Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Preparing Food for Recovery from Surgery & Freezer Meals

In preparation for recovery from surgery (I was told that I would be home from work for about 3 weeks), I did quite a bit of cooking and freezing.  I was told that I would not feel like cooking (or cleaning, although who ever feels like cleaning) and that I should have a few meals in the bag.  I avoid most traditional frozen foods because of my allergies to preservatives (except for frozen foods from Trade Joe's and plain frozen vegetables, those are safe for me to eat).  Therefore, had to make my own.  I knew I had to make meals that were low-fat (for general health reasons and because I no longer have a gallbladder), high fiber and high in protein.  I still don't have much of an appetite or much energy and am so thankful that I had the forethought to plan ahead.  I made two different soups and two main dishes. I also was taken to the grocery store before coming home where I picked up skim milk, whole wheat bread, raw vegetables and a roast chicken (you can eat off of one of those for days!!).  I had cereal and lots of fruit (my mother sent me a fruit basket) as well as some shelf stable snacks at home. 
Here are the recipes that I made to freeze:
Honey Garlic Chicken  I'll make some rice in my rice cooker and frozen broccoli to serve with this. 
Shepard's Pie  This recipe even lists "freezer directions."  I froze it in my 9" x 9" pyrex dish and can just pop it in the oven when ready to eat, after thawing.  (This is the first thing I defrosted and it is very good!  Lots of flavor!)
Slow Cooker Lentil Stew
Tortilla Soup  Inspired by this recipe.  I actually made this in my crock pot (those Midwestern roots run deep) and added chicken (high in protein). 
I also have frozen berries, frozen bananas, frozen spinach and pomegranate juice so that I can make smoothies.  I like these recipes from Whole Living Magazine
And while I try not to use these normally, I had a good supply of paper plates and plastic cups on hand.  No need to do dishes!

And finally, I am not great at drinking water.  I know, I know.  It's not that I don't, I just don't like it.  So while I do drink lots and lots of water, I also have lots of herbal tea bags on hand, bottles of Yumberry Pomegranate SoBe Lifewater, lime Perrier and San Pellegrino Limonata sparkling water.  Here's the recipe for my favorite mocktail.  It's pretty easy.  Fill a glass with ice, fill mostly with Blackberry Raspberry sparkling water and top with a splash Cran-Raspberry juice.  Delish!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

What To Bring For A Surgical Hospital Stay (A Brief Story of My Recent Medical Issues.)

I'm home!  Where have I been?  Long story short, I had surgery, just one week ago.  I had two issues that needed to be addressed, gallstones and an ovarian cyst.  Does anyone really want to read my long story of medical diagnosis?  Probably not, but just in case someone out in the internet land can gain something from my experience...  In September I started having pain in my right abdomen, coupled with spotting.  After an ultrasound, I was diagnosed with an ovarian cyst.  But there was a good chance it was dermoid (very good chance that it was benign). There was some hope that it would just go away by itself.  Followed with a 2nd ultrasound as well as a CAT scan, only to find that it still remained.  The CAT scan also showed that I had lots of gallstones.   I have a family history of this issue so I wasn't too surprised.  And that also further explained the right abdominal pain.  After seeing quite a few doctors, I finally found two surgeons that were willing to work together to remove both my gallbladder and my ovarian cyst at the same time.  This is not the most common thing to do.  And I had to work with surgeons to coordinate the whole thing.  The greatest lesson I've learned through this whole ordeal is that you really have to be an advocate for your own health and to trust your instincts.  Really trust your instincts. I knew that the best thing for me was to have both surgeries at once and had to really beg my primary care physician for a referral to a general surgeon.  She was sort of taking the gallstones situation lightly.  But in the end, got in touch with the right surgeons, who provided me with the best care.  And am feeling better each and every day.  Since I don't live near my mother or sister, I was lucky enough to have my grandma and uncle take me in for a few days post surgery.  (They only live about 40 miles away.)  They took great care of me and I will be forever grateful for their kindness and care. 
And finally, for the practical part of this blog post.  Before I had surgery, I looked on line for some tips on what to take to the hospital.  (For full disclosure, I was originally told that I would have at least one night's stay in the hospital.  That's when I got these things together.  When the hospital coordinator contacted me, she told me that the surgery would be Out Patient, so I didn't actually bring these things with me to the hospital.  In the end, I was admitted and wished I would have brought my bag along.)  The only information I could find on line was for hospital stays for giving birth.  So, I thought I would share what I would have packed to bring along to the hospital, for a surgical stay.

