Archive | November 2012

Why I have been MIA part II

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As you can imagine after reading my last post, I have been quite busy. Fighting hormones and having a subsequent hysterectomy is hard enough but I’m like all of the other mothers, wives and career women out there, unless it’s bleeding or broken I’ll keep adding stuff to my plate. In addition to moving to our 35 acres and bringing the horses home, I knew that we were going to need the proper equipment for us to function this winter. We live on the western side of the Colorado Rockies so that means we usually get A LOT of snow. I knew that a front wheel drive minivan and a front wheel drive VW Passat were not going to dig us out if we got hit so we knew we had to get a truck. Our problem? With all of the surgeries, doctor’s appointments, moving, getting hay, etc. our savings account was NOT in the black. Putting the word out to my friends that I was looking for a cheap truck a friend of mine text me that a friend of his had a four-wheel drive truck for $250, just needed a front brake caliper. I’m mechanical, I can handle some light work so after walking around it decided to buy it.

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In my excitement that I got such a great deal, I didn’t ask how long it had been sitting, which turned out to be a year. A vehicle that sits for a year means that all of the gaskets, rubber parts have dried out and your vehicle will start leaking vital fluids. So after this baby was running for a while, puddles began to form on the ground underneath it. In addition to the seals and gaskets I found out that it didn’t need the brake caliper replaced because it was missing, it needed replaced because the person seized up the brake on that side, destroying the entire braking system in the front. But that’s still ok, I can do that and I have the tools to do that. I started taking the front end apart and to my terror found out that in order to replace the brake rotors (big flat metal plates that your brakes grip onto to stop your vehicle) I had to remove the hubs (parts/gears that make a four-wheel drive a four-wheel drive) I have NEVER removed hubs or repacked wheel bearings so this scared the bejimminies out of me. What if I did it wrong? Thank heavens for cameras in cell phones because I took pictures of every step of disassembly and I referred back to it often!

All in all I was able to replace the entire front brake system, resealed the critical leaking gaskets and have our $250 truck running for about $500 including the purchase price. I have taken it four-wheeling so I know it’s going to work great in the snow and it is now at the welder’s to get the snow plow put on. It was a lot of work but I have to tell you that I am super proud that I stuck with it, even when I was scared and doubted myself and now when I fire up that truck a wonderful sense of accomplishment flows through me. I did it myself and saved us thousands of dollars that it would have cost had we taken it to the dealership. We have a very functional, working truck for winter. Now to start figuring out how to do the body work!

Never doubt yourself. It’s ok to be scared and even ask for help but if you’re determined and want to do something new, just persevere! Remember, life is meant to be fun; enjoy the journey!

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Crying Over Cut Broccoli

As most of my friends and fans know, my life has been a whirlwind of changes and challenges this past year. Between moving, leaving my job over health issues, becoming a bestselling author and trying to keep up with my family, I have been a little overwhelmed. No one wondered or thought it strange when my Miss Suzie Sunshine personality became cloudy and dark. We all chalked it up to stress and too much on my plate. I went in for a physical in March because the exhaustion and irritability were becoming more prominent but after a complete exam and blood work. That was when they found the lump in my breast and a mass in my uterus.

I went to a specialist in Denver for my breast and my family and I cried in relief when the tests came back negative for breast cancer. The biopsy from the mass in my uterus also came back negative and it was believed that I was just under a lot of stress and pressure. Everyone said that the explanation made sense, everyone but me. I just didn’t buy it. I wasn’t stressed or under pressure. I’ve been there. Being a service manager at a large automotive dealership, working 16-18 hours a day, dealing with people who are angry that their car broke down or how much it costs to fix it, that’s stress and under pressure. I was playing on 35 acres, planting my garden, playing with my horses and children, being a wife and mother. I was in heaven! It slapped me up along side of the head that something major was wrong when twice I behaved in a way I never had before. The first, I yelled at my beautiful daughters just because they were playing in the mud, making mud pies and castles. Normally I would be out there joining them but this day I hollered because of how dirty they were. I’ll never forget their shocked and pained faces; it breaks my heart every time. The second occurrence was when I was in my garden cutting broccoli to steam for supper and I began crying, apologizing to the broccoli for killing it! How insane is that??? I knew then that I had to get help.

I found a specialist who deals with female hormones in Steamboat and made an appointment to see her. After describing my symptoms she asked if we could do a physical and also an ultrasound of my uterus. I thought that was a little unusual but agreed. We went into another room and she turned the monitor around so that I could see what she could. In vibrant blue and red colors, I looked like I was pregnant with forty little alien babies! I had so many polyps, masses and disease that my body basically thought I was pregnant and was pumping so many hormones into my body that it was completely messing me up. It was recommended that I have a hysterectomy as soon as possible, leaving my ovaries for natural, and normal hormone production. Feeling so relieved that I wasn’t going insane and that there was a reason for my actions, I quickly agreed.

I am now almost four weeks post surgery and yes, sometimes I still cry but it is because of the joy and happiness that I feel over feeling me again! The biopsies that came back on my uterus were all benign which is a reason for joy but also my inner joy and happiness is back. My girls tell me all of the time that they are glad that their fun mommy is back and I laugh so much more. My husband is thrilled that he has his loving wife back and the irrational, hormonal one is gone. And I feel fantastic! I have more energy, don’t sleep as much and also excited that I will be able to get back on my work out routine and not have it disrupted a week out of every month.

I am writing this article because I want to encourage any woman who has noticed a change in personality or stress or just feels off to go get checked out. And if the first doc says there is nothing wrong, get a second opinion! That’s what I did and I’m so glad I listened to myself and my body. And don’t be embarrassed to ask the questions, regardless of what you find out. I asked all of the “embarrassing” questions, like would I still enjoy sex? Could I still have an orgasm? Would it hurt or feel different? Would this cause any problems with my bladder? If you don’t know of anyone who has gone through a hysterectomy or aren’t comfortable talking to them, HysterSisters is an amazing support system that allows members to be completely anonymous. If you’re still uncomfortable with that feel free to email me. I’m not a doctor, have no medical experience but I do have experience as a woman, both hormonally insane and sane! My email is raeannehadley@hotmail.com. Granted, I still cry. I cry at the blessed life that I have, the beautiful and amazing family that I have but I don’t cry over cut broccoli anymore.

Life’s meant to be fun; enjoy the journey!