Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Breathing

Breathing is such a good thing - never underestimate it.

I know that I've taken it for granted in the past - but never again. My surgery was a huge success. I was in and then out of the hospital. Surgery was at 10:30 and then I was home by 3 o'clock. Nice. I have just a slight sore throat and that's it. I cannot feel the stent at all. My breathing is normal - quiet and effortless. I do not get out of breath climbing the stairs to my apartment.

Life is good.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Monday's The Day

Well, tomorrow is the day for my surgery. They are going to dilate my throat and put in a stent if everything goes according to plans. The last time I had this procedure done (minus the stent) was in August and there were slight complications after the surgery which made me stay overnight. There was some kind of reaction to something that still remains unnamed. And this time, I am going to end up with a "foreign object" in my trachea. That all being said, there is a part of me that is a bit apprehensive. I'm a little burned out on being put to sleep. I also am wondering what that stent is going to feel like. The doctor told me that for awhile, until I got used to it, I would be clearing my throat a lot because it would feel like there is something in my throat. (Wait a minute.....there WILL BE something in my throat) I am working hard at psyching myself up to be prepared for this when I wake up. I don't want to bolt out of the bed screaming at the top of my lungs begging for them to yank it out. That is not cool. Nor grown up. Nor appreciated by any of the medical staff I'm sure. So, as I always do - I try to work this out so that my own efforts will sustain me. Its my style. I can handle it. I can do it myself.

God gave me a verse this week that has changed my thinking. Psalm 44:4-6
"You are my King and my God, who decrees victories for Jacob. Through you we push back our enemies; through your name we trample our foes. I do not trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory, but you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame.

Most often, my adversary is myself. My adversary is my pridefulness in thinking that I can do it myself. But - I do not trust in my bow and my sword does not bring me victory. The anxiety I'm feeling and the fear of what it will feel like can be conquered by strength from God alone. That isn't to say that it is going to feel great - but I will be able to handle it because I will be relying on God and not myself.

The next time you hear me talk, I will have breath. The next time I'm in church, I will sing. The next time I walk up a flight of stairs, I will not wheeze.

Thank you my Father.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

White Christmas - Now I'm ready



Last night, Irving Berlin's White Christmas was on TV. It is such a feel-good movie - and such a holiday classic. It made me feel warm and fuzzy and now, I am definitely ready for Christmas!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Three months later......

These two photos are the "before" shots - I think the day before surgery.




These two photos were taken today, about 3 months after surgery.




Its funny - I really don't see the difference. Seriously.

I know that there is a difference because I've lost 50# and I've gone from a size 3X top to an XL and from size 26 pants to a size 16. So there is a difference. But by looking at these photos, I don't see it. That's just funny to me.

I feel so much better (and when I can breathe, I will feel a LOT better). My knee doesn't bother me any more and I just feel more energetic.

Its crazy. The funny part is that as it turns out, I didn't need this surgery at all for my breathing. I guess I just get the bonus benefits. Blood pressure is great etc.

I wonder if when I look at photos of me in another three months if I'll see a difference?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A little Thursday Talk



Could this be little baby Braylon when he was just 2 months old? Yes... it sure could be!


I don't have all that much to say today - So why am I blogging you ask? Because I know that when I visit somebody elses blog, I am always so excited when I see something new. I don't care if its really important stuff, a picture or two, or just an update. I like it. I looked at my blog and saw that it had been well over a week since I'd written anything - and so here I am.

I don't happen to have any really important stuff to share. About as important as it gets is saying that it finally snowed yesterday. We got about 2" and you'd think by the way this city reacts that we got 10". They go crazy here. They truly do. Things are cancelled all over the place and people drive like grandmas. Amazing.

When I went out to scrape my car this morning, my windshield wiper was off of its handle. There was snow to scrape off etc. so by the time I got to the task of putting it back on, my fingers were frozen and I couldn't get it on. There wasn't a soul in sight in the parking lot and I was frustrated. I couldn't drive without a blade because when people drive in front of you, they kick up spray on your windshield. I started to pull out, and there was a guy scraping off his car. I rolled down my window and asked him if he thought he could help. He said that he'd try - and sure enough, he could. I was so thankful!

Now - of course there's my breathing. I am still breathing. That's the good news. The other good news is that I just now heard from the doctor's office and they got an authorization for my surgery. I will find out tomorrow morning when it is scheduled. I am ready.

The great part - in two weeks I'll be in KANSAS with my kids and with Braylon John! I absolutely cannot wait to see them and to spend Christmas with them!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Insurance Woes..... again

Hello.... its me again....whining about insurance companies. Its not that we don't have good coverage. They pay great - for what they pay for.

You'll remember my issue about them paying for and then not paying for and then paying for and then NOT paying for my gastric bypass. Well, I guess I'm over that. We ended up paying for it and that's that. Its over.

Now, we are in a dispute between the insurance company, us and George Washington Hospital about a bill from December of 2006 !!!! The insurance company sent an Explanation of Benefits (hereafter referred to as EOB) stating that I only owed $1000 some odd dollars. The hospital keeps billing me for $5000 and I won't pay it. I called them and they said they haven't received the EOB. The insurance company says they will fax it to them when the hospital pays back $105 that they were overpaid. The hospital won't pay it back until they get an EOB. Well that's all fine until somebody gets hurt. Guess what. We have been turned into a collection agency THREE TIMES over this issue. I'm just furious!

Today topped it off then. I was referred to another doctor for my throat. Yes - the issue still remains. I can barely breathe. This new doctor is going to put in a stent and he wants to do it next week. It is important. He says it is urgent. The thing is, neither the doctor or the hospital is in our insurance network. Do you think its easy to get them added? If you said yes, then you may think again please. Their office said it is quite a process. I called Jay's office to see if they could lend a hand since his company is self insured. They have somebody to specifically handle this type of problem. She is out of the office all week. She'll be back in on Monday. The bummer is - I've met my deductible so if we can get this done before the end of December, its a good thing. IF we can get them added to the network. If not, once again - its out of our pocket.

