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(Not such a) City Girl

As I mentioned in Monday’s post, I’ve been Manhattan for the past few days. My mom and I are here for my surgery which was on Monday, but we had plenty of fun over the weekend! We’ve spent so many weekends here that I feel like I’ve seen all of the major sites to see, and at this point there are only a couple places in the city that I really look forward to visiting. Central Park will always be my favorite spot in the city (Riverside Park and Bryant Park are a close second. Coincidence that all of my preferred spots are the ones that are the least city-like? I think not ;)

Running in Central Park (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

 

On Sunday morning, we walked to the Jackie Onasis Resevoir in the park to get in a 90 minute workout. It was sunny and hundreds (probably thousands) of other New Yorkers were running around the paths. Where else will you see SO MANY recreational runners in one spot?! By the time I got through about 10 miles, a layer of salt was left on my arms and neck from sweating so we booked it back to our apartment to shower and get ready for a late brunch next to the park.

Stronglikemycoffee.com Central ParkI’ve been wanting to try out Sarahbeth’s several times but we always run out of time or find somewhere equally appealing to go instead. Finally we planned a girl’s day and I had a brunch date with my beautiful mama!

Brunch with Mama at Sarahbeth's (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

Inside the restaurant was bright and energized. We split a peach bellini while deciding on which two brunch entrees we would share. We ended up getting one sweet and one savory, since it’s all about the balance ;) Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Blackberries and a Garden Egg White Omelette.

Brunch at Sarahbeth's (stronglikemycoffee.com)The garden omelette came with a scone and homemade jam, and I honestly just could have eaten the jam with a spoon. Strawberry Raspberry, so so good. After brunch, we walked through the crazy crowds (apparently it was Puerto Rico day and a parade was expected see 2 million people waving their Puerto Rican flags with pride.) Finally we got to an equally-crowded  Times Square to do some shopping. My mom and I each got a couple new workout outfits which always make exercising more fun :)

Monday morning I checked in the hospital bright and early, and the bleomycin sclerotherapy treatment went smoothly. I am always nauseuas after anesthesia and the breathing tube always gives me a sore throat for a few days but that’s why these next two days are all about taking it easy and lounging. My mom and I have been watching episodes of the old ABC show ‘Brothers & Sisters’ which is completely addicting. Whenever I watch movies or shows with big loud crazy families, I always get a little jealous.

As glamorous as NYC looks on TV, I miss home. Where sidewalks don’t reek of urine and car horns are not the soundtrack of our nightly walks.

Well,  I just wanted to put up a little recap of our trip here to keep up with my medical journey blog posts. Later this week I’ll be back with another healthy recipe.

XOX Kenz

The House and the Hospital: Post-Op Update

Blogging from the skies again!

As usual, I’ll make one quick recap post about my time in New York to keep my medical journey up to date. On Saturday, my mom flew with me to New York once again for my second bleomycin treatment with Dr. Berenstein. This was a much more intense session than in May leaving me pretty swollen (no post-op selfies, oh darn.) But we are taking that as a sign that the medicine is working, attacking what it needs to attack :)

Stronglikemycoffee.com Medical Update blog post
My procedure was moved to Mt. Sinai Hospital on the Upper East Side which is a great deal further from the apartment we typically rent. So we had our first experience with the Ronald McDonald House in Manhattan.

My expectations of the RMH were, well, none. I pictured a dorm-like facility with hospital patients and their families, similar to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit inside the hospitals. My dad even suggested we book a hotel instead.

Ronald McDonald House Manhattan (Stronglikemycoffee.com) Blog Post

To say that we underestimated the quality of the Ronald McDonald House would be an understatement of epic proportions. So now I want to do a little rave about our stay here because I was blown away by the beauty of the house, surprised by the comfortable atmosphere, impressed by the service of the staff, and really touched by all of the extra amenities offered to myself and all of the other guests.

Ronald McDonald House Manhattan // Stronglikemycoffee.com new blog post
It has such a positive energy. I don’t mean to sound hippie-earthy. It’s just immediately obvious that the building is so positive and inviting. Not filled with sickness, but full of hope. The common areas and guest rooms were Bright. Happy. Fun. Look at the gorgeous garden (1 of 3!)

Ronald McDonald House Manhattan // Stronglikemycoffee.com New Blog Post

We are so impressed by all of the work that is put into maintaining this non-profit organization. The companies that sponsor and donate as well as the actual RMH staff that organize everything have really done an excellent job at maintaining an outstanding facility. This was truly more impressive than any hotel around. In addition to providing rooms for families, we also appreciate:

  • The donations that keep a constant supply for a coffee cart, cereal and pastry bar, fully-stocked pantry, catered dinners, and nightly events like ice cream socials and luaus.
  • Cute field trips on the Hope Mobile to museums and parks around the city
  • Adorably-decorated rooms (seriously, my mom wants to take the furniture home.)
  • Sweet care packages for patients – I love my Burt’s Bees lipsticks & Essie nail polishes.
  • AOL Media lounge with all the technology, a music room with every instrument, a gorgeous terrace with a garden and fountain 7 stories above the Upper East Side, and a Green Room on our 9th floor that is equally beautiful.
  • The cleanliness of the facility.

Medical Recap Blog Post - July procedure and the Ronald McDonald House

We all want to “give back” when we have the opportunity to do so and I’ve always felt that I needed a cause or organization that I was actually connected to. Because of my short stay at the Ronald McDonald House, I would love to some day be able to do something for this organization on a large scale – like catering monthly dinners (although maintaining the daily coffee cart would be much more my style, huh?)

