Not much to report today. They released Tom this morning, and now we’re home. He’s playing video games and drinking fluids. I’m waiting for Target & CVS to finish filling grocery and medication orders. Hopefully it’ll be a quiet weekend for all of us.
Surgery is over.
Tom is still in recovery, but they’ll be moving him soon. I’m so anxious to see him.
We didn’t have to check in until 8 a.m. so we were able to get up at a normal time. Groot was not thrilled her people were getting up and she moved and went back to sleep in the funniest position:
Before we left, I got this magical gem of a picture:
Here we are at check-in:
And here we are right before they took him away to relieve him of his kidney and tumor:
And I didn’t realize my mask was on upside down until way later 🤦🏻♀️🤦🏻♀️🤦🏻♀️
The Buffett Cancer Center has this beautiful garden area, and that’s where I hung out until they came to tell me his surgery was finishing up. It’s a beautiful day (although there’s a chilly wind), and here’s where I got to hang:
Being able to be outside in such a beautiful garden was such a gift. It really helped my anxiety.
That’s about all from this neck of the woods. Thank you all for the prayers and good vibes.
I’m killing time right now, waiting for Groot to be done at the vet. Her vet is located all the way across town, and I don’t really have the gas money to drive all the way back home and then all the way back. I had asked for them to be done by noon, but noon came and went and she’s still not done.
Tom’s pre-surgery Covid and influenza tests came back negative, so the surgery is a go. I asked him how he was feeling about it, and he responded, “Fine. Looking forward to the long rest.” To be fair, he works his butt off, so at least a week off his feet with nothing required of him will be a good thing.
We’re home now. According to the vet, Groot is in pretty good condition considering she’s going to be 15 in July. The vet she saw today isn’t the one she normally sees. I got a bit frustrated when she wouldn’t listen to me about the reason I won’t put Groot under anesthesia. Groot has a heart murmur, and that combined with her age makes me unwilling to put her under for a dental cleaning. The vet she normally sees is very understanding of this. However, today’s vet started listing off all the things I would need to do to get Groot a dental. Things like taking Groot to a pet cardiologist so they could check her out and do imaging. Finally, frustrated and with the beginnings of a migraine I made it clear that wasn’t an option right now, especially with me being out of a job and Tom’s kidney fun. Even then, I could tell she thought I was just making stuff up to keep from providing the best care for my baby. I used to be a vet tech at a different branch of the same vet corporation. I know when a vet isn’t listening and is judging a pet owner. Would I love to be able to provide Groot with everything? Yes, of course. She is my baby. But I also am her mama and I’m doing the very best I can for her. She gets good food, lots of attention and affection, and I will do whatever I can for her.
I’m so exhausted and I have so much to do. Yesterday, I had a whole schedule of things to complete, and then I got trapped in ADHD hyperfixation. I didn’t even realize it until I looked at the clock and realized that 9 hours had passed and I thought it had only been 1. A bit frustrating, but at least I did get some cards made.
I’m going to try to get some actual work done around the house (before this migraine goes full blown) and I have my favorite sports show on. Chopped is a sports show, right?
I couldn’t sleep last night. The anxiety was so high the sleeping pill I took did nothing until 4 a.m. I was awoken a few minutes before 9 a.m. when Groot jumped out of bed. My body is trained to wake up when Groot gets up, cause I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t, she’ll leave me presents on my closet floor. And believe me, no one wants those presents.
Let me just state here, I genuinely thought today was Thursday.
I put on my glasses, cause running on almost 5 hours of sleep, I figured I would probably come back in and go back to bed. I got Groot outside, and immediately my stomach dropped.
Everyone in the neighborhood had their trash can at the curb and all the lids were open, which means they had all been emptied. I was baffled. It was Thursday! Why did no one tell me our trash day had changed? There had been no notification from the city. Plus, no one had their trash out last night, not even the super dependable neighbors directly across the street. So, when did they all put the cans at the curb, and how did they know the trash day had changed?
I pulled out my phone, intending to look up the trash day schedule on the city’s website. And then I saw it.
Our regular trash day.
So, as Groot did her business, I stood there and cried.
I’m clearly doing well at this whole handling life thing.
Behold my glamorous life…
I’m doing the slightly monotonous work of making inserts for greeting cards. I have all this really pretty cardstock paper that I’m cutting down into correct size.
I’ve also got New Girl on in the background. I realized yesterday that I fell off the show, completely unintentionally, after the second season. And since my memory sucks and it’s been a few years since I last watched it, I started it over from the beginning. The show is quite a bit funnier than I remember it being. One small problem though, since I spent so much time throwing up, my abdominal side muscles hurt super bad every time I start laughing. On the bright side, I still haven’t thrown up since before I made my non-post post yesterday. And I realize that is way too much tmi about my bodily functions. The whole point is, this show is making me laugh so much, but because it really hurts to laugh, my laughs start out normal and then quickly turns to me going, “Ow, ha, ow, ha ow ow ow!”
Tune in tomorrow for another exciting installment of “Malia is either actually getting stuff done or she’s been disassociating for the last 8+ hours.”
P.S. I do have regular dissociative episodes that frequently involve me just staring at a wall for hours on end. I frequently deal with my mental health issues by making jokes about it.
I guess I was more stressed out by this last week than I though I was. I remember waking up this morning, but I had a rough night with my stomach, and wasn’t feeling quite ready to get up.
