Posts Tagged ‘symptoms’


Man-on-pause is happening in our household. Hot flashes, night sweats, irritability. Yes, man-on-pause is definitely here. Of course, I’m referring to the dreaded menopause, but my husband renamed it for obvious reasons. Never did I imagine I would be going through menopause at 26 years old. In fact, I didn’t even give this hormonal life-change much thought. After all, I’m in my twenties, not fifties or sixties.

Baldalicious in a blonde wig. (March 2013)

Trying not to sweat in the hot sun! (March 2013)

After my radical hysterectomy in February of 2012, I experienced a very small number of hot flashes. I didn’t even want to refer to them as full-on hot flashes, and just called them “hot flushes,” as only my face would get very flush. I wasn’t tearing my clothes off in desperation for cooler temperatures. I wasn’t wiping away sweat beads from my brow or upper lip. I wasn’t snapping at my husband for no apparent reason. Then again, I still had two ovaries. And they must have been producing hormones… even slightly. However, after my most recent surgery where the softball-sized monster was found gnawing on my left ovary, it had to go. Today I am left with one ovary on my right side, and it’s starting to give up. This leaves me pissed off, cursing, and sweating. Oh, the dreaded menopause.

Never did I imagine I would find myself typing in the search term “natural menopausal remedies,” nor did I dream of perusing forums filled to the brim with women in their sixties sharing about their experiences. Never did I imagine I would be asking my mother and friends’ mothers if they were tearing their jackets off in the midst of a blizzard just to cool down, like I was. I never thought I would find myself walking through the aisles of a natural grocery store, desperately hunting down magical pills that are claimed to erase most of these symptoms. Never did I think I would apply makeup only to sweat it off mid-application. I never dreamt of watching commercials geared at older menopausal women and finding that we are more alike than not. Never did I think I would open the freezer door and stick my head in. Never. But obviously, I’m not living a “typical” life of a twenty-something woman.

Menopause sucks. If you’ve been through it, you know that, and if you haven’t… well, lucky you. Try to be young as long as you can. Enjoy the days where you can sit under the sun and not turn into a maniacal sweat factory. Enjoy the moments when you can lie in bed and snuggle up to your husband without instantaneously laying in a pool of perspiration. Enjoy being intimate. Seriously. Menopause tries it’s darndest to make you cringe at the thought of sex, as your lady parts don’t work as they used to. (Sorry to the men who don’t want to read about their daughter/sister/granddaughter/friend in that way. It’s the truth. And frankly, you’ve either had a wife go through it, or you will in the future. Better to learn early!) Hot flashes, irritability, dry lady parts, night sweats. Oh, and the infamous flabby stomach. That last one could be due to having two major lower abdominal surgeries, but I’d like to put the blame on my arch-nemesis, Man-on-pause.

Filled-in brows, false lashes, menopausal, yet still Baldalicious. (March 2013)

Filled-in brows, false lashes, menopausal, yet still Baldalicious. (March 2013)

Lately, I’m pissed, irritated, and annoyed. I feel like my femininity is waning. I’m a girly-girl. I adore makeup, clothes, nail polish, and hairspray. I freak out at the sight of spiders. I would prefer to lay on a beach with a margarita in hand, than lay in a sleeping bag under a tent on a camping trip. And I hate to sweat. It is what it is, and I like it that way. But being bald with barely there eyelashes and brows, twenty extra pounds clinging on, the gamut of menopausal symptoms, and the latest nasty nails, it’s hard to feel girly. I overcompensate with a wig, false eyelashes, nail polish, and makeup a lot of the time.  Without all of that, I don’t feel feminine on the outside. I’m ready for my outward body to reflect what’s on the inside again. Girl. Woman. Pretty. ME.

