Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Can I even contain myself?!?!?

(picture from Alabama with my flower girls/cousins, Lia and Julia!)

KYLE IS COMING HOME IN JUST OVER ONE WEEK!!!!! Holy moley, never thought this day would come. I think Kyle & I are equally excited about this reunion. He's sort of over missing everything Christmas-related and being over there by himself. I'm over pretending like it's ok that I'm alone. Bowen is over not having his daddy to go hunting with. We're just all ready to be back together again!

In the meantime, I have gotten the house decorated. I have gotten the majority of Kyle's presents wrapped and a few others done as well. I still have a few items to purchase but I have been taking it sort of slow this year, trying to enjoy all of it.

This past Sunday, we did our "God Speaking" Christmas musical at church. It was awesome. Even though I'm in the choir, and we had listened to and practiced all of the songs approximately 2308764 times, it still took me a little off guard at how incredibly pretty the music was and how much it got me in the mood for Christmas. Sometimes, in the hustle and bustle, we forget what this is all about & I'm glad doing the music helped to remind me.

This week, I'm going to eat with a couple of choir girls (tomorrow) since we have a break from choir practice. Friday night, after work, I'm going to sushi with Katie Walker!! So excited to see her again. I don't make nearly enough time for her & I'm not sure why...we have such a good time together at all times! Thennn, on Sunday, my coworkers and I are throwing a Christmas-themed wedding shower for Allison, one of our nurses! She gets married in April & I couldn't be more excited that we have gotten to know each other not just as coworkers, but as friends. With her being a Clemson nursing grad & her fiance, Chad GILBERT, being an engineer, it's safe to say we have lots in common!!!

Well, I'll update again soon I'm sure. Maybe this weekend..OR, maybe once Kyle gets home!!!!!!!!! Do you think I will be able to contain this excitement?!?! Only one more weekend without him! Please join me in starting to pray for no snow or bad weather in Chicago since that's where he picks up his connecting flight to come HOME!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

story time..

Here is the first installment of a classic story from China, thanks to my one & only:

1) Kyle unfortunately flipped a 4 wheeler onto his back/neck/head the afternoon before leaving for China. He was clearly sore from that incident & had to fly for 15 hours and he got increasingly more stiff. Soooo, about a week after getting to China and not being able to stretch out the soreness, he went to the conceirge at his hotel and asked for a recommendation for a classy massage place. He went, paid a reasonable fee, and asked for a 60 minute massage. He said it was great...until......wait for it......she says to him, "massage ______ for tip?" fill in the blank, you're probably right...i'm not sure he could run from her fast enough.......

2) He wanted a hair cut. He was slightly anxious of what kind of hair cuts they may give him. Anyway, again, to the conceirge he went. They recommended a place called "Mod Baby." This made him even more anxious. But he listened and off he went one Saturday. He found the place and the workers spoke hardly any English. They knew "haircut" and "shampoo." So, Kyle says to the guy "how much is a haircut?" They didn't understand....he pulls out his wallet and again says "how much?" He points to a price board of anything from 20 RMB ($3) to 2000 RMB (almost $300). Kyle is secretly wondering what in the world he could possibly say incorrectly that would end up getting him a 300 dollar haircut.....The man asks kyle "shampoo?" Kyle says yes and he then sends him over to uniformed women who proceed to massage his head/neck/shoulders for 30 minutes with hot oil and shampoo his hair. This cost him 30 RMB ($4.41). This original man than brings Kyle to a hair cutting station and says "sit" to Kyle. Kyle sits (obedient isn't he?!). The man points to the sides of kyle's hair as if to ask, "cut these too?" Kyle nods yes. The man takes a comb and starts brushing kyle's hair wrong. Kyle says no and takes the comb from the man and shows him the proper way to brush his hair. The man says "yesss" as if he just had a lightbulb go off over his head. Kyle said the man just went to work cutting and combing his hair for 30 minutes. Miraculously, kyle LOVED his haircut! Nothing new or exciting, just how kyle likes it! This 30 minute hair cut cost him 40 RMB ($5.88). Kyle said proudly that he will be getting a 60 minute massage & haircut weekly for the bargain price of 70 RMB ($10.29)...He gave the man 100 RMB (30 RMB for tip) and Kyle said that the man was just beside himself with excitement. How sad that $4 can make a man's day!

