Fast forward and pause

A couple of days ago I had a “Date” with each of my my fabulous and hilarious twin almost six-year-old girls. With one I took her to a swimming party and lunch and the other on a shopping trip and for a snack. And it was so great. I enjoyed every second of getting one-on-one time with these little people who I love so very much. I basked in the warm glow of them thinking I am the coolest person in the world (I am relishing that as I know it won’t last much longer!) And I even got to hear, “You are the most wonderful mommy… just the best, and I just love you so much I can’t…I can’t even tell you.”

Then we went home to our new house and I got to see the girls play outside and have an elaborate game which involved dressing up to be “a little bit fancy.” It was awesome. It was perfect, and fulfilling, and made me feel like I might actually be doing ok at this parenting thing. At several points in the day I looked at their smiling faces and wished I could live in that perfect moment forever. But there is no pause button on life.

Unfortunately, there is no fast-forward button either.

Part of my goal in taking them on separate dates was to get a chance to tell each of them that Mommy is going to have surgery and that I would need to be resting for awhile and give them a chance to ask me any questions they might have. They both took it remarkably well, which is not really that surprising since I have dealt with health issues their entire lives. And one of the things that I am most proud of in the parenting style my husband and I believe in is that we try as much as possible to be honest with the kids. We give them the basic truth of the situation and leave out details that are not age appropriate.

Because kids are really smart. And they hear EVERYTHING even when you think they aren’t listening… unless you ask them to put on their shoes- which for some reason my children are physically incapable of hearing the first 17 times I ask.

So the kids are fine with this surgery, but I’m not.

I know it is the best thing for me. I am hopeful that it will finally be the answer to the bleeding issue that has plagued me on and off for the last year. I understand that it will not be even on remotely the same level as my other major surgeries (it will be only 1-2 days in the hospital rather than the 10-12 day stays I had in 2014.) But still… I don’t wanna.

I have been saying that a lot lately. I realize I can’t skip past the really hard times in life. I understand with the rational part of my brain that I have to go through the messy, yucky, sobb-y, parts, but it sucks and but I would rather not.

Because of everything I have dealt with in the last six years, I know that I can survive just about anything. I know that if I keep going, sometimes one breath at a time, I will eventually get through even the roughest seasons. I am certain that one day I will be on the other side of the immediate trauma and be able to look back and say, “Well that was a really shitty year!” And I know that I am a person who will get to a place where I can use my pain for good in the world.

But I would really like to fast-forward to that feel good part and not have to plow through this sucky section filled with grief and pain.

If you know anything about me, you probably know that the last six months have been filled with one devastating blow after another. Since October, I have lost my 28 year-old brother, who died suddenly and tragically, and not one but two good friends to cancer.

I have also been dealing with an ongoing bleeding issue that has caused me to be hospitalized multiple times, subject to more horribly invasive diagnostic tests than I can even count, and recently to have a 2 unit blood transfusion because my hemoglobin was so low I could barely breathe.

Last week I had one of the strangest experiences of my life in which I had to drink barium and then lay down on a table and have more barium injected rectally. Then the motorized table went from flat to vertical, sitting me up on a makeshift potty(basically a bucket with a plastic bag in it.) Then they lowered an x-ray screen on my other side so I was sandwiched between the now upright bed and the x-ray pannel. Next the radiologist comes in and says that I need to be higher for him to be able to see properly. So he raises the potty I’m sitting on about 3 feet up in the air.

So there I am, with my legs dangling in the air, a guy about 6 inches from me watching his screen and giving me directions- cough, tense up, release, etc. Oh and by release he did mean poop- in a potty suspended in the air, as he watched me. Don’t be jealous, I lead an incredibly glamorous life!

Then after a long meeting with my surgeon (and a highly unpleasant in-office scope, he tells me he thinks that he knows what the problem is- yay! And that we are going to fix it with surgery- not so yay.

It is majorly complicated but basically he needs to go in and cauterize my current bleeds and then put in some internal stitches to help keep it from happening again. Because of the rate I’m loosing blood we had to schedule this surgery ASAP.

This is yet another setback in a period of time that has already been far too much to deal with. I was talking to my therapist yesterday and we discussed how I’m depressed, but even my depression is atypical. I am having an extremely hard time emotionally and managing both anxiety and depression, or anxipression as I like to call it.

For me, periods of anxipression don’t look like what most people think of as depression. I am highly functional and productive, but that is just a coping mechanism. If you read Just Keep Swimming you can get an idea of what I am talking about. I feel like right now I am doggie paddling as fast as I can to keep my head above water. I don’t want to stop because if I stop swimming I am worried I will sink.

So here I am. The plan is that I will have surgery TODAY with a 1-2 night stay in the hospital then home for recovery.

As I know many of you will ask, I am good for help at the moment. My mom will take the kids the first couple of days and my husband will be with me at the hospital. Then my in-laws will be coming to stay with us for the next 10 days to help out.

I have been swimming as hard as I can for far too long. And I am tired. I need to rest.

In order to make myself actually take the time I need to let my body, mind, and spirit heal, I am taking a full two weeks off.

I have delegated all of my Mommies In Need responsibilities, I have family taking care of the kids, and I am going to do my best to do as little as possible for that time. Feel free to call, text, or email me, but please understand that I will probably be very slow to respond.

I do wish I could fast forward this part. I wish I could skip the crying and the not being able to breathe and the every step is hard and just jump to the I’ve made peace with this and I can use this bad to help someone else part of the whole thing.

But since I can’t pause the good parts or fast-forward the bad, life will continue moving at its sometimes glacial, sometimes whirlwind pace. And I will get through the worst parts by remembering those perfect ones.

My life has not been easy so far, but it has also been full of more wonder and joy than I could have ever predicted.

Thanks for all your love and messages of support everyone, I’ll be back as soon as I have taken some time to recuperate!

3 thoughts on “Fast forward and pause

  1. Wow, Natalie! You have had a LOT of tough stuff going on. I hope the surgery goes well & the doctors can figure everything out. Will be thinking about you!

  2. You are amazing. I honestly can’t imagine ALL that you have gone through and are dealing with and being able to do as much as you do. Even if it’s just you swimming to get by. You are an amazing inspiring woman. And I know that doesn’t change anything for you and all the shitty shit but you truly are an inspiration.

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