Friday, September 30, 2011

IV iron infusion

Well, as I type this email, I am sitting in the treatment room at Cancer Centers of NC.  I met with Dr. Elkordy this morning.  We reviewed symptoms, discussed more tests, etc.  After my appointment was over, she asked if I could come back in a hour or so for my IV iron infusion.  

This is how the infusion will go:
  • Get back to the office at 12:45 a.m.
  • Get IV in side of my arm
  • Administration of medicines in this order:  benadryl, zantac, and steroid
  • Test dosage of the iron - The test dose takes an hour or so.  They want to be sure that there is no negative reaction.
  • Administration of iron
Once all of that is done, I'll be done.  I am guessing that I will be here for about 4 or 5 hours.  Lovely.  Once I am done, I should be close to back to my normal self.  I am looking forward to being able to run my 9 miles tomorrow with Debbie!  YAY!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Another childhood memory

My office in downtown Raleigh is located a couple blocks from Edenton Street United Methodist Church.  Many days, I go outside around noon so that I can hear the bells ringing familiar hymns.  This morning, I signed into Pandora and the first song that came up was "This is my Father's World".  

It is interesting to me where memories come from...  I have always been one to say that memories don't lie in "things".  Recently, I am beginning to doubt my assertion/statement.  It has become more obvious that memories for me do indeed really come from various songs, sounds, foods, etc.  

This song reminds me of my childhood in Beaufort and attending First Baptist Church in Beaufort.  It reminds me of the many Sunday School assemblies led by "Miss Margaret" Gillikin.  It reminds me of all the things she taught me, Bible-based or just life.  I am grateful everyday for the lessons of my youth and the reminders of those childhood memories.   

This is my Father's world, 
and to my listening ears 
all nature sings, and round me rings 
the music of the spheres.  
This is my Father's world:  
I rest me in the thought 
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; 
his hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father's world, 
the birds their carols raise, 
the morning light, the lily white, 
declare their maker's praise.  
This is my Father's world:  
he shines in all that's fair; 
in the rustling grass I hear him pass; 
he speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father's world.  
O let me ne'er forget 
that though the wrong seems oft so strong, 
God is the ruler yet.  
This is my Father's world:  
why should my heart be sad?  
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!  
God reigns; let the earth be glad!

Monday, September 26, 2011

One year since my first 5K

I completed my very first 5K on September 25, 2010.  As I think back, I cannot contain the number of adjectives I could use to describe my feelings from that day.  As soon as I got home from the race, I hugged my hubs and started to cry.  I guess they were tears of amazement, joy, exhilaration, and exhaustion.  

I am amazed at what can happen in one year.  Not only have I continued to run since that first 5K, I completed 12 races (including a half marathon) in the last year.  I also had the opportunity to serve as a volunteer for the NCRC women's beginner running program.  The group inspired me to continue last year and I hope that I have provided some of the same inspiration for the participants this year.  I am so proud of the women that I met this year and how determined they are.  They remind me a lot of how I felt last year.  So, ladies - keep up the good work!!!  

Here's some pics to show the difference a year makes:
Group picture from the Women's Distance Festival with 2010 NCRC beginner women's group (I am on the jungle gym in a white baseball cap)
Thank God for Sandra encouraging me across the finish (2010)!

Group picture from Women's Distance Festival with 2011 NCRC beginner women's group

Coming up on the finish with a couple of my "C" ladies (2011)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Iron deficiency and pernicious anemia

Several weeks ago, during my regularly scheduled 6 month check up with my doctor, I mentioned some issues I have been dealing with.  She called for more blood work.  When that came back, she wanted to do some more blood work.  Basically, I have been in limbo with what is going on with my rebellious body since September 2.

Fast forward to today...  Dr. Hage walks in the room and immediately says "Your ferritin levels are in the crapper."  Lovely.  Yuck.  She laid it all on the table and told me that I was basically dealing with iron deficiency anemia and pernicious anemia again.  

