A Small Delight in the Midst of Hard

It’s been a rough, rough year for my parents. My disabled sister, Janny, has been combative and angry — a lot. There’s aren’t many places they can take her these days, including church. There aren’t many people that can come over. She no longer will agree to go to her day program, giving my parents very little time together. This reality that my parents have been living through these past 34 years might be crushing for some, but I have watched them persevere, day after day.

But how I love that Janny-girl. I’ve been wracking my brain, trying to figure out how I can help my parents out more. We live over an hour away from each other, and Janny often yells at my kids– making them deathly afraid of her. Between that and homeschooling my oldest, there aren’t really any times that I can get away by myself, unless it’s a weekend. There were limited options, but praying was something I could do. I enlisted my women’s Bible study– as well as our Thursday group– to pray over Janny, my parents, and Thanksgiving in particular.

Well, God answered our prayers. Thanksgiving was AWESOME. Janny screamed a little, but not at my kids. In fact, she and my kids were near each other for a good portion of the evening. She gave my kids hugs, and they didn’t shutter. In fact, they smiled.

How I long to be closer to them. To be present more, to help fill in the gaps. To allow my parents to get to church. I don’t know how that might happen. This has been a hardship that has gone on for a long time. But I do know that God hears my prayers. He is aware. He is working.

So for today, I’m thankful for yesterday. 6 hours of family and fun. Our family all getting to be together.

So it is with a thankful heart that I wish you a happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!



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Six Month Catch Up

It’s been six months since I’ve come to this dusty place. What’s my blog address again? I had to look up my password too.

I have thought of blogging at least a couple hundred of times in the past months. Ideas form and begin to take shape, and then they evaporate. Do I have a big desire to get that idea down? I guess the answer is no.

It’s been over a year since my big endometriosis surgery. I really wanted to blog at the one year mark, but we were overseas and life was too hectic. The outcome? I’m doing really well. I have NO pain! I’m still on the antidepressant to help with sleep, but I plan to slowly wean off of it soon and see how it goes. About two months ago I started being able to fall asleep at night more consistently. I still have sleep issues, and the progress is very slow, but at least there is progress. My surgeon was Dr. Mosbrucker in Gig Harbor, WA, and her general surgeon (who did my bowel resections and who put in my chest tube) was Dr. Linda Pai. If you’ve got severe endometriosis and no one has been able to help you, go see Dr. Mosbrucker. My sister also flew up to have her do her latest endo surgery, and she is doing WAY better.

Speaking of which, thanks to excellent health these days, I will be home schooling Josh starting next week! He’ll be starting kindergarten. He’ll also attend some enrichment classes two days a week with other kids. We’ve got our curriculum almost ready to go and I feel very excited to start. I hope it is a good fit for Josh and for our family. Josh is reading, still hates to go places, and has made some improvement over the summer with his sound sensitivity issue (hates loud or sustained noise). He lives and breathes Legos. My husband tells me that they won’t be going away anytime soon…

Rachel is almost 4 and she’ll be going to preschool a few mornings a week starting in September. She can’t wait, and has her unicorn backpack all ready to go. She is still in trouble all the time. I thought I saw some progress in her a few days ago, but then we’ve just come through three days of sheer three year old psychosis. Even though she’s crazy right now, my girl will start laughing in the middle of a screaming episode. She doesn’t take anything too personally. I love that about her.

The hubs and I will have tied the knot ten years ago in just a few short hours. As the years go by, marriage just gets better and better. Love my guy; how he continually pursues the Lord and me. He is so obviously for me. Thankful for what a blessing he is.

We took a 3 week trip with the kids to Papua New Guinea this summer which was wonderful– the highlight of the year! We also went on a 3 night camping trip up to Tahoe. That was pretty awesome, except that my sister got into a car accident (not her fault) and we got a ticket from the park ranger because there was a miscommunication in our group and food got left out on the tables (which is a big no-no due to bears). We’ve enjoyed lots of swimming and just easy-going summer days… I think I will miss this season once it’s over! I’m so thankful I can be home with the kids and yet still get to out to work here and there.

Here are a few pictures from the past few months. 🙂





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This is the story of an exasperated mother.

