Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Why is it all of my girlfriends are defensively single? If I say anything about dating or ask about a man they may have met I am faced with a look of utter contempt. All of them are fiercly independent and quite capable of being on their own. Feminism at it's height...the collective goal we as women supposedly aim to achieve, free from the reins of a man... safely out of love's way. So it makes me wonder if my road taken is a bit cliche, I mean is it last century to find your True Love and raise some kids? It seems coupledom is being pushed aside as women are infused with a warrior cry of singularity. In marriage you trade your autonomy for partnership, but this is supposed to be beneficial and not at all sacrificial. So pardon me while I fold my husband's shirts and get dinner on the table by 5... I don't feel at all repressed, in fact you might say I feel... loved... adored... free... feminine.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Don't tell the Tish...

Christmas has swept in and emptied everyone's bank accounts, and ran off like a bandit with a trail of cheap plastic and torn giftwrap in it's wake. The last 4 days I have done absolutley nothing but enjoy my beautiful family, and imbibe in the occassional drink. 5 pounds heavier and a filthy house staring me in the face, I'm the happiest I have been in months. The kids look like gypsies, earlier today Mica was wearing pajamas under her clothes, the same clothes she had on yesterday, while JT is making a fashion statement in backwards Diego sweats, 2 sizes too small. There is a mountain of laundry in my bathroom, the dog keeps fruitlessly attempting to reach the top, his usual resting place long since buried. In fact, I haven't seen him in a while, I should check to be sure he hasn't been buried alive in dirty, holiday-colored sweaters. We've eaten at least 4 boxes of mac n'cheese, and an assortment of stolen tamales from various family members... that was just today. Now the clock is inching closer to bedtime, and I know when I awake in the morning Paul will be at work, the spell will be broken. I'll feed the kids a real breakfast, put on my raiders apron and pull out the bleach. Christmas is gone for another year, and with it goes the magic, leaving me and my calories to get back to reality. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I'm leaving my bad luck in 2008!

I wish I was here updating everyone on the results of JT's MRIs. Unfortunately during his physical the doctor found that his airways are swollen from his asthma, and it would not be safe for him to be put under general anesthesia for the MRI. This news would have been only a slight annoyance if earlier that same day I hadn't:

*Left my keys in Paul's car, and had to impose on our friends Amy and Bridget to drive us to the appointment and watch Mica since I had NO carseat!
*Arrived at the doctor's office, only to find they had canceled JT's physical appointment under the false assumption it had to be done by an MD, not the PA on staff at the moment.
*Got dropped off back at home, called the MRI place, found that yes in fact the physical could be done by a PA, called the doctor back, and had the rude and unhelpful nurse tell me that no, they would not squeeze him back in even though the entire mess was their fault! Excuse my language, but BITCH!
*Made an appointment at a local clinic, had JTs godmother Miena drop everything, come get us, drive to the clinic and wait 3 hours past our appointment time to finally be told....

No, JT cannot have MRIs tomorrow!

For those of you who don't know, besides having NF2 and being visually challenged, JT has asthma and is allergic to eggs, milk, and dustmites. His teacher thinks he has ADHD, and he has motor skills problems (he is 6 and still can't swing correctly, and has problems writing)... but he is so damn smart and started reading at age 4, and would literally give the shirt off his back to a stranger. He is the sweetest little thing, and all of these obstacles will only serve to make him stronger, I will personally see to that myself!

Also, by the way, I came home to a fried network card and am typing this out on my dinosaur of a laptop. I can't front like I understand anything more than buying shoes on Zappos and posting pictures on Meetup, as evidenced by the fact that I used asterisks as bulletin points and have no idea how to do a HTML "list." I had my friend's husband come help me out and he was kind enough to keep me going on my old laptop while he gets me a network card.

Now I am off to play Spongebob Operation with Mica...

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and a hope New Years!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Angel Baby

Before discovering I was pregnant with J.T. I was a hot mess. I won't even lie. I did what I wanted, when I wanted, and was all about immediate gratification. I was morbid and allowed myself to float from bad situations to worse situations. The very day I found out I was pregnant with J.T., I began to live. From that moment on little man has given me the strength and courage to leave an abusive relationship, clean myself up, and commit to a respectable existence. After a difficult pregnancy and a simple labor I finally held him in my arms. In 9 short months I had completely changed my entire world for this little tiny baby, and every tear I had shed was worth it. He was born adorable and bright, even now he is handsome and fiercely intelligent.

Around the age of 1 my cousin Steven, J.T.'s Godfather, commented that J.T. was a bit cross-eyed. After slapping my cousin in the head I made an appointment with an opthamologist. Following a morning of eye drops and waiting, the doctor came in and began to write. He asked me if I had ever heard of neurofibromatosis. With those written words, my heart broke into a million pieces. How could my precious, perfect, beautiful son be carrying the same disease that had ravaged the lives of everyone I know? I prayed everyday, everyone I knew prayed everyday, yet God still found it necessary to allow this to befall my little angel. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't think, I really couldn't breathe... I started to hyperventilate. At some point I let the doctor know that yes, I knew what neurofibromatosis is, that I have NF2, and I was well aware of what I was being told.

The following days were a blur. Referals, MRIs, neurological exams, insurance claims. All things I had dealt with my entire life, I couldn't believe I was now doing thess things in relation to my baby. A blood flow exam of the eyes revealed J.T. was born with retinal harmatomas, tumors on his retinas. In his right eye the tumor blocked 80% of the retina, causing his vision to be 20/800, which is legally blind. In the left eye was another small tumor that was thankfully not causing any problems as of yet.

Every year J.T. will be followed up and seen by a neuro-opthamologist, have MRI's and be seen by a pediatric neurologist. So far each year there has been no growth, and his eye has strengthened to the point that he can see a bit more. Next Tuesday J.T. is having his annual MRI's and visit to Dr. Loudon, his pediatric-neurologist. All I can think is: Will this be the day the doctor tells me my baby has a tumor in his spine or brain? I was well aware from the first day I found out I was pregnant that he may have NF2, and this was the inevitable direction the disease would take, but was too self-involved and immature to absorb the reality of that risk.

Would I have changed a thing? Would I have been more careful? Should I have been? All I know is J.T. is the light of my life, he showed me what it means to be somebody's baby. Everyone is somebody's baby, and because of him I actually care about the world and myself. He is a beautiful person with his own purpose in life, and I am just grateful to be blessed with the gift of raising him. So would I have changed a thing? Never.



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Where have I been?

Baking, cleaning, laundry, school drop offs and pick ups, planning parties, getting food on the table, an overdrawn bank account, sinus infection, last minute Christmas shopping, JT losing his jacket, huge homework packets, late library books, rain and lost wages.... I am going to lose my damn mind.

I have had no time to breathe, let alone blog about it this week. I even skipped the gym yesterday and have had guilt pains all night. I have a crying baby tugging at my arm, and 2 different Christmas parties to be at before noon...

Merry Recessmas!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Las Vegas pics!

Finisher's Photo, only in Las Vegas baby!
The whole family, so tired! Wait why are they tired!?
My Dad said my finishing the half-marathon helped motivate him to quit smoking!

The Fitness Jar

I can't believe yesterday was the first time I have been to the gym in almost 2 months! I had to wait for Mica to be able to use the potty completely on her own before I could put her in the gym daycare, and she is finally able to do that! I love the gym, no seriously I do! I leave Mica in the childcare and get 2 whole hours to put more change in the fitness jar. Everytime I work out I remind myself, even if I don't work out tomorrow or next week, this workout is in the bank! Change in the fitness jar.

