Friday, January 30, 2009

Another Update

That's the latest picture of me. I'm officially old. And if the pink pants (ha ha) and pill bottles all over the house weren't proof enough, this is the third post on my blog about my continuing back pain. You know you're old when all you can think to talk about are your aches and pains.

But, for those who care anyway, I went back to the doctor on Wednesday and they x-rayed my spine this time. She said I have a degenerated disc right at the site of my worst pain in the middle of my back. "That wasn't caused by the fall, but the fall probably triggered the problems you're having" is what she said. She didn't use the word "herniated", but after I came home and did some reading on the internet- I'm almost positive that's what has happened to the disc and what she was trying to say. When they're already in bad shape, discs are even more susceptible to being herniated if you bang them up the way I did.

P.S. According to the internet, degenerating discs happen to everyone "as they age". See? More proof.

Back to the story at hand- she gave me steroids for a week and more pain medicine and said to come back in two weeks if I am not better and she will send me for an MRI. The only way to see a herniation is with an MRI, as opposed to an x-ray. Although, most things I read said a herniated disc will heal on its own.

I started the steroids Wednesday and Thursday morning I woke up pain free for the first time in two weeks! I felt this weird sense of freedom. Now, I could still feel something wasn't right in my back- because I can actually feel what I think now is the bulging disc when I sit back against something. But, of course, I didn't care! I was free!-- and so I think I overdid it yesterday. Last night, I was in pain again and took the pain meds for bedtime. This morning, I'm okay again. I'll try to be nicer to my back today.

So... that's where I am.

And for anyone following the saga of my sore, sensitive tooth ... I also went to the dentist yesterday and do not need a root canal! Yay! He made me a mouth guard to sleep with- he thinks I am causing the pain by grinding my teeth at night.

There you go. My health history for today. :-)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Happy Anniversary To Us

It's kindof funny there is an ice storm sweeping the nation right now... (not funny to those affected, of course), but it's ironic for me because there was another ice storm that moved across the U.S. 15 years ago over these same few days! I know because that is the day Tim and I got married. I was to leave Michigan for Maryland on January 27 with my mom, sister and her boyfriend (now hubby) David. And we were to be married the next day- January 28. We rented a van and watched the weather and realized that if we didn't leave on the evening of the 26th, we would get trapped in Michigan by an ice storm. So we set out at night to "out-run" the storm and drove all night. I remember taking turns driving and trying to stay awake. We got to Maryland, tired, the morning of the 27th (see above). Tim's parents drove down on that day and had a really hard time getting through, as I remember it. We got married on the 28th, as planned, at the courthouse (and no I wasn't pregnant, and how rude of you to think so!). My dad couldn't be there because he had just started cancer treatments. I missed having him there.

Below is a picture of us that night at the Mt. Vernon Inn having our wedding dinner. It was a very fun night. My mom remembers fondly when Tim's dad asked the waiter, in period costume and acting very formal, if they had put Massengill on his salad. :-)

After the wedding, we left the ice and went to Cancun for our honeymoon. So beautiful! And wasn't I skinny?! Tim looks so cute in his straw hat... but he ended up getting sick after we ate at that little outside lunch counter on Isle Mujere, so that wasn't so fun. The third picture is us swimming in an underground river with lots of beautiful tropical fish. I was actually terrified the whole time, but was glad I did it!

After Cancun, we flew to Southern California for a job interview for Tim. While there, we visited Disney World. After California, we flew to Pennsylvania for a conference and it was winter again... we actually went skiing, but I can't find any pictures. It was two weeks before we were ready to settle back into our apartment in Maryland. The second picture below is a party they had for us at our church. We look so young!

This picture, and sorry it's crooked, I don't feel like re-scanning it, is a shower at my church in Lansing before leaving to get married. That's my B.F. Darcy and my sister in the picture with me:

Happy Anniversary To Us!!!

P.S. I went back to the doctor today for my back and they x-rayed my spine this time. She said I have a degenerated disk right at the spot where it hurts that may have been aggrivated by the fall. I am now on steroids and yet another pain medication. She said to give it two more weeks and if it still hurts, she will send me for an MRI.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Update On My Pitiful Condition

(A card from my mother-in-law- thanks, Elsie!)

