Sunday, August 31, 2008

Have I told you lately?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Have I told you lately?

Current mood: loved

Category: Life

As I posted my old blogs on Blogger I was re-reading some of them and a thought crossed my mind that I can't shake....

Have I talked more about how much I love my brother since his death then I ever did before?

I sadly fear the answer to that is yes and it hurts me so much to admit it.

So (everyone I love) just in case you wondered- I love you, I am glad you are in my life and I hope you never ever forget that even if I don't say it enough.

Make new friends and keep the old

Just a quick note- this is the blog I began and will continue to keep updated on myspace. However due to popular demand (and those people who "don't do myspace") I will also be posting here as well.

The blogs you see posted are my archived postings and that date of the orginal post is included at the beginning of each blog.

I hope you enjoy my musings and I welcome you to play the "at home" version!


Saturday, August 30, 2008

I’m looking at the (woo)man in the mirror

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I’m looking at the (woo)man in the mirror

Current mood: contemplative
Category: Life

No one on this planet spends more time in a mirror than me right now. I don't care how narcissistic a person might be I could do a stare off (of myself) and win hands down! I'd even throw down with the Chicks "Next Door" - that's right, bring it bitches!!

Why am I checking myself out so much? It's not vanity that's fo shore. I just find everytime I breeze by a mirror it is an opportunity to try as hard as I can to check for any kind of change or progress. When you go through a process like this you get caught in your own vision of your body. Just like its impossible to ever heard your own true voice- cuz when you hear a recording you are so busy going "I don't sound like that!" you never can clearly hear yourself it's impossible for me to see what you would see when you see me.

I walk into the bathroom and stare at my face. Left profile...perhaps a bit more cheek bone showing?? Right profile....what is the flat looking spot under my eyes? Front view....still have a chin or two to get rid of don't we?? Then I have this weird habit of throwing up my shirt "Girls Gone Wild" style and checking out the belly. First my poor shrinking ta-ta's....totally revising my thoughts on plastic surgery. (I am totally getting implants and a tummy tuck when this is over.) My chest should not suffer just because of a diet. What's that right under the bust line....could it be the peekings of a rib cage? I can feel it getting closer to the surface...yeah! Oh, but look what's beneath it...still a big marshmellowy fishbelly white tummy. And at the bottom? The big mocking grin of a roll that makes up the lower portion of my gut. Mmmm sexxy. When one looks at their belly it should not smile back at you! I do see some wrinkly areas where there is clearly some loss and while this is good I just fast forward to having a whole belly of nothing but puffy and wrinkly skin.

Then I glance at my thighs. I have been wearing "compression shorts" (aka bike shorts) to keep things sucked in at night and while I bought a pair of Spanx for the day I have not had the stones to wear them all day. Something about a split crotch that just does not scream "business day wear". So in the upright and locked position my little heart lifts to see the glimmer of a thigh appear...and below it maybe just a hint of a "normal" kneecap. But then I sit down, and like a squished jellyfish my thigh fat oozes all over and looks just like 2 stand-ins for Jabba the Hut. Of course we don't look any further down my legs because of the wraps which make my legs appear to be at least 2x's as big as they are...but no ones sees that anyway so what does it matter? I also really wonder how much scarring and damage will be done to the skin on my legs long-term. Skirts and dresses may never be in my future again...

Snapping up to the top of my body I then assume the "on the cross" pose and examine my arm flaps. I never ever see any change here and fear I will always have this slab of meat hanging off my arms. On the upside I feel it would make a great weapon. I could just swing and take out a bad guy with a soild ::thwack:: of my arm fat. So I got that going for me...which is nice. I always think of hanging meat in a butcher shop when I look at my arms. Just hanging there all jiggly. I have a little less "hang-age" from my forearm but always think I have the extra fat there that some people have on their upper arms. Grrrrr-8!

I finish by re-scanning my face juuuuust in case there was any change since I looked 20 seconds ago....nope. Damn! Well maybe it will look different in my little mirror I keep in my desk.......

Bag Lady

Friday, August 29, 2008

Bag Lady

Current mood: morose
Category: Life

I am officially a bag lady- down 97lbs (damn those 3 lbs!! I'll get you next week my pretties) most of my clothes are now super baggy. Annoyingly even the new pants I bought and the new shirt. I know, good problem to have but the real tragedy is (deep sigh) my chest has suffered the most I fear. Now my DNA has blessed many a chica in my family tree. I have a sister and 2 nieces (19 and 15) who are in the "d" club. I was never even close to that but now what little I did have is...well, floppy. It's soooooo not fair that what little I have has shriveled up. The one garment I would have been ok with not shrinking out of was- my bra!!

I'm just saying...... (sigh)

My Lifetime story

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Lifetime story

Current mood: accomplished
Category: Life

Life is so strange- I have had a very emotional week this week and have been all over the map. I am not sure what the root of the misery and drama was but I am not a fan and just wanted it to pass. When I feel like that its like a thick wet blanket is drapped over me and I am just trapped until it passes. I think for the most part the cloud has lifted. Not that things are all ducky now but at least I feel like I can breathe now.

I had a business lunch yesterday with a group of people and afterwards one of the attendees grabbed me and asked if he could learn more about my story. I had to go then but he called me later and I gave him the whole saga (this all started cuz I mentioned this blog and how I was recording my little adventures for friends and family ). He didn't know most of it (of course) he only knew about what he could see- the weight loss. When he learned about the rest he told me something really sweet and touching. He said he thought what I am doing is very brave and he even said as I was talking he got all choked up. Then he said he thought I was so inspiring.
It may sound strange to anyone that his comments really stunned me. I am able to step outside my own situation and I know if I heard my own story told to me by anyone else I would probably feel and say all those things. I would feel sympathy but also pride at the accomplishment and just the stones it takes to battle all that stuff. But its me, and its my life and I am in it 24/7. I am never not thinking about my brother, my family, my weight, my legs....not to mention the normal stress of work and bills and all that other stuff that makes up people's days. My head is so full of all that its nearly impossible to really hear and accept the feedback that I am inspiring people. Its what I hope for of course, and part of why I am sharing this all. I want to show the world that I can and will make something good happen from my brother's death and I want to show my nieces and nephew that you can change your life at any time with the choices you make. Even when you have screwed up for so long you can draw a line and say from this moment on I will make a different choice.

So I accept the very humbling compliment that I am inspiring (although there is a long long road yet to go) and will continue to fight because that it the choice I am dedicated to for me and my family.
And btw....I totally want Valerie Bertonelli to play me in the Lifetime version of my story!

Here I go again on my own

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Here I go again on my own

Current mood: infuriated
Category: Life

I am so mad and frustrated right now. As I mentioned I have been having issues with the compression garments (stockings) I have been wearing during the day. I am not sure why they hurt me but they do and it has been getting worse and worse to the point where I was literally screaming the whole drive home Friday. Needless to say this has been making me unproductive at work and generally a cranky beast. They have also rubbed sore (a la blisters) into the back on my ankles and with lymphodema you have to be careful with infection so I have been worried about that.

I called the clinic I went to for therapy last week to ask about when I should get my varicose veins treated and mentioned tha pain I was having then. Keri (who I worked with before) told me to keep them updated on it and we will see what we need to do. So yesterday I call and there is a new therapist and she bascially said I am not a patient anymore so I am back at the bottom of the list and need to go and get another referral and start the whole process all over again. I am alreay frustrated and feel like all the hard work I have been doing is for nothing and not only am I not making progress but I am worse off than I was a few weeks ago. I just feel like I am totally on my own and there is no one who cares and will be there for me and provide help and guidance (medically speaking). It just sucks how you are trully on your own and if you don't get educated and take charge of your own issues you will be floating in limbo forever with no assistance. I just wonder where the compassion and caring that I know is out there in the medical field is? I know my family has a ton of compassionate people (nurses and paramedics and home health care workers- oh my!). Why is it when you are the one who needs help you find all the doors shut and locked?

I just want to scream I am so mad. I just feel like this is a never ending struggle and the more I do to get ahead the more I stay in the same place. I don't know how to get over this wall. Not that there haven't been fleeting "good" moments where for a bit I have felt better (the dreaded question) and lighter and more attractive. But now I am back to penguin legs and my pretty new shoes got stuck back in the closet. Good thing I didn't throw the flip flops out after all.
I am just so tired of fighting and struggling and swimming, it sucks and I am doing the best I can and it doesn't seem to matter. I really don't know what else I could be doing to help myself and yet it seems to do no good.

