It has been an amazing 8 years since I started this blog on August 26, 2013. I have accomplished so much. I have learned so much. I have done things I never thought possible! I miss blogging and hope to get back to it soon. But this has been a very challenging year.
In January my father was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer 🙁 He fought a very brave battle through months of chemo and cancer drugs. He maintained his awesome sense of humor right up to the end [I took this at the end of May]:
He passed on August 6th. He was 84 and led a fantastic and rich life. But it still sucks to lose a parent.
On July 1st, I was eating lunch and my mouth felt weird. 2 hours later my right eye wouldn’t close. Hubby took me to the ER and I was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy, which is a temporary paralysis of one side of the face. “Bell’s palsy is an unexplained episode of facial muscle weakness or paralysis. It begins suddenly and worsens over 48 hours. This condition results from damage to the facial nerve (the 7th cranial nerve). Pain and discomfort usually occur on one side of the face or head. Bell’s palsy can strike anyone at any age.” We flew to FL the following morning to visit family for the first time since COVID hit [we got our 2nd vaccine dose in mid-June], and I took this selfie at the airport:
Thankfully it only lasted 2 weeks! The ER doctor was awesome. He gave me an antibiotic and an anti-viral. He said sometimes a virus of the facial nerve can cause it. It seems like that was the case. Some people have the paralysis for up to a year!
On July 19th, I had surgery to repair a hiatal hernia. My stomach had herniated through my diaphragm and had moved up into my chest cavity, putting pressure on my heart:
The surgery was originally scheduled for December 2020, but was postponed until May 2021 [because COVID]. The pre-surgery bloodwork in May came up weird [false alarm/false positive], so they rescheduled my surgery for July. I’m thankful it’s done and over with! Especially since things are closing down again due to the Delta Variant. I spent one night in the hospital, I was out of work for 3 weeks, and total recovery takes 6-8 weeks. It’s been 5½ weeks and I’m feeling good. My 6 laparoscopic incisions healed very fast. I have to eat much slower than I used to, which is nbd [no big deal], otherwise food gets stuck in my esophagus, which is very painful and uncomfortable.
There was only one complication with surgery, which apparently is a rare side effect of robot-assisted surgery like what I had: subcutaneous emphysema, which literally means “air under the skin”:
It affected my face [obviously], neck, and upper chest. Apparently my surgery was done at an incline, with my feet higher & my head closer to the floor. CO2 leaked down and filled my head up. Keep in mind: that photo was taken 3 weeks after the Bell’s Palsy photo!!! Even my eyelids were swollen. At least now I know how I’d look if I’d chosen a career in sumo wrestling… With subcutaneous emphysema “there is a characteristic crackling sensation palpable beneath the surface of the skin, namely, subcutaneous crepitation”. While I was in the hospital, it seemed like every hour a new nurse or student doctor came in to push on my skin and see what it felt & sounded like [Rice Krispies]. There’s nothing you can do for it, you have to wait until you deflate over time, via regular breathing [about 10 days]. Every exhalation removes a tiny bit from your system.
My husband Jim & I are still working from home [since March 2020] and I have to say I couldn’t pick a better partner for a pandemic. He’s been amazing, and we’ve had fun working from home together. The cats also love it – it’s going to be a huge adjustment when we go back [if we do???]. I don’t think we’ll ever go back to the office full time – both of our offices are discussing 1-2 days in the office in the future.
When I realized today was my Blogiversary I started crying, because I remembered my Dad won’t ever be able to read and comment on my posts anymore 🙁 But I know he loved my projects and was always proud of my accomplishments. Love you Dad!!! And miss you so much 🙁 ❤❤❤
At least Darwin always keeps us laughing: