Monday, December 10, 2012

a little surgery here, a little surgery there

WOW!!  it has been a crazy last two and half months...and i used capital letters, so you know i'm serious.

doug and i made our trip to california.  we were so blessed to have mia's grandparents and then her aunt come to keep her.  california was, i believe, beautiful for that time of year.  i wouldn't really know, not regularly being there that time of year and because my view of california primarily consisted of the hospital and a hotel room.

here i am, hoping for the best, right before being drugged and dragged wheeled away.

the good/great news is that it seems the surgery worked!  i confess that there is this little knot of fear in me that, once the surgery pain is gone, i will find that i still have the nerve pain.  i keep trying to make that fear go away, but it is rather tenacious! 

if you are squeamish at all, i wouldn't recommend reading further...or looking at the pictures! 

dr. chen cut into my left side and cut tissues towards my back in order to blow up a balloon the size of a small nerf football to have room to work.  that back area was quite painful for long time.  several times i was actually concerned that i had ripped out the stitches.  that being said, look at what a wonderful job he did with the incisions!

now comes the really interesting part.  dr. chen burrowed all the way down to where the mesh was put in three years ago (i had bi-lateral inguinal hernia repair, which is very rare for women, especially young women), and where i have had chronic pain and two other surgeries not counting the initial surgery and this latest surgery.  back to the point...he burrowed down behind the mesh.  by doing this, he was able to not only avoid all of the scar tissue from the previous surgeries, but he was able to sever the three nerves above where the nerve damage had occurred.   he was also able to see and photograph the work done in the initial surgery.  in the picture below, you can see a thin, very straight line (crease) above the silver instrument.  that is the top of the mesh.  now, do you see that thick cord going directly under and into that mesh?  THAT IS THE NERVE.  let me translate...the first surgeon anchored the mesh directly atop the nerve.  again a translation...nerve damage.


a friend of mine asked me if it was validating to actually be able to have proof of why i have had chronic pain and surgeries for the last three years.  the answer is yes.  i want to take the above picture to the original surgeon and say, "see, i'm not crazy."  well, okay, i am not crazy about this, anyway.

so, where am i now?  i am healing, but very slowly.  i thought it would be a quick healing, but it has proven rather difficult.  dr. chen did tell me that healing would take my body longer simply because it has been through so much.  but, we think it worked!  i can't run right now, of course (which i desperately long to do), and i can't deep clean my house (aw, shucks), and i can't grocery shop (a pain, actually), but...

i can now care for mia by myself, i can run errands cautiously, i can get through my days without hydrocodone (well, most of them), and i can tell that the pain is from surgery healing and not continuing nerve pain!

i am so very thankful for dr. chen, my incredibly patient husband, helpful friends and family and the prayers from all over the world that were said on my behalf.

so, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

poor earl

last week i had a conversation with my mailman (whose name is earl)...

while trying to hide behind the door...

while trying to keep rooney from barking so that the baby would stay asleep...

with earl trying to hand me packages...

with me trying to block rooney inside the house...


mia still woke up.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

a shot and a miss

this is what i get for trying to be a fun and funky mom.



 i'm not a fun and funky mom, i'm just a mom with messed up hair now.  sigh. 

though i do keep going back and forth on whether or not i like it.  i usually like it in the morning and hate it by evening.  i can't get it fixed for several weeks, though, because my hair will fall out...or something like that.

so, until i go blonde again, i will be a redhead.  this is what i get for wanting something different!  haha~sometimes life is just funny.

