I am Jen, Jen I am

my journey towards happy and healthy healing…inside and out!

Archive for the month “December, 2011”

ramblin’ into the new year

It’s that time of year. Everyone is freaking out and making ridiculous resolutions, goals with gusto, and intense intentions.

I hate this part of this time of year! But to be fair, I love this time of year.  I love the holidays and I love the week between Christmas and New Year….even if I don’t leave the house. This year, I am even more emotional about this week. I have a loving family and they have been wonderful!

Back to the New Year…

I have never been good at making or sticking to resolutions.

I have always made the typical resolutions: lose weight, quit smoking, get more organized…yanno, the typical not-gonna-happen resolutions. Last year I did not make any resolutions. I just floated thru the year. I was training for two half marathons and I felt great.

And then injury.

And then surgery.

Now its the New Year and I don’t want to make resolutions. I suck at them and plus, I have more important things to worry about this year than the number on the scale.

As you all know, I had knee and ankle ligament surgery on November 17th.

The last 6 weeks I have been in full-on healing from surgery. Most of my healing has taken place right on my couch but in a matter of just a few short days I will be going back to school.

In truth, I have only just begun my healing and recovery process. I’ve learned a lot thru this recovery! Now that I’m standing on 2 feet, learning to walk again Im ready to see just where it goes.  Where I go!

I still don’t want to make resolutions but I do have one goal for 2012: the only GOAL for this year, is to make each day BETTER than the day before!

I have a goSportID bracelet and it says: “EVERY DAY IS A CHANCE TO BE BETTER THAN THE DAY BEFORE”

I have decided to swear off challenges. I get sucked up in them and I tend to lose myself and I also tend to not follow thru all the way with challenges.

I thought it best to swear off all challenges in 2012. I have enough going on!

But then I came across my good friend Jacq’s new blog post and she has an idea. #12in12 – right from Jacq’s post “Pick one thing to do consistently every day for a month (see below for suggestions.) It can be something new you want to try, something you want to get better at or something you want to see if you can live without. Commit to doing this thing every day for that month no matter what, even when you don’t want to, even when it hurts, even when it sucks. The practice is the reward. Once the month is up, you’ll start your next thing. You may or may not want to continue the previous month’s practice longer if it’s working for you, however, you still need to introduce something new for the new month.”

I have thought about this. Debated it. Decided I was in. Questioned myself – I did say I was not doing any challenges in 2012. Thought about it some more. Talked about it with a friend (thank you g-chat). Debated it some more.

I am joining Jacq in  #12in12 and I am going to focus on improving and working on one thing each month that will make me feel better.

I am going to steal my friend,Meegan’s words: “I pledge to be constantly learning. Let the process continue!”

January is going to be a rough month for me: I am going back to school and learning to walk all over again. For that reason, January’s focus will be work & ankle! Every day in January, I plan on devoting 30 undistracted minutes every day to school work and 30 undistracted minuted to physical therapy!

My body deserves it!!

2012 is all about ME taking care of ME!

Each month, I will pick a way to experiment with making ME better!!

How do you feel about resolutions and goals and intentions?

6-week post-surgery update

WARNING: GRAPHIC PICTURES AHEAD! 

It has officially been 6 weeks since surgery!

I went to doc on Tuesday (3 days ago) and had my cast removed. I went to appointment thinking I would be leaving with a big, clunky walking boot. I did not.

Having a cast removed feels so weird.

The saw is loud but cannot hurt the skin.

I thought it was funny when I was asked if I wanted to keep my cast.

My skin is DRY and my foot is PUFFY!

   

It looks GROSS to me…

But doc was thrilled with look of ankle. My incision is healing beautifully. He put me in a ASO brace and sent me to Physical Therapy.

I have been in PT for a few weeks rehabbing my knee. I was able to start that process much sooner. Knee is healing wonderfully. I’ve been taking FitStella to PT (she also hangs with me on the couch and reminds me to eat my veggies).

Fit Stella with Dr. Nikki

 

PT is hard work. I am only just able to stand on my ankle…while using crutches. I am not putting all my weight on my ankle and I am not ready to take a step on it yet. I am learning the meaning of the words “baby steps” and I am actually loving it!  I have learned a lot while healing from my surgeries.

My body is amazing. I am healing and learning and growing. AND, it’s not just physical!

I am learning and growing during this healing process.

My body NEEDS me to take it slow.

I am going to give my body what it needs!

 

 

*more later!!

 

realizing I like the turtles

I was going to blog a Christmasy recap!

I had the BEST Christmas but I am going to save that for another post.

