Travelin’ gal

I graduated from the Montessori teacher training center on June 24! Yay!

steph-receiving-diploma06242011

steph-dr-rigg-graduation-day

 
That night, my husband and I hopped on a plane to Boston, Massachusetts to see a friend get married.

Married in a lecture hall at MIT!

 
We hung out in Cambridge, Boston and Salem for five days. We literally walked until my feet bled. Granted, I didn’t have the best shoes with me for the trip (a pair of dress shoes and a pair of combat boots being the only choices).
We flew back home on the 28th, arriving late at night.

I was home for roughly 30 hours before having to board another plane, this time without my husband, to go visit my family.

As you can guess, the timing worked out well for both the wedding and the visit to family, as I was between pain cycles.

I flew in to Detroit, stayed the night at my Ma’s house, and drove with her down to Kentucky for a family reunion, in which she reconnected with a bunch of her first cousins for the first time in 8 years (the last time being at her mother’s funeral). She connected with even more family she’d not seen in something like 45 years.
It was like pulling teeth to get my hermit mother to commit, but once finally there, she really enjoyed herself.

My Ma and her aunt

 
We stayed in Kentucky for two days, then drove back up to Michigan, where I dropped off my Ma and bolted for a friend’s house to enjoy a reprieve between family visits. I stayed two nights with my best friend, Heather, and her family.

:)
Besties

 
After some R&R, I headed up north to see my dad. It’s the same amount of time driving as I had spent going to Kentucky with my Ma. She’s nearly 5 hours from her cousin’s family farm, and my dad is about 5 hours from my best friend’s house. All told, during my week-long stay in Michigan and Kentucky, I did just over a day and a half worth of driving.

Me and my Dad

 
The trip was necessary but exhausting. My folks aren’t gettin’ any younger, as my dad likes to say, so it’s important that I try to see them every year. I really need to figure out though how to do this again next year without nearly killin’ myself with exhaustion.

I got back on July 7 and spent two days severely jet-lagged and barely coherent. On July 9, the pre-menstrual cramps kicked in. George arrived this morning. So even though I’ve now had two surgeries, I still only get about two weeks of uptime each month before the pain.

The good news is that the pre-menstrual pain hits a day beforehand, rather than up to a week beforehand. The great news is that instead of 7 to 11 non-consecutive pain-free days each month, this time around I had, if I marked the calendar correctly, nearly 17 consecutive pain-free days!

The bad news is that once george arrived, the pain kicked in immediately, which is a turn for the worse compared to the past four or five months, when the pain was hitting me around Day 3 of my cycle.

Maybe it’s just this month, cuz of all the stress and travel, not to mention coffee and alcohol drinking. I dunno. There’s a saying in Michigan – one that I probably used to use all the time but have forgotten about since I no longer live there. It’s a fatalistic life view, which is part of the reason I left Michigan. The saying goes, “It is what it is.” Basically, no sense in trying to understand or change something – it is what it is.

I think it might be easier on my sanity if I just say ‘It is what it is’ regarding my illness, rather than always trying to rationalise the pain – rather than trying to find a common denominator in all of it – rather than figuring it out at all.

Endometriosis is what it is. I can’t do anything to not be in pain. It’s not my fault. I was born this way. It is what it is.

But I’ve never been one to just roll over and be all fatalist. That’s a whole other discussion I could go on for days about.

I bicycled! And other updatey stuff

Despite having cramps this morning, I did not want to chance taking my car to work, and I had forgotten again to see if there was a quick bus to my workplace…so I bicycled to work. This is the first time in 134 days that I have bicycled! It felt so good. Granted, I live only a mile from my job, but still, any exercise is good exercise. The weather has finally turned from constant winter rain to unseasonably warm and sunny; yesterday it got up to 83°F and today it got up to at least 86°F, so there was no excuse not to bike to work.

Speaking of exercise, I’ve been weight lifting again. Don’t get excited – they’re only 3lb weights. But as I said, any exercise is good exercise. I typically do the weights before bedtime, but I’m trying to get better at lifting when I wake up in the morning, too.

This month has been stressful for three reasons:

  • I’ve been sick all month
  • My father-in-law’s been in the hospital and just underwent a Transmetatarsal Amputation on Monday of this week
  • A classmate who wanted to work with me on the thesis project for graduation has not done anything useful, and I have to fire her.
  • Mercury turned Retrograde yesterday.

 

I detailed my getting sick in this post. I felt like I was getting worse, not better, on that day, but instead of starting in on a new pack of antibiotics, I decided to give it a few more days, since my doctor said the z-pack was supposed to have benefit for 5 days after the last pill. I just didn’t want to have to get a yeast infection. I have enough going on down there as it is with the endo.
I’m still coughing up junk, but not as much. I’m still needing what’s left of my inhaler once a day, usually in the morning. My ears are still clogged and the left ear is still painful, but not all day long anymore. So I guess I’m getting better…

Around about March 25, my arse started bleeding again. Same as it ever was, always a week before my period. It lasts a few days and happens during bowel movements, and then stops.

This week my symptoms were near-debilitating low back pain on Tuesday, and intermittent uterine cramping throughout the day on Wednesday and Thursday. Then last night I went to bed with the heating pad, woke with worsening cramps at 3:30am, took a half Tylenol 3, and went back to bed with the heating pad. This morning when I got up for work, I had moderate low back pain and the pelvic pain was about a 4 on the pain scale.
I kept forgetting to take ibuprofen all damned day, but after biking to work, I felt like I was more limber throughout the day. So that’s excellent.

Regarding my stress level…my father-in-law spent February in the hospital and then in physical therapy rehab after having his left toe amputated. Five years ago, he had his right toe amputated. He has mismanaged his diabetes for 20+ years, and is now shocked that he’s losing digits. When, two weeks after being discharged from rehab he was back in the hospital with another gangrene toe on the left foot, all hell broke loose (again) with his wife.
She told him he can’t come home until he can properly care for himself. Then she went on a previously planned vacation with her son and wasn’t back in time for her husband’s surgery. The surgery was a much agonised-over foot amputation.

His wife got back the day he had surgery, showed up at the hospital once he was out of the recovery room, and then fled in a hissy fit a couple of hours later. I’m the one to thank for that, because I got tired of her talking about him as though he wasn’t in the room with us, bitching about how he doesn’t take care of himself and it’s all his fault he’s back here again (not entirely true – he has a calcified artery in his leg, so no amount of dietary management or exercise was going to stop the toes from dying. She even told me earlier in the day that she was throwing out all of the “liquor”, even though he only has wine in the house. I tried to explain that his occasional glass of wine isn’t what set all this off but she wouldn’t have it.

