My *Snow* Babies

My *Snow* Babies

SNOW!! It actually SNOWED in Oklahoma, and it wasn’t ICE! It’s a Christmas miracle…well, for many Oklahomans, it really was! The kids were out of school for two days – which is a little weird now because they now have Virtual School Days instead of Snow Days. In any case, it meant more time with my kiddos, snow time, hot chocolate, and of course…snow pictures (and video…)! It actually worked out super well because I was also able to have a fellow photographer’s session right after this! Actually, in the moments before she came (and even while waiting for my daughter to finish her orthodontist appointment) I took some test shots. I don’t care how seasoned you are as a photographer, I truly believe you ALWAYS need to check your settings. And, when photographing another photographer…hello, pressure! I wanted to nail the session for sure! Seriously, I did check out my settings a couple times, and also wrapped my camera gear up in plastic so it wouldn’t get all wet. But really, I think I nailed the settings, y’all. What people don’t realize is there are SO MANY WAYS to set your camera up to take the pictures YOU want. Not setting it on auto and hoping for the best, but actually setting your camera up for successful pictures. For instance, in these images, we have beautiful bokeh (foreground and background!), which I love, check. Gorgeous falling snow, check. Perfect exposure, check. Perfect subjects, check, check! Oh, and they are super sharp! I edited these with a matte, grain look, but in camera and without even without editing, they focus is nailed. Love it when all the things come together as I want them to. But it wouldn’t happen without practice and knowing my camera, and my lenses. 

Oh, and apparently this week, we are looking to get more snow in the area – still crossing fingers – so I decided I’d get these up and share these now so I can take new ones in a few days! Snow is so so beautiful to photograph. And so are my babies, so putting the two together make this mama’s heart melt! 

xx, Shelby 

December Snow in OKC

December Snow in OKC

I tend to think it’s a pretty big compliment when a photographer asks you to photograph their family, so when this sweet photographer reached out to me, I was more than happy to have a snow session with her! I was actually going to be out in the snow for just a few minutes anyways, with my own two littles at about the same time she was hoping, so it was fun to get to be out there with this beautiful family, even for five minutes! In that short time, I think I captured over 40 images, and honestly I pretty much loved them all! Snow + a Child’s Innocence + a Really Fashion Coordinated Family = Yes Please! Below is just a sneak peek, but you can tell we had fun! 

Not only did I get to meet a new to me local photographer, but I also got to experiment with a matte, grain look on t these images since this Mama preferred that look to my usual natural, purist type style…and I am okay with that! I love how these turned out and it pulled me out of my normal comfort zone. Note: I am not big on presets, y’all!! I honestly enjoy hand editing and there hasn’t been a single image I’ve EVER produced that I didn’t hand edit to some degree. Even in the early days, when I bought not so great (to my style) presets, and used them and then tried to fix them, LOL!  I’m sure many would think that’s silly, but it’s just how I am. Each photo and each photo session speaks differently to me, so although my editing style isn’t 100% one way, I hope the images are still speaking to you too! 

Oh! And, my new photographer friend is Tori Rice, and you can find her work at Tori Rice Photography!

xx, Shelby 

Renew: My 2020 Personal Journey to Wellness – 6 Month Update

Renew: My 2020 Personal Journey to Wellness – 6 Month Update

How has it already been six months? Actually, it’s been over 6 months, by about a week. 
If you are new to coming to my page, or if it’s the first time hearing about this, I’ll share a summary. In late May 2020, I had a breast explant surgery – yep, I voluntarily got rid of some toxic bags that I now know factually were making me sick. So, so very sick. I won’t lie and say I’m miraculously completely healed, and to be clear, that was never my expectation. I wanted to feel ANY amount, even 10% better, and know for certain that I had done everything in my power to feel better. I have an autoimmune disease aside from what I now know to be Breast Implant Illness, so I think I went in to surgery with realistic expectations. 

