RSS Feed

Posted on

It’s been a busy couple of weeks.  In my last post, I revealed I need to start working out.  It hasn’t been an easy process.  I HAVE been going to the gym and pool.  So there’s that.  However, after I am done, I want ALL the calories.  ALL the calories in the world! In.My.Belly.   I’m thinking that’s not going to work in my favor as far as losing weight, so I need to make some changes there as well.  Right now, the goal is just to move more than before, and take things step by step.  More changes will come, but for now, I’m starting with making moving around a new habit.

Look, I am a firm believer that most people don’t really change all that much.  People are who they are, and that’s that.  People don’t magically become a totally different person, and if they tell you they are, they are full of shit.  People’s edges wear off a little, they get new habits, but the core of who they are is what it is.  For example, I have a temper.  I have a batshit crazy, will rip your face off temper.  I also am a grown woman who knows it’s not cute to be losing her temper and doing the crazy stuff I used to do when I was younger, so I work hard at trying to maintain my temper.  Don’t be mistake, I can snap back to the rage of my youth in a New York second, but for the most part, I keep it on the level.  I am a woman who loves ice cream and chocolate.  That’s not gonna change.  I just know that I’m at an age where I need to eat more salads these days.  So I will give it a go….

….after I take the kids for ice cream tonight, that is.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.

In other news, I had a great trip visiting my dad and stepmother this weekend.  The kids and I drove down to his house, about a 5 1/2 hour drive.  They watched the kids for me the first night so I could make a few stops to see friends.  The first stop was my good friend’s grandmother’s 90th birthday.  Yes, my vacation started off with a 90th birthday party, and it was amazing.  We didn’t tell her I was coming, and surprised her.  I spent a lot of time at her house in my early 20’s, and she was like another grandmother to me.  I walked in and she looked absolutely delighted to see me, giving me hug after hug after hug.  She hadn’t aged a bit since I had met her, even though decades had passed.  We were so happy to see each other (it had been about 5 years) and it was an utter joy and honor to be there for her birthday.  My friend’s family and other friends were there and I hadn’t seen many of them in years.  People were coming up to give me big hugs and ask about my husband and kids, asking how we all were.  Some of the folks there were kids when they first met me, but they remembered me and ran up to give me a hug.  I was so touched by all the love and friendship.

After the party, I headed the half hour back to where my dad lives to have a late dinner with another one of my good friends.  It’s funny, my friends down there are all parents, and we don’t talk much on the phone.  We’ll send the occasional facebook message, or touch base a few times a year, but as soon as we get together you can’t shut us up.  We fall right back into our friendships like not even a day has passed us by.  We’re all the same kids who were running amuck back in the day, creating chaos and hanging out for days on end.  These are some of the people who know me the best.  They know who I’ve always been, where I come from, and they know that I’m still that same girl, if not a little older, wiser, and ok, calmer. We’re all very different from each other, and there’s a lot we probably disagree on.  But what we do have is a history of good and bad times, a solid knowledge of each other, and we agree to disagree. It’s times when I go down there to visit that I am always touched by how long we’ve been friends and how lucky I am to have had friends that long.  While she doesn’t live down south, I am still friends with my first best friend from school.  If something happens, she knows me through and through. When I do a facebook post about my mom, she and my friends from down south always comment.  They knew her well and loved her too.

Sunday and Monday I hung out with my dad and step mom.  We went boating, went out to eat, fished, and sat around talking with my step brother and his family.  I wish I could have stayed a few extra days.  There never seems to be enough time with my dad.  He’s the quiet sort.  He has a lifetime of amazing stories that he never thinks to tell anyone, until he suddenly will mention something off hand and I have to say “wait…what?”  I’m fascinated by all the things he knows and has done, but I know he’ll never tell me it all.  Not because he doesn’t want to, he just doesn’t think to.  I don’t think he realizes how interesting he is.

