In Sickness and In Health

Husband has been having a few….uh, let me put this as delicately as I can….gut issues lately. It’s been going on for quite a few months now. He’s had a bunch of blood tests and went for a colonoscopy a couple of weeks ago. (I can’t begin to describe how much he enjoyed the prep work for that!)

During the colonoscopy, the specialist found dozens of little polyps and one tumour in his intestines.

All the polyps and the tumour will need to come out. That’ll be happening this Friday. He’ll go in for surgery in the morning, stay overnight and come home the next day as long as nothing major goes wrong. He’ll need to take the following week off work but will be right as rain after that.

The tumour will go to a pathology office and be thoroughly examined. The initial biopsy (taken at the time of the colonoscopy) has revealed that it’s benign, but there is always a small doubt that a few cancer cells may be forming within the tumour. The specialist has been as reassuring as he can be, for which I am grateful.

So if you don’t hear from me for a week or so, then don’t worry – I’ll be back, just putting Husband at the top of the priorities list for the time being.

UPDATE: 5th April

Husband is back to being almost perfectly normal. Still a bit sore and uncomfortable but he’s not needing any painkillers anymore which is great. We still don’t have the pathology results back yet and with Easter looming, it’s unlikely we’ll get them before next week. But the surgery went smoothly, Husband is healing, and all looks like it will be okay.

UPDATE: 11th April

We met with the specialist for the final time today. He thinks there will be minimal scarring from the surgery and it will have no impact on Husband’s long-term health. The pathology results from the tumour confirm that it is entirely benign. It’s not cancer. It was just an abnormal growth. We had a little weep when we got back to the car. We’re both so relieved. Life can carry on as normal. I’ve never felt more lucky in my entire life.

First Steps

Husband and I are thinking about trying for a baby later this year (or next, depending on the wedding of the century and whether we go or not – you can read about that whole issue here.) We’re unsure of when to start trying and figure that when the time is right, we’ll know.

So, in preparation for that time, I went to chat with my GP.

Firstly, I have to say that my GP is an awesome guy. Very kind, very gentle, very sweet. I have a teeny tiny crush on him to be honest. He’s still quite young and has a kind of Hugh Grant thing going on. But anyway…

I went to see him to chat babies. He seemed really pleased that this appointment was for a good reason and not just another, “I have gastro/sore foot/weeping sore,” appointment that I’m sure he usually gets.

Unfortunately, things weren’t quite as straight forward as “Go forth and procreate.”

Firstly, due a blood disorder (unusual but not rare, not life-threatening, not genetic, just a weird quirk of nature), I may need to take aspirin once I become pregnant. He’s going to seek advice on that so the information is with him when I need it.

Secondly, I’ve got some blood tests to get done to test my immunity against chicken pox and German measles. Despite having the MMR jab when I was 12, I apparently may not be immune and could need a booster jab. Great – I’ll look forward to that!

Then we chatted about my uterus. You see, I have a slightly complicated one. It sits slightly further back in my abdomen than it should and is a tad lopsided but anatomically normal in terms of fallopian tubes and stuff. This was found during an ultrasound years ago. My lovely GP was unable to tell me whether or not this could cause problems. He thinks not, but when I got back for my blood test results, he’ll give me a referral to an obstetrician who’ll be able to tell me for certain whether or not I can have a normal pregnancy.

That scared me a little. What if I can’t have a normal pregnancy? Can I have an abnormal pregnancy? What IS an abnormal pregnancy? Can I get pregnant at all? Cue mild panic attack while pretending that I’m taking all this in my stride in a clinical white office.

GP thinks that my uterus shouldn’t cause any problems and will move forward of its own accord during pregnancy and everything will most likely be fine. But he can’t be 100% certain. He says that the obstetrician will probably want a closely monitored pregnancy and there’s a chance that there could be issues with delivery, ie: I’ll need a caesarean.

I’m not even pregnant yet, but I never pictured myself having a c-sec. My plan was to be one of those women who has a vaginal birth with as little interference as possible. And to be honest, I expected to be at least half-way through labour before my birth plan would be chucked out the nearest window!

