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The Night Before…

So here we are – “the night before.”  Oddly enough, I am (almost) completely calm.  It just feels like a normal Wednesday night.  I took the day off today and spent the morning at the hospital doing all of the “pre-admission” paperwork and testing.  I also got a chance to talk with one of the anesthesiologists.  The experience went well and I am really, really glad I went (it was optional, but strongly suggested when I talked to the pre-admissions nurse last week on the phone).  My nurse today was amazing.  Ever feel like you’ve met a kindred spirit?  That’s Leslie.  She was more of a sister than a nurse and we laughed and she made me feel completely comfortable.  We share the “gave soda up for Lent” challenge, although she’s struggling with it much more than I am, sad to say.  Unfortunately, she won’t be working tomorrow, so I’ll have another nurse before and after my procedure (probably Amy, who I did meet today…think of me, only skinnier, older, and with a LOT more energy and bubbliness.  That’s Amy.)  The anesthesiologist asked me a barrage of questions and explained how things would go tomorrow.  Leslie said they’d have an IV in me early on, and the doctor told me that they’d begin giving me sedating drugs on the way to the operating room.  I told him that the part that most frightened me was the nervousness I knew I’d feel when I was laying there “just seconds before” the procedure, with the entire medical team staring down at me.  He said that I’d be so sedated by then that I’d not really even notice.  He also said that the most discomfort I’d likely feel is a minor sore throat from the breathing tube, and perhaps some mild menstrual cramps (which, oddly enough, he said the narcotics wouldn’t help…um, they’re narcotics?  Don’t they help everything?)  He said that if I had any severe uterine pain, they’d send me home with medication.  I did complete a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions and a Healthcare Treatment Directive while I was there…

Basically, I designated my husband (and if he should die tomorrow, my mother) as the guardians of my final wishes.  I also specified that I would want to die naturally if, God forbid, something were to go horrendously wrong and my death were imminent anyway, or if I were to be rendered unable to identify myself or loved ones, communicate, or feed/care for myself.  A lot of additional worry and planning, most likely very unnecessarily, but good to have done.

They did a pregnancy test “just to be sure” I wasn’t “in the family way” (I’m not, although boss #1 is dead certain that no sooner will I get through this procedure than Erin will be a big sister.  Not sure how I feel about that.)  I also had an EKG, which looked great.  Blood pressure looked great.  Heart rate looked great.  Everyone was amazingly kind and I felt great when I left.  How it’ll work tomorrow is that I’ll come at 8:00 and do all of the last-second preparation, one more read-over of the paperwork, Q&A session with my surgeon, and then we’re off.  Two hours seems like a mighty long time, but Leslie assured me that lots will be going on, so it will probably seem to pass by quickly.  Oh, I also learned something interesting…..those little gadgets that they put on your finger to monitor your heart rate will not work if you’re wearing nail polish.  Ask me how I know this.  :)  Thankfully, I was able to chip off enough of my turquoise-sparkly paint to get a good read.  Tonight, I’m to sleep in clean linens (which are in the dryer as we speak) and shower, followed by an all-over body swipe of some two 2% Chlorhexidine Gluconate wipes.  They’re focusing on reducing any risk of MRSA, hence the need for the clean linens, extra cleanliness tonight, and the “no sleeping with pets” rule (Sorry puppy dog!  Mommy will snuggle with you tomorrow when she gets home from the hospital!)  That’s about all….except for my last-second, one-more-question session with the anesthesiologist.  Um, if the narcotics won’t help the cramping, what’s the point?  He basically explained that uterine cramping didn’t respond to the kinds of narcotics they’ll be using tomorrow, which confuses me, but he did say that they’d amp up pain medication if, in recovery, I was in any pain.  That works.  I’ll take it.  Leslie said that although I’m “technically” not supposed to be alone for 24 hours following the procedure, she thinks I’ll be OK for the hour tomorrow night that my husband will be coaching our daughter’s soccer team.  It’s the last practice before the first big game, and I’d hate for him to miss it.  She said to just have him take me to the bathroom before he leaves, and then set me up on the couch with the laptop, the phone, and some bottled water.  Sounds like a plan to me.

