Friday, December 31, 2010

What a year 2010 it has been; it was the most difficult year of my entire life.  I spent countless days, tortured by pain, feeling hopeless & terrified.

Still, looking back, there were 365 days this year, & they weren't all terrible.   I learned a new appreciation for my health & life.  I was surrounded by loved ones who selflessly took care of me.  I finally found a competent, caring surgeon who completed a successful surgery.  A miracle!

My husband & I celebrated our first year of marriage.  I started this blog & met a supportive community of EndoSisters.  I attended my first conference for writers & began writing my memoir.  I celebrated my birthday & health on a vacation to see my bff (& flew through the air parasailing!) We hosted our first Christmas for our loving family.  These are all blessings for which I am truly grateful.

I look to 2011 with anticipation for all that is to come.  It's a chance to leave behind my baggage full of fear & worry.  My endo has taught me that I am a survivor.  Life is always giving us an opportunity to learn & grow.  Sometimes the lessons are painful, but they are invaluable & precious.  I realized there is no reason to fear.  What will be will be.  I will handle whatever comes my way.  The worst year of my life also brought incredible joy & beauty.  This is why I know I can handle whatever 2011 may bring.

As the clock strikes twelve, I will be ready to wave goodbye to 2010 & welcome 2011 with open arms.

I hope this new year brings health, happiness & peace to all of my friendos.  Thanks for supporting me through this past year.  I am so blessed to have your kindness in my life.  As the last hours tick away, I hope you have a chance to reminisce about your favorite memories of 2010.  Happy New Year!!

counting down to 2011


Thursday, December 23, 2010

I'm still getting everything ready for Christmas, so I haven't had time to write.  Instead, I'd like to share these photos with you.  

 change of perspective

I wish you peace & love this holiday season Friendos!  I hope you have a healthy & safe Christmas.  God bless you & yours.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

For your amusement friendos...

I had a productive day, especially considering it's the second day of my period.  I completed a lovely wedding scrapbook for my bff.  (I can't wait for her to see it!)  I hung up Christmas lights on our porch.  Cleaned.  Cooked a fab dinner for my fam.  Finished nearly all of my Christmas dinner grocery schlepping. 

Crampy, I whined to my husband about my missing heating pads.  I've looked everywhere, but I can't find my electric or large endofemm pad (with the straps attached).  But I had my little endofemm (but no straps) to save me.  I threw it in the microwave & quickly ran upstairs.  A minute later, a scorched stench collided with me.  I opened the microwave & here's what I found:


I overcooked this one last month & some of the popcorn (unfortunately) popped.  Well, apparently I didn't learn my lesson.  Except this time, it led to its demise.  What a huge bummer.  Now I have zero heating pads, when all I want to do is curl up under my fuzzy blanket with one.  

Lesson learned--When heating up the popcorn pad, whatever you do, don't walk away.

Seriously, you would not believe this foul smell.  I can taste the burnt.  It's hilarious.



Thursday, December 9, 2010

Around this time last year, I started experiencing panicky moments.  I was uncharacteristically stressed out, as everyday tasks overwhelmed me.  I felt particularly pressured about Christmas.  This had never happened to me before; I had always loved Christmastime.  I found myself crying over simple matters.  When my husband suggested I shop for our Christmas Eve & Christmas necessities without him, I felt like I couldn't breathe & started bawling.  He seemed perplexed by my reaction (as was I), but he sweetly agreed to go without me & handled all of it.  I stayed home & beat myself up.  I couldn't shake my anxiety & it tormented me. 

Looking back on it a year later, I have some perspective.  When my endo raged, it was in late January.  I can now imagine the endo was spreading inside of me, relentlessly attacking my organs.  I looked healthy on the outside, but I was sick on the inside.  It makes sense to me now-- this was the source of my panic.  The storm was on the horizon, threatening my very existence.  My body was reaching the end of what could be tolerated.  I was soon to be in constant, debilitating pain.

It's difficult for me to think about that time.  Winter has arrived again & its luggage includes troubling memories from last year.  I'm trying to focus on my countless blessings & gratitude for surviving that horrible time in my life.  When it was happening, I couldn't envision the day my pain would end.  I tried, but the pain gave me tunnel vision; all I could see ahead was never-ending darkness.

This year, we are hosting our family Christmas for the first time.  My husband asked if it was going to be too stressful for me.  He didn't want to agree to it if I was going to be miserable.  I saw his own recollection of last year written on his face.  I explained he would need to help me; he assured me he would.  Our eyes met for a moment & he smiled.  I held his hand, took a deep breath & exhaled my concerns.  I thought about what Christmas really means to me.  My favorite part of Christmas is having fun with my family.  Everyone having the whole day together to spend laughing, talking, playing & eating.  The house full of laughter during our silly white elephant gift exchange & rowdy board games (our new fave is Apples to Apples).  No one's day will be ruined if my floors are dirty, my muffins are burnt or their sweater is the wrong size.  With this realization, I embraced my old friend Christmas--wrapped my arms snug around it's neck--& happily starting planning the day.  A few people are going to stay overnight & I am so excited to have a family sleepover!  I can't wait to celebrate the beauty of Christmas with my family.  Praise God for seeing me through the worst of my disease.  I am so grateful.

