How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and to do what really matters most.--Stephen Covey

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thankful Thursday - 10/20/11


1.
Having a job that is flexible so that I could travel to NC to be with my mom for her surgery.

2.
Spending a day and a half with my mom before her surgery (and being highly medicated).

3.
The possibility of change in the future.

4.
Making a new friend.

5.
Finally scheduling surgery for myself and finding a little bit of closure in that.

6.
My wonderful hubby who is super supportive and loving.
What would I do without him?

7.
Having kitty to cuddle with away from my kitty.
This is my mom's cat, Mayhem, in my suitcase...
8.
Fall finally arriving in the ATL.
Love it!

9.
A safe flight to NC.
Even if it was a bumpy/scary landing.

10.
Friends who are there when you need them most.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bullied by the Health Insurance

Happy Monday!

Okay, it may not be the best day of the week, but I have always hated Wednesdays more than Mondays because by Wednesday I am always tired and just "done" with the week and want it to be Friday. It's the middle of the week... need I say more? I like Mondays (I can all see you now, "WHAT!?") because you are getting back into the grind of things, there is that "newness" of the week and the day feeling. It's almost like that feeling that you get for the first day of school. Okay, maybe I'm the only one that feels that way about Mondays. And I loved going back to school. But either way you feel about Monday, Happy Monday :)

This week is going to be hard. BUT, I'm starting it off with positivity because I know it's going to be difficult. This Friday my mom is having her second breast cancer surgery for her second diagnosis of breast cancer. She's having a full double mastectomy and is having spacers put in so that she can have falsies put in later. There is a good explanation here. I leave on Wednesday to go to be with her. It was 1)cheaper this way; and 2)I'll be able to spend some time with her before the surgery (ya know, because she's going to be so drugged up). I won't really get the chance to take care of her because I'm coming home the following Tuesday and she will probably be in the hospital for a couple days, but I'll be there for support. I wish that Jake was coming with me because I could use the support, but I also know that he'll be at home waiting for me will be extra supportive when I get home.

I'm currently in the process of scheduling my own surgery to have my little toxic thyroid nodule removed along with a tonsillectomy. Can I tell you that insurance companies = the devil?? And that they are bullies?? First off, let me back up a little and tell you about my mom's experience with them--for her to have her breast cancer surgery they are requiring her to pay her deductible ($700) along with her (I'm assuming) out-of-pocket expense ($2,000) before/at surgery. She never got to get in touch with the surgeon to see if they would do the surgery without her paying them upfront and arrange a payment plan because my uncle is going to help her out with the expenses, but here's the thing, my mom freaking has cancer. Stress does not help cancer. Let's go ahead and add on more stress by telling her that she may not be able to have a surgery because she has to pay ahead of time. I am telling you right now, the medical system in this country is ridiculous. ::shakes head:: My mom is a teacher in a very poor neighborhood and let's just face it, teachers in this country don't get paid enough as it is. She's paying off prior debt of raising 3 kids on nothing after her first diagnosis and going back to school and is paying off student debt that she accrued for going back to school so she wouldn't have to make minimum wage and struggle all the time. And she still struggles.

Anyway, it makes me mad that my mom had to freak out about that. That there was a possibility that she would not have been able to get this surgery (that could save her life) because of money. Ridiculous. My own story is just dealing with a pre-existing condition clause because I did not have health insurance the 12-months prior to being added to Jake's insurance. I haven't had steady health insurance since I was under 18. I've been a full-time student (undergrad and grad) and then it just wasn't in the budget to have private insurance, so I just went without. And luckily I never got sick. Or if I did, it was when I was in school and would go to the health clinic at school or Jake and I just sucked it up and I went to the doctor. But, here I am, fighting with the health insurance company every.step.of.the.way right now because they have to review every.single.doctors.visit. And I haven't been able to schedule my surgery because the scheduler at my ENT's office isn't sure about getting surgery when I have this pre-exisiting condition clause because I may have to pay for things. I told her that I would be willing to fight for everything and that I have never been seen or treated for anything associated with my thyroid. If the insurance company doesn't pay for something with my surgery--I will appeal it. I will fight. They are being bullies and that makes me so angry. I am waiting to hear from the scheduler today regarding it all as she was going to talk to the billing/insurance person and get some suggestions/advice on moving forward. Honestly, I just want to schedule the surgery and get it done and over with so I can work on feeling better and being healthy again.

