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I don't want to be the experiment I want to be the success story...(it's long, sorry!)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"I'm Mikey and I'll be taking you to your room from the recovery area. Don't forget my name, ok?" he said with a smile as he wheeled my gurney to the C wing of Stanford Hospital.
The nurses hooked me up to various machines as Mikey started to wheel the gurney out of what was to be my room for a little bit. "What's my name?" He asked. "Mikey" I said. "Thanks for the lift" I smiled back.

I've just come home from a 10 day stay at the hospital. I accepted the challenge of another round of treatment, and it was a rough pill to swallow (darn you Neo. I should have taken the blue pill).

Within that time, I had 3 different neighbors in the private room next door to mine, but I remained. Part of me wondered if I could get my mail delivered there? Could I get a P.O. Box? I had been there too long, and all for not.
But I have to keep pushing forward with my health challenges, for my goals - ALL of them. Can't give up. Can't stay down. Can't let the enemy defeat me.
I need a cure...

I was told that like with chemotherapy treatment for cancer patients, you just don't know if it worked until its complete. Maybe next time?

I still feel completely wiped out, even two days home from the hospital. I have to remind myself that I had a picc line put into my left bicep to administer drugs. I had wires and tubes in my spinal space to pump in the treatment drugs, experienced the loss of use of my legs for a day (scary!), and a general lack of mobility entirely. My forehead literally glowed red from them taping the pulse oximeter to my head for days (which made it hard to turn my head). And to add insult to injury, I was just plain itchy 24/7 from the heart monitor leads stuck to my torso. I guess this explains the copious amounts of sleep I've been requiring since I got home. Snore snore...

I watched faaaaar too much of the (various) Housewives while there, but secretly loved every second of it. Some of the nurses I met (from two and even three trips ago) would linger a bit just to catch some of the botox gossip with me. Woohoo!
The nursing staff, room service staff and even housekeeping were all just so amazing. I'm truly blessed. And heck, some of them were giant goofballs like myself, which certainly made my stay more pleasant.
Yes, I brought a beanie hat shaped like a red velvet cupcake and my monkey head beanie (to cover my dirty hair. I had to add some humor to my days, right?)

Even the guy who came in daily at 5:00 AM for a blood draw was nice. Note: don't call that guy 'the blood fairy' like I did. Apparently he didn't like that. Well shoot, he WAS kinda like the tooth fairy, right? Better than calling him a vampire, no? Ha!

I logged onto Spark as often as my hands would permit, and smiled from ear to ear upon opening Spark goodies. All of you lifted me up and kept me strong! A HUGE thank you from me to you.

I had visits from friends throughout my stay, and the constant loving presence of my husband, who lifted my spirits often. He brought coconut milk for my coffee, and food from our home freezer (fresh berries!). He made calls to my doctors when necessary and earned a mighty sore back from trying to make the most of an uncomfortable chair, just to sit at my bedside. Yes, I am truly lucky.

One of my favorite nurses handed me my discharge paperwork when I was changing out of my attractive hospital gown . "Goodbye friend" she said. "We will miss you, but not enough for you to rush right back". I agree!

Summary of my recent treatment:
Suck-y part: telling my friends, family and even my bosses that this was an epic failure, and I am in just as much daily pain as when I left them for more treatment.
Sweet part: no surgical accessories shoved into my tooshy muscle. Had this treatment worked, I would have agreed to have my doctor implant a pump device to administer drugs 24/7. Lots of side effects, and lots of worry that I didn't necessarily want.
Well, I was too thrilled about going home to be sad with all of this. I'm sure there will be time for tears at some point.

One of the sweet housekeeping ladies came and asked if I was going home. I was happy to tell her yes. She disappeared for a minute and then came back with three long stemmed flowers for good luck, and then she blessed me.

As someone wheeled me into the elevator to meet my husband outside at his car, I saw Mikey wheeling another patient down the hallway. "Goodbye Mikey" I said aloud. He turned around fast. 'You remembered my name!' he said with a goofy smile. : )

So now I will do my best to heal up, gain some strength, and stick to the path before me. I'm excited to workout again, even if only for a little bit. I'm thrilled to be home.
It's too easy to cave in to throwing myself a pity party, overflowing with junk food and wine. I know that will only push me further from my goals. Gotta be strong and deal with my demons head on.

This was a failed treatment, but I am thankful for so many things that lead up to today. And I'm especially thankful for those blessings in my life that I'm not even aware of. Things could have gone worse.

Remember how I accidentally came home with spoons last time? I found a handful of salt and pepper packets in my purse organizer pocket. What the heck is wrong with me?!? Ha ha ha!

'Nuff said.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IYA_EKUNDAYO 6/30/2013 6:34PM

    emoticon I am happy yo are home too my friend.
Lots of love to you.

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4ANEWME2DAY 6/28/2013 11:33AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon wishes!! emoticon emoticon

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SWEETNEEY 6/28/2013 11:10AM

    Glad you are with us.

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MISSB8604 6/27/2013 4:16PM

    Girl, there are no words to describe how absolutely amazing you are.

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CELLISTA1 6/27/2013 3:53PM

    Bren, you are one in a million. In a million different ways. Thanks for sending ME a goodie when you are the one who deserves a million goodies!

emoticon Home.

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TRENTDREAMER 6/27/2013 2:03PM

    Glad to hear that you are home. Sorry to hear that the treatment didn't work.

I would rather be referred to as a vampire than "the blood fairy"

I know that a positive attitude can be tough, but you really are keeping one.

