Why April was a blur: my #LASEK story.

So, I seriously didn’t intend to go all MIA here for the last six weeks, but remember when I said I was going to get LASIK, in my last post? Well, that didn’t happen. What *did* happen was LASEK, and it literally made the month of April almost entirely a blur (in more ways than one). Here goes, why April was a blur…my LASEK story.

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April 10. LASIK surgery day! (not)

Totally excited. Nervous, but ready. I walk into a shall-not-be-named office for my LASIK surgery. A surgery I was told I was a ‘perfect’ candidate for just a week and a half prior, and instructed to wear my glasses, no contacts allowed, until the day of my surgery (which was a feat in itself, I wanted to hurl them across the room on an hourly basis. Running, teaching classes, and even working was a huge pain wearing them, but I digress). As I am about to pay for the surgery, I am instructed that I am actually getting PRK today, and *NOT* LASIK, because the surgeon decided – today – that I am actually not a candidate for LASIK. The very surgeon that assured me I was less than two weeks prior.

Uh, what? Huge pit in my stomach. Huge feeling of letdown. PRK is the precursor to LASIK and involves a much longer recover, more pain involved, and vision that takes weeks (or longer) to perfect. After discussing with M and the office manager (random – how about we talk to the surgeon?!), we walked out, deciding not to move ahead with the surgery. Mind you, this place was reputable in many of the reviews I read, it was even recommended by my medical insurance. Yet, no, I did not like that last minute change and immediately wanted a second opinion. Like, right now. And conveniently, my sister was also doing LASIK (you know, since we do everything together, as many of you know!), so we called her surgeon and got an appointment within an hour.

I was not looking forward to the two-hour evaluation do-over to see if I was a LASIK candidate, but was ready to just plow through. I’d gone this far, I got time off work, cleared my barre n9ne teaching schedule and just wanted to get it done (can you tell I am stubborn?!). Immediately, I felt comfortable with this office, the assistants, everyone. The process for the evaluation is long, a lot of eye tests, eye dilation, more tests. And the diagnosis? I still was not a candidate for LASIK. Sad face. My corneas were thick enough (usually why you aren’t a candidate, thin corneas) but my corneas are not symmetrical (damn those astigmatisms!) and therefore, made me not a candidate. Instead, I qualified for LASEK, which is basically a hybrid of LASIK (where they cut the cornea into a flap to do the laser surgery) and PRK (where they shave the cornea from the front, not cutting it at all), which is supposed to be a little less painful and shorter recover than PRK (the old approach).

I thought for sure that if I got the same diagnosis, I was going to walk away and just be destined to wearing glasses and contacts forever. But I was surprised when I immediately felt that I wanted to move forward. They assured me that the recovery was not as bad as I had googled (damn Google!!) or as painful, and many patients are seeing pretty well in 7-10 days, and up to 3-4 weeks, typically for really good vision. So I went for it, the next day, in fact.

So, back we went, that Friday, April 11 for surgery. Shortly after arrival and a few more tests (one of which to make sure my eyes weren’t still dilated from the day before, or they couldn’t do the surgery. I would have been so pissed off, lemme tell ya!), I was ready to go. I was given a Valium to keep me calm during the procedure, and my eyes were numbed (in part so they could write on my eyeballs – yes, write on them! to guide the laser appropriately). Having your eyes numbed is the oddest sensation and one I would get used to having done far too often, in coming days and weeks.

Valium is amazing, let me tell you. It calmed me in the most subtle way. They equated it to feeling as though you just had a couple glasses of wine – to which I joked…but that doesn’t affect me THAT much (wow, spoken like a true wino, much?!), and it really did keep me calm. When they called me in, it went pretty quickly. I was given a stuffed animal to hold onto in case I felt the urge to squeeze my eyes shut (which I never did), and then it began. They clamped my eyes open, which I thought would feel weird or hurt, but it really wasn’t too bad, and I just felt a lot of water and liquid going into my eyes, I could see them ‘wiping’ away my cornea, and then the laser came down – and the only creepy part was that I could smell the laser, it smelled like my eyeballs were burning. Eww – and then they switched to the other eye. I was done in less than 10 minutes, walked out, and was told to shut my eyes for four hours to let them rest. I was given a slew of eye drops for inflammation and antibiotics and tylenol with codeine for pain.

