Tag: endometriosis

Remission

“Good morning, Mrs. Bush.  You are endometriosis free.”

I don’t normally appreciate any greeting, in person or electronic, before 8:00am.  Particularly any that refer to me as formally as “Mrs. Bush”.  I also don’t normally hug and cry in front of grown men I’ve known for less than 36 hours.  Friday, April 17th was a weird day.

It’s been ten years since I was last in Atlanta.  Ten years ago, I was doing one of my first and biggest “grown up” things by hopping on a plane with my best friends and spending the next 3 weeks visiting friends in Germany.  While at the airport in Atlanta, I got super nervous, started pouring sweat, and then emptied my stomach into three (yes.  Three) “turbulence discomfort” bags, all before taking off.  I’ve done a lot of growing up since then, but my somatic anxiety tells haven’t changed one bit.

Last Wednesday, after meeting my parents at Big Bad Breakfast in Birmingham (excellent recommendation, Brittany!) for my last real-food meal (for a whole week), we hopped in Favre (my sweet new Southern Miss gold Jeep) and headed to Atlanta for my pre op appointment with the Center for Endometriosis Care.

I was given the opportunity to enroll in two separate studies regarding endometriosis, with one aiming to genetically link endometriosis and infertility.  All of the “awareness” noise we make is meaningless without action behind it.  I’m very excited to be a part of the action.  

After a conference with my wonderful doctor (he likes to meet you formally before he meets you on his exam table), I had a rather painful exam.  Doc diagnosed me with pelvic floor dysfunction.  I’m still learning what that is and what that means, but here’s the short (and Internet appropriate) version:  my pelvic muscles have been spasming like crazy for a long, long time.  When a part of your body feels pain, it contracts.  This part of my body has been feeling a lot of pain, for a long time.  It keeps contracting, over and over.  Now, it has a hard time knowing when that’s appropriate.  This is one of the main causes of my daily pain with things that shouldn’t be painful.  Next month, I will start a very specific form of physical therapy to help reprogram my muscles.  More on that at another time.

I was sent to our hotel with a lovely gift bag.  Inside was a humongous bottle of Miralax, some Dulcolax, lots of Gatorade, and a Fleet Enima.   This goes to show that with proper southern hospitality and etiquette, a colon cleanse can look like a spa gift basket.  Sounds like a party, right?  It wasn’t that bad.  Not something I’d actively choose to do on a Wednesday night, but I know it could have been a lot worse.  

As mentioned above, my anxiety lives in my tummy.  Occasionally, it pops up to make itself known to everyone else.  My anxiety heaves made their appearance once I was in the pre op area, putting on the awful gown and getting my IV Thursday morning.  More props to my nurse for being Johnny on the spot with the bag and ear sticker. Considering I had just emptied the contents of my entire digestive system a few hours earlier, there wasn’t much to put in said bag.  They started giving me ALL of the anti-nausea and anti anxiety drugs, which was super.  Shortly after, my doc came in, cracked a few jokes, and then did the most wonderful thing.   He took my hand and put a hand on Mister’s shoulder, and he prayed over us before surgery.  After a kiss from mama and daddy, they gave me the real good stuff, and I woke up a few hours later with searing pain in my right side.  This was odd to me, even very drugged, as 99% of my pain has always been on the left.

I have very vague memories of the remainder of Thursday.  I know I had a pain medicine pump with a button.  I know that button didn’t work for the first few hours, and Nurse Melinda was very impressed with my pain tolerance.  I know I made mama text Student Doctor Bestie and ask her why I could taste everything they put in my IV.  I know I hated those leg compression things, almost as much as I hated the hospital gown.  That thing went as soon as I had the faculties to sit mostly upright with some assistance, and on went my leopard print gown with matching robe.  Leopard is a neutral and is flattering on everyone.

I was informed later Thursday and again on Friday morning what all happened on the operating table.  I had a cystoscopy and a hysteroscopy (a look around inside my bladder and uterus, respectively), and those areas were clear and free of endometriosis, fibroids, or polyps.  I had three small incisions:  belly button and one near each hip, where my doc excisised all the endometriosis he found.  I had a presacral neurectomy, and a surprise appendectomy.  Turns out, my appendix had endo on it, and was “glued down” to my intestines.   Doc didn’t like how it looked, he was in the neighborhood, so PEW PEW!  There it went.  I’m sure God gave us those things for a reason, but I can’t say I miss mine.  This explains the pain on my right side when I woke up.

