Tag Archives: Louisville


Letter From the Editor

All good things must come to an end.

That’s just one the realities of life. But a conclusion isn’t necessarily negative; it often simply means change.

This issue marks Extol’s fifth anniversary, a milestone that couldn’t have been reached without the support of our advertising partners, readers, staff, businesses that carry our print publication and the Southern Indiana community. We are grateful, humbled and eager to march forward into our sixth year, but we’ll be doing it without one key team member, Creative Content Developer Christian Watson.

Christian started working with us about a year after he graduated from Jeffersonville High School in 2016. A self-taught videographer and photographer who continues to educate himself in his chosen field, Christian quickly impressed us with his multifaceted skills, creativity, and ability to work both collaboratively and independently. He was also a joy to be around, albeit often a quiet one.

Hard working and introverted, at least at work, it took a while to learn about who Christian was outside of his work life, but eventually we did: He is a talented musician who picked up an instrument beginning at the age of 4. He comes from a close-knit family and is deliberate about how he spends his downtime. He loves art and travel, particularly when it includes photography. He handles stress with a maturity many of us never master. And, he’s incredibly thoughtful and kind, but doesn’t want anyone to make a big deal of it.

When we hired Christian, we knew we were taking a bit of a chance because of his lack of experience, but it soon became clear we had nothing to worry about. He possessed the necessary skills and desire to learn more. He far exceeded our expectations. So much so, I made it a point to tell him a few times over the past year that we knew Extol was just the first stop in what was surely going to be a long, successful, beautiful career of doing what he loves, and when the time came for him to move on to the next chapter, we would be celebrating him and continuing to cheer from afar.

That time has come.

With this issue, Christian’s role with Extol ends and his new one at Doe-Anderson begins. Founded in 1915, the Louisville-based advertising agency has served iconic clients for decades and is known around the country. Christian earned his place on the Doe-Anderson team, and all of us at Extol couldn’t be happier for or prouder of him. We look forward to being able to say, “We knew him when.”

We also look forward to what comes next for Extol as we march forward into this sixth year. Thank you for continuing with us on the journey.


Angie Fenton

Editor in Chief



Foodie Favorites

Might we suggest a few of our favorite Southern Indiana eats?

In honor of Extol’s fifth anniversary, we’ve created this round-up featuring five of our foodie favorites:

Worth the Wait

There’s a reason why Wild Eggs, 1450 Veterans Parkway in Jeffersonville, often has a brief wait shortly after the doors open: Everything on the menu is delicious. Try the House-Made Cinnamon Roll, Everything Muffin, Wild Mushroom and Roasted Garlic Scramble, Country Fried Steak and Eggs, POP’s Poppin’ Egg Salad or the #MOPOWERBOWL. The Bloody Mary’s are fire, too. (NOTE: If you arrive and there’s a line, don’t let that deter you. The staff is adept at quick seating. Regardless, it’s always worth the wait.)ExtolMag_31_Final_Page_17_Image_0001

Meat Market

Long-time customers know the best place to get meats – and more – is Preferred Meats, 7617 Old State Road 60 in Sellersburg. The shop, owned by Samantha Huber, regularly features unexpected items (like Wagyu beef ) as well as popular picks (fresh, locally-sourced, hand-cut and -ground meats; vegetables; deli meats; sides; beer and wine). Forget milk, eggs or charcoal on the way home? Preferred Meats carries those staples, too. Unsure how to cook a particular cut, want a suggestion for your next purchase or have a question about where the meats come from? Just ask. The staff is knowledgeable and super friendly. Pop in and we’re pretty sure this will be your new go-to meat market for sure. Follow @ preferredmeatsinc on Facebook.


Olde World Awesome

Family-owned and -operated, Schnitzelbank Restaurant serves up “olde world” German fare that’s perfect any time of year, but if you’re specifically looking for stick-to-your ribs goodness, try the Goulash, Sauerbraten or the Grüne Spinat Casserole. The historic eatery is located at 393 3rd Ave. in Jasper.


Big Buzz

It’s no surprise that 1816 Modern Kitchen & Drinks, 100 E. Chestnut St. in Corydon, has continued to garner much buzz since opening last year. Chef Scott Dickenson heads up the kitchen with what he calls “southern comfort fusions.” Try the Brussels Sprouts (we love the inclusion of a touch of local honey), Smoked Gouda Stuffed Meatloaf or one of the Sweet Potato Biscuits.


