I headed over to Michael's and grabbed a foam wreath ring. Then I browsed the clearance section and found some fall-colored flowers and ribbon. I was originally going to try to copy this exactly by the fake hydrangeas are $7.99 each and the clearance flowers were at most $2.19 each. I decided to just use this image as inspiration.
With a little bit of time and a few sticks of hot glue, here is the final result.
What do you think? I think it turned out really cute! Now, I will just have to figure out what to make for next week...
I know I'm a day late on posting and linking up, but better late than never! And I want to say a very special congratulations to IA on the birth of her beautiful baby boy!
I want to take a minute to talk about the C word. No, not that one. Cancer. It affects way too many people that we know and love. It is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad thing. Why am I bringing it up? I'll tell you.
Two weeks ago, I went to the dermatologist to have a routine check up. I haven't been in a few years and I wanted to go while my current insurance plan will still pay for it. (I switch plans on December 1 and it will not be covered.) I waited almost a year for this appointment. I wanted the doctor to look at some suspicious moles/freckles. I had one particular mole on my left breast that has grown over the past few years and had undefined borders. She was immediately concerned by it and cut it off for a biopsy. The place she removed was about the size of a dime. She told me it would be a week or so before she had the results. The day before my 26th birthday, I got the call. The nurse on the other end of the line told me that the biopsy showed that I had very severe atypia. Very severe? Doesn't that seem redundant? I questioned what that meant and I was told that that meant that the mole was becoming cancer and that I needed to have it removed before it reached that point, and I needed it removed as soon as possible. They had not gotten clear margins and would need to go back and remove part of my breast to make sure that we were in the clear. It would be a minor surgery that would require stitches. Well, today is that day. My appointment is in an hour and I'm not going to lie, I am nervous. This isn't my first rodeo with the C word. My cervix thought it would be really cool to grow severely atypical cells my senior year in college. I had to have multiple procedures to nip it in the bud. Trust me, colposcopy is never a word you want to hear your doctor say. (Well, it is in the sense that it is helpful, but it is most certainly not pleasant. It involves liquid nitrogen, scissors, and your cervix. I'll let you just picture that for a moment.) I was finally in the clear, but it was a close call. In the 3 months between my two procedures, I had progressed from moderate to severe atypical cells.
I have been lucky in both instances for early detection of these abnormalities. I am very grateful for this. Two cancer scares before you turn 26 is not ideal. (I also had a lump removed from my right breast in 2008, but it turned out to just be scar tissue.) I urge every one of you to keep regular appointments with your physicians. Take note of your moles/freckles/lumps/bumps and alert your doctor when they change. You can never be too careful. Today, I will add another scar to my body, but it's worth it.
So today is my 26th birthday. It's a rather uneventful day. I'm in my cast after surgery, so I can't walk or drive myself anywhere, so I'm kind of at the mercy of everyone else for my birthday plans. My dear sweet friend RB is picking me up from work to take me to lunch (so that I don't have to eat alone in my office) and then Mom and I will probably go out to dinner tonight since Daddy is in Vegas. Like I said, nothing exciting.
The Bible Study I did with my youth group on Sunday night was a continuation on our study of 1 John. This week, we talked about how God is love. One of my youth wrote this on her dry erase board and asked everyone what they saw.
Life is all about opportunity and positivity. Believe me, I have to remind myself of this all the time because it is not my natural inclination. Do you see "love is nowhere" or do you see "love is now here"? This got me thinking. I went around the room and asked each youth to say something positive about their week. I was surprised with how many of them struggled. I challenged them for the coming week. I asked each youth to write down something positive about each day and we will all share our lists next Sunday. I am excited to hear what they have come up with.
In honor of my 26th year on this earth, I wanted to make a list of 26 blessings in my life. Here goes...
I am blessed to have 2 wonderful, loving, and supportive parents.
I am blessed to have a great group of friends that listen to me whine, make me laugh, and uplift me.
I am blessed to be a part of a church that always amazes me.
I am blessed with an incredible sense of humor. (Don't act surprised that I included this one...ha!)
I am blessed to be part of a fantastic sisterhood of Kappa Alpha Theta. I'm lucky enough to be an advisor and my sweet ladies sent me chocolate covered strawberries and cheesecake when I was at home recovering from my surgery.
I am blessed to live in a country where I can get the healthcare I need. I'm not discussing politics here. I am simply stating that I am fortunate to be able to have had surgery to fix my broken foot and to also have detected my almost-cancer before it became cancer this week. (Maybe more on that at another time.)