“Little Rachel,” (a title given by her father when she was just days old) has been extremely mischievous today. She’s almost 3.5, but today I think she regressed back to a 1.5 year old. We have those days (weeks… months) sometimes.

This morning while we were at my parents’, we celebrated Valentine’s day early. Rachel received (among other things) a heart container with 6 chocolates in it. Normally I would dole something like that out in small quantities as a reward for finishing most of her dinner. Well… Rachel disappeared for a while and when I found her I discovered that she had opened up her chocolates and eaten them all! I was actually surprised she was able to open it by herself.

A few hours later, she was caught climbing on the counter and eating cookies. Little Rachel!

A little after that I noticed that her pants and shirt were all wet. Was it water or potty? After a quick sniff I quickly determined that it was most definitely not water. I discovered that she had taken off her pull up and put it back on– inside out. As I’m sure you can imagine, inside out pull-ups absorb nothing. (But hopefully you’ll never need to know that information.)

Once we were back home, I was loading up the dishwasher and realized that I hadn’t seen Rachel in about fifteen minutes. I found her– taking a “dry” shower in the tub, with no clothes on, and shampoo all over her (dry) hair! I needed to leave for work very soon, but rushed her through a real bath in order to get the shampoo out of her hair.

About ten minutes after that, I was about to be on my way out the door for work when I saw her standing on an upside down laundry basket, getting into the snack cabinet. I didn’t think she had gotten into anything just yet when I got a whiff of chocolate from her breath. Here we go again. “Rachel, have you been eating (more) chocolate?” She finally confessed: “I eat M&M’s.” Oh brother. I discovered I couldn’t find the M&M’s. “Where are the M&M&s, Rachel? “They in my room. I go get them!”

Hopefully we’ve avoided a midnight snack of M&M’s now that they’re out of her room. 🙄

That little girl keeps me on my toes! I think my mother got her wish when she frequently told me that she hoped I had a little girl just like me someday.

It’s payback time.

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6 Months Post-Op Update

I was on a run earlier today and it dawned on me: My surgery was 6 months ago today! If I had one word to summarize the entire experience, I would have to claim that I actually needed two words: Treacherous and grace. Treacherous, because (where do I even begin?) this has been the hardest six months of my life. Trust me friends, any time you think you might need to be admitted to the hospital for extreme anxiety and insomnia, nearing a possible mental breakdown – well, that’s not even close to a good time. It was pretty horrible, and for weeks on end I would bawl my eyes out at 3, 4, or 5 am, begging the Lord to please ease the anxiety and to let me sleep. There were a few times when I didn’t sleep at all, and several nights were I only slept a couple of hours.

The grace part– also playing a huge role in this whole ordeal– came frequently. The days following those awful nights my parents or my mother in law often came and helped me – I was too anxious to rest during the day– but they would babysit so that I could get a run in or just “be” with me to help me keep my spirits up. It was a tremendous help and I am grateful that we live near our family!

After trying every supplement out there to help increase my estrogen levels or to ward off anxiety (none of which helped very much), I ended up on my last resort choice: a low dose antidepressant. I really, really, really wanted to avoid going on one, just because everyone says that getting off of them is no picnic. And when you’re anxious already, the thought of being even MORE anxious (while getting off the antidepressant) feels impossible. But I started the antidepressant. Around that time I learned that I also needed a second minor surgery for a complication I had had with the first surgery. Fear was welling up in me as I thought about being given medications in the OR that didn’t agree with me or that caused me to panic. By God’s grace, on the day of my second surgery, the antidepressant had already started working (it takes about 6 weeks to be working completely) and I had NO anxiety that day!

The recovery from the second surgery was a breeze, and if I recall correctly, I think I took Motrin once post-op. One weird thing that happened on the day of the surgery was that I developed muscle twitching in my right arm that literally kept me up at night. I had no idea what caused it (my IV hadn’t even been in that arm), but I started taking a multivitamin daily and it went away within two weeks. By that point though, I was wondering if it was ever going to go away.

