Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sadie and Frida Part Three

Hi Everyone,
One day Sadie woke up and discovered Frida. Since then, Greg and I barely exist. She looks for her first thing in the morning and all the time during the day. I'll bring a sleepy Sadie through the gate after a long day and as soon as she sees Frida, it's like I shot her up with adrenaline or she did a line of coke (not that I know anything about that, seriously, I don't, but it sounds like the right metaphor). She kicks her legs and squeals and bounces up and down in my arms. It's pretty funny and frankly heartwarming since I love my dog Frida like my own child and it would suck if your kids didn't get along, right?
ps: Do not look at my face, or you will miss Sadie being so cute. I didn't know I was in the 'shot'. Spielberg, Greg is not.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Hi Everyone,
I've been wanting to blog about my Wednesday appointment and give all kinds of details on the new boobs but every time I start, I remember what another blogger is going through and all my woes about breast creases and absent nipples seem really really stupid.
My friend's Amber and Susannah posted about it and instead of reiterating what they said, you can go here or here.

But the gist of it is:
Last week Christian and Stephanie Nielson were in a very serious plane crash. They are a young couple with four children under the age of six. They are in critical condition. Stephanie has third degree burns covering 80% of her body and Christian has third degree burns over 30% of his body. The recovery will be very long and very expensive.

If you are able, please consider contributing to this fund that will go directly to the family. Click here:

Today, several websites are auctioning off items for their benefit. Go here to see the comprehensive list: .

Updates about Stephanie and Christian here:

Even though the auction was yesterday, a ton of stuff is still available for bidding. I already bid on the cutest little bird dress for Sadie (for when she is around 2) and some great earrings, a quilt and a blog makeover . There is so much good stuff out there from all the creative blogger world. It's unbelievable. You must check it out. Design Mom is the best site to find out most, but you can also go to Jordan's.
Anyway, things like this put so much in perspective.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Scar Tissue That I Wish You Saw..

Hi Everyone,
That Chili Peppers song has been stuck in my head for two days now. When I woke up from my surgery, which I thought was going to take two hours, the first thing I noticed was the clock. It said 2 PM. I went in at 8 AM. Even in my post op groggy state, I thought, 'what the hell?'. So then Dr. Foster comes in and tells me that it took him twice as long to do the implants because I had such bad scar tissue. He said it was like leather. I knew I had this scar tissue. My breasts, with the expanders, had these indentation creases on both sides, under the nipple. Like folds of fabric. They made my breasts look a bit deflated as if they needed to be expanded more. But in fact, it was scar tissue on the inside of my breasts pulling the skin inward so no matter how much you inflated me, the fluid just went somewhere else which led to my totally misshapen boobs. This whole time I was told that during the final surgery (which I just had), this scar tissue would be removed leaving me with nice round boobs. I guess it was a lot of scar tissue because not only did it take a really long time, but I still see the hint of a crease under my bandages. After all this, it seems silly to worry about something cosmetic like creases in my breasts only me and Greg will ever see, and my girlfriends or sisters if we are sharing a dressing room, which we don't really do anymore thankfully, so never mind. But, here I am, fretting away and worrying I am going to be forever fighting the formation of scar tissue. I think Dr. Foster mentioned physical therapy too. I was so out of it. They had to go in and give me extra drugs during surgery because I went in with one IV and came out with two. One of the IVs leaked fluid and I was left with a swollen hand which I thought was lymphoedema. Lymphoedema is that horrible condition that happens to a lot of people who get lymph nodes removed. It screws up their body's ability to circulate fluid and it gets trapped resulting in big puffy limbs (elphantiasis style) and they have to get a lot of massage therapy and wear spandex bandages for the rest of their life. I am a candidate for this lovely condition on my left side since I got twelve nodes removed. In the hospital there's lots of drama over where to take my blood pressure and start an IV since both procedures trigger lymphoedema. Some nurses like to put a sleeve on the left side as a reminder, some like to write a big note above my bed, others like to give me a bracelet. And even with all these warnings, there are still the nurses who grab my left arm and are about to prick or squeeze me and I have to say, 'Yeah, wrong side (moron)', but I leave the moron out because nurses are great and are only there to help and I am a nice person who just has no patience left which is different than a mean person who never had any to begin with.