I peeked before shutting my eyes for the next four hours and I could see! it was the WEIRDEST thing. I could see, but it was very foggy, almost like I was walking through a fog, literally. Little did I know, I would get very used to that feeling…

While the surgery itself was not as bad as I thought, and I actually NEVER felt any pain almost entirely over the last 3.5 weeks, what has been the most frustrating has been how slowly my eyes have healed. And this is largely in part due to my inability to just slow the hell down. Take the rest. Shut my eyes. Allow them to heal (this is for another post entirely, this post is already getting so long!). But it’s been a lot of fits and starts. Good days of sight and not so good, very frustrating, teary days of struggling to see. Weeks of not driving (thank goodness I work from home!), which was so hard for me, relying on others, feeling trapped. I am finally at a stage where I can *mostly* see. My eyes are very dry, and this is the biggest inhibitor to my vision right now. The dryness is causing a lot of blurred letters when I read or work, but my vision overall is quite good (if that makes sense!).

So, I joke with friends, family and clients at the studio wondering where the heck I went, that April was a blur – literally – and I am finally ready to SEE and use these (expensive!!) new eyes to experience details I’ve never been able to see for the last 24 years. While this has been one of the most trying experiences of my life, mentally and physically, in hindsight, looking back, I would have still done it, despite the struggles and slowness of the healing process. I am proud of myself for a) going through with it and b) GETTING through it, even when I just wanted to cry.

I think what was most eye-opening – seriously, no pun intended ha! – was how much I struggled with loss of routine, lack of control and change. It is something I plan to explore in some future posts and is just something I realize more than ever I need to work on, like, really really work on.

Until then, I shall embrace my (almost) perfect vision and am glad to say  SEE YA LATER April, that was quite the month. :)

On life and musings in bullets.

My mind is a jumble lately, bullets are what I could muster. Not one specific thing in mind, but I miss writing. I miss sharing. So here it is, for whoever may still be out there lurking ;-)

  • I have no idea where my writing mojo has gone, but it has yet again left the building. And it again makes me wonder if I want to keep blogging. I *do* but sometimes I don’t have as much to say, and that has been happening far more than it used to. I’m boring, what can I say ;-)
  • I’m getting LASIK!!!! GAH!! Finally! I am a little skeered, but I know it will be SO worth it. 24 years in the making, as I was all of 10 when I got my first pair of green-rimmed, speckled, huge-a$$ glasses. And they were, h-a-w-t, HAWT. (not. clearly).
  • In juuuust about a month, M and I are heading to Sonoma!! No, we aren’t doing a huge epic wine country mecca outing per our usual this year (insert sad face. but 2015 trip, THAT shall be epic, yes?). He has a conference out there to attend and I am fortunate enough to get to tag along. And since we won’t have our bigger trip there this summer, we (somewhat) last minute decided to extend our stay and are staying three more days in Healdsburg, about 45 mins from where we are staying for the conference. It is our mecca, it is where we got married, of course, and it is where our hearts lie, in so many ways. It’ll be a much-needed time for us to get away, flit about relatively unplanned, connect, and lose that burn-out feeling that life tends to hand us, especially during the brutal winter we’ve been having up in here of late!
  • Speaking of winter, I am ridiculously thrilled that spring may be FINALLY making an appearance around here, and spring running (among many other things) can finally commence. I’ve tried to keep up outdoor runs at least once  a week (with Jess, when we can together!) so I don’t feel as though I am starting over from ‘mill running all winter, and that has been hugely helpful.
  • I’ve been obsessed with roasting a sh*ton of veggies and feasting on them all week. And with experimenting with new flavors and textures – lentils, farro, and my latest – TOFU! Such a foodgasm of late, admittedly ;-)
  • I continue to work on that relaxing and letting go thing, in all areas, including mental mind games, mindfulness when it comes to eating (vs stressing over what I eat! who has time for that? it’s silliness. I remind myself constantly), and reveling in living UNplanned. I’ve found that in some cases, I need to embrace plans now, vs. trying to NOT make them. Is that ironic, or what?
  • And, last but not least, yesterday marked 6 months since Nala’s passing. It was admittedly a rough day, with many more tears than I expected, starting with a #runforNala to the tune of 6 miles for 6 months. I have dreamed of her almost nightly lately, some are sad dreams, some are happy. She’s just so freshly with me and sometimes it surprises me to the point of tears. Anyway, with that in mind, I am lamenting a memorial run for the one year anniversary. 12 miles for 12 months for Nala and 1(.1!) for Kayla (who has been amazing lately, so cuddly, so loving, so NEEDED) to the tune of my ‘own‘ 13.1, the way I’ve loved to hit this number the last couple of years. Not a racer, but I do enjoy hitting that number each year at least once, just for fun ;-) More on that later. Just rambling now.

