Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good-bye 2011

I decided to do one last post before the end of the year. I usually hate New Years Eve. It depresses me. But I decided this year i needed a new attitude because this year has pretty much sucked.

That kind of sounds bad. I don't mean to sound like a whiner because there were definitely some highlights in there, but overall I am ready for a new year.

Phil and I were talking about all the awesome things that could happen for us this coming year and it made me really excited.

We don't have any resolutions. And so far my only goal is to find out I don't have cancer/kick cancer's ass (which I totally intend on accomplishing). Phil's goal is to make me a doctor's wife. And get a big boy job.

Maybe by the end of the night, we might have a few more goals to add to the list.

Overall, we are just happy to have 2011 behind us. And we are VERY excited for 2012.

Happy New Year everyone!! Have safe night. See you in 2012!!

Love, Mrs. Janney

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Silver Linings

It is 2 days post surgery and thanks to a combo of pain meds, not moving, and soft food I am doing ok. My neck hurts. Duh. :)

I have had some time to think of some silver linings regarding this surgery (other than finding out if I have cancer).

1) The scar. I am now the proud owner of a scar across the front of my neck. And while I could just tell people the truth about my scar if asked about it. However, I think I could come up with a better story. Like a knife fight. After all, I totally look like the type of person who would get in a knife fight. Or maybe a bear attack. I may alternate between both stories.

2) Possible voice lose. Unfortunately for everyone, I can still talk. But there could be some damage to one of my vocal chords. I haven't tested my singing voice yet. But if I do kind of sound raspy when I sing, I have decided I will quit my engineering job and become a singer. Since Amy Winehouse died, there is an opening in the music world for a replacement. I will keep you posted.

3) Jeffrey got a Jamba Juice gift card in his stocking and last night he told me he wanted to use it to buy me a smoothies this morning. I told him he didn't need to use it on me and he said, "No Nat. I really want to do this." And he did! How cute is that?

4) My mother-in-law has made me 3 different kinds of soup and they are all homemade and delicious. I will have to get recipes and share them. Plus she made custard. It is Southern and yummy.

5) Since none of my food requires chewing, I am considering them calorie-free. Makes sense, right?

Ok I have actually lost my train of thought for this post, so I had better go. Thank you for the prayers. So far so good. I go back next Thursday to find out about the pathology.

Love, Mrs. Janney

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I am home.

Joanna let me borrow the recliner Josh used for his recovery, so I am happily parked here. It is very comfy.

Surprisingly, I woke from anesthesia with basically no nausea and very little pain. I had an overwhelming feeling of relief. I was just so glad the surgery was done and I was ok. Most of my pain was from the intubation. They put some local anesthetic in the wound during my surgery and gave me some IV meds.

We got to leave much sooner than we all thought I would and when I got home, my mother-in-law was making some of her yummy potato soup for me. It is like really smooth glorified mashed potatoes (read: so good and perfect for my throat).

After some Vicodine and food, I am really not that tired. I bet that changes soon.

I will go back to see the surgeon next week and we will discuss the pathology findings then.

Thanks for the prayers! I feel very loved and supported.

Love, Mrs. Janney

Surgery Day

It is the morning of my surgery.  My surgery isn't scheduled until 2:30 this afternoon, so I have been spending my morning packing an overnight bag (just in case I end up having to stay at the hospital tonight), preparing the house for when I get home, and doing my best to not accidentally drink something (which is much harder than you would think).

One of our pastors is coming over before we leave for OHSU to pray with me and I am hoping that helps calm my nerves.  And this morning people have been sending me messages and prayers which has been helping too.

Side Note:  Why is it when you know you can't eat or drink, your mouth starts watering like crazy?  I swear I have produced more saliva this morning than any other day in my life.

Anyway... if you feel like it today, please say a prayer for me today.  I am praying for a safe and easy surgery, a good recovery, and benign test results.  That would honestly be the best gift ever.

I am so ready to be rid of Ned and Naomi and get this thyroid stuff behind me.  It seems crazy to me that it has taken almost 6 months to get to this point.

Thanks guys!  I will try to update you guys as much as possible.

Love, Mrs. Janney

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I'm not sure if anyone has caught on by now, but I struggle with anxiety a fair bit.  To a certain extent, I think it is understandable.  Even if it is understandable lately, it still is super annoying and being anxious really doesn't solve any problems.

So I've been working on it for a while.

Now that I am less than a week until my surgery, I am doing my best to keep busy and not let myself think about negative stuff (since it won't change a thing!).

After a post from last week, my friend Jenna asked if I wanted to go paint pottery like we used to in high school.  Since I haven't seen her since our friends wedding in June 2010 (way too long), I was super excited she suggested it.  Why haven't I thought of it before?

Side note about Jenna... for part of my bachellorette party, we went to a drag show.  In the middle of the show, the star drag queen (who happens to be 80 years-old) walks out into the audience singing a song.  While singing his song he catches a glimpse of Jenna, who was wearing a low-cut dress.  He stopped singing, stopped the music, and pointed out how great Jenna's boobs were to the entire audience.  Jenna was mortified, but I don't think she should have been.  Own it girl.  :)

We met at Creat A Memory last night and about two and half wonderful hours, sitting there talking and painting.  I got to catch up on her new man, her job, life, etc.  It was awesome and exactly what I needed.

