Turning on a Dime

The road of life is full of twists and turns, smooth highways, scenic back-roads, one-lane construction zones, and giant pot-holes.  Sometimes we see the twists and turns coming before we get there.  Sometimes we fall face-first into a pot-hole we swear wasn’t there 2 seconds earlier.

A month ago I gave birth to my very sweet, undeniably gorgeous baby girl.  This curve in the road was one we saw coming far before we got there.  We were prepared and ready.  Recovering from delivery, dealing with near-sleepless nights, diapers, swaddling, exhaustion, getting our other three offspring acclimated to a newborn in the house…we knew it was coming, and we were ready for it.  Not to mention, we’d been on this stretch of road three other times.  We’re veterans.   We could navigate it with our eyes closed.

Enter unseen pothole.  Or rather, unexpected sinkhole.

About two weeks after Little Miss Took was born, I ended up in the ER with ridiculously bad pain in my upper abdomen.  The scariest part was I could barely breathe.  At one point, while we were waiting for the paramedics to show up at our house, I was saying my goodbyes to the Hubster.  It was that bad.  There’s only one other time in my life that I’ve been that scared – and that involved a BNSF train engine tangoing with the car I was riding in.

I’ll save that life-can-turn-on-a-dime story for another day.

After blood tests, ultrasounds, and CT scans, it was decided that my gall bladder was harboring stones and that it had to come out.  Not pleasant, but doable.  I’d be in and out of the hospital in the same day, and breastfeeding Took would only be put on hold for the duration of the surgery and recovery from anesthesia.  I was scared, but I could handle it.

Curves ahead.

We had to wait a few days for the surgery, which gave us plenty of time to make arrangements for the older kids.  It also gave me plenty of time to worry.  My pain tapered off to almost nothing, which I used as a tool to try and convince the Hubster that I didn’t need surgery after all.  Or that we should at least put it off until Miss Took was older.  He wasn’t buying it.  I pouted.

Surgery day came.  It went well.  The gall bladder came out, I woke up, we went home.  Pain meds were consumed, and I was on the mend.  A week went by, and I woke up feeling fabulous.

Wow, I thought.  I feel great.  My gall bladder must have really needed to come out.  I tweeted about how great I felt, bragged about how I was back and ready to conquer the world.  I played outside with my 3 year old (we made some ridiculously awesome chalk art).  I made a kick-ass lunch for the kids (something I hadn’t felt good enough to do in weeks).  We went on a walk around the neighborhood (something I hadn’t had the energy to do in months).  We came home, SweetZ laid down for a nap, the boys got busy with school, and I nestled in to nurse Took.

Unseen pothole.

Blam.  The pain came back, out of absolutely nowhere.  I called the Hubster, panicking, trying to choke out something coherent with what tiny breaths I could muster.  Thankfully he understood immediately that it was happening again and came straight home.

Now we were back in the ER for the second time in ten days trying to figure out what was causing this pain – again.  It couldn’t be my gall bladder – I didn’t have one of those anymore.

After more tests, more ultrasounds, more x-rays, and some kind of pain meds that made me feel miraculously gooo-oood, we were informed that I had pancreatitis.  Not uncommon after gall bladder surgery, but I’d have to be put in the hospital.

Blarg.

Not just the hospital, but intensive care.

Double blarg.

Where I’d be unable to eat or drink until my lipase numbers were back to normal (normal is anywhere from 0 to 160.  Mine were at 60,000).

Blarg, blarg, blarg.

Which meant that nursing Took would be out of the question.

Blarg to the fourth degree.

Oh, and I was going to be in Medical Intensive Care – the place where really, really bad communicable diseases were being treated.  Not a great place for a newborn and her fragile immune system to hang out.  So we needed to let someone keep her while I was recovering.

B L A R G.

It was this last one that nearly did me in.  Giving up my newborn for someone else to take care of – no matter how good of hands she was in – reduced me to tears and snot.  I didn’t want to do it.  I wanted so badly to be selfish and keep her with me…she’s such a comfort to me, and I wanted her there, in my arms, while I tried to get over this ridiculous fluke of a disease.

In the end, she ended up staying with my sister.  And it was just as well.  Turns out, my body was exhausted from having malfunctioning organs, and I slept almost non-stop.

Curve ahead.

I woke up one afternoon to my doctor standing at the foot of my bed.  I’d been sleeping soundly and dreaming vividly, and when he gently touched my ankle he scared the ca-ca out of me.  A string of involuntary expletives came rushing out of my mouth.  He smiled, kind-of.  I’d nicknamed my doctor Stoic the Vast (if you haven’t seen How To Train Your Dragon, you should) because the dude shows the emotion of a brick wall.  The smile was so fleeting, I wasn’t sure it’d actually happened.  I could have hallucinated it.  I’m telling you, the pain meds they had me on were incredible.

