Tag Archives: FAIL

Wine & Dine 1/2 Marathon and the health nightmare that followed…

5 Dec

It is no secret that for months now I have been preparing for my very first half marathon – the runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon to be exact. I have logged the miles, improved my time and pace, practiced hydration and fueling along the course and read every advice blog and article I could get my hands on about what to do get ready for your first half. I felt ready. I had a game plan and as long as I stuck to it, I would be golden…however, best laid plans have a way of changing as I would ultimately find out. This post is the comprehensive account of my experience, from the best of times to the worst of times….

Let’s start at the beginning shall we….I left for vacation at Walt Disney World on Thursday, November 6th. The plan was simple, enjoy catching up with my Disney sister/runDisney addict, Monique, that evening at Downtown Disney until Scott got off work and would meet me at the resort, while also waiting to hear that another Disney sister, Catherine, had safely landed in Orlando and was in route to Disney. For the most part, this night was perfect, although the bus did seem to take forever, but maybe I was just anxious to be back at the most magical place on earth and see the people I had been missing terribly!

Friday, November 7th, consisted of getting to the race expo early to pick up my packet and scope out the merchandise! I’d had my heart set on buying the runDisney New Balance Cinderella shoes, however, I decided that I’d probably never wear them for fear they would get dirty, so when a maroon warm-up jacket in my size happened to catch my eye, it was fate – we sure did belong together. At least that’s what I told myself the entire time I was waiting in the super long check-out line (you would have thought I was waiting to ride Toy Story Mania or something by the wait time!) I also purchased one of those Mickey head car magnets that says 13.1 – but let’s face it, that thing will never see my car, it’s currently living on my dry erase board. As for the expo itself, I wasn’t overly impressed, although I was mighty glad they had printers because I discovered moments after getting to ESPN that I had left my race waver in my resort room. The entire time I’m at the expo, Catherine and I are playing phone tag, we never did meet up. 😦

 

After the expo, I went to visit Scott at work at Animal Kingdom, stayed there for a few hours and then went to Hollywood Studios where we enjoyed the first night of The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights after he got off work.

Saturday, November 8th – Race Day. Game plan was to take it nice and easy – so we slept in, hung out at the hotel until late morning and finally made our way to Hollywood Studios. Disclaimer – there is no such thing as an “easy” Disney Day for me, while we mostly only watched the shows and rode the Great Movie Ride, by the time we made it back to the resort at 4:30 PM, we had already walked 6.5 miles. Don’t ask me how, I’m still trying to figure that one out. I knew I needed to start getting ready for the race around 6 – 6:30 PM and that Monique would be coming over around that time as well, so I took advantage of the downtime and took a nap! What I have failed to tell you about yet is the massive rainstorm scheduled to hit at the start of the race…. Bless Monique’s heart for running to the store to buy us ponchos in a pouch – we could carry them until we needed them at least. I was also extremely thankful to the kind stranger on the bus to the starting line who shared his box of zip-lock plastic bags with us. According to him “the fastest way to make friends with runners is to have a box of plastic bags for cell phones and the fastest way to make friends with strangers in the airport is to have an extension cord.” He had a great attitude, I think we would have been good friends!

weather map rain

 

Our costumes this time around were a mash-up of Disney Princess meets The Hunger Games. Check out our pictures!

While Monique and I were getting ready, Scott was creating this! I love him so much!

race spectator poster

And here’s Catherine and runner Peter Pan! Monique and I were FINALLY able to meet up with her, and her sister Alison at the starting line “party”. We were so cool we danced sitting down! (It’s a joke, seemed funnier late at night – just don’t ask!)

 

And the rain came down before the race ever started… standing in corral I, I pulled out my poncho. We were about 40 minutes to the start and I was FREAKING OUT! Luckily, there were some very great people around me who offered advice and suggestions and all around encouragement. I love the runDisney family, doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or Olympic Gold medalist, we support and cheer everyone equally. My group took off around 10:20 PM and then it was 3.5 hours of running in the pouring rain.

Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2014 course map

I ended up doing the majority of the race blind because by the time I had reached the 3 mile marker I had wiped my glasses off no less than 200 times – in that moment I took off my glasses and fully relied on my other senses to carry me through. Well and the other runners. Luckily at this point I had found a group of people who were just my speed and I was bound and determined to stick with them. I trusted them – if the group veered left or right and then back to the center on a straightaway, that began to mean large puddle on the opposite side of the road. By miles 6 and 7 I was hurting bad. I had blisters, large ones and as luck would have it a few had broken open. But I was only to the half way point – I had to keep going. I was thankful for the rain – no one could actually tell I was crying.

