family, Fertility, god, health, Holy Spirit, Infertility, jesus, Life, Marriage, Miscarriage, Parenting, Reproductive Health, Uncategorized

Adenomyosis: A Diagnosis w/a Side Order of Miracle

🗣WARNING⚠️ : This is not my usual type of posts. Other than peripheral mentions of God, because He’s always a part of my life, this posting pertains to a diagnosis that is still not well-known and I would like to get the word out. This is not what I would call a Bible posting. Also, this is about female reproductive health. Unless you’re concerned about problems your wife is having or you are a woman, you may not be interested in this post. This will not become a habit of mine. It’s simply something I feel like needs to be out there so more people know.

Adenomyosis. What the heck is that? That was my first thought. I mean…being 39, at this point, I feel like most of us have heard of endometriosis. But…adenomyosis?

After having horrible cycles since I was 11 that included them being both embarrassingly heavy and unbelievably painful,

I had no idea until about a year ago that something was wrong. I just thought that I had it worse than others. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Every year, since its inception, my cycle has become progressively worse in every respect. By the time I was in my mid-twenties, I was a single mom but on birth control to help with the aforementioned problems. Still, once a month, I would be nearly debilitated for at least one day. So, I couldn’t fathom what my life would be like if I were not on the pills. At one point my doctor eliminated the diagnosis of endometriosis. At that point, I sort of reserved myself to the fact that this was simply my lot in life – to have an excruciatingly painful cycle. I would go to work and sit at my desk with a heating pad on my belly, , a heating pad on my back, and taking hydrocodone for at least two days every month.

I should add here that I actually have an extremely high threshold for pain. I had my daughter naturally. After her birth, of course, many told me that my cycle would get better.

As you can tell, that clearly was not the case. And having a lot of medical providers in my family – everyone from surgeons to EMTs – I understand the pain scale better than most. With that many medical providers in my family, I don’t have the luxury of being overdramatic.

I generally operated between a 6 and a 7 at least one or two days every month.

Then my body went through a lot when I was remarried and we ventured out into trying to get pregnant. I immediately came off the pill and knew that all signs pointed to both of us being healthy. Yet… Even though I was 28, 29 years old, I couldn’t get pregnant. This went on for several years. I had a miscarriage. I was taking hormones. My husband was administering injections.

Long story short – because that’s for another post – I knew that God had promised me a son. So, in the midst of raging hormones and feeling defeated, I came off of everything. I stopped taking hormones, injections. I fell to my knees and prayed Hannah’s prayer and then told God that I was letting it go and leaving it with him. I went to work on a film and several months later realized I was pregnant. It was evident to all of us that God wanted me to know that it was Him and not the work of any kind of medication or medical assistance that gave my beautiful son to me. We will circle back around to this.

But…God gave me my son in the midst of this.

Again, I was told that my cycle would probably settle down a little bit after now having two children. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

My cycle proceeded to get worse and worse until I was operating between levels 7 and 9 two days every month. Hydrocodone, Tramadol, because, heating pads, the works.

After my mother witnessed this several times, and my husband became increasingly more concerned, my husband scheduled me for an appointment with the doctor who delivered my son – one of the best OB/GYN’s in the Southeast.

Shoutout!

Yes, they found that I had some fibroids. Yes, they determined that some cysts had burst. Beyond all of this, though, she looked at me contemplatively and simply stated, “I believe you have adenomyosis.”

My response, of course, was “What the heck is that?” Thankfully, she went on to explain it.

I could never do justice to explaining it as well as she can. I will try to do my best here with the help of websites. The one thing that I should point out, though, (allow me to just throw this spoiler out there) is that the only “cure” to this disease at this time is a hysterectomy.

Mayo Clinic says, “Adenomyosis occurs when endometrial tissue, which normally lines the uterus, exists within and grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. The displaced endometrial tissue continues to act as it normally would — thickening, breaking down and bleeding — during each menstrual cycle. An enlarged uterus and painful, heavy periods can result.”

The cause is invasive tissue growth. Imagine the endometrial tissue is kudzu or English ivy (depending on where you live, respectfully) and it’s taking over. Every place a vine or leaf extends will still die and slough off every month…no matter…where…it’s shoved itself.

Instead of the endometrial tissue tucking up into the ovarian tubes as would happen would endometriosis, it’s invaded the actual muscle that forms the uterine walls.

