Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My Life with Endometriosis & Infertility: The Grand Finale/ New Beginning

This is a personal account of what mine and my husband's life has been like over the past four years. To some this may seem extremely too personal, but I feel guided to share this, in hopes that even one person may be moved, touched, or made to feel less alone in the whole process of trying to have a baby.  Be forewarned, the "Grand Finale" of this story does not end with a precious little bundle of joy, but it does have a happy ending in another sense. There are even many miracles in this story, that the untrained eye may not see.
Jared and I were married in September of 2008. We were perfectly happy living the newly married life, had two dogs and three cats, and were enjoying our life together.  Having a baby did not seem like something that we wanted or needed for the first couple of years.  We had bought our first house, Jared and I were making good money (even though we didn't know how to handle it) and things were great. We loved to just take off and go out of town for the weekend, have gatherings at our house, go out for dinner all the time, and enjoyed the freedom to do whatever we felt like doing.  
Reality kind of sunk in when I started reading this book called,"Your Money or Your Life." It talked about how much time your job actually takes up, causing your actual "hourly rate" to go way down. It brought up the idea of having financial independence, and how much more freeing and and fulfilling your life could be, and the idea of really being content and doing something meaningful that makes a difference in the world.  Jared quickly realized he was not happy at all working his high paying factory job, because the long hours, forced over time, and swing shift was taking a major toll on his well being. He would be completely exhausted and grouchy when it finally got to his days off. He felt trapped. We decided to put the house on the market. 
In the meantime, I started having some health problems.  It started off with my usual monthly issues that seemed to be getting extremely bad.  It was so bad that I would have to miss a couple days of work every month if the first couple days didn't fall on a weekend.  This had been happening since high school, but I know my body, and something really seemed to be wrong.  My sister and I would get letters from the school saying we had missed too many days (even though we were doing great in our classes.)  How are you supposed to do anything when you are writhing in pain in the fetal position on the floor of the bathroom, covered in sweat, because your body is basically in shock from the pain?  That was the intensity of what started happening to me every month, combined with uncontrollable vomiting from the pain and diarrhea. For THREE DAYS straight, and then slowly calming down for the next 4-5 days.  Something was not right.  Not to mention, I was a newly wed, and time in the bedroom was disrupted by horrible pains that I was having.
I went to my gynecologist who I'd been going to for years.  He had always known about my horrible monthly visits, ( I like to call her the Red Headed Bitch from the South.)  I told him about how the pain during sex was really bothering me and that I knew something was wrong. I told him about the severe endometriosis that runs in my family on both sides and that I was concerned that may be my issue.  His answer was that I wasn't having sex properly. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? He drew out some positions for me to try that wouldn't hurt.  And THEN....he gave me some lube to shoot up there that women going through menopause use. SERIOUSLY?? That was not the issue and I freaking know how to have sex, thank you very much. Dear, God...Then he told me that the only way to tell if I had endometriosis was to have a laparoscopy and he hopes I NEVER  have to have that done, because its horrible.  Thank you very much, sir, I won't be seeking your council ever again.  I left his office in tears.
As a woman, I felt I was being brushed aside. "You're a woman. Deal with it."  How many times have we been told that or been made to feel that way?  Far too many.  I feel its so important to empower girls, starting at a young age, and teach them what is normal and what is not.  This has been going on for generations in my family, so we all assumed that this was a normal thing that happened to our bodies that we just have to be bad asses and deal with it.  There was no information about about endometriosis or PCOS, or any other female diseases that can cause so much inconvenience and pain on multiple levels.  So we toughed it out.
