Poolside Massage, Anyone?

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Jocelyn worked on both Brian and me. She’s one of the friendliest and most enthusiastic massage therapists we have ever met. Super nice and friendly. I highly recommend requesting her if getting massage services at the spa.

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Our poolside massage was complimentary for booking the club premium package. We thought it was a really good deal. But it’s only a good deal if you take advantage of all the perks such as the free poolside massages, unlimited wifi for multiple devices (that is, if you want to stay connected), room service etc.

I have read reviews online from people who say that it’s not worth paying the extra for club premium but Brian and I really found it worthwhile. Club premium guests get the best rooms on the property. From a couple of people who absolutely loved the room that we were given, we think that alone was worth the difference in price.

The club premium lounge isn’t really anything spectacular but it’s less busy than the regular client services desk. The ladies are all very friendly and helpful also. You wouldn’t think that you’d need that much assistance throughout your stay but you’ll have to make dinner reservations and club premium guests supposedly get priority.

You also have access to a couple of restaurants that are not available to other guests unless they pay extra. And, you have access to the hydrotherapy section of the spa throughout your stay.

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Speaking of spas, the facilities at Barceló are top of the line.

Check out this amazing relaxation room where you get to hang out before, after, and between treatments.

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The spa has several treatment rooms just like these.

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We’ve been to many and few can compare to their treatment rooms. Almost every room had a private pool.

They also had outdoor massage beds. The downside is that these are right by the main pool at Palace Deluxe so it’s not really the most peaceful or quiet place to get a massage despite the privacy fence. You can still hear people (and their kids) yelling and screaming in the background.

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The spa is connected to an amazing fitness facility that rivals the best gyms in Wichita. Plus, you can’t beat the view.

The walls are glass so you can enjoy the view outside as you workout, which also allows lots of natural light into the workout areas. Imagine doing yoga in this studio.

The health and wellness facilities at Barceló are amazing. If I had one complaint it’s that it’s at the Palace Deluxe so you have to either walk a long ways or take the Barceló train to get there. And, Palace Deluxe always seems so crowded which can be a turn off if you want to relax. Once you are inside the spa, the noise dies down except if you’re outside in one of the private pools or in the outdoor massage area. That would be my one complaint about the spa/fitness center.

Other than that it’s a fantastic resort amenity that is not to be missed. You’ll have to check it out at least once during your stay.

Grandma’s ER Room Adventure

Shortly after the New Year my Grandmother fell in her apartment. When she called me she said she had fell and broke her wrist. I immediately called 911 and had an ambulance sent to her apartment. When I got there the EMS were already on site and I let them into her place. We stabilized her arm and got her to the emergency room. This is where the fun started.

Normally my parents are the ones who get called, but my dad works for Boeing and he now works in Oklahoma. So this was my first time doing this and I was unprepared. Once we got to the ER they got her in a room and started asking her questions. We went through the normal ones like what how many surgeries have you had, when was the last one and so on. Then they asked her about her medications and after we went through all of those she pointed out that she can’t take a series of pain killers because she has an allergic reaction to them. Then he asked if she drank. She said she likes a glass of wine from time to time. Then he asks if she does any recreational drugs, without missing a beat she said “Yes!” I started to laugh. The nurse looked at her strangely, then she took a moment and processed the question in her head and realized what he really asked.

You see, she thought she heard “Do you recreationally drink?” And she answered accordingly. When she processed the actual question she started back paddling to correct herself. Then we all had a good laugh. It’s good when you can take a moment like a broken wrist and hip and still have a good laugh.

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Working Out at Home

Working out topless is definitely one of the perks of having your personal trainer come to your house. Except, I think it’s making us lazier. If I’m not lazier, I’m definitely a lot whinier. I’m not only heavier than I was last year, I feel like I’ve taken ten steps back. I’m way out of shape that’s for sure.

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Whenever we’re not doing a park or backyard workout with our trainer John Wilborn, we are usually working out in our basement. Brian and I got these 6 X 6 yoga mats from Amazon a few weeks ago because we figured we needed something to protect our carpets from excessive wear and the stench of our sweat. We also figured that we could use our new yoga mats for partner yoga for if we can ever make it out to one of the date night yoga events at Firefly. LOL.