" What the heck is wrong with me?!? Ha ha ha! "
* If either of us could answer that about each other in a single blog response, we probably wouldn't be SparkFriends.

emoticon emoticon

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TIME2BLOOM4ME 6/27/2013 10:30AM


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KAILYNSTAR 6/26/2013 11:35AM

    Welcome home, Sweetie! emoticon

So sorry to hear that all of things you went through, was a fail. I know there was no other way of finding out if it would work any other way, but still!

Get your rest. Staying in a hospital is not a restful place to be. Too many interruptions.

I wish you the best.

Oh, by the way, (yeah, I spelled that out), I'm done with the home schooling bit. She wrote her last exam yesterday. YAY!!


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SARAWALKS 6/26/2013 7:27AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
emoticon emoticon emoticon
Glad you're home but so sorry that this was an epic fail. At least you tried and that's what it's all about. You are emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NUOVAELLE 6/26/2013 2:09AM

    I'm so glad you're back home, Bren! Enjoy the comfort of your own house and keep only the good memories of this recent "adventure" of yours. The great people who made it bearable. The people who loved you (how could they not?) and I'm sure they meant it when they said they'll miss you.
Big hugs sent your way!

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CANNIE50 6/26/2013 12:32AM

    Good gracious, no wonder you are exhausted! Of course they loved you - you are quite lovable. I am a bit disappointed you did not post a picture of the red velvet cupcake hat but it's probably just as well - I am sure it would cause giant cravings. So glad you have such a good man in your corner. Oh, honey, I wish they could do more FOR you and less TO you. oxoxoxo sweet pea

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TIME4CARRI 6/25/2013 11:45PM

    You are a blessing and a treasure. I cry after 48 hours in the hospital. I think of you often and all that you are challenged with but there is no room for pity, only admiration. Thank you for being here and generously sharing your journey with us. It is a real privilege.

emoticon emoticon

Can't wait for the victory lap............it's coming!

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MAMADWARF 6/25/2013 8:51PM

    I love that you at so positive and seeing the good people who ntook care of you... great nursing staff makes all the difference in the world! I hope you can catch a break for awhile and that the next time, the treatment will work!!


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CRAFTINWIFE 6/25/2013 8:25PM

    Glad you're home!

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RYDERB 6/25/2013 8:24PM

    emoticon emoticon 'Nuff said.

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Prepping for Surgery with Paul Newman

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke. Such a classic. Have you seen it? Well if you remember the scene where Luke (Paul Newman) is trying to break free from the chain-gang while on a bathroom break you might still have this silly line of his stuck in your noggin like I do. He kept yelling out, "shakin' the bush Boss! I'm shakin' the bush!" to let the warden know that he was going to the bathroom and all was well. Bathroom time is supposed to be private time, but heck, if you're on the chain-gang while incarcerated, I guess it's everybody's business.

I'll be having minor surgery tomorrow followed by a week's stay at the hospital to administer treatment drugs for my disease (my old pal Ethel). The tubing and wires shoved into my spinal space will affect my arms entirely, and I will not have use of them during those 7 days.

For lack of better words, I won't be 'shaking the bush' and takin care of my bathroom business - for a week. A WEEK?!? No brushing or flossing my teeth, combing my (dirty) hair, or changing my clothes. I am a woman, and us gals tend to want to take care of that stuff by ourselves, not with an audience, right?
I also know about 80% of the nursing staff by now, did I mention that? Why does this stress me out more with the looming bathroom issue? I know it shouldn't since it is all part of their job, but sheesh, is really DOES add a layer of angst. So I'm going to vent and share (probably too much), and get it all out here on Spark so that I don't bring any unnecessary baggage to the hospital tomorrow morning.

So often I make myself the strong one, marching in for procedures and surgeries with enthusiasm and laughter. Perhaps I do it because I hate being pitied. Perhaps I do it because I feel the need for my husband and friends to believe that I am strong and not to worry about me. I've done this so often in the past. But now I am realizing that this defense mechanism very possibly could have been setting me up for disaster. Maybe puffing myself up and pretending to be a big bad a$$ who fears nothing is all a lie, and lead me to emotionally eating those true feelings once I got home (often the same day). I see a link there now, where I was actually preventing myself from my own feelings. A nice 'aha' moment for me.

I'm officially allowing myself to feel scared and anxious but reminding myself that my thoughts do not define me. I do not have to act on my emotions. I can move on from them.

So, the countdown has begun until tomorrow morning. My bag is packed.
I've been doing the Whole 30 anti-inflammation type of eating plan for about 25 days now to shake my sugar cravings and try to get my body to heal itself (wouldn't that be neat-o?). I will do my best to adhere to eating clean and nutritious food while in 'the joint'. This will no doubt be difficult (I see A LOT of hard boiled eggs in my future). Ooh, momentary lapse into anxiety here as I wonder who will feed me? Oh good grief...

Hey, I can finally bring back those ridiculous spoons I came home with last time though. Ha!

'Nuff said.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TIME2BLOOM4ME 7/2/2013 10:11PM

    Hugs. I hope everything goes well. Let us know the outcome.

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KAILYNSTAR 6/22/2013 8:11PM

    I seem to be the same way. Except, when there are visitors and family visiting me in the hospital.

It's alright to show fear. They expect it. Although, I find that nurses often check up on you more, if you're more positive.

Hang in there.

Like your last commenter says..."We love you girl."


