Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Rocking Horse

A long-time client ours made Henry this wonderful rocking horse last year after he was born.  It is the kind of toy that you keep forever, in my opinion.  It is picture perfect.  The quintessential baby gift.

To protect it from the dogs, we put it up in Henry's nursery and told ourselves we would get it out for him when he was older and could use it.  I also told myself that instead of a thank you note (which I am terrible at writing), I would get a picture of Henry on the rocking horse and send it to the man who made it.  That way he could see Henry's enjoyment for himself.

Last week, Henry found the rocking horse in his room.  He picked it up and tried to carry it downstairs.  We didn't let him carry it down the stairs.  This was before the stitches were required, but I am fairly certain letting him carry them down the stairs would have had us at the ER a day sooner.  Once we got it down the stairs, Henry sat on the rocking horse and hasn't stopped rocking.

{I seriously need to learn how to properly use my camera.  
Henry's cuteness makes up for the poor photography I think}

I think we have a new favorite toy.  And that's good because I officially retired his trampoline.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Baby's 1st Stitches

WARNING:  There are some pictures.  Don't look at them if you are squeamish.

It's pretty much never good when daycare calls during the day.  So when I saw daycare pop up on my caller I.D. Friday morning, I said, "Uh no..." before I picked up.

This is what I heard when I picked up:

(With Henry crying in the background) "Natalie, Henry was walking with a helmet in his hand and he fell down and it poked him in the eye.  You need to come right now and take him to the doctor."

I'm pretty sure I jumped up, grabbed my purse, and was out the door in about .26 seconds.  I drove as quickly and reasonably as I could.  I mean, an injury to his eye?!  What would it be like?  Would he be able to see?  What do you even do with an eye injury?

I couldn't call Phil because I knew he was in a meeting.  One step at a time.  I called the doctor's office on the way there.  Since I had NO information, they called daycare and talked to directly to them.  Next step... get to Henry.

I pulled into the parking lot and one of his teachers opened the side door for me to come in to.  She motioned for me to hurry.  Needless to say, my heart was racing.  It's moments like these that you wonder how you don't end up just bursting into tears.  But somehow you don't.  Adrenaline is a crazy thing.

I walked in and Henry is on the changing table.  The director of the center is there, along with the head of the baby rooms and Henry's teacher.  As I walked up, he is still crying quite a bit.  And then I get a look at him.

He was bleeding, but it was coming from a cut above his eye.  Not his actual eye.

A huge sigh of relief came out.

Ok so he would need stitches.  But his eye was fine.  Not that I was thrilled with the idea of him having stitches, but no permanent injury to the eye.  I was so grateful.

They told me he was walking, trying to put a construction hard hat on and he tripped, fell, and the edge of the hat hit above his eyebrow.

I was able to pick him up and he stopped crying.  Then we sat on the couch and waited for the doctor's office to call me back.  In the meantime, Phil text me to tell me he was home from his meeting.  So we facetimed him.  Imagine his surprise when he answered the phone and saw this:

We ended up needing to go to the hospital.

{In the ER waiting room.  It opened up and bled a little more on the way to the hospital.  
My mom told me to not wipe it off before we checked in 
at the hospital (to get in faster).  It didn't work}

We were there about 3 hours (during naptime), it took 3 people to hold him down, and he got 3 stitches.  Things come in 3's right?

He fell asleep before we had even backed out of the parking stall.

{Missed his nap and was held down for 45 minutes.  He was TIRED}

You know what?  You wouldn't even know anything happened to him.  This was him the next day:

I think I am still a little traumatized about the whole thing.  Dropping him off at daycare yesterday (and really the whole day) was hard.

We'll have a follow-up with his doctor this week and I want to put him in a big cushioned bubble.  That accident insurance policy I took out a few months ago is already proving worth it.  I think we will add this one to the baby book.

Cute story from daycare:
While Henry was on the changing table crying, all of his friends were very upset that he was hurt.  They were all standing around the changing table, crying, yelling, "Henry!"  The teacher then used it as a time to talk to the babies about boo-boos and helping your friends when they are hurt.  How cute is that?!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Don't worry, it's the good kind

I go back and forth...

Between feeling like cancer survivor and feeling like I am making a bigger deal out of it than I really should.

I think most people probably feel like I have made a bigger deal out of it than I should have.

News of thyroid cancer is almost always accompanied by the phrase "well if you are going to get cancer, that's the one you want to get." And I get what people are trying to say. I am very thankful that my cancer had a great prognosis and cure rate. But you know what as an even better cure rate? Not having cancer.

Since when did I HAVE to get cancer at 26?! Who made up that rule?

When I was first diagnosed, I got a phone call from our pastor. He talked to me for about 60 seconds before he rushed off the phone. And pretty much the only thing he said to me was "they say if you are going to get cancer, that's the one you want to get." Then he hung up the phone.

I am not sure if I will ever forget how I felt when he said that.  It was so isolating and dismissive.  I really struggled with feeling like I couldn't be afraid or sad or upset that I had cancer because it was the "good kind".

