Monday, July 29, 2013

Change is in the air...

And hopefully in a good way this time, not in a "oooh, what a change, you have a life-threatening illness and subsequently will have a bucket full of shit year" kind of way. :) I finally feel like things are moving...I feel forward motion and I haven't felt that in a very very long time, before BC even.

Let's be clear... I don't like change. I am an Aquarian through and through, and though we are an air sign and ethereal and idealistic, etc etc, we actually abhor change unless we initiate it, and even then it causes pause and sometimes pain. But for once I feel...not hopeful, we all know how I feel about that word...optimistic.

I've been writing - clearly not here lately - but writing nonetheless. A small follow-up piece for the newspaper, a story for a magazine contest. It feels good just to put words together - it makes me feel useful and it constantly reminds me that I still have a place here.

Our nanny gave her two weeks last week, which I completely understand. Until I start working again we just can't give her the hours she needs...and I'm not devastated, there have been any number of times over the past 2.5 years that I have started to look for someone else, but the fact that Jack loves her, and nothing she did put him in danger or anything like that, and let's face it, laziness, stopped me from following through. So this isn't a bad change, and Jack will be starting pre-school soon...but then I found out she is going to work for a family whose kids Jack plays with at the park all the time, who were here for his birthday ...umm, am I the only one who thinks that's sort of not cool? I wouldn't have stopped her, but I thought nanny-stealing was taboo...don't moms brawl about that kind of thing in New York? Anyway, whatever. But I joked to a friend that after her two weeks are up that's when I will probably get a promising interview or some such thing. That's just how life works.

I am signed up for a cancer retreat next month and I cannot wait. I stopped myself after I made the plane reservations and confirmed with the organization and said to myself, "Wow, it's my life now that I get excited about a cancer retreat?" But, this is where I am, and that's just how it is for now.

I'm making things. Maybe they aren't great - yet - and it's just a hobby, maybe no one will buy them, and maybe a lot of people will, but I am in the beginning process of making things to sell on Etsy and it's good just to start doing things that I have thought about but not acted on for far too long. Thank you to a friend who went out and started her own little business for giving me the push I needed to get busy doing.

So things are moving, and my hands are busy. I'm hoping eventually my mind will catch up and be busy too...too busy to think about other things.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

9 Months.

Nine months. Two teeth. Crawling, cruising, crashing.

My big girl, growing up, moving fast.

Blond hair growing, laughing, smiling, clapping.

Singing (screaming) with brother.

Climbing, hugging, waving hello.

Slow down baby girl.

Wait for me.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

An open letter to Life & Style...

Photo: Life & Style Magazine

I'm sure you thought this was eye-catching, or funny, or somehow cute. I'm sure whomever wrote it thought, oh, here's a pithy one-liner, let's make fun of the hippy vegan and her crazy parenting ways. I'll admit, the picture of Alicia pre-chewing her son's food raised my eyebrow, but that was all the time I had to spare giving that any thought. And you are correct on one point - her milk-sharing program is not new. However, let's step beyond the blatant offensive racism in your allusion to wet-nursing slaves and discuss the real issues here.

I am not a lactivist. Personally, I don't care how someone feeds their child, as long as there is feeding of the child involved. You want to use formula, go ahead. My son received supplemental formula at night, as does my daughter occasionally. You want to nurse until your kid is four - more power to you because I could never have done that. What I am for is choice. I chose to nurse my son because I believe in the benefits of breastmilk- he never latched, so I pumped and he received my milk for a year. I intended to nurse my daughter, hopefully at the breast, at least by pumping. However, that choice was taken away from me in my 22nd week of pregnancy, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Among the myriad other decisions that I had to make after diagnosis was one most pregnant women don't have to think about - how was I going to feed this child? Yes, I could have used formula, and I don't think the world would have ended, but considering this baby was going through chemo with me, I desperately wanted her to at least have all of the benefits that her brother had. I was introduced to a world most women don't know about until they need it - donor milk. My exposure to donor milk previously had been through celebrities who adopted babies and purchased milk from milk banks at prices I as a mere mortal, would never be able to afford. After reaching out to a blogger I follow for information, and finding out about such sites as Eats on Feets and Human Milk 4 Human Babies, I have been provided more help with acquiring donor milk for my daughter than any one person deserves to have. I have rarely had to worry about the amount of milk in my deep freezer,whereas other fellow moms who have fought cancer while pregnant have had to beg, plead and pray to keep their freezers stocked. These women who pump extra to donate to people they mostly do not know - women with adopted littles, women who have had surgery or are on contraindicated medication, women who have cancer - are my heroes. Any mother who has pumped knows that it is not easy, it is time consuming, can be painful - and to do that for a stranger is beyond amazing to me. They gave me a modicum of peace in a very dark time - they gave me choices back.

I just rocked my baby to sleep with her bottle of donated milk. She is 9 months old today. She is beautiful, healthy, and happy.

So Life&Style, not only are your facts incorrect - I'm am pretty certain wet nursing, and then pumping to donate, has been occurring since the Civil War-  but you mocked something that is dear to many of us and you belittled a beautiful gift that women give to each other. Alicia - thank you for giving women another avenue of choice - you are a class act. Life&Style, you should take note - classiness never goes out of style.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

My kid is "that" kid....

Jack started soccer on Friday - just a half hour, once a week, 2 and 3 year old class - enough for him to learn to listen to a coach, take some direction, experience some semblance of a structured environment, learn to play with other kids and get some energy out before bed. As his little personality develops, I have been well aware that Jack is a friendly extrovert - he will say hi to anyone at anytime, roll down his window to say hi to the next car over, he will shake hands, he will high five, he knows not an iota of what "stranger danger" might imply. But this is the first time I have seen him in a "class-like" setting and oh my goodness - my kid is that kid - the kid who runs right up to the front of the room (in this case the soccer field), who raises his hand whether he knows the answer or not, who thinks the teacher/coach is speaking only to him, who may perhaps monopolize the conversation. Oh jeez. This is not a character assassination of my son, I realize he is going to be a very high energy, super smart, eager extrovert. My problem is - I have no idea how to relate to this or to parent this.

