Ten years later.

I remember where I was on September 11, 2001. I was 15 and a sophomore in high school, enjoying another day of my first year of high school. My first hour was German, and all was still right with the world at that point. As class came to an end though, rumors began rumbling that something terrible had happened in NYC. In 2001, we didn't have readily-available smartphones like we do now - so the fact that hardly anyone knew of what was going on isn't surprising.

It wasn't until I got to 2nd hour - pre-AP English - that the enormity of the rumblings came to light. Most of the lights were off in the classroom, and my teacher was sitting at her desk, crying. I remember looking up at the TV, watching the coverage on ABC, not quite understanding what was happening. I mean, how do you prepare for something like this happening to one of the greatest country on the planet?

The entire day after my teacher turned off the TV was a blur, to be quite honest. I called my mom to see what was going on with my dad, who was active duty Army at the time. All she knew was that the post he was on was locked down and preparing for an attack, and she wasn't sure when he'd be home. I spent most of the day freaking out.

Sports practices were canceled, so I went home after school and sat in front of the TV, watching coverage. At that point in the day, the dots had been connected - and I found out that the Pentagon had been hit, and a plane meant for the White House had been crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. My dad came home late that night, and I remember meeting him outside and crying, relieved he was OK and not going anywhere.

In the months and years after, this country has changed so much that it's almost unrecognizable. Even after ten years, I still live in fear that we'll be attacked again. Our troops are still overseas, fighting a war that resulted from 9/11. While Osama bin Laden is dead, al Qaeda is still very much alive. Our country's in a recession, the price of gas has gone from not cool to ridiculous, the housing market tanked and is still recovering...it's been a rough ten years.

But, the people of this country refuse to back down and let this defeat us. I owe my life to the men and women who are or have been overseas, fighting to keep this country safe - especially those who lost their lives for the cause. We as a nation are still together, still standing, still living. After such an unspeakable tragedy, it's hard to move on - but we are. I'll never forget that day, never forget those we lost, and always remember.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Adios gallbladder.

I meant to write this post a week or so ago, but it never happened. So, I'm writing it now. :)

On August 15, I evicted my gallbladder. It was time for it to go; it was causing me issues with digesting food, which meant stomach issues, food restrictions etc. I didn't want to live like that the rest of my life - and risk my gallbladder actually going bad and making things a lot worse - so I listened to my body, saw the doc and got it handled.

All this started during Memorial Day weekend. I've always had a pretty iron stomach - I can eat just about anything. If I eat too much, it can make me sick, but whatever. Doesn't happen often. Over Memorial Day weekend, my mom BBQed, and I overindulged a little. This time though, I got pretty sick - like, I missed 1.5 days of work because I was so sick. Fever, stomach issues, nausea...I'd never experienced that before after having a big meal. But, I got over it and shook it off.

The same thing happened two weeks later. And during the 4th of July weekend. And two weeks after that. Every time I ate something particularly fatty, I would get really sick. I knew that wasn't normal, so I dragged my reluctant behind to the doctor. He immediately suspected my gallbladder and had me get an ultrasound to check for stones. That came back clear, so I had a HIDA scan done - a dye was injected into my system to see how fast it would move from my liver to my gallbladder. The dye was going to act like bile and show if I had an issue with the bile moving the way it should, which could explain why I wasn't digesting food properly and getting sick.

The HIDA scan was OK...sitting still for 1.5 hours was hard...but the part where the dye was forced from my liver to my gallbladder sucked. It felt like someone had set my stomach on fire...I'm not sure how I stayed still for the 15 minutes it took for the dye to do its thing. The scan results came back showing I was having issues moving bile from the liver to the gallbladder, so I scheduled surgery to kick it out.

