Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!!!

Happy Halloween everyone!  I hope everyone gets the candy they want!!!

Here's a quick glimpse of one of my Halloween Cuties
******OK I had to come back and edit this post.  I can't get enough of this face!!!! ******

Monday, October 29, 2012

CuresSearch Recap

I can't believe it's been a month since the walk and I haven't written about it yet. I know I've mentioned it a million times but I am so fortunate to have a job that I absolutely adore.  I can't imagine working in any other specialty of nursing.  Hematology/Oncology/Bone Marrow Transplant truly is where I'm called to be.

For the past 2 years, the Tampa area has been fortunate to host the CureSearch Walk.  I wrote about what CureSearch is over here. Last year I was unable to attend because we were all at the Hospice House surrounding my grandfather with love as he left this world.  So this year, I was determined to be there.  I loaded the family (Hubs included) into the car and headed down to the park super early.  We got there, grabbed our bandannas and I settled in to my volunteer role.  The Hubs was entertaining the kiddos for me.  Everyone who participates in the walk is asked to wear a bandanna.  The 4 different colors represent 4 different reasons participants are walking.
I was volunteering at the banner table.  Participants are asked to write the "Reasons Why We Walk" on a banner.  I loved seeing everyone write messages to their loved ones. I couldn't pass up the chance to write down 2 very special reasons why I was walking.

Radio Disney was there and had tons of things for the kids to do.  Noah loved it!  He even won a prize!  Our Child Life department was out in full force, with activities and crafts for the kiddos.  Noah took advantage of that too.  Em was in a mood so she wasn't into it all that much.  There was face painting too.  At 10:00, Opening Ceremonies began with speeches from the doctors from All Children's and St Joseph's.  That was followed by a moment of silence to remember all those amazing warriors we have lost along the way.  The families who lost a child were presented with white roses and Taylor Swift's "Ronan's Song" was played. We even had a dove release that was nothing short of amazing.  I was prepared to hear that song but within 30 seconds, I was a blubbering mess.  I can't help but get emotional when it comes to my patients and their families.
 This was followed by a Survivors Ceremony.  All of the kids, both currently in treatment and those off treatment, were brought up to the stage and received a medal.  I am so proud to say that I know most of these amazing kids
From that point, it was walk time.  We loaded the kids into their stroller and off we went.

I had the most amazing honor of walking the first half of the walk with this amazing girl:
Madyson asked if I would walk with her.  So off we went, hand in hand.  I don't know if there has ever been a moment in my career that has impacted me as much as this did.  Every day I go to work hoping to make my patients feel loved.  I don't do it for the rewards.  I do it because I honestly love my patients and their families and I'm trying to make this horrible journey a little bit better for them.  I cherish every card, every coloring sheet, every thing that my patients make for me.  But this moment takes the cake.  There I am, just a random nurse, who means enough to this little girl that she wants me to be a part of her life.  Here is this little girl, who is surrounded by her family and friends, and I'm the one she wants to walk with. I won't lie...I teared up while walking with her.  I really have never felt so honored in my life.  I will forever be grateful to Madyson for reminding me how much I love my job and for renewing my passion for it.  You will always be my hero Mady!!!!

Now for the photo overload:
Some of the girls I worked with on 7S
Em showing her support
Happy after a great CureSearch Walk!
It was a short 1 mile walk but it was the most inspiring mile I've walked.  Seeing all the patients, surrounded by family, friends, and supporters, walking to raise awareness for Childhood Cancer was awesome.  We had a great turnout and raised over $70,000 for cancer research.  I'm so proud to have been a part of it!

Before anyone asks, I spoke with Madyson's parents for permission before I posted about her or her picture.   

