Monday, May 21, 2012

Surgery

The operation was successful as far as we know. The details are still foggy - I kept asking Ben over and over to tell me how it went, but I couldn't keep his answers from falling out of my brain the moment after he told me. But, from what I remember, the doctor removed several polyps (one large and several small) from my uterus, and two spots of endometriosis from my abdomen (yet another diagnosis). The endometriosis will probably come back in a few years, but he's not sure about the polyps. We'll find out more later this week at my follow-up. The recovery was rougher than expected - let's just say I will never take a functioning digestive system for granted ever again - but I'm feeling better now. Just a little woozy, and still tired. I'm looking forward to eating, excreting, and walking normally in the near future!

Goodness, I just can't wait to feel "normal," but I don't know if I can even remember what that's like anymore. It feels like we've been in the middle of one crisis after another over the last few years - multiple moves, miscarriages, unemployment, infertility treatments, taking on new jobs - I feel like I'm always in "recovery mode," just putting one foot in front of the other. I guess that's life. Just put one foot in front of the other. Then you realize you've been looking at your feet too long, and you look up just in time to catch a beautiful sunset or see a friend passing nearby. Right now, I'm looking for a bench. I need a rest. :)

Friday, May 11, 2012

A New Diagnosis

"Habitual Spontaneous Abortion."

These disgusting words are the official new diagnosis from our doctor. Ugh, I'd rather call it "recurrent miscarriage," but either way, it's enough to make any woman despise her body. Basically, it means I'm not able to sustain a pregnancy - I'm prone to spontaneously abort (miscarry) a growing embryo or fetus. The reason could be anatomical, hormonal, genetic, auto-immune, even a blood-clotting factor, or a combination of chromosomal factors involving the mother and father. In short, there's an exponential number of reasons a woman's body may reject her offspring, and it's difficult to tell the difference between a "natural" miscarriage (quite the oxymoron) and one caused by treatable factors. Typically, a woman will lose three or more babies before she's diagnosed with "habitual spontaneous abortion." 
 
But in our case, the evidence from our two miscarriages indicated they were both caused by treatable factors. In other words, there wasn't something wrong with our babies, there was something wrong with me. I really think our doctor was inspired - If he hadn't made this diagnosis, as heartbreaking as it, we probably would've tried for another year or more like we did after our first miscarriage, not knowing we were doomed to lose our third.
So, we were given a list of about a dozen different tests - all very expensive, of course - and we finally decided to start with the least expensive but most inconvenient procedure, where the uterus is blown up with saline like a water balloon and searched with a probe. If it sounds uncomfortable, please let me assure you, it was. In fact, I think it might have been the worst physical pain I can remember, but it's hard to say because it only lasted a few minutes, and the procedure ended up being more than worth the pain and expense. 


Our doctor discovered a large, abnormal growth protruding into my uterus. It's called a polyp, and it's kind of like a tumor. But, it's not...Allow me to quote from Kindergarten Cop in my best Schwarzenegger impression, "It's not a tu-mah." Ben was with me when we saw it on the ultrasound screen, and it's quite evil-looking. Ben said that it reminded him of these creatures from The Little Mermaid:


It makes you shutter, doesn't it?...Just remembering how freaked out you were by these things when you were a kid? Well, I'd much rather have been smiling and looking at a cute button nose and round little rump on the screen, instead of grunting in pain and looking at the hideous thing that took those moments away from me...a great Mother's Day present, huh? It makes me feel like a freak of nature, like there's an alien that's been gestating inside of me for who knows how many years. I hate it...I can't wait to get it out of me.

So, I'm having surgery next week. I wish I could say that this will fix everything. Our doctor said there could be other unknown factors, and like I've mentioned before, I've got a hormone imbalance that makes my ovaries look like swiss cheese (diagnosis: polycystic ovarian disease), and an x-ray recently revealed that the base of my spine sags like the Leaning Tower of Pisa (diagnosis: "spinal degeneration"), which is contributing to my infertility. I feel like a train wreck sometimes, not to mention an emotional basket case, although Ben assures me that I'm neither (I'm "perfect"...pffft).
 
a poly-cystic ovary (mine don't look quite this bad, but they're close)

 the approximate angle of my spine
 
Still, overcoming "habitual spontaneous abortion" is half the battle, and I hope this surgery gives us an easy victory (well, if you call going under the knife "easy"). In any case, it's a miracle that we found this now - on the very first test, and only a few months after losing Baby #2 - instead of after another year of trying and losing another baby and dozens of test later, because that's how it probably would've worked out without divine intervention. I'm so glad our doctor didn't wait...Next time you pray, please thank God for good doctors!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Diamond Rio

Also, just for the record, the Diamond Rio concert was INCREDIBLE. It was way better than I imagined it would be...So many great songs! I wish I could've recorded the whole thing and posted it here for you to enjoy. It's no wonder that Diamond Rio will go down in history along with bands like Alabama and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. They are truly talented artists.

