Sunday, November 30, 2008

Last of November

November has come and by midnight tonight November will have passed. November of 2006, I was sure that I would not see November 2007. I wasn't even sure if I would see the summer of 2007.

This November has been one of the best Novembers I have had in three or four years. I pretty much found a lot of my former best friends in life. Found one of my best buds from high school and even more impressive (and skillful if you ask me) I found sisters of my very best friend from Elementary School. I have yet to talk to my best friend, but it's a step in the right direction. Then last night as I was looking up something, a name popped up on the facebook. I wasn't sure if I knew the fellow or not, but he sure looked familiar and his last name was that of my closest friend from back in the day.

So I pulled up his profile, took a look through his pictures (yes I am an internet facebook picture stalker) where one of them confirmed that he was the younger brother of my friend. Contacted him immediately and amazingly enough he remembered both me and my brother. I hope to hear from him soon about his brother. In July of 07, I did a blog on friends. I listed my friends from that time in my life. His brother was one that truly impacted me. Heck, how could he not? He gave me bubblegum rings (I bet I still have them too) and hugged my neck a lot.

Amazing how the past has a way of impacting the future. I wonder how the friends of my past sculpted the person I am today. I wonder if they realize the "rock effect" they had in the river of my life. Last year my new year's resolution was to smile more and make someone else smile. I had to smile at least once a day and make someone else smile at least once a day. That meant if I didn't leave the house, I either had to hear someone smile on the phone OR make my husband smile. If you guys know my husband, this is one difficult task. :)

I don't take resolutions lightly. I did this every day. Bonus points were awarded for laughs and double bonus points for laughter with snorts. :) So what is it that I want to "resolve" this year? I know 2008 still has another 31 days (32 counting today), but I need to start now in order to accomplish my task. It will be a doozy. I want to spend time with my friends. I want PHOTOS of my friends. I want to find photos of the past (if they are available) and photos of the present and put them in one album (heck this might take two or three) called Friends. I want to be able to look at these photos whenever I am feeling down and smile knowing that these are the people that rock effected my world. Whether I knew you one day, two days, or 10 years (or 32) ... I *want* the people that shaped, molded, and helped me become the woman I am today in this book.

Don't be shy friends. :) If you have pictures of you and me together in the past 32 years, get them to me. I *want* them. It's more than a want. It's a need. :)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving 07/08

There is a huge difference between last Thanksgiving and this Thanksgiving. I barely remember last Thanksgiving. It was a day where my husband drove me to my family's house. We went out to eat at Cracker Barrel and I had to take a nap while I was there just to make it through part of the day. I slept all the way to their house and all the way back. I was miserable. I didn't even want to think about Christmas shopping, trees, or any other holiday stuff because I was so sick that I didn't want to think that a year had been past and the only reason we knew that it was holidays in our home was the stuff that was up that I was too lazy (read too sick) to put away from 06.

This year we got up fairly early and I spent most of the day at my family's house. I did not even take a cat nap in the car. :D This morning we got up and Rob pulled down the tree. Well I didn't remember because Christmas 06 I was so sick and did not even know what I had yet, but apparently Rob had bought us a new Christmas Tree. We got it up. Rob helped put the lights on and the red/green garland on and left me to my own devices.

I have just spent the last hour looking at ornaments from years past. I love doing this. We have to get a new Christmas topper. I don't think the star we usually use will work on this tree. I think I appreciate the ornaments and tree more this year than ever in years past because I couldn't do this last year.

You see when I was little, we spent every Christmas with my Grandparents. I can't imagine a Christmas without them. Every Christmas, my Granny would decorate her tree with what had to have been at least 2,000 lights and tons of ornaments. I don't think there was a bare branch on that tree. Every year I would ooo and aaa over her tree. There was one that I just loved, a ballerina. I would take her off and carefully spin her around in my hands. It was my sign that Christmas was around the corner when I was able to touch this ballerina. Today at the age of 32, I still pull that ballerina out and twirl her in my hands. I can feel the love of my Granny in that ornament knowing that every year for what must have been 20 years she took special care to make sure that special ornament was on her tree for me.

Now there are other ornaments that hold special memories for me, but not a single one holds a candle to that ballerina.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I have so much this year to be thankful for in my life. The list person in me wants to make a list. :)

God, Family, Friends, Health, Pets, Home, Gas (of the car variety and the heater variety - not the out of bottom variety .. :) ), Carolina Basketball, Work, Voting, Water, Food, finding old friends, enjoying time with people, and so much more.

On the Health Front, I am thankful that I can run up the stairs. Last year this time, I could barely walk up them. I have this thing where I "count the stairs" every day when I go down them so that I don't fall. I realized yesterday morning when I go to the bottom (all whopping number 4) that I failed to count and I didn't fall. I am thankful for that. :)

I am thankful that I can eat cheese whenever I want. Silly I know, but last year this time I could only have things dairy related 2 hours away from my medication. I *love* cheese. I think my children's name will be Mac and Colby. How many of you are laughing? How many of you are scratching your heads because you don't get it yet?

I am thankful that I can go about two weeks going to bed late without me needing to catch up on sleep. And by "late," I mean past 8pm. Last night I had to catch up with 11 1/2 hours of sleep, but I should be good to go for another two weeks of nights where I can stay up until 9pm.

