Vent

I’m a venter.  I vent.  These days?  I vent a lot.

It’s been brought to my attention several times that venting is so negative and I just need to embrace the positive in life.  Huh.  Well, if you knew me at all, you’d know I’m pretty aware of all that’s good in my life and beyond grateful for it.

The thing is, I don’t seen venting as such a negative thing.  For me, it’s a coping mechanism.  It’s like breathing out the bad so I can breath in the good.  If I can say, “Gah!  That sucked,” I can let go of the suck and go back to snuggling my babies.  Does that make sense.

So yeah, I’m a venter.  Right now, I vent because my dad is dying.  Probably within the next few weeks.  My heart is heavy and very, very sad.  Right now, I’m not in a positive place about this particularly traumatic event that’s taking place in my family.  That doesn’t mean I’m not aware of all the wonderful things in my life or that I’m not grateful for the time I’ve had with my dad.  It just means that watching my dad waste away into a shell of the man he once was is hard, and sometimes I need to say that out loud…even if it’s just to the great wide nothingness of the internet.

That’s all I have to say about that.

The Beginning of the End

I alluded to this in my last post and I’ve talked about it on twitter, but I’ve gotten a lot of emails from people wanting more explanation, so here goes.

In case you weren’t already aware, my dad has prostate cancer.  He has been fighting the good fight for over ten years.  That is not an exaggeration.  It hasn’t been a little bit of treatment, remission, cancer comes back.  It’s been ten years of cancer.  I can’t even begin to tell you how many rounds of chemo he has done.  10 years worth, I guess.

He’s had good years and bad years.  The past few years have definitely been hard, and this past year has been the worse.  Still, over the holidays, even though he didn’t look great, it seemed like he could get through and keep fighting away.

Not anymore.  My dad has been rapidly declining over the past couple of months.  He spends most of his time in bed.  He’s lost 35 pounds.  He can barely hold his 12 pound granddaughters.  After this most recent round of chemo landed him in the hospital again, my dad has made the choice to stop treatment.  He will do home hospice and pain management until…well, until the end.  It could be weeks or months…we just don’t know.

I am very, very sad and very, very angry right now.  I hate that this is happening to our family.  I am so angry that my siblings and I have to go through this.  I’m angry that my step-mom has to deal with this.  I’m angry that my daughters won’t remember their grandfather.

I keep thinking about the fact that we won’t get to have Christmas together anymore.  I keep wondering where I’m going to go to buy funeral dresses for my daughters to wear.  I’m terrified when the phone rings, and every time I see my dad I wonder if it’s going to be the last time I ever see him.

I’m also tired of all the advice.  I’ve gotten several emails this weekend from people trying to make this sound all lovely and romantic.  He’s stopping treatment, so now he can run off to Paris and live it up in his last days.  You guys?  It’s not like that at all.  The reality here is much uglier.  My dad is too weak to get out of bed.  He’s not going to Paris.  He’s going to be drugged up and sick until he dies.  That sucks.  And no, I don’t want to hear about the magic diet that cured your aunt’s cancer, or how you know this guy who was practically dead but he tried acupuncture and was saved.  That’s just not helpful to me right now.

I’m happy for my dad that he’s at peace with his decision, and I really do believe it’s the right choice.  That doesn’t mean that I can’t be sad and angry.  I’m about to lose my daddy, and I have the right to stomp my feet, pout, cry, and feel however I want to feel about it.

I’m really struggling with whether or not to leave comments open or not.  I’m going to try it, but I am begging you to please not try to give me advice on how to fix the situation.  There is no fixing here.  Just a lot of pain and sadness that needs to be worked through.

Green Eyed

This post is an attempt to work through some issues with infertility that I am still (yes, still) dealing with.  I guess you could call it a New Year’s Resolution, but I’m working on letting go of all of this…

I’m jealous that you got what I so desperately wanted without blinking an eye.  I’m jealous that without even trying, you created a miracle.  That you didn’t have surgery or hormone injections.  That you didn’t have blood work and ultrasounds every other day.  That it didn’t cost you thousands of dollars.  I’m jealous.

I’m jealous that your pregnancy was so easy and lovely.  I’m jealous that you went to Zumba while I could barely walk up the stairs.  That you didn’t have constant, nerve-wracking, high-risk monitoring.  That you didn’t have gestational diabetes and could eat whatever you wanted.  That you didn’t have preterm labor and non-stop contractions for over a month.  I’m jealous.