Went to school with my daughter for lunch, and spent the rest of the day relaxing.  She had Brownies tonight, and is spending the night with a dear family friend (whose daughter is a Brownie sister and classmate).  She seems amazingly strong and not at all worried for me, which is good.  Just to be on the safe side, I made sure her teacher and day care provider knew what was going on.  That way, if she had a sudden case of the worries and had a few tears, they’d know what was going on.

That’s about all from pre-surgery central.  Thank you again to all of you who have sent your love and support and shared stories about your D&C procedures and who have just been generally wonderful.  Thanks for not judging me for sharing this story with you.  And thanks for just being here.  If I’m not too groggy, I’ll blog tomorrow and let you know how it all went.  If I am, I’ll ask my husband to do so for me.  If you would, say a quick prayer for me and for my doctors and nurses.  Hope to be blogging with you again in 24 hours.  :)

We’re Getting Closer…

Hi Internet. Yet again, I begin my blog in apologetic mode, saying “I’m sorry” for being unfaithful in my posts. This “blog every day” thing is a lot harder than it looks. All is going well and we’re keeping busy. I hope that you are having a good week, friends.

So we’re getting closer to “the day.” When the nurse called last week with her barrage of questions and instructions, I threw in a few questions of my own, mentioning on more than one occasion that I had some apprehensions and worries about what was to come. She suggested that I come in and talk to one of the anesthesiologists, which I’ll be doing tomorrow morning. My doctor also wants to do a pre-surgery EKG on me, so we figured tomorrow’d be a great time. Just get it all done and over with so there aren’t any surprises on Thursday. I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow. The nurse left me with an interesting, comforting thought. An operating room is a highly-controlled environment. People are watching YOU and ONLY you and are focusing 200% of their energies on your well-being and reactions and general state of being. You’re safer in an operating room than you are in your car on the highway. Interesting.

Not much else to share, really. My husband and I caught the Sunday night finale of Big Love last night, and spent significant time dissecting it and trying to tie together all the loose ends. (Why is it that every single time I fall in love with a television show, it goes off the air? Sex and the City, ER, and now Big Love. *sigh*) Soccer is in full swing. The kiddos have their first game Saturday. I’m going to spend Friday night “in” with my amazing family and have a funny movie fest/pizza night and go out Saturday evening with dear friends for dinner and a movie. Sunday, we’ll head about an hour away for a birthday celebration for my mother- and brother-in-law. It feels wonderful to be surrounded by so much love. I feel very blessed.

I guess that’s all from my little corner of the universe. Before I leave you, though, I wanted to share a thought. I saw this on Twitter yesterday and I like it…and truly believe it.

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

Thanks for being part of my strength and courage these past few weeks.

The Delinquent Blogger

So, it’s Thursday and I haven’t posted to my blog since Monday.  *gulp*  Not doing very well on my “quest to blog every day of my fortieth year,” am I?  Sorry about that.  All is going well and it’s been a good and productive week.  Soccer practices have started, my audit at work is almost done, and it appears that spring has (f-i-n-a-l-l-y!) sprung.  I hope that you are doing well, too, and that you’ve had a great week and a fun St. Patrick’s Day.

