Thursday, April 16, 2015


Today I reached 20.2lbs lost since I started workout out and really being strict with my eating choices, approx Feb 11th, 2 months ago. My next large goal is only 15lbs away!

I workout hard and I push myself every day, knowing that my mind has strength to force my muscles to do things they don't think they can. Today was Drench, a 48 minute workout that sometimes makes me actually nauseous. It's a killer workout. 

I don't love the longer workouts as it seems by about 30 minutes all hell is breaking lose with my kids and it's NOT a relaxing workout. But they know mommy needs her workout and I want to be a healthy mommy. So, it's the way it goes. And no, planks, yoga moves, and push ups are not easy with a 30+lb kid climbing on you. And sometimes I can't hear the instructor over the screams from the wildlife. Ahhh! I am trying to eliminate excuses by just doing what needs to be done. I have 3 kids ages 6, 4, and 1. I workout nearly every day. I don't have a nanny, babysitter, or childcare center. Moms- we can do this! 

This second month of PiYo I have been really watching what I'm eating in terms of the ratios of carbs-fat-protein and how my body responds. I know I need low carb and high protein because I have severe poly cycstic ovarian syndrome. But how many grams of each will put my body into ketosis (fat burning) is something I am learning. I seem to do best with less than 100g carbs per day, ideally 80-90 or less- mind you none of these are refined. I don't do bread, pasta, etc. The carbs are from fruit, veggies, dairy, etc. And then 120 or more grams of protein a day, ideally 140+.

It is still challenging to get enough healthy calories. Partly because if I eat as many calories as various calculators (PiYo, MyFitnessPal, etc) tell me I should, I'm afraid I will gain weight. So, I'm still working on finding balance and an emotionally healthy approach. Truthfully, it's a mental struggle every day.

I haven't weighed this weight for over a year and even then it was short lived, maybe a week. And I am certainly more muscular than I've probably ever been.
Leg muscles for days!
Me today, getting ready to workout.

     Whitney Thore, from My Big Fat Fabulous Life on TLC, said in a season 1 interview that with PCOS, "if you aren't actively losing, you're gaining." Sadly, it is quite true. It felt good to hear another person say it out loud, because I've felt that for years but then I would doubt that it's the disease and get down on myself for being a pig. But here's the deal. I am strong. Really strong! Pushups (not on my knees!), running, burpees, I can do it all! I have given birth to 3 kids naturally. I have nourished 3 kids from my body and #3 is still majorly addicted to mom's milk. I have had an ovarian tumor, countless ovarian cysts, put my body through nearly a dozen fertility treatments, 2 ovarian surgeries, lost an ovary, and yet it keeps working and getting better. It hasn't given up!

I am not currently on any pharmaceutical drugs. No Metformin, no antidepressants. I am working to overcome the difficulties of PCOS with exercise and eating for my body. It's not easy. It's trial and error.  

Last week we went away for a couple days. I brought Quest Bars and protein powder, I did not have waffles, cereal, or breakfast burritos at the breakfast buffet. I had a lettuce bun on my Red Robin Burger and a lettuce wrap on my fish tacos at the zoo. I walked like crazy and swam every day. I had zero alcohol. And I still gained 3lbs in 2 1/2 days. My body is super sensitive and gains weight the first chance I give it. There's no grace. So I must be relentless and understand that anything I eat will have consequences.

Unrelenting~ Diana

Saturday, April 4, 2015

My First 5k

     I'm 31 and still learning. Learning about life, about other people, and mostly, about myself. I am learning about fitness and how strong I can be. I am learning what healthy is and how to do it every day regardless of what the scale says. I am learning to eat for fuel.

I realized a couple months ago that no one would change my life but me. Was I waiting for someone else to tell me to get off facebook? Or get up and go for a run? Or eat more protein and veggies? Any changes needed are up to me. I am the only person that can force change on myself. So I did. I made changes. I ditched Facebook Feb 19th, I started working out everyday, and I cut out carbs and sugar. Along the way I'm sifting through and finding what works for me. Like Paleo, it doesn't really work for me. I like dairy, I don't see any ill effects of dairy. Paleo is no dairy. I am a low carb, no sugar, tons of protein eater. I don't eat bread, pasta, or white potatoes. Unless I do. Ha! I had a large flour tortilla the other day and I felt so tired 30 min later. Again, a realization. Wow! Refined carbs make me sleepy and bleh.