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MISSB8604 6/17/2013 1:19PM

    We love you girl.

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CELLISTA1 6/16/2013 1:38AM

    Bren, I'm late in reading this and adding my good wishes to all the others on this page. It's a fine line between being strong and brave and allowing the feelings to happen. It's got to be a mix. You are beautiful and amazing and will come through once again.

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MRSSCHENCK 6/14/2013 5:01AM

    Hey it's me...all late and wrong as usual emoticon . Hope all is well and you're recovering nicely.

Comment edited on: 6/14/2013 5:02:42 AM

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DESERTDREAMERS 6/13/2013 12:47AM

    Youch - hope everything comes out OK.

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CANNIE50 6/13/2013 12:42AM

    Oh, honey. I am feeling a little anxious for you but then I think of all those people who will be surrounding you, caring for you. You are a gem of a patient, I know. This will be such a humbling experience. I find myself praying you are able to find the willingness to relax into letting people take care of you and tend to you. I wish I could be there. You are in my thoughts, as always, Bren dear. I am praying for you, Sweetpea. oxoxox

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MELIBUG 6/12/2013 7:39PM

    Love and hugs my special friend! My Dad is having surgery again tomorrow too. So I'll pretend to be in your waiting room as well. Prayers all goes as planned and you heal quickly. You have such a beautiful face, it's ok if your hair looks like crap for a couple days....I'm just saying. :)
Hugs ~ Melissa

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JCARDINAL 6/12/2013 2:38PM

    Sending all my prayers and good wishes your way!! emoticon I too have been one to try to always be the "strong one" when dealing with all my issues. I guess it's a coping mechanism to deal with our illnesses. My sister and I always say we're "shakin the bush" when we're at her cottage. I love that movie!

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MSMAKEOVER 6/12/2013 1:47PM

    emoticon emoticon

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CATS_MEOW_0911 6/12/2013 10:56AM

    Bren, thinking of you and sending love!

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SARAWALKS 6/12/2013 10:54AM

    Aw, Bren. emoticon Thinking of you and praying all goes well.

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TRENTDREAMER 6/12/2013 8:44AM

    "So often I make myself the strong one, marching in for procedures and surgeries with enthusiasm and laughter."
* Surgery that involves being laid up for a week is a whole different arena.

" I see a link there now, where I was actually preventing myself from my own feelings. A nice 'aha' moment for me. "
* I've had similar a-ha moments. emoticon

"I've been doing the Whole 30 anti-inflammation type of eating plan for about 25 days now to shake my sugar cravings and try to get my body to heal itself (wouldn't that be neat-o?)."
* It totally would.

"Hey, I can finally bring back those ridiculous spoons I came home with last time though. Ha! "
* My advice on how to do so still stands.

I totally hear the frustration and anxiety. Hope the surgery goes well.

emoticon emoticon

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LGAR519 6/12/2013 7:39AM

    Wishing you all the best, Bren!! I know it's hard but nurses don't think twice about parts of nude bodies. It's our job and doesn't bother us at all. We just want to help.

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SWEETNEEY 6/12/2013 6:28AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NUOVAELLE 6/12/2013 2:20AM

    I've always believed that fear is a good thing. It's our bodies and minds' way of preparing us for difficult, dangerous or awkward situations. And if we handle it carefully, we'll help ourselves cope with these situations much better.
You'll be in my thoughts and prayers, my sweet friend. I'll be praying that everything goes well and that your recovery is as speedy as ever. We'll miss you here.

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THE_SHAKESHAFT 6/12/2013 1:21AM

    All the best, Bren. I do hope the surgery goes well and goes some way to easing your pain. I'll be thinking of you. Let us know how you get on :) x

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RYDERB 6/12/2013 12:18AM

    I'm so proud of you for sharing your fears, and not eating them. I know it was hard for you. You are amazing! You will be in my thoughts and prayers tomorrow, and all week long.

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MOMMY2MADILYN 6/12/2013 12:15AM

    I will be keeping you in my thoughts of a speedy recovery from your surgery. Never deny your true feelings. Being anxious or scared does not make you weak, it makes you human! Stay strong and know that we are all here pulling for you! emoticon

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SKINNYROBIN100 6/11/2013 11:38PM

    emoticon I'm laughing and sad for you all at the same time...good trick. Hospitals can be therapeutic for the soul...Just pretend you are away at a spa and everyone there is at your beck and call. (they are). and don't sweat the bathroom stuff. Being catered to, is a gift!!! Smile and keep the call button close at all times! Take care. emoticon emoticon Listen to those Docs. They get paid to listen to you! Just imagine you are the emoticon of the castle and you want a bath complete with back washing and help putting on your royal robe. You get the pic?! Some of those male nurses are pretty attentive. emoticon

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MAMADWARF 6/11/2013 11:08PM

    i will be thinking of you, my dear!! sending positive thoughts and energy your way and praying that THIS surgery will help you. Remember, it is only temporary (this loss of use of your arms). Love ya girl!

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KIKKI-G 6/11/2013 10:54PM

    Thinking about you girl!!

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PURESTILLWATER 6/11/2013 10:38PM

    Praying your surgery goes well

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IYA_EKUNDAYO 6/11/2013 10:23PM

    It is ok to be afraid. I wish I could give you a big hug and just let you cry on my shoulder --- no words need be said. I will be thinking about you and praying for your fast recovery.


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DONDAIN 6/11/2013 10:00PM


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I enter the hospital as a patient and exit a spoon thief?

