Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Beware the Squisher!

The worst thing you can find is a lump in your breast. The second worst thing to do is go get it looked at, because the doc will always say those four words that make any woman shudder - you need a mammogram.

My last one was five years ago for a good reason. It was my first and my last one, and not an experience I wanted to do again. But I had a lump, and I was afraid it would be something horrible. So I went to the boob squisher's domain and waited for my impending doom.

It didn't matter that there was a private wing just for women. They try to lull you into a sense of comfort when they offer you your very own little locker and a heated robe fresh from the steamer. Though I admit, that was a nice touch. But you always know what's coming- like I kid knows when it's time for a needle in the doc's office.

They told me they have state-of-the-art equipment now, and that it's not nearly as painful as in the past, because it's all digital. But machines have no nervous system, and no mercy. Me having a lump wouldn't matter to a machine that could turn my triple D's to triple Longs in a heartbeat. All at the convenient push of a button.

It's even more fun if you have a lump, because they need to torture you twice- once for the entire boob, then again with a smaller press to pinpoint the lump in question. And the technician had the gall to tell me not to breathe. Duh!

Afterward I asked her just how much of a masochist one has to be to qualify for her job, holding my now flattened mammary like a tender, half-filled water balloon. She found my jibe funny, but never answered. I limped back into the waiting room (yes, it hurt that much!), and joked to the others that I was an A cup when I came into the clinic.

Now I had to wait for an ultrasound. At least I knew this was not going to be painful!

I was gelled up and this little thing that looked like a lady shaver came into contact with my now tender breast, showing me all kinds of things I didn't want to see. Let's just say I stopped counting after she found lump number ten. All lumps under the first one, like a bunch of grapes. But thankfully none of them were malignant!

So being the curious person I am, I asked what those things were. Cysts, was the reply, the technician smiling and handing me a towel to wipe off the goop. "So if I get those drained, I'll be what, a C cup?" I asked jokingly. Of course she told me that it was possible that I could shrink a bit. Then I got an idea.

"You mean those cysts are just filled with fluid? And they'll shrink when drained?" I asked eagerly. She replied in the affirmative. I grinned. "Maybe I'm not overweight after all! Can you use that thing on my thighs?" I looked at her happily, hoping she would say yes. All I got in return was a laugh. Apparently I need a doctors note for her to goop and snoop again, darn it. I need to look further into this!

It's now late evening, and my lump(s) still hurt a little. So If you're scheduled to get a mammogram, beware the Squisher- and wear some really soft, comfy clothing. As for me, I'm going to take an extra soft pillow to bed with me tonight- after I limp up the stairs....*whimper*

Being Thankful For Boob Marbles!

I do apologize for not posting on any of my blogs as of late- you see, about a month ago I found a large lump on my left breast, and went into panic mode.

I hoped for the best, but planned for the worst. Sometimes it's a curse to have such a great imagination! The best scenario would be nothing was wrong, and I just had a boob marble or something stupid like that- whatever a boob marble is. I thought maybe I just banged it and had a bump that would go away. Eventually.

The worst scenario would be cancer- my dad had it (he adopted me, so it wouldn't have been hereditary), and our family went through hell both emotionally and financially. I swore I wouldn't do that to my family. I planned on writing letters to my kids for each of their birthdays as well as those special times like a first date, or driving the car, getting married and anything else I could think of. I wondered of I had that long to write all those letters to both of my kids, hoping I had enough time to bestow my words of wisdom on simple pages of printer paper. I thought of making a DVD as well, just so they would remember me as their mom who loved them very much. Just thinking of doing that made me cry!

But then I started thinking- did I want to leave this world sad and depressed? Did I want to go out angry? Neither seemed like the best way.

If God wanted me that bad, I figured I would go out laughing- being the positive person I think I am (please read the hidden irony). I had the funeral planned with me wearing a T-shirt that said "Shhh! I'm just sleeping!", and wanted to be buried next to my dad, whose headstone bore the single word meaning "male bovine bowel movement" (his favorite word in life). I still had no idea what to put on my own stone (though an arrow pointing to my dad's gravestone, bearing the words 'Yeah, what he said' was considered), but I knew it would have to make someone smile when they came to visit. That's how I intended on leaving this life, making people laugh as I made my way to heaven.

God had other plans. He used this as a wake-up call to get me back on track and back into Him. I admit that I haven't been the best I could be in His eyes, and we both knew it. But sometimes God has to be blunt to make a point, and making boob marbles is one way He does it. At least for me. I needed to sweat this out a little first.