It is all just so stressful. Which is why I am making the choice of today being a good day. I need to stay positive. I will get through this.

It is all in God's hands.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Life is Hard

As you may have noticed, I haven't really been on much. I didn't update this week about my weight loss/diet (yea, nothing to update, trust me) and I've really not had a whole lot to write about.

Sure, I have plenty going on right now but I just couldn't find the words to express what is going on and what I'm feeling. It's been hard and I'm just trying to get through each day without having a complete and utter break down.

Seriously. There is way too much going on in my life right now. With my mom's breast cancer diagnosis again, and my own health, I feel completely overwhelmed, on my own, and just stressed. It's been years since I've actually felt this stressed out. Not even through grad school did I feel this stressed--and that was stressful.

Growing up, I was so excited to gain an older age number each year and be closer to adulthood. I wanted so badly to grow up, move out, move on and be on my own. Seriously, what the heck was I thinking!? Why as a child did I think that being an adult was so easy. It's not. It's hard. Every day. I don't know why I thought that life would be easy for me as an adult. That it would be smooth. I guess I thought that since my childhood was not so smooth (it was good, just hard and difficult) that I would have a "good life" as an adult.

I know, I'm only 26 years old. I know I still have years ahead of me for it to get easier. But I don't feel like it will. I feel like Jake and I will never have a house. Like we'll never stop living paycheck to paycheck. That it'll always be stressful and hard. Life is hard.

I know, I know. Gotta pull myself out of this funky mood I'm in and get over it. I know that God has a plan for me. For us. But I am tired of everything being so difficult. I am trying to learn and figure out what God is trying to teach me. I wish it was more clear to me right now.

My mom's surgery is next week, on the 21st.
My surgery is schedule tentatively for November 21st.

Just hoping and praying that everything goes okay for both of us. I am so afraid.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I Wear Pink For My Mom



I'll make a long story short...

In 2001, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had her right breast and lymph nodes removed and then went through chemotherapy and radiation. And since her breast cancer was estrogen-positive (or hormone receptor positive), she had a full hysterectomy as well at a later time. It was a long and difficult year for us.

Not to mention I was ending my sophomore year of high school. And my mom decided to divorce my dad.

But, we got through it. Stronger.

Now, here we are, 10-years later and my strong, independent, happy mom has been diagnosed with breast cancer again. My mom was cancer-free for 10 years. I keep asking God 'Why?' and wondering why this is happening to my mom, to us, again. But that is the thing about God. It's always a journey. He wants us to learn from these things. In another post, I'll write about what I'm learning through all this, but for right now, this is about my mom.

What to say? It's so hard. I didn't take the news easily. I was strong on the phone with my mom, but I'm sure she could hear it in my voice that I was cracking. Because all moms know. I cried when I got off the phone. I told Jake that I needed him to get off of work as soon as possible because I needed him. I was in a sort of funk for about 2-days and then I picked myself up and started moving forward again. I was strong the first time. I'll be strong this time too. For my mom. She needs me to be strong again.

Why would God allow my mom to get cancer again and go through this again? Why would God test our strength? Why oh why oh why? Why my mom? Why any woman? Am I doomed to get breast cancer too? Will I be able to be strong like my mom? What lesson is God trying to teach me, my mom? What should I take away from this?


This time around, it's small. My mom will go through a full double mastectomy and prepare during this surgery for a later surgery to do reconstructive surgery [the humor in all this is that my mom is now considering what size she would like to be -- she's always been smaller chested, so she's pretty excited!!]. If the cancer is not in the lymph nodes, she will not have to go through chemotherapy or radiation again. I am hoping and praying that she will not have to go through that again... that was hard. It was hard on my mom and it was hard on me. And my brother and sister. And my grandparents. All around, it was difficult.

My mom is doing well. Her spirits are high and she is maintaining her positiveness and strength. If I could be like anyone in the world, I'd want to be like my mom. She's so strong and has been through so much that could kill her spirit and she still holds her head up high and keeps moving forward. She's an amazing woman.

