Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The Fast's

Ok - So, I've been meaning to do this for AGES and haven't ever got around to it, so a couple of days ago I finally bit the bullet and did it.
It was well overdue, it's been almost a year since I was Mary Friel... so, now you can catch up with us over at "The Fast's". I know, really original, but I couldn't really come up with anything. I had things going round my head like "life in the Fast lane"... "life the Fast way" but it all seemed to cheesy... I will probably change it at a later date anyway.
So, click here to visit the new blog... it's not very exciting yet, but I will work on it this Spring!

Hope you're all keeping well...

(if the hyperlink doesn't work the URL is You can copy and paste that into the address bar on your internet browser)

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

A Tribute to Paula Ann Fast

Here is a photographic tribute to Paula Fast, Cory's Grandmother. We showed this video at her funeral on Monday 15th March 2010.
She was a wonderful lady and had such an impact on her family, her friends and the whole community.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Irish Blessing

I wish you not a path devoid of clouds,
Nor a life on a bed of roses,

Not that you might never need regret,

Nor that you should never feel pain.

No, that is not my wish for you.

My wish for you is this:

That you might be brave in times of trial,

When others lay crosses upon your shoulders.

When mountains must be climbed and chasms are to be crossed;

When hope scarce can shine through.

That every gift God gave you might grow along with you.
And let you give the gift of joy to all who care for you.

That you may always have a friend who is worthy of that name.
Whom you can trust, and who helps you in times of sadness.

Who will defy the storms of daily life at your side.

One more wish I have for you.

That in every hour of joy and pain you may feel God close to you.

This is my wish for you and for all who care for you.

This is my hope for you now and forever.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

RIP Paula

This past week has been hard as we watched Cory's grandmother struggle with her health and become more weak as the days and hours passed by.

Yesterday she passed away at 5pm (exactly) peacefully with loved ones surrounding her. Her husband of more than 61 years was holding her hand. He leant down and kissed her and she gave a big smile before taking her final breath.

She was a strong and much loved woman by so many people, she will be sorely missed.

Rest in Peace dear Paula.

(This photo is of Paula with her husband Marvin and her three sons, Danny, Doug and Denis)

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Still struggling

So, it seems like we are not as far down 'regulation road' as perhaps we thought. I am still not feeling right and we are rapidly getting to the point where we are becoming more and more nervous about exactly how long it is going to take before we settle on the right medication.

The Doctor tested my bloods for FT4 and for TSH. My FT4 was still registering in the 'normal' range at 1.4, but for my age the goal is to be closer to the higher end of that range (which is 1.85). My TSH still showed as suppressed. WEIRD.

I knew something was wrong, I could feel it, and I have read so many books and studies about thyroid disease recently and I just had a feeling that what I was feeling seemed to fit with my FT3 levels being low. I mentioned this to the doctor, and I'm not really sure if he agreed, but since I'm the one who knows my body the best he ordered the bloods again - FT3, FT4 and TSH.

I didn't realize he'd put a rush on them, and yesterday afternoon the office called to say that my FT3 levels were indeed low and that they would like me to start taking the cytomel medication as soon as possible.

It was good news and bad, but mostly good. Good because I now knew I wasn't going crazy - I knew my body well enough to know what felt wrong and was knowledgeable about the different thyroid processed and hormones to be able to work out that it was the T3 causing my problems.
Bad because it meant some more trial & error on a new medication and we really don't know how it's going to effect my body, or if it's going to mean starting back on trying to work out dosage and changing pills every couple weeks again.

I guess we'll see.

We are also being referred to see a specialist, a different one this time. They have referred me to OSHU which is one of the very best hospitals in the area and they have a very good reputation with Endocrine disorders. I'm not sure how long that will take, and perhaps before I get the appointment I will already be feeling better with the new meds... we can but hope?!?!

Monday, 22 February 2010

A very special man

So, as I was planning on getting ready to go for my blood test this morning I checked my email. It was probably a bad idea, but since I use an iPhone I guess it's better that I saw the message before I left the house rather than all the way there with a 40 minute drive to get home.

It's a message I've been dreading receiving for some time now. It was the news of the death of a man that was so dear to me, and a person who was such an instrumental part of me becoming a Christian in my mid-teens.

My good friend had emailed to let me know the sad news. I was inconsolable.

