An Update to an Update by Way of an Explanation

Hello Dear Readers,

I am writing to you sober (for the moment) because my pain levels are manageable without the aid of prescriptions, and since several people asked me to follow-up when I felt better, I thought I would not only update you on my current progress but also sketch out the last ten days of torment I endured. Before delving into the gruesome details, I want to reiterate my heartfelt thanks for all the prayer, thoughts, and well-wishes I received. My dad would read them to me when I was in too much pain to check, and it brightened my spirits. Many of you sent me the sweetest personal messages about how I had helped you or how much my store meant to you, and as a small business owner, I cannot ask for anything more. The love you showed me helped and continues to help me as I recover and move forward after what has been a rather tough couple years. In kind, I wish all of you nothing but the best and success in all you endeavor to accomplish.

My latest set back began Tuesday of last week. I woke up with a slightly sore tailbone as though I bruised it sitting down too hard. By Friday, the pain steadily increased, and I became convinced a secret surgery took place Monday night at which time a hard mass was inserted under the skin near my natal cleft (let’s keep it classy people). Since my doctor’s office was closed, I waited out the weekend despite the growing, swollen lump on my tuches and the ever escalating pain. Because, lemme tell ya folks, your tailbone, coccyx if you wanna get medical, is magically attached to everything in your body. You may not realize it, but even seemingly unrelated activities like sneezing or flexing your toes somehow pulls on your tailbone, thus causing excruciating pain to radiate throughout your injured tush.

By the time I called my doctor at 9a.m. on Monday morning, I could no longer do simple activities like get up from the couch without assistance because the bump, which I now posited could also be an alien entity verging on a full-on John Hurt moment in a much less dignified place, was so large and painful that all forms of moving were too much. Naturally, I turned to the keeper of all knowledge for answers. I googled my symptoms. The general consensus from the myriad of strangers and doctors posting articles and sharing anecdotes on medical sites was a pilonidal cyst or basically, an in-grown hair or hairs gone so rogue they have to be cut out of your body. Your body rebels so hard against them that it creates a combination of a cyst and friction sore, pulling the hairs and dead skin cells deeper into the skin to create a crater of filth and nastiness only remedied by a trip to the doctor. Given my pain levels, this sounded about right although I admit I balked at the odds. Only 26 out of 100,000 people develop a pilonidal cyst, and these odds go down if you are female, over thirty, have no family history, do not work a sedentary job, and so on. Leave it to me to develop something I have less than a 0.001% chance of ever developing, and then let’s factor in the odds of doing it a few days before I was going to see Wonder Woman too. (For the record, I sat on my legs the whole time.) Then I start thinking I should buy a scratch off or a lottery ticket which inevitably leads to a debate about whether there are two types of probabilities in the world, one for good things and one for bad things, whereby inherently negative events actually have a higher probability of happening than positive ones even if the mathematical probability is identical. See where googling your symptoms leaves you? See?!

My Monday appointment at the doctor consisted of sitting on hard, uncomfortable chairs for over an hour followed by an awkward, painful moment when he manipulated Fredโ€”the mass officially grew large enough to require namingโ€”to identify his origins. I bit back the urge to scream and instead released weak, half-breaths in attempt to quell the pain. Growing up, I played sports with a bunch of boys, and coaches were notorious for demanding you not cry and “walk it off,” and so right or wrong, I rarely cry when I am injured. But this mounting pain on my ass was a totally different story. Or maybe I should say ballpark and try to be consistent with the sports analogy? Whatever. The doctor confirmed the prognosis given by the Almighty Internet Medical Advice and referred me to an outpatient surgery center for a drain/excise procedure. I did extensive reading between hydrocodone induced sleeping bouts, and the good news was that people were typically back up on their feet and at work within a few days. I just had to get scheduled, and so I waited. And waited. And waited.

I think the answer you’re looking for is D) All of the Above.

