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Just When You Start to Feel Alone…

There’s this group on Facebook called Endometriosis and Me. I stumbled across the website and noticed that the women there seem so connected. And not in the everyone is connected on Facebook way, but that much deeper connection, is the type of relationship these women are in. At the time of me looking for a group to join I needed a group like this. For the last year I’ve been pretty quiet. I only ask questions that are really concerning or to get medication advice from these women.  I have never met any of these women but for some reason I feel like we are bonded and connected by this disease. This disease is awful and with doctors and big pharma it will continue to take on average 10 years before a woman is diagnosed with this disease.

And can we talk about these women? These women are some of the strongest women I’ve ever “met “in my life. They share their stories. They share when they’re having a tough day. They share when they can’t get out of the house and do something normal because when this disease grabs hold of your body it doesn’t let go. We make plans only to cancel them last minute because we don’t feel well or can’t seem to move out from our fetal position on the floor with the heating pad wrapped around our bellies. These women really, truly, understand what the saying ‘the little things matter’ means. Our little things are small victories like getting out of bed, showering, putting on real clothes, no leggings and a sweatshirt, real decent clothing. Our little things are getting through the day without feeling a stabbing pain at some point in your stomach, back, or pelvic area. For me my wins include putting makeup on on a day when I’m not working; cleaning the entire house without feeling like I’ve been hit by a train going 100 miles per hour. Small victories can get us throughout the day but not always.

There are some days when you’ve accomplished a few things but in your mind it’s not enough. That’s where having a person who supports you is so important. In the group, Endometriosis and Me I asked the girls to share their story of who their person is. A few girls said they are single and live alone so they don’t have a person. These women also mentioned how hard dating is with endometriosis, which I can’t even imagine since dating seems to be the worst thing to want to do right now, endo or not. But, Crystal’s story really got me emotional. She talked about her boyfriend and how much he has been able to get her through this. She said her journey has been especially hard. But he is there for her. He lays in bed with her and they do Netflix marathons, while snuggling and eating popcorn. She is going through the depo shot and I pray she doesn’t experience all the awful things I did. She mentioned how he rubs her feet, draws her relaxing baths, and goes to all of her appointments because he knows how bad her anxiety in doctor’s office settings are for her. There’s something that can happen along the journey of going through endometriosis. We as women start to think we aren’t pretty enough or good enough for our partners. Her story and testimony are why strong relationships exist. Her story is a true example of true love. When a woman is diagnosed with endo and their partner finds out there is a possibility they may never have children it’s scary. Don’t think for one second that I wasn’t telling Russell to never leave me. In fact, after my left ovary and tube were removed, during our engagement, I told him I would understand if he wanted to be with someone who didn’t have endometriosis, who could give him everything he wants in life. But he said he will always choose me and I am forever grateful for my husband and his decision to help me fight this. Every woman you talk to will have a different story on who their person is. But usually it’s the person who is there for them most and takes care of them. For me, my person is my husband because even though he’s sick right now he’s making sure I have enough pillows and blankets to keep me warm. He is my angel sent from heaven.

To all the girls out there who feel alone, like we all do at times, let’s connect! Leave a comment with your social media and we can be friends, even if it’s just the kind of friends to talk about who shitty endo is. And if you have a story to share of your person I’d love to hear about it! Connect with me on Facebook or Instagram or on here! And please remember your self worth and value are more than what this disease makes you think.

Until Next Time

xoxoxo

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Question and Answer Session

I wanted to change up the blogging aspect of this post. Lately it’s been about our journey towards IVF and I am so grateful to be sharing that with you but I wanted to see what questions you all had and I can answer them for you! So here we go!!

Q: What is Endometriosis? I’ve never heard of it.

A: Endometriosis is a condition where the layer of tissues that normally covers the inside of the uterus grows outside of it. Basically, when a woman has her period each month the lining is supposed to shed; it doesn’t and comes back to gets stuck to parts of our body that we need, like our ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other organs but is is very rare for it to spread to other organs.  There are also four stages of endometriosis, stage 1-4. I have stage 4. I am one of the unlucky girls because my endometriosis had spread to colon. More on that in another question.

Q:What symptoms did you have and how did you find out you had endometriosis? 

A: During my time of the month I would get really sick. So sick in fact that I would throw up for days on end, have a migraine so bad I couldn’t work, and the cramps were so bad in my back and pelvis that I couldn’t walk. Finally after trying to fight it off I went to the OB and he told me there was a possibility it could be endo (endometriosis) and the only way to detect it is through a laparascopy. I didn’t hesitate and two weeks later I went in for surgery. Each person also varies with their symptoms but most times they are very similar in each case.

