2

Welcome Back

Posted by Sue on January 12, 2012 in Random Thoughts, Self-exploration |

Oh, wait. That’s your line. I admit, it has been waaaay too long since I’ve been here. I’ve got tons of posts rolling around in my head that I should have put onto “paper” over the past few months and, Captain Obvious that I am, didn’t. Yeah. I’m here to say it is going to be a long haul, but I’m going to rectify this. You’ll probably be sick of hearing about things that already happened and are long over, but for my own mental health I’m going to do it. I hope someday these chronicles may find their way into a place where someone can say, “Oh! That’s what she was all about!”.

Well, I can hope, can’t I?

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April… March?

Posted by Sue on April 6, 2011 in Health, Life, Wasting Time |

Uh, yeah… about that. I seem to have gotten distracted in my willingness to blog more. What can I say? Facebook ate my homework? Seems if I have a few extra minutes on the computer I’m lounging about on there, catching up on most of you (those of you who are on there). Then there are the games. Oh, my. I gave up my WoW (World of Warcraft) addiction – sort of – and in its place I now have these things called a “cafe”, “frontier”, “farm”, “pet”, etc… that take up endless hours that I feel could be better used. I even got away from them for awhile, but they lured me back in with guilt. Guilt because my friends were playing and if I don’t play I don’t help them… and if I help them, then they help me. You get the idea.

The WoW thing? Yeah… I gave it up. I say “sort of” because I’m really missing it. Most of the people I met there I see pretty routinely on FB, at least the ones I knew the best. I do miss the whole graphics of it and the plotting and the planning and the “if I’m having a bad day I can shoot a bunch of alien bad guys and feel better” aspect. I miss having that in common with my kids, most of whom played at one time or another so it was a mutual interest. Now the boys are into some other game and when I hear them talking about the game it brings back the feeling I had having that with them.

Just for a quick update. The back is 100% better. I am now pain free! It is wonderful. I can drive, walk, sit, even clean the house… pain free! The last time I had this surgery, I ended up with months of physical therapy because of something called ‘frozen shoulder’. It was caused partially by my diabetes, and because before the surgery when I was in pain I babied my arms and shoulders and didn’t keep the range of motion in them (because it hurt). This time I just toughed out the pain and hoped it would pay off by not having that issue after surgery, and I was right. Given a few days for the actual surgery recovery, the arms went back to feeling great. I still had all my range of motion and didn’t have the stiffness and pain I’d had previously. The doctor even let me start walking, slowly, a couple of weeks after surgery. Mid-March I had my final checkup and x-ray and all looked well. I now have a neck that is fused from the C4 vertebrae to the T1, in three sections of surgery. My surgeon pointed out that the top one, C4-C5 that he did was nice and straight and has a titanium plate in place. The last surgery, which he also did, was fusing C6-T1. Also with a titanium plate and nice and straight. The one in-between, C5-C6 was my first surgery done by another surgeon, and was fused with cadaver bone. It isn’t quite as straight. He laughed and said he’d love to go in and fix it, but it is hard to tell someone you want to go in and break their neck, just to make something more asthetically pleasing on the inside!

So, March flew by and I didn’t even realize I’d not blogged. The end of March and April so far have been busy. With some gumption, I may actually blog about that… uh… soon?

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Post Surgery

Posted by Sue on February 2, 2011 in Health, Random Thoughts |

After recovery I woke in a room, but not the recovery room. I probably slept through all of that. Still in pain, they had me hooked up to a pump of fentynl (sp?) – unfortunately, that is one of the drugs that doesn’t work on me. I have it a try for a few hours, then gave up. Much to my nurses dismay.

My hope of going home the same day were dashed pretty much right from the beginning. The doctor’s nurse originally told me since I was first I may be able to – but when they admitted me that morning they said it was rare, if ever, that it happened. Oh, well. I think my continued pain also had the doctor stymied. He thought I should wake up wonderful (I wonder how much of the “wonderful” he usually saw was due to the pain meds that worked for the majority of his patients…??)I tried to explain to him that even I expected it to take a little bit for the nerves to quiet down, but I don’t think he appreciated it when I referred to things being irritated in there because he’d been “rooting around” in there. I’m sure he felt he’d used much more finesse!

