Year of Firsts: So Behind

I have been away from my Year of Firsts updates for so long. Just because I haven’t been updating doesn’t mean that I broke my New Year’s Resolution. Recap for those of you who haven’t been here, I made a NYE Resolution to have one new experience a day for the entire of 2018. No matter how big or small the experience, it all still counts.

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I’m going to jump right into it and hopefully catch you up to where I am now while explaining why I’ve been away.

February 5th-

As some of you may know, I was diagnosed with a sizeable yet benign myofibroma in the roof of my mouth. It was an active tumour and was growing. It was eating away at my bone and am told that I was close to developing a fistula, as it was growing into my nose. February 5th was my surgery date. I was so nervous. I’ve had surgery before, but nothing this extreme. Moments before the operation, I was in a room with medical staff running here and there. It was super busy and others were getting surgery and it’s hectic. So hectic that it contributed to my anxiety. My blood pressure was through the roof, so they opted to give me some Valium before the surgery to chill me out. It was weird. I felt that drug hit me within minutes, it was administered via IV so that’s not surprising. But still, I felt like a drunk person. It was so weird.  I remember being wheeled into the operating room and there was an entire wall of shelves with what I imagine was supplies. After they put me on the bed, I don’t remember anything. I was out. Next thing I knew, the anaesthesia was wearing off and they were preparing to take me out of the operating room. They had these blood pressure sleeves on my calves and as they were taking them off, I told them, “No leave them on, It feels like a massage.” Everyone laughed. For next couple of hours, I felt in and out of consciousness, I guess. Strangely though, by the time it was for me to get home, I really felt good enough to drive myself home. I don’t know if it was the morphine or what, but I didn’t feel pain. I wasn’t dizzy. I just felt pretty normal. When I got home, I was normal. I was sitting around and talking as though nothing happened. The only thing that was really different was that I have a huge chunk of my head missing, mostly in the maxilla region and that meant I couldn’t eat.

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February 6th-

Which brings me to the 6th. Sleeping was kind of tough and the pain was manageable at this point. But what was the most interesting as it was my first time being on a strictly liquid diet. Before surgery, I had prepped by buying a lot of meal replacement drinks, protein drinks, juices, Gatorade, Pedialyte, etc. They only foods I could have were yoghurt and ice cream.  So I had tons of that around. I don’t want to jinx it, but I thought that I’d get really hungry not being able to eat, but I have to say these meal replacement drinks work. The weird thing was that my mouth was starting to miss the actual physical action of chewing.

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February 7th-

Now, this First was not happy. This is the day where the pain and shock really set it. I don’t know if maybe the anaesthesia and morphine took a while to wear off and maybe the whole experience didn’t feel so real, so now is when it all became real. I can’t even explain to you the pain. Putting anything in my mouth, including water was so painful. So the 7th was the day that I got serious about keeping track of my meds to ensure I don’t miss a dose. But the sort of fun part of that was that I had ice cream all day. I’ve never done that before. A whole day of ice cream. So good!

February 8th-

The 8th was when the boredom really started to set in. I became really familiar with the app store and started downloading apps like crazy. Most of the apps I tried were pretty thumbs down. But it gave me something to do. It was the first time I tried a role-playing game. I didn’t really get too into it. The storyline I was given was bland, but I imagine there are better ones out there. I’m open to suggestions.

February 9th-

Because I’m still on the liquid diet lifestyle, I had someone make a trip to Arlee’s and pick me up some green juice. Up until now, most of my liquids have been on the sweeter side, so I needed something green to break up all that sugar. Good stuff. It burned a little, but what doesn’t burn my mouth at this point?

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February 10th-

Our house has been kettleless, since the last relatively new kettle we bought, was forgotten on the lit stove and burnt to a crisp. So now we get to try and have tea from a ceramic kettle. I’ve never had a ceramic kettle before.