So on to the next doctor....she seemed to be understanding at first.  I told her what had happened, with my chin quivering, trying to hold back tears, and my sister there for backup. (She acts like my big sister, in the sense that she's always ready to defend me or beat someone up if she needs to. Thanks, Britt ;)  We thought she seemed pretty understanding, and she said it seemed that it was obviously bad enough that I wanted help, so she set up a laparoscopy to do some exploring.  Finally, I was hoping to get some help.  If there is endometriosis in there, it could be lanced with a laser to give me some relief.
After the laparoscopy, which is where they make 4 tiny incisions in your abdomen and go in with a camera to look around, and if they see anything weird, they can usually take care of it then, she said she found only a couple of spots. One was on the cervix, which would explain the pain during sex, and then the left fallopian tube looked pretty scarred up. They sent the biopsies off to pathology which verified that it was most certainly endometriosis. That seemed easy, now on to the sweet relief!!.....
Just kidding... I only had relief from the pain during sex. That was it. Damn it!  So back again a couple months later to the office.  My symptoms were getting worse. Her answer for the next several months was to switch birth control.  I finally had to get firm and say, "none of these birth controls are working for me.  We need to try something else, I CANNOT live like this."  Her answer this time was a ridiculously  expensive shot called Lupron that puts you into a false menopause, hot flashes and weird hairs and all. I was willing to try anything.  So at $700 a pop per month for three months, (yes, that's with insurance covering the rest) I went into a gloriously sweaty flare up of my symptoms.  I felt even worse. I didn't think that was possible, but I was proven wrong. 
After three months, I went off of the shots, and decided to give my body a break from all of the synthetic hormones.  That's when I had my second giant breast tumor grow back. I had one seven years earlier that was benign, but a second?  It was scary.  This one had grown in what seemed to be overnight, and when they removed it, it was a little bigger than a golf ball.  This one was benign as well, thank God.  But, seriously, what the heck? Like I didn't have enough going on with my body.
As the months went on after the Lupron shots, my pain was at an all time high.  And not only was it during the one week that the RHBFTS was in town, but during the rest of the month I started having really painful lower abdominal cramps and diarrhea ALL THE TIME. TMI?? Sorry, that's what I was living with...having to be near a bathroom at all times, locating the bathroom any time we would go somewhere in case I had to sprint.  And try explaining that to your 20 something friends who just wanna have fun and party all the time.  Of course, that's what I wanted to do, too, but its a little hard to cut loose when you're having anxiety about something else cutting loose. Or being afraid of riding with people somewhere in case you get stuck in the bathroom with horrible, sweating-on-the-toilet-so-bad -that-you-want-to-rip-all-of-your-clothes-off-and-need-a-bucket-in-front-of-you kind of abdominal cramps because you don't know what's going to come out. It's graphic, I know, but I'm trying to explain exactly how my day to day was, and this affected Jared, as well.
I would call my gynecologist every month and plead for her nurse to help me somehow.  They said there was nothing they could do.  They tried some pill to cut down on the bleeding, which did nothing for me.  I tried to explain that my sister and I used to take my dad's arthritis medicine and that was the only thing that got us through high school.  It was an anti-inflammatory and its since been taken off the market, but that stuff worked like a dream.  We could actually function!
When I was in the midst of all of this, I got the worst news of my life.  My grandma, who I was extremely close to, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  She was the person I went to who was ALWAYS on my side, even to a fault.  She babysat me everyday until I was 2 1/2 when my sister was born, and we had the most special relationship. I love her so much, and this news just rocked my world.  How could God put this on one of the most loving, giving, and nurturing people on this planet?  She and my grandpa held our family together so tightly, with so much love, and were just the epitome of a good example of how to live your life gracefully, giving whatever you can of yourself to help others.  My grandpa worked tirelessly the entire summer before our wedding on a beautiful paved patio and deck in their backyard because that's where I wanted to have my wedding. 

