Thursday, January 19, 2017

A belated welcome to 2017

It's hard to believe that this is the first time I'm sitting down to write a post since last year.  Well actually it's not, I have a couple of posts that I'm chipping away on, but they're not done and I don't know that the timing has been right for them anyway.  I'm also woefully behind on blog reading too, and I promise to catch up.  Eventually.  But as for tonight, I thought I'd give a brief update.

So what's been going on with me?

Anxiety.  Surrounding the impending inauguration of the president-elect and what it means for my country.  Even if I could get past the fact that he is a deplorable excuse for a human being (and I personally can't), his behavior since winning the election has only frightened me more.  So many people have so much to lose.  On the bright side (if you can even call it that), Las Vegas has the odds of him being impeached within six months at 4-1.  I have a feeling that I'd better get used to my constantly burning stomach, because even if he is impeached, the vice president-elect isn't a whole lot better.

After several glorious months of my hormones having their shit together and behaving like would normally be expected in a woman my age, they're giving me a run for my money this cycle.  The near constant spotting is back.  So are the hot flashes.  Insomnia is back with a vengeance.  Whether because of the sleep problems or the hormones or the increased anxiety (or some combination of the three) my concentration and focus ability are extremely limited.  It's not that I don't want to write, it's just that I literally have no brain power to do so by the time the end of the day comes and I have time to write.  Like I told my doctor a few months ago, when everything is normal, I'm great, but when things are out of whack, I feel like I'm teetering on the edge of completely losing it.

Working out is going really good.  I'm down about three pounds since we started, so a little under a pound a week average.  While weight loss wasn't my primary objective (getting into shape and feeling better both mentally and physically were), I'm not going to complain about it.  I'm getting in four or five workouts weekly, and focusing on a mix of cardio and weight lifting.  I'm going to schedule a couple of visits with a trainer within the next couple of weeks, because I want to incorporate a few more exercises into my repertoire, and I want to make sure my form is good so that I don't hurt myself.

I'm actually amazed at how good working out is going and how good I feel.  I'm doing things and feeling better doing them then I have in at least 10 years.  I know that the lap to remove endometriosis/cysts/fibroids wasn't a magic bullet, but virtually all of my pelvic area pain since the surgery has been gone.  I did overdo it in the gym one day and mildly aggravated the pain, but with a day of rest it went away, and now I know an exercise that I can't do (scissor kicks, if you were curious).  I was worried that I went and screwed everything up and I'd be back to where I was before for about a day though and I was beating myself up pretty hard.  But it went away and I'm trying harder to be nice to me.

And finally, my grandpa isn't doing well.  He's 85 and basically his body is worn out and is slowly shutting down.  A week ago he had a stroke while in the hospital and the medical staff wasn't confident that he'd wake up from it.  He did wake up, is doing better, and he even went home yesterday (though at this point "doing better" is relative).  Apparently resiliency and stubbornness run in the family. There's also been quite a bit of family drama, but I'll spare you that.  Facing his imminent death has brought out a whole bunch of unexpected "what's going to happen to me when I get old" feelings.  I have a post brewing about that.  A huge shout-out to Cristy for talking me down from my minor freak out and helping me put things back into perspective.

So that's a brief update.  Mainly I wanted you all to know that I'm not dead.  I want to catch up on blogs soon, because I miss reading, and I feel out of the loop.

Friday, December 30, 2016

I am not 20 anymore

I mean obviously.  But 20 doesn't feel like 15 years ago.  At least not in my brain.

What brought on this realization?  Hubs and I joined a gym earlier this week.

At 35 I do not have the body, stamina, muscles, endurance, drive, etc. of my 20 year-old collegiate soccer player self.

I know joining a gym sounds cliché with it being (almost) a new year, but it's something that we'd been tossing around for a while, so we finally bit the bullet and did it.

I've worked out three times now.  I can barely lift my arms and I feel muscles that I forgot I had. Oddly enough, I'm loving it.

I feel 35 though.  Or maybe 85.

The soreness will be worth it once I begin to see progress.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Gray space

For a few years, during the hardest part of infertility and after, I couldn't enjoy kids.  It was just too painful.  Of course I slapped a smile on my face and pretended to enjoy myself, but really it was a lie. But that seems to be changing.

My middle niece, my youngest sister's middle daughter, is special to me.  She's nearly four now.  I was there when she was born.  I held her before either of her parents.  She's a really cool kid.  She's loud, busy, adventurous, uncoordinated, and sharp as a tack.  She's always been drawn to me.

Not surprisingly she was a source of great pain too.  An ever present reminder of everything we didn't (and later found out that we couldn't) have.  She was conceived right around the time I was starting to worry that having a baby wouldn't be as easy as tossing birth control.

When we did Christmas with my family I got to spend a lot of time with this particular niece.  She and I are both early risers.  On our last morning there, I was up before anyone else in the house.  She must have heard me, so she got up too.  We made breakfast together, apple pie and toasted cheese sandwiches, her choice*.   After breakfast we cuddled up in the recliner and read a few books together.  We spent at least an hour together before anyone else woke up.

I absolutely cherished this experience.  It felt so special to me, and I think to her too.  But it also left me longing for a little boy or girl of my own to cuddle.  Definitely a weird gray space of where I held happiness and longing at the same time.

The takeaway is that I'm having an easier time being around kids and enjoying it, and that makes me happy.

*When you're an aunt, you get the discretion to feed nieces and nephews whatever they want, so naturally apple pie was a perfectly acceptable breakfast choice.


Monday, December 19, 2016

Coming up for air

The last few weeks have been crazy.

