Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Get your life in order!

Silly me. I forgot to type up this blog post at the library while I was there and so now in order to finish the UBC I am stuck typing this out on my phone! Forgive any typos and errors. I do hope you'll continue to read because I feel like this could be a very valuable blog post.
I was reading in a magazine awhile back an article called "Saying 'I Don't'" which was about strengthening your marriage and your bank account by avoiding money mistakes. I was about ready to skip the article since I am no longer married (ouch.) but some of the tips caught my eye and while reading this article I pointed out a few things that I know Spencer and I should have done. I wanted to pass them along to you because I really would hate to see you in the same situation if the unthinkable happens -- you lose your spouse.

1. Assigning bill paying to just one spouse
While it seems super convenient to do it this way. Your partner is truly uninformed. Spencer took care of all the bills when we were married. Sure it was a fairly easy task to just get online and pay a few bills, but I really had no idea what he knew. Take our phone bill for example. He hopped onto Verizon at the beginning of every month, paid it, and sometimes made changes to the account based upon our usage and needs. I thought I knew what he was doing. But after he passed away I realized how little I really know about the details of our phone bill and where to find important information. I didn't realize how often I asked him simple questions about our minutes, end of contract date, free minutes, etc. When I had to take over the bills I was lost and overwhelmed with information that I assumed that I knew. This goes along with his insurance as well. I didn't think I needed to pay much attention to the detail. It was something he was used to dealing with and knew it from the inside out. I should have realized that when he got sick and wasn't able to take care of this information that I would be the one responsible for it. And when he died, I would be the one responsible for the unpaid medical bills and the only one to be able to contact his insurance.... Calling them blindly. I think that part of me thought I would have time to learn all of this. But you never know how much time you are going to have. Things can happen at the blink of an eye and really when you least expect it. Sit down and pay your bills together now. Don't wait. At the very least sit down with your spouse and have him/her show you the ins and outs of it all clear down to the nitty gritty. I promise it will have you headache and heartbreak if the worse were to ever happen.

2. Not having a Cheat Sheet
It is SO important to know all important bank account numbers, credit card numbers and pins, and passwords to every website and account. It's also a smart idea to know policy numbers and insurance information. I knew the majority of Spencer's passwords and information, and i'm very thankful for that. But when he got critically ill I was panicking because there were a few things that I didn't know. Such as his voicemail password, his secret questions to get into his bank account, his insuance number, his social security number or even where to find it, and some important healthcare information. When he got sick he was not able to talk to me and I had no idea if he'd ever wake up again. It was at the very top of my list that if he survived the ordeal that we had to sit down and talk about his passwords. Sure there are ways to get this information if you are the spouse.... But trust me it won't be easy, it will take a ton of time, and it will be the very last thing that you want to do if you lose your spouse. The very last thing. The next time you are talking with your spouse, sit down and create a list of all important information mentioned above AND even include the location of important documents such as insurance cards, birth certificates, social security cards, marriage certificates, investment information, etc. Put it in a safe place where you both can find it quickly. If you can, try to update it every month or two so it stays current.  You won't regret taking the time to do this. The last thing you need if something terrible happens is the stress of not knowing vital information.

3. Lack of preparation
Did you know that only 35% of adults have a will? So chances are, those of you reading this do not have a will. Most of you are probably quite healthy and don't think that you would need a will until you are older. Or perhaps you haven't even given it a thought. In the event of the unthinkable, the surviving spouse is going to be quite overwhelmed. There might be a case of you being on life support at some time (say you got in a car crash... Or a quick decline with a chronic illness) and your spouse not knowing your wishes. Would you want to be on life support? How long would this be acceptable? At what point would you want it discontinued? What measures would you want your spouse to take to keep you alive? Feeding tube? CPR? Restarting your heart?  These are all questions, and more, that when put in the position of decision maker are so, so hard to deal with. And while its not easy making the decisions in a situation like that no matter what the outcome (im talking from first hand experience) it makes it a little bit easier knowing your partners wishes and knowing that you did what they wanted. Get a will typed up now. Even if it isn't a legal will, you should document each others wishes on paper and keep it in a safe place. You may talk about it, but in the midst of a crisis, you're going to forget important information, trust me. If you are married this is so important! Know what your partner wants in every aspect. Talked about ot frequently. The topic is not easy. It was probably the hardest thing Spencer and I discussed, but we brought it up all of the time because it was important and wishes do change!

I know that it is very hard to sit down and have a talk about something that you never want to happen, or think could happen to you. Try to put it into a positive light and don't get too caught up in the "what ifs". But do sit down and talk! As I said previously, it will save you SO much headache and a ton of heart ache and break if you do it now and not have to think about and worry about it when you are hurting more than you could ever imagine!!!

My Day...

In order to successfully say that I completed the Ultimate Blog Challenge, I have to post two blogs today. I wasn't sure what to type this morning, but I am glad that I waited because as the day has went on, I've definitely had more and more to write and share!

It's crazy how things can go from okay, to bad, to good, to okay again all in the course of one day. That's definitely how I feel today has went! Last night I discovered that I misplaced the key to the shed at the house that I am staying. The shed has the mower in it, and I really need to mow the lawn. I've been really, really frustrated about this and quite frankly I'm pretty upset. I don't want to come across as irresponsible or anything, because I'm really not. It's just one of those things that happens I guess. I just wish it didn't have to happen with someone elses key >.< So this morning I woke up, searched for the key again, and still didn't find it and so all morning I was fairly upset about it. It HAS to be somewhere inside because in order to lock up the shed, you have to have the key. Where oh where did the little key go?!?!!

This afternoon got much better when I got a call back from the Recruitment Department at ARUP Laboratories! I applied for a total of 14 positions doing two different jobs. I finally got 2 different phone interviews set up! One is on Thursday and the other is on the 14th of August. I am nervous about it, but I think I'm fairly ready. Tomorrow I will work hard preparing as much as I can, as if I haven't prepared enough already! ha! I've been researching and trying to get ready for the past 3-4 days. So I'm sure it'll go well, but extra thoughts and prayers are appreciated that I can really impress them and get an in-personal interview ASAP!

My day got even better when I got an e-mail from the Huffington Post! They let me know that the article that I wrote and the lovely Tenaya, The Starlight Children's Foundation's Communication Manager, put together, is now posted and life on their website. I was asked to write about me pre-existing condition, Crohn's disease. I touched on what it's like living in two different worlds, home and the hospital; always being on guard; the treatments that I used to go through; and the wonderful friendships I have made through the communities that I am a part of. I really hope that you'll check it out and share with your friends!
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nikki-riddle/chronic-illness-crohns-disease-_b_1724280.html

As is everything that the Starlight Children's Foundation asks me to do, this was a huge honor to be asked to write this post and I am thrilled that it was me who got to put it together. Thank you so much for the opportunity!

But then, unfortunately, I got a call from Express Recovery (people who want my money) reminding me that I still have a couple thousand dollars on a past hospital bill that I really need to pay. This I have always known and I realize. It's something that I want to get payed off, but unfortunately I just don't have the money to do so. They can't suck blood out of a turnip no matter how hard they try!! I told them that I didn't have a job right now and I'm working really hard on getting back on my feet because my husband passed away in December. She just went on without missing a beat. >.< She asked the general questions, best phone number, address and such to get in contact with me. I told her my address and then she went on and said, like it was no big deal at all, okay and so now your a widow and you currently are not working. I mean, I know that she is just doing her job.... but you don't need to tell me that I am a widow =/ Do you think I don't know that? I wish that people would have a little bit of compassion to them. It stings whenever I hear it. But anyway. I told her there is no way I could pay even a small monthly payment. Before hanging up I decided to humor myself... I asked her that when I got a job, or if I found I could pay the monthly payments, what would they be. I almost laughed out loud when she told me that she would start the payments off small at $250 a month when I first started paying them. And then they would increase by around $60. Over $300 a month. Even by getting a job, I cannot pay that amount. I am one person. Little education behind me. Trying desperately to find my way in this world. There is no way that without a degree I can make enough to pay rent, utilities, food, bills, skyrocketing health insurance premium, paying off thousands of dollars of debt to the school so that I can return and get my degree, start paying off school loans if I can't return to school within a year or so, AND pay 300 a month for my debt. It's beyond frustrating to me. But I am going to stop here because if i get into WHY I am frustrated (credit rating, pre-existing condition, little chance to pay it off in the first place.... etc) I'll be going on forever ;-)

So this put me back into a somber mood because it just made me think about the debt that I have and how it's going to be really hard to pay it all off. It's something that I want taken care of, NOW. And so it makes me think that even if I do get this job, it really might be best to stick to the original plan of finding a roommate to live with because the more money I have to pay off debt, the better off I'll be in the long run. I don't know what I'm going to do... but I find it hard to tell myself that I can afford all these things when I have money that I owe..

