Tuesday, January 3, 2012

We're Blessed

One of my favorite praise and worship songs comes through with a prophetic message:

"Late in the midnight hour,
God's gonna turn it around
It's gonna work in your favor" - Fred Hammond, "Pages Of Life, Ch. 1 & 2"

There is a lot that needs to be covered in this post- so much so, that it simply cannot be done. I am going to keep this post tightly constrained to the main topic: our pregnancy.

As most of you know, we have completed our second run through IVF cycles. This run was more turmultuous because initially, the chances of completing the IVF cycle was not very good.  There were some issues with Jennifer physically- so much so that the doctors almost cancelled the implantation. After a night of prayer, the doctor said that there were no physical issues and we were going to complete the IVF transfer. Thankfully, God has blessed us with Jennifer being with child for the second time. 

Since the first positive test, I have had a vision of twins. Jen can attest that I have maintained that belief by using terms like "they," and "the babies." Jen was not so sure. Last Tuesday, we had a scare and rushed Jen to the clinic to see what was happening. When the ultrasound was performed, they advised us that there was one very healthy embryo. The other embryo in the process had implanted, but did not look to be surviving. The doctor reviewing the ultrasound dismissed the second embryo, advising that it would not survive and would likely be reabsorbed into her body. That was hard  to accept because it meant that she was pregnant with twins, but both would not survive. I was not willing to accept the doctor's prognosis.

I immediately began to pray for God to provide a strong, fighting spirit within both babies. That both would rise up within her and take a stronghold in her womb. Standing on the word of Jeremiah 1:5 which proclaims, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you," I know that my God has a divine plan for their lives. He would show Himself to defy doctors and perform a miracle for His glory. During that week, I stood firm in my faith and continued to lift the babies in prayer. I know that there were others praying in agreement (including Jennifer) that God would provide the miracle we were looking for in the next ultrasound.

Today, we finally were able to meet with the doctors and view another ultrasound.  The ultrasound technician confirmed that our prayers were answered: "Twin A" measured 6 weeks, 2 days; and "Twin B" was slightly less developed than its sibling- 5 weeks, 5 days. What she did not understand is that Twin B defiantly grew from "likely not to survive" to being slightly smaller than the other baby in a mere week. There is an amazing, glorious work of God that has occurred this week: Jen and I are expecting twins some time in August 2012!

Continued prayers are being lifted up for Jen and the babies: for their health and continued growth. A hearty thank you for everyone who gave us time in your prayers. I hope this post encourages you when there are trials in your life. Like our pastor professed Sunday morning, "2012- may it be my best year yet, Lord!"

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Let's Have A Baby (Pt. 1)

From the Prince 3-disc album, "Emancipation," the title says it all...

I would like to make the announcement (to those that do not follow Jennifer on Facebook) that Jennifer and I are expecting our next child! We received the confirmation from Nashville Fertility on Monday and are thrilled about the news. There is a chance that she is carrying twins at this time, but we won't have the details about that for several weeks.

We are extremely blessed that we are now 2 for 2 in our IVF cycles. There aren't many couples in this world that have the ability to say they are batting 1.000 when it comes to producing children with each IVF cycle. There were definitely some trials and uncertainty that caused this cycle to be stressful. More on that to follow when there is longer time for me to post.

A big thank you to those of us that lifted us up in prayer.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Running On Faith

A song from guitar great, Eric Clapton...

A lot of training has passed since my last post. Of course, I had to start training over due to the gall bladder issue in mid-October. The 6 weeks that I had built up to running a 6mi run was lost due to endurance atrophy. That was a pretty depressing thing I wrestled with in my head. Partly due to starting over and coming to the realization that I am 37 years old- my body doesn't recover as fast as it once did. More importantly, my body regressed so quickly. I had not expected that was going to happen. Sure, I thought that I would have need to take a step back and ran 4mi instead of picking up and running a 7mi run on what I call "Long Run Saturdays." Nonetheless, I pushed through the physical issues and ran over 7mi. in mid-November.

The following week, Jen and I flew to Virginia to help my parents to Tennessee. While there, I took a running tour of the neighborhood I had terrorized in my youth. Because we had to pack, move and begin the long drive to Tennessee, I completed a shorter 6mi run with relative ease. The following Saturday was a milestone: I was to run the Tims Ford Deer Trail 6 Miler in Winchester, TN. This was one of my preparatory races to mentally prepare to run in a half-marathon race. Obviously, running alone and along side other individuals is a completely different experience, so I was preparing my self for the interaction, initial adrenaline rush, and pacing issues I would face.