Mile 8 and we were getting ready to enter Hollywood Studios and I was running low on belief in myself and the will to press forward. And that’s when I picked my “running buddy” for the remainder of the course – the blob (remember I can’t see anything clear farther than the length of my own arm!) in the bright green shirt with the long dark hair. You didn’t know you were chosen obviously, because I was always behind you, but when you ran, so did I, and when you walked I thanked the Heavens above. We were playing a game, you and I, and it was called “Catch me if you can, but don’t you dare fall even farther behind”.

I had convinced myself it wasn’t far to the The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights (oh you know, just another short 2 miles!!!!) and once I was there, I couldn’t even enjoy them, not really. I tried to take a few photos, made difficult because I was out of energy, shaking and it was STILL pouring. On the bright side, bright green blob must have been enjoying the lights because we walked this whole time.

 

By the time we left Hollywood Studios, we were saying hello and goodbye to mile marker 11 – we were heading to Epcot and the finish line energy was palpable. Bright green blob was feeling it too, we moved a bit quicker where we could, but the path narrowed and got pretty slippery. I think now is a great time to publicly thank all the volunteers and spectators along the route – you have no idea how much your cheers of encouragement meant to me. When I needed a pick me up, someone was always there with a “you’ve got this!”, “keep going you’re almost there!”, or a “yeah runners! we’re proud of you!”

When we made it to the bridge at The Boardwalk, there were two cyclists waiting off to the side – I thought for sure I was about to get swept (not be allowed to finish for all of you non-runners out there), but they let our little group pass on by. Still my heart had lodged itself in my throat and somehow my stomach had found a new home at my knees. And when I finally entered Epcot something inside me broke loose – all the fear, all the pain, all the excitement, and the knowledge it was almost over was so overwhelming I cried. I high-fived strangers. I smiled when I wanted to grimace. I put one foot in front of the other and kept moving forward toward my goal. I have a quote by an unknown author that has been hanging in my room for the last few weeks of my training and I thought of it just then – “On the last mile when your legs are tired and your lungs are burning, GET ANGRY. GET ANGRY for being tired, then RUN FASTER.”  At that point I couldn’t feel my legs, my fingers, my nose – I didn’t know if the ground was still solid below me or not, but I knew I was half a dozen turns away from the finish line.

And then, like a beacon in a dark night, there it was – lit up and welcoming. I sprinted with every ounce of energy I had left in me, afraid that if I didn’t, in that moment I would collapse and never make it across. I know there were hundreds of people screaming, but I heard nothing but my beating heart, saw nothing but the finish line clock – I would finish under my time goal at 3 hours and 27 minutes and just before 2 AM.

And then that medal was around my neck and all I could think was “you did it and you are still standing!”

Wine and Dine 2014 finisher

Although it was still raining, I pulled out my cell phone and let everyone know I had made it – I had finished. Then I was focused on finding Monique and Catherine and leaving. I was so sore and cold and miserable I didn’t even want to stay for the party. Catherine finished before I did and had already left. Monique was waiting for me at the entrance to Epcot – sadly she had been swept at mile 8. Like so many others, Monique and I did the broken-runner shuffle to where the buses were waiting to take us all to our resorts for showers and warm beds. When Monique and I got back to the room, we discovered Scott had set out towels and bananas for us! He’s so thoughtful!

I don’t know how long I slept the next day – it was a very restless sleep. Everything on me ached – my feet from the blisters, my back from hunching over in the wind and rain, my head with a splitting migraine for not wearing my glasses for so long – I felt like I was falling apart, but I had earned that medal and I was going to show it off in the parks! I moved very slowly the remainder of my vacation, but I didn’t let that dampen my spirits or stop me from enjoying myself – all day Scott asked me if I wanted a wheelchair. I refused – there was no way I was going to ride around all day with my hard-earned medal. Monday night we did Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Tuesday I had a meeting to go to and had to shove my injured feet into high heels, and Wednesday I flew home.

