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Continuing my Medical Journey

One quick follow-up on my procedure and then I will return to this blog’s intended purpose: health & fitness!

At some point, the fun had to end. I checked into the hospital for a new procedure to continue improving the venous malformation on the left side of my face. We met with my surgeons once more to discuss the plan of attack. Dr. Milton Waner and Dr. Berenstein founded the Vascular Birthmark Institute and pioneered treatments and equipment that is now used all over the world. They are the best in the field, hence our travel across the country to see them.

My pants match the wall!

A pre-op photo with surgeons Dr. Teresa O and Dr. Milton Waner – My pants match the wall!

I do like to include medical information about my procedures on the blog. Before my surgeries, I would Google and search for other people with similar circumstances. I would have loved to connect with others who have undergone similar treatments, but never had any luck. Maybe this will help someone doing the same!  So just a quick break-down of the game-plan because it’s a pretty complex process (that will be *hopefully* completed by this time next year!)

  • 2-3 more rounds of sclerotherapy with Dr. Berenstein, using Bleomycin injections into the remaining malformation.
  • Laser treatments with Dr. Waner to attack surface veins and reduce the visible purple coloring.
  • “Smoothing” the left side to decrease bulkiness and fill in depressions.
  • Creating a more symmetrical smile! Medical technology is amazing. Dr. Waner and Dr. O use a procedure to re-animate the nerve and muscle function around the left side of my mouth to increase it’s movement. They will use a sensory nerve, artery and muscle from the area around my Achilles tendon, and implant it like an “extension cord” to create symmetry.

I have to do some of my own research to see how using the tissue from my leg will affect my running. Another option is using a cadaver. Yes, creepy. Don’t think about it too hard, that’s what I tell myself ;)

Last week I had the first Bleomycin treatment. Cross one procedure off of the list!

Hospital Recovery (stronglikemycoffee.com)Needles make me squeem. When my anesthesiologist began prepping my HAND for the IV, I just shouted “WHAT are you doing?!”

I *politely* requested he use the underneath of my elbow (<— does that body part have a name? I’ve never had to refer to the “underside of my elbow” before..)

I woke up feeling alright. No major pain or nausea, and I was able to go home later that night after recovering in the pediatric unit. A Sex & the City marathon was playing (how appropriate!) and my parents brought me a peanut butter smoothie to fill my empty belly.

I just have to say a public THANK YOU to my amazing supportive parents. Two of the most caring and generous people, I am blessed to call Mom & Dad. I love you so much :)

The parents (stronglikemycoffee.com)

During our week in the city, we balanced Healthy Choices and Happy Choices. The latter would be splurges on ice cream, cocktails, and special dinners because…..well, because WE CAN.

My parents and I are all glad to be home and return to normal, healthy home-cooking. One saving grace was staying at an apartment with a kitchen. We didn’t have to rely on restaurants for ALL meals and snacks (although stocking a kitchen in Manhattan is still pretty damn pricey).

We packed a fruit and hummus picnic to take to the always-gorgeous Bryant Park:

Bryant Park Picnic in spring (stronglikemycoffee.com)Obviously the water is mine ;)

We made pretty parfaits to fuel our walk through Central Park with yogurt, banana slices, apple chunks, and a crumbled Toasted Nuts & Cranberry Luna bar.

Breakfast parfait on vacation (stronglikemycoffee.com)

We made a Whole Foods stop for movie snacks, where I picked out some delicious “Cacao Blueberry Raison Coconut Almond” clusters. Should be pretty easy to recreate…every ingredient is in the title. :)

Can’t finish this New York recap without mentioning the 9/11 Memorial Museum. By Friday, I was feeling good enough to trek down to the newly-opened museum. It is located underground, directly below the sights of the twin towers. Several layers include actual architecture from the buildings, thrashed fire engines, video and audio clips, and thousands of pictures from the day that our nation will never forget.

9-11 Memorial Museum Manhattan (stronglikemycoffee.com)

And that concludes this New York trip. Tomorrow morning we reunite with LA Fitness. Can’t wait to get sweaty again :) I shall bring you many recipes and workouts soon!

Sunshine // Springtime

Let’s finish up with my weekend adventures, shall we? After our day zip lining through the trees, Chelsea & I headed towards sunshine.

Am I sick of Sedona yet?

Ha, not in the slightest. Every time is different! The Devil’s Bridge picnic, the Valentine’s Day hikes, the solo adventure.

Our mission was to absorb as much sun as possible. Chelsea calls herself a “ghost” and my skin is about 43 shades lighter than my summer self. Thank goodness for GORGEOUS blue skies, BRIGHT shining sun, and TONS of friendly people out. You just couldn’t help but be happy on a day like this. You just couldn’t.

Sedona Hiking day

We packed a bag with essentials like sunscreen, cameras and (clean) snacks. The trail isn’t too hard, just follow Bell Rock Pathway until you reach the base of the hill and start climbin’! There were people sun tanning, people doing yoga, people having photo shoots. We had a picnic :)

Sedona Hiking Lunch

Our clean picnic – almonds & pistachios. Apples. And my current addiction, Quest Bars.

When you’re following a clean diet, you get a little desperate for something sweet and desserty. Quest Nutrition is getting creative with their bars to use in recipes with other clean ingredients, and I can’t wait to try this Pumpkin Pie recipe. I even follow the brand on Facebook & posted this picture with #Onaquest hashtag to enter into a Quest Bar Photo contest. Loyal customer right here!

Sedona Shoes

Working on our tans ;) This is our kind of spring break! We might have gotten a little too much sun and some aloe vera was necessary but I wasn’t ready to go back home just yet. Heading to Phoenix was like an obstacle course with the crazy tumbleweeds across the highway that were sticking to everyone’s grill. Welcome to the desert.

Phoenix palms

I got a personal tour by Miss Chelsea of ASU & I’m a fan. Everyone wants what they don’t have, though right? Come from a snowy climate and you’ll be immediately attracted to the heat. Come from the desert an you’ll be fascinated with the white mountains.

When in Phoenix! (stronglikemycoffee.com)

When in Phoenix..?

Our hiking wasn’t even done yet. Sunday morning began with a short hike up A mountain to get the overview of campus and Tempe. This is where I ran my first marathon so I have a special attachment to this city! Seeing the Tempe Town Lake reminded me of running the last quarter-mile, crossing the bridge and seeing my family. Good memories :)

phoenix view

After a few hours by the pool with a pretty fruit salad I was back on the highway with my iced coffee and my country mix CD. I’ve driven more miles in the past week than I have in my whole life ;) and I’m loving it!

This song……..change “Ford” to “Honda” and it’s like he’s singing about me. Love me some EYB!

 

And spring break is just getting started. Happy Wednesday! (Also known as “Chest & Triceps” day. Ha!) :)

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