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?