I am thankful that my wonderful husband did all this research so that we could find the doctor I am seeing. He has been a gift from God. Surely by now I would have perished had we not found him. I am reminded of this line from July "I have GOD, I have HOPE .. I have FAITH .. I have FAMILY and I have FRIENDS. What more can I ask for? Just one more thing... I want to say .. I have HEALTH."

Now my Health isn't what other people would call health. I catch a cold just by looking at a picture of a germ, but if a cold is the biggest of my worries ... that's a blessing. I meant to get a little mask for my mouth/nose for today's thanksgiving festivities. I forgot. Oh well who wants to look at me with a mask on anyways. I'll be sick within a week, but who cares. I will do my Vitamin C and Glutathione and the rest of my minerals and vitamins and I'll be good to go after about 3 weeks of coughing and hacking.

Besides What is Christmas without a cold? I don't think I have ever truly been well on Christmas. So what's one more? :) Have a blessed Thanksgiving. Remember even if you can't get out of the bed on this wonderful day, you still have a lot to be thankful for ... Because if you can read this post ... you are alive. That is a glory in and of itself. :) (and if you can eat ham/turkey and other thanksgiving foods ... you should be VERY thankful. YUMMMMMMMY).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

15 months ago

I wrote this blog on myspace on August 26, 2007. It was approximately 5 months after beginning treatment for Lyme Disease. I will bold some very important lines.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Health Update

As some of you may or may not know, I started having some health problems two or more years ago. {would be now over 3 or more years} I have never been extremely healthy having some odd things come up over my life (sinus problems, breast lump scare, gallbadder surgery, seizure activity), but nothing could prepare me for the worst scare of my life. I had something that no one could or would diagnose. I jumped from doctor to doctor having many tests and many wrong diagnosis. MS, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and it's all in your head was just a few of them. It was time to take matters into our own hands and we saw a doctor who specialized in very weird things. He diagnosed people who couldn't get diagnosis.

If we couldn't get answers from him, I knew that they would find out the answer after an autopsy. I felt close to death and I hid it from most of the people I loved. I couldn't hide the pain or the twitches or the multitude of other problems, but I could hide that I felt I would be better off dead because at least they would give my husband some answers to what has been wrong.

Fast forward to March of this year, I saw the doctor and he gave me a diagnosis. A tiny tick had given me this disease and this disease may not be cured, but I could get better and possibly go into remission for life. There was no telling how long I had had it. A young child? Caused my seizures? Sinus issues? Middle school? Sheer and utter depression? High School senior? problems that started in college that had no answers. A few years after marriage? The breast lump and gall bladder problem. After the surgery? There was no way to know for sure, but what we did know was that there was treatment. I started all the treatment. Three antibiotics for like 8 weeks straight. YUCK. Nasty. I was nauseated all the time and throwing up for half of that time. I felt like I was in early stages of pregnancy, but if I was pregnant someone was gonna get sued. Like all the doctors who insisted that I must be pregnant so ran pregnancy tests on me. Obviously I wasn't pregnant or I would be fairly big by now (5 months or so).

Antibiotic regiment eased off and we tried different things. Some worked and others gave me horrible side effects or appeared to be highly allergic too (throat swelling, eye swelling, lots of red dots on my body, and vomiting). I also started weekly IV treatments for vitamins and minerals. These were things that the Lyme Disease bug robbed me of. I slowly started making them every two weeks instead. I started having some time off of meds. two days to start, then a week, now I'm up to two weeks off of antibiotics. I went back to the doctor on Saturday (yes Saturday, he opens once a month on a saturday).

He gave me some good news. I was improving, but I wasn't back to normal yet. I could have told him that. We are sticking with the "new" treatment plan. I will have 5 days of antibiotics with two days off. Then, I will do it again. After second week of antibiotics, I get two whole weeks off. I will go get IV's every three weeks instead of every two weeks and will add in a few vitamins to my daily regiment (Vitamin C, Chromium and another one that has to be specially ordered).

It's a very carefully planned regiment. Take vitamins two hours away from antibiotics. Take Antibiotics two hours from going to bed. Thank God my brain is almost back to normal or I'd have to have a spreadsheet like I did in the beginning checking off every thing I took.

The big thing that we're adding is some hormones. Now those of you that know me say, "Geesh aren't you hormonal enough already?" Apparently I have too much of one and too little of the other. So if they give me a supplement of the one I have too little of, the other one will go down? I'm not sure exactly how it all works but apparently it will help me sleep better and get rid of my nasty PMS symptoms. I have to take that 10 days out of my 28 day cycle. It has to be at bed time only.

I have a bunch of blood work to go endure the first week of September. Not fun, but it will give us some answers as to whether I really am getting better. I won't find out those answers until November. I hate the wait, but at least I'll get some answers with this doctor. The other doctors told me the results (always "negative") and didn't explain that even though it was in the normal range it was on the low or high end of normal and I could feel better if it were more in the middle range of normal and there was something that could be done to get it to the middle range of normal.

Hey you guys know I'm back to feeling better ... I've started writing my "novels" and run on sentences again. AND (this is for Mellissa A.) I've stopped running into walls. I guess I sometimes still do that, but I've not been tripping over the thin air.

I'm just glad to be on the road to recovery. I'm glad to have some answers and possibly have some problems fixed that I've had my whole life (PMS goodbye my dear friend). Thanks to my friends that have stuck with me through this journey. And those of you that met me while I was going through this health journey, you guys don't know the "real" me. I can't wait until we meet for real.