If that doesn’t give you a picture in your mind of the climbing, excruciating, pain that I and many women have endured monthly… I’m not sure what will. When you add to that the muscle spasms and back pain that already a company just monthly curse, it’s not uncommon to be completely debilitated.

Unfortunately, there’s another couple of nasty side effects to adenomyosis that is not stuck within a timeframe. Those are anemia and pain. I have a rather constant dull ache all the time. It seems to be worse on my left side but it’s not something that only comes for a few days a month and then it goes away and I get to breathe easy. Also, I’m constantly battling anemia. If you’re not sure what anemia is, the easiest way to put it is that it is low iron and you feel like crap all the time. You are too tired to do laundry, you are winded from getting the mail, and you overall just feel like garbage all the time. For this, you obviously take an iron supplement and hope for the best. At worst, you get a blood transfusion.

So, (and believe me when I say I’m leaving out a lot to make this post more readable) if the pill or an IUD doesn’t work to help you bear it long enough to wait for menopause, you’re only option for a normal life is a hysterectomy at this point.

So…I’m scheduled for one. Now, I could leave this article right here. I could leave it with the emotional ups and downs that I’m going through knowing that my baby-maker will be closed for business…for good. I could tell you about the tears that I’ve cried, the frustration that I’ve endured because I have no control over this situation. I won’t though. I’m going to leave you with this:

Remember when I said, “We will circle back around to this”? Consider yourself circled back around.

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As Attain Fertility puts it, “About 1 in 100 women will have adenomyosis in their lifetime. Women in their 30s and 40s who have had one or more children are most at risk for adenomyosis and infertility…your uterus may become two or three times larger than normal. In addition, adenomyosis can cause problems with infertility. ”

IVF1 spells it out like this, “There are several reasons to suspect that adenomyosis could be a cause for infertility. The first has to do with uterine contractions. Some uterine contractions are good. There are uterus and fallopian tube contractions that help sperm to reach the egg in the fallopian tube. It seems that adenomyosis disrupts these good contraction. Later, at the time of embryo implantation, too many uterine contractions are bad. Adenomyosis may actually increase these bad contractions. The final reason is very complex. Whatever factors are responsible for the development of adenomyosis may simply make the uterus less able to allow embryos to implant.”

So, guess what? I discovered, through all of this, that my “miracle child” is even more of a miracle than I had ever imagined. Not only did God follow through on His promise to give me a son, not only did He wait until my body was cleared out of all medical intervention and medicine, but my body was literally creating a minefield environment that would never be considered even fallow at best – a body that would deter an egg from coming forth and adhering…. BUT GOD!

God said, “I will send you a husband and father to your daughter.”

God said, “Your daughter will have a brother.”

God said, “I will give you a son so prepare.”

Two people in my church cane to me and told me that they dreamt that I had a son.

I finally let go, prayed Hannah’s prayer

…and let it be. I stopped tugging on my Father’s coattails demanding, “Right now!”

My body fought it, my heart tried to whither, my mind tried to reject it, but my Spirit would not cave.

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And God came through! As He always does! Yes, I may be about to have a hysterectomy; BUT GOD made a way when there was no way without medical intervention! He said, “Let there be life!” and my son was conceived in a hostile environment that would have otherwise rejected him. God said it and that settled it!

And now, as promised by God and prophesied by man though the cards were dealt firmly against me (just the way God likes it), here he is…

Children, Entertainment, family, Kid's Fun, Life, Outdoors, Parenting, Uncategorized

Review: Monster Jam

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My family was hosted by Feld Entertainment to enjoy Monster Jam and give our honest opinion. In full disclosure, the following review reflects my husband’s and son’s responses rather than my own (except vicariously) as I was unable to attend due to a bout of pneumonia.

Monster Jam was a total blast for my family and they truly got their money’s worth. Not only is Monster Jam riveting and entertaining but it’s a long enough show that you feel like you got your money’s worth and then some.

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With their racing, flips, fire, and near misses Monster Jam keeps even the most energy-filled young one glued to their seat in awe. Even the breaks are cool for kids – instead of a zambonie, the field gets tractors!

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The excitement is contagious and your kids may get “club ear” so be prepared but it’s worth it to see their excitement! The smiles and time spent together is priceless.

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Tip: Don’t underestimate grabbing that souvenir yearbook. It comes with a poster and my son hasn’t put it down!

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Tip: It can get loud in there so feel free to bring earplugs or noise canceling headsets for you and your family.

Find out where Monster Jam is coming near to you!

