Friday, October 30, 2015

Birthdays, Anniversaries, Chaplains, Anxiety, Illness and Retreats

I can't believe it has been more than 2 months since I have written here. I have been reading here and there when I get a chance but a major reason I have not written is the crazy schedule I have had lately. There has been so much that has gone on! What has changed is me. I feel like I have made some major strides and yet the same set backs and challenges have been there. So last time I left this little hub we had just taken our pilgrimage to Spain.

Since then we had an exciting and nerve racking opportunity to present a Creighton Model Introductory Session to about 100 military chaplains. This crowd included the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of the Military, military chaplains from all over and a couple monsignors! I was surprised at how once I got rolling with the presentation it felt so natural and easy. Well it should I have been giving it for almost four years! We got to meet the Archbishop and all I could muster to say was "Your excellency, thank you for having us here" while doing a slight bow. Yeah weird I know. I totally turned into a 13 year old fan girl at that point! I should have asked him for a blessing! It was so cool because they had a lot of practical questions for JJ about using NFP and its effects on a marriage. Overall it was a great experience aside from my awkward half bow to the Archbishop. One priest was even interested in having us come out to his base in Hawaii to present this there! We have not heard from him but to my knowledge there is not a practitioner in Hawaii and JJ and I feel if we are needed there then who are we to deny the great state of Hawaii from this vital information?

I had my 31st birthday back in July and JJ had his 33rd birthday at the beginning of September. It is funny that we are both summer babies yet we strongly dislike the summer and hot weather. We did not do much just went out to dinner with our parents. We have been so busy lately that not doing something was much more fun for us.

Right around the time the second or third PP video was released I started to have panic attacks and anxiety. I had not experienced them this bad since we lost Cecilia. I was afraid to be alone and I did not want JJ to go to work in the morning. We knew part of it was hormonal as my progesterone was low post peak and my PMS symptoms were increasing. We knew that the PCOS symptoms were getting worse with some unexplained weight gain and fatigue. Even though I knew I could fight the PCOS stuff with diet and getting back on progesterone I knew I needed professional help from a therapist. I have been wanting to pursue therapy for awhile. Actually I told my mom I needed therapy when I was 13 but, she never pursued it for me.

I did not want to slip back into the debilitating anxiety that I had a few years ago again so I asked my friend who I go walking with who her therapist was and if she was taking new clients. It turns out she was not taking new clients but she had a referral to another Catholic therapist. The therapist being Catholic is important to me because I studied a lot of psychology in college and I know there are weirdos out there that do not respect Catholic principles. Plus I wanted to have that common ground with the therapist so that I would be comfortable sharing with them. My first meeting at the end of August was great and I have been going weekly. I love that part of my "homework" from my therapist is to spend some time in Adoration with Jesus. There are so many layers for me to get through in therapy and not all are infertility related. I am glad I made the humbling leap to say I needed help because I am doing so much better today than I was doing a month ago. The anxiety is manageable and I have gotten great support from JJ and some good friends.

One of the things that was causing anxiety was the fact that we had the anniversary of Cecilia's due date in September. She would have been three years old. My heart hurt that day and it still does. I was growing anxious since we have not achieved a pregnancy again. The thought of "I am running out of time to be a mother" kept crossing my mind. The thoughts that I am "letting so many people down" by not being able to have children and "I am pathetic" also crossed my mind. Don't worry I know these thoughts are not true but when you are already dealing with anxiety it is hard to battle these thoughts. Again, therapy has been so good to bring these notions to light so I can battle them one by one. I will probably write about this at some point but I don't think I am quite ready yet.

Somewhere mixed in there at the end of August we took a road trip to Phoenix, AZ for a World Wide Marriage Encounter retreat. The beautiful Leila put an advertisement out on the book of faces. I checked our calendar and by God's amazing plan we had nothing scheduled that weekend! Which in itself was a small miracle since we had and have been booked every weekend since. JJ and I knew we needed this since we wanted to do something to build up our marriage. It was so neat to actually meet Leila in person and to get to talk to her a bit. Her and her husband are a gorgeous couple! Although the rules were pretty strict not to socialize too much with other couples since they wanted the spouses to focus on each other. I had to stop myself from going up to her and talking about Catholicism. The weekend was much needed for us and we did not realize how much we needed it until we were halfway through the retreat. It was hard to come back but we have gained some valuable tools from that weekend.

After that weekend we were tested with illness. Well I had a busted blood vessel in my eye the weekend of the retreat that was healing slowly. Oh and plus aunt flow cramps! Stupid AF showed up the day the retreat started. I guess we could not get away from infertility, not even for a weekend! Then the week after the retreat JJ had vertigo and I got food poisoning. So neither of us kept much food down for a couple days. Oh yeah, fun times in the Crow household!

The biggest illness has been my mother in law, Ma Crow's blocked carotid artery on the right side. Since early July I have been going back and forth to the Drs. with her to figure this out. They tried to do surgery and could not because they found the blockage to be too great. So basically the top vascular surgeons around said there was nothing they can do for her but keep her on medication and monitor her every 6 months. Well two weeks ago she ended up having a stroke. It has been a very difficult and trying time for us all. Our schedules and priorities are changing. JJ is going through a lot since it is his mom and I am trying to help in any way I can. I am blessed to have a mother in law that I love very much and am close to. She is always supportive and willing to listen to me, even about infertility, so I am having a hard time watching her suffer. I am so proud of the way in which Ma Crow is taking this suffering though, more on that to come in another post. Please keep her in your prayers please! She is an amazing lady who loves God and those around her. Her favorite prayer is the Anima Christi prayer so you can pray that for her.