February 11th-

I was introduced to clove tea for the first time. I’ve had cloves in many other ways, in cooking and in my toothpaste, but never on its own as a tea. It was miraculous in my mouth. With a little honey, I drank the cup in no time. It had the power to numb my entire mouth. I felt no pain. It was beautiful!

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February 12th-

Even though I’m supposed to be on a liquid diet, I started craving food. Not out of hunger, but out of the desire to chew something. I thought about it and decided maybe a frittata was a good way to eat something, but have it be soft enough. Let me tell you, it is tough to eat without the roof of your mouth. I have no hard palate, so the food falls into this grand canyon that exists in my mouth. And when that bite of food finally met the bottom of the canyon, man, it hurt. I figured it was worth a try though.

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February 13th-

Since my tumour removal was in my hard palate and nose and that whole area in between, the tumour had also grown into my bones and around my teeth. That being said, after removing the tumour, the doctor warned me that my teeth were going to be super sensitive. Oh my God, was he right. I felt like my teeth were and still are pounding all the time. ALL THE TIME. That being said, brushing my teeth is super tough. Sometimes I have to put some Orajel on my teeth just so I could brush them. Even then, commercial toothpaste was way too harsh on my wounds. Because my surgery was done through my hard palate, there were no stitches because there was nothing to stitch it too, so my entire wound/incision was cauterized. That being, my entire mouth was burnt. Imagine putting your regular everyday toothpaste on a burn. You wouldn’t. So I did some research and found this natural toothpaste. It seems to clean my teeth well without irritating my wound.

February 14th-

Singles Awareness Day, one of my favourite days of the year. It’s the day I buy myself a gift and tell myself how incredibly amazing I am. LOL. Because I’m amazing, I thought I’d give another go at eating. Tried out these broccoli-cheese tots. Their gooey texture made it a bit easier for my mouth to handle. Everything still gets lost in there and I felt a bit icky eating the entire tray, but in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t so bad.

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February 15th-

I went to a follow-up appointment with my surgeon. He said things were looking good. Knock on wood. Thank God. Don’t jinx me, please. At this point, I was in way too much pain. I hadn’t been able to drink water for over 12 hours. I thought maybe I had pushed my mouth too far the day before by trying to eat because my mouth was so irritated. to my dismay, when I asked the doctor when things will start to feel better, he said they really won’t. And by that, he continued to say that it will take 3-6 months to fully heal, but in the meantime, it is going to hurt and it is going to be very painful. What really got me upset was when I asked why the pain was getting worse and not better, he told me that there will be no consistency. Some days will be good, other days will be bad. It’s not like any other type of surgery where with time things get better. It’s very possible things could get progressively worse. And that my friends is a serious bummer. In the meantime, he gave me this thing called Magic Mouthwash. You read correctly. Magic Mouthwash. Coincidentally, or maybe not coincidentally, my insurance doesn’t cover this mouthwash “because it’s a compound.” I don’t even know what that means or what that has to to with me. It costs $50, so I had to make some phone calls and ask for money for others, which I HATE to do. I’m unemployed and certainly didn’t plan on getting ill in this way. It’s absurd that insurance doesn’t cover it. Anyways, this Magic Mouthwash is supposed to be magic. It’s typically used for cancer patients that experience mouth sores due to radiation. It’s made up of Maalox, Benadryl, Lidocaine, antacid, antihistamine and anaesthetic. It really was like magic. I’d just swish it in my mouth and my entire mouth was numb. It was a miracle. The prescription says I can only use it four times a day, but I really wish I could use it every second of the day.

