12/17/2022 – “Her brain hurt, it physically hurt.”


After Naomi Judd died by suicide I remember watching an interview with Ashley Judd in which she was speaking about Naomi’s mental illness. She said, “Her brain hurt, it physically hurt.” I immediately pulled up a note in my phone and typed it in there. I felt this at my core. It resonated with me so strongly I began to cry. That’s the best I had ever heard someone explain it and it was so simple yet so nuanced at the same time.

I’ve always been open about my mental illness and my struggles but I don’t think I’ve been super specific about some of my darkest moments. I think it’s important for us to share these with one another. Not just because it helps others get to know us and understand us, but it helps others be more willing to be open and vulnerable as well. It creates a safe space for us to exist without judgement but, rather, with empathy and understanding.

I’m going to share some personal experiences that could be triggering so I want that to be known in advance.

While I’ve struggled with this for over 25 years, and probably longer as a young child without truly understanding my emotions and feelings, there are two time periods in the last 5 years that stick out and I thought I’d go into them a little here.

In December of 2017, less than two months after Boyd and I got married, I underwent a high tibial osteotomy in conjunction with an ACL reconstruction/replacement in which the surgeon used a piece of my own hamstring. If you are unfamiliar with an HTO, I wouldn’t be surprised, so was I, but here’s some more info. At this point in my life I had undergone 5 knee surgeries, I tried to tell myself this was no big deal…I was wrong. This procedure was the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. I couldn’t put weight on my right leg for three months, Boyd and I had to sleep downstairs on the couch because our master was on the second floor, we had to wash my hair in the sink, I passed in and out from the pain for days, the pain meds began to actually numb my lungs to the point I stopped breathing at night, and I felt so alone. Although my husband and family were there for me there wasn’t a single soul I knew that could relate to what I was going through. Nights were the hardest. It was at night when Boyd and the rest of the world were asleep that I would lay there in a medicated daze and my mind would wander. When I would fall asleep I would wake up in a nocturnal panic attack about every night. I’m claustrophobic and when I wake up in these (which is common) I’m stuck. I’m trapped. There’s no other way to explain it. It would take me 5-10 minutes just to get myself off of the couch onto crutches trying not to wake Boyd. I’d crutch to the front door unstably and stand in the doorway in the cold. It was winter, thank god, because the cold air is one of the only things that can seem to help even in the slightest. I’d stand in the 10-30 degree weather with tears streaming down my face and just breathe. When you’re in these panic attacks your mind isn’t yours. Your brain PHYSICALLY hurts. Your mind jumps from one crazy bad thought to another. None of them make sense and you want them to go away but you don’t have control. I couldn’t event walk or run to try and shake it off. Not that this would have helped but I was extra trapped. When I finally thought I was ready to go upstairs and sleep in our room I was wrong. I went up there that night and Boyd went to his shop to do shop things. I shot up in bed about an hour later in a total panic. I HAD to get air! I couldn’t breathe. But I was stuck upstairs, alone. I crutched to the stairs and threw my crutches down. I dropped quickly to my butt and started to painfully make my way down the stairs. I felt SO alone and scared. Trapped and embarrassed. I was a 35 year old woman that couldn’t sleep. That was a prisoner of her own mind. It’s these dark moments of solitude that people aren’t privy to. We talk about those that die by suicide and always say that we don’t understand. No, you don’t. You truly probably don’t know, and hopefully never will, how dark those moments are. Just because you may seem one way on the outside, you truly don’t know how hard it is to exist in the dark corners of your mind, on the quietest of nights, trapped in what seems like a closed off room…alone.

I got through that surgery and the close to two year recovery, and didn’t really battle the nocturnal panic attacks as much for a few years. They’d come and go, usually when I was sleeping away from home, waking up in an unfamiliar place, or when my anxiety was extra heightened. A lot of the time it’s when it’s cold outside and I wake up bundled, warm, and stuck in sheets and other covers. Bam! The perfect storm.

Then I got pregnant. I always feared that if I were to get pregnant I’d feel claustrophobic for the baby in my stomach. That’s not how it played out. It all started in my third trimester when I KNEW I would have to have a c-section. Jack’s head was already way too big and there was no way he was going to fit through my pelvis. A c-section. I get lightheaded even typing that. It wasn’t being cut open that phased me. I’ve had so many surgeries, who cared about that lol I was going to have to be numb from my chest down, they were going to strap me to a table, my arms would be out to my side, and a sheet would be put up about a foot from my face…TRAPPED! I was going to be TRAPPED! Once that was in my head I was ruined. I thought about it constantly. Almost every night for over 2 months I had nocturnal panic attacks. I would get up and waddle to the front porch, strip to my underwear, and sit on the front bench in the cold. My mind would spiral and I would work on my breathing. Eventually my therapist and I got Boyd involved and I’d wake him to help walk me through grounding exercises. I’d cry in pain and out of total exhaustion. I have medication I can take now when I have nights like this BUT you can’t take it when on pain medication (aka post knee surgery) or when you’re pregnant. The medication could effect the baby and I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself. The Sunday before my scheduled c-section I had hit rock bottom. I couldn’t live through another one of these. Boyd called the after hours line for the OBGYN office and we waited for a call back at 2am. The doctor that called wasn’t mine. I explained what was going on and that I needed to come in RIGHT THEN and have the c-section, that I needed to go under general anesthesia. What happened after all of that is the exact opposite of what I needed. The doctor told me that this was an emergency line, “Not that this wasn’t an emergency, but…”. She told me to take a Benadryl to help me sleep. That’s all. That’s the advice I was given. I told her I had taken my meds that I was prescribed because I HAD to and she told me to take Benadryl anyway. Interesting because those meds together have disastrous side effects. In that moment I felt more alone than I ever have. I was being open about my mental state and not only was it not being taken seriously, a medical provider put me in more danger. This is why people don’t speak up and carry the pain in silence. But I refuse to do that. I met my doctor the next day, took my mask off so she could see my face and the tears, and told her where I was. While she listened and tried to understand, you can’t if you don’t have these pains, these illnesses. I knew what I was saying sounded crazy coming out of my mouth, that I’d be fine, but that didn’t change ANY of the pain and late, lonely nights.

I had Jack and all went well until that first night in hospital. I woke up abruptly at 2am and was NOT doing well. Luckily the nurse I called came in and listened to EVERYTHING I told her. She heard me. I needed the catheter out, I needed the leg straps pumping my legs OFF, and I needed to get up and walk. So she made it happen. Less than 24 hours after my c-section I was up doing laps around the floor with my night nurse, talking about anxiety and panic attacks. I don’t know where I would have been that night without her. I just needed HER, that person to listen, to take me seriously, and do whatever she was able to help me.

