Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Just get them taken care of!

Before I get started I want to mention I now have a way for you (my dear reader) to contact me! Check out the address on the side----->

Okay, now on to the post...

Our society today (in America at least) has this mentality that modern-day medicine can fix anything. There is this idea that no matter what a person is diagnosed with, it can be taken care of. Which can be true. Sometimes. And only if you have lots of money, or full-coverage insurance...which is harder and harder to come by these days.

So when it comes to my "leg" problem people have a tendancy to say, "Just get them taken care of! Doctors can do anything now-a-days. You don't have to live with this the rest of your life."

And here's what goes through my brain when I hear this:

I know, people. I have researched them all. Laser treatments. Vein stripping. Injections. Undergoing surgery. There is A LOT to offer out there for varicose veins. And doctors are getting really good at these procedures. Some are more permanent solutions than others. It's overwhelming to know what to do. Are mine bad enough that insurance will cover it? And to what extent? And if our insurance doesn't cover it, then what? How much is this family willing to sacrafice in cash just for the sake of my dumb legs? It could cost well over $15,000...that's close to what we paid for our van. From a Christian perspective, is that worth it??? I don't really think it is. And worse, what if the procedure doesn't work? What if we paid all that money for treatment just to see my legs back to the way they were (especially after another pregnancy). Then what?....and on and on...

So after talking things over with Greg, I decided to make a deal with myself. I would schedule a visit with my family doctor to {at the very least} get my legs evaluated and ask lots of questions. Then I would make the dreaded call to my insurance. If the insurance call resulted in a "NO, we will not cover that..." then I would not pursue it any further. I would just plan on dealing with my veins the way I already do. Case closed.

This next part is where things start to turn around. So if you are still here....get ready!

My family doctor took one look at my veins and said I would definitely need to see a surgeon. This means that insurance would most likely cover it! After a good hour on the phone with the NICEST lady ever representing our insurance my hope started to build. Insurance would cover the extent of my treatments after we met our deductible.

ME: Oh great, always a catch. What's our deductible?

 REP: Ten thousand dollars.

 ME: So we have to pay up to ten thousand before you guys kick in the rest? Awesome. Wait...we had our son in March. I'm sure those hospital bills met our deductible!


REP: Oh yes...I see that on your account now. Then yes, we can cover it as long as it's within the same year. And it looks like your insurance renews on November 1st. So your appointments would need to be done before that date in order to be covered.

ME: Okay. Thank you very much!

REP: You're welcome. Is there anything else we can assist you with today?

ME: Nope!! You have no idea how much you just made my day!


After looking at the calender and realizing the limited amount of time I had to get these appointments in I got crackin'! Thankfully, it worked out perfectly. My last appointment is literally on October 31st. Yeah. Cutting it close huh?! I am having 3 treatments (each appointment has to be 2 weeks apart to allow for recovery). I should also mention these treatments are to take care of the deep bulgy veins in my upper thighs and behind my knees--since those are the ones that cause pain. This treatment will take care of my current varicose veins. However, because I've had them in the past I can still get them in the future. So I have to keep that in mind. But, my doctor reassured me that it's still a good idea to take care of them now even if I want to have more babies because (as I said before) they will only get worse. It's like blowing up a balloon. It's hard to get it started but once you do it's really easy to keep blowing. Same with varicose veins. They will only get larger, bulkier and more painful as the years go by.

So, AFTER ALL THAT.....I had my first EVLT (Endovenous Laser treatment) on Monday! It was a short 30 min in-and-out kind of appointment. I laid on a table while they did an ultrasound to locate the vein. Then the doctor placed a needle with a laser on the end of it inside the vein. Numbed it all up...and then zapped it with the laser! Painless and fast. The most cumbersome part is I have to wear a bulky ace wrap from my hip to my knee for FIVE STRAIGHT DAYS 24 hrs a day (I've already rigged up a plastic sleeve so I can shower). Then I have to wear a full length stocking from my hip down to my foot for SEVEN days after that. This will happen 3 times so that's about 6 weeks of wearing ace wraps/ stockings. Fun. But you won't hear me complaining! It will be SO SO worth it.

