Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Preparation is Key

Three Good Things:
·         I’ve been watching the Olympics with my husband for the past four days. Go Team USA!
·         I have some delicious meals planned for this week.
·         I personally measured, cut, sanded, painted, and framed our master bedroom mirror.

Only three mirrors to go!
I have been preparing for two baby showers. One is for IF, the coworker pregnant through treatment. The other is for my sister. Crafting, organizing, planning, and buying... It’s both fun and frustrating. Pictures will be coming, just want to keep things a surprise for the party.

I had a bad night two weeks ago. I got ugly about things, which I rarely ever do. R was a trooper, though, and knew just what to say to bring some levity and understanding to the situation. I spent the next three days in a spiral - looking at baby things, talking about treatment, and designing a nursery in our dream house in FL.
Not surprisingly, I believe I was ovulating (or had very recently ovulated) that weekend. I am much more calm now and all jacked up about having a committed sewing and crafting room at the dream house.
And you know what I can say? God is good.
Because I won’t be ovulating in FL and I shouldn’t get my period in FL either. It will be right in the sweet spot when I am at my most calm. I have some crafting to complete once I arrive on Friday, the shower is the next morning, and I have a GREAT hat to wear to tea at the Grand Floridian that afternoon. Then Sunday afternoon I get to walk the dream house again and then off to the airport for Disney Store and LUSH before getting back on the plane. It should be a great trip and I have plenty of distractions in place, just in case.
Of course, I’m heavy on the 5HTP and St. John’s Wort right now. And that helps. They may not be prescription antidepressants but they make a big difference.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

(Not) An Old Fashioned Love Song

Nest Building 101 just posted a week of love stories, ending with her own. I do not have a love story as sweet and good.
I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with R. I met him while I was still married to Little K’s father. R and I worked at the church on Sunday mornings, each of us handling our responsibilities and chatting during the down time. There was always at least one other staff member present and the three of us wound up spending those four hours together every week.
I had always been active in church but my husband and I stopped attending regularly. I was spending more and more time at home with a toddler, waiting for my husband to arrive. His nights kept getting later and I felt more isolated and alone.
It was nice to be back at church on Sunday mornings. It was nice to have people genuinely care about me, asking how the week had been and sharing stories.  People who were always there. People who wanted to spend time with me and fawned over Little K.
I started talking to my husband about seeing a counselor that summer. I talked about how sad, alone, and frustrated I was feeling. How our relationship wasn’t what I felt marriage was supposed to be. How I wanted to feel like a priority in his life. How I wanted help. He made it clear that those were my problems. That I could talk to someone if I wanted but that he didn’t need to go with me. And that we couldn’t afford it anyway…
So, I opened up to other people instead of a counselor. And they listened. I saw that these people cared about me. They got angry on my behalf. They comforted me when I cried. They gave me the understanding and compassion that I wanted from my husband.
I fell out of love with my husband very quickly. My resentment had been building for so long that all I needed was to see that there was life outside of my marriage.
What followed was absolute hell.
Betrayal. Dishonesty. Fighting. More tears than I can count. Broken relationships left and right.
There are a lot of should’s in my story. I should have pushed for a counselor earlier, either alone or marriage counseling. I should have been more honest with myself about the state of my marriage. I should have talked to my parents rather than my single friends. I should have fled temptation.
My first husband and I did not reconcile. If either of us had chosen to be the spouse God called us to be, we probably could have. But neither one of us chose to follow His command for sacrificial love. We each chose ourselves and paid dearly for our selfishness.
It’s been five years since my world fell apart. I am so very, very lucky to have come out the other side. God has been good to me, so much more than I deserve. Through His grace I have a loving husband and a healthy marriage with R, a thriving daughter, a repaired relationship with my parents, and a growing spiritual life.
She Laughs at the Days put up a post on Tuesday titled “This is what we do with broken things." It is a beautiful post and I hope you take a moment to read it. And this quote shot straight to the core of me:
“No life is so far broken that a creative and redemptive God can’t lay the pieces of it out in such a way that it’s beauty and worth are visible again.” (Credit: She Laughs at the Days)
I feel like a walking billboard for brokenness, grace, forgiveness, and blessings. My story may not be good but it doesn’t stop God from being good – He took my broken life and made something beautiful.
God is so good.
Thank you, Carlia and Carrien, for helping me say all of this out loud.
“This is how our lives can look if we’re willing to lay all the pieces on the table and let the Master Artist rearrange them.” (Credit: She Laughs at the Days)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Healing, Changes, Grace

