Archive for the ‘Wellness Bliss’ Category

June had arrived, and it was just a few days before our inaugural out-of-state flight with Sam.

We spent those last hours compiling lists…and more lists…and double checking those lists.

How much formula can we bring on the flight? 

Where do we check in the stroller?

How do we entertain Sam for almost 5 hours?

How do we ease the pain of popping ears…and what do we do if he starts screaming on a crowded airplane?

The day had finally arrived, and we just agreed to not stress too much about it. We prepared as much as we could, and there was only so much we could do.

IMG_5158Sam ready to fly!

Well, I’m happy to announce that our 5 hour-long flight (including layover) to Washington state was smooth and pleasant!

IMG_5187Sam enjoyed a nice nap after take-off.

He got some light reading in.

IMG_5202Hamming it up for the camera.
Look Mama! I have a tongue!

IMG_5206 2And one more nap!

Sam was a happy boy, and he entertained the people sitting around us with his coos, laughter and curiosity.

It was beyond what we hoped for, and we felt like pros!

The visit with my sister and her family was wonderful. Sam got to play with his cousins, we attended my niece’s graduation, and we all shared some quality time together.

Our short weekend was over before we knew it, and it was time to head back home.

Our departure date had arrived, and unlike a few days earlier, we felt confident for the flight ahead.

It would be a short jaunt to Seattle and then another two hours to L.A.

As we settled in by our gate, Sam began to act really fussy which was strange because we just fed him and changed his diaper. Hubby walked around the waiting area multiple times trying to soothe him, but he was still unhappy.

On the flight to Seattle, it seamed like no position was comfortable for Sam. We tried laying him down on our laps, holding him on our shoulders, sitting him up, and putting him on his belly.

Nothing worked.

We even tried feeding him again, but he jerked his head to avoid the bottle.

On our layover, I had Sam in his baby bjorn, and we walked quite a way to get to our connecting flight. As we took the tram to our gate, Sam started screaming.

It wasn’t just a scream…it was a painful scream.

Other travelers glanced over at me with disapproving eyes. “Did you feed him?” asked one obviously annoyed man.

“Yes I did.”

I focused on Sam and avoided all eye contact.

When we approached our gate, they were already boarding, so there was no time to waste.

Sam screamed at the top of his lungs as we waited in line. I could feel everyone’s eyes burning into me. My hubby began to apologize to people in line. When we found our seat, again, he apologized to everyone around us. I just held onto Sam reassuring him everything would be ok.

I took the window seat with hubby in the middle and a friendly older lady on the aisle.

“Sorry about this,” said hubby.

“I understand. I’ve been there.”

And so began the longest two hour flight imaginable.

The screams continued followed by soft moans. Sam twisted and writhed in pain.

And then began the vomiting.

First on hubby. Then on me. As we passed him back and forth to clean ourselves up, he would throw up again.

The odor filled our section. We apologized to everyone again.

We tried to figure out if it was something he ate, but all we gave him was formula and some baby apple sauce, and everything had been sterilized beforehand. Then we thought it was some bug he caught in Washington.

A strange rash began to grow on his left cheek. It was bright red, and it grew quickly.


Sam was exhausted and moaned in pain. There was no ways to comfort him.  The situation seemed hopeless, and the hours couldn’t go by any slower.

At long, LONG last, the pilot announced our decent. A wave of relief washed over us.

At this time, Sam was burning up, so we rushed home.

Hubby went to the store to pick up some children’s Tylenol, and I proceeded to cool him down.

His vomiting appeared to have stopped, but he was still in so much pain.

Before cleaning myself up, I put him in his crib and noticed that he quickly grabbed his feet and pulled them close to his chest before falling asleep in that position.


While I was in the bathroom, he screamed painfully again, so I dropped everything and ran into his room.

Vomit covered his crib mattress, face and hands.

He looked up at me with exhausted, innocent eyes as if to say, “Help me mama.”

I gently picked him up, washed him down and held him close.


After speaking to my parents, they suggested we contact an on-call nurse to see if this was possibly something more serious.

The nurse advised we take Sam to the ER asap…just in case. 

So we grabbed a few things and rushed down to the ER.

Sam was given anti-nausea medication once we were seen by the nurse. The general diagnosis was that he had a viral illness known as Fifth Disease, otherwise known as Slapped Cheek Disease…hence the rash on his cheek. After being diagnosed, he was given Pedialyte to prevent dehydration. Once he showed signs of improvement, they discharged Sam, and we made our way home around 1:30am.

