Friday, December 31, 2010

Home is where the heart is

I got to Florida after a really rough day. The pain was horrible and the nausea was nonstop. But I still took a pic of the little airplane....because I’m camera crazy.


I’m here with my family now. I made it. I spent the rest of yesterday on the couch with my niece. Eating saltines and drinking chicken broth.



I’m feeling better today.



Thank you for all your prayers.

Thank God.



Thursday, December 30, 2010

Flu-like symptoms

I didn’t fall asleep for one minute last night because I was beyond excited for the unexpected trip back home to Florida. 

Around 3 a.m., I attempted to “rest” my eyes. I knew I needed sleep. I knew I needed to just chill out and relax before traveling. 
But sleep still didn’t come. 

And still hasn’t. 
Now it’s 3:30 a.m., I am craving...broccoli. Yes, I’m serious. I am hungry and all I can think about is that green, flower-like vegetable. 

I want broccoli. 
Maybe some green beans too. 
I venture into the kitchen and heat up some veggies to quiet the rumbling in my tummy. Funny how it all seems normal to me now. Like everyone eats broccoli and green beans at 3:30 in the morning. Before the Lupron shots, this would have been crazy to me. 
For some reason, I believe that eating will calm me down a bit. Maybe even stop my racing heart from beating through my chest. It’s an unwelcome feeling that I’ve grown accustomed to since my first shot of this poison. The Lupron makes me feel shaky and anxious a lot, especially in the middle of the night. And 3:30 in the morning. 
But the healthy snacks don’t calm my anxiety about leaving for New Years. I am still wired and ready to go. I love my Arkansas family and friends, but I miss my home state. I miss the warm weather during the winter. I miss the sunshine. I miss other Gator fans, palm trees, and good seafood. I miss my beautiful sis, amazing brothers, and my precious niece, Bella.
The clock is getting closer to 4 a.m. as I  reach for my 2 lb bag of twizzlers. I never cared for candy in the past, but Lupron has an amazing way of making sticks of red sugar look appetizing. As I chew on the empty calories and load my bags into the car, my heart feels like it is going to burst with excitement. I can’t believe I’m actually going to Florida instead of laying in bed, recovering from another Lupron shot, this weekend. I can’t believe how blessed I am. 
Is it time to go yet? 
I’m still waiting. 
The hot flashes are burning my face. I keep removing my sweater, shirt, and tank. After about 20 minutes of hell, I layer them all back on, waiting for the cycle to repeat. I’m trying to figure out how to cope with the intense heat that is suffocating my face, neck, chest, and arms. These hot flashes are uncomfortable, but I’ll take them any day if they hold off the endo. 
The endo pain is here as well though. I’m trying to ignore it. Maybe it is just more side effects from the poison. The sharp stabbing pierces my ribs, ovaries, hip flexors, and pelvic bone. Maybe it was just my speed run yesterday. Maybe it’s something I ate. Maybe I am not taking the right supplements....or sleeping enough. Could insomnia cause pain? I’ll make myself believe anything at this point. Maybe it’s the weather. 
Time is creeping by slowly. It’s not even 5 a.m., but I’m getting in my car for the airport. The drive isn’t even 20 minutes away (if I listen to the GPS), but I want to arrive well before my 6:30 flight to freedom. 
I haven’t been home since this August, a month before my body collapsed on an 85 mile bike ride after bleeding for weeks. A month after falling apart physically, I’m tired of being trapped in my room.  I long to live again, hold my sister in the tightest embrace, and wrap my niece up in my arms. 
I drive to the airport with determination, ignoring the waves of nausea that threaten me. I even tell myself that the GPS knows better, despite the gnawing temptation to find a “short cut”. I listen to every turn...mostly. To keep my mind off the sickness that is racking my body, I sing loudly, almost shouting. 
I’m in the middle of belting out the lyrics of “Surrender” by Third day and reality hits.
“...you want to close your eyes 
and pretend that you are fine, 
but you’d be lying. 
And you want it back. 
The life that you once had...
’cause inside...you are..dying...
It’s time to surrender.
Hands up”. 
My voice fades away as my stomach begins to feel the curves of the country roads. 
"Hands up” is a whisper now. 
I can’t do this on my own, God.  I can’t do this at all. 
And with those thoughts running through my head, I am forced to pull over on the side of the road. The broccoli and twizzlers make their way back up my throat. I guess the junk food wasn’t ready for the winding journey. 
So here I am, in the dark early hours, leaning out of my car. The poison is twisting and yanking every ounce of food out of me. I don’t feel like there is anything left inside of me to throw up.
The familiar tears come. The drops of defeat that tug on my heart, pulling me into a pit of despair and “why me’s?”. This isn’t good, Lord. Not this morning. Not right now.
More hot flashes arrive. 
I honestly don’t know why I am crying. Maybe it is because I hate throwing up more than anything in the world. I hate it. I never understood how someone could actually make themselves throw up. In athletic training and sports, I had coaches tell me (when I was sick) to just get it over with so that I’d “feel better”. I could never do that. I could never make myself puke! I’d end up coughing and gagging then. 
But not anymore. Now it the nausea defeats me. The poison gathers all of my treats and spits them back up, refusing to take in any ounce of energy or nutrition. Lupron doesn’t seem to be like much of a help. More like an enemy. 
There is nothing left to throw up! I’m angry at myself. I’m such an idiot! What possessed me to eat broccoli and twizzlers at 3 in the morning? Especially right before I fly out? What is wrong with me??!!? 
