If a Heroin Addict was next to you, would you know?

There’s an epidemic in our nation and it might surprise you. Did you know that there’s a heroin addict on every corner? Not street corners, not in the ghettos. These are well-educated, employed {young} adults. You need to know if there’s one in your corner, and you need to help!

Meet Heroin Addict, Sarah Lazarus

Meet Sarah, a friend of mine’s daughter from high school. Beautiful, right? Only 24 with her whole life ahead of her. Except, there’s no more future for her. No more life. It all ended with a heroin addiction. Yes, heroin took this beautiful, seemingly successful 24-year-old with her whole future ahead of her…it took her life. In an instant, she was gone. Her family grieves, her friends are trying to wrap their heads around this, and everyone that knew her (or people like me that just knew the family and her story) is trying to get the word out about this epidemic, this affliction, that’s being swept under rugs and ignored in our country.

EPIDEMIC: Noun – a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time.

No, this isn’t the Swine Flu, not Zika or Ebola…honestly, this might be something worse because no one is paying attention and people are dying every day. No one’s paying attention. No one is addressing this epidemic. No one is looking for a real cure. You won’t see this on the news. You won’t hear about it at the dinner table. Instead, these young {mostly} people are being ignored by our penal system, being denied by our rehab systems, and they’re dying.

As in dead. No longer living. Buried in the ground. Forgotten by society in death, as they were in life. These “low lifes”, with nothing holding them to society that chose this life, are dying. No one wants to think that “these people” were just like us…until the epidemic hit them.

heroin addict

They were daughters.

heroin addict

They were sisters working side by side at Camp Smile, a day camp for blind and visually impaired children and teens based in Webster, NY, sponsored by the Webster Lions Club.

heroin addict

They were granddaughters.

heroin addict

And they were cousins.

heroin addict

And most of them knew they were years, months, days, perhaps hours…from leaving this earth because they knew there was a problem. They knew that they hurt. They KNEW that finding help for this kind of epidemic wasn’t easy, and they just wanted it to end.

THEY were, she was, everything that you and I are. They were our sons and our daughters. The only difference?

sarah post by kristy.06 PM

She’s gone and we can all work together to do something…change the legislation, change the “rules” associated with drug addicts seeking help, change how society views “these” people…by not sweeping this epidemic under the rug anymore. It’s real. I didn’t know how bad it was. I didn’t know it could hurt “people like me”. Nothing like THIS happens to people like ME!

But it does; and it did.

heroin addict

Saturday, July 9, 2016, 24-year-old Sarah Lazarus is being remembered by family and friends at a memorial service at White Haven Memorial Park. In lieu of cards, the family is asking for donations to Camp Smile in Webster, NY where Sarah worked as a counselor in the Summer.

All I’m asking is that you, all of us, open our eyes to this epidemic. That we share Sarah’s story, and so many others like hers, with our legislatures, with our local news stations, with anyone who will listen. Share this, share anything I’ve linked to here.

No more hiding in the shadows for these people. Let’s stop losing our future. Sarah went through the system, many times over the past couple of years, and the system failed her. Sarah had a very supportive and upstanding family. Sarah is dead.

We can’t close our eyes anymore. This isn’t a poor, or a rich, problem. This is OUR problem. Our people are dying at the hands of an epidemic that we don’t discuss. It’s time to open the discussion at the round table. It’s time we put this in the forefront instead of all of the hatred we read about moms who were watching their babies and something bad happens that’s completely out of their control.

These moms have been watching their babies; and now they are burying them. Will you help? Can we stop the political and racial hate for a bit and help our people, all of our people, for a change? There’s no race, religious affiliation, or socio-economical standing involved here. These lives, the loses of these people…OUR PEOPLE…are at stake here.

Will you help save our people? We failed Sarah, can we help the next victim?

The Best Low Sodium Cheese Steak Sandwiches

Just so you know, I received some amazing soapstone cookware from UncommonGoods that allowed me to make the best Low Sodium Cheese Steak Sandwiches in under 30 minutes and share the recipe here with you today!

Heart Healthy Cheese Steak Sandwiches

With the perfect mix of fresh and frozen foods, and the help of some magical soapstone cookware, these Low Sodium Cheese Steak Sandwiches are a satisfying and healthy weeknight meal that can be on your table in less than 30 minutes. Sautéed fresh onions, mushrooms, and peppers, along with glorious melted cheese, sit atop steak patties on  a toasted bun covered in spicy mustard. Stop drooling. I know. This might just be the perfect meal, right? Something you’d find at your favorite deli? One of those greasy tabu indulgences that you only get to enjoy once a year? Yea, those.