I am blessed to have Princess Fiona as a loving and faithful (although sometimes grouchy) companion.
I am blessed to have a cute (but overpriced) apartment, even though I can't live it in right now (because I can't climb the 3 flights of stairs with my broken foot).
I am blessed to have lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins that I enjoy spending time with. My family is a little crazy, but that's what makes them fun.
I am blessed with the sweetest Grandmother on the planet. Seriously, y'all. She is kind and generous and has the best heart.
I am blessed to have had the world's best Granddaddy. The man was a wealth of knowledge, faith, and compassion. I miss his laugh and his hugs.
I am blessed to have my Wofford education. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the college of my choice and major in Art History, while having amazing adventures with my new (and old) friends.
I am blessed to have had the opportunity to travel all over the world. I've been able to go to places all over the USA and Europe.
I am blessed to have had the good fortune to study and live in Rome, Italy for 4 whole months. I would not trade that experience for the world! I'm dying to go back.
I am blessed to have not 1, but 2 jobs in an economy where a lot of people are suffering to make ends meet. This is not a bragging statement, honest.
I am blessed to live in such a great city. Greenville has really grown in the past decade, and it has flourished into quite the destination. I am proud to call it home.
I am blessed with relatively good health, despite my clumsy injuries (and migraines). Damn migraines.
I am blessed to be able to pursue my passion for art through my jewelry business. I've been working on a lot of pieces lately and I'd forgotten how much I love it.
I am blessed to have such a creative and talented group of friends and family. They have started their own businesses, mastered their own crafts, and made the world a better place.
I am so blessed to work with my youth group. They are such an inspired group of young people and they are changing the world. I am so proud!
I am blessed to be able to sit down at this computer and share my thoughts, dreams, hopes, sorrows, joys, and flaws with the world. Not everyone is so lucky and I know I take this freedom for granted some days.
I am blessed to have the means to support myself and to help those around me. I am certainly not rich, and I live a lot of months paycheck to paycheck. However, when I do have the means, I like to treat those around me and shower them with love.
I am blessed to have so much love in my life. It is nice to sit back and bask in it some days.
I am blessed to live in a time where the knowledge of the world is expanding so rapidly. I feel like I learn at least 5 new things everyday!
I am blessed to have woken up this morning! We aren't ever guaranteed another day here. One of my youth joked on Sunday and said, "I am happy to have once again broken my record of consecutive days lived. I hope to break that record again tomorrow."
I am blessed to have wonderful readers like y'all! Thank you from the bottom of my hot pink sparkly heart.
On September 8, the BFFAE hung up her single lady hat and tied the knot. While I am extremely happy for her, I can say with all honesty that it marks another scary transition into adulthood. When did I get to this age where my friends have husbands? Don't even get me started on friends with babies. (Disclaimer: I am totally for my friends being happy. I just don't see myself as old enough to get married yet. Maybe it's because I feel like I was in college just yesterday and high school wasn't a decade behind me.)
The wedding was epic. The BFFAE hired a phenomenal wedding planner, who has quickly become one of our closest friends. The ceremony was beautiful. Short and sweet and picture perfect. The reception, however, was what made an awesome wedding a truly epic one. The BFFAE and her Mister know how to have a good time. The wedding planner found a great DJ who also did karaoke. (Karaoke is HUGE among our crowd. I prefer to preform backup, but most of our Frieda have signature hits.) The bride preformed Gangsta's Paradise. The bridesmaids sang Call Me Maybe (obviously). Golf Guy was a groomsman and he sang La Bamba and Ice Ice Baby. And as y'all saw in a previous post, the BFFAE and her college crew sang Africa. It was amazing.
As part of my maid of honor duties, I was asked to do a toast at the reception. I knew that if I tried to be sentimental and tell them how much I loved them, I'd cry. A lot. So I opted for a different route. I rapped. (Yes, you read that right.) I rewrote the lyrics of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song to be about the happy couple. I can't get the video to upload now, but maybe I can figure it out later. In case you were curious, here are the lyrics:
Now this is the story all about how
Their lives got flipped, turned upside down
I'd like to take a minute
Just sit right there
And I'll tell you the love story of my friends Kyle and Claire.
