Catching Up

As of tomorrow, it will have been 2 months since I last wrote. Life has felt like a whirlwind. Although my new job as an Enrollment Counselor is enjoyable in and of itself, the workload has been overwhelming and hard to manage most weeks. When I interviewed for the job I was told there would be “periods of time through the year when overtime was needed” and that those period of time fell during certain times of the year around the beginning of each new term. For me, I have been working overtime since January 1st and it doesn’t seem like there is a light at the end of the tunnel yet. Let’s hope so…

I have also been more intentional with my diet and exercise. I am done with the fads and quick fixes (for now). I have noticed that this medication I am on for my PCOS (Metformin) has helped me SO much with sugar cravings, energy levels, etc. I have lost 6 lbs and it could have been more if I hadn’t gotten so “off” during a recent road trip up to Wisconsin where Culvers and other treats were consumed with reckless abandon. Hoping that sometime this weekend after some snow melts, I can hop back on the Snap Fitness 3-5 times a week wagon. Until then, healthy eating and portion control keeps me in check. šŸ™‚

Speaking of now – wth?!!? We didn’t have hardly any all winter and as soon as Valentines Day passed, we started getting lower temps and then WHAM! 12 inches of snow last Thursday and another 12 inches yesterday! We’re getting another 2 inches today? At least shoveling snow is a great alternative for a work out, my lower back is surprisingly tight and toned feeling! haha
I normally don’t grow bitter with the cold, but with an entire winter’s worth of snow dumped on us in less than a week I am feeling quite ready to see tree blossoms, green grass, tulips, and a thunderstorm or two.

Our trip to Wisconsin was very nice. Lots of time with my family and the wonderful Bougher family. We also had Anne (my brother’s fiance) join us, so that was very nice to spend some lengthy time with her – bonding and getting to know one another better. I am so happy that she is going to be a future sister and I LOVE how much she loves my brother. A lot of people make fun of the behaviors of people in love, but they’re seriously just jealous. If Anne misses Matthew after less than 24 hours of seeing him, who is anyone to say that is silly? I feel the same way with Chad. Heck, Chad and I miss each other just when we have to leave for work each day. Love is worth being all consumed and only becomes a clearer picture of the love relationship between us and our Savior. I think it’s beautiful.

So that is what has been going on. This coming March I am going to Portland, OR – so stay tuned for stories and pics from that. I will upload a slew of pics/videos from our trip to Wisconsin and the massive amounts of snow very soon…. šŸ™‚

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“He has torn us to pieces, but He will heal us”

There are things that I know are common among a large percentage of the female population, but I always end up feeling so isolated and alone in these things.
No one talks about it, or at least no one likes to talk about it.
It’s not the happiest of topics and most people would rather have every interaction in their day be positive and happy.

I’d like to be bold and say that so much of what happens in this broken life we live is negative, painful, and difficult. Maybe even more than 50% depending on the life/person.
Being a kid is joyful, but so very hard.
Being a teenager can be exciting, but awkward and painful and emotional.
Being a friend has so many rewards, but it is risky and hard and comes with occasional heartache.
Being married of blissful, but challenging and sometimes so very painful – it changes who you thought you were.
Being a parent is fulfilling and wonderful, but also challenging, painful, difficult, and risky.

and so on.

Having kids? Or rather, TRYING to have kids and finding out that you can’t without some serious medical help when every single one of the friends in your life are either pregnant, just had a baby, or are working on their 2nd or 3rd baby?

Now that’s hard.

After an extensive, heartbreaking 67 day anovulatory cycle, I found out today that I am, once again, having an anovulatory cycle.
We can’t even try to have a baby because my body will not cooperate.

Trials

There is something to be said for becoming depressed over the amount of prescriptions and the number of doctor’s visits one person can be subjected to.

I am currently taking one prescription 3x a day for my PCOS.
I am taking 3 other separate prescriptions at any given point in my monthly cycle to try to help me become pregnant, or at the least help my cycle be somewhat regular.

I am also taking 2 prescriptions for my post root canal treatment recovery – once of them is 3x a day and the other is 5-6x a day.
I am also taking high dose Percocet for pain, andĀ OTCĀ pain meds to reduceĀ inflammation.

In addition to this, I am seeing a Chiropractor 3x a week to treat my pinched nerve, as well as acupressure for helping fertility.