My dog has the right idea--relax & enjoy the holidays!

the stockings were hung by the fire with care

How do you handle holiday stress?  What is your favorite family holiday tradition?  Has your health ever threatened your holiday fun?  Please leave a comment, I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

I'm getting in the Christmas spirit.  It snowed all night here & it's still coming down in beautiful, fluffy flakes.

 my happy dog

My sister emailed me photos of my adorable niece & nephew playing in the snow (in North Carolina!).

I listened to my fave Christmas albums as I cooked a yummy breakfast for my fam this morning.  I thought I'd share some Christmas cheer with my friendos.

My thoughtful son gave me the album, This Warm December, as a Christmas gift a couple years ago.  Jack Johnson & G. Love are high on my all-time-favorite-musicians list.  The compilation features fun versions of Christmas classics & new songs from various artists.  I particularly like Jack Johnson's updated Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  Click here to find more information.  They donate 25% of the profits to support children's music education.  Awesome bonus!
I'm looking forward to Vol. 2

James Taylor is high on my list too.  His lyrical voice exudes an innate sweetness.  I received this album a few years ago as a gift from my friendo.  I can (& do) listen to it over & over & over.  I love singing along with JT.  This album has become part of our Christmas morning tradition.  You can find it on his website here.
James Taylor at Christmas
The album was originally a limited edition released through Hallmark.  This is the one I have, but it looks like you can't purchase it anymore.  Luckily, he released the above version & it is available to buy.
A Christmas Album
The albums are slightly different, but mostly contain the same lovely songs.  

New Orleans Christmas is a compilation from Putumayo.  They celebrate music from around the world with countless choices of exciting albums.  They also have a variety of holiday albums.  As you might expect, the tunes on this album are peppy numbers that make you wanna shake around & dance.  You can find it here.
It's Christmas time in New Orleans

What are your favorite Christmas albums, friendos?


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Aunt Darrelyn tells beautiful stories.  She's my favorite writer & I adore her.  She inspires me to nurture the writer within.  And she makes the best book recommendations.  When she told me about a local event, featuring author Silas House, I jumped at the chance to go.  (You can read her guest posts for Writer's Digest here, including her wise advice to attend book events).

She recommended I start with his first novel, Clay's Quilt.  Simply put, it's a story of the bonds of kin & home, set in the glorious mountains of Kentucky.  I relate to the heartache & struggles of Clay, a young man who lost his mother Anneth when he was four years old.  Anneth's character reminds me of my mom; her beautiful, adventurous spirit taken from her family far too soon.

I love a Southern accent.  The spoken words flow like a friendly song.  I suppose it stems from my love for my Louisiana family.  I hear the voice of my momma when they speak to me.  My boring voice longs to imitate each enunciation.

So I was happy just to hear Silas talk, enjoying his Kentucky accent.  He introduced the story, explaining he writes to find answers to questions within himself.  I had never put it into words myself, but it's the same reason I write.  (It's why I often write about my mom or mother loss & my struggles with Endometriosis).  He read from his latest novel, Eli the Good.  There's nothing like hearing an author read his/her own words.  His reading hooked me; it's going to the top of my everlasting to-read list.

After he spoke & answered a few questions, I anxiously got in line to meet him.  I was compelled to ask if he had lost his mother at a young age, since his story eloquently described the pain of a bereaved child.  He explained his uncle was murdered when Silas was a child, and he drew on those memories for Clay's character.  He thought for a moment, then said his mother had lost her mother when she was nine years old.  He'd always felt sorrow for his mother.  His expression changed as I watched a realization occur to him--his grandmother's death had influenced Clay's character.  He said it hadn't occurred to him until just that moment.  I shared my loss with him & praised his depiction of mother loss.  He signed my book & humbly thanked me for coming out to meet him.

When I got to my car, I carefully turned to the signed page to find these sweet words:
"For Jenny,
I'm glad this book is in good hands.
Silas House"

my very own copy

Thanks for sharing this with me Aunt Darrelyn!


Monday, November 22, 2010

After all the anticipation, I got my first post-surgery period on September 25th.  I was hoping for at least one pain-free menstruation, but that's not how it turned out.  I'm not complaining, though.  It was definitely better than it had been for many months prior to surgery.

My body seems to be adjusting to life with only one ovary.  I started menstruating on October 24th (29 day cycle) & November 19th (26 day cycle).  They arrived with the all-too-familiar symptoms--moodiness, bloating, aching back & cramping.  All I want to do is curl up in my comfy pjs & lounge alone with my heating pad.  And shed a few tears, at random, until I feel better.  You know, the usual reclusive routine.

