Friday, July 31, 2009

CC '09

My big trip this summer was a nine day Caribbean Cruise with three other fantastic girls!
We set sail out of New York City on the Caribbean Princess. We had a great time just being on the ship. Total we had four sea days. We read book, watched movies under the stars, ate LOTS of food (see pictures below) hit the gym to counter balance all the food intake (side note -- running at sea level is a DREAM! I actually liked to run/workout on the ship), we made sure it hit all the pools, drank fun drinks, and partied (mo style).
Sergio took a liking to us. We had a reserved table waiting for us each night (even though they don't really do that) at 7:30. We would walk to the front of the line and he would wave us to our table. Later he would come over and kiss us on the cheeks and call us his angels. One night he had a special Italian dish made for us. Aww to be favored.
Our first stop was Bermuda. As you can see the water is AMAZINGLY beautiful!
We did experience a little tropical rain.
Our cab driver did not think we were very funny when Jennie asked if he knew anyone that has gone missing .. you know in the Bermuda Triangle! I thought it was real funny! He said no by the way.
We spent most of our day on a pink sand beach. The sun did come out and it was just lovely!

Our next stop was San Juan Puerto Rico!
Once again we decided to hit the beach. It was Sunday so all the locals were at the beach with their families. What a party that is. Finding a little spot of shade was not easy. But as you can see Jennie and Jessica claimed us a small patch. After dinner Stacy, Jennie and I walked up through old town to the historic fort. It was really cool to see at night.

Most nights were spent out under the stars watching a movie on the huge movie screen above one of the pools.

Jennie Doezie has this really cool under water camera case. There are so many good times to be had with that toy!
St. Thomas!
Does a beach get any better than this?
We actually started our day on St. Thomas with a little shopping. How can you not! We all got some fab jewelery, fun surf shirts, make up, and I got a bag. Then we hit the beach.
The water is so perfect at all these islands you just hang out in the water. There were little fish that would just swim around your feet and star fish that sat on the bottom. So cool.

PaRtY FacE!
Whenever the cruise photographers would come to take our picture we would do what we called "party face" I don't think they thought we were so funny. But we sure did.
Self Entertained!
Part of the reason we have so much fun traveling together is our ability to self entertain. See the above pictures for examples. Steamroller on a long empty beach, tricks off a bunk bed (that didn't actually work out so well for me) The fun never ends!
Food! FoOD! fOOd! FOOD!
Isn't that half of what a cruise is about.
The picture on the bottom left is us walking back to our room after hitting the mid-night buffet. I couldn't fit everything on my plate so I have some in my mouth as well. I truly got into the spirit of the cruise.

Grand Turk!
Here we did a Catamaran/snorkel adventure. Again ... the water was amazing .. blah blah blah
Being on the boat was very fun. I will be honest, once you are a scuba diver, snorkeling is kinda lame. But we had fun all the same (of course we did, we ARE fun!) After we snorkeled we pulled up to this empty, perfect beach, with crystal clear water. We just kinda bobbed around. Took fun pictures with Jennie's water camera. Another amazing day in the Caribbean!

Cruise = Characters

Jennie D and I met at BYU ... about 12 years ago? We instantly became friends and she has been one of my B est F riends ever since!
Some of my greatest experience ... biggest adventures have been with Jennie.
It doesn't really matter where we are or what we are doing ... it is going to be a good time (can't you just tell that by our pics) She is a great person (in India doing humanitarian work right now) and people really wish they could be her!
Heart you Buddy!

Being on a cruise is exhausting!

I am waiting for Stacy's pictures ... so this is still a work in progress.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Book Review

One of my latest summer reads was The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
I thought this was a very thought provoking read. It was a quick read and I would definitely recommend it.
A couple lines that I really liked;

"We who fight for our dream suffer far more when it doesn't work out, because we cannot fall back on the old excuse: "Oh, well, I didn't really want it anyway.""

".... when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too."

"Well, why did you say that I don't know about love?" the sun asked the boy.
"Because it's not love to be static like the desert, nor is it love to roam the world like the wind. And it's not love to see everything from a distance, like you do. Love is the force that transforms and improves the Soul of the World." ..... "and the world we live in will be either better or worse, depending on whether we become better or worse."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My WHOLE heart!

A little update on my heart ... First of all a huge THANK YOU! for all the comments, texts, phone calls, visits, messages, treats and flowers! I have been so totally overwhelmed at how much love and support I have had. Most of all thank you for your prayers! I have felt very loved! I can't express my THANKS enough!