In the meantime, Fred sensed his impending eviction and transformed into a raging tyrant, radiating pain all the way to my groin area and, well to spare you the gross details, generally making it hard to even exist. Sleep was indeed a blessing. As the waiting continued, Fred looked less like a cyst and more like something else entirely. Some of the skin on the top was turning a very dramatic shade of purplish black that would be appropriate for a serious medical drama (*cue hot actor to scrunch his eyebrows and emote “But what else could it be?”*), and every time I looked back at my derriere, I was awestruck in the worst possibly way. And naturally it’s on my butt, and butts aren’t exactly something you tend to discuss with people. I was already trying to figure out a polite lie to tell when people asked why I closed for a week and needed help afterward. Plus, how can a Fred on your tailbone be so painful? Trust me, it absolutely can. This issue has been the most painful one of my entire in life. No injury, no surgery, no procedure, no nothing has come close to how bad this has hurt.

Finally, after two days of pleading with the office staff to get this damn referral to the ย . . . wait for it . . . just keep waiting like I had to do. . . OFFICE NEXT DOOR finished, they pitied me, no doubt sensing the exasperation in my voice, and my procedure was scheduled for yesterday at 10:45a.m. Despite the ongoing pain, I gingerly alighted from the car using my upper body strength to crab crawl out of my Prius, careful to prevent Fred from touching anything, and then I confidently waddled into the office ready to be finished. Once back in the room of suffering, as it shall forever be known to my heart, mind, and butt, I engaged in some sort of half-lounge half-sitting position on the table bed which was not entirely dissimilar from this:

Before the procedure began, I warned the nurses about a secret mutant power. My brother and I were born with a strong resistance to those paltry local anesthetics. They hardly work on us at all! I’m not sure if they doubted me or if there isn’t anything to be done for us, but the act of sticking Fred and his angry body of swollen red skin with needles served only to torment me further, so much so that I was in full on tears. “At least,” I consoled myself, “I won’t feel anything afterwards.” Oh how wrong I was! Outside of the initial incisions, I felt everything. Everything. And there was a lot to feel because guess what the doctor said after cutting Fred open? “I’m not sure this is a pilonidal cyst. There’s not much pus here but there’s a lot of dead black tissue. I think you were bitten by something which caused the internal layers of skin and tissue to go necrotic, causing an infection. Then the immune system fought off the bite and created an abscess. I have to cut out as much of this dead skin as I can for it to heal.”

It took everything I had physically to not jump off that table and run screaming and bare-assed down the hall. It sounds funny in retrospect, but seriously, y’all, that’s the worst pain I ever had in my whole damn life. Fortunately, my dad, who deserves the title Father of the Year and anything he damn well wants this Father’s Day, was sitting behind me holding my hand and rubbing my sweat soaked hair while I sobbed into the crinkly white paper coating the rough hospital pillow. Meanwhile, all I can think of is a nursery rhyme.

Little Miss Erica sat on her tuffett eating her curds and whey . . . nope, that won’t work. I found out I have Hashimoto’s disease two weeks ago, so I have to cut out anything with gluten like whey. Plus, Erica doesn’t rhyme with tuffett . . . but wait, what the hell rhymes with Erica? Hmm . . . okay, let’s try: Little Miss Erica sat on her derriere eating her gluten-free mousse when a long came a spider who crept up beside her and bit Little Miss Erica’s caboose.

Okay, so the doctor was a bit noncommittal on the type of insect, but come on! Gotta be a spider right? Well, I’ll tell you what ladies and gents, Little Miss Erica is turning to vengeance for comfort, and I am going to be bombing the shit out of my house, under my house, and the damn arachnids will be lucky if I don’t run around the yard in my brother’s hazmat suit dual wielding Raid cans like I am Mila freakin’ Jovovich taking on the spider apocalypse!

Me in two weeks

Anyway, on the non funny side of the situation, recovery time for this is more variable because it’s not as cut and dry as the pilonidal cyst. The doctor thinks he removed enough of the dead tissue for healing to begin, but right now, the open wound looks like a gunshot and a bit of Fred is still lurking beneath somewhere. I feel much better today, and I hope the worst is behind me (a pun borrowed from my friend Joanne). Recovery times should be comparable provided Fred takes a hint and leaves, and I may even make an appearance at the shop tomorrow. As I mentioned in the last post, I will need my dad at the store for at least a week to help because my ability to walk and stand is still limited, especially for such an active job. I won’t be listening to any negative comments about him being a co-owner of a lingerie store anymore either. I tolerate them because I know more than most about creepy men in this industry, but that man has been stressed to the max taking care of me and taking care of the store. He has done everything from helping me get up off the couch to holding my hand while I cried to going to the store to help customers. Quite simply: He is the best. He is why we are still open and why I have the strength and sense of humor to carry on even after adversity. Thank you daddy for all the help this week, and I love you.

