chronic illness

Blogging for Endometriosis – Mental Exhaustion (Week 2 Link-Up)

 When living with an invisible illness like endometriosis you often hear comments questioning the legitimacy of your pain. Comments like “it is all in your head,” “you just need to get out more,” or “but you don’t look sick” are enough to make you want to slap someone. If I had a dollar for every time I have heard a comment like this in the last ten years, I would be living on a private island in the Caribbean and sipping fruity drinks in a hammock.

The struggle, however, is that after so many unsuccessful treatments, doctors appointments, and surgeries, you can get to a place where you begin to question yourself. I know without a doubt the level of pain I have to live with on a daily basis. I have no doubts that each of my illnesses is very real and not some type of manifestation of mental distress. I have no doubts that I know my body and know that something is not right.

The struggle comes as a result of the mental exhaustion that comes as a result of living with chronic pain such as endometriosis. There is most definitely physical exhaustion from battling illness but the mental exhaustion is hard to describe and is not as recognized by those on the outside.

I am constantly worrying about when the next surgery will come. I stress about how my illness is affecting my family. I cry knowing that my daughter now recognizes when I am in pain and that she worries that her mommy will never get better. I fear what my future holds as if my pain is this intense now, what will it be like in ten years? How will I be able to handle it?

I feel like there is a constant weight on my shoulders and it can be exhausting. Mentally exhausting.

This is where I come to a mental and spiritual crossroad.

I know in my heart of hearts that God is in control and He has plans and hope and a future for me. I know He is going to take care of me. I may not know all the answers but I can hold tight to His promise.

But at times it is so hard to turn off that part of my brain that is programmed to worry. It is such a struggle as I know the more I worry, the more exhausted I become which causes me to worry even more and thus perpetuates the cycle. I am such a type-a personality and like having a plan and like being in control even more but one thing you have to come to terms with when living with endometriosis and other chronic illnesses is that are not in control. Flares will happen and there is nothing that you can to do to prevent it. By trying to constantly maintain that control, you can really wear yourself down physically, mentally, and physically.

I know all of these things but it is still so hard. Every day is a battle and every day I pray that I can turn over the worry and the stress and allow myself to rest in His promise which is more than enough to get me through.

What is the hardest thing for you mentally or physically when living with chronic illness?

bloggingchronic illness

Blogging for Endometriosis Awareness: The Physical

Today marks the beginning for the blog carnival for Blogging for Endometriosis Awareness & today’s topic is physical aspects of endometriosis and its affect on your life.


Over the last couple years I have shared how my journey with endometriosis began, the multiple surgeries, and how the pain from endo has caused me to redefine my womanhood.


My day-to-day struggles are documented in posts throughout the last several years so while I was laying in bed yesterday, I pondered how to share how endometriosis has impacted my life on a physical level that I haven’t already shared.


I think one side of endometriosis (as well as many chronic illnesses) is how it impacts your energy levels and so often leaves you with almost a chronic exhaustion. This is not a type of exhaustion where a nap will be the perfect pick-me-up and leaving you feeling much more refreshed. It is not a type of exhaustion where heading to bed an hour or so before normal or sleeping in a bit late will put you back on schedule.


This type of exhaustion is a relentless fatigue that hits you straight to your bones. A type of exhaustion where your muscles feel like you’ve just run a marathon. A type of exhaustion where no amount of time spent in bed can cure.


This side effect of endometriosis can often be the hardest one to explain as often this type of exhaustion can hit at any moment without notice. It is also tough to explain how being in bed does not necessarily equal relaxing nor does sleep mean true rest.


With this side effect an endo warrior must not only learn to plan ahead but also learn how to let go of plans without guilt. I have learned over the years what type of activities will require a day or so to recuperate. For example, if my family takes a trip to the beach which is roughly a 4 hour drive, I know not to plan a lot of activity the first day so I can try to recuperate without causing a major flare. At our trip to Disney, we knew to plan our days accordingly. Learning to plan is just as important as learning how to un-plan as often flares and fatigue can hit without notice or trigger and it is important to learn how to say no in those instance AND not feel guilty in the process (with much emphasis on the last part of that statement).


If you have endometriosis, or another chronic illness, what has been on the the biggest physical changes that have taken place in your life because of illness?

chronic illnessfaithinfertility

My Identity Crisis

When I became a mom last year, I remember everyone telling me that I would no longer be just “Jamee” but instead I would be “Abby’s mom.”  I always laughed about it until one day I got a phone call from my mom.  She asked, “How’s my baby?”  Of course, I responded, “A little sleep deprived but I’m doing ok.”  She then said, “I wasn’t asking about you – I was asking about Abby!”

Reality hit.  What people said was true!  I’m no longer Jamee instead I’m either Mommy or Abby’s Mom.  I have several favorite “mommy blogs” that I read that have posted awesome blogs about this loss of identity that comes with motherhood.  Two of my favorites are written by Katie and Blair.  What I love about these posts is that they talk about the side of motherhood that isn’t often shared.  I think every mom could go on for hours and gush about the joys and blessings of motherhood but often we struggle silently with the challenges that accompany the blessings.

But over the last couple week’s I’ve been thinking – does the same thing not happen with chronic illness?  As we shuffle between doctors’ appointment we often become the “fibro patient” or “endo patient” or maybe even “the patient that has so many things going on that we have absolutely no idea what to do so we’ll just avoid her as long as possible.”  I can’t help but think of the scene in Patch Adams where the students are taking a tour of the hospital and the instructor is telling the students about the patient with diabetes and all of her complications and Patch raises his hand to ask the instructor what her name is.  The doctor looks puzzled but replies “Margery” so Patch says hello to her by name.

How often do we long to be referred to by name?  How many times do we let our identities somehow become our illness?  I love the quote “labels are for jars, not people” but how often do we do it to ourselves?  We exist beyond our diagnosis.  The last couple weeks because of my flare, I have hardly looked beyond my pain.  I have retreated in many ways and become a shell of the woman I long to be.   As I was sitting in bed wrestling with these thoughts, I began to think about how my illness had affected my identity in three ways – as a woman, a wife, and a mother.  How can I move beyond allowing my diagnosis to dictate who I am and who I become?  Maybe you have found yourself asking the same questions.  Over the next couple weeks, I will be posting a series attempting to answer some of these questions.  My husband has even agreed to do a guest post!

Hopefully you will stick around for the series and hopefully we will find healing and encouragement together along the way!