South Dakota, Gallstones and the Badlands National Park

Before I go into the details….I just want to let y’all know I am fine.

I have gallstones. I assume I have had them for awhile but they usually only bother me while I am pregnant. I had a gallbladder attack almost a year ago in September of 2014. I spent the night in the hospital when I was around 20 weeks pregnant with Zelda. The first time I went to the ER, the doctor thought I had a weird stomach virus and gave me some pain meds and fluids, because I was so dehydrated and sent me home. It was a few months later I would find out from an ultrasound that it was actually gallbladder stones clogging my gallbladder neck and not some random stomach bug.

My doctor told me to not eat fatty foods and that when I was 6 weeks post baby, I could schedule surgery to have my gallbladder removed. That was it….eat non-fatty foods and we will cut it out once you have your baby. Never went into exactly what was causing the stones, my lifestyle choices, food or how I was feeling. Just here is some pain meds and we will cut it out. I love modern medicine but c’mon.

In the United States, an estimated 10 to 15 percent of adults have gallstone disease. About a million new cases are diagnosed each year, and some 800,000 operations are performed to treat gallstones, making gallstone disease the most common gastrointestinal disorder requiring hospitalization. The medical cost of gallstones in the United States is estimated to be about $5 billion yearly. The primary therapy for gallstones that are causing pain, inflammation, or infection is removal of the gallbladder.

I am glad I was pregnant when I had my first attack because it gave me time to research more and more about the subject. I spent the next several months trying to figure out how to change my diet and the things I could eat. I finally found a chiropractor, thanks to my midwives, who sat down and really listened to my problems. My diet was so restrictive that I was eating no fats. I was scared to eat anything that might set off another gallbladder attack.

With chiropractic care, supplements, healthier diet and extreme lifestyle change I was able to keep the pain at bay.

So now the Bad part.

We set off to explore the Badlands. I had heard of the rugged beauty and was excited to see and learn about the fossil beds and geological deposits that make the Badlands. Plus, what is in the name, that we call Badlands.

Badlands National Park is located in the White River Badlands and was called mako sica (mako, land and sica, bad) by the Sioux Indians. The term badlands generally refers to an area that is difficult to travel through primarily because of the rugged terrain and lack of water.

It was like being on a whole different planet, I can only imagine what early settlers must have thought when they came upon this area of the world.

After making a few stops and getting out to walk around the Badlands, we decided to grab some Indian Fried Tacos. Bad choice. Really Bad Choice. 

It took me maybe 15 minutes to understand that my gallbladder was not going to be able to process this fat.   I drank as much water as I could find and we started to head back to the RV that was 69 miles away.  I stopped at a rest stop to use the restroom. I told Derek that if I didn’t come out of the restroom in 15 mins to come get me. I got sick at the rest stop and after I could get back up, I ran to the truck and told Derek I had to go to the ER now. I was too far past the point of the medicine working, and it was still an hour away at the RV. I was having a full blown gallbladder attack. You can’t breathe, you have a sharp pain in her right side under you breast  and my back was hurting so bad I couldn’t sit back in the truck. I have had two babies with no epidurals. I can handle pain. But this pain hurts so bad, I think I am going to pass out. People say gallbladder attacks are similar in pain as a heart attack.

Derek drove 95 MPHs down the road to get me to the ER. I am sure we looked like crazy people, he has his flashers on and honked at anyone who stayed in the left lane too long. 

What seemed like forever, we finally got to an ER and had to wait in the ER for another 20 mins. I didn’t know this at the time, but unless you are dying, you have to wait in line. The people in front of me was a woman with a fever, another man that said he had some rough sex and was afraid something happened, a man with a broken foot(he dropped his motorcycle on his foot, last day of Sturgis) and a child that was coughing. 

I was admitted and all I could think about is I am probably going to need surgery and how I was going to feed Zelda. Doctor came in and spoke to me and said he ordered blood work,  a sonogram and some synthetic morphine.  Once he had all that information we could talk about what was going to need to happen next. I was expecting my gallbladder to be infected and dieseased. Which means I would have to be prepped for surgery immediately.  

