Thursday, September 19, 2013


My husband and I were driving along I-70 in Utah on our trip from St. Louis to Central California. We entered into Utah late at night and it was dark. While driving through Colorado in the night we still knew the mountains were there, but they seemed to disappear shortly after we crossed the border. We declared Utah was boring and not as pretty as Colorado. We pulled into a rest stop to get a few hours of sleep. When we emerged in the morning we were surprised when we realized the mountains didn't completely disappear and that parts of Utah really are pretty.

Colorful CO

In 2010 my husband and I made the trek from St. Louis to central California for a work contract. This was our first long trip together and our first time pulling our fifth wheel more than 2 hours. We survived the long and boring drive through Kansas and entered into Colorado. It didn't take too long for the scenery to change. We made a side trip to Colorado Springs for a little bit of exploring per a friends suggestion. Unfortunately Pike's Peak was closed for the day because of an accident, but we were able to stop at Garden of the Gods. This trip was also the first time we'd relied on Google maps for our GPS directions. I learned a few things on this adventure...I'm not good at directions, if you put in a city name Google maps will take you the city center and it has no idea you are towing a 32 foot trailer behind you. Needless to say my husband was not at all impressed when I led him to downtown Colorado Springs and then some back way to Garden of the Gods, but we eventually arrived safe and sound with our camper in one piece. When we arrived at Garden of the Gods we ditched the camper in the parking lot to explore for a few hours. Thankfully, no one stole our "home!" My direction skills weren't any better when we left and I led us into a fancy subdivision. We had a black bear run in front of us into someone's back yard, which thankfully distracted my husband enough that he didn't kill me :)

We found our way back to the interstate and relative smooth sailing until we hit the the mountains outside of Denver. The grades are steep, semi's were swerving all over the place, cars were flying by, and there are frequent runaway truck ramps. I think I prayed and took 1000 pictures until the sun went down and I could no longer see exactly what we were in for. However, even in the dark it seemed beautiful with the mountains and rivers. We plan to go back someday to explore a little more.

Natural stairs at Garden of the Gods 

Fun rock formations at Garden of the Gods

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Santa Cruz CA

We spent a day exploring Santa Cruz area while we were living near San Jose CA for work. We started our day at Wilder Ranch State Park. There is hiking throughout the park on both sides of CA highway 1 (PCH), but we opted for a stroll up the coastline along the artichoke fields. There is something about the ocean that captivates me, but knowing how cold it is and that I can't get in just seems unfair. Just another reason why I miss my time in Hawaii. The bluffs were beautiful and the sound of the ocean peaceful as usual. We were able to see some seals resting on the banks, some dolphins and whales out in the distance. We would have missed the whales, but a nice guy sitting, waiting and watching with binoculars stopped us to point them out.

We left Wilder Ranch and headed towards Natural Bridges State Beach. We parked along the road and walked on the paved path off of Cliff Drive for awhile. I think the bluffs were prettier than Wilder Ranch with the flowers, but it also helps that the sun finally burned through the marine layer. We returned to the car and drove along Cliff Drive to the Lighthouse Field and eventually to the boardwalk. The lighthouse must be one of the better places to catch a wave because the surfers were out in full force. I could have stayed and watched them for hours, but we didn't have much time. Most California surfers aren't near as good as the ones in Hawaii and the waves aren't near as big, but I still enjoy watching. I took a surfing lesson one time and it didn't go so well. I stood up a few times, but not for long. One of the coolest things I've seen was local and pros riding the waves after being towed-in during high surf in Hawaii. I'm still convinced they must be crazy, but it was awesome to see!

The bluffs at Wilder State Beach

 The bluffs off of Cliff Drive

Pinnacles National Park

My husband and I spent a day exploring Pinnacles National Park in between Salinas CA and San Jose CA. There is quite a bit of hiking, some rock climbing and 2 caves. The caves aren't normal caves that we think of, but they were fun none the less and provided a nice chance to cool off. It gets pretty hot especially in the summer heat so pack lots of water and salty foods to keep you well nourished. We really liked looking at the rock formations as we hiked along.

Friday, September 6, 2013

17 weeks post op

I might as well start with the best possible news: my husband and I have been able to have mostly pain free sex! We tried a couple of times after dilation and a few times without dilating first. My pain is 2/10 with penetration that fades away. After about 10 minutes I start to feel burning sensation 2/10 for five to ten minutes after. Of course, we are very excited but are trying to take it slow and not mess anything up. I'm not completely healed (yet), but I'm leaps and bounds better than when I started, not to mention a lot further along than I thought I'd be at this stage. I've read that some people have problems starting at 4.5 months post-op with therapy regression, but I try not to think about it in hopes that it won't happen.

I had my 4th pelvic physical therapy session with Dr. Jen and she is very impressed with my recovery - so much so that I don't have to go back for in office therapy anymore. Surprisingly my muscles feel good, but there is definitely a band of scar tissue. The plan is to continue with the dilation at home until it is no longer painful. In addition to a few total-body stretches, I have some strengthening and relaxation exercises to do daily to keep my pelvic floor happy. After dilation my hubby sometimes does some perineal massage for 5-10 minutes. I'm using the Axiron every other day like Dr. G recommended because of my adverse reactions. Thankfully, I no longer have the persistent headaches and nausea, which makes life much easier. However, I am starting to see the dreaded acne flareup.

Now that I'm done with PT (hopefully) I sat down to calculate numbers for the vestibulectomy and recovery. I just have to say how thankful I am to the billing department at Alvarado hospital. They really looked into my insurance plan and have saved me thousands of dollars with the recommendation for cash pay!