Mayo – Day 3

Just updated! So sorry – Flickr is doing weird things with my photos and it really angers me. Hopefully these will all show up again. Apologies!


I’m not even kidding you when I tell you that coming to the Mayo Clinic is being in an episode of the Jetsons. That’s what it feels like – some kind of cosmic little city where everybody buzzes around and things are whisked away on conveyor belts. We keep using the phrase “well-oiled machine” but really there is no better way to describe it. Everyone is ridiculously courteous, but not falsely so. The employees are precise and exacting. It is almost perfectly timely. They give you this printed schedule of activities, including very precise instructions for your specific tests or examinations. It’s insane. As a visual communicator, I can really appreciate the level of “togetherness” they have when it comes to keeping the patient informed and on time.

At 9:40am, I showed up for my blood tests. I was waiting in a large hall with probably 100 other people, but right at 9:40 on the dot, my name was called, identity verified, and then I was whisked into a room to have my blood drawn by the most capable phlebotomist I have ever met in my life. And let me tell you, I have been stuck more times than I can count. Then my blood was sent in a little box on a conveyor belt to wherever the conveyor belt goes. And that was that.

So we grabbed Mom & Dad, and hopped into our rental car. The valet dude at the hotel had told us that there was a really gorgeous scenic drive up to Wabasha (the city where Grumpy Old Men was filmed apparently) and it sits on the Mississippi River. Um, wait. The Mississippi??  Where was I in geography class? I had no idea it came all the way up here? We hopped into the car and began a gorgeous scenic drive through the Minnesotan hillsides and saw not only the most bucolic little farms, but some really amazing foliage. I know,  I know – I sound like I’m 90 years old, but it seriously was gorgeous. I can totally imagine living out here. It’s beautiful.

A nice drive across the Mississippi and we entered into Wisconsin. What the heck? We’ve never been – might as well go since we’re here! Before we knew it, we had entered into yet another charming town and fell upon the Nelson Creamery. When in Rome, do as the Romans, and when in Wisconsin, eat cheese.

Piling out of the car, I was reminded a little bit of a grocery store we had visited in Napa. This place had the same charm as many of the little towns and shops there. So then we were back on the road, enjoying the foliage and the crisp, cool weather. We drove down the Mississippi on the Wisconsin side, and then crossed over into Winona, which is yet another charming Minnesotan town. Man, Minnesota has the market on cute! Who knew?









Did you see all those gorgeous Tolix chairs in the Nelson Creamery? I died. It was so fabulous. Style oozing out of the grout of that building. And yes, we did buy a “Eat Cheese or Die” button.

At 2:40, I returned to the Mayo for my bone density spa exam which was like laying on a tanning bed in a hospital gown and then before I knew it, that was that. We were done for the day. It was decided that we would hop back into the car and make the haul into Minneapolis.

Internet, you know me. You know I can’t be thisclose to shopping Mecca (ahem, the Mall of America) and not go. That would be ridiculous. And really, there doesn’t seem to be much else to do here, and since our time is limited, we were off. We hopped in the car at 3:30 and by 5:00, we were parking by Nordstrom. Purchases made by 5:30. Really, my mom spoils me rotten. R-O-T-T-E-N.

To be fair, the MofA really isn’t all that impressive. It wasn’t as big as I thought it would be. The stores are the same you might find anywhere else like Dallas (Oklahoma STILL isn’t cool enough for a Bloomingdales or Nordstrom, so that still made my day). It just happens to have a giant rollercoaster and an aquarium in the middle of it. We had a good time finding things for Jude, though, too. For his birthday tomorrow, he will receive a darling set of fireman boots that will just totally make his day. But shhh – don’t tell him yet. 🙂

Oh, wanna see a photo of our room? It’s the gnarliest valance you’ll EVER see in your life. It drives me absolutely insane to look at it. It’s like a trainwreck of drapery proportions, and you’ll understand when you see it. Are you ready for this?

BAD.

