Monday, July 26, 2010


"Whosoever trusteth in the Lord, happy is he." --Proverbs 16:20

"Those who look to Him are radiant."- Psalm 34:5a

Be content with what you have, for God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid." - Hebrews 13:5,6

Right now... I find myself thinking that if I didn't Trust God... I'd be a complete mess. Trusting in God is pretty much one of those things that falls under the category of "easier said than done" considering it's human nature (or so it seems) to doubt.

Things on my mind and heart these days:

  1. The future... uncertainty is scary.
  2. Upcoming medical appointments. My fertility appointment went very well and I feel 1000% trust in my new doctor. I also have found myself filled with faith that we will get there. But knowing I have more appointments coming, and the uncertainty that comes with waiting for test results... it's frustrating. Thank God for God! That's for sure!
  3. Being overwhelmed - I'm taking two graduate course right now and I love them but the workload is intense.
  4. Health/weight loss - I need to make sure I'm being careful in this department. I've managed to fracture my ribs (OUCH!) and I'm not completely certain about exercise possibilities.
  5. Relationships - I'm still struggling with the fact that someone I saw sooooo much good in has taken a turn for the worse. All I can do at this point is pray and give it all to God.
  6. My desire to become a mother is increasing and at times I feel incredibly optimistic, but there are times where I'm down-right scared. Prayer is an outlet.
  7. I participated in my first PCOS webinar tonight and was blessed with the opportunity to network with a variety of women. I look forward to getting to know these women more.
  8. I'm very torn with a moral dilemma. The more I learn about PCOS, the more I tend to look to the past... I feel as if it would be beneficial for me to write to my past physicians and tell them about my diagnosis and how they missed it and urge them to take their patients seriously. Of course the letter(s) would not sound as negative as it may be coming across here... I know I can't change the past but if I can prevent another woman from being heartbroken - it's worth a shot!

Feedback, please!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

i am a little church

i am a little church (no great cathedral)
i am a little church(no great cathedral)
far from the splendor and squalor of hurrying cities
-i do not worry if briefer days grow briefest,
i am not sorry when sun and rain make april

my life is the life of the reaper and the sower;
my prayers are prayers of earth's own clumsily striving
(finding and losing and laughing and crying)children
whose any sadness or joy is my grief or my gladness

around me surges a miracle of unceasing
birth and glory and death and resurrection:
over my sleeping self float flaming symbols
of hope,and i wake to a perfect patience of mountains

i am a little church(far from the frantic
world with its rapture and anguish)at peace with nature
-i do not worry if longer nights grow longest;
i am not sorry when silence becomes singing

winter by spring,i lift my diminutive spire to
merciful Him Whose only now is forever:
standing erect in the deathless truth of His presence
(welcoming humbly His light and proudly His darkness)

Edward Estlin Cummings

Wild Geese

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

© Mary Oliver

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Still I Rise

Still I Rise
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Maya Angelou

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Gracia - William Tell Overture

I have NO idea as to WHY the William Tell Overture comes to mind when I think of my journey with infertility thus far... ESPECIALLY yesterday.

Longer post is in the works!!

God is good.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

What I am dealing with...

Tomorrow is the big day.

Tomorrow I will find out if kids are really going to happen for us or not. It's absolutely nerve-racking. However, part of this experience has been beneficial to others. What I mean is... I'm educating people.

Here is what I am dealing with: PCOS + HYPOthyroidism = Infertility (at least for me) I am also dealing with a not-so-good set of genetics from my husband's side.

So... what is PCOS?
PCOS is Poly-cystic ovarian syndrome.
Below are the symptoms and I've noted next to them if I have them or not.

