Kizzybel Designs

I was thrilled yesterday afternoon when I found my Kizzybel Designs deployment bracelet awaiting me in the mailbox!  I ordered this awesome bit of Hubby-Lovin’ last week, and I couldn’t be happier!  I love you, Kizzybel!

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Name covered to protect the not-so-innocent >:)

And yes, there’s Bandit, once again dropping in unexpectedly.  He makes a much better hand-model than I do.

Originally, I had attempted to make my own nametape bracelet.  That endeavor ended in a needle shoved three-quarters of the way under my thumbnail, a seam-ripper planted firmly through the palm of my hand, and several interestingly-shaped cuts on my fingers, courtesy of the pinking shears.  Did I mention that I don’t sew, ever?

Three cheers, then, for Kizzybel Designs!  The quality is superb, the price is ridiculously affordable, and the customization options are endless.  I’m already planning my next purchase!

I opted for the yellow support ribbon and an adorable anchor as my “bling.”  I also love that (finally!) someone offers bracelets by size.  Normal bracelets seem to fall right off of my odd chicken-leg-diameter wrist.

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Clasp & charms

I’d like to once again give a huge thank-you to Isabel at Kizzybel Designs.  Check out her website, her Facebook, and her Instagram pages.  And DEFINITELY make sure you score one of her fabulous products.

Namaste!  -Sarah

Time

I remember the minutes slowly ambling away when I was a child.  Time seemed so pathetically slow, not at all intent on making its lackadaisical journey to “the past,” and I could never fathom why it would take such a painfully long time to reach the promise of Being a Grown Up.

Now that I have reached that promise – one which was not the magical, enlightened status of which I had dreamed – time dissipates like a stream in the scorched desert.  I find myself wishing it could stand still once more, wishing I had the ability once again to lament its dawdling crawl.  Time is such a selfish thing.

I couldn’t wait to move to California.  Then I couldn’t wait to leave.  Now that the end of our tour here is within reach, I wish I could pause the space-time continuum.

I look at the friends I have made here, and I look at the life I have helped create for my family.  I recall the experiences my husband and I have shared, the countless nights of laughter and tears inside these four walls.  I realize this is where we built our marriage, our first home, and our small but perfectly-sized family.  This is home.

And I yearn to keep everything as it is now, here in my little bubble of familiarity, wishing that I didn’t have to give up the joy that it took me so very long to appreciate.  I have cheated myself out of many smiles; now that I realize how precious those smiles could have been, I desperately cling to the chance to recreate their potential.

I feel the burden of time slipping by me again – I feel the impatient excitement of moving to a foreign country, of the Next Big Thing.  But I also feel the Quiet Sadness, the knowledge that I will never have any of this again.  And my heart is heavy with the understanding that I’ve been so focused on the “I wants” that I’ve neglected the “I haves.”

I must remember to appreciate the blessings as they come to me, instead of looking back on my guilt of not having acknowledged them in the first place.

Gummy Bear – An Open Letter to My Lost Child

My Dearest Little Gummy Bear,

It’s been one year since you’ve left my womb and this world.  I knew of your existence for only a few days before you were gone.  I’ve cried more days than not; I’ve had moments when the pain of your loss has immobilized me.  Some days, I still languish in bed, wondering why I should even rise.  You are gone; why couldn’t I go with you?  Why couldn’t I go in your place?

Mother’s Day was so hard this year.  I wanted to scream and break every flower vase I saw; I wanted to upend the racks of cards cluttering every store.  When I looked around and saw all of the mothers around me, I seethed with jealousy.  It was all I could do not to cry in the middle of the stores.  You would have been two months old on Mother’s Day.  I would have tried my very best to be the mother you deserved.

Your Daddy learned of your loss while he was still out to sea, just a few weeks before Father’s Day.  Sometimes, I wonder how he’s doing.  You have no idea how much you would have loved him!  He’s so funny, and smart, and just as tender as any man can possibly be.  He was going to teach you how to work on cars.  I would give anything to see the two of you standing side-by-side over an engine, covered in grease, your knuckles bleeding, the radio playing old country songs.

Daddy and I don’t talk much about you, and for that, I am truly sorry.  I hope that you can forgive us both.  It’s so hard to find the words; sometimes, I worry that we’ve never really healed.  What do you say to the person who helped you create a miracle, especially when that miracle didn’t stay yours for long?  It’s not right, my love, but those who hurt the most usually say the very least.  It’s been my experience that words are very powerful – they can build up, they can tear down, and they can change the world in a just a few moments.  But it’s rare that words ever heal quickly or completely.  They just don’t seem to have that ability.  The heart is just too complex.