This is what I have learned so far:

* I stopped putting off inviting people over because my house was messy.
* Both my husband and I made a list of people we wanted to invite to dinner, and will go down that list at least once a month.
* I am planning more lunch dates with friends. I'll no longer wait until I have the funds to go out- I can always invite them over to my messy house!
* Hug my kids and husband more often, and tell them that I love them. Every day, several times a day.
* Pray more. A lot more.
* People are more important than Facebook games.
* My husband and kids are more important than anybody on this earth.
And last but certainly not least:
* Be thankful to God for everything! Including boob marbles.

So please take these words to heart and accept my apology for not posting for so long!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Raiding the Candy Bowl

The Halloween candy was sitting there in my pantry, so out of sight, out of mind, unless I was craving a little chocolate. A piece here and there, and I was fine. But one day I reached into the bowl and got a surprise. The kids dared to eat some of their own chocolate candy! My survival instincts went into panic mode, and I found myself having several pieces each time I went to the bowl- and the visits were more frequent as each day passed.

I know the kids noticed, and my husband noticed too, but no one said anything. What happened next was claimed to be an accident. My husband said my daughter had left a honey jar at the edge of the shelf, and the lid wasn't on straight when it was knocked off, right into the candy bowl. So honey dripped into the bowl, covering everything. Sure it did.

I hate honey. And worse yet, I hate touching wrapped candy that's coated in honey. And they all knew it.

But I am a very clever mommy- honey washes off!

So now I grimace when I raid the bowl, but then I run over to the sink and do a quick warm rinse on the candy, then towel dry, and settle down triumphantly in my chair and crack open my cache of goodies. They may be smart, but I'm smarter. The only downer is when some of the water seeps into the wrapper, and I have wet candy to eat. But that doesn't happen often, and fingers can be licked clean, as long as there isn't any honey residue.

So I'll enjoy the run while it lasts, which might not be much longer after having taken a look at the remaining candy. Especially the chocolate.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Confessions of a FaceBook Addict

When I first went on FaceBook, I was a skeptic. Why on earth would anyone be on this thing for hours at a time, telling people about clipping their toenails, and other trivial things? Why let us know about your most recent fight with a loved one, or posting pics of your cat licking himself? And what was with all the games?

Then I played Farmville, and I was hooked.

I spent my days not blessing my family be cleaning the house, baking or doing all that mom and wifey-type stuff, but playing facebook games. The lowest point in my life came when I was online more than with my kids, and I was playing thirteen games simultaneously. Yes- thirteen games. All at the same time.

It became an obsession.

The house wasn't being cleaned, the dishes remained in the sink, and even making dinner was put on hold because my farm needed tending, or I had to dig just one more hole to find the treasure. I was bowing willingly to the idol that was facebook, as well as my computer screen. Even when I managed to get offline, I was still playing games I bought off of a game site. And my family suffered for it.

It took me almost a year to wean myself off of these games, by cutting down until I was playing three. Not bad, but it still could take almost three hours for me to 'get satisfied' enough that I could shut down the computer. The funny thing is, since I'm a freelance writer at home, I couldn't just shut the computer off all the time- most of the business of writing was done online too!

That was when my husband got me a laptop. I don't play games on it, and have no connection to the Internet. It would just be too tempting! I use a flash drive to transfer my writing to the main computer now, but even with this great technological advance in my home, I was still playing too many computer games.

Then something in my life changed. Sorry, I can't tell you what it is just yet- and please don't ask. Let's just say what happens next could be life changing, and not for the better. And no, my hubby and kids are fine- it's just me who's changing. The changes I've already seen in myself are amazingly good despite what's happening. People blossom in adversity.

I've deleted all the time consuming games. I admit I still play one, but I can play it within ten minutes, and I don't need a bazillion facebook friends to play it. No one will die, and I don't need to worry about time constraints. Canceling those games was a big step for me- like an elephant attempting a jump. (Elephants can't jump, but don't tell them that.)

My morning ritual consisted of being on the computer and telling the kids to do their chores. It usually wound up with me yelling, and them feeling harried and unappreciated. It was hard for me to keep my temper, all because I was playing a game that took precedence over my kids. And I never even realized I was doing it until this weekend! I knew I yelled too much at the kids, but I could never seem to stop myself.

This morning was different.

I awoke with a sense of purpose- that I would simply refuse to do anything today that wasted a lot of my time, I was going to spend time with the kids, and I would do my best not to yell. Please note I never promised I wouldn't yell at all- that would be a harder task than an elephant jumping!

I folded four loads of laundry, got more laundry into baskets for washing, and got the kids up and moving. As they ate breakfast with their dad I got dressed, put some of the folded clothes away and went downstairs after my husband left for work. I greeted my kids with a smile and kisses to their foreheads as they went upstairs to get dressed. The computer was on, but I passed right by and started straightening up the place a little. I was so tempted to sit there and play the games, but kept moving. I had to or I would be sucked into my addiction like ants in a vacuum cleaner.

