Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I cooked

Before my new diagnosis, I HATED cooking.  My hands didn't allow me to chop vegetables or even open a can easily.  The idea of standing at the stove to brown hamburger seemed nearly impossible.  I would always have to cook the family dinner in the morning (that's when my muscles were at there best) and then heat it up in the oven or microwave at supper time.  Whenever a cookbook gave a prep time on a recipe, I knew that I had to triple the time.

Today I made Chicken Penne Pasta, a recipe from my good friend, Angie.  She gave me the recipe 11 years ago and I only made it once because it took me so long to make.  When I was done cooking it, I was so exhausted that I didn't know if I had the energy to eat it.

When I made the delicious dish this afternoon, I enjoyed chopping the red pepper, onion and asparagus.  I was able to cut the chicken up AND fry it up over the stove.  I boiled the noodles and was able to drain them without burning myself.  It may have taken me an hour, being a new cook and all, but I did it!  And it was yummy.  I was able to make dinner for my family and still have the energy to clean up afterwards.  That never happened before.  Sure, I may love eating dinner out, but I'm looking forward to cooking many new dishes.  In fact, I'd love for you to send me some to try out.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Play Ball!

My weekends in the winter are filled with watching my beautiful daughters play basketball.  In fact, this weekend Winona's travel team played two games Saturday and one game Sunday.  Naturally, I sit on the sidelines cheering for Winona as she runs up and down the court.

I found myself wondering if I would have played basketball as a kid.  As a little girl, I loved going to my brothers basketball games.  I would bring my pom poms and cheer away.  At the time, the thought of dribbling the ball up the court never entered my mind.  As I reflect on child I used to be, I think I would have really loved playing basketball.  I'm not saying that I would have been any good, but I believe that I would have given it my best effort.

There's no reason to dwell on the past and what could have been.  I'm going to continue to cheer for my girls and thank God that they can play ball!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Crowded Walks

This weekend Steve and I took the Girls to the Wisconsin Dells.  We stayed at a Lodge that has three water parks that are connected to the hotel.  The plus side is that you never have to face the bitter cold.  The down side is that we had to walk long, crowded hallways, up and down stairs to get there.  Each and every time I walked to get to a new destination I was amazed that I was doing it. I must have walked five miles on Saturday!

 In the past, it was nearly impossible for me to walk anywhere near others walking. If someone gently brushed up against my shoulder it would have caused me to lose my balance and tumble to the ground.  Two years ago, I would have had to bring my scooter to this lodge because there would have been far to much walking for me to handle. In fact, tonight my calves are sore.  :)

I am exhausted from the weekend, but feel so blessed that this experience was so much easier than it would have been for me not long ago.  Life is good!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


It was about -10  today here in Minnesota.  Even though I felt chilled to the bone, my muscles did not feel any differently today.  Before my diagnosis, extreme heat or cold would nearly paralyze my body.  The simple task of maneuvering my body into a car would feel nearly impossible.  It wasn't like that today.  I was able to run all my errands without help.  So, even though it is freaking cold outside, I really hope that you'll take the time to realize how lucky you really are.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Gotta Be Strong

Every Wednesday evening I help teach Sharon's religious class.  Tonight we  learned about reconciliation and went to view where the kids will confess their sins to the priest.  While I was walking to the confessional with the group of children a fellow parishioner (whom I've never met before) stopped me and asked if I am strong.  I had to think about that for a second.

"Kind of, " I answered.  "It depends on what you need."

He said that he needed help carrying a candle from the back of the church to the gym.  I figured that I could handle it without any problem and I followed him back to the church.  I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the candle that he was asking me to carry.  It was about 3ft tall and 4 inches in diameter.  He handed it to me  and I'd say it weighed about 30lbs.  Plus, it was awkward.

Just as I was about to walk with it, he informed me to be careful not to tilt it.  Apparently, the top is filled with oil.  Then he joked, "Father will be really mad if you drop it cause it's a $500 candle.  If you do, you'll have to be come a Lutheran."  No pressure!!

