Back That Thing Up

2017 is damn near over….let’s recap this bitch!

January

We started the Weight Loss Challenge at the office.

I wasn’t ready for the National Trail Trek this year even though I signed up to do it. So, I just didn’t do it.

I hiked the usual New Year’s Day hike. Then another hike. That was all the hiking.

February

My Dad visited for the Waste Management Open, as per usual. We had a great time, also as per usual.

My boyfriend decided he was ready to bring a new doggy into his home and started the process of meeting with Rudy and I was at the home visit and then we found out we were approved and now there’s a little Rude Bear in our lives.

I hiked three times.

March

I did the Hike for the Homeless, which was great. Then I hiked one other time.

Rudy’s adoption became final and official.

April

We ended the Weight Loss Challenge at the office and I didn’t win but I did lose weight so I won!

Went to a friend’s birthday party at As You Wish and we all drew names then painted mugs for each other. It was so much fun!

The Final 4 was in town and we went to the FanFest and got in free thanks to it being sponsored by CapitalOne and I have a CapitalOne card! Woo! I like free fun.

I hiked three times.

We went to a Seder with my friend’s family again.

I gave my trainer the news that I would no longer be partaking of his services and he understood and I promised I’d still go to the gym on a regular basis and that he’d still be seeing my face. That was true for a little while…

May

We went to Spain and I ate my weight in chorizo and potatoes and it was lovely and nice and I enjoyed it immensely! So good!

I hiked twice.

I had my very first episode of feeling like I was having a heart attack.

June

I stayed home with Rudy while my boyfriend went to Texas without me and that was all for the best. Little Rude Bear was sick and my boyfriend is a good uncle and wanted to be at his niece’s graduation.

Went to an Eddie Izzard book event! He wasn’t doing a meet & greet or signing but he did read excerpts and expand on the stories and was funny and charming and I enjoyed it immensely. I’ve not been lucky enough to make it to one of his stand up shows so this was the next best thing.

We put together a surprise hike birthday party for one of our friends that was turning 60 and she was, in fact, so surprised and happy. We then had a party later in the day and it was so nice.

We went to Kartchner Caverns and OMG!! Best caverns I’ve ever visited. I want us to go back in 2018 to see the one that was closed to protect the bats. It was just that good.

My issues with eating and feeling like I was having a heart attack reached a high point so I went to the ER. Fun times.

July

I hiked three times!

I went to lots of doctor appointments and had lots of tests that revealed nothing at all other than my gallbladder is likely acting up. So, we scheduled to take that buggar out.

I turned 45! It was such a nice day. Until I threw up on the side of the road after trying to eat Mexican lunch because YOLO! Sometimes you really shouldn’t YOLO. But my birthday was still really nice despite that.

August

I had surgery to remove the gallbladder and I recovered from that really well.

My boyfriend had his birthday and we had a lot of good times. One of which was going to the Odysea Aquarium and it’s really great! Way better than either of us had imagined.

I took him to a baseball game to see the Cubs play the D-backs. This was three days after my surgery.

One of my Flickr friends was in town so we met up with him for lunch.

My symptoms all returned so I started the process of seeing the docs and tests all over again.

I hiked not at all.

September

I took my boyfriend to a Phoenix Rising soccer game and it was really so much fun. So exciting and great!

We went to see Napoleon Dynamite in the theatre and laughed out loud a lot.

I cancelled my trip to California to see The Muppets Live with Randi and I was bitter about that for a while but I’m over it now. Shit happens, ya know?

I participated in the world wide Book Fairy Day and dropped five books at five different bus stops around the area. It was a lot of fun and I hope nice people took the books and enjoyed them.

Doctors and tests and not being able to eat and generally felt like crap.

I hiked once.

October

We took all of the dogs to Barktoberfest. My dogs were bored, his dogs were tired.

Went to the Cardinals v Buccaneers game. It’s always fun to go to live sports, I think. Even though I’m not sportsy.

More doctors, more tests, more feeling like crap.

I hiked once! A puppy hike. Those are always fun.

I decorated a bear for charity.

November

My GI doc finally decided that an endoscopy was in order and it quickly revealed the issue and I had to rush to a different place for further testing and it was all terrible. Then my surgeon’s office called to tell me how serious it all was and it sounded like I was in grave danger and could possibly die (now that it’s all said and done I’m gonna admit that, yes, this was a possibility for a bit. It’s not a good thing to have twists in your stomach for too long. I don’t recommend it.) So, another surgery was to be scheduled but now we’re in the holiday season and schedules are hard so I felt like crap, was scared shitless, and had to sit and wait and wonder when it was all going to happen. I had one very sleepless night due to being worried I’d go to sleep and never wake up.

