Well I’m excited for the New Year. It’s been a pretty eventful one thus far and seeing as how 2011 is just 5 days old, it can only get better. On Monday, my twin, Mary (I feel the need to constantly reintroduce her to you), was admitted to the hospital for gallbladder surgery. It was technically “emergency” surgery because most operations are scheduled a month in advance. This one was scheduled in one week.
Mary’s had digestive issues for the last few years. I say issues not to downplay them, but because they were so fickle and severe and elusive that for years, we simply couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I guess it was mid-summer when she finally went in for a scan and they found some giant mother bleeping gallstones building a house in her gallbladder and, hence the crazy pain. At the urging of her naturopath, she tried some crazy “natural” way of passing the stones, which entailed green apples, vinegar, limes and olive oil (i kid you not). Gross. But it worked...for a hot second.
Then, on Halloween night, the gb (we’re going to shorten the gallbladder from this point on) was in serious tantrum mode and for 8hrs, Mary was on her side in pain. I heard about it the next morning, how she almost went to the hospital. First, only popping out another human being should be that hard. No need to eat a good meal and then be writhing in pain. That’s shear torture. And 2nd, let’s thank the naturopath for the witches brew that solved her short-term issues with the pint-sized pebbles and now move onto a doctor. who can remove the evil blob from your body entirely.
So, when Mare came back home for the holidays, she showed her test results to our family friend and incredible surgeon. He didn’t like her amylase enzyme count and shizam! we have ourselves a surgery date.
Monday I was all nerves at work. Not only was it the first day back in 10 days and I had some catching up to do, but her surgery was scheduled the middle of the day and I knew how nervous she was to go under. Go under. I’ve never had to “go under”, either and I can’t imagine giving up control like that. What if you don’t wake up? What if you feel everything? I wanted to be right by her side. But I was at a desk shuffling papers, my mind on her well-being and on her surgeon’s hands.
Surgery runs late and at 5pm I get a call from my crying mother.
“She’s...They’ve found stones in her bile duct. She’s going to need another surgery. They need to monitor her overnight.”
an hour later i was on a bus to Maine and stayed with her until midnight. My mind spun everywhere and I wasn’t even sure it was on my head. That girl is half my heart. I almost threw up on the bus. Twice.
Today was her second surgery and it was a total success. They’re still monitoring her, as there is a 10% chance she could get pancreatitis because of the jostling about of the surgical equipment during the operation. But she’s in good spirits and will likely be released tomorrow. I feel like I ran a marathon having watched this play out. I’m sure she feels like she personally ran around the world including all the deserts and the oceans, too. All with very little food and a whole lot of pain. Reason #582 she is my hero.
I guess the reason I write all this out, why I write this to you, is because these last few days I have felt more joy and more pain than I cared to, but I couldn’t stop either from coming my way. They were invisible freight trains appearing right as i hit them. full force. That razor-sharp aliveness that buzzed the top of my head when my mom called, crying. The fact that both surgeons ended up being two wonderful men - one a longtime family friend and the other, our next door neighbor who just a few days ago, offered to run a mile with my dad. Little did he know he’d be working on Mary just days later:)
The number of nurses who were friends from our church, friends from the beach, locals that we’ve long seen in the wide world, who were now holding Mary’s hand on the operating table or swinging by to offer dinner to my parent’s as they sat with her. I mean seriously. It was awesome. And I mean that in the truest sense of the word. I was in awe at how it all came together, this tapestry of pain and joy and love.
Mary (in her drugged state) and I were talking about all the cool things that transpired and, despite how terrified she felt, she was never alone. There was always a familiar face popping up at the right time. The connectivity of it all. We laughed. God’s got a sense of humor and perfect timing. She’s home for another week or so and will be raised back up in good health by the best parents in the world; Big John and Kaks:)
Thanks to so many of you for the texts, the prayers, and for loving up on her and our family this week. My parents are definitely MVPs of the year. Please keep sending good thoughts and prayers her way. She’s a good egg. We need her back in the saddle and running down asphalt in a few short weeks. First race of the season in Oz and that girl is going to Kill It.