Friday, April 26, 2013

I was feeling REALLY messed up yesterday. A bad mixture/cocktail/pharmaceutical blend if you will. One of those drugs sent me into a series of weird moments with my cool pain doctor saying 'Bren! Bren! Can you open your eyes for a minute?!' commands.
I couldn't.
I was in a weird coma-bored-to-tears-ish- 'I can hear you but I cannot reply' chapter of my stay. And I was stuck in it from 8:00 pm on Tuesday through yesterday (Thursday) around 2:00 pm.
I was sleeping but not sleeping. It was weird and NOT fun. My asking for help in between digging through the mental cotton candy fog was scary.
And in the end, boom: "the surgery site seems to have gotten infected and we have to stop treatment and send you home until it heals". What?!
"Then we should bring you in and start again". Huh?!
Ahem, sorry. So we quietly went home with loads of ice packs and some soft tears.
I feel fragile and messed with.

My main pain doctor (we will call him Old Guy) was warned by the younger pain doctor (Senior Cool) for almost two days that the surgery site looked infected and irritated. 'No no, lets keep up with the desensitization exercises and see if we can't make some progress before performing a new surgery'. Senior Cool would clench his teeth and look at us with sad eyes.
He was mad.
We were mad.
I was wrung out.
There was nothing he could do w/out Old Guy's go-ahead. I get it. The hierarchy sucked on my side. But we couldn't make Old Guy do anything, right? What a bummer that my main pain doctor lady was on a much needed weekend trip with her daughter. She would not have let this happen. No way.

Now I feel like I have to heal up to be beaten down again. the doctors will have a collective pow wow and decide when to bring me in next for treatment. I am hopeful that will be when I am not already in a nerve flare. Things are really tough then on all of us. My veins don't cooperate with the IV's, the sheets hurt, the lights hurt, the food...well, you already know that hospital food kinds 'hurts' (ick).
So unfortunately I am home and feeling a bit worse for wear from when I came in. But I am still happy to be home. I am snarkier though, so look out! : )

But I feel like a bit of a disease-riddled criminal! I was unpacking my little hospital caddy and noticed that I had brought home 2 metal spoons. Eeks!

See, sometimes the cafeteria person would deliver my jello and forget the spoon (or even worse, it would be a dirty spoon!!!), so I had a couple of spoons on hand just in case, right? Well. I guess I brought them home accidentally. I feel awful! Am I headed to spoon jail? Hee Hee.

I look like I got in a knife fight though from the bandage on the front of my neck with the massive jugular IV welts, and the back of my neck with the infected oozy epidural catheter. Yummy.

And heck, i got the back of my neck waxed for free, FOUR times in 24 hours! Woohoo!

The reasoning behind the catheter was to numb my arms entirely. Then the phys therapy doc would come and tell me to put my hands in dry rice and beans to get my hands to mellow out. I would squeeze play dough and pick up beads and rocks. Seems simple, but I needed to learn to do it when it didn't hurt (while numb) so I could tell myself that I could do it later, with the daily constant pain.
But since only my left hand was getting coverage from the drugs and my muuuuch worse right hand was getting nothing, it stunk!
Therapy on one hand while the right hand festered with swelling and lesions was a bear. Almost an insult to my right hand. My leftie was saying, 'ha ha, look what I can do!' The drugs would also ultimately treat the pain flare, even if only for the time I was in the hospital. It could have potentially kicked down the wall of flare for a few days or a week. So I went for it. The things you do you when desperate I guess?

Anyway, I wanted to thank you all for the support and for the laughs while I was in the joint. I love you and lean on you all so much at times. And you let me. Thank you!!!

Now what do I do about those spoons? Mail them? : )

'Nuff said.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MNNICE 5/16/2013 3:58PM

    What an ordeal!! I wouldn't worry about the spoons -- no doubt they'll just bill you for them. emoticon

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MILLIE5522 5/16/2013 2:37PM

    You should consider those spoons as medals for extraordinary courage .....or you could melt them down and make them into earrings (hey not such a mad idea as I have a silver fork which has been made into a bangle!) emoticon

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 5/13/2013 8:13PM

    Oh, I am so sorry and I apologize I did not know as I was not getting your blogs!
First, I think the spoons are souvenirs, and yours to keep!
Secondly, I hope you heal and can get relief!
Your courage is amazing!
If I can lighten your load, please let me know!
Love & Hugs,

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MRSSCHENCK 5/4/2013 10:56AM

    'Spoon jail' emoticon
Leave it you, my beautiful friend, to make me smile no matter what you're going through.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LADYBUGFAERIE 5/1/2013 11:08AM

    I don't know if you know the spoon theory, but if you have a chronic condition, you should!


Sounds like you have a couple of good momentos for your hospital stay. I'd keep them, especially if the spoon theory resonates with you.


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CLOVER2 5/1/2013 1:20AM

    Oh, yes...keep the spoons. I think you have so earned them!
You just keep doing all the things that have to be done to get you through each day. And what you show all of us is an incredibly beautiful sense of humor and whatever joy you can find in things that would have me on my knees begging for mercy, just a little here...K??? I am sending as much moral support and love as I can shove into the keyboard and into these words. And I'm punching pins into an Old Guy doll as we speak....don't think me awful here...

Thank you soooo much for the applause, you don't know how much it was needed and appreciated! Lately I've been feeling a bit like I'm "tesitfyin'" (is that a word? or just mine?) just a bit too much in my little corner of the world, and my friends and co-workers are tired of hearing my voice. So I've cut it back and that makes me feel kinda oooky too. And if this is worst thing that happens to my day I think I better look at just what I am crying about here...