Middle of the night one nurse finally asked me what helped with the pain at home. When I said “ice” she immediately brought an ice pack and it began to ease some of the discomfort.

My whole stay was full of explainations about my high blood pressure (when I go home, it will be fine), my elevated blood sugars (I’m off my meds, it isn’t THAT high, and my doctor says it will be fine as long as it isn’t over ____ for more than five days – I was nowhere near that number), and my reisitance to pain meds (no, I don’t want the pump, no don’t hang that IV of Lyrica, vicoden and oxycoten don’t work either). You’d think they would talk to each other – or at least make notes. I mean, there were at least 3 nurses, 6 nurses aids, a couple of doctors, a p.t., and who knows who all else who got in on the act.

One funny note – and not necessarily in a “ha-ha” kind of way. The food. Normally, hospital food I’ve encountered has been good. This time? You be the judge. My first tray came up about noon and I was still pretty out of it, so didn’t really pay attention to it and Hubs took one look at it and got daughter to go get him a piece of pizza from the cafeteria. When the supper tray came, though, I was hungry and ready to eat. First thing was – it was all pureed. Every bit of it. (Pureed = babyfood consistancy) I guess they figured with all they’d put my throat and neck through, it would feel better. Okay, whatever.

Then I look at it. I mean, really look at it. Thinking it must be a mistake I look at the menu to identify what I’m looking at. A bright pink sticker on the menu identifies it as being ‘diabetic’ menu. Uh… really? Keep in mind… all of this was pureed. First off, that means most any fiber is so pulped that there isn’t much to stop the sugar rush. Then, I think they found the highest sugar content foods they could: carrots, white bread, spaghetti, apricots, ice cream, 2% milk. I took one look and told the nurse there was no way I could eat this – my blood sugar would really be over the moon.

We discussed what she could call and try and get for me and we finally came up with scrambled eggs. I’d asked for whole wheat toast, too, but they couldn’t “puree” toast – so I got my bread pureed in a cup (it seriously looked like raw bread dough) and, believe it or not, they pureed the scrambled eggs, then put them back on my plate and tried to form them into a scrambled egg shape. I mean, c’mon… scrambled eggs aren’t “pureed” enough? Sheesh. Starving as I was, I managed to get down the eggs. Next moring I ended up with another “diabetic” menu… pureed (then stamped back into form) waffles with regular maple syrup, orange juice, malto meal (which I did eat)… see? I mean, really? REALLY? Oh, and regular sugar for the cereal, etc. The nurse happened to have some splenda on the floor, so I did use that with my cereal, saving me a bit there.

So finally I was released late morning the day after my surgery. I’d managed 2 hours of sleep – not consecutively – and no pain relief.

I’m happy to report that after two weeks and lots of rest, doing my post-surgery exercises like a good girl, and not doing the things I’m not supposed to, I’m feeling much better! Still wearing the neck brace, and probably will be for another couple of weeks. My shoulder pain is gone and my arm pain mostly gone – it only flares up a bit now and then if I move wrong. A bit stiff in the neck (which may be a permanent condition, now that most of my neck is fused) and a little bit of soreness still at the site of the incision, but overally I would call this a success! Go to the doctor tomorrow morning to get his opinion, but am hoping he thinks it is as good as I do.

Thank you all to my family and friends (including you) for all the love and support. I’ll take it all and bask in its warmth!

2

Surgery

Posted by Sue on February 1, 2011 in Health, Random Thoughts |

It’s been nearly two weeks since I had my 3-1/2 hour surgery to fuse two more discs in my neck. Right after surgery, I was in considerable pain and was sure of the outcome – if it truly was successful.

Looking back, it started on a rather sour note and I was a bit fearful of it all going badly. The day started after a fitful night with a -4 degree actual temperature. Compounded by the bright light of the full moon as we drove to town at 5 a.m. Anyone who has been a reader of this blog for any length of time knows full moons and I don’t play well together.

After arriving and checking in, both the blood pressure machine and glucose meter decied not to work right away. Just reason for my nervousness to be heightened and my “white coat syndrome” blood pressure to spike even higher. After a brief hiccup in which we were informed that although I was scheduled to be up first, but that another patient had shown up with the first time designated on their paperwork as well… fate won out and I got the first time slot as promised. Yay! Things were looking up!