Q: How do you find out you have it?

The only way to find out you have endo is through a laparascopy. It’s a laser guided by a robot to look through your stomach, uterus and surrounding areas. I found out I was stage 4 at the age of 26. I was also told that day after surgery that I was infertile. I was stag four because there was so much scar tissue some of the pictures were unrecognizable as to which organ the doctor was looking at. During that time they also found that my entire left side was non-functioning. Four weeks later I had another laparascopy because the pain isn’t getting any better. March of 2016 I had my entire left side removed. They also saw an anomaly. My color and uterus were fused together with scar tissue, So they had to take those apart and put them back where they belong.

On average a woman goes 10 years without finding out she has endometriosis because there is no current testing that we have to detect it early.

Q: Isn’t it just bad cramps? 

A: No. No. and No. I would take cramps any day than deal wtih endo. Endometriosis is more than just cramping because you are dealing with endo every day of the week, not just when you’re on you’re period. So no, endo is NOT JUST cramps.

Q: What are the stages of infertility? 

A: For me there are several ways to interpret this. But for me there is grief that comes along with being an infertile woman.  I think the five stages of grief fit perfectly with the stages of infertility.

  1. Denial: No woman wants to be told their infertile so they don’t believe it. They keep to their scheduled nights of having sex but after so long of not getting pregnant you wonder why and realize your in the stage of denial.
  2. Anger: I know I was angry for a long time. I wanted to know why this wasn’t found sooner, what could I have done to prevent it. But the reality is I couldn’t have done anything differently.
  3. Bargaining: You start to bargain with God or whomever you believe in. If you give me a baby I promise I won’t buy another puppy.
  4. Depression: This stage is the hardest. The is when everything is stating to sink in. You may never have children, Or depending on what parts work and what don’t surrogacy and adoption may be the only opions.
  5. Acceptance: I’ve come to accept my endometriosis. I’ve only been diagnosed for about three years. And in that three years I went through the stages of grief. My husband watched me on my weakest days say why me? why us? But I have to realize that when I can accept that I have an incurable disease I can educate others on how they can be supportive to those who don’t have children and want them to be happy.

Q: Why Me? 

A: I can not tell you how many times I’ve asked this question. So for anyone going through infertility, it’s okay to say why me? It’s okay to stay in your sweats and grieve a little. I know I have. Today I was having a rough flare up and started crying asking Russell for reassurance. But yes ladies, its okay to say why me and have a pity party.

Q: Why do we have to hide our endometirosis? And who projects this? Self or Others? 

A: This is a great question. I think because endo has to do with our lady parts and lady parts are a taboo subject we just don’t talk about it. We have our groups to be able to lean on our girls when when need it. I also think others are still ashamed of their diagnosis and they don’t want people to think less of them. I think part of endo not being normalized has to do with those of us who have the disease to talk to. I also think it’s others not wanting to talk about women’s reproductive systems because again they are taboo topics. But the more we talk about endo the more knowledge we put into the world.

Q: Why do we have to pretend to be strong? 

A: We only have to pretend to be strong if someone doesn’t know what you’re going through. If we are more open and unapologetic about what we are going through we don’t have to pretend to be strong. We are bad ass women who are fighting each day to get our bed and do simple tasks without getting winded or feeling like shit after. Today I told my husband I wasn’t strong today and he said it’s okay you need rest. The house can wait. We need support systems like that in our lives, not people who are going to bring us down.

Q: Is it normal to gain weight? 

A: Unfortunately, yes. Like I said previously I’ve known about my endo for two years. We have been working with an IVF specialist since last year and I was put on all these different types of medications. I’d say the weight is gradually coming on but its there. I weigh 135 pounds because of the endo and all the treatment. I know I’m going to have to put in the work and gain the weigh if I want a baby but it still sucks.

Q: Does pregnancy fix endo? 

A: Yes and no. Yes because when you don’t have a period you can’t shed the lining of your uterus, which means scar tissue can’t get stuck in places it shouldn’t. But there is always a chance for smaller pieces to get stuck so there is that. Plus once you give birth your body is taking time to get used to having a human come out, get your hormones situated and then think about what to do. Pregnancy can definitely help lessen that chance for endo resurface. Endomtriosis never fully goes away. But we are hoping that once we are able to get pregnant the flare ups and back pain will go away.