· Irregular periods or no periods -- my period has always been irregular from day one. It has not made one bit of difference if I was 105 pounds or 205 pounds. It doesn't make a difference. At one point I went over ten months without a period. NOT good.
· Painful or unusually heavy or light periods -- when I do get my period, it's very painful and it's just a terrible experience. When I was in high school, it was so bad that I literally was stuck in bed all day. In college, it seemed to get a little bit better but I learned of herbs to help me deal with it.
· Irregular or absent ovulation -- YES. Sometimes I ovulate, sometimes I don't, and sometimes I go over-board and my hormones are all over the place. I had labs done two years ago and was told that my bloodwork is never normal, it's either above or below. Fun news: I could end up with twins.
· Hirsutism (hair on face, stomach, thighs, arms, breasts, etc.) -- Luckily, I do not have these symptoms as bad as other women with PCOS. My upper thighs are hairy but I shave. I do sometimes wonder if my eyebrows are a factor because I get waxed twice a month
· Alopecia (thinning hair or male pattern baldness) -- NOPE
· High blood pressure -- NOPE
· Infertility -- YES
· Obesity (especially around the stomach) -- YES. This is infuriating to me because from the time I was a TEEN I would tell my family doctor and any doctors I met when I moved out that I wanted to lose weight but it was just so hard. They'd recommend a diet or a pill or an activity but never took me seriously. At one point I was on a weight loss pill and it literally almost killed me. I went off that pill and went to my current doctor who was FURIOUS I had gone so LONG with this issue and no serious attention. She diagnosed me with PCOS.
· Difficulty losing weight -- YES. In addition to this, I have hypothyroidism which is an added kick in the face.
· Insulin resistance or hypoglycemia -- Not that I know of at this time, but it's possible I may find out I am at my appointment tomorrow.
· Fatigue --YES Anytime I'm feeling tired for more than a week, I call the doctor and order up some labs. 9 times out of 10, my thyroid is out of whack
· Depression, anxiety or SAD (seasonal affective disorder) -- ANXIETY, yes. I do not suffer from depression or SAD. I do have anxiety. I get nervous/anxious over silly things. For example, when I was at the airport waiting to board the plane for Ireland - I was anxious. I called my husband to look up my seat number and my mom's seat number because I wanted to make sure we were next to one another. I had a panic attack climbing the Blarney Castle (it's funny now...)
· Mood swings, some women report feelings of anger or aggression -- YES. I do get moody from time to time, but luckily, I have learned to control this. I take a breather and just think about my emotions. I'm very blunt, but I attribute my bluntness to this symptom.
· Acne -- I had bad acne as a teen. I do tend to have a few pimples now and then but nothing too major.
· Ovarian cysts -- I've lucked out in this department
· Skin tags --NO
· Acanthosis nigricans -- NO
· High cholesterol levels --NO
· Decreased sex drive --NO
· Excess "male" hormones, such as androgens, DHEAS, or testosterone -- YES. I have had elevated testosterone but it was not elevated enough to be considered serious
· Decreased breast size -- YES. My breasts have not grown since 6th grade. I'm barely a B cup
· Failure to maintain a pregnancy -- YES
· Enlarged ovaries --YES
· Enlarged uterus -- YES

NOW in addition to this, I also have hypothyroidism which is not uncommon to have with PCOS. It's also not uncommon to have RA, asthma, or IBS with PCOS.
Here are the symptoms of hypothyroidism which is tested easily by a blood test. [Testing for PCOS is done by what I call "naked time" in addition to blood work.] I have put my commentary next to the symptom.

--weight gain -- YES
-- round or puffy face --YES
-- thinning eyebrows -- NO
--low sex drive --NO
--dry or thin hair --NO
--bloating -- YES
--thick skin --YES
--cold intolerance --YES
--depression --NO
--cold hands or feet -- YES, feet
--joint or muscle pain -- YES
--thin or brittle nails -- Not really

Now, I know this entry is already lengthy.

