Sunday, February 4, 2018

Seeking Help

A couple of years ago I was going through a lot of changes in my home and personal life, and I became completely overwhelmed.  I work in a fairly highly stressful environment, but one of the things I had working for me is that I worked with my husband and my oldest sister.  I also had a good supervisor and worked on a very good team. 

The stress began when the team started dismantling.  My supervisor retired and people began leaving all around the same time.  My sister and my husband were among the people who left.  The void was felt all around.  It is hard to describe how things totally fell apart for me.  One of the changes is that my personal support system at work was gone.  My husband was working and living out of town during the week.  We had gotten into a routine where in the morning I got our son ready and my husband took him to daycare and I picked him up in the evenings.  Now I was back to rushing in the mornings.  On top of that I was being mistreated at work.  I was exhausted in the evenings and only bringing home a depressed, exhausted shell of a mom to my son.  I tell y'all, that son of my was sometimes the only way I made it through the day.  While I'm writing this, all of the emotions are rushing back to me and I'm crying.

I can remember one morning I was at my desk and my oldest sister called me on her way in to work.  I was on the phone crying about how I didn't know how much more I could take.  She showed up at my desk to hug me and provide encouragement.  I sat at my desk crying so many days over the treatment of those people.  I had one co-worker who would take me outside for a breather. 

One afternoon I picked my son up from daycare, and I sat in that parking lot just crying like my world was ending.  He was telling me that everything was gonna be alright.  He was probably two at the time.  I talked to my mom who gave me encouraging words. 

This one day I had been in a meeting with some very disrespectful people who I had allowed to get my spirits down.  I was on my way to a luncheon and had tried calling two or three people who didn't answer.  I sat in my car crying about how alone I was.  I was like, "I see how people commit suicide."  I finally got myself together and went to the luncheon.  That moment was really scary though. 

This entire time my sister kept encouraging me to contact the Employee Assistance Program for some help.  I remember the final incident that pushed me over the edge enough to where I finally called the number for assistance.  They got me set up with a counselor.  That was one of the best decisions I ever made when I finally reached out for help.  It felt so good to talk to someone who didn't know me nor any of the people or situations I needed to discuss.  It has been a big help to just talk about everything and realize that I am not just crazy.  Although I cannot control/change the people around me, I can control my response/reaction.  Counseling has somewhat helped me with coping. 

Some of my regrets about the two years I let those people control me is that I allowed it to affect my health.  My weight got out of control again, and with it went my blood pressure control, and I was diagnosed with diabetes.  I feel like I loss control of my life.  I feel so much embarrassment and hopelessness about letting people who really should not mean much to me cause me to lose so much of myself.  I'm still struggling, but I have been trying to regain control of my life.  I became more vocal at work, which could be seen as good or bad.  While some people think I'm a rebel, there are others who see me as a person who speaks when I have something valuable to say and it is always the truth. 

To anyone who may be reading this and who might be dealing with work and home stress or any jumble of emotions, don't be afraid to seek help.  People look at you everyday and judge.  They think they know, but they have no idea.  Please try and treat people kindly because you really don't know the things they may be suffering through in life.  I am still dealing with forgiving people who mistreat me and have been unapologetic about it because I still have to work with them as though things are fine. 

I am on a journey to becoming a better me.  I don't know what all this journey will entail.  I'm scared, and I'm excited.  Most people who know me know that I live in fear a lot, and that's something I'm trying to change. Stay well and join me in becoming a better me.

Until next time,
It's Me

P.S.  Thanks to all the people who prayed for and with me during those trying times.  You all really helped bring light during some dark days. 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

My Infertility Journey

I started my menstrual cycle when I was 10.  By the age of 15, I was having issues with it.  During my cycles, I experienced excruciating pain where I could barely sit.  I also noticed instead of lasting a few days, my cycle were lasting for months at a time.  There were other times where it wouldn't come on for months at a time.  I didn't know what was wrong with me, and I didn't tell my mom.  When I was 17 I told my oldest sister, and she took me to the doctor who just prescribed me birth control pills, but never said what was wrong.  I remember looking in a Woman's World magazine that same year and seeing something about Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).  In reading the description about what was going on with the individual, I found that I could identify with the symptoms, so I figured that's what I had.  The birth control pills that the doctor prescribed for me did not solve my problem; it was just like putting a bandage on it.  The problem persisted throughout college and afterwards. After I started working and had my own insurance I finally decided to go to a specialist.  This doctor never told me what was wrong with me, but she did prescribe extended release Metformin.  Afterwards I saw where she had written PCOS on my script, so there was my official diagnosis.

