Welcome to my blog. Thanks for coming! One day I hope my little piece of internet real estate will be home to lots of family photos, pictures of my scrapbook and card art, with some random thoughts and memories posted on a somewhat regular basis. Mostly my world is very predictable, but occasionally some excitement will find me, so visit often. Who knows what useful (or useless) information you may find here.


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hello, Remember Me?

There is no doubt, these past few months rank very near the top of the Worst Times Ever for me.  What I had hoped would mark the beginning of a new era (a new me), resulted in a nightmare situation and extreme disappointment. 

Random as it may seem, this past Thursday was a really great day.  The first great day in a very long time.  My strength has pretty much returned, and I finally feel like "me" again.  I had almost forgotten what it felt like to be "me".  :-)

The week was not without its challenges, of course, and for sure there's never a dull moment at The 409.  A few weeks ago, we had made arrangements for a lady to come here and sit with the kids while Whitney works.  I'm at home, but I work all day, and can't care for the children.  On Saturday before she was due to report on Monday, she called and said she wouldn't be able to take the job.  This sent our plans into a tailspin.  Fortunately, I was able to revise my work schedule and take the second-shift hours.  And once again, GiGi to the rescue!  Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, she came over at 2:00 each afternoon to watch the munchkins, and stayed until Whitney got home from work.  Always the life-saver, that GiGi!! 

But let me back up a few days. Last Friday Corey swallowed a penny.  I'm sure back in the olden days we all probably swallowed everything from marbles and pennies, to a fair amount of dirt, but nowadays they tell us that the penny can carrode and become rough, and cause internal damage.  Or, if it stays in there long enough, (not sure how long is "long enough"), copper poisoning could become an issue.  On Wednesday, the penny still hadn't made its way into a poopy diaper, so I took him down to RFC to get an x-ray.  Wouldn't you know it, it was "right there".... just waiting for the next poop to usher it back into the world.  Corey was beginning to show some signs of discomfort, and we were very anxious for that penny to come out.  It wasn't until Thursday evening that the well-traveled coin made its appearance  This, of course, meant multiple phone calls to relatives and interested parties, letting them know that the issue had passed.  (pun intended) 

Wednesday afternoon found Whitney in the emergency room with yet another episode of cardiac arrhythmia.  This time they brought in a cardiologist, and he diagnosed it as definite atrial fibrillation, a condition that plagues both my father and my brother.  Thankfully, she converted, and they let her come home with a prescription that will hopefully keep her heart in a normal rhythm. 

So after a harrowing Wednesday afternoon, having a great day on Thursday (made even better with the penny episode behind us), was appreciated even more.  Friday was a great day as well.  Chores in the a.m., birthday shopping for my niece in the afternoon.  This being the last weekend before school starts, there were fabulous clearance sales at the mall, and I was able to contribute nicely to Mary's back-to-school wardrobe, and found some great bargains for Corey and Leyland as well.  Saturday I worked on a couple of small projects outside, and even though it was terribly hot outside, I enjoyed the work, and the feeling of accomplishment when the projects were complete.  Peyton's birthday part was Saturday afternoon, and we enjoyed some Bennett family time, which is always a pleasure.  The evening found me home alone, enjoying some quiet time.  I should have been doing chores, but instead I relaxed a bit, caught up on Facebook, and updated my blogs.

The week has ended on a positive note, and for that I am grateful.  And can I just say, that it is so nice to be me again!!! 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A New Day

Sunday. The first day of a new week. A new week that has just GOT to be better than the past few!! I'm not much about whining, and I really hate it when my glass-half-full attitude turns to glass-half-empty-of-sour-rotten-disgusting-milk attitude. Thankfully that doesn't happen too terribly often. I inherited from my dad an optimism that, for me, sometimes belies reality... but if I have to be a little unrealistic at times, I'd far rather it be in the half-full sense rather than the half-empty one. Know what I mean? But now that I'm ready to leave this past week behind me... far, far behind me, let me take just a moment to reflect on what I have learned.

~Trust your instincts. Nobody knows your body the way you know it.. and when you know that something is amiss, you must investigate it. The dangerously frustrating thing is that some health care providers simply don't want to be bothered, and want to poo-poo it all away. "Take an aspirin and call me in the morning" kind of thing. Or "I'll call you back" and then the call never comes.