When the kids came down for their morning chores, they were surprised to see me straightening up, instead of being on the computer. I even suggested we play some of the silly songs we heard on Youtube and other sites (the kids love Fred's- The BabySitter's a Vampire, the Gummy Bear song and the Crazy Frog Brothers), and they loved it! As long as they did chores I would replay their favorites, and we got a lot done. I only had to yell one time when they were paying more attention to the screen than to me, and I sat down once with my son because he wanted to do things his way, like not put his sneakers on until the last second before he had to go to school. Last week was a nightmare because he did this and ran late, so I sat him down and firmly told him this was not something under his control. I was Mom, and he needed to be ready for school, Period. In a calm voice. He actually listened. And I didn't have to yell.

In fact, when they did a chore well, I thanked them and kissed their cheek or hugged them. They loved it and beamed under the light of praise.

At the bus stop (which is right at my corner) I asked my son what he thought about this morning. He said he liked it. He liked that I helped and coaxed him to keep going, he liked that I played the music, and he liked that I wasn't yelling all the time. And he wanted it to continue, despite my lack of judgment concerning his footwear. He got onto the bus smiling and kissing me on the cheek.

I asked the same from my daughter as we walked to school, and the response was the same. She had fun doing chores for once, and liked the fact that I had helped and allowed them to play silly songs while we worked together. It was one of the best mornings I've had in a long time. And I didn't play a single game. I didn't even want to.

I came home and made something to eat, and only then allowed myself to play my one game. Ten minutes tops. And now I'm here making this post.

When something happens that changes your world view, it hurts to look back and see all the wrong you've done in the past, but it's really a necessary evil. You need to see what you've done in order to change things. Even passive wrongs like playing too much on a computer can do a lot of damage if not controlled. I might lose a few battles, because changing habits can be very hard to do- but the end result is worth more than gold to me. Today I was a real mom again, and not some game junkie who acted like she was a mother. Let the crops die. Let the animated treasures lie undiscovered. That doesn't matter. What matters is that my eyes are finally opened to see what I've been missing- real life with people who truly love me- and I have not been loving back the way I should.

I'm making changes, and I plan on sticking to those changes. Not just concerning games either, but life in general. No more being 'too busy' for inviting friends over for dinner. No more 'too tired' to snuggle with my husband. No more 'I have to do this first' when it comes to my children needing me. It just doesn't seem that important anymore. I've been too 'me' focused and 'thing' focused instead of 'family and friends' focused. And really, how much real love can you get from a computer anyway?

As for what's happened, I promise I will reveal what's been going on when I get more details and information. Until then, please pray for me and my family, and that I be a blessing to them as much as they have blessed me!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Son, The Literal Lawyer

I love my kids. I really do. But sometimes they can work a nerve so bad that even the most patient parents would lose it- and I am not one of those parents. This morning, my parental nerves got a workout they've never experienced before. Why?

Because my son is on his way to becoming thirteen, and he has Aspergers. This is not a good combination!

Aspergers is a form of autism that affects each child differently, so there is no 'one way' to handle it. Basically you need a lot of patience (something I don't have), and the willingness to explain things a thousand times without going completely mad (Sometimes I can do this, but for only so long before my lips become numb).
Aspergers affects the neurons in the brain, making them not truly understand the subtle structures of socially accepted behaviors. But it makes up for it by making the brain super absorbent concerning math, science or music. Many of our great inventors could have had Aspergers, now that some historians look back into their history.

I've been reading this great book called Parenting Your Asperger Child , and I've found out some interesting things. My son, whom I thought was a Rule Boy, is actually a Logic Boy. He is fantasy oriented and has OCD tendencies.

You think with all that interesting stuff, he might be more inclined to clean his room. But Nooooo! You see, if he was a Rule Boy, there would be no issue- I would tell him that he needed to clean his room, and he would, because it was a Rule. But Logic Boys have the infinite power of reason, so they don't need the rules as much- but they need a plethora (that means a lot) of reasons to do anything they don't like, before they decide to do it. And if my reasons aren't good enough, well, it just won't get done.

"Because I said So" doesn't cut it anymore.

"Because if you don't, you won't have ice cream" is better, but he'll also settle for some other type of sweet snack if he really doesn't want to do something. He also takes things literally, so anything said must be weighed and measured carefully, otherwise (in his mind) it will be written in stone, and I couldn't change his mind unless God Himself came down off of Heaven to tell him differently.

