Thursday, June 11, 2015

Weekend Recap

This weekend was busy but so much fun. It is spring time which means all weekends are about to be busy but when things slow down I won't know what to do with myself!

Saturday morning started out with me attending a baby shower for one of my beautiful friends. My boys went for breakfast then went fishing. I had to leave the baby shower early so we could head to OKC for some family time. Before we left though I ran to the mall to get my sunglasses fixed. The screw fell out months ago and I kept forgetting to go have them fixed. Now I can alternate between my workout sunglasses and my "fashion" sunglasses! Yay! While at the mall I also stopped by my favorite little boutique. They have so much cute spring stuff in right now! I have my eye on this beautiful lilac dress to wear to a wedding in May. I'll share as soon as I get it. :) After a kid free morning for me and a fun father son morning for my boys we threw some clothes in a bag and jumped in the car to head to OKC. When I say threw some clothes in a bag I'm not kidding that's exactly what I did. I had to take one cute outfit but other than that we just needed clothes to lounge in.

Once in OKC we went to my parents house. It was a nice day so we just hung out on the patio and watched Blake play in the back yard. Eventually family and friends gathered to dye easter eggs. My dad grilled hotdogs, hot links, and chicken sausages for everyone. I don't think I even finished eating before the kids were ready to dye easter eggs. Blake was very anxious and excited to get the colors mixed and dye his eggs. It was my nieces first time to dye eggs and I think she enjoyed herself. Her blue hand proved it! After dying eggs Blake ran around shooting people with his water gun he got in his easter basket. It was not warm enough for water play but he and Xander (family friend) had a great time squirting everyone.

I tried to take pictures but I was a little scared to get to close to the table with my nice clothes on. Here are a few that I did snap on my phone.

Sunday we started the morning off with a pancake breakfast, Blake's favorite! Mom and I had a wedding shower to attend in the afternoon and the boys (Andrew, my dad, Blake) went to Norman. Blake has been talking about going to OU for a few days now to see where Daddy went to school. Andrew said he (Blake) loved that everything had OU on it. He even wanted his picture by a trashcan. Ha! Mom and I ended up parting ways before the shower so she could go pick up the grandmothers and so I could go with my Aunt Stacey to help set up the shower.

The wedding shower was for my cousin Jarrett and his future wife Jenn, lets just call her my cousin too! She is the cutest sweetest girl and they are so perfect together! Her mom threw her the perfect wedding shower. The games were fun, the food was fantastic, the company was top notch and the venue was perfect. (I'm just going to throw this out there if you need a venue in OKC look up Dunlap Codding. It is a law firm but they rent their space out for really cheap. It has a full kitchen, large room and opens up to a cute little patio.) Anyway we had a great time at the shower and I wish I could share pictures with you but unfortunately I lost them all when I switched to a new to me phone this morning. Serious palm to the forehead moment. I managed to get one picture on my Instagram before I lost them all. If you follow me there then you saw the beautiful bride to be! If you don't follow me there first, you should, second you can see the picture here.

After the shower we had dinner with my parents and grandparents on both sides as well as my brother and niece. We stopped by Andrew's moms house to visit with her quickly before heading back home. We finally made it home last night at 11pm.

Whew what a busy but fun weekend. This weekend was just what I needed though. I sort of disconnected from the social media world and my phone in general. I was able to spend enough time away from Blake that when he did crazy things today I was able to smile at his cuteness instead of becoming annoyed. This weekend cured my momma burn out! As Andrew said earlier, good because you are about to be in close quarters with him for a long time! So excited for our up coming family adventure!

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Infertility- When this Really Journey Started

Proof that I can't resist the yummy sweets lately.

As I sit here in the car letting my precious boy sleep I can't help but think about what today marks for me on this journey of infertility. Two years ago today I stopped taking my birth control so we could start trying to have another baby. I'll never forget the day because it is also my brothers wedding day. I honestly didn't stop taking it until that date for two very selfish reasons. Here they are 1. I didn't want to be fat, even if it was pregnant not actually fat, in any of the pictures and 2. I wanted to be able to drink. Looking back now those reasons are the stupidest reasons ever! I mean seriously am I that vain? I guess sometimes I can be. 

Now though, now, I can't believe it was two years ago that we were unknowingly starting this difficult journey. I thought we would have a baby in about a year and our family would be complete. While it is sad, painful and so many other things, a flood of emotions really I am also happy and optimistic about what the future holds for our family. It has taken me a while to get to this point but I'm here!

I have 60 days left on Lupron. I am so close to completing my 6 months of treatment. That's something to jump up and down and celebrate about! You know what I just might do that, jump up and down to celebrate because it will take my mind off how tough this journey really has been.

I feel like I need a plan for the next 60 days and you know what? I've got one. I've got a summer schedule for Blake and I. I've got a trip planned hopefully planning another one too. Most importantly I've got my mind in the right place. It's easy to sit around and cry and be sad but that's not going to work for me. I mean I wouldn't mind doing that today since I feel a little sappy but I cried a little while writing this and that is enough. I let the tears fall when necessary but my mind is not set on the negative. My mind is set on the positive. I'm trying to keep my focus on right now and take it day by day. I've set a workout schedule for myself and a meal plan focus. (If I could just stay away from all the sweets. Ugh) I'm working on me and getting back to where I feel comfortable in my skin. My goal here = toned and tightened!  I'm also working on something special for The Swin Life. I can't wait to share it. (Insert school girl excitement here!) I'm filling my plate but being very careful not to overload it. I think I've got the perfect amount to keep me busy and let my mind wander to the future a little but also keep me centered here and now. 