I also see my Reproductive Endocrinologist 2-3x a month to monitor my cycle.
Each time I amĀ subjectedĀ toĀ invasiveĀ procedures.

This is all in addition to school and 2 part-time jobs.

Wednesday night I was in intense pain and dizzy from my root canal in addition to an overly swollen left side of my face.
Yesterday, I was home all day – alone for the most part – crying and feeling very depressed. I was also extremely dizzy and nauseous (I vomited) and that left me bed ridden for the most part.
Today, my pain is less so, but the swelling is just as bad. I can hardly eat because I can barely open my mouth. I can’t lay on my left side because the slightest pressure to my left cheek hurts so much.
My dentist’s office is not returning my calls because they’re closed and I am not considered an emergency.

I had one friend offer to visit me, but I was feeling too nauseous to receive her visit.

I am not trying to complain.
I understand His grace is sufficient for me.
But if we’re being honest,Ā sometimesĀ it takes a concentrated effort to remember that.

I am just tired of doctors and medication I have to remember to take and feeling sick or nauseous and dizzy and otherwise not myself.

I don’t need speeches about greens smoothies or Paleo diets or any other natural things.
I believe in their efficiency, but I haven’t found them to be cures as much as preventive healthy therapy.

I don’t need monologues about “faith-based healing” because I have faith that God can heal me and relieve me of my symptoms.
I have prayer for this and God has chosen to allow me to endure these trials so that I might draw closer to Him and rely on Him for my help.

I just need to feel His arms around me.
I need to feel hope.
I need it sooner than later.

Okay, I am done venting now.

– – –


Writing Again.

Wow.
This may turn into a very long catching-you-all-up post – FYI.
It has been over 2 months since I last wrote.

For that, I am sorry.
But I honestly needed the break.
There has just been so much going on in my heart emotionally, mentally, relationally, and spiritually – Ā I just didn’t have the words to make sense of much of it.
I wrote a lot in my journal.
I prayed a lot.
I cried a lot.
Eventually things got a little easier.
I’ve come to understand a little more.
And I’m beginning to see a purpose in pain and a light at the end of the tunnel.

The last post I wrote kind of left everything hanging on a despairing note.
So let me catch everyone up for the sake of clarity and closure.

The cycle I wrote about in the previous post ended up lasting 51 days.
That is 19 days late with tons of “pregnancy symtpoms” that eventually abated.
I went to my OBGYN who did not find any ovarian cysts and she referred me to a Reproductive Endocrinologist. (R.E. or Fertility DR)

I put off going because I was approaching my last few weeks of what had become a very busy semester due primarily to my procrastination and partially due to one Professor in particular.
The next cycle lasted even longer – a whopping 56 day long cycle, but this time there were not any pregnancy symptoms except the missed period.
I am wondering now if I skipped a period altogether, since cycles are normally 28 days on average and 28 + 28 = 56.
Still with me?

My biggest frustration was simply not knowing why all this was happening.
Not in a “Why, GOD?!?!?” kind of way as much as a the-science-behind-it kind of way.
This may be hard for some men to grasp. I know it was for Chad. What’s the big deal?
As a woman you just become accustomed to being able to count on very few things.
Life is always changing, shifting, and surprising us.
So when you have consistently had the same thing happen to your body every 28-29 days since you were 12 years old like clockwork, it goes without saying that a major interruption in that comforting predictability creates a lot of unease, anxiety, and fear.

I recently saw my R.E. and finally got the answers I was craving.
He said he was 90% sure I had developed PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and did an ultrasound that confirmed his suspicions.
The good news is that now we finally knew what was causing my cycles to be so off!
The bad news is that PCOS causes infertility if untreated.
The other good news is that it is HIGHLY treatable!

He started me on some medications right away and gave me a lot of hope that things would only get better from here! šŸ™‚

– –

Now forĀ what God has been teaching me the past 2 months I struggled to understand the purpose and plan behind the pain I was feeling throughout all of this…

My issue with all of this has simply been learning that I really suck at waiting on God.
I learned that I don’t even know how.
I wanted answers. I wanted healing. I wanted the fulfillment of God’s promises in my life.
When they didn’t come initially, I threw a very toddler-like tantrum with God.
I didn’t understand why He this was happening to me. I mean, who really understands why anything bad happens to them until it becomes hindsight, but looking back I am ashamed with how I was acting. Like God owed me anything. Psft.

