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April 2018

In Blog on
April 25, 2018

January 27th, 2015: A dream deferred

January 27th, 2015

This was the morning I woke up and wrote these words in my journal.

“Last night Steven and I got on the same page and we agreed we feel ready to start our family. I know we have only been married a little over a year and we thought we would hold off a few years having kids but it just feels right! We long to be parents so what is the point in waiting any longer? I am so excited for this journey and can’t wait to be a mom.”

Oh how I wish I could go back to that version of myself on that morning. Oh how I wish I could sit down with her and tell her it was going to be a long, hard, painful, unexpected, grief filled journey. How I wish I could take away the naivety that it would happen so easily and so quickly and that I would have a baby in my arms in my timing. It makes me so sad to think of that Adrienne: excited, hopeful, expectant that my body would “work the way it should” and get pregnant and bring my husband and myself a healthy biological child. That my body would give us our dream come true of being parents and getting all of the beautiful moments every parent dreams of. It aches me to mentally go back to the places I drudged through. The emotions, the pain, the longing, and what never was. So much hope, so much anticipation, only to be grief stricken every time. It is so painful to put myself back in the shoes of wondering if I would ever be a mom. My greatest fear was that I wouldn’t get that gift.

Friends, if you are someone who got to start your family easily, that is such a precious gift that many do not receive. Do not take it for granted. There is an unspoken population that suffers through infertility. People who are living in the pain of not getting the experience that many people believe to be a right, to be parents, to experience the miracle of a kicking baby inside their body, to give birth, to cut up cute little sandwiches, to wipe up sticky little faces, to get slobbery kisses, to cheer on and point at their kid on the field saying “that’s my baby!”, to help with homework, to go on family trips, to experience the magic of childhood all over again, to watch them walk across the high school graduation stage, to walk them down the aisle as they marry their soulmate, to get a lifetime of memories that only being a parent could give you. Some people long for this and never get it. Or maybe they do get it but it takes YEARS of expensive, heart wrenching, body aching, treatments. If you’ve never spent time crying and wondering if you would ever get to experience these things, lucky you. I hope you don’t ever have to deal with it. Thankfully more and more people going through infertility are coming out and sharing their stories. The pain is slightly more manageable when you realize you aren’t alone.

Infertility is a pain that I have warred with and by the grace of God alone found healing over it. This is not everyone’s story who deals with infertility. My healing came through a dream deferred. By processing every emotion of my infertility, by letting go of my dream of having a biological child and saying to the Lord, I’m done, this is too hard, you do what you want with this and help me to trust you. My dream was deferred but given to me through the beautiful gift of adoption. For some, adoption is not the answer and please don’t push that idea on someone suffering through infertility. That is my story though and while I would never wish infertility on someone, my journey through it has shaped me as a person. It has shaped the way I love people through hard situations, it has shaped my faith, it has shaped who I am as a wife, as a woman, as a friend, and now as a mom.

If you are going through infertility, my heart is with you. It is often a pain that can’t be spoken. Every single tear is reasonable. Don’t you ever feel silly for how hard this is on you because it is freaking hard. I hope the Lord answers your prayers. He answered mine. I didn’t expect him to answer my prayers in the way he did, but oh am I grateful. May infertility bring unexpected miracles into your life in the best way possible. May it shape you into a better person- someone who is more caring, more grateful, more faithful- someone who has a story to share that could change someone’s life.

                                                                                                                                                           

In Blog, Cancer, Infertility, Mama on
April 18, 2018

Surgery, recovery, and anticipating life changing news (that time i had cancer pt. 2)

 

Hey friends. There’s been an awkwardly long gap in between posting about my health journey and cancer diagnosis. Life has been crazy and we’ve had a major unexpected thing happen that we are trying to sort out. I know that is so dang vague and I’m sorry but until it’s sorted out I don’t want to share about it. I will say that we are all healthy, no one is in trouble, and we are striving to find joy amidst a confusing and stressful time. ANYWAY all that to say, I already feel so far removed from my cancer journey because we have this new crazy thing we are dealing with. But I definitely want to sit down and share the rest of my cancer story, so here goes part two.