Well, so what about the more serious stuff? We’ve had lots of talks over the past day about what we learned yesterday. No surgery will happen this week regardless of if  that’s what I decide to go ahead and do — I have to wait at least a month because I need to be off of the Remicade for 8 weeks before I can go in for surgery due to problems with my immune system and the fact that it messes with your body and its ability to heal itself. I’m halfway there, so hypothetically I guess I could go in for surgery as early as a month from now, if that’s what I so chose.

I just keep coming back to the idea of being UC-free. No more drugs, no more impaired immune system b/c of all the heavy duty drugs I’ve been on, no more prednisone (this is the biggie).  No more rollercoaster of digestive craziness or fear that I’m going to get sick when we’re out somewhere, or on and on and on. It is such a serious step to take – I mean, who really wants to make the choice to have elective surgery this major? This is going to sound like a funny metaphor, but in my mind, it’s like having to make the decision to put your dog to sleep. You don’t want to be the one to have to make that call – you want the decision to be made for you. Like someone else says, “You know, you absolutely HAVE to have your colon out or you are going to die.” Fortunately/unfortunately, it’s not that way with me. Colitis doesn’t kill anyone. It just makes your life crazy miserable. When you see it in black and white, it sounds like a fairly simple decision: just take the darn thing out and call it cured.

I think more than anything, I have to wrap my brain around all of this. There are several things I do know: I know that God has a good plan for me and that none of this shocks Him. I know that His ways are not my ways, his thoughts are not my thoughts. I know that He loves me more than I can ever imagine, and that He has only the best things at heart for me. And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I want every last bit of this silly colitis experience for the past 3 years to glorify Him. Because it has to be worth SOMETHING. And He will wreak good out of it. I know it.

You guys, I can’t tell you how helpful – how cathartic – it is for me to write to all of you on this blog. We got more hits yesterday than ever before, and I know that each of our friends and family are checking in to see what’s happening and you are praying. That is awesome. You have no idea how loved we feel and I know that God is in control.

Ok. Enough for now. I’ve gotta get up in the morning for the pancreas CT scan. Love to you all –

xoxox,

Rach

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6 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Billie Doner said,

    Your photos are beautiful. You have captured the amazing colors of fall so wonderfully. “Well oiled machine” is exactly what I thought when we took Casey to the Mayo. That place is fabulous in so many ways. I’ve been keeping Mom and Dad posted on your journey and they send their love ~ as do I.

  2. 2

    janet said,

    hey rachel. i’m so glad you’re getting some answers! and even though it all seems really huge and overwhelming, i love the way you describe your attitude at the end of this post.

    also, when i saw your photos of the trees my mouth dropped wide open! look at the COLOUR!! we don’t get autumn foliage like that down here. we only have 2 seasons – “hot” and “less-hot” :).

    good luck with the rest of your trip. xo

  3. 3

    Bridget said,

    Aww…some of the pictures aren’t loading! Sad face 😦

    I’m glad you got to see some fall color of Minnesota and Wisconsin…it really is quite lovely this time of year! And Wabasha and Winona are quite gorgeous – love the antique stores there!

    Mall of America is overrated, but when I’m home I go there for Nordstrom Rack, Rybecki Cheese (free samples!), H&M, and that’s about it. Oh, and Ikea for meatballs and gingerbread cookies. That’s it.

    And the decision you have to make isn’t an easy one…but you have a lot of supportive people around you to help no matter what.

  4. 4

    Bridget – I just worked on the photos and hopefully they’ll all show up now! Stupid Flickr changed some things and it’s making me really mad/sad.

  5. 5

    MOMMA PENNY said,

    Your gift for writing is amazing. Rachel, you pull me right into the heart of whatever you are telling. I almost feel like I am right there with you and your family. How is your Mom holding up? I send my love and prayers to you all.
    Love, Aunt Penny

  6. 6

    Bridget said,

    Much better! Such a beautiful state, that Minnesota…


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