04.02.2017

YouTube Video Response

So awhile back I decided to film myself telling my heart attack story. I had originally started a YouTube channel, but realized YouTube was just not my thang. I’d much prefer writing to talking. That may come as a shock to those who know me, but I’ll take behind a laptop over being in front of a camera any day. But enough about that. If you haven’t seen the video, here she is.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned about the responses and comments from the video.

  • There are tons of people out there struggling with heart disease. I constantly meet, email and talk to survivors from all over the world. It’s insane how many people are living with this everyday. I’ve met people in their 20s and 30s who had seemingly healthy lives and within seconds their lives changed dramatically. But friends, there are SO MANY out there.
  • We’ve lost too many people to heart disease. My heart breaks every time someone says they lost a parent/child/partner/friend to heart disease or stroke. We’ve got to do better at funding and educating.
  • There are some rude people out there that think they are doctors. My favorites are the ones that think because I’m a little chunky that I was leading an unhealthy lifestyle and that’s why I had a heart attack. Truth is I weigh more now after the heart attack due to my energy level. At the time I was training for a marathon and in decent shape. Boom.
  • They want me to tell them if they are having a heart attack. Guys, I’m not a doctor nor will I ever claim to be one. If you’re having chest pains, get to the ER. Better safe than sorry. I leave it to the professionals.

I hope someday people will not generalize heart disease and have the visual of an old, white man who is overweight and smokes 3 packs a day, because the face of heart disease is changing. So I will continue to share my story and I urge you to share yours too.

03.05.2017

Losing A Loved One

Losing a loved one

For those of you who have lost a loved one you were very close to, my heart goes out to you this week. You see, I have been very fortunate in that I’ve never lost someone who owned a piece of my soul. I’ve lost family members who I’ve had strained relationships with or classmates that were acquaintances and those were sad, lost times, but recently I lost a piece of me. I lost my grandmother.

My grandmother, Ethel, was what I call my kindred spirit. She was the only other person in the family who was blonde haired and blue eyed, and we both burned in the sun. She was sassy, opinionated and incredibly strong. When I was younger I idolized her, going as far as to get a perm (actually it took 2) so I would look like her and Shirley Temple (who we watched together).

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But enough about what a great idea that was. The point is she was the light of my life. She helped me raise money so I could go to Japan as an exchange student, made sure I was never without and was pretty much the best grandmother on the face of the earth. She was hilarious as well. Her best friend’s name was Hazel and everyone nicknamed them Thelma and Louise because their adventures were the best. You could say she had personality.

So this week I am taking some time to remember and decompress. The huge, massive sobs I heaved this week were some of the biggest of my life. Here’s to grandmothers that make our lives fulfilled and special. Goodbye Gram.

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02.21.2017

Tips For Surviving Days Off From Work

I know what you’re thinking-I can definitely survive a little time off. Mama has GOT THIS. That’s what I thought. In the past 15 years of my adult working life, I’ve rarely had time off and to myself. I’ve either been working, tutoring, getting a degree, or had a to-do list that was so insanely long, it felt like I was at work. Not this week.

Friday I had my gallbladder removed and it’s 4 days later. I’m starting to get a little stir crazy. So I’d like to offer some tips for those of you who are busy bees like me and find yourself in a similar predicament.

1. Don’t feel guilty.
Easier said than done. Many of us (especially care taker women) feel guilty if there is a lull in our busy lives. We spend so much time taking care of others that when it’s time to stop and take care of ourselves, we get anxious. It has been hard for me to let my wife take the lead this week. She has cooked, cleaned, walked the dogs and I am forever thankful.

2. Give yourself some structure.
Even though I’m home, I’ve still been using my Erin Condren planner. I’ve listed a couple things each day that I wanted to accomplish. Be specific-today I want to read 3 chapters in my current book and write one blog post. This helps me feel productive but not stressed out. Pick small tasks that can easily be accomplished.

3. Allow yourself to sleep.
Wait, are you suggesting more than 8 hours? I sure am. If you’re tired, close your eyes. Your body is telling you something. It’s probably telling you that you are sleep deprived and trying to recover, so let your body do its thang.

4. Find a cuddle buddy.
Thank goodness for fur babies. My 2 dogs and cat have been keeping me company this week, and they are good snugglers. I can tell they love having me home for a change. No pet? Get a comfy pillow, blanket or old sweater. We all need some comfort in our lives.

5. Shower.
No seriously, get up and shower (if you’re able to). Take it slow and stay within doctor’s orders. This has helped me maintain a sense of normalcy this week and also helped me feel less disgusting. New pajamas, face mask and pillow case help too. Don’t be the stinky girl. Think of the dog.

6. Explore something that interests you.
Instead of falling into the black hole that is the Internet, research something that has been on your mind. Maybe it’s a dream bathroom reno or a trip to Paris. Whatever it is, Pinterest the crap out of it and live vicariously. It will give you something to look forward to.

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02.18.2017

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02.18.2017

Presidents Day Sales Recap

As I lay here recovering, I am scouring the internet and finding some ah-mazing Presidents Day deals.

But first, I want to make sure you’re using the 2 best deal finders on the internet-Ebates and Honey.

Ebates.com is a way to not only get coupon codes but cash back on your purchases. So far I’ve gotten back $156 since my last cashout which goes straight to your paypal. All you have to do is click on the store you’re shopping though their website. Super easy.

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Honey is a toolbar installation that automatically searches coupon codes for you, plus has a rewards program on top of that. So when you’re ready to check out, the Honey pop up will appear and search all the coupon codes on the internet.