Bible, Book, Children, Easter, Entertainment, family, Giveaway, god, Holiday, Holy Spirit, jesus, Kid's Fun, Parenting, Uncategorized

Children’s Book Review & Giveaway: A Very Happy Easter Prayer

Bestselling author Bonnie Rickner Jensen, best known for the Really Woolly® brand, has sold more than 1,000,000 books, and her rhyming verse will charm families as they read through this sweet book celebrating the spring season and Easter. This board book will be die-cut around the shape of a dogwood tree with tons of sparkle and glitz, making it a beautiful way for parents to help their children celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.

With the same glitter and foil coverage that sparked attention for A Very Merry Christmas Prayer, the all-new A Very Happy Easter Prayer will be the perfect gift for Easter baskets. Parents will love engaging young children with the concept of the resurrection in gentle, age-appropriate ways.

With a timeless message and a low price point, A Very Happy Easter Prayer will delight readers and bring families together to celebrate the resurrection year after year.

Bonnie Rickner Jensen is a bestselling author who for the past 20 years has written everything from children’s books to gift books to thousands of greeting cards. She is the writer behind the bestselling Really Woolly® brand, with more than a million books sold and an ECPA Gold Award-winning Really Woolly Bedtime Prayers. Bonnie has won a Retailer’s Choice Award for her book I Love You Head to Toe and also several Louie Awards for her work in the social expression industry. Her favorite inspirations are her grandchildren, running, and sunshine. She lives and works from her home in Cleveland, Ohio.

My Take…

This book was given to me for my honest opinion and – as always – that’s what you’ll get.

When the world gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Right? Well, when the world bombards your children with bunnies and Easter eggs – if you’re Bonnie Rickner Jensen – you make a book that marries reality with whimsy…a book that brings Easter, and Spring, back around to God. By page 10, I was choked up because Jensen reminds even the youngest of minds that Easter is all about what Christ did and how He gives us “a brand-new start.”

If you’re worried that this board book is illustrating the passion of Christ for a little one not prepared for such, don’t be. Jensen has taken a prayer of thanks and applied it to the beauty of the world around us today – Spring, flying kites, daffodils, and water puddles.

This book would be a beautiful addition to your child’s Easter basket this year. You can purchase it through your local book carrier, bookstore, or your local Christian bookstore.

For Little’s honest opinion of this book go here:

https://youtu.be/QXJsMtWr-kY

Bible, Life, Ministry, Uncategorized

Understanding the Bible

Understanding the Bible can be challenging at best and discouraging at the worst. It’s frustrating when you want to know more about God, be a better person, have a better life, and yet you can’t understand the manual. If you feel that way – or know someone that may feel that way – this post is for you!

First off, don’t feel like a freak. Everyone – at some point in their journey – has read the Word and gone, “Huh?”

Most people simply don’t announce that but it’s common place. Even myself, even the elders that I know, sometimes spend days or weeks on one passage trying to understand it by delving through concordances and Hebrew translations.

Reading the Bible is truly a journey. You’ll read a passage and it will mean one thing to you. Many years later, it will be more complex and mean something even deeper to you. That’s one of the most amazing things about the Word of God to me – that the Word never changes yet somehow it always adapts and becomes what you need in your very personal season because it’s alive.

Secondly, God wants you to understand and know Him so He wouldn’t give you a book that you couldn’t understand. He loves you and He want you to succeed.

So, here’s a sort of game plan for you…

1️⃣ Call on God

Don’t just open up the Word and expect it to make perfect sense to you. Don’t open up the Word and expect it to pertain to your moment. Instead of expecting the word of God to apply to what you think you need, go to God and ask him to open your heart and open your mind to what he would have that passage teach you no matter what’s going on in your life right now.

2️⃣Never give up

Often times, when something is difficult, we just want to give up. Reading the Bible is one of those things that, once you get going, you can’t seem to put it down. Unfortunately common too often, it’s that “once you get going” part that’s the challenge. As crazy as this may sound, the devil doesn’t want you to read the Bible. If you believe in God, you must believe in the devil. He knows that if you read the word of God you will become stronger and you will be armed for battle. So, you will find that distractions will occur, confusion will happen, exhaustion will come against you,… and it’s your job to stick to it and not give up.

3️⃣Trust God

You may feel like, “What does this have anything to do with?” when you are reading the Bible. That’s OK. Just trust God. Usually you will find that the information that you’re receiving, that your etching upon your heart, will be there when you need it though that time may not be right now.

4️⃣Not sure? Test it!

Don’t know if that passage was for you? Test it!