Q: Have you thought about a surrogate? 

A: No. My uterus is healthy (a little tilted) but can carry multiple babies. I am not worry nor have we even though about surrogate. In my mind thinking of using donor eggs, surrogacy, etc is like me saying I give up, which I refuse to do.

Q:How has this affected your relationship? 

A: Russell and I have been married for 14 months. He has become my care taker. He makes sure I’m comfortable. He makes sure I have ice and heating packs when I need them. But going through this has made us better communicators. We talk so much about our future plans. If being diagnosed with this disease has taught me anything its like is too short to do something you don’t love. We plan on traveling more. Having babies and just doing what we want to do. We want to experience other cultures, build businesses and most importantly, be happy. There have been tough times too though. When we did the two IUI’s and the test came out negative I thought I was going to have a break down. After the second one we decided IVF would be the next step because IUI’s are too expensive and I want to spend my money on actually making babies. We have had bad days when we can’t agree on a decision. We have bad days when i can’t seem to get out of my funk and constantly ask ‘why me’? But in the end the good days out outweigh the bad.

Hers’s to hoping 2018 brings the Lions a Playoff Win, less pain, more happiness, and a couple of little humans to add to the Young household!

Let me know if you like Q&A. I’m thinking doing another one!

Until Next Time

xoxoxo

 

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Why Don’t You Just Adopt?

Today’s topic: adoption. Before we dive in and get to this blog I want to make it very clear that Russell and I love adoption. We love hearing success stories of people who are going through infertility and they think they have one last shot at having children so they go the adoption route and their family is complete. We are advocates of making sure children have a safe, happy, loving home. I am 100% supportive of adoption.

There is one simple, yet complicated question that keeps being brought up. Why don’t you just adopt? It’s much more complicated than that and here’s why. Adoption isn’t free. Adoption costs on average $25,000. Adoption is also a never guaranteed thing either, because sometimes the woman who is pregnant could change her mind or there are some unforeseen circumstances that change everything for both families. I will say this until the cows come home but I want to experience pregnancy, even if it’s just one child. I want to feel it all, well not all of, like morning sickness, but you know what I mean. I want to invest our money in ourselves. And I can’t tell you how many people take offense to that. In our minds if we go straight from where we are which is stage 4 endometriosis, to adoption we just passed GO without collecting our $200. Basically, we are missing out on opportunities to become parents ourselves.

I’m being 1000% honest when I say this. The moment I/we decide to go for adoption I’ve given up hope that we can conceive on our way. I refuse to give up on myself. Remember Russell has no issues and for a man whose 40th birthday is next month is levels are of that of a man in his early 30’s so we have absolutely nothing to worry about with him. But my clock is ticking a bit faster.  We know that in the next couple of months we are going to have to bite the bullet and begin treatment. We can not risk the endometriosis spreading and causing more damage to the only side I do have. Back to adoption though…sorry we veered left for minute. I am not ready to think about adoption. It makes me very emotional. I know that the universe ultimately is the one who will let us know what we going to be able to. Adoption is scary because even though that child is yours, you didn’t carry them for 9 months and feel the labor pains. As I stated in my last blog that I want to feel what labor feels like. I want to know what a contraction can be. But most importantly I want to feel a bond between my baby and myself.  I want to take a picture of a growing belly and see what fruit my baby compares to. But going through adoption I won’t have that opportunity. And I’m sure those of you reading this are probably like wtf is wrong with her. There are thousands of children that need homes and help and you are saying no. The short answer is I’m saying no for now. Russell and I have been trying naturally for 14 months and clearly my body isn’t functioning because after the first IUI I thought for sure I was pregnant. But it was negative. To me, if we decide to start the adoption process I will have failed myself. My body has failed me when it comes to having the adoption conversation. All I really want to say is let me get through Christmas and then we’ll think a little more, take the rest of the year to apply for 4 amazing loans I found to be a perfect fit for us. More on that in another blog.

I wanted to clear this up because this is one of the most frequently asked questions. So, no adoption in the near future because IVF will work. Even if I have to eat a lot pineapple. Two, we are still trying but not getting any positive results. This part has been frustrating for me because I’m taking advice from the endo doc and they say IVF right away.

