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Friday I’m in Love

27 May

Happy Friday!

#1

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Last Friday I got taped up by my chiropractor and OMG. Thank you KT.  I had mentioned in last week’s post that I had begun to have more intense ligament pain as my belly has grown and the tape thing worked WONDERS!  Britton is learning how to do it for me this afternoon so I won’t have to go back to her every week to be taped.  So glad I found this!

#2

This is hilarious. The mom cut on SNL with Brie Larson.  I was catching up on some old episodes this week and this one cracks me up!  Hoping the mom cut doesn’t choose me!

#3

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Old Navy was having a BIG sale this week.  When I went to return some maternity clothes I got online I had to check out what they had in the kids section. OMG. This swim romper was CALLING MY NAME! And our plan this summer is to expose baby boy to the pool and beach as early as we can! So obviously I had to get it for 50% off!

#4

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They say you aren’t supposed to eat lunch meats while pregnant.  Well that’s been one of my only cravings (oh and last night I wanted one of those strawberry shortcake ice cream bars). So needless to say I haven’t stuck real true to the no lunch meats deal.  I love sandwiches!  We have a Firehouse Subs right near the house but normally there is no parking anywhere near by to make this location convenient.  Except on Tuesday 🙂 Thank you Firehouse for being so delicious!

This weekend will be a very special weekend for me as I watch one of my best friends get married!  Britton and I will be in South Florida for a weekend long celebration!  In reflection of my friendship of Amit here is a toast to you.  To my Bridesman, and ever best friend!  We can’t wait to celebrate!

Friday I’m in Love

8 Jan

I’ve been totally MIA over the holidays for more reasons than one.  But in an effort to get back on the bandwagon for 2016 blogging I’ll start with a favorite.

#1

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Winter weather.  And I’m not talking about Florida’s winter.  Last week we were in Sioux City, IA to celebrate Christmas with the Wall side of the family.  I was hopeful in the weeks prior that we would get lucky with some snow on the ground.  We got even luckier.  We arrived on Saturday night and a snow storm rolled in Sunday evening through Tuesday morning.  It was a snowy paradise the whole week were there and we spent a lot of time playing in it!

#2

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Rent the Runway.  If you haven’t heard of this yet, go check it out.  We had a winter wedding to go to on New Years Eve while we were in Sioux City and obviously I don’t have anything to wear to a winter wedding.  So days before we left for our trip I was stalking RTR looking for something appropriate to wear.  THANK GOODNESS I was lucky and they still had some amazing dresses left for me to rent!  This gem was a huge hit and I would have kept it if I had an extra $355 in my bank account 🙂

#3

Children starting charities.  Britton’s cousin’s daughter, Makenzie, and her friends in Kansas City started a 501C3 called Cancel Out Cancer Foundation that hopes to help stop cancer and soothe the pain of families that have been affected by cancer.  Makenzie was a flower girl in our wedding and we are just so proud of the young woman she is becoming!  Check out their go fund me page here.

  #4

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Britton’s health.  I don’t know if this falls into the Friday I’m in Love category here but it is definitely something I am grateful for.  3 years ago this week Britton was in surgery and recovery following brain surgery to remove an epidermoid brain tumor.  You can read all about our journey here.  The whole experience, beginning just weeks after we got married, was the hardest thing we’ve faced as a couple (not surprisingly.) Every year in the first weeks of January I look back and I’m thankful for the doctors, the nurses, our family and everyone that supported us through this time.

That’s all for now folks!  Hopefully I will get back on board and get some more posts up about the holidays soon!

Friday I’m In Love

10 Jul

Happy Friday y’all!  Did you have a good week?

#1

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My dear friend Kendra, from over at The Gilbertson Family blog, sorta kinda got me hooked on Essential Oils.  Now this is a new fad but I hope it catches on in my life.  I got my Premium Kit this week and I’ve been doing a ton of research and started putting together some blends for various ailments.  I’m really excited to see where this goes!

