Saturday, July 12, 2014

Finally, a diagnosis.

On Tuesday,  my husband took a day off of work. I was ordered to take the pain medication given to me in the ER, and while it helped tremendously, I also do not feel like a functional person on them.

I met with a chiropractor that was recommended to me by my acupuncturist. He did his exam, and concluded that my issue was muscular.  It may or may not be related to a back injury I have from a car accident I was in when I was 13.

He made some adjustments and talked to me about the iliopsoas muscle as well as piriformis syndrome.

After I was done at the chiropractor,  my husband took me to see my specialist.  He prescribed more pain medication, some muscle relaxants,  and sent me to physical therapy. Since a hernia was ruled out with the tests done in the ER, he felt comfortable giving me my first official diagnosis, Piriformis syndrome.

I started physical therapy on Wednesday.  I was terrified. I've never had physical therapy before,  and it makes everything seem so real that my body is not what it used to be. The physical therapist was very friendly. He agreed with the chiropractor and the specialist that it is piriformis syndrome combined with having a strained and weakened iliopsoas muscle.

I was told to expect a recovery time of 6 to 8 weeks,  but also that I would need to limit my sitting time after that.

As someone who has been a fairly active person, this is the strangest thing ever to me. My children miss being able to go for our daily walks and bike rides. I miss being able to get out of the house for more than just therapy. I seriously miss sitting in my studio and sewing.

I have no idea how I will make it through the next 6 to 8 weeks.


My body doesn't feel like my body.

My life changed May 18, 2014. I started having abdominal/lower groin pain. After a struggle to get a diagnosis, it was determined the pain was a complex ovarian cyst. I went to acupuncture weekly, and also tried some essential oils to treat the cyst.

After a month of pain, my doctor sent me to a specialist to discuss removing it. The specialist performed another ultrasound and determined the complex cyst on my left was gone.  I have cysts on my right ovary now, but I was told those are a normal part of the reproductive cycle and not to worry about them.

While I was happy that my cyst was gone, the pain remained. My specialist was debating between a hernia and Piriformis syndrome.  I was given some pain cream, told to apply it for 10 days, and if it helped it was piriformis syndrome.  If it didnt, it was the hernia.

The pain cream didn't make a tremendous difference,  but I did see an improvement in my pain.

Sunday, something changed. I took a nap, and when I woke up I had some extreme abdominal/lower back pain. It was like I had this band of pain around my stomach. It was excruciating. The pain was so bad, I was unable to walk. Trying to get up to use the bathroom was nearly impossible.

My husband encouraged me to go to the emergency room, but I hesitated. I spent 28 hours stuck on the couch, unable to even roll over. Monday afternoon,  our new puppy had a vet appointment to check her health,  as she is a rescue pup from the animal shelter. I thought it was important that she go, and so I decided it was time to get up.

I tried, and tried, but I could not physically get up. It took me 30 minutes to pull myself into a standing position. When I did finally get up, my right leg was unresponsive. It was at this point that my daughter wanted to call an ambulance. Looking back, I should have let her. Worried about finances though, I insisted on going by car. My daughter called a neighbor, who was kind enough to drive me and stay with me until my husband was on his way.

It was the worst emergency room experience I have ever had. They put me in a room very quickly, and then I was simply left alone. An hour went by without a your checking on me. Finally the registrar came in to get my insurance information.  She walked into an empty room with a hysterical woman in it. Shortly after that, my husband arrived and so did the nurse. She asked me what was wrong, and then asked for a urine sample. Determined to avoid a catheter (as I have bladder issues and did not want the infection I always get after having a catheter), my husband basically dragged me to the bathroom for the sample.

It was then that the nurse realized something really was wrong. The amount of effort and pain in walking to the bathroom (which was the next room over!!) Was a clear indication that not all was right. She immediately ordered some tests and some pain medication.

The pain medication was to be administered via IV. It took them 5 tries, and 4 different phlebotomists to get an IV in. They even brought in this really nifty light that is supposed to show where the veins are. Yeah, that didn't help and I'm sure they charged me a few hundred dollars for using it.

Finally they called in an experienced nurse and she had the IV in before I even knew it. She is a saint. Anyways, they were able to get their blood, they started the pain meds and saline through the IV, and I drank my inside color changing "banana flavored smoothie" for the CT scan.