Erica

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An Update to an Update by Way of an Explanation
Erica

Erica is a lover all things lingerie and is passionate about helping people find the bra which fits and flatters. Side passions include reading, writing, hiking, dairy-free food, walking her Jack Russell terrorists, and dying her hair everything from black to red.


31 thoughts on “An Update to an Update by Way of an Explanation

  • June 9, 2017 at 5:28 pm
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    Go Dad! Go Erica!. And GO Fred, away! I keep telling people arachnids are deadly.

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    • Erica
      June 9, 2017 at 5:31 pm
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      I didn’t really care for them before, Argie, but this has certainly not alleviated those negative feelings. And on the tailbone even! This would have been ten times easier if it just bit me on the arm.

      Reply
  • June 9, 2017 at 5:38 pm
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    Your daddy is amazing. Way to go! Thanks for keeping us all updated. You are truly blessed with an amazing family.

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    • Erica
      June 9, 2017 at 5:48 pm
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      He definitely is. ๐Ÿ™‚ He certainly made surviving Spider Bite 2017 much easier!!

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  • June 9, 2017 at 6:19 pm
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    Prayers for your healing and good health

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  • June 9, 2017 at 7:07 pm
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    You should be a writer. That was a fantastic read although I’m sorry you had to go through all that. I also have Hashimoto’s (was disgnosed a year ago) so if you need any advice on what gluten free stuff is good, just messsge me. (It’s all nasty by the way)

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    • Erica
      June 10, 2017 at 6:35 am
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      Thank you, Tina! I actually tried to be a writer for about a year in my early-20s and got disheartened by rejection letters. I have grown a lot since then as a person and as a writer, so maybe it’s time to give it another go. ๐Ÿ™‚ And yes, to the Hashimoto’s advice. I was planning on doing a follow-up to my last PCOS post where I discussed the diagnosis, but then the whole spider bite on the butt thing happened and it threw off my plans.

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  • June 9, 2017 at 7:46 pm
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    Ugh!! I’m so sorry! I never got to meet him but your dad is wonderful.

    Many years ago I kept waking up in the middle of the night, itchy ALL over my body. I’d turn on the lights and check myself but never found anything. Convinced myself I’m imagining it and would go back to bed. I began finding bite marks on myself. Flash forward 2 weeks and 200+ bite marks later…I had some paper on my bed and saw a “.” mark moving around. There were hundreds of nearly microscopic spiders in my bed!

    I fogged the shit out of my room, didn’t sleep in there for a month, and put all my clothes in the dryer on high for 10min before I would wear them for many months, just to make sure nothing was hiding in them.

    Spiders outside I tolerate. Spiders inside die a quick death and get a burial at sea (flushed).

    I hope you feel better soon!

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    • Erica
      June 10, 2017 at 6:37 am
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      So, Emily, I totally read this comment right before bed last night . . . . and let’s just say it gave me pause before venturing into my sheets, lol. I do not blame you one bit for getting freaked out. The idea of microscopic spiders in my bed sounds like a horror movie. EEEEK! I have had a lot of them popping up in the house, including brown recluses, because it was so rainy here that the underside of the house totally flooded. All of the creatures living beneath it started crawling up through drains and vents, and I keep meaning to bomb, but I have to make sure it’s a time when no one will be there and that I can lock out the cat. The reckoning is coming though. Soon. Very soon.

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  • June 9, 2017 at 10:42 pm
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    You have a wonderful father. \Real father would to anything for his child. As a father I have done the same thing for my daughter when she had leukemia,
    I for one i don’t understand why people why don’t want him involve in the store.
    I will keep you in my prayers for a complete recovery and better days ahead, because you have endured more that any a person should.

    keeping you in my thoughts,
    Frank

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    • Erica
      June 10, 2017 at 6:39 am
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      Thank you, Frank. <3 I am sorry to hear your daughter had Leukemia. I know that must have been painful for you as well. I know my dad was frustrated that all he could do was fetch things and couldn't actually take the pain away. It's been a tough year, but I am grateful for the people I have in my life, including my blog readers and customers. Without these kind messages of support, it would have been much harder to cope.