Immediately, my mind went back to December 2006/January 2007.  I had been dealing with lots of fatigue, chest "flutters"/palpitations, clumps of hair falling out, little to no appetite, etc.  I finally went to my doctor and was eventually referred to Dr. Elkordy at Cancer Centers of NC in Cary.  I had a great consultation with Dr. Elkordy, then I was scheduled for an intravenous iron infusion the next week.  The infusion procedure sucked went well and I was back to my old self.

Dr. Elkordy continued to remind me that I would likely have to do an infusion again at some point in my adult life, but I just figured if I ate well and exercised, I could avoid it - wrong.  Needless to say, the fact that I don't absorb iron (or any other vitamins/minerals) well will not change significantly with diet and exercise.  So, here's to seeing Dr. Elkordy on October 3 and getting me back on the right track!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Perfected Green Monster

I think I have finally perfected my version of the Green Monster!  

Back in July, I started making these lovely little concoctions.  I have been on-again/off-again with them since.  I haven't been making them nearly as much as I did in the beginning because I don't really like making them in the morning and the "recipe" I was using made a huge serving and, of course, that had a lot of calories (more than I was willing to use on them).

So, I decided on a different approach...  Last night, I made one of my Green Monsters.  I divided the smoothie between two smaller mason jars.  Before putting the metal lid on, I put a piece of tin foil on the top.  I thought this would help when I went to remix the smoothie in the morning, etc.  I have read online where people mention the smoothies separate, etc.  This morning, I was quite surprised to see that it hadn't separated at all.  

When I got to work, I put the jar in the freezer.  About 10 minutes ago, I got it out of the freezer.  I am now enjoying a lovely little Green Monster "icee" for my morning snack.  

I am sure that the nutritional value of the smoothie was compromised a little by being made yesterday and being stored overnight, but it is delicious either way.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Awesome memories

Sometimes you get to relive moments through such ordinary items.  The most recent memory was sparked several weeks ago in a dream about breakfast with my PawPaw Pilcher...

The dream went something like this:  PawPaw and I were sitting at the bar in my 
grandparents home at Oakwood Acres getting ready to have breakfast.  My PawPaw poured himself a bowl of cereal - small, brown "O" shapes - with milk.  He offered me some and I turned it down for grits and eggs.   My PawPaw kept telling me I should try it, that it was so yummy, etc. but I wouldn't.  I told him that it looked funny and I didn't like it, even though I had never tried it.  (This was the same scenario that played out hundreds of times in my childhood.) 

I don't really remember the rest of the dream, but I have been fixated on trying to figure out the name of the cereal for almost three weeks.  That cereal and those mornings at my grandparents are awesome memories that I want to be able to relive.  

On Friday evening, I was bound and determined to figure out the name of the cereal and get a box.  All I could remember was that the cereal was shaped like an "O" and was in a blue box. I swear that I spent 10 minutes on the cereal aisle Friday night, but I found it!  (By the way, did you realize there are like 300 different cereals on the cereal aisle??!!??)

I was so excited!  Even though it was $4.99 for the box, I had to have it.  I opened the box and the smell of the cereal was just as I remembered it - sweet and delicious, like oatmeal cookies.

Yesterday, when I was packing snacks and lunches for today, I wasn't sure what I was going to do with the cereal.  I don't usually eat cereal with milk - I usually eat it dry or in my yogurt.   I ended up measuring out a serving and ate it along with my yogurt this morning.  I have to say that my PawPaw would be proud!  

If you haven't tried it, you must!  

I also found an Ode to Cracklin' Oat Bran that I feel I must share:

When cookies for breakfast
seem like too much
and your diet requires
a fiberific punch
there is hope to be found
that is nothing short of grand:
a little blue box
of Cracklin' Oat Bran.

Now I know what you're saying
"That's for people who are old, 
with bowels that are flabby
and covered in mold!"
Well I say to you all:
"You best not be hatin'.
It might not look that great
But the proof's in the tastin'!"

It's like cookies in milk
but your colon takes a beating!
And if you're on a diet
it makes you feel like you're cheating!
The combo is perfect
for grandpa AND child!
So pour yourself a bowl
and drive your large intestine wild!

(Awesome ode Allison!  So true!!)

