Thursday, October 22, 2015
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
It happens quite often. My birthday coincides with one of the major Jewish holidays pretty much every year. This year, my major milestone 40th birthday will be taking place on the holiday of Yom Kippur, which is seriously the most serious Jewish holiday of them all. It’s a day of fasting, repentance, self-reflection and groveling. Sounds like a real party, right?
Friday, July 17, 2015
I don’t feel like my life has ever followed a predictable script, and I see that as a positive. If I have developed any skill in life, it might be the ability to “roll with it,” no matter what curveball has been thrown my way.
Well, it seems we have been thrown another curveball.
Chris and I travelled to San Antonio in mid June for the second phase of my reconstructive surgery. The surgery was something I was looking forward to, and having been through the first phase of surgery so recently, I wasn’t really nervous about going through with it.
A tropical storm had been hitting San Antonio the week of my surgery, so I rearranged our flight to get us in to San Antonio the afternoon prior to my scheduled operation. Chris and I arrived in Texas, ate some delicious Tex Mex food, and checked in to our hotel. We walked around the neighborhood, relaxed, and I did my scheduled pre-op prep work: showering with antibacterial soap, no eating or drinking after midnight, etc.
The morning of the surgery, we woke up early and drove to the hospital in the rainy remnants of the storm. As I was waiting to be admitted to pre-op, I met a lovely woman who was also going to be going through her second phase surgery with another surgeon from the same surgeon’s group I was using. We spoke about how wonderful our experiences have been with PRMA, and compared notes about the recuperation from the first phase of surgery.
I was then called in to pre-op, where a friendly nurse administered my IV port, and spoke with me about my reasons for traveling all the way to Texas for surgery. Another nurse came in and got my urine sample and asked me several questions about my health history. She then left the room for a few minutes.
Another few minutes passed. And then another few. I began to worry because the clock seemed to be ticking closer to my scheduled surgery time, and I had not yet seen my surgeon.
The nurse came back in. She was holding two familiar looking objects in her hand, and had a strange look on her face.
“I did the test twice,” she told me. I then realized she was holding pregnancy tests.
My jaw dropped open. I covered my mouth and screamed. It was THE LAST THING I would have ever expected to happen.
“I think I am going to go get your husband now, so you can tell him the news” the nurse told me. I looked at her and shook my head. I still had no words.
When Chris came in the room, he took one look at my face and said “what’s going on? Is something the matter?”
And then I broke the news to him. And we both sat there, dumbfounded, joyful, confused, floored by the unexpected news of our pregnancy.
I don’t know if I believe in dreams, or signs, or if I just think sometimes the world presents very strange and uncanny coincidences.
About three weeks prior to our trip to San Antonio, Chris came home from work a little late one night, while I was giving the kids a bath. He came into the bathroom and told me that something funny had happened at work. He said one of his co-workers, a guy he hardly works with, had come up to Chris and told him he had had a dream about me being pregnant.
I just laughed.
Chris told me if, for any reason, I WAS to become pregnant, he wanted me to be assured that he was okay with having a third child.
I laughed some more. I told Chris there was no way I was pregnant, or would become pregnant, and that he should go tell his co-worker to not waste his dreams on me.
This crazy news comes with a whirlwind of emotions. I am thrilled to be pregnant. I totally thought I had closed the book on that chapter of my life when Oren was born. I love babies. I love my kids. I am 100% sure that I have room in my heart for another child, and I am psyched for Emmy and Oren to have another sibling. I am amazed by my own body, actually kind of PROUD of my body, and by its ability to get pregnant just three months after a really intense, invasive surgery. But I also feel guilty that it is so easy for us to get pregnant, as other friends struggle to have their first or second children. I’m also sad that I won’t be breastfeeding this baby. I am also worried about being 40 and pregnant. I am also nervous about having a third c-section.
It’s crazy. It’s amazing. It’s silly. It’s strange.
I guess I’m just going to do what I do best, and roll with it.
Monday, April 20, 2015
Thursday, April 2, 2015
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
The countdown has begun. My prophylactic mastectomy and reconstructive surgery is coming up awfully soon.
