Monday, March 23, 2015

Valentines's Day and Lancaster, PA

Valentines day was so long ago, but life be cray, so I'm finally blogging about it now.

My valentine's week was over taken by birth. More than once I went in the middle of the night to my client who labored for 4 days, with back labor. Yikes.
 Well, at about 3:30am on Valentine's day, a wide awake beautiful girl was born into the world. And after about 27 hours straight with the family, I finally got home at about 5:30 in the morning. I stumbled inside and plopped right into bed. When I woke up, I woke up to this.
 Now funny story. The dress in that picture had been on my modcloth wishlist for months. I was so bummed Hal didn't get it for my for Christmas, and then it was sold out. Well, one day I was randomly looking at my wishlist and saw they had one dress, in my size in stock. I immediately messaged Hal to see if I could get it. But by the time he answered me the dress was gone. I was SO bummed. Little did I know, it was Hal who had bought the dress to surprise me. That was one of the best surprises ever. Homeboy knows I love surprises.

We don't usually do much for Valentine's day, but Hal's busy season of 80 hour weeks and no days off finally ended that week, so we made plans to go to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and I bought Hal a you survived busy season/ passed your second CPA exam/valentines pair of Clark's shoes that he's now obsessed with.
We got such a late start on the 2 hour drive to Lancaster that we didn't arrive until early evening. Thank goodness I can sleep in the car! We checked into the hotel and started to see where we wanted to go to dinner. When lo and behold we found Khom's Eggroll Paradise on Yelp. It said it was Cambodian food, so dinner was decided.
If you're ever in Lancaster. GO. It was pretty legit. We got their Sweet and sour rice noodles which is "nom bai jok" and their chicken egg rolls, both were delicious. Hal actually hated nom bai jok in Cambodia, but he loved Khom's version. We even got to speak a little Khmer with the owner. It's a tiny little restaurant, but we'll definitely be back.
 By the time we came out it was really coming down with snow. It felt so magical. Like it does when it snows in the movies. The next morning there was a windchill of -20 or so degrees, and we were dumb enough not to realize ahead of time that everything would be closed on a Sunday, so we went for a long and winding drive through Amish country on our way home. And apparently I only took one actual picture of a buggy, and like 8,000 snap chats instead.
Guys, I'm not gonna lie. I was like a kid in a candy store with all the buggies we saw. I've seen Breaking Amish, and while I'm sure that isn't a great representation of the Amish, it's made me fascinated with their culture.
Even though we didn't get to eat any of the famous Amish baked goods or go to their farmers market, it just gives us a reason to go back, when it's not freeze your hair cold outside.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Receiving Service

My sister in law sent me an article that kind of culminated something I've been thinking a lot about lately. I'm sorry for all the Lyme disease posts, but it's kind of taken over my life, and therefore my blog. And sorry for the cat pictures, but this post needed something.

Service, and learning to accept it is hard.

Generally I'm a really independent person. I like to not have to depend on anyone but Hal for what I need done. I don't like to feel like I'm making someone else's life harder by asking / letting them do something for me.
But some days lately I literally can't take care of myself. The new medication I'm on hits hard and fast for two weeks, and my two weeks off of it I spend recuperating from it, right as I have to go back on it. I've never had to rely on the people around me more than I have in the last month. And I feel terrible. I hate every time I have to ask my managers if I can work from home because all the sudden out of no where I feel like I have the flu, or I'm so nauseous I can't sit at my desk, or any other all encompassing symptom. I hate having to message Hal and tell him I'm going home sick again because then he comes home to take care of me instead of staying at work to study. I hate having to ask co-workers to cover for me on things because I have to work from home because I can't get out of bed.
But lately I've been humbled. I realized something important. People want to serve each other.

We spent some time with someone recently who kept turning us down every time we asked if they wanted something, or if they'd like to do something. And it made me realize  I've always done the same thing. I turn people down all the time because I don't want to inconvenience them, but generally, it's not an inconvenience. People want to feel like they're helping.
The last birth I did, the mother of my client kept asking me if I wanted this or that and I kept saying no. I always come prepared with what I need. Well as the birth took much longer than expected, I accepted her offer for a sugar pick me up and she said "finally, something I can do for you." That experience coupled with watching someone blow us off, just like I often do, I realized people want to serve one another, because that's how humans connect with one another.

So maybe I just need to accept help graciously and be thankful that my life is full of people who are so willing to cover for me, to take care of me, and to be so accommodating with what I'm experiencing instead of worrying that I'm inconveniencing them. Maybe I don't always have to be the one doing service, maybe this is my time to accept service. I have so many kind, thoughtful people in my life that have been so helpful; if even just hanging out with me to take my mind off how I'm feeling. I really am so grateful for it all.

