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Fixer Upper

In case you’re wondering how my surgery recovery is going….it’s going! Last week I had my follow up appointment, and everything is on point. I’m recovering well, and I’ve even lost about 6 pounds! Hopefully this low fat/no fat diet I will have to be on will help me in the future, too. Every day the pain gets a bit more manageable, and I’m able to bend over a bit further (which will be good when I start shaving my legs again! Ha!) Although yesterday I had quite the episode at the grocery store.

My husband and I went to Walmart to pick up our weekly groceries. I felt fine all morning, but when we got to the cash register, I suddenly got really hot and sweaty and knew something was wrong. I went to sit down on a bench nearby, and soon enough I passed out. The paramedics were called, and I took a trip to the ER to find out that everything is fine – I just had a vasal vagal episode. Basically….I just passed out for no random reason. This has never happened before so it was quite a bit scary for me, and for Dono, but after hours of xrays, EKGs, blood tests, etc – I’m all normal! Hopefully that will never happen again!

Anyways…on to my real post. Ever since we moved into our new house in November, Dono and I have been obsessed with watching Property Brothers & Fixer Upper on HGTV. I’ve always wanted the chic, modern farmhouse look, but never had the furniture to style our house that way. For one, all my furniture is hand-me-downs from my grandparents, and for two) decorating is expensive!

A few weeks ago, I got the idea to restyle one of our existing bookcases into something a little bit more farmhouse style.

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I drove up to the antique mall in Denton to buy some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (which was quite expensive by the way) and got to work on the bookshelf. First I removed the shelves and painted the outside of the bookshelf in Pure White by Annie Sloan. Then, I let Dono go to town, and he replaced the back of the bookshelf with pallet wood he found at his office. Then he painted the shelves, and into the house it went! And I LOVE it! Now we are talking about redoing the TV stand to match.

One thing we didn’t do is buy the Annie Sloan soft wax to finish out the project. I’m sure eventually we’ll have wished that we did, but for now its not so bad. The wax supposedly protects the paint from peeling off or chipping and makes for a nice glossy finish, but eh – I like it how it is.

Next on Dono’s to-do list for building/creating is to make us a desk/office space, a dining room table, and nightstands for our bedroom. He’s going to be quite busy! Once I’m able to move around even more and can actually lift heavy things, I’m sure I’ll be helping him!

Post Gallbladder Removal Recovery Update

Hey Everyone! Greetings from the couch!

If you remember, last week or so I posted about my gallbladder issues. Well, my time finally came, and my gallbladder removal was scheduled for Friday, Feb 6th. I couldn’t eat anything after midnight on the 5th, which wasn’t a problem because I don’t really eat that late anyway. I took my time Thursday night showering, shaving my legs, taking off toenail polish, and getting good and lotion-ed up.

On Friday morning, I woke up about 7 to shower. I couldn’t wear deodorant, lotion, or makeup, so getting ready was a breeze! No breakfast for me either which was unfortunate because I was starving! My mom showed up about 7:45, and the three of us drove down to the medical center for my 9am arrival time.

They sure didn’t waste any time either! First thing, we checked in and paid another deposit for the surgery ($$$), and then I was whisked off by another nurse for height, weight, blood pressure, and urine sample. Let’s just say that my BP was extremely high. Cough*165*Cough. What can I say? I was extremely nervous and scared,but ready to have it all over.

Dono came back with me and helped me get changed into my gown and ugly surgery socks and we waited for the nurse to come in and start getting me hooked up to IVs. My room became a buzz of activity with more folks poking and prodding me, taking more BP, and asking me my name and date of birth every 5 seconds. An anesthesiologist came in and gave me an “Abdominal Tab” where essentially they gave me 3-4 shots in my abdomen which help them see where the nerves are. I guess this cuts down on recovery pain.

My mom then came back to say goodbye to me, and all I wanted to do was cry I was so scared and nervous. I guess the doctor’s sensed that because the next thing I knew, they rolled me into the surgery room and I fell asleep really fast. The last thing I remember was the nurses talking about another nurse’s bad hair day. Ha!

