Sunday, April 19, 2009

Time to press "play"

Tension is running high in our household. I woke up this morning sweating, my hair matted to my head, with a sore throat and aching joints. That was at 11 am when my dog, Penny, ran into the room, ears perked up, and dancing on the wood floors. Click, clack, click, click as she'd spin beside the bed, and then putting her sad face next to mine on the bed...staring, black nostrils flared as she purposely breathed loudly, her canine way of rousing me out of slumber. Matt had been downstairs for hours, coding, and for some reason Penny hates when we are not corralled in the same room. Click, click, click...we need to cut her nails.

The abdominal pain had resurfaced this weekend after breakfast on Saturday. It was a gorgeous day -- our cherry tree had erupted in charming white flowers in a matter of hours, and after the pain medication soothed my belly, I was up, doing errands, and helping my father-in-law with yard work, who was visiting for the weekend and helping Matt finish our laundry room. But by the evening, the pain had returned. As I waited for the pain medication to kick in, I realized it hurt to laugh, or even to take a deep breath. I thought, this is what it's going to be like after surgery (but worse).

Two friends on Friday commented on my strength. Although I am flattered they said this (and I boasted to Matt, maybe, five times about this), I do not feel strong. Today I am a ball of self-pity. There is nothing strong, or eloquent, about it. It's ugly and infantile. The women on Matt's side of the family have an annual "Ladies Weekend", which has taken us to D.C. and New York in past years. This weekend was Ladies Weekend, but I chose to not go, due to my health.

They visited Matt's cousin, Julia, who is a freshman at Penn State, and at the Nittany Lion Inn, met Penn State head coach Joe Paterno and had a group photo taken with him. They looked lovely and excited. If you're from Pennsylvania, or a fan of college football, you know Joe Paterno. And although I don't enjoy football, and don't get this whole "JoePA" thing, I was jealous! Although it was a wise decision not to go, I wanted to be there! I was mad at my disease for making me cancel. Instead I was lying in bed, nursing a sore torso.

When I woke up this morning, feeling more ill, I was testy, even to the dog. And I cried to Matt, snot running down my nose, and spouted ugly things like, "You have no idea what it's like!" and "Do you know how hard this is for me?!" Matt deviated from comforting me, to getting impatient and irritated. He has heard this all before. I realize this is hard for him, too, and it's not his fault he doesn't want to spend all day up in bed with me. Just because I reach for the pause button when I'm not feeling well, doesn't mean he needs to stop living, too.

So, I am ready for this surgery. I am scared shitless, and it might not make me better, but I am more scared of further isolated those around me. It's time to be strong, and I'm finally getting ready for Friday.


  1. Good luck Kathryn! I'll be sending you positive thoughts and hope you manage to relax.
    Kelly R

  2. *sigh* Ahh, your post reminds me of the feelings I was having when my pain was at it's worst, and after my surgery. Like you're standing still and everyone else is running past you, and you want to join them sooo badly! Like your whole life has been put on the shelf. But it's not true!

    It might feel that way, but you really aren't on pause, you've just shifted gears a little - temporarily. You need to try and stop doing things that are just hurting you (like yard-work; pain meds don't prevent the pain they only mask it! You're still hurting yourself.), and see if you can find some new activities that you can enjoy while you're in recovery.

    Ok, I'm going to get a bit geeky here for a minute. I've read you mentioned that Matt likes video games. I grant you that they aren't for everyone... but if you're looking for something fun you can do together that involves a minimum of painful movement- this is perfect. It's not all shooters and war games. There are options for everyone- from card and board games like uno, hearts, poker and monopoly to puzzle games like tetris and World of Goo, to fun collections of mini games like Mario Party and Raymond's Raving Rabbids which are quick to learn, easy to play and are just silly fun that'll be entertaining even for non gamers.

    There are all kinds of adventure games - murder mysteries, horror, sci-fi, fantasy. Sports games of every flavour. Serious racing games and silly racing games. You name it. And even if it's not what you'd PREFER to be doing, you might find something that can be fun for both of you, during this temporary time of your life.

    Ok, end of geeky section. *laughs* But seriously- when you're in pain - don't strain yourself trying to be 'normal'. Take it easy. Read, go see a movie, do something crafty- dig out those wedding or travel photos and make a scrap book. Learn something new like a new language or a new job skill. Teach yourself how to do something like cook a tricky dish. You have options girl! You aren't on pause!!

    Don't get discouraged, you'll get through it!

  3. Thanks for the kind words!

    And I'll let you know, we are going to get "Scene It" for the Xbox; this is a BIG step for me! Ha ha. I did try this frantic version of Uno on the Xbox, too, and I'll tell ya, that thing was way too fast for me! My brain does not work that fast. And it was UNO, for god's sake! Yikes!!

    And you can ask my father-in-law; I don't think my yard work helped that much! It was mostly raking; nothing strenuous. (The only good thing of being in pain is getting out of manual labor! Bwhaha!!!)

    I have a mini-library of books that need to be read as well; I'll be able to finally get around to them! I'll be the most well-read girl on the block!

  4. I appreciate your honesty--and your humor. Hopefully we can all help carry you, so you don't have to have all the strength yourself.

  5. We are all here to give you the mental strength and whatever to help you overcome this disease which is draining on you. In all seriousness, remember that all inner strength ultimatly comes from your faith in God. Maybe it's time you re-connect.....


  6. Thank you everyone for your support. I can't imagine how hard this is for folks doing this on their own. Now those people are the strong ones!