Know how much love is being sent to you, by an amazing number of people who would all take a turn for you if only we could.

You are emoticon !!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JCARDINAL 4/30/2013 3:45PM

    As usual you totally amaze me!! You're my hero! I would say start a spoon collection and start swiping them from everywhere you go. It could make a lovely conversation piece. You take care of yourself and know that you're always in my prayers!

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SUNFLOWER4ME 4/30/2013 2:32PM

    Absolutely keep the spoons. emoticon

You look breath-taking in your photo at the bottom. Clear skin, natural - beautiful smile. I love it.

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IYA_EKUNDAYO 4/30/2013 10:53AM

    Bren Sweetie. I am so sorry you have to go through this. I wish there was something I could do for you to make everything better.

You are my inspiration.
You truly are!

Oh' I would keep the spoons.

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CTUPTON 4/29/2013 8:12AM

    Praying for healing emotionally and physically. Chris

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BLOOMINGLENA 4/29/2013 3:30AM

    I hadn't read your blog before I sent you the goodie. I didn't know that you had gone through that comma situation and couldn't have the surgery. Wish I could do something to make your pain go once and for all. I love your sense of humour and the smile on your face on your photo! You are a beautiful woman inside and outside. Stay positive and keep smiling! I am thinking of you!
emoticon emoticon

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GRAMMACATHY 4/28/2013 10:38AM

    Actually, pain will cause that weird coma too. I have helped my healing and pain management along by listening and meditating to 528 HZ meditation waves and music. Usually 30 minutes in the morning while I catch up on SP and then 10 before bed. I hope you can find some relief soon. I also pray for wisdom from your doctors next therapy session.

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SARASMILING 4/28/2013 6:46AM

    Girl, if you needed a spoon that bad I could've sent you one! emoticon (that's the best spoon they have) emoticon
I officially hate that doctor too BTW. emoticon

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TRENTDREAMER 4/27/2013 9:38PM

    Really sorry to hear about what you've gone through (especially being sent home pre-maturely). As always, I hope that you heal and heal soon.

I really enjoy your sense of humor in your writing.

You know that I appreciate your friendship.

emoticon emoticon

"Now what do I do about those spoons? Mail them? : ) "
* Now have I ever given you bad advice before ;)? That being said...

So here's what *I* would suggest. Show up at the hospital, spoons in hand, wearing the following:
- a black winter hat
- a nose ring
- really dark lipstick
- a faded ringer graphic tshirt over a long sleeve thermal
- either loose cargoes or courderoys
- Doc Martins

Go up to the front desk with a spaced out look on your face. Put the spoons on the desk. Look the person at the desk dead in the eyes and say, "WHOAH, BRO! That fro-yo was AWESOME!!!!

Then turn around and walk out as the person at the desk processes it all, leaving the spoons on the desk.

That's what I would do anyway. The key is to make them too scared or confused to talk with you.

Comment edited on: 4/27/2013 9:43:43 PM

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KAILYNSTAR 4/27/2013 4:26PM

    Personally, I'd keep the spoons. You've paid for them a million times over. I'm sure they have to resupply lots anyways.

You poor girl. I hate it when my Doctor is away too. There are times, because they know you, when a person is being pushed too far. That old guy didn't know you. He might have seen how others reacted and just took it for granted that's the way you would. So not true.

You're such a trooper. Glad to be here for you, if only that were enough.


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LGAR519 4/27/2013 7:16AM

    I think of you often when I'm having a bad day. You are my Hero!! Keep the Darn spoons!

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NUOVAELLE 4/27/2013 2:17AM

    I just keep looking at the last picture of you smiling and I just gaze in amazement with your unbelievable ability to find the humorous side in every one of your hospital "adventures". I only wish I could stop all this pain for you right here and now. We are the ones who should be thanking you for teaching us lessons of strength and positivity every single day!
I hope you're feeling a little better today. I'm sending you a huge hug!!

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MAMADWARF 4/27/2013 12:58AM

    Damn, BREN, you are one tough broad! At least you are home with the MR. And the pets, especially sweeet Olive. I, too, like Fannie, wish I could take a turn for you!
Keep the spoons, get a complete set. Its the least you should get.

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CANNIE50 4/27/2013 12:22AM

    Hi beautiful. Keep those spoons, and pack them in your overnight bag. You will need them - no spoons or dirty spoons?! Sheesh. Details, details, people - when someone is in pain, little things matter. Bring the woman a clean jello spoon! Oh, honey. I so wish you did not have to endure all this and that the people who are doing these procedures were all as tuned in to you as the "cool" doc. How are you right now? Any relief at all? Oh, sweetpea, I wish I could take a turn for you.

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KKLENNERT809 4/26/2013 9:59PM

    Sorry you had such an ordeal. I hope things start to improve for you soon! emoticon

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RYDERB 4/26/2013 9:09PM

    You really are my hero. You go through all of that and still find a bright side, "free back waxing" and two "lovely" spoons. emoticon
I'm so sorry the procedure was not the success you needed and we all hoped for. emoticon (cool hugs from Snowman Steve)

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TIME4CARRI 4/26/2013 8:17PM

    Whoa girl, what an ordeal! emoticon

You are always amazing with your sense of humor no matter the pain you are going through. Honestly, what a spirit!