The CT scan was over before I knew it. They found nothing wrong with me.

The most frustrating thing in the world is to be in so much pain that you can't walk, can't roll over, and basically can't move the lower part of your body and then be told that there is nothing wrong with you, here are 6 Percocet and a wheel chair, please leave the ER and go see someone else tomorrow.

And so begins my saga.


Friday, May 23, 2014

The importance of being your own advocate, or Hello Complex Ovarian Cyst.

6 days, 4 appointments, 3 doctors, 2 UAs, 2 sets of blood work,  2 pelvic exams, 1 ultrasound. That is what it took to receive a diagnosis this week, after 6 days of intense lower abdominal pain.

My pain started late Sunday night. It was really deep in my lower abdomen/groin. I tried, best as I could, to ignore it. It would come and go as it pleased. Certain things (actions or positions) would make it much worse, to the point where it had me doubled over in tears.

Tuesday, I decided I needed to be seen. I haven't been seen by a conventional doctor in a few years, as we have not been fortunate enough to carry health insurance (the joys of being a small business owner!). The visit had me full of anxiety as it was. I went to an urgent care clinic, and was seen by a nurse practitioner who made me feel very uncomfortable. After performing a complete blood workup and a urinalysis, the only thing he could find wrong was a high level of platelets. He wrote off my symptoms as the stomach flu, telling me to take more Tylenol for the pain, and Pepto for the nausea. He told me to start a liquid diet for 2-3 days for my stomach flu. I left there feeling VERY unhappy.

The pain did not subside, and this was unlike any stomach flu I have ever experienced. Thursday, I made an appointment with a doctor who would be my primary care physician from now on. She was friendly, agreed that it was not the stomach flu. She performed a pelvic exam, and concluded that it was likely diverticulitis. She was hesitant to perform a CT scan to confirm the diagnosis, and instead sent me home telling me to come back Saturday if the pain was not gone by then. She offered me pain medication, to manage the pain. I promptly came home and googled diverticulitis (don't do that!!), and spent the evening freaking out more about it.

The pain last night was unbearable. I was up for most of the night wishing it to go away (it didn't work, haha). 7 AM, I called for the first appointment I could get with my doctor. Of course she was not working today, so I was set up with the first physician who had an appointment available.

9 AM, I completely broke down when the doctor walked in the room. I was at the height of my frustration with trying to figure out the cause of my pain, and I begged him to find an answer, not just push pain pills at me.

He. Was. Fantastic. He was exactly who I needed to see today. He repeated the blood tests, the urinalysis, and the pelvic exam and concluded that it was my left ovary that was the concern, not my colon. High on the list of possibilities was an ectopic pregnancy. He tried to get me in for an ultrasound ASAP, and was apologetic that they couldn't get me in until 2 PM. It was around 11 AM when he sent me home, with the instructions to eat some food (remember, I had been on a liquid diet for 3 days at this point!), and get some rest.

So I picked up my little one from preschool, my teenagers from school (half day), and got sushi and rested until my appointment time. The ultrasound was fairly uneventful, aside from maybe filling my bladder a bit too full. ;) After the ultrasound, the doctor insisted that it be read immediately, while I wait. 30 minutes later, we had my results in hand.

He started out by assuring me that all of my labs were good, my white blood count was not raising, there was no indication of infection. My uterus was normal, my right ovary was normal. My poor left ovary... not so normal. It has a complex ovarian cyst on it.

I am so relieved to have a diagnosis. It took a lot of pushing, and insisting that there was more wrong with me than just a simple stomach flu. It is important to be your own advocate! If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. It doesn't matter if you don't hold a medical degree, and the person who is insisting that something is wrong does. You know your body more than anyone else.

In the end, the doctor was apologetic that there is not much that can be done for it at this point, besides to monitor it. I will have another ultrasound in 4 weeks, and if it has grown I will be referred out to have it laproscopically removed, since it is causing me issues. I accepted the pain medication this time, no sense in torturing myself anymore.

I have to admit that it scares me a bit. I may have Googled a bit too much since I've gotten home. Leave it to me to have a more "rare" cyst, as well. So I'm curious, since I have no experience with ovarian cysts, let alone a complex ovarian cyst. Have you had one? How did you treat it? Did it go away on its own?

