Stylish, Stealthy & Healthy.


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Thoughts on Lady Friends and Being Inspired

It’s true that I loved – and I mean LOVED – the Spice Girls when I was 11 (ok 12). Alright, fine, maybe I was 13. In fact there is a picture floating around somewhere of me and a few friends dressed as them and lip syncing a choreographed live performance at a friend’s summer family picnic. I was Sporty Spice, obvi. And yes, my signature Sporty high kick was on point, and yes, it was completely mortifying.

Why am I talking about this iconic 90’s girl group and classic awkward tween Jess moment? Because “girl power”, that’s why. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the amazing group of women that have become influencers in the world today and in my daily life, and that it actually surprises me that I value them so much.

For a long time I felt like I would never be a girl’s girl. I was always “one of the guys”, partly because I though out made me sound cool, but also because I found girls to be kind of… well, mean for most of my young adult life. I wasn’t ever lucky enough to be one of those naturally pretty/thin/sweet girls that people gravitated towards. I was tall, loud, and pretty much always felt like a square peg in a world of round holes. Even when I was part of a group, I always felt like the odd man out. Sure, I would find a few people here and there whom I felt really understood me and didn’t mind my my quirks. And not the adorable kind of quirks, the kind that make you want to be homeschooled after people find out you watch Anne of Green Gables with your mom instead of MTV, which you don’t even have because your parents blocked it. (Just to be clear, I loved watching those movies with my mom and totally understand now why they thought Singled Out was inappropriate for a 10 year old. But you see what I mean.) And honestly I think those friendships formed solely over a bond of feeling “different”.

SO. I’m writing all this to say that as I continue to move into my 30’s (AHHH)… I find myself  actually seeking out women in my life to motivate and support me. And through doing so I’ve realized that I’m not the only one who felt the way I did – kind of a loner, desperately wanting to fit in, despite a false confidence that screamed otherwise. I think I was always a bit of a “floater” because I was afraid of getting too close to any one friend for fear they’d turn on me and tell all my secrets. (Now I realize how much of a mistake that was and the value that female friendships have to offer.)

I’ve found so much comfort through reading books that divulge the trials of some of my favorite similarly off-beat women (Tina Fey, Mindy Kahling and can’t wait to read Amy Poehler’s!) that have made me actually feel validated having gone through similar experiences. Every day I read the blogs of women that have built incredible careers and built their own successes for themselves, and I want to have Sex & the City style drinks with them all and have them spill all their secrets. (Like her, her and her.) And not to mention the amazingly wonderful friends, family and mentors I’m blessed to have. (I hope you know who you are.)

What I find to be crazy is that every time i have this conversation with another woman, they pretty much know exactly what I’m talking about. So this tells me two things: A. I’m not a special snowflake and growing up is hard for everyone, and B. there needs to be more. More conversations with girls about how to be nicer to each other. More opportunities for young women to find mentors that can help them navigate through their sometimes fun but more often tumultuous early 20’s. More discussions on how to work together professionally and not root against each other, or get caught up in jealously or competition. More celebrations of each other’s successes and support during challenges.

I know… This is a bit of a kumbaya/Mean Girls moment, but I feel like it’s an issue that needs discussed. I think there’s been a lot of amazing progress and I really hope to see it continue. Especially since we’ve decided to try and have children, I think about if I had a girl of my own and what I’d want the world to be like for her. And even though that might not happen anytime soon, or at all, in the meantime I think we can all probably agree we can do a little more. And at the very least we can be sure and thank those who do.


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The Big When Question (Part 2)

(Reminder: This post is both personal and wordy, maybe even more so than Part 1. You’ve been warned. Also, you can read Part 1 here)

As scary and relieving as it was to find out that something was actually keeping us from being blessed with a little baby, it was all just speculatory. I found out that endometriosis can’t actually be diagnosed without having laparoscopic surgery, and then if they do find it, they remove it during the surgery. So, terrified out of my mind, and having only gone through wisdom tooth removal surgery before, I scheduled my procedure and tried not to pass out at the very thought of going under for 3-4 hours.

