Monday, May 28, 2012

In Memory of those who have Served

On this Memorial Day, I challenge you to honor the memory of those who have secured your freedom. My challenge is simple, be tolerant of those around but stand up to oppression. Follow in the footsteps of those who have fallen and make sure that every person every where can stand free.
Let Freedom Ring Around The World!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Duty - Service - Honor

Duty, then is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more; you should never wish to do less.
Robert E. Lee

This last week, I was IMing a co-worker after I got my tooth extracted.  I mentioned to him that I had an obligation that night that I was going to do even though I was recovering from the extraction.

Here's the conversation:
Me:    now for the pain meds.
Him:    yeah... for me personally I skipped the vikodin and stuck with advil... the previous didn't really seem to help and ended up making me feel loopy. just take it easy and give yourself a much needed rest
Me:    yeah.  me? take it easy?
Him:    lol i know... that's why I said it ;) mr I'm going to volunteer for everything ;)
Me:    somebody's gotta do it.
Him:    this is so very true... not enough do.... but it doesn't mean you can't take a day off
Me:    that's what this weekend's for

And that's what I've been doing this weekend...relaxing.

However, I want to talk about volunteering for a moment.

It used to be said that it takes a community to build a man.  Of course, the PC amongst us will say that it takes a community to build a person. :-)

In this day an age, it seems that too many people have the attitude of "I'm too busy to help out, somebody else will take care of it."

We're reaching the point where the following story is too true:

This is a little story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.

Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.

Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody's job.

Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it.

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done

We can not stand idly back and assume that somebody else will take responsibility for raising up the next generation.

So that's why I'm as busy as I am.  I've decided that I will be "Somebody".  I will make an effort and stand for something and hold up those around me to a reasonable standard called honor and integrity.

As such, here is my obligations (no particular order):
  • Family
  • Work
  • Church
    • LDS Home Teaching
    • LDS Stake Young Men's Scouting Specialist
  • Scouting
    • Assistant Scout Master, Troop 371
    • District Unit Commissioner, Pack / Troop / Crew 371
    • District Advancement Committee Member
    • District Program Team Leader
    • Council Activities Committee Member
I've seen some youth chafe and being held to a standard of any sort.  I just hope that my holding them to the same standards I feel I was held to ends up helping them.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Survived another year

And yes, I do literally mean survived another year.

Just this last week I went into the hospital for chest pain that didn't want to go away.

After spending the night and being stress tested, all they could conclusively prove is that my pulse is high and I'm out of shape.

They theorize that I had a partial blockage, less than 50%, that cleared itself.

I'm going to start walking at lunch, rain or shine. Heck, I'm a Scout, so why should rain & snow bother me?

Along that thought, I finally invested in a custom plate for the truck.

For those who have trouble decoding it: Eagle Scout, Troop 405

Friday, February 03, 2012

Knees

Didn't realize how long it has been since I posted here. The day before Thanksgiving I sprained my foot and was put in an Aircast walking boot. That thing was uncomfortable and cause me to walk a little weird. It caused my right knee to get aggravated and thus increasing the pain. My ankle/foot is slowly getting better. Currently it is in a thinner brace and recently started physical therapy.

I was finally able to get into see my orthopedic surgeon yesterday about my right knee. Mike and I talked to the surgeon about possible surgery. My doctor would like to put off surgery for as many years as possible. He said my situation is tricky. The arthritis is primarily in my knee caps and doing a total knee replacement on either knee will not necessarily help the pain at all. It is kinda a let down and depressing to hear that. I was able to get a prescription for a little stronger pain med and also got a cortisone shot in my right knee. The numbing medication in the shot helped right away, but of course has worn off....just waiting for the cortisone to kick in. Hopefully this will help for a few weeks.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Knee Surgery

In 2008, I had a partial knee replacement on my left knee. It has been hurting a lot the past few months & just getting worse. I saw my orthopedic surgeon (OS) on Friday. After he did a LOT of poking & prodding....it has been decided that I need surgery on it again. This will be my 8th surgery on this knee. It is to only be a scope, he thinks the meniscus repaired & possible scar tissue repaired. It will be scheduled as soon as my OS's office gets all the clearance reports (lab work, chest x-rays & okay from my general physician). I will see my physician this coming Thursday. Hoping my surgery will be in the next month. I am looking forward to surgery, SO looking forward to it!

-Lovice

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Just been thinking

First off, I want y'all to know that I am not writing this to complain or say "woe is me". I just have this strong feeling that I need to share.

I was recently thinking about the last couple years. I have dealt w/ depression for the past 10yrs. I am one of many that has to be on medication to help keep my serotonin at a normal level (aka helping me to keep the depression at a level able to deal with). With all the surgeries & pain I have had, it just made it more & more difficult to handle. Part of it being that I have been stuck inside WAY to LONG. I have not been able to be active, because it would cause tremendous pain & would take 2-3 days to recover from. Mike has been a loving & supportive husband, doing everything he could to help pull me out. Some days all he could do was let me cry on his shoulder for hours. Over the past 2 years, I have more instances of the deeper depression. Meaning I would cry most of the day, not do anything & even have a difficult time forcing myself to get out of bed. Lately things have been getting better.

