Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mom's Mini Vacation

Earlier this month I went on my mini vacation back to my hometown to visit some of my high school friends.  One of my friends I hadn't seen in over 16 years, another friend I hadn't seen since 2005 and my other friend I hadn't seen since we graduated high school back in 1986!  It was great to see my friends.

I was a bit nervous about making the drive as I had never made the trip without my husband before, but I did bring along my oldest daughter who is 24, so she was my navigator with the map in hand... we only took one wrong turn the entire way, which was REALLY good for me! 

We finally made it to our first destination which was my best friend Cindy's place to visit her and her daughter.  I had never met her daughter before this, so this was a special visit for me.  Here is a silly picture of us in her backyard...  I'm the tall chubby one on the left.
After my trip to Cindy's place, we made it a point to stop at White Castle - a place that I used to love to eat at when I was growing up in the area.  Here is me, yes... in my pj's absolutely LOVING my White Castle cheeseburger.
The next day (Saturday) we spent the day with my other best friend Darlene and her 22yr old daughter who my daughter used to play with when they were kids.  We went to a New Age bookstore where I did some serious financial damage, but loved everything that I bought.  That night  Dar and I had plans to have dinner with another VERY good friend of ours... John.  In high school John was like a brother to me and we've stayed close ever since.  It was great seeing him again... even though we acted like fools in the restaurant.  Here are a couple of pics for you to enjoy.

Then we got back to our hotel room and had a blast there for awhile...  I can't remember when I laughed as much as I laughed this weekend.  Here are the pics from the hotel room.

I've already made my hotel reservations for my next trip back home - I'm going back in October for another fun filled 3 day weekend, which I can not wait for!!!  This time, we're dressing up in 80's attire for dinner, which should be interesting!!!  What a blast!!!! 

Thanks for reading and enjoying the pictures~

Until next time~

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I Survived My Surgery... Somewhat.

Hello all, I am sooo happy to finally be back online.  I've missed my online connections and friends.  This is a rough post to be writing because I still can not put my arm on the desk, so I'm typing with my arm raised in the air so it doesn't touch the desk. 

This picture above is me finally "happy" that the nurses were able to get my IV in my hand...  They had so much trouble because I have horrible veins in my right hand.  They tried smacking my hand, they put it in a hot blanket, nothing worked - they even tried in my forearm, so that's when they called in an anesthesia nurse, she was like magic, one poke and the IV was in, with no pain!  As you can see in the picture, my face is quite red from all of the poking and prodding, I was getting stressed out, I was so glad when the IV was finally in.  They then gave me a dose of Versed which I called "magic juice" because it took away my anxiety within minutes.  My surgeon came in and talked to me, then the anesthesiologist came in and he was cool... he explained everything to me in a comical way, which also helped to ease my anxiety.  Then I was ready to rock n' roll...  They wheeled me into the OR and I made a comment that everything was "so shiny".  (I think it was the Versed talking)  Then the anesthesiology nurse gave me some oxygen and told me to take some deep breaths, which I did.  Then he said that he was going to give me the first stage of anesthesia and again to take deep breaths... I took one deep breath, told the nurse that "this stinks" then poof....  I was gone!

This is me after I woke up in recover and was moved to a different area where my husband would be able to be with me.  I'm dopey as hell in this picture, but not feeling any pain at the moment because before they moved me, they injected some really good pain killer stuff into my IV.  As you can see from my fingers, they are already swelling up - by the time I'm done, my hand will be twice the size of my right hand.  I was in this room eating a little bit of applesauce and drinking a bit of water and chomping on ice chips.  Then the nausea set in.  They gave me a Percocet before I left to go home.  Once I got home, Jon helped to get me into my recliner and poof, I puked.  Thank goodness I had the puke bag in hand. 

The first week of my recover was hard as hell...  Every day that passed, the pain increased and I started to itch from the bandages, so by the next Monday I was back at my surgeons office mentioning about the increasing pain and itching.  He removed my bandages and splint and said to come back in a week to have my staples removed.  This is what I looked like once the wrappings were removed.

