My Endo Journey: When Life Kicks You in the Teeth (A.K.A. Good Riddance, 2016)

Well, I let some more time pass, despite my intent to continue to share this endometriosis and infertility journey with you. I’m sorry. Honestly, my high after finishing the Lupron has worn off entirely, and the last few months have been crappier than I could ever have imagined.

First, things did not “start back” in the timeframe that the interwebs led me to believe was normal. Which meant I couldn’t start back up on the fertility meds.  Which also meant I needed to be pumped full of hormones to kick it all back in gear. As you can imagine, a “hormone bomb” like Provera creates a Melanie who cries constantly. I can’t tell you how many times I burst into tears for little reason, sobbing and apologizing to Joey for being ridiculous. He just laughed and soldiered on, as has become his modus opperandi this past year. Someday, I hope I can return the favor by actually taking care of him instead of the reverse. And he’s working three jobs these days, so his stress is already quite high.

So, it was back to the Femara (a med like Clomid that stimulates follicle production on your ovaries, thereby increasing the likelihood that you’ll ovulate). This time, though, we added in an Ovidrel “trigger” shot. The shot forces ovulation within 24-36 hours. It is not covered by insurance, and it’s $140 a pop. Now, we’re not destitute or anything, but come on. Still, I found myself excited this time…the endo was under control, ovulation was a sure thing; what could go wrong?

It didn’t work, that’s what. I had my annual checkup with my OBGYN a few days later and she told me not to get discouraged, that it’s fairly common for it to fail on the first try. That lifted my spirits some and we prepared ourselves for Round 2.

On Round 2, I promised myself that I wouldn’t get excited or hopeful this time so I wouldn’t be as disappointed when it didn’t work. And I was successful at that for the first week. But around 8 days post-ovulation, I started feeling “off.” And that led me down the road of symptom-spotting and agonizing over every little twinge. Needless to say, when it became fully evident that Round 2 failed on Saturday, 12/3, I was devastated.

In all honesty, I don’t like Christmas. I don’t like the commercialism. I don’t like the Elf on the Shelf. I don’t like the pressure on parents (self-imposed or otherwise) to create a magical “Santa” experience for their children. I don’t like the obligations, busy-ness, endless presents to buy (the bulk of which to be returned, thrown away, or stashed in some corner somewhere until they’re discarded when eventually rediscovered), social events to attend, weeks and weeks and weeks of extra rehearsals eating up what precious little free time I already have. There’s just too much stress that comes with the month of December, and in my worst moments, I want to run for the hills and return sometime mid-January.

So I didn’t even get a chance to fully grieve the failure of Round 2. I had to go to a six hour dress rehearsal the morning I discovered it. Then I had to sing in a Christmas program the next day. Then my office Christmas party. Then Joey’s office Christmas party. I painted on a fake smile and told everyone that I was doing just fine. We started Round 3.

Then Joey’s uncle died very unexpectedly and suddenly on the 13th. We were all quite close, and Joey was one of the first to arrive at the house, just after the paramedics. Just like that, Uncle Bob was gone and then came the business of trying to make sense of what had happened, settle his affairs, and take care of our newly-widowed aunt. All while in the midst of medications and ultrasounds, scheduling trigger shots, etc. I felt guilty for even worrying about our infertility drama, but just as the world does not stop spinning for death, neither does it stop spinning for the biological clock, so Round 3 had to trudge on whether or not we felt hopeful or had time for it.

And that brings us up to the present. Also, I forgot to mention that I broke my toe two months ago and it’s still healing (it’s hard to heal a toe when you don’t have time to stay off it), and I managed to get pinkeye just a couple of days after Uncle Bob died, and thus had to miss visiting the nursing home and seeing my grandmas for Christmas.

We haven’t been able to hike since Black Friday. And never more have I needed to be out on a trail than this last couple of months. Another reason December bites…we’ve just been too busy. We’re going hiking on Monday (the day after Christmas), and I don’t intend on seeing a car for at least six hours. We’re hiking all of the miles, injured toe and all.

I’m 4 days post-ovulation today. I had two follicles on Monday. I’d think that increases the chances that this round will work, but I’m not about to let myself get my hopes up again. And I’m not about to even think about symptoms. It’s not worth the pain. We get one more shot after this and then my OB wants to refer us to REACH (the infertility clinic). I’m not sure how helpful it’ll be since we don’t intend to do in-vitro, and it’s sketchy whether my insurance will cover any of it. There comes a point where we have to look at the situation logically. We can either shell out money for REACH or save up to begin the adoption process. I’m leaning toward adoption at this point.  We’ll see how it plays out.

So, Merry Freaking Christmas. I hope yours is merry and bright. I just want mine to be over.

Vacation Fail and Feeling Stuck…

I let a couple of weeks go by without blogging; it’s okay…it happens. Vacation came and went, and unfortunately, it wasn’t the time of relaxation I’d hoped it would be. It started on a good note; we got $158 for our dishes, which was about what I’d expected, so I’m satisfied with that. It’s also good to have them gone, even though the cabinets are still in dire need of both purging and rearranging. That’ll come at some point.

