Married Life

All posts in the Married Life category

Just call us Sarek and Amanda.

Published May 3, 2021 by Malia

I’m going to be very frank with all of you. I’m not in a good headspace currently. Call it a pity party, call it being overwhelmed. I honestly don’t care what you call it. It’s probably all accurate.

Since the news regarding Tom has been made public, I’ve had a lot of people in my life make comments about how we’re being so strong, and how we have such a good attitude about all this. These are all incredibly kind things to say, and I know that they’re said with love. And to be fair, I am actually feeling fairly positive about the outcome of all this. That said…

I don’t think I’m strong. Currently, I’m exhausted, sad, and beat up. I feel like Tom and I are walking around with targets on us that the universe is taking full advantage of. Kind of like that old Far Side cartoon with the deer that had a target on it and another deer says, “Bummer of a birthmark.”

Even though my brain knows that there’s not much reason to be concerned about the surgery, and I know I can’t sway the outcome one way or another by how I feel, I’ve come to realize that I’m scared about it. I’ll be so glad when Tom is out of surgery and awake.

We have a joke in our house that Tom is a Vulcan and I’m a human (think Spock’s parents). He has very little emotion about anything, and it very rarely shows up. Whereas, I’m filled with all the emotions all the time.

I know they won’t officially diagnosed Tom with cancer until they have the kidney out and had a chance to do the lab work on the tumor. I know that as far as cancer goes, we’re not facing nearly as much scary stuff as so many do. Even so, it’s scary. Really scary.

Sorry I’m such a downer today. I promise to be a bit better tomorrow.

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition

Published April 30, 2021 by Malia

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…

If I had seen this last week I probably would’ve been far more worried than I spent this week feeling.

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.

Welcome to the Second Decade

Published April 26, 2021 by Malia

If you’re new to the blog, or it’s been awhile since you visited, let me catch you up on what life has been like.

Ten years ago, I started this blog when I moved from Nebraska to North Dakota. I was going through a bad time. I was lost and heartbroken, and I needed to get as far away from Nebraska as I could. North Dakota may not sound like the optimal place to run away to, but I fell in love with Grand Forks. By the December of 2012, I found myself moving back to Nebraska. There were a few reasons that prompted the move, but the main ones were a type 2 diabetes diagnosis and running out of money for school (I was working on my bachelor’s for the umpteenth time).

January 2013-January 2016 saw the following happen:

-I worked in a medical lab.

-I began dating, and got married to the boy. That’s how I referred to him on here for the longest time. His name is actually Tom, and to this day I firmly believe that the best choice I ever made was agreeing to go on a date with him.

-Early Term miscarriages 1 & 2.

January 2016-February 2017

-Tried being a homemaker, it was a bit of a disaster.

-We blew up our car engine by throwing a rod. This led to a giant headache trying to replace the engine. Pretty sure by the time we sold the car we had replaced the engine 4 times. Important lesson kids, always stay on top of your car’s oil levels and changes. It’s and expensive problem you don’t want to deal with.

-We were so broke, and I completely lost hope that things would ever get better. It was a really dark time.

February 2017-April 2018

-I went to work in the lab at our local pediatric hospital.

-I was sick all the time, mostly with respiratory infections.

-Was officially diagnosed with PCOS. I’d been fighting to get someone to officially diagnosis it since 2012. It’s awful trying to get female reproductive health issues diagnosed and treated.

-Decided to leave the job mainly due to my rapidly deteriorating health.

-Adopted an 11 year old Puggle. She’s my first dog ever, and she’s my baby.

-Early term miscarriage 3.

April 2018-August 2019

-Attempt #2 of being a homemaker, again was a bit of a disaster.

-Got officially diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety, and depression. I already knew I was struggling, but it was really helpful to finally have an actual diagnosis.

-It was a dark time, but also a time where I learned quite a bit about myself.

August 2019-March 2020

-Went back to the hospital lab job as a casual employee.

-My grandmother passed away.

-Early term miscarriage 4.

March 2020-Now (April 2021)

-At the end of February 2020, my job was going really well. I was getting healthy, and was finally losing weight. I was on top of the world, and when a full time position opened up I decided I was ready. Let me just say right now, if I had known what was going to hit by mid-March, I would’ve never gone to being full time.

-Working in a hospital lab, during the first 9 months of Covid was a special level of Hell. Eventually, I may be able to write more about it, but I’m not mentally or emotionally in a place where I can do that yet.