I share all of this now because, once again, I woke up in the middle of the night last night in a panic attack. I’m once again recovering from a knee surgery in cold weather and woke up with the perfect setup for one of these episodes. I text Boyd while he was in his shop and he came inside immediately. We sat up and talked for awhile. We talked about tWitch and others the world has lost by suicide. We talked about the pain and the stigma behind mental illness and suicide. I was reminded again how grateful I am for my partner and his ability to listen and empathize even if he may not be able to fully relate. He supports me, he doesn’t judge me, and he continues to educate himself on ways he can help me.

Not really sure how to end this entry. I’ve just wanted to share about this for awhile and never took the time to do it. But, it’s important. You may not understand it but some people have so much pain inside that they can’t explain. Maybe it’s a lot of the time, maybe it’s every now and again, but it’s pain nonetheless. When you’re in these spaces your brain physically hurts. There’s not really another way to explain it. Maybe reading this makes you understand me a little better or other loved ones in your life. Maybe you can relate to it and find some comfort in the fact that you aren’t alone. Maybe it was triggering and, if so, I’m deeply sorry. It’s a little triggering for me to type it as well, I think that’s why it took so long. Maybe this helps you to step back and offer more grace to others. (Or stops you from telling me to have another baby because I truly don’t know if I’d survive.)

I hope you may also read this and realize that sometimes we do speak up, we do tell you how hard it is and how much we are struggling, but some people are so bad at discussing difficult things that they brush us off or tell us how strong we are. STOP DOING THAT!!! If someone is opening up to you about their pain and suffering, LISTEN! Don’t try and make the conversation easier for YOU, it’s not about you. When I opened up during pregnancy I got, “Oh yea, being a mom is scary.” “Oh yea, surgery is nerve wracking but you’ll be fine.” “It’s only about 30-45 min and then it’s over.” SHUT UP! No, really, shut up. LISTEN TO WHAT I’M TELLING YOU! And that’s just one instance for me. I’m more vocal than some but speaking up is still hard even for me. Are people not speaking up directly about their pain? That’s very likely. Look for the signs and cries for help under the change of behaviors in others as well. Don’t write off those gut feelings that something is wrong. And when they open up to you, close your mouth, open up your mind and heart, and listen.

I love you. Your feelings are real and they are valid. Your life is important and, yes, some days I know it takes everything just to open your eyes in the morning. I don’t have the answers for you but, I know that, for me, I have to make sure to take care of me. To talk to my loved ones about the pain, to seek support from a therapist, to read books and articles that I find helpful, and to cry for help when I know no other option. As cliché as it sounds, it’s okay not to be okay. I’m not saying it’s easy, just that it’s real. Let’s talk about these things. Don’t be embarrassed, and I know that’s easier said than done, but don’t be. There is NOTHING to be embarrassed about! Mental health is so important and nothing to be ashamed of.


11/2/2020 – I Voted for “Her”


While I checked a box next to a name on a ballot a few weeks ago, it was about more than voting for a person. In this election I voted for “her”…

Your daughter

Your granddaughter

Your future daughter

Your future granddaughter

Your niece

My future daughter

The mother that walked night and day, tired, hungry, and thirsty to get their child to a safer place only to have them ripped from their arms and locked in a cage

The “her” that was born “him”

The “her” that was raped, sexually assaulted, or sexually harrassed and told it was her fault

The “her” that deserves the rights to her own body and the right to choose

The “her” that will come long after my time on this earth

Mother nature

The first female President of the United States

The Notorious RBG

The “her” fighting to get paid the same as her male counterpart

The “her” that is never thin enough, never smiling enough, never quiet enough

The “her” that is bullied for the way she looks

The “her” that is a bitch for standing up for herself and her morals

And, finally, myself. A woman who wants to always have the choice to make decisions about her own body. A woman that has been raped twice and was too scared to turn them in, that was afraid she’d be judged or ignored. A professional woman that has been sexually harassed in the workplace and has fought for respect not only from men but other women as well. A woman that sees EVERY child as her child. A woman that believes love is love, believes that religion needs to stay out of the laws that govern her, and that black lives matter. A woman that believes in climate change and that if we don’t protect this world NOW there will be no world for those that come after her.

I’m with “HER”!I voted for “HER”! And I’ll continue to do it EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. no matter what happens this week because for those of us passionate about all of the above, we don’t just “vote” once every two or four years, we vote with our voices, actions, and behavior every day with every breath.

I'm With Her, Too | WIHE

5/31/2020 – “Now imagine she’s white.”


“What is it in us that seeks the truth? Is it our minds or is it our hearts?

I set out to prove a black man could receive a fair trial in the south, that we are all equal in the eyes of the law. That’s not the truth, because the eyes of the law are human eyes — yours and mine — and until we can see each other as equals, justice is never going to be evenhanded. It will remain nothing more than a reflection of our own prejudices, so until that day we have a duty under God to seek the truth, not with our eyes and not with our minds where fear and hate turn commonality into prejudice, but with our hearts — where we don’t know better.

Now I wanna tell you a story. I’m gonna ask ya’all to close your eyes while I tell you this story. I want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to yourselves.

This is a story about a little girl walking home from the grocery store one sunny afternoon. I want you to picture this little girl.

Suddenly a truck races up. Two men jump out and grab her. They drag her into a nearby field and they tie her up, and they rip her clothes from her body. Now they climb on, first one then the other, raping her, shattering everything innocent and pure — vicious thrusts — in a fog of drunken breath and sweat. And when they’re done, after they killed her tiny womb, murdered any chance for her to bear children, to have life beyond her own, they decide to use her for target practice. So they start throwing full beer cans at her. They throw ’em so hard that it tears the flesh all the way to her bones — and they urinate on her.

Now comes the hanging. They have a rope; they tie a noose. Imagine the noose pulling tight around her neck and a sudden blinding jerk. She’s pulled into the air and her feet and legs go kicking and they don’t find the ground. The hanging branch isn’t strong enough. It snaps and she falls back to the earth. So they pick her up, throw her in the back of the truck, and drive out to Foggy Creek Bridge and pitch her over the edge. And she drops some 30 feet down to the creek bottom below.

Can you see her? Her raped, beaten, broken body, soaked in their urine, soaked in their semen, soaked in her blood — left to die.

Can you see her? I want you to picture that little girl.

 Now imagine she’s white.

The defense rests your honor.”Jake Brigance, A Time to Kill

My mind keeps going back to this part of the movie A Time to Kill. Ever since the first time I saw this movie, this closing argument guts me. It brings me to tears, and it should. I feel like those of us that can’t relate need to go back to this. The best way to try to relate to someone is to put yourself in their shoes. That’s what Jake Brigance does here. He knew that in order to get other white men and women to be able to relate to the actions of Carl Lee Hailey in this movie was to have them put themselves in HIS shoes and imagine how THEY would react if they were him.