All in all, I am so proud of Kyle for venturing out and making the most of his 2 month adventure!! He really has grown in so many ways! I will continue to post the funny stories as I remember them.

Love, Jen

Friday, November 20, 2009

New Giveaway!

Check out the blog at LaurenNicoleGifts.com! There is a new giveaway for a set of 4 Kate Spade ornaments. So cute! Just wanted to share. I'll update again sometime this weekend!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

It's been a while...

Hey everybody!
Sorry that it's been a while, I have been SO busy. Which is a good thing because when I am busy I don't realize quite as much that I'm alone. Have I mentioned that I CAN'T WAIT UNTIL DEC. 17th???

Last weekend, I took a trip to Hoover, Alabama and saw Kyle's aunt & uncle and 2 cousins. We had so much fun! We went for a hike, watched some good football, and ate some AWESOME homemade food thanks to Lydia. The whole family got to Skype with Kyle. I think he enjoyed seeing them! I appreciate that you had me there!!! Can't wait to go down again!

This weekend I went to Katy & Stephen's house in Buckhead (a suburb of Atlanta). We did lots of shopping (and probably spent too much money) and watched Clemson dominate. Friday night, we went to the Marist high school football game. Katy's next door neighbor's son, Penn, plays for them and they are in the playoffs. They won & Penn scored several touchdowns. It was fun to watch & we got to eat yummy (but greasy) food from The Varsity...similar to The Beacon on the scale of greasiness for my South Carolinians. This weekend, Stephen's cousin John Michael got engaged so everyone went out last night. It was fun to see Katy's friends and a couple of Stephen's cousins. However, it made me miss Kyle SOOOOO much because everyone was there with their significant other/fiance/husband/wife. Oh well, I survived the night without tears, so it was a success! On the way home, I stopped and got Turtle Chex Mix to make myself feel better. yummmm, highly suggest it as a pick-me-up!!!!

On a semi-random note, just a personal recommendation for singles, people dating, engaged folks, or old married hags (jk). You should watch the sermons from Perry Noble at www.newspring.cc (click on the current series button). Perry has a way with words and makes his messages very entertaining. He is the reason that I am still awake tonight at 11:30pm, which is impressive. I have been watching one of them online & I am about to die laughing. However, it is a serious thing. With the divorce rate like it is, I think we all could use a little counseling in this department.

Of course I have to post about Bowen..I mean how could I not? So, Clay was home this weekend (and of course, I wasn't) but he was telling me that Bowen was being quite the character at Grandma's daycare. He stays at Randy & Julie's house (Kyle's parents) if I am away for the weekend and their dogs do not come in side. For Pete's sake, they have a farm to roam on, what do they need with the indoors?! So anyway, Bowen has an obsession with tennis balls (quite honestly, there is no actual word to describe his infatuation with these lime green objects) and Julie is such a great Grandma to him that she frequently replenishes his supply when he loses them or eats them to pieces. Clay said that he was crying and carrying on in the carport and they came out to find that SIX of his balls were stuck under a bench. So, being the good people that they are, the lay down and get them out for him. Well, Randy was working on something inside and had the door to the carport open into the house. So, whenever Bowen got a ball stuck under the bench again (which I think he partially does on purpose) he was inviting himself in and standing in the house until someone came out and helped him get his ball. He's not spoiled or anything. Then, he must've realized that that was not a great idea, so he would just come stand inside WITH the ball until someone came out to throw it to him. Smart dog, I tell ya. Anyway, I was so glad to see him when I got home today & the poor boy has been sleeping pretty much steadily since 4:30pm when I got home. They tired him out well!!