Membership Has Its Merits

Late last fall, we highlighted Board and You, a then-new business in New Albany that quickly gained a massive social media following and super fans of their custom charcuterie boards (pick up or delivery). Fast forward a few months, and now the business is expanding to Indiana, offers boards of all sizes (including gigantic tables filled with incredible edibles), and is slated to open Board and You Bistro downtown New Albany in May. Don’t want to wait? New to the concept? Like a little bit of exclusivity? The bistro, owned by Zack Flanagan and Sean Lara, is currently offering exclusive memberships that include a variety of benefits over a twelve month period, including the prominent display of your name – or your business name – in the restaurant, discounts, complimentary bottles of wine, exclusive invitations and more. Memberships range from Silver ($250) to Gold ($500) to Platinum ($1,500). For more information, contact Zack at 502.777.6516 or zack@boardandyou.com.ExtolMag_31_Final_Page_16_Image_0004



How to take your lunch on a culinary adventure

By Adam & Kristin Kleinert

First, please allow me to apologize. Most FamFitter articles have been penned by my wife, Kristin (aka “The Smart One”). She is in her first year as a full-time special education teacher, taking a few college courses, coaching elementary cheerleading and killing it as a mom like always. So, for now, you get me.

This even busier lifestyle we’ve taken on has given me the opportunity (sarcasm) to help out with a few more duties around the house. Aside from writing this article, one area in which I have enjoyed helping is with the kids’ lunches. When I started, my routine consisted of getting up and then trying to throw whatever I could into a lunch box. If there wasn’t time for even that, it was cafeteria lunch for my crew. This lasted until my oldest son challenged me to think differently.

Elias, a freshman in high school, is very serious about whatever sport is currently in season. He’s always putting in extra work trying to get an advantage. (We are diligently working on getting him to apply that same enthusiasm toward his schoolwork.) Not getting enough out of school lunches or what I was packing, Eli asked if there was a way to not only get more food in the lunch box but he wanted healthier food as well. This was not a request I was expecting from a 14-year-old, especially one who shares my love for doughnuts, pies, cinnamon rolls… Well, you get the point.

I began thinking about the protein (chicken, lean beef, etc.) and how I could supply veggies that would be welcomed. I started with some simple dishes like chicken & rice, pork tacos, spaghetti (pasta made with garbanzo beans) and meatballs. These were usually things I could put together from what we ate for dinner the night before. A saving grace is that he has access to a microwave in the high school, which allowed me to be a little more creative.

Soon our oldest daughter, Sydney, and Kristin were eyeing Eli’s lunches. These two are not picky by any means, but if food is not cooked to their liking, you may often get a bit of an upturned nose. To my delight, they loved my lunch-packing as well. Thus, I found myself having to figure out how to put together three reheatable, to-go lunches for not one but three people every day.

Now, I’m sure you’ve heard of the concept of food prepping, but let me just reinforce how great it is. I cook on Sundays for the week and make lunches not only for Kristin, Sydney and Eli but for myself as well. I have made a habit of spending part of the day cooking several proteins, some veggies, a baked-good and batch of granola. It feels good knowing I can give my loved ones a little help on their busy weekdays.

You may recall we have four children. I know at least some of you are thinking I’ve completely ignored my younger two, Molly and Brahm. Well, only slightly. They ask me to make their lunch as well, but I am not yet able to give them the same treatment since they do not have access to a microwave in elementary school. I do tell them that if they’d like me to pack their lunches, I won’t pack junk.

This policy did not go over well at first, but we have evolved to a point where they are packing their own lunches with some supervision. Where Brahm and Molly tried before to pack chips, pretzels, popcorn and crackers (you know, the four main food groups according to kids), after some initial coaxing, one of the first things they look for now is even salad (!!). This might be my favorite part of our school lunch culinary adventure: seeing all my kids expanding their pallets and trying to make more conscious choices without a push from this parent.

Here are a few of our favorite dishes:


A weekly go-to in our house. This dish is extremely versatile. Don’t feel like chicken? Try pulled pork, turkey and kale meatballs or tofu. Don’t have broccoli or carrots? How about peas, edamame, cauliflower or asparagus? Just raid the fridge and pantry, and see what great new take on this classic dish you can come up with.

ExtolMag_31_Final_Page_23_Image_0002• Cubed Chicken

• Fried Rice

– Onion

– Eggs

– Soy Sauce

– Broccoli

– Shredded Brussel Sprouts

– Shredded Carrot

– Toasted Seseame Seed

Here, just cook as much as you want. You know your family better than I do, so I’ll refrain from telling you how much to make.

I bake chicken breasts and then cube them on Sundays. For the fried rice, I usually start with about 4 cups of rice. (I like to cook the rice on Friday or Saturday and let it dry out in the fridge for a few days.) In a wok or large saute pan, I start with a little oil and add some chopped onion. I then add in the rice and let it sit for a minute to try and crisp it up just a bit. Next, I’ll add a couple of eggs and scramble them in. Add your soy sauce to taste, and at the end, I add the vegetables. I don’t want to overcook them. I like them to still have a little bite. Last, I top it off with a little toasted sesame seed.


