#Merry and Bright

I’ve been having a lot of feelings lately. I’ve felt frustrated. I’ve felt sad. I’ve felt forgotten. I’ve had a burst or two of anger. Here’s the thing – the whole situation is

Mostly though, I’ve been thankful. I’ve remembered the joy it is to be alive. I’ve been reminded that human kind is a beautiful and genuinely good. I’ve felt remembered and loved and special.

A friend of my brothers, whom I’d never met, who just knew how sick I’d been took it upon herself to make sure I was remembered and loved. She sent my sister home from an outing at the coffee shop with a beautiful poinsettia, a card and a beautiful coloring book and colored pencils. I was floored. The kindness of a stranger who wanted me to know they were thinking about me and praying for me and were behind me for a full recovery. Still gets me a little misty eyed.

Then I’ve had conversations with people whom I only know through others, calling to send their love and to let me know to be in touch if they need anything.

As I’ve said, I’m generally a positive person. Even those negative emotions I can pretty much always spin to be positive, but these little tidbits I hold onto when the days get hard. I even am able to help friends and family put a positive spin on occasionally stressful situations.

In other news – the bad thing for the holidays has happened – my mama was hit by a car backing out in the parking lot. Thankfully she saw him and honked her horn and was able to brace herself for impact.

I’m here and relaxing and spending time with the peopNesle I love. I’m giving love and I’m soaking it all in.

Stay safe folks. Enjoy your loved ones. Slow down, put your phones away. Breathe in the smell of baking, and feel the crisp air on your cheeks when you go outside.

#ThisIsRecovery #SlowingDown #SoMuchLove

 

 

#thisisrecovery

My family and my friends are angels.

Friday my mom and I went out, went to the YMCA so she could get a workout in, had a quick lunch and ran a few errands. Side note: When I visit other gyms, it makes me even more grateful for my gym. There are no 30 min limit on cardio machines.

While she was at a recovery group, I sat in McDonald’s and then after that we went and saw Office Christmas Party. It was just the right amount of silly to make me laugh.

Saturday was super busy.

I got a last minute hair appointment with my hair dresser. He’s fabulous, and very gentle. We didn’t do anything too crazy, but we did wash it and get it cleaned up so I could go to my event looking gorgeous.

Went to a couple of store, and was elbowed in the side by an employee at one of my favorite stores, who didn’t even apologize. I’m not sure I’ll go back there again, at least until this stupid thing is out of my side. To me, I know I have to worry about the general population not having a sense of space, but having an employee not say excuse me and just pry their way in was a little disheartening.  Picked up cinnamon buns for my sister and I, and grabbed some french fries for the way home. Made sure I got a nap when I got home.

My friend picked me up at 5:30 pm and we saw Sleeping Beauty. It’s a family appropriate musical. It was a lot of fun.

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And then there are days like the last two.

Sunday wasn’t super great. The pain I was feeling was beyond me. We used the accessible parking permit, and we rented a wheelchair from the mall. I was happy to get out, but I couldn’t manage walking around the mall, or anywhere for that matter. Saw “The Arrival” with my step-dad on Sunday afternoon. I was clear after that I wouldn’t be able to go to the Choir performance my sister was in. Thankfully she wasn’t upset.

Over the last couple of days, I also couldn’t eat very much. I was nauseous just doing nothing. On the short errand we ran, I waited in the car, and requested my mom take me home after we got what she needed – I wasn’t even up to going out to grab lunch.

Luckily, I had a kitten who wants to make sure I feel better. I got some good kitten snuggles.

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A Taste of Normal

I went out today.

My brother works at Dave n Busters. It’s basically like a grown up Chuck E Cheese. It has a dining room, sports lounge and bar, plus a ton of arcade games. Since they are a new store, they have sort of like a soft opening – to give everyone practice doing their jobs in a lower key environment.

We were provided with a beverage, appetizer and entrée, and a play card.

It was a blast. I had the Mac N Cheese. It had chicken and bacon and it was fantastic.

It was my first major outing with my mama in almost six weeks. It was nice, AND it gave me a little bit of anxiety. The room was noisy, and there were A LOT of people. I’ve noticed people don’t have a very good sense of space/people around them. Or if they do, they don’t care. I had a moment where I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Got myself grounded very quickly and then enjoyed myself.

Before we did that we saw a movie – Bleed for This. It’s a story about a boxer making an epic comeback after surgery. It was good – a little slow in the beginning but the type of movie I needed to see. You know, facing adversity it’s all about how you decide what you’re going to do with it.

I also got a call from someone I don’t directly work with/know very well, just calling to see how I was and ask if I needed anything. It’s moments like this that remind me how blessed and loved I am.

 

Future Thinking

Well, my mind has been a little chaotic.

Here’s the thing. I’m grateful I’m not dead. The infection I had is pretty intense, and has a high mortality rate. It takes months and months to recover from. This, combined with the uncertainty about my liver injury, makes for a pretty emotional Emily.

The good thing is I’m looking into the future.

I found myself a new coach. She’s local, she’s a professional triathlete and she seems awesome. We had a phone conversation and she knows my huge goals, that I’m motivated and that I’m essentially going to have to start from scratch when I return to the sport.

This is comforting.

I’m finding races to do. I’m not signing up, since many races have a “no refund, no transfer” policy.

What I am doing is listening to my body. I’m not letting the pain get ahead of me (the hole tube sticking out of my liver thing causes a lot of pain). I’m sleeping when I need to, eating what I want when I want (this is not as exciting as you’d think), seeing my doctor a minimum of once a week. I am walking more too, and moving a little faster.