Make no mistake kids, you can only ever ever count on yourself. For better or worse my failures and success are 100% mine cuz not a damn person can help (or will) help me.

***note: my coworker was trying to cheer me up by complimenting my hair don't today....apparently the no washed, pulled back in a ponytail "dirtbag chic" look is "in" this season. Good to know.

And the hits just keep on coming

Monday, August 25, 2008

And the hits just keep on coming

Current mood: annoyed
Category: Life

I knew when I really good time a few weeks ago I would be punished later- and now I am. little lunch story was odd enough right?

(Update- turns out, someone I know whoshallremainnameless knows the dude and may or may not have "intimate" knowledge of him confirmed that he is a bit of a binge drinker and perhaps may be ummm, partaking of other stuff. Sorry Amy, not meningitis)

So now this weekend I go to a movie out of sheer boredom and go see The Mummy Returns (it sucks, don't waste a second of your life watching it). I sit in the back row and the theatre is 95% empty. This, of course does not stop the family of 4 from sitting to my left with all their tweens chatting away. Annoying but to be expected. What I did not expect was the couple who came stumbling in about 10 mins into the movie and sat one seat away from me. They sat down and kept squirming around and were mumbling to each other. I was already annoyed by the a) kids b) lame movie and now c) them so I decided to leave. I grab for my purse and look to my right and discover that the couple is full on making out! Not only making out but there is ummmmm, nippleage and zippers undone and other stuff that I did not expect to see. interesting at this may sound please let me be clear that never ever when stuff likes this happens is it ever people who you may want to see doing things like this. Perhaps if David Beckham had been half naked beside me I would have been down...but not, def NOT this couple.
Did I mention they were also totally blocking the aisle? I had to practically climb over the seats to get the hell out of there which I was more than happy to do. At that point I may have chewed off my arm to get the heck outta Dodge.

I don't get it but somehow I have become A 1 freak magnet and until things change I will be hiding in bed under my covers...please forward all my calls.

Other then that I had a very bad weekend in a ton of pain because of my legs. It is depressing so I did not feel much like doing anything so I will give a full update later.

OMG- strangest lunch E V E R

Thursday, August 21, 2008

OMG- strangest lunch E V E R

Current mood: stalked
Category: Jobs, Work, Careers

Ok....we now take time out of Tracey's personal and private struggles to tell a really fucking trippy story about her bizarre work life!!!

Sooooooo. I do a ton of networking and was referred this guy who is looking for a new job. Kinda what I do for a living so I talk to him and I had seen him before at events so I knew him kinda. Turns out he is a recruiter as well and my boss wants me to hire a team so I set up a lunch with him to discuss options. Either hire him for my team or refer him to other places I know...cuz I am people who knows people. (:::snap:::)

He shows up today wearing a suit (not necessary to impress me but I appreciate the effort) and comes into my office. We chat then decide to head out for lunch. He is a bit wobbly on his feet but who knows what that's due to (injury, illness, whatev) so I don't think much of it. I offered to drive (*** BIG mistake as we will see later) and we walk to my car. He had parked his car next to mine and I notice it is still running. So I say "dude, did you leave your car running??" and he was like "Oh, yeah I wasn't sure how long we'd be so I left it running" (wtf??) So we get in the car and drive to Applebee's about a mile away. We sit and start talking and I notice he is a bit more wobbly and then notice his pupils are the size of quarters. Dude is tweaking on something!! I ask if he is OK and he says he has the flu. Then proceeds to take a freight train to hell and he begins to babble about nonsense and can't focus his eyes at all and I think he is going to strip naked and start running around screaming (he didn't but it looked like where this was headed in the moment). I decide to wrap it up and get the hell out of there so I tell him we are leaving and then he slumps over the table!! There is a huge party being seated right behimd us and they are all looking at me and I shoot them a "I don't even know the dude" look. The waitress offers to get her manager but dude starts getting up and follows me out weaving across the parking lot. He then starts to get into a random car and I have to guide him to my car and he's like "oh, you drove?" Ummm yeah. So he gets in and I ask what he took as I am already assuming 911 will be called in the very near future. He then goes non-verbal on me and slumps into my window. I drive like a bat out of hell back to my office and when I stop at a light he snaps to and goes "what happened?" Dude totally blackout out in my car!! He then leans towards me and I had an "oh god he's gonne stab me in my own car" moment but I pushed him back with a "your ok, just settle down." His head is rolling all over and I'm trying to ask him who I can call to drive his ass home (and out of my life) and he can't answer.

We get back to my office and he grabs his shit (somehow he threw his tie in my backseat, still not sure how that happened). He gets out but leaves his bag in the car so I have to tell him to take his bag with him. He then starts stumbling towards my office and I say "nope, your car is right here....we are all done". He clearly can barely understand me and shuffles over to his car where I expected he would pass out and I'd have to call the cops but he did manage to start his car and leave.....out on the road and will more than likely seriously hurt himself or someone else- but not me so at least there is that!

omgomgomgomggomgomg!!!!!!! seriously the most fucked up thing that has ever happened to me....and that friends, is saying something!!

Lesson learned: even if you know don't know someone and never ever ever take some tweaked out freak anywhere in your car!

Oh, and always floss. That is just good advise any day!


Monday, August 11, 2008


Current mood: aggravated
Category: Life

So here I am feeling pretty good about buying new clothes and getting some new bling....all be it Target bling ( counts!) and all in all feeling pretty good when out of nowhere I get a double dose of horrifying reality. First, I am minding my own business channel surfing away when I land on TLC. Now I love TLC....the DiY shows, Jon and Kate Plus it. So I land on one of the medical shows and its one of those "My Shocking Story" episodes. You know, the one where they show people who in PT Barnum's time you'd have to chuck a quarter at to take a look?? When....did you see it coming yet? Yup, you guessed it. The show is titled "My Big Foot" and it features a 46 year old woman who has lymphodema. Great!! I looked all over but could only find this kinda crappy clip from the show. It is a very severe case and no....mine did not get close to being that bad but, make no mistakes kids, that is exactly what I have and what my future could have been. I was literally taking off my compression bandages and rolling up my wraps while I was watching this show. Seriously, if you watch the clip below you will see the sames orange gloves I have in my pic gallery that they use to pull her bandages on. Now as repulsed and horrified as I was to watch this I have to admit that I saw this same show a few months ago and pre-all this and it did occur to me that her situation was a bit to close to mine so I stopped watching it. Go figure eh?? Watch at your own risk but here you go for those who are curious....and you can check TLC if you want to watch the whole show. If you dare.....

SOOOOOOOOO, as if that were not enough fun for one night I got another right hook today. I spend about 30 mins a day right now just rolling up these bandages. That does not count putting them on or taking them off (for that add another 45 mins per day). And I discovered I was a getting a callous on my fingers from all this rolling. Now I am a white collar girl and do NOT want sandpaper hands so I got online and found a lymphodema website that sells all kinds of products and supplies including a bandage roller. Yay! I was so excited! It is a wall mounted, hand crank deal-y that will cut down my time in half plus keep my skin all baby smooth. I happily ordered it for the oh-so low low price of $13.95 (a bargin!) and waited for it to arrive. Which it did. Today.....and guess what the package says???? "The Re-Wrap" brought to you by
EQUESTRIAN PRODUCTS!!!! Straight out of Gainesville TX y'all! Seriously, it's for HORSES!!!!! (see pic - I don't make this shit up)Are you fucking with me?? Seriously, who the hell is punking me now??? OMG. Ya, so I got scary ass video and a horse product......this is my life.

(((((deeeeeeeep sigh))))))

....but hey, at least I got new bling right?????

::walks into sunset shaking her head::::::

Only in my world........

Shoe Fly- Don’t bother me!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Shoe Fly- Don’t bother me!

Current mood: fabulous
Category: Life

Anyone else remember that song? No, just me?? Well ok.....

Anyways....when we last left off I was basically screaming into the big ravine a la Garden State (great movie - if you have not seen it rent it today!). Thanks for letting me rant and perhaps share a bit toooo much info (sorry nieces but better you hear it from me than on the streets). I do have some good news to share so I thought I'd pop on least someone sends a search party for me. I am ok I swear, just a moment of madness that needed released.