The drive home with the kids was actually one of the best long road trips in a while.  The three of us laughed and laughed, told stories, listened to comedy shows on netflix, and it was a nice no-pressure time.  I didn’t have to be mom, which can sometimes be exhausting.  Momming is hard, man.  I’m a mom first, their friend second.  With the husband working, I have to be the bad guy more than I’d like….having them pick up after themselves, reminding about homework, saying no to stuff.  Sometimes it’s nice to just be another person in the car.  My daughter asked why I call my dad’s house home as well as our house.  “Wherever your parents are is home” was my response.  “When you grow up, and have a family of your own, or a career of your own, wherever Daddy and I are will be your home too.  You’re always welcome there, you’ll always be loved there, and home is where the love is.”  I’m glad I got to tell the kids that.  They both seemed to like that answer, and I saw them both settle into a little smile.

Well, life is short, and ice cream is yummy, so I’m off to treat the kiddos (and myself).  Tomorrow, I’ll try and eat a salad.  Everything in moderation.

Advertisements

Chubby Girl Seeks Mediocre Body

I saw a sweatshirt the other day that had “Chubby Girl Fitness Mediocre Body Program” written on the front.  I saw it, laughed heartily, and then promptly bought it.

How could I NOT buy it?

I’ve been on the heavy side since I was a kid.  At least, that’s what I tell myself.  I look back at how fat I was then and totally wish I was that thin now.  Effectively, I was way too hard on myself and not fat at all.  I just wasn’t as stick thin as some of the kids I went to school with.  I shunned my curves, just as some of them shunned their lack of curves.  Seems like nobody is ever really happy as they are.  As an adult, I’m considered probably the on the heavier side of average.  I rock about a size 12-14.  I’ve got a lot of jiggle though. I can pinch considerably more than an inch. I can grab some handfuls.  I’ve lingered around the same size for years, aside from my first pregnancy when I ballooned up about 70 lbs from where I started, and right before I met my husband, when I was just a size 4 (sorry hubby!).  I know I wavered enough at some stages of my life that one young guy once told me I was “too fat to date” but saw me at the gym after a large weight loss, didn’t recognize me, and asked me out.  He had no idea who I was.  I declined, and told him to go screw himself.  People treat you differently depending on your weight. It’s sad, but true.  I noticed people treated me with a bit more respect when I was thinner.  They dismissed me less.  Now I know that people may say “it wasn’t your weight, but how you felt about yourself at that weight” and maybe that’s true.  Maybe my inward view of myself caused other’s perceptions of me to vary.

As I’ve gotten older, I’m a little less focused on my weight.  I just have so many other things to concern myself with.  Then at times I wonder why I am not taking better care of myself.  Some of it is lack of time, some is lack of energy.  I know my energy level would probably be higher if I was getting more exercise.  It’s a vicious little circle, that’s for sure.  I know I was feeling really great when I was doing my aqua zumba class, and getting outside more to exercise. The class got cancelled (I am SO mad about that!) and my friend let her membership expire. I stopped going.  The pounds are creeping on, and I know from a bit of research (aka, perusing online) that weight gain can be common after a hysterectomy.  I need to get myself back in gear.

suit

UPDATE: Ok, so I started this post a few days ago….and then I bailed.  Then I thought about how my hips and back is hurting every day, and how they hurt less when I was in a bit better shape.  I also realized I have been paying a hefty YMCA membership fee and not even going.  Monday I took the kids and the dog for a long walk down to the library and back.  We all commented how fun it was and how good it felt to be moving in the fresh air (we are on day 199 of the endless winter that won’t quit this year, I swear).  Tuesday, I was still on a high from the fresh air and exercise, so I crammed myself into my new swimsuit (my god I hate swimsuits.  I feel like a sausage in a casing when I put one on), got the kids in the car, and we headed to the Y.  I joined in on a deep water fit class with an instructor I hadn’t had before.  Oof.  Muscles were burning, my body was in a bit of shock.  Water classes are weird.  You’re basically weightless, doing fairly simple maneuvers, but the resistance caused by the water and the equipment used give you quite a good full body workout. I felt like jello when I left the pool.

Yesterday, I woke up feeling good.  I wasn’t as sore as expected, and I hauled my ass out of bed feeling….pretty decent, all things considered.  After I work, my husband was home with the kids, so I took, get this, not one, but TWO classes at the pool.  One deep water fit and one shallow water fit.  The shallow water class had the same instructor from the day before, and worked us fairly hard.  The other class had an instructor that looked like she might fall asleep.  I adapted the moves into what I had done the day before with the harder instructor.  I left feeling like jello again.

