December 12, 2012

Our Love Story.

2 and a half years ago today, Grant and I sat in front of my house talking until 4:45 am.  After that conversation, the rest is history.  Here's our story.

Grant was the cute athletic guy in high school.  It felt like every girl in our grade had a crush on him.  We had a few classes together; but all the time I spent with him socially was because he spent our senior year dating my sister's best friend.  We both went off to college and each time he was home on break we seemed to drive past each other.  We'd text and say that we should grab coffee and catch up--but we never made it actually happened.

Memorial Day Weekend 2010, the family headed up to Lake Tahoe along with Allison, Heather, and Arjun.  It took Allison and I approximately 4 and a half hours instead of the usual 3.  But we had a 90's playlist that we rocked out to the entire way up.  Picture traffic dead stopped on 80 right around Davis and Allison and I with the windows down rocking out to Willa Ford.  Yep, it was one of my most favorite car rides.  After FINALLY making to to the cabin, we quickly grabbed drinks and started relaxing when I looked at my phone and had a text from Grant.  He said he had just graduated and was home from school and did I want to grab lunch so we could finally catch up.

 

About a week later we decided to grab sushi and as I was walking out the door, Caroline said I should date him.  Not really on my radar, we were just two friends catching up for lunch.  But after a five hour sushi date on June 10, 2010, I should have known she was right.

The next couple of days were a whirlwind.  The next day we sat together at Kayt and Gordon's high school graduation (we didn't even introduce our families...) and after family dinners we went out to Va Da Vi where we tasted too much wine.  We walked around Broadway Plaza for hours and after driving around for a few more hours, he took me back home.

Saturday the 12th we decided to go for another drive that night.  But the problem is that I have a REALLY small bladder.  So after driving around for a while, we ended up back at his house so I could use the bathroom.  I met his mom, she showed me photo albums, and Grant and I talked for hours.  When he finally took me home, we sat in the car in front of my house talking until 4:45 am.  I knew it was late when the front porch light went off and my phone rang.  It was Dad and as I looked up I could see him standing in the kitchen window.  Cue mortification.  He was reminding me that I had my Masters graduation the next day and that it was pretty late.  Grant and I wrapped things up and he finally kissed me.

The next morning my mom asked it we were engaged yet.  She was the first one that saw where this was headed.  Grant came to my graduation party and all my friends from high school had a lot of questions about what was going on...


He left the next morning for a month in Europe.  He surprised me and came home two weeks early because he missed me.  A month later he moved to Georgia for training at Fort Benning.

I spent the next year taking sick days on a few lots of Fridays and taking red eyes on Thursdays and Sundays to see him.  We got used to me sobbing my way through the Atlanta airport and lots of text messages and phone calls.

March 10, 2011 Grant showed up in ACUs in my classroom at the high school where we met with a little blue box asking me to marry him. You can read about that here.


If you've been reading this blog, you know the rest: move to TN, get married, do the Army thing.

And now we're starting the next chapter of our life getting ready for Grant to leave the Army and for us to move back to California.


I can't believe it's already been two and a half years since that conversation in the car where we starting making our life plans together.  Our love story really is my favorite.  Not that I'm biased or anything. All I know is that I'm definitely a very lucky lady.

Since the first year of our relationship was spent flying back and forth across the country, most of the people invited to our wedding had never spent time with both of us together.  I wanted our save the date to be a way for people to get to know us and it pretty much tells our whole story.  Allison and I spent hours creating the save the date; and it is still one of my favorite things from our wedding.

December 10, 2012

The Violet: Life as an Army Wife

You should check out the Winter issue of The Violet.


Page 78 has an article I wrote entitled "Life as an Army Wife."


PS. Did you read our MOVE-ing news??

December 9, 2012

some very MOVE-ing news!

We are finally able to share that WE ARE MOVING HOME!!!

The Army has decided that Grant is medically unfit and no longer able to serve.  And while we are filled with mixed emotions about Grant no longer being able to do what he has spent years working towards, we are very, VERY excited to be moving home to California.

Still waiting on ratings and then orders before we have an actual move date.  
But California sunshine is on the mind.

December 2, 2012

A Very GRIKI Thanksgiving!

The blog has been a little quiet lately.  We've been going a million miles a minute and I barely feel like I have time to sleep, let alone update the blog!

We celebrated Thanksgiving in California early this year over Veteran's Day Weekend.  It was a quick (much needed!!!) trip back to California.  We flew from Nashville to Los Angeles where we picked up Gordie and then flew up to Oakland.

Saturday both families came together and we celebrated Thanksgiving early.  It was a delicious Thanksgiving meal and other than the wrong date being on the calendar, it felt like a real Thanksgiving.

Mom tried to get a cute Christmas card photo....



Dad worked on his Romo-bombing skills...


That night we hit up the local watering holes to celebrate Gordon's 21st birthday a little late.



Sunday we saw the Skyfall with Grant's family and had dinner in downtown Orinda.

Monday we were back on an airplane flying through Vegas to get back to Nashville!

It was a quick weekend that left us (well, me) counting down the days until we are back for Christmas!

When the real Thanksgiving rolled around we were lucky enough to spend two days celebrating with Andy, Emme, Baby J and their family! We celebrated J's first birthday on Thursday and Thanksgiving on Friday! It was lots of fun and their family made us feel like we were family! So thankful to have them in our lives!

Radio City Christmas Spectacular and Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland!

It's now officially December which means that all things can be about Christmas! I'm only decorating a little bit (meaning one tree and a few red candles...) because in less than two weeks we will be back in California for the holidays!

