Monthly Archives: December 2009

Dishwasher Safe

I love my dishwasher.  There’s something really wonderful about loading a big box full of dirty stuff and having it come out clean.   I spent the first 5 years of my marriage in rentals that didn’t have dishwashers.  I hated almost every minute of it.  There’s definitely something novel about this big box for me.  I didn’t grow up in a home with a dishwasher either.  My parents got a microwave, dishwasher, an extra bathroom and 2 extra TV’s when my sister and I went off to college.  Does this make sense to anyone?  

So having a dishwasher is like  having a wife for me ( I loved saying that…lol….but it’s so true and we all know it!).   When we first moved in to our house the dishwasher didn’t work so well.  Nothing got clean.  I tried everything till that next summer we sold it to our neighbor in a garage sale and bought a new one.  Maybe Jeremy read the directions when he installed it or something, but sometime over the next few weeks we realized we had soft water and we needed to add salt.  Amazing how clean those dishes were after that.  What can I say….we were young and stupid, but it sure was an expensive mistake….lol! 

So after dinner and it’s my turn to clean up……oh wait…’s ALWAYS my turn to clean up, unless my dear hubby miraculously offers to do it.  (yes, you do detect some element of bitterness there…lol)  I like to get as much in to my dishwasher as humanly possible.  My sister and I have a theory that in actuality cheaper dishwashers are better at cleaning.  She always lives in these nice new houses with super small…..but expensive dishwashers and they never work.  She has to wash her dishes before putting them in to the dishwasher.  This is so not the point as far as I’m concerned.  I may as well just wash the dishes by hand.  I’m so sorry if you are a double-washer.  I pity you. 

So my big, inexpensive frigidaire gets the job done quite nicely (no, I’m not giving away a dishwasher, nor am I getting paid for this little advertisement, but it does sound that way!  And quite frankly I wish they were paying me for this advertisement.  Maybe I’ll send this to the people at frigidaire?).  

So after dinner I start to pile in the dishes.  I do just what the “green, crunchy” people say and I don’t rinse my dishes.  I just wipe and throw them in.  Then I like to see just how much I can actually fit in to the dishwasher before I attempt to close it.  I’m not kidding you when I tell you this…..if the swirly-doo’s are still spinning, it means I can fit more in.  OK….this is actually my judge of “fullness:”  can the swirly-doo’s actually spin.  If they can, I’m good.  I know there is a correct word for those swirly-doo’s but I really can’t think of it right now so swirly-doo’s will have to do, do, do.  

I also like to see exactly how much I can fit of my household items in to the dishwasher as well.  Just last week I was cleaning my kitchen and noticed how dirty the grill was on my microwave and under my refrigerator.  

Did I tell you that I do NOT scrub.  Not when there is a dishwasher in the house. 

Jeremy attempted to get them to fit and they didn’t.  He gave up WAY to soon.  But do you think I let THAT distract me from my mission…..NO!  I made them fit, and I’m so proud to say they did not break in the process.  I had to wedge it in to a corner in the back, at an angle.  I even took the bottom rack out.  Then I had to hold it in a certain position and then I squeezed my hand in the door and as I carefully pulled my hand out, I slammed the door.  I had to push extra hard, but nothing broke…..and I’m telling you, my trusted little frigidaire box did such a nice job.  No more dust, grime, oil splatter, they were good as new.   White and clean. 

I read an article recently about all the things you could wash with a dishwasher.  I have done most.  I love washing crocs in the dishwasher.  I even washed my sons little potty in the dishwasher……ewwwww.  I know.  But I did it by itself and did high temperature wash.  Beautiful.  Like new.  I have actually considered doing the whole “steamed salmon” in the dishwasher (not with the potty, I promise), but I have heard my dishwasher will smell like salmon for weeks and I just don’t think I can stomach that.   If you have tried Salmon, I would love to hear about it.  And if you’ve cooked brownies in the dishwasher, I’d love to hear about that too.  Maybe my dishwasher would smell like brownies for weeks.  I love it! 

Lately, life has been like a pile of stinky dirty dishes and I’ve been trying to wash them by hand and I can never catch up.  But for me, God is like the ultimate dishwasher.  So trite, I know, but bear with me. 

I can throw as much crud as humanly possible at Him and he is not daunted.  I can stuff as much at Him as humanly possible, wedge it, and look the other way as I slam the door shut and he does not waver.  He only brings clarity.  He can take the dirtiest, filthiest, grease spattered, marshmallow goo’d, burnt cheese crusted dishes and wipe it clean.  He’s seen it all, heard it all, nothing is new to him.  