So a week ago today I fell backward coming down the stairs carrying Kennedy and Tim took me to the doctor where they said I had a fractured rib and there was nothing they could really do - that I should take it easy and get some rest and "feel better" and I was handed two prescriptions . I think I overdid things over the weekend (maybe the medicine was working too well) and woke up Monday feeling not so good at all. The spot on my back where I was told the fracture was- is sore to touch- but that is not where most of the pain is, to be honest. Most of the pain is right in the middle of my spine. This morning when I woke up and sat up, I was not met with seering pain, so I took that as a good sign!! I have spent most of this week on the couch and have limited what I do as much as I can. (That's harder than you'd think when things need to get done). Wonderful servants/friends at church have brought delicious meals and that has helped SOOO much. I'd say my biggest complaint is that I'm bored. I can use the computer some, but after a while, my back starts to hurt. The medication makes it hard to concentrate on the crossword puzzle book I bought. I get sleepy fast when I try to read. So I'm often left with TV and sleep. Tomorrow Sonja is coming to visit me.... Yay! :-)

Thanks to everyone for the kind thoughts, prayers, meals, etc. :-)

Monday, January 19, 2009

It Changed My Life

That girl deep in thought is Taylor Swift for anyone who doesn't know... I can't assume everyone knows who she is because last month while I was eating lunch with Libby at school, she was doing one of those "fortune teller" things- that we used to call "Cooty Catchers"- and my "fortune" was that Taylor Swift was thinking about me. I responded, "I didn't even know that he knows who I am". Which was met with laughs of hilarity by Libby and her 5th grade friends. :-) "Mo-oooom! She's a girl!" Oh. So I'm not up on pop culture. I think that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Fast forward to New Years Eve, as we were watching the ball drop in Times Square (on TV), Taylor was hostessing along with Ryan Secrest and the Jonas Brothers and during the magical first moments of 2009 when the confetti was falling from the sky and the party horns were being blown and the mood was festive, Taylor said of it all, "This is so... life changing".

Life changing?!! Really? Wow. And in our corner of the world, we all laughed at her and I wanted to ask, "Tell me, Taylor, how does a New Years' Eve party change your life?" No, really. I'd like to know. If her life was changing, I honestly would like to know how. All that really changed in my life was that I now have to remember to write 2009 instead of 2008. And what is the changing of a year, really, when you think about it? Nothing more than going from one minute to the next. A reminder that time is passing.

Since then I have entertained myself by repeating her words to myself, "Oh, this is so life changing!!!" about any good little thing that happens and I laugh.

But it has made me stop and think about things in my life that really have changed it. Topping my list are things like moving out of my parents' house, graduating from high school and college, getting married, the births of my children (particularly the first), moving to Maryland, moving to Alabama.... and then smaller things like books I have read, conversations I have had, sermons I have heard, friends I have made... these things have certainly changed my life in subtle and substantial ways.

But what about the magical moment 2009 years ago (give or take a few) when Jesus made it possible for me to be united with Him forever? And it happened on a "hill far away" on an "old rugged cross" and it was an ugly thing on earth and the only confetti and rock music was in heaven. (I'm taking liberties here). I read this quote on someone's Facebook profile and I love it....

Jesus knows me, this I love. :-)

And I know that Jesus knows me and I know that this MUST have changed my life but I have been asking myself how. How is my life different because of Jesus than it would be without him? This is a hard question for people like me who were raised in the church. But one that is good to ask. That "life change" should be clear in every decision I make, every hour I spend, every towel I fold, every meal I cook for someone else, every meal I receive (thank you!!!), every time I am tempted to complain about my sore back, every nose I wipe, every math problem I help with, every carpool I drive... even when it seems mundane and even when I lose my temper and even when I so often choose the wrong thing... still I hope that overall my life shows that I realize I am not the same. I am different because Jesus knows me.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Too bad Bobby and Kelly didn't have this warning sign posted on their stairs yesterday.... as I was coming down, in my crocheted slippers, carrying the baby... because at some point, my feet slipped out from under me and I landed flat on my back on the stairs! Kennedy's okay and I fractured a rib (along with bruising and straining several muscles), but am actually feeling somewhat better today.... or maybe that's the narcotics speaking! :-) Pray for me!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Happy 11th Birthday Libby!!