Friend Makin' Monday: All About Me

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules.  If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please add your links there too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
FMM: All About Me
1. What are your talents? Hmmm...  Professional organizer/"logisticiser" (that's my hubs made up word for it)
2. What is your best habit?  I write a schedule to work out and I stick to it, come hell or high water.
3. If you had to be stuck with someone in an elevator for 8 hours, who would you want it to be?  Probably my best friend, Margaret.  She lives entirely too far away and we don't get to spend nearly enough time together.  Being stuck in an elevator would suck, but we would make it fun!!
4. Share one odd fact about you that we’d never know to ask.  I have no clue...  I love random pieces of information and enjoy sharing the tidbits?
5. What’s your latest project (work, home, whatever you care to share?)  I am up to my ears in projects at work that stress me out...  My latest project is trying to not keep the stress at work from affecting my workouts/running/eating.  So far, so good!
6. If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be?  My yucky extra skin from losing weight.
7. What do you do in your spare time?  Read, bake, search blogs/Internet for new recipes, etc.
8. What is your biggest pet peeve?  People not listening (e.g., I am telling you a story and you act like you are listening, but after the conversation you look at me like "huh?")
9. Why do you blog?  I think blogging has helped me stay accountable.  Not only do I get to read about others going through the same thing, I learn so much!  It is great!
10. Are you tidy or messy?  Definitely tidy - everything has a place and everything in its place!
11. What’s the last song that played on your iPod? Hummingbird Heartbeat, Katy Perry
12. Do you cook?  If so, what’s for dinner tonight? I love to cook!  Tonight is Brown Rice and Black Bean Casserole.  Yummy!
13. Do you like sports?  If so, list your teams.  Not really...  I try to be a good wife and act like I am interested for the benefit of my hubs.
14. How often do you read and/or watch the news? Everyday
15. Did you stick to your new Year’s resolution this year?  If so, elaborate. I do not make new years resolutions.  I do set some "goals" each year and I think I am doing well with sticking to them.  Most of my goals are fitness, eating, and/or health related.
16. What are you looking forward to most in the remainder of 2011?  Taking another item or two off my fitness bucket list - OBX Half Marathon in November and hopefully another one 
17. Shoes, sunglasses or handbags?  Shoes!
18. How do you feel about sleeping on satin sheets?  I prefer regular old Egyptian cotton
19. Do you sing in the shower?  Yep!  I used to really belt it out when I had a shower radio, but it recently died 
20. Describe yourself in one word.  Determined!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Anniversary of 9/11

Do you remember where you were on this day 10 years ago?  I do, vividly.

I was beginning my senior year at Meredith College.  I was sitting in the dining hall with some friend - Rynn, Charity, and a few others - having breakfast in Belk Dining Hall.  I was sitting there, having a nice conversation with some girlfriends, when the news spread across the TV that a plane had hit the World Trade Center.  

We were all stunned.  As we all left for our respective classes, we wondered what caused this terrible accident.  Later, we discovered, that it wasn't an accident.  It was a terrible, horrible tragedy that would rock our nation to the core.  Not only was the World Trade Center hit, the Pentagon was struck, and another airplane went down in Pennsylvania.  Four planes...Set out to hurt...    

Everything for the rest of the day was a blur.  I remember getting out of class and sitting in front of the TV, unable to concentrate on my schoolwork.  Sometimes we would try to talk, but most of the time it was just silence and fright while watching the TV.  

It has been 10 years since that horrible day in US history and I remember it as though it was yesterday.  Even now, everything that went through my mind that day (fear, disbelief, etc.) is still very vivid.  

Today, I will remember:
  • The first responders 
  • The people that were killed, injured, or lost a loved one
  • The soldiers and contractors that have been in/to Iraq and Afghanistan
  • The response of our country to this horrible event and how we are stronger as a nation because of it
  • That every day we are given is a gift
My boss sent this out via email on Friday afternoon and I thought it was appropriate to share:
"All of us remember that horrible and tragic day, September 11, 2001. In many ways, it is hard to believe that Sunday is the 10th anniversary. In other ways, it seems that so much has happened, and so much has changed, that surely it must have happened long ago.

