Archives for November 2012

When Birth Control May Do More Than Just That

Other than a couple of questions here and there on social media, I haven’t really mentioned the chronic pain that I have been experiencing for the last 2.5 years.

It started in the summer of 2010, and I originally thought that I had a herniated or slipped disc in my neck/back. By the time the cooler weather came around, the pain was not as bad, so I kind of wrote it off as changes in the weather, humidity, and in my body, as I approached 40.

The problem is, the pain never fully went away. It retreated occasionally, but never completely, and never for long.

During this time, there were also increases in other issues, such as skin, scalp and hair issues (eg: eczema, hair thinning) and slight weight gain. All of these have ‘normal’ reasons, such as approaching and passing 40, allergies, diet…

So:

I’ve spent many days and nights wearing hand and wrist braces, thinking it was just really bad carpal tunnel.

I’ve changed to a standing desk, thinking it might just be really bad tension in my muscles caused by how I sit at the computer.

I’ve upped my exercise, thinking it might be rheumatoid arthritis and that it was best to keep moving.

I’ve tried OTC pain relievers, thinking if I could just get some relief, my body might heal itself.

I’ve added various vitamins to my diet, thinking it might be perimenopause.

I’ve gone shampoo-free, hoping to alleviate scalp issues.

I’ve changed my diet, trying my best to follow an anti-inflammatory diet, thinking it might be a food allergy, issues with wheat/gluten…

Until two months ago, I didn’t have health insurance, so I’ve prayed daily for healing and (/or, at the very least) comfort. I’ve laid awake many nights worried about what was wrong. It’s become a part of my daily life.

Last year, at Randy’s prompting, I started keeping a journal – tracking the pain: the dates, levels, locations. We knew that when we saw a doctor, in order to have a good grasp on things, and help along a diagnosis, we needed to have a sense of when things were happening.

Eventually a pattern emerged.

Almost three years ago, I got a Mirena IUD. It basically stopped my periods, but in my journaling, I realized that the pain always increased around my usual cycle.

It didn’t make sense to me, at first, that they might be related, but I searched the internet for correlations, trying to figure out if the IUD created symptoms, or exacerbated symptoms that were created by other issues.

In other words: was I already struggling with health issues? Or was it possible that the IUD was creating them?

My searches didn’t turn up much. I still felt at a loss to explain what would have brought on such a sudden, chronic pain.

In the last few months, I’ve realized that my search terms were off. I changed my search from searching the internet for “IUD chronic pain”, (which brought up a bajillion posts on chronic pelvic pain) and changed my search to “IUD autoimmune issues”.

And I found that there are many women who have been dealing with the same types of pains and issues. Some of them found great relief upon the removal of the IUD, many, after having had testing (and even possible diagnoses) for RA, MS, and many other autoimmune diseases.

After a few months of a mild decrease in severity, my pain has been back in full-force for the last few weeks, and the last few days, it has been worse than I can remember in awhile.

I’m making an appointment with my doctor, and I’m planning on having my IUD removed. It may turn out not be the root cause of my pain, but it is the simplest test I can do at this time.

Honestly, I’m hoping that it really IS just the IUD.

I Found My “Randy’s-on-the-Road” Love Note Tonight

… on my laptop.

I wish I had posted all of the notes I’ve received during his travels over the last several years, as I received them. It’s always fun to find them, and they still surprise me!

(For those who weren’t aware: Randy and I were finally able to marry on October 25, so I am officially Mrs. Archer!!)

Twas the Night Before the Election…

I am so thankful that tomorrow is Election Day, and that, come Wednesday, most people will be able to move forward, online and IRL relationships will be (hopefully) restored and normalcy returned.

This election cycle has really taken a toll on me. I don’t know if it’s really been that much more vitriolic, or if I’m just feeling it because I’m seeing things through a different lens this time around (and I’ve been alienated by many who liked me because I once held similar views to them).

The, mostly misguided, anger, the nastiness and the nit-picking (all of which I have been guilty of) have been beyond belief for the last 4 years. I’ve judged people and I’ve been judged. And I’m ready for it to be over.

This morning I read “Election Day Is Not a Vote Between Hades and Paradise” over at Deeper Story. So many excellent points are made, but it was the title that I’ve really chewed around on all day, because I honestly believe that there are people who DO believe that it is a vote for just those things. I’ve heard them proclaim just as much.

This belief is what has been at the core of my discomfort with the direction of this election. As a Christian, I’ve long believed that, while it is my duty to vote, whether my candidate wins or loses, God is in control.

I’ve also been told for a long time to vote according to God’s will.

But this time around I’ve wondered what that meant… Is it providing a safety net to others so that they can get back on their feet after being laid-off? Or is it allowing the super wealthy to keep as much of their self-made wealth as possible, and believe enough will trickle down to the rest of us to allow us to think we can get there with enough hard work?

Rather than making changes in ourselves, we’ve railed, pointed fingers and hated on others, and tried to convince everyone that our candidate is more Godly. When we put all of our hopes in one person, they are going to fall short. We live in fear, of a God who rails and smites, rather than living in the full glory of a God who is full of grace, second chances and longs for us all to see Him in the actions of others:

The actions we take to help the scared unwed pregnant girl after she makes the brave choice to keep her baby.
The actions we take to provide a warm place to sleep and a comforting word to the family who has lost everything.
The actions we take to ensure that everyone can get major medical help without having to declare bankruptcy.

Because I have been each of those people.

I was the unwed pregnant girl, who, out of fear, aborted her baby.
I, along with my ex, lost everything, was briefly homeless and had to get food stamps to support us as we got back on our feet. (We, thankfully, had friends and family who helped us, but not everyone does.)
I was one of those who, after a divorce, could not afford dental or health care for herself or her children and had to rely on medicaid for a season.

I don’t believe that either candidate has all the answers. I don’t believe that God has a party favorite. I don’t believe that He wants us to vote for one candidate over another, because every four years, we are voting for one flawed person against another flawed person. What He wants is for us to change.

For us to be moved enough to fill in the gap that EVERY flawed administration creates. That, is what ultimately matters.

photo credit from flickr

(Just Write)