Now that I am able to commit again I have set up a schedule for myself. Yesterday being Thursday, I ran intervals on the treadmill. Intervals are when you run a short distance, such as 400 meters, slightly quicker then your goal race pace. Then you walk, then you run it again. You repeat this 4-6 times, and increase the number of intervals every week. My goal race pace is a 10 minute mile. So I ran 6x400 meter intervals at 6.2 mph, with 1 minute walking breaks in between. I set the treadmill at a slight incline to make up for the fact that I was not running outside, the treadmill is easier and counts the miles a bit leniently.

After intervals, weight training, yoga and hitting my abs a bit hard I picked Mica up from daycare and dragged myself home for a protein shake. I am a bit sore today, but it's all just change in the jar...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

How can a Christmas Tree break my heart?

When my Mom was living in a nursing home I would visit her as much as possible. We both just wanted to spend as much time together as we could since we had finally discovered how much we enjoyed each other's company. For so long we had fought, and said horrible things to each other. Now we shared everything, our hopes and fears ran the same course. Her room was very small, but she was incredibly lucky to have her own room and be so well cared for thanks to my Gramps. At this point she was paralyzed from the waist down, half blind, almost completely deaf, and had facial paralysis on both sides. She had to be assisted in all parts of her day and spent all of her time in a hospital bed squinting at the captions on her soaps. Her face would light up when I walked in, and everytime I left that room I felt like I was abandoning her. She was so small and fragile, with such a brave smile. She never complained about being alone. She couldn't really leave her room easily to enjoy the tree her home had, so my Gramps or maybe my Dad bought her a tiny fake tree with fiber optic tips. She decorated it with her bears, she loved her bears and seemed so happy to have a little tree to brighten up her room. On Christmas morning I sat with Paul and JT in our tiny little apartment, under our brand new artificial tree, letting JT open all of his presents and just thinking... right now my Mom is alone. She is sitting in a little room, by herself, after almost 40 years of loving and giving of herself she is trapped in that little room. Of course as soon as all of the gifts were opened and paper cleared away, we did what we did every holiday and went to see my Mom. I sat and quietly watched while people who she hadn't seen in months showed up for an hour and left. I looked through her few Christmas cards she had tacked up near her bed, not seeing any from the people she had spent her entire life with. The rest of her wall was covered in pictures of JT and myself, of my Gramps and Diana. We were everything to her, and she has to know she was everything to me and still is. As we left I probably was happy, it was so long ago now, I can't remember, but I was probably just happy to have spent the day with her. I'd like to be dramatic and say I tore myself from her bedside, but the fact is I never really grasped that her bed would be empty before the next Christmas. When December came around again my Dad pulled out the little artifical tree, and I brought it to my home, where now it sits every holiday. The other day I saw Mica hug it. I love that damn little tree but God it breaks my heart. So I am preparing for another Christmas without my mom, and I keep telling myself she's the lucky one, she is with the Goddess, she has probably reincarnated and is long gone from this life. If I could have only one thing for Christmas it would be to know for a fact that she is somewhere warm and happy. That she is somebody's baby, and that she is no longer trapped in that little room with a tiny little tree.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Las Vegas Half-Marathon 2:39

I'm back! I have piles of laundry and my legs are so tight and sore! The race was awesome, I actually preferred the course over Long Beach. In Long Beach there were huge stretches of beach, just sand and water, nothing to look at or hint at how much further. In Vegas I know all of the hotels so I could set mini goals and have a general idea of how far I have gone. I made one really big mistake... I drank WAY too much water trying to hydrate and had to wait in line for a porta potty on the course! My official chip time was 2:39 which really completely bums me out. I want to improve at each race, not get slower! I saw the clock as I came down the final 3 miles, and pushed hard to make time up. My lungs were burning, legs pumping, even my arms were screaming at me to stop. I threw all of my little self forward and just pushed chanting to myself "Pain is temporary, Pride is forever!" I was like freaking Mel Gibson or something... ok maybe not but I felt like I was flying down that last mile. Every time I thought I was there it was just a little further, then I saw volunteers throwing their arms up and I saw a cluster of bright yellow CTF shirts and my babies waving at me from the sides, and I crossed the finish line in what felt like a blur. I received my medal and took my finisher's photo, and met my family who gave me tons of love and hugs. My Dad had promised to quit smoking when I finished the race, so we crumbled up his last cigarette and took pictures with our patches: his nicorette and mine for muscle pain!

Pictures will be up soon, I have to wait for my Dad to send them, I don't have a camera right now!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Vegas baby yeah!

I have butterflies all through my stomach, I am hyped up and just want to get on the road! I have to wait for Paul of course. Only 2 days until race day in Las Vegas! Yeah baby! I love Vegas but since my parents live there we have become honorary locals, meaning we don't really go to the strip. I love South Pointe, and even some of the Station Casinos. Everything is cheaper and less pretentious. I doubt we will even do that this time. We'll get in late tonight and settle in. Tomorrow morning we will hopefully see Paul's Aunt Lori, then head to the Health Expo. Straight from the expo we'll have dinner at Planet Hollywood in Ceasar's Forum with CTF, then head straight home for sleep... because we are meeting the team at 4:30 in the morning!!! Race time is 6 am, I plan to finish the half in 2:30, but since the course has a slight incline and my wisdom teeth set me so far back I just want to at least make the same time I did in Long Beach, 2:35. After the race we'll grab lunch and head back home! Wish me luck and hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

When Mommy is sick...

... Mica gets M&Ms for breakfast...

What a world... what a world....

I've been up since 4am. If you know me at all, you know I am a total bitch right now and would do horrible things to innocent people in my quest for adequate sleep. Unfortunately I cannot rip my own bladder out. I get urinary tract infections (UTI's) chronically and have since I was 12. If that is TMI for you go find a man's blog and read about cars because right now I don't give a flip. If you have never had a UTI, it feels like a small fire right in the place most women would hope to never have a fire, I mean unless that's your thing. It starts as a tickle, and within an hour I'm confined to my bathroom with a gallon of water, a bag of craisins, vicodin (I mean hey why not?) and a magazine. As I sat contemplating why my traiterous body is so intent on misbehaving, Paul woke up for work and came in to get ready. He had the damn nerve to tell me he wanted the toilet, I'm like do you see I am glued to this spot writhing in agony? Or close to it at least. Go use the other bathroom! Then he *sighed* at me! At me? I silently cursed him and gave him my silent evil jedi stare... he stalked off to the other bathroom and left me to whine in peace. I sat so long I think my butt still has a red ring on it. Supposedly Alka Seltzer provides "immediate relief" so at 5 am I found myself rifling impatiently through my huge medicine box which somehow has accumulated a whole lot of expired vicodin (how did that expire?) but no Alka Seltzer! I popped my emergency stash of antibiotics and am just as of this moment feeling a teeny bit better... but this better clear up because no way in hell am I running 13 miles at 6 am with a UTI this weekend!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Extreme Makeover: Blog Edition

Today my girlfriend Wendy started her own blog, The Devil Wears Sweatpants. Great name right? Haha Wendy you finally gave in! Welcome to the dark side, love. She came over today to get some help setting up, which is really cool because I remember just a few months ago going to Kadi over at Womb at the Innsane and begging for help. So I got Wendy going and her blog came out so cute I had to redo my own. So basically I made it about me, I'm good at that. I really felt like my last layout didn't reflect my true self, this blog is much more "Olivia." I do wish I could have found the damn ribbon in hot pink! Purple will suffice, and oh yes I am on the hunt for a hot pink ribbon image! Ok let me know how you all luf my new layout...

Creative Writing?