As far as Kyle, there are so many funny stories. I think I will post again this week with a "funny kyle stories" post. There, I have given you all something to look forward to!!......

Sleep tight everyone (except Kyle - have a good rest of the day at work).
Love, Jen

Sunday, November 1, 2009

fall is here!

Wow! The fall temperatures are here..time to get out the sweaters, wool pants, and sweatsuits!! First, yesterday's Clemson homecoming was a success! Shock..it rained, but that's the only bad news about yesterday. We played Coastal Carolina, whom we had to pay to get to come, but we did beat them 49-3. Stupid field goal..I think we all wanted a shutout. Oh well, we had good food (candy), friends, and fun! Can't wait til next year. Ohh, and we did see pumpkins made into Clemson helmets. yess.

For Halloween, Bowen dressed up..much to his dismay. But isn't he the cutest moo-cow you have ever seen??

Last night, thanks to the "fall back" I successfully slept for 14 hours and still got up at "8:45am." Hallelujah, I think I'm caught up on sleep!

Today, I went and took pictures of the food plot that Kyle planted over at "our future farm" and of course, Bowen, my sidekick, had to ride with me. Besides his tennis ball, I think rides in the car/golf cart/4 wheeler/gator are his favorite!!!

Also, I know that I have told most of you already about this. But for those who I have not and for those that need updating, our friends, Liz & Trey Greene (Liz went to nursing school with me and Trey went to the Citadel with Kyle..both 1 year older than us) have an absolutely beautiful little girl named Wesleigh Anne. She is incredibly sick right now, in the ICU, on the ventilator, etc etc. They are preparing to say goodbye to their sweet baby tomorrow. Please keep them constantly in your thoughts & prayers. I can't even begin to imagine what they will go through..so many emotions. The best thing about all of this, is that one day, they will see each other again and she will be SO healthy & happy, with no tubes/lines/IVs coming out of her. Oh, what a sight that will be!!! Like I said...please, I am begging you to just keep them in your minds in every way possible.

Sorry that this post represented my ADD/ADHD so well..it was kind of all over the place.

Love, Jen

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

nights are hardest..

So, I have done miraculously well with Kyle being gone. Thank you to everyone who has been keeping up with me & asking to make sure that things are going well. I haven't cried over him being gone since he left which shocks even me.
But, I do admit that nights are hard. There have been a few times where I have almost lost control, but I just hug on Bowen & when he puts his nose to mine with those big eyes asking me 'mom, what's wrong??' he seems to make things better. I only thought he was my buddy before Kyle left. He is now firmly glued to my side wherever I go. I enjoy it though!

I have been listening to a lot of music at night, since I am not a huge TV person, and I have a few current faves, that I will try to add to the music that plays when you open my blog. They are:
Need You Now by Lady Antebellum
Hope Now by Addison Road
It's Your Life by Francesca Battistelli
Why by Rascal Flatts
and Legacy by Nichole Nordeman

Check them out! :) I have officially decided for Thanksgiving that I will be going to my parents' in Delaware! I need to get away and maybe with me being "away," it won't hit me as much that Kyle's not with me. I just continue to pray so hard that he will be with me for Christmas!!

On a happier note, I will be seeing two (and probably more) of my AWESOME friends this weekend. I am going to hang out with Katie Walker after work Friday!!! So excited to see her. I don't make time for her nearly enough & I feel extra guilty for that. Then, she, Candace, and I will maybe have dinner once Candace gets off of work. Candace has graciously offered for me to spend the night with her Friday night & we ar
e going to the Clemson Homecoming game on Saturday. Yes, a Halloween football homecoming! What could possibly be better?!?! I am so excited since I haven't been to homecoming since graduating. Can't wait! Please, God, let there be sunshine Saturday!!!!!!! I expect to see a LOT of these pumpkin helmets! Hopefully I'll post after the game with excitement that we won by a ton.

