IF Pumpkin Smackdown

Hi there BB and FD, here’s my submission! Ok, so I’ve been super duper pre-occupied “putting out fires” and getting Mr. MLACS off to work (internationally)–it’s been one helluva week so far. But, since I had to make a trip to a nearby city to take Mr. MLACS to the airport, I decided to contact one of my BFF’s and see if she was available to hang out for a bit while I was in town, and as it turned out…she replied “yes, we’re carving pumpkins today”. Um, how awesome is that?! So I got to hang out and catch up with my good friend and her son AND carve a pumpkin for IF Pumpkin Smackdown. Only thing was, I wasn’t prepared with any brilliant ideas, really I only had ONE idea, and that was to carve a “witch pumpkin”, because I’m sure you guys are all familiar with the many nicknames we have for our period (menses) such as “aunt flow” or “the witch”, right?? So I figured I’d make a witch pumpkin, so it might be considered relevant to our cause. But, um, I don’t think it looks very special. It doesn’t suck, but it’s not a head-turner either. I have two more pumpkins to carve before trick-or-treaters come knocking tomorrow night, so hopefully I’ll get inspired and come up with something.

Notice the green hue of this pumpkin--it's witch-esque, don't you think?

Notice the green hue of this pumpkin–it’s witch-esque, don’t you think?


She creeps up on you every month! Oh, the horror!

She creeps up on you every month! Oh, the horror!

Sunshine Award(s) Nomination(s)

sunshine-award
I’d like to thank Jesselyn at Every Little Things Gonna Be Alright and Alexis at My Silver Lining for both nominating me for a Sunshine Award–this really shows how sweet and positive they both are, looking for the good in what I write, because I actually b*tch and moan a lot, but they are nice ladies and they wanted to make me feel good (even though I don’t deserve it) so thank you ladies! Sorry I didn’t respond promptly Jesselyn, but hey, since I took so damn long now I have TWO nominations! Woohoo!

Jesselyn’s Questions:

  • What is your deepest fear? How bout “most irrational fear”. I actually acquired horrible anxiety about plane flights 3 years ago, and every time I fly I pray “please God, just let me live to have a baby, and then after that if I have to die in a plane crash then please make sure my baby isn’t with me when that happens.” I don’t fly without a fistful of Valium.
  • If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it? Terribly ordinary stuff, like paying off my student loans and buying my dream home. But also, I am vain and I would set aside a chunk for cosmetic procedures–not in the interest of perfection, but in the interest of preservation.
  • Why do you blog? Because you guys listen to me and we relate to each other and I learn stuff and I share stuff that might help other people. Basically: Sharing & Caring.
  • If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be? My Mom (who passed away 6/2/09 of Breast/Lung Cancer)
  • When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A rock star! I loved to sing and I used to be pretty good.
  • What is a meal from childhood that you crave? My tastes have totally changed, but for sentimental reasons I’d say mickey mouse pancakes with chocolate chips would be my #1 choice.
  • Name 3 of your weirdest quirks. Um…uh…well, I like to give people nicknames using their names (I want to give my kids names that can be shortened to cool nicknames) and I have always done this since I was a kid. Erm…I’m very flexible: I can do the “American” splits on both sides and (thanks to Bikram yoga) I did once touch my forehead to my toes (I’m totally out-of-practice now though). And…I guess…I bite my nails when I’m nervous? That’s the best I got off the top of my head.
  • What quality of your hero do you wish you had? Invincibility, duh.
  • What is the one thing that can always make you smile when you feel really sad? My cat.
  • What kind of candy describes you and why? Chocolate. Cuz e’rybody loves it (and if you don’t then you suck and nobody cares what you think).

Alexis’ Questions:

1) Who or what inspires you? People helping others when no one is watching and they get nothing out of it (except the satisfaction of being a good human being).

