Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gotcha Eve!!

Disclaimer: This is all about girly-stuff and kinda a if you happen to be packing a standard issue weapon you may not want to read.  If you choose to go on....well you have been warned.

I hate being a girl.  Seriously.  I will concede that there are benefits: the face we wake up to in the a.m. isn't the one we have to face the world in, high heels, the ability to carry a fab bag and not be forced to stuff all of our essentials into our non-accommodating or non-existing pockets and of course our strange power over the opposite sex.  And while these benefits are super, my distaste for the downside of being a woman has increased with each passing year.  When I was little and at the beach with my family and our close knit group of annual beach accompaniments (including my Mom's BFF and her 5 boys), I found it annoying that they could run around topless yet it was "frowned upon" when I attempted to do the same.  As time passed, other aspects of all things girl ground at my nerves - why are we forced to bare all of our goodies in a bathing suit whereas stupid boys can wear board shorts and rash guards. Ugh!  Would I really be such a freak if I shaved my  unmanageably thick, white girl 'fro head of unruly hair.  Shaving!?! Waxing!?! Mix/matching!?!  Constant Maintenance?!?  Child Birth?!? Periods!!!!!!

The last item on this not-even-close-to-being-done list o' bitching has been the one that has solidified my dislike for being all sugar and spice.  Since the wrath of Eve began in 6th grade, my life has been constantly ruled by the terribly painful experience once a month.  After 18 years of unbearable periods (see My Uterus Hates Me), 2 surgeries to address my endometriosis, 2 children, something had to be done.  After the birth of my second child things began to get increasingly worse.  The past 6 months alone have been horrible.  The pain extended its grasp beyond once a month, making it difficult to live my life and do the things that are required by all of us Super women. Most importantly it interfered with my ability to be a fantastic mother to my 2 wonderful munchkins. 

After reviewing all the options for treatment with my doctor, we came to the conclusion that a hysterectomy was the best option.  Lucky for me, my doctor is phenomenal and highly trained with the Davinci Robotic Surgery

This hysterectomy ain't yo' Mama's hysterectomy, which required a C-section-esque incision.  This minimally invasive procedure has an easier recovery time, even though it is still a major surgery. 

Although this was clearly the best option, it was still a difficult choice to make.  After all my rants about hating being a girl, I was suddenly clinging to something that made me distinctly so.  And although my uterus and I have fought a vengeful battle for more than half of my life, it was my precious munchkins' first home.  I began having dreams filled with being punished for escaping the wrath God intended for Eve's conniving ways.  My decision was solidified as the surgery neared and my pain began getting worse.  The day I picked up my adorable chuck'o man 2 year old and nearly dropped him due to the pain radiating from my abdomen made me realize that any notions to the contrary were ridiculous.

It has now been 4 weeks since my surgery.  My oh-so-wonderful and not-so hard on the eyes doctor was able to remove all of the endometerisosis, my massivily enlarged (source of the increase in pain) uterus and leave my ovaries.  Although I have had a few setbacks, the recovery has been better than expected - only hampered by my own stupidity and stubbornness.  I would feel great on some days and forget to take it easy (stupid, stupid, stupid) and then pay for it after.  I can't wait to be totally back in the game. To be able to workout, play with my kids, dance like a fool and further live my life without the pain and nonsense that my body used to put me through.  As for the nostalgic issues, I just tell myself that while my womb held my munchkins for 9 months, my heart will hold them for a lifetime and I would rather hang on to that organ.

As for being a girl, I'm beginning to come around.  Except for the bikini thing - that one still pisses me off.

My Uterus Hates Me

Seriously, it HATES me!!

Since I "blossomed" into puberty (vomit) in 6th grade my experience has been horrible! I'm talking having to miss out on life for at least 2 days out of the month because I was unable to move due to excruciating pain, vomiting, passing out or any combination of the 3 and sometimes more. Meds would help....and by help I mean that I would be unconscious for 4 hours until they wore off and I would then awaken to another vicious cycle repeating itself. When I was 14 my doctor put me on birth control in the hopes that this would regulate and calm down my period o' purgatory. Even though my mother was afraid I would be viewed as a modern day Hester Prynne (we live deep in the Bible Belt), this plan of action worked quite well.