My memories

In the next month or so, I am going to be putting up some old blogs that I wrote about a year or so ago. I want to show the readers (all 4 of you) how far I've come though I suspect some of you know already (all 3 of you). They might be a bit long for this blogspot format, but I don't want to alter them from their original content. Enjoy.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Your memories

I absolutely love the holidays and memories.

So in the comment section of this blog ... please type up your favorite Thanksgiving/Christmas memory. :) Let's make this blog interactive now ladies. (and gentlemen if you're reading).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I am wealthy

Keep in mind that my blogs .. are my opinions alone. They aren't meant for controversy or for people to get into an uproar. They are just what I am feeling at the very moment I am writing.

So I've been thinking about the term "wealthy" lately. It's not that odd that I would be thinking about "wealth" or "lack there of" during the Thanksgiving Holiday. It is generally the time when people are thinking about purchasing gifts for loved ones for Christmas. It is hopefully the time in which we think about the "wealth" of gifts the wise men brought for baby Jesus.

Commonly when people think of wealth, the things that come to mind are money, valuable belongings and property. People probably think of how wealthy others are to determine how wealthy they think they are. If they live in an area where everyone drives BMW's, then they probably don't feel very wealthy if they drive a Chevy Nova. If they live in an area where everyone drives a Chevy Nova, they would in all likelihood feel quite well to do if they drove a BMW.

Now let's "remove" the money aspect of wealth.

Wealth in general means an abundance of something. So if someone were to look into my cabinets, they might find a wealth of plastic cups or a wealth of needles for syringes or even a wealth of vitamins. Still those are "things" that a monetary assignment can be placed. It *cost* me to get those things. If someone were to look into my heart ... they would find a wealth of something that a monetary value can not be given. They would find an abundance of compassion, of laughter, of happiness, of friends, of memories and so much more.

So am I a wealthy person? Do I have the latest and greatest of things in my home? Compared to some that live in the area ... No I do not. Compared to others ... Yes I do. But am I wealthy? Do I have an abundance of things in my heart in which a price can not be determined? Yes I do. Can people (IE the bank) take these things from me? No they can't. I have a wealth of beautiful memories that no one can take. I have a wealth of friends, laughter, happiness, compassion and knowledge. So today ... I thank God that I am wealthy. My prayer is that all of you can be wealthy too.

Provers 19:8 (NIV)
He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Chelation Challenge

Essentially what I will have done in January is a test and a treatment at the same time. I will sit down in the same chairs that I have my other treatments done. They will attach two specific drugs to my PICC line (should I still have it ... if I don't have it, then they'll do a regular IV). The first one will run in and then they'll switch out the medications and the 2nd one will run.

Then I will have to pee in a huge jug for the next 6 hours. Essentially what the medication does is bind to heavy metals. Then when I go to the bathroom, it will go out with my urine. Then I will shake this huge jug and pour a little bit out in a specimen cup for sending out for testing. Upon receiving the results to this test will determine my treatment plan from there.

I can't have this chelation challenge until I increase my minerals. This drug will bind to minerals as well so I will need to increase my minerals before so that I won't be deficient after the challenge. I will also likely have to have an IV of minerals a week or two before the challenge though I wasn't quite clear with that information.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Mercury Toxicity

For a while now, we have thought there was some Heavy Metals in my body. It showed up in my live cell analysis and my MSA test. So I decided to do a little research on Mercury Toxicity to see what symptoms were. I wanted to know what are the chances that this has been going on just as long as Lyme Disease.

Mercury Poisoning causes problems in the

Central Nervous System -- which includes anxiousness, loss of memory, lethargy, tremors, numbness of hands & feet --- and other symptoms too

Head Neck and Oral Cavity Disorders -- bleeding gums, excess saliva, bad breath, metallic taste, sores in the mouth, ringing in ears, and other symptoms

Gastrointestinal Problems -- food sensitivities, cramps, other GI complaints, diahrea and/or constipation and other symptoms

Cardiovascular Disorders -- abnormal heart rhythm, EKG findings, elevated tiglycerides, elevated cholestoral, abnormal blood pressures, all unexplained.

Immunlogic --repeated infections, viral, fungal, mycobacteria, candida and other yeast infections, cancer, autoimmune disorders, arthritis, Lupus, MS, ALS, hypothroidism, and other problems.

Systemic Effects -- chronic headaches, allergies, dermatitis, thyroid problems, subnormal body tempeture, cold and clammy skin, excess sweating, sensory symptoms including pain, numbness, anemia, kidney disease, adrenal disease, fatigue, loss of appetite with or without weight loss, and others.

I decided to bold all the issues I've had trouble with that may or may not be Lyme Disease related. The problems that I still have currently are italicized.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rebecca Wells

Rebecca Wells is the author of Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood. She has a secret though. Want to know what it is? She has Lyme Disease. She announced in 2005 that back when she was writing the novel that she was battling a variety of symptoms. She saw 12 different doctors before finding out what ailed her. She battled this illness for 5 to 6 years before getting her diagnosis in 2004.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Amy Tan

Amy Tan is an author. Her latest book that I know about is called Saving a Fish from Drowning. It was published in 2006. I have not read any of her bodies of works, but I do know something special about Amy Tan. Amy Tan has been battling Lyme Disease since 1999. I'm not sure about her health status now, but here is her website where she talks about Lyme Disease. Here she is reading some of her book.

