Monday, November 25, 2013

Q & A Monday: The Holidays and More

Hey y'all!!

It has been almost a month since I had a chance to participate in the Q & A Monday post.  I am excited to get back at it once again.

This weekend was busy with Bunco and beta testing the new Elder Scrolls Online game.  I was so happy to finally receive an invite.  I also started holiday decorating to try to get things sparkly in order to take Christmas card photos before my surgery.

Last week I had a ton of energy and got most of the house cleaned, but this week I am pooped.  On to the questions:

It is time again for Friend Makin' Monday.  If you have a blog, I would like to invite you to answer the questions as well.  Leave me a comment here, so I know you are playing.  Then you can also leave a comment over at All The Weigh, so other folks can check out your answers as well.  It is a fun way to connect to other bloggers.

The Holidays and More

1.  What state/country do you live in?  

Vancouver, WA in the USA

2.  Where were you born?  Were you raised there?  
I was born in Mississippi, but we moved around a lot.  I've lived in a different city in Washington State, a couple cities in California, Kansas, a couple cities in Texas, a few cities in South Carolina, Georgia, and also Boston, Massachusetts.

3.  How do you feel about stores like Wal-mart opening on Thanksgiving Day for pre-Black Friday sales?  Will you participate?  
I think it sucks, but people who choose to work a retail job know it is coming.  They do get holiday pay though, so that helps make it a little better.  I do think it is ridiculous how the sales are creeping farther and farther into Turkey Day instead of just starting on Friday.  I don't go out on Black Friday if I can help it.  I like to sit at home and shop online.

4.  Have you ever participated in a Turkey Trot?  Will you do one this year?  

Is that some kind of race or some turkey killing festival?  Either way, NO.

5.  What was your favorite toy as a child? 

Barbies were my favorite thing because I loved to dress them up, do their hair, and decorate their house.  I would play Barbies for HOURS.

6.  Will you count points/calories on Thanksgiving Day?  

No.  Right now, I am just hoping there will be enough that I can actually eat.  Because of the cancer, I can't have gluten, grains, sugar, and more right now.  I am limited to veggies and fruit.

7.  Will you watch football Thursday?  
I don't watch football on any day. lol

8.  Do you decorate inside/outside of your home for the holidays?  

We have never really decorated outside because we lived in rentals and didn't care enough about them to go to the trouble.  This is the first Christmas we are in our very own house, but I don't know if we will have much time to decorate.  I am trying to get parts of the inside done this week and weekend so we can take our Christmas card photos before I have surgery.  I still need my husband to move things around in the garage so we can pull our Christmas decor containers inside.

9.  Do you have allergies that prevent you from eating traditional holiday meals? 

As I stated in #6, I have thryoid cancer right now and Hashimoto's, so I cannot have gluten, grains, sugar, red meat, too much iodine/salt, and various goitrogenic foods like spinach, kale, strawberries, peaches,  peanuts, cabbage, etc. etc.

After I recover, I am going to have a celebratory meal or two for SURE!

10.  Is it snowing where you live?  

Negative.  It has been surprisingly sunny and nice as of late.  It is still cold, but just gorgeous sunny fall weather.

Now get your answer on!  Link back to Kenlie and let me know you are participating.  Happy Thanksgiving week!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What I Wore: Teal Rose

A few days before Halloween and we were having insanely beautiful weather for this time of year.  By that time every year it is usually raining and gross.  This post's outfit photos were taken in my backyard for a change! - Torrid Teal Rose Print Dress, Avenue Boots

I absolutely love the color of this dress, which is what drew me to it in the first place.  After reading some of the reviews online, I decided to get it during a Torrid sale and am happy I did!  I need more dresses I can wear with my leggings and boots for fall and winter.  This kind of outfit is so comfortable (and cute) to wear during these colder months.  I can't get enough! - Torrid Teal Rose Print Dress, Avenue Boots

The material is comfortable and stretchy and not too thick.  The 3/4-length sleeves fit my arms very well, while the length was just above the knee.  I wear a B-cup and found the bust to fit perfectly.  If you have larger breasts than I, you may or may not have issues with the more fitted bust area.  Also, this dress has pockets!  For reference, I am 5'9" and am wearing a Torrid size 4. - Torrid Teal Rose Print Dress, Avenue Boots
Rose Print Faux Wrap Knit Dress - Torrid
Leggings - Fashion Bug
Sydney Lace Back Boots - Avenue (Similar)
Necklace - Avenue - Torrid Teal Rose Print Dress, Avenue Boots - Torrid Teal Rose Print Dress, Avenue Boots

What are your must have pieces for fall and winter??

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Throat Monster (aka I Have Thyroid Cancer)

The last month and a half has been extremely stressful and emotional for me.  I want to share what I have been going through, thinking, and feeling, and want to continue sharing these things with you as I embark on a rather unexpected journey.  Kind of like a hobbit, but with less dragons and hot elves.

