Thursday, February 27, 2014


The countdown begins!
We are now officially week 38, & we are "nesting"... as all the baby books call it... getting the nursery ready for baby.  Bon-bon, JVo, & Anna were a huge help & painted the nursery while i was still at the hospital. Once i came home, we  assembled the crib... and now we can officially scratch off "become rocket scientists" from our bucket lists.

Aside from having a bad a@# "crib," Owen will also be the best dressed baby because we had not one but two baby showers. The first thrown by my sisters back in January, and the second was my CHOP family put together by Bon-bon, Paula, & Becca. Thank you everyone!

Baby Shower Numero Uno

prune is the new cheese

my sisters & i
I've been blessed so many times in my life. I know... I'm started to sound like a broken record :o). Rylan Cruz was our first little miracle, but he wasn't ours to keep. I truly believe that he is watching over me now... he's the gang leader of Team Lollipop Angels. Sounds like he should be wearing leather and riding a Harley, right. :o)

Well our first miracle led us to our second one. This time though, we had to turn to science, and it took over 3 years... 3 long, exhausting years. We now have Owen Armando... conceived in a petri dish on Father's Day last year.

It was so nice to be surrounded by so many people that I love at both of my showers. And even though I'm not planning on going anywhere, anytime soon... it is comforting and reassuring to know that Owen, likewise, will be so loved and blessed. Thank you for celebrating my boys... Rylan and Owen!

lots of love...little lisa lollipop

CHOP family

Dirty Diaper game

Baby Shower Numero Dos

Chapstick Kitzy & i

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Silver IS the new gold!

Now that the 2014 Olympics are officially over, i hate to tell you that Silver is the new Gold! Well... at least in my book. That's because I'm really talking about Silver 11... or the 11th floor of the Silverstein building at HUP aka Penn Medicine... whose staff i fell in love with and are worthy of receiving a medal! They get all the screamers. :o)
Heliport view

On all three of my recent hospital admissions, i somehow got lucky and spent some time on Silver 11. And after spending the night in the ER twice, it was definitely an upgrade. Complete with an amazing view of the city (shown in my last post from my father) and the heliport. The bathroom... nicer than the bathroom at my home. Was i in the hospital... or a hotel?
Sunbathing in the penthouse
of Silver 11

Here's a story from my first day on Silver 11:
"Nurse, NURSE, NUUUURRRRSSSE"... a woman from the neighboring room screamed. As her calls at first went unanswered, i debated if i, as a nurse, should get up to assist this poor old woman... she was after-all...screaming bloody murder. Luckily though, a staff member came to her attention, and then i heard her say in the sweetest little old lady voice, "i need a spoon."

Nope, i'm at a the hospital. But there are times when people forget they are in a hospital, and they think it's a hotel. Like when a family refuses vital signs on a potentially sick patient. Or being paged at 8:01am for a medication that was due at 8:00am. I know people mean well and just want the best for the patient, but us nurses are balancing the needs of all of our patients. My favorite though is when we receive a page to go to a patient's room while in the middle of something important. And the page is for a "present" ...which is actually a dirty diaper. Real examples, but us nurses just grin and bear it all.

Being a patient in the Intensive Care Unit (on Founders 9) also gave me an even greater appreciation for ICU nurses. Whenever we have an emergency situation with a patient, i find so much relief to know that the patient is transferred off the unit... to the ICU where they can better manage the patient. And these nurses are balancing the needs of the most critical patients. In one room, your patient might be dying... and then to compose yourself and walk into your other patient's room... with a smile on your face... it is difficult... especially if the other room is paging you for one of those special "presents" :o). Well... i didn't want to page them for anything. Not even for pain meds... i was too traumatized by the hour long code that took place next door.

Well... no matter if it's Silver or Gold or Bronze for that matter... you nurses all deserve a medal!

lots of love for all nurses...
& extra sugar to the staff of Silver 11, Jill, Vic, Zelmo, & Rose... Robyn in the MICU & Sam on Radvin 6

                                                         little lisa lollipop

                                                         P.S. Happy 1 year anniversary to the blog!!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

"Thank you, Thank You Very Much"

The following thank you addendum was written by my father on behalf of the family:

We must express our thanks to all the wonderful doctors at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) and to the dedicated nursing staff. Due to their skill and effort, Lisa survived the waves of trauma she experienced over the three week period starting January 22nd.