2) What did you want to be when you grew up? How close did you get? I wanted to be a pop star or actress (famous). I’ve had a few moments in the limelight but I’m not famous. However, I also loved to write and I wanted to be an author. I’m dipping my proverbial “toe in the water” with this blog, but I intend to be published someday. And I’ve always wanted to be a Mom…

3) Best vacation and dream vacation (if you haven’t already been)? I would say this trip I took to Puerto Rico when I was 20 years old. It was a trip with my ‘psychology of ecology’ class (score! college credit + parents were happy to pay for it)….it was just incredible…hiking through the rainforest…going down a natural water slide…drinking underage…oh–and we were there for the turn of the millennium! I had always wanted to travel and it was my first taste of adventure. Dream vacation? Well, I want to visit a friend’s family who lives in Tanzania–I want to travel the whole wide world, but I’ve always felt like Africa was “it” for me and my friends there are very dear to my heart.

4) Favorite food you get at the fair? (Yeah I’m country :)  and love going to fairs for the food!) Hmmm…well, I’d have to say those warm sugary spiced nuts–I got some of those at the Pumpkin Festival this year–they give me “warm fuzzies”.

5) What’s your Silver Lining for the day? Today? Well, I just had a really healthy bowel movement, and for me, that can really make-or-break my day, so hooray for healthy poop!

6) Favoriate TV show?? I have begun to watch an embarrassing amount of television in the last year (being sick and alone a lot). I am a fan of the BRAVO network, particularly the RHW series (particularly Atlanta and the OC). I watch a lotta HGTV (Property Brothers, how cute are they?!) and the Food Network (Pioneer Woman–I’m rather devastated that they axed Paula Deen).

7) What US state or world capital would you like to visit? I would like to visit a lot of them. I haven’t been to Washington, D.C. so that is on the list.

8) What would you do if you could go back to being 18 years old? Appreciate my Mother more. I was such a punkass.

9) All time favorite movie and why?? Tough one. It’s almost unfair, really. I’ll give you several:

“The Neverending Story” (the original): because I had a wild imagination and loved to read as a kid, and I love the characters.

“Steel Magnolias” (the original): because I watched it with my Mom and sister; because it’s funny and sad and all the actresses are phenomenal.

“Little Women”: because I love period films; because I identify with Jo March; because it reminds me of my childhood; because my Mother loved it.

“The Brave Little Toaster”: because I’ve watched it like a million times, and my Mom always loved it too.

Anything Disney: because they remind me of my childhood and the music is always top-notch.

10) Favorite dessert? I freaking LOVE dessert! I LOVE to bake. There’s not just one. But I will say, that I am looking forward to making some (gluten-free) bread pudding with a bourbon sauce sometime soon. I made some (gluten-free) pumpkin chocolate chip muffins this weekend and they are to die for. I used this Breads from Anna mix and Ghirardelli chocolate chips (1 cup semi-sweet and one cup milk chocolate)–believe me these chips are far superior to other brands and you can find them in any grocery store in the US.

Ok, that’s it for the questions. Thank you ladies again for the nominations. I do not know of 10 bloggers who have not been nominated (if I’ve neglected anyone then I apologize), but here’s some ladies who definitely do deserve a Sunshine Award:

1. Merlion in Holland

2. A Bride’s Blog

3. Bruised Banana, Sad Bunny

4. Steph Mignon (an experienced blogger who probly already has this award, but she is my sunshine IRL, and the reason I started to blog in the first place)

 

And here are my questions for you ladies (stolen from my good friend Calm Persistence):
1. Why do you Blog?
2. What are you most proud of?
3. What is one thing you want to learn how to do?
4. If you could have any super power, what would it be?
5. What is your best piece of advice?
6. If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?
7. What is your favorite season? Why?
8. What is your all time favorite meal?
9. What is your favorite song?
10. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