I think the vacation was doomed to start. I really wanted a big trip like we had last year where we went to different attractions, museums, and tours. I didn’t communicate that well, so we ended up in a cabin in Asheville.
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It was a gorgeous cabin right on the French Broad River, but part of the withdrawal symptoms from going off this Celexa (I’ll do a post specifically on that in the future) is his terrible feeling of malaise and irritability, and having too much downtime lets my mind just sit in that place and the depression snowballs on itself and gets worse. That ended up being exactly what happened.

That’s not to say that there weren’t bright spots, though! We had campfires the first two nights.

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And steak and eggs for breakfast Tuesday (steak cooked over the fire)!

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We went to the Museum of Cherokee History.

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It rained all day Wednesday, and then I woke up Thursday with a cold. I swear, this is the fourth vacation where I’ve gotten sick. We ended up leaving Thursday instead of Friday so I could be sick at home. The last year is the sickest I’ve ever been, honestly.

I’ve been struggling with feeling “stuck” lately. We’ve reached a bit of a crossroads in our lives right now and are trying to figure out where to go from here, and that’s been challenging. I haven’t been praying or reading the Bible like I should; I know that’ll give us clarity and probably show us what to do but, for whatever reason, it’s proven to be easier said than done.

It’ll all make sense in due time, I’m sure.

(I’m Not Doing) Emotional Eating…

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I’ve had some life circumstances over the last two days that have left me with an intense desire to eat away my unsettled feelings. It’s funny how that urge becomes second nature over time…I can only remember a handful of times when I was too stressed to be hungry, and they were huge life events…like, breaking up with the guy I was positive I was going to marry for the guy I barely knew (that one worked out!) or like, dad’s in the cardiac ICU and we don’t know if he’s coming back out (that one worked out okay too…both times). Like clockwork, when the emotion surfaced yesterday, my first instinct was to want Chinese takeout.

I did something different this time, though. I said to Joey, “I feel like emotional eating.” And, to his credit (and with much bravery), he reminded me that I’d come too far too do that. It took a lot of courage on his part to say that…he’s got eleven years of my ripping his face off over food-related discussions as a frame of reference. I’m glad he said it, though…I had an apple and some peanut butter and went on to have an excellent evening with friends.

I need to learn to compartmentalize some things, namely work. I’m definitely not bitching about my job….I like my company and my manager, but I’m really bad about identifying myself too much by what I do for a living and not being able to roll with the punches. Because of that, I tend to internalize anything that happens whether or not it’s something that’s within my control. At least this time I didn’t fling myself face-first into a plate of General Tso’s chicken 😉

I found this on Pinterest; it has grammar issues, but the info is sound.

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Oh, Insomnia…How I Hate Thee…

I ended up taking a 2.5 hour nap yesterday and it has resulted in my waking up at 3:45.  I finally got up and left the bedroom because I have this bad habit of popping my joints when I can’t sleep, and I didn’t want to keep Joey up.  That, and he’s sawing logs pretty loudly, so I really didn’t want to stay in there.  At least local news starts at 4:30.

Today marks the day Joey and I set for ourselves to begin getting life back on track.  I’m nervous about it since we’ve spent the past year pretty much eating whatever we want and getting ourselves into the bad habit of getting takeout several times a week and wasting the groceries we buy by not eating them.

Some observations about the physical ramifications of the weight gain:

  • Standing for more than a few minutes hurts my lower back and into the backs of my legs.
  • Holding long notes while singing has become difficult.
  • Snoring.
  • Feeling crampy off and on nearly all month.
  • My meds aren’t as effective in controlling my anxiety

I’m still doing pretty well mentally, but I can definitely tell that I’m not enjoying the full effectiveness of my meds.

Anyway, I just wanted to get that down on “paper.”  I’m going to shoot to document this journey.  I’ve finally remedied the untenable stress of my day from 8-5, and It’s time for me to pick up the pieces of the rest of it and begin the healing process:)

My First Four Weeks at the New Job…

Well, as I told you in my last post, I recently got a new job.  It’s the same job that I was doing before, but it was a good move financially, and the new job allows me some liberty to get into the aspects of my industry that I really like.  Additionally, I needed a less-stressful environment (or a different kind of stress, at least), and I’m getting to the point where I feel that I’m going to get that.  So, after a month, I’m starting to feel like I’m a part of the new place.  It helps that there are five of us who have come over here, so I immediately had a group of people with whom I was familiar.  I’m also finally feeling challenged again, and like I’m a part of the process rather than “just another customer service rep.”  However, I’m still not entirely at ease yet….so, in the long run, I know this place will be less stressful, but right now, I’m still suffering from the (good) stress of getting adjusted.  I’ll gladly take that over the previous environment, though!!

