Sunday, December 14, 2014

Gallbladder be Gone

Mid race at the Disney 10k
The crowd was very large on the side lines. I ran through them as well as some Disney characters waiting for fellow runners to stop and have their pictures taken with them. Where I stood in the Disney 10k, runners tended to be more competitive, so nobody was stopping for the photo opportunities. Running through the Disney park I began rounding the Tower of Terror attraction when suddenly, "bleeeeeehhhhhhh". I puked in front of the many happy spectators. It was funny.

That was the beginning of my gallbladder issues. This took place just over a year ago.

I took a few months off from running because of school. Still, I ran lightly; maybe 4 miles a week. When Spring began rolling in I started training for the annual Salt Lake Half-Marathon my family runs every year. It was then I noticed that on runs where I'd push myself I would always throw up along the way. I shrugged it off, but it seemed to be getting worse.

Soon enough I couldn't hold my food down, even if I were peacefully sitting down totally relaxed. I tried to figure out the cause, carefully examining my diet and activities prior to feeling nauseous. I couldn't find any correlation. Nothing. I even gave up Monster for a month to see if that was causing it.

Thanks to me, a CrossFit coach added rule #9 as seen here:
In my defense, I only messed up the bathroom once. Every other time I did barf outside.
Finally, after a year of constant increase of discomfort, I went to the doctor's in August (2014). They told me to stop drinking alcohol and to come back in a month. I told them I don't drink and they scratched there heads. Thus began my many visits to the various doctors who scratched their heads because I'm a young and healthy dude who doesn't have typical symptoms of a faulty gallbladder.
Taken after the Gastric Emptying test.
During these past few months I gave lots of blood, did an ultrasound, had an endoscopy done, ate radioactive food and watched my body digest it which showed my body didn't digest liquids normally, and went through the slightly painful HIDA scan which is where they discovered my gallbladder wasn't working correctly. Hooray, we found a problem!
Here I am giving blood (top left & bottom right), getting a HIDA scan (bottom left), and finishing up an endoscopy (top right).

As time went on I began getting sharp stabbing pains where my gallbladder is. Fortunately a date was set by this point to get my gallbladder out, so I just had to wait.

I have officially given up running and Crossfit. Music was also on hold because my voice was almost always gone from all the vomiting. Basically, I've had more time on my hands these past few months than I'd like. It was a bit rough.

I had a few days where I couldn't go into the office and had to work from home. But finally the day has come!

My friend Jesus took me to the hospital. He also picked me up post-op.
After being dropped off I filled out a bunch of paper work and then had to change out of my clothes. The gown they gave me was way too big and it didn't close in the back. No shame. I mooned everyone.
Just before surgery.
Before I knew it was lying in my bed waiting for surgery to begin. A nurse came by and gave me my I.V. which I absolutely hated. It doesn't matter how many times I get stuck, I freak out every time. As I was being wheeled into the operating room, I told the team I was going to fight the anesthesia and stay awake. They chuckled. And that's all I remember.

I woke up in the recovery room in pain because I told them I don't like the drugs, so they didn't give me that much of them. Oops. They quickly gave me some more. I looked down and noticed they shaved my happy trail.

Then the nurse was like, "OK, it's time to change back into your clothes." and she immediately flips my gown off me. I was totally exposed. Just chillin' there, naked for everyone to see. 'Well this is fun.' I thought as I proceeded to sit up. The nurse offered to help me put my pants on. I said I'd try to do it but that she could put my shoes on for me.
Just after surgery -- in recovery.
After the strip show they put me on a wheel chair to where I was wheeled outside into Jesus' car. He took me to my apartment where I waited for my sister to pick me up and take me to her place. I chilled at their place for two days as they nursed me back to health. They took care of me and I just lazed around reading my book or watching movies. It was quite nice.
The four incisions made to remove my gallbladder. I'm pretty swollen here.
I'm really excited to recover and try out my body without a defective gallbladder. But for now it hurts to bend over and sometimes breath. Laughing kinda hurts too, so along with the painkillers I'm on I'm kind of a zombie at the moment. A hungry zombie.

[I wrote this while on painkillers, so please excuse any slurred sentences and what not.]

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Between Us We Ran 189 Miles in 24-Hours #Ragnar

On Thursday I hopped in my car and drove to Vegas.

