Monday, June 27, 2011

Look, Ma... No hands!!!

So, when I first came home from having the ... erm ... procedure done a couple weeks ago, one of the first things I noticed was that I couldn't bend. Honestly.

Could. Not. Bend.

It turns out that I had gauze sewn into my bum and that was probably a lot of why I couldn't bend in the middle. I was strung as tight as a marionette. (I referred to myself as Pinocchio more than once folks, and it wasn't because of my ability to "tell stories".) Between the gauze and... well... overall soreness in the region, I was unable to bend. This made getting up and down incredibly difficult, and sitting altogether impossible. As a result, I came up with a way to lower my weight down onto the couch and/or my bed using only my arms (it turns out that I'm stronger than I look - I only dropped myself, like, three times). As I've mentioned, I'd lie on a side until I felt like that hip had popped out of the socket, then I'd do a push-up off the couch/mattress, get up, literally turn myself around and then lower myself back down onto my other side.

This has been, pretty much, how I have lived for the last two weeks. Lying on my side. The only respite I have had was standing. At the counter, for support. (Because my balance wasn't such that I'd trust myself to stand in the center of a room without something to brace what I considered to be an imminent fall.)

Here, my friends, is what we like to call The Evolution of Standing at the Kitchen Counter:

Phase One: Standing at the kitchen counter supported by 4 pillows, because I couldn't bend at the waist AT ALL and needed the support stack to be as tall as I am, lest my waist bent even a fraction of an inch and I have searing pain in my nether regions.



Here's a frontal view of Phase One. (Note: These pics were all taken now that I am able to free-hand stand. Even a week ago, I wouldn't have been taking such a frivolous stance with my hands in such a way. Oh, no. Standing was very serious business back then. Very serious, indeed.)



Phase Two: When I no longer needed the stack of pillows to support my full height, but I still needed the counter to support my weight because my back was tired (from all of that lying on the couch y'know). ... Clearly, by this point, I had had my marionette strings removed and was able to bend in the middle. (I could bend in the middle when standing, but couldn't SIT to save my soul, as there was still a ridiculous amount of swelling that made it impossible to put any weight on that end of me without me wanting to spew curse words. ... And no one should even want to think like that in front of their mother.)



And here's a bonus view of Phase Two. (I use the word "bonus" very loosely. Mostly, I just found this shot amusing, and since my self-photography is more for amusement purposes than it is to win any beauty pageants, here ya go.)



And now that you've seen both Phases One and Two in all of their Leaning On The Counter Glory, I'd like to unveil the current way in which I stand in the kitchen:



Okay, I don't really stand in the kitchen like that all the time these days. (Constant Jazz Hands would get a little old, even for me.) In all reality, I am usually still kind of propped up against a counter here or there, you know, because I am a little clumsy and would hate to have a great and mighty fall. Also, I've been doing a lot of sewing (it's a dress and top altering sweatshop here, in case you hadn't heard) and it helps to have the counter under me to catch the weight of whatever it is that I'm taking in or adding elastic to in an effort to re-make my entire wardrobe.

But still... I can stand. Hands free. Like a real grown-up.

Now, there's some real progress.

Here's hoping that by next week, I'll be able to eat without spilling. (Don't hold your breath, folks. There's only so much "growing up" a girl can be expected to do.)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Serenity Prayer

I'm pretty sure we all know it:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.


But does anyone else ever have a day when it is literally the only thing that holds them together? As in, that little prayer is the glue that keeps you from having a high-speed-come-apart?

"God grant me the courage to change the things I can"

This has been my mantra today.

It's been an odd day, comprised of felicitous surprises, conversations with dear friends, plans made for later in the year when (I hope!) I'll be feeling much better - balanced against an accidental sitting down full-force on the couch (insert expletives here), realizing the spaghetti sauce I'd had stored in the fridge had gone South (when all I wanted to eat in all the world was a big plate of spaghetti), digging through literally five different piles of medical forms to research dates of service and insurance pay-outs (again).

At about 2:45 this afternoon, I fell down (onto my side, not my bum this time) into my bed and cried. Some days ... it's just too much. (Also, I'm stepping down from a high powered narcotic to a mid-level drug today. This probably had a lot to do with my emotional runninng of the gamut and subsequent fall apart.) I took a look at the clock on the all, buried my face in my pillow, and gave myself 'til 3:00 to lie there and wallow in my pain, both literal and emotional, and then pick myself up and control what I could control.