The weeks leading up to my surgery were honestly a blur. I’m sure I was a shitty wife, friend, daughter, employee, etc, because all I could really do was worry.

What if they don’t find endo and there’s something major wrong with me that they can’t fix?

What if I react to the anesthesia?

What if I don’t wake up from the anesthesia?

What if I have it on some major organ and they damage it and I have to live my life without a bladder?!??

And on..and on.. and on.

But whether I liked it or not, the surgery was coming and I was having it. And despite the worries that I had about the procedure itself, I actually found myself feeling extremely at peace. It had been almost two long years of wondering what was wrong with me and feeling like a broken person that couldn’t be fixed. Now we were finally moving towards some answers and some clarity, which gave me more comfort than I’d had this entire time. I had spent months crying every 26-28 days when old flo came around. Feeling paralyzed with envy when I’d hear someone had gotten pregnant, even worse when they weren’t even trying. (Try congratulating someone through clenched teeth while fighting back tears, it’s super convincing.) People actually started to feel bad telling me they were expecting, how awful is that? I was so tired of feeling disappointed in myself and jealous of other people’s blessings, and all but screaming, “WHY, GOD, WHY?” every night. Now I had some hope and there was finally some light at the end of the tunnel.

Surgery

4:30AM the day of surgery came extremely early and I woke up with butterflies the size of Khaleesi’s dragons fluttering around my stomach. We headed over to the hospital as I hid behind huge sunglasses (no makeup on surgery day, like it wasn’t already bad enough) and checked in. After we checked into the pre-op area, a few very lovely nurses came and did pleasant things like take blood and give me an IV. As I headed over to the OR, I realized it was on. I was given some info about my anesthesia, asked some questions, and wheeled into the OR. (PS – they totally used a robot to do my surgery, how Back to the Future is that?) A few minutes later I was given something to calm my nerves (YES PLEASE) and shortly after that I was in Snoozeville.

I woke up (3 1/2 hours later) and promptly asked “did I do good?” I was told, “you did great”, which is all I needed to hear. My pain level was about a 7 out of 10 so they gave me some pain meds, but it was all very manageable. As they wheeled me to recovery I saw my mom in the hallway who had some very good news to share: “They got it all and your tubes are both open!” I think I might have cried, but things were still pretty foggy. About two hours later they sent me and Brandon on our merry way, still feeling pretty good with very minimal pain.

post op

Snoop Groggy Grog.

The next week was spent on my couch, working in little bits of walking and moving around when I could. Between Brandon, my mom and my sister-in-law, I had an awesome support system to keep me company and feed me delicious soups and other post-surgery meals while I was recouping. The most pain I experienced during this time was from the gas they use to fill your abdomen during surgery that gets trapped up in your back, but honestly it wasn’t nearly as bad as what I read on the internet (go figure) and I feel like I was extremely lucky. My incisions are so teeny tiny (I have 4 total), and as long as I wore loose clothing, I’d forget they were even there.

Where I’m At Now/What I’ve Learned

I am so happy I had this procedure done, and I am really anxious to see how my quality of life improves from it. Hopefully I won’t experience the awful cramps and pain I was dealing with before, and I’m hoping my hormones even out as well. I’m about two weeks post procedure, and I am praying that the baby-making odds are in our favor. I have definitely come to realize more than ever what an amazing gift life really is, and that no one should take it for granted. I’ve also learned a lot about endometriosis, and that there is a really supportive community out there.  There’s even a diet to reduce the symptoms, which sounds insane, but let me tell you, I tried it and actually had really great results! I wish I’d opened up about it sooner, having heard from so many people in the last few weeks that have given me so much comfort and advice. There is no cure for endo, and it’s not uncommon to have this surgery done more than once. There isn’t a ton of awareness about this disease yet, either, which is why most women aren’t even diagnosed until they’re in their 30’s, many years after they’ve suffered from unnecessary pain. 1 in 10 women have endo (which I find to be crazy given that it’s not spoken about very often) and one of my favorite ladies, Padma Lakshmi, is an endo sufferer, and even co-founded the Endometriosis Foundation. I mean, at this point it’s like we’re almost the same person…

