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Well, I haven’t written because some serious stuff was going on and I wasn’t sure if I could trust myself to write without going off. After all my family has been through over the last few years, I am now having huge marital problems and talking divorce. Andy has encouraged me to see an attorney so I’ll know that he’s being fair with me (he’s an attorney). We went to a counselor who we thought was good. People go to counselors when they believe their marriage needs help and sometimes when they believe their marriage is too far gone. But the act of going to a counselor shows that some effort is being made. That’s where I was in my mind. When emotionally charged statements of the marriage being over were made, I was shocked that the counselor agreed. What the hell? Isn’t she supposed to give us tools to work on it? Isn’t she supposed to talk us back from the ledge instead of agreeing that it’s over and looking at the clock the whole time? Oh yeah, she also ranted about how peeved she is about so many people filing bankruptcy. Bankruptcies are part of what my husband does for a living and, I swear, this woman took about 5 minutes (2 different times) talking about how it frustrates her and doesn’t my husband get frustrated, too. Needless to say, it didn’t help anything to go to her and I wouldn’t recommend her to anyone. It only made things worse. That’s all I’ll write about that for now…not sure how personal I want to get with this, considering my husband’s life and feelings are involved. No matter what happens, my husband has been my best friend for 15 years and I don’t want to say or do anything to hurt him.

I had the week with my husband and son, visiting from Boston. It wasn’t the greatest time, as I said, but I was so happy to have my son here. I missed him running around and just hearing his voice. He’s 12, so the affection is on his terms at this age. Man, it’s like winning the lottery when he wants to cuddle. It’s the best feeling in the world. The week went by much too quickly. When they left yesterday I felt so sad; sad that things are the way they are with my husband and sad that my son was leaving again. At least I only have to wait a week to see him again, so it’s not so bad I guess. I’m going to watch him play in a hockey tournament in Lake Placid next weekend. He’s on a great team and has made a lot of friends. I’m just relieved he’s doing so well getting adjusted to his new home. So, I’ll see him next weekend, then again in mid-March. My husband has to be in Michigan for a week to finish up some cases. Rather than have my son miss school, I’m going to go be with him in Massachusetts for that week. Then I’ll have to wait about a month to see him again for his spring break. After that I’ll see him for our daughter’s graduation in June. I’m hoping I’ll be able to move at that time….hopefully the house sells. Just thinking about all this makes me miss the days when the kids were younger. We were always together as a family, always. We were happy and it was so much fun. Can’t avoid the age thing. My daughter’s going away to college after the summer and my son is becoming a young man. I’m so proud of them and I look forward to seeing how their lives will grow, but my heart still aches for the younger years.

All these emotions yesterday led me to retail therapy. I’m not sure how I feel about that term, but it is so accurate and I craved it. My daughter and I went to the mall. I haven’t been to the mall in months and I thought I could handle walking around for a bit. I knew at the outset that I would see things I wanted, but they wouldn’t look right considering where I am in my healing. I was prepared. So when I tried on a couple of shirts I didn’t let myself get bummed out. I ended up getting a couple of little things for my daughter, some good lotion (Michigan winters are murder on skin) and some nice stretchy pants that aren’t black. I’m still in the healing phase where jeans are tolerable for only a few hours and I live in my sweats and black is the only color I have. Comfy grey, you know the color so adventurous and furthest from black you can get, pants were just what I needed. I also got a few bras that fit well. My body has changed so much since my procedure that even the bras I bought after my DIEP were uncomfortable. Good bras aren’t cheap so that put me at my limit. By the way, are bras THAT expensive to make and why the hell is so hard to find a comfortable one, even when  you haven’t had a mastectomy and breast reconstruction? And why are the comfortable ones so damn expensive? I suppose I could write an entire blog post about that experience alone. I tried on an armful of bras and it was NOT fun. I ended up with 2 expensive brands (on sale) and one moderately priced bra. After that, I decided to wait a couple more months to look for “real” clothes. I’m going to give myself time to heal more and get some weight off, before I buy anything else.

We spent a little over 2 hours at the mall. I didn’t lift anything, push/pull, or strain myself in anyway, other than trying on a boatload of bras. I didn’t walk fast, just a stroll through the stores. By the time we were ready to leave, I was READY to leave. I was exhausted. I’m still wearing the compression garments that I’ll probably have to wear until summertime. My abomen felt so tight and firm under the garment..I was just swelling up. I’m only 4 weeks out from a major abdominal surgery. I forget that sometimes..it seems like longer. Just an aside..my surgeon described the area of my muscle that was detached and I was so surprised. I knew something was wrong, but I had no idea that it was about 6-8 inches in a sort of triangular shape what was rolled in on itself like a window shade. She said she did heavy suturing then placed the mesh, so yeah, it was a major repair. After the mall, I came home, got in the recliner and relaxed for a while. Then, I helped my daughter with her hair and makeup for a party she went to last night. That was fun. She was making me laugh so hard, also not great for a healing tummy but we couldn’t help it. When it was all said and done, I zonked out at about 10pm and didn’t even hear my daughter come home.