Before I leave I'll just share a few of the mind wandering thoughts I have. After all it is easier to accept them and not completely ignore them. Are you ready for this...How long is it going to take us to get pregnant? Are we going to be able to get pregnant? Miscarriage probability? What's life going to be like with a 5ish year old and a baby? How do I keep from relying on Blake as a major helper and allow him to continue to be a kid? Is the pre mentioned even going to be an issue? Will we have a boy or girl? Is trying going to take us back to the vicious cycle we were in before we found out about the endometriosis? Can I even handle being a mom of two? Am I crazy for even going through this process? (The answer to that is NO. We have a how far is too far and how much is too much. We aren't there!) {I asked if you were ready for it and I bet you weren't unless you've been in this situation.} Then I keep telling myself one step at a time. Be patient, be positive, be encouraging and stop rushing this! I know my body needs time and time is what I will continue to give it.

Ahh so what I'm super excited about is the new blog and new look coming for The Swin Life! You guys I'm telling you it's so perfectly me! My apologies for being so absent over the last month or more. May really took me for a ride and I didn't enjoy it at all. I'm ready for June though! It will be better.

Sending you all some positivity and courage!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Road Trip Thoughts

I've learned a few very random vacation related things over the last 12 hours. I decided to note them as we enjoy our family vacation to share with you later. ;) 

It is later and here are my random road trip/vacation thoughts from during and after our trip. Enjoy!

1. Excitement will keep Blake going strong for hours but when he's done he's done! He asked where the hotel was at 11pm and passed out seconds later. 

2. Always spend the money to stay in a better hotel especially if it's just for the night. 

3. Cooper is pretty good at traveling long distances but makes sure every person who walks by the hotel room knows he's here. 

4. The wind just might flip the car over. That or lift it right off the ground while driving. (My thought as we were driving through the back end of a storm Wednesday night.)

5. My nose is super sensitive all the time. Just another reason to always spring for the nicer hotel. 

6. Vacations are fun but having a completely clean house makes being away so much more enjoyable. 

7. I should have brought my body pillow not just Andrews. 

8. I packed way to much stuff. I might need an intervention when it comes to packing. 

9. No amount of sleep or lack of sleep will keep Blake from being loud! Repeat after me BOYS ARE LOUD! If yours isn't just wait he will be!

10. It is possible to fit 3 large dogs, one small dog, five adults and a child into a 600 sq ft condo! Even if people are getting take out by two of the crazy large dogs. :)

11. If you are a member at a museum like the Oklahoma nature and science museum you get into the Denver nature and science museum for free! Make sure you check those type of things out when you are on a trip! 

12. I packed entirely too many clothes. Oh wait I already said that, clearly I have a problem

13. People who don't have kids just really don't get it. It = what having a kid really involves. Doesn't make them any less or anything they just don't get it. Just like I don't really get what its like to have more than one child.

14. Blake is adored by his aunts and uncles! I love watching them with him. Makes me proud to call them my siblings and makes making time for Blake to be with them even more important.

15. Vacations are for going non-stop. I like to do as much as possible and sit around as little as possible on vacation. It is exhausting but makes the trip so worth it!

16. Saying goodbye is hard especially when Blake cries but it was really just see you later because we will see them in either a month or 5 months! :) (It's funny for some reason, just laugh with me!)

17. Unpacking as soon as we get home is SO much better than waiting for weeks like I normally do. No more of that crazy business!

18. I love listening to Blake retell his story of our vacation. It is so sweet to hear his excitment when he talks about all the things we did.

19. Helmets during bike rides are a must! Blake wrecked pretty bad and his head was saved by his helmet, so if you aren't making your child wear one I think you should.

20. There is no place like home. (Even if your husband has to fly out for work less than 24 hours after getting home from vacation.) 

Okay twenty is enough! We had a blast in Denver and as soon as I get the remainder of the pictures loaded I'll share our entire trip!

One more!
21. I love running around the lake by my brothers house. The view is absolutely breath taking. I haven't gotten the chance to run a lot of different places but this is at the top of my list!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Day

Blake calls Easter Sunday Easter Day. It was so cute to hear him say "happy Easter Day" all day long yesterday. 

We spent our Easter in Denver with Andrews brother (Chris), his fiancĂ© (Charlotte) and Andrews sister (Sarah). I started my day with a nice 3 mile run around Sloans lake. 

Then we started our family fun day with brunch at Punch Bowl Social which is where Sarah works. They had a really awesome Bloody Mary bar. I knocked down the entire bucket of celery before I even made my drink! It wasn't my fault though because it was off balance to begin with. Anyway that was my 'seriously did that just happen' moment of the day. The bloody Mary's were good, especially the green tomatillo one! Our food was really good too. Andrew and I both had the hipster has which was kale, mushroom and onion topped with two poached eggs and goat cheese, yummy! Blake had a waffle with chocolate chips and a peanut butter whip. I think everyone loved his meal the best. I mean you can't beat a chocolate chip waffle. 

