Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bradley's Birthday and Elle's Concert

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I have perpetuated the Tooth Fairy myth

If you are getting this through my facebook feed, it you might not see all images in FB. You can go to to read the original post.

I was going through some of my electronic files the other day, and I found this....

Tooth Fairy I'm a dork. I attached Sacajawea Golden Dollar Coin to the paper, and I posted it to her bedroom door. She LOVED it. I think we are all done with lost teeth. The last one was from Dom a few years ago. We had forgotten her Tooth Fairy money, so before she got home from school, I took a FedEx envelop, addressed it to her, put in a note from the tooth fairy and assigned her address to the packing slip. She was WAY skeptical, but because she got her own FedEx and because this one include a few bucks, she only questioned it for a minute. Thankfully, I did not have to explain how the Tooth Fairy had a FedEx account number. I'm also done perpetuating the Tooth Fairy myth. If you want my honest opinion, kids know LONG before they let on that the tooth fairy gig is just a gig that we parents do. The money is too good to give up, so kids and parents keep on perpetuating this childhood myth. The kids like the cash; the parents like making up crap about the Tooth Fairy. I'm sure that my kids will resurrect the Tooth Fairy story when they have kids, too.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My Journey to Hemorrhoid Surgery

Yesterday, May 17th, my husband posted to his facebook status that I was in surgery. Since that time, our shared facebook friends have expressed concern for me and worry about my condition, and I appreciate that more than you'll know. Since he didn't share "what"the surgery was regarding, it left more questions than answers. When I told my boss I was having surgery, I told him, "I'm just going to tell you because what you might imagine is far worse than what it really is." To that end, I've decided to share some information for my family and friends. I wanted to let the people who care about me know what was going on so that they can cease to worry (thanks, honey, for outing me on FB!)

I know that the topic of hemorrhoids is typically not dinner table conversation, and rightfully so. However, after thinking about it, I have decided to share a bit about my experience.

If you are one of the millions of people who suffer with hemorrhoids, perhaps this will help you. If you're oddly curious, I'm OK with that, too. If you happen on to this blog post from a google search, I hope this helps. If found very few real people out there in cyberspace willing to talk about their tushy and what the surgery would be like. So, be forewarned....if this topic offends you or grosses you away from the page and shut down the browser. My intent is not to be graphic and disgusting but to provide insight and information with the intent to help others.

I first experienced hemorrhoids at the age of 24...that's right, 24! I have never been pregnant (in case you are wondering). All that I have read suggests that a lot of people have hemorrhoids (internal) and depending on your bowel movements (hard or soft stools), you can have hemorrhoids manifest externally.

I developed my first hemorrhoids after my LDS mission. I had a lot of strange health things occur right after I returned from my mission. I do not correlate hemorrhoids with my Mormon mission except in this way....when I came home, I had a RAPID and SIGNIFICANT weight gain. Within the period of a year, I easily gained 50 pounds. I attribute my bad diet to my weight gain and subsequently the hemorrhoids. Anytime you eat poorly, you have the potential to affect your digestive system. So, while "weight gain doesn't cause hemorrhoids," for me, it did...indirectly. My mom always says, "You have hemorrhoids because you're heavy." That isn't exactly true, but being overweight doesn't help.

I am 40 years old today. I have lived with hemorrhoids for 16 years. For the most part, they have been a complete and total non-issue. I have had periodic issues, but I have managed my condition with over the counter medicine, warm baths...and, um...trying not to sit as much. This last part is terribly problematic for me....since I sit all day long at a computer and I sit A LOT on planes. I had flair ups maybe once or twice a year...and they lasted only a few days. I was resolved to live with my condition and just deal with it.

Then about a month ago, I had a horrible experience that was unlike any other I had had with hemorrhoids. As my friend Julian said, "They can be so big, some call them assteroids!" That would pretty much describe my situation. When you have discomfort at that level, you need to get to a doctor. I had made my general practitioner aware of my hemorrhoids during my annual physicals (and if you are not getting those, call your doctor today....I implore you...). He had even given me a referral to a proctologist. I had that dang referral on my desk for TWO years, and wouldn't you know, at Christmastime when I was throwing crap away I thought, "I'm never going to need this referral," and chucked it.

Only a qualified medical professional can tell you what is really going on with your condition and how to best treat it. Luckily, I found a proctologist close to my house who had actually been the one my doctor referred. The stars were aligned (or maybe the asteroids were ;-). The physician's assistant knew that my condition was serious and recommended surgery. We treated the symptoms for four weeks before the surgery to help with pain management and swelling. The day I was in the office, I scheduled the surgery for one month out. I had decided to take care of the problem once and for all.