Due to all of that first paragraph the decision was made for me to not go home for Thanksgiving. It was the right call. And I had a very lovely Thanksgiving here so that all worked out nicely.

Since I was here and not in the air going home I was able to go to Woofstock with all of the dogs and my boyfriend and it was so much better than Barktoberfest. It’s a really good event.

No hiking.  But I was able to go to the finish line of the Phoenix Summit Challenge to cheer on my hiking friends and that was nice.

December

I started the month drinking terrible Barium milkshakes for a CT Scan so the surgeon could see what all he was dealing with so he could have his plan of action in place before opening me up. They found that my stomach was no longer twisted, which is why I was feeling a bit better. And surgery was finally scheduled. On a Monday. Surgery was two days later!

I was so nervous for this surgery. It was way more involved than just having a part removed. So, I was just really very nervous. But it all went well and I’ve already talked all about that. To update: the allergic rash and subsequent skin sloughing off is almost all gone, most incisions look great but I have one I’m keeping my eye on. I still have a bit of muscle pain but the less precious I am with moving around the better so I’m doing that. And eating is going really well and I look forward to starting to eat like a normal person on the 1st. No more processed, boxed crap. Yay!

I saw The Last Jedi and LOVED IT even though other hardcore Star Wars nerds, and my boyfriend, hate it. I love it. I think it was beautiful and deep and opens things up for new possibilities while, in my opinion, being true to the original trilogy. I won’t spoil it but a thing happens that made me absolutely sob like a fool.

I was able to attend my company’s holiday dinner and that was nice.

We went to my boyfriend’s sister’s for Christmas Eve and that was nice. I spent Christmas morning with my boyfriend and our dogs, we went to a movie, then he went home and I spent late afternoon and evening with my friend and her family for dinner and that was great. I had a nice little Christmas.

I somehow managed to pay off all medical bills and just have a few low ones that I’m waiting to arrive but I have the funds in my HSA to cover them and they need to come today so I can get that all closed out by the end of the year but I suspect that shit ain’t happening. That’s a huge stress off my shoulders. Whew!

I hiked zero.

Conclusion

So, yeah. This year wasn’t great but it also wasn’t the full-on crapfest I sometimes feel that it was. I think the overwhelming negativity of the news these days pushes all of the personal good down and I have to push that shit aside to get to it. I’ve started paying less attention to the news, which sort of sucks as I want to be able to take action when I can, but for my mental health right now…I just can’t. I’m very white, I guess.

Happy New Year! I hope it finds all of us healthy, happy, and whole.

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“Don’t Look at Robot Crab.”

Three weeks out from surgery and I’m still not back to 100% normal and I guess I need to accept that it’s going to take some time and stop worrying about people that act like since it wasn’t cancer I should be fine now.

I’m a little bitter over people, I guess you could say. Some of ’em suck.

My skin is mostly no longer flaking off where the allergic reaction was but I still have scabs on most of the incision sites and one is still a little red looking so I’m keeping my eye on that one to determine if I need to go have it looked at or not. And my left side still has muscle soreness and that part is the part that I have to realize will take time to go away.

I also get this weird uncomfortable feeling in the middle of my chest but that’s likely all related to putting my insides back where they belong and stitching shit up. So I’m not gonna freak out yet.

The surgeon feels that my reflux was likely bile reflux and it’s just a coincidence that it went away a few days after I restarted my Prilosec since that doesn’t do anything for bile reflux. So, he said to take the Prilosec for a month then go off of it to see. Basically, I shouldn’t have reflux anymore after the surgery. So, we’ll see about that.

Sometimes when I eat I feel like it’s all going down lumpy and then other times when I eat it all goes down just fine so that could all be part of the process, too.

Again, I cannot wait to just be back to normal and able to take eating for granted again. I want that real bad.

I found out last night some of my friends are worried about me and feel like I’m maybe isolating myself. I don’t know if that’s true. But I guess it’s nice that people worry and care.

In other news I had a very lovely Christmas and all of the Santas in my life gave me lovely gifts and I feel like a jerk for basically not participating in the buying of presents this year but I just couldn’t.

I spent Christmas evening with my friend and her family and that was pretty great, to participate in that tradition again after a few years off.