This week has been very trying for me.
Lots of things are stressing me out and I've been VERY anxious.
I think the best way to go about this is to make another list...
  1. Computer virus was the start of it all. I am taking an online grad class and lost some (not all) of my work due to a virus. If you know me, you know I take my schoolwork very seriously. I was really upset that I had to start all over on two assignments and now I'm feeling behind and overwhelmed
  2. I have been having this cough issue for a while now and they can't get me in for an upper GI until the 27th. This is highly upsetting to me because I've been having issues for almost 7 months and nothing is helping or working.
  3. My entire schedule and plans for the week pretty much went down the toilet. Yesterday, I woke up to rain... in my third bedroom. The ceiling looks like it may collapse and I had to get all of my books and things out of the room. It was bad. Chunks of ceiling just kept coming down and there's not much to do when the rain won't stop. Luckily, it's being looked at tonight.
  4. Bloodwork - this is the big one. I had bloodwork done last week and there is something wrong or something going on with it. I'm so frustrated. I always talk results on the phone but these results are for "in person" and that's really annoying to a person with anxiety issues. I'm worried.
  5. Tomorrow is the big appointment. As much as I'm faithful and as much as I believe in God, I'm still scared. I want to be a parent. I want to experience pregnancy and child birth. But as you can see as I noted above - I'm up against a lot. So of course...
  6. I'm not sleeping well at all.

I don't like feeling scared

I just need to keep my focus on GOD and know that my job is to just get to this appointment and he will take care of the rest. I'm just worried and anxious ... all while trying to remain optimistic.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

“It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe. ”

—Muhammad Ali

Monday, July 12, 2010

Is there a cream for that?

This past weekend has been completely... emotional for me. On many levels. For starters, someone I've been friends with for quite some time just up and ended our friendship. No real reason. No explanation. Nothing. Through the powers of social networking, I discovered she no longer wants me in her life and I don't know why. It hurts, but I need to trust that God will enlighten me. I am now on the hunt for a new Godmother for our future child. Some may think it's silly to have Godparents lined up before we even have a baby, but we truly want Godparents to be there for this entire journey. The man I chose to be Godfather is amazing. He has been my best friend for over 15 years and I'm blessed to have him in my life!
Secondly, it truly has come to my attention that no one understands infertility unless it's been experienced. For the past 4+ years, my husband and I have been through disappointment, heartache, and pain. We never once expected to have difficulty on the road to parenthood. However, for some reason people feel that they have a right to speak of our marriage without us there. And even though it is hear-say, it's still hurtful. I am struggling big time trying to understand this. We are very open about our struggles with infertility. Why not come to US to talk to US about it? If you are curious or would like to have a conversation, have it with US. We're very open about it. We have nothing to hide. There is no shame in this. I feel bad that people have been made to feel as if they are the "middle man" because these other two people haven't got the courage to speak to us. And the reason WHY they do not come to speak to us is because of a situation that came about over 18 months ago. Luckily (if I can even say that), these two people are aware of this blog. These two people live together so I'm fairly sure one of them will see this. This is my PLEA to please STOP discussing our marriage and infertility with others. It is hurtful. A marriage is between two people and God. No one else. We openly and willingly speak of infertility in hopes to provide compassion, help, guidance, faith, and optimism to others. Please PLEASE stop putting other people in the middle and come to me directly. If I lived closer, I'd ask this in person. And if I see you at the next family function, I feel the right thing to do is to confront you on this. I do not like speculation, theories, and random gossip ... if you really want to know how we are, what is going on and what we're preparing for - ask us.
In addition to the lack of understanding and compassion when it comes to infertility, I think there is an aspect of false-faith. Just because IVF and IUI are successful, it doesn't mean they are always successful. Being a critic on the approach someone is or is not taking isn't exactly kind. I'm exhausted of people saying to us, "Oh still no kids, how about that IVF?" It's just not that simple.
Lastly, I'm scared. No... scratch that. I'm terrified. This week we will be getting reports of testing back and meeting this new team. I don't know what to expect. I don't know what my future holds. I just know that I've been having dreams filled with babies. Dead and alive. And they're scary. I have dreams of feeling my baby kick, feeling little waves of movement, dreams of feeling radiant and ready to be a mother. But then I dream of seeing a baby and it's clearly my baby. And I have my hand extended for the baby to grab. And it doesn't happen. The baby coos and coos and wriggles and wraggles alone in a crib but doesn't see me, doesn't grab me, nothing. I don't get it. It's not easy for me to admit fear. But I can admit faith.
I just know God is going to provide for us.
I just know God has a plan for us.
I just know God would not put these desires in us for nothing.
I don't know if I'll ever have a biological child of my own.
I don't know if I'll ever experience the miracle of giving birth.
But I do know that God has blessed me with the longing to be a mother. God has blessed my husband with the longing to be a father.
God has blessed us with an incredible marriage and relationship.
God has blessed us on so many levels. He will provide.
I just wish I wasn't afraid. It seems hypocritical. I have high faith and high fear. I wish there were a cream for these things to just make the negative go away.
It reminds me of Forrest Gump: "Dear God, Make me a bird - so I can fly far... far, far, away from here." But instead I want to say, "Dear God, Make my fear fly. Fly far far away, far far away from here."

