You know how when something hurts, people have the tendency to grab it? You stub your toe and your hand immediately goes to your foot, and you end up hopping about on one appendage until the initial shock has worn off. A woman in labor often cradles her contracting abdomen- this is considered normal. Hit your elbow on the counter top? Soothe it with the other arm, rubbing the pain away. Toothache? Hold your jaw in your hand. Normal pain reactions all.
So what do you do when you’re recovering from a hysterectomy and rectocele? You get a zing of pain through the afflicted area- and you can’t just walk around clutching your va-jay-jay until the pain wears off. I chased Gabe around the chapel last Sunday because he was being a stinker before church, then sat down and endured both the sermon and horrible stabbing pains shooting up my girlie bits. Instinct says- hold the owie. Propriety says squirm quietly in your seat with tears in your eyes and don’t draw attention to your reproductive organs EVEN IF YOU ARE DYING. That’s what I do.
But sometimes at home, when I’m all alone, I grab it. Can’t help it.
Also- I hit the 8 week mark! I started lifting again! AND NOW I’M IN PAIN AGAIN.
I’m going to go hold my bits and watch a movie.
Maggie was in my room last night, clearing a pile of notes she had left on my bed. Apparently, they had been addressed to me, but I hadn’t noticed them.
“You don’t need to read these anymore, Mom.”
“Ok. What was it?” I dared to ask.
“Just some notes about how sad I was that you were making me clean up, but I am better now.”
“Ok.” At this point, I was reminding myself that rolling my eyes will only cause more trouble down the road, so I stifled the urge, even though it caused me great pain. “I’m glad you’re happy again.”
“It’s your job to keep me happy, Mom!” This was said in complete seriousness, with a big smile and the attitude of, “aren’t you so glad I’m making your job so easy right now, mother-dearest?”
I about died.
And then went on to explain that it was NOT my job to keep her happy. Her attitude was her own responsibility, and that her job was keeping her attitude positive- my job was basically making sure there was food and clothing and education. Happy was her own choice, and one she would make for the rest of her life.
Maggie had been very UNhappy an hour earlier. She had been creating with fuse-beads (you know those little plastic beads you put onto a peg board and then melt into the shape of animals, flowers, hearts, ect?) and had left a huge mess all over the dining room. I told her to clean up after herself, and she was not best pleased at the suggestion. There was a great deal of pouting and even some whining and manipulatively requesting that she would feel so much better about this if Jonas had to help her -aka do it for her. I did not relent. In fact, I upped the ante. No dinner until the beads are cleaned up. It was an hour until dinner.
It was, apparently, around this time that the notes were written and left.
We had dinner without her, standing around the counter since she still hadn’t cleared the table, and she ate about a half an hour later, once she realized that I was very serious about her pulling her own weight here. Maggie is very capable; she just doesn’t want to.
Apparently her first grade teacher has been dealing with the same attitude. A few weeks ago she asked Maggie, who had finished her work, to help another student. Maggie heaved a giant sigh, rolled her eyes (I wonder where she gets that?) and irritably said with a scowl, “well, I was hoping to finish my book.”
It would seem this was the first time her teacher had seen that attitude from a kid, and she meekly desisted, out of sheer shock. I can’t blame her. Maggie is good at catching people off guard. Now, it has become a major issue, as Maggie really doesn’t want to help anyone with anything in class. I can’t blame her, really. She worked hard, finished her work and wants to go on to the fun stuff, not be saddled with helping a struggling student catch up. Maggie is exceptionally bright, so she finds herself in this position a lot. That being said, it would be nice of her to at least pretend to be a kind person on some of these occasions, and stop meeting her teacher’s expectations with a glare and a pout.
I am torn between admiring my daughter for knowing what she wants and not feeling pressure to please everyone all of the time, and wishing she would place value on mercy and kindness.(I’m afflicted with a major need to be loved, so I see Maggie’s priority of her own will trumping all else as something quite empowering). Ultimately, it boils down to being a choice she will have to make, and a balance she will have to live with. She decides who she will be, and I am just here to provide opportunity for her to see the worth inherent in those choices so she can decide with informed consent and not be at the mercy of her own selfish folly.
“Hey Mom,” she said after dinner, “You know what would make me really happy? If you bought me that new Webkinz purple Emperor Dragon! It’s so beautiful!”
“It is beautiful, isn’t it? But Maggie, who decides if you’re happy?”
She just smiled and flitted away.
I have been feeling inadequate lately. Part of this stems from two months of sitting around doing next to nothing, and part of this is just me feeling, well, kinda normal.And I am normally inadequate.
