A fun little diddy I came up with this morning just for you:
This is the snow that never ends!
Yes it snows on and on my friends!
Some people started shoveling it not knowing what it was
And they’ll continue shoveling it forever just because
This is the snow that never ends…
Imagine Shari Lewis singing it as Lambchop. Lambchop in a little red winter hat and red winter mittens.
Interesting that I have a very distinct image in my head of Lambchop wearing a red hat and red scarf and yet, I cannot find such an image anywhere. Did I invent that memory? Am I combining Lambchop’s red mittens with Beaker’s red scarf from The Muppet Christmas Carol?
…Oh man, great news… while searching for an image of Lambchop, I came across a picture of Lambchop with Kermit! How awesome is that?!
Answer: crazy awesome!
Anyway, fingers crossed this is the last bit of snow we have to deal with this spring! Hope you enjoy the song! (On repeat… mwuahahaha!)
I’m absolutely obsessive about paint colors. (No, I don’t expect that to surprise you.) And my master bedroom was, of course, no exception.
I agonized over the color. I had a vague idea of what I wanted (thank you, Pinterest!), but was scared out of my mind to actually pull the trigger. After considerable deliberation, I finally bought the paint during a Menard’s 11% off sale last spring. Then I got some lovely prints to match it from a local photographer at the Marshfield Mother’s Day art fair. I purchased new curtains and curtain rods and hung them. I sewed a duvet cover in cream and white to match (which took for-ev-er). And I even bought some little shelves at Ikea the last time I was in Minneapolis. But here we are, nearly one year later, and I only just now put the color up on the walls.
It was so scary!
But dang! Did it ever turn out nice!
Don’t you think???
The color is called “blue fjord,” not the best name ever, which is a bummer because, call me ridiculous, but the name of the color is incredibly important to me. (My living room is painted, you will not believe this, Ypsilanti skies! YPSILANTI! Of all the random cities! Ypsilanti! Too awesome!) I got a little nervous when Seth seemed pretty weirded out right off the bat and then I texted some friends a pictures and one of them said, and I quote, “Rachel. Are you painting it black??” and I could imagine her saying it with shock and it totally made me laugh.
It’s not black, not even dark gray, it dried a lovely shade of blue and I couldn’t be more thrilled with it.
After having a couple days to let it sink in, Seth declared last night that it looked very “adult.” I’m glad he likes his big boy room 😉
And because I’m very grown up and adult, I couldn’t complete the look without hanging these beautiful Albus Dumbledore quotations!
I’m still jonesing for some new, adult-style furniture, but Curly’s knee is our priority (and Uncle Sam insisted on being priority #2– a hole) so that’ll have to wait. E-ven-tu-al-ly. I’m cool with baby steps.
***Just in case you didn’t already know, Ypsilanti is the name of the town I hail from. It’s in southern Michigan, just a few miles north of Ohio and west of Detroit. The Y is pronounced like an I and you can call it Ypsi for short. Oh, Y-town, how I love thee!
Have you ever given blood? When I first started giving, back in 2001, the Red Cross always handed out a sticker after you’d given. They said something along the lines of, “Be nice to me, I gave blood today” and oh my goodness… did I ever wear that thing proudly.
(Second in the amount of proud-ness only to my “I voted” American flag oval sticker. You know what I’m talking about.)
In the 13 intervening years, I’ve given a couple (a few? several?) gallons combined to the Red Cross, the US Armed Services Blood Program, and now the Blood Center of Wisconsin (BCW). I give regularly knowing that I’m a healthy young adult with a large blood volume (consequent to large body size) who’s not scared of needles, not prone to passing out, has no religious or other objections to blood donation, and doesn’t even get so much as a headache from it. (Plus, I really like Fritos and they almost always have Fritos afterward.) But more importantly, I hope that if ever I or a loved one ever ends up needing a blood transfusion someone else will have given. So while I can, I do. Especially given that there are many people who, for whatever reason, cannot.
