Tag Archives: herniated disc

Quick Update…


I thought that it’d be hard to eat nothing after midnight before going into surgery at 2pm yesterday. But my nerves were enough that I couldn’t even think about it! I was more thirsty than anything, but I was advised not to drink anything either.

The staff at the University of Minnesota Medical Center (Fairview Riverside Hospital) was absolutely incredible. I can’t say that enough. Once my nerves were calmed, I started to get hungry!

The surgery lasted approximately an hour and a half. My only trouble was nausea from the anesthesia after waking up. They did everything they could to make me comfortable. I was told later that I was given the most meds for nausea possible and that this is something I should mention about my reaction to anesthesia if I’m ever to have surgery again!

After that recovery period, I ended up in another room where I Rob could visit me. They’d try to have me get up from the bed and into a chair. Basically, it’d be where I’d spend my last phase of recovery before going home.

Going home!

At that point, I couldn’t even imagine going home. I was so woozy and nauseous. They gave me some Sprite and I tried to eat some crackers, but it didn’t really help much. Eventually, anything that was in my stomach did come up and I felt so much better! The last step was to get me to go to the bathroom, change my clothes and get me out of there. Crazy, I know.

Surgery was at 2pm and I was out of the hospital by 7:30pm.

At home, Rob did everything to make me comfortable in bed. I turned on the TV, took my meds and drifted to sleep. I woke up like clockwork every four hours to take more meds, drink some water, go to the bathroom and I even ate a few crackers! Keeping Sophie off my stomach has been challenging, but I think she’s starting to get it.

This morning, I’m trying to get up and walk a bit. Sitting is the worst position and I’m sore and stiff in the lower back area. But I’m eating, taking meds, sleeping, icing, walking. Getting up is the most difficult thing to do and just sitting is next to impossible. I’m very stiff. But it’s just going to take some time, I know.

Oh! And the leg, foot and pain in the behind caused by the herniated disc is GONE! My big toe and part of my foot is still a bit numb, but nothing like before. They said it will take a bit of time for it to come back completely. I’m in good spirits!

I wasn’t going to post any of this on my blog, but since so many are asking and I felt up to it, I thought it’d be a good place where I can get back to everyone in one place.

And now for the the most original-looking flowers I’ve ever received! So cute….

Puppy Flowers, courtesy of my parents. A-dog-able, no? See his little band-aid?

Puppy Flowers, courtesy of my parents. A-dog-able, no? See his little band-aid?

And just for fun, here is my food journal (of the food I actually kept down) from yesterday!

4 saltine crackers

2 graham crackers

Thank you all for your continuing loving and caring support! Off to rest…



Post-Op Foods & Saga Hill Cooking Class


I’m putting together a grocery list of items I need to buy to have on hand after my surgery. They are warning me that the pain killers are going to have some side effects, in which plenty of fruits and vegetables should help do the trick. 😉 Also, since my husband does not cook, I want to have some easy, fast – meaning 5 minutes or less! – healthy go-to meals and snacks so he doesn’t bring me take-out every night. {Although it’ll be nice a couple of times!} I may be off of work for up to two weeks; but even if I’m not, I want some easy things to grab so that I don’t make any poor choices out of inconvenience. Planning ahead and taking out the guesswork, ya know?

I do know that I could do a few make-ahead meals, but with the pain I’ve been in, it just sounds exhausting at the end of the day. Even after sitting all day, my legs feel like they can’t take any more. I have been cooking a bit, but not enough to put that much effort into it.

