Thursday, July 31, 2008

In the Hospital

Hi Everyone,
So I was ambushed by a bad infection and raging temperature last Friday. It started when Sadie kicked my boob (she does this a lot) and it hurt. Usually it just feels weird, but this time it hurt. I didn't think much of it. We were interviewing a possible nanny candidate (way to pricey) at the time so I was distracted. Then Greg and I left to get out of the house and escape the whole issue of daycare and nannies. We took Sadie to the Civic Center to look at the ducks (more like geese, tons of them, and their poo). After that we went to a weird restaurant in Terra Linda, Chalet Basque something or other--hadn't changed since 1968--not a good sign. Thankfully before ordering I felt bad enough that we had to leave. We thought I had the flu which freaked me out because that meant Sadie probably had it too. Once home we discovered my right boob (not the one with the woeful nipple story or the tumor history) was huge, red and hot, and I had a fever. So we start the calls to the doctors and of course it's all confusing. Whether to go in to the hospital or not. Of course I didn't want to. But then of course I didn't want to not go and risk this being something serious. So everyone agrees we put me on oral antibiotics and that should be enough. Thankfully neighbor Linda and her husband David finally got our messages (we were urgently calling and asking for help thinking I had to go to the hospital). They were on the way home from a dinner at Ensalatas in San Anselmo using a gift certificate we gave them, thanking them for all their help--so the irony was not lost on me that they once again were in need. When they walked in, Greg said, "Where do you want to go to next for dinner". Linda stayed with me since the baby was sleeping and I was in no position to be left alone with her. Greg and David went out for the medicine. And then things got worse. I started throwing up. I started hallucinating. I decided I brought this on as a way to avoid deciding on daycare. I decided I brought on all my illnesses from the very first ear infection, to lupus, to bladder cancer, to breast cancer all to get my mom's attention. Because you can choose your illnesses, you know, for reasons like that. The next morning, Greg gave me my second dose of antibiotics and I was throwing up again, feverish and all together a mess. I did my best to avoid the hospital, but with Greg calling the doctors every hour to give them updates, and each update being worse, it was inevitable. Since G was at work, and Linda had to stay with the baby, David had to bring me. This guy is so great. He had a business trip to the UK the next morning, but still drove me at 5 PM and stayed with me till I was all set and left around 8. We are so blessed to have these neighbors.

So, at the hospital. The hospital. Oh my God the hospital. The H is okay when you are really sick. Recovering from major surgery. Dying. But when you are pretty much well and just experiencing a little set back on your journey to 100%, it's maddening. You feel like a caged animal. Everything seems so unnecessary. Really? Really I need my temperature, blood pressure, oxygenation levels and heart and lungs listened to every four hours. Really? Because if you don't check just one time and let me get some sleep then what? What will happen? And the IV. Lord. They had to call in an anesthesiologist to get one going because my veins are all whack from chemo. I have so many little prick bruises. I was a human pincushion. They finally got one going in my foot. Nightmare. And the worst part was that I went on a weekend. See Mount Zion in SF isn't a normal hospital. A hub of activity at all hours. It's services are specific to cancer and the floor I was on is only for surgery recoveries and stuff like that. Since no surgeons work on weekends, the place was a ghost town. It was like I was left in a summer resort hotel for the winter. Oh yes. It was like The Shining.

At least I didn't run into these girls

Or worse, this guy,

Though there was a San Quentin prisoner on the floor getting treated for something. I was wheeled past him at one point and it was scary. He had guards all around him. He was waiting for some procedure down in radiology. He looked like evil. It was all so surreal. The cops, the man in the orange jumpsuit. Me and my big red boob.

So the first day is actually OK because I really am pretty sick. My fever keeps spiking, but Tylenol gets it down. I catch up on all the trashy mags and my sister Nina comes and visits. Here she is fooling around with the lung exerciser. Leave it to Nina to want to try anything that has the word exercise in it.

So the lung exerciser is required because if you lie down all day long, taking only shallow small breaths, your lungs can fill with fluid and then you get pneumonia. So basically, the hospital is bad for you. Hmmm. What's also bad in the hospital is the food. I have never seen such weird choices and tasted such crappy food. I feel snobbish writing this, but honestly, they served my dinner with Shasta cola. Shasta?! Way to keep the population healthy and on the way to recovering. Sugar and dyes. Yum.

