colorectal health and whatnot

I feel like I have been neglecting my blog.  For good reasons, I guess, but still. Maybe I feel like I’ve been neglecting myself.  I haven’t given myself a chance to come here and just write what’s on my mind much lately.  No particular reason other than just being busy with life and time slipping by too fast.  Suddenly, the things I thought about writing seem insignificant.

So a big thing happened last week and it wouldn’t be a “big thing” in my life without lots of reflection, worry, feelings, and emotional over-stimulation in general… I had a colonoscopy.  I know it doesn’t sound super heart-wrenching but stick with me for a minute.

My dad was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 41, and then again at 43.  This is so uncommon that routine screenings are not even recommended until age 50.  With such significant family history, I was advised that I should have been screened at age 31.  Well, I’m three years late.

I can promise you that I never did drugs as a teenager, but when I think about my teen years they run into one another in a blur.  I was barely in high school when my dad was diagnosed.  You know, my OLD, very old fatherly dad.  My super old, in his forties, old dad.  I remember my parents telling me the first time he was diagnosed. It pains me to admit that life pretty much went on as usual for me, aside from visiting him in the hospital after some major surgeries and spending more time with him during the summer when he was on temporary disability during his treatment and recoveries. I remember crying a few times when we’d receive discouraging news from the doctor.  Even still, I was living in my self-centered teenage world and naively believed that nothing could beat my strong father. Everything would be just fine.  Because when you’re a kid, what’s the alternative?

Anyway, in an odd (or maybe not-so-odd?) way, this whole colonoscopy thing has had me thinking about and missing my dad a bunch. Regretting that I wasn’t more personally affected by his illness at the time. Good grief, what did he think of his selfish teenage daughter?  I’ve been thinking about my own mortality on some level.  The fact that he was only SEVEN years older than I am now when he was diagnosed is blowing my mind. Forty-one, all the sudden, doesn’t sound old at all. It sounds like the prime of life.  I can’t imagine how my dad felt, at just 41 years old and then again 2 years later, to be fighting for his life.

Before my procedure, I was lying on the bed, looking around. Taking it all in.  Reading literature posted on the walls. The nurse that prepped me asked a lot of questions about my family history. I got choked up explaining my dad’s past. As soon as Ryan came to sit with me and held my hand, I became overwhelmed with emotion. I pictured my dad getting ready for his procedure and wondered how nervous he was every time – was the cancer back or would he have a clean bill of health this time?  Ryan and the nurse both asked me if I was in pain or nervous and I just shrugged as tears streamed down my face and said I was fine. How was I supposed to explain what I was feeling at that moment?

Luckily, I am aware of my increased risk for colon cancer and my test came back perfectly fine. No polyps. I will get to experience the pleasure of this procedure every five years for the rest of my life. Enduring that sounds way better than enduring colon cancer though, so it’s a small price to pay. I feel thankful for the opportunity to do these prevention screenings.

On a related and somewhat unrelated note, speaking of drugs and colonoscopies…  Thursday I remember thinking multiple times that I felt perfectly normal following my procedure. It wasn’t until the next day that I realized the entire evening was a blur. I had to ask Ryan to tell me every detail of what happened at the hospital and grilled him on my behavior. He swears I wasn’t acting bizarre. However, it really, really, really got to me that there were parts of the evening that I forgot altogether.  Naturally, it didn’t make sense that I would want to go out to eat, go with Ryan to pick up the boys, then later take them out for cupcakes and to the park. Pretty busy night considering everything I had been through that day.  I passed out super early (for me) at 9:30pm Thursday night. Friday I pictured Ryan and I eating at a different location than where we actually ate.  I couldn’t remember being in the car… at all…any of the 6 times we drove from one place to another.  And I totally spaced that we went to the park until I saw this pic I posted on Instagram.

photo (2)

UM? I’m still freaking out about this. (For one, that’s a terrible photo).  Too many pain meds… and to think that some people stumble through life like this? I guess that’s why they told Ryan not to let me sign papers, watch my kids alone, or drive anywhere for 24 hours. I’m not sure what’s worse though – that I legitimately thought I was fine to run all over town or that I struggled to remember half of it the next day.  Weird. Weird, weird, weird.  I don’t like drugs!



Dexter’s Batman birthday week

Dexter’s birthday week was quite the rollercoaster with many ups and downs.

It started on Mother’s Day when Dex had a low fever all day. He laid around when his temp crept up but would be running around like a madman an hour after taking medicine.

He woke without a fever on Monday but I kept him home because I wanted to keep an eye on him to make sure he was okay. He was sluggish but okay throughout the day. I worked from home and at 4:30 I heard screaming and ran back to the bedroom where he was napping to find him in a puke puddle, crying.

I moved his mattress to the living room and covered all surfaces in preparation for the next round. Good thing.  Poor buddy puked 10 times between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.  Not a very happy way to turn 3.  Dexter got another sick day to stay home with mommy on his special day. 
Trying to play but not really feelin’ it.
By mid-morning the pukefest had come to an end. He took a very long nap and by the time Theo and Ryan came home, he was acting a little more like himself.  It wasn’t long before Theo saw the small pile of gifts wrapped in Batman paper in our bedroom and started prompting Dexter to ask us to open presents.  He cheered up and his energy started to come back. 

The turning point: Revelation of the Lego Set.

See that sparkle coming back?

No YOU’RE the best.

Hurrah to feeling better!

