Thankful

There is a song called “Alive” by POD – there are lyrics in the song that seem appropriate “every day is a new day, I’m thankful for every breath I take” – Overall not a band I particularly am – overly fond of, but this song is definitely in my top hits.

It seems appropriate on this, the day before “thanksgiving” where we all gather to share the things we are thankful for….

I tend to do a gathering the Saturday before Thanksgiving – because I much prefer to have thanksgiving as a day of individual contemplation – and also to allow my loved ones the comfortable ability to share multiple gatherings.

This year there are so many many things to be thankful for… so many amazing joys and blessings that have gotten caught up in the “other things”…. I mean its a tendency we all have,… for example when there is an ambulance or fire truck, we immediately think of the hurt, the pain, the burning… not the rescue, the safety, the hope.

Maybe its a way our society has become wired.

I remember when I was younger, having to go search for things at the library – having to find them in a book, or to find a person with the knowledge undisputed to provide me the answer to my questions. A task which wasn’t always easy, and wasn’t always unbiased, and wasn’t always correct. The process of doing this did teach me alot though.

I learned about discernment. I learned how to find my own way. I learned the importance of validating my data. I learned to be humble (okay there is an argument for the fact that I’m still learning this one. ) How to have patience – how to respect my elders, and why it was important. It taught me many of the important things in life.

Not just the what, the how, the where, but to find those answers, the value in the why of the information.

It also taught me the value of a great storyteller – and the importance of oral tradition – which will always be my favorite method of information sharing.

Now we have these electronic methods for finding information out or finger tips and we can find thousands of answers in the blink of an eye – some of them actually validated by scientific method, and so ready for our queries.

Somehow the convenience seems to have lost some of the value in the search. All the things I learned in the process aren’t being taught by this information availability. It seems to free up time… but I recall an adage from my youth that was clearly christian in origin “Idle hands are the devils playground” …. which I find somewhat amusing only because I know the value in sitting quietly in mindfully idle time….. and the devil is ignoring what you know your to be doing, particularly with something you know your not.

I am thankful for all my blessings this year, the ones I can put to words – new babies!! New family in general!! Health of those around me, family friends both far and near. Goal success of so many of those loved ones, including myself – set a plan and work the plan and good things will manifest.

I am thankful for a place here to share my thoughts, my expressions and my love.

Happy Thanksgiving and joy for the nearing close of 2020.

Sand in the hourglass

There is a reason that the hourglass has the shape it does…. Its easy to recognize that the top and the bottom are significantly larger than the middle where all the sand flows through.

In the moment, the time is small. There where it came from, and where its going both seem so dauntingly huge.

When I think about my life, and all the amazing things I’ve experienced. When I take those in a microcosm, and go thru the exercise, of trying to put myself into the memory, and experience the sounds, the sights, the smells, the feeling of the things around – I can make the experience shrink from this obscure huge amount of sand that is linked to so many other grains of the sand in my past… I can shrink it into the one that represents that moment.

There are some moments that we try to hold in the middle – try so hard to keep them there, because they are so so joyful, so filled with blessing and bliss that our hearts are overcome with the emotion and as it bursts out and fills us up inside… it forces its way out thru our tears in joy.

This was a week filled with these moments.

Just like the hourglass for time, which seems so so linear — when the sand runs to its end, we flip the glass and start over again. The circle makes all the difference.

The song from the Lion King – the Circle of Life seems so appropriate, for me right now. So many blessings, so many great new beginnings.

Emotions seem alot like the helium balloon – when its new and fresh and filled and so happy – its floating above your head, but it doesn’t just fall to your hand when it is over, it falls and pulls you down to the floor.

I think part of growing up is the knowledge that the floor will be coming, and knowing the tricks to bring yourself back to the loving self in the middle from before the balloon arrived.

There is joy in all three stops, the top with its beautiful heart explosions, the middle with its smiles, hugs, and laughter, and even on the floor – there is joy on the floor – the joy of realizing you will be alive, and that there will be new tops again in the future, the perspective from the opposite angle is like looking at the hourglass upside down and realizing that when you turn the sand, its a fresh new beginning.

Got to have my thanksgiving in a smaller, modified version – but the turkey was still incredible – thank you to P for spending his 50 prepping/smoking the bird for me.

Next chemo is tomorrow – it will be the first since surgery. It will be a great time to see how mild the side effects really are, now that the infection is routed, and my body can work on building itself back up in health.

Its the holidays, and I’m excited to experience and see all the love and joy that normally fills the air this time of year.

Here is to another turn of the hourglass, and another set of new beautiful memories.

The lighthouse

This is a post dedicated to my new niece.

Sometimes in life there are unavoidable steps that must be taken, must be overcome. There are obstacles that stand in the way of our dreams, of our goals, of our hopes.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the sailing, in the feel of the wind and the sound of the waves, that we get turned around, sometimes we get challenged for direction.

There is always a lighthouse on the shore to guide us home. It’s a beating of our heart – the moment in between breaths, the pause in between moments. That guides us, like a light on the rock above to the safety of home.

Its hard being an older sister – sometimes. My younger brother, and younger sister are part of my heart – part of my soul. When they struggle with things – while the struggle is uniquely their own – my heart, my soul feels for them. I feel their hopes, their dreams, their elation — but also their sorrows.

This weekend, is an incredible one of healing. My brother – I call him – among many things, a terra cotta warrior. He has always been one of those stoic protectors for the entirety of my life. Ensuring the protection of those he loves and in his realm.

