Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I had a really bad day on Monday.  

You would think I would have recovery from surgery figured out.  Just lay around for a week in my pajamas.  The next week lay around just half the day in pajamas and get some things done.  And the third week I'm nearly back to normal.  
That part is actually happening more quickly since the surgery wasn't as extensive.

But, still Monday was a bad day.  
It started with Sunday morning.  I couldn't hear well enough to understand as we were all gathered together.

I didn't write in the last post that the left ear drum which had been repaired in May and a tube placed in it, had to have the tube removed because it had grown over and was irritating surrounding tissue because there is no blood flow there.  When the tube was removed the hole it left was too big to put another tube in.  So, there is a hole in the left, previously repaired, ear drum.
That in itself limits hearing in that ear.

I couldn't hear unless the speaker was standing about 6 inches away from my left ear, the right one being stuffed with surgical packing.
I began to worry.  There is no tube in the right ear. There was supposed to be a tube in there because the Eustachian tubes don't work.  What will happen next?
Should we even have bothered with the repairs?  
This right here was enough to get me down. I was hurting, I wasn't doing anything, I wasn't feeling good about myself or the surgery or the future.
And then my daughter came to see me.  
We sat on opposite ends of the couch to visit.
 I couldn't hear her.  
After she left I wallowed around in self-pity for the rest of the day.
I wanted to cry and yell and kick and stomp and throw things.
Well, maybe not the last three, but I sure did feel like yelling,
"I want my ears back!"
So, I did what is the best thing to do in this case, reach out to someone who was struggling.
I had hoped for better news.  
He's struggling with chemo and resulting digestive disorders.
This is all compounded because daily dialysis has to be figured in.  
He doesn't have any real assurance that this is the final solution.
There may be more treatment in the future.
 Jim put me to bed early that night.

Tuesday I got myself together and went to knitting group. Half of the women there have had cancer, or some other medical issue that has profoundly affected their life.
I went because they would understand what I was going through that day.  They know that there are hard things to deal with every single day that I never had to before.  
They know about depression and fear and things that don't go like you expect.
There is another woman there who has to go in to the doctor again to check out some spots.
I told her my story that day and my feeling that I'm not getting anywhere. 
She looked at me.
She doesn't know what to expect, either.
 She said, 
"I'm going to keep on fighting."

When I got home that day.
I found this.

I'm going to keep on fighting.    

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Same Song, Second Verse

Surgery Day...again.
Tuesday, October 20th.
The day after my daughter's 20th birthday.

This time the hole in my right ear drum was repaired with a cartilage graft.  This surgery wasn't as extensive as the one in May since a mastoid infection wasn't involved.  The pain is less and the healing should be accomplished more quickly.  

We stayed over the night before since leaving at 5:00 in the morning to check in at 8:30 didn't seem like the smartest thing to do.  Since we took the "scenic route" on the few blocks to the surgical center we were just on time and they were ready for us right away since the surgery before me was done early.  I was whisked through the pre-op and onto the operating table and soon I was awake and coherent and and on our way home.
The worst part of going home is that every little bump jostles my head and that hurt.  It was good to be home and totter into bed and let my pain killer take me into dream land.

Only it didn't work that way.  

I spent most of the night in agony sleeping an hour under the influence of an audio book and the pain killer, and then counting the hours until the next one.  It was way past time for me to consider the ER, when Jim called the on call Dr., and found they don't call in narcotics anymore and suggested the ER when it occurred to me that if I felt this bad, why wasn't I crying tears.  
Aha!  I hadn't been drinking any water!  I hadn't been swallowing.  I don't know what happened to my brain here, but it certainly was derailed.  I got up, drank 40 oz of water, the next pain pill worked fine and I've been sleeping ever since.  In fact, as of this moment, I must be caught up enough that I've been awake a half hour already since the last pill.

I am recording this, just in case something like this happens to someone else.  
Drink Your Water!!
And don't wait so long with the pain either.  

Monday, October 19, 2015

No Teenagers Here

There comes a time in every family.  
The last child turns 20.
There are no more teenagers at home.
A barrier had been crossed. 
A torch has been passed.
Or something like that.  
There are new little kids coming up, (none teenagers yet, thank goodness).
It feels a lot like an empty nest these days.

Birthdays bring family home and Lynette's birthday party filled up some of those empty spaces. 

Lynette tried out her photography skills on her sister's family, and it looks like they got one of her and the newest family member.  
For the Millers, not us.