I've asked God to do that very thing, but He just chuckles at me. God has a weird sense of humor- that's why he came up with the platypus- just to let us know we don't know everything, and that life should be laughed at sometimes. And that moms really need to watch what they say to their kids.

And now my darling child is entering teenagerism, when kids tend to think they know everything anyway, but he now has a double dose of 'Know-It-All-itis'. One day he might be a great inventor, or a scientist- if he makes it to adulthood. And right now his future is a little shaky.

I believe he would make a good lawyer, but only for those tough cases that can't find any legal loopholes. I'm telling you, this kid can find a loophole in the most solid of rules. He's a 'think outside the box' kind of child. He's brilliant. But he's also a big pain in the butt sometimes. A lovable one, but still.

The room isn't the only war zone in the house. He argues about what I ask him to wear, what chores need to be done, how they should be done, why they should be done, and in what order they should be done. The same goes for cleaning up a room. I told him to 'straighten up the living room' and he took it as 'pick up everything off the floor and dump it onto the couch'. After a ten minute explanation as to why that isn't considered
straightening up the living room, he argued that what he put onto the couch was neatened, and took up a lot less space than it being all over the floor.

So in his mind, He did exactly as I told him.

I looked at the dirty socks and wrappers from a late Halloween snack and conceded that it all did seem quite neat- the socks were folded and the wrappers were smoothed and flattened, held by a pumpkin head trick-or-treat bucket. But that wasn't my point. Straightening to me was cleaning up and clearing out. But tell that to a twelve year-old with an 'I'm always right' complex. To him it was straightened, and no matter what I said, I was dead wrong.

Then we had The Great Debate concerning school clothes.

ME: (seeing him dressed in the wrong shirt) Please change your shirt- it's not the right one for school.
HIM: (huffs and puffs) Mooooom! It's dark blue! (coming close to show me, even though he is the one who's colorblind)

ME: (calmly) Yes, it's the right color, but you need to have a collar.
HIM: Mooooom! It's fine!

ME: I'm sure you can tell that to the principal when you get there.
HIM: (storms upstairs to change as I smile in triumph)
(At this point I think I've won- until he comes down in a navy turtleneck)

ME: Honey, that's not the right shirt for school.
(stomping of one foot, and a that snarky head toss teens give when the parental unit in question is particularly dense) It's the right color, and it has a collar!
ME: (trying not to lose my temper and duct tape his butt to the wall) Yes, it does, but not the right one. You need-
I know!
ME: You need a polo shir-
HIM: I Know!

ME: (has had it and uses the 'Mom' voice) Get upstairs RIGHT NOW and get on the proper shirt! And do NOT interrupt me again!
HIM: But-

ME: No buts! No arguing, no more telling me what the rules are- Go DO it- NOW!
HIM: (Stomps upstairs and takes his sweet time getting ready)
(fifteen minutes pass)

ME: (calls upstairs) Time to go! Are you ready?
HIM: (yelling from behind his closed bedroom door) I'm doing what you told me to do!

ME: How long does it take to change a shirt? It took you less than a minute the last time...
HIM: I know! I'm looking for a clean one!

ME: I just sent up a ton of clean shirts! You can't find one?
HIM: I thought they were dirty so I put them in the hamper!

ME: So get them out of the hamper!
HIM: NO! They're mixed in the with the dirty clothes now! I can't- Oh wait- I found one!

ME: (Thanking God for small favors) Hurry up then- It's almost time to go!
HIM: I know!

(three more minutes pass- on the verge of missing his bus)
ME: Come on honey! The bus will be here any minute! (HATES being late)
HIM: I know!

ME: (sees the school bus coming down the road) Now! The bus is here!
HIM: I know!
(sounding like a overweight elephant, he thunders down the stairs- we run out the door with him barely able to get on his coat and backpack as we run towards the corner)
(we get there just as the bus arrives, me wheezing like an asphyxiated moose)
HIM: (with a sweet smile, gives me a kiss on the cheek) I love you mom!
ME: (just gapes at him in surprise as he gets on the bus) Ah...bye Honey! Have a good day!
(five minutes later I'm walking my daughter to elementary school, glad to have the exercise to calm my nerves)

The relaxing morning I was hoping for was dashed to bits, lying amongst the debris of my living room floor. You see, the couch never was cleared off. The cats had found the wrappers and were busy playing with them as I was out with my daughter. I came home to shredded silver all over the rug, and two very happy cats. Then I sat down and started working on this post.

It isn't easy being a mom, and it sure isn't easy learning how to handle a child with Aspergers. I'm going to continue to read the book, and see if there's something else in there to help us communicate better. One thing I have to admire about him though is his tenacity- no one will ever stop him from doing what he wants to do- I just have to make sure he's on the right track when he does it!