-The last week of December 2020, my mental/physical/emotional health bailed on me. I’d been trying so hard, for months, to hold it together. I kept telling myself if I could just keep going eventually things would better. At 2 a.m. on 12/28 I was sitting in the shower, sobbing, and I knew I was officially at my breaking point. Months of barely sleeping, high stress, panic attacks, crying all the time, and constant nightmares when I would manage to sleep had all taken their toll. I was put on leave through January, with the intention that I would be heading back to work. I had countless doctor appointments, and by the end of January I came to the realization that there was no way I would be ready to go back to work. So, I chose my health and my sanity over my paycheck and benefits. I know I made the right choice, but it wasn’t an easy choice.

-Early term miscarriage 5.

What does the second decade look like?

I’ll be completely honest with you, right now I qualify a good day as one where I get out of bed and put pants on. Overall, I’m not doing very good. I am starting to heal from last year, but it’s slow going. Right now, I can only manage baby steps, but I’ve decided baby steps of progress are better than no progress at all.

I’ve been encouraged in therapy to return to writing, and right now the easiest writing for me to do is this blog. And since it’s important to have goals, I will end this post with a small list of goals I have for the next few years:

Goal 1: Getting healthy so that expanding our family (whether biologically or by adoption) is an actual possibility.

Goal 2: Moving The Banana Gift from being a dream to a reality.

Like I said, it’s a small list. I’ll be back tomorrow!

Traditions

Published January 1, 2020 by Malia

During my twenties, every January 1st was spent marathoning the entire extended Lord of the Rings. While it is possible to do in one sitting, now that I’ve gotten a bit older I’ve discovered it’s also super exhausting. Then, I turned 30, and the tradition changed.

Tom and I had been together almost a year. We were engaged, and it was our first New Year’s Eve. I worked that night, but was done around nine or ten. I drove to Tom’s. He got a bunch of pizza and we sat up half the night eating and playing Diablo 3. Since then, every New Year’s Eve we’ve gotten pizza and played Diablo. Nothing like ringing in the new year by slaying hordes of demons.

This year, tradition shifted. Last night, we went out on New Year’s Eve. Nothing super fancy. Taco Bell and Star Wars. I’ve had a nasty respiratory infection, so it was both super fun and incredibly exhausting.

Today, I’m keeping quiet. Trying to continue getting better. So, we’re doing pizza, Diablo, and rewatching the Clone Wars series. Again, it’s nothing exciting, but it is pleasant and a lovely way to start the new year.

So…Probably Not Pregnant

Published January 14, 2019 by Malia

(Okay, if you’re squeamish about words like period, then this post is probably one you want to avoid.)

I spent the first two weeks of this new year thinking I was pregnant.  All the symptoms were there, and then my period started on Saturday, so yeah…probably not preggers.

This isn’t the first time I’ve thought I was pregnant.  In fact I’ve even had a few times when the test has shown up positive, but it’s never lasted.  I’ve not been public about those pregnancies, mostly because I felt like such a failure.

This is the first time that I’ve genuinely felt both disappointed and thrilled when my period showed up.  The disappointment stems from knowing that this means more waiting.  The thrilled part comes from the fact that I’ve actually managed to have a normal cycle for one of the very few times in my life.

My heart has undergone a shift.  I’ve gone from being willing to be a mom but feeling unsure about whether I really wanted kids, to knowing that I genuinely want to be a mom, and not just because I know Tom wants to be a dad.  I’ve never bought into that idea that you’re not a family or complete without kids.  I’ve known for a long time that kids may be just out of the realm of possibility (thanks a lot, PCOS).  Our family was formed when we said, “I do.”  Children would just make our family bit bigger, and I suddenly find myself really wanting that.

Now, I find myself facing the fact that I absolutely must get healthy.  If I want to have a hope of a successful pregnancy, or of having an adoption agency being willing to even talk to us, I have to be mentally and physically healthy.

It’s the end of the year, as we know it.

Published December 31, 2018 by Malia

photo of fireworks

Photo by Anna-Louise on Pexels.com

Here it is.

New Year’s Eve 2018.

Oh, 2018, what can I say about you?  You’ve not been a particularly good year, but you definitely haven’t been the worst year.  I’ve learned a lot this year, and as cheesy as it sounds, I’ve definitely grown as a person.  I’ve learned so much about myself.  I’ve stepped up and taken ownership of my life.  It’s been a scary, exhausting experience, but something that needed to happen.

I’m looking forward to 2019.  I have plans for this blog.  I have plans for my life.  I have plans to drink a ton of coffee.