Sure, yeah, it’s still his fault over time due to gross mismanagement of his illness, but he didn’t do it in the past two weeks as she keeps claiming). Anyway, I told her she and he need to work this out, it’s not for me and my husband to figure out for them. And apparently that’s talking down to her and I was told, “You can’t talk to me like that!” and she fled. Left her husband there, eyes welling with tears. Refused to answer her phone for roughly 15 hours. Wasn’t at the house when we drove by after hanging out in the hospital awhile longer.

I found out later that she’d had a previous marriage and that the guy was an alcoholic who literally drank himself to death. So it seems she’s having a giant triggering flashback that she can’t escape, and she’s projecting her previous marriage partner onto her current partner. Wow, serious mental issues, there. I’m told she refuses to do therapy. The way she freaked out when I said they need to work on their stuff kinda indicates her refusal towards therapy. I dunno. I don’t actually want to talk to her again for awhile.

The other stress I’ve had revolves around continuing homework and internship responsibilities, and the classmate who wanted to work with me on the thesis but who has barely done anything at all towards it. I’m going to see what she produces for the seminar next weekend and then fire her if she doesn’t have enough to show for. Ugh. Hate it. But she can’t take the credit for all my work. I won’t let her.

In the food and drink department, preceding this menstrual cycle, I have imbibed on wine, port and nigori to the point of drunkenness, but not anywhere near the point of making an ass out of myself. I have gorged on chocolate and cheetos – staging a rebellion I guess – I have no excuse. I know these things hurt me and I did it, anyway. I wanted comfort food to deal with everything.

Regarding the astrology thing with Mercury going retrograde – I’ve been feeling the effects of that for the past two weeks. Ugh. It becomes harder for me to control my mouth. It becomes impossible for me not to drink or spend money or in general do unwise things to my body and mind. Most people find astrology to be hogwash. That’s fine, we’re all entitled to our quirks. If you don’t like my quirk, I don’t need to hear about it. Plus, I’m PMSing. Telling me how illogical astrology is will just get you thrown into a pit of rabid weasels.
I’m probably PMSing so badly because of all the junk I’ve been putting into my body. But it’s too late, now. I just have to go through this month and hope all the damage I did isn’t long-lasting in my body tissue.

The PMS is pretty harsh. I’m extremely moody and my body temp is all over the place, but mostly I’m freezing. I just spent a day in hot weather, came home, stripped down to my underwear, and within an hour I was freezing and now I’m still freezing, even though the house is 70°F inside (it’s down to 73°F outside). I’m literally wrapped in a velour blanket. Oh and the cramps are back again, now that I’m cold. Awesome. Good thing I just ordered some leafy green saag from the local Indian restaurant. Oh yeah, spending money again. *sigh*
George will be here officially in a minute – the mucosa changed colour this afternoon.

Lastly, I don’t think I’ve experienced mittelschmerz this month. I know I said the same thing in January and went back on it, and then in February it was difficult to tell for sure because it could have either been dyspareunia or mittelschmerz, or both. This month, I was just too stressed out to remember to record whether I was having mid-cycle pain.

Second Laparoscopy: Day 45 – 52

So what I’ve been doing is keeping a running log of tidbits from my day, thinking that later each day, I would expound further and make a good narrative journal entry for you. And then it wouldn’t happen. So the next day, I’d type up some tidbits from that day, hoping to put it in more readable narrative…etc. And what you get instead is me being way behind and playing catch up.

Day 45
Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 5 of my return to work. I don’t recall the order of the day. The big news that day happened when we got home and got a call from my husband’s step-mother, saying his dad was in the hospital again due to complications from Type II Diabetes. His left foot had swelled up, and he had to have his left big toe amputated. Now he has no more big toes. His right toe was amputated back in July, 2005.

My husband endured a long rant from his step-mother, and looked depressed when the call ended. He said, “I seriously wonder if he’ll be able to ever walk again after this.”

That’s not all – father’s wife is screaming divorce because she’s tired of him not taking care of himself. It’s been going on for over 20 years.

Day 46
Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day 6 of my return to work. I wore slacks again, and no, the belly button wasn’t any happier – 46 days after surgery!!!

I was stressed out at work, and had little water intake because I forgot to take my water bottle to work with me, and it was my first day of recording the childrens’ work. Recording entails walking around the classroom with a clipboard and noting what the children are working on, checking their work with a Three Period Lesson, and noting on the clipboard next the activity whether the child has mastered it, needs to redo it, or is just having a sensorial experience with it.
The class usually has 20 children, and at any time, three or four of them are tapping me on the shoulder or arm while I sit with another child, or they’re calling out across the room when they’re not supposed to. Then there’s four to six children playing instead of working at any given time, whom I have to continually resettle. It was a very busy day.

That night, we visited my husband’s father in the hospital.
I experienced sharp ovarian pain on the right side as we walked down the corridor to my father-in-law’s hospital room – this was after climbing stairs – and I had just told my husband that I was fine to climb stairs, since I had been active at work.
It’s a workout to do Head, Shoulders Knees And Toes every day, along with squatting down and getting back up again several times a day to check children’s work…in Montessori, many children work with materials on the floor.

We visited probably for an hour, and my husband’s father seemed not to be too put out that he’d just lost his other big toe. He talked about the trip to Alaska he wants to take this year, and refused to discuss serious matters of his health – you know – reality.

When we got back home from visiting my father-in-law in the hospital, I mentioned online about my crazy mood swings I’ve been having since surgery, and an endo sister suggested I try taking Zomig. I don’t have any Zomig, but it does have the ingredient 5-HT in it. I took a 5-HTP supplement, instead.

Within an hour, my tummy was burning and nauseous, and I had moderate indigestion all the way up the esophagus.

Note to self: 5HTP contains sulfites and B vitamins. You know you can’t take B vitamins because it upsets your tummy.

I took a shower, and discovered that the first scab had fallen out. It looks burnt to a crisp, just like last time. My scabs didn’t fall out til around Day 61 last time.

Right before bed, I experienced sharp pain towards the left side – it was more uterine in nature this time.

So, now I have to go back on what I said in my last post – I had said I did not experience Mittelschmerz, but actually, I think it was just a bit late – Day 10 of the new cycle instead of Day 8.

