Friday, August 31, 2012


YALL. Yesterday I read an article that was so disturbing, so horrible, so creepy...and yet so perfect because it reinforced and provided fresh justification for a lifelong phobia of mine. You know, people are quick to judge and mock other peoples' legitimate fears when the opportunity arises to show that THIS FEAR IS TOTALLY VALID, one would be remiss not to share the news. And the picture.

image via

My lifelong #1 fear/most hated thing on earth: Birds.

Reasoning: Birds are disgusting, nasty, unpredictable, evil little beasts. They can and will attack, peck, gouge, and maim unsuspecting and undeserving victims (of any species, including their own). 

Summary of the Horrifying Story linked to above: Basically, the seagulls are decimating the whale population in Argentina because the nasty-ass birds are DIVEBOMBING and EATING CHUNKS out of whales when they come up to breathe/flap their tails/do cute whale things. The birds have discovered that whales make for nice sushi, so they just lurk above the water and grab a nice meaty mouthful (leaving an open wound behind, natch) whenever the whales come up. Not shockingly, the gull population has exploded and the whale population has plummeted (OH YEAH, THEY KILL THE BABY WHALES TOO). So now the Argentinians are having to figure out a way to "control" the gull population-- and by "control," we mean "kill," which should obviously be encouraged. 

So sorry, but this article made me shiver for like two hours, because a) EWWWW; b) that is SO sad, poor cute baby whales; c) I ALWAYS KNEW BIRDS WERE EVIL; and d) IT IS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE THE BIRDS TURN THIS SAME BEHAVIOR ONTO HUMANS. Think about your last trip to the beach: weren't those gulls a little close for comfort? And in light of this new information, on your next trip...yeah, have fun with that.

This is where I pat myself on the back for being ahead of my times with the bird-fear and trust that a lifetime of bird-wariness and bird-avoidance skills will come in handy during the eminent bird-apocalypse. To the brave people of Argentina on the front lines: I salute you. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

same kind of different

Yay-- it's finally time for my first Blogger Book Club review!! In honor of the occasion, I took an artistic and carefully staged (phone) picture:
See how I included all of the Blogger Book Club essentials? The book...tissues (trust me, necessary)...a computer on which to write the blog...oh, ya know, the flowers-for-no-reason Matt gave me yesterday-- potentially unrelated to Book Club, but necessary to brag about.

 As you can see, this month we read Same Kind of Different As Me. In a word, it was awesome. In another word, it was heartbreaking. Also, inspirational. But also-- sad.

In short, the book tells the story of the lives and relationship between two men: Ron Hall, a wealthy Texan art dealer enjoying a lifetime of privilege and wealth, and Denver Moore, a homeless man who left the legal slavery of sharecropping in Louisiana for the streets of Ft. Worth. The men alternate narrating chapters, each telling the stories of their childhoods as their lives slowly converge and intermingle. 

This book really opened my eyes to the legal slavery that was taking place in America after the Civil War supposedly ended it. Denver's stories about his early life (as well as his stories about his parents' and relatives' lives) totally shocked and horrified me...but what was even more surprising was his lack of hatred or bitterness towards The Man, the country, or...well, anyone. I wasn't as surprised by the tales of being 'street homeless' in Ft. Worth-- I guess that that is an injustice that I'm more "used to," as awful as that sounds. It blew my mind, late in the story, when Denver took Ron down to the Louisiana parish where he spent the first half of his life to show him what he'd left and introduce him to some of his friends still living there. By my calculations, this trip probably took place in the late 1990s or early 2000s. After being shown around, Ron writes "We left just before dark, and as we drove away the images of poverty and squalor burned themselves into my brain like hated tattoos. I could hardly believe places like that still existed in America. I thanked Denver for taking me there, for taking my blinders off. 'Mr. Ron, they're livin better than I ever did when I was livin here. Now you know it was the truth when I told you that bein homeless in Fort Worth was a step up in life for me.'" 

This book definitely caused me to examine my own thoughts about homelessness and helping the poor. I appreciated the honesty and candor with which Ron told his story-- he was perfectly forthright in stating that the only reason he started going to serve at the Union Mission was because his wife bugged him to. Regarding befriending Denver, Ron said "I hate to admit this now, but I had pictured myself more as a sort of indulgent benefactor: I would give him a little bit of my valuable time, which, had I not been so benevolent, I could have used to make a few more thousand dollars. And from time to time, I imagined, if Denver stayed cleaned up and sober, I'd take him on field trips from hobo-land to restaurants and malls, a kind of peep show where he could glimpse the fruit of responsible living and perhaps change his ways accordingly." Wow. Brutal? Yeah. But probably a pretty accurate reflection about the way many of us approach ministry to the poor.

Honestly, this book was packed with God-given insight, wisdom, and encouragement-- much of it from Denver, who remains (as far as I know) unable to read and write to this day. Something he said in Chapter 44 really spoke to me, so I'll close with this:

"There's something I learned when I was homeless: Our limitation is God's opportunity. When you get all the way to the end of your rope and there ain't nothin you can do, that's when God takes over."

Amen, and amen.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

about time

Finally, some good news.

And upon receiving said good news yesterday, all I could think was: It's about damn time.

Good News Here

So happy that my very-deserving friend finally has some happy news for herself.

And simultaneously crying my eyes out as I finish reading for Book Club. OMG why did no one warn me this book would rip my heart out??

Happy Tuesday, and yay for good news!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

so about that surgery...

[This is Part ??? (not really keeping track of numbers) in my ongoing series of Over-Sharing About Endometriosis/Laparoscopic Surgery. This is possibly of interest to no one except myself, but since I have found other girls' open and thorough blogs to be extremely helpful in my own journey, I do the same in hopes that mine might be found the same. If you're not interested in the status of my lady parts, I won't be offended if you peace out now!]

 So as I mentioned yesterday, I had my post-op follow up appointment with Dr. S on Wednesday afternoon. Immediately following my appointment, Matt had an appointment with Dr. W, the MFI specialist. Depending on how long-winded I get describing MY appointment (because it's all about me, right?!), I may or may not get around to describing Matt's appointment today. It wasn't nearly as interesting, anyway.

