Wednesday, March 16, 2016

emdometriosis part II

Do you ever find yourself googling a medical condition, becoming convinced that you have said medical condition, making an appointment with a medical professional, and then being told that you are perfectly fine and leave the office feeling silly?  As someone who is VERY conscious of every ache and pain and completely aware of my family history of just about every singe deadly disease in the books and strives to live as healthy a life as possible, this scenario has become very repetitive.  I exercise regularly, I eat clean, I take my vitamins, I wear sunscreen, I watch my intake of salt, sugar, and caffeine, I don't smoke, I don't drink alcohol, and I drink tons and tons of water.  I've been to the doctor, convinced that I broke a toe, only to find that I am perfectly fine.  I've been to the doctor, convinced that I had a torn rotator cuff, only to find out that I just have a super flexible shoulder joint.  I've been to the doctor, convinced that I had breast cancer, only to find out that I have super lumpy boobs.  Notice a trend here?

This is why I was so shocked to find out, last week, that my gut feeling was right.  On Wednesday I was diagnosed as having a Uterine Anomaly.  Were it not for my gut feeling that I had Endometriosis, this anomaly would not have been discovered for years.  And were it not for multiple people sharing their stories about endometriosis, I would not have known the condition existed.

So, because I believe in being honest, and because I believe my story has the potential to help other women, today I am sharing part two of my Endometriosis Story.  (read part one here)

 Jim Schaeffing Vintage Pulp Art Illustration | Female-Centric Pulp Art | Sugary.Sweet | #Pulp #Art #Illustration:

Two months ago I got a call from my primary care doctor saying that the results from my pelvic ultrasound came back negative.  I did not have endometriosis, just incredible horrible periods.  Knowing this information, I made a follow up appointment with my gynecologist to discuss pain management options - birth control?  Lifestyle changes?  Chloroform and a rag to knock myself out for a couple days each month?  (totally joking.....sort of)

On Wednesday, I entered the office in a good mood, cracking jokes to the receptionist and my mom (who I was so lucky to have with me).  An hour later, I exited in tears after learning that I am one of 5% of women in the United States to have a uterine anomaly called a "uterine septum," a congenital malformation of the uterus caused during the early stages of fetal development.  Beginning as two halves, the uterus slowly comes together,the two sides of the uterus connecting to one another.  But in some fetuses, instead of developing into the normal uterine shape, the uterus remains slightly separated with a vertical septum dividing the two halves.  My gynecologist explained it as having a heart-shaped uterus.  Had this not been discovered now, I would have suffered from multiple miscarriages in the future - since currently, my uterus is not big enough or in the correct shape to carry a baby to full term.  Due to the abnormal shape of my uterus, my monthly blood flow is being redirected out of the falopian tubes, which both explains my incredibly painful periods, and puts me at an increased risk of having endometriosis.  As you can imagine, my head is spinning with information, unfamiliar emotions, and a million questions that won't be answered for another month.  Do I have endometriosis?  If so, how bad is it?  How extreme is my uterine septum?  Will I be able to get pregnant?  Will I ever be able to carry a baby, healthily, to full term?  My first pregnancy would have most definitely ended in a miscarriage.  To know that, and now to know that thanks to one person mentioning her experiences with endometriosis, I won't have to experience heartbreaking miscarriages in the future is an unbelievably bizarre feeling.  To mourn something that would have happened.  To know what my future would have held for me.  And now, to know that that WON'T happen, and that my future holds a different outcome, makes me incredibly grateful for modern medicine and for good friends who share their stories.

Now, I have a plan.  Tomorrow I have an MRI, next month I have a follow up appointment, and then a surgery - and then, hopefully, a future clear of the miscarriages and fertility issues that so many women suffer from.

Three months ago I had never heard of Endometriosis or a uterine anomaly.  Life happens quickly.

So, if you are suffering from an endless list of symptoms - related to the uterus, chest, ankle, or forehead - and keep thinking you'll get it checked out a month from now, or a year from now, or when the timing is right, let my story motivate you to GET IT CHECKED OUT NOW.  Nine times out of 10, it will be nothing.  But that 10th time always comes.  And it's better to get to it before it gets to you.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

the basics of style

I often find myself in situations where people ask me why I spend so much of my life surrounded by the past.  Why do I dress in vintage clothing?  Why do I set my hair nearly every night?  Why do I spend countless hours researching novelty prints, various silhouettes, and hat styles?  Why do I only buy vintage clothing?


