Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Harsh and Deadly Reality

This is a difficult story to tell, but it’s an important one. Today marks the one-year anniversary of when my amazing husband Cory checked himself into rehab.

2000: The Injury
We're not sure how it happened, but in the winter of 2000 Cory was injured. We had been dating for less than a year. He was only 24. He worked out, lifted weights and played sports regularly. He was in the prime of his youth. Then, one day out of the blue, he was met with excruciating pain. I’m talkin’ the knock-you-off-your-feet-because-it-hurts-so-bad kind. An MRI revealed that he had herniated the lowest disk in his back, which pinched the nerves that go to his legs, making it next to impossible to do the simplest of tasks. He wasn’t even able to tie his shoes.

2002: The Surgery
In the winter of 2002, he finally decided to have surgery after every other treatment option he attempted had failed. A month off of work and an obscene amount of money later, he found he was still in pain, only it seemed worse than ever.

A second MRI revealed that not only had his lowest disk re-herniated, but the one right above it had herniated as well, pinching a whole new set of nerves.

The answer he and his doctor turned to was pain medication. Lots and lots of pain meds. You see, his body would adjust to a certain dose over time, causing it to be less effective, so his doc would simply up the dose.

2008: The Rehab
By the fall of 2008 Cor was taking what, to the average body, was a lethal cocktail of pain pills—opioids of every variety.

As I’m sure you can imagine, the pain combined with the medication took a drastic toll on Cory’s quality of life. Physical activity was pretty much out of the question due to the pain, and the medicine made him almost numb to life.

As ashamed as I am to admit this, I honestly didn't see what was right in front of me. I knew our marriage was suffering. I knew our life was off balance. But I didn’t notice how drastically Cor had changed over the years. I suppose it’s a little like gaining weight. When you see yourself or someone else everyday, it sneaks up on you gradually.

This is why today is a day to celebrate in our home. It’s more than Cory going to rehab. It’s him deciding for himself, admitting that there was a problem, and taking the steps necessary to get help.

I won’t lie and say that stepping into rehab that day magically changed everything for the better overnight, but we’re certainly getting there. And we’ve come a million miles from where we were a year ago. I feel like I have the man I fell in love with back. Yes, he’s still dealing with the side effects of detox (it’s a long, painful process), but he’s here, no longer numb and distant.

When I asked Cor if I could share this ultra personal story on my blog, he said, “Why? I don’t think anyone’s really going to care.” My response was, “Because people need to know.” And you do need to know! (Plus, I'm super proud of him and want to shout it from the rooftops.)

Pain medication addiction/abuse is far too common and it’s often not the fault of the patient. Cory was doing everything right. He never took more than prescribed, but he was prescribed A LOT! That was the problem. In doing research, I realized just how close my young husband came to death as a result. The warning signs were there, we just didn’t know to look for them. Now that we know, I want to share some of them with you. If you have someone in your life that is taking strong narcotics to manage pain, please pay close attention and see if they should take action.

The Warning Signs
Here are a few things to look for (all of which were happening to Cory, BTW):

* Loud Snoring: This can indicate drastic breathing problems being caused by the medication in the system. This is a serious symptom that can lead to death if not taken seriously.

* Frothing at the Mouth: No, I don’t mean foaming in the rabid-dog sense, but bubbling around the mouth during sleep is something to watch out for. Medicine can cause fluid to build in the lungs, which can lead to a drug-induced coma or even death.

* A Swollen Face: Fluid build-up reaches beyond the lungs. Be aware of your patient’s face.

To illustrate this final point, here’s a picture taken just before Cory checked in to rehab last year. Notice how puffy his sweet face.

And this is a picture taken on his first day home. He was only in the hospital for a week, but the impact was already easy to see.

The picture at the top of this post was taken this summer. As you can see, his handsome appearance continues to improve with time, and that’s just the exterior. I could go on and on about how he’s better overall, but I’m sure my point is made without the added examples.

Frightening Facts
1. Prescription drug overdose is the #2 preventable death of women in the U.S.
2. People who take more than six medications of any kind, including herbal supplements, are 94% more likely to have a negative drug interaction.

I sincerely hope you won’t relate to this post, but the odds are you will. Prescription drug overdose is far too common and many doctors only seem to be furthering the problem. Please, be aware. It could save your life or the life of someone important to you.

Now, I’m off to celebrate my sweet Cory’s life. He’s come a long way this year and I’m super proud of him.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Stuff Week, Day 5: Hey, how about a card (& a giveaway)?

Okay, so technically it’s day six, but who’s counting? I hate to do this to you, but I’m going to share a recycled project—one that I’ve already featured on the Creating Keepsakes blog.

What’s the deal? Well, I used one of the happiest stamp sets around to make this card and My Cute Stamps has agreed to give a set away. So, this means a repeat (if you read the CK blog, that is).

This silly card was designed for my awesome card group. We were asked to make "humorous birthday cards," which is more difficult than it may sound. I hope this mades you chuckle.

The design was inspired by this video…

Which was inspired by old videos like this...

A Bit o' Blog Candy Happiness

Do you want to be entered to win this way dang cute stamp set? In the spirit of laughing, let's share jokes. Simply leave me a comment with your favorite joke between now and next Friday, Sept. 25, and I’ll randomly select my lucky (and funny) winner. I can't wait to laugh! :)

Thanks, My Cute Stamps, for providing this giveaway!

One More Stuff Post to Go
BTW, I promise that I make more than cards. I meeting a dear friend today, in fact, to work on a super fun jewelry project. I will share details of that here soon with a big Stuff Week grand finale. Thanks for peeking at my stuff! That's what she said. (Sorry, I just couldn't resist.) ;)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stuff Week, Day 4: It’s a…card!

