Friday, December 10, 2010

Oh No!!!

Just the other day I got a letter in the mail from MD Anderson. In that letter was the notification that my plastic surgeon is leaving December 17th. I realize that sounds kind of superficial, whining about my plastic surgeon leaving, but the plastic surgery is the primary component of my treatment that's supposed to make me look 'normal' again. I have gone to a plastic surgeon in Louisville - for follow-up and fills - but his vision and methods for my reconstruction were *VERY* different than those of the doctor in Houston. Since the reconstruction is actually what I'm going to live with for at minimal 10 years (baring unforseen complications), it is *really* important to me that the final results be as close to my 'normal' as possible as well as maybe improving things a bit. I would have had my reconstruction finished by now if my gynecology oncological surgery hadn't gone so poorly and if I hadn't required another emergency surgery a month later. However, I can't change the past, so I was looking forward to the fabulous results I thought the plastic surgeon in Houston could give me. Actually, at this point I'm kind of considering staying local for the plastics part if I'm going to have to break in a new doctor anyway. I actually have my Houston doctor's pager number & he's willing to speak to me on the phone about that option. I'm going to call today!

In other news, my first *real* day at work was a success. Wednesday I was in Frankfort for a meeting, so while I was technically working, it wasn't really my day-to-day tasks. However, yesterday I arrived at my home-away-from-home and after updating my office with photos of the kids, a statue of St. Peregrine, & a holy card, I began my work in earnest. I spent much of the day trying contact the various investigating officers in charge of my cases. However, I did actually work a case as well! Its actually quite a relief to be back to doing my normal things. I don't feel quite as useless and out-of-touch.

Meanwhile, the kids were with mom. She had them doing crafts - clothespin angels - as well as playing as usual. It was *very* heartwarming to go pick them up last night. Both of them came running, well Rachel tried to run, to the door exclaiming for me. Simon was actually saying "Mommy". Rachel says "momma" when I'm not around, but when I arrive she either gibbers or says "nana" or "dada". I don't know why neither of my babies (at this age) will call me by "momma". Its amazing how quickly Rachel has learned to walk and even try to run. She still staggers like a drunk at times and falls frequently. However, the staggering and falling is abating. She's making great strides!

While I was driving home and picking up the kids, Andrew, aka Mr. Househusband, was cooking supper. I arrived home with the kids to a clean house and food on the table! Whoot, whoot!!! I also saw his handsome face! ;-) Like Mater from Cars, "I knowed I made a good choice!" We all spent the evening playing. All in all, my 1st day back was not as traumatic as I was dreading!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thank you to KSP Employees!

It is with great gratitude that I return to work today. I am so deeply moved by all those who have participated in the time-donation that has allowed me to have a work-worry-free time to recover from my cancer surgeries. The well-wishes, time, and prayers have been a great boon for me while I recovered. Just last night I went through some of my get-well wishes & they brought tears to my eyes. I never imagined I would be the beneficiary of such love and care from those I can't even name! I appreciate every hour that was donated to me. I know that without your support I would not have been able to recuperate as effectively as I have. The journey has not been easy, but you have given me peace of mind (on the work-front) that has helped. Thank you with all my heart!

For any of those who don't know, the reason it has taken me so long to return was that my simple surgery went very poorly. I ended up having to have two surgeries about a month apart from one another. In both instances, I was unknowingly much closer to death (by bleeding first and by infection second) during both of these surgeries. Since the surgeries were much more complicated and traumatic for my body to deal with, my recovery time was lengthened. As a matter of fact, the first surgery went so poorly that the second part of it was not completed. After having the second surgery, I was mandated to delay my reconstruction process another 3-6 months. However, I have sufficiently recovered at this point to return to work.

Also, the kids are doing great! Rachel had her first birthday the Friday after Thanksgiving. Even after receiving chemo while still in utero, she is growing wonderfully. She's learning to walk and talk now. Her brother, Simon, helps her as only a big brother can! They thank you for the support you've given their mommy too! :-)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Da dum da dum... SHARKS!

Not as in Jaws, but Sharks as in the Shark line of cleaners. I'm going to veer from my normal course of posting & give my version of a review. I own three Shark devices: a Sweeper Vaccuum, a Vac then Steam, and a Handheld Steam Scrubber. I'll start with the sweeper since I've had it the longest.

Shark Sweeper Vaccuum: *** First of all, I bought it to replace my Swivel-Sweeper after the battery on it went kaput. I was thinking the Shark looked a bit more powerful and therefore would do more for me. I was kind of wrong. I still miss my Swivel-Sweeper. The Shark Sweeper is ok, but it has a tendency to throw stuff behind it and/or just push stuff around on the floor. It does the best job on the carpet (the opposite of the Swivel-Sweeper). As long as you're not fastidious about getting *every* single crumb & piece of dust, this does an ok job. It is light-weight, has a long cord, collapses to get under things, and easy to dump. I use it probably at least 3-4 times a week for quick pick-ups and to clean off my door mats. I give it 3 stars out of a possible 5.

