This Changes Everything: The Test. Part One.

* Disclaimer: If you follow our story through this blog, please be a friend and keep the following story here. We will transfer this news across the social media boards on our own, at the right time. Don’t beat us to the punch, FB friends, Twitter tweeters, and Instagramers! If you fail this mission, Jenn will be really mad and Husband will smash your house and eat your young. *

Something told me that this late period was going to be much different from any other late period I’d ever had. I haven’t even craved chocolate for God’s sake! Typically when my cycle is near, late or not, I’m a crying, bloated, killer for chocolate, hormonal, attitudinal ass mess! This month, something was off.

My period has, since my surgeries last August, become pretty regular. I can expect it to start at least between the 3rd and the 6th of each month, but as the 11th rolled around… I got a little worried. No spotting, no pink, no nothing.

I’ve been taking a handful of natural, holistic, of-the-earth supplements every day aimed at fixing my hormonal imbalance; reducing my excess estrogen, lowering my insulin, restoring the vitamin and nutrient deficiency, and replenishing my ecosystem of good bacteria via probiotics. I’ve even shed 10 pounds, and have modified my diet. No gluten, soy, or dairy; at least 75% of the time.

…But my period hasn’t come. My suspicion: My endometriosis has regrown and taken over my ovaries again and my PCOS has caused cysts to reform that are triggering irregular periods. It’s been almost a year since my laparoscopy, and I can’t believe I’m in the same physical condition already!

I went to see an endocrinologist on Monday the 10th and he gave me some amazing information about PCOS and thoroughly explained what Metformin is and how it would help me out. What I liked about him, versus my GYN, is that he aims to target my hormonal imbalance and it’s affect on my entire body, whereas the GYN wants to target the hormones keeping me from getting pregnant. I want to fix my whole body, not just pieces of it. I returned the following morning to have EIGHT viles of blood extracted for many tests. The nurses say he’s thorough.

June 11, I sat downstairs watching The Braxton Family Values, my guiltiest pleasure ever! Tamar is my absolute favorite next to Toni! The season’s been following her throughout her pregnancy, and I don’t know what came over me or what about my mini-marathon triggered my reaction, but I ran upstairs, dug through a box, found a pregnancy test and peed on it…

Two pink lines: one dark, one faint.

Later on when Husband got home, I took the second one I had stashed away.

…Two pink lines: one dark, one faint.

Immediately, we knew it had to be a reaction to the all-natural, holistic, medicine man, juju pills that I’ve been taking. There’s no way, one little month of natural supplements could find or create a loophole in my infertility to get us pregnant. It just doesn’t work like that.

On the 12th, Husband and I went to Walmart to get an electronic pregnancy test. At this point for shits and giggles. We aren’t convinced at all we’re pregnant. It’s not possible, but where is my period? Why aren’t my boobs sore? Why haven’t I gone batshit crazy for some chocolate?

Husband is really scared that something is wrong. We’ve worked so hard to stabilize my body so far, hell I’ve been DRINKING LIQUID SILVER, and now we could possibly be back to square one.

But that’s the thing with the pregnancy tests with the lines, no matter what it reads, you can always convince yourself of a faulty outcome.

As soon as we got home, I peed on the electronic pregnancy test in the bathroom downstairs. It showed me a blinking timer, which gave me enough time to run upstairs to Husband. Of course I find that he is in the bathroom himself, so I slide the pregnancy test under the door to him. A few moments later, I hear a roar of laughter, and I sort of slump down, is an overwhelming cloud of emotions…

…The test reads “Pregnant.”

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The Silver Lining Myth

Up to this point, all I could do was sympathize with those who were struggling to pay medical bills, having to refrain from seeking quality treatment and healthcare, because the costs were just too great. Up to this point, all I could do was try to imagine what it would be like to be so financially overwhelmed with medical bills, that it makes doing virtually anything at all, that much more difficult.
Up until now, all I could do was imagine, hypothetically, what life would be like in that predicament….

Now, I get it.

Here’s the thing about my mother. It’s easier for her to treat me like a business associate, that an actual daughter, so she doesn’t really have to be a parent. Whenever she has something important to say, she sends me an email. She’s that passive-aggressive type of person, where she’ll say something, because it sounds good, but she doesn’t really mean it. She’s a total asshole.