And I was equally cheered when Greg came with Chinese Chicken Salad and indulgent desserts from Comforts. See, I don't look too bummed here with a fat eclair in my mouth.

And I got a wonderful surprise visit from my FIRST cousin Whitney who found me down in the gift shop reading magazines in my robe, a little high on Vicodin...hence me down in the gift shop, reading magazines in my robe. I got in a bit of trouble from the nurses for that one. She actually went to my room first, and not seeing me there, knew exactly where I would be. Wherever there are magazines, you will find me.
And, now I am just showing what a complainer I am. But, I also got a visit from my good friend Khalila. Khalila had a son right around the same time I had Sadie, but she lives in the East Bay and everything has been wacky with the cancer and we still haven't gotten together. But she managed to come visit me at the hospital bringing me much needed books (my mind was turning mushing on a diet of trashy celebrity magazines), some fruit and something else. A pedicure!

And here's the results! So nice.

It was probably the best two hours Khalila and I had spent since we dressed up like Madonna in seventh grade and wandered through the streets of San Anselmo trying to get attention with our bare midriffs and neon lace. Seriously. I think what made it so great is that we just visited. We just sat and talked. No distractions. It's been a long time since I just sat with a friend. We are always trying to double do it. Lunch or a movie. Or shopping. Or hiking. It was really nice to just sit and talk with nothing else to do but sit and talk.

The biggest problem with being in the hospital was managing my life back at home. Making sure someone had Sadie so G could work. G doesn't have a 'real' desk job. He manages art galleries, but is only in them doing sales a few days a week. The other days, just because he isn't in them, doesn't mean he doesn't have to work. Making phone calls to clients, answering questions from the people managing the galleries that day, working with the owner of the galleries on various projects, yada yada. None of these things are possible with a grumpy baby in your arms. Thankfully my friend Sarah Bott totally came through and my sister Hannah and of course Linda and even Nina did double duty with Amara and Sadie for a few hours. After all the amazing help I have received since my diagnosis, it's hard now to once again be asking for help. And yet, when I do ask, and I don't get an immediate, 'Yes, I can do it' response, I get upset and emotional because it means having to realize helping me means someone isn't doing something else they maybe wanted to do. I guess I am just sick of asking other people to put their lives on hold for me and yet, my God, I need their help. What can I do? I definitely learned a lesson about letting go of control and letting people (G) ask for his own help instead of managing it all myself. I felt like the translator and I was doing a lousy job from my command station. Which is here.

So on the third day, they decide to open me up to let the fluid out. I am happy about this. Something is happening. The antibiotics aren't working (though they are pumping six bags a day through my IV). I get the procedure down in radiology because they use an Xray to work through an incision they make in my skin. It still freaks me out, all the preparation that goes in to this little event. There are six people surrounding me. Big lights. Lots of sterile pads covering me with just my big red boob showing. A big Xray machine over me. I can see my lungs breathing. My ribs. The expander. I educate the doctors that the bulls eye right in the middle of my boob is the port for the saline (how can they not know this?). They respond by donning big masks that look like welder helmets and cutting me open with an exacto knife. The whole time there is the main doctor telling the resident how to perform, because UCSF is a teaching hospital. Normally, this doesn't bother me because I understand we all have to learn somewhere. But, about half way through, I just wanted to scream to the main doctor, 'Can't you just do it already?!!

So on this day, I really start missing Sadie. So bad. Like aching. I was starting to treat the hospital nurses badly (and I felt bad doing it). So Greg brought her in.

I didn't recognize her. She got so big in just three days. And she was different. She was doing different things. Grabbing at things in a new way. Doing a new thing with her mouth. And Greg--she was so attached to Greg. Following him around the room with her eyes, craning to see him when she heard his voice. They totally bonded. It was sweet to watch, but it also mad me sad.