So what is the good news? Well....its a small thing but a big deal to me but I am FINALLY able to wear my regular shoes again. Those of you who wondered why I wore flips flops or crocs to Iowa in the winter...well it was because for the past Ican'tevenrememberhowlong I have only been able to wear those 2 pairs of shoes. Not a deliberate fashion choice I assure you but finally I am able to slide my little piggy's into real grown up business appropriate shoes again. * see pic in my Leggs photo album. The big thing is it just gives me a bit of hope that there will be an end to this someday, or at least a manageable solution. And it has given a boost to my self confidence too. That, along with the fact that I finally caved and went shopping today for new pants as the ones I have are a bit baggy now. And not alot of people will understand this so just trust me on this one but for the first time in...maybe decades I have non elastic waist pants! Seriously....this is a huge thing to me. I got 2 new pair because who knows how long I will be in these and I don't wanna spend a ton of cash on clothes that won't me in for long. Oh,I did buy some fun new accessories too cuz I figure bling looks good no matter what your size!

I had a thought about my "fat clothes" (aka my present wardrobe) and I have asked my sis if she would make me a quilt out of them. My thought is as they get too big for me I will save my fave's and then make them into a quilt to remind me of what I went through to get where I hope I will end up. Toni made a quilt from my brother's old t-shirts so I figured why not do something similar? C' one in the whole world will love the Teddy Bear coat like me so why give it away when I can keep it forever?? I stand by the whole "you will never see my fat pants" rant so this is a way to honor and remember the journey without all the embarassment.

Ok....haven't weighed in yet so no updates (Friday) but I am hoping to hit the century mark by the end of the month!

PS- I was so happy about the shoes I bought 2 new pairs! Gotta love Zappo's!!

Hate this sooo much

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hate this sooo much

Current mood: bitchy
Category: Life

Seriously- I don't want to just jump on and write something everytime I am in a shitty mood but I guess that is the "dear diary" nature of a blog so here goes....I fucking HATE this shit. I am over it and I don't want to do it anymore. I feel like a fucking mummy all wrapped up all day and night. I very much plan on getting laid in the near future and what do I have to offer? A body that looks all deflated (especially in the ta-ta area- proof that god has a wicked sense of humor is you always lose weight first where you never want to lose it) NOT to mention these mumified legs.

The daily rountine is hard enough but today I tried to wear the compression garments to work- I wore them yesterday while I ran around and aside from being fucking hot (my legs felt like pigs in a blanket) it was ok. So I waxed and glued my legs into them again today (so NOT kidding about that btw) and sure enough- by 10am I was in searing pain again from where the left one was digging into the newly healing skin. So I had to make the 30 mile round trip to drive home, re-wrap the bandages I had taken off that morning and wrap up my left leg again.

It sucks!!
It sucks!!
It sucks!!
It sucks!!
It sucks!!
It sucks!!

I could go on but you get my drift. It's too much to take and I want it just to be over. And the worst part is I feel like I deserve it. That this is my punishment for not taking better careof myself all along. And by that I mean the weight plus not getting this checked out back when I first noticed it. My go to "ignore it and it will eventually go away" tactic failed me once again....go figure.

Arrrrrrrrrrrggghhhhhh!! I just want to scream and smash something. I HATE THIS. I don't want to be strong or fight or even deal with this anymore. Oh wait, I don't have a choice. Great! Perfect! So I am stuck....story of my life.

Oh well....

PS- why do I never hear from all you "lurkers"? I see you read these but you never post anything? Come on, speak up. I want to hear from you...anything!?

Enquiring Minds

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Enquiring Minds

Current mood: hot
Category: Life

Just wanted to post a quick blog to say if you have been following along and are curious I posted some pics of all this crazy stuff I have to do for my legs (on my myspace page) The bio-compression pumps, the bandages and before and after pics of the therapy. I know there are a bunch of medical folks in the crowd and I have been asked by a few to show them more so I figured I would go ahead and post them all so whoever is curious can check them out.
Next up- compression shorts! (aka- bicycle shorts, to suck me in and help to keep the lymphatic fluid from building up in my tummy/groin/thigh area).

....did I mention it is July in Phoenix??!

Tales from Tracey Lu-

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Tales from Tracey Lu-

Current mood: aggravated
Category: Life

Gather 'round kiddies, its time for another adventure from the Tales of Tracey....starring little Tracey Lu (which makes me sound like I should be asian but I am -so- not). Are you comfy? Got your snack and cuppy? Great! Then off we go....

Friday finds our young (kinda) adventurer off to therapy once more. When she gets there she happily pronounces that all the icky oozing that has plagued her since October of last year (I swear, I thought it would go away eventually..wrong!) has stopped! Done! Finito! Yay, oh happy day! The therapist took some measurements and declared that Tracey lost a total of 5000ml of fluid from her legs (2.5 full 2 liter bottles) and she is done with the therapy after just 2 weeks. Of course it took 4 months of going to other doctors to getting the wrong advice and treatment to finally get to the person who could make it better in 2 weeks...details! This is of course wonderful news but begs the question, ummmmm- now what? The answer to that question is ongoing maintenace and reduction (yes there is is still more to lose) using "simple tools". The asst therapist then produces what looks like a sausage casing/pantyhose from hell looking thing. She explains that this is what will now be "day wear". They are compression garments which will not allow for the fluid to re-accumulate in Tracey's lower legs. They are short stretch like the banadages and thus extremely difficult to tug on and off. In fact, there are tools to putting the things on...they are: a wax paper shoe (to help slide them over the foot and heel) and then to get them into place, grippy rubber gloves. Finally to keep them from rolling down- a sticky roll on substance to glue them to the top of her calf (just under the kneecaps). So a demo of how to put these things on follows and while they are thick and hideous at least they allow for movement than the 5 layer burrito that the bandages are....and it is still summer in Phoenix so Tracey is pleased (oh, and its all for the low low price of $70). However.... (que dramatic music) do not think the bandages have left the building! They are still a critical part of the process and must be worn everynight. This is the new reality for our heroine and will be little Tracey's everyday life until.......?

So with new sexy stockings donned she is off to enjoy the freedom of NOT walking like a penguin and feeling somewhat normal again even though while her toes and free and wiggling from the front of her flip flops one would have to take a double take at the off brown color that her heel and ankles are cuz clearly she is not -that- tan and not just her feet! Oh happy happy day! She drives back to her high powered job and into her office (which was occupied by a weeping, sobbing coworker who had the door to Tracey's office shut and was clearly in the middle of some drama- ahem, leave please!) and plopped down to begin her bandage free day! She begins to notice a tightness and a pinching matter.. she think, I am free and swings her legs to the tunes on the radio. Ten minutes later pinching was become searing pain and after 2 conversations where she couldn't even hear what was being said due to the pain, poor Tracey had to rip off the stocking from her left leg which had been digging into the newly healing flesh where the icky oozing had just stopped. Now dizzy from the pain Tracey called the therapist who was sad to hear about the pain but was not sure what to do....Tracey volunteered that she was just going to go back to the wrapping for that leg until that skin was in better shape and could handle the pressure of the stocking a bit more. The therapist agreed and with that they both rode off into the sunset...where at home Tracey took off her other stocking to wrap it that night and managed to poke her finger through the stocking creating a $70 hole.

....The End

So here is what I learned from this little tale. Doctors, therapist, nutritionists all know shit. Taking care of yourself is the hardest job in the world and you have to work at it everyday. And....most can only ever, EVER rely on yourself.

Seriously, you have to take every scrap of information you get from so called "experts" put it all through your own bullshit-o-meter and FIGURE IT OUT. Cuz with all the info and different opinions and just plain wrong and dangerous things you get told, when it is all said and done there is no one who does (or at least SHOULD) care as much about your health and well being as you. It takes constant vigilence and active work to keep up with what you need to do to keep your mind and body healthy and there is so much that will get in your way. The big question I have and keep going back to is....why the HELL didn't anyone ever explain this to me before now!!?

Make no mistake, we are all in a battle kids....with time, with experts and most of all with ourselves cuz most people will never ever get out of their own way and do the things they need to do

Natural High

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Natural High

Current mood: amorous
Category: Life

What up peeps? I am having a bit of an mood upswing so sit back and enjoy! Like so many artists (cough, cough) I tend to write most when I am one morose motherfucker (HUGE bonus points for anyone who can name the source for that one) but I am actually in a good mood right now. I went to Smart for Life today for my weigh in and got a vitamin B12 shot and I think it just kicked in- whoo-hoo!!