I had been clinging on to one last thing that was truly, naturally, and 100% mine- my fingernails. This past week, I grieved the loss of them, as well. If you know me, I like to keep my nails looking attractive. They are almost always lacquered in color, and glitter makes a frequent appearance. This past week as I was removing the most recent polish, I noticed my nails looked odd. In fact, after they were free and clear of any color, their natural hue had taken on a completely different look. Purples, blues, whites, yellows, and even greens were peering back at me. What? Chemo had already taken my hair, dispensed weight in unwanted areas, and made me feel like crap. And now, it’s decided to take my nails, as well. Nearly all of my fingernails are almost halfway separated from the nail bed. They are bruised and ugly. And the worst part is: I can’t cover them up. Under doctors orders and the advice of many friends who have experienced a similar trial, I have to keep them clean and polish-free. Oh joy. I can’t even cover them up. So here I am, bald and pissed… and sweating.

Chemo nails. Gross. (March 2013)

Chemo nails. Gross. (March 2013)

It’s a good thing chemotherapy does more than tear my outward appearance up. At least it’s tearing up my insides and annihilating cancer, as well. If it weren’t, I can assure you, we would have broken up by now. Although I have a love/hate relationship with chemo cocktails, this year-long relationship has proven to be beneficial to my survival. And as much as I loathe every little side effect that I have experienced, I am grateful to be alive. I will do whatever it takes to live. At the end of the day, I’m still here, and that’s all that matters. And one more thing, the little magical pills that I mentioned earlier, are actually working… in more ways than one!

But, dammit. I still hate menopause.

Proverbs 31:30 (MSG Version)

“Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.”

Third Time is NOT a Charm

Who ever said, “Third time’s a charm!”? What a load of crap. Okay, okay…maybe it’s just my situation. Losing my hair for the third time is so not charming. At least not to me. My husband has a different perspective, and while I understand and am grateful for his outlook, I still hate that I have to lose my locks again. In his words, “Seeing your hair fall out is a sign that the chemo is working in your body!” True, babe. Very true. Although I was liking loving my short locks, I can’t argue with my husband’s perspective. It’s true. And it’s right. And yes, I am extremely thankful that my chemotherapy treatments are doing something.

Photos courtesy my husband, right before he shaved it off. Check out how long it got!

Photos courtesy my husband, right before he shaved it off. Check out how long it got!

Rewind…Happy New Year and belated Merry Christmas! What a fabulous holiday it was. Following my first treatment, I prayed each day that I would feel good on Christmas, and lo and behold…I did; Hallelujah! Matt and I were able to fully enjoy time spent with each other and our family and friends, and cancer was not invited to any of the parties!

Last time I posted was a few days before Christmas, on my first day of this season of treatments. I was unsure what to expect with these new drugs and regimen, and was a little nervous on what side effects I would experience. Oh boy, did I experience the gamut! Before I get to the enticing details of rashes, nausea, and flu-like symptoms, let me update you on my proposed treatment schedule. This round of treatment will consist of a few different drugs. One type of chemotherapy combined with a “booster,” and a shot the following day. By “booster,” I’m referring to a drug that coincides and works well in promoting the effects of chemotherapy. In essence, it cuts off the blood vessels that cancer needs to survive. While I’m on board for that idea, I am apprehensive about the possible and rare side effects that this booster causes. “Rare” doesn’t mean much to me anymore… I have a “rare” cancer with a “rare” recurrence, and have already experienced “rare” side effects. Booya! In yo face, statistics.

I will receive chemo once every three weeks about six times. That is very different than my last schedule of three days in a row every three weeks surrounding six weeks of weekly chemo combined with daily radiation. (That was a mouthful and a LOT of treatments!) I am thankful that this regimen is so different. It allows me more time to recover and to have more good days. In fact, this first time on the new drugs, I only had one week of feeling awful, which has left me two weeks of feeling pretty great. Feeling good for two weeks is a blessing, folks.