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I don't know how many of you work with a youth group or know someone who does, but this link was shared in my class I thought it would be nice to share in case anyone is doing a youth group/book club type of thing. :)

A wonderful book!

Hello, hello! Many of you know that I absolutely love to read and I love to learn. LOVE it! I am presently taking a class on young adult/adolescent literature and I think I may be in heaven. I have been reading so many wonderful things. I'd like to talk about a book by Katherine Paterson called "Jacob Have I Loved." If you're reading this and thinking, "Hey... that sounds a bit Biblical..." you are definitely correct! (Read Romans 9:13 and Malachi 1:2-3 if you're up for it.)

This story is beautiful. Hopefully you do not mind - but I am going to cut and paste what I wrote for my class below. I fell in love with this story page after page. It's truly beautiful.

I read Jacob Have I Loved in one sitting. It's such a wonderful story.

If interested, you may want to read Romans 9:13 after this post. This story is the story of growth. It's a story of learning to follow your dreams and acknowledging/accepting that change can be difficult. It is a story of growth on many levels. It is beautifully written.

1. Coming of age novels deal with characters finding their voice. Analyze the growth of the main character in your selection.

Jacob Have I Loved is the story of Sarah Louise Bradshaw also known as "Wheeze" and her struggles as the twin sister of Caroline. She lives on an island off the Chesapeake Bay called Rass. She is a tomboy, while her twin sister is the complete opposite. She helps her father with crabbing and her best friend is a boy named Call. Caroline is pretty, talented, and eventually leaves the island to pursue a career in music. Caroline is "the favorite" while Louise often feels alone and struggles with her identity as well as her faith. In addition to these struggles, Call ends up "leaving a boy and returning a man" by joining the Navy. In the midst of these changes, Louise struggles with her senile grandmother and the hopes of her parents. When Call returns home from the Navy, it becomes very clear that he and Caroline are to be married. "Wheeze" ends up thinking about what she wants for herself and her future. She begins to realize that she needs to stop doing what she thinks others want her to do and do what SHE wants to do. This realization becomes very clear in a conversation with Call and the Captain as well as conversations with her parents. She decides to go off to college and study medicine in hopes of becoming a doctor. In the end, she becomes a nurse/midwife and finds herself happily married and fulfilled. ((I spared the complete ending for those of you who want to read it.))

This book was definitely a "page-turner" for me. It was neat to see how "Wheeze" developed. I loved her inner-dialogue and I found myself relating to her personally on many levels (feel free to ask how if interested). "Wheeze" went from living in the shadows to shining on her own. Katherine Paterson's words flow from sentence to sentence and page to page. There were several instances where I found myself laughing out loud while at the same time crying for this character. It was beautiful to see how "Wheeze" became more and more independent, more and more determined, and more and more in control of her destiny.

2. What areas of growth, that the main characters experience, are lessons of life that young adults all seem to experience?

I feel this story would make a great gift for any struggling young woman. I'm not so sure if this story would touch a male reader. However, the message is universal.

