Resilience…or, I’ve Been a Busy Girl

Resilience is what keeps us moving and growing. And I can honestly say that I’ve seen such resilience in Mister Bubby since my last post, that it’s inspiring.  Is that stupid? To find your fur baby to be inspiring? Even if it’s stupid, I still believe he’s a miracle. Since I last wrote, I found out that Bubby is officially cancer free! He’s moving around like the champ that he is and continues to amaze me every day. We’re just about back to normal with the exception of climbing the staircase to go to bed at night. For some reason, he just can’t muster the energy to propel himself. I just keep telling myself that we’ll get there. And we will.

His recovery period was a real bitch. Keeping him from licking at his sutures was a miserable experience for all involved, and we had to make a visit to the emergency room due to a bad reaction to pain medication, but we got through it. And somehow, even with putting him through the surgery and making sure he kept his tongue off of the incision site, he still loves me. The love that our fur babies have for us is simply incredible.

Let’s see, what else has been happening? Oh, big doin’s. I’ve been working with a phenomenal trainer at the gym for a little over a month, and I’ve started dead lifting and have far exceeded my expectations with what I thought were my abilities. Last week, I lifted 130 lbs. My goal was 120 and I just… kept going, adding more weight little by little. It’s really amazing what your body can do once your brain says you can do it. Lifting is something I never thought I would do. I never imagined that I’d reach the point where I actually look forward to picking up heavy weight.

I’ve also been working hard with my cardio work and sticking to the Weight Watchers plan, and I’m happy to announce that I am now 28 pounds lighter now than I was on April 22nd. And, I’m the incredible shrinking woman: my trainer took measurements of me when we started working a little over a month ago and every part of me is getting smaller. It truly is a wonderful feeling when you see results and know that your hard work is paying off.

I also just got back from a fantastic trip to Houston where I was able to spend time with my FES (fitness extraordinaire sister). It was so great to get out of the small town I’m in and meet new people and experience new things. I had a wonderful time having sister time and making memories; I even enjoyed it when we’d be trying to sleep and my phone would make a noise and she’d give me a death glare. There truly is nothing like the bond you have with your sisters.

Along with all of the above, I’ve recently just opened my own business. I’m now an Independent Beauty Consultant with Mary Kay. I turned to this to add a little extra income to my pocket to achieve further financial independence, but I’m excited because this is something totally fun and different from what I do from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M., Monday through Friday.  This weekend will be my first weekend with the ability to hold appointments, and I’m totally booked up all weekend! It’s a terrific feeling. I’m looking forward to sharing some great products with lots of different women and making them feel beautiful.  If any of you are interested in any of our excellent products, you can visit my store . The beauty about Mary Kay is that while I’m an independent consultant and therefore, a small business owner, I’m backed by a global company who believes to thoroughly in their products that they offer a 100% money back guarantee.

So that’s what I’ve been up to since my last writing; I’ve been a busy girl! All in all, life is good. Our journey may lead us down some bumpy roads, but somehow you end up just where you’re supposed to be, doing exactly what it is that you’re supposed to be doing.

 

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Seeing What You’re Made Of…or, Mr. Bubby, Part 2

I think sometimes we are tested just to see what we’re made of.  In the case of Mister Bubby, he’s been tested and that little man is full of heart and gumption!  Last I wrote, we were waiting on results from a biopsy to determine whether or not my baby had cancer.  Unfortunately, the results came back positive: he was diagnosed with stage 2 spindle cell sarcoma, which is a localized cancer and one that doesn’t metastasize (thank God). Upon receiving the results, I immediately made arrangements to meet with a surgeon who our vet referred us to.

I was highly impressed by the doctor and facility, but the means of getting rid of the cancer left me nonplussed. Amputation was the only way. After a tour of the operating and recovery room, I felt slightly better though; Mister Bub would have excellent care through this big surgery (three people in the operating room during surgery) and I would have 24 hour follow up advice via phone if I needed it post-op through both the surgery center and the emergency clinic associated with the surgery center.

I spent the weekend before surgery with my little lovey, taking him wherever I went and giving him his favorite treats of bacon and ice cream. Sunday evening rolled around and it was time to make the trek from Culpeper to Manassas, so I loaded him into the car with my Dad and off we went to the surgery center. Leaving him overnight was awful; he looked at me with a shocked face as if to say, “Ma, what…where are you going?!” If that experience was bad, the next day was pure torture as that was surgery day.  The day dragged on and on and I was finally able to call and check on him at noon: Mister Bubby had made it through surgery just fine and was resting.

