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.

Let’s cut off half that compliment, thanks

“You’re doing so well considering all you’re going through!” I’m hearing that non-stop at my new office. I’m trying to take the compliment but it’s frustrating. Am I really doing well? Or am I doing only ok but getting more credit since I’ve got life junk going on?

Part of my problem is that I entered this job with imposter syndrome in full force. I kept hearing “I’m so glad you’re here!” And “you’re exactly what we need!” And “we’ve been counting down the days until you could start!” all through my first couple of days. That’s a pretty high expectation to walk into. So my brain kept wondering how long before they realize I’m a fake, that I’m not good enough, that they made a huge mistake on me.

As the compliments grow, so do my doubts. Which means they try to praise me for doing great things in spite of the insanity of my life I hear only that they’re making excuses for me not doing all that great. The nasty voice in my head should leave me alone. And I hope eventually people will cut off the “considering” part of their compliments.

I’m back… kind of

Sorry for my sudden disappearance. Life went a little crazy all of a sudden. And by “a little crazy” I mean we moved, I started a new job, and my husband was diagnosed with cancer all within the span of a week. I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to focus and keep things moving. So I plan to get back to posting on a semi regular basis, but things will be a bit slow.

Sometimes the best explanation is none at all

I just started to listen to Stephen Kings It on audiobook. When Georgie meets Pennywise at the beginning and then suddenly turns from clown to monster the description of the monster is so freaky. Why? Because it’s not a description. It is a feeling and thought process from the point of view of Georgie. It is an explanation that the monster his imagination comes up with to fear in the cellar is nothing close to what he saw. And to hear this makes you fear this Pennywise creature more than just about any character in a book.

Once I got over the shock and tears of the scene I was hearing I realized, this is much like mental illness. Why is it so hard to describe to those who don’t have it? There really are no words for how terrible this illness can be. And the fact that science is still early in understanding it makes it that much harder. I often speak of my mental illness as the monster in my mind. And sometimes that monster is a creepy clown lurking in the shadows and I can mostly ignore it. And sometimes that clown turns into something so horrifying and overwhelming that it cannot be put into words. I suppose I’ll take my mental Pennywise over the one that Georgie faces, but that doesn’t mean my mental one doesn’t terrify me sometimes.

Why should I ignore their ancestors?

My husband has no information on his biological father other than the Indian tribe he was from. He never built an interest in his genetic past so didn’t much research the tribe. I however have always had a great deal of appreciation for Native American tribes and their rituals. I have even been honored with the opportunity to be a part of a religious ceremony with a local tribe in my youth. So when I married my husband I began to research his tribe.

My oldest son is a Cub Scout and part of what he’s supposed to review with me is our family’s belief system. Well, our family believes in the First Amendment. That is what we teach and practice in our household. It would be simple enough to go the traditional route of “here’s Christianity in a nutshell. Have fun at your grandparents church” but I wanted to teach my son something new. I went back to the religious practices of his tribe, for which he is one quarter, and thought that would be a good one. But then I became nervous.

He’s awkward to speak to, so may not articulate well what he learns. Someone who does not know him well may take his knowledge the wrong way. If I help him make a headdress with feathers carefully placed in the unique manner his tribe did, then it would be thought that he was being inconsiderate of tribal fashion by those who don’t know what we’re doing. If someone sees me, naturally blonde with green eyes and glow-in-the-dark-white skin, teaching my son about his tribe it will look like I’m misinforming him about Native Americans.

It is not okay that I should fear teaching my children about their ancestral past. It is ridiculous that I should be nervous to teach feather placement and bead color of a headdress. I hate that I can’t speak about Spirit Animals without someone assuming I’m making light of it when they have no idea the amount of research I’ve put into the beliefs. I need to be able to speak with my son about the religious practices of the tribe he comes from even if we don’t live anywhere near it or know who among the tribe he is related to.

I’m doing it anyway. I don’t give a shit what other people think of it, I don’t have patience for that right now. So tomorrow we’re studying the culture and I won’t allow my fear to get in the way this time.

I’m wife enough for him

So hubby and I got to chatting about communes, cause that is apparently our version of causal Saturday morning chitchat 🤷‍♀️ And he said we couldn’t live in one cause it will lead to a suicide pact or an FBI raid. I explained we didn’t need to go THAT far with our commune and tried to bribe him with the prospect of multiple wives. He looked horrified! I’d like to think it was because he couldn’t imagine loving any wife as much as me but let’s face facts here, I’m just too damn high-maintenance for him to imagine having multiple of me to deal with. Sometimes being high-maintenance is a good thing, it means I’m more than enough wife for my husband 💏

Gotta be honest… looks like a sock to me

Knitting knitting knitting “ah crap”. That is basically the story of this damn sock.

So in case you’re not following, I am knitting socks right now. Knitting is a coping tool for when my brain monster is taking control, so I’ve been doing it a lot lately. I decided to try a sock again, I’ve never successfully finished one but I was feeling hopeful. Upon finishing the ribbing I noticed a mistake in one of the rows. Looks wonky but not overly noticeable so I kept going. Then I finished everything before the heel, success! Furthest I’ve ever made it! Oh wait, my repeat pattern has a mistake a few rows back. I’m really bad at ripping back and picking up stitches so I’ll let it go.

I finished the heel flap yesterday, so proud of myself! And it was done without mistakes! Yay! Started the heel turn. Got to row 9 before I realized I’d done the whole fucking heel turn wrong.

I burst into tears. Hubby was wondering what was wrong. I held up the sock and said it was all screwed up and I should just give up. He said it looked fine and asked what was wrong with it. I pointed to the mistake in the ribbing, the one in the ankle, and then to the heel turn which would fit only if my heel slanted to the left.

Hubby looked at the sock thoughtfully, examined each part I had pointed to, then calmly looked at me and said “I gotta be honest with you. It looks like a sock to me.” 😐

So I went to bed and am trying again today. I had to rip out the heel turn, but couldn’t successfully pick up the stitches in the heel flap, so had to rip back all the way to the last row before starting the heel. Now to start the damn heel again.

Round 1 goes to sock, but Round 2 shall be mine!