Each Day Gets Better!

While I am sure Tony wishes he was already busted out of the hospital by now, he is doing really well, and his surgeon is very happy with his progress.  No one has made mention of when he is coming home, but Tony and I have been down this road before.  As I’ve said time just stands still at a hospital, so we go in with low expectations on when he’s going to get sprung!

I wish I could be there with him all the time.  As his sister says, I have a calming effect on Tony.  If he knows I am in the room, he can let his guard down, and within a few minutes of my being there, gently touching his forehead, he is peacefully asleep.  😀

I spent all day Sunday there, and didn’t get home until 9:30 p.m.  I still haven’t gone grocery shopping yet, and the more I thought about it, I knew I could come up with something using my freezer and pantry.

I had forgotten that I bought 10 zucchini’s for a dollar almost a week and a half ago and was really surprised that they were still good!  I meant to add sausage to this zucchini quiche but completely forgot to add it and am happy that I did.  It is light, delicate and delicious.  There is enough protein with the eggs. 😀

Crustless Zucchini Quiche (printer friendly version here)

1/4 of pie is a serving: 204 calories, 9.8 fat, 6.6 carbs, .9 fiber and 16 protein = 6 WW Points

Ingredients:

  • 1 large zucchini, sliced in rounds
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 cup fat free half and half
  • 3 ounces cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350.
  2. Spray a pie pan with Pam.  Layer the sliced zucchini on the bottom of the pie pan.
  3. Mix garlic, eggs, egg whites, half n half, parsley, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper.
  4. Pour over zucchini.
  5. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top – and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the eggs are set and slightly browned.
  6. Cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

I forgot both my cameras at home yesterday – so this picture was taken with a leftover at night, in my wonderfully fluorescent kitchen lighting. 😀  I had this slice with 1/2 an everything bagel with a schmear of fat free veggie cream cheese – breakfast was 9 points.

I like how the zucchini floated off the bottom 😀

I went to visit Tony at lunch.  He still is a touch queasy, so I ate lunch at my office – I had a cup of my cauliflower cheese soup and a side salad – no pics! 😦  Lunch came in at 9 points.

Since Hannah has most of her college classes today, I had to come home and let our dog out before going to the hospital.  Our dog misses Tony so much – they are usually home together all the time.  Whenever I walk in the door, he looks behind me to see if Tony’s behind me.  He mostly sleeps in his cage, which he never does, and toggles between sleeping with me and Hannah at night.  Poor puppy.

As I was driving home, I was trying to think of what I had in the freezer that would make a quick dinner.  I remember I bought some Morning Star farm patties and started there.

I am a complete sucker for the 50% off bin at the store 😀

Back in 8th grade, I remember it being a big deal to walk to Burger King on Friday’s with a big group of people.  I think back in the day $2 was all you needed for a sandwich (burger) fries and a drink – maybe not even that much.  One of my favorite things to get there was the breaded Parmesan chicken sandwich – at the time I didn’t even like pasta sauce, so this was quite a culinary leap for me!

I stole this picture off of google images

My sammie:  1 chik’n patty, 1.75 ounce sesame bread, 3/4 oz. mozzarella cheese, 1/3 cup sliced zucchini (that I nuked for 30 seconds), 1/4 cup marinara sauce, sprinkled with dried oregano.  I cooked the chik’n patty in the microwave, then heated the pasta sauce.  I built the sammie and then put it in the toaster oven to melt the cheese.

Before microwaving the patty – not sure it looks “fresh off the grill” considering there were only “grill” marks on one side.  Um, and it may be a tad bit freezer burned.

Out of the toaster oven:

8 PointsPlus

The verdict?  It was really good – but if I didn’t know that “chik’n” patty was on the sandwich, I never would have tasted it.  However, this was a filling sandwich.  I ate this at 5:45 and it kept me full the whole night – not bad!

Stats for Monday:

  • 29 points
  • 30 minutes of walking the dog (15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night)
  • average blood sugar 102

Here’s hoping Tony’s day is better than yesterday!  On my way to visit him before work – have a great day! 😀

UPDATE:  Holly of the Balanced Broad is hosting BSI this week

– she chose . . . . CUMIN!   Remember, you can link to any old post – it doesn’t have to be a new recipe you’ve made this week.  😀

Our Prayers Have Been Answered – No Chemo!

After a roller coaster month, and Tony’s colon cancer surgery last Tuesday, on Friday we received the best news we could have possibly have gotten.  I wasn’t there when the oncologist came to see Tony, but basically he said “we took out all the cancer and I see no reason for you to do chemo.”  Hallelujah!  Prayers from relatives, friends and all of your positive thoughts paid off and we could not be happier!