 Maybe I should back up and describe my recovery process up until the present, especially since I've been a lazy blogger the last two weeks. Again-- sorry if this is boring, but in addition to being useful to other girls facing an endo lap, there's a good chance (FORESHADOWING) that this won't be my last I may find this useful to know in the future. Le sigh.

Surgery was August 3. I was in pretty horrible pain/narcotic painkillers around the clock for about three days. After that, I weaned off the painkillers and onto a regular schedule of Tylenol until maybe Aug. 8. Strangely, I felt quite good on the Monday after surgery (Aug. 6), only to feel WAY WORSE for the rest of the week. From the day of surgery until the following Friday (a full week post-surgery), I basically did not leave the bed/couch other than to go to the bathroom. Pain was fine as long as I wasn't moving around-- shifting positions (from sitting to standing, from sitting to laying down) was the worst part, so once I got settled doing something, I would stay that way for a really long time. After mid-week, I only took Tylenol if the pain got really unbearable, which wasn't often. I was usually fairly uncomfortable, but not like...excruciating or anything. However, I had NO energy, and getting up and attempting to do anything would immediately make me feel sick. So I stayed on the couch. Sleep started getting weird towards the end of the week. I would stay up late (watching Olympics) and then take a long time to fall asleep. Once I fell asleep I was fine, but it may have been 1 or 2 am. It wasn't a problem, though, because I wasn't working, so I could just sleep til noon every day. I didn't nap during the day, but I still got my schedule all off and couldn't fall asleep until really late. 

During the next weekend, I made a few brief trips out with Matt (still wasn't driving). I went to get my nails done, went to church-- a few things like that, and it was exhausting but a nice change of scenery. I went back to work for a half-day of office work (no kids) on Tuesday the 18th. Wednesday and Thursday I worked full days in the office, and Friday I went to my school for the first time (full day). On all of those days, I wasn't in much pain unless I was walking around too much or hunched over at a desk or something for too long. I was SUPER tired after work and would pass out on the couch with a book (NO NAPS) the moment I got home. My sleep was terrible-- I couldn't fall asleep or stay asleep for long most nights. That carried through the weekend, and by then the exhaustion had basically ruined my life. I spent the entire days being stressed out about not-sleeping, plus being exhausted, plus worrying that I might not be able to sleep the NEXT being exhausted just makes EVERYTHING in life seem worse and hopeless. So it's not a fun place to be. After getting less than 2 hours of sleep Sunday night/Monday morning, I gave up hope of being able to get back to normal sleep without chemical assistance. Since then I've been taking Benadryl at night, which has helped a lot. As far as pain for the last week, there hasn't been much. My incisions (4) hurt if you press on them (duh), and they itch sometimes, but other than that my stomach feels mostly fine. Some occasional aching and bloating, and my bellybutton incision has been a little weird, but all in all...not bad. I'm still taking it pretty easy at work (hiding in my office when I get tired or sore), but other than the tiredness, I'm not having a problem making it through the work day. 

OK also, I started my period on the Friday after surgery-- one week later (and a week and a half early). They had told me that the surgery would make my period completely unpredictable, because the surgery would mess around with the things controlling my hormones and throw my cycle out of whack. They said the only thing predictable about my next period would be that it would be completely unpredictable-- in timing, in length, in...everything. And they were right. It was totally freaky and that's all I'll say about that. 

SO! That brings us to what I was actually planning to talk about-- my post-op follow up appointment. Dr. S had me bring in the pictures he'd printed during surgery (remember when I showed you one of those?) and he spent a long time going through them, describing what they were seeing, what they did, what everything meant. It was very informative and slightly depressing. Basically, I had a lot more endo than he had expected or hoped for. He said I have solid Stage 3 endo (they classify endo in 4 stages, with Stage 4 being the worst/most extreme). He said there was a lot of inflammation and irritation around my ovaries, uterus, and tubes, along with the adhesions that they'd found. My "big daddy" cyst on the left ovary ended up being a corpus luteum cyst, and as though that weren't enough trauma for my poor ovary, there were additional endometriomas growing on the OTHER side of the poor guy. I finally got Dr. S to give me a visual image that I could relate to to understand the size of that cyst: a lemon. It was roughly the size and shape of a lemon. Yikes! I had another, smaller corpus luteum cyst on my other ovary, as well as endometriosis. The left ovary, though, is bearing the brunt of the damage. The Fallopian tube on that side is pretty mangled where it connects to the ovary as a result of the cyst damaging it. The rest of my left tube is in okay shape, but the part where it connects to the ovary is in bad shape. So although he removed the cysts and endometriomas from that ovary, the whole left side is pretty beat up. They're still functioning, but...he doesn't have a lot of hope that that'll be the team that gets us a win, if you know what I mean. So...sad face. BUT, the right side is in much better shape, the tube looks great and had no inflammation or endometriosis, and the ovary is still in great shape, despite the small cysts/endo. So he feels really good about the right side.

Alright. Then we spent some time talking about my itty bitty skinny ol' cervix. I mean-- of all the things to be TOO SKINNY...why not my hips? My thighs? But no, it's my cervix. Whatev. So I mentioned this back in my first post-surgery blog, but he found my cervix to be waaaay too narrow for its own good. In doctor lingo, we call this "uterine cervical stenosis." Yeah, just tuck that tidbit away. So my cervix is super super super way too skinny, and so here's what that means: when you're on your period, your body sheds the uterine lining (including blood and endometrial tissue) that built up and lined your cavity after you ovulated. All of that stuff comes down through the cervix and...ya know, exits the premises. Retrograde menstruation is what happens when some of that stuff doesn't make it down, and instead backs up into the Fallopian tubes and spills out into your uterine cavity. That leaves your immune system to attack and carry off all the tissue and blood that gets where it isn't supposed to be. Dr. S says that all women have some degree of retrograde menstruation-- it's normal, and most women have maybe as much as 5% of their 'stuff' go the wrong way. It's not a lot, so it's not a big deal-- your immune system takes care of cleaning everything up. The problem comes when you have way too MUCH retrograde, which dumps way too much endometrial tissue back where it shouldn't be, and then your immune system is overwhelmed and unable to fight it all. That is what he suspects my problem is. He estimates that because my cervix is so narrow, 55-60% of my 'stuff' is unable to go through it and instead goes backwards and floods my cavity. That leaves all that endometrial tissue just sitting there, and my immune system can't deal with all of it, and so it's causing problems (obviously) and taking root and growing where it shouldn't be. And because there's such a constant (monthly) influx of new tissue and blood, my immune system is fighting a losing battle. The constant fight and stress of that tissue/blood being where it shouldn't be is what causes all of the inflammation and adhesions throughout my cavity. The GOOD news here is that he was able to slightly widen my cervix with the D&C (although it is still quite narrow). This should help some with the retrograde menstruation, although it's only a temporary fix...slowly, the cervix will un-dilate and go back to it's normal size...but for awhile, it should at least help. So that could slow the re-growth of endo. (Semi-relatedly, I asked if this cervical skinniness would potentially make it more difficult for me to have a vaginal birth someday-- would I be able to dilate enough? He said he wasn't really sure, since pregnancy hormones do an awful lot of weird things to make your cervix do things it doesn't normally do, but it would definitely be a possibility. Just something to think about.)