So first things first....I have hit what I actually feel is a milestone. I am down 75 pounds. I lost 8 this past week which I think may be due to some of the fluid loss from the leg stuff....that fluid has to go somewhere I vote for getting it out the old fashion way. My average weight loss is now right about 4.5 lbs per week. Some weeks more and some less but if I stay at this pace I should be able to hit my goal of 145 easily by this time next year...maybe even before that. Anyways, I was thinking that when I DO hit my goal that there needs to be a BIG party. I am going to plan to come home for my bday next year (and Bubbafest.....Holli, start planning now) and CELEBRATE! But for now I will be happy with the 75 and hopefully by the end of next month I will be at 100 which was my original goal. Not that I am stopping there by any means!
Now before I get the slew of the predicatable "how do you FEEL" questions let me wait for a moment while you review my last 2-3 blogs.....go ahead....I'll wait.....ok, back now? Ok so hopefully you now realize that I am somewhat distracted by those issues and the neccessary but -huge- pain in the ass that itis and has kept me from being able to really detect or enjoy any changes. I have noticed some clothes getting baggy but let face it, I have been wearing pants with elastic bands for quite some time so it is going to be slower to notice in those items. I plan to start exercising again now that the wound is almost healed but I have to admit I am a bit scared of exercise. I have never gotten into a program that I have stuck with and while I was getting into a bit of a rountine with the walking it is now waaaay to hot to walk outside and (this is a lame excuse but here we go) I don't really have footwear for proper exercising. Seriously, all I have is crocs and flip flops and I don't think either are recommended for tread mills. I am sure I will figure it out but before I add something else to my life I need to get the wrapping out of my evening routine.

Now what has put me in the super good mood....I am very very very excited about a friend of mine coming to town. Anyways, he is coming to Phoenix for a week for a work conference and we plan to spend at least 2 nights together. Ok, full disclosure....he is one of the guys I met online waaaay back when I was doing the AOL chat room thing. ForEVER ago! So...technically, we have never met. I do have to say he is and has been one of my best friends for over 10 years and knows me better then almost anyone. He has seen me grow and become who I am today and supported me the whole way. It's weird how our lives have been drawing together actually. All I know is if I had to pick one guy to be with it would be, and always has been, him.(::::::big girly sigh::::::::)

On the other hand we have my minute man (you figure it out) who will be in town for the weekend right before. Hopes are not high for that weekend but it will be good to practice before the big show....hehehehe. OK, I may be evil and morally ambigious but I deserve it dammit!
Alrighty, I am sure if my nieces are still reading this they have found this waaay to much info and pretty cringe-tastic so I will leave you for now...

Take care and my love to all.


The future’s so brite I gotta wear shades

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The future’s so brite I gotta wear shades

Current mood: hopeful
Category: Life

....ok perhaps it is not THAT bright but it is getting a bit less scary. I had my therapy appt on Tuesday this week and after getting a thigh/tummy massage (which in case you think sounds like fun for even one second let me assure you it is NOT) and getting lasered and scraped (healing skin from the oozing wound which is almost now non-oozing, yay diaper cream! it's magical!!) I asked about what my future holds.

Andrea (the therapist) thinks I should only need to go see her a total of 3 more times (6 visits total) so I will go on Friday then she is gone for a week then 2 more times that following week. By that time she expects to have all the excess fluid gone and the wounds to all be totally healed- actually that should be the case when I go see her Friday (that will be a BIG relief and was the first goal). So far I have lost the equivalent of 2 full 2 liter bottles of liquid off both my legs. I will have to keep my wrapping up for the next 2 weeks (20 hours a day) but then I get to switch to these oh so sexy (NOT) compression garments. The only good news about them is that she is not making me get the ones that go all the way up to the, err, groin area. She is trying to avoid that as much as possible (it is July in Phoenix, pity me a bit won't you??) but it is a wait and see thing. I can wear the (we will call them) stockings during the day then wrap like I am now at night. THAT will be good cuz then I can go back to my normal routine. This getting showered at night blows....can't get used to it at all. And that will be the plan for the forseeable future. She does predict that as I keep loosing weight and my overall size decreases so should the size of my legs now that the fluid will be kept in check and it is possible that I will be able to not have to wear any garments at all at some point.....(whew!) Oh, and she mentioned I might have to get some kinda short like garment which will help keep me sucked in and push more fluid out (side effect will be it should also help with the weight loss). Sounds hot doesn't it?? Sooo sexxy!
It is still a long road to go but this is the first good news I have had with this whole leg saga so I am going to celebrate the victory! I am still pissed that both my doctor didn't catch it (but now wants all the info I can get so he can be informed....can you say feeling guilty??) and even more so at the Wound Care clicnic who wasted my time AND money by keeping me coming back there when they knew what I had and knew they could not do anything about it. I know its a business but it is disappointing when you see that the patient does not come first (as nice as they were). Oh well, that is behind me and I see light at the end of the tunnel.....fingers crossed it is not a locomotive coming to mow me down!!

Later Gaters!

PS- Bonus points for anyone who can name the group that sang the song that this entry is titled after.....anyone??

Beam Me up Scotty

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Beam Me up Scotty

Current mood: vexed
Category: Life

I was a psych major BID (back in the day) so I know a fair bit about "norms". A "norm" is your comfort zone, what you are used to, what is status quo for you. Now norms can change with given situations or over a periods of time. It has always been amazing to me the capacity people have to readjust their norms and redefine what "normal" and "comfortable" is to them. Where am I going with this you might ask....not really sure but I think it applies in my life a few different ways right now.

First- therapy update....had my second session on thursday. It was still weird but as I have already accepted it is a part of "how things are now" it was a bit more routine. I got there, stripped to my skivvies and hopped on the bed/gurney thingy. Although I must say it was a different room and then bed was more like a weight bench then a bed, I felt like I was going to flip off it at any moment. Yeah, you try to "rellllaaaaxxxx and brreeaaaatthhhhh" when you feel your ass cheeks sliding off the side of the bench! There was a different therapist doing the upper massage part and I kinda think she wasn't really paying attention. My first clue was when she did a behind the back move when she was working my neck and pits. Then I heard something new....a beep, beep, beeping noise. After a few minutes of that I stopped willing my ass to not flip off the bench long enough to ask what that beeping was. Turns out it was a laser treatment. The area of my legs that have been holding the fluid the longest have gotten hard and the laser is used to break up the hardness and get the tissue soft. I guess very very few clinics have this technology so its a good thing. I wanted to look and see what she was doing exactly but its hard to look at your leg when someone is elbow deep in your pits doing a deep massage.

The wrapping is.....ok. I mean, don't get me wrong it sucks. It is July and hot and humid and its 5 fricking layers, not fun. When I want to shower it is a 2 hour process to unwrap my legs and roll them up (to keep them tight and stretchy) then I shower and dry my hair, then I re-wrap them so unless I get up at 4 am (NOT gonna happen) then I have to do it all at night. All 5 layers....I am bent over so much rolling and wrapping I must admit I got a little dizzy the first few times. And I really really hate having to shower at night. I am a very good sleeper and my hair shows it in the morning. I am NOT one of those rise out of bed and looking sparkling fresh kinda girls. As far as the therapy itself there are def. results so far. They said I have lost the equivalent of 1.5 2 liter bottles of fluid from my legs so far. Now where that fluid has gone is the question....over time I should, err, excrete it in some fashion. For now they are not wrapping up to the groin but I have to spend at least an hour massaging my thighs and tummy to keep the fluid from building up there and encourage it to find other ways out. It basically feels like I am constantly feeling myself up....where is a boyfriend when you really need one (that reminds me, I need new batteries)!

And now there is a new "norm" for me in having the bandages on. It is a part of what I do now. I'd love to sit and bitch and whine about it but it doesn't much matter, it is just what I have to do now and is my new normal. I am still very concerned about the "what comes next part". I have no idea what I am going to have to do for long term maintenance. I don't know if I'll ever be able to wear cute shoes or even a skirt ever again and how do I keep them from just filling up all over again once I stop therapy?? As I was out doing errands I caught so many people staring at my legs. I hate it but I can't say I wouldn't do the same. It is what it is.....

I am feeling very very restless today and can't really say why. I feel like there is something more I should be doing although I don't know what that would be. I have been obsessing about my mother which I am tempted to write more about but it is such a deep dark well that I wouldn't know where to dive in and begin. Another day perhaps...

Things at worked have improved. My friend Meegan moved on and looks like she will be getting a new gig soon. We are keeping in touch and I hope to get together with her soon. My VP was in town this week because we have 2 new people starting. They are both very professional and good at the biz and they are both on the sassy side which I approve of! I also made a placement which made my boss very happy and now he will be off my ass for awhile. With the addtion of the new peeps I am now my own division so it is good that for its first month my division is profitable. Yay me.