It's hard not to worry.  I try to dissuade the clamor of questions in my mind:  How fast will the endo grow?  Will my right ovary remain healthy?  Should I have gotten a complete hysterectomy?...

Since worry & stress can only make matters worse, I'm trying to stay positive & calm.  It's easier said than done, though.  

 hermit mode


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Love, Love, Love

I'm still smiling, basking in the hope & inspiration of Love Beats Hate.  As I read the posts & comments, I hear the harmony of our voices, telling the universal story of love.  

I emphatically agree with the participant who tweeted, "I see #lovebeatshate as a movement more than an event."  And we aren't the only ones.  I anticipate Love Beats Hate evolving beyond a one-day event. (It already has!).

Here's a link to the list of Love Beats Hate bloggers.  Or you can find the collection here.     

You can join the conversation on twitter and facebook & share your thoughts about the movement.  Together, we can continue to make a positive impact & share the love.

Thanks Friendos!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Love Beats Hate

Dear Friendos,

Thank you for visiting & supporting the Love Beats Hate blogging event today!   My sincere gratitude to Jeanne & Diana for their hard work organizing the event.  Thank you to all of the participating bloggers & everyone who helped spread the love. You rock.

I've been thinking for days about the power of love in anticipation for today's post.  I recalled an organization I discovered a few years ago while researching for my thesis on mother loss.  The nonprofit organization Mommy's Light Lives On was started by Mary Murphy, a mother facing terminal cancer, who wanted to help her son prepare for life without her.  Together, they decided he would continue a family tradition each year in her memory--baking Christmas cookies.  Mary knew continuing this fun tradition would comfort her son in her absence.  She was inspired to share this idea with other bereaved families & started the Mommy's Light Lives On Fund in October 1997.  Sadly, Mary passed away two & a half months later.

Maintaining Mary's vision, Mommy's Light has continued to grow over the years.  Their mission statement (taken from their website) is:
"Mommy's Light brings joy and comfort to children and teens by helping them keep alive traditions and simple pleasures they shared with their mothers.  To support young people in adapting to their mothers' illnesses or deaths, Mommy's Light's key initiatives include: (1) free Tradition Fulfillment Services to eligible children and teens; and (2) the development and distribution of education and outreach materials targeting grieving children and the adults who are likely to interact with them." 

Mommy's Light volunteers meet with the children & families to discuss their fondest traditions.  They pay attention to the details of the memories in order to recreate their custom in the most meaningful way.  Traditional fulfillment services keep memories alive & provide comfort & support to children as they grieve.  They provide a way for bereaved children to feel close to their mothers & continue important family activities in their absence.  It opens the dialog for children to talk about their moms & the feelings they are experiencing.  You can click here to read some of the beautiful traditions facilitated by Mommy's Light.

The outreach materials are another invaluable service to families.  There is a silence that tends to surround children who have lost their mother.  The adults in their lives are also grieving a tremendous loss.  It is important to know how to talk & interact with bereaved children to help them process their grief and learn to live with their loss.

I understand the impact of mother loss; my mom died when I was five years old.  I vividly remember the silence & loneliness that accompanied my loss.  I quickly realized how uncomfortable my situation made others.  No one knew what to say or do, so usually they said & did nothing.  I'm not complaining.  It wasn't that they didn't care.  They avoided the topic to protect me.  And I seemed fine on the outside.  I learned to deal with my grief & pain in silence.  So I can imagine the comfort the tradition fulfillment service & outreach education would have brought to me & my family.

 My Momma & Me

I am so inspired by the love left behind by Mary Murphy.  She created a legacy of love, not only for her son, but for numerous other grieving children & families.

This is an amazing example of how communities, both in-person & online, can offer support & love to those in need.  When I was a child, I wasn't able to search for online communities & information to help me deal with losing my mom.  Instead, I drifted alone.  Thanks to organizations like Mommy's Light, children do not have to feel isolated in their grief.  They can learn how to celebrate their mother's love & keep her close to their hearts.

Visit their website for more information.  If you know a child who has experienced mother loss, they can provide you with ways to offer your support.  If you'd like to learn more about mother loss, I also encourage you to visit Hope Edelman's website.  Hope inspired my thesis & has done incredible research on motherless daughters.  I highly recommend her books & articles.  I found comfort & healing through the pages of her books.  She shares her story & the stories of other motherless daughters, normalizing the feelings & grief bereaved children of all ages experience.  Hope also serves on Mommy's Light's Advisory Board.   Click here to read a letter from Hope to Mommy's Light, describing why she supports their organization. 

Please visit the other blogs taking part in this event today!  Click here for a list of participating bloggers.  I hope Love Beats Hate has brightened your day & inspired you to share the love.

