A few months ago, one of my yoga instructorsshared something on instagram about the junk that is in many of our beauty products and it kind of startled me. I spent the following weeks researching more about makeup, learning how not-so-wonderful some of the ingredients are, and I decided to be a little more careful about the products that I'm putting on my face every morning.
I only really wear foundation and bronzer on a regular basis, so I knew an overhaul on my tiny makeup drawer wasn't going to be much work. But after lots of reading, I decided to make the switch from (apparently, not-so-bare) Bare Minerals to Alima Pure.
Since I love lists, here are the reasons why I decided to switch...
Lately, more than ever, I've been wanting to spend a day celebrating my mom and reiterating how much I appreciate her. Mother's Day gave me a perfect push to do just that. My mom has always been the person who has supported me the most in everything and during the last year, she's been especially supportive with my health. She's held my hand at every doctor's appointment. She'd wake up at all hours of the night to make sure I got my medicine on time. She's just unbelievable, I'm telling you.
I think part of the reason that I'm fighting so hard for the chance to be a mom someday is because I want to give my children the kind of life that I have, where I never have to question or wonder if my mom loves me, because her actions and words show it a thousand times a day.
So there's that sappiness.
More than anything else, I thought my mom deserved (and would like) an afternoon out of the house.
So I planned us a little picnic.
^ Sometimes, overestimating the amount of time before a self-timer photo is taken.. makes for an awkward candid shot haha.
I kind of like it. :)
Since I've had more free-time on my hands lately (can't wait to go back to work tomorrow!) I was able to DIY a little pressed-flower monogram for my cute mama. Haven't hand-made her a gift since elementary school! ;)
By the way, it was unanimous that our favorite snack from the picnic was the pears with goat cheese and dried cranberries. I definitely encourage you to try that combo sometime, if you haven't already. It's a winner!
Already trying to figure out when we could have our next relaxing afternoon.
Before I say anything else : thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers and well-wishes!
The surgery went as well as I ever could have hoped for! I have finally 'officially' been diagnosed with endometriosis (might sound kind of weird to be excited about that, but it's great to finally have a definite answer) and the adhesions that they found were all removed. Great news! My doctor also said that due to the location of the adhesions, my fertility doesn't appear to have been negatively affected yet. Amazing news! We are thrilled with both of these outcomes and I'm convinced it was the prayers, good vibes, and positivity from all the amazing people around me. Including those of you who follow along here! Thank you!
So, now what happens?
Thrilled as I was to have finally been properly diagnosed, the problem with endometriosis is that there isn't a cure.
Removing the adhesions is a temporary solution, but my body will continue to create that tissue and endometriosis will continue to grow outside of my uterus. We also don't know if the adhesions were the cause of my pain, so we'll just have to wait for a few months and see if my pain is improving. Some women end up getting laparoscopies every few years to have their endometriosis continually removed.
According to my doctor, some women come in to the hospital with extreme pain and only one tiny speck of endometriosis. Other times, women come in to have a totally unrelated procedure, and once they're opened up, doctor's find a mess of endometriosis everywhere, but the woman had never felt any symptoms. That's part of this that I don't really understand. But I'm feeling optimistic about everything and hoping to be able to slow the growth of the endo by continuing to eat gluten-free, amping up my health in general, and starting the hormones that they'll be giving me in a few more weeks once I heal.
In a nutshell, the surgery was a success. Everything we could have wanted from the surgery, we got.
Now, it's just waiting and trying things out again. But at least now I have a clean slate and we know exactly what's wrong. No more guessing! It's an immense relief.
Currently, just focusing on recovering.
I've had my wonderful mom taking care of me, that sweet boyfriend of mine doting on me, and my cute little pup, Toby, has been pretty protective too. Every day, I get less crampy and sore. Today is the first day that it hasn't hurt to laugh, which greatly widens my TV program selection. (I didn't realize how many comedies I watch until it hurt to laugh)
The night before my surgery, I was surprised with this gorgeous quilt. Apparently, a local church heard about my situation and they have a ministry that makes these prayer-quilts, so they created one for me! My mom then brought the quilt to the pre-school that I work at, so my coworkers and some of my students could tie knots on it. When a knot is tied, a prayer is said. So every knot is a reminder that I'm "covered in prayer." Such a beautiful idea! I brought it to the hospital and it provided an amazing sense of comfort. It's so thoughtful and super special to me. I love it!