Sam was still uncomfortable, but he eventually fell asleep.

The next day, he was still in obvious pain.

Soft moans and cries filled his every breath.

That morning, my mom and I took him to his pediatrician for a follow-up appointment, and she, too, diagnosed him with Fifth Disease and a viral disease that caused the vomiting. She told us to continue with the Pedialyte and Children’s Tylenol for his fever and to watch for any blisters in the mouth which comes with Fifth Disease.

That day I spent monitoring him, consoling him, cooling him down, giving him his medication, hydrating him, and holding him.


He didn’t seem too interested in the Pedialyte, but thankfully, he did take small sips.

We noticed that his diapers were quite dry and thought it was due to the dehydration.

That night, hubby and I took 3 hour shifts so one of us could take care of Sam while the other could get some sleep.


Hubby took the first shift, and around midnight he woke me up.

“Look at this.”

Sam had thrown up blood on his burpy cloth.

Without hesitation, we were back in the car heading straight for the ER.

We checked in, and while the admitting nurse took his vitals, she looked us up and down, and with a judgmental smirk on her face said,

“Started late, huh?”

I was numb. We came in because our baby threw up blood (a quite serious problem if you ask me!), and she had the audacity to judge us for being older parents.

If I wasn’t so tired, I probably would have called her a *you know what*, but instead, we both explained that we were adoptive parents and were very blessed to have Sam in our lives.

And she just looked down and said, “Oh.”

We were sent back to the waiting room to await our turn.

After 3 hours of Sam filling the waiting room with soft moans, hubby returned to talk to the *you know what* and reinforced the fact that Sam was not doing well and needed help.

He was finally taken into an actual hospital room where, for the entire evening and morning, was monitored, given an IV to keep him hydrated, had blood and urine tests, given Tylenol, and had his temperature taken twice.


The night wore on, and Sam continued getting IVs. The nurse said I could lay next to him on the bed, and so I did while rubbing his arm and kissing his forehead.

By morning, there was still no improvement, and the night doctor said that he wanted him admitted for more observation.

Hubby and I noticed that his diaper had the blue “indicator” line noting that he was wet, so when we opened his diaper, we noticed that there was bright red blood in his diaper.

We grabbed the first nurse we could find and asked, “What is this?!”

She briefly looked at it and said, “Oh it’s probably a broken blood vessel caused from the thermometer being inserted too hard.”

Being somewhat relieved, we continued to comfort Sam and sit by his side. More liquids were given to him for another hour or so, and our assigned nurse said his diaper was wet again, so she proceeded to change his diaper.

A large, bright spot of blood marked his diaper.

We explained to her what the other nurse told us about it being due to the rough insertion of a thermometer causing broken blood vessels.

“That is NOT the reason for this!”

She quickly grabbed Sam’s new doctor now on duty and explained his symptoms.

I could see the doctor’s mind working overtime.

“Sam needs an ultrasound asap. It might be intussusception.”

“Wait, what is that?!”

“An intestinal blockage caused when the intestines telescope in on each other.”

“What does that mean for Sam?!”

“If it’s the worst case scenario, surgery.”

Blood rushed out of our faces at the mere thought of the severity of the situation.

I quickly called my parents and friends letting them know what was going on.

We rushed to the ultrasound department with Sam in his gurney, and after close examination, it was confirmed that Sam did have intussusception.

Back in his hospital room, the doctor explained what was next.

“We’re going to try a barium enema first. If that doesn’t work, he will need surgery asap.”

A barium enema is when they take an X-ray while injecting fluid and air into the rectum and into your colon to try to correct the intestinal blockage.

“Is this fatal?” I asked the doctor.

“It can be, but we caught it in time.”

Hubby was asked to sit in the gurney holding Sam as they quickly wheeled him to the x-ray room.

Only one of us was allowed into the room. I asked my hubby to go because I was already an emotional mess.

From the waiting room, I could hear Sam scream…and howel.

“We need more tape!”

“Hold him still!!”

“More towels…get more towels!”

Sam’s screams grew in intensity.

It felt like an eternity before the x-ray door opened. I sat in the gurney this time, and Sam was placed in my arms.

“Did it work?”

“No, even though all of the backed up debris was flushed out, it didn’t correct the problem. He still needs surgery.”