Now, the fact I took both of these classes with a group of people who were all about 20 years my senior? Maybe that’s a sign, considering how much of a burn I had after class, that my level of physical fitness has dropped more than I thought.  Then again, I have no shame in my game. I will rock out with the older set any time.  They are a fun group.  An elderly couple stopped me at the end of class to ask about my tattoos and tell me they thought they were SO pretty and fabulous.

Last night I slipped into a DEEP sleep and woke up feeling still tired, but refreshed at the same time.  I didn’t wake up through the night like I have been doing.  It was glorious.

Today, may be a day of rest, but then I think that if I stop, I will make an excuse the next time.  perhaps I will take the dog on an extra long walk if mother nature stops being an utter asshole.  Tomorrow, I am headed back to the pool.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, because I’m not a girl who exercises.  I’m also not very fit.  I am, however, tired of feeling the way I do.  So for the few folks who read this, I am putting this out there so perhaps I’ll be a little accountable. It’s easier to bail if you don’t tell anyone, right?

Wish this chubby girl luck on her way to that mediocre body!

 

My Wonder Girl

This morning, my daughter marched proudly out of the house wearing a Wonder Woman shirt, Minnie Mouse Leggings, and….a cape. A Wonder Woman cape, to be exact.  Off to second grade she went, proud as punch of her outfit choice.  As a kid who wears a school uniform each day, the chance to wear a cape for “Fun Friday” dress down was just PERFECT.  I cringed a bit, wondering if the school might give her a hard time, but I reminded myself to live and let live. When it comes to my daughter, I do a lot of that.

rsz_wonder

My son was and still is, as easy of a child as one could ask for.  He was an easy pregnancy, an easy baby, easy toddler, and at 12, he’s still a laid back, easy child to raise. Things come easy to him, for the most part.  He’s smart as a whip, mature far beyond his years, calm natured, and extremely even keel.  A gentle soul, with a soft heart, I do worry a bit about him getting hurt by girls as he gets older, but otherwise, I rarely if ever need to fret about him. I know he has things handled.   He was such an easy child that having our daughter appeared like it would be easy peasy.  After all, he was such an easy child to raise, she would be too, right?

Not so much.

From the get-go, things weren’t easy.  I spotted throughout much of the pregnancy, and we didn’t settle comfortably that she’d make it until I was quite far along.  She came into this world at 6lbs, 7 oz.  She was a bit of a cranky baby, cried far more than my son did.    She also had an eye issue called alternating amblyopia, and strabismus, meaning she suffered from lazy eye, however it would switch from eye to eye. That appeared before she was 9 months old, and a week before her birthday, she had surgery to try to correct this issue.  Watching a baby go through this broke my heart, but it didn’t seem to phase her.  She was a tough cookie.  As a toddler, she was a force to be reckoned with.  People worry their sons will get rough with the little ones, I had to worry she would roughhouse her brother too much.  To my horror she once punched him when she was two, and when I asked why she responded “he too close”.

While I was trying to reign her in, we still battled over certain things.  I can’t explain to you how defeating it is to find yourself in a full blown battle over a piece of clothing, but trust, it’s no fun.  One day we were meeting with family out of town.  I had picked out clothing for my daughter, and it included a big pink tutu skirt.  Now, she loved this skirt. But not that day.  That day, she hated that skirt.  (Welcome to toddlerdom!) and she refused to wear it.  The problem wasn’t the fact she didn’t WANT to wear it, it was the tantrum that occurred because of it.  It was a full blow, kicking, screaming, meltdown of a tantrum that was so over the top I stood in awe. Like I said, I didn’t care about the tutu, except now, I had to stand ground about it.  If I let her bail on the tutu, I would be giving an approval on the tantrum.  I was now forced to stand ground on something I didn’t care about at all, in order to teach a valuable lesson that I did care about….Bad behavior will NOT get you out of doing something.   Neither one of us backed down for about an hour. She wore the tattoo in the end, however family members still joked we walked in like a true war had taken place, with me looking like I had some PTSD.  I still remember that day as a day I won a battle, but it was a hell of a fight.

