The day came and went.  I pinched myself to see if I felt anything.  I turned the words over in my mouth and they meant nothing.  March 17, another day.  A true test of just another day is if you post about it on Facebook and I didn't.  Right?

And then the scan came and went.  Well, the procedure did, at least.  I still await the results (ask me about my new grey hairs).  The blood test came in and half of it is abnormal but then again that is my new normal, so I try not to let it eat at me too much.  It is normal for me to have low red blood cell count, low hemoglobin, low everything.  Anemic sickly person that I've become.  That is what happens when you lose part of your digestive system.  Fact.

"You look great!  I can't even tell you were sick!  Your skin looks great!"

Thank you.  Anemia and weight loss look great on me.  Maybe that is why fashion models are so translucent.  I am translucent, too, when getting out of bed in the morning causes me to pant and see colorful phosphenes in my eyes.  It happens so often that I started to draw them with my kids' art supplies after they leave in the morning for school.  Are those harbingers of a fainting spell, or abstract fireworks?  

I am out of breath and tired.  This is no reason to panic, this is just me being nutritionally deficient.  This is something I can fix.  Or, at least I give it my best effort.  Shakes and supplements and vitamins.  Thick metallic syrups that I belch up for the rest of the day.  Religiously keeping a food diary for a spate of time, then abandoning it with just as much enthusiasm.  I am stuck in a weird limbo of not complaining, because at least I am alive ("some people don't get off so easily, you know"), but feeling like I have inhabited an entirely new body this past year.

The change was gradual and happened amidst a life that flows more quickly than ever.  My life moves at a "careful, you could be dead next year" kind of pace, whether there is any truth to that statement or not.  I kind of like it.  You start to not care about trivial things as much.  Freak flag flying and all that.

They say that true panic attacks don't happen at the height of a person's anxiety.  True panic attacks happen when everything is calm.  Everything was calm tonight.  I went to bed content.  I had a productive day at work, I got good reports from my kids' school.  The house was clean, the fridge was stocked, and my husband was happy and well-rested.  "Successful day.  A+," I thought, as I shut off my light and fell onto my pillow.

Then, my left arm went numb.  Then, I became short of breath.  Then, I lay very still and allowed my brain to tell my autonomic nervous system that no, I am not having a heart attack.


In a billroth ii surgery, a portion of the stomach, including the pylorus, is removed.  Then, the jejunum is pulled up and attached, frankenstein style, to the top of the stomach.  Go google it and watch the first youtube that pops up.  I'll wait.  Done?  Did you see how they removed the liver and put it back again?  I'm sorry, maybe it took me about a year, but the whole thing is just surreal.

And I can't believe it happened.

So I guess it's today, in the early morning hours of March 25, that it finally hit me.  That thing that happened in the hospital about a year ago, actually happened.  And I am quite sad about it.  I am.



What better way to ease back into the week-after-vacation, than to throw a fun baby shower for a friend?  I had so much fun making these little favors, I almost forgot that I'm not in Florida anymore  (almost.  It is still in the high 30s and 40s here.  Mayday!)

Having not had baby showers for my own kids, I was embarking upon new territory here.  My job was to bring favors, and favors I brought.  Any excuse for a party (and a sewing machine), is my motto.  So here you have it:  favors for a high afternoon tea!

I got the idea for this from an adorable photo found here.  This version says "Life is sweet" and appears to hold some candy.  

I couldn't track down a pattern, so I made my own, using a pair of my daughter's outgrown pants (Sob!  Aren't they cute?) for a prototype.  And my own favorite tea, Tulsi Tummy, which I did not use for the shower.  As any expectant mom has surely read, certain herbal teas can have certain effects throughout pregnancy, so I opted the mildest route and gave everyone chamomile.  

Pattern is pretty easy.  I cut a rectangle of fabric approximately 11 inches long and 3.5 inches wide.  I made a fold approximately 4.5 inches up, and then sewed along the vertical sides.  Seam was about 3/8 inches.  I eyeballed it to leave just enough room to trim with pinking shears after.  That's it!  Two lines of sewing.  Easy enough!  Then, I trimmed with the shears.

Stuff with tea, and pin with a diaper pin.  Note:  it is so hard to find diaper pins!  You can get them at Joann fabrics, but they would be around $1 a pin.  What?!  I found a couple packs of them at Buy Buy Baby, but they don't carry too many in stock.  

I made 20 total.  I bought 1/4 yard each of five calico fabrics and had plenty of fabric leftover.

You can add tags with ribbon, and personalize a message if desired:

Finally, I did what all shower-planners do, and threw some chalkboard signs and tin storage containers in the mix (all Target, in the dollar spot).

You can make these for any kind of party... or just for a little gift that is small enough to be mailed in an envelope.  Enjoy!

UPDATE:  Oh my!  I just found a photo of my daughter, wearing said pants a long time ago.  Hard to believe they were ever big on her.  Awww...


A little break

Somewhere in the midst of grey snowdrifts and days where the sun never seemed to get quite past the cloud cover, I might have lost it just a little.  Groundhog day.  Constant shuffle of kids and work and health things.  The one-year anniversary of my diagnosis approaches, and even though I shrug it off as just another day, just another number, it weighs heavily in the middle of the night when kids are asleep and I have no more "projects" to distract me.  

I did something I have never done.  I booked a last-minute flight to somewhere sunny, just for a few days.  Not because I have the funds or the free time.  Rather, my idea was to return in a few days, a calmer, kinder person with a better perspective.  I took my daughter.  We visited family we rarely get to see.  It was heavenly.  The shot of vitamin D made me feel healthy.  Seeing my daughter smile and play with her cousins was another kind of shot in the arm.  And, going on our first solo trip on an airplane gave me the kind of reminder I needed that I can do this parenting thing, and not constantly rely on my husband as a crutch when I just want to curl into the fetal position and quit.

Anyway, all was good.  I am home now and slowly re-entering reality.  Busy week approaches and lots of stuff piled up on my desk.  Being in Florida reminded me that most of it can wait.  Work never seems to go anywhere, so that is a weird kind of relief, ha.

Finally, nothing gives me quite so much joy and energy, than seeing this kind of a smile on my girl.  She had such a great time.  More to come!