#LemonFaceChallenge for PCOS!

I’ve been nominated by a lot of awesome ladies to do the #LemonFaceChallenge for PCOS awareness! Many, many apologies that it took me FOR-EV-ER to get to it!

This fun, easy challenge was devised by the wonderful PCOSgurl, a twitter account you should definitely be following by the way. Why lemons? Because women with PCOS are getting a “sour deal,” and when life gives you lemons? Make lemonade.

But Queen Bey has the monopoly on the #carwindowsmashchallenge so let’s stick with the lemon face. Mine’s pretty tame. As kids my sisters and I would see who could remain the most straight-faced while eating a lemon, and not to brag, I was pretty good at that game.

Anyway, I do have PCOS. I’ve shared my story here before, but I’ll sum it up real quick: while being treated for endo, Poly-Cystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS was mentioned in passing, but I didn’t learn much about it until we started trying to have a baby. One symptom of PCOS is irregular periods, and no period means no egg was released, which means no baby. Over two years, we tried a few kinds of fertility medication, at home injections to stimulate the release of an egg, and finally an IUI which resulted in our first son, Junior.

The upside? Hey, no need for birth control, right? Yeah no… because with PCOS, your body can release eggs, just you know… randomly. When it feels like it. Which resulted in our second (surprise!) son, Finny.

And of course, having both PCOS and endometriosis means that periods are god-awful (when they show up) ((which is completely unpredictable)). And frankly, normal periods are a “sour deal” all by themselves that half the world is cursed with. Let’s not play. I mean sure, it’s a beautiful, life-giving miracle, but so is labor and they both suck. So on top of having to have periods in general, PCOS is an extremely sour deal.

Also, having PCOS and IBS means that my relationship with food is rocky. Appetite comes and goes, and it’s really, really difficult for me to gain weight. I’ve been underweight for much of my life. I had a baby a month ago and I’m down to my “healthy” weight, but before I got pregnant I was 10 lbs underweight so

To find out more about PCOS and the lemon face challenge, check out PCOSchallenge.org . I hereby challenge all of YOU to snap a quick pic or video of you taking a big sour bite of lemon and link to your social media/blog posts in the comments!

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Murder in a Public Bathroom– Just Kidding This Post is About Poop

I have a story to tell. It’s not the story of me murdering someone in a public bathroom and hiding the evidence, but I wish it was. That would have probably been less traumatic.

Anyone played Indigo Prophecy? If you answered yes, I’m sorry.

So let me take you back to when this actually took place: I was in college, living in a one-room apartment with my husband. I had decided to investigate my gastrointestinal problems, and my new gastro doctor needed a stool sample. Ok. So I scheduled a day to go to the diagnostics lab. I’m thinking it’s a lab, they do this all the time. I’ll go and do it there, just like when you do a urine sample. Right? Right?

No.

I can’t blame them for not wanting this dirty work done on the premises. But I don’t want to do it in my one-room apartment either. We don’t have an outside trash can, I’d have to transport everything to the dumpster. And that was one trek I didn’t want to make with this particular cargo. Plus, I was, ahem, prepared. I didn’t want to drive all the way home.

And at this point, I am still pretty naive about what all this will entail. Well, next door to the lab is a gas station. I think, this is an industrial restroom that has probably seen worse. I will go here.

And now let me just flip over to talking about murdering someone there because like I said, that would have been less traumatic.

Of course, when committing murder in a gas station bathroom, you’re going to be scared someone will walk in the entire time. So adrenaline levels are running high to begin with. You also pray it will be quick and quiet, but no matter how well you prepare, you just can’t be sure.

Once the deed is done, the real work begins: disposing of the evidence. There’s a lot more evidence than you might initially suspect. Even with an industrial-sized trash can and a near-infinite supply of toilet paper and paper towels, it’ll take time and craft to get it not only in the trash, but hidden and without staining yourself with any suspicious materials.

And once it’s all done, you must rush out and try to avoid turning your face towards any security cameras.

I delivered the goods to the lab and went home and took a really long shower.

I stand by the idea that this would have been just as traumatic at home. I would have had to tell my husband to just stay on campus and not come back until I give the word. A diagnostic lab should be equipped to handle this, really that’s the only solution I can come up with.

