Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Faith Journey- Part One

My mother came from a Catholic family. I'm pretty sure her dad was Catholic only because of my grandmother.  His family was supposedly somehow scandalized in the old country (Bohemia) and left the church.  My grandmother was devoutly Catholic and outwardly spiritual.  Masses were constantly being said for us as well as novenas. 

My father came from a staunchly German Lutheran family.  I always had the feeling that Catholics were looked down upon although no one ever said anything about it.  On that side, no one said much of anything anyway ;)  My grandmother was a truly Christian woman.  She knew about suffering, self sacrifice and bore it well. 

When it came time for my parents to marry, they married in the Catholic Church and my father promised to raise any children in the Catholic faith.  So, for years, we went to Mass with my mom while my dad attended the Lutheran service.  Once in a while, we went to church together. 

When I was in 5th grade, my parents decided to enroll us in the local Catholic school.   They thought our local public school was too unconventional with its open classrooms and team teaching. As an aside, I LOVED that school and learned an enormous amount there.  Unfortunately, the Catholic school was mind numbingly boring.  Really.  Recently, I came across the St. Francis prayer.  I remember we said it everyday at the Catholic school. I look back now and realize that the prayer was what helped me through those long years without running screaming from the building.   The thing that was great about the school were the kids.  I had a really nice class and most of the kids were kind and loving.  Sadly, my poor sister had a much different group. 

When I was a sophomore in high school, my mom's best friend from high school decided to leave the Catholic Church and become Assembly of God.  This decision spurred my mom to start shopping for a new church.  For a variety of reasons,  she wasn't happy with the church anymore.  My sister and I went with her to different churches in the area.  I tried some of the youth groups but, never felt comfortable.  I never felt comfortable in the churches either.  The music and enthusiasm were great.  But, they wanted to you come down to the front and declare Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  I could never do that and somehow because I couldn't do that, I felt less of a Christian. 

One day, my mom announced that she wanted to become Lutheran. Lutheran!!!  I couln't believe it.  It was such a departure from the churches we were visiting and there was really no discussion about it.  So, my mom, sister and I started classes to become Lutheran.  By now, I was a senior in high school so I was older and had just about had it.  I came home from the first class and told my parents that I didn't want to become Lutheran.  Then, the night before the confirmation, my father literally, got on his knees and begged me to become Lutheran.  He wanted me to have a place to come if I needed a church.  I couldn't say no to him. So, I was confirmed Lutheran.  I have to say it was one of the most suffocating moments of my life. 

After that, I did not set foot in a church for ten years.  I literally could not stomach anything religious.  I still believed in God and Jesus but, I was so lost. Even now, writing about it,  I'm having the same physical reaction I used to have when I thought about church- pit in my stomach, racing heart, anger welling up.  I absolutely loved being Catholic and it was ripped away from me. 

Looking back, I realize that I could have driven myself to Mass.  I could have talked to a priest.  But, that's not what I did.  Unfortunately, I believed the lies I was told about the church.  Although I don't agree with what my parents did, I completely understand and forgive them.  They were doing what they thought was best.  They never, never would have done anything other than give us their best.  I also believe poor catechesis and a lukewarm parish were responsible.  My family, cooperating with the Holy Spirit, gave me the greatest gift they could- they gave me faith.  And that faith kept me close to Jesus who turned this big mess into something beautiful. 

God is a seeker and he is the God of Surprises.  He found me, brought me home and gave me the surprise of my life......

Friday, June 24, 2011

Adrenal and Allergy Testing Questions

The Napro doc appointment was great- as great as a doctor's appointment can be.  Between seeing the doctor and the Creighton practitioner, I was in there for 2 hours.  They both collaborated on what tests to perform.  I could hear them talking in the hallway outside the room.  What a gift to have a collaborative atmosphere!  So, these are the blood tests they ordered:

1) Serum progesterone and estradiol P+3, +5, +7, +9, +11: I thought my luteal phase was fine but I have many days of spotting before my period actually starts so I wasn't charting it correctly and it had to go in the post-peak phase not pre-peak.

2) Thyroid: Free T3 and T4, Total T3 and T4, rT3 and TSH

3)  AM Serum Cortisol

4)  Vitamin D3

Dr. LaSalle who I saw a few weeks ago (she's not Napro, she's an MD with a background in endocrinology and integrative medicine) ordered some similar tests so now I'm trying to figure out what next steps to take.  I'm definitely doing all of the above tests.  I'm not so sure about Dr. LaSalle's.  My main question is about the cortisol.  Dr. LaSalle ordered a saliva test taken 4 times a day.  I've done that one twice before.  My main questions are:

Which is a better test: saliva or blood?  If you  think saliva, what lab would you recommend?

The two in the past were done by Diagnostecs and this one is ZRT.  I'm asking because I know a doctor in town that does the adrenals with Diagnostecs and I could just go to her instead of driving 4 hours to Dr. LaSalle. 

Dr. LaSalle also ordered allergy testing for basically everything.  I'm pretty sure it's RAST testing.  NaPro doc said she wouldn't order it- I had to go to primary doc for that.  Again, I'm thinking my in town doctor can do the RAST test.  My question about allergy testing is:

Are there different ways to test for allergies from a blood test?  If so, which test would you recommend. 

