Lost In Transition

I’m feeling all the feelings, you guys.

I had a mommy friend ask me if I wanted advice.  She had written a list of things she wished she had known before giving birth.  I said yes, and I read it.

Then I cried.

This thing really has to come out of me.  And it’s going to hurt.  Like, a lot.  Breastfeeding might be hard.  And painful.  Projectile poop really does exist.  All this responsibility…

Even though I’m the type of person who always wants to know all the good and the bad stuff, it was still pretty overwhelming.

I asked myself, how am I going to handle all this?

That voice inside me shrugged and said, one day at a time.

I’m also having some feelings around body image.

My body hasn’t changed much throughout my life, with the exception of cancer and the resulting surgery.  This week marks the highest weight I have ever been.  I knew it was coming, of course, and I know it’s healthy and it’s supposed to happen.  And I’m cool with it; it means that Little Duck is growing and my body is growing with fe.  At the same time, I felt a pang when I saw the number on the scale.  I’ve never been one to weigh myself, like ever, because I’ve never seen the point.  But with the pregnancy, I’ve wanted to track my changes and so I’ve been weighing myself once a week.

It’s not just the number on the scale, but a combination of that plus how I look and how I feel.  I’ve always been fairly petite, and sometimes it’s tough for me to see my waistline disappear.  Honestly, it depends on the day.  When I first started showing, I was so happy and excited.  This is real!  Look at me, how cute I look!  I feel so special!  And sometimes, a lot of the time, I still feel like that.  But on the days when I feel achy and bloated, I wonder how big I’m going to get.  Where is my limit?  What will my body do?  It’s the not knowing that can be unsettling.

What I’ve concluded is that my body is changing faster than my thoughts and emotions can catch up.  And I have to keep telling myself what I already know to be true – that my body knows what it’s doing.  Trust it.

Even when cancer invaded my body and I felt like it [my body] had betrayed me, it still let me know what was going on.  And when I stop to think about my progress during this pregnancy so far, I realize that my body has done all the work unaided.  All the medical procedures I’ve had have been purely for screening purposes.  Of course, if my body needs medical help along the way, that’s all well and good, but overall, my body’s in charge.  And she knows what she’s doing.

Lastly, I’ve been feeling all pent up.  I really need a project (besides growing life) and what I’d really like to be doing is decorating and organizing a house, but we’re just not there yet.  Not only are we not there, but we’re crammed into a one bedroom apartment with boxes stacked everywhere.  I feel closed in, it feels cluttered in here, and I have no idea how we’re going to fit a baby in here, let alone all the baby crap.

I know this situation is only temporary, and our next move, if it’s not a house, will definitely be someplace bigger and quieter.  We’ll only have to have the baby here for one month max, if at all.

It also doesn’t help that I am not currently working, or otherwise have something to do with my time.  I’ve been looking for work half-assedly, mostly because, while I do want to be productive and useful, I don’t want the added stress of having to learn a new job, and I certainly don’t want to have to sell my soul to any job – and that’s even if anyone offers this 5 month pregnant lady a position in the first place.

I hate how the American work force – and the social service professions specifically – expect you to bend over backwords just to work.  The job openings I’ve seen aren’t only full time, but the descriptions are peppered with lines like: must be able to work evenings and Saturdays, shifts subject to change with little notice, must be able to drive to multiple locations, may be exposed to clients with violent tendencies, must give up first born child to Satan, etc.  I’d be hesitant to take jobs like this even if I wasn’t pregnant, and forget it now.  I’m not even sure I’d want to keep a full time job after I have the baby, anyway, so that adds to my lack of enthusiasm.  Don’t employers want healthy, happy, well-rounded workers who have lives outside of work?  Sheesh.  Jobs are just jobs, and I want one that I don’t have to be married to.