After brunch we played games at punch bowl. If you are ever in a city that has one go to it! It is the coolest place. We played pac-man, ping pong, other video games and even bowled. It was a morning full of fun and laughs. Watching Blake try to play ping pong was funny! I was a littl scared to stand too close to him because he was wild with the paddle. Andrew, Charlotte, Chris and I played ping pong that was a cross between ping pong and tennis. We got a little wild and laughed until we cried. Fun! Blake and Sarah played games and took a tour of the building while we played ping pong. He was curious about where his Rahrah worked. We also bowled, well Blake and Andrew bowled, mostly Blake. How much fun is a place you can go to and entertain your group of people that range in age from 3 to 38! 
Sarah,me,Andrew, Blake, Charlotte, Chris

Blake got to hunt Easter eggs and yettis at the same time. He was/is obsessed with hunting yettis so we took him to Great Divide. Really it was a win for all of us because Blake got to hunt for yettis and we got to drink beer! We really did hide his Easter eggs all around the room at the brewery and let him hunt for them. He was entertained and loved every minute of the 5 times we hid eggs for him. He also found every yetti in the building and outside the building. 

After hunting yettis we went to crooked stave to sample some sour beers. We sampled every beer they had on tap there. The raspberry one they just released was my favorite. 

We ended our day with a trip to the park and a family style Italian dinner at a place called Lala's. The dinner was bruschetta, Cesar salad, pizza and spaghetti. So much food! We also ordered fried Brussels sprouts and holy crap they were delish! 

The real end to our night was packing up all of our stuff. We completely destroyed Chris' house while we were there for 4 days. Now we are on the road someone in the middle of nowhere Kansas. The good thing is when we get home I only have to worry about unpacking and laundry because I cleaned our house super clean mode before we left! 

I hope you are all having a fantastic Monday. Thanks for stopping by to read about our Easter Day! 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Funk or A Rut

Lately I have been in a funk or a rut, whatever you want to call it. I've been struggling. I haven't been able to sit down and write anything that is nice or even readable. I am barely accomplishing the things I need to as a mom and wife on a daily basis. I feel like a cloud is hovering over me. I've been cranky, in a bad mood, lacking patience and not wanting to be around anyone. I've tried to snap myself out of it but have been unsuccessful until recently. The cranky club was trying to recruit me but I don't want to be a party of that club! 

I mean seriously how true is this. 
Things are complicated 
BUT I'm doing fine!

During my weeks of a super bad mood I came across this article titled "10 Questions to Ask Yourself When You Feel Like Crap" I mean that was it I felt like crap. I read the article and suddenly something clicked. I had an ah ha moment. The statements that gave me that moment were #6 and #7 on the list. They said how can I be of service to this person, situation or circumstance and myself so that we feel buoyed, rather than weighed down and how can I create something meaningful for me and/or others out of this experience. I'm telling you it was like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. All of a sudden I could see the light on this situation. 

Mood swings are one of the side effects of lupron so why was I feeling so bad about being in such a bad mood. It sucks to be in a bad mood or feel gloomy. I have never had to work so hard to be in a good mood. The mood swings I was (still am) having were so severe I had no idea what to do. I was snapping, being brutally honest (normally I try to stick to just honest), and avoiding people. Those things were not me. I mean I strive to be honest and want people to be that way with me in return but I am not mean. I truly felt like I was being mean. Not cool, not cool at all. I was trying to avoid people even by phone so that I wasn't being mean. I felt like crap, there is no other way to put it. After reading the article I mentioned above I realized that I needed to share how I have been feeling and take my vitamins daily. I have been sharing my experience since being diagnosed with endometriosis so that other women going through the same thing know they are not alone. I am not sure why I was so hesitant about sharing about my moods. 

Now I am back to taking my vitamins daily, sometimes every other day but I'm taking them. They are helping but I also have to work on my mind set. I have to keep the negative thoughts out and focus on the positive. I can't let the worry keep me down. That is hard but I know I can do it. I have done really well in the past so now should be no different! 

Here are my worries 
1) Is the Lupron actually working? 
2) Is 6 months on it going to be enough? 
3) How long is it going to take us to get pregnant when this is over? 
4) Am I ready for a second baby or should I just go back to work? 

I'm trying not to worry about these things but the last few weeks I can't seem to keep the worry away. It wears a girl down. I keep telling myself that symptoms mean the lupron is working. My hot flashes, night sweats, foggy brain, other things I'll spare my male readers from hearing, and mood swings tell me it is working. I just feel like I need proof at this point. Next week marks the halfway point and I'm getting anxious. I want some news or an updated report on my body but its not time for that yet. I know that I will get an update as soon as it is time. I will have a full physical exam when I am finished with the lupron or right before. I just need to be patient! Then there's the whole how long is it going to take us to get pregnant question. I know that we will be able to start trying and possibly conceive as quick as 6 weeks after my last shot. I hope that it happens as quickly as possible! Thinking about it constantly doesn't help anything. (When I do finally get pregnant I won't be telling anyone for quite a while anyway. Even though I know it will be hard to keep a secret.) I just can't get it out of my head recently and that could be because I have baby fever worse than I have since we starting trying to get pregnant almost two years ago!