Here’s the story of a girl named Amy, who lived with a very lovely girl (named Megan, in college). Then one day Amy met a fellow and knew that it was much more than a hunch. Now Amy is a wife with a baby bump. A baby bump. A baby bump. Now Amy has a baby bump…
So I made her a card. ;)
She lives in Hawaii, so I went with a tropical theme. I used sweet product from Little Yellow Bicycle.

Congratulations, dear Amy with your cute baby bump! You’re going to make an incredible mommy. I can’t wait to meet your sweet bundle the next time we’re in Hawaii. Yes, we’ll get there someday!

Blog Candy

Speaking of Little Yellow Bicycle, I have some brand spankin' new LYB Halloween product to give away. Thanks for your comment on yesterday's post, Nicole. Please e-mail me at M2E2G@aol.com with your full name and mailing address and I'll get it in the mail. I appreciate your comments and support! :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Stuff Week, Day 3: Wall Art for the Craft Geeks

Just because it says it’s a car decal does not mean it won’t also work as wall art. And with so many cute car decals out there, this is one technique I couldn’t pass up. I picked up these car clings from Vinyl Wall Art (vinylwallart.com).
With "Crafty Geek," "Bead Geek," "Scrapbook Nerd" and "Sewing Girl," I love how they represent different areas of my creative life, and with words like “nerd” and “geek” they definitely describe me well. As soon as I saw these, I knew they needed a place on my craft room wall. Here's what I did.

Step 1: Color Canvas

My craft room is pink and black, so I painted two 5" x 7" canvases black with acrylic paint.

Add Image

I didn’t have pink paint, so I colored the two pink canvases with Glimmer Mist.

Step 2: Apply Vinyl

Apply vinyl to the canvas just as you would to any other surface by rubbing it into place.

Step 3: Adhere Ribbon
I stapled coordinating ribbon around the edge of each canvas, alternating between pink and black.

Step 4: Put your vinyl up on the wall in an order that works for you.

That's it! Four easy steps and you can have completely fun, completely unique wall decor.

A Bit o' Blog Candy

BTW, I mentioned that I wanted to give stuff away durning stuff week. Well, that begins today. Thanks, Reyanna, for your comment on yesterday's post. I have a pack of brand new Glitz Girls product with your name on it. Please e-mail me at M2E2G@aol.com with your mailing address and I'll get it sent right out. Thanks, girl!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Stuff Week, Day 2: Another Card

I had the pleasure of attending Scraping to Breathe over the weekend, an amazing charity event held to raise fund for cystic fibrosis, where I put together this little card. (You can get more information on the event here.)

I made the stems on my card from string and tied a knot to create the leaves.

This card is for my cute niece, Jenifer, to thank her for this cute card that she made and sent to me. She said it was to practice her "scrapbooking skills." I'd say she's got those skills down. :)
Thanks, sweet Jenifer! Owl cherish this happy card forever!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Stuff Week, Day 1: A Card

I make stuff. It’s what I do. What I enjoy. Sometimes it’s cards. Sometimes jewelry. I’ll throw in a scrapbook page here, a sewing project there. It’s fun. It’s therapeutic. It’s a form of self-expression. I dig it!

In honor of this, I’ve decided to make this “Stuff Week” on my blog. I’ll share things I’ve made with you every day this week. Maybe you’ll find something that inspires you to make some of your own stuff.

I may even give some stuff away. After all, it’s not so easy to make stuff without more stuff to make it with. Know what I’m sayin’?

So, let’s start this Stuff Par-tay with this card I made last week in honor of September 11th. May you find peace and love surrounding you this week.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Today We Remember

I’m posting this at 6:46 AM, local time. The time the world is asked to take a moment of silence. The time, eight years ago, that the first plane hit the World Trade Center...

Where were you? How did you react? Shock? Fear? Tears? Outrage? Or did you jump up and lend a hand?

It was a little of all of the above for me, as I imagine it was for you. I was in college and I clearly remember waking up to my overly dramatic roommate pounding on my door, telling me “the world is ending, dude!” While the world didn't end, it sure did change. Perspective changed. Humankind changed.
A view of Ground Zero taken in May, 2005. The beams left standing after the devistation formed a cross. The sight gave me chills.

Yes, the events of this day did cause me to jump at the sound of planes overhead for a long time after. I even developed IBS as a result. (Too much information? Perhaps, but it’s true.) But, more importatly, I gained a greater appreciation of my country, the world and life in general.

Let today serve as a reminder to value life and freedom. It’s easy to get bogged down by the day-to-day (trust me, I know), but we should really do our best to value and embrace all that each day brings. We’re alive and that should be celebrated.

A timeline of events posted at Ground Zero, May, 2005

In the spirit of celebration, I’d like to thank you for spending a little bit of your day with me. I deeply appreciate your words and the fact that you’re interested in mine. May the peace of God be with you!


If you’re in Utah today, here are a few local memorial plans you can take part in:

Sandy Healing Fields
Noon, 10000 S. Centennial Pkwy

Kaysville Memorial
Sunrise, Utah Botanical Center

West Jordan Concert
7 PM, 8035 S. 22 W.

Magna Memorial
8 AM, Memorial Park

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Add Color to Your Home

Hi there and welcome back to reality. I hope you had a lovely holiday weekend. I know I did. I spent much of my time with friends and family (isn’t that what holiday weekend are all about?), but I also found some time to create.

I’m sharing one of the things I made this weekend on the Creating Keepsakes blog today (including complete instructions and a list of supplies). It’s a hanging splash of color I made for my friend’s craft room. Not wanting to overload the CK blog with images, I thought I’d post a few additional pictures of the project here for your viewing pleasure.