And control, I did. Almost everything that came my way after that. (Thank heaven.)

At 10:00 PM, as I take my last dose of pain pills for the day, I am grateful that this particular Thursday is behind me. It wasn't necessarily a bad day. In fact, on a lot of levels, it was fantastic - but it was intense - and there were things that were hard. I'm grateful for the perspective that The Serenity Prayer gives me, for the empowerment that comes with changing those things that I can change.

And I'm grateful for Ativan. Because it helps me let go of the stuff that I can't change.

Amen.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Happy Anniversary to Me!

One year ago today, I had a 22.5 lb tumor removed from my abdomen. It is true. 22.5 pounds. That's a lot of tumor. When the surgeon walked out of the operating room to report to my family and friends in attendance, he told them it was "22.5 pounds, roughly the size of a large watermelon".

My friends, I did not want to eat watermelon for quite some time.

And then I got over it. Why? Because watermelon is FREAKING delicious, and I didn't grow a watermelon, I grew a tumor the size and shape of a watermelon. Big difference!

Today, in celebration of my one year anniversary of the first major surgery I ever had, my mom and I went on a field trip to Safeway to buy ourselves a 22.5 lb watermelon.

It was a bust. (Pun intended.)

It turns out they don't make 22.5 watermelons. Or maybe they do, but they're so big and unsightly that they can't be sold at Safeway. (We should have gone to WalMart, is what I'm thinking.)

Anyhoo... The goal was to have a photoshoot with a heck of a lot of watermelon, and that's what we did. Behold:

This was our first shot. Two just over 10 lb watermelons. Takes up a lot of room in one's abdomen, yes? But also a little bulky, and I didn't want to drop a melon and then have to eat what we'd broken there, so we went for a slightly different approach.



Here are four just over 5 lb each watermelons, end to end. (Yes, they were all weighed so we could be SURE that, together, they hit the 22.5 lb mark. We're nothing if not scientific in our research. Grandad would want it that way.)



To prove their weight, we piled all four watermelons onto a scale. (Yeah, I know, it's a bit of a skiddywampus pile. Don't judge. We did the best we could do.)



And in case any of you Doubting Thomases out there can't read the numbers on the scale and want actual proof, here ya go:



And here's one last shot of the 22.5 worth of watermelon and me. I can't tell you how glad I am not to have 22.5 lbs of foreign matter in my body. I mean, I cannot tell you, how horrifying it is to look at 22.5 lbs of something and know that I used to have that much tumor (read: cancerous growth) in my body.



Nuts!

But those days are over. The watermelon sized tumor is gone, and we are celebrating in style! (Watermelon and chocolate cake.) We Evans girls sure know how to throw ourselves an anniversary party!




P.S. I had my 90 day check-up with my oncologist today and I am currently cancer free. (Again. Still. *Crossing fingers* Forever and ever. Wahoooo!!!!!)

All in a year's time

You may recall that last summer, Jo and I were pregnant at the same time. Oh, wait. She was pregnant. I just looked like I was. (Darn tumor!)



This year? Not so pregnant. (Either of us.) Jo has a stinkin' cute little baby named Sally and I ... well ... I am still wearing this same orange/pink/white tie-dyed style shirt. (Well, I've taken it in about 8 inches and now almost always wear it belted. But still, I am still wearing the same shirt. New clothes cost money. Altering clothes does not.)



You also may recall that, at the time, all of my doctors were under strict instruction not to share pictures, samples or even have conversations with me or my family members regarding said tumor. I knew, going in, that they were figuring it was about 10 lbs, and about the size of a volleyball in diameter. (They, of course, were dead wrong about the size/diameter, but that was the assumption.) Just this week, I sucked it up and asked for a copy of the dvd from the medical imaging company who performed the CT in June 2010. Mom and I looked though all 244 pictures of said tumor. Some of them made sense, some of them made us gag, some of them made us giggle. Almost all of them made us "see" things that weren't there. Here, I will show you.

Check this out. My guess is that this is a pelvic view (they did a chest/abdomen/pelvic CT) and those white arm-looking guys at the bottom are actually my femurs extended for that view.

But the thing is, even KNOWING that this is a pelvic view and the arms/legs are easily explainable, I can't help but think that it looks a little like a weight-lifting championship being held by maniacs. ... Seriously, check out the maniacal grin on Atlas there as he holds up the world. (The world = my 22.5 lb tumor.)