The ER doctor came in and said my blood work looked great. No infections and my liver enzymes were normal. In the sonogram they did see gallstones but my gallbladder looked healthy. I was released with information to find a surgeon when I get back to Austin to have my gallbladder removed. 

Thankfully we are traveling with friends. These friends took both girls back to their RV. Heidi was able to keep Zelda occupied with cucumbers, white rice and applesauce.  

Coincidentally enough, these are the same friends we were with the first time I had a gallbladder attack, while eating lasagna at their RV in Austin. To them I say thank you and I am forever grateful. I felt very guilt for putting myself in that situation and than the fact that I couldn’t feed Zelda for 6-12 hours afterwards from the pain meds was a hard reality.  That first night after the attack was rough and I was still in a ton of pain. 
So I am back to my super restrictive diet and supplements. 

Which sucks, because we are on our way to Kansas City to spend a few weeks with my best friend Laura. Usually there is lots of wine, coffee and eating out in our visits. 

My plan is to eat really well, take the supplements and when we get back to Austin, start to see the chiropractor again. I still think I need my gallbladder and am not ready to cut it out. Just yet. 

KonMaring this RV

Have you heard of this little book called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” or the KonMari method? I have had the book on my iphone for a least a year. Thinking that I didn’t need to declutter, because we have purged so many times. There is no way I need to use “that” process to tidy up my space.

Fast forward to this week. I am not feeling well, the baby is sick or snotty or teething or something, we are in Billings and I am desperately missing the mountains of west Montana. So I decided that I should read the book during our down time, to see what all the fuss is about. I am on a few KM Facebook groups and they all talk about “sparking the joy.” I look around and my space hasn’t been sparking joy lately. Maybe it is because I spent so much time outside the last two months, that I haven’t noticed lately all the clutter that is happening around me.

So I read the book. In one day. And I have to say….I am ready to start this process.

Information below is from the Facebook group KonMari Adventures.

So what should you do before you “start” Kommari journey, more or less in order

  1. Read the book.  The whole thing.  This is very important. CHECK.
  2. Do the mental work MK suggests to envision your home and your life after the process.  This too is really important. CHECK.
  3. Take a ton of “before” pictures – closets, drawers, rooms, walls, floors, anywhere there is something besides a rug or paint.  This is not a requirement of MK, but you’ll be so glad for these pics as you get into your journey – trust me! CHECK.

Catching up on laundry tomorrow, so I can start this process.

IMG_0975

Yellow Brick Road to the Golden Road.

First two weeks on the road have been spent with mostly family. We stopped in Wichita, Kansas for a week where we spent time catching up with Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles, Cousins and plus all the Great-relatives. 

The girls and I explored the exploration place, rode a ferris wheel at Riverfest and spent a hot afternoon at a splash pad. 

Osage Splash pad with cousin Lilly

Most nights in Wichita were spent with my brother and his gang. Shameless plug, please click on the link if you would like to support and help my brothers family purchase a new van for their two handicapped children, Hannah and Maddy.

GoFundME for Hannah and Maddy.

My niece Titus with my dad.


I met up with my Uncle Hammer and Aunt T for some yummy fried chicken at Strouds. I haven’t been to that restaurant since my senior prom.  My Aunt T brought me this present!

 

Most would look at this and find it ugly but to me this is a glimpse into my childhood. Many days were spent at our family lake cabin, and this Mexican folk art was hanging in the common area. I remember looking at the colors and the yarn, remembering how beautiful it was. It now holds a special place in my heart because the mother in this artwork is baby wearing and has braids. If you have ever met me than you will know I am always wearing a baby and most days I am sporting braids. My easy mom hair do.  

By Saturday we were ready to hit the road again. 

We have a new rule this summer. We are not traveling more than 4 hours per day and no setting up in the dark. We learned the hard way last time we traveled for the summer. With the new baby this seems more realistic for our family. We travel 2 hours, take a break, gas up and than travel 2 more hours. 

