Monday, November 30, 2009

where did it go?

I'm referring to 2009. Seriously - where the heck did it go?

Honestly, I was just starting to get the hang of writing "2009" on checks and correspondence, and now I'm mere weeks from having to start all over again with 2010. Maybe that'll catch on a bit quicker for me. Then again...

It seems like we just wrapped up a holiday season a matter of a few months ago, snow and ice and all.

And it seems like Super Boy was just finishing kindergarten and we were excited with anticipation over the three months of summer vacation - FREEDOM - that stretched before us.

And it had to have been just yesterday when summer was winding to a close and a new school year was beginning, with Super Boy starting 1st grade and Super Girl beginning her final year of junior high.

How can it be time for Christmas once again??

I swear, I've hit a worm hole in time or something and jumped forward somehow.

My grandparents always said that if I thought time went quickly as a young person, wait and see how fast time seems to go by as you get older. At this rate, each year will literally seem to pass in the blink of an eye by the time I'm 75.

Ah, well.

I truly love this time of year, the holiday season. Complete with the lush, fresh scent of an evergreen tree in the living room, pretty presents waiting to be opened, lights decorating the house, yummy holiday baking, and time spent with family and friends reminiscing on the blessings in our lives and the wondrous year that has passed.

And so, if time must insist on passing so quickly, I'm glad it's brought me once again to this time of year.

Wishing you all a blessed and wonderful holiday season!

Super Woman

Thursday, November 19, 2009

lighter

I meant to post the evening of my surgery to let you all know how it went, but the day got away from me, and then I had a few rough days after that, so I'm just now getting to it. My apologies!

Tuesday morning, I woke up after an okay night's sleep feeling fairly calm, but I could sense the jitters lying in wait beneath the surface. So, I did what I always do to take my mind off things: I cleaned.

Between my cleaning rampages of Monday and Tuesday, my house is looking pretty good.

I cleaned right up until my mom got to my house, around 11:30am. Then, while she made herself lunch (I couldn't eat - I was banned from food after midnight Monday - so I couldn't bear the lure of yummy food), I went up and took a long, hot shower. The upside was that I didn't really have to do much to "get ready" after my shower; I wasn't allowed to wear make-up - or jewelry, or nail polish on my fingernails - for the surgery, so I just dried my hair, got dressed and was done in record time.

That left me just enough time to let Super Dog out one last time, check email and Facebook one last time, throw a few post-surgery must-haves into my bag, and head out the door to the surgery center.

Thankfully, my wait at the surgery center was mercifully short, because I could really feel the anxiety setting in once we arrived. They shuttled me into pre-op, I got into my gown and booties, and they hooked me up to an IV in short order. My anesthesiologist, a vivacious and funny woman, then came in and introduced herself.

She was awesome. She asked me all the necessary questions, after which I somewhat sheepishly shared with her my concerns about getting nauseous or vomiting from the anesthesia. She talked to me about the special "cocktail" of meds she could use to minimize the potential for nausea and vomiting as much as possible. Needless to say, I was totally on board - and in love with her - by the time that conversation ended.

Interestingly enough, I went into that day thinking I would want to remain awake for the procedure (similar to the level of anesthesia I had for my colonoscopy, where I was awake and talking, but feeling no pain or discomfort and a little bit loopy), but after talking to the anesthesiologist, I realized that I was probably better off letting her knock me out. The cocktail of drugs she was talking about using on me couldn't be used if I wanted to remain awake, and using the more standard drugs to keep me more awake would increase my odds of nausea and vomiting. Also, because the procedure to remove fibroids and polyps is more... physical than a colonoscopy, being more awake for this procedure would have also meant that I'd be likely to feel more, and that might have made me feel nauseous, too. Bottom line? Best to be asleep!