And then there's the balloon tumor, AKA: Pinky and The Brain. (It's wanting to take over the world.)



This was the first picture I saw, and it made my stomach fall right out of me. They'd shaded out all organs, so all you can see is the tumor, free-floating. It looks a little Hiroshima to me.



And, in the spirit of saving the best (or, at least, my favorite) for last. Check out the kitty cat tumor. The split spinal cord at the bottom of the shot looks like a cat, and the tumor looks like balls and balls of gray yarn stacked up in a bowl. Hilarious, no?!



Who knew that CT shots of tumors would be such a fun run down Rorschach Lane? I tell you what, if I am ever in my life given another Rorschach test, I will be thinking that every single ink shot looks like a tumor. Every single one. Hilarious!

It's been a nutty, nutty year. I've had three surgeries in twelve months, lost somewhere between 80 and 90 pounds (I don't believe in owning a scale, for reasons I will not go into here and now), mostly due to having spent months of my life last summer subsisting on crackers and air. (Not a diet I'd recommend.) I've gotten pretty good at altering dresses, skirts and tops to fit the new me. My mom has gotten even better at custom-fitting dresses that I'd shrunk right out of. (What do you think she does when she comes to "take care of me" after all these surgeries? I run quite the little dress-altering-sweat-shop here, folks.) I've modified my diet and my lifestyle. Not grossly (and any of you people who are cracked enough to think a triathlon is on the horizon for me are simply that - cracked - it took me getting cancer (twice) to start walking on a daily basis, I don't even want to consider what might happen in my life to make me start running, swimming and/or biking for miles on end).

I've said it before, and I'm sure that I'll say it again. And again. And again.

This year has been hard. In some ways, unspeakably hard. There are moments, days and nights that I won't ever talk about, because simply remembering those dark hours reduces me to a puddle of tears. But there are other parts, even other hard parts, that have made it all worthwhile. This year isn't something I'd have chosen out of a basket full of fun things to do (we all know I'd rather have a summer fling than a summer cancer treatment program), but I would never - never, not ever - consider giving it back. I have learned things that I don't think I could have learned any other way.

Relationships have been redefined. Friendships and family are the most precious things in my life. Time has new meaning. Risk isn't really risk anymore, it's more like just taking a chance or trying something that I've always wanted to do.

I have been redefined. (Not just my waist and my hips and my sad, old lady bosom and my bum full o' stitches.) I am different. Different in a way that I like to think is better, and stronger. (It's probably all those push-ups I have to do just to get down into and then up out of bed.)

May this year never feel the need to repeat itself so long as we all shall live.

Amen.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

As of today

I no longer have gauze sewn into my bum. (Can I get a Halle-FREAKIN-lujah and an AMEN?!)

Of course, I still have loads and loads of stitches back there, hidden by a large-ish piece of gauze that's stretched over the carnage, so as to allow me to sleep at night.

But the gauze is gone.

Deep breath.

And the remainder of the stitches are due to come out next Wednesday, so there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Oh, and at the front of the tunnel, too. *Drum roll, please* Now that the gauze has come out, I am cleared for showers. ... Do you hear the angels singing? Because I sure as heck do!

On another note: who knew that having gauze sewn into one's bum would be so panic inducing? Not me. But it sure was. (God bless Ativan and whoever it was that invented the stuff. I'm pretty sure it's the only thing that's kept me even semi-sane the last week.) I was afraid the gauze would fall out, get ripped off when I pulled my panties down to pee, get otherwise misplaced if I pooed and something got caught on a piece of whatever'd been sewn into me. ... Turns out that wasn't such a valid fear. (It's like I'd forgotten about the constipation that follows surgery. How I'd forgotten about that lovely side effect I do not know, but there it it.)

Speaking of which, let me fill you in on my latest tragedy. (Honestly, I about kill myself.)

On Sunday, I was chowing down on some red vines (because licorice is supposed to help with constipation - and also because it's delicious and I will celebrate any and opportunity to eat candy that I can find) and I felt an old, familiar crack. ... The crack of a tooth breaking. I pulled what was left of the red vine out of my mouth. Yup - shards of tooth stuck to it. I had totally shattered my right molar. Awesome. Exactly when I am in no shape whatsoever to go and sit in a dentist chair for 2-3 hours while he re-root canals my tooth.

Thank heaven for narcotics that cover the pain in both ends of my body these days.