I really cannot say enough good about the staff of the Blood Center of Wisconsin. Admittedly, I was bummed when I moved to Wisconsin and had to lose my “status” at the Red Cross, but I got my gallon t-shirt at BCW a couple months ago and they’re always amazing. They call to remind me whenever I’m due to give, they come right to my work on a regular basis, it’s easy and quick, the staff are super friendly, they always congratulate me on my hemoglobin (thank you for recognizing that it’s not easy keeping it above 13!), and I’ve never, ever had a bad poke from a single BCW phlebotomist (knock on wood).
Today was no exception regarding the awesome BCW staff. I chatted with the phlebotomist today about her sweet puppies and mine and by the time I was done (remember how I don’t have a ton of platelets? I fill the bag real quick– it’s awesome) I was pretty much good friends with Kathy and wanted to meet her sweet Gracie and Ivy (tox foy terriers) desperately. Then, while I was having my snack, I met a young MA (seriously– 19 years old, so young!) from orthopedics and we chatted over Fritos (I was not kidding, I really love them), juice, and a BCW volunteer timing our 10 minute rest. She was so nice!
There were stickers afterward, of course, but they said something about being a hero and I couldn’t bring myself to take one. (Let alone wear it if I did.) I can donate, so I do. And while I hope that day never comes, if I ever need a transfusion, I hope very much that someone else would have donated for me. (Pure, unbridled selfishness.)
Had the stickers said, “Be nice to me, I gave blood today” things may have been different. Because I love that. Except I kind of feel like I had one on anyway. Because everyone was crazy nice to me today. And that’s when the sum total of many recent overly pleasant experiences struck me:
I have become my mother.
Random segue, right? But hear me out.
Kathy, the phlebotomist, and I, are basically tight now. I know about her two sweet pups and the story of her previous pup being put to sleep when she turned 18 and got sick. I know how upset her rough-and-tumble, 72-year-old, tough guy husband was when that happened. She knows that I desperately want another dog and that I plan to guilt trip Seth for one upon reaching 2 years of infertility (heads up, babe!). I met one of the newest Marshfield Clinic employees and know now that she’s 19 years old, from the small town of Unity nearby (like small, guys, even compared to Marshfield, but it’s cool, she really likes small town living), that she graduated from high school early at 17 (me too!), and that she and I are both fans of Dr. Pathak from endocrinology.
Last week, I chatted with the lady at the pharmacy about the hand cream I was using and we discovered that we both love CeraVe– it’s amazing stuff! She was glad to know how much I like Vaniply for my hands though. She’ll consider it next winter.
In Phoenix, I chatted with a conference organizer when I checked in at the registration desk and found out that her brother-in-law is the football coach at Michigan Tech and next in line to take over as Athletic Director and don’t you just love the UP?
And I could go on.
This is my mom’s thing, though. People talk to my mom. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to her, “How do you know that person?” and she responds, “I don’t.”
But, but, but… I’m an introvert. That’s not supposed to be something I do.
My mom truly has a gift for connecting with people and I’ve always (always as an adult, of course) been impressed by that. She can talk to anyone about anything and it’s not even weird. Yes, as a child, it was embarrassing and I constantly had to get my ma-ommm-mmuh on to warn her that she was being overly familiar (like she cared), but something about it seeped in through the cracks. She took the genetic milieu she passed on to me and spiced it up with some wicked nurturing just in time for adulthood. In-ter-es-ante.
For the vast majority of my conscious life, my mom has worked with people who struggled in school. When I was really little, she taught adult ed to people working toward their high school diploma or GED. She worked nights then, something like 5 – 10 PM, and she often let me come with her to do dissections or other awesome things. Her students would come to our house. They played Carmen Sandiego with me… they took me trick-or-treating… they taught me the law of supply and demand as they understood it. None of these people were “like” us, but I didn’t know that. My mom was nice to them all; she truly cared about them all.
