Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Mole excision. Check.


Authentic Ella style Posted by Picasa

”Now that I’m home, still numbed up, I can look back on today’s “procedure” and say that overall it wasn’t so bad.” That was the first line of the post I intended to finish and post on Friday. The day, however, got away from me and when I woke up – in A LOT of pain Saturday morning – the cutesy, funny thoughts were long gone. All in all, the mole removal was a much bigger deal than I anticipated.

Naively, I was escorted into the “surgical” room by a very friendly male medical assistant with a name that ended with “ie”. I definitely have a stereotype (that surfaced just at that moment) about men with “boy” names. I tried not to get too worked up about it – he did look older than 12, so I’m sure he knew his stuff. He got me to sign a couple of releases as he explained to me what was going to happen. The more he talked, the more apprehensive I became.

After BoyNurse and I picked some music (they didn’t have any blues), Dr. McNiceGuy showed up. He basically told me that he had to cut out about half of my back to keep the scar pretty. Something about puckering. He said it in a really pleasant, nice way, though. I saw the tray of “tools” and then the cauterizing gun started up (which caused me a painful accidental electrocution episode later, by the way.) That was it. I freaked and started talking really fast for the entire half hour. BoyNurse, Dr McNiceGuy and I actually had a pretty fun conversation. Our main topic was Doc’s love life. He’s seeing two women right now. I suggested that he might be seeing the bartender strictly for the cheap…drinks. He quickly denied this. I then continued to try to keep the conversation light as he CARVED a piece of my skin out of my body the length and thickness of a tropical fish (seriously – I saw it when BoyNurse showed Chris the “fish” in it’s jar.)

I am just starting to recover from the unexpected aftermath of this. I can’t lift anything more than 10 lbs., or exercise, for two weeks - that was quite a shock. It also hurts more than I expected. (I know, I’m a wuss, but I’m perfectly okay with that.) I’m just biding time waiting for the stitches to be removed and the new facts to sink in – I have a five times greater risk of developing melanoma.

My boss has been pretty sympathetic…he told me to quit worrying. He said that I could get hit by a bus tomorrow. He told me to live each day to the fullest. As his employee, I know am supposed to follow orders. This one, unfortunately, seems to be a tough one.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I think this is a good sign

It snowed a lot for a couple of days last week. Harrison decided to help shovel before school one day.

I had my first appointment with MT, my new therapist. She is straight forward, yet compassionate. She seems to be a problem solver, but still takes the time to thoroughly listen.

As I drove to the grocery store, after the meeting, I felt different. I didn't recognize the feeling at first. Then I pegged it.

I felt hopeful.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Warning: lots of personal health info ahead

a beautiful bouquet given to me by a dear friend last weekend

The round of doctor visits over the last month is almost complete:

- Annual physical with pap smear. Normal results. Check.

- Mammogram. Normal results. Check

- Follow up MRI. Spots on frontal lobe have not grown. Check. (facial numbness still around, but I’m trying not to worry about it)

- Dermatology appointment due to weird looking mole on back found during physical…mole biopsied…mole came back as “atypical nevi”. This basically means that it is benign, but not normal. From what I have read, I just have to be more careful and go to the dermatologist yearly. I have a higher likelihood of acquiring melanoma. They want to “excise” it on Friday. It’s supposed to take an hour. (Why the hell does it take that long to remove a mole???? I think it’s a ploy to scare the living daylights out of me so that I’ll wear sunscreen this summer.)

- After two weeks of dealing with unprofessional EAP representatives and unhelpful insurance people, I think I have found a great therapist. I have my first appointment tomorrow. This new counselor, “MT", nor any of the 7 or so other professionally recommended counselors, are covered on my insurance. After my experience with Bill, I don’t have the emotional energy to tell my story to many more people. I just want to be heard, by someone compassionate and intelligent, that has lots of experience and can guide me to some sort of recovery. Chris and I agree that this will be a good use of our limited funds.

- Somehow I lost a contact lens while I was wearing it. I have a call into the eye doctor.

- Cracked tooth (actually a part of the tooth is gone now!) due to eating stale candy heart last week. No appointment with dentist scheduled. Very afraid of dentists.

I hope next month is less medically exciting.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mom

I took this picture, along with about 150 others, last summer when we went to Minnesota to help my parents get their house ready for sale. It was somewhat hard to keep the kids busy during this long two week trip, but I cherish the lasting memories I have of that extended visit with my mom while she was still very coherent and fairly "healthy."

