Now you see me….maybe…

Seriously flirting with the idea of vlogging, adding another element to my blog here, and a new way to interact.  I’m implementing a lot of big changes in my world right now, and as I’ve mentioned before, re educating myself on all things PCOS.  I’m learning even more than I did before, 8 years ago, when I first dove into my research, and feel like it could be helpful to share what I find.

Speaking of 8 years ago……

So, it never fails to hit me this time of year, as the date approaches, and this year is no exception.  Next week, on April 13, marks what would have been my third baby’s birth date/estimated due date.  I was so stinkin’ excited to have a baby with diamonds as their birthstone!!  Not to mention, we don’t have any April birthdays in the family yet!  This year, I would be celebrating 8 blissful years, but the universe had another plan for me.

I lost my baby early on, and went spiraling down into my unexplained infertility battle, that I would eventually find out was caused by PCOS.

I am fighting PCOS to this very day, and have recently gotten so over it, I have decided to really do everything in my power to show this nasty condition who’s boss.  (Spoiler alert: I’m the boss!!  The power is in my hands, and yours too, if you are in my boat!)

I want a happy ending to my tear filled journey, and if I can give even a tiny glimmer of hope of help to someone who feels the same way, who is going through the same thing….well, then I feel like it’s my job to offer a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on, or even just an ear to listen.

That’s why I have been seriously considering vlogging, since I feel like I can better emote to you and speak like your friend, rather than just type the words to try and convey what’s in my head and heart.

I’ll have to see what my tech guy says, because I am thinking of just hitting record, spilling my guts, then sharing the video.  I get annoyed at the idea of editing anything or doing anything technical because, blah, it’s boring to me!  I am not a patient girl, I just wanna talk.  :)

 

Caliente!

caliente

I have been gargling a hellish brew today, consisting of raw apple cider vinegar, honey, cayenne pepper, coconut oil and herbal tea, attempting a holistic approach to curing the strep throat my lovely baby has shared with me.  Yes, it’s as yummy as it sounds!  I’m also ingesting spoonfuls of raw garlic, a natural antibiotic, and continuing with probiotic supplements, trying to slowly rebuild and strengthen my immunity.  The hippie in me refuses to give up, I will fight this the natural way, antibiotic and doctor free!!

I’m still fighting illness upon illness in a tired, old, vicious cycle.  I do believe the end is near.  Not my death, mind you, but of the never ending illness on top of illness.  This is what I choose to believe anyway.

The days are getting warmer, the grass greener, and surely, surely better health is on my horizon!!

I’m scared of what the coming year brings, when we introduce another child to their first year of school, bringing home all of these horrid super cooties.  By then, universe willing, I will have gotten a grip on things and my body will be better prepared to fight off said cooties.

I’m also reading up on PCOS, reacquainting myself with all of the technical terms and the inner workings of the beast.  I am determined to rein it in this year, and to reclaim my fertility along with my health.  I have eliminated big stressors in my life, and after a weekend of uncertainty, expecting big drama and only getting a small, passive aggressive gesture, I feel like I can breathe deep and be selfish, thinking of myself first and focusing on positive change.

Change is GOOD!!!  (Well some change is good……Do you know Shemar Moore left Criminal Minds?! That change is NOT good and this baby girl is still heartbroken over that!)

My cousin has told me she sees a baby in my near future, my daughter has told me that her fairies see a baby in my near future, and just this past weekend, my aunt shared a tarot reading with me that seemed to hint at a baby in my near future.  These people are my heart and soul, and if even they feel the baby vibes, then surely the universe is in agreement!

So through the cruddy illnesses and crappy luck, I am continuing to see sunshine and rainbows.  I started some seeds today for our garden, and I am going to surround myself with love and happiness until it all finally sinks in and I see all of my dreams come true.

I hope this post finds you all in good health and smiles, and if not, know that I am wishing it for you.  Be happy and be well, my friends.

An Update

sick

I ended 2015 feeling super run down, my body was working against me to say the very least.  I spent so much time  being stressed and worried about situations out of my control that it spiraled several of my regular conditions into pure chaos.  My rosacea flared angrily, and my hormones were so out of whack, my PCOS symptoms were hugely aggravated.  In a nutshell, I was stressed to the max and my body was sending me every warning signal possible that something was very wrong.