I am reading a book on creative writing right now, well not right now but over the last week. Thanks Adria! The book has started by suggesting I just write everything and anything, starting with my childhood. I'm supposed to sit each day and just write what I could see through a one inch window. I am probably going to use my blog to do this, so you will all be subjected to hideously self-absorbed clips from my childhood. If there is anything I have learned, nobody wants to hear about someone's childhood! I mean really, who cares if your Mommy got you the wrong Barbie or some boy picked on you? I think letting go of childhood pain is something we all accomplish as we get older, and revisiting those memories may not be the greatest of ideas. So I guess I am conflicted, I want to work through the assignments in the book, but I really don't want to recall being called Chia Pet and feeling too dark and ugly to all the blue-eyed white boys I crushed on. I mean cry me a river, right? I could reminisce on all of the surgeries, the hours spent in waiting rooms, my abandonment complex... but I am fully aware most of you right now are thinking "Don't, just please don't." *sigh* so then where does that leave me? I am incredibly tempted to dig out my old journals and share old things I wrote, hopefully reminding myself that once upon a time I was the kind of girl to scrawl out pages of pretentious yet imaginative short stories. I would dig back into my mind's eye and a running descriptive litany would pour onto the pages. I want to go back there... I'm heading to my closet now and hopefully by tomorrow when I sit down I will feel the juices flowing...

Monday, December 1, 2008

My beautiful babies...

Thank you so much Michelle for capturing these beautiful memories!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A promise... and a tag!

I am sitting here with that deliciously tight feeling all through my body, knowing I ran 13 miles this morning and have only 6 more days until my next race! I am making a pact with myself, the same way I promised myself to become vegetarian, and then later to become a runner... I am going to pick my yoga practice back up! I was really getting into it when my friend and yoga instructor Amy moved away *tear* I loved Amy's class! I also love Amy and really miss her and her adorable son Denali. In class, she worked with my hearing and made adjustments to keep me included. I always left feeling flexible and as part of a whole. When I attend other yoga classes I always feel alienated and hurt my neck trying to watch for the next pose. I have a wonderful daily yoga book, and have learned a lot of the poses from Amy and various other classes already. So I will be really pushing myself to commit and hopefully a year from now I will not only be one of those annoying people avoiding the food you cooked, or the nerd running down the street with a water belt and visor... I will also be the bendy chick with the lean musculature only yoga can help you accomplish!

Now I have a little homework assignment to complete, my girlfriend Michelle who took some absolutley gorgeous photographs of my kids for me this week tagged me. So the 4th photo in the 4th file in my picture files is:

Ok that is a picture of my Dad, Tom, at my wedding reception at Maggianos in Las Vegas. He is so handsome! Thanks Michelle, now I am tagging Kadi, Priscilla, and KC!

I'll post the photos Michelle took of the kids tomorrow, right now I need to go put up the tree with my kids!

Monday, November 24, 2008

An egg is a chicken's period...

Saturday morning I ran a really solid 14 miles! I mapped it out and just took off. It felt so good to be free, running in the crisp Autumn air, the weather was just perfect. The run was so long I was meditating, and just circulating positive energy. I came home and did my yoga, showered and drank some protein. It was the perfect way to kick off the day...

That night I headed to my friend Darci's for her bday! (Wendy went too, don't want to leave her out! LOL) We stayed up late drinking and laughing. Paul and Darci were playing pool.... and then I woke up the next morning in her son's bed sprawled out next to JT! Good times!

This week is hectic, trying to squeeze in a 5 miler, tomorrow I am taking the kids to Discovery Science Center with my Moms group, then Wednesday I will be a cooking machine! Instead of FoTurkey Roast *shudder* I am making soyrizo and pepperjack tamales with my vegetarian masa! Some whole wheat stuffing and mashed potatoes with rice milk will round it out... can't wait to steal the bowl of fried artichoke hearts and gorge myself on them! They're made with egg... but it's Thanksgiving! And I mean I'm not even eating Turkey or gravy! I'm only human people... stop judging me...

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm getting coal in my stocking...

I am so freaking busy with the holidays already descending into our lives! The kids both had school parties this week that I volunteered for, and it was so fun getting a glimpse into their little world away from home. I was a bit horrified when I walked into JT's class and saw all of the little kids had feathers on their heads. The school actually still teaches that the pilgrims and indians were friends? It sickens me knowing they lied to my baby, and not a virtuous and fun lie like Santa, but a horrible, conspiratorial, genocide cover up kind of lie. I don't want to be the Mom who ruins the fun, the one all the other parents say "Oh we have to say 'holiday' party instead of 'Christmas' party because of her." After school I mentioned it off hand to the teacher, and just said I was a bit shocked, but what could I do? She apologized half-heartedly, it's not her fault really, she doesn't set the curriculum. I am not saying we should tell 6 year old how we really "won" this land, but we could just focus on the message of Thanks and Family involved with a beautiful holiday, without marring it with lies.

Of course I lied to JT last night over dinner! My hypocrisy knows no bounds, apparently... Tonight we are going to Victoria Gardens for the tree-lighting ceremony and to see Santa! I made some off-hand comment about Santa being old, what was I thinking? JT asks me if Santa is dying, because he is old. Paul told him Santa will live as long as he believes in him. JT is too damn smart, he says "Why are there some people who don't believe in Santa?" Why is he so damn quick? Too smart for his own good. I told him that Santa has magic, and not everyone believes in magic. JT proudly says that he believes in magic, and hopefully looked at me and said, "Mommy, do you believe in magic?" To which I proudly lied and said "Yes, baby, I do."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What's cooking this week...

I haven't shared much about my vegetarian diet, but I had a dream last night that I was eating the skin off a chicken (wing) and was so thoroughly disgusted I felt the need to share. I'm going to occassionally post vegetarian recipes. If you have considered going vegetarian but think it is too much of a challenge, then try going for "Meatless Mondays." Just one day a week, and then if you enjoy it, you can expand a day a month, or whatever suits you. Personally, I never eat meat, eggs or milk. I eat products from outside my home that have minimal egg or milk ingredients, but I always cook without either. Don't ask my about cheese. Nobody takes my cheese, or my wine, so just let that go now.

A lot of people assume without meat a meal cannot be complete, I honestly thought this at first too! In time I realized there are a lot of things we already eat without meat. Cheese enchiladas? Lasagna? Beans are a quick and nutritious substitute for meat in tacos and burritos. Of course I could not survive without Soyrizo. I don't eat much soy anymore, too many concerns about the way it acts as nature's estrogen and could contribute to tumor growth. But the day I discovered soyrizo my entire (kitchen) world opened up. It tastes just like chorizo, I am not kidding, with no grease, low fat, low calories. I use it in tacos, burritos, chili, tamales. Every person who has come to my home and eaten something with soyrizo has then asked for my recipe. Ok, well no one has complained at least!

What's cooking this week:

Soyrizo Chili

1/2 medium onion, chopped (I use frozen pre-chopped!)
1 green and 1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped (I keep a big jar if mincled garlic and spoon out as necessary!)
Fresh chopped cilantro
1 package soyrizo
2 cans diced tomatoes (14 ounce)
1 can stewed tomatoes (14 ounce)
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn
Half a tall bottle of Newcastle beer
Shredded Cheese
Tapatio to taste

1. Add chopped veggies and soyrizo to slow cooker and heat.
2. Mix the tomatoes into the pot. Season chili with chili powder and pepper, salt, seasoning salt and fresh cilantro to taste. Stir in the kidney beans, pinto beans, and black beans, add beer cook at low 4-5 hours.
3. Stir in the corn, and continue cooking 5 minutes before serving.
4. Garnish with shredded cheese.

This makes enough to last over a couple of days and goes great with Trader Joe's onion bagels!
If you make it come back and comment, tell me how you loved it!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Raising the bar...