Yeah. I still get Mittelschmerz. :(

Day 47
Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 7 of my return to work. It was my second day of recording the students as they worked, and I was still running around all frazzled, trying to keep up. No pain that I can remember – no notes about pain so I must have had a pain-free day!

Day 48
Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day 8 of my return back to work. We had Chinese New Year celebrations and only half an hour of work period, but I recorded what I could for the head teacher. I came home from a good day at work but the moment I got home, I was full of angst the likes I haven’t seen since I was in my early 20s.

I realised that it is because I am sick to death of LOOKING and DRESSING like a preschool teacher five days a week, and coming home every day with songs from The Wiggles or Dora or some such stuck in my head. I also realised I was PMSing.

Day 49
Friday, February 4, 2011

Day 9 of my return back to work. It was my last day shadowing the person who is leaving that room to work in the classroom I was moved from.

That night, I went dancing! I wore a corset! Sadly, no pix. My husband is really bad about that, and well he’s been depressed about his dad being in the hospital. That night, I blew out my right knee while dancing, and had to ice it right there in the club. The staff were FANTASTIC about coming to my aid – they didn’t have to do that but they did. To my fellow endo sisters, I know you understand when I say the blown out knee pain was HILARIOUS compared to what we normally go through. I iced it for a bit and went back dancing!

I must note for posterity that I did drink alcohol that night. Alcohol is known to be a bad actor for endometriosis, so it’s something I need to stop consuming. I struggle with this.

Day 50
Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sharp right knee pain. I got up after only 6 hours or so of sleep and went to have my blood drawn again (still dealing with follow-up to Dec. 28 high eosinophil crap). From there, I went over to a sports shop and bought another knee brace. ACE bandages don’t take care of the pain anymore – I have congenitally misaligned knees, so over the years, the pain has just gotten more annoying. Stretchy knee braces don’t take care of the pain anymore, either. So I bought a cool knee brace with hinges. It worked superb! I wore it all day and my knee felt SO MUCH BETTER by the end of the day!

And then the depressing news – I also experienced sharp pain on my left side – ovarian area – after eating breakfast (frozen mango, frozen banana, goat milk yoghurt, gluten-free vanilla extract, cardamom, cinnamon for a nice smoothie, and two gluten-free waffles with cream cheese).

Meh.

Day 51
Sunday, February 6, 2011

Intimacy with husband the night before resulted in pelvic pain that morning. We’re not doing anything fancy or kinky, mind you, and I’m still getting pain pretty much every time. I was told by my last surgeon that surgery won’t change that – I have dyspareunia and that’s just how it is. I had asked my current surgeon to please fix my retroverted uterus during the December surgery, as I’m convinced that it accounts for the dyspareunia and for some of the pelvic pain during menstruation, but she said there’s no easy fix to a life-long retroverted uterus. She said that the tendons or whatever it is that connects the uterus to the bladder and other organs would become to strained or weakened if she lifted the uterus up and clamped it into proper positioning. She said it would result in even more pain for me. I have to trust her on that, since she’s performed hundreds of surgeries for endometriosis and pelvic conditions. She’s probably seen the gamut.

The day started off great – I woke before the alarm, ate breakfast, showered, and went to my Alexander Technique class. The panic attack wanted to happen the moment I drove off towards the appointment.
WHY.
My hands were shaking. I couldn’t breathe. I felt the flutter in my throat. I took .5mg lorazepam on the way to class, and when I got out of my car, I thought for sure I was going to faint, so I took another .5mg lorazepam.
I got to my class and was the only one for a bit. I was honest with my instructor that I was not emotionally well grounded that day for some reason. Class began, and two more filtered in and joined the conversation – all of us regulars – all people I’m comfortable with. Then halfway through the class, a staff member opens the door and asks if a new patient could be admitted to class. This is where the session went downhill. This woman made the conversation all about her, and was verbally defiant and combative the entire time with the instructor. The other three of us may as well have ceased to exist. I began doing my breathing exerises. I dissociated and put myself into a fixed state, staring down my nose at the floor, just focusing on breathing so I would not have a panic attack and lash out at this horrible beastly woman who kept saying, “I can’t do this. I can’t do that. I want you to teach me how to properly sit so I can play flute and not be in pain. I can’t do what you are asking me to do. I want you to help me.”

Back and forth. UGH.

When the class ended, I bolted.

I got home and locked my keys in my car, I was so frazzled after that class. I mailed two bills by walking to the mailbox on the corner, came home, and my husband gave me a spare key to go get my keys out of my car.

I got back home and started sorting laundry. I left the room to go through my closet to double-check whether more clothes need to be pared down, came back to the living room, and saw my cat actively sniffing around on the laundry piles on the floor. This cat has a bad history of peeing on my stuff since November 2009 so my heart sank. I knelt down and began to go methodically through my clothes. I found four pair of underwear and a work shirt, all damp from my cat having just peed on them. WHY. WHY.

My husband guessed that perhaps we’re not keeping the litter box clean enough again. This was all I could take for the day, and I feel immediately into a black depression. My posture slumped. My face fell. My eyes glazed over. It was 72F outside for an unseasonably warm February weekend, and emotionally, I was not up to it.

After I threw away the underwear and shirt, I bagged up the remaining laundry and took it out back to the laundry room. Then I took some crocheted blankets (two are from a thrift store, and one is from a friend) to the laundrymat because I like the front loader machines better for such delicate washing. I tossed in some scarves and my Dickens Fair skirt I had made in 2009 and had worn again in 2010.

When I returned to the laundrymat to retrieve my items, I found that everything reeked of mothball.

WHY!   WHAT THE HELL!   HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?   Was it one of the thrift blankets? Was it the washer I chose?
I hung up all my items when I got home. Airing out was good enough for most of the items, but a scarf and a thrift store blanket still reeked horribly, so I washed them twice by hand with baking soda, vinegar and oxobrite cleaner.

I had already been deeply depressed over my cat peeing on my stuff again, and then the mothball chemical assault happened. I’ve refused to eat or do homework all day. I did another load of laundry here at the house, but that was it. Even as I sat here typing this out, I was hunched over. My stomach was hurting. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to just go away.

8:19pm update:
I think I got the mothball smell out of everything except for our tartan scarf. :( I’ll keep trying at that before giving up, though.
There are two culprits now – the green crocheted blanket I got from the thrift store, and the purple microfiber blanket I just bought from the neighbor last night. Two different smells at that! The green one is the mothball and the purple one smells like a dog or cat had urinated on it at some point and it was incorrectly washed and dried. This makes a good argument for me never getting thrift store or yard sale blankets ever again.
I’m wondering how sick I’ll become now that I’ve exposed myself to nasty mothball fumes all day. One day I’ll learn to just flee the situation or throw the offending items away instead of trying to save things. ugh.

