Monday, November 25, 2013

Recovery Part 3

I am happy to report that I feel a million times better than I did last week. Both physically and mentally! Seriously, I don't know who hacked my blogger account and wrote that post … 

Of course, I still have pulmonary embolism-related obsessions and worries. 

Been trying to remember to take my blood-thinning therapy everyday (got myself one of those day-by-day pill boxes ... 35 going on 60 years of age). 
Been trying to ward off those people who are saying—in the interest of "everything happens for a reason"—that maybe I went through all this so I could get off my birth control and get pregnant (I assure you, that is not the answer for this homeless, wandering couple. Also advised by my doctor as a no-go unless I want more blood clots). 
With that being said, been trying to figure out what we want to use for birth control and the V word has been tossed around multiple times, except that insurance currently doesn't cover it (surprisingly, lots of friends are considering it too … let's make it a party?). 
Been on the phone numerous times with my insurance company getting details for future doctor appointments and deciding if maybe we need to change insurance to Obamacare before we commit to all my follow-up doctors.
Been exercising at least 4 times a week with a friend and feeling like my lungs are working!  
Been doing research to make sure that next month, when we move to 10,000 feet for January and February, I'm not going to die (very little evidence out there, but here goes nothing). 
Been still waiting to hear if we are hitting the road again with BP in March … please keep your fingers, toes and eyeballs crossed for us. 

Still adjusting to living with my parents again after being out of this house for the last 15 years, but reveling in the benefits that come with it, like not paying rent and having the dishes magically disappear when they go in the sink. There's that occasional frustration like needing to use their blender and finding one from circa 1970 that ought to be in a museum instead of in one's cabinets. 

We probably don't give enough props to dirty Jerz. If we don't poke our eyes out from the crazy amounts of traffic and heavy accents found here, we can admit we enjoy the diners, best pizza in the country, tricky trays, bagel sandwiches, the fact you don't have to pump your own gas … but again, the best thing of all are the loads of friends and family here!
 Family on my Dad's side
 J's high school friends from the Prep (with some future Prepsters in the making)
 My girls from high school
Our fourth godchild - All Terrain Anna

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Recovery Part 2

I wanted to write a blog post so many times this week. The main reason I didn't is that people tell me (and J) that we are glass half full people. This is true, but this is one of those times where my mood is just not feeling it and it was showing in my writing. So I have to apologize in advance. I am a big grump lately. I am thirsty for my positive energy back. The demands of life continue, yet I just feel like I am merely going through motions, waiting for something—anything—to happen. I know this is supposed to be the most thankful month, but I also know this mood is temporary. 

I definitely think I'm having post-pulmonary embolism blues. I am grateful that I feel MUCH better overall, but I still have a general "unwell" feeling. I feel thankful for some things, like being able to sometimes sleep on my side and stomach without too much pain. I am without a doubt less out of breath, although I am so worried about my diminished lung capacity. I just started yoga and doing light exercising to regain some activity. I still wonder which things are ongoing symptoms or new concerns. The pain is minimal, just hurts most when I sneeze, cough, yawn, take a deep breath, which is why it sucked when I got some sort of cold last week and spent my days ACHOOing and congested. I would love to understand what the heck the blood clot is doing to my body internally, but the mystery remains. At the same time that I am bummed about my medical issues, I try to remind myself how lucky I am that it is not something worse. I've had friends with cancer, lupus and MS and I know it doesn't compare. 

And if I'm going to be terribly honest here, I'm going to say the other challenge, but blessing at the same time, is that we are staying with my parents. Clearly, we are no stranger to staying with people as we have made it our job to be athletic hobos who enter every open door. But, #livingatmyparentshouseinmylate30sisnotfun Given my parents' graciousness to open their doors indefinitely to us, can I really complain that the square footage of their house is about the same as our Sprinter van and the fact that you hear every movement and my mom goes to bed at 2am and my dad wakes up at 3am so there is about an hour of quiet unless the cat decides it's time to play? No, I can't. Add to the fact that my parents are helpful in many, MANY ways, so I really can't complain. I can't complain. I can't complain. I can't complain. I thought maybe if I wrote it out multiple times like we used to have to in grammar school would help. 

Hey, we signed up for this when we decided to bounce around the country. A few months ago, we decided that post-tour, we would come to NJ for a few weeks. J would help his grandma out by cleaning out her second home (that experience is a whole separate post) and I would continue medical writing. Then, it seemed like perfect timing to have a stable, loving place to stay after my pulmonary embolism. I may be grumpy, but this is really the best place for us. 

Plus, of all the places we go, NJ is the place where we have the most family and friends and we've seen SO many of them lately (still many more to see!). We've visited Mr. McKinley, all our godchildren, of course grandmas and extended family I haven't seen since who knows when. Bonus ... we got to go to a Tricky Tray! And to end this note on a positive side, here are pictures from those happy times. 
Me & my sis
Lil Monsters, err Niece & Newphew

Mr. McKinley
J's Grandma & Uncle Slick with not-so-little E
Cousins on my mom's side ... can you tell it's an Italian family?
My mom with her brother, sister-in-law, mother, aunt & uncle

PS …  We miss life on the road and hopefully will hear soon if we are back on the road in March, so keep your fingers crossed, you may have some house guests in 2014!!

promise I will not be a Debbie Downer the next time I post!

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Have no fear, I am on the mend.

At first, it was slowly. Too slow for my liking. It is not easy, nor fun, to go from 90 MPH to 5 MPH. But, this week has been a new week and every day I feel a little better. J said he is almost ready to drop my nickname "Turtle!"

I had to force myself to slow down and let me body recover last week. We came to NJ so my mommy could wait on me hand and foot. She loves to be the caretaker, so it was a perfect role. The pain has dissipated day by day, with sleeping, sneezing, yawing and coughing being the only challenges remaining these days. 

While recovering last week, I spent a little time feeling sorry for myself. I really appreciated all the comments, e-mails and phone calls, but, I was just down about the fact that I have something to worry about. J & I are so carefree in our lives and do things because we can without thinking too hard about the repercussions. Now, there is a little pause before making decisions. And I haven't fully converted to a hypochondriac, but this was an important lesson to learn and to know when to listen to my body, so every little ache and pain has been alarming. 

It was also depressing reading online about pulmonary embolisms. First and foremost, 2 out of 3 people usually DIE. And that is everyone's first reaction when seeing me … "Patrice, it is SO good to see you since we almost lost you." It's a hard pill to swallow. But getting back to the Internet world, there's not much guidance about recovery because it varies from person to person. Some people say a few weeks before full pain relief and normal breathing, others say a year. Very reassuring. At least now I have something to talk about with the 55+ group since everyone's mother and grandmother are taking blood thinners! So it's just a whole new world I entered into. 

Of course I couldn't sit very still for too long, so J & I hit the road this week and headed south to our house in Danville take care of some post-tour business. 

First up, we returned our beloved Sprinter Van to the nutrition bar company in North Carolina, which was very depressing. We spent the majority of our summer nights—58 to be exact—sleeping in the van. We loved that vehicle. And now I can say this without knocking on wood … we went the whole summer without any speeding tickets, accidents, robberies! PHEW! 

Next order of business was to buy a car, since the Malibu was floating somewhere in the Boulder River. Unexpected car buying is difficult for the most indecisive couple in the world on a time crunch and a budget. Plus, we were going the "used car" route this time. We happily ended up with a 2003 Subaru Baja named Big Bird. Let's see if we get more looks than we got in the wrapped Sprinter Van. 

With my recovery going so well, I'm thinking next week I'll go swing dancing.