Tag Archives: Pain

Bucket List

18 Jul

I have been thinking a lot lately, not unreasonably, about the things I would like to be doing.  Things I would like to do if I were feeling better, and things I would like to do once I am feeling better. (That is right O, crankiest of pancreases, the day is coming, beware.) So, I thought maybe I would pen my reflections here.  As the days seem to be speeding by faster and faster, leading into my surgery, and the doctors appointments get further and further apart, my level of fear rises.  It’s focusing on the good things, the things I will soon be able to accomplish and try that helps me regain my composure.

1. Spin really excellent yarn using my hand spindle.  My wonderful hubby gave me a hand spindle for Christmas last year, it was almost a month before my pancreas attacks became daily.  I played with it and congratulated myself for spinning something slightly resembling thick rope after several hours.  I would love to knit with some hand-dyed and hand spun lace weight yarn.  I have finally learned to knit and crochet at a level where I feel like I could do justice to a lovely hand-spun yarn.  Now its just a matter of getting the spinning under my belt. That being said…

2. Learn to use a spinning wheel.  I have heard that there is no contest in the efficiency of using a spinning wheel, I can’t wait until I have the money to get a beautiful second-hand spinning wheel and invest some time and patience in to learning how to use it.

3. Make a hand spindle, knitting needles and a case for all my fiber art tools from scratch.  That’s right, I want a matching set! With little clay ends, I am so excited to sit down and do this! It will take about $50 and a TON of patience.  But using my hand forged tools will bring me so much joy! I can’t wait to knit my first shawl with my hand-made needles.

4. Learn to throw pots.  One of my greatest regrets about high school is not taking a 3D art class.  I don’t know when or how I decided that it was more important to take a second second language, but somehow I did.  Now, I feel like I have a better handle on priorities and finally learning to throw pots is one of them!

5. Harvest Natural Clay for throwing pots.  There are a lot of trends that I don’t really buy into.  Localism, suffice it to say, is not one of them.  I love the local movement, as far as I’m concerned it is the way we were “supposed” to live.  Local honey has recently been proven to help with allergies (please don’t get me started on my aspirations to own a bee hive…) then there are the economic perks in buying local produce, but it is also safe to assume that things grown in the soil  where you live will be richer in the nutrients that you need to survive in such a place.  Also, it is just SUPER cool, to know that the things you are taking into your body and home are a part of the place you are from integrates you into the community and connects you with your city.  For me it is a part of feeling “at home” with where I live, it literally becomes a part of you.  So, I don’t have a real great health reason for wanting to harvest clay, but I figure it all fits together in one way or another.  It’s just one more element in my  fascination with seeing things through beginning to end!

6. Become a foraging expert. I love reminiscing about being a kid in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  One of my fondest memories is afternoons spent scouring the forest floors with my grandparents for ramps, morels, wintergreen, wild asparagus and huckleberries.  Of course, much like with Halloween candy, someone was always there to inspect our spoils.  This is an experience I desperately want to share with my future kids! Nothing quite compares to having a meal of steel heads, asparagus and morels that you found that day (and lets not forget the raspberry huckleberry crisp for dessert!). Mm, my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

7. Go on a survival trip. Mostly just to prove I could do it.  I want to be dropped in the middle of the northern woods with a back pack of essentials and just go for it.  Sleeping under the stars and catching all my food for a week.

8. Get a tattoo. I think this will come soon after my surgery.  I toyed with the idea of getting a tattoo for years, but I never felt I had anything substantial enough to represent.  Overcoming this illness and getting on with the rest of my life finally feels like THE thing.  I’m not sure what my tattoo will be yet, or even when I will feel up to getting it, but I finally feel like there is a good reason to.

9. Make wine and beer from scratch, including home-grown/foraged ingredients.  Yes, I know I will probably not be able to drink much wine after my surgery, but this is one that is going to stay on the list anyway.  Someday I will make my own.

10. Invest in really making my company take off.   I wish I could say that my company, The Historium wasn’t at a temporary stand still, right at the peak of my media exposure!! Unfortunately, the way I have been feeling, working two full-time jobs just hasn’t been possible.  After this surgery is over, I will have somewhere between four months and a year that I will be unable to work, I’m truly hoping during this time I will be able to invest some serious time in determining where I want my company to go and how I am going to get it there.

Of course, there are so many (many, many, many) more things I can list that I would like to do, but this is a good start.  A top ten if you will (or even if you won’t).  I am not belittling or forgetting the things I’ve accomplished so far, but sometimes it is hard to remember that this will be over soon and keep that spark alive for the future.  So, for me this is a little reminder!  Something to focus on until the future gets here!