Anyway, it was Wednesday afternoon.  He was there to tell me they’d most likely send me home the next day – my lipase numbers were down to 68.  From 60,000.  He’d never seen anyone recover from pancreatitis that quickly.  I told him I’m an overachiever.

He smiled again.  Kind-of.

Now I’m home, feeling great.  Just a little sore from my surgery, and a little tired from the whole debacle.  Both Took and I survived being away from each other.  My other three sweeties are getting back into the swing of things.  We’re gonna pull out the slip-n-slide later (for them, not me.  Even if I hadn’t just had surgery, I know better than to try belly flopping onto that thing.  Some things are just not meant for adults).  Life, it seems, is finally going to return to the new normal we’d prepared for with the arrival of Miss Took.

But here’s the thing: nothing’s guaranteed.  We live our lives, make our plans, dream about our futures, settle into routines that we think will go on indefinitely.  But really, when life decides to change direction, to turn on that proverbial dime, there’s very little we can do about it except hold on tight to the things that are solid, foundational, in our lives.  Our faith.  Our family.  Our friends.

I owe a big, huge thanks to all of you who were there for me and my fam during these past few weeks.  Thanks for watching and loving on my kids, who were every bit as scared as T and I were.  Thanks for bringing us meals.  Thanks for keeping us company in the hospital.  Thanks for your prayers.  Thanks for your kind words of encouragement.  We have felt cradled and loved by a vast network of kind hearts, and it’s made these bumps in the road less jarring than they ought to have been.

Lots of love,

Myndi

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47 thoughts on “Turning on a Dime

  1. Welcome home and back to good health, Myndi! I had no idea the extent of the challenges you and your family have been facing. When I came up for air from my WIP the last time, you were back home and life was rolling along as it should. My heart goes out to you for the very scary moments you had to experience. Pancreatitis is no laughing matter – as you pointed out so well! You are so right about unexpected bumps in the road and proof positive of the importance in having a strong foundation of faith, family and friends to help face whatever comes our way. *sending cyberhugs*

  2. So glad you’re on the mend, Myndi, and that you have your happy family back together.

    I had no clue this was going on, or I would have added my prayers to the others.

    It’s not unlike watching the video of my stepson’s insane decision to bungee jump. I’m glad I didn’t know it was happening. But, since he was there, in person, in one piece to play the video, I knew he arrived safely on the other end of that “adventure.”

    I thrilled this post is in your voice from the other side of your potholes craters.

  3. I am so HAPPY you are home with your family and feeling better! Been saying lots of prayers for you girl:) You went through some really scary stuff, but wow, if you can overcome all that you can do anything. And as you were going through all this horrific stuff I kept thinking, I never got her that dang guest post! Ugh, I’m hoping for a summer without sink holes!!

  4. I knew a little bit of what was going on but not the whole story. WOWZERS! Girl…that’s insane and I can’t imagine how hard it was to go through all of that at once. Thank gosh you came through like the trooper you are.
    Sending you HUGE hugs and here’s to a long, peaceful and fun summer of feeling healthy and enjoying the family and friends!!!

  5. I’m so HAPPY you are back home and with your sweet family! I have been saying lots of prayers for you girl:) And I kept thinking that I never got that guest post to you, sorry again. Sinkholes, I’m tired of them. Maybe we could make a pact to have a sinkholess summer:) Enjoy your sweet family!!

  6. Myndi,
    I’m glad you’re home and planning to roll out the Slip n Slide for the kiddos. Meanwhile, reading your personal slip n slide put me on the edge of my seat. Scared as I was for you, I enjoyed Vast the Stoic’s reactions–and your reactions to them. Your conclusion is one that bears repeating: “But really, when life decides to change direction, to turn on that proverbial dime, there’s very little we can do about it except hold on tight to the things that are solid, foundational, in our lives. Our faith. Our family. Our friends.”

    It’s clear the absence of a gall bladder and a bout of pancreatitis doesn’t blunt writing skills.

  7. I’m so sorry that you’ve had to go through all that! You are right that we can never predict what is going to happen, so we can’t prepare for it. I think the only thing we have control over is how we react to it. It sounds like you and your family dealt with it head on and with the best possible attitude. I’m so glad you are now back home with your family!