FYI: There are other types of treatments for spider veins and other blemishes that are purely superficial (insurance does not cover those). I'm not looking for a total transformation. I just want them to stop hurting on a daily basis and hopefully get rid of the lumps and bumps so I can stop being the circus side show at the beach and just go on with my life.


If you are a regular reader...thanks so much for sticking with me! I don't thank my readers very often but you are all so supportive and I appreciate each and every one of you! And if you are a recent follower, boy did you come at an awkward time. My posts do not usually revolve around medical problems I promise! So, hopefully you stick around to see my "fun" side.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sensitive topic {my legs}

I have diseased veins or better known as varicose veins. There's something about the valves in my veins that don't work like the average person's. You can google it if you want to know more (if you can stomach it--there's some pretty graphic pics--although not far from my everyday reality). But basically, leaky valves that don't work properly combined with a thing called gravity makes for some ugly lookin' veins. The blood starts to pool in the veins as it travels down the leg but then has trouble pumping it back up. As a result, veins start to turn funky colors, bulge in odd places, and even cause pain at times. At worst, they can leave you more susceptible to blood clots and ulcers and cause swelling and pain on a regular basis. At best, these unsightly little guys make you self-conscious about your legs.

You can counter the effects by eating right, exercising regularly, and watching your weight. Ummm check, check and check! So, that leaves one little thing you can't control. Genetics. And these diseased veins run on both sides of my family. Check-mate.

I won't post any of my pics on here (to spare you all!) but I can honestly say they are some of the worst on anyone my age. For real. And I'm sure you are thinking..."yeah right. I'm sure they're not that bad. You're only 28 for goodness sake..."  Let's just say there are bulging veins that snake up and down both legs, combined with red/purple spots that resemble bruises between my knees and ankles, combined with clusters of spider veins around my ankles and feet. You can start cringing now. My closest family and friends know how much these burden me. They have seen me go back and forth on these roller coaster feelings towards my legs.

I have had intense feelings of embarrassment and shame when someone innocently asks, "oh no what happened to your leg?" To which my silent response is, "That's it! No one will ever see my legs again! I'm wearing pants the rest of my life!" And on other days I've thrown my hands up in the air and said, "Screw it! People can stare all they want but I am going to the beach! It's too hot outside to be miserable!" I have silently cursed others with {quote} beautiful legs that are blemish free who complain about not being able to get the perfect tan. And I've lied to people's faces when they point to my ankle and ask, "what's that?" by saying, "it's just a bruise...".

I debated for a long time whether to post on this topic for the following reasons:

{1} I don't like drawing attention to myself.

{2} It's not a life or death situation. There are much harder things in life...way more burdens than I can ever imagine that people are dealing with. Why should I complain. They're just legs after all.

{3} I feel like I'm the only 28 year old I know dealing with this problem to this extent (I know I'm not but it sure feels that way).

{4} I don't want this to be the thing that people recognize me for (that girl with the ugly veins)

{5} People don't know how to talk about they just stare. That being said, I don't want to write about this and then people still don't know how to talk about they still just stare. **crickets** awkward.

As you can imagine, 2 pregnancies have not helped my vein problem. The weight gained during pregnancy coupled with the increased blood supply made for some very painful months. (Good thing babies are worth it!) I was advised by doctors that my problem will only get worse if we decide to have more kids. This is not a roadblock in my mind...just something I know I will have to deal with.

There is a happy ending to this story....I just didn't want to make this post any longer than it already is.

So come back tomorrow to read the rest!

Monday, September 19, 2011

I have a "thing" for numbers....

Alright friends, it's confession time...

I love numbers.


Like, ell ohh vee eeeeee numbers.

My love does not come from taking math or accounting while in college. No no. Not those numbers.

These are just everyday numbers.

Like the fact that my license plate has both my husband's former football number {77} as well as my former volleyball number {8}. Love that.

And if you recall when I was pregnant with Kensie, her due date was 9-9-09. How fun is that?!

Or when I got to the check-out counter at the boutique downtown and I had exactly $14.32 in my wallet. True story. Love that.

And I may or may not count the stairs to the basement every time I walk them. I know how many there are. Twelve. But I may or may not count them anyway.