I'm not one to feel very sentimental about anniversaries of things, but I do feel like February 18th will always be a significant date in my life. A friend described it well. She said it was "present" therefore I feel it. I'm not sure what to think about it. I do know that I've been extra tearful for days. I'm looking forward to not being so sad about this.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Where IS heaven?

Monday night Ella and I went shopping for a Valentine’s gift for Chris. As we were waiting for his gift to be wrapped, we walked across the way into a quirky gift shop with everything from pet paraphernalia to artificial aluminum Christmas trees. Ella wandered over by some wooden figures – carved snowmen, Santas and angels. As Ella fondled one of the angels, I asked her if it was an “Oma angel”. She didn’t answer, but quickly asked, “Where is heaven, Mama?” I don’t remember talking about heaven in reference to my mom’s death at all, but maybe she overheard people at the service. I couldn’t conjure up a simple answer fast enough before she was off to look at the wooden alphabet letters on display and loudly declare them out of alphabetical order. I’m sure she believed the teenage store clerk cared.

After we went back to pick up Chris’ gift, she asked if we could go in one more store. She picked Pottery Barn Kids. This store was nirvana for her – running from the kitchen “appliances” to the SUV playhouse to the fabric dollhouse. A lot of imaginary play started occurring. She immediately started talking about her “grandmother.” She calls Chris’ mom, “Grandma”, but it still took me a few seconds to realize the subtle difference. She referred to her “grandmother” over and over saying that she was sleeping in the playhouse, or cooking in the kitchen, and then I finally asked, “Ella, who is your grandmother? Where does she live?” “Maawwm, I’m just pretending!”

This morning, still waking up slowly with Chris, I told him this story. His reply: “Really? That’s interesting. Harry asked me about heaven yesterday, too.”

It’s interesting for me to watch my childrens’ minds work through my mother’s death. Each in their own way. As hard as it can be at times, I’m so glad that angels seem to always trigger memories of Oma for them. Maybe my mom is showing herself to me through these interactions. I would love to think she’s watching.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The little things

Ella got some new barrettes and she's so excited about them that she asked me to take a picture of them. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Time Out

Baby Seal, Baby Polar Bear and Leppy the snow leopard (shhh...don't tell him it's a tiger)

Harrison is a pretty fickle kid when it comes to toys. He has his favorites, but goes through phases: Legos for awhile, then he'll play with his construction vehicles for awhile, then it will be his helicoptor or airplane. However, when it comes to things a person cuddles with, he is very set in his ways.

Baby Seal is still at our house and still a favorite. Santa brought Baby Polar Bear in hopes that Baby Seal could be returned to his rightful owner. This did not happen. It actually strengthened the bond between Harry and Baby Seal and now we have two LARGE animals dragged around our small abode.

Leppy was given to Harrison, when he was about 18 months old, by my mom. She found an adorable snow leopard puppet at the Naples Zoo. It instantly was named "Leppy" and was his favorite toy until about last October when Leppy disappeared. We still have no idea where he is, but Harry was pretty sad. Because of all the craziness in December and November, I found myself shopping for most of the kids' Christmas gifts in a 24 hour time span. I found this white stuffed tiger and in my shopping/grief stricken haze thought it was a leopard. I wrapped him up and Harry was thrilled to get him. He instantly yelled, "Leppy" ( I guess we were both easily mistaken!)

It now has become Harrison's hobby to "collect" stuffed animals from the arctic. He wants a penguin, a walrus, etc. We probably won't give him too many more as he is having trouble carrying all of these around - and the more he gets, the more chance of losing one right before bedtime when he demands they are all in bed with him.

I think his attachment to these animals is cute, but more than that I finally have something meaningful to take away from him when I can't get him to follow directions or listen to me. "If you don't____, I'll take baby Seal away." This works 90% of the time. Some times I even have to take away the other two. Then he knows he's really in trouble.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Another day on the slopes

Despite their expressions, the kids had an amazing day skiing independently sans their harnesses most of the time.

Things heard:

Ella: "I am so proud of Harrison!"

Harrison: (after coming down the bunny hill alone his second time) "That was soooo much fun, Mama. So fun!"

Both of them over and over: "I want to go again!"
Heading home.