“Deck the gall with balls of holly..”

It’s been the best of weeks…it’s been the worst of weeks.

The last couple of days have been particularly emotional. 

Psychedelic peacock feather


I figured I had better get back to you blog readers with the gall bladder surgery details just in case you’re wondering what happened during the appointment with the surgeon yesterday.

Yesterday I was in fine spirits.  You know, humming spirits.  You go into the surgeon’s office with your husband and you’re discussing all sorts of ordinary things while you wait for the surgeon to arrive to discuss Your Problem.

I was humming Christmas songs.  When suddenly the words “Deck the gall with balls of holly!” came out of nowhere.

Barry and I laughed.  I laughed some more.  And then laughed some more.  It struck me as the silliest thing in the universe.  Where did this line come from, anyway?  Some extraterrestrial trying to cheer up the situation?

Santa? Is that you?

The good-looking surgeon arrived.  He set the date for surgery for next Monday.

Was that OK with me?

Whatever you say, doctor!

“Why do we have gall bladders, anyway?” I asked him.

He smiled.

“To help put my kids through college,” he joked.

Nothing like a comedian for a surgeon!

But, seriously, folks, I like him.  Have confidence in him.  It will be simple laparoscopic surgery unless there are complications.  If complications exist–well, as my friend, Janet, put it:  let’s hope for a gentle knife.

Let’s assume no complications.  Prayers and good wishes will be appreciated.  I will pay you back when you need them.

Nonetheless–after yesterday’s giggle attack in the surgeon’s office–I awoke today feeling absolutely emotional.  Sad, teary-eyed.  The doctor’s office (the local doc) called wanting more blood work.

Back to the hospital.  Last time I was cheerful-happy and thinking, “Oh, this is nothing!  Isn’t blood work easy?”  This morning the renegade thoughts snarled, “I HATE blood work!  I HATE this!  Get me out of this place!”

December's picture on our calendar

I cried this morning.  Seriously, folks.  Who knows why?  Fear?  Tired of this dull feeling of pain?  The roller-coaster effect after giggling yesterday?

99 out of 100 folks who have had laparoscopic gall bladder surgery (and lived to tell me about it) said it was a breeze.  A piece of cake!  Easy as pie!  Wish they’d done it years before. 

“You’ll love it,” they all say.  “Have it done.  Don’t even give it another thought! You’ll sail through it!”

I am wondering if it would be possible to get through the next five days without thinking. 

Perhaps should just keep humming, “Deck the gall with balls of holly…”

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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60 Responses to “Deck the gall with balls of holly..”

  1. fountainpen says:

    Surrounded by care and concern……
    by lots of people….
    we who believe in the Communion of Saints…..


  2. Kathy – You can count on me for the requested, “PRAYERS and GOOD WISHES!”

  3. Motherkitty says:

    Kathy ~

    A candle has been lit and a prayer offered up. I wish you all the best and will continue to send postive energy your way.

    It’s normal to be rather emotional before a surgery, honey. Just take a few deep breathes, and remember that there are a lot of us out here, praying for you. If there is anything more we can do for you, let us know. Hang in there. Hugs and best wishes!

    • Kathy says:

      Motherkitty, you don’t know how much all this support and prayer–and a candle lit!–means to me. I am feeling the positive energy today. Bless YOU!

  4. barb says:

    Surgery is never fun, even if it’s a “breeze” – however, I assure you that it will be OK because the DR is cute AND has a sense of humor. Same with my cardiologist and look how that’s turned out for me. I’ll be thinking of you, Kathy. Crying is actually good – it wets the places in your soul that were getting parched.

    • Kathy says:

      Barb, it turned out so good for you–am hoping for the same here. I love what you said about crying: “it wets the places in the soul that were getting parched.” That is so beautiful. Thank you.