Anyway, surgery in itself was fine. Greg drove me in with the baby in the backseat being a total angel. We had to be there at 6 AM and couldn't bear to ask anyone for help that early in the morning. It was very strange waking Sadie up for a change. She thought it was great and cooed all the way to the hospital and then fell asleep on the way back. We have the best baby.
I had to check myself in and do all the pre-surgery stuff by myself. It reminded me of the first time I went to chemo, when I was pregnant. There was this young woman there getting chemo in one of the chairs. She looked like she was in high school on her lunch break. I couldn't believe she was there alone. I couldn't believe anyone could go through any of that alone. She was very familiar with the whole procedure. Knew everyone by first name. She was hooked up, did her thing, and then grabbed her backpack and left. I thought I would never be comfortable with cancer in that way. Then there I was, filling out forms, tying myself in to the bleach scented gown and squeezing my (RIGHT) fist to get a vein to pop out without any thought about it. Like I lived there. So weird. The last thing I remember was being told to think of 'happy people and happy places' by a nurse who sounded like she had used that line one too many times. Waking up sucked because they really knocked me out. They knocked me out so much I forgot how to pee. Seriously. This can happen. Your body loses the ability to tell itself what to do. I had to get a catheter in me because I had so much urine, but could not pee. It was a nightmare. Think about it. You have to pee and you can't. Awful. Then all I could do was sleep for almost two hours straight. The post op nurse, who was great, her name was Kim, I think, kept saying it was because I was so comfortable. Yeah, no. It was because I had just been put under via massive drugs that were still in my system! Greg showed up around five and we started to make the moves to leave, and then I threw up. So we all slowed down a bit. They shot me up with some sort of anti nausea drug and then we were good to go. Finally. It's done.
I have been sleeping for the past two days and feel like I just woke up today. Linda helped out all day Saturday and part of Sunday so Greg could get a break. He's on tomorrow full time too after working all day today and having to work all day tomorrow. Hannah visited yesterday with Whitney. Here she is with the baby.

Hannah has the baby today. She's off with the baby doing errands for burning man and visiting her friend Susannah. Last minute decision. Hannah needs a break and what better way than Burning Man. I sat on the porch while she organized last year's burning man outfits (I mean costumes). If it wasn't for the heat, the dust storms and the porta potties, I would go just to see Hannah in all her burning man glory.
So now it's full on daycare decision mode. Wish me luck on that. And wish me luck that when these bandages come off on Wednesday, I see something like this...

This was my inspiration tear sheet (which will make my work mates giggle). It's a photograph from the book Nudes by Manuel Alvarez Bravo.
And let's hope they do not look like this....

Though seeing this makes me feel sorry for Vivica. Stupid Perez Hilton doesn't know this is scar tissue making those indentations. I feel for her.

And for no other reason than just because here's some family time courtesy of me, in bed, with nothing else to do but take videos of Sadie. I am calling this one Sadie, Greg, Frida, My Messy Bedroom and the Olympics.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Letting Go

Hi Everyone,
So most of you know that I am waiting around for my new boobs. After chemo, after my double mastectomy, after being expanded every week for what seemed like eternity (but was really just a month and a half), they tell me they can't do my final surgery until October which really pissed me off. My plastic surgeon is the head of the department and therefore in high demand and there are ladies out there in desperate need of bigger and perkier boobs and this took precedence over the need to rid my body of these stone hard lumps. Seriously. This is what I found out while in the hospital a few weeks ago.