As I got older, my mom moved into elementary education. She taught then, and still teaches, in Willow Run, a notoriously tough district in the area. She is truly an incredible and gifted teacher, and she consciously chooses to put her time, energy, and considerable expertise into an underprivileged school district… not because she couldn’t go somewhere else, make more money, have more prestige, but because she loves those kids. She loves that community. And again, even though so many of those she serves have so little, they live lives so different from those in which my parents raised my sister, brother, and I, my mom has never looked down or spoken ill of anyone* as a result of their circumstance, their intelligence, their socioeconomic status. I have for my entire life been welcome into my mom’s classroom and, as an adult, she has invited be back to sub in her district, to do science experiments with her kids, to be Facebook friends with her fellow educators.
I think my mom and I would both agree that I’ve always (always, like since I was disturbingly young) been the more manipulative of the two of us. But while I was working to get out of a lie at the age of 4 (I liked to dress up like an old lady and invite my mom to make me some tea– tended to do the trick quite nicely), she always knew what she was doing– working the long con. And she wins.
But really, so do I. Good parenting, and all that. I’m glad I got to hear about Kathy’s dogs and the young MA’s childhood in Unity. And I bet they enjoyed talking about it and hearing about my own sweet pup and my time spent living in Washington, DC. Sharing is caring, and such. Because people are people, no matter what job they do or where they come from or where they’re going. My mom taught me that and apparently, it stuck.
My mom has always known what’s up, that life is better when you walk around acting like everyone is wearing a “Be kind, I gave blood today” sticker… except I think it’s safe to assume that Be Kind is enough. No blood donation necessary.
*I’m not going to lie to you right now and I certainly don’t want you to get the impression that my mom’s a saint (because she sure-diddly-isn’t!), so I need you to know that this statement is true only because my mom’s a 100% equal opportunity complainer– rich kid, poor kid, he or she can be a “little s***” either way. (That’s my favorite one. Always made me laugh, especially considering that we’re not allowed, under any circumstance, to even say butt hole.)**
**My blog, I can say butt hole if I want.***
***Sorry, mumsy… won’t happen again. (Not even kidding, Seth, my 32-year-old husband, texts my mom to tattle should the banned phrase ever pass my lips.)
On Tuesday morning, I had a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) to check out the state of my fallopian tubes. It hurt like a son-of-a-b. Holy crap. They told me it would, but dang. I thought I had a high pain tolerance until my eyes went black as I was laying on the table. Fortunately, there was a woman at my head telling me to breath– nice touch, radiology.
Basically, the procedure is a way to check the fallopian tubes for blockage. They inject dye into the uterus and use fluoroscopy to see if it spills all the way through the fallopian tubes. It dd. But it hurt. At least now I know that’s not the problem. Good thing, yes? Except… then what is the problem? Still no idea.
I think that for me, the worst part of infertility has to be the sense of punishment. The constant nagging in the back of my mind that says, “what did you do to deserve this?” Because, obviously, it must have been something.
Is it because of all the mice? Is it because of my curiosity about infertility and the passion I felt for it in my graduate studies? (I was so proud of the oviducts I extracted– is this punishment for my hubris?)
Is it because I didn’t think I wanted kids when I was younger? (Is the the universe’s way of laughing in my face about changing my mind? For showing me how stupid I was to think my one time passion for power and pumps could have overpowered the call of my biology?)
Is it because I was mean to people? Because I have spent major periods of my life mired in selfishness? (You know, up until the age of like 27…)
Maybe it’s because I’m fat. Because I don’t eat enough vegetables. Because I’m not wild enough in bed. Because, because, because.
The truth is, though, none of those things. Infertility is a particularly dark and course thread in my tapestry. I do not understand its purpose, but I’m certain it has one.
And the guilt and the responsibility that I feel about it is not altogether uncommon. In fact, I don’t even think it’s out of the ordinary at all. For me, the tendency to look for an answer always leads back to myself. No matter how irrational that may be. Conversations I’ve had with women who’ve experienced miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy are eerily similar.
