Feb 29, 2008

Swim Meets, Finally A Teenager & Other Recent Happenings

So Thursday I went to swim and the pool was set up in 50 meter laps instead of the usual set up. Since the A&M swim team is in Austin this week at the UT Swim Center for the Big 12 Championships, the A&M Swim Center is hosting a high school swim meet. I was a little nervous at first, more like excited fear than scared fear. I wasn't sure if I could make it down and back. But once I started I realized not only was I able to, but I liked it a lot. I think I will need 50 meter laps if I want to increase my endurance and the benefits from the sport. This means I'll have to find a 50 meter pool in Austin once I graduate. I wonder how much that's going to cost. Well, it's all for a good cause, my health!

At a stroke clinic I went to a few weeks ago I found out the usual set up in the pool is actually 25 yards not 25 meters, so now I have to refigure what I've been swimming. 25 yards equals 22.86 meters. I thought the usual set up was 25 meters which is 27.35 yards. It would be so much easier if they left the pool at 50 meters. Yesterday I swam 1200 meters which is 0.75 of a mile. I can't wait to get to one mile exactly. That would be 1610 meters. I was hoping to add an additional day a week of swimming, but I don't know if I can get to Big Stacy Pool at 6:00 a.m. I've heard it's packed for lap swimming. And I'm sure the lap swimmers there are in way better shape than I am. I really don't like circling with 4 other fast swimmers. This may push me to a gym membership. Like I said, got to find a 50 meter indoor pool.

Roger did a really cool photo shoot Thursday also. I am hoping he'll blog about it. You think this will make him feel pressured to do it? :) He got to photograph a surgery, in the operating room. He had to scrub in and everything. I'll let him give you the details, but I think it's way cool! How often do you get to do that. He's really had some great opportunities there despite all the pains.

Roger pointed out to me that my new vehicle has made it on Consumer Reports' best models for 2008. I watched the video for my car, Hyundai Santa Fe, and I agree with everything said. I love my car! And I've almost put 5000 miles on it. And you know what's the greatest part about that? I still don't have to have the oil changed for 2000 more miles. Isn't that awesome?! It only needs an oil change every 7000 miles. Unbelievable. Today is my mom's birthday. Yes, February 29th is her birthday which means she is actually 14. She's finally a teenager! I hope she has a great birthday today. I'm flying to Denver this morning to spend time with my friend Janine. I can't wait! One last cold weather trip for my sweaters, wool jacket and winter boots.

Feb 28, 2008

Celebrity Look Alikes

Okay, Stephanie made me do this. I have been told many times I look like Elaine from Seinfeld (usually when my hair is big and pulled up part way). Kind of funny she showed up here too. I think it's my nose that matches the most. Except Carrie Underwood. No resemblance at all if you ask me. And I have no idea who Bryce Howard is. If you've never heard of the person, are they still a celebrity? Check it out for yourself. If you do, let me know the results. I'd love to see who some of you look like. Roger & the Rock?!

Feb 27, 2008

Almost home?

Just a quick update on my goings on here at Walter Reed. I understand from my Case Manager that my case has been reviewed by the Army Physical Disability Agency and I can only assume that they approved it and it is now moving on to what we call Transportation and Transition. They let my Company here know that I’m going home and then my Platoon Sargeant and I sit down to see how much leave I have and want to use. This is kinda how it works… they are required to give me ten business days to out-process here and then twenty calendar days of transitional leave plus any leave I have accrued. All this begins when orders are published. We have to sit down, decide that the above is pretty much what I want to do, submit it to Transportation and Transition and they will cut the order in a few days. Example: Say my name shows up on the list sometime next week. We’ll go over the paperwork and submit it. They publish an order saying that all this starts on March 10th. I understand that means I’ll have ten business days of out-processing and that my leave begins March 22nd. Right now I have 50 days of leave plus 20 days of transitional leave… that’s 70 days of leave (woah!) So that means I’d be on leave through May 30th. The whole time I will be paid, and also receive my housing allowance. I could even choose to go back to work at my civilian job through that time. But I’ve been away for four years – so I have no idea what I’ll be doing. Maybe a nice vacation with Holly. May 31st would be my first day medically retired. We’ll see how it goes.

