Avery and Me

Avery and Me

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Another Survey....Whilst I procrastinate from my homework/studying...

 1. What time did you get up this morning? 7
          2. Diamonds or pearls?  both!
           3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?  Avatar
           4.  What is your favorite TV show? Grey's anatomy
5. What do you usually have for breakfast? fruit or a granola bar and black coffee
6. What is your middle name? Diane (but I wish I had made it my maiden name...)
 7. What food do you dislike?  Raw tuna..ick!
8. What is your favorite CD at moment?  Glee 1 and 2
9.  What kind of car do you drive?   Nissan Maxima
10. Favorite sandwich? Peanut butter
11. What characteristic do you despise?  Backstabbing
12. Favorite item of clothing? ooohh!  shoes!
13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Europe

14. Favorite brand of clothing?  
Ann Taylor!
15. Where would you retire to?  Charleston!
 16. What was your most memorable birthday?  my 19th....I threw myself a party and my husband came...it was our second date!  Very fun time with 15+ of my friends, dinner at purple cow and mini golf!
17. Favorite sport to watch?  Anything LIVE and in PERSON...basketball on TV.

18. Furthest place you are sending this?
don't know....
19. Person you expect to send it back first? hopefully some preppy blogger!
20. When is your birthday?   August 9, 1983            
21. Are you a morning or night person? Morning
22. What is your shoe size?   9.5                                                                                         
23. Pets? 2 dogs...Maggie and Shadow
24. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share?  Graduating from grad school December 2010.
25. What did you want to be when you were little? Nurse or actress/model
26. How are you today?   Very tired.  Long day at clinical.
27. What is your favorite candy? Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

28. What is your favorite flower? Stargazer lillies and pink or white or red roses.
29. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? The day I find out I am pregnant.....
30. What's your full name? Jennifer Diane Shuler
31. Your age today: 26
32. What was the last thing you ate?  blueberry yoplait and a fiber bar
33. Do you wish on stars? Not lately....
34. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?   PINK!
35. How is the weather right now?    Dark and Cold
36. Favorite way to exercise?  Running
37. Favorite soft drink? REAL Cocacola from a fountain!                            
38. Favorite restaurant?  In LR, Brave New Restaurant...of all time, Atlanta's Rathbuns...mmm
39. Favorite color of nail polish?  pink or red...
40. Favorite toy as a child?   my bear honey jo!
41. Summer or winter?   summer

42. Hugs or kisses:  
43. Chocolate or Vanilla? chocolate flavor, vanilla scent

44. Coffee or tea?  coffee

45. Do you want your friends to email you back?  blog it on!

46. When was the last time you cried? A few weeks ago.
47. What is under your bed?  Carpet, old school papers.
48. What did you do last night? took a bubble bath, read a book, and watched the SOTU address
49. What are you afraid of?  creepy crawlies...and not being able to have kids.
 50. Salty or sweet?    sweet.
51. How many keys on your key ring? at least 5...
52. How many years at your current job?  3 at UAMS, 9 months in Interventional Radiology
53. Favorite day of the week? Saturday

54. How many towns have you lived in? 3...Little Rock, Jonesboro, Bryant
55. Do you make friends easily?  I make acquaintances very easily....but close friends...not really.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Good News....After Months of Waiting.

Hello Lovely Readers!

Today was my BIG follow up appointment with my OB/GYN.  I had my ultrasound early this morning to evaluate my cyst and an appointment with him 2 hours later. 

So while I had the ultrasound Steve sat in the room and watched the screen, and he didn't see a cyst.  We had breakfast and I was mentally celebrating.

We arrived at the doctors office and waited for a while for him.  As soon as he walked in he said my cyst was the same.  I was crushed.  He gave us our options and our choices.  Option #1, ignore the cyst, go home, and try to concieve.  Option #2, ignore the cyst, go home, and continue taking Metformin and take Clomid to try to concieve.  Option #3, go to a reproductive endocrinologist and do what they say. 

I just sat there crying.  I was so sure God would heal my cyst and it would finally be time to try to have a baby.  I didn't think 2 of our options included fertility drugs, not yet, not now.  The realization that my body just doesn't work like it should hit me and overwhelmed me.  Steve was such a rock.  He had a great conversation with our doctor and asked all the questions I should have been asking.  Our doctor asked for our thoughts and questions and I pulled myself together to ask a couple questions.  Steve and I have been praying about starting our family and he feels God is telling us to try.  Only He knows when we will be blessed with a baby. 