So there I was acting like God owed me something and every week that went by my anxiety increased.
I wanted to get pregnant so badly, but did I want to bring God glory more?
Was there a point to my sudden struggle with my cycles and fertility that I couldn’t see?
Did I love God more than I loved the idea of being a Mom?
All these questions ran through my head on a fairly constant basis while I plastered a smile on my face in public.
I was seriously struggling with my faith in God to fulfill His promises in my life and my commitment to Him and my trust in Him.

You see…. I’ve been burned before.
I won’t go into detail, but I heard God tell me to move forward on something very specific and that eventually resulted in massive amounts of hurt and pain.
The typical American attitude towards the Gospel is that God greatly desires our happiness, but this couldn’t be further from the Truth.
God desires our Joy, sure… but Joy is chosen despite of circumstances.
God desires our peace, but peace is found in Him alone – not circumstances.
God ultimately desires His glory to be displayed through his Creation, so it goes without saying that if painful circumstances and hard times are what is necessary to refine us into the image of Jesus then God will most definitely allow those seasons of pain to bring about His greater purpose.
The comfort we have is knowing that throughout the pain He will never leave us – we can still find peace and comfort in Him and He will always lead us out of those valleys and deserts for times of rest and restoration.

So these past few months have been just that – God challenging me with this lack of control and uncertainty about myself and the future.
God wanted to remind me that my heart is supposed to be His.
The desires I have to be a mother are God-given and not wrong in themselves, but they are not “God” and should never become the most important thing in my life.
Funny…. that other hard lesson I just mentioned?? That was because I placed my desire to find a husband above my desire to serve God. Ugh, when will I learn?!

Needless to say, God gently kept tugging on my heart reminding me to lean on Him during the hard times and reminding me that He is all I REALLY need. When I look at my life and everything I love and am amazingly blessed with, none of it would be in my life if it were not for God. I did nothing to deserve such a wonderful husband, community, family, friends….and I will do nothing to deserve becoming a mother one day.
If anything, God continually forgives my depravity and the countless times I forget His goodness and mercy and blesses me despite of myself.

I am still working on it, but my heart is in such a better place now.
I still want to be a mother REALLY badly, but if God chose to delay that further or not allow me to have it at all (as hard as that would be!) I feel at this moment that I could trust Him that He knows what is best for me and that He has a plan and purpose to everything that happens in my life.
For now, I will just continue to try my best to wait on Him, hope in Him, believe His promises for my life will come to fruition in His timing, and to find comfort and peace in His presence alone. ā¤

– –

p.s. – Thank you to everyone who messaged me or commented your encouragement and support. You weren’t here to see the tears of gratitude as your words of love began the healing process in my heart. I am still working on responding to all of those messages, but just know your words meant the world to me during that time and now. I love you all. šŸ™‚

Hope Deferred Makes the Heart Sick

I am starting to really understand the meaning of “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.”Ā 
I feel like my heart is gasping for air.
I feel like I am unraveling.
My heart feels bruised, weak, and lethargic.

A very small few of you know what I am about to write about and some of you don’t.
Because I am a writer, I work through things best by writing it out – venting it all.
So just tread lightly, if you will, with your quick comments and well-meaning one liners.
Let me explain.

Chad and I have been trying to have a baby since August.
Not exactly trying as long as some couples, so it goes without saying that others have been “waiting” longer with no results.
But that is not my heartache.

All last Fall with one exception shortly after getting off birth control, I became very regular.
Literally, my periods started on the 28th of every month for4 months like clockwork.
30 day long cycles.
I was mostly fine every month I didn’t conceive and got my period instead because deep down I just logically knew that this would be a process.
I was determined to enjoy the process and just keep going at it, so to speak.

After my period on December 28th, I did have another period until February 4th.
Eight days late.
Naturally, I got my hopes up.
However, I did not have any weird side effects or symptoms – just a missed period.
A few negative Home Pregnancy Tests (HPTs) after Jan. 28th and I was just stuck waiting.
When my period started on February 4th, I was sad.
I was sure I was pregnant even though I didn’t have any other symptoms.
I just assumed I was too early in my potential pregnancy to have symptoms yet.

I went to my OBGYN for my annual exam and she told me to begin Ovulation Testing Kits that month.