I am now down 66lbs. The girls at the clinic pulled out my "before" pic and were oooooohing over the change so far. I wish I could see it but the before pic still looks pretty current to me. I just bought the shirt I am wearing in it. I am on track to be down 100 by Sept. There is still a ways to go though and I don't think I'll be able to "enjoy" it until I get this lymphodema thing behind me and even then who know what my new "norm" will be....

xoxo- T

Love Me, Knead Me

Monday, July 14, 2008
Love Me, Knead Me

Current mood: worried
Category: Life

Today was my first therapy, no I have not finally got the mental tune up I am clearly in dire need was my first day at the lymphodema clinic. I got there at the crack of 7am- which is WAY (bleep)ing early and, if you have been playing along so far, you know that people that I share DNA with do NOT like to get up early, ever!

So let me paint the picture....well, first let me make an admission. On the off-off chance that some of you have been buying the "it's cool and this is no big deal" act let me fully admit and own up to the fact that this whole lymphodema thing has had me terrified for months now. I have never been sick beyond normal colds and flu and what-not. I have never had surgery or been in the hospital and while the heavier I got I knew I was running a bigger and bigger chance of "getting something" with every pound I never foresaw this issue. I would have been fully prepared to deal with high blood pressure, being diabetic...something along those lines but this was out of left field. Then to find out that it is genetic (yes!... something else to blame on my mother!) and has more to do with me being a woman over 35 than being overweight seems,well unfair to say the least! So yeah, I have been F R E A K E D out. To the point where this weekend I had a dream an octopuss tentacle was growing inside my leg! Dream analysis? Anyone....anyone?? Yeah, me neither. Let's all just leave that one alone.

The fact that this has been stressful- and it has been- is the least of it. The 2 wasted months of going to wound care when they were not at all equipped or trained to treat me, then the 8 weeks of fighting with the insurance company to get the lymphodema pump then to have to wait another 5 weeks to get an appointment with the clinic (which told me the pump alone will never do any good btw...totally opposite of what I was orginally told). But there has been this brewing fear all along. Fear of the unknown, fear that there is actually something very wrong with me, fear that this won't get better (its chronic and I will never ever not have it the rest of my life), fear of what it is going to take to get over it, fear that even as I bust my ass losing the weight it might not do any good in the end. And, of course, you all know the itty bitty other concerns that I have had flying around my head (Troy, mother issues, work issues, money issues.....etc) so clearly this year has been a piece of cake for a thousand reasons. It's been so much and so so hard. There, I admit it!

Ok, back to my visit. First Andrea Brennan is my therapist and is literally one of the world's experts on lymphodema so- yay! She is very east coast (my guess is Nuuuuu Yawk) and looks very...frizzy. Not just her hair, which totally is but her whole personality. I don't know how to describe it better than that. She is very very nice and has totally devoted her life to this disease so I am glad to be there (as much as I am glad I ever had to know about her and this disease in the first place). I went into the exam room and she told me to get naked. Naked? Excuse me....the issue is in my legsso why do you need to see my junk? I left my chonies (undies) on and climbed under the sheet (junk covered...check!). I guess that was ok cuz she didn't say anything but she stayed down by my legs and her assistant worked "my upper lymphatic" - translation: she massaged my armpits and neck and arms all downward and then my thighs and tummy upwards. That sounds nice and relaxing right? Yeah, truth is they kneaded me like I was a lump of pizza dough!

The whole point is to stimulate the lymph system which is not doing its thing and as Andrea squeezed the fluid up Christie moved it into my belly where it is supposed to break down naturally. While all this sounds nice I have to tell you that having 2 people rubbing all over me is not something I experience everyday and it was very....akward. Plus my one leg (the one that is oozing) is still raw and sore so it was a bit painful. OH! And she told me that my "wound" is really nothing more than the equivalent of diaper rash on my leg! So much for the cool "I have an oozing sore" street cred. Nope, I have diaper rash on my leg. Great! It guess it makes sense- the skin is wet all the time with the oozing so it gets irriated and viola- rash. But seriously, I have to go out and buy diaper cream to put on it. I am going to buy condoms when I get it just to rebalance the universe!

After all the weird (but theraputic so its ok) massaging then I get to learn "the burrito technique"...perhaps not what they would call it but it shall be henceforth known as that in my world. Oh, and this is all for the low low price of $300 which insurance does not cover! So first there is a base stocking thingie....then there is a piece of foam that goes around my ankle to keep it straight. Next is the ankle wrap (I may have to indivdually wrap my toes later- I am not kidding) and then moving up the leg. At the foot and ankle it is the tightest and then a bit looser as you work your way up. The idea is to compress the fluid up and out. I should mention that these are "short stretch" bandages special for their compression. about 1/3 the give of an ace bandage. All in all is it 5 layers and today they just went to the knee. I go back on thursday and then then will wrap up to the (eeek) groin! Fun fun stuff. Now the true bit o heaven is that I have to have these on for 20 hours per day for the next 4 weeks. And I am going to have to master wrapping them myself or...give up showering. I must admit, at this point the jury is out. It takes 20-30 mins PER LEG to wrap them and that is just to the knee. (gulp) Did I mention yet that its Phoenix.....during monsoon season. (For those outside of AZ monsoon season is what they never tell you unless you read the fine print....during monsoon season when it is a blazing 114 degrees you have huge rain/dust storms and it gets...HUMID!! dry heat my left ass cheek!!)
Ok...good news. This process is started and they predict that I will reduce my leg size by 70% when it is all done and the oozing should stop very soon. Maybe even this week. So all that is good, yeah? But I am still freaked out and I have no idea what the long term plan for keeping this under control would be. I asked today is my legs will ever be "normal" and Andrea asked...define normal. Good point because what I really want is better than I have ever had and I don't know if that is possible. I don't know what is possible at all. All I can do is keeping moving ahead and do what they tell me and stick to the plan and the diet. Oh, and buy extra deodorant when I go and get my diaper rash cream!!

....and did I mention that I walk like a penguin with my legs wrapped up? For your viewing pleasure checked out my pics for the finished product.

Set in Stone

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Set in Stone

Current mood: drained
Category: Life

As I write this my family is at the cemetary setting my brother's headstone on his grave. I can picture them all there in my mind and I hope they all know I am there with them in my heart. I have been thinking about Troy all weekend and I have discovered there just is no floor to how much grief a person can feel. I want him back so much. There is still so much he needs to do and see. I went to the bookstore to distract myself and I saw a George Carlin book. Troy was a big fan and he would have been so upset to hear he passed away. I would have called him and talked to him about that. I probably would have bought the book and sent it to him with a little note- sticky note of course. I googled his name and found an entry he had submitted on a metal detecting site. He talked about his jar of "cool stuff" and I can see the jar sitting on his counter between the kitchen and dining room. His house that his family never went back to and I will never walk into again.

When there is an earthquake for days after you can feel aftershocks as the earth readjusts. I guess this weekend and Troy's birthday are an aftershock for me, and I assume the rest of my family. I just feel so hollow and empty inside. I want to talk to someone but I don't know what to say (this is the classic Herrick trait I have mentioned before btw....proof that I am a Herrick and know of what I speak!). I can't even work up the energy to be mad because I know it won't do any good. I have this list of coulda's and shoulda's and why's that keep rolling through my head and the answer my mind gives to each one is the same....doesn't matter. Nothing will ever change the fact that Troy is gone. Ever.

I keep clinging to that Little Prince quote- I hope someone else loves that as much as I do. I think it is so perfect- but here is the part I keep repeating. "And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me." That is how I feel. I am glad Troy is my brother and my friend and I do and will always want to laugh with him. That is the part I miss the most. I just wish the phone would ring and it would be one of his random phone calls. I want to go over to his house and watch 80's videos and see who can sing the loudest (and worst). I want to be able to tell him what is going onin my life and have him tell me he is proud of me and happy I am his sister. I want him to come out and visit me and just hang out in my world.

THH 7/13

The truth of the heart
far apart
you will always be near
in every tear.
I walk on
not so strong
but every step
is a lesson learned
about the heart
and how you made your mark
on lives
you never knew.
Every day I honor you
and will miss you
until the next day we meet.
I love you.

Your adoring sister. xoxo

Dream a birthday dream- For Troy

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Dream a birthday dream- For Troy

Current mood: melancholy
Category: Life

I was born on July 10th 1970. Troy was about to turn 5 years old but because of complications with my birth our mother had to stay in the hospital for a few extra days. Instead of getting a 5th birthday party Troy got a brand new baby sister (not his first choice I assure you) and ever after our birthdays have been linked.