I love my two babies (Andre & Sprinkles) so much, but Sprinkles really was what I needed. My depression was getting worse...just in a DOWNWARD spiral. When we first adopted our cat Andre, he helped some with my depression, not much though. When we got Sprinkles, it just changed things. Her spunky, pistol attitude rubbed off. Mike & my parents have even noticed the change in my mood. I feel more control over the depression, instead of the reverse. It is nice to feel like I am getting more & more control over my life. I am incredibly thankful that the Lord lead my mom to pick Sprinkles from that litter of kittens being given away outside of Walmart. I am thankful that my mom followed those promptings. Not only has Sprinkles helped me, but she has also helped Andre. His is slowly adapting to his new home here & he began progressing faster after she joined our family.

I want to thank all of my family & friends for their support through all I have dealt with & I know they will be there for the things that are still coming. THANKS AGAIN & I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!!! <3 <3

Lovice :-)

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Quick update

Things are going good. We got a new little girl. Her name is Sprinkles. Andre just loves her, they are best buds!



Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The Pledge

I have a personal pet peeve with the reciting of The Pledge of Allegiance.

Why is it that people seem to insist on putting a pause between the two phrases "one nation" and "under god"?

The actual text reads "one nation under god," with no punctuation in the middle. No excuse to stop.

As a unit commissioner, I've attended two pack meetings in the last week where I've had to have the boys pull out their scout handbook and reread the text.

The only way to correct this atrocious habit that society teaches is to point out to people their mistake when they make it.

Please don't let me catch you making this mistake.

- Mike

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sick

I had my surgery about 2.5 weeks ago, to put a permanent stimulator in my back. Getting great results for the nerve pain due to the CRPS....around 90%-95%! This past Wednesday I was at the doctor for my monthly blood tests for iron & vitamin D....ended up being diagnosed with pneumonia :-( . Now just trying to rest & get better.

This weekend Mike is out camping for some training for the Boy Scouts. He is having the joy of sleeping in a tent & it has rained most of the weekend. Plus it is just barely above freezing right now. Hoping he has a good time, but doesn't get sick.

Other then sick...things are going well.

Lovice :*)

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Quick pic of our new Kitty

This is Andre...the most recent addition to our family. He is slowly getting use to us. Very nice boy & so beautiful. His eyes are a shade of orange, similar to his coat.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Birthdays & Pain

This month Mike & I both had a birthday….getting yet again, another year older. The first of the month I turned 32, catching up to Mike for a couple of weeks. Mike has been wanting to take me to a Japanese steakhouse for awhile. There is one in Brighton, the next city to the East, but time & finances never would be in sync. This year they finally were. For my birthday he took me to Sagano’s Japanese Steakhouse. Mike had told me about the cooking style, but it was different to see it in person! It was awesome being able to watch & interact with the chef while he was making our meals. The show was impressive, but the food was AWESOME! We both had a combination meal of grilled shrimp & filet mignon. There was SO much food that I took more then half of mine home. I am normally like that though with restaurant meals, just get full easily. I enjoyed my left overs the next day, as well as my dad did too…..LOL.

We weren’t too sure what to do for Mike’s birthday a couple of weeks later. My birthday dinner kinda dented our budget for eating out. Everything ended up working out great. My wonderful in-laws, Brenda & Clark, gave me a gift card to Olive Garden! Only one of my top favorite restaurants. Mike & I decided to use that as his birthday meal. It was so nice to have a couple of date nights. We don’t get out much, even though we try. Mostly ends up being my fault, due to my leg pain. Just the movement of the car on the road aggravates my leg pain, of course increasing the pain & making me miserable company. So, we both began another year of life…which is always a good thing!

I have such a sweet husband. He knows I love to read, but books get kind of cumbersome. Especially when I have surgeries & doctors appointments. So, for Valentine’s Day Mike surprised me with an Amazon Kindle. I have only had it for a couple of weeks, but I love the thing! It is very easy to use & I would recommend it to anyone who loves to read. I just finished reading my first full book on it….the new adaptation of “Red Riding Hood”. It is based on the movie coming out in March. I loved the book, so really looking forward to seeing the movie.

The Kindle came in handy the past week. On Friday, the 18th, I was finally able to have the trial of the Spinal Cord Stimulator. dph_Product Shot_largeThe picture shows the product that I will be implanted with. For my trial the leads were inserted in my spine, with the wires connecting to the battery pack outside my body. Then I had the remote to control the intensity of the electric current. Before getting the trial, I was nervous, scared & excited…all at the same time. I knew this was going to work & be the answer. The nervousness & fear came from the unknown, not knowing exactly what was to happen. I am SO glad I decided to allow the trial. My doctor & physical therapist were hoping for a 50% reduction in my pain…heck I would have been thrilled with that. The pain reduction was closer to 85-90%! It was such an amazing feeling, to have hardly any leg pain! I had forgotten what it was like to not have that pain, so when I had that reduction in pain….I was unsure of what to do & how to act. I couldn’t do much due to the restrictions because of the device. I wasn’t able to bend or twist at the waist for the duration of the trial, because there was a chance that movement could move the leads.