I had such a great day and somewhere, somehow, I had a sorta revelation. To be fair, it has been on my brain and I have been thinking such thoughts but during a conversation with my mom’s boyfriend it really became clear.

I usually am the kind of chick who spins in circles. I do so much yet so little. My husband is always telling me I do too much, that I do too much at the same time, and that I suck at finishing things. I want to be mad at him, but he is totally right. He has been telling me this stuff since forever. I like to say I am scatterbrained but truth is, I am easily distracted. I think part of it is I need to be needed so I volunteer to do everything.

I hate this about myself. I do not like half-assing, procrastinating, or not finishing what I start. I know I do this but I haven’t fixed it!

As you know, I have been sorta stuck on the couch since surgery. When I do leave the couch it is a pain! I have to think about what I need to accomplish while I am up. I have to plot it out every time I get off the couch. Crutches suck!! Getting anything accomplished is an effort but over the last almost-6 weeks I have learned a few things.

I am on crutches and not allowed to put any weight on my right ankle. This makes doing almost anything so much harder.  I NEED to focus on this ankle – the knee is healing nicely and if it weren’t for having ankle surgery at the same time I would be walking normally by now! Crutches use way more energy that normal walking. An hour out of the house requires a nap!

Crutches and ankle healing-pain has forced me to focus!

Circling back to my revelation. Apparently, my tendency to spin/talk in circles is a family trait. My mom is the same way but way more intense. She is a way more, in general, intense person than I am so that makes sense. I also see the same tendency in my daughter.

I NEED TO WORK ON THIS A LOT MORE!!!

Being all hobbled up has given me what I call….Forced Focus!

What is Forced Focus?

Injured ankle/hobbling one legged/crutches all mean one thing…I cannot spin in circles.

I have been forced to focus on one task at a time!!

Do you have any idea how amazing it feels to be productive and organized?!?

I actually finish tasks! And when I am working on a task, I clean up after myself as I go! (My husband is liking this aspect of Forced Focus the best!!) I am making more to-do lists and then tackling the tasks in an order that makes sense. I still do too much, but that is just me.

Forced Focus = forced slow down = one thing at a time

This is all very not like me!

So, I was tweeting last night. I was struck with inspiration.

I was thinking about maybe starting another new blog. A blog focused on this new realization. This new “Forced Focus” focus could be its own blog! I thought about it though and realized something else….I mean it is EXACTLY what LLLM (listen.learn.love.mend) is all about!

THIS

 

This is exactly what I wanted from my mending! I want to listen to my heart and my body, learn from what they “say” and love myself enough to Mend!!!

I have been forced to slow down.

I am embracing my inner turtle.

So, I am not starting a new blog. But I will be adding a new feature. I will blog regularly about embracing my inner turtle. I will continue to FOCUS and work on slowing down and enjoying the ride. I don’t blog for money or fame (though, I wouldn’t mind if threw money at me – not literally, mmkay?!) but I blog to have a place to work out the crazy stuff in my head. I blog so that I can figure out me.

Yesterday and today, I did some ME work.

When it comes to the turtle and the rabbit…I want to be the turtle. Running in circles and speeding around hasn’t gotten me to a happy place.

I will continue to work on focus and doing one thing – finishing it, cleaning up from it, and enjoying it before I move onto something new.

I will find my happy place.

I like turtles.

I will embrace my inner turtle.

Will you?!?

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow’s agenda:

8:15 doc appt for cast removal

9:00 Physical Therapy

Nap

Blog Christmasy recap

Nap

Blog “what’s up with ankle”

Nap

Not too sure…

a christmas eve eve meltdown

I am starting to feel like an almost-normal person.

I put on jeans this morning and went with AJ to run some errands.  I only went IN to one store – the music store where I scored really cool Grateful Dead pint glasses and a few great used CDs.  I am so excited to give AJ music I know he has been looking for. We finished the rest of the shopping….why do we always need eggs?!?!

Once home, I made two batches (13 mini-loaves and 2 medium loaves) of pumpkin bread.  Then I rested and elevated my ankle. Then I made my husband and homemade gift. Then I rested and elevated my ankle.

Then I did some dishes. I have husband or daughter drag a chair (our dining table is bar height so the chairs are nice and high) to the sink so I could wash up some of the big bowls I had been using. No big deal, I had done this about 3 times already. EXCEPT, this time I didn’t see a Pyrex dish. It hit my counters and broke! Glass everywhere!! Mainly, on top of my pumpkin bread that was cooling.