I truly do not understand why this must be so difficult. I am very lucky to have health insurance - I know that. Many people don't have it and its really a very unfortunate thing. I shouldn't complain. But, I am. This is nuts.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Prancer


I'm afraid it was "one of those days". It was a Monday in every sense of the word. There was a voice message and an e-mail to greet me when I got to work that set a tone for the entire day. Something had gone wrong with the count of newsletters that arrived at the mailing house and they were 500 short. Not only that, they were short 700 of each of the three inserts. Nobody wanted to claim the mistake - not the printer and not the mailing house. I ran both offense and defense all day long and it ended with not much of a conclusion. I'm going to pray about it tonite. All I know for sure is that it wasn't my fault. Whew.

I had an overload of e-mails to deal with. There were a lot of new additions to my "To Do" list and I just had a horrid sense of being overwhelmed. I was glad when the day was finally over.

I drove home at 4:30 and it was already dark outside. It was cold, windy and rainy. I almost ran over a guy who darted across the street wearing dark clothing. I had to go to the grocery store. I was cranky.

When I got home, I had a short crying session that made me feel somewhat better. We had dinner and then Jay said that he had a surprise for me at 7:00. That in itself made me smile. So I patiently waited until 7:00. He had me sit in my recliner and gave me a Diet Coke. He sat down and turned on the DVD player on the TV. He had purchased Prancer and thought that tonite was a good time for us to watch it. I'd never seen the movie and was just glad to have something fun and full of Christmas to watch. It was great to take my mind off of everything and see a little girl's imagination unfold. What a wonderful idea to soothe the savage beast that was building up inside of me! :) I think tomorrow is going to be a better day!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Food Cravings

I was told that I would have a period of mourning (if you will) over food. Well, this past week I experienced that and it wasn't wonderful. It didn't last long - but the encounter with "what I won't ever eat again" was there and it made me sad.

I was thinking about all the fun times that Jackie Chestnut and I had making Christmas candy and cookies together. I can still do that - sure. But it won't be the same if I can't sample.

I wanted Chocolate Chip cookies - I wanted a fist full of them. I can probably have a bite, but I can't even really have one cookie because of a thing called "dumping". My system really rejects anything with a significant amount of sugar now. It just cannot handle it. My body sends out insulin too quickly now because it is absorbed so much quicker and I get sick, like the flu, for about an hour. Is eating one cookie worth it? Probably not.

I thought about cheesecake.

I thought about fudge.

I thought about a blizzard from DQ.

I thought about a Big Mac and large fries.

I thought about a big plate of pasta alfredo with soup and all the breadsticks you can eat at Olive Garden.

I thought about several slices of meat lovers pizza.

I wanted an ENTIRE cheeseburger with the bun. My stomach doesn't like bread at all. No way. It rejects it within about 10 minutes - if you know what I mean. And I think you do.

So there you are. Poor me. Poor, poor me. I realize in the grand scheme of things, this is absolutely nothing. And I'm really over this for the most part. I'm much healthier, food is NOT my life, and I do not need cheesecake. Deep sigh. I don't need cheesecake. I don't need cheesecake......

Friday, November 16, 2007

Things I like about the city......

Lets see.....
1.
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8.
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10.

Well then......

Monday, November 12, 2007

A "Punny" Statement

It hasn't been a great week for me physically. Everything with the bypass surgery has been going really well. The eating is fine and I've lost 40#. No worries.

But - since a week ago Saturday, I have been dizzy and had no air. That is a worry. I get this dizzy thing every November practically. I guess its no different here in Virginia. I've been told its an allergic thing that causes my inner ear to act up and create vertigo. I get really dizzy when I lay down, when I move my head too fast or when I change positions back upright. Its not great. Last weekend was a bust - we didn't go anywhere or do anything. Jay had to drive me to work last Monday. I'm driving now but believe me, I felt a lot safer driving in Clay Center than I do here. You kinda have to pay attention here. ANYWAY, its better but certainly not gone. It is very annoying to me and I want it to be gone. I have an appointment with an allergist this Thursday and maybe he can do something to make this stop.

Then - the breathing thing is happening again. The thing that was supposed to stop when I had the gastric bypass surgery. I am out of breath walking up the steps to our apartment. I get out of breath just during a normal conversation. I wake up in the night gasping for breath. This is so annoying because it wasn't supposed to happen again. I have an appointment with Dr. B who takes care of my throat and this time - I want to know what's going on.

I've been a little cranky about this - mostly because by losing the weight etc. I've been feeling so darn good. And now a double whammie. I'm not a very good sport when it comes to this. I want it fixed and I want it fixed now please.

So - on to the punny statement. We did make it to church Sunday and we were telling our friends the Olson's about all of this. John said... you know.... allergies are nothing to sneeze at.

Made me think I was talking to Gail Habluetzel! :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

My Kids


My girls. What can I say? I love the silliness that they have. I love the things that they remember that are funny - we have "sayings" that go way back to childhood that still trigger laughs. When they were in Jr High, they were awful to each other. I used to say to them "Do you want to grow up to be like Grandma and Aunt Vivien?" They said that it would never happen and thankfully, it didn't even come close. They share a friendship like none other and it makes my heart warm to know that!

Miss Rachael. Pooh. She is one of the most creative people I know. I always loved watching her dance and twirl. I could watch videos of that all day long. She can make something out of nothing - and is a great 2nd Birthday party thrower! She is a wonderful mama, a terrific sister, a great friend and a daughter that is so very loved!

Joshua Aaron - my boy. There is a tie between a mother and a son that is special, to be sure. I love it when he "opens up" to me and starts talking. We took a trip out to St Francis together a couple of times and we had some of the best conversations ever. I don't need to tell you what a miracle his life is - every single time I look at him I remember what a blessing it is to have him breathing air. He has such a good heart and he really knows how to live life. I love my boy!

