Just Jot it January…SoCS Pause

I look forward to jotting down thoughts and moments from my life this month. Believing this will help me grow as a writer. Thanks Linda Hill!!

JJJ 2016

JusJoJan: http://lindaghill.com/2016/01/02/just-jot-it-january-2nd-pausepaws-socs/

A pause gives us time to take a breath, reflect, plan, or simply gives us that moment to take a break and move on to another task. 😉

Lately, I have had a lot of time to pause. (More time than I’m accustomed to) As I recover from a recent surgery, I pause to reflect on what changes I want to see happen in the weeks and months ahead. I’m excited for the changes, but nervous at the same time.

I’m moving forward and leaving breast cancer behind me (that’s the plan anyway). This pause in time for me is challenging, but I’m am really trying to be excited about it as well. Maybe in 2016 as this pause ends, I should take more (shorter) pauses to reflect and do more of the things I enjoy. Time moves way too fast and if we don’t pause to enjoy life, we may miss out on some pretty exciting and wonderful memories.

 

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Coping One Day at A Time

I’m still not moving around like my former self. I make lunch for the kiddos and prepare my own small meals, but that’s about it. I still rest a lot and do a lot of thinking. (Which isn’t always the best.) I’m believing my HER2 results come back on Monday. My first test was inconclusive, so they had to test a portion of the tumor they removed. What that means for me is I do a lot of research on the type of cancer I had and what each test shows. I did all of this prior to my mastectomy, but I feel empowered somehow by gaining more knowledge.

I’ve been able to move my arm some, but I am surprised at my range of motion, or should I say lack thereof. I wasn’t really expecting how much my entire body would be affected by the surgery. Because of the DIEP Flap procedure, my back is very sore and I can only stand/walk for short periods of time. What I really want is to go to the gym and be normal. I don’t feel normal at all, part of me feels broken. It’s not because of the mastectomy (at least I don’t think so) but because of the cancer. Although I am now cancer free, I feel more affected by it now than when I was first diagnosed in November. Yes, I kicked its ugly, nasty ass, but there’s this gnawing feeling that lingers just under the surface. I feel like it is so close to the surface that everyone can see it, but it lies just below where it tempts me to succumb to its trap.   I fight back in my mind and remind myself that I am indeed cancer-free, but it doesn’t stop the thoughts completely. Each day I allow myself time to reflect for just a bit, but when the emotions seem too much, I turn it off and redirect my focus. I’m not sure that’s the best, but for today…it’s okay.

Day 12 With My Foob

I’m 12 days post mastectomy. I’m feeling stronger everyday and getting around a little better. They removed the drains yesterday, and that made a big difference in how I get around. I’m finding sleeping to be difficult now, but I’m not sure why. Yes, I’m physically uncomfortable at times, but sometimes….I’m just uneasy. I can’t really put my finger on it, but I just don’t feel peaceful. My recovery is going well and I talk to God all the time, so there really isn’t anything to be un-peaceful about. I am so thankful for my life and for my family, and most of all for God’s love and grace. I have nothing to complain about…NOTHING! Now, that isn’t to say there aren’t things that I would like to complain about. 😉

After I received my diagnosis (I mean when I got in the car to leave the doctor’s office) I started making calls to the referred physicians, and made appointments. It helped me feel proactive, but of course there was a wait to see any specialists. That part kind of sucked, but it worked out great! My mom was able to fly in before any appointments and went to meet each doctor with me. My husband works insanely long hours and sometimes hours away from our home, so having my mom help was amazing. Would I have liked my husband there? Of course! He is my first choice, but for me there was a sense of guilt. I had this horrible disease that was going to affect our entire family. I wanted to make it as easy on them as humanly possible. Don’t judge me…I felt guilty for having cancer. My appointments, my moods, my energy level affected everything. My husband was incredibly supportive, but bottom line, somehow this was my fault and I felt guilt. When I really think about it, I still do. 😦

I spent the next few weeks going from doctor to doctor, learning about my options, and having a zillion tests run. On my way to my CT scan, I told a friend that with all this radiation, I was going to end up getting cancer. It was the first time a could smile about all the tests and results and numbers and….sigh.