I can’t figure out why we just can’t run at the same pace other people do. I feel like I’m not accomplishing much, and I look at people who are up early, like I am, who go all day, like I do, and then who fill up every evening with meetings and classes and plays and activities- which I DO NOT DO BECAUSE I CAN’T TAKE IT, and then I feel not good enough.
Also, I have set some pretty broad no drama, no muss, no fuss rules in my life and household because I can only take so much emotionally. This is healthy self preservation. I just refuse to deal with certain types of people and events that I know are going to do nothing but take away from my energy. Some things I have to do. Right now, I have to have a screaming three year old in my life- I do not have to have high-maintenance, high-drama relationships with people who have a high potential for combustion- so I don’t. I’m fine with crazy friends who takes as much as they give. It’s the users I just don’t bother with.
Basically, I know how much energy I have to function with. I know it isn’t much, and so I try to use it only on the have tos and the want tos, and not the feel-obligated-to-put-up-with-this-crap-stuff.
Even so, I feel like a slacker.
I told Chris that we need to start doing things on the weekends. Don’t get me wrong, we do stuff. Sunday is always church, and the house usually gets a little cleaner on Saturday- but we don’t plan a whole lot of fun stuff. Very few family field trips. We’re boring.
Then this past week came along. We managed to have an evening activity that kept us out until after nine pm wed-sat, and then a piano recital after church today. I’m pooped. I don’t know if I can keep up and retain my mental health. Granted, every week isn’t like that. We usually don’t have more than two nights that get busy, and I protect that like crazy. My kids aren’t involved in oodles of activities because I will lose my mind if every day has an event. Am I a bad mother or a smart mother? Some days I’m not sure.
So I must know- I am a huge wuss because I literally want to just shut down every evening, or is that pretty normal and the handful of overachievers I hang out with are just blessed with a greater capacity to do stuff than I am?
Watson and I enjoyed the sun today, while it lasted. He is growing up and you can really see it in these photos.
While spending the past six weeks basically just healing and being as lazy as I can be, I have been spending an inordinate amount of time watching my plants grow. This is a sempervivum bloom, from the green planter in my windowsill. The flowers are small and lovely, and a nice little welcome to spring. I have a few that are starting to grow their long stalks, beginning the first steps of the end. Death is rarely so beautiful as with the monocarpic sempervivum plant. It is a shame people don’t die that way- one last beautiful hurrah celebrating everything lovely they’ve been holding inside.
My doctor appointment went well. I am on track. I get my life back in approximately two weeks. I just wonder if I will have any energy in two weeks. I’m not optimistic. I’m wiped out on the best days.
I have given up on attending church this weekend. It is Stake Conference, but between Chris working all weekend, trouble finding a sitter and the unpredictability of Chris’ schedule I think I will miss both sessions, which just stinks. I love the adult session- it is the only sermon I actually hear! For the family session, you have to mix the fact that I have a hearing loss, which means I always arrive about two hours early to get a seat near the front so I can hear and read lips, with three antsy kids who don’t really want to sit for two hours of grown ups talking and the fact that lifting and chasing are still verboten. . .and I think I’ll be home, missing church yet again. I just can’t make that work on my own. I wish I could at least get to the adult session, but oh well.
Gabe is in a very foul mood today, which I think has a lot to do with being shuffled to so many different houses over the past few weeks. He has had a really fun time- so many new friends and toys to explore, and his behavior has been stellar for all of my friends. I think he is home and basically letting all of his frustrations out to me, his supposed freak-out safety net. I’m glad he feels he can scream and tantrum for three hours and I will still adore him, but seriously, he’s pushing his luck today. Mommy is too tired for major freak outs.
Ah, there’s my good boy again.
The kids just arrived home from school. Hopefully they will go easy on their mama this weekend. I’m pooped! I have a few fun (but low key) things planned, so I think we will make it! And it is only a two day weekend, not the five day marathon from the last go round.
I woke up completely exhausted today. I love teaching early morning seminary- I really, really do- but the early part of that equation has been extra challenging lately. I went back to teaching a little before I ought to have, but I was so eager to do something that made me feel like me again that I jumped back in, almost out of desperation. It really wasn’t from feeling overly-obligated; I had a very good sub lined up and she was willing to keep going. I just can’t tell you how great it is to start the day off with the gospel and the correct attitude and perspective on life. I’ve had a hard time keeping that perspective lately.