Sam nuzzled into my arms as they wheeled us directly to the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) where a staff of nurses stood ready to care for and prep Sam for surgery.

As they carefully took him out of my arms, I noticed his entire diaper was saturated with blood.

“What happened?! He’s bleeding!”

“That is from the enema”, the nurse explained.

Hubby looked at me. “I’m glad I was in the room and not you during the enema because you would have either thrown up or passed out. It was horrible!”

The nurses cleaned Sam and put him in a fresh hospital gown.

At this time I learned that the rash on his face was not from Slapped Cheek Disease. It was actually from the stomach bile that accidentally rubbed onto his cheek after he vomited on us and brushed his cheek on it.

I was so happy to see my parents enter through the PICU doors. Even my dad, who is going through his own personal health battle, came to shower Sam with love and support.

It didn’t take long before the surgeon entered Sam’s room to explain the three things that could happen during his laparoscopic surgery:

  1. He could pull apart the intestine segments and it could correct itself.
  2. If part of the intestine died due to lack of blood flow to certain segments, it would be required for him to remove those sections and reconnect the intestines.
  3. After removing part of the intestine, depending on the severity, it might be required for Sam to have an ostomy bag.

It was time to move Sam into pre-op. Hubby and I were allowed to go with Sam where we met another surgeon and the anesthesiologist who further explained the next steps and how depending on the surgery, it could take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.

After kissing Sam goodbye and saying a prayer for him, we went into the waiting room where we found my parents and best friend full of love and support.

The hour crept by with still no update.

Finally, our surgeon arrived and summoned us into a conference room.

“It went well, and he’s resting comfortably.”

The surgeon explained that part of his small intestine slipped into his large intestine causing a blockage, and so due to the lack of blood flow to these parts, they had to remove the dead intestine portions consisting of 25% of his large intestine, 4″ of his small intestine and his appendix.

We couldn’t believe what our little boy had just gone through and all the suffering he endured for over 24 hours.

IMG_5358Sam recovering peacefully.

IMG_5337Sam’s wonderfully loving and supportive Grandparents.

But thank God his intussusception was discovered early on and that Sam had an amazing medical team helping him every step of the way!

For the next week, Sam recovered in the PICU and had the best of care from a professional and compassionate team of nurses and doctors.  Sam also had so many visits from family and friends that meant the world to us!


IMG_5366The staff did everything they could to make Sam (and us!) feel as comfortable as possible in our new home for the next week!





Sam was what they called a “hard pick”, meaning that after they exhausted all the available veins on his toes, ankles, wrists and fingers, they gave Sam a PICC line as a last resort. The insertion of a PICC line is a very delicate procedure where an IV gets placed in his scalp and gets threaded all the way down his head and neck and into the large vein that enters his heart. The nice thing about a PICC line is that once it’s in place, it can stay there until it is no longer needed.

IMG_5417Sam’s PICC line

IMG_5379Sam’s first hair cut due to his PICC line.


Every day we hoped to hear “bowel” sounds. That would indicate that things were healing nicely, and he’d be ready for nummies!
A few days later, the long-awaited sound occurred, and the next day, he was allowed to have small sips of Pedialyte. We monitored Sam closely to ensure he kept it down.

IMG_5394And he did!!!
What a happy day to have Sam out of bed, in my arms & eagerly drinking Pedialyte!


IMG_5520We were moved into a private room where Sam continued to heal and where his fun personality started to re-emerge!

IMG_5463On the day before we left, Sam gave us a small smile telling us that everything was going to be ok.

IMG_5502The day had arrived, and there was one last order of business –
the delicate removal of the PICC line!

IMG_5514Free of tubes and IVs! Sam is ready to go home!



IMG_5538Finally we got the good news that Sam was free to go home!

We lovingly placed him in his car seat, said goodbye to the awesome nurses and staff, took one last look at what had been our home for the last week, and walked out the door!

IMG_5543Grandma and Grandpa surprised Sam with quite a homecoming! Colorful balloons and a huge sign welcomed us on our porch!

IMG_5546Someone is happy to be home!

Looking back, it’s like a bad nightmare…that actually happened!

What we took away from this experience is that if anything doesn’t seem right with your child, parent, you, or anyone you know…don’t hesitate to seek medical advice!  You never know what it could be, and time could be of the essence! We had never heard of intussusception, but now we are pros on the subject and know more than we ever wanted to know!

