27w5d (And moving house)

Guys…

I’ve wanted to blog but just haven’t been able to self-actualize because I’ve been anxious and overwhelmed with all that’s going on.

Putting a house on the market and showing it *while you live there with a messy husband, a toddler, and 2 pets* SUCKS. We had to make it look staged, like nobody lives here. There is a loooong list of things we did to achieve this, such as removing everything from the kitchen counters (including my beloved keurig and the kitchenaid mixer), making the beds perfectly, putting away handsoap and toothbrushes (and anything on the bathroom counters, like my beauty products), and I was placing the cat’s litter box in the garage for showings and trying to make the laundry room look and smell good (this involved hiding the piles of laundry that usually pile up in the laundry room). I managed to make the house look like a dream–with cooperation from Mr. MLACS (recall, he was not cooperative to begin with). I have actually really enjoyed living in an immaculately clean, clutter-free house! Albeit, it’s a PIA to keep it up. And the master closet and the garage are *horrible* as this is where we stash and stuff all the crap we need to hide, but can’t seem to part with (I would part with it but I need time and energy to deal with it).

We put our house on the market and the first people who saw it made us an offer that we accepted, but it was *contingent* upon them selling their house. The market is slooooow here and according to our agent their house was WAY overpriced, so I wasn’t holding my breath that this deal would work out. We waited for more offers to roll in…

They didn’t.

But the people who initially fell in love with the house eventually agreed to drop the contingency this week, since their house isn’t selling. We were supposed to close Jan. 2nd, but they pushed it back to Feb. 2nd, which is fine. The house is sold! And I can keep my keurig on the counter again because I don’t have to worry about showings. I can leave dirty dishes in the sink and toys strewn all over the playroom. I am so grateful that we got the price we wanted and that we no longer have to pretend like we don’t live here, especially during the holidays.

Mr. MLACS had to depart for the new job up north on November 28th, so he has been gone for 18 days already.

It has been HARD at times, without him. I have felt very alone at times, because most of my “friends” here are people I have to keep up with and since I haven’t reached out much and they know I’m moving, I’m off their radar. Which I don’t begrudge them, because that’s just how it goes. But I haven’tt had much adult interaction with Mr. MLACS gone and thusly I feel like an island, adrift.

And thusly, my perinatal anxiety and depression hit FULL FORCE about a week after he left. I felt paranoid and anxious and angry–SO angry.

And besides “holding down the fort” while Mr. MLACS is gone, I’ve had to do all the research to find new doctors up north, which is VERY stressful because we need specialists and I am always on a mission to find the best of the best. Then I had to make phone calls to new doctors, phone calls to old doctors, medical records, etc. etc. While dealing with a needy toddler who misses her dad, and managing my own business.

Oh Good grief, and finding a place to live was also my task and it was made incredibly complicated by the facts that:

1. Mr. MLACS recently (and unbeknownst to me) defaulted on his federal student loans. I was SO angry because I am always on him to stay in good standing. He dropped the ball. So *after* I did a lot of work finding a realtor and working with a lender, I learned Mr. MLACS cannot qualify for any sort of loandue to his loan default and crap credit. I paid a bunch of collection accounts for him with my own money. I was (and still sort of am) PISSED that he was so irresponsible and he wasted my time and made me look like a fool to the real estate agent and lender.

2. So we decided we’ll take equity from the house when we sell it and just pay off his student loans. And we’ll rent for 6 months and then buy in the spring. Yes, I am *salty* that I have to move TWICE, once 7 months pregnant and then again with a newborn. But ok, I found a house. We applied. The guy comes back and says “Can you explain this eviction in 2016?” And I’m like “Pardon? You must have us confused with someone else because we have never been evicted.” But lo and behold, Mr. MLACS co-signed a lease in 2008 for his (now estranged since 2015) mother. And for no apparent reason, she was evicted in 2016 and Mr. MLACS has a judgement on his record, even though he declined to sign a renewal lease in 2009. We both think this was foul play on his mother’s part and the rental company, and we have our lawyer working on it. But meanwhile, it was humiliating for me to have to explain how my husband makes great money but apparently sucks at adulting so his credit is poor and he has an eviction on his record due to trying to help his sh*tty mother out (she took full advantage of him his entire life before I met him and I hate her for using her son–like how can you do that to your kid? I couldn’t). I finally found a place that would overlook all that, provided we did a double deposit.