As I thought of Ron, and memories of him came running through my head I looked down at my hand. His name was written there as a reminder from yesterday - a note I'd written myself as I sat in church listening to Charlie's talk.

Yesterday as I was at church our pastor was talking about people who went before us in our journey with Christ and saw something in us that we didn't see ourselves. They were the people who had laid the foundation for our Christian life, and they would always be a part of something special. It conjured up images and thoughts of Ron for me. He was a wonderful man, and he was such an encouragement to me always, even when I didn't believe in myself. He could always see the potential underneath and always encouraged me to be the woman God wanted me to be. I often think of him and am so glad I got to visit with him last March when he was in hospital.

As I was there at church I had the feeling that I wanted to make sure that Ron knew that he was such a big part of my Christian life and who I am today, and I wanted to write a letter to tell him all of this and thank him for everything.

It's ironic (and sad) to me that this morning I would hear the terrible news of his passing, and so that letter will remain unsent. This dear man meant so much to me and to so many people.

He touched the lives of everyone he met. He was a great encourager, a wonderful Christian example and he also gave the biggest biggest hugs!

Rest in peace dear Ron. You will be sorely missed.

Such a productive & fun weekend!

So - This weekend we had grand plans... Usually when we have grand plans for a weekend I'm disappointed on Sunday night when I realise I didn't get as much done as I'd hoped. This weekend was the exception!

On Friday we went to visit Cory's Grandmother at the rest home. It was her birthday, so we wanted to spend some time with her. We went for dinner with Cory's parents after and came back to see Paula before heading home. Right before we left I asked her if she's had a terrible birthday and she replied "It could have been worse!". Her response sparked in me - she was going through so much and times were very hard for her but she still managed to give me a positive response.

We headed home & hit the hay early - we had a big day planned.

First thing Saturday morning we went to the farm to pick up the 'little tractor'. It would save us (well, mainly Cory) a lot of backache rotertilling the garden with the little tiller, and our neighbours John & Janet had a truck load of compost delivered so we'd promised to help them distribute it around their garden. It would save their backs from having to move it all by wheelbarrow - and would save them a ton of time too!

So, we got busy, rotertilling the 'lawn' and moving compost... we were busy all day - even the tractor was tired by the time we were done.

We got together with J&J for dinner and by 8.15pm all of us were yawning and aching. It was time for us to get an early night.

Sunday morning came quickly, and I was on 'duty' for the projection. We headed out the door, stopped at Dutch Bros for a much needed morning kick and got started at Church. The service was really good - the music was sounding great and the choice of songs was fab. The sermon as always was clear and hit home...

After we got wrapped up at church we needed to go grab a few bits & bobs around town, and we grabbed a quick bite to eat too. We couldn't find the fescue seed we had wanted to plant the lawn. Bummer... we'd have to think this one through a little better.

We worked on the garden for a couple more hours, planted a whole new flower bed and Cory smoothed out the area he had rotertilled the day before. It was still looking like we had mud for a yard, but it was a step closer!

We dropped the tractor back home and went to the farm to help Cory's Mom with a few computer and iPhone things. We had dinner there and about 8.30pm hit the road for home. Another night getting home later than we'd hoped... Oh well!

This morning I'm meant to head to Dallas for a blood test to check my thyroid levels. I didn't sleep well and feel drained... I should drink a ton of water before I hit the road, hopefully that will help them get some blood this time... Ewwww

Here's some pics of the garden progress:

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Hummm.... What's for dinner?

So, with the kitchen freshly organised and looking great, yesterday I cooked a kick-ass dinner. Yes, I know that seems pretty big headed or over confident or whatever, but hey, it was great.

It took me most of the day to cook it too...

I started by making hubbies favourite cookies and then put the baby back ribs in the oven about 11/11.30am ish. I cooked those babies alllllll day.

With the last hour to go I got together a tray prepped for "Mary's roasties" and added them to the oven! YUM - It smelled delish! I served it with beans and it was good. It was Cory's choice of dinner, since it was his 'special evening'. I was happy with his choice for din-dins....


Now I'm trying to figure out what to make for dinner tonight. The trouble with having a delicious dinner like that last night is how to follow it up the next day. Hummm....

I'm thinking chicken, perhaps the chicken pasta bake I throw together that comes out pretty good....

