Category Archives: sanity

Popping In

Standard

I’ve clearly gotten out of the habit of posting, which is a shame as I use this blog to help us remember all of the small and big moments in our lives. I want to promise I’ll be back regularly now, but really- who knows? Life has been busy but wonderful, which leaves me with less inspiration that I had when times were tougher. I’ve always used humor as my coping mechanism and writing a blog was my therapy.

I don’t really need that kind of therapy anymore, so I need to find some new inspiration to post. You’ll have to forgive me if I am a bit rusty! In the meantime, we’ve been enjoying summer to the fullest, working on a slew of home and garden projects, and building my new business. I’ve been feeling great minus a migraine here and there, and feeling like it doesn’t get much better than this.

And have you heard the big news? I’m going to be an Aunt!! Twice!!! Craig’s sisters are both expecting (along with many of his cousins) and I am so looking forward to having some babies around to spoil and snuggle.

It really doesn’t get much better than this, and I’m going to enjoy this time while it lasts.

In The Clear

Standard

This weekend my parents came up to watch the kids and our four! pets and even the fish, as Craig and I headed up to Excelsior Springs to enjoy some R&R at The Elms hotel.  And it was FABULOUS.  The hotel is historic and gorgeous, and every little detail was perfect.  There is a brand new spa area called the Grotto, which included dry and steam saunas, hots baths, steam showers, and cold showers along with the most comfortable lounger I have ever sat in.  It was heaven.  Followed by an amazing dinner and unusual cocktails from the pre-prohibition era, which were strong enough to ensure that I had absolutely zero problems with insomnia!  There was also the most unusual lap pool hidden away in the very lowest level of the hotel, it was built around columns and was shaped like a compressed O.  You could literally swim laps in circles with no flip turns required.  Hard to describe, but I’ve never seen anything like it.  There was a gorgeous heated pool outside as well which was unfortunately closed, but we did enjoy the outdoor hot tub.  It is just a fabulous get-away hotel and I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone in Kansas City.  Less than and hour drive, but it feels worlds away from home.

Unfortunately we had to follow all of the relaxation and indulgence with a trip to KU Med for a CT scan and appointment.  I definitely was not looking forward to it and the CT scan was not the best.  They couldn’t get an IV going, called in an IV “team” and she told me confidently that she does nothing besides IV’s all day long.  She couldn’t get one going either so they used a machine to find a vein and guide in the IV.  I was feel a little woozy by this point as the missed attempts in my hand didn’t feel so hot, and I hadn’t eaten since breakfast.  40 minutes after the first attempt I was finally able to go in for the scan.  I did fine on the first few passes but when they added the iodine contrast to the IV, I was ready to puke.  I made it through and spent another twenty minutes afterwards with a barf bag getting my blood sugar and blood pressure taken.  The IV nurse commented jokingly that she didn’t want to see me again, and I told her “Ditto!”.   Only I can turn a ten minute procedure into an hour plus of ridiculous.

Thankfully, I’m not going to need to worry about another contrast CT again for a very long time.  At least not for this, because my results were CLEAR!!!  Dr. Schnayder felt confident that after a clear scan we don’t need to rescan next year, there is almost NO chance of this tumor coming back.  Hallelujah! I was overjoyed and had this huge goofy grin as she told me that everything looked great- the scar, my nerves, my facial muscles.  There is absolutely no sign I ever had this surgery.  I can tell you, I read a lot about parotid tumors during this time, and joined a number of support groups and my results are definitely not the norm.  I had SUCH a good surgeon, and I feel like I’m bragging but I am just thrilled by how well this has turned out.  One more clinical check next year (which is nothing) and I can more or less pretend this never happened.   Doesn’t get much better than that!

And tonight kicks off the Quilt Bootcamp 2013 “class” that I am “teaching” to a group of friends.  I am so excited to share my love of sewing with others and can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with.  It’s going to be fun!

A small measure of Success

Standard

How about a positive blog post that is about good health?  It might be a first for this blog!  When I think back over my 30 years of life, I am happy to say that I feel better now than I have at any point in the last decade. It’s HUGE for me, and I feel so much more hopeful about what I can do in the future.   It seems like I was just getting worn down by problem after problem and my body never had a chance to recover and build strength and immunity.  I’m probably still weaker than the average Joe, but the improvement is what I’m so thrilled about.   So what has changed? Quite a bit.

I’ve tweaked my diet to include more meat (and therefore protein) to help with the chronic fatigue.  I’ve accepted that I function better if I nap when the kids do, even if it a huge loss to my “productivity meter”, (which I am slowly learning is not, in fact, the gauge of a happy life).  I’ve cut out most dairy which has helped with the chronic pain.  I still have pain most days, but it is a far cry to what I was dealing with when I left my job.  Because I am less sedentary, I also have much less pain in my hips and wrists, though I still have trouble if I try and do a marathon sewing day.  We’ve switched my medication from a muscle relaxant to a medicine geared for fibromyalgia and it also seems to have really helped.  The pain is definitely in the background now.