Ask your elders that are more wise than you, those that God has placed in your life!

5️⃣You were meant to understand His Word

As insulting as this may sound to some of you, the Word was written even for the most simplest of minds. Christ spoke in parables so that anyone and everyone could understand. We do not teach children in Sunday School for no reason. If they are capable of understanding the word of God so is any adult that so desires!

6️⃣Understand that you may understand His words, but may not understand all

Sometimes God reveals His words to us just when we need to understand them the most. Sometimes we hide a word in our hearts and at just the right moment the Holy Spirit reminds us of that word and it all suddenly makes sense. Then there are other things such as the idea that God is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit… How can one God be three entities yet one God? If we could all answer these questions, we would have no need for God. All of these things will be understood once we’re with Him. Until then, we have to come to terms with the fact that on this plane we will not understand it all.

7️⃣ Taste and see…

Challenge yourself. Give yourself a deadline. Test Him. Say to yourself, “I’m going to try this Bible reading thing for one year.” In my life, and all the people that I’ve met from around the world, I have yet to meet a person that has told me that the Bible returned void.

8️⃣ Testify

When you see that the Word is good and that it has changed your life for the better, remember where you were before the Word touched your life. Don’t just bury that. Go out and share your testimony so that someone else can have their life changed.

Bible, Children, family, god, Holy Spirit, jesus, Love, Marriage, Mental Health, Ministry, Parenting, Uncategorized

Marriage Wars

My husband and I know several people going through marriage wars, right now. It may sound like a new reality show. It’s not. Don’t worry, though, I’m sure they’ll get around to it. 🙄 In the meantime, let’s focus on not giving the world what it wants, but giving God what He wants and saving our families while we’re at it!

It’s a crappy part of life. What I’m about to say comes from a place of humility that one can only fathom if they’ve been there, I assure you.

Nothing teaches you more humility than realizing that you don’t matter but the soul of both yourself and your spouse matters more.

You either believe in God and the fullness of His word or not. I’m not talking about the good parts. I’m talking about the reality of it. Either you and your spouse are fighting because you’re just people; or, as the Word says, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

In other words, are you fighting each other or are you fighting satan?

You have to take that inventory or you’ve already lost.

I love this list from God is the Author of Marriage.

There is a great article and inventory on Patsy Rae Dawson’s page HERE if you’re not sure where to start.

CLICK HERE for a Marriage Inventory Questionnaire designed to help identify strengths and potential trouble-spots in your relationship from Focus on the Family. This form has been designed for pre-marital counseling but is also a great way of getting you and your spouse refocused. Most of the questions have no “right” answers; the important thing is for you to state clearly your perceptions in each case. Do not talk about the inventory until after you have filled it out individually. After you have filled it out, be sure to talk through the inventory with one another and you may consider sitting down with your pastor or other Christian marital counselor with this form.

The second part of this issue (as it was for David & myself) is that pesky “and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh” thing that the Bible says.

I realized that, through the Spirit – not of my own flesh, that this wasn’t a war between my husband and I. This was a war against my marriage by satan and sin. Because satan was picking a fight with my husband, he was picking a fight with me; because, two became ONE.

That meant, David couldn’t fight him alone and I couldn’t fight him alone. We had to fight him, with God, TOGETHER.

If Christ said, “’You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”” That tells me that – if two have become ONE – my spouse and I should BOTH be loving the Lord our God with ALL of our hearts, our souls, and our minds. Secondly, if we are loving each other as ourselves, in addition to us both engulfing ourselves in all that is God and running after Him with our whole selves,….how can we fail?! We can’t! You know why? Because we both have our eyes set on the same end goal – God! We will always end up at the same destination. Best of all, we’ll end up there together.

That doesn’t mean that I’m never hurt or angry. It just means that I never lose sight of the goal – winning, succeeding in my marriage, successfully guiding my children toward God. You guys think I’m competitive when it comes to football and other sports? It will never compare to the competitiveness I feel when getting back what the devil stole or is trying to steal from me.

I know I’m already an overcomer in Christ. That means, at that point, that if the war is lost… it’s either my fault or David’s fault.

So, take inventory of yourself:

1) Who are you fighting?

2) Are you fighting as a team or separate?

3) Are you willing to do ANYTHING it takes to be happier than you’ve ever been before?

My husband and I love each other more NOW than we ever did when we were first married; and THAT is the way it’s supposed to work. We know that there will be more battles; but, we’ve already won the war. So, if we lose a battle or each other… that’s on us as a team.

