What an ending to 2016! This year had high points but proved very challenging for our family. And December has proved that this year is going out with a bang… or kick in the teeth…and shins!
In four weeks, I lost my aunt and suffered from the flu, strep throat, a fast and furious stomach bug and acute sinusitis. Then I learned I needed to have a rather large tangerine size ( because us medical peeps like to compare things to fruit) ovarian cyst removed quickly due to an ovarian cancer screening test coming back abnormal.
Finances have also been noose-like tight due to having our house back in Raleigh weighing on us without a renter or buyer in sight. So any holiday shopping I would normally relish in was put on hold. I decided that was fine, Christmas isn’t about gifts anyways. I would bake my gifts from the heart as I delight in having cookie baking marathons at Christmas and am known for my “Cara-Cookies”.
On a weekend I finally felt well, I did endeavor to power through two days of chocolate-chip cookie production. However the following day, that I had planned to send out and deliver said treats, the stomach bug crashed through my office door and had me pinned to a public toilet and head stuck in large trash can. Not wanting my friends and family to spend their holiday hugging the porcelain throne, I had to toss out my beautiful cookie delights.
I wasn’t sure what to title this blog post at first: “Good Ridden’s 2016” or “How I lost 15 lbs during the holiday season”. It seemed this holiday was defiantly one of the lowest. Made me miss my mom even more. She would have had homemade chicken noodle soup ready and our house decked out like Buddy the Elf had visited.
But in the the time I’ve had recuperating from my nerve-wracking surgery, I came to see something beautiful in the ugly. So often, I feel blessed to be able to see through the murky stress that life throws at me and see how many blessings are actually surrounding me at that moment, just takes a little time and perspective.
Just like the Grinch realizing that Christmas came without packages, boxes or bags, I saw how much the holiday is about the people who surround us near and far.
My coworkers took my absence(s) like a champ and never made me feel like the weight I felt I was. On the day before surgery, the Sports Med Clinic at Western Carolina, Swain OP Rehab and Harris Regional OP rehab teams, had sent me homemade lasagnas, garlic bread, brownies, cookies, chocolates, gift cards to restaurants and grocery stores as well as books and movies to keep my mind busy. The nurses in ICU, Orthopedics and the surgical floor sent cards to say they were thinking of me.
I had so many friends and family texting, calling and sending cards to say ” You are going to be fine!”, “God is Good!”, “I’m here for you if you need anything.” Old friends and past coworkers and family friends reached out over FaceBook and enveloped me in love and friendship to let me know I wasn’t alone.
One auntie formed prayer chains stretching across the globe to family I’ve never even met. Another auntie has my biopsy results being read by her friends in high places at Duke and Columbia Presbyterian Oncology departments.
My in-laws came up the day before my surgery and cleaned my house top to bottom while I was at work, so when I came home to recover it was to a non-messy, non-germy, laundry-free zone. They helped prepare dinners and did all the Christmas food shopping.
And my husband -who has been hiding his anxiety over the situation as best he could, putting the positive spins wherever he could manage and gave out plenty of hugs and smiles- has finally caught my maladies. Unsure what mixture he got, but the day of my surgery he was spiking some terrible fevers, but would not leave my side. While in surgery, I heard he paced the floors, until I was in recovery.
Now we are two pitiful Christmas sights. But in a time when I felt so overwhelmed by the bad, life reached out and overwhelmed me with love, support and prayers. I don’t feel alone and I do feel positive about my results. I am thankful to be reminded of what kind of people I have in my life from all over. Thank you to everyone who extended a kind word and sent a prayer my way. You are greatly appreciated!
” WELCOME, CHRISTMAS, BRING YOUR CHEER. CHEER TO ALL WHOs FAR AND NEAR. CHRISTMAS DAY IS IN OUR GRASP, SO LONG AS WE HAVE HANDS TO CLASP. CHRISTMAS DAY WILL ALWAYS BE JUST AS LONG AS WE HAVE WE. WELCOME CHRISTMAS WHILE WE STAND, HEART TO HEART AND HAND IN HAND.” ~ DR. SEUSS