Here we are, more than half way through February, and I feel like I still can’t seem to catch a break health wise.

I had accepted that I could not change the situations and people that were causing me stress, and made it a priority to focus on myself this year.  I started by doing a mental and physical detox which may or may not have helped to start a missing menstrual cycle that showed up nearly 6 months later that expected.

Let me tell you, this belated period was ridiculous beyond belief.  Heavy, full of huge clots, and lasting over three weeks.  I felt like I was literally bleeding to death, it was intense.  A few days into this miserable cycle, I came down with what I thought was a simple cold from the kids.

You know how it is, middle of winter, stuck inside, germs just seek you out.  But this cold kicked my butt big time!  The second week in, I completely lost my voice.  This isn’t unusual, I almost always lose my voice with a particularly nasty cold.  But then, it got worse.  The cold moved to my chest and I came down with bronchitis.  I was wheezing and coughing up grody gunk for weeks.  In fact, I am still tapering off of the cough and finally stopped wheezing within the past week or so.

My ears became painfully clogged and I could not hear out of them, my stuffy nose turned into a nasty, brain pounding sinus infection, and I just felt absolutely miserable for weeks and weeks.  So many tissues, so much vapor rub, so much yuck.

And here I sit, the night before the very first dance competition of the season, and I have a fresh new case of pink eye.  Yes.  Super contagious, super grotesque, super ain’t nobody got time for this, pink eye.

pink eye

*le sigh*

It’s so ridiculous, I have to laugh or I’ll cry.

Yes, this will be the year of Angie!  Being sick and miserable with some ridiculous ailment for every single day of the year thus far!  Woo Hoo!!

Wah, wah, wah, whoa is me, I hear ya.

I absolutely refuse to let this define my year.  Perhaps this is just getting all the crap out of the way for all the good that is coming my way?  I won’t lie, in a meditative and raw kind of way, all of the bleeding and coughing up crap, etc was sort of like a physical, tangible proof of getting rid of all the toxic, bad energy from last year and a way of feeling the slate being wiped clean.  I mean, yeah, why not see the silver lining, right?

meditation

I am determined to fix myself, little by little this year.  Still working on fixing my annovulatory cycles to reclaim my fertility.  Not much can make you feel like less than a woman than losing your ability to conceive.  It sucks and it’s stupid and I am way over it.  I have just recently started drinking Yogi’s Women’s Moon Cycle tea, which contains several herbs that are often used and that I am familiar with for regulating cycles.  I am also taking Innositol, something that has promising results of PCOS issues, one of which happens to be ovulation.

In addition, I have been using sunflower oil for oil pulling, and taking a shot of raw apple cider vinegar with the mother every day for the health benefits.  By the way, if you research using raw apple cider vinegar with the mother and happen across any articles about vinegar eels, do not read about the critters.  They are harmless, but knowing they exist will induce major heebie jeebies.  Trust me on this, friends.

I will absolutely be updating with what, if anything helps with my PCOS symptoms.  Besides the supplements, I am also being more mindful, meditating, making fitness a priority, and taking a multi vitamin daily to fill in any gaps.  Right now, all I can tell you is that I have been sick or ailing with something every single day this year thus far and I am waaaaaay over it.

To happier, healthier days ahead, my friends!  Be well!

 

Ashes

dust

You were forced to murder me in loyalty to your keeper, and yet you still walk past my grave to enjoy my fruit. I can still see tiny glimmers of your life, under the robotic stare, but they are quickly stilled by your trance. I shiver from the bitter iciness that has become you, even these many years after my death. The grip he has, it’s terrifying. Why did you do this? Why let him win? I remember our bond, I cherish our memories, but they are fading along with my ashes. Sometimes when you pass my tomb, I don’t even recognize you. Do you see me? Do you recall what you did? Does it matter?

The gates are closing. Have you noticed that? On your last visit, you could barely squeeze through the thorn covered gate. The last blooms have died and rotted since then, and the gates are sealing shut. The fog has rolled in and with it a darkness that numbs my once warm and happy feelings for you.

