Happy New Year!

So Christmas was lovely but it seems like forever ago because SO much has happened between Christmas and New Years.

To rewind, Mr. MLACS flew into the  nearby city and we enjoyed a weekend of holiday fun there, including seeing The Nutcracker ballet (an annual tradition) and riding on The Polar Express train.

BG is at a *magical age* and she had started ballet/tap class in the fall. She LOVED The Nutcracker this year! I loved watching her watch the performance–she was riveted. We had balcony seats close to the stage and she loved being able to see the performance and the people in the audience below us. Mr. MLACS bought her a Clara dolly and a Rat King dolly and watching the two of them pretend to fight during intermission, hearing BG squeal and giggle, and feeling LS kicking in my belly is a moment I’ll never forget. BG looked so precious in her red and navy blue plaid dress, with her little pearl necklace–she looked like a real little lady. For the record, BG looooooves to dress up! Lives for dresses, bows, jewelry and “make ups” (which are lip balms). I wore a dress and make-up to The Nutcracker but I am generally a person who loves sweat pants, or for more formal occassions, jeans. I definitely did not spark her “extra-ness” because I am super low maintinence. But I do love to watch her shine ❤

The Polar Express train was really the best. BG was excited and bouncy! She was enthralled by the performances and the characters/actors invited her to participate several times. First, she got to help turn pages as a portion of The Polar Express book was read. Then, she got to be a reindeer–they placed an antler headband on her–and march down the aisle as we sang Rudolph the red nosed reindeer. But the most precious part, was when Santa stopped to say hello to her abd give her “the first bell of Christmas”. BG thought she was supposed to tell him her Christmas list, and she was so excited to see him she could barely get the words out, so I interpreted. She asked for “Toys for baby sister, toys for me, toys for Koa and Kitty, and toys for Mommy and Daddy”. She’s so sweet and thoughtful. And taking in her good intentions and her wide-eyed innocence, Santa turned to me and said “You’re very lucky”. And I know I don’t count my blessings on this blog very often because I mostly talk about the heavy stuff, but please know that I feel profoundly blessed/fortunate/lucky and that Santa didn’t have to remind me–but I was touched.

We returned home from our adventure on Christmas Eve and I was super sick with what seemed like the flu. I felt miserable. Luckily Mr. MLACS was feeling great and he got everything put together for Christmas morning–Santa brought BG a teepee playhouse and he got her a big-girl monogrammed chair and had a matching little-girl monogrammed chair for LS (since BG was adamant that baby sister needed gifts). Mr. MLACS and I each got each other one gift from ourselves + BG. It was sweet and funny because BG had watched a cartoon (Arthur?) and the kid was REALLY excited to buy his Mom a glass bird. So BG had decided I needed a glass bird, and Mr. MLACS went to great lengths to find and purchase a glass bird. I love it because it really shows how much we all love each other. BG and I gave Mr. MLACS cologne, which is what we always gave my Dad for Christmas when I was little, and it’s weird to be “the parent” now.

BG had some unwrapped presents and a stocking from Santa, and then 9 wrapped gifts under the tree, 4 of which were from my sister and the rest from us. I know she had a wonderful Christmas and that she got plenty of great gifts. But I cannot seem to shake feeling guilty that she isn’t showered by presents and attention from our extended family. I want Christmas to be special because we spend time together and make great memories, and not because of how many presents are under the tree. I genuinely feel that we–that our precious children–are better off without toxic family members in our lives (and that includes keeping my sister at arms length, although she does have a relationship with BG). But the holidays stir up my feelings and make me wish things were different–and I second guess myself. I miss my good old friends and wish we lived closer–it would be easier to accept the severed ties with our relatives if we had “framily” to spend holidays with. But all our friends are spread out and we move too much to really create a “village”.

I had a village though, in the town we just moved from. I didn’t fully realize how much some of my girlfriends cared for me until I had to say goodbye. And I felt sad to lose them, and bad for “abandoning” them since they were clearly more invested in our friendships than I thought.

The movers came to pack on Dec. 27th, they loaded on Dec. 28th, and on Dec. 29th we bid farewell to our dream home, and all the craziness of the past 2 years. Mr. MLACS and I shed some tears for what was and for what might have been. And then we journeyed for 3 days, and celebrated NYE in our new town.

