Monday, March 31, 2014

What's Been Going On In 2014

For 2014, I have been keeping a personal journal, so I've not posted anything for a while. My major goal for the year has been about creating a spirit of gratitude. I have found this to be very difficult because well, I am human. I have moments and thoughts that I'm not proud of. I recognize these things, but the difference of course is acting on them versus correcting my thoughts and actions. Also, apologizing if I need to is key when I don't correct my thoughts and actions. Take care of what you love, and it will take care of you.

I had a thought earlier today that I wanted to express, and it has escaped me like a runaway going to Canada. It was a good thought too. It's the reason why I'm writing anything at all and now...Poof! So what has been going on? Here's the highlights reel: 

1. I had surgery on Feb. 20th. The details are in the previous blog post. I'm at about 85% I guess. I have not fully tested my physical abilities. I get to see just how weak I've become in these last six weeks with today's workout. My flexibility is atrocious! This can be rectified with some good old fashion stretching and foam rolling. The green devil taunts me from its corner every time I see it. I'm still waiting on it to start feeling like a massage again. 

2. I got accepted into graduate school to pursue my PhD in financial planning or consumer economics. I applied for financial planning, but the consumer economics looks like what I really want to do as far as research and areas of interest. The awesome thing is since I'm a newbie, I can change later on. It's America, so I have some rights and freedoms. The most amazing part of this experience is that a couple of weeks after being accepted into my program, I received a letter from my graduate coordinator telling me that they didn't have any money for me at that time, but they were working on it. Story time! Once upon a time, I was going to go to Florida State University, but I changed my mind because Florida A&M University said I could get a degree for the free.99 because I was a good little student in high school. Why not? I really didn't want to go FAMU because I wanted to be with more than just black people, and the school was notorious for financial aid mis-handlings (like all HBCU's, but a major issue is that students don't fill out their FAFSA's on time, so for a school where 90+% of students receive aid, and only 40% of them do right....) Well, that was one of the best decisions I could have ever made because I was able to go to school for free not once, not twice (mostly), but three times. The Graduate Feeder Program was created to help underrepresented groups enter into graduate school. Oftentimes, this means full rides or some financial assistance. Well, I wasn't worried after I got the e-mail because 1. The Lord provides. 2. I'm a Fellow, surely I will get a fellowship, right?! (Okay, I was a little worried.) Two weeks later, I received my letter in the mail letting me know that I would have a fellowship. Thank you Jesus, thank you Lord! Honey, I only pay $25 a semester for tuition, I pay my student fees, and for 16 hrs of work a week I will receive a nice stipend every month. Won't He do it? It was done!  

3. Dan and I have been going through a book titled "Why Don't We Listen Better?" with another couple. Originally, our plan was to do it together, but I saw that a friend and I could benefit from it as well. He's married, so she could probably benefit too. Let's do this. We've been meeting since the beginning of February, and we're almost done with the book. It's been an interesting experience. I've always been a good listener, but now I'm trying to become not just a person who can recall what is said or lend an ear. I'm trying to do it without advising, agreeing, disagreeing, or defending. That is pretty tough. In general, I keep an open mind to most things. I'm happy I let Daniel convince me that this is something that I could benefit from. It seems to be helping everyone. I'm not sure if we're all fully understanding the principles, but I feel that it has been an added benefit for most. Gosh darn, I'm growing! Lol. 

4. Team Watkins has been reading a book titled "Fearless" by Max Lucado. Originally, this was a book that I was reading with a small bible study group I was in in VA, but we left shortly after we started this book. Dan and I picked it up because we needed to start being a little bit more radical with our faith and going after happiness. I have let fear conquer my quest for happiness for far too long. Most times there is something from the book that resounds with us and others not so much. I attribute this to us just getting out of our box more. We're almost done with this book as well. I think our next book will be The 5 Love Languages or a book about worthiness from Brene Brown. I have a huge girl crush on her. 

5. The usual stuff...ya know, lose weight, floss more, yada, yada. Lol. I am truly trying to meet new people. I finally went to my first meetup last Friday. It was cool enough. I met one girl that I really liked. She told me I reminded her of her best friend. (Well, I am pretty awesome! Lol.) I'm going to try and stay in touch with her. The meetup helped me to achieve a goal of meet five new people this year. Hey! I should reach a little higher than having dinner with strangers who I am perfectly fine with never seeing again, so I'll keep going to the meetups. Maybe something more will develop. I can stand to have some new friends. It's so hard because I really like Dan, and we have so much fun. Also, my friends are so much better than your friends...unfortunately, they aren't here (MOVE). Sigh.  