Post surgery, I woke up in recovery to see my mom and Dono sitting in my little room. It made me so happy to see them, but i was SO tired. and nauseous. and in pain. I sat there for a little bit before the nurse told me I could go home whenever I wanted. My mom helped me change into my pajamas and helped me walk around a few feet, which immediately made me nauseous. This is going to be TMI, but the vomit was straight vile. I had never thrown up that much vile before. EEK. Gross. I got in a wheelchair, and then Dono drove home. With my organs sloshing about I got sick in the car a few more times on the way home (and even now the thought of riding in a car makes me nauseous).

As soon as we got home, I wanted to see a picture of my gallstones. (Warning, gross pic ahead)

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See that gold golf ball? That is one of my gallstones! Apparently there were a few of them that size, and then a bunch of little ones. EEK! No wonder I was in so much pain! If I knew they were this big all along, I probably would have been screaming for surgery much earlier! One thing that was interesting, was that the doctor told Dono that apparently I was having an attack going into surgery because when they pulled out the gallbladder, the stone was already blocking the duct. Yikes!

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I feel like I look pretty good for just having surgery! Dono and my mom tucked me into bed as soon as we got home, but I really wasn’t tired at that point, and I was afraid if I took a nap, I’d be up all night. I did watch tv for a bit, ate some soup for dinner, and called it a night about 8pm.

Since Friday, recovery has been pretty slow. My mom left to go back to FL on Monday morning, and Dono stayed home from work then, but I’ve been by myself at home since Tuesday. I’m ready to get back on a normal schedule! Last night I had a mini breakdown because I’m so frustrated — frustrated that I can’t sleep on my side. That i can’t eat normal food. that I have to race to the bathroom so frequently. that dono has to sleep in another bed for a few days. That I can’t lift anything heavy, do laundry, or anything. I basically sit all day. It’s so boring! I have had some great friends gift me with amazon giftcards for books, beautiful flowers, and other nice things, which i’m so grateful for.

Tomorrow i have my follow up appointment where the doctor will take off my bandage. I’m quite nervous as stitches make me queasy, but hopefully it will all be ok!

Thanks everyone for keeping me in your prayers and sending positive thoughts!

Grilled Cheesus

Last weekend, Dono and I made the trek to Oak Cliff to to try out a new restaurant – Dallas Grilled Cheese Co.

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[Image is from D Magazine, Side Dish Blog]

A few weekends ago, I was in Bishop Arts with my friend Meredith, when we stumbled upon the restaurant. Much to our chagrin, it was not yet open. Sad day. So when I saw on Facebook it had finally opened, I knew we had to try it!

Well…to be honest…we actually tried to go the weekend before for lunch with another friend, but the restaurant was having some water heater troubles and closed for lunch. As disappointed as we were, we waited out and finally got to go last weekend.

We showed up about 1pm on a Sunday afternoon – hoping we would miss the church crowd. We were wrong. This place was PACKED. The hostess told us the wait for 2 people was over an hour and a half. SERIOUSLY! We decided to wait it out because there weren’t too many people waiting and figured most of them left to go to other restaurants in Bishop Arts.

Luckily, 2 spots opened up at the bar, and we snagged them before anyone else. Since we had had a few too many margaritas the night before, we opted not to have any alcohol, but other than beer and hard liquor drinks, there were a couple cheeky mixed drink options that looked pretty good.

We started off with the Fried Mozz – Aka: Fried Mozarella. It was dang good. But really, can you even mess up fried cheese?

For lunch, I ordered the JK’s Favorite sandwich. I don’t know who JK is, but the sandwich was tasty. It was American, Cheddar, and Gruyere cheese, bacon, and dijon mustard on a parmesan crusted sourdough. YUM. I also ordered the fries.

Dono ordered the Spicy Two-Pork and Cheese sandwich which was ham, bacon, swiss and cheddar, with honey compound butter and spicy jam on a grilled sourdough bread. I didn’t taste his, but he said it was delicious. He ordered chips.