One activity really showed how well the stimulator worked. When we go to the grocery store, I normally ride in one of the electric carts because the walking (on average 30-40 minutes) would put me in horrendous pain. While I had the trial, we made one of our trips. I chose to walk…knowing this would be a test of how the stimulator really worked in a normal & regular activity. This trip was so different for the past 2 years. After walking the store for 30 or so minutes, I had more back pain from the surgery site then I did leg pain. My leg pain was hardly there. It was an amazing feeling to finally not feel much of anything. Well, I had a tingling feeling that replaces the pain signal.

After 1 week I had to get the trial stimulator removed. There are various reasons why it can’t be left in place. Partly due to risk of infection, since it gave a straight shot to my spinal column. I knew I would have the device removed, I thought I was ready for it. I wasn’t ready for it…not even close. I had forgot what it felt like to have minimal pain, so it was so hard having the relief taken away & the pain given back. The past 2 days I have been in a depressed mood, because of the pain being back. But I know that I will get the permanent device. It is just a matter of time. Monday I have to call the neurosurgeon to start the process. I have to keep reminding myself that I can make it through the remaining time of pain. I have a great support system. Mike is such an amazing husband, he is my rock so much of the time. I am so blessed to have him…it takes a special man to be able to handle all that I go through. When I am in such bad pain…I tend to get a really bad attitude. I don’t mean to & don’t realize my tone until after the words have left my mouth. I apologize as soon as I realize how I said something…Mike always tells me not to worry about it, that he knows it is the pain talking & not me. I love him so much. One day I will be able to return that favor. I also have great support from my parents, in-laws & friends. The Lord is always with me, helping me through. I know the end of this pain is in sight.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Info on CPRS/RSD

I thought this was very relevant. It explains what CPRS/RSD is & how it can effect someone.

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Found at: http://www.rsdfoundation.org/

“REFLEX SYMPATHETIC DYSTROPHY SYNDROME
(RSD / CRPS)

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSD) is also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). RSD / CRPS is a multi-symptom, multi-system, syndrome usually affecting one or more extremities, but may affect virtually any part of the body. Although it was clearly described 125 years ago by Drs. Mitchell, Moorehouse and Keen, RSD / CRPS remains poorly understood and may go unrecognized.
The best way to describe RSD / CRPS is in terms of an injury to a nerve or soft tissue (e.g. broken bone) that does not follow the normal healing path. The development of RSD / CRPS does not appear to depend on the magnitude of the injury. In fact, the injury may be so slight that the patient may not recall ever having received an injury. For reasons we do not understand, the sympathetic nervous system seems to assume an abnormal function after an injury. There is no single laboratory test to diagnose RSD / CRPS. Therefore, the physician must assess and document both subjective complaints (medical history) and, if present, objective findings (physical examination), in order to support the diagnosis. There is a natural tendency to rush to the diagnosis of RSD / CRPS with minimal objective findings because early diagnosis is critical. If undiagnosed and untreated, RSD / CRPS can spread to all extremities, making the rehabilitation process a much more difficult one. If diagnosed early, physicians can use mobilization of the affected extremity (physical therapy) and sympathetic nerve blocks to cure or mitigate the disease. If untreated, RSD / CRPS can become extremely expensive due to permanent deformities and chronic pain. There are no studies showing that RSD / CRPS affects the patient's life span. The potential exists for long-term financial consequences. At an advanced state of the illness, patients may have significant psychosocial and psychiatric problems, they may have dependency on narcotics and may be completely incapacitated by the disease. The treatment of patients with advanced RSD is a challenging and time-consuming task.

Diagnosis
If one can demonstrate major nerve damage associated with the development of RSD / CRPS symptoms, the condition is called complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) type II or causalgia. Generally, causalgia provides more objective evidence of disease due to neurological changes (numbness and weakness).
The terms complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) type I and type II have been used since 1995, when the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) felt the respective names reflex sympathetic dystrophy and causalgia were inadequate to represent the full spectrum of signs and symptoms. 1-8 The term "Complex" was added to convey the reality that RSD and causalgia express varied signs and symptoms. Many publications, particularly older ones, still use the names RSD and causalgia. To facilitate communication and understanding the designation RSD / CRPS is generally used throughout these practice guidelines. The principles applicable to the diagnosis and management of RSD are similar to those principles applicable to the diagnosis and management of causalgia.
To make the early diagnosis of RSD / CRPS, the practitioner must recognize that some features/manifestations of RSD / CRPS are more characteristic of the syndrome than others, and that the clinical diagnosis is established by piecing each bit of the puzzle together until a clear picture of the disorder emerges. Often the physician needs to rule out other potentially life-threatening disorders that may have clinical features similar to RSD / CRPS, e.g. a blood clot in a leg vein or a breast tumor spreading to lymph glands can cause a swollen, painful extremity. Indeed, RSD / CRPS may be a component part of another disease, (e.g. a herniated disc of the spine, carpal tunnel syndrome of the hand, heart attack). Thus, treating RSD / CRPS will often be directed to treating clinical features rather than a well defined disease. When RSD / CRPS spreads the diagnosis can be more complicated. For example, if it spreads to the opposite limb, it may be more difficult to establish a diagnosis because there is no normal side (control) to compare for objective findings. On the other hand, the spreading of RSD / CRPS symptoms may actually facilitate the diagnosis of RSD / CRPS because spreading symptoms is a characteristic of the disorder.