If you’re wondering why I’d share this on a photography page, well, it’s really just somewhat cathartic for me to share! Also, it’s that this has the most reach of people who may be affected by #BII. I want people to know my story. I want women and men alike to understand the possible consequences of breast implants. I want women to know that they are NOT alone! If you have breast implants, saline or silicone, and you are having issues with fatigue, joint pain, brain fog…it might be worth looking in to. Please don’t misunderstand and think that you WILL get #BII or that I think all implants cause this in everyone. I know plenty of women who have implants (I almost used to think I was a rare unicorn amongst my friends, but alas, lots of us have or have had them). I know plenty who don’t have any of these issues. I also know plenty who don’t think some of their similar issues could be related to #BII. But…it might be. And even if those types of issues aren’t something you are experiencing, know that my particular body is now and will be permanently “deformed” from the implants. Yes, you read that correctly. Permanently deformed. My ribs, like the individual ribs that were under the weight of the implants, are now concave. My ribs are misshapen. Maybe that’s why it was hard to get a full breath of air for so long. In any case, I did ask my surgeon if this thought was accurate (that my ribs are now concave) and he said that it was in fact true that the weight can alter the ribs. Again, not something I expect happens to everyone, but be aware of it. And just so we are all clear, I did not have abnormally large implants! I went from a “barely A” cup to a B, and through pregnancy and aging, went to a full B/small C. So about 300 cc of fluid, I believe. Maybe a pound of implants? But over 17+ years, the damage was still done. Anyways, here’s the 6 month post op update on my symptoms (very similar to the 3 month update): 

InflammationImproved 30+%
Joint Pain – Improved 30+%
AnxietyImproved (not sure on %, because this was a particularly stressful month)
Difficulty ConcentratingSlight improvement – 15%
Memory LossThis one I’m not sure on. Still not great, but that’s been the same since I was about 18
Brain FogImproved!! 50% 
Hair LossImprovedHair growth visible, looks healthier  — I’ve had some additional hair loss since the third month, but not like it was a year ago)
DepressionDefinitely an improvement. 
Mood SwingsNot sure, but I feel confident it’s improved. 
Shortness of BreathBETTER!! Improved 80% or more! I had no idea that my breaths had become so, so shallow. Just days after surgery, I could FEEL myself breathing deeper. Even if nothing else changed, this would have been worth it!!! 
Weight GainNot sure. Some weight loss since surgery, but I also did a juice cleanse for five days about a month ago. Unfortunately, I followed that up with a month of Starbucks and eating out. Sooo…between that and the stress, I did lose weight, but it fluctuates, and though less weight than before surgery, I’m not sure how much is from just that. 

Chronic Fatigue – SO MUCH BETTER!! Probably 50%. Yes, I still get tired doing menial daily tasks, but what I haven’t done is lay in bed all day pretty much since maybe a week after surgery. Are there days I want/need a nap? Yes. But it’s not daily anymore, and even better, I’m able to exercise and walk without becoming short of breath and tired. I already know that my quality of life has been forever changed. 

And here’s what I really wanted to share below. Pictures of what my Move, Exercise and Stand rings (Apple Watch app) used to look like compared to the last few months. I’m hardly the same person. It’s AMAZING what I’ve been able to accomplish while NOT spending 4-6 hours in bed, daily. I don’t care what anyone says. I know those toxic bags were NOT good for me. The data speaks for itself. Before those things were out, I could barely move, let alone exercise for 5 minutes, much less over 30 minutes. They are just some random screen shots from my phone, but almost any month before May 2020 will look similar to the November 2019/January 2020 shots. I actually did work out quite a bit in July, and then took some time off with the infamous move that didn’t happen since I was concentrating on … packing for that same move! Ha! And while I’m thinking about it – my pain. I don’t have post surgery breast pain. I DID have pain prior to the surgery (although was assured from my general physician it wasn’t my implants). But really, everything is back to normal for the most part (very rarely some tenderness, but that may be hormonal or something…it doesn’t feel like it’s a post-surgical pain at all). 

I still fear that I’ll regress somehow and maybe that this is all temporary, and my body will reset it’s immune system. I dread the day I ruin my streak of working out daily, knowing that it’ll make me feel like I failed. I know that isn’t true, but I still worry. I’m so very sad for the “me” that I was for so long, but so thankful for the me that I’ve discovered since the surgery. The difference has been life changing. I’ll also mention that of course I have bad days! I don’t necessarily like my body’s new appearance in the way that I probably should. But, I’m accepting it. Some days are harder than others, and I expect that’ll always be the case. I still know I made the right choice, for me. 