The Kleinerts like dessert! Some of the entrees may not have been as well received if my crew did not have a little something sweet to chew on afterward. These little cookies are low in sugar and pack a protein punch. The recipe below uses dried blueberries and cherries, but if you like chocolate, substitute the fruit for chocolate chips and the vanilla protein powder for chocolate.


• 5 T Coconut Oil

• 1/2 cup Brown Sugar • 1/4 cup Pure Maple Syrup

• 3 Eggs

• 5 T Coconut Flour

• 1 Scoop Vanilla Protien Powder

• 1 cup Oatmeal

• 1 t Salt

• 1/2 cup sliced almonds

• 1/4 cup chopped pecans

• 1/4 cup chopped dried berries

Melt the coconut oil. Mix in brown sugar and maple syrup. Whisk in eggs. In a separate bowl combine flour, protein powder, oatmeal and salt. Add wet ingredients. Mix in nuts and berries. Scoop onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 until the edges are brown (about 10 minutes). Makes about 18.


Gabby & Brandon Jones

Sept. 28, 2019

Photos by Krystle Hiott of Krystle Hiott Photography | krystlehiottphotography.com krystalhiottphotos@gmail.com | 317.750.1897


On a late fall afternoon, with the warm sun just peeking through the beautiful fall-tinged leaves surrounding The Old Barn at Brown County, Gabrielle Boone of Floyds Knobs married Brandon Jones of Columbus, Indiana.

The venue gave the couple everything they wanted for their rustic vintage theme. Two large, beautifully appointed cabins flank the barn, and these were rented by the couple to accommodate their wedding party.


As the leaves rustled, Gabby descended the wrap-around wooden deck of the bride’s cabin. Designed by Mori Lee, Gabby’s gown provided the chic, eloquent silhouette she had always dreamed of. Ivory in color, with a plunging neckline and open low back, the gown flowed with tiers of alternating striped offray sheer and solid patterned satin. Gabby’s shoes were Kate Spade rose-colored velvet and pearl-studded sandals.

Always wanting an outdoor wedding, the groom was handsomely appointed in a charcoal Bonobos suit and Bruno Magli wing-tipped shoes. Brandon waited, and perhaps shed a few tears, while Gabby made her way across the beautiful, leaf-covered path and down the aisle trimmed with white pumpkins to the small congregation seated on wooden benches. The beautiful porch-like setting was the perfect location for the exchange of vows.

Following the vows, guests enjoyed a beautiful reception decorated with crystal vases, candles, peonies and baby’s breath. In addition to the customary wedding cake, macaroons, the bride’s favorite, were served.

Always looking to surprise and treat their guests, the couple chose a breakfast buffet for their reception meal. Piping hot biscuits and gravy, frittatas and bacon were just a few of the offerings with cocktail hour miniature waffles complete with individual syrup pipettes.

Gabby is a 2014 graduate of Floyd Central High School with a degree in fashion marketing, merchandising and retail management from the Art Institute of Indianapolis. Brandon graduated from Columbus East High School and holds a degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University.

ExtolMag_31_Final_Page_25_Image_0001The couple will reside in Columbus, Indiana





Made by Morgan

Creatively inspired by Ben Franklin Crafts in New Albany

By Morgan Sprigler

…Another one opens and just like that it’s Spring, bringing us a promise of sunlight, crisp air and fresh beginnings. To welcome the new season, I’m sharing with you a kid-friendly craft that incorporates a little education, too, and started – as always – at Ben Franklin Crafts New Albany. By the way, new store hours went into effect in January. Ben Franklin is open 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. If you’re ready to get down and Derby, stop in sometime soon to see the growing collection of fascinators and hats (for men too!) or talk to a staffer about creating one specially for you.

Now, let’s craft!


• Wooden hanging door

• Chalk paint of your desired color

• Cardstock of your desired color x 2

• Scissors

• Spring items of your choosing

• Hot glue gun and glue sticks

Total project cost = $42

STEP ONEExtolMag_31_Final_Page_38_Image_0003

Find some time when you and your kid(s) can go craft supply shopping together. As you are browsing, start up a conversation about seasons. Use this opportunity to test their knowledge and do a little teaching, too. Start with the wooden door. Because it has 6 “panes,” have your child(ren) come up with six different aspects of spring. Each item will eventually be displayed on your door and will remind your child(ren) what the season is all about. My girls and I settled on rainclouds made from cotton balls with rain made from blue stones, butterflies, a birds nest with eggs, flowers, birds on a twig, and a cross to symbolize Easter.