I slowly carried this cross for a long three minutes from the back of the church to they gym.  My left wrist and bicep  were burning.  Even though I was concerned that I'd spill the oil from top of the candle I knew that I could do this and even felt close to God in doing so.

Two years ago, no one would have ever asked me to help carry anything.  They would have been offering to help carry me!  It felt great to help someone with a task that they couldn't do on their own.  I also find it funny that this guy that I helped out tonight has no idea that I used to use a scooter  and the idea of carrying a tiny votive would have freaked me out much less a candle that's half as tall as me.  This is going to make me smile for quite some time!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Ms. Mechanic

I have never done any maintenance on a car that I have ever owned.  Physically, I could never have done it.  I always paid to get my oiled changed and either my dad or Steve would change the car's headlights or add air when my tires were low.

For the past week, I have been driving around town with slightly low tire pressure.  The only reason I know this, is because the light on my dash tells me so.  Since Steve is still recovering (doing much better, but needs to rest) I thought that I better take care of these tires before I end up on the side of the road with a flat.

A long time ago, Steve put an air pump in the trunk of my car.  It has sat there for the past year without my knowledge as to how to use it.  On my own, I was able to figure out how to use it and put air in all four tires and check the tire pressure.  I know that most of you may be thinking that this isn't a big deal, but to me it is one more thing that I have conquered.

Prior to my diagnosis, I couldn't even stand at the pump to put gas in my car, much less bend over to put air in my tires.  My fingers would not have had the dexterity to take the little cap off of the tire thingy (need to work on my car vocab!  :)   ) to add air.  I finally have the physical ability and the confidence to do this on my own. This is a big deal to me.  Plus, it is one less thing that I have to rely on Steve for.

So, now that I can add air to my tires, do you think I should change the oil in my car?  Nah, I think we all know better than that!   :)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Not My Turn

My whole life I have been the patient.  Growing up my parents took me to more doctor's appointments than I could count (as well as scheduled surgery's).   As an adult, either my mom or Steve took me to all my appointments.  My parents and Steve were with me when I had to have my Bachlophen Pump implanted and they were there for me last year when I had to have it taken out.  It was always me in the hospital bed.  I never knew what it was like to be on the other side, until this weekend.

Steve was admitted into the hospital New Years Day with a swollen Epiglottis.  The ENT specialist sped the whole way to the hospital and had an OR booked in case he had to put a breathing tube in him.  I sat in the uncomfortable chair as Steve lay in the short ER bed thinking that it should be me, not him.  The ENT specialist placed a scope down Steve's nose to get a good look at his swollen throat.  Luckily for us, it wasn't to the point of sending him to the OR.  However, Steve would be placed in the ICU overnight as a precautionary.  I was assured that he would be okay.  He was given an IV to receive antibiotics and steroids for two days and not allowed to eat (in case they had to put him under).  This was all so scary and I didn't have my partner to lean on because this time it was him that needed the help.

I kept thinking the same two things over and over. 1) Please let him be okay.  2)  Thank God that I have the physical capabilities to have gotten myself here so I can be with him.

A year and a half ago I could not have parked in the hospital ramp and walked all that way.  I was able to be by my husbands side when he needed me (even though he told me I didn't need to be there).  I could go get the nurse when he needed something and I could just be there for him.

When I went home that Sunday night, I could tell I was getting a UTI.  I called my OB and she sent me to the maternity assessment center at a nearby hospital for lab work.  I was exhausted from the unbelievable stressful day I had just had.  All I wanted to do was try and get some rest. In times past, it would have been Steve to take me to where I needed to be.  I didn't have him though.  All I had was myself, but that was okay this time.  I had to get there on my own and thanks to my new medication, I could do it on my own  (tears and all).

I'm not sure how I would have handled this weekend if I was not on my new medication.  The stress of it all would have made my muscles even more unmanageable than ever before.   I am blessed in so many ways:  my husband is alive and safe and I know that I can take care of him as he has always done for me.  Thank you God for these wonderful gifts.