Let’s see, what else? After my little “migraine stroke” episode, I got on Maxalt which eliminates the migraines so long as I don’t mistake them for a sinus headache- the medicine only works if you take it at the beginning of an episode and because I don’t get an aura, sometimes I make the wrong call.  I’m learning.  Huge improvement there.   My stomach is doing better sans dairy and I make sure to take lots of probiotics.   My eyes are mouth are still incredibly dry BUT I had a huge successful moment when I went to the dentist last Thursday and had ZERO cavities.  So the dry-mouth stuff seems to be making a different on that account, hallelujah!  Still can’t wear contacts, not even disposables, but I’ll get rechecked here soon in um, March.   I’ve been using these drop for months now, but my eyes are still parched.  Well, glasses are cool, right?

I think that just about does it, with the exception of Anxiety disorder and there, unfortunately, I haven’t had much improvement.  It’s such a wretched thing to deal with, and I wish I could just ‘think’ it away.  I’ve done a lot of reading online, and I think eventually I will need to pony up the money for some intensive therapy.  But for now, the moment I start to feel the least bit nauseated, or when my ear or jaw hurts on the left side for any reason, or when I’ve been sick for more than a few days in a row, I have a massive panic attack.  I think my system is still on high alert for whatever the next “crisis” is going to be.  I was hopeful that a few months of calm and good health would help but so far I haven’t noticed much improvement.  It’s a disorder that is extremely difficult to explain or understand if you haven’t experienced an attack, but it is god-awful miserable.  I can look back and know it started after my emergency tubal surgery but all the events of the past few years have really magnified it.  I know Xanax is the joke of stressed-out suburban moms, but for me it is an absolute life-saver and I am so thankful for it.

So there you go, my entire health history shared on the internet.  I figure you’ve shared in my sorrow and frustration, why not share in the joy?  I spent so many years miserable but pushing for answers and better health and it feels like everything is coming together.  Yes, I have a big ‘ol bag of medication but I’m finally okay with that.  I think drugs get a bad rap sometimes, the right medications have made such a HUGE improvement in the quality of my life that I am really thankful to big Pharma.  Or course, diet changes and lifestyle changes were another large part of why I am feeling better.   I’ve been doing less marathon-quilting and more reading, more playing, more cooking, decorating, relaxing, spending time with friends.  I’m turning off my internal ‘to-do’ list and learning to live in the moment without so much “hurry” in my life.  I’m enjoying it.  And I’m so thankful.

6 Months

Standard

Tomorrow will be 6 months from my parotid tumor surgery.  What an ordeal that was, and how happy I am that it is in my past! I was one of the first patients to have my incision run back under my hairline instead of down the neck under the chin, and looking back, I am very pleased with the result.  I am one of the very few patients who regained all feeling and sensitivity in my face and ear, even if it was a tortuous few weeks and months as those nerves regenerated.  No pain, no gain? Well, it’s worth it on this side of the healing process.  I sure didn’t feel that way in January!

Today my scar is all but invisible and is completely hidden by my hairline regardless.  I have fleeting pain now and again but have yet to develop any sign of Frey’s syndrome (excessive sweating in the jaw while eating) or any other complications.  I do have a weird feeling hollow space under my ear where the tumor was, it continues to sink in as time goes on but surely will stop at some point.  At any rate, I don’t think it would be noticeable to anyone but me.  I count myself lucky to escape so unscathed in the long run.  When Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys passed away a few months ago from parotid cancer, it was a stark reminder to count my blessings.

During this entire time, I had help with inspiration and staying positive from Ashley of Little Blue Boo.  I don’t know her personally, but her story touched me in a deep way.  Whenever I was feeling especially down and sorry for myself, I would read her story again and remind myself to Choose Joy (that, or I would call my Mom and complain in tears!).  I had Craig purchase a Choose Joy necklace, and I wear it often as a reminder of all the goodness in my life.

Now, how about some nasty SCAR PICTURES???

Day After. I spared you all the ultra close-up with the nasty drain, you’re welcome.

 

One Week. Bruising from my eyes into the hairline and around my neck. Still on painkillers!

 

Two Weeks. Don’t let the smile throw you, I felt terrible. The nerves were hard at work regenerating, I felt like I was getting tasered in my face all day long.

 

6 Months. I really need to do something about those highlights. But hey, the scar is almost GONE!!

So far, so good!

Standard

I am loving this summer so far.  Just loving it.  I took Devan to his first swim lesson today, something I couldn’t have done if I were working and I really enjoyed it.  And he loved it! We are filling our days with swimming, reading, gardening, popsicles, playing with friends, and lots of playtime at home and in the yard.  Leah is still our big joy- full of smiles and laughter and SO much fun to be around.  And Devan is so wise beyond his years, he keeps us on our toes for sure. I am feeling like I definitely made the right decision and that this is a good time to have a break.