GLASS ALL OVER MY BREAD!!!

I LOST IT!!!

I was hysterical!

I had worked so hard on those loaves! I did almost all the work by myself… I was devastated.

I burst out in tears and just couldn’t stop.

Big Man stepped in and took care of everything- got me out of the kitchen without cutting my foot – because of course I was not wearing a sock! I went to the couch and just cried. AJ cleaned up the glass and assessed the situation and salvaged what could be salvaged. I wound up with 5 minis and 2 mediums loaves that had no glass on them.

I decided to salvage the remaining loaves. Since they were in the foil loaf-pans glass only hit the top – so, I cut the top half  off all the loaves. I am now adding a pumpkin-bread pudding to my Christmas menu. 

I am still bummed. It is hard to see your hard work destroyed. But AJ helped me clean the mess, salvage what could be salvaged, and let me cry!  In fact, he  told me (after the fact, when I was able to listen without more tears) he saw the tears coming. He said my bottom lip got pouty and he say it all coming. I have such an amazing husband!!

Ok, back to the work at hand!

Then I boiled potatoes and eggs. Then I rested and elevated my ankle.  Then I peeled hardboiled eggs. Then I rested and elevated my ankle.  Then I performed surgery on my pumpkin bread and put that in the oven to “dry out” in the oven (off) all night.

Then I sat down and it was almost midnight! I was very emotional.

Big Man said I needed to laugh so we watched “Penguins of Madagascar” Christmas episode! I love those silly penguins!

So there was a meltdown and a lot of tears.

But in that meltdown I realized just how much I can count on my husband! For the last 5 weeks, he has taken such good care of me. But last night when he knew I was headed for tears, he swooped in and took care of me and everything but never once told me I shouldn’t feel what I was feeling.

I love that man!!

and now…

it is Christmas Eve and I have a ton of little things to do!!

I have things prepped but still need to make the: coleslaw, potato salad, corn bread, breakfast casserole (will cook overnight in the crockpot), cheese danish, crabcakes (to take to mom’s for 7-fishes dinner tonight), pumpkin-bread pudding, and chocolate-dipped pretzel rods!

 

LOVE to YOU ALL!!!

 

randomness, its how I roll

Today has been a rough ankle day! I have not been able to get comfortable or if I do get comfortable I can’t make it last. I have my leg elevated and I have not done anything but tweet and watch TV today.

I have the attention span of a gnat…or about as long as I can stay comfortable.

Let’s just say this has led to some strange and random thoughts…

and this is where I dump them:

 

*I really like Jess/ZD’s hair on “New Girl” and I think I could kinda pull it off.

*I do not like MIO

*I want roller skates (yes, I am still in a cast and on crutches but I still want roller skates!)

*This is Dr. Oz’s Smoothie recipe; its 3-4 servings…It looks delicious – how do I save the extra servings? how long will it last?

*There is so much race/running chatter on twitter.  All sorts of people are planning races. I am sorta feeling glad to be recovering from an injury – the thought of racing (and paying race fees) makes me feel sick.

*I have no idea what goals I want to set for 2012.

*I am so excited for Christmas! So many friends and family peeps have been invited to stop by and share the day with us!

*My house is a mess and I don’t even care.  I have never been the OCD-type housekeeper but my husband and daughter have been in charge lately and we will just leave it at that!! ;)

*Even though I am having people over for Christmas I am ok with my house just being clean and not perfect. And screw it if my mom gives  it the over-critical look.

*Ankle surgery/being laid up for over a month and not being able to do much for myself has taught be to be selfish, more relaxed, and more focused.

*I’ve been thinking a lot about food and dieting lately.

*daytime TV sorta sucks – I mean how many freaking “reality” and judge show can there be?!? Did y’all know Jerry Springer is still on the air?!?

*I have spent a lot of time on twitter: people can be mean and judgey…not to anyone’s face…but they tweet it!! AND people insist on tweeting everything happening on  their shows. I don’t care what is happening on Real Housewives…if I did, I would be watching or DVRing so I can watch when I want…not when everyone tweets.

*I love my imaginary friends!!

*pinterest is an awesome way to store recipes & crochet stuffs. I like pretty pictures.

 

ok, so that is just some of the randomness that popped into my head today!!

I felt the need to share!

You’re welcome!!

christmas spirit, I have it!

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It has been 33 days since my surgery and I still have 9 days with my leg/foot in a cast.

It has been warm in South Jersey.

I am broke.

