Friday, January 26, 2018

I Hear the Bells

**Alternate Title: City of La Porte City Officials Need a Drink. And so do the Residents.

We live in a heavily industrial area. We're not far from the Ship Channel and we're surrounded by large refineries. With that being the case, we are used to alarms. The city has a massive shelter-in-place alarm system that will go off in the event of a chemical emergency. If you notice a large pole with what looks like discs on the top and not attached to any other electric pole - that's them! And they get tested EVERY Saturday at noon. Never fails. Noon on Saturday - those sirens are running. I think EVERY Saturday is a bit much. Why not just the first Saturday?! I mean, come on now. 

I will also add that in the almost 10 years I have lived here, they have never gone off for anything other than a test that I can remember. 

The plants themselves also have alarms that will sound in the event there is a massive accident. We have not had to hear those either. (I probably should not have said that - you think I would have learned by now.) 

And that brings us to today.

At 4:45 this morning, an alarm like we have never heard before started shaking the city. It kind of sounds like what I imagine an old time emergency vehicle from back in the day would sound like. And it's LOUD. Wakes the city, loud. Worst of all - wakes MY CHILD loud. My Beloved looks outside and can find nothing strange. 

So we do what almost every person on Earth does in 2018 to find out what is going on - we check Facebook. And sure enough, the entire city is asking the exact same question - "what the heck?!" 

Our thoughts were -- 
Should we shelter in place?
Is it a Tsunami?
Have the sirens been hijacked?
Is this a diversion?! CHECK THE BANKS!! 
Should we get in the bathtub?
Is it the Lord? Because if it is, someone translated "trumpets" ALL WRONG.

Alice thought it was a car alarm. My Beloved, "that must be some FANCY car!"

Eventually, some poor City of La Porte employee takes to social media with this....

Oh great - they don't know either. All is lost!!!

DO WE NEED TO GET IN THE TUB!?? Because our beds are warm and that sounds LAME! 

We opted to stay in bed and the city updated us an hour after their original post.

I want you to note the "it is not a tone we are familiar with" because at 6:50am, right as we were FINALLY drifting back to sleep - they went off again. 

Lord, come quickly because this will not do. 

The citizens of La Porte are dedicated to the truth and to sleep and we were all about done with this mess. 

And bless the city, they responded.
Now, let's revisit the before mentioned sentence. "It is not a tone we are familiar with." 

Um, what? 

Did you not get the manual and run through all the ringtones? That's, like, the first thing you do with a noise maker - you figure out all the noises it makes. Am I right?! "Open box. Charge it. Play with the ringtones." Now I know it's not exactly the same. But seriously!

Let me add that had they gone through the list of ringtones - this might have been a better choice to the one they have. There is NO ignoring this one! NONE! The other one? Eh.

And it is also important to note that we live right off Farrington. This siren lives in the parking lot on our side of the park we walk to. Yep.

Now some dedicated citizens are convinced there is a conspiracy going on and things are being covered up because the city has been hush, hush since their last post:
Some even offered to drive around and look for evidence of a cover-up. I mean, we were all up anyway. 

Facebook might be the devil, but sometimes it is PURE GOLD. 

So needless to say - we've been mostly up since 4:45am. We rolled into school looking a HOT MESS with all the other Hot Mess Momma's who have been awake since 4:45am. Yes, we might have had extra time to get ready; however, what will we had to do so died at about 4:45am.

It took me an hour to brew a second cup of tea because I kept forgetting what I was doing.

There might be a massive amount of errors in this post due to my lack of eye coordination. Please let me know if you catch any - I can use all the help I can get! 

I did manage to record a few seconds of the second round. It had already moved by the house so it's not at it's loudest but you get the idea.

It was an eventful morning that will probably lead to an early night. Here's hoping!

And in the event the city ever tells us the truth - you will be the first to know! ;)

Until next time......

PS: The blog title is a title of a song by Mike Doughty. It's pretty good. You should look it up. You're welcome. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Has it been that long?!

I clicked on my blog while I was working on the computer today and noticed my last post was in October. 


That's SO LONG ago!