Friday, September 21, 2012

some thoughts on not knowing

a friend and her baby met mia and me at cartwheels and coffee this morning.  if you live in richmond with small children and have not yet found this little gem, i highly recommend you get fast as you can run.  if it is a friday morning, you will probably see the henigin gals.  it is our special happy to celebrate the end of the week!  visit this place, people -

this is what mia plays on almost the entire time we are there.  she's a climber, so it is like a little heaven for her, except when she falls - then we go home early.  and take a nap.  because sometimes that's all you can do.

so, back to this friend, who does have a name and it is amanda.  we are in that in-between stage of we know each other kinda, want to get to know each other better, but  our schedules just never match up.  she writes an awesome blog - living on grace - that is hilarious and very real, which i appreciate.  amanda has a one-year old little boy named david, so we discuss this thing called parenting when we get together.

anyway, we got to talking about my upcoming surgery in california and she asked a question only a new mama would know to ask another new mama.  how are you dealing with leaving mia for your surgery?  the answer?  NOT GOOD - the closer the leaving of my child gets, the more i try to press down the growing anxiety.  i get teary if i think or talk about it.  things can happen, after all.  bad things.  it doesn't matter that they aren't likely to happen.  they can still happen.  and they can be bad.

this question led into deeper questions and discussions about God.  we started talking about how one goes about trusting God with that which is most loved.  how do i do it?  i don't, really.  the thought scares me to death. 

the truth of the matter is that trust does not equate to safety.  just because i trust does not mean that something can't or won't happen, to me or to those i love.  i don't know how to trust...

because of this...

...and this is precious.  

i don't really know what trust looks like.  and i don't really understand it.  or how to do it.

you know what else?  it's okay. being a Christ-follower/Christ-seeker (i usually don't know which i am at any given moment on this journey) doesn't mean i have it all together - in fact, it pretty much means i don't, because He says He came to seek the lost, the weak and the broken.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gardening and Growing

we planted a garden!  and by planted, i mean transplanted starter plants.  and by garden, i mean pots and window boxes.  you see, we need this garden to be moveable, because...

that's right!  our house sold - bittersweet b/c of all of the memories, but we are excited!  so, back to the garden - we have wanted to plant a garden for awhile, but our backyard is not conducive to an in-ground garden b/c we can't get full sun.


 this year, doug had this idea  >>>>>>>

since i am feeling a bit better with the nerve medication i am on, we decided to tackle the project.

we planted spinach, peas, cauliflower, 3 different types of lettuce, kale, parsley, oregano, cilantro, thyme, rosemeary and basil, with green onions to come.



i had a little helper. and by helper i mean a little person who liked to throw the soil out of the pot as soon as i put it in.  she also liked killing the spinach. it was mia's first real experience digging in the soil.  she had her bucket and shovel and absolutely loved it!  as a warning, i am one of those moms that thinks that if my one year old's knees and feet are dirty, that i must be doing something right!  so, if you are opposed to dirt and cringe when a kid's outfit gets ruined- read no further! 

she started the afternoon like this...

she ended the afternoon like this...

 the in-between went something like this...

buckets, shovels and rakes, oh my!


        helping mommy

don't let the face fool you...
               she kept returning for water hose sprays!

and, finally, i hear soil taste testers are in high demand these days!


Friday, May 25, 2012

tied up with string: artist

yep, my friends, it is time for my first ever favorite things post!  i included the exclamation point because i am excited to write it and i am trying to instill excitement in you to read it.  so make me feel as if my time has not been put to waste and GET EXCITED!  this "tied up with string" post will just focus on one favorite thing - but such an incredible thing!


i know this ultra-cool artist here in richmond.  abernathy bland recently had an art show at which doug and i purchased several prints.  we purchased them for a playroom, but her prints are adult and child friendly!  i LOVE her whimsical style, as well as the nuggets of wisdom her art portrays.  i think, though, that i most love how abby's art encourages me to be me and to celebrate the quirkiness of me!  oh, yes, and adventure - she definitely encourages adventure!  as if all of this wasn't awesome enough, she writes a blog, as well (seriously, the chick can do it all!).  just the title of her blog makes you want to read it!  so, people, visit her blog at Riding Bareback Beside a Train.  If you want to see all of her work, go here - - and buy something!  :)  Below are some of my favorites!

this is one of the ones i purchased for a playroom or for mia's room.  also, shhhhhh, i am going to get one in card format to send to my twin sister.  corrie, act surprised when you get it!  :)

this is one that i plan on purchasing in the future when i have a little corner all to myself for photography, crafts, etc.  i think it is hilarious!