The truth is, love does beat hate.  Love prevails.  Not even death can stop love.

With Love,
Your Friendo Jenn

"A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another."  John 13:34

Hate doesn't stand a chance against love.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hey Friendos!

I'm honored to be taking part in a blogging event on November 17th called Love Beats Hate.  The event is being organized by fellow bloggers Jeanne & Diana Lee.  Visit her blog post, with more information about the event, here.

Love Beats Hate

If you would like your blog to be a part of the event, you can register on Jeanne's site (at the bottom of the post, linked above).  Or you can participate by reading the blog posts on November 17.  We would also greatly appreciate your help spreading the word about the event.  We have registered the hashtag #lovebeatshate on twitter, so you can find all the tweets.

Here's another link with more information about the event.

Let's all gather together & focus our positive energy on the power of love & supporting marginalized populations.  It's going to be an empowering event!  Thank you for any support you can give.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

I have discovered a new love & his name is Bob.

After three weeks & one day of my wheat elimination plan, I discovered Bob's Red Mill products at my local health food store.  I was shopping for ingredients for a "stoup" I was planning to make & was feeling slightly discouraged.  I always have bread with my soup.  I miss bread! That's when Bob's smiling face caught my eye.

I made this simply delicious cornbread & excitedly dunked (several pieces) into my soup bowl.  My husband smiled at my delight, as I rambled about how much I have missed my dear old friend Bread, enjoying every morsel.

Turns out, Bob has many wheat-free, gluten-free options.  I'm looking forward to trying different ones.  Thanks for keeping me on track Bob!


Friday, November 5, 2010

I'm blessed with the kindest father. He lives his life as a happy man.

He's a whistler. It's a mellow, joyful kind of whistle. Not harsh or shrill. Never seems to be an actual song, just a peppy tune of random notes. It epitomizes his life. He happily moves through each day with a smile on his face & a whistle on his lips. He inspires me to look on the bright side of life. It's impossible to be grouchy whilst whistling. When I am feeling blue, I try to think of my dad & whistle. It always puts a smile on my face.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hey Friendos!

I am excited to share my latest self-healing endo endeavor with you. I am starting to follow the diet & vitamin recommendations from the book, "Endometriosis: A Key to Healing and Fertility Through Nutrition" by Dian Shepperson Mills & Michael Vernon.

I have been feeling some of the all-too-familiar symptoms of my endo: stomach pains, back pain, bloated belly, gas pains & (I think my husband would concur) moodiness. My symptom-free days sure were nice while they lasted, but I know it's time to get serious about my health and nutrition. I confess, I haven't been paying much attention & have eaten (or not eaten) whatever I've wanted. I've been drinking too much coffee & therefore not eating until the afternoon.

So to help keep me on track, I have started another page on this blog, titled "FOOD JOURNAL." Here, I will document my diet, vitamins & supplements, & experiences along the way. If you want to check it out, you can find the page on the right hand side of the blog.

As always, I give you my disclaimer. I am NOT a doctor or medical professional. I am just sharing my personal experiences with you, not providing medical advice of any kind. At all.

I hope to soon experience the benefits of my diet change. I'll keep you updated & please comment! I would love to hear from other endo sisters about their dietary choices.

(p.s. If you decide to purchase this book or any other product from Amazon, I encourage you to go to first, then click on the Amazon ad on the left side of the blog. This will instantly take you to & you can begin shopping. Doing so will help support the wonderful Jeanne & her excellent blog. It doesn't cost you anything but a second of your time. Thanks!)


Thursday, October 7, 2010

My frustration level has hit an all time high!!

My former employer has filed another appeal for my unemployment (what is wrong with these people?!). Now I will have to attend a hearing to fight their idiotic, false claims. Unbelievable!

I am still trying to secure an individual medical insurance plan for my family. I sure don't feel like my medical history is private. I can't believe the questions they ask. It should not be this difficult to find insurance. It's not right!

I just got a letter from a third party affiliate of my former insurance company asking me questions about my recent medical treatment. How is this not a violation of my medical privacy rights? They are trying to ascertain whether someone else may be at fault for my condition, so they won't have to pay my claims. What kind of BS is that?? It's ridiculous! One of the questions was - Was your medical treatment caused by a work related incident? What?? Umm no, I didn't fall down at work & contract Endometriosis. Really?!?

Ughhhh! I better just stop typing now. I'm too angry. No more phone calls for me today. I'm going to go outside & enjoy the gorgeous weather. (Thanks for letting me vent).

At least angry Homer made me smile.


Friday, September 24, 2010

I'm delighted to be attending a writer's conference tomorrow. It's my first one.

This blog and you, my friendos, have been an essential piece of my healing, growth and sanity. And humor preservation.

I've always loved to write. When I was young, usually just my Grandma Rosemary read my stories. Writing for a blog is such a unique form of expression. My meager words can reach across the planet, instantly. I'm still amazed by that. (And worried, because no one loves & appreciates me like my Grandma did).

