I killed Mothman. He was blue and glittery.

Despite my husbands insistence that they are just “nighttime butterflies” I’m actually quite terrified of moths. I don’t particularly like butterflies either, they’re more of a “pretty at a distance” kind of crawly winged thing. But moths are like the vampire bunny creature of the night. Um, I should probably explain I’m also terrified of bunnies as I’m fairly certain they are secretly evil geniuses that will take over the world one day (think Pinky and the Brain but with more fluff). But that’s a whole other discussion.

The window in our car stopped working this week, it will roll down but not up. So I was driving and a moth got in the car and I’m trapped between panic that there is a moth and panic that I’ll crash the car if I don’t stop panicking about the moth. Then the moth may or may not have flown out the window and I was trying to convince myself it for sure flew out the window when suddenly I discovered something on my chest. Right in my cleavage! It was small and flat and when I picked it up it made a little crunch in the middle. Holly shit I killed the moth! 😱😭

This gave me all sorts of new panic. First because I touched a moth and will forever be infected by moth cooties, second because I killed the moth and maybe it will haunt me forever, third because it was still in the car with me, and fourth because the moth landed on me. It landed on me! It may as well have asked me to pet a bunny while it was at it!!! 😰 The second I heard the crunch I flung it across the car as my panic continued to grow exponentially, then realized I threw it at the passenger seat rather than out the window. So I pulled into a parking lot and turned the flashlight on on my phone to start looking for the moth.

After an exhaustive search I discovered the flat creature lying still just above the glove compartment. I shined the flashlight on it and discovered something interesting. The moth was blue and sparkly. It was the exact color of my nail polish. Apparently when the moth supposedly flew out the window I must have waved my hand in panic and the full nails worth of polish came off in one chunk and landed on my chest. I found it, crunched it, and flung it across the car. I’m still not convinced I won’t be haunted by the moth that may or may not have flown out the window, but at least I don’t have moth cooties on my cleavage, or a bunny in my car.

Not even if she’s a friend. Not even if she’s hugged you before.

My son is a natural born sweetheart. He writes you notes of encouragement when you’ve had a bad day. He hugs you, and sings to you, and always tries to make you smile. He has no intention of ever hurting anyone. But if not taught important lessons, intentions may not always match actions.

When he was in kindergarten we went to a story and pizza night that his school was putting on. He saw a friend as we were entering and ran up to give her a hug. She said no, she didn’t want a hug. He started to hug her anyway and she gently pushed away, so he stopped and began to chat with her. I gently pulled him aside and spoke with him in private.

“When someone says no to a hug you don’t hug them. I know you love hugs and do them to be friendly and caring, but not everyone likes them. Or sometimes they do like them but don’t want one at that time. You need to listen when they say no. So even if she’s a friend, even if you’ve hugged before, don’t hug if she says she doesn’t want one. And the same is true the other way. If you don’t want a hug, or a pat on the back, or other touches or words that don’t feel good at that time, you say no. They are expected to respect that, and if they don’t you tell me, ok? Does that make sense?” He smiled and said “yeah mama, don’t hug when they say no. I’ll remember.”

To a casual onlooker it may have looked cute. A kid giving his friend a hug. And oh, she’s cranky and doesn’t want a hug. But I did not see it as cute, I saw it as a learning opportunity. I taught my son something that day, a lesson he isn’t even aware he got. When you’re touching someone and they say no, you listen. Regardless of reason or situation, you honor their request. My son will not be a predator. I also taught him that he has a right to say no, and if someone doesn’t respect that it is their fault, not his. And I will listen if he comes to me with a problem. Even if he’s not sure anyone else will.

We have to teach our children young. We have to show them what it means to respect boundaries. Don’t wait until they’re old enough to talk sex, because that is not the only form of abuse. Don’t gender specify, because boys can be victims too. I beg you to teach your children now so that situations like what Christine Blasey Ford had to go through do not continue to repeat with this next generation. It is up to us to teach our children, and not assume that they will magically know boundaries.

