Our Week, in Photos

It was a beautiful weekend here in Denver, with bright blue skies and brilliant sunshine.  So what were we to do?!  We decided to spend the afternoon at a local park that offers great views of the Denver skyline.

It was a really nice change from being indoors, we really enjoyed just lounging in the park.  Chris also managed to get out on a guided snowshoe trip with REI, which he really enjoyed (lucky).

And in true Colorado fashion, this gorgeous weekend was followed by this...

We had about a day and a half of snow, followed by Wednesday which was about 50 degrees, and we are now expecting 5-10 inches tomorrow!  So bizarre, but I honestly wouldn't want it any other way.  It is so nice to have beautiful warm days mixed in with the freezing, snow-covered ones.  Plus, there are lots of fun activities to do on snow-covered days...

Then there was a bit of work that needed to be done on our car this week, so of course I had to snap a few photos.  I'm sure Chris was thrilled...  :)

And the icing on the cake... we had a little return visitor.  Only this time... I caught him on camera - two different nights!

It seems that the neighborhood raccoons enjoy hanging out at our place.  Not sure there is much that can be done to change that, but - if I'm honest - I'm hoping they find a new home soon.

Fuzzy photo, I know, but they were wrestling all over the deck.  It actually startled me at first.  We heard this howling/hissing noise and initially thought it was the wind.  But it quickly became a loud screeching noise, so we opened up the blinds to find this.  Seriously crazy.  I feel like we live in the mountains rather than a populated suburb of Denver...

As my knee has been cleared for low-impact activity, we might have some snowy adventures this weekend. Stay tuned on the blog for more photos of Colorado beauty...

What's the weather like where you are?

Happy Thursday!

The Knee Non-Update

Well, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, I had an appointment scheduled with a Rheumatologist to see if I had any autoimmune diseases that were causing the pain and swelling in my knee.  I thought I would post a quick update for those that are interested...

I met with the Rheumatologist last Wednesday, where she promptly said her best guess was Rheumatoid Arthritis, based on a number of factors.  She gave me a steroid shot in the knee (ouch!!), drew a bunch of blood and asked me to come back the following week.  

Well, that follow-up appointment was today, and we really didn't get the answers we needed.  She said my blood work came back normal, but that sometimes it takes a while for an autoimmune disease like this to present itself.  She feels fairly strongly that it is autoimmune-related and said that I should come back if/when it swells up again.  I am feeling a bit disappointed with myself, as the doctor wanted to draw fluid from my knee last week but my reluctance led her to say that we could wait on that and just do the blood draw this visit. Apparently the fluid in my joints would give a more clear-cut answer on whether RA (or any other autoimmune disease) was present.  Now that the swelling has subsided, she will have to wait until it flares up again to draw the fluid out.  A bit of a mistake on my part.  Lesson learned.

Overall, a bit disappointing as I was hoping to get some clear-cut answers, but the steroid shot (though it caused a lot of pain for the past week as it worked its magic...) definitely did its job.  The swelling has subsided, the pain lessened, and I am able to finally start physical exercise again.  Hallelujah!  

So I guess I will return to living my life like I'm used to, and head back to the Rheumatologist if and when it flares up again.  

Age is Just a Number

Do you ever stop to think about your gifts and talents?  No?  Ha!  Well, I do.  Or lack thereof as the case may be.  Don't worry, this isn't going to turn into one of those sappy posts full of self deprecation.  Well, maybe just a little.

My doubts about my own abilities is not meant as a pity party, but rather the sad fact that I don't feel truly gifted or talented at anything.  I am okay at many things, and that's cool, but is it enough?  And if not, how can I change that... or can I?

I lived a large part of my life being afraid to try new things.  If it wasn't something under my "safe umbrella," that I knew I would be good at, I would shy away from even trying it.  Silly, right?  How do you know you won't be good at it, if you won't even allow yourself to chance to try it?  Believe me, the rational part of my brain questions this on a regular basis.

My point in all of this, being that I might secretly have talents among hidden, untried hobbies and activities that I have no idea I'm any good at.  So dramatic, I know.  But I think it's high time I start pushing myself outside of my comfort zone a bit more.

I try to test myself and put myself through uncomfortable situations from time to time, because I know that I am capable of handling the discomfort, and that I will likely end up feeling so. much. better. if only I give things a shot.  But I need to do more of this.

Fear is a paralyzing emotion that can hold us back from living the life we wish to lead.  Simply because we are afraid to try.  Afraid to reach for our dreams, for fear of rejection.  Afraid to try out new hobbies, for fear that we won't be any good at them.  This is a big struggle for me, as I am not naturally a spread-my-wings-and-soar kind of girl.  I have to first analyze the danger, the pros and cons, and come up with a plan. Oh goodness, do I love to plan.


This post began as a post about my thirties, and I suppose it still is (can be).  This is something that I want to take with me as I enter my thirties in just a few short weeks.  Letting go, and pushing myself more.  Squeeze all that I can out of life.  No regrets.

Okay, stepping down from my soapbox now.  And here is the post that I had written and ready to post today...

{ Love this list of 30 things to do before you die (thanks for sharing, Aunt Jill!) }

As my thirtieth birthday approaches, I have been reflecting quite a lot.  Reflecting about my twenties and all that I have learned over the course of the last decade.  And thinking about the future, excited for what my thirties will bring.  I have never been one that is afraid of getting older, as I am always amazed at the progress and change that I go through each and every time I celebrate another birthday.