Day 52
Monday, February 7, 2011

Continued pelvic pain from late Saturday night’s intimacy.
Lots of intestinal gas noises, and pressure on the low back extending to rectum. This is “normal” pre-menstrual activity. Alas.
I awoke around 4am and finally got up to use the bathroom around 4:30am. I took .5mg lorazepam. I was never able to get back to true sleep after that. I hit snooze on the alarm four times, being stubborn about getting out of bed. I was exhausted and I still had a whole day ahead of me.

I got through the day but had to take 600mg Ibuprofen gel-caps by 9am to get through the day, because of low uterine pain. I seriously had to go check to see if I’d started bleeding, the cramps were strong enough. I’d wager about a 4 on the pain scale.

Postscript:
My first surgery was February 1, 2007 and I never did get any pain relief from that surgery. That’s why I had the second surgery on December 17, 2010. Both surgeries were electrocoagulation type Laparoscopy. I wanted excision surgery this time around, but my surgeon told me that the latest research out there shows that both excision and electrocoagulation have benefit. She prefers electrocoagulation but will not hesitate to do excision where necessary. The bulk of what I ended up “needing” was electrocoagulation, according to my 2010 surgery report.

I’m nearly two months post-op now, and I am just getting back into my regular old mobility mode. I’m due for a period on February 11, so we’ll see if the pain comes back or what. I have been experiencing symptoms (alternating ovarian stabbing pain), and I still have the pain with sex (but I’m told that’s a different diagnosis altogether – dyspareunia).

For medication, my cocktail is Tylenol 3 and Ibuprofen gel-caps. I have tried all the NSAIDs, I have tried opiates and narcotics all the way up to Dilaudid and back again. I have tried medical marijuana. The only thing that helps dull the pain with minimal side effects to me is the Tylenol 3 and Ibuprofen.

For pain management, there is yoga, and also the Alexander Technique. I like bicycling, dancing and roller skating, but I cannot do these things when the pain hits.

I went back to not eating pork, beef and other red meats, as well as fowl. I’m vegetarian plus fish, now, though I also omit crustaceans because they are said to set off the pain, too, and in my case, it held true. :/

I have a whole list of foods I avoid on my No Fly List, and then there’s the vitamins and supplements list.

I am hoping that with each month post-op, the pain relief will increase. That’s where I’m at…

Second Laparoscopy: Day 30 post-op

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I would like to share a life profile about a co-worker, but first, I need to provide you with background:

In September, 2009, I began working my first school year as a co-teacher in the new Outdoor Classroom. I was also enrolled in a college-level intensive teacher training class for “Practical Life” curriculum every other Saturday. From the moment I began the Fall Semester, I began to get chronically sick. I fought upper respiratory infection after infection, which turned into a full on lung infection by February. It was hard to pin-point at first what the cause of my illness was, because in August I had gotten new foam pillows and a foam bed, gotten my home sprayed (on the inside) to take care of massive ant invasions (they were even coming up through the foundation!), and I had started working outside five days a week. I was by this time using an inhaler for the first time in my life. My doctor decided to pull me from the Outdoor Classroom and said I had to work indoors for three months, to see if my lung infection cleared up. (It did – so the result is that the outdoor classroom is toxic to me).

But that is only the background info – here is the real story I want to share:

At the beginning of March, 2010, I was placed in Ms. Wendy’s 1st & 2nd grade classroom while she was on a three-month leave of absense for a medical reason, which at that time, was not publicly available.

Wendy’s co-teacher Janelle became the head teacher, and I became the assistant. While working in Ms. Wendy’s room, I kept in email contact with her. At one point, I wrote back to her to let her know I had to go home early because of endometriosis pain.
Wendy wrote back to me, saying, “I know how painful it can be. I had it in my twenties and had the laparoscopy. I went on a wheat, dairy and sugar free diet for 6-12 months and that did it for me.”

This was the second teacher in my school to let me know that she had battled endometriosis. The first teacher, Ms. Kim, who worked in one of the pre-kindergarten classrooms, was diagnosed during laparoscopic surgery for fibroids if I remember correctly. She told me that up til that point, she never even knew she had endo, because she was never in the kind of pain that I exhibit. She said apparently she has a bad case of endo, but it doesn’t bother her. She didn’t even know that the stuff grows back after surgery.

So I am teacher #3 with endometriosis in that school – and two out of three said they either manage it well or are not symptomatic.

I began to wonder about Ms. Wendy’s condition, though. She had managed her endometriosis, but what else was going on? Nobody would tell me.

In May, 2010, Wendy returned to her classroom – frail but determined. She looked like she’d been run through chemotherapy, and her fingertips were often blue and cracking.
I finished out the school year as a floater and substitute assistant teacher.

Over the summer, I did not see Wendy for two reasons – not all head teachers wish to work in the summer months, although all employees get the option to work summer daycare classes if they want to, and I had also taken the summer off to finish up the teacher training courses that I had begun in August, 2009.

When we all returned to school for the Autumn 2010 school year, Ms. Wendy had taken a position as head teacher for the 3rd/4th/5th grade classroom, and I was assigned to one of the pre-kindergarten rooms. Every year it seems, teachers can be moved around to gain the widest possible experience (Ms. Janelle stayed on as the 1st/2nd grade teacher, and Ms. Kim took the Kindergarten head teaching position)

By November, however, Ms. Wendy’s health had faltered again, and she once again went on medical leave. It was at this point that the mood of the whole school administration could be easily read – Ms. Wendy was dying. Although information about her condition was still kept secret, rumours leaked that Wendy had in fact battled cancer.

On Tuesday, November 9, while I and another co-worker were enjoying lunch in the break room, the financial director walked in and was teary-eyed. I asked her could she please tell us what is going on with Wendy. She informed us that Wendy came back for a visit, and that this would be our last chance to see her, and that she had chosen not to take any further medical treatments. It came to light that yes, Wendy had cancer, but that was a long time ago. The financial director didn’t know or didn’t want to say any more than that. So we turned to the secretary, who told us that Wendy has something going on with her lungs, that it’s not cancer, but that it is terminal, because she’s chosen not to continue treatment. My co-worker, who I’d been eating lunch with, just lost it at that point as tears ran from her eyes. She sat silently but said she didn’t know if she could compose herself in time to go say goodbye to Ms. Wendy. I gave her a few minutes. This co-worker had grown up in that school and had had Ms. Wendy as a teacher. Incidentally, Ms. Kim, who also has endometriosis, is this co-worker’s mother.

