Monday, November 20, 2017

I suck at being still.

The surgery was quick. About an hour. In all we were at the hospital for about 8 hours. It really wasn't a big deal. The pain was, at it's highest, a 6 on a scale of 10. There was some burning when I woke up, nausea, grogginess. For a day or two it was hard to move around. I had lower abdomen pain, things felt like they were shifting. The gas pain was the worst part; in my stomach, in my chest, all the way around my shoulders. They fill you with air when they do laparoscopic surgery and they can't suck all the air out before they close you up. Hence, the gas.

Joining my stretch marks and stretched out belly skin are two one inch scars roughly where I assume my Fallopian tubes used to be. The other incision is inside my belly button. Welcome to the belly party ladies. My swim suit modeling career is probably over.

Now is the hard part. I'm four days post op. When I wake up, I feel totally normal. I have almost no pain. What pain I have feels like muscle soreness which isn't a big deal. So I get up, I get the kids ready, throw dishes in the dishwasher, do some laundry. I suck at being still. So this is me trying to be still. By the time I realized I've done too much, it's too late. So, here I go. Being still. Reading Love Warrior and watching TV. Not doing the pushups or squats I want to do or heading to the grocery store to get Thanksgiving feast ingredients.

The feast will get made and we will be extra thankful this year. Thankful that my mom is here to celebrate with us; last year we were pretty sure she wouldn't be. We'll be thankful for peace of mind. That thanks to doctors and insurance and resources we have a peace of mind knowing that my risk of ovarian cancer is now much less than it was four days ago.

People told me before the surgery that I was 'brave'. I really don't see it as brave. I mean sure, I wasn't that worried about the surgery, but that's only because I'm no stranger to pain and surgery. I see it as lucky. I am so lucky that I GOT to take this step. That I GOT to take care of my future self. That I GOT to take hold of my own preventative care. Everyone should be so lucky. And so thankful.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

'tis the season.

To everything there is a season.

I like white lights. Little white lights. Not the LED kind cause they're too blue. Small white lights. No twinkling required. I'd like them carefully wrapped around our royal palms so it looks like you're pulling into a fancy hotel. I'd like the lights also neatly attached to our roofline so the house's facade is outlined in them. The bushes should be evenly coated in white, tastefully so, of course. For the front door I prefer a full garland with gorgeous satin ribbon and the aforementioned white lights. Really anything that looks like the front of a Grandin Road or Ballard Designs catalog would be perfect. A tree should sit on either side of the front door, decorated like the garland. And a door mat, monogrammed with holiday wishes for our holiday visitors to wipe their feet on as they enter. I'd like that.

To everything there is a season. 

Here's the thing. I'm not in the season of a perfectly decorated, straight off the pages of a magazine, holiday home. And I won't be for a while. A perfectly decorated home with perfectly wrapped trees and magnificent garland isn't my here and now. Know what my kids think of white lights? They think they're boring. And they're right. And thankfully their Dad knows white lights are boring and predictable. While I sit here, he's outside up on a ladder a la Clark W. Griswold Jr., creating the perfect holiday home. There are white lights and green ones and red ones. There are lights that change from red to blue to green. The lights are different sizes and won't ever blink together. A six and a half foot tall Santa will hang from a window ledge and one of those star fall shower light things will project lights all over the house.  Don't forget the light up reindeer grazing off to the side. And the spot lights that will only enhance the holiday splendor that will be our home for the next month. 

If it sounds amazing it's because it is. Right now Christmas is magic. It's wonder and lights and joy and fun. I have years of Christmas decorating when my kids won't look up from their phones for long enough to even appreciate the lights and I can have the catalog house. There will be so many holidays where no one gets excited for a house covered in lights (white or otherwise) and we have to drag them out to pick out the perfect tree. But right now? Right now, they want it to look like Christmas threw up on our house. And they're going to get it. Because it's a season of life; our current season. And it will be over in a blink. 


While we're on the topic of seasons... 
I'm also not in a season where all of my house is ever clean or neat at the same time. If the living room is clean the kitchen is a disaster. If one bathroom is clean the other has toothpaste on the mirror and is out of toilet paper.
This season 60% of my meals are eaten standing up. I'm certain this burns more calories because goodness knows I'm not eating organic, gluten free, hormone free, free range chicken over a bed of organic greens with homemade organic citrus vinaigrette for lunch. It's more like 'oh, kid 3 didn't finish that PB&J, I'll just wolf that down and chase it with a piece of cheese for added protein'. 
I wear real clothes (things that have buttons) maybe twice a week in this season of life. Some of this is by choice because buttons are stupid, but also, it's hot where we live and when I'm barefoot chasing a barefoot two year old down the street, my Paige denim doesn't move like my active wear does. 
I don't pee or shower alone. 
I rarely read because by the time I can sit down and read I'm too tired to keep my eyes open. 
My car is actually a trashcan. 
If my kids get one serving of fruit and one of vegetables a day I've done a really good job. 
This season we eat 80% of our meals on paper and use paper towels as napkins (don't tell me they aren't).
But this season isn't all bad. In fact it's mostly wonderful.  I have big(ger) kids learning the world and a small one with a giant personality. We laugh and we play and for the most part, we are pretty care free. And also, I know it's not permanent.

