My New Normal

Wow, thank you so much for all your comments yesterday about Tony!  I love that long time readers who have never commented before left a comment, and believe me, as my phone vibrated throughout the day that I had another comment, I felt a virtual hug.

It’s kind of funny how you think your life doesn’t change much day to day.  Or at least that’s what I used to think.  Yes, you can look back over the course of a couple years and see how maybe your life changed, but I am still at the same job, live in the same house, go to the same grocery store, etc.  I actually rely on this blog a lot to go back to my life and remember what has actually happened.  I was trying to remember the last time Tony was “normal” in a sense that he was able to get out and do things without much trouble. 

I just instinctively jumped to April of 2014.  April 30, 2014?  Tony was in the hospital.  I wrote:

“That will pinpoint some autoimmune deficiencies he’s been having and tell his why his liver numbers are off.  While a part of me wants to google the shit out of what that could mean, I am not jumping to any conclusions at this point.  Just taking it a day at a time.”

Then I jump to my July 2014 archives.  July 31, 2014.  Tony was at Mayo.  I wrote:

“So yesterday morning this doctor came in and took one look at Tony and said “why didn’t you tell me you were a mess?”  Somehow overnight Tony’s blood count dropped substantially – they had to give him an emergency blood transfusion and as of last night, he’s gotten 4 units.  His kidneys also weren’t functioning, so they have to figure out why he’s losing blood and that’s there focus now.  He’s nowhere near getting his heart biopsy done, and my guess is that it won’t be until sometime next week.”

So it got me to think that Tony may have had chronic kidney problems since July, but since the main focus when we were at Mayo was his heart, I wonder if they kind of missed the boat on the kidney problems back then.  Or maybe when he got home we should have been monitoring his kidneys since there was definitely a problem at Mayo?

I can’t second guess myself much at this point.   When one of the liver doctors stopped by last night during rounds he mentioned that our GP wanted to get together with him, the kidney doctor, the heart doctor and the blood doctor, and he asked “do you know why he wants to meet with us?”  One of our GP’s main gripe is that doctors no longer talk face to face anymore.  It’s all digital.  Digital notes, digital hospital records, texting, email.  I said “he wants to meet with all of Tony’s doctors to ensure you are all on the same page today and moving forward.”  He seemed a bit perplexed by that, but agreed that even if there were differences of opinions long term, they all agreed that dialysis was necessary to address his acute renal failure.

It’s been an interesting week food wise for me too, since I cook a lot of my foods for the week on Sunday.  Sometimes if I meet up with my Mom and Hannah on a Sunday, I can use Monday night (while Tony watches Monday night football) to catch up on cooking.  Well, getting up and getting to the hospital by 6:30 a.m. and staying there until 8:15 before work, and coming home around 9 and really just tired and I don’t really feel like cooking, as odd as that sounds.   When I picked up Jimmy John’s the night before last I saw on the counter that they had day old bread, and bought a couple loaves.  I used to think that the bread on top of the counter was for “show” but it’s actually the day old bread – look for it the next time you go.  I’ve paid .49 a loaf and recently paid .99 cents a loaf, but I think it depends on where you go.  After I paid .99 at one store a couple weeks ago, the store near my office still sold it for .49.


I ended up making a Jimmy John’s breakfast panini.  Cooked egg whites, rosemary ham, baby spinach and Swiss Lorraine cheese.  The day old bread is perfect for panini’s – the outside is nice and crunchy and the inside ingredients are nice and tender – and don’t forget the melty cheese!

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I put that picture on Instagram, like the Instagram whore that I am, and not too long afterwards, not only did Jimmy John’s like my picture, they are now following me.  Pretty sure I’ll be getting the call any day to recipe develop for their day old bread.

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Not long after that, Sur la Table liked the same picture.  I am hoping they will start sending me some high end pots and sauté pans to recipe develop for them.  A girl can dream, right?

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Work was busy, which I appreciate, but we were having copier problems and somehow I have become the trouble shooter in the office for that shit.  I am the least technical person in that office and working with three different outside sources, my window of working out kept getting smaller and smaller, until it just never happened.  Around 2 I ended up eat my leftover spicy chicken thai peanut noodles.  I added some chopped fresh baby spinach and fresh cilantro on top.  I like to keep it klassy with the plastic fork.

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I went straight to the hospital after work, convinced that he would still be in the midst of his second dialysis treatment, but he was already done!  Tony’s nephew made a surprise visit, which was nice.  Although Tony isn’t really up for visitors or talking on the phone yet.  He hasn’t talked to his parents or son directly as of yet, and a few of Tony’s friends and his sister have asked to stop by, but he’s just not up to it yet. 