It was a period of ambulance rides to the emergency room (during severe winter weather), intensive care, cauterization, numerous transfusions, endoscopies, embolization, hemorrhagic shock, blood clot, TAE procedure, hopeful waiting for the next hemoglobin count, and all-night vigils in the room by Juan, Marita, and Susan.

We are grateful for the visits of Lisa's friends, co-workers from Children's Hospital (CHOP), Doctor Doolin, nurses Mary and Chrissy from her Guatemala trip, the HUP staff that followed Lisa's progress after she transferred to other units, and to Father Sam.

Lisa's spirit remains strong. She inspires us. Thank you. Our emotional state these past weeks can be summed up by the two pictures of the Philadelphia skyline taken from Lisa's hospital room.   ~Hermann

Friday, February 21, 2014

what's in a name?

Recently, while inpatient at the hospital, one of my nurses was named Babe Ruth, & like the candy bar she was super sweet. Hahaha. Cheese ball, Lisa! :o)  Anyhows...  of course her name led us all to a conversation about unique names... which seems to be all the trend in Hollywood.

Chowder with the ladies at recent high school reunion
My friend Gibby, whose nickname is Chowder, by far had the most interesting stories. He once knew someone named Mister.... named Mister because his mother wanted him to have respect. I thought that one was kind of cute. His best example though was that of a young mother who gave birth to twins. During their hospital stay, a curious nurse asked the new mom if the names she chose for her twins were family names... since they were so different. No, the girl replied, they (meaning the babies) had already been named when she (the mom) first went to the nursery to visit them. The babies were named Babya and Babyb… as in Baby A and Baby B. Oh boy... grade school must have been rough... well at least they had each other. :o)

And although we may point blame at our parents for many reasons throughout our life, in these cases, if your name sucks a@#, it clearly is your parent's fault. Like my dad's example... Mr. Hogg expecting a little girl debated if he should name her Ima. At times though, the name may come innocently from inspiration somewhere, but ends up being a poor choice. My mom's example... a child with the name Nofume. Must have been inspired by a sign on the wall. No fume means no smoking in Spanish. At least that one comes with some educational advice... intentional or not.

Well... back on Halloween when we found out the baby's sex, Juan and I had a long ride up to San Francisco. Along the way we looked for inspiration along the drive... in the signs we saw to the towns we passed. I don't know, for some reason Tehachapi just didn't seem a good fit.. along with many others.

In the end...we decided on Owen Armando. Let's hope he likes it as much as we do.

Owen was always one of our top boy names (back with our first son), so his name also connects him to his brother, Rylan Cruz. And like Rylan, we wanted Owen's middle name to be Latino. We decided on Armando... after Juan's cousin who passed away in November 2012 in a tragic car accident. Despite being cousins, they were more like brothers as they grew up in the same household and were the same age. We couldn't think of a better way to honor him. Later... in doing research on the meaning of names, I came to learn that Armando in Spanish/ Portuguese/ Italian is the equivalent to Hermann in German... which happens to be my father's name... thus making it extra special.



Owen, according to, means desire born. How appropriate!

lots of love...
little lisa... booor-ing (name) lollipop

P.S. Juan doesn't like his first name... which is José. Juan is actually his middle name!

Fun Fact:
Lisa means God is my Oath
Joan means God is gracious. So true.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Cat woman


Or should i say... Meow.
Finally found my cat pictures from 2004... (before I went digital :o). And this is how i would really look as a cat... with 9 lives, of course. Check out my braces too :o).

lots of love...
little lisa lollipop

Team Lollipop

Home Sweet Home
Hi everyone!
Still recovering at home. I'm doing well... just feeling tired. And now trying to get everything ready for the baby's arrival. Crunch time!

Juan has already had lots of practice at the hospital though... there's something about being sick that can turn one into a cranky baby. I'm referring to myself, of course, but he handled it all with grace. Little did he know when we recited our wedding vows last March, that they would include wiping my a@# :o).  I guess we got the for worse part covered.

You're fired!
But without him and my family, I definitely wouldn't have been able to make it through the Perfect Storm. Somebody was always by my side. Although... Juan did have to "fire" my baby sister once for sleeping on the job; she was switched to night shift. Both he and Marita were great advocates and would also make great nurses. Now that i am home, i still remain under their strict supervision. I cannot thank my entire family enough for all of their love and support. Team Lollipop is awesome!

