Category Archives: Infertility

5 Things I Learned from Lupus

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I feel like I am a success story with Lupus. One big reason is that the good Lord gave me mild symptoms and for that I am grateful, but another big reason is I have learned to live with it and know my place with this autoimmune disease. So here are the top five things I have learned after being in tune with my autoimmune:

1. What you eat matters!

This took me a while to accept but it is true. Certain foods (mostly processed) will send me into achy overdrive. It does not mean that I cannot or do not eat those delicious cheese fries, Cheetos or fried anything…but it does mean I know I will pay the price and honestly it is not always worth it.

2.Have less fear if the liquid is clear.

I had read somewhere that the darker the liquid, the more things added to it. No clue if it is true, but I have found the clear liquids do not send my body fighting as much as the dark. Coke, beer, sweet tea (why, God, why?) get me achy and fatigued, but if I stay with Vodka, Sprite or of course water then I can usually keep the party going.

3. Say yes to the mattress!

Who would say no to a good nap?? I immediately get sick when I live a lifestyle of less than 8 hours of sleep. Now life is busy so this is not always possible, but our bodies are made to need rest and we need to choose to listen.

4.Say NO to stress!!

As a teacher, stress is inevitable. A quote I read says “Teachers make more minute by minute decisions than a surgeon.” I believe this…so stress will happen, but I can choose to avoid stress whenever possible and I do. One way is I stopped watching reality shows or any show that is fighting just to fight…trust me this was hard…but Real Housewives or Mobwives just had to go. FB drama had to go too…I refuse to click on the video with the fight or add comments to the political posts going nowhere. In my marriage, when things get heated…I go to the word and prayer instead. Life in general is lived more peacefully when you know God is in control and has a purpose for you. Now, I am not quite at the place where yoga is more calming than painful, but I am sure I will get there.

5. FINALLY..Exercise helps.

This is tricky because overdoing it wears me out. Also, when I have already worked all day the last thing I have energy to do is go to the gym, but it helps. I will admit that. Probably helps with the stress and mind part of things, too. But I used to refuse to work out and now I make time for it. In the beginning, it is exhausting, but as you build stamina it gets better. 

Now I am sure you are all reading and thinking duh! Even people without Lupus know eat right, get exercise, and rest will help the body…but here is the question: do you do it? Likely, a little but not all the way. I have learned I have to do it or I have no energy, run a fever and experience joint pain. No fun, right? So everything is a choice but my choice is made loud and clear with my body. I have learned to (finally) listen to my Lupus for a happier life!

Lupus Limits…But Does Not Stop

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I must admit I am one of the fortunate ones living with Lupus. My symptoms are mild, the meds I take are working, I was diagnosed quickly, my vital organs are unaffected; seriously, I am fortunate. My Lupus mostly involves my nervous system, my endocrine system and reproductive system. All those systems or words I would have never known before my diagnosis so basically my nerves, blood and ability to have babies. When I flare and I do weekly, I get fatigued due to chronic anemia, my joints ache like a 90 year old man, and my fingers turn white or purple. Right now my flare includes Pleurisy which means the lining of my lungs are inflamed…the sun is my enemy. Through it all I am grateful because my God has used it for good. This disease brought me a child through adoption that I would not have ever met, the sick days help me to appreciate the healthy days and my experience has helped me to encourage others going through similar things. To be in my low thirties with a chronic illness triggered by such common things as the sun and stress is intense, but I am alive and choosing to stay alive (there are some flares so bad I have felt like death) and choosing to live my life rather than let it live me.

Insert soccer.

When I was being diagnosed I told my doctor I played soccer. His response: not anymore. He went on to tell me that my blood levels showed low iron and chronic anemia so any major physical activity was dangerous. I took a few games off, but continued to play. The fatigue was intense after sunny games but we always had subs so it worked. However in the fall of 2016 I was in a major flare and for the first time in 15 seasons I had to say I could not play. It was defeating as I knew I was really sick to skip soccer. 