I’m jealous that you had the birth you wanted.  I’m jealous that you got to follow through with the birth plan you pictured in your head, the plan you planned for.  That you didn’t have to have major surgery in order to give birth.  That you got to be an active participant in bringing your child into this world.  I’m jealous.

I’m jealous that you got to take your baby home with you.  I’m jealous that the first time you held your baby was right after you gave birth.  That you got to change diapers without nurses standing over you.  That you never had to leave your baby behind.  That you aren’t still paying the medical bills.  I’m jealous.

I’m jealous that you get to nurse your baby.  I’m jealous that you never have to worry about supply.  That your nipples aren’t cracked and bloody.  That you don’t spend half your day hooked up to a breast pump.  That breastfeeding means baby snuggles and not hard plastic.  I’m jealous.

Mostly, though, I’m jealous that you’ll get to do this all again.  That when you put away your baby clothes, you are saving them for next time.  That it will be such a simple decision to try again.  That you’ll be successful at building your family.

I’m jealous.

Lost

It seems that I’ve lost my engagement ring.

I’m just sick over it.

Yes, I’m sure I’ve looked everywhere.  I’m 99.9999999% certain that it got scooped off of my nightstand and into the trash during a cleaning spree.

I feel absolutely wretched.

I spent most of yesterday crying very ugly tears.  I can’t even think about it without tearing up.

It’s amazing how something so small can leave such an epic hole in my heart.

It seems that I’ve lost my engagement ring.

It was lovely and perfect, and I’m heartbroken.

Generational Failure

I met the love of my life when I was in college.

We got married about 2 weeks after he graduated, and just as I was finishing up my graduate degree.

I got a “traditional” job with regular hours and health insurance.

We got a dog.

We bought a house in the suburbs with a fenced backyard.

We got a second dog.

We made career advancements.

We faced infertility.

We are now expecting twin daughters.

According to much of what I read on the internet from my generation, I’m living a formulaic life.  I’m living a life that is surely sucking my will to live.  I’m living a life that couldn’t possibly make me happy.  I am a failure to my generation.

Now, I get that my life has followed a fairly traditional path that doesn’t work as a path to happiness for many people.  I get that it’s not a particularly sexy or exciting life to the casual onlooker.  That’s fine.

What I don’t get is why my generation can’t write about their sexy, exciting lives without bashing the life that I’ve chosen.  A life, I’d like to point out, that makes me ridiculously happy.  A life that, for me, is sexy, exciting, and adventurous.  At the end of the day, it’s about living a fulfilling life.  It’s about living a life that makes you happy.  There’s just no need to compare my life to a death trap in order for a non-traditionalist to live a happier life.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with choosing a non-traditional path to your life, nor do I think there’s anything wrong with choosing a traditional path.  What’s wrong is choosing a path that doesn’t make you happy.  What’s wrong is choosing a path that’s about the destination and not the journey.

I’ll happily continue enjoying this journey on my formulaic, traditional life path…I’d just appreciate not having my happiness dragged through the mud.

———-

I specifically did not link to posts or name any names because I honestly believe that the people who write these things often don’t mean to be insulting.  They are defending their often criticized way of life. It just seems that they forget not to throw stones themselves sometimes.

Some New Goals

This week, I made a big decision.  I decided to stop my RDI supervision, and I feel fantastic about it.  The truth is, doing it wasn’t making me happy.  Sure, it might have brought me some future happiness, but it was bringing me current stress and pain.  As my dad always says, happiness is a journey, not a destination.  So, I gave myself permission to just go on a journey, and to not worry so much about the destination.  I feel as if a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  Sure, there’s still a lot of weight there, but my general mood is considerably improved.  The best part is that I feel really great about this decision.

So, now that I actually have some time for myself again, I’ve decided to take a cue from Ashley and Kyla.  I’m setting some goals for myself for the month of December.  It’s time to find a way to be me again.  It’s time to take care of my spirit for a little while.  So, in December, I will…

Read. I used to be a huge reader, but this year, I’ve barely been able to get through a book.  I’ve been reading the same book for two full cycles now.  So, my goal for December is to finish my current book and read three more.  I’m so excited to get started!