Here we are being crazy, imagine that...

Grandma had to have all of the little details just right.  She and my mom had made a gourmet brunch for my wedding shower and had little details everywhere. She loved her garden of flowers and everything in their house has a special touch, and special purpose. She was just love. It just poured out of her, without her even knowing it.
My grandparents had been together since they were 14 years old, and they had been best friends with the same couple that introduced them at that age ever since.  Their son was a gynecologist in St. Louis and had a great connection to one of the top women's oncologists in the country. He was able to get my grandma in to see him right away and he did a major surgery on her that took between 8 and 9 hours.  She had a large bowel resection, but recovered very quickly and started chemo down in St. Louis about a month later.  St. Louis is about 2 hours from where we lived, but the doctor did his own special mix of chemo for each person right there in his office so he could keep an eye on them.  My family and I got to take turns taking her down there, which I believe was such a blessing.  I loved having the time to myself with her on the drive, and then we would watch HGTV while she was getting her treatment, take a little nap, and then I would get us Panera for lunch.  She would always come prepared with a bag of magazines and snacks and, one time she snuck me a "granola bar" which was actually a fiber one bar.  That was an unpleasant surprise for the ride home! Haha! She had a way of sneaking healthy things into my grandpa's diet, too, and a lot of times they back fired! That was just her way of taking care of us all.
She did great after chemo.  She always had so much drive to get better fast and to get back to all the things she loved to do.  Finally, after almost two years, our house finally sold. We happened to put it up for sale about 2 weeks before the housing market crashed.  Grandma and grandpa said that we could stay with them until we found another house.  This was AWESOME! Its never easy living with someone else when you are an adult and have been living on your own for awhile, but they made it much easier.  Jared was SPOILED!! My grandma was the best cook that ever lived, and now my mom has stepped into that spot.  She had a blast making us breakfast every morning and dinner every night. She packed Jared's lunch for work and loaded it full of good stuff.  I jokingly told her, "Grandma, you are really making me look bad!" We had an entire two bedrooms and bathroom all to ourselves on one private side of their house.  She loved my cats (who had lived there with me before) and the dogs, too.  She loved having us there to take care of. And I'm so glad we got that extra time to spend there. 
Grandma and Grandpa would go with looking for houses.  We wanted something much smaller (preferably a little cottage), something that needed work that we could fix up, with a nice yard in a quiet neighborhood where we could have a big garden and outside space to relax in. We looked for months, and just couldn't quite find what we wanted. We made an offer on one house, but they completely rejected it with no counter offer, so we walked.  One Sunday, we were out driving, looking at open houses, and came across a "For Sale By Owner" sign on a street we had never been down. We drove past, and I knew then and there that was our house. 
 We set up a time to look at it, and Grandma said she could tell by the look on my face that it was mine. It even had the green house I wanted. There are a couple other posts HERE and HERE that tell more about it.