The day she turned 5 was a turning point.  My fiery little beastie suddenly calmed. It was as if she had nothing more to have to prove.  She had pushed all the buttons, and knew which buttons did what. She grew into herself.  I now had a super helpful, motherly, sweet girl.  She had always been a cuddler, and I was thrilled that despite the sudden grown up attitude, she kept that love of curling up in my lap to cuddle and get hugs. Nothing makes her happier than helping me cook, having a similar outfit to me, or looking after her little cousins.  We now entered the stage of a girl who knows who she is, with a side of chaos.

5-7 has been an interesting stage.  My son and I often comment that she’s a tough cookie. The child who needed tonsils out? Her.  The child who is accident prone? Her.  The child who gets nosebleeds?  Her.  The child who struggles a bit more in school?  Her. Most things just don’t come easy to her in life.  She has to work at things, be more careful. I tell her she’s my warrior girl, and that I know she’ll be ok because she knows how to handle tough times.

With this resilience comes chaos as well.  My daughter?  She’s a SLOB.  She leaves things everywhere, and I spend my days reminding her to clean up after herself, and walking behind her picking up things.  It’s exhausting.  She’s just always on the the next big thing.  I remind myself that one day she will grow up and move out, and I will be left with a quiet, clean house, and the thought makes me sad.  Her chaos drives me nuts, but at the same time, it is her, who I love, so I am trying to find a balance. I have to send her into the world as a functioning adult who is in a bit less chaos.   Even her clothing choices are choas.  Her aunt and I named her Vegas Judy. She loves all things leopard, colorful, glittery, rhinestoned, and “extra”.  If she chooses her outfits without input, she looks like a walking carnival.  My husband lets her wear whatever she wants.  I try to tame it a bit, but sometimes, like today, I let her just go with her own clothing flow.  When I had a beautiful fancy dress for her to wear on Easter but she came to me with Puss in Boots eyes asking if she would wear a leopard dress?  “Do you love it? Will you be comfortable? Will you be happy in it and wear it all day?”  The answer was yes.  I caved.  She thanked me for allowing it, and I spent the day being looked at as a hero by her. What made me happy was seeing her happy and confident in her choice.  I try very hard to remember that it doesn’t matter what people think, what matters is that she is figuring out who SHE is.

There are times I see her outfit choices and get a bit cringey.  There are times, like when she was adamant she wanted to cut her long hair short, that I waffled and wanted to tell her no.  I then reminded myself that hair grows back, clothing can be changed in a heartbeat.  I have a daughter who knows who she is, and firmly knows what she likes.  I want to celebrate that, because in life she will be surrounded by a world that will try to make her question her choices. She doesn’t need to me to always do it too. Her short hair that she was confident she would love? I loved it too. Her outfits? ok, well, I don’t always love them, but I love her confidence in them.

My chaotic, not always easy child is just as perfect for me as my laid back, easy child. Two sides of the same coin.  Similar in so many ways, yet so totally different.  Each teach me different lessons.  My relationship with each is so different, yet so amazing. Watching them work together, and balancing each other fills me with wonder.  I spend a lot of time thinking about how, in the same house, with the same parents, and same experiences, two people could have such vastly different nuances to their personalities.  My daily challenge is to figure out how to successfully balance parenting two completely different people.

When I started this blog, I referred to my kids as the Tiny Diva and the Laid Back Kid. The definition of Diva:  a self-important person who is temperamental and difficult to please (typically used of a woman).  I no longer consider her my Tiny Diva.  She’s my Wonder Girl.

I wonder where she gets her strong sense of self from, yet I am SO happy she has it.  I wonder how to help her succeed when she falters, yet how to let her find her way on her own as much as possible.  I wonder how she believes some of her outfit choices might even begin to match.  I wonder why she doesn’t put her stuff away without me having to follow up and ask her. I wonder how she does the amazing bendy stuff in gymnastics.  I wonder why her feet smell like dirty fritos and vinegar sometimes when she wears certain shoes.  I wonder how she isn’t aware her feet smell like that.    I wonder how I can make sure she keeps her sense of self throughout her life.  Mostly, I wonder how I can be the best mom to her and her brother, getting them through their strengths and weaknesses when they are so very different.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ovary Aftermath

Well, it’s been a while since my hysterectomy, and so far, it’s a been a great decision.  The only downside I can see so far is that I am so damned TIRED.  Literally I have been struggling to stay awake past 10 PM or so.  I have zero energy during the day.  It’s starting to be concerning this long after surgery.  A look online confirmed my suspicions that fatigue is common after this surgery for some patients, but I think at my next Dr appointment, I will bring it up.  In the meantime, I am upping my vitamin B and D levels in hopes of seeing some improvements.  I also need to start exercising, but therein lies the catch.  I know if I exercise I will likely get more energy eventually but the very prospect feels overwhelming. Time to suck it up and deal, I suppose.