Anyway, there you have it – my body may not be built for giving birth. Sucky. But apart from the potential need for aspirin and a wonky uterus, my GP reassures me that everything will be okay. So why is there this niggle of fear that won’t go away?

Things You Should Never Ask Someone Who’s Just Given Birth

I become….some kind of relation to a new baby yesterday. Husband’s mum’s cousin (who’s the same age as Husband) had a baby yesterday with her boyfriend. She and Husband were quite close growing up so she asked if we’d like to come for a visit in the afternoon. Of course we jumped at the chance.

So there we were, sitting in this little hospital room with the brand new mum, brand new grandma, brand new great-grandma, Husband’s parents, ourselves and a couple of friends of the new mum. It was a tad crowded. (Although the brand new dad had ducked home for a quick nap and a shower before coming back in the evening so I managed to nab a chair.)

It was nice to see the baby, but whilst the baby was passed from Mum, to Grandma to Great-Grandma to my own mother-in-law and back again (C’mon guys, let me have a cuddle, just a little one – I won’t drop it I promise!) there were some really, uh, interesting questions being asked of the new mum. These included:

Did you have it “naturally” or the easy way? And here was me thinking there was no easy way. There’s a rather large baby and it’s coming out one of two ways. Neither exactly seem like a walk in the park.

Did you need painkillers? Does it matter?

So did it hurt? What the fuck do you think, Sherlock?

How many stitches do you have? Really? THAT’S what you’re asking?

Was there lots of blood? What are you, a vampire?

Why do you look so tired? Oh, no reason – just 32 hours of contractions followed by pushing out something with a head the size of a rockmelon.

Can I bring my girlfriends mum in to see you in hospital? She loves babies. Uh, how about no.

Are you breastfeeding yet? Is that any of your business?

Can I come back to visit tomorrow? Unless you’ve been ASKED to come back tomorrow or you’re a grandparent of the new baby, then for the love of god let the poor girl rest!!!

Shall we stay for dinner? It’s a hospital room, not someone’s home. And besides, it’s 2pm.

Is it still stinging when you pee? That gem came from my mother-in-law. 

My advice – take your cues from the brand new mother and father. If they ask you to come visit them in hospital, then visit them. But don’t plan on staying for five hours. If the mother looks tired, then perhaps take your leave so she can have a nap. If she volunteers information, then great, if not then don’t ask questions to the details she’s probably trying to forget. And the most important thing – DON’T HOG THE BABY! I want a cuddle too. ;p

Were you asked any inappropriate questions after giving birth? 

The Truth About Love, Romance and Sex

Before I was ever in a proper relationship (19 by the way), I was exposed (as we all were) to the media – magazines, movies, tv shows, books, etc. Romance was always depicted as a running-through-a-field-of-rose-petals kind of loveliness and sex as some kind of earth-shattering-life-changing-ground-breaking-body-quivering experience.

Now that I’m older, I know it’s not true. So if there are any young-un’s out there reading this – this is the truth about love, romance and sex:

Full-body-contact cuddling on the sofa always leads to a sore neck. And there’s always an arm too many. Hold hands instead. Much nicer. Your spine will thank you.

Don’t have sex on a beach. Ever. Seriously. Sand goes everywhere and up everywhere. It is very  uncomfortable. Bordering on painful. Don’t do it. Ever.

No one spoons whilst sleeping. It’s too hot in summer and in winter someone will just get smothered to death when the other makes a doona cocoon.

Storming out of the house during an argument will not solve anything. Stay and sort things out.

Sex in the shower is next to impossible. The floor is too slippery and unless you’re very flexible, limbs do not bend that way. Don’t even bother, you’ll just dislocate something.

Stop trying to pretend you have straight hair (or curly hair if you’re that way inclined). It will only confuse him when he sees your natural curly/frizzy/straight mop after 15 months of seeing the opposite.

Crying isn’t elegant. Always  carry tissues to wipe away the snot.

Tissues are very handy for other things too.

Always use two kinds of contraception. Occasionally one will fail. And it will ALWAYS be at your most fertile time of month.

Guys don’t get subtlety. If you want him to take you out for dinner on Valentine’s Day (or for your birthday or anniversary) you may need to suggest it.

Suggest an appropriate venue too – otherwise you could be sorely disappointed.