Chelsie's other name is Da-Chee and with good reason. Among her many talents, she is an aunt to Braylon John aka Big Nut. She does that job with a great ability and love. Being child #1 carries with it a great responsibility, whether you're aware of it or not. She handles that responsibility quite well I think. She is so gifted with her musical talent. I love listening to and watching her sing. Sometimes when she sings, her words are attached to her heart and she cries a little bit. That makes her music even more wonderful. I loved watching her in Tiger Chorale and listening to her in band. I remember having so much fun playing piano for her when she played the flute and we played Christmas Music together. I love this girl!

My kids - I am so blessed. I am absolutely blessed beyond measure. How I love them!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

I may not be a city girl.......

Thursday at work I needed to call a restaurant to get directions for my boss. I had googled the restaurant but I couldn't tell what side of the street the restaurant was on. Here is the conversation:

Restaurant: Hello - Peking Restaurant

Me: Yes, hello. Could you tell me which side of the street your restaurant is on, east or west?

Restaurant: Well, it depends on where you're coming from.

Me: No, I mean east or west.

Restaurant: Where are you coming from?

Me: From Fairfax City

Restaurant: Then it would be on your right, so that would be west.

Small pause......

Me: OK, well thank you then.

I may not be a city girl, but where I come from, being on the right is not necessarily west. I'm just saying.........

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Day at the Zoo


While we were in Kansas for Braylon's birthday, we took advantage of a wonderful fall afternoon and went to the zoo. Braylon loves going to the zoo very much. At just the mention of the idea, he wanted his shoes on.

The zoo has a new bear and we were lucky enough to see it standing on hits back legs. That's pretty cool considering the last bear that was at the zoo was hardly ever out of his cave. Braylon hurried to see the bear!

He liked looking at the birds as well. He liked getting right up next to the cages to see them - kinda made me nervous.

When he saw the little machine that takes a quarter to get bird food, he knew what it was. Apparently somebody else has shelled out quarters for that little boy! We got some feed and tried feeding the ducks. They apparently had been fed not too long before that because they were not interested.

It was a wonderful afternoon at the zoo. We had such a nice time watching Braylon run from one place to the other.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Braylon's 2nd Birthday

This past weekend, we celebrated Braylon's 2nd birthday. The theme of the party was ELMO - as you can see. There was a huge balloon of Elmo and surprisingly, Braylon was not afraid of it at all.
He was just so big - and the afternoon and evening was full of lots of fun activities! He survived it all in pretty good style.
He even sat in his Elmo chair to open his birthday presents.
One of his gifts was a big John Deere tractor that he loved! He didn't want anybody else touching it either. He made sure Uncle Josh knew who it belonged to.
He had been practicing blowing a week earlier in Early Head Start. The timing couldn't have been better because this year, he had two candles to blow out. It was such a fun party and the whole family got to be a part of it! What a great celebration - a little boy who is now 2 years old is one of our family's greatest blessings!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Victim of Circumstance

Here I was, trying hard to drive carefully. I was. I always do. They have this sign that you see around here that says DON'T BLOCK THE BOX! It means, don't block a square area where people turn, don't block the intersection, and don't block a business exit. I understand what it means and I'm very careful about making sure that I'm not a box blocker.

So, back to me minding my own business. I was driving along and I wasn't sure if I needed in the right lane or the middle lane. I finally saw the sign and realized that I needed to scoot over a lane. The cars in that line were moving along and there was nobody behind me so I was able to move over without any problem. The thing is, as soon as I did, the line came to a screeching halt and there I was - right in front of a lane exit for a bank. As I was coming to a stop, there was nobody there - but about 5 seconds after I stopped, a big black pickup came around the corner of the bank and wanted out. He pulled up to my car within about a 1/2" or so I'd say and laid on the horn. He was angry! I was blocking him and he had to wait.

Well there was nothing I could do about it. It truly wasn't my fault that I was blocking him, though I can see how he thought it was my fault. I understand that he was frustrated. But he was mad at me - and for no real good reason. He just laid on the horn until he was blue..... and until I was crying. I hate that.

There I was, stuck. I couldn't move and this guy in the big black truck was about to mow me down and eat me for lunch. I looked at him and mouthed the words "I'm sorry" . A lot of good that did. He continued to lay on the horn. I continued to cry.

Finally the line moved and I was able to get out of His Highness's way. I know he was swearing at me and thought I was an incompetent driver and all - but that time I wasn't.

I cried for about a mile. I hate city drivers. I hate traffic. I hate big black trucks. I hate being a victim of circumstances.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Meeting Uncle Bob in DC

I got an e-mail from my cousin Sandi this past week telling me that my Uncle Bob was going to be flown to Washington DC on a flight called "Honor Flight". It is a free flight for WWII Veterans, most especially for wounded veterans, but I don't believe exclusively for them. My uncle lives in Longmont, CO and couldn't wait to take advantage of this opportunity. When I heard he was going to be here on a Saturday, I too had to take advantage of it. She sent his schedule to me and we ended up meeting him at the WWII Memorial at 11:00 Saturday morning. These pictures are a little out of order - not sure how that happened - but the results are the same. The picture above shows him and some of his friends at the Colorado column.

This is what the WWII Memorial looks like. It was a perfectly beautiful morning and the temperature was perfect. There were a lot of veterans there - it was a great place to be.
This is another picture of the inside of the memorial.
This is me pictured with my Uncle Bob.
Uncle Bob had the honor of carrying the flag to the Colorado site. He was part of that ceremony and it really was an honor for him.
Bob Dole was also there and spent several hours there talking to the veterans. He was taking a picture with Uncle Bob and found out that he was from Colorado. He asked if he brought anybody from Kansas with him and I told him that I was from Kansas. He said "Well get in this picture then!" He was so very nice to all of the men - it was a pleasure to meet him.
As I said - there were so many people. I was milling around waiting for Uncle Bob's bus to arrive and I spotted a woman with a K-State t-shirt on. I went up to her and said that I had to say "Hi" to a woman with a K-State shirt on. I told her that I was from Kansas and she asked where... I told her Clay Center and she said she was from Concordia! Isn't that cool? I loved it! All in all - it was a wonderful day. It was beautiful outside, I got to see Uncle Bob honored and I got in a great walk!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Gettysburg

Today we went to visit Gettysburg. Its a place we both had wanted to visit but just had never taken the time. As it turns out, Gettysburg is only about 85 miles away from our house - so we just took off this morning and headed north. There were lots of cannons around. I can't imagine dragging those heavy things for miles and miles like they did.
All along the 18 mile tour route were monuments to different battles and different army batallions as well as honoring the states that sent troops. They were very pretty.
I don't remember who this guy on the horse was - it was just one of the great monuments along the way.
The battlefields were not just flat. There were lots of rocks and several tall hills that they had to maneuver around. This is a picture of one of the hills that was a prize possession in the battle because you could see the entire battleground.