Numbers give so much order and structure. And they are so predictable {sometimes}.

So, when I decided to add an "alphabet" on the wall in the playroom....

I started counting the panels on the wall to see how I wanted to space them out.

And guess what?

This wall was made for the alphabet.

There are exactly 26 panels on the longest wall in the sunroom.

Perfect fit.

Oh happiness....

Just one more reason I love numbers.

And Kensie sure loves those letters up there now. She knows every single one and can call them out at random. And before you think I'm super-mom...I take zero credit. Pretty sure PBS has proven to be educational. I just quiz her now and then.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

No. He didn't...

Oh yes. He did.

 I won fair and square and I'm giving myself a big fat POINT!

If you're new around here and need to be filled in, go read about our friendly competition.

And thank goodness for this blog 'cuz you know....documentation is necessary.

(I know. I'm a terrible winner.)


In other news....whatchya think about my new header?? I can't take complete credit. I found the idea on pinterest and re-created my own version. I love how simple the design is but how easily it gets the point across. It also reminds me that you never know how or where or when God will bring someone into your life. I never thought I would live anywhere but CA, let alone marry someone from a different state. But, that's the way God works. And I couldn't have been more pleasantly surprised.

Love my tall-dark-and-handsome-Michigan boy!
...even though I beat him at silly games now and then...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Reflections on the little years

You may have heard me complain about the inconveniences of pregnancy and all the "uncomfortableness" before, during and after giving birth. I'm sure I have dramatized the sleepless nights and fatigue that come with taking care of newborns--however, that's easier to say now that I'm out of the newborn decide. And I'm quite certain I have expressed {in *ahem* sarcastic ways} how NOT excited I am about parenting a two year old, potty training and switching a toddler to her big girl bed. 

But, let me set the records straight....

I am absolutely loving these young years of my kiddos. I've been reminded lately in SO many ways that these are the best years of my life. And so far, I'd say they definitely are!

A two year old and a six month old take a lot of physical work. But, I'm so blessed to watch Kensie become more independent with each day....learning new words like crazy, wanting to "help" around the house, learning to pick up toys and share them with her precious to watch her transition from baby to child. And Mason is such a joy. Even though he already has that "boy smell" and he gets baths MUCH more often than Kensie ever did....he is sitting up to play more, smiling and babbling with such happiness, and thinks the world of miss Kensie. She will walk by without even looking at him, and he starts giggling and squealing with love for his big sister.

We have been having LOTS of tea parties lately. Mason loves the new perspective and Kensie loves having another guest at her party....this particular day was full of extra giggles.

See what I mean?

How blessed am I? I don't deserve this position Lord. And I certainly don't deserve such sweet kids.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where were you?

I woke up early around 6am by my alarm clock (west coast time). My body was so sore. We had been getting our butts kicked for the past few weeks getting into shape. It was pre-season for volleyball. My freshman year of college. The sun wasn't quite up as we shuffled down to the training room to get ready for another hard day of practice. In the midst of getting ankles taped and warming those sore muscles with heat teammates and I heard some noise coming from the trainer's office. The tiny TV screen was covered with smoke, flames, and rattled looking reporters trying their best to communicate what had happened. A tower had been hit with a plane.

I didn't know what big city it was until I suddenly recognized those towers. They looked familiar...too familiar. Our volleyball team was there just two weeks prior. I had never heard of the twin towers. But on our trip we toured NY and I snapped this pic with a teammate just before flying home to CA.

Me and Allison in NY just 2 weeks before 9-11-01

I remember feeling sick to my stomach. I looked at my teammate next to me in disbelief..."We were just there!.....pause...."I know...". I felt sick knowing we could have been there. My muscles were no longer sore. I was no longer concerned with how hard my day was going to be. But I felt even worse for all those people who were there. All those firefighters, policeman, and innocent civilians caught in the madness. I felt guilty for being on the other side of the USA on my safe college campus. I remember thinking, "Why?".

I couldn't even tell you what we did that day. I know we practiced but it felt like a blur. And I'm sure we had a game later that week...but, I remember not really caring.


I remember that morning very well. And 10 years later I sit here praying and thinking of all those who lost loved ones on 9/11 and hugging my little family extra tight today.