~Be proactive in my own care. During this entire ordeal, I have spent many hours waiting for return phone calls. Having worked for many years on the other end of the phone, I've tried to be very patient, pleasant, and understanding. I truly know how it works behind the scenes in physicians' offices. However, the time comes when you must INSIST on getting answers, and DEMAND that someone pay attention to you. I really don't like doing that (and it really should never be necessary), because I know what it's like dealing with a chronically whining patient who calls 20 times a day. I never want to be that way. It was either Whitney or DJ who kept reminding me that in a month these people won't remember me anyway, and to keep calling them. Haha.

~Do the best you can do with what you have. My entire week was focused on the fact that I had a postop problem.. and how best to address it. I saw three different doctors within four days.. one in the ER, one at a walk-in clinic, and finally the surgeon on call for my out-of-town surgeon. My sweet mama was playing taxi mom, carting me all over town, while often being the recipient of my snappy attitude. By this time I'm dealing with a big ol' case of frustration, and a little bit of self-pity, thinking that nobody (providers) really care, and do these people really know what they are talking about??? But, the best I could do is whatever they told me to do. Late Friday night and yesterday morning I was feeling pretty low, and quite fearful that I was getting worse. After a nap yesterday afternoon, I was delightfully surprised to see that the wound looked significantly better, and the soreness had ramped down a notch or two. Finally!!

~The saga is not over. Once the band was removed, the esophageal spasm/swallowing/vomiting issues were gone. However, over the past few days, I have had episodes (at least once daily) of the same spasmodic symptoms that lead to all kinds of unpleasantness. This has me pretty bummed. At the time of band removal, I threatened to "slit my wrists" if this symptom didn't go away. Of course, I was joking, but.... I really need for this symptom to go away. Perhaps it is meant to be the thorn in my side, but I am sure praying that with time it will leave never to return. It is a horrible feeling!!

~I really do have more strength than I ever gave myself credit for. Hopefully I am not a boastful person, but I am giving myself credit where credit is due this time. Throughout the entire process, even immediately after the initial surgery, it has been a hard row to hoe, and I worked very diligently to do the right things, to keep the very best attitude, even in the hardest of times. I look at other people who go through trials and challenges far greater and tragic than anything I've ever experienced, and I just say WOW. People who suffer and survive, overcome, and flourish should be our true heroes in this world, not somebody in an athletic jersey or holding an Oscar.  It is true.. God will never lead you where His grace will not keep you. And though at times I tend to try to carry the world on my shoulders instead of letting God shower His mercy and grace on me and let HIM carry it, He is always there, ready to bear the load, and restore me. Thank you God, for your blessings.

~Sometimes you just gotta let it go. Blessings can sometimes be found in the most unusual places or circumstances. My dear friend Danette called yesterday afternoon to discuss business, and during the conversation I pretty much lost my composure and bawled like a baby, trying to tell her what was going on. Such a sweet, kind, and compassionate woman. I'm sure my babbling between sobs didn't make much sense to her, but the details didn't matter at the moment, and she was such a blessing to me at the moment I needed it. I must have continued bawling for another 10-15 minutes after we hung up. My sweet daughter hugged on me, rubbed my shoulders for a bit, then went straight to my bathroom, got my bottle of Zoloft and said "Take it. NOW." So I did. It was a cathartic moment, though, and I felt better after the dam burst. Sometimes you just gotta let it go. There's no reward, except maybe a stomach full of ulcers, high blood pressure, etc., for keeping it all bottled up inside. So, to my dear friend Danette, thank you for being in the right place at just the right moment. Close enough to me to love me through it, distant enough not to advise me or try to "fix" it. Just to listen. Exactly what I needed.

~Friends and family. Absolutely the best blessing on earth.  This is not a new lesson, it's one I have known all my life.  But it has been undeniably reinforced throughout this journey!!

I have no clue what this week will hold. I'm sure there are more frustrating moments ahead with phone calls (or maybe lack thereof), more sitting in waiting rooms and missing work. Aaargh. Hopefully, though, the uphill portion of the battle is behind me and soon this will all be just a blip on the radar of a life that is truly blessed.