Clinical Features of RSD / CRPS

  1. Pain - The hallmark of RSD / CRPS is pain and mobility problems out of proportion to those expected from the initial injury. The first and primary complaint occurring in one or more extremities is described as severe, constant, burning and/or deep aching pain. All tactile stimulation of the skin (e.g. wearing clothing, a light breeze) may be perceived as painful. Repetitive tactile stimulation (e.g. tapping on the skin) may cause increasing pain with each tap and when the repetitive stimulation stops, there may be a prolonged after-sensation of pain. There may be diffuse tenderness or point-tender spots in the muscles of the affected region due to small muscle spasms called muscle trigger points. There may be spontaneous sharp jabs of pain in the affected region that seem to come from nowhere.
  2. Skin changes - skin may appear shiny (dystrophy-atrophy), dry or scaly. Hair may initially grow coarse and then thin. Nails in the affected extremity may be more brittle, grow faster and then slower. Faster growing nails is almost proof that the patient has RSD / CRPS. RSD / CRPS is associated with a variety of skin disorders including rashes, ulcers and pustules. Although extremely rare, some patients have required amputation of an extremity due to life-threatening reoccurring infections of the skin. Abnormal sympathetic activity may be associated with skin that is either warm or cold to touch. The patient may perceive sensations of warmth or coolness in the affected limb without even touching it. The skin may show increased sweating or increased chilling of the skin with goose flesh. Changes in skin color can range from a white mottled appearance to a red or blue appearance. Changes in skin color (and pain) can be triggered by changes in the room temperature, especially cold environments. However, many of these changes occur without any apparent provocation. Patients describe their disease as though it had a mind of its own.
  3. Swelling - pitting or hard (brawny) edema is usually diffuse and localized to the painful and tender region. If the edema is sharply demarcated on the surface of the skin along a line, it is almost proof that the patient has RSD / CRPS. However, some patients will show a sharply demarcated edema because they tie a band around the extremity for comfort. Therefore, one has to be certain that the sharply demarcated edema is not due to a previously wrapped bandage around the extremity.
  4. Movement Disorder - Patients with RSD / CRPS have difficulty moving because they hurt when they move. In addition, there seems to be a direct inhibitory effect of RSD / CRPS on muscle contraction. Patients describe difficulty in initiating movement, as though they have "stiff" joints. This phenomena of stiffness is most noticeable to some patients after a sympathetic nerve block when the stiffness may disappear. Decreased mobilization of extremities can lead to wasting of muscles (disuse atrophy). Some patients have little pain due to RSD / CRPS but instead they have a great deal of stiffness and difficulty initiating movement. Tremors and involuntary severe jerking of extremities may be present. Psychological stress may exacerbate these symptoms. Sudden onset of muscle cramps (spasms) can be severe and completely incapacitating. Some patients describe a slow "drawing up of muscles" in the extremity due to increased muscle tone leaving the hand-fingers or foot-toes in a fixed position. This muscle disorder is called dystonia and it can be extremely disabling.
  5. Spreading Symptoms - Initially, RSD / CRPS symptoms are generally localized to the site of injury. As time progresses, the pain and symptoms tend to become more diffuse. Typically, the disorder starts in an extremity. However, the pain may occur in the trunk or side of the face. On the other hand, the disorder may start in the distal extremity and spread to the trunk and face. At this stage of the disorder, an entire quadrant of the body may be involved. Maleki et. al. recently described three patterns of spreading symptoms in RSD / CRPS:
    1. A "continuity type" of spread where the symptoms spread upward from the initial site, e.g. from the hand to the shoulder.
    2. A "mirror-image type" where the spread was to the opposite limb.
    3. An "independent type" where symptoms spread to a separate, distant region of the body. This type of spread may be spontaneous or related to a second trauma.
  6. Bone changes - X-rays may show wasting of bone (patchy osteoporosis) or a bone scan may show increased or decreased uptake of a certain radioactive substance (technecium 99m) in bones after intravenous injection.
  7. Duration of RSD / CRPS - The duration of RSD / CRPS varies, in mild cases it may last for weeks followed by remission; in many cases the pain continues for years and in some cases, indefinitely. Some patients experience periods of remission and exacerbation. Periods of remission may last for weeks, months, or years.

----------------------------------------------------------------

I have CPRS type 1. My orthopedic surgeon thought I had CPRS very early on. I had some of the tell tale signs of it, change in temp of my leg, change in hair growth, a reddening on the leg & swelling. It took awhile to find the right doctor who could verify it was. I like the last sentence above “Patients describe their disease as though it had a mind of it’s own.” I feel this is so true. The disease doesn’t have one way it works, I never know when or where or how it might get aggravated & increase the pain. The reason that the sympathetic nerves blocks didn’t work well for me, is that my CPRS was not caught early enough. It had too much time to advance & has began to spread to my other leg. But I have full faith & trust in Heavenly Father that this spinal cord stimulator will work.

Well....

I know that I am not the best at given updates, but thought it was time.