Monday, October 22, 2012

Wedding Game Day Attire

I mentioned before that we've been in full blown wedding mode this week.  With a wedding on the 13th and another on the 20th, our weekends have been filled with love, receptions, and dressing up.  I posted 2 pics of our wedding attire and I'm sure people are wondering what the heck is wrong with me for letting the Hubs out in public in an outfit like this one:
So here's the back story.  The Hubs works with the Bride.  They work pretty closely and we love her and her new Hubby.  The Hubs is obviously a huge Gator fan while the Bride is not.  However she's now married to a Gator fan.  The Hubs was also a little annoyed that she picked a game day for her wedding day.  He wanted to go in his jersey but that was out of the question.  So the outfit was somewhat of a joke to see how the Bride would react.  I was all for the idea the night before until I saw how orange the shirt really was.  In the Hubs's defense, he texted me a picture of 3 orange shirts in a row.  The above shirt looked the least offensive in the picture.  I almost cried (literally) when I saw it in person.  Then I panicked because I was looking pretty cute (if I do say so myself) and I had to be seen in public with the Hubs looking like an orange and blue clown.  But I went with it and figured I could pretend like I didn't know him if people started to question.  During the ceremony, our lovely Bride (who is very expressive with her facial expressions) seemed to look our direction and roll her eyes.  The Hubs found success with that eye roll.  But then the reception turned into a huge ego boost for him because everyone kept coming up to him, congratulating him on his dedication and loyalty to the Gators.  Was he over the moon or what?!?!

The Hubs didn't buy the vest and bow tie just for this occasion. He actually wore the vest at our wedding and his dad wore the bow tie.  It's not as obnoxious with a white shirt underneath:
Yep that's us. Almost 7 years ago
The wedding was absolutely beautiful.  It was a very fall themed occasion with colors of orange and green everywhere.  The church was absolutely stunning.  It's one of my favorite churches in the area.  The reception venue was perfect for an intimate gathering.  She knew us all too well and placed her work friends table right next to the bar.  It was definitely a match made in heaven.  The Hubs and I hadn't had that much fun in a long time together.  I can't wait to see her pictures because the Hubs put on quite a show with his dance moves (or lack there of).  Ending the night with a huge sing a long to Journey....couldn't have asked for a better ending!!!
The stunning bride as she walks down the aisle.  Isn't the church beautiful?
The perfect fall decor.  I just love her pumpkin bride and groom!!!
First dance as Husband and Wife
We're so thrilled for Marie-Noelle and Adam!  We loved being a part of their special day and wish them a lifetime of love and happiness!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Tale of 2 Dresses

It has been wedding week for us.  We had a wedding last Saturday and another one today.  Both were absolutely amazing, with stunning brides and lots of love.  I'll post on each of them (I promise I'll get back to actually blogging one of these days) but I had to share how I took one dress and turned it into 2 different looks.

This is the Hubs and I from last weekend's wedding.  Please excuse his outfit.  This is what he calls "Wedding Game Day Attire."  More on this in a post to follow:
I absolutely love this dress.  It's a champagne lace dress from Loft.  I loved it online and loved it even more in person.  Plus it can be dressed up or dressed down.  I found a perfect belt (also from the Loft) and the perfect pair of shoes from Dillards.  Even the salesperson said I could not have found a more perfect pair of shoes for the outfit.  And this coming from a male salesperson.  Pinterested the hair and the rest is history.  I really loved this look (not the Hubs's though).

Today, the Hubs's step brother married the love of his life in a beautiful outdoor ceremony with a reception under the stars.  Noah was the ring bearer (I'm a proud Mama).  I wanted to be comfortable and cute while being casual but not too casual.  This is what I came up with:
Same dress.  Just switched up the accessories.  I added a brown belt, my cowboy boots, and some curls in the hair.  I felt cute, comfortable and absolutely appropriate for a country wedding.  It was a gorgeous day/night, at a beautiful venue with 2 people we love so much.  Can't wait to tell you all about it!!!Photobucket

Monday, October 15, 2012

What's going on with me?

As you may or may not have noticed, I've been incredibly absent from the blog world (and the Twitter world too).  It's not because I've lost my voice or have run out of topics.  I have a list about 10 topics long that I want to post here.  I just haven't been able to.  I've been too exhausted.  Too exhausted to do pretty much anything.

