Spring is in the Air

Holy crap. I haven’t blogged in two months? TWO MONTHS?! That’s the longest I’ve ever gone since I started blogging to begin with. And the longer I’m away, the harder it is to pick up again.

I’ve been in a funk. I mean, a FUNK.

If I didn’t have children depending on me, I may not actually have gotten out of bed for a long time. I was going about my days, muddling through like a zombie. I have not been taking care of myself very well, and I have been letting things slide. Like the blog.

I’m making changes though. Big ones. Getting back on track with my health, with my life, with my writing and other creative outlets. It’s going to be a long, hard road. But, I can do it.

Like I said in my last entry, I’m in therapy now. And it’s been great. I’ve been holding a ton of anxiety about cancer and my future and all of that, but also anxiety about things I haven’t thought about in years. It’s a bit cliche to say so I suppose, but my therapist knows exactly the things to ask me to get me to open up the past and figure out how it’s affecting my present and how it might affect my future, and that’s helping me feel more in control. She’s fantastic. If you live in the city and are looking for someone, I can pass on her number.

Two months ago, I was hopeful for the future. And I knew the work that had to be put in. But I wasn’t quite ready to do it yet. I’ve had a lot of very eye-opening, you-gotta-figure-this-out-lady moments lately, and I’m ready.

Thanks for your patience.

Some stuff you guys missed while I was away pouting:

1. Ferris turned 18 months officially. He’s getting to be quite the little dude. He’s adventurous and tough, but very sweet and kind. He LOVES animals. And his new favorite thing in the universe is Thomas the Tank Engine, both playing with brother’s forgotten train set and also watching Thomas on the TV. Other current likes: climbing, snuggly blankets, milk, climbing, opening doors, slides, trucks, climbing, puzzles, walking around the neighborhood, climbing, and trying anything that anyone else is eating or drinking. Dislikes: when daddy leaves for work, falling down, having his teeth brushed, getting pushed too high in the swing, having toys taken away from him, split pea soup.

2. I went and turned 35. Which is a big part of some of this “rebirth” I’m feeling right now. Not only is it one of those milestone birthdays, but my therapist was telling me that our bodies and lives tend to move in these 7 year patterns. And 35 is a multiple of 7. I’m ending one 7 year cycle and beginning another. She asked what I’d like to do in the next cycle, and I surprised myself with all the answers I had. It’s going to be a good one I think.

3. The one year anniversary of my kitty’s death came and went and I handled it so much better than I envisioned I would. I think I’m finally moving into Acceptance territory with my grieving. Which is good for his memory and good for me. It’s opening up some space in my brain for other things. Exciting changes.

4. Bowie spent his entire Spring Break two hours away at his grandparents’ house. He had a ton of fun, and we got a little break from each other. A much needed break from each other. It gave me a chance to focus on Ferris for a while and focus on the house a bit. And when he came back, it was such a great feeling to welcome him home. Even though he had a blast, he still missed us all a lot.

So yeah, time marches on, and all of that. Thanks for sticking with me.

This Melanoma Thing

Since I first told you all about my melanoma, I have been back to the dermatologist, and I have had meetings with a panel of doctors at the hospital’s melanoma center, and I’ve learned a lot of things about my case.

The first thing I learned, and the most important thing I learned, is that I have Stage 1B melanoma, almost as good of a prognosis as you can get. My melanoma was less than 1mm thick, and not ulcerated, a couple of very good things.

The second thing I learned is that one of the “bad cells” was in the middle of mitosis, cell division, so they’re mildly concerned about that. In a few weeks, when I go in to have more skin around the area removed for biopsy, they will also take a lymph node to dissect and biopsy that, to see if it has spread to the lymph node. They really don’t think that it has, but since I’m only 33, they want to make double, triple, extra sure that everything is clear.

After surgery, I will need to return to the hospital every six months for the next 4 years to get a full work up–skin check, blood work, chest X-ray–to make sure everything’s still good.