For the most part things went pretty well. At the end of it all my heart is fixed! There were a couple bumps along the way and some unpleasant moments for sure. Me having small veins does make this kind of procedure a little difficult. First the nurse had a hard time getting my IV in. He ended up having to put it in an awkward place which made the next 24 hours somewhat uncomfortable. Then ... for the actual procedure they go in through your groin. I had been sedated and was pretty much asleep at this point. First they numb the area and then they insert a little device into your vein (in two places actually) that the doctor can then feed a tube into that goes up into your heart (amazing... right!) They could NOT get into my vein. That guy was digging and probing and poking! It actually woke me up. I opened my eyes and snapped, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" (I feel sorta bad about that, but I was drugged) It killed! My back was arching, my fist clenched. I could hear him saying that he couldn't get into my vein. When he did finally get in he said, "I have never had that hard of a time getting in." Needless to say that has made for a VERY sore groin the last couple of days.

I did wake up a few times and it probably won't surprise you that I was a little "chatty cathy". At one point I looked over at the doctor and he said "Hi" and I said "Hi" and he said, "would you like to be more sleepy?" and I said, "yes please" and I don't remember much after that. :)

Once they got into my heart it was not exactly what they expected. (is anyone who really knows me surprised by that at all?) I don't actually have a PFO! What I did end up having is a birth defect called an ASD. Here is the textbook explanation of what an ASD is ....

ASD (Atrial Septal Defects) During fetal development, the upper chambers of the heart (atria) divide into right and left sides. In some, the closure is incomplete leaving a "hole in the heart". This hole or defect in the atrial divider (septum) is an Atrial Septal Defect or ASD. Since pressure in the right side of the heart is lower than the left side, blood can flow from the lungs directly through the ASD back to the right heart; re-circulation through the lungs again and again. This abnormal recycling of blood through the lungs is called "shunting". The amount of blood flowing (or shunting) through the lungs may be many times more than the blood flow to the rest of the body. Shunting is an extra blood volume to the right side of the heart which can cause an overload of the heart. This overload can cause enlargement of the heart, abnormal heart rhythm, congestive heart failure, and injury to the arteries of the lungs. Increased pressure in the right side of the heart may reverse the direction of the shunt. Used blood without oxygen may dilute blood with oxygen levels in the body. Since the filtering function of the lungs is bypassed, stroke or brain abscess may occur if clots or bacteria cross the ASD into the left side of the heart.

So instead of having a flab that did not fuse together, I had a hole. Dr. Sorensen told me in my post op that because of the damage it can cause to heart and lungs if your hole is bigger than a size 5 than you should have it closed. My hole was a size 14! He had this exact same thing and his was a size 12. He looked at me and said, "and young lady, you are a lot smaller than me!" Well thank goodness I got that taken care of!

By the time they were taking me back to recovery I had a blinding headache ... WAIT what? Isn't that what I went in there for, to get rid of those! By the time I got back to my room where my mom was waiting I had tears streaming down my face. I couldn't even open my eyes. At last they assured me that that was very normal, this procedure actually gives you a migraine. I later found out that I would probably have them (possibly worse than before) for the next three months. nice! As the device settles and everything adjust along with the blood thinners I am on it is just part of recovery. GREAT! well so my new life will begin in a couple months!

I ended up having to stay the night in the hospital with lots of monitors so they could monitor my heart and an IV. I swallowed what felt like 100 pills while I was there! It wasn't the most fun 24 hours of my life but survived. Pete, Jennie and the kids brought me Rubio's (which I love) along with a candy poster! Love! Cass sent a heart crown for me to wear and my mom was by my side the whole time. I felt very loved. They did another ECHO on my heart and everything looks good. I will go back in a month for more test, again in 3 months, 6 months and a year. We should know at about the 6 month mark if this really has helped with the headaches. It is crazy to think that for 34 years I had that big a hole in my heart and now I have metal device IN my heart! Wow! I am still sore and still working on a headache but feeling better this morning. Thanks again for all your thoughts and prayers. I can't say it enough. I truly am a very lucky girl! My most glamorous moment ... well not so much!
Note to hospitals ... one size does NOT fit all when it comes to the gowns! That things was drowning me!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Oh my heart, my broken heart!

... well, not so much broken as it is defected. Let me explain. A couple of months ago I found out that I have what is called a PFO (Patent Foramen Ovale) which is a birth defect in your heart. In the last several years doctors have started to make a connection between migraines and this particular heart defect. My sister-in-law, Jennie, is a cardiac nurse and is the one that first suggested I get my heart checked in relation to my headaches. (isn't she smart!) We all considered it GREAT news that I did indeed have a PFO. How often are you excited that you have a heart defect? Well I was .. this was finally an answer to a life long battle. After meeting with Dr. Sorensen, a Cardiologist, my PFO was diagnosed as being "severe". We also found that I have an Atrial Septal Aneurysm. After several test, we not only believe that this defect is causing my headaches but I am also considered "high risk" for having a stroke! Well isn't that nice, I REALLY don't want to have a stroke. Dr. Sorensen suggested that I have a PFO closure done, and I agreed! There is no grantee that this will cure my headaches BUT the studies are showing that most people do have a noticeable improvement. When I was having this conversation with the doctor I said to him, "Dr Sorensen, I have a headache more days than I don't, if you could take away even 50% of those it would be a gift! You would change my life."