Steve and I talked quickly and decided to go forward with option 2...  Risks include the cyst growing, needing surgery to take it out, and a 10% chance that we'll have twins.  Like our doctor said, twins are fun on TV but a medical nightmare.  I have two friends who were affected by TTS and one lost her twins and one had emergency surgery and had hers a little early.  The Lord must have been looking out for us because today is the perfect day for me to start taking Clomid, it's Day 5 of my cycle. 

Please be praying!  I accept the Lords will for our lives and his plan.  I'm finally not angry any more.  I've accepted that I am overweight and have health risks and will need help to get pregnant.  For some reason, God made me this way.  I have faith that He will give me the desires of my heart (of our hearts) and plans only good, not evil for our family. 


Monday, January 11, 2010

School.....It's the home stretch!

Hi lovely readers!

Life is shifting into hyperdrive as my long dreaded last year of graduate studies starts THISweek!  I am so excited about finally finishing my graduate education!  I started this journey when I met Darlene, a nurse practitioner in 2003 when I was doing a special project for school.  I shadowed her as she took care of so many sick people with congestive heart failure and helped them in every facet of their care, from helping with free and discounted medicine and referrals to counseling and other services.  I wanted to be just like her. 

This began my journey.  I became an LPN and worked for her at her clinic for a year.  Then I graduated with my RN and moved to LR, where I researched schools and found that you needed 2 years of experience to apply.  After 2 years in CCU at St. Vincent, I applied for school and transferred to ICU at UAMS since they have a tuition discount for employees.  Imagine my surprise when I thought it would be 30 or 40% and found out it was a 90% discount!!!!  I was accepted into the program and started school in September 2007.

At first it was just like undergraduate nursing school, lots of papers and postings and web classes...  I was working nights and not spending much time on school.  I flip flopped on my area of concentration a few times based on advice from other people in graduate school...Family NP or Acute Care NP?  Once I "made it" to my first clinical course (the dreaded HEALTH ASSESSMENT), I learned it was MUCH harder than undergraduate school.  The pressure got to me.  I had become an instructor at UAMS and thought I should just go into Administration (so I could keep teaching and not quit my job).  I majored in Administration for one semester, and realized I didn't want to administrate.  I wanted to do what Darlene did for all those heart failure patients at my first LPN job.  I wanted to be a nurse practitioner.

I switched back to Acute Care NP, audited a class (HEALTH ASSESSMENT), and my FIRST real day of class (ACUTE CARE I) is Wednesday.  I am so excited and nervous all at the same time!  My books are still in route... but I have printed off all the course materials, studied the syllabus, started my required reading in the book I do have, packed my school bag :) (it's a Vera Bradley VERA in Daisy Daisy), called my preceptor, and talked to my friends who graduated last month.  I think I am as almost as ready as a girl can be for the hardest challenge I will face in school.  Tomorrow I plan to create a template for my weekly papers and finish my required reading.  After I post this I'm going to print out the rest of my required articles and GET READY for the hardest year of my life! 

This semester will consist of 2 oral presentations, one paper, weekly patient write ups, 180 hours of clinical time, weekly 6 hour long classes, and 6 article critiques, 5 tests, and keeping up with a 5 day a week 12 hour a day marathon....

Then I get to start all over again in summer....

Then I get to start all over again this fall.....

Then in December, (God willing) I graduate.  This 3.5 year journey will be complete, and I will be able to make a difference like my heart and soul long to in the lives of others to a greater extent than I do now. 

My anxious heart is stilled by the knowledge that God has called me to this task and will equip me for it.  He is not surprised by any of the roadblocks and will protect and keep me through this year.  I have been dreading it, I won't lie, but it's the home stretch.  I've wanted to be a nurse practitioner since I knew what one was and saw what one did.  And it's all thanks to Darlene.

I'm "Coming to Realize..."