Let me close by saying 2018 was a legit roller coaster of a year, with huge ups-and-downs. I worked hard to regain my health and fitness, while navigating life as a fledgling ostomate–I did it! I even put myself out there and became the leader of a fit moms club, got my friends involved, and met new people. I dealt with my Father’s death, my Maternal Grandmother’s death, and the absolutely maddening struggle with my sister over managing our trust. I started my own LLC and did grown-up stuff like creating my own will & trust and purchasing burial plots for myself and Mr. MLACS. I paid a lot of bills. We took a beautiful trip to Hawaii. I dealt with the constant fear of losing Mr. MLACS and dealing with his health scares. I did lots of stuff with BG and she started preschool and dance classes in the fall. We sold our house, and we moved a 17+hr drive North of where we lived. I’d say the most amazing and insane plot-twist of 2018 was we got pregnant quickly and without fertility treatments–now I’m 30 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby girl.

2018 was very trying, but I really feel like every bit of it was filled with purpose.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

XOXO,

MLACS

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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

 

Ridiculous

Guys, it’s been a roller coaster. So, bullet points:

  • Mr. MLACS saw the Cardiologist after his “episode” and Cardiologist surprised him by saying he is now a good candidate for the ablasion surgery!
  • Mr. MLACS has lost over 100lbs this year, but still needs to lose 57lbs to get under 40% BMI for his height, so we thought he was disqualified from any procedures until he lost more weight. *side note: the BMI chart is stupid*
  • Mr. MLACS accepted a job up North, so we are moving. He HATES his job here and his old company made him a good offer, and we decided to go for it.
  • After Cardiologist said ablasion surgery was a “go” pending his discussion with his colleague, Mr. MLACS decided he wanted to do it before we move up North. He was SO excited at the prospect!
  • Mr. MLACS became panicked from stress at his current job and the stress of waiting for the *official* job offer. He was having heart palpitations and said it was similar to what was happening prior to his last “episode” (defibrillation). So I packed up my kid in her jammies and my pregnant self and took him to the ER at 8pm on a Wednesday in monsoon rains. They said he’s fine. I asked him to work from home for the next 2 days so he could calm down.
  • Friday we saw Cardiologist again, anticipating scheduling the ablasion…
  • Cardiologist says his colleague reviewed his case and said he’s not a candidate for ablasion surgery. Ever. Due to what happened during his initial cardiac arrest.
  • So the Cardiologist has been pushing Mr. MLACS to lose weight for this ablasion for *a year*, never bothered to consult about it, and then CRUSHES Mr. MLACS by telling him it’s not even an option.
  • Oh and instead, Cardiologist puts him on a new med (Amitriptyline)  with serious potential side effects to help his arrythmias.
  • And *then* Cardiologist says “You really must lose that 57lbs because the way you are going you are going to need something (like an LVAT) before you’re 50. Even though none of your tests show no abnormalities, the fact that you’re being defibrillated every 6 months indicates there is something wrong.”
  • Mr. MLACS starts crying while I sit there numb, in disbelief. And Cardiologist backpedals trying to make it seem not so bad.
  • I try to comfort Mr. MLACS after we leave. But it’s hard because it does not feel like things are going to be ok. Ever.
  • I bottle it up and morbid anxiety-induced visions of the future plague me for the next several days. Visions of my little girls grieving because he dies, because they find him dead or he dies right in front of them, or of him becoming disabled/incapacitated.
  • I throw myself into trying to figure out this move. It’s overwhelming.
  • After I found a house I like, it is revealed that we cannot buy a house because Mr. MLACS’s federal student loans are in default–he didn’t even know and I found out from a mortage broker. I’m livid because I’ve been checking with him periodically and emphasizing that he MUST keep them in good standing or they can and will garnish his wages and it will ruin his credit. He blew me off and also never bothered to check his credit report. I hate being right sometimes.
  • So then he tells me his choices are to pay $1100/mo for 9 months to get the loans out of default/collections (and I assume keep paying $1100/mo) *or* pay $50k in a lump sum.
  • I don’t want to bring my baby home to a rental house in March. I don’t want to move again. I’m f*cking exhausted at the thought of it. I don’t want to “waste” money on rent.
  • I have the money from my inheritance, but my own federal student loans are in default. Why should I pledge my/our nest egg for his mistake? True, he gave me $333/mo for 5 years to pay off $21k private student loans while I was a SAHM…and he was a total dick about it. He yelled at me “Well I paid your loans!” But what he’s asking is not fair or equal. And the fact that he is demanding it when he made me grovel is the definition of irony.