I left you off last with this “It felt like YEARS waiting for 8 am to roll around so that I could call my doctor’s office to get an appointment ASAP.”

I called and they didn’t have an appointment open until a week later.  I asked if they could get me in sooner and she shared they couldn’t but if they had a cancellation she would call me. God is so good and not but 10 minutes later I got a call back that someone cancelled and I could be seen in two days! My appointment day rolled around and my doctor was great. She sat and listened to me and my explanation of my odd symptoms and then did a physical exam. She touched my abdomen and immediately made a shocked face and asked if I had a family history of cancer. Wow that’s not a great question to be asked so quickly. That definitely freaked me out but as the appointment went on and she affirmed me more and more that it was so unlikely it was cancer. She sent me off to get some ultrasounds and bloodwork done and ordered STAT results so that we could find out immediately what we were dealing with. An odd thing while I was getting one of the ultrasounds is when the tech said “did you know you have a retroflexed (backwards) uterus?” I replied I didn’t because going through infertility I had a pretty good knowledge of what my uterus was like (lol) and it was not retroflexed (turns out my tumor was so big that it flipped my uterus backwards. What.).  Anyway, the next morning came around and I was headed to a play date with some of my mama friends and our babies. I was just about to get out of the car when my doctor called. She shared that I had a 21×21 centimeter ovarian cyst with some concerning dark features. It did not surprise me. Something was obviously going on down there. I had what looked and felt like a pregnant belly but definitely no baby inside. We made another appointment to talk about surgery and talk options and then I nonchalantly strolled into the play date and shared the news with my friends. They were shocked that I was so chill about it but after going through all of the crazy reproductive health issues I had this seemed super unideal of course but not shocking.

The next day I went to my appointment. My husband came too because we knew it would be a big appointment with some big decisions to be made. My doctor shared all about the tiny so small eensy weensy chance that my giant ovarian tumor could be cancerous. We talked about all of my options. Seeing an oncologist, getting my surgery with an oncologist, my doctor doing the surgery but making a 12 inch incision in my abdomen so as not to rupture the tumor, or just trusting that the crazy one in a million odds of this thing being cancerous were so low that we would just do a simple laparoscopic surgery with my doctor and she would drain the cyst and cut it up inside me to get it out so that I wouldn’t have an intense multiple month recovery. She talked with the oncologist too about this and he agreed I was probably fine, had me do tumor marker blood work which all came back normal, and then left us with the decision. Ultimately we chose to do laparoscopic with her because we have a busy life and a toddler and we felt so comfortable with the incredibly low odds of cancer that it seemed overkill to do any of the other options.

Surgery day rolled around. The surgery went well and I awoke to the news that my ovarian was in fact a dermoid cyst which is so weird and rare. Y’all.  It had hair, teeth, and rib cartilage in it. What. WHAT.? Fascinating but ew! Oh and we wouldn’t find this out for another week or so but it also had cancer all up in it too. I stayed in the hospital for most of the day and was finally released to go home that night.

The first 3 days of recovery were HORRIBLE. I was in so much pain and so dang nauseous. I guess when you have a 21 cm part of your body removed you don’t feel too cool for a bit. Anyway, we had amazing family and friends doing everything for us. I was on strict bed rest the first 2 weeks so I couldn’t do much of anything for myself or my family. The love we received in form of babysitting, food, gifts, and house cleaning was so beyond anything I could have ever dreamed up. People were SO kind to me and my family and I am forever grateful for that in our great time of need.

 

Where I spent my time recovering.

One week and one day passed. It was a Friday morning and I was lying in bed reading when I got a phone call.  A phone call that changed everything and took away my naïve sense of being totally fine and healthy. It was my doctor’s nurse. She called and said “the doctor received the pathology results and she would like to see you today at 5 when her office closes.” Sucker punch to the gut. I simply said “ok” and said I would be there and hung up. I was so scared. I was too scared to ask or say or hear anything else. My doctor had assured me multiple times that I didn’t need to be seen or looked at until my two week  post op appointment but now all of a sudden she is in a rush to see me on a Friday at the end of a long workday for her with my pathology results. I knew exactly what it meant. I immediately felt like I was dying. Mentally I went to the worst case scenario thinking “my daughter has already lost one mom and now she is going to lose another.”