{my mini-teapot}

I left feeling really relaxed and much less anxious.

Thank you Jenna!  I had so much fun!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Surgery Concerns (somewhat humorous)

I am nervous about surgery.  I think that is totally normal.  It would probably be weird if I wasn't a little nervous before surgery.  There are a couple of concerns I have, which range from normal to completely irrational.

1.  What if the surgeon slips and accidentally cuts my artery?

This would qualify as an irrational surgery.  The surgeon works at probably the best hospital in the state.  Plus she's been a surgeon for 30 years.  And she is double certified as an ENT surgeon and a microvascular (I think) surgeon which I think means she is specialized in veins.  And finally, she has multiple awards in her waiting room, toting her as one of the top 100 surgeons in America for thyroid care, thyroid cancer, and neck surgery.

2.  General anesthia.

I think this is a rational fear as there are always risks when you undergo genearl anesthia.  I have been under before and everything was just fine, so that makes me feel better.  But seeing as this is my major concern, the anxiety has been kind of hard to manage.  It is almost to the point where the thought of having cancer has been out of my mind because I am so worried about the surgery (that is stupid).

So I came up with what I thought was a good remedy for my anxiety.  I have been watching episodes of Dr. 90210.  There are 6 seasons on Netflix.  That is a bunch of people who undergo anesthia VOLUNTARILY and all come out fine.

It is kind of helping.  I think I should be a therapist.

3.  What in the world will a wound in the neck feel like?

This sparked an interesting conversation with Phil last night.  I think with certain surgeries, you kind of know what to expect.  When I had surgery on my feet, I knew it would hurt to walk.  When you have your wisdom teeth taken out, you know your mouth will hurt.  But I have never had a wound to the neck.  And you don't really realize how much you use your neck.  Not to mention that the neck is just a vulnerable spot in general (i.e. no bones or anything protecting it).  So I told Phil this last night and here is how that went.

Phil:  Well, it won't actually hurt.

Me:  What?

Phil:  They will do the stitches and the cutting while you are out, so it won't hurt.

Me:  Are you serious?

Phil:  Yeah.  What would you feel?

Me:  Are you telling me that after I am out of surgery, you don't think it will hurt?

Phil:  Well I am sure you will have a little pain...

Me:  Are you kidding me?

We talked it out.  Turns out Phil has never had surgery or stitches, so he really doesn't have any experience to base his opinion on.  He did manage to make me feel like a big baby though.  We defined what is classified as "sharp" or "dull" pain.  I hate to say it, but... Men.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Busy Beaver

My attitude change Saturday night seriously shaped my Sunday.  I am pretty sure I did more stuff Sunday than I did in the last month combined.  I don't know what the deal was, if it was because it was the last weekend before Christmas (and therefore the last weekend before my in-laws came and I had surgery) but it was a crazy successful day.

I have done this in the past, but I decided Saturday night that I didn't want to have to cook at all this coming week, but I did want us to eat healthy, homemade foods.  That meant I needed to prepare all of our dinners for this week on Sunday.  Since we have plans for Thursday on, I needed to make 4 dinners.

So here is how the day went:

6:45  Get up

7:45  Breakfast with my dad and Jeffrey

9:00  Church.  The musical group my mom is in was doing their Christmas program.  They did such a good job.  They even went to the Oregon State Penitentiary Sunday night and sang for some inmates.  That gave me a great opportunity to tell people my mom was going to jail.

11:00  Finished our Christmas Shopping

11:30  Gym.  Ran 3 miles.  Since I haven't worked out in a while, this was much harder than it should have been.

12:30  Lunch

1:30  Grocery Store

2:00  Cleaned the entire house.  Dust, vacuumed, mopped, gave the dog a bath, cleaned the bathroom, laundry, and cleaned our bedroom.

3:30  Ran some errands

4:30  Phil calls his parents, I started cooking.  I prepped a healthy chicken and rice casserole in the crock pot (which wasn't good, we got a pizza), a healthy pizza casserole, my wonderful shepards pie, turkey breast sloppy joes, and healthy biscuits.

7:00  Eat dinner.  Since Phil and I were watching The Next Iron Chef, I told him dinner was a ground turkey breast served in a Manwich reduction.  He totally went with it.

8:00  Finish and fold laundry

9:00  Talk to my mom.  She wasn't shanked while in jail. 

The most successful day I have had at home in a while.  It might have been smart to spend the day relaxing, but I think I have a week of lying around ahead of me.  I am not going to lie, it felt super duper superb to be so productive.


Ok... done bragging.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Can we get a little honesty?

I have a lot to do this week at work.  Being gone the week after Christmas (and possibly longer) and being one of 2 engineers at the office... I have some deadlines I have to meet before Christmas.  Plus, I want to take Friday afternoon off.  :)

So Saturday, I bit the bullet and went to work.  I got my desk cleaned off and got some work done.  I took a small break during the day and decided to hop on Facebook.