Upon driving at the event, I felt great other than a little calf tightness in my left calf. There was about 140 people in varying ages from 12 to 74 ready to run the event. When the race started, the pace was starting pretty quickly, but manageable. The trail took us through numerous turns and up and down pretty steep hills during the first mile. All of a sudden, I heard my Nike+ app tell men that I reached my first mile in a blazingly-fast 8:02: over a minute faster than the pace I wanted to run. Coupled by the fact that I had not trained for the major degrees of incline that I had ran during the first mile, I quickly realized that I may be in for a long day.

The second mile came and went and after a steady incline, I finally made it to the halfway point- at which point , we turn around and run the same course back to the finish. I quickly ran through all the declines over the course and realized those same declines were going to become inclines very shortly! The slight tightness in the calf made itself more of a presence at the start of mile 5. By the end, the calf had tightened up to become pretty uncomfortable and I had started to get a shin splint in my right leg as well. I made it through the finish with two bad wheels in 55:22, which translates to 9:14 per mile. I was hoping to finish closer to 54:00, but I had not trained for trail running, which I now regret.

After the run, I was so beaten down in my left achilles heel that I had only been able to run 5mi last week during my recovery. Sadly, this week has turned out to be the same way.  Another week with 5mi completed. All of this compounded by the fact that I have been eating horribly poor, which masks me feel like a big slug. Fortunately, the pain seems to have vanished, so I will begin running 4 times per week again starting Monday. I am hoping that I am not having to start from scratch once again. The silver lining is that I wasn't out for 3 solid weeks. At least I have put some miles in my legs as I was trying to heal. One thing is certain: the Frostbite Half Marathon that I had been planning to run in February is out. There is no way I can train to run my first half-marathon on trails with steep inclines and declines. I am now searching for the right race to set my sights on in 2012.

There is a toll that missing this time takes on the mind, body and spirit. Jennifer believes that I am becoming obsessive about my training, but in reality, I am very fearful of veering off my regimen because of the issues I have faced over the past two weeks. Not running and over-indulging in foods that I shouldn't eating much of in the first place is pleasing to the person I no longer wish to be, and it is very easy to backslide. The body is willing, but the mind is weak. Your body can do so much more than your brain gives it credit. As another restart begins, I now understand that the mind is harder to train that the body, but it is certainly trainable. Here's hoping that the third time's the charm.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Run, Run, Run Week 1 (Again)

Yep- I am rehashing the title of a previous post from a previous post (review if necessary)...

So I started week 1 of my campaign to run a half-marathon- again. Sadly, I was getting ready to run my longest run of my training so far (6 miles) before the gallbladder attack that sidelined me for nearly 3 weeks. After the surgery, recovery didn't seem to be going so well, so the hiatus was longer than I anticipated. With that much time away from the pavement, I was nervous that I would lose all of the momentum I had created in the weeks prior. I was right to be concerned.

For those not familiar with the struggles of new runner, running on a treadmill has is benefits and detriments. The benefits are a nicely controlled climate, TV to watch as I run, and speed control so all a person has to do is run. On the contrary, running indoors means no matter how fast you run, you never go anywhere and your eyes become fixated on how many minutes or distance you have left before you can stop. Running outside allows for the mind to be clear and enjoy the fresh air. However, it also means that you are at the mercy of the climate.

One thing I was not prepared for was the amount of pounding my legs would feel after my first run outside. The treadmill has a lot of give and also provides a runner with some forward-propelled motion to move to the next stride. Running on the ground provides a tougher surface and does not provide the forward momentum- you body must do all the work. Therefore, I felt as if my legs were beaten with a bat after my first run outside. My legs did not recover for several days. I had to actually push through the pain to complete additional runs while the legs were still sore. Eventually the legs began feeling better and I no longer had the pain in the aftermath of any run since.

I write this in order to say that after 3 weeks off from training, my first run felt the EXACT same way they did the first time I started running again. Hence, I lost all the endurance that I had built over August and September in just 3 weeks. While I was previously running approximately 15 miles per week, last week I was only able to run. a mere 5 miles. It's pretty pathetic to know that  if you don't continue to exercise, your muscles will atrophy to the point that you have to start over once again. All that endurance- gone.

This week I notice that I am building up endurance a bit faster than I did before, so all is not lost. This week I have already ran 5 miles in my first 2 runs of the week, so I should get to 10 miles this week. Next week, I hope to be closer to 12 miles or greater. Either way, I hope that I will not have any problems or illnesses that take me of the roadway in the near future. I am back on my quest for half-marathon!