With only travel 4 hours a day, we landed ourselves in Oakley, Kansas at High Plains RV parkThe wind was horrible in Western Kansas and we welcomed the break. The RV park was what I would expect to see in Western Kansas and served its purpose as a place to stop on our way to Denver. A little hidden gem is the restaurant pub located in the RV park called Cap’n Jacks. The drinks were great and the food was even better. It was a nice little surprise. 

My sweet family at Cap’n Jacks in Oakley, Kansas.

On Sunday, we made our way to Golden, Colorado. A nice little town right on the foot hills of the rocky mountains. More famously known for the Coors brewery in town. We have been staying at Dakota Ridge RV Resort and although I was skeptical about this park, it has been really nice. Side note: during my planing process of where we are going to stay in the RV, I first head to the GoodSam website and than from there I read the reviews of the Rv park on rvparkreviews.com. The reviews for Dakota Ridge were either 5 stars or 2 stars. It was either the worst park someone had stayed in or the best. We tend to stay in parks closer to bigger cities, so we are used to small RV spaces and less shade.

Dakota Ridge RV park has its own little “mountain”

IMG_0976

View from the top of the little mountain.

We also chose this park due to its proximity to Arvada (small suburb west of Denver), where my cousin just recently purchased a house. It sounds like the Denver market is super competitive just like Austin. 

I was also able to catch up with an old high school friend. Who just happened to name her dog…..Zelda! Go check out her handmade wares including yoga bags, earrings and small purses at KatMandu Designs. It so cool to think that pretty much every state we go to, we can find a friend to hangout with.

Baby Zelda meets the puppy Zelda.

Catching up with Mandy from high school.

Yesterday was spent at Heritage Park, where instead of paying a park entrance fee and then riding all the rides you want, their concept was to pay for only the rides you wanted to ride. Which was perfect since baby and I could only ride the train and the carousel.

IMG_1101

Train ride at Heritage Park.

IMG_1102

Carousel ride at Heritage park


We have spent most of our last day in Golden catching up on life and getting ready to move the RV tomorrow. Two more sleeps until we are in Jackson, Wyoming with our friends!

If you liked this post or want to hear more about our nomadic  to stationary life, please subscribe to the blog or send us an email at roadmaptonomad@gmail.com.  If you would prefer to stalk from a distance, head over to our Facebook page and “Like” it. 

Pssstttt…..did you also know we are on Instagram as roadmaptonomad. Come follow us and I bet we will follow you back! 

IMG_0723

Our first major hiccup…in the first 3 hours.

On our way to Kansas on Saturday, we had our first hiccup. Our kitchen slide is over our rear RV wheels. Some where between Austin and Fort Worth, some very important cables fell onto our wheels. The friction from the traveling wheels severed three different cables. When Derek pulls over to get gas, he often takes a quick walk around the RV. Good thing he did, because one of the cables that was severed was the propane line. Propane was leaking…..so Derek quickly turned off our propane line. A truck driver helped us out by giving this super industrial zip ties to tie up the cables.

IMG_0724

We made our way further down the highway and found a CampingWorld with a service area. We showed up at 12:55pm and guess what time the service area closes?

Yep, 1pm.

The service manager said they couldn’t get us in until Monday to look at it. They offered us a place to stay in the back if we wanted. On the concrete jungle. Nope.

“I will tip someone $20 to come look at our RV real quick and just let us know what you think we need to do, since you are the expert”

Done. Service tech walked out to the RV and gave us his assessment of the situation. To get it fixed we needed a new propane line, 110v flex electrical cable for the slide and all that would take 12 hours of labor It would cost us roughly $1000 for the repair. Plus, our kitchen would be useless until it was fixed. No stove, no burners and no fridge. Plus the kitchen slide could not be put out. Ugghhhhh.

We made the decision to move on down the road to Wichita, where we had more support and places to stay if the RV was unlivable. I called an RV repair place in Wichita and the earliest they could see us was June 15. Not going to work.

So parked the RV in Wichita, packed up a few things and stayed with my dad last night, since we were not sure how much damage was caused by the propane line touching the tire. Derek got up super early to head to the RV to work on the slide out and the important cables.