So I’m asking all of you reading this to start there. Let’s start this conversation outside of ourselves and in the shoes of blacks in the US.

Imagine the anger you would feel, imagine how desperate and helpless you would feel, imagine how scared you would feel if this was your NORMAL, if this was your REALITY.

I can’t even begin to relate to that. BUT, I can tell you this, I can try my best to put myself in their shoes. Those shoes are heavy, worn, tired, and fed up. I would be ANGRY. I’d probably first start to protest with my voice. But then I’d be told that I couldn’t protest that way. If I was a celebrity I’d try to protest publicly and on stage when I had a platform to be the voice of my race. But people would tell me I can’t have those conversations on air, that they aren’t appropriate. I’d be dismissed and silenced again. So maybe as an athlete in this community I’d protest by taking a knee during an anthem that doesn’t pertain to me and my race because we aren’t actually equal, we aren’t actually free. But I’d be told I most definitely can NOT protest this way.

And on…

and on…

and on.

After hundreds of years of things not changing, of not being heard, of not feeling safe, of not being treated equally, of being judged by the color of my skin before anything else, of being afraid to go to the store, afraid to go for a run, afraid for my children to go into the world, I would feel there was NO OTHER WAY TO BE HEARD than to ACT OUT! Would they hear me NOW!?!? Is THIS what it takes?!?

What if every looted item during these riots represents the stolen life of a black person that was hung from a tree?

What if every broken window represents the broken heart of a mom who has lost her black son or daughter because of the color of their skin?

What if every burning building, place of business, or car represents the burning of a cross in a black person’s front yard or the burning of a black church,  home, or place of business?

What if every person screaming at the top of their lungs is a black man or woman screaming for help during their last minutes of life?

What if every person showing up of ALL races represents every person over the past 400 years that can’t be there to represent themselves?

Think about that.

Look at what’s happening across this country from a different lens, a different perspective.

You know what can be replaced? THINGS!

You know what can be rebuilt? CITIES!

You know what can’t be replaced? A HUMAN LIFE

You know what rises from the ashes? A PHOENIX. It represents transformation, death, and rebirth in its fire. That’s what our country needs. That’s what blacks are asking for, A TRANSFORMATION OF CULTURE. A TRANSFORMATION OF BEHAVIOR. A CHANGE. A rebirth of humanity. HOPE for a safer and better future for themselves, their children, and all blacks that come after them in this country.

So, I ask you this, imagine George Floyd was white. Imagine Ahmad Abrey was white. Imagine that white men and women had been enslaved, silenced, discriminated against, killed, tortured and their voices crying for change ignored for 400 years! Imagine that this was still happening TODAY. How would you act? What could you possibly do to make sure you are heard when nothing else has seemed to work? I truly CANNOT know what it’s like to be black, I’ll never be able to, but I can sure as hell try my best to empathize.

I’m in tears and this isn’t even about me personally. But it IS about me! It’s about all of us. You can say “I wasn’t raised like this.” Well, I have a shocker for most of us, WE ALL WERE! The media we have consumed on tv, in movies, in books, our entire lives has trained us without us even knowing it. The behavior we still let go on and let keep happening like it’s okay when we see it on the news has trained us. The fact that we immediately call the cops on a black person assuming they are there to harm or hurt us solely because they are black, this is something that we have been trained to think is okay. Thinking that mass incarceration of blacks is their fault and not part of a broken system exposes our training. Each time we stay silent and don’t use our privilege to support those that aren’t privileged to have their voices be heard, we are in the wrong. We must speak up, we must act, and we must brave the wilderness of the norm that has been accepted in this country and fight for better, vote for better, raise our kids to be better. It will take all of us to change the systemic problems in our culture and in our systems. So, as Jake Brigance said, “until we can see each other as equals, justice is never going to be evenhanded. It will remain nothing more than a reflection of our own prejudices, so until that day we have a duty under God to seek the truth, not with our eyes and not with our minds where fear and hate turn commonality into prejudice, but with our hearts — where we don’t know better.”


With a very heavy heart, I’ll leave it here for now.

A Visit to Montgomery's Legacy Museum and the National Memorial ...

10/2/18 – Don’t Be Afraid to Celebrate Yourself



I love birthdays!

Most people probably know this about me. I love MY birthday the most. I hear from everyone I love. I get to FaceTime with LaLa’s “kids”. I get cards in the mail for a week, dinner at delicious restaurants, I usually get tickets for concerts that are in town,  FALL begins, football is in the background, and, most of the time, the new seasons are starting of my favorite shows.

But, it’s deeper than that. It’s a reminder that we should celebrate ourselves! Why wouldn’t we?

I find it funny when people say they don’t like birthdays or they don’t see why they are a big deal. Well, I beg to differ. Birthdays are a HUGE deal! They are a day to celebrate someone and the time they have on this earth.  They are the BIGGEST deal there is if you ask me. What do we have if we don’t have our life? You got it! Nothing! We really shouldn’t just celebrate ourselves once a year, we should celebrate ourselves every day for that matter. I will be the first to admit that this is a difficult thing to do. Maybe we just start with doing it 5 minutes a day. 5 minutes a day, take the time to look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself, “It’s AMAZING that I get to live today and the impact I have on this world is important.” That’s pretty simple. Then, as the days go by and that gets more comfortable, start to add and celebrate your accomplishments and be proud of yourself.

A few weeks ago I shared the photo below and said that I would explain later. I wanted later to be today.

I didn’t know this photo was being taken but I’m SO glad it was. In this moment I am SO proud of myself and that is a smile that brings tears of joy to my eyes. This photo was taken at The WITI Conference in Sonoma, CA. The WITI Conference is an annual invitation-only event that aims to create a comfortable and confidential environment to discuss the challenges we face as women in the beverage business and to help and learn from each other. This was the inaugural year and I was honored to be invited for my role as Executive Director of CORE. This photo was after I received a check from Christie Lawler, founder and owner of CJL Consulting of which WITI is the charitable arm, on behalf of CORE. I think in this moment I realized how much I’ve accomplished and that my hard work was being recognized. The women at this event had some of the kindest and most complimentary things to say. But that wasn’t it. It was how they said them to me. They didn’t say them because they felt like had to say them. They looked at me and said these things like they thought I already knew them. Like they were telling me something that was so matter of fact that everyone already knew it. The funny thing was that I don’t know if I realized they were true until this conference. These women didn’t owe me anything. I wasn’t in front of my Board of Directors or in front of an audience of over 600 where it can become robotic and proforma and, sadly, insincere.  I was surrounded by 27 other women in a safe space where nobody had anything to gain by blowing smoke. It was during these few days that I could finally stand tall in my space, I could finally look in the mirror and in front of other women and celebrate myself, and that’s okay! I would go as far to say that it’s more than just “okay”, it’s necessary!