It all started in August.  I started having horrible leg pain.  Both legs hurt from the knee down.  All the time.  I didn't tell anyone about it for like 3 weeks.  Then is started hurting in my hips.  And this wasn't muscle pain.  It's what I think bone pain would feel like.  I can't put into words what exactly it feels like.  The best I can do is call it a constant, burning, pain.  Nothing helps relieve the pain either.  Once my hips started hurting, I finally told the Hubs.  Now I have a pretty high pain tolerance so when I was crying every night from the pain, the Hubs knew I was seriously hurting. I was also dealing with extreme fatigue.  I would fall asleep at like 6:45 and sleep until 6:30 the next morning and wake up feeling like I didn't get any sleep.  Even Noah asked if I was feeling ok because I was going to bed before him.  I ended up getting in to my doctor's office (after a few days of trying to get an appointment) and my journey started.

The only thing she could come up with was that I was having some sort of neuropathic pain.  She was convinced there was something with my back (which didn't all).  But instead of jumping right to CTs or MRIs, we ran labs for anything possible.  Differential diagnoses included Lupus and RA.  We even tested for syphilis, which I'm proud to report I do not have.  The plan was to see if there was something chemically abnormal before looking for another cause.  I was going to have to wait a week for the results, which I had myself convinced that the labs would come back positive for syphilis (that's my luck). {side note....I have never had any sign or symptom of this disease.  I just figured, in my Debbie Downer mentality, that I would end up with something like that} It was one of the longest weeks of my life.  So on Day 7, I was calling the office to see if the labs were back.  They said they were on the Dr's desk, which made me freak out even more.  So I waited hours for a return call.

That call came in the middle of car line and when I answered, it was my doctor on the other line.  I instantly panicked because this meant something was definitely wrong.  She calmed me down right away telling me she knew it would be easier to talk to me herself.  I just love her!  She knows how crazy I am and takes the time to take care of her patients.  She's a keeper!   She told me that everything came back good.  No lupus, no RA, no syphilis.  She did say that my Vitamin D level was low and that my Vitamin B12 level was on the lower side of normal.  We talked about my symptoms again, along with the fact that I am totally exhausted all the time.  We determined that I needed to take daily Vitamin D.  She said she could send me to a neurologist but they would probably treat my Vit B12 level first.  She said I could take it orally for 6 weeks or I could start injections.  I asked how quickly I'd start feeling relief with each route and she said she's had patients feel better after 1 injection of B12 so that's the road I chose.  I went in that afternoon for my first of 3 shots, 2 weeks apart, and fell in love with how great I felt afterward.

I was skeptical at first to admit I felt better after the B12.  I didn't want my head to be making me feel better just because I had a shot.  But let me tell you, I felt great.  I had 5 pain free weeks. I was a believer.  But, BAM, just like that, my pains came back with a vengeance.  This was last week.  I was due for labs to test my levels this past Wednesday.  I went in a felt miserable so I ended up seeing another doctor in the practice.  Poor guy had to quickly catch up to speed with my history and what I've been going through. After scolding me for not taking my Vit D (I'm a horrible pill taker, as in I can never remember to take them), he tried to figure out what's causing this.  He did a fancy little test of the sensation of my legs, noticed something a little funny, and then mentioned I'm mildly positive for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  My EBV should a past infection, which I have known was positive for years.  We just figured I had Mono or something one time I was sick.  But maybe not.  I said I knew my EBV was positive and he asked if I got run down easily.  Well hello....I'm the poster child for getting run down easily.  I've been like that all my life.  I get physically sick and end up feeling like I have the flu.  He said that is part of CFS.  We didn't stick around on the topic for too long.  We decided to do weekly injections for a month and to recheck levels, including a Vit D, after that 4th week.

I googled CFS and noticed the CDC listed it on their website.  I thought it was just one of those drug company disorders but I guess it's real since it's on the CDC.  After reading about it, it sounds like me.  I've had the blood pressure issues and everything.  I am not, however, diagnosing myself with this syndrome.  However it does explain a lot of things that I've endured over the years.  It's just something I'm going to keep in the back of my mind.

My B12 level didn't increase all that much.  It went from 301 to 421.  Nothing impressive. So I'm gearing up for my first weekly injection on Wednesday, courtesy of one of my fabulous coworkers.  I've been taking my Vit D every night.  I've even written a note to myself on my bathroom mirror as a reminder.