Perversely, I find myself jealous of those women thinking, “at least you know you can get pregnant– that you’re not completely broken.” And I have to stop myself, because that’s not fair. What we’re all experiencing is a loss… whether it’s the loss of a cycle that could have produced an egg, an egg that could have been a embryo, or an embryo that could have been a baby. It’s a loss, it’s worth grieving, and it is not our fault. It’s an experience to be felt. It’s an opportunity to move forward in life without looking back to wonder what if… but why… how come…
We cannot change the life we have lived, and we cannot know the life that will come. While in some cases we can predict how the past will affect our future (forgetting deodorant in the morning is likely to lead to stink by night), more often than not we can’t (being excited about an oviduct is unlikely to be related to faulty fertility), so in most instances, it’s really not worth the over-analysis and the guilt.
I have spent the last year and a half living my life as though everything were going to change in the next 2 – 4 weeks. I avoided decorating my spare bedroom since I was just going to turn it into a nursery. I avoided buying new clothes since I’d be needing maternity gear shortly. I postponed re-reading the Harry Potter series because I wanted to read it over 9 months to my growing belly. I gave blood less often, I was hesitant to commit to trips, I stopped eating deli meat and drinking wine, I had wild fantasies about announcing my impending pregnancy, and I imagined what it would be like for Curly to meet the baby. I put everything about my life now on hold because I wanted to badly for my life to change, to include a new addition to our family.
As I marked time through this pause of infertility, I forgot to continue to actually live my life.
Now I’m carrying guilt about that. But I’ve told you, and I can change, Scrooge-style. I can say, as my favorite of all of my Aunt’s handmade cards say, “In this moment I shall…”
Horcruxes are evil (obvs) and reincarnation can’t happen until after you’re dead. So… how do I explain my little friend Emily Grace?
First, do you follow my friend Emers Lemers over here? You should. She’s amazing. Also, she’s eight. EIGHT. And she writes crazy insightful stuff like this post about swallowing your pride. At eight. (Can’t stop saying eight. EIGHT.)
My entire life, I hated group work. I hated it because I had to do all the work. You know, because everyone else was dumb, no one else could do it, and I wanted a good grade. (Please note: I’m being facetious, not an a-hole.)
It wasn’t until I started blogging at nearly 30 that I realized maybe I was wrong… that maybe my introversion made group work hard for me, but that friends and relationships are vital and necessary and unbelievably important because everyone has their own unique set of strengths and weaknesses. Strengths and weaknesses that should be recognized, appreciated, and embraced, not picked apart.
What if I had recognized all of that some 22 years earlier? What if I had recognized even some of that 22 years earlier?
Emily Lema… that’s what.
I talked a bit about my struggle with infertility yesterday (don’t worry, I’m not done– just taking a break as I recover from the extreme cramping that comes with an HSG), but why, I wonder, do I feel the need to have a child of my own, when clearly, a child of my heart has already been created by someone else?
Emily is like a horcrux– a place where I store a piece of my soul. As long as she is around, I will go on. Emily is like a reincarnation of myself, a chance for my soul to walk the earth once again, except I am still very much alive. So what is she then?
A kindred spirit? A bosom buddy? A soulmate? Just amazing?
Who knows– but I’m glad that she is. And I’m crazy glad that I know her, that I have known her since she was a mere babe, and that I’m going to get to watch her grow up with such intense fascination. She is family to me.
They say that our lives are “unrepeatable experiments lacking a control” and it’s true. But Emily is kind of a second trial of my experiment, with the conditions tweaked a bit. And this is my chance to know– what if at the age of 8, I had been capable of recognizing my need to swallow my pride and to give other people a chance? Emily will teach me. I can’t wait.
PS: I already know that my Emily girl is a real big Harry Potter fan, but will she dig Jane Austen, too? All signs point to yes, only time will tell!
Many of you have seen and even complimented me on this awesome decoupaged book purse… made by hand from a real book.
