Monday, February 27, 2012

Marching right along: 2 years later...

It's March, already? How did that happen?!

This weekend marks two whole years since that fateful skiing incident that kicked off this whole show. I'm reminiscing about the whole mess of stuff that has happened since then that brought me to where I am today. Sometimes, it feels like no time at all. Two years isn't really that long, in the grand scheme of everything. Other times, it feels like for-ev-er. Wendy Peppercorn, where you at?! Has is really only been two years? Because it feels like fifty. I think I've lived more in these past two years, than in the previous twenty four combined.

Let's take a trip down memory lane, shall we?

Here's my lift ticket from that day.

Ordinarily, first-timers aren't allowed on the lifts. However, after impressing my instructor with my hubris and mad skiing skills; and having mastered, in a few hours, all the goals of the day lesson, they bumped be up to the next lesson level. By lunch, I'd mastered all the goals of the second tier, as well. It was decided that I was a natural and got approval to ride the lift. This is when karma came in and put me in my place.

If you know me, or have read my posts, you already know I'm a stubborn asshole, who loves a challenge. You also know that I throw myself headfirst into pretty much everything I do. You also probably know that throwing yourself headfirst into skiing, might not end well.

You're also probably thinking that's what I did and that this is a classic case of flying too close to the sun.

I wish I could say that. I wish I could say I tackled that mountain with such fury that I went out in a blaze of glory and smashed my face in the process. Instead, I leaned too far getting off the lift and face planted, my skis locked behind me, and I rode down the hill on my face. I was relegated back to the bunny slope after that.

Here's my raw nose before it scabbed over.

It doesn't look that bad right? It's like a sunburn, or a skinned knee, just on my face, right? That's what I thought, at the time. It didn't seem like that big of a deal.

I wish the story was more glamorous or colorful, but this isn't Hollywood, nor am I the one writing the story. I'm just turning the pages.

This weekend, ironically, the family I live with is going skiing. There's a part of me that wants to go, to show skiing who's boss. Instead, I'll be at home, in my warm bed, thankful that my nose isn't raw like this anymore.

I'm keeping my wings from melting, this time.

Free to Breathe Update

A month ago I blogged about a fundraising Yogathon I am doing next month in LA to fight lung cancer, the leading killer of all the cancers.

I'm learning yoga for this and working really hard! I'm getting my ass handed to me

I checked in a few weeks ago to report I could do most of the poses (pink checks) and now I can do a couple more (blue checks)! Some of the poses are slightly modified for my abilities and I am still working on the transitions between them (the hardest part), but I think I'm off to a great start. I still have a month left to work out the kinks. A boy are there kinks in every muscle of my body!

Also, I am so excited to say that with the help of friends and family, I have exceeded my personal goal of $1,108 and currently have raised $1,208! My team: Kids of AMC (All My Children), along with Danielle (played Emma Lavery) and Tate (played AJ Chandler), is only $32 short of our $2,000 goal!

Aren't they adorable?

I am now trying to get to $1,500, personally, and our team is competing for most money raised. We're up against Downward Dogs: Stephanie Gatschet (Madison North on AMC, Tammy on GL), Melissa Claire Egan (Annie on AMC, Chelsea on YR), Alexandra Chando (Maddie on ATWT), Emme Rylan (Abby on YR, Lizzie on GL), and Paul Gosselin (OLTL).

We really want to beat Downward Dogs, so please help us out and donate!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cooking for Dummies

I said I'd be better about posting recipes, so here's my first cooking video!

Director Deborah Chesher teaches me the proper way to make Hole in the Toast.

After posting this on Facebook and Twitter, I have received countless pictures of people's toast. Let's see yours!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Like moths to a flame

My foot is aflame and the butterfly that was fluttering in my toe has now morphed into an erratic moth. That's to be expected considering I'm doing PT 2 or 3 times a week, rockin the one crutch, doing tons of yoga, and finally doing things like going to the grocery store. You can only live on almond butter for so long.

I have also been getting out and about, doing fun things like climbing up and down a bazillion steps with no railing, and down a steep hill, to get to the ocean, like I did on Sunday. I now have lifetime box seats to every gun show in town!

And walking to and from Bart (subway), up and down a billion stairs, through big city blocks, around a museum, and bowling, like I did today.

I tried using that handicap-rolly-helper-thingy, but through some intense sweat and ingenuity, managed to crutch my way through a strike, without it or the help of bumpers, athankyou.

(That's my BFF in those pics, btw. She's rad and my favorite to adventure with.)

So flutter on, mothy, we've got work to do, and I'm only getting started. See, adventure is my flame, and like you, I can't seem to stay away from it.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Make It Or Break It

Yesterday I learned how to make homebrewed beer with a couple of friends. Some would consider this masochistic seeing that beer is one of my greatest enemies. Aside from the fact that I'm sober, the malt, yeast, sugar, and fermentation, alone, are lethal for me. I really didn't mind it, in fact, the smell of it turned my stomach.

It's quite the process, making beer.

(Top to bottom, L to R) Malt, Yeast, bagging the hops; bottles, stirrer, stirring; aerating, mixing, fermenting.

It took us about 5 hours to make it. Then it has to sit for a week, then you have to do more junk to it.

I had a blast!

My best friend and I were given the task of naming the batch. Due to the fact that we both have a whole lot of luck, half of it bad, we named it Make It Or Break It Brew: A Fight Against Karma.