And *guess who* has had to bankroll this move? ME. I shelled out $800 for Mr. MLACS to get new tires. $6500 for deposit/1st months rent. And I’ve had to buy all the groceries/gas/etc. since he left. While alone, 6+ months pregnant, caring for a toddler, and handling every detail of this move.

I don’t know if I’m allowed to feel resentful (because marriage is not always 50/50) but I do. Mr. MLACS has begrudgingly thanked me but has generally glossed over my contributions. Particularly the parts where I had to hustle because of his mistakes. He’s pretty much like “Sorry. What else do you wantbfrom me? I said sorry” But he doesn’t really mean it. If roles were reversed, he would be (and has been) totally degrading to me. But he clearly doesn’t hold himself to the same standards. And part of the reason why I haven’t picked a fight about it is because I worry about stressing him out because of his heart condition. And I resent having to worry about that too.

Oh and Christmas–I’ve done all of the Christmas shopping *and* paid for it all. I’ve bought things for the new baby. See, I have never minded doing all the work to create our life and our home because he has always been contributing the money. But now I’m doing all the work and paying for everything and he seems very comfortable with that but I AM NOT.

After this move I’m done using my inheritance to subsidize everything. I’m taking a break to evaluate my financial situation and figure out how to be smart with my money and what I can reasonably spend on our family. Mr. MLACS doesn’t want to give me any time or space, but it’s ultimately not his decision. I’ve been through A LOT these past couple of years, with his health crisis, my health crisis, deaths in my family, his sh*tty job here and now we are moving and I’m expecting a new baby. If he doesn’t show me the compassion and support me the way that I have showed him compassion and supported him, then I’m OUT.

Despite all this drama and bullsh*t, I am trying to enjoy the holidays with my kid. I adore the glow of the Christmas tree at night. I hosted a gingerbread house party for my favorite neighbor moms and kids. I planned (and *paid for*) a weekend of Christmas events when Mr. MLACS gets home for the holidays–we’ll see The Nutcracker ballet, ride the Polar Express train in our jammies, and see spectacular Christmas lights.

It’s my 39th birthday this weekend. And I bought myself a gluten-free cake from the frozen section at Whole Foods yesterday, so I can celebrate with BG. Mr. MLACS is really horrible about my birthday, in that he never surprises me or plans anything–not even a cake–without my input and effort. He just pays for things. For his part, Mr. MLACS did send me flowers yesterday and that helped soothe some of my resentment. He also bought me some La Mer beauty products but that was pretty lackluster because he ordered it because I told him about cyber Monday specials and was like “It’ll be here on Thursday”. Again, when he was our sole source of income I cut him a lot of slack and never minded too much when he didn’t make a big effort for my gifts. But at this point I would really appreciate it if he made more effort–I need more TLC, particularly since I’m pregnant. Just to show him how it feels, he had sent me a link to a pair of shoes he wants/needs that I had offered to buy for him as a gift, and I said exactly what he always says to me “There’s money in the account”.

XOXO,

MLACS

 

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Another Loss. More Grief.

My (maternal) Grandma Margaret passed away last week.

I am so DONE.

Now at 38 years OLD (I feel ancient) I have lost both my parents and all of my grandparents. I’ve nearly lost my husband, *twice*. I’ve lost my colon. I’ve lost my house to a fire. I’ve lost babies to miscarriage.

Sometimes I feel like I’m losing my mind.

My life is defined by grief and loss, grief and loss, and more grief…and loss.

I’m now paranoid that ALL the bad things are going to happen. Any scenario my anxiety-riddled brain comes up with seems plausible. I’m struggling to live in the moment while also steeling myself for the next bad thing to happen. Will my husband drop dead? Will he be home alone with 3yr old BG? Will I be lulled into a false sense of security, on a mundane trip to Target, and return home to a hysterical child and unresponsive husband??? Will it be my beloved labrador retriever? Will he develop cancer or kidney failure? Or God forbid…if anything happens to BG…I would swiftly take my own life.

I don’t like living in fear. I do the f*ing EFT tapping therapy to try to stay mentally and physically healthy. But about the time I begin to move on from one tragedy, the next one strikes. It’s like tidal waves of tragedy keep trying to drown me and I keep kicking to the surface but about the time the water calms, another wave hits.