Growing up we always would have the "combo" birthday party on the Sunday closest to our birthdays, we would have the shared party and share the cake. There was one spectacular year where we each got our own cake in the shape of a teddy bear. It is legendary in my little girl mind and I still treasure the picture of the 2 of us holding our very own cakes- mine was way cooler of course. It was such a big deal I still think about it this time every year.

It is no wonder then that I was dreading this weekend. I will admit that I was expecting my own birthday to be difficult but, as it turns out, it was very nice. I heard from –almost- every member of my family and had a very nice dinner with some of my closest friends who understood I didn't want a big thing, just a casual evening- which is exactly what we had. I also got one very touching gift, my new coworker Anna went out and got me a Willow figurine that was titled "big brother, little sister". It has the brother sitting on the ground and the little sister sitting on a box beside him, her head on his shoulder. It was so nice and special and I was very touched. It was this figure that I think was the catalyst for my dream…

In my dream it was night time and there was a lot of activity in "the house" (I have never seen this house before but in my dream I knew it was the family home). There were a ton of family running around as if preparing for a party or something but it wasn't people I knew (I just knew they were somehow my family). I went into what I knew was the tv room and Troy was there getting ready. He saw me and asked me to sit with him while he got ready. I sat and talked to him and as we talked he told me he decided that this was the day he was going to "do it" and I knew what he meant. I was so relieved because I thought this was my shot. This was my chance to change his mind and make it all not true. He started to put on a polyester light blue tie and I told him he can't pull that look off and he just laughed and said "hey, I clean up good!" but he took it off and put on his regular jeans and t-shirt. Then he sat down on the floor in front of me and I put my head on his shoulder and started to cry into his sleeve as I tried one last time to get him to change his mind. He held my hands and looked at me and said "…but Tracey, you know I already did it." I sat up and realized he was right and then he stood up and helped me up, gave me a hug and walked out of the room and I knew that was the last moment I'd ever have with him…

What do you do when your heart won't let go? I will always have this bond with my brother and I will always have him with me on my birthday and his. This was always our link and bond and I am glad to have it be my own special time for he and I to share. Forever…I love you Troy. Happy Birthday.

Xoxo, your little sis

How do you say goodbye?

Saturday, July 05, 2008

How do you say goodbye?

Current mood: thoughtful
Category: Life

June, what a crazy month. I already posted some of the other things that made June such a crazy month for me but the heart of it was my trip back home to Iowa for the burial of my brothers ashes. It has been 6 months since my brother died and I still can't get used to the idea that he is not around. Evveryday I think of something I want to tell him and everyday there is that "Oh" moment where I remember all over again that he is not here anymore. Then I get upset with myself because of course I know he is gone and if he was still alive would I have thought of that thing to tell him or is it only because he is gone that I think about him so much. What is happening now that if I have lost someone else I might be thinking of them and here I am not calling them as much as I should be? It's a vicious circle....I wasn't ready to say goodbye to my brother. I am still not and with his birthday coming up next week (his is the 13th and mine is the 10th) it is harder for me than ever....

I don't think any of us ever will look back after losing someone and know that they loved them enough, told them enough times what they meant to us, laughed with them enough and there is no way to take the love and loss you feel and spread it like a blanket around everyone else who is left in your life that you love. Its impossible and you'll drive yourself crazy trying to do it. But, then there is the danger of keeping too much distance and "giving people their space" to the point where you are distant and they feel you don't care. I have examples of all of the above going on in my family. My mother is on a crusade to lash the family ties so tight that (at least I) feel strangled by them. You can't go from zero contact to demanding weekly communication, all while refusing to deal with the issues that got us here in the first place (which go way beyond my brothers death). Then there is my niece and nephew who everyone is so concerned about and have so much love for but I feel like we are failing them because we don't know how much to be there and how much to let them have their space. None of us have lost a father so there is no way we can know what they feel. The kids themselves tend to keep to themselves so they don't reach out either and I am not sure how we can break the circle. All the love and good intensions are there and all I know is to keep chipping away at the walls we have all built.

Then there is my grandma. Going home is great because I get to see my family (and for the most part that is a good thing) but it is very hard for me to see my grandma. When I went home for Christmas last year my plan was to make it as much about Grandma as possible. She turned 91 this year and has been in the nursing home at least 5 years and has been slowly letting go ever since. It is an odd and selfish thing to have a loved one in a nursing home because you go and see their life- an activity calendar that looks like it could as easily be for 6 year olds as for senior citizens- planned to fill their days with meaningless activities just to help pass the time. I know my Grandma hates the home with a passion. This was a very independent and active woman who used to travel all over and loved to have her grandkids with to take us on little adventure filled trips. To see her now trapped in a box of a room is heart breaking and yet, selfishly I don't want her to let go yet. How awful it is to not want someone to die just because you don't want to have this be the year that you lost 2 members of your family? And yet, that is all she talked about when I went home. She talked about these being her last months and how sick she was all winter and how she is ready to be done with it all. Then she started in about how I should not "waste" any money on coming back for a funeral for her because she does not want a funeral because all of her friends are dead and she doesn't want her family attending another funeral this year. All of this while I have fresh visions of my brothers brand new grave in my head. Again, selfishly it was almost to much for me to take but when someone is 91 that is what is on their mind so you let them talk. I spent as much time talking to her as I could and when I left her room the last time I didn't get a good look at her because I was choking back the tears. How often do you get to know you are, in all probability, having your last look at someone? It rips your heart out- and in my case there was not a ton of heart scraps left.

As far as the burial itself (I keep calling it a funeral which is confusing because we already had the funeral in Jan.) it was.....quiet. The cemetary was very old and peaceful and I could see it was the type of place my brother would love to be and he had spent a lot of time there hunting and metal detecting so it was a good place for him and for the kids to come to in the future.The ground was like walking on a wet sponge from all the flooding in the midwest and they told us they have to wait for the actual burial until the ground dried up because water kept filling up the hole (why did we need to know that??). The attendees were all family and there was a short service where the pastor who spoke at Troy's funeral spoke. I really could not tell you what was said all I know is my cousin Wendi was patting my back and I was watching my niece and nephew. There was a very pretty wooden box that the urn was placed in- I did not look inside to see the urn. Everyone did have the opportunity to bring something to toss in the box and a few people did. As someone who also wants to be cremated someday I did not really see the point in doing that- funerals are for the living not the dead. Whatever needs to be done to help the (living) person put a period at the end of the sentence is fine but the whole ceremony did not feel like a period for me. I think most of my family will still be living in limbo for a long, long time to come.

It was over pretty quick then we had a very tense and akward pinic lunch in a very warm shelter house. I saw family that I had not seen in awhile and everyone wanted to hear about my lymphodema so I felt a bit like the circus side-show freak. I was prepared for that because everyone really cares and just wants to know what's going on (and not everyone reads my blog- shocker!) but I still felt very much in the spotlight and I did not feel like it was my time to have center stage so, when my brother in law wanted to leave early my sister and I jumped in the car with him to escape.

My sister has been struggling so much. She was pretty much a mess the whole month of May and I have been so worried about her. It is so frustrating because I know my being around her would help but I just can't be there. And it is the classic family trait that when we do feel bad we all tend to withdraw into our worlds (in most cases- beds..Herricks are excellent sleepers) and try to shut the world out instead of reaching out to the people who love us and let them help us. I did my best to encourage everyone to force the reaching out and getting together until it begins to feel more natural but since I am not there I can only nudge....frustrating.

There is more that can be said about the trip and I may circle back and write some more but for now I'll stick a pin in it here....what I did want to do though is repost my letter to Troy. If I had put anything in his box it would have been this but I want it to live so I will again pass it on to the living people who remember and love my brother....

Troy Harold Herrick 7/13/65-12/31/2007.