Other than just waiting for that, I’m just chillin’. I helped Amanda and Buddy run errands yesterday and we took some portraits of little Xavier for announcements. When Holly was here my portable hard drive took a fall while it was running from a coffee table and now it refuses to run. I think I’m going to send it off to have the data recovered. That really stinks. What else is there?.. Winter has really sucked here. We’ve only gotten two decent snows and a lot of rain. That’s about it for now.

Here’s an update from Holly on her dad:
Harvey is still having digestive issues. The ulcer medication had to be approved by insurance and was taking so long to get approved and prescribed that Dr. Bonds prescribed an over the counter medication instead so it would get into his system since it's the same thing as the prescription medication. His legs started swelling again after activity this week. He had a follow-up appointment with Dr. Bonds Thursday and he's going to start the Warfarin again in a few weeks. He really needs the ulcer medication to start healing him so his digestive issues will calm down.

Feb 22, 2008

Little Black Dress

Yes, I am a typical female and have already started thinking about what I’m going to wear for graduation. You know how they say all women should have a little black dress that you look fabulous in so in the event something comes up last minute, you have a tried and true dress you can throw on and go. Well, I have a little black dress for dressier functions that I love and purchased on sale last year but haven’t had a reason to wear yet. When I began to think about just what the heck I wanted to wear on graduation, under that lovely, figure flattering graduation gown no doubt, I thought, oh, I can finally wear that little black dress with my killer black pumps and I won’t have to buy anything. Then I started to remember that little black dress was loose on me. Not a bad thing, except I lost ten pounds last semester. When the weather got cooler and I started to wear jeans, none of mine fit and I couldn't figure out why. I eventually weighed myself there was the answer. I couldn't believe ten pounds would make that big of a difference. Now I have been swimming regularly for almost two months (with the plan to continue for the rest of my life) and was kind of hoping to lose ten more pounds by the end of this semester. If it's already loose on me, it's going to be huge on me by May. And if you know me even a little, I don’t like to hide my figure. So now I will not only have to get a new little black dress (more shopping, darn), but I need to hurry up and wear this little black dress before it’s too big. Roger needs to hurry up and get home so he can take me out. That or my girlfriends need to take me out somewhere nice so I can wear it. (Hint, hint.) I’ll lose weight to fit into a dress, but I’m not going to gain weight. Thank goodness I have a back-up for graduation now.

Feb 18, 2008

Baby Bear Is Here!

Amanda's due date was February 16th. Although most of us didn't think she'd make it to that, especially after contractions began last Wednesday, I figured Baby Bear would come while I was here in DC sometime. I was really hoping to meet Baby Bear before I left because if I didn't, I don't know how long it would be before I did since I'm flying home to Texas this afternoon and this may be my last visit to DC. But we got a text message about 7:00 o'clock this morning that after five hours of labor Xavier Allen Staats was born at 4:48 a.m. He's 8 lbs, 4 oz, 20 inches long and had a full head of hair. Not surprised by the full head of hair, if you know Papa Staats. Mama Staats and Baby Bear are both doing great. And we're on our way to meet him before I head to the airport. Check out their blog for updates and pictures soon.

Feb 17, 2008

My Dad's Home

My dad is home today. He was moved yesterday from ICU to a regular room and they began medicating him for the ulcers. Early this morning his doctors checked his stats and said he was good enough to go home. They made it home by noon after all the paperwork and checking out. He was prescribed medicine for the ulcers and will take it for two months. His appetite has returned and he said he's feeling great and has more energy than he's had in a long time. But he's going to take it easy for a while though. I would feel great too if I was given four units of blood and three units of plasma. Roger said he's got the blood of seven people in him. He also said his legs weren't swollen and were actually the same size. Dr. Price, checking on him while Dr. Bonds was out, said my dad's blood was too thin and she did not think he needed to be on Warfarin anymore. She told him not to take any for two weeks and to have a follow up with Dr. Bonds and she would let him know what she thought about him being on Warfarin. So thank you for your prayers. My dad is doing well. Hopefully after the ulcer medication begins to heal him, he can finally start gaining some weight. He needs to gain as much as he can.