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  • June 9, 2017 at 11:09 pm
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    Oh my gosh, Erica!!! I am so, so sorry!!! I feel your pain…. literally. I had 3 (yes, 3) pilonidal cysts removed when I was in high school. And one was without pain meds because it burst before we made it to the surgeon’s office. That was a whole other level of disgusting.
    I hope you heal up quickly and that Fred has been permanently evacuated. Take it easy on yourself ๐Ÿ™‚ you are amazing and doing your very best right now.

    Kudos to your dad for all of his dedication and hard work. The man deserves a medal.

    Much love!

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    • Erica
      June 10, 2017 at 6:42 am
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      Say wha??????? OUCH. Just ouch. I read that pilonidal cysts do have a recurrence rate, and that they are more common for women during puberty (something about the hormones and the hair follicle cycle). When that’s what I thought this was, I really didn’t know how I’d explain why I couldn’t come into work, but boy is that painful. Mine drained a bit on Tuesday which helped in being able to move more, and yes, it’s totally disgusting. I am also allergic to the adhesive on tape, so I sort of have to place the gauze where it needs to go an then use my underwear to keep it in place. I think I’d done more laundry in the last seven days than I do all month from all the drainage accidents. Never. Ever. Ever. Ever. Want. To. Do. This. Again.

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  • June 10, 2017 at 1:11 am
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    Ah man! Everything about this except your amazing dad sounds awful. I cried reading this post. I’m so sorry you’ve been having such awful things happen.

    I think you’re totally right to refuse to listen to negative comments about your dad. Reading this blog and seeing comments from your dad about things on your Facebook page have given me a very high regard for him and it’s very obvious how dedicated he is to you and your business together.

    I hope that Fred disappears and never returns and you get a massive run of wonderful things occurring to make up for all of this.

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    • Erica
      June 10, 2017 at 6:46 am
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      <3 <3 It's been a tough year, but having my dad to help has made it better. I know people get uncomfortable about men in the lingerie industry, and as we both know, there are a lot of creepers out there. He's just not one of them, and he really knows his stuff too. He used to be a nurse and combat medic, so he's done the same training as any medical professional. That's helped a lot with dealing with Fred . . . who woke me up at 5a.m. this morning. That jerk is still trying to put up a fight! Thank you so much for the well-wishes, sweetie, and you know I am sending love back at you. <3

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  • June 10, 2017 at 8:32 am
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    Erica
    Wow, what a story. I’m sorry you have had to go through such pain and suffering. But you definitely have a talent to tell a story. Thanks for sharing, I think. I’m glad to hear you are on the mends. It’s very stressful to be a store owner and employee. People in today’s times don’t really understand “life” can get in the way of progress at times and there can be uncontrollable set backs. You are doing the very best you can do. YOU are blessed to have such a wonderful Dad you supports and loves you dearly. I appreciate you both for all you do.

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    • Erica
      June 10, 2017 at 10:57 am
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      Thank you, Kristen. ๐Ÿ™‚ You are very right that it’s hard to be both manager and employee. It can be very stressful managing everything, and while most of our customers are phenomenal and totally understand setbacks, it’s still hard because you do have others who won’t. I’m hoping this is the last of the nastiness and that the rest of the year is smooth sailing!

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  • June 10, 2017 at 9:31 am
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    Your dad certainly is a hero. And OMG – what the eff is going on with you?! ๐Ÿ™‚ I sense you’re getting 25 years of unpleasant experiences out of the way in 5 (and this is the end of that five!) so that you can enjoy only good fortune for the next quarter century. That experience sounds unbelievably painful. If you can get through it, you can get through anything. xo

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    • Erica
      June 10, 2017 at 11:04 am
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      A friend of mine said we needed to burn sage after all that has happened, lol. And I joke about a curse, but maybe it’s not a joke! Ha! I hope you’re right that I’ve just impatiently taken care of all the bad stuff for the next decade or so because that would be awesome! Provided my sense of humor remains unharmed, I’m good though. ๐Ÿ™‚ Besides I’m expecting my obligatory super powers any day now which will be totally awesome.