Last year, I had two big surgeries. I had a laparoscopy that averaged about 44 thousand dollars, and a Laser LEEP procedure that average about 37 thousand dollars. I’m not sure if that includes the many biopsies, the lab tests, the blood work, etc. Both of my parents are still carrying me on their medical insurances because I’m still under 26 years old. Both of the insurances covered most of the costs, with a few thousand dollars left over.

For the past year since the surgery, I have been on a medical leave from school, unemployed because of pain and sickness, and my husband has just started working, since he JUST graduated in December….

According to my mother, any amount of money left over on the surgical bill is my responsibility. It COULD’VE been fine if this was expressed to us early on. She’s been telling us that she’s been paying monthly on the balances, so up until now I haven’t worried about it. We’ve got a mountain of other bills to pay ourselves. Credit card bills, utility bills, phone bills, a car bill, and this NYU bill. Each bill is around or over $1,000, and Husband isn’t making that much money.

Anyways, about 3 weeks ago, I get a letter in the mail informing me that one of my medical bills is about to be sent to collections with a balance of $300. Just
$300! In bright red it read, “This is the fourth notice, this bill will be sent to collections unless you pay this amount in full or arrange a payment plan.” Great. Another fucking bill. Meanwhile, my mother is sticking to her story that she is making payments. This collections notice though, is telling me otherwise.

Today she calls me downstairs to hand me a piece of mail and I open it in the staircase. It read, “You have recently been audited and although you have been making payments, the original payment agreement has expired and your balance is now $1500… Please increase you payment amount by 15%….”

She turns to me and says, “Welp, I guess you better go set up a payment plan.” Right. ME AND WHAT FUCKING INCOME?!

So now, a bill that she has allegedly been paying on, has become my responsibility. I promise I don’t mean to sound like a brat, because I’m not, but here’s why I’m upset. 1) Who the fuck makes their child pay for their own surgeries? It’s not like I have amazing health coverage from a job and my husband has great coverage from his job. We don’t!! I’m not even working!! And it’s not normal to hand over thousands of dollars in medical debt to the person who just had surgery and doesn’t even have a job. I still can’t get my body in order as it is. She never would have done this if it were my sister. The bills would’ve been paid ON TIME, in full, signed, sealed and stamped with love and affection! For me though, that’s just not the case. And 2) I’M NOT FUCKING WORKING!!! You can’t just make the payments until I can find an income? I’d gladly take the payments over then, but you just can’t wait huh? It’s that imperative to you, to just wipe your hands clean of any responsibilities as a parent… but then has the nerve to be in my face EVERY FUCKING DAY, encouraging me to have a baby because that’s what the doctor says to do. How the fuck does that work?

We just got a huge financial blessing from one of Husband’s cousins to help us to get to New York City, so that I can go to school… now this? I’m starting to feel like I should just give in to the universe. Things just aren’t supposed to be this difficult! All I want to do is go to school. Now I believe that’s the most irresponsible option out there. What I should do is withdraw and get a whack ass salary job because not only do these bills just keep accumulating; but Husband and I are sick and tired of living like this. His paychecks are accounted for days and weeks before they even hit his account.

I just can’t deal…. There’s just no silver lining in this.

Oh, and where the fuck is my period!!!

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.

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The Wait is Over

We can finally breathe a little easier. We can breathe a lot easier actually, now that we have a direction. We don’t have to spend anymore time worrying and stressing about what is going to happen next for us, because now we know!!

I finally found out when registration starts for me back at NYU. I knew that general registration began April 22, so I assumed I was included because I am technically enrolled as a student. I have a $1,900 financial hold on my account and was told that if I could pay it within $1,000 then they’d work with me and let me register. I was able to go into the registration website and add my classes into a shopping cart until I was eligible to register officially. I was told last week MY registration date isn’t until May 20, which is awesome because that gives me a lot more time to pay on the amount. My OB/GYN is also still working on my letter to get me off the medical leave. Things are working out slowly in that department….

However,

Our Peace Corps interviews were yesterday.

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Our interviews were scheduled at 1:00, and we were there by 12:15!! From what we understood, we’d both have an individual interview, which lasts about 60-90 minutes, and then an interview together. Totaling 3 hours.