Amy Tan also was in Under Our Skin and talked about Lyme Disease at the Tribecca Film Festival where Under Our Skin was first shown. They refer to her here as "former Lyme patient." So I am assuming she is doing well at this time. However like others who "do well" ... a relapse could always happen.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hall & Oates

Daryl Hall and John Oates have been working together since the 70's. Their songs are some of the best ever recorded and one of my favorites is "Maneater." In 2005, Daryl Hall had to cancel some of his performances with John Oates after his diagnosis of Lyme Disease. In June of 05, he wasn't feeling well and had to cancel one show. Then shortly after he performed, but had to stop half way through the performance. Then had to cancel the show altogether. On his blog, he said he would be on antibiotics for a month and be CURED. That was before he had done his research.

Here is his interview with Inside Edition on Lyme Disease.

Here are some Youtube videos of my favorite Hall & Oates songs.

Kiss on my List
Rich Girl
Out of Touch
You've Lost that Loving Feeling
(though it was originally done in 1965 by the Righteous Brothers)

Hopefully Daryl Hall is feeling much better now.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Organ Donation

Have you ever thought about life and death?
Have you ever thought about life after death?

There are two ways to live after you have died.
One is in the memory of those that you have left behind (and also through Eternal Life in Heaven, but this isn't that discussion).
The other is through donating your organs to those that need them.

I mean think about it ... you are no longer needing those organs and tissues. Your heart is no longer going to beat in your chest, your lungs will no longer breathe for you, your eyes will no longer see for you and your skin can no longer protect your body. There are many reasons in which people can not donate their organs, but if you don't have one of those reasons ....

Live after death. Give someone else the chance at life. Let your heart beat in their chest, let your lungs breathe in their body, let your corneas allow someone to see, and let your skin help a burn victim.

Here are some stories: One is the story of Jason Ray. Jason was adament that he wanted his organs donated. His parents honored his wish when he was struck by a car and killed. He went on to help over 75 people just by donating his organs and tissues. Jason Ray was bigger than life in his life as Rameses. Jason Ray is bigger than life in his death in the hearts of those that received his organs and tissues.

The next is the story of Tricia. Amazing woman with an amazing family. She has Cystic Fibrosis and after giving birth to a beautiful baby ... she was granted a life dream. She was on the receiving end of a double lung transplant. The link I gave is her husband's blog as he shares their life together as a family and the struggles they face along with the glory they give to God.

Another Cystic Fibrosis story is that of Alice. Alice received her double lung transplant over 9 months ago. She is doing well and even participated in the Transplant Games. She thinks of her donor every day.

Here is a story of a woman who is WAITING. She is waiting for the chance to breathe. She is waiting for a match of someone who is willing to give her life. Bree just wants to breathe and live her life without Oxygen and antibiotics. She just wants a chance to live again.

Please consider life after death. There are people waiting. Consider being an Organ Donor.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My LLMD appt

I was ready. I was prepared. I had my paper with all my symptoms and all my bloodwork in hand. I was ready to go into fight for me and my life. :) I, Jennifer, have been fighting for my life for the last 10 plus years. I have been battling life with massive artillery since February of 07. However I left my papers sitting on the counter and went in armed with memories.

Those memories were from the Outer Banks and Western Carolina

Carolina and a work related event

I was armed with the fun I have had rather than problems. I was armed with the knowledge that the goal in this "whole treatment" is to reduce the symptoms in between treatments and to spread the treatments further and further apart.

I was also armed with the knowlege of my Live Cell Analysis (finding Parasites, Plaque, Black Fungus, Lyme, Yeast and Heavy Metal Toxicity) and that my CBC and other numbers had improved since my last test. So I went in hopeful. I was hopeful for a light. I wanted that light at the end of the tunnel. I needed that light at the end of the tunnel. AND that light needed to NOT be a train.

So whenever I leave my office I generally get some sense of hope, but never is an end in sight. Today for the first time our focus is going OFF of Lyme Disease and we are focusing on Parasites and Heavy Metals. Now I am still going to be having my Lyme Treatments, but those are going to be spread further apart. My next appointment isn't until 6 weeks after my last treatment and I am going OFF of my oral Dioxychlor. WOOOT WOOOT.

So I have to increase my "mineral" intake so that they can test me for Heavy Metals. Some of my symptoms have pointed that way, but we've been so focused on Lyme and co-infections that we have not even "gone there." It's a marathon ... not a race. I have to go slow and steady. After all, the turtle wins the "race." So I'll have to do the jug-o-pee test. I know this has you intrigued.

I'll get an IV of these meds and for 6 hours after the start of the meds I have to PEE in a JUG. Then I have to shake this jug up .. pour a little bit out and send it off to be tested for all sorts of heavy metals. It will take the words "Pee You" to a whole new level. :)

So that's it. My doctor is pleased with my Lyme Progress. I still need the PICC since it is doing well and ... I'm so psyched. :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

How am I doing?

I hate to ever say how well I am doing. It always seems that as soon as I say something about how well things are going that they begin to spiral down a huge hill into a valley of sickness.

I have been thinking about the comparison of last year and this year. Last November, I went to Western for Alumni Band. It hurt to walk, it hurt to breathe, it hurt to sit, and I was pretty miserable. I had 15 baggies of medications that I had to take with me. Five baggies for each day for the 3 days I was there. Each baggie contained no less than 5 things in it. It was the easiest way to keep control of what I had to take for my short trip.

This November, I went to Western. I took a container of alcohol, two heparin shots for my PICC line and a bottle of Dioxychlor. I had to take nothing with me to the game. I only had to do the heparin shots at night in the comfort of my hotel room instead of in the bathrooms at the WCU football stadiums.