I was still in a lot of pain and by Friday afternoon at work (November 14th), my feet were red, swollen and extremely painful to walk/stand on. After a trip to the local urgent care center, I was diagnosed with Cellulitis in both feet from the broken blisters I got during the race. I was given a 10 day, take twice a day prescription for Bactrim, told to drink plenty of fluids and keep my feet elevated above my heart for the next few days – and if the swelling didn’t go down or the pain stop, head to the Emergency Room.

So for the next two days I could be found with my feet up, watching Hallmark movies, drinking lots of fluids and taking my medicine once in the morning and once at night. It seemed to work – the redness started to fade, the swelling went down, I rediscovered my ankles! By the time Monday rolled around I was feeling better and seemed to be on the mend. By Thursday, however, my energy levels had dropped. I wasn’t sleeping even though I had started going to bed by 6:45 PM – and when I did manage to catch a few hours, I had terrible nightmares. And on top of it all, I had a migraine like you wouldn’t believe – and nothing soothed it.

Monday, November  24th – After a night of being unable to get comfortable and having less than two hours of sleep, my alarm went off at 5:30 AM for work. When I turned on the light, I noticed I had the beginnings of a red, itchy rash running down both arms – and since I work at a hospital and knew they’d probably send me home for fear it was something contagious, I took two Benadryl, called out sick and tried to go back to bed.

Tired of tossing and turning by 8:30 AM, I got up and made my way downstairs. At 9:00 AM I took my last dose of the Bactrim and fell asleep watching a movie. I woke at 11:00 AM in terrible pain – the Benadryl had worn off, thank goodness it was time for another. While I was sleeping, the rash had spread quickly to my chest, back and legs. It was harder to breathe (not like an asthma attack where you feel like you are trying to breathe air through a clogged straw, more like trying to expand your lungs while a sumo wrestler is standing on them – it took a lot of energy to inhale and exhale shallowly).

It was about this time my dad text me to see how I was feeling. I told him about the difficulty breathing and the red itchy rash spreading. And he responded with what I already knew was coming – “call Papa and see if he can bring you into the ER. Also tell me the name of that medicine you’ve been taking for your feet.”

I relayed the information and made the call. Then I sent my dad this photo:

Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis Disease

And then his instructions changed – “Call the ambulance. Tell them you are having a severe allergic reaction to a medication.” But I already knew this – I don’t remember much from my first go-round with Stevens Johnson Syndrome, but this was how it started and this I remember quite well.

Oddly enough, my sister Megan’s boyfriend, Austin, was the EMT who answered the call. When he walked in the door, I think I scared him – I wasn’t doing well at that point – red, swollen and breathing hard. I watched him take a deep breath and go to work. Papa was here as well helping to keep me calm. When two other EMTs arrived from the next township (need more than one person to transport) we all loaded into the ambulance, Papa following behind, and headed for the Emergency Room at the hospital where both I and my dad work. There was nothing they could really do for me in the ambulance other than give me pure oxygen to help ease my breathing (I wasn’t wheezing, so I didn’t need a breathing treatment) and give me ice packs to put on the rash to help ease the urge to itch. They monitored my blood pressure.

My dad met me in the ER and mom was there not long after. By now it’s 12:30 PM and I am in such intense pain, the rash is still spreading and becoming a deeper red. I am exhausted. In a word, I was miserable. I felt bad for the nurse who had to put in my IV, but luckily she found a spot on the inside of my arm where there weren’t a lot of blisters, and she had this cool black light type tool that helped her to find a good vein on the first try. And then I felt bad for yet another nurse who had to put the sticky EKG pads on my already irritated skin.

Emergency Room

Finally after an IV, blood draw, two bags of saline fluid, a shot of pain reliever and 6 long hours of trying to explain to the ER doctor that this is how my first reaction of Stevens Johnson Syndrome started and that I needed to be seen by a specialist at a burn center, I was discharged and feeling a tiny bit better. My parents and I were then on our way to hospital number two so I could be seen by a burn specialist. At one point during my stay in the ER they were discussing admitting me, but that was vetoed because they didn’t feel there was anything else they could do for me there, so then the discussion switched to which hospital I’d like to be transferred to – the hospital with the burn center was not one of the choices at that time. I’m glad we decided to just drive there ourselves – I was STARVING at this point (I hadn’t eaten since 8:30 AM and we were now pushing 7:00 PM!!), so thankfully we grabbed some food on our way!