As a team we rented a house in Vegas. The rest of my team was driving there from Utah, and I just so happened to pull into the driveway at the same time as another car full of teammates. I didn't know any of them.

The house we stayed in.
After quickly unloading our vehicles the stranger teammates wanted to go to the Las Vegas strip. I have been to the strip more than enough times, but sitting at the house alone sounded boring. Off to the strip we go!

"Hey Jimmy."
"Bow if you're gay!"
The guy slams of the breaks causing me to bow forward.
"Actually, I am gay." I responded as I proceeded to watch him squirm around in awkwardness trying to find the right words to redeem himself. I then called him a "bro" to his face and continued calling him that for the rest of the trip.

For the record, the guy was pretty cool and actually did a pretty good job and redeeming himself and showing he has nothing against gay people. Still, I was going to milk this for all it's worth and bring it up time and time again throughout the race. It was good fun :)

New York or New York New York?

Waling around the Las Vegas strip.
After walking around and watching people gamble, we went back to the house only to discover the other caravans had arrived while we were gone. My friend Greg was among them; the only person I previously knew on our team. We had a big day ahead, so I went to bed.

Setting off to begin the race! With a team of size 12, we split into 2 vehicles. This was the car I was in. To be honest, I didn't really get to know the others in the other vehicle.

We drove up into the mountains and saw snow! Snow? Nevada? It was around 90 degrees where our house was, so seeing snow was kinda weird.
The starting line!
Heather was our first runner. She ran off into the mountain and we scurried into the van so we could drive a few miles ahead of her and cheer her on as she passed us. We stopped the car and waited for her to run by. We were so excited! She began passing us when suddenly she stopped and started puking. *silence overcame us*. She did her puke thing, drank some water, then ran on her merry way. It was so awkward at the time, but we look back now and laugh hysterically at the event. Seriously the BEST way to have begun the race lol! We joked about it non-stop the entire trip and even still. The following drawing became our team flag when we hit up Chili's later that day.

I drew this of us watching Heather puking.
Heather also liked saying, "Wabam!" And so for the rest of the trip we kept saying, "Wableeeehhhhh" lol! Oh man, it never got old hahaha!!

I was our second runner and began running at 1:57 PM. My first leg was 4.77 miles and very downhill. My shins killed after. My average pace was 5:53. It was a pretty plain part of the mountain, though I was surrounded by Joshua trees which I thought was really cool because I'm not used to those trees.

My second leg was 6.64 miles long and began at 12:52 AM. There were some uphill parts and I was saving energy for my last run, so my average pace was 7:22. It was located in the middle of the desert and the moon was full and beautiful! I had a headlamp which allowed me to see the road in front of me, but other than that I could only see the silhouettes of the surrounding rock structures in the moonlight. It was such in incredible experience! Wow, the atmosphere as well as the music I was listening to made for such an incredible run. I said a prayer of gratitude mid run for having a body that allows me to run like I was.

My third leg was during the late morning, but it was sunny and hot. It was 6.97 miles long and my average pace was 8:11. The graph below doesn't show how difficult it was. Everything after the fourth mile was at least as steep as a standard staircase, but constantly up and down. The downhill parts were difficult because I was trying not to fall on my face. It was hot and was one of the few times I've ever anticipated the end of a run.

Between my van's legs we would go back to the house to take a nap and eat. But while my van was still running we would drive ahead of the current runner so we could cheer them on, like we did Heather earlier. Each leg has a sign on the trail somewhere telling you that you're on your last mile. Here I am waiting for our runner Kim to run by.
Waiting at the One Mile to Go sign for our teammate to run by.
Every teammate completed their first leg here. We were headed to Chili's to eat some food.
Eventually it came time for our last runner to finish the entire race. We met up at a Casino in Vegas where a huge party awaited us. I purchased a Ragnar jacket. Once our final runner came in we took a photo and celebrated.
My team just after our last runner finished!
We eventually made it back to the house where we all went to bed because we were beat and none of us could walk normally. It was hilarious.

The next morning I woke up and drove home. But crazy thing, my order number at McDonald's was our team number that was on our bibs! Aaaaahhhhhh!!!


Monday, November 10, 2014

Glorious by David Archuleta (Jimmy Hales cover)

I get an email from my mission president's wife:
Hey, did you see the invitation by David Archuleta to submit your version of the song Glorious from meet the Mormons? I think you should submit one!! I love hearing you sing!
I had a busy weekend in front of me and there was no way.

