My first mammogram at 30

I am a worrier by nature. If you know me personally or have followed my journey here for some time, you’d know that I have an anxious heart. I tend to take things to the worst case scenerio and work myself up over little things. I am a total work in progress you guys…

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A few month back I felt a lump in my right boob. Me doing what I do best, I ran to my doctor. She examined me and called it fiber cystic breasts and told me to cut back on my caffeine. While I truly trust my doctor with my life, every time I go in there for something, I assume the worst. Even though she was not concerned one bit, in the back of my mind I couldn’t get cancer out of my mind. Every time someone would hug me, or I’d hit my chest against something, I would be reminded, and my mind would shift into overdrive. The lump would get bigger around my monthly cycle, and then go back down. I was told this is a good sign but my mind wouldn’t back down.

Why can’t I just trust the process? Why do I try to diagnose myself? Why can’t I just trust my doctors?

I may never have the answers to those questions. But having dealt with anxiety a good majority of my life, I can tell you that peace of mind is a beautiful thing. If you can find it, DO IT. I don’t care what it costs.

The American Cancer Society recommends women get yearly mammograms starting at age 40. But with my doctors approval and some family history, I went in and got an ultrasound AND mammogram. You guys that whole “get your boobs squished” phrase is NO JOKE. I most definitely was the youngest gal in there, and people definitely asked “why are you here”. I got an appointment, exam, and results all within two hours. I know this isn’t the norm, so thank GOD for good health care and a few great connections.

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All is good. I am completely clear. My doctor was right as always. My mind is at ease.

 The reality is, my anxiety has shifted into overdrive since becoming a single mom. It’s all me all the time. Many days I want to just focus on being a mom, not worry about bills getting paid or growing a business. It’s reality though. Knowing how much Landyn depends on me is overwhelming at times. I ask myself what she would do without me. It’s one of my greatest fears.

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photos: Bows and Arrow Photography

And the thing is, I have it so good. I have so many things to be thankful for. I’m sure there is another mom sitting out there that is really struggling. Maybe she has no dad involved or has to work two jobs to get by. Maybe her husband lost his job and isn’t sure how they will feed their family.

I thank God for my blessings everyday. My beautiful home. My supportive boyfriend who supports my dreams and picks up so much of the slack. My health. My parents that are my backbone. My beautiful daughter that reminds me everyday of my purpose in life. Getting to have this space that helps to support my family as a single mom.

We are all fighting a hard battle. I think the older I get the more I see everyday as a gift. And for me, being proactive in my health is one thing I truly believe in. I’d rather hear the “I told you so’s”, then have to loose sleep worrying.

One of the things I am really working on, is learning to put my oxygen mask on first. As mom’s we are so inclined to meet our child’s needs first when it should be the complete opposite. Healthy momma means healthy child. When in doubt, always go the safe route.

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Thank you for following my journey and always letting me open my heart to you on this blog.

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xo

I am in counseling…

**I started to write this post on Saturday, but let it sit in my archives while little voices in my head told me not to click publish. My goal is to bring awareness on this topic because I know there are so many struggling.**

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Typically I don’t blog on weekends. I like my weekends to be spent disconnected from social media so that my brain can recharge. But my computer was calling me today. Landyn is in her room napping and today I’m fingers to the keyboard. These mid day writing sessions are actually a great time of reflection. Our house is situated in a little valley amongst rolling hills, horse property, and agricultural land so as you can imagine it’s always pretty quiet. And it’s times like this where silence is golden, that I’m reminded how blessed I am to live where I do. The only noise to be heard is a dog barking 2 miles away, and my neighbors tractor plowing dirt through their orchard.

I’m going to get a little candid on you today. These open posts seem to be far and few between lately because truthfully, the vulnerability is too much at times. I’m always afraid of saying too much, or having it affect my daughter in some way. Maybe my words will come back to haunt me. These are all very real feelings, but when I think about my theme here and what my readers are drawn too, it’s always when I am most open.

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Back in October, I went through two months of terrible anxiety. The heart racing, short of breath, dizzy, butterflies in your stomach kind of anxiety. I found it to be worse in the morning, but it would creep up on me at any given time. I could be out to dinner with my favorite girl friends and start to have a panic attack. There was no rhyme or reason for my anxious feelings, they would just pop their evil head.