As for my weekend in DC, I got here Friday afternoon and Roger & I went to lunch at a quaint Indian restaurant we never got a chance to try when we lived here. It was delicious. Then as I thought we were going to head straight over to Walter Reed, Roger told me we were going to go check something out and he turned into the circle drive of Hotel Palomar in Rosslyn. I was shocked. He reserved a spa suite for the whole weekend. It's wonderful. Hotel Palomar is a 4 star, luxury, boutique hotel owned by the Kimpton company. It's very eclectic and I love the decor and art. Our room is a spa suite meaning it has a jacuzzi tub and an elliptical machine in the room. No, we have not used the elliptical machine. But we have used the jacuzzi tub. It also has spa products, luxurious linens and two soft robes in cheetah and zebra print. The service is great and we are really enjoying our time together. It's so nice to not be at Walter Reed. We can sleep in late and really rest. Roger's not going to want to go back to Walter Reed. And it's so close to all the places we love in our old stomping grounds. We had dinner Friday night at Hard Times (Texas themed chili parlor), dim sum for lunch Saturday at China Garden with friends Mike & April and a surprise dinner for Roger's birthday with a bunch of our old friends arranged by Amanda & Buddy at Costa Verde (Peruvian). That was a lot of fun. It was so nice to hang out with so many people we love. Today we had lunch with more friends at Silver Diner after a great message from Derek at church. I'm so glad we went to so many of our favorite places and got to go to Grace since this is probably going to be my last visit to DC. I also got my hair cut by Azziza yesterday afternoon at her new salon, L'Azur. I'm not looking forward to finding a new hair stylist in Austin, but I'm glad to see she is doing so well. She gave me the color information for my highlights so I can give that to the next stylist at any Aveda salon I go to in Austin.

Well, we just finished dinner and we're heading back to the jacuzzi tub which is so big it's like a mini pool. I fly home tomorrow afternoon. This has been a great weekend and I'm glad our last weekend visit while Roger is here in DC has been so relaxing and special. Hopefully Roger will be home in a month. I can't wait!

Feb 16, 2008

Update On My Dad

Sorry I didn't get this update on my dad out yesterday. We weren't able to get internet access until today. My dad was admitted into ICU Thursday night. The CT scan showed no tears, so a gastrointerologist was called in. While he's been in the hospital, he has given 4 units of blood and 3 units of plasma. They decided they wanted to probe my dad's stomach in order to check it. His gastrointerologist, Dr. Ragupathi, did the probe yesterday afternoon. And they found 6 ulcers in my dad's stomach. So that's why he's been losing so much blood and probably attributing to all his gastrointestinal issues. Dr. Ragupathi gave my dad a lecture because he was supposed to go back to see him last year after his colonscopy, but he didn't. So my dad has to go see him now. Can I say, I told you so.

Feb 14, 2008

Praise And Prayer Request

After class was finished today, I called my mom to tell her what I made on my test since I wasn't going to be stopping by their house tonight but going straight home since I'm flying to DC early in the morning. But before I could tell her I made a 93 on the test (yeah!), she said my dad spoke to his doctor this afternoon about his circulation and that he needed to go to the emergency room. They were getting ready to leave so she handed me over to my dad. My dad told me that he has been really cold, his fingers were numb and he could barely lift his arm. So he called his doctor but they were gone for the day. He left a message with the answering service and his doctor called him right back. He asked my dad if he had a few specific symptoms and my dad had exactly what he asked and told him he could see him tomorrow but preferred he go to the emergency room. I was a little torn if I should go to the emergency room or go home to Austin. My dad told me to do what I had planned to do that he'd be fine. But he always says that. And every time I go to DC or am in DC, something happens with his health. So I didn't know what I should do. My sister wanted me to go to the emergency room but I didn't think it would help. My mom has a cell phone now and could call us if needed. I called my brother who lives in Bryan and he said he would call my mom and find out what was up as soon as he got off work. I called Roger and talked to him about it. I just needed to express all the different options and think about it out loud.