I think the worst has left me. I think I am safe. As I look down, I see all the partially digested green and red treats sprayed across the pavement. And it makes me want to vomit some more. 
So, I quickly start the routine. I take a huge gulp of water and swish it around in my mouth before spitting out the familiar taste of rebellious food.  Then I reach for a piece of gum, trying to  convince my taste buds that it never really happened. 
After composing myself, I merge back onto the country highway, giving attention to every beck and call of my GPS. I figure I should show a little respect for the machine that I ignore so often. Only because I want to get home to Florida. Right now. 
I make it to the airport a little later than planned. But I am still ok. 
I grab my bags and run. The fear of not making my flight grips me. I’m still “ahead of schedule”, but the thought of missing my plane brings me to tears. So I try not to think. I’m just going to run. The swift movement makes me burp. Oh no, that’s not a good sign.
 Lord, keep this sickness away. Please.
I make it inside the tiny airport , which boasts one baggage claim and terminal. I am safe from all my fears. All I have to do is walk, give the man my checked luggage, and smile.
And then it happens again. 
Maybe it was the running that jostled my insides. Maybe it was my nerves and lack of sleep. Maybe it was the fragments of twizzlers and the broccoli, fighting ‘til Kingdom come. 
Or maybe it is just the Lupron, still invading my system, shutting down my womanhood, and leaving a world of disaster in its path. 
It doesn’t really matter now. I’m throwing up at the airport. Right in front of everybody. Don’t look! Don’t look! As I am waiting to hand off my belongings and check through security, my body continues to betray me. 
Every ounce of water. Every scrap of substance. Every part of my insides. The little left within my tired tummy is dispersed. And my body is still fighting to bring up more. 
I kneel on the ground, apologizing to the man in front of me, as tears and saliva drip down my cheeks and chin. Really, God? Really? Here? Now? 
The man asks me if I am ok. Do I have the flu? Am I pregnant? 
"I’m fine”, I reply.   
"I don’t have the flu. It must be the dang menopause drug”.
The man thinks I am crazy. 
"I don’t have the flu”. 
Maybe I should go sit down in a chair. He will get someone to clean up. 
“It isn’t much”, I say. Like vomit is made any better when it comes in small amounts.
Everyone is staring at me in this small country airport. Three ladies come over to me. “Here”, they say, “let us help you. Come sit down. Here are some wipes”. 
Wipes? I don’t need wipes. I need to get on my flight. 
The hot flashes came on stronger. And I start to sweat even more. I sip some of my water to help the scratchy feeling. The constant vomiting and dry mouth hurt my throat. 
And then I throw up again. Just water. 
The cleaning lady looks at me with disappointment. In my own disgust, I grab my bags and walk as fast I as I possible can to the restroom. My insides are still screaming to come up. 
God, really? 
I’m crying in the restroom. No, I’m sobbing. I am loud and obnoxious. Other women probably think that I lost someone. But no, it is just my food that was lost. And my healthy life. 
Lupron makes me very emotional. 
I swear it’s the Lupron. I admit that I’m a crier, but not like this. I don’t cry over vomit. I don’t shed tears when my body is hot and sweating. 
I hear my name being called as I lean over the bathroom counter, determined to make myself move. The pain is piercing my core and the nausea is weighing me down. The flight is making its last calls. “Get up, girl”, I say out loud. A small Asian woman in the restroom looks at me like I am crazy. I guess it is a little strange to give myself a pep talk right now.  
Despite feeling like hell, I make it back to the line. 
What time is it? 
“You’re too late”. 
No, I can’t be too late. It’s 6 a.m. right now. I have 30 minutes. 
“You can’t get on this flight. We will get you on another flight at.....12. Is that ok?”
No, it’s not ok, lady. But at this point I really don’t care. 
I don’t have the strength to argue with this woman. I don’t like confrontation anyway. I tell her that I’m fine with the next flight. The words that I wish I could to use are stuck in my mind. How can I be too late? I am here. The plane is still here. This airport is so small. I can see the plane. All I have to do is walk over there and climb the stairs, lady. 
But I keep the peace. I hold my tongue. 
And I miss my flight. I watch everyone board. And I see it take off. 
Without me. 
It appears that Lupron won out...for just a few more hours. 
And that’s fine. 
Because I trust God has a reason for this crazy disappointment. 
Maybe I was stupid in eating broccoli and twizzlers at 3 a.m. The stupidity of it all had occurred to me on the side of the road earlier, when I was puking it all up. But I have to stop beating myself up over it. 
I’m letting go of the candy and veggie binge that shook my insides this morning. I’m trying not to recall the embarrassment of kneeling on the carpet in the airport as I threw up. I’m doing my best to forget the pity stares and the whispers of how the gross situation. 
This is reality. This is life. 
Yes, I should have known better. I should have remembered the days before when everything came up early. I should have ignored the urge to eat veggies and candy before driving down winding roads in the country. I should have walked slowly into the airport instead of making a mad dash as I sloshed everything around. 
But I didn’t. 
So for now, I will wait right here. I will refuse my throat cough drops. I will pretend like water is not attainable. I will ignore the urge to find food, especially twizzlers, because I’m determined to get on the next plane. 
I will thank God for this extra time at the airport...and I will smile once again as I wait.
Because I "know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28). 
ALL things include the mistake of eating the wrong things at all hours of the night and humiliating myself in the airport. 