I got a call from the hospital today.  We went over the particulars of what to expect next week.  No food or water by mouth after 12 midnight.  Come at 8 a.m. and wear loose-fitting clothing.  No jewelry, nail polish, or makeup.  No medicine except Tylenol after midnight.  Bring your insurance card and driver’s license.  Buy maxi-pads just in case you spot or bleed, but don’t bring them to the hospital.  We’ll give you some if you need them.  What is your religious preference?  Do you know where to park? Etc. etc.  She also asked me if I had a living will or an advanced directive, which I don’t (but should…shouldn’t we all?)  All I’ve been thinking about lately is the possibility that something might go wrong next week.  I have this nightmarish vision of throwing a blood clot while I’m on the table and being left in a vegetative state.  I know the likelihood of anything close to that happening is slim to 900% nil, but still.  Surgery has its risks and when you’re heavy, those risks are increased.  I sat down to work on a living will and will probably finish that this weekend.  I called our employee assistance program (EAP) and spoke with a local lawyer, and also looked at a template of a living will on the Kansas Bar Association’s webpage.  I think I am good to go.  This is probably really unnecessary given the common nature of my procedure, but it never hurts to be prepared.  On the topic of preparedness, I’ve also scheduled an appointment with an anesthesiologist for the day before my surgery.  I just want to cover all my bases, get any last-second questions answered, and learn a little bit more about what lies ahead.  My surgeon also wants me to have an EKG done, which we’ll do then.  Better to do it ahead of surgery than to be surprised just before, she said.

(All this worry about a relatively simple and very, very common surgery….that LOTS of women in my life have had!  You all must think I am a drama queen, or overly-cautious to the extreme.  I feel a little silly, but I’m also a little scared.  Please tell me that makes me normal.)

Day #9 without Coca-Cola.  I’m doing well!  I’m shocked at how much easier it’s become.  Truly, I keep waiting to experience these horrific soda cravings that just aren’t coming.  Granted, it feels a little weird to go out to a restaurant and not have a soda, but water is cold and refreshing and wonderful and I’m truly not minding it like I thought I would.  I’m also beginning to feel better as well.  My digestion is better.  My skin is clearer.  Benefits all around.  Now that I’m this far along, I find myself saying, “I don’t think I’ll ever have another Coke” and “I really can’t see myself going back to the way I was…drinking so many Cokes a day.”  Here’s to the hope belief that this change is for the better…and forever.

It’s Getting Easier!

Hi everyone.  I’m sorry I didn’t blog over the weekend.  Hope that you and yours had a wonderful weekend and that your week is off to a great start!

All’s going well in my little corner of the universe.  Today marks day #6 without soda, and I’m finding that I don’t really miss it.  I guess I thought it would be harder this early in the game.  Last Thursday and Friday notwithstanding, this process has really not been anywhere near as difficult as I thought it would be.  I thought I’d find myself struggling to make it through the day, fighting urge upon urge to sneak a soda behind closed doors and away from the watchful eyes of those around me.  But truly, I’m not feeling that way.  I am fine with my bottled water (cold, preferably), and did treat myself to a beer over the weekend.  I know Lent has just begun, but I’m really proud of myself for coming this far.  Keep me honest, guys.  Don’t let me slip!

I’m still in (sorta) “Bring It” mode…still focusing on the positive and holding on to a quietly confident certainty that I will be OK.  In the last day or so, the worries about the D&C itself have crept back.  I know that my doctor and her team won’t let anything happen to me.  I guess I’m just afraid of how I’ll feel going in to it…those last few seconds when I am laying there and everyone’s scrubbed and ready to go and the last few words are said before my drug-induced sleep surrenders me to their hands.  I know I’ll be scared, and I don’t like that feeling.  I foresee tears and a lot of worry, neither of which I’m exactly proud of, but both of which probably render me “normal,” on some level.  I’ve had four other surgeries, all more major than this, and I survived and recovered from each without (significant) issue.  I’m sure this will be the same.  I guess it’s the whole “surrendering control of my body to someone else” thing that’s bothering me now.  I rather like breathing and walking on my own and being conscious and alert and a wholly functioning person.

My amazing husband is coaching our daughter’s soccer team.  Our first official practice is tomorrow.  I’ve spent the evening finalizing schedules and plans and I can’t wait for it all to begin.  Stay tuned for more soccer info, or check out our team’s (very fledgling) website!