Anyway... That's how my day has went :-) Both good and bad. Just wanted to write a little bit so I can post another blog tonight to be able to finish this UBC!!!!!!


Edit: Well another bump in my day... Unfortunately I have just received news that one of my friends suffering from cancer has taken a turn for the worse and is now unable to complete hospice care at home. She's now been moved to a facility and isn't expected to make it much longer. Lisa lost her husband Gess to CF and I knew her from CF Wives. I didn't know her all that well, but she touched my life through helping me cope with the loss of Spencer. I am incredibly sad for her, but happy knowing that she will very soon be with her husband on the other side. I also got word that a CFer lost her battle to CF today as well. It's really hard hearing about things like this. It breaks my heart, even when I try to stay strong. =/

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Blog Tag - Again!

I was again asked to play a round of blog tag again! I am so excited! Thank you Sue for tagging me :-) You can find her blog over at: http://over60andoverhere.blogspot.co.uk/

Now since I've been awarded the Fabulous Blog Ribbon and had to tag 10 people + I played Blog Tag and had to tag 11 people, Annnnnd I just won the Sunshine Award which requires tagging 10 more people.... soo I don't think I am going to tag anyone for this post because I am running out of people to tag!!! (that's 31 people if I included this.. sheesh!) But I do enjoy sharing a little bit about myself to that my readers can get to know me better! So here it goes! (PS... these questions really make you think!!!! They are tough!)

Rules:
1. Post the rules
2. Answer the question your taggers sent you or create new ones, the choice is yours.
3. Tag 11 People and tell these people that they have been tagged. (I'm going to omit this part... so ANYONE feel free to play!)

1. What gets you out of bed each day?
Honestly? Right now it has been the fact that I'm really hot and sweaty when I wake up and want to get up and take a nice cool shower! haha But usually work, classes, or church gets me up!

2. If an alien landed on Earth, what would your top tip "for living here" be?
Ooooh boy. Well the first thing that popped into my mind: Be careful who you trust.

3. What is your "happy song"?
Hands down, All Of Me by Jon Schmidt -- I'll let you enjoy :-)


4. Do you have a special place, real or imagined?
I'm really sad to say that I don't. You know I really have never found that one good place that is relaxing and allows me to think, read, or just be whenever I want. But I can totally give you my imaginary special place! I would love a little fenced in area with green grass, lush plants, and beautiful flowers. It would have to have a water fountain and pond with fish in it as well. It would be outdoors, but would have a little cooling fan or something to keep the temperature ideal. Relaxing just thinking about it!!!

5. What childhood fable, fairy tale, or movie stretched your imagination and sticks with you today?
Why can I not think of any right now?! The very, very first thing that popped into my mind was Pinocchio. It does teach a great lesson about lying!

6. What is your idea of a perfect evening?
You know... what sounds SO perfect to me right now is this. It would be a cool evening with a slight breeze. I would have my husband by my side and we would be laying in a hammock big enough for two. We'd be at opposite ends so we could look at each others faces. We'd have a great view of the mountains. We'd just sit and chat about life, like we always did. And sometimes just sit in silence and just enjoy the company and the peacefulness surrounding us. (wow I'm really into nature things I guess!)

7. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a veterinarian. It seems that all kids want to be animal doctors, I was definitely no exception! I still do want to be a doctor, just not to animals ;-)

8. What is your favorite type of movie?
I love romantic comedies! Love comedies and love romance movies... but them together and it's perfect. Who doesn't (okay what girl doesn't like a love story?!). Definitely not really an action movie type of girl, though I will watch them with friends sometimes.

9. If you won the lottery would you tell anyone?
I am sure that I would. I don't know if I could keep that big of news to myself!

10. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I would LOVE to go to Italy. The atmosphere, the food, the language. I'm sure I would enjoy every single second... and probably come back home 20 pounds (or more) heavier from all of the breads and pastas! haha!

11. Do you believe in Destiny?
Ooooh.. deep question... and hard question. I'm finding it difficult to put into words. I think yes, and no.  A lot of times I think that things are just meant to happen... That they were planned. But I also believe that sometimes you can control the outcome and you can change that future that was predetermined for you? I don't know. I guess I'm not sure.



Again.... Thank you so much Sue! This was fun! :-)

I hate CF

Just some ramblings about my thoughts before I go to bed....

I am so glad that I've had so much support from everyone in the cystic fibrosis community... Each and every CFer I have met, whether it be online or in person, has touched my life. They are all so unique and special in every way. I am so very thankful to know the people I do and have the amazing support group that I do.... but sometimes it is SO hard being such a big part of the CF Community. It really pulls on my heart strings and I try so, so hard not to let it. But sometimes it happens.

There have been some amazing and life changing events with some of my CF friends and their families -- new lungs, new drugs, new leases on life... It's incredible. But there has also been a lot of scary and life threatening events as well. Hospitalizations, organ failure, etc. These are the moments that I try not to focus upon. I try not to get wrapped up in them. But it's hard.

One of my good friends husbands has been in the hospital all month fighting for his life. His organs are slowly failing and he desperately needs a transplant. Many of my CF friends are slowly getting worse. The progression of the disease is speeding up at a scary rate. And some of my CF friends are hanging on and doing fairly well.

But tonight I am just angry. Because cystic fibrosis is in no way fair. I always hate CF... always. Why wouldn't I? It stole my husband from me.

But tonight I hate it especially. I have been seeing a lot of my two best friends now that I'm back in Utah. I LOVE being around them and hanging out. I don't really have any one else to go to right now. But by being around the CF routine this time... well it's not bothering me, I really don't mind. It doesn't particularly make me miss Spencer or anything. But this time I am just mad. And being around it the last couple of times I didn't have many emotions tied to it. It was fine. But this time is different. I am remembering how much one goes through. How much Spencer had to go through, and more. Staying up late to do treatments even though they are exhausted. Having to get up early to get an extra treatment in. Resting frequently. Not having the energy to get up. Having to wear oxygen more frequently to stay alert, have more energy, catch their breath. Coughing constantly to clear their airways so that a deep breath (a "normal" persons shallow breath) is possible.

In a way I hate that I know so much about this disease. I hate that I am so educated sometimes. I hate that I've seen CF through it's bitter end. What it has the potential of doing. To those afflicted. To families. To friends. I hate seeing the progression in my friends. It terrifies me. I don't want to lose my friends to this disease. Ever. =/ I'm not saying that I'm going to lose them anytime soon... no, not at all. Most of my friends are far away from that. But it's hard knowing that CF is just naturally progressive. It's hard just simply "to know".


Sometimes it's weird to realize that I've actually forgotten what the day-to-day life of a CFer is since losing Spence. I think that I remember like it was yesterday and that I could live it again in a heart beat if I had to. But being around it again makes me realize that what I once knew as routine is now slipping my mind. And though I think it's a good thing, because it is no longer part of my life -- in a twisted way I am really sad that that's not the life I am living anymore. If I was still living that life, my husband would still be here. And so a big part of me wants that life back. The hectic, terrifying, exhausting, never resting life that I once had. That we once had.

I'm not feeling sad as in I just want to sit here and cry about it. But I'm feeling that truly heart broken feeling. That feeling where you just desperately want to do more. You just want to take matters into your own hands. The feelings where you so badly want it to be you and not them. Yes I am angry. But I think a good word to describe it right now would be melancholy.

I know that this feeling will pass. Tomorrow I will continue to hate cystic fibrosis, of course. That's why I am so passionate about finding a cure. But tomorrow I will not feel quite the hatred and sadness that I do tonight. Cystic fibrosis has completely changed my life. I have grown in ways that I never thought possible because of being the wife, caretaker, and friend of those living with CF. I have met people I would have NEVER met had it not been for CF. I wouldn't be in Utah, a state that I LOVE if it wasn't for CF. It has brought good into my life. Very fulfilling, gratifying, and wonderful moments into my life. Love. Life. Happiness, believe it or not. I would not be the person I am if it weren't for cystic fibrosis.

But it doesn't stop me from hating it. Loathing it, really, when I think of it taking my husbands life and when I see it affecting strangers, my friends, and my best friends. So for tonight... FUCF >.<

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Catching Up

I was tagged for another blog award, but I think I'm going to save it for the end of the month! So I just thought I'd write a little bit about the last couple of days being in Utah because I'm short on time and don't want to fall another day behind in the UBC!

Thursday late afternoon I went over to Adam and Christine's house in Salt Lake City. I was so ready to see them! They have been here for me though thick and thin and I couldn't ask for anyone better to be my friends! Adam and Christine helped me finish my resume and then Adam helped me start the application process to apply for open positions at ARUP Labs. I applied for over 14 open positions! After Adam left for work Christine and I played catch up with our lives, played Lego Pirates on the Wii, and then watched the Bachelor Pad on Hulu! Boy did we have a great time watching that together. Before we knew it it was 11 PM! I stayed the night at their house and then yesterday Christine and I went up to Park City to grab lunch and look at all of the shops with her friend. Again, we had a great time.