I’ve worked my ass off for 7 years to spread a message that means the world to me, that I feel and believe in in the depth of my soul, for a group of people that I feel deserve to be fought for and taken care of, to build an organization that I knew in all of my being could be bigger than anyone else saw…AND I’VE SUCCEEDED!!! I have to celebrate that. I have to celebrate that my passion and career aligned and that I’ve figured out what I’m good at. I’ve figured out that I have a voice that some people like to listen to and I’ve started to recognize my strengths and how to use them. This is only the beginning and I have a lot to learn, but I’ve never been more excited for tomorrow.

So, today, on my first full day on the other side of my 30s, I will celebrate myself. I will celebrate myself ALL week, and, as hard as it is, I will make a point to celebrate myself EVERY DAY!

Because, in this life, if you don’t celebrate yourself, nobody will 🙂 Be PROUD of yourself. There is NOTHING wrong with self pride!

6/19/18 – Learning how to walk again


“Sometimes the steepest, most challenging and most rewarding paths in life are not meant to be walked, but crawled.” ― Toni Sorenson

I’m currently learning how to walk again. Every day is completely different. Some days I’m in so much pain that I’m sick to my stomach and fight back tears all day. Then there are days where I think to myself, “Phew, finally, I’m getting there.” It changes by the hour, it depends on how long I’ve been sitting or sleeping, sometimes my leg gets so tight that it feels like it will pop, and other times my ankle just can’t take anymore. Then there is the good leg…which doesn’t always feel so good. It’s getting tired of being the strong one, holding this body up through the rehab and the weight gain. I can’t physically crawl, but this path has been slow (like a crawl) and challenging and, hopefully, the most rewarding.

What else can I do, other than put one foot in front of the other every day and learn how to walk again. I have to remind myself that we all have battles and that this one is mine. I have no choice but to overcome it and learn how to navigate my new normal and process all of the emotions, obstacles, battles, and lessons that come with it. But that also doesn’t mean I’m going to act like it’s been easy and that it’s always okay, because it’s not and it hasn’t been.

It’s a funny time to be going through this process. The last 6 months I feel like I haven’t just been learning how to physically walk again, I feel like I’m having to learn how to “walk” in so many other ways: How to navigate relationships; How to navigate my anxiety and depression; Learning how to “walk” steadfast in my beliefs and my morals while also being open to those of others. But, most of all, learning how to stay true to myself and sticking up for myself and what I believe in. Some days are more difficult to do that than others but we can’t be afraid to stand alone in beliefs that mean so much to us. That’s what Brene Brown has taught me. “Being ourselves means sometimes having to find the courage to stand alone.” This rehab process has been very lonely. Even when I’ve been surrounded by people and friends and loved ones, I’ve felt very alone in this battle and in my mind. Learning how to walk around ALONE like that, has taught me so much and made me more aware of the world around me.

I think all of us in this country need to learn how to “walk” again. I think we’ve lost our way and have forgotten that we all do just that..WALK! Whether it’s on two feet, or one, or on two wheels, we move FORWARD. That’s what we do every day. The clock and the calendar move FORWARD. We have a new opportunity everyday to learn from the day before and make progress, try to right our wrongs, to learn about others so that we can relate to their lives and their struggles, and to support one another. Ultimately, we are so much more alike than we are different. We all want the same things for ourselves and our families: love, belonging, safety, good health, success, and happiness. We are in this together. I truly believe in the butterfly effect. We may not see the effect that our words and actions have on others but they do have an effect. We are all breathing the same air and surviving off of the same land. Do we have different beliefs and views? Of course we do. Because we all have different lives and experiences. We were all born to different families with different paths, in different neighborhoods, in different conditions. Some of us were born with more opportunities and privileges than others. All of these things make us the individuals that we are. We can’t relate to someone if we don’t TRY! We have to LISTEN! I LOVE meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures and learning about their lives. At the end of those encounters, no matter where we have come from and what we have endured, we are all people. People that want to be loved, and happy, to feel accepted and equal.

I’m almost done reading Brene Brown’s Braving the Wilderness and I highly recommend it to everyone. That’s where her quote is from above. In this book she speaks to our current political landscape in this country and this really spoke to me: “Most of us are either making the choice to protect ourselves from conflict, discomfort, and vulnerability by staying quiet, or picking sides and in the process slowly and paradoxically adopting the behavior of the people we’re fighting. Either way, the choices we’re making to protect our beliefs and ourselves are leaving us disconnected, afraid, and lonely.” We have to connect! We can’t keep polarizing ourselves. Based on what?! In this process we are dehumanizing one another.

I often wonder, if there is a car accident or a shooting, and the person next to us needs help, are we going to ask them their religion or their political affiliation before we choose to help them? NO! Of course we aren’t. Because those things don’t really matter. What matters is taking care of each other. What matters is wanting our fellow humans on the earth to be safe, and feel loved, and wanting them to be successful and healthy and happy.

Learn how to walk ALONE, without having to fit in or be a part of a group. Learn how to think by yourself instead of getting sucked into group think. I promise, we think more alike on MOST things than we disagree, and if we would just stop and listen and discuss, rather than always be waiting to speak and argue, we could make some progress. Maybe it’s not a full walk, maybe it’s a crawl, but someone once said 😉 “Sometimes the steepest, most challenging and most rewarding paths in life are not meant to be walked, but crawled.” What an awesome reward it would be to be on the same page. We may not ever agree on EVERYTHING, or the details, but I think most of us can agree that we don’t want others to suffer or to feel less than or to feel unsafe.

I’m really just blabbering right now. I have so much to say and I don’t even know how to say it. All I know is that my heart hurts and it’s been wide open lately. Tears are coming more often than normal and I want so badly to make a difference in this world. Let’s do that together. I know I’m not the only one that feels this way. I will end with quotes from Braving the Wilderness. I mean it, READ IT!

“When the culture of any organization mandates that it is more important to protect the reputation of a system and those in power than it is to protect the basic human dignity of the individuals who serve that system or who are served by that system, you can be certain that the shame is systemic, the money is driving ethics, and the accountability is all but dead.” 

“People often silence themselves, or “agree to disagree” without fully exploring the actual nature of the disagreement, for the sake of protecting a relationship and maintaining connection. But when we avoid certain conversations, and never fully learn how the other person feels about all of the issues, we sometimes end up making assumptions that not only perpetuate but deepen misunderstandings, and that can generate resentment.” 