Last year I went to Late Night with Roy & a basketball game. I hurt .... every bone in my body ached. It hurt to walk the short distance from the parking deck to the Dean Dome. It was hard to enjoy the most exciting time on UNC campus because my head hurt so badly.

This year I went to UNC basketball game and toured the campus. I sat down rarely and was able to keep up with my fast walking husband. My lungs gave out faster than my legs did. My bones never hurt even once and the only sign that I even had a problem was shortly after I ate. I had a severe case of heartburn ... or maybe it was just gas. :) In either case, it didn't last too awful long.

I was able to HUG ... It has been so long since someone has HUGGED me without fear of hurting me. I don't even think my friend realized that he should even be careful. I haven't even tried to REALLY hug anyone in so long that I just had to keep hugging over and over again because it felt so darn good. It most definately did not hurt. Well ... until he squeezed me so hard that I about lost my breath .. but I weigh 95 pounds and he weighs .. more than that. :)

The different between this year and last year is drastic. I can walk, breathe (sans huge massive constrictor type hug), hear the roars of the Dean Dome without headaches, and have a wonderful time without worry about medications.

The last few months I have had very few worries. I've had a cold. Big whoopty do. :) It has lasted over 3 weeks, BUT .... I don't have a headache, my joints don't hurt, i'm not dizzy, I can stand up right, I don't get lost going home or to work, and the list could go on and on.

I believe I still have a long road to recovery, but I am on my way. My goal earlier this year was to be well at Thanksgiving. Do I think that Lyme & Yeast won't be an issue then? No, but the symptoms have been drastically reduced that I think I'll actually get to ENJOY Thanksgiving this year.

Now with any luck at all ... by the time I'm 33 ... I'll have more time to be with my friends and less time to take medications. The tide is turning folks. I am getting well. :)

Look forward to a post on Sunday about what all I found out on my Saturday morning LLMD appointment.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Carolina Frenzy 5

We waited in line for about 90 minutes to be let into the Dean Dome. It was a crazy mad dash to a seat as it was general admission. Well ... My husband is the BEST husband ever. He got me such seats that I could watch ERIC MONTROSS the ENTIRE GAME. wooooooooooo woooooooo. I even have about 10 shots of the back of his head. :)

The ONLY Lyme problem came while we were waiting in line. I started not feeling well. My stomach was hurting, my heart was hurting ... my legs began to ache. HOWEVER ... I thought "this is mind over matter. I am going to ignore these problems and they will go away. Once we sat down, the best husband in the world went to the concession stands to get us pizza, popcorn and a couple of drinks. The drink settled my stomach and I continued to stare at Montross. :)

The noise at the Dean Dome is wonderful. Every score gets met with a huge cheer from the fans. AND they even cheered for some UNC Pembroke points too. Outstanding. We won with 102 points. :) Go HEELS. What a pleasure and a privelege to be in the same building as my favorite players (Eric Montross & Tyler Hansbrough). I can't wait to see what the team does this year. OUTSTANDING. :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Carolina Frenzy Part 4

So something very exciting happened while I was on campus Saturday November 8, 2008. Last year I attended two functions at Carolina. The first I went with my husband and he had to carry me some of the way to the Dean Dome and back to the parking deck. My joints hurt so bad and it was hard to breathe. I was in so much pain it was hard to enjoy the Late Night With Roy. The second event was just as difficult, but I had to suck it up a little more because I went with a friend. It was the exhibition game. So this year I did "the Walk." I walked from the parking deck to the Dean Dome back to the parking deck. We rested and then headed HERE >

If you can't tell what that is ... it's the UNC hospital. I have been there before as a patient. This time? NOT AS A PATIENT, but as hungry carnivores. :)

I took lots of pictures of the scenery on the way such as this beautiful tree. Then we walked to the infamous Franklin Street. We got there and we had to sit down for a bit, but I was good. A little out of breath, but my joints did not hurt. :) Then we walked through the center of campus so that we could walk by Kenan Stadium, the Old Well, and other beautiful nature scenes. We walked all the way back to the Dean Dome to get in line. We spent from 9:15 to about 3:00 to do all of this from the museum, to eating, to walking back to the Dean Dome. We sat when we needed to sit and took photos so that we wouldn't lose this day to my failing brain. I took photos of the clock tower and of Rob & me on Carolina's campus.

We got into line and waited with several nice families. It was so pleasant to be around very nice people. I got a phone call then. It was from one of my good friends from high school. I knew he was there, but didn't want to get my hopes up that we could meet up. Next thing I know, he's there at the Dean Dome.I rush down the hill (yes I RAN .. I actually RAN .. and didn't hurt myself) to meet him. What a joyous day this had turned out to be. 1. I saw the Basketball Museum with loads of Eric Montross stuff. 2. I had spent the day admiring the scenery on campus. 3. I was at the DEAN DOME and 4. my very good friend that I had not seen since 1995 .. was there giving me the best hug ever. :)
(don't be jealous .. it's not that you other guys don't give better hugs it's just this hug was like 13 years in the making) Picture above is of Phillip and me. The picture on the right is my husband and me. :)

Nothing can be finer than to go to Carolina. :) GO HEELS.