Let's see. So other than that we just looked at all the pictures and talked about what this means for now. Basically, with my endo being as advanced and aggressive as it apparently is, it's just a matter of time until it's back. Right now-- being nice and clean-- would be my best shot at pregnancy. He estimates my chances of getting 'naturally' pregnant right now (NOT TAKING INTO ACCOUNT OUR MFI ISSUES!!!!) to be 2-5% on any given cycle. Doing another cycle of Clomid/IUI would roughly double my chances, putting me at about a 10% chance. Doing IVF would put my odds at around 60-65%. So...not any great odds there, but no worse than it was, I suppose. The more time passes, the more time I give the endo to grow/mangle important organs like ovaries and tubes. I can always have surgery again, but as we've seen with my left ovary and tube-- even removing the cysts/endo can't restore the damage to the organ.  Poor old mangled things. :( The only way to slow the growth of the endo would be to go back on birth control (which basically stops your whole cycle, meaning you're not building up a lining that needs to be shed every month, which means it won't be flooding back where it's not supposed to be going) or Lupron. Oh, and maybe abiding by the Endo Diet could help...but I'm just not sure I'm ready for that level of misery in my life.

So there's not really any big "next steps" for me, other than finishing recovering (another month til I can work out lightly, 2 more weeks til I can submerge in water...I think those were the only notable milestones) and waiting. And hoping. And praying. And having frequent 'monitoring' ultrasounds, and waiting for the pain to come back. Oh, and he prescribed me something to help me maybe I will regain my sanity sometime soon.

On the plus side, whereas I used to have fairly bothersome pain for about a week around ovulation (requiring heating pads and Tylenol), this week I was only in pain for about 12 hours! So that's a pretty awesome improvement.

Anyway. Well, this is so extremely long that only the most dedicated/nosy people are probably even reading anymore. I'll wait to talk about Matt's appointment (which wasn't terribly exciting, anyway) until later. I know. Get pumped.

In case you haven't heard quite enough about endo already today, here's an interesting article my RE practice posted a link to on Facebook: What It Really Means to Have Endometriosis. (Note: I have no personal affiliation with Dr. Cook or Vital Health Institute. They just linked to this article.)

Have a happy Friday!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

a warning about Kirby...

So yesterday I had my post-op visit with Dr. S. And an hour later, Matt had an appointment with Dr. W, the MFI specialist at our RE practice (gold star if you can decode all the abbreviations in this sentence). And so what I PLANNED to do last night was give a nice, detailed update/debrief about surgery, the status of my womb, the next steps, etc. Additionally, I was going to make some lame excuses about my general absence in the blogosphere, and mention that I hope to come back to life sometime soon since Dr. S prescribed me something to make me sane again help me sleep.

BUT THEN, at 7:30 last night-- right when I was about to settle in for a nice evening of doing all of the above blogging...the doorbell rang. Actually, it didn't, because we don't have a functioning doorbell. So actually someone knocked, but that just doesn't have the same ring to it, does it?

And at the door was a very friendly girl about my age, who presented me with a bottle of Gain laundry detergent and asked if she could briefly tell me about her company. Since I had no idea what company she was with, and she talked approximately 200 times faster than my brain can process, I let her come in.

THREE HOURS LATER SHE WAS STILL THERE. Showing us the Kirby and all of its many uses and functions. Demonstrating how our previously-working-for-me Eureka vacuum was...basically worthless. And then putting us in a reaaaaallllly awkward position when it was 10:30pm and we were exhausted and ready for bed and she was wanting us to write a check for $2800...and she couldn't take our passive, non-confrontational "well, we'll think about it" answers...and then she started asking "I thought you liked me??? Where did I go wrong??" and Matt and I were trying to explain that we just paid for surgery and a new HVAC and our money tree is flat out picked-over and we are so, so sorry...and she was all teary and repeatedly had to call her "supervisor" (on OUR PHONE) and then things got really awkward when Matt laid down the law and said she had to leave...and AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. So there went the night. Then I put on my FB a brief sentence about how we were stuck with a Kirby salesgirl and like a hundred people were like "DON'T LET HER IN!!!" and doling out all sorts of advice that would have been useful 3 hours ago...AHH! I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Sheesh. That'll be the last time THAT happens.

So. Instead of a medical update, I leave you with this valuable advice: Don't let a Kirby salesperson into your house. It will drain your emotions, or your finances, or your time, or possibly all of the above.

Monday, August 20, 2012

things that are depressing

Most people would try to kick of their weeks by thinking about...ya know, things that are happy! And inspirational!!

Luckily, I'm not most people. Therefore we will briefly reflect on Things That Are Depressing. And to make you even madder, I'm going to make you do your own Googling. No handy-dandy links today. Do your own stinkin' grunt work.

1. Post-surgical depression. Which sucks and I'm pretty sure I have all the symptoms of. And I'm ending a sentence with 'of' BECAUSE I CAN.

2. Insomnia. See also #1.

3. The Endometriosis Diet. See also "would suck what little joy I have left right out of life." Which is why I'm not going to even attempt more than a half-assed version of it. For now.

