Have you received a Christmas letter? One touting all of the incredible achievements of a family? It's kinda like receiving every uber-positive Facebook status from your uber-positive friend all at one time. Georgie read us the Book of Revelation at age 3! Sarah won the national science fair and is off to NASA this summer on an internship. It's hard to remember that just last year at age 10, she was merely attending Harvard's Young Apprentice workshop on scholarship. Steve and I are expecting our 3rd perfect child, so I'm so thankful he received his promotion at work that will allow for more than two 3-week vacations a year to Europe as it is just so important to spend time with family. Kisses!
[You can see my face, right? You don't have to ACTUALLY see it to envision it.]
Here's a REAL Christmas letter, folks. From me to you.
2013 sucked ass.
Granted, the first 7 1/2 months were pretty cool. I got my shit together, lost 55 lbs ... which would have been PERFECT had it not been for that annoying "again" that goes at the end of that statement. Of course, without that "again", you should have had an intervention for me and/or put me in the hospital because I would've been under 100 lbs by now but ... I digress. I got my shit together, got in shape slowly and surely, and by July, I was doing full push ups ... that's actual on-my-feet full freakin' push ups at the count of 49 in 2 minutes time. Oh yeah. I could totally kick your ass.
And I loved it.
And I wasn't even done yet. I still had 15 lbs to go. Not in some "need to be size zero" type of way. I'm 5'3" (on a good tip-toe day). I'm talking single digit clothes as a goal - not a rest stop.
August hit. Still wonderful. [Ooops ... sounding a bit like one of THOSE letters, right? Let me fix that for you.]
Mid-August, I enjoyed an absolutely WONDERFULLY wicked weekend with good friends, enjoying a lake, campfire, food, and alcohol of all shapes and sizes. I had a hat. It was awesome.
The following week, I woke in the middle of the night with a pain. A weird pain. One of those ... what the hell is this because I've never felt it before ... pains. I stupidly drove myself to the medi-center because I stupidly thought it was open 24/7. I nearly wrecked on the way only to find it closed. I sobbed in my car. Such pain. No position would get rid of it. Nothing made it better.
Until it stopped. Just stopped. Okay. Great, right? I called my doctor anyway. They wanted me to come in ... and my second attack began on my drive there. I entered my doctor's office crying. I'm such a wimp. They took my blood, my vitals, did an EKG, and ordered a CT scan. Enter liquid chalk diet. Blech.
Late that afternoon, I got the call. Hey, so ... yeah ... um ... no kidney stones but I'm a gonna have to have you pack a bag and go to the ER to have your appendix out. It would be good if you could get there in the next hour, please.
[Again, imagine my look.]
It's fun to text your best gals, "So who is going to drive me to the ER because apparently I'm getting my appendix out today?"
Side note: Thanks to Monica for picking me up, driving me to the ER and screaming, "Oh MY GOD, look at her blood pressure" when I was hooked up to the machine. It TOTALLY calmed me. [Kidding - I'm thankful every day for friends like you.]
That was a Thursday. The ER doctors didn't agree with whatever doctor read my CT scan so, by the time my oldest sister arrived, they took me for an ultra-sound and, gee, it was during the fourth attack of the day. They seemed to last increasingly longer - the last was six hours long. Hey, let's put you on a slab and push an object directly into the area that most hurts right now. While your sister watches.
Around 11:30 p.m., they put me in an actual room. It would be another 1 1/2 days before they knocked me out and took out my gall bladder - not my appendix. My second oldest sister arrived Friday and spent the night and, blessedly, I wasn't alone when they wheeled me into surgery. [Thanks, Linda! ]
[Actually, thanks Monica, Glenda, Dad, Pam, Mom, Kim, Robin, Jacob, Tim, Sharon, Kurt, and Linda for stopping by for short and long visits.]
I stupidly thought because I wasn't being slit open, I'd be back at work in a day or two. Yeah, not so much little incisions as little stab wounds. It took over a week. Restrictions on weight lifting and any ab work (no push ups) but, hey, it could be worse.
How many times have you said those words in your life? It could be worse.
It could be so so much more worse.
In early September, one of my closest friends told me that she had a cyst, a tumor, on her ovary and would have to have surgery. Less than a week later, she called me crying to tell me that she had ovarian cancer.
It could be so much worse.
That was September 13th. I still have the texts following that phone call.
Over the next month, she would go from long blond to short Sharon Stone hair (and still look fabulous), submit herself to multiple tests, and, on October 14th, go under the knife.
It was supposed to be a hysterectomy with the possibility of colon re-sectioning during a debulking surgery (you learn so many new terms when learning about cancer). Instead, she had the hysterectomy but they discovered, upon seeing her ovaries, that the cancer had metastasized TO the ovaries, not from them. And they found more disease than had been visible on the scans.
She's over half-way done with chemotherapy now, her last cycle to take place on New Year's Eve. Then she'll have another scan and hopefully another surgery (including the HIPEC "shake and bake" chemo at the end) and more chemotherapy after.
It could be so much worse.
I started out the year all proud about losing some weight and thinking of how much better I looked. Laying out by the pool, partying with friends. And then, in the course of a few months, life shakes you into perspective.
It shouts, HEY!! DUMBASS!! I can end you - like that. *snap*
Like a drowsy drive, a distracted driver, a weak artery, a freak accident, a secret wicked disease. Don't take me for granted. Are you ready? No? Too bad because you might not have a choice.
I've gone through (okay, I'm still within) my pissed-off phase with God. I've had the following discussion:
"So ... omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient ... aka always there, all-powerful, all-knowing ... tell my why? So we contemplate life? You can't do that in an easier, less violent fashion? Is that beyond You?? So we focus on You? Who is vain, now, eh? Because we aren't devoted enough? What kind of egotistical, narcissistic Prick needs that? There IS no valid answer why. Oh, wait, is this one of those ... I don't have the capacity to understand the reason ... things?"
So, yeah, that was 2013 so far.
This is my friend and me last week:
Now, I expect I'll have many more years to torment her. In fact, I challenge her to a Culver's eating contest in 2018 ... including the frozen custard ... oh yes ... including the frozen custard!
But, do me a favor anyway. Take a few minutes and think about your last year.
Now think about how you would feel if it WERE your LAST year.
What would you have done differently? Would you have worked harder ... or would you have taken more time off? Would you have played it safe? Or would you have rolled the dice? [Not literally ... Jesus ... don't get a gambling habit off of this.] When was the last time that you told the people most important to you, just how much they mean to you? When was the last time you thanked someone? Sincerely .... thanked someone.
How many more times are you going to say, "Next year, ...."?
How long are you going to keep that special bottle of wine?
I could get hit by a bus tomorrow. What am I leaving behind?
[Side note: As a reminder to my sisters, Mom is NOT to pack away my bedside table. *meaningful stare* We've talked about this before.]
Mortality sucks. Thinking about mortality sucks.
It's much better to think about life and stop putting things off. Make 2014 the year that you stop putting things off until later. Say what you need to say, do what you need to do, and keep the proper perspective in life ... because she can be a BITCH when she wants to remind us of it.
P.S. Merry Christmas and a Happy 2014! Cheers!