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Monthly Archives: March 2018

Update on getting gutted

About two months ago, I went in for a hysterectomy.  At 43 (at the time) I was on the younger side for this surgery (at least I would like to think so!).  Since that time, women have been asking me often how it went, my opinion of the surgery, how painful it was, and whether it was worth it.  I figured I’d post my update to my last post on the surgery so I could answer some of those questions for those who were curious.  If you’re easily queasy, you may want to pass over this post.

The why.  As a woman with fibroids, VERY heavy bleeding, and pretty bad PMS, my doctor recommended the surgery, especially after a polyp appeared.  Originally, I was surprised when the dr. mentioned the idea.  It seemed so drastic.    Also, I was concerned about being out of commission for what she said could be 6-8 weeks.  How would I cope with 2 kids, a husband with an opposite schedule, and my own job? She said the alternative was to try meds to alleviate the symptoms I was having.  The meds lasted all of one round.  I was so miserable and cramped on them I immediately called the Doctor and said “let’s move forward with surgery”.

Surgery was scheduled for January 10th.  I was battling on getting my insurance situated until about 2 days before.  It was a tad stressful.  At the last minute, everything fell into place.  I arrived at the hospital anxious and kept getting teary.  My first worry was my kids.  I think once you’re a parent, any type of surgery makes you a bit anxious because now you have other people to be responsible for. I was also anxious about sharing a room.  I HATE sharing hospital rooms.  I did it once and it was such a bad experience that I ended up getting moved to a private room.  Luckily the dr soothed my fears by letting me know I would be on the women’s floor (aka childbirth and ladybit floor) and would have my own room. The women’s floor is probably the best floor to stay on.  The nurses are SPECTACULAR.  The dr warned me to take it easy after surgery, and not to put anything “up there” for at least 6 weeks.  She then proceeded to tell me that if I ignored that advice, I could have vaginal or INTESTINAL PROLAPSE.  In other words, my intestines could fall out of my snootch.  Talk about instilling fear into a girl.  I swear I had nightmares about that conversation for DAYS.

After surgery, I was a bit sore, but nothing too bad.  I was up and walking around the ward the next afternoon.  Mostly I got tired super quick.  I was released the day after surgery and came home to be a potato for a week.  I lived the potato life for a week and watched all the Downton Abbey.  Yep, every episode of every season. I walked around the house every hour or so, but otherwise took it super easy.  (It’s a rare day when I get to do absolutely nothing.)  After week two, I went back to work.  Everyone, including me, was a bit surprised, but a girl has to make that money, and frankly, the short term disability I could get wasn’t going to cover all the bills.  I am super fortunate that I can work from home and that my company is so supportive.  I started back on a full time work from home basis until I was about 4 weeks post op.  Then I went back to the office.

Since the surgery, I feel GREAT.  No longer am I taken down for 3-4 days each month.  No longer do I worry about bleeding through my clothes.  I no longer feel so stressed each month.  My PMS has subsided quite a bit.  I still have my ovaries, so luckily I am not going through menopause. I no longer get that awful bloating.   I feel like myself only way better. The surgery for me has been life changing in so many small ways.  I feel….awesome.

They say some women go through periods of depression after the surgery.  I didn’t, but I can see why some would.  I briefly went through a stage where I would see babies and think “I can’t have another now” and got sad for a moment.  Never mind the fact I am not prepared financially or even emotionally for another child, nor the fact that when I had my daughter almost 8 years ago I was considered high risk for “advanced maternal age”.  I know I wasn’t going to ever have another baby by choice, but perhaps knowing that I simply now could not physically do so even if I wanted to was a small shock to the senses.  For those women who wanted children and had no choice but to have the hysterectomy, I can see depression as being completely normal and somewhat devastating. I also know that there were days I felt a bit crappy and sore after surgery but realized I looked totally fine on the outside.  I had a laparoscopic hysterectomy.  This means that I had a few small incisions on my stomach, but otherwise looked totally fine.  My insides looked a bit like a dumpster fire, I’m sure.  Cut and stitched and repositioned.  There were sore days, but nothing I found unmanageable.  One odd feeling was that I sometimes got what felt like ligament pain from when I was pregnant.  It was the same sensation.  Lastly, my skin stuck together from one of the steri-strips and almost got infected at the incision.  Because I couldn’t see that well, I almost missed the issue. At first I thought it was the incision itself that looked like that, but instead it was my skin.  It was gross, y’all.