I have been so very neglectful. 

So I thought, how do I fix this!? Do I post about holidays? Do I think real hard about something funny or witty that has happened since the start of November? Do I recap 2017? (Let's actually never speak of 2017 again, k, thanks.)

Or do I just pick up from today?

Yes, that seems less stressful. Let's start there....

Health Update. I developed a 4th abscess that FINALLY drained in December. And I hope this is the last time ever in my life I have to type that sentence. REAL TALK! I saw my Boob doctor yesterday and she feels like things are finally looking up. She lowered my steroids and we're going to ride along until the skin heals and I can redo images, however, if the images look good, I might be over this. 

These are my hopes and prayers for the next few months: that the ultrasound and mammogram will be conclusive and that I will NOT need another MRI. They are EXPENSIVE and UNCOMFORTABLE. So I'm praying for conclusive evidence. And I am also hopeful that this will never, ever return. Like, EVER. I would also like to be off the steroids as soon as humanly possible.

It's always sobering when I meet with my Breast Specialist. She's a surgeon so the wait times are always extensive and there's a temptation to be frustrated and annoyed. However, I understand that the woman in the room next to me is there to discuss her recent breast cancer diagnosis and suddenly my time isn't important. Because while what I have been dealing with for the past year (A! YEAR!) isn't fun - it's also not completely life shattering either. So I don't mind waiting. 

Working Momma. I started a new job in October. It is what takes up most of my time while Alice is at school so my writing time is limited. It's a scheduling job - I have a client and I contact his clients to book appointments. It's not hard and it's work-from-home and I can set my own hours. I have hesitated in sharing this because it was still so new, however, so far it's going well. Alice is adjusting to mom being on the phone some when she has a day off. This summer will be a challenge but she's old enough to understand and manage on her own. It has been an adjustment transitioning into work mode while not neglecting other responsibilities. Spoiler alert - the house is almost always a mess. Bless. I will learn to be a dignified house keeper one day.....maybe. 

The Holidays. We had a simply wonderful holiday season! Alice loved everything Christmas. We celebrated with family. We ate a lot. We drank a lot. We were merry. It was lovely. 

A Fresh Year. I was so thankful to end 2017. The stress. The anxiety. The frustration. The brokenness. I have high hopes for 2018 but I refuse to put anything in writing. I also refuse to recap stupid 2017. Nope. Let's just skip it, over and over and over again. 

I want to see things with fresh, patient eyes. I want to budget (my least favorite b word ever) better. I want to find time for my creative outlets. I want to lose all the weight I've gained since this medical journey started. I want to be thankful, regardless. 

These are wants and not goals. See - that's less pressure!  Because, as I sing to our usually screaming 5 year old, "you can't always get what you want....." 

I am curious to see what 2018 brings for our little family. I'm hopeful that things will settle down and I can get back to a new normal that doesn't involve weekly doctors visits and all the medical tests in the book. I would LOVE to not receive medical bills for at least 6 months straight! Such hopes......

For now, I will sort of promise that I will attempt to carve out more time to share our world. 

Until next time......

Monday, October 30, 2017

Socially Spent

We have not done classroom birthday parties yet mainly because we felt she was too young and we had things going on. Plus, I'm no good with new people. I get all weird. I have gone her entire school career without learning any of the parent's names. I know this is probably horrible but the extent of our interactions is usually opening the door for each other on the way in or out. That's it! I know who belongs to which kid! Mostly. 

Now it's just awkward to ask, I've seen some of these women for 3+ years. 

However, we decided this year we would make more of an effort to socialize her so if she came home with an invite and wanted to go - we would try to make that happen. 

And the universe LAUGHED and she came home with three invites for this past weekend. 

And the kids have words now and spent the entire week talking about the parties like little gossipy teenagers. There was no way of getting around it.

Saturday we had a Halloween party with costumes and pumpkin painting. 

I am grown. I haven't dressed up in YEARS!!! But I didn't want to be the only one not in a costume so I borrowed some scrubs from my mom. I mean, if I'm going to be uncomfortable, I might as well dress comfortably. 