That said, I do feel incredibly fortunate that I am being supported by my husband right now.  I have the privilege of having the choice to work or not, and for that I am very thankful.  I also feel a bit guilty about not contributing financially to the household, and a part of me really does want to get out there and do the profession I love, but Brian totally understands my priorities and he’s supportive.  I’ll keep looking for work, and if I find something that fits our needs, then awesome.  If not, we’ll adjust and get by together.

So.  It seems as though my theme for the moment is transition.

But, now that I think about it, am I ever really not transitioning?

Adventures of Week 20

On Tuesday, we got to see our little fetus again!  I had been looking forward to this visit for several weeks, which is awesome and crazy because it’s only the second time I’ve ever actually looked forward to having an ultrasound.

IMG_6691

B and I got to the doctor’s office right on time, and I was gulping water in the car on the way.  I’ve been able to perfect the art of making sure my bladder is juuust full enough by the time I’m called in for the procedure.  If I’m too full too early, then I have to pee or risk soaking my socks.  If I’m not full enough (not usually my problem) then they yell at me and make me wait.  And I don’t like to be yelled at.

We sat down in the waiting room and one of my first thoughts was: Yessss!  No blood draws today!

Which was quickly followed by:  Frick!  No blood draws means no snacks!

I turned to Brian.  “Do you think they’ll give us snacks if we ask?”

“Somehow I doubt it.”

“Well, they really should provide snacks.  Maybe I’ll write it on a comment card.”

“You do that.”

The ultrasound tech came out to get us and brought us into the exam room.

“Hi, my name is Li-”

“WE DON’T WANT TO KNOW THE SEX!”  I blurted out.  I was terrified that the surprise would be spoiled for us.

She laughed.  “Well ok then, I’ll tell you when to close your eyes.  You sure you don’t want it in an envelope for one of those gender reveal parties?”

“NO!  NO SEX!”  …and it’s impossible for our baby to have a gender identity at this point in development.  Yarg.  I cringe when I hear people use the term gender when they really mean sex, especially when it’s a medical professional.  I bit my tongue.

The experience of this ultrasound was pretty awe-inspiring.  I especially loved getting to see the interaction between me and the baby – when the baby pushed on my bladder, I could both feel it (very much so) and see the corresponding movement on the screen.  And when the tech pushed on my tummy and we saw my baby get jostled around and get all annoyed – precious.  This isn’t the first time you’re going to get annoyed by me, Little Duck.  I’m still trying to wrap my brain and emotions around the concept (that I understand intellectually just fine) that I am growing an independent being – something that moves of free will and can affect me, and me fe.  Blows my mindgrapes.

I was also fascinated by the physical development of my little duck.  We got to see all four chambers of the heart in motion, and when the tech zoomed in and slowed the picture, we could see the freaking valves!  I never knew heart valves could be so freaking cute!!  We saw the aorta, the stomach filled with fluid, all the little toe bones, and individual structures in the brain.  All this made me want to go and take an anatomy class, or at the very least, to look up brain development in my old psych books, which was the part I struggled through in my undergraduate career.

Overall, the human body amazes me.

Everything looked normal (and cute).  The only thing of note is that my placenta seems to be attached very close to my birth canal – to the tune of within 1cm.  I’m told that, as my uterus grows, that the placenta will creep farther away from the birth canal, hopefully enough so that I can plan on a vaginal birth.  Looks like I’ll have to have another ultrasound later on to check on the status of this situation.

After the ultrasound adventure, I wiped off all the goo as best I could (it never all really comes off entirely), and we went to see our midwife.

Where are all the snacks?!

She ignored my unvoiced thoughts and confirmed that everything looks normal and we got to hear the lovely whoosh, whoosh of my baby’s four chamber heart, complete with valves.  I expressed random concerns, mostly about being uncomfortable because I’m pregnant.  As before, her responses were varied versions of take Tylenol, power through it, nothing we can do.

Again – awesome.

“So, did you find out what you’re having?!” My midwife asked.

