Life Renews

September 11, 2001… So many lives lost… Even more greatly affected by this unprecedented tragedy. Most, if not all Americans remember exactly what they were doing when they heard of the towers falling. That day will remain engrained in our memories for our lifetimes and passed on to future generations.

Today (or yesterday, technically, considering it is now after midnight) marked ten years since that infamous day… and reminded me how our country, while never forgetting all who were lost, has pulled through and thrived. I was reminded of this because today was such a lovely day in so many ways. While it was the anniversary of perhaps the greatest disaster in American history, it was also a day filled with beauty.

I attended the fifth birthday party of my boyfriend Dave’s niece today, and it reminded me of how life goes on. The men who attacked us that day aimed to bring our country down… and they failed miserably. If anything, I think the 9/11 attack lit a fire under the “Land of the Free” and brought an almost lost patriotism back to us. It reminded many of us just how precious life is and to never take it for granted.

Concentra… Squirrel!

I read the same words over and over again in the hopes that my mind will stop reeling and eventually the words will start to make some sense… but it never works. My thoughts are so scattered all over the place that I cannot retain anything I try to read. I try to watch tv and movies and the same thing happens. I can’t pay attention to save my life (maybe cuz I’m too broke? haha). I was about to say that, somewhere along the line, I lost the ability to concentrate, however, that statement isn’t completely accurate, being as I know exactly at what point I lost that ability. When I was a little girl I was reading constantly… I loved it. When I started college, I tested high enough to have the opportunity to be in a special reading course called “Logos”, which I was really proud of and excited about venturing into. As I mentioned in my last entry, my mom died just a few days after I started college. That was the end of my ability to concentrate. For one reason or other, it left and has never come back. As a matter of fact, recently it has gotten worse. It used to just be that I wasn’t able to concentrate on reading, but now I am also unable to concentrate enough to watch tv or movies. So, my down time is usually spent trolling around the net and listening to music.

The rest of this has nothing to do with the first part. Deal with it. …I’ve been wondering a lot lately what I have to offer. Is being a kind person enough of a contribution to our planet? I say no. I need to figure out what I can do to make some sort of difference in this world. I used to feel like I made a difference when I was working with children. A lot of people just considered me to be some sort of glorified babysitter, but I know that it is a lot more than that. I can’t even begin to describe the way it feels to make a difference in a child’s life. There are no words.

So, does this mean if I start caring for children again that all of the sudden I will feel like a productive member of society? Not in the least. I’m not sure if I could ever do enough to make myself feel “worthy”. Worthy of what? I don’t know. I do know, however, that I am a child of God, and that is where my worth lies. So, if I know that… then why can’t I take it to heart? For some reason, I hear all of Satan’s lies about me loud and clear… but can never seem to hear the Lord’s still, small voice. Sometimes I wish He would just shake me silly and scream in my face, “You are MINE and I love you and that is all that matters!!!” Every other aspect of life pales in comparison to His unyielding love.

A Method to the Madness

Twelve years ago this evening, Laura came and picked me up from my college dorm across town. It was my fifth night away from home and I was already terribly homesick… I was always a mama’s girl. My mom was feeling it too. She had told me the night that I moved into the dormitory that, when she had dropped me and all of my things off there earlier that day, she felt a pang in her chest as she drove away. She had been feeling really sick since then and was having a lot of trouble breathing. From the way she had described feeling to me over the phone, my first thought was that she had pneumonia. She called her doctor and he called in a script for an inhaler but it wasn’t helping much. So, Laura and I paid her a visit and brought over some supper. I was worried sick about my mom… but had no idea it would be the last time I would ever see her alive.

I have been feeling rather off all day today and couldn’t quite put my finger on what was going on. Once I got home from having my sutures removed in Iowa City and began to relax it dawned on me that twelve years ago today was the last time I saw my mom alive… and in the wee hours of tomorrow morning it will have been twelve long years since she’s been gone from this world. I feel a bit better knowing that at least there is a method to the madness.

Peas On My Head

I rock peas on my head, but don't call me a pea head!

I write this with an ice pack full of frozen peas covering my left eye and most of my right so that I can only see by tilting my head back to look at the screen. I am on painkillers so if this doesn’t make a lot of sense, that’s why. Yesterday I went to the University of Iowa Hospitals Eye Center and had a Levator Advancement Procedure, which is fancy talk for getting my eyelid fixed. I was born with a condition called ptosis in my left eyelid, meaning it’s always been droopy and I’ve never been able to open that eye all the way. Most people have said they never even noticed it. Personally, I only really ever noticed it in pictures.

My Winky Eye

I’ll rewind a bit to about a month ago when I went to IA City for the consultation. They did a field of vision test and then taped my eyelids up and did it again and found that with the tape I had a 35% improvement in my field of vision. They were going to schedule me for surgery sometime in November but had just had a cancellation so I was able to get a surgery date of August 24.

Waiting for the day of my surgery was both exciting and nerve-wracking. The procedure itself was not nearly as bad as I had imagined, thanks to the fact that it was done externally and I was able to keep my eyes closed almost the whole time. The really super bizarre part was, as they peeled back layers of my eyelid, more and more light was seeping through.