We show up at 3 with our pumpkin and the host (who is the ONLY other adult wearing a costume - more showed up later though) says she's not sure she's had anyone show up at 3 before - they usually show up much later! 

For clarification, the invitation listed the party at 3pm with no end time. And it didn't say it was 'starting at 3'. It said When: 3pm. I noticed the timeline for the event when we got there and things were scheduled until almost 6. Jesus, take the wheel.

Turns out it's an all-evening family event they throw every year. I was glad Alice got to go this year. She had a ball. She ran all over in her princess dress and cried huge tears when it was time to go. It was cold but she was happy. And she was finally able to see J's room because they've been talking about it all week and he wants her to see it. It's upstairs now and you have to take your shoes off.

Ummmm......pump your breaks, little girl! Wanting to rush off to see some boys room. She will give me all the grey hairs.  

On Sunday, she had back-to-back birthdays. 

We started with a little girl in her class and the invite said "costumes optional". Thinking ease, we went with Fancy Nancy because all that involves is a party dress and some accessories that are going to end up in my purse after a few minutes anyway. We arrive and not a single child is in a costume. Not even the birthday girl. Bless.

Alice is super awkward and these party helped me to realize that ALL kids are super awkward. This little girl is about as excited about socializing as I am. And all Alice wanted to do was play with her toys because they're all new to her! 

Alice doesn't understand the rules of a party. "It's time to play this game!" "No thank you, I don't want to." Yeah, that's not how this works, you have to play along, kid. And then tears. Always tears. 

As we were making our exit, the mom mentioned we could do play dates and dinner. She had my number on the caller ID so she could contact me. 

Y'all - this is like my worst nightmare. They have a really nice, calm house. I don't know how to behave in that kind of environment. And what happens when it's our turn to host?! I'm already sweating just thinking about it. 

Our next party was for a little boy. There was no guidance as to what to buy these kids so we got board games that would be appropriate for each child. 

We arrive to the party at Peter Piper Pizza and immediately realize the party is for a kid I've never even seen. Apparently, there are two boys in the class with the same name and while I was shopping for one, it was the other one I should have been shopping for. This was probably the most uncomfortable social encounter we have ever had. 

Although this does explain why the child I shopped for was in no hurry to leave the little girl's party before his. 

There were at least 3 other kids from Alice's class and I did eventually meet the boy's parents and figure out which child he was. 


This was just all too much socializing. 

I had to write down names so I could remember what they were for when we run into each other at the Thankful Feast. 

And I think we might have hit our max on social engagements for the year. 

We're officially socially spent.

Real talk.

Until next time......

Friday, October 27, 2017

An Update

I haven't mentioned my boob in a while. How refreshing! However, I know some are curious so here goes the update....

Since my last post, I developed a third abscess. It was, by far, the worst. Luckily, it was also the last. 

I stopped going to physical therapy. I have a hand massager that I use on my own at home. It seems to do the trick.

We've tapered my steroids. 

I've plateaued in the healing process. It's discouraging. 

I have one little knot left and it seems to be super comfortable. It's not growing, but it's not shrinking either. 

I left my massager at home while we were on vacation and it did grow a bit. I saw the doctor when we got back and she noticed it too. She also wanted to see what it would do with no steroids so I was told to finish my pills, give it a few days, and see her again.

I took my last steroid on Sunday and by my appointment on Thursday, the spot HURT and the tissue around it was swollen again. 

This isn't surprising. Everything we've read about this stupid disease says it's a long process to heal. Most articles listed 6 - 12 months and we're only at 6 months since diagnosis and treatment. I've come a long way and I've made lots of progress!! But it's a marathon, not a race.

So I'm back on steroids. 

The end goal is to get the spot small enough to surgically remove, however, the tissue around the spot must also be disease-free or this will happen again. With that being said, I will continue the steroids (it's a small dose) until maybe next spring, that way we can ensure all of the tissue is healed. 

Since acquiring me as a patient, my surgeon has had two more cases come to her. 

And all of a sudden I don't feel all that rare anymore, how gross! ;) 

Just kidding. 

Until next time.....