It is hard to know what to say about this anniversary. Certainly we all need to take time to remember those who lost their lives that day, and their families. Some of the victims were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, whether on an airplane, working in a tall building, or elsewhere. Others were public servants, first responders who were trying to do their job and help others, and got caught in something larger than they could have understood fully. Just as certainly we need to remember the members of our armed forces who lost their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere, and their families. Those who sent them in harm’s way, right or wrong, believed that doing so would make us safer. We have asked too much of our military service members and their families over these years.

What have we learned? Whether we have truly learned it or not, one lesson is that hatred, one motivating force of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, never solves anything. We have sought and partially achieved vengeance, which some certainly deserved, but we cannot let ourselves be drawn down into corrosive and self-destructive hatred.

Our leaders might have taken us down some wrong paths, although we have not completely lost our way. But some of those choices, combined with other decisions, have depleted our national treasury, which brings us a host of problems into the future. We need to work harder at being peacemakers, particularly in the Middle East. The “Arab spring” has brought great possibilities, but great challenges, and there are some other growing problems, like Iran.

Certainly our country has changed over the course of these 10 years, and not entirely for the better. It is more difficult and time consuming to get through airport security, and some other security measures might be overly intrusive and unjust to some. We are more divided, although that cannot be attributed solely to differences of opinion about the war on terror. We are more distrustful, and maybe fearful, of others who are different. We tend to forget that many who were different came here from other places and helped build this country, including many who were brought here forcibly against their will. We also forget that we will need the skills and contributions of immigrants in the future.

I believe we need to come back together, and focus more on the things that unite us and make us stronger for the long term, rather than the things that divide us. The United States of America is the greatest nation on the face of the earth and the most desirable place to live, although clearly we have some problems to fix. I believe we need to focus on the things that made this country great, and can make it greater, including: better education for all; innovation, including adequate public and private spending on research and development; strong, productive, modern public infrastructure; respect for all of our fellow Americans and willingness to help those who most need help, with less complaining; and keep our military and intelligence capabilities strong, remembering the lessons of history and knowing that we will need them again, but with a more enlightened and hardnosed policy about our true national security interests, and with a vow that we will not send the troops again unless there is a general national consensus about the need and a willingness to pay the financial costs.

I believe we need a renewed commitment to lift ourselves out of these economic doldrums and make this country even greater. That would disappoint and finish defeating those who want to do us harm, and build a better future for our children and grandchildren.

Take a few moments on Sunday amidst the news coverage and reflect quietly, and be thankful for our many blessings."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Friend Makin' Monday: More Favorite Things

I'm a day late, but I love reading everyone's answers.  Figured I would go ahead and still answer too.

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please add your  links there too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

FMM:  Favorite Things

1) What is your favorite food?  I grew up on the coast of NC and was always afforded the opportunity to each fresh seafood.  I could live off shrimp - fried shrimp, boiled shrimp, broiled shrimp, shrimp burger, shrimp taco...  I feel like Bubba Gump.

2) What is your favorite childhood memory? Hmmm...  I can think of a lot of great memories, but probably the weekends at Shackleford with my family would be my favorite.

3) What is your favorite way to burn calories?  If I am in the gym, then I would stay the stairmill.  If I am going to be outside, running for sure!

4) What is your favorite mode of technological communication? I am an email kinda girl.  I don't know why exactly, except that maybe it is because I have a "trail" and a way to remind myself later of what was discussed.

5) Who is your favorite actor/actress? My favorite actress is Julia Roberts.  I fell completely in love with her after Steel Magnolias.  

6) What is your favorite lip color? My current favorites are all from Bare Escentuals - Ginger, Kanani, and courage

7) Who is your favorite historical figure? Hmmm... No clue 

8) Who is your favorite athlete?  Again, no clue.  Jeff Galloway and John Bingham maybe?  I mean, seriously, these guys have encouraged tons of people that wouldn't otherwise run to get out there and move.

9) What is your favorite TV network? I tend to watch TLC, HGTV, and FoodNetwork mostly.  Sometimes, I get drawn in by stupid "reality" shows on Bravo and MTV.

10) What is your favorite site on the web? Huffington Post and CNN