I called the dentist, explained the situation to them, and was advised to come back in after all my stitches have been removed and my surgeon has cleared me for a dental chair.

My life. It kills me.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I love my silly dad!



This picture is a few months old. My mom had been staying with me for a few weeks last Spring, when my dad and sister decided to hop on down for a weekend visit. While they were here, my brother Kirk and his family stopped in. This is my dad, with Mardi Gras beads draped across his glasses frames, making dinosaur hands and talking to Hazel in a squeaky ("scary") voice. (She didn't think it was too scary. Probably the necklaces he was wearing over his glasses tipped her off.) Notice how every single kid in the picture is enamored of him, hanging on every word of the story he is telling, the game he is playing with them.

This is the story of my life.

This is my dad. Just one of many snapshots of him taking time to play with children, to get down on their level and just be with them. My childhood is full of memories of playing monster (chase), talking to Donald Duck (and sometimes Mickey Mouse) on the phone, wrestling on the living room floor, driving down to the school at warp factor 3. ... And I could go on and on. My childhood was fun, my whole life has been fun, because I had parents who found joy in simple things, then got down on the floor and shared those simple things with us.

I think of my dad when:

I eat really good ice cream
I eat Hershey's chocolate
I smell/see stir-fry
I make homemade hot fudge sauce
I eat carmel popcorn
I see a bowl of guacamole, just begging to be dipped into
I watch a good super hero movie (As for me and my house, we love the X-Men!)
I eat fish - any kind of fish
I see hair dyed blue
I hear the little fishy song
I go to a patriotic program, or sing the national anthem

There are so many things that remind me of my dad. So, very many wonderful things. I'm so grateful for the example he has always shown of how to find joy in adversity. I'm grateful for his life-long love of learning, and how that contributed, not only to my childhood and adolescence, but to my life. I'm grateful for his compassion, for his desire and willingness to help others in their time of need. I'm grateful that he's been completely on board with having my mom here to take care of me, for a large part of the last year.

I am, in large part, who I am because of the home I was raised in - because of the parents whom I was privileged to have. I'm so grateful for the excellent head start they gave me in my life, and for their continuing support and friendship at this stage of my life.

Happy Father's Day, Dad! I love you!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The good, the bad and the ugly.

Funny, as I typed that subject line, my thought was "Too bad I just can't call this post 'The Pathetic'". True story. Because it, and by association, I, am nothing short of pathetic this week.

I recommend never growing cysts on your tailbone, I really do. In fact, I cannot recommend that enough. (The only thing I'd put a higher stress on not growing would be a malignant tumor. Yeah, they're THAT bad.)

I live to serve as a medical warning voice to all.

So, here's the scoop:

I went in for an outpatient procedure on Tuesday morning. I was promptly given an IV in my left hand, which blew the vein and started leaking medicine right in to the back of my hand. ... Awesome. (Not.) I sucked it up (after crying for just a minute, because it hurt, man, and let them IV my right hand. Moments later, I was wheeled off for surgery. Thankfully, I was blissfully unaware of what was going on for the next couple hours of my life. I woke up in Recovery, flat on my back, wanting to scream bloody murder. The sweet little nurses thought I was in pain because I needed more Demoral. ... Uh, no, I was in pain because they had my lying flat on my back, against the incision site. ... Once I was able to grab the side of the hospital bed and lift myself over onto a hip and she could see the carnage that was my backside, that sweet little Recovery nurse stopped pushing Demoral and got me a horse shot of Percocet. (That's better.) They wanted to wheel me to the car. I laughed (a cruel, harsh laugh, a laugh the likes of which I hope none of you ever have to hear come out of me) and told her that was some pretty good crack she was smoking. No way was I sitting down in a recliner and being wheeled to the car. I'd walk, or die trying.

I walked to the car. (Which is kind of a given, that I didn't die trying, as I'm typing this now.) The car ride home was rough. I just sat in the back seat of the van and held on to the handle in front of me to try and maintain my weight. No amount of donuts or pillows would have helped with that pain. Once I was home, I came up and went to bed.

Tuesday night I felt pretty decent. Sore, but not destitutely so. I slept fairly well that night, so I had high hopes for Wednesday. ... Uh, those hopes were in vain. Wednesday was pretty much one of the worst days ever. I'm not sure exactly why, but I think it may have had something (more than a little something) to do with having realized that I have gauze sewn into my bum. ... Yeah, you read that right. We'd been told that we'd need to change the outer bandaging every day, but that there was some gauze and packaging that would stay put until I met with the doctor the next week to have stitches removed. Neither my mom or I had heard the words "stitched in", so we were pretty surprised (and horrified, and also amused) to find big loopy stitches through gobs of white gauze, affixing said gauze to ... uh ... me.