Next up the Carolina Game. :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Carolina Frenzy 3

Rob and I got up bright and early to head to Carolina's beautiful campus. I have been there many times, but every time I go I am blown away by the beauty. We arrived about 9 am or so and got to the basketball museum at 9:30 after the long walk from the parking deck. I have been looking forward to seeing that museum since it opened up at the beginning of this year.

These are balls from previous NCAA games. How awesome is that. I took lots of pictures especially from the 1993 game (which is the ball with the net on it). Why do I love the 1993 season? ONE reason and ONE reason alone. Eric Montross.

I knew that I had one goal in mind. That goal was to find every single thing from Eric Montross and photograph it. :) I took pictures of his jersey ... his shoes ... his awards .. his name in print. Upon entering the museum there was a short video and he even had a speaking part in it. Oh gosh it was a pleasure to watch. I about collapsed from his beauty (I know what you're thinking and YES after 14 years he still makes me weak in the knees). One of my photos is me beside his jersey. Yes I had my husband take about FOUR or FIVE of those just in case they turned out bad. :)

It was in the floor. :) How cool is that? You can't see the photo that well, but the other "important" detail for me was that they had January 27th on it. And that is SO my birthday. :) I was in the Dean Dome for that game. The ball inside is from the UNC vs. Michigan game in April of 1993. Eric Montross and other team mates signed that ball. :)

I have never been so excited about UNC Basketball in my life. I felt the excitement in the room even from the Georgia Tech fans that were there for the football game. Though it was a little disheartening to hear a GT fan say "Did you see this? Some guy had to wear this cheesy mask last season." SOME GUY .. Tyler Hansbrough is not some guy .. He is a special guy. He is THE Man.

I have tons of pictures, but of course can't post them all. Know that most of them were Montross oriented. :) I had so much fun at the Museum. Then came "the Walk."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I'm back part 5

After the game was over, we did a "driving" tour of campus. I showed Kellie all four dorms that I lived in on campus and a few of the places I went to when I wasn't in my room. It was a short tour (as I only really stayed at the Wesley Foundation and Hunter's Library).

We took a rest at the hotel before heading out for a quick bite to eat. Now I figured since Cullowhee/Sylva has grown a bit that maybe just maybe the road to Franklin would be filled with new food places. Well ... color me surprise ... I was wrong.

After at least 30 minutes of driving (to and back again), we wound up back at Wendy's for dinner. We rushed back home to see 27 Dresses on TV and passed out shortly after.

Alarm woke us up at 6am so we could get up and ready to leave. It was after our bathroom time that Kellie told me that we made a huge oops. Even though we discussed it and knew it was happening ... her cell phone failed to set itself back one hour. So we actually woke up at 5am instead of 6am.

At least we wouldn't be late. We hemmed, hawed and watched an old movie that we poked fun of the cheesy acting for a while. We ate the continental breakfast and left Cullowhee for our homes. Talking made the 3 hours to her house go by very quickly. It seemed longer for the 2 hour drive to my house.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I'm back part 4

So we walk to our seats and start taking off our winter wear. We were sweltering at this point. I can't believe how fast the weather went from freezing our toes to wanting to wear shorts and a t-shirt.

I took tons of photos: From the scoreboard to the WCU EMS guy to the marching band. I even took videos, but I don't know that I can figure out how to load that on here. I'm a smart cookie though. If ya give me a few days, I bet I'll have that figured out in no time.

Pre-game show was awesome. Alumni members performed parts of the pre-game show and it just amazes me the range of ages of the alumni. It's wonderful to see the same faces return year after year.

Prior to the start of the game, I told Kellie that a slaughter was about to happen. I meant that Western was going to lose big time. However the opposite was true. Western won big time. 27 to 7.

Western does this thing where they perform the half time show at half time and then again after the game. The half time show is performed to the home side and the post game show is done towards the visitor's side. I was able to record by video the entire post game show though I did it in two parts. The band rocked it out. Anyone that truly knows me knows that I absolutely detest Percussion. Well ... there is an exception to this "hatred." I absolutely *LOVE* Western's percussion line.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Carolina Frenzy 2

I don't have a lot of time to post on the small details, but Rob & I went to the game and we had a blast.

Overall Picture of details

1. We got there at 9am and toured the basketball museum
2. We walked from the Dean Smith Center to the UNC Hospital and ate lunch.
3. We walked from the UNC hospital to Franklin Street.
4. We walked back to the Dean Dome a different way so we could go by Kenan Stadium
5. We waited in a long line to get into the Dean Dome and a dear old friend called me to tell me he was there.
6. Got huge hug from said friend
7. Watched the Men's Basketball team get some great shots
8. Came home. :)

There are going to be about 3 or 4 more posts on my experience at Carolina including photos. :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I'm back part 3

So Saturday morning, Kellie & I got up bright and early. After minimal time and effort, we both were ready for our day. What can I say ... we're both very low maintenance. Though I have to admit that Kellie was a little more high maintenance than me. I mean come on Kell ... Make-up and curls for a football game? Cute and Cold don't go hand in hand after all. :) Though .. I admit it didn't take her all that long to apply said make-up or do said hair style. :)

Best part about Kellie is that she is just as time conscientious as I am. In fact if I had to make a guess, she might even be MORE time conscientious. This is a good thing in my book. Time conscientiousness is in the pro column in the how to be a good friend list

We get our continental breakfast. Most of the time continental and crappy could be interchanged, but this breakfast weren't half bad. We get to Western before registration time. Excellent start to the day already. It's so cold we can see our breaths. Prior to the game, we bought these warm hand things. We stuffed them in every single pocket we could. Front pant pockets, back pockets, shoes ... I even put one on top of my head under the hat.