STEP TWOExtolMag_31_Final_Page_38_Image_0004

Paint! We chose a delicate, light pink chalk paint in a spray can. However, you may use any paint you desire. I like the look of chalk paint for this project, but a flat or matte paint would be pretty as well. The red door from Ben Franklin is also very nice just as it is, if you want to skip this step. We also decided to paint our door handle gold using acrylic paint, because, why not?! Paint and then let the door dry.

STEP THREEExtolMag_31_Final_Page_38_Image_0001

Using your heated glue gun, apply glue around the perimeter of one sheet of cardstock. Apply sheet to the back of your door, covering four of the bottom panes.

STEP FOURExtolMag_31_Final_Page_38_Image_0001

Cut your second sheet of cardstock in half and repeat step three to cover the top two remaining door panes.


Glue your spring items to the cardstock inside each pane, while talking with your child about why each one is important and/or specific to the season. Again, all of our items were purchased from Ben Franklin Crafts New Albany, with the exception of our rain clouds, which are simply three cotton balls arranged together. We also found a twig outside to use as a branch for our little birdies. Instead of items for every pane, you and your child also can paint or draw inside one or more panes or you can collect items from your garden.

Note: This door can be updated for each season by easily removing the cardstock from each pane and adding new objects. (You could even update for birthdays by choosing six of the birthday guy or gal’s favorite things.)

Variation 1: Instead of cardstock, you can use felt for the background and utilize Velcro to attach your objects instead of glue. This would make this project even more conducive to changing out with the seasons.

Variation 2: If you would rather have a centerpiece for your kitchen table or kids table, Ben Franklin carries an array of wooden boxes that would work well for this project, too. You and your child(ren) could decorate each side of the wooden box and add a floral arrangement to the top! Voila!

Happy Spring, Extol Readers!

5 Year Spread

Fast Five

So much has happened in the past five years – and we’re not just talking about the debut of Extol


It’s now 2020 and the world is looking back at the past decade, but here at Extol, we’re celebrating the past five years. So here’s a look back at some of the biggest changes in the past half-decade.


The fastest changes in any era are usually in technology, and the past five years did not disappoint. Computers are getting bigger, faster, smaller and more efficient. The same can be said of our smartphones, smartwatches and smart homes and offices, which are now heading toward 5G, the first upgrade since 4G game on the scene in 2010.

Now, the technology world is regularly using artificial intelligence, machine learning, and quantum computing. Drones are used in myriad ways, and experts predict autonomous vehicles will soon be on the road more often than not. Cloud computing has become commonplace, and those pesky, easily lost flash drives have nearly become obsolete. We no longer use CDs to listen to music or DVDs to watch movies because it’s all easily accessible with streaming services.


While meatless burgers have been commonplace for years, it’s only recently that they’ve become real substitutes for meat – and meat lovers – like the Impossible Burger, which is made of soy and tastes exactly like the burgers we crave.

The company that created it, Impossible Foods, just released Impossible Pork, allowing pork lovers to enjoy their faves without the environmental and animal consequences. More people than ever are vegetarian and vegan, a designation that in the past was considered strange and only for so-called “granola types” and self-professed hippies. Whatever your diet designation, we’re lucky to live in a time with so many options.


It seems like everything we do is governed by apps in ways many of us couldn’t have imagined before. We can get an affordable ride at our doorsteps within minutes with ridesharing apps. We can get nearly anything delivered from restaurant food to groceries with the help of an app. We do our banking at our fingertips, send money to our friends, buy nearly anything imaginable and have it at our doors within a day or so.

We can find a date, check the weather, text a friend overseas and get near realtime driving directions with the touch of a finger or question to a virtual assistant. The cost of travel has come down with the advent of home sharing apps like AirB&B, VRBO and more. We can order plane tickets, book a train trip and video chat with our families and pets. New apps are being created all the time, and there’s no limit to what the future holds.


Over the past five years, climate scientists have increasingly issued dire warnings about the state of our planet and the consequences of our actions, causing teenagers – and supporters of all ages – around the world, led by then-15-year-old Greta Thunburg, to begin school strikes to draw attention to the issue.

While not everyone has gotten on board with climate change activism, many of us have at least become more aware of the issues that face our world. That means companies, cities and individuals, even, are more likely to participate in recycling programs, eco-friendly infrastructure changes and the general health of the planet.


The overwhelming majority of Americans – 96% according to Pew Research Center – own a smartphone. While the constant connectivity can be an asset, it also can mean more alone-together time with loved ones. (Alone-together time = the periods when you’re with others but don’t interact because everyone’s noses are in their phones and it’s as if you’re each alone.) While many of us can’t and don’t want to step away from our devices for too long, there’s also a growing push to dial in to your most important relationships by dialing back on your phone use and focusing on faces, not devices. At least for a bit.


