Sunday, April 30, 2017

Another beginning

The cool thing about being human is the constant opportunity to renew yourself. I was telling my "story" the other day to an interested party, and was again struck by all the shit that's happened over the past three years. Not all of it has been literal shit, but a lot of it was, and you know what? I'm using that as fertilizer for the good stuff that's coming my way.

Among the break-ups and my sister dying, and the 7 months of cardiac drama I went through, and fighting to get through school, and more break-ups, and association drama, and gaining 40 pounds, I figured that life was pretty much over, right? Nope!

I finished my MSN. I bought a home that's everything I ever wanted. I'm going back to school next month for my Clinical Nurse Specialist certification. I'm heavily involved in planning my first vacation in four years. I've discovered yoga and Pilates and meditation and renewal. I've started down the path to adopt a child, and will have the second phase completed in late June. I've made lifelong friends who have become my extended family. I've become closer with my parents. I've lost 10 of those 40 pounds.

I chose to eliminate coffee, alcohol, and most processed foods. I journal every night and every morning in the "5-minute journal" that I received at the SHARP Women's Health Conference in April. I've made self-care a priority for the first time in years. I have released my painful desire to be in a relationship, as I realize I can't be a functional part of a duo if I am not in love with myself.

That's my current journey. Finding my love for myself. I believe in romance, and that head-over-heels love that you read about and see on the faces of your Facebook friends when they post photos of their weddings and engagements. I am glad to know it exists. I may never find it for myself, but I'm at peace knowing that it does exist in this world. I am filled with the love I have for my family and friends, and thrive on the hugs and laughter and silliness that we share.

On another note, we're surrounded with so much STUFF, right? If love is so fulfilling, why do we have so much STUFF. We're covered in THINGS... even now, I'm surrounded by sofa pillows. Why do I need 7 sofa pillows? Earlier this month, I was in Sacramento at RN Day at the Capitol. I was introduced to several of the people there who were homeless. I was struck by their stories, the humility they show as they face such adversity that most of us would probably be a total  mess. One little lady was surrounded by umbrellas as she slept in the shade. She used one as a "gate," between her and a nearby planter, protecting her valuables from curious fingers. When I returned to her, bringing milk and pudding per her request, she presented me with two paper boats. I was immediately humbled that this woman, who has so little, took the time to make me these boats and then educate me on how they should be used.

I credit her for transforming my perspective on just about everything. We have a lot, if we just know how to look at it.

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Continued growth

Hello, loves. It's been awhile, hasn't it? I last posted in July 2016 after having my procedure to "fix" my heart issues. I'm happy to say that I feel well physically... I guess having oxygen will do that to a person. :)

I've started a new job as a nurse educator in a local hospital, and I love it. Continuing my work in palliative care and oncology has been a blessing, and I'm able to use my passion for this work every single day. While my job description is about three pages long, the focus is on patient advocacy, nurse advocacy, and working together as a team. I have been blessed to be included in projects utilizing evidence-based practice, facilitating Unit Practice Council meetings and projects, and getting our hospital ready for Magnet re-designation.

I do admit to missing my work with patients every day. I go into rooms to fix beeping IV machines and assist patients who are fall risks, yet I rarely have been able to sit and have conversations with these people who are undergoing rough periods in their lives. We're a very busy hospital, and I often observe my nurses running around, wondering if that's how I looked when I worked on the floor. We're expecting to have more downtime coming up, and I look forward to having the time to assist my colleagues with their patient care.

In other news, I have applied to return to school (!!!) for my Post-MSN certificate as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS). I would focus on Adult/Gerontology and hope to have a specific focus in Palliative Care and ensuring comfort to patients on our Palliative/Oncology unit. While my MSN in Nursing Education provided me with excellent knowledge base, the addition of Advanced Pathophysiology, Assessment, and Pharmacology would renew my brain cells and allow for the simple power of additional knowledge to assist my nurses and patient population.

Personal plans include the renewal of my dedication to adopt a child in need of a forever home. As you know, I canceled my classes when my sister passed away in 2014, however I feel that the time has come again to open my heart to the possibility of a young person in my life. I look forward to this journey as well as any other that comes my way.

I hope you all are well. Live life freely and with love and light.

Back to work!

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Sunday, July 31, 2016

* Bloom *

I feel as if I've been given a second chance at life.

I had my percutaneous closure about 2 1/2 weeks ago and I feel amazing. It took me awhile to heal from it and get over the sore throat from intubation and another TEE, but I feel incredible. My left arm is still tender but I've found a compression sleeve really helps with that. My oxygenation is at 98% on room air so my tanks are sitting sadly in the hallway waiting to be picked up. I will admit I'm nervous to let them go, but it's settling in that I don't need them anymore.

I'm able to walk up stairs and hike around the block without feeling winded. I bought a treadmill and was able to knock out 2 minutes of jogging before my legs, not my heart or lungs, decided they couldn't handle anymore. I didn't feel dizzy or faint or truly out of breath, just out of shape. :) I find joy in analyzing my "new" wiring and seeing what has changed.

Yesterday I represented my nursing organization at the California Nursing Students' Association Membership South Meeting. It was an invigorating experience to be with the students again and out in the world. I didn't realize how much I missed doing nursey stuff until I saw those friendly, familiar faces and had more hugs than I have had in a very long time. The nursing world is so full of support and energy! Afterwards, I had an early dinner with a sweet friend of mine - we dove into topics that were quite personal for both of us, and I hope it was as healing for her as it was for me. It's always amazing to realize that you're never alone in the world; someone usually has been through what you have. Thank you, my dear friend.