4. The "legitimate rape" fiasco. OMG. Can't even comprehend the ignorance. It's almost enough to make a girl wanna vote. Not that I can vote for Missouri candidates, but still.

But lest you take away my "hopelessly optimistic" card, I shall present you with one thing that is Not Depressing:

Making a yellow cake with rainbow chip frosting just for the heck of it. Which is what Matt did (with my blessing) yesterday. That blurry thing in the upper right of the picture is his knife in action, icing that bad boy. And it is delicious. And it gives me hope. And it breaks pretty much every rule in the Endo Diet handbook. Good thing I don't care.

And with that, please go on with your regularly scheduled Monday.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

rose babies

A true story that took place this afternoon, as Matt and I took a walk through our neighborhood, wherein I reveal that I am actually pretty ignorant about flower biology. Beautifully illustrated with completely unrelated photographs taken in my own yard yesterday.

Turns out our mystery plant is actually CANTALOUPE!

Let's be honest: in terms of flowers/landscaping/general beauty, Matt & I's yard is basically as good as it gets in our small neighborhood. Although I easily could have come to this conclusion on my own, it helps that other neighbors regularly stop by and tell me this. I'm not just vain- I'm simply re-stating a fact.

Even still, we like to walk around the 'hood and keep tabs on the competition...because it seems like SOME people are trying to beat us (haha like I would ever let that happen). There's a certain house down the street that is providing some particularly stiff competition. It seems that they've figured out our weak spot and are trying to rub it in our faces by growing that particular plant extra-well and in extra-huge numbers. Jerks. (Note: never met the neighbors. Bet they are actually really nice people and that they have no idea what they're doing to me.) 

So Matt and I have no long-stemmed roses. We have three successful knock-out rose bushes, but no traditional (and notoriously difficult-to-grow) roses. I'll admit-- I'm intimidated. But that gives those neighbors no right to rub it in my face by having like 35 FABULOUS long-stemmed rose plants (of various colors and varieties) right there in their front yard. I mean...could they be any ruder? Because their roses are AWESOME and seriously almost bring tears to my eyes. Especially the one they have growing on a trellis around their mailbox, which of course I am forced to stop and smell every time I walk by. Ugh. It's ridiculous and unfair.

So today as we walk by the Rose House, squinty-eyed with jealousy, we again renew our vow that next year, we will have long-stemmed roses. This vow has been made and broken many times before, but this time we are SERIOUS.

Matt: UGH! Why don't we have roses like that?
Me: Because we haven't bought any.
Matt: Yeah, well, they never have any that look that good at Lowe's.
Me: year we will go to Cofer's (local nursery) and get some there. Then they will be even better than the neighbors'!
Matt: They are going to be really expensive. Why don't we just grow some from seed?
Me: [blank stare as I realize I've never seen or heard of rose seeds before]...You can't grow roses from seeds.
Matt:...well then how do you grow them?
Me: [long pause] Umm...I think from clippings?
Matt: [stares deviously at the Roses of Perfection on the mailbox trellis] Well, I know where we can get some clippings!
Me:, I think you can't grow them from clippings, actually.
Matt: Well then, where do baby roses come from?
Me: [best teacher voice] Well, Matt, when a mommy rose and a daddy rose love each other very much...
Matt: [laughing]
Me:...then a stork brings them a Rose Baby!!!
Matt: Well, where does the stork get the baby rose?
Me: Well...probably Cofer's. Or Lowe's.

Then we cracked up for about 5 minutes because we think we are really funny. And are no closer to having any clue where baby roses come from, other than the store. Oh poor suburbanite clueless about the things of the Earth. My farming ancestors would be so ashamed. (Note: probably they wouldn't. Pretty sure they farmed cotton and livestock and not roses.) (Other note: Here's my favorite quote (spoken by older relatives) about my great-grandfather, the aforementioned farmer who immigrated from Italy to Texas back in the early 1900s: "He was a good farmer...and a really good gambler.")

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Holding onto hope might be the hardest thing ever.

"We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be."- C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Watching: Nothing.

Listening to:
Nothing. I know, I am totally un-American...sitting here in silence??!

Tired. Sore. Emotionally spent (reasons to come, don't worry!).

Wanting: A nap, or a decent night's sleep. But since the one does NOT seem to lead to the other...I'm keeping myself awake for now.

Needing to:
Balance the checkbook and pay bills. Maybe go to work for more than 4 hours tomorrow.

Drinking: Nothing.


BINGO!!!! Actually, just finished reading...which is why I can now join the human race again. Had you noticed my absence? I haven't been engaging in ANY of my normal time-passers (aka social media)...not even reading/commenting on blogs!! I know, totally unacceptable, but still. When you are in the midst of an amazing trilogy, there is no time for REAL LIFE people...there is only time to be caught up in book world.
  So I just finished the Diamond of the Rockies (by Kristen Heitzmann) trilogy and it was SO GOOD!!!! Please don't be turned off by the less-than-stellar cover art and trilogy title, as I almost was. My friend Kristin highly recommended and then lent me the books, and I am SO GLAD I did not let my initial reluctance (I just wasn't feeling a historical romance...or the cover art) deter me. 20 pages into the first book (The Rose Legacy), I was HOOKED...and then I basically checked out from society until I finished the last page of the last book about...oh, 5 minutes ago. And now I'm all cried out and emotionally spent over some fictional people from the 1880s. Such is life.

Umm...that there isn't a 4th book? What would we call that, a quadrigy? Oh, also I'm annoyed that book characters' dramatic infertility storylines are started and finished in a matter of hours (my time) or months (their time). How unfair.

Thinking: That I never would have made it in the 1800s. I barely even survived when our AC wasn't working.

Craving: Umm...chips and guac. Luckily, it's Taco Tuesday!!

Enjoying: Feeling better and getting to see/talk to people at work today. Even if I only lasted 4 hours.

Received: A get-well card in the mail from my uncle.

To ask Matt to vacuum when he gets home from work. I could do it myself, but...ya know, I would hate to prolong the healing process and all. ;)

[Stole this blogging idea from my friend Brittnie!]