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So I did what I do best, I went to the worse case scenario. Rather than identifying these as anxiety triggered “panic attacks”, I convinced myself that there was really something wrong with me. Sure I’ve dealt with anxiety before in the past, but nothing like this. There was no relief. I eventually went to my doctor, but I knew inside of me how to tackle this one. While life seemed to be going my way and I’ve never been happier in my personal life, I knew somethings were affecting me more than they should, and I needed an outsider to help me work through it.

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I’ve gone to counseling in the past when things aren’t going well for me. The separation of my parents, the death of a friend, a breakup, a divorce. So naturally, I’ve always associated “counseling” as a negative. But what I have come to realize is that counseling shouldn’t be sought just in the bad times. Sometimes it’s in the best of times when life is going your way, that we choose to invest in ourselves and our relationships. We always seek to be a better version of ourselves and I knew I had some layers I wanted to peel back. I wanted to better understand my past and why things worked out the way they did. I wanted to be a better mom, girlfriend, friend, daughter. And I absolutely did not want the past to repeat itself. I was on the right track generally speaking, and I wanted to do everything the right way this time around.

So the first time in my life, I have stuck with it and have gained some much wisdom. I’m learning to ease up on myself and not take life so seriously. I’m finding more joy in everyday situations. I’m letting myself take a nap on days when Landyn naps and not cram in 2 more hours of work. I’m enjoying hot tub dates with Josh after Landyn goes to bed at night and putting my phone and computer down for an hour. I’m letting myself cook no fuss meals or being ok with take out. I’m trying to incorporate exercise into my daily routine. I’m calling my best friend to catch up when I have an extra 10 minutes in my day and not feel pressure to catch up on my social media channels. I’ve cut out caffeine and have replaced that habit with more water. I’m learning to say no and not overcommit myself. Im taking fifteen minute walks around the lake to admire my beautiful hometown before preschool pick up. I’m not letting toxic people affect me anymore. I’m worrying less and trusting more. Im breathing.

And you want to know what? I woke up one day and the nervous feelings were gone. As soon as I started listening to my body, speaking my mind, and talking through my past, a weight was lifted from my shoulders.  If something makes me anxious, I deal with it and move on.

I know there are so many out there that struggle with anxiety. I have definitely not mastered the topic, but I am writing this to bring awareness to the issue. What works for you? How do you cope with anxious feelings?

Your comments all light up my day. So thank you.

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Oregon Part I

So I put on my big girl panties and took Landyn on her first vacation. A vacation that will include a total of 25 hours of drive time. I totally went out on a limb here, I know. I’m still in shock.

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Josh’s mom has a house up in Redmond Oregon, so we are spending the week amongst the fresh mountain air. We’ve been here 3 days, and I’ve already learned the following:

I am the worst over packer in history, yet still managed to forget necessities. 

Waiting until the last minute never turns out well and you settle without Sorel snow boots because the ones you just got are too big and no one has them in stock. 

Traveling with kids requires a vacation from your vacation. It’s no joke. 

The term “California girl” is real and Landyn lives it. The kid thinks sweatshirts are jackets, shoes without socks is acceptable in 20 degree weather, and there is such thing as “warm bathing suits”. She’s got so much to learn.

Part 1 of our Oregon adventure…

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My little marshmallow snow bunny. 

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Oregon is non stop scenic beauty. 

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Mt. Bachelor, Oregon.

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The first time Josh and Landyn met last winter, we took a day trip to the snow where he surprised Landyn with her own personalized sled. This little red sled is a little sentimental to me. 

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I’ll be back tomorrow with a little reflection on 2013. Happy new years from Oregon.

xo

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Christmas Cheer

I’ve been feeling a little “cheerier” then usual this holiday season. Maybe it’s because Landyn is at the age where she actually gets it. There truly is nothing better than watching Christmas magic through a child’s eyes. Or maybe it’s adding Josh to our equation and experiencing our first Christmas as the three of us. We’ve been busy sharing old traditions and making new ones. Incorporating his and ours and watching that family dynamic grow.

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I’m trying to curb anxious feelings, plan ahead, not be afraid to say no, and remember what this season is all about. Feeling grateful.

It’s happy here.

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