Category Archives: Uncategorized

I thought I’d get serious and write something I would think is profound, but life is already too damn serious, what with death looming. I mean not that it’s looming closer than it was the last time I wrote, which is when I updated with the news of my dad’s unexpected death. It’s just I simply have to accept that right now, I mean RIGHT. NOW. is the youngest I will ever be for the rest of my life. And shit, I’m getting old!

My daughter, Aitch, constantly asks how old I am. I make her guess. If I don’t like her number, I tell her to guess lower. On the other hand, if she’s lower or close, I congratulate her for getting it right. Unfortunately, with all the math she’s learning in the second grade, she’s figured out that there’s no way I can be 45 one time and 43 the next.

Speaking of school, Dood, my son with ADHD, is already counting DOWN how many more years he has left in school: 4 1/2. He’s got facial hair. Just this weekend I told my husband it’s time to show him how to shave. If he doesn’t, I will, and seriously? I’m pretty sure that’s not the memory he wants to have in his head for the next twenty years until he reaches that point where he thinks, “Damn! My MOM taught me how to shave!” Frankly, between Sparring Partner and myself, who is more qualified: The guy who shaves once or twice a week the area of a sheet of paper, or the woman who shaves at least four times a week the area of six sheets of paper? Duh.

My MIL still walks/rolls the earth. My mom does too. Both women are the center of a their own familial tropical storms. Too deep and complicated.

I’ll be celebrating my one year anniversary at work. Every day has been so challenging, and many times I not only questioned my decision to accept the position, but I’ve literally questioned my superior on HER decision to hire me. She’s a good boss.

Oh, the most exciting thing that happened these past recent months is that Aitch broke the big bone in her lower arm (radius) when she fell from the school’s monkey bars and landed with her arm under her. She told me that she knew she had broke it when she heard it snap. She underwent two surgeries: one to implant a bone rod; one to remove the hardware. I think she would have healed more quickly without the surgeries, but hey, my medical degree is limited to reproductive endocrinology, and even those facts I remember very little of.

Until the next time, which could be tomorrow or it could be another year: Later, Bitches.

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Funny

Funny how I said I was going to update my blog more, and then I didn’t. Actually it’s not funny.

You see, my dad died unexpectedly in February. No chronic illness or condition that gave us time to prepare for the inevitable, unless you count life and aging, which as you may or may not know, continues only up until you die.

My father was in his 80s. I won’t go into too many details because while the trend continues to become less and less anonymous on-line, I still keep this place as much as a retreat as I can. I add more and more in-real-life acquaintances, co-workers, neighbors, classmates, etc. to my Facebook friend list and find myself posting less and less for fear of offending or alienating.

I found out my dad died when my mother, who if you’ll remember has Alzheimer’s, called me while my car’s hands-free system was active and my kids were in the car to tell me that he’d “been sitting in the chair all day and I think he’s dead.”

It’s “funny” that even though I told my mom to call 9-1-1 that once she hung up with me, she forgot to do so.

It’s “funny” that I had to call my sister-in-law and ask her to do this favor I can never repay and that’s drive the five minutes to the farm to see if my dad was indeed dead because I couldn’t.

It’s “funny” that my husband happen to be out of state attending his uncle’s funeral.

It’s “funny” I had to use Facebook to finally get a message to my husband’s family that if someone sees him to call me about a family emergency because he wasn’t answering his phone.

There’s been both your typical and atypical family drama that comes with the patriarch’s death.

And to make things really interesting, I accepted an executive staff position, which is at the minimum, full-time. Simply making a transition back to full-time has been hard enough, but the endless projects and responsibilities are…well…endless.

Plus? While the finishing of our basement project started off strong, it has ground to a near-halt because my husband, Sparring Partner, couldn’t be bothered to look at fixtures. There’s a light at the end of that tunnel, and I hope by June 1st when they set the island’s countertop, it is the end of phone calls and appointments and decisions. I swear, even choosing the shape and color of the outlets left me feeling overwhelmed.

…and breathe out

...and breath out
…and breath out

I never would have imagined that at some point I would be able to move beyond the cement shoes of grief and anger, but slowly I’ve noticed I’m floating to the surface. My kids are…kids, I guess, and there’s no denying that babies have left the building. Not to say I don’t think about it, probably more than one should at my age and history. A couple of weeks ago I almost convinced myself that I was pregnant, which would have required the type of miracle that happened two-thousand and thirteen years ago. I bought a package of pregnancy tests even. Before I confirmed the negative results, I told myself I was being incredibly foolish because if by some act of divinity it had happened, any baby would be dead by the time of the first ultrasound, and if not, the nuchal test would tell me it should be.

