Summer Catch-Up

Well, here it is, 3 months after my previous blog post.  It’s been a pretty busy summer around here.  We didn’t have any exciting week-long vacations or anything like that.  Hell, the kids have barely gotten off electronics enough to notice its only a couple weeks away from school starting again.  But I’ve sure stayed busy.

Once I was released to go about my normal activities after my big surgery, I found plenty to do.  Most of it just little stuff, day to day.  Hanging out with friends, going swimming with the kids, going for rides with my man.  I got a job delivering pizzas for Pizza Hut, so I’ve been doing that for a few weeks now in the evenings.  My boss and co-workers are pretty cool about taking it easy on me so I can sit when I need to, to rest my back and my hips.  Its definitely a blessing.

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Andy and I in the front, right, riding the Monster at Adventureland.

We had all the my boys’ birthday parties here at our home.  Andy’s was in May, Evan’s was in July, and Cory’s was this month, in August.  All went well, and smoothly.  For all of them I invited friends and family and grilled burgers and hot dogs out on our deck.  Then we had cake and ice cream, and did the gift giving thing.  I think for the most-part the boys got what they wanted.  Andy’s big present this year was one of the new 3DSs.  Evan’s was a trip to Adventureland.  And Cory’s was a new tablet for gaming.  Photos for all of the birthdays, and everything else I’ve done all summer (and all future activities) can be found on my Instagram.  I update there quite frequently.

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Jake and I at the Freedom Rally, 2017

Jake and I went to the Freedom Rally in Algona, IA in June/July.  It was my first time at any big rally, and I must say it was not at all what I expected.  It was a really chill atmosphere.  Everyone was happy and easy-going for the most part.  We had a really good time.  Good food, good music, and a great weekend of camping.  I look forward to going with him again next year!

Still to come, I’m hoping still to take the whole family camping, maybe next week, if even for only one night.  I have a weekend planned for HearthsOPhyre in Conesville, IA during the last weekend in September.  Its similar to Burning Man, only on a smaller scale and local.  Also, I scored us some Hollywood Undead concert tickets for October, and I’m looking forward to seeing Highly Suspect again in November, as they have become my favorite band.

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Not exactly the results I had in mind from my Panniculectomy. (4 months post-op)

On the health and wellness front: I’ve applied for disability since the outlook on my hip dysplasia is chronic worsening pain for at least another 20 years until they are so arthritic they need surgically replaced.  In the meanwhile I’ve had physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around my hips to better cope with the deterioration process.  I’ve been told since my hips are bad in the way that they are, my other joints will likely have similar problems as I age, and I’ve already starting having shoulder and knee pain.  So I’ve had physical therapy twice a week for the hips starting just recently, and physical therapy for my upper back, shoulders and neck for 6 weeks prior.  That is for insurance purposes to get me qualified for the breast reduction.  Which has been officially scheduled for September 1st!!  3 weeks from tomorrow I will be having the breast reduction to a C-cup, and the surgeon will also be doing a “scar revision” to take off some of the loose skin that was missed when I had my Panniculectomy, and straighten out my belly button.  I’m not too nervous about the belly area because I know what to expect, but I’m extremely nervous about having the breast work done because it such a delicate area.  I want it to be perfect, symmetrical, and I want to keep sensation to the area.  I worry too much about things anyway, but I really want this to be done well.  I have a different and more experienced surgeon this time, so I have higher hopes for a much better outcome.  I would post pics, but that could get my blog in trouble for mature content.  I’ll try to post reasonable, censored before photos on my Instagram before the surgery.

So that’s the update and what’s to come!  I know some of you have been bugging me for an update, so there it is!  Sorry it’s taken me so long to get some time to sit down and type it out.  I know I will have plenty of time to type in September, as I have to take pretty much the entire month off for recovery.  So I’ll seeya then!

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!

Life Is Good

Today I had a pretty great afternoon.  I had the time to look around and soak in all that I have been blessed with.

I have the home for my family that I’ve been wanting for years – enough bedrooms for us all and a large yard.  We have room for all the things we need and a little extra for the stuff we want.  We have enough room in the yard to plant flowers, a vegetable garden, have a pool and a place for bonfires, and there’s still room for the kids to dig in the dirt and for the dog to run to her heart’s content.

I have a wonderful husband who enjoys taking care of said yard, and who does everything he can to take care of and provide for our family, and who loves me the way I deserve to be loved.  He supports me through my injuries and health issues, shares interests with me (even when he’s not really interested), listens when I tell veterinary stories about work even when he’s grossed out, and still holds me in bed at night.

My boys are all healthy, happy and well cared for.  We are all healthy and happy for that matter.  People and pets alike.

everythingI have a great job in the field I have always been passionate about.  Its a dream job for me, really.  And starting as a kennel assistant and working my way up to veterinary assistant has really made me understand how things need to be done, and different aspects of the job I would not have otherwise understood as well any other way.  The doctor I work for is a great employer who understands the needs and demands of a family.  He is the most understanding boss I have ever had, and we get along pretty well otherwise too.  Everything about my job is just amazing!

I have enough room, landlord permission, and the income to have pets.  We have a dog, 2 cats, a duck and 2 chickens.  They all bring me so much joy, and bring such richness to my family.  They teach the kids patience, responsibility, and compassion.  And they are amazing companions.  I have always loved animals, but to be able to fill my home with these amazing critters is a true blessing.  The birds are a new experience for me, and the routine of taking care of them and their unique kind of companionship is really exciting for me.  Especially the duck – he’s my buddy.

Overall I have a truly blessed life.  I really couldn’t ask for much more.  This is all I’ve been wanting, and I worked to get it.  So now I get to cherish every moment of it.