That was kind of a mistake.

After seeing YET ANOTHER person post pictures of their pregnant belly and brag about "how amazing" the past year has been, I was hit with overwhelming feelings of how unfair things can be (and kind of have been).

And what doesn't help when dealing with hard times is having everyone else brag about how great things are.  I am not saying we should all have a pity party, but a little honesty would be nice.  I have a hard time believing that life is sunshine and unicorns for so many people.  What I think is more likely is that people like to pretend like life is so great.  We couldn't possibly be vulnerable enough to show others that our lives are anything but perfect, could we?

After 6 hours, I went home.  It was 3:30 and I was ready for bed.  But Phil had an excellent plan for pulling me out of me sad state.

1.  Burger Basket
It is greasy and delicious.  Brings back lots of memories (like eating it in 1996 when we had to evacuate our house because of the flood).  Also noteworthy here... it was 4:30.  We eat with senior citizens.

{By the way, I am totally aware that using food to lift my spirits makes me sound like a Biggest Loser contestant.  Whatever it worked}

2.  We tried to finish our Christmas shopping (came so close).

3.  Came home and started watching Gettysburg, folded laundry, Phil worked, and I wrapped presents.

4.  I bought the dog some Christmas pajamas from Target.  She looked so cute.  How could this not cheer you up?

It worked.  I went to bed feeling positive and lifted back up. 

And I have this guy to thank for it:

While this year has been hard, things with this guy are still REALLY good.  I am more than thankful for that.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ten Little Things, 2nd edition

Elizabeth with E Tells Tales is doing another link up.  Since last weeks was a bunch of fun, I decided to give it a shot again.  Make sure you read all 10 because the BEST is the last one.  Hopefully this becomes a regular thing.

10.  I wanted to go to the gym last night, but I ended up having to have more bloodwork done and my blood pressure was pretty low (and since I am anxious this is even more impressive), so we bagged it.  Later last night, Phil and I were talking about how the dog has gained some weight (she has gained 1/10th of her body weight in 6 months).  Phil mentioned that he was giving her less dog food to help her lose weight.  The dog immediately looked at me and her look said, "I'm not the only one that could lose some weight."  Then I swear her next look finished it off with, "Fatty."  So I am now getting guilt trips from my dog.

9.  It just so happens that Phil's parents will be in town when I have my surgery.  And because I figure there will be a fair amount of laying around and resting on my agenda for during their visit, I know we will be hanging out at home a lot.  In our living room we have a sofa, a loveseat, and a recliner.  Since I will be sprawled out across the sofa, I have recently been worried about where Phil and his parents will sit.  Two people really don't sit well on the loveseat, so we could be his mom on the loveseat.  And then his dad could sit on the recliner, but what about Phil?  Will he sit on the floor?  Or maybe I should lay across the loveseat?

Bottom line... WHO CARES?  They won't care.  Definitely one of the dumbest things to worry about.

8.  My sister-in-law informed me that my youngest nephews, Jacob and David, are looking forward to my surgery (since the surgery will help make me better).  They have a countdown going.  She told me today they said, "Only 9 days 'til Christmas!!  And only 11 days until Aunt Natalie's surgery!!"  How cute is that?

7.  The gym got new aerobic equipment last month and I was a little too excited about it.  Based on the schematic they had displayed in the gym, it looked like they were going to have individual televisions in them which meant I wouldn't have to watch the Food Network while I worked out.

Side Note:  Why do so many people like to watch the Food Network while they work out?  It is ALWAYS on when I go to the gym.  It reminds me of the scene in Honey I Shrunk the Kids, where they use the piece of cookie to get the ant to walk.  It is weird.

Anyway, I was wrong about the equipment.  No TVs.  But they do have little fans in them, which is nice.  Helps drown out the excessive perfume stench that follows some people.  Is it really necessary to wear a bottle of perfume to the gym?  The answer is no.

6.  Speaking of ants, we have been having a little problem with ants at the office.  This is kind of to be expected:  in the lunch room, when you leave some food on your desk, near the candy dish.  The one place you don't expect to have an ant problem?  THE BATHROOM.  There is nothing like finishing peeing, standing up and seeing a sugar ant crawling on the toilet seat.

I now have peeing references in both of my lists.

5.  Eventually, one of these lists is going to be reasons Tim Riggins is amazing.  I could come up with 10 reasons... EASY.

4.  Phil told me today that he has to go to Las Vegas in January to speak about some of the work he has been doing for the Mint Growers.  I am so proud of him that all of this work he has been doing is paying off.  Also, I am thinking it is an excellent excuse for me to go to Vegas.  He'll need emotional support, right?