It’s a funny contrast, seeing my beautiful fruit surrounded by all of this midnight cover. It intensifies their loveliness to me and whispers in my ear that nothing else matters. Not anymore. When I start to believe that, I see light. Not near the gates, those are sealed now and damaged beyond repair. It made me sad once, but I’m happy to have the ugliness locked out. My dust can swirl around my treasure, soaking up their glory and be rebuilt. New memories replace the bad, and as my mind and body become whole again, it is your ashes that take my place.

I promise to keep the thorns away from your tombstone. I will plant flowers there and tell stories of how you used to be, before you were strung up and forced to live life as the walking dead. Some days I will miss you and feel remorse, but mostly my wounds remind me why you are here, and I know it was your choice.

Teacher Gifts

Teacher gift 2

Can you believe that December is already here?!  Craziness!!  I like to get all the grunt work done as early in the month as possible, so I can try and enjoy the fun and traditions with the kiddos without worrying about last minute shopping, baking, etc.

Yesterday, between our water being turned off accidentally by the water company (new computer system apparently, but holyhell was that a major headache!!), a sick baby coughing her cute little head off, and our internet not working for most of the day…….I happened to hop online and quickly had my holiday spirit squashed like a bug.

I’m not sure exactly what I had searched, but I happened upon a blog with a list of items teachers really want for Christmas, along with a very long list of things they apparently hate getting for Christmas.  Basically, it boiled down to giving them cash or gift cards because they hate anything teacher related, handmade, or simply bought out of the goodness of your heart.  The post had soooooooo many comments from real teachers, agreeing with the list and groaning and moaning about all the tacky stuff they get each year.

Wow.

It got real ugly real quick, and the overwhelming vibe was how ungrateful the list and the people replying to it really were.

Now, valid points were made.  I guess.  Of course, the teacher won’t like every single lotion or candle or goodie that they receive.  But shouldn’t they love the thought behind it??  The love and the intention of someone carving out precious time and money during the holiday season to show their appreciation??

If I were swimming in money, oh the gifts I would give!!!  I would spoil every single person around me!  Being without oodles of cash, I still make a point to try and show our love and appreciation to our loved ones and the amazing teachers we have in our lives.  Isn’t that enough?  Shouldn’t the recipient of any gift at all just be grateful that you thought of them and made sure to include them?

This one little post soured my mood and filled me with more bah humbug than I care to admit.  Of course, I want to believe that we are the exception, and that anything we ever give is greatly received and appreciated, but now I am filled with doubt.  One thing this girl can’t stand to be is unappreciated.

Blah!

For the most part, each year, we give a gift to the main teacher, and then I have my kids make hand drawn cards for all the extra awesome people they encounter daily, like the special area teachers, the lunch ladies, the bus driver, janitor, school nurse, everyone we can think of that is a part of making each day awesome.  Along with the homemade cards, we usually attach a piece of candy or something of the like.

The response from all of the usually forgotten people has always been amazing, and we will continue that tradition for sure.  But I find myself on the fence now with the teacher gift because, well, I want to be appreciated for appreciating!  Is that so crazy?  I have four kids who are all very busy with school, scouting, dance, band, etc.  For me to carve precious time and money from our already overstretched schedule and pocketbook is a big deal to us.  I want to give a gift that is appreciated and makes the teacher feel loved and cherished.  I don’t want to imagine them rolling their eyes and throwing our gift in a pile of perceived crappy gifts.

I guess really, I will give them whatever the heck I want to, try and forget that crappy blog post I read, and just hope that the people in our lives are not as ungrateful and awful as the people that felt the need to trash the things they get for Christmas each year.  It’s hard to feel sorry for people who are showered with gifts, whether they are up to their snooty standards or not.

I choose to believe that we put good thought and intentions with our gift giving, and if the people want to be jerks about it, so long as I don’t hear about it, I don’t care!  Pffffffffft!!!

I guess I should get off this soap box before it splinters…….

Last thought, and something I am constantly saying to my kids since they were teeny tiny:

You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.

