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What a week!

This week has been a week of drama…

I had two medical appointments this week.

The first appointment was with a neurologist.  I was very nervous.  For one, it’s just another doctor to explain all this crazy RSD to.  Secondly, I had actually seen this doctor several years ago after I had damaged my left arm during a mission trip to Mexico.  I didn’t really remember much about him, but I definitely remembered the horrifying experience of living through nerve conduction and muscle testing.  I was just praying that wouldn’t happen again.  I didn’t even have the excruciating RSD pain back then. I did visit with this new doctor and to our surprise, he was very curious about the RSD and really wanted to help me.  He had worked with a few RSD patients, and informed me that I had it bad (lol….glad someone agreed with us on that point!), and that it was a very rare thing for it to have developed from stubbing my toe (another point we agreed on!).  He then decided that he really should do the nerve and muscle testing.

What?! What?!  Surely not….

Ok…well, he needed to see if there is any nerve damage.  I understand.  At least this guy is actually doing something, right? I mean there’s been virtually no moving forward with this disease since my diagnosis last July.  My pain management doctor actually seems to be at a loss…which is why he referred me to the neurologist. So, well, ok.  I don’t know if I can handle it, but I’ll try to be strong.

So, I ask the nurse when we’re going to do this thing (the torture).  Right now, she says.

What the ……..?!?!?!

After she had me sign the waiver and she walked out, I literally looked at Mike and then put my head down on the table/bed thingy.  I didn’t realize they meant to do it right then…that day.

So, I dig as hard as I can find within myself to move forward to the next room where they are to do the testing.

I won’t go through what happened after that.  Let’s just say there were electrical currents and needles and a whole lot of crying that ensued.  And then, I was told I needed to go get some blood work done afterwards….more needles. Great.  So, after blood-drawn from both arms and seven (yes, 7) vials of blood later, I was completely emotionally and physically done.

It was a very tough day.

I had another appointment on Thursday b/c this neurologist wanted to see how my veins were responding.  So, I had an ultrasound done on my leg.  It was uncomfortable, but NOTHING like what had happened the day before.  I thanked God for that small blessing.

The neurologist also started me on a new medication called Neurontin…a nerve pain medication.  I’m hopeful this will begin to help with some of the nerve pain. And I truly am hopeful that something good will come from these tests.  I’m hopeful that there will be some answers to this crazy RSD.

Well, in other news…Mike left e.a.r.l.y. Friday morning for his flight to Virginia.  He has had an action packed weekend of meeting new people, going to several youth activities at Fairmount, and (the most important to me…lol) looking for housing.  Still no word yet on that front, but he’ll be looking more tomorrow, and I pray that something will turn up 🙂

Since he was gone, my dear friend Kris offered to bring over a meal…which was a yummy Tator Tot Casserole, some fresh pineapple, some homemade rolls (man, I miss fresh homemade bread!!!), and these oh.so.yummy Easy Apple Dumplings.

Oh my….those are just sinfully delicious.

She also insisted on doing my dishes.  Which doesn’t sound like a big deal, but I’m still struggling with pride and letting go of “my” kitchen.  It’s been my domain for the last 13 years, and letting someone else do my dishes was difficult.  Very difficult.  But I’m also profoundly thankful that I have a friend who would do that for me.

Kris….I love you, so much.  My tears were not just of prideful embarrassment, but also of true thankfulness.

You truly mean the world to me!

And that my friends, brings me to today.  I’m thankful it’s the start to a new week.

And new hopes!

❤  Shara

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RSD Update:  I’m just gonna get this out of the way first.  If you read my post on Monday, you’d know that the weekend was really bad, and Monday was the pinnacle.  I ended up taking 6 or 7 Percoset pills – the most I’ve ever taken in one day.  I went to Physical Therapy yesterday morning feeling like a complete failure.  Hobbling in with my crutch was humiliating.  It was all I could do to not cry.  I have gone so far backwards in my recovery.  And the worst part is that I can only figure it was due to the whole “trying on a shoe” thing.  A normal-every-day-kind of a thing.  So after therapy, I finally decided to call on you, my friends, for a little help from above and asked for prayer on my Facebook status.  I never do that.  Never.  I just feel like this is an issue between me and my family and God.

But I was desperate.

And desperate times call for desperate measures.

And you went to Him on my behalf.

And He listened.

