Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A lovely little surprise.

The pastor and his wife from my parents' church sent me 'Get Well Soon' flowers! 

I was laying on my parents' couch, watching 'Love it or List it' when the phone range. It was a lady at the front door saying that she had a delivery for me. 

"For me? I don't even live here. Awesome!"

I opened the door, and waited for the lady to get off the elevator; in her hands was an explosion of prettiness. I thought they may have been from my little sister, since she's the only person who knows my parents' address and would send me flowers here. 

It was a lovely surprise, that really brightened my morning.

Thank you.

#GoodbyeGallbladder the post-op update

I just woke up with stabbing pains where my gallbladder used to be.


Today is my fourth day of being gallbladder free. After nearly nine months of agony, I finally had a laparoscopic procedure to remove my gallbladder last Friday.

While I'm glad that the faulty organ is gone, I'm surprised as how uncomfortable my recovery has been.

I have staples in my stomach, bruising around my wounds, and gas in my joints. I walk slowly and hunched over, and I nearly die when I'm a passenger of a car that hits a bump or a pothole.

At the risk of sounding naive, I didn't expect the aftermath to hurt as much as it does. In fact, I envisioned myself picking up right where I left off on Friday morning, before I headed to Grace Hospital for my "day surgery."

I thought taking a week off of work was being generous.

I waited so long for this procedure that I forgot to take into account that I would require healing time. Nothing, I thought, could be more painful than the nasty gallbladder attacks that I had grown somewhat accustomed to during the extended wait. This part was supposed to be smooth sailing.

Every single person who shared their experience having their gallbladder removed expressed how much relief this procedure brought them. Most told me that they were back to normal sooner than later. While it's only been a couple of days for me; and I am getting better every day, sans this stabbing setback that woke me up this morning, I just thought I'd be back to normal at this point.

I have taken up residence at my mom and dad's place since I had my surgery. I feel like a teenager again; reliant on mom and dad for everything. I don't even have my car right now, but I'm OK with that. I don't feel like going anywhere anyway; I feel and look like I've been through the ringer, and I have been wearing different variations of pyjamas since I've been here.

All of my complaining aside, I'm glad this procedure is far less invasive than it used to be. Back in the day, my mom told me they would have to cut a person extensively to remove the toxic organ. Recovery time was a lot longer, and far more painful. I'm lucky.

For the non-squeamish, here is a picture of my post-surgery torso. It looks gross, but ironically, one of the most painful and uncomfortable aspects of this process is probably the carbon gas that they pumped into me, that has settled into my body.

If you've ever had gas in your shoulder, you understand how uncomfortable that can be!

Belly button. Makes me want to barf.
Thanks for all the well wishes; I'm excited to heal and not have to worry about my darn gallbladder anymore! Most of all, I'm excited to get back to the gym!

Bloated. Bruised. Broken.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Find a Nice Man: Insightful tips from my 93-year-old grandma.

I went to visit my grandma at her nursing home yesterday; we had a lovely time with a couple other family members, just talking and eating Icelandic cake. When it was time to leave she hugged me and whispered in my ear “make sure you find a nice man.”

Oh amma.

While I am used of this type of family encouragement, yesterday’s sound advice was a little more poignant than usual because it was the only familiar aspect of our entire conversation. In spite of her dementia, my grandma still remembered to tell me that I need to find myself a nice fella. It was hilarious and comfortable.

It’s been years since I’ve brought a man I was dating to meet my grandma, and in turn, it’s been years that she has been telling me to find myself a nice man. In those years my grandma has even made an effort to help me find Mr. Right by telling any and every man she encounters about me; her single granddaughter. 

Ah yes, the orderlies and doctors at her nursing home; waiters; clerks; other people’s grandchildren; and even the paramedics who have helped her when she has landed in the emergency room for dizzy spells and heart palpitations; they’ve all heard of me. What’s more, is that sometimes I have even been with her when she has told these men about me. To date her efforts have been awkward and futile, but her persistence is admirable. 

My grandma really wants me to find Mr. Right... Or, just Mr. Anybody. I’m not even sure anymore.

While I used to get annoyed at these constant suggestions (My grandma isn’t my only family member who wants me to find Mr. Right), I now find myself looking forward to this suggestion; it’s one of the only familiar things left we have to talk about. Her dementia has stolen so many of her memories, making her thoughts colourful and not always coherent, and yet her mission to find me love is still in the forefront of her mind.

At the end of the day, I will take her advice. When I do find myself a nice man I will make sure that she is one of the first to know. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Mom & Me Mother's Day 2013

I used to have this reoccurring nightmare when I was a little girl; A green-faced witch, much like the one in the Wizard of Oz, would snatch me out of my bed and carry me away from my family. Over and over again this cackling voice would recite the same phrase; “Witches are taking you away, witches are taking you away...”

It would scare me so badly that I’d wake up and creep into my mom and dad’s room. It was the only place I knew I’d be safe from the predator. I’d snuggle in with my mom, and practically dare the witches to try and snatch me away from her side. 

Back then my mom was like my armor, she protected me from all the evils that I knew, and could make everything better.

As I grew, my mom’s ability to make everything better started to diminish. Not because of her, but because as I grew, my world got bigger, and she was no longer up against scary figments of my imagination. No, she was up against the very real experiences, emotions, and people that were expanding my world.

My adventurous childhood turned into my tumultuous adolescence. The older I got, the less I felt I needed my mother. Yet, she still hung on (sometimes to my dismay) and continued to protect me, even when I didn’t want her to. 

But like I said, she couldn’t protect me from everything, no matter how badly she wanted to or how hard she tried. Time and time again, like all of us in life, experiences, emotions and people would hurt me; some leaving deep battle wounds that my mother would have to tend to.

If she couldn’t protect me, she certainly made up for it in helping me mend my wounds and move on.

To this day my mom has a mantra that she lives by; “Forward Focus,” or “F Squared” as she sometimes calls it. She’s a firm believer in moving forward in life, and never stopping, no matter what obstacles stand in your way. 

She is strong, determined, and resilient. She is the type of woman who literally makes lemonade out of the lemons that life dishes out. A perfect example of this is when she was diagnosed with MS a few years ago. Rather than get lost in this disease that has no cure, she took her new reality in stride and used it as motivation to start running. Her logic, that she may one day lose the function of her legs, was enough to make her do something she’d never done before, but had always wanted to do.

She started running and eventually signed up for a 10k race, which she completed like a champ.

I’m lucky to be my mother’s daughter. While I learned a long time ago that she can’t protect me from the evils of life, she can certainly help me see these people, experiences and emotions for what they are; character builders and chances for new opportunities that we never knew we wanted, or that we never thought we could accomplish until we were forced to. 

My mom stabilizes me and is constantly reminding me that we are not defined by the things that happen to us, rather these are just defining moments that we accept and move forward from. 

Forward focus.

In a sense I guess my mom is still protecting me, just in a different way.