On the way back to Ogden, Christine and I talked about various things, with hardly a quiet moment, and it really made me realize why she's my best friend! We are so alike and we relate on nearly all levels. It's so nice to have that one person in your life who is just like you and you can really click with. It's something I haven't had for a really long time.

After getting back home I decided to go to Starbucks to grab a cold drink and check my e-mails. To my huge surprise I got an e-mail from ARUP saying that they want me to call to set up a phone interview!! I really felt on top of the world receiving this e-mail. I know that this process is kind of a weeding out process to see who is truly interested and who really fits the job description. But it is a step in the right direction. Hopefully I can do VERY well with the phone interview and get an offical interview! I am SOOOO NERVOUS! But very, very happy!

I also found out that the article I was asked to do through the Starlight Children's Foundation for the Huffington Post is finally all put together and the Post loved it! I am working on writing up a short bio and then soon it will be posted! I am so excited to share with you guys! I'll post it as soon as I can!

So now I'm getting ready to head back to Salt Lake City to Adam and Christines again (I will be there a lot!) to chat, to have a BBQ with them and their neighbors, and have a game night based around the olympics! I'm excited to be able to be around a bunch of people. I'm staying the night at their place again tonight to go to church with them in the morning. So off I go to finish up some deviled eggs and make the trip to SLC!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tag! You're It!

Whoo Hoo!! I'm finally part of the "in" group on the facebook page for the Ultimate Blog Challenge! I've seen so many bloggers being "tagged" to answer these questions and I do have to say I've been a little bit jealous! When asked, I love answering questions about myself -- harmless little questions that help YOU know more about ME. I was surprised and super happy when Holly from Aggravation Station tagged me! I have been reading her blog from day one of the UBC and have fallen in love! She always makes me smile, and usually makes me laugh! Thank you so much!

So the rules to this little game are this:
1. Post the rules
2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for me in her post.
3. Create 11 new questions to ask those who I'm going to tag.
4. Tag 11 people on the Facebook page with a link to this point.

So here we goooo!

1. What are your guilty pleasures (you know those ones you love but are ashamed to admit) for the following: Movie, Music, TV Show
Movie: I honestly can't think of a movie that I would be ashamed to say that I watch and enjoy!

Music: There are a few songs from Miley Cyrus and Justin Beiber that I really, sorta, kind of, enjoy :-P Did I just say that... yup - sure did.

TV Show: Gossip Girl. Ughh the drama, romance, and more drama of the upper east side really draws me in. It's an addiction that I can't stop. I really wish Netflix would hurry up and post the next season for streaming!!!!!!


2. What's one thing you did as a child/teenager that you know disappointed your parents?
Yikes... This is a really tough one for me. I know you all are probably looking for something juicy, so to say, that I did -- but really, I was a rule follower and a goody-two-shoes (heck, I still am!). In fact to my memory, everything I did made them proud of me. The only thing that I can think of that pops into my mind that I'm sure disappointed them is breaking curfew one too many times to stay out with friends. And that, really, isn't all a huge deal! Mom, what did I do that disappointed you?! haha.


3. If you could have one super power, what would it be?
The ability to manipulate time. To stop it to have extra time to figure something out, or to enjoy a special moment. Or to speed time up to quickly get through something boring or undesirable! Maybe even go back in time to relive something wonderful =) Of course all super powers would have their downfalls... but let's pretend, for this moment, that they don't ;-)


4. What is your biggest fear?
I have a lot of fears but to make this easy... Spiders. I absolutely hate spiders, even the tiny ones. I'm so sad Spencer isn't around anymore to take care of them! Ha!!


5. If you could go for a beer or coffee with any one person, dead or alive, living or fictional, who would it be?
No I'm not going to get all sappy on you or anything, and again you might expect some out there answer about some dreamy fictional character... and sure - I would love to. But honestly? There's no one that I would pick over my husband. I just miss him too much to pass up an opportunity like that! And of course I'd ask him to stay around awhile ;-)


6. What song do you want played at your funeral?
I have thought about this a few times, actually. Especially after the 5-funerals-in-a-year thing that just happened. It's hard to narrow it down to one... I really don't know what song I would like, but I can tell you this -- Something by Jon Schmidt MUST be played... hands down. I don't care what song... but one must be played. He's my FAVORITE pianist and there is no way that one of his songs COULDN'T be played at my funeral!!!


7. What's one mundane thing you have to do just about every single day that you wish you could be without?
Hmmmm. Taking my medication. I know that it only takes about 15 seconds tops, but it's really one thing, that's not at all exciting, and that I REALLY wish I wouldn't have to do. (Crap, speaking of meds, Atenolol calls my naaaame, I hate when I forget!)


8. What talent do you wish you possessed that you currently don't?
I can kind of play the piano, but mainly all you hear is the same phrase being repeated over and over again painstakingly slowly with the same mistakes over and over again until I get it right. Then I move on to the next one and forget the first ;-) If I sat down, properly learned how to read the bottom hand of the music (because the right hand really isn't an issue), and then practiced putting it all together, I think I could play fairly well. My mom is amazing at the piano and I have a deep passion for piano music. And everything I know I taught myself. So with all that being said -- I really wish I could play the piano.


9. What did you wear to your high school prom? Describe your outfit.
I went to 3 high school proms! Sophomore, Junior, and Senior proms. I will just post pictures, because I am a picture kind of girl.

This is the ONLY picture I could find of my Sophomore year Prom (and this isn't even my prom.. it was my boyfriends lol) that even showed a small part of my dress. It was pink and pretty. But it was just all the wrong color. I am so pale!!! I look so strange in this picture haha.

Here is a picture of me and my date, Taylor, at my Junior prom. This was such a fun prom! And I LOVED LOVED my dress!!!

 And here is a picture of me and my date, Spencer, at my Senior prom. I wasn't a huge fan of this dress, but it worked and it looked nice =)


10. If you didn't require extra training or schooling, what would your dream job be?
A doctor... specifically it's a little bit harder to narrow down. A pediatric hematologist/oncologist, or a pediatric (or even adult) pulmonologist specializing in cystic fibrosis. Yes, I really do want to be a doctor... but alas I'm not quite willing to go through the schooling and grueling process of it all.


11. What is your favorite household chore?
Haha... favorite... Funny. So basically the one that I hate the least, right? ;-) I don't really mind dusting I suppose. I don't like having to take everything off of the shelf and putting it back on, but dusting isn't bad.


11 New questions:
1. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
2. What is your favorite memory from High School? What is your worst?
3. What are you currently reading? (Books? Magazines? Newspapers?)
4. What would you say your biggest accomplishment has been?
5. Who do you look up to the most? (dead or alive)
6. What is your favorite recipe? Share it!
7. What is your most embarrassing moment? Or if you don't want to share because, you know, it's just too embarrassing; have you done anything to embarrass someone else?
8. What is your passion?
9. What 3 websites do you most frequently visit?
10. If you won the lottery (millions of dollars), what would you do with the money?
11. What is your favorite tradition?


11 people I want to join me: (If you're not on the list, feel free to join in!) ((PS.. this is really hard to pick 11 people! haha)) (((And PPS... If you don't want to participate that's totally fine!!!)))
1. Renee King -- A View To A Thrill
2. Emily Brewer -- My Inspired Life With Fibromyalgia
3. Brian Jones -- Brian's Phirst Blog
4. Cheri deFonteny -- Idle Chatter
5. Christine Sinness Calvin -- Inspired Life
6. Johnson Tosca -- Midnight Musings
7. Patricia Swanepole -- Living Life My Way
8. Susan Wilson -- Ripplespillers
9. Wendy LugoSantiago -- Mind, Body and Soul10. Jodi Rosenberg -- 100 Smile Challenge
11. Melissa Barham -- Barham Virtual Assistance

Thursday, July 26, 2012

This job is..... me.


If everything works out in my favor, I definitely have my near future planned out. This is very exciting for me especially because of the fact that just a few weeks ago I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Now true that I don't know what I want to do with my life in it's entirety, (career wise and such) but having a goal and a plan for the next year or two is a big step in the right direction. 