#2

Britton and I tend to get very wrapped up in tv shows and our latest obsession is the whispers on ABC.  If this 5 minute intro doesn’t get you hooked too then I’m done.  The premise is that an imaginary friend named “Drill” is telling kids to do some pretty awful stuff.  We just gotta find out who this Drill character is!

#3

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When Britton and I moved down here we decided that at least for a year we would get Disney annual passes.  It has SO been worth it.  I think we’ve gone to Epcot at least once a month as well as every other park at least once (I’ve been at least twice).  Passes were not cheap but they’ve more than paid for themselves.  These gems have been an awesome purchase and I’m excited to renew them for next year too!

#4

Tomorrow we are heading to Miami for the Imagine Dragons show. I am beyond excited about it.  So excited that I have not stopped listening to their music all week.  I have 33 songs on repeat.  This song is not on any album available in the US but it’s my favorite 🙂 Enjoy!

inspiration

4 Jun

Back in November when I decided to start blogging again I did it for myself.  I was being pretty selfish, using my blog to share our story with our family so I didn’t have to call every friend and family member every time something new came up for Britton and I throughout our epidermoid tumor experience.  I didn’t want to have to tell our story over and over again on the phone and I didn’t want Britton to have to do that either.  By that time we had already spent a month going to doctors appointments and crying on the phone to family and friends and we were already exhausted.

So I started to write about it instead of talk (well I still talked but a little less).  My blog was for me and my family and friends.  What I didn’t expect was that my blog would become a resource for others going through the same thing.  I realized sometime in January that my blog was being found in google searches for epidermoid brain tumor.  My site comes up on the first page when you search it (https://steelewall.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/epidermoid-brain-tumor/). 

Last night I received an email from someone that read my blog simply titled “Thanks.”  It was from a reader that found my blog as her husband goes through a similar experience as mine.  She said our story gives her hope.  The email brought tears to my eyes.  Even if my blog only helped that one person through an experience like this, then I know I’ve done a good job.  It was worth it for me to write it for me but now I see I had an even bigger impact.

And so I leave with this today.  This story popped in my newsfeed on Facebook and I am thankful that our doctor had the courage to cut.  I can’t imagine what it must be like for a neurosurgeon to decide to cut into someone’s brain to potentially save a life.  Thanks to all those who have the courage to do this and to save the lives of countless people that are affected by Epidermoid Brain Tumors.

http://neurosurgery.med.nyu.edu/about-us/courage-cut

and it’s over!

24 Apr

This week was the big reveal for Britton having post opp appointments to clear him following surgery. It was an adventure to say the least. We had moved his appointments around to accommodate closing on our house that was supposed to happen last week but didn’t (much more on that later as i transition to blogging about the entire experience). The weather up here has been bizarre this “spring” and Monday’s forecast was no exception. It rained all morning and snow was predicted that afternoon. As we waited around to hear about our supposed close on the house I began to get anxious with the impending bad weather. Finally, around 3 pm we heard from our loan officer that we wouldn’t be able to close (she knew at about 1 pm) and so we decided to ditch Sioux City and head back up to Rochester.

After taking a pit stop at home to take care of the cat we were on the road by about 3:30.  About 30 minutes into the drive we realized it was going to be one heck of a trek as sleet began piling up on the highway causing a weird slush to form on the road.

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We made it to the Minnesota line with little issue but that’s about as far as we went before our 4 hour trip became a 7 hour nightmare.  About 5 miles east of Jackson, MN and at about 5:30 pm, we hit a slick patch of road that sent us into a slow and steady spin resulting in us sliding into a ditch in the median.  Surprisingly, I didn’t panic.  We were spinning so slowly into that ditch that Britton just told me to relax as he reached over to calm my nerves and so I did.  Once we were in said ditch Britton immediately started to get us out of it, rocking the car forward and backwards to get some traction.  It didn’t work.  I was already reaching for the AAA card while he attempted the save.  Mud spewed all over my car.  Our back left tire was in about 8 inches of water and mud and there was no way we were going to make it out ourselves.