Besides simply having to continue treatment, the biggest things I loathe are the shots I have to take after each and every chemotherapy session. These shots are similar to what I had to self-inject last time around. They help stimulate my white blood cell growth, however, they are slow-releasing. Therefore, I feel sick and gross for a longer period of time. I have developed a love/hate relationship with these injections. While they help increase my white blood cells, they really put a damper on my body and mood. I, however, am thankful that they exist, because without them I could not continue to receive chemotherapy.

Curls for days.

Curls for days. January 2013.

If you haven’t already, buckle up. Here comes some truth. And it’s not going to be sugar-coated. I mean, come on… you know me by now, right?! I felt like utter shit after my first round of this new treatment. Ugh. Horrendous. Chemo itself already makes me feel awful, but combined with this new injection, I was bed-ridden for about four days. Most people enduring cancer treatments often find it hard to describe what they feel like after each cocktail, and I am no different. My best description is this: Imagine having the worst case of the flu. Complete with fever, stomach ache, diarrhea, and constipation (believe me, it’s possible). Add to that a grueling headache that won’t go away, severe body aches, and skin sensitivity. Mix in a weird and itchy rash on the tops of your hands. And, to top it off, throw in a semi-truck running over your hips, pelvis, and lower back. All that makes for a wonderful chemo-filled sundae topped with some Neulasta sprinkles. And no, I did not get run over by a semi, I was being descriptive. My husband will argue that it’s exaggerative, but I stick to “descriptive.” Needless to say, I felt dreadful, filthy, exhausted, lousy, horrendous, and gross. And like I’ve mentioned before, when I’m not feeling great physically, it takes everything in me to stay positive mentally. That first week, I truly felt defeated. There’s no other way to say it. My dad always tells me, “You’ve got to remind yourself that it will get better. You know that by now. If you can get through this week of feeling crappy, you will eventually feel good again!” He’s right, but damn, it’s hard to accept in the midst.

The good news is, Dad is right. It does get better, and it did. I began to feel better Christmas morning, and it has continued through today. Having good days really is a blessing. I have been able to cook, clean, and take care of my husband and our home. In addition, we’ve been able to enjoy time together and with family and friends. I am thankful for every good day that God gives me. Each good day allows me to fully enjoy the life that God has breathed into my body.

As we are all familiar with, my hair falls out when I receive chemotherapy. The fact that I am receiving a different drug does not change that. In fact, this time around, my hair began to fall out sooner than expected. Usually it takes two weeks (to the day) to fall out. This time it began to fall out a day before expected. I chose to take my husband’s perspective on this one and say, “Chemo must really be working!”  Nevertheless, losing hair still sucks. For some reason I thought maybe this time would be no problem, but I was wrong. This is the third time that I have lost my hair, and again, third time is NOT a charm. It was almost harder this time than previously. Losing my hair is a visual reminder for me that I am actually fighting cancer again. When I had my new hair regrowth and was going through my first chemo session this time, I was still able to style my curls and was subconsciously fooling myself into believing, “I just go into the doctors every now and then.” Now that I am losing my hair I think, “I just go into the doctors every now and then… for chemotherapy to fight cancer.”

Check out that texture!

Check out that texture!

Frankly, I really began to love my short hair. I’ve heard many times that chemo can cause a person’s hair to grow back differently- texture, color, thickness. I can attest, this is true! Mine grew back extremely curly! Before I first lost my hair in March, it was slightly wavy. It could be straight, and would also hold a curl very well. However, it was processed (I wasn’t a natural blonde, believe it or not) and therefore most of the natural wave had been reduced. The hair that had begun to grow back since my last treatments in August was extremely thick and full of tight curls. It resembled the texture my hair was when I was a toddler, before hair color, flat irons, and blow dryers. Losing the locks that I loved was hard. Hair regrowth helped me see that I was really done with treatment, that I was cancer-free. Hair loss forces me to see that I am back in the game. While it’s easy to host a pity-party (which I’ve already done some), I am confident in beating this thing again. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’d rather be alive and bald, than dead with incredible hair. And while we’re being Positive Polly, I’ll add… I truly adore my new blonde wig. It’s the first time that I’ve felt like me in a long time. It’s nice to look in the mirror and see my hot blonde self smiling back.