Today has actually exceeded my expectations. I over did it yesterday, so I really have been just drained- but I did several of those little, annoying tasks that I hate. Tasks involving paperwork and phone calls, tasks that jab like thorns until you finally get them done- I barely got off my bum, but I have several of those little things no longer hanging over my head. Of course, I also spent several hours just laying on the couch doing nothing, and that was good too.
I also washed my bedding, which was a big deal when you consider how hard it is to make and unmake a bed. I would really like to clean up my kitchen, but my energy for the evening is probably going to be sucked up by getting the sheets back on the bed and the duvet cover re-attached. I know, what an interesting life I lead!
On another note-Watson didn’t get neutered yesterday because the base vet’s office neglected to tell us the correct time to arrive. Now we are waiting another five weeks because they can’t get us in any sooner even though it was their fault. Why even tell us he is having 9am surgery when you want him to arrive at 8 am? Ugh. Frustrating, indeed.
The best thing is that I have had a good mood day. That may seem silly to say, but there have been a lot of unhappy days in the past week (all those crazy hormones) so I am grateful to have a day where I feel more like myself, proactive, sensible and able, even if tired and not yet completely well. I have my 6 week check up tomorrow- only two official weeks of recuperation left after that (although in unofficial weeks, we are looking at quite a few more of leveling out and rebuilding strength and stamina). I’m hoping all is well and that I can progress as planned.
I’m hoping I can move on to something a little more interesting to blog about as well ha!
Today, I have been focusing on Watson. He hasn’t gotten nearly enough attention, training and lovin’ over the past few weeks, and tomorrow is going to be a very rough day for him. The time has come for my guy to get neutered. That’s right- no more balls.
I went to the pet store and bought him a new toy, a schmancy, red Kong Wubba (which I threw for him approximately four times before I overshot my mark and got it stuck in our gutter- now I need a ladder or someone over six feet to help me out). I also bought treats and some new chewy stuff that I promise not to toss onto the roof.
I groomed Watson today, a major bath, ear cleaning and combing- all of which he loved. This boy likes to be groomed so after a gratifying scrub down, he was a big baby lolling on my lap, stretching into new positions so the comb could scratch him everywhere. We even put a little pomade on his curly ears just to give them some gloss. He is one hunka-hunka-burnin’-puppy love now! And he knows it.
We then worked on sit and stay, which is how I got these crummy camera phone photos for you- the grainy blurriness adds a certain charm, so we’re just going to say we were being all artistic. The real accomplishment here is that he sat still enough to be photographed in a fairly low light living room- and THAT, my friends, is some good obedience work! I am hoping my doctor clears me for walking all 45lbs of his pulling, straining, goofy self at my six week check up this week. If not, I have to wait another two weeks. Watson is a crazy boy on the least, walking on his hind legs in anticipation of what could possibly be half a foot in his future. We tried a choke collar at one point, and he still walked on his hind legs, only with gasping, snorting and choking until I finally asked Chris if we gauged when the walk was over based on him finally passing out. So. . .cute?
As challenging as this guy has been over the past four months, I sat down and really looked at the progress we have made in the past few months. We rarely have happy pee when he is in his kennel (a lot less laundry for me) and the submissive pee is dramatically reduced. He can both sit and stay, is a decent fetcher, has very few potty accidents, and he has met our neighbors and behaved decently. He is also pretty good with the kids. We have a long, long ways to go, but just stopping at looking at what has been accomplished is encouraging. Lately, being as incapacitated as I have been, everything feels very unproductive and like I’m getting no where, but that really isn’t true. We have progress here.
I was driving home two days ago when I felt some odd twinges of pain in my lower right abdomen. I didn’t think too much about it (being pretty well distracted by all of the other post-surgical discomforts and nasty, nasty RSV cold symptoms that I caught from my boys), until later that evening when it went rapidly from uncomfortable to so painful I could barely see straight. It ended up being a very long night.
I was having difficulty moving without making the pain worse, and it was radiating all the way down my legs and to the other side of my middle, as if the location with the actual problem just couldn’t contain that much torment.
The pain wasn’t originating from my surgical site, and given the amount of laxatives they give a person in my condition, I was pretty sure it wasn’t constipation. The only other things located in that particular area are an ovary and my appendix, both of which can be problems. I really wasn’t sure what to do. I just knew that the very last thing I wanted to do was have another surgery. I’m capable of coping with quite a bit, but starting the whole surgical process over at this point is just more than I can handle gracefully. In fact, I’ve had this recurring, minor panic attack for the past five weeks where I get told something isn’t right and we have to do it again. These nightmarish fantasies are usually followed by thoughts of changing my position on human euthanasia.