11/13/17 – The “Sweet Knee Surgeon”

11/13/17 – The “Sweet Knee Surgeon”

“Health care is about people making your life better.” – Susan Gast

Over the years I have updated my social media “family” with a breakdown of conversations with my knee surgeons. They tend to be quite comical, following the jokes we always have regarding me and my dancing. Some times they are sad and discouraging, sharing information about upcoming surgeries. These conversations have happened between 3 or 4 surgeons and me over the years since I’ve moved a lot and also have a hard time finding surgeons that I like. Well, about two years ago I found one that I truly LOVED!

If you follow my updates you probably know that this surgeon is the “sweet knee surgeon”. Until today, I haven’t shared his name. I don’t know why, I just didn’t. Part of it I think was just to keep that part of the relationship personal. Then today it got very personal because today I found out that he tragically passed away on Sunday in an accident on his farm. His name was Dr. Allen F. Anderson and he was an amazing man, an amazing surgeon, and I would like to say that I could even call him my friend.






These are many of the emotions that I have been going through today. I just saw him on October 30th. We talked about my wedding, we discussed the awful surgery he was going to perform on me on December 20th, he tried to get me paper towels to wipe my tears, we discussed my honeymoon, and, before I left that day, he hugged me. He knew I needed it and I’m so glad he did. I never thought, in a million years, that would be the last time I saw him.

I’ve missed my dad a lot more lately with the wedding and the doctors’ appointments. Ya see, if you didn’t know, my dad was one hell of a family practice PA for over 35 years, he was my “doctor” for 26 years. Since he passed away, whenever I have health issues I miss his presence, his guidance, his reassurance, and his attention to my care. It’s not often anymore that you find a doctor that you trust, that you know TRULY cares about you and has your best interest in mind. It’s not often you can look into a doctor’s eyes and KNOW that they are paying attention to you and your specific needs, fears, and vulnerabilities. My dad was that kind of practitioner and I found that in Dr. Anderson. They both had a very quiet and calm demeanor. They both listened and looked you straight in the eye when you spoke. They both cared about people and about making people feel better. They were both the “sweet” doctor.

I’ve struggled with my right knee for 20 years. TWENTY YEARS! I’ve had 5 surgeries so far and have seen close to 15 orthopedic surgeons. If you do the math, there were 10 that didn’t make the cut (no pun intended). I’m very picky. VERY picky! I want you to listen to me, to care about me, to want what’s best for ME and MY case, not someone else’s. To explain to you how much it meant to find Dr. Allen Anderson isn’t possible. It’s this comforting feeling that you can’t put into words. How do you explain an exhale of relief and reassurance in words?

We just scheduled my knee surgery date a couple days before I left on my honeymoon and I’ve had a tough time with it all, but sitting with Dr. A and going through all of my questions, seeing the pain in his eyes for me while also knowing he knew this is what was best made it easier. And then I got the call.






All of those emotions for so many reasons. For an amazing life lost too soon. For an amazing doctor lost too soon. For the loss of a confidant and trusted friend. For the loss of a father, a grandfather, a husband. For the assurance I lost not knowing now who I can turn to to trust to take care of me and to also CARE about me.

I may not have known Allen Anderson very long but I knew him long enough to admire him, to trust him, to appreciate him, and to love him. I hope that someone can say that about me one day. He will be truly missed.

After my father died in 2009, one of his patients wrote an article about him that I’ve shared many times. It’s crazy how topical it is today. I obviously felt the pain of losing my father differently than Susan Gast did since he was my father. Today I realized what she felt when Larry LaViola died, and it sucks. It really really hurts, and I’m just a patient of his for the past two years. I’m sharing it again below because it conveys many of the feelings I have for Dr. Anderson.

May his family find peace in their memories. May they find comfort and warmth in the love shared with them by all that he touched like we did after we lost our “Dr. Ravioli”. Today and tonight I weep with them and with a community that has suffered a great loss 😦 An article about Dr. Allen Anderson is linked to his photo below.

Health care is about people making your life better 
By Susan Gast

I don’t think a day has gone by recently in which I have not heard health care discussed, analyzed or dissected. I – like countless Americans – have listened with interest and mixed feelings.

Just over a week ago, however, my health care died. And I was heartbroken.

His name was Larry LaViola. He was a New Yorker comfortably transplanted and welcomed in the Deep South. He spoke softly, in a smooth, calming cadence – so smooth and calming that if you weren’t paying close attention you might miss the pointed ribbing he was shooting your way.

For 35 years, he practiced at Snellville Medical Group and during that time took only two sick days. Officially he was a physician’s assistant. But only officially.

To me, to my husband, to my children and to hundreds who live in southern Gwinnett County, he was our family doctor.

He was the one we went to for camp and sports physicals. He treated us for the flu, sinus infections or toenail fungus. He got us through bronchitis and diagnosed my son’s appendicitis, even when the symptoms had disappeared. He nursed us through tendinitis, referred us for X-rays and blood tests.

A tireless professional, he was good at what he did. Really good. So good that I can’t recall the last time I had an appointment with the doctor whose name is on my prescriptions.

I saw Mr. LaViola in late spring. At a Mother’s Day picnic, I had barefooted it across rocks and into a stream at a park. I stepped on something that lodged itself deep into my heel. He X-rayed it and worked on it, but was cautious about causing further injury. He urged me to call back if it wasn’t better soon.

I remember him looking me straight in the eye and telling me it wouldn’t hurt his feelings a bit to refer me to a specialist. The wound was stubborn, so he eventually did. That was the exception. Usually we had to go no farther than Mr. LaViola.

I recall that last appointment. We talked about his children, my children and the economy. On other occasions, he talked about golf or vacation spots. Occasionally it was about our community and issues it was facing.

My husband often remarked about how he looked forward to medical appointments – perhaps not to the medical part, but to the conversations and sincere health advice he would receive. They sometimes discussed Mr. LaViola’s days in the Army. My husband likened his frank perspectives to the “sanity amidst the insanity” you find in characters of TV’s “M*A*S*H.”

It was that way with Mr. LaViola. You usually emerged from his office with not only a prescription, but a feeling that you had just renewed a friendship. Not a bosom buddy kind of friendship. We didn’t hang out with him on the weekends or ask his family over for dinner. There was a lot we didn’t know about him.

But Mr. LaViola made a connection – a human-to-human connection that seemed to elevate our association above that of just a medical professional and patient.

A few weeks ago, I heard he had stopped working. He had been diagnosed with cancer. It was serious.

The community sent cards and letters. We kept in touch with the doctor’s office about him. We heard that some patients mowed his yard and took food or care packages to his home. His name appeared in church bulletins with prayers requested. The community thought it unfair that we couldn’t do for him what he had done for us.