With God’s help, we completed all my tests and appointments in time for my family to fly in for Thanksgiving. (This was planned months prior). Of course everyone tipped-toed around the subject, that is until my MIL (who lives with us) said one of the stupidest things I’ve heard. When I’m with my dad we usually drink a nice wine. Well, MIL wanted some and added water to it. We teased her that we would have gotten her a lighter rose wine.

Here’s the convo:

MIL: I’m 67 years old, so I can do whatever I want and you can’t tease me.

Me: I’m not 67 years old and still “choose” to do whatever I want.

MIL: No, you do whatever you want because of another “C” word.

OMG!!! The entire room went quiet, and my brother pipes up and says that I’ve been doing what I wanted long before this came along. 😉 I was a little embarrassed and of course the guilt crept back in. I know she was kidding, but my heart sank for a moment, at the thought that people would treat me differently. I just wanted to be me. I’m believing through this journey I will find that person again, and maybe be even better than before.

 

How Kids Do Easter Dinner

My recent posts have been on the serious side, so I thought I would take a moment and try and bring a small smile to your face.

We don’t usually do a big Easter dinner. Most of our family live in different states and my Mother-in-Law moved in with us a year ago so we have always kept it simple and went with the flow. It seemed a little important to my Mother-in-Law that we have something this year. She said it didn’t matter but she asked like 3 times if we wanted ham. All 3 times I assured her that the boys would love to have ham. (The girls in our family are vegetarians) So on the 4th time, I told her to go buy the ham, that it would be absolutely wonderful to have it, and that it was a grand idea. I had to play it up, or else she would most likely ask again, and probably make a few more snide remarks about what I would make for the girls to eat. It has taken me a year to get to the point where I can (for the most part) ignore the unintentional jabs at my eating habits.

So she makes this ham and asks if she can add it to the scalloped potatoes I made. “Sure, go ahead!” I told her. At this point, I didn’t care if she added Captain Crunch to the potatoes, I just wanted her to have what she wanted because the rest of us did not care, one lick, what we were having. As long as we ate, we would be happy. She seemed to be the only one that had a strong opinion, although she insisted it did not matter to her. LOL

A little back story: My Mother-in-Law stays, for the most part, in her room. She feels she’s intruding or something. I don’t know. After about 6 months I stopped begging her to join us. It’s an open invitation, and I don’t baby anyone. We are “come as you are” kind of people. What you see is what you get. 

So, she’s in her room and I tell her everything is ready, if she is hungry we can all eat now. She says she’s hungry and I go to load up the kid’s plates. I get everyone set and the hubby is sitting and waiting to say a prayer. (It’s been about 5 minutes since I told her it’s time to eat) I ask him to wait for his mom because she is NOW taking out the trash. LOL I could only laugh! She chose “now” to do this task. Okay, whatever…she finally makes it to the table and we say a prayer. She then leaves AGAIN! Wasn’t this what she wanted? I laughed to myself and ate my delicious oat-crusted tofu and salad. (It was awesome, by the way) She returns and joins us for dinner. At one point our son wants seconds and I explain how to shave a piece of ham. This is driving my MIL crazy because he is butchering the ham. My logic is, he needs to learn, who cares, but she’s in a small panic. My son returns with his ham and she tries to be quiet about the dang ham, but makes a comment how our son needs to marry a professional ham slicer. This sends him into a hysterical laughing spell, but not before he takes a giant gulp of chocolate milk. YEP! You guessed it, a chocolate milk shower all over the table and into the living area. He made it on the couch, all over the 4 yr old, who for some reason was laying upside down on the couch inside of sitting at the table, and he hit our oldest’s computer which was a good 7 feet from the table. So that initiated a bickering war between the 2 teens.