I am your classic INTJ...I have tested high on the introvert scale since forever. of my elementary school report cards - actually some of my college evals also - say "Very intelligent but doesn't participate" or "Jamie knows all of the material but needs to speak up more often".  During a business school retreat, we took the Meyers-Briggs test again and then separated ourselves by how we landed on the scale... let's just say I was an island unto myself. Everyone stared at me like I was a bug - I don't know that my teacher had ever had anyone that high (or low I guess) on the "I" scale in business school. I've learned to deal with it, and I've learned to be "extroverted" in certain situations - I'm a great public speaker when I know my subject, I can man a booth at a conference and answer questions like nobody's business. I can run meetings, give speeches, presentations, etc. But put me at a party where I don't know anyone and I will quite contentedly sit in the corner observing everyone else for hours. I don't answer questions unless I know the answer. Being in a roomful of people physically drains me. I am more than happy to go anywhere by myself.

As prospective parents do, we wondered what Jack's personality and demeanor would be like before he was born. My husband often spoke about the sports he would play and the activities he would involve himself in...I would input "Maybe he will be happy to sit in his room and read a book, you never know." Well...the answer is glaringly obvious - my kid is that kid, the kid who intimidated me when I was young with their seemingly effortless bravado and swagger and confidence - and this introverted mama has to learn quickly how to parent a strong extrovert. They are sent here to teach us, aren't they?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes....

How do you measure a year in the life?

I measured it in ultrasounds and biopsies, black masses, and sinking feelings.

I measured in it terror-filled hyperventilating half-breaths,
sleepless nights,
early mornings, deep breathing and doctors visits.

I measured it in MRI's and EKG's, blood tests, urine tests, blood sugar tests, finger pricks, and baby kicks.

I measured it in 16 rounds of chemo, hair strands falling out, rainbows of bandanas, and pre-natal non-stress tests.

I measured it in confused stares, loud whispers, grasped hands and prayers.

I measured it in perfect baby girl first cries, in surgery, in CT scans, in pathology reports, in interminable medical bills.

I measured it in help from strangers, kind words, unknown prayers and donor milk.

I measured it in rainy days, grey clouds, heat waves, and electric purple sunsets.

I measured it in stifled shower sobs,
in laughs with chemo nurses,
in baby toes and late night feedings.

I measured it in 33 days of radiation, deep burns, painful cries and peeling skin.

I measured it in a 38th birthday, a 49th for my husband, and an awesome 3rd birthday for my boy.

I measured it in stupid cruel comments, in beautiful gestures, in buckets of tears, oceans of hugs, and yes, cups of coffee.

I measured it in long walks with baby, laughs with my boy, hugs with my husband, and love from family and friends.

I measured it in renewed dreams, hungry views of travel, terrified glances over my shoulder, tentative plans for the future.

That's how I measured a year.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me....has to be the biggest load of bullshit ever foisted on someone. Some of you may have read this post roaming around the internet right now. I read this earlier this week and it was especially poignant because last week I got into an argument on facebook about the dumb "what color bra are you wearing" secret code game that's supposed to miraculously create awareness about breast cancer if you post - and "Don't tell anyone what it means girls!!" Actually, I didn't get into an argument, all I said was something to the effect of "I'm aware enough thanks", and then was challenged by a family member about posting for others who are not aware. I stated my opinion - how does this raise awareness, this is a game about a serious subject, this is my life right now, it's not a joke, if you want to raise awareness go do a walk, donate some money, post about self exams or mammograms or something. Anyway, the original family member signed off but another one came on telling me I was being condescending in telling people how to raise awareness, that people care and they should do what they want...and the topper - that I have my life, so basically I should shut up and not dare to contradict anyone. Yep, this is all from family members. People who, if I posted something that they had an issue with and a direct link to and they asked me to take it down or not participate, I would not even hesitate to do as asked. If I posted something about some pseudo-autism campaign and was asked to not participate for whatever reason - they didn't like the message, they don't like blue anymore, they don't like puzzle pieces -whatever! - I would say of course, I'm so sorry, I didn't think of that. If I posted something about stomach cancer, cervical cancer, prostate, pancreatic, colon, brain, whatever cancer and was asked to take it down I would do so right away, no questions asked, no challenges, nothing. But you know what - I OWN THE BREAST CANCER PART OF THIS SCENARIO. The fact that family members challenged me, questioned me, and attacked me hit me harder than I thought it would and the whole "you really find out who your true friends are" hit me smack in the face.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th!

It's been awhile. We took a short trip up to the mountains last week and that was both great and not relaxing at all, as no vacation with an infant and a three year old will ever be.
It started out like this.....which was supposed to last two lasted 30 minutes. Oh well.

Got a cabin with some games and a foosball table in it thinking that would be great to entertain Jack. Well, it worked a little too well - he never wanted to go outside!

 Finally got him out and about although he wouldn't put his feet in the lake. I'll make an adventurer out of him yet! (although he did see his first deer while we were on an off-road trail going to find some godforsaken giant pine)

 Last time I saw a Dishmaster was about 30 years ago so I had to memorialize that. And the cute one in the sink.

 A happy 4th of July to you all from the little one, celebrating her first.

Now we are off to hunker down as people shoot of M-80s in our neighborhood allllllll night long. Happy 4th!