After she composed herself, we walked across the street to the auxilliary classroom to find Wendy exiting the building. We caught her just in time to give gentle hugs and say goodbye. Ms. Wendy asked me how I was doing with my condition. I told her I would be having surgery the next month and that hopefully I would see beneficial results like she had. I told her we are fighters. She smiled, and we watched her get into the car with her family and support network, and drive off.

After that, the school secretary told me without my prompting about an online community that Wendy had organised for people who want to send love and good thoughts to her. Two days later, the secretary emailed me the link, and I sent a request to join. I was approved the same day.

The same day as my surgery, on December 17, 2010, an email went out to the parents of the school, and all of the school staff was copied on the email:

December 17, 2010
Dear Elementary Parents.

It is with great sadness that we have some news to share with you.

We are giving you an update on Ms. Wendy’s condition. Wendy recently informed us that she is now under hospice care for the terminal condition, Pulmonary Hypertension with complications. This means that the constriction of her blood vessels has become a strain on her heart.

So I finally learned what the deal was – the thing that is taking her down is called Pulmonary Hypertension. That explains why her fingers are always blue, and I guess explains how skeletal she’s become.

By being part of Wendy’s online community, that’s how I was invited to a beautiful celebration of life ceremony on Day 30 post-op, Sunday, January 16, 2011.

I had already had an emotional day on January 15, dealing with the loss of babies from two endo sisters. I had spent that day listening to Dead Can Dance and Lisa Gerrard, and the album Duality by Lisa Gerrard stuck in my head and made perfect sense for me to give to Wendy. So before we left to go see Wendy, I burned a copy of the Duality album to gift Wendy with.

My husband drove me because my car’s brakes are in bad shape. I was also cramping because my period was due the next day. I had called my doctor the previous day and asked about my high eosinophil white cell count – I wanted to make sure I was not highly contagious or anything like that. My doctor told me to just wash my hands really well, and that if I were contagious, it would be through contact with my hands. I must have washed my hands five times while at Wendy’s life celebration, because I had repeatedly mopped my eyes and nose. I tried to keep from crying, but the beautiful things that people said to Wendy, who sat at the front of the room in a wheelchair with her husband next to her – it just moved me to tears.

During the two hour event, chanting, thankfulness and love filled the room. We did meditations, and I sent out a blanket of love to enfold the entire room. Literal hearts popping in the air above the blanket of love. It was a very powerful group meditation.
The people who had organised Wendy’s life celebration had printed out lyrics to the chants, and that’s how I found out that Wendy’s belief system is through her Siddha Yoga family. According to wikipedia, “Siddha Yoga is a spiritual path (or new religious movement) based on the Hindu spiritual traditions of Vedanta and Kashmir Shaivism.”

When I was in college, I studied world religions, trying to find a new spiritual path for myself. I remember studying Hindu, and it almost gelled for me, but not quite. Then I discovered Buddhism, and it clicked with me in a way that Hinduism could not. I was seeking to get away from the idea of monotheism or an ultimate creator, and Buddhism allowed that for me, and still does. I became attached to Tibetan Buddhism in 1995, and have always held that close to my heart, even when for years I was a practicing Wiccan, then in general a Pagan.

To give you an idea of the similarities and differences of Hinduism and Buddhism, I found this site for you.

During Wendy’s life ceremony, as I said, I shed tears. The emotional power in that room that day overwhelmed me, and my cramps set back in. I had to take my last Ibuprofen and a half Tylenol 3 while sitting there in the audience. I left a half hour before the end of the service, but my husband had not returned yet, so I stood by the door to the room and watched the rest of the service. When Wendy and her husband Madhu bid the crowd goodbye and began to make their way out, I set the CD I had burned for Wendy on a gift table, and quietly left the building. I did not want to chance me being contagious as causing any further immune problems for Wendy. As it was, on the last chant before they left, Wendy was clutching her chest and wincing at times from the pain. And yet she was also so happy to be there in that loving cloud of people chanting with her. It was definitely addictive.

I met my husband in the parking lot, and saw Ms. Kim coming towards her car, so I said hello. We talked for a moment about our endometriosis and I told her how I was doing after surgery, and that I’d be back to work on January 24th. I told Ms. Kim that I’ll be adopting her, “nope, I don’t have endo, there’s nothing wrong with me, must be mistaken!” attitude that she has had since her surgery, and we giggled.

Here are some photos from Wendy’s Life Celebration. All photos courtesy Libby Pink:

Madhu and Wendy

Madhu and Wendy

Live instruments and chanting for Wendy

Live instruments and chanting for Wendy


Madhu, Wendy & Durga, chanting

Madhu, Wendy & Durga, chanting

Gurumayi Chidvilasananda

Gurumayi Chidvilasananda


We went from the celebration of life ceremony straight to another friend’s birthday party that day.
When we walked in, my friend, yet another sufferer of endometriosis, came to me from across the room and said, “Well hello, floaty!” I told her I’m always amazed at how quickly she can recognise my drugged or emotional state, hehe. I told her about the ceremony we’d just come from, and how I was a bit discombobulated. I sat there next to my friend and just listened to conversation for a bit, until I was ready to fully be present in the room.

During the course of the birthday gathering, which was thankfully mellow, I took another half Tylenol 3 for the pain, and had a forbidden glass of red wine to help further calm myself from all that I had experienced that day.

We got home by midnight, and I’m pretty sure I just went right to bed.

Second Laparoscopy: Day 24 post-op

Monday, January 10, 2011

4:19am: “WHY am I awake”.

I wondered if it was because I had drank alcohol throughout the day on Sunday. We had gone wine tasting for my husband’s birthday.

“My legs are bouncing and my brain is spinning and my stomach is gurgling and my heart feels like it is pounding, even though my pulse is normal. I need to be “sleeping with prince valium” I think.” – Monday at 5:11am

I took 1mg Ativan and went back to bed at 5:30am and slept til after 11am. I woke groggy, of course.

So it was Monday, the start of another work week, and I was still home recovering from surgery. The week off was approved long ago, but I felt guilty for being out of work anyway, because I had not been in constant pain for over a week at that point.