I’ll always remember how much you loved red meat.  It was never my favorite, but that’s all I craved when you were inside me!  I consumed more cheeseburgers and steaks with you than I have in my whole life.  You also were a fan of cookie-dough ice cream and orange juice.  You would keep me up all night and make me sleepy all day – but I loved every second of it!  All of these things made me happier than you can imagine.  I could never be anything but overjoyed when I think of you.

I wish I could have held you in my arms, rolled tiny socks over your little feet.  I wish I could have held your hand as we strolled through the zoo.  I wanted to push you on the swings at the park and comb your hair.  I wanted to teach you how to sing the alphabet and play hide-and-seek.  Mostly, I looked forward to reading you bedtime stories.  My favorites were always Goodnight, Moon and Where the Wild Things Are.  I wish I knew what your favorites would be.  I would read them to you a million times in a row if I could just hold you close.

I want you to know that I am proud of you.  You are the most astounding miracle I ever witnessed, and though we may not have had long together, I love you more than anything in this whole universe.  I would do anything to bring you back, but life isn’t like that.  Sometimes I can’t believe how unfair it all is; then I have to remind myself that fairness is rare.  Even if life was perfect, we would still take most of it for granted.  I’m glad that I never, ever had a chance to take any part of you for granted.

I will see you one day, Gummy Bear – and when I do, I will never let you go.  I can’t wait to hold you, but there are some things I have to finish down here first.  I know you are happy and safe where you are, and so I am okay with moving forward.  Just remember that moving forward never means forgetting.  You are always in my heart.

I love you, Baby.  I love you to the moon and back, a million times over.

-Mommy

Endo: It’s All In Your Head

Good morning and happy Monday, Dear Readers!

Last Tuesday, as I went in for my yearly exam, I found out that my insurance had assigned me a new doctor.  As I’m sure most of my Endo-Sisters can relate, I was prepared to explain my 14-year endometriosis history to him in less than five minutes.  There’s no one more adept at consolidation and “highlight reels” than a girl with endo!

I also explained to him that, due to my endo specifically, Pap tests are just about as painful as anyone can imagine (do any of you also experience this?!), and to please go slowly and gently.  He, however, didn’t seem to understand the seriousness of my request.  About halfway through the exam, I asked him to stop momentarily so I could catch my breath.  Tears were pouring down my face, and my stomach felt like it was about to explode.

“We’re almost done,” he answered.  “I just need you to deal with it for a few minutes longer.”

I was livid – here I was, in the stirrups with nothing more than a see-through bedsheet for modesty, and this guy has the audacity to tell me to suck it up?  I’ve never had someone tell me to “deal with it;” doctors have usually been at least  marginally understanding of me needing to take a small break.  I gritted my teeth and started to mentally sing a song, hoping I could make it through the rest of the exam without screaming, dying from pain-overload, or kicking him in his face.

“Well,” he said a few minutes later, “I think your last surgery was a success.  I see nothing out of the ordinary here.”

I was taken aback.  “Um,” I stuttered as I wriggled out of the torture device / hospital bed, clutching my transparent sheet, “you can’t see endo during a Pap.  It’s located in the pelvic cavity, not in the vagina or cervix.”

“Well, I think everything looks fine.  The ongoing pain is probably just all in your head.

And there it was: the classic diagnosis by the classic medical quack.  I can’t recall how often I have heard that endo pain is “all in my head.”  What is that even supposed to mean?  In the hundreds of times I’ve heard it, I’ve never really understood.  Does it mean we’re crazy?  Hypochondriacs?  Druggies just looking to score pills?  Are we just attention-seekers?

Suffice it to say that I spend the rest of the exam off in my “happy place,” only nodding and grunting monosyllabic answers to his other questions, biding my time and praying that I wouldn’t lose my temper here in the middle of the Naval clinic.  I succeeded; after another ten minutes, I was dressed, out the door, and limping toward the truck with the taste of my hatred curdling in the back of my throat.

Over the next few days, as I sat curled on the couch with my exam-induced cramps, I began to think about the “it’s all in your head” diagnosis.  I suppose that if you consider the fact that the brain is the organ that collects and processes input from the nerve endings, then yes, it is all in your head.  But I’d love to see any woman in the throes of a bad month sit up and say, “Hey, it’s cool; this is all in my head,” before continuing on with her day.

