Sunday, May 29, 2011


Did you know that Medical Student Syndrome is a real thing? It's when med students start to think they have the very diseases they are learning about. The imagine symptoms.

When I got pregnant with Violet I was new to FF. I had been charting for sometime but did not frequently post on the boards. But I read a lot.  I would read posts from women going through losses - they'd have chemical pregnancies and missed miscarriages and I'd think "wow - I'm so happy that all I'm dealing with is secondary infertility." And then it happened to me. A missed miscarriage. And then a chemical pregnancy.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, as unrealistic as it is to believe, and consciously I know it's not so, I blamed the site. Had I not read about all these things happening all of these other women's losses, it wouldn't have happened to me. Had I remained blissfully unaware of just how miraculous it really is for a pregnancy to sustain and go full term and result in a healthy, live baby all would have been fine and Violet would now be 4 years old.

I know that's not so - but the mind can be a powerful enemy to reason and logic.

And so it goes, I have fallen into the same trap yet again.

I've spent the better part of the past two years focusing my energies on fundraising for cancer research. I eat, sleep and breath the Relay for Life. I think about my Dad often and his short battle and I think about friends and family who have lost their loved ones to longer battles and those who are still fighting.

For the past while I've noticed an unusual feeling under my right armpit. A fullness is the only way I can think to describe it. And the occasional light pain when I squeeze in.  I've felt around there before, not too deeply though.  On Friday night though, I felt deeply. And I found something.

To say that I'm terrified doesn't quite do it justice. And of course, I've assumed to very worst.

It could be nothing. It's very likely nothing. Besides my Dad, there is no one in my biological family who has ever had cancer. And I'm willing to bed dollars for donuts my Dad's cancer was smoking related.

But it doesn't stop the mind from going to the worst possible place.

I went to the clinic on Saturday morning. My Dr is ridiculously busy and the chance of me getting in to see him before Friday is slim. I ain't waiting that long. The Dr felt around but at first couldn't find it. I found it for him.

So, he's set me up to have a mammogram and an ultrasound. I have to make the appointment tomorrow. He wrote "soon" on my requisition. That wasn't reassuring. He's also referring me to a surgeon - I assume to biopsy it.  I'll also be calling my Dr first thing tomorrow to see him asap. I am glad the ball is rolling but I still feel better in the hands of my own Dr.

I try to tell myself it's probably just a cyst (from what I've read it's a good sign that it hurts sometimes) or a swollen lymph node fighting an infection somewhere....but the worst always creeps back in. I feel nauseous, scared, dazed and disconnected. I cry every time the kids are not near me. Because all I can think is the worst. Because historically, when my life is going great something comes along to shit on it. And my life has been going fantastic. Too fantastic.

I don't want to be a reason my family does the Relay for Life.

If you can spare a few, I'd appreciate some prayers. I'd like to be able to post on here with a giant sigh of relief. I'd like to say it was nothing, that I'm suffering from a twisted version of Medical Student Syndrome and that all my fundraising for cancer has gotten to my psyche. I'd like to say nothing major is wrong, just a swollen gland or a benign cyst.

I'd like my life to be fantastic again.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Can I Get An Amen?!

Where were you when the world ended?

I have to wonder about the people who actually believe all this crap? The Rapture will occur on May 21st at 6 pm? December 21, 2012?

Of course it occurs to me that these crackpots spewing this business would be regarded the same way as say, for instance, Jesus would have been. What? The Son of God? Puh-leaz!

It occurs to me that when there is an actual second coming - if it were to happen the same way as it did before - who's going to believe Him? I mean, I've met people claiming to be Jesus on the subway. And in our days of medical advancement you can be sure the Dr's would be all up in Mary's yahoo trying to prove or disprove she was a virgin. And how does one do a DNA test on the Son of the Almighty?

I'm not saying there wouldn't be believers - faithful, those who didn't need to the 'proof' but I think the world is more full of those 'doubting Thomas's' than it was before (of course, there are billions more people on Earth than there were 2000 years ago as well so your chances of having more skeptics are exponentially increased)  But then, there are lots of people who truly believed the world was going to end on Saturday night.  Wow - what a let down. Seriously, I read about one guy who was downright depressed that the world didn't end. He said, Heaven has to be a hell of a lot better than this (no pun intended).  I'm inclined to think this fellow will be hurling himself off a bridge any day now but it would be counter productive, suicide is the ultimate sin - here has to be a hell of a lot better than Hell.

No matter what you believe, faith-wise, it will happen. The world will undoubtedly end. That is just a scientific fact. Our sun is a star and stars burn out. And without the sun - well, you took 8th grade science. You know.   But - whether or not there are still humans around is another story. Will we have already been judged? Will we have evolved into something completely different - a super species? Will we (what's the opposite of evolve?) go backwards - and some other species will surpass us on the food chain? Will we have killed ourselves with pollution and chemicals before science has a chance to or God has a chance to judge us?