  5. Susan Derozier says:

    My thoughts are with you. Years ago when I was in need of the surgery (they did it the old fashioned way then and I still have the scar of Zoro to show for it) I went into a funk as well. I recall a friend telling me to have a dialogue with my gall bladder. I was teaching journaling classes at the time and always had my students “dialogue” at such times. Well, I gave it a shot and ended up sobbing. What I realized was that I was mourning for the loss of that organ. I had already parted with a uterus and suddenly that reality hit me. This gall bladder had been with me since birth and now we were parting. I decided to spend some quality time pondering this loss. Took a long bubble bath and literally gave myself the evening and night to “say goodbye” to this part of myself. It was an amazing, peace giving experience. In the dialogue I did on paper, the gall bladder had assured me it was necessary and time to part. Prayers and thoughts are with you!

    • Kathy says:

      Susan, I love your idea of dialoguing with the gall bladder. I actually had many talks with Ms. GB when she first got “sick” five years ago. But not recently. Today I did a deep morning meditation which included mourning and forgiveness and connection…it was so beautiful. More tears, but good cleansing tears. Thank you so much for this suggestion. It can be so healing to talk to our body parts.

  6. OM says:

    What marvelous comments! What a great idea, Susan, to say goodbye and mourn, dialoguing with that part!

    Kathy I had thought the surgery itself was yesterday, and you were the first thought in my mind when I awoke this morning, and I am happy to find your update!

    I don’t know about you, but for the first 3 days of a noticeable pain I am OK, and then I start to feel drained, weepy, and irritable. I think that’s just the embodiment doing its thing…. and not to be ignored, but also not to be alarmed about.

    So, sending sustaining energies and prayers for this week, and for next Monday! Giggle attacks are excellent biochemical-generators, and “they” in the nonphysical realms, they surely do have a great sense of humor. Ask for more of it, LOL!!!

    Holding you in my heart,

    • Kathy says:

      OM, wasn’t that a good idea Susan had? Like you, I was pretty much OK for quite a while with this pain. Didn’t feel nervous, sad or even upset. But then–whammo!–yesterday (or the day before?) it suddenly hit with intensity. It has felt so good to laugh AND cry. Thank you. My gall bladder and I thank you for being held so lovingly in your heart.

  7. Tuesday, Solstice. We’ll chant for you, and sweat for you Sunday in the lodge. The surgery will go well, and you are well. Yes, mourn, say goodbye, do what feels right as you send this poor tired gall bladder on its way. You did the best you could by it, but it hurts now. Good bye gall bladder.
    Love to you Kathy Sue.

    • Kathy says:

      Carla, that is so beautiful and appreciated SO much. Maybe I should write that I’m attending your sweat lodge on Facebook? 🙂

      Oh…Carla…a little weepy again…I tried so HARD to help this poor gall bladder. A person has never tried harder.

      But it’s time to lovingly say goodbye. You are so right. Thank you!

  8. Prayers for you now AND on Monday. Surgery IS serious stuff, but you will never regret that you made the choice to do it. I can remember too well laying on bathroom floors, in so much pain and not caring if I lived or died. I now feel confident those days will never return. Total empathy for you. Cruel timing, but you will find a quick rebound.

    • Kathy says:

      Jane, you’ve laid on bathroom floors too? I am so happy to meet another bathroom floor soul mate! 🙂 I am glad that you are confident those days will never return. I am still at the stage of hoping they don’t return. At least not before Monday. Thank YOU!

  9. flandrumhill says:

    Oh, you better watch out,
    You better not cry…

    Santa’s elves are watching. I’ll be praying for you.

    • Kathy says:

      Amy-Lynn, Santa’s elves have probably crossed me OFF their list after my crying fits! But I shall try to be better behaved from now on. Your prayers, though, are pure gold. I thank you.

  10. Elisa's Spot says:

    Smoochies!!! I was out at 6:30 am getting my own arm stabbed,wondering if you too were doing the blech dance! 7 dern tubes!!! Blech!

    • Kathy says:

      YOU had to have seven tubes of blood taken, Elisa? OH NO! And here I was being a baby after just having two tubes! I hope you are OK. Please email me if you’re having health problems.

  11. Think—-Then, you’re done…quick and easy!
    Remember, the phlebotomist is an important part of your healthcare team, and a professional. They don’t do what they do because they want to hurt you, they do it for your quality care in giving the Dr the best possible results so they can make everything is as it should be……Be Brave and think of that wonderful river almost underwater-Cool Pictures!

