Crossroads AKA Freaking Out

It’s happening again.

This isn’t my first attempt at blogging. It’s not even my second or third. And every time, I freak out and quit for the same reason: Holy shit, people are actually reading my words! People I don’t know have “found” me and are “following” me.

You’re thinking, “Of course, people are reading this. You’re writing on the INTERNET. YOU are the one putting stuff out there, duh.”

Or maybe you’re thinking,” Of course people are reading this. YOU personally told me about it and gave me the URL, duh.”

Whether you stumbled across this blog by happenstance or you’re one of the dozen or so IRL friends I’ve invited into this world, I want to say this: Hi. I’m glad you’re here, really. I hope something I’ve written in the last few years helped you or gave you insight into who I am. But, right now, ARG!!

These thoughts have swirled in my head for months now. Cancer gave me some stuff to write in the interim, but now that’s done, and I’m fine and refocusing on getting life under control (which will be much easier when my skin stops burning and itching and peeling from the radiation. Ahem…)

There’s a lot I want to write about, that I need to write about because this is how I process stuff and it’s hella more convenient to whip out my phone and write than to carry around a journal and (gasp) a writing utensil. But I just can’t, you guys. I’m stuck because SOMEONE MIGHT READ MY WORDS, THE WORDS I’M PUTTING OUT THERE ON THE INTERWEBS.

Examples of stuff rolling around in my head:

  • What’s going on with Ethan and how I feel completely overwhelmed and alone and unsure about things and how I’m tired of having the same conversations with his school and is what they’re asking/DEMANDING legal? (Issue: Hi, moms-with-kids-who-attend-school-with-my-kids! Will I be alienated or judged by the other moms? Do they hear things from their kids and think Ethan is THAT kid? Spoiler alert: SOMETIMES he is, SOMETIMES he isn’t. Would writing about the issues and my position on these issues only strengthen that perception?)
  • My relationship with B, what’s next, and my frustrations with getting to the “what’s next” (Issue: Hi, B! We’ve discussed many of these things – to no real resolution. At the end of the last two * ahem * wine-fueled conversations on this topic I said, “I’m leaving the ball in your court.” So would writing about it be taking the ball back? That’s not cool. Would writing about it seem like I was harping on certain things? That’s not the intent. Blarg.)
  • Deciding what’s next with my career and the timing to make a big, bold move (Issue: Hi, colleague-friends! Work stuff… Enough said.)

Part of me feels like it’s time to close it down, but this forum has been so GOOD for me over the last few years… Part of me wants to keep writing, to push through these thoughts, to keep going and growing, and if people get pissed or offended, then so be it…

Until next time…I think.

Updates: radiation, kids, yoga, photo session

Cancer stuff: Radiation gave me second degree burns. In my armpit. Specifically in the crease of my armpit. It hurts badly, so I have a 3-inch by 3-inch gel pad stuck to it now. It’s cool and refreshing but oozy and weird. I hope it doesn’t dislodge itself and fall out during class today…

Tomorrow would have been my last day of radiation, but the oncology radiology doc decided to add a “boost” to my treatment. This means four more treatments, really super concentrated to the area in which the tumors lived. It makes sense – studies show a decrease in cancer returning in younger women with a few “boost” treatments. And the boosts will not affect the armpit area, so it can start to peel and heal. Thank goodness.

Radiation has been pretty easy. Lie down for four minutes while getting five doses of super powered x-rays, then on with my day. Other than a sunburned armpit and some slight fatigue, I’m handling it well. The only outward sign of radiation is the tanned skin my right side where the treatment happens. Overall, it’s certainly better than chemo!

Kiddos: The kids started back to school.

Kindergarten is kicking Lauren’s ass. She can hardly keep her eyes open during dinner, and she’s become super whiny until bedtime. She also sleeps until she’s woken up around 6:15 – completely different than the kid who was up by 5:30 every morning during the summer!

There was a bit of a hiccup in starting the year when I learned – at a parent meeting less than 36 hours before the first day of school – that Lauren would be required to wear a uniform this year. (Previously K4 and K5 did not wear uniforms. Apparently there was a communication that came home at the end of last year, but only three K5 families received it. There wasn’t any more communication from the school over the summer. Some found out through word of mouth and others were just learning of it also.) I spent the summer buying clothes for her to wear to school – and I checked and rechecked the dress code in the parent handbook (which wasn’t updated until VERY recently). I freaked out in that meeting, and I sent the new principal a strongly worded email that night. And… the new principal completely impressed me with her handling of the situation. She called me promptly the next morning (day before school) and offered that Lauren and the kids in K4 and K5 would not have strict enforcement of the uniform policy (so she could wear regular clothes when she wanted), and the school had a few smaller size uniforms we could have. Turns out, Lauren LOVES her plaid jumper. I’m out the cost of what I spent on school clothes, so I’m letting her wear them anytime, anyplace. She’s growing so fast that most will be too small soon anyway.

Ethan’s in fifth grade. He’s trying to find his place among his peers. Most of the boys play a sport or two, but Ethan hasn’t shown any interest in sports since Mike died. In fact, he’s specifically shied away from most sports – Mike was Ethan’s coach for baseball and soccer and helped (a little bit) practice football at home. He’s been reprimanded for talking out of turn during classes or hurting someone’s feelings. On one of the “feelings” situations, I have to side with Ethan. The kids were working in small groups to come up with “rules” for the class, and one kid suggested something like “we will give 110 percent in class.” Ethan called the kid out for the “110 percent” thing, saying it’s impossible to give more than 100 percent AND he strongly believed that in a school environment, they should focus on the facts not “bad math.” We talked about how he could have addressed his concerns in a more suitable way, but I also high fived him for identifying the flaw. (The teacher kept the 110 percent thing in the class rules, much to Ethan’s chagrin.)

Other stuff:

  • Mom and I started yoga. There’s a class at the Y for cancer patients and their caregivers. It’s not very physical, but there’s a lot of focus on stretching and breathing. The woman teaching the class also shows us how to modify some of the positions to meet our physical needs (like not putting too much pressure on the arm on the side where lymph nodes were removed). It’s an open-ended class, so no real beginning or end. Mom is loving it. I’m in it for a while (especially to learn the modifications), but I’ll need something more challenging at some point. Still it’s a cool thing to do with my mom once a week.
  • Friday will be my second boudoir photo shoot, complete with SUPER short hair and lopsided, mismatched breasts. (The first session was right after I started chemo – and still had hair, and the last session will be in the spring/summer – after reconstruction and after I have ((hopefully)) decent hair.) I’m hoping it’s as fun as the first time!