Wednesday, May 20, 2015

He is my Zeke.........

My husband that is. He is my Zeke Braverman. 

We had a rough start when he came home from deployment. The transition nearly tore us apart. I told him that if he ever got deployed again, that I would be Kathy Bates in that movie Misery, and consistently break his legs until the war was over. We have learned to communicate, understand each others needs and we are still learning.
We are both dedicated to our marriage. I am lucky for this. 

These last 3 years have been tough on him. They have been tough on us. 
We have undergone chiropractic, physical therapy, pain management injections, one surgery, numerous rescheduled follow up appointments, swim therapy, narcotics and other drugs all to which have resulted in minimal relief for him. 

Last month we decided to go to New England Baptist to get an opinion from a renowned orthopedic surgeon. We met with the PA. He looked at his CT scan and he told Josh what his symptoms were (he was 100% on point) and explained to him that he has a fracture in his spine. The only answer to this pain would be spinal fusion. ALIF (anterior lumbar interbody fusion). About a year of recovery. We had seen 4 doctors prior to this and not one of them mentioned spinal fusion or a fracture. At this point we assumed that the local neurosurgeon that did his first surgery, probably wasn't very good.

Yesterday, we went to Brigham and Women's hospital to meet with a top neurosurgeon for a second opinion. This doctor was recommended to me by the same woman that had helped me with my mother the  previous year (read that story here). She is a head anesthesiologist at B&G and I value her opinion. 

So yesterday, this doctor took us an hour early. Didn't review my husbands paper work. Looked at his CT scan and told him that his CT looks good but he has the back of an 80 year old man and that he can tell that he has worked hard in his life. 

We were shocked to hear that his CTscan looked "good".

At that point, I told this doctor that he was our second opinion. He asked who we saw previous and when I told him the doctors name he replied with "What did he recommend? Nuts and bolts?".
I replied "yes".
He said that he would never recommend fusion based on this CT and to call back that doctor and ask him if it was him would he do it?
He then informed us that the The Baptist hospital is a "business" hospital. Meaning they don't have to provide treatment for you if your insurance doesn't pay them the amount that they want. 

Health care should not be negotiable. If healthcare is going to keep going in this direction, I think that everyone in the United States should be provided a healthcare advocate. Someone who doesn't work for insurance or the hospital, but works for you. Someone who can hold doctors accountable.

The doctor then asked if we would mind if he took some x-rays and did more test. Josh told him that we couldn't today because it has to be approved by workmens comp. The doctor then rubbed his face (like you do when your frustrated) and responded with "And that's why "they" wanted to do spinal fusion, because Comp pays for that". 

We agreed to reschedule for more tests so that this doctor can hopefully find out what is wrong. 

The doctor at Brigham and Women's wasn't warm and fuzzy like the first doctor. But was the first doctor a salesman? This doctor was matter a factually.  Flat. Brilliant. But, were we there to make friends? No.

We left the hospital discouraged. It's the first time in my marriage that I felt helpless to my husband. Defeated. Another dead end. And there was nothing that I could do. I have spent hundreds of hours online doing research and health grade checks, praying, hoping and wishing that we get some relief.

Yesterday was my AHA! moment. He may have more "issues" than I do, but he is strong and he is the glue. I may be able to calm the storm, forgive and forget, handle the chaos and manage the outcomes, but he is the one the keeps pushing through this tough time in our life. This back injury has become "our" issue. But it his daily life routine that is affected. He is the one that cannot do everything that he wants. He has the restrictions. 

He always has my best interests in mind. Yes, he drives me insane when he's having a bad day. But he's been out of work for 3 years, in pain, and stuck home! I don't even think that I could handle it.
He can't hold Charlotte for much longer than 5 minutes, while I can walk around all day with her on my hip. I know that he hates his injury. I commend him for handling this as strongly as he has. With his back ground of PTSD, this recipe could warrant a irreversible outcome. 
Someone once said to me "Don't worry, he has 9 lives". I believe this. 
But I also believe that he needs a break. 

Even Zeke needed a break. 

*Zeke Braverman is a fictional character on the show Parenthood. He is a hard headed, stubborn old man. He is the patriarch of the Braverman's and loves his family more than anything. If you haven't seen this series, you are missing out. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Hi, My name is Jessica

 I have not "quit" blogging. I've taken a lonnnng break. Blogging for me used to be a release for my brain. After Charlotte was born it became just another thing on my "to-do" list. And we all know, no one likes anything on a "to-do" list unless it lists pedicures and drinking wine. 

Even though I am home 4 days a week, I still get overwhelmed with too many events on my calender. We have committed to a weekly swim class at the YMCA on Saturday mornings for Charlotte and even that gives me anxiety. 
Josh was examined by a doctor at a really renowned hospital to get a second opinion on his back. The treatment recommended is spinal fusion. They actually go through his stomach, push his guts aside (dr's terms) and work on his spine from the front. We are working on getting one more opinion and then making our decision. We are both stressed out about this for sure! 
Charlotte's dedication was last Sunday, on Mother's Day and it was soo special! Well, until she barfed on her dress but still, look at these pictures................

