Friday, February 26, 2010 | | 1 comments

Ever feel like this?
At least it is Friday!!

Bar stools FINALLY arrived

Thursday, February 25, 2010 | | 4 comments
For my birthday my mother-in-law teamed up with my husband to buy me these custom bar stools for our kitchen! We received them yesterday and we won't be able to sit on them until tomorrow (the stain is still tacky.) It is true, I'm an impatient person...but I think I waited for these stools long enough! I'm ready to use them!

Eric met the guy who made them at our house over the lunch hour. He sent me a picture and they looked beautiful, but when I got home to see them in person I was disappointed! They weren't nearly as dark as I had expected and they had a weathered look. Now, I love antiques, but I had a clear picture of the bar stools I wanted and vintage wasn't a part of that picture.

However, after taking these pictures and looking at them every time I pass the kitchen I think they are beginning to grow on me. What is your opinion?

Cafe Berlin

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 | | 0 comments
Eric and I joined my parents for lunch on Saturday and we chose to eat at Cafe Berlin. Oh. My. Goodness. I have never had a more fantastic meal!

I ordered The Clifton "Butch" Jones - $7.50, which is a combination of the pancake burrito (a large pancake with 2 scrambled eggs and patchwork bacon all rolled up inside. Served with real maple syrup) and the apples and sausage (a sweet and spicy house favorite. Apples, garlic, red onion, local andouille sausage, a hint of chili powder and cinnamon cooked in maple syrup.)

A few days later my dad was able to recreate this masterpiece. I'll have to nag him for the recipe.

Why have I not tried this place before now? I've lived in Columbia for 6 years! If you haven't been to Cafe Berlin, you must try it right away. It is now located on 10th and Park in the old gas station (okay...not much to look at but great for the tummy!)

They had live music and a mini farmer's market. My dad bought us fresh farm eggs (delicious!) and chocolate, zucchini and coconut bread! Food doesn't get much better than this. My family is on a "real food" drive. That is, we are trying to buy local, fresh, organic food. Let me tell you, once you go organic you'll never go back. The food is so much better!

Physical Therapy

Tuesday, February 23, 2010 | | 2 comments
Friday was my last day of physical therapy! I feel almost as if I've graduated-- I've learned everything I need to know to take care of my back and be pain free. As most graduations are, this was a bittersweet ending. I no longer have the weekly commitment to attend physical therapy sessions and my back has healed! I should be rejoicing...and in some ways I am. But on the other hand, I came to enjoy meeting with my physical therapist, Molly, and I found her continued encouragement motivation to continue with my exercising and stretching.

For those of you who don't know, I herniated a disc in my back the day after Thanksgiving. I have no idea how it happened, but on Saturday morning I could barely get out of bed. Without knowing what was wrong, I immediately called my dad who has had back problems in the past and he gave me a few of the stretches that he uses when his back acts out. One of the stretches required me to get on my hands and knees. For those of you who have ever herniated a disc, you know that is physically impossible to position yourself on your hands and knees. I cried. My doctor's office was closed for the weekend, of course, and I was certain it would just go away if I gave it enough time. But when Monday came, I was the first to call and make an appointment.

When I met with my doctor that Monday, she was certain I had herniated a disc, but wanted me to have an MRI just to make sure. She also prescribed a steroid, a pain-killer, and a pill to control muscle spasms. The MRI confirmed her suspicions and I was instructed to enroll in physical therapy. I was a bit hesitant. I had sort of lumped physical therapists in with chiropractors-- a sort of quick fix but didn't solve the problem. BOY WAS I EVER WRONG! After my first couple of sessions with Molly, I was feeling good. Pain that I had experienced for years that I chalked up to be "growing pains" or "normal pains" (what does that even mean?? Normal pains??) disappeared! I felt on top of the world.

I have now been seeing a physical therapist for about three months and I would tell anyone who had the opportunity to see a physical therapist to do so. I have more energy and less pain than ever before. I feel great- now if only I can get this Crohn's disease under control I'll be all set!

CT Scan

Monday, February 22, 2010 | | 3 comments

On Thursday I had to get another CT scan! This is now my third CT scan in 3 months and each time I've had to drink a different drink. This drink was thinner, closer to the consistency of water than any other drink (except for the GoLitely I had to drink for the colonoscopy- but it didn't taste nearly as bad!) It was a little grainy and tasted like Tums- sort of a chalky berry flavor. I had to drink three of those cups, one every 20 minutes. The nurse told me this drink was the worst they had and you have to drink more of it than the other drinks, but it is the best for highlighting the small intestine. Just my luck.

You can't see my arm in this picture, but I had just gotten back to the waiting room after getting my IV for the contrast dye. Just like the other times, the first nurse couldn't get an IV in my arm...but not for lack of effort. She only stuck me once but she dug and dug trying to get a vein. I'm not sure how long she dug, but it was enough time for me to plan a new career for her in anthropology. A second nurse was called in (the second nurse is always better than the first nurse and I think next time I will just ask for the second nurse before I let the first nurse stick me) and she wrapped my arms in warm blankets to plump up my veins. She also had me clinch my fists repeatedly while she pushed on veins to see which ones were the most plump. Before I knew it she had the IV in and running.

