A Pain in My Ass

The date is set for my surgery. May 23 is the big day that I have dreaded and the day I was counting on to help me feel better.

My first visit with this surgeon and I get a good feeling. He explained everything in detail and took time for my questions. He told me the chances of the good and the bad.

The surgery is called “hand-assisted laparoscopic sigmoid colectomy.” The surgeon will remove about 12 inches of my sigmoid colon. I whenced when he said that but he showed me pictures of just now much colon I have and I wouldn’t miss it!

I first became aware of the problem in Nov 2015 when I ended up in the emergency room doubled over in paid and a high fever. I was diagnosed with severe diverticulitis. This happens when pockets form in the colon (diverticulosis) and when they become inflamed it is called diverticulitis. I had 2 other serious flare ups. When I went for my colonoscopy, my doctor could not perform it because of a stricture in the colon or a partial blockage caused by the scar tissue from the inflammations. The quality of my life was seriously affected. Many times, I’ve had to take strong narcotic pain relievers to help with the pain. It comes and goes but for the most part, I feel miserable all the time. It causes constipation, diarrhea, and the worst bloating imaginable. I think I hate that the worse. It’s hard to sleep, work and exercise.

Maybe it’s vanity or maybe it’s because I paid $20,000 for a body lift in December 2013 to remove all the hanging skin after losing 127 lbs. that gave me the perfect stomach that I never had…but they will make 4 cuts about 3 inches each on my perfect tummy!

I made a joke that I’d like for him to not ruin that!

There is a chance that once they start the surgery, they may have to do the big cut which I pray don’t have to happen. Both because it would ruin $20k tummy work and it will be a longer recover time.

They said the surgery would take about 2 hours and I’d have to stay in the hospital for about 4-5 days to make sure everything was working properly. He will remove 12 inches of colon and reattach it in the one surgery so no need for a colostomy bag if everything goes well. I’m counting on that! (ha-ha)

And you can only imagine that I had to tell him that I was training for the Chicago marathon. He is a marathoner too so he understood. He moved the surgery to a date as quick as he could. He said if all goes according to plan, I should be good to go mid-June which is when I originally had it planned to start. I moved it up recently to help me because I knew I’d be out of commission for a while. He even said that after a couple of weeks, I may be able to run. The important “don’t do” is weights, core exercises etc. but said running is good for the colon and won’t hurt it. He said I could run as I felt like it. That bit of news made me happy. So, Chicago Marathon….here I come!

He even said that after a couple or 3 weeks, I could go back to work if I felt like it.

All in all, I’m relieved that it will be over soon.

My pain is growing worse day by day. This week has been very hard and I have barely slept. Many times, the narcotics don’t help.

Next weekend, we are supposed to go camping in Hermann, MO with the kids. I love camping and especially with Daniel. My son was cautioning that I might need to cancel it but I don’t want to.

Hermann is beautiful wine country so I’ll be camping, eating s’mores, enjoying my family and drinking wine in preparation for whatever comes.

I Never Knew

I’ve posted many times on here that my son and I had a cold relationship. It’s really never been anything that I could put my finger on or explain. I’m not the most nurturing woman alive so I’ve always felt it was my fault that we had a sour relationship. I always felt he held some grudges against me and maybe didn’t even love me. I really felt he didn’t like me very much. We never talk about it or try to fix it. I didn’t get to see him or my grandkiddies on Mother’s Day and I even felt he may not even call me. But he did call me this morning and he and the kids told me “Happy Mother’s Day.” We chatted a bit and went on our way. Later this afternoon, he did something so out of character for him. He wrote the following on my facebook. I’ve been crying happy tears ever since. Below is what he wrote on my facebook. J


From James:

It has to be one of my more obnoxious traits (I have a lot of them), but I am one of the most fortunate people I know. I have a lot of great things around me. Sure, I have a wife of almost 15 years who loves and inspires me, who fills me with purpose and drives me to be better. I have two great kids that are the focus of my life (and most of my exhaustion). But I’m not talking about any of that today. I’m talking about the most inspiring person I’ve ever met. My mom, Charlotte Barber Snead.

Almost everybody that knows her knows that I’ve got no words to really describe her. She is large-hearted and giving to everyone who needs it, unconcerned with credit and attention, funny as hell, respectful (to a point), but intolerant towards idiots and irresponsibility, and unconcerned with petty drama and shitty people. Everyone has known this about her for years. This isn’t what’s great about her. Not even close.

Almost 9 years ago, her Grandson was born followed 6 years later by her granddaughter. Anyone who has seen her Facebook page or spent more than just a few seconds with her has… felt… the pure unflinching love she has for her grandchildren. She loves them to the point where I (the father of these two kids) question either her sanity or my capacity for loving anything—because I love them more than I could have ever imagined, and I can’t compete with her love for them. This is a remarkable thing about her, but not the most by far.