All things  include endometriosis. Lupron. Hot Flashes. Pain. Tears. Cramps. Vomiting. Moodiness.
All things. 
As in missed flights, delayed hugs, and waiting at the airport alone as I watch the glorious sunrise. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Who says I can't dance?

My day started off pretty amazing. Dr. Gorman gave me the okay to wait ’til after New Years before the next shot of poison Lupron. Previously, he said that I needed to get injection #3 on Friday, NYE, but now I’m free for another week.

Therefore, my plans for ringing in the New Year have changed drastically. Instead of sitting at home in my bed, attempting to sleep off the pain and nausea, I will be in sunny Florida with my family.

God is good.

As soon as I was told that I could go an extra 5 more days, I booked the first flight out of Northwest Arkansas to Jacksonville. I leave tomorrow morning before the sun rises.

I haven’t packed yet.

My excitement was too much to contain. After calling my sis and talking to my 2 1/2 year old niece about arriving tomorrow, I busted out some of my famous dance moves. My family says I’m the female version of Carlton on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. That’s just how I dance, y’all.

I danced until I couldn’t move. Literally.

As I write this, my excitement is still going full speed, but I’m laying on my bed with my heating pad. My tummy is angry at the twizzlers I carelessly inhaled earlier. And my hip flexors are screaming at me.

But I really don’t care.

Jimmy Boy sent me a message asking about New Years. He is hoping to drive down to Jacksonville from Atlanta to hang out. The idea is just about as sweet as my 2 pound bag of twizzlers, some Jonny Lang, and a ticket back home.

Another incredible blessing is the website that Barbara has been working on to raise awareness and funds for endometriosis research. You can check it out so far at http://hope2endure.org/. She created a button as well so be sure to grab it. Also, please spread the word on Barbara’s work. The woman is incredibly talented and is putting this site together for free for the cause. How amazing is that?

(Barbara, if you are reading this, you rock! Thank you again for all the work you are doing for us).

It’s days like this that make life beautiful.


Heck, yes.

God is so good. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Another sunrise

I had an amazing weekend. With the exception of Friday, I was able to live and laugh for a good amount of time without crazy pain. I slept all day and lived for a few hours each night. I remembered what it was like to see the sun rise again.

To be “normal”. To be with friends. To eat out. To venture out into the craziness of life, finally.

It was a picture of a glorious sunrise after a long, hellish night. I was captured by the beauty of every moment. I took pictures of everything and everyone that moved...and even things that didn’t.

But at night, I would prepare for battle with my heating pad, and the questions would overtake me...

Will the nausea ever stop?

Will the gnawing in my tummy end? Can I escape the pain that shoots down my hip flexors? Can I run from the emotions that grab hold of my heart and squeeze out every salty tear?