He is slow to action, perpetually ensuring to take the safest route – ensuring that the path is safest for his loved ones to travel – that he has protected all sides.

He has had some incredible hurts in his life – being damaged to a crushing level, but he has gotten back up and continued on with his journey – holding all the hurt in and back from showing or impacting anyone else ….

Except I’m tremendously empathic and aware of this hurt. There has not been anything to do, but encourage, and support him along his journey.

He met your mom a while ago – and I immediately liked her. She has this calm presence that is both soothing, but also incredible capable. It was clear, that the strength she has, and the purity of heart are the things that most attracted my brother to her. Over time, she has brought herself more to an endearment of love to me, and the entirety of my family.

For the first time, in all the other people my brother has chosen to surround himself with and loaned his heart to…. This was someone, that I viewed as worthy of this loan. – Someone that would treat his heart with the care and respect it deserved, someone that cared for him as a person before they loved him and someone who genuinely liked his nature and his company before she loved him. This is someone we adopted.

My brother proposed to her this weekend, and she said yes. It is beyond words – it feels like suddenly a part of my heart and soul that has ached and hurt for my brother is healed. Finally he has a partner in his journeys, someone who will enjoy his company and his nature, and that he can enjoy. They can be partners in this rogue adventure we call life.

Yesterday, you decided to grace us with your presence. You came into this world in unexpected ways, and a little sooner than imagined – I feel your mum knew you were coming sooner than anticipated, afterall its not really a trait of our family to hold things back, and I’m quite certain you let her know you had enough of the confines of her body – no matter how comfortable that womb had been for the months prior.

The look of sheer joy on all of the family at your arrival is not something I can convey in words. You are an unexpected blessing that brings a lighthouse to us in these tumultuous times. Conditions in the world are so confusing right now, but your arrival, your light is a beacon back to the heart and soul of what’s important. Thank you for joining us.

Progress

Its an interesting thing to me that the word “progress” has a very positive connotation to me… I feel most people would agree – and yet, “progression” is the word they use in the C business to describe when things are going pair shaped. I wonder whose brainchild of an idea that was…. some lab monkey sitting around going ooo ooo ooo – I made progress, my experiment worked!! I have made the C grow…. Its made progress too!! — Its Progression in the works…. a word affiliation that is so so positive to us, but is NOT positive at all.

I digress.

Today, my mind decided 4am was a “great” time to be alive and awake. While I agreed with the former, the later was less than an amicable discussion. I said to myself “Atleast 6am, atleast 6” and my mind said “but but but … there are so many wonderful things about now”…. and I said “yes, the foremost being this stunningly accommodating and soothing bed”

This banter back and forth between myself continued, as it often does for over a half hour… before my mind, decided to be “tricksy” …. It said “We could walk…….” …. Now lets be honest, you don’t get to be an overweight woman by that phrase just randomly popping up into your mind at the four in the morning times and producing pleasure. I’m not saying it isn’t “possible” … I’m just saying, that most people with weight problems – whether its a chicken or an egg thing…. most people with weight problems don’t particularly find pleasure in physical activity. So many spiderwebs here… but sufficed to say…

This tactic, my mind chose…. well it was alluring. I’ve been trying for at this point “several” – but I’m sure it will be many by the time I’m finished… I’ve been trying to cultivate that mind place that can find not only pleasure, but pure bliss and joy at the prospect of the movement of my body. The little thing of walking – in the fresh air, in the cool wind, with the feel of the pavement beneath my feet, and the sensation of all the other physical stimuli available…. This was an alluring prospect.

Like the good little person I am, I didn’t’ fall for this tactic at first. I know my mind, it was “tempting me” with no real believe I’d follow thru – with the true believe that I’d succumb to the woes of weightdom and make some excuse to “not” walk.

My mind underestimated my resolve, and my tenacity towards this endeavor. But I was wise. I laid in bed another full ten minutes… thinking of all the things I would need to accomplish – building up more and more activation energy to overcome the milestones – also known as “mountains” my mind would throw at me to prevent me from walking, but accomplishing the “mission” of getting my awake self out of bed.

I visualized where and what I would wear. I planned precisely what body activities I would need to do, and which could be postponed. I planned my course thru the house, what outdoor things I would need. I visualize myself gathering them and doing them. I visualized the path – I basically took the entire walk in virtual sense – in the thought/plan that one of two things would occur… either I’d have an overabundance of activation energy (excellent) or I’d fall back asleep (also good) — I repeated this two more times. When I got back to my thoughts after the second full circuit….

And my mind again tried with “See wouldn’t that feel so so good”…. before the little voice of the opposition the one that is carefully reminding me “you had surgery just under two weeks ago – take it easy… walking will come” before that voice could come… I jumped out of bed, and proceeded thru the path I’d planned.

There was a tiny struggle with the mask I’d planned – one of the HEPA filter ones P had gotten me to enhance breathing with a mask…. but overall I was out the door, music on, saftey things on…. including my watch to track my steps…. and “going” “moving”…. My mind finally said “point conceded”…. and I replied back “Its going to be great”

Now I didn’t walk as far as I’d pathed/hoped/planned – but I did make it alot further than expected, and the walk DID feel so so good. I am awake, and alive…. While its dark outside right now, there were bunnies!! many of them truth be told – I saw five. There were also frogs? Where are all these water creatures coming from?!? (I almost stepped on one)

I heeded my body at about half the planned/hoped path when it said, wow while this feels good, we are more tired then expected, so I opted for a shorter route with a faster return…. and it made all the difference.