This was us waiting to register for Alumni Band. This was BEFORE we had put on any major heating supplies. I blew out just as Kellie snapped the photo to show how cold it was. Thanks Kellie for letting me steal the photo of us from your facebook album. You rock.

We wrapped ourselves in our scarves, jackets, sweaters, and climbed up the bleachers at Western. Another item in my "pro column" is that someone is just as excited as I am about something I am excited about. I love to take photos. It's something I am passionate about and I probably have about 100 photos of the alumni tower, football field, marching band, but I keep taking more.

Kellie & I walked around the field getting even more photos. I think she took just as many as me. We watched the band practice for two hours. At the end of two hours, we headed to Lowe's to get more warmers and then ate lunch. It was still freezing as we entered the UC (University Center for those of you *not* in the *know*). We walked out and it was still freezing. We watched the band warm up and took lots of photos of the percussionist.

As we were walking back to the car to get our supplies for the game, we realized it was all the sudden getting warmer. Then I remembered the old addage at Western. If you don't like the weather at Western, wait 20 minutes ... it will change.

Next up: Part 4. :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Carolina Frenzy

I am a HUGE Tarheel Fan. I have been since I was born. I absolutely love November to March for one reason alone. UNC BASKETBALL. Now when I was in middle and high school, I used to work concession stands for the band at the Dean Dome. However until last year, I had never sat my butt in those seats in the Dome for an actual game.

I made it my mission to go to one game last season. It was a great game that I barely remember because of all the Lyme Treatments, but I do remember that I had a ball (No Pun Intended).

So It is that time of year again. BASKETBALL SEASON IS ABOUT TO BEGIN.

My husband and I are going to the Carolina versus UNC Pembroke basketball game tomorrow. It will be my one and only basketball game for the year. I will have a blast watching those boys dart up and down the court shooting baskets, dunking balls, and having an overall good time. Last year, I almost had to be carried to the Dean Dome (and did have to ride piggy back on the way back because I hurt so much).

This year ... I plan on walking every bit of it without any pain (cross every single finger and toe you have). GO HEEELS. :D

Leslie Remembered

Leslie should NOT have had to die from Lyme Disease.

It makes me angry, scared and sad all at the same time. :(

Will I die from it?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Past, Present, Future

I have spent the last year thinking a lot about my past. I think it is only natural to think about past successes and failures as we get older. It is also only natural to think of both the good and bad times. After all if it weren't for those good and bad times, we would not be the people we are in the present. Also, the good and bad times of the present mold who will become in the future.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about whether people can really change. More or less whether I have changed. What about me is different than say 15 years ago -- 10 years ago -- even 5 years ago? I remember that I used to not like me very much. I didn't like my face, my hair, my wardrobe, my location or anything around me. My guess is that most people at that age don't like that much about themselves, but that they probably have the skills to hide it better than I did. I often wonder whether people then knew how miserable I was in my own skin.

I like to think that I am a stronger person than I was 15 years ago. I have grown to love me. I learned about 10 years ago that I had to learn to love myself before anyone else would. It took a while to make the transition from the small town girl that hated herself to a woman that actually liked what she saw in the mirror.

I look at those around me and wonder how much they have changed in the last 20 - 15 - 10 years. What drew me to them in the first place? What caused me (the me of then) to like them (the them of then)? What cosmic forces drew us together as friends? What traits did they possess that meshed with the traits I had? More importantly as I have become the person that I am now ... have they remained the same or have they also made minor or major changes in personalities?

If I met those same people now, would we be immediate friends or would we be just mere acquaintances? Or ... even worse would I not want to be around that person at all?

In any case, I am so glad that those that knew me when I was a girl that hated myself stuck it out until I could become the person I am. I am glad that I can look in the mirror and be satisfied with how things turned out. As a teen, I was extremely self conscious. I never really wore shorts because I was terrified that people would see my birth mark. I always wore my hair up because I didn't want people to realize I had no clue how to fix it.

Oddly enough .. the "birth mark" is gone .. though a nasty scar is in it's place. I do not care whether people see it. I do not care if people see the scars on my stomach or the PICC line that's in my arm. I do not care whether people think I'm 13 or 32. (at least today .. ask me tomorrow and it might be a different story). I don't care if I show the "scars" of my heart. The scars of pain .. the scars of joy and the scars of everything in between.

I might as let everyone know the Jennifer that I found inside a long long time ago. She's the one that people say "There's only ONE Jennifer." :)

As for the future ... it can only get better. :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'm Back part 2

I'm wrote this Sunday night to be published later. Today is that later. :)

I left work around 11:30 and started on my drive to Kellie's. Kellie lives about 90 minutes from my work and I have never been there. Anyone that knows me knows that I am terrified to go anywhere new and different.

Well my dear friends, I made it there safe and sound with no troubles at all. Thanks to Kellie's great directions and my ability to analyze the mess out of it before I left on google maps ... I was able to find her home without any trouble and very little anxiety.

My friend and wonderful chauffeur accompanied me to Western. We found our ways to the hotel for the weekend and then went on to Western Carolina for a fun filled trip to the bookstore. Now I wasn't there to buy books, but see old supervisors. I called all these ladies "Mom" while I was there so it was nice to see them again. I wish I had seen Mama Debbie, but alas not this trip.

