November 12th finally arrived, and oddly enough to me, the day dawned like any other. Of all the things I have learned throughout this experience, one stands out the most: it's so surreal to be going through something in your own life that feels earth-shattering, but when you look around you realize that the rest of the world (and everyone in it) continues on in their own predictable rhythms and patterns. Surprisingly, I slept fairly well the night before considering my anxiety level. Jeremy and I got up around 4 because we had to be in Peoria before 6. My surgery was slated for seven. On the way to Peoria I clutched a verse from the Bible given to me by Tami Qualls. She had brain surgery several years ago and gave me some very useful tips. Most of all she reminded me to be my own best advocate as a patient and to let everyone involved in that surgery know all that I have to lose. She gave me the idea to chant my children's names rather than counting backwards from ten when I receive anesthesia. The verse she gave me just spoke to me and fortified me when I read it.
"Ava, Alex. Ava, Alex." over and over again as I was put under. I began saying it and only got it out a few times when I was silenced as the mask delivering anesthesia was placed on my face. Leigh looked me in the eyes at that very moment and said, "I hear you, Mindi". For that one second in time and my final moment before surgery, I felt safe.