But, he still had a rough weekend in the hospital.  If anyone has spent more than a couple days in the hospital, you know that its the last place that you can get any type of rest.  His vitals needed to be taken every four hours because his blood pressure was high, he also has high blood sugar which is typical after his type of surgery, so he’s been getting insulin as well.

The problem with the type of surgery Tony had is that it takes a long time for things to start, ahem, moving in the right direction.  One of his doctors described his surgery as a tornado.  Say you are in your house and a tornado rips through your town.  The storm passes and you walk out and you see trees uprooted, debris all over.  It takes time to get things back in order.  Sadly, if it can’t go down, it goes up and out – so he was sick most of the weekend. 😦

I have to give a shout out to my office who sent flowers and sent a card to the house:

They have been so supportive of my absence from work and have picked up the slack – and thankfully a trial my boss was supposed to have in March got postponed indefinitely, which was huge!   It’s nice working at a smaller law firm because its much more familial than the huge law firms I worked at in Chicago. 😀

But I have a confession to make.  It was actually a comment that Debbi made that I couldn’t let slide:

Who sticks to their diet when their husband has surgery?! You so rock! Hugs!

Um, while I had every intention of staying on program, and even eating the WW food at the hospital – it was once I got home that all bets were off.   Below are just a sampling of items I had last week that somehow didn’t make it on my eTools.

at least Hannah split this with me 😀

I had chicken fingers on the days that the WW meal was fish

and maybe once instead of oatmeal my mouth said "sausage biscuit and a large coffee with 2 creams please"

And Saturday, after spending the morning with Tony, he was super tired and told me to come home for a few hours and take our dog for a walk.  There is a place on the way home from the hospital called Mr. Beefy’s – they have the best chicken pitas, and the fries come with it! 😀

for the record though, on my plate was 1/2 of the pita and I threw out 2/3 of the fries

After I ate lunch and took our dog on a half hour walk, I came back and knew I wanted to make a soup to bring back to the hospital for dinner.   A quick check of the deep freeze, fridge and pantry, I ended up making a cauliflower cheese soup with bacon.

Cauliflower Cheese Soup with Bacon (printer friendly version here)

  • 4 servings – 1 1/2 cups per serving: 242 calories, 12 fat, 12.5 carbs, 3.6 fiber, 16.9 protein =  6 PointsPlus

Ingredients:

  • 1 20 oz. bag frozen cauliflower
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 ounces cheese of choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons bacon bits (for garnish)
  • 4 tablespoons chopped cooked asparagus (for garnish)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (for garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Microwave the bag of cauliflower and press “frozen vegetable.”
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat and add garlic and cook for a couple minutes.
  3. Add chicken broth, milk and cooked cauliflower and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Using a stick blender, puree soup.  Remove from heat and add the cheese (I used 4 ounces of cheese ends), salt and pepper and stir until cheese is melted.
  5. Spoon into 4 bowls.  I had leftover cooked asparagus, so I chopped the asparagus, zest and bacon bits and divided them equally between the bowls.

simple goodness in a bowl! 😀

I found out where the microwaves were in the cafeteria and heated this up for my dinner Saturday night – so much better than hospital food! 😀

And now I have to thank all the wonderful nurses who have been taking care of my Tony.  I can’t imagine how difficult it has to be to put your trust in the kindness of strangers when you are lying in a hospital bed.  Each and every one of them has been kind, gentle and happily get Tony’s sense of humor!   On more than one occasion a nurse has come back on a shift, walked into the room and said “so the wise guy is still here!”  I will forever be grateful for them taking care of him when I am not there.  😀

Still not sure when he will come home yet – but hopefully in the next couple of days.  Thanks again for your continued support, prayers, emails and cards – what a wonderful blogging community! 😀

I Made Soup

After having this for breakfast every day this week:

love that my insulin pen got in the shot!

And hospital WW entrees like this one – baked ziti with steamed broccoli – 6 WW Points:

I needed real food.  I spent the day with Tony – he’s super tired and unfortunately very nauseous.  See that plate of ziti?  I asked him if it would be okay to bring my lunch back up since he’s only been eating ice chips and he said “that’s fine.”  But one whiff of that food and he felt like puking almost immediately!

