Monthly Archives

January 2011

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Off To Abu

I worked a full week! I figured, if I can travel across the globe and explore, I can work a full week and manage my time and energy. I was tired each day, but not unbearably so. It’s nice getting back to life, feeling alive, feeling normal, as an active member of society, not on the outskirts. Jessaca did call me out on the treadmill this morning though. She recommended a nap. It was pretty hilarious. I’m a little bit loopy. I’ll have plenty of time to catch up on my sleep on the flight. It’s 10.5 hours to Paris. We just have to hang out in Charles de Gaulle airport for a few hours and then it’s an 8.5 hour flight to Abu Dhabi. Instead of the 24 hour layover on the first leg of the trip, it’s going to happen on the way back. Wow. This is so big! We’re done packing. I’ve painted a new coat of toenail polish, pale pink. All we need to do is relax, get a good night of sleep, wake up and drive to Seattle, hug my grandma and catch the 1:30pm flight. I’ll try and post a few times, with photos and stories. If not, don’t worry, I’ll be back on the 10th of February and I’ll let you know we made it back safe. Thanks to everyone for supporting us!! This is going to be quite an adventure! When I get home I have the opportunity to speak to two Rotaries in Wenatchee. I’ll be sharing my story. I’m incredibly excited! It’s going to be quite a project organizing my words, editing (as you probably noticed, I talk a lot), and chronicling the photos. I’m nervous but it’s going to be such an amazing challenge. At least, for now, I’ve…

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Word Of The Week

emir  noun ə-ˈmir, ā-    Definition of EMIR  : a ruler, chief, or commander in Islamic countries   Variants of EMIR emir or amir also ameer ə-ˈmir, ā-   Origin of EMIR Arabic amīr commander First Known Use: 1595 Next Word in the Dictionary: emiratePrevious Word in the Dictionary: E minorAll Words Near: emir

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Tankinis & Tunics

This morning I woke up at 3:23 am with my heart racing. I can’t believe we’re going to Abu Dhabi! We’re starting to pack, and my suitcase is full of my mother’s tankini’s and tunics. No bikini this trip. No tank tops. Just perfectly respectable billowy fabrics. Nothing sexy. Nothing revealing. It’s wild to be headed to a country where Danny and I shouldn’t kiss, or even hold hands in public. I hope I don’t accidentally forget and pat his bum or something. Viewed by the wrong eyes I could probably get in trouble. It’s slightly stressful since I’m such an affectionate person. I’m really excited to see such a contrasting culture. I’m going to learn a lot, I can just feel it. Every time I see something new, something out of my bubble, I learn so much, and grow immensely. I know that after this trip I’ll never be the same. Some trips are like that. It’s practically a field trip, not a vacation. Jess is a little scholar too so I’m sure I’ll be soaking up her knowledge. This is going to be an intense therapy session, and I feel like I’m completely prepared for the challenge! It’s so wonderful to have this opportunity. We will be flying out of the country, exploring Paris for 24 hours, on the nine month anniversary of the second brain surgery. What a miracle! It has been a crazy nine months, and it just keeps getting crazier, and more wonderful every minute. Who would have thought I would get diagnosed with a brain tumor, come back from the brink of death, wade through so many obstacles, challenge myself to no end, and come out stronger and more prepared to tackle my life. I’m less fearful of this tumor than I’ve ever been….

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Abu Dhabi Here We Come!

Jess Protas and I made a pact a few weeks before she moved to Abu Dhabi. We tied hemp cord around our wrists and if, by chance, either person’s bracelet fell off it meant they should go see the other one immediately. I know, I know, we’re like thirteen year olds. Although both bracelets were in tact, Jess flew to be at my side throughout the tumor diagnosis and surgeries. Then, by providence, they cut the bracelet while wheeling me out of surgery prep. It was fated. After the weeks of diagnosis, doctor’s meetings, surgeries, and recovery, a day before she left Seattle, I gave Jess a new bracelet made of silver chain with a petite diamond. It was important to me that I gave her a special gift. She’s my little gem. She, in turn surprised me with an identical one a few weeks later (with a little help from the internet and Danny). Recently, I woke up and felt my wrist, realizing that the bracelet was missing. Instantly, I knew what I had to do. Today, I booked a flight to Abu Dhabi for Danny and I. We had been talking about it for almost two years, and finally, we’re doing it! Next Saturday, we’re heading out. We have a one night lay over in Paris, and then we’re Abu Dhabi bound. I’m a little scared, knowing it’s expensive, and totally frivolous. I know that I’m crazy, spending the money on the flight, but life happens so quickly. Danny and I both love to travel, and right now, since Danny is between jobs, and I have flexibility at work, it’s the perfect time. At first, while contemplating this new adventure, I thought to myself, “You shouldn’t be spending money on anything other than medical expenses.” In fact, I’m…

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I’m Almost 1/3 Fat. Yikes.