My mama is a godsend.

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Chin Up, Sunshine

I’m overly emotional.

My mother is also done with me. “You run me ragged all week,” she says.

Except I don’t. She had Friday where she was completely without me. We only went to the doctor on Wednesday morning, then I was home the rest of the day, and on Tuesday she was gone until about 7pm, we just went to the doctors office in the morning.

Even today we were going to spend most of the day out, but she was tired so we came home early. Literally, we were only out for an hour and a half.

So now, it’s after midnight, and I’m not tired at all because I’ve had too many days where I’m not doing anything and she’s even still awake

I’m trying so hard not to complain, but this isn’t easy for me either. There’s a tube sticking out of my liver and it causes a lot of pain (and I have a pretty high pain tolerance – you need to in order to do triathlons).

I digress.

I saw my tummy doctor on Wednesday. The technical term is a gastroenterologist. I told her we had to stop meeting like this, but I was glad I saw her. I left feeling so, so much better.

We talked about how I’m constantly nauseous. How I can’t get very much food down and I go a significant amount of time between eating. How I’ve lost a significant amount of weight.

And she said the most comforting thing.

“We’re going to fix you.”

She said that the doctor I’m seeing is the best – that she’s sent her family to him. She said that it’s likely I’m full because my tummy doesn’t move very fast to begin with and that the pain medication slows it even more. The pain is also contributing to the nausea. She also said that with constant pain comes depression and that generally people fall into two categories – eating too much or not enough – and I fall into the ladder.

This last part I resisted with all my being – with the history of mental illness in my family – but she could be right. I’m a little over sensitive and moody. But, you might be too, if you went from being totally independent and barely home to being almost completely dependent on people. I had my youngest sister wash my hair and I can’t even shower myself.

So, her instructions: Stay ahead of the pain. Since the nausea is constant and there’s no difference no matter what I eat, she said to eat what I want and to get the most bang for my buck. Don’t drink diet soda, since it won’t do anything. Eat things that are high calorie and high fat.

So there it is. They’re going to fix me and it’s going to be ok. In the meantime, I just have to keep my chin up.

 

Special Patient

It’s pretty interesting.

I have all the symptoms of a urinary tract infection.

I have to be very in tune with my body right now. If something gets out of control I could get very, very sick again.

I didn’t have a fever, so we made our way this morning to the Urgent Care center at my local hospital. It’s not an emergency room, but they do have all of the facilities of one. You can go in, get all your tests and blood work done and get treated with IV medication if needed.

So we get there and we’re put into the minor care area. I was sanitizing my hands every few minutes, not wanting to pick anything up – there were people coughing and vomiting everywhere.

We see the doctor. Since he didn’t know me, we had to give him a little more history. The whole; messed up gallbladder surgery, totally blocked bile duct, septic shock, multiple biliary drain stuff. His response was comforting – “Good to see you,” he said.

“I’d like to do blood work,” he said. “Not because I have a serious concern but it’s more out of paranoia.”

So, for my UTI, I had blood work and a urine sample.

After they take everything they need, they send you over to where there are a bunch of sick people to sit until they get the results. Except for when you’re me. I sat in that chair for a little while, and then they gave me my own room. We wanted to reduce the risk of infection, which I appreciated.

When we left, with my prescription for a UTI, he said “It’s always good to do a little extra workup, given the history.” I appreciate how thorough he was, and found it kind of funny.

The good news, though, is that all the other levels were just fine. Plus he looked at the drain for me, since it was feeling a little itchy. It looks very good.

So, out of the last 28 days, I have spent a whopping 18 days in the hospital. I’m not complaining, since it’s what was necessary, but I need some ideas on how to make it fun.

I was thinking that playing pranks on the nurses would be fun, but my mom said no. So I’ll keep brainstorming. Maybe…taking silly selfies or something?

The Little Things

Small gestures can mean the world to people.

I have a drain sticking out of my liver – it goes from my bile duct and sticks out through my ribs. It is incredibly uncomfortable – requires heavy duty pain medication to manage. I don’t like the pain medication at all – it makes me groggy and unwell. Not to mention I need to take an anti-emetic (gravol, Dramamine) in order to eat. I do take them most of the time, since the body heals better when it’s not fighting pain as well.

Basically, I’ve had a rough couple weeks. I miss being able to wash my hair and shower. That’s okay though, because I’m feeling like my bright and shiny self again. I’m looking at this whole experience like a lesson.

Anyways, the point of the post.

This afternoon my mom brought me to the salon up the street. She gets her hair and nails done there. The owner of salon is an angel. We brought my shampoo and conditioner, and she washed my hair for me. She shampooed it three times, and then conditioned it. Then she put detangler in it, and combed it, and sat me under the blow drier. She even finished it off by blow drying it herself.

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And she didn’t charge me. (A couple of weeks ago I paid $35 for a hair wash).

It was so, so, so appreciated.

We then got me a pedicure, and manicure. It is one of my mama’s favorite past times, and she said “With all you’ve been through, you deserve to be pampered”. I really have the best mama.

It was nice to hang out in the salon with my mama and this angel of a woman. There was no stress, and we are pretty similar. I also bought a foot cream and a nail polish because I couldn’t help myself. She couldn’t believe I was so positive.

As we left, she said she’d wash my hair whenever I needed it- just to give her a call and we could make a time to come up.

Thankful for the kindness of some people.