A huge thank you to the people who have reached out to me lately. It was like you knew I needed to hear from you and I can't think of the sweet messages you have sent without tears joy in my eyes. Thank you for unknowingly helping me get over this funk! It means SO much to me.

Cheers to better moods and knowing that I am stronger today than I was yesterday!

***Edit-- As I was going to bed last night it hit me. It's scary to admit that I'm having trouble controlling my emotions. That's why it took me so long to share about my mood swings. I hate feeling like I am loosing control of my own body. Just trying reign in my emotions. Not letting fear hold me back. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

New Fun: Crayola Color Alive

Yesterday we went to Target. Surprise surprise! Anyway I bought Blake this coloring book. He asked me for it the other day at staples but it was much cheaper at Target! At first I wasn't impressed by it because it's just another coloring book. Oh but when we got home was I in for a big surprise! 

It is called Color Alive by Crayola. There are 4 different styles you can purchase; mythical creatures, skylanders, barbie, and enchanted garden. We got the mythical creatures one. It is dragons which Blake loves right now. Here is what it looks like. 

I was skeptical because Blake is 3 and colors like a 3 year old. Is it even going to work with crazy coloring style? Well it does! I actually think his looks so much neater than the dragon I colored nicely. 

Here's how it works. You download the color alive app. Color the picture of your choice. Open the app (it's the slowest app on my phone). Select play and scan your image. It comes alive right on the phone/tablet screen; I call this the show. Blake played with it for a half hour last night and I played with it for nearly as long today. You can take pictures of the image while it is in 4D (or whatever) mode. 

Blake's dragon. I love how it looks swirled when it is putting on it's show! 3 year old coloring skill compatable yay for not being a waste of money. 

Here is my dragon during it's show. 

All of the pictures have other things going on when you color them but not during the dragons show. For instance my picture has a knight in it which isn't pictured during the show. Each dragon does something different. The one I colored picks at it's feathers. 

The app itself is fairly easy to use but is EXTREMELY slow. I have to help Blake set it up so that the dragon can put on a show. I think that after he plays with it for a while he will be able to do it on his own. Older kids will most likely be able to do it on their own faster. Once I help him get the show started he can play with it as long as he stays with the phone close to the image. As soon as he pulls it away the show is over. Soon he will figure out how to restart it by himself. 

I bought this in a weak moment. Blake had been crying that he wanted someone to play with. I felt sorry for him because he doesn't have a sibling to play with and it's not always easy for someone to come over or for us to go to someone. Sometimes I think if we would have started trying for another baby sooner he would already have his forever friend (sibling). I don't let that get me all the time but yesterday it did. Today is a new day and I'm not feeling bad that he doesn't have a sibling yet. He will someday! :) 

Anyway if you are looking for something different to do this color alive thing is pretty fun! 

*This post is not sponsored by Crayola or anyone else. I'm just a mom sharing something new we found and like.* 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

I'm still here

A random selection of pictures from my phone! I'm ready for warmer days, someone else to fix my hair, more time with friends and thankful that I'm not as sick as I was just a few months ago. I know I have probably shared most of these pictures before but I like them, most of them. I'm feeling exhausted and like I forget things all the time thank you menopause! I am going to beat this and the pure exhaustion I'm feeling will pass. Right now though, I'm just trying to get through the days without having a major meltdown or blowup! Hopefully when I get my shot tomorrow some of that will get better. Deep breaths, more water to drink, and easy low stress activities to entertain my wild 3 year old boy!

The last time I had my hair done. I'm in need again BIG time.

Friends and cookies!

Friends at the park!

That one time I made Andrew take me to urgent care and I had to have a bag of fluids because I was so dehydrated. Turns out I was seriously sick and didn't know. This was back in December, seriously thankful that nasty stuff is gone.

Friends at the aquarium.

These two goofy kids. Love them both!

I promise for something more entertaining and fun next time. ;) For now Blake and I are going to craft with chalk on paper since its a blizzard out there. Stay warm and safe friends!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Update- weekend and now

I've been feeling a little frustrated the last few days. Today though I feel so much better. It hasn't exactly been peaceful around our house the last few weeks and I have been feeling the stress of it. It's life though and life isn't always easy. (That is a major understatement.)

Last night we put a new plan into place to deal with Blake's current stage that is kicking all of our tails. We have been using it a little here and there but now I made it so that we can stick to it constantly and really be more consistent with it. After all consistency is always best ALWAYS. We use the phrases 'make good choices' and 'is that a good choice' with Blake a lot. I made a chart that has the times when we are seeing him being the most difficult on it such as eating times and bed/bath time. I found pictures of him making good choices during those times and put them on the bottom. I named the chart Blake makes good choices. He earns a star when he makes good choices throughout the day and has consequences if he chooses not to. Explaining this to him and hanging it somewhere he can see it (on his playroom door) helps all of us. I know that today is going extra well because he got 12.5 hours of sleep last night and he hasn't had that much sleep in a month but I also know that he likes to earn his stars and not get his toys taken away! Here is what the behavior style chart that HAD to happen looks like.

I set a goal for myself this week to eat a good breakfast everyday. Yesterday I did good, today not so much. I actually didn't even eat breakfast but had a fat free white mocha from Rocketbrothers Coffee instead. I will do better tomorrow and I have done better with meal choices post coffee today. I'm not stressing out about missing today because I got a little extra sleep and a nice peaceful shower instead. Both of those were worth slipping up on my goal for today. I feel like if you are a mom you totally understand that! Next week my goal is going to be an eating goal as well. I can't wait to share it with you.