Eleven years ago this morning, after four hours of intense labor (and 9 months of intense pregnancy), God blessed us with a sweet baby girl, Elizabeth Brooke Newman. In the blinking of our eye, she has grown into a beautiful, sweet, smart 11 year old. Here is a look at her through the years....

( Bang trim courtesy of big sister Sarah)

Libby today with her friends Alaina and Shelby:

Monday, January 12, 2009

Second Post of the Day to make up for lost time

Sarah found a new picture for my mantel yesterday at Michael's (we weren't shopping for mantel pictures, but I like it).... my living room & furniture are a weird shade of brown... and I used to be adding a pinkish accent color (or trying to), but now I am switching more to a red and getting rid of the pink. The red sort-of ties in the kitchen, which is yellows, greens and reds. I am using all of these decorating terms loosely since I am not much of a decorator, really... I just do what I like. Here is what I have come up with:

Predators Game

Last weekend Jacob (and some friends from his hockey team) got to skate on the ice and shoot at the goal at the first intermission of the Nashville Predators (vs. the Calgary Flames) game. They also served us lunch before the game. The Predators lost the game- but if you have never been to a pro hockey game, and you don't mind hearing the occasional bad (but not awful) word, I highly recommend it! It was alot of fun. Here he is during his professional hockey debut:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My New Bracelet

Well, I'm back to counting Weight Watchers points (on day 5!) and so far so good. I thought about posting my weight loss goal on here, but decided that is too personal! :-) Suffice it to say- I have alot of pounds to lose. And if I am really good and don't give up counting points at the end of January like I did last year- I should reach my goal by the end of May! In the meantime, Weight Watchers sells bracelets that you can use for counting your points. You wear the bracelet all day and whenever you use points, you move the charm the same number of beads. This seems alot easier to me than keeping written logs as I have done in the past. And I decided I could definitely use my recently-acquired beading skills to make my own and save ALOT of money... below is the first one I came up with this morning. I used beads I had available (which wasn't many) and the only charm I had, which was a cross... which I think is a good thing because it will help me to remember who is really in control of my life.... and (hint hint) it's not FOOD. :-) I like the idea of having a few of these in different colors to match what I am wearing each day!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Holidays Are Over!!!

I am so glad the holidays are over- now I just have to take down my Christmas tree and do the 20 loads of laundry we generated while away this past week. I usually take the tree down on Christmas day, so I don't have to face it when I get back from traveling, but this year we left earlier than usual.

The kids had their annual Christmas Eve recital for us (only they had it on the 23rd). They played the piano, sang, read "The Night Before Christmas" and had a nativity skit:

Once in Michigan, we left the children with their grandparents and went with my sister and her husband to a cabin in Northern Michigan for the weekend... we had a great time. Here is the snow we found on the back porch when we got there:

And the view from the front window:

After the first day and squeezing in a mile of skiing before it got dark, the next day it rained and was 50 degrees!! No skiing that day, so we had plenty of time for games and stuff. The cabin had a nice pool table that got lots of use:

The next day was cold and snowy again. Tim and David getting ready to ski:

Me & Melis:

All of us having a cup of hot chocolate in between skiing "sessions":
Melissa, how many games did the Lions win this season?!! Ha ha.

My mom after watching the girls all weekend:

My mom and dad, sister and the girls, plus me- a happy family.
Back and Tim's parent's house in Ohio....Sarah playing with the DS with her cousin Paul:

Libby and sweet little Erika:

Jacob and Paul (a handful when they're together- actually, a handful when they're not together):

All of the cousins with (Tim's) Grandma Frank who will be 94 in 2 weeks:

Now, I have to get back to the laundry.....