It has been 10 years and 2.5 months since my first visit to this burn center. I wasn’t scared or nervous – I knew what the treatment would be if in fact this was Stevens Johnson Syndrome and if it progressed. I just wanted to know what this was and how I could relieve the pain long enough to get a few hours of sleep. There was a nurse waiting for me when we arrived. She led us over to one of the Outpatient Rooms, had me change into my second hospital gown of the day and asked me the same set of embarrassing questions I was asked earlier. I was informed the specialist wanted to see me himself to determine what I had, but he was in a surgery and his resident was attending to a trauma in the ER and she wasn’t sure when either of them would be up.

Outpatient burn center

About 15 minutes later, the resident walks in and while looking at my chart says “hello, my name is Dr. Burn, but you can call me Nick.” The irony of his last name was not lost on my mom or I, we exchanged a suppressed giggled glance. Oddly enough, he could have been EMT Austin’s twin. Then he looked up and I had the privilege of shocking him. Here’s why – this burn center is located within a CHILDREN’S hospital, and seated before him was me – a fully grown, 26-year-old female. THIS WONT BE AWKWARD AT ALL – HE’S MY AGE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! (sarcasm) Dr. Nick checks me over, asks questions, writes some stuff down and let’s us know he’s going to go talk to his supervisor and they’d be back.

Another 10 minutes or so and Dr. Nick and the specialist return. Again I am examined from heat to toe and everywhere in between. Thank goodness the sweet nurse I met at my arrival has been there the whole time – she makes it less awkward. The diagnoses – Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN) Disease – another form of Stevens Johnson Syndrome, but on a lesser scale. Just as before – there is no treatment, no magical cure, it just has to run its course – however long that may be, no one could say for sure as everyone reacts differently. Because I did not have any blisters or open skin wounds, I was fortunate to go home and not be admitted to the burn unit this time around. I was given a medical release slip from work for 10 days as stress could cause my reaction to worsen. I was told to take Benadryl and Tylenol for the pain and if after a few days that didn’t help, I was given a script for another pain reliever. However, this was passed along with a caution – it is not known what introducing a new drug to my system during a reaction would do, it may help, it may cause things to get worse. I made up my mind right there I wasn’t going to be filling that script. My only job for the next two weeks was to drink lots of fluids to help flush the toxins from my body and to rest.

After a few days I was finally able to get some much-needed sleep. The redness faded and the spots began to go away as well. The migraine came and went. The itching and the aching pain in my muscles and joins held on longer. Slowly even the bruise from my IV began to heal.

IV bruise

Everyone thinks having two weeks at home on the couch sounds like a wonderful thing – however, once you begin to start feeling like yourself again, you start to go a little stir crazy wishing you could leave. I am looking forward to going back to work on Tuesday (December 9th) – I miss my normal routine, I miss feeling productive, I miss my work friends and I’m ready to put all of this behind me. And with two weeks off work I know there will be a mountain of projects each demanding my attention that will carry me through the end of December.

Needless to say, this was not the experience I had been dreaming about for my first half marathon. And I honestly feel like that moment was stolen from me due to the rain. At this moment in time I don’t know if I’d sign up to do another half marathon, certainly nothing longer, but then again, I’m dying to run through Magic Kingdom (it’s the only park I haven’t run through yet) and I really don’t want this to be the only half marathon experience I have to reflect back on. So with that being said, I’ve got some time to think about it, to weigh the pros and cons, and probably be convinced by my Disney sister that next time will be better – and IF I decide to run again, I’m looking at you, runDisney Princess Half Marathon 2016.

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T minus 30 days….

6 Oct

At this exact time in 30 (short) long days, I will have been in Florida for just about 5 hours! Now, if you’ve been following my blog for sometime now, you’ll know my love of all things Disney, and more recently, my love of all things runDisney and racing. And this trip is extra special, I will be participating in my very first half marathon – Wine and Dine 2014! Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be preparing to run 13.1 miles FOR FUN.

Like all of my previous runDisney races, I’ll be running with my Disney sister, Monique – who got me hooked on this expensive, but thrilling, hobby….

 

This time, we even convinced another Disney sister, Catherine, and her sister, Alison, to join us! I can’t wait for our Disney CP roomie reunion!

Catherine and I on "It's a Small World" - we were celebrating her birthday!

Catherine and I on “It’s a Small World” – we were celebrating her birthday!

