Dealing & Healing

40108931_10156559560564929_6586539670782345216_n

***pardon any typos… I’m doing this quickly over lunch!***

It seems this blog is more about me apologizing for not writing, versus actually getting to the good stuff.

With that being said, let’s just get to the good stuff.

Obviously, I’ve been very busy: living & loving. And healing. Or trying to.

I’ve decided to bury the lead… so strap in for the ride.

The picture above describes March until September. I’ve been on the road: filling my mind with knowledge, exploring new places, and spending time with some really fantastic people. The best part? I get paid to do all of this.

I am blessed beyond measure. THIS is the one thing I am certain of.

Let’s begin, shall we?

32696410_10156308724594929_6544988602382680064_n

Late April, either before or after the last post, (I forget,) I got sick. Like, really, really sick. I ended up with a (I hate typing this, but it is what it is,) an anorectal abscess. Not THERE, but next to there. Science would say I waited too long to treat it, but the truth is, I was the victim of scheduling. Felt something on Saturday. Call Gyno on Monday. Appointment on Tuesday. Diagnosed with abscess. Scheduled to see surgeon on Monday. By Friday I had a fever and was vomiting. Went to ER that night. Saturday morning emergency surgery. Home for 2 weeks recovering.

The end… or so I thought.

Soon there after, I recovered and went back to work. One of the coolest things about my life now is that I get the honor of doing so many interesting things. Like above, I got to be the Honorary Councilwoman for the City of Plains for one meeting. That’s me with the mayor. (Who just so happens to be the former college friend of Tim’s late father, Mayor Jerry Kirksey of Preston.)

33937567_10156336708309929_740333885157539840_n

My job keeps me super busy, so finding time for a date is next to impossible. Luckily, my Americus Rotary club had a party at the Georgia Southwestern University Lake House – complete with the Varsity Food Truck with unlimited dogs & burgers & onions rings! That was so much fun! We ate well and laughed with our fellow business associates. If you are unfamiliar with the Varsity, it is a tradition to eat there when visiting Atlanta. AMAZING food. What a treat for us to have this food truck in Americus (3 hours South of Atlanta!)

34813358_10156361165114929_1215125425760501760_o

I even hosted a staff retreat to my home. Main Street & Tourism gathered to go over our strategic plan and share in some delicious food catered from a local Plains restaurant: The Silo.

Of course we got to spend some time with our famous neighbor, former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalyn Carter.

36064480_10156403521759929_359693624025284608_n

Then it was time for me to hit the road again! I spent one week up in the North Georgia Mountains at the University of North Georgia & Southeast Tourism Society’s annual Marketing College. I have been working on my credentials as a Tourism Marketing Professional and Festival & Events Planner. I met up with my classmates from first year (and a few incoming 1st years) and we kicked off the fun at Wolf Mountain Winery. We had an AMAZING dinner.

36224909_10103532278263047_5031081126681116672_o

Seeing my friends from Louisiana and Arkansas is always a treat! Plus many others from all over Georgia.

34962981_10156406362834929_7734513106776227840_n

Later that night, we all broke off and explored the bars of downtown Dahlonega.  Here we are at the local Irish pub, Shenanigans.

36040989_10156402664559929_5890364294310133760_n

We enjoyed pizza at Gustavo’s on the main square.

36276425_10156408821169929_8941991721223323648_n

Proscecco any night!

36278006_10156407932104929_5859696488354938880_n

The King of Pops for our afternoon breaks.

36325334_10156413558989929_3983718592381190144_n

Delicious New Orleans style food at Bourbon Street Grill on the Main Square

36340034_10156414141554929_321196754114445312_n

And honestly, so much more. I even won a bottle of bourbon for being the Queen of Social Media on the trip! Winning the top prize for the documenting overall experience at a Marketing College ain’t too shabby.

34274721_10156342566514929_8489131125447327744_n

Not soon after I got back, I ended up back in the hospital. More bleeding and apparently a slight infection from the wound area of the abscess. Here is a photo of the staff Facetiming me  as I lay in the bed hooked to ivs.

36418793_10156418121359929_2301750068589363200_o

Pretty soon after that, it was times for Plains, Trains, & Fireworks in downtown Plains! It’s our annual July 4th celebration. My staff & I melted in the hot Georgia sun! Me – recovering and trying the best to keep a smile on my face. Honestly, I was exhausted in this picture. On the road, fighting an infection, and just going… going… going…

36490764_10156418104424929_4004691330004418560_n

Regardless of the heat, exhaustion, and whatever else – I found plenty of reasons to smile! Like the grandbaby’s laughter!

36542458_10156418104519929_9188383906116665344_n

Or watching our my love enjoys spending time with our precious!

36751515_10156435683539929_7186422189715881984_n

Right after that event, I took off for a girls’ beach trip to the family beach house on Mexico Beach. I brought one of my oldest friends, and 3 newer friends from Americus. We had a fantastic time eating, drinking, and soaking up the sun! Something I so desperately needed!

We ate so much good food, drank tons of tequila and pina coladas and wine slushies! And talked… so much girl talk! It was very good for the soul.

36712463_10156431518854929_822467146054369280_n

On the way down I got to meet one of the Godfathers of the slow food movement: The owner of White Oak Pastures, Mr. Will Harris. According to their website, Mr. Harris is a fourth generation cattleman, who tends the same land that his great-grandfather settled in 1866. He was born and raised at White Oak Pastures and eventually left home to attend the University of Georgia’s School of Agriculture, where he was trained in the industrial farming methods that had taken hold after World War II. He graduated in 1976 and returned to Bluffton where he and his father continued to raise cattle using pesticides, herbicides, hormones and antibiotics. They also fed their herd a high-carbohydrate diet of corn and soy.