I’m pleased to say that Danny’s getting better each day! It wasn’t a severe sickness, just a cold. The poor guy has had such a year. His body just couldn’t quite shake it off. Danny was feeling so good that we hit the gym this afternoon for 2.5 hours. I think it’s a new record for us. While at the naturopath’s office last week, Dr Aschtgen recorded my height, weight, and used a machine to calculate my fat percentage. My body is 28% fat. I feel like that’s an awful lot. A healthy range for a woman my age is 21-29%. I was thrilled to hear that Dr Aschtgen doesn’t believe I need to lose any weight. It’s one less thing to worry about. He was more interested in my body composition. If my weight drops he wants to see the fat percentage drop down too. Although I do a solid amount of cardio, I had been seriously avoiding the weights section. I had been lying to myself, thinking that man push ups were enough. As a person who loves to run, I usually don’t want to tear up my mucsles because then I’m unable to run as much. Oh well. I guess I’m going to have to get over it. I want to lose some body fat, and I’ve heard that the only real way to do that is by adding weights to your workout. Staying healthy, and improving my body and mind have become a full time job. The diet, the workouts, the naps…I can’t imagine people in my position who have children. I honestly can’t even imagine. I’m really lucky to have a flexible work schedule (best bosses in the world), and man who is always up for the gym. I’m still trying to figure out what…

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Organic Chicken Soup

Taking a page out of my friend Sara’s blog book, I’ve changed the design of my blog. I was bored with the black on black. Hope you like it! Last night, I made an organic chicken soup, sans noodles, from scratch. I can’t believe I was unable to chop and cook just a few months ago. I’m so grateful to have progressed so much! What a wonderful gift, to be able to evolve. Danny has a sore throat so I’m taking care of him. It’s nice to reciprocate since Danny’s always taking care of me. Here’s the ingredients:Half of a purple cabbage (chopped)Half of a sweet onion (chopped)Three cloves of garlic (chopped)Two large handfuls of Shiitake mushrooms (chopped)Head of celery, leaves and all (chopped)Two boneless skinless chicken breasts (chopped) First things first, I braised the whole chicken breasts in vegetable broth. While that was cooking, I sauteed the garlic & onion in olive oil, tossing the rest of the chopped veggies into the pan shortly thereafter. I then poured the vegetable broth over the veggies letting the whole thing simmer. When the chicken was done cooking I chopped it up and tossed it into the pot with the veggies, letting it all simmer for a few more minutes. Finally, I seasoned it with a tablespoon of cracked pepper and two teaspoons of habanero powder.  The truth is that you don’t even need noodles. It turned out so good that I’m making it again tonight. I think soup might just be my new thing. All of the ingredients were organic, the meat was free-range hormone free. There was no sugar, and no bad carbs. It was guilt free and delicious. I love it! I’m ever grateful that I have the freedom to do ordinary things, like know how to create a…

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Clean as a Whistle

The MRI was fantastic! There was a new fellow, a week in at the UW, from Portland. He is an IV genius. He killed it in one shot. The actual MRI hurts less and less each time, it’s fantastic! I’ve never minded the contrast dye, which some people have a hard time with. I’m grateful for that. The scans were really cool. My brain is shifting and filling the void, which is really exciting. It was kind of creepy to see the first post surgery scan where a tennis ball area of brain was missing. There’s still a pretty good amount of inflammation, and irritation from the surgeries, but that’s to be expected. It’s getting better each scan, which is relieving. I have another MRI in April and if it’s clean the doctor’s going to see if he can push out the following MRI. That way I won’t have to stress before our wedding. I thought that was thoughtful, it was their idea. Love those guys, especially Sarah, Rockhill’s nurse. I feel so excited, so happy. I keep referring back to the last MRI, I was so scared, petrified even. It took me a week or two to live my life again. Now, I’m more logical, more calm, and hopeful. I can feel my mind making sense of things. Even in three months I have an upgraded mind. I left the U District thinking, “You know what, just maybe, I WILL beat this!”