I'm just over the pain.  I am willing to do whatever I need to do to feel better because this is truly wearing on me.  I know I'm strong but this is nothing I've ever been through in my life.  I am in awe of all the people who deal with chronic pain on a regular basis.  It really does take a toll on your whole self.  It's tough, let me tell you.  I'm sick of always being tired.  I'm sick of my legs constantly burning in pain.  I'm sick of what it's doing to my life. I'm sick of not feeling like myself.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Big Fall

Every nurse dreads the time when their patient falls.  You learn the proper technique to safely catch a patient and ease them to the floor without injuring yourself.  You pray to the fall gods that you never have to actually remember how to perform this skill appropriately.  I'm lucky that I work in Pediatrics and most of my patients are easy to catch (or are clumsy enough that falling is normal for them) or have their parents around them 24/7 to monitor them.  I have heard stories of patients falling out of their cribs because Mom and Dad left the siderail down.  I've witnessed a few falls but nothing significant.

I do remember a time, when I was pregnant with Emmy, that a fall happened.  One of our BMT kids (Bone Marrow Transplant) was in the bathroom when the emergency light came on from her room.  At the time, our unit was quite small so everyone was there to react. Being like 27 weeks pregnant, my charge nurse told me that I had to stay out of the room because I was going to be useless and my belly would just get in the way (in the most loving way you could say that statement). The patient was a teenager so I really couldn't be picking her up.  Everyone was hustling and bustling and I was just standing there in the nurses station.  Then a head peeked out and asked me to call a Rapid Response.  So I called the code number only for the security guy to hang up on me mid call.  Who does that?!?!?!  Who hangs up when someone is trying to get the Rapid Response Team?  I guess they really wanted the situation to escalate to a full blown Code Blue.  So I called back, finally got someone to listen to me, gave the unit and room number and just waited for RRT to show up.  The patient was 100% fine.  She probably vagal'd while she was in the bathroom.  She had just gotten either pain meds, Phenergan, or Ativan.  I can't remember now.  But she was okay.

Not the most intense or exciting fall story but it's the best I've got.  


Monday, October 8, 2012

Football Widow

I'm sure I'm not the only girl who loses their husband to football in the fall.  Some lose their husbands to the NFL. I lose mine to the University of Florida.  Every Saturday.  Well let's be honest.  I lose him to NCAA football in general but mostly to the Gators.  It's been like this for as long as I've known him.  In his defense, he did warn me of this when we met.  He told me, and I quote, "You will always be my #1, until Saturdays in the Fall."  At that moment, I was caught up in wide eyed love for this man.  Never did I imagine he was being truthful.

Now fast forward 8 years and 2 kids later.  I'm constantly battling with the Hubs on this.  It's hard to be around someone who gets so personally vested in a football game. Like the outcome truly affects his life.  It's quite obnoxious actually.  I have to keep reminding him that there are 2 little people who depend on him, no matter what day it is, no matter what the Gators's schedule is. I know it's a hard one for him to deal with because this is his life.  He lives for Florida sports, especially football.  It's something that he and his dad have bonded over.  It's what they do.  I'm just waiting for that moment when he truly realizes that what he has right in front of him trumps whatever goes down in the Swamp.

Now don't get me wrong.  I'm a big football girl too.  I love my USF Bulls and I'm a proud Alumni.  I might have been known to get really into a game or two.  And I may hold some grudges based on outcomes of said games.  However, my life does not revolve around the Bulls.  I just don't get it sometimes.  And it can cause some serious frustration on my end.  So until that "a ha" moment happens for him, I'm coming to terms with the fact that I'm a single mom of 2 on Saturdays for a few more months.

So who wants to hang out with me?!?


Thursday, October 4, 2012

It's OK

I can't believe I haven't linked up in a while.  This is truly one of my favorite link ups!
Its Ok Thursdays

It's OK......
~that I got a lot little excited when I saw Target had Christmas decorations out already.  Bring it on!!!
~to be torn between Shutterfly and Erin Condren for this year's Christmas cards
~to be disappointed that the Bulls aren't doing too well this year while being very proud of them for not looking like complete idiots against FSU last week
~to be disappointed in myself for falling so off track with my weight loss
~to be inspired by all the amazing runners out in the blog world.  I'm ready to get back to running
~to be in love with B12 (more on this later)
~to finally give in to being sick.  I fight it and fight it all the time.  I finally had to realize that it's okay to take a few days to lay in bed and get better.
~to put myself first sometimes
~to love entertaining friends and family
~to be one of the lucky people who absolutely, 100% love my job.  I know this is a rare thing and I'm truly blessed to have found what I am called to do

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

She's going to be the death of me

Yep. I'm talking about my daughter.  My sweet, innocent, little girl.
She's a daredevil and it might lead to an early demise for me.