I know for certain I will miss it when it's gone. I know I will long for the days where I collapse at the end of the day with Mac and cheese in my hair and can't remember when I last showered. I will pine for the days when the kids fight over who gets to sit next to me on the couch even though at least one of the three has been touching me literally all day long. And I will even miss the tantrums so epic I think our windows may shatter at the sound of the screams. So for this season, I'm embracing it and all of its un-showered, under nourished, utter chaos. And who knows, maybe I'll fall in love with the colored lights after all. 




Tuesday, October 10, 2017

#byefallopian

Won't happen to me. I mean it could happen to me. Actually the odds aren't in my favor and it could very likely happen to me.

I'm 36. I'm healthy. In pretty good shape. Take care of myself. This is going to sound dramatic but, cancer doesn't care. 

My Mom is a cancer survivor. Twice over. Once breast, once ovarian. If you know anything about ovarian cancer (which we didn't until September 23, 2016) it's silent. It gives you no indication that it's there, shows up on absolutely no tests. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

So I have one degree of separation (maybe if it's my mom it's less than one degree, have to ask Kevin Bacon) from a genetically linked disease that is the fifth leading cause of death for women. For most women, ovarian cancer doesn't end well because by the time they find it, it's too late. So I have two options, I can wait and see or I can take charge of my health. I'm not very patient. I'm not a 'wait and see' kind of gal. I'm taking charge. 

After consulting with my OB/GYN, a gynecological oncologist, and the doctors my mom has seen in the last year, we've set a date for the first steps. I don't think I will miss my Fallopian tubes when they're gone (the surgery is called a Salpingectomy for those keeping score at home). Because doctors now think a lot of ovarian cancer originates there, I'm good with letting them go. The surgery is minor and I get to lay in bed for a couple of days so it's basically a vacation.

Starting Friday, I will get an ultrasound and a blood test done every three months for forever. And in 5-10 years I'll be writing about a full hysterectomy and everything that comes with it.

It's a lot to take in in a day. But this is what prevention looks like for me.

I'm pretty sure both of my grandmothers are rolling over in their graves while I put all my business out on the interwebs. They would have sooner died than talk about their lady parts in person or on the internet. But not talking about these things doesn't get us anywhere. Silence prevents nothing. So I'm talking. I'm sharing my journey because it's part of me and who I am and if one person reads it and thinks 'huh... maybe I should look into xyz' then it's worth it. Plus, hoo-ha, vagina, uterus, ovaries, Fallopian tubes, they're fun words to type.

I was curious why the computer autocorrected my spelling of Fallopian tubes and always capitalized the F. Well... they're named after an Italian anatomist who first described them... his name is Gabriello Fallopio. He died in 1562. The more you know. 


Monday, October 2, 2017

be the good.

I boycott carpools in favor of time with my kids in the car in the mornings. They're captive. We listen to music, talk, review spelling words, set the tone for the day. I love this time. They'd probably rather ride to school with their friends. Every morning right before they get out I say the same thing. 'Have a great day guys, I love you. Be kind and brave. Be the good'.

There aren't the right words for me to try to help my kids understand why one (cowardly, disgusting, pathetic excuse for a) human being would fire an automatic weapon from a hotel room killing almost 60 people and injuring more than 500. I can't explain that to them because I can't explain it at all. It's evil. Hate. Anger. It's unexplainable.

I found myself angry this morning. Angry for those people whose lives have been taken, and the lives ruined by this completely and totally senseless violence. Angry that this is the world we live in. Angry that we are raising three kids in this world.

It got me thinking about those last words I say to them every day: be the good. What does it mean to 'be the good'? Do I need to explain to them what that means? Do I need to elaborate so that I ensure that my kids are the good in the world? They are words that resonate with me. Three easy, short words that mean so very much. I started a running list of what 'be the good' means to me and to us. Being the good doesn't mean you have to shell out thousands of dollars to help someone, being the good doesn't have to cost anything at all. Here's what I came up with:

Smile at strangers. 
Hold the door for people. 
Don't park in a fire lane. 
Share. 
Work hard. 
Help people. 
Return your shopping cart to the cart corral. 
Reserve judgement. 
Listen. 
Be compassionate. 
Forgive people. 
Obey traffic signals.
Wash your hands. 
Throw your trash away. 
Laugh at yourself. 
Be humble. 
Don't text and drive. 
Offer to help. 
Roll your eyes less. 
Tell the truth.
Listen to your conscience.
Make eye contact.
Don't interrupt.
Try new things.
Keep your promises.
Respect one another.
Be grateful.
Use your manners.
Admit when you are wrong.