While the food was really good, it was also a huge portion. Between the sandwich and fries, I couldn’t eat it all and had to take a to-go box home. I really wanted to order the JK Sweet Grilled Cheese (grilled brioche, peanut butter/cream cheese/honey mix, banana slices, marshmallows, and hazlenut spread), but alas, there was no room left in my belly. May be for the next trip!

Overall, I definitely would go back to visit. While the service was a bit slow and the place was packed, its obvious people from around the city are all wanting to check it out. I probably won’t return though until its been open for while, mainly because it is so far from our house now. Hopefully we’ll be able to return soon!

8 Month Hiatus….and I’m Back!

I can’t believe it has been 8 months since I last blog posted. So much stuff has happened in this 8 months, and instead of filling you in within one long post, I’ll try to break it up a bit. One of the things I want to post about today, is my new found love hate for my gallbladder. I wasn’t going to post about this, but I want to now. When I was in the throes of pain and agony, it would have been helpful to read about someone else’s experience with gallstone pain, and there really isn’t that much out there on the interwebs…unless you’re looking for a homeopathic way to cure them. (Just FYI, those ways don’t work. Trust me.)

Anyways.

This all started back in October. We had just come home from Renaissance Festival in Houston — my husband’s favorite birthday activity — when I had trouble falling asleep due to, what felt like, stiff muscles in my back. I took some Advil, and my husband massaged my back for a bit, and eventually it went away in about an hour. I didn’t think anything else about it.

Then, about a month later, we had moved into our new house, and started experiencing this pain again, except it was a million times worse! The pain always occurred in the middle of the night, and originated in my chest area (felt like horrible heartburn) and slowly migrated to my upper back, between my shoulder blades. It honestly felt like someone was trying to take my skin from my back and wrap it around my front. (Horrible imagery, I know). The pain was so bad and lasted so long (3+ hours) that I would spend an hour or so retching in the bathroom. There was no position that was even remotely comfortable. All I could do was sit and cry until the pain went away. I never went to the emergency room, though, because I thought it was just the food I was eating.

Well, after about a month of these episodes occurring anywhere from 1x to 3x per week, I had enough and called my GI doctor. She came to the conclusion that it just might be bad heartburn/acid reflux, so she prescribed me Prilosec. While I felt like an old lady buying this at Walgreens, I was hopeful it might help. She also requested for me to do a blood test and then sent me to another lab to have an ultrasound done, just to make sure something else wasn’t wrong. My blood test came back with flying colors. My ultrasound? Not so much.

I received a call from the doctor the same day I did my ultrasound telling me that my gallbladder was full of gallstones. What was strange, though, was that the lining of the gallbladder, and the gallbladder itself were normal in appearance, size, shape, thickness, etc. At that point, she told me to eat cleaner, healthier meals, track my food, try to exercise more, and see if anything helped.She also said not to go to the ER unless the pain lasted longer than 8 hours. Um. WHAT!? That is SO long to sit in pain!!!!

Nothing worked. I was still waking up at all hours of the night in severe pain, throwing up, and angry. Angry that my body wasn’t normal. Angry that I was waking up my husband when he deserves a good night’s rest, too. Angry that I couldn’t control the pain or predict when it would happen. The pain continued to come and nothing could stop it. I tried almost every recommendation I read online to eating foods good for the liver, apple cider vinegar shots, etc. Nothing worked. I just kept trying to hold out for surgery or some other relief. BTW – never search #gallstones on instagram…especially if you’re eating lunch.

At my next follow up appointment, I told the Doctor that my episodes were not getting better, and in fact, seemed to be getting worse. She told me that it was probably time for it to be taken out surgically and gave me the name and number of a few reputable surgeons they work with.