I had to run my tray out of the room and finish in the hallway – poor thing!  He has no appetite, which they said would take a while to come back.  But can I tell you that they are thrilled that he is farting!  That’s the first thing the surgeon asked him today and that’s a great sign that things are moving in the right direction – no pun intended!

We even took two laps around the common area today too.  But we both quickly realized this is going to be much longer of a recovery than either one of us anticipated.  It stands to reason, I mean he was in surgery for 7 1/2 hours!  But I guess we thought the surgery would be the hard part.

So when at 7:00 p.m. last night (after he beat me in Wheel of Fortune – I thought I could win in his weakened state!) I told him I was going to go get something to eat, he said “go home.”  He was tired, he just wanted to sleep.  There was nothing I could do for him.  But I couldn’t help but feel like a bad wife for not staying with him.   I am going to work today, so I knew I needed the mental, physical and emotional break of just doing my normal stuff, which is being bizzy in my kitchen. 😀

I brought the Soups of the World book that Tony bought me for Valentine’s day to the hospital and pretty much read it cover to cover.  Yep, I am one of those people who reads a cookbook like a novel. 😀  One of the recipes called for a cream of red kidney bean soup.  I have never thought of that, and I started to think if I had all the ingredients to make it.

When I got home, I discovered I had some of the ingredients, and decided to tweak the recipe with what I had on hand.  And by some, my recipe in now way resembles the original one, but it sparked the idea!

Cream of Kidney Bean soup with Sausage

319 calories, 7.6 fat, 43 carbs, 10 fiber and 21 protein = 8 PointsPlus for two cup serving

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • One 15 oz. can dark red kidney beans, undrained
  • One 15 oz. can diced tomatoes (I used ones with green chiles – it’s spicy – just use plain diced tomatoes for a milder soup)
  • 6 ounces sausage (polish, kielbasa, I used chicken sausage)
  • 2 cups fresh chopped baby spinach
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup fat free half and half
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  1. In a stock pot, heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat, then add the garlic and cook about 4 minutes, just before they start to brown.  Stir in the kidney beans, canned tomatoes, chicken broth, water, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and using a stick blender, puree the soup.
  3. Cut the sausage into bite size slices and place in pureed soup and simmer just until sausage is warmed through.*  Add chopped baby spinach and cook until slightly wilted, one or two minutes.  Stir in half and half right before serving and season with salt and pepper.

* My chicken sausage is fully cooked – so if you use raw sausage, cook on the side separately and add it in the end.

And while this may not look that appetizing, it was comfort in a bowl.  The spiced canned tomatoes bring a pretty hefty spicy kick – and the sausage is great for texture.  And a soup that Tony wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole!

I am on my way to see Tony before work, then will visit him at lunch and then go there straight from work.  Can I just say I am thrilled he is at a hospital not only close to our house, but five minutes from my office!   When we had his knee surgery it used to take me sometimes two hours to get to him. 😦

Don’t forget that it’s BSI – Green Beans!   And a quick apology to Sara for not adding her to the BSI page until today – sorry! 😦

My entry is my Szechwan Green Beans – which I realize is not on my Index of Recipes – I’ll fix that!  (p.s. you’ll also find my recipe for crustless quiche on that post too!)

My project this weekend it to try to find a platform bed frame to make our queen size bed higher for Tony – I have no idea where to look though – any suggestions? If I could spend under $250, that would be a bonus! 😀

Happy Friday 😀

Doing Nothing Is Exhausting

I got home from the hospital last night and I just was drained.  It’s hard to believe how not doing much can be so tiring!  Some days I’ve gotten up at 6:00 a.m., gone swimming, then to work, then worked out at lunch, work some more and then come home and make dinner, and I am more tired today than that type of day.

Tony is doing well – the first day out of post-op is the toughest.  We are out of the ICU.  He had an awful roommate the night before.  He was a diabetic, couldn’t feel his feet.  When the nurse took his blood sugar she said “it’s 280 so I need to give you some insulin” and he was like “that’s a low number for me.”  What??!!

But the good news is Tony has a private room that actually has some space so I don’t feel like I am right on top of him.  He slept in and out most of the say yesterday.  His heart doctor, surgeon and GP all came by and said he’s doing great – wonderful news!

I am taking one more day off of work to be with him.  Please know how much I appreciate all your kind comments and emails – its really helped me more than you’ll ever know!

We are supposed to have record temps today – almost to 60 degrees!  Hopefully all this dirty snow will melt 😀

Have a great day and thanks again! 😀

He saw my face!

