I’ve been neglecting this blog. I just haven’t had much to say and honestly, adjusting to 2 kiddos and a husband that now works from home hasn’t left me with much down time where I can quietly gather my thoughts and write about what’s on my mind. I so miss writing here though, sharing my thoughts and my photos. This has been a good outlet for me and I need to carve out some quiet time and space in this busy life so I can write.
I find myself angry these days. I’m feeling unimportant and purpose-less (is that a word?) and it sucks. It’s a very trying time in my life. There’s been a ton of stuff happening and I’m feeling the weight of it just camped out on my shoulders. I’ll share it all with you, but let’s start with the most current of stressors.
I have/had skin cancer. It sucks. I had a small, flat spot show up on my face near my hairline when I was pregnant with A. I assumed it was a hormonal change and figured it would go away. It didn’t. I’ve had 2 more pregnancies since then and I had another spot show up while pregnant with C. This one was closer to my hairline but was a raised bump instead of a flat patch. It was really quite gross…almost wart-like. I’d mentioned it to my GP over the years and he was nonchalant about getting them biopsied and inspected. I wish he’d been a little more insistent. The only reason I had the biopsies done when I did was because we’d met our deductible for the year and wanted to have everything taken care of while I was only responsible for 10%. Since Hubs was leaving his current position and would be losing that insurance, I decided to get it taken care of. Needless to say, both spots came back positive for basal cell carcinoma. The most common form of skin cancer, slow-growing, rarely spreading, but skin cancer none the less. To have both spots removed I went to a dermatological surgeon that performed Mohs Surgery leaving me with 2 gaping holes in my head. Thankfully, he was able to get clear margins on both spots with only one cut (the Mohs surgery is where they do the pathology right there and keep cutting down and around until they remove all the cancer). I was cauterised, patched up and sent straight to the hospital (my 4th stint in a hospital in 3 years) where the plastic surgeon used a skin graft to close the opening closest to my hairline and stitched up the opening closer to the center of my forehead leaving me with a 4cm incision site. Lordy. I’m now about 4 days out from the surgery and I closely resemble a cyborg. Even though I have no idea what a cyborg is or what one looks like, I’m pretty sure I resemble one. The last time I left the house was last Thursday morning when I went in for the initial surgery with the Dermatologist. Did I mention I spent all day Thursday with a horrible migraine? I was begging for drugs once I made it to the hospital. I haven’t been able to wash my hair since then and I just took my first shower where I took painstaking measures to scrub the skin I could get wet yet carefully avoiding my bandages and incision sites. My hair is disgusting. It’s matted with blood and gunk in 2 different spots that I can do nothing about until the sutures are removed later this week. I’ll go to scratch an itchy spot on my scalp only to find it caked with dried blood. My eyes, bridge of my nose and cheek on one side are puffy, and there’s bruising under my eyes. I can’t wear my glasses thanks to the swollen face and the fact I can see the bridge of my nose and part of my cheek, thanks to the swelling, is driving me batty. And my mother in-law wants family pictures next week… The skin graft was taken from behind my ear and there’s bruising down that side of my neck and my ear is swollen and numb. There’s no bandage where the skin graft was taken and I’m supposed to keep antibiotic ointment on the incision site so I constantly have goo running down my neck and into my hair as my body heat liquifies the ointment. The actual incision site on my forehead looks like I’ve taken a gunshot wound to the head. There’s a bolster sewn over the skin graft to keep it in place and the incision in the center of my forehead has slightly bled through the tape so it looks like a big, bloody spot about the size of a quarter in the center of my head. And everything is starting to itch. My girlfriend says that means it’s all healing… I was secretly hoping for some nice, clean, white soap-opera type head bandages…no suck luck. When my doctor suggested getting these spots looked at saying it could be some basal cell carcinoma, he said it was no big deal to get them taken off and that would be the end of it. Holy hell. This whole ordeal has been waaaaayyyyy more of an ordeal than I could have ever imagined. You can only imagine the amount of appointments this has all required…and I requested to have all of it done by the end of June so I’d only be responsible for 10%. It’s been less than calm around here lately. And we’re not done. There are still 2 spots on my head I’m concerned about. One on my forehead and one in my hairline. There’s also a spot on my leg I’m watching. And of course, I’ll now be closely monitored by a dermatologist, for who knows how long, to check for any new moles, spots, growths, etc. Sigh. It could be worse I suppose, and there’s always a chance I’ll never have another cancerous spot show up, but for now I’m suffering some major consequences.