  8. I am so sorry you had to experience that. Pancreatitis is not for the faint of heart. Very painful condition. And to have to go through all of this post-partum must have been horrific. After my second child was born, I experienced severe abdominal pain. They thought it might be appendicitis, and the only thought I could think of was, “What about my baby? How will I breast feed? How can I leave him?” Instant tears. So as a mother (and as a health care provider), I can appreciate how difficult that must have been for you. I’m so glad you were an over-achieving healer and that you are back to feeling well. :)

  9. BIG HUGS!! So happy all is well.
    Of course you are an over-achieving healer and thank god you are!! :)

    Pot holes and sink holes in the road of life..SUCK (been there) but, they really put it all into perspective, don’t they?
    So glad you’re home with your lovies. <3

  10. Somehow I was totally unaware you were going through all this. I pray for all my blogger friends in a general way, but I would have prayed for you specifically if I’d known. Glad you’re okay now, and glad you’re leaving the Slip n Slide to the kids. Shows wisdom.

  11. Been worried, baby girl.

    Saw this post before I went out this morning and just back. Very relieved you’re doing better. Love the description of your doctor, lol! I’ve had some of those over the years! Life never throws us one curve if can throw us five. You’ve superb support and I know it was hard to let go of the baby, but what a fabulous sister.

    The Hubster needs a hug. He’s been through the mill too.

    And you are an overachiever but that’s great! Just know when to step back. Think of all the stuff you now have for writing? Every cloud has a silver lining.

    I’m sending all my love and hugs to you and your family.

    Take it easy and enjoy the small stuff. We’re all here when you’re back to full strength.

    Christinexx

  12. Myndi, I’m so glad you’re finally home and on the mend. My thoughts and prayers will continue so that you stay healthy and happy with your family. Enjoy watching the kids on their Slip n Slide!

  13. Wow. Just, wow. All that with a newborn. You are one tough lady!
    Now try to do as much relaxing as possible – I know that sounds ridiculous with a baby and other young kids – but just try anyway. You so deserve it.
    Sending good vibes your way and hope you mend soon.

  14. Wow! I’m still at B L A R G. That must’ve been very difficult for you (not implying the rest wasn’t difficult too). I have 3 of my own and I know how it feels to be away from them, and they’re grown, so I can just imagine a newbie. I’m just happy you are fine and back with your familia! Tootles!

    P.S – just in case you’re thinking “who’s this weirdo, here’s a brief history of our first cyber-chat…I attended Paige Kellerman’s presentation on Social Media & blogging back in March and as she advised, I entered the Twitter world a bit intimidate cause I had no idea what I was doing (new to this whole social media/blogging stuff). Anyway Paige (a great person btw) told me to just go ahead and mingle; “Twitter’s a great way to start building a platform” she said. So I did. And there you were with these BIG glasses in front of your face (totally awesome I thought) and since I had recently published a post on Funkyy Specz, I invited you to the post, you checked it out and said “what a fun idea” and you sent me your pic. You were actually the only one from twitter who sent one. I appreciated the kind gesture and have been following you since. So there you have it! See I’m not a random weirdo. As a matter of love, I actually enjoy your posts!

  15. You had us worried, Myndi! I truly hope life settles down and you can get back to the good days where the toughest thing you face is how to get the chalk stains out of your jeans. I’m so glad that you had a strong support network around you to help take care of baby girl and that your husband was instantly aware of how much you needed help on that phone call. How scary. I said it before, but please do rest up and take it easy for awhile so you can fully mend. We’re all rooting for you and sending good vibes your way!

  16. Awww, sweet Myndi! Only you could make me cry and laugh in almost the same breath. We were all so worried for you, I’m so glad you’re home and creating a new normal. No, we don’t know what is going to happen in life and yeah, sometimes we might take things for granted. This is a wonderful reminder to always tell those you love how you feel about them. Every day. I’m so sad you were that scared. Being far away and only connected through the internet, we had no idea the depth of the issue. Hug your babies, kiss your husband, and be grateful for the awesome life you have. Tons of hugs to you and your family!

  17. I’m so glad you’re writing this from the “after” side, Myndi. So sorry to hear everything you’ve gone through, but your baby girl is so precious. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  19. Wow, you sure are an overachiever, Myndi. I can’t believe you felt up to writing a post. And this is so well written. Love those pics, too. You had us pretty worried there. I could hardly fathom what you were going through. It was one thing after another. Your whole family has been through the wringer, too many times in a row. Talk about being sucker punched. I’m so glad you’re feeling better, so that means the whole family is doing good, too. Yay, Myndi!

  20. I second what Lynn said. I think if I were you I’d still be resting. I’m so glad you are feeling better. Don’t over do it girl. You have been through a lot! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. {{{hugs}}}

  21. Wow! Just found your blog site and saw ALL of the ‘stuff’ that has been happening in your life. Yep! “Turning on a Dime” is perfect for the events. Glad you are home and life is better!

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