My muscles are awake, good hormones are pumping, my mind is still awake but now subdued, and overall I feel pretty great. Mission accomplished a win for today.

Progress, towards a better stronger healthier life achieved. Alethia 1

Sometimes, just gotta watch the sunrise

Its a thing for me, that I love watching sunrise – sunset also enjoyable, but not quite the overflowing possibilities that sunrise holds. While its not that I at all doubt the fact that it will rise, and that another day will start, somehow it has always been something of a comfort for me, to watch it happen.

To feel a part of that moment. The moment when you see the sun crest the horizon, and know its path, know how and where and why its going. The complexity of its rise, and yet the utter sheer joy of its simplicity.

The culmination of these two enigmas into one, and the sheer layers of complication able to be built on such a simplistic and beautiful happening – well its kinda the quintessential reminder to me that no matter how daunting things feel or seem, no matter how complex the problem I struggle with at the moment….. Life goes on – and in the words of Scarlett o’Hara – Tomorrow is another day.

Enjoying this pleasure of greeting the day at its start – is just something that feels right. Like brushing my teeth morning and night…. sure there is an argument for doing it more frequently, after ever meal, there is also a counter argument for doing it less frequently…. However, twice per day is comfortable and feels right for me.

I don’t always get to greet the sun, but when I do, it always satisfies me in a way that little other things can. It’s like a warm hug from nature. Fresh snow, or that feeling of the flakes on my face is a similar satisfying feeling. Soft rain on an overly dark and cloudy day that was a “wait” for it sort of day before….. Its like the culimination of the infinity of the universe into a tiny little thing…. Reminds me of the line from the Disney Movie Aladdin, where the Genie says “Infinite cosmic power…. Itty Bitty Living space” – in reference to the fact that he can do anything, but he is confined to the realm of the lamp and the restrictions it holds.

The universe also is just like that Genie – while its perpetually growing, it’s also constricted by fundamentals that might as well be the lamp. It’s amazing to me that we get to be its master so much of the time, by just remembering its there, and taking a moment to smell the roses so to speak.

Slept well last night, in part to new pillows P got me a month or so back – they are memory foam – so I let them fully expand, plus they were … well I’m a creature of habit when it comes to things like pillows — I’m also sorta the princess in the pea from the perspective that I LOVE LOVE LOVE my extra pillows -extra fluff…. so I was skeptical of these new pillows. Finally this week, I gave them a whirl – while the verdict isn’t out completely on them I will say…. they are more firm than they first seem on head impact. They also seem to forget that I’ve slept with them after I rise, and go back to being these huge balls of fluff in my bed which is quite enticing from a sleep perspective. There is alot of joy to be had by that first flump feeling of landing on a pillow.

While there is still “healing” aka (aches and pains) from the surgery — overall I’m starting to recover pretty well. Its a slow process, and I have to keep reminding myself to slow down – always one with the need for speed.

There are so many good things abounding in the world right now – watching and sharing in these is somewhat encouraging that humanity is working together more, and that people are realizing the value of love.

We got some sandwiches yesterday from a place called “Ike’s Love & Sandwiches” and I have to say, not only were the sandwiches pretty good, the motto of the company on the bag was so incredible, they will definately be a go-to for us.

Quote: “Ask yourself: Would you like to lead the world to love itself through sandwiches, or would you rather just work at a restaurant that happens to make great sandwiches” …. Even now re-reading it, just makes my heart soar…. “Love then Sandwiches”

I’ve always had a special place for appreciating people in their passions, and finding ways to support that passion and help it prosper, and spread to others. This brightened up my whole afternoon yesterday – not to mention the good foods were a boon too.

Rising early is one of those things I get to balance right now. Due to the chemical explosion within my body, it happens sometimes that the little girl in me will not be stopped – she will be vehement about rising to greet the sunrise….. well, mostly she just wants to get up and play….. and sometimes the other parts of me can coax her back into rest, into sleep — but then there are days like today – where the sun will be rising in a bit, and I’m planning to greet it.

Gentle Reminders

I feel, daily, that I’m on the right path, that things are going the correct direction and that generally – yeah only generally I am human after all – I’m doing the right and powerful things. I’m healing.

Its easy, particularly in these times, to let little things become like some huge army road block, where “non shall pass” – where I’m like the black knight holding up a strong position for the incorrect reasons.

Its also worth mentioning, that when you are so focused in your intuition, when you are letting things guide you along your path – when you trip over a tiny rock – it suddenly feels much more strongly impactful – feels like falling off a cliff – instead of barely missing a beat.

For me, its super important to be mindful of this, and to enjoy my brief reveling in the positive, and to let go the negative. The more I forget this, or stray from this lesson – the more the universe gentle pulls me back and gives me another rock to trip over so I can practice.

Thank you Universe, I’m learning – i’m trying to minimize the time that I feel I’ve fallen off the cliff and realize — “I got this” — I’m trying to remember the sheer bliss of the little things. ….

Had the surgery – and had “Donald” (aka wound vac) and “Lump” (aka wound drain) removed on Monday – a week after surgery and was able to take a real shower for the first time since the surgery and My GOSH it was like the sky opened and rainbows poured out – it was the most incredible feeling. The little things are so so substantial.

The wounds look great, healing and achy a bit but doing so much better.

Overall, I’m doing pretty okay – there are minor ups and downs, but overall more ups – progress is moving the correct direction. Looking forward to being an aunt again sometime soon when my new niece decides to grace us with her presence…. Overall 2020 is finishing with the same sense of blessing and gratitude as it started.