July 21 seemed oh so far away! Now it is finally here! I can't believe that tomorrow I am going in for what is a fairly simple procedure, when you consider that they are going into my heart. It is same day surgery and they don't even put you all the "out". I should be back to normal activity within a couple of days (minus working out .. no cardio for 30 days! That is the only down side to this whole thing.) ... but with a whole new life if you really think about it. I know I won't be cured over night and I am trying to have realistic expectation BUT it is also pretty overwhelming to think that this really could be it, this could be THE thing that does it, that fixes me. July 21, 2009 really could be the first day of the rest of my life!

For more information about PFO's go to this website

I also need to give a big thanks to John Anderson, another cardiac nurse friend who also suggested I have my heart checked, and kept suggestion it until I actually did it!

So here is to hoping, and praying, and wishing, and dreaming, and a little more hoping!

Where have you BEEN?

Here .... Bermuda
(it was a little windy at the moment)
and here ... San Juan P.R.
and ...
here ... St. Thomas (aw look at that beach!) (sweet tan line huh!)
and a few more places ...
on here, The Caribbean Princess!
Lots more pictures and a recap of my 9 day Caribbean cruise to come! I will tell you ... it was HEAVEN!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Everyday should be like the 4th of July!!!

All preparations were done ... the 4th of July was officially here!
Teams were picked and the competition was ON!
Our theme for the year was "Hawaii Celebrating 50 years!" Did you know that it is Hawaii's 50th year of being a state? We started with a quiz about Hawaii and then on to relay races. Everyone is included ... young and old. We were then given the challenge of creating a "Hawaiian" dance to a specific track of music (each teams music being different). Then we all gathered in Aunt Lorelie's yard to watch the performances. They were great! One of the highlights of the day.
Each team must also pose for a team photo. I was on the orange team.

It wasn't long before it was time for the most anticipated event of day ...
Culd-de-sac of Fire 550 South!
Is there anything better than the sight of all your friends and neighbors coming down the street and gathering! It gave me chills! I grew up in the best neighborhood.
Um ... did the Governor show up to YOUR 4th of July festivities?
Governor Herbert happens to be our neighbor so he and his sweet wife and their family joined us. It was very cool when they came down the street with their sirens on. He gave a very nice little speech. The 'Fire Girls" drill team escorted him in.The Fire Girls 550 South had practiced and were SO ready for our big performance. We marched in the parade, escorted our surprise guest in and did a tribute to MJ dance. It was a great night! Don't we look pro! I don't want to brag .. but our dance was so good (how could it not be .. it was to a medley of MJ songs) We just love to dance, what can I say!
Sister Loveland was crowned Ms Firecracker 550 South. She was the first resident on our street. She was simply lovely. (pleast note her security man. he he)
We had a blimp .. that dropped candy. Awesome!!The 'Bonus Brothers' made a guest appearance. The girls went crazy .. for real they did.

The fireworks were great. Oh how I LOVE fireworks!
The finale ... Carmen Rasmusen! That's right, from American Idol. She finished us off with the national anthem and a sing along of America the Beautiful. (do you love the scouts holding the flags. They led us in the pledge early in the night. Cute!) It was a star filled night. It could not have been more SPECTACULAR! A big thanks to everyone that worked so hard! There is so much that simply cannot be captured in a blog post. I love the 4th of July! I love everything it represents. I love this country.

for more pics and stories from the night see Cass's blog

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Let Freedom Ring!

All week long preparations have been taking place. The air is thick with anticipation! I can hardly stand it I am so excited!
The cul-de-sac has been repainted (with a few additions added) and the scaffolding has been set up. Our dance is ready (done by a professional!) and it is going to be pretty fantastic!Several top secret meetings have taken place. There are going to be some BIG surprises this year! Culd-a -Sac of Fire is going to Awesome!
all pictures borrowed from Cass's blog.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Summer Sleepover at Aunt Sari's

A couple weeks before Delia and Cloe come to town they start calling me asking if they can have a sleepover at my house! So we have started a tradition of the "little girls" coming to my house for a night of treats, crafts, movies and sleeping over.
Cloe, Sari, Clementine, Talulla, Delia
We started the night by making our own little pizzas. The girls got to play on the playground behind my house while I made the dough. (who knew that playground would be such a huge hit!) Then we did a craft. Each girl painted a small terracotta pot. They are going to take them home and plant a flower in them. Then we had ice cream sundaes with EVERYTHING on them!
Now that we were all sugared up we were ready for a fun photo shoot. We took lots of goofy pictures. Ready to settle down we watched a short movie all snuggled up on my bed. At about 11:15 we were finally ready for bedtime.
The girls woke up bright and early ready for a breakfast of Apple Jacks and licorice. A little more time on the playground and then home went.

We had so much fun. I love my girls! Cloe is already asking if we can do that again tomorrow. I think I need a little time to recoup but will definitely be ready for the next time they are in town!