As he was working on these important cables our neighbor at the RV park, stopped to check to see what Derek was doing. Derek explained to him about having to at least fix and replace the propane line and the 110v electrical line. Not really knowing what else was needed at that point. The guy paused and said “well this is your lucky day.” Turns out he works for a local HVAC company! Pointed to his truck and said he had parts too!

Derek and him knocked out the project in 5 hours! And it only cost $5, because he had all the parts we freakin needed. The kitchen slide works, our refrigerator works, lights work and microwave works! The propane line still needs one more part but we hope to get that in later this week, which will cost an additional $40.

We repaid our neighbors by grilling them a nice filet and making them dinner that we all enjoyed together. People are amazing and I love our RV community, always willing to help.

We are parked in Wichita for the rest of the week. Next stop: Golden, Colorado.

If you liked this post or want to hear more about our nomadic to stationary life back to nomadic,  please subscribe to the blog or send us an email at roadmaptonomad@gmail.com.  If you would prefer to stalk from a distance, head over to our Facebook page and “Like” it. 

wedding

We are nomads AGAIN!

YES! FINALLY!

We are back to being nomads AGAIN!

So instead of organizing our move into the RV, I am staying up really late to tell all of you what has been going on.

First, Derek and I got married…did I already tell you that? 06/26/14…..we will be celebrating our one year anniversary soon. Super informal wedding, had to stand up in front of a judge for 2 mins to recite our vowels. That was way to long, how do brides stand up there for 30 minutes? After our Justice of the Peace nuptials, we headed to our favorite food truck park to celebrate with friends.

06272014__ 187 - Copy

06272014__ 010 - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy

06272014__ 157 - Copy - Copy

06272014__ 029 - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy

Photo Credit: Amy Dark

 

 

Second, Derek had a few job changes which landed him the perfect job to be able to travel again. He has to be in the office for 9 months out of the year, in Austin(oh darn) and 3 months can be used to work remotely. So far the idea is to leave every summer…right when it gets to be tooo flippin hot here in Austin. We will have the best of both worlds.

Next, we welcomed our second baby girl to our family. Zelda came earthside in February, born at home and in the water. Zoe is a great big sister and wants to hold baby sister all day. (warning: if you do not like pictures of raw birth, you should probably skip ahead)

1801305_853767048002157_7404061196375746623_o

Photo Credit: An Infinite Moment Photography

10958987_853665501345645_1221188024238860305_o

Photo Credit: An Infinite Moment Photography

 

10987661_10100602532088122_4987808051380657957_n

sleeping sisters

 

Next, we moved out of our rental house. This was much more difficult emotionally than I had expected. Maybe it is the postpartum hormones, but I have cried a few times thinking about leaving this house. This is where Zelda was born….this house will be forever be in my memories.

11188494_10100665555843012_855651000651851673_n

Last, we upgraded the RV to fit our lifestyle better. Derek really needed a better place to work, and with the new RV he will get his own room and door to hide behind during office hours. I am sure we will do some modifications soon. And if I do, I will post pictures of the 2015 Primetime Avenger 32 BIT.

IMG_0337 (1)

 

Can not wait to tell you where we are going this summer. Launch off date: May 30! One more week!

 

If you liked this post or want to hear more about our nomadic to stationary life back to nomadic,  please subscribe to the blog or send us an email at roadmaptonomad@gmail.com.  If you would prefer to stalk from a distance, head over to our Facebook page and “Like” it. 

37 weeks

Its been quite a year…2014 updates and plans for 2015.

Zoe woke up the other day asking IF we still had our RV. She was concerned that we had lost it. She must have had a crazy dream about traveling. She asked when are we going to get back in the RV again, mommy??????

Good Question kid!

It has been almost exactly a year since my last blog post. 2014 for our family has been a year of settling down. We have been in the same house for over a year now, Derek and I got married, Derek changed jobs a few times and I started a new job.

But our biggest news is we are adding another baby nomad to our family soon. As I am writing this, I am 38 weeks pregnant and ready for this new baby to get here.