Another thing is that life is precious and can come and go in the blink of an eye.  Savor every moment, and make the most of the time you’ve been given with your family and friends because tomorrow is not guaranteed!


One month later, Sam is happy and healthy and recovering nicely. He’s getting close to crawling, enjoying new foods, laughing and enjoying life!

Seeing him smile again means everything to us, and now whenever he cries for the umpteenth time, wakes me up early, or disrupts my at-the-moment plans, I don’t get upset. Rather, I just hold him a little bit longer and thank God for this precious gift He blessed us with.

IMG_6025Mommy and Daddy love you Sam!













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Just when I thought I was out of the woods, it returned…


And now, it’s in my RIGHT foot!  (Insert sad face here)

It’s been over a year since I overcame plantar fasciitis in my left foot, and I thought my body was getting stronger.  I continued to walk, stretch every morning, take pilates classes, ride my bike and take calcium daily.

I was pretty certain that I would never encounter pain like that ever again!

Never say never…

About a month ago, I joined a new gym which I thoroughly love, and I was feeling pretty good physically.  I was feeling so good in fact, that I decided to be brave and take a cardio/sculpt class.  The first thing our instructor had us do was run 5 laps around the classroom.  Instead of running, I jogged lightly with no problem…until I felt the slightest twinge of discomfort in my right foot.  The remainder of the class we did weight training.  I felt good overall and didn’t think anything of the discomfort I felt earlier.

That was until, the morning after…

As I took that first step out of bed, I immediately recognized the stabbing pain in my foot.  I could not believe that a few light jogs around the room could do so much damage to my foot!  (And the opposite one for that matter!)  My left foot is fine, strangely enough!

I think what really gets me down is knowing that I cannot go back to my previous active ways…even in moderation!  I knew there was a risk that it could come back, but I wanted to believe otherwise.  So for the remainder of my days, it’s walking, pilates, yoga, biking & swimming…which is fine…but I miss those high impact days!

This month has brought along all the lows that I experienced the first time I had plantar fasciitis.  I know what to do now to bring relief to my foot, but the hardest part is the waiting.  Waiting for relief…waiting to wake up and NOT hobble my way across the room…waiting for that dark cloud to disappear from over my head.

I’ve lost so much motivation this past month.  It’s crazy how emotionally and mentally draining pain can be!  I didn’t want to do anything…no blogging, no enjoying life…nothing.  I felt like blah…and occasionally I still do, but I’m trying to dig my way out of this fog bank.

During these grey days, I would surf the net in search of some sort of inspiration.  Something to motivate me in any capacity.  Recently I stumbled upon a website about juicing and the cleansing powers it contains.  The more I read about it, the more intrigued I was, so I decided to start my juicing journey.

It’s only been a week, but the fog in my head is lifting slowly.  Every morning, I look forward to savoring these tasty juices from fruits, vegetables and greens.  The vibrant colors alone lift my spirits along with the refreshing taste  –  it puts a spring (well, more like hobble) in my step.  I’m not sure if juicing can cure my plantar fasciitis, but it’s definitely giving me a more positive outlook on things, and right now, that’s exactly what I need!

I’d like to give you a glimpse into my juicing journey, so starting next week, I will share different juice recipes with you in my new Juicing Bliss segment, & I’ll let you know how things are going with wobbly foot too!  😉

Here’s to your health!

Do any of you juice?  If so, what is your favorite recipe?

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I was in the best shape of my life.

I was in my mid 30’s, life was good and I loved to exercise!  The gym was my home away from home, and I always felt so rejuvenated and alive after every workout…

until something stopped me in my tracks.

Enter Plantar Fasciitis (pronounced: PLAN-TAR  FA-SHEE-EYE-TIS).

For those of you who have experienced this or maybe you have it now, I am sooo sorry!  It’s definitely no walk in the park (and actually, a walk in the park is probably the LAST thing you want to do!)

For those of you who are new to the term plantar fasciitis, imagine this:

  • Experiencing sharp pain in your foot with every step you take.

This is no exaggeration!

  • Saying goodbye to your favorite exercises because it’s too painful.  (The exercise classes I craved –  Zumba, Aerobics & Boot Camp – had to be removed from my life.)
  • Grasping the hand rails as you walk up a flight of stairs because the pain is too much to bear (and if there’s an elevator – well, that’s like winning the lottery!)
  • Dreading getting out of bed in the morning because those first few steps you take are probably going to be the most agonizing steps of the day!
  • Retiring those cute shoes for something more sensible and supportive. (And trust me, when all you want is relief, you’ll wear just about anything!)
  • Limited movement.