I know Christmas is not about how much money you spend. AND I refuse to go into debt for Christmas. I will give my daughter an enjoyable day but I will not use credit cards to make it some ridiculous extravaganza.  I am focusing on the family aspect of the holiday. I love spending the day with my family. I open my home to everyone in my life to stop at my house for Christmas cheer and plenty of food. This year we will not be buying gifts for everyone we know. In fact, we only bought gifts for the kids in our lives: Q, two nieces and a nephew. We have been making some homemade goodies to give out to friends and family – we LOVE sharing our goodies and I think this is a way better gift!

I have not been feeling too much love for Christmas.

I have not been all bah-humbug, I love Christmas but I haven’t been feelin’ it. Part of that is weather, part is crutches, part is broke-ness, and part is simply the “holy-crap-is-it-really-december feeling…but I am warming up to it.

The last 4-5 days have jumped me into Christmas Spirit.

We put up our awesome glowing red tree on Wednesday.

On Thursday we had company from out of town.

Friday we decorated the tree. We decided not to put out all our decorations this year. We have a small house and with me on crutches we decided to go minimal. I am so happy we did! I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to look to my left as I type this and see my pretty tree!  I peeled, cored, and diced up 8 pounds of apples and put them and other ingredients into the crockpot. I let the crokpot work its crockpot magic while I slept and then on Saturday I turned the crockpot goodness into apple butter. {I can’t wait to give this out, it is seriously delicious!!!}

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Today my little sister came over! We made all the cookie dough for her to make her cookies (she is actually baking  them with her husband but since they both work retail they will bake around their schedules) this week. We also made my cookies and breads and other homemade goodies. This year money is a bit tight so I decided to go the homemade way and I am so glad I did!! I had a great time with my little sister and my daughter making cookies and memories. There is just no way you can be in a kitchen and not talk about everything (and I mean everything)!

We had such a good day! I have a feeling that a whole lot of love was added to the yummies that were produced in my kitchen today! I feel the love and Christmas spirit and energy just surging through me!

We were very productive today!

We baked 2 batches of cookies, prepared the dough for 5 more batches, baked 8 loaves of banana bread.  I still have much to make & bake: pumpkin bread for everyone and I am making AJ onion relish & somoa bark – homemade yummies that only he would like!!

I move slower and get tired quicker but I can still get things done! I need more help than usual but Q is getting older and she wants to help me! I love that we are spending so much time together preparing for Christmas. I feel like I am really showing her the sprit of this holiday season.

I may not have a lot of money but I have a lot of spirit and love!!

I had such a great weekend getting ready for Christmas.

But now, I.AM.TIRED! I am going to bed where I can let visions of sugar fairies dance in my head.

I leave you with one more picture of my BRIGHT red tree! and if you look closely at the couch on the right you will see a sleeping Lucy!!

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Do you have the Christmas spirit?!?

*pardon the crappy BlackBerry pictures!

#smushy

I realize I have a lot of love in my heart!  I feel so much. I cry at commercials. I am a big ball of sappy tears lately.

Ok.

Not just lately…I have always been sappy but lately I feel like I am bursting with tears ALL the time.

I tear up when I am happy and sad!

 

Today has just been a #smushy kinda day!  I tweeted this earlier today!  It sorta says it all!

Yep, I took a picture with my blackberry for this post because I don’t know how else to do it!! ;) 

 

I have always been one to appreciate the little things.  And I love my loved-ones for the little things they bring to my life. I am insanely aware of just how lucky I am. My husband is an incredible partner and father.  He won’t let me feel guilty about being laid-up or him doing everything. (I know I shouldn’t feel guilty but sometimes there is guilt when mom is sitting on her butt while everyone else does the work – it’s just how I am wired!) Big Man won’t let me feel guilty. He makes me laugh about it by telling me I will owe him when I am able and the reminding me that he will collect! He reminds me that I need to take care of myself so that this is a one-time thing and not a constant recurring injury.

When I feel emotional and teary, AJ has held my hand or hugged me or cracked a joke. He has not once made me feel silly for crying. And I know he hates when I cry!

My LOVE Bubble!

Earlier I tweeted about my love bubble.

I feel surrounded by love!

My twitter family has been checking on me and sending love. My husband and daughter are here every day (especially AJ because Q is always off with friends – as it should be!) giving me love and help. My sister has helped and visited.

I feel surrounded by love!

It is the most amazing and #smusy feeling!!

My LOVE Bubble!!

 

 

 

18 days…already?!? only?!?

18 days ago I had my surgery.

Some moments I cannot believe it has only been 18 days.

Some moments I cannot believe it has already been 18 days.