We all laughed and I forgot all about the tension I was feeling. My son had saved me from an anxiety attack that was sure to rear its ugly head. It was a perfect Easter dinner and I wouldn’t have changed a thing, except I should have had him help me clean up all the milk, but I just smiled to myself as I wiped it all up, and said a silent prayer; thanking God for my awesome family.

Depression/Anxiety Sucks

I spent some time this morning looking at some posts from other bloggers and NOT to my surprise I saw so many that were dealing with depression, anxiety, and loss. We live in a world that can be harsh and unforgiving, but at the same time is beautiful and wonderful. How is this possible and how can I see past the ugliness and get to the good stuff?

Look, nothing is perfect. There are no perfect relationships, no perfect jobs, no perfect families, no perfect anything. The world is full of imperfections, but does that mean we have to be miserable? OF COURSE NOT! It’s all in how we deal with the ugliness, how we handle those less than desirable situations. I am not saying we can dismiss depression and anxiety by changing our minds. I deal with both to some degree, and I understand an anxiety attack comes out of nowhere with no catalyst. That’s a chemical imbalance and not something that can be controlled. However, we can learn how to handle and overcome those situations so they are less paralyzing.

Loss sucks! That’s all I can say about that. I know real profound, but it does and I blame the adversary (devil). He tries to steal everything he can from us, including our joy.  We need to fight back, not roll over and play dead. We can blame whoever we want, right or wrong, but that is not going to make us feel better. (Not really) Hurting ourselves is NOT going to make us feel better. Shutting the world out is NOT going to make us feel better. These actions are going to keep us under the adversary’s thumb. SCREW THAT!! Fight back because you are worth it. How do I know you’re worth it, you may ask. Just trust me on this; you are.  Surround yourself with positives. Find things that bring you joy. Maybe you like to bake, sing, listen to music, etc. Do those things. If you’re on WordPress, you probably like to write. Then write, write a lot. Get your thoughts out and on the screen (or paper). Take care of yourself. Eat a healthy meal, drink water, take your vitamins, go for a walk/run.

A healthy body truly is a happy body. Exercise releases endorphins (natural mood enhancers). You won’t be able to help but feel a little better. I know when depression hits, the last thing you want is to get off the couch and talk to another human being. Right? I get it. At least go for a brisk walk and get your blood flowing. At least you’ll be off the couch for 30 minutes or so.  Change what you think about. You have complete control of your thoughts. Force yourself to think about something good, anything that is not related to your hurt.

I don’t have all the answers and I am not an expert. But I do know what these things feel like, and I do what I can to move past them. Some days are easier than others, some days I wake up in a funk and I don’t do any of these things because I can be slightly stubborn, but when I put on my big girl panties and look in the mirror, I say a few profanities and tell myself, Screw it! I deserve better and so does my family.” Then I go do something productive and get on with it. Does it shake my funk? Sometimes, not always. I won’t lie, there are days no matter what I do I can’t shake it. However, I did have a few minutes of positive thoughts while blogging, or running, or cooking; and to me those few minutes were better than nothing. At least for now, but tomorrow is a new day.

Be well, Loves

What’s Productive Anyway

Relax

I want to do a quick blog before I call it a night, but what about today is worthy of writing about? Do you really want to read about how I only had a couple hours available to work, or how I left the house at 12:30 PM and returned after 9 PM and hadn’t had time for a real meal. How about a quick story of how, before my therapy appointment, I bleached and colored my daughter’s hair purple? Remember I had to leave the house by 12:30, so I had to squeeze that one in on the fly. I felt like a Rockstar! A mom that had her schedule down and got it done! That NEVER happens!! This was a first, and to be honest, I am exhausted! I generally don’t have it together, and I am learning that, that is okay. Did you catch I had a therapy appointment? I wasn’t sure I was going to mention that, but what the hell? It’s life. I need help learning how to be patient with myself, and controlling my OCD tendencies.