Love yall, Jen

Friday, October 23, 2009

Follow This!

So, Kyle has made it safely to China! He is in awe of the size and differences between there and here. He said "NYC has nothing on this place." He was referring to the number/size of buildings as well as the number of people. He had an hour ride from the airport to the hotel and has a driver there, so he got a chance to really take it all in. I will try to update with funny stories and good pictures throughout his journey. I spoke to him this morning twice when he called me from his MagicJack phone to my cell phone. What wonderful things technology can do!

In fun news, I follow Lauren Nicole Gift's blog (http://www.laurennicolegifts.blogspot.com/) and enter her frequent drawings on a regular basis. This morning, when I could definitely have used a pick-me-up, I got an email saying that I had won a drawing!!! I won a BEAUTIFUL "Script Monogram Necklace in Fine Silver" (http://www.laurennicolegifts.com/scmonefisi.html). I am thrilled... Today, she announced her next giveaway, which is a Vera Bradley umbrella and wristlet!! Definitely worth the 10 seconds that it takes to fill out her form. Also, I have ordered and received a blue giraffe badge reel with a hot pink "J" on it & I have gotten many compliments and comments on it. I highly recommend her shop since she has such great customer service and fast turnaround for custom goods!

Anyway, back to work I go. But, I wanted to let you know about this great blog. I highly recommend following it!

Love yall, Jen

Sunday, October 18, 2009

the alarm system.

So, we got the news. Supposedly, Kyle leaves Thursday at 6:22am for Shanghai.. I know I should be beyond prepared but I am not. Let's just say I will be counting down the days until his return. On a positive note, I have quite the guard dog that will be keeping me company in the meantime. We had a conversation at lunch today about how he would not hesitate to tear someone to pieces if that meant it would keep me safe. I love him for that.

{Pause for funny story}...a man came to my door one day while I was out for work after being in the hospital and he rung my doorbell. I creeped to the front door and looked out the window to peek at who it was. I saw this friendly looking man and across the street, my neighbor was in the front yard. Had my neighbor not been out there, my door would have remained locked and shut. But, I open my door and not knowing that Bowen had followed me upstairs, he runs out the front door barking his little head off at this man who is running over to the driveway by this point. I called Bowen back to me and the man quietly says, "Hi, my name is ___ and I am in the neighborhood because your neighbors have chosen to install a security system. If you choose to install one this week, we could give you a wonderful discount.." I looked at him with eyes that probably told him he was crazy and thought to myself..."mr., you just met my security system." I kindly told him no thank you and away he went without question."

Anyway, moral of the story..don't even attempt to mess with me while Kyle's gone beacause Bowen would be happy to mess with you first. :) hehe.

Katy comes tomorrow to stay the night & say bye to Kyle for about the 5th time now. I will post again soon.

Love, Jen

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

no wonder a dog is "man's best friend"

So yesterday afternoon, i got more and more achy, had chills, a headache, and a sore throat. This morning I had no sore throat but an upset stomach and all the rest of the same stuff. So, in the bed I stayed until 10:30ish. Bowen was so good, he slept by me and had to nearly be pushed out the door to pee. He just didn't want to leave my side. Who knows? Maybe he was glad to have somebody home all day, but I think animals have a keen sense of when their "friends" are sick. He is still glued to my side and even let me take some pictures of him, with the help of his cookies.

I just love him. It is that simple. Needless to say, I slept 16 hours last night and I am feeling a little better. Still achy, but will hopefully be back to work tomorrow. Although, i will miss my buddy.

Love, Jen

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

So Incredibly Honored...

So, my cousins and I have a quiet friendship. We may not see each other every day, or even every holiday. But, we're still family, and we're still friends. This was beyond proven to me this morning when I got a hold of the link for my cousin Kyle's half marathon. He had let me know that he was doing this, but seeing it on the internet almost brought me to tears...