3.  I have a hard time listening to people eat when I am not eating.  When Phil has a snack or if I finish eating first, I have to constantly remind myself that it is stupid to get made at him for eating.  I have an inner dialogue with myself saying, "Phil deserves to eat.  Phil deserves to eat."  Usually this works.  One of my co-workers was telling me that her husband also hates listening to people eat.  It drives him nuts too (Thank goodness because now I know I am not totally crazy-cakes).  I told her about my inner-dialogue.  She then told her husband.  And now apparently when he finishes eating, he says, "My family deserves to eat.  My family deserves to eat."  They laugh.  No one gets yelled at.  It works.  Happy meal times.

2.   The dog has an infected nail and has to take antibiotics three times a day for a week.  Since the pills are big and she isn't stupid, we have to hide the pills in food to get her to take them.  Her food of choice is cheese.  So basically, the dog is getting half a slice of packed cheese 3 times a day.  This should really help with that extra weight she is putting on.  Plus by the end of the week, she will expect cheese the morning, when we get home, and before bed.

1.  I saved the best for last.

I had an appointment with the endocrinologist this afternoon before my surgery.  I wasn't too nervous about the appointment because, as I told Phil before we went, there really wasn't anything new she could tell me.  When the doctor comes in, she starts talking to me about how brave I have been and that she has talked with the surgeon about me.  She starts to describe my surgery and she keeps referencing the side of my neck where there are no nodules.  Ned and Naomi are on the right, not the left.  I'll just give a play by play for you:

Endo:  She [the surgeon] will remove the left lobe of the thyroid.

Me:  Why the left?  My nodules are on the right.

Endo:  No you have a large nodule on the left.

Me: {trying to stay calm} No they have always been on the right.

Endo:  No.  My notes here say you have a 4 cm nodule on the left lobe.  Let me get the ultrasound to show you.  {Shuffles through papers}  See... Nodule.

Me:  {Starting to freak out now}  Why are we just NOW talking about this then?!?!

Endo:  Well let's do another ultrasound to double check.

So I get on the exam table.

Endo:  You first ultrasound says you have a 4 cm nodule.

Me:  I don't think you are looking at my chart.  I don't think that is my name on the ultrasound pictures.

Endo:  Oh... You are right.  I'm sorry.

Needless to say it really instilled a lot of confidence.  I thought for sure after I got cancer, my doctor would learn my name.  I gave her a pretty hard time about it the rest of the appointment, you know... after she looked at MY chart.  She later confirmed with me that I would have to come see her every 3 months for basically the rest of my life.  Here's how that went:

Endo:  We will get to know each other very well.

Me:  Yes.  I'm NATALIE.

We all laughed.  I'm a little terrified.

Seriously, she is SUPER highly recommended so I am not too concerned.  I just might wear a name tag at my next appointment.

Hope everyone has a good weekend!  Thanks for hosting the link-up E!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I'm losing it

I am a little ball of anxiety.  Waiting for things is hard.  Waiting for this surgery is really hard.  It is less than 2 weeks away, but it feels like time is slowing down.

I am doing my best to keep myself busy and to enjoy the Christmas season.  And while this is my FAVORITE time of year, even that has been hard.  I don't have a lot of stuff on my schedule and everyone is busy/sick (seriously why is everyone getting sick lately?).

I am doing my best to keep myself sane and focused.  Here are a few things that last night helped keep my anxiety level down to a 4 (out of 10):

{my view from the couch}

{Crocheting.  This helps a lot.}

{I got my print and Christmas CD from Hue & Hum!  I am so excited!!  I have the CD playing now as I write this.  The print is called "It's Not Fair" and it was inspired by friends of the artist who have been dealing with infertility.  Too relateable}

And just for clarification, I was not given the print or the CD as a sponsorship type this.  I bought them.  I like to keep it old school.  :)

I am hoping to keep myself nice and calm today so I can be SUPER productive.  We will see.

Stay healthy, people.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Karate Kid and Storm Troopers

Saturday, Phil and I went to Jeffrey's belt test for karate.  He was testing to move up from a purple belt to a blue belt.  He has been training for the last 7+ months to prepare for the test.  Since Jeffrey isn't exactly the most diligent with practicing, we were all a little nervous.

He did SUCH a good job.  He knew his combinations and all the routines they have to do.  He was focused and work so hard.

{Waiting to find out if they passed}

He passed!

It was one of the cutest things I have seen in a while.  I was so glad he passed.  Even the thought of seeing him disappointed hurt my heart.

A couple things however:

- One of the adult students was kind of a nazi about taking pictures.  When the test was almost over (it was close to an hour an a half), she came over to inform us we weren't allowed to take pictures until after the test was over.  Too late lady!  Probably should have stuck your nose in other people's business at the beginning of the test.  She was just a blue belt.  I could take her.

-  The age range for these kids was probably 8 to 15 (I'm guessing).  One of the black belts running Jeffrey's group (purple and blue belts) was a giant jackass jerk face.  He used the phrase, "Strength and focus.  Anything less is unacceptable and unexcuseable" and "Was there something about my instructions that was hard for you to understand?".  I know this is karate, but it was also an hour into the exam and THEY ARE 10 YEAR OLDS!  Good thing he didn't talk like that to Jeffrey.  I would have kicked his black belt ass.