  • I am really sick of him. Sick of worrying about his heart because he ignored my pleas for him to quit smoking and lose weight and now the damage is done. Sick of him acting like I should use my finite inheritance money as income. Sick that he thinks he’s entitled to it for his student loan f*ck up–this hypocrite lectures me any time I spend too much at Target. Sick that I have to move out of my dream house and drive my 7 months pregnant ass and my kids north for 3-4 days *through the snow in January* to live in a rental home, so Mr. MLACS can have a job he likes–but there’s only a 2-3 year contract so if he stays with the company we have to move again. And again. And again. Or settle somewhere without him. I’m sick that even though he’ll be making $2k more per month he tried to tell me I had to pay $1100/mo for his student loans. And this is in addition to A LOT of other stuff I’ve been paying for, like preschool and dance classes and clothes and lawncare and date nights and all my bills–this is from my inheritance money, I don’t work outside the home. I’ve vowed not to use any of the rental income as personal income for awhile (it stays in the business account) because it’s not consistent and I need to invest in repairs b/c some of the houses are in shambles. But all of a sudden he treats me like a bank. My Dad died. My Grandma died. And even though he’s been supporting us for years he is acting broke.
  • I wish I didn’t have this money (well actually I *do* appreciate being financially secure) because Mr. MLACS is greedy about money–it has always been a thing with him. And me getting this inheritance makes him act like Ebineezer Scrooge, whereas we were in a good place before that.. after years of him being a dick about it, berating and degrading me when finances got tight even though it was NEVER because *I* was financially irresponsible.
  • And now he has f*cked up financially BIG time several times this year alone, and he expects me to dismiss it, without him taking full accountabilty, offering sincere apologies, or giving an explanation of how he intends to do better. Nope, he just wants to sweep it under the rug.
  • Oh and then use my inheritance to fix it because I’m over here “freeloading” as a wife and mother.
  • I found a house to rent up North, since we can’t buy, and I had us fill out credit and background checks last night. This morning I get a call from prospective landlord asking to explain *the 2016 eviction*. I’m like “You must be mistaken”. But no, apparently Mr. MLACS cosigned a lease for his mother before he met me…we have been estranged from her since BG was born nearly 4 years ago. She’s a horrible person and Mr. MLACS was the family scapegoat. Well, now we have to get a lawyer to fight *her* eviction on his record. I explained everything to potential landlord and gave proof that we were not living in that state and in fact have an excellent reference ftom the property management company we were *actually* renting from. But it’s a mess.
  • I own several rental properties and I have money, but I can’t buy a f*cking house. Now I can’t even rent one. This is ridiculous.
  • Did I mention BG has been sick for the last several days and I haven’t gotten any sleep and she is needy and whiney and wants to be on me like velcro 24/7? I have no space to think or breathe. I am low on energy. And then today I’m having back spasms and my uterus felt tight.
  • I called Mr. MLACS crying and I found it insulting when he asked what’s wrong…EVERYTHING is wrong and he KNOWS it. He told me to take it easy.
  • I asked Mr. MLACS to help me get the house ready because the listing agent is coming over tomorrow.  He yelled and berated me for every little thing, like that I hadn’t unloaded the dishwasher. He was insufferable. I finally turned around and said “FINE! I’m not selling this house, I’m staying! I don’t even want to move at this point! So do the dishes, don’t do the dishes, I don’t f*cking CARE! YOU go work up north. I’ve dealt with a metric ton of your bullsh*t this week and I’m DONE!” He says “Well you’ll have to explain that to her (BG)”…and I’m thinking…you probably won’t live to see her graduate highschool so she may as well get used to not having you around…but I didn’t say that.
  • Mr. MLACS is a great dad. And he loves me. But he needs so much f*cking therapy. When he gets stressed or feels threatened (or when there’s money involved) he turns into a monumental dickhead. He’s *my* dickhead. But I f*cking hate him when he’s like that. And I hate it when I have to sink to his level to deal with him–there is no progress with taking “the high road”.
  • After declaring that I was done trying to tidy the house because IDGAF if goes on the market, I went and laid down on a heating pad and left him to do (or not do) the chores.
  • He did them.
  • Why’s it always gotta be like this? With all the drama. We are a magnet for drama.