So for 20 days in the month of February I got up in the morning, peed on a stick, and waited 5 minutes to see if it would say I was about to ovulate.
I got 2-3 different days where it seemed like it was a positive result on the test (those things are way too hard to interpret!) and so Chad and I made good use of those days (and a few days after even) trying to make a baby.

Because my period was late and came on February 4th, I wasn’t due to start my next period until March 7th.

March 7th came and went.

March 10th came and went.

No period.

I started feeling somewhat hopeful and excited.
At this point I started having certain symptoms.
I will spare the personal details because some male gender’d friends of mine read this blog, but the important factor is that I didn’t know that some of these symptoms could even occur in an early pregnancy. I had the symptom first and then had to Google it to see what caused it. The most common result was always early pregnancy.
So then I REALLY started getting my hopes up.

(If you want to know what they were, message me.)

Let’s fast forward to today.

Today I am 15 days late for my period.
I have taken 4 HPTs and they were all negative.
I had my doctor’s office to a urine test – it was negative.
Yesterday they did a Quantitative HCG Blood Test. This is a blood lab test that checks your blood for even the smallestĀ minusculeĀ amounts of HCG (the pregnancy hormone) to determine if you’re indeed pregnant. It is considered very accurate.

They rushed this lab work, so I could know by the end of the day my results. This was largely due to how anxious I had been feeling about my missed period + all my symptoms + the negative urine tests. When I told the doctor my symptoms as she prepared to draw my blood, even she said it sounded very promising that I was in fact pregnant. She assured me that some women just do not have positive HPTs for unknown reasons.

They called me about 2 hours later. My HCG levels were less than 2.

“You’re not pregnant.” the nurse sadly told me.

So herein lies my heartache.
I am not nearly as sad that it is “taking a while to get pregnant” – I am sad because my body is tricking me! Like some kind of sociopatheic, twisted joke!
I would so much rather NOT be pregnant, get my period, and be able to move on in hopes of trying again next month than to think for WEEKS that I am pregnant with no way to confirm it through tests!
I have never skipped a period.
I have never been so irregular!
I don’t know how to cope with the grief of the roller-coaster ride that gets my hopes up and then brings them down crashing and burning.
It may sound dramatic to you, but maybe you just can’t relate.
Most of my friends got pregnant easily or had “surprises”
Most of my friends who had a harder time trying to conceive never went this long with a missed period only to get “negative” test results.
I need to know that this can happen and has happened to other people, so I don’t feel so isolated by all of this!

I have not been able to stop crying after I got that phone call.
I left my friend’s house and cried the entire 45 minute drive home.
I hugged Chad when I got home and cried.
We lay in bed together talking through it and I continued to cry.
We fell asleep at 7:30pm or so and slept until 11:30pm.
I woke up sad.
I wanted to cry.
I felt a little better talking through it with him, but here is the real issue:

I STILL FEEL PREGNANT.

I still have ALL my symptoms.
The biggest two that are drastically affecting my day to day functioning are the fact that I am ALWAYS tired.
ALWAYS.

Last week during Spring break I would sleep until NOON, need a nap by 4pm, and want to be in bed by 8 or 9!
I am exhausted.

The other thing is that I am supposed to be on this weight loss program, but I have lost any and all desire to eat.
Food just sounds disgusting.
I can barely make myself drink water or eat a bowl of cereal.
I am not vomiting or anything, but I have no appetite and the thought or smell of certain foods makes me nauseous.
So I will go way too long without eating just because I don’t even want to think about it, and then hours later my stomach is growling and I have to make myself eat something that doesn’t sound good.

My symptoms don’t stop there, but like I said I will spare you the personal details.

My question is this:

Can a person get negative urine tests and a negative blood test and still be pregnant?!?!
I read online about hundreds of women it has happened to, but it doesn’t seem like doctors acknowledge that it’s possible?

If you are a woman, has this ever happened to you?!

How can I feel all these symptoms and not be pregnant?
If I am indeed not pregnant, what is WRONG with my body?