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February 16th-

This day’s First was scary. Super scary. I was in bed after getting ready for bed. It must have been around 11 PM. I tasted something super salty in my mouth and had no idea what it was. I went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. My mouth was full of dark blood. When I spit, I spit out nasty and huge blood clots. The clots I assume were responsible for my cauterised mouth. I rinsed my mouth with water and didn’t think much of it. The doctor said there would be blood, maybe this is what he meant. A couple of hours later, I felt that salty taste in my mouth again. I went to the bathroom and was bleeding from my mouth, much like a bloody nose, but from my mouth. Because of where the blood was coming from in my mouth, putting pressure on it with just my mouth wasn’t working. So I got an ice cold glass of water and kept the water in my mouth as long as I could and then would spit out. Put the water in my mouth again, spit out. Again and again and again until I got the blood to stop. I didn’t know what else to do or what I was supposed to do, so I went back to bed. A couple of hours later [again] I felt the salty taste in my mouth again. This time was different because, by the time I got to the bathroom, the blood was pouring out of me. I looked like a Carrie doomsday horror movie vampire fountain. Blood was shooting out of me as though I turned on a sink faucet on high. It was scary. I started to shake and felt so weak. I had some gauze and put it in my mouth, trying to put pressure on it with my tongue. In less than 10 minutes, I went through more than 10 pieces of gauze. The gauze wasn’t just soaked, it was swimming in a pool of blood. It was crazy. I went to the ER, it took more than a half hour to stop the blood. At the ER they applied some lidocaine and epinephrine to my mouth. Apparently, epinephrine acts as some sort of vascular restrictor? Or so the physician’s assistant told me. By the time I was discharged and got home, It was around 6 am. I got in bed and hoped that nothing like this will happen again. Positive vibes everyone. Positive vibes.

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Until tomorrow…

Peace and Pistachios,

Heba

xoxo

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The Mediterranean Chef – Merriam And Mona’s Lebanese Table

The Mediterranean Chef Is A Complete Cookbook Created By Merriam And Mona With Over 20 Years Of Cooking Authentic Mediterranean Food. Cooking Mediterranean Food Is A Passion For These Authors And Their Dedication Shows In This 84 Page Complete Ebook!

Click Here!

Dear Fellow Cooks,There are so many different cooking guides on the market – some good and some bad.  I would like to introduce you to our cookbook – “Merriam & Mona’s Lebanese Table“. When I was growing up in Lebanon, I remember coming home to my mother’s kitchen – it was a true delight. As soon as I walked through the doors, I smelled yummy food. Every time I have a taste of Lebanon, it takes me right back to my mom’s kitchen.

While I was living in the New York and the New Jersey area, I hosted many dinner parties. During those dinner parties, I received many compliments.

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I Am Going To Share
A Taste of Lebanon
With You
Many women do not like to share their recipes once they have mastered it. We, however, can’t wait to share “A Taste of Lebanon in Merriam & Mona’s Lebanese Table” with you. Even if you have never been to Lebanon before, we urge you to try at least one recipe out of our book – surely, you are going to enjoy it.
ImageRecipes by Mona and MerriamEach of these recipes has been developed by either Mona or Merriam. Two women have collided in order to create the ultimate cookbook full of recipes just for you.These aren’t your average recipes.Nope, these are not your average, every day recipes. You could try to find them online, but you probably won’t, because they are Mona and Merriam’s very own recipes. They decided to share their recipes with you, because they want to bring a little piece of Lebanon to your table.
There are many different types of recipes in this eBook!
IconIn this eBook, you are going to have access to many different recipes including:

