got bigger and more mean. I toweled off, whimpering and moaning, and got dressed. I walked out to the living room, hoping my mom would be waiting, ready to take me. She didn't arrive for another 35 min. I feared I would die before she appeared. Around 10:15am, 45 minutes from the onset of the knives, something went terribly wrong. The pain was so agonizing I wished someone could kill me. My tongue, arms, hands, and feet started tingling and wouldn't move. It was scary and something I'd never experienced. I was dripping sweat, yet chilled, and my body began dry heaving. The 800mg of ibuprofen I'd taken at 9:30 didn't make a dent in the sharp stabbing pains racking my body.

I was ready to call 911 when suddenly the pain level of 15 stopped and gave way to a 7...still awful but I no longer hoped someone would murder me. The tingling stopped, my tongue started working, I could walk again. Then my mom arrived. I debated what to do. The grey cloud lingering over my tsunami was the insurance dilemma. I knew the ER would cost thousands. The pain continued and after double checking that no Urgent Care facilities had an ultrasound machine, my mom drove me to the Harrison Emergency Department.

At arrival I was in tears. It was hard to stand at the counter and tell them my name.  My blood pressure was 175/101 and my hands were shaking. The nurse explained that extreme pain can make blood pressure react that way.

They got me a bed in about 10 minutes. A couple nurses rotated asking me my history and about the day's events. The pain would go away nearly completely and then rear it's head and leave me in tears again. It made me feel weak and I hated having to ask over and over and over for pain meds. It took quite a while, maybe 45min to an hour but they finally got me Zofran for nausea and Dilauded for pain. It made my head feel spacey immediately but the knives continued to dance in my ovary. An ultrasound was ordered and we waited. About 40 minutes later the tech arrived, another dose of Dilauded was given, and we looked at my ovaries. The tech said she was not able to tell me anything as she worked. So I watched, in horror, confusion, and amazement, as my right ovary measured over 12cm. It should be the size of a walnut! I felt the same way I did 2 years ago when we discovered a Dermoid Tumor and 9cm of cysts- WTF.

 Why does my body torture me?

The ultrasound tech made a comment about me handling this monster quite amazingly...that women with 1-3cm cysts are often seen freaking out, asking for pain meds. I told the tech, "I wish I had a penis"!

Then we waited another hour for radiology to review my ultrasound and the ED Physician to come talk to me. She told me she'd consulted with the on-call surgeon and because this was not life or death, they would not do surgery on me that day. I felt panicked, wondering how I was supposed to survive the pain and take care of my kids while waiting for surgery. 2 calls in and an hour wait later my mom spoke directly to the on call surgeon and was again told no, as the cost of bringing in the whole surgical team was not warranted in a non-emergent scenario. Everyone said they empathized, but no one would help. After 5 hours in the ED, I was discharged. I limped to the car in the parking lot, holding back sobs. Totally confused how they could send a woman home in such incredible pain and with such a huge growth. We picked up narcotics from the pharmacy on the way home.

I got home, put on jammies, nursed my baby, hugged my girls, and waited the 1 1/2 hours it took for the meds to bring any relief. I felt better for a while, then woke around midnight with excruciating pain, then took another pill and went back to sleep. 

When morning came I felt nearly fine. Only a dull ache and soreness remained. I waited til 8:30 for the surgeon's office to open and was told they had to order my report from the ED, wait til 9:30 for the surgeon to come in, and then call me back to schedule. They called at 10:20 and scheduled me for a consult at 1:15.

This is what I learned at my appointment:
The waxing and waning of pain is consistent with torsion, which is the twisting of the cyst with ovarian tissue. It can cut off blood supply to the ovary and kill the organ.

The cyst was easily palpable to the surgeon and extends all the way to my belly button. It is as if I am 18 weeks pregnant. 

The cells of an ovarian cyst release their own hormones and this being a 12 1/2cm cyst it is releasing A LOT. These hormones mess greatly with my mental health and my ability to function normally, lose weight or maintain a good weight. 

Antidepressants (like Zoloft) butt heads with the cyst's hormones (I quit Zoloft over a month ago after feeling crappy on it, now I know why)

My body doesn't want this cyst, so it spends all the energy it has trying to fight it. There is nothing left for my other needs- emotional or physical. 

The bulk of my PolyCysticOvarianSyndrome issues may be blamed on my right ovary. Removing the ovary might make me feel better than I have in years. It may not. 

The remaining ovary might ovulate and function semi normally. It may not. 

There may be a tumor or cancer or any number of things going on, we won't know until the surgeon is in and poking around. Removing the sickest ovary, which appears to be the right, looks like our best option with the knowledge we currently have. 

I asked if removing both ovaries would be better for me. The surgeon said doing so would put me into menopause and she would not do that to someone so young. 

Surgery is scheduled for the 26th. I am anxious to have it done and to begin recovery. I want to feel like myself again. It's been a very long time since I have. 

I am nervous to start receiving medical bills, estimated to be about $12k. We are a single income family with three kids 5 and under. That's a TON of money to us and we certainly don't have it laying it around. I will fill out all paperwork I can to have costs reduced. We do not qualify for much so far. Not broke enough for Medicaid, ya know?

At this moment my baby is asleep on me. His chubby body melted into the body that grew and sustained him for 9 1/2 months and has now fed him for 13 1/2 months. This moment is precious and I will smell his milky breath and savor this, knowing the God of Angel Armies goes before me into each day. He knew about all of this before I did. It's not fair, I didn't cause this pain, but I have it and I'll survive it. The knives can find someplace else to dance.