Mike recently had his work contract extended by 22 days, which is awesome! We are so trilled, it may be just 22 days, but that is 2 pay checks. Last week I guess I came down with some kinda of stomach bug. I spent last Thursday with my head over the trash can most of the day. Feels nice to finally be able to eat food again without it making me nauseous.

I have some great news! I got the call yesterday to schedule my spinal cord stimulator trial! It is set for February 18th!! I am so happy & relieved, but also nervous. Nervous because it is surgery. But if it works they way we are hoping, it could completely change my life! I am not expecting it to take the pain away completely, but even for it to take a percentage away would be wonderful. This is the latest news.....
Lovice

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Helpful Info

I found this information about the spinal cord stimulator trial. Thought some of you might be interested in what is entailed.

 

Home Care after Spinal Cord Stimulator Trial

The spinal cord stimulator trial is used to find out if this treatment will reduce your pain.  You will go home with your trial leads in place.  The trial most often lasts one week.

Your feedback during the trial is vital to your doctors.

  • See the physical therapist during the trial to find out if your function is improved with the treatment.
  • Fill out the Pain Log for the length of the trial.
  • Reduce and keep track of your pain medicines as instructed by your doctor.
  • Learn what settings of spinal cord stimulation work for you as you adjust the controller in response to your activities, body positions, and changes in pain.

You may have pain in your back where the leads exit.  It is okay to use Tylenol® or ice to ease this pain.  Avoid aspirin which increases bleeding.  You will need to carefully watch your symptoms to decide what pain is caused by inserting the spinal cord stimulator and what pain is your normal, chronic pain.

You will need to restrict your activities during the trial period.  This is so the leads in your back don’t move.  If the leads move too much, you can lose stimulation.

  • Do not drive.  Limit riding in the car to those trips that are absolutely necessary.
  • Do not raise your arms above your head.
  • Do not twist, bend, or stretch your body at the waist.  When rolling over, keep your body straight.  Sitting in a chair is fine as long as you are careful.
  • Do not make any sudden movements.
  • Do not lift items weighing more than 5 pounds.
  • Do not strain when moving your bowels.  Take laxatives if needed.

You will have an incision in your back where the spinal cord stimulator leads exit.  This will be covered by a bandage.  You will need to take very good care of the site to avoid complications like infection or bleeding.

  • Keep the area covered for the entire trial with the original bandage.  If the bandage becomes soiled, dislodged, or wet you will need to call the Interventional Pain team.
  • You may not shower, soak in the tub, or go swimming for the time of the trial.  You are encouraged to keep yourself clean with sponge baths.
  • You will need to watch the site to make sure everything is healing well.  Look at the site daily.  Do not remove the bandage.  Call the Interventional Pain team if you have
    • Pus-like drainage.
    • Fever (oral temperature greater than 100.4° F or 38.0° C for two readings taken 4 hours apart).
    • Site is red or warm to touch.
    • Excess swelling, bruising, or bleeding.
    • Pain you cannot control.

You will need to return in one week to discuss the results of your trial.  Your trial spinal cord stimulator leads will be removed at this visit.  If you lose stimulation at any time during the trial call the clinic.

 

*Lovice*

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sacrament talk on Honesty

First off, I would like to give thanks & credit to my husband Mike for his help on this talk. The last couple of weeks have really been bad for me in the pain department. I thank you so much for your help & Heavenly Father’s help. I was asked to speak today about honesty. At first I didn’t know where exactly to start. I first asked myself, what is honesty? In your generic dictionary, honesty is defined as uprightness, fairness, truthfulness, sincerity & freedom from deceit or fraud. It is hard to stay on the topic of honesty, because it is so closely linked to trust & integrity.

In a 2001 issue of the Friend, Pres. James E. Faust said “We all need to know what it means to be honest. Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving. John, a nine-year-old Swiss pioneer child who was in one of the handcart companies, is an example of honesty. His father put a chunk of buffalo meat in the handcart and said it was to be saved for Sunday dinner. John said, “I was so very hungry and the meat smelled so good to me while pushing at the handcart that I could not resist. I had a little pocket knife. … Although I expected a severe whipping when father found it out, I cut off little pieces each day. I would chew them so long that they got white and perfectly tasteless. When father came to get the meat he asked me if I had been cutting off some of it. I said ‘Yes. I was so hungry I could not let it alone.’ Instead of giving me a scolding or whipping, father turned away and wiped tears from his eyes.” …

Honesty is a moral compass to guide us in our lives.

To know what honesty is, you must also know what dishonesty is. In 2nd Nephi chapter 2 we learn that the only way to know good is to also know evil. Some people believe that the little dishonesties don’t matter. But is there really a difference between when a cashier accidentally gives you $20 in extra change or just 10 cents? Both are technically stealing from that company. Some of the more common forms of dishonesty are Stealing, cheating, Violations of Word of Wisdom standards, & violating traffic laws. It might be easy to reason your actions & justify mild dishonesty.

One example is, When you’re driving down the highway & you see that the speed limit is 70mph, do you move over to the right hand lane & do the speed limit or since everyone else is going 10-15 miles over the speed limit, it is no big deal if you do. I will admit that I do tend to speed on the highway. I used to go about 10 miles over, but since I married my husband, he has helped me get down to only 5 miles or less over. I know I am still breaking the law, but I am working on it.