While I was decorating birthday cake and helping Mom make the chili enchiladas that are her specialty for supper.  We had a little boy visit us.  He decided to stay even though I told him he would have to play by himself, I would be too busy.  
He got a better afternoon than he expected since Papa came home, set up his loader bucket, gave him a pile of sand to play in and then took him back of the shop where he spent the rest of the afternoon playing in the dirt pile Jim made while clearing a spot for a concrete pad. 

He gets a special photo since in the one above with Lynette and the two boys, he was behind the couch. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

October's Bright Blue Weather

There is an event in our region called the "Junk Jaunt".

It is a 300 mile continuous Yard Sale in central Nebraska. Each of 35-40 towns organizes a 3-day yard sale. Most towns will have at least one “Central Set-Up” location for vendors. Last year, this fun event drew 20,000 people from 34 states and 79 of 93 Nebraska counties.

.We decided to take a day and go this year.  Jim and I like doing things together and this was a good chance.  We left early Saturday morning and drove north.
We were out mostly to see what this event looked like and perhaps pick up a few bargains.  We had our cash and our lunch and away we went.
This event isn't only a "yard sale" event.  It's a big sale with organized vendors selling new products, antique stores, junk shops, flea markets and ordinary yard sales.  
We didn't get very far, our first stop was a town full of sales, and we stopped at every sign between there and the next few towns.  At lunch time we stopped at a town that was taken over with junk jaunt sales and there I bought 4 child sized round cake pans. 
There we also stopped at an estate sale and I bought a Kirby vacuum for $25 which was my bargain of the day.  I also got stung by a wasp.  
I don't think I've even been stung by a wasp before.  I don't remember anything hurting that badly.  I think now that any poor kid that gets stung is fully justified in hollering the place down.  
I was surprised by how much it hurt and how long it hurt.  My thumb swelled up, but we kept on going for a few more sales. My hand was going to hurt whether I was home sitting or driving around.  Finally, we stopped at a place that had a John Deere walking plow for sale.  
We still had enough of our cash left, so we splurged and brought it home to live in front of this "B" John Deere.  
After that, I was ready to take the rest of our money and my sore hand home.

We took a trip up to Minnesota for a special time with Jim's sister.  It was pretty cold the first couple days we were there, and I was glad for my undershirts, sweaters and tights, along with my coat.
The last two days were unseasonably warm and I shed a few layers.  As you can see, on Sunday I was in short sleeves.

It's beautiful up there this time of year with more variety of leaf changing color than we are used to. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

October 6, 2015

Today is the third anniversary of the end of treatment. 
I'm celebrating with a photo of another year's hair growth.  

2015                                                                                                                                                   2014

I have weird hair; I don't think any grew on the right side. 

October is such a beautiful month. I have been looking forward to the cooler days and 
"October's bright blue weather"
However, we've had days and days of clouds and damp and sprinkles.  It hasn't rained much, just remained dismal.
Perhaps we'll get more October days when November gets here since November has seemed to sneak in this first week of October. 

I've been going out in the early mornings to feed the cats.  I can use the little bit of exercise I get and fresh air is good for everybody.  Even though the days lately have been gloomy, the mornings and evenings when the air is still and I expect the chilly weather and dress for it, have been lovely.  
Our house is so pretty all dressed up for the night.

Besides, the hair being weird around here, so are our chickens.  One always lays ombre eggs, one lays eggs whose shells are so thin they nearly explode when cracked, and one obviously chose this day to be a pullet.  

However, when opened there was no yolk.  
Defective egg. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

I Have a Friend

A friend of mine had to face a very hard thing this week.  
She was the teller the masked bank robber faced.  
She was the one who suffered nightmares and worries.
She was the one who had to face him in the courtroom.  
She was scared and lived with that fear for months.
In that courtroom she found relief; she found closure.  

Facing a traumatic event is a difficult task. 
Living with it afterwards is just as difficult. 
Trying to understand what it must be like to go through an experience like that,  I dug deep into my own experiences.
I have faced a medical diagnosis that far too often results in death.  
Cancer wears a mask.
I didn't know what I was facing.
I was scared.  
I spent months fighting pain, fear, depression, nightmares and physical disabilities.
When others were around it was easier to wear a brave and cheerful face.
The support of my family was invaluable.  I couldn't have done it without them.  
There came a day when I was free, 
free from the most pressing worries.  
The cancer was gone. I could begin to regain normalcy. 
I felt relief; I felt closure.
I felt different.
I am thankful.
I survived to love life and family and friends more than ever,
I know what are the most important things.

I will never be the same again.

And neither will she.