Wednesday, November 21, 2012

It's not just for Scrappers

In honor of Black Friday, and all the crazy people that will be Christmas shopping in the middle of the night on Friday, I've got a fantastic deal for you.

This deal, let's you stay home in your fuzzy slippers, and not fight the crowds for the most amazing deals on Christmas presents.

In fact this deal let's you make your own presents. You can be frugal and fantastic all at the same time.

I'll admit, I'm not a scrapbook fan. Not at all. I don't see what they hype is. I got a scrapbook that came with papers and everything that you need to make it like 6 years ago. It's still in the package.

But. I'm in love with this software by My Memories. See, since I own my own Mary Kay and Scentsy businesses, I can create these totally awesome fliers.

Or, let's assume that I could actually put together a scrap book. Or even if I didn't want to go that route, how about a Christmas Card.

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You can do so much more with this software than just scrapbooks. Want to make a fancy picture calendar? Done. Want to make a cool family reunion slide show complete with music? Done. There are tons of embellishments, you can even design your own pages, change the layouts, whatever you want to do.

Plus, as something that I like, especially considering that I'm primarily using this software to create fliers and stuff for Mary Kay and Scentsy, I love that it's got more options than I know what to do with. It's a little overwhelming at first, but by the time I made these two pages, I had learned my way around.

So, because I love you, and because you guys need something easy and fun to better capture the upcoming holidays, I'm giving away your very own. Very FREE version of the My Memories software.

Here's what you can do to enter.
1. Comment on the blog with a) what you will use the software for AND b) the name of one of your favorite kits available at My Memories website.
2. You can also tag me on twitter, and spread the joy there by tweeting about the giveaway.

You may enter one comment per person and you may tweet as well, so each person can be entered into the drawing twice!

The giveaway will close at 11:59pm central time on Sunday. The winner will be announced on Monday, and you will have 1 week to contact me to redeem your code for your free download!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who will be celebrating tomorrow! And good luck!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gertie Goes to Heaven

Today is another sad day around here. Gertie went to the pathologist on Monday.

Yep, you read that right. The gallbladder was evicted on Monday.

I feel fantastic. That pain in my side that I've lived with every waking moment since September. Finally gone. Gertie was a sick little puppy. Highly irritated and inflamed, and I would imagine a few more months and the words ruptured would have been included in the picture. It was bad folks.

Thankfully, the right doctor gets the job done. Now, I'm working on getting back up and running. Here's the rundown.

Saturday I had an appointment with the gastro that I had been referred too. I was thankful that my appointment had been moved up, and that this doctor does random Saturday clinics, so that I could get in earlier. So we sat in the waiting room, I studied for a business law test, and Brad played on my Kindle. We got back to the room, and started going over everything with the doctor. He mashes around on my belly, tells me he's quite sure it's the gallbladder, and that they can admit me. Huh?

I've spent 2 months with several different doctors and 5 minutes with this guy, and he's going to poke me in the hospital, do a scope because I'd been taking unbelievable amounts of Advil so that I could function through the pain. He was concerned that I might have an ulcer on top of everything else. Thankfully my stomach was fine. So they make arrangements to get me on a list to get my gallbladder out on Monday.

They came in late Saturday night to get some blood for lab work, and couldn't find a vein. I'm not typically a hard person to get blood from, but after 2 months of not eating right, not drinking enough, I was severely dehydrated. I had thought I was bad, simply because of the headaches I was getting, but I couldn't get any other doctor's to voice the same concerns that I had.

Sunday I laid in a bed, and tried to take naps, mostly because they had kept waking me up every 90 minutes the prior night. So Monday morning at 5am they came in to get me to take a shower, and put on a beautiful hospital gown. I'd been wearing my own pj's, because let's face it, those hospital gowns only cover part of the parts, and I prefer all my parts to be covered. We were on the list for about 1:30 surgery time.

John's sweet cousin came about 8 and sat with us until they wheeled me to the OR, and then sat with Brad while I was in surgery. Her presence probably kept some of my nerves at bay, because when they came to get me, I wasn't nervous, just a slight surreal feeling. I think part of me still believed that I'd wake up and be in pain, and nothing would have changed.

Now, here's where it gets dicey. They gave me something to help me relax, and then John kissed me, and told me he loved me, then they wheeled me to the OR. I remember getting in, and climbing on a table, and not much after that. Which is disappointing, I'd have liked to have looked around and checked things out, but I was unconscious before I had a chance to do much.

The next thing I remember is waking up in recovery with some serious pain, which they gave me a shot of the good drugs for. Then my mouth and throat were so dry from the tube that I asked for some ice chips. They pretty much gave me ice, and then sometime later, they told me they were moving me back to my room. I remember John, and his cousin standing their, and I remember seeing my father-in-law and sister-in-law standing outside my room. Then I remember them letting me pee, because they were pushing some serious fluids. They got me in bed, then started checking my vitals, and I suddenly remember having the urge to throw up, and I did, twice. But they said that with all my innards confused by the lack of the gallbladder, that it wasn't surprising, and it wasn't much. I felt really groggy, sore, and like most of Monday is a blur.

They let me come home Tuesday morning, around 11, and part of Tuesday is still foggy. I remember coming home. I remember spilling a glass of water in the floor, and I remember eating dinner. But not much in between.