I’m not sure if they say this to everybody or not, but the surgeon’s assistant lady told me several times that I have amazing pain tolerance. She said when they injected the anesthetic into my eyelid that I didn’t even flinch. She also said that I didn’t flinch at all when they were putting in the sutures. So, either she says that to everyone to make them feel good or I am just the coolest ever. I’ll just pretend it’s the latter.

Last night my sweet bf came over to see how I was doing. He’s a rock star.  🙂

Ok, now I’m posting a really gnarly pic of my swollen eyelid. View at your own risk! hehe

And, last but not least, here is my surgeon’s summary of the procedure… enjoy! 🙂

Pre-operative Diagnosis:  Congenital ptosis, left upper eyelid
Post-operative Diagnosis:  Same
Procedure: levator advancement, left upper eyelid
Description of Operation/Procedure:
After the risks, benefits, and alternatives were discussed with
the patient and informed consent was obtained the patient was
brought to the operating room where intravenous sedation with
Versed was administered. Topical proparacaine 0.5% was instilled
in each eye. The eyelid skin was cleaned with isopropyl alcohol.
The eyelid creases were marked with gentian violet. Local
anesthetic was injected subcutaneously in both upper lids.
Approximately 1-1.5cc of anesthetic was injected in each eyelid.
A “time out” was performed to ensure the correct surgical site
was being operated on.  The patient was prepped and draped in the
usual sterile fashion.
Using a Colorado needle an incision was made along the left
eyelid crease. Using Paufique forceps, traction was applied on
either side of the incision, the dissection was done to expose
the underlying orbital septum. Hemostasis was achieved with
bipolar cautery. The orbital septum was incised and the
pre-aponeurotic fat was exposed. A Jaffe eyelid speculum was
placed and secured to the surgical drape superiorly. The levator
aponeurosis was exposed.Using Westcott scissors the levator
aponeurosis was released off the tarsal plate for approximately
7-8mm. This dissection was done at the medial edge of the pupil
where the eyelid peak should form. This bared the tarsal plate.
The aponeurosis was then dissection from the underlying Muller
muscle using Westcott scissors and blunt dissection. A double
armed 5-0 nylon suture was passed horizontally through the tarsal
plate in a lamellar fashion. Each arm of the double armed suture
was passed through the under surface of the levator aponeurosis.
This suture was temporarily tied in a slip knot. The patient was
brought to the sitting position. The eyelid height and contour
were examined. The patient was brought to the supine position and
adjustments were made in the suture. The suture was tied
permanently. Three interrupted sutures were placed incorporating
the levator aponeurosis to allow for formation of a lid crease.
The skin was closed with a running 6-0 Prolene suture. The
eyelids were washed with wet 4×4 gauze. Erythromycin ophthalmic
ointment was placed on the eyelid and ice packs were placed.

Glitter in The Air

“Glitter In The Air”

by P!nk

Have you ever fed a lover with just your hands?
Closed your eyes and trusted, just trusted?
Have you ever thrown a fist full of glitter in the air?
Have you ever looked fear in the face and said, “I just don’t care”?

It’s only half past the point of no return
The tip of the iceberg
The sun before the burn
The thunder before the lightning
The breath before the phrase
Have you ever felt this way?

Have you ever hated yourself for staring at the phone?
Your whole life waiting on the ring to prove you’re not alone
Have you ever been touched so gently you had to cry?
Have you ever invited a stranger to come inside?

It’s only half past the point of oblivion
The hourglass on the table
The walk before the run
The breath before the kiss
And the fear before the flames
Have you ever felt this way?

There you are, sitting in the garden
Clutching my coffee,
Calling me sugar
You called me sugar

Have you ever wished for an endless night?
Lassoed the moon and the stars and pulled that rope tight?
Have you ever held your breath and asked yourself will it ever get better than tonight?

My Mojo

Ok, here is the scenario. You divulge to a group of friends that you think someone is cute. They basically say that if you don’t go and talk to him, they will. You go and spit out some really smooth game (NOT) and quietly walk away. Oh yeah, baby. Who has two thumbs and tons of mojo? This chick!!!  😉

The times in my life where I have actually met a man in person and then dated him are very few. I tend to be the girl who can be pretty outgoing and open online, but quite the opposite in person. It is hard to keep in mind that I look so much different now than I used to. I still find myself wanting to crawl into a hole every time I am out in public. Instead, I put a smile on my face and pretend that I am as comfortable being there as anyone else. It’s strange, but it seems like the more I pretend I am confident, the more confident I actually become.

I have spent my entire life being afraid of making a fool out of myself (probably because I am exceptionally good at it!). As I have gotten older, I have realized more and more that I really need to take myself a lot less seriously. Behind closed doors and with close friends and family I am a complete and total dork (and proud of it!). So, what I ask myself is, why do I try so hard to be “acceptable” to everyone? What if I don’t really want to be normal?  🙂

A Leader, Perhaps?

Someone on YouTube left the greatest comment on my video of myself speaking at Weight Watchers. She said,

“You’re AMAZING!!!!! I hope you know how powerful and strong you are to be able to accomplish what you have! That’s awesome!!! You look so good and are extremely personable. You are a leader for sure–pursue that if you still want to…you would be phenomenal at it. You’re VERY inspiring…and not only because of the weight you’re losing. There’s something about you (on the inside) that is just really positive and motivating in general. Way to go!! You rock, girl. :)”

Totally made my day!