I think I mentioned the fact that I wanted to sign up for phlebotomy classes. I'm not sure that I wrote that the very next day I took the plunge and signed up for classes beginning on August 2nd! Just one week away! I am nervous as heck about them, poking people and inflicting pain while being poked and prodded by people just like me, without proper technique, but at the same time I absolutely cannot wait. I have been interested in this field for about 6 years now and I can't believe that I am finally going to take a course, get a certificate (and if I so choose a national certification) and peruse this curiosity and interest and take it to the next level! Everything that I have ever wanted to do before requires at least 4 years of schooling…. and now I can get something done that I want to do in just 6 weeks. Granted this isn't the end of my schooling - I still have a LONG ways to go… but this is a stepping stone in the right direction. I am going to find out if this is, in fact, the career path that I want to choose. I am SO ready! 

I found several job openings at ARUP Labs and I strongly feel that this is where I need to be. I can't work as a phlebotomist for probably about 7 or 8 weeks (classes and externship) and even then I will have to find some way to get on the job experience before I can apply for specific jobs. For the past 3 years when thinking about phlebotomy I always thought it would be fun for me to work in a hospital and I've always noticed ARUP staff running around the hospital, labs, etc. I always wondered if that could be me. SOOOO… as I said I found jobs open at ARUP as a lab tech and I am going to send in my resume and application tomorrow or Thursday. Reason why I think this would be the ideal place for me to work is because I think it will be a nice look to see how it's done…. What working in a lab consists of. It's also getting my name in the door at their lab. It's a stepping stone for a future job at ARUP labs as a phlebotomist when I am qualified. By working as a lab tech I can allow myself some time to get some experience and then with all hopes I will be able to transfer and get a new job within their company. Smart, huh? I sure hope so. 

I don't think I have ever wanted a job so badly to be honest with you. I sat down today and read, and reread about 100 times, the job description. I picked out several key qualifications, strengths, and skills required and preferred to work as a lab tech. In fact I picked up on about 15 of them. I am having a hard time picking out which ones are the top three and describe be best… because they all fit who I am. I match up nearly perfectly with what they are looking for. About the only thing I am lacking is previous lab experience. I do have lab experience with HS labs and my anatomy lab, which is great… I just don't know if that's the specific experience they are looking for. 
So I match up to their job description nearly perfectly and it's a job that really fits my interests. The hours are fantastic and very manageable for me. The pay is fantastic and will allow me not just to get by month to month, but to be able to pay off my debt much, much quicker than I thought I could so that I can go back to school to finish my degree. I would also be able to afford my OWN place and not have to live with a room mate. All things that I can only dream of right now. All things that I so badly want.

As I said… not only do I desperately want this job, but I strongly feel like this is where I want to and need to be. I feel like I am a perfect fit for the job. But how to get that across? How to type out a cover letter and resume that isn't like all of the others and really, really stands out. Yes I can totally say that I'm accurate, timely, reliable… which I AM, it's just in my nature and who I am… but how do you say things like that in a way that doesn't sound like how everyone else says it?! What the heck can I do to get myself an interview to expand on the limited things that I am allowed to write? I want an interview. I want a chance! 
I feel like I have already spent so much time on trying to make this perfect and unique and not what they want to hear, but what I really have to say and who I am…. yet I haven't gotten very far at all

I am such a modest person! I don't brag about anything! I keep my talents and my strengths to myself. When I'm asked to present them and talk about them I freeze because it's something I'm not used to doing. I am awful at selling myself… at least on paper that is. Give me an interview and that's a completely different story!! In person I feel like I can do a great job with some preparation! And I am NOT a person to use just a few words. I mean heck if you read my blogs, they are plenty long! Usually 2 or 3 pages on Word. (whoops lol) It's really hard for me to be concise and to the point. I like to expand on everything… That's why I want to be given a chance at an interview, I then have the opportunity to expand on things most important. 

Ahhh I just really want this. If you guys have ANY tips at all, please, PLEASE let me know. I have looked up tons of resume and cover writing tips, suggestions, and samples. They only help a little bit. What has worked for YOU? What do you feel has gotten you an interview? What can I do to get this job?

Prayers are also very much appreciated =)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

First day back...


[Most of tthis post was written last night. I added some in today. I don't have internet at the house and so I couldn't post it. I tried to change the tense of everything, but there may be some words that I looked past. Just wanted to clear things up so there isn't confusion!!]

Yesterday was the day. I am officially now in Utah! Though the drive was super long (11 hours) it was pretty uneventful. I only stopped once at Sinclair. Sitting for that long really drives me nuts and starts to hurt my back but it cuts about an hour or so off of my time and it's just so much easier to go straight through taking as few stops as possible. I ran into some super heavy rain 2 or 3 different times, nice to see but really not so nice to drive in! There was a few times I couldn't see the road but then each time I thought about pulling over it let up a little bit. I'm thankful that that's the most that happened! ;-)

I moved 90% of the boxes into the house that I am staying in for a little while. It's a super cute house, only down side is there is no air conditioning and it's really, really stuffy and hot. I don't do well in heat ;-) Sitting in the fan isn't too bad, but the moment you move it's awful. Thankfully it cools down quite a bit at night, and so with open widows and a fan it's very comfortable. I even got cold last night so that's a good sign!
I don't think that I'll be spending a lot of time in the house anyway. I'll probably be at internet cafes and libraries job hunting and trying to look for a more permanent house. The sooner I find a place the better so that I can settle in quicker and have all of my stuff with me. I'm praying that a job will come through quickly so I don't have to use too much of my savings money on food, gas, just any expense. I need one to at least tide me over until this phlebotomy class starts and I can get a job as a phlebotomist. I ask again, if you know any places hiring, please let me know asap!

I did find a job that I'm going to apply for ASAP! I'm working on my resume and cover letter, hopefully will be able to send in the application tomorrow afternoon! I *really* do want this job, it's perfect. And so I'm working hard on getting an interview!!!

Last night I was exhausted! Hot, moody, lonely, tired, bored… you name it. But I know that most everything I was feeling was due to having a long day driving, being in a new place, not really knowing where anything is since I'm not familiar with Ogden, and the initial adjustment of being out here. Today as been better and as the week goes on it should continue to get better. Just have to get over this initial adjustment and figure out how to organize my days. I can already tell I'm going to go crazy not having anything to do!!!

The first day or two of being back in Utah is always hard, and really strange. This time definitely isn't any different! I feel pretty disoriented, trying to get re-used to the city, the mountains, the people, and the accessibility among other things. I feel like I'm in a haze, just kind of drifting by. This feeling isn't a stranger, but it's a feeling I don't care for, honestly. 

It's really strange being in a house without any one else. For the first time in a very long time, I'm completely alone. There were several times for a very, very split second (almost not even long enough for it to register) that I wanted to call Spencer or wanted to ask him something. And then of course I'd realize that he wasn't there. If I would have been thinking, I would have had one of my friends meet me at the house to help me unload my boxes and to just make sure I was settled in. I think it would have eased me into it a little bit easier. But that thought didn't cross my mind. Moving the boxes into the house myself made me realize that I really was alone. I wasn't necessarily upset -- but it was one of those feelings that I haven't really ever had before. 

I had an interesting and weird experience last night. I had to run to Smiths to get some food. As I was getting ready to check-out I had a couple of guys (kind of weird and run down looking) come up behind me and say "girl you look so fine". Ohhhh dear. I half-way said thank you in a pretty annoyed voice and walked away. He then said "I didn't mean it to be rude" and then I realized the tone of voice I said it in and smiled at him and said thank you, and then walked away…. feeling so weird. I've NEVER, EVER had anyone say ANYTHING like that to me in passing. And I may have actually been flattered (considering I was sweating from head to toe and I probably stuck like crazy lol) had he said it way, way differently and if he didn't look so run down. I felt pretty uneasy as I was getting ready to go back to my car since it was getting dark out and it seemed like they were taking their time, just waiting for me to check out…. so I asked the guy who bagged my groceries if he could walk me out to my car because of said situation. He did with no problem. the guys were outside on their bikes, I'm glad I asked. I don't know that I would have been harassed or anything would have happened… but I'd rather be safe than sorry. 

I thought that being in Utah for the 24th of July (Pioneer Day here) would be cool. I really don't know what I was thinking. Jokes on me, I guess. I HATE being alone on holidays. On days where I KNOW that family is together. That friends are together. It really hurts my heart and really makes me miss Spencer. I guess I should have been thinking and asked some friends to go watch fireworks with me so I wouldn't be by myself. That or just came out on the 25th instead. Whoops. Oh well… It's all a learning experience.

I took a sleeping pill last night for the first time in a LONG time. I haven't been able to sleep the past 2 nights, and since I'm in a new place, different noises, lots of heat, I figured I could use the assistance in sleeping. I'm happy to say that it worked like a charm and I slept very well!

Tomorrow is another new day. I might go to salt lake city for the familiarity. If I'm up to it maybe see some friends. We'll just have to see how things go, what mood I'm in, and what I feel like doing. I'm not going to push myself to see anyone for at least this first week. I need to adjust. I need to focus on ME and my needs. 
I am excited for Saturday. My best friends, Christine and Adam, invited me over for games and a BBQ. Always love get togethers with them and their friends, who will hopefully become my friends soon as well. 

