Saturday, February 13, 2016


I wanted to share my experience with the birth control IUD Mirena because finding other people's stories were the only reason I didn't feel so awful and crazy.

I had Mirena inserted in mid December, 8 weeks after giving birth to my son and had no problems with the appointment. I experienced some cramping and bled for a little over a month (which I was alarmed about because I wasn't told that it was normal to experience a month of heavy bleeding) but other than that, nothing abnormal.

My first indication that something was off was that I had been working out, first mildly with yoga and then strenuously with high impact cardio for, at the time of my concern developing, 7 weeks and eating a very strict diet with a calorie intake that never exceeded 1500. I had not lost one pound. I could feel I was getting stronger but my weight didn't move at all. My measurements weren't changing either and then I found I was  actually gaining. Now I know, this is everyone's favorite argument, "muscle weighs more than fat, you're gaining muscle". Yes. I know, But what I was expereincing just made no sense. So I kept working and weighing and waiting and the scale never changed.

In the beginning of January my scalp became so intensely itchy. I smeared coconut oil on it every night and tried to shower as sparingly as possible hoping the natural oils my scalp produces would balance out or something - I have no idea I'm not a hair doctor. For a year before I was able to wash my hair once every three days and then with this I suddenly found myself needing to shower everyday because of THE DANDRUFF. Huge flakes, guys. I could provide the snow for a stage production of A Christmas Carol. It was terribly embarrassing. I asked my friend, who could be considered a "hair doctor", as I officially stated earlier and she suggested Aveda's scalp benefits shampoo which I bought the next day.

(Sidenote guys: it took me a LONG time to convert over to the fancy shampoo and conditioner crew but it is so absolutely worth it. I don't have to use as much and my whole family uses it. I know the price tag is stroke inducing but our family used an $80 bottle of condition her A YEAR. And my hair feels better than it ever has. *cue shiny hair toss over the shoulder, laughing to the heavens* )

So, I'm overweight, trapped in overweight mode, itching my head like I have fleas, danderry (which is a word now) and also very, very depressed. There were life situations happening at the time but I could never quite pinpoint why exactly I was so down. It got bad enough I went in to see a doctor about it.
Those life situations also led me to think that they were causing me stress headaches as well. These headaches would come on suddenly and were sharp. I experienced them probably every other day.

I chalked every symptom up to another issue, which it could have been. But as I was researching how to cure my dandruff problem, I found a likely culprit to be a hormone imbalance. Wait a sec. Hormones. Ok. So I Google birth control and dandruff. Lots of hits. I Google Dandruff and Mirena. Lots of people experiencing the exact same thing I was. Itchy scalp and some had the dandruff too. The weight gain or inability to lose any weight. HEADACHES.

I had been keeping tabs on the weight gain and Mirena debate. I say debate because every health care professional and medical website says that birth control, and Mirena specifically, does not cause weight gain. However, hundreds of women, including myself, are experiencing it. Women were gaining 20lbs since Mirena and their doctors were dismissing it. Every woman I saw that expereinced weight gain and had it removed said they did begin experiencing weight loss after, some rapid and some slow going.

I had my Mirena removed a little over a week ago and my dandruff is gone. My scalp is only a little itchy but pretty normal for it being the middle of winter. My depression has eased quite a bit (to be clear, I didn't know depression was a side effect until after I had it removed. It was yet another "aha" moment.) No headaches anymore. And I've lost one pound. Whoopee. I'll take one pound over the ZERO pounds I've lost in 12 weeks of diet and exercise. (That's another blog, though.)

So I wanted to write this to be another voice in the sea of voices saying I know my body and I am right. You know your body, you know when something is off despite others telling you you are wrong. My nurse and doctor both appeased my reasoning for removing the Mirena after 6 weeks of it but were careful not to tell me I was right. I don't mean that in a rude way, I love my doctor, but I also know what she's learned is not matching up with what's happening to me and that's ok but I know I am right. 

I want to be very clear that I am well aware that Mirena works great for some women. Two women close to me use it and love it. I am totally not against Mirena. It just doesn't work everyone and that's totally okay. It just really, really sucks to be one of those women and to have people more educated than you telling you you are wrong and continue suffering.