Friday, February 17, 2012

I think I'll move to Australia

Today, I went by Alexander (or Frustrated McGrumperson). I woke up with blood in my hair (from a massive nosebleed); I dropped my nose ring down the sink; my computer crashed causing me to lose a huge file and some important documents, all before I even got dressed. Then I had a severely disappointing physical therapy session; my phone ate itself and had to be reset, losing all my data; and then I ran into someone I knew... That went a little something like this:

Them: "Hey, Bren"
Me: "Oh hey, how are you?"
Them: "You STILL have a crutch?!"
Me: "They actually said I'd probably still have two right now, so I'm doing pretty well." (I really wish I could kick you right now)
Them: "Oh, but you look fine, can't you walk without it."
Me: "I can shuffle if the ground is flat, which it isn't much around here." (Let's see how you walk with it shoved up your ass)
Them: "Well, ok. Don't worry, you'll be as good as new in no time!"
Me: "Thanks, see ya." (I can't get away from you fast enough)

This is not the first time this has happened, and it will, no doubt, not be the last. I've rolled with it up until now, but today I reached my breaking point. Thus, I extend a plea to you.

Please, think before you comment on my (or anyone's) progress. Anything that may come off as discouraging you may keep to yourself. Sometimes, saying nothing is far better than saying something that weighs on the fact that I am not as well as I want to be. I'm well aware, I don't need you to remind me.

Also, telling me that my recovery will take place in no time really downplays what I'm experiencing. This is something I live with every second of every day, that is always on my mind, that I experience with every scarred breath and painful step. It is not no time, it is a lot of time, and I'm counting every second.

Last, when you see me, rather than exclaiming "you still have a crutch?!" I'd much rather you to say "wow, you only have one crutch, now?!" Because that's what I need to hear. I'm really working my ass off and I'm already hard enough on myself. Thanks.

"Everyone has bad days, even in Australia."

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dear Yoga

Dear Yoga,

I apologize for my many years of mockery in regards to you. I am now eating my words. I take back those times I spoke of you being lame and boring, and that time I said you were just glorified group stretching. You are effing HARD and you are kicking my ass. And, I deserve it for all my naysaying.

My physical therapists kept telling me to court you and that it would be a beautiful relationship that would strengthen me. I told them that you just weren't my type. They kept persisting, saying you would be so good for me. Finally, I found some incentive in a fundraising event featuring you. I knew signing up for a Yogathon to raise money for a great cause was the only way I would actually get acquainted with you. So far, it's working.

As it turns out, your tough love was just what the doctor ordered (pun intended) and I've stretched (again, pun fully intended) outside of my comfort zone. I'm growing and changing through knowing you.

Already, I am checking off several poses that I wasn't able to do just a few short weeks ago.

(I can do E with shoes on, working on doing it without)

I'm confident you will help me reach my goals*, since you've already helped me reach my toes.

We're creating quite the beautiful love/hate relationship, here, Yoga: I love to hate you, and you love to hate on my body.

See you on Monday,

P.S. Let's be honest, I'm only using you for your money. (If anyone wants to donate to my efforts, you may do so here. Thanks!)

*I'm already past halfway on both my physical and fundraising goals! :)

Sunday, February 5, 2012


When I was in Texas, my Mama had to figure out a way for me to eat steak, seeing as how it is sacrilegious to visit Cowtown, USA and not have one.

I am allowed to have buffalo, but since I am not on the Oregon Trail, I never knew you could actually buy it. Turns out, they sell buffalo steaks at Whole Foods.

So Ma made it her mission to make me some meals that would stick to my ribs.

Buffalo and butternut squash was BOMB, y'all!

Mama even taught me a new way of cooking the squash. I always cook it whole, but her way it much faster. She even sprinkled cinnamon on top, which was amazing.

Steak and potatoes: I can't eat that

Bren-friendly version: Buffalo and sweet potato

Not a bad substitute for steak, at all, aside for the price being kind of steep. It was a nice treat for Christmas and New Year's Eve dinners, though!

And now, a relevant throwback to my youth...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Crutches, clots, and canes...oh my!

It was pretty exciting times at the podiatrist this morning, folks!

I'm at the 2 month post foot reconstruction mark now, and as you may recall, I made some predictions about where I thought I'd be at this point. My medical team surmised that I would just now be beginning to bear weight, which I have been doing since about 3 weeks post-op. I said that this would be the week I would trade my crutch for my cane and was sure I'd do it. Thus, today when I crutched my way into my 8 week appointment, I was all set to cane my way back out. No dice.

Instead it went a little something like this:

Dr: "Everything looks really good. Your tendons are healing; your bones are fully fused; your ligaments look great; and your muscles are getting stronger."
Me: "So should we break out the champagne and canes?"
Dr: "Well, there is a bump under your toe incision that we want to take a look at."
Me: "Is that bad?"
Dr: "We think it may be a small blood clot..."
Me: "I'll take that champagne, now."

Turns out, it wasn't a clot, but one of the knots from the internal sutures that didn't dissolve, collected calcium and blood, and was just overstaying its welcome. We sent it packing.

After the unwanted guest was dug out and sent on its way, the conversation went like this:

Me: "Okay, so about that cane."
Dr: "Can you do a plie or tendu yet?"
Me: "Wait, what?
Dr: "Do you know the exercises?"
Me: "Yes, but I can't do them. Nobody told me I should take up ballet."
Dr: "Well, you're already taking yoga, why not add in some ballet? ;)"
So now my doc is rivaling me in smart-assery!

Long story short, she wants me to go easy on the toe through the weekend so I don't split the new stitches and then, hopefully next week I can start slowly introducing the cane during my physical therapy.

Aside from this blip, I still think I'm on track to be walking on my own by my birthday (March 19th).

Tomorrow I'm getting bloodwork and I have a Nephrology appointment to see how my kidneys are doing. I hope they're on their best behavior!