About 7 or 8 years ago, she was thinking that she was feeling down and unhealthy. She could have exercised a little more, ate a little better, and felt better about herself. But this woman does not do “a little” of anything. She decided that there was no point in not stretching her body to the extreme lengths of of its ability. She lost over a hundred pounds the hard way, no surgeries or crash diets, no pills—just hard work, will power and self control. It was inspiring to watch (if not to duplicate). In October of 2014, she ran a full 26.2 mile marathon at the age of 54, because that seemed to her something she wanted to do. She is training to do so again this year, in the Chicago Marathon, at the age of 56. Yet again, this is not the most remarkable thing about her.

She was born to sharecroppers in Gibson County Tennessee, her and her four brothers and sisters sharing a single bed. And yes, she was married and pregnant (with me) before her High School graduation. She went to work graveyard shift at a factory. She had all of the trials that break so many people around us. No one in her family had gone to college or travelled much outside of Tennessee. But this woman, working a full time job with a kid and husband at home, knew she wanted something else. And I watched her: she WORKED her ass off for it. Over five years in the late eighties and early nineties, she went to college, full time, during the day while working at night, full time, assembling motors on a factory floor. I never went hungry or wanted for anything. She earned her BBA, with honors, and started putting that to use, learning everything she could at her factory, rising up, moving to better jobs, continuing her education and stretching her self until she is where she is now, a nationally sought after manager in her field.

My mother was never given anything in this life (other than loving, hard-working parents). Everything else, she took, she earned. I watched her do it. She did it by putting in more work than anyone else, year after year, well past the point anyone else would. No one can conceive of living a 16 hour workday for 5 years to be the first in your family to get a college degree. No one can conceive of waking up in their fifties and deciding to lose a hundred pounds and run a damn marathon. This woman did. I think that she can sometimes irritate people because she walks through this world like a winner. She is a winner.

Every job interviewer I’ve ever had has asked me to name someone who has most inspired me. I have never hesitated, never stopped to think, never hemmed or hawed. I have just told them the story I just told you, the story of this woman.

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Wine Ramblings

I had a cousin to die unexpectedly this week in Seattle.

I had to terminate an immature young, sweet man who has a young family for something he put on Facebook.

I don’t think I’m a good mentor.

I’m the most unorganized person on this planet.

I want to be in Santa Cruz on the beach.

I want to ride a horse bareback on the beaches of Half Moon Bay.

I want to have sex with my husband on that same beach at nighttime.

I miss my Mama and Daddy.

I miss Tennessee.

I miss playing whiffle ball with my brothers and cousins.

I miss playing “Rook” with my Daddy and Mama.

I want to go visit my brother’s grave in Tennessee with his new memorial stone that my brother and I bought for him.

Today is a rest day from Chicago marathon training.

I want to eat all day long in China Town in San Francisco.

I want to hear the sea lions in California every day of my life.

I miss Christmas at Meamaw’s house.

Today is Cinco de Mayo and I didn’t drink a single fucking margarita nor did I wear a stupid sombrero.

I want to get drunk in Napa Valley.

Today was a stressful work day and I left work feeling defeated.

I miss Faith Independent Church from back home.

I drank a bottle of wine while watching birds at my feeder in my beautiful backyard.

I ate a $13.98 piece of stilton blue cheese with a bottle of cheap wine tonight.

I am watching the St. Louis Blues play the Dallas Stars. #OurBlues

I am day 11 into my Chicago Marathon training.

I’m worried about my health and impending surgery.

I miss Daniel and Sadie on a daily basis.

I didn’t win that 300 million Powerball last night and I was counting on it.

I’m looking forward to Daniel coming to spend a week with me in June #CampMyMy

I feel lonely sometimes and not sure why.

I want to go camping this weekend.

I’d love to spend time with my sister.

I like fried spam sandwiches with mustard.

I hate getting old.

I was a terrible mother to my son. I wish I had a do over.

I miss texting Jimmy about St. Louis Cardinals this year.

An eight-year-old is my best friend.

I prefer junky food over healthy food.

I miss eating “orange slice” candy with Daddy.

I like dogs more than I like people.

I spend a lot of time thinking of ways to make Peyton and Eli (my dogs) happy and making them like me.

I miss arguing with Daddy over Lakers vs Celtics games.

I wish I were religious.

I wish I was more nurturing.

I miss sneaking up on Christmas night watching “Miracle on 34th Street” with Mama and Daddy while the other kids slept waiting on Santa.

I regret that my son and I have a cold relationship and I don’t know how to fix it.

I spend my life feeling guilty about something.

I wish I would have had another kid.

~That’s All~