See soon there will be a new and improved silicone implant out on the market. They have been coined the Gummy Bear because of their soft pliable material, like a warm gummy bear. They are improved because technically the current silicone implants have a shelf life of around ten to fifteen years. They aren't indestructible. They can leak, pop, explode, something like that. And the new implant doesn't have any liquid at all, but instead is sort of solid, like a Gummy bear and so if it does rupture, nothing leaks. It's like the memory foam of breast implants.

This is the gummy. See how it can be sliced with no leaks.

However, the Gummy Bear has not been FDA approved. It was thought to get the all clear some time this month, but the FDA are dragging their feet as usual (they have already been in use in Europe for ten years). Woman all over the Bay Area booked my surgeon solid in the hopes they would be getting their gummy bears and have now cancelled their appointments and are waiting until they are approved. I would like to think I have the patience to wait as well. But I am not just your everyday flat chested woman looking for something to fill out a bikini. I am in pain. I need these expander things out. Maybe one day I will swap mine for the gummys, until then, I am going with silicone and please nobody comment in with horror stories you may have heard about woman whose implants have leaked silicone in to their bodies and now they are in constant pain. I have to believe my doctors here that everything will be OK. Naive? Maybe. Hopeful? Definitely.

So all of this is leading up to this. Because of the slow moving FDA, my surgeon has some time on and his hands. I got a call from Tony, Dr. Foster's poor assistant. I say poor because every time I was at the breast care center, I whined and bitched and moaned at him begging for an earlier surgery date and then I stalked him by phone leaving messages every day. The best ones were when Sadie was screaming in the background and I imagined this somehow lit a bigger fire under his butt to get me an earlier surgery date. There is nothing like the crying of a baby to get some pity, right? So Tony calls me and tells me I have a date. And this date is this Friday. I have to report to the breast care center at 6 AM. It's happening. Soon this whole breast cancer saga will all be over with, my only reminders being a short hair cut I did not ask for and perfectly round perky boobs. There will be nothing on the horizon that has to do with breast cancer at all. And this is what is weird. I am sort of sad about it. To let this time go. To move on from this.

Photo by Susanna Frohman

Ok, hear me out. This has been an incredible journey. Life changing. I have gone through all this crazy breast cancer stuff. It's consumed me for almost eight months. In a way, defined me. It's been my purpose, my story. It's the answer to every 'How have you been?' question. And now, I have to go back to my old life. Of course, I always knew this. I can't be cancer recovering woman forever. My God, no, I would never want that. But I am scared. How do I go back to who I was after going through something like this? How do I just slip on those old clothes and walk around in them as if nothing has changed? As if I am not a completely different person. Or am I? Did I change? I don't know. I won't know until I go back to my old routine. Which is what exactly? And really, if I think about it, I can't go back. I am a mom now. I have a baby. I can't throw a small tantrum in the mornings anymore when I can't find my matching shoe. I have Sadie to change, dress and feed. I can't sleep in, pressing snooze on my alarm and leave the house at the last minute, no breakfast, hot tea in hand. I will be carrying a baby. It's all just unknown. My life is now daycare and bath time and nutritious dinners at a reasonable hour instead of after work trips to the Anthropologie just to see what's on sale, movies and take out.

Guess where this was taken?

As all this comes to an end I worry I didn't get mad enough about having cancer. I didn't get scared enough. I didn't cry enough. I had Sadie and she distracted me in such a wonderful way, the cancer part, the chemo, the pain, it all feels like a weird dream.

