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The Decline of My Kishkes, or Retroverted Uteruses & Reproductive Health Scares Part I

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I have a tipped/tilted/retroverted uterus and it can be annoying, to put it mildly

WARNING: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN GRAPHIC AND/OR HILARIOUSLY DISGUSTING DESCRIPTIONS OF DOCTOR’S VISITS, BIOPSIES, RETROVERTED UTERINE ISSUES, AND ADENOMYOSIS/CYSTIC OVARY SYMPTOMS. IF YOU CAN’T BEAR TO READ STUFF LIKE THIS- SPOILER ALERT- GO AWAY NOW.

“Pet Peeve #545:

When ALL your specialists and primary care doctor feel your issues are gynecological, yet your male gyno thinks everyone is wrong and refuses to listen to you OR EVEN TEST YOU until you stick a proverbial foot way up his ass”

This blog started out primarily because of my freakish reproductive system (hint, Maisie).

It is only fitting that I update the trials and tribulations of my nearly 50 year old reproductive organs.

Let me preface this by saying, I am not in menopause and my body doesn’t seem to know it is a-coming. My menstrual cycle is consistently 28-30 days.

I also was born with a retroverted/tilted/ass backwards uterus. Such conditions can worsen over time from childbirth or other uterine issues.


According to Wikipedia, it is defined as:

A retroverted uterus (tilted uterus, tipped uterus) is a uterus that is tilted posteriorly. This is in contrast to the slightly “anteverted” uterus that most women have, which is tipped forward toward the bladder, with the anterior end slightly concave.”

“Tilted posteriorly” means tilted towards your ASS, ie, posterior. Mine is particularly tilted waaaay back, which makes basic bodily functions more difficult over time- more gross details to follow later.

Oddly, I started having some very strange symptoms that became progressively worse in the years after Maisie was born. I went to specialist after specialist to no avail. Gastro docs, urologists, nephrologists, rheumatologists, gynecologists, pain specialists who simply wanted to get me hooked on pain pills, which I refused- nobody could figure out what the hell was wrong with me.

I had lower back pains and kidney infections that did not start out as urinary tract infections- and I’ve never really had bladder infections prior to this, though I’ve had kidney stones before. They kept coming back, no antibiotic seemed to help. My doctor sent me to every specialist she could think of. My bowels stopped working regularly. I had to take massive stool softeners and even that didn’t always help. 

Everything, every test came back normal. I was starting to feel like I was losing my mind, but I KNEW something was wrong.

(for my rant on what I pay for my crazy expensive healthcare insurance, go here)

I KNOW my body and I am pretty much a health nut. I live a Ketogenic lifestyle. I rarely drink and never have been much of a drinker. I don’t ‘party’. I love to cook healthy meals. I work out a lot- I am a FitBit freak and try to get at least 10k-20k steps a day, mostly for the endorphins. The few prescriptions meds I must take, for high blood pressure (another genetic pain in the ass) and GERD, I do religiously. I don’t have depression.

I mean, I HAVE to take care of my health. I had a baby at 45.5 and I want to live to see her grow up. There can be NO room for error at this point. My child needs me to be healthy.

In mid-December 2017, my primary care physician ordered an ultrasound of my pelvic region. The results were complex septated cysts in my left ovary, thickening in my uterus, etc. Complex septated cysts are considered a bit more dangerous than regular ones.

My paternal grandmother died of ovarian cancer at my exact age. Her daughters and one son all carry the BRCA1 mutation. 3 out of the 4 girls had BRCA1 breast cancer. My father was fortunate- he was the only child out of 6 to not have the mutation. Unfortunately, even though I am not a carrier, this still increases my own chances of gynecological cancers.

A MRI was recommended as a follow up. Because we couldn’t get the MRI approved by the insurance company, we had to go with a 6 week follow up ultrasound.

On top of this, I take care of my family- and I mean everyone, including extended family. I am the medical POA for many and the patient advocate for the rest.

I spent months in San Diego this year (and the end of 2017) sleeping in a trauma unit with a family member who was in a catastrophic motorcycle accident- and taking care of them once they were discharged. I only came back to Michigan because of my own health issues.

While in Encinitas, CA, I had my follow up ultrasound at Scripps hospital. It showed no change in the cyst size, but my uterus was getting larger, with new polyps and fibroids and thickening of the uterine walls.

Armed with this info, I sent the ultrasound results to my primary doctor in Michigan. She felt it was urgent that I come home and get this checked out, since my ‘fancy’ insurance didn’t work in the state of California and my pain and symptoms were worsening by the day.