Read this in light of your own mess and baked on goo: 

 12We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! (1 Corinthians 13:12 TMB)

  I have learned that God isn’t scared by a little goo.  He’s not put off by angry tirades.  He’s not daunted by mountains.  But no matter what has happened in my life, whether it be cancer, job loss, job frustration, sin in my life…..whatever.  I just pile it in, close the door, and when I open my heart to God, listen to what He has to say, follow His leading in my life, He brings nothing but clarity.  I am so glad for the day I entered into this mysterious and wonderful relationship.  I’m thankful for the clarity He’s brought me daily in whatever circumstances of my life.  He’s SO dishwasher safe! 

You would make my day if you left me comments to tell me what you put in your dishwasher…..and if you know a good brownie recipe for the dishwasher!


Why 2009 Was WAY Better Than 2008

There’s a song out there with lyrics that basically say “I struggle with forward motion.”  And in 2008, that was the story of my life.  Sometimes I felt like I was having out-of-body experiences…..looking at myself from a distance.  Other times I just felt like I was walking around in a daze.  My kids could say something and they would have to call me 3-4 times before I would answer.  Sometimes that still happens and my daughter Charis has taken to clapping her hands so I’ll hear her….and we wonder where her ADHD comes from:)  So this year, 2009, has been a year of rebuilding and moving forward again.  So I thought I’d give you 10 reasons why this year has been so much better than 2008:

10.  Anything would be better than 2008.  I was 36.  I had the worst kind of breast cancer one can get.  Then they found another softball size mass in my other breast.  It was as if my breasts were the main characters in a horror flick.  Stage 4, then stage 3 (whew).  Weaning my precious baby boy, chemo, mastectomies, and radiation.  Frankly, I don’t even like to think about it….ughhhh.  Let’s move on to number 9.

9.  I was brave enough to take a class towards getting into a nursing program.  These kind of steps are really important after cancer in my opinion.  There is a tendency to feeling more fearful and stepping out of comfort zones to try new things are important to rebuilding confidence.  Trying something new is always a good thing.

8.  Boobs.  I have them.  Enough said.

7.  Charis turned 8, Meleah turned 5 and Elijah turned 2.  All of them a celebration of life and I was so happy to be a part of it.

6.  I was offered a job.  It was nice to feel like someone believed in me.  Thanks Pastor Mark and those that were my cheerleaders.  Here was another help towards getting life back to normal after cancer.

5.  20 pounds less of me.  I like there being less of me, and I have my dear plastic surgeon to thank for smoothing things out.

4.  I started running again after a 10 year hiatus.  When I finally ran 2 miles without stopping I was so stink’in proud of myself!

3.  Some good down-time.  A two-week trip to Florida with my kids for some much-needed relaxation and a short trip to Kentucky with my girlfriends which usually involves gabbing, gabbing and more gabbing, which somehow is so therapeutic to my feminine soul.

2.  Getting an A in my class.  What a relief that chemo in fact DID NOT kill off as many brain cells as once thought.  Shoot….I can’t use that excuse with Jeremy anymore!

1.  NO more cancer.  this one is a given.  I know, so boring.  I wish I could be more creative with number one, and heaven only knows how many times you guys have read “no more cancer” but it really does make life much better.  I like being cancer free.

I hope if 2009 was as rotten for you, as 2008 was for me, that 2010 is year of  hope, strength, rebuilding and forward motion.  May you feel God’s presence today and throughout 2010.

Plastic Surgeons and Magic Wands

My plastic surgeon has a magic wand.  It looks like this:

I am totally serious.  He stuck a long thin needle into the side of my hips and back fat, wiggled it around, turned on the vacuum, and now that the swelling has gone down I am flat out (no pun intended here) AMAZED!  Maybe all that pain IS worth it….lol!  I may never have the breasts I once had but I may have the hips of my early 20’s again!  After having three kids I’m quite sure my love-handles would have stayed forever, no matter how much dieting and exercise.  What a nice little Christmas surprise for me:)  My only worry now is that the food I’ve eaten over the past few days will somehow gravitate there in an attempt to survive….lol!  What a bummer that would be if I ate my way back to love-handles.

On the other end, the upper end.  My breasts are healing up well, except for a lump of fluid under my right arm.  I decided to go have it drained right before Christmas with a doctor here locally, but she felt like it would increase my risk of infection so I chose to wait on it.  I’m hopeful it will just absorb into my system.  If not, it may need to be drained eventually.  There is also a possibility it may also get infected.  Ughhh.  I am SO not wanting to have another open wound.