Joseph Meier Promoted to Manager at Rodefer Moss

Kim Naville
Marketing Coordinator

Capture2NEW ALBANY, Ind., Jan. 6, 2020 — Rodefer Moss & Co, PLLC has promoted Joseph Meier to manager, effective Jan. 1. Meier works at the firm’s New Albany office and was previously a supervisor.

“Joe has been an asset to our supervisory staff and will be a wonderful addition to our managerial team,” said Doug York, President and Managing Partner. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and professionalism that is vital to our commitment to quality and client service.”

Meier has experience in both tax and attest services including not-for-profit entities. He
specializes in complex multi-state tax filings with a focus on manufacturing/distribution and
transportation industries. His expertise also includes international financial statement
conversion, rental real estate tax implications, cost segregation studies and closely held service companies.

“I look forward to my new role as a manager,” said Meier. “My clients can expect the same
dedication and service as I provide solutions for their tax needs.”

Meier received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Accounting from University of Louisville. He is a member of Kentucky Society of Certified Public Accountants (KSCPA) and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) where he received a Charter Global Management Accountant designation (CGMA). CGMA distinguishes accounting professionals who have advanced proficiency in finance, operations, strategy and management.

Rodefer Moss provides accounting and businesses consulting services in nine offices in Indiana,
Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. For more information, visit rodefermoss.com.


Speed Across the River for Great Art and More

5 things we love about the Speed Art Museum


ExtolMag_30_FINAL_Page_17_Image_0001When the Speed Art Museum reopened in 2016 following a massive, three-year closure for renovation and expansion, guests were mesmerized by the changes. Today, the Speed continues to evolve into a place where great art meets great community, with a focus on exhibitions, events, film, food, and more, that draws families, art lovers, and the entire community to its iconic building.When the Speed Art Museum reopened in 2016 following a massive, three-year closure for renovation and expansion, guests were mesmerized by the changes. Today, the Speed continues to evolve into a place where great art meets great community, with a focus on exhibitions, events, film, food, and more, that draws families, art lovers, and the entire community to its iconic building.

If you haven’t visited recently, here’s a primer on some of our favorite things about the Speed Art Museum: Art for All – The Speed Art Museum is Kentucky’s oldest and largest art museum, covering 6,000 years of art from around the world. From ancient Egyptian art, to the European Masters, including Rembrandt and Monet, to modern classics and more, the Speed invites everyone to experience art for all. Thanks to a generous grant from Brown-Forman, the Speed offers free admission to all every Sunday from 12-5 p.m.

FREE Admission for IUS Students – Thanks to a partnership between The Speed and Indiana University, IUS faculty and students with a current student ID receive free admission through Aug. 1, 2022. What are you waiting for? Go now!


Excellent Exhibitions – The Speed’s permanent collection is breathtaking in its quality and historical significance. The museum’s curators frequently rotate pieces from the expansive collection in storage to keep the art fresh and exciting as you visit time and again. The latest special exhibition on display is Tales from the Turf: The Kentucky Horse. If you love horses, don’t miss this first exhibition to examine Kentucky’s relationship to the horse through art. It features paintings, sculpture, photographs, drawings, prints, and manuscripts from Kentucky’s major private collections, all telling equine tales of Kentucky’s history with horses. Most of the collection has never been seen in public and is only on display until March 1, so hurry in for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see this equine spectacular.

The Speed Cinema – Catching a flick takes on new meaning when you visit the Speed Cinema, which shows films you can’t see anywhere else in this area. Documentaries, independent masterpieces, foreign classics, and more are carefully curated to showcase the best in cinema.

A Museum on a Mission – In addition to the world class art, the Speed features dozens of events, tours, and activities for all ages every month. The popular After Hours adult evening event takes place every third Friday for mingling, drinks, food, music and of course, art. Each month features a different theme, with speakers, entertainment, cinema and more. Families are always welcome at the Speed, with a special focus on the tiniest visitors through Art Sparks’ hands on learning opportunities. New to the Speed are family Saturdays, with all Saturday programming focused around the family.

The Speed Art Museum

2035 S. Third St.





10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday

10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday

12 p.m.-5 p.m. Sunday

Closed Monday and Tuesday


Members: Free

Adults: $18

Seniors (Age 60+): $12

Kids (Age 4-17): $12

Kids (Age 3 and under): Free

University of Louisville students, faculty, and staff: Free

Select area schools (including IUS): Free

College students with valid ID: $12

Military personnel: $12




A First-Person Account by Southern Indiana resident Sally Hughes

IN APRIL 2013, I did something that millions of women have done, seemingly without consequence, but for me it would turn out to be a life-altering decision.