~Denelle is a Mompreneuer who lives in Oregon with her husband, 3 children, and 1 crazy fluffball of a dog. You may find her store at

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Tell people your goals, and make them your cheerleaders.

(Photo courtesy of Dave Ramsey

My good friend Becky, Mompreneur behind Bumstoppers Cloth Diapers, tagged me in this photo this morning. She is my cheerleader, and I am honored to be hers. Most of my stockings are courtesy of Becky's encouragement (let's all thank Becky for this! ♥) throughout the day.

Today was just "one of those days". I'm still pretty love drunk off of purchasing our very first little piece of land, but the children didn't seem to share that giddyness. Days like this usually throw me into fits of organizing (don't ask, it just happens that way!) and tonight I tackled organizing my sewing room. Most of the time I prefer to work in organized chaos, but considering it IS part of our living room, that doesn't always work for the rest of the family. My little ones joined me in this organization, happily sorting fabrics by whether they were florals, shapes, or animal prints (and then again by whether they were cotton or woven!). Child labor or good learning, considering they are 4 and 6? We'll go with the latter of the two ;)

As I organized, I realized just how many cut out, but not sewn up pads that I have. There are a lot. More than I'd like to count, but I'm estimating around 150 pad tops are in this stack.

It is said that when you tell people your goals, you are more likely to follow through with them. So here I am, publicly shaming myself of my little stack of pads that are screaming to be sewn up. It is my goal to sew up every single one of these pad tops and have them listed in my store by the end of May. 24 days, and there will be no more guilt over unused inventory sadly languishing, because there will be no unused inventory!

I think I can, I think I can!

~Denelle is a Mompreneuer who lives in Oregon with her husband, 3 children, and 1 crazy fluffball of a dog. You may find her store at

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My Relaxation Case (or Imperfection is Perfection!)

I debated on what to title this post, or to even write it at all! So it has two names, My Relaxation Case, and Imperfection is Perfection. Both are entirely fitting. :)

So last month instead of closing MotherMoonPads, I took a giant leap of faith, found funding, and went full blast into it. I opened to custom orders, re-opened my HyenaCart, and am working on a website at this very moment!

I used to do custom orders a long time ago. I mostly did surprise print customs, and I routinely sewed up more pads each month than I thought was humanly possible. I spent 12-14 hours a day cutting, sewing, packaging. One day, I woke up and saw my children were getting bigger, and I was missing out on LIFE. I stopped accepting custom orders that very day, and didn't look back until my business was on the verge of closing.

I knew I had a decision to make. Put my youngest child in daycare, after school care for my middle child, and use my BA in Accounting to "go back to work" (I use that term incredibly lightly, because being a small business owner who does everything from designing her products, physically creating them, marketing them and then shipping them, this IS work!). After a lot of soul searching, my husband got a little frustrated and finally just told me to make a decision. Stop thinking with my mind, think with my heart, and COMMIT to my decision.

Here I am today. I'm trying to roll with the momentum while refusing to slip back into my old habits of sewing every waking minute of the day. I've set a reasonable time frame for turnaround on custom orders (5-14 days), and set times for sewing (7 AM to 3 PM). I'm feeling pretty darned good about this, but I can't lie. At 3 PM when I turn off my machines, my hands get antsy and I need to DO SOMETHING! There has been lots of crafting with the little ones, but they head to bed at 7 PM. What to do then??

I used to be a knitter. I used to be a spinner. There was a time when I spent my nights knitting and spinning. I miss that woman who would snuggle up on the couch with her family and just chill.

My Christmas present to myself is my relaxation case. I sold my Addis, and invested in a set of KnitPicks Harmony needles (controversial among knitters, but I'm very happy with the decision!). I've long drooled over Graces Cases on Etsy, but the possibility of dropping $99 on a knitting needle case just wasn't there (in my dreams it is though, haha~). So I set out to sew my own.

Remember, Imperfection is Perfection! I'm a great cloth pad maker (not to toot my own horn or anything, lol~), but a fantastic seamstress I am NOT. There is a reason why my products are very specific.

Instead of ripping out the seams for the 8th time (yes, literally), I decided to accept that it's a tiny bit wonky. The decorative stitching around the edges wasn't the stitch I thought I chose, and when it is zipped, the zipper is a teeny tiny bit off. But it's done, and I'm accepting that it's extremely awesome in its own way!