Metaphorically speaking I feel about as desperate as Tom Hanks in the movie Cast Away.

And I have nobody to talk to about it, except you–my internet friends.

XOXO,

MLACS

It’s Benign!!!

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! It was not melanoma, or any variety of skin cancer. It was a blood mole–I had never heard of such a thing and google is a b*tch for never suggesting it could be anything other than melanoma. In fact google took my paranoia to a whole new level by informing me that in men nodular melanoma is usually on the trunk of the body, but in women it’s on the legs! I almost had a brain anneurism.

Here’s how it played out…

I cried off/on all weekend and had visions of what treatment would be like, how my family suffer through the same painful process that *I* endured when my Mom was diagnosed with terminal breast/lung cancer. How awful it would be for BG to have to grow up without a Mom–would she remember me? Would any of the memories be good ones? Would Mr. MLACS die too and would my good friend and fellow blogger Steph Mignon have to raise my kid??? So. Many. Thoughts. I was overwhelmed by all these thoughts and feelings.

I had a hard time getting to sleep and when I woke up Monday morning I wasted no time–I was going to ambush my dermatologist and insist he cut this thing off/biopsy it, and let me know how screwed I was. TODAY. I didn’t even make my coffee (you KNOW it’s serious) I just got in my car, called the dermatology office, and by some miracle they had an appointment with my doctor in 30 minutes, which was precisely my commute time.

I sat on the edge of my seat as I waited, my body buzzing with anxiety. And when the nurse called me back and asked me why I was there, I tearfully told her I’m afraid I have melanoma on the back of my leg. She looked worried and gave me a gown to put on. I was in suspense as the doctor walked in and I quickly moved to show him the black growth on the back of my leg. And he said…it looks like a blood mole but we’ll take it off and biopsy it. A blood mole. He told me to call if I hadn’t heard from them by Thursday.

After rebounding from the fear of cancer and the revelation of a blood mole, I sheepishly asked him if he had time to do my botox. He did. So I left the office with a hole in my leg and a face full of botox–I haven’t had botox since before my wedding in 2012 but my 20 year highschool reunion is coming up, I’m 38 years old and I have the money, so don’t judge me, ok?? Thanks.

Anyways, I called Mr. MLACS to give him the good news, and decompressed on the way home.

But then as Thursday approached and I hadn’t heard from my doctor’s office, my anxiety started to build. What if…

I called early Thursday (yesterday) morning but no one called me back. I thought “This is a bad sign”… I cried. I rocked back and forth. And I called again…the nurse put me on hold and I thought “Oh God, maybe she’s getting the doctor so he can tell me the bad news…” But she returned on the line and said gingerly “It’s a benign mole”. BENIGN. As in NOT cancer. A wave of relief washed over me.

But lemme tell you, this experience made a profound impact on me. I am slathering BG with sunscreen, even on her ears, because *90% of sun damage occurs during childhood*. I mean I used sunscreen and hats on her before, but now that she’s a threenager it’s a chore, as we do lotion on the face/neck and spray on the body. But I make sure she’s covered because it doesn’t take long to get a sunburn and just 5 sunburns in childhood DOUBLES your kids’ risk of skin cancer. So fight the good fight with the sunscreen folks.

As for me, I diligently use sunscreen but I also cover up a lot with hats and rash guards (shirts made of SPF50 material), since I am somewhat allergic to the sun these days. But I used to blow off moles that looked suspicious–now I am on high alert.

I’m also writing a piece for a local moms blog cautioning them to be ready with the sunscreen and also to take care to have themselves looked over by a dermatologist annually and pay attention to their skin. I feel like this experience was my “call of duty”, and I’m on it.

XOXO,

MLACS

 

Trying To Keep Calm and Carry On

I had a hard time getting to sleep last night, after googling “melanoma” and desperately searching for “benign growths that look like melanoma” and coming up with nothing–just pics of melanoma–so either people don’t post their “I thought it was melanoma but it was just an XYZ!” photos, or, anything that looks like melanoma IS melanoma.

I used to go to tanning beds and the beach. Often. And I’d cover up my face because my parents had skin cancer on their faces (around the nose and mouth) and had scars where these were removed. I didn’t want scars on my face. But skin cancer didn’t seem like such a big deal.

I was so stupid.