Freakin uteruses, man. They're so powerful. Mine is definitely winning in the war of control and totally giving me the finger.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Book 2016, Chapter 1

In July of 2010, we visited a church in Lawrence, KS that sparked excitement and hope that was electric. We moved our family to Lawrence to be a part of it. 

In August of 2012, I wrote about what this church, EastLake, had done for us in the two years we had spent in the life changing love and community it was composed of.

Now in January of 2016, I write a goodbye to it.

We're in the middle of something big and heavy.

EastLake itself has been something bigger than I could have ever imagined. I've always been on a never ending search for God and sense and purpose. EastLake became an incredibly safe place for me to do that. And if God ever makes Himself known to Earth, if He ever decides to show Himself to the people He made, if He ever personally intervenes on behalf of those He loves, He did so with EastLake.

We came to EastLake ready for a new adventure and good Lord did we get one.
I had spent most of my life trying to make sense of Christianity and when we arrived at EastLake, ready to drive our roots into the ground,  I was also in the throes of some serious self righteous, holier than thou bullshit I thought I needed to be to be a good Christian. Talk after talk felt directly addressed to me - challenging me to forgive those who hurt me, apologize to those I hurt, soften my heart to vulnerability, break down the walls previous churches help me build, open my heart to the searching I still felt compelled to do and see, finally see, people's hearts through their stories and hurts.

Not only that, but a few months after relocating and beginning to plug in at Eastlake, I was devastated by personal turmoil that ravaged my heart, marriage and trust in anyone again. The community and people at EastLake were the ground when mine crumbled beneath me. They were there before I knew I needed them. They spoke love and change and demonstrated acceptance and importance the way I heard Jesus had. It was awe inspiring.

It IS awe inspiring.

EastLake will soon be closing its doors. Not because no one shows up, not because of some crazy scandal, not because it's broke, or broken. Because it's time. And boy does my heart ache over it. The grieving it invokes is unlike what I've experienced before. I'm aching that I have to explain to my kids what's going on, angry that it's ending, excited for another new chapter, hopeless that we'll ever find something like it again, thankful when I look back, fearful I'll lose my people.

I've been a somber shell or a crying mess or a strong and optimistic bulwark. Some of my closest friends, who are in leadership positions, already know and we see in each other's eyes this terribly confusing storm of emotions. The meeting where our lead pastor shared what was coming was met with an amazing response of hugs, tears and quiet hope. Quiet hope is definitely the front runner in my emotions lately. I worry that these last 5 in a half years will be those golden years you look back on. I worry what's in front of me is hard and dark and lonely. I worry I'll lose my people. These people watched me ugly cry and work through my darkness and make really dumbass jokes. They're my people.

On top of that, my husband then needed a job and every lead was crashing and burning. If being a parent to 3 kids, including a newborn, living in a single income family with that single income teetering on the brink of dissolution doesn't send you into a anxious, nauseated panic...then you must have more stability than I because I've been a hot, hot mess.

2016 will be an interesting year. If I weren't actually living it, I would be excited as hell. I love new chapters. I love adventures. I love change. But I am living it. And I'm consciously reminding myself to enjoy what I can in everything happening.
I will move on, with my people, to something wonderful. Maybe a new church, maybe just boozey nights with lots of laughing.

My husband and I decided this will be the time he starts his business. We both have known he would own his own business someday. He is the most entrepreneurial person I know. He has the heart, mind, creativity and discipline to do it beautifully. I just thought we'd be like, 40 when it happens. But as the chapter of this year unfolds, it seems increasingly obvious that now is the time. Venturing into this uncharted territory with 3 small children in tow is terrifying but sometimes embracing the exciting and terrifying leads you into purpose.

Having decided that, things are absolutely just as scary but there's a direction, whereas before I felt like I was dispatched into a lifeboat with no compass and praying our paddles work.

These next few months will be increasingly difficult to process. EastLake has given me much I will never forget and will forever, eternally be grateful for. It didn't exist as long as I wish, with all my heart, that it could have but it fulfilled so much in its time. I fully intend to take heart, grab  my paddle, follow my compass without falter and bring others into my lifeboat. (As much as an introvert can, really.)

EastLake gave me hope. I will go and do likewise.