As I was pulling out of the parking lot on campus, I thought about my mom trying to get everything done at the house before she left so I called her back to see if they wanted me to go do that so they could just go to the ER. They were already on their way to the ER. My mom was driving so she handed me over to my dad and I asked him if he wanted me to bring in the chickens or pick up eggs or something. He said it was too early to bring them in but I could pick up eggs for them. So I drove to their house (it's on my way home to Austin) and went inside to get a bucket for the eggs. I knew there would be more than my jacket pockets could hold. As I was walking toward the chicken coop with that white bucket, the chickens started coming toward me in droves. There's over one hundred I think. I know my parents feed them to bring them in, but my dad said it was too early. I thought, these girls are hungry. So I went inside both chicken houses and I could barely move because I was surrounded by chickens looking for a hand out. I collected a bucket full and another half bucket of eggs and called my mom back to ask her if I should feed the chickens since they were swarming me. She said yes and told me the mix. My dad has a concoction of three feeds. I know there's a method to the madness.

So I fed the chickens and the goats. They were singing too that they were hungry. The hogs have an automatic feeder. It was kind of funny. I haven't done that kind of farm work in a while, animal husbandry. It reminded me of when I lived at home. I called her back to tell her I was done and she told me they forgot all my dad's medicine so I had to go inside and read all those bottles off to her so she could write them down for the doctors. Then I left to drive to Austin. I was starving so I stopped at the McDonald's in Caldwell. I know, disgusting, but I wasn't going to make it to Austin. Of course, the french fries were delicious and the first few bites of the burger weren't bad, but then I began to start tasting grease and I had to make myself finish it. I don't normally eat McDonald's unless it's absolutely necessary and now I remember why. Yuck!

Once I got home I called my mom to tell her I was home and asked her what was going on with my dad. He's anemic, his hemoglobin and hematocrit were low. They gave him a pint of blood and were going to give him vitamin K. I asked her to inquire about that because on Warfarin he's not supposed to have a lot of dark green vegetables because they are high in Vitamin K and mess up the drug in his system. So she asked about that and they said his blood was not clotting enough. Okay, I'll take their word for it. I don't know about this stuff. And they were going to do a CT scan to see where he might be losing blood. I asked her if they checked his digestive system since he's been having so much gastrointestinal issues lately and Dr. Bond had asked my dad specifically about the condition of his stool, I figured that had something to do with what's going on. Again, I'm not a doctor. So she asked and the nurse said the CT would show them everything and whatever they found they would address. I talked to her again around 10pm and she was going home to put up the chickens (she should have let me do it when I was there earlier) and feed anything else that needed to be fed. I forgot about the horses when I was there. And she was going to stay home and go back up early in the morning. They admitted him and were taking him to do the CT when she left. They couldn't do anything until they saw the CT results. But if he had a tear or something serious, they wanted him to be in the hospital already.

My mom is going to call me in the morning since I'll be up early to be at the airport around 6am. Yes, that's early for me. I'll let you know the latest tomorrow. Please pray for my dad to get the care he needs. This is going to sound cruel, but we're country folk so we're more realistic than most, my sister and I had a long conversation tonight about my mom being stuck with the farm all by herself if something happened to my dad and all the unfinished projects that would be too much for her. He does not have life insurance and it would be really expensive for him now. I guess we're going to have to have another sit down with my dad about making sure things are taken care of for my mom once he's gone. He knows as well as we do that he's not going to live much longer. He reminds us every once and a while. So please pray for provision for my parents and for all of us to be able to help my parents in any way we can. I still feel strange going to DC knowing my dad is in the hospital, but I need to be with my husband. I know my dad understands. I can't help him or anyone else, if I don't take care of myself.

Feb 13, 2008

No Hearing, Great Results, Excellent Birthday!

I know that many of you know that I had a hearing scheduled for this morning to appeal my initial disability rating from the Army Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) of 30%. Up to this point I didn't want to reveal too much information because my attorney had a strategy and the last thing I wanted to do was to undermine it. I know that sounds kinda' lame, but I don't know who's reading this blog. I can't remember how much detail I went into after I got my initial rating so I recap just a bit.

After I got that rating, it seemed low to me so I went to talk to a rep from the Disabled American Veterans (DAV). They have someone on-site at Walter Reed (WRAMC) to help us out with these things. When he looked at it and then looked at the regulation, he said it looked like I was supposed to get 100% disability. The DAV has a program where law firms in the DC area will represent soldiers that want to appeal their ratings. I was assigned an awesome lawyer from the firm Jones Day. This guy was awesome. He looked up tons of information regarding my situation, gathered documents and records and spoke to me several times to discuss my case. We finally met face to face last week at their office in DC and we went over all the information they gathered for my case. Then late last week I had to do some running around to gather a few more documents right up to Friday night. I took the weekend off and stayed with my good friends Amanda and Buddy (check out their blog!).