Friday, August 10, 2012

one week

Was anyone else a big fan of that Barenaked Ladies song (One Week) back in the day? I was. I always had a goal to memorize all the lyrics...since they are SO fast, nonsensical, and unrelated, it was always really fun to hear people who could do the whole thing (and still breathe). I never completed that goal, though. I do know all the words for a few random sections, but not the whole thing. Oh well. I've still managed to get through life without that useful knowledge.

So it's been one week since surgery. I made these extremely fancy graphs to demonstrate some concepts:

That was how I expected recovery to go. I mean, the slope of the line might have been steeper or flatter...depending on whether I recover more quickly or slowly than others...but I generally expected to feel slightly better as time went by.

 So, yeah. There it is. Sometimes I do feel better. And then 5 minutes later I might feel worse than I ever have. And then in 2 hours, I might feel pretty good. And then I might spend 6 hours trying to get comfortable enough to sleep. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. 

I actually just got off the phone with one of my nurses, trying to make sure one of my newest and most alarming symptoms (which for your sake I won't even share right here, lest you become scarred for life by my over-sharing) doesn't mean that my death is imminent. Her conclusion is that it is probably  fine, but now I have a whole new list of things to watch/look/feel for, at which point I will be expected to call right back. So...goodie.

ANYWAYS. On a less melodramatic note, here are some notable facts about the last week.

It's been ONE WEEK since I...

-wore any makeup.
-wore anything other than the same 2 pair of drawstring-waisted shorts and a tee/tank-top.
-left my house/yard. 
-got in a car.
-walked my dog.
-did anything that could be remotely construed as 'useful.'
-wasn't in pain.

 That's all I can think of for now. In happy news (??) we got our new HVAC yesterday and so at least my house is nice and comfy. Oh, and last night I watched Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and it was awweeeeesome and semi-sadly a fairly good representation of many Georgia residents (but not me, of course). Actually, when we started hearing about the show/watching clips online, we didn't know what state they lived in. So Matt and I were watching and laughing, making fun, what-not. Then we noticed they were about to re-play the first 2 episodes on TLC, so we immediately switched over to watch the full thing. We were like "WHERE DO THESE PEOPLE LIVE??!!? HA HA HA I BET IT'S ALABAMA, OR MAYBE WEST VIRGINIA!!!!"....and then we see our lovely state sign. Oh yay. Neighbors. :) Anyway, anyone else watching and loving it?

That's all I've got. Off to make sure I'm not dying...happy Friday!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

oh, google...

What will they think of next?

Just when I think Google has invented everything worth inventing (examples: ...Google...; various hoaxes & "easter eggs"; my all-time-favorite Google Analytics; the best-substitute-for-AIM IMing, G-chat), they have to go invent something even better.

Ask yourself: Self, if you were couch-bound for one zillion days in a row, stuck in your house out in the middle of nowhere, far from friends and other entertainment, what would you want Google to invent?

If your answer is: a free door-to-door pedicure service (with massage chair), then you would be hopefully Google will get right on that. 

But the next best thing would have to be Google Hangouts.

Basically, Google Hangouts is a video-chatroom where up to 9 (invited) people can simultaneously video chat. And wear ridiculous "costumes." Which may or may not be ridiculously entertaining. So if you were wondering what amazing ladies such as myself (bottom right: pirate hat, 'stache, and monocle), Amanda (center and top: scuba mask, crown), and Allison (bottom left: Cat in the Hat-hat, scuba mask) do in the evenings to pass the time...well then, now you know. Google is so smart, it even switches who is in the top picture based on who is talking at the moment. I tell you, they think of everything. (Except Google, if you're listening...please make more costumes and props! We ran out of new combinations after only a few can definitely do better.)

And now you have extra confirmation about how awesomely exciting my life is. As though there were any doubt.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

the money tree

So yall know I'm a big gardener. Betcha didn't know I have a MONEY TREE in my backyard!

I know, I're rightfully jealous. It is super awesome and convenient to have such a useful piece of nature back there these days. Especially this summer, since there's been no end of pricey-yet-totally-unexciting purchases that require me to grab a handful of cash off the tree to pay up.

We kicked off the summer (literally!! It was the first day of summer!) with some pricey (at the time) refrigerator repairs and replacing all of the food that had been in it. Oh young, stupid foolish you were, thinking that was so stressful and tragic. If only your crystal ball were working properly and you could see into the future...

Then we move into July and August, which were slap full of visits to the RE in Atlanta (each trip which includes 2-4 hours of driving/gas, at least $6 in parking deck fees, usually a meal out, and co-pays...not to mention missed work), culminating in an exciting and expensive surgery last week! I had to pre-pay a nice chunk of change up front (before surgery), and now get to sit back and excitedly wait as the rest of the bills roll in. Bet I'm gonna have to go harvest the money tree at least a few times to pay off all this fun...

Now we can't forget the one-and-only FUN thing our money tree got us this summer: a vacation in Mexico.
  I find myself overwhelmingly thankful that we actually paid for this trip at the time we booked it, in April. Had I known everything else we'd be paying for this summer, we never would have gone except that we'd already paid for it. And God knows we needed that trip.

Then we had our intermittent money-sucker of the summer: our AC. After three visits from the repairman in four weeks (woulda been 3 weeks except we were out of the country that 3rd week)...we found out we'd need to replace our entire HVAC system. THE WHOLE THING. Because the next thing that needs to be fixed will cost 1/3 the amount of just replacing the whole thing...and he can already look at it and see the things that are going to break next/soon...and it's the original HVAC (even though our house is only 9 years old) and apparently pretty crappy and probably would have to be replaced in the next few years anyway...and anyway, since we have that money tree and all, we're like "whatev! Of course we want to drop a freakin bundle of cash on the most boring-but-necessary thing ever!!!"

So tomorrow I'll have a new HVAC system and significantly less liquid assets leaves on my tree. Hooray?

Trying to stay positive and be thankful that at least we have a money tree been Dave Ramsey-adherents/fiscally responsible adults and can afford all of these horribly unexciting and expensive things. But THIS IS IT! Any more stupid money-suckers and we're going to be dipping into the sacred Baby Fund, which is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE.