Back then, life was great. I was newly engaged, madly in love and healthy. I was 31-years-old and making a home for my new blended family, while maintaining a fun and active social life that included lots of running and yoga. My fiancé and I moved our three daughters in together and began planning our fall wedding. I couldn’t have been more excited about life. And I loved being a mom to all of our girls.

Earlier in the year, I met with a plastic surgeon and decided to get breast implants. It felt like such a good decision with where I was in my life. The surgeon told me I should be able to exercise again in four weeks, which was very important to me. Exercising was my stress relief and self-confidence. It made me feel like I could conquer anything I put my mind to. Still does. It is a core piece of who I am as a human being. Still is.

I had surgery in April, but by the time I got married that September, I still hadn’t gotten back into my running and yoga routine. Not only was my chest still swollen from the implants, but my whole body was mildly swollen. I also had a sharp burning sensation in my right breast that hadn’t gone away, making it impossible to lay on my stomach during yoga class. The nurses at the surgeon’s office didn’t seem alarmed at all, so I tried to ignore the burning and hoped it would eventually go away.

Over the next few months as the excitement of the wedding wore off and we settled into our new life, I realized that I just didn’t feel like myself. I was extremely moody, anxious, tearful and had gained a lot of weight. I was unusually fatigued and has trouble sleeping. I was always on edge and easily upset about trivial things like messes or scheduling issues, and the more out of control I felt, the more controlling became, which any parent or newlywed knows is not a recipe for success.


My family doctor suggested antidepressants. I was hesitant but welcomed the possibility of help. I try to look back now and imagine the toll on the family that I loved so deeply, but the truth is I don’t remember much of it because as I was going through the awful ordeal, my memory and attention span failed me, and I was having full blackouts where I couldn’t remember anything from my day. I also had trouble recalling things from my long-term memory.

When prompted to recall things about my childhood, I could remember very little, as if all of those memories had disappeared overnight. I remember calling my husband in a panic, all of a sudden desperate to remember what my life had been like as a child.

When my doctors’ solution to my symptoms was simply to up the dosage on my antidepressants, I knew they weren’t taking me seriously. This wasn’t depression, although that became a common theme over the course of my journey.

Soon, I became completely unrecognizable to myself. I was so exhausted at times that I couldn’t get up and walk from one room to the next without having to lay down and take a nap. I would sleep for 14 hours straight and not feel rested. When I slept well, I had nightmares and night sweats. And I was in so much physical pain, I could no longer exercise at all. My joints ached so badly at times that I felt sure that my 85-year-old grandmother could move easier than I could. I ached getting in and out of the car and going up and down stairs. My muscle pain was so severe that something brushing against my skin would cause me to wince in pain. My husband would try to massage my achy muscles, but it was so painful that I couldn’t tolerate the touch.

My moods were all over the place, too. I had anxiety attacks on a daily basis. The smallest stressors became unmanageable. I developed chemical sensitivities that were so intense I had to avoid places that used air fresheners, people who wore perfume and banned all chemical cleaning products from our house. I stopped having bowel movements on a regular basis. My menstrual cycle went from normal to unmanageable and irregular. My blood pressure was low all the time, and I fainted often. My body odor was so bad that deodorant didn’t cover it up. My hair fell out in clumps in the shower. I had cystic acne, ringing in my ears and my nervous system wasn’t functioning properly. My senses became overwhelmed, and any loud or unexpected noises became overwhelming to the point they caused me physical pain.

I also became unable to process alcohol. Even two glasses of wine caused me to black out and gave me a hangover lasting two to three days. I had trouble recalling the names of people I knew, and socializing became very difficult because even when I was able to will myself out of bed, I couldn’t concentrate on conversations. I would stand in front of people I’d known my entire life and not be able to remember anything about them because my mind was blank.

Over the course of three and a half years, I was diagnosed with several hormone imbalances, hypothyroidism, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, ovarian cysts, chronic mono, depression and anxiety.

I was referred to the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic but neither would accept me without a more definitive diagnosis.

I was told I was crazy, literally, more than once.

I was told I was depressed, regularly.

I was told I was a hypochondriac and that these symptoms were imagined.

I had scans, saliva tests, MRI’s, stool tests, urine tests, genetic tests, food allergy tests, hair growth analysis, muscle testing and more. I saw every kind of doctor that would see me, often waiting months and paying thousands for appointments and testing. I explored every opportunity for help, which always ended up being a road to none or little relief at best.

My husband and I struggled to manage our daily lives, and he had now known me longer as a sick person than he had as a healthy person. So, this became our normal. He often took the girls to birthday parties and family events without me because I couldn’t get out of bed much of the time. He drove the girls to school every morning as I laid in bed angry and hurting emotionally and physically. Scheduling meetings or planning get-togethers with family or friends became difficult because we never knew how I would feel when the time came. Canceled plans became my normal and I began to ridicule myself with guilt for all of the life events that were missed. I assume people just thought I was depressed, or that I didn’t love them anymore.