Hospitals are the worst. I have to stay in 72 hours after birth because I am group B strep positive and between the pre and after, I just dread every freaking hour. In fact, it's one of the reasons I don't go into labor, because I hate the stupid stay! I have already started to prep myself but now I have something to really focus on, I will think of all that you go through just to knock down some serious pain and I will be grateful and less whiney.

Seriously, the irony in waxing and re-waxing, poking and re-poking someone in pain only to do it again???!!! I don't blame you one bit for feeling beat up and you go on and be a bit more snarky, you earned that long ago!!!

Look at that beautiful picture of you smiling!, you really are amazing.

Comment edited on: 4/26/2013 8:18:30 PM

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AAAACK 4/26/2013 6:48PM

    ooh, ooh, you can play "Spoon Man" with your left hand

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SARAWALKS 4/26/2013 6:28PM

    Isn't there a game that involves eggs and spoons? Maybe smuggle them in when you have to go back so you can play the spoon game in the halls? emoticon

Seriously, I am so out of the loop as regards your hospital adventures/misadventures. I'm sorry I haven't been there to support. Sounds like this was the epitome of frustration - or perhaps there can be worse? At least you are home with your sweet pup and I'll pray that you heal quickly...

and that the next round goes better with the Old Guy NOT calling the shots!
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I'm at the crossroads right now as I type...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

*Warning* Venting and food porn! But also in dire need of encouragement.

I brought the medical bills to work since its easier to call and figure out the current $ due with a live person on the line, right? The amount due was much higher than in the past, or even 6 months ago. Wow our insurance has really pooped out since January of this year. First is was the prescriptions of mine that they simply no longer covered (ok, we will deal with that). But now I need to pay over $600.00 for some minor pain treatment in February.

This doesn't even capture the $ due for the past two surgeries (at the end of February and then 2 weeks ago). And we just paid (err, charged) a tremendous amount of $ for installing air conditioning last week (which is STILL leaking and will be fixed soon, but stilllllll!), and I am (still) in yucky pain.
Does this mean that I am paying a lot of money out of pocket to NOT feel any better and NOT be in a chilly-cool living room at home? Uh huh.

Ack! And we have to still do our own taxes. Blerrrrrg!!! We owe too. Gosh, will we ever NOT owe? Bro-ther!

So I want salt and fat and gooey things laced with butter. I want those burned edge bits of the brownie pan AND the gooey pudding-like center of the brownie pan too. Gotta be honest.
And I need to be even more honest and say that while I plan to make it through tonight by eating healthfully (darn it!), I already hear my inner brat whispering in my ear. She is telling me that if I survive tonight, I can certainly 'feel' this cruddy stress all over again tomorrow, and emo eat then in vain attempts to stuff it down, literally and figuratively.
Yeah, it's there, in my noggin.
But I don't want to.
Even though mentally I am looking down that road of marshmallow creme and cookie dough dreams, my feet are pointed in the opposite direction; on that road back to healthier choices; ESPECIALLY when stressed out and feeling anxiety of what my illness is costing us financially. Because that is the path and road I WANT to follow. I need to help myself in the areas that I do have control over since my disease is out of my control. Good choices with food, more times than not. Much more rest to counteract the zzz's that my EM robs me of, etc.
I keep telling my inner brat that 'my thoughts do not define me'. They don't, right? At least they shouldn't. I don't HAVE to allow them to do so.I don't HAVE to be defeated, right?

Do any of you experience that moment of standing at the crossroads - Where your triggers try to dictate who you are? I'm there. It's not where I want to be. But even as my feet are pointed in the direction to which I want to go, I have not started walking forward yet. Come one feet! Move it!

'Nuff said

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEWHENRYSMAMA 5/13/2013 8:01PM

    Sweetie, I hear you! I am late responding because I just got here to your page..by mistake, but I think it is where I was suppose to be! This day was awful with disability woes for my husband...he just got approved for long term disability the end of March and already he is being reviewed...endless insurance forms, and no real answers regarding his mystery illness that has caused black outs, seizures, falling, shaking, etc. I, too, am on disability! I am the only one of us that can drive...he helps me get to the car, and once where we need to be, mostly Dr appts, he pushes me around in the wheel chair! That is if he has a good day and we can even go out! I think I just needed to spit this out today! I feel blessed we have good insurance, but that was in jeopardy with his medical leave and getting approval for disability...and it feels threatened again!
I hope you can feel better, get help, and get help with your debt!
You are in my thoughts and prayers!
Love & Hugs,

Comment edited on: 5/13/2013 8:04:07 PM

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MRSSCHENCK 4/21/2013 8:07AM

    I'm right there with you! I'm trying so hard to behave. I went to the mall yesterday and skipped an entire level so I wouldn't pass my favorite bakery. The owner always asks me if I want the crisp edge or the gooey center of the brownie. emoticon Boy, do I know whatcha mean!

Medical bills? Don't go there. I literally have to pick and choose what doctor/lab/specialist I'm going to visit each month. It's like picking out of a hat. Jeesh....

I don't owe any taxes but H & R Block charged us almost $400 to complete ours. emoticon Needless to say, the papers are STILL in their office....

Hang in there, my friend. emoticon

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CTUPTON 4/14/2013 9:09AM

    My inner brat wants me to do many unhealthy things. Thanks for ways to put her in line!