You see, I feel the need to control everything in my life. I have a lot on my plate, like most parents, but I tend to feel that I need to be GREAT at everything. Realistically, that is not possible, and I know that. However…..as I have mentioned before, part of my brain is not agreeing with that logic. It thinks on a whole other level, the unrealistic level. Today, I went to my appointment feeling like I had everything in control and was doing well, but after describing my day to day activities out loud, I realized that I don’t give myself permission to slack off, to have down time, or do things I enjoy. I had no idea I was so restrictive. I was kind of shocked to “see” this for the first time. I cancel coffee dates and find excuses not to go to playdates. When I explained my reasoning, it sounded foolish to my ears. I thought those things weren’t productive. I needed to spend my time doing more productive things. ie. laundry, cooking, cleaning, change the fish bowl, work…. (You get the picture) My very patient therapist reminded me that “play” is very productive. It’s something we NEED, and I should make time daily for something I enjoy. The problem…while I’m doing those things, I’m thinking about the other productive things I should be doing. LOL One definition of productive is: yielding results, benefits, or profits. I’ll tell you what doing something you enjoy (playing) results in; a happy, relax mommy/daddy, spouse, friend. We will be better for ourselves AND for others when we are blessed NOT stressed.

I am so thankful that I get to live this amazing life, I just wish that I would stop to enjoy it. So my words of wisdom…take a breath, do something for yourself, and relax. Take  You deserve it, and your family deserves the best you.

Until next time…Ciao Loves!

Frustration: Let’s Change Our Minds

Algebra

It’s Tuesday, but somehow it already feels like Thursday or even Friday. Why is it so hard to get a 14-yr old boy to care about anything? He has done everything to get out of doing his Algebra. He showered, cleaned up laundry, made lunch; all to avoid doing the work he said he did yesterday. This is what happens when I get busy and don’t check work daily. I guess I learned my lesson. LOL Or maybe I learned a new way to get him to do his chores. Hmmmm, I’ll need to remember that!

We have an unconventionally homeschool.  I don’t have a set time for them, as long as they get the work done and done accurately, I let them choose when they want to study. I have their core subjects that they do on their own, and I supply them with projects for their electives. Even choosing an elective was difficult for this boy. He has no interests, aside from baseball. Some days, like today, I just want to say, “Whatever! Do what you want!” I don’t say that, of course, but oh my gosh I want to! It’s kind of hard to stay upset though, when the 4 yr old keeps coming in my office telling me funny stories of what she is finding in her dress-up box. Now, I need to find her Doc McStuffins shirt.

Phew…unbelievable what I found in that box. Shirts the child couldn’t find for months; hidden under 15 tu-tus. Why does she need all those tu-tus? *SMH* So, where was I? We love our kids so much, that sometimes it’s frustrating when they don’t see the big picture. If it’s not something they are passionate about, they want nothing to do with it. At least that’s what mine are like. I can’t get so tense though; I need to relax and work with him, but sometimes I need to walk away and regroup. I think the best thing for him right now is probably to work with me. He isn’t working independently very well, lately. I guess I change our schedule up some and do one-on-one studies for a while. This is one of the amazing perks of working from home and homeschooling. If something isn’t working, we change it. Just like my habit of getting overly worked up when I’m frustrated. I take a deep breathe, regroup, and handle the situation more practically. (Usually, but not always J )

I could have screamed (and believe me I REALLY wanted to), but I calmly set the math work before him, asked him to get the book and review, and I walked away. Oh, before I walked away though, I asked him to rinse his chocolate milk carton that he left on the kitchen table and recycle it. My tone, however, may have not been the sweetest, but that just ticked me off even more. Why leave it there? He knows I get upset over that stuff. (I never said I was perfect.) I ended up going to him and asked if I could help him with his math, and he said he wanted to try first. Well, he JUST brought it to me completed. Like I said, we love our children without measure, and sometimes we get frustrated. But we can get better at how we deal with the frustration. Sometimes it just takes writing a blog about it, so I don’t feel alone.

Comment your thoughts and how you handle frustrations when it comes to wanting the best for your kiddos.

Ciao, Loves