Lately, all the people I talk to in the medical profession (mostly nurses), treat me as though I have never researched a disease I’ve had for 10 years. I don’t know what sort of idiots they’re used to dealing with, but I know a helluva lot more than they do–both from a scholarly perspective AND from a personal perspective. For example, one haughty NICU nurse said she had been diagnosed with UC a year ago. I asked what meds she took and she couldn’t even name them, but recognized them when I rattled off the different brands/types. She said “well it doesn’t matter because they’re all the same”. I didn’t bother getting into a pissing match with her, but she couldn’t be more wrong. The meds we discussed were all variations of the same ingredient (mesalamine) but they are NOT biologically equivalent–which is to say, that they are not all broken down, absorbed, and utilized the same in our bodies. Prime example: I was thrilled when I recently switched from taking 6 Delzicol capsules, to 3 Asacol HD tablets (twice daily). But the extended release meds I tried previously (Lialda) never worked as well for me, and unfortunately neither did Asacol HD, so I switched back to Delzicol this week and have seen improvement. This nurse also uses Canasa suppositories (as do I) but she crinkled her nose when I told her I’m using Remicade. Which brings me to…

ALL my doctors (particularly my GI’s) tell me to use Remicade while ttc and throughout pregnancy. ALL the boards I’ve consulted where women posted stories of their pregnancies while on Remicade and their children’s health afterwards have been nothing but positive. ALL the infusion nurses I’ve had have told me stories of Remicade patients who delivered healthy babies…

But on the flip side, all the nurses (both acquaintances and my infusion nurses) have this nervous, worried/confused look on their faces when I say that I intend to use Remicade during my pregnancy. What gives?! None of them have offered me a “cautionary tale” and in fact each of them can recall at least one Remicade patient that had a normal pregnancy.

Yes, I do read medical journals (not just google), and I’m not blindly following my doctors’ suggestions. Unfortunately (fortunately) researchers aren’t allowed to use pregnant women like lab rats, so there’s just not a lot of data available to support/refute the use of Remicade during pregnancy. So I have to base my decisions on the data I have, the severity of my disease, the experiences of other women who’ve used Remicade in pregnancy and my doctors (who are confident in prescribing Remicade to pregnant women).

So why are these nurses making me feel like I don’t know what I’m doing? Like I’m doing something wrong? I’m ok with every other ignorant “crunchy mama” telling me to quit the drugs, eat paleo and do yoga–and I appreciate everybody’s (judgement) concern, but honestly I expected nurses to be more (educated) understanding.

When I went in for my Remicade infusion today and told “Nurse Carol” that we are ttc, she said “but you’ll quit when you’re pregnant” and without hesitation I said “No”! And proceeded to fill her in on the details of my decision. I could tell she was a bit embarrassed about opening her big mouth–and she should be.

I admit that I’m pretty pushy with my friends, but even then I don’t advocate things if I can’t back my claims up with data and examples. I certainly don’t push my (medical) opinions on strangers! And knowing what a big decision Remicade is and that doctors (are supposed to) only advocate it when less invasive treatments have failed…knowing that a woman with an overactive immune system would rather risk the unknown and take Remicade, rather than lament the demise of her baby because her own (broken) body attacked her pregnancy…me personally, I would wish her well and keep my f*ing mouth shut. But that’s just me.

My Uterus is Beautimous

So, I woke Mr. MLACS up at the crack of dawn today in anticipation of my HSG. I actually decided to take the suggested 800mg of Ibuprofen, for a couple reasons:

1. My friend couldn’t find her Naproxen and I didn’t want to take narcotics.

2. Almost all of you ladies who replied said it wasn’t terribly painful, which gave me the courage to save my narcotics for other, more festive, occasions (hate to waste ’em).

I am ridiculously comfortable in hospitals (one of the many reasons I’ve decided to become a nurse) and I really like the hospital where I had the HSG. It’s the same hospital where I was born, but of course it’s been renovated and outfitted with the latest technology–and according to Mr. MLACS the cafeteria proudly serves Starbucks coffee, which lends major credibility to the entire establishment IMHO. I’m almost looking forward to coming back next week for my Remicade infusion–the gift shop was closed today but it looks like a treasure trove! Anybody else appreciate hospital gift shops? Am I the only one with this fetish?

Anyways, the procedure was quick and extremely uncomfortable, but the discomfort was brief. And being the geek that I am, I was giddy to see the x-rays of my pelvis (lower spine and hips) and my dye-filled uterus. Drum roll….it was totally “normal”. Both fallopian tubes were open and spilling. Tah dah! I can now cross off “uterine abnormalities” from my list of potential issues.