Uh…a baby!  Is what I wish I had said, because I cringe at that question, as if a penis or a vagina is the single most defining factor of what makes up a human being.

Deep breath.  “No, we don’t want to know the sex.”

“Oh, ok!  Well I might go and peek at the gender after you leave.”

Cringe.  Bite tongue.

The end of the visit was a bit sad – we had to say goodbye to our midwife because our medical insurance is set to change on April 1 (if everything goes well….please, everything go well).  At least we knew from the beginning that this would be happening, so we were well prepared for it.

So, I’m glad I got to see you again, Little Duck.  Feel free to keep kicking, but please aim clear of my bladder.

Week 16 checkup

I’ve never been excited to go to the doctor before, and it’s a very welcome change.  Before, my yearly exams were preceded by dread and anxiety, hoping that I didn’t get any bad news.  And then I’d always have relief afterwards that would last for most of the year…rinse and repeat.

But now…everything’s different.  I couldn’t wait to get back there and get more information about my little developing fetus.  Not only that, but I’ve never had a partner to experience these medical procedures with me before.  Having Brian there with me is incredibly comforting and a fun bonding experience.  For instance, I’ve had tons of ultrasounds and blood draws and pelvic exams, but Brian’s never seen any of that.  He’s never had the opportunity to really know what it’s like, to be able to support me and distract me and joke with me and celebrate with me.  I guess I never realized just how lonely it was walking through my cancer checkups by myself until my whole medical experience was turned upside down.

First up for this appointment – a blood draw.  Ug.  I asked Brian to come in with me, for all the above reasons and because why not?  I mean, he did this to me, so he might as well feel my pain vicariously.

Fortunately, I got the same lovely phlebotomist I had had for my previous blood draws.  She recognized me, and I could tell she was trying to place me.  When we got into the room, she said, “Now I feel like you were…different somehow…?”  And I reminded her about the horror we shared during my last blood draw, where she ran into scar tissue from all my previous blood draws and had to stick me three times.  Together, we figured out that it’s best when she uses the kid-sized needle on my dainty little scar-riddled veins, and then I get juice and Goldfish crackers afterwards and everyone’s happy.

Thankfully, this blood draw went perfectly with one clean stick.  Boo-yah.

As Brian and I sat in the waiting room, sharing our celebratory juice and crackers and getting jealous looks from the two year old across the way, I couldn’t help but wonder if she treated all her patients that way, or if she babied me as the only adult who got the kid snacks.  Then I realized I didn’t care because yum.

Then we got to go see the midwife and we got to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time.  I think that strong little whoosh, whoosh sound is one of the most amazing sounds in the whole world.  Incredible.

She asked if we had any questions or concerns, and just like I thought, the responses were all, yup, that’s normal, nothing we can do, just gotta power through it.

Awesome.

Then she felt my uterus, and everything felt good.  I like having more information about my body, so I asked her to show me how to find it on my own.  So start down here, and work your way up…oop, and there’s your full bladder, so your uterus is….here, off to the side because of all that pee.

The phlebotomist gave me juice, what do you expect?!  But thanks for the extra info, really.  At least we’re all friends here.

In conclusion, it was a successful and fun week 16 checkup!  Thankfully, I got to pee again before we left.  And by ‘got to,’ I mean I insisted on it.

I’m looking forward to the next one when we get to have the big 20 week ultrasound.  Squee!

Amazingly Wonderful Worries

Eleven years ago today, I had my cancer surgery.

Today’s anniversary feels very different from the rest, in a good way.

Is it because the farther away I get from it, the less it hurts?  Partially.

It mostly has to do with the fact that I’m pregnant.  The cloud of fear and uncertainty that has been lurking for so long has mostly lifted, and it feels wonderful.  I feel like I can more fully leave my cancer behind, stop worrying about what my body can’t do, and look forward to what my body can do, what it is doing, and what that means for my future and the future of my family.  I am so blessed, and I just didn’t know how much until recently.