I needed to be home and soon. The doctors keep coming in, pressing my boob, checking the color, using a sharpie to draw lines around the redness to see if it has gone down. They think the infection started because during my last expander appointment, the area wasn't sterile, and bacteria got in through the needle. Or, the tube that was in my right breast after the mastectomy got pulled too early and fluid was left with no place to go and has since been festering. Or, it's just one of those things. So, nothing is working. I am getting cranky. I have a drain tube back in me now. I never thought I would see them again. I am so bummed. And then, suddenly, it's better. The infection is clearing. The swelling is going down. The redness too. All of a sudden, they say I can go home. It's like a miracle. Greg comes immediately (thank God again for Linda). I can't believe how long it's been since I have been outside (it's been four days. It feels like a year).
I come home to a sweet sleeping baby and Project Runway. I am achy from lying around and from all the stress. I am tired. I smell. I hate the drain tube they left me with as a sort of going away present, a favor from a party I did not want to attend. I sleep. A lot. And today. Today I took care of my baby. Today we went on a walk in the beautiful sunny warm fresh air with Frida and picked blackberries and visited with neighbors and read stories and giggled and sang the Itsy Bitsy Spider. And sometimes, just when she was cranky, and getting heavy and I felt nauseous from the antibiotics, and my boob hurt and the drain was poking my belly, there was a small part of me that wished I was in the hospital, getting my toes done by Khalila and eating an eclair.


Thursday, July 24, 2008


Hi Everyone,
Thanks for the responses to my home furnishings S.O.S. If you don't know what I am talking about and have an hour or so to spare, read the posting before this one.
I know there are more important things to life than a nicely furnished home. I just beat cancer. Believe me I know. But still. I would be just so much happier if I could get this place looking like what I see in my mind. I would be so much happier if my kitchen looked like this.

I just need to be more patient...

So today I took a nice (much needed) break from my little world out here. Greg stayed home with the baby and I met my friend Susannah in Berkeley for lunch. My favorite restaurant (for a lunch type outing), Tacubaya. So good. The best Tamales and Chile Rellenos. Everything on the menu is so yummy. I was giddy with excitement to be out of the house, sans baby, on my own. I drove a little less defensively without that little precious cargo strapped in the backseat. I played my music really loud, windows down without worrying about tender little eardrums. I carried a bag that weighed under a pound, my phone, wallet and lip gloss was all I needed. So freeing. So nice. I was practically buzzing with happiness when I got to the restaurant. Since I have been on maternity leave I have met Susannah a few times, in the park in San Anselmo with our babies. We don't really talk much being constantly interrupted by Zoey running off giggling gleefully as Susannah runs after her before she reaches the street, or Sadie needing a bottle, a diaper change or a cuddle. So sitting across from each other with nothing ese to do but talk and eat was a little weird. Great, but weird.

Here's Zoey and Sadie giving each other a little hug on one of those park days. Zoey loves Sadie as long as she is in my arms and not her mom's.

Susannah had to go back to work and I was left on my own which hasn't happened for such a long time. I had no idea what to do with myself. Greg called and wanted to know when I would be home. I could hear the little morsel fussing in the background and I said, 'I don't know. Whenever I get home'. Yeah. I was milking it a little. This freedom. The right to have it. It's funny how you don't realize all the things you are going to miss when you have a kid. Like only needing a wallet, your keys, a phone and lipgloss. When did that become a luxury?! Or going to the bathroom without dragging a stroller in to the stall, or worse perching your infant on your lap while you pee (has anyone else had to do this?!). Not that I am saying Greg can't handle being with the baby on his own.
He did quite well.
As you can see here.
This is what I came home to.

Looking at this, it makes me wonder why I ever left.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Home Furnishing Madness