Who knows?

And there's the point. 

When the world ended at 6 pm on May 21st, 2011, I was sitting in my bff's backyard, sipping a delicious red wine from Argentina, eating a giant hamburger and laughing at how she says 'wh' words like Stewie on Family Guy "Would you like some Cool WhoooIP?"

And when the world ends again on December 21, 2010 - well I don't know the actual time the world is scheduled to end but I'll either be at work having a Christmas party with my class or at the mall getting my last minute Christmas gifts.

Life goes on. Stop worrying about when that will change and Live.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Check it out!!!

The fundraising thermometer on the right. See. See!!

My Uncle did just as he promised and matched our pledges so we've reached our goal. We've doubled what we raised last year.

The relay is in 2 weeks so now I'm going to pause. I need to make a new banner (the old one got rained out) and since we have our nifty new logo I'm going to use that. I think I might make new team shirts too since I know Sean wears his a lot so it's faded and the kids have probably grown out of theirs.

I'm getting excited now.

I hope the weather is good.

Friday, May 20, 2011

What a Week!

It's been a week of highs and lows.

The car accident, a low
The tea, a high
Great week at work, a high
Losing Snickers, a huge low
Today, we will be getting a new kitten, a high.

I have a small amount of guilt with regards to getting this new kitten. I mean, Snickers has only been gone for 24 hours. The wound is still fresh. And we're not trying to replace her. Just like a family member, she's irreplaceable but a kitten will help the healing process. It's giving the girls something to look forward to.

As soon as we made the decision to have Snickers put down, Sean and I discussed getting a new kitten. We didn't say anything to the girls though. But not long after we told them Mary asked, when can we get a new cat? We told her, whenever you guys are ready. And they both said "Now" So now it is.

We immediately went to the Humane Society web site but they only had adult cats (which I'm not opposed to, they need homes too but the girls want a kitten) So we went to Kijiji and replied to 6 ads for kittens. The one the girls picked out first just happened to be available still so we're going to get her this morning.  We'll name her Chicklets. (we're slowly making our way through the world of junk food - Ruffles (the potato chip) died 9 years ago, Skittles (the candy) was hit by a car, Snickers (the candy car) and now Chicklets (the gum))

Yesterday was also  another low and it wasn't forgotten, at least not by me. I know it wasn't forgotten by my brother as it was also his birthday, nor my mom.

Yesterday was the 2nd anniversary of when my Dad was officially diagnosed with cancer. It marks the 32 day countdown to the anniversary of his death.

It does get easier as the years go on but I see things like Connor not really remembering who Papa is and it makes me sad. Connor LOVES golf and my Dad would have got a huge kick out of that. He plays it on the Wii, he knows all the proper terms and has even watched it on TV with Sean. He has a new real metal driver and putter in his size for the backyard for the summer.  But I know now, that to Connor, Papa is the picture on the wall of a baby kissing a man and the name of his crocs (his Papa shoes) and his coat (his Papa coat) I knew it would happen, Connor wasn't even 2 when my Dad died but it makes me sad nonetheless.

It's a 4 day weekend for me. I'm looking forward to the time off with the kids and hopefully the sun. 6 more weeks of school. I can't freakin' wait!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Goodbye Friend

We're having our cat put down today.

We'd all noticed the past couple of weeks that she's looked quite raggedy. I at first attributed it to her losing her winter fur. But it's not gotten any better (though in fairness, neither has our weather!) But then we noticed a few other odd things.

There was a clear shortage of mouse guts on the front porch. To the untrained eye, not to weird but to us, a red flag. It's spring, the field mice are breeding and scurrying and Snickers is feasting and leaving us her little love gifts of gizzards on the porch. But there have been none.

And then there was her food. Sure she eats less cat food in the 'mousing' months but she still eats. But I haven't had to fill her cat dish in a week or so and when she has been eating she's been dropping kibble all over the house like she's carrying it in her mouth and spitting it all over.

So off to the vet we went last night.  And the problem was obvious - once we spotted it.

Snickers has a great big tumor growing under her tongue.

So the vet presented us with several options. A biopsy - which may or may not be accurate, depending on where they get the needle in.
Surgery to remove the tumor which may or may not work - since if it's cancerous it could already be all over her body - what's the point of taking one tumor out then - or it might be too impeded in her tongue or down her throat and if so might make it impossible to remove without her losing her ability to swallow.

And all this could cost upward of $1000. And the end result could be we lose her.