After six weeks on the antidepressant, I started being able to fall asleep on my own at a reasonable hour. That was great! The antidepressant does have a few side effects though. I’ve noticed that I never cry now. And sometimes, I feel like I would “like” to cry, but no tears come. It’s weird. The dosage is low, so I still feel lots of joy and occasionally some lows too. I’ve heard some people say they feel emotionally “flat” on antidepressants. That’s definitely not how I feel, but I would like to cry sometimes. Crying (within reason) is healthy!

What else? I was unable to work for weeks during this time. Once my sleep normalized and the panic attacks went away I was able to work again. I’ve really enjoyed being back at work! I also cut way back on being involved on the worship team at church. I noticed that my voice quality had totally tanked and that I never slept the night before church. Now that I’m on the antidepressant, I’m just filling in occasionally for our worship leader when he’s out of town. I still seem to sleep horribly the night before, but at least I’m not too nervous to sing and my voice quality has returned.

The last 6 days have been hard. After sleeping great for 6 weeks, I suddenly stopped sleeping well and the anxiety (muted this time around) returned. I’m back on sleep meds for the time being. I’m not sure if it’s from working a lot of late hours at work and getting behind on sleep, or from my exercise slacking off lately, or if it has something to do with my cycle (which is largely a total mystery to me now) or what? It’s been frustrating. But… God gives grace, and I don’t have to look very hard to see it. I’ve been more diligent to get my exercise in every day and that seems to help some.

During this time, I have been so grateful for my husband and children. My husband has been incredibly supportive. I still can’t sleep in our bed at night, which is a real bummer. This trial has brought us together, and our communication has become even better. So thankful for our marriage! Also, the kids have brought so much joy to my heart. And frankly, having to get up and take care of them at 6:30 am every morning has been hard but it’s been a life saver also, because it got my focus off of me and my misery rather quickly. Kids have a lot of needs, and for that I am grateful!

So that’s my long saga about the last 6 months! If I had any advice to give (not that anyone’s asking), I would say think twice about having your ovaries or uterus removed, unless you plan to take estrogen. I know women who have been thrown in menopause from just having one ovary or just their uterus removed. As far as I know, there are two vessels that supply blood to each ovary, and when the uterus is removed, one of those vessels is removed. This means that there is less blood supply to the ovary after surgery, and it can cause either a sudden menopause or an earlier-than-expected menopause, often within 5 years after surgery. If you have severe endometriosis like me, or if you had breast cancer or issues with blood clots, estrogen replacement is not an option.

On that somber note, here’s a few photos from the past couple of months. 🙂


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The Good, the Bad, The Ugly: 10 Weeks Post-Op.

This is literally the third time I have sat down to write a post-op update from my hysterectomy/endometriosis excision procedure almost 11 weeks ago. Every time I sat down to blog I would start typing and so much of it was just bad news that I either stopped, or (more likely) was interrupted of any deeper thought by small children. 😀 There hasn’t been a ton of good news to report. (Okay… it has been flat out depressing at times!) But there were also many answered prayers and internal growth I recognized in light of my situation that I’m back to take a stab at it again today.

The truth is, I am still in the midst of this hard situation. I didn’t recognize it at first, but my body was thrown into menopause, probably immediately after my surgery. (I was left with 1/2 an ovary post-op.) I discovered 10 days after my surgery that the meds my surgeon had had me on were masking the menopause symptoms. Once I stopped the meds, I found myself with extreme insomnia, anxiety (panic, really), and irritability. My body would shift from hot to cold all night long as I felt like I was having heart attack after heart attack. During the day, my heart was pounding all the time. I would cry with despair over how majorly “off” I was feeling. I got an estrodial level drawn about 2.5 weeks post op and it was 34. Basically, this showed that my ovary was doing a tiny bit, but not enough. My Dr didn’t want me to start on estrogen due to my history of severe endo, so she recommended a low-dose antidepressant, which would basically mask the menopause symptoms.

I was very fearful of not ever being able to get off of the antidepressant (what if my ovary never recovers, etc?) so instead I headed to the health food store and got on black cohosh and some other things that helped boost estrogen levels. This helped a lot, but KILLED my stomach. I actually had to start on Prilosec to help with the bad stomach pain and heartburn. And even still, most days my stomach just flat out hurts, despite also taking Zantac and drinking aloe vera juice. And to this day, I have been on different supplements, trying out different dosages, trying to see what helps the best. But no matter the supplement or dosage, I’ll have a few good days and sleep well and then I’ll have a run of anxious days followed by little sleep. It’s been very hard, to say the least.