Sometimes it feels like my cancer was "too good" to lump me into the category of cancer survivor. But where does it fit in?

My aunts participate in the Relay for Life every year. I have even joined them to walk a couple of times. And they have never asked me to join them for the survivors walk. Is my defeat of cancer any different than someone who had breast cancer? Our treatments were different, yes. Mine was much easier on my body. But cancer is cancer.

I still had 2 surgeries, radiation, and semi-annual tests for my "good cancer". And I was a lucky one. Some "good" thyroid cancer doesn't respond to radiation and other than more surgery and a few medications that slow down the growth, there isn't much they can do.

I still get anxious when I have to have my ultrasound and bloodwork. Because a 5 year survival rate doesn't make me feel super great. I am hoping to live a lot longer than 5 years. Anyone else planning on dying at 31? I didn't think so.

September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness month and it basically gets ZERO press. I'm sure part of it is because not many people know about it and part of it is because who cares about the "good" cancer.

I have no thyroid as a result of my cancer. Currently I take 3 medications to supplement my thyroid. They total about $40 a month. That's $480 a year, after insurance. If I take too much, I get heart palpitations, my hair can fall out, and I can't sleep. Not enough and my cancer can come back on top of the fact I will feel like garbage, gain weight, and get muscle cramps. The higher thyroid levels I need to keep the cancer from coming back leaches calcium meaning I'm at a higher risk for osteoporosis.  My ultrasound and blood work check ups cost $200 each time. Changing thyroid levels (which mine have to adjusted like crazy when I am pregnant) affect your vision. My eye sight has been the same for like 7 years but all of a sudden (post Henry) my prescription changed.

Did you know that cancer doubles your risk of filing for bankruptcy? And thyroid cancer in young women makes up the number one cancer than causes bankruptcy.

The only lasting physical sign of my "good" cancer is my neck scar. And it is fading. But I see it. I see the weird way the skin on my neck moved thanks to no thyroid and scar tissue. It's weird.

{Look at my neck.  It's the dumbest thing to notice, but it's weird}

One of the hardest parts of thyroid cancer in my opinion is how it gets brushed off.  It's the "good" kind, after all...

There is no "good" cancer.

Like all cancers, early detection is important.  Be informed.  And check your neck.

Friday, September 26, 2014

5 Things Friday

We survived another week!!  That deserve celebration, right there.  A part of me is mostly excited that I actually followed through with my planned meals this week.  It's the little things, right?

Super random list here for you.

1.  Probably most notable this week is that my new iPhone came in the mail.  I decided I wanted to go for the big guy... the 6 plus.  I have been thinking about getting an iPad mini and figured that the 6 plus would allow me to skip that and have my phone and tablet in one.  A phablet.

I pre-ordered my phone on September 12th and the estimated shipping date from Apple was sometime between November 9 and November 27.  So imagine my surprise when it shipped last Saturday.

The phone came Tuesday.

It is huge.

I was a little nervous at first.  The first day at work, everyone just held it and talked about how ridiculous the size was.  Or they talked about how they had read about how ridiculous the size was.

I've now had it two whole days and...  I LOVE IT!

In case you are debating 6 vs. 6+... Phil has put it in his pocket and decided that he will get the 6.  The plus is kind of big and bulking in men's front jean pockets.

2.  Have you heard that Gilmore Girls will be on Netflix starting in October?  Well, it is true!!  It is kind of dumb how excited I was about this considering I own the entire series.  But this way, I won't have to switch disks which is just such a hassle, you know?  #firstworldproblems

3.  I am aware that with ISIS and ebola outbreaks that that last comment about disk switching is insane.  Just wanted to clarify that I am aware.  And it was a joke.

4.  Henry has had a rough couple of days this week.  His last molar is just right under the surface and I know it is bothering him.  His finger has been in his mouth and his poor chin has had a rash all over it.  But the biggest thing I have noticed is that he doesn't really want to be touched.  He won't let me give him kisses or hugs.  I would be lying if I said it wasn't hurting my feelings a little bit.

But then tonight I found this picture from Sunday:

And I remembered the 30 second kiss he gave me at church Saturday night.

And I'm trying to tell myself that he just doesn't feel well.  I don't really want to kiss anyone when my mouth hurts either.

5.  Up until recently, Henry had very little interest in being read to.  He had to be in just the right mood and even then, it only lasted a couple of pages.  But this week, we decided to start adding a bedtime story to the nighttime routine.  And he seems to really like it!

We have been reading 1 or 2 books every night, after jammies right before he lays down.  And since I don't enjoy reading the same 10 books over and OVER and OVER again, Henry and I will be heading to the library this weekend to check out some more books.

I'm excited for multiple reasons.  First, I love libraries.  Second, this will be Henry's first trip to the library.  Phil and I love books and I am hoping Henry will share our feelings.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A little lesson about Maslov

I went to pick up Henry yesterday and one of his teachers asked, "Have you had a good day?"  Without thinking, I looked at her, sighed and said, "I've had a pretty interesting week."  And it wasn't until later last night that I had a chance to really think about it.