I have been training for this race since April, and some days I’ve discovered are harder than others, physically and mentally. I’ve learned a lot about myself – running it turns out helps me process life and problems and issues and just lets me clear my head. Yes, I listen to music as I’m running/walking/crawling (okay, I’m joking, but some days it feels like that’s what I’ll have to do to get back home!), but honestly, 9 times out of 10 I don’t even know what song is playing. I’m much too busy watching for loose stones and rocks and pot holes and cars – I’m a county road runner, we don’t have sidewalks. And I’m an asthmatic, which means a good portion of my brain is focused on breathing and picturing my “happy place” – sandy white beach, soft waves at sunset, when I feel my lungs start to tighten. I’ve taught myself to visualize wide open spaces, my lungs filling with fresh air – it calms me down (when you can’t breathe, it’s VERY stressful) and helps me refocus at the task at hand – placing one foot in front of the other.

When I began my training, a 5K was difficult. The last long distance run I had done was the 2013 Tower of Terror 10 miler in October. Now, I live in the northern part of the U.S. and winters here are harsh, especially this past one, so needless to say, I was back in terrible shape. I was frustrated. I KNEW my body was capable of running a distance of 10 miles, but I could barely go three. I told myself it didn’t matter if I was the last one to cross the finish line, or if I had to crawl across it, one way or another, I was going to prove to myself and every naysayer I’d ever met, that I could do it. I decided then to set a goal – I was going to run my first 13.1 training run on my 26th birthday (September 14th) – I had 5 months of hard work ahead of me.

My mom began walking with me – my little sister encouraged me to keep going – my Disney sisters and I checked in on each other’s progress, but best of all, I downloaded RunKeeper and set it to post to my social media as a way to keep myself accountable. I wanted needed my friends and family to keep me on track, if I didn’t train for a few days, there was someone there to remind me I was slacking, or to encourage me when I felt I’d hit a wall, or experienced runner friends to offer tips and tricks that may help.

All of that hard work was put to the test the morning of my birthday – a Sunday. I had never been more nervous for a run, but the weather was the perfect temp, the sky was clear and not one dog barked or chased me during my run. And guess what, I DID IT! I went farther than I needed to in under the time I was aiming for. I was OVER THE MOON. I had done it. I finished. I survived. I exceeded my own expectations and I loved how comfortable I felt in my own skin for the first time in a very long time. I was proud of what my body had just accomplished.

IMG_1432

Yesterday, I had planned to do another 13.1 training run. It didn’t go according to plan. For one thing, I think we’ve seen the last of our warm days, and the cooler air set in quickly. When I left for my run, it was a balmy 38 degrees Fahrenheit. I was comfortably dressed in a running tank top, over shirt, wind jacket, Under Armor pants and a running skirt. I was even rocking my brand new running shoes – they were a birthday gift from my parents!

running shoes_september 2014

The cooler temps and the strong wind took its toll on my lungs and my knee. I couldn’t finish all 13 miles, I had to stop at 11. I felt defeated. my lungs were on fire, my knee wanted to buckle under me (I’ve had four knee surgeries, any slight change in air pressure causes pain.) and I had some nice blisters forming on my feet. I returned home after 2 hours and 45 minutes. While I am glad I listened to my body when it demanded I stop (there’s no way I’m risking an injury this close to the race), I started to panic that I wouldn’t be able to finish – enter my FANTASTIC support system. Someone pointed out I STILL have a month, and that’s I’m miles ahead of many people who will show up in November, another friend pointed out that my pacing was right on track from my birthday training run – had I been able to keep going, I would have finished at roughly the same time, and a third friend pointed out the weather conditions will be just a little more favorable for racing (warm air for my crumby lungs!!) and last but not least, I was reminded of how far I’ve come in such a short time, and that as long as I have fun, why worry!

So I had one bad run, but really, it was a success – I went 11 miles. It was 47 degrees when I returned home. My muscles have relaxed and I’m not in pain. Still worried about those blisters, though.

I am ready for Wine and Dine. I am ready to wear that medal with pride. I am ready to runDisney.

You will never lose your value

27 Feb

It happens to the best of us. That little nagging voice in the back of your head that whispers “you’ll never amount to anything,” “you’re such a failure,” “who would ever love you,” “just give up already, you weren’t meant to reach your dreams.”

That voice that sounds like my voice, but isn’t. That voice which remembers every failure and every mistake and every disappointment and lives to remind you of those times over and over and over again.