I finally had to leave Hubs and my younger daughter to go back to the prep area.

The I.V. was started (after a bad try on my left hand it was finally started in my very sore right one), the lovely cap was put over my hair, and the doctor came in to say he’d “take care of me” – proceeding to then write some secret gibberish to himself on my right arm and neck. Probably my neck was the dotted line where he was going to cut.

A few minutes later the anesthesiologist came. He let me know that my records indicated during my last surgery they’d had to intubate me with a different type of equipment – some special scope was needed. Because of how they have to put it in, the throat must be numbed and the patient must participate in the numbing process by breathing in the lidocaine. He said during my previous surgery they’d actually woke me up to do this before they could continue the surgery! I thankfully remembered none of that – to which he commented, “We have good amnesia medicine”. Yikes.

So now they didn’t want to even risk that possibility again, so I was asked to do the throat numbing prior to surgery. Nasty! Foul! It made me cough and gag and all kinds of yuckiness. Finally after five times of coating my throat (with something resembling a spray paint gun) things started numbing up and I was ready to proceed.

Funny how you can remember every detail until you are on the gurney outside the O.R. seeing the operating theater through big glass windows – but can’t remember going through the doors into the room! Good meds, I’ll say!

To be continued…

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Surgery-Eve

Posted by Sue on January 18, 2011 in Deep Thoughts, Family, Health, Life, Self-exploration |

Tomorrow is my surgery. I’m looking forward to it as I hope it is going to take care of the pain I’ve been having for quite some time. I guess my first real hurdle was getting the letter from the insurance company and having them go through all this almost-legal-speak to tell me, finally, near the very end of the letter, that they’d approved my procedure. Well… terrific! I was stunned at first reading it thinking they were writing to tell me that I wasn’t going to be approved, in which case I was prepared to be totally miserable. No way could we afford this on our own. It makes me very grateful I have been able to afford insurance – even though it is one of our major expenses, due to being self-employed.

For some reason I’ve just been feeling this urge to communicate. To write down thought and maybe make amends… I’m not drinking, but it in in the “drunk-dialing” variety of urges that is spurring me on. Do it and damn the consequences. At least until I read it later.

Some people probably get tired of hearing me say it, but I love my husband…so much. I know he worries and I’ve contributed to his worry with some of my irresponsibilitys with money and recklessness with which I’ve done some things in my life. I hope he can forgive me and knows that my pledge to do better is heartfelt.

When I met him I thought he was the most gorgeous guy. I mean, tall, dark and wonderful… my “dream guy” come to life. I couldn’t stop staring! Through the years that opinion has changed. Now now only is he beautiful to me on the outside, but I know what a warm, generous and loving man he is on the inside. I have truly been blessed to have this man in my life for over 30 years. Best thing of all? He loves me too! He leaves me without a shred of a doubt as to the depth and breadth of this love – every day. Who could ask for more?

…and what can I say about my kids? After upsetting my eldest by blogging about her I promised I would never do it again, but I just have to say that I love her as much as a mother can. She’s the first, the one who when I didn’t have a clue what I was doing had to endure a young mother’s ignorance. A premie, she was so close to not even being with me that I truly do treasure every day she is on this earth. I am so proud of the obstacles she has had to endure and the progress she is making to better her life. I don’t always say it right, but I’m working on that.

My eldest son. He can be tough but he has this soft gooey middle. Sometimes it is a toss-up who is the biggest softie of all the kids. I’ve seen him grow from innocence to rebelliousness to a man who any mother could be proud to call son. Although each of my children are independent souls, his was independent much earlier – flying out of the nest and forcing himself to make the best of it. It is to his character that he has friends – good friends – that he has had his whole life long, and now a loving wife who treasures him as much as we do.

Younger daughter. Although Hubs likes to refer to her as “Susan-junior” or “mini-me”, I prefer to refer to her as “Susan 2.0″. She is the new, improved version. The better ‘me’. Yes, and although she has a lot of traits similar to mine, she is still very much her own woman. She is beautiful and fiesty and takes no shit… but, as in the case of her siblings, she has a soft core, maybe softer than all the rest. One she protects fiercely and who takes things very hard when the world, or other people, do not live up to her expectations. It is hard to get in, but so worth it if you do.