The presacral neurectomy has been the biggest adjustment for me, so far, and was my biggest obstacle in the hospital.  Nerves are important, and the ones down there are in charge of a lot of stuff.  It took me a solid 24 hours before I regained the noggin to muscle control that one needs to go to the bathroom.  It took some serious focus and a catheter at 3:00 am before my body figured out how to empty my bladder all by itself.  I got a high five from Nurse Melinda once I did figure it out, though.  Friday morning, my doc came in and gave me the only news worth waking up at 7:15 with a catheter taped to your leg to hear.  I am endo free.  He got it all.  The chance of recurrence (regrowth) is less than 5%.  My endometriosis is in remission.  The good news didn’t stop there.  Doc had originally told us that we could start IVF a month after surgery, so we scheduled our first cycle to start in June.  However, he has encouraged us to wait 3-4 months.  Not because of healing time or because I wouldn’t be able to handle the treatments, but because he thinks he has fixed our problems.  He has encouraged us to give the good old fashion way of conceiving a few months, because he believes it to be possible now.  He hugged me again, blessed us both, I cried, and then Mister took me home to nap where nurses wouldn’t bug me or poke me.  Saturday we went to Steak and Shake where I had a cookie dough milk shake, and on Sunday, Favre brought us home.

I went back to work yesterday.  I’ve gotten a lot of surprise about returning so soon, but I promise, doc said I could sit at my desk and do stuff.  It helps that I love my job.  It helps that my property is small, and I can plan my day around specific needs (like being still).  It also helps that I have a rock solid work family.  I work in a relatively new company that makes a point of rallying around each other and supporting their managers and properties in any capacity.  I knew this on the professional level already, but they have gone above and beyond anything I expected with this surgery and potential IVF.  I have personally heard from my direct supervisor, my counter parts at other properties, the president of my company, and a few of the owners, multiple times over the last week.  Each time they have made it a point to be encouraging, supportive, and to make this time as easy as possible.  They didn’t judge me when all the feelings came out and I cried after a simple “safe travels”, either.  

I am still sore and moving a little slow.  I probably will be for another week or so.  I come home from work and immediately sit down, with the intentions of doing nothing for the rest of the day.  So far, that’s working out great.  We have wonderful friends bringing us meals while I continue to heal and figure out what “normal” is.  I have hurt every day for so long, I have no idea what endo-free life is going to look like in practice, but I’m pretty excited to find out.

While this month has been immensely stressful, it has been full of encouragement and hope.  There are a few uncertains still, and I have a feeling that pelvic floor therapy is going to be another adventure.  We are healing.  We are encouraged.  We are hopeful.  We are well fed.  And we are His.  To God be the glory, great things He has done.

Big Plans, Set Dates

Hurry up and wait.

That has been our lives, it seems, since Christmas.  Lots of waiting.  Waiting for phone calls from doctors, waiting for paperwork, waiting for insurance,  etc.  We’ve still got some waiting to do, but there’s now a light at the end of the tunnel.

Excision surgery is set for April 16th in Atlanta with the Center for Endometriosis Care.  A plan of procedures has been made, my employers have approved the necessary leave time, and our insurance companies didn’t laugh at us.  I will be having a cystoscopy, hystroscopy, laparoscopic excision of existing endometriosis, hysterosalpingogram, and a presacral neurectomy.  

Those are all great big med school words, and I had to google the last two.  As big and scary as it sounds, it will be three small incisions to get in, all of the major work happening under the skin. Two of these procedures are necessary for us to start IVF, so it’s nice to go ahead and knock those suckers out on one operating table.  One of these procedures (presacral neurectomy) is actually the removal of the presacral nerve, as it originates from the base of the spine, splits, and wraps around the uterus.   This is admittedly the more invasive procedure.   My current OBGYN in Hattiesburg once told me that my body was actively having contractions, just like labor contractions, every week, dealing with and trying to process the abnormal growths of endometriosis.  He jokingly told me that labor would be a breeze for me, and then wisely moved out of arms reach, lest I go to swinging.  The removal of this nerve will eliminate the pain caused by these contractions.  In that same thought, a side effect is that I may not feel contractions (that actually bring about a baby) should I get pregnant.  As I sit here towards the end of a really hard and painful week dealing with endo,  I just can’t be mad about that.  Contractions for years, with no baby?  Pretty sure I’ve earned it.

