chronic illness

Overcoming Self-Consciousness When Battling Endometriosis


Today kicks off week 1 of the Blogging for Endometriosis Awareness campaign! This week’s post topic is how endometriosis has affected you physically. Linkup will be live throughout the rest of the month so you can link up anytime! Before to check out posts from fellow endosisters who have linked up and share posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to help spread awareness & use the tag #bloggingforendo! Don’t forget to share the word about our Blogging for Endometriosis fundraising campaign!

My journey with endometriosis started over ten years ago. Its hard to believe because it feels like it was just yesterday in some ways and it feels like it has been an eternity. Endometriosis has changed so many things about my life. I have lost so much time enduring countless surgeries and treatments, lost the ability to do some of the things I loved, lost my fertility, and lost my ability to lead the life of a “normal” 32 year old. Instead I am in the midst of filing disability.

Over the last six years of blogging, I have shared many posts about how endometriosis has affected my life physically. I have shared about the long term effects endo can have on your body and how exhausting dealing with pain on a daily basis can be. Probably one of the most popular posts I have ever written was sharing about the unspoken side effects of endometriosis over at the Fight Like A Girl Club.

One of the things I struggle with the most these days is overcoming self-consciousness and feeling insecure with the way I look. It goes deeper than worrying about exposing my scars. I feel like nothing in my body is the same anymore.

Going into menopause at the age of 26 and taking numerous hormonal treatments, my body shape has completely changed. Treatments make my weight flucuate. I carry weight in different areas than before. Between being bloated and endo/adhesion pain, it can make wearing certain types of clothes difficult. I wish overalls would come back in style so I wouldn’t have to worry about where waistbands hit in relation to my scars. Is that pathetic?

I feel like nothing is my body is working the way its supposed to. The hysterectomy was supposed to end my struggle with endometriosis and it hasn’t. My upper GI is completely paralyzed and my lower GI isn’t far behind. I feel like I’m in the cycle of taking medications to deal with side effects of the medications I need to function. There are days that the most minimal tasks can suck everything out of me. I feel like I am an 80 year old trapped in the body of a 32 year old woman.

All of these things make me feel so self conscious about my body. The way it looks. The way it functions. There are times it feels like its not even mine anymore. Maybe thats the reason why I have gotten into playing with make up recently. Makeup is fun to wear not matter what size you are. Maybe thats the reason why I have been loving having purple hair. I am trying to regain a piece of the confidence I seemed to have lost throughout the years. I am constantly reminding myself that I am wonderfully made by my Creator and that is what makes me beautiful.

I am work in progress.

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chronic illness

Meet Your Endo Sisters!


Can you believe that March is only 3 days away which means the THIRD annual Blogging for Endometriosis Awareness campaign is kicking off?! I can’t believe it! 3 years ago I would never have imagined the way that this dream of bringing bloggers together to help raise endometriosis awareness would have come to fruition and we would be embarking on our third campaign!

This year is going to be even bigger with a goal to put our feet on the ground and make a tangible effort to increase awareness, education, and research by fundraising for the Endometriosis Research Center. Our Blogging for Endometriosis campaign goal is $250 but I know we can blow that out of the water! If you didn’t see on twitter or Facebook yesterday, next month I am scheduled for an endometriosis-specific ultrasound next month which is brand new technology that allows endometriosis and adhesions to be viewed via ultrasound! This has never been possible before and currently is only offered in 2 locations in the US! This is a HUGE step forward in the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis! By continuing our efforts, we can help this technology be more readily available and continue to make steps forward in the advancement of endo research! Be sure to share our fundraising campaign link throughout the month as well as linking up your blog posts!

I thought that a great way to kickoff the campaign would be a fun little linkup answering some questions about ourselves (both about our endo histories and some fun/silly questions) to get to know our endo sisters a little better! You can answer these questions in a blog post anytime this week and add to the link up! If you don’t have a blog and still want to participate, you can answer the questions in the comment section!