It isn’t all good, some days the kids are completely exhausting and I am still learning to pace myself.  I want to go everywhere and do everything with them but oftentimes we all just need some downtime.  Tuesday I ended up in the ER with the worst headache of my life.  The type of migraine that is so bad you can’t open your eyes and every little sound is painful.  So thankful for the sweet relief of pain medication and the fact we still have childcare available on short notice!

Overall, more fun than not.  I’ve been sewing, but not much during the day.  It’s hitting me how fast these kiddos are growing up on me and I want to enjoy being their mom for these next few years.  I do have a few new quilts to show you and a stack of other projects, but it’s hard to make the time to get everything photographed and so I procrastinate.  A giant homemade post is coming soon!

You know how I said I wasn’t going to share any vacation pictures?  That was before I saw all of the good pictures Mom and Dad captured, so I couldn’t resist.  Enjoy! (Click on any picture to see them all larger.)

Summer Begins

Standard

I’m so behind on blogging and the thought of trying to catch up on everything is daunting so for now, I won’t.  The short of it is that I survived my last day of work without crying (barely), survived the first days of staying at home without crying (barely), and had a fabulous and much needed vacation in the Ozarks with family.  The kids weren’t fabulous the entire time, but they were good enough. The highlight for me was an afternoon on the lake, and jumping off of a cliff that looked a lot higher from the top than it did from the boat.  My pictures aren’t too great as I spent more time enjoying myself than documenting it. I may or may not return to post pictures, I don’t have much motivation as it’s a pain in the rear through wordpress, no one really cares, and those that do care are probably on Facebook.  So actually, I’m not bothering with pictures.  There, that was easy enough.

I have a few things to recommend for other Kansas Citians this summer.  I’m not a Mom who enjoys taking her kids to the kiddie events, but there are some favorite activities that I look forward to.

1. The Berry Patch in Louisburg.  Go pick some blueberries, now!  The bushes are loaded this year, they taste fabulous, and they are only $3/lb or something like that.  Eat a few pounds on the way home, and freeze the rest for yummy smoothies.

2. Whole Foods on Metcalf, Monday’s at noon.  $5 lunch plates with freshly prepared organic food.  Today I had gluten free eggplant lasagna, salad with fresh fruit vinaigrette, and a lemony custard with fresh blueberries.  I’ve taken advantage of this deal four times now and have yet to be disappointed.  The kids enjoy eating random things from the salad bar. Maybe I’ll see you there and we can eat together.  Good stuff.

3. Marty Pool.  Yes, I shared this last year but it’s pool season now and there may be some of you out there that didn’t have kiddos last year.  This is the best pool for kids without a doubt.  We’ve bought our season passes and would literally live there if only they opened earlier.

4.  Our back deck.   Yes, it is a Kansas City hot spot.  We have water fun and plenty of sun, a grill, and lots of seating with a great view of beautiful flowers and this year, we’ve been treated with a momma Robin raising two (batches?) of baby birds in a nest right on our deck light.  We literally watched the babies hatch and she will feed them while we are standing under the nest. Our deck a great place to hang out, you should come over.

Bring some gluten free beer.

Breaking for Life

Standard

I really love sewing, and quilting, and buying fabrics.  It’s been a bright spot in a hard few years, I escape up to my sewing room and immerse myself in a project.  Or, I snuggle in for a nap surrounded by my little treasures.  It makes me happy.

But lately, a wonderful thing has been happening.  I’ve been too busy enjoying life and feeling good to find much time to sew.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a huge, HUGE mental list of projects to work on, but nothing can beat being outside on a gorgeous evening, visiting with friends and family while the kids play in the backyard and Craig grills us the perfect summer dinner.  Or planting our seeds and vegetable sprouts in our community garden plot (even if we did happen to plant them in the wrong plot, oops).  Or, grabbing a healthy lunch at Whole Foods followed by a SPA DAY with a facial, massage, manicure, pedicure, and steam shower.  Ah, that was nice.

I haven’t been blogging much either, so sorry about that The nest time I’m bored, I need to photograph our chubby little booger wearing the cute new clothes I have made her.  I’m proud, I’m starting to get the hang of garment making and even make her a sweet little sundress without a pattern.  (This doesn’t all really count as sewing time, as I wasn’t quilting.  Okay, I did make another swoon block. But still, not really doing any new quilts.)

And to close, some pictures from March..

"Helping" make a smoothie

Doesn't everyone eat mangos like this?

Devan's last Happy Feet practice for the season

Paying close attention to coach Kevin

Devan loves to mow!

Leah playing with some of her Mommy's baby toys

Leah and Baby Dear

Devan and Bear

Feels like summer!