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Fat Tuesday... Shrove Tuesday... Pancake Day!

YAY - So, it seems that today is definitely a day to celebrate! :) When I was a child I used to absolutely love Pancake Day. Mum would make us pancakes after dinner and we would be able to have whatever toppings we wanted. It was always fun to try and toss the pancake in the pan too!
Hey, who am I kidding... I still love pancake day as an adult. I don't think I ever let one pass without honouring it with the perfectly thin & delicious discs of goodness. I even hosted a pancake party or two in my day, I'll have you know. Tossing dozens upon dozens of the things in various colours and sizes for whoever wanted to show up!

So, today will be no different. I am about to go and make the batter so it can sit in the fridge for the rest of the day to 'settle'. It always makes them taste so much better.

The rest of my day is dedicated to trying to get finished on the organisation I started in the kitchen. I will say, it looks really good. We added some shelving beside the cooker for food storage, and then also added some more shelving above the (new) dishwasher. The one thing this kitchen never really had was ample storage, and it got even worse last spring when we took out the pantry closet to put the fridge in there. I love that the fridge is away and not taking up all the room in the kitchen, but that deep floor to ceiling storage was very handy!

Anyway... What else can I tell you?

Hummmm - This weekend was awesome. It started when Cory got off work early on Friday and we headed up to Portland for an early Valentines date. We did some shopping (craft shopping for me) and hit IKEA too for some storage jars and such... I had a plan for the kitchen!

After that we went out for a yummy dinner and we had a great evening. It was so nice to just have a chilled relaxed evening.

On Saturday we did a quick clean up around the house and cut Cory's hair, and then we headed to Dallas to visit Cory's Grandmother in the residential home. She's been there a few weeks now and we try and see her as much as possible, but it's hard since it's such a long drive from here.
We hadn't intended being gone all day, but it happened anyway. We ended up going to the farm to cut a quick load of wood and had dinner with Cory's parents and niece Julia. After that we headed home, via Cory's Grampa's place to pick up some old family photo albums.

We headed over to our neighbours for a glass of wine when we got home and ended up being there til after midnight... we're not used to staying up late these days, so we dragged ourselves home and hit the hay!

After Church on Sunday we decided to get cracking on the house... That plan of mine was still bubbling away and I was excited to see if it would work. Cory started putting up the shelving brackets and I started spring cleaning - OH BOY! What a task!

After lunch we heard a little knock on the door, it was John and Andy... they needed some help (and a big truck) to relocate their Japanese Maple tree.

What a task - it took three men and a truck a total of about 2.5 hours to move that thing. Not to mention the 3 hours John had put into digging around it the weekend before. At least it's moved now and it's in the most perfect spot. I just hope it survives after the boys cut quite a bit off the tap roots... it's so pretty.

Anyway, that's our weekend in a nutshell... after moving the tree we got back to the spring clean on our kitchen and dining room.... I was a tired girl by the time I was done!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

4 things I'm glad for...

So, today I had an appointment with my regular (and the most wonderful in all the world) dentist, Dr Brian just so they could check on how the 'flipper' fits and see how I'm doing.

He said that the doctor who performed the surgery on me last week called him right after my surgery to tell him exactly what he had done and how it had gone. He explained that he was really shocked at the size of the void up in my face that had bone loss, and that amazingly there was an area between my nose and mouth that had 'absorbed' through which basically meant my nose and mouth were interconnected. They shouldn't be. That's wrong, it's bad, it's weird and it's a pain in the neck to fix - literally!

So, he explained that the area where he packed the bone into went down past the second knuckle on his pointer finger. He had only expected it to go as far as the first knuckle. He also said that he'd taken some pictures and x-rays of me while I was 'open', so I'm kind of interested to see those. He said there was 'light' through there when you look up into the skull of my face... there shouldn't be light!

So basically, I did end up having plastic surgery / a face lift - it's the same procedure of having a 'nose job' except that they went in through my mouth instead of cutting the skin outside my mouth...
ewwwww. I prefer to call it maxillofacial surgery, I'm not really ready to join the face lift brigade just yet! ;)


I am glad for a few things.
1 - I am glad that this surgery is behind me, and hopefully it is successfull & the bone heals awesomely and I can continue with the rest of my treatment plan.
2 - I am glad I didn't know exactly what the surgery would involve beforehand. I think I would have completely freaked out if I would have known I was having my face peeled open that far.
3 - I am so very glad that I have an awesome team of dental professionals looking after me. I couldn't find a better group. They are wonderful!
4 - I am thankful for my wonderful husband, Cory who has taken great care of me and supported me through all of this - I LOVE YOU!