Okay, I think that’s about it, for what’s jumbled in my brain right now. Not a pretty post, not overly thoughtful or even very humorous, but it’s what I got ;)

The MFEO Chronicles: Sarena & Tony

Today, I bring you Sarena and Tony, who I am delighted to introduce in the next installment of The MFEO Chronicles.

Though we have never met in person (it WILL happen, it MUST!), I truly feel Sarena and Tony are kindred spirits, in a way, so much in common, similar humor, interests and personality, and I just adore these two (and I swear, Tony is the long-lost brother I never had! Love that guy!). And, not only do they strike me as the most genuine, real, and compassionate souls, they have the most beautiful story as a couple, and their story of longevity, fighting against the odds and being the life partner they both need in every single way, is just so inspiring and makes me smile from head to toe.

Enjoy – and thank you Sarena and Tony, for sharing your story. It truly is an honor to share it. <3.

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I have to admit, when Jolene asked me to write a little bit about my marriage to share here with you guys, I got a little freaked out. I don’t believe in superstition (as I sit here with a black cat in front of me), but you know, putting my personal thoughts on my relationship with my husband gave me that brief thought of is this the kiss of death? What do I know about relationships? We aren’t perfect and I’m sure we don’t have all the answers. Then I thought about it for a minute and laughed at myself. Of course it’s not the kiss of death. We are more than that. So much more.
 
 
I met my husband Tony when we were 19. Yep, that would be shortly after high school. Looking back, we thought we were adults. Looking at it now, we were kids. Smart kids, since we knew to hold on to each other, but kids just the same. I said it then and I will say it now, we are old souls meant to be together. I really feel like we were together in another life. We met in college. Tony was in the art program and I was in the culinary arts program at The Art Institute in Atlanta. He caught my eye immediately. Cutie, that man was (and still is). You know, those butterflies in the stomach…yeah, those were going crazy! Tony is the first guy that ever opened the door for me. I had never met a truly nice guy that wanted to hang out with me. We were that annoying inseparable couple (and still are now) that everyone rolls their eyes at. From there, we got married a little over a year later. Twenty years old getting hitched. I know! CRAZY! We actually got married against the odds. My parents wanted nothing to do with me getting married. They didn’t come to my wedding and actually planned an event so that nobody from my side of the family would come to my wedding. That was hard for me, but I was marrying the man of my dreams. My relationship with Tony has taught me so much about love and what family really is. The most important thing Tony has taught me, what I believe is the key to a happy marriage, is unconditional friendship and love.

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That word, unconditional, that is an important word. You see, I do not have all the answers as far as love goes. Tony and I are a normal married couple. We have had our down times too. We aren’t perfect! I know, it’s shocking even for me to admit. I kid, I kid. You know what we are, we are friends that understand that life is about adapting and understanding. The only thing that we can be assured of is change. It’s how we work together to get through the change that really makes us a great team.
 
 
I was that girl that had these grand thoughts on what life would be when I grew up, got married, had babies and got older. Well, life is nothing like I thought it would be. I think we all want that romantic movie where everything is perfect and happy. You get that big break and everything works out in the end. Am I right?
 
 
News flash, life is definitely not easy. However, being married to my best friend, has definitely made this little adventure called life so much better. It’s that unconditional love and friendship that has gotten us where we are today. In the last (almost) 20 years (please don’t do that math on that) Tony and I have become stronger through failed family relationships, emergency surgeries (his), the birth of our 2 beautiful boys, 2 miscarriages, tumors (mine) and career changes.
 
 
Don’t get me wrong, my life is amazing. I love every minute of it. I’ve come to realize that my relationship with Tony really has pulled me through those hard times. Unconditional love is the key for us.
 