Tuesday rolled around and I was anxious to get the little man home to rest in the comfort of his own bed, so that afternoon, I drove up to pick him up. Seeing him for the first time was a shock, adorned with his little blue e-collar (or as I like to call them Cones of Shame) and his shaved hind end. We walked outside with a very sweet tech from the surgery center so she could so me how to use a sling on Bub so he would have an easier time walking. Much to my surprise, he walked (or rather, hopped) right out of the sling and hightailed it to the car, anxious to get home!

We were sent home with pain medication and an NSAID and my sweet boy took his medicine well, but I noticed that whenever I would dose him with the pain medicine, his heart rate would increase and he would start panting heavily.  This only got worse over time and we made a hasty visit to the emergency clinic in Manassas again on Sunday.  Mister Bub was given new paid meds, put on an antibiotic due to a fever and had staples put in to secure his incision as he somehow managed to pull out about three sutures.  After a day at the clinic, we were free to go home!

I’m happy to report that Mr. Bubby is doing much better since the change in medicine and I believe we’ve turned a corner and he’s on the mend.  He felt so good in fact that he spent some time outside with my Dad yesterday, hopping around in the grass, moving about easily with his tail wagging. He’s my trooper, my brave little boy and my miracle.

Now, the only hurdle we have to jump is getting more biopsy results.  Our surgeon sent off Bubby’s leg to be biopsied where the leg was taken off to make sure that the area is free of cancer.  If this comes back as cancer-free, then we are in good shape and cancer-free!

Here’s to the health and happiness of our constant companions and fur babies everywhere!

Mr. Bubby, The Day After Surgery

Mr. Bubby, The Day After Surgery

When One Thing Goes Right, Another Goes Totally Wrong…or, About Mister Bubby

So here I am, plugging along, focused on working out and being healthy. And I’m actually succeeding; since April I’ve lost a good bit of weight and have increased my cardiac stamina and have started feeling pretty good about myself. But, wouldn’t you know that when one area of my life starts going well, another part falls to shit?

One day a couple of weeks ago, I notice that my baby, Mister Bubby wasn’t going down the deck stairs or bearing much weight on one of his back legs.  I was unconcerned at first; I thought perhaps he’d taken a little tumble while scrambling down the stairs, which would make sense for him to have developed a fear of those stairs. But more time went on and I realized there was something definitely wrong; his whole gait changed: instead of the cute little butt-wiggling walk that he normally had, he was almost swinging his left leg out to the side in order to propel himself forward. So, I finally called Mister Bubby’s doctor yesterday and was able to get him in first thing in the morning.

After a little exam, our good doctor looked at me and said that he felt a large lump directly above my baby’s knee. Said that it “felt funny” and wasn’t quite sure what it could be, so in order to be thorough, the best thing to do would be to get an x-ray.  In order to get the proper angles that he needed, I had to leave Mister Bubby at the doctor’s office in order to receive a mild narcotic so the leg could be manipulated. Dr. B promptly gathered up Bubby while we spoke at length about how much time he’d need to complete the task. Before leaving, I looked at my son who looked at me wide-eyed as if to say, “What the hell!? Ma!?” but was a good boy as I told him I’d be back and gave him a scrub on the head.

Mister Bubby

Mister Bubby

A couple of hours later, I made a phone call to check on my Mister and see if I could pick him up. It was then that I received the most upsetting news that I could possibly have gotten. The doctor believes the large knot he felt in the leg and saw in the x-rays to be a tumor. I promptly started sniffling and crying, stating to the doctor that was the one thing I was hoping it was not. Upon picking up my boy, the doctor did say that there is a very slight chance that the knot is there because of tearing of ligaments and/or tendons. At this point, that is what I’m hoping for.

Bubby is eight or nine years old; he’s become an old man over the past five years that I’ve had him, and because of this, the doctor wasn’t willing to give him more medicine in order to do the biopsy yesterday. So, upon picking him up, I scheduled the procedure for Wednesday. And here I find myself today, the day after receiving this news, trying to concentrate on work, and I realize that that just isn’t going to happen today.  Instead, I’m focused on the fact that my baby could be very sick, and will be biopsied tomorrow. I’ve never been a patient person; waiting to find out if my dog, who I think of as my child is healthy or sick is killing me. The only thing I can do at this point is to ply him with his favorite cookies and make him happy.