Once all the formalities were taken care of, the anesthesiologist gave me a little Versed to mellow me out (oh, how I love thee, sweet Versed!). It seemed like just minutes later they were wheeling me into the operating room. I remember boosting myself from the gurney over to the operating table, and I remember someone removing my glasses. After that - nada. I was o-u-t!

Next thing I knew, I heard someone say my name. I felt like I had taken a SUPER long and restful nap and was in the middle of a very bizarre dream when I suddenly heard my name. I opened my eyes; I was being wheeled out of the OR and into recovery.

I asked the recovery nurses how things went, and they said everything went very well - no complications, no problems. This was, of course, great news.

But for some reason, it struck me as incredibly funny.

I started giggling. I couldn't stop at giggling. Next thing I knew, I was full-on belly laughing.

Clearly it was a side effect of the anesthesia wearing off!

The nurses left me for a few moments, during which time I managed to convince myself that the single funky and beautiful piece of art on the wall was actually several matching pieces of beautiful art. I was actually surprised later when I realized that it was, in fact, only one piece of art. Like I said, the anesthesia had definitely done a number on me!

My mom was led into the recovery room, where she got an enormous kick out of my post-surgical silliness. I kept repeating the same questions, talking about the same things, giggling. In short, I think it reminded her of when I was four or five years old. Good times.

At some point, my doctor came in and talked to me about the surgery. He said he did see the fibroid and polyp and was able to remove both without any issues. He said they looked fine visually, but would still have to go to pathology to be checked, just to be safe.

By this time, my giggles were subsiding, and I remember feeling an enormous sense of relief. I survived the surgery, and all went well. Amen!!

As the anesthesia wore off, I realized that I felt really quite well. No pain, no nausea, and I was more alert than I expected to be. I drank water, drank apple juice, got up to use the bathroom, got dressed, and was ready to go home within about an hour.

Once I got home, I felt almost completely like myself. I say almost because the one thing I noticed that evening was that I had some pain when I peed. Not much bleeding though, and just a little bit of very minor cramping, not even enough to take Tylenol. All in all, not too shabby.

I took it easy, of course - ate a little chicken noodle soup and had some ginger ale from the comfort of the couch, watched some t.v. for an hour or so, and then played Monopoly City with Super Man, Super Boy, and my Super Mom for a few hours. When bedtime rolled around, I was still wide awake. The anesthesia left me so rested that I didn't feel at all tired that night, unfortunately. I read until 1:30am and then forced myself to fall asleep.

I slept poorly Tuesday night, probably because I wasn't at all tired when I finally fell asleep. It didn't help that Super Boy ended up sleepwalking in the middle of the night, either!

Despite a poor night's sleep, yesterday started off with me feeling fairly energetic and well overall. I took Super Boy to school, stopped for a coffee at Starbucks, came home and visited with my Super Mom for a few hours. When the surgery center called midday yesterday to see how I was feeling, I mentioned that I felt great other than the pain when I was experiencing during urination. I assumed that might be normal, considering that the bladder sits right in front of the uterus/cervix, and that area was obviously traumatized during surgery. Turns out, however, that it might actually be a bladder infection from the catheterization I had during surgery (which I didn't know I'd had - it was done, and removed, all while I was under anesthesia), so they said that if I still felt the pain today, to call my doctor's office and let them know.

My mom left around lunchtime because I was feeling pretty well. But as the day went on, I found myself feeling really tired, almost like I was coming down with something. After I picked Super Boy up from school in the afternoon, we came home and I laid down and fell asleep for two hours. When I woke up, I felt even worse. I was supposed to go to the book fair at Super Boy's school with Super Boy and Super Man last night, but I figured I should probably stay home and take it easy.

I called the doctor's office this morning to let them know that I was still having pain when I urinate, and they wanted me to stop in to the lab to give a urine sample, to be safe. I should hear about that in the morning. (Update 11/24/09: Did hear from the doctor on Friday; was definitely a bladder infection. Hooray! So, I'm on day 5 of an antibiotic now. Amen.)