Her surgery is on October 21. I'm going to be with her from the 19th-25th. My grandparents also plan on being in town during that time for her and my mom has a ton of friends lined up to help take care of her as well. My mom is blessed with amazing people in her life. I'm worried about Jake holding down the fort here while I'm gone (she lives out of state, about 5-6 hours away) but I know that he'll do just fine. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers during this time. We all need to find the strength to move forward and keep our spirits high.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Planning for Halloween

Can I just tell you that I hate Halloween!? I have no idea why. Nothing bad has ever happened to me on Halloween... I guess I just dislike it. And I feel like I'm too old to enjoy it without having kids of my own. Perhaps I'll enjoy it more when I have kids? And I hate dressing up. Seriously??

But, Jake and I have been invited to a Halloween party which is costume mandatory (ugh!) and Jake really wants to go. So, we're going. It'll be fun to do something, well, fun.

Jake is planning on being Robin William's character, Alan Parrish, from Jumanji when he first comes out of the game after being trapped in the game for decades. We'll see... he may change his mind.

This is a screen shot of the video trailer which can be found here.
I'm planning on being an owl. Here is my inspiration:

Tutorial can be found on Alpha Mom's blog.
Tutorial can be found on A Beautiful Mess Blog.
Cool, huh? I plan on incorporating both styles and tweaking the costume to be my own. Like buying a hate from a local JCPenney that is an owl face :) And it's so cute that it'll get multiple uses. Especially since I am obsessed with owls.

I'll post my own tutorial and pictures when it's complete!! I'm actually excited for Halloween now.

Maybe I'll actually give out candy this year to kids in our apartment complex. We'll see... that may be pushing it for me right now.



Thursday, October 6, 2011

Planning for Surgery

Finally got to the ENT today. Actually, in all honesty, my appointment was originally on the 19th of October but after dealing with all of this since the beginning of June, it feels good to have some plans and answers.

The ENT was super awesome. Seriously, probably the best doctor in all of my care at this point in time. I thought my endocrinologist was awesome, but my ENT is even more amazing. He was super personable, spent an hour with me going over everything, and actually listened to me. And he was kind. He did another ultrasound and the nodule is 3.5cm by 2.5 cm and pretty much taking over the whole right side of my thyroid. That little bugger. It is fluid filled and tissue (?) filled -- meaning, it is half fluid, half solid. I was told that this nodule did not just "pop up" and has been growing for "some time". Lovely. I guess I've been feeling symptoms of it for awhile now, I'd say at least 3-4 years but not symptoms like I have had since June. I think all the seafood I hate on our honeymoon triggered something... Anyway, the ENT is not worried about it being cancerous but during surgery after the removal, they will perform a tissue biopsy to see if it holds any cancerous cells and if it does then I will have to have my thyroid completely removed. The left side of my thyroid is kind of small and we just have to wait and see after surgery if I will have to be on a thyroid replacement hormone for the rest of my life.

Here is the kicker -- the ENT said my tonsils are humongous. Which, honestly, I already knew. My whole childhood (up until I was about 19/20 years old), I had tonsillitis about every 3-4 months. Seriously, I should have had my tonsils taken out years ago but the doctor I went to growing up told me every time I had it that he would consider having them removed the next time I got tonsillitis. Which kept happening. It was a vicious cycle. Anyway, the ENT said that he would recommend me getting my tonsils removed because there is only a 1.5cm space between them--which could explain my waking up not feeling refreshed and having trouble breathing while exercising. I could do the surgeries together, or separately... but the tonsils should go too.

Welp. I'll be having 2 surgeries. At the same time. And I am not looking forward to the tonsillectomy at all. I hear it's worse for adults and the ENT told me that "I would hate him" after the surgery. I've been reading some forums about "older people" getting their tonsils removed and, well, it's scary. I'm not worried, this is just how I cope and get my information so I'm prepared. Yes, it's scary. I did say that. But, I'm actually excited to get rid of my tonsils. And I'm ready to get rid of this little thyroid nodule that is just wrecking havoc on my body.

So, there you have it. I'll keep everyone updated on when the surgery will be. I have to call in the next couple days to schedule the surgery... first though, I have to get through my mom's surgery. Which is a whole other post.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Weight Loss - Week 2

I didn't do so great this week...