Can I be brutally honest for one minute? I’m scared. Scared that I’ll let my husband down. If you don’t know you know he’d give the shirt off his back to a stranger. Shoot, when we were in Detroit for Thanksgiving he game a man $10 and said Merry Christmas. Little things like that remind me daily why I fell in love with him. Anyway, I don’t want to sound selfish but I can’t go through life wondering what would have happened if we didn’t try IVF at least once. I’m in the mindset of one day next year we’ll become parents. There are so many medical advances made every day that it’s insane what scientists and doctors are going to be able to achieve. Please when you ask why I wont adopt it’s because I want my babies made from my husband and me, first. Then if we can’t make that happen we’ll get to another game plan but right now we are putting all of our chips in front of the dealer and hoping we have the winning hand. Please continue to prayer for us, send positive energy, whatever spiritual thing you are into add us to your list of giving thanks and lifting us up. I truly don’t think how strenuous a marriage can be when you throw in every day life stuff but then your partner gets diagnosed with an incurable disease.

Having this been cleared up, please don’t ask me why I won’t adopt because I refuse to give up on myself, my husband and everything we’ve talked about thus far in our journey.

 

I’m thinking of doing a Q&A for my next blog so if you have any questions please shoot me a message on facebook and I’ll go through them and answer then for you!

Until Next Time

xoxoxox

babies, blogger, Dayton, endometriosis, infertility, IUI, Kids, life, Making a difference, mama to be, marriage, married, Ohio, PIO, Poverty, PUPO, reproductive health, thoughts, transparency, truth, Trying to Conceive, TTC, Uncategorized, women's issues

New Years Resolutions

I don’t have a specific topic today so it may be a little bit of rambling. Good news: Lupron has worn off! I haven’t had a hot flash in about a week. I do get warm sensations but nothing like I was getting. I can sleep through most nights without waking up. I was told by the doctor in Cincinnati to go on Norethindrone. For those that don’t know it’s another medication that suppresses your system so you can’t have a period. However, I’ve said many times before that I don’t want to go back on drugs that are going to take longer to get out of my system, put me in a forced menopause (again I’m sorry for making fun of my mom when she’d get hot flashes because I can totally relate) If I’m going to be in pain during all these suppressants then I may as well just get my body back to “normal”.

During all of this I’ve made a few resolutions (all fertility related). Some I won’t be sharing because they are private between Russell and myself.

I want to be more conscious of my body. I want to just put more good vitamins and nutrients into my body to prepare it for the baby(ies) that hopefully will come by Christmas next year.

The second resolution I’m going to share with you is that I want to a conscious effort to be happier. I am happy most days but some days are bad. So bad that I don’t change my clothes, take a shower or eat. I get so lonely in this battle because sometimes it just feels like you’re fighting it alone. Now before anyone says “You have Russell talk to him”, part of him will never be able to fully understand the pain I am in because he’s NOT a girl. I do my very best to communicate with him and let him know when I’m not feeling well but most times I don’t have to say anything in order for him to figure it out.

I also want to be happier because this year has been tough for me. We started the year in January with surgery #4, then a super tough recovery. Two failed IUI’s, and we’ve failed to conceive in our 14 months of marriage. Next we had being told there was no chance of having a child. Going to a second opinion(that I only did because Russell insisted and marriage is all about give and take right??) only to be told we have no chance and need to do a few things that I wasn’t ready for. So here’s to 2018. May she brings lots of love, laughter and happiness. and most importantly when we start everything for our IVF journey I hope we will be having some babies around for Christmas time next year.

Thank you all so much for the love and support. This year has been a very trying time for us. But we love each other unconditionally and we would do and give everything we have at the chance to have a baby. Stay Tuned for Updates and maybe a few more resolutions.

Until Next Time

xoxoxo

blogger, Dayton, endometriosis, illness, infertility, mama to be, marriage, married, Ohio, reproductive health, thoughts, transparency, truth, Trying to Conceive, TTC, Uncategorized

Why I want to stay home on Christmas

I don’t want my family to see this and think I don’t want to interact or be apart of the celebrations. The truth is the holidays are extremely hard for me. I am so grateful Russell and I were able to get away and spend Thanksgiving in Detroit because it truly took my mind off of everything but us. Now here we are less than 21 days until Christmas. This part is hard for me to write. I don’t want to go because we’re the only couple without a child(ren). We don’t wake up on Christmas morning hearing the pitter patter of little feet and excited voices as they see the place of cookies and glass of milk have been eaten by Santa. We don’t get to watch in anticipation to see what amazing gifts our children will receive from their family this year, load up the car and go home to have a day full of fun and laughter and talking about Santa and how much fun he is.