I met with the surgeon yesterday, who also confirmed the need for removal. There is a new type of procedure that instead of creating 4+ incisions, they can pull the gallbladder out in 1 incision — making the surgery practically scarless! (the incision is made just below the belly  button). My surgery is scheduled now, and I’m excited…and terrified. Excited because I’m anxious to live a live without pain. But terrified because, well, no one wants to have surgery. I just have to keep reminding myself that the pain after surgery won’t be nearly as bad as the pain that wakes me up at night. And that all modesty will be going out of the window once they inflate me with gas. I’ve already apologized to my husband in advance for the amount of gas I’ll be releasing in the days following the surgery. #Awkward.

So that’s where I am now. 7 days until my surgery. I just continue to hope and pray that I don’t have any episodes between now and then. The surgeon prescribed this muscle relaxer-type medication for me to take when I do have another episode…but according to other patients, it has a 50/50 chance of working. Lovely. One thing that is helpful to me now is hearing the stores of SO many of my friends and family who have also dealt with this issue. Gallbladder removal is so common these days, but no one talks about it. I’m thankful for those who have been willing to share the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Bad Blogger – Tsk Tsk

Y’all. I’ve been such a horrible blogger lately. Forgive me?

I feel like my life is kind of in a “boring” stage lately. Dono and I are saving for a house…like hardcore. So every paycheck is going into savings. While this is a good thing in the long run, it sucks because all traveling and things that cost money are on hold right now. On the weekends, we are taking it easy – mainly laying out by the pool – since everything else cost money. Not to mention, by the time the work week is over, we’re so tired, we just want to catch up on sleep. During the week, its, wake up – go to work – go to the gym – fix dinner – watch an hour of tv/read – go to bed …. rinse repeat.

Boring.

As far as food and exercise go…other than my Whole 30 fail – I’m doing pretty decently. We did recently purchase a Sam’s Club membership on Zulily for half the cost – so we’ve been buying chicken and some veggies in bulk to make for lunches during the week. Also, I’m still hitting up spin class every Wednesday. I’ve started to make some friends there, so its fun to see them each week. If those women went to spin everyday, I’d probably go to just to hang out with them! BUT – it makes Wednesday nights special to see them. We are all encouraging of each other, and whine together when we have to increase gears or “run” on the bike. I had taken a short hiatus after our last 5k due to some strained muscles, but its time I really start getting back into it again. If I’m going to run a half marathon this year, I’ll never complete it by only spin cycling 1x/week!

I promise I’ll be better about blogging – I just need to come up with good ideas for topics!Anyways – what are y’all up to this summer?

April Showers Bring May ….Endurance?

I hope you haven’t filled a missing person report yet! I promise I’m here, and I’ve been keeping up with training – but April is a SUPER crazy month in my life.

Dono has been traveling for work this month, and when he’s not here, I’m really not motivated to exercise or eat right. He’s such a good buddy to have, and when he’s not here, I really feel it. Last week I did get out for a few walk/jogs, but it was nothing to write home about. And I may or may not have had Chick Fil A.

I also celebrated my 28th birthday last week. Woop woop! I’m getting old.  On the day of, we took it pretty easy since it was a work day, but over the weekend, we celebrated with my friend Katie and her boyfriend at Gloria’s – my favorite margarita place!

This week, Dono and I will be celebrating our 1 year anniversary! It’s crazy how fast time is flying! We don’t have any specific plans yet for the anniversary, but I do know that we will be eating some glorious wedding cake from Frosted Art! We have seriously been dreaming about eating this cake again since the wedding day.

In my world of health and fitness- I’ve decided to join Jess’ Whole 30 Challenge starting May 5th. I’ve been wanting to do the Whole 30 completely, but April is a really tough time to start since it includes my birthday, Easter, and our anniversary, and I knew I was going to want to eat some cake. I’m excited about starting this challenge with some other women who are on the same page – looking to better their lives and become healthier! I’m hoping Donovan will want to do this, too, since its quite difficult to do the Whole 30 while you’re partner does not. Even brown rice becomes a temptation! It will be difficult – the hardest thing for me is giving up dairy because I LOVE milk – but I know we can do it. It will make me feel healthier and strengthen me for the 10k’s this summer.