Ultimately, my hair will grow back. For now, I’m going to embrace being baldalicious and kick cancer’s ass for the second time. Pretty soon, this stupid, little, annoying bug called cancer is going to run away, begging me to stop torturing it.

Joshua 1:9 (MSG)

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Burnin’ Urine

Can someone call the whaaaambulance for me? I’m about to be a whiner.

Treatment has been so not fun lately, folks. Although, considering what I’m going through, my body has been handling all of this poison fairly well. I still have yet to throw up, however, I’ve definitely stepped into a new level of feeling like utter crap. I was so encouraged throughout the beginning half of my treatment plan because I had loads of energy, wasn’t getting sick often, and generally felt pretty good. Like I mentioned in my last post, radiation is a complete game changer. Here’s an analogy: Say you get sea-sick on boats. Radiation is like adding a torrential thunderstorm into the mix. Dealing with sea-sickness isn’t so bad, but when the boat starts rocking uncontrollably, and the rain and lightening begins, you just want to get to shore. Shore=the end of treatment. I’m so ready to get to the shore.

Before I continue, let me warn and remind you that I will be blunt sometimes. Now is one of those times. Parental discretion is advised! I’m sharing my journey right? This isn’t just rainbows all the time, friends. I’ve got to shed light on the dark clouds, too. That being said… Radiation side-effects took full hold of me about 9 days ago. In fact, all fluff aside, they kicked my ass pretty hard for a few days. I’m managing fairly well now, but those first few days were hell. I would never wish this type of pain on anyone. Without getting too graphic, (although I’m sure some of you will think this is graphic enough), it felt like I was urinating acid. Mind you, radiation’s purpose is to kill all the cells in the localized area. It’s definitely doing it’s job. They have the beams aimed at my pelvic region which includes all my lady parts, the space where my reproductive parts used to hang out, and my bladder. Let me give you a different perspective. My oncologist won’t even do an exam for a couple of months after my radiation treatments are done. She won’t even go near that area because the cells are so entirely wrecked. I don’t blame her, I wouldn’t get that close to me right now, either! Back to the bladder, in case you haven’t had enough description. Acid. Pure acid. For women (or men) who have experienced urinary tract infections, you can slightly understand the pain. There’s an upside to this type of pain, however. It only comes when urinating, and goes away until I need to empty my bladder again. Like I said, the first few days were awful. I shouldn’t admit this, but I’m being transparent here- I actually screamed a few times while using the restroom. Needless to say, my husband was pretty shocked at the extent of pain I was in! After some research, we discovered ways to ease the pain, and I’m so very grateful that they have worked thus far. In fact, I can proudly announce that I rarely experience pain while using the restroom anymore! Pray that continues! I’ve got 8 more radiation treatments. I can do this.

As a side note for those who read my blog who may have a family member going through a cancer journey of their own, or for those who are in this fight with me: Please understand my intention is not to scare, frighten, or cause anxiety for you. All of our side-effects and treatments are different. You may react completely opposite than I have. My purpose in writing this blog has been to shine light on topics that doctors simply can not share with you, as they (most likely) have not personally fought this battle. There are things we experience that no one can understand. My sharing “technique” is to be as up-front as possible. It also helps those not knowing what I’m experiencing to better pray for me. Another reason I shine light on all aspects of my journey is because it’s just that: a journey. Stories have ups and downs, and who I am to act like things are perfect all the time? I am eternally grateful for my faith in the Lord. A dear friend recently encouraged me by saying, “God has not changed in the middle of our weakness and feeling like crap. All the prayers that have been prayed for you are still producing in the Kingdom of God for you.” Praise God, that that is the TRUTH! Although, I have bad days (as you will as well), God never changes. He remains the same strong, compassionate, caring, loving friend who fights for us with all He’s got. He’s my lion bursting forth his roars against the enemy, protecting me fiercely. Take heed in that, my fellow survivors.

