Post-Op

I’m having quite the week. My whole family is, really. I had my surgery last Wednesday, we learned that I might not be able to go with hubs to Korea on Friday, hubs left for school on Sunday, and then today we learned that en route to school the cooling fan in hub’s car busted and it blew the head gasket, so now we’re looking at $2000+ of repairs, which is more than the car is worth. Bad things are supposed to happen in threes, but I’m counting four here, so if Murphy can just back the fuck off right now and stop letting everything go wrong, that’d be super.

Surgery was successful and I am now officially cancer-free, but it was not my favorite experience. The spot on my abdomen actually wasn’t terrible, though the healing process kinda sucks ‘cause I carry a 15 lb ball of babyfluff around all the time and it’s resulted in me probably using/bumping my sutures much more than I should, but there’s really nothing I can do about that. As for my noggin, well, that sucked. Part of the problem is that when they’re working on your scalp, you can hear things, like the sound of the lidocaine seeping into your skin, or the crunch of the blade and the tearing sound of the skin being separated from its roots ::shudder::. Blech. And the sutures up there, well…there’s something called “purse string” sutures where they gather all the sides of the wound with the sutures and then use the ends to yank it all closed in the middle, and that’s what they used on me. It felt like my hair was being torn out of my head, but worse because hair breaks and offers a reprieve, but sutures most definitely do not. It was intense, and I almost cried, but I’m a prideful gal and was able to fend off the tears and stay strong. Now I’m (somewhat) patiently awaiting my suture removal appointment this Thursday so I can resume some semblance of normal activity levels, ‘cause this “light walking” nonsense is for the birds.

As for the Korea mess, let me just say uugggghhhhhhhh. Like moving halfway around the world wasn’t stressful enough, let’s introduce some super fun new elements, like me possibly not even being able to go, which would mean hubs would go unaccompanied for a year while me and the baby moved to CO so I could be near family. We planned the timing of our first child very carefully, “ensuring” that we would have several years together before hubs would have to deploy again or leave for anything longer than a couple months (excluding, obviously, the ever-unknown circumstances of war or disaster or whathaveyou). Here’s the problem: because of this recent skin cancer situation, there could be, as we’ve been told, about a 50% chance that the command in Korea could reject me. This percentage is even worse if I require any kind of “specialty care,” which apparently includes something as simple as seeing a dermatologist once every six months. I also now have to enroll in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFM or EFMP), which, much to my dismay, does not refer to how exceptionally outstanding and awesome I am, but rather to the fact that I am a medical exception and require aforementioned special care. A large majority of the people enrolled have chronic conditions, but in my case the two biggest factors are that 1) The surgery just happened, and 2) We’re going overseas and the military is more stringent about needing to be enrolled if you have any standout medical issues when you’re trying to pass an overseas screening. Once you enroll in the program, The Powers That Be in the EFMP offices will review my paperwork and decide which Category I’m in (Cat 1, 2, 3, etc.), and that will then help Korea determine whether I’m fit to go there or not. And if all of this isn’t stressful enough, we probably won’t even have the final word about it all until after Thanksgiving, possibly even into the first week or two of December, so with a month to spare prior to moving to another country, we could be flipped on our heads and have to plan not only an extra move (me to CO), but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepare ourselves for a prolonged absence. So to recap, our potential outcomes, which we won’t know until a month before we leave, are: A) Whole fam moves to Korea together for two years, B) Hubs goes without me and bebe for one year while we move to CO, or C) Korea decides not to take me but then also cancels hubs’ orders and we get stationed somewhere else within the continental US. Not stressful at all.

The car thing is the icing on the cake. He drove my old 2002 Honda Civic with 164,000 miles on it down to school, right after we got it safety-inspected and dropped probably close to a grand on it already this year. We hoped it would survive the trip to FL and back, but clearly we were wrong ‘cause he’s been there two days and it’s already a hot mess (HA, literally…’cause it overheated and it’s busted…hot mess…get it?…I’m sorry, I’m stressed out and exhausted and still have a head wound). We have some options in this scenario, too: A) Pay $2098 to fix it and then sell for $1000 to hubs’ friend en route home from FL, B) Put it out to pasture and get a rental car (~$1700) for the duration of his stay, C) Put it out to pasture, buy a $2-3000 slightly less shitty car with a good resale value and try to recoup most of our losses with a short sale once he’s home. Again, not stressful at all.

I know sometimes life just likes to challenge us, but I would reeaaaallly love for it to stop. I would be extremely okay with an easy, happy, smooth couple of months apart, but unfortunately I just don’t think that’s gonna happen. I’m sure it won’t be like this last week was the whole time, but it’s certainly not a good way to start things off, and it means that we now have a lot of other stressors to deal with during that time. To balance out the bad juju though, I would like to say that I am super duper grateful for some things. I’m grateful that hubs and I have such a strong and loving relationship that I trust with all my heart, and that I know we’ll get through anything and everything that comes our way. I’m grateful that our little girl has slept with one arm unswaddled for all of her naps today (that’s a huge step for us), and put herself to sleep every time. I’m grateful that I lost another 1.8 lbs even when eating like crap in preparation for hubs’ departure and not working out in the wake of my surgery. I’m grateful that Momma Bear visits in less than two weeks, and that she’ll smother me with all the hugs and love (and baby reprieves) I could possibly need. And I’m grateful that the holidays are right around the corner, and that hubs and I will get to see both sides of our family and spend lots of time laughing, loving, and eating.