For those women considering the surgery….I can tell you it’s one of the best decisions I have made.  I feel great, aside from some lingering fatigue.  Yes, you will get tired easily.  There will be some soreness.  You might get a bit sad about the loss of the parts.  But at the end of the day, I feel good.  There is a lot of cancer in my family, and while I had the genetic testing and came back fine, it’s one less organ to worry about, if that makes sense.  The pros outweigh the cons for me.  2 months in and I feel so much better.  It’s not for everyone, but for those worrying, I can say my experience was a good one!




Home and Away

In my last post, I mentioned that I was about to go for my US citizenship oath.  Well, it’s officially official, and I am now a full fledged US citizen!  Exciting, eh?  I actually have dual citizenship between where I was born and the US.  The best part of that is that I now belong officially to the two countries where all the people I love live.  I’ve always felt a tiny bit torn in life.  Part of my family was here in the US, and the other part overseas.  Whenever I would travel between the two countries, I find myself always saying I was going “home” regardless to which place I was headed. Why? because to me, both places were, and still are, home.   Home isn’t a structure.  It isn’t just the day to day of the daily grind.  Home is where the the people you love are.  Home is where you feel safe, and loved, and where happy memories are.  Home is comfort.

While I was waiting for the oath ceremony, I looked around the courtroom where it was taking place.  It was quite full, but only 30 or so of us were taking the oath.  There were people from all over the world: Portugal, Jamaica, Iran, Mexico, the UK, Germany, Poland, the Ukraine, just to name a few.  We all looked happy to be there, and many had a look of relief on their faces.  The immigration process is a bit of a beast, especially for some people who come from countries we don’t always agree with, or those who don’t speak English well.  In my case, you’d never guess I wasn’t an American by speaking to me.  I have a northeast accent which occasionally lapses into a bit of a southern drawl when I am tired or with my friends from the south.  People were always surprised I was a foreigner.  As someone who has had to update docs and maneuver the immigration system throughout my life, I can say it’s not always an easy process.  I speak fluent English and still struggled at times.  It’s an expensive process.  Not only that, but I think some people are probably taken advantage of in their search to navigate the system properly.  Some people in this country have been led to believe that becoming a citizen is an easy, simple process.  While my case was pretty simple, many people’s cases are long, drawn out, and difficult.  At the end of the day, I am glad the process is over and I am officially official as an American!  I have already applied for my passport, and the next step is to figure out how to register to vote.  I haven’t come this far to sit silent and not cast my vote when the time comes!  Silence gets unwanted results.

Another big change is that I purchased a “new to me” car.  That’s another process that can be shady, convoluted, and unsettling! I found a car over the state line by looking online.  The car was gorgeous, had tons of features I wanted, low miles, and was AWD.  I drove to Long Island to see it (this was after 2+ other hours of driving that day) to see the car.  It was beautiful.  I test drove it and enjoyed it.  Then we sat down to talk numbers.  Well, somehow in the middle of this conversation the price of the car started going up.  There was the sales tax, which was unavoidable.  Then DMV fees, which seemed really high.  Then the dealer started tacking on doc fees and dealer fees, and a certification fee……and before I knew it, I was almost $4,000 above the original price.  Isn’t the price supposed to be negotiated downwards? Not upwards?  I started working with them to get the price down, and got an out the door figure I felt comfortable with based on my research of that car with those specific features.  I said “I want to know the total price, out the door, with every single fee and charge included”.  Well, I didn’t buy it that night.  I wanted to go home and mull it over.  After all, a car is a big purchase.  It’s not something to take likely.  The dealer sent me the paperwork within a couple of days.  The numbers were over $1000 above our agreed upon “all inclusive out the door price”.  I balked, and explained what was agreed upon, only to be told the fees didn’t include the DMV fee.  Even the numbers they gave me didn’t match up.  At the end of the day, I called a childhood friend of mine who has a son who is a finance manager at a dealer and asked her to run the numbers by him.  He responded the fees were bogus, and that the dealer couldn’t charge me a fee to certify the car…it was against the maker’s policy.

Still, I wanted that car.  The price was in line, even with their bs fees, but we had a problem.  A BIG problem.

I didn’t trust them.

Trust is important to me. If someone lies to me, I’m not interested in dealing with them, at all. I’ve cut ties with people I’ve been close to because they’ve lied to me.  Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, fool me three times, GTFOH. The fact is, if this dealership was going to keep throwing me lines of BS, I would never feel comfortable with the deal, even though it looked ok on the surface.  So now began the inward battle….do I still buy the car? Or, do I listen to that nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach that told me to cut ties and run?