Simple movements were still painful, and I was still easily fatigued, so I reluctantly adhered to the 6-week recovery recommendation from my surgeon. I didn’t want to irritate my surgical wounds by going back to work too soon, since preschoolers have no concept of restraint when it comes to their physical activity.

I spent Monday finishing the first semester self review for work, and I emailed it off to my director at school.

Monday night, we went out to dinner with my husband’s father and step-mother. It was quaint. I had more alcohol to drink. Why have I been drinking so much alcohol? I have blatantly violated my post-op rules to myself! Why is my will so weak?

After dinner, my husband, still on a birthday high, wanted to go out to our favourite nightclub. What the heck, we’re both off work, right? Why not? I was zombified but my hubby really wanted to go, and he hadn’t arranged for any other buddies to join him. So I went. I thought, “Hey, at least I can practice my stair climbing!”
I took .5mg Ativan before going out, because my nerves and guilt ramped up. Anytime I’ve done something enjoyable during my time off work for surgery recovery, I have felt guilty about it, as though I’m somehow cheating the system or playing hooky on purpose from work. It’s pretty lame that I am capable of so much guilt.

Once we were at the club, my mood elevated. It was good to be among my people again! I was all dressed up and the music and scenery were sweet heaven on my ears and eyes. Because I had been active and out and about all weekend, I decided to take the plunge that night. I danced!

Of course, I overdid it, and before long, I was holding my stomach and breathing rapidly in panicked fashion because of the abdominal cramps that I’d set off. But I refused to take my medication. I’d been too afraid to take Tylenol 3 since December 27th, when I had the “oh crap I’ve killed my liver” scare.

I drank a lot of water that night, and crawled into bed, whimpering, as soon as we got home.

Second Laparoscopy: Day 23 post-op

Sunday, January 9, 2011

It was my husband’s 40th birthday, and he had planned to go to breakfast and then wine tasting all day. I had recently gotten news that my car was leaking brake fluid, so the driving was left up to my husband – unless we rented a car for me to drive. Upon checking, none of the car rental places save for the airport were open on a Sunday. I was ready to pursue this angle, but commented that my husband would have to pay for the rental, since I’ve been out of work for almost a month.

His reply was that if it was okay with me, he’d like to take our chances with my car.

I was NOT happy. I protested. I grumbled. I caved in. I remained NOT HAPPY.

I drove him to breakfast, and two friends joined us. I was very delighted to be able to hold down leaded coffee with cream, a scramble consisting of home fries, tomatoes, spinach, green onions and cow’s milk cheese. I also had some sliced bananas to go with the almond-milk vanilla pudding I’d brought with me in the event that I could not eat anything on the menu. Quite a yummy brekkie I had!

The birthday boy surrounded by friends!

The birthday boy surrounded by friends!

The birthday boy with friend and wife!

The birthday boy with friend and wife!


 

We sussed out wine tasting route and caravan plans, and off we went. On our way back to the car, my husband stepped in dog poop. To ensure his entire day was not ruined, I took the job of jovial and optimistic and helpful Wife. Sticking his boot in mud encased the poop for the short term, until he could address the issue later. Disaster averted, but ooops, we lost one of our caravan to impatience. We tried to warn her that the first winery was difficult to get to…

As expected, we and our friend who did follow behind us got to the winery with no sign of friend #2.
Good Wife phoned friend #2, who was in an agitated panic over being lost, and calmly guided her to me as I walked perhaps a third of a mile. Once retrieved, I hopped into her car and guided her to the parking lot, allowing her to vent in her red-headed way that I so often do myself (being a red head).
I was even able to convince her, after a few drinks, to join us in my car for further wine tasting. I got my exercise in for sure – getting into and out of my go-kart of a car all day and walking to and from wineries. I was moderately tired all day. The day was beautifully sunny, even though it was still very cold for me. The wind did not help matters. I do not thrive in 50°F weather. I’m comfortable in upper 60s to low 70s. That’s my range.

We didn’t die that day. No brake failure, which of course made me feel SUPER guilty for bailing on my teacher seminar the day before.

Firsts for Day 23:

  • I drove my car all day, getting into and out of car repeatedly.
  • My face and neck did not rash out with all the red wine and port I was trying, and I had not taken a Benadryl!

 

Complications:

  • I experienced stabbing, searing bladder pain/urgency whenever my bladder was full. This was possibly due to sulfites in the wines I was tasting.
  • I was still experiencing loose stool from the previous day’s coconut oil overdose.
  • Since I am no longer in continual pain, I forget that there are things I still cannot do without causing pain; jumping, hip-checking car door or the front door to make sure it’s closed.

 

What I did for pain management was sit down often. I noticed that when standing at a bar, I stand to one side and sort of lean into the bar. Being post-op, this hurt a lot, and yet I could not stop myself from assuming that stance. So I would find a folding chair and sit down away from the bar. This meant I did not get the full range of wine tasting, but I rarely go for the whole range, anyway. I’m very partial to only certain reds.

January Birthday buddies wine tasting as I sit and rest.

January Birthday buddies wine tasting as I sit and rest.


 

After we got back into town and dropped our friend off at her car, we headed home to drop off some goodies my husband had purchased on our wine tasting trip, and then we went out to dinner. We were starving, and to my happy joy, there was something on the menu that I could eat – baked salmon with mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach! It was divine.

Birthday dinner with hubby at Speisekammer

Birthday dinner with hubby at Speisekammer


 

The day ended on a sour note when we arrived home and I went to use the bathroom and stepped in cat pee. I began the usual line of questioning – was it because we had a friend over on Saturday who owns big dogs? Is my cat’s renal condition worsening? Was he mad at us for being gone for long stretches of time over the weekend? Does he have a bladder infection?
Alas. Only thing to do was to clean up the pee and monitor the cat’s behaviour again. Never a happy job. We’d gone weeks before he started up again. It’s always something different it seems.

Second Laparoscopy: Day 22 post-op

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I have lost about 7lbs since surgery, because I was on the BRAT diet for an extended time due to continuing digestive tract issues after surgery. I am convinced these lingering issues are because my mesentery received blunt force trauma at time of surgery.

I think that part of my problem with bending forward and the pain kicking back up is because of the loose flesh from the weight drop. I tried wearing a back support belt in hopes of improving mobility, but all it served to do was irritate my abdominal muscles further.