All compliments belong to my friend Marie. She conceived of and made it for me as a wedding gift. I’m in love with it! It’s so clever, so thoughtful, so beautiful. Even the lining is gorgeous, but you’ll have to take my word for it.
Fewer of you are likely to have seen the cover of the journal Marie made me, though. That’s personal, after all. But it’s just as beautiful. (Marie is seriously talented.)
The quotations on the front are where I’m going with this. They constantly remind me of the importance of telling your story, even when you feel like you may not have the most important story to tell. Even if you are worried that you may not be the most eloquent at telling it. Regardless, story is powerful and I really believe that it’s important to put what’s in your heart out there if you feel you might benefit from sharing it or someone else might benefit from hearing it.
Trista and I talked a lot about honest story telling and shared experience last week. And this weekend I saw this great little image while scrolling through Pinterest:
Tell your stories! Yes! Your experience is your story… and it is meaningful.
You know how important story telling is to me; honesty is right up there. The thing that I want to talk about now, though, the stories I want to share, are taboo. (Like that’s ever stopped me before? Except, I would venture to say that this is even more taboo than poo. Dang, right?) They’re things we don’t regularly say and I find that unfortunate. I think that makes this topic all the more important.
The thing I want to talk about is pregnancy. If you’re between the ages of 20 and 45 you’re probably groaning right now at the thought of more of the ultrasounds and ultra-posed newborn pictures that have been gracing your Facebook news feed for years now. But it’s not that. Not for me, anyway.
My husband and I have been trying to have children since August of 2012. Unfortunately, it hasn’t happened for us. In October of 2013, having finally met the “year of trying” requirement, we saw a doctor about it. Good news: it’s not Seth! Bad news: it’s totally me. Got to admit, that feels pretty crappy.
So, since October, I’ve gone through a series of unpleasant measures to try for the thing I want most– both psychologically, and clearly, biologically. A baby.
Intravaginal ultrasounds are invasive and embarrassing. The drug clomid causes hot flashes (mom! I’m so sorry for not being more sympathetic before– now I’m empathetic, and dang!) and a slew of other unpleasant side effects including literal pitting edema in my ankles. Also, it has lengthened my cycle time so that each passing cycle starts later and later… giving me more and more hope that maybe this month will be different. Maybe this month, the stick will be positive! And it’s not. At least it never has been for me.
Having reached the halfway point for ovulation stimulating drugs (they start to lose their efficacy after about 6 cycles) I had to go in for a sit down and re-evaluation with the infertility doctor again on Friday. What I didn’t mention yesterday was that in the midst of the intestinal virus and the eczema flare, I was 5 days late for my period. I was so hopeful. Until I wasn’t. I tried to be cool about it. I tried really hard. But I couldn’t keep it together during the appointment ( why, why, why did I say yes to a resident being in the room?! dumb girl!) and I spent pretty much the whole thing stifling sobs and wiping away my rapidly melting mascara. I wasn’t as ok as I had hoped. I mean 5 days late? Nausea? Really, body? This is how we’re gonna roll???
Fortunately for me, I really do have a good support system. My sister, my sisters-in-law, my friends from work, my friends from elsewhere, my husband, my parents an in-laws… I’m incredibly fortunate in the number of people I can force to listen to my sobbing, my ranting, my raving. Some seriously supportive, seriously patient people.
Trista and I talked a lot about all of that while we were in Phoenix and as we talked around and around and around the issue, we kept coming back to the notion that the bad parts (the miscarriages, the stillbirths) and the not parts (the struggle to get pregnant, the label of infertility) of pregnancy are too rarely talked about openly and with compassion. They may be whispered about, shared when we’re certain we are in a situation in which we’ll remain free from judgement either as a result of shared experience or familiarity and intimacy.