– – And please, PLEASE don’t comment and say all the things I already know. Say you wish you could be here. Say you wish you could relate and that you’re praying for me. Say you love me and that is all. But please don’t tell me cliche’s and one-liner like you’re handing me a 99 cent greeting card to magically make all my sorrow go away. It just doesn’t work that way. I am sorry if that sounds harsh, but I already know God has a plan. I do trust Him implicitly. I know God’d timing is best and I know God has His hand on my life. I just already know all these things. I just don’t feel happy about it at the moment because I am still coming to terms with the sense of loss and anxiety I feel. I am allowed to feel sad. I just need to know that someone out there sees me, hears me, and is including me in their prayers. And maybe, just maybe somebody reading this can relate and let me know that I am not the only one whose body is tricking them into false hope and the dark realm of delayed fertility. – –

– –

– –

Side note:
I have a doctor’s appointment on the 29th to try and determine what is wrong with my body. I will eventually get answers. It is just that the wait between then and now is what has me so sad, heart sick, and anxious.

Misunderstood Identity

I can’t tell you how many times I hear someone say or imply that people who are shy, awkward, or socially inept are introverts.
It makes me want to punch a small animal.

Okay, maybe not that bad… but it seriously gets under my skin.

To me, introversion is one of the most misunderstood labels.
I understand that it can be hard to pinpoint in someone, but the blanket stereotype that connotates social malfunction or people phobias is just taking it way too far.

About 10 years ago or so is when this all started for me.
I remember being “diagnosed” as an ENFP at Teen Mania through the Myers Briggs Type Assessment (ENFJ at first, but that was later amended).

Looking back, I think I chose some answers that leaned more towards Extroversion because being an Extrovert in our society is deemed more acceptable, and I so badly wanted to be accepted. If a question on the test asked if I preferred “going to a large party” vs. “staying home alone or with one friend” I probably falsely chose “going to a large party” because I wanted to make friends in this new season of my life.

I struggled constantly with this tension between loving my friends and being around people vs. all those people and friends driving me crazy after about 4+ hours of their company. I wondered why I was so difficult? Everyone else was fine if we hung out ALL DAY doing loud and crazy things. Everyone else was fine if the chaos never ended and people never went home to their own beds. Why was I so cranky all of a sudden? Why did it make me so tired to have to fight for a word in a conversation, or to be constantly interrupted?

After too much social effort I would become withdrawn, irritable, and snarky.
And I didn’t know why.

Fast forward 3 years …

I was literally browsing the self-help section of the Barnes and Noble in Tyler, TX for answers to my problem.

The first book I picked up was about HSP syndrome.
HSP = Highly Sensitive Person
I felt like I fit some of theĀ criteria, but not all of it.
I put the book back on the shelf and kept looking.

The next book I picked up was called “The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World” and was written by a bunch of doctors.
I didn’t think I was an Introvert because of the stigmas attached to that title, but as I browsed the Table of Contents (always a good indicator of a book’s relevance!) Chapter 6 caught my eye… Chapter 6 was titled: “Socializing: Party Pooper or Pooped from the Party?”

As I began reading it my life was LITERALLY changed.
I quickly realized I was a closet Introvert.
I quickly knew I wanted to read and buy this book.
I knew I had to re-take that Myers Briggs test again. (I did, by the way, and I was a full blown INFP!)
I finally had answers to my questions.

The point of all this is this:

I had to know myself to figure out how to thrive.
Introversion was not a shyness or social phobia, but a way of coping with stimulus.
I did love my friends.
I did love a good party.
I did not have a social malfunction.
I simply became emotionally and mentally and physically drained from a certain degree of activity or commotion.

I learned that some people in my life did not drain me at all.
Some people I can be around all the time for as many days as you can count and I am totally fine.
Other people I can only be around for about 30 minutes and I need to get away.
I love quieter environments and non-obnoxious people.

I watched this video tonight that talks about the way our society has oriented itself around an Extroverted audience.
This video is what prompted me to write this post and share my story.
It is worth watching, though kind of long.
I highly recommend it.

I also highly recommend getting to know who your friends, significant other, co-workers, etc really are.
Don’t assume that just because they didn’t want to go to that loud bar or concert with you that they don’t like you and don’t want to be your friend.
Chances are they do, but the thought of such an event leaves them exhausted.
Don’t assume that because they are quiet or non-charismatic that they are awkward or insecure.
Chances are they so confident and secure that they don’t need to fill the silence all the time. šŸ™‚

– – –

p.s. – If you’re an Introvert, use the comments to give a little Ā shout out for yourself. (It doesn’t have to be a loud shout.)
šŸ˜‰