I had thought I would blog a whole lot more during this time. Turns out ankle surgery hurts a whole hell of a lot more than I thought it would! The first few days post-surgery were the hardest – there was a lot of pain and not a lot of sleep. Then for 10 days after that I slept and dozed almost all the time.  I rested, iced and elevated my knee and ankle.

For the last 18 days, I have followed doctor’s orders.

I am not allowed to put any weight on my right ankle, at least until the cast comes off.

In the past, when I sprained my ankle (which was at least once a year) I would wrap it and torture myself with crutches for about a week, maybe two.  Then I would start walking on it, gingerly at first but walking on it none-the-less. I never truly let the ankle heal. From my first sprain I never let my ankle heal properly!

I am determined to do this the right way!

I didn’t go through the pain of surgery to screw it up. All of this has most certainly been a learning experience.

* Pain- there was/has been way more pain than I thought possible.

* I’m so tired! I know I am healing and my body needs rest but I just can’t believe how tired I can be after lounging on the couch for days. And if I leave the house for an adventure, let’s say breakfast and a scooterized trip thru Sam’s Club takes two hours, I need like at least 4 hours of napping plus a full night’s sleep to recover. This is where the “it’s only been 18 days” comes in….its only been 18 days, my body knows what it needs.

* Which brings me to my next learning experience. LISTENING. Somewhere along the way I realized I have had to listen to my body! Even more amazing than listening, is actually hearing.  I cannot go to the kitchen every time I want something to eat or drink. When I ask someone to do soemthing for me, I want it to be as easy for that as possible. When I ask Big Man to make me something to eat, I need to know what I want. That means, I can’t just go to the kitchen and raid the cabinets. I have to think about everything. I don’t want Big Man or Q to get me something if I am only eating because I am bored.  The first few days to week after surgery I started noticing my appetite being weird. At first, I was barely hungry. Big Man made me eat at regular intervals to keep my strength up. Now, I notice myself pushing my plate away before I have finished what’s on the plate. I am slowly starting to hear the full cue.

* I am listening to my body in all sorts of way.  When I need to sleep I sleep, when I need to eat I eat. I know also, that I don’t always know what the hell my body wants all the time! BUT, I am listening and hopefully, I will learn! I am way too hard on myself. I expect too much and when I can’t deliver I get bummed. I thought I would be much more “up” after a week of sleeping but I wasn’t.  And when I wasn’t more “up” I got very emotional. My emotions have been a roller coaster during this whole thing but I am letting myself feel them.  I don’t have the energy to hide my emotions right now, so I am feeling them.

*  I am not used to relying on anyone for everything. EVERYTHING. I cannot put any weight on my ankle so I am on crutches, making dinner is not impossible but its very difficult. Add in the fact, if I leave my ankle hanging for too long I get tingly pain. I have had to rely on my husband and daughter for just about everything.  They have stepped up in ways I could not imagine. I have not had to worry. My husband has taken the responsibility and run with it. He makes sure the kid helps out around the house, helps me but also handles all her school “stuff.” My daughter even helps me shower. Asking for help is a new skill I am learning.  Accepting help is another. Seriously, I am humbled by the awesome care my husband and daughter have provided me. And not once, have I felt like a burden to them.

* I am amazed at what my body is doing right now. I mean, I had major surgery on two areas of my leg. I am healing.  I am getting stronger, even though I feel totally weak!  I feel like when I was limping around with a bum knee and bum ankle I was broken. But I needed to be broken down one more layer to truly begin to heal.

*Healing is happening! Healing on the inside. Healing on the outside.  (I will write more about this another time or this post is gonna be a novel)

*I need to give myself a break and remember it has only been 18 days since surgery. I sprained that ankle about once a year from the time I was 12 (and for those of you keeping track, I am 33). So for 21 years I damaged my ankle, it might just take a little more than 18 days to be fixed! I’m working on giving myself a break.

 

It has only been 18 days.

 

and tomorrow is Day 19…and the adventure continues!!

do you wanna see my ankle?!?

On Tuesday I went back to my surgeon for a follow up. Instead of a boring post I am just sharing the pictures!! And a few words!!

Doc says my knee looks great! I had my stitches taken out and my knee feels so free! I started physical therapy on my knee on Wednesday. I will write another post about PT.

Doc is thrilled with my ankle! I have hardly any bruising, very little swelling, and my incision looks great! I am now in a cast and will be in it until December 27th!

I am not going to show you the pictures from follow-up surgery appointment! (you may not want to look if you are squeamish but there isn’t anything really gross about it!)

 

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