When I met my husband, PCOS was one of the things I talked to him about.  I had to let him know that I didn't know whether or not I could have children because I wanted for him to make an informed decision about whether or not that was something he was willing to accept.  After we got married, we decided that I would go to the doctor to have a checkup to see what course of action we would need to take for conception.  They decided that they would start me on clomid, which is a fertility drug.  While I was on it, I had to come in at least twice per week so they could do ultrasounds.  I did not understand what they were looking for while I was in there.  They kept talking about follicles.  I did two rounds of clomid over time, and I was so emotional that I told my husband I could not do it again.  The doctor's would make comments about me losing weight and being able to conceive.  It was insulting and irritating because I knew people who were significantly heavier than I who were having babies with no issues.  Why not view me as a human being who was interested in conceiving.  I decided that I would not be going back to that doctor.

I have always struggled with my weight, and I had several times in the recent years where I was trying to get it together weight wise, but it was like I had to work at least twice as hard as others to lose any amount of weight.  It was frustrating.  I decided to go away somewhere and just work on myself for a few weeks. There will be another post about that coming soon.  When I got back, my oldest sister was telling me that she had spoken with her doctor about my situation.  He told her to let me know that I could come to his practice, and if I would prefer a female doctor, one would be joining his practice soon.  In June of 2013 I went.  Below is what I wrote about it June of 2013.

Hope For a Baby:  Well, I'll start off by saying that I have a new OB/GYN who happens to be a male. It's a shame that he seems to care more about me and my desire to conceive than my female doctors. I hadn't been sharing with anyone that I dreaded going to my doctors because they seemed to only look at me as a morbidly obese woman. I already know my weight and the fact that I am morbidly obese. They act as though I am the largest woman ever to attempt to have a baby. Well there are women out there who happen to be a lot larger than I am who have had no issues with having a baby.  My new doctor did not even mention my size. He just started talking to me about everything he could do to help me on my quest to conceive. I really appreciated his interaction with me, and it caused me to feel a little weepy. I feel like he is the first doctor to give me any hope.  He asked me if anyone had ever checked my tubes for blockage. No one has ever checked them. He needs me to come into the hospital for a procedure where they will check for blockage. He said that if there is blockage, everything thing such as the clomid has been a waste of time.  I look forward to the next step.

Then my writing in December 2013:

It's Been a Long Time:  It's been a long time since my last blog, a little over 4 months to be exact.  Things have really changed in my life.  One of them is pretty major.  I began to see a new doctor months ago.  This doctor looked at me as a human being, a woman who wanted to have a child, and he told me that he would give me what I wanted. He never once mentioned my weight or the fact that I have PCOS.  It was so refreshing.  My previous doctors acted as though I didn't know that I was morbidly obese and need to lose weight.  That can't be the only reason that I have been having problems conceiving.  I see women who are significantly heavier than I am who have children with no issues.  When you don't look like people, sometimes they seem to dismiss you as insignificant.

My new doctor had a plan of action for what he wanted us to do. He did a somewhat painful test to check for blockage in my fallopian tubes.  There was no blockage, but he said that even if there was some mild blockage, the test would have gotten rid of it, and that would significantly increase my chances of conception.  He put me on birth control for 2 months.  After that, I started clomid. I believe it was just 50mg. I took a pregnancy test in the wee hours of the morning of September 22nd. There were two lines meaning it was positive!!! I began to cry because I had taken so many pregnancy tests before that were negative. No matter what, there would only be that one line staring back at me. This was such a big shock.  I will say that my new doctor gave me hope on the first day that I met with him.  It wasn't a question of if I got pregnant, but when. I wanted to tell the whole world as soon as I found out, but I only told my immediate family and a few close friends.  A few weeks ago, I finally told people on Facebook and at my job.  Now I am finally getting around to talking about it on here. As of today I am 15 weeks.  I will be 16 weeks on Tuesday. I have my next appointment on Friday. I hope that I get an ultrasound done on that day.  My first appointment, all they gave me was one ultrasound picture.  On my second appointment there was no ultrasound, but I got to hear my baby's heartbeat with the doppler. I think I will get the 2D ultrasound done at 18 weeks just so that I will have something. (End of old post)

I am so glad to have saved those previous posts that I wrote because they allow me to go back and reflect on those times and share.  I had such a hard time sharing those posts because people can be so judgmental, but you never know who you could help by sharing your story whether it's by letting people know they aren't struggling alone or giving them an idea for treatment options, etc. I have been in multiple PCOS groups on Facebook for years and I've seen so many women struggling.  There are people who have tried over 20 years and finally conceive when they are in their 40s.  There are some women who haven't been in the struggle long.  There are some who have struggled for many years and tried all types of fertility treatments and have not had success.