I start my new job tomorrow, and am just thrilled for the experiences that I've been blessed with. I'm dearly hoping that I will be able to lead and inspire just as I will be inspired by my new team. If you had asked me five years ago where I thought I'd be, it would be very different from where I am now.

I couldn't ask for anything else. Life is good. I am grateful.

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Saturday, May 28, 2016


A friend of mine messaged me a couple of weeks ago asking me to help generate some joy in the universe. She, and I, felt that there was a large amount of negativity in the atmosphere and that there needed to be some happy to go along with it. I know that the planets are, and have been, in retrograde, which affects everyone differently. I'm one of those that is affected positively by this retrograde... I am clearer and a lot more gets done.

One activity that we chose to take part in was to think of things that bring us joy and to write them down. While I didn't have a chance to do this during the full Flower Moon due to two very snuggly kitties, I still sat and meditated on what brings me joy. Even the littlest thing was stored away in a mental file for later use. When I woke up the next morning, I experienced my "perfect day." It was amazing, like something had shifted.

We all need those little things, like I wrote about several weeks ago. Sometimes the media and our own life experiences allow us to just wade through a mucky swamp of negativity which does absolutely nothing for us except bring us down even deeper. Do you recall a time when this happened to you? What brought you out of it? Do you remember how sticky it was and how more negativity was almost magnetically drawn to you at that time?

Here is a list of things that bring me joy, and this list is not all-inclusive. I've made it a goal to find something joyous every day, no matter how trite or insignificant it may seem.

  • This home. My home, that I'm paying mortgage on. I am delighted with my home. It speaks to who I am. Especially my bright turquoise half-bath.
  • The two furballs who were snuggling with me and continue to snuggle every chance they get. I am overcome with love and joy whenever they're near.
  • My parents. Their support and encouragement has seen me through good times and bad.
  • My baby sister. Although she is not on this earthly plane anymore, memories and photos bring me joy (as do her text messages.)
  • Being surrounded by antique family belongings... my Dad's Japanese screen and monkeypod coffee table as well as my great-aunt's globe bring me a sense of centeredness and connection.
  • Salted caramel coffee. No explanation required.
  • Receiving the news that I do not need open heart surgery at this time.
  • Sharing the news that I do not need open heart surgery at this time.
  • Seeing friends share engagement photos on Facebook and Twitter.
  • The friendships that I've made through social media. Random, but joyous!
  • My spiritual practices.
  • Love ... love from anyone and everyone who has extra to give all over the world.
  • My dear friends who make sure that I don't become a hermit.
  • The promise of tomorrow.
I would love to hear some things that bring YOU joy!

Flamingo leggings make me happy, too!

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Proud Mutant Nurse

I realize I haven't posted much on the ol' blog recently. There's been a lot going on. Let me fill you in. Actually, I'll write a bit while you go grab a cup of coffee or tea.

So I finally found out that I will not be needing open heart surgery at this time. I have this random bridging vessel between my weird superior vena cava and my other vessel that seems to be able to handle the additional pressure. They will simply plug off the weird vena cava below the bridging vessel. My stenotic pulmonary vein is also not as severe as originally thought, and stenting would only cause further issues down the road. If I would need it fixed in the future, full open heart would be the only option. They'll fix me up in July, keep me in the hospital overnight for monitoring, and then I'll be good to go.

Isn't that rad?!

I'm feeling much better mentally and emotionally, too, for those of you wondering how that status was doing. The antidepressants and sleep medications really have helped and I am feeling much more like myself. I've also cleaned up my diet and feel better about myself by not ingesting a lot of preservatives and boxed foods. I've been drinking a lot of water and green tea, and imagine it flushing away stress and toxins.

Also, this past weekend, this happened:

I attended my commencement for earning my Master of Science in Nursing Education this past Saturday. The top photo is of my cap, which has a photo of my sister, Becky, who passed in 2014. I told her that I would finish this degree for her. The bottom photo is of my folks and Roxy the Cylinder who comes with me wherever I go. The purple cords, for those wondering, are for Sigma Theta Tau, the International Nursing Honors Society. I don't think I've ever had a photo where my cords are on straight.

(Nope, I just checked my BSN graduation and they were crooked, there, too.)

I'm so grateful for my family and friends for their support as I worked my way through this program. I thought I wasn't going to be able to finish, due to my health issues, but my advisors at University of Phoenix and I worked together to find a solution, and I was able to do my MSN project "virtually" which means I imagined a presentation within a virtual setting and I didn't actually implement it in my hospital. Because I still can't drive, this was a huge relief to me and I finished the project with good results. Now I just have one more two-week course to get through, where we turn in our project work, and I'm through! I'll be able to sign MSN, RN, CHPN after my name as soon as my degree confers! :)

Also, it should be said that I've heard a lot of schmuck talked about Phoenix. My program was one hell of a tough program which required hours and days and weeks of diligent research and time in front of the computer. For almost two years straight, minus holiday breaks, I have been in front of this screen typing discussion questions, reviewing literature, writing endless papers, and assembling an educational curriculum on end-of-life care from scratch. It's not easy, and those people who say it's a crap education should try it themselves.

Thank you to you all for reading, and I'll be back soon, promise! :)