The confusion, shame, and frustration wore us down and inevitably took a toll on our own relationship. We hid my physical suffering from almost everyone other than our children. The reasons for this were complicated. Neither of us are good at asking for help, but my father also had cancer at the time and I didn’t want to put any extra health-related stress on my family. But most importantly the underlying (and direct) messages we were getting from doctors were not supportive or hopeful. There was almost always an element of “You are making this up. This is depression. This is imagined and/or psychological.” After hearing that so many times, I was conditioned to think no one would believe me even if I did tell them what was going on.

Because I had prescriptions for an antidepressant, a benzodiazepine, an amphetamine and three different hormones, I was able to use these to maintain a somewhat normal outward appearance. I worked a part-time job from home some of the time this was going on and was able to “act normal” about 25% of the time while we were outside of the house. People who saw me once a week probably didn’t even notice I was different because I became a master of hiding it. But keeping these secrets were crushing and all of the weight took a psychological toll on me that affects me to this day.

I would sit in the car rider line at school or at the kids sporting events and cry behind my sunglasses because I was afraid I was never going to be able to enjoy my life again and felt so alone. All I wanted in life was my little five-person blended family, and I couldn’t even make it to a birthday party or make the girls breakfast in the morning, let alone be the present role model that they all deserved. The guilt trip that I gave myself for not being able to just get up and overcome was endless. I knew there was something deeply wrong, and I also knew the chances of finding a doctor who could help me were very small by this point.

In the end, however, it wasn’t a doctor who saved me from the hell I couldn’t seem to escape.

In June 2016, I came across an article in People magazine about Hugh Hefner’s wife, Crystal Hefner, who’d had her breast implants removed because she said they were causing her debilitating illness.

I was sitting in the waiting room of a doctor’s office as I read through the article, which described an experience eerily similar to mine. When I discussed my concerns with the surgeon who performed my breast augmentation, he dismissed them immediately. I told him my hormones were out of whack, and I was having all kinds of pain and looked to him for a response. The surgeon looked directly at my husband and me and said, “Well, bitches be trippin‘.”

Immediately, I was on a mission and began asking every doctor who’d listen, “Could breast implants really be causing this?” The general consensus was no. I even contacted the manufacturer of my implants and asked if they’d ever had complaints like mine. They told me via phone no one had ever complained of any of these symptoms in relation to their implants.

Still, I made the decision to have my breast implants removed in October 2016 with nothing to go on but my own instincts and the hope that there was a way for me to get my life back.

There wasn’t a single doctor offering me a solution for my condition, but there were three who acknowledged that it was possible my symptoms were, in fact, being caused by my implants. That was enough for me to take a chance. What I would potentially gain was worth way more than what I would definitely lose.

Within four weeks of having my implants removed, I knew that they were the source of my misery, and I continued to make improvements over the next six to eight months.

My anxiety and joint and muscle pain went away almost entirely, and my fatigue was reduced by at least half. The ringing in my ears went away, and my heightened sensitivity to loud noises disappeared. My body odor and acne went away. My hair stopped falling out. As more time passed my periods and bowel movements became normal again; my short-term memory improved; and I was eventually able to go to work full-time.

Today, I have some of my life back, but not all of it.

My marriage suffered a lot of damage, and we eventually divorced, leaving heavy consequences for the whole family. I still have to take hormones and constantly work to keep them balanced. I still struggle with debilitating chronic fatigue that seems to strike out of nowhere. My body has a noticeable physical reaction to almost any medication or chemical. I do not tolerate alcohol well and a night of celebration can set me back for a week or more. And I have not been able to run again, which is an activity that I loved dearly.

ExtolMag_30_FINAL_Page_38_Image_0004I estimate that the entire ordeal cost me about $50,000 so far and continues to cost me every month. I see doctors who don’t take insurance but are willing to listen to me and spend hours instead of minutes. The treatments that I get and the supplements I have to take are expensive, but I feel much better with them than I do without. I try to eat organic and avoid endocrine disruptors. My life is pretty high maintenance just trying to keep myself functional, but I am beyond thankful that I made the decision to have my implants removed.

If I would’ve listened to the majority of doctors or only been willing to do things that my insurance policy would cover, I believe I would be in a wheelchair by now. I’ve been able to come off of all of the antidepressants, benzodiazepines and amphetamines, and although I do still struggle with feelings of depression and anxiety from time to time, it is nothing compared to what it was when I had implants in my body.