I say the cloud has ‘mostly lifted’ because I do find myself still worrying about how after-effects of my cancer and surgery could affect my pregnancy.  I suppose there’s a part of me that feels like this is too good to be true and that I shouldn’t get my hopes up, that my cancer could still rear up and kick me in the ass.  I suppose it’s normal that a small amount of fear like that will never go away.  And sometimes it’s hard for me to balance these continued fears and still make ample room for the joy and excitement I know that I also deserve to experience.  It does help that my doctor doesn’t seem too concerned about affects from surgery affecting my pregnancy.

Overall, my worries have definitely shifted, and I am grateful for the direction in which they have shifted.  After acknowledging my ever-present cancer worries and then placing them back in their box at the back of my mind, I get to worry about “normal” things now – am I taking good enough care of myself?  Is the baby developing ok?  Will delivery go ok?  Will fe be healthy? How the heck am I going to manage to be a good parent?  Etc…

I am thankful for these worries.  They mean I have something amazingly wonderful to worry about.

Which reminds me about something I’ve said before – that my experience with cancer and the resulting fertility uncertainty means that I get to be even more joyful than I would have been otherwise.

Eleven years ago I experienced one of the worst days of my life, and that’s ok.  It doesn’t define me, and I have allowed it to change me for the better.

Now get back in your box.  You’re distracting me from my joy.

Birthday and First Trimester Recap

Today is my birthday, and it’s right around what will be my baby’s half birthday (WHAT?!).

I am 14 weeks today!

What a difference a year makes.  Last year, if you recall, I had some fun drinking adult beverages and then attempting to throw a very heavy ball down a hallway, all whilst dressed up in the clothes of the time of my origin.

A lot has changed since then, and I imagine a whole lot will also change in the coming year.  I’ll look back on this time and wonder where all my freedom went, where all my time went, where all my sleep went.  But I imagine I’ll also wonder how I ever got by without a drooling, pooping, screaming angel strapped to me.  Weird.

I’d like to take this opportunity and do a little recap of my first trimester, since it came and went in a whirlwind of leaving jobs, packing, the holidays, the flu, and moving.

I think it’s interesting that nausea and vomiting are the only acceptable pregnancy symptoms that people seem to be allowed to ask about.  Or interested in.  And that those symptoms really weren’t a major issue for me, so conversations beginning with those kinds of questions are pretty much nonstarters.

I remember sneaking a copy of What To Expect at the shelter where I used to work before we started to try to get pregnant, and it was horrifying.  While I knew on some level that pregnancy affected the whole body, I had no idea about the sheer range of potential side effects.  Face skin turning colors?!  Anal bleeding?!  Eyes frickin changing shape?!

How come nobody asks me about my eyes and how they are doing, hmm?

I feel like my pregnancy symptoms started happening before the pregnancy.  As soon as I went off birth control (that I had been on for the entirety of my adult life), I felt like a 13 year old kid all over again.  My skin became greasy and broke out everywhere.  Like, all the places.  I usually shower every other day, but I quickly started having to shower every day to keep from feeling so hormonally gross.

Which reminds me – I watched the movie of What To Expect because it was on netflix instant view and I was bored and full of pregnancy hormones, and thank goodness for Elizabeth Banks’ character’s storyline.  She struggled to get pregnant, felt horrible during pregnancy, and actually uttered the wonderfully descriptive term ‘bac-ne.’ (How does one spell that?  It’s like ‘acne’ and ‘back’ had a baby, only this baby aint cute.)  It felt validating to see a pregnancy experience that wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows and that I could partially relate to.

Once my pregnancy train left the station, I started feeling heartburn for the first time.  It prevented me from eating a donut at work for about an hour, but I eventually prevailed.  Soon after, I became so exhausted that I couldn’t make it through some days without taking a nap.  I remember the first day the movers were packing up our stuff, all I did was stand there and watch, and at 3pm when they left, I felt like I had done all the work.  An hour nap, and I still had no problem getting to sleep at night.