On the way home, we saw this:

There was also a Klingon (not pictured).

There are no words. 

No words until my husband explained to me why all the Storm Trooper costumes (there were 3 of them) were different.  When I almost vomited in my mouth thinking I had unknowingly married a closet Star Wars nut, he informed me he was just really observant (which is completely true).  He doesn't secretly attend conventions or anything like that.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lessons in Engineering

As a licensed civil engineer, I have to acrue a certain number of continuing education hours in order to maintain my shiny new license.  To gain some of those hours, I spent Monday at a Soil Mechanics and Slope Stability seminar.

Jealous?  I know you are.

Actually most of you are wondering, "A whole day talking about dirt... How did you stay awake?"

The answer... Copious amounts of coffee.

Here is something I learned from the seminar:  Geotechnical Engineers really have no way of knowing all that much about the soil on a particular site.  The best they can do it take lots of sample and gather a decent amount of information to make an educated guess.

Isn't that comforting?  Basically, your house is sitting on dirt that someone made some assumptions about and decided it was probably good enough.

That piece of information goes along quite well this quote I read a while ago by James Amrhein:

"[Structural engineering can be defined as] the art and science of molding Materials we do not fully understand, into Shapes we cannot precisely analyze, to resist Forces we cannot accurately predict--all in such a way that the society at large is given no reason to suspect the extent of our ignorance."
Comforting, no?

Alright, I am off to work now.  :)

Don't worry people... I am smart.

Today I am evaluating proposed stormwater quality standards.  So if I mess it, it really only harms the environment.  No big deal.

Kind of wishing I would have been a music major.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Busy Day

{My in-laws sent us this ornament in a care package this last week. 
They said we needed some Southern on our tree.  :) 
I am Southern you know... by marriage.}

I actually have a pretty busy week ahead of me (or at least for me).  I have quite a few appointments on my calendar, which I am really thankful for.  Christmas always seems to take forever to get here.  Add to that the fact that I really want to get my surgery over with and I think time has purposefully slowed down.  I am hoping the busy schedule will help distract me for waiting.

Today, I went to a Soils Mechanics and Slope Stability Seminar up in Portland.  It was an entire day of listening to an instructor talk about soil and I had to get up early.  What is it about knowing you have to get up early that makes it almost impossible to get a good night's sleep?  I don't like it.

I had every intention of going to the gym after we got home, but I was pretty tired .  I just wanted to come home, eat, and go to bed.  Since I didn't have the energy to go to the gym, I made a healthy dinner.  I thought it was a good compromise.

It is made with ground turkey breast, heart healthy Bisquick, and then we used low-fat Sharp Cheddar and Omega-3 eggs.  It was super good.  The recipe says you are supposed to get 8 servings out of it.  Maybe that would be true if you made a ton of other side dishes with it.  I made no other side dishes.  I was going to heat up a can of corn but opening the can was more than I could handle.  Even if you take twice the suggested portion size (like I did), it is still only 422 calories.  Not bad for dinner.

I am amazed with myself that I actually made dinner.

Ok I am going to bed now.  At 8:30.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ten Little Things

Today I am linking up with E Tells Tales for her Friday Ten Little Ivie Things.  Elizabeth is HILARIOUS (I love someone who narrates their baby's thoughts with almost curse words), so I figured some of the lists other people post should be pretty funny too.

I have decided my list will be made up of random thoughts from throughout this past week.  All of which are too short for a blog post of their own.

{I just like this picture.  Image via my pinterest}

10.  I am in love with Friday Night Lights.  I finially finished the series on Netflix this past week and rather than move on to a new show, I just started it over again.  I love the show so much I had this conversation with Phil:

Me:  I think I thought of another baby name.

[Side note:  I'm not pregnant]

Phil:  Oh yeah?

Me:  Yeah.  I want to name our baby Tim Riggins.

Phil:  {no reaction}

Me:  First name Tim.  Middle name Riggins.  Therefore, Tim Riggins Janney.

Phil:  Sure.  Sounds good!

Me:  Or maybe if I ever get pregnant, we will refer to the unborn baby as "Baby Tim Riggins."  Do you think people will think that is weird.

Phil:  They probably will.

Me:  Whatevs.

I love Tim Riggins.  Not so much the actor though.  I saw him in one of the X-Men movies and it totally shattered the illusion.

9.  I saw a junior-high kid walking to school yesterday.  He was carrying a musical intrument.  While I was waiting for him to cross the street, I figured out what the instrument was... the bassoon.  I am 94% confident about this.  How do I know?  I play the bassoon.  And just in case you were wondering... I am quite good.

8.  I have a mental countdown to my surgery date.  And everything in my mind is relative to when I have my surgery.  Like Christmas?  I know that Christmas is 16 days away.  But the reason I know that is because my surgery is 18 days away.  I am thinking about making a paper chain.  Remember those?  (I am not really making a paper chain.)  I can't wait to get Ned and Noami out of my neck.  How awesome would it be to find out I don't have cancer?  I'd take that over a puppy.