After finishing the three cups of liquid, I was called back to the room where the scan would take place. I laid down on a very hard and uncomfortable platform with a pillow for my head and under my knees. The nurse had me lay on my back with my arms next to my ears and my hands above my head. The platform moved me feet-first through a doughnut shaped machine. A recording told me to hold my breath and the platform moved again, this time head-first through the doughnut. A recording told me to breathe. The second time the nurse added the contrast dye through my IV. The dye makes you feel incredibly warm, almost making you feel like you need to pee. My tongue also feels numb when they add the dye, but that isn't a typical reaction. Again, the platform moved me feet-first through a doughnut shaped machine. A recording told me to hold my breath and the platform moved again head-first through the doughnut. This time it moved slower and I had to hold my breath for a longer period of time. Eventually, a recording told me I could breathe again. That's it! The test was done.

Except, for the rest of the day my digestive system was out of wack. Having GI problems is the worst because in order to diagnose a GI problem they have to mess with the GI tract making your symptoms worse. This test should tell the doctor to what extent my disease has progressed. I have an appointment with a nurse next week and an appointment with my GI specialist in three weeks. An update to come.


Friday, February 19, 2010 | | 2 comments

Ever feel like this?
At least it is Friday!

My husband, the photographer

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 | | 2 comments
Eric took this picture riding in the back seat of my parent's car going 70 miles per hour on our way to Wien to visit my Grandma. I love it.

Happy Valentine's Day

Monday, February 15, 2010 | | 2 comments
A photographer in Jefferson City, MO asked me to model for classy boudoir photos celebrating the woman's natural, beautiful body. I jumped at the opportunity. As a Kappa Delta alum, I've helped promote Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty since entering college. It is so important for girls and women of all ages to love their bodies as they are, without the technology of photo editing. If you're not familiar with Dove's Campaign, check out this video which perfectly illustrates why our perception of beauty is distorted.

Two Views Photography in Jefferson City is interested in starting boudoir photography to show that women, no matter how old they are or how many babies they've had or how imperfect they think their bodies may be, are beautiful. So even though these photographs made a great Valentine's Day gift for my husband, I hope they also encourage you to go have your picture taken to remind yourself that you're beautiful just as you are.

Happy Valentine's Day.

I win!

Thursday, February 11, 2010 | | 3 comments
Okay, so I only won $20...but how many times does every single number match your "lucky numbers"?!?

The Hospital: An Update

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 | | 6 comments
In early January I posted about my Trip to the E.R. This is an update from that post.

When I was dismissed from the E.R. in early January, I was given a week's worth of Percocet and had an appointment with a GI doctor pending. A couple days later I got a call from the hospital wishing to schedule an appointment at the end of January. I was shocked that they were going to let me go about three weeks without seeing a doctor, but I agreed and scheduled the appointment. Less than five minutes later I got a call from my doctor asking how I was feeling and to check if I had scheduled an appointment with a GI. I told her the Percocet made me feel really loopy and honestly didn't do much for the pain. I also expressed my concerns about waiting three weeks before seeing a GI. She agreed that it was way too long to go without getting answers. It took her a few days, but she found a doctor who would see me sooner. She also prescribed me a week's worth of anti-biotics.

I met with a GI doctor later that week, about a week after leaving the E.R. He ran a couple of blood tests, listened to my stomach and lungs, talked to me about my symptoms and decided to schedule a colonoscopy at the end of January, about 2 and a half weeks away. By this time we had the pain under control with anti-biotics and I was able to stop taking the Percocet. I was happy to be pain-free so I was okay with scheduling the colonoscopy at the end of the month. To be honest, I was in no hurry to have that test done!

A couple days after that GI appointment my anti-biotic prescription ran out and the pain came back almost immediately. I called my regular doctor and asked her what I should do. She made an appointment for me with the Surgery Clinic at the hospital for the next morning. She was still convinced that I had appendicitis. The next morning I met with a Surgical Resident, probably one of the most helpful doctor's I had seen so far, but he was totally helpless since we had determined my problem could not be fixed with surgery. He was determined to have the hospital GI Clinic see me, but they refused because they didn't consider my condition to be an emergency. The Surgical Resident explained the dilemma and suggested that we basically con GI into seeing me by admitting me to the hospital. I was admitted to the hospital that afternoon.

While I was there they ran another CT scan, this time I had to drink a liquid that somewhat resembled sugar-less lemonade (not to be confused with sugar-free lemonade which still tastes sweet). Later that evening GI agreed to perform a colonoscopy the next day. They wanted me to start the prep work at 10:00 that night. 10 pm?! For those of you who've had a colonoscopy before, you know you should be done by 10pm in order to get everything out of your system so you can sleep. I didn't get to bed until 3:30am. I was miserable. the last place you want to be is in the hospital when you're preparing for a colonoscopy. Another thing you know, if you've ever had a colonoscopy, is that you refrigerate the liquid so that it is easier to swallow. The hospital has apparently never performed a colonoscopy before because the liquid I had to drink was warm. Not room-temperature, WARM. Anyway, I spent the entire night in the bathroom with this nasty, salty, warm liquid by my side. ( I'll spare you the really gruesome details).

