2022 Review

I’m about three months late writing my year end review. I’m not sure if I forgot to write it, or was trying to forget the year itself.

I’ll start with the good stuff. My 2021 Review did not include one end-of-the-year event, so I’ll just mention I went to Disneyland in mid December shortly after they re-instituted annual passes. It was a wet, rainy, cold visit, but we had lots of fun being back in the Happiest Place on Earth. I also went to Walt Disney World in early March of 2022.

In late March, I turned 70, and Carrie & Brian threw me a surprise birthday party, with all of our Arizona family members gathering together for the first time since pre-Covid. It was a wonderful time.

The first week of August, I joined Brian & Carrie and the boys on a Caribbean cruise on Carnival cruise line. It was lots of fun, but very different from the Norwegian cruise in 2020. Carnival is much more geared to families and kids, and we enjoyed the amenities. I took a couple of scenic excursion tours on my own while Brian and the boys did more adventurous outings.

When I returned from the cruise, I drove my Minnie up to the Mogollon Rim area and camped with Dale for a couple of weeks. It was my second camping trip since pre-Covid. It was also my first try-out of my new LiIon battery and solar panel. I loved it, and it provided all the power I needed without once having to run my generator to charge. Richard & Dianna drove up one day for a hot dog cookout picnic, and Daryl & Gisele stopped by on their way through to church camp in Pinetop. Otherwise, Dale and I just hung around camp or took a couple drives to nearby scenic locations. This was my first camp out where I got a mouse in the house. That was an adventure!

The other theme of the year for me was a medical one. I don’t usually post publicly about much medical stuff, but this was a pretty big, life altering event, and so I will write about it just to document it.

In late spring, terrible pain sent me to the ER one night where I was diagnosed with severe diverticulitis and C.Diff. After being treated for those for about five months, I had a follow up colonoscopy in October. During the procedure, my fragile diseased colon was perforated and I was sent to the hospital where I had emergency surgery. I woke up later to find the surgeon had removed six inches of my colon and placed a temporary colostomy. That was a bitter pill to swallow, but I had lots of support from family and friends, as well as home health visits helping me learn to manage my pouch. I researched tips and advice on YouTube, and recalled my own time working at the American Cancer Society with colostomy volunteers. I was surprised at how many young people have colostomies, which typically result from colon cancer, Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis or Diverticulitis. Many people who have suffered greatly for many years with their disease choose to keep their colostomy permanently even if it could be reversed. It made life so much easier and less painful for them, and they found, as I did, that life can still be normal with a colostomy.

After initially thinking I should cancel a planned visit to Disneyland in December because I didn’t want to go with a colostomy, Robin convinced me to not give up on that. I’m happy to say I did go to the Christmasy themed park and had a wonderful time! (Well, except for the cold temperatures!)

I’ll give a preview to my 2023 Review by stating here that I had surgery to reverse the colostomy after five months (in March), and as of this writing, I’m healing really well and getting back to normal.

This year has reminded me that there is nothing more precious than family. Although I live alone, I am not alone in the world and many people proved that over and over these last several months. From staying with me in the hospital and then when I came home, to bringing me meals, running errands, doing jobs around the house, and simply providing moral support and company when I just wanted to cry all day long, I can’t thank them enough. I hope everyone who reads this has that kind of human fortress surrounding them. You really can get through anything with enough love holding you up.

Happy 2023!