Yoga & Meditation.  I need to spend some time taking care of my body.  I love doing yoga, and thanks to Rachel and Erini, I have a brand new Wii Fit Plus to customize my yoga routines!  It’s my goal to practice yoga three times a week, and to meditate on myself, my health, and my goals daily.

Clean. My house is a mess.  It makes me feel messy and disorganized.  So, I’m pledging to spend 10 minutes a day cleaning something in my house.

That’s it for now.  I figure that I can work on all three of these goals in an hour a day, and an hour a day for me is not too much to ask for.

———-

In baby-making news, today I am really in need of a cup of tea and someone who understands.

On Who I Am as a Woman

I never really thought I’d be here.

In college, I went through a terrible break-up.  After a lot of soul-searching, I found myself getting this tattoo:

It’s a goddess symbol that represents the three phases of womanhood — maiden, mother, and crone.  At the time, it was very empowering for me as it represented all that I had yet to do as a woman.  A little life map engraved on my skin.

For the past year, though, my tattoo has nagged at me.  I’ve felt stuck in terms of who I am as a woman.  I’m neither a maiden, nor a mother yet, so where does that leave me?  In limbo, it seems.

I never really thought I’d be here.

Wait.  That’s not exactly true.  I had an inkling that this could happen.  Certainly, it’s the stuff of nightmares for any mother-to-be.  Still, I never thought that my infertility would come to define the woman that I am today.  Truthfully, though, this whole experience has taught me a lot about the kind of woman I am, and the kind of woman I want to be.  It’s shaped me in ways no other experience in my life has.

I’m proud of the woman that I am.

I’m proud that I’ve been able to turn my passion into a career that I love.

I’m proud that I have a wonderful and successful marriage.

I’m proud that I can be a support to my family and friends.

Mostly, though, I’m proud that I’ve decided to share this journey with you.  I’m proud to be someone who stands up and says, “I’m trying to have a baby, and it’s not going well.”  I’m proud that most of the people in my life know what’s going on.  I’m proud that I’m able to share that with them, educate them, and laugh with them about the ups and downs of infertility.  I’m proud of not hiding my struggle.

I never really thought I’d be here.  This certainly isn’t where I had hoped or expected to be.  Still, despite all the pain, I’m glad I’m here.  I’m a better woman for it.

Helpless

I’m feeling really helpless today.  I took the day off of work because I’m beyond stressed, I’m sick, and I need to recuperate in a hurry.  Here’s what’s currently on my plate:

  • My dad is in the hospital.  The new chemo he was trying just destroyed his white blood cell count.  We saw him on Monday night, and he didn’t look good.  Now he’s in the hospital.  His kidneys have failed, and he will likely have to do dialysis.  It just sucks.  It sucks when someone you love is sick, and you have absolutely no control over the situation.  I wish there was something I could do to fix this, but there isn’t.
  • Ted is changing stores again.  It’s not the end of the world, but the new store will be at least an hour away.  We don’t know where he’s going yet as the company is trying to decided where best to use his talents.  It was so nice having him at a store that was 10 minutes away.  This just means more time away from Ted, which I hate.  Plus, he’s stressed, and there’s nothing I can do to make the situation better.
  • Saturday is my 29th birthday, and I’m spending my weekend getting inseminated.  Everyone expects me to be so excited about this, but I’m not.  I can’t let myself get excited.  Getting excited means thinking about pregnancy announcements and baby names.  Getting excited means horrific disappointment when it doesn’t work out like I want it to.  I’m currently fighting a horrible cold, and I’m extremely stressed…it would be a miracle if I got pregnant this weekend.  There is so much pressure on me to get pregnant.  The truth is, I have no control over whether or not that happens…but at the end of the day it’s my body that failed to perform.  Suck.

So yeah.  Helpless.  That’s where I’m at today.

Save the Dads

My dad is 57 years old.  He retired this year.  In case you weren’t aware, my dad has prostate cancer.  He’s been battling cancer for nine years.  Yup.  Nine.  And that’s nine years of cancer…not cancer, remission, cancer…just cancer.  He’s had surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and just about every kind of experimental drug or treatment out there.  He has an entire pharmacy on the kitchen counter.  He gets to deal with all kinds of crazy drug side effects.  While we enjoy a good laugh as his bathroom troubles, it’s really not funny.  Currently, the cancer lives in his spine.  He’s in pain most of the time.  His doctors say that as long as the cancer stays in his bones, they can keep him alive for a long time.  My dad wants a grandbaby, and I really want to be able to give him one.  He’s hung on for so long, but I wonder every day how much longer he can do this.

