My Year of Transformation

I just logged on to share a few updates and noticed I hadn’t posted since November!  Wow, so much has happened since then that I haven’t been sharing much of at all.  So where to start….

At the end of November, my family and I moved to a small town about 20 miles away from work and school.  The house is wonderful!  Very spacious, plenty of room to spread out and relax instead of living with a cluttered home.  However, since then there have been plenty of downsides that I didn’t anticipate being quite as bad as it has felt.  We’re far enough away that not many people want to come out to visit.  Its not easy to just run to the store for a quick trip.  We have to get up quite a bit earlier just to get to work and school on time.  The boys don’t have a home to go to after school so they need to stay at a friends, which I have felt has been too much.  And if I want to do something in Newton or even further, I need someone to be with or check in on the kids, or I need to take them along.  Needless to say, I have been trying like hell to get a place back in Newton, but so far my efforts have been fruitless.  There is just nothing available big enough for the whole family.  I’m hoping since it’s tax season, people will have their refund money and start moving and free something up for us!
In December I had an MRI on a mass that had grown in my back, around my shoulder blades and just to the left of my spine.  They couldn’t identify it, but since it had been there for over 3 years, the doctors weren’t terribly concerned, but recommended getting it removed.  So in January I had it removed.  Pathology had to be transferred to Mayo Clinic because it still could not be identified.  It turned out to be a Myoepithelioma, which is a very rare tumor made of skin and muscle cells.  It is benign, but there is a chance of recurrence, and a change it could come back cancerous.  So now in a couple of weeks I have to have it opened back up and they will remove all the scar tissue and tissue around where the tumor was, just to make sure everything is out and margins are safe.  That surgery will be on March 9th.
In January, Jake and I took a trip to St. Augustine, Florida to deliver some belongings for friends that had moved there.  We hauled a U-Haul trailer behind my truck and drove it down there.  The journey was great, as we took the scenic route there and back.  We went through 13 states during our week-long trip.  I faced my fear of heights and climbed to the top of the lighthouse with Jake.  We got to play in the Atlantic Ocean, even though the temperatures in Florida were unusually cold.  And the trip home was the best… going through the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia.  It was a lot of fun to spend all that time just me and Jake.  I think it helped us connect on a deeper level, road-tripping together alone.
As many of my readers know, I have been on a weight loss journey since January of 2016.  To this date, I have lost 46 pounds.  I was losing fairly quickly until June 2016, and since then I have been stagnant on the weight loss.  So finally, rather than continue to stay the same and be stuck with the remnants of heavier times, I decided to go forward with skin removal surgery.  My insurance approved it right away since its been causing me lots of discomfort and other health issues.  Today I met with the surgeon so he could go over the procedure and answer my questions.  The surgery has been scheduled for March 23rd.  That one is going to be a long recovery, but worth it!  Then 6 months later I’ll be looking into getting a breast reduction as well.
Due to the worsening of my now-diagnosed hip dysplasia and worsening back pain, Parkview and I have decided to part ways.  It broke my heart to make that decision, but my work quality was really slipping and I was coming home every night absolutely drained of energy and in agony.  And my job performance was getting worse and worse.  Being a vet assistant/tech is something I have always wanted to do.  Its quite depressing that I am physically unable to do the job now.  But hopefully with my upcoming surgeries, physical therapy, and some way to control pain, I’ll be able to get out there and get another job somewhere in the companion animal field.
Moving, job changes, and surgeries…… 2017 is my year of transformation!

No Longer Home

Ever since coming back from Florida, nothing is the same.  The sun seems dull, the days seem empty.  I find myself just surviving and no longer thriving.  If I don’t stay busy throughout my days, I slip into daydreams about the bright sunshine, the crashing waves, the salty breeze, and the friendly faces we encountered while we were in the Pensacola area.  I know it was a tourist area out on the barrier islands, and waitresses and store clerks are friendly to make people’s vacations better, but it wasn’t just that.

I never expected the area to speak to me as much as it did.  I knew it would be a great vacation, and I knew we would enjoy ourselves there.  But I never expected to want to stay, or to return and live there.  One of the waitresses that we ended up chatting with was from Iowa, too.  She explained she had visited at one point too, and fell in love with it the same way we did.  She said she especially loved that most of the businesses there in the island area have shower facilities for the employees who choose to go to the beach before or after their work shifts.  Super convenient!

A few days after we arrived I started looking into the job and housing markets in the mainland Pensacola area.  It was a surprise to me to find that there were plenty of jobs available in my line of work, and the cost of living there is the same if not slightly more affordable than where I live currently.  The whole reason I’ve stayed here so long is due to the low cost of living compared to the surrounding areas!

Then I started thinking about what the kids would want, and what we’d be leaving behind if we decided to make the move to the Florida panhandle.  Cory was downright depressed to come back to Iowa, Evan was all for the idea of moving, but Andy wasn’t too excited at the idea of year-round warmth, as he is more of a cold-weather lover.  None of us wanted to leave behind our family or our friends. Sean and I both really appreciate our bosses at work, as well.  Our people are honestly the only things holding us back, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Someday, and I don’t expect it to take more than a couple of years, we WILL be moving down into the area.  We all loved it far too much to stay away for long.