Wow. Long time, no write. I’ve had a lot going on since my last post and I figured New Year’s Eve was a good time to catch up. Sometimes when a lot happens, it takes me a while to process things before I can put the events into words. Guess it took me a while this time.
After my last post, I was preparing to have my wisdom teeth removed. In case you weren’t aware, I had them taken out because of an infection. According to my doctors, the infection in my tooth put my expanders at risk for infection as well. So, I had a quick consultation with an oral surgeon and we scheduled my surgery for the following Friday, December 13.
Here I am just after my surgery… on lots of drugs and totally unaware of what was happening.
I should have known better than to schedule a surgery on Friday the 13th. The surgery itself was fine, but the recovery was HORRIBLE. I always thought I had a fairly high pain tolerance…. I’ve had several other surgeries, torn ligaments, and broken bones….but this wisdom tooth removal? It was the most horribly, painful experience of my life. It was even worse than the pain from my mastectomy.
Here is a picture of me 5 days post surgery… at this point the swelling had started to recede and I was just bruised.
I had planned to be back at work the Monday following surgery. As it would turn out, I was in so much pain that I couldn’t go back for several days. I wasn’t sure what was taking me so long to heal. Prior to surgery, I had spoken with several people who said having their teeth removed was a breeze. Finally, I decided to call the surgeon’s office and they explained that my teeth had been cut out of my gums and extensive amounts of jaw bone had to be removed so the surgeon could get to the root of the teeth. Nice, huh? It would have been GREAT if the surgeon had told me this BEFORE my surgery so I could have planned better care for myself and my classroom at school. The surgeon’s office that I dealt with, Kentuckiana Oral Surgery, was really less than fabulous. A host of other things went wrong and I definitely would not recommend using them.
One of the reasons I was so upset about my delayed healing was that it kept me from spending my favorite week of school with my sweet class. I love the week before Christmas break. There is so much healing and magic that can happen when you surround yourself with kids at Christmas. Their excitement and innocence is so contagious.
Fortunately, I was able to make it back to school for the last couple of days before break. It was a good thing, because I had big plans for my class. Every year my friends and family donate toys, hygiene items, and snacks and “Santa” delivers them to my class on the last day before break. I was so glad I didn’t have to miss it this year. They are always so surprised.
I always set this up while my kids are in the special area class so they are shocked when they come back in the room. I cover their desks with their stockings and such, but I also cover the desks with glitter and little jingle bells to add a little Santa touch. I also leave a candy trail from the door to the desks and cover their desks with Christmas chocolates. Santa always leaves a note and I always open one of the classroom windows. The kids ALWAYS notice and think Santa came in through the window. =)
Playing Santa for my class has become a yearly tradition for me and my class. My mom actually helped coordinate Santa’s first visit to my first class 5 years ago. She drew upon all the things she did for me as a kid and was the brain behind all the extra Santa touches like the candy trail, note, and glitter. She loved displaying all the gifts under the Christmas tree in my classroom. She also loved helping all the kids put their toys together and the kids LOVED hanging all over her and giving her tons of hugs. Santa’s visit to my classroom is my favorite event of the year because I know how much the kids love it. I also love it because it helps me carry on the the Christmas traditions that my mom started with me as a child.
I was especially thankful for the opportunity to have fun with my kids this year because I’d been pretty upset about my Aunt Cindy who lives in Atlanta. Just this August, she and I had a fabulous day together at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.
My Aunt Cindy and Uncle Ben live pretty far away from me, but they have always kept in touch. Through the years, we made visits to see them and they have always shown up for every milestone event in my life… weddings, bridal showers, graduations, and funerals. They even took time away from their kids and grandkids to spend Christmas in Kentucky right after my mom died.
During our drive to the botanical gardens that day, she and I talked a lot about my upcoming mastectomy. I told her how nervous I was and how I wished my mom could be here to help me after my surgery. She was so supportive and insisted on coming up to Louisville to be with me in case I needed her. I was so thankful that she was going to come up and be with me.
However, just before I left to come back to Kentucky, Aunt Cindy started feeling bad and went to the doctor. I was staying my last night at her house when preliminary scans came back and showed abnormalities in her chest. That night, I could tell things were not going to be good. After having been through all the scans and tests with my mom so many times, I could feel that the news was bad. I left the following day and got news a couple of days later that my Aunt Cindy had advanced lung cancer.
She fought a courageous battle. She faced chemo, radiation, and several complications and never complained. She maintained a positive attitude. She even continued to call and text me about my surgery and recovery in the midst of dealing far more difficult circumstances.
Her short battle with lung cancer ended yesterday. She passed away at her house after her cancer treatment was discontinued two weeks ago. I am so shocked at how quickly the cancer took over. It wasn’t even 4 months ago that she seemed fine.
My Aunt Cindy was full of love and her generous spirit touched too many people to count. In addition to being a wonderful aunt, she was a sister, a wife, a mother, and grandmother. She loved life and spending it with her loved ones. She will surely be missed.
Hoping 2014 brings my family more love and less pain and sadness.
Wishing you the same.