Call to Arms

24 Jun

So we’re at war in our household with one Bad Pancreas. Admittedly, my weak point is asking for help, but I have to confide that I can’t take on the little guy on my own.   As the months leading to my surgery turn to weeks (and days, and so forth) I’m going to need a lot of support.  So, I’m asking:

  1.  For Prayer.  We desperately need prayer, in every single aspect of our lives.
    • We need prayer on September 12, on the day of surgery,  for guidance for the doctors.
    •  We need prayer after September 12, for healing.
    • We need prayer leading up to and following the surgery for our financial well-being.
    •  We need prayer for our fundraiser, we know God will provide for us to have this operation, but any security we can muster will exponentially help our certainty that we are doing the right thing and allow us to have peace about our decisions.
    • Prayer for our family and friends, this is going to be a hard time for everyone involved.  We’ve been told by the doctors over and over again that it is almost a community affair, this surgery affects everyone, it is going to be a hard, long surgery, with a hard, long recovery.
  2. For Financial Help. This is by far the hardest thing to ask for.  I know with the economic climate the way it is, many of you can’t afford to help.  Please know that I understand, and I’m not asking you for money.  I appreciate anything you might be able to contribute, whether it is a one time prayer, or help spreading the word to those who may feel led to give.
    • Social Media.  One of the best tools we have for raising money is Facebook and e-mail.  In order to raise any money at all we have to be exposed to potential donors.  To do this, we need all the help we can get, from sharing events, status updates, and pages, to initiating your friends to donate their status message for the day with our fundraising link (http://www.giveforward.org/evicttaraspancreas). If you have a blog, please feel free to share the links to this site and the one above, as well as my story and any images.  We have a limited amount of time to make as big of an impact as we can with this campaign and I’m being really up front here because we simply can’t do it without your help.
    • Mail.  If you have access to a list of addresses through your church, business or organization who you think might be inclined to help out our cause, we would love to send them a letter explaining how they could help if they were so led, including the time and place of our eventual event.
    • Fundraising Event. I’m completely at a loss here, if anyone has any experience with these things, I would so appreciate your advice.  I’m sure we’re going to need a location, food, advertisement, possibly people to help run it, and I have no clue what else. I’m open to ANY advice!!
    • Donations or  Merchandise Purchase. If you are interested in contributing financially you can do so here at our charity website OR you can purchase Bad Pancreas Cartoon Merchandise at the Shop.  We get a 30% commission on merchandise sales, and 100% of anything donated to the charity site.  If you have any advice or ideas on how to make this drive more successful, please, please contact us!
  3. For Support After the Surgery.
    • Watering the Plants and Feeding the Cat during the Surgery Week. I know my darling husband will do his best to take care of my patio garden and our giant fat cat, however, I’m sure it will be far more overwhelming for him than he or I realize.  To this point, if anyone would be willing to stop by once a day for the one or two weeks I will be staying in the hospital during and after the surgery, I’m sure it would be an incredible relief.
    • Spending time at the house.  I know this one is tricky.  My doctor asked us if we could find someone to stick around while my husband is at work, and essentially babysit me my first few weeks home.  If you have any spare time you’d be willing to spend hanging out at my humble abode post surgery, we’d be so thankful.  We would be more than happy to provide food and sleeping arrangements. If you can stay more than a day, let us know and we will start looking for some simple furniture to make our spare bedroom inhabitable!
    • Running Errands.  I won’t be able to drive for the first few months, and I’m sure Rob is going to have his plate full taking care of me and working his insane schedule.  Which might leave a few neglected tasks that need to be tended to.  We may need someone to run and grab something from the pharmacy or help me get to a dr. appt.  every now and again.
    • Silly Domestic Stuff.  Like possibly providing a couple meals for Rob and whoever is able to stick around and help out that week.  I won’t be able to stand to cook for myself or anyone else, at first I will be on feeding tubes, so this won’t be a huge deal for me.  But, it might be nice for other people to be taken care of.  If you would be able to do this during the first month or two post-surgery, that would be amazing.
I know this is a lot.  Truth be told, we can’t do any of this but by a miracle of God.  Anything you are able to contribute, even just thoughts or prayers will be more than sufficient.  We love you all so much.  We feel your support all the time, and we are seeing God answer your and our prayers each day.  I couldn’t have made it this far without you, and I know you’ll be with me through this whole super, major, life-changing experience.  I can’t wait to share it with you all.

Bad to the Bone.

21 Jun

For any of you have hadn’t heard, last week was a crazy week.  So overwhelming, that I have been attempting to write and re-write this post for most of the weekend and the week so far. Yeah, that bad.