Well it's about time I head back to the house, throw my hair up in a pony tail, sweat like crazy, and cook some dinner. Hopefully it cools down soon so I can enjoy an evening outside reading a good book =)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tomorrow is the day

My mood is definitely shifting around to the extreme today. One moment I'm pretty happy, and then the next something bothers me and makes me upset or angry. Where I would like to vent about all the specific things, I think it best that I keep to myself since it's a public blog. 

I think I'm just ready for the stress of going out to Utah to be over. For the packing to be done with. For the moving to be complete. Though I am very much ready to get out of this house and be out of Kansas, I'm hating the fact that I am leaving my family behind. I know that my parents really would rather not see me go.. and the fact that I'm leaving I know is hurting my sister because I have really been the only thing that she's had these last 7 months. I love my family so, so much -- I really hate that we have to be so far from each other. It makes leaving so conflicting and difficult. And I know as I've mentioned in a blog before, this time moving out of my parents house is SO much different because I know that I will never be coming back to live here. 

It's hard. 

Moving is also hard because I finally was able to spend some time with my best friend from high school last night. We've always been so close. After high school we didn't talk all that much and we really didn't see each other at all. But one thing I realized last night is when you have a true friend the distance between you doesn't matter; it doesn't matter how long it's been since you've talked or seen each other.. you pick up right where you left off. It's such a great feeling, and honestly I don't have but one or two other friends like that. I'm sad that it took us so long to see each other after I moved back home. It took me leaving again to finally get together. It took a period of 'crisis' on both of our behalves when we both just really needed someone to talk to (knowing it or not) to bring us together and talk through things. I so badly wish we would have done this sooner. The conversation to help my friend out turned around and REALLY helped me out too.

Now that I can actually say that I'm moving tomorrow... it makes it real. The pressure is on to get everything done that needs to be done... and boy am I feeling it. Just needed to take a moment to be a little bit melancholy. It was needed. If things go well, I'll be going to eat dinner with one, maybe two friends soon. That will be a nice pick-me-up and break from the packing. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Natural Talent

I have to take a moment and brag on a very special, young, girl who I love dearly. A girl who has an amazing eye for photography. A girl who has such a natural and spectacular talent yet doesn't quite see how much potential she has. 

This 16 year old girl is my little sister, Shayna. Sure, I may be a little biased since she's my sister, but I truly think she has a talent that needs to be known! I really want to see her start a website or blog specifically for her photography and pursue it more. Maybe even create a Blurb book with all of her pictures. It's something that she says she loves to do and I desperately want to see her potential just shine!

She just got a very nice camera a couple of months ago and it seems like she's already mastered it!

I have one of her pictures set as my background and every time I see it I want to show it to everyone! It looks very professional and I can totally see this picture, and all of her pictures, on a postcard or greeting card. Even as a print on canvas or something.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures that she's taken. It's so hard to narrow down my favorites. She has many more! (you can click on the photo for a larger view)





Can you see why I'm so proud of this girl?! She has an amazing talent and I hope to talk her into taking it further =) If you have a chance, leave her a comment below -- I'm sure she'd appreciate it!

And the doctor saaaays....

I wrote a blog last night about feeling uneasy with the heart palpitations that I've been getting rather frequently and with increased duration.

Today I went to the doctor again to get an antibiotic refill and to address this "episodes". While listening to my heart at rest she said she noticed an extra beat every few beats. She said that she didn't hear a snap this time, but it doesn't mean that it's not there; and last time she heard the snap it was because we were putting a bit of a strain on my heart.

Because she heard the extra beats and because I have noticed things getting a little worse she wanted to run an EKG. I almost expected this and I'm super glad that she did this! After waiting about 15 minutes for her to go over the results, she came back in and told me that I had her mind a thinking, and I always kind of stump her. Of course. We then knew that the EKG showed something!

It's kind of hard for me to explain without going all medical terminology on you all (thank you collage classes and wide medical background!)... but basically every 3 or 4 beats my heart decides to do an extra beat. That extra beat then kind of 'restarts' my heart and controls it. It's a slight problem with the 'electrical system' of my heart that sends a signal that my heart needs an extra beat -- the sinus node (what controls your heart rate; your pacemaker). She explained to me that in patients my age, it's usually a "normal" abnormality and it usually doesn't cause any problems. I'm really glad that this EKG showed something because I knew that something was not right and was just afraid nothing would show up since I wasn't feeling any palpitations. But evidently it's something that's always there, whether I feel it or not. I'm just SUPER curious to see what an EKG would look like when I am having these episodes and when they last 30-45 minutes at a time.

She put me on a low dose beta-blocker for now and said that it should help these episodes that I get. The doc also said that the antibiotics that I am on for my HS have a rare side effect of making these episodes last longer. But it's just a balancing act to get everything right since the abx are actually working for me!

She did tell me that it would be a wise idea to get a heart work-up done so that we can make sure that nothing else is going on and really, exactly what IS going on on a larger scale. So when I get out to Utah and get some kind of insurance to cover me (hopefully I can get medicaid to work, at least temporarily, since I won't have a very high paying job for awhile... fingers crossed, I can't afford anything else... ugh) I will find me a good PCP, pay him/her a visit and see what they want to do about doing a heart work up.

I'm feeling a lot better about this now that I've had an easy test run to look into things further. I'm not completely in a dark. She didn't exactly know what to call it, I guess there are a couple different terms that you can use but she wasn't sure where to classify it. To me, it's a bit frustrating when I don't have an official diagnosis, but I am just going to have to be okay with what I know!

Thanks for the thoughts you guys =) I was having a lot of anxiety about it last night!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Feeling Uneasy

I have been having a lot of anxiety lately about my health. No worries, my Crohn's is doing fine... In fact I've been feeling great with it. But instead it's my heart that I'm concerned about. Not emotionally, but physically. Right now I almost wish I could say that it was my Crohn's disease acting up instead of the other. Because my Crohn's is known. I know how to deal with the pain, the bleeding, the frequent bathroom trips, the extreme fatigue.
But these heart palpitations and flutters are very very much in the unknown category. I went to the doctor a couple of months ago to get some antibiotics for my HS and talk to her about the weird sensations and chest pain that I've been having. I knew that something was not right, but I couldn't exactly place what was going on. Was it something normal that everyone sometimes has? I didn't know.
I have had palpitations for some time, actually for as long as I can remember. Playing sports, just sitting, stretching, turning over in the middle of the night... it's something that's always happened to me. I just never thought anything of it. I always thought it was normal. But until the past year and a half I haven't really noticed them much and haven't payed much attention to them. And never before had I gotten chest pain, either. I started really noticing it after a 2 mile walk. I got some serious chest pain and horrible sensations in my chest. It really concerned me so I slowly walked home, sat down, tried to cool off and check my heart rate. It was elevated -- something I expected. I just figured that maybe I got really overheated and needed some water because after I cooled down and rest a little bit I felt better.

But it kept happening more and more frequently. Usually any kind of activity would set my heart off and sometimes even just resting I would get an 'episode'. My doctor listened to my heart for awhile and she said that she did notice a "snap" at one point, though I didn't feel anything at the time. She told me that it probably wasn't too much to be concerned about right now but she did think that I might have something called Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP). (you can google it if you want to learn more)


Usually they run tests for it and look to see how severe it is but a lot of times it isn't an issue. The only thing is right now with me is that I don't have health insurance... of course. I said that if it's something that we need to do, then just do it. She wasn't too concerned about it and said that for right now I would probably be okay until I was able to get some insurance. She was hesitant to run any tests because if it turns out to confirm the MVP it would make things 10 times harder to get insurance, and of course my premiums would be higher, etc  My mom and I both agreed with the doctor, but don't even get me started with how WRONG it is that I have to be concerned about getting the proper testing in fear of NOT being able to get insurance later =(( Ugh!

For awhile after seeing my doctor things were okay. It only happened maybe once every week, if that. For awhile I didn't even notice it. But for about 2-3 weeks now it's come back and it's really been bothering me. It seems a lot worse than before. When I have the episodes they last for quite a long time. I have also noticed that if I am upset, excited, angry, or any range of emotions it will happen. I really don't like this. Not only is it super annoying and really bothers me, it makes me SO uneasy that something is wrong. I know that this is not normal  =/

I hate that it is something to do with my heart. Whether there is something I can take for it, or not, I don't like it. I'm having a hard time expressing my feelings towards this... it's hard to put it into words. Some of it relates to having to go through something a little bit scary without Spencer. I know that I have been through a lot in the medical world, but it seems to me like Spencer was always so, so much stronger than I will ever be when it came to a new diagnosis or going through tests. Even if he was internally scared about the unknown, he very rarely let it show. I wish that he could be here for me to talk to about this.