That was 2 years ago. I probably felt good enough to play again, but new players join and your team changes.  So I was not asked the next season and then I think the team took a season off so when I got the text to play I considered it. My biggest concern was that my lungs are inflamed right now which feels like a heart attack while resting and like an asthma attack when running-not too smart to say yes, but it will go away.  I also knew it would be hard after not playing two years so I had to speak to my hubs since he would be watching the kid and me if I get sick, but when he cheered me on I went for it.

Last night was the first game and it felt good. I was nervous all day, resting my body, drinking water, taking medicine…but it all felt good.  My biggest fear was my inflamed lungs and they were tight after long sprints, but two subs on the side could be called in at any time.  We won and I got some good touches, but most importantly I played. I was fearful two years ago that I never would again. So unsure if it was a good idea that I kept it a secret so no one could talk me out of it. But I feel okay the day after and since the games are at night, I think swimming will kill me before soccer ūü§™ 

Lupus does limit me, but it will not stop me. Soccer is what I do for myself. On the field I feel my sexiest and my mind is cleared.  I feel badass to be 38 and still playing. The best part is I challenge my mind and body and grow closer to the Lord as I praise him for the chance to show good sportsmanship and meet others with the same passion. Today I am grateful to be a soccer player living with Lupus again. My call of action to those without chronic diseases is to go out use your body. It is a beautiful thing of science and should not be wasted. Do not waste your health!

Happy Adoption Day!

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The best part about being adopted is you get TWO days to celebrate YOU!¬† Obviously we celebrate Callen’s birthday, but every year in June (exactly six months from his birth) we get to celebrate the day he became officially ours forever.¬† Since his birthday falls around Christmas, I think we really enjoy Adoption Day a little more…the only setback is his cousin’s birthday is on the same date so we have to share that day…but that just means more cake and more parties!¬† We never want to forget that feeling when we had official access to his records and he no longer belonged to an adoption agency…he was ours!¬† No more home visits, no more paperwork, no more proving we were fit to be his parents…no more hurdles to jump through.¬† It is crazy how having a child biologically is SO MUCH EASIER than adoption.¬† We had to really prove that we could handle this versus just showing that our DNA matches…but he was worth it!

Here are a couple of pics of Callen at six months in the court room:

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Then here is one on the first anniversary of his Adoption Day at a year and a half…

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Finally this year as he waits for cake…hard to believe it has been TWO years!!

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The Good news is:  On June 14th, 2013 Callen became an heir to the Tyndall throne.  We give God the glory for leading us to our child and making our family of three.  I know that every moment of my life led me to parent him and for that I am thankful.

Romans 12:15

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The Bible says to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn, but what if both emotions occur at the same time? Which side do you join?

Mother’s Day presents this challenge. For the first 29 years of my life I lived in Mother’s Day ignorance. This day was about celebrating my mom and the world was great. It was a happy day no questions asked. Cue six years later and I have learned for some this is the hardest day of the year. Now that I have seen and experienced this pain, I can never go back to ignorance.

I struggle with this because many are celebrating: a first time mom, a mom that has come home, an older mom still here, grandmothers that are like moms, foster moms, women that are like moms, a mom of many children, an adoptive mom that never thought she would be called mom (me).

But I also know the extreme sadness: an infertile woman that should have been pregnant by now, a mom that just miscarried, a mom to an angel baby gone too soon, a woman that is old enough to be a mom but is still single and fears she may never get the chance, a birth mom that experienced the life for nine months then chose a better future for the child, a woman that is content choosing not to have kids but then is judged on this day as others assume she wanted to, a mom that just passed away or a mom that is far from home, a mom that does not remember she is a mom.

For the first time ever I did not make a big deal of Mother’s Day at school because I have two students that lost their moms…one four months ago…this is the hardest day for him-ever!

With all this sadness, it seems rude to celebrate except there are those that have earned this celebration and they deserve to get it. Moms everywhere need their ONE day to feel important, to be appreciated, to honor the sacrifice and generosity, to be treated like a queen and decide lunch or get a hug or get time off. We deserve our day…we do a lot that goes unpaid and unnoticed and this day solves that problem!

Both sides win and both sides are right and both sides matter. So do we rejoice or mourn?