Knowing, that in the hard times, he is always there for me no matter what and that I’m there for him no matter what always gives us a sense of safety. I do feel like I’m one of the lucky ones. I found my soul mate early on. We have literally been together longer than we’ve been apart in our lives. It’s so strange to think about it that way. I never take our relationship for granted. It’s special and I am forever grateful for having Tony in my life.  We are definitely MFEO.Tony's Class Reunion

Two years ago, I taught my first barre (n9ne) class.

…and it was the best decision – and opportunity – I ever made (and had).

Every single class, every single day, I love what I do.

1901957_10152256648681170_1447480675_nIt brings me joy every single time, and there is no better feeling than to pay it forward in the form of helping women get into the best shape of their lives.

It gives me gratitude to put together a class that challenges, that inspires, that motivates.

And equally, when I have the chance to step into a class as a client myself, and get my own ‘me’ hour to focus, work, and sweat.

It touches me when a client looks for advice, suggestions, encouragement and asks me. To this day, I am always honored to help, to advise, to inspire and motivate.

And it keeps me on my toes – no pun intended, seriously hehe – to continue on my own journey, in maintaining this fit life, this balanced life, this happy life that I lead. It’s not a diet, it never has been, and never will. I have reached that happy place with food and my body, and you can’t quantify how good that feels.

It feels like I was meant to do this. Because I was. And I am. And I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store.  Thank you Tanya for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime, and to the barre n9ne community, for being you, for your inspiration, loyalty and committment. I say it all the time, but there truly is no community like the barre n9ne community. You can’t make this happen, it’s created.

(in other news, I have a scary amount of selfies, but it was way too fun putting together this flipagram!)

The MFEO Chronicles: Jess & Scott

I am so excited to start sharing some of my guest posts for the MFEO Chronicles. I purposely left the definition of the MFEO Chronicles vague, as I wanted those that I asked to submit, to share their story, whatever that may mean, and define what MFEO means to them, and their partnership. I present to you my first entry, from my sister Jess, on her decade-strong marriage (coming right up in June). Without a doubt, their marriage is one I have respected and admired for many years, and they inspire me, as M and I just begin our journey in marriage (7 months!), and partnership (3+ years).

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loveMade for each other.

I am 100% certain that Scott was put on this earth for me. I say this with such confidence because just weeks into our relationship, we gave our hearts to each other. As literally as we possibly could. I distinctly remember the night that we talked about the love that was blooming between us. I told him I’d always take care of his heart, if he promised to take care of mine. I held my hand over his heart and said “this is my heart, please keep it safe” as I pat his chest, feeling it rise and fall beneath my palm. He promised…well, he pinky swore (a promise we take very seriously), that he always would.

And ever since that day, I’ve trusted him with my heart without a shadow of a doubt.  And he’s done the very same. To me? This isn’t something to take lightly or to just assume is present in every relationship: that unrelenting trust and faith that your heart, your most precious possession will be forever safe, forever loved, forever cherished.

But I’ve never ever doubted that with us. Since that day, with my hand pressed against his chest, I’ve trusted Scott with all that I have and all that I am.

As I talked to Scott about the MFEO Chronicles the other day, I described it to him as a blog post talking about why he’s my other half. To which he responded: but you’re not my other half, you’re my three-quarters. Without you, I’m only a quarter of me. Not a half. A quarter.

…and he’s right. He’s my three-quarters. I adore him, I cherish him, I love him so fully, so passionately, so endlessly. It sometimes scares me how much. That is, until I remember that thing called faith, and that fear subsides.

So to me, being made for each other isn’t just about being compatible, or learning how to make each other laugh, it’s about trust, adoration, respect and total and utter commitment – to each other, to ourselves, to the relationship, to the marriage. We’re not afraid to put our relationship first when it’s needed. Or to step aside to let each other chase a dream, it might be me chasing a dream one moment, and Scott chasing a dream the next.  Ultimately, we’ve learned how to give 100% to our relationship without losing ourselves in the process. It was even in our vows – to support each other’s hopes and dreams, never losing sight of “Scott” or “Jess” along the way.

It’s funny, I actually struggled to write this post for my sister at first. I think, after almost 10 years of marriage and 14 years together, it’s pretty impossible to remember what life was like without Scott in my life, and in my heart. And maybe that’s why this MFEO Chronicle is so simple: Scott and I are made for each other. It’s as simple as that. And I feel very blessed to have found such an enduring faith-filled and faithful lover, best friend, and companion for life. He is my three-quarters. <3