Professionally, it's been one of the busiest and most challenging (but also invigorating and satisfying) months of my professional career.  I am so fortunate to work with a group of people who make those days where I both leave and return home in the dark and barely see my husband much more bearable.

Personally, we spent the past two weekends Christmassing with family.  First, my family, then hubs' family.  Usually it's my family that presents the most challenges/triggers, but this time it was ok. Fun, even.  Of course there were a few "ouch" moments, but I know that this will probably be the case forever, or at least for a long time, and I was able to take them in stride.  There were even a few special moments, one of which I have a post brewing about.

Although typically boring, time with hubs' family isn't usually hard.  This time, however, was a bit different.  I learned that his cousin (two years younger than hubs) and his wife were having a baby when they walked through the door carrying a new baby.  While a first cousin, I wouldn't exactly consider this side of the family close, and we typically only see them once or twice a year.  I'm sure that hubs didn't know because he knows me well enough to know to inform me in advance of any social gathering where there is a pregnancy or infant.  I took it in stride and learned that "I feel a cold coming on" is an effective cop-out for holding a baby.  It wasn't as hard as it would have been even a year ago, but it still left me gobsmacked for a bit.  It seemed like most of the day there were two themes of conversation: breastfeeding and our president elect.  I did not wish to engage in either of these conversations so I found the bathroom to be a welcome escape.

But traveling for the holiday season is over, and now I can take a deep breath and relax.

Recovery is going great.  The scar below my belly button is still a bit sensitive, but otherwise I feel healed.  I'm even back to wearing jeans!  Dare I say that I even feel better than I have in years.  I'm not nearly as tired, and I'm starting to realize how much pain that I was in every day now that it's gone.  Now that it's been a full month, I'm going to start incorporating some basic, low impact exercise back into my routine.  I'm anxious to get back to it, but am cognizant not to push it too hard.

I hope to write a bit more over the next couple of weeks!  In the unlikely event that I don't write again before Christmas/Hanukkah, I wish everyone who reads this a happy or at least not terrible holiday season.


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Follow-up appointment

I had my post-op follow-up with my gynecologist on Tuesday.  Everything was pretty much what hubs told me after the procedure.  She found one small spot of endometriosis and removed it. Despite being small, it was actually quite complex to remove because it went so deep into the tissue.  She also drained two ovarian cysts and removed three fibroids.  The fluid that came out of the cysts was clear so they are not endometriosis related.  The pathology on everything came back as not malignant (which wasn't a worry, but it's nice to know).  Everything that was found and removed was on the right side, which was where the majority of my pain has been for a really long time.  My incisions are mostly healed and are looking great, and everything on the inside, while still a bit tender, is healing as it is supposed to.

And I wore jeans tonight, without discomfort, for the first time since before the procedure.  I only wore them for an hour or so, but I think that my self-esteem needed it.

I already had my first period after the surgery and there weren't any noticeable differences, but both my doctor and I agreed that it started so close to the surgery that it might not have been the best period to judge if the surgery is going to help the pain at all.  What I do know is that for the first time in I don't even know how long, I haven't had any spotting or cramping after sex, and I'm not going to lie, I hope it continues.

The "treatment plan" going forward is to call her if there are any changes or pain that concern me and to have my IUD replaced when it's time (in 2020).  Otherwise she doesn't need to see me again until my annual in September.  So now I just need my lady parts to make it nine months without acting up.

I'm still getting really tired pretty quickly, but I'm not sure if this is that my work life is pretty crazy right now, or that I'm still healing, or both.  I'm doing ok with normal day to day lifting, but I'm taking it easy with the heavier stuff.  Hubs is still carrying all of the dirty laundry downstairs and then back upstairs when I have it done and making sure the garbage gets to the curb and such.  I'm looking forward to getting back to exercising, but I think I'll give that a few more weeks to give the muscles in my abdomen more opportunity to heal.  Right now I'm making sure I stretch every day and do a few yoga type things that I know.  I'm trying really hard to not overdo it, which is hard, but necessary.

Honestly, I feel validated that she found something that could potentially explain the pain, that it's not all in my head.  And pissed that she's the first gynecologist in over 20 years of talking about my terrible periods and pain that listened for long enough to actually investigate.

Oh, and I apparently metabolize anesthesia pretty quickly.


Monday, December 5, 2016

Traditions

December has me feeling melancholy again this year.

My sister, the one who had the baby on Valentine's Day, is loving creating memories with her son, and she's loving sending me pictures so that I can share the experience.  Which I love.  And I hate.  I really am so happy for her that she got her much wanted baby and that she's creating traditions with him.  But damn.  Every picture leaves me with an intense sense of longing.  I'm not going to lie, it's an unwelcome reminder of what might have been if things had worked out differently.  I don't know if this will ever go away.

This has made me think a lot about traditions.  And how hubs and I don't really have any.  We put up a Christmas tree and decorate it.  We send out holiday cards (which are a big hit again this year, based on early feedback).  We have a few little decorations that we put up around the house.  We have a Christmas countdown calendar.  But it doesn't feel magical like Christmas felt when I was a kid.  It doesn't feel fun or festive.  It doesn't feel anything.

But I also think that traditions can't be forced, that they just kind of happen the first time and then are repeated over time.  So I don't know.  I guess we have the next forty years or so to fall into some traditions for the two of us.

In the meantime, we'll spend this coming weekend doing Christmas with my family and next weekend doing Christmas with his.  Survival will be the name of the game.  Then Christmas will be at home, and hopefully we'll manage to have some fun and make some memories.

I hate how this month makes me feel.


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.