Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Six Weeks: Pain, Progress and Pushing

I spent a good part of today in pain at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital and later in my doctor's office at MISI. I learned a lot about myself, medical professionals and pain.

Ignorance was bliss.

I started getting sick last night on the way back from from working in New Orleans. I never felt it was a complication of the Lap Band. I thought is was a gallbladder attack. It did seem like gallbladder problems, but I was wrong.

The Lord sent some wonderful people my way. They didn't do what they were paid to do, but what I truly feel what they are called to do. It started with a Dr. John Whitaker who was on call at night and had patience with my pain-induced babbling. My former victim (see cheesy apology) Scott Rogers came through early with a prayer and comforting words while I wondered how sick I was becoming. Kristi and Genie work for MISI and I'm not sure what their job descriptions are -- I just choose to call them lifesavers and angels of mercy. Genie kept working until she secured the earliest possible ultrasound to look at the questionable gallbladder. A really sweet lady in radiology worked hard to get the paperwork processed and even kept walking back and forth to the waiting room because she could tell I was in extreme pain. A dude named Kelley at OLOL had me seen and shot before the end of the lunch hour and ruled out the wrongly accused gallbladder.

Dr. Leblanc was in surgery and his surgery nurse Shari and Genie made me "home-like" comfy while I waited. I could have taken a rare Frances nap if I wasn't hurting and scared by the pain.

Of course there was also hubby Scott, once again driving Miss Crazy, keeping Miss Crazy focused and helping her get up and down and up and down.

Why mention these people by name, one-by-one. Well, I guess because it takes a village in this process. If you think it's about one person with a strong desire to preservere you are only partially right. You must learn to trust on the fly because strangers must become trusted allies in moments -- sometimes it takes a village to survive. If I face one cold brick wall along the way, it could be enough to keep me alone, suffering in silence and not progressing.

From pain come progress.

Although gallbladder attacks are common after rapid weight loss, I have a lot of gall and its bladder is functioning fine. It only took Super Doc (my new name for Karl Leblanc) to locate the pesky perpitrator: The hernia.

A couple of months ago I remarked how cool it was for me to have a bariatric surgeon who was also a world-renowned hernia repair specialist. I had no idea just what a blessing that combination would prove to be.

I don't know the medical description of what happened, but with a "poop" something out of place was popped back into place and even though it was an instance of pain, I started feeling much better shortly afterwards.

Unfortunately, the surgery we hoped would wait until my weight loss process was over can't wait. I don't avoid pain, but I do reverence it a little and when Super Doc said it would hurt more than the Lap Band surgery, my blood did run a little cold. It's not the worst pain in the world and it's not the worst pain I've ever experience, but as a point of reference goes, the six-week-old pain still rings fresh.

Warning to the staff of Vista Surgical Hospital: SHE'S COMING BAAAAACK! There's a strange solace there because it's small and personal -- like I'm going home.

Dr. LeBlanc will perform my surgery after returning from Europe to address medical gatherings on innovations in hernia repair (Looking for links). I consider myself to be, well, blessed. You see, luck is a tool of those who would prefer to trust chance over Divine Destiny. (Hmmm...a that's another column)

So, I'll prepare for surgery next month. I will use the time between now and then to finish my house, move out, move in, plan work projects and, hopefully, lose another 20 pounds. The latter is my personal goal in hopes that the surgery will be easier with less of me to fit back into the repaired hernia. Less pain is better than any other alternative save no pain.

At six weeks, I've lost about 26 pounds. If I can lose 20 pounds, my next surgery weight will be under 300 pounds. It' something to shoot for, but to make it happen I need to start exercising. I left the doctor's office and after a quick appearance at the building inspector's office and I used the remaining sunlight hours to finish painting my baby's room.


Friday, October 01, 2004

I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT: And There's Cheese All Over It

Subhead: I only write about men named Scott

I'm sitting here pondering a cheesy apology that's sorta sweet, but very sincere, while eating a cheesy snack that's both cheesy, cheap and good for me.

There's a beautiful soul out there whose spirit, like my Triscuit, has been smeared with cheese. I had no idea how blessed I was going to be when God sent Scott Rogers my way. He's funny and so over the top that his shoes have no scuff marks. Scott is a motivational speaker and he leads the NooMee support group meetings in which I have recently become a part. My sin is now clear: I said Scott led a fun, "cheesy" event and then remarked how much I enjoyed it.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I plead temporary inAmericanity. Forgive us, Scott, for we are Americans and know not what we do when we throw around cheesy adjectives like sharp Cheddar sprinkled on our nachoes. We like cheese and after life knocks us around all day long, a little cheesy humor and fun environments may be just what the doctor ordered.

I recently discovered that I may have been insulting. Scott motivated my Scott and caught his attention by creating an environment at NooMee that was so casual the healthy truth was not dull and preachy -- that's not easy. Scott motivated me to be human enough to give support a try -- that's a miracle. I expected sugar-free syrup: all the stickiness with none of the of the sweet rewards. I was so wrong. (If you're keeping count, I'm been wrong so many times through this experience I'm starting to question my genius status.)

In Scott the movitator, we find a heart strong enough to reach out a hand, but so human that he also lends a tear. God eases human suffering everyday, but His hands are tied. Instead, he uses people like Scott. But Scott's not unique, he's available. God doesn't use the rare, He uses the available.

I said I wrote this while pondering cheesy and eating cheese. I'm finding cheese to be utterly amazing and diverse. Some cheeses make delicate desserts while others form meaty entrees. Cheese can be described as sharp, mild, creamy and stinky. It may be the diverse nature of cheese that makes "cheesy" something totally different -- good or bad -- to different people. Maybe I'm just smoking Brie.

Strangely enough, I've been eating triscuits and cheese through this internal discussion. Well, I'm talking and eating cheese with (my) Scott. Spray cheese has become emergency protein rescue. At 8 grams of protein per serving, I carry it in my purse like medicine. Ya never know when you might find yourself trapped on the bridge over Lake Ponchatrain with nothing to ease the shakes but a can of spray cheese. Oh, sorry, that's right, this is just me.

Tonight, in the strange world of Frances, thanks is being given for God's special blessings: Two Scotts, wonderful support and cheese.