It does not help the fact that I drank alcohol again the night previous, to the point of getting drunk. I did not black out, but this is the third time in a week that I had consumed alcohol. First it was just a few ounces on New Year’s Eve, then it was a glass and a half of wine and two or three drinks at the Tiki bar for a friend’s birthday, and then last night it was three strong vodka and 7-Up drinks at another friend’s birthday party. If the alcohol isn’t bad enough, I broke my “no corn syrup” rule with the 7-Up.

I was supposed to attend a teacher seminar but I was not feeling up for it, and I did not want to drive my car, because I’d just found out a few days earlier that it was leaking brake fluid. I’d taken the car in to get a low tire looked at – turns out there was a nail in the tire…AGAIN. And then they found the leaking brake fluid.

Anyway, I was not feeling up to going to the teacher event. I was really tired (likely due to being hungover), and I was melancholy because it was the death date of my cousin Andy, who died seven years ago in a fiery crash. I spent the day creating a photo memorial for my cousin, and continuing work on the first semester teacher self-evaluation, which apparently consists of 98735087435023948753 questions.

Diet-wise, I put myself back on the BRAT diet, because of the stupid hangover. Ugh.

Saturday night, my friend Elezar came over – he’d just flown in earlier that day for work, and so I told him to come join us for dinner. When my husband got home from an all-day gaming event with his friends, we all walked over to , where more friends greeted us. We gave my husband a very nice pre-birthday dinner party. To my absolute glee, I was able to stuff my face with sushi and not have any ill consequence. HOORAY for room in the gut finally returning! HOORAY for things healing up inside!

After dinner, we walked up the street to our favourite ice cream joint, and I tested the waters with some cow’s milk ice cream and two lactaid pills. Sadly, I still get stomach gurgles and had to pass a lot of gas. I didn’t have much hope that the lactose intolerance would have gone away with the so-called gastrointestinal reboot from surgery. :/

Once we finished our ice cream, we all parted ways, and I wanted to fall into bed after such a long day, but that was sadly not an option for me. See, it was my husband’s birthday weekend, and he had plans to go to see Rocky Horror Picture Show. Everybody else had bailed…and that left just me. So we went.

We stood in the near freezing cold for over a half an hour to get in the theatre. When I say near freezing cold, I mean it – it’s not just me being a whiny Californian. It was roughly 36°F outside, and I had on a knee-length skirt with stripey tights and Converse shoes, which have no proper insulation on the soles. I swear I thought my feet and toes were going to get frostbitten. They really did sting!

When we finally gained admittance to the theatre, it took another half hour before everything got started and all the show virgins were dealt with.
I was cold, uncomfortable, and tired. But I did remember a few lines and I did laugh several times, so it wasn’t all bad.

I cannot even remember what time we got home – I pretty much dove into bed and slept.

Medication-wise, I do not think I took any meds that day.

Exercise for that day – I will say shivering to death for most of the day counted, cuz seriously, I was starving again after the Rocky Horror show. I’d shivered so much that I’d burnt up all the calories!

Second Laparoscopy: Day 20 and Day 21 post-op

Day 20: Thursday, January 6, 2011

I swear, all I wrote on my notes for that day was that I was able to lay on my stomach for half an hour while I napped. I was really tired all day that day. I don’t remember anything else. That’s what happens when I get behind by almost a week!

Day 21: Friday, January 7, 2011
I had lots of energy that day, and used it to get some paperwork done, work on my first semester self-evaluation report, and to get some exercise in.

At 2pm, I climbed the stairs to the split Victorian house we live in. I climbed the stairs three times! The pain hit once I got up to the top of the stairs the third time, so I called it a day for exercise. Sadly, I experienced increased pain and discharge within 10 minutes of stair climbing. :(
I took 600mg Ibuprofen for the pain.

Despite the cramping from the stair climbing, I began feeling guilty for missing work, even though I still had the entire next week slated to be off work. I was itching to get back and I was feeling like I was milking this whole time off thing. So I called my head teacher after she’d gone home for the day, and spoke with her. I also phoned the director on her cell phone. I even spoke with the school secretary. All three of ’em said I need to take the time off to let my body heal up, and not come back to work too soon and risk injuring my surgical incisions or worse, tearing anything inside.
We agreed that because my return date was the same date that my next period is due, that I would also err on the side of caution and take part of, if not all of that week off, too. That means I’m off work for six weeks instead of four. Of course, six weeks is what my surgeon wanted me off work for, anyway. I am the one who originally thought three to four weeks would be sufficient.

Taking more time off work brings up my old PTSD issue, because after my first surgery, I was fired from a job when they thought I’d be ‘cured’, even though I told them from before surgery, after surgery and each time they brought it up that there is no cure for my condition, and that surgery is not a guarantee for pain relief. All we can ever do is hope for the best. Endometriosis is brutal. It sucks. It’s not fair. IT’S NOT MY FAULT THAT I WAS BORN WITH IT.

I DIDN’T BRING THIS DAMNED DISEASE UPON MYSELF.

Friday night, my husband and I went to a nightclub to celebrate a friend’s birthday. It was the first time I’d set foot inside a nightclub, but not a bar, since surgery. The bar was on January 4 for another friend’s birthday. This night, it would be a full on dance club venue, and I would be tempted to see if my body could dance.
We got there and the music was nothing I’d like to dance to, anyway. My husband took my coat upstairs to coat check, and I hung out with friends and acquaintances until he returned. Because I didn’t really know anyone, naturally I wanted a drink. Old habits never die. I ended up getting pretty drunk that night. This is the third time I’d had alcohol since surgery.
I didn’t make an ass out of myself or anything, but I do feel guilty that I drank so much. I was indeed a bit hungover the next day.

?, My husband, me, Caroline

?, My husband, me, Caroline.

Sharon and me

Sharon and me


Second Laparoscopy: Day 18 post-op

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I woke up at 6:45am and got ready for a psychiatric appointment. Since I had been out with my husband last night, this meant that I got 6 hours of sleep when I’d been so used to 8 solid hours, so I was really tired.

Outside it was so cold that there was frost on my car windows. I’m glad I’ve kept my snow scraper with me all these years after having moved from Michigan! It came in real handy that day.

After scraping ice off half the windshield

After scraping ice off half the windshield


 

It doesn’t snow at ground level in the Bay Area, but every winter does bring some frost on the ground and on the cars. After scraping and warming up my car, I successfully drove to my appointment, but was late because parking was stupid. The meters in two out of the three places I tried to park were not working correctly. Finally I parked and went inside the building. They have an elevator, so I used that rather than brave the stairs first thing in the morning. My mid back was already stiff and sore from getting into my little Neon, driving, and getting out of the car again. Any time I have to twist side to side for anything, the pain ramps back up again.