Hi Everyone (This is a long one. But it was cathartic. If you get all the way through it, thank you.),
So being home on maternity leave has made me a bit obsessive about my home and all the things I hate about it. We bought this house three years ago and just sort of threw what we had wherever it fit. We didn't even do anything to the house, like painting, curtains, new fixtures, easy stuff like that. When I worked all the time this stuff didn't really bother me. I was happy just to be home. But now, all the extra hours within these walls have made me a bit wacky.
It's possible that my wackiness is compounded by the fact that I need to feel in control of something. If it can't be my health, then by God it can be my furniture (or some such psychology). My step Aunt Deborah visited me the other day and I mentioned this problem I am having and she had some good thoughts about how everything is so accessible to our generation, it's hard to not always want more, get more, obtain more and always be looking for more instead of just being happy with what we have. But I think what is really making me itchy with the urge to redecorate all the time are the blogs I read. Even though I started mine to chronicle my cancer, to keep my friends and family informed, to garner support, wisdom, feedback and a cyber shoulder to cry on, what I actually read most aren't health related dealing-with-breast-cancer blogs, but interior design blogs. I read them a lot. Like every day, at least thirty of them. Some favorites: Decorno, SF Girl by The Bay, Habitually Chic, Elements of Style, Inside the Loop...I could go on and on here.
I actually didn't even know about blogging or blogs until a blogger posted something about my place of employment almost three years ago, specific to what I do, and our marketing department forwarded me the link because they thought I would be interested. That blog was Oh Happy Day. Soon Jordan was my secret best friend and I would get mad if I didn't find a new post to read daily. Ah! The pressures on a popular blogger. I feel that now, not because I am popular, but because my blog has succeeded very well in one thing. It is the way I connect with some distant family members and they want info--but mainly about Sadie (and I don't blame them). So here's some photos of her to satisfy them. This is the standard look she always gives the camera. I am lucky if I ever get a smile.

This was taken on a super hot day last week at Nina and Dan's. We went swimming earlier to cool off. Here she is hanging out under her little baby shade tent. See same look.

And because these same family members would also appreciate a little Amara action, here she is on that same day doing her own thing, keeping cool.

And here she is with her beautiful mama.

We went and visited Hannah the other day at her salon in the city. Notice the strapless dress? Yeah, I can wear these now that my breasts are just skin covering tupperware--but I am digressing here. See my face? I am pleading with Greg to take the picture already. He was trying to wait until Sadie smiled. Again, the babe does not give it up for the camera.

Unless of course you are holding her over your head and making a fool of yourself.

Sadie is amazing. She sleeps through the night, from 8 PM until 7 AM every morning (I am probably jinxing myself by typing this out) which always amazes other moms. She started eating solid food. She sits up. She grabs and bats at toys and makes great gurgling sounds with her drool and lots of little funny mewing and high pitched squeals which make Greg and I look at each other in shock and awe. Like Wow! She's a real person. It's a little bit scary. Here she is getting all worked up over a new toy (a gift from another blogger through a Swap that I Suwannee organized).

So these interior design blogs agitate me. They inspire me in a frenzied sort of way and all of a sudden I am up late at night perusing Craigs List and all other sorts of furniture websites like a junkie looking for a fix, ignoring how my tailbone feels like it's growing roots in to the chair, to find the perfect dining table. Or buying lampshade upon lampshade and returning them one by one in the attempt to obtain matching bedside lamps for our bedroom. I even bought a bed from Pottery Barn a few weeks ago that I didn't even really like (because it was affordable--relatively--and had storage, something seriously lacking in our little cottage in the woods) and then when it hit me how crazy this was, to buy something I don't even like, just for the satisfaction of buying something, I called their customer service and cancelled the order. When they told me it was already on the way from their distribution center, I made up some lie that I had to move and my new place didn't have room for the bed because I was so ashamed of my wishy washy impulsiveness. I also did this with two bedside tables. Yikes.
When I take Sadie on walks, all I do is daydream about finding the perfect rug for our living room that covers more than the current one because soon Sadie will be crawling and trying to walk. Before I thought our hardwood floors looked vintage and rustic, but now all I foresee is digging splinters out of tender little palms and chubby knees.

I wouldn't even know where to begin looking for a rug that doesn't cost a crazy amount of money and that both Greg and I agree on.
See that's the other problem. Greg. Not to pinpoint and/or stereotype half of the world's population, but aren't men (straight men) supposed to not really care about the home's decor? I thought as much until I met Greg. He cares. A lot. And he is getting bugged by me. I don't blame him. I think he has put up with me until now because he knows I am obsessing as a way to distract myself from having cancer. I thought I found the perfect dining table a few weeks ago off of Craigs list. The dining table is important because I am the one in the family that hosts the Thanksgiving and the Christmas and when I am feeling ambitious, the Passover too (my family is religiously mixy. We do it all). It needed to be small because our house is tiny, but it needed to get bigger for when the extended family comes over. Anyway, I made him go pick it up in Santa Rosa on his way home from work (in Healdsburg) and boy was I wrong. Never buy anything sight unseen (or from a crappy photo). It is so not what I want. This was stupider than the Pottery Barn fiasco. The table has been sitting in our front walk way ever since gathering dust, fading in the sun. An every day sad reminder of my foolish impulsiveness and self inflicted urgency to refurnish our entire house before I have to go back to work.

