The story of the knees

I hate being injured. I am not a good patient. This is the first time since before I gave birth to Quinn that I have been injured. When I was pregnant and sprained my ankle, I wasn’t really doing anything strenuous anyway so it was easy to rest but now, it’s different. My knees started hurting around 9/10 or 9/11. We were scheduled to move furniture with Jacob’s mom and step dad that next Saturday; still so much to do before our closing on 9/16/15. Both of my knees swelled up beyond recognition and I was barely walking.

Of course, I kept pushing myself. I couldn’t stand watching Jacob’s parents move our stuff for us even if they were buying a bunch of our furniture. It was a mistake. By that evening, I was in terrible pain. Jacob was so stressed. Worrying about all we still had left to move and what the heck was going on with my knees. I called in reinforcements to help with the rest of the stuff (thank you Crissey and Conor) on Sunday and tried to sit as much as possible. Still not really taking it as easy as I should have. Even though we finished the bulk of the move and give-away-purge, we still had so much left. Jacob was still working. Ahhh. I don’t know how we accomplished it, a lot of arguing and high emotions. Fast forward….we got all of our stuff out by closing. The last bits dumped in Crissey’s garage to be dealt with later.

I went to the doctor and was directed to get x-rays to rule out stress fractures in both of my patella. My good friend Kevin Vernon is a talented Physical Therapist and insisted on seeing me the next day. With x-rays in hand I went to his office. His diagnosis was amy's broken kneessevere bursitis but still some concern I had injured the joint in my left knee somehow. With a lot of pushing we got my PCP to prescribe oral steroids to bring the swelling down immediately. I was instructed to continue to elevate and ice. Of course that weekend I was scheduled to go to a wine fest with all of my close girlfriends. The last Girls Weekend for at least a year. Damnit! All I could do was sit while they went on walks. I sat at the festival. They took good care of me, didn’t allow me to push it. Told me to sit. My knees got better fast with the steroids but still my range of motion on the right need was very limited, still hobbling.

On Sunday evening, we said goodbye to Jen and Ben and drove to Monument to spend the next couple of days with my parents. I had made a “just-in-case” appointment with my Dad’s orthopedist for that next Monday. Good thing. He took a look at my x-rays, made me get more (the cost of this is now skyrocketing, I am sure) and then determined I needed to have the right knee drained and shot with cortisone in addition to blood work to rule out rheumatoid arthritis (negative, whew!).

So, fast forward another week, I am sitting at our campsite at Natural Bridges National Park in Utah. Jacob and the girls are hiking to the amazing bridges and I am stuck resting. My right knee feels great, left, still swollen. Better, at least I am not limping but still feels puffy and hard to bend all the way. I know this is best for me; I will miss many amazing sites if I keep pushing myself but DAMNIT! My dear friend Carrie, says the knees are connected to the root chakra which is your sense of prosperity and security. I have definitely just taken a HUGE security blanket away, it makes sense that on an energetic, psychological level that insecurity would manifest in my body in this way. So, just as I meditated on this morning, “My sense of security is within” “I am ready to move forward and accept change”. I will continue with this mantra while I cut up watermelon to bring back to the thirsty hikers.

What are We Doing About Health? …the details

Staying healthy can be a challenge no matter where you are.  Maintaining your health on the road presents it’s own unique challenges.  Here is the list of items we considered when looking at a year long trip.

Medicine Kit.
I have a friend who has used essential oils for years and now sells dōTERRA oils. She has many stories of times she and her family have used essential oils either topically or ingesting them to cure everything from diarrhea to achy muscles. So far I have peppermint, lemon and lavender. I think lavender will be useful to soothe bug bites and inhale for motion sickness, lemon added to honey to soothe sore throats and when used with peppermint, to cleanse our toothbrushes. Peppermint will be useful for upset tummies, mouth rinse when used with the lemon, and to soak our feet after a hot day. I am also planning to get Oregano essential oil, as it is a natural antibiotic and immune booster. My friend recommended the book Modern Essentials as a comprehensive, travel friendly guide to using essential oils.

We will try to eat yogurt in each place we stay to get the local good bacteria as well as take a daily probiotic. I anticipate one or all of us will get sick at one time or another but at least these things can help give us a fighting chance.

We are bringing a travel medical kit that is stocked with Band-Aids, ointments, pain medicine and such. We liked the kit itself because of the pockets and storage uses.

** update**
I ended up purchasing the Physicians Kit from dōTERRA. It came with a slew of digestive aids, immune boosters, sore muscle concoction and many more. I have been testing them out. I woke with a headache one morning and put a swipe of peppermint oil across my forehead and it took the headache away. I have used the muscle rub and that has also helped. I am becoming a believer. I purchased some liquid coconut oil to use as a base and plan to get a few small bottles to dilute the oil to use in ways that were recommended. Such as oregano oil diluted in the coconut oil to rub on our feet as a way to start boosting the immune system.