Please see below:

Kyle was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease when he was younger..I remember him having to drop an NG tube down to feed himself, and the whole nine yards. But is he running in honor of himself? No. He decided to run in honor of me. Thank you Kyle, you have no idea how much this means to me. This may be the motivation I needed to participate in a worthy race of my own.

Again, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Love, Jen

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fear Conquered!

Yesterday, I conquered a fear. I sang in front of the church. 4 of us did solos and the choir as a whole sang the chorus of the song. It's a beautiful song, I must say! It's by Chris Tomlin and is called Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone). I am excited that I made it through without melting into the ground.

Also new in our world: We bought 10 acres of land and will hopefully build a house in the next couple of years. We took Bowen to play on it yesterday an
d he LOVED it.

We put a saddle on Sport, one of Julie's most mild mannered horses, for the very first time yesterday. I have been saying that I want to learn to ride really badly and we all agreed that he might be the best bet. So, we sort of expected him to freak out a little with the saddle on his back, but he did GREAT! If I work with him each day, maybe I'll ride him without anyone holding the halter soon.

Ashley, my friend from Delaware and now Rhino's girlfriend, was in town this weekend. Clay, Kyle's youngest brother, was also in town from the Citadel. Joe, Lydia, Lia, and Julia (Kyle's aunt/uncle/cousins) were also in town from Hoover, Alabama. Needless to say, we had a great time. We took the girls to Niven's Apple Farm and picked apples, pumpkins, saw farm animals, and got apple cider/apple fritters/apple bread. It was a successful trip!!. We also ate supper at Sidestreet and had the best pizza. Their pizza is not comparable to pretty much anything else I know. My personal favorite is their Pepper 'N Pesto pizza with white sauce, red peppers, pesto, feta cheese, and diced tomatoes. Mmmm.

Post again soon. Love, Jen

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Look at my beautiful sister as a bride!!
And below is the picture of me with 2 cousins (left) and a 2nd cousin (right) who have all had Crohn's or Ulcerative Colitis..unfortunately. The beautiful young lady on the left's mom as well as the cousin next to her (2nd to left) are running in the Las Vegas Crohn's and Colitis Run/Walk in honor of all of us. Thank you both!!!

Also.....I got Kyle's friends (+brother + parents) together without Kyle knowing last night so that he could see everyone before he flies off to China. I think he was very surprised (and he's not one to like surprises) and I know he enjoyed seeing everybody. Thank yall for coming!! It was so good to see everyone, and thanks for everyone's offers to help me out while he's gone. What wonderful friends we have!

Love yall, Jen

Monday, October 5, 2009

I feel like quite the yo-yo...

Kyle has been told approximately 15 times that he is going to China for 2-6 months. We first thought he was going September 25th, then October 9th, now we're not sure again...Sometime in the next 2 weeks, maybe? I keep coming to terms with it and crying my eyes out (to get it out of my system) just to find out, whoops! not leaving yet. Needless to say I'm frustrated...

Anyway, on a positive note..that's more time with him for me! Kyle & I went to Charleston this weekend and saw Clay. It was so fun being back in Chucktown without having to limit my time with Kyle because of Citadel activities. We went to the Citadel football game and it went into overtime with App State but we lost :( We also got to shop at the Tanger Outlets which was fun & a successful shopping trip to say the least!!

This weekend, Joe & Lydia are coming up from Alabama with the girls (Julia and Lia) and I can't wait. Kyle is really excited that he will get to see them because we thought he was leaving before they'd get here. I think Clay, Kyle, Julie, and I may take them to the apple farm to pick pumpkins and get apple cider/apple bread/apple cake, etc! YUM. I love that part of fall!!! Maybe I'll even carve a pumpkin this weekend. If so, I'll post pictures.

So far, so good with my tummy. No other changes since being off of my cyclosporine. I am still immunosuppressed and probably will stay that way, unfortunately. I am praying for an uneventful winter since the flu is in full swing and I have had my share of sick patients already.