He passed away Aug. 29 at age 62. The mass for him at St. John Neumann’s Catholic Church in Lilburn on Wednesday was packed.

On the night of Mr. LaViola’s death, someone from his office called us at home to let us know.

I knew from my husband’s voice and subdued responses what had happened. I turned down the volume of the Braves game we had been watching. When he replaced the phone receiver, we sat in silence for a few minutes, then started sharing memories of the man who had helped us raise our children and ourselves, who had touched so many lives, helped so many people.

That’s what health care is.

The debates we hear today are necessary – but they are big debates – ones that encompass law, business, economics and politics.

Real health care is personal. It is a relationship. It is one-on-one.

It is Larry LaViola. He was a wonderful friend and a wonderful healer. He has left a magnificent legacy.

I will miss him.

10/26/17 – Dear Dad, I’m getting married tomorrow…


“You have a place in my heart that no one could ever have.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald


Dear Dad,

I’m getting married tomorrow! I know, crazy huh? I know that you never had a doubt, but I did. Man, this past 13 months leading up to this have been fun but they have also been incredibly difficult without you here to share them with us. I constantly think: Would dad think this is over the top? (To which the answer is usually yes.) I ask myself what you would say to me as we walked down the aisle, what song you would want to dance to. I wonder if you would make a speech that day and what you would say to Boyd.

One thing I don’t ever have to ask myself is if you would “approve” of Boyd, and that’s been incredibly helpful for me. Oh how you would love him, dad, I tell him all the time. You’d probably like hanging out with him more than me haha Boyd has so many of your qualities: he’s so kind and humble, reserved, he cares for people and puts them first, he’s smart, and he loves me. (That’s a big one!) I never thought there was a man out there in this world that would love me as much as you did, but he has proven me wrong. They (whoever “they” are) say that a daddy’s girl will find a man like her father. That couldn’t be more true in this case. I try to talk to him about you all the time so that he “knows” you. By knowing me he already knows a big piece of you, but I make sure to share stories that truly share your sense of humor and your interests. I love telling him what you would say in certain situations and we always laugh. Boyd has told me numerous times how much he wishes you were here and that he would have met you because he knows how much he would have loved you (and he would have someone to play golf with). He is a WONDERFUL man!

It’s been eight years without you, dad, and I can’t say that it’s gotten that much easier. I still think about you EVERY DAY! I have my “dad days”, as I call them, when I just can’t quite keep it together. It’s just hard, dad, it wasn’t supposed to be like this. You weren’t supposed to leave me so soon. You should have been here for my milestones, happy and sad, to hold my hand, tell me it was going to be okay, and, in this case, walk me down the aisle. I’m going to walk alone, dad, I think it makes the most sense. You spent the first 26 years of my life preparing me to make this decision on my own and to “give myself away”. Thank you for teaching me how a man should love me, how a man should treat me, and the respect that I deserve from a man. I can go into tomorrow knowing that I am making the right decision because of guidance you gave me so long ago. Thank you for raising me to be strong, confident, and independent. As you told me all the time, I know you are “still along for the ride” tomorrow and always. I actually got your words tattooed on my arm from a card you wrote me. I know, that REALLY pisses you off haha Sorry, but the irony of it all makes me giggle 😉 I wanted them to look down at throughout the day and for the rest of my life so that I NEVER forget.

I’m the Executive Director of a children’s charity, dad. You’d love these kids and their families. I always wish that you were alive so I could tell you their stories, ask for advice, and share with you their smiles and love. Every time we get an application for families that have lost a parent, it hits home and I want to take the pain away from these sweet children. I started this job not long after you died. I think I needed to find a way to continue your legacy of caring for others. You know I can’t do all the blood/medical stuff so this is the route I chose. I know that you would be so proud of me!

Well, dad, I love you! I miss you more than I can even put into words. This feeling in my heart today sucks. There’s an emptiness, a void, that no one else can fill, and I cry for so many reasons. Because I’m sad, I’m happy, I’m excited, and I just wish you were here with me in person, not just in my heart. Nate will be here and he’s doing great. Mom is incredibly happy and we are all healthy. We are going to have a BLAST this weekend, I have no doubt! He makes me SO HAPPY! The only thing that would make it PERFECT is if you were here with us but I have made sure that you are included in the day in many different ways (yes, there will be moon pies and a live -6 piece- band). I look forward to walking with you down the aisle tomorrow…in my heart, on my mind, and in your memory!

Forever your little girl!


PS: I’m keeping our last name but I think I’m going to change my middle name to Culver, Boyd’s last name. This way we would have the same initials (LCL). Pretty cool, huh ❤



8/18/17 – In 2007, I fell in love…


“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” – Miriam Adeney



In 2007, I fell in love…but maybe not in the way you are thinking. In early February of 2007 I got off of the plane in a city and country I had never been to before. Looking back now, there are many reasons that led me there: my love for the Spanish language, my desire to speak it, the experience to get out and see the world, to get TEFL certified, and, ultimately, as I told many people, “to find myself”. That sounds super cliche now but I didn’t really know how else to say it. I’m not even sure then that I knew what I meant. I just knew that staying in the states wasn’t giving me what I needed and I needed  something more.

So, as I mentioned, in 2007, I fell in love! I fell in love with a city, with a culture, with people, with streets and artists, with food and music, and, ultimately, by the end of that year, with myself. When I returned to the states and began my Masters in Hospitality and Tourism Management, we immediately had to start thinking about a thesis. I thought long and hard about my topic, about what I wanted to research and learn more about, and what I thought I could give back in this paper. It all came back to this beautiful city that I got to call home for a brief time in my past. Barcelona opened my eyes to a whole different side of how a city and it’s people can change tourism in a city, and I knew that this would have to be my topic: “Tourism under Dictator & Democracy: How the Catalan Culture and Catalan Nationalism have Affected Tourism in Catalonia, Spain throughout Changing Political Power”. I could go on and on about my findings and even share that paper with you, but I’m hoping you get the point. The Catalan people, their beautiful culture, and the love and pride that exudes from every corner of the city is like nothing I’ve ever seen or lived in since. I miss it every single day of my life.

Do you ever look at your past and think, “Did that really happen?” I think that all the time. “Did I really live there?” It seems so surreal and too perfect to have been a piece of my puzzle. Although it was long ago and the memories become harder and harder to keep clear in my mind, I can feel Barcelona in the depths of my  heart and soul, I truly can. When I start to travel down memory lane I walk the streets in my mind, I walk up to Parc Guell and down to Parc Ciutadella, down Las Ramblas to the Mediterranean. I eat patatas bravas and croquettes and tortilla de patatas, I take the train down to Castelldefels and Sitges and admire the coastline. I see all of the shops and the smell of the food. I can hear the people speaking in Catalan and in Spanish, I can hear the laughter of children playing with their families at all hours of the day, and the folks dancing during all of the festivals in the streets. I can taste the wine and the Estrella Damm, and, in these memories I am at peace.

