Sunday, August 28, 2016

IN-SOM-NI-A!!

I--CAN'T--SLEEP!!!!!  And it's making me crazy.  It's been getting increasingly worse.  First, I was falling asleep fine, but then waking for long stretches in the middle of the night.  Now, I can't get to sleep at all.  I am trying to figure out what is bothering me, what problem, what stress, I am holding too near.  But I can't put my finger on it.  It's everything.  It's nothing in particular.  It's 1:23 am and I've been in bed for hours, and I've not yet gone to sleep.

I have my next big checkup soon, to see if the cancer has come back.  Part of me thinks it has not, and part of me thinks so.  And I can't bear to think about it, and mostly, about what it will mean for our dear girls, if it has.  I hope, I pray, that it will never come back.  But I live in the grey no man's land of uncertainty, with a history of a rare disease, and bereft of doctors who can or will say much about what might happen next.  (This is not for lack of trying.  I'm being seen at a world-renowned facility.  There just are not a lot of cases like mine.  And in that regard I am lucky, because they caught it early, which means there is reason to hope.).

I think this is why I've been so fixated on next career moves lately.  Because I yearn to plan forward, to be able to say that YES, I will be here tomorrow, and the months and years after that. . .which none of us REALLY has the ability to say with certainty, but we THINK we do, and I yearn for that illusion again, the one that you have when you are young and healthy and invincible, and you think the night will never come for you.  And maybe I'm totally fine, in which case I should be out there thinking about career things and living my life.  And maybe I'm not, in which case, I shouldn't worry about the future, and should just be sucking the marrow out of the moment.

Hmmm.....maybe I should be sucking the marrow out of the moment either way.  Food for thought.

Maybe I'll try to meditate for a bit now, amongst the husband snores and sleeping child elbows.  Perhaps putting the fear into words has released me from its stranglehold.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Work, Work, Play

Things have been crazy again around here.  The girls stayed up in New England with T for a couple of weeks, while I had to come back here and work, work, work.  It was a long couple of weeks without them.  I thought I would try to accomplish a few projects around the house while they were gone, but it just didn't happen.  Instead, I worked.  This past week, I was in the office one night until nine and another until midnight.  Meanwhile, I was still being pressed to go on the business trip for two weeks (I'm not going!).  Sheer madness.

So as work craziness continues, I've been thinking about how best to manage career vs. family, professional life vs. personal.  There is the one job that I've had my eye on for a really long time, which MIGHT happen. . .but I'm still not convinced it's going to happen.  It's potentially worth holding out for, though, as the quality of life would likely be very good. There is another job that I've had my eye on that is right up my alley, but I think the hours would not be much of an improvement, and possibly would be worse.  Then, surprisingly, I got an email out of the blue about a third job I hadn't even contemplated--it's potentially interesting, and I'm still exploring it.

I've been procrastinating on actually submitting my materials on the second job, and after tinkering with my resume for hours tonight, I finally just decided not to apply.  My lack of enthusiasm in drafting my resume should tell me something.  It would be a fascinating job, and I would be really good at it. . .but it's just not what I need right now.  There are upsides to it (i.e., less moving around for my family--in my current field, moves are a necessary evil).  But, I. . .just can't.  I want to want it, because I know I would love it.  But my personal life needs something really different right now.

As for the third job. . .I'm still thinking.  There are upsides and there are downsides.

But for now, I'm on vacation with the girls--one final week of play before Miss M heads off to first grade, and SB to preschool.  It is so lovely to have them back home, and I'm thrilled to be able to spend time with them after the last few lonely, hectic weeks.


Monday, August 15, 2016

#Microblog Monday: Life Malnutrition

In recent weeks, life has slowed down a bit due to family vacations, and we've had a breather from our "regular" hamster-wheel routine of school/camp/commute/work/dinner/errands/kids activities/life/rinse-lather-repeat.  It's given me some space to step back and contemplate.  In short, with the slower pace of the last few weeks, I feel like I can breathe again.