Where were you that day?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Change of seasons

It's time to hang our summer hats....

and welcome the new crisp and colorful season! One of the things I love most about living in the Midwest.

So come on in...

and stay for some apple cider and pumpkin pie.

mmmmm I can already smell the beauty of fall.

We are ready! Are you?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Outdoor party decor..

When planning Kensie's 2nd birthday party, I was just gonna use the same theme I had last year--strawberries (sorry I don't have a single pic with my own camera to show you). But, at the last minute I changed my mind. Who wants to have the exact same party 2 years in a row anyway?? I knew Kensie wouldn't know the difference, but I would. And I like to switch things up when it comes to holidays. So I scrambled for another plan. And I only had 24 hours to come up with something quick!

I had to make a grocery run beforehand and wouldn't ya know it??...I found a pretty flower-patterned tablecloth, napkins and plates in the party section. I snatched 'em up and brought 'em home! This was my inspiration for an outdoor "garden/ butterfly/ re-used banners and pinwheels from last year's party" party. Ha!

I loved the colors in the tablecloth and knew they would blend with the other decorations I already had. Recognize the flower arrangement {my sista made} from the dining table? Perfect match right?!

I carefully stored these paper banners I made from her party last year. To make--ribbon, scrapbook paper, a box of blue glittered letters from Michael's, a hole punch, and glue....easy as pie! 

Remember these butterflies I usually have on the wall in the playroom?


Pinwheels I made with paper and held together with glue and tied with twine for the center.

This is our front door and kitchen window facing the front yard.

Yes, that's a "please knock" sign I taped over the doorbell. And yes, that's outdoor carpet on our front porch. But, we're not here to discuss that now are we? Yet...

If I haven't mentioned her enough...I'll do it again now. Tammi made this amazing keepsake photo album for Kensie. It's custom made with pics of Kensie from birth to 1 year. It was fun to put on display and let guests flip through when they arrived. How much she has changed!

The weather was simply divine! Sunny but nice and cool. Perfect outdoor party conditions. By the time the sun went down, we lit the firepit and huddled around it to stay warm until guests started to leave.

And this little girl had so much cake fun!

Hope you enjoyed the sneak peek into the party!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

half-birthday and a tea party

Kensie and Mason are exactly 18 months and 2 days apart. It will be nice as they get older to have their birthdays nice and spread out....not to mention, easy to remember.

6 month pic--don't let the smile fool you...

Mr. teething-waking-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-wants-to-be-held-all-the-time-for-the-last-week is really wearing momma out. But he's worth it.

And in celebration we whipped up a little tea party this morning...

Mason. Kensie. Dolly

Happy half-birthday little fella!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A kinda-sorta slipcover

We were given this couch as a hand-me-down from someone in Greg's family.

Structurally sound. Comfortable cushions. No major rips. And straight out of "That 70's Show".

We put it in the playroom and has never quite "fit" my decor.

Until now....

Ahhh SO much better.

Took me 2.5 seconds to "slipcover" my couch.

And I love it. However, next time I will fluff it in the dryer before putting it on so there are no wrinkles.

And I'm not ashamed to say it's our (rarely used) King-sized bedsheet either.

Now even I can stand to hang out in there.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tee Double-you Ohhh

Our sweet Kensie girl turned 2 today.

babies have suddenly become very important...

And what a sweet girl she is. Even though the number "2" brings it's extra energy and challenges sometimes, this little girl has stolen our hearts. And stuffed them full. 

....feed the baby....

So full they might burst.

...shush the baby...

And since her birthday falls over Labor Day weekend, we packed in the parties!

(I'll do another post on decorations I used for one of the parties...stay tuned!)

one of the three cakes we got sick over enjoyed over the weekend

Three out of the last four days, she's had pizza and cake.

Don't judge.

"I'm two!"--we're working on showing just the two fingers...oh well.

Happy Birthday Kensie Michelle! You are loved.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Where does she come up with this stuff???

I promise I had nothing to do with this. She was quietly playing in the playroom (for once!), so I went in to check on her. Thankfully I had my camera in hand and whipped it out just in time.

And I say it again...where do kids think up these crazy things?? Oh man.