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CLOVER2 4/12/2013 11:12PM

    There are times when I sit around on my personal little pity pot, feeling sorry for myself because I can't be "normal". I'm not normal when it comes to eating, I'm not normal when it comes to drinking, and in so many other ways. I get frustrated, I get angry and I just don't want to do this anymore.
And then God makes sure that I end up on your page and happily find a new message from you. So I can realize just what my life is really like.
You are, without a doubt, one of the bravest, funniest, coolest human beings I have ever had the good luck to come to know. I sometimes wonder how you do it. But I also know that you couldn't be anybody but who you are.
I really wish that there were something I could do to make it better for you. With all my heart.
You have all the support and love I can send with these words.
You are strong, you will do what you know you need to, to be the best you that you can be.
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KETTLEBURN 4/12/2013 9:29PM

    When you say "inner brat" I'm immediately seeing an image of a little girl lying on the ground, pounding fists and feet, raging because she can't have what she wants. And you know why she's so tantrum-y? Because you're NOT going to give in to her! You're going to tell her that you have more to worry about than what she wants, and that she needs to hush up and behave or she gets nothing from Santa this year (that always freaks kids out, right?)!

Seriously, though, I'm sorry to hear that you're being bogged down with internal struggles and external financial stuff. I tend to hold to the belief that everything happens for a reason and that we're never given more than we can handle--even if it seems like the opposite while those things we have to handle are happening! You are one of the strongest, most resilient people I've come across ever and I have no doubt that you'll get through everything you need to emoticon . You know that you have an extended family to turn to here at SP!


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IYA_EKUNDAYO 4/12/2013 8:11PM

Stay strong my warrior friend!
(That is my nick name for you from now on) in case
you have not figured that out yet.

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TRENTDREAMER 4/12/2013 8:07PM

    Really really sorry to hear

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RYDERB 4/12/2013 5:19PM

    I'm so sorry you have to deal with so much financial stress right now, in addition to the pain of your disease. Way to blog it all out! After reading your post, I think having your feet pointing in the right direction is a major victory. Take time to feel proud of that accomplishment. Your inner brat might be loud and persistent, but I know you can block her out. Turn up the music, drink some cold water out of a pretty wine glass, and look at pictures of those amazing Lucy Capris you're going to reward yourself with.
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Comment edited on: 4/12/2013 5:20:56 PM

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CANNIE50 4/12/2013 4:49PM

    Oh, sweet-pea. I wish I could lift these burdens from you and give you the break you so desperately need and deserve. I just don't want you to add nausea and regret to your woes. I am so proud of you for logging on, and venting, rather than just digging in and pigging out - such a healthy choice, my dear, SUCH a healthy choice.

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WINACHST 4/12/2013 9:18AM

    Oh, I am so sorry to hear of your medical woes. I was in therapy for my wrist a while back and when I saw the bill for a splint they made for me, I was outraged ($650.00) and I was told it had a life expectancy of 6 months.

Don't grab that sugary, fatty, salty food as it will only make you feel worse. Stay strong!

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BLOOMINGLENA 4/12/2013 4:19AM

    Everyday we all have to deal with problems serious or not. I have been at that crossroads and still fighting emotional eating. I am at the beginning of my journey and my emotional ups and downs make me hear the same voice which tells me to give in to temptation and when I do I have one more thing to make me feel worse. Nothing is solved by eating a brownie. It will only make you feel guilty and angry at yourself that you didn't have the strength to resist and then you will consider yourself a failure. Do you want this? No! You are stronger than you think and clever enough not to give in to your inner voice. Move forward! This is the only way to make you feel better! Guaranteed! emoticon emoticon

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CHRISTINASP 4/12/2013 3:44AM

    I'd like to suggest you take a good look at the break between writing about your finances and then saying 'SO I want salt and fat and butter...'. Because it is not really all that logical a transiation, is it?
You REALLY want to be free from the financial stuff, right?
And yes I know about that crossroads. You don't really want the brownies, you want to feel better. Are there other things besides eating a brownie that could make you feel better? Even if it's just going for a walk?

One thing that has helped me is to pick ONE of my trigger foods and say that 'I can have it' - but not now, once I feel better / once I'm hungry / once I'm no longer longing for it just because I want to drown out other feelings and thoughts. So you can tell yourself you CAN have it - but postpone having it. If you can postpone it chances are by the time you 'can' have it, you no longer want it so badly. And if you do and have it, at least you've spent more time NOT overeating.

Comment edited on: 4/12/2013 3:45:29 AM

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NUOVAELLE 4/12/2013 2:07AM

    Think about how you'll feel afterwards in case you choose the wrong road. The inner brat will have silenced but your conscious self, the one that wants you to be driven by your sensible choices and not by your thoughts will have been infuriated and will be mad at you! Do you want to be mad at yourself and guilty for letting your thoughts and your emotions take control? Of course not. So, make the first tiny step towards the right road and your feet will follow.
You can do this! You're sooo strong!
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TIME4CARRI 4/12/2013 12:33AM

    emoticon emoticon
Crappity! Here's the deal. you logged on, vented and that alone will help some you will see. What you need are sleep and endorphins. I try to ask myself if I will ever encounter the same type of problems again when I am stressed. If the answer is yes, then I think about how I want to proceed now and in the future. Bills and health never seem to be completely off the radar........Sometimes I am successful and sometimes I blow it but good for you for doing something healthy in the form of a SP vent!