7.  On sunday, I got my flu shot and on tuesday I got my bloodwork done for my surgery.  Both happened in my right arm (because I am left-handed).  I now think my right arm hates me.

6. Tuesday night, I had a meeting in Albany. I know you are jealous. My boss, aka mi pater (that's Latin folks), is on a committee that is working on a comprehensive plan for an undeveloped area in South Albany. He (and I since I keep going to the meetings) represent a client of ours who owns about half of the property in the area. Basically, it is our job to represent his interests in what happens to the area (aka make sure the entire area isn't dedicated to be a natural wildlife reserve which he can never develop).

I've now lost ALL of my readers.

The meeting invited the community to come and voice their opinions about what they envisioned for this area of town. Should their be a coffee shop here? Maybe some duplexes here? Light industrial or commercial development here?

And suddenly I realized...

We were all playing SimCity. Only now in real life.

I loved that game in the 7th grade. It was addicting. No wonder so many people showed up.

5.  Part of my pre-surgery bloodwork was a urine pregnancy test.  When I showed up to the lab, they informed me that my (two forms of) insurance may not cover the costs of the tests, and then I would be billed for costs.  They then told me the costs of the tests.  The urine pregnancy test was something like $26.  I seriously wanted to ask them if I could walk across the street to the Walgreens and buy a First Response Test or something.  It would be cheaper and I would have gotten like 3 of them.

The process of retrieving the urine sample was not super enjoyable either.  The previous patient had left their sample in the bathroom (gross).  There was "water" all over the floor.  At least I hope it was water.  There were liquid rings on the top of the toilet paper dispenser, as in people had put their filled cups there while they finished their business (also gross).  Pretty sure the floor was the cleanest thing in there.

That was probably an overshare.  Sorry people.

4.  Yesterday, I got to the office and realized I was wearing my black coat, navy blue pants, and camel colored Ugg slippers.  Definitely a fashion fail.  Did I mention I was wearing flannel as well?

3.  Last week, my mom told Jeffrey the truth about Santa. 

His friends at school kept telling him there was no Santa, so Jeffrey wanted to borrow my parents video camera to record Santa's antics on Christmas Eve.  That way he would have proof to show his friends.  Personally, I thought it was a genius idea.  My mom decided she couldn't lie to him.  She wanted him to believe her about other things like God and she was worried if she lied to him, he wouldn't believe her about other things.  Makes sense.

He cried.  And then he told her he wished she wouldn't have told him.  And he was mad at her the rest of the night.

Doesn't that break your heart?

At least my mom told him weeks before Christmas.  She told me 4 DAYS before Christmas.  And the only reason they told me is because my parents were going to buy the "Santa Gift" for my brothers and they had to bring me along with them.  I was like 10, so it was probably about time.

When I tell my kids about Santa, I am going to do it THIS way.

2.  I feel like I really belong in the blogging community now... I ordered a print off of etsy.  The artist's shop is called Lady Hue.  I also ordered her Christmas album.  She and her husband recorded the album in their bathroom.  It shipped yesterday!  I am so excited to get it.  The print is going up in my office.

1.  I got some comfy flannel pajamas on Black Friday to wear after my surgery.  They look warm, but not too heavy and have plenty of room around the neck.  Because I bought them for my surgery, I kind of feel like I shouldn't wear them before that.  I think this is proof that my mom was very strict about not wearing school clothes before the first day of school.  It would probably be ok if I wore my pajamas prior to my surgery.

Alright, I did it!  I won't lie... it was hard coming up with 10 things.  Hopefully some of you stuck around to read all 10.  :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Christmas List

I let Phil know what I wanted for Christmas this year.

{all images via Pinterest}

An English Bulldog Puppy

I want it with a bow on, under the tree, Christmas morning.

But Phil said no.  :(

They are like $2,000.  And we just bought a new TV.  Plus we might be looking at some medical expenses this next year.  Joy.

Phil said once he gets a big boy job, he will buy me a puppy.

I guess I can wait.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Being a Graduate Wife

I am the wife of a Graduate student.

My husband is getting his PhD in Environmental and Molecular Toxicology.  He is (finger's crossed) almost done.  I am hoping he gets done by June of 2012.  I really want him to walk in the graduation ceremony OSU does every June.

Sometimes having a spouse in graduate school is really nice.

- He can set his own hours sometimes which means he can help me get ready in the morning, be home about when I am, and go to almost all of my doctor's appointments with me.

But sometimes it really sucks.

- Deadlines which HAVE to be met and are usually completely unreasonable so my husband has to leave me and go to campus on a Sunday night until Monday morning.

Oh wait... that JUST HAPPENED!

So even though he didn't want to, Phil had to leave his patheticly tired and neck-cramped wife to fend for herself for the entire night.

Seeing as I was too tired to move, I managed to get the energy to grab my credit card and order pizza.  I am more than amazed that I was able to do that and didn't just eat a bowl of cereal (which I was seriously considering).