It’s okay to be vanilla in the bedroom. Not everyone needs props, costumes and the flexibility of an Olympic gymnast to have a good time.

He’ll never notice the stretchmarks on your thighs and bum. Trust me, he’ll be too busy looking at your boobs and lady garden.

And no, he won’t notice if you’re uneven or an outie “down there”. Trust me. He’ll only notice if you reveal a penis and he was expecting to see a vagina.

Most importantly, romance isn’t about him whisking you away to the Eiffel Tower for a long weekend – it’s about bringing the other a cup of tea in bed, giving him a cuddle when he least expects it, random and hilarious conversations at odd hours of the night and simply learning to be a couple. Love is about the little everyday gestures and nuances of love, not the massive “look at us, we’re in love” statements. Embrace it, don’t look down on it.

FYI – My View on Pet Names

An embryo or foetus is a baby. A human child. Sure, it’s a small one. But it’s still a baby. I refuse to call it a “cutesy” name. I don’t do girly things like that. They bug me. Really, REALLY bug me. Yet every single woman I know calls or has called her unborn child something that makes me feel like vomiting.

Jellybean, pebble, beanie, jelly baby, popcorn, bon-bon, nemo, tic tac, tadpole, urchin and boo are just some of the names these poor little babies have been called.

Stop. Please.

I can’t help it. I wasn’t born with a “cutesy” gene. And if you keep prattling on about your precious little bon-bon, I may not be able to stop myself from slapping you.

Oklahoma

A few years ago, my Husband worked for a multi-national company. This company has offices all over the world – Melbourne, Tokyo, London, Berlin, not to mention the less “glamorous” cities such as our little own Perth, Houston and Toronto, among others.

Then one day, he got a call from his boss.

“Congratulations! You received a promotion. The job is in Tulsa, Oklahoma and we need you there in three weeks.”

“But that’s four days before Christmas.”

“Yeah…. So?”

“I’m going to need to talk to my wife about this.”

The phone was hung up, I was promptly called and then I just about had a major coronary event. Oklahoma?! IN AMERICA?! Moving countries in three weeks?! Right before Christmas?! Nuh-uh!!!

Thankfully Husband was of the same mind. Oklahoma. It doesn’t exactly conjure up exciting thoughts such as, say, New York. Toronto would’ve been a much more interesting prospect. But Oklahoma? All I knew (still know!) about Oklahoma is that there’s a musical named after the state, and that a bomb went off in the city in the mid-1990’s.

Anyway, within minutes of Husband hanging up the phone with me, he received a call from a colleague working out of a different office. But she was born in Oklahoma and the big boss dude had asked her to call him to talk about the potential move.

“It’s a really great place to live,” she enthused .

Husband was already logging onto the Oklahoma tourism website.

“It says on the tourist website that Oklahoma has the most advanced flood warning system in America. How often does it flood?!”

“Well…..some parts flood, but most shouldn’t.”

“And isn’t Oklahoma in tornado alley?”

“Yeah, but you just need good insurance for that.”

Because good insurance fixes everything and brings back family and pets who’ve been whooshed away by a wind funnel.

Needless to say within seconds of saying goodbye to his colleague, seek.com.au was open and the job search began.

The Great FaceBook Whinger

There’s this girl. We went to high school together. Were never really friends. Just acquaintances. We passed a friendly word or two in the corridors between biology and calculus. She was a tad annoying then. So was I probably. What teenager isn’t?

But this is thirteen years later. And she’s gotten MORE annoying. She added me on FaceBook about a year ago and it was good to have a nosey around her profile and see what she’s up to.

As it turns out she’s one of those “you name it, she’s done it/had it/been there” kinda people. Every post is a whinge, and occasionally a sloppy sick-inducing ode to her live-in-boyfriend of three months whom she calls her Husband (I wonder how he feels about that?!)

Sometimes it’s a whinge about her mental health and the five thousand tablets she HAS to take every day, how her daughters fathers ex-wife’s sister (you following me?) is stalking her, or about how her friend isn’t really her friend or a cry of “Everything is just so fucked, I can’t go on like this, it’ll kill me”.