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After I had AAA set up with a tow a Highway Patrol showed up to make sure we were alright.  He waited on the side of the road with us with lights flashing while we waited for our tow.  We were in the ditch for about an hour before our saviors, Danver Towing, showed up to get us out of the ditch.  Just a simple pull and we were out.  We had hoped to get ahead of this storm just east of where we landed in the ditch… That was before we were stuck there for an hour.

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Once we were on our way again the storm got worse instead of better.  Visibility was WAY down and we were driving an average of 45 mph for about the next 90 miles.  There were even a few times that our car began to slide but going so slow (often as low as 30 mph) we were able to remain in control.  Once we hit Albert Lea the snow turned to rain again and the roads were warm enough that there wasn’t any ice!  Thank goodness!

We pulled into Rochester at around 10 pm and had to stop for fast food for dinner (barf!)  I think we were asleep by 11/11:30 only to have to wake up at 5:15 to make it to Britton’s MRI by 6:15 am.  It was a long night of tossing and turning.  We hadn’t thought much about his appointments since we have been so wrapped up in the house situation but it was hitting me that night.  We would finally get to see how he has progressed with actual documentation, not just our belief of progress.

After his early morning MRI we had an audiogram at 10 am and then our appointment with the neurosurgeon at 11.  We got a print out of Britton’s audiogram results right away and had his last one to compare it to.  It was amazing.  His last audiogram showed he had only 80% word recognition in his right ear.  That was the issue from the start, not being able to discern speech.  This time he had 100% recognition.  One Hundred Percent.  All his doctors said he wouldn’t gain hearing back but he proved them all wrong.  He is a miracle.  Immediately following surgery his surgeon said he would probably have no hearing in that ear.  And now we have proof it IMPROVED!  Britton said they did the entire test through the right ear so he even received instructions through his right ear and he could understand everything!

audiogram

The appointment with the neurosurgeon was next and our trip just got better and better.  We talked with Dr. Link about Britton’s progress and he did a few minor tests to see how his balance was and everything was awesome!  He was as shocked as we were with his audiogram results and had nothing but good things to say about his progress.  We got to look at Britton’s MRI’s side by side to see the change and it was amazing.  Where there was once a bright white tumor (that’s how it shows up in the MRI) now there was black space and brain!  Just as it should be.  There was one bright speck of white that he said we will need to watch over the next few years but nothing of major concern!  Next year we will get another MRI done in Sioux City and have the results sent up to Dr. Link to review.  That process will probably go like that for the rest of his life to make sure nothing grows back but that’s something we can definitely live with!

Our drive home was beautifully uneventful  and we closed on the house this morning.  So what started out as a miserable week has already turned right around!  Thanks to our friends and family for all of their support over the last six months.  We couldn’t have done it without you!

2 months out

11 Mar

I haven’t had much to post about the past few weeks.  Britton has been recovering so well!  The last week in February Britton took his first work trip to Oregon.  He went with a co-worker so he wouldn’t have to lift anything.  His only restriction at this point is the lifting so it’s important that he continues to follow that one rule.  So he left me for 2 days to do business in Oregon.  While he was there he was fortunate enough to be able to meet up with a friend that recently moved out there.  This trip was not at all what we had hoped it would be for his first trip post surgery.  We had anticipated him spending the whole trip with his colleague that would be helping him if he needed it but he ended up having his own meetings.  He started that Tuesday at 3 am and it didn’t end until after 10pm.  Needless to say, he was exhausted by the time he returned to South Dakota on Thursday. 

This morning Britton left again on another trip, this time to Florida.  I feel a lot better about this trip than the last.  He and another colleague are doing every meeting together on this trip.  They have a show to do in Ft. Lauderdale on Wednesday and some other meetings in south Florida.  At the end of the week I am joining him in Florida to spend a week down there visiting friends and family.  This week’s business trip for Britton is a lot more laid back, leaving a lot more time for him to relax without being overwhelmed.  I’m looking forward to a relaxing weekend with him after his second business trip.

In other news, in the midst of Britton’s recovery we decided to go on a house hunt.  We hadn’t really thought much about buying a house but spending so much time cooped up in our apartment, watching HGTV, we got the bug and started searching.  We found the perfect house and made an offer at the end of February.  Following the inspection last week we put in an addendum to our offer and should hear back early this week.

