From US to YOU: First Edition

I just wanted to thank each and every one of YOU who have dubbed us cool enough to follow. I know our journey must seem as crazy to you as it is to us, but thanks anyways for seeing things through with us…

We’re not sure what the future holds for us, and we’re beyond ready to get there! So thank you, you 41 really cool blog followers, 64 super awesome blog commenters, and 1,007 extra dope blog viewers!!!

Here’s to more crazy posts, even crazier photos, and a shit ton more memories that we get to share with you!

From Jenn & Tommy and our dog-child Apollo.

From Jenn & Tommy and our dog-child Apollo.

Oh, and is this not the coolest thing ever!

Whoa! Someone in all those places is all up in my bidness!

Whoa! Someone in all those places is all up in my bidness!

In a Constant State of Wait

I don’t think I’ve felt this down in a while. Never felt this discouraged, this lost, this confused…. It’s miserable….

Husband and I spent the weekend with my dad and his family for Memorial Weekend. It was spent with a lot of questions like, “so what are you guys up to now” and “So are you gonna go back to school?” and “What’s up with the Peace Corps?” Answering those was a combination of misery and embarrassment!

I don’t have the answers.

Course registration opened up May 20 and I haven’t been able to register because of the financial hold on my account. WHERE the fuck am I supposed to come up with $2000? So, no, I don’t know if I’m going back to school. At this rate, NYU has made the decision for us. Husband and I are barely scraping by as it is, living paycheck to paycheck, with NO room for a $2000 bill. The worst part is, if I’m not registered by a certain date than my financial aid will fall through. We’ve tried everything at this point to get that bill paid, to no avail of course….

… And I’m so sick and tired of people addressing Husband and I as if we’re two bums just trying to live off of love, just mooching around at our parent’s homes. I had to take a medical leave dammit!! I didn’t have a choice! I am JUST now starting to feel good enough to attempt to work, and at this point, there’s still no way we can come up with $2000 by June. I really hate that NYU isn’t making more of an effort to work WITH me, considering my financial aid payout was about $12,000 for housing and expenses. You’d think they’d just let me register and just deduct the hold the financial aid package right? Nope. Fuckers.

And no, I still don’t know what’s happening with the Peace Corps, they haven’t nominated us yet. We can either go work full time on a farm somewhere or gain some health education experience, at a hospice for example. There is no way in hell, I am volunteering at a hospice. For 1) I can’t handle it. I’m too emotionally fragile with all my own personal shit and the thought of hospice makes me uncomfortable and 2) that’s not what I wanted to do in the Peace Corps anyways. I want to be an educator. That’s about it.

I am like a walking depression ad. One minute, I am an enraged lunatic and the next I am a sobbing, crying, puffy-eyed, why-is-this-happening-to-me pile of mess!

All I want to do… is make a difference…. Change the world… do some good…

…and the universe won’t stop shitting on me…

And I swear to god, the next person who says, “good things come to those who wait,” will probably get smacked, stabbed, or both.

MAY ICLW! Hey ya’ll!

Hi ICLW’ers!!

Welcome! I know that you all are pretty accustomed to blogs in the TTC phase, with the OPK’s and the IUI’s and the IVF’s and all those other combinations of alphabets, but things are a little different over here….

 

…. I’m just 10 months past a string of surgeries for Endometriosis, PCOS, and pre-cancerous cervical cells, and Husband and I have been trying to piece together our lives. We’ll be two this year (marriage, I mean) and haven’t exactly been able to sort out how to deal with infertility or decide what direction we want to go.

 

I had the BRIGHT idea, one dark and stormy night in February to submit our applications to the Peace Corps on a whim to get us the HELL out of our parents’ homes… and it bit!! We got in!

 

This blog is sort of an array of our frustrations with our parental units, my journey to really finding the root of my medical troubles, my struggles with accepting my new diseases and infertility, our application process with the Peace Corps and just trying to LIVE life in between.

 

I hope that you’re able to shed some light on any familiar experiences you may have had, and am looking so forward to reading all of your blogs.

 

Thank you for accepting me with open arms, even though I have nothing to offer you about fertility treatments and experiences.

 

Happy ICLW!! 