And I had a long conversation with the head of the melanoma center about my grandfather (who died at age 39 from advanced melanoma). Her best guess is that his melanoma probably developed when he was around the same age as me. But, they knew so much less about it back then, and clearly he had put off having it checked, that he may have been saved had he gone in. Which is both very difficult and very good to hear. On the one hand, I might actually have gotten to meet my grandfather, had he not died of cancer before I was born. But on the other hand, I can take comfort in the fact that I did go in and get checked and had the cancer removed, and it won’t take me the way it took him.

I won’t know anything FOR SURE-for sure until after my surgery, which is slated for March 4. But, things are looking pretty darn good for me as it stands right now. Thanks so much to everyone for their love and support.

Let There Be Carbs

I just returned home from my appointment with the diabetes center at my hospital, and all I can say is HALLELUJA.

The nurse I spoke with was shocked at how much I’d cut back on the carbs. But, I explained, the women’s clinic didn’t offer me much information at all, except to “cut way back” and I wanted to play it safe.

This makes me wonder why hospital policy isn’t that someone from the diabetes center calls you within 48 hours of your diagnosis to just give you a quick run-down of things over the phone, rather than make you wait 10 days in the dark until you can get an appointment. But, I know none of you are part of my hospital’s administration so…end of rant.

She had a lot more info than I found anywhere on the Internet too. She tailored a diet plan for me based on my results and my health (before and during pregnancy), which is so helpful. And she said I can probably afford to have a much more significant amount of carbs than other women. This means bread! Crackers! Pasta! Just keeping it to a reasonable amount, of course.

I treated myself to a tuna sub from Subway for lunch, just to see what numbers came up and: totally normal. So, that slice of pizza I “indulged” in Sunday night? Probably no biggie whatsoever. I can still eat (basically) what I want to. I’m so relieved. I’ll be full for more than a half hour at a time! I won’t be so crabby all the time!

The womp womp news is that I do have to test my blood sugar periodically. FOUR TIMES A DAY at least for this first week. But, our insurance got me a pretty sweet little monitor with “gentle” lancets.

I’ve already tested twice today and it’s not so bad. I’m even typing away with the fingers I’ve tested, no issue whatsoever. I had this image in my head of me having to test like, every hour, and my fingertips would be so sore I couldn’t do anything. Not so. Still a pain to do, and to remember to do, but I only have 11 weeks left. And I actually have to birth this little man. So, you know, I can handle this.

I want to really give a shout out to the fellow moms who gave me so much info on past posts. It really helped me feel better, and I got some much needed firsthand info when I was totally clueless. Thank you thank you thank you!

28 Weeks

I want to start off by issuing a retraction. I mentioned in an earlier post that I was in my 3rd trimester, but was soon reminded that you’re not in the 3rd trimester when you start month 6, but rather when you’re fully through month 6, which I am now. So defeating. But on a positive note, feeling like I was already in the 3rd trimester made the past 4 weeks go by pretty quickly.

So yeah, 28 weeks now. End of 2nd trimester.

The most common question I get these days is, “How are you feeling?” Every time I see a friend, run into an acquaintance, talk to family, “How are you feeling? How are you feeling? How are you FEELING?!”

And I have lost my ability to answer. I mean, it’s just like when someone asks a non-pregnant person, “How’s it going?”

You don’t say to them, “Well, I got a parking ticket, and I can’t believe how high gas prices are right now, and I have this weird clicky thing going on in my wrist, and I’m not getting along with my coworkers right now…” Because we all know no one really wants to hear you go on and on about your gripes. So, we all just say, “Fine.” And we move on. Right?

So, when you ask a pregnant woman, whose body has been completely taken over by hormones and the extra human being growing inside of her, how she’s feeling, what do you really want her to say?

If you read my last post, you know my real answer would likely be some variation of the phrase, “Not great.” But, no one really wants to hear that. So, it’s, “Well, I’m a little tired, but I feel ok.” Lies, all of it lies.