Another interesting result is that I still appear to get PMS.  Before surgery, I noticed my PMS was getting out of control.  I was raging, crampy, suffering from back pain, and general discomfort.  I joked that after the surgery hopefully those symptoms would be gone and we’d all know once and for all if the bitchiness was from PMS or if that’s just who I am now.  (I can confirm, it’s just who I am, although the rage subsided when I stopped allowing certain behaviors around me). During the surgery, they took my uterus but left my ovaries.  This was a best case scenario, as the ovaries provide hormonal benefits and also help protect against things like dementia.  I considered it a win.  One thing I hadn’t considered is that I might still get some hormonal symptoms, such as  the back pain, extra swoosh of bitchy, and a heaping slice of fatigue.  Yesterday I felt horrendous by bedtime. Today I feel so sleepy I could cry.

Otherwise, I feel pretty aces on the day to day.  Not having periods, for a girl who had HORRENDOUS periods, is pretty much the best thing EVER.  I still find myself expecting one on occasion, or the brief “is it coming soon” panic appear, but I quickly remind myself there is nothing to fear.

So for now, I am left with a day or two of PMS type stuff, and a desire for my pillow, but hopefully the fatigue will sort itself out.

Still a great decision to have it done.

Girl Power

Ok, I am a little bit proud of myself.  You might think I’m completely bonkers, but hey, life is way too short not to enjoy small successes, right?

So, we’ve had some stuff breaking around the house.  And of course, it can’t be one thing, it has to be everything, right? Why? Because that’s how life goes. The dishwasher, the vacuum, the bathroom light blew.  The dishwasher is above my paygrade, and I certainly can’t pull it out and flip it to fix it.  The bathroom and vacuum, however, I could manage.  The bathroom was tricky because someone had painted over the screw I needed to access to get the cover off.  (WHY do people paint over stuff they shouldn’t?)  No worries though, it was a simple fix.

My daughter came in as I was dismantling my vacuum cleaner and sat down to watch me.  She watched me take it apart, and commented how cool it was that I was able to do it.  She watched me replace a belt, clean filters, and clean/adjust the brush.  I explained the parts, what they do, and how I was going to fix it.  She sat carefully paying attention.  She helped me clean the parts.  We laughed together, and both yelled with glee when the test run of the repaired vacuum confirmed it ran better than it had in YEARS.  She beamed at me, so proud of what we had done.  We then moved into the bathroom.  I got on the ladder, and she held parts and passed me what I needed.  Once done, she cheered and high fived me.  She then commented “look mom, the girls fixed it!  We didn’t have to wait for boys to do it!”.

I am very lucky to be the mom of a boy and a girl.  This means that I have to raise two well rounded children who will grow into self sufficient, independent adults with great self esteem.  Easy peasy, right? Not so much.  I’m not a man basher.  I’m not a bra-less ranting feminist.  I’m just a gal who believes in equal rights for all but admittedly is flattered when my husband opens a door for me.  I believe women should make the same as men for doing the same job.  I feel men get skewered way too often.  Has anyone noticed how television makes men seem like dolts? It’s unfortunate. My son already sees this bias on Tv and has commented on it.  My daughter is already seeing the pressure of being “picture perfect” on TV, and also seeing certain gender stereotypes.  I had a reminder today that I need to show her that women can do things that often stereotypically fall under “men’s” jobs.  I try to do the same for my son.  For this blog, I’ll focus on my daughter.

My husband does do a lot of the fixing of things.  That’s mostly because he has the patience to do it.  I often don’t.  Sometimes things need strength, and that’s his forte, rather than mine.  I am seeing more and more though that I need to take the time and gather the patience to do more of these little jobs because I want my daughter to see I can do it.  If I can do it, she’ll know she can too.

