I can hardly believe it. In just a few short hours from the moment I am typing this, I will be waking up here at Paul and Kristi's house (that is if I even manage to fall asleep), taking a shower with my buddy Chrolorhexidine (a pre-surgery antibacterial wash given to me by the hospital), and driving to the hospital to check in for surgery, only to later wake up to something that there really is no way to fully prepare one's self for, barring perhaps fervent prayer. I find it amazing that time has passed by so quickly.
Fortunately, I slept for a reasonable amount of time last night, although there was a point in time when I lay awake, eyes wide open, not able to shut off my mind no matter how hard I tried. I must have drifted back to sleep, but when I woke up, there was that tight feeling in my stomach again. Still lying in bed, I felt the need to say what had gone unsaid up until this point. I told Dan, "Even though I know I am going to be ok, just in case something happens, I want you to take 'me' somewhere with tropical waters." And I left it at that. Things were pretty quiet for a few minutes.
Getting ready this morning and each morning for the past week or so, I've found myself continuing to check out my belly, trying to imagine what it's going to look like after surgery. It's so interesting that I've spent the last 20 years of my life thinking somewhat vainly "Yay, no baby stretch marks, no c-section scar. I can still get away with wearing a two-piece swim suit." I so love Dan. He keeps telling me to quit it and assures me that he will LOVE my scar, and who knows, I just may wear that two-piece anyway to purposely show off my scar. Ok, well maybe after I lose that extra few pounds the hepatologist accused me of having!
The Facebook messages and posts, responses to my blog, emails, text messages, and phone calls started early this morning. The first message I received was from my dear friend Rebecca who happened to be driving by a huge billboard declaring "Living Donors Give Life". She took that as a sign that she'd better call. ;) The outpouring of support has overwhelmed me from the get-go today.
With Cayden hanging out with Angie, Rob, and Taylor today at the Stanford vs. Cal baseball game, Dan and I headed to Menlo Park Presbyterian Church today to help out with their Compassion Weekend. Our church's Compassion Weekend was this weekend also, which we didn't miss last year. What better way to spend the Sunday before surgery than helping assembly Haiti Caregiver Kits for World Vision...my favorite charity. As I walked through the assembly line adding items like gloves, soap and washcloths to the bright orange drawstring bag, the tears started to flow. Once the kits were all assembled, everyone was directed outside to lay hands on the pallets containing boxes and boxes of kits to be shipped off to Haiti. As they prayed over the boxes, I started to sob uncontrollably. How blessed and fortunate are we to live in a nation where it is possible for doctors to give life to Cayden by giving him part of my liver? It was really hard to pull myself together. My sister Melissa called a little while later. After hearing the story of me being such a "puddle", she said I'd better drink more water so I wouldn't dehydrate today.
We met my dad and Patti at Cafe Barone for lunch after church. By then I was feeling like I was a little bit more "together". Cafe Barone is a hopping place on Sunday afternoons. They have a huge terrace to enjoy the nice weather. It was tricky to snag a table, but we managed to get one in the sun. I ended up eating an awesome turkey club on a baguette. They used pancetta instead of regular bacon and the cheese was smoky cheddar. Yumola! At one point during our conversations over lunch, Paul my brother-in-law, leaned over and told me that my 8 year old nephew Ian had asked the following: "When Aunt Amanda gives half of her liver to Cayden, will he talk like Aunt Amanda?" Paul asked him if he wanted to ask me about it, but he said "No!" We definitely got a good laugh from that one. :) Also during lunch, Paul and Kristi had given me a gift card for the bookstore next door, so we headed over there after eating so I could pick up a couple of books. One of the books I chose was one I've wanted to read for awhile now...The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. I bought it and then had a funny afterthought: "Maybe I already am living a purpose driven life." I guess I'll find out once I've read the book. Stay tuned on that thought.
Gosh, it was really hot here today. Dan and I hung out at the house for most of the afternoon. I spent much of my time sitting on the front porch talking to my sister, enjoying the sun, and just remembering to breathe. When I finally decided to go in to cool off a bit, for no good reason other than I felt like it, I attacked the leftover key lime pie from last night. It was only 4 o'clock, but I didn't really care whether or not I spoiled my dinner. Like Paul said to me, I should do whatever I want today. I like that philosophy.
Our last big "event" today was dinner at Cedros Ristorante with my mom and Don. Yep, Italian for my final meal before the hospital. I LOVE Italian food. I was feeling pretty good until I'd finished about half of my spaghetti carbonara, which is one of my favorites...well except for the peas. I picked all of those out. Anyway, I started to feel sick to my stomach. I ended up in the bathroom three times before we left the restaurant. During dinner, more messages of prayers and well wishes popped up on my Blackberry. My oldest stepson Bryan called to say he loved me, wish us good luck, and say that he'd see me next Saturday. Oh boy, there came the tears again. Yes, I did drink plenty of water today, Melissa!
Finally, it was back home to try and settle in for the evening. We were greeted by Ian, who was now missing one front tooth and the other dangled by a thread of skin. Mouth all bloody and grinning, he was so excited. Being the expert second grade teacher and awesome tooth puller that I am, I suggested he twist it to get it out of his mouth. With two twists and a few spits into the sink, the tooth was out and all that remained was a big gap where both teeth had been. Two teeth in one night!
And so here I sit, working on deep breathing and trying to relax...all packed for the hospital. My prayer shawl and burden bear from church are in my backpack to take with me in the morning. All that's left is to take my antibacterial shower. There's a song on Spirit 105.3 that I just love by the band Mercy Me. The words of the song are taken from Psalm 121:1..."I lift my eyes unto the hills...where does my help come from...my help comes from the Lord...the Maker of Heaven and Earth". Tonight and tomorrow Lord, I seek peace, protection, and healing for myself and Cayden. As I told Dan, Paul and Kristi tonight, I know in my heart that everything will be ok. I just want to wake up.