I say both! God gives and He takes away and there is a time for everything. I think it is only important that you understand there is both happening simultaneously. I was that girl that almost lost it at the restaurant when the hostess handed me a flower after I had just started my cycle after the 24th month of trying (seriously I almost threw the flower in her face but that would have been awkward). I am also the girl that realizes my son was carried by someone else only to choose me to get to receive his card on this day. Her sadness today is my joy. Celebrating my first Mother’s Day was surreal; felt like a huge victory where I could say or do anything I wanted(I left the diaper bag at home on the way to church and was not fussed at…score!) I would not have wanted anyone to tell me I should not celebrate in honor of another’s pain…I think as sisters we can do both. Hug and dance in celebration and cry and console in pain. We as women need to lift each other up in whatever stage and just appreciate that as women we have that bond of understanding. Having ovaries ain’t easy!!

The good news: sorrow endures for a night but joy comes in the morning. Death has been conquered by Christ and your loved one is home where we all belong! If this is your season of mourning then believe sister that seasons change! Your smile is coming!image

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Adoption Quilt

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I have been collecting pieces of our clothing for over ten years. Pieces that were important to us and have a story in our lives. I finally sent them to a friend with the gift of quilting and she created this beautiful twin size gift for Callen.

I call it Pieces of Us for You. Since we never gave him our DNA then we can give him our memories of us before him. I look forward to sharing each story and each memory of our lives before him. He can always know we prayed for our family a long time ago and he will always be the best part of us!

You Take the Good with the Bad

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We are on Facebook Fast Day 10 and I think I am slowly getting used to life without it.¬† I don’t find myself missing it as much since I have not been on it for ten days.¬† I do catch myself wondering about certain people’s posts about various topics or feelings about world events that I know would have something to say, but I enjoy being separated from the drama.¬† A coworker will ask me if I saw so and so’s post etc., but I can honestly say no and I have no idea what is going on.¬† I do feel isolated from current events or from social happenings around the community; the main reason I joined is because a friend was moving to Australia and a different one got engaged and I had no idea because they thought I knew through Facebook.¬† People don’t call each other to share news or even email…they just post it on Facebook, so I feel I am missing out on that, but you have to take the good with the bad.

I went for my semi-annual Lupus check up today.¬† It is only on these days that¬†I remember I have a chronic disease that is in constant need of monitoring.¬† Only on days like today where I see how bad my disease could be that I appreciate the mildness of it all even if it is inconvenient.¬† For the first time ever, I got a bone density scan to measure if my bones were deteriorating due to the steroids I take daily.¬† I did surprise the machine guy with my scoliosis.¬† He thought I was sitting straight at first, but then realized it was my back and calmed down.¬† Thankfully the test had positive results.¬† We took my usually two vials of blood to monitor that the levels stayed the same and then did my normal check up.¬† This time I had a¬†concern because my scalp has developed these lesions that are causing my hair to thin in areas and I am not having that hair loss!¬† He recommended a visit to the Dermatologist but assured me it was an effect of the disease and the hair will likely grow back.¬† I can tell that I am in a flare or about to be because of my extreme weight loss.¬† I am down five pounds, but eating more or as normal.¬† I like the natural weight loss, but will not tolerate hair loss…I guess you got to take the good with the bad!

Finally, my son is in the Terrible Twos in full swing.¬† The amount of “mine” “no” “I don’t want to” and pure break downs when things do not go his way are intense.¬† We call him bipolar Callen because one minute he is on top of the world and the next he is sprawled out on the floor.¬† We are trying to balance the thought that he is learning these bad behaviors to get our attention¬†with this is just the age and we must push through it.¬† We are constantly reinforcing him to use his words and express his feelings while punishing using time out when necessary.¬† The good thing is our caretakers report he does well for them and the meltdowns are non-existent or minimal, but not sure why we get all the good stuff.¬† Hoping we are not encouraging the bad behaviors without knowing it, but we have no idea are just trying to do our best.¬† As I am fussing at him for taking out the chicken hammer, spilling the bubbles, putting his sock in the water and carrying the laundry basket into the shower…I thought I was about to reach my breaking point.¬† In my mind, I was thinking “we are not going to make it out of the twos” and then my mind went back to the mother that lost her 17 month old girl on Thursday and I know she would give anything to have the terrible twos.¬† I know she would sell all she owned to have one more day of spills, tears, messes and meltdowns.¬† I appreciate that I am blessed to have these moments with him…the good ones and the bad.