I should have figured this out when I was pregnant.  I always thought I'd have to worry about her and be a little more cautious with her since she struggled so much to be born.  I should have realized that was her way of letting me know she was going to take life by the horns and face the world head on.  Nothing can or will stop her from doing what she wants.  Her attempt at being born at 29 weeks was her way of letting me know she wanted to prove her strength to me and the world.  It wasn't her way of telling me I needed to be more careful.  She was trying to tell me she was ready.  That she was a fighter.  That I should get ready.

Never in a million years did I expect my daughter to be the one who'd get banged up all the time.  I expected it to be Noah since he's the boy.  Boys are supposed to be rough and tough.  Girls are supposed to be dainty, right?  Not in my world.  My daughter is the one that you can count on to be right in the action, taking all the hits.  Not that Noah isn't tough.  Em's just tougher and she has the scars to prove it.

Spring Break last year she fell off our hotel bed right into the leg of the chair.  She split her lip open and has a cute white scar to prove it.  This all happened after she was balancing on my legs on the bed.  2 weeks ago, she was running at my parent's house while we were at the baseball game, tripped and slammed face first into the door frame. She got a nice fat lip and bruise to show for it.  And last night, she nosedived into our bookcase leaving her with a black, swollen eye with a cut to match.  Pretty soon people are going to start questioning what is going on in this house.  I promise, it's all her.  She's rough and tough with a ton of priss and sass thrown in the mix.  She's definitely going to be the one who ends up with a few trips to the EC with broken bones, stitches, and who knows what else.
At least she's cute when she's purple
I give her credit.  She's a fighter.  She's had to be all her life.  She's a "take no prisoners" girl and can beat you up while wearing dresses and heels.  And she's only 3.  I'm going to need someone to prescribe me some Xanax to get through the rest of her life.  I know I'm going to need it.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday Randoms

I promise, dear readers, that I have not disappeared.  I know my lack of blogging this month may lead you to think that but I promise, I actually have content ready to go (in my head).  I've sat here for an hour now trying to scrounge up the energy to write a meaningful post but it's not happening.  I'm currently battling the worst sinus cold I've had in a while.  I've been awake for a total of 3 hours today and I am ready for the Hubs to get home so I can go back to bed.

October is going to be a good month for me.  Not because I love the month.  I actually feel totally indifferent towards it.  I'm not a Halloween fan at all.  I'm not a huge lover of fall, except that the weather here in Florida might get a little cooler.  I don't like pumpkin or pumpkin spice lattes (please don't unfollow me because of this...I'm a peppermint mocha girl).  October is going to be a good month because I'm going to get back on track with my life.  This month is all about finding myself, finding my motivation, and making myself healthier. So be prepared for more personal posts (if I can ever get around to writing them)

Here are some random things running through my head right now:
~I don't know how people with nails function.  I'm a chronic nail biter (gross, I know) but I've made it a point to grow my nails out.  It's been 3 weeks and they're the longest they've ever been.  However, I'm having trouble functioning.  I think I can actually feel my nails growing.  Just typing this is somewhat bothersome.  I've scratched myself just rubbing my arm.  I'm a mess.  But I really like the way my nails look!
~I'm kinda loving my new schedule more than I thought.  Don't tell the Hubs but I feel kinda proud that I'm becoming more domestic.
~I'm stressed out by our October social schedule
~I have 6 blog post topics written down.  I just have to stop being a slacker and get to it.  Things you can look forward to: the President visits, Saturdays in the fall, Kids and why I sometimes think I wasn't made to be a mom, CureSearch walk, and what's going on with my legs/why I love B12

Love these girls and our Friends Dinners!!!