My boyfriend and I went to see “The Darkest Hour” on Christmas Day and it’s shocking to think about how close England was to negotiating with Hitler and to think about how different the world would be today had that happened. Just…wow.

Yesterday, I went to see “The Disaster Artist” and I enjoyed it immensely! I think it helps to have an understanding of what “The Room” is and who Tommy Wiseau is. I think I’m low-key obsessed with him. He’s so odd, yet so optimistic and it’s a little bit of what the world needs now. His Twitter is joyful. The movie could have easily just made fun of him but I think they did a great job of displaying his delusion in a really kind way and didn’t really make him the butt of the joke. I really felt a lot of empathy toward him. He just wants to succeed and be liked and, really, who doesn’t?

Last night I noticed I could watch “The Big Sick” on Amazon Prime so I did that and it was so charming. I can see why it was getting so much praise. As a white lady without any sense of any of the cultures that are in my background or real traditions that aren’t just specific to my family, I find it so hard to wrap my head around people that are super tied to culture and tradition to the point they’d give up family or live lives of unhappiness because it’s expected. But I also know that people that are steeped in such things find my lack of tradition sad so we’re all even here.

Tonight, my boyfriend and I will bring back our Wednesday night dinner date. We get together and we cook and we spend the evening together and I loved it. Until I couldn’t just eat anymore. So, I’m excited. A piece of normalcy coming back!

And that’s it for now. Next post will be my year end recap and I’m hoping, like all others years before, doing it will reveal more good times than I’m able to remember at this moment. Fingers crossed!

It’s a Beautiful Day to Save Lives

So, I’ve had surgery. Almost two weeks ago. Wanna hear all about it? Here we go…

I was super nervous the day of surgery. This surgery had me absolutely in a fit of anxiety and most people were helpful but then others were quite dismissive and upset me quiet a bit and there you go.

But I was nervous. But I went in to get it done because I’m an adult.

Putting the IV in my hand hurt like hell and I cried. Likely due to already being so nervous. But it hurt. At that point I was just tired of all of the poking I’ve gone through the past six months, really.

Surgery went for 3 hours and then my time in recovery went for 3 hours because I don’t wake up super great from anesthesia. I’m nauseated and they keep me drugged up until that passes. Every time I’d come to all I could say is “I want my boyfriend, can you bring my boyfriend?” and they’d ask if I was nauseated and until the answer was no, I couldn’t have my boyfriend back. They couldn’t bring him to me until I was in my room. But they called him when I was on the way to my room and he met us in the hallway and I was so happy to see him. I don’t know if I’ve told him that.

So, they take me to my room and I choose to get out of the surgery bed and into recovery bed on my own and that hurt and I didn’t know the right way to move and that all scared me and had me worried because holy shit everything hurt and how am I supposed to do this?!

My boyfriend stayed for a little while then told me I needed to rest and he needed to check on all of our dogs and he left. He sent me photos of my dogs and that was awesome.

I slowly drank a cup of water. My throat was sore and so dry from the intubation. My pee hole hurt from the catheter the first few times I peed.

Every hour and a half, I had to get up to pee thanks to IV fluids. Every hour and a half I had to hit the nurse button to get out of bed to pee because they still had me connected o the compression wraps on my legs to prevent swelling and blood clots. But getting up every hour and a half, I believe, helped get my recovery started. By the morning I was able to get up and out of bed so much easier and they finally left the wraps off and I could do it all on my own and I was so happy because for someone that is as independent as I am, having to hit a nurse button every hour and a half was terrible.

My doctor and his resident both visited me and told me that my surgery went well, I only needed four stitches to close the hernia which was fantastic!

I took laps around the floor at midnight and again at 5 and then after breakfast and after lunch. Each time doing more laps and doing them quicker. I did great! I’m the best at recovery!

Hospital beds are uncomfortable as fuck and it hurt my back and shoulders so much that I didn’t even notice all of the abdomen pain until I’d get out of the bed. That’s how shitty a hospital bed is.

So, imagine my joy when eating breakfast and lunch went well without any sticking in the throat or nausea?! That meant I got to go home. After one night! YAY!!

The last time I had morphine was 7:30 Wednesday night. I didn’t even take the Rx for the narcotic pain meds home. So, I’ve only been on liquid Tylenol for pain and I didn’t take it very much. Because I’m a boss at recovery.