Dinner?  Was more leftover Thai noodles that I brought from work and stirred up in the hospital bathroom so it didn’t stink too much of sriracha for Tony. 

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I should really teach a food photography class.  “Our first lesson tonight is all about food styling.  Let’s balance a bowl of Thai noodles on the edge of the sink, making sure to capture the tiles below and remember this – make sure the lighting is fluorescent.  Always use fluorescent lighting!”

Ha.  Such is life.  This is my new normal and I just have to ride the roller coaster.  Thank you for your continued support/hugs/emails, etc.  It’s doing wonders for my soul!

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  • Fran
    November 14, 2014 at 6:51 am

    I remember back in the days when my Dad had his brain haemorrhage he was complaining about his throat all the time but the doctors only focussed on the brain. Until the day he almost choked in front of the doctor, only then they took him seriously. Turned out the tumor in his throat had caused the haemorrhage in the first place. Bottom line of this story: in my opinion doctors only focus on one thing and hardly ever look any further.

    Hopefully Tony feels a bit better soon so his friends and family can visit or phone him. And for you: take care of yourself sweety.

  • Leslie
    November 14, 2014 at 7:43 am

    You are absolutely a role model for putting one foot in front of the other, staying in the moment, and determining to keep as positive as possible under any and all circumstances, Biz. Part of what keeps you that way is to give yourself permission to have your moments where you allow tears and fears, don’t stuff them in with horrible food choices, and stay connected to your supports. All that and you still put out recipes that I always bookmark and use. Now more than ever, I’m getting a panini press!

    Hugs and prayers for Tony and for you. May his kidneys here the siren call of dialysis and “wake up”, as the doc’s are hoping. Sounds like his main doc is great…a real advocate for the best possible care and communication regarding Tony and his team.

  • Thekitchwitch
    November 14, 2014 at 7:49 am

    It’s hard not to look back on something like this and think, “Gaa! All the signs were there!” but it will make you crazy, so I hope you can avoid doing that. Wishing that the Sur la Table dream comes true for you–a closet full of Le Creuset pans! xo

  • SuziCate
    November 14, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Often correct diagnoses take time, but it is so frustrating going through so much pain before finding the true cause…some times doctors begin treating only to find later what they are treating is only a symptom of the real problem. Praying for continued healing for Tony and strength for you. Hang in there, Biz. Hugs.

  • Kimberly
    November 14, 2014 at 8:48 am

    I am praying for you and your husband. I love your blog! I sometimes skip other blogs I enjoy, but I always check yours. it’s my absolute favorite. You inspire me so much. Hang in there.

  • Michelle
    November 14, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Morning Biz…….leaving a comment so your phone buzzes:) Thinking of you both today! Hang in there!

  • Carrie @ Season It Already
    November 14, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Hey Biz-
    You are amazing. Don’t forget that! Also, whenever I am going through a rough time, I do this exercise: http://themagicofthesecret.blogspot.com/2012/04/day-7-magical-way-out-of-negativity.html

    Call me crazy, but it just makes me feel better sometimes.

    (P.S. I am not saying you are being negative, because you are most certainly not! It’s just what the exercise is called.)

    Sending lots of love your way!

  • Marcia@Frugal Healthy Simple
    November 14, 2014 at 10:18 am

    First of all, your photography is way better than mine, so there! Of course, maybe I shouldn’t use a cell phone camera. 😉

    Secondly, wow, Jimmy Johns AND Sunny Anderson. I definitely see more of a future for you in food. Next Food Network Star? I don’t know, I think it’s definitely something that you are good at.

    I really like how you bring your food interest into your daily life – I know you’ve done “soup days” at work and you’ve made lunches for other people. I think about doing that sometimes. But nowadays I’m so busy I don’t even pack my husband’s lunch and I’m training my 8 year old to do his own too.

  • Randi
    November 14, 2014 at 10:58 am

    6 days after my WLS( last year), I went to the ER for horrible shoulder pain. It turned out to be fluid on my lungs( not enough to drain) and while I was in the ER, the dr. said to me ” Your heart enzymes aren’t normal either”. They kind of ignored that and focused on my lungs. Well, the day before I was supposed to leave, my GP sent a cardiologist in to see me and he said ” You had a heart attack and you need an angio”. WTF? Turns out I had a 70% blockage of my right coronary artery, I never would have known had I not had the WLS. Anyway, I got out on Thanksgiving morning and here we are today. I can’t even imagine what you( and Tony) are going thru. Don’t get too used to it, I’m sure they will get him fixed up and that the dialysis will help. (((((((HUGS)))))))

  • Karli
    November 14, 2014 at 11:58 am

    I’m so happy that you can maintain your sense of humor in all of life’s ups and downs. I truly believe people who can do that are strong, powerful people with a world of good inside them. Keep being a light for those around you and for Tony!