But it didn't stop me. Soon I was making plans with a woman in Mill Valley to look at another table and before I knew what was happening, it was in the back of my car and I was heading home. Greg hates it. But I like it. It has three leaves, so it can sit ten people if need be. What do you all think? Am I crazy?

I know the chairs are all wrong with it. But what chairs would look good? I already wasted half a day borrowing a chair from Beach House Style to show Greg (a store worth checking out if you live in the Bay Area). See. I am getting better. I am showing things to him before I make the purchase. He didn't like them. Sigh. I had to drive it back. I know they weren't perfect, but I was willing to settle because it was a set of six. I am so desperate.

See secretly I am hoping that there are some interior design bloggers out there who have found my blog through the randomness of blogging and can help me out here.

What is one to do when they feel that frenetic urge to just purchase everything and anything to satisfy the craving of having a home fully furnished?

And what the hell should I do about this fireplace?

I loved it when we moved in. So rustic. So cozy in the winter. But now, we feel guilty lighting a fire, putting all that smoke in to the air. Most of the houses out here were originally summer houses, so they don't have central heating. In the winters when I drive down over the hill in to the valley, you should see the blanket of smoke. Makes your lungs hurt just to look at it. In this picture it looks like the witch's furnace from some scary fairy tale. To change it at all would take a sledgehammer, and a lot of money. So that's right. That's a dog bed you see there. This is what our fireplace is used for now.

And these lamps? The greens on the shade and base don't match. But I still like them. Have I lost my mind? Do I just like them because liking them means I can stop looking for lamps?

Here's what really drives me crazy. Look. These are ugly towel bars. We don't even use them. Above is the hardware for a glass shelf. They need to be removed and the holes filled and the wall painted. Think I have time to do that? Nope.

And see this painting (Yes, Frida is allowed on the sofa).

We bought it at an antique store because we had just adopted her and named her Frida after the artist, who we love, but do we love her that much to hang a copy of her 'Me and My Parrots' painting on the main wall of our living room as a sort of inside joke only we get? Wouldn't a mirror look better here? Greg doesn't think so. The man doesn't like mirrors. Our home is desperately needing mirrors to open it up. To make it look bigger. But that would mean I would have to find a mirror we agree on. So much work.

And check out this wackiness. Look at this ginormous TV.

Isn't the cabinet too small for it? This is all wrong, right?

And now I am totally letting it all hang out. This is the office. Look at this mess!

This is where I am sitting right now while typing. It's all arranged wrong. I love both those chairs, but what are they doing there? Nothing. That's my vacuum in the lower right corner. We don't have a utility closet to store any of that kind of stuff. We don't have closets really at all. Sigh.

We are so in need of a kitchen remodel. See this.

This is a cabinet I cannot get at. There's barely room for a trash can, much less a human being. How dumb is that?

Here's something even more dumb. While in bed, this is our view.

Nice, huh? We hardly ever turn it on. It needs to go. But then what would we do when I need to watch Project Runway and Greg wants to watch CNN? A smaller, white TV would make this all better. Like this one that another blogger already wrote about here (hence my hankering to now go out and spend $1000 to get one).

About the only room I am not totally irritated with is this one.

Which is good because this room belongs to the most important person in my life.
Here she is with me, yesterday at an oncology follow up appointment at the Breast Care Center. This was her first visit with me (well, outside my tummy). I am smiling like a freak in some sort of attempt to get Sadie to smile for the camera. Like if smiles worked through osmosis or something. As you can tell, didn't work.

Maybe I will just move in with Sadie and call it a day.

Thanks for reading my hating my house rant. Though I think I will only get responses from my friends who will tell me I am crazy and to be thankful for what I have, which is a good point. My mom didn't get her kitchen remodeled until she was fifty. She lived with a poopy brown electric stove and cabinets from the 70s and the crappiest, sticky no matter how hard you scrubbed it, linoleum floors for years. Who am I to think I should get better, right?

But seriously, if you have any advice for me at all, I would surely appreciate it.