And granted I know that I most likely will never just drop dead from any of this... or even get sick enough to be close to that. But I know how precious life can be. I've seen what can happen. And because we're talking about one of the most vital organs in the body, that's why it makes me a little scared. What if something would go wrong unexpectedly? I don't know if this is an irrational thought or not... I'm just expressing how I feel.

I also am just uneasy about having tests run and either finding out that nothing is wrong at all (then what is the reason for these palpitations and chest pain?!) or finding out that something is in fact wrong. Either way.. I know I'm not going to like the result. -sigh-

I'm probably over thinking this all, like I normally do. But I also don't want to just brush off my feelings as over reacting. That's why I decided to sit down and write it all out.

Going back to the doctor tomorrow for some more antibiotics and I'm going to talk to her about it... see if she can't tell me more of her thoughts on it all. Last time it seemed really rushed because of an ER. =/ I just hope everything goes okay and she can ease my mind!!!!

A ribbon! For me?!

I was just notified that I received my first ever blog award! I am flattered and honored =) Monick over at her blog, Life Alchemy School, came across my blog during the Ultimate Blog Challenge this month, liked what she read, and chose me, and 4 other blogs, to receive this cute little blog ribbon:
In order to accept this fabulous award there are a few catches, of course ;-) But I can't say that I mind because I am so excited about it!

Here are the few rules to make this award official:
Thank the blogger who gave it to you and share the link back to the awarding blog.
Name 5 fabulous moments in your life.
Name 5 things that you love.
Name 5 things you hate.
Pass the award to 5 deserving bloggers.


So here we go! You get to learn a little bit about yours truly!

Thank the blogger who gave it to you and share the link back to the awarding blog.
Monick, thank you so much for presenting me with this award! I am really flattered that you enjoyed my blog enough to consider me for the 5 blogs =) After I was notified of this award I hopped on over to your blog and read several posts. I'm sad to say that I haven't ran across it until now! If you get a chance go on over to Life Alchemy blog, read a little about Monick, and read through her posts. Her topics really drew me in! She has a fantastic view on life and gives very inspiring messages. 

Name 5 fabulous moments in your life.
1) Speaking at the Starlight Children's Foundation annual gala in Los Angeles... twice. The first time with Spencer, and my best friend, Emily.. and the second I was solo but was SO glad to have Emily in the crowd! It was SUCH an honor to be asked to share my message with hundreds of celebrities and to help a Foundation that I am very thankful to have had in my life when I was sick earn much some needed money. Add in that the very first time we were at the gala Spencer proposed to me!

2) When I graduated high school. This was such a special time in my life because of my illness, Crohn's disease. It was a huge struggle getting through all my classes with passing grades because I was sick so often. I had fabulous teachers who worked very hard with me to keep me caught up and understanding each and every subject. Huge milestone for me!

3) The moment that I saw Spencer for the very first time on our wedding day. We did the first look before the ceremony and it was so special and intimate; it was like the entire world stopped spinning for that moment. The look on his face and the love that was radiating from his eyes and smile was something that I will remember for the rest of my life. Certainly a fabulous moment. 

4) The day that Spencer took me to get my kitty, Chloe, from the Humane Society in Utah! We were coming back from classes at SLCC. Spencer begged me to stop by the Humane Society "just to look" at the animals. I was pretty hesitant, but in the end obliged, because I mean really.. who can't resist looking at cute animals! Little did I know that stinker wanted to take me there to find me a kitten. I had been talking for a few weeks how I would love to have an animal of my own and a cat would be perfect for me. He knew that I was taking on SO much with going to school, work, and taking care of him. He was so sweet, and sneaky, about the whole thing! I was so happy that we were going home with a kitten! I'm just so, so sad that she ran away one night. Poor, poor Chloe. 

5) When Spencer and I finally moved into our first real place in March 2011. We had our own space, own rules, own decorations. It was really a beautiful place to live! It was a basement apartment, but it had so much light coming in and so many windows! It was in the foothills of the mountains. Not our ideal city to live in because it was about 45 minutes away from his doctors and the hospital (which he visited very frequently). But it was perfect in every way because it was OURS. <3 

Name 5 things that you love.
1) Food and cooking. Who doesn't love food and funny that this is the very first thing that came to my mind! haha. I especially like italian foods and any kind of sweet, baked goods. MmmmMmmm. I am starting to get back into enjoying cooking more and more. I used to do a ton of it when Spencer was around. It was always my goal to fatten his skinny body up! I like experimenting with different recipes, tweaking them to just the way I like it, and having it turn out perfectly! 

2) I love my family. Of course family is not a "thing", but my family is so, so very special to me and I love them with all of my heart. I would do anything for a family member. 

3) The mountains. The very first trip I made to Utah I was instantly in love with the mountains, or as Spencer always used to say "Nikki's/my/your Mountains" =) They are just so beautiful and being in them is incredibly peaceful. I couldn't think of anywhere else I would want to live right now!!

4) Children. I have a true passion for working with kids. I have had nanny and babysitting jobs for as long as I can remember and I have loved every single one with them. Kids are just so innocent (mostly ;-) and I feel that every child I cross paths with is so special and has such a huge potential in this world. It is always my goal to bring out that potential and help every kid that I work with shine and feel loved.

5) I love photography and crafty things. I may not have a lot of patience for crafting, but I love it none-the-less. I love making something out of nothing and I feel so accomplished when I sit down and actually finish something I've been working so hard on.... especially if it turns out the way that I intended. I don't take too many pictures, but when I have a good camera in my hands I just can't put it down. I enjoy editing photos even more!

Name 5 things you hate.
1) I hate that my family and I have to live so far apart. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on what way you want to look at it) whatever career path I choose to follow, my only opportunity for a job is in the city at a big hospital, most likely a children's hospital. As I mentioned, I very much love my family and they mean the world to me -- it's so hard being 12 hours away from home! On the bright side? I love the city and there's no where else I'd rather be!

2) I hate that I am such, SUCH a planner. Granted yes, It's good for a lot of things, but I tend to WAY over think everything and I worry about every little detail. Especially with this moving business. I am so worried that something isn't going to go according to plan. I run over my 'plans' over, over and over again in my mind and it really keeps me up at night (until 3:30 AM to be exact!!). I wish that I could do more things spontaneously and just relax about it instead of worrying all of the time!

3) Negative attitudes. Yes, I know that everyone has them -- INCLUDING me. But I find that when someone has a foul, negative attitude about just about everything, I really latch on to that attitude and I find myself getting negative, pessimistic, and grumpy about everything. I'm not myself and I dont' have the bubbly personality that everyone tends to enjoy. I understand if there is a reason for the attitude, but when the person can't quite look past it and look at the bright side of things, it really gets me down!

4) I hate that so many of my friends have to suffer. I am so tight knit with a lot of people in the cystic fibrosis community, crohn's community, and with people who have chronic illnesses in general. I think out of all of them, though, cystic fibrosis has been the toughest. I have seen the good, bad, and absolutely ugly that comes along with this disease, with Spencer. It hurts me so much to know that my friends are going through the same thing that my husband went through and that they all have the potential fate that he had. I am a very hands on person and I want to help everyone. I hate the feeling of being helpless because of this monster of a disease! 

5) My procrastination. I have tried time and time again to be on top of everything, but in the end I am just the worlds best procrastinator. I seriously wait until the last moment to get ANYTHING done. I think that I work best under pressure, because that's when I can produce my best work... but man, it's so stressful! I think I might die from a heart attack because of the situations I get myself into because I procrastinate so much. I've tried writing those papers weeks in advance, but it always comes down to the last day, or night, or few hours before it's due... Somehow they always end up turing out just fine, though! 