Cynical much?

Actually I write that without the cynicism of old, because there’s no “hurt” carrying over. I daresay I was relieved that the test was negative. I never even mentioned it to Sparring Partner.

My incentive to write here again isn’t to get back into blogging, nor is it to create some kind of swan song. I thought it was important though to just let the people know who might have stumbled here from some kind of infertility and miscarriage loss, especially if recent, that eventually it really does get a little better. For me, I think it’s the kind of wound that calloused over, much like my melanoma scar. I know it’s there. I see it, but when I touch it, it’s like touching someone else’s skin.

I remember that very singular moment the ultrasound tech told me my baby had no heartbeat like it was yesterday when all I can do is pray I’ll eventually forget. In fact, it still makes my breath catch in recollection. However, I can no longer remember what Aitch smelled like as a newborn even though I buried my nose into her hair a thousand times over telling myself “Don’t ever forget this.”

But I have. I’m OK with that, too. Forgetting both good and bad events from the past years strikes me as being more “normal” than reliving just one or the other. On the other hand, while things are better relatively, they certainly are not perfect, what with SP’s dad gone; my mom’s hastened spiral into dementia; and Doodicus being on the cusp of puberty mixed with teen rebellion and brazen attitude.

I can’t even hazard to guess if I would feel this “OK” if I hadn’t had the successful donor cycle. Without being overly dramatic, I think I wouldn’t be AS much so or that it would have taken longer. Her healthy birth and what seems to be fairly normal development is an added salve to the end of any crappy day I might have. She will also be the one reason the wounds will never fully disappear. She’s the reminder of the hell on earth I walked through for. I couldn’t and wouldn’t have it any other way.

For now, I hope to continue that float up. Not too quickly or too soon as I fear once I break the surface, it shall mean I have died. It’s not too bad here. It’s OK.

November 1 – Unemployed…Again

Today I became officially unemployed. 

I want to give being a stay-at-home-mom a chance, but I worry that like my most recent position, which ended after two-and-a-half years because the surgeon retired, that I will become disenchanted within a year. Or, even worse, I will be a enormous failure to my children, my husband and of course, myself, and will be forced to give myself the ax.

This recent change in employment is also why I thought I would write this post, my own inaugural for NaBloPoMo 2013. I should have plenty of free time, at least according to my husband, who worries I’ll spend the day shopping for shoes or re-watching Walking Dead episodes (I totally get why Carol did what she did…). I’m not going to say that’s NOT going to happen, but I have some ideas what I’ll do with all that “extra” time: 

  • Organize the mud-room closet and make room for all the past school supplies. I realized this year that I buy giant packages of pencils and notebooks and all kinds of school-crap and then forget about them by August.
  • Get rid of lots of baby toys, specifically the ones I’ve hidden in the basement for the past two years. I need to find some way to pay for next botox treatment.
  • Cook more at home. OK, I’ll admit that I didn’t need to add the “more” to that statement.
  • Volunteer at my childrens’ schools. Aitch’s teacher sent home a note from school that she must have created in a document several years ago. She whites out the date and handwrites the new one in its place and makes photocopies of that. I’m also guessing that she often uses the term “xerox” in lieu of “copy”.

And there we have it, Day 1. Please hold your applause until we reach the end of November. Thank you.

Nutshell of Spring 2013

My mother’s dementia has significantly worsened in a year.

My MIL is making everyone nuts with her whining and demands. Yes, she’s grieving, but really? That doesn’t excuse anyone from just saying “please” and “thank you”, does it?

I’ve been hating my job. Well, not so much as my job, but the people. The one temp puts the entire office on edge and has made me realize I never want to supervise other people.

My son, who recently turned 11 (AND-A-HALF!) is on summer break. It took some serious hard work, but aside from an 86%, all his scores were 91% and above.

My daughter turns five next month.

We leave for a family beach vacation next Saturday. Maybe then I’ll feel up to writing.

Grief by Proxy

Around midnight last Thursday, my FIL died peacefully in his sleep with my husband and his sister by his bedside. He lived an incredibly full and rich life in the nine plus decades he had, but his loss has profoundly affected Sparring Partner who spent more nights than not in his room over the several months at the rest home watching either football, baseball, basketball and even the coverage of the 2012 Presidential Election.