I’ve come to realize that my job. . .is a big blessing.  I get to take care of people who are really sick and make a difference in their lives.  I get frustrated and angry at my coworkers, but at the end of the day, I got to touch several families lives and help patients get through unpleasant procedures without pain or discomfort.
I’ve come to realize that when I’m driving. . I don't really listen to the radio, but I like to have it on for company.
I’ve come to realize that I need. . .time to rest and recharge.  I used to be able to just go and go, and now I need to stop and rest.
I’ve come to realize that I have lost. . .some of my closest friends due to distance. 
I’ve come to realize that I hate it when. . .people don't like me or talk about me behind my back.
I’ve come to realize that money. . .is the Lords and should be used in a way that honors him.
I’ve come to realize that certain people. . .will never change and don't want to change.
I’ve come to realize that I’ll always. . .put others first.
I’ve come to realize that my sibling(s). . ..has grown up into a fine man who deserves to be happy.

I’ve come to realize that my mom. . .is my best friend.
I’ve come to realize that my cell phone. . .is a necessary evil.  And that I get on facebook and play Words with Friends way too much.
I’ve come to realize that when I woke up this morning. . .I had too much time to get ready and looked way too nice for work when I wear a hat, mask, and blue scrubs all day.
I’ve come to realize that last night before I went to sleep. . . I wanted Steve to hold me and help me rest. 

I’ve come to realize that right now I am thinking. . .and worrying about school starting on Wednesday.

I’ve come to realize that my dad. . .is amazing.  He works so hard and expects so little, and does it all in pain from his arthritis.
I’ve come to realize that when I get on Facebook. . .I spend way too much time on Facebook games.
I’ve come to realize that today. . .Is a very long 12 hour shift for the first time in almost 2 years.

I’ve come to realize that tonight. . .I will need to go to bed early for my doctors appointment.
I’ve come to realize that tomorrow. . is a turning point in my life.  I am praying that God will heal my cyst and I will get the "green light" to try to have a baby THIS month.
I’ve come to realize that I really want to . . .stay home, be a housewife, mother, and a homeschool mom.  If you had asked me this last year, I would have told you I would never want to stay home or homeschool. 
I’ve come to realize that life. . .is too short to worry about things you cannot change.
I’ve come to realize that this weekend. . .I should spend time with my husband who was neglected this weekend due to my 18 hours of call.
I’ve come to realize that my friends. . .come and go, except for a special few.  I don't make true friends easily, and I hurt when I realize they are gone.

I’ve come to realize that this year. . .is going to be hard with school, but the Lord has given me this task and I will get through it.

I’ve come to realize that my husband. . .is an amazing man of God who has grown and changed with me in the 8 years we've been together. 
I’ve come to realize that maybe I should. . . .enjoy this time if it's not time for me to become a mom.  After you become a mom, it never goes back to the way it is now.
I’ve come to realize that I love. . .a challenge.  That's why I made this blog, learned to run, started graduate school, and push myself daily to work at 110% even when I feel 10%.
I’ve come to realize that I don’t understand. . .why bad things happen to good people.  I don't know if I'll ever get it.  I have seen so many people hurting and never understood why the Lord did not deliver them when they asked.

I’ve come to realize my past. . .is part of me and makes me who I am.

I’ve come to realize that parties. . .are not for me.  I don't want to be in that kind of environment.  I'm not a party girl.  I like small gatherings and dinner with friends, but not parties. 
I’ve come to realize that I’m totally terrified. . .of moving from LR.  I've known we would move since 2002, but now that it's just over a year away and things haven't gone according to "plan", I am so scared of being pregnant and being a mom away from my family.  I really wanted that to happen while I was here.  There's not much time for the Lord to answer this prayer.
I’ve come to realize that my life. . .is a testament to God and his redeeming grace, and I need to work on showing that in every thought and deed.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Life Well Lived

Hi Lovely Readers....
With a heavy heart I tell you my husband's cat of 18 years passed away yesterday after an accident.  My sister in law backed over her and she passed on a few hours later at the vets' office.  My husband is an amazing writer and Bug's death affected him greatly.  I wanted to share the "obituary" he wrote for her.  I cry everytime I read it. 

Bugs 1992-2010 by Steve Shuler

In a way, it's my fault my family is grieving over the loss of a loved one.....