A welcome turn

Stepped into the same ER as we did 5 months ago. Got brought back just as quickly as before when the triage nurse saw his level of pain. Had the same ER doctor come in to the room. And as she stepped in she stopped. I’ve treated you before, haven’t I? He looked and said yes, that she was the one who found his cancer. She asked prognosis, current symptoms, and immediately put in orders for pain meds and a CT. I saw the same concern on her face as the last time when she ordered pain meds and a CT. Last time for his colon where she found multiple large masses, this time for his head where he was having the severe pain. It was all so similar, and so frightening.

I vividly remember 5 months ago, sitting in the chair next to hubby’s ER bed while they hook up his IV. Waiting in that chair while they take him for scans. And finally seeing the doctor return with results, closing the door I didn’t know the room had before closing the curtain usually used as a door and turning to us to explain what she found. That time led to a week at the hospital, a cancer diagnosis, explanation of stage 4, massive surgery, and a rollercoaster of pain and emotion that we still face.

Today I sat in that chair next to hubby’s ER bed while they hooked up his IV. Waited in that chair while the took him for scans. And then sat there anxiously staring at the door you wouldn’t know is there unless you’ve seen them use it. Desperately wishing it to remain open. I couldn’t handle going down this road again so soon. Even if I could handle it, I don’t know if he can. His mind is breaking.

Last time we sat through unspoken fear of colon cancer, this time the unspoken fear of it spreading to the brain. The doctor came back but the door remained open. Scans are clean, labs look great (considering). But she still admitted him. She wants another doctor to take a look, and beyond that just to give his body a rest. She is promising pain meds, anti nausea meds, and anti anxiety meds. And as the first batch went in his IV I slowly saw him sink into a gentle sleep. He is calm and resting, his pain managed, and when last I left his room he was keeping down what he has decided is the most delicious cranberry juice. The first thing he’s kept down in days.

It’s likely that the symptoms are just from the chemo, but it hit so hard and wasn’t letting up that we needed to get him in. What has me most concerned is the occasional moments of confusion or lapses in memory. It’s not normal for him, and started before these other symptoms. So they’re looking into it. I’m relieved that the brain scans are clean, and that he will be able to rest pain free even if just for tonight. This trip to the hospital had a much better turn out then last time. But I feel it will continue to loom over us every time we have these ups and downs. But right now I will sleep easy knowing he is safe. And tomorrow I will hopefully be able to take him home.

The perfect age for imagination

My youngest son loves science and history. He enjoys learning new facts and is not shy about explaining the facts he has discovered. He is also 7 years old and has a highly developed imagination. This makes “facts” far more interesting when explained by him. Here is what he has taught me so far this week:

1. “The Loch Ness monster eats stones.”

I said I had no idea, to which he explained that it’s simple to understand. “The Loch Ness monster is a modern day variation of the plesiosaur which has been discovered by paleontologists to have swallowed stones. That it is possible the stones helped digest food. So of course the Loch Ness monster swallows stones to help digestion too.”

2. “A girls lifecycle is longer than boys”

I asked if he means average lifespan. He does not. “A girl can have a baby that might grow into another girl, that would have a baby, and the cycle continues. Boys can’t do that.” I had never thought of it that way.

3. “You are a girl momma and you were broken cause you had me and brother.”

Broken? “Yeah, cause a cat that can’t have kittens anymore is fixed so before that they are broken. Momma was able to have the human version of kittens so must have been broken, and is now fixed.”