Monday morning I was getting ready to do some more info gathering when I saw that I missed a call on my phone. It was my PEBLO Counselor and he said that he had a new DA199 for me. The DA199 is the form that has a disability rating on it. I was a bit confused and when I called him back, I had to leave him a message. I then called my attorney and he said he wouldn't be surprised because they came to WRAMC last week and observed a hearing and then had a chance to speak to the board. Then as I was about to run out the door, my Case Manager called me saying that I needed to speak to my PEBLO ASAP! I headed right over there and as I was walking down the hall, he came out of his office and he called me back immediately. He showed me the new paperwork and apparently, after my attorney met with them, they convened another informal board and changed my rating from 30% to 100% through Aug 2009 on the Temporary Disability Retirement List (TDRL). So, I did not have to go to my hearing after all! I shared this new information with my attorney and he told me it looked like this was the best I was going to get, so I signed it.

Now the paperwork has to go to the Army Physical Disability Agency (PDA) for approval. If they agree, then they will cut order for we to leave WRAMC and I couold be home by the end of March. I know it's all confusing, but there is a very good short summary of the whole process, including what TDRL and other things mean, here: Military Disability (Medical) Separations and Retirements. This has been such a relief for me and my entire family. This entire four year saga of being away from home might soon be over... but lets just keep on praying for now. Thanks for praying for me and sticking in there. We only have a little bit more to go!

So today is my birthday... I'm 33. The staff at the Stripe newspaper office had cake for me - that was nice of them. And this evening I went back over to Amanda & Buddy's for dinner, games and cake. I'm so glad they invited me. It was nice to have a somewhat regular birthday. I wish Holly was here with me, but I'll see her soon enough. BTW - I think Amanda is going to be giving birth either Thu or Fri, the contractions are kicking in, so please pray for a safe delivery!

Feb 11, 2008

Valentine’s Day

I’ve read some articles lately about people griping about Valentine’s Day being a ridiculous holiday, guilting men into spending way too much money on flowers, lingerie and silly cards and dehumanizing singles and those without a date. I mean, we all know it’s a Hallmark holiday, but come on. When I read stuff like that, I just want to shake the author until they wake up. People in the articles say love should be shown every day not just on Valentine’s Day. You know what I say to that, join the real world people. We all know love should be shown every day, but in real life, that doesn’t happen. We’ve all seen it. Think about your parents. Men take their wives for granted and rarely show them love in the way a woman needs it. For some women, if it weren’t for Valentine’s Day they wouldn’t get a card or flowers or have a special dinner ever. I know married women who have never received flowers from their husband. I even know a woman whose husband doesn’t give her a Mother’s Day card even though she bore him a child because he says she’s not his mother. What a loser! In fairy tale land, spouses show love and affection every day. But the last time I checked, this wasn’t fairy tale land. No matter what the tabloids try to tell you. Why do you think the romance novel industry is so huge?! Women are reading romance novels to get the romance they are lacking in their relationships. Why do you think romantic comedies are such popular movies?! For some women, it’s the only romance they get. If you’re wife is reading romance novels, you’ve got a problem. And you are the problem. And I’m not talking about making one night a year special. Show her how much you love her by doing the laundry on a regular basis. Cook dinner one night a week. Wash dishes with her and talk about whatever and listen. Share the household chores. Write her a note or send her a card just because. Take her out on a date at least once a month. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to show someone you really care about them and you appreciate them. Take the kids to the park on a Saturday morning so your wife has a few hours for herself for goodness sake. She deserves it. Hold her hand everywhere you go and kiss her good bye every time you leave her. Come on guys, just because you won her doesn’t mean you have to stop wooing her.

Feb 10, 2008

Amazing Message

Sorry to blog twice in one day, but I didn't expect to be so moved by tonight's message to blog again today. Although every week the message is great.