Part of me wants to sugar-coat it, another part of me realizes that if this blog is going to help anyone going through this situation or understanding someone going through this situation, sugar-coating must be strictly avoided.  So, I’m going to attempt to share what’s been going on briefly and to the point and with as little complaining as possible.

Bad Pancreas

My Pancreas is Bad to the Bone.

Starting Friday my symptoms (nausea, vomiting, dizziness, stabbing stomach pains,  weakness, dull back pains) began escalating, and continued escalating.  My husband planned a lovely overnight trip to Duluth, which was foiled by my Bad Pancreas.  After the three hour drive there, I managed a measly two hour stay, an hour of which was spent attempting to recuperate from our short, slow boardwalk stroll in a dark dingy Grandma’s dining room.  A travesty considering the incredibly gorgeous spring day hanging over the lake.  The next day, back in our south suburb, much the same, a walk around the mall had me monitoring each wall for the nearest garbage can for the inevitable purge of what little I had been able to eat that day.  All of the preceding culminating on Monday night, after a stint of nearly 24 hours unable to retain any kind of fluid (i.e. I was EXTREMELY sick).  Eventually, it was determined that I needed to visit our friendly local Emergency Room to reinstate some friendly H2o into my system, as well as manage the pain that had likely caused my neighbors to consider calling the cops to control the noise. (Poor neighbors.)

The emergency room was unusually pleasant.  The doctor was kind, and after advising me to check in, willingly allowed me to attempt to go home once my pain was managed and I was able to keep down a few sips of water.  Six hours later we were back at home, poor Rob was attempting to get ready for work, and stubborn me hadn’t yet admitted that this trip to the ER meant I would need to miss work myself.  By 3 p.m. my prescriptions from the ER had been filled, I popped the Zofran (anti-nausea) since I was having a flash-back to the troubles of the previous days and subsequently some percocet.  By 6 p.m. there was a sharp pain in my throat, by 1 a.m. I awoke with the sensation of suffocating, my throat and nose swollen so much I could barely swallow the benadryl I assumed were necessary (since, I was guessing this was an allergic reaction).

Within 15 minutes or so, the swelling had desisted enough for me to return to sleep (surely, also aided by the benadryl).  Tuesday I began to show signs of fever, sure enough 102 F.  Fantastic.  Now the past 7 days I’ve spent in bed with what appears to be a flu I picked up in my friendly neighborhood Emergency Room all because of my Bad Pancreas.

Admittedly, I did not expect to be nearly comatose for over a week because of a wee little flu bug.  But along with it came a slew of insecurities all its own.  Of course I wasn’t nearly as laid up as I will be after surgery, and this was hard enough! However will I cope? I mean, this was a haze I was previously unaware I was capable of having, bills did not get paid, dishes did not get washed, father’s day cards did not get mailed. Whew!  Next, If I was this taken out by a simple flu and some pancreas pain, what is it going to be like when I get my guts ripped out for surgery? Am I prepared for that kind of physical torment? Can I  prepare myself? I haven’t even prepared my house or my body.. what am I going to do to prepare mentally?

Thus, begins a state of Tara emergency, and the creation of the Tara Emergency Preparedness Plan (yeah, I know, that makes little to no sense, let’s just call it the remnant fever babble and move on to my explanation…) I have a list. A three page-er of To-Dos broken up into pre-surgery stages.  Let’s just say, this bad boy is not just a little overwhelming, but I am feeling like I have my head on straight now at least…  Like I might possibly be able to manage doing this… One baby step at a time.

A very, very Bad Pancreas

12 Jun

Very Bad Pancreas
Today I have been reminded exactly why I want to evict my very, very bad pancreas. Pain, owwie-ow-ow-ow. I do not like this.

I know why I NEED to get my pancreas removed. It is wreaking havoc on my body. My liver is damaged from his shenanigans, my stomach is struggling with gastroparesis, my esophagus is damaged from my body rejecting food, my teeth, skin, hair and nails are all suffering from this disease. Not to mention that it is wreaking havoc on my life.

On my very best day, if I’m very, very careful what I eat (soup and smoothies with nearly-no-fat) and very, very careful not to do much else (couch and remote) I can sometimes (if I’m very, very lucky) imagine my life is normal. But, in all reality, this isn’t normal for me at all, I L-O-V-E to be out exploring, reading books, doing crafts, baking, cooking, gardening. I can’t focus on much anymore, pain and fatigue rule most of my time now.

Yes, I feel like my very, very bad pancreas is physically burning my body to the ground.

Of course, I’m luckier than some, even though I feel terrible about saying no to my husband when he wants to go to the mall, or skipping on dinner when someone cooks for me, I know it could be worse.


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