Prep Time

My distal pancreatectomy is in two weeks. In the past month I’ve had scans and blood work and so many phone calls about anesthesia and what to do the night before and the morning of. But I’m also prepping my staff and my family and trying to do everything I can to make this absence be as smooth as possible. I’ve ordered extra supplies for work and have made a crazy-ass schedule with part-time staff and substitutes galore and volunteers. I’m training some of those people next week, but like I’ve said before, I do have confidence in everyone. I’m just trying not to stress anyone out more than absolutely necessary. Except myself, of course.

It’s been hard to focus on one thing lately. As I typed that last paragraph? I actually stopped and emailed one of the new subs to update them on their schedule. Why? Because I’m afraid if I don’t do things as soon as I think of them, they’ll be gone from my brain and by the time I remember, it’ll be too late.

Here at home I’ve also been prepping, but more like prepping for my death. I pay the bills in this family and although we have a password notebook anyone can consult to pay said bills, it’s kind of a mess. I know most of the passwords by heart, but if my husband would have to pay a bill, he’d have no idea where to pay or how. We do have a budget and bill payment schedule on our refrigerator, but he doesn’t know which things are automatically paid and which you have to pay online or that one thing we actually have to send a check to or pay in person. So I’m in the process of re-writing our password notebook and have re-done the budget with AUTOMATIC written on certain things. I’ve added all of our passwords to various streaming services to the notebook along with bank info that he probably doesn’t know. I’ve dug out my living will to bring to the hospital and to send a copy to a friend because I want to make sure several folks have it.

When I started doing this a few weeks ago, it made me feel good. I like to be prepared. Remember that post about preparing myself and my home if my husband were to die tomorrow? That shit just helps me cope. But this week? Oi. So not good.

The stress at work felt insurmountable yesterday. Like a child, I actually closed my eyes and put my hands over my ears at one point and told a co-worker to please stop talking. I could feel a full-fledged anxiety attack coming on and I just couldn’t answer one more question. It scared me. Their questions were valid and they should be asking them, but I just COULD NOT deal with them at that moment. I took a few minutes to breathe and we talked and then I was able to answer them again. But that anxiety lingered into the evening and I ended up eating three brownies trying to make myself feel better. Instead I nearly hyperventilated when it came time to go to bed. I put my head between my knees and tried to breathe. I was finally able to lay down, but it took effort to not think. (One of my cats snuggled in on my shoulder and purred away, so that helped.)

Today was a bit more of the same, but not at that same level. I still don’t feel like I’m breathing normally, but I am able to take a deep breath. There’s definitely this level of worry and concern of the unknown–as in how my surgery will go and what my recovery will be like–but also anxiety of the incomplete tasks that still need to be done.

And did I tell you I’m turning 49 next week? The same age of my brother when he died? And that he died at the hospital I’m having my surgery at?

Yeah. I’m freaked. I’m scared and sad and angry and worried and all the damn things.

So…I told my husband last week that I want a session at a local sensory deprivation tank. I have been doing all the things I can to try and relieve stress. First I did the bad things–drink alcohol (which I can’t do anymore until sometime after my surgery or never again) and eat junk food or just eat non-stop. Then I did my usual schtick–run, read with mellow music or nature sounds, walk near the woods (there are so many ticks right now that walking in the woods stresses me out), take my usual anti-anxiety med, chat with friends. But sometimes all of the good things are just not enough.

My husband is the worst gift giver in the world, even when I tell him exactly what I want. And trust me when I say I don’t ask for a lot. I don’t have particularly expensive tastes, and I’m not into jewelry or flowers. Yet typically, even after 25 years of marriage, the old man sometimes just doesn’t quite get it. But this time? This time he came through.

In a few days I’m going to give this thing a try. I’ll float in a tub of water with 1200 pounds of salt. I may have lights and music, or I’ll skip all of that and just be. I have no idea how this will make me feel, but I’m looking forward to giving it a shot, to trying something new, to try and find a little peace.

May you find your own bit of peace this weekend, too. ❤ Hugs to you, my friends.

Surgery successful?

Well…..sort of.

Today was my post-op appointment with one of the surgeons that worked on my venous leg.  (There were two surgeons–I do have long legs!)  This was the first time I met Dr. Tinker.  She was pleasant and sometimes so honest that it made me laugh and cringe at the same time.  She had me stand up and said, “Wow! You really are very tall.  I saw you spread on the table and knew you were tall but didn’t really know HOW tall!”  Seriously, how can you not like a woman that says with a smile, “saw you spread on the table”?

Dr. Tinker examined my leg, ripped off the rest of the steri strips that clung to the tiny holes that map my leg from groin to calf, and talked to me about pain.  We discussed the discomfort I’ve been having with my calf and in my upper thigh.  I have lots of sore, hard spots that are essentially blood clots just under the surface.  (Sounds scary, but is apparently normal.)  With time the clots will dissipate, but I may have the pain for up to 2 months.

As I stood in front of Dr. Tinker, she pointed out that some of the swelling in my leg will go away.  She had me turn around and as she looked at my calf she let out a little sigh.  I turned back around, sat down on the table and she said, “I have to admit that I’m a little disappointed.  Some of the veins on the back of your leg are still there.  I like my work to be clean!”  She also explained that on my upper thigh….I already have new varicose veins forming.

Let me repeat that. In just two weeks since the surgery, I already have new varicose veins forming.

As she said this, I nodded and bit the inside of my cheek so I wouldn’t cry.  The doctor explained that yes, I do have severe venous disease and unfortunately, I could have this surgery done each year and would just have to keep coming back.  Every damned year I could do this.


Don’t get me wrong. There are way worse things to have to go through, we all know that.  I think just for today I wanted to mourn the fact that I will never, ever have nice looking legs.  “Oh, pish posh! Who cares?!?” you may say.  Well…let me put it this way. When you have been fat, really fat, then worked very hard on losing 85 pounds and then you run and lift weights and look pretty good while wearing clothes, then just once, JUST ONCE you want to show off those gams you’ve worked hard for.  They are long and lean and look good in leggings, but without that cover-up they currently look like this:


So….I’m angry. I’m really pissed off.  I’m also very sad.  I’m going to feel sorry for myself for today and possibly tomorrow…..and then I’m going to get over it.

The good news is I no longer have the constant ache in my leg AND I was given the go ahead to run. I may experience pain for a few weeks or months, but I’m grateful to just know I can run.  I won’t be harming myself any more than my heritage has already done (both of my parents have varicose veins) so I might as well go ahead and do something that makes me feel good and is essentially good for me, right?


Tomorrow morning I will pull on my ugly compression stockings, plug those buds into my ears, tie up my shoelaces and step outside.  I may have to grit my teeth through those few miles I plan on running, but I will be damned grateful I can run at all.