Friday March 2 was a curveball. One of those curveballs that will forever change your life. Friday March 2 was one of the most difficult, emotional, anxiety ridden days of my life. I was alone most of the day with the knowledge that I was probably not ok but I had no idea what exactly was wrong with me other than it was something big. It felt like a lifetime waiting from 9 am when I got the call to 5 pm when I got to my doctor’s office.

After many hours of the kind of anxiety that takes away your breath and stabs your stomach I told my husband that I just wanted to have an hour with our little family. It was a gorgeous perfect spring day outside so we went to a nearby park and this was also my first time outside in over a week. I chose to block the impending doom of some unexpected diagnosis that would radically change my life just for that hour. To exist, to be a mom, a wife, a person who loves soaking up the sun and gorgeous spring days. We took that hour together and it was perfect. We needed that before all of the crazy hit.

A treasured photo taken during this time at the park.

 

 

In Blog, Dairy Free, Dinner, Food, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian on
April 9, 2018

Chickpea balls with coconut curry peanut sauce and cauliflower rice

I have wanted to post this recipe for a while but life has been quite crazy lately. 2018 has been really rough for us so far. We’ve had some pretty big blows but funny enough I feel like so far this year I’ve experienced a lot of joy and through all of this hardship we’ve made some really great friends and got to spend a lot of sweet time with family. It’s not always easy but you can absolutely choose joy through hard times.

ANYWAY- back to the main event. The reason why you’re here- THE CHICKPEA BALLS, well really the coconut curry peanut sauce cause dadannnnng y’all it’s good. Like slurp spoonfuls straight out of the saucepan good. This recipe is one you could feed the naysayers who think you can’t eat a proper meal without meat or if you are a meat needy naysayer (jk I still love you and I eat meat too sometimes) who would like to possibly venture into the world of plant based cooking. This recipe is filling, delicious, and super flavorful.

If you have a food processor with a cheese/veggie shredder piece you are in luck because that will make your life 12302930x easier with this recipe. If not, well best of luck. You can still make it work one way or another!


Ingredients:

Chickpea balls

2 15 oz can chickpeas

2 carrots shredded or finely chopped

½ red onion shredded or finely chopped

¼ cup chopped cilantro

1 tsp soy sauce or coconut aminos

Juice of 1 lime

1 tsp minced garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

Coconut curry peanut sauce

1 tbs minced garlic

1 tbs minced ginger paste (or minced ginger with 1/4 tsp olive oil)

1 tbs red curry paste

1 15 oz can full fat coconut milk

¼ cup creamy peanut butter

Juice of 1 lime

1-2 tbs coconut sugar or maple syrup (depends on how sweet you want it)

Cauliflower rice– 1 head of fresh cauliflower or you can purchase pre riced cauliflower

Instructions:

Chickpea balls

1) In a food processor or blender mash up chickpeas. It doesn’t have to be a fine paste, there can be chickpea chunks, you just want to make sure they are ground up enough they will stick in balls.

2) Shred or dice your carrots, onion, and cilantro.

3) Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix together well.

4) Form 2 inch balls and put on a foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet.

5) Bake for 20 minutes or until outside is crispy on 350 F in the oven.

Coconut curry peanut sauce

1) Heat a small sauce pan on medium heat and add in garlic and ginger paste. Whisk and let the two mingle for 1-2 minutes then add in the red curry paste and whisk, let them all get well acquainted for 2 more minutes.

2) Add in the can of coconut milk, peanut butter, lime juice, and sweetener and mix well. Let it heat all together on medium low and whisk occasionally. Sauce will thicken slightly then remove from heat.

Cauliflower rice

1) Take your fresh head of cauliflower and cut it up so that it will fit in your food processor to rice it through the veggie shredder. If you do not have this then buy riced cauliflower.

2) Add 1 tbs of water or olive oil to a pan over medium heat and add cauliflower rice. Let it heat thoroughly for 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally.

Assemble your meal by laying down some cauliflower rice in a bowl, add chickpea balls on top, and then pour on the coconut curry peanut sauce. Enjoy!