We ended up pretty much updating the whole thing before we moved in. Grandpa helped us do the floors, new trim, ceilings, crown moulding, kitchen and lighting. Grandma helped us remove a ton of wallpaper, and all of the painting.  During all of this, she had some symptoms start coming back.  We were in the middle of getting ready to start the bathroom remodel when Grandpa had to rush her down to Barnes hospital.  It seemed the cancer had come back and was causing more problems.  Not wanting to be in their way at home, we decided to go ahead and move the rest of our stuff into our new house and start staying there.  Months went by and Grandma was unable to eat.  That was probably the hardest thing for my family to grasp.  When someone stops eating, and nourishing them self, it seems like they are giving up. You go through stages, where you are mad at them because you want them to try, and then you are sad because it seems like they just aren't trying.  I think it was a lonely place for her because she WAS  trying, and none of us understood. No one knew how she felt, and it was was hard for her to watch us all, especially my grandpa, try to cope with this fact. She ALWAYS tried her very best. She physically could not eat because her body wouldn't let her.  They added chemo back in which caused some other very painful side effects for her. 
Her body started giving out.  She held on long enough to prepare my Grandpa.  He was her number one priority. The love of her life. She had to know that he would be taken care of. While she was sick, she would teach him how she was particular about her cleaning, she taught him how to make his favorite breakfasts. She showed him how to make some of the dinners he loved, she showed him where all of the bills were and how the bill pay worked. 
She had to be rushed by ambulance to Barnes Hospital one evening.  The entire family rushed down to St. Louis.  We thought this was the end.  She was on a respirator and someone had come in to do the last rights.  Everyone was praying for God to take her peacefully so that she could feel good again, when suddenly her eyes opened. She said she had a dream and we all were there.  And we said we'd been with her the whole time.  She was able to make it home to be on hospice for two weeks. Our family surrounded her and my grandpa, we all took turns staying up all night with her.
It was during this time that Jared and I had a change of heart.  Seeing the love of our family, and how we all rallied together made us realize that if we don't have children, we are not going to carry this on.  We won't have this when we are older.  We were finally on track with our smaller house, and a new way of handling our finances (thanks to Dave Ramsey.)  We decided, even though I had not been on birth control for a whole year, we were going to start actually trying to have a baby.
On June 26th, 2011, I had the honor of being with my grandmother as she peacefully left her earthly body, that just could no longer keep up with her spirit, and slip into heaven.  It was the most beautiful thing I have ever witnessed, yet devastating at the same time.  I had been praying for her to be greeted by someone  she knew, probably her mother.  The night before, at around four in the morning, my mom was staying with her. She had been unable to communicate for a whole day.  My mom said at 4:00am she opened her eyes and reached out her hand and said,"Hi!" to someone. I bet her mother came to get her.  Now she is our beautiful angel.
Grieving the loss of my grandmother was quite a challenge.  I felt I had to be strong for my grandpa and my mother.  I knew they would be worried about me, but I was more worried about them. I distracted myself with my crafting and then also with the idea of having a baby.  A lot of emotions were pent up, which I now believe may have made things with my health a little worse.  Even if you mentally believe that you are okay, your body still interprets stress as signals in your body going haywire.  So its going to come out somewhere.  I don't believe it had everything to do with my health, but I definitely think it may have added a little bit to it.  
At this point I was still calling my gynecologist for help with my pain, to which her new answer was, "If you are trying to get pregnant, I can't help you with pain."  Finally, I said, "I don't even care anymore, I can't function, please give me something for pain."  She gave me some arthritis medicine which helped a little, but not enough.  After a year of timed trying, giving up the little alcohol that I drank, and eating "fertility" foods, only to be mocked every month by the Red Headed Bitch from the South, or even teased by being 4-5 days late with pregnancy symptoms, with the bitch showing up late as cruel joke.  I finally decided to go in and ask the gynecologist to do another laparoscopy.  I knew something was wrong and with my bowel issues getting worse, something needed to happen. 
Apparently she didn't even look at my chart because while we were sitting there, she said we weren't "trying" properly.  I finally said, "Well you are the one who said my left fallopian tube could be blocked!"  "Oh,"she said."Let me just look at your chart here...yes that's right. We need to do a test to check the opening of your fallopian tubes." Gee, thanks.  Not only was I nervous to talk to her about this sensitive subject, but she had the nerve to cop an attitude about me just dealing with the excruciating pain I was having without even looking at my chart.  Then I asked her if my endometriosis could be on my bowels causing all of these problems. She said," No way, it would only cause problems during your time of the month." Ha. She suggested I see a GI...and you can find more info about that in this post HERE.  That was another year down the drain, going from doctor to doctor, 2 colonoscopies, and losing a gallbladder.
It seems that fate, or my grandma, or one of my guardian angels was on my side the day that I decided to look up the recommended fertility doctor.  He was not on my insurance plan, anywhere. I called the insurance company and they could not find him anywhere. I went back to my gynecologist  office and the nurse there recommended a different doctor, my angel.  You can read all about how he helped me and saved my life in this POST.  
The gist of it is that that he went in to do a laparoscopy, given my history, to do some looking around.  What he found was a mess of endometriosis. My mom said her heart dropped because what was supposed to take about 30 minutes took 3 hours, and the pictures he showed them were of my organs COVERED in black lesions.  She said she thought it was cancer on everything. It was the endometriosis.  The doctor could not believe that this could have been so carelessly missed. He said some of it was very old and had been there probably since I was in high school. It was so aggressive that it had caused a bowel obstruction. My appendix looked very abnormal, and had to be removed.  It turned out that I had a very rare form of mucocele appendix cancer, the very cancer that Audrey Hepburn died from.  Its usually not found until its too late.  Its an unusual type of tumor which is actually in a mucous form rather than solid tumor, so it can't be treated through the blood, like normal chemotherapy. The affected organs would have to be bathed in a chemotherapy and put back in. Miraculously, mine was caught in the very early stages, and the treatment was a bowel resection with the removal of my large intestine.
This surgery was done last May, in which they also had to resection the small bowel to remove the obstruction from endometriosis. I was supposed to stay in the hospital for a minimum of 8-10 days. I was able to go home in 4 days.  My doctors were shocked at how fast I was able to get up and walk, and eat.  Dr. Loret DeMola, my fertility doctor, came in to see me and said everything looked great, and that I could finally start fertility treatments within a few months.  That alone was inspiration for me to heal fast.  Once the pathology came back that everything was clear of cancer, I was thinking big.  I couldn't believe that we were finally going to get some help and the idea of having a baby of our very own never seemed more promising.
The few months after my surgery were spent resting and trying to get used to my new anatomical makeup, missing some intestine. I tried several different things including probiotics and diet changes, and realized that since I lost the part of my bowel that absorbs water, Imodium is my best friend.  In October, we finally got to do our class on IVF.  Our dream was so close!!! We could not believe our eyes when we realized how many syringes, alcohol pads, medications and sharpes containers we would need for this journey.  
It was scary and exciting at the same time.  We took a video of us doing the first set of shots.  We had to do 3 shots daily for about 2 weeks and the go to the doctors office in Springfield, which is about 45 minutes away,  almost every other day for about a month.
Here's the first video:

After a couple times we really got the hang of it.  Here is us about a week into the have to make this whole process fun!!