In other news, my dad actually ended up needing surgery this week too. (Prayers for my dear mother : Our nurse and caretaker, extraordinaire) He had two ruptured disks in his back. So he and I have big plans to hobble around and practice walking together haha. Oh boy.. Life sure is exciting over here at the O'Connell home.
I could say(and will continue to say)thank you a thousand times for the incredible encouragement that you've all given me. After the surgery, my mom was reading me all the kind words from people on Facebook and here on the blog. It was the first thing I heard when I woke up and it just started me off on the complete right foot for recovery. I'm feeling optimistic for the future, proud of my scars and what I've gotten through so far, and thankful beyond belief for this beautiful life I've got.
I had been feeling pretty certain about it until my pre-op, during which my doctor was kind of brutally honest about what to expect afterwards. Namely, lots of pain and little chance of long-term (or short-term) relief. While her words made me ache in a way that only complete honesty can, somewhat robbing me of my optimism, I also really appreciate the fact that now I'm going in with no expectations.
So many times, I've been told "This will work. Just do it."
And I've done it, only to find that I was the exception. It didn't work for me and it wasn't going to.
This time, I don't think I'm going to wake up and feel better. I don't think that the pain will be gone. I just expect to have more answers. More of an idea of what my future looks like in terms of pain, health, and motherhood. And I'm looking forward to answers, even if they aren't good ones.
I'm so thankful that every time I've felt discouraged, someone has reached out to me with the exact thing I needed to hear. My boss and my coworkers have been more encouraging, understanding, and supportive than I ever could have expected them to be. My pre-schoolers have been saying prayers and giving me gentle hugs. My family has been so accommodating and full of love. I'm so thankful, really.
But if I could covet your prayers just one more time...
I'd love good news tomorrow. I'd love relief from my pain in the future. I'd love a calm heart before the surgery.
Thank you so much for being my outlet for thoughts like these.
It's nice to write and be heard.
Love and blessings to you.
Last night, Weston told me that the first time he ever heard The Postal Service, he was in middle school, sitting at his grandparents house, watching the TV guide channel. And in the top corner, where they were always playing something to distract you during the channel scrolling, they were showing The Postal Service.
I don't remember the very first time that I heard them,
but I do remember having Such Great Heights as my profile song on MySpace. (holla for my top 8, what whaaaat)
And more than anything, I remember listening to them in the car on my first date with Weston.
Which is a top 10 favorite memory for me.
I was completely elated that we were able to grab a couple of tickets to their show in Pomona, especially considering how quickly they sold out! And I was even more happy when the day arrived and I was feeling well. :) Little victories!
The day before the show, I found out that my cousin was going to be the stage managing that night and he was able to snag us a couple wristbands for the pit! It was suuuuper nice just showing up when we wanted, without having to wait in line forever and still getting pretty close to the front! More little victories!
I was so happy that Jenny Lewis performed with them and I was so happy that they sounded just as wonderful in person and I was so happy that they played every song I'd hoped to hear and I was just so happy about everything.
The other night, while browsing through Thought Catalogue, I came across an all-too-familiar word in one of the headlines. Endometriosis. Clicking through to the article, my eyes started to well up with tears as I read line after line of painful truth. It was so relatable for me. Almost too relatable, in fact.
I found myself feeling embarrassed - like someone had published my most private experiences for everyone to read about. By the end of the post, I was split between comfort and heartbreak. Comfort in knowing that I'm not crazy and this struggle is really as hard as I feel like it is. And heartbreak in reading the pain someone else has gone through with no happy ending or resolution.
March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. And after struggling with my pain for 9 years, some doctor finally threw out the E word during a conversation and brought that possibility to the table. 9 years later we are looking at my symptoms, seeing how they line up perfectly to an endometriosis diagnosis, and scheduling a laparoscopy. This leads me to believe that there isn't nearly enough conversation about this disease. And after reading that article, I was inspired to step way out of my comfort zone and share a little bit of my experience. It isn't pretty or fun or positive. And I won't blame you if you don't want to read it. But if you do, I hope you read it with an open mind. And I hope that it enlightens you in some way and that maybe you will gain some understanding about this painful conditionthat millions of women suffer from, but nobody talks about.