Making Lemonade

Life has a way of sending you curve balls now and then. How you deal with those curve balls determines the rest of your life, sometimes.

Two weeks ago I went in for a routine colonoscopy. Not a fun topic, but mostly necessary. I was pleased to be offered an opportunity through a Missouri grant to get a screening. My mother had colon cancer, and while they caught hers early and she made it full recovery, it still increases my risk.

The day before the test, of course, was the worst part of the whole thing. They gave me lemonade flavored prep to drink and tried to convince me that if I refrigerated it, it would go down easy. I still gag just thinking about it!

I woke up after the test to the doctor asking me how I felt. My stomach is a bit achy, I noticed. And then he told me “I perforated your colon.”

“What are we going to do now?” I asked as if this was a negotiation and I had some say in the matter.

“You’re going straight to the hospital and I’ll meet you there. We’re going to do surgery immediately.”

“No, I don’t really think I want to get cut open…”

No choice. No options. It was off to the hospital for us. The doctor told me I’d be in the hospital for a week and I’d have a large incision in my abdomen. I told him that I couldn’t be in the hospital for a week, I had things to do – in fact I had a paper due in class that very day.

On the way to the hospital I told my husband that my mom had this same surgery and she was a real witch afterwards. Couldn’t eat, couldn’t stand for us to talk when we were in her room and that I was afraid I’d be nasty too.

I woke up with a tube down my nose, and all kinds of connections to contraptions. My brother was standing there, he’d driven two hours as soon as he heard the news and insisted on spending the night in my room so he could feed me ice chips while my husband went home and rested.

My room filled with visitors, more than 40 altogether, and I just kept thinking how blessed I was.

I ended up having 18 inches of colon removed, which my husband and I both considered a blessing.

The day after the surgery, the stomach tube came out and things immediately brightened. I moved from the hospital bed to the chair and started walking the halls. I learned that attitude determines everything and I chose to look at progress and not things I couldn’t do.

I came home from the hospital 6 days later and have been sailing through every obstacle placed in front of me.

The only downside from this whole thing is lemonade. I can’t stand the taste now and it had been my very favorite drink!