The morning of my surgery was an early one. I was supposed to have surgery at 10am, but it got bumped up to 7am, so I was at the hospital by 6am [basically, I didn't sleep the night before]. I got all checked in, talked to my OR nurse/surgeon/ER nurse/anesthesiologist, then waited an hour until they wheeled me back. The surgery itself only took an hour, but coming out of anesthesia was rough for me. I was very sleepy, very nauseous, and I was in post-op for three hours while I struggled to shake it off. I pretty much slept the next 1.5 days away.

The surgery involved using tools in four incision points to remove my gallbladder. This is what it looked like the day after surgery:

The fourth incision was right above my belly button. Those four incision points hurt up until last week. And I mean, HURT. It was hard to sneeze, hard to laugh, hard to breathe...I tend to not take pain meds because I don't like the way they make me feel, but I took Lortab for two days to help curb the pain. It wound up making me feel very nauseous though, so I stopped taking it and sucked it up through my trip to Vegas. Oh, I should mention I had surgery on August 15 and flew to Vegas August 18...I will NEVER do that again. But anyway.

Now that I'm 2.5 weeks post-op, I feel SO much better. The incisions don't hurt, the sites are healing well, I shouldn't have a ton of scarring, and I can eat whatever I want now. I do watch how much fat I eat - if I eat too much of it [like bacon], it makes me nauseous - but it's nice to not have to worry whether what I eat will set it off and keep me in bed all day. I thought recovery would take much longer, and to be quite honest, if I wasn't in the mindset of "I have to feel better now, I'm flying to Vegas this week," recovery might've taken longer. But, it only took about a week tops for me to feel just about back to normal, which isn't bad.

The good thing about all this though:

J came home to visit! He was granted leave to come help me out for a week while I fully recovered, and it was so awesome to have him here. It's the longest we've spent together since he joined the Air Force last year, and it's the first time he's seen JJ since he moved in November. I miss him already but am grateful he was here for a few days.

Happy College Football Season!

I find myself thinking this more and more the older I get: where the crap has the year gone?! Are we seriously in September already?! Not that I'm complaining...between the ridiculous heat and my general distaste for summer [and my general LOVE of fall], I'm ready for it to be September. Maybe it will bring temps in the - gasp - 90s. Ya know, temps that we were supposed to see all summer instead of this 113 degrees ish.

Anyway, so it's September. Which means one thing y'all:


Yes. I'm THAT excited about it that it warranted all caps. Ever since the national championship game way back in January, my life has felt a little empty without college ball. I miss Saturdays camped out in front of the TV [or at Boone Pickens Stadium, if there's a home game], watching games, seeing Lee Corso put the mascot head on during College Gameday, wearing orange around my crimson-dominant hometown...it just hasn't been the same. But, starting today and all the way through January 2012, college football will be back in my life. I'm so, so, so excited. First home game is on Saturday, and I'm totally ready for it. I've got my outfit picked out, our tickets ready to go...just waiting for game time. :)

But I digress. How was August, you might ask? August was rough - which is why I really didn't blog that much. Between evicting my gallbladder, a car repair every week [literally], having way too much fun in Vegas and school starting, the last 16 days of the month were crazy. Add in a sick kid and hurt back - both happened yesterday - and the month got even crazier. I'm almost positive I pulled a muscle in my back...it hurts like a mug, lemme tell ya. I'll be using heat patches and walking like I need a walker for days, I'm sure.

And don't even get me started on my car. Suspension system was replaced in July...in August, I needed a new A/C compressor [that's finally being replaced this weekend], new transmission pan/gasket [replaced last week], oil change [done last week, 1K miles overdue], I still need to get a safety switch removed since I can't get my car to move out of park since said switch is stuck, and I'm praying there isn't anything else that needs to be done since I hit a speed bump too hard yesterday [I'm still mad about that]. Dropped a good $400 on repairs last month alone, which is ridiculous. My car's nine years old, I've had it for five, and I'm thinking a trade is in the future. Sigh.

But anyway. I'm banking on September being a much better month. Especially since college football is back. So here's to you, college football - I missed you. A lot. Thank you for coming back.

And uh - GO POKES!!!