April 4th, I will be running my last half marathon with rampant and unchecked endo.  I’ve run the distance before.  I’ve run this exact race before.  This race, however, will probably be an emotional one.   It will hurt, it won’t be pretty, and it sure won’t be fast.  It is the most ladylike way I can think of to give endometriosis the middle finger.  Will I be cured after this surgery?  No.  I will always live with, always fight this disease, until the day the Almighty calls me home.  There is no cure.  Yet.  The best I can hope for is remission, until the day they find a cure.  If I can run my halfs and finish my full marathon with is disease in full force, unchecked and running amuck in my body, I just might be able to fly in remission, sans pixie dust.


Another big date has been set, and an appointment has been made.  We have our initial appointment to start our first cycle of IVF on June 1st in Jackson.  My wonderful doctor moved clinics on me (just across town), and joined another FE.  With that move came a few new nurses and staff.  I was wary, because I’m very emotionally attached to my IUI nurses.  I don’t just ugly cry in front of anyone, and “concentrated lady feelings” come with a lot of ugly cry.  They reassured me they were still there, there’s just more of them.  Since he has joined up with another doctor, their pricing structure has changed and is actually more affordable than we were initially planning.  Medications will be ordered, our wine shelf will again become the “lady feelings and needles” shelf, more awesome band aids will be purchased, and the ovarian stimulation will begin on June 1st.

So far, these two things have been just a concept.  Now, they are hard dates.  I can count down to this, look forward to this.  I know that I could wake up on April 17th and be well on my way to remission.  By the end of April, there’s a good chance that I will be virtually pain free, with every organ system south of my rib cage functioning properly.  If my prognosis is as good as it’s expected to be, we could be parents to itty bitty blobs in Petri dishes by June.   I could ugly cry just thinking about it.

I have hurt for 15 years.  I’ve gone to school, gone to work, gone to church, gone running, and lived life with this for more than half my life. Not because I’m brave.  Not because I have a high pain tolerance (that’s something you develop out of necessity, in my opinion).  Not because I’m “handling this well.”  Because this has been my life, and it has to be handled.  I can’t ignore it.  I get up and deal with it, because that’s what I have to do.   This isn’t the way most little girls imagine how their family would come to be, but I am already seeing God be glorified in the process.

We do have some specific things we covet your prayers for:

  • Preparation for surgery:  Finacially, that we would use what God has blessed us with wisely; physically, that I can maintain a healthy weight up until surgery, as I will likely lose a good bit immediately afterwards, and that all surgery prep will go smoothly; emotionally, that my pre surgery anxiety will be replaced by His peace.
  • Procedurs will be uncomplicated, go as planned, and nothing extra be needed.
  • Healing will happen as planned, with no complications, and I will be able to return to work and life on schedule
  • REMISSION
  • Safe travels:  Mister and I, along with my parents and my sister, will be in Atlanta for 5 days.  It takes a village, and God gave us a good one.

We still have a long way to go, our journey is far from finished, but our God goes before us.  Sometimes he is a cloud, sometimes he is a pillar of fire, but His presence is always known.  We are His, and He knows our babies’ birthdays.

Case Review

It’s been two weeks since we started grieving our last negative test. Two weeks I have been “hormone free.” Emotionally, we are still healing. It took less than two weeks for my endometriosis to realize nothing is holding it back any more. It’s time for the moving on.

The last week has been difficult, physically. Daily cramping and strong consistent pain is back to the point that it’s occasionally difficult to eat and it’s often difficult to sleep. I am going to work, and that’s about it. I missed homecoming at Southern Miss, I’m not very social, and I stay still a lot. I carry a heating pad in my purse. If you don’t see me plugged in somewhere, I’ve probably got one of those stick-on disposable heating packs strapped on.

We have now taken the next step towards IVF. We are having our case reviewed by the Center for Endometriosis Care in Atlanta, GA. This includes nearly 40 pages of “Potential New Patient” forms (not even “actual” new patient forms, those come later??), a 2600 word “Personal Narrative” on my physical/emotional/psychological experience with endometriosis, a picture of me and the Mister, and 150+ pages of medical records that pertain to endometriosis. Basically a manuscript, everything but the kitchen sink and a DNA swab. I’m sure that will come later. Until then, 200ish pages are currently on their way to team at the CEC.