At one exactly, our advisor Jai walks over with a laptop in hand, and I go first. I am so nervous my stomach hurts! She asks me 18 questions, then we have a conversation about 8 topics, then the floor is open for questions. As soon as I begin answering her, she’s typing my every word, which makes me so nervous! I feel like a total idiot as I speak. An hour later, it’s Tommy’s turn. He’s not even a bit nervous. He’s as cool as ice.

As I sit in the lobby, surrounded by maps and volunteer photos, I’m watching the clock like a hawk. I hear so much laughing coming from the interview room. She didn’t laugh that much when I was in there. It’s past an hour now, and he’s still in there. Oh God, what is he saying to her! He must be stumbling. I bet she’s throwing trick questions as him….

75 minutes later, Husband comes to get me for the couple portion, and as I take a seat beside him I notice immediately that him and Jai are laughing and joking around. Wait… she LOVES him. He’s so comfortable, spitting out answers with little thought and all honesty, and here I am with nerves that are completely shot! Go figure. Husband just cannot meet a stranger.

Our couples interview was short, just a few joint questions and then lots of free time for us to address our own questions and concerns.

Well,

WE GOT NOMINATED!!!!!

I have no idea where we’re going yet, but Jai said she had NEVER nominated a couple right after interviewing them before. She told us she was working on something super specific for us, but the program is actually contingent upon my medical clearance. Husband won’t be bothered about medical stuff until later on in the summer, but I, on the other hand am supposed to be hearing from the Medical Office within 48 hours! This puts the pressure on me, because I am currently having some issues with/within my body and I’m very afraid I’ll ruin everything.

She says I have up until September to be completely medically cleared, which both IS and ISN’T a lot of time. If I am not medically cleared by September, then we could miss the program she’s working on! I was told that because of my medical history, my options for places to serve are limited. If I am not medically cleared, then I will just have to wait for the next round of nominations, which means a country within my restrictions, with spots for a couple, and with our specific skill needs, and who knows how long that could take.

It was all God in this! “It just so happened that with your regional limitations, that I have two spots open in a place you can serve, with both of your skillsets, that leave in JANUARY.” HOLY SHIT!!! January!!!!!! Husband and I have been thoroughly convinced that IF we’d get a nomination, it would be to leave in FALL of 2014…. January is practically tomorrow.

I am just so excited to have gotten nominated! I am BEYOND proud of us! It feels so good to be that much closer to achieving one of my ultimate life goals, and to be able to do this with Husband is a DREAM!! Of course, Husband is completely convinced that his charm alone got us in, but whatever, I’ll take it!! I was shouting from excitement the minute we hit the elevator!

We have a plan! We know what we’re working towards! It feels so amazing to have this huge burden lifted off of our shoulders. Granted, all of this is contingent on my medical clearance, but WE GOT IN!! WE GOT IN! WE GOT IN!!

When a Man Loves a Woman

I was so mad at Husband yesterday. I went on and on for an hour about how much more love I needed him to show me, and how much more I needed him to do. A lot of what I felt and said may have been valid in my own right, but since that conversation I’ve felt terrible. I have never known a man to love a woman, as much as my husband loves me, nor have I ever loved any single person as much as I love him. Sometimes, I don’t realize how much stress he really endures. I also don’t think I understand that despite how calm he acts on the outside, that it doesn’t mean he’s not completely overwhelmed on the inside…

…And I’ve given my husband many reasons to be incredibly overwhelmed with stress, fear, and worry. More than I may realize, and I’m just now suddenly taking notice. My husband is my backbone; he’s our pillar. He’s got to be, and I guess I’ve gotten so caught up in my own stress and my own lack of coping with it all, that I’ve forgotten that he too is a human being.

His wife is falling apart and still hasn’t turned up pregnant, he works with some of the most incompetent people I have ever heard of, our parents collectively are becoming too much to handle, and we’re still in between phases with the Peace Corps and grad school We’re basically in the middle of nowhere and he’s trying to make a run for it, but I can’t keep up.

I only know what it’s like, for me, to deal with news of infertility, trying to get back into the swing of things, trying to find ONE solid day where pain or sickness hasn’t consumed my every hour. I only know what it’s like for me, personally, to battle the fear, day in and day out, of never being able to have children, or being so completely overwhelmed with confusion and concern about what’s going to happen for us next, or feeling so completely powerless to my body and what’s going on with it. I don’t know what it’s like for him…

… I never even thought about it.