Source: Diamond Rio Facebook Fan Page
Ben and me at the concert
People dancing
The band
I think the best part of their concert was their bluegrass ballad rendition of "Carry on Wayward Son" by Kansas (Now you'll have it in your head all day, huh?...Carry on my wayward suh-uh-un, there'll be peace when you are duh-un, lay your weary head to reh-eh-est...don'tchoo cry no moooore...!), and after that it's a tie between "Unbelievable" (the music video for "Unbelievable" is not quite appropriate for this blog...I love that song, though!) and "Meet in the Middle." I think "Meet in the Middle" wins out, just because of this music video. Don't you wish you could've been there for that performance?!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Just for the record...

Source: Pinterest
I've been having a little too much fun with this blog lately, and so just to set the record straight once and for all:

(1) I'm not having a baby, but I did have a {special announcement} for my job.

(2) Ben didn't graduate, at least not yet...he {finished his last year of classwork} in pharmacy school...one more year until graduation.

(3) I didn't dye my hair black, but it is starting to {grow in black} on its own. 

My last few posts caused some unintentional excitement and confusion, and so I just wanted to reassure everyone that we are just as boring, busy, and barren as we normally are. We can all relax and have a laugh now. Anyway, thanks for all of your love and support, as always! We love you all.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Black as Ebony

Here's some news I haven't shared yet: my hair has been starting to grow in black over the past couple of years. Yes, you read that right: BLACK. And THICK. And WIRY. Considering the fact that my hair has always been a natural honey-auburn shade with a fine texture, I think this proves that my hormones have been playing a nasty practical joke on me, which involves me transforming into some kind of crazed, hairy, hormonal beast.

Then again, I've had several months to come to terms with this new development (as it's been gradual - a few strands here, a few more strands there), and I've come to hope that this transformation might actually be flattering. In fact, it's kind of exciting to think about having a new natural shade, as I've always thought of dark hair as an absolutely stunning feature, but not necessarily on myself, with my red-headed complexion.

Either way - attractive or not - going dark is going to be a big change for me, especially since I've never made any drastic color changes to my hair. I've always stuck with my natural shade, and I've colored my hair maybe three times total in my entire life, and even then it was just to even out the color when my natural summer highlights started growing out.

This new development's also given me the opportunity to re-think my future hair color, just in case I don't like the way I look with dark hair. Like I said, it's going to be a big color change for me anyway. Thanks to {Clairol's Virtual Makeover}, I can preview the possibilities. What do you think about me going ebony? ...chestnut? ...sandy blonde? ...platinum? (Just kidding about that last one.) By the way, the middle image is my natural auburn shade.


So, friends...any suggestions?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Amazed

"Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are - chaff and grain together - certain that a faithful  hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away."  - FROM "FRIENDSHIP" BY DINAH CRAIK 

Almost four years ago I married my very best friend, and every day I'm more amazed by how real his love is. To be honest, I didn't know love like this could even exist - I just thought I was supposed to find someone I had a good time with and we would live a happy life together. And I'm sure I would've been happy, had that been the case. But this is more than happily ever after...This is an amazing transformation into a person I never thought I could be, and it's because of love - real, true love. No other person can take all of the awkward, troubled parts of me and make it into something glowing and lovely the way that Ben can. He's that faithful hand that sifts out the sorriness and paints the silver lining on the clouds.

Well, with all of this trying to be poetic and such, I wanted to give a fitting tribute to the man who's worked SO HARD over the past three years...Studying late night after night after night, and driving an hour-and-a-half back and forth from class day after day after day, always beat, but always glad to listen to my cares and buoy me up when everything had gone all wrong. He's been the most faithful friend and hard-working provider-to-be that any wife could ever ask for.

And today he finished his VERY LAST final exam for pharmacy school! This is a big, BIG milestone. Of course, he's still got a year of pharmacy rotations before he can don the funny-looking doctor's cap and robe to accept his degree, plus an intense board exam before he can become a legally licensed drug dealer, and then he'll be finding a job who knows where and we'll probably be moving again (we're going 5 for 5!), but NOW is the time to celebrate all of the years of hard work he's put in to get to where he is now (5 years as a chemistry major + 3 years in pharmacy school = 8 years of never-ending studying, brain-draining exams, and zombie-like sleep deprivation).

You know, when you're climbing a mountain, you're facing up toward the peak and so you can always see how far you've got to go, but you've got to stop every once in a while and take a look behind you to see how far you've come already. If you've ever experienced this first-hand (climbing a mountain in reality, that is), you know how surprising and exhilarating it can be to look down and see how far below you started your climb. That's how we feel in this moment, and it feels GREAT!

So, congratulations to my wonderful husband and very best friend, Ben...You amaze me!