I felt my discouragement lifting and the pain letting up….a little.  But every little bit helps!

So thank you, from the bottom of my heart 😀

Now…on to some yummy sweetness!

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1 c butter flavored shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp almond flavoring
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 c flour
  • 1  c chopped white chocolate (or white chocolate chips)
  • 1 c dried cranberries, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In your mixer, cream the sugar, brown sugar, shortening, eggs, and almond flavoring until white and fluffy.  Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl and add to creamed mixture.  Stir in chopped white chocolate and cranberries.  Place tablespoon-sized scoops on baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.

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These cookies are sooooo yummy!

Polka Dot Cookies

  • 1 pkg instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1/2 c butter flavored shortening
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 c flour
  • 3/4 c white chocolate chips
  • 3/4 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In your mixing bowl, cream together chocolate pudding mix, butter, shortening, sugar, and brown sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.  Add baking soda, salt, and flour.  Mix well again.  Stir in white chocolate chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Scoop out into tablespoon size and place on baking sheets.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.

RSD Update:  It’s been a really, really rough weekend.  My physical therapists have been “encouraging” me to try a closed-toe shoe.  I haven’t worn a regular shoe since April….4 1/2 months.  I also suffer from flat feet, but that’s never really been a big issue to me.  However, the therapists think a closed-toe shoe could offer a lot more support than just sandals.  Soooo, Mike and I headed over to Brown’s Shoe Store, here in Hutch, on Friday afternoon.  They were very helpful and knew exactly what kind of shoe I needed for flat feet…RSD, not so much.  So I also requested a wide width to help accommodate for the RSD.  They picked out New Balance 1012, and it felt pretty good.  Oh, and they also had me try an orthotic insert.  Nice.  At that point, and at the ripe age of 33, I was suddenly feeling very old.  Anyhoooooo, I wore the shoe around for maybe a max of 10 minutes.  The shoe really did feel good on my left foot and I felt like there was support on my right foot…my bad foot, but something was a stinging a little.  When I took the shoe off and the sock off, I realized that the seam on the top of the sock was the stinging culprit.  Nice.  We left the store thinking we’d go back for them later.  However, by the end of Friday evening… my pain had gone from a normal 7 or 8 to a 10+.  And I had to get my crutch back out.  It’s been pretty bad ever since, but esp. bad today.  To the normal symptoms of aching, stabbing, burning, I’m also having stinging, swelling, and spasms.  And despite my oxycodone, I’m just not getting any relief.  It’s insane.  I’ve just never dealt with anything like this before.  All triggered by wearing a tennis shoe.

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Puppy Chow

Clark asked me to make Puppy Chow over the weekend.

“Peeeeeaazzzz, Momma?!  It my favowit!!”

How can I resist this face?

And since my foot was feeling up to it…I was able to not only go to the store, but also make this yummy treat for my family.

Puppy Chow

  • 9 c chex cereal (rice or corn)
  • 1 c chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c peanut butter
  • 1/4 c butter or margarine
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 2 c powdered sugar

In a microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter.  Heat mixture in microwave for 30 seconds, and then mix well.  Repeat this process until chocolate chips are completely melted (usually takes me 2-3 times).  Once this is completed, add cereal and stir until all cereal is coated well with the chocolate.  Lastly, add powdered sugar and stir well until everything is coated well with the powdered sugar.

We had Chalupa for dinner tonight….what a great crockpot/freezer meal!!  If you haven’t tried this yet…make it soon!  For a quick dinner tonight,  I pulled a bag out of the freezer and popped it in the microwave.  You can use it for soft tacos, burritos, but this is my favorite way to eat it:  Nacho Style (esp with with Kris’ fresh grown tomatoes 😀 )

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I’ve been “Snack Director” (hehehe) for VBS for 6 years.  This year we had over 200 kids 3 of the 4 nights, and then all the kids brought their families for the closing program last night (200+ kids and all their families…holy moly!).  Anyways…lots of kids and lots of vbs volunteers means lots of snacks.  Here is a sample of some of the goodies from the week 😀

In a Jam Sandwiches (white bread and grape jelly, cut into hearts)

We served over 50 snacks at a time!

Faith Kabobs (fruit and cheese cubes)

Fishy Snack Mix

The first night we had sugar cookies with frosting and red sprinkles called Naaman Dippers…based on the story of Naaman.