Here is my list of meal and snack ideas and the corresponding list of groceries that I will need to shop for since they are not currently in my pantry:

Meals & Snacks

  • Egg Bagel Sandwiches {aka 90-second Breakfast Sandwich}
  • Lean Cuisine Frozen Entrees  – I always have a few of these in the freezer. I don’t eat them everyday, only when I’m in a pinch. My favorite? Salmon with Basil!
  • Chipotle Black Bean Burgers – Currently in my freezer. I can just pop them between a bagel thin and or smear on some guacamole.
  • Healthy Choice Country Vegetable Soup – I know that we are talking a lot of sodium here, but it’ll be an easy way to get in some needed veggies
  • Peanut Butter Toast
  • No Hassle Fruits – see grocery list below.
  • Magic Smoothie
  • Fiber One Brownies
  • Veggies and hummus
  • Chocolate
  • Nuts
  • Hard-boiled eggs

Grocery List

  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Clementines
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Carrots – cut and put in baggies or containers
  • Cucumbers – cut and put in baggies or containers
  • Bell Peppers – cut and put in baggies or containers
  • Hummus
  • Spinach
  • Eggs
  • Lean Cuisines
  • Healthy Choice Country Vegetable Soup
  • Wholly Guacamole or Avocado

To prep

  • Make sure dishes and ingredients are reachable from hip to chest level
  • Cut veggies
  • Hard Boil Eggs

That should be it! This also serves as a reminder if I find myself thinking that there is nothing to eat in the house. I can come back to this past to read about my available options!

But of course, Rob, I won’t mind a little takeout now and then, or even a little ice cream. 😉 I’m just trying not to go overboard while I’m immobile!


Food Journal for Thursday:


I was running late, so I made a 90-second Breakfast Sandwich to take in the car (not pictured because, uh, I was running late). But if you want to see a photo or learn how I heard about these, click here. Approximately 300 calories with blueberry bagel thin (sweet and savory sandwich!), one egg, and one ounce cheddar cheese.

At work – 2 cups of black coffee with a piece of Dove Dark Chocolate (the one with almonds). Isn’t this message appropriate right about now?




Salad with mixed greens, grape tomatoes, chopped carrots & celery, chopped almonds and avocado

I put the avocado in the container the night before and squeezed a bit a lime juice over it, but it still browned. It tasted fine, though. And that little jar is leftover from a Love with Food sample. Guess what I put in it? Leftover Balsamic Glaze from my Avocado-Bruschetta-Mozzarella Chicken dinner. I used it as my salad dressing!

Afternoon Snacks

Banana (not pictured).

Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Kind Bar courtesy of my February Foodie Penpal. 😉


Peanut Butter and Dark Choclate Kind Bar

Last night, I went to a Saga Hill Cooking Class with some friends. Knowing that we probably wouldn’t eat until later, I snacked again after work. I had an apple with some Biscoff Spread. Then I went to a small wedge of double cream brie. It could have turned into an all-out binge, but I stopped myself and called my mom instead.


When we arrived at cooking class, we poured ourselves some wine. I started with a glass of white, but it was too warm, so I switched to red. For $15, wine is unlimited for the evening. My friend Jen was driving and I could no longer be on meds before surgery, so I took full advantage! Actually, I was a little apprehensive on how I would hold out for the evening. By this time of night, I’m usually just wiped. Luckily, from where I was sitting at our table, I could sit on the stool or stand up whenever I needed to.

I lost count of my wine, but I think we concluded that I had five of their bar-sized glasses. This is equivalent to probably 2 and 1/2 to 3 glasses the size that I would have at home.

In the past three classes I’ve done at Saga Hill, we usually don’t eat until she’s done her explanation of what to expect and have cooked our first item. However, this time she served us little dishes of jambalaya right away!