Friday, 5 February 2010

Why the surgery?

A couple of you have wondered and asked "why" I had this surgery and I guess I haven't really explained it too well to some of you before now. I'll quickly try to explain the general gist.

It isn't related to the Graves Disease that we have been dealing with - thankfully. It is a completely separate issue. The graves disease
finally "tested" in the required range the last blood test I had about two or three weeks ago. The Doctor dealing with that side of my health said it shows that my thyroid was completely obliterated by the radiation instead of the desired 1/4 of it being destroyed. He suggests on that side of things I should start getting to feeling better in the summer or late spring now... We are sure hoping he's right!

The surgery and all the dental stuff was only affected by the graves disease in the sense that the local anesthesia wouldn't work while I was hyperthyroid because I had the metabolism of a hummingbird, so I could feel all the procedures we did in the earlier stages. The other problem was that I wasn't physically healthy enough to withstand the surgery they needed to do for a while, so we had to wait a little longer than would have been ideal.

The cracked roots to three of my upper frontal teeth actually happened last summer, completely by accident. I was playing with our niece and she headbutted me full on in the face. It's not her fault at all, it could have been anyone... Anyway, long story short - it caused the roots of those teeth to completely shatter (Fast's have hard heads apparently and I'd definitely have to agree). There was a huge CRACK noise and it hurt like I can't explain but the teeth didn't fall out so we didn't realise the extent of the problem. A few weeks later when it still hurt and a bump was forming over the teeth I went to the dentist to have it checked, and with the x-ray he could see a little of what we were facing.

After several opinions from and visits to different specialists we came up with a plan that would be a long term solution which we have been working on now for a few months, little steps (and sometimes bigger steps) at a time.

Anyway, I hope that helps explain it a little better.... And no, I didn't have a face lift or a nose job (although if you saw me today, you'd probably have to wonder) and since it wasn't a side effect on the Graves Disease we don't have to worry about it causing further random problems to my body. The GD is getting under control and yesterday we have taken a very large step in getting on track with the dental/facial situation too!

Thanks to all of you for your friendship, support and prayers, it means a lot to both of us!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Is it a bird? A plane? A face lift?

Well, the time came for my maxillofacial surgery... I am now so glad that Cory and I had a wonderful time in Hawaii before my surgery. We had originally planned to have the surgery 4 days before we travelled. I would have been miserable.

Hawaii was exactly what we needed. Some time to relax & recuperate and to just get away from everything. The warm weather felt great too!

So, my surgery was scheduled for Monday morning (passed). I felt just a little nervous on Sunday evening as I went to bed, but I hardly slept. My mind was spinning. On Monday morning I woke feeling quite scared. Deep down I knew everything would be OK, and had a lot of confidence in the surgeon, but it was such a big step for me and it represented something so huge it was honestly quite daunting. I knew there was a lot of people out there thinking and praying for me, so that gave me real comfort as I got ready to face the day.

I took my prophylactic antibiotics (4 of them and they were huge) an hour before surgery and just tried to keep busy so I wouldn't be thinking and mulling everything over in my mind. Cory took me to the appointment and he was so good at keeping me from turning into a complete mess.

The nurses were great - they could tell I was nervous (my guess was by the involuntarily stream of tears running down my face that I couldn't get to stop) and they made arrangements that the doctor would put the IV in himself! The IV was a big concern to me after the last experience I had getting blood drawn for my routine thyroid test - the Dr couldn't get any blood.
Thankfully, I have to tell you that he was great. Yes, getting the IV in still hurt, but he was in the vein with no problem and he drew the 6 vials of blood without jiggling it around too much. I remember saying to him as he taped it down to my arm "humm, I'll have to come here for all the IV's I ever need in the future". (Yes, I have a warped sense of humour!)

After a little more prep work and after I'd asked him to promise he'd be able to wake me up after (again, weird humour) and after kissing Cory bye they put the anesthesia through my IV (which I don't even remember) and got to work. The next thing I remember I was waking up and Cory was there to take me home. Someone had put an ice pack on my face and I was completely busting for the 'loo'. So after some bizarre sign language to Cory (since I was so swollen I couldn't talk) he finally realised what I wanted and asked the nurse if it would be OK.

