Sunday, May 16, 2010

Flash Choir

Have you heard of a flash mob? It's when a whole bunch of people gather in one place to do a specific random thing, and then disperse just as quickly as they arrive. Today I introduced our ward to the concept of a "Flash Choir."

I am the director of our ward (congregation) choir. I have not been as diligent in holding choir practice during the last month, due to my health issues. Normally, we would rehearse each week, and then perform in sacrament meeting (worship service) every other month or so. We are generally a small choir, with membership ranging anywhere from 6-18 people.

As choir director, I am constantly trying to come up with different ideas to make choir fun and interesting and to help people want to come sing with us. A few weeks ago my mom suggested doing an impromptu choir number, where anyone who wants to come up and sing a very simple hymn arrangement... no rehearsal before. Well, you know me! Sounded like a good idea!

I got approval from the Bishop (the leader of the congregation) and filled in the accompanist and those who needed to know. (I didn't tell the choir.) So today, we were in Sacrament meeting, and the Bishop announced that there was going to be a special musical number, and that I would be explaining more. I got up and informed the ward that they would be experiencing a "Flash Ward Choir." I invited all current members of the ward choir, as well as anyone who had ever sung with us, and anyone who had even thought about singing with the choir to grab their hymnbooks and join us on the stand. I also invited anyone else who wanted to to join us as well.

And then, I waited. It seemed to be a long heart stopping wait, but in reality it was about 3 seconds before anyone stood up. To my surprise, we had about 30 people up there!!! I had a piece of paper taped to my music stand outlining the arrangement, and I showed it to the Flash Choir. We all took a deep breath, I sent up a silent prayer, and we began.

The choir sounded so beautiful! We sang the hymn "I am a Child of God" in a very simple but profound arrangement. Our accompanist did a wonderful job of providing a beautiful backdrop. We had so many voices, and some that have never participated in our choir before.

I was very touched by the performance that they gave. I really felt that the choir provided a special spirit to the meeting. And I am so grateful to all those who were brave enough to get up with no warning or practice and sing! I have a feeling that this "Flash Choir" will be reappearing at odd moments in our ward.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

In case you thought I was kidding...

Let me tell you a story. One that should assuage any doubt you might have to the effect that those miserable hormones have on me...
The Scene:
Century High School parking lot
The Time:
8:55 AM
I pull into the parking lot with enough time to fill my water bottle from the glass of ice water I got from the drive thru. I gulp down a couple bites of breakfast, and open my door, reaching out of the car to pour the water into the water bottle. This is smart, because the mouth of the water bottle is not large, and I don't want to make a mess in my lap or my car.
Enter car that wants to park in the empty space next to me
I step out of my car and gently close the door to allow the other car to park. I move the back of my car, and transfer said water into said water bottle.
note: the parking lot is filling up with other choir members who are arriving for rehearsal
I walk back up to my car, grab the handle... and nothing happens. So I try again, thinking to myself "Self, this is not happening. Mental swear word, mentally beat my head against a wall. mental swear word." Again, nothing happens. I look in the window, and there I see on the passengers seat my folder of music and my purse, which contains my cell phone (aka lifeline) and yup, my car keys. Brilliant.
enter nice person who sits next to me in choir
"Do you need to use my phone?" She says. "Yes, I do," I say. "But wait, I don't have any phone numbers because they are all in my cell phone...in my car." Crap. (so much the nickname I had when I was little...'the Phonebook' since I knew everyone's phone number by heart.) Wait, I do have one number in my head...the home phone number of my roommate's parents. Except that won't do me any good, because they are up in Hillsboro visiting their other daughter!
I call the number, hoping that someone will be there to answer. Hallelujah! Their son is out there working, so he answers. He gives me his mom's cell number, which I promptly dial. She answers, and I tell her the story. I ask her to call my roommate and ask her to bring my spare car key (from our house in Lake Oswego) to the high school as soon as possible so that I can rehearse.
several phone calls later
My AMAZING roommate brings my spare key to the high school, and waits for me to unlock my car. She then takes my spare key back... yeah, smart idea, since I can't be trusted with the one I already have. I get my music and belongings from the car, and go back and enjoy my very long rehearsal.
Here's the hilarious part:
At lunch break, we are carpooling to a nearby restaurant. I volunteer to drive, but first I have to clear out my back seat. I unlock the front driver side door and reach back to unlock the back door...
Yup.
You guessed it.
IT'S ALREADY UNLOCKED!!
Has been the WHOLE TIME!
This is why I don't like hormones.