I love and miss you forever. You were the best big brother I could ever want. Thanks for teaching me to drive a car and for giving me great life advice (like "don't drink,cuz throwing not that much fun!") Thank you for giving me a beautiful niece and the coolest nephew ever who I will love fiercely with all my heart (especially the part you live in) for the rest of my life. Thank you for all the laughs we shared- and there were so so many. Thanks for your art- I don't think I ever told you how much I loved that you were an artist and how proud of you I was for that. Thanks for taking up archery and giving the animals a fighting chance when you went hunting. Thanks for all the torture you and Toni put me through- you were very mean but I have to admit you probably did teach me how to be tough for later in life when I'd need it. Thanks for being part of our book club- I always was proud that a love of reading was something we all shared. Thanks for your random phone calls. As few and far between they may have been, I will treasure each one cuz I was so happy to get them and know you were thinking of me. Thank you for coming to AZ to see me- those are great memories and they bring you to my life here so I don't feel so bad not being back home in Iowa cuz you are here with me too. I am so proud of you for becoming a firefighter. I wonder if you ever even knew how that made you a hero- thanks for being my hero.

Thank you for letting me grow-up in your eyes and not just be your little sister but to see me as an adult. Thanks for being my friend as an adult and for loving me as your sister and I know you did.

I will never be ok with loosing you just when it felt like we were making progress. You tried so hard to open up and reach out and you did really well and you have to know I am so proud of you and I know it wasn't easy and you were hurting so much. It was a bad choice and you were wrong but I understand why and all I can do is hope your mind and heart are quiet and at peace. You deserve peace. Someone asked me if I feel you with me and I don't (I hope I do someday soon) but I know you are with your kids and I will never be far away from them. I swear that. They will always have me in their lives so don't worry about them too much. I can't replace you but I'll love them twice as much in your honor. I'll take care of Toni too, you know she is missing you too. I'll be sister enough for both of us to her and Cory.

I hope you knew most of this before. I think you did. My last words to you in life were love you bye and I guess I need to say that again now. I love you so much, I miss you so much. Goodbye Troy...

From The Little Prince:

"All men have the stars but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems. For my businessman they were wealth. But all these stars are silent. You–you alone–will have the stars as no one else has them–"
"In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night… You–only you–will have stars that can laugh!"
"And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure… And your friends will be properly astonished to see you laughing

Melting away and not from the heat!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Melting away and not from the heat!

Current mood: hungry
Category: Life

I TOLD you I had alot to update you all on.....I am a posting fool today! Well this will be the last for today probably as I need to run some errands and I want to be back before dark. One of the cools things about my condo is I have a front row seat to 3 fireworks shows. I can literally watch them from my balcony! It was a cool suprise last year and this year I think the word is out so I am expecting the parking lot to be way full. update! First I need to apologize to freaking anyone out at home with the display and explaination of what is going on with my legs. I am still learning and I don't have all the info to explain all the details. If you have more questions for me just ask! So I started my leg therapy after FINALLY getting the freaking leg pump. It took 8 weeks but I finally have it. I'd love to report that it has done its magic and they are all better but it is a longer process then that. And flying so much in June did not help- flying is very bad for this condition but it could not be avoided. I do the therapy from 2-3 hours a day and hopefully will see results soon. I'd be happy to at least stop the draining cuz its gross and I am o-v-e-r it! I start at the lymphodema clinic on tuesday (7/8) so hopefully they will have some good info and techniques for me for me. They do wrappings, tapings and massage to help manage and treat lymphodema and the doc I am seeing is literally the world's expert on lymphodema! I'll keep you posted but overall please know it the damage IS reversable and while chronic, it is manageable. And NO, no one needs to come live with me to help me deal with it. It's fine, I promise!!

And update time! I am down 60 lbs! Ok, 59.5 but I am rounding up and you can't stop me! I also had blood work done before I left for Iowa and so for all you medical peeps (and in my family that includes most everybody).

Cholesterol: was 240 now 177 (normal range!)
HDL: was 47 now 31 (mostly hereditary but now taking Omega 3 to help lower)
LDL: was 166 now 132
Trigylceride: was 163 now 110 (now normal)
BMI (body mass index) down 10.2 %
Fat: down 6% (I have lost 6% of my total body fat!)
Total lbs of pure fat lost = 51!

Also, by getting back on my meds my thyroid is normal as are all my sugars, liver and gall bladder which they watch closely when you are losing weight to monitor for any issues. So aside from the lymphodema I am in good shape.

As far as "how is it going"....all my travels really threw me for a loop. This diet works very well within a rountine- crazy, hectic and not knowing where you are gonna be at any given time, not so much. Between my leg pump and food I needed to bring that was like a whole suitcase on its own- seriously. Plus having to pack up my cookies and shakes and cart them around all day when i was back home, kind of a pain in the ass. Also eating out for the first time since I started the diet was very hard. Most restaurants do not have many low fat/no fat options (for real, try and order no fat next time you go out!) and I had to order a weird mix to get what I needed to eat (example....a side order of seared ahi tuna and edamame with no salt). I was very worried about weighing in after all that eating (veggies soaked in butter is just a cruel trick) out but it seems I made good choices because I still lost. YAY! I have not had a week where I gained yet. I am sure it will happen but the dr's are pleased with the consistent loss but its never crazy amounts. It has averaged out to 4 lbs a week so far.
So that is where I am at now! I am still recruiting people to eat stuff I love and can't have so pretty please everyone have a huge juicy burger and a brat for me this weekend- ok?? Oh, and some cheesecake for dessert....I may miss that most of all ....... :(

Love you all and have a Happy 4th!

Tracey Lu

PS- My goal is to be 145lbs (my ideal weight) by my birthday next year so be sure and check back to see where I am this time next year!!

It’s OK to have some fun

July 21
It’s OK to have some fun!

Current mood: loved
Category: Life

Ahhhhhhh, Rapport. How to I begin to explain Rapport to those of my (oh-so small) minion who do not know about Rapport?? I am a Master Graduate of a leadership program called Rapport Leadership International. They are based out of Las Vegas and I was sent as part of living the culture of my former employer. The training consists of 100 hours and takes place over 3 weekends. I am not sure what the official party line is of what someone should expect to get out of Rapport is, I can only share what it did for me and why I have now sent 3 of my family members through the program.

To me, Rapport put a mirror in my hand and gave me a time-out of my life to spend some time really getting to know who I am. What my strengths are, where my faults lie and what it really really did was showed me that I have the strength, wisdom and POWER to overcome all my blocks and for once and for all get out of my own way. I really doubt if I would be sticking to the diet or, on a larger scale, be living the life I am leading without having gone through Rapport. It is, without a doubt, the most powerful and enlightening experience I have ever gone through and has given me tools to deal with any situation life can throw at me. That's all!

And now ladies and gents....I'd like to introduce you all to the newest Rapport Grad- Sierra Owen!! Let me back up for a moment before I dive into my observation of her experience. When I went through Rapport one of my first goals was to create a better relationship with my parents and extended family. It is a work in progress, mainly with my mother, however I saw sending my family through Rapport as a chance to give the people I love the most the same tools that I had been given. I see Rapport as a gift I am able to give them and I am dedicated to doing all I can to helping my family grow together. I am not sure if I will ever get there but this is what I feel I can do and I am happy to share it with my fam. I first sent my brother Cory, he attended the first of the 3 classes I attended. I am not sure if he will ever complete it but I know he got a lot out of his expereince. The next person I sent was my oldest niece Holli. I do know of at least one very special thing that came from her experience and for that one thing alone I am so happy and grateful and if she got nothing else I think it was worth it for that (right Holli?). She has mentioned a few things she got out of it and my hope is she keeps going back to that experience and knowing if she did THAT- she can do anything.

So next on the list was Sierra. My beautiful niece who, on the surface, it seems like she is the left-behind child. I had scheduled her 3 times before we were finally able to get her to Vegas for her weekend. The last time we had to move things around was because of my brother's passing and she was so hurt and upset that it broke my heart. I told her that one of the magic things about Rapport is that when you go, it is always with the group that was meant for you. The people in your class create and make the whole experience and while she didn't understand me at the time she did finally "get it" and I think she is glad she went when she did.

The beautiful thing about Sierra is she is so open and has such a good heart. She is an emotional compass and is always drawn to the people who need her the most and she always knows just what they need. Whether her Mom needs a hug and some cuddle time or her cousin needs someone to sit and talk with him while he shreds on Guitar Hero. She is the girl who will always be there for you. That is not to say that the chick does not have some attitude problems but who didn't at 15?? And while it seems like the world gets to her last each time what I hope she will come to understand it that happens that way because she is strong enough to handle it. She is a strong amazing girl.