Ten questions:

  1. How long I have been diagnosed with endo:
  2. Types of treatments I have tried to my journey with endo:
  3. My biggest frustration of living with endo:
  4. The biggest hidden blessing that has come with living with endo:
  5. If I had to pick a song that would be my “battle anthem” for living with endo, it would be:
  6. The food I could not live without:
  7. My favorite guilty pleasure:
  8. My favorite place to shop:
  9. My favorite drool-worthy actor: 
  10. If I could be doing anything today it would be:

My answers:

  1. 1. I have been diagnosed almost 11 years.
  2. 2. I have had 5 surgeries including a total hysterectomy, a 3 month course of Lupron, and every birth control on the market.
  3. 3. My biggest frustration is going through with the hysterectomy and still not having relief. Despite removing ovaries, the darn stuff keeps coming back!
  4. 4. The biggest hidden blessing of living with endo has been being able to meet so many amazing, inspiring, and strong women along the way.
  5. 5. This is a tough one even thought I’m the one who created the questions! I would have to say “Whispers In The Dark” by Skillet because it reminds me that I am never alone. God is with me and He puts people in my path to light the way and remind me that the best is yet to come.
  6. 6. Pizza. Oh my goodness pizza. If I could have one day where I didn’t have to worry about Celiac or being gluten-free, the first thing I would do would be to go to Pizza Hut and order a stuffed crust pizza with pepperoni, beef, and extra cheese. With breadsticks. I just drooled on my keyboard! Thankfully I have found some pretty decent gluten-free options to hold me over!
  7. 7. My most recent guilty pleasure would be watching makeup tutorials on YouTube! Its like crack! I have always loved makeup but totally lack the skills so I like to pretend I know what I’m doing with the tutorials!
  8. 8. I love shopping at Maurices but since I’ve been on disability and not working, I’ve been on more of an Old Navy (on clearance) budget 🙂
  9. 9. Is there even a doubt who my favorite it? Mark Harmon (aka Leroy Jethro Gibbs). Yes, I totally have a thing for older men which is funny since my husband is younger than I am!
  10. 10. If I could be anywhere today it would be Animal Kingdom (at WDW) riding the Expedition Everest as many times as possible without getting sick 🙂


Your turn!

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chronic illnessfaith

Reclaiming Grace

2014 has been off to a rough start. It seems like it has been one thing after another and the resulting anxiety has been overwhelming. I have struggled with feeling empty physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually and with that comes guilt and shame.

I am a youth pastor’s wife who feels like a wall has been built between myself and God.

I have not lost my faith. I know wholeheartedly that God is in control and I cling to His promises fully. The proof of His love and provision is all around me.

During the trials that have surrounded me, I know that He is with me and He has never moved. I have. My tank has run empty and I have not let His grace fill me up.

If you deal with chronic illness, you know how exhausting it is on every level and in every part of your life. Actually I’m not sure the word exhaustion can even begins to describe it. It is a fatigue that seeps into your bones and into every corner of your spirit.

In efforts of self-preservation, I shut down. I yearn so badly to be filled but I feel so full of guilt and shame that I push it away. I should be stronger than this. I am not only married to a pastor but I have my own call to ministry and here I am swallowed up in a sea of desperation and feel like I’m treading water just to maintain.

I am exhausted.

And then today happened.

I received the results from my biopsy results from last week’s EGD. All of the biopsy results came back normal but one. My celiac disease is being controlled by my gluten-free diet and I have healed wonderfully since my diagnosis almost four years ago. It is what they found in my stomach that made me hold my breath.

When the nurse went over my doctors notes after my EGD last week, she mentioned that they had found and removed a gastric polyp but not to worry because they are common and turn out to be not that big of a deal.

But this one wasn’t.

The polyp that they removed is called an adenoma. Adenomas are the least common type of stomach polyp, but the most likely type to become stomach cancer (source).

I almost dropped the phone. The nurse assured me that they removed everything they needed to during the procedure, nothing was left behind, and I am 100% ok. I would just need to be closely monitored with EGDs to make sure that nothing comes back. I could breathe again.

As I sat on the bed trying to process everything, I went back to the day I sat in the doctors office last month scheduling the procedures. She had only planned on doing the colonoscopy but something inside me told me to push to have an EGD done at the same time. Since I do not test positive in blood work for Celiac, an EGD is the only way to monitor the disease so she agreed. If I was under and cleaned out, they might as well check both ends.

But what if I hadn’t asked for the EGD? What if this polyp not caught and removed early like it was? When would we have found it?

Those were scary questions to ask and I found myself face down on the floor.

At that moment there could have been no greater reminder of the sovereignty of God. He was the one that pushed me to ask for that EGD. He was the one that helped my doctor find the polyp early enough to be found and completely removed. He was the one waiting to rescue me.

In that moment I felt His grace and mercy poured down on me like rain. All this time He had been whispering, “I am here” and I finally pushed myself out of the way so I could hear it. I could feel the walls crumbing.

Today is the first step in healing. Today is the day I give my heart back. Today is the day I reclaim my place. At the foot of the cross.

In Need of Grace

Photo Credit: Jasmic via Compfight cc