April 29, 2010

My Upper Endoscopy

So I think that I have kind of been avoiding posting a real post on here.  I have felt crummy lately.  I have also come to the realization that I don't like writing about the hard times as much as I enjoy writing about fun times.  Maybe because I like to be the bearer of good news, instead of sounding whiny.  Or maybe because I feel bad, I just don't feel like putting energy into anything.   That might be the case, because I have been avoiding work this week like the plague.

Monday I went to Stanford to have a procedure done.  A full GI work-up.  I randomly get really intense sharp pain (worse than childbirth).  It doesn't happen that often, but when it hits, it is crazy intense.  It started back last year before my transplant.  They didn't want to do the procedure back then because I would be sedated, and the doctors didn't feel like I was healthy enough at the time to go through that.  So it got put on the back burner.  New lungs came first -- it was more important.  Finally, now that my health is better I was able to get the procedure done and be scoped.

That is how I spent lovely Monday.  Sedated.  Seth had to take off of work because I wasn't allowed to drive myself home.  I thought it was funny also that the nurse dude ( I really don't know his title) told me to watch out and to not sign any important documents, haha.

It all went well.  I think.  I can't really remember.  Yeah,  it did.  I'm pretty sure.  Anyway,  they put a scope down in my belly to look around.  An upper endoscopy I believe it is called.  They found inflammation, but that is all as far as I know.  I have to schedule a follow up appointment to really find out the nitty-gritty.  Before I had the test done, the doctors all seemed to think I had gastritis.
They threaded a tube from a machine through my nose down into my stomach.  I had to leave it there for twenty-four hours.  Then I had to drive back up there to get it removed the next day.

After my dramatic dog Chiquita gets a bath, we wrap her up in a towel and place her on our couch.  She sits there shivering, and won't budge for literally hours upon hours.  Sometimes all night.  She hunkers herself there in self pity.  She can't believe what horror just happened to her and she remains frozen in dejection.

That was how I felt earlier this week.  Every time I ate, sat up, laid down I had to press a button on a machine that was threaded through my nose and throat.  I wasn't allowed to shower (and if you know me, you know how much that bothers me).  Needless to say, I wasn't running around the house happily cooking dinner and caring for my family.  I sat, like my chihuahua, frozen and not wanting to move.  Every time I chewed or swallowed I could feel the tube tugging up and down my nose and throat.  It was pretty gross, not to mention very uncomfortable.  I also didn't feel like blogging, I guess.  But now that the tube has been removed, I have regained my freedom, and I feel much more like myself, I am happy to share the gross, gory, details with you all.  Ha.

Besides being somewhat of a baby about the whole tube-in-my-nose-thing I still have my lingering cold.  Or should I say cough?  The cold is gone, but I am still coughing during the night.  It is getting better, but very slowly.  So yeah, it just hasn't been the best week health-wise compared to others.  That is when I feel like hiding out, and waiting for the storm to blow over.  And it is.

April 28, 2010

April 25, 2010

How we roll

Roller Skating.  Yes!!

April 19, 2010

Dear Hospital

Dear Hospital,

I hope this letter finds you well.  Today I will be leaving you.  It is time I moved on.  We are just not the best for each other, and being around you makes me feel slightly sick.  I hope to not see you again for a very, very long time.  Try not to take it personal.  I'm sure it won't be too hard for you to part with me; there will be someone else to move in and take my place.


April 15, 2010

Camping out

I made it.  Last night I checked in, got a room, and and settled in here.  The unknown is now the known.  This stay is very, very different than a "cystic fibrosis" stay.  It has been an adventure.

I am not on a single antibiotic -- (you can't use antibiotics to treat colds)  I have no CPT to do, which used to take up most of my time as an inpatient.  I don't have a single IV med dripping during the day.  No seriously, not one, at all.

It has been lonely and boring.  New wing of the hospital, new nurses, new everything.  Usually in the past with my old CF regimen there were so many people popping their heads in and out of my room I never had a chance to get bored.  I haven't seen anyone since this morning.  It is so bizarre.  ... cricket ...

