Thursday, October 9, 2008

I'm back. And I'm sorry!

Hello, faithful, devoted, and - most importantly - patient readers of my blog. Yes, I'm back. And - I know, I know - I owe you an apology. A HUGE apology.

I've been away for far too long. Some of you who know me personally have gently hinted to me in recent weeks that you've been checking my blog every few days hoping to see some entertaining new posts only to find, well, nothing. And I feel really badly about that, I do. It's embarrassing, really.

I can't even give you a really good reason for my long absence from the computer. Because, technically, I haven't actually been absent from my computer; I've only been absent from my blogging responsibilities. And for that, I have no good excuse.

I've felt very... blah lately. I've wanted to write, truly I have. I just wasn't feeling particularly inspired by anything. Rather, I've felt periodic bursts of inspiration, but nothing to get me to commit to spending a solid 30-60 minutes on my blog putting my thoughts on the screen in a coherent and enjoyable manner. (Although, come to think of it, my thoughts are rarely coherent even if they might pass as enjoyable...!)

Is it my typical Seasonal Affective Disorder rearing its ugly head a tad early? Hm... could be, a little bit. I always get a little blue at this time of year as the days get shorter and colder, heralding the imminent onset of my sworn enemy, Old Man Winter. And perhaps my dread of winter is worse this year because last winter simply would not end, and was chock full of record snowfalls, bitter cold and dreary, blink-of-an-eye days. I truly cannot bear even the thought of a repeat of last winter, and I mean that with all of my heart and soul. So, yes, it's possible that my annual tango with SAD has already begun.

I think there's also a stress component to my "blah" feelings of late. As I may have mentioned (if not here, then over on This Mommy Gig), my wonderful husband Super Man was downsized out of his job at the end of June. And while he recently received - and, most importantly, accepted - a fantastic offer from a superb company (he starts his new position on Monday - hurrah!), the span of time between his job loss and, say, two weeks ago was a difficult time for us.

I should note that Super Man and I agreed from very early on that we were NOT going to allow ourselves to completely freak out over the fact that NEITHER of us had jobs once he was laid off, and I am proud to say that I think we both handled the situation extremely well in the circumstances. He was diligent in his networking and interviewing; I was steadfast in my support and encouragement and assistance, and thus a situation that has caused many marriages to crumble only seems to have made ours stronger than ever. In fact, we both feel a certain sadness at the prospect of him returning to work: we've fallen into such a lovely routine of taking our son to school together, grabbing coffee together and then running errands or doing projects or housework together, that the idea of NOT being able to do any of that anymore is sort of depressing. Thank God for the weekends is all I can say! :)

But back to the issue of stress... While we were better prepared financially than many who face unexpected unemployment, and we had the resources at hand to cover our usual expenses for up to nine months or more, it was still a constant thought looming at the back of our minds, that neither of us was earning money. Him due to the "reduction in force" at his company, and me because I've been a stay-at-home mom for over a year now. That said, my SAHM status was definitely called into question by both of us as a result of Super Man's job loss. Neither of us wanted to make any rash decisions about my working status (we both knew that, with our luck, I'd rush to get a full-time job again only for him to get a FABULOUS new job the week after, and then I'd be stuck working full-time again when that's not what we had wanted for me at this point), but the longer Super Man was without a new job, the larger that possibility loomed in our minds. At the very least, the subject of me taking a part-time job has become practically an ongoing dialogue.

In all truth, I don't mind the idea of going back to work part-time. I just have NO idea what I want to do, or where I'd want to do it. And while Super Man DOES have opinions on both of those matters, at this point I'm not sure that I agree with them. And since it's MY life that will be most affected by my decisions on those two topics, I think that MY opinions and ideas should be my primary consideration in making the decision of where to work and what to do. Needless to say, my lack of focus, or purpose, or whatever you want to call it, combined with the struggle I'm having with Super Man to figure it all out, has put some low-key - but near constant - stress on me.

I need a plan. And for the first - well, no, actually, the second - time in my adult life, I don't have one.

For a borderline control freak like myself, that's a scary place to be, my friends!

On top of all of that, I've had my increasingly irritating yet ever ongoing health crap to contend with. It's not bad enough that my husband lost his job and had a finite period of benefits coverage, but then I had to have more medical mysteries crop up beyond the old standards in my life (i.e., the ongoing abnormal Paps for which they have no cause, etc.). The most recent addition to my medical portfolio has been pain in my lower right side. At first, I worried that maybe my appendix was involved because the pain came on suddenly and rather aggressively one night nearly three weeks ago. But by the time I went to bed that night, it had subsided enough that I was able to sleep, and although it was still there in the morning, it was fairly low-key, I wasn't running a fever, and I had no nausea or vomiting. Still, my nurse practitioner Super Sister felt I should call my doctor and at least talk to her about what was going on, if not go in to see her. She said she wanted to see me by the end of that week if the pain was not gone, and so I saw her two Fridays ago. She palpated my abdomen and pelvis and ultimately felt that the pain was more likely ovary-related than appendix-related, and she ordered a pelvic ultrasound for me.

