Last Tuesday, on Meghan’s 13th birthday, we woke early and headed to the airport for what has become an annual family vacation. Disney World is a “happy place” for all of us. Despite crowds, and heat, we seem to be able to locate so much magic there. Plus, it’s not here.
I like it here. In my house, with my family. But being “here” in a broader sense means doctors and tests, and appointments and procedures. And traffic, and waiting. And bills, and phone calls, and all sorts of obligations that often keep me tied to my desk chair.
In Disney someone produces allergy safe meals for us. In Disney there is no driving. In Disney there are fireworks and parades and shows. While we are in Disney Mom watches the dogs and the house.
Those 8 days designed as a respite. A safety zone. A doctor free area. And we look forward to it every year.
This year was even more special because Meghan brought a friend. She got to bring a kind, compassionate, witty young lady who had been by her side through some ups and downs the past year. There is not a long list of people who Meghan trusts enough to take into confidence, and I can’t say that I blame her. But, this young lady has similar loyalty standards, and held her composure as Meghan threw some tough stuff at her. Meghan is forced to think about things and process things that are not even remotely acceptable to have to deal with at her age. Most peers are overwhelmed. Many shy away. This young lady did not NEED Meghan as a friend, they CHOSE to be friends. As different as they are, they compliment each other nicely. So we set off on our adventure this year as a party of 4. The Ortegas plus one!
Once we found our groove, (adding a wheelchair takes finding a balance) we were off and running. Great food, lots of laughs, and the highs and lows you’d expect from two spunky teenagers.
I was distracted Friday when my cell phone rang, while we were on the Safari at Animal Kingdom. I should have seen the NY number and known what was coming. But, I answered quickly.
It was my plastic surgeon’s office. The one who had told me they could fix my implant some time in the spring… well, they were offering me a spot on August 19th.
If you don’t have the back story on this I’ll give you the quick version. After a double mastectomy in March of 2012, I opted for immediate reconstruction. I was very pleased. Then in November of 2012 I was in quite a car accident. I took a good hit to my totaled Hyundai. The implants were intact, but likely never quite the same. By the summer of 2015 I had been experiencing some pain and discomfort on the right. I went back to my plastic surgeon in November of 2015. She told me the right implant had fallen a bit, and I should have (non-emergency) surgery to pull it back up. Except, she was no longer accepting my health insurance. The year that was had Meghan in the OR I believe 5 times. I struggled to get the courage to call the new plastic surgeon. I was annoyed to have to do all this again so soon. The initial estimate on the implants was 15 years. This was under 5. I finally got an appointment with the new plastic surgeon a full year later, in July of 2016. He concurred that a surgical procedure to “tighten things up” was a good idea, and that I could schedule at my convenience. So, I tried to get it scheduled for the summer. Then I tried for October when we have a few days off. Then I tried for December… and before I knew it I was looking at spring break, almost another year of what had transformed from pain, to just an odd sensation, all the time.
I listened as I was told I could have the date one week away. I looked around at the animals on the African Safari. I tried to keep my conversation low enough to make sure the girls, and no one else on the vehicle was following along. I promised to return the call in an hour.
I hung up and managed to share the story with my husband. Then I called my Mom. Then I called the plastic surgeon back. “Let’s do it.”
So the following Monday was spent ducking away to make phone calls to set up pre-operative appointments. Because the plane was due to land at midnight Tuesday. I needed blood drawn, and a physical Wednesday in order to hold the spot.
Tuesday we left Disney. The step count on my FitBit was over 142,000 I had covered over 62 foot miles. I was tired, but happy.
We did have a great week, and while I was bothered on some level that the surgical planning creeped in, I am skilled at managing many things from my cell phone. And, the thought of getting all that straightened out months ahead of schedule was exciting.
Tuesday it rained. In NY and in Florida. There was lightning. There were delays. Lots of them. Our plane landed well after 1 am. I hit my bed hard at 3 and was on the bus to NYC for the lab work by 9. After battling NYC traffic there and back, I went for the physical. Passed, and papers faxed to the plastic surgeon by 4:00. Success.
Life moves quickly. We have to keep up.
The call came Thursday to be at the hospital at 6 AM Friday. While I am not a morning person, only the surgically experienced would realize that is like hitting the jackpot. It means you’ve got first case. And that is a giant win.
There was little time to share the plan with anyone.
Yesterday morning I had bilateral implant repair between 7:30 and 10 AM. I slept till 1, had some ginger ale and crackers and was home by 2:45.
Last night I laid in my bed catching up on Email and I caught one from Meghan’s endocrinologist. The thyroid numbers have gone a bit off again. He wants to play around before repeating labs in 6 weeks.
Medication readjusted. Again. Illogical. Like so many other things.
Apparently #beatingcowdens involves scheduling surgery on an African Safari and readjusting medications hours post-operatively.
We’ve got this.
Thank goodness for our time in the “Happiest Place on Earth.”