It was the summer of 1994 when she came to our home in Knoxville.  She was skinny, nothing remarkable.  But she picked us.  We certainly didn't pick her.  We had no idea this cat would become such a big part of our lives at this point.  Why she stayed, I have no idea.  LeighAnne and Lara, both too young to know better, tortured the poor soul.  Sprayed with a water hose.  Swung around by the tail.  Stuffed into a dresser drawer.  Mom and Dad couldn't understand why the cat was scratching my sisters.  They were ready to give her to a shelter.  But it's my fault we're all sad this week.  I fought for her.  I told them she was defending her life against two enemies that were innocently attacking her.  One day, Mom saw the girls swinging the cat around and realized the cat was just trying to stay alive.  The girls learned how to have a cat.  And the blame fell on me.  If I hadn't fought, hadn't defended her, she'd have gone to a shelter, and we wouldn't have lost her. 

We named her Bugs.  One day, when we were all outside, the came up proudly displaying a grasshopper she caught.  It wasn't her last catch, either.  The name stuck.  And so did the cat.  Her brother, however, didn't.  We named him Willy (after the coyote), but I don't think any of us actually petted him.  He was skittish, untrusting.  But Bugs would eat half her food and leave the other half for him, every time.  They would lie sunning together on top of our homemade playground.  Inseparable.  One night, Bugs and Willy got inot a loud brawl with another cat.  Dad, in an effort to break it up, threw his shoe at the unwelcome party.  Hit Willy right in the head.  So much for diplomacy with Willy.  We would eventually move to another home, leaving Willy behind.  But Bugs stayed with us.

When she was about four or five years old, we knew she was something special.  Bugs had an unmistakeable air about her.  Two minutes with her, and you understood why the Egyptians worshiped cats as gods.  No matter the situation, she always appeared above it all.  She was a beautiful snob.  You couldn't take your eyes off her, and she didn't really care what you were looking at.  Charismatic and indifferent.  This was no cat that acted like a dog for attention.  There was no begging, no need for others to love her.  Queens don't need those things.

But if you forgot her indelible attitude, you would never forget her coat.  I could pet a hundred cats a day for the rest of my life, and never find a coat like that.  So silky it reflected light at times.  So soft you could bury your head in her side and fall asleep.  If she let you.  But she would let you pet her, all the time.  She did love recieving attention.  And with a coat so exquisite, you could pet her for hours and never miss the time.  She would actively participate in the attention, tip-toeing on her back paws to get her nose extended to the end of you hand.  If you stopped, even to find the remote or scratch your nose, her head would soon poke into your arm, demanding to know why you would stop such a luxurious exercise with such a royal creature.  She would even roll onto her back and let you scratch her abdomen.  Even if she had just met you, it was acceptable.  But Bugs had her limits.  She would not sit on your lap.  And she would not purr.  I can only remember twice in the past 16 years that she purred.  That was a gift far too valuable to just give to anybody.

Bugs left a mark on everybody she met.  Whether you met her once, or knew her most of her life, you remembered her.  She was the best.  There is no argument.  No, she didn't save our lives by waking us up in a fire, and she didn't learn tricks like some dog.  Royalty doesn't serve such a common purpose.  She would sit on her shoebox throne and rest contentedly while her servants carried out the menial tasks of the day.  Let the other dogs and cat learn the tricks and wrestle and chase squirrels.  When Bugs was good and ready, she decided when you were priviledged enough to earn a few moments in her presence.  More people and more pets came into our family, year after year.  but there was no doubt who our queen, the ruler of our home, was. 

As she aged, she only added to her legacy.  Her hearing went away, and so did some of her wits.  She was slower, more deliberate, more apt to relax for hours on end.  But still aloof.  With age only came a more royal attitude, no pathetic whining here.  As queens age, they only become more regal.  As did Bugs.

Her final day came by accident.  She made a mistake she never would have made in her younger years, walking behind a moving car.  The driver never saw her.  Family rushed her to the vet, but her injuries were too much.  I wasn't there.  But they tell me even in her final few moments, she refused to beg, to take off her crown.  Despite the broken pelvis and crushed bladder, she was still our queen.  Occasionally, a cry of pain.  But royalty knows better than to show weakness.