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  • June 10, 2017 at 11:07 am
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    I’m glad you have such an amazing person in your life! I hoping for a quick recovery for you, and the banishment of Fred!

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  • June 10, 2017 at 2:50 pm
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    Oh how horrific! I always opt to be under anesthesia for anything like this. Regardless of whether it ‘can’ be done under a local. When I had the PRP/stem cell injections done into my knee, I was told that 90% of people opt for a local. To have bone marrow drawn from your hip & then shot into your knee. Yeahhhh, screw that. I paid the $800 for the optional mobile anesthesiologist. He showed up with everything in a compact bag and made in a very pleasant 30 minutes for me. Worth. It. Always. Heal quickly and seriously, consider insisting on light anesthesia if there’s a Round 2 of this epic battle.

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    • Erica
      June 14, 2017 at 3:34 pm
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      That’s good to know, Alicia! I honestly thought they were going to give me more options because the Internet (yep quoting random strangers again) said most people are put to sleep because the doctors won’t know until they open the cyst if they need to remove any tissue, hairs, etc. I didn’t eat after midnight and took no meds that morning for just this reason, and I warned them the locals do not work well on me to no avail. The area is not as sensitive as it was last week, so should they need to cut into me again, I think I can tolerate it with a local better this time. The skin was so stretched from the swelling, it’s literally been peeling off like a sunburn. Having the needles stuck in there was so horrible.

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  • June 10, 2017 at 10:03 pm
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    My dear,

    What next — hordes of locusts?!?!?! My heart goes out to you as you heal from this ghastly affliction (which you’ve described very effectively, BTW — this post is a sterling example of the writing edict “show, don’t tell”).

    Anyone who disses your dad for his partnership in the store can just eff off. I’ve had mammograms done by male mammography technicians who were nothing but professional and respectful. Too bad some people can’t see past their own misconceptions.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery, and tell Fred: “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!”

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    • Erica
      June 14, 2017 at 4:20 pm
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      Sarah, I was joking that my next stop was a psychic to ask who the hell cursed me . . . perhaps it should be plan B? LOL. I’m glad the post was enjoyable even if the inspiration was not. Healing is going well though, and I’m excited to get back to normal.

      With regard to men in certain professions: I was very much in the “NO MEN!” camp for GYNs at first, and after seven straight up disappointing female GYNs, I went to a female midwife. She admitted she couldn’t help but referred me to a male specialist. I was nervous but after all the bad experiences with women, I thought “What have you go to lose?” He was the best doctor I have ever had, GYN or not. He took his time and listened to me, explained everything in a way I could answer, and patiently answered my questions. It really changed my perspective!

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  • June 11, 2017 at 11:21 am
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    UGH I had my own Freds removed twice during my teenage years (they were in fact pilonidal cysts, though, not spider bites D:) and yeah, I would never have gotten through it without my mommy and daddy. I’ve also broken or sprained my tailbone once in a nasty fall down a set of concrete stairs, so all I’ll say is that I hope the recovery from your spider-bite Fred is more like the recovery from a pilonidal cyst and less like the recovery from a fall down a staircase on your ass. ;_;

    Your writing, as others have said, is amazing and hilarious even though the subject is horrifying and miserable. Also mad props to your dad, and screw the haters!

    Reply
    • Erica
      June 14, 2017 at 4:23 pm
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      Ouch, Sandra! I can’t believe how painful injuries are in that area. I seriously thought most people would be like: Uh, you missed a week of work for a bump on your butt? But, woof! That really undersells the pain factor. So far, it’s recovering well although there’s still a lump there. We’ll see Thursday of next week when I go in for a follow-up. I’m crossing fingers and toes it’s all good news. ๐Ÿ˜€ Glad you enjoyed the post, and here’s to no more Freds or tailbone injuries for you! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • June 12, 2017 at 5:42 pm
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    Erica,

    So sorry this happened to you! I’ll leave out the butt puns… I’m glad your dad is helping you through this! You are awesome!

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    • Erica
      June 14, 2017 at 4:24 pm
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      Thank you, Kelly! <3 I'm glad he's been helping me too.

      Reply
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