At that point, the flu struck and I couldn’t tell what was flu and what was pregnantness – I just felt like a zombie in pajamas.  I only wanted comfort foods like ramen and PB&J.  I slept all the time.  Interestingly enough, still no vomit.

Once I was feeling fairly normal again, the completely random food aversions hit.  Our first night in Portland, we were exhausted from driving all day (and being pregnant) and so we ordered pizza.  I demanded no meat because that sounded pukey.  Nevertheless, the veggie pizza arrived and, while it looked amazing, it smelled and tasted like barf.  I forced a slice down and then passed out.  A few days later, Brian cooked us up some veggie burgers and I thought I’d have to run outside to escape the stench.  For the first time, their look matched their smell.  Ralph.

What confused me through all these food aversions (that only happened at dinnertime) was that I couldn’t tell – was I hungry or was I pukey?  The answer was yes, all of the above.  I hated that this babe was ruining mealtime for me, and I am thankful that the phase didn’t last very long.

Heartburn continued, although it hasn’t been predictable or consistent like the bloating and constipation.  Funny that people love to talk about food coming back up and out, but in the absence of an exit, it’s suddenly gross.  I am no stranger to GI issues, as some of you know, but this was/is by far the worst batch of symptoms for me.

It was also weirding me out.  Am I full even though I only took two bites of my cheesey blasters?  Nope, it’s just gas.  Am I starting to show?  Uh-uh, it’s just gas.  Did I just feel the baby?!  Nope – gas.

I think the only other major symptom left is the constant peeing.  Twice, sometimes three times a night.  Like clockwork, too.  And forget trying to laugh or sneeze and stay dry.  My belly had better grow bigger faster, because now that I actually want to eat a horse, there’s no room for it with all that pee, poop, gas, and the reason we’re having this party in the first place.

I forgot to mention the one good side effect of all this – since getting knocked up, my migraines have all but disappeared.  Thank you, first trimester gods, there is a silver lining.

As I already alluded to, the second trimester is treating me well so far.  I’m told I need to enjoy it before the third, and I definitely plan to – starting by stuffing my face with a huge birthday dinner in a few hours and demanding that the bartender mix me up a mocktail so good that I am convinced it’s the real deal.

It’s Alive!

Alright, Psychos.  It’s about to get a little crazier up in here.

I can barely believe it myself, but…I’m going to be a mother.

Even typing those words and then reading them back to myself was weird.  A mom?!  ME?!

I am incredibly thankful and blessed and in awe that my body is able to sustain a pregnancy, especially considering my medical history.  When we first found out, I wanted to call up my surgeon from 11 years ago to thank him for what an amazing job he did.  Not only did he make me healthy again, but he left my bits and pieces intact and working!  The Little Ovary That Could.  It’s because of my cancer history that I am especially not taking this for granted…except for the fact that this is all still very hard to believe for me.

I’ve pretty much always known I’ve wanted to be a mom.  I kind of grew up knowing it without really realizing it, and it wasn’t until that dream was threatened that I realized how desperately I wanted it.

For the past 11 years since my surgery and the prognosis from my doctors being, and I quote, “We can’t promise anything,” I’ve stared longingly at babies in the grocery store, making faces at them as they gaze at me over their parent’s shoulder.  I slowed to gawk at maternity store display windows, only to be pulled along past, wondering if I’d ever get to shop there.

We started trying for a baby quite soon after getting married because we knew we wanted to be parents and we anticipated having fertility issues.  We wanted to try and not get our hopes up so that we could start fertility treatments as soon as we needed to/could because we’re not getting any younger and I was told to expect to start menopause early and my egg count was cut in half and holy crap was any of this going to work?!