I finally got a good solid run in! I went almost 12 miles yesterday and am actually not sore at all today. A lot of it was uphill, and I hate to admit I had to walk the last half mile home. I kept trying to jog but the heat beat me down. As I was running I realized LV is only 3 weeks away! I will only get in 2 more long runs before then, and struggled with 12 miles! I finished the LB half in 2:35 and my plan is to beat that time! I guess I have to keep in mind the important thing is that I finish and raise awareness of NF2. I hate the idea of not improving with each race, part of running is always raising the bar. I remind myself I had my wisdom teeth out and was forced to sit out for about 3 weeks, but the evil running dictator in my head scoffs and says not to make excuses. So I wont. I'll just add an extra run on Wednesdays, a few short hill runs for endurance, and be prepared to limp for a week after the race. If it doesn't hurt, you're not running!

Just to share:
Mica is now totally potty trained, and she is running around the house in Beauty and the Beast underwear bending her finger at me whispering Redrum Redrum.
Yesterday she walked up to Paul butt naked and in a deep voice said "I'm Daddy!"
JT says he is growing his hair like Goku from Dragon Ball Z, and I am supposed to know what this means..

Goku Pictures, Images and Photos

Friday, November 14, 2008


As women we tend to get down on ourselves all the time, being positive is good for our souls, good for our kids, and good for our husbands who are sick of reassuring us! Kadi over at Womb at the Innsane had a great idea to list all the reasons we are awesome! I loved the idea, and the possibility of winning this adorable necklace didn't hurt either!

I am an intelligent woman who is not afraid to be a nerd!
I am a compassionate and loyal friend.
I'm silly and fun.
I really like the golden tone of my skin.
My legs and booty look great from running! LOL
I ran a half marathon and continue to run!
I am a really good organizer and always step up and take charge.
I love animals, and have the self control to be vegetarian, and am a good enough cook to pull it off with a meat-eating husband!
I am a good Mom, I am very involved and loving with my kids.

Do you have a blog? List all the reasons you are fabulous and grab this button Kadi made! Don't forget to link back to me of course!

3 weeks til Vegas!

Daylight Savings can kiss my ass. (Sorry Nani!) I hate that it gets dark so early! I can't fit a run in at all. Paul gets off early today so if it's not super hot I will finally head out for that 10 miles. Sunday I hope to repeat the 10 miles, then run 10 miles every 3-4 days for the next 3 weeks. Lofty goals, I know. With Las Vegas coming up I have real motivation. I just found out CTF will be in Vegas! Yeah! I didn't know that. I really love having a team to meet up with and run with. It makes everything so much more exciting.

As I have said before I wont actively email fundraise each run, but I am going to be having an actual fundraiser next weekend in Rancho Cucamonga to raise some money for CTF! More details will be coming soon!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Back on the wagon!

I took a great, mostly uphill, 7 mile run Saturday! I feel so much better already! I actually had to walk just a few times, on the steeper parts of the hills. I feel 7 miles is a solid accomplishment after almost a month of being sedentary! Hopefully tomorrow I will run a flat run, and cover 10 miles. I will be kicking ass and taking names in Vegas!

I also had to stop taking propolis for a month while I had my wisdom teeth out. You can't take propolis 2 weeks before or after surgery, something about the blood not clotting. So this week I get back on track with both.

It feels great to have that little pull in my calves everytime I walk, the burn in my legs when I lift anything, and that stiffness anytime I try to crouch. Everytime I wince a little I know I had a good run!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Shave the Date


I haven't gone on a real run since Long Beach! I am gaining weight and losing aerobic capacity very quickly. Yesterday during a solid game of "I'm gonna getchu!" with Mica, I actually lost my breath! With the sun setting so early, Paul working overtime, and my complete aversion to treadmill runs, it will be very difficult to get in enough training to be ready for Las Vegas on December 7th. I will do it, I don't know how yet, but I have to. With everything going on in my private life right now, running is my solace, my escape. When I run I am not Mommy, or wife, friend, or organizer... I am Olivia, I am myself, independent and able to face whatever is thrown at me. When I run I work out all the kinks, first the ones in my feet, then ankles, then knees... and as I hit my stride I clear out all of the clutter in my mind. The rythm of the road creates a meditative mood, I can clearly see what I need to do, what I haven't done, and create plans for what I will do as soon as I get home. People say once you build up the athletic ability to run a long distance, the battle becomes completely mental. You have to force yourself to keep going, not to stop, even when your body is telling you to. Mind over matter. In overcoming that challenge you build mental fortitude as surely as you build muscle mass. Now that I have had almost 3 weeks off to recuperate from my wisdom teeth extraction, I feel like my mind is cloudy and filled with cobwebs. It's time to stop waiting, and start running...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Get out and VOTE!!

This weekend was a total blast! We got to celebrate my fave holiday, Halloween...

Then Saturday was JT's 6th birthday! I can't believe my little baby boy is a little man! He was so excited and got way too much stuff of course, but he is worth it.

Today of course is election day, I am all prepared with my Obama shirt! I've read through all of the CA props and am ready for No on everything but 2 (better treatment of farm animals) and 7(clean energy, creates jobs), and especially no on h8te! I love the debates surrounding an election. Too many people get so incredibly angry when people disagree with their political beliefs, and try to force their own religions/beliefs onto everyone else. I love that we live in a democracy, where we can have a beer and talk about the issues, then let it go and still be friends. I just hope that this election more people vote based on the greater good, rather than forcing ideological beliefs into law. Whichever way it turns out, whoever and whatever comes out on top, we will still be America, and that is something we can all be thankful for.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat!

I'm a busy bee today, Halloween is always fun and chaotic! This is JT's first elementary year in Halloween! I know you are thinking, so? But this is what Moms do, we count things down and notice every little first our babies go through. So I am taking cupcakes and Mica and we are heading over for JT's class Halloween party!
Sometime around last night I realized I was eating. This may not seem important, but this is the first time in a week and a half I haven't had to eat premedatively. I was at my Fabulous Mom's Halloween Party and was just grubbing on all the yummy treats, it was a bit uncomfortable having sprinkles stuck in the "hole" (you know, the one the tooth used to be in!) but I was still able to eat more than I have in the last 3 days combined! Yes I am proud of that! I am excited to finally be healing and will be up and RUNNING next week! YAY!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I need a referal to a dentist with small hands...

Ok so my oral surgeon took his gigantour hands and pried around in my mouth, no doubt ripping my gums even more... and then told me to come back again in another week, and still NO running! Then when I started asking questions he did that condescending doctor thing where they assume you are dumb and just give you simple answers, like "everything is ok." How is that an answer to "Why do my front teeth hurt?" Maybe because he didn't want to admit his freakishly large hands are the guilty culprit. I mean why, in the name of God, would a pre-med student with obnoxiously large hands decide to do surgery in a tiny area like the mouth?

That being said, I am super excited for the Fabulous Halloween Party today! My Mom's group is getting together for a costume party, complete with games, crafts, prizes and of course a pinata! Guess who got the pinata?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I finally have my post-op today! I plan on getting approval to start running again! I am not sure if it will hurt but I don't really care, I'll run anyway. My training plan this time is to get a good solid hill run in once a week on top of my regular long runs and quick runs. There is a great hill right by me, heading up Vineyard next to Redhill, then the little streets turning up from there all are short steep little hills. I'll run them until I can make it up without stopping.

Next week I am getting a video phone! I met Bill at my ASL group, he said his wife reads my blog (hi!) and told me about how VPs can help deaf people communicate better and emote more than relay conversations. Now I just need someone to call, who else has a videophone?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Running away...

