Friday, April 29, 2011

Family Calendar

Doctor's appointments, baseball practice, Bible study, birthdays, holidays…it can all be so overwhelming at times. Keeping up with who goes where and when and what time can be downright confusing. In comes the family calendar to save the day(s). I decided to clear off my refrigerator on one side and put a big calendar up. It's really helpful to be able to go to one place and see what is going on and who is going to be where. It alleviates a lot of stress as well as gives us an idea of if we are doing too much (which can be the case sometimes even as hard as we try for it not to be). Do you have a family calendar? Where is it? What style is it?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

“I’m Sorry” and Update

First of all, let me say I'm sorry I haven't blogged in 10 days. It's been craziness around our home lately. Here's an update:

On Wednesday, April 13th, I went to meet with the surgeon who is supposed to remove the mass on my pancreas.*

*Back Story: On Christmas Eve and Day I was feeling yucky. It started with a headache and progressed to stomach pain, especially in my lower right abdomen. Eventually it moved into my right leg. I was so uncomfortable the entire day. I was crying it was so bad. I suffered through the day and attempted to go to bed. I guess I finally got so tired that I fell asleep. Around 1am I woke up in agonizing pain. I went to the bathroom and threw up. I tried to lay down again but I was in so much pain I told Lee I needed to go to the hospital. Of course it had started snowing that night and we had a few inches of snow on the ground, so we had to call an ambulance. They got there quickly and got me to the ER pretty fast since it was the middle of the night and there were no cars on the road.

While I was there, they did a few tests (urine, blood, etc) as well as a CT scan to rule out appendicitis. It turned out that I had an enlarged right ovary (indicative of ovarian cysts) as well as a spot around my pancreas. I didn't have appendicitis. So I followed up with my regular doctor who did blood work and figured out I have hypothyroidism as well as a slightly enlarged liver. These are things that medicine, diet, and exercise can help. She referred me to a radiologist who ran an MRI. The mass was still present and was bigger than the previous scan. Then I went to an upper GI doctor who did a battery of tests and ruled out anything related to my GI tract. Next I had an endoscopy done that basically was a stepping stone to getting an endoscopic ultrasound and fine needle biopsy done. Well that confirmed that I did have a mass and it needed to be removed.

So, on Wednesday I went to the surgeon thinking he would tell me of this really simple procedure to remove the mass and all would be well and over. That's not how it went. He said that my CEA levels were elevated which means the mass is precancerous, which means that if we don't remove the mass, there is a 30% chance of getting pancreatic cancer down the road. For those of you who don't know, pancreatic is one of (if not the) worst cancers to get. The prognosis is usually pretty bleak with most people dying within 5 years of diagnosis. So that was pretty scary. Then he said, "I'll also have to remove part of your pancreas as well as your spleen." Apparently you can't remove just the mass or just the mass and part of the pancreas. The spleen is connected with lymph nodes to the pancreas so it has to come out.

So I am having the 5 hour surgery on May 12th and will be in the hospital 2-5 days and have a 2-4 week recovery. Not as simple as I thought. Also, there are long term health risks to not having part of your pancreas (diabetes) and a spleen (blood issues, blood clot issues, and pneumonia) so I will have to monitor myself pretty well for sickness and diabetes symptoms as well as get immunizations regularly. It's a lot more than I thought it would be, but I am thankful that at least we found the mass and are getting it out. God is definitely watching over me. If I didn't have those ovarian cysts, we would not have known about the mass until it started causing trouble and/or was cancer (by then it could have been fatal).

I know it is all in God's hands and that He has a plan for everything we go through. To Him be all the glory.

I appreciate prayers as this is pretty overwhelming. I am a little anxious about the actual procedure, but more about the recovery. I have had a ton of surgeries in my life but I still get a little nervous beforehand. I also covet prayers for me to let go of control as I will have to have lots of help again and that is sometimes a real struggle for me. Thanks!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Whose Standards Are You Trying to Meet?

I know when I first became a wife and mother I was completely lost. I had no practice minus some babysitting and being a nanny. I was not a great cook or responsible with money. The one thing I had going for me was that I had a lot of excitement and passion and a willingness to grow and learn. Boy did I try to learn. I bought almost every book on being a great Christian woman, wife, mom, homemaker, and homeschooler. I browsed blogs and Internet sites in hopes of learning all the tricks to doing this just "perfect."

I found so much information, some really good, some really strange (IMO), and some very useless. I had information overload. I would see a woman's blog or read a book and think,

"I've got to be just like her (or what that book says)."

The thing was I wasn't that woman or the woman that book described. I was Ashley.

I remember one book in particular saying, "Every wife should wear a house dress and apron and fix their hair and makeup and look beautiful and smell great when their husband gets home." Not that I am opposed to dresses (I try to wear one to church on Sundays) or looking nice (I do that on Sundays and date nights LOL). I just don't have that desire to wake up and spend hours plucking, blow drying, curling, straightening, applying makeup, and picking out perfect dresses to wear each day. I also don't wear aprons that much (probably because I don't worry about getting my sweat clothes dirty).

I also remember thinking, "I have to make perfect elaborate meals everyday and keep a perfectly immaculate home all the time." The funny thing is my husband could care less about a 5 course dinner (he would only eat 2 of them). He's a meat and potatoes and dessert kind of guy. If I served a salad and/or soup course, he would say, "Where's the real food?" LOL! I figured out that a simply prepared meal with decently healthy ingredients was good enough. It took me a few years, but after awhile I created a list of tried-and-true recipes that suited all of our tastes, my time constraints, and our budget. As far as an immaculate home goes, once you have a couple of kids, you can forget about that. LOL! I have to have things organized because I am that way so I do like to have a place for everything and eventually have things go back to that place, but having a picture-perfect home just isn't going to happen.

I say all of this to say, "Whose standards are you trying to meet?" Are you trying to be like June Cleaver or Martha Stewart or that lady at church who "seems to" have it all together? Are you trying to be perfect? Are you trying to be someone you are not? Then,


Stop before you drive yourself and everyone else around you crazy. Looking to be like someone else will only lead to disappointment. You have your life, your spouse, your kids (or no kids), and your circumstances. Do what works for you. Be the person God created you to be and don't compare yourself to others.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Best Hamburger I’ve Ever Had

Like I said before, today is my husband's 30th birthday and tonight we had a party for him. His favorite food is hamburgers, so I tried to find a great recipe. I scored big. Here's the recipe.

Best Hamburger I've Ever Had

1lb ground chuck (80/20)
1 egg
1 Tbsp Montreal Steak seasoning
2 Tbsp A1 sauce
Black pepper
Garlic powder

Just double or triple depending on what you need.

I made 5oz patties (roughly 3 patties per pound of meat).

Mix with your hands pretty good.

Form into equal sized patties (I weighed them to make sure they were the same exact size).

Patty them out pressing them in the middle so they don't plump and cook more evenly.

Cook about 4 minutes per side.



I am so sorry I haven't blogged this week. It's been crazy with my husband's 30th birthday party tonight, my sister getting ready to have her 3rd baby and moving out of the state, and all the other life things that just happen. I am flat exhausted after throwing my husband's party tonight, but I'll be back in blogging world this week. Love you guys!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Great Blog I Found

This is an excellent article on a great blog I found about how to maintain your home. I've written many times about cleaning schedules and routines, and some of this I have covered before, but it is beautifully written and I like how she breaks it down. I am thinking of implementing some of her ideas. I hope it helps you as well.