I never really once considered what HE may be feeling, seeing his wife sick and in pain everyday. I never really once considered the worry and concern that HE may have about our fertility troubles. I never really once considered how overwhelmed HE might be with the not-knowings of my medical wellbeing on top of all that other stuff he gets from every other direction.

But, according to my bitching yesterday, he still isn’t showing me enough.

When in actuality, he does.

He’s been there for every surgery, he’s been there for every stomachache, every pain and cramp, every prescription and every treatment. With every spell of nausea or discomfort, his world stops. He settles my soul after every conversation about the “what-ifs.” He is consistently THERE whenever I need him to be. He’s THERE even when I don’t need him to be. He is firm in his reassurance that no matter what happens, he’ll always be by my side, that he loves me more and more every day, and the happenings of my body don’t determine my degree of womanhood.

That man loves me more than he can express, and more than I can probably ever fathom. I am lucky. Lucky to have found the man that was specifically designed for me, and me alone…

…So yea, he could hug me more, or kiss me more, he could help me out a little more around the house, but my knowing how much he truly loves me will never falter.

I love you Husband, and you love me back, perfectly.

Soul Mates

Soul Mates

You Can’t Take a Baby to the Peace Corps Jenn!!!

With our Peace Corps interviews just 10 days away… I should be spending this time going over questions with Husband, and tweaking our answers to make sure we sound intelligent by limiting the “uhm’s” in case a question catches us off guard. I don’t want us to be ill prepared, but let’s face it, I’ve wanted to join the Peace Corps since HIGH SCHOOL, and Husband’s only recently learned of the Peace Corps, thanks to yours truly.

We should be spending this time shooting off any range of questions we can think of at each other and brushing up on our international affairs; the “goings-on’s” of the world… yet and still, with our Peace Corps interviews just 10 days away, there is only one thing on my mind….

…I want to have a baby…

Yea, talk about a wrench in the plans, huh!

I am not sure if it’s the hormonal surge because of my cycle this week, or if it’s because of the baby fever I cannot seem to shake. Whatever it is, the want, the desire, is so strong and so real, it’s almost annoying.

The Peace Corps is a two-year commitment, and for a normal woman, that’s not a big deal. For me, for someone with Endo & PCOS, it’s a very long, very big gamble.
What also sucks, is that most days, I can’t decide which want outweighs the other. The pros/cons are equal. Of course on a super emotional day, babies win. But on those days where I’m fed up with my parents or America, for that matter, Peace Corps takes the cake.

Husband is so lovingly unhelpful. “Whatever you want to do babe, I’m right with you.” “I want a baby too, but I would also love to do the Peace Corps, it’s so noble.” “I don’t know babe, it’s your decision.”

Thanks.

One of my sorority sisters is having a baby and although I am OVERJOYED for her, I’m a little jealous. She’s shopping for baby furniture and posting them on Instagram, and every time I run across a photo, it’s like a jab in the heart. I’m not saying she’s purposely doing this to me, I’ve never even shared my infertility troubles with her, but I want a baby! Well, maybe even more than wanting a baby, in the flesh, right now… I want TO BE ABLE to have a baby. Whenever that time comes, I want to be able to give my husband a child.

Perhaps that’s why this upcoming interview is freaking me out a bit. I am just worried that two years after service, my body isn’t going to cooperate. Hell, it isn’t cooperating now.

Then again, I’ve been reading and following so many Peace Corps blogs and with each post, I get more excited to go! I am just so excited to be interviewing with the man of my dreams. Can you imagine it? Living out one of my childhood “Save The World” dreams with my main man, Husband?! I can’t wait. Living in a mud hut, shitting in a hole, teaching students, being immersed in culture and language… what a magnificently, life-changing opportunity.

Yea, see. I want each one just as bad as the other.

How would you choose?

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Monday Munchies

In the wake of this drastic dietary change… I’ve had to sacrifice some of my most FAVORITE foods and settle for some pretty lame alternatives. Because I have failed to learn to cook, I have been very overwhelmed with the ever-growing list of what I cannot eat. My mom has graciously decided to join me on what she calls a “lifestyle adjustment.” While she’s having a ball, I simply want to die. Thanks for her though for keeping from starvation. Unfortunately, we’re about two weeks in so far and I’ve had two secret mess-ups. ONE: I went shopping with Husband, and I nearly threatened his life for a slice of pizza. I had two! TWO: I ate the SHIT out of a Big Zax Snack Meal the next day… in the car… at a gas station… far from the house.