If you have any questions about #BII, please contact me. I’ve had numerous friends or friends of friends (or even some strangers!) contact me in regards to their health issues. I’m no expert, but I’m a completely open book and can walk you through what I went through, and how I found my explant surgeon, Dr. Derek Shadid. You can also see previous posts regarding #BII here: One Week Post Op  2 Month Post Op3 Month Post Op and Journey to Wellness – Pre-Op


I may or may not have thrown in the last picture to gloat to my friend, Shelby, just a little. 🙂 
I was proud of myself though for doing a competition and it just happened to be that I  beat him! 

xx, Shelby

Oh yes…I updated my headshots!! 
Taken on October 31st, so about 5 months post op. Feeling AND looking healthy! 

My Last Alabama Photo Session – One to Remember

My Last Alabama Photo Session – One to Remember

I’m just now going back through super old drafts that I have started, and decided I’d like to share this, even though it’s about four years old! And I’ve done two weddings since this one! 

I am frequently asked if I do weddings…

*I do*

That said, it’s typically people who truly want me for my photography style and those who have more intimate, smaller weddings. I was so, so grateful to end my time in Alabama with a bang and a one of a kind wedding on the Alabama Riverfront in Montgomery. Jennifer knows my husband, Jason, through working together at Maxwell, and I was happy to meet with Jennifer and Kenny to discuss their vision for their wedding, and if I would be able to document it the way they’d like. Wedding photography is not at all the same as family photography or newborn photography, so I was very clear that although I would love to do this for them, I don’t have the experience to consider myself a “wedding photographer.” Thankfully, they still loved my vision and my photography style, and I was able to capture their ceremony, as well as the reception aboard the Harriott II! Here is just a *very tiny* glimpse in to their Wedding Day…

And, I’m also going to add, just for my memory’s sake…it was the best post-reception ever. Grateful they loved me enough as both a photographer and a friend…they said I could drink and enjoy the reception and post reception fun at the bar downtown. Sooooo, I did. But of course, after I fulfilled my commitment, I promise! Give me all of the fun couples like this one…these weddings I can handle! 

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Golden Hour Mini

Golden Hour Mini

How I loved seeing this sweet family again this year! Last year, my friend, client, and realtor, Kat Kosmala with ERA in Oklahoma City did an amazing Client Appreciation event, and that is where I initially took this family’s pictures. They were, and still are, so kind, and let me know how much the photographs meant to them. This year, this Mama got a hold of me and requested a Fall, Golden Hour session, which of course is something I love to do and do often. Since she really only wanted a couple of pictures, I decided that we could do a Mini Session as long as we stayed on this side of town to squeeze her in, and remembered the field that I was able to do my family’s pictures at two weeks prior which had a beautiful, open shot to the golden sun. Y’all, she drove from Edmond for my photography…what a compliment!! Unfortunately, it had become *a tad* more bare in that short time…but I’m so grateful my client didn’t mind at all! She commented on how beautiful the light was, so I’ll call it a win — and of course her sweet children brightened the place up even more! Just take a quick peek at how gorgeous this session was!! Oh, and we had one pretty sleepy little guy to start, but it didn’t take long for him to warm up and essentially start modeling for me! Loved seeing both of their personalities shine in our session together. And I’m thankful I made a new military mama friend!! 

xx, Shelby 

I’m not sure what I was doing exactly, but whatever it was…this sweet girl seemed to LOVE it!!! What an absolute sweetheart! 

I couldn’t love this Mama anymore …she got the picture above as part of her order, and my heart was thrilled! THIS is what I want to remember of my babies, and so glad she does too!! 

By the end of this session, I swear I had a model on my hands!! He did such an awesome job…sleepy and all!! And yes, if you have kids (or really even husbands…) and you have a session with me, I’ll make sure you do two things: 1) BRIBE. Yep. I said it. Bribe them!!! and 2) REWARD them!!! Most adults have a hard time with pictures for more than a few minutes, and kids are no different! Let them know it’s supposed to be fun, and then reward them after!! 

For more awesome parenting tips, just follow me, HAHAHAHAHA! But really, the bribes work! 

Celebrating Sweet 16

Celebrating Sweet 16

I’m always thankful when new clients choose me out of the pools of talented photographers that we have here in Oklahoma City! This particular client made me giddy since not only did I get to document their family session (still to come to the blog), but I also was asked to capture their daughter’s Sweet 16 pictures, ahead of the big day, of course! Well, today is that day, and I couldn’t be happier to share these with you, and to wish my sweet, beautiful client a Happy Sweet 16th! Her Mom and I got along so, so well over the phone, and their whole family was such a delight through our session together! 