Rant over.  :)

 

Thankful…

The holidays are fast approaching, along with that fast paced spend, spend spend message that gets shoved down our throats every time you watch tv or read a paper.  It’s a time of year I both love and hate.  I love the rituals, the time with friends and family, the decorations and fun activities.  I loathe the fear of spending beyond our means, of bills piling up, of letting someone down with the “wrong” gift.

The expectation is so high, it’s nearly impossible not to fail somewhere during the holiday season, and when things are tight financially, that failure feels a bit like an ever tightening noose.

We are ever so slowly digging out of massive piles of debt.  This time last year, I was a hot mess, worried about putting food on the table, not to mention the pressure of holiday gifts!

This year, there is still loads of debt, but we are better.  I was raised believing that credit cards are to be used when the cash isn’t there, whether it is necessity or for fun.  It was what I thought was normal, and I simply accepted that as truth.

Then I woke up.

Well, that is to say, our bills got so out of control that I could not pay them all.  Every minute of every day was filled with worry and stress.  Two things that have very negatively affected my health and well being even to this day.

I am struggling with gifts this year for our extended family.  I have great plans of things to make for people with my new found yarn skills, but then I beat myself down over it, too worried that it won’t seem like “enough” to the recipient.  That’s silly, I know.  I planned on making my mom a crocheted afghan, something that would literally take weeks to make, would be made with love and especially for her, but every time I started on it, my mood quickly soured because I knew it would not be appreciated.

Not being one who crafts in any way, or has any knowledge of how long things like that take to create, there would be no way for her to know how long or hard I labored on it, and to be unappreciated after all the aching hours of work and dedication just prevents me from even trying.

Ugh.  Family drama, am I right?  :P

Anyway, that all said, and back to the title of this post, I have a lot to be thankful for.

Yesterday, we noticed a band of pick up trucks parked outside, and watched as they filled them up with all of the 20+ years of memories of our next door neighbor.  Today his truck was towed away.  He has lost his home to foreclosure.

He is a quiet, kind man, with a sweet dog named Chili, and a grand daughter named Bella who is 5 and has a major crush on Matthew.  She came over often to play, and the kids and dogs liked to visit with Chili through the fence.  I am unsure of the circumstances that led to him losing his house, but I can’t help but feel very sad for him.

I am reminded of how lucky we are to have a roof over our heads, with a mortgage that is paid on time every single month.  We have food to eat, cars to get us where we need to go, and the love and support of each other.

Money is nothing.

Our kids won’t look back 20 years from now and complain about the toys and things they didn’t get for Christmas.  They will look back and remember the friends and family we spent the holidays with.  They will remember the Christmas movies and cookies and candies and snow and driving around to look at the light displays.  They will remember the annual dance Christmas recital, and visiting Santa, singing carols in the car at the top of their lungs.  They will look back at pictures of the fur babies in festive sweaters, and see the hand made ornaments and gifts they made for us in school.  One day, they will be married and have kids and new traditions will be born.

Isn’t that what matters?

I will being trying my best, not to let the fear of money or the lack thereof to ruin my holidays, and instead, I will be present in the moment and making memories with the people that I love.

Be thankful, and have a truly blessed holiday season!!

PCOS Awareness Month

pcosawarnessmonthbyjennka

What perfect timing to delve into the beast known as PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome!  So to start things off, perhaps we should start at the beginning and explain just what exactly this condition is.

PCOS is one of the most common hormonal endocrine disorders in women, but is still a tricky thing to actually get diagnosed because of the many varying symptoms that can be confused for other issues.  Short story: Women with PCOS have multiple cysts on their ovaries, and those little suckers start a whole avalanche of hormonal imbalance.  Some of the havoc this imbalance can bring includes: infertility, acne, weight gain, trouble losing weight, thinning scalp hair, loads of extra face hair, oily skin, irregular periods, potential insulin related problems including diabetes and increased risk for heart problems, and unbelievably, with all of these fun ailments, anxiety and depression are also very high on the list.  Go figure!

I self diagnosed myself with PCOS back in 2008, after having a miscarriage the year before and being unable to get pregnant again afterwards.  My doctor later confirmed my diagnosis through ultrasounds and blood work.  I was given a prescription for Clomid, and 6 months later, I was expecting our little Noey Bean.