As hard as it’s been, these are a few of my personal triumphs so far:

1. Homemade fruit pops: I am craving ice cream but I can’t have dairy anymore…so… I made my own popsicles with fruits and veggies in our juicer. I juiced cantaloupes, oranges, carrots, cucumbers, apples, and pears and froze them. They taste so amazing! Definitely a WIN!

Found these at Publix. Less than $5.

Found these at Publix. Less than $5.

2. Trail Mix: I absolutely, positively, whole-heartedly HATE(D) Trail Mix aka Bird & Squirrell Food. I hate nuts. Peanuts, specifically, give me heartburn like you wouldn’t believe. BUT… since I cannot eat processed sugars, chocolate, and gluten… I have learned to appreciate trail mix. They are jam packed with protein, which helps because I have limited my protein intake from meats that I cannot eat.

3. Almond/Coconut Milk: Holy Shit!!! This stuff is amazing! I prefer almond milk to the coconut milk, but they are both really great alternatives to dairy milk. I don’t have to worry about whether my milk is full of antibiotics, growth hormones, etc. These two alternatives also have WAY more calcium than cow’s milk. AND no tummy aches! SCORE!

CRACK!

CRACK!

4. Brown Rice: We all know that I, Jenn, am QUEEN of burnt rice. I can’t cook white rice to SAVE my life. It’s also pretty embarrassing considering I’m Hispanic and all!! Well, since I cant consume anything made from enriched flours or white bleaches, I am happy to say that I am a brown rice cooking master chef! I am cooking brown rice without a problem. Weird because I’ve always heard that it’s harder to cook brown rice than white rice. Whatever! At least I still get my rice & beans. PRAISE!

5. Coconut Oil: Cosmetic products like make-ups, lotions, shampoos, etc. and even processed foods we consume contain these things called xenoestrogens (chemicals that mimic estrogen) that are setting my endometriosis awry. So, I’ve been on the hunt for some all-natural products that I can use daily in place of lotions and shampoos. Well, I stumbled across coconut oil and I am completely OBSESSED! I use it as lotion, scalp treatment, and facial moisturizer. What’s even more amazing about it is that I can turn right around and use it as a vegetable oil substitute, in place of butter, as a jelly spread and the list goes on. There are some incredible health benefits to this stuff like it’s anti-bacterial and digestive healing properties, and it aids in weight loss by assisting your metabolism.

This stuff is LIFE CHANGING.

This stuff is LIFE CHANGING.

6. Drinking my veggies: Because I have to be so tedious in intaking the good stuff, I have been juicing my veggies. I’ve been consuming (1) way more than I ever would have eaten, and (2) vegetables that I NEVER would have eaten. I can see a change in my body already. I’ve shed two inches from my waistline and my skin is much clearer.

7. Flax Seed/Konsyl: I have been eating flax seeds in my oatmeal and have been adding a bit of the Konsyl fiber supplements into my vegetable juices and have noticed a change in my digestion. I also do this to be sure than I am getting a good amount of fiber each day. Because I am juicing my vegetables rather than eating them, I am losing out on the necessary dietary fibers that those foods provide. Insert Konsyl.

Good stuff but it cost about $20.

Good stuff but it cost about $20.

8. Carob: I am a choco-fiend. I love chocolate sooo much, ESPECIALLY in those few days right before my cycle comes. My love of chocolate results in breakouts, and weight fluctuations. Though I have only had a little bit of carob, I am thrilled. It’s a great chocolate substitute that tastes very similar. I can’t wait to get my hands on some. I am so glad I get to have my chocolate fix without all the breakouts and stomach aches.

9. Salmon: I hate seafood. But, we found this almond crusted salmon recipe on the Whole Foods website and as reluctant as I was to try it, it turned out pretty damn good. I was pleasantly surprised to see how un-fishy my dinner was, and was even more excited to have a new alternative to meat.
10. Sweet Potato Fries: I love my French Fries. Mom and I fried them in cold-pressed Rosemary Oil because I have to be very careful what types of vegetable oils I am consuming. Anyways, they were… AMAZEBALLS.