Travel Clinic:
We went to the travel clinic and had a 3-hour appointment with the travel physician. She spoke to us about travelers’ diarrhea, mosquito borne illnesses such as malaria and Dengue Fever, vaccines, and health clinics abroad. She gave us a list of travel references and a website to locate “Certified Travel Health” physicians around the world. Here is what we chose to do:
• Yellow Fever Vaccines for all (ouch, those are not so fun) many countries will not let you enter without it.
• Typhoid pills for me, Jacob, and Mackenzie (getting Mackenzie to take a pill for the first time is a whole other story. Not by best mommy moment)
Quinn got the Typhoid shot because of her age.
• Hepatitis A/B vaccine for me and Jacob. We will not have time to finish the Hep B vaccine (it is 3 shot series. Second shot a month after the first and the third 6 months after the second) in the US so we will figure that one out later.
• I had to update my TDap vaccine
• We were given prescriptions for an antibiotic, preventative malaria medication and medication if anyone shows signs of malaria.
• Japanese Encephalitis: we held off on this one for now. It will cost about $600 each if we get it in the US. Our travel doctor said if we wait till we get to Bangkok we can get it much cheaper there and it will be just as effective. We will need dental cleanings by then anyway so we will take care of that then too.

Health Insurance:
Jacob researched health insurance that will cover us in case of an emergency. It seems to have all kinds of bells and whistles. It covers everything from emergency evacuation to trip insurance including lost luggage insurance. He found it through World Nomads.

The Overwhelming Stuff

It’s 2:30 in the morning. I woke because of pain. I had to have dental work done yesterday that requires me to sleep in a chair with my head propped up. I am thankful to my mother for bringing me her antigravity chair, I am really very comfortable except for the ach in my front teeth. Gum Grafting. Being awake at this hour my mind starts to wander, spin really. It’s been doing that for the last several weeks. I am sure I will not get a good nights rest till we leave. There is so much to do. I look around this house, at all our stuff! How have we accumulated so much? Jacob and I went through 5 boxes of books that are being stored in the garage. Got it down to 1.5. Mostly sentimental pictures and trinkets from our youth and a few special books. This doesn’t even put a dent in things. We need to have a garage sale ASAP. Our realtor suggested we try to clean out the garage, to make it look bigger. Our poor one car “garage” is pretty tiny with our shelves of shit that we barely even look at. Deep breath. This is the hard part, the letting go. Minimizing our stuff to a few boxes. We don’t want to pay a monthly storage fee so are asking our mothers and my sister to store our belongings. It needs to be a reasonable amount but as I look through my kitchen, my clothes, all the stuff I think, how in the world can I sell it all? Won’t I just have to replace it upon reentry?I wish I were watching a time-lapse video that shows our stuff disappearing one by one. It feels like there is so much work to do to sell off our things, pack the few items we are saving and finalize our plans for the first three months of travel.

I guess this is the lesson; the lesson of non-attachment. Once I get rid of the stuff, will I really feel a need to replace it? After embarking on this journey we will all be changed. We will all have different priorities, I hope. Maybe I won’t feel the need to fill up a house with stuff but rather fill up a life with adventure—EDVENTURE.

The Inspiration Hangover

Ok. So today I’m freaking out. Woke up 15 minutes ago and my mind immediately started spinning. We might never come back to this same life. Likely we won’t. If we leave, we will lose our spots in a really good school for our girls. One that has a great community, which we just started getting into. We may never be able to live in this neighborhood again. One that is also just starting to take off; it may become the neighborhood we envisioned when we moved here. Am I ok with that?
Shit just got real yesterday. We met with a realtor to “just get an idea” about what we can get for our house. The number is exactly what we had in mind, maybe a little higher. Oh shit, this could really happen. There are definitely other ways to make this adventure happen that doesn’t include selling your house and quitting your job. Many people have found a way to earn an income while traveling, especially those in the tech industry. For us, we want to push the reset button. We are not satisfied with our current employment and want to use this trip as a way to discover our passion a way to earn money for our family that fills us up instead of depleting us. I am especially interested in the process of “non-attachment” (pretty sure my freak out this morning is a symptom of the anxiety that occurs when you “detach” from your attachments”). Ok, fast forward to dinner at Noodles with the girls. Should we tell them? Of course, here comes my therapist self, “it would probably be best to include them in the process. Let them feel like they have a voice in where we go have time to ask all their questions”. Quinn, of course can only hear that she will get to see monkeys. I have talked up Costa Rica for years so she is just excited for that. She is 5, she will be fine with leaving but what about socially? She can be shy (or is that my projection because I was?), she still sucks her thumb (will she get super sick in southeast Asia?). Mackenzie was not so excited at first. “Will we never come back?”, “Will I be able to bring all my stuffed animals?”, “what about our house?” then….”can we go to Africa?” . That’s another country I have also talked up for years. I put it in their head that we would go when Mackenzie is 11 and Quinn 8. Well, we will just move it up 2 years. In our initial look at the globe and tickets, I was willing to hold off on Africa to be able to see Greece and Turkey but is it fair to tell her “no” when we told them they could be part of the decision making process? Why do we have to tell her no? Seems like this is a trip of a lifetime so better hit those once in a lifetime places. This trip is going to have to be longer than 6 months … but will she be ok? She is the one who is settled into the school community. But as I write that fear, I realize she will be fine. She has always been ok. She is my emotional being. Wears them on her sleeve. She’s a Pisces. I had a friend who once told me that Pisces are sometimes overwhelmed by their emotions. It has helped me to be more open to her emotions, to name them and comfort her more. There’s the therapist again.