We had a fun weekend celebrating my dads 55th birthday and my brother Jason's 30th. I got to spend some time with my niece which I love. She likes me more and more every time we are there ;) I love watching her and Blake play together. He has so much love for her and it is the cutest most heart warming thing ever! Mom and I made a few headbands for Chloe and the neighbors new baby. Mom did most of the work but I did help some! I hope you enjoy these pictures from our weekend. 

Okay that was from yesterday but hey it was too cute not to share.

Also a Lupron update: I have headaches and hot flashes, neither are really bad. I'm calling the hot flashes baby hot flashes. It's hard to believe that I get shot #2 next week. I am hopeful that time continues to fly by.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Difficult Journey- Conception

Before you get into this post I have a disclaimer, it is an old post. It is something I wrote in the midst of this difficult journey when my hope wasn't very high. I was pissed, had a very bad attitude and wasn't feeling a single ounce of positivity. I was feeling completely defeated. I said that I wanted to share my feelings along this journey so here it is just one of many things I wrote. This particular post was written back in October 2014.

Andrew and I embarked on this journey 16 months ago. It was a journey that I was certain wouldn't take us long. The journey is still continuing or has possibly hit a standstill. It is the journey to conceive another precious little baby to add to our family.

In the beginning we were quiet about it not wanting to let people in on our secret. I felt like the more people who knew the harder it was going to be on us, the more pressure we would feel. The longer it took the harder it became not to talk about and the more questions people started asking the harder it became to accept them. I never in my life thought I would hate hearing the words "when's the next one coming, it's your turn next, Blake needs a little brother/sister, etc." If you said them to us don't feel bad because after all you didn't know! I kept telling myself that too; don't get upset with people they are curious and don't know what you don't share. By the way I'm NOW a firm believer that its none of anyone else's business what a family is doing when it comes to their personal adventures and decisions on family planning, it's flat out rude to question. If you do find yourself asking these questions remember, it's all in the way you say it. With that being said, it is nice to know that people care but sometimes it's just a lot to handle and not something we want to discuss with everyone. 

I am sharing our experience thus far for a different reason. I am sharing our experience because I wish people would be more accepting and understanding of the struggles of infertility and conception. I know that I wasn't. I mean I had no idea the true stress and emotional toll my friends went through to get the opportunity to have a baby. It wasn't hard for us the first time. I had no idea. I had no clue that a simple Facebook post in the from a couple announcing the arrival of their new baby could create such a feeling of self pity. I didn't know that I would come to hate all social media outlets. I was oblivious to the true struggle that people face when it comes to having a baby. I also realize now that although I am facing this struggle head on that there are people who can't have children and never will. I am thankful that we do have one child and yet still struggling to accept the idea that he will possibly be our only one. I don't think its fair to him because I know he will make a great big brother; I just hope that we are able to give him that opportunity.

The emotional roller coaster that this journey has been and still is almost leaves me speechless. I don't know what to say or where to start. I have gone from being hopeful one second to feeling completely defeated the next. It's really hard to stay positive and not worry about it all the time. The worry and stress take over somedays but for me it's the feeling of defeat that gets me. I feel like I can't win no matter what I do. I know its not a win or lose thing but not being able to obtain my goal feels like defeat. In my mind its that simple. The truth is it really isn't anywhere near that simple. I know that keeping a positive vibe and attitude make a world of difference but I struggle to do that 100% of the time. If I could I would feel like something was wrong with me emotionally. I don't believe in the whole when the time is right it will happen approach. I've said it to people because that is the easy answer but I don't believe it. What I do believe is that it is possibly going to take some medical intervention for us to be able to create another child and that is where we stand now.

Our insurance doesn't cover anything that has to do with infertility. (Side note: there are only 15 states in the United States that require their insurance providers to cover or offer coverage for infertility diagnosis or treatment. Guess what OKLAHOMA is NOT one of them. Go figure. Our state really needs to get its shit together.) Just to be clear we have no official diagnosis of infertility but getting diagnosed is so f-ing expensive we can't afford to do the testing. I'm talking thousands of dollars. One test for me alone is $1200 and there are others. A single test for Andrew ranges from $150-300 much less initially than for me but still expensive considering they would need to be done multiple times. Our current options are to just keep trying but after 16 months of being unsuccessful excuse me if I have little hope that it will just happen on our own. I will be more positive as this realization settles in but right now I'm just pissed. Infertility is a medical condition just like diabetes is a medical condition. Anyway, we are going to work on the insurance part of this to see what if anything can be done. We are looking and talking and searching. I am however not impressed with what I have found so far when searching out things on the Blue Cross Blue Shields of Oklahoma site. I am hoping that we do find something helpful soon though.

Until then we will just keep trying and riding this emotional roller coaster. There is no better time than now to enjoy our family of three, not to take for granted our time together. After all we do have a very precious family just the way it is now. (I saw a FB post today that read "the things we take for granted someone else is praying for. So true.) I will continue to focus on surrounding myself in the joy that Blake and Andrew bring to me daily and be thankful for what I do have. I send my love and hugs to all the other people out there that are struggling with anything in their lives now and in the future. Keep your head up and I will keep mine up!