The plain truth is that I simply don’t know what I’d do if I Mister Bubby wasn’t around anymore. He’s been my companion and my best friend for the last five years. He’s stuck faithfully by my side through the good times and the not so good times. And, he knows when I’m sad or sick and does his best to make me feel better.  Here’s to the mysterious lump being caused by injury to his leg rather than a cancerous tumor, and to Mister Bubby living many more healthy years by my side.

 

Cut the Bullshit…or, Stop Taking in Stray Dogs

At some point in everyone’s life, they must reassess and cut the bullshit. Sometimes, we need to get rid of the people that simply do not add quality to our lives. Recently, along with dropping weight, I decided it was time to drop the extraneous people who I’ve allowed into my life that simply do not add anything of merit. This is something that’s hard for me, and I think, is hard in general for most people. Thing is, I usually don’t (unless you’ve done something to warrant it) want to be seen as a bitch. I want people to think the best of me and have only positive things to say when I come to mind. I never like to disappoint. Maybe it’s because I’m a girl, and generally speaking (though it isn’t always the case) we’re taught that we must ‘be nice’.

Lucky for me, I could think only of one person who I’ve allowed into my life that needed to be extricated. He’s the kind of guy that drifts in and out as he pleases; one of those people that has so many things up in the air that I wonder how he is able to sleep at night. And of course, he’s someone I used to date. Unfortunately, the last time he decided to pop back into my life, I allowed it. I answered the text and said, “sure, I’ll come over”. Why did I do that? Because I was being nice. Thing of it is, said ex lives an hour from me and at the time, I didn’t want to make the drive. It had finally happened! I finally decided that I wasn’t desperate enough to drop what I was doing (or in this case, what I wasn’t doing ) to drive an hour to spend time with this guy who I once at some kind of weird interest in. I see this as growth.

But wait. Maybe it wasn’t growth, because I then replied, “how about next weekend?”. Why did I do that when I didn’t particularly want to spend time with this person? Because I was being nice! I felt obligated and therefore, I made a suggestion to placate the man. Of course, the reply to my question was a deflated and unexcited “I suppose so.” Well, of course that weekend would do, why wouldn’t it? I mean, I’d be the one driving an hour to go spend time with a guy who liked to play the game We’re Just Friends…But Only When It’s Convenient for Me…and No, I Won’t Add You as a Friend on Facebook…But I Still Like To Kiss You. Ever had one of those? Kind of annoying. And weird.

So , as the promised weekend approached, I sought advice. And it was good advice I got: Cut. Him. Out. This wasn’t the first time I’d gotten this advice, but for some reason, it was this time that I chose to listen. Problem was, how was I to get out of this sticky situation I was now in? Lucky for me, I didn’t hear from the ex all weekend. I thought perhaps he’d forgotten about our intended plans. Horray!

But I wasn’t so lucky. Monday rolled around and I received a text asking what had happened to our plans. Of course, upon hearing the little chime and reading the message, I got an icky feeling in my belly. The icky feeling you get when you know you’re doing something that has the possibility to upset/confound/disappoint someone. But, it had to be done. I ignored the message…and promptly added the phone number to my phone to put on the Blocked list. I felt a bit guilty by doing this. After all, if I sent a message and didn’t hear back wouldn’t I be hurt? Oh wait…that has happened to me with this particular person, and about a serious subject matter, I might add.

So, the question begs to be asked: Why was I so affected by the idea of ignoring someone I don’t want to spend time with anymore? If someone disappoints you, does that give you license to disappoint them in return? Is cutting people out hard for everyone? Or, do I just have a supremely bad case of Nice Girl Syndrome? I had a friend once tell me that people like this ex are like cancer: cut them out, or they will bring you down with them. Sometimes, there is no easy way; having a conversation with someone about not really seeing the merit in keeping company with them is just as icky as ignoring them. Neither one is nice, but one is necessary. My dad once told me, “at some point, you have to stop taking in stray dogs and take care of yourself.” I think I’m finally taking my dad’s advice.

 

Another One Bites the Dust…Or, I Have Hope for Myself, After All

That’s right. I’m back. Back and better than ever! I recently lost about two hundred pounds. Yep. I’ve re-entered the kingdom of Singledom. As it turns out, the one that I thought was “the one” was in fact most certainly not the one for me. I chalk it all up to another bump in the road with the apropos phrase “another one bites the dust”.

The season of renewal and growth is upon us and thus I find this latest occurrence in my personal life rather fitting. I’ve decided it’s time to really focus on investing time in myself and exploring who I am (again. But this time to do it more than a couple/few months). At thirty-one, I figure it’s time to get that figured out…or rather to continue the journey. With my time not invested in someone else, I now have the opportunity to delve deeper into myself; what makes me tick? What makes me happy? And the better question: Why am I not doing what makes me happy? Where do I actually want to live?

I’ve found that when I am in a relationship, a lot of my personal goals go by the wayside; for some reason, I can’t seem to juggle focus very well. Does everyone struggle with this or am I on my own here? I’ve decided to hit the reset button on my priorities and to reassess my goals now that life’s circumstances have changed:

#1 Get back to writing on a regular basis.

#2 Start playing music again. And possibly *gasp* start writing music again. The prospect of which scares the ever-loving shit out of me. Possibly start taking mandolin lessons.

#3 Make a concentrated effort to expand my culinary abilities.

#4 Continue hiking and *trying* to form myself into a shape that is a little less round.

#5 Start thinking seriously about moving. No really. I mean it this time.

#6 Start saving. No really. I mean it this time.

#7 Do not get distracted from any of the above goals.

After I pulled myself together, I realized that I was going to find myself with time that I hadn’t had in several months. After all, I wasn’t going to be commuting to anyone anymore. I was going to have weekends back to myself. I wasn’t going to need to be tied to my phone at night anymore. At first, the thought of breaking all of the above habits was going to be overwhelming. But then something beautiful happened. My mind opened up and I had a moment of clarity; I remembered that there are no rules and I can do what I want with my time. In fact, I can do whatever I want in regard to *all* of my life. There is no rule in stone saying I have to stay in one place or that I must do anything in particular. Those thoughts are liberating in what can be a very scary time of transition. I have hope for myself after all.

Long Time Gone…Or, Updates & Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

I know, I know…it’s been a really long time. Since last I wrote, a new development has taken place.  I decided to jump back into the world of online dating. I did so with much trepidation after some of my experiences, but this time…this time I actually found someone nice. I actually found someone normal. I actually found someone with whom I can talk about anything. I actually found someone that I just click with.  We’ve been together going on three months now!

That’s right folks: I’m no longer a singleton! I’m a happy member of a twosome with an incredible man. Someone who makes me laugh, listens intently when I need to talk and loves me for me.  I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

Now, back to business! My goal with the coming year is to be more diligent in my writing. I realize now as my fingers tap on the keys of my laptop how much I truly enjoy the act of writing. There’s something about putting ideas “on paper”…and something even greater about having other people connect with those ideas. I believe that my focus is going to be my dietary journey. I’m in the beginning stages of trying out the Elimination Diet (which I will promptly throw out the window come Christmas Eve & Christmas Day). I’d like to share that journey with you and hopefully in the process come up with some really great recipes.

More to come (and soon)…I promise!

Pondering the Intricacies of Gardening…or Bitching About Weeds

As I sit here enjoying my glass of Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc and looking at my dirt stained fingers I’m pondering something.  I’m wondering why I did that. By “that” I mean why did I plant a garden.  Aside from the fact that I like fresh vegetables and I enjoy the time I get to spend with my dad as we do our collective garden I realize that I hate hoeing… and I hate weeding. I hate the back muscle wrenching motion of hoeing and I hate that even after you’ve hoed, you still have to bend down to rip the offensive vegetation from the earth to ensure it won’t return for at least week. And then? Well, it’s the same battle again and again. Damn weeds. I know, I know, there are products that you can put down to prevent the growth of these nasty intruders, but I’d prefer to keep my garden organic.

 

Regrettably, I haven’t spent much time in the garden the past couple of weeks which means I have unwelcome visitors that have to be exterminated.  I simply hate the process of eliminating said visitors. This poses the question again: why did I do that? I especially hate getting rid of weeds in the heat. Today, it was a whopping 86 degrees when I left my office; by the time I got home, I’d decided I would throw on my dirt playin’ clothes and tackle the mess.  I got a measly two rows hoed before my back just couldn’t handle it anymore and my shirt was stuck to my back with sweat. Sadly, my garden is riddled with weeds, weeds and more weeds.

But wait, it gets worse… I have yet to plant more beans (a family favorite), cucumbers and tomatoes. Oy vey.

Looks like this weekend will be filled with garden time! It’s worth it though. Think about it: fresh veggies and time with my dad vs. less time with dad and no fresh veggies. Which would win in your book?