My psychiatrist still wants me to try Abilify. She’s been pushing this on me since September, 2010 and I’ve been too afraid to try it because of all the side effects. She offered to get me an even smaller prescription dose than she gave me in September (which is still sitting in the cabinet), and she said while I’m off work already, this should be the best time to try the Abilify to see if I will have side effects.

My rationale states that I want to be alert to any possible surgical side effects FIRST. I don’t want to try to figure out if my mood or whatnot is caused by EITHER surgery OR the Abilify. Too much on my plate, y’know?

After I got out of the psychiatry appointment, I decided to take the stairs down instead of using the elevator. There were three flights of stairs. I took it slowly, but by the time I reached the bottom, sure enough I had pelvic cramping going on.

When I got home, despite being in pain, I wanted to get some housework done, so I tackled laundry. I slowly loaded up my laundry basket with two loads’ worth of dirty clothes, and then scooted the basket over to a waiting luggage cart. I finagled the basket up onto the luggage cart and secured it, then towed the laundry basket out to the back of the house where the laundry room is.

After the first load washed and I had put it into the dryer and the second load into the wash, I took a nap, because all of that had worn me out. I set out 600mg Advil and a half Tylenol 3 for the pain, but then refused to take the meds all day because I’m stubborn like that.
I slept for nearly an hour.

After my nap, I was still really tired, but I brought in my laundry and just let it sit (folded) in the basket. I threw myself together to go join a friend for her birthday dinner. We were late, which made me feel bad, but it all worked out. She was at a Mediterranean restaurant, and since I still have not reintroduced solid meat to my diet, there was very little I could eat. The waiter cobbled together a vegetable plate for me, consisting of sliced asparagus and bell peppers, and I used those to dip into the Hummus. I also drank red wine for the first time since before surgery. I was happy to have the wine because my social anxiety was spiking again. There were only five of us for dinner, but still, I felt very awkward socially.

To my glee, I did not have any major digestive problems with the vegetables or the wine! Yay! The bell peppers usually give me heartburn, but even that was minor on that night. Awesome.

Our friend left to go off to a dancing class, and we paid her bill, being that she was the birthday girl. We then got back to our car and my husband drove us over to Forbidden Island Tiki Bar, where we met up with two more friends who had secured an area for our birthday girl. We hung out and had drinks – I drank an Exotica (Coffee liquor and other flavours in a martini glass), a Chamborlada (Chambord and Pina Colada), and part of my friend’s birthday Fugu drink that she could not finish. That was enough to get me pretty tipsy, nay, drunk. Thankfully, not a sloppy or embarrassing drunk. Chatty, yes. Having fun, yes. It was a good night.

At Forbidden Island Tiki Bar for a friend's birthday

At Forbidden Island Tiki Bar for a friend's birthday


 

We got home around midnight and I went immediately to bed after consuming a pint of water. I had to be up the next day for my post-op appointment in San Francisco.

Firsts for Day 18:

  • Drove alone on my own to Oakland and back – stiffness and soreness returned.
  • Did my own laundry, using a luggage cart to haul the basket.
  • Worked on some homework.

 

Limitations:

  • Still having pain with climbing stairs and driving.
  • Lifting anything over 5lbs is still painful.

 

Complications:

  • Still having thick mucous vaginal discharge – doesn’t smell foul anymore. Is likely ovulation.

Second Laparoscopy: Day 14 post-op

Friday, December 31, 2010

I had diarrhea first thing in the morning before any food. Hmmm. No further episodes, and I was able to drink some Boost, so I can rule out the Boost as causing my intestinal issues. I guess my bowels are not completely healed from being bumped during surgery, perhaps that’s why I keep having diarrhea.

That morning, my husband made bacon and I very nearly allowed myself to eat some. But then I remembered that I’ve not had meat in 14 days because my intestinal system is still out of sorts since surgery. I don’t eat pork very often, and it’s the hardest meat to return to after one has been meat-free.
I put it in my head vividly the first time I tried eating pork after being pseudo-vegetarian for 6 years, and man, was that painful. So I successfully resisted the bacon. I say pseudo-vegetarian because I was still eating eggs, dairy and fish. In Michigan, I’d be considered vegan, but in California, I was scoffed at every single time I said I was ovo-lacto-pesco-vegetarian.

Anyway…

Firsts for Day 14:

  • I was able to swing my right leg up onto my husband’s lap while we’re both sitting…for 30 seconds before my pelvis started hurting again.
  • Without thinking, I had been sitting on the floor in front of the heater fan when I got up and slid onto the bed – on my belly like my husband was – to show him something. As soon as I did it, my eyes popped and I exclaimed, “I DIDN’T DIE!” hehe
    But after about 60 seconds, it was too painful to stay on the belly. Just the fact that I did it though was awesome.

  • I was able to drink alcohol for the first time since before surgery, and I did not get violently ill, despite my fear (because of the intestinal issues I’m still having). I drank some champagne and also had some macadamia nut liquor.

 

Limitations:
Laughing while bent over still hurts a lot. I had gotten up off the couch and was still trying to straighten out my body when my husband said something that made me laugh, and I nearly cried from the shooting pain.

Complications:
Well, not really a complication. The belly button began hurting a lot on Day 14. All day long I had moments of intense navel pain, inside radiating to the outside. Looking back through my diary, it’s consistent to my last post-op recovery. I mentioned it on Day 17. Same thing applies with laying on my side – especially my right side – it’s still too painful to do for very long.

The scabs are raised, sensitive to the touch, and the glue plugs are trying to push their way out. Everything looks good, though. Healing is progressing normally.

I spent the day in a depressed funk. I literally just sat around and watched the hours tick by. I took no exercise that day because of the depression. I can’t remember if I had any ibuprofen that day. The weather was nice, but cold. I remarked that Michigan was roughly 10 degrees warmer than us – a heat wave for January. They had weather in the 50s and we we in the 40s.

Day 14 was New Year’s Eve, and we spent the evening at the same friend’s house where we had celebrated Christmas Day. I consumed rice crackers and spinach dip, fine cheese, and some sweets. There were far fewer people this time, and we watched the movie Aliens and enjoyed each others’ conversation. A very nice, low-key evening. Just what the doctor ordered.

When we left after 1am, the rain had started up again.