Monthly Archives: May 2010

Kalamazoo Tent Drive For Haiti

This is easy.  Super easy.  If you were like me, back when the earthquake lambasted Haiti, I felt helpless.  I saw the pictures, but nothing felt like enough.  For several months I’ve wanted to do a Tent Drive.  But the only place I knew to deliver tents for delivery to Haiti was in Atlanta, and I don’t have a truck.  But a few weeks ago I learned of an organization right here in Michigan that is filling a shipping container to send to Haiti in early June. 

So with the backing of my home church, Portage Free Methodist Church, I decided to plan my own local tent drive.

The tent drive will be at a super cool TENT supplier here in Kalamazoo called LEE’S ADVENTURE SPORTS, (next to Meijer on Westnedge.)  It’s actually on Cork near Westnedge, right across from Big Lot’s. 

Friday, May 28th from 10 am-8 pm and Saturday, May 29th from 10 am to 6 pm

Memorial Day Weekend (and the begining of camping season) is the perfect time for:

A.  You to admit that you never liked camping to begin with, and dig out that old tent from in the basement. Or,
B.  Get a new tent for 10% off at Lee’s when you donate your old tent.  That’s right, 10% off a new tent with a used tent donation!

So here’s why it’s super easy.  You really don’t even need to have a tent to help out the more than 700,000 who are still homeless in Haiti.  You can simply help us pass the word.  Encourage your local church to announce it, tweet it, facebook this blog page, tell your friends, make a phone call, send an email.  It’s so easy to help.  You may not have a tent but chances are, someone you know has a tent and they aren’t using it and would be glad to give it to this cause.

Last night I slept in a warm bed, I ate dinner with all my family members.  I can’t imagine what it’s like in Haiti to be homeless and alone because half of your family died in just a few short devastating minutes.  You really can make a difference.  Right here in Kalamazoo.


Reconstruction Experience #3

It’s done.  I’ve been sucked, tucked and schmoozled one more time.  (That sounds so gross, but I’m leaving it)  I’m sore, no doubt about that.  But happy, really happy.  I can’t believe technology is such today that they can suck fat from one place to donate to another, but they’ve done it three times to me and it’s working like a charm.  I just might like my body more now than I did before cancer. 

When I went in to surgery we hand a little snafu.  When I checked in the receptionist asked if my birthday was 2/2/71 and I said, no 12/2/71.  So then when I signed the paperwork I noticed it had me listed as 39.  So when I got back to Jeremy I had him reassure me I was only 38.  Then I said to the woman who took my back for pre-op that I was only 38.  I wanted her to know this NOT because I thought it was important other than I WANT TO BE 38 and not 39.  I just do.  I will relish in 38 as long as possible.  But here’s the funny, or not so funny part about it.  They still had my birthday wrong.  And I’m really telling you this because at Northwestern, they really areprofessional.  I’ve never had a bad experience with anyone.  They all try to make you as comfortable as possible.  But they also DO EVERYTHING by the book, which means, right after we got to the operating room and they had given me my first dose of happy medicine, they realized my birthday was wrong.  This is a very big conundrum for them.  Because once I’ve had drugs I can’t sign for myself and Jeremy had already left with Charis for American Girl and the ferris wheel on Navy Pier.  So for a few minutes I thought I was not going to have surgery.  Everyone was rushing around trying to get ahold of Jeremy.  I heard a lawyer out talking to the nurses.  Dr. D was reassuring them he knew me and was my patient, but they needed risk management there, so I knew even he wasn’t going to talk them in to budging.  Finally Jeremy answered his phone and rushed over, and surgery…..

And that’s all I remember. 

When I came out of my groggyness I had to pee so bad I cried.  I couldn’t pee.  It was a horrible feeling.  To be half drugged, in horrible pain and to feel like you’re going to pee your pants.  You’d cry too.

They had put these compression pants on me, which are so sad I can’t even describe them to you but considering they were on when I was trying to pee, you can just imagine them.  So my nurse graciously offered to take them off for me.  What do you know.  I pee’d.  I have NEVER felt such relief in my life.  OK, I’m exaggerating a little.  But I was crying on the pot, that’s how upsetting it was to me under all that anesthesia.

I then stumbled back to my room to listen to two very loud, very interesting patients in the next room.  Take note people, when you talk loud in hospital rooms that are separated by curtains, EVERYBODY can hear your business.  EVERYBODY!  I shouldn’t tell you this, but since I don’t know who these people are I will tell you their stories:

Lady1:  Had no idea what medicine she had taken and when but she had a lot of them.  I won’t even tell you what illness she had, but she talked very loud.  Then after not being able to remember all the medicine she was on and forgetting to take half of them she asked the doctor how to get a residency at Northwestern and if she could work full-time while doing a residency.  Now, maybe she had already gone to medical school, but I have a feeling not.  I know she was talking loud because I couldn’t hear a thing the doctor or resident said, but I could tell they were very gracious to her like always.  I wanted to scream “shut-up.”  I know, bad clergygirl.  But I was freezing so I had my 6 blankets over my head but I still couldn’t shut her out.

Man 2:  He wasn’t annoying.  In fact, I felt bad for him.  He sounded really young and he had what I believe was some sort of testicular cancer.  They were going to be doing surgery again to hook up his urethra.  It sounded like he was doing well.  But he admitted to the nurse that he still “party’s” a lot, which ain’t so bad….I like a good party, but he admitted he drinks at these party’s, and not just a little.  Adding it up in his head he said that makes several beers a day.  He also said he smoked, but could quit for up to 5 weeks at a time.  **Sigh** Let’s pray for man 2, because you would think he would have more respect in his body having cancer that young and not just quit smoking for 5 weeks….but for good!  I wanted to be his mother and go over and give him a nice long lecture, but I stayed under my six blankets.  I had also asked for socks between lady 1 and man 2.

But I didn’t yell or lecture.  Nor did I really enjoy the loud recovery area.  Maybe it was EXTRA loud because I was coming off anesthesia? 

So my legs are swollen and black and blue.  My breasts are perfect.  I’m good.  I’m happy.  I’m almost done.  Almost 99.9% back to me, with a few scars for the ride.

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Happy Mother’s Day to Me!

I’m on my way to Chicago for my 3rd surgery. It will be a smaller less invassive procedure. Dr. Dumanian is going to fix up a little spot that is not cooperating on my right side.

But the really great thing that he’s going to do is liposuction my hips to move the fat to my breasts to even them out and give them a little more umph. Pretty amazing stuff that you don’t even need implants anymore, you can just transfer fat! So as long as my fat doesn’t mind being relocated to my breasts this should be my last somewhat major surgery. My body could decide to absorb the fat….joy…but that isn’t likely since he did a little last time and it worked.

I’m stoked for this surgery. I feel totally confident in my surgeon. I feel like we’re old pals now. Not like the “deer in the headlights” grief-stricken breast-less self-esteem shot young woman he met last February. He’s had a major part of my physical reconstruction as well as my emotional. He always promised he’d see me through the end and he hasn’t wavered in that.

So today I feel like a mother, and a wife and a woman, and tomorow when I come out of a hazy drugged fog I will be the size I was before cancer and I will have hair and it will feel good to be feminine and me, with a little smaller thighs:)

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