Its days like today that I really miss my dad. (He passed away in 2004 from a 3 week battle of liver & pancreatic cancer). Today as I headed west on Woodside Road towards Stanford Medical Center for my nine-month post op, I approach Alameda de las Pulgas Road. Suddenly I time-warped to another time, another life. “Do you know what ‘Alameda de las Pulgas’ means?” my father asks my sister and me. How would we know? We were five and nine years old, respectively. Before we could even squeak a noise from our tiny mouths, he answers his own question in a booming voice “THE LAND OF THE FLEAS! HAR HAR HAR HAR!” Only those that knew my father will appreciate this.
After waiting a while to see Dr. Bellino, he finally came into the exam room. He told me I am “pretty much healed” and he is confident that the gaps near the ischium (aka “butt bone”) will heal by the next time I see him in the Spring.
But this post-op visit was so much more than wondering what my x-ray would show in terms of bone growth. I was anxious, like a kid on Christmas morning, to tell my surgeon about the ultimate PAO win: being physically capable to save someone’s life, which occurred two weeks ago. And to tell him about my labor of love, thePAOproject.com. And last but not least, to give him the thank you present I made him, a photo book of all my “firsts” post PAO: first bike ride, first hike, first rafting, etc. He read the whole thing and was truly touched. At the end of the appointment, I reached out to shake his hand and he opened his arms to give me a hug, which meant a lot to me.
As I headed back towards Highway 280 (a much prettier drive than 101, so I take the scenic route), I saw a sign that said “Emerald Hills.” My dad lived in Emerald Hills, an upscale neighborhood in Redwood City. My heart ached to be able to share with him my successes. I have been through SO MUCH in the past two years: the dust is finally settling and I am emerging from the ashes. I am a better version of me. Life after PAO: a new chapter begins.