These tools did a fantastic job of taking the cost out of the system, but in the mid-1990’s Will became disenchanted with the excesses of these industrialized methods. They had created a monoculture for their cattle, and, as Will says, “nature abhors a monoculture.” In 1995, Will made the audacious decision to return to the farming methods his great-grandfather had used 130 years before.

Since Will has successfully implemented these changes, he has been recognized all over the world as a leader in humane animal husbandry and environmental sustainability. He shared his story with us over a bottle of wine and beef tacos, fresh off the farm!

36838631_10156440313634929_5940473243960868864_n

Well, no sooner did I get back on Sunday night from the beach trip, I repacked my bag for a trip to West Georgia for three days. (Literally, the very next day!) The first leg of this trip involved a visit to Warm Springs, Georgia. Home of The Little White House of FDR and the FDR State Park, all of which I got to tour. Plus, the downtown area of Warm Springs is adorable. One of the highlights was the wine tasting at Warm Springs Cellars.

After Warm Springs, we headed to Callaway Gardens and toured the entire property and had dinner at one of the restaurants on the property. The next day was all about adventure! Our group got to enjoy both White Water Rafting and Zip-lining (from Georgia to Alabama and back – Seriously!) So many laughs and tales of danger – which we enjoyed laughing about over dinner at EPIC in uptown Columbus.

Our final day consisted of a very moving experience at the National Infantry Museum. Then we ended up having an amazing adventure at the Coca-Cola Space Science Center.

36989999_10156443977284929_663941092864950272_n

Did I forget to mention two VERY cool spots in West Georgia? We also got to have a Rum tasting at Richland Rum and Omaha Brewing Company!

And then no sooner do I get home…

38503249_10156510553969929_8926352242060034048_n

Boom…. more antibiotics. The infamous wound simply will not heal all of the way. After a few conversations with my surgeon, it is just the location. But now she fears I may have a fistula. We aren’t sure… so I start more heavy-duty sulfa drugs and try, try again.

36946208_10156445322004929_1650597764834263040_n

During the healing process, my friend Wesleigh from the Marietta Visitor Center came down to explore Sumter County. Here she is tasting our famous Peanut Butter Ice cream in downtown Plains.

37765401_10156480461634929_917179794930532352_n

A few days later, one of my dear friends from Macon passes away suddenly. The beautiful Dorothy Cook left us…

But the show had to go on…

Literally…

I had an 8 hour retreat to lead the very next day. My heart was so heavy, and not only that, I was exhausted and extremely sick…..

37655408_10156475715449929_6847266012673343488_n

But I kept going and was THRILLED to host my friends from Statesboro and Houma, Louisiana around town. One of our favorite stops was the international roastery in town: Cafe Campesino! I’m so excited, because they are about to celebrate their 20th anniversary! I can’t wait to attend the festivities!

38186276_2277095812576970_5972382969774473216_n

So at this point, I’m trucking along… trying to feel better. I went to my monthly Bunco meeting with the ladies of Plains…

38258900_10156498761884929_4668835149620707328_n

I celebrated our sweet grandchild’s 3rd birthday!

38405105_10156503778429929_1505413847161241600_n

I allowed my hair to be turned blue and get glittered for one of our First Friday events in downtown Americus.

I even took some time to host 2 girls from Hiroshima, Japan for a week.

Seriously…. I got back in the exchange student business. It was really kinda cool. Never hosted Japanese students, and these two were from the City of Americus’s sister city in Japan. Momoka and Ayaka! These girls left on a Wednesday, and I packed my bag for a 5 day conference to Atlanta that started on a Saturday.

40093164_10156562379104929_130105545922183168_n

Lots of fantastic session and boy oh boy, did I learn a lot!

40215534_10156564834894929_7984629041200103424_n

I heard one of the most inspirational speakers from the football coach legend, Bill Curry.

The two gubernatorial candidates for the State of Georgia gave their words on how they view and would support Tourism. That DEFINITELY solidified my decision.


I had the best time at the College Football Hall of Fame. We had a tailgate private party at the museum!

I also experience VIP treatment at the Atlanta Braves’ SunTrust Park Stadium. We had the Hank Aaron Terrace all to ourselves! Unlimited food, great seats, a/c, private entrance…

Life is oh so good!

 

I got back on Wednesday night, only to REPACK my bag for Friday – because…

Dum.. dum.. duuummmmm…

It was Labor Day weekend and time to head back to the beach house with the family.

We had an amazing adventure. 8 hours on the beach, an evening in Apalachicola, a day trip to Destin, and coffee at Panama City Beach.

Then to end it all, Tim reflected on how this is probably one of the last innocent Summers with his girls at this particular beach.

40583785_10156579156904929_5523461314275442688_n

You see, his mom is selling the beach house. The same house they have vacationed at every year since the 80s.

It is an end of an era for the Kirkseys.

That brings us to this past Sunday. Tim’s youngest turned 16. Again… transitions, they are a-coming.

41162352_10156589727564929_4766058971385561088_n

Even with me. I’m down 13 pounds. 5 over the Summer, and 8 more on Weight Watchers. THIS is good news.

But this is bad news:

I found myself back in the surgeon’s office yesterday. More bleeding, more infection. As it turns out, I have a fistula. (You can google it.) That’s why I am not healing, and they don’t just heal themselves. I’m headed to a pretty gnarly surgery on October 26th to have a fistulotomy. It is supposed to be a painful recovery with a fairly decent shot at fixing this problem… God willing.

If you can, place me in your prayers for healing. And to calm my fears. And for whatever else I can’t seem to put into words.

My Summer was good. My life is even better. I just need to heal.

(Now don’t make me the “butt” of your jokes. This whole experience has been a pain in my “ass.” Get it? Get it?)

Until next time….

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s