Last, but far from least, is younger son. No longer a boy, but a man as well. Tall and broad shouldered and soft-hearted as they come. I see a lot of his father in him and that is something to be very proud of. He, too, shares his life with his loving wife and critters and he would do anything for any member of his family… siblings and parents included. I hope as the years go on he learns to love this farm life and not become jaded or hard from it. It has certainly changed my life… and brought me all the beautiful blessings that are my family, and yes, my critters too.

Oh, wow… this has turned rather sappy, hasn’t it? That wasn’t my intent. I know you are told to tell your loved ones that you love them every day. I try, as often as I can. I guess I’m just touching all my bases.

Oh… and all of you, my blog friends, have a special place in my heart as well. Some of you have become very good friends. We’ve never met in the “real” world, but I haven’t given up hope that may happen someday!

God Bless… see you on the other side of tomorrow.

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Where Has This Year Gone?

Posted by Sue on December 28, 2010 in Family, Health, Life, Self-exploration |

I am stunned when I look at my blog and realize I have barely written here at all … and not since September?!?!?! That’s unheard of! I used to write daily! I can’t say it is because I’m over on Facebook, updating every day, because I’m not. I don’t know if it is because I don’t feel my life is interesting enough (like it was before?) or if I am just being lazy. Part of me regrets the lack of posting as it is a time capsule of sorts, letting us look back at where we were and what was going on at various points in our life. I am not one to make New Year’s Resolutions, but perhaps I should make a “pre-NR-resolution” that I really, really should post more often. Once more, for myself if nothing else.

A quick (or not-so-quick) update. The pain clinic didn’t help. They gave me an epideral which was to take effect within 3-14 days. It only served to spike my blood sugar to the moon, but did nothing for the pain. After the full two weeks went by I had another appointment which my Hubs went with and proceeded to piss of the pain clinic doc by telling him in his opinion surgery was the only option. I was okay with that, because we had a friend with lower back pain who had gone to the same doctor and he had put our friend through a series of six of those shots and none of them worked. He ended up having surgery and is doing better. At any rate, I wasn’t up for several more shots that hurt like a sumbitch and only messed up my blood sugar without any relief.

We were given referral to the neurosurgeon – the same one who did my last surgery. I always find it interesting how three different doctors can look at one set of MRI’s and see three different things. One doc said he could see some compression up in the C3 area (which, according to my research, would effect my eyes, face and head area – not my shoulder, arm and hand). The pain clinic doc kind of thought maybe there was a nerve being rubbed down around the base of my neck, but wasn’t sure. Finally, the surgeon pointed to another disc being herniated around C7-T1 and the next lower one, which… gee… would be effecting my shoulder, arm and hand! *gasp*

Seeing as I am in a job that is the busiest in the fall and early winter, and also seeing as I am the only person in my company who does what I do, I couldn’t take time off to be operated on. I was given pain pills and some pills to help with nerves (it is a brand name, but if I put it here I’ll get spam to the moon)… and I take them faithfully, although I haven’t been able to tell a whole lot of difference with or without them with the exception of a bit of dizziness when I first started them and if I am off of them, say, first thing in the morning, they do seem to take the ‘edge’ off a bit. He’d also given me some steroid to take, but once again nothing happened but a huge spike in blood sugars, so I stopped that one.

I am now scheduled for surgery January 19. I am counting the days. Seriously. Just last night I was wide awake at 1 a.m. with pain and got up and read for a couple of hours until the medication kicked in. I am so keeping my fingers and toes crossed this works. My past two surgeries (also herniated discs) have been relatively successful. The first was amazingly so… a day and night difference from before surgery and after. I mean, RIGHT after. The second one didn’t have as dramatic an outcome because I didn’t realize that I had been “babying” my arms and shoulders to the point that I wasn’t really moving them much and after surgery I still had quite a bit of pain and stiffness in my shoulders – what they call “frozen shoulder”. It is common in diabetics, something I didn’t know, and as a result I have been faithfully making an effort this time to keep my range of motion in my arms as much as I can so that won’t be an issue after surgery. Last time it ended me up in physical therapy for months before it finally worked loose enough to be considered “cured”.