  • Soups
  • Salad Dressing
  • Salads
  • Lebanese Mezza
  • Main Courses
The soups are delicious and perfect for those cold winter days (they’re also perfect for hot days).
The salad dressing recipes are out of this world! The salads – well, they are not your average salads!
Introducing You to the Food
Don’t worry, you are not buying this book “blindly.” Let me introduce you to some of the recipes in the book:
  • Split Red Lentils Soup
  • Chicken Soup
  • Freekeh Soup
  • Veal Yogurt Soup
  • Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing
  • Pomegranate Salad Dressing
  • Red Wine Vinegar Dressing
  • Tabbouleh
  • Eggplant Salad
  • Yogurt and Cucumber Salad
  • Rocket Salad
  • Hummus
  • Vegetarian Grape Leaves
  • Bamia Bizit
  • Raw Kibeh
  • Baked Kibeh
  • AND MUCH MORE!!
You think that food sounds delicious? You should see the other recipes that are in the cookbook!
The Recipes are Easy to Follow
Each one of the recipes are easy to follow. We give you step by step directions in order to make sure you get it right. As long as you follow the steps and take the proper measurements, your food should turn out as delicious as ours.
Each Recipe Has a Picture
Each one of the recipes in this cookbook is presented by a picture of the food once it is done. This way, you will see just how yummy it looks.
Food is the Way to a Man’s Heart
It’s true – if you are a woman trying to win a man over, cook him a good dinner. Men love it when a woman can cook. Don’t waste your time on those recipes on the Internet – they are not always accurate. Our recipes in our book are accurate – we know this, because we make them ourselves. Ladies, your man will be surprised with the stuff you can come up with out of this book! This book isn’t just for ladies though – many men purchase this cookbook in order to cook a good meal. Regardless of your gender, this cookbook deserves to be in your kitchen.
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What are you waiting for?
It’s time to purchase this eBook and start enjoying good food.
“Merriam & Mona’s Lebanese Table” has a little bit of something for everyone.
Ebook
Get Your Copy Now
$14.99   On Sale for $8.99

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30 Quick Healthy Breakfasts On The Go…

Click Here!

Check out these healthy chocolate recipes from my Super Healthy Meals  eBooks…

Kids Healthy Diet Tips & Delicious Free Recipe

Kids Healthy Diet Tips & Delicious Free Recipe

Kids Healthy Diet Tips No. 1

As a mother of 5 I found the hardest thing when introducing a change to your child’s diet was their resistance. It seems kids may have the monopoly on the passive resistance technique to get their own way! Unfortunately their “own way” involves the eating of junk food such as chips, soft drinks, burgers, cakes, lollies. All the foods you know are bad for them but they seem to love. This is the first Kids Healthy Diet tip

So, how to break down this resistance? Start slowly so they are not aware of your strategy. Introduce healthy foods gradually. There are certain ways to do this effectively and achieve yourkids healthy diet.

Help For a Kids Healthy Diet

Expecting your child to come home on day one of your new plan and happily snack on carrot sticks is never going to happen! However if they arrive home and are presented with Choc Coated Banana Bites you are on a winner. Even more so when your child can dunk them themselves and watch the runny chocolate set hard. We all know bananas are good for growing bodies (and adults too!) but my chocolate recipe is an amazing health food in its own right.

Here is the recipe for the Banana Bites. They are amazing for your kids healthy diet You may have to fight the kids off so you can try one too!

Choc Coated Banana Bites

Recipe From: http://46503dss9s9obwby3ckfr64r87.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=ASHANNA

Kids Healthy Diet - Choc Coated Banana BitesMakes 6 bites

  • 2 bananas
  • ¼ cup cacao powder
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons agave
  • toothpicks

Method

  • Cut bananas into bite sized pieces
  • Insert a toothpick into each piece and place in freezer overnight
  • Combine cacao powder, coconut oil and agave and mix well together to make your runny chocolate. You may want to add more agave if you like a sweeter chocolate.
  • Coat frozen banana pieces in melted chocolate. The frozen banana will set the chocolate almost immediately
  • Eat straight away or store in an airtight container in the freezer

Note:

This chocolate will set below 23ºC so if you want it runny don’t store in the fridge. It is very stable and keeps well just in the cupboard. If your chocolate sets before the kids get home from school just place the container in a basin of hot water and it will melt again. Be very careful to not get water in your mixture or you will ruin the texture.

Any chocolate left over can be set and eaten as chocolate or add some raw nuts and/or dried fruit for a snack for later (or for you!)

 

Learn Digital Photography Now

…Reveals Professional, “Insider” Tips And Tricks For Taking Awesome Digital Photos With Your Digital Camera… (Even If You’re A Complete Newbie To Photography!)