Pass the award to 5 deserving bloggers.
Oh boy -- this is truly the hard part because I know SOO many deserving bloggers! I've read a lot of great blogs in the Ultimate Blog Challenge that I am a part of this month, and I also know so many wonderful blogs that I have been following for a very long time... So here are my list of 5 deserving blogs:
  • Brian's Phirst Blog -- I came across Brian's blog during the UBC and it really touched me. Brian shares the journey of his son who is battling cancer. He writes with a lot of heart and hope.
  • I Have CF. So What?! -- I've been following Lauren's blog for quite awhile now. I am always so inspired by the way that she lives her life. She has cystic fibrosis and is also battling what is known to be a very nasty bug that infects CF patients called Burkholdera Cepacia. In her own words her blog is, "about staying positive, defining yourself, and remaining strong..."
  • Jenni's Guts -- I discovered Jenni's blog through the Chronicles of Crohnies page on facebook. I find myself completely drawn to her blog time after time! Her blog is about taking a humorous spin on her life with Crohn's disease. Those of us living with the disease know how crappy (pun completely intended ;-), and embarrassing it can be. So nice to read about someone who takes charge of her life and turns everything into humor! 
  • New Nostalgia -- I was JUST recommended this blog 2 days ago, and the moment I clicked on her posts I was hooked! "Here you'll find my quest to be present in each moment, learning from yesterday, and simply living each moment in the NEW" She has a variety of different things that she writes about, but what naturally drew me in was the way that she shares her journey with cancer. She writes with a lot of candor that takes a lot of vulnerability to do. 
  • Widow's Voice -- This blog has been so helpful to me on my journey of being a widow. "Seven widowed people; seven days of the week; seven unique perspectives; one goal... to tell other widowed people that they are not alone." The emotions that are expressed by each and every one of these writers is so raw and I tend to connect with each of them on a deep level. 
I hope that you all check out these blogs! Definitely worth a read! =) And again -- THANK YOU Monick for the award!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thankful Thursday

It's been awhile since I've written a "Thankful Thursday" post and so today I figured, why not? Even in the midst of troubles and tribulations there is always something to be thankful for, though often times these things are hard to discover.


My Top 5 Thankful Thursday List

1) I am thankful that William is holding on and is still with us. My good friend Kelly's husband, William, has been on the list for a double lung/liver transplant for a few months now. Yesterday he took a turn for the worse and went unconscious. His Co2 levels and Ph levels were quite off and he was placed on a device to help him breathe (Bi-pap machine) Last night he was able to wake up for a couple of minutes, tell Kelly that he loved her, and then went back out. His ammonia levels are so high that it caused him to slip into a coma. There have been a lot of ups and downs today. I am just so thankful that he is still alive -- he's not out of the woods yet so thoughts and prayers are always appreciated.

2) I am thankful that my friend, James, is currently in surgery getting his lung transplant, and that everything is going great!! James goes to the clinic that Spencer went to and I got to know him when Spence was in the ICU. He was so nice to me, talking to me and reassuring me about everything. It meant the WORLD to me when he came to Spencer's funeral to pay his respects. James's brother, Rex, passed away a few years ago waiting on a double lung/liver transplant -- new lungs for James is a huge deal! God Speed, friend -- you're rocking this!!!

3) Thankful for all of this time I've had to spend with my sister before I move. We've spent nearly every moment together and it's memories that are always being made. I'm really going to miss her when I move, and I know she's already dreading me leaving. Love you Shayna =)

4) Really thankful that I know what I'm going to do for at least the short term! I've decided that I'm going to take a Phlebotomy course starting in August. I really didn't want to be a CNA and I think I would really enjoy Phlebotomy after I learn the ins and outs. Hematology has always interested me and I think this is a great stepping stone for any path that I might decide to take if it's in the medical world.

5) Thankful for the house I have lined up in Ogden for the short term until I find a job and a place to live. I really couldn't be more thankful to Emily and Jesse for offering me their place while they are gone. Things are slowly falling into place!!

So what are YOU thankful for today?

20,000 + views

Wow! I am over 20,000 views on my blog and this post marks 300 and I have 68 followers. When I started this blog I never expected to keep up with posting let alone having so many people show interest in my writing and my life. I am so thankful for all of the support that I received through the blog.

I initially started my blog as an outlet for my frustrations, a place to record events of my life, and a place  to write about the things that make me happy. Never did I think I'd write blogs here and there for the sole support of my friends and family through my trials and Spencer's illness and death. I didn't think that I'd get quite the response that I have.
I never intended my words to touch so many people that I have. Through my story. Spencer's story. Our story. And now my journey on my own. It warms my heart when I receive a message or comment from a stranger saying that I have touched their heart and have inspired them. Through this blog I know without a doubt that I have touched more lives than one without even trying. My favorite quote is this:

"To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friends, thank you so much for sticking with me through thick and thin. You've hung around through my many rants and vents. Through my struggles and the lowest points of my life. You've been here for me through the most important and special moments of my life. Through my successes and triumphs. It's so nice to know that I have an army of people behind me, supporting me through whatever decisions that I might make. 

I very much appreciate those of you who have "followed" my blog through the side bar to the right ---> and those of you who take a few moments to comment on my blogs. I know that I don't often leave replies, but know that I read and love every single comment that I receive. I'm trying to get better at my replies!

So to wrap this up -- I just want to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart =)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Spencer that lives on in my Heart


Today I don't cry because I'm sad, angry, or hurt. Today I cry because I am reminded of the incredible man that you were and how proud I am of you and the life that you made for yourself. I am remembering the special place that you held in hundreds, and maybe even thousands, of peoples hearts during your short life here on Earth.
Knowing that you touched so many people and brought joy and inspiration to hundreds of family, friends, and even strangers who read your story online, it is a great honor to be able to say that I knew you, let alone that you chose me to be your wife, caregiver, and biggest supporter. I got a privilege of a lifetime when you to let me into your life, first as a friend and then as a spouse, even though you knew the hundreds of different outcomes that could have transpired both early on in our relationship, and later when you grew to be old. I am so glad that it was me who got to know you, love you, and create bond with you on such a deep and intimate level. I feel like very few people share the bond and love that we had, my sweet Spencer. We were so lucky. So lucky. This kind of love doesn't come around often. It takes two very special individuals to create something to strong. We shared a bond that even to this day remains so incredibly strong when our time shared together was so, so little. Even your vows said to me that we have "a love so strong that even the hand of death will only part us for a moment." It is a good reminder that even though this time without you feels like forever already, this is truly only a moment without you when compared with an eternity with you.

In that week leading up to your death, when we knew for a fact that it was immanent, I was overwhelmed to the point where I was numbed with the hundreds of people who sent cards to you, e-mails to you, messages to you, and people who came to the hospital to show their support and love to you. These simple acts of kindness and devotion that were shown to you live on and touch me to this day; 7 months later. They remind me of your sweet spirit and the joy and inspiration that you infected people with through your story, your kind words, your handshake, and even just your smile.

I find a Christmas card and remember the ongoing efforts of friends, family, and strangers to shower us with as many care packages and cards to make our Christmas season filled with love and joy. 

I find a link to event that I made on Facebook to gather hundreds of prayer warriors for you. I'm reminded of the many people who prayed and fasted for you to help keep you comfortable and spent hours praying that a miracle would happen to keep you alive and well so that we could spend our first Christmas together as husband and wife. 

I find the wall decorations that friends took the time to make and send to you so that your hospital room could be bright and cheery to lift your mood. 

I find "thinking of you" cards and sympathy cards sent to both you and I from my close family members and my close friends who may have not even met you. They touch me so deeply that I cannot help but shed tears because even though they only met you once or twice,  or even not at all, the impact that you clearly made on them in the message that they tried to convey is beyond something that I can even fathom. 

And then I find what I have called the "Spencer Book". The book with over 180 messages sent to you through your hospital e-mail that the staff was so kind to print out and give to me in a little book. These messages were sent in the short time of only 3 days. I think there are 188 messages in all, to be exact and this doesn't even include the personal e-mails, voicemails, texts, cards, and messages that I alone received and was asked to read to you. I read as many of these messages as I possibly could to you -- when you were asleep and awake. It was important to me and to others that you heard all of them. 
And it's the messages such as this that touch me the most:

The messages from strangers who live thousands of miles away yet heard of your story and were touched
((Inset picture of message from guy from a different country))

Or messages from dear friends who got to know you and were touched by the man that you were:
((Insert picture of message from Josh Mogren))

These are only two out of 188 of those messages. Each one of them reads similar, yet different from the other.

I read these and wonder how on Earth I got so lucky to be married to such an amazing man as you. Spencer you made me so proud, in more ways than one.

I am proud of your determination to fight through your many, many struggles and adversities that you faced every single day.
I am proud of your strength to support me even when you were sick.
I am proud of the way you held on as long as you possibly could
I am proud of the man that you grew to be
I am proud of you for the husband that you were to me
I am proud of the way you let no one judge you
I am proud of the way that you stood up for yourself, always
I am proud of the compassion that you gave to others
I am proud of you putting everyone else before yourself because of their importance to you -- you always let them know they were loved
I am proud of you for not giving up on me and standing by my side; of being my biggest supporter
I am proud of you for not giving up on YOU even though there were so many times that you wanted to

Spence, I'm just proud. Period. And I hope that you were proud of me, and you continue to be proud of the journey that I travel and all of the choices that I have made and will continue to make. If it's one that that I want to do for YOU -- it is to make you proud. 

I am sure that there are many variations of peoples accounts of the kind of person you were…. but this is the Spencer that lives on in my heart. <3 This is the Spencer that I will never, ever forget.

Missing you and loving you every second of every day my Pea, my love, my confidant, and my hero. 

