Two Weeks Into My Recovery

Today marks two weeks since I went through open abdominal surgery to remove a very large tumor. Honestly, the first week is quite a blur. I was in the hospital three of it, medicated, and very sore, to put it mildly.  Today I am feeling a little improvement everyday and find myself able to do more for myself little by little.

For someone that does not sit a whole lot, I must admit, it is my happiest position at the moment. If I sit still I feel no pain which is quite wonderful. However, sitting still is not my favorite thing to do. My first outing since coming home from the hospital was to see my surgeon last week. I was nervous, yet excited to talk with her and see what I could start doing as far as exercise goes. Little did I know that my abs need more time on the inside than the outside to heal and be strong enough for exercise…..so all I am allowed to do is walk……for the next 4 weeks!!!!!! OMG, I may go crazy…..warning to all my friends and family…this could be bad! This was devastating to me, even though at this point, I do not feel ready to do any exercise at all. It was still devastating.

Besides spending every single day in my fat pants(they are the least irritating on my incision), I have been starting to do other time occupying things. I can finally sit up to 15 minutes on a hard, upright chair, so I have started doing puzzles again.

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I have also started redoing our trip plans that we had already scheduled in the near future. My husband and I had an exploration and hiking trip planned prior to surgery and we have been cleared to go on this trip, at this point, from my doctor. However, hiking after sitting for 6 weeks will be challenging at best. So I have started researching different activities and hot spots in the state we will be visiting so we have something to do while we are there. This is always fun for me since I am the travel planner of our family.

As a family we all decided this would be our opportunity to watch a movie that has been on my list forever…..A Walk In The Woods. I always see these movies I want to watch but never make time to actually sit for that long and watch the entire thing. Well, this was perfect, all I am doing is sitting, so why not try and watch a movie.  Let me say, this was a fun movie to watch. Great shots of the AP trail, great story line, but WAY TO FUNNY TO WATCH AFTER SURGERY. Laughing hurts and hurts a lot after surgery…..and I laughed many times during this movie. Great idea turned bad really fast.

Other than that, I have been spending much of my time here….either in the recliner or on the couch.

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I am never far from my heating pads. I spent the first 5 days sleeping in that recliner. My meals have all been served to me on a tray in that recliner by my amazing husband.

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And walking consists of laps around my house numerous times a day. It makes for some very long days and nights but slowly it’s improving.

During the week I have had friends stop over and sit for hours while we drink tea and pass time. They stay here while I sleep to help me get up(I still cannot sit up by myself if in bed) so my husband can work, and many of them have brought meals to us to make life a bit easier for my boys.

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It has been eye opening to see what great friends I have. And simply amazing how great my husband and son have been through all of this.

My goals for the next week are to start walking further distances before the pain starts, sit up in bed alone, and try to help with dinner preparations to ease my husbands load after he works all day.

 

 

 

How Quickly Life Can Change

In one week my life went from healthy and happy to sitting on an exam table facing a doctor who said a bunch of words that I thought I would never hear. She started with urgent and ended with cancer…..and from that word on I heard nothing else. I went numb!!!!

I had been having issues for three years and have seen numerous different doctors regarding these issues. Each doctor basically telling me the same three things….it’s part of getting older….I can’t see anything abnormal that would cause these symptoms….or give it time it may resolve itself (which basically was like saying I was crazy). Well, I had finally had enough and made one last appointment with a new specialist and went to this appointment alone two Monday’s ago. I left there an hour later with blood work orders,c.t. scan orders, and surgery scheduled one week from that day. I drove home numb,walked in the house and fell apart.

I shared the outcome of this appointment with my husband and son,called my daycare families to schedule the next 6 weeks off, and basically switch over to auto pilot the rest of the week. When Monday morning arrived I knew life could change in a matter of a few hours but we went into this surgery with high hopes and many prayers from family and friends.

Four and a half hours later I woke up and heard my husband whisper in my ear that everything was over and it was NOT cancer and everything went wonderful. This is a moment in life I will never forget.

Three days after that I was discharged and now here I am. I have a long recovery ahead of me. Since my tumor was too large and pushing on too many organs I was not a candidate for robotic surgery. I had to have open abdominal surgery with a vertical incision through almost all of my abdominal muscles. Which means I have a lot of work to do before I can give my stand up paddle board a try this summer but I will get there. Without a doubt!

I must admit, it has not been easy. I am not one to sit around and watch others do what I have done my entire married life. Although, with the amount of pain I have, there is really no other option. My husband and son have stepped right up and have been taking over everything, friends have brought meals and visitors have been stopping in continuously. Which all makes me so grateful for what I have. I couldn’t ask for a better support group. I plan to be back on the trail by spring, paddling by summer, and working out again as soon as I get the go ahead from my doctor.

For now blogs may be far and few between but I will be back with more  outdoor adventures as soon as I am able.