Am I just going to go radio silent and then post every few months about weird things like poop? Um… that’s not my plan, but I can’t rule it out.

More posts coming soon.

This Blog is Still a Thing *Hiatus Update*

Lots has been going on, my dear readers (if any of you are still out there). But I promise that I haven’t quit blogging just because I’m pregnant and I have a toddler now. Although that’s a big part of it.

We’re in the process of selling our house and buying a new one. That’s pretty big.

When I initially stopped blogging, though, there was one major reason: my Grandmother was extremely sick. She had a fall, and had already been battling Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s for a while. When she was first admitted to the hospital, our son had RSV so we weren’t able to go up there right away. A week or so later, we went up to the hospital every day.

Before this, the extent of my knowledge of Alzheimer’s was that you forget things. Sad things, like who your family members are and who you are. But after watching this disease, I see that those are dumb things to focus on. Eventually, you forget things that are actually important. Like how to eat. How to swallow. Eventually, how to breathe. No one talks about that. I didn’t know that was what was going to happen.

My Grandmother died at her home, just three days before her son’s (my dad’s) birthday. And I thought, just three more days. Just a few more months and she would have celebrated 60 years of marriage. The obituary says 59. Just a few more months and she would have met another great grandbaby. But no matter what, we’d always be asking for just one more. Just one more birthday, just one more Thanksgiving dinner. Just one more Christmas. Just one more anniversary. Just one more Sunday morning at church. Forever and ever and ever.

So that was in May. And since then there have been times I could have sat down and wrote a post and said life is busy and I’m pregnant but that’s not the real reason I went on hiatus. So blogging got all tied up in that loss emotionally, even if logically the two weren’t related.

Today was the last day of my Granddaddy’s estate sale. I got to take home a lot of my Grandmother’s clothes, and soon he’ll be moving to a smaller house. He used to be a real estate broker, so it’s been fun to talk about all that stuff with him while we both search for new homes and new beginnings.

This is a video I made for her memorial service. I wanted to share it here because it’s special to me, and we’re still missing her a lot right now.

More blogging soon I hope – we may be actually moving very soon, and of course the baby is due at the end of September. So blogging will probably be erratic and random for a little while, but I’m still here, and this blog is still a thing. I’m sorry I totally missed the WEGO Health awards this year, that’s always so fun and I encourage you to check out the nominees and support them because WEGO always finds the coolest people.

Talk soon!

~Rachel

Official Enviroklenz Affiliate! MCS-approved Cleaning Products

Hey guys! I’ve talked before about how much I love Enviroklenz, and I’m still using their laundry products and air filters every day. You can read my thoughts in-depth by clicking here.

If you’re interested in getting some of these environmental protection products for yourself, and supporting this blog at the same time, I now have a handy button at the bottom of every page on this site! When you order using that button, I get a little commission and every little bit helps me keep this blog up for you guys. Plus you get some great, safe cleaning products for yourself. Using stuff like this helps lighten the day to day chemical load you put on your body, which lowers your chances of MCS and other chemical reactions and helps keep you healthy.

I’m also going to put a couple of big banners in this post since we’re here and they’re cool.

air purifier for allergies

Ya need to clean anyway right? Plus, you know that I wouldn’t put a permanent button on this website for any product I didn’t believe in and use myself. I’m not going to sell out on you guys – this button is really here for you. I hate shopping for cleaning stuff. I read the labels to try and be informed and usually can’t find a single thing with little to no harmful chemicals and fragrances. I don’t have MCS or eczema (if you do then you probably already use things like these) but I’ve always been sensitive to fragrances products, especially laundry stuff. So yes, I really am using this and it really has helped me.

I promise to stop talking your ear off about it now! Just know that handy button will always be down there just for you the next time you need cleaners or air purifier stuff.

Love you all! And OF COURSE don’t forget to make a rage comic and enter the #spoonieragecomiccontest! It’s free and there’s prizes! Go go go!

Doing What You Can Even When It Seems Too Small

There’s all kinds of things wrong with the world, and everyone has some issue that they get fired up about. Recently, the Women’s March made waves around the world.

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And lots of women were out there marching for lots of different issues. Pro-choice, Pro-life, women demanding equal pay, women demanding a safer world, women standing with Standing Rock, women who won’t tolerate being talked about they way certain Presidents talk… almost any issue you can think of.