After we did the two weeks of three a day shots, and you start going almost every day to have the eggs you're growing measured and counted.  When they reached the correct size, we went for egg retrieval.  Thank God they knock you out for that, because they put a huge needle up in your hoo-ha to extract the eggs.  While that's happening, hubby is leaving his little guys in cup so they can quickly pick out the best ones and mix them in with all the huge eggs that I just laid, ah-hum, I mean produced.

Then in 5 days, when they had become healthy little embryos, we went back in. We started with 18 eggs, and 11 were mature. One by one they started dropping off, and by day 5 we only had 2 little guys  left when we went in for embryo transfer.  This part was my favorite.  Even though you have to be up in stirrups with a full bladder so they can see better on the ultrasound, and like 20 people are staring at your business, it was still pretty cool. The operating room is connected to the lab with a drive up window kind of thing and its really hot because all of the embryos have to be kept at body temperature. So there's like 4 people in the lab that can see everything and the doctor and the ultrasound tech and like 5 nurses and Jared all looking at you in stirrups, but its ok. They carefully pass the embryos in a syringe through the drive up window to the doctor who squirts it into a catheter placed in your uterus and you can see everything on a monitor.  Its so cool!! We could see them take the embryos from the lab into the syringe into the catheter, and into the uterus!! It was the closest thing I had ever been to being pregnant. It was a miracle!!

Then comes the not fun part...the progesterone shots and the two week wait.  The progesterone needle is 1 1/2" long. And thick. And the progesterone oil is thick. It gets shot right into the buttocks. YOOOWCH!  My poor husband had the task of giving me these shots.  The second day found him feeling more confident, maybe a little too confident, and he hit a bone! That's right, a bone!! He felt so bad, and so did I.  Here were the expressions of my family after hearing this news:
(Sorry for the crack, and I look like Garth here, but it adds to the effect)

It was pretty bad.  I went to my mom's office and had one of the doctors put a circle on my bum for the next nights shots. We also got smaller needles. That helped a lot!!  You are supposed to take it easy the first couple of days, and not do anything to strenuous until you get your pregnancy results.  

The ten day wait was a tough one. My scheduled blood test was for December 23, two days before Christmas.  Also, Jared's sweet little grandmother had past away unexpectedly during those 10 days, which was devastating, so we were really hoping for some good news. On December 23,  I got the call I was waiting for and it was my doctor's voice on the line. I knew that was not good news.  The embryos did not survive, and I was not pregnant.  

On Christmas day, someone showed up in red, but it sure as hell was not Santa. It was that RHBFTS again. Merry Effing Christmas.  I know I don't usually cuss, but damn it, I had to.  All this build up, all this joy preparing room in my heart for one or even two little ones.  Going crazy pinning ideas for a nursery, cloth diapers, homemade baby food, DIY maternity clothes, to my secret baby pinterest board. Loving those little embryos as if they were already my babies. All the hard work I put my body, my mind, my heart, my husband through. Dashed. It hurt so much more than I expected. And it didn't help that those progesterone shots make your body think that its pregnant, I was even nauseous and had food aversions. You can't even trust your own body. You relinquish your whole being to these doctors so that they can help you make a miracle. I was devastated. I felt broken. I did not expect this at all. I kept telling myself," I can handle this. If it doesn't work, it wasn't meant to be."  I still believe that, but at the time, nothing could have prepared me for those emotions.  I contemplated not doing IVF again.  
I went back and forth about right up until our second round.

Unfortunately, because of my genetic makeup, my body responded very aggressively to the hormones. Endometriosis is fueled by estrogen, and my body can't handle it.  I found out that's also why I had the breast tumors in the past.  When I have a lot of estrogen, my body thinks it needs to produce more tissue, which is why I also get a crazy amount of uterine polyps and fibroid tumors. I've had to have those removed in surgery three times in the past year.  After IVF,  I was in horrible pain for 3 months until we tried it again.  I relied on pain meds to get me through the day.  ,I had to have a couple of procedures done to make sure that it was the endometriosis causing the pain. One of those happened to be my third colonoscopy for which they were unable to get me to sleep completely and I woke up during the procedure in excruciating pain, only to be followed by a barium enema Xray so they could get their results.  Easily the worst day of my life. 