If you look closely below the two diamonds, you can see a cannonball hole. It was never repaird on this barn because the owners wanted to remember the men who fought so hard.
This is the view from the top of the hill that overlooks the battlefield. It was all a very impressive sight. I loved the monuments. Most of all, I was very impressed that the battle was so well fought, given that they did not have today's modern technology. How did they know where everyone was and how did they communicate so well given their circumstances.
The battle was not long - it took only three days in July of 1863. The Union had 93,921 troops and the Confederates had 71,699 men. I am simply amazed by that fact. I had no idea there were so many men involved. There was a total of 23,000 some odd casualities on each side with 3,155 killed on the Union and 4,708 killed on the Confederate side.
In the end, I read Lincoln's Gettysburg address again - and it had a little more meaning this time.
"Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure."
Some things don't change much, do they.



Monday, September 24, 2007

Rex Grossman

Is it just me.... or does Rex Grossman look like Aaron Catlin?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pirates

Yesterday was International Talk Like A Pirate Day and I hate that I wasn't able to participate. If I would have been in Clay Center, there were PLENTY of places I could have participated. In fact, I'm guessing that Jamie and Rockie talked about it on the radio during their morning segment.

If I would have been around my girls, we definitely would have talked like pirates. Tami and I would have been all over it. Larry Wayne would have joined in I'm sure. There are countless friends who would have loved it!

But - at my place of work - it just would not have been appreciated. Nobody would have thought it was funny and nobody would have got it. They are nice folks and all..... but, well I'm sure you understand.

After work I went to the grocery store and the pharmacy. Still - no place to use pirate words.

All in all - I'm a little disappointed, maties. I wanted to hoist that sail and shiver my timbers - but there was nobody to do it with. I'm going to have to settle with watching Pirates of the Caribbean this weekend I guess. Avast.

Monday, September 17, 2007

First Day back at work

Today was my first day back at work. It was not as easy as I thought. I thought I'd sail right through the day but that was not the case. I didn't feel good this morning and I'm really tired right now. I lasted until one o'clock and my boss told me to go home. Silly me - I had much higher expectations.

I didn't feel very good this morning and I was done by one. I'm getting ready to take a small nap right now - I know I'll feel better when I wake up.

I've been eating things like egg salad and potted meats and peanut butter on crackers this past week. The crackers get soggy and that's a good thing for my stomach. I drink two protein drinks a day and get in lots of water.

The mornings are just the hardest. Lots of theories have been floating around: 1) I eat too fast 2) I don't chew good enough 3) My body wants protein drinks first 4) My body wants food first 5) This is just the way it is so get used to it for awhile. In any event, I am where I am and it will get better. I'll move forward!

Friday, September 7, 2007

One Week After

Last week at this time I was sleeping off anesthesia. I think I was going to sleep for the night - even though I got woke up every two hours for vital signs. It wasn't like I was getting a good night's sleep.
Here I am, one week later, feeling much better. I had a doctor's appointment today and I get to start on pureed foods. This means also appleasauce, cottage cheese, mashed potatoes, baby food and oatmeal. This just sounds wonderful to me! I am supposed to eat by the clock every 2 hours because I won't feel hungry - and that's true. I don't. I eat about two teaspoons of food and I'm good to go. So now I will have lots of little leftover bowls in the fridge with the spuds I made, and some oatmeal in the morning. Those portions will last me for about a month at this rate! I still need to drink two protein shakes a day and plenty of water. Thursday morning I woke up not feeling so good and I finally figured out I was dehydrated. I need to be sipping something all day long. I finally got caught back up by mid-afternoon and began to feel better.
So far, since my pre-op visit, I've lost 10#. Not bad at all!
They also told me not to go back to work yet. It's not because of any pain, but its that I'm not strong enough yet. Every ounce of energy goes towards healing and mending - there's not much left over for doing things. When I take a shower and wash my hair, I'm toast. I doubt I could even begin to make it through a work day. This means one more week of watching Ellen and Trading Spaces, not to mention all of the great things on the Food Channel.
So yes - I'm doing very well thank you. :)

Monday, September 3, 2007

Gastric Bypass Surgery Photos

Some of these photos are not pretty. Actually, there isn't one of them that is pretty! :) This photo was taken in pre-op. They were just getting ready to wheel me back. I've got my IV's in and its about time. Don't let the smile fool you. I was not smiling on the inside. I was scared to pieces about my breathing. They had told me they might have to keep me partially awake to put in the breathing tube. Yikes. As it turned out, everything went smoothly. No issues.
This is me right after surgery. I really have no comment at all. I look like death. I don't remember Jay taking this picture at all. I don't remember much of anything at all. I'd refer to the glaze in my eyes, but you can't see my eyes at all.
Now see.... don't I look better? Somebody took the time to comb my hair for me - thank you very much - and I look a little more alive. Sort of. This is the day after. I believe I might have been taking a nap.
This is me as I was preparing to go home on Sunday evening. See what a difference a day makes? I was amazed at how much better I felt. Simply amazed. I will be sending comparison shots as the weeks go by. I have to admit, there's still a part of me that thinks "this will never work". I don't know why I think that way - my little pouch only holds 4oz now. Anyway - I'll keep you posted. Thank you for your prayers. God is so good.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The pictures say it all

I just got back from Kansas.... and may I just say how wonderful it was to see my children and that little boy! I had so much fun! It was great to just sit and drink coffee and talk. We didn't do so very much - but I needed time to just "be" with them - and that was accomplished.