We set up an appointment for March with a gynecologist and I forwarded all of the info from CA to his office a month ahead of time.

I planned for fly back home to MI in March for my scheduled appointments and be back in CA to take care of my family member after the appointments, as they still could not care for themselves.

It didn’t work out this way.

Little did I know, there was going to be a fight on my hands just to get my MRI and to be taken seriously, as his staff did not put the 2nd ultrasound in my chart…

(to be continued in part 2 with the discovery of adenomyosis, cancer biopsies and testing, and my journey towards hysterectomy)


 

 

 

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HALLOWEEEN!!!!(AND KETO AND ZOMBIE KARDASHIANS)

A little peek into our day, before trick or treat- it was 35F here in SW Michigan- absolutely freeeeeezing (1-2C for the rest of you).

We rushed to get candy for the manny in the house to dole out while we took the girl into the cold.

I had exactly 35 minutes to decide what to dress up as- and accidentally turned into a Zombie Kardashian- or a Game of Thrones greyscale Kardashian– still not sure which.

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Maisie dressed as a brown haired Elsa… she was over the moon. Below is a pic with her brother- who is dressed as a sort of emo Waldo who doesn’t wish to be found- but will still take your candy-

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I did, however, successfully stay keto and stayed out of the sweets today- so hurray for me!

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Videos: 11 Month Old Maisie Dancing To Beyonce and A Grumpy Maisie

Was trying to get this munchkin to sleep and the video “Single Ladies” came on- I think she liked it!

Video:

She’s been teething and feeling out of sorts today.

View this post on Instagram

She's super grouchy #grouchybaby #grumpy

A post shared by Miss Maisie & Mommy (@missmaisiebabyfashionista) on

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Part 3 of the Dumpster Diaries: The Upstairs Kitchen is a pain in the ASS and there’s now a BAT in the Basement

If you’re just seeing this post for the first time, parts 1 and 2 are here and here.

I live in a 102 yr old house that is long on rooms (7 bedrooms) and short on closet space. It was divided into 2 apartments around 1929 (hello Great Depression) and we’re the first single family to dwell in the house since then. As a result, I have an upstairs kitchen that I really don’t need and a downstairs one. I have an old servant’s bedroom off of the downstairs kitchen that I use as my ‘closet/clothing room’. I need to gut that room and turn it into another office/studio space for my oldest son… and eventually a playroom/tv room for Maisie when he leaves. My master bedroom is directly off of the upstairs kitchen. I want to turn that space into my clothing room. Currently, it is a storage room for forgotten furniture and junk.
 
Woke up at 11:30 am, not exactly bright eyed and bushy tailed… not long after we’d woken up and I’d given the baby her breakfast, people started showing up out of the blue on my porch.

the first batch of Maisie's callers today... this girl has a far busier social life than I ever could!

the first batch of Maisie’s callers today… this girl has a far busier social life than I ever could!

We had about 10 visitors today- Maisie had a fantastic time.

Got her to nap- FINALLY- and thought “wow, ok, time to start on the upstairs kitchen”

Nope. She woke up within 10 minutes of that thought.

Isn't this cute? Apparently a 20 minute nap is all she needs to leave her refreshed and gorgeous. Wish she'd sleep MORE!

Isn’t this cute? Apparently a 20 minute nap is all she needs to leave her refreshed and gorgeous. Wish she’d sleep MORE!

I was informed by R that he heard a squeaking/rustling noise last night in the basement when he went to do laundry. My youngest son confirmed it today when HE went to put clothes into the washing machine.

Great, we have a possible bat in the house. Not the baseball kind, either.

I can't be sure, but this is what I envision in my head to be lurking in my basement

I can’t be sure, but this is what I envision in my head to be lurking in my basement

So I asked my oldest to watch Maisie while my youngest and I did laundry in the basement. I needed the boy with me as a witness just incase I was bitten by something and died of rabies on the concrete floor. Yes, I am a super chicken. I don’t care who knows.

I WISH this was my laundry room, but it isn't- mine resembles a dark, dank, scary dungeon- with squeaky bat noises now

I WISH this was my laundry room, but it isn’t- mine resembles a dark, dank, scary dungeon- with squeaky bat noises now

We did whites. I separated them and added the detergent and bleach while the (almost) 17 year old looked on.