I started going to the 5pm and 7pm service at Austin Stone at the beginning of the year. They are experiencing overcrowding and parking issues during the morning services, so to help matters out they asked people to try out the evening services. They already expanded and took over the entire Austin High School gym, but there's still more people coming to the morning services. This is a problem most churches wish they had. It turns out I really like the 7pm service. It's more laid back and relaxed since there's no time constraints and it's way more free spirited. They kind of joke around that they like the 7pm service better because the congregation is more free spirited and I have to agree. We get down. Tonight's worship and message was amazing. Chris Tomlin was back to lead worship again. And it was more like a concert than usual. That place was full of the spirit. But what I thought was even better than a semi-private mini-concert by Chris Tomlin, his band and the other amazing singers on the worship team was the message. Tonight a pastoral intern for the church, Ronnie Smith, originally from Detroit, Michigan gave the message. We have been going through 1 Corinthians and he covered chapter two verses 6-10. And it was completely from God. That boy was on fire! He is on fire for the Lord. And he's only an intern. When he becomes a pastor, he's going to be a five alarm blaze. I totally needed that message tonight. I mean, it was awesome. You've got to listen to it. This was a message everyone needs. There's no way I can do his message justice, but to recap it was about the times when the wisdom of God doesn't dictate how we behave or act and there's only one remedy to overcome the wisdom of this world and that is really seeing and hearing Jesus Christ. Even though we know the Lord and see the Lord, there's a disconnect between seeing and knowing the true power and wisdom in the cross of Jesus Christ. He goes through the scripture verse by verse and explains what Paul is telling the church in Corinth which was having some issues. I highly recommend you listen to this message. If you think you know it all, don't have problems with succumbing to this world and don't need this message, you need it the most. Please, please, please find the time soon to listen. The message will probably be up late Monday. If anyone would like to check out the Austin Stone with me some Sunday for the 5pm or 7pm service, please let me know. I'd be more than happy to share this awesome church.


Oh, the weather in Texas has been so beautiful. The highs lately have been in the high 70’s. I have had my windows open since Friday. It’s just gorgeous outside. Everyone is out enjoying it. Yesterday afternoon I was running errands around Austin and people were everywhere. The traffic was crazy. I stopped at a store on the drag and it was just so nice to be outside that I just mozied in and out of stores and boutiques. They all had their doors and windows open. It's just too nice to be inside. So I went on a four mile walk this morning. I see a lot of interesting things on my walks to the park and back. I see families playing with kids, the jousting, sword, archery group in their costumes, frisbee golfers, basketball and tennis players, couples walking the trails talking, really cute, funny dogs and their owners, mountain bikers, sometime horse riders, you name it. All this happiness and joy. People out enjoying the beautiful sunny weather and fresh air. Then there are people who drive to a park, are out in all this loveliness, soaking in the sunshine and breathing the fresh air and they light up a cigarette and suck in dirty smoke that’s going to kill them. I just don’t get it. I will never understand smoking or smokers. I have never had an addiction, so I don’t understand addictions. I will never understand a craving so strong that you can’t control it and it makes you do something you know is detrimental to your health and others and possibly kill you. It bothers me so when I'm out walking and I have to pass a smoker and try not to suck in that nasty smoke. But no matter what I do, I can still smell it, which means I'm inhaling it. Thanks for trying to kill me too.

Feb 9, 2008

Updates On Everyone

I'm just giving some quick updates on everyone. First, my brother, Harvey Jr (aka Bubba), his wife Brandy and my nephew Cole found out Thursday they are going to have a little girl. Cole was very excited and he got a picture of his baby sister Chloe Grace to take home with him. Brandy is due in early June. This will be my second niece. Yeah for girls! As for my dad's health, he had his defibrillator checked on Tuesday and found out it engaged three times since it was inserted in him last summer on August 26th, September 8th and September 26th. He told the doctor that he has not felt anything. His doctor said when his heart got out of sync the defibrillator got it back in sync before anything happened. So now he can stop griping about it because it's saved his life three times already. Do you think he will? Ha! Probably not. I finished pressing the wrap dress I made on Super Bowl Sunday and before I went out to eat with girlfriends tonight took some pictures in it and posted them in the Flickr set Sewing Projects. I'm really pleased with how it turned out. If I can't wear my little black dress for graduation, I could wear this. I'll blog about my little black dress situation in a few days.