So we opted for the more humane option, the one in which we allow her to not suffer through a surgery that may or may not work.  We're going to have her put down. A vet would never ever allow that to be the first (or in our vets case - a presented) option but when we told the vet we thought that was the best choice he really seemed to agree. I'm guessing he felt it was likely surgery wouldn't be successful (He did suggest a 'liquid diet' for the rest of her days but that to me is less humane - I don't want her to slowly starve to death.)

I know it's not a popular choice we're making. I know lots of people would happily spend the $1000 to have the surgery done, just in case it worked and more power to them. But I can't find a way to reconcile that. We just got out of debt and if I thought the chances of her pulling through this were more than remote I would - but I truly don't think, based on the size of that tumor that it would be a simple surgery.

So, the raggedy look, she couldn't groom. The lack of mouse guts and food all over the house, she couldn't eat.  Sher's skinny. She doesn't like going out anymore. She sleeps a lot (okay - more than the a lot that she used to)

The girls took it hard. A lot of tears. (hell, I took it hard - a lot of tears)
Sean is taking it hard too. He was responsible for bringing our old cat Ruffles to be euthanized and now Snickers. Apparently as a young boy he was also responsible for 'ridding' the family of the cat's kittens - I'll spare you the details.  Sean's worried the girls will resent him but they won't. They know it's not his fault. He's not having her put down because we don't want her - we just don't want her to suffer.

And though a beloved family pet is not replaceable the girls have already insisted I reply to two ads on kijiji for kittens. Hopefully our house will have a new bundle of love by the end of the weekend. 

Goodbye Snickers. You've been a hell of a good cat. We love you.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Looking ahead

The tea was a fantastic success.  We were a well oiled machine, able to get the sandwiches made and the desserts organized despite the interruption of a furniture move and a car accident (more on that later) Not everyone who bought a ticket came but it's okay. We were thrilled anyone came! Everyone gave us rave reviews and I'm sure if we decide to do another one next year we'll get even more people coming.
I got some fabulous ideas from my bff's partner for fundraising for next year and hope to be able to do two events - I'm thinking mini golf tournament in the fall and tea in the spring.

And all tolled we made over $800 because of the tea. With my Uncle's match to our pledges we will surpass our $3000 goal. I'm overjoyed.

So now I am going to relax. I have two more kool aid bags on order and plan to get them knocked out before the 27th of the month so we can submit our money and relax until the Relay on June 3rd.

Saturday morning Sean took the girls out to get a movie. When he got home he stopped on the street in front of our house to allow people to walk across our driveway before pulling in when a GO bus plowed into the back of him.

I heard the thud from the dining room (the window faces the road) but didn't think much of it as it didn't have the typical car accident sound. But then I noticed out the window a bus in front of the house so I got up to look. I didn't see any car but then suddenly Emily's face was in the window and she was screaming "Come out quick a bus hit us!!!"

She came running into the house (her flight instinct kicked in, as soon as the car stopped from rolling she jumped out and ran to safety - our house)  I asked her if she was hurt, she said no and then I ran outside. Sean was on the phone getting an ambulance because Mary was in the back seat crying that her back and arm hurt. Mary is not legally required to be in a booster seat anymore but we still have her in one because she is tiny. Thank God for that! The ambulance came and decided to take her in for a once over. Initially I was going to go with her, she was scared, but then Sean said his back was sore too so I sent him instead. We also sent Emily, who by this time had broken into hysterics from the shock. They also took two passengers from the bus.

Thankfully all three of them were okay. Sean is sore but the kids seemed to show no signs of it at all. Again, thank God! But now we've got to deal with the hassle of getting Sean's car fixed (back end was crushed) as well as new car seats (for Mary and Connor) and Sean going to court. The bus driver was charged with careless driving but he's claiming Sean cut him off. Yeah, whatever.

They walked away. That's all that matters to me.

And it reminds you of how quickly your life can change.

Oooh, I almost forgot!!! I also got to finally meet another PP Mama!! Holly came to the tea with Gabriella. It was so nice to meet her. I didn't get to sit and chat as much as I would have liked, I was pretty busy but I got to for a bit. Gabriella was a sweetheart and I really hope we are able to get together again, this time with Connor too so they can play. I think he'd like that. And I'd get a chance to actually chit chat with Holly for a bit.

I was so happy she came though, crappy weather, long drive and all. It meant the world to me and it made it feel like all the PP Mama's were there supporting me. You guys rock!

Saturday, May 7, 2011


My fellow Canadians, we must put a stop to this insanity. This insanity of books with both a Canadian price and and American price (remind me again why we pay two dollars more for a book when our dollar is worth more??)  We need to stop wrapping paper and greeting cards with the same. 
But most importantly we need to put an end to balance scales with both lbs and kgs on them.

