11 Years Ago Today: Finding Purpose For My Pain

11 Years Ago Today: Finding Purpose For My Pain
When I think back to September 16, 2003, I remember two things. First, I remember how anxious and nervous I was about having my first surgery ever. When I was in high school, I took an Anatomy class and the teacher shared an article about a woman who woke up during her surgery but her body didn’t. Mentally she was awake and aware of everything they doing and can feel them inside her body but because her body was still sedated, she had no way of telling the doctors that she was awake. That story scarred me for life. When I woke up in the recovery room, there were all of the nurses buzzing around me that I immediately panicked thinking  I had woken up too early but thankfully, everything had gone smoothly and the nurses were just trying to warm me up to stop the shakiness from the anethesia.

The second thing I remember about September 16, 2003 was sitting on my bed giggling with my mom and talking about wedding plans as I knew John was in the next room asking my dad for my hand in marriage! We had already set a date and I may or may not have already had my dress but knowing it would soon be official was so exciting!

What I wasn’t aware of on September 16, 2003 was how much my life was going to change as the result of this surgery. Thankfully my journey from initial, constant pain to diagnosis was really short. I would say that within 6 weeks of meeting Dr H, she confirmed that I had endometriosis. According to the Center for Endometriosis Care in Atlanta, “in one study, the average time from the onset of symptoms to the surgical diagnosis of endometriosis was 12 years.” TWELVE YEARS. I cannot even begin to imagine!

As I went through college, my periods began to get worse as time went on. I would get terrible cramps, shooting pain down my legs, and awful GI issues. The summer of 2003, it became apparent that something major was going on. I was extremely moody and constantly exhausted. Pain in my lower back became constant just as I was starting my student teaching at a local elementary school teaching K-5 music. I thought that I might have had a UTI or kidney infection so I went to the local doctors office near campus. I had previously seen the PA for things like asthma flare-ups or sinus infections so I was expecting to pee in a cup and be sent home on an antibiotic to clear up an infection but instead I left with a referral to see an ob/gyn. It wasn’t a UTI or kidney infection. As soon as she said “female problem,” I lost it.

God knew what He was doing as Dr H was new in town so I was able to get an appointment quickly to get checked out. Dr H has become my rock the last 11 years. I honestly don’t think I could have made it this far without her. I had my first appointment in early August and on September 17 it was confirmed that I had endometriosis. It was a lot to take in in such a short amount of time but being the geek and researcher that I am, it didn’t take me long to catch up. I was able to find a support group for young women with endometriosis and still maintain friendships with some of the ladies I met in that group. I went on to be the program director of that group which I loved but when I knew it was time to step back from that role, A New Kind of Normal was born soon after.

So many things changed in that 24 hour span. There was joy and sadness with excitement and anxiety. My world was turned upside down but as things started to settle into a new normal, my purpose was revealed. God was going to use my pain for something bigger than I could have ever imagined. He was going to lead my journey of finding purpose for my pain. That purpose is A New Kind of Normal.


What comes to mind when you think about your diagnosis? How has that diagnosis changed your life and your purpose?

Five Friday Favorites – August 29th Edition

Five Friday Favorites - A New Kind of Normal


I have been trying to come up with some new ideas for A New Kind of Normal and as I’ve been combing through the blogosphere and the land of YouTube, I discovered how much I love Favorites posts or videos. I cannot begin to count how many products/recipes/ideas I have fallen in love with after checking out a favorites post or video by one of my favorite bloggers or YouTubers.

Out of this concept came Five Friday Favorites.

Every Friday I will be sharing my weekly favorites in the following categories: Beauty Product Love, Fashion Find, Gluten-Free Goodness, Pin I’ve Completed, and Most Awesome Blog Post. Of course there is an optional “bonus” favorite because who knows when there may be the need to share a sixth favorite?

Let’s get back in the swing of things and chat about this week’s Five Friday Favorites:

Beauty Product Love

I could not narrow it down to one product this week! I actually have a makeup favorite and 2 hair favorites but its the combo of the two favorites that I love so much so I’m still sticking to the rules. Sort of. I’m pulling out my bonus slots :)

My makeup favorite is actually a brand that I have fallen back in love with, Raving Beauty Cosmetics. I have several of the loose eyeshadow pigments and I love them! They have been sitting in my makeup drawer unused so I decided to pull them back out this week! The very first beauty channel I ever watched on YouTube was GoldieStarling and watching several tutorials using these eyeshadows, I had to give them a try! I have previously posted about her Rocker Eyes tutorial but today I decided to follow the Fall Smokey Eyes tutorial. Loose eyeshadows can be messy but with a good eyeshadow primer and a setting spray, the results are worth it and I love supporting small businesses.