In case you were wondering, Phil came home at 2 in the morning just to switch the cars.  He woke me up, gave me a few kisses and left again.  :(  Also sad... I couldn't fall back asleep for an hour and a half, which really didn't help the overwhelming tiredness I have currently been experiencing.

Phil felt really bad.  But I am not even the tiniest bit upset with him.  I remember Graduate School.  It blows.

The life of a Graduate Wife...

I am counting down the days until June.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Saturday, I had a meeting at the office all morning.  I woke up that morning with my neck and shoulders aching intensely.  Pretty strong pain.  Not turn my head kind of pain.  I spent a good 30 minutes during the meeting trying to stretch out my neck.

While I was stretching out my neck, I thought to myself, "Maybe it is stress.  I mean... it has been a tough week."

A week spent on the phone, contacting this doctor and that doctor.  Updating everyone.  Trying to keep calm and cope with the idea that I may have cancer.  Trying to not think about the fact that I would need surgery and that the cancer may have spread.  Tough week.

Then I thought, "Well the week before that I found out I had cancer.  That was really hard.  So I guess it has been a rough 2 weeks."

Then I realized, "The week before that I was trying to get the biopsy rescheduled and I actually had the biopsy.  It's been a hard 3 weeks."

Finally it dawned on me, "The week before that was when the first biopsy was supposed to happen and got cancelled.  4 weeks.  Basically a month.  It has been a really hard month."

No wonder my neck hurts.

Plus I am not really sleeping well at all.

I am tired.

I am seriously considering getting a massage.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Holiday Spirit

Thanksgiving this year was, understandably so, a little weird.  Phil and I had cancelled our trip to Georgia and decided we would make dinner here for my parents and Jeffrey.  It was the second time I had made Thanksgiving diner myself (the first time was in England with Emory).  It turned out great, if I do say so myself.

After dinner, we all went over to the craft store to pick up a new fake tree for Phil and I as well as some lawn Christmas decorations for my parents.  They were having quite the sale.  I can easily say it was the first time any of us had some any shopping ON Thanksgiving.  Maybe a new interesting tradition?  Who knows.

Then we decorated our Christmas tree... on Thanksgiving night.  The only way I sold this to Phil is that TECHNICALLY we had already eaten dinner and dessert so we could consider Thanksgiving over.  Plus I had just found out I had cancer, so I got a little more leeway to do what I wanted.

I have added a few more things to the tree since I took this picture.  Phil says it looks like a professional tree decorator did our tree.  :)  Smart man. 

I used the banner I had made for Tegan's Bridal Shower, twisted some lights with it and draped it across the curtain rods.  I think it looks really cute.  I think I will finish the other banner like it I had started.

I still have a little more decorating to do, but we will see if I get the motivation to do it.  :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Here's an update

I have been behind on my posting... bad blogger.  But I kind of think I have a good reason.  I have had things I wanted to write about and then I forgot.  So I guess for now I will give an update.

I feel like I have spent so much time on the phone the last few weeks.  I got lucky and was able to get in to see the surgeon this last Friday instead of next Thursday.  She had the pathologist at OHSU look at the biopsy slides and give his opinion.  He said that he thinks the nodules are benign.  The surgeon said I could just wait and see what happens with the nodules and have more biopsies done to see if things change or I could have half of my thyroid removed, which would confirm whether the nodules are benign or not.

{The flowers my mother-in-law sent me.  It is an ornament... how cute is that?!?  Thank you, Faith!  I meant to tell you how much I liked them today but I forgot}

This is great news.  However, it is also the exact opposite of what my other doctor told me which is super confusing.  The surgeon said that there is probably a 15 to 20% chance that the nodules are cancerous.  Those odds are much better than what the endocrinologist first told me but still higher than I would like.

I have decided that I want to have surgery.  I am not necessarily a wait and see type of person.  Plus the wait and see strategy came with a lot of "buts."  It is scheduled for December 27th.  If it isn't cancer, it would be wonderful to find that out.  If it is cancer, I would rather find out now and take care of it before it has the chance to spread even more.


Surgery is in a few weeks.  And until then, I have some hope to hold on to.  I REALLY hope the OHSU pathologist is right.

It was kind of weird to hear good news.  I almost didn't know what to do with it.  It had been so long since I had heard anything good, I didn't know what to do with it.  After a few days, it has sunk in a little and I am feeling more hopeful.

How awesome would it be to start 2012 with some benign results?  I'd take it.  :)

In the meantime, I have been surrounded by love and support which I have really appreciated.  You people in my life are awesome.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Results are in...

Last Tuesday right before 5, I got a call from the endo's office.  They wanted me to come in.  They offered to see me that night (after the office had closed) or the next morning.  I wanted to go immediately.

I was still at the office at that time and the doctor's office is literally 5 minutes from here.  I didn't want to go alone and thankfully my dad was right next to me when they had called (another unwritten perk of working with your family).

So my dad and I loaded up and head over.  The doctor walks in and before she even closes the door, she says, "I don't have good news for you."

Biopsy results came back as suspicious for follicular neoplasm which basically means I most likely have follicular thyroid cancer.  The only way to know for sure is to take out my thyroid surgically and look at the actual tissue.