Jambalaya with Smoked Sausage

Jambalaya with Smoked Sausage

This class was All About The Pig. I thought this would be a good one to give me some ideas and what else I could make for Rob. We learned about pre-packaged bacon versus pork belly. We cut the pork belly into lardons and sautéed them in a little oil. We then learned how to make scrambled eggs the correct way! You should not beat the crap out of thembut should be patient and guide them to ebb and flow in the pan. We finished the eggs with some chives and butter and served them with the bacon and toast:

Scrambled eggs with lardons and toast

Scrambled eggs with lardons and toast

I don’t know if I can ever eat packaged bacon again! Next up, we made our own sausage. Chef Marianne taught us that sausage is made of one-half pork belly and one-half the middle section of the pig (the loin). We each got some raw ground pork and were able to make our own sausage in a way that could easily be replicated at home. We were given ingredients such as thyme, fennel, cayenne, nutmeg, maple syrup, chedder, etc. and were told to be creative. My sausage included fennel, cheddar {like I would have done anything else!}, with a pinch of cayenne, and some salt and pepper. We rolled them in plastic wrap and poached them for four minutes in boiling water. While that was going on, we were served some pork carnitas on a small baked corn tortilla. (Not pictured, the wine must have kicked in at this point.) The carnitas had a great warmth of spice and were uber-flavorful. They were topped with some sour cream and cilantro.

After our sausages were poached, we browned them in a little bit of oil:

Medley of Sausages

Medley of Sausages!

Since there were six of us at our table, we cut each sausage into six pieces to try a little bit of each creation! Here is what my plate looked like:

Sausage bites with potatoes

Sausage bites with potatoes

To be honest – I loved all of them! Each sausage had a very distinct, unique flavor! And each time we tasted one, we could figure out who made it. It was a fun guessing game and a test of our taste buds.

Then we finished off with dessert – which had nothing to do with pork. We learned how to section/supreme citrus. We put Lynn at our table to work and they turned out beautifully!


One of the chefs gave her the wonderful compliment that in all of his years as a chef, he’s never seen in any kitchen a more beautifully sectioned/supremed selection of citrus!

We each had to make and flip our own crêpe. For some reason, this was a challenge for me. I could get it out of the pan, but not flipped over. One of mine landed on the floor. I guess I just don’t have that flick of the wrist! The citrus {lemon, clementine and grapefruit} ended up in the pan with some sugar and after reducing, some brandy was added to flambée the mixture. We topped our crêpes with the sweetened and flambéed citrus, folded them up and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Thurs-Citrus Crepe

Overall, it wasn’t a low-calorie day. However, I’m glad that our portion sizes were small enough at the cooking class that we didn’t get overly stuffed. And it was still enough to feel like you’d had a good meal!

When I got home, I started to eat a double cheeseburger because Rob had brought home an extra and I didn’t want it to go to waste. WHAT?! What kind of thinking is that? I had already had plenty of food. Lesson learned. I have to eliminate that kind of thinking.


What easy, fast, healthy ingredients, snacks and meals would you add to my post-op lists above?





Today marks the one year anniversary of Season It Already! Happy Blogiversary, SIA!

A lot has happened in the past year. This blog has evolved. It’s become an outlet for me for all things food, wine and health. After never ever believing I’d be a runner, I ran my first 5k. Then I ran eight more… and even one 5-miler. I reached a 35-pound weight loss milestone. I’ve tried to meld my husband’s love of dining out with my quest for a healthier me.

Recently, I’ve endured some severe back pain. I can’t run right now (nor can I do any sort of workout). I’m just about half-way through my weight loss goal and I fear gaining it all back.

Yesterday, I met with an orthopedic surgeon to discuss my options. After looking at my MRI, he said that it’s the worst herniated disc that he’s ever seen and that he couldn’t believe I wasn’t screaming in pain. {I seriously believe that I have my chiropractor to thank for that!} As a conservative surgeon, he really only suggests surgery as a last resort. But in my case, he couldn’t see any other option. And since I’ve lost feeling in my left foot and some of my lower left leg, he wanted to get me in ASAP.

I can’t tell you what a relief it is just to know and have a plan of action in place!

In the meantime, in terms of weight loss (or even maintenance) the only thing I can do is watch my eating. I have to be more diligent than ever before. To hold myself accountable, over the next week, I’m going to try to post all of my eats. You might think that you’ll be bored by this, but I’ve really enjoyed when other bloggers have done this because I’ve found some wonderful recipes and ideas for meals this way.

