Monthly Archives: December 2012

What a Year it Has Been

Standard

Today is the last day of 2012 and I am astonished by all that has happened over the last year.  How about we take a little trip down memory lane?

Early this year I found out I was pregnant.  Kylee Harper let me know early on that she was running the show with terrible morning -all day!- sickness and debilitating exhaustion.  We began to call her a fire-cracker since the first kick because she never seemed to slow down.  As much as I tried to deny it, I knew she would be a girl before the anatomy scan and what a girly-girl she has turned out to be.  She is delicate and sensitive and has the exact opposite interests of her brother in almost every way.  She looks like her daddy but is so much a mommy’s girl.  She is beautiful and happy and such a good baby that I couldn’t have wished for better.

On Feburary 29th I got an email from Kyle while he was at work with the subject being “Decide within 15 minutes”.  He was asking me my opinion on his next duty station, Alabama or Hawaii.  I look back on this a laugh a bit, is that really a question?  Do I want to live just ‘somewhere’ or so I want to live in paradise?  It really wasn’t much of a question to me.  Of course I would pick Hawaii.  Great weather all year, beach potential within 1/2 hour no matter where you are and an adventure on someone else’s dime; I’m in!  We arrived on the island just after Thanksgiving and it has been pretty good so far.  We are still in a hotel, so cabin fever has infected Reece and I, but the beach therapy helps and luckily for us, it is just steps away.  I already miss our family more than I thought possible but distance is only physical, we are still very much there for each other.

Late last year I met and became friends with someone but it was this year that we became really close and now I can never see us not being friends.  Nicole was my neighbor in DC and over the last year we were there for one another through some really awesome times and some awful times as well.  She helped me more that I could ever thank her for with Reece while Kylee kicked my ass during pregnancy.  She was an ear when I was having a bad day, a partner in mischief, helping hand when I was lacking, a sister in shopping, the voice of reason when I would start to go over the crazy-cliff, and an all-around great person that I am lucky to have met.  I hope to get her pale-ass out here soon because I miss my girlfriend!

I started this blog in early May, too!  This is meant to be my outlet, my sanity and my drive.  I want to write so bad but I find it hard to set aside time every day to write so I created a commitment.  The last few months I have been lacking on that commitment but when we get into a house and things settle down, I will be back  to frequent updates.

There are a handful of things that happened this year that are not happy and fun but I will not focus on those.  I have cried my allotted tears and pulled out more hair than probably should have.  There were days I didn’t get off the couch and opportunities squandered because of a mood.  I cannot say I have been proud of myself every moment over this last year but I know that I am proud of who I am at the end of 2012.

We tend to look back on a day like today and remember the good times and the bad.  I have done this.  I am now ready for what 2013 has to offer me.  A good friend told me to never wish time away and I have taken that advice to heart.  You will never hear me say, “I can’t wait for this” or “I look forward  to that”.  I really try to live in the moment, no matter how amazing or crappy it may be.

So here is to the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013.  Let us close this chapter and remember it, not dwell in it.  Learn from past mistakes as to not make them again but not be afraid make new mistakes in the future.  It is an adventure so don’t let it all go by; join in.  Life, 1st edition.

Advertisements

Cancer

Standard

Cancer sucks!

We all know someone who’s life has been touched by cancer.  Lung, skin, ovarian, colon, this one and that one.  My family has had brushes with those and a few more, but recently we encountered another one, breast cancer.  On both sides of my family I have had great-grand parents and grandparents diagnosed and taken by cancers.  It is scary but I never really prepared myself for cancer to hit closer to home.  Statistically, I knew there was a huge chance that one day I’d get the call that someone in my immediate family had been diagnosed but we are all still young, my parents in their early 50’s and my sisters and I range from late 20’s to early 30’s.  I expected this call to wait at least ten more years.

Funny that all my sisters, my mom and myself own the ‘Save the Ta-tas” shirts and have donated to various breast cancer research funds, but we have no personal connection with breast cancer; we have no family history.  I have friends who have family who have survived breast cancer and others who have succumbed to it.  Aside from non-melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer is the leading cancer among US women followed by lung then colorectal.  In this country, per 100,000 women, 121.9 are diagnosed with breast cancer.

While we were in Florida my mom went in for her first mammogram in years.  The US Department of Health suggests women over 40 should get a mammogram every 1-2 years and those with a family history may want to start getting them earlier.  My mom hadn’t gotten one in a while.  Since the closing of our family business, she paid for her medical bills out of pocket instead of with insurance and with the lack of family history, mammograms were not top medical/financial priority.  A few days after the test she got a call back saying they didn’t like the look of one image and she needed to come back in for a re-do.  Mom arrived at the appointment expecting just another simple mammogram but was floored when the receptionist told her the appointment she was at was for diagnostics.  It wasn’t that the first mammogram was fuzzy like she expected; they found something they didn’t like!  That second test correlated with the doctor’s initial concerns so they set up an appointment for a biopsy.  The biopsy confirmed that MY mom has breast cancer.