-Your NikkiPea

Monday, July 16, 2012

My List for Some Accountability!

I am officially able to count down the number of days until I leave for Utah. Yup! I finally set an official moving* date
[*Moving, meaning me going out to Utah and finding a job and place to live. After that happens my parents will officially move all of my belongings there]
After some discussion with my mom about when I want to leave, per her request, I'm leaving AFTER this weekend and will be headed out Monday, July 23rd. She wanted work to keep her busy the day that I leave so she won't be so sad and worried. As I've mentioned before, she really doesn't want me to leave!
I am happy and very relieved to say that I have a temporary house all lined up in Ogden thanks to some amazing friends that I met while Spencer was in ICU. I'll be taking the necessities down there and kind of roughing it for how ever long it takes to get on track! I plan to send in some job applications the middle to end of this week and I'm crossing my fingers and praying like mad that I get called for an interview! [If you know of any places hiring in Utah, PLEASE let me know!!!] Once I land a job, which hopefully won't take much longer than a couple of weeks, I will be looking for a place to live. Well probably I will start looking before that, but I'll get serious about it after a job comes through. I'm hoping that tons of places will pop up when I am looking! Need something fairly cheap so I can support myself and pay off my school debt so I can go back to school asap!

I'm pretty excited about all of this! I thought maybe if I announce when I am officially leaving it might seem a bit more real to me. I'm having a hard time getting motivated to pack. My wonderful mother has helped me out a TON so far, but I hope I can do nearly all of it this week since I no longer work.

I am trying not to be naive to the fact that this move and the adjustment period (which could be several weeks to many, many months! Most likely the latter) is going to be rough. Sure it's going to be exciting since I'm actually doing something and continuing on this journey, but there are going to be A LOT of emotions that are going to surface, especially since September is quickly approaching and those memories are going to be re-lived all over again. Trying to prepare myself as much as I can, but a person can only do so much!

Because I know it's going to be rather difficult for me and I really don't want to fall into a depression, I have decided that trying to keep busy for the first few months I'm there will be a good thing for me. The days that I miss Spence most and when I do the most thinking is on days where I don't have much to do. Trying to solve that problem and I'm attempting to give myself a few things to look forward to!

I find that sometimes writing out what I would like to accomplish is a very positive thing for me to do. This time I'm going to make it public so that I have some accountability on the things I want to do. Whether people ask me about them or just a personal thing of wanting to follow up on these events, I think it will be a good push for me to get out of the house and have some fun. Rediscover myself and do the things that I've ALWAYS wanted to do. Some of these things are coming up soon, and others won't happen for awhile -- but I've got to start somewhere! =)

Here is my list, so far. If you know of any happenings, let me know!
1) Walk in the Fafard 5K -- A fundraiser for Camp Kesem will take place on July 28th and they are honoring a facebook friends late husband, Brett Fafard. Brett volunteered hus time at this camp for several years and passed away from cancer. His wife, Laura really reached out to me several times when I was struggling with marrying so young and then again when Spencer was so sick. It's a great cause to walk/run for! This one is actually up in the air since it's the week that I will get to Utah... it just depends. But if anyone wants to join me, I'll be 100% in - PLEASE let me know. It'd be SO much better with a friend!

2) Visit Spencer's Grave -- While down in Provo for the Fafard 5K, (or any other time soon) I want to stop by the Orem cemetery on my way home and visit Spence. It's long overdue! Hopefully it'll be a beautiful day and I can bring a book or something. It's always SO peaceful there. Of course if any of my close friends or in-laws (Merry, Mike, Christine, Kristin?!) who like reminiscing want to come with me, again, you're very much welcome -- I'd appreciate it!

3) Participate in the Dash For Donation 2012 -- A girl whom I know from ASUU received her second kidney transplant 4 months ago and is running in a 5K to promote organ donation on August 11th. I think it would be fun to go to this walk/run and show my support. It's a very short time to train to actually run it, but what the heck. I can always walk ;-)

4) A Capella Stock 2012 -- I am SO excited for this! I went last year all by myself and it is AMAZING and so, so much fun, even though I was by myself. I just bought tickets for this year for the "middle" (blue) section, $20.00. If you can come I'd LOVE you to join me! It's August 25th in Ogden. It's worth it, promise!

5) Train Concert -- I am going to see Train in Concert in September. It'll be my first real concert. I'm pretty excited to be going with my two best friends, Christine and Adam!

6) Going to the Farmers Market with my great friend, Malina! We started this tradition last summer and really enjoyed getting to know each other better and keep each other company. It was a bummer Spencer never got to join us. But I'm excited to keep the tradition alive this year and go every week or so to get some fresh produce.

7) Many game nights with Adam and Christine -- of course! And not only game nights but tons of adventures with Christine =)

8) Going to the gym/pool at least 4 days a week. I hope to get a pass to 24 Hr fitness in Sugarhouse (well it all depends where I live) so that I can use the pool. It's only $20.00 a month!

9) Go to temple square during Christmas time to see the lights for the first time ever. I was always waiting on Spencer to take me, something he always wanted to do, but we were never able to go (dang hospital and illness >.<)

10) Go to Festival Of Trees again which benefits Primary Children's Medical Center... and in all hopes have a tree for Spencer. He ALWAYS gave to PCMC and I would like to honor him with a tree. I'm going to have to look into this but hopefully it can be a reality! I went for the first time last year with Adam and Christine and it was very cool. It was nice to get out of the hospital =) Sad that Spence couldn't come, of course.

11) Have a wonderful birthday. I know it will be my first birthday without Spencer, but I always hear of so many people celebrating their birthdays and having a ton of fun. I've never really had that. My 16th birthday I was literally snowed in. 17th birthday was pretty fun.. but after that I did a whole lot of nothing. My 21st birthday consisted of sitting around my house sad because I just lost Spence. So this year -- I want to do something really memorable and so, so much fun.

That's all I got for now! I hope to add to it frequently and post updates about my adventures! I'm sure much more will come up! Talking and thinking about all that I will get the opportunity to do is so exciting for me and definitely makes me very ready to be out there. But at the same time it's a little hard to think about because I know I'm going to be doing this all without Spencer. If I don't get friends to participate with me, it will be all by myself. So again -- if anyone is interested in joining me on any of these things let me know! I don't have a TON of friends in Utah, so I hope to make lots of new ones along the way to come with me and create new memories! =)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

CF Wives Celebrate

One reason out of many that I love being a part of the CF Wives group on facebook is that we get to share the most exciting moments of each others lives. We just got word that a fellow CF Wive's hubby got his call for a new pair of lungs tonight! This isn't the first time a member of our group has posted news as good as this -- just last month another CF wife was informing us of her husband being called in for his transplant. Recently we all joined another CF wife in her excitement of just marrying the love of her life.

Yes, we do get a lot of down posts and some bad news in the group too -- but these joyous moments truly make up for the bad. We support each other through both thick and thin, in the middle of the night, in the early hours of the morning, for good and for bad. These women have become such an important part of my life. The majority of us have never met, we just know each other through our computer screens and cell phones, but the bond we share with each other is very close to the bond that a family might share.

Nicole and her husband, Nathan, are still waiting to hear if these donor lungs are in perfect condition and that everything is a go. They just got the call so it might be awhile. But just take a moment to imagine the feelings that are going on between them. Excitement that it is finally "go" time; shock that the time is finally here; sadness that someone just lost their life and the family is grieving; being so thankful that this family was so selfless to give the gift of life; fear that this is a MAJOR surgery and they may not see each other again, fear of the unknown; relief that they may no longer have to wait and that he won't get any sicker while waiting. Wow! I went through my own set of extreme emotions when Spencer was battling for his life for 3 months, but I don't think I went through the string of emotions that they are currently going through tonight.

So most of you know the drill!!! Pray for perfect lungs and that this transplant is a GO; the donor family and the life that they just lost; a very successful surgery for Nathan; peace and comfort for Nicole, Nathan's wife, and their family as they wait in the waiting room for the surgery to complete; the surgeons, that they might have steady hands and a clear mind; the entire staff, that they may all work together and make decisions that are in the best interest of Nathan; for Nathan to be at peace as he is wheeled back for surgery; a complete and successful recovery for Nathan.

I do get a little sad when I hear about someone getting the call for their transplant. Just sad because I know that Spencer never got the chance. We came so darned close to the opportunity of living a new life without a problem breathing. We were both SO looking forward to that chance.

But tonight, I am just so thrilled that this couple may now be getting the opportunity of a brand new life. Getting to do things that they never though possible. And getting to do the things that they did before, but now with little to no constraints. How amazing?

I will update more in the morning, or as I get new information, in the comments below!

Ahhhhh the wonderful and magical Gift Of Life. Please think about becoming an organ donor and saving lives!!!   http://donatelife.net/register-now/