I was done with class, my schedule was pretty open for that week. I conferred with my manager and my scheduler on my work commitments and booked the surgery.

Since I booked this surgery, I have told only a few people. It's not so much that I'm embarrassed; I'm not. I just didn't want people to worry about me. My doctor told me that about 50% of people have hemorrhoids of some type but that it is taboo to talk about them. I think that is unfortunate. The more information we have, the more we can be aware of what might be happening with our bodies, how to manage the symptoms and when to ask for help. Since sharing my surgery plans with a trusted circle of friends, I have found many people willing to talk about their own problems with hemorrhoids. It's very, very common.

I'm not going to lie. As this surgery has approached, I've been scared. The only surgery I have ever had was oral surgery when my wisdom teeth were pulled. That was when I was 16, and it occurred in the oral surgeon's office. I remember at the time asking him about anesthesia and expressing concern over how anesthesia killed brain cells. He said, "There are a lot of things that kill brain cells" and summarily dismissed my concern. Jerk.

I have been afraid of the unknown. What exactly was going to happen? What would my recovery be like? Exactly how much pain was I going to experience? The thought even ran through my mind near the end, "Do I REALLY need to do this, or should I just live with the pain?" I decided that I really needed to do this...after 16 years and that the timing was good for my personal and professional life.

Right before I went into the OR, I met my surgeon, Dr. Eyring and my anesthesiologist....who was donning a BYU surgical cap. Like this....
From my position in the bed, I could only see his cap. I said, "I already don't like that guy." (Which was a reference to the BYU logo.) He whipped out another cap and said, "I've got this one just for special patients."
That made me laugh! He wore it for me during my surgery. He went in the hall wearing the U of U cap and was getting heckled by some of the nurses. What a sport. However, during his first try at finding an vein for an IV, he failed...the result...a BYU colored bruise on my left forearm...coincidence???

So here are a few details that might help you get through this if ever you need this surgery.

My surgery lasted less than 45 minutes. During that time I was COMPLETELY out. I went into the OR on a gurney, the anesthesiologist put in an IV an started pushing drugs. The next thing I knew, I woke up in recovery...on my side...with an oxygen mask on.

Some things that happened during surgery...which I'm glad I didn't have to experience in a state of consciousness. They moved me from the gurney onto my stomach. I was also intubated. I actually still have a sore throat from the tubing. I'm not certain how they had me on an IV, intubated and on my stomach all at the same time, and I hope I never see video of that whole process.

The surgery entails either removing and/or repositioning the tissue/veins that have been problematic. The surgeon was intentionally vague about this because he probably decided what to do once he saw things up close and personal. There were a series of incisions, cauterizations and staples (yes, staples). And it hurts just a bit more thinking about that right this second.

My biggest difficulty post-op was coming out of anesthesia. I had never been under general anesthesia before, and we were unsure of how I was going to react to it. I was VERY groggy. After I was in the recovery room for about an hour, I woke up enough for them to take me to a room where Dean could be with me. My pain was intense. I had an IV in to keep me hydrated, they gave me 2 Lortab, and I could drink some Sprite. I was hooked up to a pulse ox machine and a blood pressure machine. I had a hard time keeping my oxygen levels up, so they put me on oxygen again. It took about 6 hours, but I was finally stabilized. Once I was able to urinate and keep my oxygen levels above 90, I was allowed to go home.

My 1st night was good as can be expected, really. I woke up periodically to take some pain meds and get a drink.

I have been home almost 24 hours now, and I have slept a large majority of the time. I've finally hit my last go #2. I heard it was going to be horrible, but since I followed the doctor's instructions, it was as pleasant as that kind of thing can be under the circumstances.

There you have it. That is my story. I know it's not a typical blog post, but I think it is sometimes important to share this kind of information if it will help others. If anyone out there is suffering with hemorrhoids, I recommend getting a doctor's opinion. There may be options out there than can provide you some relief. If you have any questions about my surgery or if you are scheduled for this procedure yourself, I'd be happy to answer any questions I can.

My husband, Dean, has been WONDERFUL! Thank you, honey. I love you even if you did write about my surgery on Facebook!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My nephew, Cory Lawson, graduated from Limestone High School on Saturday, May 8, 2010. I am so proud of his accomplishment! He is a good kid with a plan and a direction, and I know that he can be anything that he wants to be in this life.