Shark Vac then Steam: **** I bought this because I asked around on FB and it seemed to be something most people liked. It also had good reviews other places online. I had just spent an entire day just cleaning the floors in my kitchen & dining room on my hands & knees. Andrew didn't like that I had to work that hard. I was skeptical since its a 2-in-1 kind of thing. Usually, in my experience, things that claim to do multiple tasks don't do a very good job. Case in point, my mom has a Bissel bare-floor vac-then-mop (not sure of the actual name). It does a MUCH less than stellar job of vaccuuming and a decent job of mopping. So when I pulled the Shark out of the box I was prepared to be underwelmed by the vaccuuming action. However, I was very pleasantly surprised. It really does pull stuff away from the walls with its suction. It picked up fine particles as well as the inevitable puffs on the floor from my crumb crunchers. Then I turned on the steamer. Its VERY easy to switch from vac to steam! It takes it a while to produce a full head of steam, but once it does, it seems to do a decent job cleaning. It runs out of steam periodically (about the time my arm gets tired of pushing it), so I have to stop for a few seconds (less than a minute) to let it build back up to full-steam. I've used both pads - one has long 'fingers' of microfibers & the other is more like terry-cloth microfibers - and I think the longer 'fingers' are better for my application (laminate wood flooring). The first couple of rooms looks really nice. However, after extensive use (75% of my house is laminate wood floors), the later rooms begin to streak like they do with a dirty mop. Theoretically, since its sanitizing they're still clean, they just have residue from the pad. I could avoid that by changing pads mid-stream and/or just doing one section of my house at a time. All in all, I think this is a pretty good cleaner. I give it 4 stars out of 5.

Shark Handheld Steam Scrubber: ** This came free when we ordered the Vac then Steam. It was looking forward to it. I hoped it would be something I could use on the kitchen counters, bath-tub, & the like. I also thought I could use it for spot cleaning when I didn't want to get the big one out. I really don't like it much at all. You have to pump the handle to get steam, but I can't find any rhyme or reason to how often or when you pump the handle. Sometimes I pump & get lots of steam, but other times I pump & get nothing. I've tried holding it down while I scrub. I've tried pumping it continuously while I scrub. All to no avail. It does a decent job on simple sanitizing, but its not getting any stains up except for maybe *really* fresh ones. It did get some kool-aid stains off my island/bar, but other kool-aid stains that were slightly older didn't come clean even after repeated steaming. Tea stains are absolutely hopeless with this thing. The pump on the handle is also pretty hard to pump. I don't think I'm that weak, but this thing wears me out after cleaning just my kitchen counters. I'm unsure of whether it can be used on vertical surfaces (walls), but from my attempts, I'm going to say it cannot. Its not absolutely worthless if it really sanitizes like it promises, however, its not all that handy. It has a nice long cord - I appreciate that. It also has similar pads as the Vac then Steam. I had better luck with the shorter 'fingers' than the longer ones with this device. Its shaped like an iron & I think I'm going to try it for some 'off-label' steaming of clothes. If I steam the surface first, then lay the clothes down & steam them, I think it'll work. At this point, I give this 2 stars out of 5.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Another year...

Yesterday, December 2, I celebrated my 4th wedding anniversary with Andrew. Three days prior to that my mom & dad celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary. I hope that in 32 years, Andrew & I are able to do the same!

It is truly a blessing to have an example like that to emulate. I know that their marriage hasn't always been as it is. I know that it hasn't always been easy. I know that it hasn't always been perfect. However, I see that two very different people can live in not only harmony but true love for longer than I've been alive.

Sometimes they try to give us advice. Part of the time we heed it, but other times we're convinced that we should go our own way. I'm sure it was similar with them and their parents. However, even when we don't take their advice, we are grateful to have their experience and opinions in the back of our minds. That way when/if things go poorly for us, we have another ready-made option to implement.

Mostly, though, I'm glad to have such strong convictions that arose from their education of me and my brothers. My parents have shown great perserverance as well as great love for one another and for God. Without God's blessing, we are all afloat in the sea of worldliness. Without God's blessing and one another, my parents could very easily have been one of the negative statistics. They could have turned from/against one another in times of stress, urest, difficulty, and lack. However, they held tight to their Faith and to one another.

One day I hope that my son or daughter will feel the same way about Andrew & my marriage. I hope to be the kind of parents that children look toward as adults and still want to emulate. I wish to be one of those couples that made it through the hard times together even when it would have been easier to separate. I wish to be one of those couples that holds tight to Faith as well as one another. With prayers and patience, I think we'll make it!

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Smiling already at 2 weeks

Smiling already at 2 weeks
Rachel has been smiling as a response to other people since day one.

And two shall become one...

And two shall become one...
In 2006, Andrew & I became one before God and family! Shortly thereafter we became 3 with the birth of Simon in 2008... Then 4 with the addition of Rachel in 2009!

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