Now I know it sounds simple, but I feel my most comfortable in vintage styles, I love my hair when it spent the night in pin curls, and vintage clothing is simply better quality than most of the clothing produced today.  There's just something special about taking the time to curate a wardrobe and knowing that behind every piece is a long history and a long list of women who have loved it as much as you do now.

colours: Vintage Knitting Crochet Needlework Patterns Dazespast:

It's all about attention to detail.  It's about the silhouette.  It's about the colors, and the textures, and the accessories.  And it's also about the journey - you can't walk into any old store and find a new addition to your wardrobe.  It takes time, and patience, and trial and error to find your style.

 1940's couple: August Vogue 1949 Eve is wearing a natural gray Persian lamb jacket and white lambskin gloves. Photo by Frances McLaughlin-Gill.:

And it also takes a new attitude.  In a world where casual is king, it takes gumption to be the most dressed up person in the room.  Expect stares.  Expect comments.  And expect the all-to-common "wow, you're dressed up" remark.  But more than that, you have to be confident in your own ability to wear the clothes, instead of letting the clothes wear you.  You have to be comfortable in your own skin.

 Elegant ladies (1961): A tribute to Kodachrome Film - The Photography Blog:

I always think of my grandparents - both exceptionally well-dressed - who always gave me pieces of advice, whether or not they knew they were doing it.  When she was grocery shopping, entertaining grandchildren, or cooking for Thanksgiving, even when she was in the hospital, my grandmother always wore lipstick.  The same shade, the same brand, for my entire childhood.  She kept a small box in the bathroom with lipstick, powder, and a small bottle of perfume.  She kept her nail polish in the fridge because she swore it lengthened its life.  Her hair was always done, even when she could no longer do it herself.  She didn't do it to impress anyone, she didn't do it to please society - she did it for herself. 

My grandfather was always meticulously dressed.  He was a man who owned approximately 14,000 blue button down shirts because they were his favorite.  A man whose closet was better stocked and more organized than a Prada warehouse.  And a man who could rock a bathrobe and slippers just as much as he could rock a tweed suit.  He taught me that one doesn't always need to be daring in one's appearance.  Sometimes the basics are simply the best.

Now, I don't keep my nail polish in the fridge, and I have a really hard time sticking to the basics, and therefor my grandparents are probably both wagging a finger at me right now, but these lessons can be adapted to fit your own lifestyle.  Welcome to my three rules of style.  These are by no means strict, and are open to interpretation, but when I'm having trouble coming up with a new outfit or find myself feeling gross no matter what I'm wearing, here are the rules I fall back on:

1.  Don't overestimate simplicity.  A fitted black skirt, a white blouse, and black ballet flats. Black and white stripes.  Black cigarette pants.  You don't always need to be loud to be stylish.

2.  Find your length.  Also known as, Mini Skirts Aren't for Everyone.  As someone who owns five miniskirts, I clearly have both a problem abiding by rules, and getting rid of clothing, but I also know that I look best in mid-length skirts that hit three inches below the knee.  This knowledge comes from years of wearing super short skirts in ballet class that barely grazed the derriere (over tights and a leotard, and point shoes), and another number of years wearing maxi skirts in the summertime so I wouldn't have to shave my legs. One was too short, one was too long, and one was just right.

3. Dress by the silhouette.  When you begin to think what you want to wear, instead of thinking about colors, patterns, and particular styles, think about your ideal silhouette.  What shape do you want to wear?  If someone took a high contrast photograph of you, so that everything was split into light and dark, what would your silhouette look like?  Once you know what shape you want to achieve, then you can work from there.

 "Ok Mabel, Ethel....I got the pistol in my guys go in first then I'll follow with the whole "This Is a stick up" routine. The bank won't know what hit 'em." Stated Francene.:

And the most important rule?  Life is too short to wear boring clothes, and too long to hate what you wear.  So build up from the basics, and never be afraid to be the most dressed up person in the room.