Somewhat Healthy Sunday Dinner

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This was our dinner on Sunday night. I decided to put avocados in mine because I bought a ton of avocados from Sam’s Club to use for the guacamole that I’m making for Faith’s food day at work on Friday.

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My salad was super delicious. I thought it was even better than the best salad we’d ever made. Makes me want to eat more salad.

Brian said that the only thing that could have made it better is if we ate our dinner outside like we did the last time. We love dining al fresco.

Friday Errands then Dinner at Sake

Brian and I had to return my folding bistro table to JC Penney on Friday after work. I thought it would be perfect for the Bradley Fair jazz concerts, but it was just so poorly constructed that we didn’t even want to risk it. The package arrived on Thursday and we took it back to the store the very next day. This is what I get for impulse shopping online in the middle of the night. LOL.

For now we shall stick with our table in a bag, which actually worked great the other day. It’s just the right height for our backpack chairs.

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Sake Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Since we were already out and about, Brian and I decided to have dinner at Sake. The picture above is of my hibachi shrimp. That’s what I normally get whenever I go to these types of restaurants. Brian usually gets the chicken, which is what he had this time.

We lucked out and got Silo for our chef. We first met him when he worked at Sumo back when the restaurant was located on North Rock Road, in front of Northrock Lanes. That was like fifteen years ago. We don’t see him much anymore as we rarely go to hibachi restaurants these days. I just happened to have a Groupon this time around and we were already out so we went. I’m back to what I weighed when we first joined Genesis a couple of years ago so it’s time to buckle down again. No more eating out for a while. We’ll try not to anyway, except on special occasions.

Putting Things in Perspective

Brian had some chest pain yesterday and decided to schedule an appointment with our doctor for this afternoon. He said he felt like he was having a heart attack so I was worried. I wondered if we should have gone to the ER. I had trouble falling asleep last night because I didn’t want to wake up to a lifeless husband the next day, but he said he was fine. I finally fell asleep.

When we woke up this morning, I told Brian I wanted to work a couple of hours over and stay until 6 pm. (We carpool and both go to work at 7 am.) He reminded me that he had a doctor’s appointment. Thinking that he was feeling better, I told him that was fine and to just hang out at home after visiting with the doctor (our family doctor’s office is in Andover) until it was time to come pick me up.

Around 2 pm this afternoon Brian called me to tell me he was on his way to the doctor and that he was scared. I told him that I changed my mind about working late and to just pick me up from work after his doctor’s appointment. He asked me why I changed my mind and if I’d gotten caught up. Honestly, I’ll never get caught up because there’s always plenty of work to do. I told him that I would rather spend time with him.

Around 4 pm he called to tell me that he was still at the doctor’s office. I told him that was fine because I had plenty of work to do and I would just work until he came to pick me up. I had originally wanted to work late anyway, but felt guilty about working late when Brian wasn’t feeling well. I should be taking care of him. Anyway, it was well after 5 pm by the time he got back downtown to pick me up so I got almost an hour and a half of extra work time.

I’m such a workaholic that sometimes I take for granted how much quality time I’m spending with Brian. It worked out today that I was able to get some extra work done. I’m also grateful that we are blessed with the opportunity to hang out and spend some time together this evening. However, today put things in perspective for me. I really need to spend more quality time with my husband.

Thyroidless in Wichita

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Guess what. I survived the Mayan apocalypse. Unfortunately, my thyroid didn’t. Oh, well. Although, when the zombie apocalypse comes, I’ll fit right in. My scar still looks pretty wicked. I’m glad I went through the surgery, though.

When we met with Dr. Sunderland, he told us that they found carcinoma in my thyroid. It’s so small — the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen — that it wouldn’t have shown up in any biopsies. Had I been stubborn and continued to insist on saving my thyroid, who knows how much it would have spread and what other health problems I would have experienced as a result.

I may be thyroidless but I feel like a million bucks. Looking forward to a speedy recovery and a long, healthy life. ¡Salud!

Killing Me With Calcium

For those of you guys who were wondering how we ended up spending the afternoon at the ER last Sunday, here’s the story. BTW, I would have posted this sooner but it has been a really busy week.