Imagine our surprise and complete shock when three months in, it worked!  We couldn’t believe it.  I’m actually tearing up just remembering the moment.  First there was pure joy (OH MY GOD!!!), then disbelief (oh…my…god…), and then sheer terror (omg…what have we done?!).  Brian had just accepted a kickass new job in Oregon, and we had signed a 9 month lease on a tiny apartment, to begin in January.  Doing that math means that we might have to squeeze a baby in amongst our boxes of wedding gifts we still haven’t opened.  Maybe fe can sleep in the salad bowl, or perhaps the new mixer.  Plus, I had just quit my job and didn’t have another lined up, and I’d need to figure out how to get relicensed in Oregon, effectively increasing our expenses while decreasing our income.  Our sense of timing is just peachy sometimes.  Of course, I know this will all work out in one way or another, it’s just tough standing at the bottom of a mountain and not knowing how the hell you’re going to climb to the top.

Another huge stressor for me/us was getting mysteriously dropped from Brian’s health insurance, having our coverage expire at the end of the year, and then having to scramble to get new coverage since his new job’s coverage won’t kick in until after a 90 day probationary period.  Those few weeks were incredibly depressing for me, as I was unable to see a doctor to even confirm the pregnancy, let alone reassure me that everything was going well.  Pair this with my relatively mild first trimester symptoms (meaning that I could hardly believe that I was actually, indeed pregnant), and I just felt like a tired, depressed wreck who cried on the phone to health insurance companies after being put on hold for 45 minutes or more.

I am happy to report that we slogged through our first month in Oregon fairly well, all considering.  We now have health insurance, we had our first ultrasound, and holy crap there’s a somersaulting little guppy in there!  I’m even starting to show a tiny bit, and I’m pretty sure it’s not just gas.

In conclusion, we’re still pretty shell-shocked.

We’re excited and terrified.  We’re excified!

…Territed?

All of the above.

Happiness is an Empty Colon

I talk about poop a lot.

Freud would say this means I am stuck in the anal stage of childhood development, and I am not sure that’s too far off the mark.  Let’s just say that The Beatles were wrong when they said that happiness was a warm gun.  No, no, it’s an empty colon.

—–

Since Brian and I get up for work at different times in the morning, we don’t get to see each other until we get home from work in the evening.  We supplement our communication needs with email and chats during the day.

me: You know, because of this bloating, I’ve had to get up and pee TWICE each night since Saturday

Brian:  eek

me:  My sleep hasn’t been good
Brian:  Have you asked Dr. Internet what to do?
me:  No…but it’s just going to tell me that I am dying.  Or pregnant.  Besides, I pooped this morning, so that’s a plus!
 Brian:  Was it a lot?
 me:  Not a lot…
 Brian:  Still good though
 me:  From 1-10, it was a 4
 Brian:  Hah
 me:  10 being MASSIVE, EPIC poo, you know, that breaks the water
 Brian:  On the Shat Scale
 me:  Right!  So at least my poo wasn’t a 1, which would be like two little nuggets…plop, plop.
 Brian:  Let’s change the subject.
 me:  Why?  This is awesome!  …This could be a blog post!

Finding shapes in the clouds

I’m going to talk to you today about ultrasounds.

They are weird.  They are uncomfortable.  Sometimes, they are hilarious.

I’ve had roughly 20 ultrasounds over the years (about 19 of which were cancer-related, and one was to check for a blood clot in my leg after it swelled to the size of one of those GMO turkey legs at the state faire).  Each experience was like the first time you let a monkey kiss you on the mouth – a little bit different and a whole lot weird.

I’ve had two kinds of ultrasounds – the kind where my abdomen is made into a slip-n-slide for hairless mice, and the kind where my vag is made into a fleshy joystick that feels like the total opposite of joy.

Recently, I had what may turn out to be my last cancer-related ultrasound…ever (which is both exciting and scary).

First, the nurselady led me from the waiting room into a more private one-person waiting room and told me not to get undressed.  Under no circumstances was I to remove clothing.  I sensed that at some point she must have experienced an embarrassing misunderstanding with a newbie patient.  Don’t worry, lady, this is old hat.