I’ve since learned that the implant manufacturer lied to me when they said they’d never heard of the illnesses I suffered. In fact, tens of thousands of women have filed similar complaints with this particular manufacturer, and tens of thousands of woman with all different brands of implants have reported similar experiences to the FDA. In the last year, it has even been proven that a particular type of implant that was approved by the FDA was linked to a higher risk of developing cancer. Hundreds of women have testified in Washington and to the FDA, and yet they continue to be largely ignored by the government our health care system.

So, we advocate for ourselves. I am now connected to a network of over 50,000 women who have been harmed by breast implants. There have been thousands of lawsuits filed, but most of them are unsuccessful because there is no “proof” and trying to fight Big Pharma is a battle that many of us don’t have the resources or the energy for. The company that manufactured my breast implants is valued at upwards of $150 billion. In 2018 alone they reported spending $3.2 million on lobbying those who could pass important legislation.

Despite the community I’ve been thankful to find, I want to make something clear: I personally know less than 10 women who have experienced similar complications with implants, and I probably know more than 100 women who have them. Most seem to tolerate the implants just fine, although they may never consider connecting something like anxiety, auto immune issues or hormones imbalance with their breast implants. But sure enough, every few months I get a Facebook message or an email out of the blue from someone I’ve never met asking for my help because they’ve heard about what happened to me, and they are experiencing it, too. I’ve referred people to doctors, driven two hours to meet a stranger for lunch and talked on the phone for hours with women who live across the country because they need help and no one else will listen.

I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t give anything to have my health back to the way it was before I decided to get breast implants, but I try to focus on the wisdom I have gained and the personal growth I have experienced because of this situation.

I am very aware of my mortality and don’t take my health for granted, and I acknowledge my gratitude for just being able to drive my child to school every morning. I’m grateful for the relationships I have because they are so much more important than the ones I have lost.

ExtolMag_30_FINAL_Page_41_Image_0002I remind myself every day that the only person I am supposed to be is 100% myself and that hiding my truth in exchange for being perceived as more physically attractive and void of negative emotions is doing a disservice to others — and most importantly a disservice to myself. I also believe that the people who matter don’t mind and the people who mind don’t matter.

I’m able to exercise as long as I’m not having a bout of chronic fatigue. I do it because of what it does for my mind more than I do it for what it does to my physical appearance. I also quit injectables because of their ingredients. When I notice my wrinkles in the mirror every morning, I try to be gentle with myself and remember that with age and fine lines comes wisdom that will allow you to love deeper, experiences that will make you appreciate more, and strength that you can harness — as long as you are open to the lesson.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Extol Magazine.



By Angie Fenton

I often joked that I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep since late May 2015 when I learned I was pregnant. But sometime this summer, as I woke up for the umpteenth time in the middle of the night with my toddler’s feet in my face and her elbows in my ribs, I realized this was no laughing matter and I was tired of being tired.

My bed was so worn it was genuinely concave, and the constant exhaustion was starting to affect me and my on-the-job production. I researched the effects of sleep deprivation and was genuinely horrified about the seriousness of this not-so-uncommon epidemic.

According to Johns Hopkins, those of us who lack sleep are more likely to gain weight, age our brains prematurely, develop heart disease, cause car crashes… The list goes on and on — and it incited a newfound determination to do whatever I could to catch more ZZZs and ensure my daughter did, too.

The first move was obvious: It was time to get a new bed for the bedroom I share with my husband (except when he’d been relegated to the couch because said toddler was in his place). And, we decided, it was also an opportunity to transition our soon-to-be 4-year-old from her first bed into something more substantial and make bedtime something we all looked forward to.

On a sunny Saturday, the three of us ventured to Schmitt Furniture and – with the help of an incredibly knowledgeable gentleman who worked there – quickly found exactly what we needed: An adjustable split king-size bed for Mom and Dad (which we could control individually), and a bunk bed with safety features for Olive, which came equipped with stairs — as opposed to a ladder — and built-in shelves under each step as well as beneath her bottom bunk.

The Schmitt Furniture duo that delivered and set up the beds were courteous, kind (they didn’t blink an eye at the incessant questions my kid kept asking) and true professionals. That night, Olive quickly took to her “big girl bed,” and the hubby and I found ourselves snoozing with ease. My only regret: Why in the world didn’t we do this sooner???

I also consulted with friends and a couple of experts, all of whom advised setting and sticking to individualized bedtime routines, utilizing white noise apps if necessary, practicing meditation and “unpacking” the day’s stressors and tomorrow’s worries whether mentally or by writing them down.

While each night isn’t perfect – Olive is currently asleep in my bed right now but that’s because she was feeling a bit clingy today wanted to “cuddle with Mommy,” which I allow as a treat (to us both, mind you) but it’s no longer the norm. Found: More ZZZs.

Schmitt Furniture is located at 101 E. Main St. on the Furniture Corner of State and Main in downtown New Albany.