(This is a bit long, but I didn't want to leave anything out.) - I Have Thyroid Cancer
Me, working on not being a basket case

At the beginning of October, I just happened to run my hand down my neck.  I think I was laughing and it was just a random action that caused me to pause.  The right side of my neck felt a bit larger than the left side.  I knew it could be a major issue, because my friend Sami has mentioned checking your neck and is always talking about thyroid issues because she has Hashimoto's thyroid disease.  Hashimoto's is an auto-immune disease that attacks the thyroid and can cause a lot of other symptoms, as well as increasing your risk of developing thryoid nodules or thyroid cancer.

I didn't know much about the thyroid before I met Sami.  I probably never even really thought about it, like, ever.  So here I was with this swollen side of my neck.  I tried not to think about it until the next morning when I Googled about a swollen thyroid.  Never do that; It is just too stressful. The first and only thing the Internet told was that I had thyroid cancer.  I cried for two days straight, on the DL mind you, until I told my husband.  I just started crying and told him I didn't want to die.  He had no idea what was going on.

We made an appointment with a local doctor clinic since I really didn't have a regular doctor.  I just wanted to get in to see someone right away.  I wanted them to tell me the internet was crazy and that I was mental and things would be fine. The doctor at the clinic didn't say much to alleviate my worries.  She had a total poker face about the whole thing.  She ordered some blood tests and an ultrasound of my thyroid to check into things further.  The next day, I had an ultrasound scan of my neck and the following day I stopped back into the clinic to get the results.

My blood tests for my thyroid were all "normal", but other numbers indicated that I have iron-deficiency anemia.  The previous day, I learned that my brother has low thyroid function and takes medication for it.  I asked the doctor to run an additional blood test to check and see if I have Hashimoto's.  (Anemia and Hashi are "pals".)  She refused to run the blood test because the two thyroid tests she already ran were "normal".

The ultrasound was inconclusive as far as the nodule being something bad or not, but it was rather large in nodule terms.  The doctor said that I needed to get a biopsy of the nodule to check into it further, so I needed to see an endocrinologist right away.  She said I couldn't wait a week.  It had to be ASAP.  Naturally, this scared the crap out of me and made me cry even more and spend the majority of my time obsessing and worrying about all of it.

The next week, I received a call from another doctor at the clinic who told me I would get a call from an endocrinologist's office about scheduling an appointment.  He told me if I couldn't get in this week, I should call him back and he would find someone who could see me right away.  The endo's office did call and couldn't get me in for another month.  I told them "Thanks, but no thanks" and called the doctor back with the news.  Eventually, he returned my call and said he would just try to get me into a surgeon's office because I "would probably need to get it removed anyway".  This freaked me out even more and left me in a puddle on the floor until my husband came home.

I didn't hear from the doctor for another couple of days and emailed him, also asking him to run the additional blood test to check for Hashimoto's.  He okayed the test, so I stopped in to give my blood, but never heard from either doctor again.  They went from panic-inducing "YOU MUST BE SEEN TODAY" to complete silence.  I was an emotional mess.

During this time, my friend Sami was giving me advice about what to do and what doctors would be good to call.  I called at least seven doctors to try to find someone that could see me in a timely manner.  Some were not taking new patients.  Most had at least a month-long waiting period.  The blood test results came back indicating I have Hashimoto's, so I wasn't quite as worried about the nodule after that.  Only 5% to 15% of nodules are cancerous anyway.  Don't get me wrong, I was still freaking out ALL THE DAMN TIME, but it was a little better.

Finally, I made an appointment with a highly recommended naturopath who could see me in a couple weeks.  My appointment with her was rather uneventful, talking about various symptoms I was experiencing and that sort of new patient stuff.  She felt my neck and the nodule, put me on iron pills for my anemia, and was able to order the biopsy and another round of blood tests.

Flash forward to Halloween, my biopsy date.  I was a blubbering mess going into it.  I am terrified of doctors and hospitals and needles, and here was all three.  The doctor performing the biopsy told me I should be fine, only 5% of nodules are cancerous, and mine really didn't have any characteristics that made them think it was cancer.  He said my nodule was just larger and that was the main reason they wanted to do the biopsy on it.  He walked me through the procedure, while a kind nurse held my hand.

The actual procedure didn't hurt too bad.  The initial needle with the numbing medicine hurt the most.  As the medicine spread through my neck, it stung very bad.  I squeezed the nurses hand as I cried and tried to think of other things.  Not too long after that, the doctor asked if I could feel something.  I saw his arm move out of the corner of my eye and realized the fine needle was in my neck already.  They seriously have to move that needle up and down and up an down to get a good amount of cells.  Thankfully, I couldn't feel a thing.  He went into my neck with the needle three different times to gather the cells.  It was over in about twenty minutes.