The real reason we were there, though, was my procedure with Dr. Berenstein. This was my second treatment of bleomycin injections. After I am under anesthesia, the team of surgeons uses ultrasound technology to observe the blood vessels in my cheek and inject the medicine directly into the veins. This round was more intense than the one in May. The doctor targeted two areas, just underneath my eye and next to my mouth. I woke up feeling nauseous and uncomfortable with a sore throat from the breathing tube. I just wanted to get out of the hospital gown, out of the noisy PACU, and into my own cozy room at home. After I was able to digest some food (I opted for my own Blueberry Bliss Luna bar over their turkey sandwhich) we were able to leave the hospital after about 10 hours.

The Ultimate girlie day for recovery // Stronglikemycoffee.com

Yes, that is Chubby Hubby Ben N’ Jerry’s. (On a health blog?! SCANDELOUS!) Hey, my parents have instilled a reward mentality in me since infancy. If I don’t cry during my IV, I get ice cream. It worked at age 4 and it still works at 21. :) My mom and I had the ultimate girlie day recovering in our room with ice cream and grapes, “Saying Anything” and Gilmore Girls.

Oh I can’t forget about my recovery room “roommate” back in the PACU of Mt. Sinai hospital. I’m laying in my bed, counting down until I can be released, when I hear a neighbor rolled next to my curtain. He is disoriented and hysterical. The nurses gently remind him, “you’ve just had surgery. Leonard. LEONARD!” He removed the monitor on his finger, the sleeve on his arm, and even the monitors to the vitals machines. One of the nurses was less than enthusiastic about re-connecting this aggitated patient who didn’t seem to understand where he was.

Next thing I hear: “HE PULLED THEM OUT AGAIN! I JUST put his monitors back on and he’s pulled them all off!” Next they brought in the big guns ….. a male nurse stood by the bed making sure Leonard behaved. Leonard did not behave. Turns out Leonard is a little promiscuous and began undressing himself when the female nurse returned. Her reaction? “See what I do to these men? They just want to take their clothes off for me.” Guess this is a daily occurance in the good ole’ PACU.

The nurse continues to remind him that he just had surgery, he is in the hospital, and he needs keep his (damn) clothes on! Leonard is very confused. He keeps asking if he is dreaming. It takes a few nurses to calm him down and keep him from removing the monitoring devices yet again, asking him questions like “Who is the President? What year is it?” He answers. “Obama. 2014.” And then a panicked, “Am I right?!?!” Yes Leonard, you are in the right year now close your gown.

My hospital and recovery update // Stronglikemycoffee.com
He was unruly though very entertaining.

As per doctor’s orders, I am off cardio exercise for a few more days until the swelling dies down a bit. Guess the Gilmore Girls marathon can continue :)

P.S. A little late to the party, but this girl finally joined the Insta-world! You can find me on Instagram @stronglikemycoffee :)

A Carrie Bradshaw Day

Today’s goal when we awoke? Spot a celebrity. We were bound for Central Park. Magazines and tabloids snap shots of exercising starlets there all the time…
I had my eyes peeled for Katie Holmes, Donald Trump, or at least an Olsen twin. No luck on this chilly Monday. We did see a Zack Galifinakis look-alike though…. so that’s something.

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I harnessed my inner Carrie Bradshaw today, forgoing my flat iron for some French braid waves. I adore Sex & the City ever since E! Network started airing reruns during my long treadmill sessons :) (My favorite is Charlotte.) Today’s Carrie hair inspired another Carrie favorite: my first Cosmo.
But first, back to our Central Park stroll.

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My parents and I entered the park next to The Dakota, at Strawberry Fields. We followed the pathways through the enormous park next to lakes, ponds, playgrounds and sports fields. When we came upon the Jackie Onassis Reservoir, I was ready to RUN!

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I came prepared with some Nikes!
The jogging track around the perimeter of the lake is about 1.58 miles, and I cruised for 3 laps while my parents found a coffee cart. ( Now you know where my obsession comes from!) The loop was full of other joggers and walkers. I plan to return tomorrow to squeeze in a couple more laps before my consultation with my surgeons. Central Park is so GREEN, I just want to enjoy it as much as I can!

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(Yes, I wear my purple pants a lot. Can you tell I like them?)
We used the Map My walk app again as we covered ground around Central Park, Upper Manhattan, and along the Hudson River. Add another 17 miles to the vacation total. We are on a roll! Walking everywhere is a great way to get some exercise on vacation, and in New York it’s often faster than driving anyways. You can also avoid the cab-induced car sickness. Triple win!

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After a snack we walked westward to the Hudson River. Riverside park has a boardwalk out over the water which was disappointingly brown today.
We were ready to take a break from walking, sit in a cafe and order some coffees. (Yes, we have an addiction. No, we don’t want to fix it.) “The Great American Health Bar” boasted espresso, coffee and cappuccinos in its windows – perfect. We were seated at a table and given a menu. I picked an Almondcchino, & my dad picked a Mint Mochacchino. When the server took our orders, he said we could not stay for coffee because they had a $10 per person minimum. He literally grabbed our menus back and picked up our silverware. I guess that was our queue to leave….
No worries, Cafe Europa let us make our simple order and we were caffeinated in no time ;)
By 6:00 we were ready for a cocktail and dinner. Since I’d turned 21 at school this year, my parents and I hadn’t properly celebrated with a drink together! At Delta, a Cajun bar & restaurant, we toasted to another successful semester.

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I knew that I wanted to try a Cosmo at some point on our New York City ” vacation” because of Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha, and Miranda’s infamous girls nights out. The lime & white cranberry made this one a little tart, I loved every sip!

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And here I sit in my apartment blogging. What a very Carrie way to end the day. :)

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