The case all zippered up.

The left side holds my Nook, the right has pockets for my circulars.

The inside holds more circulars (I may have quite a few :err:)

The last pages hold my straights, interchangeable set, and misc. tools (cable needles, stitch markers etc).

I'm so ridiculously excited. I've been able to see this knitting needle case in my mind for years, I've just never been able to put it into reality. While the making of this case was not without a few tears (and glasses of wine, and ripping the seams out oh-eleventy billion times!), it's DONE!

Bring on Christmas!

~Denelle is a Mompreneuer who lives in Oregon with her husband, 3 children, and 1 crazy fluffball of a dog. You may find her store at

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My Promise to YOU, and Learning How to Dream Big.

A few weeks ago, my teenage daughter asked me what my dreams in life were. My answer stunned her. I told her I do not allow myself to dream. To dream means disappointment when the dreams do not come true. My life hasn't been a very "dreamy" life. It has been more about surviving than thriving.

I'm at a point in my life where I am 31, happily married, have 3 children, a house, a dog, and a minivan. It's time for me to start dreaming. It's time for me to start chasing my dreams.

My confession to you today is that I haven't been trying lately. I didn't see any future for MotherMoonPads. Every month is a struggle. I have a resume written up, and I have been researching available jobs that would help me utilize my BA in Accounting. In short, I had a closing plan.

I had given up.

I had given up not because I WANTED to give up, but because I was running out of resources. I didn't see any other options besides to "cut my losses" and move on. I was using up all of my fabric, and that was it. My final day open was to be Black Friday 2013.

Nothing about that plan felt right. MotherMoonPads is not just a business, it is ME. It is such a huge part of my life, and has been my "baby" for 5 years now. When the conversations about dreaming took place, it really made me take a deep look at what I wanted my life to be like. I realized that I desperately wanted to renew my business. I wanted a fresh chance to build it to be exactly what I needed it to be. My only question was "How?"

How do you take something and mold it into exactly what you need it to be when you don't have the resources to do just that?

You take a BIG GIANT LEAP OF FAITH and find funding. This funding will allow you to invest in your business as you have never been able to in the past. It will be nothing short of terrifying. It will be nothing short of exhilarating. You will second guess yourself the entire way through it. After it is done, if you are like me, you will feel this renewed sense of encouragement.

I feel more encouraged at this point in my business than I have in as long as I can possibly remember. I have this FANTASTIC opportunity in front of me. I am genuinely excited about my business, and where I now have the ability to take it.

With this opportunity, I have a clear and defined business plan. It has forced me to take a bold look at my own life, and define exactly what I want out of it. It is allowing me to DREAM BIG.

This funding will allow me to invest in fabric, which will allow me to offer a more streamlined buying process. I will always offer in stock, ready to ship sets, but you will also be able to purchase EXACTLY what you want, from choosing your print, length, and absorbency. This will also allow me to provide better service to the wonderful retailers that I have. I am very, very excited about this process.

A few days ago, I showed you my Closet of Dreams. The very first thing has gone into my Closet of Dreams. It is my Mission Statement, my promise to you and my promise to myself.

My Promise to You:

MotherMoonPads exists to help women with their menstrual cycles and postpartum lochia through the use of reusable cloth menstrual pads.

I will offer three different fabrics to fit the needs of girls and women:

• Minky, a super soft and stain resistant fabric

• Organic Cotton woven Prints

• Non-organic cotton woven prints

The addition of a hidden PUL layer underneath the soaker will be an option for all custom orders.

I will offer a variety of streamlined prints, which will allow you to order the same pads today or months from now.

MotherMoonPads serves women worldwide. I will continue to ship all in stock orders within 2 business days, and I will strive to ship all custom orders within 5 business days.

MotherMoonPads will always remain 100% hand made, sewn by myself in my studio in Oregon.

My Promise to Myself:

I will DREAM BIG. I will strive to thrive, not just survive.

I will set clear boundaries between work and family time, and stick to my work schedule.

I will unapologetically stay authentic and true to myself.

This plaque now hangs in my Closet of Dreams, and I look forward to showing you what else belongs in there in the future. ♥

~Denelle is a Mompreneuer who lives in Oregon with her husband, 3 children, and 1 crazy fluffball of a dog. You may find her store at