*I know that I have shared bits and pieces of this journey with different people over time. My hope is now that I can continue to share when I am ready and not cause any hard feelings if I do or don't share. It is a difficult journey and I greatly appreciate all the people who have been by our sides throughout it so far as well as all the people that will be with us as we continue on our journey. Thank you for being so understanding and supportive.

Many of the statements in this post hold true still today; I have my bitter days just like everyone else. I am in a much better place with all of this now though. The key was finding the right doctor for me. Our insurance is even covering everything because after all it was a medical condition not specifically infertility. 

I hope you have a wonderful day and if you are fighting a battle keep on fighting! We've got this!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Endometriosis IS and IS NOT

I know I'm not a doctor or an expert on endometriosis but I just want to share some IS and IS NOTs with you about it. I just cringe inside when people say oh yeah I know all about endometriosis and don't. I'm not claiming that I know everything about it either by the way I just want to help people who are not familiar with this disorder have a better understanding of it. 

The best way to start is with a simple definition which I got directly from the Mayo clinic website
  Endometriosis (en-doe-me-tree-O-sis) is an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus (endometrial implant).  
and because I also have adenomyosis the definition from the mayo clinic website is
      Adenomyosis (ad-uh-no-my-O-sis) occurs when endometrial tissue, which normally lines the uterus, exists within and grows into the muscular wall of the uterus.
As simple as those definitions seem after reading them a million times personally, doing research and looking at pictures of both of these disorders I can finally wrap my head around it. Another way I explained it to someone recently was this "endometriosis is tissue growing on the outside of my uterus. When you cycle you shed your uterine lining and that happens to me too but at the same time I am also bleeding internally (the endometrial tissue thats already built up) and it is rebuilding on top of itself on the outside of my uterus. It just gets thicker with every cycle. It is tissue building on top of itself every month. " Not sure if that helps with an understanding of it better or not but for the particular person I was talking to it seemed to help her make more sense of it. So here are my endometriosis IS/DOES and endometriosis IS NOT/DOES NOT based on peoples misconceptions I've encountered so far. Most of these are things I've learned from my doctor directly others are things I've learned through research. 

Endometriosis IS NOT cancer.

Endometriosis DOES NOT mean that I can't have a baby.

Endometriosis DOES/CAN make it more difficult to get pregnant. It depends on the severity.

Endometriosis IS "dormant" when you are pregnant and is temporarily suppressed due to the change of hormones.

Endometriosis DOES come back after having a baby and in my case grew rapidly. 

Endometriosis DOES NOT discriminate. Women of all ages, shapes, sizes and demographics can develop endometriosis. Although menopause generally puts an end to it. 

Endometriosis IS manageable but there is no cure. The method in which it is treated depends on each person individually.

Endometriosis IS one of the leading causes of infertility in women.

Endometriosis IS NOT the same for everyone. Just as any other disorder it affects each person differently. Even though symptoms are the same and treatments are often the same everyone deals with it differently due to pain tolerance, severity, etc.

Endometriosis IS more likely to appear in women with a family history of endometriosis.

Endometriosis DOES NOT always show symptoms. Some women don't know they have it until they are having trouble conceiving.

Endometriosis DOES NOT mean that a hysterectomy is necessary, it is only a last resort if other treatments don't work. (PS I don't even want to discuss me having a hysterectomy with anyone because it is not in my consideration zone at this point. Baby first, long term later.)

Adenomyosis IS a little more tricky than Endometriosis.

Adenomyosis IS treatable but there is no cure. Surgery is not a treatment option if you want to have more children.

Women who have had a c-section or other uterine surgery ARE at a higher risk of developing adenomyosis especially if they have or have had endometriosis. 

That is all the "facts" that come to mind right now about these two disorders that I am currently battling. Please remember that I am not a medical professional so these are all things I have learned second or third hand. You can't hold me responsible for miss information! ;) You can share what you know or help clear up any other misconceptions about these disorders though. I'm all about learning new things especially when they pertain to something I'm battling!

My lupron update: tomorrow makes one week since I had my first injection. I am feeling really great right now. I have had a few headaches but they seem more like allergy headaches than anything and go away with tylenol or an allergy pill. I'm not even considering them lupron headaches! I have been feeling a little bloated the last two days which I'm hoping will go away in a few days when I get my diet back on point. If not I guess I will just wear clothes that don't draw attention to my bloat. Seriously though there are worse things in the world! I said to my neighbor this week that I have the internal body of an old woman but the external of a young one. Working on getting my insides back to functioning like a "young" woman again! 

Seriously though that's some major bloat post eating. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Endometriosis: Treatment- Lupron

If I said I wasn't nervous or worried about taking Lupron to treat my endometriosis and adenomyosis I would be lying. Truth is I have been thinking about it all week. I have read lots of different things on the internet (never the best idea) and I have learned from people their personal experience with it. I just wanted to know what to expect because I had no clue what was coming my way other than I was going to stop ovulating. (and of course why I was going to stop and the reason it was necessary) I had never even heard of Lupron until I shared my endometriosis story.