As far as the rest of my life? Things are going well. Harvest wasn’t quite what we’d hoped. It was a beautiful healthy crop – amazingly so – up until July 17 when a wind-storm blew half the corn over and kicked our yields in the ass. That, and a huge amount of rain that came late in the season. It just took the wind right out of our sails. As farmers, though, we just cross our fingers, say a prayer, and do it all over again next year.

The kids are doing well.

Eldest son and his wife are looking to add to their family – I’m expecting a new grand-critter (puppy) the end of this week. They are very excited. I’ve seen pictures and the pup is adorable and I predict will be spoiled silly.

Younger daughter got a new job in August. In her degree field. She is treated well and can’t get used to having a “real” job – with paid vacation, weekends off, etc… coming off of many years of retail sales, she barely knows how to act! It is fairly close by and she is continuing to live with us while she gets her shit together. It has worked out well having her here as she has been a great help with my back. She even helped my hijack my work computer and brought it home and helped me set up my home office to be a work office as well. I’ve not been capable of sitting in a desk chair, so have a recliner set up as a ‘command’ center surrounded by computers, printers, etc. I’m liking this arrangement so well that I’ve made a plea to make it a permanent situation, but the verdict is still out on that. Will wait to see what transpires.

Younger son had a very successful race season, but is thinking of putting the racing aside this next year. He (and we) can’t really afford to foot the bill for this whole thing – it is expensive enough just to go watch all the races – but we’re hoping maybe some sponsors will throw some real money into the mix if they hear he is going to sit it out due to finances. In tough times, something has to go and as much as we hate to see him have to stop racing, he’s thinking even if he doesn’t get the sponsorship that it may just be a one-year break and if we have a decent crop next year… at a decent price… maybe he could get back into it. Time will tell.

So… that’s about it. I’ve really not kept up with all of you, unless you are on Facebook and I get to catch snippits of what is going on in your life. I will try to do some catching up in my reading… and hopefully, as I say, be a bit more consistant in my writing. Sorry to drag this out so long, but I’ve had a bit to catch up on. See you soon!

1

Counting Down…

Posted by Sue on September 27, 2010 in Health, Life, Self-exploration |

Pain clinic appointment is on Wednesday afternoon. I’m counting down. First it was days, now it is hours. About ten years ago I had an experience with the Pain Clinic. I’d been having some pain again and was sent there. After taking an MRI the doctor told me they could see no obvious sources of my pain. I was dejected, thinking that was the end of it and I’d be sent home to deal with it as best as I could. I made the comment “I guess this pain is all in my head”. The doctor replied, “We don’t care if we can’t see anything, if you are having pain we will do our best to try and relieve it.”

They then proceeded to give me a shot of, although I’m not sure of the name, I figure was a steroid. He told me it wouldn’t hurt right away because of the anesthesia they apply at the time of the shot, but that the next day it would hurt as that anesthesia wore off… and, in a couple of days I would either have relief or no relief. When I asked how long the relief might last he told me it varied in everyone. Some people have it last for a day, some for a lifetime. Everyone is different.

It worked exactly like he said. As far as relief? It lasted for at least five years… so that’s not so bad! Now, if I can just get through the fall that will be a great help. Anything beyond that?
Gravy.

0

Racing Update

Posted by Sue on September 26, 2010 in Family, Wasting Time |

A quick update on the racing scene. Later this week is a three-day special race that is by invitation only… and son got invited! This is quite a cool thing! I’ll let you know how it goes. ;)

2

Racing Recap

Posted by Sue on September 20, 2010 in Family, Random Thoughts, Wasting Time |

What a year it has been for my son racing. Oh, my! I only rarely used to go but this year I got tough and ended up going to most of them. He was racing Friday nights at a track about 40 miles away and by the end of the season (a couple of weeks ago) he’d won several races and ended up second in points for his class. On Saturday nights he was racing at the track that is only a few miles away, but didn’t have as good a time there. Too many issues with other racers being… uh… dickheads. Yeah, I said it. At any rate, a couple of weeks ago was the big Supernational race there that I’ve spoken of in years past. It is a race that draws people from all over, even Australia, to compete in different classes. It is a week long qualifying challange, which ends up on Saturday night being the big final race.

