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 :)
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.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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 :)
Good morning from Atlanta :)
Surprise! I’ve decided to relocate from SoCal sunshine to Southern Comfort. The palm trees and Mexican food will not be missed.
…..if you fell for that, you have not been around here long. Kenzie’s hair + Humidity = Frizz outta control. Hello, Poodle.
No, my time in the Peach State will be brief (unless a Luke Bryan-esque cowboy comes to sweep me off my feet in the next 75 minutes…) I’m just on a layover for my flight to New York for the next round of bleomycin injections to my cheek.
While I sit in airports, I have lots of time on my hands. Naturally I made a list of things to get done, hence this Saturday morning blog post :)
Though I have never left the country, I’ve done my fair share of travelling. College tour road trips, recruiting visits, out-of state track meets meant full travel days. (Longest trip yet: 2 hour drive + 3.5 hour flight + 8 hour drive + 45 very grumpy teenage athletes. Real quality bonding time.)
From all-day drives, overnight train trips, even a 4 hour horse ride (ouch.) I’ve learned ways to make a day of moving from here to there a little more bearable.
Lord knows how many germy, snotty tiny humans sat in that seat, sneezed on that tray, reached for that door handle. Airplanes are basically breeding grounds for germs and stress compromises your immune system. De-cootify your hands, don’t eat from the tray, drink water like it’s your favorite thing to do, and take immunity insurance like Airborne or Emergen-C. A little extra Vit C couldn’t hurt! (And the berry flavor chewable type taste like Sweet Tarts.)
This is referring to your outfit. I know my pajama-wearing girls are gonna hate me for this. I don’t think a flight warrants the need to look like a hobo. A lot of people don’t see a point in putting together a decent outfit, but you are still in public. God bless the inventor of the maxi dress/maxi skirt. It’s like yoga pants without legs, perfectly comfortable and yet somehow stylish.
I prefer fitted athletic wear (not to be confused with baggy sweats and old t-shirt) because I can squeeze in some discrete exercise (see tip #4) But if I need to look presentable when I get where I’m going I like skinnies and flat-heeled boots.
3.) Be Productive! (This is my caffeine talking!)
What a perfect time to cross off those menial tasks we procrastinate for the elusive “later.” Uninterrupted hours are at your disposal.
*If you’re the slip-on-my-eye-cover-and-slip-into-a-short-coma passenger, feel free to skip this tip.
Travel days seem like wasted hours so I like to find a few things to work on (eh-hem this post right here…) A killer playlist can keep up energy and focus. None of that sleepy John Mayer crap. I have a specific “Airplanes & Trains” playlist meant to Get. Stuff. Done.
4.) MOVE when you can
Sitting for hours on end is like a punishment for your body. After a while, your metabolism slows, yours blood flow slows, your energy is wasted. Find opportunities to MOVE and use them. (Which relates back to tip #2 and the convenience of yoga pants.)
Get up and take a restroom break every hour. Be that girl. Your fellow flyers may think you have over-active bladder syndrome but you’ll protect yourself from collecting a blood clot!
Tangent —> Blood clots freak me out for real. In elementary school, I heard a news story about a reporter doing a piece in the Middle East. After hours cramped in a military vehicle with no leg space, he developed a blood clot in his leg that travelled to his heart and killed him. This stuck in my head, and in 7th grade my biology textbook even referenced the incident. Maybe this will scare you into moving more. Fear tactic! Muahaha.
Got a long layover? Do some lunges/squats/calf raises/stretching. Hey I have no shame doing exercises in an airport if my fellow flyers have no shame wearing pajama bottoms, Crocs and hair curlers in public. Layovers were made for walking (and that’s just what I’ll do) ;)
5.) Snack Smart
Dry roasted peanuts anyone? No no no. You’re smarter than that, girl! You already know that airports, gas stations, and snack carts have “convenient” junk. When you’re packing your bag, bring your own food for the day with actual nutrients and vitamins. Obviously we’ll have to compromise a little for convenience, portability and TSA regulations (THEY MADE ME THROW AWAY MY PEANUT BUTTER THIS MORNING. I will not forgive them.) but some safe options include protein bars, bananas, apples, almonds, pistachios, kale chips and rice crisps.
College girls travel smarter!
Speaking of travelling, last night I had a dream that I traded in my car for a little motorcycle. As I was getting ready to ride the 5+ hours back to school, it just then occured to me “how would I carry my stuff?” You know, furniture….clothing….important things. Not sure where that one came from ;)
What’s your travel must-have?
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Happy Independence Day Weekend!
Still recovering from the 4th of July festivities?! I hope you were able to celebrate the special day with friends, food and fireworks! I thoroughly enjoyed a day off of work and celebrated by sleeping in an extra 3 glorious hours :)
My family’s Independence Day weekend included a healthy dose of sunshine on one of my favorite west coast beaches. Balboa, baby! I adore the ferris wheel, the Balboa ferry and the peninsula lined with (over-priced) cute condos. We spent a couple hours walking along the boardwalk and through the beach-y neighborhoods, shopping for our dream home.
I think I was the only girl on the boardwalk not wearing high-waisted shorts and a crop top. How on earth this trend continues to catch on while it makes your butt look unnaturally long is beyond me. #sundress4life ;)
Coffees next to the ferris wheel is Balboa beach tradition.
We started the beach day walking from one pier to the other. American flags were everywhere! Newport residents did not disappoint with the patriotism. After over an hour of walking (and sweating), we were ready to set up camp on the sand and do absolutely nothing.
This girl needed to add some sunlight back into my skin (and work on the eternal sports bra/spandex tan lines!)
I made one unhealthy mistake…..insufficient sunscreen. Damn, I’ve never had major sunburns. My SoCal skin usually welcomes the rays with an olive tone….but three years in the snowy mountains have turned my skin pale and I guess its reunion with the beach sun was a little too harsh! Aloe Vera is my BFF right now.
Unfortunately the beach is overwhelmingly crowded, especially on a holiday weekend. We pinicked lunch with some healthy sandwiches and fruit and decided to hop on a ferry to walk on the other side of the island.
Showering after a sandy sweaty day at the beach = best showers ever. To be clean again! And the night ended with a Pineapple Rum Slushie.
Tomorrow morning I set out for my Sunday Long Run! My favorite workout of the week :)
Due to a ridiculously busy schedule last week I had to postpone a few blog posts that I wanted to share but be ready for a pineapple-y recipe on the blog Monday morning!