Then the deadline to submit a cover got extended a week. I had Tuesday off of work but ended up spending it at the doctor's office for a HIDA scan. This, as well as a combination of fasting for the appointment and delaying my meds some, I wasn't feeling well for the rest of the day. I found myself trapped inside of my apartment for the rest of the day. Then I remembered the invitation(s) to cover the song and decided I would in order to help pass the time.

Me getting a HIDA scan.
David Archuleta has great vocal control and makes singing his songs sound so easy. I had sung this song, "Glorious", a number of times in the car, but now that I was standing in front of a mic I was suddenly humbled. Needless to say, I spent some time practicing it before hitting record. I almost gave up twice.

In the end, I was OK with what I was able to record. It's for a great cause anyways and am glad I can contribute in any way. I kinda think of recording this song as a free vocal lesson from David. I know my version is pretty similar to his and I wish I could have made it my own a bit more, but I'm still new to this and time was limited.

Covering this song ended up being a really fun experience and the feedback I've received has been more than motivating to continue making music. So thanks everybody for your kind and motivating words! They're very encouraging! I sure do enjoy this hobby of making music.  :)
My humble setup with the lights off.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Wearing Shorts in November

Blogging used to have such an appeal to me. Any free moment I had between assignments I would jump on the computer and blog in order to relax and keep loved ones informed on how I'm doing.

Now it feels kinda like a chore.

My Health?
I'm still vomiting. The doctor had me eat some radioactive oatmeal and drink some "special" water and then put me in a donut shaped machine (not a CAT scan) for 90 minutes while it scanned my innards.

They discovered I'm not digesting liquids normally.

I'm now on some meds that might be working, which worries me because the side effects are ridiculous and are making me tired and dizzy. During yesterday's run I didn't throw up. I'm not sure if I should be happy or not.

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk

But first I took a selfie.
Just before the #MakingStrides against #breastCancer walk.

I intended on running the walk, but I enjoyed the company of Victoria (cute girl in picture) and ended up walking and talking with her during the entire 3+ mile walk. It was a beautiful morning and the
weather couldn't have been better.

Here are some other members from our GM team.

Phoenix, Tempe Making Strides against breast cancer; team GM.

Staying Fit
Despite my minor medical issues, I have been able to do some running. While my pace isn't anything as competitive as it normally is, I've been placing top 3 at some races which has been a lot of fun.

I placed 2nd in my age group at the Oktober Fest 10K. They served beer at the finish line. Needless to say, I didn't have any.
Then at this 5K I placed 3rd overall. It took place at a fun place called Rawhide right here in Chandler.

I've been getting heavily involved at CrossFit. I won't talk about it much, but I sure do love the workouts and the friends I'm making there.

We had a Halloween party at CrossFit.

Maria and Jesus also work at GM, so we've become pretty good friends.

On this day we took turns pushing a sled on the asphalt. Everyone's legs were killing afterwards.

One month photo. You might be allowed to see this later.
A General Motors idea of a Halloween costume haha! I'm the letter "J" :)
At work we've been pretty festive for Halloween. We've set up various "haunted houses" because we had the employee's children come and go trick-or-treating throughout the building at each cubicle. Seriously the best deal for the kids. The candy to walking ratio is ridiculously high.

The Scarepoint Castle

The Pumpkin Patch

Pokemon world.
Notice my awesome dinosaur tail I'm sporting? It was a hit and everyone loved it. Thanks to my best friend's wife (who is also my friend) Rachel for making it for me!

We also recently celebrated Diwali. It was like an episode from The Office, only a lot more legit.

There was a fun program those from India put on for us. It included singing, dancing, and a type of fashion show.
They also served us some really yummy Indian food.

New video very soon.

I went shopping.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

It's Been a Month Away from Happy Valley

I've been here a month? Already? Time has flown by! I love adventure, and even though I've lived abroad for three years of my life (my LDS mission in Australia & studying/interning in China) the fact that I've moved here permanently makes things a bit more exciting.

Things I've Learned by Being On My Own:
  • Vacuums are expensive and I don't want to buy one.
  • I need puppies. Seriously though, coming home to two little cute doggies sounds amazing.
  • I LOVE having my own place. I can record and mix music whenever I want. Not to mention the clothes I don't have to wear while lounging around.
  • Ambition plays a huge part in how exciting one's life is.
  • Mail is not exciting.
  • Quiznos Delivers.