BEN GARVER — THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE  A sign carried in the Washington DC Women's March was delivered by Paul Johansen to the Shire  City Sanctuary for Febuary exhibit of art from the women's marches.

This was a march for like…everything. It seemed like every issue that people get fired up about was represented, even both sides of arguments showed up. Pro-lifers were marching right along with pro-choicers. Yet there were still some who just couldn’t find an issue to cheer for, so they protested protesting!

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But all of these people all over the world with all these views have something in common. They all went through a series of universally human steps:

  1. They felt a fire in their belly about something.
  2. They made up their mind to take action towards real change.
  3. They took whatever action they could think of.

Take me, for instance. I was diagnosed with endometriosis as a high school senior, but it wasn’t until my senior year of college that I started feeling the fire in my belly for health activism. At the time, I didn’t know a word for it, but it was health activism. I saw the discrimination of myself and others who don’t “look” sick, and were written off as liars, party girls, drug addicts, or attention-seekers.

Once the fire in my belly got hot enough, I reached step two: I NEED TO DO SOMETHING.

I cannot accept the way things are. I know that people can learn. I want to teach them. I want them to learn the science of these illnesses and health in general! Health education is so, so lacking in America. I can tell you exactly how a plant uses water and sunlight to create energy and grow and what makes a plant healthy or unhealthy, but I graduated without even knowing what all my lady parts are even for and how diet can drastically affect how your body functions. As Trump would say, “SAD!”

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But here’s the kicker. Everyone everywhere has gone through steps one and two, but so many people give up before step three. Why? It’s not because the fire has gone out. It’s because any action we can think to take often seems too small. I’m just one person. I’m not a politician, I can’t control laws. I’m not an educator, I can’t change what people learn in school. I’m not a doctor, I can’t cure people. I’m just one sick person. There’s nothing I can do.

Either that, or we reject the ideas we do have. I could start a fundraiser, but it would annoy my friends and family. I could protest, but what if I’m alone? I could donate money, but where does it go and what does it do? I could write things on the internet, but literally everyone does that and it would be a drop in the ocean.

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I decided to go for it. What could I think to do? Well, I was a creative writing major. I could write something – what? A blog. Because it’s free and (in theory) the whole world could read it. Could. Probably wouldn’t, but it was possible. And what about my school? The discrimination that put a fire in my belly all happened at my university. I needed those students, specifically, to read what I had to say.

How? I decided to make posters. Just black and white, 8 1/2 by 11, self-printed posters.

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Aww look at my old url. Anyway, I posted these all over campus, occasionally getting scolded, and feeling quite sure no one would ever read them or my blog but whatever. Like I said, I had to do something.

I got an email from an anonymous person thanking me for bringing this issue forward, but it was one out of the dozen or so emails I got telling me to please stop so it seemed like not a lot. But then a really crazy thing happened – a girl stopped me on campus and said “I recognize you… you’re on those posters!”

We ended up having a seat on a bench and talking for upwards of thirty minutes. She had a bone marrow disease (I wish I could remember exactly what) and had struggled so much with faculty and other students not believing how sick she was. She was vibrant and full of life and of course, didn’t look sick. She told me that seeing the posters made her feel less alone. And she thanked me.

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So this one little thing that I was sure would make no difference… made a difference. This dumb thing that was the only thing I could think to do actually did something. What I thought would be too small to notice was noticed.

I did what I could and it made a small difference.

I did what I could and it was worth doing.

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Nowadays, I’m still pretty sure everything I do for this fire in my belly is too small. Womens’ healthcare costs remain high (LORDT that is always on my mind) and we have some lawmakers now making things harder. People still post hateful notes on cars parked in the handicapped spot if they’re driven by a healthy-looking individual. This blog has won some awards, but I get about 50 views a day, post super irregularly, and still get a lot of hits from people looking for info on David Bowie.

Most days, this feels too small to be worth doing.

But occasionally I get someone thanking me and telling me how much it’s meant. And I have to think that for every person who says something, there must be more people who don’t speak up, but who glean something from this. And hey, I even had the head of the UNT disability office call me to chat and make sure they were doing all they could for their students.

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So just know that even if it seems too small, do it. Do it for the fire in your belly, do it for yourself, and do it for the world. Think of how much better a place the world would be if everyone did what they could!

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