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MAMADWARF 4/11/2013 10:54PM

    Oh yea I hear you! First, medical bills...tell the hospital you cannot pay it. that this balance is your portion and you cannot pay. Ask to apply form the charity care. Every hospital has it. They will send you some forms, fill it out and send it back. The debt may be forgiven. Taxes will also take payments. The prescription may have a discount with the manufacturer...check the internet,

Food is tougher. But. O matter how many brownies you eat, you won't feel better. Believe me, cookies and I go way back and it never helps. For long a anyway. Go get some water and some popcorn. You will be OK. Hugs my friend.

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DHLPRT 4/11/2013 9:12PM

  My life has been like that for the last 2 years. One thing after another..that's why I'm just a step away from 200 lbs. They keep telling me it is going to get better. I have to believe that. You made me feel better knowing I am not the only one that's just trying to make it one day at a time...

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HEYNOW22 4/11/2013 9:06PM

    You are right - thoughts do not define you - you are stressed and probalby have in the past turned to food in stressful situations - the thoughts are a natural response for you - Just in being able to see that those thoughts are a reaction and stopping to think before grabbing that unhealthy food is a sign of progress!! you got this you are stronger than you know!!!

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A little frost in your day can be a neat thing!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Benefits of cold weather (from someone who must be in cold temps at all times!)

Doctors claim that cold weather boosts your metabolism in your body's effort to stay warm, so people tend to lose more weight in cold weather. Hmmmm? I Like it!

Pesky insects don't survive in freezing weather. No Mosquitos, Fleas, etc! Which also means none of the horrible diseases that these insects carry either.

All the dog poo in the back yard freezes, making it easier to scoop. If you step in it, it does not matter, IT'S FROZEN & will not stick to your shoes.

(My most favorite): Cold Weather Can Reduce Inflammation - There's a reason putting ice on an injury works. That drop in temperature reduces inflammation. But the theory works on a much grander scale, too -- cold temperatures can reduce inflammation and pain all over. In fact, athletes and spa-goers even have a remedy of sorts available for muscle recovery. A 2011 study found that, at extremely low temperatures, such treatments, called cryotherapy, did more for athletes to recover from physical activity than simply resting. At some spas, cryotherapy chambers appear much like steam rooms - with, of course, the opposite effect. And while the majority of us probably won't be taking a trip to the cold room, it certainly beats summer swelling!

In some countries, the use of cold temperatures for medical purposes is taken quite seriously. Several years ago, Finnish researchers reported the results of a study of 10 women who, for three months, took cold-water plunges (20 seconds in water just above freezing) and submitted to whole-body cryotherapy sessions. Blood tests showed a two- to threefold jump in norepinephrine levels minutes after cold exposure. Norepinephrine is a chemical in the nervous system that wears many hats, including a possible role in pain suppression.

Endurance Performance Increases in Cold Weather:
More Fat is Burned During Cold Weather Exercise: Exercising in cold conditions can produce both higher usage of muscle glycogen and also higher rates of fat metabolism…Insulin levels have been shown in some studies to be lower in winter and cold conditions which can also spur on fat breakdown.

Cold Water Bolsters Immune System: Scientists from the Czech Republic immersed subjects in cold water for one hour, three times a week and monitored their physiology. They found significant increases in white blood cell counts and several other factors relating to the immune system. This was attributed to the cold water being a mild stressor which activates the immune system and gives it some practice.
Athletes who train regularly in cooler air (or in cold water) are less likely to experience downturns in their immune systems after workouts than those who are exposed to the cold only sporadically.

The Cold Will Make You Happier: cold will also stimulate your parasympathetic system, which is responsible for rest and repair, and this can trigger the release of dopamine and serotonin. These neurotransmitters are a vital part of keeping us happy and low levels of them are linked with depression. Couple this effect with the endorphin rush as you take the plunge and it should make for a warm glow and a wide smile when you re-emerge.

Speaking for myself and my disease, cold temps keep a bit of a muzzle on some of my chronic pain. Warmth of any kind triggers pain flares and wild swelling. Since people with EM cannot sweat from the affected areas (arms, legs, face), it's a whole lotta no fun. Cold temps and ice packs sit on some of that pain, at least for a little while each day. I love me some cold! And I have a new appreciation for it after doing this Spark Team homework : ))

Yay for staying chilly (at least for myself!)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TIME4CARRI 4/11/2013 7:30PM

    This is great information. You know, I am a born and raised "sun" girl from O.C. and 11 years ago we moved to N. California which has real seasons. For the first 7 years I was depressed during winter and spring. I have since changed my attitude because it looks like we're here for at least another 10. This information is wonderful for continuing to change my attitude about cold and I will be referring to it again for sure. Thanks so much!!
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JCARDINAL 4/11/2013 5:55PM

    Come to Chicago it's been freezing!

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TRENTDREAMER 4/11/2013 8:30AM


Thanks for sharing. Never thought of that.

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NUOVAELLE 4/11/2013 6:17AM

    Thank you for all those interesting facts, Bren! I've always loved winter and cold. I actually find every season to have its own beauties but the lack of pesky insects during the winter months is definitely a reason that makes it my favorite!!!

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CANNIE50 4/10/2013 5:13PM

    Such an interesting set of facts, Miss Bren. So, when is the move to Alaska? emoticon I have definitely experienced the benefits of ice baths, when I used to run long distances. I am the first one to turn on a fan or request a door to the outside be opened, during boot camp classes. When I hear the weather in the Bay Area is chilly, I am always happy for you. Chill out, baby emoticon

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LINWASH23 4/10/2013 4:45PM

    Wow, that is good to know. Thank you for sharing emoticon

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