This wonderful facility is the leading research center on endometriosis and has the largest case study on the disease (5,000 patients followed over 20 years). If anyone knows this disease, it’s these guys. We are hoping for an aggressive conservative treatment option that focuses on removing the disease from all organs and tissues, while leaving the necessary organs in place and properly plumbed. We have the support of both our doctor in Hattiesburg and our doctor in Jackson. We are hoping that if our case gets accepted, we will be able to have surgery soon.

We came to the decision that if we were going to do IVF, we wanted to do it to the best of our ability. My insides between my belly button and my kneecaps “kind of look like a war zone.” That’s a direct quote from my radiology tech. Clearly, it’s not pretty. Things don’t hang out where they’re suppose to, they don’t function like they’re suppose to. It’s just a mess, really. With IVF, we will undoubtedly be creating life. Those little blobs of cells will be my children, whether or not we see them grow that far. From the beginning, we want to give them the best that we possibly can. Isn’t that what parents are programmed to do?
I don’t want to put my little embryos up in a sketchy “pay by the hour” motel. Right now, I’m afraid that’s my current condition. I at least want to be able to give them a Marriott or a Hilton. An extended stay suite, if you will. I have come to terms with the fact that God did not make me like a Four Seasons. I am not a Duggar. We feel like having this surgery and removing as much of the disease as we possibly can will not only significantly improve my quality of life, but give our children the best possible chance at healthy growth in-utero. It’s not a guarantee. Nothing is a guarantee. We do feel like it’s the best we can offer, and we do not want to go into IVF with less than our best.

Sometimes during weeks like this last one, it’s easy to get sucked into a sad-sop trap. I have been diagnosed with a disease for which there is no cure. No one even knows what exactly causes this disease. It’s easy to let myself get overwhelmed and exhausted with this constant battle for normalcy. My daddy would never claim to be a theologian, and most of the time our conversations are weird, bordering on inappropriate (burps are rated and those stupid Sonic commercials make us giggle every single time). However, when he slips into Serious Dad, his advice is normally on point.

Pray like everything depends on God, because it does. Act like everything expends on you, because it does.

I have based much of my personal theology around this simple (and paradoxical) idea that my father has repeated to me since I was a little girl. God has called us to walk in faith. We must actively do (the walk) and we must actively trust (the faith) that He is greater. We have not been given an easy walk, and He has not given us the option to “sit” in faith. We believe that, if our case and treatment plan are accepted, this is the final step that lies between us and IVF. It will be invasive. It will involve at least three different organ systems, possibly more. We will know by the end of the month if this surgery is in our immediate future. That is a little bit scary.

We are still grieving what wasn’t, but we are also ready to see what happens next. It’s a little frustrating that we can’t flip to the end of the book and make sure everything turns out ok (you know you did that to make sure Harry beat Voldermort…).

God has been good to us. He has provided for us and sustained us. We know He will continue this work in us until its completion.

And Harry doesn’t die.

“Why don’t you just adopt?”

Try as I might, I won’t adequately address the many facets of this question in one post. I’ve been preparing this for weeks, but I know I’ll leave something out. It is my goal to be as edifying and biblical as possible.

This question (and many derivatives of it) is probably the most frequently asked question when someone learns that we are struggling. It’s usually asked in exactly those words, verbatim. I hate it. It is soul crushing, for many reasons. Reasons you probably never considered. If you’ve asked me this question, bless your heart. I know you didn’t do it with ill intent in your heart (most of you…). I know you are honestly just concerned. Curious maybe. I hope to answer this question in the post, and share why this can be a painful question when asked in such a flippant manner.

“Just adopt…”
We are well aware that there is a great need for more families to adopt in this community/state/nation/world. In fact, I’d wager that no one is stirred more regarding unwanted and parentless children than a couple who cannot have any. I’m sure you have a friend who has adopted. Maybe adoption is within your family. With that thought, have you discussed the actual process of adoption with these friends or family members? It’s not something you “just” do.
There is no Target or Amazon.com for insta-families. The shear amount of paperwork and approval process and travel involved is the only thing I can think of that is more stressful than actual fertility treatments, and it can take even longer. There is nothing easy about adoption.