God I hope I raise BG to be smarter than me, to make better decisions than me.

I mean I hope I get to raise her period, but what if I don’t? What if I die while she’s still a child? While she still needs me? What if it’s because I didn’t wear sunscreen and went to tanning beds?! What if she thinks I’m awful for screwing up her childhood with my cancer treatment? A kid shouldn’t have the burden of worrying about her parents dying…

Mr. MLACS had a bad Cardiology appointment recently. I didn’t even blog about it but I had BG with us because it was just a check-up. Then they told us he had been shocked by his pacemaker on March 24th–his heart rate was 300bpm (I didn’t know that 300bpm was even possible). We had no idea. And then at the appointment his BP was 150/110 and his heartbeat was irregular. I went numb. We had no clue he was in distress. The color drained from both of us. We were panic-stricken. Mr. MLACS cried. And BG was fully aware that something was very wrong. Kids are very sensitive and intuitive. She had flashbacks of when he was hospitalized. And we were at the appointment for 3 hours. Doc said Mr. MLACS *must* lose 100lbs as quickly as possible (he has been slowly losing weight but not very regimented). He is 6’6″ and about 415lbs, and he needs to be closer to 300lbs to qualify for surgery to find the part of his heart that is malfunctioning and causing arrhythmias. Or if he needed a heart transplant he doesn’t qualify because of his weight. This appointment was April 22nd and since then Mr. MLACS has been working on his diet. We dropped $1,000 and he is getting a nutrition/exercise plan from an excellent trainer friend of mine.

So you see I’m already riddled with anxiety. My dad just died–both my parents are deceased. I’m stressed dealing with the estate (my sister). I am just 6 months out from having had my total colectomy and still learning to live as an ostomate. One of my good friends just had his big toe amputated due to melanoma.

And now I have this large, inexplicable black growth on my leg. I literally want to dig it out myself, I loathe it so much right now. I’m so freaked.

But instead…

I slept in (because Mr. MLACS knew I was up fretting about this melanoma thing). We went to home depot. I took BG over to play with the neighbor girls on their blow-up waterslide. I fed her lunch and put her down for nap. I’m trying to “keep calm and carry on”.

I’m trying So. F*ing. Hard.

I don’t want to alarm BG. And I don’t want to taint her life with my fear/anxiety/depression. Which is very difficult, since we are together 24/7.

I’m calling the dermatologist and being seen first thing in the morning, and no matter what they say I’m having this thing removed and biopsied.

But in between, I am trying to live, laugh, and love. I love my family SO much. I love my BG with everything I am. And if it’s cancer, I’ll fight. 20180417_095910_Film1.jpg

XOXO,

MLACS

 

What If It’s The “C” Word?!!

I have a growth on the back of my leg and it looks like nodular melanoma. I felt it and then really looked at it tonight. I stopped short of taking a photo because I want to sit here and pretend it’s not that bad.

But I’m terrified.

I noticed it months ago and was alarmed but never had it looked at because *ALL THE BAD THINGS* happened and then I was just focused on trying to get better and doing all the things I love with the people I love…I forgot about it. It’s bigger now, I think.

And I’m at higher risk because I took Humira last year. Both my parents had melanomas removed from their faces too, but I don’t think it was nodular melanoma.

I’m scared. Any words of encouragement or wisdom?

XOXO,

MLACS

 

Grief, Anxiety and Depression (and what I’m doing to heal)

I don’t know where to begin. I’ve been spiraling since my dad died.

I was just starting to get traction in my life after several years of of tumult. My health declining and autoimmune issues usurping my life and finances. Infertility and miscarriages. Mr. MLACS’s heart failure when I was 32 weeks pregnant. Being a new mother and deeply feeling the loss/void of my own beloved mother. Coping with Mr. MLACS being gone for work for weeks at a time. Overwhelming PPA (postpartum anxiety) and coming to terms with cutting off our toxic family members, including my dad (it took 2 years of weekly therapy and a lot of processing). Finally buying our first home–our dream home–only to have it burn down as we were packing to move. Moving to a very depressed area of Louisiana after the Great Flood of 2016, where I knew no one and felt like I didn’t belong.

Becoming ill and spending the entirety of 2017 fighting for my life with no support, because I was too sick to even ask for it. Feeling useless and hopeless at times.