Most of the time I have no trouble tuning that awful voice out. I know what it’s telling me isn’t true. I know my life has a greater purpose that I haven’t discovered yet. I know I’m not worthless, but sometimes when my world starts shaking and it feels like my foundation is crumbling, I sometimes forget.

I find myself comparing my “lack of accomplishments” to the apparent abounding success of others, especial those with whom I am on less than friendly terms with. I find myself asking why it comes so easy to these individuals, why was it handed to them when I’ve been working long and hard with no results, what makes them better than me?

It was on one such occasion this afternoon when I stumbled upon the following story on the blog Catalyst Quotes.

“A speaker began a seminar, pulling a crisp, new bill from his pocket, and asked, ‘Who would like this $20 bill?’

Hands started going up.  He said, ‘I’m going to give this $20 bill to one of you, but first let me do this.’  He proceeded to crumple up the bill.  He then asked, ‘Who still wants it?’  Still the hands were up in the air.

‘Well,’ he replied, ‘what if I do this?’  He dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor, so now the bill was not only crumpled, but also dirty.  ‘Now who still wants it?’  Still the hands went into the air.

‘My friends, you have all learned a valuable lesson.  No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value.  It was still worth $20.  Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way.  We feel as though we are worthless.  But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value in the eyes of those who love you.  You are special – don’t ever forget it.’”  ( Anonymous)

And that led me on the hunt for other uplifting reminders.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.Proverbs 3:5-6

Yes, I am not perfect. There are times I will make mistakes or fail or just not be within reach of my dream. I don’t know what God has planned for my tomorrows yet, but I’m working on trusting him and his timing. I am a unique, special and loved individual. There’s only one me in the entire world, and I’m striving everyday to be the best version of her I can. Sometimes it’s a struggle not to give in to the taunting of the voice who would have me believe otherwise, but in a way I’m glad it’s there pushing me to better myself and prove it wrong. Anyone who knows me knows I love a challenge and the chance to prove someone wrong, even if it is just that nasty self-doubting voice in my head.

“Sorry, I’m Deborah.”

22 Jan

**This is the true account of an encounter that happened at work yesterday, however names have been changed to protect the individuals’ identities.

This week at work I have had the opportunity to shadow other departments in the hospital. My job was simple – write down everything they were saying to patients so that we (meaning the managers) could work on more unified scripting for the departments.

On this particular morning I was on the second floor of the hospital shadowing our concierges, Juan* and Morgan*,  in the surgery wing. I watched as they brought the patients checking-in for surgery to their rooms and helped them get settled and explained about the (awful) hospital gowns, nurse call light/TV remote, etc. Once everyone was settled, the concierge would offer a warm blanket to the patient and coffee to the waiting family members.

Every 10 – 15 minutes, they would make a sweep of the floor just to make sure everyone was still comfortable and didn’t need anything. It was during one of these sweeps, my world turned on its axis.

Juan approached room number 12. The curtain was pulled 3/4 of the way across the door. From where I was waiting in the hallway, I could only see the family member. Juan knocked, entered and introduced who I was and explained I was there to shadow him.

Upon hearing my name is Mariah, the family member immediately turns and stares at me. 

[Long pause]

  Her: “What’s your last name?”

I told her.

Her: “I know your parents.”

Me: “Oh?”

Her: “Yeah, Robert* and Cathy*.”

Juan: “Wow. You must really look like one of your parents.”

Me: “No, I’m really the perfect mix of both of them. I don’t think I resemble one more than the other. How do you know my parents?”

Her: “I don’t know many Mariahs and I use to work with them at the restaurant. Have you every heard of  it?”

Me: “Yeah, I’ve grown up hearing stories about the restaurant my entire life.” 

Juan finishes talking with the patient and exits the room

Me: “Oh, you didn’t tell me your name.” [sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, please don’t say Deborah]

Her: “Sorry, I’m Deborah*.”

———————————————————————————–

Now, without some background information, this little encounter means nothing. So let’s start from the beginning. I have heard about this woman my entire life, but until yesterday, I had never met her.

You see, she was one of my dad’s old girlfriends. Before he met my mom, they went out a few times. And yes, they did all work at the same restaurant together in the good old days. According to the stories from my mom, she and Deborah were friendly until Deborah discovered my mom and dad were dating. [It’s important to mention Deborah already had a new significant other at the time.]

