A Therapeutic Thanksgiving: Coming Home

Last Thursday was Thanksgiving here in America. The real, official start of the holiday season. No one can deny it’s too early for Christmas music any longer!

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Boo says, “Oh. It’s you.”

After barely managing to drag myself out of bed Wednesday afternoon, David and I headed to my hometown, a four-hour drive away. Having not been there since May, I was very much looking forward to it. Luckily we had good weather and made good time, despite needing to stop at a rest stop to use the facilities and because I had to walk around to prevent blood clots. Once we got there, we were immediately greeted by Boo and Ziggy, the household rescue tuxedo cats. I missed them so! We had dinner with my dad and brother since my mom was at work. My dad and I spent the rest of the evening talking about a range of topics, including blogging and writing in general. He’s given me good advice throughout this whole blogging adventure, since he is a writer himself. Pretty much everything I know about writing I learned from him.

My mom got home from work after midnight (she’s a nurse) but she and I stayed up until 4 am talking and going through old photos of her and my grandparents and great-grandparents. I love looking at old photos, and there were a few I had never seen before. Since I manage a lot of my family’s ancestry information, it was good to be able to put faces to names.

On Thursday, I awoke early afternoon to the delicious smells of turkey and stuffing in the oven that can only mean it’s Thanksgiving! However, I was still so exhausted from my hospital adventure earlier in the week that I didn’t manage to drag myself out of bed until 2:30 pm. (I used to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade when I was younger, mainly to see the Garfield balloon, but now I value my sleep more!) But I had to get up because relatives were due to come over at 3 pm and they arrived right on time.

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Left: my mom, dad, and brother Brian Β  Middle: Connie Β  Β Right: Uncle Bob

We had my Aunt Mary, Uncle Bob, and his mother Connie, who is 95 years old, sharp as a tack, and the sweetest elderly lady you will ever meet. I was a little embarrassed that I was in my pajamas, since the groin pain didn’t even really allow me to put jeans on, but no one cared; they all know I’ve been through some unbelievable crap this year.

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Aunt Mary, David, and me

Dinner was a tremendous success. My family has really gotten the whole gluten free thing down in the last four years since my celiac disease diagnosis. I had my own stuffing made with gluten free bread and my own bowl of gravy. We had ensured beforehand that the turkey was gluten free (it was farm fresh anyway, but as an FYI, many companies inject gluten-containing fillers to plump up the turkey, so you need to be careful if you can’t eat gluten.) David made the pumpkin pie with a gluten free crust and my mom made our dessert staple called Hydrox Dessert with gluten free chocolate sandwich cookies. No one could tell the difference!

After dinner, we engaged in the age-old pastime of watching football while trying not to sink into food comas. I usually don’t watch football, but it just felt right to watch it with my family on Thanksgiving.

Thursday really did a number on me in terms of social expenditure and spoons, because I woke up with a migraine on Friday. As a result, I was unable to go see The Nutcracker with my family, which disappointed me greatly, but it is what it is.

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Finally meeting CeCe!

At least I was feeling well enough by evening, because our family members came back over, but this time with my cousin Ken, his wife Laura, and their 9-month old little girl Cecelia. This was actually my first time meeting Laura due to a confluence of circumstances, but we got along well right away. And this was my first time meeting CeCe as well. She was born prematurely in February, but is doing wonderfully now! She’s crawling all over the place and can pull herself to stand up. Holding her just felt so right. Maybe someday soon…

(Left: The look of a man who wants to be a daddy! Right: Ziggy watches curiously as CeCe plays with his crinkle ball)

Saturday we had to wait until The Game was finished before we headed back home. It went into double overtime and I thought my poor husband was going to have a stroke, but thankfully the Buckeyes came out on top! O-H! We didn’t leave until 4:30 pm, so it was almost dark, and ran into periods of heavy rain, but thank goodness it wasn’t snow. We made good time getting home, too!

Feeling very run down aside (I literally spent the whole weekend in my pajamas), it was a wonderful weekend. It was exactly what I needed to perk myself up. Especially when I realized that the last time we went out of town was in July…when we went to Atlanta for my surgery at the CEC. So even that trip was tainted by hospitals and surgery. So I desperately needed this trip. To see my family that loves me and cares for me, even though I don’t see them often. To see Boo and Ziggy (animals are very therapeutic.) Just to be back in my hometown with its familiarity. It did wonders for my mental health as well. I feel like I’ve broken through some barrier that was keeping me from being happy. Not that things are all sunshine and daisies, but I feel…different. In a good way.