But mostly I am scared about being a working mom. I was a working non-mom and I have witnessed first hand the struggle working moms go through. The guilt for having to leave an important meeting early to pick up a child from daycare. The frustration that meetings are scheduled after 4 PM at all. The sadness in realizing your child spends more time without you than with. Which is such a crazy notion that I don't think it really sinks in until you have already given birth, otherwise why do it? I mean why have a kid if you're never going to see it? And I know I am being dramatic here. I know lots of kids whose mom's and dad's work full time and they are great kids, well adjusted, happy, love their parents, all that. It's not really Sadie I am worried about, but me. And it's not that I even want to be a stay at home mom. I love my job. I like working. I just don't want anyone taking care of her but me. Nobody else loves her the way I do. Nobody else gets such heart filling joy when she smiles and laughs, but me (and Greg). Nobody watches every new little trick, like moving a toy from one hand to another or banging a toy to hear a new sound and bouncing up and down to music like I do, rapt and in awe like everything she does is a miracle, a totally blissful amazing come here and look at Sadie miracle.

Uncle Dan's hat and Sadie

I have been in hyperdrive researching daycare centers and none of them make me happy. Hell, even Mary Poppins at my front door every morning at 7 AM free of charge wouldn't make me happy. I know this will pass. I know something will feel right. I know that I will fall in to a new routine with my daughter and my husband and it will work and life will go on. I have seen it done. I know I am not venturing on anything new here, yet I am still more scared about the next few weeks than I was when I first heard the words breast cancer. That puts it in to perspective and I guess that is what I am trying to say here. It's not that I would choose to have chemo again, just to be with her, but I am grateful for the extra time cancer has given me to be with my daughter and therefore I am looking back and having a hard time letting go.

Some more photos....

Mommas and Babies

The Baby Whisperer

Uncle Dan gives me a break.

Some good friends. Amber and Ruby, Mollee and Johannah. Sadie is discovering hair. Ruby is just about to get a tug.

At Tacubaya

Nina and Sadie at Tacubaya (Sadie tried some beans).

We took Sadie to Petaluma to look at some Antique shops.

She was mainly pretty bored.

But was a perfect angel while we had lunch.

Sadie and Amara learning to share toys...hopefully.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Happy Weekend

This one is for Hannah....

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Cute Baby

So tired...

Why'd you wake me up?

I forgive you, but get me out of here pronto...

Yep, Sadie got a new car seat. The girl is huge. She's in the 95% for weight (so, I think that means out of 100 babies, only 5 weigh more than her at her age), and clocks in at 21 pounds. Greg is claiming an increase in arm muscle mass. I am complaining about a sore lower back. But she's cute, so it all works out in the end.
This reminds me of something that happened a few weeks ago and I think about it all the time. I was in the park with my friends Amber and Susannah, with our kids, Ruby and Zoey, and of course Sadie. We are in Mill Valley enjoying the swings. I've got Sadie on my lap. This little boy, I guess around 7 comes up to me and says, 'That's one big baby'. And I say, 'Yeah, she's pretty big'. And he says, 'What's that big baby's name?' and I say, 'Sadie'. And then he says again, 'That's one big baby' and walks off. Hhmmm....Pretty funny I think, but then I start to wonder, is my baby too big? And then like five minutes later he comes towards me again with a small wallet size photo in his hand of a very fat baby. 'This is me', he says, and then I get it. The kid was huge and now he notices big babies all the time. His dad is behind him, grinning at me, maybe he noticed that his son's comments did that thing that comments can do to a mom. Of course a comment from a kid has to be taken with a grain of salt. But the comment I can do without, which is always from adults, is about Sadie's eyes. The girl has sleepy eyes. Even when she is wide awake and kicking with more energy than Frida at dusk when she hasn't had a walk, she's got sleepy eyes. We even went to the doctor about this because without fail, no matter where I went, someone would comment on Sadie's eyes. I started to think there was something wrong that I couldn't see. The comments ranged from, Oh she's so tired, to, Oh did she just wake up?, or, She needs a little nap. Having a kid is really like letting your heart walk outside your body all the time. You are just so vulnerable to everything. I've learned to just say, 'No, that's just the way she looks', which pretty much shuts people up. I really don't care that much. Sadie makes my heart skip beats because she is so beautiful. But why can't people just say, 'Cute baby' and leave it at that?