Cory had also talked to Dr Johnson before I came round. He told Cory that they had extracted the two final teeth (I had already had two taken out a few weeks ago) but also that the amount of the bone loss in the area was significantly more than they had expected. It was to the full extent of what "bottle bone" could do, and they would have probably taken a graft from my leg if they'd have known, but since they'd planned and prepared the bottle bone with my blood they went ahead.

I slept for an hour or so at home after the surgery and had a fairly relaxed afternoon and evening. I even managed to eat a little soup and Jell-O last night, so we're getting there.

There is quite a fair bit of swelling and bruising which we hadn't anticipated. I thought I'd have a little swelling around the mouth area for an hour or so, but instead my whole face is yucky - It looks like I had a face lift or went a round or two with Mike Tyson!

They didn't do the soft bone graft because the procedure was already extensive enough. They did have to put in a titanium membrane to hold the bone in place and protect it if I accidentally rubbed my nose/face a little too hard so the bone has time to settle. This will be removed in 4 weeks.

Saturday, 30 January 2010


Huge Congratulations are in order to my brother-in-law Erik and his new fiancé Krista!

They got engaged this morning and are planning towards a wedding in April!

(The photo is one I took back in December... it's the most recent one I have.)

Up close and personal with turtles...

We just love the beaches close by to where our apartment was located - they are stunning!

Cory with 'flat island' behind him.
Cory checking out the coral at Lanakai.

A short drive from our apartment was a 'secret' little beach, and I'm not going to spill it's location here either. It was told to us by a 'local' after I asked him where the best spot to see turtles would be. He said that spot wouldn't disappoint us. Well, it didn't.
It was amazing.
The experience of a lifetime.

We went to the little beach, and the tide was about half way out. We had our snorkeling gear with us, but we wanted to see what was there before we kitted up. Cory waded out into the shallow water first, and after just a few moments he came quickly back to me and said he'd seen a turtle. He brought me back out to where he had seen it, and we were only up to mid-calf in water. After a short moment I saw one, then another, and another... and so they kept coming along. We must have seen about 20-30 turtles in that short amount of time. It was amazing. At one point there was three turtles about a foot (at most 1.5 feet) from us. Just chillin, eating some lunch. They clearly knew we were there, and at one point I exclaimed too loudly "Cory, look!" and the big guy backed off for a few minutes. But they weren't too nervous about us if we kept quiet and still and didn't advance on them.

I will never forget that moment.

I think turtles are wonderful and amazing creatures and I am excited for the opportunity to see them again sometime.

I will definitely return to our 'secret' beach to watch them again if the opportunity comes up.
There's three turtles together in this last photo - I wish you could see them better.
I only had my little point & shoot camera with me at the time and it didn't do as good a job of capturing the turtles in the shallow water as my other camera would have.

USS Arizona

One of the many memorable things we did while we were there (and probably the most 'tourist' thing also) was to go to the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. It was quite the experience...

We arrived in the morning, hoping to avoid the long queues that are apparently fairly common - since it's Hawaii's 'most visited' tourist attraction.

We got tickets for the first session and we had a little time to spare before hand. We walked around a little bit seeing the sights and walking through the museum. It was crazy to read about all the battleships that were lost in action, and it really hit home as I saw the list of names of people "ON ETERNAL PATROL".

On one of the information boards it told of a captain who was above deck on a submarine when they started to take fire. If the sub didn't 'dive' the whole crew would die and the submarine would be destroyed, but there was not enough time for him and a couple of others to get below deck. Regardless, he gave the order to dive. The crew followed his order and took the sub below the surface, to the loss of the captain and the crew above deck. The rest of the crew and the submarine were saved, because of the bravery of that man. I kept reading similar stories of bravery and it was apparent to me that so many of those 'lost at sea' were brave, brave men and it is only right that there should be such a memorial to them.

We listened to a short talk from a survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor and also watched a video made up of original footage of the attack. It was quite sobering to watch and realise the scale of the attack.

After that, we took a little boat ride out to the Arizona Memorial which is directly above where the USS ARIZONA lays.