But we are fully embracing Christmas while we're here!

Thursday night we saw the Radio City Christmas Spectacular at the Grand Ole Opry.  We went just to see the Rockettes, but there was also a singing group that performed with Santa.  It was a little cheesy but we really enjoyed seeing the Rockettes.  And only in the South would a show end with a live nativity scene---complete with three live sheep and two live camels.  Here's a clip from youtube of the Rockettes doing one of the dances we saw!

Saturday night we went out to sushi with Andy, Emme and baby J before we headed over to Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland.  Basically they take a RV park and decorate it with Christmas lights that are synched to music.  As you enter the grounds, you tune your radio station to the one all the lights are synched to.  Here's a clip from youtube. To say that this exceeded my expectations is a complete understatement.  An absolute must see for anyone in the area!

And we got to drive past the MASSIVE nativity display in front of the Opryland Hotel.  So who doesn't love hundreds of people trying to get up close to a wooden baby Jesus?

Both of these events were awesome and had we known about them when we made our Fort Campbell Bucket List, they definitely would have been on there!

We topped off the weekend by going to church for the first Sunday of Advent!  Now it's grilled cheese and soup for lunch while we watch Elf.

November 26, 2012

Grandma's Recipe: Cinnamon Buns

Life with food allergies has meant changing the way I cook and finding replacements for the things I used to be able to eat.  One family tradition that I haven't been able to participate in is the eating for my Grandma's cinnamon buns every Christmas morning.  It's her Grandma's recipe (so my great-great Grandma's).  The original recipe uses a hot roll mix--but every hot roll mix I've found includes some time of milk.  So after much searching, my mom and I found a sticky bun recipe in the December 2008 issue of Cooking Light.  I just took the dough recipe and then used my Grandma's recipe for the rest.

Here's what the finished product should look like...

To make the dough:

2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 package dry yeast (about 2  1/4 teaspoons)
2/3 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 and 3/4 cups of flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. Dissolve granulated sugar and yeast in 2/3 cup warm water in a small bowl; let mixture stand 5 minutes.  Stir in 3 tablespoons melted butter.
2. Combine 1 and 1/2 cups of flour with salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add yeast mixture to flour mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 4 minutes); add enough of the remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent the dough from sticking to hands. Place dough in a large bowl (make sure dough is lightly coated with flour all the way around to prevent from sticking). Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts,1 hour or until doubled in size.

The recipe says that this is their all-purpose Bakery Dinner Rolls dough.  The dough is SO light and fluffy-Grant and I will definitely be making these soon.

To make the Cinnamon Buns:

6 oz of butter (1 and a half sticks)
16 oz light brown sugar
maple syrup (about 3/4 of a cup)
1 cup raisins
3/4 cup to 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
cinnamon

1. Melt 1 and a half sticks of butter.

2. Roll out the dough into a very big rectangle.

3. Pour enough butter into a 9 by 13 pan or two 8 by 8 pans to cover the bottom. Pour the rest of the butter on top of the rolled out dough.  Spread the butter on the dough.

4. Spread the brown sugar on top of the dough and work into the butter.  Put a little sprinkled brown sugar on top of the butter in the pan.  This will be the topping when you turn the buns out of the pan after they are cooked.

5. Sprinkle cinnamon over brown sugar mixture on dough. Pour maple syrup in circles over dough. Sprinkle raisins and walnuts over the top of dough.

6. Roll the dough into a long roll.  Cut into 1 and a 1/2 inch segments.  Put in pan to bake leaving enough room to rise.

7. Bake for 15 minutes (or until golden brown) at 375 degrees.

8. Take out of oven and let sit for 5 minutes.

9. Flip pan over onto serving dish.  Enjoy!

And yes, they're about 415 calories each.  But I promise, it's totally worth it.

November 25, 2012

clarksville creeps strike again


People in Clarksville post the weirdest stuff on craigslist...

Sunday Social

Sunday Social

1. Name 4 Jobs You've Had in Your Life: 

Babysitter, Academic Advisor, English and Special Education Teachers, Educational Consultant and Tutor

2. Name 4 Movies You Could Watch Over and Over Again: 

The Family Stone, Sleepless in Seattle, The Proposal, Father of the Bride

3. Name 4 Places You've Lived:

Walnut Creek (as a baby), Moraga, 2 places in Davis, and Clarksville

4. Name 4 of Your Favorite Foods:

Cucumber Avocado Rolls, Sourdough Bread, Guacamole, Pesto Pizza

5. Name 4 Things You Always Carry With You:

I-Phone, Wallet, Epi-Pens, Chapstick

6. Name 4 Places You Have Been on Vacation:

Lake Tahoe, Hawaii, Georgia, Boston

November 20, 2012

oh em gee...I don't care if it's GLUTEN free!

So Grant and I are celebrating Thanksgiving in Clarksville this year.

Originally it didn't look like the Army was going to give Grant enough time off for us to fly back, and by the time we got the go ahead that we would be able to come home, flights were soooo expensive.  So we decided to switch things up this year. We flew home to California over Veteran's Day Weekend where our moms put together what we like to call A Very Griki Thanksgiving.  I promise a post will come this week with all the details about that weekend.

We are celebrating Thanksgiving with some very good friends in Clarksville this year.  Thursday we get to celebrate their baby boy's 1st birthday and Friday we will do a traditional Thanksgiving meal.  So Thursday night Grant and I get to have our own Thanksgiving.  We figured it's pretty much the only time in our entire lives that we will celebrate a holiday just the two of us--so why not!  