After the numbing meds wore off, my neck definitely hurt.  The next two or three days, it hurt to strain my neck muscles or move my head a certain way.  However, the swelling went down after a day or so.

I only had to wait a weekend to go back into the naturopath's office for the results.  By this time, I had finally talked myself into thinking things were fine.  Everything would be okay.  I could take medication and maybe the nodule would get smaller.  The first thing she told me when I sat down was, "So, the results from the biopsy came back and you have cancer."

The world stopped.  Everything was slow motion and then I just burst into tears and sobbed the rest of the day.  I know the doctor talked for a bit about that it was treatable and that I needed to see an endocrinologist.  She added sugar, grains, and red meat to gluten, iodine, salt, and fish as stuff I can no longer eat.  She suggested an herbal supplement I have to take every hour for my stress and anxiety.  She took my blood pressure after all this, then seemed surprised that it was elevated.  Um hello!  I remember her saying that all of my extra blood work looked pretty good and that my body has been doing a fantastic job at fighting this.  I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.

And then we were sent on our way.  Just like that.  Walking down the hall and out of the building, I was in a daze.  How do you act normal?  How do you do normal things?  I have something horrible growing inside me and I have to go home and wash dishes??  What the fuck??

I was angry.  I was terrified.  I was dumbfounded.  I wondered why this had to happen to me.  Why did this have to happen to my husband?  We just lost his dad a little over a year ago to leukemia.  Wasn't that horrible event enough?  I was so angry and had all these things swirling in my head as I walked to the car.  I was so overwhelmed with emotions, I didn't even know how to react.  I was never one to physically harm myself as a depressed teen, but for the first time since my mid-teens I thought that maybe cutting myself (not killing myself) would help relieve some of the emotional pain.  It was a flash of an idea and something I would never act on, but the fact that the idea popped into my head really caught me off guard.

I was pretty numb the next few days, with the occasional outburst of endless tears.  My appointment with the endocrinologist was another couple weeks away, which gave me ample time to worry, fret, stress, cry, and everything else that seems to come with this.  I also spent a lot of time researching thyroid cancer online.  Sometimes it helps.

So here is where I stand right now.  I have papillary thyroid cancer, which is the more slow-growing version.  It has a high success rate when treated early on.  I don't know what stage I am because I don't know if it has spread anywhere, but my lymph nodes have been untainted thus far.  I don't have any of the typical "thyroid cancer symptoms", other than having a nodule. 

Prognosis is good, people.  I'm still terrified, but I am going to kick this thing's ass and send it packing.  I will continue to post about the goings on in Cancerland.  And, henceforth, I will refer to my thryoid cancer as my Throat Monster.

If you think you might have Hashimoto's, even if your thyroid tests are all "normal", ask your doctor for a TPO Antibody test.  It is the only way I found out I had it; and I had to demand the test.  Remember to check your neck!

Monday, November 18, 2013

What I Wore: The Power of Red

In recent months, and after some very sweet compliments, I vowed to start adding red back into my wardrobe.  I know I used to have a decent amount of red clothing but, for whatever reason, that number greatly diminished.  Maybe I just didn't feel confident enough to wear red for a little while?  I have been working on getting my mojo back, and this top definitely helps with that!  Wearing red makes me feel powerful! - Kiyonna Haven Faux Wrap Top, Lane Bryant Weekend Jean, Torrid Booties

I was thrilled when Kiyonna sent me the Haven Faux Wrap Top.  It is an absolutely beautiful shade of red in a soft, stretchy fabric that is so comfortable to wear.  As with all my Kiyonna pieces, I love it!  The sleeves are comfortable.  The neckline is a bit adjustable to offer more or less coverage.  The ruched waistband sits at a great place, while the A-line cut of the "skirt", as they call it, gives ample room for the hips. - Kiyonna Haven Faux Wrap Top, Lane Bryant Weekend Jean, Torrid Booties

I paired this top with some slightly distressed skinny jeans and boots for a more casual, laid-back look.  This outfit adorned me at our annual Friendsgiving dinner.   Every year, my friend (and fam) Nigel, hosts this awesome dinner of a wonderful assortment of friends in his tiny apartment.  This year we fit 32 people in there!  Every one brings a tasty dish to share, as we drink wine and enjoy the company of great people.