Trouble Down Under

I’ve sort of been having a lot of trouble with my lady parts. This is not really new. My lady parts have actually been damaged goods for about two years now, and with the endometriosis and PCOS creeping around, everything from my body chemistry to my sex drive has really suffered.

When Husband and I were finally able to be together, in August 2011, after our long distance relationship from Seattle to Statesboro (a small little shit town about 3 hrs away from Atlanta), we fucked like doped up little horndog bunny rabbits. For a good 3-4 months, we’d rack up around 20 days of sex (each month), leaving 7 days to my period and the remaining days for soreness or something. How do I know this? I chart it. I used to make so much fun of my Seattle roommate for charting her period and sexual activity, but now I am so glad I ended up following suit…

Anyways, I started to notice that our sex days were starting to decrease; slightly at first, and then just suddenly. By February 2012, we were averaging between 2-5 days a month of sexual activity. At first, we contributed it to the stresses of him being a college student, and me working full time. Our schedules were very opposite. Between April-August, I started to notice how painful sex had become for me. No matter what the position, no matter how long the foreplay, sex was becoming severely painful. Like, having sex with a double-edged blade, sort of painful. Not only was the intercourse painful, but so were the following 5-6 days. My panties would feel like cardboard rubbing up against my skin, and my girly pieces were constantly swollen and red. I didn’t know what was happening to my body.

By the end of December 2012, I had had a surgery for Endometriosis, I had been diagnosed with PCOS, and was having a surgery to remove a lesion and pre-cancerous cells from my cervix. My doctor was also sure that this triad was the culprit for my painful sex, and assured me that this would no longer be an issue for us, and let’s face it, this problem was becoming an issue in my marriage.

Fast forward to May 2013, painful sex is still a theme in my life. I’ve invested countless hours on Google and WebMD, and have diagnosed myself with every possible infection, disease, disorder, and malfunction I can find. I’ve been seeing an OB/GYN in Lithonia who specializes in “everything woman” and who treats her patients with holistic medicines and treatments. Today was my follow up appointment to receive the results of the blood tests she had ordered from a previous appointment.

Most of my vitals were pretty normal. When it came to my hormone results, however, she was pretty shocked to see how high my estrogen levels actually were. I sort of anticipated this, as that’s what PCOS is all about. She explained to me in great detail what PCOS is and what it’s doing to my body. She explained in great detail what my results meant and for the first time since my diagnosis, I felt like I was finally getting some insight into the disease.
I ended up leaving with $93 dollars worth of prescriptions, and an interesting treatment plan. I honestly am not even sure what it is, but I’m desperate enough to try just about anything.

Here’s what she prescribed:

1. Argentyn 23: a homeopathic SILVER first aid gel. Not silver as in color. Silver as in, that’s the active ingredient. She says that silver is naturally antibacterial and that I should apply it on the areas that are usually sore and inflamed after sex, just in case the pain is coming from some sort of bacterial infection that didn’t show up on my results.
2. CDG EstroDIM: She says that this should help to “block” the estrogen production in my body, and “eat up” some of the excess. Excess estrogen is was is causing the greasy hair, the acne, the weight gain, and the annoying facial hair issues I’ve been having courtesy of PCOS AND is what causes the endometriosis to grow and spread.
3. Liquid Silver: Liquid silver, again not in color. She actually gave me a huge jug full of this liquid and said that the consumption of this liquid was help to eliminate the bad bacteria all throughout my body because I’ve been having some digestive trouble as well. The way she described it sounded like a pretty intense detox, but said that it might be one of the best things for me to help my immune system out.
4. Taylor MD Mineral Care Dietary Supplements: She says, “Oh I forgot to mention, you’ll probably have a really bad reaction to the silver. When your body is overwhelmed with dead bad bacteria, it takes a while to flush it all out, so you’ll probably feel a lot like shit.” This concoction of intense vitamins and minerals is supposed to help counteract the really shitty reaction that I am not looking forward to.
5. Ortho Probiotic Powder: Because we’ll be doing so much killing of the bacteria in my body, this should help me help my body restore the army of good bacteria, which should be present naturally. This is something she recommends I keep a part of my bodily upkeep.