Everything came out okay, though, and the end result was that my endometriosis is just so aggressive, the only way to fix the pain is through hysterectomy which would cause everything to die off. That would only be done after we had finished having our family.  

So on to round 2 of IVF.  We were a pro at the shots by now.  The only hold up was that the insurance had mis-coded something and was trying to tell me that one of my drugs was $3000. Just one, the others were close to $1000 a piece and our total was gonna be $6000. I don't think so.  They waited until the last possible day to get it straightened out and I had to have everything over nighted.  I am so thankful for the lady that stood up for me and fought these people in charge to prove that my drugs were covered.  I really am truly grateful that we have insurance that has made it possible to even try this route.  Our doctor changed up the drug protocol this time in attempt to get better quality eggs.  My eggs were low quality because the endometriosis attacks them on a cellular level that they still cant quite explain.  I started off as a very slow responder this time, so they increased my drugs by triple.  It took a little over two weeks this time before egg retrieval.  We did go to a concert to try and take our minds off of everything this time, which was nice.  It was in St. Louis, so we had to take our shots with us on ice and do them in the hotel room before we left.

I was cautiously optimistic this time.  My heart was guarded, but welcoming.  I wanted this to work, but knew our chances were not very good.  The first go around, we thought it would work for sure, because we were bypassing the problems (the blocked fallopian tubes), we didn't realize until after that it was the egg quality, as well, that caused the problem.  We went in for egg retrieval the Saturday before Mother's Day.  They retrieved 14 eggs, 11 were mature.  Mother's day can be a hard day for someone battling infertility, just as its hard for someone who has lost their mother. Social media is best avoided.  It is a wonderful day to celebrate the wonderful being that is your mother, but its also a reminder of how badly you long to share those innate motherly tendencies with a child of your own. 

Everyday after egg retrieval the embryologist calls to update you on how they are doing.  He would call every day around 1pm with an update, so I was expecting his call on Mother's Day.  It was my doctor's voice again, however, on the line this time.  He said it was not good.  All of my eggs except for 1 had disintegrated over night. The one that fertilized had double genetics and would not survive the day.  This was a blow to my whole being.  Jared and I had previously agreed that this was our last round. My body could not handle any more.  The doctors words were the same.  He said my endometriosis was far too aggressive, and it was the worst case he had ever seen.  I wouldn't have been able to go through with another round of IVF without damaging my other organs, especially my bowels.  Using a donor egg was not an option for us, and even so, my body would not have been able to handle the hormones needed to carry it.  I would need a radical hysterectomy to put an end to all of the damage that was occurring within my body, very quickly, within the month.

My mother in law was over when I got the news.  I felt horrible having to tell her and my mom the bad news on their special day.  I felt horrible because I know they would've loved to have another grandchild for my parents, and the chance to be a grandma for my mother in law.  I felt that my husband is being cheated of being a father because of my body.  I felt sorry for myself because I feel like after all that we have toughed through, this would have been our reward. The most basic of human abilities, to procreate. And I can't do it.  This is so FINAL.  I try to share my love, and not judge people, and do good things for others and the planet, but I'm not allowed to procreate. Then I start judging people.  Why do people who don't even want children, pop out babies like rabbits??

That was my human reaction.  Because, whether I like it or not, I am human.  The thing is...I can feel that stuff...I mean REALLY feel it.  Let it envelop me and wash over me, and be sad, and grieve, because this is a huge loss.  Its the loss of how I had my life planned in my mind.  Its the loss of a love that I will never know.  It is a deep loss.

Then I get tired of feeling that way, and the spiritual being that is me takes over.  Its always there, right along with the human in me, but sometimes it hides so I can have these human experiences, to learn from and to build empathy from. They are a necessity.  But when that spiritual being starts taking over...I just let go.  I let go of the hurt, and the bitterness, because it doesn't serve me. Judging does not make me feel better, it makes me feel worse. Anger is the same, it serves me no purpose.  I want to be purposeful and intentional with my life.  I know that I will not know the love that exists between a mother and child, but I also think that the love between my husband and I is so special, that a lot of people won't ever know a love like that, and that's okay.  There are so many kinds of love in this world, and each person is given a different mix.  Its like a special formula that is just right for each and every person.