Onto my favorite hair combo of the week! I am in the process of growing out my hair (again!) and I have a lot of hair. My hair is really thick and wavy and while I typically try to tame the waves with a flat iron, I embrace the big and go for a lot of volume and texture. My hair is the thickest at the crown which makes this combo perfect. My two weapons of choice are the Conair All-In-One Comb and the L’Oreal Boost It High Lift Creating Spray. The comb may look a little funny but it is perfect for lifting and styling. After I have finished straightening my hair, I spray the High Lift spray and use the comb to gently tease the roots of my hair in the crown area which helps to counteract the weight of my hair. I love the resulting fullness and texture  so this is definitely a combo I am going to stick with for awhile!

Favorite Hair & Makeup Products

Fashion Find

My fashion find this week is actually a website called ShopMissA.com. The reason that this site is a favorite is that everything on the site is $1. Yes, ladies, you heard me right. One dollar. Miss A is an accessories shop that carries jewelry, hair accessories, and cosmetics. I discovered the site through YouTube and I was pleasantly surprised when I received my first order! I stuck mostly with jewelry and was impressed with the quality. It is a great place to look for more trendy, “disposable” pieces that may not carry from season to season. I tend to have sensitive skin when it comes to jewelry but I have not had any issues with turning colors or irritation. I placed an order this week with some of the new pieces they stocked for the fall! I will definitely post pics on Instagram when it comes in! Definitely check it out and let me know what your favorite pieces are!

Gluten-Free Goodness

I know I happened to post about cookies for my last gluten-free goodness favorite but I’m doing it again! I have always loved Oreos so when I was diagnosed with Celiac disease, I went through withdrawals. When I was first diagnosed four years ago, we did not have a lot of gluten-free options locally but thank goodness that has changed! If you were also an Oreo addict in a past gluten-filled life, you need to find the Glutino Chocolate Vanilla Creme cookies. They are amazing! The Glutino Chocolate Chip cookies are great too if you were a more Chips-ahoy girl. I wonder if we could petition to have them create double-stuffed? :)

Pin I’ve Completed

As I shared yesterday, I am now the mother of a kindergartener and we had our first day of school celebration on Monday! I knew that I wanted to make a sign for Abby to hold for pictures but I also knew that I hate my handwriting so this is where Pinterest stepped in. I discovered these adorable first day of school chalkboard printables by Yellow Bliss Road (which has to be the cutest name ever for a blog) so I sent the sign to Walgreens for printing and put it in a frame! The awesome part is that she has last day of school chalkboard printables too! Awesome!

Five Friday Favorites - Favorite Pin


Most Awesome Blog Post

One of my absolute favorite places to find blogging tips and tutorials is Independent Fashion Blogger’s (IFB). Even though I am trying to discover my own style and writing more posts about my favorite beauty and fashion finds, I would not consider myself a fashion blogger. I don’t think you can call yourself a fashion blogger if you get super excited that overalls seem to be coming back in style. Regardless of my niche, IFB is an amazing resource for blogging and tech tips. One of the areas I struggle the most in getting the hang of is SEO (search engine optimization). I know how important SEO is in bringing traffic to your blog and even though I sat in an SEO workshop at the Type A Conference I attended, I still don’t get it. Trying to grasp SEO reminds me of trying to grasp sines and cosines in trigonometry in the 11th grade. There is just a disconnect there but the good news is that IFB posted an amazing post this week that includes 40 (yes, forty) resources as a part of their IFB’s Guide to SEO. The resources are broken down into manageable, bite-size pieces which has helped me get a better grasp on SEO without becoming overstimulated and overwhelmed. If you are SEO-challenged like I am, you will want to check this post out and either Pin it or bookmark it!


There are a few of my favorite things for this week! I would love to hear about your favorites so let me know in the comments if you guys would be interested in making this a weekly linkup!

Do you have any favorites this week that I need to check out?