It would seem that all this time I've been going to the gym, I've been reading the scale wrong. Yeah, I'm that stupid.

You see, the main slider on the scale is in lbs. That I can handle because frankly I'd have a better chance of telling you the winning lottery numbers for the next three draws then I'd have of converting my weight from lbs to kg. I don't know the conversion. (I think it's 2.2 kg per lb but let's be honest, I use the tool on my phone to convert for me)

But I digress. The main slider is in lbs. So I move that sucker up to 150. (One day I won't have to!) Then I move the little slider to around the 6. And it balances. So I've assumed I've been around 156 all this time. No dill hole, you aren't because that 6....that 6 is kg. and if you convert that to lbs it is close to 14. Which means I'm actually 164 lbs.

I'm going to barf.

I did my measurements this morning.
39.5", 36", 43"
So apparently and half inch fell from my boobs and landed on my ass.

Oh wait, shouldn't I be measuring that in cm? Hells no, then the numbers are even bigger.

Here's the thing. I'm not going to the gym as often as I should be. Sometimes only once a week. That needs to chance. I've got a new click in my knee since I've started jogging on the treadmill and I'm certain part of that is doe to really poor footwear but I can't justify spending a small wad on good running shoes if I'm not 100% sure I'll continue trying to run - it's a catch 22.  But I'm starting to loathe the elliptical.

The other issue is food. And my love for it. And my pathetic inability to not eat everything I love when I see it.

I was talking to one of the other teachers the other day and I was remarking that during Lent it is so simple to give up something without a second thought. I've given up chicken wings, coffee, chocolate, Latte's....Sean even gave up beer once.  I have been able to do all of that and it's never felt like a burden. I'll admit I've looked forward to Sunday's in Lent so I could indulge again but I didn't go overboard. I've have 1 Latte or 1 chocolate chip cookie.

So why is it during ordinary time I can't do the same? Why can't  I say "I'm going to control myself and eat like a healthy person" without going bonkers and gorging on pizza or chicken wings?

I'm going to conduct a little experiment. I'm going to pretend it's perpetual Lent. And here is my sacrifice. I'm going to eat right - all week - Monday to Friday. A healthy breakfast, my packed lunch of salad, yogurt and fruit and no snacks from the school snack program!!  And for supper I'm going to have Sean dish out my plate - he's my portion control. And that's it. If I want a snack it will be fruit, veg, or yogurt. I will still indulge, on weekends, but one day only. Saturday or Sunday, I allow myself to have the yummy stuff I've given up all week. Just like during Lent.

I'm going to do this for 1 full month. I'm also going to start going to the gym 3 times a week again.

It was a hell of a disappointing wake up call to see that I'd read that scale wrong. I feel like a cow and I don't want to anymore.

So, let's see how this goes.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Pumpkin Patch Mama

For a long time now I've been complaining, jealous of all the Pumpkin Patch Mom's who've been able to meet up. I'm geographically in a bad place, only one other Mom lives near me and she's one of our quieter Mom's.

Last week I finally got my turn!

One of our Mom's came to town for a conference and I went to meet her for dinner.

I want to tell a bit about the lead up.

I've said it before, I'm saying it again. I'm shy. In a room full of strangers you probably won't hear my voice. In a room full of people I know casually, you likely won't hear more than a few sentences.
In a room of friends, I won't shut up (and this is likely how the PP thinks of me as I have more posts  than anyone else but like 500 I think - yeah, a virtual chatterbox)

But before the dinner I said to Sean "I'm nervous. I know I've been chatting with this woman for 4 years but technically she's still a stranger. What if I freeze up? What if I can't do 'small talk'? What if I run out of things to talk about? Maybe I shouldn't go."

Sean's answer, "What if this is like a craigslist thing and this woman is actual some crazy man who's making his rounds one by one and attacking women?"

"Unlikely. I doubt any psycho has the attention span to invest 4 years into making us all think he's a woman"

So when I arrived at her hotel I was sitting in the lobby waiting for her to come down I sent Sean a text. It said 'Holy shit, she's a man!!'

He texted back 'Well if his penis is bigger than mine, lie'

My hubby is such a joker.

It turned out I had nothing to worry about. Conversation was easy. Small talk was non existent. It seems, in a situation in which you've spent 4 years getting to know someone online, small talk is not necessary - we just jumped right into genuine conversation. And she was fabulous.

I know I was a bit quiet, I hope she doesn't think anything of that because truth be known I had a fantastic time meeting her and talking and I'm so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and went.

And now that I've met one Pumpkin Patch Mama, I'm anxious to meet more. And as it turns out, I probably will in a couple of more weeks. The Mama who lives close by to me is coming to our Spring Tea!!