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Merry Christmas

From our family to yours, have a very merry Christmas.

Reflections of Reconstruction, part 2

One very hard lesson I have learned in the process of reconstruction is that plastic surgery is painful.  My chest lost most feeling after the mastectomies so none of the recovery from any of the reconstruction surgeries has been very painful there, but the tummy tuck and the liposuction in my hips have been quite painful.  My dear plastic surgeon does not miss a thing I say.  When I told him I was sure I wanted the DIEP for the tummy tuck….he gave me a REALLY great tummy tuck.  On Monday, before my surgery, he asked if he could lipo the area to the side of my breast and I let him know he could lipo any fat off me he wanted… he did….lol.  I’m not sure he does this because he can, or because he feels sorry for me (and figures I could use the self-image boost), or simply because the extra fat was needed to boost my breast area…..but I think it’s fun that he did it for me whatever the reason.  I have certainly paid for it this week though!  Jeremy and I were laughing today about the moment I said “you can lipo anywhere” to him because the resident was standing behind my doctor and both of us noticed he had a little smirk on his face….and now I know why!  He knew what I was asking for….lol! 

Everything after the surgery was a total blur.  I remember waking up to incredible itching.  I can’t really describe it as pain, just itching all over.  I remember two women running in and out of the recovery area trying to help me and I feel bad because I don’t think I was being very cooperative.  I think I kept asking for Jeremy, my doctor and the anesthesiologist because for some reason I thought one of them could help me?  And then in between that I kept trying to get out of bed.  I don’t know how many times I tried to get out of bed, but I do remember them restraining me at least once.  I don’t think I’m going to allow them to do anything to me again unless they have a bag of Benadryl hooked to my IV…lol!  I don’t want to go through that again.  When some of the itching did subside, I realized one of the really nice women WAS a doctor and that is my first clear memory…..of her looking me right in the eye and saying….”you are having a bad allergic reaction.”  She also added that I am probably really allergic to opiates.  How about that…..note to self….avoid opiates…lol!   I do remember Dr. Dumanian coming to check on me and seeming alarmed…and he doesn’t normally seem alarmed by much of anything.  And I remember thinking how glad I was he was there, but I don’t remember how long he stayed or what he said.  I thought it was funny when they asked me if I wanted to stay the night?  I don’t remember answering them, so I guess they decided it was a good idea. 

And when I woke up in the morning I was greeted by Chase and Foreman from House and I got to show them my scars.  Seriously.  Would someone tell Northwestern that they are not ER, House or Grey’s Anatomy, because I swear the prerequisite for a residency there is that you must be either beautiful or good-looking.  To give them a little bit of the benefit….I will also have to say they’re very nice, there hasn’t been a mean one in the bunch.  The nurses too.  But in my fuzzy haze coming off narcotics I think I asked Jeremy if I was on House….lol.

I don’t want to say too much about how I feel about the work Dr. D did because I want to wait for the tape to fall off and it’s hard to tell.  But so far so good.  Digger is gone.   The shape seems really good, but the right side is still really puffy.  If it’s not swelling then there could be a problem, but I’m pretty certain it’s swelling.  And the huge red marks/bruises from the lipo are starting to go away and the pain is subsiding some…..but now those spots feel very itchy.  I was well enough to go Christmas shopping today and I even made gingerbread cookies with the kids. 

All-in-all, I’m glad it’s over, and I’m ready for Christmas and two fun weeks with my kids.  I don’t want to think about the next surgery for a while.

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Nip/Tuck, Recovery Day 2

I’m in a lot of pain.  I took my pain meds and got back in to bed this morning until it took effect.  Then I could get up and get Charis ready for school.  I’m actually surprised I’m so sore.  Hopefully it will only take a few days to feel better.  I had another itching attack again yesterday.  The Benadryl must have worn off.  So Jeremy and I got to a pharmacy and I got some allergy medicine and so far so good.  Hopefully it doesn’t flare up again today.  I hope they can find something else to use on me for the next surgery….because each surgery seems to get worse as far as the itching goes.  And yes, there will be another surgery.  There will probably be a few more.  Aghhh….the price of beauty.  I’ve had to decide if it’s worth it to me, and I think it is.  I’d like to feel somewhat normal and this is helping me feel that way.  I’m not about being bigger….just normal.

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Clergygirl Itches, Fights Temporary Insanity.