Shelli’s adoptiversary was last Saturday; we gave her some treats and she was largely nonplussed by the entire thing.  I can’t believe it’s been five years.  I’m a little sad about it…she’s all grown up now, and the memories of that first “kitten” year seem so far in the past.  I’ve also been pretty depressed lately about the fate of many shelter pets.  Sometimes I wonder if I’m cut out to have kids, because at this point, I’d rather spend my time, money, and effort on rescuing animals.  Try explaining that to church people who look at you like you’ve just denounced Christ Himself.  Knowing what I know about God, though, He gave me this tenderness toward animals for a reason, so I’m just trying to go with the feeling and let Him change my mind about kids if/when it happens.  I would love to be able to get another kitten, but I’m just not sure that Shelli would be able to handle it.  I wish we could’ve afforded to take her sister, too, but we were so poor back then that Shelli’s medical care that first three months almost put us into debt.  It would have been worth it to take the risk, though, because I got a pretty nice raise about a month after we adopted her, and I think she would have been a little less paranoid and crabby toward people.

I’m still struggling with motivation to take care of myself and get myself back in some sort of shape.  I gained my last thirty pounds pretty rapidly since November, and it’s taking a toll on my skin, which is pretty demoralizing.  I was discussing the situation with a friend Friday at lunch who deals with anxiety like I do who’s going through a similar issue, and I explained the motivation problem to her like this:  you have a finite pool of energy and emotion from which to draw, and when you expend so much on being anxious about this or that, it leaves the pool empty when it comes time for other things, like cooking and cleaning and exercising.  Apathy is what’s left, and then you just don’t have the effort to expend to try to better yourself.

But there’s got to be a way.  That’s my mission for the summer….to find that way.

Emerging….

It’s been just about six months.  I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long without posting.  Lots has happened that’s finally put me in a position where I want to and am able to resume blogging.  I took a break for several reasons…I needed to focus on getting my thesis done, especially since I had to postpone graduation again until this spring, Phil died and I didn’t feel like doing much for quite a while, Davy Jones died, capping off a month of grief (Phil died on the first of February and Davy died on the 29th) and the loss of two of the most important figures of my own musical history, and work became increasingly stressful until I got to the point that I wasn’t really able to function much.  It was all I could do to make it through the day, so when I got home, I basically collasped on the couch and ate.

So, I finished my thesis and successfully defended it and I’m all graduated now.  Unfortunately the stress of work and school took a big toll on my health to the tune of another thirty pounds, so I’m officially needing to lose about 80 pounds now.  However, I got a new job!!  As a result, life is becoming increasingly more relaxed (or will be once I’m more used to the new job), and I’m finally reaching the point where I can emerge from survival-mode and try to heal my body and mind from the trauma of the last year.

I really wanted 2012 to start off better and be a better year in general, but I feel like things happened the way they did for a reason, and I’m pretty sure that the second half of 2012 is going to be so much better considering how much baggage I’ve been able to shed over the past two months.  I spent the first few weeks after I graduated doing nothing but rotting my brain on Facebook and Pinterest, but I’ve been starting to remember what my interests were before I went into self-imposed isolation…frugal living, voluntary simplicity, knitting, cooking good food, and resuming the weight-loss battle.

I’m pretty mad at myself for letting the weight thing get so out of control; we’ve found ourselves getting takeout incredibly often because we’ve been too stressed and tired to cook.  However, Joey just sent off his last paper for his last class of his PhD program, and I don’t have anything to consume my time when I get home from work except going back to the aforementioned things that used to consume my time, constructive things, healthy things…things that make life better.

Since we’re now looking at the possibility of being able to eradicate vast amounts of debt if we resume our previously frugal ways, I’m looking forward to getting back to my roots and returning to the person I was when I liked who I was.  And I’m glad I get to share that with you again:)

Another One Bites The Dust….

Spring 2011, you were a difficult semester.  And, unfortunately, you are only transitioning into the mad dash of summer thesis-writing.  Honestly, I don’t have any more to give.  Where I’m going to muster up the will to finish this program is beyond me.  If you love writing, never go to graduate school…I loved writing too, once;)  But at least, for now, my final paper and final reflections for Middle Eastern Lit are turned in and I can probably afford a day or two to regain my sanity..or at least, what’s left of it.

I’ve been thinking for the last week or so about a new tattoo.  Recall, if you will, Birthday Adventure #1:

And Birthday Adventure # 2:

2010 was uneventful in terms of body art.  I planned to get another tattoo, but time and money never lined up properly.  My 2008 tattoo was extremely significant; it had been exactly one year since my dad’s emergency bypass surgery and ensuing two-week hospital stay.  It also marked my taking control over my depression and anxiety and seeking treatment.  So, exactly one year from what was undeniably the darkest moment in my entire life, I did something I’d always wanted to do.  On my birthday in 2009, I did it again, forever commemorating my connection with my lineage, paying homage to my folks and indelibly marking myself with pride at who I am.

2010 and–thus far–2011 have proven to be years of challenge and struggle, and I think that, once I’m on the other side of the struggle, it will be time to commemorate in ink my survival again.  I’m thinking either the middle of my back or the inside of my wrist…what do you think?