In a way, I'm so glad I wasn't there.  It would have crushed me to see her like that at the end.  My last memory of her finds her in her shoebox throne, slowly blinking at me, wondering what I was doing, but not interested enough to find out.  Still above it all.  That's how she'll always be, to me.  And to everyone in my family.  And to everyone she met.  Whether God will allow cats in heaven, I don't know.  But if He gazes throughout history, and only permits one feline in, it will be this one.  It will be Bugs.  Undoubtably.

Long live the Queen.  We'll miss you.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2009 in Review!

1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?
Ran a Half Marathon!
2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't remember what I made as a resolution for 2009...I am sure it was to lose weight and I lost 15 pounds!
I think for 2010 I will resolve to run another half marathon and to make better decisions with money.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Many college and church friends, no one I consider VERY close except my cousin Whitney.  This year MANY babies are coming!  I hope to be pregnant this year too!
4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thank the Lord.
5. What countries did you visit?
6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you didn't have in 2009?
A Master's degree. (and a pregnant tummy)
7. What dates from 2009 will be etched upon your memory, and why?
October 17, my brother's wedding, December 4, my first half marathon, and December 31, Steve's sister was married.
8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?

Becoming a runner.  I'd have laughed at you last year if you told me I would run a half marathon in 2009.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Inability to concieve.  (So far)

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Learning I have a disorder (PCOS) that will impair my ability to get pregnant and predispose me for cancer, heart disease and diabetes created a side of depression.  I know I am so blessed, but it is the hardest thing I have ever gone through and my sweet husband has no idea how to comfort me. 

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Running shoes.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Not sure...probably mine.  I have gotten better at holding my tongue.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Jon Gosselin

14. Where did most your money go?
Well, I'm not sure where it goes.   I'll say mortgage.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
All our trips...I talked about going to Carolina for a month and the Emmys' for 2 months!
16. What song will always remind you of 2009?
Probably the Glee Soundtracks.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
a. happier (I want to say happier, probably sadder to tell the truth)
b. thinner....I think :)
c. richer in blessings, poorer in cash!
18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Studied God's word, completed more of my training runs.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
playing facebook games...I am addicted to Mafia Wars and YoVille...it is a sad admission for me to make.
20. How did you spend Christmas?
The usual rat race between houses...it was weird not being at mom's christmas morning, my brother's new wife wanted to have Swaty christmas in the afternoon.  We had our Christmas at home, then to the inlaws for brunch and presents, then to grandmas', then to moms, then back to inlaws.

21. Did you fall in love with 2009?

Not really, I enjoyed all the trips we took but I am looking forward to new adventures in 2010.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Glee, LOST, Grey's Anatomy, Bones, Private Practice, 24, American Idol!
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I don't really HATE anyone, there are a few people I avoid....
24. What was the best book you read?
I love to read, but my favorites included the Sookie Stackhouse series and the Mitford Series, as well as anything by Karen Kingsbury.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Kris Allen from Conway, AR!  Glee is a personal favorite as well!
26. What did you want and get?
Fun times with my husband....New Orleans for our anniversary, Dallas for a Chelsea game, St. Louis for the Emmy's, and a Carolina Christmas.  On the materialistic side, I wanted jewelry and got several Chamilia charms and a beautiful pair of pearl earrings for my anniversary.

27. What did you want and not get?
To lose enough weight to need new pants (or a new wardrobe)....I did get back into old ones!  I also wanted a black coach bag and didn't get one :(

28. What was your favorite film of 2009?

I loved the Blind Side!  I saw AVATAR on NYD and it was amazing!  I laughed a lot during the hangover!

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 26 and had dinner at Olive Garden with my parents and Brave New Restaurant with my husband that week.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Getting pregnant instead of finding out about my PCOS.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2009?
Solid colors, dressing for my size (whatever it is), and moving toward more comfortable shoes...but I still love my heels!
32. What kept you sane?
My husband. My Faith.
33. What political issue stirred you the most?
Health care reform...ugh.  Don't talk to me about it.
34. Who did you miss?
My friend Katie who moved to Texas.
35. Who was the best new person you met?
My friend Tammy.  She is amazing.  Also the ladies of Radiology.  They are so fun to work with.
36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
Being honest and open with people who care about you can help you through the hardest times of your life.