6. We booked a trip to go to wait for it....Dublin, London, Paris, Florence, Venice, and Rome. Yes! My passport hasn't been stamped since October 2012 when we went to China. It's past due, and now it's about to see some major activity. I have so much to plan! We'll be gone for a little over two weeks in May. So much to do, so little time! (Yes, I do have a month, and I don't work, so I do have time to plan...) 

7. We're still debt free. We need to ramp up our savings again, but last year took us a while to get our footing after the move. We did some savings, but not what we budgeted. Dan's income is more than enough, but we were just doing things without a plan.That's the fastest way to end up broke. This year we've had major medical expenses (PTL for FSA), car repairs, big trip/little trips, and other things. Although we've not saved like we should have, we are far from broke. I'm so happy that we did FPU, and I can't wait to start teaching it again. We've been doing the darn thing for Baby Step 4. I set up an automatic deduction to save 15% of our income in retirement. This year will be the first year that we will max out our Roths. :) 

8. Dan came up with the idea of creating a goals group with our friends, so I setup our FB page, Hangouts, and we checked in with each other for six weeks. We start back up again today. It's been great reading about our friends' successes. I love that most of these people didn't know each other, but we've been encouraging to each other to achieve the things we want in life. This 6 weeks goal is to do P90X3 and run three times a week. I'm doing the program with Dan, so I'm looking forward to that. Working out with him makes me step my game up. 

That's all I can think about right now. I'm going to try and do better about writing in this thing. I need to track my life! 

Toodaloo for now!  

Sunday, March 30, 2014

My Beautiful Struggle Re-post

So this is something that I wrote on FB last month. I'm trying to do better about blogging here's my first post. It's a cheat post kinda. Lol. 

My Beautiful Struggle

February 24, 2014 at 9:04pm
I thought about writing this note for a while. Wait a minute...I struggled. I lost a few nerves, screamed, tore off a few heads, and months later finally thought about writing this note for a while. It's long. Here goes:

I left my job back in July 2013 because Daniel and I had decided two things. 1. I needed to have a career that I loved, and he needed to keep advancing with his career. 2. We were ready to start a family, and we wanted to be close to our families for this part of our journey. We had agreed back in Mach or April 2013 that we would start working on a baby in October 2013 right after our Vegas trip in September. Priorities. In April 2013, I was told that I had fibroids. No big deal. Black women and fibroids are like peanut butter and jelly. No one knows why we are so susceptible, but we are. The first doctor I spoke with told me to leave them alone. “You need to stop waiting and start having children because it's what we're commanded to do.” I don't argue with this because he said it in a loving, straightforward, and old Christian man way. I was having some pain, and he told me there was one that looked like it was sitting on a stalk that may be the reason for this pain. We set a date for surgery for June 14, 2013 to remove this little "bump" in the road. My wonderful doctor at the time went in and saw that the fibroid wasn't what they originally thought it was. In fact, she (different doc for surgery) said my ultrasounds did not show the true size of the creatures inside of me. She sewed me back up, I woke up in 45 min, and she told me about the two tennis ball sized growths that were obstructing my uterine cavity (there were actually 6 biguns total). She said she couldn't see how I would have enough room in my love sack for a baby and the squatters. Not only did I have to have them removed, but I would have to wait 6 months after surgery before trying. STFD? Me: Seriously God do you just like to take your big red pen and scratch through every plan that I ever come up with? Like hasn't that thing run out of ink yet? Jesus where you at? You're at his right hand making intercessions for me, right? Intercede Bro!

Emotional Reactions: 1. Frustration 2. Sadness 3. Anger 4. Acceptance 5. Submission. (Not my will but Yours.) 6. Happiness.

We arrived in GA on August 1, 2013. I hadn't been that happy since my wedding day. I knew that God had a plan for us, and I was eager to find out what it was. I began my hunt for the doctor who was going to rid my body of these freeloaders. First doctor, I don't do surgery anymore. Second doctor, I can do it but not laparoscopically. Here are some referrals. Third doctor, I can pull a watermelon out of a 1 inch incision (He says this with a huge cocky grin on his face.). He really can do it. All the doctors send him the tough cases. Later on, I get the call that he's out of network. That will be $4500 please. o_O.....Fourth Doctor, out of network. Fifth doctor, out of network. Sixth doctor, OUT OF NETWORK. I finally decided to go to my insurance plan's site and find a doctor who performs minimally invasive gynecological surgery. Only one name was on the screen- Dr. Assia Stepanian.

Let me just say, Dr. Stepanian is the result of waiting and trusting in the Lord. My first appointment with Dr. Stepanian was weird (You're thinking about that transition, right?). I was sitting there with my medical records and prepared to go through my medical history back to the first day that I found the Red Sea parting in my underpants.

Pause. Let 11 yo Kim takeover..."How did that get there? Wait there's more? Gasp. NOOOOOOO!!!!!! (AT&T switchboard lights up in the 904 area code section of Monticello, FL. Kim/Trashpile/Milford is a woman now.) Absolute mortification for the rest of her teenage life. 11 yo Kim exits stage. Play.

Dr. Stepanian came in and did something no doctor has ever done before. She hugged me. Okay, she's a HUGGER. This is weird, but this surely could be worse. She surprised me again by listening to me. If you've ever been to the doctor, it's like you're on repeat with them. I hate it.  She only interrupted me once to clarify something and then she listened to me. After going through my medical records, she wants to have her own exam. Fair enough. At this point, I am honestly tired of being poked and prodded. I mean up to this point I could count on one hand the number of people who have been that up close and personal with me, and the list had grown exponentially in my short time in GA. She performs her exam. She whips my girls out and checks for lumps. At one point I guess my hand was a little tense, so she stopped and patted my hand to let me know there was nothing to be worried about. I wasn't worried, but the gesture meant much to me. After she's done, she tells me she can feel a fibroid that she's not sure she can get laparoscopically, but she will try. Sweet baby Jesus not again! Time for a MRI.

I took my MRI. For some reason, I was expecting more blue lights and a year 2038 feel, but it was just me being placed into a soda can hooked with magnets and other imaging devices. The tech that I had was this older gay guy who had moved from Fort Valley, GA 20+ years ago because he needed to be in the City. He got all up in my business, but he was so nice about it that I didn't mind sharing with him. He told me I was charming and pretty, and that I would be alright. I'm happy he's in the medical field. He was needed that day. I go back for the results. Everything is a little more finite. I find out that my uterus is the size of a 16-18 week pregnant woman. My first thought was "I look four months preggers..... HOT DAMN!!!" I knew I had some weight in my stomach area that I couldn't get rid of, but these damn things now had an upside to them. It wasn't just the cheeseburgers, pizza, cake and fries. I legitimately have a medical condition, and it's not being big boned! Surgery/lipo is scheduled.

Feburary 20th, I arrive at Northside Hospital. I'm ready. I wrote notes in my journal for Dan, my parents, in-laws and grandma. Just in case notes. Then Debbie, my nurse, comes in. Debbie smells familiar. Me: You smell good. Debbie: Oh no, I do? We're not supposed to have anything on. I sprayed down here (motioning hands in vagina to knee cap area.) Me: (Laughing) I like you Debbie. Debbie was wearing Light Blue that day. She becomes one of my perfume BFF's. I spoke with my Mom, prayed with my Dad, and then Mr. Watkins sent me a text telling me it's his turn. Seriously, it said "It's my turn." He comes in and all we do is laugh. It's time to go. I love you. See you in a little bit. I get to spend the rest of the day going in and out of consciousness. I mean the hallucinations were crazy and mostly about cookies. I saw a bunch of sugar cookies in the shape of the Star of David. They were covered in blue sprinkles. The next one was of chocolate chip cookies on a huge chocolate chip cookie that had frosting on its rim. This is why people go to rehab. Why wouldn't you want to be in a perpetual state hallucinating about cookies? I go in on Thursday, and I get to leave on Saturday morning if I can pass the test. The test only has one question, and it's fairly easy most days of the week. Can I pass gas? That's right folks, can I crack one, lay a goose egg, release methane into the air, etc. All I have to do is fart, and I'm out of there. I finally do it. Dan and I high five, and the nurse calls my doctor. You would have thought we cured cancer Saturday morning.

I'm home now. It only hurts when I move too fast or laugh. We laugh a lot in our home, so I've been in much pain. It's okay. What I have learned is that it's so easy to take the simplest things for granted. I pray that I never take anything in life for granted again. When I do, I will think back on the moment, that I laid in a hospital bed high fiving my husband because I was able to pass gas. It's not my greatest life achievement, but it is one that showed me how wonderful the simple things in life are. So where does all of this leave me medically? We'll have to wait 3-6 months before we open up the draft to recruit a new player for the team. I'll have to have a c-section because my uterus won't be able to handle contractions. That's okay too. What's more important is that we still have an option. If God does decide to say no, that gift isn't for you, I'll find a way to accept to his will again. (Jer. 29 v.11)

In the interim, I will enjoy my family, friends, and my amazing husband Daniel. God has already blessed me with so much, and I know he has so much more for us in store. I'm sharing this because someone shared with me her story about her miscarriages. She was depressed about them, but God didn't say no to her. She has a beautiful child now, and she loves that child more than anything. God uses us to help each other. This may be a blessing for another who's in need.

If you read this entire thing, wow. I love you! If you didn’t, I love you too (maybe). :) If I didn't tag you, and you feel some kind of way about that. Vicodin.

Remember it’s about perspective. I'm choosing to laugh through the pain.

Dr. Girlfirend
Mrs. Watkins
Average Pants