If you are interested in daily runs, you can follow me as @mrogerson on Twitter, where I post each of my daily runs. If you are running, I would encourage you to use Nike+ which will track all of your runs, so you don't have to the work yourself. Also, with Nike+, you can challenge others and play running games that will encourage you and your friends to keep running. Let me know if you are using Nike+ and I will find you on Nike+ so we can keep in touch. If not, I will also keep you posted here as well. I hope to have a half-marathon completed in Spring of 2012. Depending on my progress, I may have a half-marathon completed by the end of the year! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dead End Job

Thanks to the Police for the title of this post...

A couple of weeks ago (as written in a previous blog) I had undergone gallbladder surgery. On my post-op visit, the doctor advised that I take another week off from work to fully recover from the surgery- which I was happy about. I had started feeling better, but was really in no shape to return to work. As the second week was winding down, my anxiety started...

I have been with Verizon Wireless for over 8 years. I have had virtually the same job for about 7 years, with about a year of other duties sprinkled in along that time. Initially, I fell for the grandeur of "opportunities to be promoted from within" lines as if they were true statements- why would the company lie about such things? However, this has not been the case as time progressed. I have applied for over 50 positions within the company and have succeeded in attaining 4 of them. Not a successful ratio. I have even been offered a job by a manager, accepted the position, only to be told that I would NOT be getting the position a week later! The stories about my struggles for progression would amaze you. I thought that I finally caught a break 7 months ago when I received an interim position with an auditing team. Unfortunately, 7 months came and went as a permanent position was not being filled at this time. Therefore, I was returning back to my previous job. That is, before the gall bladder surgery.

I have never been off two full weeks at once in the 8 years I had been at Verizon Wireless. Sure, I have had 9 or 10 days off before including weekends, but never as many as the 17 days off I had this past month. One would think that after that much time off, one would be rejuvenated and feel refreshed and be back at work without any dread. One would be wrong.  Yesterday, I entered my building, sat along side my co-workers and walked out with the same feeling of dread I had nearly 8 months prior when I was performing my old job description.

The best way I can explain it to people is that it's like going to school every morning only to see that bully at the door waiting for you. You know he is there for one thing: to punch you in the stomach and take your lunch money and push you down to the ground. No matter how much you try to put up a fight, the results are the same: a deflated ego, a bruise in your ribs and that queasy feeling that even though you made it to Friday, Monday is right around the corner and it starts all over again.

I don't really know where I am going with this post, but I am sure there are others out there that will read this and can empathize with exactly the same feelings that I feel about my job. Longing for a fulfilling career is something that many of us deal with, so I am not asking for pity. All I know is that I cannot, nor will not go on like this. Something has to change. I am going to be looking for that something. And when I find it, I am going to hold onto it like I am gasping for air. Either within or (more than likely) without Verizon Wireless.

Friday, October 7, 2011

It's The End of the World As We Know It

REM, of course...

Tonight is a tough night for me. Sadly, the New York Yankees finished their season during the ALDS, which is a series or two short from the expectations of Yankees fans. (Sidebar: luckily, I taped Game 4 (a Yankee victory) for when Jacob is demanding that we watch baseball. He loves watching baseball so much, I can't break his heart to tell him that baseball season ever ends.) What happened tonight was a microcosm of the entire ALDS: the heart of the order simply did not produce much fruit.

Alex Rodriguez is supposed to protect Robinson Cano, but he put up numbers that were an atrocity- even for A-Rod. He went 0-4, with 3 Ks tonight, leaving him with a paltry .111 AVG (2 for 18), 3 RBI with 6 Ks for the series. Hardly the number you expect for a man with the highest salary in baseball. The numbers don't do his performance any justice. He did not look comfortable at the plate for most of the series. He simply looked confused did not have any confidence swinging the bat. There were instances where Tigers pitching made him look downright foolish. Mark Teixiera and Nick Swisher didn't offer much more for the Yankees either. Teixiera .166/1 RBI/5 Ks and Swisher .211/2 RBI and 5 Ks for the series. These 3 men left enough men on base to make the Weather Girls blush (queue the song, "It's Raining Men?") The heart of a lineup cannot perform like this if you expect to progress in the postseason.

CC Sabathia did not pitch well either. His Game 3 performance was less than spectacular, and he also gave up a run in relief tonight. Considering that he is not used to coming out of the bullpen, he kept it close enough for one of the Yankee hitters to pick him up tonight.

Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson both had a stellar postseason. Cano was amazing at the plate hitting .318 with 9 RBI while looking smooth as silk in picking it in the field defensively. Granderson produced offensively as well, but his defense proved to be the best of any player in the series. He stretched out to make an inning-ending catch that saved 3 runs in the 1st inning of Game 4 and another amazing diving catch to end the a later inning and saved 2 more runs. Without his leather in Game 4, A-Rod would not have had a chance to kill the Yankees in Game 5.