Took one bite. 
The rest of the work/school/daycare week went okay. Dex still was having some tummy troubles and didn’t eat well all week but no more throwing up.  Some really FANTASTIC news that came from Dexter’s birthday week is that we ditched diapers!!  He woke up on his 3rd birthday in a diaper but hasn’t had one on since. Not at home anyway. I’m not sure his sitter is quite as ready to move on as the rest of us are. I’m giving him a good, solid week or two before I tell her that we are officially potty-trained, day and night. We are taking him to the bathroom every night before we go to bed (around midnight) and he’s doing GREAT!!  He’s very proud of himself and so are we!!  Gooooo Dex!
Friday I worked a short day and went to Sam’s Club when I was done to buy party food. I was excited to go there and take my time strolling around without the kids before I picked them up from the sitter. Got up to the register only to discover that I didn’t have my Mastercard debit card. The only place I use it is in the ATM machine and at Sam’s because they don’t accept Visa. So on one hand, I was not too worried knowing that I must have just left it in the bank’s ATM the last time I got cash. On the other hand, I was devastated that I just wasted an hour or more of my precious, limited time and now I was going to have to grocery shop with crabby kids in tow. And embarrassed to boot.
I did end up getting everything I needed and Ryan and I stayed up until 1am getting everything prepared that we could do the night before. 

Party favor gifts.

The day of the party was stressful, as they always are. The weather was iffy. It kept getting super cloudy then would sprinkle. It looked like a tsunami could let loose any second but it never did. It stayed nice enough that we could have the party outside, which was the main thing I was worried about.  However, I set up the food in the garage. I don’t know what your garage looks like in pictures, but there’s just no way to make ours look cute, regardless of how many decorations we put up.  I barely took any pictures because I was busy prepping all day. By the time the party rolled around, I took a couple pictures of the ugly garage and more or less tossed my camera aside and sat down to enjoy some time with friends.

For food, we had the following

 – fresh sliced strawberries
 – GoGo Squeeze applesauce
 – this crock pot turkey (on pretzel buns with provolone and/or pepper jack cheese)
 – pretzels, cheese puff balls, and chips & salsa
 – lemonade & sweet tea
 – cupcakes that Ryan’s mom made (Dexter asked for strawberry – they were amazing!)
 – homemade chocolate chip cookies

Stickers from

Grown ups and big kids played things like corn hole and ladder ball outside while the little kids played on the small slide and on the riding toys in the driveway.  We ate and then Dexter passed out thank-you gifts to his friends before opening his presents. 

Don’t ask me why, but we made Theo and Dexter mini-versions of the gift bags we gave all the other kids. Ryan and I panicked at the last minute, thinking it wouldn’t be a very fun birthday party for the birthday boy if he was disappointed and confused about why everyone else got the same thing and he didn’t. The full-blown version contained: 
  – foil pinwheels
  – bubbles
  – Batman cup
  – mini flashlight
  – mini M&Ms
  – pop rocks (only for the big kids)
  – Batman punch ball balloons

Without a doubt, you can bet Theo was right beside Dexter the whole time, checking out the new inventory. 

Not a bad day, all in all.
I hope Dexter enjoyed his third birthday festivities, even if his entire week wasn’t as great as it could and should have been. I can’t believe my baby is 3!

struggle, struggle

Resolution Running: Fail.

I started off strong – what I mean by that is that I ran about 14 miles the first half of January. Then I was sick for six weeks with some sort of incapacitating illness or another including two stomach bugs, two rounds of strep, and the flu.  The one I got the flu shot for.  When I wasn’t sick (rare), my kids were. Or my husband was.  So there were two solid months of no running.  The last time that I ran in January, I didn’t make it very far before terrible knee pain struck and forced me to stop. I could  not run through it.

Since then, I’ve wanted to run. Some days my knee feels great. Other days, a sudden pain will take my breath away. At times, it hurts to walk.  It’s so random because literally, some days, it feels like nothing is wrong.  All along, I have felt the urge to run. I have the urge to push my body past where I think it can take me.  Now it is {finally} getting warmer out and I picture myself with nothing but my feet, my thoughts, and my iPod, running around the neighborhood.  I want to run.

I ran two weeks ago on the treadmill and only made it .8 miles before that debilitating knee pain was too much to take. I just started running a year ago. Is it possible that my running days are already over? If this was caused from an injury, wouldn’t the 6-8 week break be enough time for it to heal?

People have asked me about wearing a knee brace – I don’t know the first thing about it.  I went to the orthopedic doctor about my knee 2 years ago and he wanted me to have a $1500 MRI. It was in the middle of us selling our house and moving in with my in-laws so I never got it done. Then I lost 25 pounds, started running and didn’t have anymore knee trouble. Until January.  Maybe I need to go back to the doctor. This is a totally different pain/problem than what I had 2 years ago, but just as troublesome.

My goal of running 300 miles this year (25 miles a month) is definitely not going to happen. At this point, I just need to find something I enjoy doing that keeps me active. I’m dying to hike, but the weather hasn’t quite gotten there yet for taking the boys.  There aren’t a lot of super awesome hiking spots close by (nothing less than 30+ minutes) so it’s not like I’ll be doing that 3x or more per week anyway.

My weight is … okay. For now.  When I was sick, my weight loss reached 31 pounds (from when I started losing weight over a year ago). My original goal was to lose and stay within a 20-24 pound loss range. On average, I’ve maintained about a 25-26 pound weight loss.  I think since I was sick, I got in the habit of thinking I can eat whatever because it wouldn’t matter if I gained that 5 pounds back.  I’ve definitely gained that 5 pounds back but haven’t stepped on the scale in a bit because I don’t think I want to know if I’ve exceeded that.  I know I’m sort of okay, because my clothes still fit.  But I definitely don’t feel as healthy or energetic or lean as I do when I’m eating better and exercising regularly.

That’s what’s going on with my health/fitness goal right now…not the end of the world, but definitely not as positive of a report as I’d like to give.  I’m excited to go for lots of walks with (and without) the boys now that it’s getting warmer.  More outside time = less inactivity and less TV.