We figured out our menu...just our favorites (since we already did Thanksgiving in California and will be having another Thanksgiving on Friday)!  Bacon wrapped water chestnuts to start off, followed by a turkey from the Honeybaked Ham store and broccoli, and finally pumpkin pie for dessert.

Today I went to the Honeybaked Ham store and let me just say it was a food allergy DISASTER.

I walked into the store and first encountered the store greeter/order look-up person.
Greeter: Hi, do you have an order?
K: No, but could you tell me what kind of turkey you use?
Greeter: (blank stare)
K: I have a lot of food allergies and I'm wondering what brand of turkey you use.
Greeter: You'll have to ask someone at the counter about that.

So I waited for 10 minutes in line and made it up to the counter.

Lady at the counter: Hi, how can I help you?
K: Hi, I'm interested in one of your turkeys, but I have a lot of food allergies.  I know the glaze is ok, but I'm wondering what kind of turkey you use?
Lady at the counter: (blank stare)
K: I'm allergic to some of the ingredients in certain types of turkeys, so I'm wondering what brand you use?
Lady at the counter: Here (gesturing to the older man next to her), she has food allergies and has questions about our turkeys.

Older man: Ok
K: Hi, I'm interested in one of your turkeys, but I have a lot of food allergies.  I know the glaze is ok, but I'm wondering what kind of turkey you use?
Older man: Oo, don't worry, all of our turkeys and hams are gluten free.
K: That's great, but I'm wondering if you can tell me what type of turkey you use.  I am allergic to certain ingredients.  For example, I can't have certain types of chicken because they have chicken broth injected into them.
Older man: (blank stare)
K: If you have a label from one of your turkeys, or even a whole turkey with the label still on it, I'd be happy to look at it for myself to figure it out.
Older man: Ok, I'll be right back (walks to the kitchen)
K: (waiting)

Five minutes later

Older man with placard in hand: Here is our allergy list, see there are no allergens in the turkeys or ham.  You'll be fine.
K: That's great, but unfortunately my allergens are in the top 8 allergens so they wouldn't show up on that list.
Older man: Oh, well you'll be fine, our turkeys and ham are gluten free.
K: You know what, I'm just gonna go with a honeybaked ham.

I texted Grant, apologizing for my major first Thanksgiving together as a married couple fail.  Grant said he doesn't care at all, and honestly, we both like ham better anyway.  But it's THANKSGIVING.  I was going to cook a whole turkey, but this seemed like such a better option for just one night for the two of us.  And before I even went, Grant and I had decided that the ham would be our back up option if their turkey wasn't K safe...But seriously Honeybaked Ham store. The people at the store were all nice and polite.  And I've been to that store before (not during the Holiday rush) and they were extremely helpful.  They even let me read the packaging to make sure what I was getting was safe.  So I take partial responsibility for waiting until two days before Thanksgiving to start asking questions about their turkeys.  And I know that if you don't have food allergies, the way you think about food allergies is completely different.  But still, I don't care if your turkeys and hams are gluten free.  PILE ON THE GLUTEN.

November 18, 2012

Fall Favorite: Christmas Cards

I absolutely love Christmas cards.  I ordered ours from Shutterfly on the 14th of November.  Partly because my mom had a 40% off coupon and a free shipping code, and partly because the finished project had been sitting, waiting to be ordered for WEEKS.  Just received the confirmation email letting me know that the cards are on their way!

And every year, don't you always end up with a few extra cards.  I'm sure you think to yourself, what a waste, I can't send out this card next year.....well this year send that card to a soldier!  According to snopes.com the Red Cross and Pitney Bowes are sponsoring a holiday mail for heroes program!

Here's the deal:

Mail all cards by December 7, 2012 to the following address:

Holiday Mail for Heroes
PO Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

Not only does this early deadline allow the cards to get to the soldiers in time, but it forces you to get those cards out early and take a piece of holiday stress off your plate to leave more room for dessert!

Here are the guidelines (taken directly from the Red Cross):

Every card received will be screened for hazardous materials by Pitney Bowes and then reviewed by Red Cross volunteers working around the country.

Please observe the following guidelines to ensure a quick reviewing process:

  • Ensure that all cards are signed.
  • Use generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member.” Cards addressed to specific individuals can not be delivered through this program.
  • Only cards are being accepted. Do not send or include letters.
  • Do not include email or home addresses on the cards: the program is not meant to foster pen pal relationships.
  • Do not include inserts of any kind, including photos: these items will be removed during the reviewing process.
  • Please refrain from choosing cards with glitter or using loose glitter as it can aggravate health issues of ill and injured warriors.
  • If you are mailing a large quantity of cards, please bundle them and place them in large mailing envelopes or flat rate postal shipping boxes. Each card does not need its own envelope, as envelopes will be removed from all cards before distribution.

Please comment, retweet, blog about and email this post to all of your friends.  
The more cards we can get sent the better!

November 14, 2012

Veteran's Day

I missed posting about Veteran's Day because we were in California 
having a Very Griki Thanksgiving (post coming soon!).... 
but I am so thankful for my husband and my Grandpa for their service!

Fall Favorite: Socks!

Last night at Coffee Group we all had to share our favorite thing! The night's theme was based on Oprah's Favorite Things and was lots of fun.  I brought boxes of Peppermint Tea of course and came home with lots of fun, new things to try out!