Most of the stories I’ve heard growing up were about things she did that annoyed my dad — things she said or the way in which they were said. I’ve only grown up hearing said stories because if you ask my dad, every now and then, I will say something, or do something that reminds him of her. For years I’ve asked him to describe it so I’d know what it was I did, but he said it’s something that indescribable.

Lovely, I have some weird trait that can’t be explained.

Honestly, what are the odds that I would be shadowing that department, on the exact same day and at the exact same time, while she was there waiting on a family member, friend or loved one to have surgery? Honestly, a daughter should never unexpectedly meet one of her father’s exs, it’s just WEIRD. But to give her credit, she didn’t seem to hold any ill-will towards either of them, that or she hid it well… something I’d rather not think on.

And now I’ve met her. And what bugs me the most is that she knew exactly who I was based on my name, while I was left guessing who she was until she mentioned working at the restaurant, because then I had a gut feeling I knew exactly who I was speaking to. And after retelling the odd encounter to my parents on the drive home from work, two questions came to mind:

  1. How in the world did she know what my parents named me? (As I mentioned above, she stopped speaking to them when they started dating.)
  2. Who is crazy enough to remember the name of an ex’s child (whom you’ve never met) 25 years later?

Sometimes I wonder how I find myself in these odd situations, then I remind myself my life and blog would be terribly boring if nothing out of the ordinary ever happened. Besides, this will be one of those fun stories to tell my future grandchildren.

“Have I ever told you about the time I met one of your great-grandfather’s ex-girlfriends…..”

“What the frak does a number mean?”

11 Jan

For the last couple of days I’ve been having these low self esteem days. I look in the mirror and see this ginormous person staring back at me and I start to wonder how anyone would like her let alone love her. And to make matters worse, this morning I thought it would be a good idea to weigh myself. Needless to say, it wasn’t what I was expecting to see. It’s lower than my worst, but higher than I’d estimated. If I’m being honest with myself, I was devastated.

Today I tried doing things that I enjoy to take my mind of it – listening to Disney’s Frozen soundtrack, watching a few episodes of Boy Meets World, even doing an intense cardio workout (20 minute Biggest Loser workout from the ‘At Home Challenge’ DVD and a 3 mile at home walk with Leslie Sansone), but none of that really knocked me out of my funk.

Insert one of the best and most supportive friends I have! She helped me see things clearly again. Our conversation went something like this:

Her: “Do you eat healthy things, as in, you don’t gorge yourself and you eat fruits and veggies? And try not to go crazy on sugar?”

Me: “Yeah. I track everything I eat in the Myfitnessapp.”

Her: “Do you exercise, and enjoy it, in hopes of bringing your body to a better place?”

Me: “I really do.”

Her: “Do you have family, friends, and an amazing boyfriend who loves you?”

Me: “Yes.” 🙂

Her: “Then what the frak does a number mean?”

Me: “I don’t honestly know.”

Her: “Nothing, that’s what. It is more important that I feel good, and eat things I enjoy in moderation (unless they are healthy). So take a deep breath, remember that water fluctuations bump your weight +/- 2 pounds a day, and know that its more important that the shell is healthy than the actual size. Yeah, I know you know all this… but I think you could use a reminder.”

And it was at this point in the conversation when I mentioned how I felt when looking in the mirror. Her kind words overwhelmed me.

Her: “Nononononono. So, so wrong! “Ginormous” is not a word I would use to describe you. I would call it… “curvy, for better hugs”! So take it back a piece at a time — Look at that swooshy grown-up haircut! Check out the stylish, intelligent glasses! Be blinded by the million-watt smile! Have pride in giving the best hugs, because you love people just that much (and there aren’t any pointy elbows in the way, lol)! Basically…. how can anyone with a functioning brain NOT love a person who has so much love and so many smiles to give? So, just know that I think you’re awesome, and I think that other people think that too.”

Everyone needs someone like her in their corner for the hard days. And she’s right. Ginormous, defined as ‘extremely large’, is not me at all — not really, I’m more curvy like she said, always have been, but with a little more work, hopefully won’t always be.

I have a goal to run/walk the runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon this November and I know I have a long way to go for my training. But I’m discovering that training and weight loss aren’t 100% physical effort, a good portion is mental — believing you can do it, picturing that place you are striving to get to, knowing without a doubt that nothing will stand in your way. This is where I believe I struggle the most and at times I wonder if this lack of self belief will be harder to change than my physical appearance.