I cry now thinking back on that short time in my life. It changed me. See, I didn’t just fall in love with the city and the culture and the people, I truly fell in love with myself. After I left I finally understood what it meant to “find myself”. I can’t explain it in a blog and I may not even be able to explain it in person, but just know that that place holds the biggest piece of my heart that any place ever will and I adore it!

When my news alert popped up on my phone yesterday my heart sank and I felt sick to my stomach. NOOOOO!!!! Not there! All of the memories came rushing back and it’s like someone had attacked my home. With so much going on here in the states I was already on an emotional edge. This attack sent me over.

I guess I’m writing this for me and for whomever will listen. My heart hurts and I was so scared for loved ones that still live there. The picture of perfection I had in my mind felt like it had been struck with a rock. What I do know about Barcelona and the Catalan people, and what they taught me in 2007, is that they love HARD! They love one another and Catalonia harder than anything I’ve ever witnessed and they will not be taken down by this hate. They fought Franco and his regime and their cultural nationalism only becomes stronger through things like this.

Our media spends a lot of time sharing so much of the hate in the world. Believe me, I know it’s there and I know it must be fought, but let’s all focus a little more on the love that counters this hate. Love really is stronger, I can promise you that! It’s lighter to bear and it brings us together. Let the Catalan people be examples and mentors of love and unity. If you want me to tell you a story or two I’d be glad to.

As I’ve heard many times in my life, “Home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling.” I feel home this week and home hurts. Part of my heart remains in Barcelona and yesterday that piece broke. I know they will come back from this! Their tourism may take a hit but it will bounce back, my thesis tells me this 😉 People and culture make a city/region desirable and Barcelona is a city that I think many people have always longed for but just don’t know it yet. Go there! Give back to this city after all of this! And open your heart to all that it will give back to you. Who knows, you may even “find yourself” 😉

Barca, you will always be the one that got away! Destiny sure did it right bringing me to you. T’estimo!


3/8/17 – “Who’s walking you down the aisle?”


“If I could get another chance
Another walk
Another dance with him
I’d play a song that would never ever end
How I’d love love love
To dance with my father again”

Dance with my Father Again, by Luther Vandross

Getting engaged is a very weird thing, for so many reasons. I think I’m still learning some of them. Society begins to act funny towards you, everyone wants to know your business, some even know your future better than you apparently, and advice just flows like chocolate at Willy Wonka’s house. I could write on and on with how I feel about most of that, but I’m sure I’m guilty as well when it wasn’t me and I’d prefer not to feel guilty tonight 😉 Instead, I’m going to write about one specific question (well, two really) that I feel I need to explain better to the rest of society so they don’t see the need to ask anymore.

“Who’s walking you down the aisle?”

“Who’s giving you away?”

Ya see, this all stems off of another weird life changing event: losing a parent when you’re quite young. It’s funny how funny society begins to act then. (But that’s a whole different post, chapter, book for that matter, for a different day.) As most of you know, or maybe those of you around that world that sometimes visit my blog from time to time may not know, my father passed away August 29, 2009. Like many girls in this world, I was the poster child for “Daddy’s Girl”. So much so that I need to pause for a moment as I type because even typing that makes it hard for my wet eyes to see the screen.

Ok, I’m back.

I was a daddy’s girl…still am to be honest. But I also wasn’t a typical girl in the stereotypical way young girls are so often viewed. I didn’t love dolls, I hated the color pink, I wanted to be in Umbros and Sambas (look them up if you don’t know) playing with boys on the playground. I didn’t like to be called Laura because it reminded me of ballerinas not soccer players. I don’t know why, don’t ask, just did. I was always boy crazy but they never really had interest in me so I didn’t ever think of getting married. I didn’t spend my whole life thinking about it, what my dress would look like, the colors, etc. Honestly, the only thing I thought about was walking down the aisle arm in arm with my dad, seeing my mom in the front row with alligator tears in her eyes and a big smile on her face and then what my dad and I would dance our father/daughter dance too. That was IT! Truly! Those are the only few things I knew for sure would happen one day if I ever got married: I would walk down an aisle with my dad, my mom would sob and be so happy, seeing her would make me cry harder, and eventually my dad and I would dance to “You look wonderful tonight”.

Then he died.

I remember my mom telling me to “have faith” and that “miracles happen” when he was sick. It’s one of the many reasons I love her so much. She truly believes that. I almost envy her for it. But I also remember my response as I was heading from their garage into the house, “Don’t tell me that! I haven’t walked down an aisle yet!” That’s the one thing I saw blurring away into the distance when I knew he was going to die. Those memories of those moments together would never become a reality and it was crushing. After he passed away every time I have seen a friend walk down an aisle with their father or have their dance together I have done EVERYTHING in my power not to make it about me. If any of you are reading this please know that I tried not to cry, I tried not to think about it, it just happened. But please also know I have always been SO HAPPY for you in those moments and have loved getting to experience them with you. TRULY!

Then I went through some years of accepting I wasn’t ever going to get married. I had dated a lot of men and none of them were right. They weren’t (all) bad guys, they just weren’t for me for forever. So I didn’t really think about getting married anymore. From time to time when I was down and missing my dad I would get upset realizing that the main reason I was sad I would never get married was because I wouldn’t have those moments with him, my dad, one of my best friends.

And then I met Boyd. Shit! Well, two weeks into knowing him I told many of you that he was the man I was going to marry. Many laughed because I am not one to say that lightly, or to say it that soon, but I knew it. So two plus years go by and we get engaged. Wow, I’m actually going to get married, have a wedding…and my dad isn’t going to be there. (Sorry, trying not to drag this out, just give context.)

Since we got engaged many people have asked if my mom is going to walk me down the aisle and give me away. Many have asked if my brother is going to. Many have offered to. And my answer to all of these questions or offers has been, “No. No thank you. No one.” This isn’t personal. This doesn’t mean I don’t ADORE my mother, love my brother, or that I don’t realize how incredibly kind of an offer it is for men that have known me for most of my life to step in because they love me and loved my dad. Let me start with this: NO ONE is giving ANYONE away on 10/27/17! I will be a 35-year-old woman that has been on her own making a life for myself for close to 15 years. I make my own decisions and no one owns me. No one needs to give me to anyone lol I laugh because I’m not even giving myself to Boyd. I’m becoming Boyd’s partner. I am not his, he is not mine, we will still be two individuals living life side-by-side. Now please don’t get me wrong, I understand what the words “Who is giving her away?” mean and I know they aren’t necessarily meant to be taken so literally these days. But I also know I’m getting married a little older in life than many.

