Today’s quote is brought to you by my favorite employee at a bagel shop, Phil. Next Tuesday is his last day and I am SO sad! Not only does he make me smile and is a beacon of joy in my mornings, but he gives THE BEST hugs.
“When a hug is this big, you feel it for days.” ― Jessica Shook, Shrapnel
I’m a huge hugger. Always have been. Always will be. They just feel so good to give and receive. Better than a warm handshake or a smile.
Have an incredible weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go hug someone you love.
Aly was diagnosed when she was 15 years old. Now 21, she shares her Journey with us, and she has been through so much. She does, however, continue to fight and push ahead and raise awareness. She’s an incredible woman. And one hell of a Warrior.
Aly’s Journey: I have been a runner since I was four years old. It has always been my passion, but it was also where my pain began. In the spring of my junior year, I was running on the track as usual when I suddenly I fell to my hands and knees in severe pain. I vomited when I tried to get up. It was the beginning of a life-changing injury in which I would endure unbearable stomach pain that I still experience even though it has been 7 years since I was diagnosed.
Last Saturday, a few of us EndoSisters gathered from around Southern California and met up at a cabin on Palomar Mountain. It has been months in the making. And it was just an overnight getaway. And it was wonderful. Lovely. We laughed. We cried. We ate. We drank. We played cards. We bared our souls. We bonded more than we already had.
Such an incredible group of strong women, all courteous to one another, all thoughtful, all compassionate and truly family. And it hit me as I dropped off Heidi at her house and headed to my tattoo appointment:
I grew up with two older brothers. My sister passed away shortly after birth, so I’ve never had one. Rosie is the closest thing to a sister I’ve ever had…I used to mourn the fact that I didn’t have a sister. And I realized driving away…that I now have millions.
I love you gals. So much.
Thank you Brandy, Heidi, and Lisa for the photographs! And thank you Jessica for opening up your cabin. I cannot wait to do this again! You’re family, you’re my strength, and you’re my hope. And I know that we will always be there for one another. I love you all.
Hopefully you can find an event near you; just click on the title of the event and it will bring you to more information. I’ll add to this as I find new events! If YOU have an event you’d like me to add, please email me.
Many of you already know I have a large tattoo on my left shoulder, which represents my journey after I was diagnosed with Endometriosis in 2014. And many of you also know that each time I have a surgery because of Endometriosis, I add a blood droplet to that tattoo. And each time, my best friend and Seester (Rosie) comes to be with me during the tattoo session.
So, this year I not only wanted to add another blood drop but I felt a need to somehow honor my sterility since my fallopian tubes were removed, and with them any chance or choice of continuing our family line.
Knowing I’ll never give him a son or daughter, knowing we’ll never hold them in our arms, change diapers, watch them grow up, all the glorified things that my heart aches for. About a year ago, Jim and I shot a film project for a friend of ours. We were parents of a beautiful infant girl, Emily. And while we weren’t filming, he continued to hold her and just seeing him rock her in his arms, coo at her, smile when she made cute bubbly baby noises, smell her head – it filled me to the brim with warm feel-goods.
Although both my husband and I have wanted children at some point during our lives (or shall I say our prior-to-meeting-each-other lives), we no longer felt like we did at our age (I’m pushing 40, he’s pushing 50). So why couldn’t I stop sobbing? During my grieving process, I tried to better understand why I was so very upset. Lots of soul searching led me to a conclusion.
Yes, the chance to procreate and to hold our own child in our arms was now gone. We could adopt, but as I stated above, we truly did not want children at our age. But if one happened by mistake…we both would have been so happy. Wait…I’m digressing once more. I already covered that.
So, where was I? Yes, my sterility. The choice to remove my fallopian tubes was made prior to my laparoscopy. If it even remotely had any chance of ceasing the progression of Endometriosis, let’s do it (yeah, yeah, I know – retrograde menstruation is a sneered-upon theory, but it’s worth a shot). And even if the decision hadn’t already have been made, my fallopian tubes would have been removed during surgery anyway because of the state they were in. But…they are gone. My uterus is a now a sealed tomb that will still continue to shed and bleed and remind me each month that it, at least, is still there and functioning.
Wait…I digressed again. Obviously, I’m still dealing. Back to the tattoo…
I wanted something that represented not only my sterility, the end of our bloodline (well, I have brothers, a niece, and a nephew, but I mean the direct bloodline of myself and my husband), and my coming to terms with it, but truly accepting the fact that my illness has robbed me of something I did want so many moons ago…
And suddenly it came to me. I wanted a lit candle, burnt almost to the point of extinction. Smoldering. If you’ve followed my previous tattoo posts, you may remember that my artist’s name was Will Novotny. Sadly, he passed away last year…I’ve been his client since 2009 and no only had the pleasure of being his client, but of becoming his friend. And now my choice of tattoo had an even greater meaning: not only am I expressing my sterility and acceptance, but I am also lighting a candle in memory of Will…directly adjacent to the last tattoo he inked onto me.
I wrote my friend, Mia, who is a tattoo artist here in San Diego at the Jade Buddha Tattoo studio and explained what I had in mind.
Mia added the suggestion of the candle being held in the palm of a hand, wax dripping. Then she expanded on that thought: have it held in my hand. Our waning existence, mortality slipping between my fingers, and me grasping and accepting that very concept. It was brilliant.
Then the creative process took off! Not only did I love the journey, but it was so therapeutic talking about it. And a HUGE thank you to Rosie for being there to comfort me during the painful 4.5-hour session. And to Mia for her friendship, understanding, and talent! This piece means SO very much to me. It’s incredibly beautiful, seamlessly wound into my existing Endo tattoo, and it’s amazing! I want to cry even just typing about its meaning and yesterday’s wonderful experience. Oh, and if you can’t find it, the third blood drop is lingering at the bottom of one of the pieces of dripping wax.
Some photos! You can click on a thumbnail, and click once more on the image it opens and it will open a full-size version.
And here’s a few videos trying to better show the entirety of the piece! Neither the photos or videos do it justice!
(don’t mind the little peeling flecks all over the tattoo haha)
oh…and if you’ve made it all the way to the bottom…here’s my favorite photo taken during the session! God, this piece hurt so much. So worth it!
If you’re in San Diego, I highly recommend Mia at the Jade Buddha Tattoo!!!
On my drive to work today, I thought I had to fart. Um…nope. I sharted. What? I SHARTED! In my dress, driving 65 on the freeway…
I really should have known better. My stomach hasn’t been right since yesterday: multiple trips to the bathroom with the squirts, including this morning. But…I was SO sure!!!
What did I do? Well, first I scrambled for a small shop cloth in the back of the Jeep and shoved it where it needed to go…all without crashing into the car in front of me or weaving out of my lane. Then I immediately canceled my plans to pick up a bagel on my way to work. I just needed to get to the office and run to the bathroom and take care of things!
And as I drove, all I could do was laugh. Loud and alone, I couldn’t stop cackling. I was nearly in tears I laughed so much. And it took away the catastrophic trauma I had just put myself through. So, 15 minutes later I arrived and found that it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had imagined. (I’ll burn that shop cloth later)
Which inspires today’s quote:
“Humor can make a serious difference. In the workplace, at home, in all areas of life – looking for a reason to laugh is necessary. A sense of humor helps us to get through the dull times, cope with the difficult times, enjoy the good times and manage the scary times.” ― Steve Goodier
I hope that you had just a good a laugh as I did. And are able to find the humor in all things you face that aren’t so funny.