Baby Steps

This “medical leave” has been a long, stressful, embarrassing situation for me. I was offered acceptance into my dream school and was there for two weeks before I had to withdraw for the year. There’s a really long backstory here explaining why.

So far, it’s been six months since I’ve been on medical leave and I was supposed to be starting the process to come OFF the medical leave back in January, but I just haven’t. I’m not even sure why. On most days it’s because I’m thoroughly convinced I’m done with NYU, because 1. I just don’t want to go back to the city, 2. I think I want to start the baby-creating process, and 3. I’m not sure if I’m even mentally ready to go back yet. The string of surgeries and pressures of this infertility thing have really chipped at my psyche and NYU needs my full and utmost attention.Then there are those days when I want to go back to school, because I need some normalcy back in my life. I need to move forward, and I miss school. I miss learning, and what better place to learn than at NYU!

Well, regardless of how ready I am or am not, I made one small step in the name of Progress today. I called my OB/GYN/Surgeon and asked him to create a document for me, to forward to my advisor, stating I am able to return to school this fall. He had to submit one to her last year saying that it was in my best interest if I took a medical leave, and I decided to take if for the duration of the year. He said he’d do it. He said he’d work on the document and fax it to her as soon as he could.

Baby steps.

Even if Husband and I decide before school starts in September that we really, truly, don’t want to go back to NYC, that’s ok. But in the meantime, I have to try and grab the reigns back from these situations in my life. I walked away from NYU last year feeling so humiliated and embarrassed. It was for my own good I suppose, but still. I can’t continue to sit around and wait for the universe to make these decisions for me.

I have to pick myself up and move on. Regardless of my fears of infertility, or making the wrong choice… sitting here, stagnant, doesn’t help. We have many decisions to make by the end of summer, and I’m just going to try to make the best out of the waiting period. This was a big step for me today. It felt good taking some control.

That’s why rehabilitation is all about right? Learning to regain control of your life, taking the power back, and becoming a better and smarter choice maker.

Maybe I'll be back.

Maybe I’ll be back.


The In-Betweeners

If we don’t get a space of our own, or some privacy for God’s sake, SOON… We’re going to explode.

Husband and I are, uhm, in between spaces right now. We’re in that awkward phase between moves, where our rent was up, and we haven’t decided where we’re moving to next, so to keep from living in our cars, or signing and breaking a lease, we ended up at our parent’s…. yea….

It’s very tense and touchy. See, we can’t exactly get a place because I might be going back to NYU in the fall, well, that is unless the Peace Corps works out, then we’d do that instead. Basically, we’re camping out between our parent’s places. Husband is working in Athens, where his dad lives, and my mom lives in Lithonia, about an hour away. So, when we get annoyed with one parent, we move on the next parent’s place. It’s frustrating, and getting old. We can’t keep up with our belongings, we don’t get any privacy, and we’re completely out of our element.

My husband is grown. Like, 32 years old grown. Military veteran grown. Oh, and I’m pretty grown too! I mean, I’ve lived, I’ve traveled, and I’ve got a degree. I’m 24, but hell, I’m married and THAT means I needz my space. At my mom’s house there’s two dogs (excluding mine), and a sister I don’t like. My mom is so OCD about everything that it makes it difficult to be in communal spaces with her. Plus she’s so loud. She makes the most ungodly ruckus every chance she gets, AND she works from home!!! So, that means, we get special access to her kitchenette band practice early Saturday & Sunday mornings. I didn’t know she was in a band, or how many people are in it, but judging by the noise and the variety of instruments, I’d say there’s at least 6 people in it and there favorite instruments are the pots, pans, pantry doors, and the got-damn refrigerator. They aren’t very good. Not only that, every conference call is frustrating. We can’t use the kitchen when she’s working in there. We can’t walk up and down her stupid creaky steps. Apollo can’t make a sound. Come on lady. Take your ass to your office. In the basement. Jesus.

Husband is a giant. 6’4. 290. He walks hard. Hell, he moves strong. Nothing in his path is safe. Apparently, he’s supposed to be as light as a feather. Everyday, “Jennifer, your husband is so loud. I was on a conference call and I could hear him on call.” Oh sorry, I left the clouds in the car, I’ll be sure to bring them in so he can walk on them next time.

“Jennifer, he eats so much. I don’t know if I can keep up with him.” Yes mom, he’s a big man. I’m pretty sure a normal meal for you, is a snack for him. No one can get by on that “carrot and a cup of coffee” excuse you call a meal. We need FOOD. Real food.

We went to a movie this weekend, and six minutes into it my phone rings, “Jennifer, uhm, I forgot my key. Are you far away?” Apparently, and I didn’t know this but, the movie theater will pause your movie for you or completely refund your money with good reason, like “Mom’s got issues.” And she does.

No where is safe, his dad’s house is not a space I am familiar with, so I don’t feel comfortable there for long periods of time, just like I’m sure Husband hates being at my mom’s for too long. His dad’s got a girlfriend and works late, which means he’s not there much or for veylong, which is great for us. Unfortunately, I don’t know my way around Athens, so when he’s at work all day long, Apollo and I are stuck in the house with nothing to do. So we sit and wait, and when that time comes, we’re sitting at the door like little puppies waiting on Husband to walk through the door. It’s pretty pitiful.

His mom lives in North Carolina. She remarried and her living quarters are… exhausting. My dad also remarried and lives in Jasper, GA. Those two parents are the farthest away from us and we don’t get to visit much because of Husband’s schedule.

We’re just ready for our own space again. I am ready for a decision to be made so we can have our privacy back. No noise is a noise we didn’t make. We can walk as hard as we want, eat whatever we want, Apollo can play around and not be attacked and thrown around by my mother’s unruly, untrained dogs, and we can finally put the duffle bags away. I am sick of living out of bags.

The minute we make a decision of where to go to next, I am bolting out of here, Husband & Pooch in hand, and not looking back, and I don’t want to SEE another family member until I say so!

squiggle face

This in-between phase SUCKS.


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.


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


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!