In Centereach, NY he was born and raised
On the golf course is where he spends most of his days
Chillin out, maxing, relaxin all cool
Hanging out at City Tavern playing Ne That Tune
In December '08
He met my girl Claire
They were introduced by Mo and they made a great pair
She'd seen him at the Vinings hanging out by the pool
She said "His body's so dreamy and he seems so cool!"
Well, he took her to Ireland
It was quite the affair
He asked her to marry him right then and there
That was last August and now it's September
And the 8th is a date that we'll always remember
Kyle saw his bride and he said "wow!"
And we're all here because they said their vows!
Catchy, right?! Speaking of catching...yours truly caught the bouquet. (Technically, it hit me in the face.) What do we think that means?
Enjoy the pictures! (And yes, I was in a boot because of my broken foot. And yes, I decorated it.)
As you already read some of the details about the weekend, you know I threw the BFFAE a weekend to remember before she said "I do." We all gathered at the magnificent beach house in the Dirty Myrtle and made dinner and cocktails. We watched Bridesmaids and played some drinking games. Mostly, we just told embarrassing stories about ourselves and each other and giggled until we couldn't breathe. I passed out the Bridal Bash Survival kits I'd made for everyone. I knew we'd be needing some of the items pretty soon. The kits included: brightly colored BandAid s, Colgate Wisps, flossers, double-sided Hollywood tape, 500mg Tylenol, Wet Wipes, and a cocktail ring. All items ce in handy at some point during the weekend!
Around midnight, someone decided we should all get dresses up and walk to the bar down the road, called "The Shack." We figured it would be a local dive bar and hoped it would have karaoke, because that's how we roll. Everyone gets dressed in these mi I dresses and sky high heels. I opted to stay in my sundress and flip flops but I did add some makeup. We set off, thinking it was a few blocks away. It was a mile. When we got there, FINALLY, it was closed. And it was a pancake house. We'd be so so wrong. We sulked on the walk home and most people went straight to bed.
[Insert previous story about me breaking my foot. They put me in a splint in the ER and told me not to walk on it.]
The BFFAE and I get back from the ER and SD is awake. Everyone else is still asleep. The BFFAE cooks brunch for those of us who are awake. JW joined us a little later, and finally Elmo and RM. (KK and NB had gone out for brunch.) I broke the news that I would be able to go to dinner but I'd have to catch a cab back after because I wasn't going to be able to go to clubs and bars on crutches. Not safe or efficient. Well NB was not satisfied with that plan. She called and got us dinner reservations at a great restaurant, called and rented me a wheelchair from Walgreen's for the weekend (for only $10/day), and got us a limo for the evening. She hooked us up in true NB fashion. That girl flirts til it hurts and won't accept no as an answer. SR and AL joined the party that afternoon. We got all dolled up again and had a mini shower for the BFFAE. I planned a Bling the Bride shower and asked each guest to bring one piece of jewelry for her to be able to wear and enjoy and have as a memento from the weekend.
The limo picked us up and took us out to dinner. We were loud and fun, as usual. I think one family requested to be moved away from us, but another family bought us tequila shots. You lose some, you win some. We have such an awesome group of women and they all made sure that someone was pushing my wheelchair and that I wasn't left out, even though it was the BFFAE's celebration. We went to a few different clubs, sang karaoke, and danced. In true NB fashion, she got us a VIP Lounge in one bar. It was a nice place to park my wheelchair and relax. SR looks enough like Adele that NB started telling people she was the real deal. They believed us. It was too funny. Plus, while everyone was dancing in the club, I was on baby watch for Snooki's little nugget to be born. When we finally saw that it had happened, the BFFAE announced it to everyone in the bar. They weren't very excited. Most were just confused. But we were excited!
The next morning, we found a breakfast spot right down the road. (SR asked Siri/Google for bacon and we went where it suggested. We have priorities.) Between the 12 of us, we ate all of the bacon, drank all of the coffee, and I think I personally rid the place of all of the Dr. Pepper.
All in all, it was an epic weekend. Flip flops tried to kill me, but rental wheelchairs from Walgreen's saved the day. And pineapple vodka tastes like diesel fuel. Sugar cookie vodka is as sweet and sugary as it sounds. Adele is not pleased by paparazzi.
I've been severely neglecting this little spot of mine on the interwebs lately. It's not that I haven't had exciting events and awkward stories to share, because trust me, I have. I just haven't had the time to sit down and put pen to paper (or fingertips to keyboard, in this case). A lot has happened and I want to fill in all of the gaps for you, but I know it's an information overload to get it all at once, so I'll dole it out in manageable doses for your reading pleasure. You're welcome.
