Sunday, November 27, 2016

What I've been up to

Thanksgiving-Hubs and I stayed home and had a nice, quiet Thanksgiving together at home.  While I probably could have done the road trip, it would have been uncomfortable and tiring, and frankly, I just didn't feel like it.  My family had a hard time accepting this and gave me a pretty good guilt trip, but I held firm and did what I needed to do to take care of myself.

Healing-It's going well.  Friday was the first day that I felt pretty good, and today I felt even better. After more than a week of living in sweats or leggings, I tried out jeans today.  In a word, I can describe that experience as "ouch"!  I'm hoping that by tomorrow I'll be ok enough to wear real pants, because I'm not sure what I'll do otherwise.  While our temperatures are unseasonably warm, it's still not skirt weather in western Pennsylvania.  Otherwise, I still get really tired really quickly, something else I didn't anticipate.

What I've learned about myself-I learned that I don't have as high of a pain tolerance as I thought I did.  Or at least that my resilience isn't as strong as I thought it was when it comes to recovering from something like this.  I honestly thought I'd be back to normal in 2-3 days.  At this point, I'm thinking that 2-3 weeks may be more realistic.

Follow up-My follow up appointment is on 6 December.  I'm looking forward to talking with the doctor about her findings and seeing if there is a new treatment plan going forward (I don't think there will be).

Watching-College Football!  I was born in the Midwest where college football, specifically B1G football, is like a religion.  The week of Thanksgiving is what's known as "rivalry week" where each school plays their biggest rival.  Essentially 100,000 plus people pack themselves in a stadium and cheer for their favorite team.  Loyalty runs deep.  My favorite (and in my opinion, the best in the country) rivalry game is Ohio State v. Michigan.  I'm not an alum of either school (though I am an alum of another B1G school), but I grew up close to Ohio State, and love for the scarlet and grey was instilled in me from a young age.  There was a lot of back and forth and at a few points of the game I thought I might have a heart attack, but my Bucks pulled it out in two overtimes.

Reading-I'm catching up on blogs.  Slowly.  I have been reading on my iPad, but commenting is a pain in the butt on that device.

Doing-Holiday cards!  Another task I'd hoped to have done by now.....  I will have them mailed this week, however, because a few of them are going to different countries, and I want to make sure they aren't late.

Need to do-I need to schedule an eye appointment and get new glasses.  Which probably means I'll get around to it in March after complaining for months about headaches.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

I'm alive

I had my diagnostic laparoscopy on Friday.  Everything went well and I'm at home recovering.  Hubs is taking good care of me.  So is the dog.

The doctor found one spot of endometriosis and removed it.  There was an ovarian cyst on my right ovary that was drained.  She also found a hematoma somewhere in there too and took care of it. (Do yourself a favor and don't google this.)  Unfortunately I didn't get to talk to the doctor after the procedure, so everything I know is what she told hubs (and sometimes he's not so great with details). Overall, it seems like everything went like it was supposed to, but I'll find out more details at my follow-up appointment in two weeks.

Recovery has been a bit slower than expected, though I think this is probably because this was my first surgery of any kind, and I had unreasonable expectations for myself.  I'm trying really hard to not overdo it.  I think I'll wait at least another day or two before attempting driving.  Lifting things is going to take a bit longer.  I'm glad that I have the whole week off of work and that we already decided not to travel for Thanksgiving.

I really appreciate all of the emails, comments and texts with well wishes.  It really meant a lot to know that my tribe was thinking about me.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Happenings

I haven't felt much like writing lately.  Or reading.  So I'm just going to give you a few bullet points, because I'm sure I can't come up with a coherent post.