I have mostly been eating protein shakes, tuna, paleo sandwich rolls (Lexi's Clean Kitchen), eggs, nuts, fish, chicken, cheese, fruit, and veggies. 

I also realized I wasn't eating enough calories. I upped my daily calorie limit by 400 calories and that seems to be helping my weight loss, although most days I still don't eat enough. I also do not eat back my burned calories most days. That means if I burn 300 calories working out, I do not eat an extra 300 calories. Some days I do, especially if I know I'm going out to eat or something, then I have some leeway. 

I have lost 16lbs since the middle of February. I work out pretty much every day and I am very conscientious of everything I eat. I log everything in MyFitnessPal and I use a Polar fitness watch to track my heart rate and calorie burning. I honestly think a non PCOS person could lose 20-30lbs doing what I'm doing. With PCOS I have to fight tooth and nail for each pound lost, so 16 is an accomplishment. 

I ate out twice last week and still lost weight. I didn't order what I wanted, but I ordered what my body needed. Salad with balsamic dressing and half a burger, no fries, and water to drink. This weekend is Easter. So far I have not had one piece of candy, we'll see about later ;). 

This morning I jogged my first 5k. For me, that's a surprise and I'm proud of myself. <--- that is new. I am learning HOW to be proud of myself. 
Oh the 666.....hahaha! I forgot to press start for 4 minutes, so it was closer to 700 calories :)

I was diagnosed with exercise induced asthma about 20 years ago. Apparently my severe allergies put a strain on my system and cause asthma. I did 2 years of allergy shots 1-2x/week and although less severe, I still have a ton of allergies. Running/jogging is difficult for me. It can feel like there is no air. I typically don't run in groups or with other people because sometimes I just have to walk. But I have been pushing myself outside my comfort zone in fitness and pushing my body, too. I knew 3.1 miles isn't that far and I could do it. I am maybe the slowest jogger you've ever seen, but I do it. I kept reminding myself of this helpful mantra, "I only compete with myself." There was a miscommunication about the finish line, so most people went further. I did almost 4 miles. The first 5 minutes were hardest as my lungs were warming up and getting used to the 45 degree air. Then it was nice and I enjoyed myself. My legs are still sore from yesterdays workout, but they held it together. I am strong. I am capable. I can make my body work for me by telling my brain I can do it. This is obvious to some people, but for me, it's something I am learning. Mind over matter.  I am sore nearly every day. After arm days it hurts to wash my hair. After leg days it hurts to walk down stairs. After ab days it hurts to sing in choir (sing from the diaphragm!). But you know what? That's a sort of victory for me. I am embracing change, the challenge, and seeing what my body can do. 

I find my Polar watch to be motivating and helpful. I know 175bpm is pretty killer for me. 165 is really hard and means I am working it. 140 is so so and I better step it up. It's validating to be working really hard and feel like I might pass out and then see my heart rate is over 170. Like, aha! Yes! I AM working hard! It encourages me to work harder when my heart rate is less than 170. I love that I can see how many calories each workout burns. It's concrete numbers and I can watch trends. I love that stuff. For those looking for one, I got my Polar FT4 for $55 and free shipping on Amazon. I love it. Easy to use, sort of basic, and perfect for using during workouts but not wanting it on 24/7.

I don't wake up stoked to work out or particulary excited about another protein shake or tuna lunch, but I do notice a difference in my energy and mood if I miss a workout. I feel like I can keep up with my kids better and take on life better when I am getting a good 20-50min sweat every morning. I am still doing PiYo, which has gotten increasingly intense as I'm finishing week 2 in the second month. I'm not sure my plan yet for after the 60 days. Maybe a PiYo followup schedule? I need to do a little research. I love that PiYo builds my muscles while also increasing flexibility and making me drip all over my yoga mat- but without jumping around. Running is a huge calorie burner, but I want the muscle building, too. I shall keep y'all posted!

I know it can be scary to do something new and maybe even embarrassing to come to terms with how unfit you might be. But one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to discover how strong you are. It's already inside you, this strength, just waiting to be found.


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: