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.

Merry Christmas

We’ve been trying to simplify this Christmas. Boil it down to what it’s really about. In searching for things to share with the kids, I’ve come across several interesting, well-done videos. I’ve passed these along on my Facebook page, but I know that not everyone enjoys going on there. So, I’m cross-posting here.

Enjoy. And Merry Christmas.

Retooning the Nativity (Igniter Media):

The Digital Story of the Nativity (Excentric Media):

A Social Network Christmas (Igniter Media):

Jesus and Santa (Igniter Media):

As you can tell, I like the work that IgniterMedia does. You’ve probably viewed some of their work at your church. If not, pass along their link to your pastor, or church media people.

2010 Digital Trends

3573703421_1b93e157af_bphoto credit

Wondering what the trends will be in the Digital world next year?

Here are some ideas from around the web:

1. Facebook Replaces Personal Email (via Marketing Charts)

2. More Flash, Not Less (via Marketing Charts)

3. Brands Must Become More Social Online (via DesignDamage)

4. Marketing Platform Extends to Mobile, Social, and Local in Real-Time (via DesignDamage)

5. Open source software starts making proper money, thanks to the cloud (via Branding Strategy)

Click on the above links to see the lists in their entirety.

What trends do you think will take place in 2010?

Managing your time online

clocksphoto credit

When I first started blogging over 4 years ago, it was easy for me to manage my time. I sat down to write a post, edited it, posted it and that was that. I didn’t know anyone else who had a blog, so I didn’t spend time reading other blogs. There wasn’t Twitter. I wasn’t using Facebook. I didn’t know what a feed-reader was. My online life was manageable.

But soon, I realized that there were blogs. MANY blogs. Written by other people. And they were interesting. My “Bookmarks” list in my browser became flooded with links. I quickly realized that method was futile. I spent my time going through that list each day only to realize that there was nothing new to read. Wasted time.

Fortunately, I discovered feed-readers and that solved that problem.

Enter Twitter. And Facebook. And the hundreds of blogs that I ended up subscribed to. And all of the other social media sites that I became involved with.

If I hadn’t realized a way to wrestle all of those things under control, I’d be sitting in a corner sucking my thumb and rocking, mumbling something incoherent. That’s not to say that I have time management down to a science. I don’t. But I have found some things that help me maintain my sanity, while also continuing to grow my sites and business online. You won’t necessarily find anything new on this list, but we all need to be reminded of these things on occasion.

1) PRIORITIZE: Your to-do list is probably a mile long. Face it – you aren’t going to get it all done today (and that’s ok.) But what you can do is look your list over and find the items that have a glaring need for your attention. Put those things at the top of your list. AND DO THEM. If you can’t complete the entire task, break it into little chunks and check those off as you complete them.

2) STOP PROCRASTINATING: If it needs to be done now, do it. Ignoring it will not make it disappear off of your list. It will only serve as a further distraction as you start to worry about the fact that it isn’t getting done. So just do it. You’ll feel better once it’s checked off of your list.

3) USE APPLICATIONS/TOOLS THAT ALLOW YOU TO BE MORE EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT: When I first started using Twitter, I hated it. I found myself on the Twitter website obsessively refreshing to see if someone had replied to any of my comments (“Why doesn’t anyone else see how witty I am on there?”). I wasted so much time doing that, I had to just quit Twitter for a couple of months. Then I learned about Twhrl and was hooked on Twitter once again. Only this time, I was able to use it in a way didn’t take me away from other work I was doing. If someone responded to me, I received a little notice on my screen. There are so many applications that make using Twitter so much easier and I’ve tried most of them. Tweetdeck has been my favorite, and each new version adds something that makes me enjoy it even more. Try them out and see which one helps you the most.

(*NOTE* I will be posting tutorials on some of the helpful features for each Twitter application/tool in an upcoming series)

4) KNOW WHEN TO CLOSE OTHER APPLICATIONS: The internet allows us to be in multiple places at one time. On so many levels, this is a fantastic thing. But when you are trying to get work done, it leads to overload. If you have too many programs open on your computer screaming for your attention it will become a major distraction. If you need to write a blog post, close down every program except for the ones you need in order to write your post. Don’t keep Tweetdeck or Skype or GoogleChat open, unless you have to have access to write your post. (And if that’s the case, consider doing that portion of your post separately) Those are tools meant to help you. Just as you can turn off your phone to keep from being interrupted, you can turn these other distractions off as well.

5) ALLOW YOURSELF TO BECOME PICKIER ABOUT WHERE YOU SPEND YOUR TIME ONLINE: When I first started reading other people’s blogs, I had the time to do it. Soon, my reader had become too full. At first I tried breaking them down into types of blogs (eg: design sites; blogging friends; cooking sites…) but my reader still caused me anxiety when I’d open it and find 500+ new posts waiting to be read. I was so afraid of missing something that I’d try to make it through that list (Oh yes I did…). But when I got to the end, I realized that I couldn’t recall most of it. That is because not all of it was relevant to me anymore. My needs had changed. I no longer needed every single design site (And really — did I ever??). So I whittled my list down to the select few that I consistently found myself referring to. I did that for each type of site I had in my reader. If it was not useful to me, I removed it.

6) ALWAYS HAVE SEVERAL POSTS STARTED IN YOUR DRAFTS: At any given time, I have at least 4 posts in my drafts folder that I can work on. This allows me to work on them as inspiration hits, but it also keeps me prepared for those times when something unexpected happens and I need to get a post up. If you are a blogger with a regular posting schedule, this can be a life-preserver in a pinch.

7) DEDICATE PARTS OF YOUR DAY TO VARIOUS TASKS: If you were at work in a corporate office, you would most likely have some sort of schedule that you’d follow through the day. It should be no different when you are sitting in front of your laptop at your kitchen table. Come up with a schedule/game plan for how you will spend your computer time. Twitter won’t die if you aren’t on there every 20 minutes. Facebook will carry on without you while you complete your current project. Set aside times of the day to spend on each of the sites you frequent. Consider what times of day are most active on those sites. (eg: Twitter is most active in the evening/night hours… but you may have people you call on who are most active in the morning) Feel free to allow for flexibility with it, but be aware of how much time you are spending on each site and how much time it is taking away from the other things you need to get done, and plan your time accordingly.

Time management doesn’t always come naturally to us. We want to do what we want to do. But sometimes, we have to do other things. With some focus dedicated to those things, you will soon find that your day feels more in control.

How do you manage your time? Share in comments.

Reasons You Should Attend “A Woman Inspired”

DON’T FORGET: Tomorrow is the start of "A WOMAN INSPIRED" online conference.

Reasons you should attend:

1) It’s all online – attend in your pjs and morning breath

2) It is totally affordable ($12.95 for the entire week! hel-lo!!!!)

3) You can listen at your leisure – all sessions will be available to listen to afterwards if you are out swimming with the kids at the time of the actual session

4) I’m speaking (on Social Media)

5) You will surely be blessed.