August, September, & October 2021 | Recap

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Hello, my friends! Today is my birthday 🙂 What better way to celebrate on a rainy, Michigan monday than to return to one of my favorite things – blogging!

It is hard to believe, but it has been three months since I wrote a blog post. I definitely didn’t forget about the blog (and was hard at work switching ad providers during this time…scroll down for more info on that). But so much LIFE has been happening the last three months that I haven’t had a moment to sit down, reflect, and of course write about it.

The Sparknotes version is: a long awaited out-of-state surgery, recovering from said surgery, a whirlwind post-surgery return to work, a two week trip to the UK to reunite with Dan, another whirlwind post-travel return to work, a good friend’s wedding, and my birthday… which takes us to today! Phew! (Don’t worry, I’ll share more on all this below).

Gorgeous views in Cornwall from one of the best days of the past 3 months!

Where was I in August, September, & October?

  • Countries: USA & UK (finally!!)
  • Cities: Atlanta, Georgia; Lansing, Traverse City, Detroit, and Upper Peninsula, Michigan; Toledo, Ohio; London, Oxford, Penzance, St Ives, Poole, England!
  • Flights: 6
  • Days on the road: 29
A surprisingly large amount of travel the past 3 months, considering everything that’s happened! This was the return flight from my surgery in Atlanta, with my amazing parents who both accompanied me!

August, September, & October on the blog…

Not a single blog post was published in the last three months!

However, like I mentioned, I was still hard at work behind the scenes. In September I switched ad providers to Mediavine (those are the ads you now see in between paragraphs). I’ve been working to get into Mediavine for literally years! It is a well regarded ad network but it has a minimum monthly session requirement to be admitted (sessions are the number of times someone goes on your website each month).

Right when I was just about to reach “Mediavine status” in 2020, they overnight doubled their requirement from 25k to 50k sessions. I definitely let that frustrate me for a few months, and then I got to work. Way earlier this summer I finally hit the 50k benchmark that I’d been working toward, and was eventually accepted to the program. Then came leaving my previous ad provider, signing contracts, launching, etc.

Being in Mediavine opens up a lot of opportunities for me. It basically means I now have a steady, healthy third income flowing in (in addition to my healthcare work and my freelance writing work). I did not start Endless Distances as a business venture, and making money through the blog has never been my #1 goal. I love to write and this is my outlet and my heart! However, especially since the pandemic, making money from the blog (AKA, by my own terms, being my own boss) has looked more desirable.

I have no plans to quit my job(s) to blog for the time being, but joining Mediavine does make me feel excited for whatever opportunities the future could hold!!

I promise more blog posts next month – including some on the gluten free food I had all across the UK! Yummmm.

August, September, & October adventured like…

Eeek! There is SO much to share from this late summer/early fall season. Where to start? Let’s go chronologically. I also assume many of you who read these posts follow me on Instagram (if not, you should do that). So… you might already know what’s been going on as I do try to post to my stories regularly.

I had major surgery: Yes, the biggest news is that I FINALLY had excision surgery for endometriosis. As many of you know, endometriosis took over my life a few years ago. I was devastated in early 2021 when the specialist I was scheduled to have my second surgery with ended up retiring after I sat on his wait list, in excruciating pain, for 8 months. So it was for this reason that it was a HUGE deal that in August 2021 I flew to Atlanta, Georgia to have my surgery with Dr. Arrington at the Center for Endometriosis Care. The surgery was successful and I have shared some thoughts about it on Instagram here, here, and here. I am still planning to write up some blog posts but honestly it is taking me more time than I expected to process what I’ve been through. What I will share is that my recovery is going extremely well, and I would estimate my symptoms have reduced 80-90% on any given day. I recently restarted pelvic physical therapy which is the next step in my recovery plan.

Myself and the incredible Dr. Arrington before my surgery. I will be forever grateful to him for what he did for me that no other doctor could.
An essential part of surgery recovery: These Jeni’s ice creams that my friend Julia mailed me. Bestie status!! Thank you Julia!!!!

Sunflower adventure: Just two weeks post-surgery, I took a roadtrip to Michigan’s upper peninsula to photograph sunflowers. Man, this was an extremely poorly timed trip so I’ll just say thank goodness for my mom who accompanied/chauffeured me when I could barely walk without a cane still! I had signed a contract months ago (before I knew my surgery date) to photograph sunflowers for a travel magazine. Then, the flowers bloomed earlier than expected this year creating the perfect storm. Anyway, we had a great trip and I got some awesome shots (which I have yet to edit). I’ll share the article when it’s published next year!

Sunflowers in northern Michigan – just stunning!

September was pure work: I returned to my healthcare job in September but I still struggled physically the first couple weeks. I wore an abdominal binder under my scrubs and would be so exhausted each day when I got home. This was mainly due to immense physical deconditioning from my surgery – I have zero core strength and lost a lot of muscle in my legs and arms, too. Work did get easier as time went on (and I put to practice a lot of the advice I tell my patients as an occupational therapist!). But it’s for that reason that I did not do much else in September other than work, work, work.

Can you tell I was wearing my abdominal binder from the hospital in this selfie? And that I went home straight afterwards and plopped on the couch? Lol.