I went back to sleep. I dreamed that I was back being a pastor’s kid. The church was on fire, and we were trying to get things out of the building. (Clearly this dream has no deeper meanings 😅).
I woke to Tom shaking me awake. At first I thought it was just a few hours later. Turns out it was 5:30 pm. I slept the whole day away. I haven’t done that in a super long time. And now it’s almost 11 pm, and my body is torn. Physically I’m still exhausted, but mentally my brain is now wide awake. So, I guess I’ll go do some laundry to pass the time.
This has been a day.
A few weeks back, Tom went in for a physical, and during the visit, the doctor decided she wanted him to get an abdominal ultrasound. Last Friday, he went in for one, and when he got home he told me that he needed to go back in a few hours to get a CT scan done. There was a dark spot that had shown up on his kidney, and the doctor wanted additional imaging done.
Later last Friday, after the CT scan, he was notified that he needed to see a urologist. When they performed the scan, they used contrast and found that the spot on his kidney was receiving blood.
This started one of the longest weeks of my life. I found myself hoping that whatever it was would turn put to be nothing. Just a weird artifact. The worst part, though, was simply not knowing what we were dealing with and what the next step would be.
One small thing, before I go further. When Tom explained to me what was on the scan, he said it was a “dark spot.” This did not translate in my brain the way I think he thought it did. Hence my hope that it was just a weird artifact. However, this is actually what showed up. Guess which kidney is the one in question…
He has a tumor. A giant tumor. The urologist said that cancer can’t be officially diagnosed until they can actually take a look at the tumor and kidney. That said, according to the urologist so far this appears to be consistent with kidney cancer. Because the tumor is so large they are going to use the surgical robot and remove his entire kidney on May 13th.
When I was sitting on the phone, listening to Tom meet with the urologist (I had permission, since due to Covid precautions I was unable to be there in person), it was a very surreal experience. Initially, when I heard we were most likely looking at cancer, part of me wanted to return to bed, crawl under the covers, and cry. But that was only a part of me, and turns out it was a small part.
Mostly, I feel relieved. No, cancer is not what I wanted to be the diagnosis. No, I don’t want Tom to lose a kidney. So, how can I feel relieved?
1. Tom has two kidneys. And while one is basically filled with a tumor, the other is a healthy kidney.
2. According to the urologist, based on the imaging, the tumor is solely contained in that one kidney. Nothing has spread to other organs.
3. As of right now, post surgery Tom isn’t looking at chemo, radiation, or other long term meds. He’ll have regular checkups over the next 5 years, but that’s it.
4. Knowing is better than hanging out in limbo. I’m grateful we know what we’re most likely dealing with, and that we have a plan for the next month.
I don’t know what the next five years hold. And after this week, I’m reminded, yet again, that I don’t even know what the next day/weeks/months hold. So, the best I can do is continue to hold onto my faith and be grateful for every single second I get with Tom.
I don’t have much in me today. It’s definitely one of those days where my biggest accomplishments are that I got out of bed, put on pants, and ate breakfast. Instead of writing today, I’m going to put up cute pictures of my dog.
One of the truly “delightful” parts of having an ADHD brain, is that my memory is deteriorating. I’ll be completely candid, I may have shared some of this before, but I have no recollection of doing so. My apologies if this is a repeat.
I started noticing it in high school. Of course, I had no clue I had ADHD at that point, so I just assumed I was getting dumber. I mostly noticed the problem when I took tests. No matter how much I studied, I could never remember most of what I needed to know. Plus, anxiety meant I just froze and did terrible. However, I was able to keep my grades up with my homework, and so it never really was an issue.
Then, I went to college.
Classes felt pointless, because I would sit there for 50 minutes listening to a lecture, but my brain would tune out 5-10 minutes in. I had no clue what I was being taught. On top of that, I found that nothing stuck when I studied. I remember spending one weekend doing nothing but studying one chapter in my biology textbook. I realized that the book might as well have been written in Japanese, because none of the words made sense in my brain. Do you have any idea how frustrating it is to spend 8 hours studying, only to realize you’ve read the same page over and over and over and over, and you still have zero clue what was written on that page?
The scariest memory moment for me came a few years back at Christmas Eve. I was at my in-laws, and I was crashed on a couch playing a game on my phone. My nephew, B, came into the room and was calling out for someone. At first I thought he was calling for Tom, and I explained to him that Tom was at work, but would be joining us in an hour or so. He looked at me confused and then said, “I’m looking for J.” Which led to me being confused, cause I had no clue who he meant. His maternal grandpa is named J, but we were at his paternal grandparents house. While I was baffled, one of my sister-in-laws came in and told him that J was in the basement. B ran off to find him, and I was completely confused. I asked her, “Who’s he looking for?”
Which led to her giving me a strange look and replying, “His brother.”
Then it clicked. I had forgotten about my nephew, J. B’s older brother. I forgot an entire person existed. I laughed it off, but even now, it still freaks me out.
Tom catches most of my memory mistakes. Usually they show up in the form of me sharing news I’m excited about, and he responds by telling me about when he told me months earlier about that news. Example: the following text exchange from a few years back. He had originally texted me the news in September, and in November I texted him with exciting news I had just learned:
However, I’m delighted to announce that even with all the negative parts of a bad memory, I have found one awesome perk. I tend to forget what happens in a movie or tv show, so I can watch something again, and enjoy almost as much as the first time I saw it. It’s not a big perk, but I’ll take whatever positives I can get.