Well, the answer is I did more research.  I kept looking for cars, and I found the same car, same features, same packages, with 1000 less miles, closer to home.  The base price was about 1000 more than the initial price I had seen on the other car before I got their list of bogus fees.  So I hopped in the car and drove an hour to see it.  The car was in even better shape than the other one.  Before I even test drove it, I looked the salesman in the eye and said “let’s talk numbers.  let’s talk fees.  Even the hidden ones”.

Well, yesterday I picked up my car from the second dealership.  I got the car for about the same price but this time I got it with a full bumper to bumper warranty, free oil changes, and some other perks.  I also got it with the satisfaction of listening to my gut and not going with a company that “mansplained” buying a car to me, and tried to saddle me with hidden costs and fees.

So that’s two good things in a week!

Later taters!  Stay positive, stay happy!


The Day to Day

During football season last year, I used to think to myself “it’ll be nice once football ends and things calm down a bit”.  Then the holidays rolled around, and I thought “imagine all the things I can accomplish once the holidays are over with and thinks calm down!”.  The fact is, things never really calm down for me for very long.  Even the mundane, day to day stuff keeps me pretty busy.  Currently I have the little on in gymnastics one night a week, tutoring one day a week, but aside from that, I still find myself wondering when “quiet time” will be available.  Life is just always so BUSY FEELING.   I can’t say it’s a bad thing, but some nights I must say I wish for a little bit of piece and quiet.  In the past few weeks alone, I have had major car issues, unwanted drama, have been on a hunt for another car, have been in the process to change my citizenship, and oh yes, did I mention balance all that with being a wife, mother and working full time?  So here’s how my life on the daily has been going.

For starters, our brakes on our family car started making a grinding noise.  At first it would grind for a minute or two, then stop and not reoccur.  Then one day, my husband drove the car and reported the brakes were grinding full time.  Our usual mechanic was out of town, so I drove it to another shop who works on our cars.  $600 bucks later, we had new brakes, new rotors, replaced bulbs, had had the car smoke tested, and a  cracked part replaced that the mechanic believed was causing the check engine light to come on.  Our car is due for emissions/registration, so I needed the check engine light issue resolved.  3 days later, the light was back on.  A scan of the codes indicated the right catalytic converter and 02 sensor were bad.  $1100 later, the car was fine.  Until the light came back on, this time indicating the OTHER catalytic converter was bad.  I have never seen pity in a mechanic’s face before.  He cleared the codes and told me to wait until the monitors set.  The next day, the monitors had set…no light.  He came and picked up my car and took it for emissions.  It passed!  A week later, husband drives it and the damned light comes back on.  I drive it, the light goes off.  I am chalking it up to the car doesn’t like the husband.

After all the car issues, we decided since the car is almost paid off that it might be time to look for another car.  Y’all…car shopping SUCKS.  Dealers sack you with hidden fees, and if you’re a woman, you can often also get the pleasure of being talked to like you are mentally impaired.  Did you hear the sarcasm there?  Yes?  Good.  Trying to find a car with something that every member of the family wanted was important.  We finally found a car, but dealing with the dealer has been a nightmare.  I had to turn into a difficult asshole and demand everything in writing.  I’m still unsure if the deal will go through, but I will find out in a few days.  Luckily we aren’t in a rush, so if it doesn’t go through, we have time to wait and keep hunting for what we want. Also, apparently if you speak to any dealer about a car, they will call you, daily, forever.