XOXO,

MLACS

A Mixed Bag

So I should probably start with an update from my last post–I celebrated my one-year stomaversary on October 17th. I did not get a cake, but we were on “vacation” in my midwestern  hometown so we could enjoy fall weather (since it’s still hot in the south) and so I could handle some business with my parents’ estate/my inheritance. We enjoyed ourselves–I caught up with my old friends, and BG played with their kids and had a ball. We took our labrador and he enjoyed going to “puppy camp” (doggy daycare) a couple times and every morning we’d bring him scrambled eggs from breakfast (we stayed at a Staybridge Suites hotel as it allows pets and it provided breakfast, which was delicious). I enjoyed going to my old favorite restaurants to get yummy gluten-free specialties. And really, we’d love to move back there at some point because it’s a lovely town.

But there was some bad stuff too.

At the 9th hour of our 13 hour drive, I received word that my dear girlfriend had passed away of complications with her cancer. I knew she was terminal, but she had been just fine the day before and no one expected this. I was heartbroken that I didn’t get to see her one last time. I did join her husband and some friends to celebrate her life, but they were all drunk and disorderly (which is why I love them) and I had Mr. MLACS and BG with me so we didn’t stay long, as they were heading towards a collective breakdown. I didn’t make it to her official memorial and I know some of the crew found that offensive. But funerals are for the living. Jen knew I loved her. And I reached out to her husband to support him. I cried for her–she was a beautiful person.

Then, my sister was (as per usual) a giant passive-aggressive, manipulative pain-in-the-ass. She never misses an opportunity to make my life difficult and piss me off, then play the victim when I call her on her sh*t. She likes feeling like she has some power over me. It’s pathetic. And I’m sure our estate lawyer needed a drink after dealing with our quarrels last week–he will be so glad to be rid of us. I don’t envy him. We have one item left in the trust and then it will be dissolved and we won’t have to “work together” anymore as co-trustees.

And then, we took a 2hr trip to a nearby city to do fun stuff with BG in the afternoon and have dinner with a dear friend in the evening. But while we were riding the train at the zoo…

Mr. MLACS was shocked by his defibrillator.

He was sitting in the seat in front of me so I didn’t see his face, but I heard a loud crack and saw him fly back in his seat–I knew instantly that he’d been shocked…but I thought it was static electricity or a loose wire on the train…it didn’t even occur to me it was his ICD (pacemaker/defibrillator device implanted on his heart). He was in shock but he didn’t lose consciousness. I figured out what had happened and a wave of panic started in the pit of my stomach but BG was right next to me so I couldn’t react. I stayed eerily calm (which is how I am in these situations–I become automated). No one else knew anything was wrong and since Mr. MLACS was conscious I didn’t feel the need to call for help–I mean what could anyone do? I didn’t know what to do–the cardiologist never gave me any instructions.

So I sat there in shock, rubbing his back until we got off the train. Mr. MLACS was not feeling well but he could walk. We had promised BG to get her something at the gift shop and it was about to close so we ran in there and suddenly I knew I had to call his cardiologist and figure out what to do next. So I did that, and they said take him to an emergency room to be looked at. And I had to make a choice–go directly to an ER in the city *or* drive the 2hrs back to my hometown where the hospital has his previous records from his initial heart failure and drop him at the ER and take BG back to the hotel (because ER’s are no place for children or pregnant women). So I chose option 2 and just tried to stay calm. Mr. MLACS was floored. And blaming himself–asking “What did I do wrong?” It was heartbreaking.

So luckily BG fell asleep on the ride and I didnt have to explain why we were dropping Mr. MLACS at the hospital. While he got checked out, I started googling…and now I am PISSED at his cardiologist. Because *this guy* acted like the goal was for Mr. MLACS not yo have any more episodes. But from what I read, even the youngest and healthiest individuals with an ICD are shocked *1-2 times per year on average*. Mr. MLACS has been shocked twice this year, and both times we thought it was a crisis situation and that it wasn’t supposed to happen and I blamed myself–maybe he is too stressed and he needs less expectations and responsibilities, while Mr. MLACS agonizes over what he did wrong.