I was the last patient to leave the office, with 5 medications in tote, and I left with my emotions pretty scrambled. One thing I did appreciate about my doctor was the fact that she supported every single one of my concerns. My goal is not exactly to get pregnant tomorrow (thanks to waiting the Peace Corps). I am not looking start fertility drugs next week either. What I do want though, is to get my body ready to carry a fetus. I want my body to be at a state of normalcy, and I would LOVE nothing more than to get pregnant without drug assistance. I would never want to carry a life in this shitty little body of mine in its current state. Most of all, I want to be able to make love to my husband again without my vagina feel like I dragged it across the driveway.

photo-2 copy 5

Another Nomination Bites The Dust

Husband and I finally got an update from our recruiter Jai about our Peace Corps application. When we interviewed back in April, she told us she’d be nominating us later on that day and that we should be expecting an official nomination via email within the following 24 hours. When that fell through and we lost our nomination, Jai told us that she’d be looking for a new program for us once the new quarter opened up mid-may.

Today, we received an email. She’s sorry to inform us that there were no programs available that we both qualified for. We must wait until August when more programs become available to see if we’ll have any luck. In the meantime, however, we could do a few things to help our chances of becoming nominated sometime before 2099:

1. One or both of us could gain 30 hours of health education experience, which is stuff life HIV/AIDS outreach & education, nutrition, hospice, etc…
2. One or both of us could gain three months, or a grand total of 480 hours of farming or gardening on ¼ acre.
3. Having Tommy learn Spanish and passing the Spanish test would open up another realm of countries that we could qualify for within my medical restrictions.

So there you have it, another disappointment. The phrase, “the Peace Corps is a really LONG waiting process,” is nothing but the goddamn truth.

Thank you, Universe, thank you very much.

Twenty Five? Already?

It’s my birthday!! My 25th birthday! As a kid, I imagined 25 would look very different. I thought I’d be flying around in a super high-tech car or traveling the world kissing babies and washing the feet of the lesser fortunate with my own baby in a sling across my back. Perhaps, I thought 25 would feel a lot OLDER, or that I’d have done a lot more.

In actuality though, 25 feels pretty great. Regardless of the childhood fantasies of what sort of fairytale adventures I’d have by 25, I’ve actually accomplished quite a bit.

Here’s what I’m most grateful for accomplishing, experiencing, witnessing, having, losing, gaining, etc. by this incredible milestone:

1. I was afforded the opportunity to graduate from [Stephenson] High School, then from a wonderful [Georgia Southern] University with a B.S. in Sociology, and later be accepted into my dream school [New York University] for graduate study in the MSW program.

2006-2010-2012

2006-2010-2012

2. My circle of friends is always evolving, and luckily, through trial and error, my friendships are becoming more meaningful, and more impactful.

3. I served with some of the most amazing people I have ever encountered, and built relationships with some of the most inspiring children in Federal Way, WA through AmeriCorps. That program changed my life. Those students will stay with me forever. Those children taught me more about who I am in 10 months, than I’ve ever learned in 25 years.

AmeriCorps. WA state. 2010-2011

AmeriCorps. WA state. 2010-2011

4. I drove cross-country TWICE. I was in complete awe of how beautiful our country is. We’ve got some incredible landscape, phenomenal history, and gorgeous people within our borders. Witnessing some of our natural beauties was a true glimpse into the majesty of God’s creations.

GA to WA and back again.

GA to WA and back again.

5. My parents ended their marriage in a nasty divorce after almost 10 years of an even nastier separation. That process shaped my idea of what marriage is and should be. Because of them, I never wanted to get married, and I never wanted to have children. I’ve learned my most valuable lessons of forgiveness from them. Through this experience, I learned to channel my hurt and resentment into productivity, and I also know first hand how stupid the saying, “let’s stay together for the sake of the children” really is.

6. An irreplaceable soul found his way into my life in my little son (pup) Apollo. He’s been everything to me during my discovery of my infertility. He’s been a vessel of unconditional love and affection. I believe he was truly meant to be my son and through a mix up in heaven still found his way to me anyways.

My boys.

My boys.

7. I’m convinced I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have a soul mate as completely awesome as mine. I don’t think I’ve ever met a person as intriguing as my husband, nor have I ever experienced love so genuine before. This man is everything in my eyes. I never, ever wanted to be married… until he came and took my life by storm!