Love You, Mean It

So anyways, I really want to say thanks for all the amazing comments, emails and tweets I’ve gotten already, I really can’t tell you how much they’ve meant to me. I wish this was the part where I tell you “OMG IT WORKED!”, but alas, our outcome is still yet to be determined. So for now, I am going to try my very best to be optimistic, keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll have some good news to share sometime in the future.

And until then we shall enjoy these two little handfuls.

pups

If you have any questions or want to know more about my experience so far with endo or this surgery, please please please do not hesitate to email me. I’m not an expert, but I am a pretty open book.

xoxo J


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The Big “When” Question

(Warning: this post is kind of long and kind of personal. And by “kind of” I mean extremely.)

As a girl (and I apologize because that’s all the experience I’ve got) it seems like your life is series of when‘s.

When do you get your license so you can drive us to the mall??

When do you turn 21 so we can go meet boys????

When is he going to pop the question?

When‘s the big day??

aren't we adorable?

And while these questions all warrant multiple question marks, they have all been reasonably simple to answer, or at least provide rough timelines. Then came the other question that people start asking, basically the minute you get back from your honeymoon…

When are you going to have a baby?

This one. This one wasn’t so easy to answer. First, we were never in a hurry. As I’ve explained before on this blog, we are kind of selfish people who are 100% aware of the fact that we like our lives how they are. We like TV, going to dinner and eating at the bar, laying around on Sundays watching football and HBO and leaning giant mirrors against walls without worrying someone will pull it over on top of themselves. He likes his xbox  (some days I think more than me) but hey, I’ve got my vices. Y’all know how I feel about wine. But as the first few years of wedded bliss passed by, I started getting that dull ache in my belly as I saw friends, family, hell even strangers, snuggling and kissing on their own tiny little humans that they created together. I would catch myself inhaling that sweet baby smell just a few seconds longer. Smiling the widest of smiles when they would wrap their little hands around my finger. Feeling like I swallowed the sun when my nephews would hug me and say “I love you”. So with some hesitation and eventually mutual agreement, we decided to make a baby.

…Two years ago.

…Radio silence.

Like I’m sure many other women have, I always had this feeling I would never be able to have children, long before I ever started even wanting them. Yes, I am known to be a bit of a worrier/hypochondriac/crazy person, so this was nothing out of the ordinary. So as months went by, boxes and boxes of pregnancy tests and ovulation kits ninja kicked our bank account (that shit is expensive), I read every “TTC” (Trying to Conceive) forum I could find, I tried every method of charting and I took every supplement I read about to try and calm my fears and get some results. Still. Nothing. Then finally after about a year and a half, and kind of an “off” cycle, I went to see a fertility doctor, completely ready to accept my fate as fertility impaired.

Thank God.

Not only did I feel better just talking to someone, but as we started charting my cycle with their preferred method (NaPro in case you’re interested), things started to finally make sense. Like the fact that I had horrific, debilitating cramps randomly, almost 20 days out of the month. Or that I had excruciating pain from exercise and other activities that should not cause pain. A month of blood tests every other day showed my hormones were jank, and I was a ball of stress because of it. An earlier test I’d had done when we started this process showed blockage in both of my tubes (yay!) so as you can imagine, that puts a wrench in things. And as we continued to navigate through each month, there was a reoccurring theme that continued to come up with my fertility nurse, and certainly explained a lot of what I was dealing with. Endometriosis.

To be continued…

 

 

 

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