But I just keep thinking: If I knew I was gonna have to spend $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ this summer (haha, possibly exaggerating the number of dollar signs there, but THAT'S WHAT IT FEELS LIKE), how would I have preferred to spend it?

On about three more weeks in Mexico. Hands down.
And possibly on a mani-pedi for today. Because laying here, staring at my feet and toes all day...I realize I could really use it. And it would feel awesome.

But since I can't get that, I guess I'll just work on planting some more money trees. And by "planting," of course I mean "making Matt plant," because this stomach is in no shape for bending or digging just yet.

 Thanks for listening to my pity party. Let me know if you have any awesome MAKE BIG MONEY WHILE LAYING ON A COUCH schemes...or if you happen to know the winning lotto numbers. I'm all ears!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

when the olympics get old...

It's sad but true: after 4 days of nonstop couch-sitting and Olympics-watching, I'm starting to tune it out a little. Don't get me wrong-- it's still on all the time. But I mostly just glance up on occasion, or if I see people all up in arms on Facebook/Twitter about something or the other, I'll rewind and try to find it. But it's background noise (except for the particular events I'm actually looking forward to, which for the record do not include water polo or any other long, extended team sports (such as soccer, team volleyball, etc.)). Instead, I'm making progress through my large stack o' books. And blogs and other Internet-reading.

Yesterday I knocked out A Stolen Life.

It was raw and tragic, as you would probably have guessed. Also disturbing and sad. I then spent the rest of the night Googling everything I could find about the situation and the fate of Jaycee's kidnappers.

Today I opted for a more upbeat memoir (look at me, diversifying my fiction with all these memoirs!): Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.
Personally, I loved this one. I think the most important thing to remember (and the thing most people seem to MISS when they're criticizing this book/slamming the author) is that the author wrote it as a memoir-- not a parenting book, how-to guide, or treatise on why "Chinese moms" (which she explains in the beginning, is an umbrella term she uses to describe mothers of many different cultures and ethnicities who adhere to this type of parenting style, and does not describe many actually-Chinese mothers who do not adhere to this style) are doing it right and everyone else is doing it wrong. It's simply her story about her own experiences being raised as the daughter of Chinese immigrants and raising her own half-Chinese daughters. I found it to be brutally honest (pretty sure I'd never have the balls to admit to most of the stuff she 'fessed up to saying/doing), humorous, and refreshing...and despite the fact that I DEFINITELY was not raised by a Tiger Mom and DEFINITELY do not think I'll be one myself, I feel like she raised some really good points about Western parenting that I will have to think over one day if I ever find myself raising kids of my own. All in all, a great read, and something good to think over as I watch the Chinese dominate the gold medals in the Olympics!

Lastly, my friend Bren posted this last night and it was something I really needed to hear/read: Be Still. I am always finding myself being so thankful for this community of bloggers that encourage and inspire me and remind me of Truth when I constantly forget it. 

On the health be honest, I felt a lot better yesterday than I do today. Boo. But I'm surviving, and at least I have a lot of books and friends (to G-chat, FB-chat, and text with) to keep me entertained. I spent the first half of the day regretting that I'd let Matt go back to work...but once I got lost in a good book, I wasn't nearly as miserable (plus I totally forgot about eating lunch-- which has never, ever happened to me before, I DO NOT MISS MEALS-- which saved me the inconvenience of having to prepare my own food. Now I'm just waiting for him to get home to fix me some dinner...). 

Well, I think I'm going to be super ambitious and go check the mail. It takes me about two hours to walk the 50 yards out there, so...that should fill out the rest of my afternoon nicely! Have a good evening!

Monday, August 6, 2012

life on the couch

I hope your Monday is off to a fabulous start. As for me, after sleeping in (woke up every few hours, but more or less sleeping) til almost 11, and having my husband cook and bring me breakfast on the couch, I'm now sipping my coffee and settled in for another long day (week) of Olympic-watching. 
Who says I don't have a full schedule this week?

Today I am also attempting to wean off of the Toradol and Percocet (prescription painkillers), so we'll see how that goes.

Lest you find yourself overwhelmed with jealousy at my current lifestyle of leisure, let me inform you that my cup of coffee is laced with a full dose of Miralax. So...yeah. :)

 So remember how I had surgery on Friday? (hahahahaha, like I would let you forget) Well, hopefully you also read my friend Amanda's blog, and in that case, you would know that yesterday SHE had her egg retrieval for her first IVF cycle yesterday. And because she is my #1 fan/stalker and wants to be just like me in every way, she decided to COPY ME and take a picture JUST LIKE the one I took in the hospital on Friday. And then she made a collage thing. And it made me crack up because we totally look like twinsies!! I bet that if we were hospital roommates, the nurses would not be able to tell us apart...and they would mix up our embryos or something cray-cray...okay, so that wouldn't be great, but I bet it WOULD make us famous!
Amanda-top; me-bottom
 Annnd...that's about all I have today. Hopefully something exciting and blog-worthy will happen today, otherwise I just may have to share the REALLY GROSS internal pictures from surgery. Yall thought that cyst looked nasty? You ain't seen NOTHIN' yet!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

recovery (thus far)

Recovery is...going. It's been 48 hours since surgery now, and I will admit that a very few of my sources of laparoscopy info had said that you may need as little as 2 days to start feeling 'somewhat normal' after your lap. To those people I would like to say: ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR EFFING MIND???! Maybe if your laparoscopic surgery was only the laparoscope part-- as in, ALL they did was look around. Then MAYBE you would start feeling better by 2 days later. But if they did ANYTHING else in there (such as, I don't know, remove some giant cysts, some small cysts, some adhesions, and also do a hysteroscopy and D&C...) are NOT feeling much better by 2 days later. Luckily, I had planned for this, so on my own personal "feeling better timeline," I guess I'm right on target. I feel...slightly better than I did the night after surgery. Let's break down the pain, shall we? (Note: I do not expect that most people are interested in any of this-- I really just go into this detail for the people who may be facing a similar surgery of their own. I found this kind of information super useful when preparing for my surgery, and promised myself I'd pay it forward...hence the abundance of details.)