My Boo Thang

My Boo Thang

8. We wiped cervical cancer right out of my future. We caught the changing cells so early, my surgeon is 93% sure I’ll never see it again. I’ll gladly accept.

photo-2 copy 2

9. I caused a nasty wreck. He was waiting at the stoplight, and I hadn’t been paying attention. I smashed into the back of his car so hard that he ended up in a ditch, smashed into a telephone pole. In that moment, I was so afraid that I had hurt someone, killed someone, or harmed a child. By the grace of God, we both walked away from the accident with minor injuries. Moments like those remind me of how precious life truly is.

10. I’ve broken 7 toes, 4 fingers, dislocated 1 knee, sprained many wrists, threw my back out twice, walked away from three accidents, fell UP one flight of stairs and down hundreds, and still have managed to stay in tact!

11. I snowshoed up Mt. Rainier, hiked around Mt. St. Helen’s, camped in a rainforest, served on an island, overlooked the Grand Canyon TWICE, woke up at Lake Tahoe, watched my best friend chase Elk in the dead of night, played ultimate Frisbee without ending in injury, climbed the Space Needle, navigated the Big Apple, learned from a Navajo, and slept at 12 rest stops, and immersed myself into many different cultures.

Mt. Rainier. Mt. St. Helen's. Bahamas. Seattle.

Mt. Rainier. Mt. St. Helen’s. Bahamas. Seattle.

12. Husband and I are awaiting nomination for a program in the freaking Peace Corps! Holy shit!

13. My These-Jeans-Are-Way-Too-Tight-So-I’ll-Save-Them-For-When-I-Loose-A-Few jeans FIT!!!

14. I am grateful to be living in limbo right now for ONE reason, and one reason only. I’m learning to stop giving a FUCK about what everyone else is doing. I’m learning that things will happen in MY life, according to MY plans, when it’s best for ME. I’m learning to stop comparing my achievements to those of others. I’m realizing I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

15. My mom sent me off to Space Camp with our neighbor when I was a teen. It was the most amazing, fascinating, and highly nerdy thing I’ve ever been apart of. It’s my most favorite childhood (embarrassing) memory.

16. When I first started college, I sucked as a freshman. I never went to class and pretty much failed everything. I didn’t really appreciate the fact that I was in college, and I didn’t really want to be there. I spent 2-3 semesters on academic probation, and ended my Fall Sophomore year with a 1.3 GPA. When I finally realized that I was/am the one who gets to dictate my fate, my attitude changed completely. I graduated from GSU exactly 4 years later, with an above 3.0 GPA.

17. I’m learning that my family is one to love from a distance. My family is dysfunctional and that’s okay. I’ve learned how to separate that from my feelings about them. I love them very much, but can’t be too close.

18. During an Alternative Spring Break trip during undergrad, I went to the Bahamas with about 15 other people. The first night of our trip, I burned my leg pretty severely in the shower, but that didn’t stop my service. We spent the week renovating a ‘Women’s Empowerment Room” dedicated to teach women the skills they needed to earn an income, working with a soup kitchen, and helping a visiting group on a mission trip to lay the foundation for a future free Dental and Health Clinic for the community.

Bahamas.

Bahamas.

19. I have defeated my social media addiction. To hell with Twitter and Facebook! Instagram, however, is a gateway drug…

20. I’ve stumbled across a wonderful community of women who have so much to teach me about living life AFTER endometriosis, PCOS and infertility. These diseases don’t have to define me anymore, and I don’t have to struggle in silence. My “problems” finally have names, and they come with a wonderful support system that I’ve found right here on WordPress!

21. Thank you GOD for pepperoni pizza, pepsi, and chocolate. No, I shouldn’t be eating these things, but who the hell cares. These three are my Holy Trinity during my cycle. Well, they’re pretty much everything to me all the time. Period or no period.

22. Mile markers. I am grateful for mile markers. Not in the literal sense though. I do appreciate those little, subtle signs that God places in my peripheral to ensure me that all though my struggle may not yet be over, there is an end in sight. These people, these situations, these signs, remind me of how far I’ve come and how close I am to greatness.

23. Dr. Sullivan, down at Statesboro OB/GYN means the world to me. He was very aggressive in my treatment plan off of a hunch he had from my description of “painful sex.” In the beginning I was a bit skeptical of abrasiveness, but he found everything wrong with my body and gave me a chance at children, and a cancer-free future.

