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April 1, 2015

Joy and Sadness

Yesterday was my aunt's funeral. It was a tragic time for my family. My aunt passed away after a unfortunate and very freaky accident. She was adjusting the bridle of one of the draft horses that my uncle and aunt own. The horse spooked and reared up. My aunt slipped under the horse and was crushed when the horse came down. She died of the resulting internal injuries. It was so sudden and an eerie reminder of how fragile our lives are. 

We mourned as a family, each in our own way. And we are still mourning. Understandably, it is all very hard to process. The sadness has come in tears, in silence, in quiet reflective mess, in shock. Although each of us mourns differently, we were all there together. 

The joy comes in the simple fact that we were all together. My family is strewn far and wide but we all descended upon Nebraska to be there as my Uncle walks this road of pain and loss. My parents arrived from Florida, my brother from DC, and my family from Texas. My aunt came from another part of Nebraska and my grandfather set aside the sorrow of mourning for his wife, who passed away almost three years ago, to be there as his son began that same path of losing his wife. Our family hadn't been together like this since grandma's funeral three years ago on Easter. 

Seeing the ray of sunshine yesterday was well worth it. Sometimes in the midst of the tears it's hard to see a reason to smile. Even due to the worst possible reason imaginable, family was together again. 

On a personal note, I received good news on Thursday. I was finally diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS. This is a medical issue I have had since birth, but has been affecting me since age 14. Because I have a n atypical presentation of the disease and because I was young, I was not taken seriously for 13 years. It's nice to have a doctor really listen to you and want to figure out what is wrong.

So what does this mean for me? I have a hormonal imbalance that causes me to have infrequent periods and can make it very difficult to become pregnant. Web MD has a good description of it here: http://www.webmd.com/women/tc/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos-topic-overview

It also means that I will be on medication to manage it through menopause. Because PCOS causes infrequent periods, I have an increased risk for endometrial cancers. It also means that Levi may be our only biological child. He truly is an anomaly as far as pregnancies of and babies born to women with PCOS. I am so very thankful to have him in our life. Infertility will continue to be an issue that I carry for the rest of my life. 

And that is hard to process right now. The sorrow is there. But so is the joy. I have a medical answer and a doctor that will work with me. I have a starting place with other providers as our family moves around the countries. We have a wonderfully rambunctious toddler that is truly a miracle. He has enriched our lives in countless ways.

Perhaps the best picture of my life right now is the storm we drove through last night. There was an amazing lightning display and yet a fierce rainstorm too. There was beauty and wonder in the storm, and yet it was scary. I had trouble seeing out the windshield at times. We ran over an armadillo at one point and our car jumped a little. Thankfully, we made it through the storm safely and woke up to a new morning, sun bright in the sky and birds singing in the trees. I know that's how I will feel when this time of my life has passed. 

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