For those of you that have managed to stick around during my absence and still happen to care about my awkward life, you might be wondering why I suddenly have time to write. (For the sake of this post, I'll pretend you all still care and have been waiting with bated breath for my triumphant return and that you are all very much invested in my life, k? K.) Well as you already know from my last post, the BFFAE got married on September 8. Before I stood beside her as she said her vows, I had to throw her a proper bachelorette bash. I rented an awesome 3-story house in Myrtle Beach for the last weekend in August and 12 of us made the trip from all over the South after work that Friday. (I'm going to save the fun details and shenanigans of the weekend for a post of its own, but I needed to set the scene for the event that led to my current situation. Just hang on and go with me here.) After the festivities of the night, three of us (me, RM, and Elmo) stayed up to clean. We'd amassed a LOT of dirty dishes in the short time we'd been there and figured it would be a good plan to run the dishwasher before bedtime so we could have clean dishes to eat breakfast the next morning. Things were calm at 2:30am, so we decided to go sit in the rocking chairs on the balcony that overlooked the marsh. It would be the perfect opportunity to wind down after the eventful night. Well, as I was walking out onto the balcony, I got the toe of my flip flop stuck in the track for the sliding glass door. My shoe stopped, but my foot kept going. I landed straight on the tips of my toes with all of my body weight. I heard an awful sound and felt the pop and I immediately knew I'd broken my foot. (This wasn't my first rodeo. My loyal readers might remember that I broke the same foot--in a different spot--almost exactly 2 years ago.) I called my cousin as soon as it happened. He lived in Myrtle and used to work at the hospital until they recently downsized. He talked me through the normal checks and concluded that it was probably broken and that I wasn't in immediate danger. We decided that going to the ER at 2:30am in the Dirty Myrtle wasn't the best idea, so I crawled to bed and put an ice pack on it. (Yes, you read that right. I crawled to bed. We had an elevator in the house, but it wasn't working that night. Lucky me.) I woke up around 8am the next morning and crawled back downstairs and plopped myself in the recliner. I was the only one awake so early, so I called my aunt, who luckily lived about twenty minutes away in North Myrtle Beach. She and my uncle came over. The BFFAE woke up around that time and the four of us made the half hour trip to the ER. They saw and treated me very quickly so it was clear that waiting until the next morning was the best plan. The did some quick X-rays and confirmed a small break in my right foot, where my big toe met with my ankle bones. They called it something like a tarsometatarsal break. I don't know anything about medicine or bones, but it did not sound too good. They put me in a temporary splint. I asked the nurse about how long I'd need to wear the splint, when I'd be able to walk on it, further treatment, etc. Her response? "Oh, you'll have to see a doctor about that." Umm, I thought that was the whole reason I came to the ER...to ya know, see a doctor?? Apparently not. I'd have to make an appointment with a local doctor when I got home. Fun.
I met with a new doctor once I got home and she performed more X-rays and seemed to concur with what they'd told me at the ER. She put me in a walking boot but told me to use crutches until she could see me again on September 7 (the day before the BFFAE's wedding). I did as I was told and returned on the 7th. I had more X-rays. I told the doctor that my pain level was still consistently a 7 (on the standard 1-10 scale where 10 is worst possible pain). I showed her a lump on the inner side of my foot near my arch that hadn't gone away or decreased in size, even though I iced it multiple times a day. I asked her why I still couldn't bend my two smallest toes, even though the break was on a bone under my big toe. She just said, "Hmm. I don't know" to all of my questions, which concerned me but did not seem to concern her. She cleared me to be able to walk without crutches but said I still needed to wear the boot. That was great news because I went straight from the appointment to the BFFAE's wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. (There will be another post devoted to the BFFAE's epic wedding.)
I had my final follow up appointment with my doctor on September 27. The original purpose of this visit was to take X-rays, have her tell me I was healing well, and I could stop wearing the boot and transition to a hard-soled shoe and begin physical therapy. That's not how things actually happens. My life rarely goes according to plans. I told her my pain had not decreased and was proving to be a pretty big problem for me and was causing me concern that there may be other issues we haven't been able to see just on an X-ray. The lump was still there. My toes still didn't bend. She scheduled me an MRI for the next day so we could see if I had damaged anything else when I initially broke my foot. That Friday, I got a voicemail after hours from my doctor. She gave very vague details but said she had shown my X-rays to a colleague of hers, a foot and ankle surgeon, and he was concerned by what he saw and wanted to see me. She said in her message to call her right back and she would explain. I called her back immediately and the office was obviously closed and I got the answering service who was in no way helpful. That left me waiting anxiously over the weekend and running ridiculous "what if" scenarios through my head. That's never good for anyone. Are my bones not healing? Do I have abnormal rumors growing in my foot? Are they going to have to amputate it? Am I ever going to walk normally again? Why?????