I was in shock for a couple of days.  When someone you love is diagnosed with cancer you can’t help but to be enveloped in an impermeable fog.  I am in paradise and all I wanted to to was turn off the happy.  Kyle did all he could to lighten my mood and Reece could tell something was wrong with mommy.  I was sad and pissed!  How does this happen just weeks after I move so far away?  I couldn’t be there for her and I couldn’t be sure how she was handling it.  The phone offers only so much comfort.  My only option was to wait to hear from her or my sisters and scour the internet for information.

It is Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) and it is in it’s earliest stages.  My mom and the doctors have come up with a plan to remove the cancer and follow up with radiation.  The survival rate for DCIS is nearly 100%.  After reading many websites regarding this diagnosis I still don’t know much about it and will not pretend to by filling this post with facts and statistics.  I find myself constantly google-ing things when I have questions and one of the best -and most personable- sites I’ve found is http://www.dcis.info.

We all know of the various groups and organizations dedicated to the funding, research and awareness of breast cancer.  I try to donate and participate when I can but it was never a priority to me, until now.  Now it is real.  Now I become an advocate for breast health.  I ask that you -men included- do a monthly self-breast exam, get annual mammograms starting at age 40 or earlier with family history.  If you have any concerns, talk to your doctor.  It is better to be paranoid and healthy than passive and at risk. We are in an age where early medical intervention will ensure a stellar survival rate.  Prayers and thoughts are great but one of the best ways to show you care is to take care of yourself.  Let this be a lesson for everyone and show support for my mom by you taking charge and being proactive of your breast health.

My mom will have surgery then come here like she had originally planned for a two week beach vacation and to deliver our dog, Mac.  After her visit she will start an intensive regimen of radiation as a precautionary measure.  We are hopeful that this is only a blip in our family history and we will be able to look back saying “that was scary, but now its over.”

Fuck you, cancer!  You messed with the wrong family!

I’m Done!

Standard

I am finally fed up with looking at myself in the mirror and being unhappy with what I see.  I am not grossly obese.  I am just not happy with what the mirror reflects back at me.  I hope, if a stranger passes me on the street, s/he doesn’t think “woah, that girl could stand to loose a few.”  But that is what I think when I am getting dressed every morning.  I have a bit of an excuse.  I did just have a baby a few months ago, but it is not the first thing that runs though my head when I look in the mirror.

I have never had a good relationship with my body image.  I consider myself like the 90% of females in America who wish they could get more toned or wear a smaller size.  Since high school, I’ve had a fluctuating relationship with my health.  I get on the right track with my eating and fitness but then something happens and my pattern slowly wears off.

I was at this same point last year when I began a hardcore gym regimen.  Monday through Friday, I would wake-up at 4am and workout for an hour.  On Saturdays, I would take a kickboxing class and Sunday I would take off.  Along with hitting the gym, I was eating better.  After a few weeks I was seeing results and I was stoked!  It kept me going.

In December I found out I was pregnant with Kylee but I vowed to keep up this routine.  I really tried.  I didn’t give up in one day but I did give up.  The nausea was so limiting.  My alarm would go off in the morning and as soon as I’d take my head off the pillow I’d feel sick.  Just moving made me ill.  Then there was my food aversions.  All proteins, most veggies and some fruits were a turn-off.  All I could stomach was tomato and starch, ie.  spaghetti and pizza (spaghetti is usually not my thing but pizza is always welcomed).  On Christmas, I had a pepperoni pizza Hot Pocket while my family ate the traditional fare.  No gym and bad foods killed my health kick.

Lately, I have been full of excuses.  First, it was ‘we are moving and I have two kids to take care of so there was no time for they gym’.  Then, while we were in Florida it was, ‘I don’t have access to a gym so I can’t workout and we’re rarely here so I might as well eat all of my “Florida foods” while I can’.  Now we’re in Hawai’i and ‘we don’t have a kitchen so restaurant food is our only option -and restaurant food is never healthy- so if I’m going to eat nutritionally bad food all day I should eat anything on the menu.’

Yesterday I went to TJ Maxx to get a few new cute tops.  I tried on eleven items and walked out pissed.

So, I am done.  Done with excuses and done with hating how I look.  I want to be healthy.  I want to make better decisions.  I want to be proud of my image and I will be.  I want to set a good examples for my kids and encourage positive, healthy habits for them, too.  I invite you to follow my journey.  No more being ashamed of my jiggle and that I have to exercise to keep it away.  No more secrets; I will share with you my routines and recipes.  There is no end.  It is an ongoing process that I hope to never stray away from.

Ready?  Here we go!