You may notice a few changes to this site.  I’ll be documenting my jigsaw puzzles, and I’ll be keeping a daily log as I try my hand at making a temperature blanket.  I know that every year I make the pronouncement that I’m going to keep this blog more up to date, but this time I actually have a plan.  Crazy, right?

Finally, we’ve been talking about it for years, and have finally tried it. We have a podcast! Tom & Malia Have A Podcast. That’s right, the Boy has a name, and it’s only taken me almost five years to reveal it.  There’s only one episode, so far, and I know it’s a bit rough.  It’s fifteen minutes of us talking about the new Aquaman movie, and because I’m easily distracted, Spiderverse comes up as well.  This will be a learning experience, but should be a fun journey.

And that’s about it for now.  It’s almost time for the annual New Year’s Eve Diablo 3 gaming session.

See y’all in 2019!

Let’s redo the floor ourselves, we said. It’ll be fun, we said.

Published May 30, 2018 by Malia

I am not skilled when it comes to any kind of house or auto maintenance. Fortunately, I married someone who is.

Years ago, when we got married, we discussed eventually redoing the living room. There was a pointless wall, and awful carpet. The goal was to remove the wall, pull up the carpet, and lay tile. We’ve never had much money, so this whole plan fell into the category of “Someday.”

Then came the Saturday, early last fall. We had gone to the ReStore (think thrift store meets Menards). We needed a doorknob, and as we wandered through the store we stumbled across our dream tile. The tile we’d spent years planning to place in the living room. Not only did they have the tile, they had enough for us to be able to redo the living room, and maybe even one of the bedrooms. Even better? We could actually afford to buy it.

We made several trips with my father-in-law’s pick-up, and brought the tile to our garage. It would spend the next few months sitting there, collecting dust. During Thanksgiving weekend, the wall came down. Then we ripped up the carpet.

The furniture all got moved to the dining room and the basement. The piano moved into the kitchen.

The boy’s job takes him out of town for 3-5 days every week. The only time he’s typically home is on the weekend. His job is exhausting, so by the time he gets home he has little energy to do anything. Which means progress on the floor has been slow.

Six months of this has been a bit wearing. Fortunately, though, I can see the light at the end of this tunnel. We spent all of Memorial Day weekend grouting. I can best describe it as feeling like we’re icing a cake we’ll be looking at for the next 15-20 years.

The grouting isn’t perfect. There’s so many mistakes, you can definitely tell it was a diy project. There’s one spot that’s so bad, we spent hours trying to fix it, and eventually agreed that we’re going to put furniture over it and never move said furniture.

I’ve taken numerous showers, and am still covered in a layer of grime that I fear will never come off unless I figure out how to shed my skin like a snake.

The cuts, the dirt, the sore muscles, and the exhaustion are all worth it. We’re going to have a beautiful living room. It won’t be perfect, but neither are we. I wouldn’t feel at home if it were perfect.

Dear 2018, I refuse to make a pile of resolutions I’m just going to break in a day. So, let’s just promise to be kind to each other. Okay?

Published January 1, 2018 by Malia

I have been standing in my kitchen, washing dishes for the last 20 minutes, thinking about what I could say as we head into 2018.  Did I come up with anything wise?  Well, if you think that, “at least it’s easy to turn a 7 into an 8, so when I write 2017 on everything for the next two weeks and have to change it, it won’t be that difficult,” is wise, then sure, I’m super wise.

Actually, I’m feeling grateful.  Things were bad a year ago.  The boy was working a nightmare job.  His only income was commission based, and he worked 12-14 hours every day, 7 days a week.  To make matters worse, he rarely had sales, so more than once we went an entire month with him not having a paycheck.  Our bank account more frequently had a number that was red with a little minus in front of it, than it had a number in black.  It didn’t help that I had this constant mystery pain on the left side of my abdomen that no one could give me an answer about.  The worse things got, the more frozen in depression and anxiety I got.  I got to the point I was having trouble functioning as a human.    Things were bad, and dark, and I spent most of my time feeling completely and utterly hopeless.

Now, it’s January 1, 2018, and the boy no longer works the job from hell.  Our bank account, while not super healthy, hasn’t had bright red minus numbers in months.  I still have my mystery pain, but hey, two out of three bad things aren’t bad anymore.

So, here’s to 2018.  Here’s to starting a year with a bit of hope and a lot less fear.

Hello, 911? I’m a mess.