My question for you, fellow endo blogger, is this. How do you define yourself...a writer who happens to have endo, a blogger who writes about endo, an endo sister who blogs? Or none of the above?


Sunday, September 19, 2010

My wicked itch has improved, so I've downgraded my condition to, The Itchy and Scratchy Show. Hopefully, like a brief spot on a Simpsons episode, I will chuckle & the show quickly will move on. And I'll forget all about it because so many other funny things have happened in-between.

I guess that's why I still proudly proclaim my love for the Simpsons, even after all these years. No matter what my mood, Homer can always, always make me laugh. I was wishing the new season started tonight, but it looks like I'll have to wait one more week.

 one of my all-time fave t-shirts


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My first day home after my amazing vacation, I started to feel the burning symptoms of a yeast infection. Nothing like a yeast invasion to burst your bubble, huh? Wow, did my soaring bubble deflate fast.

This is the fourth occurrence ever for me. I count myself lucky, considering how many women suffer repeat infections. I have a friendo who is her mid-30s who has never had one. Most women are shocked when she states this fact, as they cringe at the memory of theirs.

That first morning, I started out with a homeopathic remedy, including vaginal suppositories & external cream. I tried this for three days. Though it was a seven day supply, by the third day, I was losing my mind & had to try something else (anything else!). So I bought a one-day Monistat pack, including wipes, external cream & suppository. The external cream exacerbated the itchy (my crotch is on fire!) torture. I had to resign to seeing a doctor. But since it was Sunday, I would have to wait one more day. (aahhh!).

My friendo (the never-had-a-yeast-infection and fellow EndoSister) had called me on Saturday to ask if I wanted to hike with her Sunday morning. I revealed my inconvenient, unbearable situation & told her that my vagina may not want to cooperate with her plan. She quickly responded, " tell your vagina that it has ruled this roost for too long & it's time for her to be nice or you are going to start using tampons again." I laughed so hard I thought I'd stop breathing. And Sunday morning, despite the pain, I sucked it up & took a hike with her. I spent that night tossing in agitation, barely sleeping at all.

In the morning, my condition was much worse. My husband called from work to relay some information about banking or bills or something important to me & I had to stop him mid-sentence & say, "Baby, I'm not going to remember anything you are saying. All my brain can think about is how horrific my vaj feels right now. Let's talk about this later, ok?" He was sweet & tried to empathize. Feeling sorry for myself, I spouted something about how I was being punished for having so much fun last week & my loud declaration (& blog post) about how terrific I was feeling. I thanked him & quickly hung up the phone, sparing him anymore of my ranting.

As fate would have it, I then listened to my cell messages & discovered I had a long-ago-scheduled appointment for today (Monday) with my previous OBGYN, that I had totally forgotten about. It feels like a lifetime has occurred since the last time I saw this doctor. She's the one who referred me to dr #2 for my endometriosis. I had been thinking about the importance of contacting this doctor to explain that dr #2 should not be receiving referrals as an endo surgeon/specialist, based on my experiences. And more importantly, who she should/could be sending patients to see for help. The opportunity presented itself to have this conversation, courtesy of my wicked yeast infection. So I took it.

The doctor listened to the abbreviated version of the last nine months of my endo story. (As my brain shouted, vagina is burning!!! Make it stop!) She expressed empathy through it all. I raved about my new doctor (dr #3) & his knowledge & skills as an endo surgeon. I hope & pray she remembers my story the next time she needs to make a referral for a case like mine.

Hence, even my yeast infection has a silver lining.

I suffered through the brief (felt-like-hours) exam. The last thing my vagina wanted was to be poked & prodded. This is always true, but especially in this irritated state. She decided it was safe to say it was a yeast infection & prescribed an oral dose of Diflucan. I had never taken a pill to treat my previous ones, so this was a surprise. I kicked myself for waiting four days to get checked out & find relief.

Twelve hours after taking the one Diflucan (aka Fluconazole) pill, I was already feeling somewhat better. I can actually think about something besides a scorching vagina. So I feel like I'm heading in the right direction on the (yellow brick) road to recovery.

Ding dong, can't wait till this wicked itch is dead!


Monday, September 13, 2010

Before my last surgery, my neighbors brought me this cheery arrangement combined of flowers from both of our yards.
lively, colorful, vibrant

Five days later, I related to the droopy arrangement. It was six days until my surgery and my listless body mirrored the faded peony. Limp and hunched over in pain, I saw my reflection in the withering flowers. My vitality draining...slowly away.
weary, pale, arid

Below I'm captured, beaming, two weeks before my wedding day.
July 31, 2009

Eleven months later, agonizing, the evening before my surgery (after almost five months of unending, excruciating pain).
June 8, 2010

I waited until the brittle petals fell, then gently placed the frail arrangement to rest in our woods.