This weekend was the longest weekend ever. A bunch of difficult things happened in my family, private, scary, and shocking all at the same time. Everyone is home and safe for now. I hate how anxious I feel when anything threatens our little family unit. I couldn't eat or sleep, or even relax to watch TV and zone out. I have to learn to just focus on the positive. Like how Mica has made up a sign for "Go, Diego, Go" and was really pissed off I didn't understand her made up sign! How JT pops up in the morning and runs off to school, his own little life already taken on it's own independence. I think it would help if I could just take off for a solid 10 mile run, but my gums are still not healed up and I have to wait another week! Once that week is up I will enjoy buckling down and getting ready for the Las Vegas half-marathon December 7th! See, I am cheered up just thinking about it. So when the anxiety puts my stomach in knots I will just pretend I am on a run, with nothing but cool air and open road around me, free from all constraints.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Day 4

I am somehow getting worse and not better! It's probably my lame attempt to wean off the vicodin, but I can't stay on that stuff and take care of the kids. Plus Mica had to wear a size 1 diaper I dug up in the back of the closet yesterday, so I am pretty sure I have to finally leave the house and do some shopping.

So Wednesday Clara took Mica to school and comes back with this art project the kids did. I said what is it? It's a tooth? She laughed and said no, its a ghost! To which Mica says, Boo! Paul comes home and I ask him, what does this look like to you? He answers sperm. Sperm. So obviously this playschool project is some crazy psychological evaluation tool, everyone who looks into it sees into their sub-conscious. I threw it away, I can't possibly keep every scribble the child does, don't judge me! She actually goes into the trash and brings it to me and tells me NO NO! Which is ridiculous and a little bit genious of her. She has never cared before about her random projects, but apparently she recognizes the power she holds everytime she shows it to someone and reveals their innermost secrets.

What do you see?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I'm alive...

... and I look like a chipmunk! Sorry no pictures this time. I'm not taking enough vicodin for that! The extraction went fine of course, no big, I woke up and Miena got me home. Wendy took care of me for a couple days. I am really blessed to have such good friends who can help me out! I am still sore and groggy from meds. It's kind of nice to just stay home and relax for a few days. I mean, did you know Tyra Banks has her own show? And Maury Povich is STILL doing paternity tests? Daytime TV is sick, seriously how do people watch it all day? Well today is my first day without nurse Wendy so I need to get back to reality. Paul told me not to worry about cleaning... he said it can wait til I can do it next week. I'm like gee thanks! He's actually been really helpful so I can't complain. I just can't wait to get the ok to start running again! Only 7 weeks until the Las Vegas half-marathon!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

At least its not spine surgery...

I'm heading in to have my wisdom teeth removed and am actually really nervous! I'm being put to sleep and having all 4 out. You would think with all the surgery I've had this would be easy for me, but I'm a big baby. Seriously! I hate being put to sleep! I always have nightmares. The very first time I was put to sleep at age 9 for a spine tumor removal I remember them putting the mask on me and telling me to count backwards from 100. As I counted back my vision became tunnel like and slowly the darkness faded in, I felt like my consciousness was falling backwards into my body and I could see the light getting smaller and further away. It was a cavernous, domed, pitch black existence I fell through and as I slammed down into a black glass pool of water at the bottom I suddenly woke up. When I woke up I was in the worst pain of my entire short life, I had been opened and violated, and was too young to compartmentalize the pain. I remember being transferred from the gurney to my bed in the pediatric ICU, they lifted me with a sheet and I felt searing hot pain rip down my entire back. I'm pretty sure my wisdom teeth removal wont be so dramatic!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Halloween Party Pics!

I went as a witch! I made the skirt!
Paul went as DEATH, love the guyliner!

That's my BFF Adria! She went as Glinda the good witch/Princess/HomecomingQueen LOL
They had food, always a good thing!
I've known a lot of these girls for a LONG time!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Eating My Way to Recovery

I think I have gained 5 lbs since the race! I have been enjoying being a complete slacker. I completely gorged myself at In n Out the other night, and have had a glass of wine with Tivo nightly. I ran just one 2.5 mile hill run on Wednesday, it felt great actually! I have a 15 miler mapped out for later today, and that will be it for a while since I am having my wisdom teeth extracted Tuesday. Once I recover from that it's back to the routine to get ready for Vegas December 7th! For now I am going to just go finish off a loaf of homemade pumpkin bread!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

MRI Results!

After a well deserved day off I am back! With good news, no less.

I finally recieved my MRI results! Let me catch you all up...
Propolis information

I receieved an email from my neurologist's nurse which said my MRIs showed I am stable!! WHOOOOOO! That means no growth! I have had no new neurological symptoms, and I am free to run and live for another 6 months at least! No needles, no surgery, no steroids, nothing!

Now it would be unfair to assume it is completely due to the Bio 30, because before Propolis I was younger and having babies. Pregnancy and breastfeeding trigger hormones that "could" trigger tumor growth. Over the last year I have obviously not had a baby or any pubescent hormonal surges. I still personally feel the Bio 30 is helping and will continue to take it!

Thanks everyone for the prayers and positive thoughts!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Ran Long Beach!

I'm home already! It was a long 2 days!

The Hyatt was so gorgeous and we had a beautiful view!

It felt great to escape for a couple of days with Paul and meet the Children's Tumor Foundation NF Endurance Team! All of the people I met were absolutely wonderful, and it was inspiring to see so many come together for a common cause. I was the only person with NF2 there, but CTF did an awesome job organizing everything, and everyone was so determined and had only good intentions.

I met this girl Jenny who has NF2 but was told she has NF1 and NF2, which isn't really possible! She is the sweetest thing and I will definitely be keeping in touch with her!

The course was beautiful and I passed the time thinking about the long NF2 journey so many of my family and friends have suffered through. I realized that without NF2 my life would be completely different, and I love my life, so what is is what is meant to be. I prayed and envisioned my Mom hugging me at the finish. I know she would be so proud. No, I don't believe she was watching. I can't stand to think she may still be attached to this life, she is somewhere so very far away from all of the pain of this world. But today a small piece of her ran 13 miles!

I have video of my "big" finish and will get it posted as soon as I can, blogspot wont let it load right now!

Paul was incredibly supportive, as always, and helped out with anything he could. He really motivates me to be a better person and while I was running I found myself praying. I was just giving thanks to God for all of my blessings, and I know Paul is a wonderful blessing in my life. He's pretty lucky to have me too of course! He is out helping a friend right now but has promised me a leg rub, glass of wine, and Desperate Housewives tonight! How lucky can a girl be?

My Daz came!!! He is really into sports so I loved knowing I made him proud by finally being athletic at something! I didn't even trip! He seemed really interested in the race and said 19,000 people raced, including an 80 year old man!

To top it all off Paul bought me a beautiful cloche with a bow at the hat store! What did you all really think I had left my girlie side behind?

Thank you so much to everyone who donated and supported me! This is the beginning, not the end!! I plan to run the half marathons in:

Las Vegas, December 7, 2009
Surf City Huntington Beach, February 1, 2009
Rock'N'Roll Marathon San Diego, May 31st, 2009
San Francisco Marathon, July 26th, 2009

I will only actively fundraise once a year, but donations for NF2 research are always gratefully welcomed. You can visit CTF for more information!

2:37 baby yeah!

I did it! It was fun and hard and sweaty but I ran 13.1 miles and didn't stop the whole way! More details and pics to come!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I have...

Strep throat. Seriously bad juju. I'm running anyway, I can rest after. I've worked way too hard to give up now. I'm in tears, my throat is swollen stiff, hopefully a solid 10 hours and tons of warm liquid will help so pray or meditate for me please!

On the bright side paul found me an adorable purple cloche with a bow on the back!