Now, I had heard that sometimes following a pregnancy, the hormones can sort of self regulate and was hopeful that we would be able to get pregnant again some day.  Because of our struggle with secondary fertility, we started trying to conceive again just before Noah turned one, expecting it to take possibly years before being successful.  When the pregnancy test came back positive three weeks before Noah’s first birthday, I was dumbfounded!  That pregnancy brought us Saraphina.  <3

It has been our desire from the start to have a large family, and our “plan” does include more children.  So last year, we decided to hop back on the heartbreak train of TTC (trying to conceive).  Ironically, looking back, it would appear that the last time I ovulated, was the month before we decided to TTC.  Laugh or cry or scream, but I’m pretty sure that is indeed the case.

I have always had irregular periods, another sign of PCOS, but like most girls, I loathe that time of the month, so going months sometimes without is all fine and dandy with me, until you actually expect your body to work like it is supposed to.  Crazy, right?

I can tell when I actually ovulate in a cycle, because the resulting period is a nightmare. (heavy bleeding is another PCOS symptom)  Like, I’m talking, don’t leave the house, don’t move, don’t sneeze, just chill for 5 days or risk looking like an extra from the latest gorefest slasher flick.

On months when I don’t ovulate, I still get a period, but not really.  See, bleeding without ovulation is also known as estrogen breakthrough bleeding, or annovulatory bleeding, and while blood is involved, for me, it is a very miniscule amount compared to my usual “fertile” cycles.  I imagine it is what a “normal” cycle would be like, but without ovulation, it is a big fat bloody (or not so bloody in this case) waste of time in my humble opinion, and a reminder that I am broken.  Ugh.

I have more fertility books than I can count, including Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler.  This book is amazing for learning about your body, how things work, charting your cycles, using a BBT thermometer, etc.  The problem is, having PCOS, a lot of it’s usefulness is wasted on me.  I have tried charting, but my charts are crazy, thanks to PCOS.  I can use ovulation predictor kits (opk’s), and while I will get a positive result, a spike in lutenizing hormone or LH, it definitely does not mean that I will ovulate.  My body has been gearing up and trying to ovulate for what feels like forever, but the hormone imbalance kicks everything around and instead, I get a positive OPK, no ovulation, and then a frustrating annovulatory cycle.

One of the biggest treatments for PCOS is weight loss.  *Insert big fat sigh of annoyance right HERE!*  The hormone imbalance is greatly against you with this battle, and I have been feeling that especially hard for the last several years.  It doesn’t mean I’m not trying though.  We have adopted a whole foods diet in this house, meaning I am making alost every single meal we eat from scratch, with the most basic whole foods we can find.  Loads of fruits and veggies and beans, all good healthy foods, no added sugars, or chemicals.  I wish I could say I dropped loads of weight and feel revitalized, but in truth, I don’t.  I know we are eating better, and getting better nutrition, something I have no desire to change, but I hoped it would help me more with my PCOS symptoms.

I have tried more herbs than I can name at the moment, but I will delve more into that in another post.  For now, I just wanted to give a brief history of my personal struggle, along with a tiny, short version of what PCOS actually is.  I will be continuing this discussion all month long, and of course, will be documenting our journey hopefully through a successful pregnancy in the near future.

Until then, be well!  <3

The Day I Woke Up Vegan

I have to start this post with a promise and a fact.  As I stated several times before, I don’t judge anyone, I think everyone should live their life exactly as they see fit.  Be happy and smile, ignore the negatives, spread the love, etc, etc.  And I sincerely mean that from the bottom of my heart.  No matter what my choices are in life, I am never looking around me and judging others for making different choices.  That is craziness, and most assuredly, not me.  I decided to share this with you all, my awesome readers, because I like to think if this little blog as a friendly place to chat and vent and share a little slice of me.  No need to be offended by anything I ever say here, because I can promise you that if I knew I offended you, it would break my heart.

Okay, now where were we…………..ahhh yes…….

The Day I Woke Up Vegan.