Also of note, I have developed a mild case of gestational dia-bee-tus. (Not only was the test hellish, leaving huge bruises on my arms that are still there, but it also delivered bad news. Come ON, universe.) I am supposed to hear from the hospital’s diabetes clinic sometime this week with some more information on managing the condition, but the doctor who called me on Friday with the results was very discouraging. “No sugar, no carbs.” Which is, you know, like, EVERYTHING.

I had a short consult with Dr. Google and it seems I can have carbs in moderation, spread out over the course of a day. And even a little bit of fruit. So, it won’t be all eggs and veggies from here on out like I first imagined. Not that I don’t enjoy eggs and veggies, but I’ve still got 12 more weeks with this pregnancy gig, and I’d like to not spend it learning to hate eggs and veggies. If you’ve been through this, and have any advice / words of encouragement, please pass them along. Who knows when I’ll actually hear from these people.

For me, the most discouraging part of it is that now I have a slightly higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes when I get older. I had planned on creating a mega weight loss boot camp for myself after having the baby, and this is just more fuel for the fire under my butt that I’ll have to light. But, just something else for me to worry about for the remainder of my existence, whoopee!

But anyway, it’s here, the third trimester. Third trimester, let’s DO this. 40 weeks, here I come. I mean, here I waddle.

 

Unpleasant, but Important

I just ran across a parentings site forum in which a woman made a case for more openly discussing miscarriage and the chances thereof, only to be accosted by several women telling her how they “just don’t want to think about these kinds of things while I am pregnant, thank you very much.” And “how dare you bring this kind of thing up with a bunch of pregnant women?”

I’m here to tell you, you MUST think about it. Talk about it. Learn about it. It’s a very common occurrence, a very real possibility. Of COURSE we don’t WANT to think about it, it’s unpleasant. But, it’s also a fact of life.

The one thing that still nags at me about my miscarriage was that I, too, just didn’t want to think about it. I didn’t consider it a possibility or a reality. Because no one had sat me down and had a serious talk with me about it.

As a result, I told the blogosphere that I was pregnant at just 7 weeks, and then had to suffer a very public loss of that pregnancy. Granted, it was a hell of a lot easier to come to terms with, having had so many people there to support me and welcome me into the group of survivors. But, it would certainly have felt less humiliating had I just waited it out.

I didn’t know how common it was. I didn’t know it could happen to, yes, even me. And then afterward, I couldn’t figure out why all the moms and doctors and pregnancy experts all kept so quiet about it.

It’s an ugly topic, stuff your nightmares are made of. But, education is your best defense when those nightmares become reality.

Don’t just stick your fingers in your ears and scream “LA LA LA LA LA!” Please don’t be afraid to take pregnancy for everything that it is, the good AND the bad.

The Flu

My head is spinning over this H1N1 stuff. The media are simultaneously telling us that OMG YOU COULD DIE and OMG THE VACCINE IS BAD FOR YOU. So…what are we supposed to do? Duct tape and Saran wrap our windows I guess?

It’s hard to get our hands on real, empirical, helpful, unbiased information. And normally I’d pay no mind to any of this. I have a relatively good immune system, on the off chance I got it, I’d make it.

But, now I have a kiddo to worry about. What if he got it? Some of the stuff I’m reading suggests that small children have different symptoms and it hits them a bit harder. And kids are, you know, DYING and everything, so yeah, I’m a little worried.

Both kiddo and hubbs have been vaccinated for the regular flu (I don’t get this shot, because I got it all through my childhood, but managed to catch it every year anyway, so now I just save myself the cost and try to stay well). It’s the additional H1N1 vaccine I’m confused/scared/undecided about.

And then there’s the fact that most people as of right now can’t even get the vaccine if they want to. And a vaccine can only cover some strains of the flu, you could still get another strain. Or you could still get the flu you’ve been vaccinated for. No guarantees. So, do we err on the side of caution, or do we save the money and just wash our hands and take our vitamins?

What are you doing, and do you have some good sources I could look at?