And it was devoured

I started a thing at work where if someone is having a really rough day I get them a cake pop to cheer them up. Then it became getting them a strawberry cake pop from Starbucks cause I liked the smiley face on them. That of course became “imagine it’s the face of your enemy and enjoy the destruction of their head while you eat it” because of course that’s where my mind goes. It has now caught on and other people are also cheering up coworkers by giving them faces to devour. I love my office sometimes 😈

That is the worst idea you have had

When your therapist of 3 years, the women who has seen you through panic attacks, self harm, suicidal ideation, and lord knows what else says “that is the worst idea you have had.” You should probably listen 😬

So what was this terrible idea? I went off my meds. That may not seem like much, but remember all the lovely things mentioned in the first sentence? That was during a period of time I spent months arguing with her that I didn’t need medication. Followed by a month of trying to stabilize on my new medications, some of that time spent in a psych hospital. She helped me understand that I need meds, helped me find a good psychiatrist after I had had so many bad ones in the past, she helped keep me safe from myself while I worked to find the right blend, and she helped me understand that the meds bring me to a baseline where I can then work on my self care to become healthy and stable beyond that point.

Recently someone at the office started telling everyone that I don’t care about things. Suddenly rumors where flying around that I am heartless, that I don’t care about my work or my team. This started spreading out of control until someone started trying to tell others I should be fired so they can have someone that actually cares. As someone with Borderline Personality Disorder I’d never been told I don’t care. I’m told I care too much, I care when I shouldn’t, I am too emotional, that I need to shut it off. My whole world shifted as I began to hear these strange rumors and I panicked.

I knew the “issue” was that I was stable, and that I wear an emotional mask on top of that. I also knew that I wasn’t going to lower that mask, so the only way to show emotions through it was to stop being stable. So for the next two weeks I cut my antidepressant and mood stabilizer dosages in half. When I didn’t end up completely crazy after that I just stopped taking them altogether. I went against my better judgement. I went against the advice I give others to never adjust your meds without first speaking to your doctor. I went against the advice I give myself, to talk over decisions I know are probably wrong with my therapist before doing stupid things. I panicked, so I ignored everything but the rumors at the office and I screwed myself up worse.

So at last Monday’s appointment we discussed the issues I’m going through right now, and eventually got to the dreaded question:

“How are your meds working?”

“I’m not taking them.”

Pause… “When did you last see your Psychiatrist?”

“About 3 or 4 months ago?”

“So she doesn’t know you stopped taking them?”

“No.”

“How long have you been off your meds?”

“A week, I was on half dose for 2 weeks before that.”

Pause…. “Why?”

“They were making me stable so people thought I didn’t care. I needed stronger emotions at work or everyone would hate me!”

Longer pause (probably an effort to regain the peace she had found while meditating that morning before I had come in and ruined it) “That… that is the worst idea you have had.”

“They want to fire me!”

“You can’t just stop your meds.”

“I can’t be stable right now, they hate me at work!”

“Do you hear yourself?”

“Yes. But I don’t care. I need my job.”

“You are more important than just a job. You need to be stable for you and your husband and your kids. You need to be on your meds.”

So I’m back on my meds. I’m feeling better, more clear, more calm. But I still have moments of desperate desire to be off them. To let my crazy take control. I don’t know where this desire is coming from exactly, I don’t think it is just from work though that was certainly a catalyst. But something in me says I shouldn’t be stable. And this is a new fight for me, one I don’t know how to face.

When I was young and refused to acknowledge depression as a medical condition, or that I had anything more than seasonal depression, I would refuse meds or go off of them because I shouldn’t need them. I’ve fought that battle and moved beyond it. I’ve learned to ignore the occasional thoughts my brain throws at me trying to convince me of that lie. But this is a new lie. My mind says the meds are working, and they’re needed, but that I should stop anyway. I recognize the truth of my illness and my treatment, and something is telling me not to be treated. To let the symptoms take over. I don’t know what that is. I don’t know how to fight it. Have any of you fought that before? The idea that you can be stable but shouldn’t?

Sometimes you’re paranoid for a reason

Just over a year ago I posted this. A description of my fears into the void in hopes of easing my own mind. My husbands blood work came back with some abnormalities. He was doing monthly blood work at the time to keep an eye on his response to a new diabetic medication, so to have abnormalities show up suddenly within a month was concerning to say the least. His GP referred him to a hematologist, whom we quickly discovered was actually an Oncologist. Fears grew. He was also scheduled for some additional tests and scans. I continued to “accidentally” find my way to WebMD through google searches, and continued to find he had symptoms of a few serious illnesses including colon cancer. I kept reminding myself that if we diagnosed purely through WebMD we’d all be diagnosed with cancer. So I pushed back my fear.