    • Kathy says:

      Phlebotomist? What is a phlebotomist, Kim? Is that the person with the needle who comes toward you? Actually, the lab lady was so kind and funny and nice. She didn’t hear the voice in my head. She saw only a smile, a bit of nervousness, and maybe some appreciation for a quick and easy job.

  12. georgia mom says:

    Think after you get all the pre op stuff out of the way, you will settle down emotionally. You have so many fiends and family sending prayers and concern for you. I’ll bet you will feel totally comforted Monday morning especially anticipating ‘Nurse Kiah’on the scene Tuesday! Dad and I love you Kathy!

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you, Georgia Mom. I am feeling better today…and really happy that Kiah will be here next Tuesday. I am sure she will be a wonderful nurse. And isn’t it great to have so many people praying?

  13. Robin says:

    *Hugs* We are so similar it scares me at times, thinking my parallel self is roaming around out there needing the same comfort I do to go forth and be brave. I have bruises on my arms from my latest acts of bravery but none involved the removal of anything other than blood and stuff we don’t want to talk about re: the prep for the birthday colonscopy. You are the only other person I know who would cry over the loss of a part of the body even if it means you’ll feel better. I would be crying too. (And then probably wondering why after it was over and I felt much better!)

    Prayers, thoughts, and good energy are all coming your way from here. An email will be winging its way there tomorrow (I hope) with other stuff.

    • Kathy says:

      We do have some similarities going, don’t we, Robin? Ahhhh, the colonoscopy! Actually–in some strange way–I am kind of comforted having gone through a colononscopy. Because I remember what it was like to go to sleep shaking and wake up wondering if it had been done.

      I wanted so much to honor and save the gall bladder. To do everything to help her. Part of my challenge is just forgiving myself for not having been able to do whatever she truly needed.

      Will respond to your email ASAP!

  14. P.j. grath says:

    Laughter and tears–the mixed feelings, like the gall bladder, just have to come out. Wish the surgery were already over for you, but soon it will be. xxxooo!!!

  15. Lona says:

    Best wishes from under the bridge…

  16. Dawn says:

    Sounds like it’s pretty normal to get emotional before surgery. I love the bubble bath idea, think you can fit that in this weekend? Meanwhile, let yourself fell whatever you feel,it’s all part of the process.

    And just think of all the hugs coming to you from around the world! A giant world hug just for you!

    Hang in there sweetie…wish you didn’t have to wait so long and think about it so much…but it is what it is and we’ll all be here whenever you need to let some of it out. (the emotional stuff…you don’t really want to share the actual gall bladder with us…I hope.)

    • Kathy says:

      You know, Dawn, I’ve heard from lots of people in the last couple of days and they are all saying the same thing. It’s normal to get emotional before surgery. Loving the world hugs! (And NO I really don’t want to share the physical gall bladder with you. Even if I see it, I promise not to post pics. lol!)

  17. Colleen says:

    Kathy, there is so much love surrounding you that it almost takes my breath away. Sending our love and prayers and knowing that all will be well.

    Many hugs and blessings to you…..and maybe another round or two of the giggles when you listen to that lovely old Christmas carol that will never be quite the same, at least in my mind, again 🙂

    Much love to you

    • Kathy says:

      Colleen, I am laughing now! To think we might be giggling years later…Deck the gall…ha ha…

      Isn’t this love AMAZING? I should be the most grateful woman in the Universe. And it’s a circle, a spiral, so we’re all connected in it…in the Oneness that we are.