I’ve been a working mom for pretty much her whole life.  I balance a full time job, two kids, and I do it working an opposite schedule to my husband.  I am proud of the fact she sees her mom having a career.  I’m proud that she sees her mom contributing to the household, managing the family, and making sure everyone is taken care of.  Ok, so she doesn’t see a perfectly clean house, or a mom who is perfect.  And you know what? Maybe that’s a good thing.  She sees me flawed, she sees I can’t do it all, but that I do my best.  She sees that it’s ok not to have everything together all the time.  That’s an important lesson in and of itself.  I am happy, even if things aren’t always perfect.

Another lesson I have been working on teaching her is to not stand for nonsense.  I keep my circle pretty small.  It’s gotten smaller over the past year, and she has even commented about the fact that I don’t keep people around who don’t treat me well or who aren’t nice to me.  Kids are super perceptive.  I explain that I have plenty of people to love, who love me as well, and those are the people I keep in my life.  People who aren’t nice or who treat me badly are quickly shown the door.  I have no time for nonsense or wasting time on people who don’t like me. I want her to see that she doesn’t have to keep mean or nasty people around.  It’s ok to say no, it’s ok to stand up for herself, and that she doesn’t have to hang out with people who are bad to her. I know we have a big push in this country to teach kids to be kind.  I teach my kids that too.  (For anyone interested, look up the children’s book about filling buckets, it’s fabulous). They came with me on my treck to look after cats, to provide Christmas for a family, etc.  We talk regularly about ways to be kind, and how to act if people aren’t.  That being said, I think women are often all too accepting of bad behavior.  We think it must be us, or we can fix the person, or we feel like we deserve less than.  I don’t want that for her.  I want her to feel confident in her choices of the people around her.  I want her to keep people who make her smile, and to move away from those who make her feel even an ounce of bad.

As a woman, we are taught to apologize a lot.  Ever notice that?  Someone will bump into you and women will often reply “I’m sorry”, as if our very presence was something to apologize for.  We sometimes even apologize without even meaning to.  Why? We are taught to be pleasant at all costs.  We are taught, unfortunately, to often make excuses for bad behavior.  I’m trying to teach her the opposite of that.  I am working hard on saying “sorry” when it’s truly warranted, and not just on impulse when nothing is to be sorry for.  I am teaching her that someone treating her unkindly is NOT ok, and she shouldn’t just tolerate it.  We talk about decisions and choices, and how to handle situations.  It’s a learning curve, but I think it’s working well.

I have always believed that almost all bad decisions are caused in some way by low self esteem and insecurity.  It’s hard raising a girl in a world that markets to her by telling her she is too fat, too thin, too short, too tall, not pretty enough, not ok enough.  That’s how companies often market to women.  They play on our insecurities to make us but things to “fix ourselves”.  Look at the beauty industry.  It’s mostly based on fixing our “flaws”.  How do I, as a mom, compete with that?  How do I tell her she is beautiful inside and out, exactly as she is, when the rest of the world is all too prepared to pick her apart?  Growing up, I dated boys who were bad for me.  I was an easy target because I was often insecure.  It took many years, and a big change in attitude before I met the right man for me and settled down.  I had to learn to be ok with myself.  Love myself.  As Rupaul says “if you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an amen?”  And it is TRUE.   How do I teach a little girl to love herself more than the world can make her believe differently?  It’s a daily struggle.

I often write her notes on her board.  One recently mentioned that she was kind, smart, and strong.  I noticed a few days later that a school project had her creating a character and describing them.  Her character had the same characteristics I had listed in my note about her.  It hit me that she is listening.  She is looking to me and her father to help her realized what’s good about herself.  I will be working every day to make her see how great she is. Trust me, I’ll still tell her when she’s being a slob, but I want her to feel confident.  Some days, she’ll choose her outfit and leave the house looking like a walking carnival, but if she feels confident and happy, I’m ok with it.

Raising kids is hard.  I joke that my job is to make sure I don’t raise little assholes.  The fact is, it’s pretty true. I have to raise kind, respectful, independent, loving people so that they can hopefully find happiness as they grow up.  That’s a lot of pressure!  I have to raise a daughter to know she is smart enough, strong enough, and wise enough to handle what life will throw at her.  Even if it’s a broken vacuum or a difficult light fixture.  If you can handle the little things, it’s sets the tone for the bigger things.

Looks like I better start learning how to fix stuff, eh?

 

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!