C: “why are you separating the colors from the whites and why are you putting that stuff (BLEACH) in? I just use the soap”

Me: “That’s why your clothes look dingy when you wash them- you’re SUPPOSED TO separate them first and do this

I shook my head at his comment, because I’ve showed him probably 102 times how to separate/wash these clothes. It doesn’t compute in the male mind, evidently.

We didn’t see any bats- but C could hear the squeaking and rustling noise. I am hard of hearing, so I could not.

I figure, if it dies in the ductwork I will have to call someone to clean the ducts- which I’ve needed to do for years. A potentially dead and rotting bat is all the impetus I need to finally call the duct cleaners.

After a couple of loads of laundry, I said screw it and hauled the boy to the kitchen upstairs. My oldest was still watching the little girl for me, thank goodness.

We threw out SIXTEEN huge garbage bags of things and old boxes, etc- and still did NOT MAKE EVEN A DENT in that room!

this was AFTER 12 garbage bags had already been taken out of here

this was AFTER 12 garbage bags had already been taken out of here- the stove will be junked, too.

I have antique furniture stacked in there and there’s no way I can move that stuff by myself. We have boxes of old dvd movies and games- again, this is not my domain. R needs to sort through them.

there is no rhyme nor reason to the 'storage' in this room

there is no rhyme nor reason to the ‘storage’ in this room

I have a fridge and stove in there, too. I will junk the stove- let one of the scrappers take it- and maybe switch out for fridge for one my dad gave me that’s been in my garage for 2 yrs.

this room actually leads to another pantry full of antique linens and antique fiesta ware

this room actually leads to another pantry full of antique linens and antique fiesta ware

I called it a day after we threw out the last 5 bags, etc. I think I will start on my clothing room downstairs (throwing stuff out) tomorrow instead. It will be easier to look after Maisie at the same time if I do that room. All of the things in my clothing room are MINE and I don’t need help with that.

Wardrobe to Narnia. I am half-tempted to go there and leave this hell hole I call a house.

Wardrobe to Narnia.
I am half-tempted to go there and leave this hell hole I call a house.

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Miss Maisie Update: Today the separation anxiety was OFF THE CHARTS. How Do You Handle Separation Anxiety?

Maisie was 10 months old this week and the separation anxiety phase has been in full swing for a while now. I am never more than a few feet away from her at any given time. We have been practicing attachment parenting with this girly. She’s not a great fan of carriers. She NEEDS TO BE IN A ROOM FULL OF people. This girl LIVES to entertain.

If anyone tries to leave the room or go home or pee, she melts DOWN.

Today she was in rare form, poor baby.

Exhibit ONE, when my dad attempted to leave the porch to refill his coffee cup:

Papa returns, but she is still ticked off that he left… I think my dad is onto something when he says she doesn’t want to lose any of her entourage:

The world finally ends when her father leaves for work:

I am open to ANY suggestions regarding how to survive this stage.

How do/did YOU handle this separation anxiety phase?

I don’t recall it being this difficult with her brothers.

If you have any advice or war stories to share, feel free to leave a comment.

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Parenting After 40: Nostalgia and Raising Baby on the Front Porch…

View of my hammock and front porch... where we spend most of our time

View of my hammock and front porch… where we spend most of our time

Raising a child these days is so different from when I had my ‘first brood’ of three sons 26-17 yrs ago. Life is so much faster, more ‘plugged in’ than it was when my boys were young.  All of the ‘mommy friends’ I have now are about the same age or a wee bit older than my oldest son. We make playdates, talk online, or text on Facebook. Other mothers discuss phone/tablet apps and other electronic entertainments for their kids- which leaves me a bit overwhelmed. I remember a slower, more face-to-face time- and I miss it.

I live in a huge 102 yr old house on the corner of a semi-busy residential street- not far from the beach and downtown. I’ve owned this house for many years and raised Maisie’s older brothers here. It is always in flux, always in a state of renovation or some sort of pleasant (and sometimes unpleasant) chaos. We have very little yard, so I utilize every square inch of it, gardening even the city tree lawn. I grow veggies in raised beds and roses everywhere else. We own three lazy, gigantic Newfoundland dogs who are always snoring away in some odd corner.

Miss Maisie with Tiberius, one of our newfs.

Miss Maisie with Tiberius, one of our newfs.