My mind is going a little nuts with anticipation, anxiety, excitement… MORE anxiety. Seriously, I have begun worrying about EVERYTHING.
What if I get sick with the flu the week before surgery? What if my daughter totally freaks out when I am not with my family for five nights? What if there is a horrible snowstorm right before my surgery date? What if my surgeon sneezes while he is operating on me and cuts me in half? What if my two year old cries for 6 straight weeks because I cannot hug him/hold him? What if a freak tornado hits at the exact moment I am having surgery done? What if my husband mixes red clothes in with the white laundry while I am out of commission? What if the surgeons discover an alien living in my body?
See? I worry about EVERYTHING.
I also worry about dying on the operating table.
I also worry about looking like a rag doll post-surgery.
And truthfully, I also worry that I am going to go through with this surgery, and will look like a rag doll, and then I will get breast cancer anyway. Or ovarian cancer. Or melanoma. Or tongue cancer.
But “Que sera, sera,” right? I should give up on all this unproductive worrying because it is so… UNPRODUCTIVE! I should listen to the words of my daughter’s animated idol, Elsa of Arendale, and just “Let it go! Let it go!”
And yet, because I have been anticipating this surgery for months now, and because the anticipation has involved all aspects of my head, my heart, my soul… I just can’t let it go.
Generally speaking, honestly, I am totally a no-drama, easy-peasy lemon squeezy kind of gal. This kind of thing just brings out my inner Woody Allen.
So in an effort to combat all the negative thoughts that swirl around in my brain and distract me from being my normally optimistic self, I have been doing what I know works best to help me calm down and be less freaky. No, not yoga (yoga makes me antsy). No, not meditation (meditation makes me loopy). No, not self-medication (drugs make me queasy).
My therapy of choice? The OneNote app.
Planning, and uber-planning, and micro-planning every aspect of this upcoming surgery has been my means of self-soothing over the last several weeks, and I've done it all on the cute OneNote app. In my OneNote notebook, I have created a plethora of lists related to the surgery, each filed under a different beautifully colored tab. I have created a “packing list” tab, an “important contacts” tab, a “places to go” tab which lists activities for Chris to do with the kids in my absence, a “shopping list” tab, a “sample schedule” tab (providing Chris with a basic outline of the children’s day), and a “preparing the house” tab. All of these tabs form a beautiful rainbow of preparation, and it is oh so calming for me to look at them.
If I am feeling panicky, all I have to do is add a pastel colored new tab to my OneNote notebook with a list of books to read or movies to see while I am out on sick leave. As I focus on compiling a list of dramas and comedies, my worries start to dissipate, and I start to see my upcoming sick leave as an opportunity to catch up on all the Oscar-nominated contenders. Voila! It’s like magic.
I know what this is about, of course. I’m no fool. I am trying to control what I CAN control, because the thought of giving up ALL control as I am laying on the operating table, getting my anesthesia cocktail administered, is totally frightening to me.
Obviously, in a short period of time, my surgery is going to be a reality, and not just tabs and checklists in a OneNote notebook. Obviously, I have to face my fears, or “embrace the tiger” as I like to say, and just trust that everything is going to turn out okay. I have an amazing surgeon and an amazing team performing an amazing surgery. I have an amazingly supportive family, and an amazingly supportive group of friends, who are all going to be pulling for me and praying for me (and maybe preparing food for our family, which is double amazing). I have made an amazing choice, and I am following through with the choice I have made. All in all, this is an amazing opportunity, and I can see it as just that, if I simplify everything in my head and heart. Because really, deep down inside, I know I am a strong person, and I trust my strength, and I trust in God, and I trust that everything will be okay. Really.
But for now, I also trust in the OneNote app. It will get me through the coming weeks, and will provide me with a trusty little haven of pretty colored tabs.
Friday, January 9, 2015
Chris and I got called in to Em’s school today to talk to her teacher and pre-school director about some recent observations they have had regarding Emmy. When I got the email, asking if we had time to come in and talk, I totally panicked. Millions of questions ran through my head: Is Em acting out? Are other kids picking on her? Is she light years behind her peers in her academic development? Has she started screaming “I hate mommy!” and running through the school halls naked? Is she starting a coup d’etat among the four year olds?