Day of the appointment came, tests results from the few they did were available, and the Hematologist/Oncologist showed no concern. “It’s just Anemia, the other abnormalities are from the lack of iron. Sometimes this pops up suddenly, don’t be worried we just need to get you on iron supplements.” He went on iron and followed up exactly on schedule. No change. “Your body just doesn’t absorb it well. We’ll put you on a higher dosage.” The next follow up appointment showed the iron in his blood went down. “Don’t worry, we’ll get you in for an iron infusion. It’ll take care of it and you’ll feel much better.”

So hubby walks into the office the day of the infusion and they explain that it’ll cost $5000. He asks what kind of payment plans we can do and they say none. The amount must be paid in full before any treatment is done. He continues to try to work with them as we don’t have the money and the doctor had said he needed this. “Sorry, but we don’t do these infusions until paid in full. We’ll go ahead and cancel the appointment and reschedule for when you are ready.” The doctors office continued to call for a while to explain he needed to go in for the infusion. Once he did they would schedule his follow up with the Hematologist. He stopped responding to the calls after a while as they still wouldn’t do a payment plan. He continued to work with his GP, continued to do blood work, always was honest when describing health and symptoms. The GP never seemed any more concerned than the Hematologist/Oncologist, so we trusted them.

April of this year his GP bumped up his iron supplements again as he still wasn’t absorbing it and a week later the occasional stomach pains he’d had for so long grew more severe. After a year of unspoken fear and trusting the doctors instead of my instincts I finally got him to agree to go to the ER. He had been unable to move for 3 days because of the pain of what he assumed was iron poisoning from the increase. The admitting nurse said “well, that could be it, but they’ll run some tests I’m sure to determine the cause.” She looked concerned. The ER doctor listened to his symptoms and asked questions finally asking “And your doctor hasn’t looked into this further?” She got him in for a CT scan. The scans showed dark spots on his colon. She said he would be admitted for further testing, but until they get the results from a biopsy there is still room to think positive. She too looked concerned.

Within 5 minutes of getting to his hospital room he had a gastroenterologist, hospital GP, and his previously seen hematologist/Oncologist standing in the room. They all looked concerned. As the first two spoke on what tests they would do and then left to go schedule them the Oncologist stayed and said “this is why you were supposed to do the iron infusion. So you wouldn’t end up in the hospital.”

Five days, two biopsies, three iron infusions, two blood infusions, and one major surgery later we had answers. Colon cancer, stage 4. A year ago I feared his symptoms were colon cancer or similar, but I choose to trust the doctors instead of speaking my fears. He now has no chance of remission from one of the most treatable cancers because it took too long to diagnose. It is so easy to beat myself up for not pushing for more tests, but that takes energy away from a family that needs me. It is even easier to be furious with the doctor, but he doesn’t care so why bother. Instead I focus on treatment, on hope that doesn’t exist, on taking care of my two young children while my husband lies in bed suffering the symptoms of cancer, surgery, and chemo.

But I learned from my paranoia mistake. The Oncologist wasn’t answering our questions, and was ignoring other symptoms. I didn’t ignore my instincts this time, I changed doctors. The new oncologist had the same reaction as the ER doctor. “He didn’t look into these new symptoms? He didn’t run more tests after your diagnosis? He started chemo that soon?” Turns out the original Oncologist did not preform standard scans to find a baseline which would show the effectiveness of chemo, he started chemo two weeks sooner than he should have after surgery, and he ignored pain that showed possible signs of spread to the bones and spots showing possible signs of spread to the lungs. He also omitted information on a more cost effective way to do chemo that has the same results.

