Get Thee Behind Me, Anxiety

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From Sapling Press

On Monday, at a still unspecified time of day, I’m having surgery. I am nervous. I am nervous, despite the fact that I trust my doctor, have had many, many surgeries in the past, and have a support system to help with my recovery. Another thing I’m nervous about: what I’m going to eat afterward, when I’m dizzy and nauseous. On my meal plan, I don’t eat bread and I don’t eat many carbs. I remember previous recoveries where the only thing I wanted to eat was buttered toast. Will cucumbers, apple slices, hard boiled eggs, and tofu have the same calming effect on my stomach? If not, I suppose there is always steel cut oatmeal.

I’m having surgery to restore hearing in my left ear, a procedure I desperately want to work. There is only a 60-70% success rate, but my doctor thinks it’s worth it because I am “young” (her words!) and because of how successful the first ear surgeries I had, she is very optimistic this one will work too.

Have I mentioned I work in a library and teach? Hearing loss makes both jobs difficult because I can’t hear people speaking from 10 or 20 feet away in a large classroom, nor can I hear people speaking close to me if they are on my left side. The hearing loss is so profound that when I’m sleeping on my right side, with my deaf ear up, I can’t hear my kids or husband talking to me, no matter how close they are. If the bathtub is running, or the washing machine filling, I can’t hear doors opening, or the fall of footsteps coming towards me.

I’ve been told that for two weeks after surgery, I should not sneeze, exercise, fly, or lift anything heavy, including my 3-year old. Based on past experience, recovery from ear surgery is terrible: last time, I was so dizzy, I couldn’t even watch TV. I’m planning to listen to a lot of audiobooks and podcasts while I recover, so I welcome your recommendations!

So anyway, this is a long way of saying that I welcome your good thoughts and prayers on Monday. I hope this surgery is successful, and that I can calm these nervous thoughts.

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Farewell, Baby Maker

I’m on the other side of one of the hardest medical decisions I’ve ever had to make, and yet as I snuggled with my two kids and husband in the early morning hours, I surprised myself by how content I felt with my family of four. 

I’ve struggled with endometriosis as long as I’ve had a period, but was not diagnosed until I was 18. I still remember that first pelvic exam and the giant speculum the doctor held up for me to see. That’s huge! I marveled. She laughed and then showed me the one used on women who’d already given birth. Oh. 

Surgery #1 was quite successful, as was the second. But the pain kept coming back and when I told my current doctor how much medicine I was taking to control the pain, she said it was time to find a better solution. More shots, different birth control, or a hysterectomy. 

As much as it pained me to go with the hysterectomy, it was the right decision. I didn’t have a party, celebrating the end of periods and hopefully the end of pain. In fact, I cried as I said goodbye to my husband as they wheeled me away to the operating room. I cried because I was nervous. I cried because my baby making days are officially over. 

But it was my choice. I made the decision. No one chose for me. As a woman, this takes pro-choice to a whole new personal level. I made the choice. Just me. 

In the operating room, before the anesthesia took me away to dreamland, my doctor admired my pink cast. I chose pink, I said, because while I couldn’t go to the women’s march and wear a pussy hat, I got a pussy cast instead. Everyone in the room – the two doctors, the nurse anesthetist, the nurse and tech – they were all women. 

You’re my pussy posse! I said. They laughed and said that’s right! And then I drifted off to dreamland. 

I Haz Owie

Let’s get real.

Healing from even a minimally invasive surgery is no joke. I’m in so much pain. Last night I twisted from back to side to front, gazing at my husband wistfully and jealously because he was asleep. I woke up at least five times between 3 and 6:45 after eventually falling asleep at midnight.

Pain medicine is no joke. When the pharmacist, the nurse and the doctor all tell you to take a stool softener along with the super duper pain meds, they aren’t joking. Along with my pain, I’m really uncomfortable. I know, I know: TMI.

And recuperation with a toddler in the house? Well, it’s something else. I have no energy. My wonderful parents and in-laws have pitched in so Future President isn’t home much and my husband and our friends are entertaining him as best they can. But he has so much energy. I can’t keep up. Especially during today’s nap boycott. Because of course there was a nap boycott two days after surgery.

Thankfully the husband is off entertaining him so I can sit in my ugly brown chair and try not to hurt.

The food friend J made was amazing. The hours our friends K and R let husband and Future President spend at their house were so generous. But I’m looking at a whole Sunday thinking how am I going to handle my exuberant child?*

Hold me.

*There’s almost 100% certainty that Cars 2 will be downloaded as well as Planes the minute it comes out on Tuesday.

A Little R&R

I’m a useless puddle of mush right now. I suppose that’s what surgery does to a person. Since coming home, I’ve slept, taken medicine, tried to eat food, and have drunk copious amounts of Ginger ale. And slept some more.

Did you know Project Runway and The Mindy Project are even more enjoyable while taking pain meds? My son is also even more hilarious than usual, too.

Trying to explain why I can’t pick him up or why he can’t sit on my lap – now that’s an impossibility.

I am so thankful to our family and friends for providing food and support and child care. It really does take a village and my little village is stepping up in the best possible way. Thank you, thank you!

I am also thankful for the medical professionals for taking good care of me. I’m hopefully better but only time will tell.

I’m supposed to rest. So I’m going back to sleep now.

P.S. A special thanks to my new friend J for a wonderful meal. You rock, sister friend!

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Send Lives

Good morning! I’ve been up since before dawn and if you’re reading this on Thursday morning, you’re catching me at a bad time. I’m having surgery.

When I get out of surgery and after I’ve slept off the anesthesia, I’d like to wake up to this: more Candy Crush lives. Keep them coming. I have two weeks of downtime and I’m supposed to rest. Which means I can’t clean or unpack boxes, like I really want to. You know, I’d like to have an organized, decorated house by Christmas. But since I’m bed and/or couch-bound for a while, I’ll be catching up on Nashville, maybe starting Scandal, and what else? Send TV and movie recommendations my way. If I’m really bored, I might even finish Arrested Development.

And you know I’ll be waiting for extra lives in Candy Crush because seriously, Peppermint Palace is no joke.