In my research both from the internet and talking to people I came to one major conclusion- I am going into menopause at the age of 30. It makes me smile to think of it actually and even laugh at this point. Today my doctor said, "it will put you in a state of menopause. Everything that goes off kilter will go back once the medication is stopped." I'm going to have to tell myself that every time a strange symptom AKA menopause symptom comes along. It will all go away when the treatment cycle is finished! I am still a little anxious to see what my symptoms will be, if any but feel confident that the list of Things you can do my doctor gave me will help keep them at bay. Since I go my first injection today I started on my list as soon as I left the office.

Here is the list I was given:
Exercise 20 minutes a day at a minimum *my favorite thing I was told today*
Take a multi vitamin daily
Take a calcium supplement with vitamin-D
Take vitimin B-6
Take fish oil
Take a fiber powder (helps bloating, gas and pain)
Drink more water
A special "cocktail" mixture for the headaches

It doesn't seem like that much when I look at the picture of the bottles except that I'm used to taking one pill a day! My weekly pill case will help with that.

She also gave me a few other tips and tricks that will help Andrew and I both deal with the changes my body will go through as my estrogen level is depleted. It was so calming to listen to her tell me about the number of patients she has taking Lupron and how few of them have a terrible time with it. I mean even with that calming feeling how can I not be anxious about this medication completely changing my skin, hair, attitude, etc. I am positive that this is going to work and that I can handle whatever craziness it throws my way but I'm still anxious. I am excited too. Not about the menopause :) but, that we are one day one step closer to being able to try to have another baby, to complete our family. Deep calming breaths and positive vibes are going on over here along with a small amount of anxiety. We can do this!

Another thing that is helping put my anxiety at ease is knowing that I can call the office for help anytime I think something crazy is happening. Oh and how closely they will monitor me while I am taking Lupron. I get an injection every four weeks. Each time I go in I will fill out a mood assessment, it is to make sure I'm not getting depressed and to monitor my mood swings. They are also sending me to have a bone density scan done. I go next week and that is just to make sure that I am not already compromised in the bone loss area since a menopausal state may lead to bone loss. Since my great grandmother has osteoporosis this is pretty important to me. They will also check my estrogen levels starting at the next injection to make sure it is doing its job. Knowing that my doctors are watching me closely and monitoring every detail of this treatment makes me feel so much better. I feel confident in their abilities, especially since they have been treating this as a team for as long as I've been alive! So, let's do this! 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Endometriosis: Post Op and Release

I'm not really sure how it is possible but I felt like it was longer than 2 weeks after my surgery that I was finally able to go in for my post op appointment. I guess technically it was a little more than 2 weeks but it was the quickest he wanted to see me after my surgery. I was going crazy waiting to hear the results of surgery from my doctor directly. Anyway I finally got released to do things like a normal person again. Yay!

First things first he said that the "bump" in my belly button would go away as the area continues to heal! Seriously one of the best things he told me the entire appointment. I know it sounds dumb but it looks so funny. He checked both of my inscision sites and they are both looking good and healing just like they should be. He said the bruising will go away soon and he wasn't the least bit surprised that it was still there. He actually said, "we removed a lot of tissue so that bruise looks pretty good" I assured him that it is a lot smaller now than it was last week! We went over the general questions, how are you feeling, are you having any pain, etc. I feel great actually so good that when people ask me how I'm doing or feeling I get a really confused look on my face because I don't feel like I had a pretty serious surgery at all.

Now down to the nitty gritty. 

The post op diagnosis 
1. pelvic endometriosis - stage 3
2. severe adenomyosis uteri
3. intracavitary uterine polyp

I knew that the official diagnosis and results were worse than I was hoping they would be but I had no idea how bad everything actually looked. My uterus was so enlarged that it was smashing my bladder. The picture of the polyp looked like tiny strange colored fingers growing inside my body. Eww (I really want to get colored copies of the pictures he took but was to overloaded with the next task things to ask for them.) My doctor was able to remove the endometriosis lesions that were on my uterus and lower abdominal area as well as any other lesion that were possible to remove with a laser. He was also able to easily remove the entire polyp from inside my uterus with no problems. He also removed some endometrial lesions from my fallopian tubes. The dye test they did showed that my tubes were "dumping" properly ie when I was ovulating my eggs were making to into my uterus. He also found prevalent adenomyosis which is when endometrial tissue grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. Adenomyosis is not removable with the laser like the endometriosis lesions are. Due to the severity of my adenomyosis and pretty much the fact that it is present at all, I will start Lupron injections. I was hoping to start them immediately but I have to wait until next week. He wants me to be around day 25-27 of my cycle before starting the injection. Waiting one more week is no big deal at all plus it gives me some more time to do more research about the medication. 