I came home with not one, but TWO pairs of new cozy socks.  Anyone who has spent any amount of time with me knows how cold my hands and feet get.  I blame the POTS.  Typical.  Wherever I go, my attached ice packs come with me and it is not uncommon for me to be wearing two pairs of socks around the house.  Or my uggs of course (see post).  It makes me really happy that so many other people enjoy warm cozy socks too.

November 8, 2012

Californiaaaaaaaaaaa

here we comeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Fall Favorite: Uggs

I love my Uggs.

My feet are ALWAYS cold. 
Like I wear two pairs of socks around the house most nights.

I know people have mixed feelings about Uggs,
but I love them and how warm they keep my feet.

These are the current Uggs I've been rockin'.



 

Yes, I do have a lot of uggs.  The grey and black are my go to.  
The chocolate are my super warm uggs. And the chestnut are my old rainy day uggs.

Anything that keeps me warm and snuggly is a favorite!

How do you feel about uggs?

Day 8: How I Choose to Write About Others

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WEGO Health is providing the pompts and I'll be writing the posts.  The entire month of November I will be blogging with WEGO Health to continue to spread awareness about POTS.

Day 8: How I Choose to Write About Others

I think all bloggers think about this question.  I try to write about situations honestly.  And if I don't feel like I can write about it honestly without worrying about how it will make someone feel then it doesn't get posted on the blog.  Sometimes things are better said in person.  Or a story is better texted to Allison until we can eat pizza and drink wine while talking about it in person.

And when you have to tell someone something and you can't post it on you blog, call your mom.  She hears all my stories 5 times even when Grant doesn't want to hear them :)

How do you choose to write about others?

Disclaimer: While I am sharing information I have researched, read about, and found to be helpful myself, I am not a doctor and all decisions regarding your own personal treatment should be discussed with your own doctors.  Remember, I am just a patient.

November 7, 2012

Fall Favorite: Days Off

One of my favorite things about the holiday season are all the days off.  

In TN they have fall break in October, yesterday was a holiday to go vote (because apparently children need to go vote...or teachers lack the ability to vote before or after school...), Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving, and Winter Break...

It means more time with Grant and our families!  
It means TWO trips home to California.  

It means yummy food and snuggly days.

Who doesn't love days off??

Less than 48 hours until California!!!

Day 7: sort of about the topic...

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WEGO Health is providing the pompts and I'll be writing the posts.  The entire month of November I will be blogging with WEGO Health to continue to spread awareness about POTS.

Day 7: PROGRESS!

I'm cheating a little bit today.  The prompt was to redesign a doctor's office.  But honestly, I have something way more exciting to share! My mom's best friend is a NP in California.  She just went to a conference where POTS was mentioned THREE times.  They talked about what the symptoms are and how to test for it.  Along with what things mimic it....

I was SO EXCITED to hear this.  Baby steps. Itty bitty baby steps.

Disclaimer: While I am sharing information I have researched, read about, and found to be helpful myself, I am not a doctor and all decisions regarding your own personal treatment should be discussed with your own doctors.  Remember, I am just a patient.

November 6, 2012

Day 6: Taking the Other Road

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WEGO Health is providing the pompts and I'll be writing the posts.  The entire month of November I will be blogging with WEGO Health to continue to spread awareness about POTS.

Day 6: Taking the Other Road

Life with a chronic illness means taking another road.

It means taking the road of alternate plans.
It means taking the road of changed plans.
It means taking the high road.
It means taking the road to the doctor's office.
It means taking the road to the pharmacy frequently (or in my case every 3 months).
It means taking the road to bed earlier than usual sometimes.

But these are pretty much the same roads that everyone in life has to take.  Very rarely do we get (or choose) to take the road we thought we would.  And I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.  Yes, that means something good will come out of our time in Clarksville...

How has your road changed from the one you thought you would be on?

Disclaimer: While I am sharing information I have researched, read about, and found to be helpful myself, I am not a doctor and all decisions regarding your own personal treatment should be discussed with your own doctors.  Remember, I am just a patient.

Vote!

Get out and vote today!


Grant and I voted during early voting here in TN.

Get out and vote today!!!!!

November 5, 2012

happy monday!

Fall Favorite: Homemade Chili and Puzzles

I spent all Saturday morning cooking and we spent all afternoon working on a really difficult puzzle.  With a quick trip to the new frozen yogurt shop squeezed in between.  My idea of a perfect fall day.

I started off making homemade chicken broth and then used it to make Celebrity White Chili.  I'm allergic to so many things that I can't buy chicken broth at the store.  But homemade chicken broth is SO delicious and you know exactly what is in it.

Homemade Chicken Broth (variation of Barefoot Contessa's recipe)
- 1 whole chicken
- 6 carrots (cut in half)
- 6 stalks of celery (cut in thirds with the leaves left on)
- 2 tablespoons of salt
- 2 teaspoons of black pepper
- 5 good shakes of oregano
- 5 good shakes of thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- 28 cups of water

Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 4 hours.  Skim off any foam that comes to the top.  Drawn the mixture and use! Will stay fresh in the fridge for 5 days or the freezer for months.

A few years back, my mom's friend brought over some delicious Celebrity White Chili.  She was nice enough to share the recipe and I finally tried making a K-safe version.  It was AMAZING.

Celebrity White Chili

- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 4 15 ounce cans of navy or cannellini beans (I use two cans of each kind!) (drained!)
- 1 24 ounce bag of white corn (cooked and drained)
- 4 and 1/2 cups of chicken broth
- 1/2 cup of white wine
- 1 tablespoon of corn starch
- All the chicken from the chicken broth recipe (chopped)
- Salt and pepper for taste

Saute celery and carrots in olive oil and cumin.  Add corn, beans, and chicken broth.  Mix the cornstarch and wine together.  Add to mixture and cook for 25 minutes.  Add chicken and cook for another 15 minutes.  Serve with broken tortilla chips on top!