I am finally starting to feel like this gluten/dairy/soy/meat intolerance thing can become something manageable. I’m starting small, making minor adjustments and not punishing myself for my slip-ups. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

-Jenn

Decisions, Decisions… The Aftermath

After ALL that talk I did the other day about my withdrawing from NYU, and about how okay I was with it, I’m taking it back. All of it. Call me spazz whatever. It was a pretty pitiful sight though: me, in the car balling my eyes out to Husband about the situation. My confidence in my ‘decision’ lasted all of 45 minutes before I FREAKED THE FUCK OUT.

See, here’s the thing (just try and keep up):

1. I am enrolled at NYU in the MSW program. It’s clinical, which I don’t really care for, but you’ve heard it all already, it’s NYU, blah blah blah!! I’m technically on a medical leave but I can just submit my release papers via my OB/GYN and I’m good to go for the fall. We really don’t want to be in NY long term and I damn sure don’t want to have little Jenn&Tommy’s running around the concrete jungle. No thanks. BUT… if I get my degree from there I’m sure we’ll end up being stuck there because of my licensing and work opportunities, or whatever. Oh, and NY just so happens to be really expensive. And NYU…. The tuition… ain’t nobody got time for that!

Sea of Concrete.

Sea of Concrete.

Ran into Magic right after Orientation!

Ran into Magic right after Orientation!

2. We really, really want to go to Seattle. To live forever with a home and a garden with the kiddies and some dogs and all that holistic, west coast, earthly shit. I spent some time there a few years ago and I LOVED it, and our relationship really sort of blossomed there. It’s a special place to us. But it’s really far away from our family. Oh, and I applied to UW for their MSW program and was told that I’d know by February. It’s now March and I still have no word back. This is now my second attempt. If they let me, to hell with NY… we’re going straight to Seattle. First flight out with Apollo in hand! If they deny me, well… we haven’t figured that part out yet.

Space Needle.

Space Needle.

Mt. St. Helen's was around there somewhere.

Mt. St. Helen’s was around there somewhere.

3. In the midst of all of this, we (well, mostly I) decided that we should apply to the Peace Corps. I saw a big “Apply by February 28th to leave by the end of 2013 or early 2014” banner flash across the screen and we (mostly I) couldn’t pass that up. There’s really no telling how fast or slow that process will move because we are applying as a couple. They typically take a little longer to place couples than single people. I also really don’t think I’ll make it past the medical exam portion. My body is holding together by threads. But it’s been my goal to apply to the Peace Corps since high school. I start an application every year and never finish it. Finally, I can scratch that off my “To Do List” but yea… not sure I chose the best timing. Oops.

Photo courtesy of Google.

Photo courtesy of Google.

4. Endometriosis is really ruining my fucking life. I feel like there is a time bomb in my uterus and if I don’t have a baby TOMORROW, it’s going to blow my chances of ever having kids right to Mars. Nope. No pressure, and I really want to have a baby too. We both do. The baby fever is killing me. It’s on a really deep, conflicting, emotional level. I don’t know if it’s the fear of not being able to have babies that’s making me want one so badly, or if it’s that my body is really trying to tell me something. I love my husband with all my heart, and we talk about this all the time. We’ve even talked about starting Clomid, a fertility drug, in June.

5. Tommy wants to rejoin the reserves. He served seven years in the Air Force and he really misses the discipline. He says he had purpose then. I fully support and respect that decision. But he’s got to drop some weight in order to do so, and that’s kind of hanging in the balances because of our pending application with the Peace Corps.

Are you starting to see why I may be freaking out a bit??

Now, imagine trying to figure out the best combination of opportunities to satisfy the both us. Do I press pause on graduate school and a building career to try and have babies now, while I’m “fresh out” of surgeries and my chances for success are still pretty high so we can have a family? Or do we wait to have babies and live our lives, accomplishing things and trying to change the world and I potentially miss my chances of being able to create life with the man of my dreams? Oh, shoot… well what if the Peace Corps accepts us? Do we go? Hmmm. Seattle? New York? Babies? No babies? Peace Corps? Reserves?