Following my thyroidectomy, I was on a schedule of Cytomel twice a day — at 4 am and 4 pm — and then Calcium three times a day — at 8 am, 12 pm, and 8 pm. I had a prescription for Lortab which I didn’t touch because Tylenols were sufficient to keep the pain at bay. I think I only took 5 Tylenols total. I didn’t really need any pain meds because I wasn’t in any pain per se. Mostly I just felt discomfort. The way I described it to Brian is that it was like my neck was sore from a really good workout. I’ve never really needed pain meds a day or so after a really tough Group Power or Boot Camp class so I think that’s how I got by not needing pain meds after surgery. I kept joking that it’s because I’m part Viking but, in reality, I think it’s just ’cause I’m used to being sore all over.

Oh, and contrary to what ya’ll are thinking, the trip to ER last weekend had nothing to do with the “vaginal rest” post on Facebook. It mostly had to do with the Calcium. Well, that and the chest pain that I felt when I woke up on Saturday morning. It actually caused me more discomfort than my neck/throat and I couldn’t get it to go away. It didn’t help that Brian realized that I was overdosing on Calcium. The doctor had prescribed about 300 mg of Calcium three times a day but, when Brian went to the pharmacy, they sold him over the counter Citracal, which they told him was the same thing. Brian looked at the bottle which said the recommended dosage was only twice a day. Upon closer inspection of the bottle, we realized that the Citracal contains 630 mg per tablet. So I was getting twice the amount of Calcium that I really needed. We were both worried that the excess Calcium was what was causing me chest pain.

When I woke up on Sunday morning, the chest pain was still there so I called the doctor. Dr. Sunderland wasn’t available, but the nurse said she would page the on-call doctor. By noon we still hadn’t heard back so we called again. This time the nurse told us that the on-call doctor recommended that we go to the ER, so off we went.

After getting poked and prodded (again), blood tests, an EKG test, and x-rays the ER doctor determined that I was fine. The chest pain I was feeling was just normal discomfort following the type of surgery that I had. And we didn’t really have to worry about overdosing on Calcium because your body just expels the excess minerals in your urine. Your body takes what it needs and you just end up peeing the rest of it out. Who knew? Well, I think maybe I knew that already but the chest pain was clouding my judgment.

I wish we wouldn’t have panicked because we ended up spending almost the entire day at the ER. We were there for almost 4 hours. They had some emergency situations come in around the same time that I was there and, since I wasn’t bleeding or unconscious, I was pretty much put on the back burner. But whatever. It’s not like I had anywhere else to go. I couldn’t go to Zumba because I’m not supposed to workout for a while. My Sunday was wide open.

Anyway, I met with Dr. Sunderland on Tuesday to get my stitches out and we went ahead and brought the paperwork from the ER on Sunday. I’m glad we did because they used that information instead of drawing more blood. I really hate getting my blood drawn. I have such small veins that even the most experienced nurses have trouble. It usually ends up being traumatic for me.

The other good news that I had is that my parathyroid seems to be functioning okay which means I don’t really need to take the Calcium. Dr. Sunderland recommends that I take them anyway because I’m a woman and women need Calcium. These tablets are gargantuan, though. I was quite relieved on Saturday when we thought I was taking too much and we dropped it down to twice a day. After my visit with Dr. Sunderland, Brian and I agreed I could probably get by with just one Calcium tablet a day. Also, I graduated from Cytomel to Synthroid following this last visit so now, instead of taking medication multiple times a day, I just take my Synthroid once at 4 am and then my Calcium tablet at 8 pm. You guys probably think I’m weird because I keep such a strict medication schedule but Brian has been doing some research, and actually the doctor has said the same thing, the medicines work better when you take them at the same time each day.

Here’s to hoping that there are no ER trips or needles in store for me this weekend. Hopefully there won’t be any more surgeries for either. Blech.

The Strong, Silent type…Not!

I have always been the emotional one in our relationship. I share my feelings and don’t hide when I am upset, angry or hurt. However, when my wife had to get a Thyroidectomy, I decided that I needed to be the strong one this time. Suppress all of those emotions that I normally wear on my sleeve so that she could feel that everything was going to be OK.