The whining section of this entry is over…Phew! Let’s continue on to some really great news. A wonderful friend of mine works for the hospital where I am receiving treatment. With her immense help, they have decided to follow my story on their social media sites and the main hospital website. How cool is that!? She has visited me during treatment a couple of times to interview me regarding my path thus far. Let me just say, for those who have never been interviewed on or off camera, it’s a very surreal experience. In addition, it was quite humbling for me. It’s a reminder that this story isn’t just about me. Sure, I’m the one with the cancer, but all who surround me are being affected. Even those who don’t know me are affected. I’ve said it a million times, and I’ll say it again. God gave me this story to share with others. He blessed me with this testimony and I want to tell people about it! I’m learning more and more often how many people God is touching through this chapter in my life, and I’m grateful to be His vessel. What an honor. My friend has completed the article and it went live today. I would love for y’all to check it out and share it with your friends! Below I’ve included the link to the Swedish Hospital main website and their blog where you can find my article.

PS: It’s my husband and I’s 2 year wedding anniversary tomorrow! I’m so thankful to have this man standing by me in this fight.

Psalm 71:16-18 (ESV)

“With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone. O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.”

What’s Happened These Past 2 Weeks?

(Written on Sunday, 3/11)

Hello to all! I’m sure you’ve noticed that I haven’t posted in a couple weeks. Thank you for being patient with me during this time; I have had many ups and downs. As you know, if you’ve been keeping up with my treatment schedule, I’ve been “enjoying” my two weeks off.  Wait, “enjoying” is not the right word. However, the first week off went by pretty smoothly. I had a few down moments and times of exhaustion, although, for the most part I was feeling pretty good. This second week hit me the hardest. I was astounded at how bad I felt.

My nurses initially told me that because of the two specific chemo drugs I was on, I would experience a lot of vomiting. I can proudly say, to this day I have not yet thrown up! Although I haven’t  barfed, hurled, heaved, or upchucked, I still felt pretty lousy. In fact, this is the first full day that I have felt really good. Genuinely good. Not, “My whole body aches, but I’m fine”. Or, “My stomach is pretty sore, but I’ll be ok”. I’m honestly feeling good. The fact of the matter is, I’m barely a month out from having my radical hysterectomy. I can expect to feel sore. That part won’t go away for a while.  But as for achey, fever, nausea, and other side effects, today I have steered clear of them. Praise God.

Because this was my first round of chemo, I had no idea how my body would react. Like I said before, I went through a multitude of ups and downs. I was on a mountain one moment, and at the bottom of the ocean the next. In addition, because I experienced a gamut of emotions and variety of pain levels, I wasn’t able to sit down and take time to update my blog.  I’ve been “gone” a while so let me recap this past week for you. This will help you better grasp this portion of my journey…

Friday the 2nd, I went in for another blood draw and found out that all of my levels, white and red blood cells included, were extremely low. Out of the normal range, low. So low, that my chemo nurse gave me shots to take home so that I could self inject a special type of medicine. (If I have not yet explained how I dislike self-injections, let me do so now. I strongly detest them. They are never fun. They always hurt. End rant.) This medicine boosted my bone marrow to produce more white blood cells. White blood cells are good, folks. Especially when you are fighting cancer.

From Saturday (3/3) through Monday (3/5), I felt like I had the flu. Complete with a very high fever, body aches, muscle soreness, and skin sensitivity. In fact, I had to call my doctor on one of those nights because my fever went past 100.8, which is, according to my nurses, not good. After following instructions to take 1000 mg of Tylenol, my fever broke, and I began to feel better.  Matt and I made it home, and settled in again. However, by Wednesday (3/7), I was an emotional wreck. When you have cancer, these things happen. You can’t rely on the self-control of emotions any longer. If I feel sad, I must cry. If I feel happy, I laugh. It’s okay. And, it’s extremely acceptable. I mean, come on, I have cancer.  I’m allowed to be crumpled on the floor of the shower sobbing like a 2 year old baby. Oh yes, that definitely did happen. Wednesday, was one of my lowest points thus far. Not only did I experience true, deep, heart wrenching sadness for the first time in my life, I also began losing my hair. That story, I will save for another blog.