So don’t just pray…FIGHT! The fight is well worth it. And never forget….your children are watching, others are watching and praying, “Please, God, because if they can then we can.”

More:

A great article on marriage by Wisdom for Life

Celebrate Recovery (for hurts, habits, & hangups)

Anxiety, Bible, Depression, family, Friends, friendship, Holiday, Love

Are you at the wrong party?

I’m Southern. So, it’s safe to say I know a good bit about playing host. After all, the term “Southern Hospitality” didn’t spring out of nowhere. It’s still alive and well, here, I assure you; and, it’s a serious affair. It can make or break relationships. The lack of it can sever ties and hurt immeasurably, while the honesty and beauty of supplying it can restore hearts. God, Himself, is referred to as the “Lord of hosts,” 261 times just in the Old Testament as a matter of fact. Now, it doesn’t actually mean the Lord of all “persons who receives or entertains other people as guests” here but I’m kind of using a play on words. Regardless, He is supposed to be the model of all that we strive to be. But, we’ll circle back around to that.

Fact: Some people may not want you in their lives. I know. It stinks. It hurts. That’s okay, though. And…you know what? It may very well be you and not them. You may be the reason they don’t want to play host to you. Yes, I said it.

You may be the reason they don’t want to play host to you. Yes, I said it.

You may be too real, too sweet, too honest, not rich enough, not in the “in” crowd. They may see you as not as spiritual as they certainly are. They may not want you close because they see your past. You may not be able to do anything for them. Now, if you’ve gained some perspective from my pointing out the very things that God would actually find pleasing…Because see God appreciates your kindness, your lack of gossip, your honesty, your lack of desire to have money other than to pour it back into the world. He sees to your very heart and doesn’t care if you regularly say the Christian catchphrases that He finds hollow because they’re spoken by a generation who regurgitates what they’ve heard, not the truth that they’ve learned. He sees your past but only pays attention to the new creation you are now.

He sees your past and sees TESTIMONY.

And…God doesn’t need you to do anything for Him or anyone else. He wants to do for you because He loves you, and so that maybe you’ll feel that love so much that you’ll voluntarily want to share Him with others spilling out upon the world like salt and light. So, remember this:

“And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.‭‭” Matthew‬ ‭10:14

This holds true for everyone. Yes, even your family – whether in Christ or by blood. Christ never stuck around where He was not welcome, even His hometown. He moved on to be useful elsewhere. Yes, I know you just want to be accepted there. You want their love. But consider this: you may be the person called to reach out to another that has absolutely no one, let alone even someone to not appreciate them. While you are rejected, you may be the cornerstone to a new construction. While you see yourself as the outcast, God is positioning you to be the den mother or father to a new pack.

Did you ever wonder how wolf packs are started? After all, they can’t just continue as they are – they’d die out. (I know it feels like I’m digressing but run with me here.)

“The social structure of the wolf pack changes from year to year. Wolves in the pack move up and down in the ‘pecking order’ or hierarchy. A wolf lower down in the pecking order may challenge an alpha wolf… If the alpha wolf loses this challenge, it will likely go off on its own… and start a new pack. Wolves very low in the pecking order (that are constantly picked on by the other pack members) may also leave the pack. They become lone wolves until they either form their own pack or on rare occasions join an existing wolf pack.”¹

So… if you feel neglected or cast aside, dust your feet off and recognize that you have a calling now to start your own pack or move on to another. You have a talent or knowledge needed elsewhere. You may become a “lone wolf” for a season as you gather tools from the Father; but, you have a pack – either to start or to compliment.

Now, circling back to God being the Lord of hosts…

The Lord of hosts is a mighty leader. He is just that – the Lord of all hosts. There is no greater example. He leads with grace and mercy. He loves through self-sacrifice and unending love. He intervenes and intercedes. He is available, readily so, to hear His people. At the risk of mixing my analogies, if the “pack” your desperately trying so hard to cling to is not exhibiting the very traits that define the ultimate Lord of hosts, what kind of “hosts” are they? To whom are they catering, and what is the point of their “party?”

Maybe it’s time you focused on God’s plan, the Lord of all hosts’ plan. Maybe it’s time you lead a new pack with grace and mercy, being readily available (and desiring to do so) to intervene and intercede for them. Maybe that love you’re desiring to share with the unwelcoming pack is meant to be given endlessly to those who truly need you and want you in their lives.

Rest your battered heart, and listen to God’s calling…

1. Scholastic