It was a fun week, but honestly, I’m glad it’s over.  This is my last year of doing this and I’m glad to be passing the torch on to someone else 😀

Thank you to Kris, Crystal, and Angel for helping out all week.  You ladies are awesome!  Another thank you goes to Julie and her kiddos helping out last night for the closing program!

And if YOU made cookies for the closing program last night (because I know several of you did): THANK YOU!

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Lemon Squares

It’s been pretty busy around here lately.  We are all hurrying up to wait for my new baby niece to arrive (she was due last Saturday).  My sis, Katrina, and my mom and Katrina’s best friend, Missy, came into Hutch yesterday and we just about had a full day of activities.  Our day started out with an ortho appointment for Cade and then we met up with the rest of the clan (there were 4 of  ladies and 6 lil’ ones!) at Dillards so that the last minute newborn sleeper could be bought 😀  Then we headed over to Freddy’s for an early lunch.  After our yummy burgers and fries (and frozen custard…mmmm) we went to check out Smith’s Market, Apron Strings, and then Glenn’s Bulk foods…all places that I’ve grown to love, places that I’ve got my mom hooked on, and now my sister and her bestie have been lured in to them as well.  It was fun!

I’ve made a couple of changes to some of the recipes I’ve posted:  I forgot about the cocoa in the frosting for the Texas Sheet Cake and found a better way to cook corn on the cob :D.

Foot Update:  I had my MRI this morning and I’ll get my results when I meet with the doctors on Thursday.

And on a completely different note…..Lemon Squares.  Reagan has been asking me to make these for several days now, and today was the first day I’ve been home long enough to get them made.  These are buttery and lemony and very yummy!!

Lemon Squares

  • 1 cup butter (no substitutes), melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 cup flour
  • 1/2 c powdered sugar

Topping:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 3/4 c sugar
  • 1/3 c lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 drops of yellow food coloring

powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to  350 degrees.  Line a 9×13 pan (for a thicker bar) or a 10×15 baking sheet (for a thinner bar) with foil.  Spray with butter flavored cooking spray or brush with melted butter.  In a medium bowl, combine butter, flour and powdered sugar.  Stir well with a fork and dump dough into greased pan.  Spread out with your fingers.  Bake for 20 minutes or just until slightly browned around the edges.

For Topping: In your mixing bowl, beat eggs with whisk attachment for about 1 minute using medium speed.  Increase speed to medium-high and whisk for another 2 minutes, gradually adding sugar.  The mixture should be light in color and slightly thick.  Add lemon juice, lemon zest, baking powder, salt, and food color.  Beat for 1 more minute.  Pour over the top of the HOT crust.  Bake for another 25 minutes (or longer…the top should be browned and firm to the touch).  Let cool for 3-4 hours before cutting.  Remove entire bar from pan by pulling up the foil.  Place on cutting board and flatten down the sides of the foil.  Cut into desired size of squares.  Remove from foil and let air-dry for an hour or more.  Dust with powdered sugar.

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Texas Sheet Cake

I was informed by a friend & fellow pastor’s wife on Facebook that today is National Chocolate Day…what better way to celebrate this wonderful holiday than with a moist delicious chocolatey….easy…cake!  Topped off with a homemade warm frosting and you’ll be begging for a glass of cold milk to go with it!

Texas Sheet Cake

  • 2 c flour
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 c water
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1/2 c oil
  • 1/4 c cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Frosting:

  • 3/4 c butter
  • 6 Tbsp milk
  • 1/4 c cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 lb powdered sugar
  • 1/2 c finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  In your mixing bowl, combine flour and sugar.  In a medium saucepan, combine water, butter, oil, and cocoa powder.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and then remove from heat.  Pour into flour mixture and beat well.  Add buttermilk and combine well again.  Lastly, add eggs, baking soda, and vanilla.  Beat one more time, scraping down sides of bowl to make sure everything get incorporated.  Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Frosting: While cake is in the oven, wash your saucepan (or get out a new one) and add butter, milk and cocoa.  Bring to a slight boil over medium heat.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Stir in powdered sugar and mix well until there are no lumps of powdered sugar left.  If you are adding, pecans, do that now.  Pour warm frosting over warm cake.

He was trying to wait patiently 😀  You can see that I only added pecans to part of the cake…  My kids don’t like crunchy stuff in or on their cake…lol

This piece is a mess….but still yummy!

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