Here’s to a better week ahead.

Progress Report

This is a progress update, I promise, but as much as I tried to talk myself out of doing this, I have to say something first. I was going to avoid it because I hesitate to speak out on issues sometimes, especially online, because people online be cray and I don’t wanna drag that madness into my life, but given the events of this past weekend and the bundle of joy that’s asleep in the next room, I can’t help but address it.

I am a child of the mass-shootings generation. I grew up hearing about Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Aurora, Fort Hood…and as I grew older they started becoming scarier and scarier because I started to comprehend the helplessness of the victims and the randomness with which they were targeted. I walked into college classes and started becoming suspicious of students who seemed “off” or “unusual,” wondering if one day they would show up armed, turning myself and classmates into statistics.

Last summer when the Orlando nightclub shooting happened, hubs and I were just a couple short months away from trying for our first baby, and the event hit me differently than it had before. All of a sudden I found myself terrified at the idea of bringing a tiny, innocent human into the world, one who would be faced with all of these demons and threats and dangers that I simply can’t protect her from all the time. For the first time in my entire life, I questioned whether I should have children. I have always wanted to be a mother. Always. There has never been a doubt in my mind about having children and raising a beautiful and loving family, but seeing such a horrible and unpredictable world certainly gave me pause. And the most disturbing thing about it all is that no matter how many times it happens, and no matter who it happens to, nothing changes. We aren’t doing anything about it. We mourn, and “send prayers,” but then something shiny distracts us and the chatter goes away until—quelle suprise!–it happens again.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I have opinions about gun control and mental health care and the political chaos surrounding both issues, and when I can vote on those matters I do. But still nothing changes. I recently mentioned that we’re moving to South Korea in January, and at least once a week someone mentions that they’re concerned for us because of our neighbors to the north. But ya know what? I’ll probably be safer there than I am here. Domestic terrorism is alive and well, my friends, and we have to do something different if we don’t want it to continue.

I believe in love. I believe in light and hope and strength and faith and peace and brotherhood and unity and joy. I believe in humanity, as hard as it may be sometimes. I believe a stranger when they smile at me in passing, and in the instant connections and bonds I’ve made with random customer service reps when I’ve called about a simple question and stayed on the phone an extra 10 minutes because we clicked and starting laughing and chatting. I believe that we have the ability to make the world better, as long as we don’t give up on ourselves. And I believe that I’m supposed to bring new life here, which is why my ridiculous baby girl exists. What I refuse to believe is that we’re a lost cause, that humanity is in an inescapable downward spiral. Do we have some work to do? Fuck yes. But we are so, so capable of doing it.

That all being said, I promised a progress report, and that’s what you shall get.

The pics above with the black bra were taken on August 28, and the ones with the striped bra are from today. I can’t see a difference (except that I apparently can’t take pics at the same distance with any consistency), but the changes are definitely there. Since the original pics I’ve lost 3.8 lbs, making my total loss now 7 lbs, and I’m also down a full percent in body fat. What I’ve gained though is much more significant. Other than 0.5% muscle mass and some notable quad definition, I’ve also gained self-confidence, pride, excitement, and maybe just a smidge of badassedness, all resulting from constantly pushing my limits and encouraging myself to succeed at everything I put my mind to. I mean, yesterday I ran three miles straight, including part of that with a stroller, after not having run in well over a month. And earlier in September I did 100 burpees in just under 18 minutes. That’s rewarding as hell! With every passing week my body continues to surprise and impress me in ways far beyond anything a scale could ever show.

As I was working on this post, I got news that my basal cell removal surgery got moved up from October 24 to tomorrow, soooo I’ll be taking the next 10 days off of workouts. Hubs is about to take a two-month absence starting Saturday thanks to this schooling thingy he has to go to pre-Korea, so we weren’t expecting that he’d be able to be here for me for this procedure. I’m very grateful that he now will be, even if it’s not exactly how I’d hoped to spend one of our last few days together. But, it will be easier on me, him, and the bebe this way, so we’ll make it work!

Once I’ve recovered from surgery, I will do my best to not sulk about missing hubs (though that will obvs happen from time to time), and instead I plan to keep challenging myself in new ways and make the most of our time apart. We recently set the goal of doing our first Spartan Race (a Super) in June 2018, so my running game needs to be majorly stepped up. I’ll be chopping up my strength training routine so that it’s now four times a week, and then I’ll run twice. And since I’ll be running with a stroller 99% of the time, my non-stroller running should be vastly improved two months from now.

I hope you all have a peaceful remainder of the week, filled with buckets of love and positive juju and cat pictures. In the words of the great Albus Dumbledore, “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”