I still had a lot of limitations - basically no lifting, no pushing, no pulling, no over extending, etc...  At this point, my husband was still getting me dressed and helping me to bathe and my oldest daughter was doing my hair.  My surgeon told me that this is a very hard recover to heal from because he decompressed the nerve and while he was "in there" he saw that my tendon was too tight, so he released that too.  I have been having nerve pain every day, all day since the day of surgery, which is taking a toll on me physically and emotionally.

The day came to have my staples removed.  I asked the doctor to wait an extra week because I was still in so much pain, but he said that I would have more complications if we waited, so he wanted them removed that day.  OH CRAP!  His surgical nurse came in (she's a sweetie) to remove my staples and as she was removing them, I was crying like a baby it hurt sooo bad.  I've given birth 6 times and this pain was right up there with giving birth.  Like I said, I cried through the removal of the staples, I cried on the way home and I cried once I got home, I can't even describe the pain I was feeling at the time.  This is what I ended up looking like.
I am now 3 weeks and 2 days out from surgery and I still endure nerve pain every day not only inside my arm, but I'm still having a lot of pain at my incision site as well.  I am to keep the suture closures on my arm until I see my doctor on August 2nd.  I'm still on Percocets which I'm to stay on until I see him again, then he will change my meds to a non-narcotic pain killer that I will stay on for 3 months.  The recovery process takes about 4 months to completely heal from... and the "best" part of this whole thing...  I get to do this all over again!  I found out that I have the same compressed nerves in my right arm as I had in my left.  So, I'm going to be repeating this surgery once I'm completely healed from this current surgery.

Thanks for reading this far....  I appreciate all of you!

Until next time...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day To The Dads That I Love

Today's blog post is dedicated to the 2 dads that mean the world to me, my daddy (in the Cubbies shirt) and my loving husband Jon who is my Knight in Shining Armour.  I would not be where I am today if it weren't for these two wonderfully loving men.

My dad has always been the apple of my eye, my dad and I had a bond that could not ever be broken, but now our relationship is different.  My dad passed away October 4th, 2011 after a long battle with coronary disease and renal failure.  I proudly took care of my dad for 14 years, after the death of my mother from breast, bone & brain cancer.  This is going to be my first Father's Day without my dad and it hurts horribly.  I miss him so much, but I also know that he is here with us in spirit.  I hear my dad, I see my dad, he loves my kids too much to move on... but I've also seen my dad dancing with my mom having a grand ol' time, which is what they loved to do in life.  My dad couldn't dance well because when he was a baby he developed Polio and ended up with one leg being shorter than the other, he had a significant limp, but when it came to dancing, he never passed up on an opportunity to dance with my mom.  I remember as a child, me putting my feet on top of his feet and dancing with him in our living room.  Those are memories that I will forever cherish.

As for my husband Jon, we've been married over 17 years and have never regretted one moment of our lives together.  Sure, I may piss him off from time to time, afterall I'm a female, with female hormones, but he always takes it in stride.  Jon and I have been through a lot in our time together, we survived a 6 month Navy Med. Cruise with me being newly pregnant, we've survived raising 5 children with autism and other forms of special needs, we've survived a miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy and a stillborn  son.  We've survived many moves to various states, but we've never lost the love that we have for each other. 

My husband is an excellent father, a very loving father and husband and I couldn't have asked for a better life partner than Jon.  He always puts our children and I first, before his own needs and wants, and will go above and beyond the call of duty when needed - like when our toilet acts up!  (we say he has dookie duty) 

So this post is dedicated to the men that I love always and forever!  Daddy, I miss you more every day and love you more than life itself.  Jon you are the reason I am still breathing, I love you more than life itself and pray that we have many more years to enjoy each others love.

I love you both!

Until next time....

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Upcoming Surgery... Yikes!!!

Well, I am sad to say that you won't be hearing from me for a while soon.  It seems that when I went to see my orthopedic surgeon, I got signed up for surgery.  How did this happen, you ask?  Let me explain...