When I was questioning him about the lupron; how often do I have to get it, what are the side effects, what is it going to do exactly, am I going to ovulate, how soon will I start to ovulate again, will this get rid of the remaining endometriosis and the adenomyosis? He answered all my questions with confidence and a reassuring tone. He also made it very clear to me that this next step is really our only option for us to have another child on our own. Basically to me what he was saying is "get the shots and you will have another baby, don't get them and you won't." Not that it is every that clean simple but that's the basics. I am going to have treatment and take whatever odd things  (within reason) it causes for me as signs of my body getting better. I asked him how it works and my best retell of what he told me is this. 'My uterus is swollen and mushy. The medication will help heal my uterus by both "firming" it back up and shrinking to it's normal size. Once that has occurred or while that is happening my body will kick in and start fighting the ednometriosis (edno)/adenomyosis (adeno) and killing it off. He will be able to tell if the treatment is working through a physical exam which will take place again after 3 treatments and again after the full 6 if he feels all are necessary. Which they will likely be.'  Like I said, my retell and I'm no doctor or medical professional but that's the best explanation I can give you. I will stop ovulating while on the medication because it will shut down my system. It is necessary for it to be shut down to rid my body of the endo/adeno since it gets worse with every cycle. I should start to ovulate anywhere from 4-8 weeks after my last treatment. He said that most women are able to conceive within the 2 year time span of this treatment and their endometriosis starting to come back. He also says that besides the severity of endo/adeno my body is healthy and shows no reason to not be able to have a baby. I'm hopeful that we will be sharing the good news of a successful conception by the end of summer or early Fall. 

Until then I'm going to relax and enjoy myself. I'm looking forward to 3-6 months of living without the stress of trying to conceive. If you have ever tried to have a baby and I mean really tried then you know what I mean!

My question for you is, have you ever had lupron injections? If you have please share your experience of it with me. I have been reading some of the side effects and some don't seem bad but some seem so annoying to deal with. I know that every medication acts differently with every person but I want to know how it worked or didn't work for you. I want to know what vitamins you took to help alleviate some of the symptoms. Email me or message me on facebook. I want to be prepared for any craziness that is coming my way but I'm also ready to finish this battle!

Thanks for reading and listening to my story but most importantly for sharing yours with me!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Weekly Menu and Weekend Recap

Every Sunday morning I sit down and make a grocery list and menu for the week. Okay well maybe not every Sunday because Sunday brunch trumps menu and meal planning any day! I did make a menu yesterday for this week. Last week we went 5 evening is a row without going out to eat. That is really good for us lately. Now we just need to eat at home more often on the weekends.

Speaking of weekends how about a quick recap of our weekend. Friday we went to Prairie Artisan Ales Brewery for a beer. It was just a laid back relaxing time supporting our local brewery. Blake likes to go and play with his cars while we visit and drink beer. He also likes to talk to his friends that work out at the brewery. This week he met a new friend Ande who was working with his friend Lisa. Okay they aren't actually his friends but he knows they are excited to see him when he goes with us. After the brewery we had a late dinner at Louie's in Jenks. 
Saturday my parents came up to visit for the day and they brought my niece with them. They hung out with Blake while Andrew and I had a day date. We had sushi then went house hunting. The thing is we are always looking for a new house. We know that we want to move but not sure where or when so we look. If we find something that is perfect for us we will buy it now and if not we have about a year left to shop around! After house hunting for a few hours we came back home to visit with my parents before they left. Our friends also came over so mom and dad could see their boys.
Sunday I made my grocery list and our menu for the week. I always ask Andrew if he has any request and this week he requested fire-pot soup. It is new to me but I'm giving it a go. We went to the mall to return a shirt and to buy me a new pair of jeans. I hate jean shopping, let me say that one more time I HATE jean shopping. I found a pair that I liked so we bought them. (Side note, I wore them today and I'm not in love with them. I think I need a smaller size because they stretched out so much within 30 minutes of wearing them. A problem I will deal with tomorrow.) While at the mall our old neighbor texted us with an invite to go bowling at The Dust Bowl. We didn't have anything else going on so we went. That's how we roll often, just doing whatever comes our way. It's fun! We bowled and had a blast. Before going home we went to look at a possible neighborhood to build a house in. I mean if the price of oil would just go back up, we could build or move sooner. Lots of people might complain but it keeps my husband employed so I'm for it. Seriously though people, dropping gas prices aren't good for everyone.
A few photos I snapped from our weekend!

Alright now to get to our menu for the week. I always look at the weather when I plan out our meals. I don't want to eat soup when we are having a really nice 70* day in the middle of winter. This week we are supposed to have 3 nice days today being one of them but the wind is pretty cool still. I use a variety of options when looking for meal ideas and this week after searching the internet for what felt like a long time I went back to my favorite vegan cookbook The Oh She Glows Cookbook. This week we are having

Monday- InstantPot Pork Carnitas 
Recipe can be found here
*I felt like these were lacking in flavor big time. Our favorite jalapeno salsa made them better!*

Tuesday- Vegetable Lo Mein
Recipe here

Wednesday- Broccoli "Cheese" Quinoa Wraps
Oh She Glows (OSG) Cookbook

Thursday- Fire-Pot Soup
Recipe here

Friday- Big Vegan Bowl
Recipe here

Saturday- Veggie Burgers with Warm Roasted Winter Salad
Recipe OSG Cookbook and here

Sunday- Curry (Unless we are watching the superbowl at a house other than our own)
We don't really use a recipe for our curry when we make it. We printed off a menu from a restaurant and put ingredients in based on the kind of curry we pick. Also Andrew is the pro at curry making not me which is the reason we only typically eat it on the weekends!

Do you have a weekly menu? If so I'd love to see what's on it. Also if you have any favorite recipes and want to share let me know. Most of the recipes this week are new to us so I will come back with an update of how we liked or didn't like them. We have had all the OSG recipes before with the exception of the warm roasted winter salad.

Monday has been pretty good to me (with the exception of a complete computer malfunction just minutes ago); I hope it has been good to you as well!