A little bit about our session before sharing these gorgeous images – they asked for a session at Pinkitzel (www.pinkitzel.com) in Oklahoma City and of course I went a little early to scope the area out. Not going to lie – I’ve wanted to have a session here for a while, for the session AND so that I could see what this place was all about! It is a cute little candy store, complete with a bakery and delicious looking cupcakes! From their floors, to their beautiful display of candy jars and ALL the candy, it’s very aesthetic for this type of event! Plus, the staff was very kind and accommodating to us, and we were able to shoot away from other patrons in a back private room. Definitely worth checking out, especially if you love sweets! Grateful that Pinkitzel is so generous and allows photographers to shoot there. 

Happiest of Birthday Wishes to you, L, and I hope that you had the most perfect day celebrating YOU!! 

Oh, and seriously? How lucky am I?! She’s stunning, y’all, and so very sweet!

xo, Shelby

  

  

                        

 

 

 

Celebrating TWO…and my First Home-Water Birth

Celebrating TWO…and my First Home-Water Birth

It’s hard for me to imagine, but this time two years ago, I was barely recovering from having my first HOME Water Birth Story session! Yes, me. I was recovering…from photographing it! To say this birth was eventful would be a huge understatement, as this birth was filled with so much peace, joy, love…and also worry, pain, and uncertainty. Our strong Mommy undoubtedly passed her strength and spirit to her incredible, brave, princess fighter, and through some tears and quite literally a “labor of love,” I watched as this life was brought Earth side. We started at my clients’ home, fairly late in the evening, maybe around 9 pm, but ended up at OU Children’s sometime well after midnight. Thankfully, God had His hand over this family the whole time, and I could not have been more thankful to be a small part of their amazing journey while growing their sweet family. Through the joys of having social media and especially Facebook, I have been able to watch this precious little one grow into now a beautiful little “wildflower” as her Mommy likes to say. I’m sharing today as I think of this child often, and am so thankful for her life and that I was able to witness the beginning of it. With the COVID pandemic taking over our ability to do normal, daily tasks, including various types of photography over the past several months, I have missed being able to meet and document our world’s newest blessings. And this birth was so very special to me, so sharing my love for Births and this Birth Story just seemed natural. 

Here are a couple of images from this special child’s amazing Birth Story, as captured through my lens. I love every image from this Birth Story. Documenting this time is truly an honor for me. To be there, in the room, present with Mom, Dad, the medical team, and of course, God, who makes this miracle happen. I’ve been questioned before about how I can document “births.” “Aren’t they…umm…”  … LET ME STOP YOU THERE. Births are beautiful. They are part of everyone’s story, and documenting the details couldn’t be more fulfilling to my soul. If you can’t see beauty in these images, my guess is that you have some preconceived notion of what you think birth is like, and not what it actually is. Because…just look at these! BEAUTIFUL. GOD. MIRACLES. 

Happiest of Birthdays to you, Eden! Thankful to have been among the first to meet you!

                             

 

xx, 

Shelby 

 

Renew: My 2020 Personal Journey to Wellness September 15 Update

Not sure who all has hung in there with me through these last couple of “Renew:” blog updates, but this one should catch me up to the present! 

Last week, on September 15th, I had my 3 month post op check up with the amazing Dr. Derek Shadid. First, for anyone who may be considering any plastic surgery, I would *highly* recommend Dr. Shadid and his professional staff any day. He and his staff are truly fantastic, and this comes from a highly picky person! I’ve had quite a few inquiries on who I chose as my surgeon as well as why, and to be honest, it was several factors including professionalism of office staff, his location here in Oklahoma City, his education (GO HEELS!), and more…but it boiled down to one main factor. Him. He is polite, kind, spent plenty of time discussing my symptoms and concerns with me and didn’t make me feel like my concerns weren’t valid (like my primary care manager did). Also, his experience! Not gonna lie – I had a very long (like to the extreme) list of questions and concerns for him, but even before I could get to nearly all of them, he had covered the bases with me. I didn’t feel like a burden for my thoughts or that he didn’t understand my ailments. For anyone suffering with chronic illness and autoimmune disease, you know this is very, very rare. Also, Dr. Shadid’s assistant, April, was kind, understanding, and honestly helped put me at ease (hello, vulnerability). I also want to mention Leslie, the front office receptionist as well as Patricia, who deals with the financials. Leslie was beyond patient with my initial questions and did all she could to get me in to see Dr. Shadid in a very timely manner. She welcomed my persistent calls to see when a cancelation might pop up, and that’s how I was able to get in to see Dr. Shadid so quickly last year. She’s a welcoming face each time I have gone in, and working with Patricia to work through the financial aspect of surgery was also so easy because of her knowledge and kind personality. 

