Wednesday, May 25, 2016


I look to tomorrow with such apprehension.  I am meeting with the surgeon at Penn to discuss/schedule surgery.  A colectomy.  My colon removed.  An organ taken out of my body. Forever.  
I feel apprehension because this is such a big decision and one that has taken such a long time to come to.  A fear of the unknown - lots of questions, lots of uncertainty, lots of concern about care and maintenance, and pain, and bodily functions, and normalcy, and what will normal be.  But I suspect that these questions will be answered tomorrow.  I have written them down so I remember to ask.  

I have a love/hate relationship with my colon, for pretty obvious reasons.  It really has given me quite a run for my money over the past thirty years.  It always reminded me of this book that my Mom used to read to me when I was little - 'when it was good, it was really, really good.  When it was bad, it was horrid."  
Will I miss it?  I guess I will.  After all we have had a life long relationship.  Tumultuous most of the time, but a relationship all the same.  
I have relatives and friends that have had their colons removed.  I never asked them if they miss their colons.  I suspect not, because of how much grief their colons gave them.  I should ask them. 

Tomorrow I will know more.  I will have more information, and the start of a plan.  And those things are good.  

Thursday, May 19, 2016


I never realized that being a teacher is so much a part of who I am until recently.  I have been on medical leave since January.  Not teaching, for me, is like missing a small limb.  I really feel like something is missing, and when I get a taste of it, I feel whole again.
Yesterday I went to visit my kids.  Under the supervision of the most amazing instructional assistant, they had organized a surprise for me.  When I walked in all the kids were lined up in white t-shirts with letters on them that spelled out "We <3 love you <3 Mrs. Dauer!!.  They read letters, gave me flowers, had designed a teacher's chair, and one of the parents put together the most lovely scrapbook.  After the celebrating, I sat with them, and listened to things they had to tell me, and read them a book.  I read them a book.  Pizza for Breakfast.  I know that seems like such a small, simple thing, but it was all I wanted to do.  And it was such a treat for me.  It was a book we had read earlier in the school year, and I remember it to be a huge hit. One of the girls in my class saw the title and said, "I was hoping that you would read that again.  I love this book!".  I was overwhelmed (and still am) with joy and love and the sense that this is where part of my heart and soul belong.

I never realized that being a Mom is so much a part of who I am until recently.  I have been on medical leave since January.  I am home for my teenage children when they come home from school.  This is the first time that I have been home after school with my kids in nine years.
A few days ago, I was driving my son home from a baseball game.  It was quiet in the car.  I am sure he was thinking about all the homework he had to do, but I just kept glancing over at his mature face that has changed so much over the past year.  He shared some important information about his life with me, and I was honored that he would.  
The next day, my senior daughter came home for lunch with a friend.  I sat with them as I ate lunch and listened to their opinions about politics, and stories about school, and plans for their future, and discussions about prom, and I was so content.
Two days ago, my middle daughter had a surprise 16th birthday dinner for her closest friend at our house. She was so appreciative of being able to hold the dinner here, and have her friends over.  I sat back and just listened to them and their laughter, and appreciated the memories that they were making together.
What a treat to be able to be so present for my kids.  I was overwhelmed (and still am) with joy and love and the sense that this is where part of my heart and soul belong.  

Thursday, May 12, 2016


All my life I had this feeling that I was not quite accepted for who I am, that who I am is not enough. It was something I was very conscious of as a tween, then a teenager, a little less in college, and then as I became an adult it got buried in the back of my closet but I always knew it was there.  This is not to say I didn't or don't have good self esteem.  I am confident to say what I feel, and do as I should, but there is always this sense of what I say or what I do - that it is not quite enough.  I heard someone describe it this way when describing another:  She feels like a part of the puzzle but not the center pieces, somewhere along the border.  That resonated with me.  Why I care, I don't know.  Maybe others feel this way.  Maybe they care about what other people think of them the way I do.  Maybe their feelings get hurt by the littlest, inane comment.  All I know is that I work on this.  I am enough. I am beginning to see it differently.  What that person says or does or how they respond to me, has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with my self worth.  I am worthy.  And all of these feelings of not being accepted, it is time to let them go.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Today I am angry.

Today sucked.  It just sucked.  Many of my symptoms are back - the ones I thought were gone and just wrote about a mere three days ago.  I was in bed for much of the day.  Or the bathroom.  I ate one meal.  I drank a lot of water.  I was exhausted.  I had pain, and all those lovely things that come with my UC.  I was napping when my kids came home from school, and I hate that because I am pretty sure that makes them worried.
This confuses some people.  How can she be getting better than all of a sudden not be getting better? How can the medicine be working than all of a sudden not working?  I wish I knew.  I wish I understood this.  Tomorrow I have to go for some lab work.  Maybe that will give me and the doctors some answers.
In the meantime I spent the day feeling sorry for myself. And then I felt guilty because I was feeling sorry for myself.  I always feel guilty about feeling sorry for myself because there are so many people out there, many whom I love and care for immensely, who have it much worse.  I have been told many times by friends and therapists alike that I don't need to feel guilty.  I am allowed to have these feelings and it is not a competition about whose life sucks more (insert snarky laugh).  I can own these feelings.  I can allow them to creep up.  So if I am allowed to feel sorry for myself, isn't it rightly so that I am allowed to feel guilty about feeling sorry for myself?
A good friend was checking in on me last night. I told her that I don't want to feel like this anymore. I just want it to go away.  And it won't.  The UC is a determined little sucker.  So today I let it win.  I let it make me feel sick and sad and sorry for myself and guilty.  All those very unattractive qualities. Tomorrow I am going to get up and feel more determined than the UC.  I am going to read my affirmations and clear my head and do what I need to do to get myself back in the right frame of mind.  Because today just sucked.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

On My Way...

I bumped into a friend today at Target.  He asked how I was feeling, and I said a lot better.  And that is true!  I am feeling a lot better.  I am not sure if it the Remicade treatments, or the adjustment to some other medications, or a combination of both.  But I am feeling a lot better.  Is it perfect?  No. This is what does "a lot better" mean to me...
It means I can leave the house pretty much whenever I want because I know I can get to a bathroom on time without having an accident.  
It means that I am still going to the bathroom a lot, and I am still a pro at finding public bathrooms.
It means that I am living with a lot less pain than I was. 
It means that I have some energy to do things like clean the bathtub, or go through piles of junk.
It means that I still feel like I have to sleep a lot more than the normal person.
It means that I went on a date with my husband this weekend and we laughed (A LOT) and talked and watched a silly movie.  And I was focused on our time together and not the fact that I would have to run to the bathroom.  
It means I can put some more energy into getting my legs stronger because my immune system isn't fighting me every second of every day.
It means that I don't have to fight to stay positive, but the positive emotions come more naturally.