 

 

 

 

Getting Through The Winter Blahs

52 days from today we all get to change our clocks again. No matter what the calendar says….this is what marks the end of winter for me. More hours of sunshine is instant happiness for me. However, until that days arrives I often feel blah. It’s hard to cook, clean, work, and all around function some days. Although, somehow I do it, everyday! Which made me pay attention to what has been helping me get through these days of blah.

In the winter one of the biggest things I struggle with is feeling warm. I actually believe some of this is mental, because if everyone else is comfortable, why am I always cold? I have found a few solutions to help me with this issue. I eat a lot of soup. I would bet I eat soup at least 5 out of 7 days a week. Homemade, boxed or in a restaurant, it really doesn’t matter to me. I love soup.

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Another thing I have been experimenting with is hot tea. My son is a huge tea drinker which made me start trying some teas. He is into the loose leaf tea and has so many different flavors that I would not even know where to start. So I recently found some sample size tea and bought two different flavors. Both of which I am really enjoying on a daily basis. IMG_3300

One big thing that brings me joy anytime of year is my job. Daycare can be stressful, difficult and exhausting…..believe me, I have been there! Lately, however, the two boys that I have, who have grown up together since birth at our home, have turned into toddlers and have begun playing so nicely together. It’s great to just sit back and watch them figure things out on their own and work together.

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Winter for me is my time to get organized, clean, and sort through items we no longer want. Let’s face it, in the summer my weekends are spent paddling something somewhere and my weekdays are spent outside running through sprinklers or having water balloon fights, which means nothing inside gets done for months. But that’s ok, that’s what winter is for. Anyhow, I finally made an attempt to organize our food shelves upstairs. Ever since they changed from boxes to zipper bags in many food items, my shelves have been a disaster!!! Boxes used to line up nicely and stack beautifully. With the amount of food we consume between my family and the daycare children, I often will open the door to find a complete unorganized mess of zipper bags. Here is the before picture:

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So I bought a few vacuum seal containers to hold some of the food items that we use the most. I then organized and cleaned out this area. I plan to try this for a week or so and I will then go back for a few more containers if needed. So far it’s been a success. Here is the after picture:

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I would have to say by far the biggest thing that has changed this winter for me compared to others is that a group of friends and I have started going out for lunch once a month together. You may think once a month is minimal but this gives me something to look forward to every month. We have done it a few times so far and have plans in the making for the next month already. I am really loving this time and believe it is really helping me get though the worst of winter. IMG_1918

That’s how I have been trying to beat the winter blah feeling here in WI.

Tell me, have you found anything that works for you?

What is your hardest month to get through in the winter? (Mine is February)

 

 

Home Alone!

On rare occasions I find myself home alone. And when I say rare, I mean hardly ever.

You all know my husband and I do almost everything together as far as activities go. However, there is one thing I am not willing to do …..that is ice fishing. I have tried it a few times when we first started dating but clearly it was not for me. You can’t say your surprised…..freezing temperatures, holding still in a very small ice shack for hours and wearing layers and layers of clothing….nope not my idea of fun. Although, I would never tell him he can’t go, which he did Saturday for the first time this winter. He left bright and early, our son was scheduled to work bright and early, which meant I had the entire house to myself. So I said my goodbyes and they left and I immediately made a list.

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I can get so much done in so little time when alone that it’s amazing. During the week some things are just impossible to try and accomplish with kids running around everywhere. So this was my moment to get it done.

First priority was to get the crock pot chili going so I could assemble some freezer meals later in the day. I love this chili recipe, it’s so, so, so simple but tasty and freezes wonderfully for my husband lunch on days we don’t have leftovers from the night before.

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Then I threw in a load of laundry and decided to get my husbands shirts ironed and out of the way. Ironing is not my favorite thing to do. And this is definitely one of the chores I can not do with kids hanging on my legs during the week.

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Next, it was time to clean the front hall where all my parents enter our home. The one thing that drives me crazy about winter is the “gravel yard” we are blessed with from the salt/stone mixture in parking lots everywhere. Shoes carry this yuck in and somehow my little ones find these little gravel pieces and attempt to eat them. So cleaning the front hall is often a daily chore, if not twice a day. While I was at it a complete vacuuming was also done.

Then it was time to switch the laundry, add another load, and get ready for the gym. I love morning workouts. They give you so much energy, are off the to do list, and it’s just a great way to start a day. I grabbed a snack, my gym bag and headed out the door.

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It’s then that I remembered our driveway was like an ice skating rink. The night before we had a freezing rain event for a few hours which left everything covered with a nice layer of solid ice. So I ended up taking a little detour before the gym to a local hardware store for a bag if salt.

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After the gym I returned home to fold laundry, shower and then I took a few hours of “me time” and went shopping for some items I have had on my list for awhile. Happily, I found everything I was looking for and then some….like usual! Those darn clearance racks get me every time….but I did find two awesome pair of yoga pants and another work shirt for my husband (that doesn’t need ironing..yehhh) so I had to purchase them.  IMG_3328

On the way home I decided on dinner, pasties for everyone. Easy, fast and yummy! Since Saturday is normally my day off from cooking dinner, this was as good as anything to throw in and enjoy.

