Favorite Quote

"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."
-Randy Pausch

Friday, June 6, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Clarice and I made our trip from VA to AZ in 3.5 days!  It was definitely a blast, and our dumb and dumber personalities definitely came out!  Let's just say we do a great job feeding off of one another's ridiculousness!  I know I've been seriously slacking with my blog updates...I promise I won't go MIA again and will do a better job updating my blog bi-weekly!  It was crazy leading up to the trip (getting my house ready to sell, Remicade Infusion, paperwork, etc etc).   We left VA on May 26th and arrived in AZ May 29th.  The first day of our journey we stopped about 200 miles outside of Memphis, TN.  Below is a pic outside of the non-pet friendly Holiday Inn Express that we couldn't stay at b/c of my pup.  We ended up staying down the hill at a place called "Nanny Creek Inn." 
And NO I'm not as chipmunk like as this pic makes me look!  Oh, I've finally tapered off the 'roids by the way (thank goodness)!  My face is starting to return to normal (see the "Hello Chipmunk" post for a steroid like pic).  And of course, my body is starting to de-swell itself and get back to normal.  I always gain about 10-15 lbs on average when I'm on the 'roids.  People may roll their eyes when I say I'm 120 lbs when I'm on the 'roids, but remember, I'm five foot one!  Anyway, the pic above is a beautiful one (not me-the scenery...I'm not THAT stuck on myself)!  We don't have mountains or greenery like the above pic in the Hampton Roads area of VA. 
On the second day of our journey Clarice and I wanted to get through both Arkansas and Oklahoma and spend the night in Texas.  We ended up driving 14 hours on day 2 and landed pretty much on the Oklahoma-Texas border.  The below pic is of a dark, scary cloud we saw in Arkansas.  Let me just say this, the dark dark clouds appeared to be "brewing."  It was perhaps the scariest scene I have ever seen and I was convinced a tornado was on the way.  Out of nowhere rain started pouring down and visibility became non-existent.  I decided to slow down to 70 mph, which apparently wasn't slow enough because my V-dub hydroplaned for a brief moment.  SCARY!  Luckily we were able to drive out of the torrential rain storm after about five minutes!  The pic below does not accurately portray the scary dark brewing cloud, but it gives you a tiny image of the scariness we saw!
It took us a few hours to drive into Oklahoma once we drove out of the scary storm in Arkansas.  I can officially say that Oklahoma has the worst interstate out of the seven states we drove through (Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona).  I'm talking about HUGE potholes, cracks, uneven roads...there was a point where we were driving on the WRONG side of the interstate due to road construction! Crazy!  That night we stayed in a small town called Clinton.  My mom always said "If you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all," so I'm going to keep my mouth shut about that little town!  The hotel we stayed in definitely fit the definition of an infamous "roach motel."  Eek!  Definitely the trashiest place we've ever stayed...BUT it was pet friendly, so I can't complain too much.  
After our 14 hour drive the previous day Clarice and I were not interested in driving for more than eight hours, so we stayed about 60 miles from the New Mexico-Arizona border.  My dog decided to lick his rear at one point of the drive and I yelled my usual, "NO LICK" at him.  He decided to get pissed off, stand up, turn his back to us, and totally ignore us for about thirty minutes!  It was hilarious!  He definitely takes after me with his attitude.  Like they say,  "Pets are reflections of their owners."  
Later on that day we were looking for a hotel and found a nice pet friendly hotel, but all the pet friendly rooms were booked!  We were starving by that point so we decided to leave the dog in the car and eat (for you PETA folks-I ALWAYS leave my car (and A/C) running during the summer months if I leave my pup inside.  I simply lock the car door with my valet key).  Clarice and I ate, and when we returned, Caesar (my dog) had his paws crossed, looked at me, looked at my bro, and then looked away.  Attitude.  Again.  That's my pup!  It gave us a good laugh...again!  Fat, happy, and tired we drove off to find another pet friendly hotel.  The below pic is of a beautiful New Mexico sunset.  
That's one thing VA can't touch...a beautiful western sunset.  Yeah, yeah, I know the pic is crooked!  It adds personality ;)  
The day after, we made it to AZ!  It was a quick drive and we arrived safe and sound!  We met my mom for lunch and then unloaded the car.  Caesar was happy to run into the backyard, as he had been a little cramped for the majority of my trip.  I drive a GTI and it fit my bike, all my luggage, my juicers, cookbooks, etc etc in the car, as well as my dog.  He had plenty of room to lay down but didn't have the entire back of the car like he is used too.  
As far as my Crohn's is concerned, the trip wasn't too bad.  My lower abdominal swelled up each night due to the long driving, but I managed not to have any accidents or uncontrollable flare-ups, so I was definitely happy!  I had my  mouse juice infusion three days before traveling, so had a brief window to travel that would guarantee no major flare-ups.  That's just something you gotta think about when you have Crohn's.  No biggie though!  We made it safe and sound with no major incidents!    
Since I've been home I've been teeter-tottering a bit.  I've finally tapered off of the 'roids.  Unfortunately steroids don't have the same effect on me like they used too.  They used to kick me right into remisson and used to provide a 3-6 week blanket once I had fully tapered off.  Well, the good (and bad) news is that it took about three weeks on 60mg of prednisone to kick me into remission and unfortunately I started flaring about three weeks before fully tapering off the the 'roids.  I am viewing this as a blessing in disguise because I have suffered pretty much every side affect of prednisone.  Because I have built up an immunity to prednisone I (hopefully) won't have to take it anymore when I flare.  Why put my body through that when the medicine isn't nearly as effective as it used to be?
We'll see what my doc has in store for me next.  It is seven more weeks until my next infusion and I've been pooing blood, even had an accident.  NO I DO NOT feel sorry for myself, I am still riding my bike.  I am thankful every day I wake up, and thankful I can ride my bike, though I don't always feel well.  But, it is what it is.  And everyday I wake up is a good day.  Okay, enough mushiness!  All I have to say is, if you're perfectly healthy I don't want to hear you complain.  Be thankful for your health and get your @$$ out there and enjoy mother nature and the beauty she provides!  For me, it's by riding my bike, for you...it can be something as simple as taking a freakin' walk.  Just don't take your health or any day you're alive for granted!  'Nuff said! =-)~


maricela said...

Hey Emma im glad u r visiting us in AZ i realy missed all u guys in VA the trip must have had been an amazing sight (geting here not the city were we live in) hey even thou i can ask u this right now cuse u r by me but r u likeing the HEAT! wow its hot out here but we get used to it. love:maricela/pookie

Emma said...

Thanx Pook!

You're only 12, but we're going to get you started in bike racing! And yes, it's ridiculously HOT out here but I think I'm getting used to it =)

We'll ride soon and get you hooked up with a local Junior team! Take Care and love you much!