The good news is: Facebook Fast, Lupus and infamous two year old behaviors–I am blessed with the good and the bad.¬† Humbled tonight in so many ways especially knowing that the sweet parent tonight endured her child’s viewing.¬† I know God is good and He loves us.¬† I know God is faithful and His promises are true, but this one has rocked me.¬† Why give that good and perfect gift to later take it away?¬† I know she is in a better place, but my heart hurts at the thought.¬† Her story has rocked me today.¬† I know she will get up and breathe and take it day by day and hour by hour…I know she will find the strength, but I wish she did not have to.

IF Community Unite

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So, in the midst of this Facebook Fast where I am unable to check social media, I get an email about a prayer request for a family that lost their little girl.  The email stated the mother was a local teacher and the father a local fire fighter.  Both of these roles I immediately connected to because she works in my school district, lives in my city..we have several mutual friendships-though we do not know each other directly.  DPD and DFD have a connected bond through the work they do for the city.  I am also a mother of a toddler.  I could not find any information on the situation on Thursday night without jumping on Facebook, so I just committed to pray.

Yesterday, a fundraising site began circulating around and long story short now more people are talking, sharing and mostly fundraising to help this couple with funeral costs and paid leave as they grieve.  My child choking is my worst nightmare and my child experiencing pain while in the care of a daycare or sitter is a close second.  Every working mom has guilt and the number one guilt is that you cannot be there for your child and will someone else care for them to the depth that you will.  I mean I have to work (infertility is expensive), but I hate it because it took me so long to be a mom.  In the end, you just have to let go and let God and trust that you are making the best decision possible.  All of this rocked me to my core as a parent.  It hit too close to home.  And then I learned a detail that brought me to my knees.  This couple suffered from infertility and their child was conceived through IVF.

We in the infertility community know this pain too well.¬† “For this child I have prayed…”¬† The loss, the waiting, the patience, the emptiness and then to finally parent (whether through treatments or adoption) is your greatest joy because it did not come easy and it was not natural and you thought time and time again “What if it never happens?”¬† We know the brokenness our bodies feel and the shame and the regret and the pain when everyone around us has two then three then four or just starts selecting dates on a calendar to try for another like it is so simple; for them it is.¬† We know something entirely different. Our story is not the same.¬† The love is the same, the parenting is the same but, the struggle can only be felt if you have been there and felt like that 1 in 8 that cannot conceive.¬† My friends might cringe at my numerous kid posts, but this was a kid I never thought would exist and this kid may be my only one due to the work it took to get him…so I am embracing each day because I know it will not likely come again.¬† I don’t get the luxury to plan for baby number two….I have no control.

In light of all this my Facebook fast seems pretty unimportant and small.  In fact, it allows me more time to hug my son and embrace his laughter.  It allows me more time to pray for this family and listen for God to tell me how He will use me to help.  This blog is it.

http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/emma-turner-memorial-fund/299958

IF community I urge you to join me in donating to this family.¬† They have already reached their fundraising goal, but we know it is not about the money.¬† It is about the community of us that struggle to conceive and cling to those miracle babies only to thing their birth signifies the struggle is over only to lose a child while you are at work.¬† God be with your donation, God be with this couple and their families and God be with all of our community.¬† Let’s UNITE and show them we see them, we care and they are not alone.

THe good news is: I am not saying infertility babies are more loved or more special.  Any loss of a child is tragic,  I am just saying that nine months to meet a child and 36 months changes things.  THe baby becomes like a prize and a reminder every day of a blessing you thought would never come.  Every dirty sock, every poopy diaper, every temper tantrum is a gift that I do not deserve and adoption allows me to be a parent.  My heart aches tonight.  God, be with them and all of us that do not get it.  Remind us that death is part of your promise and without it we would not see you.  We must die for our life to begin.