Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Best Laid Plans...

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope that everyone is spending this special day tucked up with family and friends, enjoying all the wonderful trappings we've come to associate with Thanksgiving. I am doing the same, except I almost wasn't.

This past weekend was a soccer tournament for my daughter's U12 team. My husband and I arranged to get separate rooms, as I was going to host not only my daughter, but one of her friends in the hotel room. All started normally enough, with me not sleeping in the room Friday night.

As I stated before, this is not normally unusual for me. I tend to not be a great sleeper anyway, and especially not when traveling. Here I was, tossing and turning the night away, unable to get comfortable for some reason. When 6:00 finally rolled around, I scooted out of bed, crawled into the shower, and began my day.

The girls spent all day Saturday out on the soccer field giving it their best shot. Throughout that day, my discomfort continued to increase. Upon conclusion of the team meal at Roadhouse, I took the exhausted but excited girls back to the hotel room, praying sleep (and relief) would come. It didn't.
A nearly completed scarf kept my mind off the pain as much as possible.

By 2:00 my pain was so severe, I became convinced I was experiencing appendicitis. I tiptoed across the hallway to my husband's door and quietly knocked on it. When he answered, I explained my fears. With his help, we found a hospital for me to travel to, and I packed up a backpack, hauled myself into our van, and began the 18 mile trip across town to the hospital. AT 2:00 IN THE MORNING.
Sorry, I was a little high on all the pain meds, so my photo isn't the best. I wonder what I was thinking when I took it!

Upon arrival, I was quickly greeted and gowned. Sarah, the P.A. on duty concurred, and off to CT we rode. By this time, I was in extreme agony. Except it wasn't appendicitis. CT instead revealed that there was a mass of some sort near my right ovary. To confirm, I was whisked into an ultrasound room, where it was indeed confirmed that I had a seven centimeter cyst attached to my right ovary.

The radiologist searched carefully and was unable to find any signs of torsion, so they decided to release me to my newly arrived husband, medicated with two rounds of morphine, one of Toredol, one of Fentonil, and one more of some other pain medicine. It would have been lovely if at least one of those meds would have helped.

It was a rough two and a half hours home. My stomach had completely rebelled. I gave up. Brett somehow got me to bed, and I slept for the next 12 hours or so. By the time I woke up, I decided I wasn't going to let a little (or large) cyst stop me, so I proceeded to get ready to head out for Sarasota, which is where we were planning on spending the holiday. We were within twenty minutes of leaving when my personal doctor called me and asked me to come in.

I did. I repeated the same ultra sound, and he saw the same thing, except he wasn't convinced the cyst wasn't torcing. And then he said, "I'd like to operate on you this afternoon." I was speechless. Instead of heading out for a fun, family-filled weekend, we instead rushed home to gather what necessities we could and returned to the hospital. Surgery was scheduled for 4:00, and at 4:30, only 30 minutes late, I was in the O.R.
Waiting for relief.
I understand the surgery was routine. The doctor's suspicions were confirmed, as the cyst had torced at least seven times (not a good thing) but it was out of my body, and that was the main thing. Our family was able to head out to Sarasota only a day later. While I've definitely not been feeling well, I'm glad the surgery is behind me rather than ahead of me. I've enjoyed spending time visiting with family and doing one of my other favorite activities:
Believe it or not, it's a shawl.

So, this Thanksgiving is different than any other I've experienced. I am truly thankful for the miracles of modern medicine. I'm praying for healing, and I'm resting in His Grace. I look forward to feeling better and am hoping this never happens again. I pray that your Thanksgivings are filled to the full with blessing upon blessing!

Friday, November 15, 2013


I never realized when I moved to Florida that I would become the crazy cat lady. That seems to be the case, however. When our family came down to Florida five years ago, we came with one cat. Jasper, our sweet kitty, was acquired unbeknownst to me by my husband on a blustery October evening while he took the children out to trick-or-treat. He saw her under a vehicle and she tugged at his heart strings. Cold, frightened, and hungry, this tiny grey cat was too great a temptation to resist so he scooped her up and took her home with us. We had just lost our previous cat and were still in mourning. While he was thus engaged, I was serving in our church bookstore, blissfully unaware of the future litter box demands to be once again placed on me.
Sweet Jasper, begging to be let out.
I quickly fell in love with this little cat, and she has been my friend and companion ever since.