I spent two weeks in England, reuniting with Dan: Wooooohooo! The funnest news of the past three months is that I finally got to see Dan after 370 days apart. Due to border closures on the USA side, plus my health/surgery preventing me traveling to see him in the UK, we spent a whole freaking year apart. That is still wild to me. So it was an incredible and long awaited reunion in the UK. We spent some time in London, as well as Oxford, Cornwall, and Dorset. It was a whirlwind trip. And I have a TON of blog posts to share once I get my act together! In particular, I’m hoping to finally write up some Cornwall itineraries and posts as I have spent so much time there over the years.

Gorgeous days in Cornwall with Dan.
Playing chess in London together (he beat me).
We went to see Romeo and Juliet at the Globe together (we stood for the whole performance as “groundlings”). It starred Alfred Enoch who we both love from Harry Potter and How to Get Away With Murder.
I got to meet this beautiful babe and reunite with my friend Bethan while we were in Oxford!!
Dan picked me up from Heathrow with this gluten free sandwich. Reason one million why I love him lol.

Attended my college roomie’s wedding: Well, this brings us up to this past weekend, which I spent in Ohio at one of my college roommate’s wedding! It was a beautiful event for a couple that’s clearly meant to be with one another. And it was also such a deeply needed moment, for me at least, to reunite with some good friends! I don’t think I even realized how much I missed being together with loved ones, chatting, eating, dancing (or just laying around for hours watching Shrek 1 & 2 lol!).

A mini college reunion at the most beautiful wedding!!!!

My birthday!: Well, as I mentioned, today is my 28th birthday! I have to say, it feels mostly like a normal day rather than a big event, especially after the excitement of this weekend. I did get some lovely messages this morning, had a nice chat with Dan, and have dinner and cake planned with my parents this evening. Then, I’m hoping to get dinner with a couple friends next weekend and maybe do a small day trip to Lake Michigan (still calling those birthday celebrations as it falls on a Monday this year!). I think I went through most of the existential crisis of entering my “late twenties” last year on my 27th birthday, so this year I mostly feel content, and excited for what this next chapter will hold. I think a lot of that has to do with (full circle moment here), my surgery in August. Now that I’m feeling so much better physically, I feel the freedom to once again make plans, goals, and action toward dreams! Exciting times ahead, my friends 😉

I don’t have a photo specifically from my birthday yet, so please accept this photo of Marshall wearing an inflatable donut I bought him in September (he was licking and scratching his belly from mosquito bites). What a handsome boy.

Upcoming in November…

Well, for one, I hope that I write more blog posts in November!! Other than that, I will be chugging away at work (both my healthcare and writing jobs). I will have officially been at my healthcare job one year in November so maybe I’ll try to celebrate that anniversary somehow.

I will also be planning Dan’s visit (!!!). Thank goodness, after 19 months the USA borders are finally reopening to travelers from the UK. We are hoping he can get over here right after Christmas and stay for a few weeks.

And then, of course, there is Thanksgiving and the festivities leading up to that. My extended family did not celebrate together last Thanksgiving due to COVID. This year, we are hoping to do our annual “pie night” (we all gather together, drink, and make pies), the Turkey Trot (a 5-k race on Thanksgiving morning) and Thanksgiving day together. We are all vaccinated, minus the two babies, but will be keeping an eye on COVID cases and really hoping it works out to be together.

WELL! A lengthy post indeed. I would love to catch up and hear what you’ve been up to these past three months in the comments.

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6 Responses

  1. Great to read an update from you, too and so glad to hear about such a great reduction in symptoms! That is such a wonderful thing to get that surgery! So nice to see you and Dan together in photos again like old times, as it should be 🙂

  2. I am glad you are feeling better and that you saw your boyfriend finally! you’ve had an interesting and exhausting past three months. I am going on my first proper trip abroad this weekend:) so excited! ( I only had a day trip in Italy this year, and didn’t travel abroad since 2019!) hope you have a great November! We celebrated my daughter’s 2nd birthday in Sep, and now we will soon celebrate my son’s 4th birthday! time flies!

    1. Thank you Tanja!! Oooh I hope your trip went well?? I’ve got to check out your blog as I think you recently posted an update on it. Btw I can’t comment on your blog, I’ve tried a few times over the months but I get an error message.

  3. I’m so glad to hear that the surgery has been successful for you!!! I may have more questions about how you found a doctor out of state and navigated that with your insurance company. I just went for a third opinion locally and will have a lot of imaging done later this month to see if he can see anything different…. but I’m not feeling overly optimistic based on my primary consult. (The number of times he said he was sorry about the pain I’m in throughout the appointment notes was funny/stressful, lol.)

    So glad you were able to see Dan AND that Dan will be able to come here soon!! I am looking forward to hearing about all your amazing UK adventures! I hope your family is able to get together too. Pie Night sounds like my kind of thing!! 😉

    1. Yes it has definitely been what I would class as a success so far!! I’ve been meaning to write a few posts about the whole experience as I really wish I’d had someone else’s experience to read through as I was going through it! I’m not sure how much help I will be with tips on navigating insurance coverage but I’m happy to share my experience… remember ‘out of network’ doesn’t mean ‘no coverage.’ But it *usually* means… bad coverage lol. I was lucky my insurance actually covered the hospital fee, so I only had to cover the surgeon fee… and I will be doing an appeal as well to hopefully get some money back.

      And yessss it was amazing to see Dan and I can’t believe he’s going to be over here soon enough too! I really need to buckle down and write these UK/cornwall blog posts before he arrives lol!

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Oh hey! I’m Sarah, the writer behind Endless Distances. When I’m not here, spilling all my gluten free travel and wellness travel tips, you can… find me on the floor at parties petting the dog.

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