So this will sound super hippy dippy to a lot of you, I’m sure, but I have been researching and learning to take charge of my newly realized empath abilities.  If you don’t know what that is, it’s not vital to the story, but it’s an interesting condition, if you are so inclined to Google.  :)

Basically, I am a super emotional person, and I have found that I am hyper sensitive to the emotions of people around me.  A lot of empaths are written off as being too thin skinned and overly emotional, and a lot of empaths just accept that as the truth and feel like a loser all their lives.  What a crappy way to live!!

I decided to go with the whole “knowledge is power” theory, and decided to do loads of research on it all.  Like, all of the research, exhaustively.  It’s how I do.  As I learned more and more, I have found myself becoming more relaxed and more in tune with what is happening around me, instead of constantly bombarded and stressed.  It also, happened to push me intuitively, to start watching a series of films through Netflix that greatly contributed to my total food revolution.

Perhaps a catalyst to all of this, was at my 3 and 5 year old’s recent dr check up.  Noah, at 5 years old, weighs exactly the same as Sara, my 3 year old.  My skinny little Noahbean has been instructed to put on some serious poundage in the next two months, when he will go in for a weight re check.

My kids are all very healthy eaters, and Noah certainly holds his own at meal time, often times finishing off anyone’s plate that has any leftovers on it.  What the doctor recommended, to aid in his weight gain, is Pediasure.  Now, I don’t know about you, but looking at the gross list of sugars and chemicals on the label of the Pediasure drinks, sure didn’t sound like a healthy way to get added nutrition.  I waffled back and forth with the idea, but ultimately decided I couldn’t serve my baby the chemical laden goo with a clear conscious.  I decided that I would treat him myself with healthy, whole foods.  Added fat and calories from real food like nuts, and smoothies filled with fruits and veggies, so sugar and no unpronounceable chemicals.

It seemed no coincidence when I was drawn to the Netflix film Fed Up, and subsequently, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead; Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2; Forks Over Knives; Food Inc; and Vegucated, just to name a few.  The two that really jolted me to my senses were Food Inc and Vegucated.

Now, I’m not a stupid person.  Every time I ate a burger, or bacon, or chicken, etc, I knew exactly where it came from.  I knew an animal died, and said animal was on my plate.  There was still a massive disconnect though.  To see the conditions that commercial animals are held in…….Well, it was eye opening, and that’s all I have to say.  It is super easy to look up this information for yourself, if you are so inclined.  If you are not so inclined, that’s okay too.  :)

So the morning after watching these films, and yes, I absolutely binge watched them, thank you Netflix, I woke up realizing that I couldn’t support this lifestyle anymore.  My heart was just broken, I couldn’t imagine carrying on as if I hadn’t seen what I had seen.  That day, we stocked up on all 100% vegan foods, mostly fresh produce, grains, legumes, real food stuff that is pure nutrition, not chemicals and much less murder-y.  lol

The amount of choices available for a vegan lifestyle is pretty overwhelming.  It’s awesome.  Also, I feel good knowing that I am feeding my family foods that can nourish and heal them.  There are so many studies supporting a plant based way of eating, the health benefits, the disease curing, ailment curing, you name it.  It just seems silly for me in my life right now, not to do this.

So yes, as of this moment, and having started on April 25, 2015, this mama is 100% veggie fueled.  And I did it all cold turkey…..errrr….cold tofurkey?  lol  I can tell you that I feel good.  Really good.  And I will definitely be reporting soon on how my whole food fix works on Noah’s weight gain.  He is definitely loving all the fresh food and yummy smoothies, so I don’t predict any problems with him happily enjoying the change.

UPDATE May 28, 2015:

It has been over a month since I have plunged into this new lifestyle, and I am very happy to report that my entire family has jumped on board with me.  I will admit, we have not been 100% vegan, but we have been 100% vegetarian.  And my skinny little Noahbean, who needed to gain weight and was prescribed Pediasure?  Well, I am ecstatic to report that through all whole, plant based foods, I have been able to stack on a good 6 pounds of weight on him, in just about a month’s time!!  Mama has dropped a few pounds as well, and everyone is enjoying the new plant based menu.   I’m looking forward to where this journey takes us in the future.  So far, so awesome!!  :)