Yesterday was better, and today was even better. The soreness is starting to get more bearable, I've cut way, way back on the pain med's, and when I woke up this morning I felt good. I felt good for the first time in almost 2.5 months. No nausea, no pain, no headaches. Just like I'd had a good night's sleep.

Of course, after a couple of hours up and moving around, that all changed. I'm still worn out. I know that it will take me some time to build my strength back up, and that even though I only have a few incisions, that this was a major surgery and ordeal for my body to get over. Especially since it had been going on for so long. I know that the next few weeks and months are going to be rough until I rebuild some of my strength. But I'm just so thankful to be feeling better that I'll take the need for lots of naps. I think I've slept more today than I've been awake.

Right now, I'm just thankful to not feel Gertie stabbing me constantly. So, I won't complain about the naps, and the 2 week vacation from school, and the limited activities after that. I'll be thankful that Gertie won't be around at Christmas and that I won't have to create a DIY website for organ removal, because let's face it, another few months, and I'd have volunteered for the test dummy.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

When Words Are Not Enough

I wish I could tell you how many times in the last few months I've picked up my cell phone to send a text message to my friend Andrea.

Andrea was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer earlier this year, and amazingly so, our friendship has grown to new depths because of some odd conversations that we've had along the way. Conversations about our spouses, mutual friends, and several oddities that we have discovered we share. Apparently there are other people in the world who won't drink milk after it has been contaminated by cereal.

A couple of months ago, Andrea faced a ruptured colon, several days in ICU, several more surgeries, and more complications. She's had to make choices regarding her quality of life that I can't even begin to fathom, and what's worse, she has to live with those choices. Which is usually harder than making the stupid decision. Especially if your me, and over analyze, over think, and worry about the how's and the what if's and the unfairness of it all.

Yet, in the last few months, thanks to her illness and lack of desire to deal with people, and my subsequent health issues, college kicking my butt, and my own crazies (that have absolutely nothing to do with her situation, just me being paranoid that I've said or done something wrong), have caused our friendship to be less...involved.

Which I don't like. But at the same time, I understand. She faces choices and fights on a daily basis that I hope I don't ever have to face. She's got 2 babies that she's trying to raise, well 3 if you count her husband. She's got other people showing up at her door, showering her with love and strength to help her find the will to keep fighting and to keep moving forward on the days that she just doesn't want to get out of bed. She needs that. Her family needs that.

I miss those text messages with Andrea, and I find myself picking up the phone, and staring at a blinking cursor, because me, the girl who always has something to say, even it's wrong, can't find the words. I can't seem to tell her that I've missed our double dates. I've missed being able to text her when I've had a particularly sucky day, or a funny moment that I just wanted to share with someone who's first language is also sarcasm. I've missed her. I've missed her sweet kids, and thanks to my husband being on a hunting lease with her husband, I don't really miss him, near as much, anyway.

Yet, I find myself terrified of saying the wrong thing. Even though, I'm quite sure, that we've been on the same brain wave a lot lately. Be sick and in constant pain for 2 months, you'd be amazed at the things you think about.

As school keeps going and the pressure keeps building, and I keep adding stuff to my to do list, I keep realizing how truly important those things that we often abuse, and take for granted really our. Like our health, our spouses, our children, our friends. You don't realize what a vital part of your existence they are, until their existence is threatened.

As my doctor's appointment approaches on Saturday, the fear of the worst wants to kick in. What if it's not something easy like a weird food allergy? What if it's something that I'm not prepared for? What if I have to quit fighting for good grades, and fight for my life instead? What if.....

It's mind numbing, and I find those 'what-if's' sneaking in during the quite moments of my day. I keep trying to tell her to shut up. I keep hoping that it's something simple. I hope that it's easy. I hope that it doesn't screw up my life too much. Then, I think about Andrea. She had all those hopes too. She had all those dreams too. Sure, her's might not have involved college, being a world renowned chef, having a cooking blog that makes me rich and famous, losing a million pounds, and being a Victoria's Secret model at 40, but she had them. As I've sat in class rooms this week, and looked around, it's hard to imagine giving up on that. It's hard to imagine any of it. Cancer and serious illness were supposed to be things we had to deal with when we got old. They were supposed to happen to other people, to other families. Not to us. Not to 30 years old. Not to 18 year olds. And certainly not to an innocent child.

Unfortunately, life doesn't always work the way that we plan. God's plan unfolds in there, and we are supposed to make the best of it. We are supposed to find the blessing. We are supposed to be the light to someone else's darkness. We aren't supposed to be the darkness, searching for a light.

I can only hope. I can only have faith. I can only hope that this is where my plans and God's plans are the same, or at least in the general vicinity of each other. I know this, the last few years, I've had a hard time coming up with something other than the usual "family, friends" thankful list. This year, I've discovered that I don't have to do a countdown to Thanksgiving on Facebook with the rest of my friends and family about what they are thankful for, simply because I've spent the last 2 months, finding it.

~She is clothed with strength and dignity; and she laughs at the days to come. Proverbs 31:25

~Would you dare, would you dare to believe, that you still have a reason to sing? 'Cause the pain that you've been feeling, it can't compare to the joy that's coming. So hold on, you gotta wait for the light, press on and just fight the good fight. 'Cause the pain that you've been feeling, it's just the dark, before the morning. -Josh Wilson's Before the Morning


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