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.

Baby, it’s cold outside – 15 Heat Saving Tips

Normally, this would be a really dumb topic for me to even consider writing about. After five upper Wisconsin winters, where 2 feet of snow laid on the ground from November to March and temps were always below freezing, Tennessee winters are so… eh. But we have started the new year with some really cold weather.

I got to thinking about the current financial strains most of us are already feeling with the cost of gas and recovering from the holidays. So, I’ve gathered some tips for keeping home heating costs down. Some are obvious – we’ve heard them over and over before; but others may be new to you.

Here are some ways to maximize warmth in your home this winter, and reduce heating costs.

1. Dress warmly indoors. Wear slippers or socks. When your feet are cold, the rest of you tends to follow suit.

2. Adjust your home thermostat. A good rule of thumb: Set your thermostat at 69°F when you’re home awake, 64°F when you’re sleeping and 62°F when you’re out of the house. A programmable thermostat is excellent at lowering costs. And if you time it right, you don’t have to wake up to a cold cold house.

3. Let the sun shine In: While up to 25 per cent of your home’s heat is lost through its windows, they are also a source of solar warmth. During daylight hours, keep your drapes open and let the sun help heat your home. In winter, open the blinds and curtains on the sunny side of the house (the south-facing side) when the sun is shining and close them as soon as the sun goes down to retain the solar heat. Close curtains on the shady side of the house (north-facing side).

4. Curtains made from heavy fabric with lots of folds can prevent cold air from seeping in and warm air from seeping out, which reduces your heating costs.

5. Insulate your windows with plastic window film to reduce heat loss by 50 per cent. We used this on our windows at the back of house in WI, and what a difference it made in our bedrooms! It may not be the most lovely option, but it was worth it.

6. Check to see where drafts may be coming in. Caulk, seal and weather strip around windows and doorframes, baseboards, ducting and electrical outlets (yes, electrical outlets – you’d be amazed at the cold air that can blow in from those!), as well as fireplaces to save up to 20 per cent on your heating bill.

7. Remember to close your fireplace flue when you’re not enjoying a fire.

8. Close interior doors leading to hallways or stairways to keep the heat where it’s needed most. Don’t heat areas of your house you don’t use regularly, such as guest rooms. Close heating vents or turn back thermostats in those areas and close the doors for a painless reduction in heating costs

9. Did you know a bathroom fan can suck all the heated air out of the average house in little more than an hour? Over the course of the winter, ventilation fans can increase your heating costs by a surprising amount. Use both bathroom and kitchen ventilation fans more sparingly in winter.

10. Keep your furnace, heat pump, or other heating equipment in top operating condition. Dirty filters reduce the efficiency of your furnace or heat pump. Poorly tuned units are inefficient and use more fuel.

11. Layer your bedding- Invest in a down comforter for your bed, or layer your bedding for maximum warmth while you sleep. Then, turn down the thermostat and enjoy the savings. If you have more to spend, consider adding down pillows and flannel sheets to your bed as well.

12. Stock up on blankets- Keep blankets handy in your living room, office and any other room of the house where you sit for an extended period of time. It’ll save you numerous trips to the thermostat.

13. Eat warm foods- Soups, stews and other cold weather foods are perfect for keeping the chill off. Compile a collection of cold weather recipes, and then rotate through them regularly. To keep warm between meals, be sure to keep plenty of coffee, cocoa and cider on hand. Often just the warmth of a mug is enough to warm you back up.

14. Make the most of your energy use- Many of our day-to-day activities require the use of electricity, but are you taking full advantage of your consumption? Consider these simple, stay warm ideas:

  • Leave the oven open after you cook to take advantage of the heat that’s built up inside. (Note: This isn’t a good idea if you have young children or pets.)
  • Wash and dry your bedding just before bed. Warm sheets will spare you the unpleasant experience of slipping into a cold bed.
  • Save your dish washing for a time when you’re cold; the warm water will clean your dishes, while giving you a temperature boost.
  • Do your computer work when you’re cold; computers give off a surprising amount of heat.

15. Stay busy- Moving around is a great way to keep warm, so grab your chore list and get to work. If you run out of tasks to keep you busy, give exercise a try.


What do you do to keep your heating costs down?


sources:
www.theoakvillebuzz.com and www.gardenandhearth.com

Character: Week 2 – Discipline

Again, pardon the delay — round 3 of this virus is making it’s round…

Considering my last post, this week’s study is very timely. I think this is something we all could use brushing up on, at least in SOME area of our life: quiet time, exercise, money, using our time…

Let’s get started!

*Remember* Leave a comment with a link to your post on your blog with your thoughts on this topic. Write your post on what God is showing you about discipline (or lack of) in your life. Or, just leave your thoughts in the comments.

Discipline
Galations 5:16-26

“In various polls, I have asked people what character quality they would most like to have more of; usually one of the top responses is discipline.
…what is discipline? Delayed gratification. The key to practising discipline can be described in three words – advance decision-making…
When the world clamours for instant gratification and easy solutions, it is hard to choose the way of discipline instead. But you will never build a walk with God, a marriage, a body or a bank account by obeying the world’s law of instant gratification. Payday will come in its own time, if you endure the pain and put your nose to the grindstone now.

When has advance decison-making paid off for you?

What are some areas of life where you prefer quick rather than delayed gratification?

finances (spending)
health (including eating)
correcting other people
prayer
worship
career
friendships
other

How might life change for the better if you develop discipline in those areas?

Read Galations 5:16-26

  1. Which of the qualities liste in vs. 19-21 demonstrate instant gratification?
  2. Why do the qualities in vs. 22-23 require a commitment to delayed gratification?
  3. From your own experience, when has “living by the Spirit” called for delaying gratification? Think of specific incidents.
  4. What makes a disciplined life worthwhile?
  5. As you look at the two contrasting lists in this scripture, in what area do you feel the most need for discipline?
  6. Vs. 25 says we live by God’s Spirit. In what sense does living by the Spirit depend on our cooperation through self-discipline?
  7. In what sense does our self-discipline ultimately depend on the Holy Spirit’s work within us?

Think of an area in which you feel the most need for discipline. What would it mean for you to say, ‘I’ll do what it takes’ in that area?

Make some advance decisions through which you will begin to exercise discipline in a specific area of your life.

Ask God to make you a person of discipline.”