Graduation talk reminds me that my first test this semester is Tuesday. I started studying today and plan to spend at least an hour every day studying until the test. I want to make an A in this class to bring my GPA up a tad in the event I decide to go to graduate school. So far we've covered the introduction to Biblical Archaeology and the excavations found in the Holy Land during the Neolithic period (8,500-4,300 BC). I'll try to post the significant finds this week sometime. Our friends Amanda & Buddy are about to have their baby any day now. Roger is staying with them this weekend and he said he thinks she's not going to make it to the due date of February 16th. I think he just wants the baby to be born on his birthday, February 13th. We talked about what if she went into labor while he was there this weekend and his response was, "I've got my camera ready."

Speaking of Roger's birthday, it's this coming Wednesday. Which is also the same day as his disability appeal hearing. He has spoke with and met with his lawyers already a couple times. They are working on gathering all the evidence and preparing for testimony from Roger and his old boss who they are calling as a witness. After the lawyers present their evidence and ask Roger and his boss questions, the board will convene privately to make the final decision before presenting it to Roger. I know Roger is a little nervous about "taking the stand" and I can hear it in his voice that he's getting anxious and nervous wondering if all this work is going to pay off. He could appeal the board's decision on Wednesday, but it probably wouldn't be worth the time and effort. It would have to go to a higher level.

Although I thought this Wednesday could possibly be the start of a count down for his return home, I spoke with Roger Friday night and he has heard that it can take up to 30 days for the board's decision to get to everyone it needs to get to including the people that cut orders which would start the process of out processing which could take 30 days. This means that although I thought Roger could be home by mid-March, it looks like he probably won't be home until mid-April. This sucks, but like I've said before, I decided a long time ago I wasn't going to consider him home until he drives into our drive way. He did mention that he has heard of some people going home during that first 30 days, but as usual, this is hearsay and so far most of the hearsay at WRAMC is just that, hot air.

I won't be able to be there for Roger's hearing or birthday, but I may be there the weekend after. We are taking advantage of a service that gives free airfare to families of soldiers at military hospitals. And as usual, anything involved with the military can't be simple. They told Roger if he doesn't hear from them, then it was most likely approved. Don't you just love that. Oh, it gets better. I won't find out the actual flights and times until Thursday, February 14th even though I'll be flying the next day, February 15th. You gotta love the military. So I'm going to pack on Wednesday afternoon since I'm on campus all day on Thursday and don't get home until 9:30 p.m. usually.

Well, that's all I can think of. I'm sure there's more I've forgotten. I won't forget this though. Please pray for Roger this week, especially on Wednesday. Please ask the Lord to give him peace and rest, for the hearing to go smoothly and for the board's hearts to be softened to Roger's needs. Oh, can you throw a little prayer in there for me also? It's not easy being married without a husband. I went through a little situational depression recently and I could sure use the prayers. Thanks so much for caring about our lives and praying for us. You don't know how much we appreciate it and feel your love.

Feb 5, 2008

2/4/08 MRI Results

Just a quick note to let you know that I went to see my Rad/Onc at the NNMC in Bethesda and we sat down to look at the MRI. And... it looks just about the same as the last two! There is definitely something up there and it is most likely scar tissue and not tumor because it is not growing at all. He said that we can probably move the MRIs from every three months to every four to six months. Sounds good to me! It's funny though... I really do fall asleep in the MRI even with all the banging and clattering going on. It's just a part of life now. Thank you to everyone for your prayers!


Feb 4, 2008

Weekend Update

Well, the Super Bowl is over. I feel like it was disappointing considering all the hype. The game itself was boring for a majority of it. The commercials were ho-hum. Nothing stood out as hilarious or awesome to me. Of course the PepsiCo American Sign Language-Deaf commercial was played during the pre-game festivities so I'm sure many people missed it. I didn't pay attention to who the performers would be this year and was surprised that the half time performance was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I can't believe it wasn't Alicia Keys or some other pop star. It was a great performance but I wish they could have played more than just their four most popular songs. I watched the big game this year at my parents' house with my brother and his family. I went there on Saturday because we went to see A Ride With Bob, an historical tribute to Bob Wills, the king of Western Swing at Texas A&M's Rudder Theatre. Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel made up a majority of the cast. It was very good. And after it was over, Asleep at the Wheel and a few other cast members gave us a short concert. We thoroughly enjoyed it. I'd love to see it again.