Monday, July 12, 2010

There's No Place Like Home

The ruby slippers fit perfectly, and though it was a bit more involved than clicking them three times and repeating "There's no place like home" to complete my journey, I have indeed found home again, both literally and physically.  My band was removed late Wednesday afternoon, and I am now back home recovering nicely.  Due to the late hour of surgery, I did spend one night in the hospital, and most of the next day, before going to mom's for a couple of nights.  I have the best mom and dad, and they have been with me through every mile of this journey!  I returned to my house on Saturday, and now there's nothing to do but wait for the postop pain to go away.  Not my favorite part.  But I can tell you with great joy and thankfulness that my nasty esophageal symptoms were immediately  corrected!!  Woo Hoo!!!  I am still taking it slow with introducing solid food, but so far only one or two bites have been even remotely reminiscent of the problems I had endured for weeks.  It is fabulous to take regular-sized drinks of water rather than microscopic sips.  Most of all it is wonderful to attempt to swallow something, solid OR liquid, without the excruciating spasms that had been plagueing me, and without multiple episodes of vomiting that had begun occurring at the end of the journey.  Of course now I turn my concerns to maintaining the weight loss already attained, as well as continuing the process for another 40 or so pounds to reach my goal.  Hopefully it will be easy for me to remember the Road Through Hell that I have recently traveled, and that will inspire me to work even more diligently not to gain back even ONE pound, and to continue the send the numbers downward on the scale.  I am thankful to be back home in my own cozy bed (though pampering at mom and dad's is nice too!), but I am mostly thankful for my tummy to be back "home".... i.e. functioning in the fashion that God meant for it to function.  There really is no place like home.  Thanks for your thoughts and prayers, and for those of you who were subjected to my whining, my tears of disappointment, and who encouraged me to fight the good fight... you are all my heroes, and mean more to me than you will ever know.  CathyB

Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July Cuties

Since the 4th fell on a Sunday, and I work on Sundays, I wasn't able to follow the children around with my camera all day to capture the cuteness factor.  I got only a couple of shots in their little red, white, and blue outfits.  A little later in the day, I got a few photos of them in the pool.  Not our typical celebration, but it was a good day nonetheless.  Hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday.  Remember, freedom never was, nor will it ever be free. 

Corey loved playing in the pool!

Leyland.... Not so much

Corey: Havin a Ball!
Leyland:  Havin a Hissy Fit!

More pictures of Corey lovin the water

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Time has slipped away from me today, and I didn't get my Independence Day blog post written.  I'm going to hijack my post from this date in 2008.  The message never grows old, and I simply can't let this day go by without recognizing its significance.

Independence! (Originally posted 07-04-08)

October 11, 2001. The one-month anniversary of one of the darkest days in American history found me boarding a plane, heading to the very airport from which those ill-fated planes originated. I was traveling as a chaperone with a group of 10th grade AP US History students to Boston. Though plans had been made far in advance, because of the uncertainty of air travel, we were not sure we would get to make the trip. Fortunately, we were allowed to fly, and so began one of my favorite trips ever.

Now each year when July 4th comes around, I have a new understanding and appreciation for the holiday. It's way more than fireworks, picnics, and a day off work. So much more. While I expected the trip to Boston to be a nice adventure, I had no idea what was in store for me, and how it would forever change my view of independence. Our tour guide (a descendant of John Pitcairn) was a fascinating man with a passion for Revolutionary War history, and he made it come alive. I am grateful to have walked the very ground where it all happened. It made it real. I went inside the church where Robert Newman hung the two lanterns that signaled to Paul Revere that the British were coming. I saw the window where he escaped arrest, the window that has been blackened out to commemorate his heroic act. One late afternoon I sat in a grassy field in Lexington and listened to our guide describe the small, but significant exchange of gunshots that happened on the very ground where I was sitting. In Concord, I walked across the Old North Bridge, site of "The Shot Heard Round The World". I touched the monuments that give tribute to the men who died there. Though I didn't climb its 294 steps, I visited the monument at Bunker Hill, the site of the bloodiest battle of the war. The American soldiers were short on ammunition, and the British soldiers so many, that General Prescott ordered his men- "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes!" in order to make sure that every bullet counted.  I visited the graves of many brave men who were instrumental in our early history- Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, Peter Faneuil, and John Hancock. I saw the building from which the Declaration of Independence was first read to the public. Wow.

The trip was fascinating, and I asked more questions than the students. Admittedly, history was a subject that I loathed while in school, and I remember very little of what I dutifully memorized in order to pass a test. Here in Boston it came alive to me, and much to my embarrassment, several times I found myself overcome with emotion at the enormity of the sacrifice that our forefathers (and mothers) endured to secure our independence. I have often seen and heard the remark that freedom is not free. It never has been. It never will be.

Happy Birthday, America! Thank you, soldiers of the Revolutionary War. Thank you, men and women throughout the history of our country who see to it that our Star-Spangled Banner Yet Waves, Ore The Land Of The Free And The Home Of The Brave!