Also, because of all the anxiety and insomnia, I have been sleeping on a memory foam mattress in the living room since I got home from the hospital. Crazy, right?! Some nights I can sleep on the floor in our bedroom, but most nights not. I guess this is the life of an insomniac who’s anxious? I’ve had some issues with sleep in the past due to night shift work, but I’ve never felt stressed about it. It is quite the different story today. At this moment in time I am currently dreading bedtime.

But that’s not all! To summarize the rest of life these past weeks, I’ve also had: 4 scary hemorrhages (three of which were in public places, of course!), painful bladder syndrome, and cellulitis. I could write a blog post for each of those other topics, but I won’t. 🙂 I’m happy to report that all of these complications are resolved now!

In the midst of these (quite literally) crazy post-op days, I have to remember the good, and the things that are improving! First of all, I have no more shoulder pain! Before my surgery, shoulder pain had been my companion for 17 months. And I can suck my belly in without pain, also! I can lean forward while sitting and not wince in pain- which is great news. I can also eat a little bit of gluten, which expands my diet options quite a bit. Lastly, I can run most days without pain. Exercise has been my friend these past weeks, which helps the anxiety a lot.

And there have been many times that I have been so encouraged by the Lord. A couple of weeks ago, I was unable to sleep and in full-blown panic about my situation. Sometime around 2:30 am, I was on my knees, crying out to God. I didn’t even know what to pray except “HELP!” Right after that, I heard a sound coming from Josh’s room. Was that sneezing? It was. Since that was highly unusual for him, I was immediately distracted from my current distress and went into his room to investigate. He was feverish with a cold. I got him up for water, a little snack, tylenol and then rocked him for a while before putting him back to bed. The rocking calmed me down and I was able to fall asleep not long after that. God had answered my prayer immediately, but not in a way I could have ever have imagined.

In all of this, I have found that being driven to point when I am utterly helpless, where I am crying out to God with my burden – has been nothing short of amazing, because I not only know that God will hear my cries and help me, but I expect it. It has helped to further build up my trust in my Savior, and honestly friends… although this experience has been flat out ugly at times, it has been a mountaintop experience for me.

There is nothing better than knowing that God holds your future in His hands, and that He is there to hold you through it.

Some of the verses that have been running through my head during these past ten weeks, helping to keep me from despair:

“Even to your old age and gray hair I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and will sustain you.” Isaiah 46:4

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Cor. 4:8-9

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 43:5

“I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your Word.” Psalm 119:147

“… We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4

Please keep me in your prayers. I need wisdom, and I desperately need my ovary to heal up and start working again!


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Endometriosis Surgery – Check!

Where to begin? The past two weeks have been insane. Chalk full of unexpected blessings, changes, and trauma.

I flew to Gig Harbor, WA almost 2 weeks ago to have surgery by Dr. Mosbrucker, an endometriosis specialist, and Dr. Pai, a general surgeon she works with. My Mom accompanied me for the entire trip while my hubby took time off of work to be with the kids.

The surgery was expected to be 3 hours long. I was in pre-op, getting my IV placed by one of the nurses, when the anesthesiologist came in and introduced herself. She began to tell me, in her kind, nonchalant way, that I would be having the largest endotracheal tube placed down my throat, and it would be placed very deep into my left bronchial, in order to keep mainly just my left lung inflated while they operated on my diaphragm on the right side. She continued on to say, that, oh by the way, I would also need an arterial lined placed for the surgery (this was to be placed after I was asleep, but before the surgery started), and also a second IV. I didn’t have a huge amount of time to process this info, thankfully. I texted my hubby that I loved him, I gave my Mom a hug, and to the OR I went.

The bruise left over from my arterial line. Sometimes I think my insides are healing up faster than this yucky bruise.