She flew into Phoenix (first solo flight!) and was amazed at Phoenix. She is (her words) a "picture ho" and snapped about 300 pics during her trip (see her photo gallery). Then we flew to Vegas the next morning. We had a few scary cab rides and while we did not have a ton of time in Vegas we did get to see the Wax Museum and she got the "worlds best muffin" and a $6 fruit cup. Don't ask me why that was so great...she is a strange child, what can I say. For those who have gone to Rapport you can chuckle at how much airport security hated her backpack....I kinda forgot about that part a a few items had to be "surrendered" Oops! But she was rocking Tink (her backpack) and then my good frend Jess met us and loaned us a pillow and sleeping bag (THANKS Jess!!). We got to the Rapport office and watched her class trickle in. I must stop for a sec and give Sierra props for being open and excited to go. She never really questioned me and just really let go and went on faith and trust in me that I was sending her someplace good. I appreciate and honor that so much. Her attitude was a sharp contract to her class which ranged from bored, to scared to just plain pissed. Knowing what was coming for these kids it was hard not to smile as I thought about how they would look just a few days later.

She got on the bus and began her weekend as I hung out in Vegas. I did hit a snag when I got stranded at the Rapport office for over 2 hours waiting for a cab only to finally be driven by one of the Rapprt employees to my hotel. I was assigned the task of getting dice suckers for Sierra and her friend (something about re-enacting a music video, I didn't want to know more) and found them at my hotel! Check! My other task was to take pics of random things which I think I did a fairly good job of...Check again. All I really wanted to do was hang with Jess and we got to do just that so it was a very nice weekend for me.

On Sunday it was time for the graduation. As the parents gathered in the lobby everyone was wondering about their kid. Would they be greeted with hugs or glares? When I finally saw Sierra she was smiley and excited and it was clear right away that the class really clicked. The ceremony was amazing and listening to all the kids share their stories and what they learned was amazing and it was really food for the soul. There was not a dry eye in the house but I kept my eyes on Sierra. When she got up and shared my heart broke and soared at the same time. What she said is her's to repeat (what happens in vegas stays in vegas) but what I know is I have never been so proud of anyone in my whole life. Sierra is a strong, creative and beautiful soul and I am so proud to be her Aunt-T!

So while Sierra thanked me for sending her I want to offiicially thank her for letting me share her experience. Watching her and her entire class come together and share their lives with her, with me and with each other filled up corners of my soul and I needed them more than any of them can ever know. For all you Master Grads I would encourage you to either send someone or at least attend a graduation. It is such a great way to bring it all back and remind you of your own journey.

My beloved girl....thank you Sierra, you taught me so much that weekend and I love you forever!

xoxo, Aunt-T


Friday, July 04, 2008


Current mood: sassy
Category: Life

Hello my friends and fam-

It feel like FOR-EVAH since I posted anything. Many of you know what a crazy, crazy June I had but for everyone else I will re-cap. It may take a few posts to get everything covered because I don't want to skip over some of the important (well, to me anyways) details. I am not sure whether or not to jump in chronologically or in order of life significance. I will put my brain in "cd shuffle" and see what comes have been warned. :)

I guess the first thing that pops into my head is what I consider to be a WAY cool event and it kinda ties into my new pic I just posted of myself (which was taken yesterday at work cuz I was -sooooo- not feeling being in the office so instead I took about 50 pictures and was sending them on my phone to everyone I knew. Ummm, sorry to the people who got the pics that did not enjoy my random-ness. I blame too much time hanging with my niece Sierra...more on THAT later :) )
Ok...back to the event (you do recall the warning about randomness right??). I got to meet one of my top 3 FAVE authors. Her name is Jen Lancaster and anyone who enjoys my sense of humor should run, to the nearest bookstore and pic up all 3 of her books. Her event was the day after I got home from IA and while I was soooo tired I figured after begging for her to come to Phoenix on her blog (which I also HIGHLY recommend- she is one of my myspace friends and you should all be reading it!) it would be not only stupid but rather insulting to her to not go. I am soooo glad I did. She had a flight to catch so she got there early and did a Q&A so I arrived in plenty of time to get a good seat. Having managed a bookstore a zillion years ago and having had hosted many a book signing I kinda knew enough to time it right. I sat down but failed to get the magic ticket to get your book signed. A very lovely girl ahead of me had made the same error and her husband saved our seats while we went to search out the golden tickets....well a funny thing happened on the way to the customer service counter because Ms. Diva Jen herself was standing there asking where she was supposed to go! I walked up to her and said hello and she looked right at me and said, "Oh, I know you! But your hair is usually much darker right?" (she had recognized my pic from the times I have left comments on her blog!! OMG!) I smiled and explained that me a L'Oreal have this thing where we switch up the color every now and then...she understood. Now her new book (Such a Pretty Fat...go buy it NOW!) is about weight loss so I mentioned to her that since that pic I had lost a bunch of weight. She said she could totally tell and when I asked her to sign my book since we were standing there chatting ,she did (her pen totally matched her dress AND the book- total Jen move, classic) and she signed it "Tracey, all my best- You look Great! xo, Jen"

I just thought it was super cool that she totally recognized me as soon as I walked up to her and that she noticed my progress. It was a cool event and she was as funny a witty in person as she is in her books (trust me, not always the case) and it was really just what I needed after such an emotional weekend back home. that is my first random moment from my life. Would not be all that cool for everyone but for me it was a sparkly moment that makes me smile everytime I think of it and for that, I thank you very much Jen. You rock and please know you made my day!!

xoxo, T

Get Motivated!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Get Motivated!
Category: Life

Condition your mind. Train yourself to think positive thoughts.
Condition your body. It takes physical energy to take action.
Avoid negative people. Don't take anything that they say seriously.
Always remain flexible. No plan should be cast in concrete.
Act with a higher purpose. If it doesn't serve your goal, it's wasted effort.
Take responsibility for your own results. Don't credit luck, good or bad.
Stretch past your limits on a daily basis. That's how you grow and evolve.
Don't wait for perfection; do it now! Perfection's the enemy of good enough.
Be careful of what you eat. It takes physical energy to succeed.
Hang around motivated people. The positive energy will rub off on you.

Cuz we can all use reminders now and then....

darkest before the dawn

Monday, June 09, 2008

darkest before the dawn

Current mood: determined
Category: Life

Ok how about some good news for a change??! So last week I was on the brink of a meltdown and total disaster but things, thankfully, are looking up. I have had 4 or 5 semi-major crisis flare up and seem to all be reaching some kind of resolution. The details are too much to go into right now but the lesson I have learned is something that I have been telling myself for weeks is the only thing we can do is keep your head down and keep moving forward. Things may look hard and hopeless but if you keep doing the right thing and put all your efforts into resolving the issues that you can (or bitching at the people responsible until they realize it is in their best interest to fix your problem so you will get off their ass) and just keep taking baby steps to move forward....eventually you will find yourself out of the deep dark forest. Or at least in a less scary part of it.

That is my life lesson for the day, thanks for listening.

I’m coming home, to the place that I belong

Thursday, June 05, 2008

I’m coming home, to the place that I belong

Category: Life

Thanks for the support you are all giving. There are so many things going on right now I feel like I am on the brink all the time of losing it. I keep thinking that if one more thing goes wrong I am gonna flip out...then one more thing goes wrong. The frustrating thing is so much of what is going on is beyond my control (i.e. insurance issues, mortgage issues) and I am doing 1000% of what is in my control to fix it. I keep telling my family (who is struggling just as much) that all we can do is keep our heads down an keep moving forward and hopefully, at some point, we will find ourselves out of this dark bleak forest.

I gotta tell you, I feel like a total ass for bitching about how tough life was after I left Jobing and was going through the lawsuit with them. Hell, those were the good ol days! Piece of cake. Who knew it could, and would, get so much worse. I had really hoped that half way through this year I would be on track and things would be humming along. Not happening. But I do think there are some critical pieces in place and will be good long term. My job right now is to support my family and be there for them as much as I can, stick to my diet so I can keep losing weight so I will be here for my family and everyone who loves me for a very long time and do my job to the best of my ability (so I can pay for all of the above). Those are my priorties and in that order.
I go to weigh in today and then I will be flying home for the burial of my brothers ashes next week. I am hoping to be down 50lbs by then. I am glad to be going home to see my family but I am so dreading this trip. I have no doubt it will be a very painful trip but hopefully some good will come of it. I am planning on getting another tat to commemerate the trip. I am gonna get a kanji (strength) on the back of my neck. I think that will be a good anchor for where I am at, what I have gone through and the work I still have to do....I need to be reminded everyday of the strength I have, the strength I can give my family and the strength I will need to keep moving on.

Again, thanks for the love. The comments are great and I see those who just pop in to read this so thanks for the silent love and support too.