Last Tuesday (of last week) my husband Jon had an appointment with this same surgeon to see if it was time to do his other knee.  He had a total knee replacement surgery done in Jan 2011 and was told that the other knee would need to be done at a later date...  So since he's having more trouble with the other knee, we went in to see if it was time for surgery.  The doctor ended up giving my husband a shot of cortisone in his knee (which Jon was against) and said to see how he felt in a few days. 

I asked him if I should make an appointment, since the last time I saw him I had en EMG done and it revealed nerve damage in my left elbow.  Well, I told him that my hand is continuing to fall asleep when I'm either talking on the phone (which is why I got a bluetooth headset for my cell phone) or while I'm in bed sleeping.  He said to make an appointment, so I did...  I didn't expect to be seen 2 days later!

So I went to my appointment thinking that my doctor was going to order a second EMG to see where things stand now... but instead he told me to bend my elbow so that my hand was up by my ear and to tell him when my hand starts to fall aslseep while we talked.  I didn't last 2 minutes before my hand started to tingle.  His next words were...  "When do you want to have surgery?"  I think I had a mini stroke when he said that it took me by surprise.  I said, "whenever you can get me in I guess."  So his surgical technologist Gwen came in with the appointment book and scheduled me for Monday the 18th at 8:00am.  I was told to be at the surgery center at 6:30 to get prepped. 

At first I wasn't too nervous, but this past Monday I had my pre-surgical appointment with the nurse who went over all of my information and told me what is going to be done.  Then I freaked out...  She started rattling off everything that I'm NOT going to be able to do while my arm is immobilized for 2 weeks...  the list started with:  you won't be able to dress yourself, you won't be able to pull up your shorts after using the bathroom, you won't be able to do your hair, you won't be able to cook, you won't be able to sleep comfortably (I'm a stomach sleeper) so I'm going to sleep in the Lazy Boy recliner that our cats use as their bed... and the list went on and on...  I told her that with as nervous as I was sitting in that chair, I would be a train wreck come surgery day... she said "no problem, we'll give you some Versed."  I've never had Versed before, but she said that it's "good stuff".

So, as the day is growing closer, my nerves are becoming more frayed.  My oldest daughter is taking the day off of work to babysit my younger kids, and I'll be home by that afternoon - but in what condition, I don't know.

So, I won't be able to blog for the next couple of weeks, I hope you all stick with me and I promise to update you all on my surgery just as soon as I can.

Take care!
Until next time....

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Running As A Lifestyle

Today I have a guest blogger, my good friend Kirsten who I will be hosting a blog post from her every month on the 5th to show her progress as she trains for marathons and other running events, and how she's changing the way she eats.  I will also be a guest blogger on her site as well on the 5th of every month showing how my weight loss program is going.  You can find her blog at:  
Thanks Kirsten for being my friend, my life changing buddy and for being my guest blogger for today!