This pace we are living at here in America is no good.  I have known it for a long while now, but this down time really made me realize that much as the body starts to eat into muscle while extremely calorie-starved, this life is eating away at my soul.  I am moving so fast trying to keep all of the balls in the air that I have pared the "me" parts of my life down to the bone.  There is nothing "extra" left, and I've realized that as I try to support my family financially, ensure that the kids are having the life I want for them, further my career, etc., etc., entire parts of me are being extinguished as I've moved into mere survival mode.

I'm trying to envision ways to find better balance, but it's incredibly hard.  I said "no" this week to a two week business trip that would have been a huge professional opportunity that could have led to other things--but would have meant missing Miss M's first day of school at her new school, and possibly also canceling my upcoming second week of vacation (which I wanted to take weeks ago, but was forced to push off because of other professional obligations).  Oh, and they only gave me two weeks' notice of the trip.

Was saying "no" a good idea?  Personally, yes; professionally no.  Is that "balance"?  I suppose that depends what happens from here. . .if I miss out on a professional opportunity that I'm currently seeking that would mean fewer hours, because I didn't take this trip, that would be a loss for all of us. . .but then there is the first day of school, which is something.  It MEANS something to be there in the morning and take her in.  It MEANS something to have this upcoming week of vacation together.  It MEANS something to be there at the end of the day to talk about how her day went, in person and not on FaceTime.  It MEANS something to tuck her in that first week.

The struggle continues.


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Health Update

First, my appointment regarding the genetic testing went WELL.  So well.  I didn't test positive for any genetic mutations, and there were no mutations at all of unknown significance--which is a grey area that can happen, where they know a gene isn't normal, but they can't tell you the significance of that mutation, because they don't yet know the impact.  Everything they looked at was NORMAL.

This was a huge, huge, huge relief, because they told me at my initial pre-testing appointment that the transmission rate for all of these things was 50%, and I was terrified about what this could have meant for the girls.  And oh yeah, me, too.  But, all was normal.  Sheer, sheer, relief.


I could tell in my appointment that they were a bit surprised, given my family history, that they didn't find any mutations.  They told me that they did a much broader panel for me than they normally do for most people--they tested for a pile of things.  In short, in the end, they said that the appendix thing that happened to me was just shit luck, as opposed to having a genetic underpinning.  They'd like me to come back in 5-7 years to update them on family history, if I have a spare minute.  And they want me to eat healthy.  :)

I'm still nervous about health stuff.  I have my regular re-screening in a few weeks re: the appendix thing.  I will be very nervous.  But for now, in this moment, all is okay.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Anxious

Yesterday at 4:30 they called to tell me that the genetics testing was back, and they moved my appointment up to this afternoon. It was so unexpected and my appointment was still so far away that I had not even worried about the results much yet.

I'm on my way to the appointment now, and I am worried. It didn't help th public transportation here is a mess right now, and I missed the train I had planned to take. I had to pay a small pile of extra money to take the high speed train so that I can make my appointment, which is outside the city.

I am hoping for the best, because the alternative would really, really suck.

Monday, July 11, 2016

#Microblog Monday: School Clothes?

We have been at uniform schools for the last few years.  I LOVE school uniforms.  It makes life so very easy on school mornings.  Once school ended this year, I discovered how very hard it is to get SB dressed, in particular.  I bought her a bunch of different summer clothes, and she basically refused to wear anything but ONE skort and ONE tank top (which thankfully came in a number of colors).  I'm dreading school shopping, but know I need to start, because September will be here before I know it!

Both of my girls prefer skirts and dresses.  I can't get either one to wear jeans.  I've been joking that their fashion sense generally comes down to:  a) is it pink; b) could you eat four helpings of Thanksgiving dinner in it comfortably?; and c) would a 65 year wear it to a Jersey casino?  If all three, then it is TOTALLY up their alley.

So now I'm trying to figure out where to shop and what to buy.

Where do you buy comfortable, affordable school clothes?