Tony’s surgery was scheduled at 7:30 a.m yesterday morning., so I told him I would be there at 6:30.  I was running a couple minutes late, trying to get the dog outside since we would be gone for several hours.  He never did go outside, damn dog.

Hannah and I are half way to the hospital when he called and said that they were taking him to surgery  . . . now! My worst fear was realized when I thought I wouldn’t be able to see him before surgery.  But luckily, the porter who was taking him down said that we would be able to see him before surgery – whew!

He was so nervous, like he normally is before any surgery.  But I knew he was in good hands.  All the doctors and nurses were really nice, his anesthesiologist walked in and shook Tony’s hand as a fellow White Sox fan.  They ended up giving him transfusions to make sure his blood levels stayed well during surgery.

Then before we knew it, it was time to say good-bye.  I gave Tony my positive face, told him he was strong and he could get through the surgery.  It wasn’t until he was wheeled away that I let my emotions get to me for a couple minutes.  While its a relief to know he is getting taken care of, the waiting gets to you after a while.

I went and got an oatmeal in the cafeteria, with raisins, sliced banana and sugar free syrup – not bad for $1.50!

And I drank a lot of this during the day:

We were initially told that the surgery would last between 2 and 3 hours.  So in my head, I am thinking 10:30 a.m. at the latest.  At 11:00 a nurse hands me a phone.  It’s the ER nurse.  She tells me that the tumor is lower in his colon than they thought, and it will be another one to two hours.

Okay, at least I know that by 1:00 p.m. everything will be done.  At 12:30 the surgeon comes out, and he says that they found more cancer, and have to take out more colon than they thought, but Tony was stable, and it will be another couple hours.  The thought that they might find more cancer never crossed my mind at all.  😦

So we decided to go get lunch.  We first had Hannah bring up some soup for me and my Mom, but neither one of us was feeling it, so we went and got something else – it was okay – chipotle turkey, zucchini and I threw on the french fries for stress relief! 😀

So now I am thinking around 3:00 the doctor will come out and tell me everything is okay.  Although since we were sitting in the surgical waiting room all day we noticed that some doctors would just come right out, say “everything went as planned, your loved one is doing well” while other doctors would escort people into a private room.

We kind of joked and said “I hope we don’t have to go to the private room!”  Finally, at 3:30, the doctor came to us, looked at me and said “do you want to see him?”  I jumped up, we started to walk to recovery, when he starts describing the extra surgery he needed to do and then says “why don’t we talk in this room” and leads me to the private room

As I was walking I was like “no, don’t take me to the private room – only bad news is given in the private room!”  Turns out he just drew me a picture of what he did in the surgery so I could understand it – whew!  But can I tell you that the rest of the family in the waiting room had white faces when I got back!

But since the surgery was so long, it took him a couple hours to wake up.  And he was supposed to go to a floor after surgery that was somewhere between a regular room and ICU, but no bed was available.  So finally, at around 6:00 p.m., a nurse comes over and tells us that we can wait in the ICU waiting room – that of course made us concerned, but once we got there, I was calm.

My maiden name is Hills.  This is the name on the ICU waiting room.

I took this as a sign that all would be well!  And um, this place was amazing – private rooms with flat screen t.v.’s, reclining chairs – I would have liked to have spent all day in this waiting room!

Hannah and my Momma

We finally got to see Tony at 6:45 – 15 minutes before the nursing shift change.  They don’t allow visitors between the hours of 7-8 a.m. and p.m. during shift change.  I was just glad Tony was awake, I could kiss his lips and he saw my face so he knew everything was okay.

Hannah and I drove together in her car, so we picked up a pizza on the way home, and I was back at the hospital at 8:00 p.m. after the shift change.  When I walked into his room I saw this:

And while this may look scary to you, he was calm and sleeping, which is exactly what he needs.  He ended up waking up around 9:00 and then I left around 11:00 p.m.  His nurse only has him as a patient last night, so hopefully he was in good hands last night.

A huge thank you to my SIL Jody, my nephew Chris, my Mom and Hannah for being my moral support all day at the hospital, and for my parents in law and step-son Joe’s texts throughout the day.  And thank you for all your comments and emails throughout the day – it was like getting a virtual hug from all of you!

Today the plan is to get Tony walking so he doesn’t form blood clots, and to get him back into a regular room.  They previously said his hospital stay could be anywhere from 3 – 5 days, but I guess we’ll get a better handle on that today.

Go give your spouse, child, or significant other an extra kiss and hug today.  Sometimes our every day lives get lost in the shuffle and you forget to slow down, and appreciate what you have!

Hugs!