24. For most of my life, change was never something I was comfortable with. I just could not thrive in a constantly changing environment. Change was a terrible stress trigger for me. Now… I welcome change. I’ve become more appreciate, more aware, more present in life because of change.

25. Of all things I’m grateful of, what means the most to me, is being blessed enough to have woken up today with a chance to embark on the next 25 years of accomplishments, experiences, and adventures.

Here’s to the next 25 years….

Apollo, My Dog, Eats Children For Dinner

My best friend and I went to the park yesterday, and I decided to bring Apollo. It’s been about a year since Apollo has been to an actual park. Between our many moves and relocations, and the chaos of our lives, we just haven’t really had the chance to take him to a park, for a real walk. Yesterday was the perfect opportunity, I thought, to take him out and reintroduce him to the leash and just get him out of the house!

As I’m standing over the trunk of the car gathering all of his belongings into my backpack, Apollo jumps out of the car and runs full speed after a little boy on a scooter! I’m not sure I have ever seen fear, like I saw in that little boy. He threw his scooter to the ground and booked it right back to his own car, and Apollo followed suit, leash dragging behind him! I was so embarrassed. I knew that Apollo was just being curious and would never have bitten the little boy, but I am pretty sure that little kid might fear dogs for the rest of his life!

Apollo is a 2-year old, not even ten pound Miniature Schnauzer, and his breed is naturally protective and very barky. I can never tell if his behavior is heightened around strangers because he’s just that protective of me, or if he’s anti-social. I committed a true cardinal sin when we first brought Apollo home. I failed to socialize him as a puppy. As many first-time puppy owners, I was so afraid of him being around people, dogs, and parks without all of his shots, thinking he’d contract some sort of parasite or sickness, but now he’s a maniac when he sees strangers and other animals. I don’t know how to break that behavior.

About a quarter mile into our walk, a lady walks past us, and the behavior sparks up again. Luckily I have his leash in hand, but his barking and charging after her worries me. I apologize to the lady and explain that he doesn’t bite, but her facial expressions are telling me all I need to know.

We end up walking about a half mile, just the three of us, and I notice a complete change in Apollo. When it’s just the three of us, he’s completely calm, and remains by my side. I drop the leash and he doesn’t run off, he doesn’t walk far ahead of us and when he does, he stops on his own to wait for us to catch up. He’s not even concerned with the woodsy animals casually running up and down trees or across the track. When there are no strangers present, Apollo behaves so wonderfully, abiding by each command he’s given, but that goes right out the window as soon as a stranger is added into the equation.

We sit at a bench we find at the 0.75 mile marker, and I reach in backpack for his bowl and water bottle to cool him off. I’m noticing he’s really hot and getting pretty tired. In the blink of an eye, he’s booking it after another woman. It’s so bad that he trips over himself in pursuit of her. The last thing I need is for someone to actually really fear him, and end up causing him harm. At this point I’m fed up. I yell at him a little louder than the previous two outbursts, and I spank him.
During the last quarter mile of our walk to the car, we pass a playground with two children playing on the swings. Apollo growls a little bit but keeps on walking. Right beside the playground was a little pavilion with a small group seated underneath. There were a few toddlers pointing in amazement at Apollo, and I’m just so thankful that none of them ran over to him. Apollo doesn’t like toddlers as they provide too many sudden movements. He doesn’t trust that. He walks past them without a bark; perhaps he’s learned his lesson for the day.

It’s so frustrating knowing that Apollo isn’t the type of dog that I can have around strangers in a park, or even in the home. I don’t really know how to curb this behavior either. It concerns me that he’s so untrusting of children, because I want to have my own soon, and I don’t want to create an aggressive dog, nor be afraid of his potential reactions.

If anyone reading has any tips, explanations, concerns, tools, resources, or similar experiences, I’d love to hear from you. I’m totally willing and ready to give just about anything a try. I want to have a happy, confident dog. I love that he’s so protective, but this is getting out of hand.

But he's just so darn cute...