Monday through Wednesday I had some really bad chest pains... I went to the doctor on Thursday, but the last time this happened and I went to the doc regarding chest pains, they did an EKG told me everything was normal and "talked to me" (more like lectured me) about anxiety. Let me tell you, I know what anxiety feels like. I've had it for most of my adult life, have been on meds for it (not currently), and have had several anxiety attacks. This was different chest pain.

Anyway, the first time, my PCP made me feel like I was completely insane so I didn't even want to go this time but although the chest pain was "getting better", it was freaking me out. So I went to the urgent care/PCP office that Jake usually goes to. Omg, they are so much nicer!!! From the front desk to the doc that saw me. They did another EKG (which was normal) and basically asked me about anxiety. I told them that it feels different than anxiety and explained my symptoms--chest pain, heartburn type feelings, a pain like you get when you hold in crying, a little bit of tightness... So they put me on Prilosec. And I have a referral to a GI doctor if it doesn't get better. The endocrinologist doesn't think it's related to the Tapazole, but some research I've done has shown that it could be a side effect. Luckily, my appointment to the ENT has been moved to this coming Thursday (from the 19th originally!!) because they had some cancellations, so I'll be talking about surgery and moving forward with that.

Seriously, I'm racking up not only my own personal pharmacy but my own group of doctors. Lovely.

I am feeling better. I'm feeling like I should buy stock in Tums though because I'm eating 2-3 of them at least 3-5 times a day... And I don't even like Tums. But I'm sucking it up and eating them because they alleviate some of the symptoms.

Soooooo, I lost 0.4 pounds this week. I wasn't really following my meal plan and I didn't get to start exercising much... the chest pain really scares me because it sometimes feels like my heart but I am pretty sure it's heartburn. I guess any weight loss can be counted, but it could just be water weight or weight fluctuation. But I'll take it.

Hopefully this week will be much better.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

God Never Blinks: Life Lesson #13

Life Lesson #13:

Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

I love this one. So much! How often do we compare ourselves to just about anyone that we come across. When I read this one in the book, I immediately thought of the quote "The grass is always greener on the other side..." Well, you know why that grass is greener on the other side? It is full of manure :P

God taught me a lot of lessons while I was a nanny recently. To put it simply, I believe that He led me to the family to show me that the things that I wanted were not really the things that I wanted. If that makes any sense. Basically, He helped me to realize that I don't want a big house, fancy car, or a job that I have to work 60-90 hours a week (not that I ever wanted to work that often). I'm not passing judgement here. God just helped me to see in my heart what I really wanted. Jake and family are a lot more important than any job. And besides, I won't take any of my material possessions with me when I go to heaven.

The other part of this is so true. You may think that you are worse off than other people, or you may even think you are better off. But really, you have no idea what that other person is going through or how they got there or what God has planned for them. Maybe they have the nice car, the big house and the fancy vacations, but they don't really ever get to enjoy them because they are always working. Their personal life suffers and ultimately, their soul is wounded. Honestly, I'd much rather be poor than be miserable. At least I know how to be poor and happy--I have that downpat :P

Anyway. Before you pass judgment on someone, even before you pass judgment on yourself and compare yourself/your life to someone else, take a second to think about what their life may really be like. And think that they are probably doing the exact same thing.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Falling for Fall

If you live in the south, Fall (or if you prefer, Autumn) is just coming around. We were still hitting the 90's last week. For now it seems that we may be getting some cooler weather. And, boy am I glad! I'm ready for my favorite season to be here and enjoy everything that it has to offer. I think that a clear fall and spring is what I miss most about living in the midwest... The spring and fall here in the ATL are soooooooooo incredibly short and mild.



Here are some of my favorite things about the fall:

1.
Pumpkins.

2.
Cardigans.
I am obsessed with cardigans!! I LOVE them.
3.
Drinking warm drinks.
Especially pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks.

4.
The leaves changing colors.

5.
The crunchy sound of the leaves.
6.
Crockpot meals.

7.
All things apple related.
picking, baking, smelling, eating...
You can find the recipe here: Crock -Pot Baked Apples
8.
The crisp autumn air. The chilliness. The cooler weather.

9.
Farms.
Picking apples, picking up pumpkins, hayrides, bonfires, cider and donuts.

10.
Cuddles.
Lots and lots of cuddles and hand holding.

Now tell me, what are your favorite things about fall?

I take no credit for any images. All imagines in this post were found on Pinterest.
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