But today’s your lucky day. You know why? Because this amazing sandwich is NOT greasy, it’s incredibly economical, it houses all of the required food groups (you’re welcome, moms), it’s low in sodium (your heart can thank me now), AND it all comes together in less than 30 minutes…in one pan. Seriously, if you’re a ninja in the kitchen, this meal will be on the table in 20 minutes, but I have to give you that fluff factor so you don’t hold me to that 20-minute thing.

The Best Low Sodium Cheese Steak Sandwiches
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 6 Steak-umm® Sliced Steaks
  • ½ Red Onion, sliced
  • 1 Bell Pepper, sliced thin
  • 1 cup Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Mrs. Dash Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tbsp Avocado Oil
  • 4 slices Pepper Jack Cheese
  • 4 Cheese Steak (or sub) Buns
  • 1 tbsp Spicy Brown Mustard, optional
Instructions
  1. In a soapstone sauté pan, heat avocado oil on low heat.
  2. Slice vegetables and place in pan with spices, heat for 5 minutes until tender, and remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Place 2 steak slices in pan and cook on one side for 1 minute, flip, cook another 15 seconds, then cut into slices.
  4. Add ¼ of the vegetable mixture back into pan with the steak slices and top with one slice of cheese; heat until melted.
  5. Place cheese steak mixture on a toasted bun with mustard (optional) and enjoy the awesome.
  6. Repeat for each sandwich.
Notes
The average Cheese Steak Sandwich has approximately 1200 mg sodium, 600 calories, 60 grams carb, 90 mg cholesterol.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 sandwich Calories: 517 Fat: 30 g Carbohydrates: 37 g Sodium: 492 mg Cholesterol: 70 mg

Oh, so you say YOU can cook the perfect Cheese Steak Sandwich and you can make yours lower in sodium than traditional recipes too? Good for you and I’d love to try your recipe (please share your recipe with me), but I’m going to be pretty bold and pompous here when I tell you that I’m pretty certain that yours can’t cook as evenly and perfectly as mine. Don’t get mad. It’s not you, it’s me and my new magical cookware that cooks perfectly and evenly every time, even without my help.

Cheese Steak in Soapstone Cookware

Perfectly sautéed steak patties, red onions, bell peppers, and fresh mushrooms, all covered in melted cheese in one beautiful soapstone pan from UncommonGoods that’s easy to clean up and cooks effortlessly and evenly every single time. You see, these pans give family meals an Old World upgrade with their handcrafted beauty (as in, they’re so pretty, I leave them on my countertop as decorations when I’m not using them). Highlighted with hammered copper handles, this soapstone design serves as a timeless oven (or stove top) to table essential. Soapstone emits no odor and is able to withstand temperatures of up to 1832ºF (you never cook that high, no need to look that up), making it a versatile addition to your cooking arsenal. I’m in love and I don’t care who knows (Elf reference intended…it’s always Christmas here)!

Now, before I leave you with your drooling, I know you can Google soapstone cookware (YOU NEED THIS STUFF) and find it a little bit cheaper than my set (yes, I have a set…don’t hate), but there are reasons why I associate myself with certain brands and I do my homework so you don’t have to. Don’t buy from those other guys (PLEASE?!?!) because UncommonGoods is committed to offering you a creative and exciting merchandise assortment (they have SO much stuff) and are working with their suppliers – from artists to small manufacturers – to make their products in a more socially and environmentally responsible manner. AND they have a Better to Give Program that they started in 2001, which allows you to select a non-profit organization to receive a $1 donation from them at checkout. You’re welcome.

If you think you have the “perfect” Cheese Steak Sandwich recipe, please share it with me here. If you think your cookware for your perfect sandwich is better than mine, I challenge you to a cook-off. Now, what other low sodium recipes can we cook in our new cookware? I’d love to try your recipes, so be sure to share!

5 Months Into Therapy, We Broached the Word “Plateau”

If you’ve even broken a limb, a hinge, experienced a life-altering event, you understand that the road to recovery is long. But what do you do when the word Plateau is broached during a therapy session 5 months into your recovery?