Blessings instead of sheep

This is a song I’ve long loved – and a version of it that is by that great vocalist himself, Bing Crosby Count your blessings

I have found, that no matter how awake I am, that if I start to pray and count my blessings and gratitudes – it helps me somehow magically happily drift off to pleasant sleep. Being thankful seems to be the magic voodoo to help.

There are, however, times when I’m awake or awakened by nature or the call of nature outside of my house in loud hoots or rumblings that I have found it challenging to return to this blissful sleep.

Sometimes the blessings, prayer and meditation work to let me return to slumber. Sometimes I just feel there is too much life to be experienced to go back to dreams.

This is one of the latter times. It’s one of those times, when my blessings are boiling over, and I feel the need to share them.

There are so so many things to be grateful for today. Its going to be a beautiful day, and a wonderful fall Texas day at that…. I’m doing well, recovering brilliantly as expected from this surgery. Healing well, and progressing at a faster than anticipated pace.

I am surrounded by friends, loved ones, and spiritual reverence to protect my body, mind and spirit.

The world is protected by the spirit, energy and love of so many souls praying and receiving hope and guidance.

I’m blessed with a beautiful garden, filled with growing things both in the front and rear of my house. New rosebuds, and the promise of the first sprig of jasmine buds to come, Mandarin oranges that are on the verge of turning that golden orange, still softly orange mostly yellow – just enough to let you know they are coming.

A wonderful husband, who is resting his head peacefully still in bed. A spunky pup keeping him company along side – although truth be told, he keeps making loud noises in there to let me know he would be willing to come play with me if I need.

A safe home, with good neighbors, friendly community, close ways of accommodating my needs for life and food.

Assistance with the trials of life, and new blessings on the horizons. All of the wonderful things in my life – my cup truly is exceeding its confines with the beauty and hope in my life.

Even my country, which I’ve been worried about seems like it might be receiving extra blessings right now. Change to resolve some misguided direction, and to put some hope abounding – some positive voices into the air to guide us to heal as a nation.

Blessings all around. It doesn’t make the trials, the work, the struggles any less – they are still on the path, but knowing all the good, all the amazing, all the unexpected, the sheer joyful bliss in my life – somehow puts the other things into a little bit more manageable state.

Today is a day of rest, a day of relaxation, revitalization, and healing – a day of hopeful optimism and perseverance that things are getting better.

That Scale

C D E F G A B C – it was a scale I first learned in Piano lessons – it became more of a “scale” with voice lessons…. and a different sort of Scale with weight – and cooking… but its still a scale all the way around.

There is value in a scale – it shows me a range. The data person in me LOVES LOVES Scales. Its like graphs and charts – they somehow make a small part of me happy – even if they aren’t valid, or contain erroneous information – then data person goes “Aha, watson we solved it”

Right now I use alot of scales to remind myself how well I’m doing, when my emotions and psychology want to nay say. …. Its like the war of the roses inside my head often, and scales remind me where I am verses where I could be….. Today P reminded me, I’m blessed because I’m not recovering in the hospital. I honestly don’t remember much about my other surgeries…. they happened, things were good, things were bad, they are over, chapter done, moved on. This time, I got to go home super fast, and so I’ve had this unreasonable expectation with myself — go figure like THAT has never happened before…. that I should be able to mountain climb again now already. “Yeah surgery was tuesday, its friday — that means mountains today right?” …

P’s gentle reminder that “welp atleast you are not at the hospital” — it gave me pause and a realization that, YES YES YES – I AM NOT AT THE HOSPITAL!! — this was an overwhelming blessing. It also gave alot of perspective to my “scale” for this experience, because with the other surgeries, if I were home yet – and atleast a couple of the hospital times, I know I wouldn’t have been yet – I would NOT be as well as I am.

So on a scale from past experiences, I’m actually doing amazingly well, even though its so easy to close off the lense and only see the bad parts.

Scales let you realize where the frame is…. so that you can shift your entire perspective and realize that they are “just one scale” of many many available.

I just have to keep reminding myself that the better where I am is not as good as it will get again soon. Keep being strong, and my body will follow.

A friend posted that her child made the comment to ask her about why this world is so messed up right now. It made me cry – both because of the expression out of the mouths of babes, but also because he asked, because he has ultimate faith his mother will be able to provide him with some reasonable assurance, some explanation for his answer, even if its not definitive. — I’ve been praying for this same why often lately, and I have gotten an answer from my source of ultimate reliability – its just, I’m certain like the answer that young man got – not the one I was hoping or wanting to get.

Growth takes agitation, aggravation and sometimes painful moments to help us learn develop and rise above.

I’m struck by the joyful and happy things going on in my life – baby number 2 of three arrived safely and soundly this year – beautiful girl number 2 – looking forward to the trifecta that will be soon – probably less than a month if I’ve heard correct – (much to the satisfaction/comfort of her mother) — So excited to meet this new niece. I have some incredible nieces in my life – but this one will be my baby brothers, and there is something just closer to me about it.

I have always been biased about what I love. I feel this is one of my failings that the good lord took into account when he rescued me from being a mother. While part of me wonders about this, part of me is happy because I know it’s bad to be bias as a parent.

It’s not so much about the social bias of things, or even the emotional one – and while I feel that it is very possible for me to rise above these things, part of me enjoys the discernment that comes from not.

Some things are better than others. Pizza is much better than liver.

Some people are better than others. Mother Teresa is better than Abraham Lincoln.