I had the ultrasound late last week and found out on Monday of this week that the ultrasound came back normal. That said, they did see several small, benign cysts on both my ovaries, though none which were large enough to be causing my as yet ongoing pain. They believe that perhaps I'd had a larger cyst on the right ovary that had already burst, thus causing the more severe pain I'd felt the week before, but they don't know for sure. Aside from the small ovarian cysts, they saw nothing else of concern. My internist said that if the pain continues over the next few weeks, she wants me to have an abdominal CT to rule out anything else.

There's a part of me that almost hopes the pain DOES continue and that I DO need to have a CT, because I'm praying that it might at least provide a concrete answer to ONE of the medical mysteries I've experienced in the past 18+ months, if not more. I mean, think about it: Super Man and I have been trying for over two-and-a-half years for a second baby with no success; I've been having on-and-off abnormal Pap smears (AGCUS type, not the more common and generally benign ASCUS type) for the past 12+ months; I had unexplained rectal bleeding last fall and ended up having a colonoscopy at 33 which thankfully showed nothing worse than a few internal hemorrhoids and a small area of diverticula; I had an unexplained 50% IMPROVEMENT in my vision in a matter of months for no known reason and had to have a full blood work-up because my eye doctor feared it might be a sign of diabetes (nope; I was utterly and completely normal); I've had the pesky problem of coming thisclose to passing out TWICE while doing strenuous physical activity despite being in pretty good physical condition (well, the second time, at least!); and now I'm having unexplained intermittent but ongoing pain in my lower right side.

Why are these things happening? No one seems to know! Every test they run comes back fine. They say, "Well, at least we know that X isn't being caused by cancer. But, sorry, we have no idea what IS causing X." While it's enormously reassuring to know that it's not The Big C causing the problems (at least as far as we know), it's still troubling that they cannot tell me what is causing the problems. I feel like I'm constantly waiting for the other shoe to fall, for them to run the one test that connects all the dots and puts the last - but obviously most important - piece of the puzzle into place. And my fear is that that missing piece is the one that reveals that some sort of cancer actually is behind all of it.

It's morbid of me to think that; I know. But I can't help it. I'm a reasonably young woman (34!) with a young child who is my heart and soul, a husband I adore, a stepdaughter at a difficult point in life, and a life I love; how can I NOT worry about the unknowns when they have the power to destroy my whole universe?

But... it hasn't all been bad. Super Boy started full day kindergarten and LOVES it. He's thriving, happy, learning, growing and eager to go to school each day. He's gotten the gist of all the routines, he's made a bunch of new friends, and I've thoroughly enjoyed being more involved in his classroom this year, both as one of the two room moms and as a general volunteer for other activities.

I've also been helping out the librarian at Super Boy's school - who happens to be a friend from my neighborhood - as she rearranges her book collections and updates her systems, which is something I greatly enjoy. You know me, the eternal book-lover, and I find the school library to be such a wonderful, enchanted place. In addition to that, I'm going to be helping out with some of the administrative work at our church on a volunteer basis, because they need the help and because I have a huge amount of skill and expertise in that area that I want to share for the betterment of our congregation. We've been woefully uninvolved in our church over the past few years and we're trying, very hard, to rectify that this year.

Super Man and I have also gotten a LOT accomplished around the house over the past few months. We purged all the unnecessary and unused stuff from every room on every floor of our house, from the basement to the bedrooms, and held not one but TWO enormous rummage sales about a month ago. We made a killing between the two sales, and still loaded up my Odyssey for three trips to Goodwill to take all the remaining items there for others to enjoy and put to use. Super Man and my Super Dad insulated our attic and the flat roofed areas of our house, and my Super Dad and I cut down three trees and did a bunch of work around our yard when he visited us a few weeks ago. And Super Man has redone our back patio, torn up the patio back by our garage so we can plant a garden next spring, and is also building a deck off the side of the house! We may not have been employed, but we certainly were productive. :)

Anyway... Back to the original purpose for this post: I'm sorry I've been away, sorry I haven't been writing, sorry I haven't given you anything entertaining to read lately. I've been thinking about it - and about all of you - often. Very often. I just didn't know what to say or how to say it, and I couldn't seem to stop riding the rollercoaster of my life long enough to just sort it out.

With my husband going back to work next week, I'm hoping I'll have the time and space to work out what I want to do with myself for 15-20 hours per week. I'll let you know once I figure it out! And since we'll have money coming in again, I DEFINITELY plan to get back to the gym again so I can at least get my body back in the shape I was in earlier in the summer even if I have to keep dealing with stupid unexplained health issues. ;) And with my husband out of my hair and not around to rope me into helping with any more of his big house/yard projects, I think I might be able to get some more writing time in. I think. I hope... ;)

Missed you, and I'll be back again soon!

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