Now that that is off of my chest, let me say this. My mother and father did an AMAZING job of raising me, if I can say so myself, and I am honored to be their daughter. Each of them played an equal role in my development and growth and gave me more love than many will have in a lifetime. For that I am incredibly grateful. But, traditionally, it is a father that walks his daughter down an aisle, and that is the image I always had. My father and I were very open about the men I dated, he guided me through more than one break-up, gave me advice, and always knew when a man wasn’t right for me. He treated me with love and respect. He was always kind and understanding. He always knew what was best for me and helped me to learn that on my own but then was always there with me when I had to understand why. So much so that to this day I know EXACTLY what he would say to me when I am battling a decision or judging one’s character. I wish more than anything he was here to talk these things through with me but, he’s not, and that’s okay, because I knew him so well and he taught me so well that I don’t have to question what the right decision is. And when I make these decisions I know he still has my back. Why? Because he always told me, and wrote it in most cards to me, “I’m still along for the ride.” He was always on this ride called life with me. This is why when people ask me who is walking me down the aisle I say, “My dad,” because he is and he already has. He walked me through the aisles of life to get me to this point of being able to do it alone and he is always with me. 

He would have known from the first time he met Boyd that he was the one for me, that he was a wonderful man that would treat me with the same love and respect that he did. And my dad will be with me that Friday evening at sunset when I walk down the aisle, solo, as an independent woman that has chosen to spend the rest of her life with a wonderful, independent, beautiful soul that he would have adored and respected and would have been honored to call his son-in-law.

My mom will be EXACTLY where I want her and always pictured her to be: in the front row, looking at me with a big smile and huge tears in her eyes, and the last slice of love I will need before I get to Boyd and make one of the biggest commitments of my life: becoming Mrs. Lauren LaViola (because who changes a name like that?!) ❤

If I could get another chance
Another walk
Another dance with him
I’d play a song that would never ever end
How I’d love love love
To dance with my father again

2/18/17 – It’s okay not to be okay


“It’s okay not to be okay…” – from ‘Who You Are’ by Jessie J

From the moment I heard this song by Jessie J years ago I fell in love with it. It was this one line that instantly made me feel better. Why write about this now? Well, let me explain…

As many of you probably know, in 1998, as a sophomore in high school, I tore my ACL in my right knee. So began a close to 19-year battle with my right knee (whom I recently named “America”, because just when I thought she was doing alright, she is actually broken again and needs to be fixed.) Being a young female athlete this wasn’t really that uncommon. I had the reconstructive surgery using a piece of my own patella tendon, did some PT, and went back to sports. Only to find myself in the operating room again a year later with a torn meniscus. At that point in high school, I had accepted that any dream of being an athlete was pretty much over.

From there I went through college, Spain, and grad school always having to be careful with my knee, unable to do the things I loved. I battled excesssive weight gain and loss and pushed myself through the work outs I could do until I couldn’t take the pain any longer. My knee hurt me every day since I hurt it at age 15. In 2013 I pushed through three day a week boot camps to drop as much weight as possible because I knew my knee wasn’t right and that I must need another surgery. Knowing that meant that I knew I would be on the couch for 6-8 weeks with no way to burn an extra calorie and that I wouldn’t be back to any substantial workouts for 6-9 months. I had to get as fit as I could before that time.

I was right, another ACL reconstruction. Then, just a year later in 2014, dejavu, I was back in again for the meniscus. Something about the two ACL reconstructions was causing the miniscus to tear and also to keep me unstable. I just figured this was life now.

Jump forward to two weeks ago. My knee gave out for probably the 100th time and I fell, but this time on stairs. Normally when I have fallen I get my bearings and get back up. I’m in pain but I move forward. This time I really hurt myself and it required some X-rays. In the X-rays my new Orthopedic Surgeon saw something that shocked him. The holes in my tibia and femur where my ACL was screwed in were three times the size they should have been and not even in the correct place or direction.

Although that sounded bad I agreed to two more surgeries and jumped right in because, well, why the hell not at this point. The only thing is that I didn’t realize how complicated this first one was going to be. I thought I would be able to move around after a week and wait it out until the big one this Fall. Ya see, that’s why many of you haven’t heard from me yet, it isn’t that simple.

As my PA put it, my knee issues are abstract in the orthopedic world. This is very complicated and they have only done 3 other sets of surgeries like this in their practice’s history. Why? Because it’s rare they are needed since these surgeries are to fix other surgeries that were most likely done wrong. Can I walk this week? No! I can’t put weight on my leg completely, drive a car, or release myself from this straight brace for 5 more weeks. I was crushed!

Look, I know people have it worse than me, I get that, but this is me and this is MY struggle and I’m exhausted. Why do we always have to tell people that “it’s going to be okay”? Or tell them how to feel and point out all of the positives immediately after they get bad news or something bad happens? Stop it! Guess what? It’s okay not to be okay! It really is. For a couple of days I want to process this. This is going to effect my every day life more than it already would have pretty significantly for the next close to two months. It’s going to hinder work, my social life, travel plans, my relationships, my weight, my activity, etc. Let me be upset for a damn minute. You wanna know what else? I’m getting married in 8 months. This year was supposed to be cheesy romantic and super fun celebrating US, not focusing on my damn knee again. I’m supposed to fit in a dress that now isn’t going to fit me. I already don’t have a father here to walk me down the aisle or have a dance with and now I’m nervous that I won’t even be able to walk or DANCE! No dancing at my own wedding? If you know me at all you know how sad that makes me. So, please, don’t throw your Patty Positive in my face just yet. I’m not amused by any of this. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty damn sad.

Watch out, everyone, today on social media I’m not showing the picture perfect side of my life, today it’s real and I’m sad and angry and frustrated and a little depressed. It’s been a long 18 plus years and I’m tired. I’m tired of not playing the sports I want or not being able to go on the hike I want or not be able to exercise how I want to. I’m tired of being in pain when it rains or from walking the dog. I’m tired of hating myself for my size and my weight because I can’t be active like I used to be. For that, I’m not okay.

I will feel better and I will see all the bright sides of this. I already do. But for crying out loud I bet you’d be pretty pissed off and tired too. So please excuse me while I bitch, pout, cry, and feel sorry for myself for a moment. Thank you!

End pity party! 

That all being said…Thanks for all of the support and love. Catch me in a week when I’m shooting balloons and teddy bears out of my ass again and hate myself for throwing a pity party because I support kids for a living that fight battles a million times the size of mine. I know, you don’t have to tell me, I’m aware. 😉