Braylon didn't feel good Friday evening - and he fell asleep in my arms. I'm just here to tell you - there is nothing at all in the world like holding a sleepy little boy. Nothing. My grandson occupies one of the most special spots in my heart.
I am so blessed. I am just blessed beyond my capacity to hold it all. I love my children to pieces - and my visit was the absolute best!

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Geek Squad

Ok - this post is gonna be just silly - but the other day when I was driving home from work, I pulled up along side a volkswagen from the Geek Squad. You know the cars - they are black and white VW Bugs.... and there is a Geek driving.

I can't explain it - it was almost like pulling up along side the Presidential motorcade. Ok, maybe not so much - but I had to catch myself from waving and smiling at him. I didn't even get a good look at what a Geek looks like - but he probably looked smart and educated and.... well, "on a mission". I wanted to tell him that I was proud of him and don't let the word "Geek" get you down, but I'm pretty sure he could have cared less one way or the other.

Jay was having trouble with his computer the other day and had an appointment with a "Geek" and I was so excited to hear how it went - but as it turned out, it was a phone thing that took care of it. He didn't get to see a "Geek". Dang.

All's I'm saying is if I ever have a computer issue, I'm not settling for a phone call. I want to see a Geek. Wow.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Listening to God Today

God spoke to me today in three different ways - saying three different things to something I cried out to him about this morning in my quiet time.

Let me start out from yesterday afternoon. I went to see my surgeon for a pre-operative visit. We talked about a lot of things - one of them being a discussion about my throat surgery I had just last Friday and the fact that there were issues concerning my breathing as I was coming out of anesthesia. He told me that he had been in conference with my ENT surgeon about the upcoming gastric bypass. My ENT surgeon wants to be nearby while I'm in surgery "just in case" I have problems breathing again - in case when they intubate me my throat swells up again and there are airway issues. He went on to tell me that there is a slight possibility that if there are issues, they will leave the airway in place and that when I wake up from surgery, it will still be there and that they will keep it in overnight and that I will remain in ICU until they take it out the next day.

My eyes were wide and I'm sure my jaw was dropped. He told me that he imagined it was a little scary for me to think about. I told him that it was. I told him that I can't imagine liking how that was going to feel and that I would think I would be very anxious about it. He said that many people are and that if they do have to leave it in and I wake up agitated and fighting them, that they will keep me sedated while its in and then wait to wake me up after they've taken it out.

I thought about it all evening long. In fact, it was really all I could think about. While its only a slight possibility that it will happen, it is something that is a possibility and I was scared. I imagined the feeling being like suffocated (which isn't true I know - in fact I'm sure its quite the opposite) but I just don't want to wake up with an airway still in me.

This brings me to this morning. I had a shortened quiet time because I had to get to the office by 7 o'clock. I went right past my reading and devotions and started my prayer time. I told God that I was scared. I told him that I didn't want for this to happen - I did not want to wake up with an airway in and that I wasn't sure that I could handle it. I told him that I was afraid and that I was going to panic when I woke up. I cried. He heard me.

About 10 o'clock this morning, God said to me "When are you going to quit trying to do things on your own? When are you going to completely give things to me to handle for you?" I remembered that we'd had this conversation before. I knew just what he was talking about and I surrendered. I knew he was right. I cannot handle a single thing on my own. I cannot handle the fear or the idea of the airway. But He can.

A little later on, someone called the office and was telling me about how she missed her mother. Her mother had recently passed away. This woman was also going through a job change and a possible selling of her home. She was dealing with sisters who were not strong and she had to be the "stand up girl" for everything dealing with her mother's death. She told me that there was no way she could go through all of this if it wasn't her strength from God. She also told me that she knew that God was refining her. God asked me if I was listening. He is refining me - and he chooses to do it how he chooses to do it.

The third way God spoke to me today concerning this is that my co-worker brought a devotion in to me to read. She has never done this before but she told me that she thought it was really good. It talked about how God never gives us more than we can handle. God said "Why would you think that I would ever give you more than you could handle?"

I don't know if I will wake up with the airway in or not. I won't know until I'm in the middle of it. But I do know that God loves me so much that he took time today to hear me and he took time today to speak clearly three times. He told me that he wants me to give everything to Him to take care of. He told me that He is refining me for himself. And he told me that he would never give me more than I can handle.

I'm ready for my surgery.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Necessity of Insurance

Everybody needs different types of insurance. Some insurances are required by state law such as vehicle liability insurance and property liability insurance. You absolutely have to have homeowners insurance of some type in case of fire etc. Some people have life insurance, some don't. Some people have cancer insurance and nursing home insurance. Some people insure their pets.

But then there's health insurance. Unfortunately not everybody has it - but its so necessary. There are a variety of options out there and most of them are very expensive and they certainly have their exclusions of what they will pay for.

I've been "fighting" with my insurance company for the last two months about them paying for my gastric bypass surgery. At first it was a flat no. Then I was told that they might pay for it under certain circumstances. So we jumped through hoops and did psychiatric evaluations and sent reports and letters etc. This went on and on and we talked to so many different people it wasn't even funny. They finally told us that they would pay for it. I was thrilled! Then they said no.We need more proof of necessity. So we did more. We sent more. We worked harder. Then they told us two weeks ago that it was a go. They even called the doctor's office and gave them a confirmation number. We scheduled the surgery and I was just so excited. Then the first part of this week we got more news that they had denied and they don't know how it got through that it would be paid for, but that it wasn't true. :(

I don't know what we would have done if we wouldn't have had health insurance when Josh had his wreck. His total bill was a half a million dollars. There was no way that would have been paid for.