I don't really feel like getting into a bunch of the details.  But here are the main points:

-  I am being referred to a surgeon up at OHSU.  I have my consultation with her next week.

-  I will need to have a chest scan done to make sure it hasn't spread.  It is a really slow growing cancer so it isn't likely it has spread, but obviously they need to check.

-  If it comes back as cancer after the surgery, I will have to do radioactive iodine and then take monster amounts of thyroid supplements for the rest of my life (no big deal, every woman in my family takes those anyway so it was inevitable).

So that is that.  Needless to say, it made for an interesting Thanksgiving.

I know thyroid cancer like this is super curable and most likely everything will be totally fine, but it still is never fun to hear the word "cancer" especially when it is directed towards you. 

I have slowly told some people around me about my news.  My family knows.  Some of my friends know.  And the good thing is that I have heard from a bunch of people who are praying for me and have offered their help and support in whatever way I need.  And that was definitely something to be thankful for.

I greatly appreciate all of the prayers and support.  Keep them coming!  I will take them.  :)  Even if I haven't responded to you or if maybe I don't right away in the future, it isn't because I don't appreciate your support.  I am just doing my best to handle this kind of crappy news.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Seems like an appropriate song...

To go with my White Christmas theme as well as the fact that Thanksgiving is tomorrow, I have decided to post this video.

Considering the stresses I have been dealing with lately, I feel like it is super important to keep songs like this in mind.  Because the truth is, no matter what happens, I have so many blessings in my life.

Last night I woke up at 1:44 in the morning and was wide awake for a couple of hours.  And for a while, in between reading and playing sodoku, I ran this song through my head and counted my blessings, one of the biggest being the sleeping man laying next to me, and two other being my parents and family (in-laws included) who have bent over backwards to support me and my wonderful friends.

Another reason I posted this is because I had no idea what else to write.  My apologies.  :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mr. Bones

Sunday, our family got together to watch White Christmas.  We do this every year, right before Thanksgiving.  We used to do it the night before Thanksgiving, but we had to change the date when Phil and I started travelling to Georgia.

This year, Jake and David were super excited about watching it.  While we waited to start the movie, I asked the boys what their favorite song from the movie was.  Jake coudln't pick a favorite, but David definitely know which song he liked:

Mr. Bones

Or Minstrel Show, as it is referred to in the movie.

He then performed a concert for us.

Personally, I like the hat.  When he finished, we clapped.  I asked him what the name of the song he performed was...

"Mr. Bones," he said with a smile on his face.

I am going to be sad when all of my nephews are "cool teenagers" and aren't this cute anymore.

Monday, November 21, 2011

4th times a charm...

I anxiously awaited Friday morning for my biopsy appointment.  Every time my phone rang, moved, hummed, etc. my heart would beat a little faster.  However, by 11:30, I had heard nothing from the endo office, so my mom and I set off so I could get poked.

I go to the front desk of the office to check-in for my appointment.  The receptionist says, "I don't see you on the schedule for today.  You can go talk to the doctor's scheduler."

Ok... Don't panic.  It is probably a mistake.

I walk up to the doctor's scheduler.  Here's how that went:

Me:  I am here for my appointment at noon.

Scheduler:  Well I don't see you on the schedule.

Me:  [blank stare]

Scheduler:  I have you on the schedule for November 30th.

Me:  [Trying to stay calm] No.  You called me on Monday and said you could see me on Friday at noon.

Scheduler:  Ok... Well it isn't in the schedule...

Me:  [Deep breathing and more blank staring]

Scheduler:  I remember talking to you.  I remember emailing the doctor.  I remember putting it into the schedule, but now I can't find it on the schedule.

Me:  [Thinking to myself, "This can't be happening."  I was about ready to tell her I wasn't leaving the office today without getting the biopsy done.]

Scheduler:  She has a lunch meeting.

I bet she does.

Scheduler:  I can see if I can cancel that.  Did you take off work for this?

What does that matter?

Me:  Yes.  I can come back at one.

Scheduler:  [Excited] Oh can you come back at one?  That would be great!

Me:  Yeah.  So am I DEFINITELY on for one?

Scheduler:  Yes.

Can you believe that?!?!  Only I have this kind of luck.

So I walked out to my mom and told her we needed to leave and she about lost it.

Mom:  WHAT?!?!  You've got to be kidding me!!  This place is RIDICULOUS!!!

Gotta love my mom.

My mom and I went and got a small bite to eat and then went back.  I didn't have to wait very long and the biopsy began.  I had both nodules biopsied which meant 12 needle pokes in the neck.

But honestly... it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.  Not that is was pleasant, but I think it could have been worse.  The worst part was the last draw of the first nodule when the doctor said to her nurse, "Can you get me the longer needle?"  Not something you like to hear.  And that draw felt WEIRD.

My neck was pretty sore afterwards and still is.  But hopefully it will be the last time I have to have my neck poked at .

Now I just have to not drive myself (and Phil) nuts waiting for the results.

Keep praying for BENIGN results.

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