This morning I feel like I did manual labor yesterday, so I’m going to be sitting on my butt today. I’m supposed to be able to go back to clerical work at the end of March. Hopefully the next 4 weeks make a world of difference in my strength. I’m going to start with baby steps so I can keep up when it’s time for me to go back to work. We’re supposed to get another mountain of snow tonight and tomorrow, so I’ll start short walks in the neighborhood once the terrain is safe for me-couple of days should be good. I, literally, cannot wait to be able to do more physical activity. It takes a lot out me, emotionally, to be in this state. I have so much empathy for those who lose mobility with little or no hope of getting it back. I cannot imagine how I would handle that. I’m mopey being cooped up in a dismal climate, but I believe I’ll be getting back to my physical self as it starts to get warmer. The rest of me remains to be seen. There’s too much to think about, I can’t even plan. I’m just going to take it as it comes and try to keep my head above water. Breathe….just breathe.

 

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I haven’t felt like posting lately. Things just sort of hit me pretty hard in the last few days. I’m not sure what happened. Maybe I haven’t dealt with the emotional part of all of this enough. I’ve been cooped up and separated from half of my family, which puts me on edge anyway. But, I really think there are emotions here that I haven’t allowed myself to address effectively. There were triggers to a meltdown. My daughter’s genetic testing has been scheduled for the 25th of this month. Watching the news, I saw a report on a study that found an increased risk in pancreatic cancer from drinking just two soft drinks a week. Pancreatic cancer is another one of the cancers associated with my genetic mutation. Both of my children have a 50% chance of inheriting my mutation and my son drinks a lot of pop. I changed position on the couch, while watching this report, and my arm moved against my breast. I didn’t feel anything, except on my arm of course. I burst into tears.

How unfair it is that I have lost both of my parents. How unfair it is that I have lost a year of my life, my job is a wreck and co-workers have lost respect for me there (which just pisses me off because those people don’t get it). How unfair is it that my kids have this weight over their heads. How unfair is it that I still have to be careful with how I move, pick things up and bend over. I was crying like I cried when I lost my parents. From my soul. I wanted to break things. I didn’t. I called my husband and sobbed for a long time. Oh yes, this was an extreme “woe is me” moment. It took a long time to purge myself and my husband was there for me. He always is, when it comes down to it. When I finally calmed down and got off the phone, it was after 11:00pm. Still, I washed my hair, which made me feel better. Then I check my email and had two messages that went a very long way to making me feel more whole.

After all of this, I’m still thankful that I was able to find out my genetic status. Mad that it is what it is, but glad I was able to prevent cancer. What kind of choice is that? Mutilate your body, lose standing in your workplace, strain relationships, or face an 87% chance of getting cancer. Still, it was a choice I was able to make. And I pray that my daughter will be spared that choice. I’m trying to continue to see all the positive things in my life. Why is it so hard for me to hold on to those things to get me through? Some people are so good at it. I get mad at myself and feel guilty that I don’t have the strength to focus on the positives: my family, my health (I just have to heal and I will heal), the support I do have from all over the place, I could go on forever.  I’m weak and stuck in a vicous cycle of emotions. Just typing about it wears me out. So, there, that’s enough of that.

Now I’m going to get ready to make my first outing on my own since my surgery. I’ve taken no medication today, so I can drive. I need a few things from the grocery store. I’ll take my own bags and bag the items myself, so I know they’ll be light enough to carry. At least I won’t have to drive the motor cart today. Hey, two positives!

So, the drains are gone! I was so freaked out about these being pulled. I just knew it was going to be worse than the two previous times. I was right. Maybe some of it was because I got myself worked up, but it truly was worse. I’m thinking it’s because I had a lot more going on this time. The mesh was put in my abdomen after a lot of work was done to reattach my muscle. It was no simple procedure. The two previous times I didn’t even feel the drains come out. I was surprised when it was over. This time I felt the tubing moving through my abdomen the whole way. It was painful, yes. But, more than that, it was unnerving. Yuk! I actually had a vagal reaction, got all pale and had to elevate my feet a little. That was hilarious. I’m still laughing about it. They gave me some juice and took some more glamorous photos (hahaha-nudies of the fat lady) for my chart. Afterward, Ali was pleasantly surprised that I could do a lot more without her help now that the drains were out. Without the tubing pulling on my skin and the pain they caused, I could get my compression garment on almost all by myself, along with my pants. Yippee!! Ali’s almost off the hook.