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.  Did you know?  Probably not.  Most cancers aren’t lucky enough to have the press that breast cancer does.  Now, before everybody jumps all over me and starts the hate mail, I know that breast cancer is a serious disease.  I’m aware that it deserves press.  I am not in any way implying that breast cancer isn’t serious and doesn’t affect millions of people.  I’m just trying to bring my cause to your attention.  Obviously, I support breast cancer research.  I support any cancer research, but I monetarily support prostate cancer because it affects my life daily.  Ask me for a donation to your 3-Day walk, and I will happily donate to the Zero Project in my dad’s name.

This post is supposed to be educational, so let’s talk about some facts:

  • Prostate cancer is diagnosed every 2 minutes and 15 seconds; it is the most diagnosed cancer among American men.
  • Prostate cancer takes one life every 15 minutes.
  • One in six American men is at a lifetime risk for prostate cancer.
  • If a close relative has prostate cancer, a man’s risk of the disease more than doubles. With two relatives, his risk increases five times. With three close relatives, his risk is about 97 percent.
  • Prostate cancer represents 33 percent of all new cancer cases in American men. That’s more new cases than any other cancer.

Prostate cancer is a serious disease, and more needs to be done to raise awareness and to find a cure.  Please consider passing this information on or making a donation to the Zero Project.  It’s too late for my dad, but it might not be too late for yours.

A Lot of Weekend Randomness

Thursday — Ted and I walked down to our village’s River Fest.  We didn’t do much while were there.  Basically, we rode the ferris wheel, took entirely too many pictures on and off of the ferris wheel, ate a funnel cake, and walked home.  Still, it was a lovely summer night…

It was a little rickety!

Handsome hubby.

Friday: Oh, Friday.  In case you didn’t get the message, Friday sucked in a major way.  Let’s do a brief, bullet-y recap…

  • Got my period along with cramps of death.
  • Called to schedule some tests, including an HSG, as per Baby-Making Clinic’s instructions.
  • Baby-Making Clinic is having trouble finding me an appointment for next week, and plans to call me back.
  • Call Baby-Making Clinic back after 3 hours and I’m given 3 appointment options — go on my first day back at school, drive to Indiana, or wait until next month.
  • Have minor meltdown on the phone due to these crap non-options.  Baby-Making Clinic will call me back.
  • Much nicer nurse calls back and schedules me a reasonable appointment, though it means giving up my tour of the Kraft Kitchens.
  • Am too upset to actually write a post, so instead post blubbery photo.
  • Get lots of love back from the internets.  I heart the internets.

So, yeah, Friday was lame.  I posted that picture without really thinking about it, and I’m glad I did.  I’ve decided to turn it into a little blog project.  After all, when life gives you lemons…blog about it!  So, for the rest of this cycle, I’m planning on taking a photo of myself each day.  I’ll only post them weekly so I don’t overrun my blog with photos of just me.  I think it will be interesting to see what a full cycle of emotions looks like in photos.

Saturday: It was my 10-year high school reunion!  I went armed with lots of quippy comebacks to the baby question, but thankfully didn’t really have to deal with it.  We had a luncheon at the school, toured the school, and dug up our time capsule.  My wonderful friend, Meghan and I then went to our favorite high school spot to drink Vanilla Mr. Pibbs with a handful of cherries — our drink of choice.  Later, we headed out for drinks with the rest of the girls…

Class of 1999, minus about 60 people, plus one history teacher.

It was so weird to be back in that building!

Digging up the time capsule.

We actually found it!  Geniuses that we were at the time, we didn’t mark the spot or leave a map.  We also thought it would be fine to bury a wooden box wrapped in a plastic bag.  All those Catholic school tuition dollars hard at work.

There is nothing so delicious as a vanilla Mr. Pibb with a handful of cherries.

Meghan concurs.

Meghan and I post senior prom, having taken down our prom hair.

Recreating our post prom photo, but with infinitely better hair.

Sunday: Lazy, rainy day.  Puttering around the house, doing dishes, laundry, grocery shopping.

What were you up to this weekend?