Will I be able to run like I did before this disease took over my life? Will I be able to be strong and athletic? Or will I waste away as skin and bones?

Will this pain one day disappear with the sunrise?

google images


Will I wake up to find all my sickness healed?

Will the scars that mark up my insides fade? Will the adhesions fall away? Will the womb that has been cursed be filled with love and hope?

Will I survive ’til morning?

My answer is always to lean toward the Lord, to lean toward hope, and have faith.

I have no other choice.

In the middle of the darkness, we have faith that the sun will return with light. We trust that God has a reason for the dark nights. We believe that those reasons are good.

And we trust that the night will turn into morning a million more times. We believe the night will end.


I want to believe that I will get better. I want to believe that I will give hope and encouragement to others by running, walking, and biking for the Endometriosis Association. I want to believe that I will have a family of my own someday.


I want to believe God wholeheartedly, in ALL things, just as I believe the sun will rise again. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

It’s not about me

It is almost midnight on Christmas.


I’m still awake.


Thinking.


This whole weekend was spent with someone else’s family. I wasn’t at home in Florida or New York with my relatives. I was in Memphis with a girl friend of mine, hours from Arkansas.


I woke up feeling sorry for myself. I had to fight the urge to have a pity party. I held it together pretty well.


I didn’t cry when my friend talked about being pregnant. I didn’t fall apart when I held her baby bump. I didn’t burst in tears when her little nephew and niece played around the house. I didn’t get angry when I heard the complaints from the mothers about their kids.


I held it together really well actually.


Until I talked to my niece on the phone. 


Bella Grace is 2 1/2 years old. And she has been my world. She calls me “Ti Ti Pah Pah”. I have been attached to her since the day she was born, right after my first surgery.

Bella and I 

My niece lives in Florida, far away from Arkansas...and Memphis. After a rough few months, I made the decision to wait until January to see family. I want to feel better before I see Bella. I want to have my energy back and be able to move. And I want time with them all when I’m not vomiting and sleeping. 

On the phone today, Bella asked me to come over and see all her presents. I told her that I was too far away. Her sweet reply was simple, “No, you’re not, Ti Ti Pah-Pah! Come have Christmas with us”. 

That was when I lost it. The tears started flowing and I lost all words. Everything within me wanted to jump in my car and drive to Florida, but I knew that would be stupid. I knew I couldn’t physically do that anymore. I’d get too exhausted. I’d feel too much pain. And I’d be stuck in bed. 

I cried for about 20 minutes. 

Then I put on some music and some make-up. I tried to be happy. I got ready to go to Natalia’s family’s house. I was going to smile. I was going to take pictures. I was going to be thankful for this time spent with some amazing people that I just met. 

Christmas dinner with Nat’s family
I did just that. 


I put on a happy face. 


And drank some sugar free redbull for energy.

Ready to take on the day with sugar free red bull
(my newest obsession to fight the fatigue
of Lupron - I don’t recommend it!)

And I remembered the reason for today. The reason that we celebrate Christmas. 

I remembered that it’s not about me. It’s not about what I have or don’t have or who I’m with...or not with. It is not about whether I’m alone or with family. It’s not about the presents, food, lights, tree, and getting all that I want. Or think I need. 

Christmas is about Jesus, God’s son, becoming man. It’s about a Savior being born that would take away our sins. It’s about hope, love, mercy, and grace. 

It is about forgiveness. 

Second chance. A million chances. And being given the gift of eternal life even though I don’t deserve it. Or can become possible of earning it. 

It’s about a relentless desire from our Father in heaven to love us. To want us.

So much. 

That he would send his only son. 

Born to us. For us. 

To die. 

To save us. 

Christmas isn’t about me. It’s not about who I’m with or what I give, get, desire, or want. 

It’s about Him. 

Only Him. 

Because at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is the Lord and my relationship with Him. 

Something that would be impossible if Jesus had never been born. If Christ had never become man, bridging the massive gap between my sin and God. If He never died and rose again.

"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again”
~John 3:16



Merry Christmas Love

I am far away from family today. I woke up really sad and missing everyone. I keep telling myself to be thankful and happy. I keep telling myself that it’s okay to be on my own, away from home.

But I’m still homesick.

I miss seeing my niece excited to open presents. I miss my sister talks. And family hugs.

I miss being held by the ones who love me. And even the little arguments from sibling rivalry that I always took for granted.

I miss my mom. And my dad. I miss my awesome, crazy brothers. And my beautiful, amazing sisters.

I miss my home. I miss my family.