The brightest spot for the Yankees in this series must be the emergence of Brett Gardner. Gardner (in the 9th spot) had a .428 AVG and accounted for 8 runs (5 RBI and 3 runs scored). When he is on first, it isn't long until he ends up stealing 2nd and has his eyes on 3rd. Gardner is looking like the player I wanted him to become- a speed demon that gives the Yankees an opportunity to manufacture runs instead of simply relying on the long ball.

Finally, I do have an issue with Joe Girardi's decision-making tonight: not one pinch-hitter the entire evening. Russell Martin did not have great ABs tonight, why not throw Jesus Montero a bone? Girardi also had Andruw Jones on the pine who could have taken swings for Swisher. As poorly as A-Rod was swinging the bat tonight (much less the entire series), was there an opportunity to pinch-hit for him? ThereI realize that the NY sports writers would have likely had a field day with it, but I would have like to seen Eric Chavez with an opportunity at the plate. What's the worst that could happen: Chavez to make the final out of the season instead of A-Rod? That would have made it easier for A-Rod over the next few days, Instead, the season ended the same way it did last year: with A-Rod striking out swinging and a bunch of question marks heading into the offseason.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman has a lot of work to do this offseason. The Yankees will likely lose Jorge Posada, and they will be looking for starting pitching once again. Who really thinks that Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia will have a repeat of this season's success nest year? Finally, CC Sabathia is likely to opt-out of his contract with the Yankees next year. That will be a huge blow to the AL East Champion Yankees' chances of repeating and progressing further in the postseason if he is not re-signed. It figures to be a tumultuous time in New York over the next few days as the ire of fans turns to the anticipation of the Hot Stove of MLB Free Agency.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Somebody Get Me A Doctor

"Diamond" Dave and the boys from Van Halen are lending a hand for my title today...

FIrst and foremost, thank you for all the continued prayers and love through this ordeal. I am eternally grateful for your support. Now, on to the blog!

What a day. Of course, my day started late last night- around 8pm in fact. After Jen made a fantastic roast beef and mashed potato dinner, my mind kept echoing the words of the nurse I saw yesterday: "Nothing to eat or drink after midnight." Therefore I started making plans for what I called, "second dinner." I thought of heating up the leftovers of stuffed shells that Jen had made the night before, until I mentioned I would like some no-bake cookies before I went into surgery. After all, it has been over 6 weeks since my last taste of chocolate and I could count the number of desserts I had eaten during that time on a chicken's foot. Once refrigerated, I consumed about 5 of them immediately. I figured that it wouldn't hurt to cheat on my diet a little during this downtime from running. 

I went upstairs to watch TV around 9:30 and ended up falling asleep on my fantastic leather couch that Jen abhors. When I woke up, there was a tense horror at the pit of my stomach. Looking at my phone, I had done the unthinkable: I slept right through second dinner and into the morning of my surgery- my fast had started in my sleep. With a sense of dread, I walked downstairs and climbed into bed. 

This morning started off great: I got the rare chance to get Jacob out of bed and hold him while he drank his morning milk. Before I knew it, we were in the car to head to the surgicenter. Thankfully, I was not hungry, so missing second dinner was not as big as I had thought. Since I had a second gallbladder attack Sunday afternoon, I was elated to get this foul thing called a gallbladder out once and for all. For as calm and relaxed as I was, Jen was concerned and worried. I love that about her- she worries for me because I don't have sense to do it myself. I have never been good at worrying about myself, so it nice to have someone who loves me enough to do so.

Dr. Beaird did an amazing job with my gallbladder removal. The surgery only lasted for about an hour and Jen was allowed back into the recovery room about 45 minutes afterward. I felt like a groggy mess from the anesthesia when I saw her. I could tell she was worried, but felt pretty good by the time I was ready to leave. Once I got home, I took a quick nap and and was able to finally see my little boy again. Of course, he was excited to see me, but I had to do a lot of hand-checking to keep him off of my abdomen. 

Overall, I feel pretty freaking good considering I had a small procedure today. [As I wrote that sentence, my mind went immediately to Billy Crystal in "City Slickers" he explains to the classroom of children about what to expect in getting old: "Your 50's, you'll have a minor surgery. You'll call it a procedure, (shrugging shoulders) but it's a surgery."] Well, I am not in my 50's, but I did it a procedure. Later this week, I will be evaluate when I will return to work. The doctor says no running for 2 weeks. Between me and you, that is the most painful thing about the past few days.

Thanks for reading. Much love to all-