Okay, now on to the good stuff. My 3-month checkup! It went very well! I have been cleared for all activity, meaning that nothing that I do should hurt any of the surgical healing process. This is great news since really about a month and a half or so ago, I had already started to feel so much more like myself and have been working out more regularly. Nothing crazy – walking, mostly, but still more than normal for me. It’s still a little tender in there while doing certain activities – jumping on my trampoline, for instance – but overall, I’m mostly pain free. Dr. Shadid said that some of the tenderness and few slightly sharper pains that I may experience could be from nerves waking up a bit more, and that this is normal and I can work through the pains with massage. It’s nothing to be concerned with, however. During the appointment, one of my main concerns, which was discussed pretty much from Day 1, was the idea of a fat transfer. This procedure would be where Dr. Shadid takes fat from my back or wherever he is able, and both slim down that area and transfer the fat into the breast pockets. Although we all agree this procedure would lead to the most aesthetic option for me, I have concerns still over quite a few things, including cost and possibly continuing cost. Additional health concerns to include calcification? Long term effects? Fat dissolving into the body, requiring more surgery?? Sigh. I don’t know. Lots to absorb and think about, so for the time being, I’m going to be as happy as I can be with the explant. Women, obviously myself included, put way too much into their looks every day. I had no idea how many women changed their God-given bodies so much through surgery. Women that I know. Women that aren’t “out there on TV” or wealthy. Just…all types of women. I’m not against it, but I do feel it’s problematic about our society when so many of us aren’t happy with ourselves, especially when I look around at the women and friends that have had some work done, and they are and always have been so beautiful to me, regardless of procedure. It’s still baffling to me, since for so many years, I was ashamed that “I was the only one” who had “work done.” I had my reasons to justify, but apparently we all do.

Back to the idea of a fat transfer – this was on the radar from Day One because, as I’ve been very open about, I have pretty much zero breast tissue. Just wasn’t in the cards for me. That hasn’t changed through weight gain or bearing children who nursed. As I standing in front of April, Dr. Shadid’s assistant, extremely vulnerable for her to update my 3 month pictures, she could see my discomfort as I said that I was once again sorry for my appearance. As kindly as ever, she gently reminded me that I could elect to have a fat transfer to change that. She knows I’m hesitant for many reasons. After that super uncomfortable moment, I waited for Dr. Shadid and again, just like the first couple of post op appointments, he mentioned that if I’m unhappy with my result, I would be an ideal candidate for a fat transfer. I had secretly hoped that, like 20 years ago, or even 5 years ago, I’d have been too skinny to pull fat from! HA! Not anymore. Maybe THAT’S the reason for my weight gain…totally kidding! I have some definite areas where he could get possibly up to half a cup size for each breast. I’m honestly not sure it’s worth it…though, the idea of having some unwanted fat removed does pique my interest! I’m truly glad to have my options, but also wonder why I feel such a great need to change. Anyways, aside from that discussion and talking about my incisions and their appearance (I chose a particular kind of stitching process that wouldn’t leave anything in my body but that also dissolves differently so the result is a little different), we ended with seeing each other in a year, I think. Actually, I’ll have to check whether it’s a year or six months…at the time of the appointment I was not planning on being here because of an impending move, but the move has been canceled, so now I need to actually process that!

OH! And, an update on my symptoms! Here’s a short list from my first BII post, which you can find here: Journey to Wellness

InflammationImproved 30+%
Joint Pain – Improved 30+%
AnxietyImproved (not sure on %, because this was a particularly stressful month)
Difficulty ConcentratingSlight improvement – 15%
Memory LossThis one I’m not sure on. Still not great, but that’s been the same since I was about 18
Brain FogImproved!! 50% 
Hair Loss – Improved – Hair growth visible, looks healthier
DepressionAgain, it’s been a rough month, but I believe until this past month, I did have an improvement. Not huge, but some. 
Mood SwingsNot sure, but I feel confident it’s improved. 
Shortness of BreathBETTER!! Improved 50% or more! I had no idea that my breaths had become so, so shallow. Just days after surgery, I could FEEL myself breathing deeper. Even if nothing else changed, this would have been worth it!!! 
Weight GainNot sure. Some weight loss since surgery, but I also did a juice cleanse for five days about a month ago. Unfortunately, I followed that up with a month of Starbucks and eating out. Sooo…between that and the stress, I did lose weight, but it fluctuates, and though less weight than before surgery, I’m not sure how much is from just that. 