It’s amazing how much more whole I feel. It’s the oddest feeling to have tubes coming out of your body, draining fluid. It’s dehumanizing. I’m still moving slowly. I have discomfort and downright pain at times. I have to be off work longer than I thought. However, once again, I’m aware of how fortunate I am. Because of scientific advances, I was able to take steps to prevent cancer. I have had complications, but the reasons for the complications have been discovered and I’m on the road to getting back to myself. I’m thrilled. Thrilled, thrilled, thrilled. You know the thing I’m looking forward to most? The gym. Not just going and getting on an easy machine. I want to feel my muscles again. I can’t wait to get back into spinning classes, lifting weights, yoga, all of it. I’m on my way! Now, to keep this positive feeling going….

This is just a short, sleepy post.

I’m tired, but I can’t sleep. I think I’m nervous about possibly having the drains removed tomorrow. I KNOW I’m nervous about that. I’ve been through some major surgeries and, for some reason, the drain removal thing always messes me up. The two times prior to this were no sweat. I was worked up for no reason at all. One would think I could calm myself based on that alone. Nope. Nothing doing. I have pain on the left and a big firm area below the incision. I’m worried the tubing from the drain might be looped in that area and it’s gonna hurt like crap when it’s pulled. Ali is driving me to the surgeon as soon as she gets out of school so I’ll be taking percocet about halfway there, just in case. Okay, moving on…the more I think about it the worse I feel.

I started doing some video, or trying to at least. I’m terrible at editing and converting files and uploading and all that techie stuff. So I have several files and I can’t do anything with them. Ugh. My goal is to start  some video blogging, or at least compiling some videos for later use. I’m hoping I can actually film some visits to the surgeon, maybe even the removal of the drains…if they’ll allow it. Doctor’s don’t usually like being filmed, so I’m not too hopeful about it, but we’ll see. I can handle the filming just fine. It’s making the files look and sound right that’s hard. I can really make the images nice with my adobe program, but the audio and video are out of sync. I can’t figure out how to fix it so I can upload it to the internet. Big learning curve, but I’ll get there. I have the time to obsess over it at least. I’ll post the information once I get things figured out. It may take a while, though.

For now, I’m going to try to get so many things out of my head and get some sleep. Of course, the first is the drains. Even if it hurts, it’ll be over quickly and my doctor is wonderful. The other things are family and friend issues. I miss Andy and Brennan so much it’s truly painful. I miss my family and friends in Arizona and one of my best friends ever is becoming a grandmother even as I type. Her daughter was 7 centimeters, she just got her epidural and they broke her water. I wish I could be there with her. I’m away from friends at work and kinda cooped up, which is starting to get old. But, the silver lining is that Andy and Brennan will be here in one week and I can’t wait! Brennan has the whole week off school so I’ll get some quality time with the whole family.

On that note, I’m going to try to get some real sleep. Thinking about the family being all together again is making me feel much more at ease. Ahhhh, sleep. Goodnight, my friends.

I’m bored. I’m in just enough pain that motrin, alone, won’t take care of it. I sleep on and off all day and night and I’m bored out of my mind. I tried to teach myself to crochet last year, maybe I should give it another shot. I have a book next to me that I’m re-reading. My plan is to hit the bookstore when I finish this book. Last time I went to the library I couldn’t find anything I wanted to read. I’ve caught up on all episodes of Tudors, United States of Tara and Nurse Jackie. I love the first two, but Nurse Jackie leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Nonetheless, I keep watching it. I’m just twiddling my thumbs until Weeds comes back. That’s my show. I could, finally, get my photos scanned in to the computer. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll get Ali to bring up the boxed photos, bring down the printer and I’ll go to town. Maybe.

We have an open house scheduled for Sunday. Keeping up on the house is easier with Andy and Brennan being in Boston, but it’s still hard with 3 dogs. Being laid up is making things that much harder. Can’t lift, push or pull anything so all the cleaning is on Ali, poor girl. She’s not thrilled, but she’s doing okay. Yesterday she helped me get groceries. I don’t recommend grocery shopping on pain meds. Somehow we spent way too much money. I drove in one of those crazy amigo things and I managed to avoid running in to anyone or anything. Ali pushed everything in the cart and I didn’t even realize how full it was until we checked out. Bad idea. Today Ali helped me fix the washing machine. We used the high suds soap (bought the wrong kind) without realizing it and the machine just konked out. Turns out, there was a very good reason it gave up. I had Ali empty the filter thing at the bottom of the machine. I would have given up, too. It was gross. We fixed that and the laundromat is back in business. Which reminds me..Ali said we could always take the clothes to a laundromat. I requested that she not make me laugh. She’s helping with everything, but it’s almost always accompanied by a “why me” or “not again” face. I told I could only imagine the looks I would get if we had to go to the laundromat. She didn’t argue with that one. Good thing we found an easy fix. So I’ve got a daily list of what needs to be done before Sunday and I have with cleaning coming on Friday. We’ll be ready for an open house on Sunday.

I’m going to relax tomorrow, have lunch with a friend on Thursday, go to the doctor on Friday to, hopefully, have the drains removed. By the time I head back to work, I’ll have a lot more photos on the computer and I’ll be crocheting up a storm. Hahahahaha. Maybe.