  • I'm concerned by the instances of hatred that seem to be uptick (at least anecdotally).  I'm also concerned that our president-elect hasn't done anything to condemn this abhorrent behavior.
  • Hillary Clinton's concession speech was one of the classiest things I've ever witnessed.  Even at what had to be one of the lowest points of her life, she exemplified grace.  I don't know if I could have been so gracious in defeat.  
  • We've already started Christmas shopping.  We decided that we'd buy all of our nieces and nephews at least one book.  We're had a lot of fun picking out the books to give to them, but I must admit that it's bittersweet too.  One of the things I most looked forward to was sharing books to my children.  
  • Related, even if we keep a modest price limit for each niece/nephew, it starts to add up fast. There was a point when I thought it would all be worth it since they'd be spending money on our kids.  I mean, it is worth it, but I think anybody who reads this blog understands what I mean.
  • I'm doing this thing for work.  It's really cool and really important, but it's also the hardest thing I've done to date in my professional career.  It will be worth it though, and the commitment should be (mostly) finished by the end of December.  
  • My laparoscopy is on Friday.  Luckily I haven't had time to worry about it yet, but I suppose there's still time.  :)  Even though I think I will feel fine by Thanksgiving (six days post-lap), I don't think we'll end up taking the road trip to my parent's house for Thanksgiving.  Mostly because I'm tired and need a break and don't want to push myself.
I hope everyone is doing ok.  I'll try to catch up soon, and I'll definitely update on my lap as soon as I have details.



Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Shock

I know that many Americans are sick of politics as usual.  I know that many Americans are sick of politicians.  I know that many Americans are sick of the establishment.  I actually find myself mostly in agreement with these statements.  I know that many Americans longed for a different type of candidate.  One that wasn't a traditional politician.  One that bucked convention.  I get it, I really do.

But unfortunately the person who answered the call to be a different type of candidate was a raging dumpster fire of toxic sludge.  A man who I wouldn't even classify as a decent human being, let alone as having the disposition to be President of the United States of America.  Yet many Americans embraced him.  And now he's going to be our president.  

America spoke.  Loudly and convincingly.  We made this bed and now we have to lie in it too. 

I have never felt this much fear and despair for my country.  I hope beyond all hopes that this will bring us together, yet I fear it will divide us even more.  I am terrified of what this means for my country.  

Today I am thankful that I can't have children.  Today I am thankful that I don't have to find the words to explain how this happened to my children.  My heart hurts for those who do.

I am not a proud American today.  We can do better, America.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

October

Healing after infertility is a far from linear process.  There are ups and downs.  There are stretches of mostly down and there are stretches of mostly up.  After a long stretch of mostly up, October was mostly down.

For the first time in a long time, it felt like tears were just below the surface, and I cried more than I have in a long time.  I had to draw on my emotional reserves just to be a normally functioning adult.

We endured family pictures.  On many levels they weren't as hard as expected, but they were still hard and led to a lot of angst and drama beforehand.

All of the presidential election bullshit.

A random trip to a big box store that left me crying in the paint aisle.  I haven't cried like this in a public place for a long time.

Halloween.  Even though I had to work during trick-or-treating festivities in my neighborhood, I still wasn't complete immune to all of the hard, thanks to social media.

An insanely busy work schedule that required making some hard decisions that don't come naturally to me.

October is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  I think it is so awesome that there is an entire month devoted to recognizing these losses and and raising awareness.  But this month also brings up some complicated feelings for me.  For reasons I can't fully explain and will probably butcher an explanation of, this month always leaves me feeling like an impostor.  Because I was never pregnant, because we chose not to do IVF, we never got a physical embodiment of what could have been.  We have nothing to mourn or recognize.  We only lost an idea, and some days that seems like nothing.  But it feels like something to me, a huge something.  Yet I feel like I don't have the right to mourn and remember alongside those who lost an actual something.  It's complicated.  I honestly think my inner struggle about this was the root of my rough month.  

I also think I'm more anxious about my laparoscopy than I thought I was.  Which wasn't made any easier by my mom reminding me that her offer to pay for IVF still stands, and needing to shut her down.  I had my pre-op appointment yesterday, got my required blood work, and paid my surgery prepayment fee.  Everything is set to go for November 18th (which is actually a few days earlier then it was previously scheduled thanks to someone double booking the operating room).

It wasn't all bad (actually some parts of the month were really good), it's just that the hard parts were really hard.  Two years ago having an entire month where I felt down wasn't uncommon.  Having a breakdown in the middle of a store wasn't that uncommon.  It's just been so long since I've had a down phase that lasted more than a day or two that it caught me completely off guard.

But that's the thing.  Grief isn't linear and sometimes feelings don't make sense.  I'm trying really hard to be nice to myself and survive this phase.  The good news is that I am bouncing back faster then I would have a couple of years ago, and that's a good thing.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A small price to pay for a little bit of sanity

Hubs and I haven't paid for cable TV since approximately 2009.  We don't miss it most of the time.

Last week we caved and got a basic cable subscription.  Why?  This f****** election.  That's why.