Things I Love About Arizona:
  • The heat! Cruising around at night with the windows/top down with friends is amazing because it's warm! AAAHHHHHHHH!!!! I'm a little bitter at all the years I've spent freezing my butt off. Here, most ward activities are water related but don't start until after the sun goes down. It's beautiful.
  • Geckos are cool and really fast. They like to run across my path while I'm running and sometimes they startle me.
  • Bahama Bucks. I can't describe this place properly. Some might say it's a snow cone place, but I don't like snow cones, but I love this place. If you come down this way you'll have to go there and find out how amazing the place is yourself. I will take you.
  • Every restaurant you can imagine is here.
  • My sister and bro-in-law and my dog. It's fun doing stuff with them. I hope my brother joins us after his mission.
  • Huge outdoor shopping malls! Not to mention the live bands that often play outside of them. The warm weather is very inviting and encourages people to be outside at night, which I love.
  • Not being surrounded by Mormons. It makes missionary work easier. Don't get me wrong, I love Mormons.
  • The monsoons. They're really cool looking and very powerful. During my first experience in a monsoon a tree fell on my truck.
  • Crossfit! I know Crossfit isn't just in Arizona, but I didn't start doing it until I moved here. Man, it kicks my butt and I'm crazy sore all the time. I went four times that past week, so I'm pretty beat. My coach is a huge dude who's name is Bear.
  • Being free after work! I cannot express, in words, how utterly fantastic it is not having homework. The work I do actually counts for something! This gives me a feeling of accomplishment and removes the stresses homework brings brought.
  • Setting the thermostat somewhere between 80°F - 85°F. Being constantly cold while indoors is the best way to hinder my mood and productivity. I'm always colder than the average person, but now I get to control the temperature mwahahahaha!
  • Sundays. I'm at a place where it's abnormal to keep the Sabbath day holy. Setting everything aside and focusing on what really matters, my very reason for existence, is refreshing and motivating.
  • Palm trees, even though they're totally imported. I also like the cacti here.

Things I (don't) Love About Arizona:
  • Cockroaches. My very first night in Arizona I went to sleep and woke up the next morning because there was a cockroach on my leg. Um, no. A few days later I saw another one in my kitchen, only this time I had bug spray. I haven't seen any since. Beginners luck perhaps?
  • The tap water is distinguishing. I avoid drinking it at all costs.
  • Haboobs. This is a giant sand storm which looks really cool, but makes everything covered in sand. I noticed sand in my apartment even. Not to mention the haboob that shut down the airport and delayed my flight to Utah for my sister's wedding. It was scheduled to leave at 8:00 pm. We took off at 2:00 am. I arrived at my mom's place at 6:00 am. The wedding was at 10:00 am. I was very tired.

Here are a few pictures of some of my adventures I've mentioned above:

Me at work.

The tree that fell on my car during my first monsoon. Luckily the tree wasn't too big.

Family Home Evening after the sun went down.

Me at work playing around with the new technology stuff. It's a brand new building.

Taken just before the haboob hit me. Luckily airport security came out and picked me up just as the haboob began enveloping me. It was pretty scary actually. I got out of my car, looked up, and saw this ginormous red cloud coming at me very fast. I began running, but soon enough they picked me up right when it was hitting me.
 Here are some pictures of the same haboob. I got these from a news website. The news headline reads,
On the edge of the abyss: Enormous dust storm 2,000 feet tall covers Phoenix cutting power to 9,000 homes

I bought a doormat.

This was my first day of Crossfit! Here I am with my sister, bro-in-law, and friend from work, Jesus.

Eating dinner at the Scottsdale Quarter with Christy and Ben. We just got done seeing Guardians of the Galaxy, which I really liked. It stars Chris Pratt who is my ultimate Hollywood crush.
Chris Pratt.

A candid picture of Christy and Ben. They are seriously the coolest.

My buddy Tyrell came to visit me for a few days. He's from Utah.

Lunch time at work. I LOVE palm trees!

Inside of Scorpion Crossfit in Chandler, AZ.
Out with some fellas.
 I've been liking my fortune cookies as of late.

That's it for now. Getting my studio up and running has been a bit difficult. I need to buy a 7-pin XLR cable for my Avantone CV-12 mic but can't find one anywhere. Soon though! Soon!

Stay close to God and be happy. :)