As I sat in his graduation ceremony, I couldn't help but remember my own high school graduation in 1988 from Pekin Community High School. It seems so long ago, and it was. It was the beginning of the rest of my life! I couldn't wait to get out of the house, be on my own, go to college and experience the rest of my life. It has been a phenomenal ride!

I left Illinois 15 years ago, but every time I go back, there is a sense of "home" about it that doesn't compare to anything else. Nothing much ever changes in central Illinois, and the predictability of it is somehow comforting.

So, even though I parked in a FIELD to attend Cory's graduation, it wouldn't have been Illinois if there weren't a field involved. And even though the party guests RAVED about the Avanti's gondolas, it wouldn't have been Illinois if we didn't celebrate with our own version of Italian food. And even though we had WAY too many people in a confined space for the party, it wouldn't be Illinois if it weren't a place that was overflowing with people that I've known and loved my entire life.

I'm proud of you, Cory James Lawson! You're the best nephew that a girl could ask for!

Love, Aunt Wendy

They're so cute when they're sleeping

Oh, boy! If they knew that I was posting this, they'd be ticked. Dean snapped this picture of Dom and Riah when they were at their Grandma's house over Easter. In fact, my favorite picture EVER of those two was taken at Grandma's house several years earlier. (I'll find it when I get home and post it here....and that will doubly tick them off!)

....and here is the picture below....are they not the cutest sisters that you've EVER seen???? And when I showed this post to Mariah (minus the pony-tailed, no make up picture below) she said, "That is my favorite picture of me and Dom." Huh. Well, who knew? I'm confident that she would NOT like this photo, but it is definitely one of MY favorite pictures of those two.

Domi has always looked up to her big sister. Sometimes her big sister is a good example worthy of emulation; sometimes her example should not be followed ;-) There aren't too many more years left when this kind of sisterly moment can be captured, so I'm glad that Dean got it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

At the plate...

This has been a CRAZY Baseball/Softball season for Jordan High. We had a mild winter, and when the season finally began in March, the weather was crazy. There was wind, rain, snow. It began snowing on April 1st and lasted through May. Here are a rare few photos of Bradley pitching.
He began pitching for the JV then late in the season, he pitched a few times for the Varsity.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Lincoln's Springfield

Before I left Springfield on Friday, I took a quick tour of the Old Capitol Building. If you live in Illinois and haven't visited here lately, you should. If you don't live in Illinois and if you ever have the chance to go to Springfield, make sure you do. I love this rickety old building. It doesn't have the majestic grandeur of the current state capitol. It doesn't have the opulence of the nation's capitol. It's an old limestone building that was built in a Greek revival style back in the 1830s. It's simple. It's beautiful. It typifies Illinois to me.

If you walk those old halls, there is 170 years of history contained therein. I love the double staircase that leads to to the Senate Hall and the Representatives Hall.
How can you not love the beauty of this simplistic building. Thousands of school kids walk through each year and peer in at the Senate and Representatives Hall. They learn about Lincoln, his time there as a representative from 1840-1841. He didn't run for Illinois state office again after that term. They take a look at this room where George Washington's portrait watches over the House.
I doubt that the importance of the "House Divided Speech" is realized by many of them. On June 16, 1858 Abraham Lincoln was chosen by the newly formed Republican party to challenge Stephen A. Douglas for the US Senate. His speech is less of an acceptance speech and more of a commentary on the major issues that he be the topics of his debates with Douglas in the Presidential campaign of 1860: popular sovereignty and slavery. I read that speech as I sat outside the chamber on Friday. That speech is famous for the line, "A house divided against itself cannot stand," but it is so much more than that.
When Lincoln died, his body was brought back to this place. He was symbolically placed in the Representatives Hall and where he laid in state while over 75,000 people passed through the capitol to pay their respects. Only 20,000 people lived in Springfield at the time. The entire floor of the capitol was striped of all vestiges out of deference from Lincoln.

It may be just a simple building. Thousands may walk through and never really understand what they are seeing.

If you do get a chance to go, take a walk around the place...the whole building is smaller than most mega mansions. Don't forget to look up.

I never tire of this old building. It has so much more meaning to me now that I've taken the time to study the political career of Lincoln and write about his political positions. I'm sometimes a bit troubled by the exploitation of Lincoln for the sake of commerce. I'm not confident that he would have liked that, but then again, he was rather resourceful. He just might have liked people walking around downtown sporting Lincoln t-shirts and buying Land of Lincoln chachkies.