The shipwreck is considered an active military cemetery and is a National Historic Landmark. 1,177 of her crewmembers went down with her, and they rest there still.

It's amazing to see the 3rd gun turret still there, and the bouys that mark the size of the Arizona. You can also see and smell the oil that still seeps out of the battleship - often the oil is referred to as the "tears of the Arizona".

Inside the 'shrine' room each name is engraved on the marble wall. As you look up at the list and start reading the names, you start to realise that each and every one of those names represents a life. A life cut short by war. It also represents a void that was left in the life of others that can never be replaced.

No matter what your nationality or background might be, the Arizona memorial pulls at your heartstrings and makes you wonder about the 'price' of war.All the names engraved on the marble wall in the shrine room.
The 3rd gun turret
The Arizona Memorial with the marker to it's right. There is a similar marker for each of the battleships that was destroyed that day.

A taste of paradise...

Cory and I had the most amazing trip to Hawaii. We both totally needed a break from 'everything' and it was wonderful to get away... To take time to relax and recuperate.

We really lucked out with the location too. We stayed in a beautiful little town that not frequented by too many tourists and we really enjoyed that. We got a good feel of what we called 'real Hawaii'. Our apartment was just a short walk to the beach and we were spoilt. It is ranked as one of the top 10 beaches in the world year after year - and with good reason. It's beautiful.

The next beach down was just amazing too - again, another one that is ranked as the top 10 beaches of the world repeatedly.

We travelled around the whole island of O'ahu and every time we came back to Kailua we said to each other "I like our beach better".

The first morning we were there we both were still on Oregon time and woke up before sunrise. So we quickly got ready and walked down to the beach. It was beautiful.

We walked the length of the beach as we watched the sunrise. I think it might be on my list for the most stunning mornings I've seen.

Short hair again...

So, it seems that I really had no choice... my hair was getting so scraggly from the Graves Disease and the radiation treatment, and it's still falling out in what I call "mousefulls". Basically, every time I have a shower there's a ball of hair the size of a mouse (a big one) or more that falls out.

So, I decided that I was tired of my hair looking like a mess and I would have to get it cut up short.

I went just below the ear lobe, fairly plain and simple, just a little bob. It looks ok, but it's hard for me to get used to. Probably because I didn't really 'want' it cut, but I felt like I had to.

I don't have any pics as yet - but I'm sure there will be some soon...

Umm, yeah.... that's about it...

Over and out!

OK, so I thought I'd come back and add a photo of the shorter hair. Here it is... This was taken in Hawaii....

Monday, 18 January 2010

Yep - it's Monday again...

Yep, another Monday.
I can hardly believe it.
It's crazy!
It's the 18th January already...
Time is slipping away from me quicker than I'd like to admit. It's already way into 2010 and I feel like time is flying past and sometimes life is leaving me behind...





Anyway, last week I was scheduled to have the maxillofacial surgery on Thursday, but due to a big mix-up with scheduling we ended up changing the appointment. It seems like all these things worked out for a reason, and even if we don't really know what the full reason is, I'm sure there is a purpose for it. It's only a 2 week delay, so hopefully that shouldn't have too big of an impact on the great scheme of things.

This past weekend we had great plans to get the house in order and get everything ready for our trip... well, that didn't quite happen. Cory came home from work with a head cold, and that really made him feel just sluggish and lethargic. We did a little bit of shopping on Saturday afternoon and then went over to a friends house in the evening for din dins and a birthday party. Sunday we just chilled after church and went to our neighbours house for a little bit in the afternoon.

Of course, since we share everything in this house, I got the cold too... except, I'm a couple of days behind. Today I feel like crap - I really don't have the energy to do all that much, my head feels foggy and my sinuses and nose are having a right royal party to themselves.

I'm trying to both take it easy and relax and I'm also trying to get enough stuff done so we're not having a last minute panic getting ready to leave.

Hummm.... I'm going to nip downstairs, change laundry over and then take a nap while the next load washes and drys...

Ooooh, and I should add that we're totally into the TV show called Dexter right now too. It's a little weird (OK, it's really weird), but once you get past that it's really a good show! If you haven't seen it, give it a try... it might take a few episodes before you can really 'get into it'. It took me about 3-4 before I knew if I liked it or not.

Anyway, laundry and napping awaits!

Over & out...