I had my hysterectomy on June 17th, and am healing up very well.  I am so grateful to be out of the limbo that we have been in for years, wondering whether or not we would be parents.  I am looking forward to using my innate motherly instincts and love for other things in this world that need me.  I am excited to be the awesome aunt that does super fun stuff with her nephew.  I'm ready to get back to my yoga practice, and gardening, and selling what we've grown with our own hands to local people at the market.  I can' wait to see what is in store for this married, healthy, mother of 5 furry babies.  The possibilities are endless, and I know its going to be great!!  I've got a new haircut and a new outlook on life. (And, also, some hot flashes. I'll take them gladly :)

If you look back through this story, you will find many miracles that happened. They may seem small, or even unnoticeable to some, but they add up to something very big.  I will share what I consider to be the many little miracles from this story in the new addition to my blog called, "Miracle Mondays."  I think the more we start noticing little miracles, the more they happen.  And in an unpredictable world, its very comforting in hard times to know we've got someone on our side making miracles happen.

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  1. It feels strange to comment on such a personal posting, but--thank you so much for sharing your story. My husband and I married in Oct of 2008 and have suffered infertility issues, miscarriages, and the many heartbreaks those bring. I truly appreciate your experience and your outlook. Learning to adjust one's ideas of how their life was supposed to be, and learning to accept what is beautiful and given to you instead, is (strangely) one of the hardest parts.

  2. The title of this post caught my attention while I was looking at the recipe for laundry detergent. I had reasonably bad version of endo, and I had it early on, at 16. I too had terrible doctors and the first one refused to do surgery, telling me that it would just come back and there was no need for it. That doctor didn't bother to tell me of the possible issues with fertility that were involved. I've had a lot of health issues, not the least of which included a colon cancer scare -polyps were removed- and migraines which cause stroke like symptoms. Because of the migraines, I can't be on estrogen birth controls as my risk of actual strokes increases quite significantly. No one told me this for 21 years. It's amazing I didn't die from incompetence of the doctors I dealt with. One of those doctors told me my pain was in my head, until I told him I had pain with orgasm too. Then suddenly he cared. What a jerk.

    When I finally started trying for a baby, I had miscarriages and of course, loads of pain. I had 6 surgeries for endo total. I do have one child, and he is a miracle. He came early and I was asymptomatic of a serious disorder that can kill you. My son nearly came twice before, but somehow the labor stopped each time.

    I had a hysterectomy earlier this year, and they took everything. Luck was on my side and I know it, but I can understand the pain and suffering you went through... to a degree anyway. I can also understand the longing, I wanted another child, but didn't dare risk it. We are now looking at fostering to adopt instead. I hope you have found contentment and peace since your ordeal, what you have been through is certainly brutal, to say the least.

  3. I came by to get your liquid laundry soap recipe and ended reading this post, I just can say I admire you for being such a strong women and keep going, and your husband for being by your side trough all this long process.

  4. I too came by for the liquide soap LoL and was intrigued by your post... I am experiencing the same problem (High probability I will be unable to conceive and major cramping before during and after due to endometriosis... They put me on the pill none stop.) I was wondering Why not adopt? I have decided that if I can`t have kids of my own (well I will adopt too as well...)to adopt later but I was wondering if this is an alternative you had thought about. There are so many children out there just waiting for an amazing mom to pass by and well you seem like a great mom.

    Just a thought. You are an amazing woman from what I read and I feel less alone with this pain... Thank you!

  5. Just want to say Bless You! You are an amazing woman with incredible strength! AND an awesome husband! You have wonderful family surrounding you, who, no doubt, have helped to shape and mound the person you are. We have endo in our family as well. Ovarian cysts are my fav. Not really. I didn’t come looking for laundry soap haha, I came by way of your chocolate mint tea! I’m heading out to pick some mint right now! Thank you for you very personal, but empowering post. I have struggled for years with things that never got resolved. I’m hoping that at my age....40 something haha..that I can look forward to the end of the RHBFTS and make friends with menopause ;) Maybe some of those other annoying symptoms...bathroom sprints will go away too!

  6. And I meant to say...I LOVE YOUR HAIR! Such a cute cut on you!


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