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Summertime

Things are, as they always are in America, hectic.  The girls have finished up school, and have been attending two different summer camps.  SB strongly prefers the camp at her preschool, because they don't make her nap.  She comes home dirty, happy, and gloriously exhausted.  Miss M has not yet attended that camp (her school got out later), and strongly prefers the camp that they have been at since she got out of school.  She has been crying and yelling when we raise the fact that her preferred camp got booked up for the next few weeks, so she will be attending the camp at SB's preschool (which is also for older kids).  SB, meanwhile, is delighted.  She loathes the camp they've been going to, as they make her nap.  The side effect of this is that she is up until 10pm every night.  It is remarkable how little sleep the child needs, and a source of much consternation.  I tried talking to the camp about the nap, but they are utterly inflexible about it.  I think it's weird that they have a rest time  for 4 year olds.  But, we managed to soldier through it, with none of horrible fallout that we had over the school year.  We are soooo looking forward to next week's camp, and are sure Miss M will love it once she's there.  She used to run ahead to get to SB's preschool when we dropped her off, so she had a few minutes to play before I dragged her out of there to take her to her own school.  It truly is a magical place.

We have to sign the contract this week for preschool for next year.  They've been blessedly silent about it until now, so we let it go as we watched to see how things were going to shake out with our international options.  I am in the running for a job in the Caribbean, but we still don't know how it will pan out.  Honestly, although it will be a really tight situation financially, I'm fine with staying another year.  It would be really great if we got to stay another year AND the job in the Caribbean came through for next year.  After (what would then be) two years of chaotic "first world" parenting, slow island pace sounds pretty amazing to me.  The only fly in this ointment is that the job may come through much sooner than expected, like by the end of the summer.  So basically, I'm in the running for a job with an undetermined availability date, as they haven't decided yet when they will fill the job.  And of course, they may still decide to go with another candidate, because that's life.

We had a fabulous Fourth of July.  We did a spur-of-the-moment overnight trip to the shore.  We had a wonderful couple of days hiking, playing in the bay, swimming in the hotel pool, getting ice cream along the boardwalk, eating fresh seafood, and visiting a really amazing sculpture/fairy garden.  It was really amazing to be out in the country.  I felt like I could finally. . .breathe.  Being in the country is definitely my happy place.  Except.  Three days after we got back, I developed the unmistakable tattoo of Lyme disease on my leg.  We did a 3.5 mile hike with the girls, and they did really amazing, and I never saw a tick on me. But the trailhead had huge signs warning of a serious tick problem/Lyme disease in the area, and I vaguely recall feeling something on my leg in the location where the rash eventually appeared, and scraping something small with my nail.  In hindsight, it was likely a tiny deer tick, and I likely knocked it off and left the head; I didn't think to look at the time, because I was busy with the chaos that is little kids.  Ticks have to be on your body for 24 hours to transmit the disease, but if you leave the head, it can continue to exude saliva and infect you, apparently.  Luckily, being from Northern New England, I'm familiar with the bulls-eye rash that is the signature of Lyme disease, and I went straight to urgent care for antibiotics the moment I saw it.  I never actually felt bad, so hopefully there will be no long-term effects.

What else?  The girls have three more weeks of summer camp, and then T and I have four weeks off between us.  We're taking the girls to New England for the month to spend time with family and friends.  They'll do two weeks with me and two weeks with T.  It's a huge bummer that we can't vacation as a family, but T doesn't have any time built up, since he's relatively new in his job, and I couldn't get more than two weeks off this summer because things are a little crazy at work.  Nevertheless, it will be good for the kids.  I'm a little nervous, because we are spending it all at family lake houses, and the idea of the girls around the water without me terrifies me.  But I'm trying not to be neurotic. . .easier said than done.

Oh, and my doctor had recommended cancer genetic testing based on my family history.  It took me six months to get the appointment, but I finally had it, and decided to move forward with the testing.  It is a little stressful, but once I learned that if I am a carrier, there is a 50% chance I could have passed it on to the girls, it was a no-brainer.  Hopefully, I will not be a carrier for any of the gene mutations, and that will be that.  They told me that one possibility is that they'll find a gene mutation that they do not yet know the significance of, which ends up being kind of a question mark.  Ergh.  Hopefully, it will all just be normal and unremarkable.

It looks like it's going to be another scorcher here.  I won't lie.  I LOVE the hot weather.  I'm looking forward to trying out the ginger melon popsicles I made last night, and visiting the local pool.