Another example, You had a scout or young women activity that ran long & you went straight to bed so you could get up early for seminary in the morning. But when you get to your first class you realize that you forgot to study for a test in your next class. Do you just try your best & take whatever grade you earn or do you think to yourself…..oh it won’t hurt if I cheat just this once.

My last example, which has become much to common lately, You’re waiting with your friends for the bus to go home. They start bullying someone you vaguely know. Do you A. do nothing B. join in or C. stand up & try to get your friends to back off. I’m not going to go into this one further at this time, but we have been taught through the scriptures that C is the best option. I wish more people had chosen the third option when I was growing up. From personal experience, being bullied does have lasting effects.

In these last 3 examples doing them once might not hurt anything or anyone. Once is sometimes all it takes. Speeding can easily cause a car accident. If you get away with cheating once, you might think that it was easy so why not do it again. Staying quiet or joining in on bullying may be easy or make you feel like part of the group, but it can have lasting consequences. If we continue to do these little dishonest acts, they begin to add up & can allow Satan to have a tighter grasp, pulling us in the wrong direction.

President Howard W. Hunter told this story in a 1978 New Era “I recall a young man who was in our stake when I served as a stake president. He traveled around with a crowd that thought it was smart to do things that were not right. On a few occasions he was caught in some minor violations. One day I got a call from the police station and was told he was being held because of a traffic violation. He had been caught speeding, as he had on a few other occasions prior to this time. Knowing the things he was doing might prevent him from going on a mission, he straightened up, and when he was 19 years of age, he received his call.

I shall never forget the talk we had when he returned. He told me that while he was in the mission field he had often thought of the trouble he had caused by the mistaken belief that the violation of little things was not important. But a great change had come into his life. He had come to the realization that there is no happiness or pleasure in violation of the law, whether it be God’s law or the laws that society imposes upon us. He said to me, “When I drive a car now and the speed limit is 55 miles an hour, I feel it is morally wrong to drive a single mile faster.”

So, if you are not being honest with yourself & others, are you really happy?

Later in his talk, President Hunter says, “Think of what an act of dishonesty will do to you. It does not make any difference whether it is great or small. First, it may affect your whole life. You will have a hard time living it down. It will be difficult for you to forget about it because it will be engraved upon your conscience. Secondly, it will affect others in many ways. The injury is far-reaching. Its malignancy extends to your friends, your relatives, your loved ones, and persons you may never see. Thirdly, it affects your relationship to the Savior. It closes the channel of communication and shuts out light from your life.”

Have you ever told someone a little white lie, just to make them feel better about themselves? Pretty easy to do isn’t it? We tell ourselves its okay, because it is helping that other person. Once it becomes easier & easier to tell the white lies, it isn’t a big leap to begin telling bigger lies. Soon you are telling a lie to cover up a lie to cover up another lie. Eventually you will forget what your first lie was even about. You can then find yourself stressing out over trying to keep your stories straight. An old proverb says, “oh the tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”

Pres. Hinckley in 1990 said ““Thou shalt not bear false witness.” At the core of this commandment is dishonesty again. Television carried the story of a woman imprisoned for twenty-seven years, she having been convicted on the testimony of witnesses who later came forth to confess that they had lied. I know that this is an extreme case, but are you not acquainted with instances of reputations damaged, of hearts broken, of careers destroyed by the lying tongues of those who have borne false witness?”

In 1984, Elder Marvin J. Ashton, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, told this story in the Liahona.

“I once spoke in a sacrament meeting that I will long remember. The conducting officer, a member of the bishopric who introduced me as the speaker that evening, gave an unusual, rather lengthy introduction that went something like this:

“Brothers and sisters, Elder Ashton will undoubtedly be disappointed when he hears what I am going to say about him and about myself. I heard him say to a group of prisoners once, ‘When you fellows leave this prison and go back into a regular environment, don’t apologize or boast about being ex-convicts. Just go on from where you are.’ Well, many of you in the congregation don’t know it, but I am an ex-convict of the Utah State Prison. About six years ago, when I met Elder Ashton, he was in charge of the Church prison program under the Social Services Department. A few weeks later when I became better acquainted with him, I told him I was a long-distance runner. I asked him if there was any chance for me to run in the annual Salt Lake City 24th of July marathon race. Elder Ashton encouraged me and said he would talk to the prison warden about my getting out for the day to participate in the race. He told me later that the warden agreed if Elder Ashton would take the responsibility for me. Elder Ashton assumed that responsibility and later told me he trusted me and expected me to do well in the contest.

“I’ll never forget that marathon race in July 1971. It was hot, the course was challenging, and I wasn’t in the best physical condition. My only preparation had been running around the prison grounds when I had free time. Halfway through the race I felt completely exhausted; my legs were sore, and blisters covered the bottoms of both my feet. I wanted to quit. I felt I couldn’t continue. Just as I was about to drop out, the thought flashed through my mind, ‘You can’t let Elder Ashton down. He’s counting on you.’ I made it into the final section of the marathon route, and I had the urge to stop. Again the thought came to me: ‘You can’t quit. You want Elder Ashton to be proud of you, don’t you?’