(A stirring song by a fave musician, Ben Harper, kept coming to mind while I wrote this post. So I'll share that too.) 

Roses from my Friends


Thursday, September 9, 2010

I am ecstatic to share this post with you friendos!

Exactly three months ago I was undergoing a robotic laparoscopy, facing serious risks and fears. Just three months later, on Labor Day, I crossed an exhilarating feat off my bucket list...I flew!

When I was in the depths of my endo pain, I could barely walk up the stairs. Some days I couldn't get out of my bed because the pain was so severe. If someone would have told me in June that I would be feeling marvelous by the beginning of September, there is no way I would have believed them.

4 days post-surgery

I spent the past week staying with my best friend on an island in the Great Lakes. I decided to take advantage of not having a job & take a relaxing, rejuvenating getaway to celebrate my birthday. (Okay, I admit it. My girlfriends & I love to celebrate our birthweek or sometimes birthmonth to extend the fun!) Two years ago for my birthday, my bff bought me a parasailing gift certificate. I tried to go last year, but the weather didn't cooperate. Now I know why; I was meant to fly in celebration of healing.

I started off small. On Sunday, I had some fun jumping on her trampoline. Bouncing instantly makes me smile. It brings out the silly child in me.


The next day my childhood wish came true. I flew through the air like a bird. I spoke & sung to God, thanking him for all of my blessings & answered prayers. I cannot describe the peacefulness & awe. It was truly magical.

 taking flight into the gorgeous sky

(Peter Pan was right) I can fly!
flapping my wings & soaring

I felt like a butterfly, emerging from her cramped cocoon to embrace her new, wondrous life.

There is hope. God is listening. I am walking, laughing, flying proof. I went from bedridden to gliding in the sky in just three months.

I know my battle with endo will continue, but days like these sure make the fight worth fighting.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I'm having a fantabulous, beauty-full birthday! I've spent the last few days with my inspiring best friend, hanging out on her island in the lake. She's busy in the kitchen creating an amazing autumn-infused birthday dinner. It includes a finale of homemade carrot cake & cream cheese icing.

Yesterday, I crossed an exhilarating item off my bucket list. (Post to come friendos!)

Praise God, what a glorious day! I'm off to enjoy my feast.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

I just received the notification that the redetermination unit of unemployment sided with me!


The company (jerks) claimed that I had no intention of returning to work as their reason to appeal my benefits. Really?? Then why did I provide you with documentation from my doctor's office with a return to work date? (Also, it's hard to return to work when you get fired!)

Maybe they appeal all requests for unemployment, I really don't know. All I know is that I can finally never, ever have to deal with this shady company again. Yay!

Thanks to everyone for rooting for me. I'm off to celebrate!


Saturday, September 4, 2010


My hot flashes are still coming on strong. I experience them all throughout the day & night. They are so bizarre. One second, everything is second, I'm on fire. The heat radiates from the inside of my body & my skin pricks out (zillions of) tiny sweat beads. My forehead instanteously creates a puddle. I pant because I feel like I can't breathe. 

I've got thick hair & it was driving my neck crazy during these episodes. The day I decided that my hair needed to go, I was ready to just shave my head. If I could have found some clippers before that hot flash faded, I'd likely be writing about my bald head right now. I was ecstatic when I was able to get a hair appointment that day. (Thanks Amy!). I've almost always had long or longish hair. I gotta tell you, I am loving my short, sassy locks! And my neck is sooooo grateful.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I just received notification from unemployment that my former employer filed an appeal to my case. I am disgusted & appalled. I guess they feel they haven't put me through enough already.

It's okay though, because I haven't done anything wrong & I have proof. If they want me to fight, I'll fight. And I'm going to do it with a smile.

 slap 'em with a smile


Monday, August 23, 2010

I received my insurance cancellation in the mail. And I made my first (super expensive!) COBRA payment. Ugh. This happened to coincide with reaching my out-of-pocket max for the year. Double Ugh. I called the company to inquire about their policies for individuals purchasing their own insurance. I began to explain my situation, told him I had Endometriosis. "You have what now?" This guy couldn't pronounce Endometriosis after I clearly stated it three times & spelled it twice. He asked me to describe it & (annoyed) I responded, "It's complicated."

He needed to check with his supervisor to see if they would even consider offering me any plan at all (given my condition) & get back to me by the end of the day. (Which he didn't & still hasn't). How frustrating! I'm suddenly not good enough to insure. I seem to remember my insurance payments taken from every single check I received. So why all of a sudden don't you want my money? Interesting.

I'm not a health care expert, so don't get me wrong. But I can't help but think this is backwards. When I go to the market, they sell food & if I can pay for the item, I can buy it. The owner doesn't ask me a list of questions to see whether or not he will sell me the food. Why isn't insurance the same way? If you offer plans in my area, why can't I just sign up & pay a reasonable fee for it.