PS: Oh my GOD was this the most epic posting or what? For those wondering how I do it. It took me almost three days to get this all done.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Birth Memories

Hi Everyone,
Today I was thinking about Sadie's birth. While Sadie was taking a nap, I made myself a cup of tea and sat at the computer going through all the photos that were taken at the hospital.
In my mind, when I think about the experience, I looked like this...

...and so it was with a little bit of shock that I came across this photo and remembered that I looked like this...

I had tried my best to hold off shaving my head until after she was born so that I had my hair for all the photos. But what they don't tell you when you get chemo is the pain in your scalp. It's the hair follicles dying. I had to shave it off to stop the pain. Greg went out to the local Walgreens near the hospital to get shaving cream and razors, and while I waited for the inducing drugs to start, all hooked up to IVs and monitors, he cleaned it up. I guess it's not every woman that gets their head shaved by their husband before giving birth. As if it was some sort of ancient ritual.

Lately I have been feeling lucky to have had cancer at the same time I had Sadie because I have been able to spend so much more time with her than if I had just been on regular maternity leave. But when it comes to my birth, I only feel robbed. Cancer robbed me of the experience of bringing her in to the world with only thoughts of being a mom and having a baby girl on my mind. Instead I was thinking how I couldn't breast feed her. I was worried about my white blood cell count. The fear of caesarean. The risk of infection because of my compromised immune system. The chemo treatment scheduled just two days away. Not that I was thinking about any of this during this moment. This moment, I remember. This moment was pure.

That's my OB's arm in the blue gown handing her to me seconds from being born. Sorry for the squeamish ones reading this. In case you didn't know, birth is bloody. I only got to hold her for a second before she was taken away and looked over by a team of doctors. I had this incredible feeling of calm while they were all fussing over her because I knew everything was going to be OK. But poor Greg was right in the middle of it and was a bit worried hence the look of concern and teary eyes while he is listening to the doctor answer his, 'Is she OK?' question for the fiftieth time since she came in to the world.

I love that Hannah is connecting with her. She is making sure that Sadie knew right away that she was Tia Hannah and to never forget it (not that Sadie or Amara could. Hannah is a very good Tia).

I had a lot of expectations about giving birth and at the same time was totally willing to let them all go. I grew up in a home that was focused on birth because my mom was a doula. My friends still recall coming over to my house, picking up a stack of freshly developed photos on the kitchen table, only to find themselves staring directly between the legs of a woman bringing a new person in to the world--at least that's the nice way of putting it. Again, for those of you who don't know, birth is bloody!
My expectations also had a lot to do with where I was born and how. The Farm became famous because of their dedication to natural childbirth. I was delivered by the woman who wrote Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May Gaskin.
Just the cover of this book makes me miss my mom so much.

That's Nina holding the book, reading to me, and Hannah rubbing my belly while I waited to be dilated enough to push.

I wasn't feeling much due to the epidural I had to have (long story--you can read about it here) which is why I said 'waited' to be dilated, instead of 'labored' because after the epidural, that's all I did. Wait. Which is so different from the amazing experience my mom talked so much about, that I grew up hearing about. Though I wasn't in a bus, all warm and cozy with 'good vibes' and 'juicy energy', I want to think that my birth experience was still beautiful and amazing, but it's hard.

Anyway, I feel like the longer I get away from having cancer, going through chemo, giving birth, the more I am bothered by it all. The more angry I get. I think when we are in the midst of something, we only do what is in front of us. This is our survival instinct taking over. And then, when the smoke has cleared, when things have calmed down, then you start to see things differently. Lately, there have been many moments where I stop and think, 'But wait. Did that really happen?'.

It's good we have real photos to look back on. They tell a story. And they talk to us. Like this one here. This photo is saying, 'Who cares that I am surrounded by latex glove dispensers and hazardous waste containers, bright florescent lamps and hospital issued linens. Who cares how she came in to the world. She's in the world'.


ps: This is really not for the squeamish. I don't think I will be getting a left nipple after all. The scab fell off and took whatever was trying to grow with it. I threw it away and then Frida found it in the garbage. And ate it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Don't You Hate It When You Wake Up With A Bloody Boob?