It pains me to think that doctors like this still practice in this day and age, and that they obviously have no desire to figure out the “whys” of endo.  They might throw a few Tylenol at their patients, tell them to lie down with a heat pack, and move on to the next exam in line.  I’m not looking for drugs, for sympathy, or for confirmation of my apparent insanity.  I want to know that doctors are beginning to take this disease seriously, and that we’re making positive strides in finding out how it’s caused and what the best treatments are (discounting artificial hormones and surgeries).  There must be answers out there, but I’m not sure if we’ll ever find them with the currently prevalent attitudes toward women’s health issues.

Do you have any experience of the “all in your head” diagnosis?  If so, I’d love to hear from you!

Namaste!  -Sarah

One Bad Little Kitty!

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Well, it’s official – I’m a boudoir photo shoot veteran!  This was by far one of the BEST experiences of my whole life, and I would like to give a huge THANK YOU to Cinnamon Grey and all the girls down at Bad Kitty Photography in San Diego.  If you’re in the area, you HAVE to check them out!

Words fail when I try to describe what this shoot has done for me.  I have never, in my whole life, felt so confident and proud of my body.  It’s a little overwhelming to look through my sets and see myself looking so, well, incredible.  This was one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given – the gift of loving myself, both inside and out, and of being able to take pride in my body.  With everything that has happened in the last year – surgery, miscarriage, an increase in my endo pain – and all of the recent stress of military life (I’m looking at you, non-existent PCS orders!), it was so refreshing to take a day out for myself and simply enjoy the most meaningful present I have ever received.  My body is not this heavy, withered chain to which I am bound.  It is a celebration of the one and only me that exists.  I may struggle with infertility and heartbreaking loss, but I am still healthy, vibrant, and ALIVE!  I am perfect in my flaws, happy in my blemished skin, and lovely in my individuality.  How beautiful is that?!

And to all of my gals who asked me about this experience before I actually did it, YES, you need to try it!  You are each deserving of looking at your own selves in this light.  Take a chance, revel in your awesomeness, then constantly look at the end result – paste a few of your favorites to the bathroom mirror.  Look at them while you start your day.  Remember how truly wonderful you are, all the way down to your core.  This world would be so much sadder without each of you in it.

What’s even better than having a ball and digging your own gorgeousness?  Being featured as Kitty of the Day on Bad Kitty’s Facebook page!  I’m pretty damn floored!  Thank you again, Cinnamon!  Much love to you, and to all my present and future Bad Kitty sisters!  ROCK IT, GIRLS!!!

Namaste!  -Sarah

Memorial Day

“I have long believed that sacrifice is the pinnacle of patriotism.”

-Bob Riley

Good morning and happy Memorial Day, Dear Readers!

I hope you all enjoy your holiday, but let’s remember to take a moment to reflect on the meaning of this special day.  Memorial Day is a day to honor those men and women who selflessly have given their lives to defend our nation.  They have died in the name of freedom, in the belief of liberty, and in the defense of every single one of us.  They have made the ultimate sacrifice for nothing more than an idea.  If that isn’t outright heroism, I don’t know what is.

Memorial Day isn’t about barbecues, trips to the beach, or massive savings at retail stores.  It’s about taking a few seconds to say a prayer of thanks to our fallen.  It’s about seeing – truly seeing – the country in which we live, and being thankful for the cost; the cost of every last blade of grass, every last brick that builds our homes, and every last stitch on the flag that symbolizes our nation.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I see nothing wrong with enjoying this holiday in whatever way speaks to us and our loved ones.  I believe we should celebrate this day as a means of thanking the heroes and heroines who defended everything we hold dear.  But let’s have our parties, our road trips, and our shopping sprees with a grateful understanding of what gave us those plush enjoyments.  When we throw those burgers on the grill, let’s be thankful that someone died to allow us the liberty to do something as wonderfully simple as cooking a few munchies.  When we score an incredible deal at the store, let’s be thankful that someone gave their last breath to ensure our freedom to earn wages, to open our own businesses, and to spend our money how we see fit.  And when we’re lazing in the sun on a gorgeous beach somewhere, let’s be thankful that that shores we gaze upon were defended with the selflessness and integrity of our brothers and sisters.