And the blood will dry
Underneath my nails
And the wind will rise up
To fill my sails
So you can doubt
And you can hate
But I know, no matter what it takes
I’m coming home
I’m coming home
Tell the world I’m coming home
Let the rain wash away
All the pain of yesterday
I know my kingdom awaits
And they’ve forgiven my mistakes
I’m coming home
I’m coming home
Tell the world I’m coming…

Coming Home, Part II: Skylar Grey

πŸ’›ribbonrx

Threading the Pipeline

Another day, another surgery. So what else is new this year, right? This time theΒ aneurysm on my internal carotid artery, found incidentally prior to my brain surgery two months ago, was to meet its doom via the Pipeline Embolization Device!

Continue reading “Threading the Pipeline”

Dear Caregiver: I See You

Dear Caregiver,

You don’t know me. I’m just another nameless face in a crowd of the near dozen people who crowd into your chronically ill child’s hospital room every morning to discuss the plan of care for the day. Generally, you have no need to interact with me and I don’t have much to say to you. I’m just the pharmacist.

But I see you. Continue reading “Dear Caregiver: I See You”

Pre-Op Day…Again!

Having three surgeries in four months makes for a lot of pre-op testing. Today was pre-op day for surgery number three in 2016-placement of the Pipeline Embolization Device for my aneurysm.

The day began far too early. I went to bed at midnight because my first appointment was at 8:15 am. Unfortunately, I woke up at 3:30 am and couldn’t fall back asleep. I tried going upstairs at 5 am to snuggle with my black kitty Luna on “her” bed, (anyone else have a queen-sized bed their cat has claimed as their own?) but still I lay there awake. I almost cried when my alarm went off at 6:45 am. And of course, I still managed to be late getting out of bed. I ended up getting up when I wanted to leave. Oops. But I just barely made it in time by speeding and parking in a different parking garage than I was planning to, which cut out a 15-minute walk. Continue reading “Pre-Op Day…Again!”

Calling All Followers!

Since things have been getting a little dark around here lately, I want to lighten it up. I currently have 124 followers and many more who read my posts on Facebook and Twitter. So, to make things exciting…

I wantΒ ALL OF YOU to submit a question (or more) you would like to ask me either by commenting on this blog post or on my Facebook posts. They can be off the wall crazy or serious; it doesn’t matter to me. And at a future date, I will answer them for you! I’d like to think of it as a coping exercise.

Get thinking, because I love answering questions!

πŸ’›ribbonrx

Identity Crisis

I once had a coworker tell me, “We just want the old Laura back.” It was at a time earlier this year when I went on my first continuous leave from work in the hopes that the rest would break the cycle of migraines I had found myself in. Everyone knew that something was wrong and that I wasn’t my usual self. What no one knew then was that it was the beginning of something far more insidious that I am still dealing with the effects of today.

What was the old Laura like? She was dedicated to her job and tried to make her coworkers laugh to release the tension that comes from working with sick kids. She wouldn’t take a break unless all the work was done, which led to sacrificing dinner almost every single shift. She would pick up overtime when we were short-staffed. She was reliable and felt like she was a valuable part of a team.

But the old Laura is gone. The point of no return has been passed and she’s likely never coming back. Yet the new Laura struggles every day to try to figure out who she is and where she belongs in the world now. Continue reading “Identity Crisis”

Christmas Tree, My Christmas Tree..

…lit up like a star…”

Ok, I know it’s a little bit early. Last year we didn’t put the tree up until the week after Thanksgiving (but only because we ended up having to buy a new tree, so we got one online for 50% off on Thanksgiving, ha!)

But I had to do something to make myself happy. I’ve done the tree mostly by myself every year, but I needed David’s help this year. This new tree is very full and sturdy (read: heavy.) It’s in four sections, but I made him carry the three big sections. I did it by myself last year, but I don’t have the energy to do it anymore. Although I did do all the garland and about 80% of the ornaments.

Now I can happily stare at my Christmas tree for the next two months. The picture doesn’t do it justice; it’s just so beautiful. Putting the ornaments on is the best part because of all the memories each ornament brings with it. Continue reading “Christmas Tree, My Christmas Tree..”