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?

Results of 2013 Blogging Goals

I cannot believe 2013 is history and we are almost two weeks into 2014 which makes me fashionably late in checking in about last year’s goals. Oops! Am I forgiven? I didn’t do a great job of keeping up with posting about the progress on my blogging goals but I tried my best to make them happen!

2013-Blogging-Goals

 

Here are the results of last year’s goals:

Post at least 3 times a week. Quality over quantity. I definitely had to take a lot more time off in 2013 than I ever planned to. I would have never predicted at the start of the year that I would leave the workplace to start the disability process and go through two very dark and foggy places as a result of adverse affects of treatments. Thankfully these dark places stay in the past!

Read & COMMENT on at least 3 blogs a day. I have definitely enjoyed reading blogs more often as Bloglovin is a great tool to keep up with the blogs I follow. I have also enjoyed discovering new blogs to follow as well. I am doing a lot better about being very intentional about commenting but I’m probably not up to my goal of commenting on at least 3 blogs a day. I have definitely seen a huge shift in the blogosphere in the areas of community and engagement and have seen many mentions of the decline of commenting mentoined on social media. I really want to focus on becoming more personal and engaged here at A New Kind of Normal and elsewhere. I want to restore that community feeling that I think has not had the focus and nourishment that it needs and I know that actively responding to comments here and being intentional in commenting on other blogs is a great place to start. 

Guest blog at least 3 times throughout the year. I’m not sure I guest blogged at all this year which is disappointing. I don’t think it was even on my radar between all of my junk I was sorting through this year.

Feature at least 3 new guest bloggers here at A New Kind of Normal this year. I reached this goal numerically by featuring 3 guest bloggers while I was away in December soaking up the Disney magic who shared tips on surviving the holidays with chronic illness but I wish I would have been more intentional throughout the year. Again, too much junk going on. Don’t worry, stories about the Disney magic are on the way!

Organize & complete the 2nd annual Blogging for Endometriosis Awareness campaign. Done and done! Our 2nd annual Blogging for Endometriosis Awareness campaign was even more amazing than the first and I know this year will be even bigger and better! Can’t believe its less than 2 months away!

Grow blog stats by 20%. My stats definitely grew on other avenues of social media as even in my fog, I was a little more active there than I was here. Definitely didn’t reach my 20% goal but I’m not stressing. Some things are more important than others!

Attend Type A Conference in Atlanta in September! I cannot wait! I survived Type A and had a blast! I definitely learned so much at Type A Con and even figured out a few things about how to survive a blog conference with chronic illness. It was definitely a challenge for my introverted self and it definitely required stepping out of my comfort zone. A lot. I only ended up crying in the bathroom once so I count it as a success!

2013-Type-A-Conference

Follow through the book Mom Blog SEO by the awesome Kelby Carr! Still on my to-do list! SEO is most definitely on my goal list for this year since despite my best efforts, I am still struggling to fully get it. If I can get to a point where I have a better grasp on it, I know I will see more growth as it will make my blog easier to find. I’m still working on it but I’ll get it!

Have head shots taken! It took me until December to get it done but I did! It was the first time that I had pictures taken by myself (like a full session) since my bridal portraits I think! I ended up taking my partner-in-crime Charlie with me so we ended up catching some very special shots. Here is a preview shot:

Charlie-the-best-therapy

What were your biggest goals and acheivements for 2013?