There are arguments for the opposite side, and its not about which one is good – they are both good for you in different perspective, but if I were in need of one, it would be a clear choice which I’d rather have…. I like being able to have favorites. I’m not saying its a good thing about me, or even a particularly smart personality trait, but its one that I have, and one that — well I’m not proud of it, but I do take full responsiblity for it, and….

I wonder if the data part of me came as a means for defending this right to have favorites? Like maybe as a means of quantifying my “like” of one thing more than an other.

I remember my friend – the mother referenced above and I having a discussion about this at one point – because one of her children was my favorite – and this didn’t set well with her…. Being an incredible mother, with an equitable, and rational sense or “right” and fairness…. She asked me to explain this, because she wanted to understand, and she had hopes of explaining to me the error of my ways.

She was right. She was not right. I have favorites. I just don’t’ let my favorites control all of my choices – and I maintain a strong sense and willingness to maintain equitobility in the vision of my bias.

Back to scales – there is a small funny thing – when I go to the place for my chemo – they have 3 scales – two of which they try and use everytime I visit – one of these two. One of these two is the “good scale” one of them is the “bad scale” …. Bad scale because it is 8lbs off from my scale at home – consistently – the “good” scale is 2lbs off from my scale at home.

Through my vocalization, I have trained the nurses at this place to only use the good scale. They laugh and they call it that with me – and I can predict my weight based upon its consistency – we have even “proved” my point of the good vs bad by weighting multiple visits on both scales.

When at the hospital, I commented to the nurse as she made me step on the scale about asking if this was a good or a bad scale – and she laughed; she commented was there such a thing as a good one? and I explained what made one good and one bad. – This scale was bad. She laughed, and she said, it was the same delta she had noticed with this particular scale…. so go figure, good scales, bad scales…..

It’s all scales – The scales of justice weigh each of us – Lets hope they are good scales 🙂 I’d hate to have them weigh on the bad side off by a delta of 8.

This is the time…

There was a ride at Disney World – apparently at disneyland too- called “Carousel of Progress” — the theme song for that ride was originally “There is a great big beautiful tomorrow” – which was replaced by “The best time of your life” – atleast in my “age” — That song has been going thru my head alot lately.

I had Surgery this week – it was “successful” they found 2 stitches, that had lingered since my 2016 surgery. They are gone now. This will hopefully render the “camping site” for Staph as obsolete – sorry Infection, no more wilderness in my body for you!

The doctor, apparently knowing me all too well – packed time releasing pain meds into the wound – knowing from my two previous surgeries, taking meds is not something I particularly do… choosing to use the pain as an indicator from my body to “sleep” … It makes me smile smuggle – both because she is that good of a doctor to decide “Yeah not gonna give you a choice this time…. ” and also because she is that good enough of a person to say “pain keeps you from healing sister, let it go” — I’m so blessed to have her in my medical team, I wish her speciality wasn’t just surgery – she is one of the doctors I would absolutely go to as a GP – the only doctor I’ve found that I trust enough for that.

The downside is, that I’m a little more groggy and generally in alot “less” discomfort than would be a good signal to me to “rest” so I’m having to just say “welp we can sleep so lets go ahead and sleep”…. Thank god for the progress I’ve made over the past two years so that I know how to do this now… because Old preC Alethia didn’t. I’d be wired, and utilizing this time for “insert anything in the book to for going or doing”

Apparently I have a new second cousin, this is such an exciting year for new babies. Its like life is giving the rest of the world the big middle finger. Oh you gonna do xyz things that are horrendous? Yeah well, see the beauty I can still put out into the world? I win.

Its amazing to me, that even though there are so many struggles, so many challenges…. there is just so much beauty. There is just so much good, so many precious things happening every day, so much to be blessed, graced, and thankful for and about….. It really is the beginning of a decade of gratitude.

So because of the surgery I get this wound vac thing, and only 1 – but still 1 of these “magic medical” drains. This basically makes me the reverse hunchback – I am hunching because I have this extra two pooches in the front. Because of the position, it makes it excessively hard to wear things, so its basically robe and slipper time for me for a bit. … No complaints.

I was thinking this morning, how grateful I am for the robe I’m wearing. It was a gift from a friend, and it is just so comfy and fuzzy. Robes are a cool and comfy thing but one of those things I’ve very rarely indulged in – which kind of makes this recovery time special – because this is “robe time” I get to be the crowned princess in my own home, and enjoy just lounging around for health.

Its an amusing thing for me, now if I only had a scepter, I could crown or knight people – yes yes, you can be promoted. Starbuck was amusing the other day – apparently with my “sleeping after surgery wedges” I take up a good bit of his bed space – he isn’t overly amused with this, but he has been ultra concerned with ensuring I’m “doing okay” – when he came up the yesterday morning to try and “pounce” on my stomach and I stopped him with a look and a pet he was like “Oh oh, okay we wait back here” … He will be glad when this ordeal is a little further in the rear view – I’m blessed its in the rear view right now.

Still waiting to hear how the new culture was – and if I still need more antibiotic, but its a really really happy thing to know I’ll be finished with those soon.

The end of the year is rapidly upon us – and all the fun decorations are starting to come out – I have to say I’m sort of happy to see the giant GIANT jack o lanterns in my neighborhood – yes there was more than one, the size of a house – go away. I don’t dislike halloween – I love all holidays, but it isn’t in my top 5, so its nice to see those creapy things go back into the package for another year – and its super fun to see all the fall things popping out all over the place.