As we face our struggle with endometriosis and starting a family, we are striving to approach it as biblically as possible. This includes the financial aspect. Long term, endometriosis can affect quality of life in a crippling manner. At times, it has kept me from maintaining a regular full time job. It has been years of treatments, doctors, surgeries, and medications. None of that is free, and none of that is stopping anytime soon. To protect our future and my quality of life, this disease must be treated as quickly and efficiently as possible. Pregnancy now is our final shot before scrapping the whole kit and kaboodle. There is no cure, only remission.
In addition, in our price comparisons and in our situation, fertility treatments, including 3 full rounds of IVF (egg retrieval, fertilization, implantation), is less expensive than one domestic adoption. Domestic.. Not even international. I could write another several posts on why this is so messed up. We feel very strongly about approaching this in financial baby steps. We will not go backwards and dig ourselves in deeper debt to add to our family. That is not being a good steward of resources. The steps we have taken so far and the coming steps are reflective of what is affordable and what is recommended by our doctors. We will always strive to be good stewards, both with our finances and human life.

Some derivatives of this question that I feel I need to address:

“If you just adopt one, that will take the stress off and BAM! You’ll be able to have your own!”
At no point is a child from adoption ever a “consolation prize”. At no point is adoption EVER a “last resort.” We will never use a child as a lucky charm. Again: I know you mean to be encouraging (bless your heart), and I know you probably have a friend (of a friend) that knew someone that did this and it TOTALLY worked… But stop it. Please stop using that logic. It is insulting to both the adopted child and the conceived child, it is insulting to the parents, it is insulting to those of us who desperately want to be parents.

“I get it. I don’t know if I could love an adopted child as much as I love one that’s mine.
I don’t think you get it. Bless your heart.
Adoption has been something that Mister and I have talked about since our first year of dating. It’s something we both want, something we both feel called to, when the time is right. When we adopt, it will not be a last resort. When we adopt, it will be our child in every sense. Needing to combine and duplicate our DNA has absolutely nothing to do with our decision to have a family. Our love will extend equally to our children, regardless of their genetic make up. Our Father has called us His own, our Jew and Gentile roots irrelevant. We will imitate our Heavenly Father.

Some of you, with whom I have an intimate friendship, have discussed this with me. You know my heart, and I know yours, and I thank God every day for placing you in my life. Most of you are not that “some of you.” Sometimes, this is difficult to discuss outside of very intimate friendships. I understand that it can be difficult to understand, difficult to relate to for you. I believe there is no way for you to honestly wrap your head around it unless you have experienced it. I pray you are never able to wrap your head around it. I hope that this has helped shine some light on our specific situation, and highlighted that people make family planning choices for very specific, very personal reasons. It’s not always easy. It’s very rarely black and white. Most of life is grey.
I hope this has brought great respect to those who have adopted and are in the process of adoption. We are all called to glorify The Almighty. Thank you for responding to the call of adoption, and glorifying Him in your journey. We are striving to glorify Him in our journey of infertility.

We are anxiously awaiting the day that he calms our storm and is glorified in the growth of our family.

Round 4

After a couple of weeks of waiting, we’ve finally been able to start our 4th and final round of IUI. My cyst ruptured without causing too many problems (besides several days of fever and general feelings of icky-ness). Medusa is no longer “a problem we need to be concerned with”, and my hormones have jumped back into gear.

After the general tests and exam last week, DocJax cleared me to start round 4. We’ve gotten our meds and Mister has been giving me my injections every night this week. This round, the hormone migraines have been particularly difficult to reign in, but I seem to be getting a handle on them finally. We go for a progress check (and more blood work, of course) on Tuesday, with a procedure likely on Thursday. After that we will enter the two week waiting period for the last time in 2014. As we bought alcohol swabs and band aides at the pharmacy (yay, shots!), Mister grabbed a pack of blister-healing band aides.

Go ahead and grab these since they’re on sale. If we get another negative, I know you’re going to need to run it out, and it’s going to jack your feet up when you do.

That right there, folks, is true love. He gets me. My blisters/calluses also gross him out.