I am totally grateful for the good news; despite the anxiety I had leading up to the procedure, it was totally worth it.

Have a great weekend ladies! XO

PUMPKIN EVERYTHING! (“pregpocalypse” and lets chat about my upcoming HSG)

An abundance of pumpkins!

An abundance of pumpkins!

It’s fall season, and I’m livin’ in the heartland (the Midwest) where harvest time is cause for great celebration in the form of festivals. There are many “mascots” for fall season: scarecrows, corn husks, apples, and of course PUMPKINS.
I’ve been joyfully indulging in all things PUMPKIN, including the pumpkin spice latte (PSL), the pumpkin scone, pumpkin muffin, pumpkin bread, pumpkin bagel…I’m still due for some pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheesecake (which I will probly make for Thanksgiving dinner).
I made some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for Mr. MLACS today (and yes, I tested a couple of them–they’re marvelous). In case it’s not obvious, I haven’t been sticking to a gluten-free diet…I’m actually on a see-food diet: I see food and I eat it! Lol, totally corny joke to trivialize the fact that I need to clean up my act. Start juicing again. Stay off the gluten for more than 5 days in a row. Hit the gym. Etc. They say the first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have a problem. Step one, check! I’ll get back to you on step two.

I quasi-tricked Mr. MLACS into going to a fall festival with me this weekend…a PUMPKIN festival! It’s always been my favorite festival. It takes place in a sleepy riverside town with a population of 106 people. It’s full of food: pork burgers, hot dogs, funnel cakes, corn-on-a-stick, kettle corn, fried oreos, homemade ice cream, etc.
And there’s lots of crafts, plus entertainment for the kiddos (maze of hay-bales, face painting, pony rides, etc.) and an adorable PUMPKIN patch, with pun’kins of all shapes and sizes, where you can purchase a blazing orange gourd the size of a tractor wheel (and then drag it through a corn field back to your car as your prize for sitting in traffic for an hour behind all the thousands of would-be festival go’ers making the annual pilgrimage into a town that only has one road).

I didn’t warn Mr. MLACS that we would be inching along in traffic for an hour just to get to this PUMPKIN-studded event, but he chuckled at me good-naturedly. When we got there the first thing I spotted was a booth selling cowhide rugs–I’ve been wanting a cowhide rug since we moved to the Southwest 2 years ago–and the lady was selling them for $150. Sweet. It’ll go well with the horned cow skull I snagged in Taos (that I refuse to part with).

The second thing I noticed was ALL the pregnant women. Fall festivals are great for families, so it should be no surprise. But geez. Instead of the zombie apocalypse it was like “pregpocalypse”.

I didn’t mention anything to Mr. MLACS, but I know that he noticed it too. I pointed a couple things out, like “that’s the kind of baby carrier I want, the kind that wraps” or “they brought the wrong kind of stroller; we’ll have an all-terrain stroller that we can use on dirt and gravel”. We stopped at a big pumpkin patch and I took a couple pictures…amongst all the mommies who were taking pictures of their little ones climbing all over the giant pumpkins…

Mr. MLACS sensed that I am desperately hoping to walk around this festival next year with our baby in the baby carrier, taking pictures next to the giant pumpkins. But I shed no tears. I didn’t even wince. I did however avoid a couple girls I went to high school with (we are ‘friends’ on facebook) because I didn’t want to say “hi” to them and meet their husband and 2.5 adorable children. Nope, I hissed at Mr. MLACS to cross to the other side of the street.

So, the PUMPKIN festival was a treat–but also a reminder that we are SO ready for our own little pun’kin (my Mom used to call me Pun’kin).

In other news, I scheduled my HSG for this Friday October 18th. E’rybody says they hurt. A LOT.

For those of you that have had HSG’s, what should I expect? How should I prepare myself? Should I have someone drive me and pick me up? Will I be laying down for the rest of the day? Will I still feel like crap on Saturday as well? I have access to Naproxen and I plan to take it before the procedure, and I have Vicodin if I should need it afterwards, but what worked for you? Thanks in advance for your input–I owe each of you a PSL. XOXO

Homemade-Pumpkin-Latte4