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Now on to the sales! Here are my top choices for this weekend and what I snagged….

  1. ASOS: 20% off with PREZ20, 2.5% back on Ebates
    I find the bestest stuff on ASOS. Their clothes are on trend, but there are also tons of options for oldies like me. Since I’m going on my honeymoon in a month, I was looking for a couple of dresses for dinner and scored big time. These two dresses have amazing prices and a variety of sizes. Sold. Also, yes I realize they are basically the same dress. I like pink. I should also mention I snagged a pair of pink ballet flats. Total for 2 dresses and 1 pair of shoes? $59.85.
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2. Target: 25% off with code STYLE, 1% back on Ebates, 5% off with Target RedCard
Come on people, it’s TARGET. If you don’t have an addiction like 99% of the population, I’d be shocked. Since we will be walking a lot, I was dying for some easy to wear, slip on shoes. Found ’em. And they are pink. Winning. Total spent: $18.96.

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3. Forever 21: Extra 50% off sale items with promo code EXTRA50; 2% back with Ebates
Truly, I feel like I hit the mother load at Forever 21. Go ahead and say it, I’m not 21, but there are some solid options on here for cute night tops and accessories. Plus, I wanted a decent trench coat for our honeymoon in London but didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg because I live in a warm client and there is no need to invest in a London Fog or Kate Spade right now. I tend to go towards the Plus Size for tops since their 0x is generally an XL. I also wanted a simple but chic cross body for daily sightseeing. Check. Out. These. Deals. Another 50% off with the promo code! Total spent: $67.90.

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I’d say this was a successful binge. For 1 purse, 1 coat, 2 pairs of shoes, 2 dresses, 1 necklace and 2 tops I paid a total of $146.61. What did you snag this holiday weekend?

 

02.18.2017

Goodbye Gallbladder

We’ll name him Geoffrey for the sake of story telling.

About 4 months ago I started experiencing some, *ahem* intestinal distress. Nothing tasted good, nothing stayed in my stomach at all. I had some side pain after I ate but nothing to write home about. So I suffered the first month to see if it was just from the stress I was experiencing at the time. When it carried into the holiday season I started to get concerned and went to my primary doc. He referred me to a GI doc who sent me for a hidascan and ultrasound. Surprise, Geoffrey stopped working. They recommended it be removed and referred me to a surgeon. Seems simple right?

If you’ve ever been through a major medical event in your life, like a heart attack, nothing medical is ever simple anymore. I spent a month back and forth between the surgeon and my cardiologist, trying to get cleared for surgery. I went to the office, had to do a stress test and was reminded over and over again by anyone coming in contact with me for the first time, “you’re too young for heart problems.” Insert half smile here.

After the heart attack in 2012 I had pretty severe PTSD. The scent of rubbing alcohol, getting blood drawn out or even the sight of white sheets made me nauseous and sweaty. I could barely drive past the hospital without breathing funny. So when I was told I had to have Geoffrey out, this sent me into a frenzy. All of my medical history poured back onto forms and computers and I had to retell the story again and again.

I often wonder if anyone else had such severe anxiety after something like a heart attack or other emergency hospital stays. Although it has gotten better through the years, all it took was day surgery and having my gall bladder out to make me relive the trauma. So this weekend, I am taking time for me, participating in a little retail therapy and giving myself a little credit. I’ve been through worse.

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02.01.2017

Letter to 2016

Dear strange, glorious, terrifying 2016,

2016 was a rollercoaster of emotions. I’ve never cried or laughed so much in my life. I shook with pain, literally rolled on the floor laughing, and heaved sobs that shook the walls. I changed jobs, changed minds, changed marital status. I transformed 15 times. I loved then loved harder. I was paranoid, anxious and depressed. The world seemed lovely, then lonely, then loving, then foreign.

As 2016 rose over the horizon, I was in full wedding planning mode. Colors, dresses, flowers, cupcakes…I was in deep. Although I had a to-do list that never shortened, I was comforted by the fact that 2016 was my year. I was marrying my beautiful fiancé, we had 2 dogs and a cat that completed our home, and the possibilities seemed limitless. Friends started discussing their travel plans for our wedding and details fell together. I met Levar Burton, a lifelong hero and he re-tweeted me. Swoon.

The spring moved at the speed of a flip book. Scene after scene of my future wife and I picking out table linens on the weekends while dealing with work stress. There was much to look forward to.

June. The beginning of beautiful summer. 49 lives are lost at Pulse, just 3 miles from us. Victims’ faces plastered all over the news, on telephone poles, on billboards. I wept in bed for days, both thankful that no close friends’ faces appeared, and also mourning our fallen brothers and sisters. I obsessively read their life stories online. #OrlandoStrong appeared everywhere and suddenly a town that had previously been uninviting at times became welcoming and splashed with rainbow flags. Vendors who previously never replied to our emails became friendlier than need be.

I began a new job. So did L. We moved apartments.

We married in October. My father and grandmother didn’t acknowledge the invite and didn’t call. In spite of their negativity, we had the most magical day of my life. We danced, we drank, we loved. Oh, did we have love. We were surrounded by a bubble of warm, genuine, comforting love.

Cue election time. I am sitting in a friend’s living room with my electoral college map, wearing my HRC shirt, counting and coloring. Little by little the glow fades from the room and the reality sets in. My now wife, born in a refugee camp in the Philippines, holds my hand and I feel it in my toes. I shove the map in my purse and we ride home in disbelief. I stay up all night watching the terror unfold.

December is a heavy load. It’s hard to breathe.

2017 unfolds quickly and we are on another ride.

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