 I don't believe that I have had any experience where people have told me what to expect more.  And let me start by saying that they have mostly been wrong.  Just know that your experience is your experience.  And don't believe everything that non-medical advisees tell you.  First of all, keep in mind that you aren't going to a hotel.  They might provide you with morphine, but not usually shampoo.  (At least this was my experience, your hospital may be different.)  I would suggest you bring the bare minimum toiletries.  Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, chapstick.  If you are a contact wearer like me, a glasses case for whoever comes with you to keep your glasses in.  (You can't wear contacts during surgery.)  Some reading material.  Just a couple of things.  You'll probably sleep that first night, but may feel up to some light reading in the morning.  If you're in for more than one night, you'll want to bring shampoo and body wash.  They did offer me towels.  Don't forget the flip flops.  You'll want them for the shower.  (I hate to say it, but hospitals are crawling with germs.  The bad stuff.  Like C-Diff.)  Also, bring your phone charger, a comfy going home outfit and extra underwear and socks.  (Don't bring valuables!  I was lucky enough to have a private room, but that may not always be the case.)  That should cover it.  Hope this helps!

Friday, February 15, 2013

4 Things.

Source: via Traci on Pinterest

(Ok, I was wrong.  The Academy Awards aren't until February 24th.)   It's Oscar weekend!  My own personal Super Bowl.  I love fashion, movies and celebrities, so it's the perfect trifecta.  What are your Academy Award plans?

Here's a list of the nominees.  Have you seen any of the nominated movies?  I saw Les Misérables
I really want to see Silver Linings Playbook and Argo and might try to sneak one of them in this weekend.

Try this Oscar Ballot and Bingo Game from How About Orange.

I LOVE movies.  I'm particular about them, can't stand a bad one, but love a good one.  Here are 12 Movies to Look For that premiered at Sundance.  From Entertainment Weekly.

In the same vein, did you happen to see Before Sunrise and Before Sunset?  These romantic movies starred Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke.  I used to be obsessed with Before Sunrise, it definitely led me to have romantic notions about all things involving train travel and Europe.  In fact, I couldn't stop thinking about it during my recent European travel.  Unfortunately, I didn't have any romantic encounters. (I can't believe that movie came out in 1995!!)  There's a third movie in the series that premiered at Sundance, Before Midnight.  (Reviewed on A Cup of Jo.) I cannot wait to see it!

Friday, February 1, 2013

4 Things.

Ravens Fever has definitely hit Baltimore as we prepare for the Super Bowl vs. the 49ers this Sunday.  This city is bathed in PURPLE!  Everyone is very excited, even this fair weather fan!  Here's a picture of Federal Hill (right near where I live) painted with the Ravens logo.  The excitement is infectious.  Go Ravens!!

And now, on with 4 Things for this week....
Here's a fun take on winter nails for
I made this soup over the weekend and have been enjoying it for lunch every day this week.  I keep getting compliments on how good it smells.  It's delicious and oh so easy!  From Skinny Taste.
This is a little more complex for a tutorial that I would usually take on, but I really like this DIY Constellation Scarf from A Beautiful Mess.
Who wants to think ahead to spring?  I do, I do!  My summer wadrobe is much more exciting than my winter wardrobe.  Full of lots of bright colors and lots of statement necklaces.  I always like to make a few new pieces, so I might try my hand at this DIY Cobalt Blue Cluster Necklace.  You could make this in any color.  From My Girlish Whims.