Shoulder & Chest Pain: Yeah, you read me right. Let me quote something from the "postoperative instructions" they sent home with me from the hospital, lest you question why I am complaining about shoulder pain after an abdominal surgery: "Mild to severe shoulder pain is due to the stretching of the diaphragm during distention of the abdomen by carbon dioxide gas during the procedure. The nerve that goes to the diaphragm also supplies the shoulder, explaining this "referred pain". This CO2 pain is no joke, but luckily it's getting less and less bothersome as the time passes (because your body absorbs it eventually). But when it's flaring up...holy crap, it really hurts.

Abdominal Pain: Well, it's pretty bad. However, it's not a whole lot worse than the pain after a ruptured cyst or ruptured hemorrhagic cyst, so it's a pain I'm (unfortunately) somewhat accustomed to dealing with. However, the inability to use my core muscles is a lot worse than it is during regular ruptured cyst-recovery. I can't change positions (like go from laying down to sitting up, or sitting to standing, or roll over) without help...and THAT is obnoxious. I have to lay there and wait for someone to come help pull me up...annoying.

Incision Pain: I have 4 incisions; 1 through my bellybutton and 3 lower down. The bellybutton and one on the left haven't bothered me a bit. The other 2 hurt like crap. They are a combination of throbbing and feeling like my skin is stretched/sewed too tightly. Naturally, these hurt worse if I move or change I'm doing a whole lotta laying reallllly still. I took off the outer 'dressing' (bandages), but the incisions are all covered up with the steri-strip stuff, so I can't really see the incisions or stitches very well. I can't take off the steri-strips for a few more days.

Nausea: Thankfully, I haven't had much nausea at all. Haven't popped a single Zofran even (although they did give me some in my IV when I was still in the hospital). The few 'bouts' of nausea I've had, I was able to sleep off, so...yay for that success story.

Appetite: I eased back into eating and drinking over the first 24 hours post-surgery...starting with mostly liquids and BRAT-esque foods (and saltines. Lots of saltines). Last night and today I've eaten pretty much normal food, but much smaller portions than normal (so that means, probably a NORMAL woman's sized portions. Ha. I'm a big eater...this reduced portion size probably wouldn't be a bad idea to maintain!). I think with the swelling or something, there's just not much room for the normal amount of food in I get filled up fast. Unlike after my knee surgery, though, my appetite seems pretty normal. After knee surgery...geez, I spent so much time barfing, I had NO desire to eat ANYTHING. I attribute this to knowing better what kinds of painkillers I tolerate now, so I'm avoiding the ones that make me sick.

Uhhh..."other": OK, I know I promised I wouldn't talk about bowel function again, but...sorry, folks. So a normal side-effect of the narcotic painkillers (and surgery) is constipation. I had a HORRIBLE problem with this after the hemorrhagic cyst episode in April...awful. So I was prepared to be super pro-active this time around, plus my doctor is alllll about the "bowel health" and loves nothing more than talking about it!! So I've been VERY devoted to watching my liquid/fiber intake and taking Dulcolax on schedule. hasn't worked yet. So today I upped my game and switched to Miralax. Hopefully that'll work soon, or I know how miserable I'll be in a few more days, and I can't bear to think about that. Ugh.

In all, I guess recovery is going well. My parents were here from yesterday afternoon until about 4:30 today, so that was wonderful. They pretty much cooked and entertained and hung out on the couch with me, so that was very nice. We've been watching Olympics like mad (SO THANKFUL that they are on right now!!), so I haven't even had a chance to start reading all the books and magazines I'd gathered for recovery entertainment. But I know I'll have plenty of time to do that the rest of the week...

Sleep is going fine. I've been going to bed around 11:30 or 12 and waking up at 5 or so when my meds run low. Then I have to eat something, take meds, and then I can usually fall back asleep for another few hours. Then I nap a few times throughout the day. Luckily, though, when I'm AWAKE, I'm mostly feeling (mentally) fine (not too groggy or dizzy or whatever else painkillers make you feel). Today I wanted to go on a quick flower walk with my mom (I know, I know...but once I'm UP, walking isn't too bad...I thought I could handle it!)...well, the 10 minutes in the blazing sun and heat, while wonderful for my mental health, was apparently WAY too much for my body. I felt like I'd been hit by a truck, and had to sleep for 2 hours to recover from the excitement (and new bout of shoulder pain). So that made me feel like a real winner. Not.

If that's not a thorough enough recovery-report, I don't know what is. How about a picture-of-a-picture from surgery? (Too much work to get out the with a phone picture of the printed picture)
So the cyst is the whiteish thing (that's the Big Mamajama on my left ovary). The pinkish thing right next to it is my UTERUS. So yes, the cyst is bigger than the uterus. That's not creepy at all.

Also, today I was watching women's water polo, and WOW. First of all...those girls are scary. I would not want to fight with them. Or get on their bad sides. But THEN-- I saw an underwater shot with a serious WARDROBE MALFUNCTION. As in..boobie. Major boobie. It was scary. And that is all I have to say today.

Friday, August 3, 2012

home again

Just wanted to leave a quick post letting yall know that I made it through surgery just fine and am home again in one piece. I so much appreciated the sweet comments, texts, Instagram & FB messages, emails, Tweets, calls, singing telegrams, and messages-in-bottles yall inundated me with (pop quiz! two of the previously listed things actually did not happen...any guesses?), and since the pain is temporarily fairly well-controlled (well, maybe it won't be temporary? I can be optimistic...), I wanted to give a decent update. And some super attractive pictures.

Try not to be jealous of my stylin' compression leg warmers (reason you wear them: they velcro these leg massager thingies around your legs during surgery, since your legs are up in stirrups the whole time, presumably to keep the blood pumping and your legs from falling asleep. Too bad I was asleep and didn't get to enjoy the massage) and non-skid socks that look like fish skeletons (reason you wear them: because it's FREEZING in the operating room and frostbite would really complicate things). Yes, I got to bring them home, yes, I'm still wearing them, no, you may not borrow them. So sorry.

 I also got a super sweet hairnet and an IV in my hand. Matt called me "The Painter" the whole time I had on this thing, and kept requesting I paint him murals. That kid...