What is plantar fasciitis, you ask?

It’s the most common cause of heel & foot pain.  The plantar fascia is the flat band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes that supports the arch of your foot.  It is designed to absorb the high stresses we place on our feet, & sometimes too much pressure can damage or tear the tissues.  Once inflamed, it gets weak and irritated causing intense pain when you stand or walk.

Who gets it?

Me for starters!  My doctor told me that the high impact exercises I enjoyed placed lots of stress on the foot and surrounding tissue causing the pain I experienced.  It is also common in athletes, people who are on their feet a lot, those who have experienced sudden weight gain, or people who wear shoes with inadequate arch support.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d ever experience pain that would limit me in so many ways!  It made me appreciate the good health and mobility I’d been blessed with years prior, and it made me empathize with all of those people who experience pain on a daily basis.

Not only was it a physical pain, but a mental one as well.  I went through a depression wondering if this was the downward spiral to a life of pain…starting at the ripe old age of 36.

Always being in shape, I also became depressed watching my weight slowly increase the more sedentary I became.

Searching for cures for my plantar fasciitis became my new hobby…actually it became more of an obsession.

After 1.5 long, frustrating, painful, pull-out-my-hair, agonizing years of trying out different treatments hoping one of them would work…I noticed something happening.  The pain ever so slowly started to disappear…until one day, it was gone!

I’m not sure if it was because of one thing I did or a combination of treatments, but below are some changes I made in my life that seemed to help (in no particular order:)

  • Rolled my foot over a frozen water bottle every day for about 10 minutes.
  • Took calcium and glucosamine daily.  (Consult your doctor first!)
  • Rolled a golf ball back & forth under my injured foot & applied pressure.  The massage increased blood flow which helped in the healing process.
  • Purchased shoes with more cushion & better arch support. (Tennis shoes & Crocs worked for me.)  Doctors advice: Do NOT wear flip flops!  They will eventually destroy your feet.
  • Before getting out of bed each morning, I did two stretches:
    • With my injured foot, I wrote out two complete sets of “ABCs” in the air.  I know it sounds strange, but trust me, it eased the pain of those  first few steps.
    • I looped a belt (or towel) around the ball of my foot & pulled my toes back.
  • Visited a chiropractor for about 5 months.  He “stripped” the arch of my foot, meaning that he provided extremely deep, somewhat painful, tissue massage using a specialized tool…but it felt so good after each treatment!
  • Wore a night splint while I slept.  When people sleep, most of the time their feet are pointed down causing the plantar fascia to relax & therefore cause pain.  The night splint stretches your foot through the night.  For me, it wasn’t the most comfortable thing to wear while I slept, but it helped ease the pain of those first few steps in the morning.
  • Wore a heel cup.
  • Went bike riding.  I found that this was one of the few exercises I could do that didn’t hurt my foot too much & helped me to stay somewhat active.
  • Got some Cortisone injections.  I got 3 in the span of a year. (I guess that’s the limit because there is concern that repeated  cortisone shots may cause deterioration of the cartilage within a joint.)   The cortisone injection is a powerful anti-inflammatory medication.  The instant relief I felt was wonderful, but unfortunately for me, it was short lived.  I got my third and final shot a shot a few days before my wedding/honeymoon, and it provided blissful relief for the 3 weeks we trekked around Europe! The crazy thing is (and I kid you not)…the pain resumed the day we arrived home.  I think I willed my foot to be okay on our honeymoon!
  • Rested.  Slowed down.  Stayed off my feet.  I know it’s hard – especially if you lead a very active lifestyle, but your foot needs to recover, and rest is especially important.

But be warned – Plantar Fasciitis can come back at any time, and that is why I still do my foot stretches every morning before getting out of bed, take my calcium and glucosamine, wear supportive shoes and stay away from those high impact exercises.

I found a love of walking the trails around my home and hot yoga.

I hope some of these suggestions help you.  But PLEASE consult with your doctor first.

For those of you battling this painful condition – stay strong & don’t give up!  Recovery, as I discovered, is a slow process requiring lots of patience and persistence, but it can be done!

Wishing you all pain-free & blissful living!

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