Thursday, August 18, 2011

The C Word and Perspective

NO. Not THAT C word. Cancer. Or maybe that's what you were thinking in which case forget the OTHER c word. Great, now you probably can't stop thinking about the first C word, or the second, or which ever.


This last spring I had the great fortune to meet up with some friends of mine in Bellevue at church. They suggested we go to brunch so Kirstin and I joined them at this great little place in Redmond. Mr.P and Phinneygirl (as they are known on the blogosphere) are about my age and have a wonderful and busy little family. They have a two year old and an eight month old who are such sweet kids but still are young kids and keep both Mr.P and Phinneygirl on their toes. While we were at brunch I really had a chance to look at Mr.P while we were talking and eating. He looked very thin. I asked him if he had been sick and he said he had been fine but had been losing enormous amounts of weight without trying. Now Mr.P is a tall thin man but this was taking his thinness to another level. To make a long story short they found out about a month ago that he had Stage 1 kidney cancer.

When Phinneygirl told me about the diagnosis I was very sad but also a lot humbled. I try not to complain too much about my hip pain but I know at times I make it a limitation that it maybe doesn't have to be. Or at least I mention that it's a limitation. I say - "I can't do that because of my hip", instead of just "I can't do that". I don't like having limits and I want people to know it's a short term limitation and not just laziness or disinterest. The reality though is I could call less attention to my injury but simply not mentioning it.

My problem isn't a life threatening one - although having surgery is never a 100% sure bet. I don't have the pressure of having a young family - not that Mr.P's life is any more important than mine but it does put a different type of pressure on him with his family dynamic. His journey toward good health is changing my perspective on my journey toward good health.

He is in surgery right now and I'm in constant prayer for him and his wife. I know she must be worried and I also know after this surgery more questions will be present - mostly had the cancer spread. My prayer is this is a short chapter in Mr.P's life and after the completion of the surgery the family is able to move forward and it gives a new perspective on things for them.

I pray all of you are aware of and thankful for each healthy day you have. Mr.P is going to get through this and be better off than he has been recently. I know that without a doubt. I'm thankful for his and Phinneygirl's friendship and I am excited to keep walking with them through this crazy roller coaster we live.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

You Know It's Time For Hip Surgery When.....

I was told about an on-line group for people with hip resurfacings and joined it last week. I have been getting the postings for the day sent to me and this one came up yesterday. It is scary how many of these pertain to me now.

You know it is time for hip surgery when...

You haven't worn socks for months and it isn't summer time.

You don't own a pair of shoes with laces.

You don't choose stores by selection or price, but by parking availability.

You drop something on the floor and have to kick it closer to the counter so you have something to lean on.

You turn around and go home when you discover you forgot your cane.

If you've ever walked too far and sent your companion back for the car.

The bottom shelf of your refrigerator is empty, and the top shelves are crammed full.

You avoid businesses with stairs and no elevator. No hand rail, no way.

You spend the weekend recovering from your normal work week instead of the other way around.

You only throw the ball for the dog if you have a pick-up thingy handy.

You trained the dog to walk himself on the treadmill that would otherwise only collect dust.

You decide clean floors are overrated.

Canes become fashion statements and you admire someone else's.

You start eating at drive-through joints because you don't want to get out of the car.

You have stopped one or more of the activities you did at twenty because of pain, not because you know it could kill you.

Your joints feel older than the rest of you.

You can relate to people in Aleve commercials, yet you know they are lying.

Your aching joints wake you up more often than your bladder does.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Drinking the Kool-Aid

Just short of two years ago I took Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University (FPU) Class. My friend Jeanette introduced me to Dave Ramsey and I'm so thankful she did. I wish it had been five years earlier. Financial Peace University is a 13 week class that shares Dave's philosophy on everything financial from budgeting to investing in the stock market. I took to his philosophy like a fish to water. After the first two weeks I realized my financial house was really screwed up. I was way too far in debt and was barely living from paycheck to paycheck even with a decent salary. My student loans didn't help the situation but I had amassed a significant credit card balance, a car loan and a rather large mortgage on my home. I didn't understand fully what having to pay creditors did to the strength of your money and the thought of financial self-control hadn't even crossed my mind. I realized I was stressed out about my finances and it made me feel like I was living in a house of cards that could come crashing down around me at any time.

All of that changed when I fully embraced Dave's principles. It hasn't been easy and I'm not perfect. In fact I totally screwed up just this last month. BUT I've also had HUGE successes. In the last not quite two years I've paid off all of my debt (about $60k) except my now two mortgages and one mortgage sized student loan debt. As of this month I'm moving on to Dave's baby step three which is to actually begin to save. This is probably the most exciting step in the process to me. I'm finally starting to pay myself instead of someone else. Dave would say I really should pay off that student loan debt first (and I'm not really "Dave Debt Free") but I feel like I'm to a point where the payment is enough of an insignificant amount of my paycheck that I can lump it into baby step six and treat it like a mortgage. When that last student loan is cleared it's going to be amazing but in the meantime I need to have a bit of a larger emergency fund in place to deal with being a reluctant landlord. It's been a challenging and rewarding journey. I probably need to lead a FPU class and share my enthusiasm with other people that way.

I want to encourage anyone who feels a bit lost in the financial world to find an FPU class or even just find Dave's radio show. I listen to him everyday and there is great peace in hearing that 1) you are heading in the right direction 2) you aren't the only one with financial concerns and 3) more than likely you aren't as bad off as some of the callers. I know - I'm horrible.

If you are interested and want more information click either the link above or below and I hope it will take you to Dave's website. I'd love to hear success stories from you guys as you go along. You won't be sorry for one minute that you started this journey. It's not easy but it is one of the most rewarding things I personally have ever done.