Me & Max
After writing my last post the other day (about the Perfect Storm), i realized that i neglected to mention the Team of angels that i have in Heaven... some of whom i once cared for as a nurse, and now... they watch over me. Like "little Miss Sunshine" who lost her cancer battle at age 5 last year and 19 year old dear Raechel who just recently passed. Both ladies fought long and hard till the very end. I am blessed to have known them, and although their lives may have been brief, they touched so many hearts and will never be forgotten. Just thinking of these two cuties makes me smile :o). God bless all of them and their families.
Big sister, Andrea

Yet another angel by my side is my dear Uncle Jimmy who passed away last month at 81 years young. I always think of him as a jolly man. The Forrestel Team was amazing in how they came together to care for him over these past years. And even in spite of their loss, the entire extended Forrestel family was so warm and welcoming. I think the McForrestels really need to create a Facebook page though... just so i can "like" it and to keep track of them too... since there are so many of them. Team Forrestel is awesome!

Visit from Fr Sam
I don't know. I feel so blessed to still be here. At times it's hard to understand why i am so lucky and blessed...but i'll take it :o).  Just last February, the doctors said i only had six months to live. I know... crazy.  So thank you... not just for the recent prayers to get me thru the storm, but for all of the prayers, love, and support that you, my family, and angels have always given me. Thank you and muchas gracias, Team Lollipop!

Hopefully now, I can just give you all a well deserved break. Let's hope and pray that messy poopie diapers and sleepless nights will be the biggest drama for me in this year to come. Our little man will definitely be the "for better."

lots of love, your team leader :o)...
little lisa lollipop

Poem for the Angels
God saw you were getting tired
And a cure was not meant to be.
So He put His arms around you and
whispered, "Come with Me."

With tearful eyes we watched you
As we saw you pass away.
Although we loved you deeply,
We could not make you stay.

Your golden heart stopped beating,
Hard-working hands at rest.
God broke our hearts to prove to us, He only takes the best.

Friday, February 14, 2014

the Perfect Storm

Celebrating a nice, normal,
brown, formed dukey! Sweet Jesus!
Hi lolly friends!
Where to begin... i am not sure.
Wednesday, after almost 22 days in the hospital, i was discharged home!!! And now, it is only appropriate that we are experiencing this Nor'easter on my first full day home. As much as i despise the cold weather though, i prefer this storm any day over my recent medical one… the Perfect Storm.

Dr. Kiss
It was only the Perfect Storm as so many factors came together in place to save my life… from the ER to Silver 11… from the amazing team taking care of me in the MICU head by Dr Lanfranco… to a fav named Dr. Kiss…sounds like a Gray's Anatomy character, right?… like McSteamy or McDreamy. :o) I really am not making it up.

Even from that first hospital admission on January 22nd, God was by my side. He sent us that first snow storm thus canceling my assigned Jury Duty that Wednesday. And had it not snowed, i might not have asked my doctor to check my blood counts that day… which resulted in a hemoglobin of 4.5. *Footnote: normal hemoglobin is 12-16.

In my last post,  i left off telling you that i had been readmitted a second time for a GI bleed. I did ultimately get discharged home on Friday, January 31st at 2pm, but i never had a chance to post. I ended up returning that same night with... you guessed it, more bleeding.

 My newest theory is that i am like a cat… mostly because i think i have 9 lives. I said it jokingly to my friend during my first admission, but now, after 4 life threatening bleeds within a two week period, i believe it more than ever. Right now, i'm just not sure what number i am on, but it's up there. Yikes!

But whewww... definitelly dodged a bullet or two in this storm... and a knife attack back in January. Even got beat up a little bit: look at my bruises from multiple IV access and swelling from a clot in my catheter. But along with being a cat, i was also a big scaredy cat with the last bleed… the one that landed back in the MICU (medical intensive care unit).  It happened in the middle of last Monday night, February 3rd. (And i thought the rose ceremony on the Bachelor that night was going to be the most dramatic thing ever :o). But after vomiting more that 2 liters of frank red blood and passing out, i was rushed back to the MICU with hemorrhagic shock. As i was about to be intubated, i sought Juan out in the room... to look at him and tell him how much i loved him and our unborn son… and to never forget it. It was the scariest feeling in the world… to not know if this would be the last time we saw each other in this world. (Not to be dramatic or anything :o).

Bad lollipop day

Once again… I am so lucky and blessed! I find myself at a loss of words to express my gratitude… because most of all, i need to thank you... for each and every thought… for each and every prayer that you sent my way over the past weeks.

I truly believe that they as well had a huge part in saving my life during the storm. Thank you for the best Valentine's Day present ev-er!

Be mine!
lots of love and kitty-cat affection to you this Valentine's Day…

little lisa lollipop