This weekend was suppose to be our first weekend with no minimal traveling, and we were looking forward to fellowshipping with other believers today. Other than Mister covering the game at Mississippi State and my responsibilities at a downtown event, our weekend was more or less “free”. Then significant car trouble (quite possibly in a location one might meet the Devil for dealings) at a very late hour and a tow truck that was in absolutely NO rush at all (Hail State, y’all) changed our down weekend into an impromptu road trip two hours north in the wee hours of the morning for a rescue mission. We finally all got home and in bed at 6:00am this morning. Shout out to my baby brother for riding with me and keeping me company, even though he had to work all day today. I am far to old to be pulling all nighters anymore, and I’ve now got an appointment with my eye doctor. Night driving is a lot more difficult than I remember. We didn’t make it to church a few hours later. The sleep was greatly needed, but we really miss the rest of our local body of believers.

This week brings more Jackson, more needles and tests, more salmon (omega 3s, y’all), and more football. It also brings a quick weekend trip to Memphis to see the first baby I have prayed for since half of her DNA was contained in a mature follicle. I’m told her parents will be in Memphis too, and we’re pretty excited about that.

We have decided a few things in the last few weeks of dealing with the cyst. As mentioned before, this will be our final round of IUI. We are still hoping that this 10-15% chance will be our yes, and this will be our last round for wonderful happy reasons. However, we are planning for other outcomes. If this round does not work, we will be moving on to IVF in the spring. After speaking with our doctors in Hattiesburg and Jackson, we have decided that our funds are better spent procedures with better odds and more doctor-control. We will spend the rest of the winter saving and praying and preparing. We are also gathering all of my records and sending them to a group of surgeons in Atlanta that specialize in the removal of endometriosis, and we are having out case reviewed. The Center of Endometriosis Care does amazing work removing endometriosis from all areas of the body (more on my particular case in a different post) and we are looking forward to hearing ALL of our options.

We will be taking a (much needed) vacation in December. A vacation from work, and a vacation from infertility. This season of our life has been overwhelming and over scheduled (I’m looking at you, football…), and we are in serious need of a recharge.

We are a little terrified. We don’t really feel like we know what we’re doing. We are seeking God and we are following where we feel He leads. Both IVF and surgery come with some pretty scary “what ifs” and procedures. Both are much more invasive, time consuming, and energy consuming. We know that before this month ends, we will be looking towards more invasive medical procedures, whether that be pregnancy (!!!!) or IVF/surgery. You are probably starting to grasp why we need a vacation.

I have the best friends, the greatest family, and the most supportive spouse to face this with, and that makes things a little less scary.

Joy

It’s been a little over a week since we were sent home to hurry up and wait for my big ole cyst to rupture. So far, nothing incredibly eventful has happened. Since it didn’t rupture with this cycle, it’s likely it will stick around until my next one. It has not, however, been sitting completely dormant. Most days this week, I’ve been running fever. Sometimes at night, sometimes all day long. There’s been some discomfort, and there’s been some down-right pain, all associated with Medusa. I’ve been doing my level best to “take it easy” and “relax” and “minimize stress.” Those last two are nearly impossible, but I’m getting better at it. I think.

During one of my Sally Sad Sop times this week, I started thinking of all the things I miss because of this (endometriosis/infertility).

From a dietary standpoint, I miss bread. Good bread. Bleached, wheat-y, fluffy, glutinous bread. I also miss bright orange “cheese flavored” crunchy things. I’ve cut gluten out of my diet, along with other inflammatory foods, to help keep a check on my endometriosis and IC (both inflammatory diseases). It has helped tremendously.

From an entertainment standpoint, I miss wine. Not that I was ever a lush, but a glass with the girls every now and then does wonders for my sanity. I’ve heard its good for your heart. Whatever. It’s fantastic. I can’t do that any more, because fertility.

I miss running. My job is a little more demanding these days, and I don’t have quite as much time and energy for it as I used to. It’s also not entirely wise for me to do more than “moderate” exercise during treatments, and especially unwise to over do it with a time bomb on my right ovary. I miss being able to go out for hours and log several miles. It’s therapeutic. I’m still running, but anything over a 10k is unwise at this time. That makes me a little sad.

There is one thing that I miss the most, more than bread and Cheez-Its and Riesling and 13.1s:

Football.