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Paleolithic Jess

Long day, but it was wonderful. The meeting with the naturopath went extremely well! We received great reinforcement with our diet, and some fine tuning to make it even better. Here’s some main points: Eliminate:All processed foods – nothing in a box, nothing in a can, nothing in a package All processed sugars (keep the fruits minimal, a serving of blueberries in the morning or something like that) No dairy Continue:All organic, free range and hormone free foods (from the coffee beans to the main courses – everything) Eat lots of veggies from the allium, cruciferous and brassicacea family on a daily basis. Get a water filter for the facet. Drink obscene amounts of filtered water (64-96oz). Drink matcha 2-3 times a day. Basically, he referred to it as a Paleolithic diet. It’s what humans used to eat before we started harvesting crops. Hence, the avoidance of grains, and sugar. The diet is mostly veggies, nuts and small amounts of meats (cold water fish, white meats, and small amounts of red meats). It’s very heavy on the veggies. After the appointment, at the request of the ND, I fasted for several hours and went to get a bunch of blood work done. I was actually supposed to do it tomorrow morning before the MRI, but I was worried that it would be too many needles in too short a period of time. Anyway, it turned out no big deal getting my blood drawn. The sweet woman (also named Jessica), called me a “hummingbird” because my veins are so small. She had a few tricks up her sleeve and magically hit my vein on the first try. It made me feel pretty excited about tomorrow’s prick. Maybe it’ll be the same. Speech therapy went off without a hitch. She printed up…

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Off To Seattle

This morning, I woke up, showered and finished packing for Seattle. I had heard the snowplow outside as I was waking, but I forgot to take a peak until I hopped on the computer, and drew the curtains just now. We have about 8 inches, and it’s still heavily snowing. I’m so bummed we’re leaving!! For the past month, I’ve been itching to make a snow angel, but there hadn’t been enough snow. Here’s a photo I just took of my little Buddha. My dad bought it for me in 2006 after a few weeks of hard work down in Tucson, AZ (we were doing the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show as we had for the past decade). He had watched me fall in love with it, hard not to with a face like that – he’s so soothing. It was hand carved out of stone, somewhere in Asia (I can’t remember where). It was a big deal that my dad snuck away and bought it for me, it was against everything in his Christian gut. So, I just checked the mountain passes, and they’re pretty messy. Wish us luck, we’re heading over to the west side this afternoon after work. We’ll just take it slow and easy. I guess the more you drive in extreme conditions, the better you get at it. I’ll chalk this trip up as more experience. Here’s the photos from the pass cameras… We usually head over Stevens, but it’s snowing like crazy and they’re doing avalanche control which would cause some undesirable delays. Maybe we’ll take Blewett & Snoqualmie instead. Snoqualmie is a mess though, they’re requiring chains on all vehicles unless you have four wheel drive, which we do, but Danny’s tires are pretty bad in the snow. We need to get studded…

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First Naturopath Appointment

Sorry I’ve been sporadic with my posts lately. I tend to be all over the map with emotions just before an MRI. I have to admit, during the post-less days, there was some crying. Ok, ok, it was more like sobbing. Thankfully, our friends and family rallied around us. Usually, Danny and I are fine. We’ve got a wonderful life, we laugh all day and night, and we know that we’re lucky. I just love him so much, and I never want to leave him. The idea of this tumor can be a bit overwhelming. On a daily basis, I don’t think about long term, or worst case scenario, there’s just no point borrowing trouble. But sometimes, when an MRI comes near, I have to start looking at the reality. The reality is that I have a malignant brain tumor. When I get the results of the scan, if the tumor has grown, I have to make the decision about radiation. The doctors have said that radiation won’t extend my life, however, it should put off the symptoms of the tumor. I’m still on the fence. For the first time, I’m confident that my brain will show a clean scan. I hope I’m not jinxing myself, but I feel great. My mental processing is bouncing back. I still get pretty bad headaches, but sometimes, in the area where the tumor was resected, deep in what I imagine is the void, I feel a soft tingling, almost like a gentle tickle. I take it as a good sign. I’m healing…I can feel it! Of course, if that feeling is actually the tumor growing it’s the most gracious little tumor in the world, quiet, and stubborn, and gentle. Either way I’m feeling a sense of hope, still nervous, but full of hope….

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