 Most people ask us what a "dedication" is. We are actually both Catholic, but our church wouldn't allow the people that WE chose to be God parents, actually be her God parents! In other words, they wouldn't baptize Charlotte. After some church shopping and some great recommendations, Josh and I decided on one of the oldest Unitarian Churches in the US. We met with the Reverend and explained everything and he was more than happy to dedicate Charlee. What's the difference? Well when your are Catholic, you are born with original sin (from Adam and Eve), so when you are baptized, the original sin is gone. We didn't believe that a baby can even have original sin or any kind of sin for that matter so we were kind of leery on going through with a traditional Catholic baptism. In the Unitarian church, they do what is called a dedication. A blessing for the new life of the child, an expression of the parent or parents’ hopes for the child and  promise by the congregation to support and nurture the child! We were so happy with our decision!
My most recent hobby (if you can't already tell by my instagram account!) is playing with my essential oils. I did a ton of research and decided on Young Living's Essential Oils. I'm totally hooked. I've made a great pain cream for Josh's back and asks for it every night!!! If you know my husband at all, he is a skeptic on everything until proven otherwise! I've made a sore throat spray, bug spray, sunscreen etc!!! I love that fact that as a family we have taken the healthy lifestyle plunge and it seriously is limitless, cost effective and result producing! If you are interested in more information feel free to email me!!! 

I cannot tell you how happy us New Englanders are that summer is almost here!!!!And if any of you feel the need to post a comment about Tom Brady, I'm deleting it :)

Monday, February 23, 2015

DIY Baby Food

 A lot of my followers on Instagram have asked me repeatedly to do a blog post on making my own baby food. So here it is!
It's actually really easy. First I buy all organic veggies and fruits. If you can't get fresh organic, you can buy frozen. After doing a lot of research, fresh and frozen will still have the same nutrients! 
Also I try to stick to this list.
These are the fruits and veggies that you should splurge on and buy organic regardless because they are the veggies and fruits that are effected the most by pesticides.

For stage 1 baby food, I actually peeled the skins off of all of the fruits and veggies before steaming them. I found a great chart that gives you some suggestions on what combinations to mix together for a good flavor. 
 First, prep all of your fruits and veggies. I cut everything into regular serving size pieces. Fill the pots about 1 1/2 inches with water. You may need to add more water as they steam. You want to use the water to help you blend the food, so don't be stingy. 
Let everything cook until it's nice and tender. Carrots and sweet potatoes take the longest to cook.  You want everything fork tender but not mush.
I steamed my combinations together. I found it much easier than to steam everything separate and then add. Charlotte's favorite by far is the blueberries and peaches shown in the lower left pot. One frozen bag of blueberries and 3 peaches.
 I used a slotted spoon to scoop out the veggies and fruit to add to the blender. Slowly add the water as you blend to get the consistency that you want. Stage 1 foods are going to be highly pureed! Stage 2 is going to be a thicker consistency and stage three can be chunky (or at least that's what I did).

 Now get your containers ready to start dividing up portions. I got these little containers from the dollar store. They come in packages of ten. If you don't have a dollar store, you can find them on Amazon.
 Let all of these foods cool off totally before capping them to reduce the chance of a frosty frozen top after you freeze them!
 After everything is added up and divided, this came out to $0.29 per container. AND I know every ingredient that went into it! Believe it or not but it's a hell of a lot cheaper than buying pouches!
If you have any questions feel free to ask! 

I've recently starting taking the soups that I make for us and throwing them in the blender for Charlee. She absolutely loves them. This is Italian Pasta soup from SkinnyMom and came out amazeballs!  

For anyone interested in the blender. I just burned it out making a smoothie last week, so we recently purchased the Ninja Mega Kitchen and it is badass! 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Answer to Slowing Down Time

This peanut right here, is why I haven't been blogging. She's why I haven't been overdosing on uploading pictures on instagram all of the time. She's why I haven't paid much attention to any social media lately. She's why I don't play games on my ipad any more. She's why I haven't liked your instagram photos on my feed. She is the reason that the TV doesn't go on in our house until after 8 pm.
She's the reason that I want my last patient of the day to no show. She's the reason why I want to start going back to church. She's the one who humbles me. She is a blessing.

People always say to me "Doesn't the time just fly by" or "Enjoy every moment of it, it goes by fast".  These comments have literally irked me since day one.
Before Charlee was even born, I knew that I wanted to, some how, slow down time.

I asked my mother how come I never heard her tell me that I grew up so fast or to cherish the time with Charlotte because it goes by so quickly.
Her answer was simple. She said every moment that she had with me she enjoyed. She embraced all of my changes through out my life. She never looked back and wished that I was a baby again.  She loved watching me grow. Even up to the day that I got married (at this point in the conversation, I cried).

It's not about slowing down time at all, it's about acknowledging the present.

My mom is 100% right. Staying in the present slows down time. Embracing the new things that Charlotte is learning everyday and being proud of her changes, helps the time slow down. I needed to stop looking for my phone all of the time to take a picture of something cute that she was doing. I needed to start making memories of these moments in that very moment. I needed to acknowledge how I was feeling that second that Charlee did something adorable and I needed to start logging my memories of these feelings in my head.

I needed to stop worrying about all of the things that could wait. Laundry, dishes, and errands.
 I needed to stop caring about social media. My blog. Work, life, balance isn't the answer for me. Myself is what mattered. Taking care of myself.
Finding my own comfort zone in my small world of chaos was my answer. Slowly letting go of the things that really didn't matter and staying present within the things that do.

I decided before my baby girl was born that I wasn't going to be the kind of mother that complained. I wasn't going to be the martyr over all of the things that I had to do each day to fulfill my motherly/spouse task list. I have a child and a man that I'm madly in love with.
All of these crappy duties are little blessings in disguise that help you fulfill your roles in your family.

So if you are worried about time flying by, instead of grabbing your camera and trying to make your baby do a second outtake of a picture because you missed it, just live in that moment. 

Am I sleep deprived? yes.  Am I sick of cleaning bottles? yes. Do I have a love/hate relationship with my breast pump? Hell yes! 
But behind all of these motherly tasks, is a little motivator named Charlotte and without her, my role as "The Mom" wouldn't exist. 
And I wouldn't change that for anything.

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