It’s all a waiting game. Waiting to hear about school. Waiting to hear about jobs. Waiting to hear about Peace Corps. Waiting to hear about medical clearances. God, it’s exhausting. So that’s why we put NYU back on the table. No premature, irrational decisions. Not until we start to get some word back. It’s out of our hands still.

Anyone have any bright ideas, because so far… we’ve got nothing.

-Jenn

Decisions, Decisions…

It’s time for me to make one of the most bittersweet decisions of my very young life; a decision that I have been battling internally with for months now. One that is taking me a lot longer to come to terms with because of the circumstances. I am not one for being still, not one for moving slowly or taking time off, or “giving myself a break.” Truth is, I love living fast. I love having a million commitments all at once, stretching myself just thin enough to accomplish a world of things while remaining relatively in tact. I love being involved, and I love being busy. I love those really late nights and super early mornings. I guess in my mind I always equated busyness with successfulness, or productivity. I always had to be doing something. I could never just sit down, because when I did sit down, I crashed. My body would fall apart, I’d sleep the days away and I’d just feel like I wasn’t being a contribution to society. So… I just kept moving.

I graduated from high school in May of 2006 and went to college early that June. I did what every freshman/sophomore does… I partied my ass off. I became such a social butterfly and kind of forgot about the college part. But, I paid the price: fully loaded summer terms every single summer with no spring breaks in order to graduate with my peers. I brought my GPA up from waaay down in the dirt to an above 3.0 GPA, joined a sorority, landed a dope internship and graduated in May 2010, exactly 4 years later. From May to August I did my internship with the Boys & Girls Club, and by the end of August, drove from Georgia to Washington to join a 10-month AmeriCorps program. During that program I had 3 jobs. I worked in an elementary school from 8-3, then an afterschool program from 3:30-6, and during the nights I worked at “Latino Night School.” I did this all the while participating on community chapter sorority events, maintaining my gym membership and again, partying my ass off with my teammates. On average, I was clocking in over 93 hours of service each paycheck from AmeriCorps alone. I drove back to GA in August 2011 with my then-boyfriend Tommy (who was living in GA) after the program ended and we got married that December. I started working at Old Navy during those months. What was supposed to be something just to keep me busy, turned into the primary household income, as Tommy was still a college student and stopped receiving military student aid. I was driving an hour to Savannah to work minimum wage, trading shifts to make rent & utilities. He was supposed to graduate that May, but things just didn’t work out. We couldn’t afford his summer tuition, and I ended up cashing in my AmeriCorps education award just so we could make it.

Earlier that year, in April I believe, I was standing with Tommy in line at Old Navy, when I got the email that nearly made me pass out. I had been accepted into the Master’s of Social Work program at NEW YORK UNIVERSITY!! That school has been my dream school since I was a child. NYU was everything to me. So, it was settled. Tommy and I decided that I would go and start at NYU during the fall of 2012 and he would stay behind to finish his last semester at Georgia Southern. It would just be one semester apart, I have family in New York so no big deal.

Then I got sick.

Actually, I had been sick all along. Sick for years, but I was too busy to really notice. Or care. It’s an addiction, the fast-paced moving and shaking. If I had a pain, I’d pop an Ibuprofen. If I had a cold, I’d pop a NyQuil. Stomach ache, heartburn, skin rash? Tums and Neosporin. NEVER a day off! I wasn’t listening to my body.

I was spending the summer preparing myself for my move to New York since school started in September. UW had denied me, and George Mason accepted me… but come on, there was NO way I wasn’t going to my DREAM SCHOOL. So here I am going to my OB/GYN for a bladder infection & routine pap in July suddenly I’m having surgery in August. I had a laser laporoscopy on August 17th, stitches removed (early) on the 24th and I was on a plane on the 26th. During that time, it was suggested that I consider having babies really soon because of the endometriosis and the PCOS. I also needed another procedure for an abnormality on my pap smear, but that shit had to wait because I WAS GOING TO NYU!!

Yea right. I was an NYU student for all of two weeks before I had to take a medical leave of absence. I’m on a plane back to GA and in another surgery just days before Tommy graduates from college in December. We’ve been here in GA ever since. I was supposed to submit my paperwork to come off the medical leave in January of this year, but I haven’t yet done so. I’ve been trying really hard to get my health in order but just can’t seem to get a handle on it. Tommy isn’t too keen on being in NY while trying to start a family, and honestly, neither am I. My NYU dreams are toast!