I had throat surgery yesterday morning - the same surgery I've had 8 other times because of acid reflux - and this time they had a little more trouble so they kept me in ICU overnight to make sure my breathing was ok. That alone would have been very expensive but fortunately my insurance does pay for that and I have met my deductible.

My point? You gotta have insurance. Its just too bad that you pay and arm and a leg for it and sometimes - they give you nothing in return. In this case, you do not always get what you pay for.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Panda and Bun

My girls each had a stuffed animal when they were small that was very important to them. I do not remember Josh having anything special - maybe its a girl thing.

Chelsie had Panda - a small black and white bear that she named. He probably was fluffy and plump when she first got him - but as time wore on, he wore out. His fur was kind of matted down to one flat length and his stuffing was flattened out as well. I believe he still had both of his eyes and I'm pretty sure his nose was sewn on so that was still intact for the most part.

She carried him backwards - or what I consider backwards. His back was up against her stomach. Her hand rested on his stomach and she held his left arm. He was with her quite a bit of the time but he was ALWAYS with her at night. That is.... until the day Panda got lost. We searched and searched. We just couldn't find that old boy anywhere. She was so sad and frankly, I felt bad too. Then one day it was time to change the sheets on her bed and there, tucked between the mattress and the wall was a cute little smooched bear - waiting patiently for a little girl to find him. She was a happy child - and I'm sure she slept better at night.

Rachael had Bun. She was a small brown rabbit that was laying on her legs I believe. You couldn't actually see her legs... but she was not standing up. Bun also accompanied us pretty much everywhere we went. She was a little small bunny that could travel easily with Rachael. She fit well in her one little hand.

I believe it was 1st grade when that rabbit disappeared, never to be seen again. Mrs. Brown had the front display and for some reason, Bun was in the display. From that point on, after the display, we never saw her again. Rachael has always thought that Chrissy Wernette took her - I don't know where that idea came from, but that was always the thought. We sometimes think that we've seen Bun but Rachael won't even let us pretend that we see her. Its still a sensitive topic.

The girls have had plenty of other soft animals - there were also People Pillows and Cabbage Patch Kids. There were Pound Puppies and Strawberry Shortcake Dolls. Who can forget Care Bears and The Get-Along-Gang. But nothing ever could or ever will take the place of Panda and Bun.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Let's see your desk

Here's my desk at the beginning of my work day. Nice and clear - everything in its place. Just brought in my coffee cup...I'm ready to dig in.
Notice how everything looks so tidy and neat. I always end the day with a clean desk.
Well - it didn't take long. For me - progress in the day is indicated by how my desk looks. I hate to use the words messy or cluttered.... but I guess it kind of fits the situation.
I try to keep things organized - and truly -things are in appropriate piles.

So.... here's my tag to you guys. Show me your desk first thing in the morning - and then show me your desk after you've got a good start in the day. I'm not sure how long it will take. Sometimes it doesn't take long. Sometimes you have to wait until mid-afternoon.

Let's see your desk. :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Rachael Ray and Dunkin' Donuts

I'm just not sure what the big deal is. I mean.... its Rachael Ray and everything! She endorses Dunkin' Donuts coffee.....so I thought I'd try it. I mean.... its Rachael Ray and EVERYTHING. It has to be good. But its not. I make better coffee - and my coffee is just average. It wasn't horrid...but it wasn't what I'd think Rachael Ray's standards are. I'm just not sure what the big deal is.

Church League Softball and Sunflower Seeds

Last night the men's softball team from our church played in the championship game. It was a beautiful night so Jay and I went to see them play. On the way out the door, I asked Jay if he would stop so that I could get some sunflower seeds. He said sure - although I could see the look on his face. He really wasn't sure what the necessity was. I told him that every softball game deserved sunflower seeds.

Sitting there in the bleachers was so much fun. All of the usual things that are said at a softball game came back to me! "OK - Now you're ready!" "Good eye - good eye!" "Make him pitch to you!" "Everybody hits now!" "Lets play defense". You know - the usual. I opened the bag of sunflower seeds and with it came lots of fun memories. One of the best memories I had was of Carma Leonard, Sharon Evans and myself sitting together at the Chelsie's softball games. We had the big watermellon umbrella, teathered to my chair with those tie-downs. We had a cooler between us with ice and beverages and food. And... there was my Big Honkin' Mug. We each had one - it had ice tea in it that lasted all day long. We must have sat through hundreds of softball games and between that and church league and Rachael's games - well who knows how many there were.

The fact remains - its good to sit outside on a wonderful summer evening watching a softball game.... eating sunflower seeds.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Saturday mornings

I just love a certain kind of Saturday mornings. I like the kind I had this Saturday. I got to sleep in. Jay had an early breakfast meeting at church so I just stayed in bed. I woke up around 8:30 and just messed around the kitchen for awhile in my jammas. I made coffee and those cinnamon rolls out of a tube. I turned on tv, drank my coffee and had a couple of those warm out of the oven rolls. Still had my jammas on. I checked e-mail....stood out on the deck.....eventually made the bed... still had my jammas on. Do you see a trend here? By the time Jay finally got home, I was just taking my shower. I was not in any hurry at all. I like those kinds of Saturday mornings - no rush. No worries.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Cruiser goes Cruising

It was one of those "cute" things. We were driving on the freeway in California and there was a car exactly like Jay's. He drives a PT Cruiser that is the color of periwinkle. You don't see a lot of those around. So we pretended that it was his car and that it got "caught" sneaking to California. It got to be a funny joke because honestly, we saw that same car (or one just like it) about five different times. We laughed hard because we could just imagine his car going "Dang - I'm gonna be toast if he sees me!"

As we were flying home, we imagined that the little car was hurrying as fast as he could go, not even stopping for potty breaks, to get home before we did. I had a thought of him scared to death that we'd be home before he was.