As a society, we have many deeply ingrained ideas about what pregnancy, and lack thereof, means. Pregnancy is good, it’s beautiful. If you can’t get pregnant, if you do but you miscarry, or, heaven forbid, you don’t want kids… suddenly it’s grounds for moral judgement. Every step you take will be selfish, foolish, whatever. Miscarriage? Told people too soon. Can’t get pregnant? Oh, there’s lots of suggestions for that– it’s your diet, your weight, your stress level, your sex position. Don’t want kids? Well, how sad for you, how selfish of you.
According to public opinion, the only way to win appears to be get pregnant (without talking about any trial or tribulation on the way there), to have a perfect pregnancy (and unless you’re the Duchess of Wales, try not to mention hospitalization for hyperemesis or any other unpleasant complication, if you don’t mind), to post 3D ultrasounds and pictures of your bump tied with a bow, followed by a perfect delivery and a blissful home. A little bit of motherhood difficulty is considered acceptable– so long as it deals with the delivery and/or raising of an actual human child.
So what about the people who don’t experience it that way? What are they to do? Personally, I think they should talk about it. Share their experience far and wide. Remind others that everyone’s experience is different and that judgement, no matter the case, is not warranted. Not fair. Not ok. Not necessary.
My personal experience is from within the trenches of infertility, with no success yet to speak of. But this experience has opened my eyes to a world full of infertility, miscarriage, still birth, extreme morning sickness and other crazy pregnancy complications, and other stories whispered, messaged, emailed, sobbed to me… always in private… always out of ear shot of anyone else. And all because I try, for the most part, to be honest about my own experience. Including here now.
I have a lot more to say, as always, and plan to tackle several issues in several posts. This is merely an introduction. But my big hope is this: will you share your story too? How do you feel about a little bit of catharsis? Writing is that for me, perhaps you too? Maybe just reading something honest… something real. A story from my heart to yours.
I’m a-o-k with anonymity if you’d like to share, just let me know and we’ll do this thing. It’s time to talk about what it means to not be pregnant, for any reason. And I’d really like to do that here.
Now, if you’ll excuse me please, I’m off to a hysterosalpingogram to check on my fallopian tubes. No better way to start the day!
I went to Phoenix last week for the HMO Research Network (HMORN) conference. The science was fascinating, Phoenix was gorgeous, but my body gave me an awful lot of grief and it was all-in-all a pretty rough trip. I am very glad to be home.
On Saturday morning, my sister-in-law Kayla, the professional Body Pump Instructor, came over to teach my other sister-in-law, Trista, and I the newest Body Pump release. It was an awesome work out (too awesome, even, said my quads the next day), but halfway through I was pretty sure I was going to vomit. I thought maybe it was because I ate breakfast about an hour before and that may have been a mistake (go ahead, ask me if it’s because I’m pregnant, I dare you), but it turns out it wasn’t the breakfast, it wasn’t the intensity of the work out, it was a VIRUS! Or something. And it was miserable. The bathroom pretty much became my home.
Except… we had to go down to Madison to pick up Curly after surgery and there’s no way Seth could have picked her up on his own. I had to go. Thank goodness for rest stops, Immodium, and Pepto. It was just enough to get me down and back, although it was certainly pleasant for no one. And I’m sure I was not the most uncomfortable person in the car. You see, the ultimate outcome of Curly’s surgery was good, but repair requires use of an external fixator for at least four weeks. (At least— we’re hoping for more like 6 – 8.)
Poor baby is having a rough time, of course, but is doing incredibly well. Leaving for Phoenix was particularly stressful on account of leaving Seth on his own to take care of her. I know she’s a dog and normally that means food, water, potty, but not this time. It means 7 different drugs 4 times a day, cleaning of the entrance sites of the pins, and all of the effort required to keep this “high energy” dog extremely calm and as comfortable as possible. No easy task.
The good news, though, is that Seth did exceptionally well. We had Curls into our local vet to check everything over yesterday morning and she was thrilled with how it all looks. I’m particularly pleased with the incisions. She has a big long incision down the outside of both of her legs (on the right to repair the damaged knee, on the left to harvest muscle fascia for the repair) and the difference between this surgery and the last three is truly night and day– clean, dry, beautiful stitches running neatly down each leg. No oozing, no gapping, no swelling, no redness. Definitely a good sign.