A Lot Harder Than I Thought…

This is a lot harder than I thought it would be…

Today marks day #3 without any Coca-Cola.  Actually, I guess you could say I’ve given up caffeine altogether.  I’ve had only water and milk (and a few sips of tea and lemonade, neither of which came close to replacing the taste and “feel” of my soda.)  Ash Wednesday wasn’t so bad.  Taking care of my sick little girl and a refrigerator devoid of soda made it much easier.  But the full effects of letting go of this addiction have started to hit me…hard…and I was completely unprepared for it.  At about 3:20 yesterday, I started to feel extra sleepy, almost as if I’d not slept well the night before.  It was a struggle to make it through to the end of the workday, and I told myself that it was probably just the initial effects of the caffeine not being inside me.  I slept wonderfully last night, aided by an amazing cold medication and wonderful snuggles from my amazing husband.  Today, I completely crashed.  My energy level bottomed out around 12 noon and I almost didn’t make it through the day.  I haven’t felt exhausted like this since I first found out I was pregnant all those years ago.  I slept the entire way home (being a commuter has its perks!), and crashed almost immediately after I got home.  I slept from about 6:15 until 10:30 or so this evening, in essence ruining Friday night for my family and I.  I had absolutely no idea how dependent my body was on caffeine, and it’s scary when I think about it.  I called my doctor’s office, and was advised to eat low-fat foods and drink plenty of water (like I’m not doing that anyway) and exercise, all of which will likely help in the days to come, but not tonight.  I am amazed at how hard this is…and I truly didn’t realize how dependent I was on caffeine.  I can’t lie – the inclination’s there to just say “fuck it” and grab a soda and end all of this.  But doing so negates the good I’ve accomplished in the last three days, and only prolongs and makes worse an unhealthy addiction that brings me nothing but harm. I’m hoping that that notion, plus the fact that I am accountable to all of you, will keep me on track.  Please keep your fingers crossed for me.

One more thing before I head back to Dreamland.  Have you heard of Metromint water?  I am a huge spearmint buff, and so I thought I’d give their spearmint water a try.  Found it at one of our local grocery stores, and I figured it was worth a shot…

It wasn’t bad!  The mint smell and taste were all-natural and clean and it was a nice diversion from plain old bottled water.  The mint helped curb my appetite a bit, which always helps.  Plus, I’ve never been the sort to be able to mix mint and foods, even with as much as I love spearmint.  I guess that’s the logic behind chewing gum all day so you won’t be tempted to snack?  :)  Anyway, it was good and I’d probably buy it again.  It won’t replace my daily water-water, but it makes for a nice change.  May reach for it when I feel a craving for soda that my water-water can’t quench.  Overall grade: B.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

“ASCUS” All About It…

Hi Internet.  I’m sorry I’ve been remiss in blogging of late.  Last night was a scary night here in my corner of the Blogosphere.  I was knee-deep in a post about how I’d survived my first day “off the bottle” (the Coca-Cola bottle, that is), and shared the story about how our little girl was still not feeling well and how I’d spent the day in full-on snuggle mode with her, watching all of her favorite shows (Good Luck Charlie, Hannah Montana, Shake It Up, Phineas and Ferb, and Fish Hooks).  When I clicked to “preview” my page, I got a “500” error.  Our friends at GoDaddy explained that someone (or some-thing) had corrupted my blog and deleted everything…all of my personal writings and “baring of my soul,” gone.  I was horrified and heartbroken.  My amazing husband was able to recover it all, thank goodness, and will be working soon to restore the photos and to upload a WordPress backup for me (thanks Sara and Laura for the info on backups!).  To say that I’m overwhelmingly happy is the understatement of the century!  Many thanks to my hubby and all our friends on Facebook and Twitter who tried so hard to help me recover my “lost” words.

I’ve made it through my first two days of my Lenten pledge not to drink Coca-Cola…without killing anyone!  I kept a cold bottle of water with me at all times throughout the workday, which helped.  Boss #2 is a huge fitness buff, and she and I have had multiple conversations about eating and drinking more healthily, walking more, etc.  When I told her of my Lenten pledge, she gave me a fantastic idea…one that anyone fighting an additive disorder might benefit from.  Be prepared going-in for what might await you.  Know right now what you’re going to do if and when the urge to grab that soda comes, and carry it though.  Her example is to stop what I’m doing and take an elevator ride to the lobby.  Something small…just a quick interruption…something to get you through the moment.  I’m game and will definitely be thinking of ideas.  Would love to hear yours!

