Here we are, just about a week into 2017. I feel as if I floated through the parties, family gatherings, and holidays right into the New Year without realizing just how quickly time was passing or even having time to reflect on the events of the past year. Now that we’re nearly an entire week into 2017 I feel reflection is long overdue.
Last year was a complicated one for me, bringing with it as many ups as downs, highs as lows. After moving back East for a career opportunity for my husband (and to be closer to home, family, and friends) late the year before (2015), our family spent 2016 falling in love with the quaint coastal community we live in. Despite having known each other for over 20 years, in March of 2016 we celebrated our first wedding anniversary. March was a great month for me because in addition to celebrating my anniversary with my husband, I was published for the first time by ScaryMommy.com (http://www.scarymommy.com/infertility-after-first-child/)!
The Spring continued to treat us well. As the Earth came back to life blooming with beautiful and vibrant colors and life, our son received the Sacrament of his First Holy Communion. Sitting in our Church, surrounded by our family and friends while watching my son receive his Communion was one of the proudest moments of my life. My heart is as full today remembering that May-day in Church as it was then. We were fortunate enough to enjoy a family vacation just a week after our son’s Communion, where we connected with family and friends we hadn’t seen in quite some time. Perhaps the greatest blessing of 2016 came merely by chance. A tremendously thoughtful friend of my husband and mine invited us over for morning coffee. Upon arrival we were introduced to another couple also over for morning coffee and we immediately hit it off. Since that morning the four of us have become very close friends. My husband enjoys golfing with the gentlemen we met thanks to that fateful coffee date, and the Mrs. has become my dearest, most trusted friend over this past year. The four of us enjoy casual dinners at home just as much as fancy dinners out; we simply enjoy each others’ company. Our boys are the same age and have a heartwarming friendship that I hope continues to grow and develop as they do. I’ll forever be thankful to our friend for arranging that coffee date!
Spring turned to Summer and I took a part-time job. Our son decided to learn to sail across the street from my workplace and everything seemed to be falling into place wonderfully. I loved my job. I had a great team of co-workers and my schedule couldn’t have been better. Working three days a week left me plenty of time to spend at the beach (less than a mile from our home) with my little guy and friends. For a while, this was exactly how things were going, and I was loving every minute of it.
And then it all changed.
One mid-July morning I woke up for work with terrible stomach pain. Being the assistant manager on duty that day, I had no choice but to go to work. I would never dream of leaving my co-workers without coverage. As my day progressed the pain intensified. I finally called my husband toward the end of my shift and asked him to pick our son up from his sailing lesson and to be ready to bring me to the emergency room. The pain was worse than labor pain, its indescribable beyond that. I finally completed my duties at work and had my husband drop me off at the hospital. I was in so much pain, I didn’t want my son to see me lose control and get scared. Eight hours and a CT Scan later and the local hospital informed me “everything looks good,” and sent me home with anti nausea and pain medicine. I knew they were wrong, but it was the middle of the night so I called my husband and went home, foolishly trying to sleep. The next morning both my husband and I received multiple calls from the hospital stating the radiologist had made an error when reading my CT Scan and that I needed to get back to the hospital ASAP so that I could be transported to the closest Trauma Level 1 Hospital in the state where I would require emergency surgery for a rare condition called intussuseption that creates small bowel obstructions and will kill the part of the bowel affected if not treated right away. We did exactly as we were instructed to and I had surgery that day.
I never fully recovered from that surgery. From that surgery an ulcer was found and I was hospitalized and put on aggressive IV medication to treat it because it was thinning to the point of perforation. After treating the ulcer my team of doctors noticed my weight was rapidly declining, and I was continually complaining of chronic nausea and vomiting. Upon conducting an endoscopy, it was discovered that my esophagus was narrowed with scar tissue to the point that almost no solid food was passing through, hence the naseau and vomiting. My nationally acclaimed GI doctor stretched my esophagus and placed a balloon stint in order to open it up and hopefully “fix” my issues. This was September.
By October I still wasn’t better and my weight was even lower; concerningly lower. My surgeon ordered another endoscopy where yet another obstruction was discovered. I was scheduled for yet another surgery. This time was going to be the last time I told myself. I would will myself better if I had to. As it turned out, I woke up feeling 100% better in the recovery room. It had really worked! I was thrilled! Then about three weeks passed and the pain and the nausea and the vomiting returned.
About three weeks ago the pain was so bad I ended up back in the emergency room for fear that I had yet another bout of intussuseption. My fears were validated and I was sent for an endoscopy so that they could get an “inside view.” In addition to the intussuseption another ulcer has been found, my weight is at an all time low, and I’m chronically dehydrated and malnourished. My husband and I have an appointment with my surgeon next week to sign the waivers for another surgery. This time will be different, though. This time we’ve agreed that, while the recovery may be worse and take longer, he will perform an open surgery. This way, he has a clear view of anything and everything that may need to be repaired including the chronic ulcers and the relentless, invasive scar tissue that covers my internal organs like ivy on the facade of an old home.
Reflecting back on last year I could have allowed all of these issues to ruin my year, or to have me deem 2016 the “worst year ever,”but I won’t. I received many, many blessings, including starting this blog and learning to be more confident in my writing.I learned that I am enough. Yes, I will always strive to improve; to be a better mother, wife, and writer. However, at the end of the day, I am a good person just the way I am. I love with my whole heart, I’m thoughtful, and I’m honest; I’m me. Through all of the struggles I’ve had incredibly supportive people by my side, supporting me in ways I never even thought of. I can’t thank them enough, but they know I will forever remember and be grateful for the generosity, thoughtfulness, and kindness. With all this said, goodbye 2016. Welcome 2017!