i sooooooo want to get this print one day.  this is called "dream big. dream embarrassing big." 


how funny is this piece?
i am having a very difficult time making myself stop posting pictures of her work, because i love it so much and it is so hard to pick just one thing, but i hope that i have convinced you to visit her blog and website.  amazing could be hanging in your house very soon!  to wrap up this post, i have to tell you about a recent project abby completed.  we are mutual friends with a couple who just had a baby.  before their little bundle arrived, they hired abby to paint a mural in his nursery.  so, two pictures below of the elephant in the room and then two pictures of mia at the art show!

mia loving one of her new pieces of art and posing with "aunt becca" and abby.

after you visit abby's online store, come back here and leave a comment telling me which of her creations is your favorite! 

Monday, May 14, 2012

things i may...or may not...have done as a mom

being a mommy is tricky business.  you start out thinking of all the things you will or will not do as a mommy.  then, you become a mommy.  any honest mom will admit that it is a humbling business.  so, there you have it - tricky and humbling.

i started out with high hopes.  pre-child, these high hopes were MOST DEFINITELIES (this is a carmen-ism.  not actually a real word.  do not use in any official capacity), or MOST DEFINITELY NOTS.  

most DEFINITELY NOT #1 - mia shall not watch tv.  actually, we did really well with this one until recently.  recently, she has started waking up at night occasionally and being so upset she can't settle back down.  so, a few times, she simply gets to watch what mommy and daddy are watching.  in the past few weeks, this has been The Voice.  mia LOVES the voice.  when the judges are talking or it is a contestant interview, she gets quite antsy and the beginning of the fuss starts to show itself again.  as soon as the singing starts, however, she is glued to the tv.  she loves singing.  and The Voice.  and tv - apparently.

MOST DEFINITELY #1 - all of mia's food shall be home-made.  in my defense, i do make most of her food and it is healthy food.  every now and then, though, i mess up.  in colorado, i fed her a grilled cheese sandwich that we got at a restaurant (really, carmen?  greasy - duh).  i fed it to her on the train on the way up to pike's peak.  at the top of pike's peak, you have to eat the world-famous donuts.  she did.  that night was not a good night.  between the grilled cheese and the donut, her tummy was not happy.
also, we discovered crackers and cheerios.  you may be better than me and make your own crackers and cheerios...i don't.

MOST DEFINITELY NOT #2 - mia shall not eat sugar.  her first birthday - nuf said.

she got to eat two at her party.  and one the night before on her actual birthday. and ice cream. both days.

MOST DEFINITELY #2 - mia shall never have the opportunity to get to rooney's food.  yeah, right.

her taste preferences also run towards rocks, sticks, leaves, and my personal favorite - caterpillars.

these are only a couple of the MOST DEFINITELIES and MOST DEFINITELY NOTS, there are many more; but every mom needs a few secrets, right?

also, i may...or may not...have used used tweezers to get some especially stuck and stubborn boogers from my child's nose.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

sharks are people, too!

last weekend we went up to d.c. to see my sister-in-law who was in town for a conference.  it was great fun getting to see her.  we had not seen her since mia was 6-weeks old!  it was mutual like on both sides, though you can't tell with mia in this picture!  actually, naomi could get mia to giggling pretty quickly.  it was awesome!

we all went to the baltimore aquarium.  i knew mia would love it because she LOVES the fish tank at the pediatricians!  she really loved the bubble tanks you see when you first arrive.

you could hear that child three floors up because she was so excited!  there was so much squealing, talking and yelling that not only were we laughing, but so were the other patrons!  she would yell when we would move from one display to the next, afraid that she wasn't going to get to see any other fish!

my little daughter waved at everything she saw that moved,

including this big guy!

i love that mia loves to wave at everyone and everything.  quite honestly, it is absolutely adorable.  i do hope, however, that as she gets older she will practice a bit more discretion at whom and what she chooses to wave.  until that time, why diss the sharks?