Its very fun and interesting to me to watch people decorate – and honestly get more “at home family” time by necessity and also by convenience right now. People that hadn’t decorated, people that you didn’t necessarily chat with – these are conversations that are occuring now more frequently – talking and bonding with the neighbors – things that were NOT a part of my generation overly much – are popping up like new flowers in a garden of “home”

Just glad to be here to enjoy this time, blessed, grateful and thankful for a litany of friends and people checking in with me, and virtually hugging me with their love to help me heal faster. Its a great time to be alive.

Real Life superheroes

Real Life superheroes were scrubs and facemasks everyday. Its easy to tell them, because while they are saving the world, they are also carrying a smile, and a cheerful voice, with all the litany of obnoxious questions they must ask before they can finish your form.

I had surgery today. It was – well I should say ” I was told” it was scheduled for 7am – it was “actually” scheduled for 7:30am – the surgeon was … well her RL things were spilling all around and she didn’t get in till just before 8 – the surgery started just after 8 or closer to 8:30 which is what P says since they called him to let him know “they got started”….

This was somewhat an elective surgery – elective by the fact that it wasn’t endangering me imminent at this present moment in time. I could have waited for x amount of time in the future when it were – it could have gone away, or it could have killed me unexpectedly (or rather in the world of a virus, by design) –….. Yes folks, lets put out the roulette wheel or the loaded gun and lets gamble with your life “elective surgery” — so really in a real sense, not elective at all, timely is a more appropriate description.

While all surgeries are scary – this time, in particular is a scary time to be at the hospital and to be “one” with the knife so to speak.

Lets start by saying that P and I neither one slept well – being woken by clarity of conscious, and heartfelt empathy for each other and the folks that would be helping me today – kept me from consolidated sleep. Which ultimately wasn’t a horrible thing, because it made rising at 4:30 – to allow “get ready time” before heading to the hospital (about 30 minutes away) to arrive by my 5:30 report time – allowed this to be a less stressful endeavor.

P is great, I adore him – always have – he rolled out of bed, and tried to encourage the dog to roll out of bed. Starbuck is like “whats wrong with you hooman – this is WAY WAY too early – its sleep time still” – until I came back in – having finalized getting myself ready – to encourage Buck with a “come on hippo, lets go lets go” — he sniffed as if to say “Fine but I do this underdress and there better be treats later” – as usual he was a great dog did his business and got back in to plop into his favorite resting spot and crash again.

We picked up the pace and headed out the door.

There was a surprisingly bigger number of peeps on the road at 5am than I had anticipated, expected, or even considered. This made the drive in the dark a bit more stress ridden for P. I had suggested he get coffee for himself – before realizing Starbucks wasn’t even open yet. He elected to pick it up on the way home.

We arrived about 5 minutes before the report time; he dropped me and as pre-arranged took off to head home before the insane drivers became more prolific, and to get some sleep – atleast one of us should we had devised – before I’d be scrubbed, happily medicated, wheeled in, surgeried, and done well before his normal wake time – or so we thought.

As I entered the surgery center, and approached the check in counter, I was greeted by a chipper young woman that was, to my surprise and delight, actually ready and enjoying her day. What a wonderful unexpected blessing. She also helped me complete my check in paperwork – as Poohs typically have trouble reading/responding to things, and we laughed as I mentioned this to her.

As I waited in the lobby, a wife who had also arrived for her surgery, with her husband in tow were bantering back and forth in the row in front of me. She as very very nervous. I chimed in to help her break her anxiety a tiny bit and to make it more light hearted, we all three had a good laugh for a few minutes, before the nurse arrived and called my name back to the next step.

The gentleman escorted me to the back, he was social friendly and we had a lighthearted quick exchange as he walked me into the next phase of this party – the COV test. I could write a whole book about this test. None of it would be pleasant. Sufficied to say, the general thing I can say that will be appreciated by every woman is … it was a man that designed bras, and it is self evident that this was the case…. I’m quite certain it was a male research clinician that designed this test – with never having the joy of experiencing it. I have had alot of truly horrible things done to my body over the past four years in particular, and this is a “joy” (insert a shit ton of sarcasm here) that I will gladly pay substantially to avoid ever doing again. Not only did it requiring removing my mask, having my personal space invaded by a nurse with a … qtip that had been weaponized…. twice….. it required one of the most painful things I’ve had to withstand in a long time. They shove this qtip like thing up your nose, far enough to touch your brain. Little known fact that this is what you do to test for cov. This is allergy season, my sinus already hurt. There are still lurking tumors in my brain, my head hurt. I’ve been off – by hospital requirement – my anti-inflammatory supplements for a week, my head hurt. But no no, lets rock the vote, and go for the full monty – No way you won’t be in pain with this!! I feel for the poor tech that did this test, what a horrible horrible job to have. I wish I could recall her name. I tried very hard to remember all of the superheroes today and this one was absolutely one of the ones I felt the strongest for and about. No one wants this job; well I suppose if you were a person that truly enjoyed inflicting pain to another human being over and over and over again all day — maybe this is your bag. Never does a person leave her care without being actually hurt.

I cried. It hurt. It didn’t last long – thank the stars, but man it was up there with cutting things open and off by myself. NOT PLEASANT.

This kind person and I talked all the way along the path to where she escorted me to room 28 – a number I thought was odd, being the first patient to walk back into the surgery area, but turned out to be nice…. apparently the ultra friendly people all got assigned to this section of the surgery room, so I felt glad to have been one of the patients assigned here too.

