Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Day +1096 or rebirthday number three.

     What follows are two posts that I intended to post almost a month ago now. As you'll see things got... complicated. There's more news to share, all of it good, but given the discombobulated nature of this post I'll save that for later. I hope you can make sense of this, if not feel free to comment and ask away, I'll try to straighten things out for you. 

     Today I celebrated my three year "rebirthday", my father-in-law's birthday and my brother's birthday. I also found out that the artist who drew my visual focus pieces has a birthday today as well. All day I've been thinking about how the transplant was supposed to happen a day earlier but a storm along the east coast kept the plane that was carrying my donor cells grounded... 

     Throughout this journey there have been far too many coincidences for me to believe they've all been random, there has to be something very powerful at work orchestrating these events. But to what end, what purpose I know not. What I DO know is that whatever, whomever it is, it's working for my benefit. From the moment I let go of my control over the situation, that is to say my PERCEIVED control, everything started to fall into place and gradually the stage was set for what seems, for all intents and purposes, to be a complete healing from the deadly "terminal disease" that afflicted me.  I won't yet be so bold as to say I'm cured, but things are sure looking that way. 

     We're off for short trip to Santa Cruz to celebrate Connor's high school graduation, and to give me a brief respite from hectic mornings trying to get projects done outside before the sun comes around the back side of the house and the mercury rises. Oh, how the sun has now become my mortal enemy... We've moved the fence, or more accurately built a new fence, to allow us to double the size of our garden, built a few raised beds out front to accommodate edible landscaping (blueberry bushes and some raspberry patches) and built a couple of small chicken tractors to house the six brand spanking new chicks that will be added to our zoo after we return from Santa Cruz. A couple more raised beds to build, a new, prettier gate and some modifications to the chicken tractors (the downside to buying "kits", they're never exactly what you want). Then hopefully I can devote my days to finishing up the shop and start building some more projects and maybe making a bit of money for my efforts. 

Fiona and Magnus get acquainted.
     We've also recently expanded our "pack" to include a small mixed breed terrier/something? We've named her Fiona and she is a firecracker! I don't know that we've ever had a dog with such energy! 

     ...That was the update I'd hoped to post before we left for Santa Cruz, obviously it didn't go as planned. Shortly before the trip, I started feeling some very slight abdominal pain in my upper right abdomen which as the week progressed spread to a spot directly behind it on my back. It felt eerily like a bad case of gas I'd had just post transplant. Turns out, after suffering through a miserable couple of days in Santa Cruz (I admit, I was being stubborn and didn't want to ruin anyone's trip.) and an early morning dash up
the coast to the Palo Alto CA hospital I had developed a significant gall stone which lodged in the exit of the gall bladder. It had to go... I sent Sarah home with the kids to get some sleep, I knew I wasn't going to get much anyway, though a couple of shots of morphine proved me wrong, thankfully. I bumped some scheduled surgery early that morning when the surgeons came in and, because of my ongoing medical issues spent Friday night in the hospital. 
Sailboat in the bay near the lighthouse, Santa Cruz.

     Here's a few things I learned from the experience:
1- Always trust your gut, even when it's driving you mad with pain. 
2- I'd still go out of my way to drive to Palo Alto to get to the VA hospital. Despite all the bad press the VA has garnered of late they've always taken exceptional care of me, no matter who I see there (well, except for that one cranky lady in travel pay...). 
3- This one really surprised me... I went into the ER with no fear... Once the pain subsided thanks to the drugs I was very strangely at peace with whatever, or however this played out. Maybe I've been down this road enough times that I just don't feel afraid, or maybe I simply have enough faith in those professionals who work there to trust fully that they'll set things right. Whatever the reason this last, albeit brief, stay in the hospital was not scary or stressful for me in the slightest. I'm sure that those who knew (we put the word out via Facebook) and surely Sarah were extremely stressed and I wish I could've changed that. But from a patient's perspective it's very comforting to feel at ease in such situations. 

     To end this it's fast approaching two weeks, the temperatures here have already topped 100 during the day and work continues on the garden expansion. The boys, or perhaps more accurately "young men", have really stepped up and born the brunt of the heavy lifting, working together well, and that has made even the most difficult of tasks easier. I've tried really hard to teach them something my father taught me years ago which I now call "embrace the suck". In short, whenever an especially difficult task came up on the farm he always met it head-on and we'd work through it together cracking jokes and generally making even the worst jobs, ours was ALWAYS pickin' rocks, borderline enjoyable simply by creating an attitude that the sooner it was accomplished the sooner we could move on to more enjoyable things. 

     Tuesday was a great example of that as the boys and I worked to remove some cemented-in fence posts and break up a mowing strip/curb that was in the way of our new garden beds. It was VERY hot outside, but I made sure we were all well hydrated and took plenty of breaks. We, and by that I mean the young men of my family, worked diligently at our set tasks and got a lot accomplished. I couldn't be more proud of their efforts and how well they worked together. I don't want to sound like I'm tooting my own horn but they are becoming fine young men...

     So my healing continues along with weight restrictions. Man I hate those! I hear tell there'll be some necessary diet changes too now that the gall bladder has joined the spleen (which was removed in September 2010). Kinda not looking forward to giving up some of the foods I hear will not be fun to eat anymore but, truth be told, I've been meaning to take the steps toward healthier eating anyway. Now I have a certain incentive! Funny how that works eh?

     As you can see things have been anything but normal or routine around here. Hopefully things will calm down really soon, the list of projects that is keeping me from the shop seems to grow at an even pace with the tasks I check off and I'm beginning to miss my shop time... Stay well, stay happy and stay passionate!


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