Hi Everyone,
Just when I start feeling normal something cancerish happens. Yes, I just made up a new word. Cancerish. So this morning I am playing with Sadie, who I now bring in to bed for her first bottle. I am done worrying all the time about every little thing and the effect on the development of my child. Like bringing her in to bed in the morning will make it a habit and then for the rest of my life Sadie will need to be in our bed in the morning whether she is four years old or seventeen. So after the bottle I prop her up on my knees and she is giggling and cooing and making that great gurgling noise where she gets a bunch of drool in her mouth and blows bubbles and is so pleased with the sound she is making. All the while she is kicking her little legs towards my chest. Just little blows--really nothing at all, I mean really, nothing, because I can't feel anything on my chest. Just a sort of inward pressure telling me she is touching me, but that's it. No nerves mean no feeling. And then I grab her little foot to give it a tickle and it's covered in blood and I FREAK out. And then I realize, it's coming from me. Little Sadie has managed to kick the scab that is my nipple pretty much clean off and there is so much blood it has seeped through my shirt and on to her feet. Now if I had nerve tissue in these breasts, I would have known serious damage was being done, but since I don't, I sat there completely oblivious. Anyway, I felt the need to document this event and share it with you all.

I spent the entire morning walking around in my bloody shirt, peeking every once in awhile at the bloody stump that was my body's feeble attempt at growing a new nipple, feeling sorry for myself and being grumpy until our neighbor Andy came over to hang out with Greg and I had to put on a good face and then I actually was feeling better. Greg and Andy are great friends. Sometimes I feel like I should move out and let them live here together because they get along so well. Here's Greg and Andy with Sadie. Aren't they cute together?

Yes, they are posing for affect. It seems they like the idea of being a 'couple' too.

Here's them just being themselves. Sadie is unfazed. Too young to get the joke thankfully.

Here's another early morning shot. I am pretty sure they are talking about Obama, Hillary and the upcoming presidential election. Or maybe Greg is asking Andy about the latest article he read online about some health issue (Andy is an acupuncturist and in to all that herbal natural stuff), or they are probably talking about sex (isn't that what guys talk about?).

I am glad Greg has Andy. It's probably not every woman that gets married, gets breast cancer and has a baby all in one year. So I can't totally beat myself up over the fact that I haven't been the best wife. I think Greg understands it most of the time. But sometimes, he gets pretty freaked out over everything that has happened and when he does, believe me, I am not the person who wants to know or hear about it. When you have something like cancer, you build a wall around yourself where you are alone with your fears, anger and sadness and you let nobody in especially someone who also has fears and anger and sadness because that would be too much to take. So much of my sanity depends on Greg being strong which is all fine for me, but not so great for Greg. So, even if Andy just comes over to see what's cooking (literally--he likes to eat) and to catch a break from his wife and three kids, he has brought a lot of tension release to the Moors-Watson household and has been a great friend to Greg when I sometimes just cannot.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Give Me My Breasts Already

Hi Everyone,
Okay, the good news is that my last expander appointment was last Wednesday. There was one more on the books, but I cancelled it. Enough is enough. My plastic surgeon will just have to figure out what to do with the excess skin. I refuse to go back to the ampleness that was my pre-mastectomy figure. I should get something good out of this whole cancer thing. If I am going to get new breasts, then they better be a size I can live with. The bad news is that there are no surgical appointments available for the final implant surgery until....OCTOBER!
I was thinking this would be done by the end of August. I am so sick of these hard mismatched lumps stuck to my chest passing themselves off as breasts. I have a bad habit of grabbing everyone and anyone's hand who feigns interest in my situation and making them feel me up because you truly have to feel what's going on there to understand the frustration. It's like they are carved of stone.

Here's how Sadie feels about the latest news.

I must have felt the same way about something back in 1974 while eating what looks like and probably is a piece of tofu.

That, or my daughter and I share the gene that makes you freeze up and refuse to smile in front of a camera. Seriously. Check out this award winning shot.

and here's one where not one second before she was cooing and giggling at Frida, then the camera comes out with that nasty little red light and I capture this...

This one though is my all time favorite because she not only is not smiling, but is mocking me with her little tongue as if to say, 'Yeah, you can hold that little gray box with the flashy light in my face all day long and I still won't give up a grin'.

And yes, that's Susannah and Zoey in the background. Zoey is super chill in her stroller--which is not the norm. Usually she is off and running around the park and Susannah is calling after her to come back and I am thinking, lord, what am in for in a year and a half?