The next morning they took me down to GI to perform the colonoscopy. I waited for a short time with one of the nicest nurses I've ever met before they wheeled me into the "operation room." They gave me some drugs in my IV that is supposed to put you into a deep sleep. It isn't an anesthetic, just a concoction that makes you fall asleep. My mom calls in the Michael Jackson cocktail, but I'm sure that isn't PC. Anyway, notice I said it is supposed to put you into a deep sleep. You got it, I woke up in the middle of my colonoscopy. It feels somewhat like a dream, except I vividly remember feeling incredible pain in my stomach. I don't remember if I said anything but at that moment a doctor or nurse said "Oh my god, she is awake." At which point the guy administering the sleepy drugs said that he would give me more medication to make me fall back asleep. Which I did.. My experience was somewhat like Grey's last week, except I wasn't cut open, Thank God.

After the colonoscopy the GI doctor wanted a Barium Test done, another test where I get to drink some nasty liquid that a doctor figured would be fun to force people to swallow. I'm convinced that a GI problem is the worst problem to have. Anyway, once again I was told that my condition was not considered an emergency so they refused to see me unless I stayed another night in the hospital. Well, you can forget it. I decided to go home. This time the hospital sent me home with two weeks worth of anti-biotics and three narcotic pain-killers. At least they are understanding the kind of pain I was in.

About a week later I had my barium test done. I went to diagnostic radiology where they had me change into a hospital gown and robe. I stood on a platform and drank a white liquid that somewhat resembled yogurt in consistency, a little more "pourable" but close. While I was drinking the liquid an x-ray machine captured a video of the liquid running down my esophagus and into my stomach. After a few minutes, they laid me down on a table, had me drink some more liquid and again watched as it went through my esophagus, stomach, and eventually reached my intestines. They had me take a tablespoon of what felt like Pop Rocks on my tongue and washed it down with about a teaspoon of water. The Pop Rocks made me feel like I just drank a soda (i.e. it made me want to burp) but they had me hold it in. Every 15-20 minutes they took another x-ray video of my stomach and intestines. Between x-rays I would drink more thick, white, liquid. This went on for about 2 hours before I was dismissed to go home. An interesting tid-bit: I pooped white for about a week.

Still, after all of these tests and doctor's visits and hospital stays, I didn't have any answers as to what was causing my pain and how to treat it.

Finally, yesterday I had my "final" GI visit. The visit with answers. I have Chrons disease. It is not curable, but it is manageable. I will be on medication for the rest of my life and most Chrons patients eventually need surgery to treat the disease. The treatment is loosely divided into four phases, I am beginning phase two of treatment by taking two medications in the form of pills. The fourth phase, or the most rigorous and aggressive phase, would be medication in the form of shots and surgery to remove part of my intestines. Kinda scary. Chrons certainly isn't the worst news I could have gotten but it is a little unnerving.

So where do I go from here? Next week I have another CT scan, a more detailed scan that will show how progressive my disease is. In two weeks I meet with a nurse to talk about my treatment plan and possible side effects of the medication. In four weeks I meet with my GI specialist to see how I'm doing on the medication and how I'm responding to the treatment. This already seems daunting. What I thought would be the end is really just the beginning.

2 Car Pile-Up

Tuesday, February 9, 2010 | | 0 comments
The Beat Doctor cures JC of their nightlife blues. 2 Car Pile-Up performed at Prison Brews on Saturday night, once again creating a line to get in, one in/one out! For those of you who aren't familiar with JC nightlife, people don't wait to get into bars, bars don't meet fire code, one in/one out lines aren't created. Prison Brews was packed! The band has a few weeks off, but makes another appearance at Prison Brews on March 26th at 4:30pm.

Some pics from the night using my fabulous new camera:

Snow Fun

Monday, February 8, 2010 | | 2 comments
I've been really stressed out since beginning my first semester of my PhD. With two 300-500 page books to read every week, I feel like I don't have much of a life outside of school. On top of that, I have weekly trips to the hospital, doctor, or physical therapist (which I'll post about on Wednesday). Luckily, my mom knows how to cheer up her little girl. She invited me down to JC to build a snow man and go sledding. I also got a little puppy-time in!

I love this picture. We didn't have a sled so we tried to improvise. I love that Wilson is looking at us with this look on his face that says "What the hell are you people doing?"

The puppies loved our snow man. They jumped all over him and would hardly sit still for this picture!

As we were building the snow man, it just so happened that a piece of the front fell off leaving it flat-chested. My mom said it looked like her and we about died laughing. I thought she was going to pee her pants.

I'm very artfully crafting the snow man's face! Look how hard I'm concentrating. hahahaha

Posing by our work of art.

My Life

Monday, February 1, 2010 | | 2 comments
Since I started my first semester of my PhD, I haven't had much of a life. I pretty much spend every spare moment reading. This week, I'm required to read and Telling the Truth About History and Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnographic Writing. Neither are that interesting. I wish I could say that my life of reading looks as glamorous as the girl above.
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