 Prior to surgery, Dr. S predicted that surgery would take an hour to 1.5 hours. The anesthesiologist said that "coming out" of the anesthesia would take 5 to 15 minutes. Surgery actually lasted 2 hours. Waking up from anesthesia took me 45 minutes (to become semi-conscious. Probably another hour before I could move my body or open my eyes or talk on command. Weirdest feeling ever...). I guess you could say I'm an overachiever? Or I like to get my money's worth?

As far as surgery went, the good/expected things were: got the giant cyst off my left ovary (comment from Dr. S: "whoa, that guy was a BEAST!"); did not find ANY fibroids or polyps during the hysteroscopy/D&C. Found that my cervix is super tiny and tight (not new news: this was why our second IUI had to be converted to an ICI, and I've been repeatedly told about my 'stubborn' cervix), but now Dr. S suspects that this could be one of the causes of my endo (due to increased retrograde menstruation). Maybe I'll go into this more later, but that was good news because he can and did 'widen' the cervix some, so he is hopeful that it may delay the re-growth of endo.

Less good/unexpected things: A new (since my ultrasound last month, I guess) (but small) endometrioma on my right ovary (quote from Dr. S: "Yeah, I was not impressed...that guy was tiny, you certainly coulda done better..."), and a fair smattering of adhesions throughout my pelvic cavity. The adhesions are totally a bummer (basically that's scar tissue growing and fusing together organs in my pelvic cavity that uh...aren't supposed to be fused together) and definitely a sign of more advanced endo. He removed them all, but...yeah, bummer. But you know Dr. S-- he certainly wasn't bummed. He apparently had a fantastic afternoon discovering all these fun things and totally whipping my insides into shape. He is so funny to me!! Slash I wonder how much coffee he drinks...(related note: there are Keurigs in every single waiting room/area at the practice and the surgery center!! So nice!!), did I actually say that this was going to be a 'quick' update? Hahaha. Hilarious. Blame it on the meds!

I would have to say that the best miracle of the day (besides not dying, obviously) was that despite leaving at 4:00 on Friday afternoon, it took only an HOUR AND A HALF to get home!!!! That's from Johnson Ferry Rd in ATL all the way back to almost-Athens, yall...during rush hour(s)?? Totally a miracle. And I was still basically unconscious from the anesthesia, so I wasn't even totally miserable. That was a HUGE blessing.

Anyway. So now I'm trying to stay ahead of the pain by adhering to a disciplined regimen of pills, and easing my way back into food with the BRAT diet (which I would like to refer to as Boring, would Rather have A Taco). But since a banana and rice were a vast improvement over mag citrate, I'm pretty satisfied, actually. Currently my abdominal pain isn't too terrible (unless I'm moving or trying to sit up) and the CO2 is apparently hanging out in an optimal location, because my shoulder pain is minimal. Hence the reason I've felt well enough to type a novel of a blog AND text people. Woohoo! I have high hopes of sleeping through the night tonight, and tomorrow morning my parents will be showing up with arms laden with food for our freezer and hearts full of parent-ly love and 'fuss over your poor broken daughter'-ness...which I am all about. We are so thankful for all four of our parents' love and help and care for us!! Sometimes being a grown-up is awesome, but...sometimes it's not so bad to have other people taking care of you, too.

Well, I'm losing focus now, so I'll go back to watching the 282038th swimming event...I mean, I am seriously bored with swimming now. Is there NO OTHER sport worth televising? I appreciated (and cried through, which hurt my tummy) the special on the Magnificent Seven tonight...perhaps next they could do a special on the Russian Gymnasts' Eye Makeup? It is simultaneously ridiculous and inspirational. Just like me. Hahaha. G'night and thanks again for the love!

Thursday, August 2, 2012



If you recall-- today is the highly-anticipated day before surgery, featuring a clear liquid diet and bowel prep!!!! 

It has been an interesting and enlightening afternoon to say the least. I would go into more details, but I fear I would alienate everyone, well, probably everyone. And that would be super sad. So instead, I will direct you to this awesome and information-packed guide called "How to Survive a Bowel Preparation" from the folks at Please read it and enjoy snorting with laughter as you visualize preparing yourself a "nest" stationed near the bathroom.

To be honest, it really hasn't been unbearable yet...except for hearing Matt laugh and make fun of me outside the bathroom. RUDE. I'm not even super starving...probably because I've consumed approximately a lake's worth of liquids today. And the magnesium citrate-- while not tasty by any means, wasn't horrible. I'm not a big fan of carbonated drinks in general, so I didn't care for the fizziness, especially since I had to CHUG it...but it wasn't nearly as nasty as the 'CAT scan smoothie', so I can't complain too much. At any rate-- so far, so good.

Other than that, I've just been finalizing home preparations for recovery. This included, naturally, rearranging all of the living room furniture last night so that the preferred couch could be more optimally positioned for TV viewing and electricity-accessing. Which meant we also had to reposition the other couch, the rug, the coffee table and end table...yeah. It will be worth it, though, to not have a huge crick in my neck from craning to see the TV. Now I'm just watching the Olympics, guzzling Powerade, and freaking Matt out by blurting out things like "WHAT IF I DIE DURING SURGERY!??!?!??!!" (answer: "I will be mad at you," delivered with a disgusted look.)

Speaking of dying: I forgot to tell yall this story yesterday. During pre-op, when Dr. S (remember: a funny, SUPER ENTHUSIASTIC man if ever there were one!) was telling me all about the bowel prep and liquid diet, I commented that "I am probably going to die of starvation and never make it here for surgery, anyway" (because I am not melodramatic at all). His reply, delivered totally deadpan: "Yeah, that's what I'm counting on...I kinda overbooked the surgery schedule on Friday, so I'm hoping at least a few people don't survive the liquid fast and free up my day a little..." That made me laugh. I never would have pictured a RE being such a comedian, but apparently I lucked out with this one!

And with that, I'm done. And by "I'm done," I mean that nature's calling and I must go answer...again. WOOHOO BOWEL PREP!

(PS. I promise to never, ever talk this much about bowels on this blog again in the future. Please don't un-follow me and send me anonymous hate mail. This is a one-time thing.)