There will be plenty of chicken broth left over to freeze.  It's seriously amazing!

Afterwards, do a puzzle! It's the perfect cold weather stay inside and snuggle because it's fall activity!

Day 5: Thankful, Excited, Inspired

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I can't believe I just finished blogging 31 posts for Dysautonomia Awareness Month (October!).  But I saw this online and thought it would be a great way to continue posting about POTS.  WEGO Health is providing the pompts and I'll be writing the posts.  The entire month of November I will be blogging with WEGO Health to continue to spread awareness about POTS.

Day 5: Thankful, Excited, Inspired

I am thankful for my amazing husband.

I am excited for the holiday season!

I am inspired by the increasing awareness and research about POTS.

What are you thankful, excited and inspired about?

Disclaimer: While I am sharing information I have researched, read about, and found to be helpful myself, I am not a doctor and all decisions regarding your own personal treatment should be discussed with your own doctors.  Remember, I am just a patient.

November 4, 2012

Sunday Social

Sunday Social



1. What is currently on your wish list?

Nothing at this exact moment.  Working on a list to share with Grant for Christmas!

2. Share a new iphone app that you have recently discovered that everyone needs: 

Myfitnesspal.  Helps you keep track of what you're eating and how the nutrition facts break down.

3. What new fall show have you added to your DVR?

The X Factor.  Britney, Demi, Simon, and LA. Yes please.

4. Share your social media links and tell which one is your favorite.

They are all in the right sidebar.  Except I don't share my facebook account with the blogging world and that's my favorite.  I love being able to keep in touch with everyone back home and see what they're up to!

5. What movie could you watch over and over again and not get tired of?

The Family Stone, My Best Friend's Wedding, You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, The Proposal, What Happens in Vegas, and OBVIOUSLY Father of the Bride.  Ask Grant, I beg, BEG to watch them.  And am SUCH a happy camper when they come on tv!

Day 4: What I Share

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WEGO Health is providing the pompts and I'll be writing the posts.  The entire month of November I will be blogging with WEGO Health to continue to spread awareness about POTS.

Day 4: How did I decide what to share?  What do/don't I share?

I created this blog as a way to keep our family and friends up to date on our like in Clarksville.  And while lately I've been blogging much more about POTS...it's still a blog to inform our family and friends.  When I'm writing I don't really feel the need to censor things.  But I am thoughtful about what I share regarding Grant's work and our Army life.  And I am very aware that anyone can read what I choose to post here.  Life with POTS is mostly unknown.  The patients know more than the doctors.  That's why I write about my life with POTS.  Because maybe, one person will read something on this blog that will help them with his or her own experience.  But I think this question applies to all bloggers.

How do you decide what to share?

Disclaimer: While I am sharing information I have researched, read about, and found to be helpful myself, I am not a doctor and all decisions regarding your own personal treatment should be discussed with your own doctors.  Remember, I am just a patient.

November 3, 2012

Day 3: A Conversation with my Doctor

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WEGO Health is providing the pompts and I'll be writing the posts.  The entire month of November I will be blogging with WEGO Health to continue to spread awareness about POTS.

Day 3: A Conversation with my Doctor

I've had lots of conversations with my doctor.  But one conversation with a person on my medical team changed my life.  You can read about that conversation here and here.

However, not all of my conversations are quite so profound.  Most involve meeting new doctors and encouraging them to read about POTS after I'm done giving them my brief (REALLY long) summary.

And I've had plenty of frustrating conversations.  You know the conversations where the doctors tell you you're making it up, or that they can't help you, or they even give you REALLY BAD medical advice.  But I choose not to dwell on those because worrying about other peoples' limitations does me absolutely no good at all.

I think the conversations we should be focusing are those where we spread awareness.  For example,  the other day I received an email from my Grandpa telling me that at his last doctor's appointment, he brought a printed copy of one of my blog posts to share with his doctor: "At the end of my appointment I asked him if he knew anything about POTS.  He admitted that he didn’t know much.  I told him about your story and a quick review of your experience.  He said he had one patient that he thought had POTS.  He was planning on reading up on it.  I had made a copy of your story and offered him the 5 pp. you had written.  (I had removed the personal family stuff at the end.)  He said he would definitely read it and appeared to be very pleased to get it.  I told him I thought it would make a good medical journal article and that he might want to share it with other doctors.  He said he would consider all of that.  I was so proud of you!!"  How cool is my Grandpa?

How are you spreading awareness?

Disclaimer: While I am sharing information I have researched, read about, and found to be helpful myself, I am not a doctor and all decisions regarding your own personal treatment should be discussed with your own doctors.  Remember, I am just a patient.

Don't forget to FALL back.

Tonight it's time to turn all of our clocks back tonight so we can gain another hour.

I'm ready for it to get darker earlier.  It's the perfect weather for the holidays.

A week from now we will be celebrating Thanksgiving in California and I can't wait!!!

Today it's a turn the heater on, watch movies, and cook all day kind of day.

November 2, 2012

Argo is a GO GO!

Last weekend we had dinner and went to see Argo with our friends Zach and Valerie.  They cooked a delicious K-safe meal (cilantro and avocado chicken--my FAVORITE flavor combination!) and after we pried the boys away from looking at guns we made it to the movie theater just in time for the previews!