And every time the same few people are there saying, “Are you okay?” “What’s wrong?” “If you need to talk you know where I am.”

The latest. “OMG – He’s (her boyfriend) so sick. If only he knew how much me and {daughter} love him and if only we could take away his pain. I’m begging you to get better baby because I can’t live without you.” (I felt the need to comment, “Well you’ve managed to live without him for nearly 30 years….”)

And for fucks sake – he’s got type 2 diabetes not HIV or cancer (which my own Husband successfully fought), tuberculosis or meningococcal. Now I don’t mean to denigrate people living with diabetes – I know it’s serious and life-long and the long-term effects are really quite fucked; but if you’re having major issues because you live on a diet of Coke, take-away and marijuana then you don’t deserve my sympathy.

But despite the whinging, I think I’ll keep her on my FaceBook friends list. Not because I’m actually friends with her. But she’s like a car crash – I know it’s wrong, but I just can’t stop gawking!

 

My Body and How It Betrays Me, Part I

My body betrays me. ALL. THE. TIME.

I get my period when I really DON’T need it. ie: a big family wedding where I’m expected to look perky, be happy, and generally just have a good time.

From the outset, let me say that I get horrendous period symptoms – pain that can take my breath away, headaches, super sensitive skin, diarrhoea, nausea, hot flushes, cold chills, etc. As you can imagine, I look a real treat for a few days each month.

When I get my period, all I really want to do is sit at home with no item of clothing touching my swollen, bloated, cramping abdomen. Ahhh, home – the place I can sweat in private, run to the loo and do all sorts of unmentionable things in there as often as I need, drink buckets of tea, shout swear words at my leisure and pop more pills than Amy Winehouse in her prime.

My period also had an uncanny knack of knowing when I really want to have sex, such as anniversary’s, birthdays, Christmas and any public holiday that falls during the year. It also arrives whenever I plan on wearing white skirts or trousers. Yes, I know – I can do the double whammy with a pad and a tampon, but I still worry and fret about leakage despite all those tampon commercials with women wearing ONLY white and running up and down a beach with a big fluffy golden retriever.

More than once have I been in the throes of agonizing period pain and uttered the words, “total hysterectomy”. Then Husband reminds me of our plans for children and I call him a bastard.

Poor guy.

Thankfully he knows me well enough to just run me a bath, bring me another cup of tea and ignore the swearing.

So tomorrow, when I go to my cousin’s big extravagant wedding at a very fancy Perth hotel where I’m expected to wear a slinky dress, high heels and generally look a million bucks – I’ll be dreaming of sitting on my couch and ingesting pain killers like skittles.

Pay It Forward

One of my good friends had a baby two weeks ago. He’s a super cute chubster and I love him to bits already. Sadly though, my friend had quite a few complications with the birth and was required to stay in hospital for 12 days. She’s almost back to normal (as normal as one can be two weeks after giving birth!) but is struggling with being a mum, as Chubster is her first baby.

She’s not sleeping. She’s still in a bit of pain (apparently there are stitches everywhere). Chubster has a habit of crying for about 5 hours at a time. It’s tough. I guess that’s motherhood for you, but I know she feels pretty crummy (and sleep deprived) and I’m sure I’d feel the same in her position. I can’t imagine how upsetting it would be to be unable to settle a tiny little baby.

So I emailed her. “What do you need – I can bring frozen meals and I’m not averse to scrubbing your bathroom or doing some vacuuming.”  She rang me in tears. “Mum’s been helping with some housework in the mornings but Chubster won’t stop crying, especially around meal times and any other time we try to do stuff. We’ve been living off toast – can you drop some meals around.”

I could hear the desperation in her voice and my heart nearly broke.

I spent all weekend cooking. There are 12 individual frozen meals all in disposable containers. I also baked some biscuits for her in case she needs a sugar hit at 5am after having been up most of the night with Chubster.

I’m not writing this post to brag. I’m writing to encourage others to do something good for someone else. Pay it forward. Karma. Good vibes. Positive energy. Whatever you want to call it, do something good for someone who needs it.

And if you’re a new mum – don’t be afraid to ask for help.

*Please note that Chubster is not the baby’s real name.

Have you done anything good for anyone lately?