The main character grows and develops from girl to woman - literally, and figuratively. She goes from being a puddle duck to a swan. She learns to take control of her life. She learns to set goals for herself and go after them. These are all lessons of life that young adults seem to experience.

As a high school teacher, I have the honor of seeing my students grow from grades 9 through 12. They go from 100% dependent to 1000% independent just like Wheeze does in this story. They, like Louise, go from caring about what other people think to caring about what THEY think.

Like "Wheeze" my students learn that the beauty of this world is that we are all different and the challenge is to accept it. There is beauty and pain in change. There is beauty and pain in difference. This novel is nearly 70 years old but has the power to truly touch your heart.

3. Today's teens issues are very different than a generation, or further, ago, yet surprisingly the same. Where do you see the commonality of today's teen issues that the characters in your book selection faced?

I see first hand that today's teens issues are very different than a generation or further ago. I am 28 years old, only about 14 years at most older than my students. I am constantly made aware of how different things are for them at this age than they were for me. It's scary, actually. However, there definitely is a common ground expressed in this book and in my classroom.

For starters, the need for acceptance and assurance. Kids like knowing they are important. They like being heard. They don't want you to just listen to them, they long to be heard. You see shining examples of this throughout the novel. The main character wants to be known for HER not for her sister. I personally found myself relating to this. I venture to guess that teens today also relate to this longing of self-identity. Growing up with a last name like Szczurek (my maiden name) it was very hard escaping from my older brother's "wake." He and I are complete opposites. I love him, but he's made many many mistakes and as a kid in grades 1-8 I found myself having to proove that I was not like "that Szczurek boy." The main character did this same thing in the novel. My students do the same. They long to be THEM but at the same time they want to be identical to their friends. Even if they are an only child, they still struggle.

In addition to finding oneself, there is also the issue of family and faith. Closeness. Further growth. Being there for your family even when you'd rather be somewhere else. Figuring out what you believe. "Having it out with God" in a sense. I know I personally have had these struggles. Self-doubt. Worry. All of these things are present not just in this story but in life at any age, but especially during the teen years.

4. How comfortable are you in dealing with these as a classroom teacher?

I am VERY comfortable in dealing with these issues as a classroom teacher. I don't know how I do it, or how I did it... but I have a way of making my students feel comfortable in their own skin. I allow them to vent and open up. I let them spill out everything in their mind and we talk things out.

Grant it, there are times where I listen to my students and find myself silently praying at the same time. The issues of today are the same as those of yesterday. However, I also feel that there are new issues with this generation which are hard to adapt to. Sometimes my kids mimic me at the end of a day when we're lined up at the door and I give them advice for the night as the bell rings, "Do a good deed before bedtime. Love each other appropriately! Make good decisions! READ!"

I think as a teacher it is important to realize while their issues are not necessarily our issues, they are still important. I feel this book also represented this thought.

I absolutely loved this story. I think it would make an excellent gift for a "Sweet 16."

Monday, July 5, 2010

I’ve never been surprised by God’s judgment, but I’m still stunned by His grace.

Ireland slide show

Clouds of Ireland

I'm still here!

I want to apologize to my readers for a huge gap in posts. The fun part of my absence is I was in Ireland for eight glorius days. It was BEAUTIFUL and I can't wait to go back! The not-so-fun part is while in Ireland, someone very near and dear to me passed away. And on top of that, I've been sick and juggling doctors appointments with jet-lag. I'd like to give a huge "Thank you, God!" to the inventors of NYQUIL for knocking me out for over 18 hours. I've never once in my life slept for that long and I will admit it did HELP!

I am back, and will be trying to post pictures when my head is not buried in a book. I'm taking an online literature class right now and I've been LOVING what we're assigned to read. Yes, part of heaven for me is a good book! :)

Thank you, Fitbit!

My Fitbit Charge HR broke.   I took it off and it just ... broke.    I got in contact with FitBit customer service and even though my...