Category Archives: packing

Five, Four, Three

Nothing gets my adrenaline flowing, heart pumping, and anxiety surging like a good old-fashioned health scare.  During the holidays.  A week before my tenth anniversary getaway.  When I’m frantically putting holiday cards in the mail, wrapping and shipping gifts, obsessively shopping for a bathing suit that makes me look five ten pounds thinner (haven’t found it yet!), and prepping the house for my parents’ 12 day visit, including the five days when Mike and I will be away.

A week ago, my doctor informed me that the ultrasound on my thyroid showed a solid mass on the right side.  She went on to say that it’s common, it’s small, don’t worry, these masses are almost never malignant…but all I heard was solid mass.  Solid.  Mass.

What happened next probably won’t surprise you.  I panicked.  The past week has been long and exhausting, but I have some answers and some peace of mind.  My anxiety level is still high, but some of that might be due to (1) packing (must pack light…must have options!) and (2) guilt (my boys will never survive five nights without me…they’ll never forgive me…I’m a rotten, selfish mother…you get the idea).

Here are some thoughts on my thyroid (and a few other things):

I overreact when it comes to my health.  I’m helpless to stop the Crazy train that leaves the station when something appears to be wrong, but I also know that waiting, putting off, and ignoring can be bad, too.  There must be a balance – a way to feel concerned but calm – but I haven’t found it.

I’m loved.  Within 24 hours of hearing the words “solid” and “mass,” I had a list of a dozen endocrinologists I could call.  My friends and family went above and beyond to help me.  (Grateful Mama!)

Speaking of endocrinologists, they are a tough bunch with which to get an appointment.  On my first round of calls, the soonest appointment I could get was January 17, 2013.  (That’s next year!)

It’s just as hard for me to ask for a favor as it is for me to take a compliment.  My friend’s father is an endocrinologist.  Calling her to see if his office could get me an appointment quickly (before my trip and, perhaps more importantly, before I imploded from anxiety) was really hard for me to do.  Really hard.  I hope if something like this ever happens again, I’ll know that I’m worthy of such a favor.  I also hope I’ll have the chance to someday pay it forward.

I have good doctors (and health insurance).  I’ll never forget sitting in the gynecological oncologist’s office seven years ago and being told that the cancer from a molar pregnancy was 100% curable as long as it was treated quickly.  If not, the cancer in the uterus could jump to the liver, lungs or brain.  (I sometimes forget how scary that experience was.)  I couldn’t help but think about how some women – without the quality of care I had – might have suffered a much worse outcome in the same situation.

At 10:30 this Monday morning, I sat across from a highly regarded endocrinologist and got the care and reassurance I needed about my thyroid.

Lots of people – especially women – have cysts and/or solid nodules on their thyroids.  Most of them are insignificant.  Thyroid cancer is possible, but it’s rare.  It’s also curable if caught early.  I have a small solid mass on my thyroid.  Maybe it’s been there for ten years.  Maybe it’s been there for ten days.  In three months, I’ll have a repeat ultrasound to check for changes in shape or size.  If it grows, they’ll consider a needle aspiration biopsy, but for now it’s too small to be of medical concern.

Speaking of which, I saw my hematologist this morning (another day, another doctor’s appointment).  Good news here, folks.  My platelets have stabilized so I can wait four months until they draw blood again and reminded me that my body chemistry is a little bit crazy…just like me.  We talked briefly about my thyroid situation and then about my recent colonoscopy.  I told him the one I had in October was clean.  “But there was a polyp the first time, right?” he asked.  “Yes,” I said.  “And colon cancer runs in your family?” he asked.  “Yes, on both sides,” I said.  “You really need to stay on top of that,” he said.  “I know,” I said.  “Once your body makes a polyp, you become a polyp-maker,” he said.

I am, indeed, a polyp-maker, and a nodule-maker, too.  In five years, I’ll have another colonoscopy.  In four months, I’ll head back to the hematologist.  In three months, I’ll have an ultrasound of my thyroid.  In five days, I’ll set sail on a cruise, and if I’m lucky fortunate, all I’ll worry about is how much I miss my boys.

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Filed under anxiety, Grateful Mama, guilt, health, molar pregnancy, packing

Word Problems VII

A Mama waves five one dollar bills in front of her money-obsessed three-year-old and tells him she will pay him a dollar for each night that he sleeps in his bed.  (At this point, the Mama would give him one of her kidneys for the pleasure of sleeping a night without his heavy breathing, tossing and turning, extreme cuddling, kicking, random arm slapping, and sleep talking.)  After five days, the Mama has three dollars left.  How many nights did her three-year-old sleep in his bed?

Zero.   I tricked you.  Riley hasn’t slept in his bed in more than five days.  I gave a few of the dollars to Dylan to reinforce how proud I am of him for sleeping in his bed every night.  I’ve also been thinking a lot about an article I once read about how it’s natural to occasionally prefer one child over the other.

A Mama takes her dog to the vet and pays $147 for an examination and medicine.  She decides that he – with his occasional but astrologically expensive vet visits plus his $15.99 Milo’s Kitchen chicken grillers habit and his insistence that fresh ground meat be sprinkled on his dog food – is her most expensive “child.”  After returning home from the vet, the Mama goes to the grocery store to stock up on $4.39 per jug strawberry Kefir for her Kefir-addicted three-year-old.  He’s pretty expensive, too, she realizes.  Later in the day, she receives her five-year-old’s Kindergarten school supply list, which is a multi-page document that includes 32 separate items most of which need to be purchased in multiples (many multiples).  After catching her breath and remembering the four embroidered uniform shirts, six pairs of uniform shorts, and two pairs of uniform pants she already purchased for him for school, she concludes that he is the winner.

There’s no math to calculate here.  This is just another reminder that kids (and pets) are money pits.

Two Transformers walk into a restaurant.  A while later, two Transformers walk out of the restaurant but only one has a head.  How many heads are missing requiring someone (Mama) to go back inside the restaurant to look for it at their table where a lovely party of six has already been seated and served drinks and appetizers.  Bonus question:  How many iPhone flashlight apps are required to successfully find the Transformer head under the table?

One head, three iPhone flashlight apps, and one lovely family with a sense of humor and the wisdom to know that if I didn’t walk back to my car triumphantly with Starscream’s head, it was going to be a rough ride home.

A Mama vows to pack light for her weeklong trip to San Francisco.  With less than 24 hours to go, she’s still considering three pairs of jeans, four black tops, three sweaters, one jacket, two dresses, three bags, and (gulp) six pairs of shoes.  (She likes to have choices.)  She intends to fit all of this plus her husband’s clothing and shoes into one suitcase to avoid paying for more than two checked bags at the airport (her children are sharing a second suitcase.)  How many glasses of wine will be required for this Mama to calm down, breathe deep and channel her inner Simple Mama, remember that if she leaves some room in her suitcase, she can channel her inner Shopaholic Mama in San Francisco, and realize that, if necessary, she can pilfer some space from her boys’ bag.

Two glasses should do it.

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Filed under bedtime, math, money, packing, toys