*cough* *cough*

I'm freaking sick!! Yesterday my throat was a bit raw, and when I whined to Wendy she said my voice totally cracked. Usually I dig the whole deep throaty voice thing, but not this weekend! Not when I've raised over $3000 and am running 13 miles at 7 am! I have worked so hard and had a fear I would either hurt myself running or get sick. My friend Cherish who is running too hurt her ankle! OMG I just right now found out my other running friend Jennifer's son swallowed a quarter! What's with the bad race juju?? My awesome mother in law made me green tea with honey and lemon. Side note: I hate tea, I hate honey, and I hate lemon! I know I'm weird but whatever. I choked down 2 cups and it helped a bit, but as of now its becoming a full blown sinus infection. No way am I quitting, I will load up on sinus meds and nasty green tea and suck it up. So if you come down to the race watch for me stumbling in at the finish with a swollen puffy throat and a huge smile on my face!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Who is Ryan Reynolds?

I just read on Perez Hilton that Ryan Reynolds is running the NY marathon in November to raise money for Parkinson's Disease. At first I thought who the hell is Ryan Reynolds and how did he get on Perez Hilton? But then I vaguely remembered he had a movie and married Rebecca Romeign Stamos. Either way there was a link to read his letter about why he is running and I thought it was hilarious so thought I would share.

I have a busy day ahead of me, getting ready to leave for Victorville to spend the night with my Mother-in-Law before we head to Long Beach!!! Yeah! I am so excited! I will be blogging updates from my sidekick, so check back in over the weekend and come Monday I will be adding Long Beach Half Marathon to my tiny "list" of completed marathons!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

NF Endurance Team Newsletter!

I was recently interviewed for the newsletter, check it out!

Recently on my Mom's group we were sharing our pictures of ourselves as children, here is me at age 3! I know, Mica looks just like me!

My Glass is Completely Full!

I was reading through my own blog earlier and noticed that it can be a very depressing blog! That was not my intention at all when I started this. I am a fighter, I am a runner, I am strong... I am not a whiner! In person I am incredibly positive, I think that my blog has given a home to all of the fears I would rather not lay on people. In normal daily conversation I don't sit and talk about how much something hurts, or how angry I am at anything. So my blog has become a place where I just dump all of my issues. I am going to make a conscious effort to have a more positive impact through my blog. I am still going to express myself here, after all it is my blog, but I will try to balance it with more positive news. Because seriously, I am blessed! I have a husband who adores me, a nice home, gorgeous sweet little babies, a lot of good family and friends... that is more than 95% of the world can claim. I actually read a forward once that said if you have a personal computer, your own car, a stable home, and food on the table, you are literally one of the top 5% wealthiest people in the world! That is something to think about. I may have this disease, but I also have health insurance, and access to intelligent doctors and modern technology. So the glass is definitely more than half full, it's overflowing!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I still do not have MRI results!!!

Every 6 months I have my brain, thoracic, cervical and lumbar spine all scanned with and without contrast. The scans are then supposed to be sent to my neurologist, and the radiology reports are supposed to compare the current tumor measurements to past reports to find if I have had any growth. About a week after the exams I pick up my own copy of all 4 radiology reports for my own files. This all sounds SO simple doesn't it? Then why... why for the love of GOD, is it so hard for professional MRI facilities to follow this protocol?

I used to have my MRIs done at Millenium Imaging here in Rancho Cucamonga. They would burn me a CD with all my scans to take with me to my neurologist appointment. In August of 2007 they sent me all the way to Newport Beach to take up my doctor's time with a blank CD! I was so irritated! Then I go back, and they give me a CD with only the brain scan! It took them 2 weeks to finally just send a correct CD with all scans to the doctor. The next time I needed MRIs in February of 2008 I went back, but I spoke to the office manager and specifically reminded them what needed to be done. AGAIN they sent an incomplete CD to the doctor. This was after I asked them to open the files and double check the CD before I left their office. They assured me all of the scans were on the CD, but they weren't!

So this time I went to Grove Diagnostics in Upland to have my MRIs. I told the MRI tech about all of the problems at Millenium Imaging, and she couldn't believe them either. Over 2 days I had all my exams done. Before I left I asked the tech to please make sure my old scans were sent over from Millenium Imaging so the radiologist could do a comparison in his report. This is completely standard protocol. A week later I speak to my neurologist's nurse, her office only received my thoracic and lumbar scans! Seriously!? Again!? I just couldn't believe it. I called Grove and they said they would send all of the scans immediately. I spoke to the nurse and she said she recieved more scans, but still didn't have the brain with contrast! So I go down to Grove myself and they are making this all kinds of difficult, supposedly they will contact the Doctor and send everything that needs to be sent. Why did I have to force them to do that to begin with? On top of it, I got my radiology reports, and the radiologist did not do a comparison! Millenium Imaging only sent over my brain scan. I went to Millenium Imaging and signed a release and hopefully now it will all get sorted out.

Why does it have to be so convoluted and difficult? As hard as it is to find a job, how do these people find jobs? You know you see them walking around with their jaw hanging open, eyes a bit glazed, and you just think who freaking hired these inept people? When handling people's medical information you would think they would be a bit more careful. I mean don't worry, no big deal if I don't know how many brain tumors I have growing right?

A lot of people have been asking me for an update and I will post here as soon as all of my scans are sent to my neurologist and reviewed.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Too blessed....

... to be stressed!

Lacking the Ability to Over-Hear

I'm always on the outside looking in. Even at home I see the banal remarks thrown around between Paul and the kids that I am always excluded from. If I ask what was said people tell me it was unimportant. One of the biggest challenges to losing my hearing is lacking the ability to overhear. In direct conversation I can usually figure out what is being said, its all the time that spans in between that leave me feeling disconnected from the world. Maybe that's why I have taken to running, and have found peace in my long meditative Sunday runs. There is nothing to hear or overhear when you run. In the start of a run my mind is bouncing around with random thoughts, by deeper into the run my thoughts have settled into a creative rythm, and I finish the run with a sense of renewal.

I could have opted to have tried for an ABI when I had one of my VS treated before, before I lost the rest of my hearing. I just don't really know any people who have succeeded with an ABI at a level that warrants going through the invasive procedure. I would rather wait, and trust that one day the ABI will be improved and I will be able to hear in some form again. In the meantime I have to learn to accept long boring dinners where everyone's mouths move silently as their eyes avert from me, in rightful shame for completely excluding me. I have to learn to accept the voices my subconscious has created for my kids, and just hope that one day I hear them laugh for myself. Always hope...

Saturday, October 4, 2008


I love the weekend! We work so hard all week, just so that on the weekend we can relax and enjoy ourselves. The kids run wild on their barefeet, random blankets are strewn around the house, netflix movies pile up on the table to be returned. I find time to go for a long run, and as I leave the house a sense of complete calm and freedom take me, and the wind carries me my entire route. I return and gulp down random vegetarian leftovers, some protein, maybe some veggie sticks. I love having no routine just for a day, and on the rare weekend such as this one when Paul has both days off the debauchery spans across 2 days like a deep stretch.

Today we'll watch Gone With the Wind... Paul has NEVER seen it! I know, we need to go watch it... right now!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Perfect Run

I still have not gotten any word from my doctor or the MRI place about my results. It shouldn't take this long, its such a simple process, but it always does. I've been keeping myself busy running. I found a perfect run on Wednesday, 5 miles, lots of slight hills, culminating in one super steep hill I almost had to crawl up before reaching the top and gazing down at a beautiful view of North Rancho. I sped down the other side and felt like I was flying.

Today my friend Crystal is coming over and should have all the pictures from my bday! I will post them as soon as I have them!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I'm trying to be patient, really I am, but it has been over a week since my MRIs and still no word. No growth? Emergency situation? Could be anything. I've been on the propolis for a year, and if I have had no tumor growth during that time I will be ecstatic. If I have had growth I am not sure what to do. I will face that if I ever have to.