OK…the night-time cold medicine I took is kicking in with a vengeance.  One more quick note.  I got the results from my February 22nd pap smear back.  The diagnosis was ASCUS: atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance.  In ASCUS patients who don’t have HPV, like me, they find that the diagnosis usually stems from an inflammation of the cervix or internal bleeding.  The nurse told me that she’s almost 100% certain that my ASCUS diagnosis is for that very reason – the polyps and the bloodflow nourishing them caused abnormal cells to form on the surface of my cervix.  She said to “absolutely not worry” and that the likelihood of my having cervical cancer was “slim to very nil.”  So it looks like I’ve dodged the first bullet.  So grateful.

OK….this medicine’s got a stronghold on me like crazy.  Sorry if this post was chock full of editorial errors and bad word choice!  Sleep coming any moment.  Can’t keep my eyes open..Zzzzzzz…

Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler (Subtitle: 40 Days Is A Long Time!)

So, Lent’s upon us yet again.  Lots of talk around me today about who’s-giving-what-up for Lent and how we’ll all survive the certain misery awaiting us over these next 40 days.  The whole sacrificial thing’s interesting to me tonight.  Honestly, it’s not something I ever gave any educated consideration to.  I understood the solemnity of it all – the thoughtful decision to show your love for God by sacrificing something that you dearly love, when He himself made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us – but I never really delved very deeply in to the sentiment of it all.  Folks abstained from their addictions and vices or didn’t, and those that did generally wore their sacrifices on their sleeves, often using them as justifications for bad behavior or general grumpy-ness.  I myself have fallen victim to this before.  I am a Coca-Cola addict, and it’s something I feel I cannot live without.  One Lent, I survived a mere few days “off the bottle,” so to speak, before looking at a very young collegian at a sorority alumnae event and hissing, and I quote, “Ten…state…shooting…SPREE!  I need a COKE!”  Not a high point in my life, I’ll admit.  My addiction to soda has reached a point where it’s unhealthy in nature.  And by “unhealthy in nature,” I mean that if I don’t have one before 10:00 a.m., I (a) have violent headaches, kick in to bitchazoid mode, and am a general menace to any citizen of this planet who dares cross my path, and (b) drink entirely too many on a daily basis.  In fact, I’ve been known to consume so many Cokes in a one-day period that I’m ashamed to admit the number to all of you.  (And, as you faithful blog readers know, I’m alllllllll about sharing the personal aspects of my life.  Suddenly my failure to divulge this number speaks volumes, eh?)  Consuming soda like I do isn’t good.  It’s a detriment to my well-being, both physical and mental, and giving it up is something I should have done long ago…

…which leads me to my point.  Why is it that so many of us choose to give up addictive behaviors for Lent?  I mean, we should be giving up these addictive behaviors because doing so is in our own best interest.  We shouldn’t wait until Lent to do so, nor should we resume our unhealthy choices once Easter passes us by.  Yet, every single person I spoke with today about making sacrifices for Lent is choosing to give up vice-like behaviors that cause them harm – excessive chocolate consumption, smoking, and yes, even soda (I’m not alone!)…and each one made reference to how they will “survive” this period of sacrifice, presumably to reward themselves for successful sacrifice by resuming their bad behaviors once all is said and done.  I’m having a hard time illustrating my point here (sorry).  I guess I just find it all so fascinating tonight.  Wow, how many of us have addictive and unhealthy behaviors?  And how many of us will “survive” the next 40 days without (a) falling off the wagon and/or (b) killing someone/ourselves?  And, more importantly, how is it that so many of us have allowed ourselves to fall victim to the strongholds of soda, tobacco, and the like?

(I guess if I knew the answer to that question, I’d be a zillionaire.)

Anyways, happy Lent, folks.  To all those making an effort to sacrifice during this time, I wish you every success.  Think I’ll give it a shot again this year.  Can I survive without Coke until after Easter?  Time will tell, I guess…