My first official date with Sparring Partner started with us going to his parents’ house where they were having a major party to celebrate dad’s 70 birthday. It was a big deal because family flew in from the east coast to surprise him. When I walked down the stairs to the basement where the family had gathered, I was instantly immersed in the sounds of what I imagined would be similar to a noisy pub in Boston. The laughter (braying) and the *clunk* of full beer glasses which followed the din of "Cheers!" are still fresh in my head as if I had heard it last weekend, not 20-plus years ago. Maybe it’s because even when there were no extended family members around, my FIL still could summon that impression just by sitting at the head of any table.

However, even with as much personality as my FIL had, we just didn’t click. It’s not because he was ever standoffish or boring, as confirmed by the sheer number of sympathies we have been extended, which were always extended along with an amusing anecdote. I’ve had time to think about the relationship I had with my FIL and to wonder why it seemed like little more than strained politeness. Everyone around me adored him! Even from the first moment my own father was introduced to SP’s dad, they struck it off like peas in a pod.

I think much of my inability to simply LIKE him had to do with the fact he was such a boisterous and unabashed bigot. I was furious the first time he dropped the N-bomb in front of Doodicus when he was a toddler. His prejudice would come up when simply watching a football or basketball game since it would seem that most players are not Irish Catholics (who knew??). The slurs he wouldn’t even bother trying to whisper should have sent people away from him. But not here in conservative, Republican, Christian, Nebraska. My FIL would even refuse to eat Mexican dishes, because "it might affect my eyes!" Of course, then there was the time early on when he referred to Middle Easterners as "sand-n****s", and I angrily told him that I didn’t appreciate that, especially as my brother-in-law is Jordanian. He simply poo-poo’ed me with the excuse "that was different. Jordan is politically neutral."

He had a brilliant engineering and designing mind, for that no one could argue. He was considered a respected leader in our community, and a generous benefactor for the Catholic and Lutheran schools, not to mention the hospital actually dedicated a family room in their name (which was incredibly insulting personally to me as that had followed right on the heels of me being fired from the very same hospital) ("Oh, thank you Mr. and Mrs. Bigguy for the enormous financial contribution! Should we mention that we fired your daughter-in-law?"). For me, I just couldn’t get past these offenses and simply like him as everyone else seemed to do.

I will miss him, but I had to honestly admit that my emotional responses to his death have been largely triggered by Sparring Partner’s need for comfort and support, or by the children’s tears and difficult questions about why grandpa had to go to heaven. I am grieving by proxy.

Sometimes, Cancer Isn’t Cured with Stitches

Yesterday I found out that a young woman who I was introduced to via social networking shortly after I was diagnosed with Malignant Melanoma had passed away from her cancer. She was only 40 and left behind a husband and two young sons, and her name is Dawn.

While my mole was simply removed with a wide-margin surgery, her treatment was to take out a couple of her lymph nodes in her groin to biopsy them as well along with the mole removal. Dawn’s treatment was considered successful after her second lymph node surgery, CT and PET scans in the winter of 2009, a full year before my diagnosis and treatment. She was instructed to get a mole check every three months; I went in every six.

Last February when she told her doctor she’d been having pain, he proactively ordered a scan even though she’d been given the all clear by her dermatologist. That’s when they discovered her cancer had returned. Then after some chemo treatment, they performed surgery just three weeks ago and basically found the tumors were inoperable. Last week she came home and began “planning visitations and playlists“.

Her story is both frightening similar and altogether different from mine. I don’t compare my situation her hers to bring attention to myself, but as a simple reminder to that I don’t believe that fate has anything to do with how our lives turn out. It’s simply luck, whether good or bad. I didn’t “deserve” getting cancer, and Dawn certainly didn’t “deserve” to die. A roll of dice has left me cancer-free (as far as I know), but her death has shaken me to the quick. In another six months, my diagnosis could be as equally dire. Like her, I look back on past symptoms (the severe breast pain; the bone-melting fatigue) and wonder if the doctors really did weigh in my past diagnosis.

I don’t want to harp on you, my friends, the seriousness and dangers of tanning, whether by bed or sun, but if my story of survival doesn’t convince you that you need to be sun-conscious, I hope that Dawn’s life and her legacy does.