Gordon, Mom and Dad saw Argo the night before us in Los Angeles when Mom and Dad were visiting for Parent's Weekend.  They all said it was really good and that we should go see it.  And for a movie to get a stamp of approval from my brother--it better be good.  He goes to school in LA after all.  And he regards most of my movies as smut.  However, this one got two thumbs up.

And I totally agree.  It was amazing.  I cried twice.  The first time was when they were all taken as hostages.  It's overwhelming to think about people hating America that much.  And then I think about Grant and all our friends being deployed and having to fight people that hate America that much.... And the second time when they cleared Iranian air space at the end of the movie.  How can you not cry then?! If you haven't seen it, go see it right now.  You won't be disappointed.

Grant had a DONSA on Monday so after we did our early voting, I made him walk next door to the library so I could check out Guests of the Ayatollah by Mark Bowden (the guy who wrote Black Hawk Down).

I plowed through the whole book in just a few days.  It was really interesting to read about the details of the hostage crisis.  I honestly don't know how all those people survived.  The book describes an extremely isolating, draining experience (and sometimes physically abusive).  Although some of the writing went into a little more detail then I really cared to read about (Bowden is a journalist after all...), I would still recommend the book if you're interested in the hostage crisis.

Day 2: What's the Weirdest Thing About Your Health?

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WEGO Health is providing the pompts and I'll be writing the posts.  The entire month of November I will be blogging with WEGO Health to continue to spread awareness about POTS.

Day 2: What's the Weirdest Thing About Your Health?

It's unpredictable.

I can be feeling totally fine one second, and the next second I'm dizzy, flushing, and have a fever.  It can happen at anytime, and be triggered by lots of different things.  That's the part about POTS that makes it so challenging.  We have to plan for everything while possibly planning for nothing at all.

Last month I wrote about this a few times:
Changes of Plans
Living at my own Pace 
POTS Always Seems to Sneak in my Suitcase... 
Stay at Home Date Ideas
Staying Open to Living Outside the Box

Grant and I are both extremely type-A.  But with POTS, we just go with the flow.  We can't sweat the small stuff.  Especially since sometimes the small stuff doesn't show up.  Some illnesses are predictable.  Some illnesses have monitors that tell you when things will happen.  Sure, my POTS has certain triggers.  But the weather can make my body have a POTS episode.  And if the weatherman can't get it right, how am I supposed to?

What's the weirdest thing about your health?

Disclaimer: While I am sharing information I have researched, read about, and found to be helpful myself, I am not a doctor and all decisions regarding your own personal treatment should be discussed with your own doctors.  Remember, I am just a patient.

November 1, 2012

Today.

Today I got an email sharing some awesome health news about my Grandpa.  And while he was at his doctor's appointment he told his doctor about POTS and shared my blog with the doctor.

It was exactly the news I needed to hear considering it was a rough POTS day.

Today Gordon got his LSAT score.  He IMPROVED.  That was hardly even possible.

Today Grant tried to tell me that Christmas music is not allowed.

Grant: "No Christmas music, it's not even Thanksgiving."

Kingsley: "But there aren't any THANK YOU songs."

Tomorrow he's gonna get home from work and Mariah Carey will be singing Christmas carols in this apartment.

8 days until California...

Day 1: National Health Blog Post Month


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I can't believe I just finished blogging 31 posts for Dysautonomia Awareness Month (October!).  But I saw this online and thought it would be a great way to continue posting about POTS.  WEGO Health is providing the pompts and I'll be writing the posts.  The entire month of November I will be blogging with WEGO Health to continue to spread awareness about POTS.

Day 1: Why I Write About My Health

I write about my health because it took me four and a half years to find the correct diagnosis.  You can read about my story here.  Maybe someone will stumble upon one of my posts and realize that they share my symptoms.  It took a chance conversation with one of my doctors for me to learn about POTS.  Yet, the actually diagnosis part was simple.  Of course POTS is what I have.

I write about my health because spreading awareness is the only way life with POTS is going to get better for all those that have it.  Right now POTS is about treating the symptoms.  By creating a POTS community we are able to share our stories and discover new treatments (non-prescription) without having to wait weeks for specialist appointments that may or may not do any good.  Plus, no one wants to feel alone with an invisible illness.

Disclaimer: While I am sharing information I have researched, read about, and found to be helpful myself, I am not a doctor and all decisions regarding your own personal treatment should be discussed with your own doctors.  Remember, I am just a patient.

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!!!

Those of you who know me (or those that read this blog last year and saw this post...
know that November 1st to January 1st is my favorite time of the year.

I love Thanksgiving and Christmas.
and let's not forget Veteran's Day.

I love red holiday cups at Starbucks.

I love boots and scarves.

I love sweatpants and snuggly nights.

I love TWO trips home to California.

I LOVE Christmas shopping.
Althought I've already finished our shopping...

I REALLY LOVE Christmas music, Christmas lights, 
and all other Christmas decorations.

I love the meaning of the Holiday season.

I love everything about this time of year.

What do you love about this time of year?

October 31, 2012

Halloween Hater

Yes, I'll admit it.  I'm a Halloween Hater.

I love Fall and pumpkins.

But I hate dressing up and I hate scary things. 

Can't wait for tomorrow to be November 1st!

This image pretty much sums it up.


Allison posted this on my facebook wall a couple weeks ago 
and it was just one more reminder why she is my best friend. 

P.S. I also REALLY hate when women feel like they need to wear 
like NO clothing at all in order to have a Halloween costume.  
Check out this guest post I wrote almost THREE years ago about theme parties and costumes.