To all of our fallen heroes, I say with deepest love: Namaste.

I Try – An Open Letter to My Husband

My Dearest J,

I hope you know how much I miss you, and how lonely this house is when you’re gone.  I try not to think about your smile, your laughter, your body close to mine as we curl up on the couch together.  I try not to think about how we argue over which movie to watch and how much of the (entire) bowl of popcorn I eat.  I try not to think about the way your hip fits perfectly in the curve of my waist, and how my head fits perfectly in the crook of your arm.

I try not to think about the way you always kiss me goodnight before you turn out your light, or the way you tolerate me reading a book until midnight.  I try not to think about how I wake you up and ask you to wrap your arms around me as I turn off my light.

I try not to think about how I can’t fall sleep when your arm isn’t draped around me.

I try not to think about the butterflies in my chest when I hear your truck pulling in after work.  I don’t always remember to unlock the door for you, but you can bet your last dime that I always remember to put on some lip gloss – the minty one that you like so much.

I try so hard not to think about the weekends we share – the burgers and Southern Comfort at Hard Rock Café, the museums in Balboa Park, walking up to the mailbox together.  I try not to think about how much I appreciate you when we’re simply sitting side by side.

I try not to think about how you always smell so wonderful – a mingling of engine grease, sweat, and aftershave that permeates the house.  There is no perfume more perfect in this entire universe.

I try not to think about how you always steal the last cup of coffee.  Strangely, when you’re gone, that last cup is never as tasty as I imagine it being.  And I never finish it, because it feels somehow wrong.

I try not to think about how much I love you.

Honestly, I try not to think about you – it hurts too much when you’re not here.

But as hard as I try to push you from my thoughts, you’re always there, always reminding me, always so far away . . .

And you are worth every single second of this.

Plans A-Z

Well, we officially received word this week on when our orders to Japan should come out: October.  Yes, October, as in three months later than we planned.  I am trying so hard not to loathe the military right now, but trying certainly isn’t the same as accomplishing!

It’s not as if I expected the answer to be the one I wanted.  Any military spouse can tell you the “plan”:

  1. Receive notice of Plan A six months in advance
  2. Reschedule Plan A at least four times
  3. Completely scrap Plan A and create Plan B
  4. Reschedule Plan B at least seven times
  5. Receive notice of Plan Q, which must be accomplished in 4 days, two of which fall during the weekend and/or a national holiday (and no, no one is aware of what happened to any of the previous plans; don’t even bother asking)

I just feel a little aggravated, since those are three months I could have spent with my family in Florida while J is on deployment.  It now looks as though I will be organizing packers, shipments, passports, and plane tickets on my own.  I had foolishly assumed the Fates would grant me the blessing of having my husband here with me as we planned our move overseas.  Frustratingly, the Fates have, I suppose, decided that I’m able to do it all on my own . . .  [curls into fetal position and rocks back and forth]

I realize that I certainly can accomplish this, and I realize that I’m lamenting the very same complaints that every military spouse before me has lamented.  I don’t expect preferential treatment, nor do I expect the first plan to ever follow through in a timely fashion – but I certainly have to vent my frustrations before I’m ready to accept what comes my way.

And now that I have vented, I think it’s time to use my remaining months in San Diego to my full advantage.  Perhaps some cooking classes or some painting classes are in order?  Or maybe a few dance lessons?  Who knows . . .  As of yet, I haven’t decided.  Because, after all, some plans are better when they’re NOT made in advance.

I hope I didn’t just shoot myself in the foot by saying that.

Namaste!  -Sarah

The Gift

Happy Monday, my Dear Readers!  I hope that your weekends were adventurous, fulfilling, and safe – and that your Monday continues in much the same fashion!

I did something incredibly out of character for myself yesterday: I booked an appointment to do a boudoir photo shoot on Wednesday!  I am absolutely terrified and absolutely thrilled.  I was able to tour the studio and meet the photographers already, and I immediately felt like I was in the most caring and daring hands.  I can hardly sit still as I ponder the next great experience of my life.