It seems from Dr. Google that there is only one type of blood test for allergies which is RAST.  But, you know Dr. Google....you guys know lots more!!!!!

There is a part of me that feels so selfish for going through all of this.  I don't have any huge medical problems.  Fatigue and infertility are my main problems.  There was this little voice inside my head yesterday telling me that it's not that bad.  That I shouldn't be there talking about myself for 2 hours, spending tons of my family's money and resources on this 'invisible' problem.  I keep giving it to God every time I think of it.   He keeps reminding me that this is not selfish, it's another way I can give to my family by being healthy and hopefully adding a new life along the way.

Thanks to you all for being there, for reminding me I'm not alone and for sharing your journey.  God Bless!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Financial Toll

We live a very comfortable life.  Very middle class.   According to median home prices and salaries were a bit lower middle class.  Our house is small in American terms.  1000 square feet with a basement, 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, 1 car garage.  We have plenty of space for the three of us. Sure, I wish we had a second bath and a dining room for entertaining.  But, I'm quite sure that if I had those two extra rooms, I'd wish for a family room and a two car garage.  And if I had that, I'd wish for an island in the kitchen and a den.  So, I thank the good Lord above for providing me with the home we have. 

We probably could afford a bigger house, but with the economy the way it is we've decided to stay put.  My hubby has changed his career plans (that is another post in itself) to stay at a lower paying job that is extremely flexible, close to home and low stress.  With having a smaller house and my job with steady raises, we've been doing great financially over the past few years.  We could go out and grocery shop without a strict budget.  I started buying organic.  We could go to a Sox game whenever.  Pool passes for the summer? No problem.  Up the contribution to the Roth? Great. 

Unfortunately, this has not been the case for the past three or four months.  Gas prices and food prices went up. We had about $2000 worth of unforseen car and house repairs.  I started Weight Watchers, Creighton charting and seeing a counselor.  In April I had cellulitis in my foot which added up to be about $400 in out of pocket costs.  Now, I'm embarking on tons of medical testing.  We have excellent insurance so that helps.  But, there are unseen costs like gas to drive to appointments and paying a babysitter.   The stress in the house is higher because we are juggling more, planning more, saying no to more.  We can pay all the bills and we are not in any danger of financial ruin.  Yes, my health and fertility are extremely important.  But, they have to be taken in context of what is best for the family as a whole.  Sure, we can skip Sox games and Roth contributions.  Even if we batten down the hatches, there is a limit of what we can afford as far as treatment.  I think there will be hard decisions ahead.  Very hard.

Do you guys ever think of women who couldn't afford this?  Or, just don't have time to learn Creighton?  It is a huge time investment.  Don't get me wrong, I think it's totally worth it.  But, let's face it, resources are limited.  I count myself to be blessed even to be in the game- I know you do too. 

St. Joseph, Pray for us. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

7 quick takes- engagement edition

Thought I'd kill two birds with one stone and do our engagement story as a 7 Quick Takes.  Thanks Betty and Jen!

The ring

Guitar Man and I picked out the ring together.  We wanted an antique ring, but were scared to buy an actual antique.  So we did what any well bred suburbanite does when in need of a material item- we went to the mall.  I should also mention that our budget was $400 and I have a really large hand.  I needed something substantial and a tiny diamond would look ridiculous on me (I love how tiny diamonds look on little dainty hands).  We settled on a lovely rectangular shaped amethyst surrounded with little tiny diamonds.  I still love the ring 14 years later and get compliments on it regularly.

The Question
When we first met, he invited me to his dorm room to watch The Lady from Shanghai by Orson Welles. We ended up talking all night and never watched the movie.  Then, of course, he HAD to invite me over again to watch the movie.  Rinse and repeat.  We did this long enough to form the foundation of a solid friendship.  Even after we dated for 5 years, we never ended up watching the movie. 
A few months after we bought the ring, Guitar Man asked me to watch The Lady from Shanghai.  I was having none of it because our whole relationship was predicated on the fact that we never watched that movie. Then, one day, he cajoled me into watching a few scenes.  During one of the scenes, the movie cut to him in a suit and tie making a speech about how much he loved me.  Then, the real Guitar Man got down on his knee and popped the question.

The Wake
When Guitar Man asked me to watch the scenes from The Lady from Shanghai, we were on our way to a wake.  It was on the north side of Chicago for father of a family friend.  We went to the wake with the ring on and of course my parents noticed and we tried not to make a scene.  We made a scene anyway. 

The Dinner
My parents insisted on taking us to dinner to celebrate.  We decided on a cute family restaurant in Little Italy.

The Flat Tire
After dinner, we went out to parking lot only to discover that my parents had a flat tire.  Guitar Man and I offered them a ride to their home on the south side in my entry level, no-power steering, manual transmission Saturn.