Day 31: October is Global Dysautonomia Awareness Month


I can't believe the end of October is already here!

I hope you've enjoyed reading these POTS and have learned more about POTS. 

Although I won't be posting about POTS daily, 
POTS is a constant part of my life and there will be more posts in the future.
  
Click the "Join this Site" button over on the right column 
to stay connected to this blog and up to date with the posts!

Here is a complete listing of all the posts from this month:
1: October is Global Dysautonomia Awareness Month  
2: What is POTS?                                                              
3: Getting a Diagnosis                                                          
4: What is a Tilt Table Test?                                               
5: A Must Read                                                                         
6: Finding Support: FB Pages, FB Groups, Blogs                 
7: I Heart Saline                                                                     
8: 10 Things Not to Say to Someone with a Chronic Illness    
9: POTS Always Seems to Sneak in my Suitcase...               
10: Do You Have Food Allergies?
11: Living at my own Pace      
12: Maintaining Your Health Records
13: Medical Information Sheet
14: Ask Me Why I Park Here
15: Halfway Point
16: Staying Open to Living Outside the Box
17: The Power of Prayer
18: POTS and Exercise
19: That One Guy from the Wiggles
20: Remembering to Take Those Darn Pills
21: Finding Support- Research Organizations
22: Changes of Plans
23: Stay at Home Date Ideas
24: What Can You Do?
25: Keep Communicating...be clear, be constant!
26: You Know You Have POTS When...
27: My Beautiful Wife and the Nagging Insurance Company POTS (Guest Post by Grant!)
28: If I looked as bad as I feel, I would scare your children.
29: POTS: It's not rare, it's rarely diagnosed.
30: My Story
31: End of October

Thank you for reading one, some, or all of the POTS posts this month.  I am not a doctor and all decisions regarding your own personal treatment should be discussed with your own doctors.  Remember, I am just a patient.

Please keep sharing, tweeting, re-posting, commenting, discussing, etc.  
Spread awareness.

October 30, 2012

Day 30: My Story

In February 2007, I had my appendix out.  And while I’d like to tell you that was the easy part of my story…there really is no easy part.

See, I have always had cold feet.  No, not like I was scared to walk down the aisle and marry Grant cold feet.  But, feet so cold I always have to have socks on.  Well, in November 2006, I was a sophomore at the University of California, Davis, studying in the common room of my apartment with my cozy socks on.  My phone rang in my bedroom and I went running in to pick it up before my phone sent it to voicemail…there was a fraternity party and we were making plans for that evening.  And while I share the next part of this story quite freely when I’m telling it in person…I’ve never shared this in writing before…I slipped on the tile that covered the floor of our common room right as I got to my door (our bedrooms were all carpeted) and slammed my right side (right above my right hip) into my round doorknob.  It hurt so much.  I’ve never felt pain like that before.  A nasty bruise formed instantly and lasted for weeks.  But other than a really embarrassing story, I never really thought much about this incident again.

Fast forward to the first Monday in January 2007 and I was on the phone with my mom practically in tears because of the pain I was having on my right side.  It took them six more weeks to figure out I needed my appendix out.  They went through a whole series of other diagnoses, but it wasn’t until I was curled up in a ball in the ER that they finally did a CT to note that my appendix should probably come out.  I didn’t have appendicitis; my appendix has just stopped working.  The organ had died and hardened.  I think it’s from when I slammed my side into the doorknob, but that’s never been medically confirmed.

After surgery I developed an allergic reaction to the antibiotic (Mefoxin) they gave me prior to surgery.  I had hives all over my body.  Additionally, my grandfather and I share an allergy to adhesive tape.  This allergy caused the incision site to become extremely irritated and looked infected.  That spring (2007) I tested positive for mono.   That spring and summer I began to feel very sick after eating.  It started with terrible headaches and moved into gastrointestinal symptoms.  For the next two years I was sick off and on.  I have tested positive for the antibodies of mono three times and my levels were high enough that the doctors considered the virus to be active all three times. (Although most doctors swear you can only actually have mono once.  This was not the case with me.)  I saw specialist after specialist to rule out every autoimmune disease they could think of.  Each time I had blood work done, the results would always come back dead center of normal.  Each doctor I saw settled on a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  And although I truly believe that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a real and debilitating illness, something inside of me told me to keep searching.

In the midst of all of these issues, I was still continuing to feel sick after eating.  Not all of the time, but enough of the time to cause concern.  My doctors suggested it could be part of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome but I didn’t agree.  I started keeping a food journal.  Each time I didn’t feel well after eating, I would write down the food I ate and the symptoms I had.  I realized that each time I ate garlic, I felt incredibly sick.  After hearing multiple people tell me I COULD NOT POSSIBLY be allergic to garlic, I found my amazing allergist.  And he said of course you could be allergic to garlic.  After a simple skin test, we discovered that I am severely allergic to garlic and need to not eat any alliums.  And that I have a bunch of food intolerances as well.  I thought all my health issues would go away now that we knew what the deal with my food allergies was, but I still struggled over the years with feeling sick and fatigued.

I've seen more doctors than I can count, and provided more vials of blood than most people do in a lifetime. I've seen specialists and even a holistic healer, tried various medications, and spent countless hours on wikipedia trying to diagnose myself when all my doctors could not figure it out. The diagnosis they all seemed to settle on was Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. A very real, and debilitating disease. However, I've always felt like a piece was missing.