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Update from Dr's visit

Last week I went to the Doctors to have a blood test... OMG it was a chore. They couldn't get blood... Firstly, they went into the left arm, as usual... it 'sprayed' into the syringe, but nothing... and as he moved the needle around in my arm he punctured through the other side of the vein. Whoops!

So, then he moved over to the right arm. I'm not the biggest fan of having blood drawn from my right arm, and I don't know why, but I have good veins there and so he gave a try there. So, he put the needle in, and completely missed the vein this time... I don't know what happened, but as he poked around and tried to find it he couldn't get a thing! OUCH!

To be completely honest, I don't think he knew what to do. He said this has never happened to him before, and he has taken my bloods before without any trouble...

He put me into the little room where I had my ECG taken before and asked me to drink some water and wait there. He would have the other guy, Dr John, do my bloods... I was getting nervous by now. I had gotten over my fear of needles back in the summer when I started having all the blood tests and stuff. I found the lab at DFM was great and I hadn't had any problems there... until now.

I sat there and drank as much water as I possibly could (to keep me from worrying, and also to hydrate me, in case that was the problem) and I hoped they wouldn't have to use a butterfly needle.

After about a half hour, maybe more Mike came and got me and said Dr John was going to take my bloods. He had a feel of my veins and said there shouldn't have been a problem - I still had good veins!

As I'm sitting there he gets the butterfly needle out - OH NO! My heart flipped, I hated those. They were sore and made me bruise badly... and regardless of what "they" say, they are not the easiest or least painful way to take blood...

I told him I didn't like the butterfly needles because I always had trouble with them, and so he used the smallest needle possible. He had Mike hold the receiver tube end and he felt around my right arm. I could tell he was going to insert lower down the arm from usual, in the forearm!

OUCH! The needle went in, and yes, it bloody hurt! It went deep and it was sharp as heck. He drew the blood slowly... a deep dark red blood. He said it looked a good healthy colour and that there shouldn't have been a problem.

He put some cotton on my arm, told me my results would be back by Friday and let me leave!

Man, I was hurting. I felt like a pin cushion... before I'd even gone round to the lab guys I'd had my HepA booster by Michelle too... I wanted something to eat and I wanted to be home.

My arm hurt to move it, it hurt to drive... so I clicked into cruise control and headed back to Mac.

Within about an hour the bruise was horrific. By the evening it had gotten worse again, and was getting bigger by the morning! I will never believe anyone who tells me the butterfly needle doesn't hurt and doesn't bruise! It does both!

Anyway, a couple of days later we went to get the results... we were hoping for something good. I'd been having a LOT of hair loss over the last couple of weeks and my energy levels were falling in the afternoon again.

Surprise, surprise, my T4 levels tested in the 'normal' range for the first time ever. I was super shocked, esp since I wasn't feeling "back to normal" (whatever normal is). My Dr is really good, he knows he's not treating the numbers, but this was the first hurdle. To get me back in the range, and then we could start aiming for feeling better.

Over the last few months my levels have looked like this on paper:
Up til now I'd been told that I should be feeling better by Easter... now he reckons it might be the 'summer'... I just hope it's soon... I could really do with a break on this Graves Disease. This is the first time I wouldn't be increasing my Synthroid after a blood test.

The Doctor also told me that considering the level of Synthroid it has taken to drag me back into the 'normal' range it is expected that my thyroid has been completely obliterated. Not a partial like expected, but that the whole thing is dust now! Nice thought to leave you with eh?!?!?!

Mark's whirlwind trip to Oregon! (with pics)

I was extremely excited to have Mark visiting with us. Cory hadn't met Mark yet, so I was excited for that too... I was determined that he would have a fun trip and that we would cram as much into the few days he was here as possible... Oh boy! We sure crammed in a lot!

I didn't really know if I was going to be able to cope with being "on the go" all the time, but I was sure going to give it my best shot!

On Thursday, after the big ordeal getting here we decided to have an easy night. Cory went to work when we got back to Mac and Mark and I just took it easy. In the evening we had dinner a few drinks and chilled out.

On Friday we had a birthday party to go to at a friends house, so we didn't do too much during the day. I showed Mark around McMinnville and we went to a few shops. We dragged him along to my Dr's appointment too (I'll post about that separately) and then came home and got ready for the party. As I was waxing and scraping my snowboard the "boys" started on the drinks... Oh boy! Then we headed to Dave & Heathers place... Heather was turning the BIG 30!