Also, wanted to tell everyone to go see Laura Nicole Gifts (http://www.laurennicolegifts.com/). I ordered a monogrammed badge reel for work and it is SO cute. I highly recommend her. She ships USPS priority, too! She currently has a giveaway going on, so click on that link and look for the giveaway!!! I think it's so generous of her to keep giving away these great, cute items from her store. Check it out.

Love yall, Jen

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Welcome Fall

Well, it is officially fall! The Harvest Day Festival was today and I got a beautiful wreath and quilt...not to mention lots of yummy festival food (kettle corn, bbq, and big ma's cha cha!). A lot of other good things have happened since my last post as well....

1) Katy walked down the aisle September 6th and it was beautiful!!! She was a gorgeous bride and I am excited to add another brother to my entourage. Mrs. Furr....that has a nice ring to it! :)

2) I went to UNC again September 11th and got to come off of cyclosporine. That leaves me on only 2 medicines! Isn't that amazing?? What wonderful news that was. My awesome daddy flew down and joined me at that visit.

3) Kyle is still here!! He was supposed to leave for China yesterday but it got delayed. We don't know at this point when he'll be leaving but maybe the next few weeks?

4) Relay for Life has kicked back up and that disease is still ruining way too many lives. Can't wait to see how much we can raise and how many lives we can positively impact this year! I will post my Relay website when it gets set up (probably late winter, early spring).

5) I have started reading a lot again..currently reading The Hour I First Believed ...so far, really good!

....Well, I will try to post a picture of Katy's wedding soon.

Monday, August 24, 2009

And the saga continues...

Well, a lot has been going on even since I have gotten home, gotten my life back, and learned to live with UC. Within about a month of coming back to work (after flying on planes to and from Delaware), I got sick. That was no shock to anyone since I was on 3 serious immunosuppressants. I had a sinus infection and ear infection (seriously, what 24 year old gets ear infections at least once per year?!). After 2 weeks of Amoxicillin, I still wasn't better, so I got changed to Avelox, a much stronger antibiotic. I started clearing up but the nurse practitioner that had seen me for this said I needed to see an allergist since she thought allergies were playing a part in my getting sick. I went to see Dr. Greene, one of the nicest doctors ever, and he did 54 allergy tests on my back and 19 on my arm, and sort of to my surprise, I reacted to NOTHING. I have no allergies as of now. Well, something made him suspicious and now I am well under way for an immunodeficiency workup. It is pointing to Common Variable Immunodeficiency (CVID) but we are not 100% sure yet. This just means that my immune system is lacking certain things (antibodies and particular cells) needed to fight viruses and other types of infections that make it more likely for me to get sick. Basically, I have to be extra careful about being around anyone who's sick...I have a GI appointment in Greenville tomorrow so I will be updating him on all of this.

Also, Bowen may have to have surgery to have a tooth pulled. I found that on Saturday and it just makes me upset that my little baby boy will have to get put to sleep for this. We're not even sure when he'll have the procedure but pray for his mommy...I need it! haha :)

That's all for now, I'll update more after my appt tomorrow.
Less than 2 weeks til Katy's big day!!!
Love, Jen

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I'm backkk!

