Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Right! Unfair!

I’ve been coping pretty well with things…you know, all things considered.

Today though, I’m feeling mad. Really mad. I want to rail against the Fates for the unfair burdens that have come my way. And they are unfair. But that being said, does it matter? And if so, to whom does it matter? I mean besides to me, because of course it matters to me.

I’m ticked off that I’ve spent all of my life so far doing everything I’m supposed to do. I got good grades in elementary school. I finished high school in the top 5% of my class. I worked in high school and college. I graduated from college Magna Cum Laude. Got a job with a company that would transition from “job” to “career”. I went to graduate school. I got married and then received my Master’s Degree five months after my wedding. I got a promotion and worked my tail off so my husband could finish school. Got my counseling license. Got pregnant. Bought a house. Got another promotion. Had a baby. Started teaching at the university. Just started coursework for an advanced counseling certificate. I’ve walked the line (I’m humming Johnny Cash right now), but I’m not anywhere near finished.

Doesn’t anyone see? I did all of that, and for the most part, I did it well and I did it in the “right” order. I’m proud of working hard and doing things well. But how is it fair that in spite of everything, I feel like I’m standing on top of a smoking pile of rubble—a pile of rubble that used to be my nicely organized life—and trying to figure out where in the heck I’m supposed to even find a stable spot to start putting things back together?

I get it. Doing everything in the “right” order doesn’t mean the early years of marriage weren’t financially tough. And it doesn’t mean that the time spent trying to have a child didn’t seem like forever. “Right” didn’t make my pregnancy or delivery (or post-delivery) easy. “Right” doesn’t mean my daughter isn’t chronically ill (thought blessedly, she’s been healthy for a whole month!). The “right” order didn’t stop my marriage from crumbling nearly to the point of complete and utter destruction four years ago, nor did it make the past four years easy as the pieces were slowly turned and shifted to form something new and different that’s still a marriage, but a very different marriage. “Right” doesn’t bring my husband’s job back. And “right” sure as heck didn’t stop a small cluster of cells from turning into cancer, a seemingly minor cancer (if there is such a thing)—but nonetheless is having a permanent impact on my life. “Right” doesn’t seem to matter one little bit in the big picture.

And is that fair? Of course not. Duh. If life was fair, I’d be living in a sprawling brick ranch on 5 acres of property, floating in a pool with my children splashing around me and the puppy chasing butterflies in the sunshine. And I wouldn’t have stretch marks from being pregnant. And no cellulite, either.

My house would be clean and organized. The laundry would be washed, dried, folded or on hangers AND put away. It most certainly would not be sitting in baskets at the foot of the bed! There wouldn’t be any mystery stains on the carpet—because there’d be hardwood floors (or maybe bamboo floors) throughout. The deck wouldn’t need to be sanded and stained. There would be nice patio furniture so we could eat outside on nice days. Life would be peaceful.

I’d work if I wanted to, but I wouldn’t have to. Come to think of it, my husband wouldn’t “have to” work, either. We’d be independently wealthy. No, I don’t know how that would happen. It’s my fantasy life—I can figure out the logistics of it later.

If life was “fair”, things would be different. Drastically different. And yet, if life was “fair”, I think that I wouldn’t be who I am now. Maybe I’d be better. Maybe not. But I would be different. I’m not sure if the price of “fairness” is worth it. I like who I am for the most part (besides the whole stretch mark/cellulite thing), so I know I wouldn’t want to change that too much.

I’m feeling like everything I planned for in my life has been ripped away and I’m left standing empty-handed.

Of course, if I’m standing empty-handed, that means my hands are free to hang on and then catch whatever else might come my way. Taking the good with the bad, right?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Rolling With It

Well, I've been rolling with the punches lately and all I have to show for it is a bruised psyche. I need a soul-sized band-aid to make me all better.

I think some ice-cream might also help.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Few Random Thoughts

Every now and then, it's nice to be the "fun" mommy and let the kiddo have ice-cream before dinner. Especially when the dinner consists of sandwiches, chips and pickles.

I've also decided to (gulp) grow my hair out again and donate it either to Locks of Love or Pantene Beautiful Lengths. I did it last year and got a tremendous sense of satisfaction out of that simple act. It's more meaningful this time around since my diagnosis--I'm so grateful that surgery should be sufficient for me and that I don't have to undergo chemo or radiation...but it makes me think long and hard about the people who do, so the least I can do is donate my hair to someone who needs it.

I think there was a microburst or something about an hour ago here...I don't think the word "windy" is anywhere close to accurate. All I know is that I was giving my kiddo a bath and faster than anything I've witnessed before, there was a roar, the whole house shook and the screens were literally ripped out of the windows. The patio door also came off its track. Good thing I'm pretty handy--I found all the screens (on the garage roof and down the street) and popped them all back in. Also fixed the window frame that was partially torn off. Whew!

One more day of work, then the weekend. So glad about that.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

This and That

I think this is the first time in a month that I've had to work a full week. I took a few vacation days here and there for long weekends, then I had surgery, then the 4th of July holiday long weekend. I'm tired already, but tomorrow's only Thursday. I still have to make it through Friday!

I shouldn't complain. My poor spouse is getting a little batty being at home. The concept of unemployment seems kind of fun at first--get some time off, still get paid a little from the unemployment office, etc. But it's been two weeks now and he's had enough of the Mr. Mom routine. And so have I.

Don't get me wrong. It's really nice that he's been helping out more around the house, weeding the garden, etc. It's just hard for me because I'm picky about stuff getting done a certain way. And I kind of miss cooking dinner. It's a strange trade-off because it's really nice to be able to come home from work and relax for a little bit, not have to cook and get to play with my kiddo--all the stuff he did before when I would get home after work and frantically get the little one settled down and get dinner together before he got home. But there's a small part of me that misses the chaos, I guess just because that's what I'm used to.