I picked up a very tattered Ladies Home Journal and tried to calm my nerves.  Even though I totally know the drill by now, I always get white coat syndrome on account of the dreaded c-word.  Oh yeah, that, and my bladder was so fucking full that I could taste the pee in the back of my throat.  Long ago I learned that if I actually drink the 304,786 oz of water they tell me to drink before my appointment, I end up having to swerve off the freeway halfway there and run into a gas station bathroom before urine drips down my legs and soaks my socks.  All I have to do is drink the milk from my morning cereal and rinse my mouth out after brushing my teeth, and my percolator fills up that peesack like clockwork, no worries.

So I get called into the actual exam room where the undressing action happens.  Usually, I get a student tech and ve’s supervisor asking if it’s ok if a student pokes around in my nethers.  I support the sciences, so I usually shrug and tell them they can enter at their own risk.  This time, however, I guess I got a real tech because she was all I got.  Either that, or she was a student tech gone rogue.  I decided to take my chances.

Next step is that I undress from the waist down for that first kind of ultrasound (bring out the hairless mice!).  A tip to all you first-timers out there: make sure the towel they give you is fully tucked into your underwear unless you want to walk around all day with goo-covered chonies.  That tech ain’t watching where they are putting that paddle, and that goo gets frickin everywhere.  And it’s not even the good kind of goo you want up in there, anyway, so tuck it.

First good sign: this tech warmed up the goo!  She’s a pro, this one.  I lie back and enjoy the warm, sticky sensation as I watch the white snow on the monitor and wait patiently for Samara to emerge.

"help...I've been stuck in there for 7 daysss....and 9 months."

“help…I’ve been stuck in there for 7 daysss….and 9 months.”

This whole process, if you sit and think about it for a quick sec, is pretty magical.  A stranger wields a wand, adds some primordial goo, and – Expecto Patronum! – they can see inside your body, your innermost secrets.  They can see the absence of a second ovary (if I get a particularly naive tech, or a tech who obviously hasn’t read my chart, sometimes I’ll fuck with ‘em:  What?!  You can’t find my left ovary?!!  WELL YOU HAD BETTER FIND IT!), they can see my scar tissue, and they can also see that my bladder is rapidly filling up and about to burst like Liz Lemon after sandwich day.  Talk about embarrassing.

I usually try to position myself so I can see the screen.  I’ve seen my ladyparts onscreen so many times that I fancy myself a real radiology tech – and by “real,” I mean that I point at blobs on the screen and ask, “Ooh, is that a spidermonkey?!”

A good tech will narrate the procedure for me: “…aaaand here we have your uterus, lookin’ good….and then we slide over here….and there’s your cute little ovary!”  A bad tech doesn’t say anything and just makes weird facial features at the screen as she pauses and measures the blobs.

This tech was a bad one (the warmed-up goo was just a ruse)….and she was freaking me the fuck out.  At one point her eyebrows raised and then lowered and furrowed.  I couldn’t stay silent. “What!? What did you see?”

She looked at me with a smile.

“Well, I found your ovary!”

Good news…

“…and it looks like an otter!”

It looks like a what now?!

“Oh, you know, it’s like finding shapes in the clouds with this thing, here look…”

And she points.

Funny enough, I could actually see it, right there, flippers and all.  Weird.

I’d rather my ovary look like this! From projectconnecta-gain.blogspot.com

We had a little moment, Madam Ovary and I.  I waved.

I never really know what to expect at these appointments…

Jim Beam: Kid Tested, Mother Approved

So I went to my parents’ house this weekend and Saturday morning I woke up in my childhood bed, stumbled down the stairs and opened the cabinet to get some cereal for breakfast and this is what I saw:

Boozy-oh's: Breakfast of Champions!

Boozy-oh’s: Breakfast of Champions!