What I didn’t realize was that the suppression of my emotions was going to be much harder than I anticipated. On Thursday the day of her surgery I was doing really well. I was worried but I was keeping it together pretty well. I have always been a worrier but it’s just something I have become accustomed to. With all that worry comes a great deal of impatience. I try really hard to keep that in check as well. It’s something that I have learned to be aware of and work to keep at bay. Occasionally it gets away from me but it takes a lot now. Friday evening was when my emotions boiled to the surface and reached a point that I could not hold them back.

I tell my wife everything. We started this relationship with a “No Secretes” rule and we have kept that. I fessed up and told her that I was having a hard time controlling my worry. I explained that it was hard for me to see her out of character, down for the count, not running around wanting to do so much. I always tell her that she needs to learn to relax, needs to slow down. Now that she has, I freaked out and started to worry…even miss it. She reminded me that she just had surgery, she needs to take it easy, but she was not going to let this beat her and keep her down. She wasn’t going to let this stop her from doing what she has become accustomed to doing. I explained to her that I had been researching things that I needed to look out for, things that would let me know that she was not in prime condition. The problem with this is that for every one informative post, I had to weed through twenty post of people talking about how worse off they were. The first few didn’t really worry me, but more and more posts started to wear on me to the point that I could not hold anything back. My emotions surfaced. My worry for our future started to spiral out of control and for the first time in a vary long time, I felt very helpless.

I told her all of this, crying and trying to control it all. Needless to say, even after her pep talk I still didn’t sleep that well. I even told her this morning that I may need to go back to our therapist just to try and get back on track. On the plus side, the therapist had the same procedure done several years ago. She has given me a few pointers as well as my boss and a few other friends and co-workers that I learned recently have all gone through this procedure. I actually learned over the last couple of months that this is one of the most common procedures that is done.

This still doesn’t stop me from worrying. I have learned so much over the last few months in my research. I have learned what to watch for, loss of hair, loss of concentration and memory, violent mood swings, fatigue, extreme depression, the list goes on and on. I have faith in the doctors but that still does not stop me from worrying. Honestly, I have a feeling that I will continue to worry for quite sometime.

I love my wife more than anything in the world. I just hate seeing her like this and I feel so helpless. At this point in time I wish I had the ability to heal her, give her her natural thyroid back so that she didn’t have to take any medication. I know I can’t, so my only option is to be patient, be there for her, support her as much as I can and pray for the best.

My Thyroidectomy Story

This journey began last August 2011, while we were celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary. Getting rushed to the ER that night was the catalyst for a series of doctor’s visits that eventually led to the discovery of several nodules in my thyroid, causing both sides to be enlarged.

The original sonogram showed my thyroid to be quite enlarged on both sides because of the nodules. The right side more so than the left side, but there were lots of nodules everywhere and one really large one that particularly worried the endocrinologist. Dr. Zayour performed a biopsy and confirmed that the nodules weren’t cancerous. Though he recommended surgery last year, and Brian was completely for it, I decided against surgery because my goiter wasn’t hurting my swallowing or breathing and because it wasn’t cancerous. I had regular blood work done in the months that followed which showed my hormone levels within range. I was very adamant about keeping my thyroid, enlarged as it was, so the endocrinologist went along with it with the stipulation that I would get another sonogram a year later to make sure that the nodules haven’t gotten bigger. I had this idea in my head that I could will my nodules away and make my thyroid shrink through positive thoughts and energy. I guess there are certain limits to The Secret. Science prevailed unfortunately.

Fast forward to October 2012 when I had my follow up sonogram. All the nodules have gotten bigger. My whole thyroid is even much bigger than it was the year before. At this point, Dr. Zayour was more forceful about his recommendation for surgery. He said if I insisted on keeping my thyroid, he would insist on another sonogram in six months because the nodules could grow even more in that short amount of time. At that point, if the nodules were bigger still he would push for surgery right then and there. That’s really when I decided that I couldn’t put off surgery any longer. I would likely have to go through the thyroidectomy in the beginning of the next year or I could get it done this year. I wish that I could say that my concern for my health played a bigger part in the decision, but the biggest factor for me was the financial aspect of the procedure. If I wait until next year to have the surgery done, I wouldn’t have met my deductibles yet and I would have to pay more out of pocket. Whether it was for the right or wrong reasons, I at least came to the right conclusion of having surgery done as soon as possible. The only other thing I asked of Dr. Zayour was to pick a good surgeon for me and he assured me that he would pick the best in town.