Ironically, in the weeks leading up to my surgery, I had told a handful of people that if I made it out of surgery without a chest tube, I’d be happy. After all, chest tubes are super painful. And not only that, but it would mean that the surgeon didn’t have to perform a full resection on my diaphragm, leaving my thoracic cavity untouched. Ultimately, it would mean that the endometriosis hadn’t grown all the way through my diaphragm, and that the surgeon had been able to essentially “scrape” it off instead of cutting it out.

I had also hoped that I was completely wrong about all the symptoms I had been having up to that point. I had hoped that perhaps my endo wasn’t all that bad, and that maybe my surgeon could save my ovaries and uterus. I made a point to let her know that I was just fine with not having a hysterectomy, if she thought things were good enough to save it all. She said she would use her best judgement, and I was fine with leaving the decision with her.

Let’s just have a good laugh right now about how delusional I was about the status of my endometriosis. Let’s just get the details out there: My surgery was seven hours long, not 3. I had FULL thickness endo growing through my diaphragm. I did indeed wake up with a chest tube and resection of my diaphragm. My surgeon said I had more endo on my diaphragm THAN SHE HAD EVER SEEN (the good news is that it wasn’t in my thoracic cavity!). I had full thickness endo growing through my small intestine, close to the illeocecal valve, and so therefore had a small bowel resection. I also had endo on my colon, which was removed. I apparently had endo all over the place, so my surgeon made the decision to do the hysterectomy. There is one bright spot – the better looking ovary, my left ovary, was covered with a lot of endo, so she literally cut about half of my ovary out and sutured it back together. Apparently ovaries regenerate like livers, so it’s supposed to grow back. Therefore, I get to keep an ovary and do not need hormone replacement therapy.

Instead of staying in the hospital overnight, I wound up in the critical care unit for two nights and then was transferred to the med surg unit for two more nights. My surgeon wouldn’t let me leave Gig Harbor for four more additional nights, so my Mom and I had to book another Airbnb, switch to a later flight, and rent the car for four more days. It was not cheap to do this!

I don’t have a lot to say about the hospital stay except that I flooded my room while taking a shower. Major OOPS! I had put a towel on the floor and didn’t notice that it was covering the drain. All of the sudden I heard my Mom shout from the other side of the door “Emily! There’s water out here!” Enter the nurse, the charge nurse, the nursing aide, and environmental services to clean up all the water outside the bathroom (it was more than an inch deep). I was so mortified that I cried, but the nurse thanked me for giving them some excitement that afternoon.

As far as views from a hospital room goes, I’d say this one was pretty good.

When I finally got out of the hospital, the Airbnb we stayed at was really close to the water and they had a beautiful yard that we got to look at through a sliding glass door. My Mom was a wonderful companion and excellent nurse. She was working on knitting a sweater for my sister, and it was the most complicated pattern ever. But it kept my Mom occupied while I slept, or rested, or sat and watched HGTV with her. I was extremely boring to be around! She kept me fed, helped me get out of bed, talked with me, ran to the store for me, and was just generally great to be around. I can’t thank her enough.

I loved the view!

My Mom working on the sweater while we got some fresh air.

I called my kids and hubby twice a day and we video chatted each time, which was a huge blessing. I was gone from them 10 days, which is just about forever when your kids are little. I missed them so much. (I cried about that too.) My hubby always seemed to be in good spirits and things seemed to be going well with the kids. His Mom came over a few times to help out, and my sisters came as well. One of my sisters brought a meal, which was helpful.

I did end up at the ER a day after I got out of the hospital. I had a sudden migraine occur, and I’ve never had a migraine. After medicating, resting and icing, and with no success– I went to urgent care. After they learned of my major surgery they wouldn’t touch me with a ten foot pole. So we went to the ER where the ER doc insisted on a head CT. I knew they were going to force me into one and I was very prepared to refuse it until I remembered that I had gotten 4 Lovenox injections while in the hospital. And suddenly, a very slow leak or bleed in my brain sounded a tiny bit more plausible. The ER doc told me that if I did have a brain bleed and I refuse the CT scan, I would simply go home and die (I didn’t care for her much). She was pretty pushy, and I felt miserable. So I got the head CT, which ended up looking “perfect.” The nurse taking care of me pushed a med for my migraine way too fast and it gave me a horrible panic attack – my skin suddenly felt hot and I just wanted to jump out of my skin. It was a ROTTEN experience and by far the worst part of the trip. The nurse then gave me some IV Benadryl which helped negate some of the yucky side effects, but not all. I was very, very discouraged when my Mom drove me home from the ER late that night. After everything I had already been through, the whole experience felt traumatic. My ability to handle stressful things was pretty poor.

