Recovery – Everything is Relative

recovery

 (Merriam – Webster)

Medical Definition of RECOVERY

:  the act of regaining or returning toward a normal or healthy state
Recovery.  Is it a place?  A state of being?  A state of mind?  Who knows?  But, we spend a lot of time here.  It’s really sort of a family affair, although without a doubt the one who takes the brunt of it is always Meghan.  Four times in the last 10.5 months, and most recently three times in the last 6 months,  there has been general anesthesia, and necessary recovery.  That is a record for her that I pray she never surpasses.  
view from the top
In November and May it was the knee – one emergency, one planned. In between it was the hand.  A pesky, tiny AVM, gotten before it got to be too big of a deal.  She JUST was cleared to take a break from the recovery PT on Thursday.  And on Friday it was the wisdom teeth.
We laughed a lot before the teeth came out.  We called her an overachiever and kept the mood light reminding her that years from now she would be able to boast being the first, when her friends inevitably would need theirs done too.  This surgery had a glimmer of “normal” attached to it – although distinctly unique in her age.
But, being unique isn’t always a place you want to be.  Especially at 12.  Sometimes you just want to blend in a little.
cs lewis hardship
It’s less than ideal to have a weak knee with a persistent AVM.  It’s no fun at all to grow AVMs – even tiny ones – in the palms of your hands.  (One in EACH hand to be fair.)  It doesn’t make for good conversation, when your experiences are operating rooms, and your excitement comes from which doctor hurts less when they put the needle in.  Which 12-year-old would really know how to respond?  It’s certainly not the place you want to be as the FIRST wisdom tooth survivor of all your friends, when none have seen their own swollen puffy cheeks, or have any idea the pain as the incisions begin to heal and the stitches work their way through.
And I knew the prcedure even surprised the surgeon.  When I went to her as she woke up, the medication plan had changed.  Initially she was to recover on Tylenol.  I was handed a script for a narcotic pain reliever and instructed to be sure she used it.  It’s never dull.  Or easy.
fly then walk
It’s no solace to her that I understand THAT surgery.  Because I had it AGES ago, and I don’t remember too much except pain.  And, I won’t be in school with her tomorrow to give her Tylenol, or reassuring glances, or soft food.
Recovery, when she was little included furry stuffed animals, and lots of rest time.  It included balloons, and all sorts of pomp and circumstance.
Recovery, now is more about the sporadic texts and occasional pop-overs while she tries to maintain her school work.
Recovery now includes the realization that it’s very definition of “returning toward a normal or healthy state,” could prove to be elusive, indefinitely.
We do a lot of talking.  We all know how fortunate we are.  We all understand how much worse all this could be.  We have depth of knowledge of those around us who suffer.  We think.  We pray.  We miss our friends.
grass is greener
Recovery, on this beautiful holiday weekend, involved trading walks in the fall air, for open windows.  It involved being nearby all night, because I was allowed.  Recovery means family time.  And maybe that’s one of the things that keeps us sane.
Perhaps “recovery” has become a routine venture.  And THAT in and of itself could lead to a whole lot of other conversations.
Tomorrow it’s back to business.  The plan is to swim by Thursday.  After all, there is a meet this weekend.
Our goals in this house far exceed recovery.  That’s way too repetitive.

We like a challenge.  We are BEATINGCOWDENS!

until-its-done1

Anxiety and the Morning Rush Hour

energy to be normalAnd that is how the day began.

Anxiety in full swing before 7 AM.  Never a good sign.  Especially when the panic attack is coming from your 9 year old.

See, I have a problem with this.  And maybe it is where some of my anger comes from.  I don’t have a problem with Meghan.  I am not upset with her, or her anxiety.  I am really just PISSED OFF at the cause of her ceaseless worry.  It is against the balance of nature that a nine year old should have to have this much to be concerned about.  It is absolutely unnatural that I have to soothe her fears while desperately making sure my words don’t form any type of lie.  She is too smart.  And her memory is way too good.

Sometimes, on mornings like this one.  I have precious little to say.  So, I hold her, as my stomach lands somewhere around my ankles, and I have a tremendous desire to (as an online support group friend suggests) lay on the floor and throw a massive fit.