Last night I lay in bed trying to sleep, thanking the Goddess for all my blessings. I am truly blessed, I love my family and my life. Out of nowhere it occured to me JT will be 6 next month. When both my Mom and I were about age 9 we each developed a tumor in our T spine. In only 3 years I may have to face the idea of JT having a tumor? Inconceivable. Completely unacceptable. My heart is breaking and my mind feels fuzzy. Just the idea, I shudder. My mind's eye traces a scar down his perfect back, marring the smooth tan skin between his shoulders. I see him still and in pain, crying. I can't let it happen. Did my own parents feel this? I am sure they did, and this is exactly why no one wanted me to have children. I was warned, the pain, the fear, the terror involved with helplessly watching your own child be put through things grown men would run from... Now here I am for myself, and it has not even happened yet and I am already breaking to pieces inside just contemplating the possibilities.

They were all still wrong, I would never ever have traded this for not having JT. He saved my life, he gave me life as surely as I did him. Before him nothing mattered, everything was disconnected, I was only visiting here in this life and would have burned out like a lightbulb, dead inside with the world carrying on around it. Then JT came to be and suddenly, I breathed for the first time. He's my original partner in crime, my love bug, my baby boy. If he has to go through this, I'll carry him through it as much as I can. I just pray, with everything in me, that somehow, someway, the researchers make some sort of amazing breakthrough and my son will never ever know the violation of being cut open on an operaring table. So again, we'll face it if we have to, together.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Starting off the week...

Saturday I couldn't finish my 10 miles on the treadmill! I've been running or walking uphill everyday this week, it finally took its toll on me. I was exhausted trying to keep going after 5 miles, around 7 I finally just stopped. I hate that feeling, I failed to achieve my short term goal. I'll make up for it next weekend with a solid 11 miles on the street, no more long runs on treadmills. It is too boring, my mind runs in circles and I just can't get into a rythm...

This weekend was so fun! Saturday night a bunch of my friends joined me to party it up at a local club. We drank, danced, and ran around all night. We closed that place down and Paul dragged me to the car and got me home safe. Yesterday we did nothing alllll day, which is the best way to spend a Sunday.

Now it's time to start the week, off to playschool, then a playdate... then shopping, cleaning, baking, then cooking, more cleaning, some serving, baths and bedtime, a little more cleaning.... then I will finally relax!

Friday, September 26, 2008

A stolen moment...

Just got back from the gym again, ran 5 miles and then strength trained. I picked Mica up from the childcare. As I walked into the Kids' Club she ran on her chubby little legs to me, her exuberant face looking up at me with squeals of Mommy Mommy!! I swooped her up and she buried her face into my neck, wrapped her little self around me and popped her thumb in her mouth. Just that one moment, that small piece of time, makes every other day worth living. I'll tuck away the memory, and in the dark times I can pull it out and gaze at it, living in it and escaping from whatever may come. Mica is the first child born in my maternal family without NF2 in 4 generations. She is our little miracle, and I bury my greatest hopes in her. She has this amazing personality, a perfect mix of all my favorite people. She is mine, my baby girl, and moments like these are the images that make up my soul...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What if Megan Fox did wear Spanx?

I hate Megan Fox. Seriously, who looks like that? I have to constantly remind myself she has not pushed out 2 perfect and beautiful children, but something tells me if she ever does she will still look gorgeous doing it. Ok so I am being a hater, too bad, we all do it sometimes. At least I'm hating on a celebrity and not someone I know! I did a quick 2 miles at Redhill Park this morning, which has a couple nice little hills to push the stroller up. Then I headed to the gym and got on the elliptical until I had burned 500 calories, I pushed and it took about 40 minutes. Headed upstairs for strength training and was doing great until I was summoned by the child care girl to change a dirty diaper. Mica was not about to go back at that point so we are at home, and I'm sucking down lots of protein. Only 2 days until my birthday party and my little red dress, something tells me I will be wearing spanx. I don't think Megan Fox ever has to wear spanx, another reason I hate her...

NBC Pioneers Online Captioning!

Have you ever missed your favorite show and assumed you could just catch it later on the internet? Being deaf that is not possible, with all of the amazing technology available, major networks have claimed they just don't have the capabilities to offer captions for there online viewers. We have all known for a long time that is just ridiculous, of course they have the capability, they just didn't care! Now at long last NBC has stepped forward as the first major network to offer captioning on their website! Yes! You can watch full episodes of Heroes, 30 Rock and even Last Comic Standing WITH subtitles! Who is next? Come on ABC, step it up, we're waiting!!!

Read all about it here:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Another Hill?

This morning I took Mica to her 45 minute playschool class and took off on a run. I raced down a local 1 mile hill then ran straight back up. It was a pretty steep hill so I felt a real sense of accomplishment as I jogged back to pick up Mica! I also wrote a letter for my fundraiser today to snail mail out to my contacts who are not online. Yes these people exist! No it's not my Nani, who is online all the time and plays casino games daily! Here is the letter, although I have raised my goal amount of $3000, I am still pushing to raise as much as possible in the next couple of weeks as I count down to my first fundraising race at Long Beach...

"Dear Friend or Family member,

As you probably know I was born with NF2, a genetic disease that causes tumors to grow throughout my brain and spine. The disease has left me deaf… I can no longer sit around a table and talk with my family… I have not heard music in 5 years, my head is filled with ringing and silence… I have never heard either of my children laugh…

NF2 has also put me through several difficult and painful surgeries. Worse, it has taken my Grandma Norma, Uncle Eric and Mom from me all at unbearably young ages. Even my son JT suffers from the disease already, he was born blind in his right eye. The only way to give JT and me a healthy future is to support research into drug therapies to stop the tumor growth associated with this horrible genetic disease.

Often times when family is afflicted with a painful disease we don't know what to do. We want to help, but don't know how.

The Children's Tumor Foundation is a great cause which focuses on finding a cure for NF2. We are very close to finding a drug therapy that can extend my life and give us true hope for a healthy future.

The NF Marathon Team is one of the tools the CTF employs to raise money. There are hundreds of runners participating in races all over the country. There are people with NF as well as family and friends on our team. I have been training and running for the past 6 months in preparation for the Long Beach marathon on October 11th, I will run 13.1 miles for a cure! I am asking you now to join me by donating in my name to CTF. Every little bit helps, and JT and I are forever grateful to all our friends and family who join us in our fight. Donating is easy, just write a check to "Children's Tumor Foundation" and return it with the attached slip in the pre-paid envelope!
Thank you all so much for your support, you can follow my progress as I run for NF2 at

Love to All,
Olivia Hernandez and Family"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Another Day, Another Hill...

I am so sore! I am seriously turning up the heat this week and next with my training. Today Wendy and I did 6 miles, half of it was straight uphill! WITH the strollers! It took us forever but we finally puffed our way to the top, and the walk back down was a breeze. I would love to reward myself with some chocolate and something salty and gooey, but just for now I am eating pure. Veggies, fruits, whole grains... nothing processed or with preservatives until after the run. Let's see if I can stick to that! Actually, right now it's about 5, JT has to be at karate at 6, I've been at his allergist since 3 and have no time to make anything healthy! Looks like drive-thru to the rescue, when is somebody going to open a healthy fast food place!? I ate healthy all day AND did my uphill walk, I deserve something yummy!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Birthday to ME!

Well I am 26 as of today. It has also been exactly 4 years since Paul first told me he loved me. What a long way we have come! I had a great birthday, and a fun pre-bday weekend in Vegas with my Dad and Tish. I skipped out on my long run to enjoy family time, but paid for it today with a difficult and sluggish 3 miles. I will be pushing myself all week, up until October 5th, in preparation for the Long Beach Marathon. After the 5th I will relax a bit and prepare myself for a 13.1 mile race!