In the midst of all this, I had to travel an hour away for my immigration appointment.  I have been in the US legally as a permanent resident for most of my life.  I got my permanent residency as a child and never switched over due to a few factors. My dad got his US citizenship a few years ago and recommended I get mine.  Frankly, I didn’t have the money to do it.  He offered to pay for it for my birthday, so I decided to move forward with the process early last year.  Needless to say, my time here in the US, the fact I married an American 12 years ago and have 2 children make me a pretty easy case.  People think that becoming a citizen is a quick and easy process.  I can tell you, it’s not cheap, and for most people, it’s not easy nor quick.  Some people wait years.  I am lucky, as mine processed earlier than the government’s website even projected, and my case is really one of the easier ones.  I waited all of last year to get my interview appointment, and as luck would have it, it was scheduled for January 11th….the day after my hysterectomy.  I had to reschedule, which is typically a big no-no, but I couldn’t reschedule my surgery.  I called to reschedule, was told it was sorted, only to get a letter a couple of weeks later saying I couldn’t reschedule over the phone.  I frantically wrote a letter and mailed it off the same day with the form.  Then I berated myself for being a dummy and not sending it certified. I finally got a new date and time, and off I went.  If I’m REALLY honest, part of the reason I waited so long to apply is because I was afraid I would fail the civics test portion of the process.  They have 100 questions and ask you 10.  You have to get 6 right to pass.  I got the first 6 right, so the interviewer wasn’t going to ask me any more.  I said “can you ask me the other 4? I need to prove to my husband I studied and am not a dummy!”.  We had a good laugh.  I got all 10 right! This week I go for my oath ceremony, and then I am officially a US citizen.  It’s exciting. Apparently I can apply for a passport right at the oath ceremony, and I believe I can also register to vote as well.  I never had much desire to vote throughout my life, but now I can’t wait!

In the midst of all the happenings, I also had 2 birthdays in our house and drama as well.  Thankfully the drama has gone away, and it’s peaceful.  I had originally said I would move my blog, and I still might, but I’d prefer not to.  I see no reason to stop what I enjoy (writing) because of someone being a dildo.

My birthday was rough this year.  Two kids with the flu, everyone feeling a bit down, expensive car repairs, etc.  I ended up having to make some really tough decisions that day.  My husband sent me off for a pedicure and some down time, which was much appreciated and extremely needed.  Even though the day was rough, I entered 44 feeling pretty grown up, hopeful, and happy that so far I hadn’t caught the flu. I consider it a win.  Within two days of my birthday I woke up feeling light and happy.  It was like a weight had been lifted.  It was fabulous.

My Husband got us tickets to see the Dropkick Murphys, a favorite band.  He ended up staying home with the poor kiddos who were still sick, but sent me and a friend.  We had general admission, and spent the show 2nd row center, partying our asses off.  We dodged moshers and crowd servers, and even got up on stage for the last song.  I can’t explain just how awesome it is being on stage in a huge arena with a fantastic band, but it’s exhilarating!  It was exactly what I needed, and I got home feeling incredibly happy.

My son’s birthday was a couple of days ago.  I can’t believe he is 12.  He was born during the best and worst time of my life.  In the span of a few months, I married my soulmate and love of my life, had my son, lost my mother to cancer, found out my dad had cancer, moved house, went back to work, and had a bunch of other life changes.  My son was a primary factor in me getting through the tough times.  I can’t say I would have managed nearly as well had he not been born.  He gave me focus, a reason to get up each day and he taught me how to woman up and handle myself better than I ever had before.  Now he’s almost as tall as me, smarter than me, and an all round awesome kid, if I do say so myself.  I’m so lucky to be his mom.  For his birthday, he wanted some quiet time to play video games, then wanted lunch, to play mini golf (outside in the cold no less) and then to play laser tag.  Luckily our local sport place has both mini gold and laser tag, so off we went.  I had such a great time I am looking forward to going back again.  I left laser tag sweaty, red faced, and a little winded, but happy as could be.  My son was thrilled his parents jumped in and played, and a good time was had by all.  We got home and his neighbor friend came over to play video games with him.  A good time was had by all.  The next day the extended family took him out for dinner and cake.  He was thrilled.

It’s been a busy year so far. I started it by getting a major body part removed, and have been trucking along since.  People ask me all the time about the hysterectomy.  It’s honestly the best thing I have done in a while.  While I had a few tiny issues, the end result is that I feel fantastic. I went back to work 2 weeks later (working from home) full time, and haven’t looked back.

While I was in the citizenship appointment, the interviewer asked me a series of questions about whether I had been a part of a terror organization, or a drug cartel, among other crazy scenarios.  I burst out laughing and said “I’m a football/gymnastic mom of two, married to a man with an opposite schedule than mine, and I work full time. I wouldn’t even have time nor energy for that stuff!”. My life on the daily is not super exciting.  It’s not really all that interesting.  Last night I spent 3 hours trying to unclog a toilet, for instance.  Not exactly exciting stuff.  Still, my little life keeps me super busy, and happy.  Sometimes it’s about perspective.  When times get bad, there are always silver linings.  When people are jerks, there are always amazing people to be there for you.  When life gets too busy, a snowstorm will slow you down.  When luck isn’t on your side, know that better times are around the bend.  I’m looking forward to new experiences and changes!