It's not fair - Tink

And while she is crying about the huge overgrowth that on her gums where she lost her last tooth.  I am trying to convince her that maybe, if we brush like the orthodontist said, it will go away.  (“LIAR”  I hear my inner voice scream..)

Once, a few months ago, soon after the braces were on and the gums were flaring in the full on overgrowth of Cowden’s Syndrome, the kind orthodontist made a general statement in the room where Meghan and I were.  He said he was not familiar with Cowden’s, but (thankfully) he believed Meghan to be carefully caring for her teeth.  However, if the overgrowth continued she would need to see an oral surgeon to have her gums cut back.

Yep.  He is a nice man.  But, he obviously doesn’t know my daughter doesn’t miss a beat.  She was all over that comment for weeks on end.  We already had her gums cut once in 2008 for an odd thing that grew over her front tooth.  She may not have a solid memory of the day… but she remembers enough to know she never EVER wants to do that again.

So, what is a Mom to say, at 7:15 AM when the anxiety is impossible to manage?  I need to soothe her AND get her in the car (as the NYC School Bus Strike continues) in the next 15 minutes.

keep swimming

At least she laughed.  It’s nice to have a smart kid.  One who can respect that there just isn’t anything else for me to say.  Some days we have to push on.  Even when we are worried and scared.  Even when we don’t want to.  Even when it’s not fair.

Doesn’t change the fact that she is scared, and I am mad, and the permanence of this whole Cowden’s Syndrome thing really just stinks.

So she got to school and I kissed her and wished her luck on her math test, and she took her aches and pains, and her heavy heart, and her big brave smile, and headed off into school.

They are nice to her there.  Really they are.  But I cried on the way to my school, just a few minutes away.  I am in a rut. I have to get past this anger… for both of our sakes.  But lately I just feel mad.

Of course that’s not who you see when you meet us.  You don’t see worried, and mad.  You see our smiles.  See we get life. Both of us do.  On different levels of course, but we get it.  We know there are so many people who suffer.  We know how blessed we are.  Our prayer list is endless.  But some days we just “keep swimming…” and…(we)

refuse to sink
I got the message at about 12:45.  Meghan’s school nurse had called.  I called her back to hear the familiar voice that I have come to trust tell me that Meghan “didn’t look right.”  She was complaining of lights in her eyes.  She was “off.”  After 5 years in that school, I have received limited phone calls.  When they call – I answer.  So, with permission I headed out early.

I got my girl home.  We sat in the dark room.  I rubbed her eyes.  She had a bit to eat.  Eventually she tarted to perk up…the anxiety had gotten the best of her.  All the makings of a migrane at 9.  DAMN this syndrome.  Leave her ALONE!

And as we wrapped up for the day.  Much calmer than when we had started, there was happy chatter of girl things, and talk of sleep overs and normalcy.  With a kiss and a smile she headed to bed.  God, I love that little girl.

I got in the car to check in on my grandparents.  The phone was off the hook.  This is an ongoing event, and one we share lots of laughs about.  I arrived to find them in their recliners, watching TV.  The phone was in Pop‘s pocket – on.

I asked about their night and Pop told me the story of how he “pulled over a mat and snaked the toilet, a little bit at a time.”

“How old are you?” I asked.

He winked and smiled, and told me he forgot.

I guess it didn’t matter because everything was working just fine.  But some days I feel like I might as well be 93 and he, 39.

As I drove home I thought about genetics, and environment and all those biology classes I hated in high school.  I may not have inherited their PTEN gene, but I grew, and learned, and was taught in their environment.  I grew up in a climate of a “can do” attitude.  We did… because that is what needed to be done.

Still, at 92 and 93 my grandparents do what needs to be done.

I decided while I did not gain all their good genes, I gained their drive and determination.  Their faith,stamina, and hopefully some of their wisdom.

I will get out of this rut.  Cowden’s Syndrome will not own us.  It will not win.  We can do it, and we will.

WE CAN!
WE can.. and we WILL.  SO there!