I'm already struggling with memory issues, but we did a quick drive by tour of campus and ate dinner. We sat up and talked until way too late remembering good times from high school.

Part 3 to be continued.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Prayers for Kayleigh

EDITED to add: Kayleigh's surgery went great. Go to her blog (by clicking her name below) to read Adam's update to the surgery.

Please pray for Kayleigh. I do not have the appropriate amount of time to go into the whole story, but she is a tiny baby in North Carolina. She will enter the OR today at 6:30ish Eastern Time and start her operation at 7:30 Eastern Time. It will take 4 to 6 hrs or more.

Please pray for the election today. No matter the outcome or who you vote for ... please get out there in this cold rainy weather and VOTE. We have a saying in our house. You can't complain if you don't vote. My husband and I already voted. :)

Have a great day and please remember Kayleigh. Lil Kayleigh ... may Aimee & Adam have peace in the 4 to 6 hours you are in surgery and even more so once you are out.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Thanks Kellie

I was asked a question by someone last week and wanted to clarify why I chose to invite Kellie on this annual trip. Four years ago I decided that I wanted to visit my old alma mater once a year. I decided it would be a wonderful treat to go when other alums were visiting specifically band alums.

I marched only one semester, but I had the best time and always enjoyed watching them perform while I was there. The first year I attended alone. I stayed at "nana's house" and had a great time there. I had a marvelous time on campus and ran into a dear college friend of mine. P.S Nana was one of my supervisors at the bookstore that everyone calls Nana. :)

The next year, I decided that while it was fun to go alone it would be better to go with someone else. I wanted to show my husband what it was like for me so we went on the trip together. He finally saw what I enjoyed through middle, high school, and some of college. We made the weekend a little vacation and had a blast.

Last year, I thought I would take my best friend. A true blue band geek. The trip didn't turn out exactly how I planned, but the time I spent on campus I will cherish and the time I spent with my friend I will never forget. :)

So when it was time to plan for this trip, I thought about my options. I had no idea who to ask. Most people I know now really don't go for this whole "band" thing. A while back though, I found an old friend from high school. In passing, I mentioned that I had this alumni thing in November every year. Next thing I know, we have a planned trip to go together.

Here's a picture that Kellie took on my camera in the afternoon. Pardon the hair. It was hot. It had to go up. Note the black shirt around my waist. Prior to this photo: I had on 1 t-shirt, 2 long sleeve shirts, scarf and winter jacket. Had the t-shirt been under my long sleeve shirt, I would have only had on the t-shirt at this point.

I am truly grateful that Kellie & I found each other after all these years. This weekend has to be one of the best that I have ever spent with a friend. Thank you Kellie for a memorable weekend.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Percussion Passion

Since the time I was able to participate in band, I was very passionate about percussion. I was passionate that I hated it. I hated the drumming, constant beating, oversized egotistical people that generally played drums. It wasn't that I hated the sounds of drums; it's that the people that I knew that played them were arrogant and not so nice.

Plus, I was a colorguard member. It was an unwritten rule that guard members must hate drumline people. When I arrived at Western, the percussionist were a horse of a different color. They were friendly and excelled at their instruments. I was hesitant to say that I liked them so I kept it a secret. A deep dark secret that I must finally under cover.

I, Jennifer, love Western Carolina's Pride of the Mountains Marching Band Percussion Line. They are amazingly precise, funny and though their egos are probably the size of Catamount Gap ... they are the BEST percussion line I have EVER heard. I told Matt Henley that they improve every year. He told me not to tell them or their heads would just swell even bigger than they already were. :) Just goes to show that even the Percussion Instructor thinks they have big heads. :)

Here are the Bass Drummers. I love this picture. :) It's one of my favorites of all the pictures I took all weekend.

Note a few things in this second photo. First the beautiful leaf colors. Fall at Western ... it's the best. Second .. notice the drum sticks. See anything beautiful about that. They were doing what they do. I snapped a photo and they are all at the same angle. AMAZING. Third. See the fellow 2nd in line on the left on the front row. I bet he's got the biggest head of them all. :) Just to throw it out there. I love them all, but ya know have to crack on at least one of them. Fourth: Look at their feet. Same way. All of them. AMAZING. They are just practicing and it's that synchronized.

There you have it. My confession. I love them. I really do.

Confession number two is that it was extremely hard to even watch the guards with all the cool drill that the band had this year. *wow* They were really on the top of their game when they wrote the drill for the percussion and band. The visual effects were out of this world.

I'm back

So I had a blast at WCU. I don't have the time to post a proper blog at the moment, but wanted to leave you with a few thoughts and a couple of pictures.

1. We froze our toes off in the morning at practice.

2. The Marching Band Rocked the hats off of us in the afternoon.

3. It went from 32 degrees to a whopping 70 in a matter of hours. 8am: 32 degrees. Noon it was so hot we had to take off our handy dandy hand warmers stuffed in all pockets, hats, shoes and any other spots that we could cram them in and remove jackets/scarfs and hats. Don't like the weather in Cullowhee ... wait 20 minutes. It will change. We were freezing our booties off at 11 something and by 12 something we were roasting.

4. Kellie was the best companion I've ever had on a trip (sorry to anyone who has ever accompanied me to Western or anywhere else for that matter). It was like no time had passed at all. We picked up right where we laughed (errrr Left) off. Kellie's so darn photogenic. Me: Not so much.

5. The most shocking thing happened while we were there. Western Carolina actually won the game and I have photographic proof.