While I was at my parents', I hit my mom up for a refresher sewing course. I actually bought a dress kit and I wanted to sew it in her presence in case there were sewing terms and procedures I forgot. And there were, darts (six in all) and bias binding. Whew! The dress kit said it came with all pieces pre-cut and instructions. I was so glad my mom was there because the instructions, which I thought would resemble a pattern, weren't as helpful as I imagined. But we got it done just about the time the game started. And I have to say it was easy in the end and I am very proud of accomplishing it. But this will be the last time I use a kit. It would have been a lot easier to just buy a pattern and my own material. And cost a lot less. I am going to email the dress kit maker with the pros and cons of her dress kit and instructions. She is trying to mass market it and I think she'd appreciate any criticisms, good and bad. But I've posted some pictures of it. Once I get it pressed completely, I'll take a final picture in it with appropriate accessories and shoes so you can get a better idea of the finished product. By the way, the material is not red, but burgundy. I think the flash made it more red than it truly is. And I didn't put the bow on it. I'm not a bow kind of girl. Now I know I'm ready to tackle some more sewing projects. It had been 15 years since I sewed apparel. I've sewn drapes and headboard covers, etc, but needed an easy clothing project so I could assess where my clothing sewing skills were. I'm very happy with my skills. I'm going to try to talk my mom into letting me take back the 1969 Singer sewing machine she gave me a few years ago that I gave to her when I moved to Virginia since I knew I wasn't going to be sewing in our apartment up there. She has a few others so I'm sure she won't mind. My next project is to tackle a little bit more involved sheath dress pattern with cap sleeves. But I'm in no rush. I have a few more things at home to do first.

Feb 3, 2008

MRI Monday Feb 4

First, for those of you that get the blog emailed to you, something happened to the service this past weekend and plogs that were written late last week were not emailed at all. I made the system email them to you just a bit ago. Sorry about that... if you want to get the blog emailed to you, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the webpage to sign up... its free!

I have another three month MRI Monday afternoon at 5pm ET to see how things are up there. Please continue to pray that the tumor is still gone and that healing is continuing. I meet with my Rad/Onc Tuesday morning to review the results. I'll let you know how it goes.

This week is going to be a busy one... I finally have an appt with the VA to have my physical by them for my VA disability claim. And I have a meeting with my pro-bono attorney to prepare for my hearing on Feb 13 to appeal my initial disability rating from the Army. Yes, I will get a disability rating from the Army and the VA. I'll have to explain that at a different time. I'll try to get you caught up on the lowdown this week.

Oh - and what an awesome game tonight. Personally, I was glad to see the Giants get the win over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. The Manning brothers get back to back rings. How cool is that?


Feb 1, 2008

Another Loved One Affected By Cancer

Okay, I'm going to apologize now and only once for what you are about to read. I'm apologizing because this is not going to be lady like nor proper. But I don't know what it's going to take to get this message through. There's no other way to say this, so I'm just going to say it.

Ladies, look at your boobs. Feel your boobs. Check out your boobs. Get to know your boobs. If you aren't looking at them in the mirror when you get out of the shower, start doing it now. Please, please, do your monthly breast self-examinations. How are you going to know if something's going on with your boobs, if you don't know them! And as soon as you think something might not be right, go see a doctor. It doesn't hurt to be wrong. Guys, encourage the females in your life to take care of their boobs. If you're married, check your wife's boobs out with her. Make it fun. I don't care, just do it!

Our dear friend has Stage 3B Inflammatory Breast Cancer at 33 years of age. This was big in the news and spreading around in emails like crazy a few years ago. I haven't heard anything about it since. Don't stop talking about this. Cancer is not pretty nor fun. No one wants their loved ones to go through it. Please, please, please ladies, touch yourself for God's sake! Using light, medium and firm pressure in a circle without lifting your fingers off the skin, in an up and down pattern, for each breast, above and below the collarbone and your armpit.

Here are some links:
Breast Self Exam
Inflammatory Breast Cancer (same video I saw in June 2006)