Hubby got all the scans done with the new Oncologist and he has tumors covering his liver and lungs, but fortunately none in his bones. He now has a baseline and while they can’t switch chemo types yet they will with his next round to save him both time and money. He now has a pain specialist, a new GP, and a psychologist who all partner with his new oncologist. He now has the treatment he needs. Too late because of my ignoring my instincts, but hopefully soon enough to elongate his life.

WebMD won’t always be right. It’s usually not cancer. But it is better to ask and push for tests. Be sure to rule it out before assuming the doctor is always right. Trust your instincts even if they turn out wrong. I learned a hard lesson and my husband will now pay the price for that. Beating myself up steals energy from my family but secretly I may never forgive myself. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

Potentially Unpopular Opinion

I’m seeing the Sarah Sanders kicked out of restaurant story all over. Before making a decision on it I tried to get the facts.

  1. The Sanders party was polite before and after being asked to leave.
  2. The owner was polite and private when doing the asking.
  3. The owner was attempting to protect employees whom she understood may feel discriminated against.
  4. The Sanders party is in league with someone who would actively discriminate against said employees.
  5. The Sanders party did not pose discriminatory actions while at the restaurant.
  6. Had a single employee not made the stupid move to post this on Facebook then both sides may have left it at that instead of the social media shit storm that followed.

I understand the thought process on the side of the restaurant. It is hard to provide service when you feel attacked. But the attack was not happening at that time. There are so many instances of people being kicked out of a restaurant because they are different. The difference does not make a person dangerous. These are not the same situation, but they are similar. Which makes this a tough call. I do not agree with someone being refused service because of their political affiliation any more than because of the color of their skin or the gender they love. However, I do not approve of someone being forced to serve a person who has outwardly defended a person that is attacking their rights. Again, a tough call.

In the restaurant owners shoes I think I would have gone a third route. Serve the party myself. When there is a difficult customer, or a customer that makes an employee feel uncomfortable I take over so my employee can remove themselves from the situation. I have done it many times. A customer can make an employee feel uncomfortable even when they are not actively doing something wrong at that time. I do not make my employees suffer that situation if I can step in and help. But I also don’t kick the customer out.

As a manager I feel the great responsibility of protecting my company, my customer, and my team. And sometimes that means making tough calls. There are times that I put my team first, but I do so in a way that makes it invisible to the customer as much as possible. And ideally without one of my employees posting my decisions to Social Media for all the world to see and judge.

Conversations with a 7 year old

7yo “This is not a joke”

Me “Okay”

7yo “Why are squirrels on land called land squirrels?”

Me “I don’t know”

7yo “It’s not a joke”

Me “Correct”

7yo “Why is it a land squirrel?”

Me beginning to laugh “I have no idea”

7yo “Why are you laughing? It’s not a joke!”

Me “Sweetie, I don’t call them land squirrels. I call them squirrels. I have no idea why we would call them land squirrels.”

7yo “Are there such things as sea squirrels?”

Me “I don’t know”

7yo walks away thoughtfully.

Which dinosaur had nipples?

So my son was imitating a dinosaur and asking “what dinosaur am I?” He was upright, walking with large steps and had his arms tucked in with pointer fingers pointing forward. So I guessed T-Rex. He sighed and said “No Mom, these are not short arms. They are nipples.” He was dead serious, I of course was laughing my ass off. He began to get frustrated and said “I’m serious! I can’t remember the name of the dinosaur but it is big and walks like this and has long nipples!”

I have always encouraged the scientific questions of my children so was ready to explain that there were probably a lot with nipples cause they need them to feed their young. Then I remembered that no, that is how mammals feed their young and dinosaurs are reptiles. Then I remembered we were sitting in McDonalds and this probably wasn’t the place for a lively discussion on dinosaur nipples. So I changed the topic.

Now my brain is curious as to whether this is a real dinosaur and if it had nipples but I am afraid of what bizarre thing may appear from the depths of the Internet if I search “dinosaur with nipples”. So I shall ask you. Do any of y’all know what dinosaur had long nipples sticking out its front? Is there even one like that? I would consider this part of my sons imagination but he is almost always right when it comes to creatures I don’t know about.