Published October 28, 2017 by Malia

This week was a big pile of Bantha poodoo. Not only did I end up in the e.r. for chest pains on Wednesday night (that’s a whole separate post that will be coming soon), but then on Friday morning I had one of the scariest experiences of my life.

I awoke at 5:30 a.m. because Gracie was standing on the bed, staring at the door, and barking. This was a little alarming to wake up to, but the truly scary part wad that I could see light from out in the house streaming under my doorway…and I knew I had turned all the lights off before I went to bed.

Oh, and I was home alone because the boy’s new job requires some overnights out of town.

I grabbed Gracie, my phone, and a knife and locked us all up in the master bathroom. Since I knew the bedroom door was locked, I figured I’d at least bought myself some time.

Now, my first thought was that maybe the boy had gotten home early. So, I tried calling him. And I kept trying to call him. I sent a text. I got no responses.

I could hear faint noises from out in the house, but was unsure if I was hearing the cats, or if someone was in the house.

Finally, I dialed 911 and told the dispatcher that I thoughtthere was an intruder. She stayed on the phone with me while I waited for the cops to arrive. It only took a few minutes, but those minutes felt like hours. Eventually, I heard what sounded like faint knocking. I asked the dispatcher if it was the cops, and she confirmed it was and said it was okay to go answer the door.

I crept out from the bathroom, convinced that an attacker was lurking, waiting to grab me. When I opened the bedroom door, my heart nearly stopped because all the lights in the house were now off. I knew that at least one light had been on, which confirmed my fear that there was an intruder.

I made my way down the hallway, freaking out on the phone to the dispatcher, because I was convinced something terrible was about to happen. I must have looked super intimidating in my pink, fluffy bathrobe, phone in one hand, knife in the other. And by intimidating, I mean hilarious.

And then, I entered the living room…

“Hey, babe.” The sleepy voice of my husband greeted me from the couch.

I’m not sure I’ve ever felt that relieved, pissed, and embarrassed all at once. I may have muttered something along the lines of, “I love you, but I’m gonna kill you!”

I switched on a light, and wrapped in my fluffy pink bathrobe I went to the door and proceeded to explain to a very kind/slightly amused police officer that while someone was actually in the house, it was my husband. The officer assured me that they were just glad everything was okay, and I did the right thing by calling since I hadn’t known for sure.

They left. I went in and kissed the boy and he told me his phone had been set to “do not disturb” and he’d been trying to let me get sleep since the week had been a sleepless one for me. Part of me melted because he’s so thoughtful and sweet. The non-melted part requested that in the future he either text me he’s headed home early, or turn off “do not disturb.”

And that, kids, is the story of how I called the cops on my husband.


This too shall pass…it may pass like a kidney stone…but it will pass

Published April 23, 2017 by Malia

“Tragedy is when I cut my finger.  Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.”  Mel Brooks

“I don’t think you can take anymore bad news.” the boy informed me when he got home on Thursday night.

“You’re probably right, but you can’t say something like that and not tell me what happened.”

Turned out that he’d blown a tire that afternoon.  As I sat there, taking in the latest bit of bad news in our life, there was this little voice in the back of my head that muttered something about, “One day you’ll look back on this and laugh.”  However, laughter wasn’t exactly forthcoming in that moment.  Instead, I sat there doing math and trying not to cry.

We’d barely been scraping by this month, but I knew that with the paychecks being deposited on Friday, we’d finally be able to pay the mortgage, and have just a little left over to finally be ahead instead of facing the red.  Now, that little was going to cover replacing tires.

Now, before I continue, I feel I should make an interjection here.  I realize that over that over the last several months, the few times I have blogged, it’s been stressed, depressed writing.  I’ve just been stuck.  Completely overwhelmed and terrified of what bad news each day is going to bring.  The thing is, I know that the more I focus on feeling crapped on, the more crapped on I’m going to feel.  So, I’m making a point to try to not focus on the bad, and I’m going to try to find the good and the funny/absurd.

And back to the story…

Thankfully, we did have just enough to cover the mortgage and the tires.  However, I am trying very hard not to freak out right now, because I have zero idea of how we’re going to pay our electric bill that’s also due this week.  I dream of a day when we can pay all of our bills on time every month.  I know that we’re nearing that day, because we’ve already made great progress since the end of last year when we couldn’t pay anything.  So, that’s a happy thought.

And despite the stress, and the fear, we’re okay.  The boy and I are together, holding on tight to each other and to Jesus.

And if we do end up living down by the river, at least we’ve got a van.