  18. OM says:

    “Their” sense of humor is often multi-layered with significance, so I was led to check out the Bach Flower Remedy “Holly” Quiiiiiite interesting when we realize the gall bladder has to do with anger, resentment, etc. — that part I am not sure where to check. Laurie would know.

    http://www.herbalremedies.com/holly10mlvial.html says
    Holly (Ilex Aquifolium) is often thought of as the Bach Flower Remedy for anger but this isn’t necessarily the case. Where Holly is for anger, it will be because the anger is based specifically on hatred, suspicion, envy or jealousy. But in other cases other remedies would be needed, such as Impatiens when anger is due to impatience, Vervain where it is caused by a sense of injustice, or Chicory where the angry person feels snubbed and hurt by ingratitude in others. Holly is for very negative, aggressive feelings directed at others. The basic problem is an absence of love, and the remedy works to encourage generosity of spirit and openness towards others. Dr. Bach’s Description: For those who sometimes are attacked by thoughts of such kind as jealousy, envy, revenge, suspicion. For the different forms of vexation. Within themselves they may suffer much, often when there is no real cause for their unhappiness.

    http://www.rainbowcrystal.com/bach/bfr/holly.html says
    The nonphysical entity, Seth (channeled by the late Jane Roberts) once remarked that the injunction to love others as we love ourselves wasn’t the best advice, given that most people don’t truly love themselves. He added, however, that it is true that we can only love others to the degree that we love ourselves.

    These observations give us an opportunity to understand the particular energy blockage addressed by the Bach Flower Essence Holly.

    The negative Holly condition manifests in a number of emotions and behaviors: envy, jealousy, hatred. People in this condition may suspect that they’re being deceived, and frequently feel hurt or injured by others. Sometimes they experience a general feeling of discontent and unhappiness without knowing why.

    The root of their difficulties, though, isn’t how other people treat them, but how they treat themselves, how little they love themselves. There is, I believe, nothing greater than the power of love, and each of us is its source. When we’re cut off from this source, when we don’t love ourselves unconditionally, when we judge ourselves as less than perfect and feel that we have flaws which which make us undeserving of love it is easy to find evidence in the external world that how others love us is equally imperfect.

    The person in the Holly condition who finds people who love him/her has become so disconnected from his/her own source of love that the love of others can’t be trusted. Lovers are deceitful, bosses favor other employees, and the good things of life happen to other people.

    The response of finding oneself so vulnerable is similar to that of a trapped animal. Holly snarls, hisses, and behaves in an aggressively hostile manner in order to hide this vulnerability.

    Though some people surely need Holly more than others, there are few of us who cannot benefit from its healing energies. Dr. Bach said: “Holly protects us from everything that is not Universal Love. Holly opens the heart and unites us with Divine Love.”

    Many people bring the holly plant indoors during the Christmas season to symbolize Christ’s rebirth. We need not be Christian to honor the Holly flower as a means for resurrecting in each of us the spirit of love and divine communion which is our birthright.

    http://www.flowerbach.com/holly.htm says
    Bach Flower – Holly (Ilex Aquifolium)

    » 20ml Bottle – $6.95 Only!!

    * Search by symptom/character/personality

    [+] Add Holly
    to my Bach formula

    Holly holds a central position among the Bach Flower Remedies, because it embodies love – the highest energy quality through which we all live, and which is our greatest healing power.

    The desire for love is programmed into every cell of our being, and when we are going with the stream of love we live in a state of grace. However, when the need to give and receive love is denied, the negative Holly state emerges.

    The personality will experience such extreme disappointment that love is expressed as its opposite – in jealousy, hatred, envy, resentment, malice, and a desire for revenge.

    While everyone experiences these emotions at some time, in the negative Holly state they are prevalent, and can form the emotional basis for serious physical illness.

    While even the negative Holly personality longs for love, it is unable to let it flow forth, and thus often repels that which it seeks through jealously. Even when finding someone with whom to share that love, uncertainty and fears predominate and it lives in fear of losing that love.

    Mild forms of jealousy will arise in any loving relationship, and they lead to growth. But when the jealousy becomes “morbid” the love can be extinguished.

    In an extreme negative Holly state, an individual becomes suspicious, is super sensitive to real or imagined slights, feels rage and anger, experiences violent bouts of ill-humour, and, understandably, feels unloved and unworthy of love.

    Temporary states that can benefit from treatment with this Bach Flower Remedy arise from understandable jealousy – such as shown in a fist born child when a second child comes into the family. Also, dogs who have been the “only child” can also become jealous when displaced in their families’ affections by a newborn child. Holly will help both the child and the dog overcome their jealousy and extend their own love to the newborn.