My favorite part of this house is the wide front porch-where people who visit sit, smoke (if they smoke, because I don’t allow that in my house), drink coffee, and chat till late in the summer evenings. Maisie plays on it and has a small swing she loves. I have a hammock addiction and hung one in the front, too. I love to lounge with the baby there on warmer summer days.

this is how Maisie meets new friends- she calls out to the moms pushing their strollers down the street...

this is how Maisie meets new friends- she calls out to the moms pushing their strollers down the street…

People ask me why I’d spend so much time in the FRONT of my house, where it is so public… I like people watching (and I also have no backyard to speak of). It reminds me of my childhood, when people were not so hidden away from each other.

sharing bread from the farmer's market up the street with her grandfather

sharing bread from the farmer’s market up the street with her grandfather

My family is loud and friendly and argumentative and we spend most of our summer days and nights out there, probably to the chagrin of our neighbors. Nowadays folks cloister themselves away in their houses or backyards, unless they’re walking dogs or pushing strollers. My family is one of the few in my neighborhood who use their front porch as a living space.

where most of the action happens

where most of the action happens

When I was a child, I grew up not far from where I lived now. In those days, it was common to see people outside on their porches in the evenings. Children played on the sidewalks, rode their bikes.  Parents and grandparents worked in their gardens. Neighbors laughed and talked after supper. Women would hang their wash in the backyards. Everything was noisier and more ALIVE.

I still do most of those things. Most folks do not. It makes me sad.

The stillness and silence of these neighborhood streets is so unnatural to those of us who remember how it used to be.

the town I live in- and where I grew up- circa 1950s-60s.  We used to have a very famous amusement park here.

the town I live in- and where I grew up- circa 1950s-60s. We used to have a very famous amusement park that was torn down in the early 1970s.

Only when our town has festivals or fireworks or something similar does it come alive again. Our population swells with the FIPs (that’s Michigander for “Fucking Illinois/Indiana People) and out of townies who become weekend/vacation residents. A lot of people complain about these times, but I don’t. I love it when I can see humans out and moving and not hiding away inside their homes like Mole People.

Maisie and one of her front porch fashion shows

Maisie and one of her front porch fashion shows

I love raising Maisie on our front porch, watching her try to interact with her grandparents and friends and other family members.  Our world is so different now- people are less connected, more plugged in to the virtual world. I want her to learn to socialize and to say “Hi!” and wave to the folks who pass by on the street. I want my child to understand what life can be without the internet and iPads and all the other things that children these days rely upon for entertainment.

I think this is one benefit of being a mother over 40.  I remember what childhood used to be like and want my daughter to celebrate and enjoy the simpler things- like connecting with loved ones on summer days on a front porch.

Other new parents over 40:

How do you think your parenting style differs from younger parents?  

Feel free to leave a message in the comments section.

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On Blending and Contouring… A Real World Makeup Adventure on an OLDER Face

Me, after the contouring/spackle business, with hair in pincurls.

Me, after the contouring/spackle business, with hair in pincurls.

Blending and contouring have been big, big things since… forever.

Kim Kardashian has been blowing up the blending/contouring makeup world with numerous videos.

If you search on youtube, a zillion tutorials will pop up:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=kardashian+contouring+tutorial

This post was inspired by a recent blog done by Elizabeth over at ElizabethandLipstick.com– it’s a great makeup blog and she’s lovely, check it out.  That is how it is supposed to look on dewy, fresh young faces.

How would the SAME technique work on an older person?  Let’s find out:

Before I had a baby and before my botox melted, this would have been a do-able ‘going out’ look.

As most women will find, a lighter hand is needed the older and more wrinkly one gets.

The brush that once would have made for a flawless complexion is replaced by the beauty blending spongy thing.

Care must be taken to keep the crap from settling in the teeny lines- which it WILL DO- or to keep it from smearing like that old lady in that 1993 Little Caesar’s pizza commercial:

Ivory_7affb2fb-09d7-4fee-b524-8310022db168

this is my holy grail of under eye concealers- covers beautifully and doesn’t crease/budge.

Since I NOW have an ‘au naturel’ 46 yr old face- thanks to a 10 month old with separation anxiety and inability to be put down long enough so I can PEE- full on MAKEUP TIME is merely a special occasion endeavor.

Other things to remember when laying down that spackle, older ladies:

1. Your face is either going to be too dry or too oily, or both.  Switch up your products.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Amazing Concealer by Amazing Cosmetics.  It barely budges or creases, no matter how humid the weather.  It doesn’t make you look like a decrepit, decaying wax doll, either.

2. Go EASY on that setting powder, EVEN IF YOU HAVE A LOT OF BOTOX.  Nothing shows fine lines like a dusting of powder around the eyes.  Yeah, I know we may need it, but damn. It’s not fun to look at one’s face too closely. Sometimes I am glad that our up close eye sight is failing.