Boring is better than crisis though.  I will take boring over crisis any day.  I had no adverse reactions to any of the new medications I was put on, praise the Lord.  That was really my main concern or worry.  Severe allergic reactions are never fun to say the least.  I have experienced one or two, and that is more than I need to know I don't want to ever experience that again.

The days are easier than I would have imagined.  The nights are what are really different...

I do have I.V. meds, they all run at night when I am asleep, which is nice.   The so called "breathing treatment"  is not really what I expected.  It lasts six hours and also takes place while I am asleep.  They put me in a clear plastic tent.  The tent is misted.  They also put an "oxygen mask"on me and that is what delivers the antiviral medication.  The medication is highly toxic, so people are to enter my room while it is being administered at a minimum.  The people who do enter are wearing gloves, gowns, plastic face shields, and masks.  When the treatment is done I am covered in a powdery substance, and then must go shower immediately to detox and wash away the chemicals.  While I clean off they come and change my bedding too (also mandatory).  The whole thing seems a little bit sci-fi or something.  It reminds me of something that might show up on LOST, haha.

My cold is already feeling better.  My stuffy nose is dissipating.  My x-ray looked good.  My blood sugars are crazy out of whack, but they tell me it is probably because of the high doses of some medications I am on right now.  I have begun insulin shots, at least while I am in here.  One night down, four more to go, and my cold is already on it's way out.

So when you hear there is "no cure for the common cold"  it seems as though there is.  It is just a little bit intense.

April 14, 2010

Bad News

The transplant nurse called me today with the results from yesterday's swab.  She confirmed that I have a virus.  ( I knew that already by how lousy I feel)  And then she dropped the bomb...

I need to be admitted.

I have one of the seven viruses that they test for!  Can you believe it?!?!  Ugh.  I have RSV (respiratory syncytial virus).  I remember hearing about that virus when Levi was a baby... it is common in little kids.

So this means I have to spend five to seven days in the hospital.  I am bummed, but more than that I am just scared of the unknown.  I have done the hospital thing before, but never as a transplant recipient.  I don't know how my body will react to these new medications.  I am hoping it will be relatively easy but I just don't know.

I was kind of taken aback and a little shocked by the news, especially since I have been feeling so well the last couple of months.  Weird how a little germ can just change all my plans.

Seth is going to take a few days off of work to stay home with Levi.  My parents might then take him over the weekend.  Right now I am just waiting to hear back from the hospital when they have a bed available for me.

Time crawls so much slower in the hospital, so if you feel so inclined leave me a comment or message.  It brightens up my day, and helps time to go by a little faster.  I would normally say to come visit, but when I googled RSV I learned that it is highly contagious.  I don't want to give anyone this cold...

April 13, 2010

Sick in the head

So yeah.

I caught the cold!  Boo hoo.  I have been sick for about three days now.  I don't feel horrible, just a normal run of the mill cold.  Levi had it much worse.  He had a fever, aches, coughing, runny nose, etc.  The whole nine yards and he was down for the count.  He just laid around, which if you know Levi you know how unusual that is.  He actually took naps... he barely took naps when he was a baby!  Seth is sick too.

So with newly transplanted lungs and colds you don't mess around.  I have to call the transplant clinic every time I get sick.  They then have me come up and get "swabbed."  So today I drove up to Stanford to have a very, very long little Q-tip inserted up my nose.

I need to take a little detour to tell you just how awful this little test is.  It sounds harmless, right?  Wrong.  Do you know how far back your sinuses go into your head?  They push that little Q-tip thing way back farther than you would ever think it could go.  They push it to the back of your head, or so it feels like it.  If you have had this done, you know exactly what I'm talking about.  If you haven't -- good for you.  You don't want it.

Apparently, according to my transplant doctor, there are about 300 cold viruses.  Seven of those 300 are potentially harmful to me.  They need to test to make sure I don't have one of the seven viruses that would cause me harm.  Better safe than sorry-- that's why they must test every time I get sick.  If I do end up having one of the seven I have to be admitted to the hospital for five days to be treated.  They give special breathing treatments and such.  Five days in the hospital is no biggie for me, but obviously I am hoping and praying that I don't ever have to do that.

The test results should be in tomorrow.