As the week progressed, I slowly began to feel a little better. Better, as in, I was able to get out of bed and think of other things, unrelated to cancer. Last night (Saturday, 3/10) I felt pretty good. In fact, I felt good enough to venture out of the house with my adoring husband and attend the performance of wonderful students of my step-dad. They put on a play titled “Resurrection Remixed”. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was eye-opening, and it really touched my heart. High school kids don’t get enough credit sometimes.

Today was a good day. However, good doesn’t fully define it. It was more like a great day. I woke up and felt good. You know, among the million other things you take for granted before you are diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, one of them includes deciphering if your day is good or bad. That’s my life now. I wake up and have a conversation with myself  in regards to how I’m feeling. (Not out loud, friends… I’m not crazy; I just have cancer.) Prior to my diagnosis and beginning of treatment, I would wake up, like most of you, and decide what I would do that day. Never once did I consciously have to stop and decide if I was feeling good enough to take a shower, let alone go grocery shopping, attend church, hang out with friends, cook a meal, or any other daily activities. That’s my reality now. I base my days on how I’m feeling, and I take it one day at a time. I don’t worry about tomorrow, I worry about today. And a good day involves less worrying. In addition, I now officially suck at making and keeping plans. Don’t take this personally.

Again, I thank you for being patient with me during this dry spell. After all, this past cycle was my very first time receiving chemo. I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know I would feel this lousy. And I definitely didn’t expect my good moments to only last a few hours at first. Please continue to be patient with me as I will be starting my next round of chemo tomorrow (Monday, 3/12). Unfortunately, not all cycles are the same, and during  my treatment, there won’t be any predicting how I will feel. I may feel the same, I may feel worse. In fact, I might actually get nauseous this time. However, pray that I don’t.

Without going into a life lesson schpeel, I will try to touch your hearts and open your minds in this way: Don’t take your moments for granted. Be thankful when you wake up in the morning and don’t have to worry about how your body is feeling. Be happy in the seemingly mundane moments. Smile when you’re at the grocery store. Smile when you’re at the bank. Smile at the waitress who is taking time out of her life to serve you. Serve someone else. Everyone has a story. And friends, just because I have cancer, does not make me oblivious to life’s smaller troubles. Everyone is going through something rough. Whether it be not getting a close parking spot, receiving a bad grade on a test, arguing with your spouse, searching for a job, or desperately trying to make ends meet, we are all going through something. Keep that in mind when someone cuts you off in traffic. Who knows where they might be racing to.

Isaiah 40:28-31 (Message Version)

“Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles. They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.”

Rewind-The Past Year

To say that this journey began on the 23rd of January, would be incorrect. I’ve been on an unknown journey for the past year. Only on the 23rd did I begin to get an idea of what type of journey this was. I’ve been battling something in my body. I had no idea what was going on. I just knew that I didn’t feel right, and that my body was a little “off”. I was experiencing SEVERAL symptoms.

Throughout my entire life I have been an extremely healthy person. Very active and fit. No broken bones. No major surgeries. I’ve only earned a few points from getting my wisdom teeth removed! I’m a vegetarian, so I really don’t eat too much junk. The biggest thing I’ve fought has been something nearly every woman fights… weight. I’m not overweight. I’ve never been obese. But in my mind, there’s always room for improvement. Hence, why I often work out 3-4 times a week. Many people say we’re disciplined because my husband and I wake up at 5:30 in the mornings to get a workout in before the day. Discipline? I call that lack of any other available time in our busy schedule!!