We did do something fun while in Gig Harbor – we rode on the ferry the afternoon prior to flying home. After going up two flights of stairs I was in pretty major pain, but it was a new experience with beautiful scenery. (I should add that my Mom discovered an elevator on the ferry after that!).

Mom and I on the ferry.

We finally made it home close to 11 pm Friday night. The next day I realized that I had a UTI – thank you hospital foley catheter! I mean, I understand why I had to have it (no one gets up and goes to the bathroom with a chest tube in place), but still, it was frustrating all the same to be back at urgent care, only this time in a different city. And I’m grateful for antibiotics, but I don’t tolerate them very well.

All in all, I had NINE incision sites (my Mom said it looked like I was in a knife fight) – and I have very little pain today. Things seem to be healing up quickly! My abdomen/pelvis feel GREAT. I have had food intolerance only one time so far, and even that it questionable. So – I feel very hopeful for the future!



Filed under Endometriosis

Appt With Endo Specialist

I traveled a week ago to see an endometriosis specialist in Washington. I got up at 4 am and arrived home at 10 pm that same day! Needless to say, it was a very long day, but it was productive and helpful, so that was good.

I met with the general surgeon first. She will be working with the endo surgeon should I have partial or full thickness endo on my bowel (if it’s superficial enough, they can just scrape the endo off). She will be on standby during the surgery. If I do have endo on my bowel and it’s significant, they will have to do a bowel resection. Bowel resections on the colon aren’t as big of a deal, but resections on the small intestine are riskier because the bowel is more narrow and there is more potential for a blockage post-op. Rarely, they have to divert the stool out into an ileostomy for a while before reconnecting the bowel. Based on my symptoms, the general surgeon guessed a 30% likelihood that I had endo on my bowel. She also thought it more likely that it would be on my small intestine rather than the large intestine. Food and I don’t agree most of the time these days, and I’m wondering if it does have to do with the fact that I do have endo on my bowel. I guess we’ll find out.

After that I drove to my next appt with the Endo surgeon. This lady was no-nonsense, and I got the idea that she’s tough as nails in the OR. I liked her though, and I very much got the sense that she was the right person to be seeing for the symptoms I had been having. She did an exam and a couple of ultrasounds. She believes I do have endo on my diaphragm, but her guess is that it’s not full thickness yet (meaning I’m not bleeding into my thoracic/lung cavity. I don’t have shortness of breath and I haven’t coughed up blood (signs that it could be in the thoracic cavity). {On a side note: Despite all that I have been through, I am immensely grateful that it most likely is NOT in my thoracic cavity!} We talked about what a resection of the diaphragm would look like. If the endo is partial thickness, they will cut it away and I’ll have a partial resection. If it’s full thickness, then I’ll have a complete resection and most likely wake up with a chest tube (think PAINFUL). Although she didn’t think it’s full thickness endo, she also told me that she had a patient previously who she also believed to only have superficial diaphragmatic endo and it turned out to be complete thickness.

We also discussed a hysterectomy. As she bluntly put it, based on my FSH and AMH results, my ovaries are “in the toilet.” I wish that weren’t true, but it is! On top of that, BOTH of the veins leading to my ovaries were enlarged, meaning that I have pelvic congestion syndrome. Terrific. She also believes that my uterus is a cause of significant pain for me, because when she pushed on it I about jumped off the table… all this is to say is that I’m going to have a hysterectomy. My right ovary is completely adhered to the pelvic wall by adhesions, so if she can get the left ovary free as well then she’ll try to leave it.