Not long after we moved to Florida, though, we found another cat. This one, while very sweet, was quite wild. We watched her and observed that she was pregnant. Because of that, we called her Mama. Mama gave birth to her kittens somewhere in the community, and, as things would have it, she quickly became pregnant again. I'm not the most brilliant at math, but it didn't take me long to realize that a pregnant feral cat can quickly become several pregnant feral cats, so we decided to trap her as soon as we could and rescue her kittens for adoption. As luck would have it, she and her daughter from her earlier batch (we named her Fluff) both gave birth together. Mama had her kittens under my office window. She had ten orange tabbies!

Thus began the marmalade round-up. Between our neighbor and us (with our neighbor the most involved), we managed to capture all 15 kittens. Yes, 15, as her daughter, Fluff managed to have babies at the same time. Given that they were all orange marmalades, I suspect some incestuous activity, but nonetheless, all the kittens were duly captured. Mama and Fluff were successfully spayed, and all the kittens were adopted out.
Ginger, Mama's or Fluff's baby is now our baby.
One of the kittens, which we named Ginger, came home with us. Our house officially grew by one more indoor kitten, and two more (still wild but non-breeding) feral cats, namely Mama and Fluff.

Which brings me to today. Last week, I managed to capture a robust male our daughter affectionately christened "Tippy." I scratched the active plans to instead drive the new guy north to First Coast No More Homeless Pets, Two days later we came home with him. No longer locked in his love of the ladies, he quickly settled in for home life.
My original plans were to do what we did with Mama and Fluff: catch, neuter, and release; however, this guy doesn't seem to want to leave. He's as gentle as they come and happy to be out of the crazy wild cat life. But now we have THREE cats, plus the two "wild" ones! I think somewhere along the line I crossed over to crazy, but for the life of me, I can't figure out how I got there. I'm going to blame my family.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Shining Moments

This past weekend, I experienced something very special. Very early on Sunday morning, I sneaked out of the house with my oldest son and drove to the seaside. Ostensibly, we were there to view the annular solar eclipse at sunrise. I had ulterior motives, however. The eclipse was simply the mechanism to allow me special, unhurried time with my son.

He's growing up way faster than I ever imagined when I first took him home from the hospital, lo these sixteen years ago. All my children are. And I'm finding that in this growth and development process, I'm falling in love with the not-quite-yet-adult person he is. I like to listen to his insights. I enjoy hearing him laugh. And his hugs are heavenly!

So with my thinly veiled educational opportunity before us, we bravely (or unwisely) left the house shortly after six clad in untidy sweat pants and t-shirts and headed east where we were forced to stop about 20 minutes later lest we tumble into the Atlantic. And wearing our super cool solar viewing glasses...
Looking good, mama!
we were treated to this:

You can just barely see the "bite" out of the sun. This was towards the end.
This is what I imagine it means to have life, abundantly. This is the good stuff. It's not the possessions, the stuff, the minutiae of life. It's people. It's the opportunity to love and live and serve. And it's the delight of a mother over her son. Jesus said it best. "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you" (Luke 6:38, NIV). I am blessed beyond measure. The path less traveled has been the one to challenge and bless me over and above what I ever imagined.

And for thirty chilly minutes spent on a nearly deserted beach, I reveled in it.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Dressing Up

My two youngest kids had a great time dressing up in costumes last night to do the annual candy collection thing. I had two doctors in the house: the 11th Doctor from Dr. Who, and a medieval plague doctor. My daughter grumpily informed me at the completion of her rounds that no one knew what a medieval plague doctor was, so I congratulated her on informing them. 
Does anyone need a doctor?

No outfit is complete without a sonic screwdriver!

While my youngest were out doing their thing, my oldest was keeping watch with his friend over the kiddos visiting the house. They had a great time checking out all the little princesses, sumo wrestlers, and warriors (and I suspect helping themselves to the stash of candy) while I took their offering of pumpkin seeds from their carving efforts and roasted them into spicy treats. 
Who's eating candy? We're not eating any candy! No ma'am!

Out of these...

came these!
I hope everyone had a safe evening. Ours was very peaceful, complete with happy kids. Now that November is here, I'm looking forward to even more happy memories and cooler (hopefully) weather!