We all go through our ups and downs along this journey and I truly believe that we can learn from others struggles, that’s why I’m sharing this with you tonight. While this may be my personal journey to self discovery and better health, but I will never survive without my support system — my family, my friends and you, my blog family. We are all in this together.

I’ll end this tonight on an up note by sharing a song that has seen me through previous hard days and continues to offer the support I need when things get hard. I love the chorus — it reminds me that these hard days don’t define me and they won’t stop me.

You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight ‘til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when He reminds You
That you’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer

The birth of a display case

7 Nov

I like to believe I’m a creative person. I dabble in the arts of writing and photography, once a year I dust off my scrapbooks and compile memories of days long gone, and on rare occasion, I have been known to tackle a DIY project or two. So when my boss at work asked me to change out the display case for November I eagerly agreed!

Obviously I decided to do something along the lines of Thanksgiving, but wanting to be politically correct because there may be someone who sees the case who may not celebrate the holiday for whatever reason, I chose to go with “What are you thankful for” because everyone is thankful for something.

Normally our display cases consist of 6 or so informational posters or flyers. Maybe an object or two representing an upcoming event (i.e. we had a 5K shirt to promote our Hospice 5K run/walk in August). But this time I wanted to do something different. Something eye-catching. Something engaging. Something unique.

The only problem, I wasn’t quite sure what that was exactly.

So I did the only thing I could think of to get the ball rolling. I started making a list of all the common things people would be thankful for. And then I started playing around with different ways to display the words in the case and came up with this awesome idea. (**Please note that drawing, and apparently spelling when I’m brainstorming, are not among my strengths.)

IMG_4087

Then I had an even better idea. What if I compiled a bunch of random stuff that represented the words on my list and made little nameplates for what each item represented. No posters needed…. okay, so that’s a lie, the “What are you thankful for” needed to be on a big poster.

IMG_4075And yes, in case you were wondering, those are yellow sticky notes on some of the objects I collected from our office. As I located something that corresponded with a word on my list, I tagged it and crossed it off my list. I obviously had a system going, can’t you tell…because this mess turned into this chaos…

IMG_4077At this point I must share a funny story. My office consists of myself, our director and two other colleagues. Now, when I was coming up with my idea for the display case, I bounced it off one of my co-workers to get her opinion and then I took it to my boss to get her stamp of approval and go-ahead to move forward. If I recall correctly, my other co-worker was out of the office while all of this was taking place. Now, I had spent all morning working on finding objects and making nameplates and folding and taping and arraigning them just so on my little filing cabinet. When I am nearly finished with my preparations and about to pack everything in my bag to set up the display case, this co-worker walks by my desk. She pauses, back-tracks and pauses again, almost as if she’s trying to convince herself she wasn’t really seeing what she thought see was seeing (i.e. a 25 year old labeling things as if she were in preschool). Finally she flat out asks me what I’m doing and I can’t help but laugh as I take in her confused expression as I explain this is going to be a display case…eventually.   

Now I’m not sure if you could tell from my drawing or not (pictured above), but there were some words that I chose to have hanging from strings. These words were ones I decided/discovered were too hard to represent with a physical object because they either meant too many different things to different people or were feelings/milestones. Here’s how they turned out…

IMG_4078Finally it’s time to put it all together! Fingers crossed my poorly executed blueprint looks better in real life! It was fairly easy to assemble and I even had some help from our office intern! Tell me, how do you think we did?

IMG_4079I think it’s good, but the perfectionist in me doesn’t like it so much now. I see ways it could have been better – more color, the hanging circles could have been a bit bigger, some of the objects should have been sitting on boxes of different heights covered by fabric to give it a more interesting look and feel. Oh well, these are all thoughts and suggestions I’ll use to make next month’s display case 100% better!

So tell me, what are you thankful for? Is there something you would have added to my list?

**Side note: Yes, I did notice the nameplate for “employment” is spelled wrong. Unfortunately, I discovered that AFTER I’d taken my photos and was putting the finishing touches on the display case. But not to worry, it was quickly replaced with a correct version and no one was the wiser, well maybe you. 😉

Wordless Wednesday – 8/28/13

28 Aug

When Wednesdays Attack…….

Garfield comic_7.15.13

**This comic appeared in the local newspaper on July 15, 2013