Finally embracing the idea of a total colectomy surgery–having a prosthetic colon for the rest of my life. Finally about to move into my dream home.

And being deathly ill and having my husband drop dead at work, revived…but I am haunted by the way he looked and smelled like death in the ER. The nurses hearing me sob in the bathroom next to his bed in the ICU, as I sat on the toilet bleeding, desperately needing to be admitted myself but terrified to have my surgery because I was afraid I might die and orphan my child. My precious BG and my precious dog so sad and scared despite my best efforts to spare them the grief I felt. My heart was broken into a million pieces.

But I overcame everything. I beat infertility and I have the most precious daughter. I overcame PPA and came to terms with severing ties with my father. Mr. MLACS got a new job where he would be home every night. Our dream home was repaired. My surgery went well and I don’t need to take any IBD medications–I am not “chronically ill” anymore. My husband has a pacemaker/defibrillator and has taken responsibility for his health and lost a lot of weight. We moved into our dream house and I even bought my dream furniture.

I was making a comeback with my fitness, going to Burn Boot Camp and Barre3 classes and I volunteered as the organizer for a local moms fitness group–I was transparent about my ostomy. I was living my truth. I felt brave. I felt bold. I felt powerful. I felt beautiful. I felt like I was going to crush my goals.

And then my dad died.

And after everything I’ve been through–what I’ve overcome–and the fact that he wasn’t even a very good dad, you wouldn’t expect *that* to be the “straw that broke the camel’s back”.

But it was. I have been depressed and anxious. I can’t focus. I can’t think straight. I’m constantly waiting for the next shoe to drop.

I feel alienated from people. Lonely. Broken.

I’m angry because I fought SO. HARD. through the rock-bottom pit of hell that was 2017…

I had just started to feel safe. I wasn’t obsessing over the past or worrying about the future. I was living. I was embracing life. I was open to possibilities. I was all *positive vibes*.

But now I’m struggling again.

Dealing with my parents’ estate is torture. They were smart–everything was deeded to the trust. Every property, vehicle, trailer and boat. Nothing going to probate. Take heed and for all my IF friends who are parents now, make a will and/or trust so your spouse and kid(s) are not screwed when you die.

But my sister and I have never gotten along and now we are co-trustees and must divide everything in half. Meanwhile, there are 20-something properties that need to be managed and bills that need to be paid. And we have to fix up and sell “the big house” (our family home) to settle debts so we can dissolve the trust. It’s daily stress. It’s a daily reminder that both my parents are dead and that I am going to die. And BG is not tolerant of me being on my phone talking or texting, etc. She relentlessly pesters me and then has meltdowns when I snap at her. I can barely force myself to think about or do any of the drudgery associated with the estate, and with BG agitating me I feel like I might lose my mind. I need to put her in preschool and I have her enrolled in one but it doesn’t start until the fall. And I do not even have the stomach to vet preschools right now. I am looking at summer camps but that’s a week here-and-there. Oh and I dread having to take BG back to the midwest with me *without Mr. MLACS* to deal with this estate BS. F*ing nightmare. That is a 12hr car ride easch way, which I cannot do alone so I’ll have to split into 2 says–that is 4 days of travel. Just shoot me.

But I’m rich now. So there’s that. Not a “one percent-er” or filthy rich–like mansion/servants, car and driver, private plane and NY fashion week rich. But like, I will have a monthly income from my trust and it is legacy wealth that I can pass on to BG.

I’d give it all to have my Mom back though.

To have both my parents back, because our family was functionally-dysfunctional until my Mom got sick, which brought out the worst in my dad.

I’d give anything to be one big happy family.

I want peace in my life again. I want to feel like everything is going to be ok.

I am doing EFT tapping and trying to take care of myself, even though I don’t feel like showering or brushing my teeth or going to yoga or doing laundry or vacuming or anything. I’m sort of dead inside–dormant is a better word–I was starting to blossom but now I am dormant like a bulb in the winter. And I hate it.

So I am trying to claw my way out of this depression. I’m weak. I’m scared. I’m vulnerable. I’m confused. I’m frustrated. I’m emotionally drained. I’m distraught. I’m burdened. I’m defensive. I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m apathetic. I’m literally tied in knots and seeing a new chiropractor to try to unclench and untwist my poor body.

But I haven’t given up hope yet. And I’m trying to get better.

XOXO,

MLACS