Holy awkward moment, Batman! (And this does explain why I have such a busy/pointy bum right now. There's a wad of gauze shoved in there, dudes!)

The last two days have been a little easier. Thursday was, by far, the darkest "Why in the world did I think it would be a good idea to have yet another surgery in my life?" day. I literally slept through yesterday (All hail the mighty drugs that make sleep possible), and today, I am pleased report that I finally pooped. (My mom loves it when I post news like that.) But listen, it was a major victory. I no longer have to be afraid that the stitches will keep my feces a part of me forever. Also, I set little mini-food goals when I'm on the constipation teeter-totter. Now that I've pooped, I'm allowed to eat cheese and fried chicken! (Yup, that's an actual bribe that I have to use on myself. It's the grown up version of getting a Tootsie Pop for going poo-poo on the potty,)

So... Five days later. I'm not feeling awesome yet. But I'm feeling a heck of a lot better than I did two days ago, and I'm hopeful that next week, when I have the first round of stitches (and the infamous gauze) removed, life will get even better.

Until then, I'm watching copious amounts of TV on DVD from the comfort of my couch. I lie on my right side for about two hours, then when my hips and ear can't take the pressure anymore, I flip to the other end of the couch. And my friend The Ice Pack is a constant couch companion. How in the world I'd live without him, I'm sure I don't know. Those gel ice packs are worth their weight in gold, people!

And that having been said, I'm pretty sure I have a Burn Notice DVD and a chilled gel pack calling my name...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Just call me Daisy...

In what may be the funniest celebrity look alike post to date, here is a current view of my swollen backside:



Look familiar? Well, it should.



Honestly. So much for the flat bum I used to have.

My body. It's killing me!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Then and Now

Remember the side view of me on the couch last year?



Yeah, that's me in all of my pregnant-with-a-22-pound-tumor glory.

One year, three surgeries - the most recent of which was to take a certain something off my tailbone - here I am on the same couch, in a familiar position, with one major difference:



Yup, that's an ice pack you see there. It's a pseudo-permanent attachment to my backside these days. (Full testimonial for the gel ice/hot pack to follow in a later post.)

I'm not sure which I love more, the ice pack or the narcotics. Between the two of them, I'm lying (if not sitting) pretty these days.

Also, I must say, this has - by far - been the most pleasant post-op recovery of the year. When I do the full blown hospital routine, I live on IV's and ice chips for about 5 days before they introduce the clear liquid diet. ... On the outpatient plan, I was advised to do clear liquids for the first 24 hours after anesthesia, but I came right home and dug into a box of fudgcicles and I haven't looked back.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A week from today...

I'm having surgery. Again.

My life is awesome like that.

This will be the third surgery I'll have had in the last 12 months. It's, luckily (and thankfully) going to be a lot less invasive than the last two. I'm looking forward to having an outpatient procedure instead of my usual open-abdomen routine followed by a full week in a hospital bed.

I met with my surgeon last week in order to go over my list of pre-surgery questions. We all know how I love to make lists. You should see the list of questions I came up with for this one. In fact, I think I'll show you. That'll be a good time, for sure.

How do you know where the cysts are? Will you have to do a CT to know where to cut? (I had to ask, because I usually have multiple scans prior to surgery. It turns out that these suckers are always in the same place.) There's no need to do a scan prior to surgery, as pilonidal cysts are always at the base of your tailbone. (Which, apparently, is an easy find.) Good to know.

So, is it just the one cyst, or is there a chance that there's more than one? ... Oh, there's probably more than one. They start on the end of your tailbone, but they build on top of each other and literally finger out (he gestured with his hand, by extending his fingers and stretching them out). Awesome. I need a bowl, just thinking about having finger-like cysts spreading out at the base of my tailbone. (On the other hand, that does explain why there is not one single, solitary position that is comfortable to sit in right now...)

Will I be awake for the surgery? No. I will be totally out. THANK HEAVEN! ... Originally, I'd been told that it would be a local anesthetic. Halle-freakin-lujah that the man remembered what a nervous freak I am and decided to put me totally down. I mean under. (You put dogs down, right? Soooo not what I'm looking for!)