Once my son began to walk, the comments of, "Oh, he's getting out of the way to make room for another one." began.  Then people started asking if we were planning on having another one or just telling me that he needs a sibling.  Every time someone makes a comment, I cringe just thinking about the journey.  I feel like my husband and I are blessed to have one especially considering the fact that we didn't know if we would have one.  This situation can be so personal and delicate, and unless you have a close relationship with someone you should probably refrain from asking such personal questions.  Some people are quick to say, "Oh, it'll happen."  You really don't know that because there are so many people for whom it has not happened, and they've tried everything.  Sometimes all people need is a listening ear and not empty words.

If you have PCOS and think that you cannot conceive, maybe it's the treatment that you are receiving and maybe not.  I have been through a few doctors and my current doctor was sent to me by God.

My husband's and my greatest blessing is now three and a half years old, and we love him to pieces.

Can you relate?

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Feeling Ourselves

Some of you may or may not remember my post from last year about the photo shoot my oldest sister and I did with my husband (here).  Well, we decided that we loved it so much that we could have a repeat every year.  We had decided that we would work hard and lose weight and have a comparison photo shoot the following year.  This past year we did not have the same level of excitement leading up to the shoot.  I attribute that to the fact that we did not lose the weight that we wanted so we were a little disappointed in ourselves.  I told my sister that it didn’t matter that we didn’t lose the weight because we are still women who want to feel good about ourselves so we should just go on with it.   Our year was a little tough, so I knew the shoot would be a welcome break.  I had chosen my outfits fairly early, and my sister decided she wanted the same “super hero” outfit as me.

The day came and we had an early morning appointment with the makeup artist, Charlene Dunlap.  My husband, our photographer, had already told Charlene the look he wanted us to have.  Well, she worked her magic, and that was the beginning of the transformation.  We really did not overthink things for this shoot, so we didn’t have too many options available to us.  When it was time we all went to the studio to get ready and perform.  Needless to say our photographer had the studio set up beautifully for us(the setup) . We felt amazing and got through the shoot.  I will admit I was a little glad when it was over because my feet were screaming!  When we got the pictures back, we looked absolutely gorgeous.  I am already looking forward to our session this year.

I still think every woman should have a photo shoot like ours at least once in their lifetime to just feel uplifted, amazing, glamorous, empowered, or some other wonderful feeling she has never felt.  Check out some of our pictures below so that you can experience some of how we felt.



Sis in lingerie

Me in lingerie

Until next time,
It's me

Make-up artist:  Charlene Dunlap
Photographer:  Patrick Dillon

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Seemingly Impossible

Last night I had a talk with my brother who has been on a health and wellness journey and has had quite the success.  He asked me if I thought that weight loss was possible.  I told him that for me many days I really feel as though I cannot do this.  In the back of my mind it's like I know I can do this.  I told him that I have all of the tools, but I don't feel as though I have the dedication.  I don't know what will give me the extra push.  I feel overwhelmed most days, and I don't know how to truly cope with everything.  It's like too much is going on, but in all actuality I don't know if much of anything is going on.  I know it probably makes no sense.  It's like my life is filled with so much clutter, and it feels overwhelming.  I want to find some type of order and clear my mind and just do it.  This week, I am going to do something.  I don't know what it is yet, but it will be something. 

Until next time,
It's Me

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

I Remember the Time

I remember the time that I had a photo shoot with my husband.  It wasn't the first time, but I believe it might have been the last time.  He told me that he needed me for some pictures.  He wanted me to wear all black or something similar to all black.  Well, with all of my insecurities, I felt quite uncomfortable in my clothes.  When he sent me some pictures, I couldn't help but notice how absolutely beautiful and fierce I looked.  We are normally our own worst critics, so just stop being so hard on yourself sometimes.  It's hard enough living in this cruel world.  We need more love an self-acceptance.  I am trying to accept myself flaws and all.  Here are the two pics he shared with me. 

So many people want to comment on someone's looks, weight, health, etc.  Most people probably need to shut their mouths and worry about themselves.  Get yourself together.  If you're so together, you won't have the time nor the energy to worry about others. 

Until next time,

It's Me

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

What did we do....where did we go?

Normally my weekends are filled with a whole bunch of nothing.  They are either busy or lazy.  it always feels as though I am cleaning the same rooms making little to no progress or trying to "catch up" on sleep.  I heard years ago that sleep lost can never be regained, so it's a vicious cycle.  My sister had decided about a week ahead of time that she and my niece were going to go to Wild Adventures the upcoming weekend.  I thought about it and decided that I should go ahead and go because I needed something different and so did my son.  I get tired of being confined to the house sometimes.  I figured it would be a good idea to spend the night at their house on Friday, not that we live far away from each other.  We also like the kids to have some time together.