Meanwhile, in Phoenix, I was busy subsisting on the blandest food I could find (lots and lots of dry cereal and bananas, seasoned with the pink stuff, of course) and locating (and destroying) the nearest bathroom until 4 am on Wednesday morning. Bad enough, right? Except on Tuesday night, during a viewing of The Grand Budapest Hotel (which was absolute Wes Anderson brilliance, by the way) I noticed that my hands started to feel kind of bad. Swollen. Puffy. By Wednesday morning, the virus had subsided, but my hands no longer even looked human and finding an urgent care became priority number one.
After presenting our posters in the morning and listening to a few talks, I could no longer bare the spreading and the throbbing (and the concern that my wedding ring may end up resulting in auto-amputation of my finger) and I sought out medical care. Fortunately, there was a walk-in clinic a mere two blocks from the hotel and I headed there for a prescription of oral steroids and some ice packs… three people, ice, and lots of petroleum jelly also helped to get my ring off and my finger was saved. Whew.
I cannot even tell you how kind the clinic staff were. It was amazing. Minnerva, the lovely NP who treated me, has even been in contact since I left because she wanted to 1) make sure I was doing ok (I was under strict orders to seek emergency care should I develop shortness of breath– immediately) and 2) to find out if I’d gotten a diagnosis (medical curiosity– love it). And I did! After a visit first to family practice and then to dermatology yesterday, I was diagnosed with dyshyidrotic eczema and was prescribed a big, fat steroid “blast and taper” to deal with this flare up and a steroid cream to be used at the first sign of blistering in the future.
If you’ve known me a while, you know that this hand rash business is not new. It started happening back in 2009 after I had the swine flu (or, as Seth and I like to call it, the piggy pigs) and didn’t stop happening until I graduated and moved to Wisconsin in 2011. But since then– nothing. Not even once. Sweet relief. So you can imagine my panic when it came back in Phoenix– with a vengeance.
Likely, this is something I’m going to have to deal with on and off forever, but having a diagnosis, knowing some of the triggers (female gender (not much I can do about that), stress (such as traveling on the heels of my dog’s fourth surgery… a surgery that took 9 hours and two faculty surgeons to complete), extreme weather conditions (Wisconsin to Phoenix? that’ll do it), other illnesses (like the piggy pigs or an intestinal virus), and frequent hand washing/transitions from wet to dry), and having a plan for how to deal with it makes a world of difference. At least I feel pretty relieved.
So, lots to whine about, as the 1,000+ words above demonstrate… but also lots to be happy for. Seth did so great with Curly (seriously, he’s going to be such a great dad someday– but again, not preggo, I promise) and it was really nice to travel with Trista. She and I had lots to talk about and I think we’ve come to an important conclusion about some important things to say– lots and lots more to say about all of that at a later date. A series even. Additionally, my poster spurred a lot of really interesting debate. It presented evidence in direct contradiction to the 2009 United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines for mammography screening and someone who came up for the purpose of discussion worked for the USPSTF at that time. Yikes! We had a spirited and interesting debate and I was really pleased with my capacity to have nerve-wracking scientific discourse (with crazy hands) without getting worked up or personally offended or anything. Lots of other poster traffic and I was pretty pleased with the outcome– I’m really looking forward to sharing some of the suggestions and comments with the docs I worked with on the project. Lots of good stuff to think about. Trista and I got to have dinner with she and Seth’s cousin Ginni and her little boy Keegan. The restaurant was a hole in the wall, but an absolutely gem, and then we went for drinks in the spinning Compass Room overlooking the entire city. And finally, last but not least, I came home with four mini cacti from the botanical garden for planting! Pretty dang excited about that!
I hope you’ll stick with me… and that Trista and others will join me in the upcoming series we’ll talk about tomorrow. It’s important and I’m really looking forward to the discussion. See you then!!!