Just because we are having another baby doesn’t mean we want to stop traveling.

So after the year of settling, now we are feeling the need to travel again. We have decided to head out in June and get back in the RV.

We are still coming up with our travel plans but think we are heading north again to Canada.

zoe hiking

Our favorite hiking spot near our house, The Barton Creek Greenbelt.

37 weeks pregnant

37 weeks pregnant

wedding

Our wedding day

Zoes 3rd birthday

Zoe’s 3rd Birthday

monica's bday

My birthday murder mystery dinner party.

If you liked this post or want to hear more about our nomadic to stationary life back to nomadic,  please subscribe to the blog or send us an email at roadmaptonomad@gmail.com.  If you would prefer to stalk from a distance, head over to our Facebook page and “Like” it. If you don’t like it, than why are you still reading? *grin*

Alabama

 

If you liked this post or want to hear more about our nomadic  to stationary life,  please subscribe to the blog or send us an email at roadmaptonomad@gmail.com.  If you would prefer to stalk from a distance, head over to our Facebook page and “Like” it. If you don’t like it, than why are you still reading? *grin*

 

blog picture

Rental Sweet Rental

blog picture

It is snowing in Austin. And when I say snowing, I mean there is light snow and some ice/sleet. The whole city has shut down for Ice Apocalypse 2014. So what happens when you are stuck in  a space with a 2-year-old, in my world I need to create. Better late than never. Last thing I wrote was we were thinking of moving into a tiny home or other options. Well things took a  sudden left turn in our life and we decided that it was time to get back into a rental house for now. (it sounds so boring) Our road dreams are being put on hold. We decided on a Tuesday we were going to look at houses, Wednesday we put down a deposit, Thursday our application was approved, Friday we got the keys, Saturday we moved into the new house and Sunday we had our storage unit emptied. We had the RV unpacked, cleaned and stored the following weekend.  It was literally that quick. When we make decisions, we make them fast. We moved into the house mid November just before Thanksgiving and we have been going non-stop with holidays, vacations,  our birthdays and hosting many parties at our new-found space.Including a Technomadia Meetup for full timers and dreamers. It was a weird experience to sit around and listen to everyone’s dream about RVing, when mine had been put on hold. It made me wish we were back in the RV.

We were in the RV just shy of one year. We sold many things and stored some possessions and things we thought we would sell at a later date. Moving back into a house we had many basic things but the one thing we lacked was furniture. In the past we would have went straight to IKEA and picked everything out. Instead this time I went thrift store shopping and picked up a few items to re-purpose and re-finish. So far I have picked up a dresser, end tables(3), bookshelf, a couch, Zoes bed and various decorative things all from Craigslist or Thrift stores. All these items cost us a total of $161. With paint and other supplies our grand total is $250.

dresser redo

side tables

I think the best thing about getting back into a moderate sized house(1000 square feet) was the ample space to create some play spaces for Zoe. Creating spaces for Zoe prove to be just as much fun for me as it is for her. She now has an art space, the kid paints at least 4-6 times a day.

art space

But the greatest space is the outdoors. We have managed to find a spot within walking distance to our favorite hike and bike trail. We are in heaven here.

barton creek beltway

Our plans are always changing and nothing ever stays the same with us. Our dream is to be on the road…. we are just on a bit of a break. Our new direction is to be back out on the road in 2 years, hopefully this time Derek will not have to work as much so we can enjoy road life with a slower pace.

If you liked this post or want to hear more about our nomadic  to stationary life,  please subscribe to the blog or send us an email at roadmaptonomad@gmail.com.  If you would prefer to stalk from a distance, head over to our Facebook page and “Like” it. If you don’t like it, than why are you still reading? *grin*

Angelfire, New Mexico

2013 New Mexico Ski Trip

If you liked this post or want to hear more about our nomadic to stationary life,  please subscribe to the blog or send us an email at roadmaptonomad@gmail.com.  If you would prefer to stalk from a distance, head over to our Facebook page and “Like” it. If you don’t like it, than why are you still reading? *grin*