It was a wonderful Saturday I must admit. I got everything on my list done and then some. I couldn’t ask for a better outcome. Oh, and by the way….ice fishing was a success!

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Summer vs. Winter On The Trail

How can we be 45 degrees one week, then get 13 inches of snow the next week and now this…..frigid, painful, below zero temps for the majority of this week? It’s like a roller coaster ride and I want off!

Before this all came about and I knew I would be locked up in my home for days I made an attempt to walk a trail with my husband. I really thought we would arrive and it would be snow covered but to my surprise it was not bad.

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Those tracks you see are from someone pulling an ice fishing sled down the trail to access a favorite ice fishing spot. As we made our way further down the trail you could see large rocks thrown out onto the ice to see the thickness of the ice cover. Which meant, of course, my husband had to toss one out there also to see for himself how much ice was there. Needless to say, not enough to even walk on. The rock he tossed out went right in and water came shooting up and out as soon as the rock made contact.

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A little further down the trail we saw that the person dragging the ice fishing sled made the decision to forgo his ice fishing plans and the tracks ended and turned around. I’d say that was a good choice, or at best, a safe choice.

As happy as I was to be on a trail, it also made me so sad at the difference winter makes from summer on this same trail. With the water being icy and looking so cold

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to parts of the trail being snow covered,

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it really made me think of how much more I love this trail in summer time. Things are green,IMG_1664

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and sunsets are beautiful in the evenings.

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Oh, how I can’t wait to walk out to the platform, sit, and watch the sun set again. A few more weeks to wait but it’s coming……..

Alrighty then…..enough day dreaming. Here is reality and what I did for workouts this week.

Saturday: gym:45 minute elliptical and stretching

Sunday: gym: 40 minute elliptical, lower body weights and stretching

Monday: mall: 3 mile walk

Tuesday: home: upper body weights and 20 minute recumbent bike

Wednesday: home: 30 minute recumbent bike

gym: 33 minutes elliptical, total body weights, stretching

Thursday: home: upper body weights

mall: 3 mile walk

Friday: rest

As you can see this has been a rough week of workouts. Life sort of got in the way a few nights and I had to take care of some business matters another night. Add in the extreme cold and our over flowing gym with new members…..and I just couldn’t find the motivation to go there more than once during the week. No one really understands how much I dislike the winter cold except me.

However, I do feel somewhat accomplished this week. I did some well needed cleaning and organizing of an area in our home that has been driving me crazy for awhile now and I finally found what I hope will be a great addition to our group of kiddos in the near future. These are both big areas that #1 make me happy and #2 give me security. Change is hard but when you feel good that the change about to happen is positive then it’s so much easier to face head on.

How To Keep Motivated Exercising

Motivation….don’t we all wish we had more at times? I am sure there are many, many of you that have recently made the pledge to start exercising. Now you just have to figure out how to keep yourself motivated to keep exercising. Which is exactly what we are talking about today.

Despite the fact that endorphins will take over your body after exercise and make you feel like you have the energy of a three year old, there may be times when a little extra push may be needed. So here are a few motivational helpers to keep you moving.

#1 Everyone needs a goal: don’t set it too big, this is important. You want to be able to reach that goal. You can always set another after this one.

#2 Reward yourself: once you reach that goal you have set, reward yourself with something special. New workout outfit, new headband, new shoes, ice cream cone, dinner out with someone special, anything that means something to you. It can be something big or small, as long as it’s something special for you. IMG_1242

#3 Schedule it: Seriously this is no laughing matter. So many of us say we don’t have time to exercise or will find any excuse to skip it because of $%^&! This cannot happen and if it needs to happen it better be an emergency. Just like you pick your kids up from school everyday, brush your teeth everyday, or feed your pet everyday, you must schedule this segment of time into your schedule everyday.

#4 Make an appointment: If you can’t hold up your end of the bargain by scheduling it and doing it, then your other option would be to pay for an appointment to exercise. Either hire a trainer, join a gym, or even enroll in a group class. This way if you do not show up, you are literally throwing money out the window.

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#5 Variety: Don’t get stuck in a rut with the same routine over and over again. This could bore you to death and make it easier to just say skip it. Whether you are at home or at a gym change up your routine. IMG_3039

#6 Think fun: No one says you need to workout indoors. Bring your yoga mat to a park, run/walk/hike a nearby trail, swim laps in a lake, snowshoe, ice skate etc.  Depending on what you enjoy and your activity level, bring your workout outside and enjoy the fresh air. IMG_5054

#7 Support: Team up with a friend or your spouse and support each other. If you have set dates to work out together and you feel like cancelling, that obligation to support your friend/spouse may be enough to get you up and moving.  IMG_2917

These are a few things that keep me motivated on a daily basis. Yes, we will all feel like some days are better than others but as long as the attempt is made and something is done in the way of exercise it’s a success. Some is better than nothing at all.