I've had a few very vague blog posts recently where I mention that I had a rough day or that I was particularly stressed.  And without really talking about work, those types of posts are annoying after a while (in my opinion).

The truth is that, yes, I have a stressful job.  And the more my experience grows, the more stressful it will become.  I design buildings.  We represent our clients at public hearings and have to deal with angry neighbors.  I had a contractor call me the other day and yell at me because he didn't like my design.  Literally yelled at me.

And I find that stressful.

But then I think back a few years...

Looking at Facebook or blog posts doesn't send me into a crying fit over the half dozen pregnancy and birth announcements that happen daily.

I'm not worried about whether or not I have cancer.  Or if that newly diagnosed cancer has spread to my bones, lungs, liver, or brain.

No close relative is dying from a terminal illness.

Really, when I look back over what we have gone through in the last few years, it is easy to laugh off getting yelled at by a contractor.  That's kind of the only silver lining cancer sometimes offers: it kicks your priorities into order.

But is that really a healthy perspective?  Life is stressful and there are different kinds of stress.  For me, if it isn't related to death, it seems like it shouldn't be a big deal.  And sometimes I have a hard time with other people's stress and how that might be affecting them.  Sometimes I think get some real problems.

But they are real problems.

I started to think about it in terms of Maslov's Hierarchy of Needs:

Most life stresses deal with the top 3 levels.  I was definitely on the second level for a good year.  And it's really hard to get past it.  But doesn't mean that any of the other levels are less important.  We are all just trying to get to the top of the pyramid.

Almost all of the time, everyone has something going on in their life that is challenging.  And just because it may not seems like as big of a deal to me based on what I've been through, doesn't mean that it isn't a HUGE deal to them.

Since I have realized that my perception is SO off (comparing everything to death is a little weird), I need to just do my best to be as kind as possible to everyone.  It isn't necessarily something that comes naturally to me (I tend to just mind my own business), but I'm working on it.  Being kind doesn't require my judgement on what someone else is going through, and that's definitely a good thing.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Lunch Time

The schedule at daycare changed a little bit and Henry's teacher is no longer there in the evenings when I go to pick him up.  I kind of hate the change.  Call me crazy, but I kind of like hearing how his day way and if anything went wrong.

The nice thing is that she is usually pretty good at writing notes on his daily rugrat report.

But I was a little confused when she wrote that Henry had "refused" to eat his lunch.  So I asked her about it this morning when I dropped him off.

She said that when they put his food in front of him at lunch yesterday, he looked down at his food, then up at them and huge tears started streaming down his face.

{I wasn't there to see it, but this was the look I got in SF when I took away his ice cream sundae.  
I'm imagining it was similar to this}

I felt like a pretty great mom at that point.

You want to know what was in his lunchbox?  Cheese pizza, zucchini casserole (which he has been eating), a banana, peanut butter crackers.

He didn't like the cheese pizza yesterday I guess.

Then his teacher said, "We thought maybe the food might have been a little weird, but we tasted it and it was good!"

I know I tend to err on the healthy side of things, but I don't think I have sent him any "weird" food.

They fed them some of their own lunch (which made me feel even worse) along with some crackers and things so he would, you know... STARVE.

Thankfully, we went back to the old stand-by of black beans, sweet potato sticks, a whole peach, grapes, and a banana today.  We also threw in some buttered toast.  Hopefully he will find that lunch acceptable.  He's been a bit of a challenge lately to feed.  We had a bit of a reprieve last week when teething seemed to let up, so I am hopeful once this last molar comes in, his palate will expand.  I mean, how many meals can a toddler eat black beans?

I'm going to try to get the mental image of him looking down at his lunch and then bursting into tears out of my head.  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Case of the Mondays

I didn't blog yesterday and it is a good thing.

It's been an emotional couple of days.  So much so that I checked to see if it was a certain time of the month.  It wasn't in case you wanted a lot of personal information.

I can't blame it on that.

Really all that does is tell me that I am not overreacting to anything and my feelings are all justified.

Since I operate under the premise that you don't drink to make a bad day better, only drink to make a good day great... it meant I needed a different coping mechanism for unwinding this evening and hopefully setting the rest of the week back on track.

I chose this:

Works EVERY time.

I did have one bright spot during the day...

I spent all day yesterday doing the structural design for a custom house.  The house is HUGE.  2 stories with a daylight basement.  All the walls have windows and there are large open spans with no walls or beams.  It was complicated.  And as I'm looking through the plans, talking through the design challenges with my boss, I realized that I was pointed things out to him more than he was pointing them out to me.

It was just this awesome feeling of... expertise I guess?  I don't know.  It was nice.  And tomorrow, when I am working another 9 hour day with no break, I will hold on to that feeling so that I don't lose my mind.
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