This post started (the original time!) as a way to reflect on all of the things I have learned and ways that I have grown over the last ten years, but I stopped half way through and erased everything I had written. Why, you ask?  Because it felt a little preachy and, frankly, even a little trite.  Yes, I have learned quite a lot over the years, and am so proud of the person I have become today.  But I still have so much to learn.  I honestly hope that I never say "okay, I'm good, I'm done learning, I like who I am now" and have that be the end of my ever-evolving journey of myself.  There are still so many things that I try to work on every day, in an effort to overcome, defeat, accomplish.

To be perfectly honest, part of me wishes I could move to somewhere like India for 6 months and really just focus on more important things than we are constantly surrounded by here in the west.  Do yoga everyday, meditate while enjoying beautiful scenery, and focus on my own sense of purpose.  Sounds idyllic, right?  I literally suggested this to Chris last week.  And not for the first time.  It usually springs up during particularly stressful times in our lives.

Chris always used to tease me when I would have these moments of clarity about life, using what became a coined phrase between the two of us, "just wait until you turn thirty."  As though that age had some sort of magical powers for unlocking the secret to life.  And though it is something we still often joke about, in a weird way, it's true.  Not the exact age of thirty, of course, but the idea that as we get older and have more experiences, the better we understand things and more importantly, the greater perspective we have.  

{ A fun list of 30 Things to Avoid Before the Age of 30, courtesy of Buzzfeed. }

I express all of this excitement about entering my thirties and swallow it with a big grain of salt because I know that as my fortieth birthday approaches, I will likely look back on this post and think, "listen to me, I thought I had it all figured out then."  And to be perfectly honest, I truly hope that is the case.  I hope I can continue to evolve and grow and become an even better version of myself each and every time I celebrate turning another year older.

Especially that monster we refer to as Fear.  I'm coming for you, my friend.

Here I go, embarking onto another exciting decade of my life.  Bring on the life lessons and, as always, the adventures!

What's In A Knee...

That's the saying, right?  No?  Well, that's been my saying as of late.  What's in my knee, to be more exact.

I want to start by apologizing for being so mysterious about my knee issues of late.  It was in no way intentional, I just figured it might be a bit boring to post about.  But as several people have asked me lately, I thought I would do a quick update on the details (or lack thereof).

About a year ago I began having pretty severe pain behind my right knee.  It wasn't unbearable, it mostly hurt when I tried to fully bend or extend my leg.  I didn't think into it too much, as I hadn't had any sort of obvious injury.  A few months later, it began to get worse, and one day, as I was standing up from our kitchen table, I felt some intense movement (though not painful) in my knee.  I looked down to find it immediately swelled up on the front of my knee.  

So off to the doctor I went, where she told me I had a bakers cyst that ruptured.  

A Baker's cyst, also called a popliteal (pop-LIT-e-ul) cyst, is usually the result of a problem with your knee joint, such as arthritis or a cartilage tear. Both conditions can cause your knee to produce too much fluid, which can lead to a Baker's cyst.

I asked if I should limit physical activity, upon which my (incompetent) doctor told me no.  Once the swelling went down, I could return to whatever physical activities I wished.  Wrong.

A few more months went by and I was cautious with my knee and activity, but by no means did I stop exercising.  In October, I began to feel the tightness and pain behind my knee again.  It continued to get worse and worse, and the night we returned from visiting family in Washington, the same thing happened: the cyst burst.  

{ courtesy of good old WebMD }

By this point (nearly 11 months!), I was losing my patience, so I scheduled an appointment with another primary care doctor to get her take on the situation.  She seemed concerned that there was no obvious injury and that I was a bit young to be experiencing a recurring cyst typical of older, arthritic patients.  So she referred me to an orthopedist.

One X-Ray and one MRI later, he sees a few questionable things in my knee (3 bakers cysts!), but nothing that clearly says, THIS is the issue, let's fix it.  So after a very critical review of my MRI, he has referred me to a rheumatologist to rule out any type of systemic autoimmune diseases, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus.

Other than the obvious impatience to just figure out what is going on with my knee, I have handled this whole process fairly well.  But this latest referral to the rheumatologist has gotten under my skin a bit.  I am fairly certain that it is none of these things (though this is a completely uneducated guess), but the potential that it is something chronic like this has me quite nervous.  

I lead a fairly active lifestyle, and have been going crazy the past few months having to just sit around and get no physical exercise.  I can't imagine incorporating a chronic diagnosis into the type of lifestyle I am used to living.  

I understand that I am getting ahead of myself here. I do.  But as "cool" as I try to remain about it, I am extremely anxious to rule this out, and even more eager to actually figure out the cause of this pain, fluid and swelling.

The top doc that he referred me to is super in-demand, so I opted for a different doctor in the same office in order to get in a bit sooner.  So now the waiting game.  I am pretty confident that the next week is going to crawl by.

Apologies to anyone who is not interested in the inner workings of my knee, I just wanted to inform those who have been asking about my brief references to the trouble in previous posts.

Fingers crossed that next Wednesday comes quickly and brings good news!

Back to Normalcy - Our Weekend

We spent our Saturday catching up with friends, exchanging travel stories from the holidays.  We had planned to watch the new season of Sherlock, but a few technical glitches and several hours later, we realized we had way too much to catch up on to spend our time watching TV.  Next time.

As I still can't do much physical activity due to my knee injury, Chris was kind enough to save me from cabin fever and take me for a drive on Sunday.  Where did we head?  To the mountains, of course!  We had a quick flip through our Best of Colorado book and decided on two small towns about an hour away.  

Please note that I can't spend any time on my knee, so all photos are taken from the comfort of the car.  It also means they aren't super creative and fun photos.  We plan to return and have a walk through the town center once I am all healed up!

And finally, our mini road trip in photos...

I was so grateful to Chris for getting me out of the house and doing something we both love to do: explore!  I hope to be active again soon so we can take advantage of cross country skiing and showshoeing before the snow disappears!

How did you spend your weekend?