In 1996 I started running. It was part of a lifestyle makeover prompted by my decision to knock a ten-year smoking habit on the head. I sometimes express surprise about the fact that I fell in love with running, but it was almost inevitable. My dad had been one of South Africa's elite marathoners in his youth, and as a teen I spent many enjoyable hours watching televised athletic events with him.
When I had my kids, the inevitable happened: my running took a back seat, and I began a glorious career as a couch potato.  Repeated efforts over the years to get back into running came to naught, until a chance email landed in my inbox three years ago. The email, which was an invitation to run a half-marathon to raise funds for autism, gave me just the kick in the pants that I needed.
If running for a cause that affected my own child wasn't going to get me back into the sport, then nothing would.
I was only briefly deterred by the fact that I was tipping the scales at 200 pounds at that time. 200 pounds may not be a bad weight for some people, but it was well beyond healthy limits for a five-foot-six woman with a naturally small frame.
I put together a training plan, ditched some of my more unhealthy eating habits, and hit the road. Six months after receiving that first email, I ran a half-marathon. I wasn't exactly a speed demon, but I managed to cross the finish line in reasonable enough nick.
Since then, I have run four more half-marathons and I'm training for my fifth. I have also run a host of races in other distances. I am single-minded about my running. I'm the kind of person who will get up at five in the morning in the middle of winter to go running in the snow. I've done speed training sessions at lunchtime in the middle of a gruelling hot summer, and I've endured long runs with rain squelching in my running shoes.
Considering how weird I am about my running, it's a little curious that I have no discipline whatsoever when it comes to my diet.
I grew up with a serious body image problem, and as a result I have a distinctly uncomfortable relationship with food. I flip-flop between eating disorders, either consuming calories willy-nilly without regard for the consequences, or living on next to nothing.
Just over a week ago, I ran a half-marathon. I missed my personal best time by 25 seconds, which was not bad considering how tough the course was. The race was run on uneven park trails with a number of hills. It struck me that if I could just sort out my nutrition once and for all, get to my optimal weight and stay there, and fuel my body with the right things, I could be a much better runner. I would be leaner and my body would just work better. I probably would have set a personal best time last weekend.
And so I have decided that I am going to conquer my issues with food, using the same strength of mind that I use for my running. I am going to deal with my ridiculous body image hangups, and I am going to respect myself enough to really take care of this body that I live in. After all, it's not like I can trade it in for a replacement if it stops working.
When Mimi and I realized that we both wanted to fix some aspect of our lifestyles, we decided to make it fun by exchanging guest posts once a month. Therefore, on the fifth day of ever month, I will be gracing you, Mimi's readers, with an update on how I am progressing.
The next time you see me, I hope to have more concrete goals in place, along with a proper eating plan. I will be eating fewer carbs and more vegetables. I will be drinking the right amount of fluids, and I will not be skipping meals and relishing the feeling of hunger that I find strangely addictive.
I will be on the path to a healthier me, and a better and faster runner.

Monday, June 4, 2012

My New Journey Begins... Today!

This is what I currently look like...  but hopefully in a few months I will look different.  See... I've started a new weight loss program, and I am extremely psyched about it.  I'm hoping to lose 60 pounds and get back to the weight that I was at when I got married 17 years ago.

Over the years, I've gained the weight, by having babies, by losing babies, stress eating, and I am definitely an emotional eater.  I also eat potato chips (Pringles to be exact) at "certain" times of the month.

I just can't stress enough, how excited I am to be on this program.  The program is the CTS300 which is sold at Complete Nutrition.  I am in no way tied to the company other than being a customer who is excited to be on their program.  Now I won't lie, this is an expensive program to be on, but if I can lose the 60 pounds, my doctor has told me she would take me off of my diabetes medication.  What more motivation do I need than that?!

SO...  I will post one picture a month to show my progress and hopefully over time my weight loss will be noticeable. 

Oh... and I am happy to say that on Tuesday I will have a guest blogger, who happens to be a very good friend of mine and who also started her fitness program on the same day as I.  We will be guest blogging once a month until we reach our goals. 

I hope you are as excited as I am to be starting this journey to wellness!

Until next time...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I'm Going Ghost Hunting!!!!

Some of my friends seem to think that I'm insane or looney... but I love what I do!  I'm excited because tomorrow night I have plans to go to my local Sprint store and ghost hunt!  Here's the story...

Their current building is being torn down and going to be re-built larger with a repair center in it, but while the tearing down and re-building is taking place, the Sprint store is in a temporary location down the street in a strip mall.  What makes me so exited is that as soon as they moved into their temporary location, they started hearing noises coming from the lockers in the back room, so they asked me what I thought.  I immediately picked up on that there is a grumpy older man that wanders throughout the building and he's just making his presence known.

Well, the manager of Sprint went and talked to one of the companies in the building who has been there for quite some time and they told him that at one time, they actually had a guitar levitate on it's own!  (this is a music instrument store)  This excited the manager, who then asked me if I would be willing to come in after the store closes and see what I can come up with.  So I'm doing this tomorrow night and I'm bringing my husbands video camera that has night vision on it and we're going to set it up so it shows the lockers.

I'm really excited to be doing this, but so many of my friends think I've lost it... and maybe I have, but I love speaking with the dead... some of them don't realize that they have truly passed over and that's why they are still hanging around.

I will update after my mini ghost hunting expedition.

Until next time...