So, how did I get so lucky as to have some lovely skin cancer at the tender age of 31? I’ll tell you. I have no idea. We had a pool growing up so my sister and I spent our summers outside…I’m sure that didn’t help. I also had a convertible when I turned 16 and had the top down all the time, probably another contributing factor. I layed in tanning beds in high-school, college, and even as recently as when I got pregnant with A. I canceled my tanning membership when I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t tan non-stop or year-round, just a few months here and there throughout the year. The biggest factor though, seems to be genetic. The dermatologist says fair-skinned, blue-eyed folks are just more prone to skin cancer. It’s not that I haven’t taken precautions throughout the years, I’ve always been diligent about sunscreen on my face, but like most people, I didn’t really focus on the hairline. I’ve always worn sunglasses, so my eye area has been protected, but I’m not big on hats. Also, the hormonal changes from pregnancy does weird, weird things to your body…this was also confirmed by the dermatologist as a contributing factor.
I’m sure my girls will ask to tan when they get into high school. The answer, is a resounding HEEEEELLLLL NO! I will, however, agree to let them spray tan. I know all too well the vanity of a teenage girl and I’d rather appease their vanity with a spray tan than have them go behind my back and lay out in the sun slathered in baby oil because they don’t possess the ability to understand there are consequences to their actions. I don’t blame my parents though…the warnings about sun damage and skin cancer 15 years ago were not what they are today. And to be fair, as a child, I never burned…I was super tan all summer just from being outside. My poor girls though…both have my fair skin and blue eyes and you can bet I will be FANATICAL about sunscreen usage and sun avoidance. Oh, and I’ll be investing in some fun hats for myself!
So that catches you up for now. I left out a few things though. The pastor of our church is leaving at the end of July. It’s a big deal because I would really like some stability, SOMEWHERE, in my life and his leaving came out of nowhere. We had our first trip to the ER a few weeks ago. A was staying with my in-laws since I was in DESPERATE need of a break and she spiked a fever and was having trouble breathing. I was practically out the door before Hubs even got off the phone with his mom. She ended up in the ER at 11:30 on a Tuesday night diagnosed with a sinus infection and RSV. We spent the next several days nursing A back to health while keeping her and C separated since C getting RSV just wasn’t an option. Then a few days later A found and poked herself with an unidentified, used needle near a parking lot. Seriously…what kind of asshole leaves a used needle (turns out, it was a disposable needle from and epi or insulin pen) near a parking lot? At this point, once I realized she’d actually punctured her skin, I lost it. I’d had all I could take. I was sick to my stomach and I cried. I cried for A, for all the doctor visits I knew would come, for me, for our family, for the desperation I felt, for the fear I felt, I was just done. We’re still not finished with that whole ordeal. Her doctor ordered blood work (um, NOT fun, AT ALL) immediately to check for really scary diseases like HIV and Hepatitis. At the 6 week mark, when anything she may have contracted would show up, we have to check again. Hubs has left his job and is now self-employed, full-time and we’re all home. All the time. It’s an adjustment and comes with a MAJOR learning curve. And because I seem to be a glutton for punishment, we’re headed out of town next week to spend the 4th of July with my in-laws at their place in Fredericksburg. It will be fun, but their place is only 600 sq. ft. or so. It’s close quarters. Should be, interesting, to say the least. I’m planning to drink lots of beer and wine.
So there it is. My life lately, in a nutshell. It’s stressful right now and I’m in need of a break. I’m in need of some good stuff, some positive stuff to start heading our way. I feel wound up, stressed to the max all the time. Hopefully I can find time to get back to regular writing. It helps me so much to be able to get my thoughts out and it helps to go back and re-read when I feel like I’ve been standing still and no progress has been made.