We had a really fun evening, and although we bailed before 10.15pm and before bowling we were beat. Even Mark was ready to hit the hay (even though he didn't want to admit it). He'd had at least 11 shots of varying sizes and concoctions, plus about 6 beers... Ewwwww. No wonder he fell asleep on the sofa! Cory tried to wake him, but there was no budging him... So, we left the light on to his room and hoped he would find his way there when he got cold or uncomfortable.

He did!

In the morning we got up and started getting things ready for the trip to Mt Hood! Mark was a little dizzy, so was trying to get re-hydrated, and Cory cooked a yummy breakfast to keep us going til our late lunch in Sandy.

With the truck loaded, we hit the road!

Snowboarding was such a lot of fun! I didn't really have enough energy or stamina to do as much as I had wanted to, but I still had a blast. At the end I had to sit out in the café and let the boys do the last few runs by themselves. They were having fun, and I didn't want to overdo it and turn to mush for the rest of Mark's vacation. Mark did really well on the snowboard for it only being his second time ever... I realised that I am not as much of a daredevil as I used to be and that I would much rather take things in my stride!

When the "boys" came back to me after their last run they were both laughing so hard. It took a few mins and a few attempts to get the story out of them Apparently Mark had gotten tired and the last run had really stretched him. He did several awesome wipe-outs, including one really hard face plant, and one somersault come cartwheel where he landed hard and his board was upright in the snow! Mark was a little sore, but they'd had fun... and best of all, there was no serious injuries!

We left the mountain at 8pm and were home a little after 10 - that was good going!

On Sunday we got up and going again - this time we headed west to the beach! We started at Pacific City, one of my very favourite beaches. On the road to PC we stopped at Irish Road... We always give a little chuckle as we pass by, but this time we jumped out so Mark & I could have our photo taken!

At PC we climbed up to the punchbowl and then the boys decided to climb up to the top of the sand dune! There was no way I would be able to do that, esp after snowboarding the day before... I decided to walk back down and let them do it themselves! They had fun, and ran the whole way down the dune!

We walked back to the Pelican and grabbed some drinks and onion rings to warm us up... then we headed to Lincoln City, and to the outlet malls!

Man, there was some good deals at the outlet malls... GAP had some crazy sales, and then on top of that there was an additional 40% off the lowest ticketed price! I grabbed a few tank tops... each for less than $2! Cory and Mark both grabbed some awesome deals on jeans, and Mark got some shirts too ... with the exchange rate he got a superb bargain!

After that we were starting to slow down and get tired, so we headed back to Mac. We grabbed some pizza's on the way and went round to Dave & Heather's for a few, then back home and hit the sack again!

Monday and Tuesday in the daytime were fairly quiet. Mark and I just chilled around here, did some shopping and took it easy. On Monday afternoon we packed our warm rain gear into the truck and went and grabbed Cory from work to head up to the farm! Cory gave Mark a quick lesson on shooting a shotgun - he did really well! We threw some skeets (video below) and once all the shells were done we jumped on the four-wheelers and headed up into the trails around the farm!

I was on the back of Cory's and Mark had his own four-wheeler, and we went through the grounds and area where Cory grew up. It was such a lot of fun, and it was a nice relaxing evening! I'm pretty sure Mark had a lot of fun too, there was a big smile on his face as he was revving the four-wheeler through little streams and racing across fields! We had some dinner with Cory's parents and then headed back home... it seemed like we had spend the whole time on the go, and a lot of time in the truck!

On Mark's last evening we took it easy... I made spaghetti for dinner and we had that, a few drinks and watched a couple of episodes of Dexter. By 8.30pm we were all considering going to bed, but we managed to wait til 9.30pm... The alarm would be going off soon... real soon!

At 4am the alarm made it's terrible noise and I knew it was time to get up! Ugh!

We got the truck packed and on the road on time and with just a quick stop at Dutch Brothers for a caffeine fix we headed directly to the airport! I was so sad to see Mark go. We thoroughly enjoyed having him here, and the week had gone so quickly.

Thankfully, his flight left Portland without delay, and the connecting flight also left Newark on time... the flight home had no glitches! I was glad for that!

Here's the video of Mark skeet shooting...