I met Dr. Sunderland for the first time last month. With glowing recommendations from Dr. Zayour and my friend Andrea who had Dr. Sunderland perform her sinus surgery a few years back, I knew I was in good hands. I was actually excited about my thyroidectomy, as crazy as that sounds. Brian was more nervous about the procedure than I was. He was fretting in the weeks and days before surgery. I actually didn’t start getting nervous until they inserted my IV.

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I have such small veins that I always worry that they would miss. What if the medicine doesn’t make it into my bloodstream? On the flip side of that, what if they give me so much anesthesia that I end up with amnesia? I told Brian that I hope that I still remember him when I wake up from surgery and I’m not like, “Who are you? I want my mommy!” LOL. Yeah, I’ve been watching too many amnesia movies.

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Dr. Sunderland came to check on me before surgery and drew the incision mark. They actually had to cut about a quarter of an inch more on each side because my thyroid was far larger than they expected.

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Brian said Dr. Sunderland told him that the right side was three times the size of a normal thyroid and the left side was about twice the size. My thyroid wasn’t that big during my last sonogram a couple of months before. It’s scary to think that it had grown that much in such a short amount of time. I’m really glad that I decided to have the thyroidectomy done this year instead of waiting until next year when it would be even bigger. Then they’d have to cut all the way across my throat.

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Here’s a picture of me and my surgeon before surgery. We’re saying “Mahalo” because he’s leaving for Hawaii next week. He and his family stay in Waikiki for a month and that’s where they spend Christmas every year.

We arrived at the surgery center around 8 am and my surgery was scheduled for 10 am, but Brian said that it was closer to 11 am before they came to get me. He said they gave me some valium to relax me and I was out before we hit the end of the hallway. That was the end of the line for him. He didn’t see me again until after surgery was completed. I think they had to stabilize me before they could bring Brian in because it was almost two o’clock in the afternoon before he saw me and took this picture. I guess they fed me Tums and made me drink some water but I threw it all up when they moved me to the recovery room.

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I doubt that the nurse was racing down the hallway when she moved me but it’s not out of the ordinary to be queasy after surgery. They had to make sure that the nausea had subsided before they could send me home. Anyway, they told me to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing so I showed up in my PJs that morning. I’m glad I did because when I got home, I just went straight to bed and didn’t have to worry about getting out of my clothes. I think it was almost four in the afternoon. All I wanted to do was sleep.

Mom came over around five in the afternoon to keep me company while Brian went to the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions. I have to take a gazillion pills over the next few days. Anyway, here’s a picture of my stitches.

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Mom brought me some sinigang to eat. I was really hungry because I hadn’t eaten since eight in the evening the night before and it was almost six o’clock. She kept asking me if I wanted to eat, but my urge to sleep was far stronger than the hunger. Plus, I remember that Darcy said she threw up her food after surgery and I didn’t want to have to go through that without Brian there to help me. Brian has experience cleaning up my vomit and I didn’t want mom to have to go through it.

I think it was almost seven in the evening by the time Brian came back from the pharmacy. He had to go to two different ones because they only had the generics at the one pharmacy and he didn’t want generics. I got up to eat when he showed up. Mom put some sabaw in a bowl. I sipped on it some. Then we put a little bit of rice in it. I just had a few bites. I was afraid to eat, partly because it hurt to swallow but then I didn’t want the food to spill out of the gaping hole in my neck. I have a wild imagination, I know. Anyway, part of it was always because I was afraid of eating too much and puking it all up as Darcy had done after her surgery. As much as it hurt to eat, I was thinking it would hurt even more to vomit.

Other than the incision having to be bigger than planned, I thought surgery went well. My neck and throat were sore and hurt to talk and swallow, but at least I could talk and swallow and the pain wasn’t so overwhelming that I had to take my Lortabs. I’ve taken a few Tylenol, but I haven’t touched my Lortabs yet. I think I may be able to get by without it.

Brian is a little concerned, but I’m still planning on going back to work on Monday. We’ll see how I feel over the next couple of days, but I’m thinking I will be able to manage. I am part Viking after all.

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