What's the likelihood that these cysts will grow back after removal? Per the doc, it's "pretty high". (Pretty high = 10%, btw.) Uh... a 10% chance of recurrence is not high in the world that I live in. I'll tell you what I told the doctor, "I'm living with a 60% chance of recurrence of a malignant tumor. I'll take a 10% odds of recurring benign cysts any old day. Cut them out!"

Can I expect to sit... like, at all? Yes. On cushioned furniture with extra pillows (good thing I have that approx 8 inches thick pillow that's too fluffy to even think about napping on, lest I break my little neck), or on a donut (thank you, Jo, for being the possessor of many strange and unusual objects (read: having a donut I can borrow) so I don't have to be the proud owner of both a walker, complete with tennis balls, and a donut). Good grief.

Will I have stitches or - heaven forbid - staples? Stitches.

Will they be the kind that automatically dissolve, or will I have to go in and have them removed? ... Oh, yeah. There will be stitches. Lots of them. One round will be removed one week after surgery, the next round will come out at the two week mark. (Awesome. Totally looking forward to those appointments. ... Get me a bowl!)

Can I be in water? Yes and no. Showers, yes. Bathtubs, no. Swimming pools, absolutely not for 4 weeks, and possibly longer, depending on healing. ... Argh, it's gonna be a hot summer for me.

How big is the incision? Approx two inches deep and two inches wide, varying on how many cysts there are to remove. Super awesome. (Again, if you need a bowl right now, I am not judging.) It will be a closed incision (see above for intel on the stitches), which I'm grateful for, as WebMD had scared the pants off me with all of their talk of open incisions and having to pack the area with gauze. (Ewh.)

Should I be on antibiotics? (Not to be too graphic, but have I mentioned that they've been irritated and infected since mid-March?) Oh, yeah, I should be on antibiotics. They'll give me a hardcore dose of antibiotics at surgery to take care of any surgery-related infection issues, but if there's even a chance of infection prior to surgery, he'll have to leave the incision open for drainage. ... Guess who's on a 10 day round of Amoxicillin? Uh, yeah. Me. (Threaten me with an open incision and I'll swallow as many horse pills as ... well, a horse.)

Will I be able to walk? (Because we all know that I am a big fan of taking walks on a daily basis, though maybe not so much in the coming Summer heat.) Yes. No. Maybe a little bit. I'll technically be able to walk, but I shouldn't walk more than a mile a day, lest I irritate the incision. ... Message received loud and clear. I will be lying on my side, eating ice cream and watching Alias for weeks. I'm all about NOT irritating an incision more than absolutely necessary, folks. All about that.

Other information he just volunteered, because I didn't have the foresight to ask:

There will be drainage. Not much, but expect some. (Ewh.)
It's not necessary to apply any special ointment. (Ointment is a creepy word. I'm so glad to know that I don't have any "special" kinds of it.)

I'll be out of work for approx 4 weeks. As of now, I'm estimated to return to work mid-July and will work part-time (as I have been through May) until the first week of August, at which point I plan to resume "life, as usual".

And that's the scoop, folks. The situation and procedure are a little creepy and weird, but I'm so sick of not being able to sit like a normal person that I'm actually excited to get this done and move on to some actual healing. (As of now, my upper back hurts almost constantly because my core isn't strong enough to support my movement. When I wake up, my back doesn't hurt. By 10:00 AM, it burns. By 2:00 PM, I'm in agony. It's awesome. And there's no relief that doesn't compromise another area. If I lie on my side, my incision hurts. If I lie on my back, my tailbone screams at me. And I don't even want to tell you what kind of expletives my tailbone uses if I try to sit down and lean back into the couch or recliner to give my back a break. ... It's a good thing that a little internal PG-13 language isn't a big deal to me, is all I'm saying.) I'm not trying to throw a pity party - I'm just saying that I'm pretty psyched at the promise of weeks lying down, drugged up on the good stuff again. (Because I like to err on the side of not being addicted to prescription pain pills, I've been limited to Ibuprofen and Tylenol for the last six or so weeks. Knowing that Percocet is right around the corner is a comfort on a whole lot of levels.)

I'll keep any and/or all of you posted as time (and medication) allows. ... If there's anything I've learned from the last year of surgery and such, it's that prescription drugs (oh, and pain) limit my ability to post something coherent on any kind of regular basis. (Not that I'm known for my incredibly well-thought out posts when I'm drug-and-pain-free, but whatever.)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Not the most auspicious way to start the day...