    When describing this Bach Flower Essence, Edward Bach said: “Holly protects us from everything that is not Universal Love. Holly opens the heart and unites us with Divine Love.”

    The soul quality of Holly is that which we all desire – the ideal human state. In its positive state, individuals are able to live in inner harmony, taking pleasure in the achievements and successes of others, freely accepting and feeling love that flows toward them, and having a sense for the Divine scheme of things.

    A lot of that is relevant to nearly everyone, of course. I just offer this because of the possible meanings of “Holly” in the little ditty you “heard.”
    Deck the galls….with holly could mean “Use Holly Flower Essence wrt your gallbladder….. Especially with the double entendre of “deck something” meaning “eliminate it….” Begins to sound interesting, eh????

    Love, OM

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you, OM, for all this information! So much is here to digest…

      I truly believe that our bodies and spirits are connected and all illnesses have messages within. I also believe–as you know–that there is everything within us. There is the angry one, the sad one, the frustrated one, the joyful one, the happy one.

      I have puzzled for the last five years about the connection between gall bladders and anger. Because I don’t feel like my angry self is that angry. Anger rarely arises…and when it does, it is pretty much embraced.

      Frustration, on the other hand, could well be associated with my gall bladder, as there have been a couple areas in my life that I cannot seem to resolve the opposites and have suffered.

      I am meditating on this phrase: “Holly protects us from everything that is not Universal Love. Holly opens the heart and unites us with Divine Love.”

      Felt very much connected to Divine Love this morning and much of the day. Thank you again for sharing this!

  19. OM says:

    Ooops, It isn’t clear when the quote ends. OM starts talking from

    A lot of that is relevant to nearly everyone……

  20. John says:

    Think about it this way. If you were in Chicago you would have your pick of 5 or 6 great University or Research centers, the absolute latest technology and technicians galore. When you go into pre-op you’re in there with 15-20 others getting ready for surgery and as you’re fading out under anesthesia you wonder if they are going to get the right person in the right room. The last thing you hear is “you’re going to have a great resident working on you today”. As you are starting to come to after it is over the first thing you hear is “Gee, it only took me three or four tries to get it right”.

    At BCMH you’ll have a regular surgeon who has done this thing about a hundred times. You know you will get in the right operating room and you know half the people who work there. When you come out you aren’t going to have to compete with 15 other people for the nurse’s attention. Finally, if you have some discomfort the pain pills in Baraga are just as good as the pain pills in Mayo’s and they will have plenty of them in stock. The last two times I have been in the emergency room I have thanked my lucky stars it was at BCMH and not at the University Medical Center down here. (Why is it that I always end up getting hurt up there … well the nurse did point out that no one from up there is stupid enough to go hiking with bifocals on … hmmm … I better not forget that one.)

    All our thoughts and prayers will be surrounding you!

    • Kathy says:

      My surgeon–who is actually from Marquette–has done 2,000 gall bladder operations! What luck, huh, John! I laughed at your description and have decided I am perfectly happy to be getting the surgery done at BCMH. You better be careful next time you’re up here! (But, wait a minute, I have bifocals–or blended bifocals–and I am always going hiking. What was she talkin’ about?) Thanks for the thoughts and prayers. I am so blessed.

  21. Deborah says:

    Kathy –

    Always – perfection revealed behind all appearances.

    And echoing – no “hoping” about it, just knowing for you, and all who come in contact with you –

    “Knowing the knife will ever be gentle.”

    “Knowing that perfect health and well-being are evident throughout the recovery.”

    “Knowing that every person is divinely guided, by your (Kathy’s) highest good, to do what needs to be done in the kindest and most perfect way.”

    “Grateful always, that the Divine Intelligence has given us, the best in medical technologies to make our lives more comfortable and productive.”

    And so, it truly IS.

    Love you sweet lady, be well.


    • Kathy says:

      I love how you’ve stated these knowings, Deb. Grateful for all of these…and grateful for you. Love you too. (And so pleased we finally connected on the phone last weekend. Finally.)