Alternate captions for this picture include:

“Cirrhosis Toast Crunch”

“Honey Bunches of Jameson”

“Captain Morgan Crunch”

“Scotchy Charms – They’re magically delicious!”

(Now accepting additional submissions for boozy cereal photo captions in the comments section!)

——

I’ll have you know that when I was living at home, this cabinet was full of sweet, delicious carbs in the form of sweet, delicious cereal.

After taking the above incriminating photo, I confronted my mom.

Me: Mom, what happened to the cereal cabinet?

Mom: Why, is it broken?  Did you break it?!

Me: No, it’s full of booze.  It’s now the booze cabinet!

Mom: Oh, that.  Well, I need to take tonic water to calm my restless legs before I go to bed.

Me:  …

Mom: And sometimes I need something to take away the bitterness of the tonic water, so I add some whiskey.

Me:  You take away bitterness…with whiskey?! 

Mom:  *quiter* …It calms the legs.

Next she’s gonna tell me that she replaced the candy in the candy drawer with meth.

Waking Up

I became aware of the horribly bright fluorescent lights as I regained consciousness. I saw my dad first – a blurry version of my dad. I looked past him to the clock on the wall. 9pm and change. Wait, could that be right? They took me in at 2-something…that’s way too long.

“Is that clock right?”
“Was it benign?”
“Can I still have babies?”

These were the three questions I remember asking immediately upon waking up. I also remember my dad giving me an affirmative answer to each one- which shouldn’t have made sense.

Before going in for surgery, I was told that if my tumor was benign, the procedure would take about an hour or 90 minutes. If they found cancer or if there were complications – longer. I had been out for over 7 hours.

Upon hearing the answers I wanted to hear, I started to take stock of how I physically felt. My body didn’t feel like my own. I felt broken. My midsection felt like it had been run over by a semi truck. A nurse suddenly appeared at my side and shoved a button in my hand. She told me to push the button when I felt pain. I pushed it right away and kept pushing it every time I remembered to, which felt like long intervals since I kept drifting in and out of consciousness. I was later told that I pushed that damn thing every 2 minutes or so. No amount of pushing that button could have taken the pain away.

I felt so numb. Blindingly so. After my parents left the room, my boyfriend at the time was allowed to stay. At one point I looked up at him and it looked like he was crying. I asked him if he was and I honestly don’t remember his answer. I just wanted to go back to sleep. I wanted to wake up once it was all over.

I pushed the button.

The next morning my surgeon came to see me. He told me that they found some borderline malignant tumors. Malignant. Plural. With an ‘s.’ This information barely registered. It had completely engulfed my left ovary but I got to keep my right one.

What?
Say again, please?
But my dad said…
…do I have to do radiation? Chemo?

No. Those treatments won’t work on your kind of tumors. Besides, we think we got them all, and now we just wait and see.

WAIT AND SEE?! My brain was screaming but my face stayed blank.
Apparently now my job was just to focus on getting better.

Let me get this straight. You rip me open, take out pieces of me, then run me over with a truck and tell me medicine won’t work for me, and now it’s my job to get better? I thought that was yours. You broke me. Now someone put me back together.

I pushed the button again and everything got blurry.

That was exactly 10 years ago today. I just sat down to write and this just kinda came out, wasn’t really planned. It feels good to write about this, so bear with me because y’all might see more of these.

In other news, I turned 30 yesterday and I think I felt all the feelings. All of them. I got drunk on wine with friends and we went bowling. The best part- costumes were required. I brought back the 80s like it was my job. In preparation, I plugged in my crimping iron that I hadn’t used since the 90s, and it promptly began to smoke. Once the putrid smell of burning plastic subsided and got me sufficiently high, I used it on my hair and the results were hecka rad. I even unearthed my old slap bracelets and those plastic thingies one used to clip the bottom of one’s oversized shirt off to the side. Mini skirt, tights, leg warmers, oh my!

I suppose after all this I should post some pictures. Stay tuned, my little psychos.