So, aside from the unexpected bladder infection, the whole thing went FAR better than I imagined it would. I say this facetiously, but I feel lighter since the surgery. Knowing that it's behind me, that the fibroid and polyp are out and that we can move ahead with IUI in December has just lifted a huge psychological burden off my mind. I feel optimistic and hopeful again, knowing that I'm physically primed for everything to come together for another baby.

I also feel very happy and confident in my decision to switch to my current doctor at the Reproductive Medicine office. He did a great job with my surgery, has been honest and thorough in explaining things to me throughout the process, and he's hopeful that we will achieve the pregnancy we so badly want. I'm glad I trusted my gut and switched to him.

So, now we move on to bigger and better things! I will meet with my Super Doctor again on 12/1 for a post-op check-up and to set the schedule for IUI in December. I will of course update again then. Thank you for all thoughts and prayers you've sent along the way, and please keep your fingers crossed that things continue to go as well as we move forward!

With love and hope,
SW

Monday, November 16, 2009

a few words of thanks

Well, this is it, kids - tomorrow is the surgery I've alternated between dreading and eagerly awaiting just to have it behind me. Barring any unforeseen problems, twenty-four hours from now I should be back at home, resting comfortably, minus one fibroid and one polyp. And within the next forty-eight hours, you should see an update on here letting you know how things went.

I feel an enormous sense of calm tonight. Probably because I've resigned myself to the fact that there's nothing good that can come from turning back at this point. The best possible thing I can do is just stay positive and get it over with. Because once this is behind me, we can look forward to the good part of this process - the IUI. Which isn't to say that that part of the process will be FUN - no, after taking Clomid in September, I think I can safely say that it won't be FUN to have to take that again! - but at least it's forward motion, and forward motion toward our ultimate goal at that. And the bottom line is that the IUI is the best shot we have at getting the end result we most want: another child. I try to keep thinking about that whenever the anxiety about the surgery creeps back up on me again. It helps.

That said, I would be remiss if I didn't pay proper respect to the fact that surgery - ANY surgery - comes with inherent risk. This one is no different. Obviously, my biggest concern is that something will go SERIOUSLY wrong and I end up falling under that <1% of people who DIE from complications. Highly unlikely, yes; but possible. That thought lurks at the corners of my mind every moment leading up to this surgery, I will admit it. But I try not to let it steal the show. Anything else that could go wrong would be small potatoes compared to that, so if SOMETHING must happen, I just hope it's something minor in the big scheme of things!

I will only say this. IF something goes horribly wrong ...

I want my family to know how much I truly and completely love them all. My husband, my son, my stepdaughter. My mom, my dad, my stepdad and stepmom. My brothers and sisters, nieces & nephews. I am who I am because of all of you, and I love you more than I could ever possibly hope to express in words. I will trust all of you to carry on and help Super Man raise Super Boy if something happens, and I hope you will talk about me with my little boy often so he never forgets me. And a special shout-out to my mom, who has been my best friend and who is always there for me (as she will be tomorrow!) no matter what - I love you so much, and am so thankful for all you are and all you do!

To Super Man, you are my soulmate. I knew shortly after I met you that, right or wrong, good or bad, I was in it for the long haul with you. We've certainly had our ups and downs, but I still look at you and thank my lucky stars that God brought the two of us together. You have made my life fuller, better... more. You made me a mom twice, first by sharing your child with me and second by creating a child with me. I can't thank you enough for being my partner in life. I love you, baby. Always.

And to Super Boy, you are the most amazing miracle of my life - the greatest thing I've ever been a part of creating, the most rewarding job I've ever had. The sun, the moon the stars and everything wonderful and sweet and extraordinary and beautiful is all wrapped up in you. It has been an enormous honor and pleasure being your mommy; I wouldn't trade one second of it for anything in the universe. I love you with all of my heart and soul, in every cell in my body. Whenever my number is up, I want you to know that I will always be with you, will always be watching over you. I love you, more than the whole wide world, forever and ever, no matter what.

