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.

Stress & Potatoes

Important news from today first: I’ve lost a sack of potatoes! Not literally, like there’s not just a bag of them somewhere that I can’t find. But I’ve lost 5 lbs, and that’s how much a sack of potatoes weighs! I’m feeling super accomplished, and I’m starting to get some nice definition back in my quads that I haven’t had in almost a year. I’m also about to start trying some new dietary changes that I think will help keep my weight loss and fitness journeys on track, so in that realm I’m very happy and more motivated than ever to keep kicking ass so I can keep seeing progress.

On another note, my mind has been in a billion places at once for the past couple weeks. We’re in the middle of a lot of stuff and we have a few big things on the horizon, so any time I have a free moment—especially when I’m trying to fall asleep at night—all I can do is topic-hop from one item to the next, and it’s exhausting. I figured writing about it might help, or it’ll make me even crazier ‘cause then I’ll see it all laid out en masse. Only one way to find out!

I’ve already talked about M’s sleep regression madness, which has alleviated some, but still not perfect. And this week we have her 4-month shots and the transition to her big-girl crib (and out of swaddles), so whatever just improved is about to vanish. But that’s small stuffs.

Let’s flash forward a few weeks. In early October, I become a single parent for two months. Hubs has to go down to a training school in Florida, but because it’s for a “short” amount of time, he’ll be in a hotel versus housing, which means baby girl and I stay put. It’s for the best, really, because living out of suitcases for two months sounds pretty horrible with a baby, plus we have the catmonsters here. So now when he’s at work during the day, I find myself thinking, “Soon I won’t be waiting for him to come home from work, it’ll just be me and baby. All day. Every day.” And thus far in motherhood I have not been great about getting out of the house. Hubs and I are both satisfied with each others company for the most part, and I’ve been so wrapped up with this new role that I’ve found it very difficult to maintain the relationships I had before. Also, babies aren’t welcome everywhere, so there’s some stuff I used to be able to attend that I can’t anymore simply because I’m a momma, and while I completely understand that (and have even hosted no-kiddo events in the past), it still sucks and can leave you feeling like a bit of an outcast. Fortunately, the military community is ripe with women who have bebes, so I’m starting to join forces with those in similar situations to mine so we can all be less hermitty.

Later in October, Momma Bear comes to visit, and I am so excited to see her. She hasn’t been out since birth, and that was a very stressful and crazy time. It’ll be lovely to have her here and actually be able to enjoy each others company and have her harass our ever-growing nugget. Her stay was originally going to be a week earlier, but we moved it because of another upcoming stressor.

Last month, I went to a dermatology appointment to get a spot on my stomach looked at. I’ve had it for about a decade and just assumed it was a bug bite or scrape or something and the skin had just never healed right. Well it turns out it’s basal cell skin cancer (non-life threatening but still needs to be removed), and when I went for a follow-up so doc could do a full-body screening, we found another spot right on top of my head, about two inches back from my hairline. He biopsied it and that, too, is basal cell. So, on October 24 I get to have a Mohs procedure (details here if you’re interested) done to get both spots removed, and from what I understand, I will definitely have a temporary bald spot, and there’s a chance of a permanent one. I won’t know how severe any of it will be until they’re done with the procedure, because they test small sections of skin at a time until all the margins are clear (aka no mo cancer cells visible under microscope). So it could be the spot of black bean, or a nickel, or a half-dollar. Won’t know until we know. And the final size will help determine how the wound is sealed (sutures versus letting it heal on its own, with possibly some cauterizing to stop bleeding). The spot on my stomach will definitely be sealed with sutures regardless of the size, simply because of where it’s located. But again with that, I have no idea how big the final wound will be. All of this fun also means 10 days of nothing more than light walking, which is why mom’s coming later to help with heavy lifting and other odds and ends around the house as needed. But since exercise is my primary source of stress-relief and I’ll be in the middle of hubby’s absence and have a head wound and stomach stitches, I am not excited.

Lastly, hubs going to school means something very major is now in the foreseeable future. He was up for new orders earlier this year and once all was said and done, we were shocked to learn that we were moving to South. Freaking. KOREA. He’ll get back from school in mid-December, then we have a month of travel to visit family for the holidays, and then we pack up our lives and move to the other side of the world in January. We’ll be there for a minimum of two years, possibly three, and the reality of it all has been sneaking up on me more frequently with the passing weeks. I know military folk experience this all the time, but it’s a first for me and it’s just insane. We’re both extremely adventurous and I know we’ll make the most of the experience, but KOREA? Like, really? It’s gonna be a massive culture shock for obvious reasons, but in a second way for me because we’ll be living on base with less than 300 American service members and their families, which is less people than were in my high school graduating class. Hubs grew up in a couple super small towns, but I’ve lived in the SoCal beach cities (LA), Denver, and Hampton Roads. I have no idea what it’s like to be around that few people. We’re part of a FB community board for the base there and people post things like, “Does anyone have sweet eel sauce?” and “Someone’s red ball was in my backyard, I’ll put it on the porch if you wanna come get it.” They all know each other. Everyone. It’s gonna be like living with one giant (rotating) family, which has its pros and cons. Pros, close-knit, supportive, etc. Cons, no room for drama, if you don’t like someone you’re stuck with them, etc. I have no idea how I’ll feel about it once we’re there. Who knows, maybe I’ll love it. But I’m mostly afraid of feeling extremely limited and isolated. Moving to Denver was hard because I left half my family and some of the most amazing women I’ve ever known in California. Moving to Virginia was harder because I left the other half of my family and an environment that I loved. Moving to Korea? I don’t effing know. It’s scary though.

So that’s where I’m at. Awesome fitness update but huge stressors battling each other in mah head. It really is one day at a time right now, because when I let all those other things weigh on my mind it takes away from being able to enjoy the current positives, and I really need to enjoy this while I still can. Hubs hasn’t left yet, I don’t have a hole in my head yet, and we don’t live in Korea yet. I’ll try to remember that.