Thanks all who were praying today. I’m doing well. Digger indentation is gone and overall I can see a positive difference. The only hang-up I’ve had is itching. Once again I had an allergic reaction to the anesthesia and as I came out of my groggy slumber it became uncontrollable. The nurse and doctor tried to do as much as they could and were very patient and good to me. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced itching to that extent….all over your body…but let me tell you….the word insanity comes to mind. I become a very different person….a crazed person. I told Jeremy….when it is at it’s worst….I feel like yelling like a crazy lady and grabbing my nurse and begging her to help me. It really is not fun. It has now happened to me three times. After my mastectomies, then reconstruction, and now today. This time it came on quicker and was probably the worst I’ve experienced. I wanted to rip the bandages off and itch everywhere like crazy. I would have invited anyone in the area to itch with me… What a funny picture that would be.  Everyone picking a spot and itching. But it would be downright gross. But Jeremy will scratch for me. What a good hubby he is! So the Benadryl only helped slightly so they got some hydrocortisone cream and we caked it all over. Finally, some relief. They decided then that I should stay the night. Much of the itching is gone thankfully. I’m on some sort of prescription and we rotate the prescription meds with the Benadryl every few hours and it keeps the itching under control, so now I can rest some.

On a good note. Before I went in to surgery Dr. D used his marker to plan out his strategy. On the sides where it pooches a bit under my armpit he suggested lipo’ing the area and asked if it was ok. Is it ok?  Is it ok?  He could do lipo on me anytime, anywhere! I would never not say yes to lipo anywhere but my breasts….lol! So he lipo’d my back fat and the sides of my hips a bit and after a tough cancer journey he gives me perks like this. He is genuinely a very kind man and a great surgeon. I am so grateful to have a surgeon who I really trust and who is helping me feel better about my disfigured body.

And if I sound super chatty and happy in this post, I am….lol.  Thanks to a little magic pill called norco I am feel’in real good….lol!  I’m just hoping I don’t come back and read this and realize how loopy I was.  Because then I get embarrassed by my misspelled words and sentences that don’t make sense….lol!  I have a good excuse:)

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Fixing Me, Take 2

They’re going to wheel me in to th OR soon. Dr. D will be in to meet with me. Good-bye digger! Hello to symmetry! I’ll update later today.



We’ve been celebrating advent in our home.  I made and advent calendar with Meleah a few weeks ago and we’ve been reading through the birth of Jesus in the Bible together as a family.  The kids love reading the Bible with us and then running to find the little surprise I’ve left in the calendar for them.

Lately, as we prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth I have been reminded of the passage from Matthew 1 when the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and said this: 

“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”

I think sometimes we don’t realize the true ramifications of what these three small words mean for us…..God….with….us.  Not “God near us,” or “God around us” but God WITH us.  He was genuinely God and absolutely human all at the same time. 

He experienced everything that we have experienced.  He experienced a messy gooey birth.  He nursed.  He had to be potty trained.  He went through puberty, He probably had acne….lol!  He knew what it was like to feel rejection, He knew what it was like to stub His toe, He knew what it was like to love and to experience sorrow.  He knew what it was like to face death and to be wrongly accused.  He knew great joy, happiness and laughter.  He also knew great pain, great sadness, and great suffering. 

For me this Christmas I am remembering that Christ’s entrance in to this world is as important as His death.  It says He didn’t just die for us, but He also came to be WITH us as well. 

Emmanuel……you are WITH me.   Amen.

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Surgery Next Week

I’m headed back to the great castle in the city also known as Northwestern.  I’m scheduled for a little nip tuck surgery on Monday, although I’m still not sure what time my surgery is scheduled?  I’m a tad bit nervous.  I’m partially nervous because of the weather.  My kids are in a Christmas program on Sunday night, so Jeremy and I planned to leave early Monday morning for the surgery.  But lake effect snow might make it interesting.  We’re hunkered down tonight because it’s been snowing steadily for the afternoon and the local forecast is severe weather for the next 24 hours.  Unfortunately the path we take for our three-hour trip to Northwestern is probably one of the worst as far as Lake effect snow and it gets miserable over on the southern part of Michigan near Lake Michigan.

Dr. D is planning to fill in my digger indentation and work on my flaps a bit as well as even out the sides a bit.  I know you can’t even begin to figure that one out, but I won’t send out pictures so you’ll just have to use your imaginations….lol!  Hopefully it will help things look a little better.  I think there is a good possibility I might actually be smaller after this surgery.  I’m having a hard time imagining how I wouldn’t be smaller since he’s going to be pulling the flap skin in a bit.  We’ll see.  This is all in preparation for the small implants later this spring.

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