As the taxi pulled into our parking lot, I honestly wondered whether I'd see the car there or not and if he was, would his engine still be warm? But there he sat - cool engine and with the same odometer reading as when we left. I guess I didn't give the little car enough credit.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Riding with the top down in California


We just returned from Jay's high school reunion in San Diego. He surprised me with renting a convertible so that we could go down the ocean coastline and really enjoy the beautiful scenery!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Being invisible

Today I got to attend a lunch brainstorming session for my work. I was the only female - no big deal - but I was also the youngest and the ..... least wise? Three of the men were pastors, one was my boss and the other was this big cheese guy for marketing and sales. He was a talker - and honestly, he really knew what he was talking about. There was lots of strategy etc and it was really, really interesting. About halfway through, I had something I wanted to share. It took about three tries before I was able to get a word in and when I did, they all just kind of brushed it off. I'm not sure they really heard me. I suggested that a pastor really would find it very informative to sit in on a session just like this one. He could hear what they had to say about Christian Stewardship Ministries and how it is working in their churches. I told them briefly about the Ministrial Alliance in Clay Center and that something like that would be a perfect setting.
No comment from anybody.
About 20 minutes later, the big cheese said.... "How about if we have a target group - like a group of pastors and tell them just what we've been talking about here?"
You're kidding..... right?
I looked at the guy across the table from me hoping that he'd speak up and say "That's what Sheryl said about 20 minutes ago!!"
Nope.
Nobody said anything like that.
In fact, they loved his idea.
Do you know why?
It wasn't the FIRST TIME THEY'D HEARD IT !!!!
I'm good now....the afternoon is over. And I'm over it. But dang....what part of my communication skills are missing? Maybe its a guy thing.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Necessity of Insurance

Everybody needs some form of insurance or another.

You have to have automobile insurance. Not only do you need it to get a loan for a vehicle but its a law that you need at least liability insurance for the other driver.

You probably need life insurance. Not everybody has it and some people say that not everybody needs its. Its necessity is up for grabs I guess.

Some people have insurance for cancer. Some people have insurance for nursing homes. Some people insure their dogs. There is insurance for boats and motorcycles and RV's.

We have to have homeowners or renters insurance. Once again, its a law to have insurance in case somebody gets hurt on your property etc. but its also a very good idea.

Then there's health insurance. I could write pages, but I'll hold myself back. I've been dealing with my health insurance for months now trying to get them to make a decision regarding paying for my gastric bypass surgery. I had actually received a supposed decision from them two weeks ago saying that they were going to pay for it. Then all of a sudden, the first part of this week, they said there was an error in that statement and that it wasn't covered. I understand. They have an exclusion that says that gastric bypass surgery would not be paid under any circumstances, even if the reason is not just for weight loss - say like acid reflux or something. It's just that they had given us some hope and had been reviewing it for a couple of months now. We had jumped through hoops, gotten extra tests that we had paid for and had numerous doctors send in reports and requests. Then - after all this time - they come to the same conclusion. No.

Fine.

I could have had this surgery two months ago and been through the hardest part by now. We have had to cancel a vacation and I could have been home to visit my kids a lot earlier than I'm getting too all because I thought this was going to be in the works much sooner than it is.

Now I'm in agreement that you need health insurance. That's a given. You cannot pay for health care without it. Josh's wreck is a perfect example. His bill came to around a half a million dollars. Wow. Good thing for health insurance. Another example is that I just had surgery yesterday morning for my throat (the acid reflux thing again) and my breathing was bad when I got out of anesthesia so they kept me overnight. Good thing I have insurance or else it would have been very expensive.

So - here you are. You can't live with them sometimes because they are so picky and face it - they are very expensive. But... there is that necessity.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Annointing

Its happened again. My surgery has been postponed now. Not cancelled - just not re-scheduled yet. There is one little word that is bothering the insurance company and until I can figure out how to either "get around" what they are asking or get something to them that they want, I'm on hold. We decided not to reschedule until we heard the official word from them that it was a go. So....off of the liquid diet again and play the waiting game. I'm sure my body must be pretty confused as to what I want.

From the very beginning, I've given this surgery to God. Its all under His control and I know that His timing is perfect. He is in charge and it is because of Him that the insurance company has even said that they'd pay for it. So, I'm not really impatient. I admit that I'm disappointed in the postponement again - but I know that there must be a reason why this is happening in the time frame that it is. I trust God to take care of every little detail.

This brings me to the most fabulous thing that happened to me this weekend. My friend Rebecca and I had brunch together Saturday morning. We had breakfast at 10:00 at IHOP. I could have breakfast. I had about a pot of coffee because we talked until 1:00 that afternoon. We had so many things to talk about! One of the things I wanted to talk over with her was something that I'd recently read. I got a book written by an RN who had gastric bypass surgery. She stated that 85% of overweight people had suffered some kind of abuse or neglect as a child. That's quite an astounding percentage. It made me do some thinking. I wasn't ever abused - but my mom and dad emotionally neglected me. I can't really say that they "loved" me the way I love my children. My dad worked all the time, came home, ate supper, read the paper and went to bed. I really don't remember hugs. I do remember being spanked all the way home from the playground one time. I do remember spankings. I don't remember hugs. Through some Christian counseling, I have been able to understand that my mother and father did the best that they could - considering that probably their childhoods were much like what I was experiencing. But - I had never truly let go of those feelings of being lonely - the feelings that I had to feed myself to make up for the love I wasn't getting. I really had put some thought into this the past few days and when I shared it with Rebecca, I told her that I wasn't quite sure I knew how to let it go. I knew that I couldn't do it myself - and that God had to be a part of it. She suggested annointing. I knew that our church did annointing with oil for healing - but I wasn't sure what it was all about. I went home and read in the bible all I could. One passage stood out for me. James 5:14 "Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord."

I had to look up annoint and what it meant to me and what it could mean in regard to letting go the reason I ate when I was lonely. Here's what I found. It is an aid to faith - an outward sign of the healing to be brought about by God in response to prayer offered in faith.

That night I prayed. I prayed that God would help me to let go of those feelings and that Satan would not have a hold over me in eating when I was lonely. I prayed that God would give me the appropriate time and place for the annointing of oil.