I had left my cell phone with P – out of many reasons, the first being that youtube recently (Simon Sinek) mentioned something I hadn’t considered, that being addiction to Dopamine is evident in addiction to cell phone – picking it up and scanning it everytime something goes chime or buzz, is a form of pez dispenser/pavlov’s dog for the human dopamine — So well … me in typical fashion – lets try to work on minimizing this – its something I’ve considered multiple times with my observations/discussions with April. The second being – no sense making it a target. Hospital folks are superheroes, but even they have their weak spots; they are also underpaid and under appreciated — sure lets put the people who are responsible for keeping you alive on a salary that isn’t at all commissary with work/responsibilities. — we seem to do that alot in this country/society. but I digress – this is a topic for another blog

I quickly changed into the “hospital attire” — its like when you go to the costume ball, everyone wears a costume. They had given me one of the “regulation” masks – which are horrible things. Holding a mask by my ears? Really? Did no one consider that this is a weak piece of cartilage that controls alot of trigger points in the rest of the body for things that are important? The mask is important, but how about we “tie” it to our face, instead of attaching it to a part that will inadvertently get uncomfortable, and btw, peoples ears are NOT all the same size, so these can’t possible fit “one size fits all”

The nurse – Jennifer, came in to check my vitals – blood pressure was high (again) no shock, I took my anti seizure med but not my anxiety med…. note to self, maybe next time don’t forget to ask if its “okay” to do this. Much to my delight, Jennifer was a superstar, and got me the “premeds” my surgeon had ordered to “help” medicinally with the healing — an anti-inflammatory, and a pain med (oxycodone) — I told Jennifer she should have led with this… I’m not at all a drug addict, but I know the effects of Oxy, and I have to say, it is one of the most potent, most addictive and fastest acting– “flush my cares away” meds I’ve every had….. She also explained to me that she would “need” a pee test for pregnancy…. I laughed. … good thing intuition told me when I was first brought into this room, and the kind lady told me where the bathroom was, I elected to not use it at the time…. because after so long without any fluids… there was no way I’d have been able to evacuate my bladder earlier, and still have enough to give for a pee test.

I’m guessing it must have – as expected come back Negative – same with COV test, but I honestly never found out. Jennifer did check and confirm for me that my surgery time was indeed not 7:00 but infact, 7:30.

Next came the Anesthesiologists or as I like to call them “the partridge family” — aka “come on get happy” — these are the people that you will never remember but that make or break the surgery experience from the perspective of helping you not feel anything, not remember anything, and above all wake with nothing but a smile and a desire to be done.

So my get happy people today – first I was greeted by “Austin” who it turns out was a trainee – I call him this – he is actually doing residency things right now to wrap up his training. He is also from Seattle – a fact I heard him later discussing with the nurses outside the room – thin thin walls. He had a great smile in his eyes. We hit it off, and when his “somewhat IDk what else to call her, and its not an appropriate title” boss, Karen came in because “I was talking too much and making him take too long” — We started over. I’ve taken to telling these people that I am their difficult patient of the day – mostly because its true – — when I went to schedule a surgery last year this time, the anesthesiologist for the other hospital called me to ask if I knew I had a 2 page document about the challenge to keep/get me copacetic – I didn’t know this then, but I make a point to share it, to help try and set appropriate expectations with these people at the beginning. Always, everytime, they think I’m just being hard on myself – and I heard Karen holler at Austin for giving me this title – which he xplained I had given myself … bet she still didn’t’ believe him — bet she does now.

So we, the three of us talked a bit, I explained the Vimpat situation, and the cause of it, I explained the “no I didn’t take ativan, but I probably should have” situation – I confirmed about the two drugs Jennifer had given me. I summeroized to the best of my “invisible” knowledge about “why” I would be a difficult patient – not from a conscious perspective – and I looked Karen in the eye, and told her … when I was difficult, and she was having to “fix something” to talk to my seemingly fast asleep ass and tell me what she needed. So that I could help… and not keep trying to fight against the borg invading my body. “resistance is futile, you will be assimilated” (hell no, I’m a win one for the gipper) … but I digress.

Karen and Austin rounded up there questions, or atleast I hope they did, I did ask them twice if they had any more questions… and I noticed that Austin had forgotten to get a signature from me…. one he mentioned he would need at his intro… but thats okay he got Jennifer to bring it in and get me to sign … so before his boss and Karen’s boss noticed. No harm no foul.

Next came the waiting. wait wait– wait wait….. I did quite a few meditations. This room was surprisingly good for this, but then its probably the distant/time warp reiki I had done the couple days before to send myself love, light and healing to this space.

Eventually my favorite nurse of this experience “Quo” as she called herself, or “Quoessha” showed up to introduce herself, and check my BP again as it was “still high” — Note to self, pizza probably not the best pre-op food the night before, as its high in sodium – and while my BP wasn’t in the “danger zone” it was higher than they liked, and no amount of me “calling it down” was working when there was just too bloody much sodium in my system. Thanks Mr, Rogers, it was a beautiful day in my neighborhood -but I could have used some advice to not eat the comfort foods to help with the emotional worry of the day, only to cause the physical worry of the next.

Quo talked a little and made herself human for me …. All of the nurses did this, and I think its part of why I call them superheroes, its not just that they have the job, wear the uniform, deal with the fires…. its the fact that they are real, and human and they will share with you – if you just ask, just show interest…. and bluntly – atleast for me, this is the most emotionally calming thing …. hearing and relating to someone else as a human with the same problems — all be it different in the moment. Problems I have….. Life goes on.