Well, well, well...I am back to the blogging world and I am back among the living!! :) For anyone who may not have heard through the grapevine, I was out of commission for quite a while. Here is the semi-shortened version of the recap...although it is still long: I was diagnosed with Chron's after a colonoscopy (that showed 15cm of inflammation in my rectum) and much deliberation over an ulcer in October 2007. I was put on my maintenance medicine and went into remission fairly quickly. I had one small mishap in February 2008 where I needed 2 months of intestine-specific steroids and then went back into remission on my 1 medicine. I was just trekking along and had sort of forgotten that I even had a disease when I started noticing my pills coming out the same way that I had swallowed them. I thought it was funny more than anything and didn't quite understand the severity of what that meant. Basically, if they were coming out the same way, that meant my body wasn't absorbing them. Blood and loose stool quickly followed and this was in March. In April, I finally made it to my GI doctor (I didn't want to take off from work to go..) and he scheduled another colonoscopy on Good Friday. I was told that there was 50-70cm of inflammation in my rectum and descending colon. So, I was put on prednisone and thought things were going to get better. Well, for the next month we played around with the dose of prednisone to see if I would improve but despite doses from 20mg-80mg, nothing was doing the trick. I actually ended up in the ER after work on May 8 (Friday) because I was so dizzy that I couldn't stand up or even sit up. They hooked me up to an IV, gave me fluids, pain medicine, nausea medicine, and decided that I was just dehydrated. They bumped up my prednisone and told me to follow up with my GI the next week. Well, by the next evening I was already dizzy again and I had all but stopped eating. I went to the GI Wednesday afternoon with Kyle and just let him know that I couldn't do it anymore. Laundry, eating, going upstairs, going to work...ANYTHING was too much of a task for me to think about anymore. He said that I would need to be admitted and that he would be in touch with a GI in Greenville the next morning to see if they would admit me to GHS (the hospital I work for). So, the next morning I got a phone call to head to Greenville. I had to go through the ER again since there were no beds open and was immediately told that I would not be going home that day. My pulse was up, I had lost 10 pounds, and I guess I just looked sick. So, they hooked me up to IV fluids and IV prednisone and that is how I hung out until Sunday. When Sunday afternoon rolled around, I still had not gotten any better..in fact, I continued to lose weight and once I started journaling my bathroom trips, it showed that I was going 20+ times per day despite not eating!! So, the doc decided I needed a colonoscopy on Tuesday. I went down for that only to find out after I came out of the anesthesia that they couldn't even do the procedure because I was so swollen. They were scared that they would perforate my intestines if they performed it. So, I went for a CT of my abdomen and later that night into the next morning is when we realized how incredibly ill I was. My rectum and entire large intestine was now involved (inflammed and almost blocked) and blood work was sent off to California to find out whether I had Chron's or Ulcerative Colitis since every thing pointed to UC, not Chron's. Wednesday morning, the doctor came in and explained how bad off I was and that I needed to go elsewhere. They told me I was not well enough to drive so I would have to be transported to UNC-Chapel Hill via ambulance. Off I went that night. We made it with 5 minutes to spare in the American Idol finale, so everything was great and I still was in denial about being sick. The next morning, the internal medicine posse rounded on me and decided that I needed to be followed by the Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) team (aka chron's and colitis specialists). They rounded on me that afternoon, said that I had UC for sure, and decided that the only way for me to avoid having surgery, would be to start Cyclosporine and hope that that helps me. This is a drug that was developed to supress patient's immune systems after having kidney transplants. For those who do not understand, they are not sure what causes UC, but they think it has some auto-immune component...meaning my immune system attacked my own body. Therefore, if they could suppress my immune system, my body would have a chance to heal. Otherwise, my large intestines would have to come out. So, they started me on the medicine Thursday night which is also the night that I learned what 10/10 pain was all about. OW. Dilaudid became my best friend for the rest of my hospital stay. The Cyclosporine takes about 3-5 days to kick in and within 30 hours, I felt like I was turning the corner. For the first time in 2 weeks, I was asking to take a walk around the nurse's station and asking to get in the shower. I was able to get up into a chair to nibble on my grilled cheese. These small things seemed huge at the time. So, I just trudged along with one IV for my steroids and pain medicine and one IV for my cyclosporine. After 3 weeks, they decided to make my medicines all PO (by mouth) instead of IV. I was finally able to go home. They also added 2 other medicines that will be my maintenance medicines, even after I come off of cyclosporine. They are Lialda, which is also used for rheumatoid arthritis and 6-Mercaptopurine (6MP) which is a leukemia medication. They both have immunosuppresive effects which are why they work, I guess. That meant I was on 4 immunosuppressants. Home I came with dietary restrictions and about 32 pills to take each day...but hey! I was home and starting to feel better. I had lost a total of 22 pounds and looked pretty unhealthy if you ask me. My parents came and stayed with me for a week and helped cook/shop/clean, etc and made me take walks to start building strength. It was all I could do to walk down my .25 mile neighborhood street...pretty sad. But, my medicine was working and I was going to the bathroom about 7 times per day which was a huge improvement. I went back to UNC to check in with them and things were great, so I was off to Katy's wedding shower at the end of June, just 3 weeks after coming home. I wore a mask on the plane but nonetheless I ended up with an ear infection and sinus infection because of my nonexistent immune system. After 2 rounds of antibiotic I felt better but had to get allergy testing to be sure that that was not the cause of me getting sick twice back to back. With 56 tests on my back and 19 on my arm, I was allergy free! :) I have continued following up with my GI doctor in Greenville (Dr. Brackbill) and I go back to UNC Sept 11th for a followup GI appointment and a meeting with the surgeon. For the time being, I am safe from surgery. I go to the bathroom 1-2 times a day but chances are, unfortunately, that at some point in my life, I may have to have surgery. The appointment in September will be to answer our questions and for us to REALLY understand the procedure and what to expect should that time come. I think this will be a great opportunity since we will not be wrapped up with any serious emotions, since I am doing so well right now. Wish us luck with that! I have been at work since 2 weeks after getting discharged from the hospital. I have gained about 15 pounds back (and hopefully will stay put right there). I have started going to church again and will start choir again tonight. All in all, I am back to myself and loving it! I am so excited that I have been given another chance. Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time in my life. Also, a big thank you to my coworkers for being so understanding and seeing my patients for 5 weeks while I was out. A really special thank you to my family (which includes Kyle's family as well) for visiting me daily in the hospital and for my parents and sister who all took days off of work and traveled to be with me while I was scared to death. And most of all, the biggest thank you to Kyle who stuck by my side through it all. No husband gets married thinking that within the first year, his 23 year old wife would be hospitalized for 3 weeks and possibly face surgery that would put her out of work for 6 months. However, it made us stronger, he slept by my side in the hospital on that lovely pull out chair for 2 straight weeks until I was well enough to be left alone. He has kept up the laundry, helped with cleaning, rubbed my belly when it was upset, held my hand when I was in pain, and I could go on and on. I just can't thank him and love him enough for all of that.