Son didn’t have a very good week. His car was running well and although it was supposed to look like this:

By shortly into the first race, it looked like this:

Slammed into a wall by another car. Yes, it happened right in front of my face. That was a good thing and a bad thing, as his wife and I decided later. It was good because he was close enough I could’ve counted his freckles and we could see he was okay. It was bad because HELLO IT WAS RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR FACE. Yeah.

So it got hauled out off the track, loaded onto a trailer and taken to the nearby shop where it was all torn apart and a new front end was put on. Son has some awesome friends who helped … and, who were just coming to watch the race… not intending to be put to work until 4 a.m., then having a couple of hours sleep, going back at it to get him up and running and back in ship-shape condition in time to run the next chance race at 2:00 that afternoon.

He didn’t do very well in that race. Three hours sleep out of the last 36 doesn’t make judgement or reflexes very good and he went over the bank. No harm to himself or the car, but no advancement either.

The next night he was able to gain a spot in the bigger ‘B’ main but drew starting position 25. He had to end up within the top 8. I missed that race, as it rained and we weren’t sure if it was going to be rained out or not and my back was killing me, so daughter came and picked me up to take me home. Hubs told me he did awesome, though, battling through all those cars and getting just a car length from being one of the eight. He wasn’t happy but was glad the car was running well and he felt he got his groove back after some much-needed sleep.

Finally the last night and the last chance. He had to do well enough to get a last chance in to the big main race. It wasn’t to be. After all the rain the night before, now the track was bone dry and slick. He started near the back and there was just no getting anywhere. No one was passing… it was just too slippery and they couldn’t get a grip. Sadly his week long quest to get into the big race was not to be.

Watching the races after that was bittersweet. He was pretty down at first, feeling like he’d let all the guys down who had helped him with the car all week. Then his buddies got to talking with him and let him know they were just happy to be there and thrilled with how well he’d done and it boosted his spirits up. I was able to watch the other races knowing he was going to be okay and I didn’t have to worry about him being out in a car.

It didn’t hurt that a friend of his won the whole thing, too. His friend that was the number one in points at the other track… where my son came in number two. So, it was okay.

Plus… son had another big race just last Friday night and came led the field most of the race until some lap-traffic messed him up. Still he made it into second place. Not too shabby.

Me? I’m always about a.) is son okay? b.) is the car okay? … last but not least is c.) how did he do? In my mind, all is good.

3

Friday Sorta

Posted by Sue on September 17, 2010 in Health |

Yes, I’m back. Shocked, aren’t you? I told you I’d try to do better!

Well, the title is referring to the fact that it is Friday but in my world at this time of the year it doesn’t really mean anything. I’ll be back at work bright and early again tomorrow morning. Still waiting to hear on Sunday. I hope we don’t have to work Sunday. I’m already exhausted and I about threw up this morning from the pain in my shoulder.

In updated news on that. I had my MRI on Wednesday. It was supposed to be 20 minutes of laying perfectly still on my back, then dye injected and another 20 minutes. Well, first off when they say perfectly still, they mean absolutely completely still. I was asked not to even swallow. I remember when I had my last one back in 2007 I had a tickle and kept coughing. At least this time that wasn’t an issue. However, because of the way my neck has been fused in previous surgeries, I don’t lay ‘flat’. The nurse tried… she gave me a thin blanket to put under my head, but it may as well not have been there. My neck and shoulder hurt that much more just from the position. Then, laying perfectly, absolutely still… not for 20 minutes, but for over 30! Yes, then they pulled me out, injected dye, and put me back in for another 30 minutes! I was miserable. I’m not claustrophobic and the noise doesn’t bother me at all… but the pain. Ack.

So here I am a couple of days later and I was sitting at my desk this morning trying not to throw up, my shoulder hurt so. I brought an ice pack to put on it and was trying my best to work and self-medicate, all the time hoping I didn’t throw up at work. That would be the worst. I managed to hold it together for a couple of hours until the nausea passed but I’m back on the ice pack again and wishing the day were over.

After work I’m rushing home and getting around to go to one of my son’s last races. Last week was the big “Supernational” race that lasts all week. I’ll tell you more about that in a future post. I just keep thinking of things I missed posting this summer that I really should catch you up on.

So, for the moment, you just still get me whining. Lucky you!

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