April 12, 2010

Stuffed Chicken

This isn't a cooking blog... nor do I want it to turn into one.  But I do cook.  I like to cook healthy meals for my family.  Anyways, I made stuffed chicken breasts for dinner tonight. I don't think I have ever made stuffed anything before.  If I have, it was so long ago, that I have forgotten.  Anything with the word "stuffed" always seems a bit intimidating to me to be perfectly honest...  I am way more comfortable cooking boring old casseroles or homemade bread.  This recipe looked yummy though so I decided to give it a shot and try it.

I used kitchen scissors to cut up the fresh organic baby spinach.

Sun dried tomatoes would have to qualify as one of my favourite flavors in the whole world.

My son Levi says he doesn't like cheese.  He eats it more than he realizes though, and he likes it when he doesn't know he is eating it.  He also eats it when it's on pizza.  Go figure.  I sometimes wonder how this kid who came from my womb doesn't like cheese.  That is a foreign concept to me.  My brain does not compute.  I love the stuff -- every kind of cheese I have ever tried, I have loved.
Hopefully he won't realize that this feta, is in fact, cheese...

The lemon was the fun part.  Because all I have to do is walk out to my backyard and pick one.  I adore having a lemon tree, I really do.  This one just started growing one year randomly.  A little gift from God I guess.  We didn't plant it, we didn't even know it was there for years.  Until one year it just pretty much came out of nowhere.  If I could have picked, out of all of the fruit trees to have I would totally pick lemon.  We go through the lemons like water.  Literally.  Because I add lemon to my water, and just drink lemon water.

Today it was rainy.  Look! The lemon is already partly washed! 

The recipe called for some lemon peel.  I was searching all over the kitchen for my cheese grater with no luck.  Seth reminded me that we had this miniature one.  The recipe only called for a teaspoon, so hey it worked!  (I still never found the regular sized one)

The miniature cheese grater is pretty cute, but not as cute as the little face behind it.

Pounding the chicken is my least favorite part.  The pounding was fun, I just don't really like touching the raw meat.  I deal though, and just wash my hands well afterward.  I used food storage bags to place the chicken breasts in.  It worked quite nicely.

If I made this recipe again I might chop up less than three cups of fresh spinach.  I crammed as much of the mixture into the chicken as would fit, and still had some leftover.  I really don't like to waste -- especially expensive ingredients.  Next time I think I would chop two cups instead of three.

So how did it turn out?  Pretty good I think.  Levi said it was gross *sigh*  but he said that before he even tasted it.  So yeah, not really a reliable source.  I thought it was really yummy.  Polenta is a little bland, but the stuffed chicken was flavorful enough to make up for it.  Seth said it was delicious.

Okay.  So here is the recipe in case you want to try it for yourself...

Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Makes 6 servings

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
3 cups chopped fresh spinach leaves
1/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 teaspoon minced lemon peel
1 teaspoon dried basil, oregano or mint
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Black pepper, to taste
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup oil cured olives
Hot cooked polenta

1.  Place chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap.  Using tenderizer mallet or back of skillet, pound breast until about 1/4 inch thick.  Repeat with remaining chicken.

2.  Combine feta, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon peel, basil, garlic powder, and pepper in medium bowl.

3.  Lay pounded chicken, smooth side down, on work surface.  Place feta mixture on wide end of breast.  Roll tightly.  Repeat with remaining chicken.

4.  Place rolled chicken, seam side down, in crock pot slow cooker.  Top with diced tomatoes with juice and olives.  Cover; cook on low 5 1/2 to 6 hours or on high 4 hours.  Serve with polenta.

April 11, 2010

Hunt Photos

April 09, 2010

What we've been up to...

I'm way behind on keeping this blog up-to-date.  I've been a busy lady, in a good way.

Levi is still in swimming lessons twice a week, while I'm still in my workout/maintenance program twice a week.  Levi and I have been jogging on the beach quite a bit lately also.  He doesn't view it as jogging, we are playing tag, but it's the best way to get him to run!