But he’s just so darn cute…

The Baby Fever’s Back

Husband and I went to church with my mom for Mother’s Day. It was quite the chaotic affair, as we showed up just before service started. The choir women were arguing about who was the better singer and why said better singer should have the solos. The mother’s were all dressed in white suites adorned with a red carnation, presented to them by the Pastor. Even that good gesture when unnoticed as one of the mother’s decided to gripe about why hers should have been a significant color to represent the death of her mother. Husband and I sat huddled together beside my mother trying our best to avoid any eye contact with any of the drama queens!

The service finally began, much later than it was supposed to, and the choir opened with their horrible covers of the loudest praise and worship songs possible. It wasn’t long before we noticed they were competing in noise level with the church upstairs. I think the drama before service threw everyone out of whack, because I couldn’t even begin to explain the sermon. I just didn’t get it.

Luckily for me, there was the most adorable baby seated right in front of me to occupy all of my attention. She couldn’t have been more than six weeks old, with a head full of hair, wearing the cutest white frilly dress. She rested in her mother’s arms just chewing away on her little fist. She was so alert: looking all over the place, often making eye contact with me.

It was during those moments, that I felt that pang deep in my heart. I want to have a baby so badly. Husband kept looking at me with the strangest gaze, like he understood that want because he feels it too, but sort of feels a little bit helpless because he knows that that want is torturing me. And it is. I want to have a baby so badly and I’m so afraid that I won’t ever get the chance to. I feel like I’m living right in the middle of an unwavering war between my two biggest desires. I want to have children, and to do so would require a lot of medical attention, preparation, planning, time, money, and effort. But, I want to serve in the Peace Corps too. I want to serve, in the trenches, abroad. That’s been a dream of mine since I was a little girl.

I’m so afraid of not making the right choice. So afraid that this situation is a “you can’t have your cake, and eat it too,” sort of situation; that I won’t be able to have both.

Husband and I want to lead a life of service, we just weren’t built for your average 9-5 jobs; we weren’t built for unfulfilling jobs and a monotone lifestyle. Sure we could start our fertility treatment journey after our two years of service in the Peace Corps, but what if we wanted to stay longer than two years? What if the Peace Corps lead us to something else that would require more time abroad in the trenches? Or what if we decide to just start a family now, and later on down the line, we resent our lives, or god forbid resent our children, for turning us into soccer parents and keeping us from things like the Peace Corps. It’s too much to handle.

A million scenarios, a million emotions, a million fears and concerns are racing through my mind as I’m looking at this little girl. And this happens all of the time, with each baby and each belly I see. As if it’s a silent reminder of a choice that needs making, that’s just lingering in the universe…

Jenn & Tommy Do Date Night

Over the past ten months, Husband and I have been abiding by a very strict budget, rarely having any chance to deviate, not even for special occasions, and because of that, we’ve grown accustomed to not dating. We have become very unspontaneous, often settling for cuddles over Netflix, and we’ve both heard our fair shares of, “we’ll celebrate next year babe, promise.”

While we’re not exactly struggling in that department, and we really do enjoy the one-on-one time we’ve been getting lately, we do miss dating each other. We miss being able to parade our love in public, showering each other with dinner and a movie, and ice cream dates. We’ve become complete homebodies….

Well,

Despite our fear of deviating, we’ve decided to implement “Date Night” into our weekly routine. At this point, it’s become a necessity. We need to make an effort to remove ourselves from the stressors of our surroundings, just to be a couple, and talk about everything BUT our stressors. What better than a date night to help us escape?

Last Thursday Husband and I went to Olive Garden for dinner, and I’m not sure if it’s because we really haven’t been out in that long, or if the food was that damn good, but man… Husband and I short of licked our plates clean! I had the most wonderful Chicken Parm, and I honestly couldn’t even tell you what Husband had, it was gone before I knew it! We talked about where our lives were headed, the possibilities of the Peace Corps and babies, we talked about moving to NYC; we just talked. Oh, and we laughed. We laughed like we were on our first date all over again. It felt so good.

Fine Ass Husband

Fine Ass Husband

We followed dinner with a 7:30 showing of Iron Man 3 and a late night dessert run to Baskin Robins!

It was sooo good!

It was sooo good!

You know, things haven’t really been easy since I got sick, but I am truly blessed to have such fulfilling love from my husband. He’s stuck with me through everything thus far and is continuing to move me forward. I am so happy God blessed me with a love like this!

Never Been Happier.

Never Been Happier.