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The Plan

The next day after the diagnosis was Tuesday, Oct. 3. Andy, Judah, and I had already planned to make our weekly trip to Jeffersonville to see Sophie and her family and to celebrate Andy & Elizabeth’s birthdays.

We left about 7:30am and a little after 8:00, we got the call from Dr. Reynold’s office. I was to be at Dr. Callahan’s, the gynecological oncologist, office the next morning at 9:45. Boy, that was quick. Really quick.

A fair part of the trip was still trying to triage the health of the Bee-stro during my surgical absence. We knew at least that weekend, we would be good. There was no way they would get me into surgery that fast. I asked Andy & Judah what they thought about me calling in some of our former kitchen employees- Sharon Koehler, Sami Miller, and Cindy Miller and see if they would be willing to temporarily come help us out.

Since we really didn’t know anything- no hard dates, no real procedures, it was a back and forth of not if, but when should we call them. I told Andy & Judah that I would like to go ahead and call Sharon and just get on her radar and maybe see if she could come and help Friday and Saturday, Oct. 13 & 14 while the food trailer was out and we were already short staffed. I told them that Sharon was always a calming presence for me and if nothing else, if she was available, I would like her presence. Once I explained to Sharon what was going on, she immediately said, “Yes”, and that her and Randy would be praying for me.

We told Sophie the news. Since both girls were in the room I told them as I held Lucy, “You girls now have a new medical history, too. Not just you two, but Elizabeth and Lucy. Soak up all you can through this so you will become more aware if, God forbid, you need the information.”

The next day, we met Dr. Michael Callahan at Ascension St. Vincent in Indianapolis. Andy and I liked him immediately. He was very down to earth, able to joke with, and had a story much like ours- born & bred in Indiana, married his high school sweetheart, and is over 50. We talked about the restaurant, which always intrigues people when they find out we have a restaurant in our home, and his Dad, the big animal vet who passed away 25+ years ago.

After getting to know one another, we talked surgery- a total hysterectomy with uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and some limp nodes just for good measure. We talked about a surgery date. My thought was sometime after Oct. 17. Andy said the sooner the better. Dr. Callahan said he would be on vacation the week of Oct. 16 and that would push the surgery out 2 additional weeks. He said if I was his wife, we would schedule the surgery the following week. Andy shook his head “yes”. Giddy up- surgery was scheduled for Monday, Oct. 9, one week after receiving the diagnosis.

Now that we had a date, we called a meeting for Thursday evening with the serving and other staff to tell them our news. I also laid out the following week’s menu. It had to be super easy because in addition to me not working and prepping, Andy would be spending most of his time at the hospital the following week. Plus, we had to make and prepare food not just for the Bee-stro, but for the food trailer and the four days it would be serving up some goodness at Fall at The Farm & Co. There was a lot to do with little time to do it.

A CT scan was scheduled the next morning at St. Vincent Clay. After completing that, I had to run to Odon to get some of that delicious Marinated Turkey you see occasionally on the dinner menu. (Bee-stro secret- we do nothing to this turkey other than bake it. We put it on the menu when it’s a super busy week here at the Bee-stro so it’s easier for the staff to prepare.) Before leaving town, I stopped by our guests turned good friends, Melanie & Terry Shock, where Andy was helping Terry install Starlink (Andy had been so looking forward to this time with Terry and seeing how Starlink worked). We told Terry & Melanie the news and I wanted to ask them a special favor, but before I got the words out of my mouth, their “yes”, was already there. They were going to sit and be with Andy during surgery. It was good that Andy would have them there.

I’ll be honest, that trip to Odon was something. I was too much into my own head and thinking the worst case scenario. To be honest, until that time, I had total peace and was just triaging and going with the flow. There were several tears that trickled down my cheek that trip.

I called Sami and Cindy Miller during the drive and told them the news, asked if they would be willing to temporarily help us out. They said yes and were available to come to the staff meeting being held that night.

By the time of the staff meeting, the road to Odon was behind me and I was ready to laugh again. We told the remaining staff, which again were shocked because they were expecting positive news, and we went through the schedule and the calendar to make sure everything was covered through at least the 8 week recovery. Botta boom, botta bing- they all rose up and we got it all covered.

In that meeting, I told the staff that outside of Judah and Sophie, the Bee-stro was like a child to me. I was trusting them all to take care of it in my absence that they were to make sure to diaper, burp, and take care of my baby. If you are a small business owner, you know what I am talking about. You don’t leave your business in the hands of just anyone, you place it in the hands of those you trust that have your vision.

I also reiterated with the staff that we were going to laugh our way through this. One of the things that I often say around here is that an activated uterus is a tracking device. This comes up when I ask one of the teenage boys or youngin’s to go get me something and they come back with, “I can’t find it”. To which I reply, “Oh, yeah, I forgot. You don’t have an activated uterus”. Let’s face it, Moms just find things easier. I shared with the staff that one of my fears was that I would no longer be able to find things since I wouldn’t have an activated uterus. I also wondered with them if this was the first step of transgendering. I also told them if I didn’t come out of this surgery 10 pounds lighter, than it wasn’t worth doing. You just have to laugh your way through life. It makes the journey easier.

One final kind of funny, maybe a little gross, but chalk it up to only me, thing about pre-procedure- the last day before surgery, we hosted an etiquette class to 60 teenage girls. My good friend, Christy Stutzman, who is from the South and is very proper, was teaching the class. Since it was the day before an abdominal area surgery guess what I was supposed to do? A colon cleanse. Yep, that’s right, only me would be hosting an etiquette class on prim and proper behavior while doing a colon cleanse. Haha. Full disclosure, I didn’t start the cleanse until after everything was served and it ended up taking 4 days to work, so there was no harm. It just makes a good story.

Part 3- The Procedure, tomorrow


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