I have long believed that all women have an unalienable right to feel confident, sexy, and proud of who they are.  As I wandered the pin-up-plastered halls and rooms of the studio yesterday, I was stunned by the gorgeousness of the women portrayed.  The vast diversity and the obvious joy on the faces of these women was one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed – there were tall, supermodel-esque girls; short, vivaciously voluptuous girls; girls with skin like honeyed caramel, like airy cream, like a deliciously strong mocha; girls with tattoos and piercings and blue hair; girls with flaxen locks and emerald eyes.  Some were dressed in brocade and lace, some in sports jerseys, some in nothing but their own beautiful skins.  It was absolutely astounding, and it made me want to dive right into my own perfectly-flawed beauty.  Ladies, how awesomely amazing are we?!

It has taken a great deal of guts for me to decide to do this.  My original intention was to make my portraits a gift for my husband’s homecoming.  But as I stared at all of the stunning sirens surrounding me, I realized that this is also a gift for myself – a way for me to look past everything that has physically happened to me in the past few years, and to learn to once again appreciate the miraculous gift that my body is.

It’s not always easy to feel sexy, confident, or even just “okay” about yourself when you suffer from endometriosis and infertility.  After my miscarriage last June, my body changed in ways that aren’t considered desirable.  And with the added strain of infertility, the spark has definitely left the bedroom.  There are times that all I can think about is the futility of the love my husband and I are making.  I miss the days when sex was all about feeling good and enjoying each other as man and wife.  I need to make myself see, once again, that sex and desire should be at the forefront of our intimacy.  If a baby just happens to come along after that, then great!  But for now, we should be reveling in each other’s awesome hotness, for no other reason than we simply CAN!

I think this photo shoot will be the perfect antidote to what I’ve been feeling.  Maybe exploring my sexuality on a singular level will put me back in touch with the “pre-infertile” me, and I think my husband and I will both benefit from it.  And it’s certainly one of those things I can add to my “It Scared Me, So I Tried It” bucket list.  Win-win!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I was instructed to locate a mirror and practice my “sexy face” . . .  Does anyone know how to make one of those?!?!

Namaste!  -Sarah

Return of the “Endo-sappointment”

Good morning and happy Friday, Dear Readers!  I hope each of you is blessed with a wonderful day, and if any of you are in the San Diego area, I pray that you’re safe and prepared.  It’s been quite a whirlwind here with the wildfires.  We are fortunate that the fires have remained 15 to 30 miles north of us, although the Bernardo fire was only about 7 miles from my doorstep.  Thankfully, that one is under control for the time being.  Many others, though, have not been so lucky – the number of homes lost is simply heartbreaking.  One person’s remains was found yesterday in the burn area, and I am filled with sadness for that person’s family.  Please be ready to leave at a moment’s notice, and know that I am sending as many positive vibes to my neighbors as possible.

I’ve been so very busy with the PCS process lately that I’m finally able to sit back and relax today.  I had a decent trip to Old Town on Tuesday for a much-needed break, but Wednesday was spent applying for my passport, and yesterday was filled with appointments at Fleet and Family Services.  It was there that I received some not-so-spectacular news:  Due to my endometriosis, I may not be able to go to Japan.

I really have no words for how disappointing this is.  My next step is to see my doctor and have her fill out my Overseas Suitability Screening forms; luckily, I already have an appointment with her in two weeks, although I may try to move that up.  She will then tell me if I need to apply for the Exceptional Family Member Program.  For my lovely Readers who are not familiar with EFMP, it is a program designed to help the military provide families with orders to places with adequate medical care for special physical or mental needs.  Because Atsugi has very limited medical resources, the OSS office may not approve me for overseas travel.  If that’s the case, the military will either reassign my husband to a stateside base or to another overseas location with adequate medical care.  Or, in the very worst case scenario, they will send him to Japan for two to four years while I stay in the States – in which case, I will apply for my own resident visa and purchase my own plane ticket.  Endo or not, I refuse to be away from my husband for that long.

Looking back now, I can’t help but laugh at the story of my endometriosis.  It took years’ worth of pain, begging, and routine tests before someone would take my pain seriously enough to diagnose it through laparoscopy.  Now, they’re taking it so seriously that they might refuse to send me overseas.  Oh, Endo, why must you continue to ruin things?!

You would think that all of this would be stressing me out to the point of no return, but I woke up this morning with a huge sense of relief filling my Soul.  Everything will be okay!  I may not get the answer I want, but I will get an answer nonetheless.  For now, my endo is behaving nicely enough, and I’m sending positive vibes to my lady bits to please, please, please cooperate with me for the next few months.

 

I hope each of you has a fantastic and safe weekend, Dear Readers!  Thank you for stopping by!

Namaste!  -Sarah

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