On Sunday afternoons for the last couple of months while Seth is doing worship practice I have been going to my friend Chris' house with other girlfriends from church and we have been watching a different Jane Austen flick every time.  Let me tell you, Chris lays out the most marvelous spread of yummy tea party treats!  We have tea sandwiches, wraps, chocolate, cheesecake, cookies, fruit, etc.  not to mention tea.  We kinda end up talking through most of the movies, but I love it and totally cherish the girlie time.  Chris' awesome son Matt plays with Levi (and all the other little kids) outside.  It is a really nice break.  We haven't watched my favourite movie of all time yet, Sense and Sensibility (the one with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet) but it is so fun to watch new ones I have never seen before.  Time before last was Jane Austen Regrets and I just loved it!

We also were busy preparing for Easter weekend.  Our church had a giant Easter Egg hunt (as you can see from the post below) at a park for the community.  We stuffed over 5,000 eggs!  The event turned out awesome.  It was so packed!  There was face painting, candy, prizes, refreshments, balloons, and coloring/crafts.  There was even Starbucks, and our friend Imelda walking around in a bunny costume posing for pictures.  I got to be one of the photographers and help stuff eggs.  Have I ever mentioned that I love assembly lines?  Because I do.

Seth and I were also in a short eight minute skit that we performed Easter morning at our church.  It was a dramatization to music of how Jesus has redeemed us.  That afternoon we had lunch at my house as we do every year.  Our friend Jack came and joined us.  I adore celebrating Easter at my house every year.  It has become one of my very favourite days.  We are the only ones with a big backyard, and I get to be the one who hides the eggs.  This year it was so rainy that we took a rain check (ha) and we are gonna do the hunt next week.

That evening Levi and I left for vacation -- sadly leaving poor Seth behind.  He wasn't able to get the time off of work that he requested.  My sister's roomate's family has a cabin right on the water in Clearlake.  They let us stay there for free, which is super nice of them.  It ended up being my dad, mom, sister, my sister's boyfriend, Levi and I.  We basically just hung around, went on walks, the guys fished, and everyone napped everyday except my mom, me and Levi.  It was kinda a forced relaxation type of vacation.
I realized on this trip I am sooooo "citified" and get bored way too easy.  "What do people do out here for fun?"  I kept asking myself that.  I still don't know.  Beats me.
The lake was so gorgeous, and the highlight was taking out the canoe and rowing around.  We paddled to an island with a mysterious, really neat house on it.  We could tell that people rarely used it so we got to walk around and explore.  It had a hot tub, a hammock and it was decorated all asian style.  I wanted to buy it right then and there.  We could tell it had been someone's sanctuary at one time, even though no one had been there in a while.  Our imaginations ran wild of what we would do to fix the place up.  With just a little work it would be one of the most amazing houses ever.
Our last night at Clearlake we made an hour long trek into a town with the nearest theatre.  That is so different than what I am used to, all I have to do is step out my door at home and I am in middle of the city, surrounded by crazy, homeless people and all.  To drive that long to find a small movie theatre was a trip.  Over all we had a good time.  Nice to be gone, and nice to come back home, haha.

Today Levi woke with a bad cold.  He sounds congested and has a horrible cough.  If you think of it, please pray that I don't catch it.  I am really worried about that.  I am hiding away in the bedroom right now, but that can't last for long...

Anyway, that's a little bit of what we have been up to.

April 03, 2010


I sewed these little guys a very long time ago.  I gave one to Levi and one to my very good friend Adam.
(Who just happens to be two years old...)

Levi named his little monster Fleas.  Just recently he has been sleeping with Fleas.  Instead of taking a stuffed teddy bear to bed he takes an orange monster.  Why not?

April 02, 2010

Good Friday

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 
 Romans 5:8

The only good thing about Good Friday is that it didn't end there. Death could not stop Jesus. God, the creator of the world, is more mighty than that. He died and took the burden of the sins of the world, but what good would that have done if He had just stayed there? Good thing that wasn't the case.

I feel melancholy every year on Good Friday, including today. I'm not completely sure why. Maybe partly because it was my sin that put Him there. He suffered for me. The weight sits heavy on my heart. Through His death I have life. I am so thankful.

Life coming from a tragic death is not a new concept for me.  Jesus willingly died to give me life, and that is just amazing.  Having a transplant and receiving life from someone else's death is pretty crazy as well.

So bittersweet.

But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

Art by Levi