Then at age 21, it all started again. Except this time I began having pain all the time. I couldn't workout, I could barely walk to class. I began seeing a doctor that had massive experience with cases like mine.  The cysts that were discovered on my ovaries made my right ovary double the size of a normal ovary and my left one was quadruple that size.  An exploratory laparoscopic surgery confirmed the doctor's diagnosis of endometriosis. A case so severe that, instead of burning it off as planned, my doctor couldn't do anything at that point. When I was conscious, my doctor showed me pictures of my insides (super cool albeit super yuck) covered in the black funk that was wreaking havoc on my life. It was EVERYWHERE! It coated every surface contained within my abdominal cavity. Completely covering my bladder and so thick around my uterine artery, that it caused my doctor to not proceed until she had a chance to go over everything with me. See removing the endometeriosis could result in severing my uterine artery thereby forcing a hysterectomy at the ripe ol' age of (by this time) 22 years old. I decided to go ahead with the surgery - it was either that or attempt to get pregnant which would have been mission impossible judging by the state of my baby making equipment and the fact that while engaged, I was *GASP!!* unmarried (did I mention we live in South Georgia?).

The surgery was successful in removing ALL of the endometeriosis, but left my insides wrecked with scar tissue. My doctor told me she didn't want to offer false hope. That it would be a one-in-a-million chance for me to get pregnant. ever.  My fiance and I were heartbroken.  We had dreams of a family, little mini-us-es running around and pitt-pattering through our lives.  I gave him an out.  I told him that since I was now barren-Marion he could call it off and find someone with a ready, willing and able baby hammock.  He declined my offer and we began discussing alternatives.  We decided on being foster parents with the hopes that adoption would follow. 

We were married 5 months after my 2nd surgery and began married life.  We had a five year plan in which the adoption option took the place of the typical "trying for baby" one.  As with most plans, this one went awry.  2 and 1/2 months after getting married, something blew the 5 year plan wildly off course.  A positive pregnancy test.  I took the test as a kind of joke, not at all stupid enough to believe that it could be possible.  I stared feeling weird and thought I was coming down with a virus or something because what else could make you vomit after drinking orange juice, brushing your teeth or right before you go to bed? That and Lannie The Wonder Dog became very protective of me.  So I didn't even tell my new husband that I was taking one.  When I showed him the stick he didn't speak for 12 solid hours. I didn't do a lot of that either.  What I did do a lot of was urinating. 5 pregnancy tests.  All with the same result: positive, 2 lines, plus sign, smiley face, pink line. 

Total shock and awe.  Obviously in shock due to my prognosis and the fact that I was on birth control to prevent the re-attack of the endo-monster.  Awe because it was a miracle.  Awe because God laughs at even the most well formulated plans and (in this case) replaces it with something unimaginable and miraculous.  Awe because when our baby girl was born we were changed for life.  Then awed again when she was 3 years old and touched my belly, looked up and said, "You gots a baby in your belly, Mama".  The subsequent pregnancy tests revealed that this child is psychic and God is wonderful (albeit in fits of giggles), because yet again we believed that Marlee would be our one and only because it was impossible to become pregnant. 

So after the 2 babies and somewhat pleasant intervening periods, I believed my uterus and I had come to a cease fire.  I quickly realized that it was but a brief reprieve and my uterus was an evil genius (muwhahahaha).  I had begun to have an appreciation...oh alright I loved it for the first time in my life...for this wonderful piece of me.  But after the birth of our son, my uterus struck back with a vengeance.  Our son is now 2 years old and, as of 4 weeks ago, my uterus sleeps with the fishes (read more "Gotcha Eve").

Everything we love or hate teaches us a lesson.  Everything we love or hate changes our life dramatically.  In my uterus' case - it made my life more wonderful than I could have ever imagined and taught me to never underestimate the miracles that are waiting in life.....and to always have a good doctor on hand.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Framin' my Favorite Danglin' (s)

Ooooh Shiny!!  Instead of just using my collection as a one-at-the-time decoration hanging from my lobes, I made something that makes them art in my bathroom when they aren't in use (plus I no longer have to sift through tangled earrings!).  And the earrings that I love that have lost their mate can still be admired!

Oh-so fancy and SIMPLE!!