I highly recommend starting your own Friendsgiving tradition! - Kiyonna Haven Faux Wrap Top, Lane Bryant Weekend Jean, Torrid Booties - Kiyonna Haven Faux Wrap Top, Lane Bryant Weekend Jean, Torrid Booties - Kiyonna Haven Faux Wrap Top, Lane Bryant Weekend Jean, Torrid Booties

And because I have such a fun time trying items different ways, I also dressed up the top with some fancier pieces you could wear to a holiday party.  Here the Haven is paired with a matte sequin pencil skirt, black pumps, and a statement necklace.  I really love how this turned out as well and hope I have a party to go to soon! - Kiyonna Haven Faux Wrap Top, Lane Bryant Matte Sequin Pencil Skirt
Haven Faux Wrap Top in Crimson - Kiyonna
Distressed Dark Wash Weekend Jean - Lane Bryant
Booties - Torrid (similar)
Matte Sequin Pencil Skirt - Lane Bryant
Black pumps - Avenue (similar)
Necklaces - Forever 21 and Etsy

Now a few photos from Friendsgiving: - Friendsgiving 2013 - Friendsgiving 2013 - Friendsgiving 2013

How would you wear this top?  Is there a color you want more of in your wardrobe?

Disclosure: I am a member of the Kiyonna Blogger Brigade and they provided me with the top in this post.  All opinions on the item are my own.

Monday, November 11, 2013

eShakti New Arrivals

For the next couple of days, eShakti is having a 25% off sale site-wide!  This made me go check out the newest arrivals, so I thought I would share my favorites with you.

I love eShakti for the styles they offer and the fact that you can customize pieces to your measurements as well.  They carry sizes 0 to 36.  If you haven't checked them out before, use code HAILEY42BN to receive $30 off your first order.  This also means I get $15 towards my future order, so if you use the code, thank you in advance!!

Here are my favorites from the New Arrivals:

What are your favorites from the site?  Let me know!

Friday, November 8, 2013

What I Wore: All-Over Floral

Hello again!  Sorry for the sporadic posts.  I'll fill you all in when I get a chance, but for now - more clothes!! - Versailles Dress from Igigi, Gwynnie Bee

I've never been a fan of floral patterns, especially all-over florals.  As a chubby pre-teen, the only dresses in my size at Sears were very matronly florals with large doily collars.  Maybe you can relate.  Since those years, I have had an aversion to the more flowery prints. - Versailles Dress from Igigi, Gwynnie Bee - Versailles Dress from Igigi, Gwynnie Bee

Deciding to step out of that comfort zone, I tried this Igigi dress through Gwynnie Bee.  When it came in the mail, I was a little wary of the pattern.  It fit really well though, and I added the belt to break up the pattern a bit.  I like it so much better with the belt.  And then, just to tone it down a touch more, I added a long black cardigan. - Versailles Dress from Igigi, Gwynnie Bee - Versailles Dress from Igigi, Gwynnie Bee

Overall, I really love this dress.  I did size up to a 30/32 because I have had fit issues with different styles from Igigi.  The sleeves have the cute little tie that helps you sinch it in to your desired comfort.  I love that feature since my upper arms are quite large. - Versailles Dress from Igigi, Gwynnie Bee - Versailles Dress from Igigi, Gwynnie Bee
Versailles Dress - Igigi via Gwynnie Bee
Wide Belt, Cardigan - Lane Bryant
Leggings - Fashion Bug
Boots - Avenue (Similar)
Necklace - Betsey Johnson

Have a great weekend!!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

What I Wore: Sartorial Medley - Halloween

It is time again for Sartorial Medley, a monthly themed fashion post hosted by myself and Aislynn of Aislynn's World.  (Did you miss the previous posts? Check them out!) We welcome participation from anyone, regardless of your dress size.  From now until the end of the month, email me your photo and link to your blog post  - diva (at) divinemrsdiva (dot) com.  

This month we are also adding ways to participate, even if you don't have a blog.  Just Tweet/Instagram/Pinterest/etc. your photo with #SartorialMedley to be featured in the blog post.  We can't wait to see you rocking your outfits!  (Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @DivineMrsDiva.)

Now on to this month's theme: Halloween. - Sartorial Medley Halloween

This year, I had no party to go to and have been dealing with some medical stuff, so I am giving you a costume from Halloween past.  I absolutely loved this costume for its cuteness and the fact that it was put together (mostly) from things I already owned.  We had a great time at our friends' Halloween party, celebrating until late into the night.

I particularly loved the makeup too.  I don't do winged liner much, but it is so much fun.  Maybe I should break it out for a future outfit post? - Sartorial Medley Halloween - Sartorial Medley Halloween

More photos from the party: - Sartorial Medley Halloween - Sartorial Medley Halloween

Chambray dress - Lane Bryant (2010)
Apron - Handmade gift from my aunt
Feather duster and cat eye glasses - Halloween store
Purse and shoes - Things I have had for years and years
Pearls - Handmade by me for my wedding

Sartorial Medley: Halloween

Sartorial Medley Aislynn - Halloween
Aislynn of Aislynn's World

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