Ok, Ok I promise to be better about posting. Now that April is almost over, I’ll have a bit more time on my hands.

If you have any good Whole 30/paleo recipes, please share them, because I will need them!

 

 

Non-Scale Victory: Motivating Others

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It’s no secret that I’m trying really hard to lose some weight and train for a half marathon in the process. However, up until now, I’ve really only told my closest friends what I’m doing. While I can be an overshare-er at times, I also get nervous about telling people about my goals. I guess part of is afraid of what people might think. If I tell someone I want to run a half marathon, I don’t want them looking at me with crazy, judgmental eyes. I may not be in the best shape of my life, but I am trying, ok? Well, last night, judgmental crazy eyes went out the window.

Last night I went to my normal Wednesday night spin class. I’ve made friends with a larger woman who has also been coming to the class and losing weight, and she’s fantastic. Since I met her last summer, she has lost probably half her size. She’s doing boot camp, body pump, spin, swimming, running – you name it! She mentions she is working out twice a day and completely changed her diet. WOW! That takes some serious motivation.

Well, anyways. My friend and I sit next to each other during class. We don’t talk much since the music is so loud, but will occasionally give each other a thumbs up. Last night, at the very end of class, the instructor played a pretty fast tempo song and told us we were going to sprint for 1 full minute – this would be our final workout. She gave us the option of quitting at 20 seconds or 40 seconds, but encouraged us to go for the full minute. I knew I was going for the minute, but my friend loudly said she was going to quit at 20 seconds. When we got to the 20 second part of the song, I yelled at my friend, “KEEP GOING! YOU CAN DO IT! LET’S DO IT TOGETHER!”

…and she did! And so did I! When the class was over we were both pouring with sweat. The instructor approached us after the class and gave me a huge pat on the back. She said that apparently everyone else in the class heard me yell to keep going, and she was impressed with how many people stuck through the full minute sprint. I was quite shocked because I never thought of myself as motivational. I keep to myself in the spin class and even duck out before the stretching is over at the end. This time was different. I told the instructor and my friend about my wish to run a half marathon this year, and they both seemed really impressed (no judgment eyes) and encouraged me to keep going. My instructor even remarked that she could tell that I was really dropping pounds (although it really is more inches than pounds).

It really was a boost of confidence to hear that from people I didn’t know…and to know that I was motivating them!

What is your non scale victory this week?

About Face

Sometimes All the time I wonder if the things I’m doing to better myself are actually working. I feel like I post about this all the time, but it is REALLY hard to notice change on your own person. Know what I mean? Everytime I look in the mirror, I still see the same chub even though I know I’m working my fanny off to look and feel better.

Over the weekend, Dono and I headed to Shreveport to celebrate my friend’s wedding. I was so excited to reunite with many of my college friends, and part of me kept wondering if any of them would ever notice. I was fairly thin in college (even though I thought I was fat) and mainly put on weight once I left college and was in grad school. The stress and uncertainty of not knowing where my big girl job would be definitely took a toll on my body. Not to mention, Miller Lights and Margaritas add up quickly. I knew my friends had seen my pictures on Facebook and Instagram, but I wondered if they would notice a difference.

Before we got to the wedding, I was laying in the hotel bed looking at old pictures on my phone. I’m not sure why, but I was comparing pictures from this time last year to some of the pics from the weekend we had already taken. Here’s what I found:

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Talk about noticeable change. The picture on the left is from my bachelorette party in April 2013. The pic on the right was from this past weekend. Here’s what I notice: my chin/jaw line is more noticeable. My hair is shinier and healthier looking. My skin is clearer (and cleaner looking).

Obviously, I still have a ways to go to be a “healthier me” – but this is definitely a great start and motivation to keep going.

Do you like taking progress pictures?

Week 8 of Half Marathon Training Completed!