The MRI clinic sent the results to my new surgeon and I met with him for the first time on October 2. He was very nice, professional, and informative. (He graduated from my alma mater, Wofford College, so I knew he'd be good.) He took new X-rays of my standing on my foot (all others had been done with me laying down). He showed me the X-rays and immediately saw why he was concerned. He explained to me that I has a Lisfranc break in my tarsometatarsal joint. It was far more severe than my previous doctor (and the ER team) originally thought. When I broke the joint, it caused all of the connected bones to shift and displace. I'd also started forming a lot of scar tissue in the area. I'd ruptured the ligament that runs across the joint. That was what caused the lump on my foot. I also had a small fracture in my 4th toe, which was why I was having trouble bending those two toes. Mysteries solved. He said I needed surgery the following Tuesday. It took 45 days to figure it all out and we finally had all of the answers.
I had surgery on October 9 at 9am. They repaired my ligament, removed all of the scar tissue, put a permanent screw diagonally in the joint to hold it all together, and put in a temporary plate over the joint to keep it all tightly together as it heals. The plate will be removed in 10-12 weeks, so there will be a second, less invasive surgery. I came through the procedure well. I normally take some time to wake up from anesthesia and am groggy (maybe even a little cranky) for a bit. This time was different for me. I woke up immediately, right when the wheeled me out of the OR. I was completely alert before I was even wheeled to my recovery room. I think it startled the nurses. They asked me on the 1-10 pain scale, where did my pain rate. Through teary eyes and gritted teeth, I said "10!" They asked if I was sure and reminded me that 10 is for the worst possible pain you can imagine, and they told me that the surgeon had given me a nerve block in my foot and it should remain numb for the next 8-10 hours. I laughed out loud, and not in a LOL way, but more of a you've-got-to-be-kidding-me-this-is-not-real-life-is-that-asshole-Bieber-kid-punking-me-on-MTV kind of way. I kindly informed the nurse that apparently that magical nerve block didn't work because I could most certainly feel every inch of my foot and could even feel the texture of my bandages covering my incision. She didn't believe me and decided to test me. She covered my eyes and asked if I could feel her touching my toes. I said no, she was not touching my toes. Correct. I passed test one. She asked again and I told her she was touching my big toe. Correct. I passed test two. She did it one last time and I told her she was touching my third toe. Correct. I win. I began to writhe in pain and she gave me some IV pain meds. They were minimal and had virtually no effect. At that point, I asked them to go get my Mommy from the waiting room. Sometimes a gal just needs her Mommy. The pain increased as I began to have muscle spasms in my surgical foot. That's really not cool. I was afraid I'd rip my stitches as I spasmed. After three hours of me sobbing and thrashing in pain, my foot muscles spasming, and trial and error pain meds administered, I was over it. Really really over it. I asked my nurse for another nerve block since the first one obviously didn't work and I did not want to pump anymore useless drugs into my body. Finally, they agreed and I got the magical block. Within seconds my leg began to go to sleep from the knee down and I felt instantly better. Like a 1 on the pain scale. I was ready to go home! That block lasted for about 12 hours. My pain is still pretty bad but I do alright managing it. I'm still having the painful muscle spasms and I've called my doctor about it and will hopefully gets some news from them (and hopefully a prescription for a muscle relaxer) on Monday. I'm in this splint until my post-op appointment on october 24. Then he will put me in a cast for 4 weeks, still non-weight-bearing. After the cast, I'll go back into the walking boot, but all that is so far away and fuzzy for me.
I will keep you updated on progress, but wanted to give you the whole story now. I'm out of work on unpaid medical leave during all of this and can hopefully be back at work once they get me in a cast. It all depends on what the doctor says about my healing progress.
Stay tuned because I have awkward and wonderful stories to share with you on the following topics: BFFAE's bachelorette bash, BFFAE's wedding, and SW's wedding that makes her SWC now. I also have a sad story to share about my Little but some uplifting happy things that came out of the tragedy.