3. Use a wet beauty blender sponge- it gives a more sheer coverage- and you can use your fingers to layer more on and blend, blend, blend- BLEND- and blend some more. Remember back in the day when your mom or grandma used Pan-Cake makeup and the wet sponge?  Same damned thing, different name and shape.

these egg shaped sponges are the BOMBDIGGITY, girls.

these egg shaped Beauty Blender sponges are the BOMBDIGGITY, girls.

4. Invest in a good MAGNIFYING MIRROR, the higher the magnification, the better.  Get big ones, small ones, purse sized ones. They are SO worth it.  Nothing worse than blindly trying to glue some false eyelashes on and having the strip somehow adhere to your makeup smeared reading glasses… sad, but true.  (Yes, younger women reading this- you will someday experience these things as well- prepare for the inevitable NOW.)

5. Is your face starting to lose that luster, that sparkle it once had?  Are you getting that peri-menopausal powdery older lady skin?  Chemical peels/dermabrasion/laser treatments help with that.  A good highlighter cream or powder (that sparkly stuff) also works wonders.  LORAC used to make an excellent one. Lately, I’ve been loving Sonia Kashuk’s Chic Luminosity Highlighter Stick in Sparkling Sands.  It’s a dupe for Benefit’s WATT’S UP! at a fraction of the price.  It’s sheer and it’s wearable with or without foundation.  Excellent product.

6. Don’t be lazy like I am.  Use a makeup primer and eye makeup primer.  Those things rock. They even out skin imperfections and disguise pores, some lines, and help the makeup STAY ON YOUR FACE. There’s a crotch itch/thigh rubbing cream sold in the lady bits section of stores that has the exact SAME INGREDIENTS as one of the most popular primers, but the name escapes me. I *do* know that it costs about $4 vs $30 for the primo stuff.

Now for the contouring/highlighting parts:

I actually used this tutorial from GlamBoothTv’s youtube site- it’s great and you can blow it up nice and full screen while you slap that makeup on your face:

Here is a list of the makeup used for the contouring:

Primer: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Priming Potion on eye lids
Concealer: Amazing Concealer in I can’t read the freaking small print on this tube
Foundation: Revlon Colorstay 24 Hours Whipped Creme Makeup in 220 Nude
Contouring (dark color): Clinique Perfectly Real Makeup in Shade 44; some matte brown eyeshadow for the nose
Highlighter(s): Sonia Kashuk’s Chic Luminosity Highlighter Stick in Sparkling Sands
Powder: Revlon Age Defying Powder with DNA Advantage in Medium; also used Coty Airspun Face Powder in Light/Medium Neutral Tone

Up close around the nose and eyes.  Yeah, someone needs to give me a tutorial on how to get those modern 'square front' brows!

Up close around the nose and eyes. Yeah, someone needs to give me a tutorial on how to get those modern ‘square front’ brows!

I did exactly (well, almost… as much as possible) as the video instructed.  I seriously need a tutorial on the mod new brow thing all you gals are doing.  I am BEGGING you.  Step by step… please.

The look was a bit disconcertingly heavy after the last 2 yrs of minimal makeup.  My undereye area is in need of some filler in the tear trough region.  I knew that the foundation would settle as I did my hair, which it did.  All in all, I was pleased with the results, but it isn’t a do-able look for me for everyday.  My skin has learned to BREATHE in the interim and no longer will stand for thick makeup daily.

all the contours and highlights, ducklips and all- on my vintage head.

all the contours and highlights, ducklips and all- on my vintage head.

One thing I dared NOT do once this concoction was applied to my face was:  KISS, TALK MUCH, SMILE, let anyone touch my head.  I had to put a plastic grocery bag (yeah, bad for the environment, yadda…) over my head and had to let someone help pull the clothes on.

All this “Kardashian-ness” is hard work.  I was worried about the makeup staining the neckline of my outfit.

I have to admit, all the contouring and highlighting (or ‘strobing’, as I’ve seen the kids call it now) is way too 1990s flashback for me.  I felt less like Kim and more like Kris Jenner mated with the newly minted Caitlyn by the end of this.  Eat your hearts out, fellow momagers…

photo 4

the end result wasn’t terribly bad, once I put the lippie on and did something to the hair.  I still kinda scream “MOMAGER”, though.

photo 5

this is a look that, on an older woman like myself, says “I survived the 1980s and 1990s and I have the hair to prove it” #bighairdontcare