That next morning in Sunday School, our teacher brought out her oil to annoint someone in our class for healing. But the time didn't seem right. I knew that I would just know. I knew that God would tell me.

After the sermon, in which God revealed to me quite clearly that God never wanted any of us to feel lonely, I knew that the time was right. I talked to my friend Pastor Chell and asked her to annoint me with oil. I gathered some of my sisters in Christ: Rebecca, Debbie and Pastor Karen. They all gathered around me and Chell annointed me with oil and prayed for me. They all prayed. We all cried tears of joy - I was so overwhelmed and so blessed! God was near us and God surrounded us with such a presence. My sisters and I just beamed!

I can't explain it - but I know that it no longer has a hold on me. I'm not saying I won't ever overeat, but I am saying it won't be from feeding myself from loneliness and it my childhood feelings no longer have a hold on me. I've given it to God. He has taken it from me - and all of this - the journey with my sisters - was one more step I had to take before my surgery. God indeed has a plan.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The "Wonder" of Insurance Companies

There is a certain mystique, if you will, about insurance companies. You absolutely cannot go through life without them. You just can't. You have to have auto insurance, by law. And honestly - as testified by my son Josh, we were so blessed to have our insurance company. They really came through for us, both the auto and the health.

You have to have life insurance I guess. This topic is always debatable - but its just not a bad idea.

Then, of course you have to have health insurance. I mean you just have to. If something catastrophic were to happen, where in the world would you be. You'd be paying on the bills the rest of your life. Josh's bills came to about a half a million dollars. Wow... just imagine if we hadn't have had insurance.

Which brings me to my current situation. My gastric bypass surgery vs my insurance company. I had gotten the "official" OK from them about two weeks ago and I was just thrilled! I had the word out to everybody and the surgery was scheduled. Well, it turns out that it was incorrectly stated. There had to be another review and they ended up saying no to us. And No is No. They absolutely will not pay for any of it at all. We had so many people involved in this decision - anybody from us, the doctor's office, people from Jay's company in the HR department and several people in two different insurance company it seems. But to no avail. They just aren't going to cover it. So here we are - right in the middle of the plans for a surgery and now we're going to have to come up with the money for it. After all this time of waiting. I wish they would have made this decision about two months ago when this all started. I could have had the surgery done already and been two months healed.

The best part of all of this is that at the beginning I placed this into God's hands. His hands are perfect and his decisions are perfect and his vision into my future is perfect. He loves me so and I know that he wants the very best for me. So.... despite being a little annoyed at the insurance company, I trust that this decision and even the delay was for a good reason.

The one thing I know is this: I am very anxious for August 31st to get here.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Temptations

Right now, my surgery is scheduled for July 17 so I'm several days into the liquid diet - again. I've done this three times now, only to have the surgery have to be re-scheduled. I don't know yet if its a go this time - but in any event, I'm on the routine until I hear differently.

It takes awhile for the body to figure out what you're doing. I'm losing weight on this - no doubt about that. I'm as sleepy as can be because there isn't much fuel. The thing that is the hardest is a day like today. Jay is gone and its in my mind that I should stop by two places after work. I want to stop by Kentucky Fried Chicken and get a "Bowl" and then stop by PJ Skidoos and get a piece of their to-die-for chocolate cake.
Lets do the math here - are either one of those items on my diet? No. Are they liquid? No... but they could be......I mean NO they aren't. The temptation is great 'cause I could "get by with it" since Jay isn't home to see me. Yeah... and that would make it all ok.
I won't do it. It would ruin a lot of things and I want the surgery to go well. But its just annoying to have these little temptations pop into my head and then there's nowhere for them to go. Its almost like I have to give in to get rid of them.
Anyway... there will always be temptations. Can't give in to every one of them - so why give in to one?

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Celebrating the 4th in Washington, DC

Wow... does this city know how to celebrate the 4th of July or what! We opted to stay at home. Downtown, on the mall, they were expecting 500,000 people to watch the fireworks by the Washington Memorial. I really, really didn't want to try to get around that many people. Security was really going to be beefed up due to the goings-on in Scotland etc. - and driving down there is really a ridiculous thought.

All of the suburbs around us had fireworks celebrations as well. Its almost 11 o'clock at night and I can still hear the loud booms in the sky.

Mother Nature also had her show this afternoon around 5 o'clock. There was lots of rain and lightning and hail. The people downtown at the mall had to be evacuated for a couple of hours because of the storm and the possibility of tornados around - and was I ever glad that I wasn't down there!

We were content to watch it all on TV tonite - its not quite the same, but I felt it was safer and less stressful. As I said... this city really knows how to celebrate!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Smothers Brothers


Saturday night we went to see the Smothers Brothers at Wolf Trap. Probably most of you who are reading this don't even remember the Smothers Brothers - you may not even know who they are. They are a singing/comedy act and they had a TV program in the 60's. They had a lot of trouble with censorship at that time because their routine was so politically controversial. You have to remember that the Vietnam war was going on that this time and there were hippies and there was "flower power" and riots etc etc. so they ( the powers that be at CBS) did not want any controversy. They eventually fired the Smothers Brothers. We truly couldn't wait to see them again and we were not disappointed at all. They had aged - my goodness, they must be in their late 60's or early 70's but honestly, their humor and singing ability had not changed at all. We just laughed hard. We had excellent tickets - 5th row from the front right in the middle. Tom Smothers did a routine on the TV program called the Yo Yo Man and he did it last night for us. He dressed in a plaid shirt with suspenders and did lots of YO YO tricks. He always had to get in the State of Yo first which was just cute.
Opening for them was The Kingston Trio - another group from the 60's. They were just so good also - and the music just "took us back". We were afraid that they weren't going to be as good as they were... but that was not the case at all. Two guitars and a banjo... with songs like "Where Have All the Flowers Gone", "They Call The Wind Miriah" and "Hang Down Your Head Head Tom Dooley" - how could they go wrong?
Wolf Trap is a beautiful amphitheater and we had a beautiful evening out under the stars... being nostalgic.

Pictures of Lighthouses