Which leads me to another concern — apparently during my very first surgery in 2011 for endo/bilateral ovarian endometriomas, the pathology report on one of the endometriomas came back saying they were “atypical.” I didn’t think it was a big deal (because the endometriomas were removed) and no one ever mentioned anything about it to me. I was very new to the endo world and didn’t know to ask questions about it. However, last week my surgeon told me that she’s only seen the “atypical” pathology twice in her career, and that it could very well mean that I could get a slow growing cancer on my ovaries. (I later looked up some research studies that validated that concern.) So, she said that if she can’t get all the endo removed from the remaining ovary, that she’s going to remove it because of the risk for cancer. Yay.

Lastly, good old childbirth has given me a prolapsed bladder, so she’s going to fix that. I guess there is something to look forward to!

Surgery is scheduled for early June. I’ll be traveling with my Mom (hubby is taking time off work to stay with the kids) and we’ll be up in WA for 6 days. I thought about driving both directions, but I don’t want to take the extra 2 more days away from my kids (and my Mom from my disabled sister and Dad).

As far as recovery goes, I really don’t know what to expect, because it all depends on what happens during the surgery. I just hope that this is my last surgery!

Thanks for your prayers!!

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Life in April

It’s a cool and rainy April evening here. I don’t mind the extended winter. When the triple digit summer days come I long for cooler days! The hubs and I are enjoying an easy going evening so I thought I would write down some memories from the past month, whether just moments at home or actual outings.

Rachel is in neck-deep in terrible twos. She spends her days either making loud demands or throwing tantrums. She’s a second child, so thankfully by now I know it won’t last forever.

She is also crazy. Have I mentioned this before? Crazy, and with an ultra high pain tolerance. She’s sporting some pretty large bruises these days. Mother of the year here didn’t even know how she got this awful bone bruise on her shin (she got another identical one of the other shin a few days later too). Part of the problem is that she doesn’t cry when she injures herself. The other part of the problem is that she has ZERO FEAR of hurting herself. And she moves ninja-fast.

Last night, while sleeping, she managed to give herself a black eye. She told me this morning that she bumped her eye on her bed. There were no tears in the night. Sigh.

In short, Rachel looks like an abused toddler. (But I assure you she is not!)


Josh got a trip on the train as a gift for his birthday last month from Grandma and Grandpa. We traveled with Grandpa on the train while Grandma babysat Rachel. Josh loved every second of it! We ate lunch and then turned around and took the train home. Perfect outing for a 4 year old.


Lawn mowing, weed eating, pull weeds, REPEAT. I wanted to live where we had more space to run around and play, and I love it here! It is a lot of work, though. My hubby gets really bad asthma from just being outside this time of year, so it’s up to me keep up the yard work. Good thing I like yard work!


I dug a ditch two weeks ago in the front yard. We got a ton of rain and the water was coming up against the foundation of the house. So, I dug a ditch to put in a french drain (the drain still isn’t in….). It definitely helped with the next storm we had. (Ahem… so did unclogging the downspouts on the gutters. Next time I know to make sure to check that *first.*)


Every now and then, Rachel slows down enough to enjoy about 3 minutes of snuggle time with Mommy. She ONLY slows down if she has her paci and blankie.


Josh: Can you take my picture with Dad, Mom?

This kiddo just adores his Daddy. The hubs was gone for a week helping to rebuild houses in Texas after Hurricane Harvey, and this little boy sure did miss all the creativity and fun that his Daddy brings him. They build some really cool things together (things I would never think of). Josh’s ideal day would be just getting to stay home with his Daddy, with no one else around. He loves one on one time.


Last but not least, I leave in a week or so for my consultations with the endometriosis specialist surgeon and general surgeon. I had an MRI done on my right shoulder and cervical spine to rule out other causes of shoulder pain. My MRI results did show that I might have some bursitis in my shoulder. (I wouldn’t doubt it – I had a bad injection done a few years back in that shoulder and I’m pretty sure the nurse actually injected TdAP into my bursa – it hurt for months after.) It hurts occasionally there but it’s pretty mild and I’m pretty sure that the shoulder pain I’m experiencing is not related to that at all.