Three good things:
·         I’ve lost 2 pounds! Hooray!
·         I’m making kale chips tonight!
Now for the other stuff:
I feel stretched. Not the good, flexible kind but the spread thin kind. A good portion of what I’m feeling is from work. I’m basically one person doing three jobs and am officially over it. I just don’t have capacity and am falling behind daily. Something’s gotta give.
But I know it’s more than that.
R and I have fallen for a house in my hometown and would love to move (or I would and he’s not against the idea). Babies are unavoidable right now and that’s difficult to say the least. I have two sewing projects that I want to get started on but can’t find the appropriate fabric. They’ve started construction on the lot adjacent to us and, due to some incorrectly placed property stakes when we moved in, we’ve lost a portion of our front yard.
And there’s the surgery stuff. I’m about 80% healed from surgery, which is fantastic. The area that was treated aggressively still has some healing to do but most everything else is healed and slightly tender. Not bad! I’m feeling the past six weeks catch up with me, though. Everything happened so fast! We went from irregular pap to biopsy to oncologist to surgery in about three weeks. And then I spent the past three weeks healing. It’s like medical whiplash – six weeks and I’m just starting to notice how drained I feel.
The house is suffering right now. Usually the summer is when we get the big projects done. R has been putting the yard back to rights, building another section of the fence, and adding beam supports to the pergola. Such an impressive guy! And I’ve… cleaned Little K’s closet. That’s it. There are baseboards to be washed, picture frames to dust, paint to touch up, and mirrors to measure for frames but I just don’t have it in me right now. I want to be active but can’t manage to find the energy. Blah.
I am trying, though. I’ve started back on my vitamin regimen today which includes 5-HTP. (Homeopathic anti-depressant, very effective for me.) I’m planning on having a talk with my supervisor on Monday to ask for my old job back. R is working upstairs tomorrow and I hope to take care of the baseboards, frames, and dusting in the master suite.
Time to turn this thing around!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Learning Curve

Sometimes things happen. An opportunity is presented and then taken away. A situation arises and goes wrong. A promise is made and broken. And you are left wondering why. Why did that happen? What good could come from all of this?
I’m teaching myself to ask, “What am I supposed to learn” instead. “What is God trying to teach me? How can I come out of this better than I was before?”
Things like surgery. Things like amazing jobs that you can’t take. Things like homes you can’t buy. Things like adventures you can’t take. Things like everyone in the world being pregnant right omg now.
What am I supposed to learn?
I’m not sure yet. But I do believe that God is in control of all things. And that, when bad things happen or when something hurts, He can work through the result in order to draw me closer to Him. And being closer to Him is the goal.
But friends, that's exactly who we are: children of God. And that's only the beginning. Who knows how we'll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we'll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus' life as a model for our own.

"Lord, me make who You want me to be. Let every experience draw me closer to You. In every dissappointment, help me turn to You and receive Your peace. Help me trust You, no matter what."

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dance and Song Make Glad the Night

Last night, I dreamt about music. It was a simple dream: I was putting away the dishes and singing Les Mis. Nothing special, nothing grand. Just enjoying my love of music while going about the everyday routine.
I have been rather blah about going back to work since my surgery. It’s good to have something to do other than lie on the couch but I’m not passionate about what I do. This dream was a great reminder that I can enjoy the things I love while still completing the things that have to get done.
So I will sing and I will plan and I will express who God made me to be while I put away the dishes and file reports.
(By the way: I ended up not auditioning for the musical due to surgery and recovery. Blah. Next year!)
What are you passionate about?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Weighty Matters