I’m adding to this list: 

Chronic Fatigue – SO MUCH BETTER!! Probably 50%. Yes, I still get tired doing menial daily tasks, but what I haven’t done is lay in bed all day pretty much since maybe a week after surgery. Are there days I want/need a nap? Yes. But it’s not daily anymore, and even better, I’m able to exercise and walk without becoming short of breath and tired. I already know that my quality of life has been forever changed. 

One last tidbit before I end this update. 

I forgot that I had also asked Dr. Shadid about my ribcage and sternum, and how to me, they felt deformed. I feel like my sternum protrudes a bit while my ribs that were under my implants are a bit…concave. Yes, my actual ribs. I wondered for a while if maybe I was imagining this, but he confirmed that this was not an imagination, but that my body truly does now have a deformity. It likely isn’t going to cause any future damage or organ damage or anything, thankfully. That said, for anyone who has implants and/or for anyone who might one day consider getting them, PLEASE KNOW ALL OF THE RISKS. We ALL thought we knew going in to our surgeries for implants. I did. My friends with implants did. My new “breasties” (friends who have the same types of issues in various groups) all did. But we don’t. MY RIBCAGE IS DEFORMED, Y’ALL. Forever. I truly wonder if THIS is why back in 2011 I had my first bout of costochondritis (inflammation of the ribs). Was the weight of my implants over those 8 years what caused that? It wouldn’t surprise me. Even as I type, I can remember the feeling of pain in my right ribs, right under my breast, where I would have this terrible dull ache for months at a time. No rhyme or reason. No doctor ever told me that it could be the implants — which is CLEARLY marked on ALL of my medical paperwork. I still have some dull pains, and I expect that it won’t ever “go away completely”…but I doubt I’m doing anything now to make it worse (like harboring toxic, heavy bags in my breast pockets). This deformity may also be causing some of the issue with my appearance — if my ribs go in, it’s likely that the minuscule bit of tissue I have (pretty much zero, but still trying to humor the possibility) is also pulling in, and not having the normal protrusion like most women. Remember, I’m a LOT smaller than most, so those bags (they were small and only got me up to a B Cup) were still big and likely heavy for my frame. I worry for those who I know have much, much larger implants, and the pains they may one day have because of them. 

I really wanted to share this with anyone wanting the updates. I know that women in particular have benefitted from my openness and vulnerability.

As hard as it is, I am thankful that my story may one day help someone who reads this. 

xx Shelby 

**Picture from March, pre-explant. One day I’ll take some updated selfies, but it’s been a little crazy over here since the surgery! 

Renew: My 2020 Personal Journey to Wellness – July 31 Update

Renew: My 2020 Personal Journey to Wellness – July 31 Update
Updating with another post – this one is from two months post surgery, and the difference in lifestyle is so recognizable by anyone who knows me! Explanting was definitely the right decision, and though the struggles are still real, I know I am better off without the toxic, fake breasts taking away from my life. 
 
“Good morning!!
Quite a few people have asked for updates on my post-surgery recovery, and the results speak for themselves! It’s only been two months, and I swear I’ve been more physically active in this time since surgery than the previous four years combined. Yesterday I walked two miles, and this morning (before 9 am!) I walked 2.3 miles! This is in addition to some light workouts, as well as being productive through the day. A few months ago, I could barely get a mile in, and I’d be in bed for several hours after. It’s embarrassing, I know, but that was my life, for way longer than I care to admit. The relentless pain and exhaustion was truly that unbearable.
My pain level has decreased substantially, and while I fully believe my AS autoimmune disorder still exists and will continue to cause issues for me (my spinal pain and hip pains have decreased, but still very much there), I think my body is able to help itself more now that it’s not fighting off something that should have never been in there. I am curious about my Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue diagnoses — so many with BII have those diagnoses as well, and a lot of those symptoms have improved. Not 100%, but a big improvement for sure.
I haven’t really lost any weight since last month, despite my efforts, but I’m still feeling healthier in general. I feel I lost some inflammation immediately following surgery, and that was about it. I’ll be seeing a functional medicine doctor soon, and hopefully more things will improve over time and a bit more digging for answers. Physically, my post surgery wounds are healing well, and though I’m trying to adjust my self-perception and self-esteem, I *do* think it is possible there will come a day when I’m not so saddened by my appearance. Though, it depends on which day you catch me on how I’m *really* feeling. All that said, it’s still worth it.