This week, I’d like to take a poll from all of you readers out there on what you like and what you’d like to see more/less of in the future on Season It Already!

I do apologize for all of my non-local blog friends, but I will continue to be posting about my restaurant experiences here in the Twin Cities. This has helped me remember what I’ve enjoyed and disliked so that I don’t make the same mistake twice. It also reminds me of what I want to try next time and why, or maybe what may have been a healthier choice. For those of you outside the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro, please stick with me. You just may be inspired to recreate a dish that I’ve had a restaurant! But… ultimately, this blog is for me. 😉

I’d love it if you’d post what you’ve liked best/least or what you’d like to see more of less of on Season It Already!


Notes to My Healthy Self


Dear Healthy Self:

Move because you can.

Be grateful.

Be grateful that you can run, skip, dance, walk, bike, swim, workout, do yoga, lift weights and sleep comfortably. Some people can’t.

If you are having a day where you don’t “feel” like being active or working out, don’t use that as an excuse. Because that is all it is – an excuse. You may think you are “exhausted” but you really aren’t. Exhausted means that your muscles are so weak that you can’t get them to move your body parts. You wouldn’t be able to get out of bed if you were exhausted. You might be tired, maybe even really tired. But that is still no excuse. Workout first and then go to sleep. You’ll be glad you did.

Any excuse you make for not being active and/or working out is just LAZY. Yes, that is right. If you don’t want to move, you are being lazy. I’ve been thinking about people who physically cannot  move… how frustrated they must be with those of us in America who are obese. I can only imagine that they look at us and wonder why we aren’t moving when we can. They are probably wondering why we are wasting this ability, an ability that they may only dream to have. I bet they think it’s lazy and ungrateful, too.

I know this because I can’t move like I could before and I’m jealous of those who can. Be grateful and move.

Love, Carrie


Since my last post about my back pain, I’ve been seeing a chiropractor. He put things in motion, referring me to a neuroclinic to schedule an MRI. The results of my MRI show a herniated disc, which my chiropractor identifies as being a 7 or an 8 out of 10 being the worst possible scenario I could have. It could be from an accident or fall, but I don’t recall anything major. He suspects its degeneration from within the last 10-15 years. The photo of the MRI itself scared me the most. I’m trying my best to get that image out of my head.

Now I wait to meet with an orthopedic surgeon to discuss my options. At least I’ve managed the pain for now. It was the worst of my life. I took for granted little things like picking items off the floor. {Boy do I drop stuff a lot!} I’ve taken for granted putting on my socks and getting out of bed.

Until then, I can’t run. I can’t stretch. Anything too active right now could cause an inflammatory flare up and more pain. Now I just wait. It’s frustrating. I learned from Emily at Blogging Runner that I should avoid reading too many running blogs right now. Boy is she right about that! It’s not that I’m not excited about your success. It just makes me sad that I’m not doing it, too.

I have fears. The fear of returning pain. The fear of getting to the half-way mark of my weight loss and gaining it all back due to my lack of inactivity. I need to learn to adapt.

I am not looking for pity, here. {I know no one wants to hear about it over and over again.} I’m merely writing my thoughts so that I can come back to them at a later, healthier date. In fact, I want to be positive and live my life as normally as possible. I need to remember all that I am grateful for now. I need to stay healthy mentally to get through this.

You won’t see any running posts from me for some time. I’ll have to put those 13races in 2013 and 10k goals on hold for a while. I may start sharing my daily eats on the blog like you see over at My Bizzy Kitchen and Running with Racheal to help hold me accountable. I find that when these gals have posted things a few times, I am more likely to try out what they are making {i.e. lasagna soup from Two Dogs in the Kitchen & hardboiled egg sandwiches}. I love when they share or link to recipes, too! I’ll let you know which ones are worth it or not.

So I’m letting go of this post and am putting my energy instead into the following:

health quote

To your health.

Be grateful,