As I process this risk, all of the chapters in my life that are coming to a close I try to quiet myself and listen. The word that comes to me is trust. Trust in the Universe. Trust in your ability to see your future. Do not try to alter things, just trust. I think the therapeutic work I have been doing to heal the caretaker in me, was in part the catalyst for the conversation at our anniversary dinner. Let’s let go of it all, push pause. So at 6:15 this morning I am filling that buzzy place in my body with the word trust. Trust in the Universe. Step into the flow. “Let it flow, let yourself go, slow and low that is the tempo” – Thank you Beastie Boys. I have carried that verse with me through my teenage years and into adult life and it is a perfect reminder right now. Flow…

How it Began

My husband and I are turning 40 this year. We celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary last Friday and during dinner finalized the idea of “cashing it in”. Selling it all, house, car, stuff. Let go of my private counseling practice, quit jobs, and take the girls out of school and head out into the world. For the last year we have talked about relocating to New Zealand. Neither of us has ever been there but it looks beautiful in movies and everyone I have ever met is super nice. It’s not crazy right? We started looking at New website and posted our resumes on New hoping for an employer to fall in love with us and offer to move us out there. “Hmmm, we might need to take the bull by the horns”. This was how the conversation began during our anniversary dinner. “What if we put our house on the market and use the money to travel for 3-6 months with our final destination in New Zealand”. Could this really work? Could we really make a dream of “globetrotting” become reality? Could we really do this with an 8 and 5 year old in tow?

There are so many endings happening right now in our lives. Jacob finished 5 years of a double master’s degree. Our best friends are “cashing it all in” to move and make their dream of operating a ski-cat business come true in British Columbia. My father and his siblings are selling our family home in Breckenridge so they can move onto their next chapter, retirement. Our youngest finished pre-school and is going into kindergarten this year. So many endings, so many signs pointed us to have this talk: “What do WE want for OUR lives?” “What do we want for our kids’ lives?” No doubt, this is it. A global experience; a test in non-attachment. A journey and adventure. Yes, I can close a practice I have spent the last 2 years building. No problem. If it means we get to travel the world, I’m in.

What about our daughters? I had a rough social experience growing up in school. Lots of teasing and feeling alone. My oldest is happy, making good friends. Will this be a mistake? Upsetting her sense of belonging, of stability? We are switching schools for my youngest so that she can be in the same school with her older sister. We have “talked up” this school to her over and over to make her comfortable. What will this decision do to her? These are valid questions and worries. As my therapist self would say, important to acknowledge those fears. But that is all they are. Fears. This experience will shape them in ways I might never know. This will give our family a chance to bond in ways I can’t imagine and may even provide a better chance to survive adolescence for the girls and for us. Nope, screw the fear, I’m all in.

So today we are chatting nonstop about ideas and plans. Reading blogs of other families who have done this. Looking at “round the world” tickets (apparently they have been given the acronym of RTW). Talking about destinations. Today they are:

Costa Rica (at least a month in that region to learn Spanish), Portugal/Spain, Greece and Turkey, Thailand and Indonesia, Australia and then finally to New Zealand. These RTW tickets force you to return to your country of origin. If we love New Zealand and want to give living there a shot, we will be able to visit family and friends one more time before moving to “the end of the world”. Literally. Ok. So what is step one? Find out how much we can get for our house. Without that, we don’t go. Ok. Housing market in Denver is CRAZY right now. It is in our best interest to find out now. Ok, made the call to a realtor. Nothing like ripping off the Band-Aid. … and panic ensues… only to change to pure excitement!