“Well, I finished the race. Not among the first 25, but I finished. I went right back to the prison after the race, according to my agreement. Elder Ashton told me he was proud of me for finishing the race and proud to have me for his friend. I don’t mind telling you that I was a little pleased with myself for one of the first times in my whole life.

“It wasn’t too long after the marathon race that I was released from prison. About a year later I met a lovely young lady; we had a good courtship, and some months after that Elder Ashton accompanied us to the temple and performed our marriage and sealed us for time and all eternity. Tonight, six years later, I am proud to be serving in your bishopric.”

While I pray that none of us are ever so dishonest in our actions that we end up in prison, Elder Ashton’s story demonstrates that personal honesty and integrity, along with some guidance from your Bishop, can help guide you back to the iron rod and the path towards redemption.

When you meet with the bishop for your temple recommend interview one of the questions he asks involves being honest in your dealings with those around you. How you answer this question can impact your worthiness to commune with the Lord in the temple. If you lie, the Lord will still know the truth.

If you are feeling like dishonesty has loosened your grasp on the iron rod, we are encouraged to seek out our bishop & repent of our actions. The Savior gave his life so we can all have the opportunity to repent so we can be worthy to commune & be with him.

Where can we learn about honesty? The schools should not be relied on to teach our children morals. As members of the church it is our God given duty to be righteous examples to the youth around us. Just being an example can go a long way. At a couple of jobs I have had, my fellow coworkers liked to use certain choice words. After a short period of time they noticed I didn’t use that language, so they would try to watch what they were saying around me. Occasionally they would slip, but would then immediately apologize to me. When a new employee would come in my co-workers would always let them know not to swear around me. I don’t know that this impacted my co-workers lives in any permanent way, but it made easier to be at work.

You never know who may be watching you, but being an example of righteous living can go a long way. You may never know the full impact it could have.

You shouldn’t live an honest life just to be an example to those around you. You should do so for yourself for more than your own peace of mind. Do it for your own salvation.


Lovice

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Our first professional family portrait shoot

As most of you know, Mike & I have a photography business called T.S. Photography. This past weekend, we had the opportunity to do a family shoot for my cousin Dawn Richardson, her fiancée PJ Young, & their two adorable little boys...Cole & David. Cole is 11 months old & David is only a couple weeks old. They are such a darling family & so cute together. We used the Howell park at Thompson Lake as our backdrop. Here are a couple of my favorite shots. While Mike was taking a few shots of just our lovely couple, I got to hold my two cute cousins!!


Me holding David & Cole.

PJ Young & Dawn Richardson

PJ holding David & Dawn holding Cole.


These were all taken October 16, 2010!

For your 4-1-1

For anyone who is curious about my decision to start down the route of getting a spinal cord stimulator (SCS). I have not come to this decision lightly or quickly. I have been doing research on Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) & it's possible treatments for the past year. I have seen one pain management doctor, Dr. Malinoff. He specializes in getting people off of narcotics. This is the same doctor who told me that the pain was in my imagination. He also told me that he would NEVER recommend any other treatment beyond the medication he was prescribing. I prayed & thought long'n hard about what to do. My answer was that I needed to find a second opinion. I had also talked to my orthopedic surgeon & he suggested that I find a second opinion as well. I searched quite a bit online & talked to others who also suffer with CRPS. I had Dr. Edward Washabaugh recommended to me. I didn't just go with him based on this recommendation. I also did research on him & prayed about whether or not he was the right doctor. I know he was the doctor I was suppose to find. Thus far I think he is a good doctor. The difference between the two chronic pain management doctors I have seen is that, Dr. Malinoff is a medication specialist....where as Dr. Washabaugh is an anesthesiologist.

The SCS is my last resort before having to more than likely get a morphine pump or be put on a bunch of narcotics...again. I don't want to go back on the narcotics for my pain. I absolutely hated being on them & hated how they made me feel. I have tried so much to help control the symptoms caused by the CRPS. The SCS is my next step. I have been in pain for over 2 years, I have to try the next step in line. Again, I am not taking this at all lightly. I know that this is the right decision for me. Once I made up my mind to start down this path, I felt at peace with it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Finally.....an update

I (Lovice) want to start by apologizing for not updating the blog more often. I think about it, but then slips my mind. At least I am finally getting to it! While I write this I am also watching the Rachel Ray talk show, she has Vanilla Ice on. He is singing is old hit "Ice Ice Baby". So funny, brings back some memories.

Of course I have been dealing with a lot of leg & knee pain. About a month & a half ago, I decided to find a new pain management doctor for my CPRS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome). My previous pain doctor told me that the pain in my left leg was all my imagination. As you can guess, that statement didn't sit well at all. I got a recommendation from another CPRS sufferer for Edward Wasabaugh from Michigan Pain Specialists. I made an appointment with Dr. Wasabaugh & they were a tad stunned by my previous doctor's comments. They were able to immediately schedule me for my first sympathetic nerve block, because I had already tried all the previous steps.