Yeah, that's my car. Backed up to the dumpster bin. Why? So I could climb into it. ("It" being the dumpster. Yeah, I climbed into a dumpster. Awesome morning.) How did this happen and why would I do such a thing at 7:00 in the morning? Because yesterday, when I was cleaning my kitchen, I accidentally threw an envelope in the trash that was supposed to go in the mail. (An envelope with three, count them - three, insurance checks that were meant to go to the bank for deposit.)

Luckily, I woke up a little earlier than planned this morning and I was taking advantage of that time to get all of my outgoing mail and faxes organized. (I tell you what, I need a personal secretary to take care of all my incoming and outgoing medical/insurance forms these days.) I had everything paper-clipped and ready to go, when I realized that I was missing the envelope to the bank. I frantically went through all the mail that had come in over the last week - not there. I un-paper-clipped everything and flipped through sheets of paper to see if it had snuck into that stack - no such luck. I took everything off the counter, just to make sure it hadn't been buried by the Pushing Daisies dvd's that have taken up permanent residence on the corner of my kitchen counter - nothing. ... And then it all came crashing back to me, how I'd cleaned off the counter yesterday afternoon and had sorted everything into three stacks of paper: insurance forms to be faxed, duplicates or other financial info that could be shredded, and *gulp* non-essentials that could be thrown out. ... I'd taken a big bag of garbage down to the dumpster on my way to church yesterday.

The deposit envelope wasn't in the stack of forms to be faxed, and it hadn't migrated to the shred bin in my bedroom. Holy poo. I'd thrown it away.

I immediately broke into a cold sweat. And then I laughed. And then I sweated some more, which prompted me to put on another layer of deoderant (ridiculous, but true). And then I went into my room and changed into the longest pair of pants I own and threw on my grubby old tennis shoes (I wanted as much of my feet and legs covered as humanly possible), threw on a t-shirt that I wouldn't care if it got smeared with pizza sauce and other grody trash goo, and I headed outside.

Luckily, I invest in the stretchy Glad bags. (I say luckily, because not a lot of people in my apartment complex spring the big bucks for the stretchy bags, so that made it easier to sort through what was possibly mine and what for sure wasn't.) It took about five minutes to grab and search through the trash that I could easily grab from standing outside the bin and just reaching in. ... Too bad a lot of people had thrown trash out after I did yesterday, and my bag had been buried.

For lack of a better option as to how to get myself up and into the dumpster, I backed my car into it (literally - I totally hit it with my bumper), climbed onto the trunk of my car and hoisted myself into the dumpster. One foot in and one foot out, straddling the side of the dumpster (not a position I'd recommend, fyi), I was able to pick through the trash bags until I found mine. I ripped it right open. Right there, on top of a pile of cream cheese icing I'd thrown out was my bank deposit. (Yeah, the envelope was totally encrusted. Frosting everywhere. The good news? The checks were still legible, albeit a little grease stained. The bank will never know, right?)

All in all, it wasn't too terrible. ... Not that I'd recommend it. (Either the accidental throwing away of hundreds of dollars or the having to dumpster dive to retrieve said dollars.) But all in all, it wasn't too bad. I'm just so grateful that I realized that early in the morning what had happened, for two reasons. One, trash is stinky enough in the morning, when it's had all night to cool down. The mere thought of having to dig through warm, sticky trash makes me want to grab a bowl. Two, the trash gets picked up Monday afternoons. If I hadn't realized this morning that I was missing that envelope, it would have been long gone by the time I got home this afternoon.

When you look at it that way, I lead a pretty charmed life. (Just call me Pollyanna.)

Of course, I say it wasn't too bad today. Just wait until tomorrow, when I'm sore in diverse places from having to use major muscles to climb onto my car, let alone into and then back out of a dumpster, before I fell off my trunk onto the parking lot. (I'm really looking forward to that little reminder of today's activities.)

Two thoughts come to mind:

Truth really is stranger than fiction.

I wouldn't have any luck at all, if it wasn't for bad luck.

My life. It slays me. (And someday, someone's going to make it into a movie and I'll makes lots of dollars off the dumb stuff that I do on a semi-regular basis. ... At least, that's what I like to tell myself when stuff like this happens.)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

My favorite way to start my day.



Ahhhh... I do love the canal. I love the foliage, the sound of rushing water, the sun shining on my face and warming my skin.

Morning walks are my favorite!