As much as I love all the attention from having a birthday, after all I am an only child, they seem to be more bittersweet the older I get. I am only 26 but since I turned 25 I have felt as though I am "middle aged" if not past that. I think of my Mom at this age, and remember how her tumors started growing completely out of control around this point in her life. She went from being an active typical young Mom, to being completely bed-ridden within a few very short years. I am my Mother, I have felt that way for a long time. If you compare our MRIs at specific ages, we follow similar growth patterns. I am doing everything within my power to break the cycle, to stop the growth. I'm taking propolis, eating healthy (fat feeds tumors) and running to keep my body strong and raise research money at the same time. There is not much more I can do! I take that back... I can hope. As long as I still have hope, I am still winning the battle. So Happy Birthday to me, and "many more..."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

In the Tube...

I finished the 2nd half of my MRI's today. It was so incredibly uncomfortable staying completely flat and still for 45 minutes straight for the thoracic study. My pace started to quicken and I glanced around the tiny tube which suddenly seemed infinitely smaller then when I had first entered. I knew there was nothing to be done, and no reason to panic, so I just gently breathed in and out, and willed myself to relax. I dozed off and on, lingering somewhere between the realms of dreams and consciousness, the mat vibrating harshly and numbing my thoughts. Suddenly it was over as quick as it had started, and I found myself stumbling out into the daylight to face reality. Dr. Duma will have results early next week, and I pray I have had no changes that would explain the creepy heavy feeling that has worsened throughout my entire left side. I'm drained today, tripping around the house, forcing myself to smile as I help with homework and serve up leftovers. A glass of wine and a good book call to me, but I have to wait until after bedtime, definitely don't want to be Drunk Mommy. At least I have another 6 months before I have to have another MRI, that is always a good feeling.

Monday, September 15, 2008

11 Miles to kick off a difficult week...

Even with my heels still all cut up, looking like I have a flesh-eating virus, I ran 11 miles yesterday! It felt really good, I was sore but in a good way after. Today I decided to walk Mica to school, it's almost 2 miles ALL uphill. It burned my thighs but the walk back home was a breeze! I am taking a well-deserved day off tomorrow. My mother-in-law is having a hysterectomy right now and I want to be available to help all that I can. She is a wonderful MIL, always supportive and loving. It is so hard not having my own Mom, but if she could have picked a MIL for me I know she would have adored Virginia. Tish too of course but that is a whole 'nother post! Why are you nervous Tish? I wont spill your business don't worry!!

Me and Virginia at Knott's Berry Farm!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Maybe I should go to medical school...

Yesterday I saw a gynecologist about my ovarian cysts. I have had a lot of pain where no woman should ever have pain, and an ultrasound turned up ovarian cysts. My neurologist said it could possibly be related to NF2, and more then a few women on the Crew have had similar problems. I waited a month to see this doctor. She walked into the room and told me everything was normal. I told her no, I have ovarian cysts. She said yes, that that was normal. I explained to her I have NF2, and that I was experiencing severe pain, and still she refused to do anything. I asked her what I should do for the pain, and she suggested pain medication. I am going to save my rant about doctors irresponsibly prescribing addictive painpills to patients when they are too lazy or indifferent to an ailment. Suffice it to say I very clearly explained to her I was not looking for a pat on the back or a sympathy prescription. I told her pain down "there" is not normal. She said yes, it is. I understand that cysts are not a huge deal, but given my descriptions of pain and my medical history she could have at least suggested monitoring the growths in a few months, the only thing she would write, repeatedly, was "There is nothing I can do." After driving all the way to Pomona and sitting in a dingy waiting room for an hour with a cranky 2 year old, she was wasting my time with this nonsense? I looked her right in the eye as I stood and told her I was going back to my GP for a "real referral." Why do people who have no urge to help people become doctors?

Today I had my lumbar spine and neck MRIs. I had a really awesome tech who was amazingly friendly! I always have to deal with supposed professionals who eye me cautiously because I am deaf but can speak as a hearing person. What reason could I possibly have for pretending to be deaf? The girl took me in and was ready with paper and a pen, being very thorough and making sure I was comfortable. After my MRIs I asked her to be sure to request my previous MRIs from the last MRI place I had been (a whole 'nother story!) so that they could compare my tumors, she chirped happily that it was already done! You have no idea how amazing it is to come across somebody in the medical field who actually acts without being instructed, it was great to be the patient and feel cared for!

I will have the second half of my MRIs next Thursday and then wait patiently for my neurologist to review my scans. Pray that I have had no growth and the Propolis is working! I don't know how to respond if it isn't... I spent the rest of today running errands but feeling very lethargic, MRIs are not painful or even intimidating to me in any way, but somehow they always leech all of my energy. I stumbled through the day with the kids and am looking forward to Paul getting home momentarily and sitting down to a big bowl of spaghetti squash, and definitely a glass of wine!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dream of a Day...

This week has really gotten away from me. I thought I had just posted here "yesterday," and yesterday turns out to be Saturday! I finally see a doctor about my ovarian cysts tomorrow morning. I am nervous and trying to just stay positive. The next day I have the first half of my MRIs. My 26th birthday is in a couple of weeks, I hate that my MRIs coincide with my birthday! The idea of aging and traipsing that much closer toward my 30's, combined with the anxiety surrounding MRI results, leads to a bit of a stressful month. Around my age my Mom's tumors started growing out of control, there were so many growing at each MRI they couldn't count them all. My Grandma also had increased growth in her 30's. So while to many people 30 means a sense of accomplishment, of leaving behind the whirlwind of your 20's, to me it feels like an inevitable march toward a fate I would rather avoid. I don't want to be Debbi Downer over here, I know technology has improved tremendously just in the 10 years since my own Mom turned 30. That is why I run! To try to do my part in raising funds for research so we can cure NF2! I run so I can dream.... dream of a day I can wake up and not feel like a scythe is hanging precariously over my head... dream of a day I can watch my kids play and not wonder if I will live to see them grow... dream of a day when I don't have to stop myself from wondering who my husband will give his heart to when I am gone... dream of a day when the need for melodramatic morning blogs are unecessary, because my only concerns will be trivial and I will be ecstatic to live in normalcy. It will happen, and as of this morning all I can do is run, so that is what I am going to do...

I am still $75 away from meeting my fundraising goal! Even if you can only donate $10, that puts me that much closer to achieving my self-imposed quota! Visit my fundraising page:

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Should have been called Mud Obstacle Course! This thing was 6.2 miles of insanity! The course was 3.1 miles so for the 10k you had to do everything twice! It started with jumping over huge pipes and haystacks, then came to an incredibly steep hill, after that were a ton of small hills in succession with water pits in between! Then more huge dirt mounds that were so steep I had to slide down! Half of the 2nd mile was directly uphill, so steep we were at a total incline! We raced down the other side, hopped a series of 6' walls, then attacked a whole bunch more hills and water pits, some of which had tape over the top so we had to crawl underneath! The entire thing was punctuated by explosions and helicopters! We trudged up around the bend and realized we had sharp gravel in our shoes! We dug it out as best we could and then did it all AGAIN! We must be crazy! Most people just did the 5k, the other people on the 10k were mostly hardcore athletes who were way ahead of us. We finished second to last HA! I don't care how long it took, the point was we took each obstacle as it came, put one foot in front of the other, and never gave up! Reminds me of living with NF2 while being saturated with mud! The pictures show the easiest part of the course that went along the spectator space, trust me when I tell you these were the smallest hills and most shallow pits! We finished the run and got rinsed off by a bunch of firemen! My friend Michelle was there taking pics, check out her page for pics of her boys doing the kids Fun Run! I was so jealous they got cute little medals, I wanted a medal!
I'm home now and ready to do absolutely nothing for the rest of the day!!

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