The week (August 19th) before my first nerve block, I woke up with horrible pain just above my stomach. I thought it was bad heartburn. I tried a few things & the pain didn't ease off at all. After having the pain for 4 hours, I had my dad take me to the emergency room. They immediately took blood & started an I.V. to give me pain medication. The blood work came back showing that my white blood count was high (which usually indicates an infection). The ER doctor checked me out & was fairly certain that it was my gall bladder. The called a surgeon & he had me admitted & scheduled me for surgery the next day. I was in the hospital for over 24 hours. They had to give me pain medication about every 3 hours up until surgery. The surgery went off without a hitch. Because of this I had to reschedule my nerve block for about a month. At my 2 week post-op appointment, I found out why my gall bladder was causing so much trouble. It had died & had started to develop gangrene. Thankfully the Lord was watching over me.

I finally got my first nerve block, which was done on the left side of my lower back. The block is a short of lidocaine & steroids. It did give me pain relief for about 27 or so hours. It was so nice having no left leg pain, even for such a short period of time. Two weeks later I had my second nerve block. Again the block only last a little over 24 hours. The hope was that each block would last longer and longer. This would be over a period of 5-6 shots, getting one every 1-2 weeks.

Today I went in to get my 3rd nerve block & didn't get it. Since there wasn't any improvement, Dr. Wasabaugh determined that the blocks were not enough. So the remaining nerve blocks have been canceled. Instead he has recommended a Spinal Cord Stimulator(SCS). This is a device the is permanently implanted in the lower back. It has tiny electrodes that are attached the the sympathetic nerves for both legs. The SCS allows an almost constant electrical stimulation to those nerves, stopping the signals being caused by the CPRS. This is one of the last things that can be done. I am more then willing to try this step. I have been dealing with the CPRS for over 2 years. In that time frame, the CPRS spread of just affecting my left knee, to also infecting my entire lower left leg.

There are a few steps before getting the permanent SCS implanted. My medical insurance requires that I see a chronic pain psychiatrist before they will pay for it. I have no problem with that. They will also do a trial SCS. This entails them doing surgery & attaching an electrode to the sympathetic nerve on each side. The electrodes will be attached to a battery pack outside my body by some wires. If it works like it is suppose it, then I will be scheduled for the permanent SCS. To check to see if the trial SCS improves my leg function, I have to be evaluated by a physical therapist before the trial SCS & during the trail period. If my function improves, then they know that the permanent SCS should work correctly. This is a lot of stuff, but I am excited to get this started. I know it is my chance to get this pain under control. I don't expect the pain to completely go away, but just want to be able to have a life. To be able to do normal everyday things.

After I get the SCS, then I get to have surgery on my right knee. I know, it never seems to end for me does it? Oh, well...have to take things as they come. I need a partial replacement on my right knee. This is the same surgery I had on my left knee. My right knee pain is getting worse & worse everyday. I have been scared to get this surgery because it is what caused the CPRS in my left leg. I am scared of it spreading, but if I have the SCS then it can be kept under control. Some of the pain in my right knee could actually be because of the CPRS. It might have already spread, but it is hard to tell since I have my knee cap rubbing on the femur (that is what is causing the damage.

All in all it is nice to be on the right track for getting everything taken care of. I know that Heavenly Father will watch over me & give me strength. I can make it through anything with His love & support and with the love & support of my husband, parents & friends. Thank you all!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What has Mike been up to recently?

Well, I figure it’s been a while since I (Mike) wrote an entry on here for you to read.

On May 14, 2010, my contract at LifeSecure through the Halo Group was terminated.  The official reason was they had no further work for me to do.  Unofficially, I think they had some bad news handed out to them.  On May 12, 2010, there was a board of directors meeting.  LifeSecure is a subsidiary of Blue Cross / Blue Shield of Michigan.  As such, they invited the President of BC/BS of MI to their board of directors meeting.  I think they delivered some “bad news” since two days later they let 3 of us contractors go and gave another employee their two week notice.

Well, I promptly opened up my contact list of recruiters that I’ve interacted with and let them know I was on the market.  I also updated my Dice & Monster resumes.

After a few interviews, both in person and on the phone, I’ve got a job starting on Monday, June 28th at Harmon Becker International.  This is the parent company of brands such as Harmon/Kardon, JBL, and Infinity Audio.

Specifically, I will be a programmer working in ActionScript / Flash for a new car stereo head unit they’ve been contracted to work on.  The embedded computer in it runs Qnx which has had Flash ported to it.  Not “Flash Light”, but full bore Flash.  I’m figuring it’s Rev 9 based, not the new Rev 10. 

Now, I wouldn’t consider myself an ActionScript person, but I have worked in it before.  And it is a close cousin to JavaScript, which I have been working a lot in for the last year, so I feel reasonably comfortable diving in to ActionScript.

On a completely different topic, some of 2010-06-23 14.50.36you on Facebook may have seen me talking about having knee surgery this week.  On Tuesday, June 22nd, I had arthroscopic knee surgery to fix a torn meniscus in my left knee.  I’ve kinda seen this coming for the last 10 years as my knees have been wearing down. 

Next month, I’ll be seeing the same surgeon to get started on fixing the right knee.

Well, that’s all the thoughts I have for now.  Until next time…..

 

-Mike