We are all guilty of it. So often we get lost in our own shuffle; in our on chaos that we forget some of these things I listed. And when I remind my kids every morning, I remind myself too.

I can't fly to Vegas and hug grieving families or pay medical bills. But I can be the good. Making change on a big scale can start small. As small as being the good and teaching our kids to be the good too.

That list above is a running list. So friends, what did I miss? What do we need to add to ensure our kids know the importance of being the good in the world?

List additions from friends post posting

hug more
say thank you
tell people they're doing a great job
perform random acts of kindness
feed the hungry
hold hard onto your people
compliment strangers and mean it
be generous
be grateful
always assume people have the best of intentions
leave places nicer than when you got there
be a voice for the voiceless
don't assume; be willing to listen and learn
be patient
go out of the way to be friends with someone who is different from you
extend grace
love and respect yourself




Sunday, September 24, 2017

waffles.

Our ice maker doesn't dump ice into the ice holder. First world problems. So when I went to empty the ice into the ice holder in the freezer this morning I saw them. Waffles. Four waffles, sitting right on top of the bag they came in, in the freezer. Someone got waffles for breakfast and was so hungry they couldn't be bothered to put the waffles back in the bag they come in for fear of dying from starvation. I'm sure that's what happened. What other explanation could there be?



There should be a sarcasm font. It should come with automatically inserted 'eye roll' emojis and everything. Someone invent that please.  

Back to the waffles. Is it a big deal? No, it's not. Is it ridiculous and lazy? Absolutely. But big deal, no. However let me set the scene for the 20 minutes prior to locating said waffles. I had just come downstairs after putting away a weeks worth of clean clothes (that I also washed today, thank you very much) with four wet pool towels, three wet swimsuits, 5 cups from the kitchen, a destroyed Monopoly game, a clump of hair from a hair brush (that was left in a sink) and a the shards of a shattered play teacup. The camel's back is now broken.

It's almost impossible to stop. One thing sets me off and immediately I'm reminded of every single thing that the kids haven't done to help and I start writing things down. I write down 'no one ever offers to help me' and 'when I ask for help you complain' (in fairness to my middle kiddo, she never complains when I ask for help).  I stopped writing there because I was stuck between my childhood self and my adult self. I've had this fight before only I was the kid. My Mom was the one writing things down and reminding us of all the things we don't do to help. And I want to stop myself but I can't. I can't calm down enough to not want to take away all the things; all the privileges.

When they got home, I didn't yell. I just stared them down, certain Dan had warned them (he was running errands with them and I texted him the picture of the waffles and the words 'lazy and disrespectful'). There were muddled apologies about the waffles and then very calmly I told them this was it. I told them all of the crap I hauled downstairs and about the shards of teacup and the hairball and I told them I was done (as I said those words I heard my mother come out of my mouth... it's impossible to stop it from happening). I mean obviously I'm not actually done because what would happen if I went on strike? Waffles in the freezer aren't enough for a strike, but can you imagine? What would the laundry look like? Lunches? School forms? Would anyone even brush their teeth? Nope. Probably not.

This is a meltdown I have a couple times a year. And every time, the kids shape up and help and do what we ask them to do (to be clear we ask almost nothing of our kids... help with the dishes, take out some trash, be kind, that's about where it ends). And then slowly the lazy creeps back in and I don't notice because it happens slowly and I'm busy wiping asses and being the keeper of all the things (if you didn't read the blog about the 'Keeper' you should) and before I know it someone is rolling their eyes at me when I ask to let the dog in (did you know that Moms are the only ones who actually hear dogs bark? #sarcasmfont).

Not this time. If you blog about it or put it on Facebook you have to stick to it. It's a rule. I'm not going to make my 20th chore chart and use star stickers or freaking magnets that equate to money or a reward. They're going to help out because they are part of this team dammit. And I'm not going to forget to ask for help even though sometimes it's just easier to do it myself.

I'm not sure when I'll give the iPads back. They'll be spending their own money at the bookfair this year. And they know where the fucking waffles go. My work here is done. For today.

Disclaimer: my husband is an amazing man who works his ass off for us 60 hours a week and is a HUGE help when he is home. I know life wouldn't totally fall apart if I were to go on strike, but the ship would definitely start taking on some water. Also our kids aren't always assholes. Just some of the time. All kids are, right? 

Disclaimer about the disclaimer: After I wrote the disclaimer I thought, 'that's stupid, this is your blog. You don't have to qualify anything. And people are going to assume what they want regardless of what you disclaim or don't disclaim.' But then I left the disclaimer. And added this one.