Mister shoots football every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from the end of August until Christmas, if we’re lucky. Sometimes on Sundays, too. WhoDat.. For most of these games, I’d go with him. It didn’t really matter who was playing. I love the game. I love the atmosphere. I love football. I don’t go with him this season, with the “taking it easy” and “relaxing” and what not. I’m supposed to rest when I can, simplify my schedule. The chronic pain and fatigue and flaring migraines haven’t helped my get-up-and-go, either.
My husband and I met on a football field. Our relationship started and grew around a battered Southern Miss team in 2008, so I particularly miss (good) Southern Miss football. I would tailgate for every game. It’s work, it’s exhausting, I love it. I’ve been to one game this year, and haven’t hauled my tailgate tent one time.
Take it easy. Relax. Don’t over do it.

In May, we moved from an apartment to a house. The move took us from the county to Midtown, 1.7 miles from Southern Miss (I run). We knew we were closer to both of our jobs, closer to everything really. The traffic is terrible. Last week, as I was feeling crummy about missing football, I heard a loud noise, loud music. I figured it was our neighbors being obnoxious. As I stepped outside, I realized how close we really were to the stadium on campus. I can hear every play, the band, the cannon… Quite clearly. It’s a beautiful sound. It’s like living on campus all over again, in the best way.
I’m sitting at home tonight, taking it easy, relaxing, not over doing it, missing the football game… But not. I love our city, I love Southern Miss, and I love that I can follow doctors orders and still have a piece of the game. God has given me a blessing in the midst of “can’t haves” and “can’t dos”. He has given me a way to enjoy a very important piece of myself, so that I don’t lose myself in the pain and occasional self pity/self loathing that accompanies this.

I will chose to find blessings in the little things, and I will rejoice. When I start to pout or wallow, I will find the blessings.

Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning!

(P.S. If Southern Miss can pull it out in the 2nd half, joy might come sooner for several of us.)

To the top, y’all.

My Helper

It is recorded in Genesis that God took from Adam a rib and formed him a Helper: Eve.

That is my favorite definition of a spouse. Some people say they married their best friend, their better half, their soulmate, etc. When my Mister and I promised to love each other for ever and ever, and signed papers with the great state of Mississippi, we married our Helper.

This post is a shout out to the Helpers that married endometriosis and infertility.

I cannot imagine going through endometriosis or infertility without him. He has been my Helper with this disease even before we were married. My first surgery for endometriosis was 2 months before our wedding. My next surgery was before we’d reached our first anniversary.

He has helped shoulder the daily (sometimes crippling) pain that my endometriosis causes. He can go down the “feminine hygiene” aisle and not flinch, he can even pick out exactly the right thing by himself. Every.Time. He understands my monosyllabic communication when my pain reaches a 9.5 on the 10 point scale.

When we first started talking about infertility, I told him straight up that we both had to be “all in.” This couldn’t be “my” thing. He accepted that, and has been amazing.

Our first two rounds of IUI, Sister Nurse gave me my shots. I knew that these hormones make me a less-than-rational reactor at times, and I didn’t want to have any reason to take that out on Mister. According to him, however,

If I can give the cat her insulin shots, I can give you fertility shots. It’s basically the same thing, right?

You can giggle. I did.

For our most recent round of IUI, he gave my shots of liquid fire ant Menopur, and even gave me my trigger shot. It may not sound like a super marriage bonding moment, but it has been. It’s intimate in a way that I find very difficult to explain.

He has held me and cried with me every time a treatment has failed. He has gone to every single appointment with me. He is on a first name basis with Doctor in Hattiesburg, and at DocJax he asks just as many questions as I do.

He is a “fixer”, as most men are, and I know it bothers him that he cannot “fix” this for us. Our first years of marriage have not been normal. No one mentions endometriosis or infertility in premarriage counseling. We’ve both learned as we’ve gone.

He’s not perfect. Neither am I.
He’s made mistakes, but you will not find a list of them on this blog, or anywhere.

Now, as I wait for the wrath of Medusa the Cyst, he waits. This weekend, he’s been looking for quick trips we can take to help alleviate the stress and take our minds of the (many,many) negatives. He is working two and three jobs so that we can continue to pay cash for everything and save for possible future treatments. On top of those jobs this weekend, he’s taken care of me with a several day-long migraine.

I am married my nurse, my therapist, my back scratcher, my ledge talker, my negotiator, my hand to squeeze, my personal comedian, my live-in cook. I married my Helper. He is mine and I am his.