  • Jan
    November 14, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    Wanted to wish you a nice weekend. I hope that Tony will feel so much better with the treatments he’s getting. I feel for him, it stinks feeling like crap. I have been there. He has had a rough ride and you ride right along with him. My very first Biz blog was something like boiling the perfect hard boiled egg, I found you because I had lost my job and was surfing the net. Tony was just getting home from the hospital after the colon scare. I have stuck with you ever since.I can’t quit you and I still can’t make a proper hard boiled egg! Oh well. this is life…………..Hang in there sweetheart!

  • MIchelle
    November 14, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Stopping by send some good vibes yours and Tony’s way! I seldom comment but read often.

    At least the bowl of noodles wasn’t balanced on the edge of the toilet – now there is a picture for a food blog 😉

    Hope you have a great weekend!

  • Roz@weightingfor50
    November 14, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Sending a virtual hug so your phone vibrates!!!! HUG!!!!

  • Roz@weightingfor50
    November 14, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Sending a second vibration….just ’cause! HUG!

  • Lauren W
    November 14, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    No matter what lighting or dish you have, your fun personality shines through every post you share with us. Remember people are thinking about and praying for you both right now!!! Big hugs!

  • Kim
    November 14, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    I’m glad you have had some bright spots in your day – soon you are going to have all food/cooking stores, restaurants and celebrity chefs following you!!!
    I hope that Tony is starting to feel a tiny bit better after a couple round of dialysis.

  • Christine
    November 14, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Amazing how you are still able to put together such delicious looking meals! Maybe it was a plastic fork, but the placemat underneath was very festive! Sending positive thoughts your way! I hope you can take a little time over the weekend for yourself, important to take care of you too! 🙂

  • jody
    November 14, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    I just caught up on your blog biz….sorry about your new normal. If there is ANYTHING you need let me know. And oh boy!!!! I can’t believe your bread deal….geez man, I haven’t eaten bread in like two years so it looks scrumptious even day old!!! Good luck with everything and please know I’m sending good vibes our way from CT!

  • Louise
    November 14, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    That’s fun…your phone vibrating so you know you got a comment and a hug….well then, here is a hug for you and Tony 🙂 I shall have to remember HUG = Comment 🙂

    “They say” that hind sight is always better then foresight…..but then there is nothing you can do about the things behind you, (except to learn from them) it’s already been done. Only try and be more wise in making decisions with the things ahead of you. You’re learning….that is what life is all about. Sounds like you have some good Doctors helping you.

    On a lighter side….Netflex has a really neat movie….maybe you already saw it…..I have it right now, it’s called “Chef” about a Chef working in a restaurant who lost his passion for chefing, he has a “Twitter” war with a food critic……His passion comes back when he gets a “food truck” (without giving too much of the plot away) I thought, Biz would like this. It’s one of those “happy ending” movies. I need to watch it a couple more times.

    Have a great day everyday and HUGS to you and Tony. Food is looking good and isn’t that fun that Jimmy Johns is following you?

  • Lynne
    November 14, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Just wanted to send you a ‘hug’. Here’s to better health now and better days ahead!

  • Kris
    November 14, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Love to you and Tony. Hope you can feel the virtual hugs and the heartfelt prayers.

  • Michelle
    November 14, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    Biz , you should try out for next food network star! Keeping you and Tony in my prayers , and sending you a virtual hug!

  • Lori
    November 14, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    Well since I started doing my job, doctors certainly should not be on pedestals. They make a lot of mistakes and egos certainly get in the way. But, their main goal is to save lives. Also, the same symptoms can be attributed to a myriad of diseases and they just have to start treating what is the most likely cause and work their way from there. It’s also very possible that the issue with his heart caused the load on his kidneys to be too great and they began to decline. There certainly isn’t anything you could have done about it. Now that everyone is trying to get on the same page, this should help a lot.

  • Karen
    November 14, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    I’ve been following you blog for over 2 years and love your honesty and optimism. I am so sorry to hear about Tony’s health troubles and am praying for the best outcome. Bless you both!

  • Kym
    November 16, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Having all the doctors on the same page will help. I agree with several of the comments, you should try out for a food network star. It is funny you picked April as the date to look back on. That is the same time period I looked back to when you posted your most recent “Mariano’s salad” , I looked and it and thought that doesn’t look like the salad from there. The chicken fingers looked like the same ones on the salad you had in the hospital on April 29th. Don’t think I’m a photo creeper… I just try to learn from other people’s food photos 🙂