But I didn’t have time to fly home this weekend. I have doctor appointments and another Lupron shot, which have kept me near by. I figured it wouldn’t be worth flying home for a few days right now.

So, I’m saving my family time for when I feel better....after this next Lupron shot.

For now, Merry Christmas. Thank the Lord for this day. Thank the Lord for His love. 










Thursday, December 23, 2010

Without words

I’m in Memphis now. I arrived at about 1 a.m., after getting lost in Little Rock, AR for failure to listen to my GPS. After arriving at Nat’s house, dead tired, we stayed up ’til about 3 a.m., chatting and catching up in our delirium. 

This morning, I woke up and read Lenzey’s story, about her journey with endometriosis. And right now, I am without words, crying from the heartache felt from a fellow endo sister. All I know is that God is in control. He hears our cries. He knows our pain. He hasn’t forgotten us.

“You caused me to experience many troubles and misfortunes, 
but You will revive me again. 
You will bring me up again, 
even from the depths of the earth. 
You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.” ~Psalm 72:20-21 


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Heat Waves

The tears have been flowing today. The pain kept me in bed for hours, sobbing. I tried to get outside to enjoy the sunshine and life, but my body failed to move from the seat of my car. I drove around for an hour, determined to make myself get out. 


The Lupron puts my body through a hell of emotions. The depression sets in for about as long as the hot flashes. My face will feel like it is on fire, burning for about 20 minutes. My tears are hot and many. The pains in my tummy escalate when I allow the whirlwind of emotions to take over. 

But then it passes. 

I breathe again. The chills come. I feel the winter air for a few moments before the next wave of heat, pain, and tears arrive. 

Lupron. 

I wouldn’t wish this drug on anyone. Except maybe my ex’s. 

“Stop looking at the race. Look to the finish line”, were Kevin’s words to me today. It’s amazing how the man who started as my client years ago is now a close friend and coach to me through this storm. His wife, Kim, has become one of my dearest friends and sources of encouragement. 

“This too shall pass” was a text message that I received from Mike, another friend. 

I will get through. I will survive. 

"GREAT WALL. GREAT WALL. GREAT WALL”


I just keep repeating those words tonight. 

“Great Wall. Great Wall.” 

And somehow, the thought comforts me. 

Because the heat waves don’t seem so bad compared to that massive race.

I’m going to pack now. And then head to Memphis to see Natalia, my beautiful pregnant friend. I’m still running the race. 3 more months of this drug. I’m looking to that finish line.

"Let Us Run With Perseverance The Race That Is Set Before Us..."  

(Hebrews 11 and 12:1,2)

Monday, December 20, 2010

the best dad!

“I am not alone, for my Father is with me” 
~John 16:32

It was a long night. I woke up about 15x, hot then freezing, hungry then nauseated, crying then sleeping again. My emotions were a whirlwind.

I prayed a lot. I ate some cereal at 2 a.m. I looked at recipes to bake, but decided I needed to stay away from the attempt to make anything in the middle of the night.

My nights are not normal anymore. But neither are my days. It’s up and down.

This morning, as I managed to roll my booty out of bed, my heart filled with excitement for the day. Not for anything planned in the day (although I get to spend dinner with a close friend and her family...which is exciting!), but my real joy came from the thought that I made it through another crazy night. I made it through another bad pain day on Sunday.

I’m pressing on with my Father up in heaven. He is the best dad in the world!

After reading SIF’s post yesterday about life moving on, I became hopeful for 2011.

I can’t wait to hit the new year. I can’t wait to finish this Lupron treatment. I can’t wait to see the new design that Barbara is putting together to for endometriosis awareness. I can’t wait to meet Jimmy boy on thursday. I can’t wait to see my dearest friend Stacey tonight and her 8 month bump. I can’t wait to spend the weekend with Natalia and her little bump as well. I can’t wait to love on my friends as they prepare for their new role as a mommy.

I can’t wait ’til the day when I am a mommy too. I can’t wait ’til I can spend the nights sleepless because of a baby crying instead of a drug. I can’t wait ’til I can spend my days laughing and loving a child and a husband, instead of figuring out how to spend my time alone.

I can’t wait....

‘Cause I know....

I have the best dad in the world...

And He’s pretty excited too!


"Don't be afraid.

Dear Zion, 
   don't despair.
Your God is present among you, 
   a strong Warrior there to save you.
Happy to have you back, he'll calm you with his love 
   and delight you with his songs.

'The accumulated sorrows of your exile 
   will dissipate.
I, your God, will get rid of them for you. 
   You've carried those burdens long enough’."

~Zephaniah 3