Sometimes, I feel like I’m having to choose between two very important things. Do I try and start a family now, because I may not be able to later? (This includes fertility drugs, treatments, tests… the whole nine.) Or do I continue to follow my dreams? (Go to graduate school, join the Peace Corps, save the world and try for babies later when it MIGHT be too late.) I get so frustrated because everyone else gets to have their cake and eat it too, but me… I’m falling apart. While I was walking all over the city post-surgery, doped up on painkillers… I was damaging myself. I was in so much pain and developed internal hemorrhoids. I was being incredibly irresponsible and reckless.

I’m taking the time now to really take care of myself. I’m eating better, working out, actively listening to my body. It’s telling me that NYU is a no-go. More so then my body, my marriage is telling me NO. Neither one of us, at this point, want to go to New York anymore. I don’t want to start a family there, it’s so damn expensive, and I wasn’t really crazy about the curriculum anyways, but still I get caught up on what NYU symbolizes. NYU is fast-paced: it’s grad school classes and internships, papers and busyness, late nights and tears, stress and accomplishment. NYU needed single Jenn, able to run around like a crazy person with no commitments Jenn. But I’m not her anymore. I’m married, ready to have a home Jenn. Ready to start a family with the man of my dreams Jenn. Ready to live life slower, because not only does my condition require that, but my quality of life does too.

I mean, we haven’t ironed out the details of our “baby-making” timeline because we still have so many other possibilities out in the universe. We’re still waiting to hear from UW, did I get in or didn’t I? We’re still waiting to hear whether we can move forward with the Peace Corps. We’re in between the references and interview phase. We’re still trying to figure out what state we want to make home base, and while all of those possibilities will iron themselves out one by one, I know there is one thing I can actively eliminate. My medical leave is turning into an academic withdrawal, and I am okay with that. One decision made, a million more to choose from.

NYU SIlver

NYU SIlver

-Jenn

The End is Only the Beginning

Today was the last day. The last day for the junk food, the last day for the bullshitting around with my exercise regimen, the last day for processed, packaged foods & products; the last day, I swear to everyone’s gods, to actively and willing sabotage our plans for having babies and living ‘til we’re old enough to die laying in bed together, wrinkled & crinkled, holding hands & gazing into each other’s bifocals. We have to, and by have to, I mean HAVE TO change our lifestyle habits: everything from what we eat, to the products we put on our skin, to our stress management, the WORKS. It’ll be a slow and frustrating process, we know, but we don’t have a choice.

I was recently diagnosed with Endometriosis. It’s a condition that basically means my uterine tissue grows on the outside of my uterus, implants on my organs and causes internal bleeding, INSANE menstrual crampage, lots of digestive issues and worst of all… infertility. I’ve also got PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), which basically causes a host of other issues like imbalanced hormones, weight gain, irregular periods, oily skin & acne and keeps my eggs from maturing into eggs. My body is extremely out of whack because I’ve spent the last 8 months on bottles of prescriptions and antibiotics from surgeries, biopsies, infections, and digestive troubles. It is more important than ever, to get my body chemistry in order, and I want to do so naturally.

So… that’s it. No more fast food, no more freezer bags and pre-made dinners, no more preservatives, additives, artificials, no more, no more, no more. Those things are full of chemicals that are offsetting my hormones and really making living with endometriosis are real B-word. So we’ll see… we’ve been juicing for the past few weeks and although I personally think veggie juice tastes like dirty water, I can definitely tell a difference in my body and my skin. Tommy loves it, which is weird because he turns his nose up at veggies like a 3 year old!

I guess in order to make a drastic change in your life you’ve got to draw the last straw. That’s pretty much where we are these days: The Last Straw. And we’ll cover it all here! This blog will be about more than just our journey to healthy eating. It’ll be about our battles with infertility, our struggles with our parents, our decisions about jobs and grad schools, our successes, our marriage, our travels, our pooch Apollo (who I promise was supposed to be my son), our Peace Corps process, and our lessons along the way. We’ve got a lot going on, and we’re just trying to figure shit out.

Juicing: Tastes like dirt, smells like shit, yet does the body GOOD!

Juicing: Tastes like dirt, smells like shit, yet does the body GOOD!