Learn Digital Photography Now Click Here!

Summary: The “Your Guide to Digital Photography” by Dan Feildman is a downloadable guide for digital photography beginners and those looking for better results from their digital photography.

Product Details: There are a number of components to this learning product including –

– “Your Guide to Digital Photography” – a 75-page guide that includes a variety of tips and advice for the beginner to advanced photographer. Some of the topics are:

– Taking your first pictures
– Different kinds of digital cameras
– Professional technology at affordable prices
– Finding the right low end digital camera for those on a budget
– Exposing digital photography myths.
– Understanding the features of your digital camera
– Tips for taking better digital pictures
– Pet photo tips
– Night photo tips
– Horizons and sunglasses
– How to share your digital pictures
– Printing your pictures
– Choosing a printer for you digital images
– Editing your photos.
– Understanding white balance so your photos look good in all lighting.
– Interpolation and digital zoom to improve detailing in pictures
– Finding free photo editors for your Windows computer
– Using your flash effectively
– Understanding and making the most of your memory cards
– Important equipment to take when traveling.
– Battery options and your best bets.
– Making money from your digital photography hobby.

– “Photography Quick Tips” – 37 pages showing you how to make the most of your pictures. It includes practical tips for:

– Night photography
– Action photography
– Landscapes
– Sunsets and sunrises
– Beach photography
– Desert photography
– Sports photography
– People and pets
– Street photography
– Fog & Mist
– Waterfalls & Running Water
– Rain & Snow
– Fireworks

– Picasa Tutorials – There are 8 video tutorials (you can view them online or download them to your computer) to show you how to use the free Picasa software to organize, edit, create and share your photos. The videos include:

– Downloading and installing the program
– Editing photos with Picasa
– Creating collages
– Blogging with Picasa
– Backing up your photos
– Printing your photos
– Posting pictures to your web album

– “Your Top Digital Photography Questions Answered” – This 26 page guide answers 20 common questions about digital photography including:

– What is the biggest mistake made by beginning digital photographers?
– How to decide on the right digital camera.
– How to decide is a picture is worth taking.
– How to get the white balance right.
– How to take clear shots for indoor sports.
– Advantages/disadvantages of raw vs. Jpeg format photographs.
– What are the best settings for low light/nighttime conditions?
– What is hyperfocal distance?
– How to take a photo of a glass sign or a framed picture in glass
– How to get high contrast natural light black and white pictures.
– Time lag from the time you take a picture until it is on the memory card.
– How to avoid redeye in dim light.
– Small object close up pictures.
– How to photograph gemstones and jewelry.
– How to take a picture with both strong sun and shade.
– Capturing personality in photos of people.
– How can I understand depth of field?
– Settings and techniques for photographing birds and wildlife.
– How to take pictures into the sun and avoid lens flare.
– How to take good pictures in the snow or on the beach.

– “Buying a Digital Camera” Video – This video shows you how to use the Internet to conduct research from unbiased sources.

– “An Experiment in Photography. What Exactly Happens When You Change the Settings on Your Digital Camera?” – This 12 page guide shows photos of the same object (a house, in this case) with different camera settings resulting in very different photos.

– “Secrets of Night Photography” – A quick 6-page guide with concise advice about nighttime photography. It includes information on:

– Trails of Light (Cars)
– Trails of Light (Stars)
– Weather and Exposure
– Horizons and Sunglasses
– Tripods
– Low Cost Filtering

Format:

The main guide is a PDF ebook. There are extra guides (PDF) and videos (free Flash & Shockwave required). If you’re not sure how to use these files, don’t worry, all the download information is carefully explained and any software you may need is free and safe to download.

Thoughts on the Product:

This package covers a lot of ground on the topic of digital photography. All of the advice is very step-by-step and detailed, but doesn’t include unnecessary filler. Even for someone who has never used a digital camera before, the information is clear and concise enough to take that person from buying a camera to taking their first shots and being proud of their work.