Or better yet, if you need medical care, you can go to a hospital or doctor's office & receive care. It doesn't matter what your job might be or if your insurance validates your condition, if you need help you can get it. I'm not gonna pretend to know the best way to enact this, but it seems morally correct to me.


Friday, August 20, 2010

I'm waving my YAY flags today!!

Well Friendos I received some super great news!!! I qualified for unemployment, despite my former employer's shady efforts. (HA!)

Here's an excerpt of the letter I received:

"The claimant was discharged by ******************** on ***********. Facts
establish that the claimant's absences were due to medical reasons and beyond his/her control.
Legal standard that determines if a discharge is without just cause is whether the claimant's acts,
omissions, or course of conduct were such that an ordinary person would find the discharge not
justifiable. After a review of the facts, this agency finds that the claimant was discharged without just

Discharged without just cause...thank you!

I am so grateful. It really takes some of the pressure off while I look for a new job. I am thrilled that my former employer did not get away with trying to deny my rights. Now I can wash my hands of that stupid job & all the stress it brought me & move on with my life. YAY!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

I'm not yet a huge tweeter, but here's why I love twitter. It's a fun way to quickly share links to all kinds of random, cool stuff.

First of all, twitter recommended that I follow KeeperCup. This alone was very exciting since I didn't find the Keeper on twitter when I looked myself. (If you want to read more about my Keeper Love, here's my post about it).

I checked out the twitter page & found a link to a contest to win a free Keeper. The deadline for submissions is August 31st. If you are curious about the Keeper & wonder if it's right for you, this is the perfect chance for you to try it out for free.

Also, be sure to click the "check this out" link in this post. It shows pictures of the amount of tampons you won't have to use & consume if you switch to the Keeper. It's an awesome visual.

Good luck, I'd be so psyched if one of my Friendos won the contest!

Gracias @KeeperCup & for running the contest.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Today is my first wedding anniversary!

Wow, what a year it has been. Before marrying my husband last year, we were together for nine years. So he has seen me struggle through ten years of painful periods. He knew all about my moods, tears, cramps and suffering. We had only been married for five months when my endo took over my life (and therefore our life). This is not at all how we envisioned the beginning of our marriage.

We wrote our marriage vows together & proclaimed these same vows to each other. They included this promise, "I will stand by your side wherever our path leads."

Unfortunately, our path has already led us somewhere difficult & draining. He watched me agonize through our newlywed days. I haven't been able to work in months, so he's taken on all of our financial responsibilities. As the bills pile up, including my exorbitant medical bills, he calmly tells me my only job is to feel better. He helps me fight feelings of guilt & anxiety. He has already waited in the hospital through two surgeries this year. He felt my sadness & disappointment when my surgery was postponed. I just had to look at him to feel his empathy. He called 911 when I was curled up on the living room floor, bawling and vomiting. He drove me to the ER twice. He rubs my aching back. He picks up my prescriptions when I can't drive, makes me tea when I'm nauseous, cooks me delicious meals & makes me laugh when I'm sad.

It is a terrible feeling to not be able to help your spouse when she's in agony. I know he felt helpless, but he always stayed strong. He prayed for me & believed I would get better.

Though it wasn't in our actual vows, it turns out the following was implied:

When your endometriosis symptoms rage, I promise to care for you with patience & love.

Thanks Baby for all of your compassion & support! Happy (very first ever wedding) Anniversary! I am so blessed to be your wife & have you as my husband.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Between my recent surgeries and the drugs I was taking (NuvaRing for period suppression & Zoladex for faux-menopause), my menstrual cycle is quite confused. (Can you blame it?). I haven't had a period since my surgery, over two months ago. I have to admit, this respite has been delightful. (I may have even forgot for a few days that I will ever shed blood again). But over the last few days, I have noticed a feeling of dread creeping into my thoughts.

It must be'll probably be today...

The anticipation is grueling. Every time I go to the bathroom, I cringe, and look for the crimson drops to appear.

I am especially anxious to experience my first post-surgery period to see how I'm going to feel. My periods have been so painful, for so long, I can't imagine it being any other way. I did not experience any relief after my first three laparoscopy procedures. So it is difficult not to be skeptical, even though I know this time my surgery was completed correctly. My doctor assured me I will feel like a brand new woman. I hope he's right!

In the meantime, I need to focus on enjoying my current period-free days & know I'll deal with whatever comes with my next period. I wish I just knew what day I was going to start...


Thursday, August 5, 2010

I am so grateful for FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act). When my endo took over this year, I was unable to continue working. This was difficult for numerous (obvious) reasons. With my health in question, it was particularly scary since I held our insurance through my job. It was essential for me to remain insured during this time of frequent doctor and hospital visits.