The Other Flat Tires
As were driving down California Ave. past Cook County Jail, Guitar Man hit the mother of all pot holes.  We heard a pop, the sick sound of air being sucked out of a tire and then the inevitable thump, thump, thump.  We turned on the hazards, looked at the damage only to realize that there wasn't one, but two flat tires.  After we unloaded the contents of my trunk on the street (which included a vacuum cleaner- what was i thinking ????) , we changed the worst of the two tires.  My dad made the wise suggestion to limp home on one flat tire.  There was no way we could get a tow truck quickly in the neighborhood we were in and we were in a precarious situation on the side of a busy inner city street.  While we were changing the tire, a streets and sanitation worker stopped behind us with his truck to shield us from passing traffic.  I swear he was an angel. It was our own real life Adventures in Babysitting. 

The ride
My dad drove the rest of the way home.  He didn't take the expressway so we drove through my mom's old neighborhood and she told me stories as we sat in the backseat.   Dad and Guitar Man chatted up front.  As the open windows filtered in the city lights and sounds, I listened to the most beloved people in my life and thanked God for the crazy-wonderful life he gave me. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Weight Watchers Redux

Can I just say thank you to everyone who welcomed me.  You are so thoughtful and generous.  Part of me is surprised but, then when I think about what kind of women you are, I'm not surprised at all.  God Bless each and every one of you. 

Here's the skinny on WW:

Even though I usually eat fairly healthy, I have a few bad habits.

1.  I eat when I'm tired and I'm rarely not tired.
2.  I'm an emotional over eater.  I eat when I'm sad, happy, frustrated, scared, confused, etc.

I lost 25 pounds about 5 years ago with WW and slowly put it back on plus some.  When I lost the weight, I thought I would feel better and I didn't.  I was still horribly tired and I was hungry all the time.  Then, I thought when I went gluten, dairy, sugar free, four years ago, the weight would come off easily.  Well, that didn't happen.  In fact, I packed it on.  You can still eat healthy and be overweight!

A friend of mine (who is also struggling to have a baby) and I decided to do WW together.  I'll tell you, I absolutely love it.  They changed their system so fruits and vegetables are 0 points.  This encourages you to eat them and I take complete advantage!  I have never eaten more fruits and vegetables in my entire life.

I'm hoping by losing the extra poundage that I'll have a little more energy.  Also, it has done a number on my psyche.  Feeling out of control of our own behavior is never how God wants us to feel and it's exactly how I've felt for the past few years.  I've really lived in denial for many years about this situation.  A faithful Catholic counselor has helped me realize that at the root of so many of my negative behaviors is physical fatigue.  I've always thought that maybe I suffered from depression but, she doesn't think that's it. 

Now, I'm making better choices when 'tired eating.'  And, I'm noticing that I'm not eating for emotional reasons as much because many of my negative emotions stem from being tired.  I'm frustrated that I'm too tired to do the dishes.  I'm frustrated that I'm too tired to do my schoolwork.  I'm frustrated that I have to drag myself through this beautiful life God gave me.  But, slowly, I'm realizing that God has given me this physical cross and that I have to let Him help me carry it.  By giving it to Him, he's helping me seek out treatment.  And He's helping me realize that if it doesn't go away, I can live my life with it.  I will be limited in what I can do, but He will help me decide how to use the energy I do have instead of relying a disordered attachment to get me through the pain. 

This post got much, much longer than expected.  All I basically wanted to say is:

Weight Watchers Week 12
Pounds lost this week:  .8
Total pounds lost: 8.4

On a related note, I made an appointment with a NaPro doc 2 hours away.  They sent me a thyroid checklist and man, I had lots of symptoms checked.   Hopefully, along with all the testing Dr. LaSalle is doing, we'll get some ideas about what's going on :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Yes, I've Already Changed the Name of My Blog

After a day with my blog, I realized that Dwell in Hope was too much like the name one of my favorites- "Alive in Hope."  This is the perfect example of why I wanted to name my blog Dwell in Hope.  I'm usually very hopeful that things will work out, then when I move forward, I decide 'oops', maybe not and have to backtrack.  Been that way all my life.  I'm not so good at predicting.  Got the hope thing down though. 

There are a few other Made for Another World blogs, but I decided to stick with it.  Thinking about heaven and eternity is a little trick of mine when I start fearing that I'll only have one child.  Panic starts setting in when I think of the years ahead, the holidays when I'm 60 or 70, and the what-ifs of the past.  If I can catch myself, I remember that my aim is heaven and the only way to get there is to do God's will right now. Usually this brings immediate peace to my heart.  It clarifies my muddled up thinking and brings me to the present moment.  So basically, thinking about eternity brings me into the present.  Gotta love the paradoxes of our faith.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Here I am again with CD1.  I promised myself that I would throw my hat in the blog ring on the next CD1.  I've lurked, rarely commented, and frequently prayed with the Catholic IF community for the past 2 years when I found AYWH from Conversion Diary (I think?).  With the many recent pregnancy announcements (PTL!!) I've felt called to join in as one who is waiting.  I am experiencing secondary infertililty so there is part of me that feels as though I'm not totally IF.  But, this isn't a competition and I'd like to have more a voice on this forum so I can comment openly with more frequency.  I've loved many of you for 2 years.  Hello all!