Click here for Week 7
Week 6
Week 5
Week 4
Week 3
Week 2
Week 1

week 8

 

Hey Folks. I’m still a-truckin’ along! This week much an incredible improvement over last week’s training. Although I switched things up a bit, I’m glad I was able to get back on track. Mileage was lower than it should have been as I’m still trying to work myself up and build stamina, but the goal is really just to keep moving!

I did have my first experience with Hot Yoga this week, too. And an experience it was! You can read about it here. I plan to go back to the Slow Burn yoga class on Monday this upcoming week as I prefer medium heat yoga over the really hot.

Saturday I did almost 7 miles…and this time I didn’t feel like death! Score! It was a beautiful day outside – and let me tell you – weather makes a huge difference! I also brought a bottle of water with me which was also helpful just to keep my mouth wet. Hopefully when the cooler weather goes away, the fountains will be turned back on on the trail so I won’t have to carry water with me. While I did feel an improvement for the long run, it was still really long. I was exhausted when I got home and didn’t really feel “normal” again for a few hours. Does this happen to anyone else? I’m assuming its because of the high calorie burn and it just takes your body to acclimate.

Also, this week we bought a juicer! We bought the Breville Juice Fountain Plus from Bed Bath and Beyond, and so far I’m LOVING IT!

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We spent some time on Friday night researching best juice combinations and headed to Central Market on Saturday afternoon to start juicing! Our first juice is the one pictured above — carrots, apples, lemons. Easy peasy. and SO good. We also tried another one with carrots, pineapple, oranges, strawberries, lemons. That one was also delicious. The 3rd one we tried included apples, beets, kale, lemons, oranges, and a cucumber. That one tasted very earthy. We’re still new at this so may stick to fruity drinks at first – but I’m excited to start incorporating some fresh juices into my life!

Do y’all juice? Any recommendations or tips?

 

I’m here, I’m here!

Hey Peeps!

Have you missed me?

I swear I’m not giving up blogging or going on a hiatus of any kind.

If you know me in real life, you know that every so often I bump into random body issues. Kidney stones. (check). Bumps and bruises (check). Other awkward, embarrassing ailments (double check).

So yet again the awkward, embarrassing ailments have struck again. In efforts to keep things semi-private, I won’t be sharing what it is with you (You’re welcome. I promise the mental image is horrifying). But it is uncomfortable and affects my lower-half region. I went to the doctor on Wednesday after seeing some things that made me go “Hmmmmmm, that’s not right.” Luckily, I found a really good health facility near our house and my office that was willing to take me pretty quickly since it was a semi-emergency. After some uncomfortable examinations, I had a diagnosis. Praise Jesus in the Heavens it is nothing serious or life threatening. It’s just awkward. And embarrassing. And it will take 2 weeks to get better. Blerg.

I was really concerned that I would not be able to exercise. I REALLY don’t want to give that up now that I’ve started and have gotten into the groove of exercising regularly. I actually really look forward to walking/jogging when I get off work now. (can’t believe I just said that) . Luckily-  I will be able to continue exercising – in fact- exercising is highly encouraged. I’ll just need to keep things easy until my “issue” heals – about 2 weeks.

Last night when I got off work I hit the pavement for my 2 mile walk…since I can’t jog. Since it was a beautiful evening, and the sun was out a bit longer (or so it seemed) I started on my usual trek through the park to the running trail. I walked through the park and about a mile down the trail, where I normally turn around, but I decided to keep going to see where it would take me.

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I thought I’d end up taking a short cut by walking down MidCities Blvd (the street at the top) but it actually made the distance longer. Whoops. Fortunately, it wasn’t too horrible of an experience, as it took me about an hour to do the entire walk – which is about how much I would have done anyway. Since I can’t do anything strenuous, I thought I’d just make up for “power” with “time”.

This weekend, a few of us are hosting a baby shower for my sister-in-law, so it will be fun to have my BFF in town to do a workout or two with me!…..after margaritas and pedi’s of course!

Have y’all ever had an uncomfortable body issue that prohibited you from exercise?