I originally had no doubt that I would be able to return to work before my FMLA ran out. Unfortunately, I did not foresee all that was to come. (See previous posts for more info since it's a longgggg story). My employer approved an extension to my medical leave for one additional month. And when I still wasn't well enough to work, I was granted another month of medical leave. This was a HUGE blessing because I was reaching my out of pocket maximum for the year on my policy. I was able to retain my insurance plan, but I had to pay the entire monthly payment instead of sharing the cost with my employer. Still, it was going to save me thousands of dollars in the long run.

As the end of the second leave extension approached, I was still too ill to work. I supplied my employer with another note from my doctor explaining my condition. My employer responded with a letter stating that I had "voluntarily abandoned" my position by not returning to work. You see, they are attempting to deny my right to unemployment benefits by claiming I chose to quit my job.

Interesting, huh? Does this mean, in their opinion, that I chose to spend the past six months of my life in agonizing, debilitating pain? Did I voluntarily sign up for endometriosis so severe that my doctor called it "Stage V" endo? I don't remember signing up for this, in fact I wouldn't wish this on anyone, ever. So I would hardly call this a voluntarily situation.

I've applied for unemployment. Now I have to wait it out. I have no idea how long it will take once they attempt to deny the claim. I hope they aren't allowed to get away with it.

(Shhh...the truth is I never liked my job. I took it for the paycheck. And I needed to go back for the paycheck again, especially after six months with no income. This economy is very scary, as we all know by now. It is not the best time to be looking for a job).

While I look for a new job, we will have to rely on COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). It is crazy expensive, but at least we will remain insured. So I need to be grateful for this too.

I know better things are to come. I am beyond blessed with my post-surgery recovery, considering how severe my endo had become. I am choosing to see this as an opportunity to find a job I can love. (Or at least one I don't hate). I have anxiety...but I am not going to let it get me. All I can do is remain positive and keep looking!


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Here's a tried & true fave book of mine.

I discovered OBOS a few years ago while perusing bookstore shelves. It has been a helpful resource for me ever since. I wish I would have owned it when I was a young girl. What a great gift for daughters, granddaughters, nieces (or any young woman) to help educate them about their bodies and encourage them to take an active role in their health. Though much progress has been made, unfortunately many subjects about women's health remain taboo & myths continue to thrive. OBOS offers detailed information to debunk these myths & encourage self awareness.

Click here for a link to all their publications. If you are interested, you can also sign up for their newsletter or follow their blog on this website.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What number is your pain? (aka the most annoying question to be asked when you are in pain!!!!!!!!!!!!) The above drawing is the visual representation of this question, the Wong-Baker Faces Scale. When you are in pain, this ridiculous cartoon is insulting and absurd. I mean, seriously.

I was hospitalized in the beginning of March due to unbearable, excruciating levels of pain. Shallow, hyper breathing led to numb hands, and the pain in my stomach shoved vomit out of my mouth. By the time my husband got off the phone with the on-call doctor, I couldn't even stand up. If my stomach would have exploded, spraying my organs all over my living room, it wouldn't have been surprising. Getting into his car was inconceivable, so he called an ambulance.

As the paramedics were wheeling me out of my home, one of them asked me, "What number is your pain, on a scale from 1 to 10?" (Now I realize he was just following protocol, and they were all very kind to me, so don't get me wrong. However...) I wanted to screech, "What the hell do you think!?!! I am bawling, vomiting, and being carried on a stretcher (into the cold without my socks, shoes or jacket)!!!! Ummm if only I had a chart of cartoon faces for each number, I would be better equipped to answer this question. I'm at freakin' TENNNN!!!! Actually, I might as well be at a 10,000!!!!"

If you have ever been in the hospital in terrible pain, it probably won't surprise you that I endured being asked this damn question over & over during my three day stay. The nurses would bring the morphine & before they would administer it, they would ask for my number. Each time in my head, I rolled my eyes and flicked them off...but actually responded, I hate this question, followed by my number. (I know they're following protocol too. And I appreciate their work too). Meanwhile I thought...

I have not felt every possible pain, okay?! I'm sure if a rabid lion pounced and mauled me, I may experience a higher level of pain. If I was run over by a semi truck seven times and then trampled by wild boar, yeah that might hurt more than this does. But as you may have noticed, I am still crying, doubled over with pain, my white blood cell count is elevated. So right now, it seems this is maximum misery. Can't you just look at me and ascertain this obvious fact? I don't need a Comfort Scale (aka Wong-Baker Faces Scale); I don't even remember what comfort feels like. I need morphine!!

The question feels more like an interrogation. You might be an addict, you know. (But I'll talk more about my experiences with pain meds in a later post).

(Jenndo observes) Poor 8 really wants to cry, but she's too fatigued to hear another person tell her to toughen up. And she's gotten used to choking back her tears. Sometimes even 6 cries too. Because pain sucks. And what number is your pain is hard to answer in one syllable. Feel free to attach whatever number you see fit to the description above.