And I'm grateful to you all, for all of your kind comments on these posts that are more of me just chronicling my journey, they really do help buoy my spirits, so thank you. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Clearwater Beach / Tampa

After the adventures my friend and I had in Orlando we headed off to Tampa for my work event. Luckily, we had a few hours to kill, so we decided to head to Clearwater Beach first.
I'm so glad we took the 20 minute drive from Tampa to Clearwater. After making it to the beach and realizing the water was much too cold the sun came out and it was a perfect afternoon on the beach. We walked along the beach and I collected some shells. It was so perfect I didn't even think about the fact that one of my antibiotics makes me photo sensitive and I ended up with a sunburn on my face, hands and feet in February.
I had some time to kill between my meeting ending and my flight, so I decided to explore Tampa a little bit. Yelp told me there was a little park down by the river, so I headed in that direction. As I reached the river I saw this amazing building. Turns out it's the University of Tampa which used to be an old hotel. It's a short walk across the river so I explored the University a bit. I'd highly recommend it, it's a stunningly beautiful building. 
I rounded out the evening by eating at Anise Gatsrobar which I couldn't recommend highly enough if you're in Tampa. Get the truffle tater tots. Oh man, thinking about them made my mouth start watering.

I was sad to leave Tampa and it's perfect February 75 degree t-shirt weather, but I'm glad I got the chance to visit and explore the area.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Universal Studios - Harry Potter World

I was so excited when my work decided to host a conference in Tampa and I got to go, but I was so bummed it was smack dab in the middle of Hal's busy season, when he works 7 days a week and isn't allowed to take time off.

Luckily my friend Trophie loved Harry Potter, and we found her a $20 flight to Tampa. Not too shabby. We met up at the airport and rented a car for the hour and half drive to Orlando.
We only planned to visit Universal Studios, instead of hitting Disney, because Harry Potter is boss.

The first day we only had the afternoon, and one park closed at 6 and the other at 7, so we hit to Islands of Adventure, which has the older Harry Potter world, with the castle and Hogsmead.
I think we both expected to feel so hot in Florida since it was freezing in DC, but it was 70 and rainy when we arrived and a cardigan was definitely needed. We were lucky that the crowds weren't too bad since it was the afternoon and it had been raining in the morning. We got some frozen butter beer. Which is delicious and butterscotchy, but will instantly rot your teeth out, and will make you want to barf if you chug a bunch before going on the castle ride that you didn't know was moving and 3D. 
Our second day we spent mostly in the universal park, in the new Harry Potter world. I must say, if you have to choose, choose universal. It's so well done. The level of detail is astounding. We started the day by taking The Hogwarts Express from Islands of Adventure to Universal. The train was so fun. We took it both ways, and I thought it would be the same, but it was different each way. 
Once we got into Universal I was so surprised. They did such a good job on the Kings Cross station, and making it feel like you were coming outside into London. We even managed to capture Kreacher peeking through the window. 
All of the shops on the Universal side were so wonderful. The level of detail was amazing. It was so fun to see all of the treats and the clothes and everything from the movies and books come to life. The Gringotts ride was really fun, but it's short and the line was really long. I think the Castle ride was both of our favorite. We even got to catch the Gringotts dragon breathing fire.
                                         

I'd highly recommend visiting Harry Potter world. It's not cheap, and as adults we weren't really interested in all of the Disney stuff, so it was perfect for a 2 day visit. I'd say we could have done all of Harry Potter probably in one day, but be aware that they close early in the winter. Overall, it was worth the money for a fun little short trip.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Little Lyme Update

I've been in treatment for Lyme Disease for about two months now, so I figured it was time for an update on my experience.

I began with six different vitamins back at the beginning of December and slowly built up an antibiotic to taking three pills twice times a day. The antibiotic is called Doxycycline, and I actually took it in Cambodia to prevent getting malaria. Then Jan 1st I began taking a stronger second antibiotic called Biaxin.

When I was on the doxy, I felt fine. I just ate a few rice crackers before taking it and never had a problem. I wasn't so lucky with Biaxin. It makes me really sick. After much trial and error I realized I have to take it in the middle of my meal, and my meal must be a full meal. If it take it too early or too late, or don't eat enough I'll know pretty soon. In the beginning I had unbearable nausea as well as a sour stomach and it gave me a horrible metallic taste in my mouth. My work was so nice and let me work from home on the days it made me really sick. Once I figured out how to mitigate most of the side effects, it wasn't too bad.
I just had my follow up appointment with my Dr. It has hard to tell her how I was feeling as I feel worse on the medicine then I did before I started taking it. I was kind of hoping that after about two months I'd be done with treatment.

No such luck. She actually told me I have 2-3 more months of treatment. She told me that the lyme bacteria build barriers around themselves to prevent the antibiotics from killing them. She's changing my biaxin to another antibiotic that's similar, but supposedly has less side effects. And she's added in another prescription, and three other vitamins that together are supposed to break down the barriers around the bacteria and treat a possible coin infection.

Currently I take 15 pills a day, and it will be moving to over 20 days with the new vitamins and prescriptions.

I was really discouraged after my appointment and hearing that I have to continue treatment for what feels like forever. But as I thought about it, I realized a lot of my actual lyme symptoms have subsided. My infection on my hands is gone, I don't have arthritis anymore and my fatigue has lessened a lot.

Another silver lining is that I have to continue my yeast free, sugar free diet and I've dropped a pant/dress size since I started treatment. I thought cutting out carbs would be a lot harder than it turned about to be. I never thought I'd be able to do it, but I noticed I felt a lot better when I wasn't eating yeast.

I'm excited, but a little hesitant to start all of my new pills next week. Here's to hoping I can start feeling better while on the pills than I did before.
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