My swimsuit was a little too tight for my liking, so I was so smart that on Saturday morning, I got up a little early and went to the store to get a new one. I also bought quite a few other things, including a few snacks for the road.  I didn't mention it, but one of my sister's good friends and her granddaughter were also going to Wild Adventures with us, so they were all riding together while Jr (momma's baby) and I rode together.  The drive is a little under 2 hours from where we live, so that's not too bad.  We had a couple of stops along the way for gas and bathroom, but the trip was fairly good.

We made it to Wild Adventures, and tried to find some parking.  As we got further and further away, it was not looking promising.  We were going to park so far away, that by the time we would have gotten to the actual park, we would have been too exhausted to do anything.  I received a phone call from my sister telling me that we would just go check in to the hotel and get in the pool there.  She wanted to know if that was ok with me.  Um, yeah.  I was excited, and so was momma's baby.  I just told him we would be going to the park the following day.

We checked into the room, ate a few snacks, and got ready for the pool.  Normally when we go to the hotel, the pool is too heavily populated for me.  That wasn't the case since we were checking in a little early.  We got into the water, which was a little chilly, but I realized my swimsuit was way too small.  Yeah, so I had bought a smaller size, but when I tried it on, it fit fairly well.  It seems like once it got wet, it was like, "Not today, sister! You ain't hidin' nothin'!!!"  Needless to say, that was a little bit uncomfortable.  We finally got out of the pool, and washed and dressed for dinner.  We were starving!!!  Dinner is always good at the Drury Inn & Suites in Valdosta, GA

The next morning we got dressed, ate breakfast, and headed to Wild Adventures.  It was a big difference from the day before.  We got close parking spaces so we didn't have a long walk to reach the entrance.  We went in and the kids played around for a while.  Momma's baby was finally able to get on more of the rides because he is over 36".  Yay!  He was a little bit afraid.  Just because kids meet the height requirement, that doesn't mean that they will want to get on these bigger rides, etc.   We went to the waterpark for a few hours and enjoyed the cool water.  When we were all tired out, we left and drove home.  It was a great weekend!

Until next time,

It's Me

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

You're so Ugly

Have you ever had those moments where you've just felt so unattractive?  Well, you are not alone.  There are so many of us out there that have the same feelings.  It's fine every so often as long as we don't stay in that negative space for too long. 

For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with body image issues.  Back in September I thought that I would like to do some semblance of a boudoir photo shoot so that I could look and feel good.  My husband is a photographer, but I know that he is not in the business of doing boudoir shoots, but I figured I would ask him.  Long story short, I told him I would like one for myself and two other ladies.  We just wanted a feel good shoot.  He said he would do it. I let the ladies know;  they were my oldest sister and a good friend.  We were so excited and chatted about what we would wear, themes, dates, etc.  We finally set the date for December 17, 2016.  We decided on a Super Hero costume as well as some type of lingerie. We had months of planning, shopping, trying on clothes and chatting via FB messenger.  At the beginning of December, my sister and I found out that our friend would be unable to make it to the shoot because happens.

The night before the shoot, my sister and niece spent the night at my house.  On the morning of the 17th, it became real when my husband told us he was taking us to the makeup artist.  The excitement really began.  I don't think either of us really knew what to expect as we had never done anything of this magnitude before.  My makeup was applied first, and when she finished and gave me the mirror, I was like, "I don't even know who I am."  Cheshire cat grin was all over my face.  She said my sister's face would be easy because it would be like she was doing mine all over again since we "look like twins."

I snapped so many pictures of myself.  Once my sister came out, she did the same. I think my look was kind of sultry, and hers reminded me of a Barbie doll.  I speak for both of us when I say we felt so amazing and glamorous.  We got something to eat and went back to the house to eat and get ready.  We got our clothes and hair together and went to the studio for our photo shoot.  My husband had the studio set up rather nicely.  While I know my husband to be a thoughtful person, to be honest, it was a lot more thoughtful than I expected.  The first shots were in the lingerie.  My sister went first, and I was so excited, screaming, clapping, jumping up and down.  The energy was through the roof.  We were out there for about 4 hours total, and we could not stop smiling.  The excitement felt on that day was really like no other.  It was such a monumental experience, and I feel like everyone should have it at least one day in their life.  I don't think I will ever forget the energy and overwhelming excitement of that day.  In a year's time, we want a repeat.  Our minds are ready!!!

Here are a few shots from our session. 

Me with the blonde

My Sister's beauty shot

Sis in the black and white shot 

My lingerie shot

Our superhero shot

Our silhouette

Make-up artist:  Charlene Dunlap
Photographer:  Pdillon Photography