Seeing all three rings closed yesterday was amazing, but being more active with the kids (i.e. I jumped on the trampoline yesterday…something I’d have thought would break my body a few months ago!!!) and being more productive regularly has been even better!! Continuing to pray for healing 💕

xx Shelby 

 
 

Renew: My 2020 Personal Journey to Wellness – June 3rd Update

Renew: My 2020 Personal Journey to Wellness – June 3rd Update
I’m playing catch up, again, which seems to be my favorite game! I wanted to make sure these updates on my surgery are recorded somewhere other than Facebook, and are searchable for anyone who might be interested. I have had at least half a dozen women ask me about BII, and I am very happy to help in any way that I can. The biggest takeaway is that you are not alone!!
 
This post is from one week post op, so from June 3, 2020. My surgery was May 27th, so I wrote this about a week later.
I didn’t grab my selfie shot for this blog post, but in any case, you can get the gist of how my post-surgery week went! 
 
“It’s been one week since my surgery, and I’ve been trying to figure out what to say. In fact, this time last week, the recovery nurses and anesthesiologists were still trying to wake me up from my “narcoleptic” state (until I finally left around 10:30 – the procedure began around 1:00 and was about four and a half hours total). Literally, they tried waking me up for longer than the procedure itself 🙈 Every time I’d begin coming out of sleep, my oxygen would drop and I’d pass back out. I was on oxygen for a while and breathing treatments, most of which I don’t remember much about. The flashes of things I do remember amuse me though. I’m very grateful for the care I received from the recovery team (Gail, Jorgie, Dr Chris) and of course the patience that Jason and Amanda had while waiting for me, in the parking lot.
 
The week post-op has been really positive overall; minimal pain meds were used, and I feel more alert and have a bit more energy (which is weird to me since I’m on muscle relaxers around the clock and am healing intensely in my body). My first post op appointment was Thursday after surgery and my second follow up was yesterday. My drains were removed (hallelujah 🙌🏼). I’m bruised, obviously have a long way to go to “heal,” physically and psychologically.
I’m sure it doesn’t help that it seems I awoke to a world literally on fire and in <even more> chaos and disarray. My heart hurts for our nation and it seems like there’s no end in sight.
All that to say, I had so much peace about the surgery itself, going in to the surgery, and now will continue to ask for prayers for healing and peace over recovery – mine, and our country’s. It’ll still be a few weeks of relatively restricted activity, and obviously a lot of physical changes will also be taking place. I haven’t cried or even been upset, yet…so I’m hoping to keep it that way. 💞
 
Below is a quick before and after of one week ago to this morning, just in my face; I hate selfies, and no make up selfies even more, but I think it’s good to look back on and to share. A lot of women can do this before/after immediately after surgery…y’all I was a mess until Friday (I still have almost no memory of Thursday, much less have had the ability for a picture where I wasn’t zonked out) and honestly didn’t see the change others see. I had been feeling a lot of inflammation in my body, my hands and fingers, face, etc for a couple years, and from what I’ve seen in BII groups, this is a real thing. I didn’t see it by itself, but I feel there is a difference in my face when the images are side by side. Same bathroom and lighting, even though the before is brighter for some reason. Anyways, I’m thankful for the outpouring of love and prayers and all of the kindness shown to my family by friends! We’ve had so much food sent to us, as well as lot of people checking in and sharing their stories of BII with me.
Love and hugs to all, and if anyone has questions about #BII, I’m an open book.”
 
xx Shelby
 
Phone picture from my dear friend and surgery care giver, Amanda! So thankful for her time and energy spent on helping me get well and be with me through this time. 
Also, my Baby Yoda is a gift which was hand made by my dear friends, the Spiveys! My friend Shelby’s wife, Liz, makes them, and was a total surprise when they conspired with my husband to give him to me before surgery.