I have been watching the scale creep steadily upward over the past few months. I’m not sure how it happened. I don’t feel like my eating habits have changed much in the past year. I have a small bowl of oatmeal every morning for breakfast, bring lunch to work in the form of a small sandwich or salad, dinner is put together out of chicken and veggies. Why is the weight still coming? Granted, I do have a sweet tooth but I don’t see how that alone is causing so much weight gain.
I started running almost two months ago and then had to stop one month ago due to biopsy and surgery. I’m finally getting my energy back and want to start walking in the evenings. Eventually I’ll work up to running again. Right now I’m in pain after just four hours of work and need to recline for at least an equal amount of time for the pain to stop. I’m limited in the amount of weight I am approved to lift – no more than 20 pounds until six weeks post-op.
With being so limited in my activities right now, the only thing I can do is moderate my eating. I’m on a strict 1200 calories a day diet, with the plan to drop by 100-calorie increments until the weight starts coming off. My mom shared with me that she has to eat 1000 calories a day or less to lose weight along with light exercise like walking. I’m hoping that the additional 3 inches I have on her will give me those extra 200 calories. We’ll see.
I’m a creature of habit, at least when I’m preparing meals for work. It helps me to know exactly how many calories I eat during the day so I can budget appropriately for dinner. Here’s what my work days look like this week:
Breakfast: 150 Calories
·         1/3 C (uncooked measure) Quick Oats, made water:  100 cal
·         1 TBSP Brown Sugar: 50 cal
Lunch: 290 Calories
·         1 Slice Pepperidge Farms Whole Grain Oatmeal Bread: 100 cal
·         1 TBSP Palmetto Cheese: 70 cal
·         3oz Boar’s Head London Port Roast Beef: 120 cal
·         (or 3oz Boar’s Head Ever Roast Chicken: 75 cal)
·         1 Stalk Celery: N/A
Snacks: 50 to 100 each
·         Daily, Fresh Fruit: est. 50 cal
·         Optional, 4oz Bolthouse Farms Protein+ Iced Coffee: 95 cal
·         Optional, 4oz Bolthouse Farms POG Juice: 85 cal
Even if I pick one of my optional snacks, I still have 600 calories to spend on dinner and dessert. Boo-yah!
We eat dinner early most nights, usually sitting down at the table by 6pm. I’ve been trying to cut off my eating and switch to only water by 8pm.
Monday’s Dinner: 426 Calories
·         3oz Steak: 174 cal
·         1/2C Kale sautéed with red pepper flakes: 25 cal
·         4oz Sweet Potato medallions, grilled: 98 cal
·         1oz Fresh Corn, roasted: 24 cal
·         1 TBSP EVOO ingested: 30 cal
·         2oz Broccoli Slaw with 1.5 tsp Fuji Apple Dressing: 50 cal
Tuesday’s Dinner: 450 Calories
·         Cauliflower Kale Soup with Brie: 250 Calories
·         Bush Biscuit: 200 Calories (I would like to note that I had NO IDEA how many calories were in that biscuit until after I ate it. GAH!)
Wednesday’s Dinner: 400 Calories
·         Hot Italian Turkey Sausage: 150 Calories
·         Onions, Peppers, Garlic, and Tomatoes, Roasted: 100 Calories
·         1T White Wine, 2T Broth: 20 Calories
·         1/2C Enriched Whole Wheat Penne Pasta: 100 Calories
·         1 TBSP EVOO ingested: 30 cal
All in all, it’s not bad. If I keep dinner at or below 500 calories then I can have at least 100 calories for dessert.  Hott.
So, there you go. I’m going to sit at 1200 calories for two weeks and see how it goes. If the scale doesn’t go down, we’ll move to 1100 and then 1000. I can’t guarantee what exercise will make it in, only that I will try to move my body every day (besides my work hours).
This has got to stop.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Surgical Update, Finally

Recovery has been tougher than I anticipated. Since going into surgery almost two weeks ago, I have spent very little time off the couch. I expected to be back at work this past Monday but instead showed up for the first 15 minutes of each day to load files on to my flash drive to work on from home. Even then it was a challenge to turn on the laptop; all I really wanted to do was take another Tramadol and rest.
The surgery was mostly uneventful. My doctor did a thorough search while I was under and found four instances of VIN. One was stage 1, two were stage two, and the other was borderline 2/3. My doctor was particularly aggressive in treating the borderline lesion and requested further pathology, too. We received the good news this past Tuesday that it had not progressed to 3 and the treatment received in surgery should be sufficient.
My doctor also found a skin tag while I was under (appearing compliments of the vaginal birth of Little K) and called my husband from the OR to discuss removal. After a brief discussion the decision was made to remove the excess skin.
I was lucky to have my mom come in for the surgery. There’s just something about having my mom with me that makes me feel better! We all napped on and off Wednesday afternoon (boo – 5:30 AM arrival for surgery!) and then slept in a bit Thursday morning. Then it was mom and I on the couches while R worked upstairs. Mom kept my in heavy doses of Motrin, Tramadoll, pepcid, Tylenol, and colace, not to mention packages of frozen peas; rinse and repeat. We traded between talking, napping, and watching Rick Steves’ Travel in Europe dvds.
My first real journey off the couch was on Sunday when we took mom to the airport. At this point, we didn’t know whether or not additional surgery would be needed. If so, we would be seeing mom back with us in nine days. I hit the couch and frozen peas again as soon as we got home.
I attempted to go to work on Monday with the plan of staying until noon only to arrive close to tears from the pain of driving myself to work. I was heading back home 15 minutes later.
I attended my post-op appointment Tuesday morning to review the pathology and check my healing. We got the good news that the borderline lesion had not progressed to severe and that additional surgery was not needed at this time! I also received direction not to sit up for more than 15 minutes at a time. By the time I got back home, I had been upright for over two hours. Back to the couch! Luckily Wednesday was a holiday; I did attempt a brief outing with R and then went back to the couch. Thursday was drop in at work and then couch. Friday was the same.
We took a quick grocery trip on Saturday; church and lunch on Sunday. Now it’s Monday again and I’m back at work. My energy is much higher than it was last week and I’m off the hard drugs. Just ibuprofen for me! I’m hoping to make it through the day.
So there’s an update for you.
How are things in your world?