I gave away all my baby stuff, and to my surprise I felt better after doing that. I’m coming to terms with getting a hysterectomy, if necessary. Like I’ve mentioned previously, I’m pretty sure I have diaphragmatic endo, and I want to make sure it doesn’t turn into thoracic endo (endo in the lung cavity). A hysterectomy won’t prevent that from happening (because I’ll have to take hormone replacement since I’m still in my 30’s) but I do think it’ll help slow down the endo growth and help reduce pain. I’ve been thinking about the possibility of getting a hysterectomy since before I even had kids and can’t believe how hard of a decision it is for me to make!

I’ll update after my consultation!

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Filed under Endometriosis, Motherhood, Toddler

Consultation Date Moved Up!

Miracle of miracles- I got an appointment with the endometriosis surgeon moved up to next month!

The surgeon wrote me back and said that according to my symptoms, I probably have diaphragmatic endometriosis and also bowel endo. She said that she would work with a general surgeon, who would either scrape it off my bowel (colon) or, if the endo is full thickness, they will do a bowel resection. As for the diaphragm endo, she said it’s probably not full thickness yet (I agree, and I hope to keep it that way until surgery!). It was nice to have confirmation that someone else with experience in the field agreed with my assessment of my symptoms.

My original appointment was for October, which then got moved up to July, and now to April.

I am still living with daily pain in my shoulder and upper torso – under my ribs and into my back. It’s tolerable now but I’m dreading future periods. 😦  I’ll be fine until my surgery date though as I don’t get endo in my lung cavity.

In the meantime, I’ve been thinking a little bit about hysterectomies. I’m curious to hear what the surgeon thinks about the topic. I’m still all over the map and need wisdom. I still cry every time I think about it…

Thanks for your prayers! God answered and I am grateful to get in much sooner!



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Filed under Endometriosis, Pain

Making Straight Paths For My Feet (or brain)

Last night at Bible study, before we dug into the book of Hebrews, we each shared our “Red Dot” – where we are right now, as it pertains to our Christian walk and to life in general.

I shared briefly about how life has been hard for me lately. How I almost went to the ER Tuesday night with severe pain. How I was grieving the fact that we can’t (and probably won’t) have another child. That I wasn’t sure if I could live with this pain until my consultation and surgery this summer.

We proceeded to the book of Hebrews, and how the Word of God transformed my thoughts. In chapter 12 we read encouragement to run the race with endurance, and to not grow weary as we consider Jesus, who endured so much more (the cross). To remember that we are gaining holiness as we look up and go through these trials. To not drift away but instead to “lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet.

At the end of study, our entire group prayed over my husband and I. Specific prayers were said over each member of our family. I left with a full and grateful heart.

But this morning, I ashamedly found myself in the middle of a pity party. The pain was ratcheted up a notch or two. Sharp, stabbing pains under my right rib cage, and pain in my upper back and constant radiating pain in my shoulder. (These are classic diaphragmatic endometriosis symptoms.) We ran an errand and Rachel screamed a long time for reasons that will probably never be known (that’s life with a two year old). And then again at home, Rachel pushed herself away from the counter and tipped her bar-height chair over – causing her head to slam against the laminate floor (praise God with me that we don’t have tile, or else we’d probably be in the ER right now). And the pity sank in. Poor me. This pain is here to stay. Rachel is our last baby. You were hoping you’d be pregnant right now but instead you’re thinking about getting a hysterectomy.

Yuck. That’s all I have to say about my pity party. How it reveals a lack of trust. After all I’ve been through and all I’ve learned, I should be filled with nothing but hope!

And I’m writing this because I need to remember the rest of what I shared last night during the “Red Dot” discussion. I need to remember that when I look back over these past 9 years – fraught with endometriosis,  surgeries, infertility, pain, and doctor’s visits– what is the underlying current? JOY. Yes, joy. It’s not bitterness, despair, or loneliness. It has been joy – because of WHO Jesus is and how He has held me through all of these trials, and taught me to trust Him. And I’ve seen the good work that He’s doing in me. I just need to keep trusting that He’s doing a good work now. Hard times are never easy when we’re in the midst of them, and the battle is 95% mental. I’m reminding myself that it’s okay to suffer, and it’s okay to be in pain.

And now please pray with me like crazy that I can get in for surgery much sooner!


Filed under Endometriosis, Infertility