To Super Girl, I want you to know that I love you, and I'm grateful for the gift of our relationship. I never imagined that I'd become a parent by being a stepparent first, but I'm glad that it happened the way it did, and that YOU were my stepchild and not anyone else. You're a wonderful young woman, with a big, bright future ahead of you. I hope that some of who I am and what I value has rubbed off on you over the years, and that you make good choices and be the best person you can be as you make your way into the world. I want only the best for you; don't ever forget that.

And to my very best friends - you know who you are - I can't thank you enough, for everything. For all the good times, for putting up with my crazy ass over the years, for supporting me even when you thought I was making mistakes, for being there when I had great things to celebrate, for not abandoning me when the chips were down and I needed you most. I hope I have been able to give to each of you what you needed when you needed it, and that I've had a positive and lasting impact on your lives, as you have on mine. I love you!

I have been so blessed, and am grateful for every minute I've had in this life. While I firmly believe that this is not the end for me, I wanted to make sure I shared those things, just in case. Because you just never know, and I'd hate to go without saying them.

On that note, please wish me luck tomorrow, readers. Say a prayer, send good juju, think positive thoughts - whatever floats your boat! :) I am most grateful and appreciative, as always.

I look forward to sharing news of a successful and uneventful surgery in the next day or two!

With a full and grateful heart,
Super Woman

Monday, November 9, 2009

and the wheels are moving again!

I'm relieved - and, yes, a little bit nervous - to report that a date has again been set for my surgery. Barring any new illness or disaster of some sort, I'll be going in for my hysteroscopy on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 17th to remove the suspected fibroid and polyp from my uterus.

As I think I mentioned a month or so ago, we had to cancel the original surgery that had been scheduled for October 21st because I ended up catching the respiratory virus that Super Boy had the week prior, and the doctor wouldn't do the operation with me still being congested due to the risk of me developing pneumonia from the anesthesia. I'll admit that a part of me was relieved (I really wasn't READY-ready to face the prospect of surgery), but a bigger part of me was super discouraged by yet another unexpected delay putting off the start of our IUI treatments.

Knowing that we've got a date on the calendar again, and that it's just a week away, I'm praying now that all goes well and that we can manage to stay healthy so I can just get this over and done with. Assuming all goes well, I'll be on the path to IUI for December, which means so much to me, I can't even say. I'm ready for that to begin, have been ready for that since September. So I'm trying to focus less on my fear and anxiety over this surgery and more on my eagerness and excitement for getting to the GOOD part of this process!

To all who have been following along on this journey, and especially those who have expressed support and offered your assistance to me and my family, thank you. From the bottom of my heart.

Will continue to update as I have more to share...

Your hopeful pal,
SW

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My Grampa

November is such a bittersweet month for me each year.

Generally speaking, on the one hand, it marks the end of the comparatively warm, bright days of early fall and sets the stage for the onslaught of the long, cold, snowy, miserable winter, which I find utterly depressing. On the other hand, it marks the beginning of the Christmas holiday season, which - despite the cold and snow - is my favorite holiday of all.

On a more personal level, my Grampa H. - my father's father, with whom I was very close - was born on November 1st, making that day one of celebration every year. Unfortunately, he died on November 20th, back in 1998 after a short but devastating illness, making that a day of mourning and somber remembrance ever since.

I was with him when he died, in a hospital room, in the middle of a cold and snowy night, with my dad and stepmom beside me. It was an unforgettable moment, one of few such moments in life, and I was transformed by it. Completely and utterly transformed.

My Grampa was the sweetest man to ever walk the earth. He was tall but not imposing, sweet but not a pushover. He had a voice that was deep, rich with texture, and an infectious laugh that was part chuckle and part giggle. He always had a twinkle in his eyes, and he would fascinate and amaze my older sister and younger brother and I as children by wiggling his ears. While he could at times be stern and raise his voice, he was also the sort of grandfather who would happily play with us grandkids as children, and he took endless delight in watching us grow.