Step 1:  Find a frame -preferably one with some character but any will do.  I found this one at a Antique store for $5 and all I did was clean it up a bit, but the possibilities are endless - paint it or embellish with a hot glue gun and some bling or ribbon.

Step 2:  get some screen from a hardware store.  I think I got a small roll for like $2.  Be sure to get a durable metal mesh so that it will last.

Step 3: cut screen with wire cutters or some serious shears.  Make sure it is big enough to cover the opening and give you room to staple to the back of the frame.

Step 4: Staple screen to back of frame.  Pull it tight and staple at small intervals to avoid sagging.

Step 5: Display it.  Hang your new earring holder on the wall and hang earring hooks through the screen!

So simple and only takes just a few minutes to make! And it's so cheap, yet fancy, it makes a great Christmas present!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Accessories - for me or my home?

I love jewelry.  Not the super expensive fancy kind, cheap things will do just fine.  Unusual and special finds are my favorite and I have accumulated quite a few.  The thing I do not like about all of my jewelry, is that I can't wear it all everyday without looking like a spaz.  So now I have discovered ways that allow my fabulous finds to be displayed and admired on a daily basis. 

First is the adorable Jewelry Tree I found at TJ Maxx for about $13 bucks! Not only is it functional and a quick place to place the pieces I wear more often, but I love seeing it on my dresser!

hanging on my jewelTree is my single most favorite piece of jewelry!  See I wanted some Mom jewelry - but not yo Mama's Mom jewelry.  After searching for a very long time, I finally found something that fit both my style and budget (see other post regarding my frugality).

I found it at The Vintage Pearl - which has tons of other fabulous finds! The crescent moon is hand stamped with "I love you to the moon & back" - something my daughter and I have always said to each other (little dude is starting to get the hang of it), and the disc is hand stamped with the names of both of my children.  I added the 2 birthstone crystals.  Hands down my favorite thing!
From now on, I try to avoid stuffing my baubles into the jewelry box.  Accessories for me and my home!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Decor by the Door

A friend once told me to not just fill up space rather only put things that I absolutely love in my home.  This is now my mantra on allowing things into my sanctuary.  Whether decor pieces, utilitarian or people (I kid, I kid), loving it is something I must.  Problemo Numero Uno: I'm not a millionaire and while my heart may go boom boom, my ever-frugal hand puts a death grip on my wallet barring it from further use.  Second issue? I'm extremely particular and find it increasingly difficult to find the item that fits perfectly into my style and ease of use AND tight (tighttighttight) budget. 

Such a situation occurred recently.  Growing aggravated by the constant presence of jackets, book bags, and other random hangable objects on my dining room chairs, I decided we were in dire need of a coat rack.  I searched everywhere: online, stores, antique shops - nothing....well, nothing that I liked.  And as for the ones that would "Just do" well they were at least $70.  I refused to spend 70 bucks on something that makes my nostrils flare just a bit when I look at it.  Then, as I was on the verge of burning all hanging materials 1968 bra style, I got an idea.  If you want something done right, you're just gonna have to do it yourself.  So becomes my homemade, most favorite thing in my home (I forgot about the kids and hubster, well they're a close 2nd, 3rd and 4th). 

I lucked up and found a post from a South Georgian Plantation house.  it had been cut in half lengthwise, but I'm sure anyone can find a post and someone skilled with a saw to dissect it for them.  I then used a hand sander to remove layers of paint, the earliest of which was from the early 1900's, and then stained it.   Also, lucky for me, I was able to find glass door knobs to use as hangers. The post was then screwed into the wall (on a stud) at the top and bottom.  Angled holes were drilled at aesthetically pleasing intervals for the knobs.  I used pieces of a dowel rod and wood glue, both in the holes on the post and knobs, to affix them.
Total Cost:
Post - $20
Knobs (all four) - $30 (a "STEAL" as another antique dealer told me...apparently they can be pretty pricey)
Dowel Rod - $2
And elbow grease from myself and my wonderful master of woodcraft father!
= $54
But most of all I absolutely love it and view it as a piece of art which also saves my sanity, although it is so beautiful I almost hate to junk it up with random hangables.

Here are a few more pictures showing details

This hook was on the post when it was removed from the house.  I couldn't bare (or manage) to take it off and it serves as a perfect place to hang my purse.

see ;)

I will add other such projects that make my home wonderful soon!