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.

Advertisements

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.

When Your Child Has A Disorder Part 2

So, When I left you last my sweet, wonderful daughter was making some changes. She was exercising regularly, watching what she ate, and acting as if all was well with the world. Honestly, I didn’t see anything that would cause me to question her mental state. Remember, at this time, I had no idea she was hurting herself, that information didn’t come out until she was already in therapy being treated.

During the summer our older children visit my parents, out of state for a week. This particular year, they conned me into agreeing to allow them to stay for 3 weeks. The longest weeks of my life. I was lost without them bickering at each other. You might think 3 weeks! I would love some peace and quiet, but after the first few days, it’s too quiet. I missed our loud, obnoxious family. LOL My mom would text and call and say our daughter wasn’t eating much, but made it sound so casual that I didn’t show too much concern. I would get pictures and think to myself that she was getting thin. I talked to her daily and she reassured me she was eating and would send me pictures of her meals. By the time she got home, she was 13 lbs. lighter. Thirteen pounds in 3 weeks!

She started to balk at meals, stating she wan’t hungry. We would argue and I would threaten that she will need to see a nutritionist. This went on for a while and slowly she showed more signs of depression. I too was starting to feel the heaviness of the situation. I asked myself, “How can I get her to eat?” “Do I scare her into eating?” “Do I ground her?” I had no idea what to do. She would spend days in her room, refusing to go anywhere, refusing meals, and just plain refusing to do anything. We have always had a close relationship, so one night she asked if she could talk to me. She opened up about those years in public school and what she went through. I cried for her hurt heart. I cried for her bruised sense of worth. I cried for the anguish my child had felt and kept to herself. As a parent, you want to be able to fix all the “boo-boos”. You want to make your kids feel safe. To hear that your child sees themselves as worthless or not good enough, crushes your heart. It squeezed all of the air out of my lungs and I felt physical pain. I understood every word she said. I felt every pain she felt. I had been there and I knew these feeling all too well, however, the pain I felt growing up and experiencing the same thing did not even compare to the pain I felt knowing my child was going through it. I wanted nothing more than to turn back time and “fix it”.

What do I do now? I was completely lost, and had no idea how I was supposed to help. I prayed and I prayed and I prayed some more. My husband and I talked and I tried to help him understand what she was going through. I continued the next few days, comforting our daughter and encouraging her. I praised her for her strength and told her how very proud we were of her. She still refused to eat. I took a deep breathe and ignored the pain I felt in my chest. I did not have time for an anxiety attack, our daughter needed help. I Googled nutritionists, and by the end of the day, we had an appointment set. My daughter was NOT happy, but she had no choice at this time.

I went into the meeting with her. I wanted to understand what was going on and I was not letting some stranger talk to my daughter without me. I’m controlling and protective. LOL After an hour of talking (between me and the nutritionist, you know who was pissed and said very little) it was determined that she indeed had a eating disorder and would need therapy and a visit to a doctor. I was kind of dazed. I thought (because I didn’t want to admit it) that she would see the importance of taking care of ourselves and go home and eat. I was in denial. (Don’t judge me.) I was scared! What would the doctor find? They wanted an EKG and complete blood work. They wanted her tested for all this crap! I was so concerned about her health I didn’t recognize my anxiety attacks anymore. All I could feel was pain, physical pain in my chest, in my gut, and in my head. I never stopped. I went from one appointment to the next. Waiting for the confirmation that she was going to be alright.

An eating disorder is a scary thing. To put your child on medication for anxiety and depression is a horrifying thing. It rips at your heart; it doesn’t tug, it rips! You literally feel weak and exhausted, yet you haven’t done anything physically strenuous. Exercise was the only outlet I had, until that was taken away from our daughter. When they said she had to stop running and could not exercise at all, I stopped going to the gym as well. I’m not 100% sure why. Maybe because she was my workout partner, maybe I felt guilty that I could go and she couldn’t, maybe I was just too exhausted mentally. I don’t know and I really don’t care, the point is I stopped and I was pretty pissed that I did. That had been my only outlet. My hair seemed to to be thinning right along with my daughter’s. As her cycle stopped mine went all crazy. It seemed in the process of trying to help her, the stress was taking it’s toll on me. I worked, but thank goodness it was from home so I could get her to her appointments and monitor her meals. It was like having another small child. I prepared every meal and sat and ate with her to ensure she ate her meals. She never vomited, which was a good thing. She was a restrictive eater so we just needed to make sure she ate.  In reality, I probably should have started therapy right along with her, but I didn’t. All I knew was this was going to be a long journey, but she would be okay.

Retelling this story is quite enlightening to me as well as exhausting. I really had no idea what emotions I was feeling, as I was feeling them. But today, looking back, I remember, and it is exhausting to remember. I’m believing I can finish this up in my next post, and I hope this is helping someone other than myself. 😉

Be well.

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

Just to Get Things Started

head-above-water

Happy Monday, everyone! I’m not quite sure how this is going to work, nor do I know what y’all will think of this. I’m sure there are thousands of blogs out there that address everyday struggles of a spiritually-minded, devoted wife, mother of three; however, I am doing this anyway. Why? Because if I can impact just one life, then I will consider this a success.

A few days ago, I was having a “bad” day. Now, when I say a “bad day”, I do not mean my Internet crashed or I lost my keys (I’m still looking for them, btw). I’m talking tears, real, free-flowing tears; tears of frustration and fatigue. I could not explain the real cause of these tears except that I was exhausted from trying to make sure everything looked fine to everyone else. But everything wasn’t fine. I felt like I was just barely keeping my head above water and any minute I was going to gulp too much water. “Why?”, I asked. “Why can’t I do everything and stay sane? Why can so-n-so handle it all and still look happy and ready to take on more? Why do I have so much trouble staying on top of EVERYTHING?”  Realistically, I know I can’t do everything, that’s logical, but for some reason my brain can not except that. So, I put all this undo stress on myself and beat myself up for not getting it all done. Result….confused husband, frustrated children, sad mama. Not what I want for my family.

So, back to the other night…I scrolled through Facebook because I did not want to think about anything, and some mindless post scrolling would keep my mind busy. Then I saw it….A post from an article that addressed EXACTLY what I had just been crying about. (God’s timing is perfect) An entire article about asking the question, “How do you do it all?” What a stupid question!!!!! No one does it all. No one is Superwoman. If a mom comes and tells you that she has it all together all of the time, she’s lying! We’re human! We were never designed to be perfect, just faithful. That is what God looks upon. He put that article right smack dab in front of my face because that is what I needed at that moment. Then I thought about the timing of that article, and I realized, “What if I have something that someone else needs to get through the day? What if I can help someone be a better mom, wife, or friend.”

I want this blog to reach people, to touch lives and hearts. If I can make someone laugh because they can relate to my crazy, wonderful, and amazing life, then this is a success. I am not perfect. I do not have all the answers. I do; however, have an amazing relationship with God, I love my family without measure, and I love to write. So, why a blog? Because I want others to know they are not alone. We all go through stuff, and that doesn’t make us weak and it doesn’t mean we can’t get through it, and it certainly doesn’t mean we suck at everything. What it means is; we aren’t perfect, but by golly we can be faithful.