Therapy Fail IINAO

Yes, this is yet another post about my elbow. I know, y’all, it’s getting old to you. It’s getting old to me too.

It’s been five months since my life-altering injury. The unfortunate evening of September 4, 2015 that I now (un)affectionately refer to as #Elbowgeddon2015. I’m over it. But I’m not. I’m no longer officially broken, because my bones are healed, officially. You might even say I’m unbroken, if you will.

But I’m not. At all. And I’m tired.

I’m coping. In fact, I’m working and carrying on with my life as if nothing ever happened. On the outside. I’m typing well again (with my now unbroken arm winged out at a 90 so that my hand can find the keys). I’m cooking, cleaning, and taking photos (sort of) with my shoulder raised high (because it helps me cheat) and my new “wing” held in that awkward position that allows me to carry on with my “new normal“. I’m functioning. On the outside.

But on the inside? I’m dealing with all kinds of crap. I’m dealing with it on the outside too, and it’s starting to be apparent to the outside world.

Case in point. On Tuesday, just two days before the anniversary of #Elbowgeddon2015, an ugly word, a forbidden word, a word we’d never considered before…PLATEAU…was broached at therapy.

pla·teau
plaˈtō/
noun
noun: plateau; plural noun: plateaux; plural noun: plateaus
  1. a state of little or no change following a period of activity or progress.
    “the peace process had reached a plateau

After breaking my right arm in 8,792 (OK, only 6 bone breaks and an elbow that was literally “dust” according to my orthopedist), an 8-hour ER visit that resulted in much pain to relocate those very broken bones into that very broken elbow socket, a 10-day wait for surgery, reconstructive surgery, a long wait for therapy (because of a really bad organization), two months of intensive therapy, another surgery to manipulate all of the stuff that had healed to non-movement, and then another month of intensive therapy…the word plateau was broached.

Plateau.

As in, we might be at a plateau now. How are you? Are you functioning OK? Are you OK with where you’re at? We can keep working on it. We’re more than willing to work on it. We want you to be OK. Are you OK with where you’re at (she painfully said)?

No.

NO, I’m not! But I see it too. We’re no longer making progress. Not really, anyway.

Let me back up. I have an AMAZING orthopedic surgeon. I have an AMAZING physical therapy team. I have an AMAZING will to heal, to get better, to be normal again. We’ve all worked very hard, together, and we’re a great team. We’ve made great strides. But I was born broken and it’s not been an easy road for any of us. None of us are ready to give up.

But the word was broached. Now it’s a thing.

I’ve gained a 21º improvement in extension (super significant), a 16º improvement in flexion (not bad), a 10º improvement in supination (from 0º), and 5º in pronation (from 0º). That last one is bad. I can’t turn my hand in. At all, almost.

Think cooking, photos, typing, putting your socks on, wiping your ass. Yea, those things. Not cool.

Plateau.

Plus, I can’t bend my shit. It’s great that I’ve had a 16º increase from day one, but that’s not ideal. Brushing your teeth, scratching your face, holding a phone, and eating a slice of pizza should not be this much of a challenge. I’m not ready to plateau.

They aren’t either. But it had to be said. It had to be discussed.

It’s a very possible reality. It’s been five months. Today.

Happy #Elbowgeddon2015 anniversary to me.

Where are my flowers? My shiny new ring? I’ve worked hard for this anniversary. I expected to be whole. I’m not. We’re not giving up. Really, we aren’t. But we’re openly discussing it now. Because we have to.

I’m not broken. Officially. I’m literally unbroken. But, I’m kind of still broken because…plateau.

I can’t bend my shit, I can’t turn my shit in or out. It’s annoying, sometimes painful, always a bother. I can’t say I’m pleased. I can’t say I’m disappointed. I’ve made great strides, my team has made great strides. I have a great team. I’m remaining hopeful despite the fact that a really bad word was broached.

But I remain hopeful.

I’m unbroken. My bones are healed. We’ve made progress. Will someone please tell my stupid tendons and nerves that the rest of us are ready to move on with my normal rather than their “new normal”, please and thank you?

Plateau…be gone. I’m about to break your ass. I’ve been through a bunch of crap in my life. I’m not ready to cow down to you now either. It’s time to get back to progress. I’m not giving up yet. I can’t. I won’t!

Happy 5-month #Elbowgeddon2015 Anniversary to me. Let’s hope #unbroken2016 can kick this plateau’s ass. Who’s with me?