Quo finished her check in — verifying the access Jennifer had given – they weren’t able to use my port…. No idea why… and Jennifer had used one of my … least desirable points, crock of my right elbow — its one of my best veins but it is always one that I move too much and then end up with a golf ball to heal…. “yes body, I know we have an XYZ that we are doing .. as well as yeah the C stuff … but could you take a few minutes with this bruise that I did to myself … by … wiggling? ” ….. Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle wiggle wiggle…. I tried to stay ultra still and tried to immobilize my body — this is something I’ve had alot of training in … Acupuncture again to the rescue…. but its still a challenge being that this is my dominant hand, and in the worst possible place.

The boss of Karen and Austin popped in to just check if I had any questions…. I smiled at him, and confirmed he was there boss. I told him how wonderful they were, and I asked him if he had any questions? He smiled back, and he thanked me for my feedback. I confirmed that he would not be in the OR with me, and he let me know that as soon as the surgeon showed up, we would get the show on the road. I thanked him again. I don’t recall his name, he was a nice, cute and friendly man.

Around 8, Dr Fisher magically appeared outside and had a conversation with some nurses that sort of set my mind a worry – as it was a dejavu of the conversation about MY surgery with the breast reconstruction — a patient had “signed” about a breast removal – where the paperwork said two breasts, but the surgery was only for one. …. Scary scary delta, and apparently a common thing? ….

Dr F pooped in – she was NOT in scrubs yet. We checked in, I asked her if she had worked out today, because I know this is her “go to” for less stress, she thanked me for checking in on her, and said “no” today was a sleeping day instead. I told her I understood this was hard times. I willed her an incredible day, starting with my surgery which would be fast and easy. She told me she was thinking she might need to do a drain. She quickly explained… but more, she mentally sent me the picture of “why” and it made sense…. not a pleasant thing but the best hope for the best outcome. A drain would allow her more access to “get the crap” … without being overly invasive to my body. I told her I trusted her, and to make it so, if she felt it was what she needed. She relaxed a bit, and nodded her head.

She left the room, and Karen, Austin and Quo outside got me into Rock and Rolling. I don’t remember the rest of what happened until i was in the recovery.

“Mickey” who is actually Michella in the recovery room, was super great. As soon as my eyes popped open – oh Karen and Austin had remembered to remove/return my glasses (I am pretty bat style blind without them) so I was able to see!! A blessed unexpected thing that….. I asked her to call my husband and let him know I was done – she did this post haste. I’ve never had a nurse call from my bedside like this – and I voiced to Phil, I’m done, come get me. She stiffled a laugh.

I spent the next little bit with her, and she was just delightful. Physically I was in and out and the pain was bouncing up and down the scale like a ping pong ball — I blame the wound vac.

So a wound vac, is what they put on surgery sites to keep it — air/toxin free, while helping encourage demandingly your own body to prioritize this spot. My body typically doesn’t need this type of thing – but Dr F is an A type so there would never have been a world where this wasn’t the way we went. … the Wound vac itself is an R2D2 style device, about the size of an original cell phone – or 6x4x3 inches in size– that quacks like donald duck…. when its “removing air” from the wound. They seal the wound up like fort knox and the tube coming out of it to this device is the only opening. its packed inside with the best possible outcome of stuff, and you can’t shower with – only sponge baths (so avoid me like the plague for stinky for the next week or 2 depending on when they free me) and its basically a piece of noisy hardware attached to your body…. the “drain” yeah we went that way… is small and seems relatively neat and clean – and will in most likely events be gone before the wound vac – which is both odd and predictable – go figure — my body “yeah we do what we want” —

Tell my body to heal X first, and my body is GOING to be that rebellious teenager and X will be healed last…. I can encourage otherwise, cajole and otherwise spank into submission … but healing is going on either way, and bluntly while Donald will become annoying, right now, drain that i will require P assistance to manage is alot more annoying.

So M and I talked alot – she is trying to get into the doctor about some issues – which I got to hear about because she was talking to the nurse across…. the Patient in the next bed kept “forgetting”? to breath – or rather just nto breathing — her o2 kept dropping. So M would remind her politely — I finally intercede and got her talking about her kids. Go figure a momma talking about her kids is never going forget to breath …

And after what seemed like a lifetime – she finally got a BP reading low enough to send me back to 28 and Kaitlyn – to get de-accessed, dressed, and wheeled out to P. Kaitlyn is the first person in my life to actually look like a Kaitlyn! I never knew what a Kaitlyn looked like until today. She was kind, pleasant, and above all ready to do whatever I needed to help me reach my goal of GTFO.

P and I stopped at Starbucks for coffee — mmmm coffee. and life is good.

I’m good, tired but not sleepy – and of course the RX they sent didn'[ get to walgreens – Rachel with Dr F office really needs another job. She is a good data person, but a horrible working with humans person, and she is too self (career, comfort, body — a thing I’m working on learning) focused to do the things like “wow lets call in RX for the patient we finished, before we go into “the next patient” …. so I’m sure she will call in RX after they finish all the surgery for the day…. too bad we are already home, so no more pain meds for me until tomorrow — Thanks Rachel for treating me like a data point instead of a human being. I wish you a better job where people interactions are NOT part of the position. I also wish Dr. F more people like the other assistants in her office, that are so people focused that they are always a joy to have around.

Mostly I’m blessed to have this experience in the rear view. Thank you P for chauffeuring me again — thank you to all the Super Heroes in my life. Thank you for learning and growing experiences, and thank you universe for providing me with quiet and insanely helpful intuitions in my life. I’m certain they were always there, but I’m blessed to have the volume around 8 instead of around 2.

Today I felt like a vip gold star traveler…. at St Davids in down town Austin. A little far to travel, but so worth the journey.