About the time I was trying to decide if I should go to the ER, try to sleep, or just shoot myself, my friend called and asked me if I could take her daughter (one of my awesome seminary students) for the night because she was in a bit of an extended family pickle and needed to suddenly leave town. I agreed to take her, not just because I’m a really good friend, but with the ulterior motive of having a living, breathing babysitter at my beck and call for the increasingly likely chance that I would need to leave the house for medical attention in the middle of the night. I get no points for altruism. None. What. So. Ever.
By the time they arrived twenty minutes later, I was just about seeing double and couldn’t stand up straight.
I tried to go to bed after that, unsuccessfully, as every tiny movement left me just writhing and moaning. I finally vomited because the pain was so intense. That has only happened once before, and it involved natural childbirth, a situation where being in so much pain that you puke isn’t so much of a stretch.
I tried to get to sleep, miserable in my bed, but almost incapable of moving to anywhere else when it dawned on me that I had leftover hydrocodone from the hysterectomy. I managed to half walk- half crawl to the kitchen, pop two pills and then settled back down where a sweet, fuzzy bliss settled over me. The pain wasn’t gone, but it was so much less, and after another hour or so, after some very
drugged high- very, very high Facebooking in which I shared my pontifications on the blessed state that would befit the inventor of narcotics, I fell asleep.
The next morning, the pain was significantly reduced, but still pretty uncomfortable, so I visited my PA, who did a great job of inducing panic when she read my chart and then told me that my ob/gyn had taken my ovaries along with my uterus. Medically speaking, “total hysterectomy” does not mean ovaries too. It means both uterus and cervix, as opposed to a supracervical hysterectomy which means they leave the cervix. Oophorechtomy, on the other hand, is the removal of the ovaries, and is technically a separate procedure. (Yes, I am geeky enough to know this, and even knew it before I had to have surgery. I am that nerdy, folks). Now, you and I really don’t need this information, but medical professionals who read people’s charts really should know this, so they don’t freak out their patients. Thank heaven I knew what total hysterectomy meant, or I would have been forming a malpractice suit in my head, rather than focusing on the pain.
My PA sent me across town to the radiology center, so they could take a CT scan of my abdomen. The radiology people wanted me to not eat for four hours prior to the scan which would be in four hours. So even though it was past lunch time, and I hadn’t eaten since eight am, and I had been vividly imagining downing a Frosty all the way through this appointment, I was good and ate nothing except a quick tic-tac out of sheer spite. I suppose being hungry was a blessing since I had to down a huge, fairly repellent barium smoothie before they could do the exam.
The scan proved that I do, indeed, have ovaries, and that one of them had a cyst. Dr. Buehner confirmed the cyst the next day by poking it with an ultrasound wand. I’ve had many ovarian cysts, so this wasn’t that big of a surprise for me. I had one that was seven cm when I was expecting Gabriel, which I jokingly referred to as Gabe’s little “cyst-er”. Ovarian cysts are wickedly painful, but I’m used to those and can deal. Cyst small enough to avoid surgery? No problem! In fact, since the possibility of an appendectomy and all of the other horror story options my PA had brought up were off the table, I was completely stoked! Just an ovarian cyst! Just mind blowing pain for a day or two, nothing surgical- LET’S REJOICE!
It is all about perspective, isn’t it?
It is Chris’ birthday today, 34 years! We had cake and ice cream and presents and now he is off to a church meeting. I’m hoping this next year is great for him.
I put Maggie’s hair into braids last night so she would wake up with waves. It is one of my favorite ways to fix her hair, not just because it looks pretty, but because it makes for a snarl-free morning and cuts about ten minutes off of our getting ready routine because it is so quick!
When not wavy, Maggie’s hair is about seven inches longer- almost below her bum. She says the kids tease her about it. I love it. We are going to be cutting it soon- taking off about five inches and getting rid of any raggedy ends. This should mean cutting her hair to her waist when straight.Maggie and Watson got to play for a bit this morning. That dirt is driving me crazy. We need to seed or sod or something. We moved in to a house with a big bald patch, and then having a dog doubled it. I am so over muddy paw prints.
I took a moment to look at this girl of mine this morning. She is growing like a weed. All but one of her skirts is now indecently short and she needs a whole new spring wardrobe for modesty’s sake.
Then I sent her running for the bus.
They grow up fast. I like school age kids- prefer them over toddlers and like to talk to them and watch their interests and talents developing. Toddlers have cute power- but school kids are interesting. You never know what you’ll get.