The product can be downloaded instantly upon purchase, so you don’t have to wait for a bunch of books and videos to come in the mail. For those who are new to online downloads, full instructions are included.

http://8477cdnw934y2pecmdsslar8zc.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=PHOTO

What I saw at a Syrian refugee camp

Dear MoveOn member,

A few months ago, I visited the Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan, the largest Syrian refugee camp and home to about 80,000 people. 

It is hard to describe with words what I saw. The camp was full of women and young children who fled Syria in fear for their lives. While I was there, I saw children as young as six years old digging trenches in the sand for raw sewage. I saw young boys and girls being kept home from school to do hard labor because the meager wage is the only way their families could afford to eat. And I heard stories of young girls sold into marriage so the rest of the family could afford to live in this perpetual state of despair. I saw desperation and want emanate from every corner of the camp.

This isn’t just a humanitarian crisis, it has real national security implications. If we don’t help feed and shelter these refugees, extremists like ISIS will. For years, I’ve called upon the United States to increase humanitarian aid to improve the conditions in refugee camps to help other nations bear the burden of displaced persons, and take in more refugees here at home. Finally, there is momentum growing to step up and meet this challenge. 

Over the next two weeks, the U.S. Senate will consider a bipartisan request for $1 billion in emergency funding to provide humanitarian relief to Syrian refugees, and it is CRITICAL that you make your voice heard on this issue.

I know my colleagues take calls from constituents seriously, so make the call and tell Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker you support emergency appropriations to provide humanitarian relief to Syrian refugees, and to please co-sponsor Senate Bill 2145, the Middle East Refugee Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act.

Here’s where to call:

Senator Robert Menendez

Phone: (202) 224-4744

Senator Cory Booker

Phone: (202) 224-3224

Then, please report your call by clicking here:

http://pol.moveon.org/call?tg=FSNJ_1.FSNJ_2&cp_id=2438&id=135024-30141796-78nQ_Lx&t=1

Our nation has a long tradition of providing safe haven to refugees fleeing tyranny, violence, and persecution. We welcomed more than 200,000 refugees during the Balkan Wars, 700,000 refugees from Cuba, and more than 700,000 refugees from Vietnam. 

We are a VERY generous nation, always have been, but there is a double standard in our foreign policy today.

When America sets a military objective, we allocate every single dollar we need to accomplish that mission. But when it’s a humanitarian objective, we only put in a share and expect others to fill the gap. That approach comes at a very real human cost in the region, and ultimately, to our credibility around the world.

That’s one of the reasons I’ve led the effort to articulate a progressive vision for America’s role in the world—one that exercises smarter power and influence by leaning into the world with something other than the pointed edge of the sword. Because the truth is, failing to invest in humanitarian programs can be just as dangerous to U.S. national security interests as failing to invest in military operations when they are necessary. As I’ve rolled out this new foreign policy direction, I’ve been grateful for the passionate feedback I’ve received from MoveOn members and for our steadfast partnership.

That’s why I’m asking you to make your voice heard today. I know my colleagues will be waiting to see which way the calls come in on this issue. Pick up the phone and tell Sens. Menendez and Booker to support legislation providing emergency humanitarian relief to help Syrian refugees. 

Here’s where to call: 

Senator Robert Menendez

Phone: (202) 224-4744

Senator Cory Booker

Phone: (202) 224-3224

Then, please report your call by clicking here:

http://pol.moveon.org/call?tg=FSNJ_1.FSNJ_2&cp_id=2438&id=135024-30141796-78nQ_Lx&t=2

With the civil war persisting in Syria, many families have been in these camps for two or three years, and I can tell you from my experience there, this is nowhere anyone would want to live. This explains why so many refugees are giving up on the camps and fleeing for Europe. They see no end to the civil war, and with little real humanitarian assistance on the way to make life in camps better, they flee, often risking their own lives and the lives of loved ones.

Thank you for standing with me on this issue.

Every best wish,

Senator Chris Murphy

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