Do you know the feeling when you’re at a family function or bbq and you’re the only one there without a spouse and you feel left out? That’s exactly what Christmas is for couples who don’t have children. You feel left out. Not in the sense that you didn’t contribute to getting a niece or nephew the gift they truly wanted but you don’t get to feel the same kind of excitement a parent feels. Moments like these are the ones that make me want to curl up in bed and never come back out. Why you ask? Because I sit there stoic, smiling and saying how awesome their new toy is but inside I’m crumbling. It’s taking every ounce of my body to not cry or act like somethings wrong. Being infertile is the worst thing a woman can go through. Not only is it soul crushing to know you’re body isn’t functioning the way ‘God’ made it but it wants to revolt and send you into days, weeks, and months of pain. I’ve been in pain every day for the last two years; physically, emotionally and mentally.

Now does this mean we are going to skip Christmas? No. But as I said earlier it will take everything in my being to be fully present that day. I’ll have a smile on my face and pretend like nothing’s wrong while my head will be filled with what if’s? The what if’s are the worst and so is hope. Having hope through infertility is like free falling off a mountain side, not knowing which landing you’ll have;soft or hard. I’m also not sharing this to make my family feel bad but to allow them to see the signs that I’m sad. I’m sad for my husband because all he wants is a family. I am sad for myself because my body being a failure means I’m a failure too. I’ve failed throughout my life but this has to be the biggest, most frustrating failure of all.

My advice this holiday season is if you know someone going through infertility be a little extra sensitive, I promise it will go a long way in making us feel a little bit of normalcy. ]

Until Next Time

xoxoxo

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A Letter to my Husband

 

From the day we met I knew you’d be my husband. I know that sounds like something you hear from a fairytale book but that’s how I felt. I knew you’d be the one I’d spend the rest of my life with. Before long we started dating. I had no idea what would transpire. After all you are 11 years older than I am and unlike me you are a thinker. You know exactly when and how something’s going to happen. Me on the other hand, I know what I want when I want and how I want. I’ve always been that way and I attribute part of it to being a Leo and a Hispanic woman. But the connection we share is something I really value. You are the calm one, while I am the fiesty one. You talk me off ledges and are the calm to my storm. And this is where I get emotional. Where I always have a hard time expressing how I feel, which we all know is easy for me.

The first seven years of our relationship were a breeze. I was able to travel with my friends to a Mary Kay convention and see all the glitz and glam. I was able to compete in pageants and become a beauty queen; something I had always wanted to be. You were there by my side for all of it, supporting me, telling me I could do whatever I wanted to do. Then December of 2015 came, I thought I just had a cyst that would go away; but the pain got worse. Everything from there seems like a blur. It all went so quickly. The next thing I know I’m waking up in a hospital bed being told I may never be able to have children, with my fiance sitting next to me. We had this plan. We were going to get married and then have four or five children because we wanted a large family. We wanted to hear kids running around and chasing after our dogs. That dream was shattered with those words. Hearing at 26 I was infertile was blindsiding and you were strong, you handled everything in stride and have told me no matter what everything would be okay. I wanted to show you I was strong and committed to doing anything that would help us have clarity and make a decision on what to do. Our second opinion was devastating. Hearing there is no chance is heartbreaking. But I held my head up, choked back my tears and asked again “why”. I came home and broke down and you were there to pick me back up. You always have been and I can’t thank you enough for that.

For that two years it’s been hard to have an identity. It’s been hard to not be lost. After all we’ve been married for 14 months, gone through two heart wrenching IUI’s that resulted in negative pregnancy tests, and trying naturally, all for it to turn out negative. I know that we are family but I want to give you children. I want to bear your children. I want to know what labor pain feels like. I want to know what moments after birth are like and what it feels like to hear your baby cry for the first time. But my body has failed you. My body is saying it isn’t strong enough. I’m also scared of what is ahead of us. IVF is an uphill battle. When do we start? How will the financial burden of it all affect us? I don’t have the answers to those questions and neither do you. But one things for sure, we’ll walk through this together. I know it’s not always easy because there are good and bad days. October 24th 2016 we vowed through in sickness and health we would love each other until death do us part. I know the next year is going to bring lots of frustration, tears and happiness but as long as we are together everything will be okay.

I love you more than words can express.

xoxo

p.s. I promise to try not to bring home any more dogs without your permission