  22. quietpaths says:

    I do feel for you Kathy. That pre-surgical anxiety is a tough one to combat having been through a hysto this year. It’s hard to let yourself trust, hard to do it but you will feel better soon. Just hold onto that thought. That will help you in these next few days. I actually cried when I woke up and knew it was over – I was so relieved. Sending many warm and healing thoughts your way. All will be well.

    • Kathy says:

      I can imagine crying when waking up and knowing it’s over–being so relieved. I appreciate your healing thoughts. They means so much, Christine. It’s good to hear from people who have been through surgery and can comfort us newbies.

  23. jeffstroud says:


    Glad you found the humor in the situation, even though today you are emotional or that was yesterday now! Keep yourself busy, write, make Christmas gifts, and cookies, write some more. You are surrounded by loving healing energy !

    I am Love, Jeff

    • Kathy says:

      Well, our sense of humor can’t desert us, can it, Jeff? I have so appreciated your support in the last week. In the last year. In the last two years… Feeling that loving healing energy, with gratitude.

  24. sonali says:

    Sigh. The only little I can do is pray and hope for you to recover as soon as possible. Health issues are just a part of life. Don’t worry much and remember, you must get well soon!!!

    • Kathy says:

      Your words are so true: “Health issues are just a part of life.” They happen…and we must muddle through the best we can. Thank you for your prayers and hopes, Sonali. You are a sweetheart.

  25. Gerry says:

    It’s those five days of waiting that make a person want to cry. Lessee . . .
    On the first day of waiting, my blogfriend gave to meeeee-

    Wait, wait, the only rhyme that comes to me is “a cartridge in a bare tree” and that doesn’t sound promising.

    I’ll think some more. Back later.

  26. Carol says:

    My thoughts and prayers will be with you. Like everyone has told you, it’ll be a piece of cake, you’ll sail through it, and then you’ll feel so much better! So until Monday, take lots of pictures and lose yourself in that.

    • Kathy says:

      Hopefully it will be a piece of cake, Carol. Good idea about taking lots of pics–but first have to decorate the Christmas tree. And send out some more cards. And fill the wood room. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!

  27. Mom and Dad says:

    Our family thanks your “Blog” family for all the love, support, prayers and best wishes being sent to you.

    • Kathy says:

      Mom and Dad, isn’t it wonderful? Can you imagine this much good will? And I thank YOU both for being the most wonderful supportive parents in the world. Love you…

  28. bearyweather says:

    I totally understand the not wanting to think for the next 5 days thing.
    I wish you the best …. a sense of humor is always good sign of a fast recovery …

    • Kathy says:

      I hope to be up and laughing by Monday night next week, bearyweather! Actually, after my couple of emotional days, I have had two really fantastic days in a row. My liver enzymes have decreased dramatically and I am now feeling pretty peaceful and calm. Thank you.

  29. Marianne says:

    I can imagine in my mind how you are feeling about all this gallbladder stuff. I would be crying also and I would have some anger too. Will definitely send you prayers and good wishes.

    • Kathy says:

      Marianne, please read what I just wrote to bearyweather (up above). I really moved through the emotional stages–well, maybe?–earlier this week and have been back to feeling very calm and peaceful. Undoubtedly all the prayers and good wishes are doing their work! Thank you.

  30. Val Erde says:

    Kathy, I did a post some while back called ‘Waking the creative spirit’ about a beautiful notebook by Laurel Burch my sister gave me that sparked off all sorts of creativity. On the spine of the book is this quote, which I adore, and which I now offer to you:

    “The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears”

    I’m sure you’ll be fine. It’s normal to cry and it’s normal to be emotional, and you NEED those tears to find the rainbow in your soul while you go through this trying time.


    • Kathy says:

      thank you so much, Val. I feel like I have experienced so many emotions this week. From tears to gratitude. From deep feelings of fear to feelings of joy and lightness. It’s been a spiritual walk, this week. I am grateful for it. (And will be more grateful when surgery is over and hopefully everything is OK!) That is a wonderful quote. I shall remember it when finding the rainbow in the soul. Thank you.

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