He loved the circus, baseball (the Brewers were his favorite), the Beer Barrel Polka, playing pool and cards, and us grandkids.

My father was an only child; as such, we were the only grandchildren. After my parents' divorce, when us kids moved with our mom to a town six hours away, we saw my grandparents only a few times a year for the rest of our childhood. My grandmother died a year after we moved away, but my grandfather lived for many years beyond. I was 24 when he died; he had lived to just past his 82nd birthday.

I, like most kids, took my grandfather for granted when I was growing up. He was so good and kind and sweet to us, but he was just "Grampa" for many years. It wasn't until I was in high school that I realized how truly blessed and lucky I was to still have him in my life. He had lived through so much that I couldn't even begin to fathom, and his life had been more complex and had contained more heartache than I ever realized until I took the time to really get to know my Grampa.

We became pen-pals toward the end of my high school years, and that continued until he passed away. We would write letters to each other every few weeks, and his always came ensconced in a sweet card of one sort or another. I'd write about my boyfriends, about my general activities, about school, and eventually about work. He'd write me about his weekly pool (billiards) group, about how all the women in his retirement apartment community were after him - one woman in particular kept leaving her "unmentionables" in the dryer when she knew my grampa was doing his laundry. And he'd also write about his health, which right up to the end had been quite good, all things considered.

He always had the right words to cheer me up or the right advice to help me make a tough decision, and no matter what, I knew that he was always in my corner. His letters were written with such love and in such detail that I could hear his voice in my head as I read each of his letters. I think that as long as I live I will never forget the sound of his voice. It was - and remains - always a comfort to me. In fact, there is a priest at the new church we've been attending for the past few months whose voice and patterns of speech remind me so much of my Grampa that I often find myself closing my eyes and smiling at the sound of it, and I've remarked to my husband a few times how much Father Larry reminds me of my Grampa.

One of the sweetest things my Grampa did had to do with my business cards. When I got my first job out of college, as an executive secretary, he had my business card laminated and he would show it to all of his friends and tell them that his granddaughter was "an executive." He was so proud!

One of the toughest things about losing my Grampa when I did was that he never met Super Man, or Super Girl, or - especially - Super Boy. He would've loved them all, and he would've loved to see me happily married with a family of my own. One of the things that drew me so to Super Man was his sweet, humble nature; it was a quality that my Grampa had, too, in spades. He didn't always approve of the guys I dated, but I think he would've loved my husband.

We had started dating several months prior to my Grampa passing away, but we weren't yet serious enough that I would bring Super Man "home" with me to meet him. I regret that often. Then again, the timing wasn't right for it then, and I had no way of knowing that my Grampa would die so soon.

When I was pregnant with Super Boy, once we found out at the ultrasound that he was a boy, I told Super Man that - no matter what - his middle name had to be my grandfather's name. As it turned out, the name we chose as Super Boy's first name - Super Man's paternal grandfather's name - ended up fitting perfectly with my grandfather's name. Super Boy knows who he was named after, and why. He likes that his names are special, that they are of his family.

And once Super Boy's personality started to show, I had the oddest feeling that my child, who is and has always been so indescribably perfect and in sync with me, was hand-picked in heaven by my Grampa. While they may not have met on this side of life, I believe with all my heart that they met on the other side. Super Boy has so much of my Grampa in his personality, as well, and it charms and enchants me to no end.

Fortunately, it is not only my son who shares many of my Grampa's traits: my younger brother looks exactly like my Grampa did as a young man, and my brother is also one of the sweetest people ever to walk the earth. I'm so glad that the best parts of a great man still live on in our family today. It comforts my soul.

I miss you much, Grampa. I think of you often, I see you and hear you often, and I know that you are my and my family's guardian angel, always.

With all my love,
SW