Like I said, my symptoms began about a year ago. It didn’t all just start at once, but was rather a slow progression. I was getting more and more tired. I never felt like I could get enough sleep. But, even if I slept for 10 hours, I would still be fatigued the next day. It truly didn’t matter how many hours I slept, or even if I took naps. Pretty soon, I noticed that no matter how hard I was working out and eating healthy, I could not lose any weight. In fact, I just slowly kept tacking it on. My hair, as you most know, matters a LOT to me, so when I started noticing that it too was changing, I became more and more concerned. I’m a hair stylist, so I am aware that it is completely normal to shed hair. Your hair is always going through growth stages, and one of them is a shedding phase. What’s not normal, is to be losing hair in chunks. For it to be coming out in the shower in handfuls. I’m not over exaggerating. In fact, there were days when I would ask my husband to come in and see the amount that was coming out. He, too, agreed that it didn’t seem normal. I was having weird cramping. For you women, I can describe it as period cramps. I’ve been on the birth control pill for the last 6 years, and only until the last year, did I realize it wasn’t “working”. I switched to 3 different birth controls in the last 12 months. By not “working”, I mean, there was no way to predict when I would start my period. It would start 4 days early, 5 days late; it would last anywhere from 3-7 days. No regularity.

Because I was having all of these symptoms, I needed to figure out what was happening to me. Thus began a separate adventure through numerous doctors. I’ve been to 2 separate family doctors (several times), an Endocrinologist, and Gynecologist. None of which could identify anything suspicious. In fact, I was told by one of them that I just needed to take more vitamin D. Another said that changing my diet would cure all of my symptoms. Are you kidding me?! Needless to say, I left all of those appointments discouraged, concerned, and confused. Appointment after appointment, I began rehearsing what they would tell me… “All of your tests came back completely normal!”…”It’s great news, nothing is wrong!”…”Maybe, if you don’t eat that bagel, you wouldn’t be feeling this way.”…”Perhaps you should do a handstand every morning for 45 minutes. I bet that’ll help!” Well, you get the point.

I was given multiple tests. Urine and blood tests became a routine at every appointment. In fact, there had been many moments where I wanted them to take 100 vials of my blood and pass them out to the best doctors in the area. I was willing to reward whichever doctor could identify something wrong, with our whole life’s savings! At one appointment, I had to practically beg the doctor to allow me to get an ultrasound. Because of all these seemingly “female” problems, I felt that maybe something would show up in an ultrasound. After much prodding, she relented and sent me to an imaging center, where I received an internal and external ultrasound. Want to guess what the results were? Yep, NORMAL! I grew to hate that word. I’ve also had my thyroid checked, my kidneys (because of 3 UTI’s in 3 months), and practically every other organ tested. All of my levels continued to come back normal.

Last month, I ended up in the emergency room. I went to bed one night with minor abdominal pain that worsened overnight. So much that I didn’t sleep more than an hour. Once the alarm clocks went off to alert my husband and I that we needed to go work out, I filled him in on the previous night. It became apparent that I needed to go to the hospital. During my 6 hour stay, I was hooked up to IV’s, and had multiple pain meds to keep the pain at bay. I received another external ultrasound. They examined all of my abdominal organs. Nothing was found, nothing was determined.

Until I discovered my current Gynecologist, I was trying to convince myself that I might just be making my symptoms up. Only problem with that is, I knew something was wrong. Those thoughts of, “am I just having a crisis?” and “are these things really happening?”, soon were shot down with the recurring gut feeling that something wasn’t right. They say to trust your gut. Seriously, do. You know when something is off. You know when something isn’t right.

My advice for the day- TRUST YOUR GUT! Keep hounding the doctors if they don’t know what’s going on with you. If one doctor doesn’t give you an answer, find one that will! My “gut” is the Holy Spirit. I truly believe that God kept the desire and urge inside of me to discover what was ailing me. He kept feeding me strength and hope even when I was weak and hopeless. Had it not been for the following bible verse, I may have lost hope, and who knows where I would be today.

Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”