I think back to the beginning of this year (and I am referring to the school year since I am still accustomed to years being determined by school) and I am amazed at how much has happened.  The week we got married, I lost my grandmother.  The week we returned from our honeymoon, Britton was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  Now we are in the process of buying a new house as I start a new job.  Coupled with tragedy we have found the positives.  Last night I posted on my facebook page how truly amazing my husband is and I am inspired every day that I watch him live his life.  We are so blessed and I am so thankful for all of the positives we have in our life right now.  I’m looking forward to sharing some joy this weekend in Florida with my friends and family from the south.

at home

14 Feb

We left the hospital a whole 4 days after Britton checked in and had surgery. We were amazed. Rochester , MN is about a 5 hour drive from where we live in South Dakota so to break up the drive we stopped in Okoboji at Britton’s aunt and uncle’s house for a night.  Britton slept the whole drive which was perfect.  We didn’t want him getting dizzy from watching things pass on the road so I was very glad he was able to sleep.  That night we took it easy, brought food to the house and watched a movie.  We didn’t want to overwhelm Britton on his first night out of the hospital.

The next morning, we spent some time relaxing in the sun room, soaking up some rays.  It is absolutely beautiful at the lake in the winter.  The snow was so pristine and it was so peaceful.  Very different from the summer months when its a bustling town!

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We headed home early that afternoon and stopped at Britton’s favorite place on the way home… Chick-fil-a.  We planned on just pulling through the drive through to avoid any extra stress on Britton but he was up for the challenge of going in and sitting down to eat.  When we did finally make it home Britton went straight to bed for a nap.  He was exhausted after two days of travel and being out of the reigns of the hospital.  At home we were welcomed by a bouquet of flowers from Britton’s colleagues out in Los Angeles.

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My mom stayed with us for another few days to help us get settled back in.  Britton was doing so well that he didn’t need a whole lot of attention.  I had worried he would need more care than he did!  We spent a LOT of time watching tv and movies. January 19th was the annual BPI Winter Party and since Britton was feeling so well we decided to attend.  This meant we also had to head out to the store to pick up a new jacket for Britton.  I am still amazed at how quickly he was able to get into normal routines like going to the store and the mall or walking a few miles outside.  Britton got a lot of attention at the party and after about 2 hours we were both beat and headed home.

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We spent another week after the party together just hanging out and relaxing together.  This was the most amount of time we have ever spent together due to his constant travel.  It was awesome.  I’ll admit, despite the situation, I loved being able to be lazy with my new hubby for a solid 2 weeks… just the two of us. I think he feels the same.  Since he wasn’t in a whole lot of pain or in need of constant care, we were able to just be together.  We are so lucky.

In that last week at home together Britton finally gained the courage to take a look at his scar.  I had been taking pictures along the way, once right after the bandage had been removed, once after the staples were removed and then a week after that after it really began to look like it was healing.  After he saw the most recent picture he took the plunge and looked at the progression.  He got a little queasy looking at the one with the staples but he was as amazed as I am at how awesome it was looking present day (and now its even further along and awesome).

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You can see. It’s amazing. We are so blessed.  And we’re not only blessed because of how amazing his recovery was.  We are blessed because we have so many friends and family supporting us.  We received gifts galore to help us through the quiet times like an amazon gift card, a cookie bouquet and a candy gift basket.  And these gifts came from the most unsuspecting places too!  My friends from Florida, his office and even old family friends that barely know Britton at all!  Thank you to everyone that has supported us and loved us through this adventure!

Britton went back to work one week after me (February 4th for him) and he is still doing great.  It seems Thursday mornings have been the roughest on him so far and the weekends have been busy causing minor headaches.  All  in all, I am impressed and amazed at his recovery.  No travel for him until April (except a short trip to Oregon with a co-worker) so its just office work for him for now.  We are thankful that BPI has been so flexible with Britton through his recovery.  I’m glad to have him home for another month and a half.  Its been awesome having him around.