Speaking of Kyle, we celebrate our ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY this Sunday!! We leave tomorrow after work to go to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge in Tennessee. We are staying in a cabin for a long weekend and I could not be more excited! We need time together to get away from the daily grind and away from work (without IV poles and beeping machines) since our last time away from work was not relaxing in the least. I will take lots of pictures to share.

Aside from all of that, my mom and nanny are leaving today. They drove down from Delaware/Pennsylvania to hang out with Kyle and I for a few days and they are going up to Charlotte now to hang out with my sister and go to her work wedding shower tomorrow! LESS THAN ONE MONTH UNTIL SHE IS A BEAUTIFUL BRIDE WALKING DOWN THE AISLE!! I can't wait to stand by her side as she says "I do!"

Well, I am going to try to update this at least once per week since I have had requests to get back to the blog world. In the meantime, I ask that you think of all of the people who are having employment/financial troubles as well as those that do not have the best of health right now. A good friend of Kyle (Trey) and his wife (Liz) who I went to nursing school with have a little girl, Wesleigh Anne who is about 2 months old. She was born with Down Syndrome and has already had heart surgery once and will probably have another surgery very soon. She was put back in the hospital Monday after being home for a couple weeks because of a possible infection. PLEASE help them by thinking of them often and praying for a full recovery for little "WAG." Visit her website at: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/wesleighanne/ Her picture is below, I hope Liz and Trey don't mind! :) I have become SO thankful for health and do not think that I will ever take that for granted again. I encourage you all to do the same.