But the truth is, that his heart randomly malfunctions. The ER found nothing in his bloodwork. Nothing in his EKG. Nothing in his x-ray. His heartrate was perfectly normal (he was sitting peacefully on the train) and for no apparent reason he went into V-fib (a dangerous arrythmia). His heartrate went from 60bpm to 324bpm in an instant, his ICD device shocked him once on the lowest setting, and his heartrate returned to 60bpm as if nothing had even happened.

There was nothing we could do to prevent it. There is nothing we can do to stop it from happening again at this point. Mr. MLACS is dilligently losing weight so he can qualify for a surgery that will try to pinpoint the part of his heart that malfunctions to cause the arrythmia and have it ablazed (burnt so it quits wreaking havoc). But there are no guarantees.

I take solace in statistics–he is statistically likely to survive 10 more years. He could live decades–he’s young and most of the people with ICD’s are 60+ years old, so they skew the statistics. But I hate that we have to live in fear of the next “episode”. I hate how much pain/frustration/anxiety/guilt it causes Mr. MLACS. I hate that I need to teach BG how to dial 911 as soon as possible. I hate that I worry when he is alone with her or when he puts her on his shoulders–that she could be traumatized by witnessing an event or hurt because he fell while carrying her. I hate that I worry about Mr. MLACS driving and that I really don’t want him driving our girls–could I ever forgive myself if I allowed it and something happened to my babies while he was driving?

This is a heavy burden. All this fear.

But we have to keep living. We can’t let fear dictate our lives. Yes, we have to be dilligent and cautious, but we don’t have to be consumed by fear.

So I exhale and keep going.

XOXO,

MLACS

 

 

 

Wow…second trimester already!

Hey guys, today makes 15 weeks! I had an OB visit today and her heartbeat was spot-on at 160-170 bpm. My belly has been expanding, but not like it did with BG–even though I weigh less now than I did with BG, my tummy is soft/squishy instead of hard. I presume this is because I have loose skin and, moreover, because I don’t have my colon (which was impacted due to taking Zofran with BG).

I loved my body/my belly with BG, but between my squishiness, scars from surgery, and my ostomy bag, I don’t feel very cute. I think part of my lack of enthusiasm for my “bump” is also that it’s my 2nd pregnancy and I have A LOT more on my plate–with BG, Mr. MLACS was gone 50% of the time, we lived in an apartment (now we are homeowners) and I didn’t have a toddler, plus it was a hard-won pregnancy, so I reveled in my ‘pregnant-ness’ and had lots of time and money to buy cute maternity clothes and take bump photos. I can’t be the only one–has anyone else found that their first pregnancy was all pinterest-y, but subsequent pregnancies were less so? I don’t want baby sister to feel less important or celebrated, because she is my little miracle and just because I’m not into *myself* right now is no reflection on how much I’m into her. I hope little sister understands and doesn’t take it personally. Because once she’s here, I’ll give her everything I’ve got just like I did for BG. Oh, and henceforth little sister will be referred to as LS.

So maybe you are wondering…how is pregnancy different with an ostomy? Well, first off, my ostomy bag covers the right half of my belly. As my belly grows and changes, I’ve had more challenges…

1. I eat more–a lot more–so my stoma and ostomy bags are getting a “workout” from all the food I consume.

2. My stoma is changing size. It has increased 2-3mm in diameter (so currently 28-29mm) and is protruding more.

3. Because my belly isn’t flat anymore, my stoma is changing size, and I am eating more, I’m having more leaks. In fact, I’ve gone from changing my appliance once every 4 days to changing it almost every day. And when I have leaks it irritates my peristomal skin.

4. I’m going to try different bases/bags to see if I can prevent leaks, and also because my preferred base only goes up to 35mm and may become too small.

5. My bag is much harder to hide under clothes. I had an easy time concealing it, even under skin tight clothing, prior to pregnancy/my belly growing. But now I can see my bag through almost anything I wear, tight or not. I’m frustrated about that. And between wanting to prevent leaks and also wanting to be comfortable, wearing compression garments is basically out of the question at this point.

6. I need to buy some new maternity clothes that suit my new body, but because I’m not into myself right now and I’m busy, I just haven’t made the effort. I really need to. I really wish I had a good friend here who I felt comfortable asking to go shopping with me.

So to be honest, having an ostomy has made pregnancy less enjoyable for me in some ways, as much as I hate to admit that. But I’m grateful to be healthy and moreover I’m grateful that LS is healthy, and that’s what really matters. The rest is trivial.

XOXO,

MLACS

 

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