Friday, May 14, 2010

One Word....

HORMONES!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The scariest week of my life...

well, maybe less than a week. Remember in the last post I mentioned that I had been to the ER and then rudely refused to tell you why? I will now make up for that meanness. Let's see to set the scene...about a month ago, I began having severe pain in my lower abdomen. And, typically for me, I attempted to ignore it for as long as I could. After about 4 days I broke down and went in to see a doc at student health services. (several funny side stories there, but you will have to ask to hear those.) Long story short, the doc ordered an ultrasound which confirmed a couple of cysts on one of my ovaries. Actually, they told me there was one cyst... and referred me to a gynecologist. (yippee skippee) They gave me the results on the friday of the show, but it was too late to try to start scheduling any appointments that day. So, the health services doc informed me if the pain got worse to go to the ER. Which is why I ended up in the hospital twice the weekend of the show.



The second ER visit they did another ultrasound which they told me showed that the cyst had ruptured and I should be starting to feel better. Did I mention the intense amounts of pain that was occurring in my body? I managed to get an appointment with a wonderful Dr. a couple of days later. I met with her, and we discussed the joys of ovarian cysts. We also did a routine pap smear. (Ladies, you know how fun those are.) She informed me that there were indeed at least 2 cysts present, and neither one had ruptured. We discussed the options, and decided to try the conservative route to begin with. This meant hormones (which don't agree with me) for a few months in the hopes that my body would fix it all on his own.

A few days later, the pain had amplified to the point where I was struggling to handle the pain, even with medication help. (Keep in mind, I had been on painkillers since the first visit to the ER.) I called the Dr, and asked what other options we had. We set up a time for a laparoscopic cystectomy (removal of the cysts surgically.) I had my pre op appt where I learned the astronomical price of this surgery, and since I don't have the best insurance, I had to decide if I wanted to go ahead with the surgery. (I did)

The next day, (Thursday) as I got out of class, I had a message to call the dr office. I returned the call, and was informed that the pap smear results had come back, showing an abnormal result which had elevated levels of precancerous indicators. (Yes, the thoughts and feelings that just ran through your mind ran through mine as well.) The lab had already ordered additional testing, which is standard operating procedure for abnormal result. (I should probably inject here that I had an abnormal pap smear a few years ago, but lost my insurance shortly after, therefore I never went back in to recheck.) All of this was cause for concern. As a result, the dr decided to postpone the surgery until we sorted out all that was going on. In the scope of things concerning, cysts are fairly low on the totem pole compared to what we were testing for.

The following day (friday) I got the results from one test...the HPV test. Negative! whew! Until I learned that there have been false negatives before. And knowing that they were still running additional tests. This began one of the most emotional and hardest weekends of my life to date. I called my parents and those I consider my family. I freaked out, I cried, I threw up (nothing new, that has been happening since the cysts started bothering me.) I continued to go to class, take midterms, write papers, go to work and try to keep myself otherwise occupied.

(Another side note I got an A- on the midterm I took on Friday...yay!) I made it to church for sacrament meeting, where I tried to look better than I actually felt. Apparently it worked, and didn't hurt that I am currently fitting into clothes that I haven't been able to wear for 2 years. yay for looking amazing but feeling like crap!

And the weekend continued on those lines until today (well, yesterday...Tuesday) when I finally got the rest of the tests results. ALL NEGATIVE. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my mind. I am still experiencing pain, but given the alternative, I can handle this. Kind of ironic, as today was the day I was initially scheduled for surgery.

So here is the plan from here on out. I will be on hormones for the next couple of months to prevent ovulation which in turn should prevent more cysts from forming. As for the ones that are already there, we will be waiting a month, and continuing to pray that my body will reabsorb the cysts on its own. If the pain has not abated during this coming month, then surgery is back on the agenda. And we will do a repeat pap smear with all additional tests again in 6 months.

I want to briefly take a moment and thank all of you for your many wonderful, kind thoughts and words to me in the past month. I greatly appreciate all of the prayers that I know went out on my behalf. I know The Lord has a plan for me, even though I do not know what that plan is. Here's to hoping the pain will subside and I can return to being my usual crazy self!