On the way home from surgery my boyfriend was being himself, which is very funny to me, and it made me laugh which hurt so I begged him to stop being funny. To which he proclaimed me to be a pet rock. I can’t eat and I can’t laugh and I’m just a pet rock and that made me laugh and he’s the worst and I love him.

So, Thursday I’m home around 5ish. Nothing major happened. I slept on the couch.

Friday I laid around and ate my soft foods and generally did healing things.

Saturday I asked my boyfriend to take me to some grocery stores to get more stuff and that was good. I spent the rest of the day resting.

Sunday I asked my boyfriend to take me to the mall so I would get some walking around did and that was good. I spent the rest of the day resting.

During this time, however, my incisions are being very weird and I Google and it could just be normal weirdness or it could be an allergic reaction to the surgical glue. Guess which one it was!

That’s right. I’m a true allergic reaction to surgical glue person. Yay me! The rash is terrible and the itching is worse.

So, Monday I work for a few hours in the wee hours of the morning and then I go to the surgeon’s office for verification. Which they did quickly.

Tuesday I work for a few hours in the wee hours of the morning and spend the rest of the day on the couch realizing I’ve got post op depression. Because of course I do.

Wednesday I work for a few hours in the wee hours of the morning then go to the office because I have to be around people so I don’t sit on my couch consumed with fear and sadness. I stay too long and on Thursday taking a shower exhausted me so I spent the day sleeping, eating, and peeing.

Thursday night I was able, however, to go see “The Last Jedi.” I reclined in the seat with my eyes closed until it started then stayed away to watch and then went straight home and straight to bed. Because I’m back in my own bed and off the couch!

Friday I worked for a wee bit in the wee hours of the morning, rested a wee bit, then went to work for a few hours to I could join the Holiday Dinner and have a nice time. And I did. And they told me about Calamine lotion and I bought some on my way home and it saved me from losing my mind. The depression paired with the itching was keeping me in a pit of despair. Since I’ve relieved the itching I’m able to pull myself out of the funk way easier.

My Aunt called me to give me a pep talk about the depression. I’ve dealt with a lot over the last six months and my body has been through a lot. I’ve had two surgeries, my diet has been crap, I’m protein deprived, and my hormones are all out of whack on a normal basis so this just adds to that. Not to mention how high my expectations are of myself and there you go. Not to mention that some people, likely just due to my state of mind, have just really disappointed me during this mess. Which just only makes me feel justified in being so independent. Because I “have to be” because I “can’t count on anyone.” Which isn’t true. There have been a few people that I absolutely could count on and that’s reality and the other reality is that despite our best efforts, most of us really are just self focused. Which is fine. I just don’t like the dismissiveness. Or the self serving shows of support in public forums when behind the scenes you’re sucking hardcore.

Saturday I realized my reflux is back and that scared me because my reflux causes hiccups and I just had my diaphragm stitched up and what if this ruins that?!?! Likely not happening but I don’t want to go through this again. I don’t. I won’t. But I was able to see “The Last Jedi” again and walk around the mall a bit and go out for dessert.

Sunday more reflux but I went out for a wee bit and walked around and hung out with my boyfriend.

But, I spent the weekend really unable to eat or drink much of anything due to all of it, even water, causing reflux and today I feel weak, as one would. I’ve not had much protein or calories since Friday. Overall I’m down about 6 or 7 pounds thus far.

I’m back to work today and not sure if I’ll make it a full 8 hours but we’ll see. And I have a call in to the surgeon’s office about the rash and the reflux and hopefully all of that will get resolved and then I’ll be more on my way to a more normal existence.

That’s what I want for Christmas. My normal existence.

Here We Go, Time to Operate

My CT Scan showed nothing dangerous happening in there. In fact, it showed that the twists are no longer being twisty! I have a large hiatal hernia and a majority of my stomach is through it and that’s that.

And? I have a date for surgery! TOMORROW!!!

That’s right. Tomorrow. It seems that the political upheaval in Honduras is allowing me to get in for my surgery this week and I no longer have to wait and be in limbo and worry about it going into next year and costing me way more. Nor will I miss Star Wars. It’s a Festivus Miracle!

I have to stay in the hospital at least one night and that’s all I know. Other than I’m nervous but I know it’ll be ok. Gallbladder surgery was ok and this one will be, too.

Please do whatever you’re comfy in doing in regards to prayers, thoughts, wishes, vibes, juju, etc. that my surgery goes well, my recovery is fast, and my insides will operate as they should and my life will be back to normal for the New Year. Thank you!