After 16 months of campaigning we only had two more weeks to wait before it's over.  We couldn't. We couldn't take the round-the-clock network coverage* or the nonstop commercials.  We couldn't take the attacks, the half-truths, or the outright lies.  Simply put, even though we've had our minds made up for months, all of the coverage was stressing us out.

It's been so long since we've had cable that we don't even know what's on non-network TV any more. We're looking forward to finding out (recommendations are welcome!).  Mostly we're looking forward to avoiding election coverage (and post election coverage).

The cost of the monthly subscription is a small price to pay for eliminating a big stressor from our lives and restoring a small bit of sanity in our house.

*I'm perfectly OK with biased coverage from mainstream media that portrays the Republican candidate in the most negative light possible.  The prospect of his presidency is so frightening that I can't even begin to wrap my brain around it and anything that can be done to discourage people from actually voting for him should be encouraged!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A couple of interesting hashtags

I am ashamed to be an American right now.  I am ashamed that a man like the Republican nominee is a legitimate candidate for president of my country.  I am ashamed that a man who has publicly made racist, xenophobic, and misogynistic statements could be our next leader.  I am ashamed that a man who publicly shames those with disabilities and women could be our next leader.  And I'm baffled at how he has managed to gain so much support.  Frankly, I don't think this man should be out on bail, let alone running for the highest office of this land.

Just when I didn't think it was possible for my opinion of the Republican nominee for president couldn't get any lower, push alerts started coming through on my phone just as we were leaving for family pictures.  This story broke (just in case you haven't seen or heard about it, if you choose to play the video, be aware that it's not safe for work or children).  I was physically ill  when I heard his words.  And then that anger turned to rage.  Apparently I was not alone.

If you've been anywhere social media or the news recently, you've probably seen or heard about two hashtags, #notokay and #WhyWomenDontReport.  Women started coming out, collectively and loudly, and talking about their first assault, and then later in the week explaining why they didn't report it.  These aren't the first hashtags of this nature, just the most recent.

Loribeth reviewed a book earlier this summer called Sex Object and was brave enough to share some of her own personal experiences with men overstepping their bounds as part of her review.  Her post came back to the front of my mind a few days ago when a notification for a new comment popped up in my inbox. 

So I'm going to share too.  If you find things like this bothersome or triggering, please take care of yourself and don't read any further.

This wasn't the first time something happened, but it was the time where I realized that women really aren't equal.  I was 11.  It was on the school bus.  I was tall and lanky.  I wasn't to the part of puberty where I had hips or breasts yet.  The hairstyle at the time was for women to wear short hair (it was the early 90s, after all).  I was the second to last stop so by the time I got on, the bus was full, save for one seat, directly by a high school boy.   This kid made the 10 minute ride to school seem like forever, and the only seat left by the time I got on was right beside him and where I was the only girl for at least five rows.  There was a lot of verbal assaults in the first weeks of school, mainly telling me that I didn't look like a girl, but he didn't touch me.  Until one day when he did.  I got on the bus just like any other day, except when I got back to the seat, he grabbed me by the backpack and pulled me in, said "I'm gonna pull your pants down and see if you are really a girl."  I struggled.  I got my arm free.  And I punched him in the nose.  I was suspended from the bus for 10 days.  I tried to tell the school administration what happened.  I cried.  I begged them to make him stop taunting me.  In their eyes I was in the wrong.  I had to apologize to the kid who tried to rip my clothes off of me before I was allowed back on the bus.

From this experience I learned that my voice didn't matter, at least not when it came to boys treating me poorly.  I learned that the authorities didn't care about me or my well being.  I learned that I wouldn't be believed.  I learned that I don't matter.  I learned to be afraid.  I learned to feel bad about my body.  I learned to stay silent.  Later I stayed silent too because I was scared, because I didn't want to go through not being listened to again, because I didn't think anyone would believe me.  I couldn't bear the shame again. 

It took me years to realize that it wasn't my fault.  That I didn't do anything to deserve any of it.  That he was the one in the wrong.

The thing is that I know I'm not alone.  I know that most women have experienced some form of unwanted physical attention or advance from a boy or man. 

The ONLY good thing that has come out of this candidate's campaign for president is that people are talking about the prevalence of sexual assault.  Though I fear that if he is elected it will only get worse, because if the man in charge does it, that makes it ok for everyone. 

He can't be elected.  Please tell me that he won't be.