I keep reminding myself to enjoy the time because (hopefully) it won't last long. There's gotta be jobs out there that he's qualified for, and once he gets hired, it's back to the same old madness. I've been unusually tired lately--even more than my chronic tiredness from lack of sleep. I'm feeling more emotionally drained these days. I guess that's normal. Whatever normal is.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sleepy Thoughts

I've been in a bit of a fog for the past few days, just sorting things out in my head and coming up with more questions than I thought possible. I don't have a headache--more of a brain ache. I feel like I'm in a pretty good place right now, but probably going through a lot of normal stuff, too. Stuff like randomly getting mad over nothing, some occasional denial...oh wait, that's how I am everyday. HA!

I am unusually tired tonight. I think the combination of stress of worrying about what might be wrong combined with the stress and relief of now knowing what actually is wrong has finally caught up with me. I've been yawning for the past hour. I think it's time to go to sleep now.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The "C" Word

It starts with “C”, is six letters long and has a nasty habit of instilling fear in the hearts of people who hear it.

Cancer.

I have officially been diagnosed with cancer.

I got the biopsy results today, and it turns out that once again, I have done a stellar job of defying all odds. Bladder cancer happens more often in men. I am a woman. Bladder cancer happens most often after the age of 55. I am 31. This particular type of cancer is nearly always caused by lifelong smoking habits and/or daily exposure to industrial chemicals and dyes. I am a non-smoker and a therapist/teacher.

Gotta love a woman who can beat the odds, huh?

Cancer.

The word sounds strange and it feels even stranger to have it come rolling off my tongue in description of myself.

I…Have…Cancer.

Peculiarly enough, I am not afraid. Cancer is no longer a death sentence. And I mean let’s face it—Heaven doesn’t want me and hell is probably afraid I’d take over. (HA!!) Seriously though, the way I see it, this is simply a situation that will be dealt with and handled, and I’m going to be fine. The cancer itself is typically non-aggressive and at this point, doesn’t require any chemotherapy or radiation. The best course of treatment is surgery to remove any remaining cancerous tissue (though at this point, the doctor has every reason to believe he removed all of it during the surgery) and to have routine procedures at a minimum of every 90 days to monitor the situation.

Of course there are more exhausting details, but for now, I’m putting my confidence in the doctor/surgeon (thank you, Mr. Hottie Doc) and my faith in God.

I said before my surgery that God would be the same on July 1st (the day of the surgery) as He was on June 30th. And I believed with all my being that He would be the same the day I got the results (today) as He has always been. That hasn’t changed.

This isn’t quite the path I was planning on for myself, but it seems the Big Man has other ideas, so as I venture down this new and unfamiliar road, I find myself wondering what other big excitement lies ahead.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Cranky, Party of 3, Your Table is Ready...

I am ready to pull my hair out.

No, I'm really not joking.

I would, however, be happy to pull out someone else's hair in order to save myself the headache from pulling out my own. Any volunteers? Kidding, of course.

My husband has been unemployed for 6 days and I don't know what to do for him. I'm trying to be supportive and listen and be available, etc., but I feel like I'm not doing a very good job. I know he's gloomy and the job market is tight, but I can't change that part of it. My kiddo is cranky and has been sick since Friday night (MAJOR stomach upset), and my husband is irritated that I keep asking him not to give her any milk or cheese. He gave her mac and cheese for lunch today and it zipped right through her. Now he's cranky because I'm cranky, and I'm cranky because I've been cleaning up after her and she's cranky because she doesn't feel well and her stomach keeps cramping. My poor babies.

Have I mentioned how glad I am that I have a job to go back to tomorrow?

Friday, July 03, 2009

Getting Frugal

Well, with my darling spouse out of work and us navigating the unemployment mine field for the first time, it occurred to me that even though I'm pretty good with a budget, there's no doubt we're going to have to cut some things out.

Necessities, of course, will take the top of the list in priorities every month--i.e. house payment, student loan payments, groceries, utilities, medications, etc. There's no way to prioritize those items, because let's face it...at the end of the day, as a mother, I can't choose between giving my daughter a good meal and giving her the medication she needs. They're equally important.

There's definitely some "fat" we can trim starting next month, mainly in the way of things like cable, going out to eat, etc.

Today we decided to indulge a little bit for the 4th of July holiday weekend, knowing full well it's going to be a while until we do any kind of indulging again. We went to Dominick's (where we usually don't shop because the prices are a bit high) and found out that there were some smokin' sales. We bought almost 6 pounds of bananas, a huge watermelon, cheddarwursts (for grilling tomorrow), some breakfast sausage and enough fixings for me to bring lunch every day next week for work. We splurged and bought some ice-cream, too, which is a nice treat.

Total amount spent: $38.68

Total amount saved: $32.30

Total savings: 46%

Not too shabby, eh?

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Feeling Okay!

I'm happy to say that surgery went well! The entire mass was removed and the biopsy results should be back in the next week or two. I'm sore, but my pain is being managed and even better, the doctor gave me a prescription for Zofran, which has completely eliminated all the nausea/vomiting I usually experience.

The hubby is keeping an eye on me and my sweet kiddo keeps coming up to me and asking if I'm okay. She's repeatedly kissed my belly (she understood the concept that I had a boo-boo inside), but she's way more concerned about the bruise forming on my hand from the IV. She's kissed my hand a dozen times already.

Speaking of kisses, I did blow a kiss to the anesthesiologist before I went completely under. I haven't heard about any other antics...yet.