Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I'm B-a-a-a-ck!

I know you all probably thought that I had dropped off the face of the earth, but "Nope" I am still around. It has just been one thing after another it seems. When last we "talked" it was shortly after I had returned from Colorado Springs from visiting my daughter Beckie. At that time we decided that since we were going to have a family reunion on July 4th that we should get in gear and put all of my mother's recipes into a book and have it ready for the reunion.

No one else offered to help type so Beckie and I took it on. WHOA, what a job. Over 500 recipes, all handwritten on very old, very greasy, very tattered cards with odd abbreviations, and faded handwriting. I know some of these are over 50 years old. And, because she knew how to cook, my mother often wrote things in an abbreviated manner, so there was a lot of "deciphering" to do also. That fell to me as I at least had made most of these things over the years, but poor Beckie was at a loss trying to figure out some of them.

It was pretty much a full time (as in 24/7) job to get it typed, proofread, formatted, proofed again, and submitted to the publisher by May 15th so we could have it back for the reunion. We just barely made it but the cookbook turned out lovely, the whole family loved it, and all the extra copies were sold within a week! Yay! Success!

During this process, I had been having some odd health symptoms...not anything specific, but just this odd discomfort in my side, down low, and occasionally actual pain. Thinking perhaps I had a urinary tract infection, since I was also having to make frequent trips to the bathroom, even at night, I went in for a checkup. No infection...but there was something there. Scheduled for an ultrasound at the end of the week. Yep, there is a mass. Now an appointment in Billings, MT with a specialist the next Wednesday. More tests, more ultrasounds, not good news. I had a LARGE (football-sized) cyst. It was attached to the left ovary but the pain I was feeling was on the right side. Due to the size of the cyst it was pushing the right ovary up against my right kidney and pinching everything there. It was also grown into the fallopian tube and the weight of it was pressing on my bladder. Surgery was scheduled for the following Monday.

That went well, no cancer! And home in three days. Doing well, following the doctors orders, no lifting, bending, stretching, straining, or stooping. Sit only in a reclined position due to the huge incision; but feeling ok and thinking "I can do this, it will just be for a couple of weeks then I can start getting back to normal." I think I am doing well...then I go to have my staples removed. Due to it being over a hundred miles to Billings the surgeon had said to go to my primary physician to have him remove them. He gets about 3/4 of them out and the incision just unzips! Wide open! Phone call to the surgeon, a fast trip to Billings....he removes the rest of the staples and and the whole thing is now open. And, it is a huge incision (almost 9 inches long) from my navel down, about 3 inches deep, and gaping open about 3-1/2 inches wide. Not pretty.

I am informed that it must heal from the inside out. Enter wound nurses, wound packing three times a day, flat on my sitting as it makes the wound gape more and undoes the healing. So, that is how I spent my summer. Lying in my recliner most of the day or in bed with pillows under my knees the rest of the time. It got really boring after about the first couple of hours! And I missed the reunion!

But I am so grateful for many things. First for wonderful daughters who gave of themselves so unselfishly to care for me. They learned to do my dressings so we wouldn't have to hire a nurse to come every day, did my housework and showed me so much love. I am also grateful for good medical staff who gave me great care, for a dear husband who is not only super supportive but who is also an excellent cook! ... and for a body that did a great job of healing, because the medical people all said it would take a minimum of 4-5 months, but here I am, less than 3 months and as of today IT IS CLOSED!

I still have to take it easy for a few more weeks, and it will take some time to regain my strength as I have not been able to do anything for so long, but I am healing well, my doctor is very pleased with my progress. I feel good, and I am able to finally sit at the computer for short periods and type! :-) I really missed that.

I want to thank everyone who supported me in my recovery, for your prayers, good wishes, cards, letters, and girls were so good to keep me informed of all that because I couldn't sit up to use the computer. I keep telling my hubby, "See, I do need a laptop!" LOL Your love and concern mean more than I can ever express. I know it helped me heal more quickly. THANKS!

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