Fast forward to June 2010…I went out for sushi with this cute, athletic guy I knew from high school and after a few short weeks, he had moved across the country for Army training at Fort Benning, GA.  Suddenly, I was on planes every few weeks taking red eyes and xanax to spend as much time with him as possible.  Towards the end of April/May 2011, I was starting to have more a more difficult time with take offs and landings, and I would end up spending most of the weekend sick at his apartment.  When I would get back to California, I would have a very hard time standing up to teach (the transition from sitting to standing was especially difficult.  On more than one occasion I thought I was going to pass out in front of my students.)  Looking back on that time, my mom and I think all the flying and traveling is what kicked my POTS into high gear.

In June 2011, I packed up all my belongings, left my dream job, and all my family and friends to move to Clarksville, TN to be with Grant.  I was settling into our new home, making new friends, starting a brand new job, and planning a California Christmas wedding from the other side of the country.  By August I felt so sick I was barely making it through the teaching day.  Mom flew out and my gastroenterologist did a colonoscopy to rule out Celiacs disease or Crohns disease.  The results were completely normal and I went back to teaching.  The Friday before Labor Day Weekend I was so sick that I had to leave work early. Grant and I had plans to go out of town that weekend to see his extended family, so after a quick nap and a lot of peppermint tea, we hit the road.  I was exhausted most of the weekend but managed to make it through.  I felt so sick that we ended up driving home Sunday night instead of Monday so that I could have an extra day to rest before going back to work.  Monday we went grocery shopping at Wal-Mart and that is where I had the worst POTS episode (although we didn't know what was happening at the time) I have every experienced.  We were in the check out line and everything started to spin and go black.  We got me seated, and Grant got me some water, I still felt clammy and ended up throwing up. (Don’t worry, I was terrified of ending up on peopleofwalmart.com for weeks, but thankfully no one caught it on camera!)

My primary care doctor here was useless but she referred me to the Vanderbilt Integrative Health Center.  For the next six weeks they went off the theory I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  They offered dietary suggestions, had me see their health psychiatrist, and sent me to pool therapy.  None of it changed anything, and most days were spent in bed or on the sofa.

But after years, YEARS, of waiting, one chance phone call changed everything.

I was supposed to be flying home from California and was incredibly sick.  My lame doctors in Clarksville weren’t doing anything (big surprise!) and I was able to get a hold of Blaire, my contact at the Vanderbilt Integrative Health Center.  She patiently listened to my symptoms and said, “Have you ever heard of POTS, because that sounds like exactly what you have.  Why don’t you look it up and come in for an appointment with our director when you’re back from your trip.”  All it took was one phone conversation for four years of searching for a diagnosis to end.  When I called my primary care doctor to discuss it, the receptionist thought I was calling to ask for a marijuana test for myself. As with any new suggestion from the doctor, I had to google it. I didn't even know what POTS stood for. Thanks to wikipedia, I now know that POTS stands for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.

A month later I was meeting with my cardiologist and he was ordering a tilt table test.  I’ve written about it here, here, and here…I would never push ANYONE to have this test unless they really need it!

The recovery from the tilt table test was brutal (as you can read in the previous posts here, here, and here…).  The whole experience was traumatic, but I survived and after four and a half years, I finally had the correct diagnosis: Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.  Having seen so many specialists over the past few years and looking at the timing of everything, it is pretty clear that my POTS was triggered by my appendectomy in college.  The trauma from the surgery, the allergic reactions, or the mono set off this dysfunction of my autonomic nervous system.

At the follow-up with my cardiologist he put me on a beta blocker twice a day.  Since that appointment, I have only been getting better.  I still have bad episodes and bad days.  And right now I’m choosing not to work because the schools here are TERRIBLE.  But I am now able to work out three times a week at boot camp.  Sometimes I even manage to walk or run on the treadmill one other time a week.  And I can work part-time as an educational consultant and tutor for a couple families in the area.  Grant and I pretty much have no limitations because of my POTS, and we now know how to handle any of my episodes that might pop up.  We’ve even gotten pretty good about looking ahead at our schedule to figure out how to prevent potential POTS episodes.

The hardest part of this whole experience was getting the correct diagnosis.  Up until that point, it felt like my illness defined me.  It impacted nearly every aspect of my life and was a constant issue.  However, now that we know I have Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome I can be defined by lots of other things.  With a correct diagnosis, I have been able to seek appropriate treatments that have made a positive impact on my life and make accommodations so that my illness does not take away from my quality of life.  The reality is that POTS is something I will have for the rest of my life.  And although there will be points my symptoms will get better and times when they will be worse; it is never going away.  But that’s ok.  Because now I know how to manage my illness and can live my life.

Disclaimer:  While I am sharing information I have researched, read about, and found to be helpful myself, I am not a doctor and all decisions regarding your own personal treatment should be discussed with your own doctors.  Remember, I am just a patient.

Happy Birthday Gordon!

Gordon is 21 today!!!  

I can't believe my baby (only) brother is so grown up! 
And has already been accepted into an AMAZING law school.
I'm sure there will be many more acceptances to come!


Grant and I are SO bummed that we can't be in LA 
to celebrate with Mom, Dad, and Caroline. 
Grant can't wait to be home so they can wear 
matching outfits and play golf (or at least ride around in golf carts!).



We miss being home with the family 
and can't wait until we are home for the holidays!!

We will definitely celebrate this birthday then!

We're pretty competitive.
Family Games 2012...get ready!

October 29, 2012

Giants Win the World Series!!!


Posey for President shirts have been a staple in our house this month (Thanks Mom!)

Very excited the San Francisco Giants SWEPT the World Series!
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