Married Life

All posts in the Married Life category

Broke meal tip: add tuna to your mac & cheese. It may sound gross, but it’s surprisingly good.

Published June 3, 2021 by Malia

Never ask a female if she’s acting a certain way because she’s hormonal.  It’s just not a nice thing to do.

That said, I think I’m hormonal.

Why do I think this?

Right now, all I want to do is watch Jurassic Park and play Minecraft. That, in and of itself, isn’t a hormonal thing. I love Minecraft and I love disaster movies.

And I really love dinosaurs. Especially when they eat slimy lawyers.

The reason I think I’m hormonal is I just spent 25 minutes trying to get my phone to cast the movie from the Peacock app (it’s currently free to watch on the app) to the Chromecast, and it it’s refusing to work beyond streaming the first 25 seconds of the movie And then I started crying because I’m pretty sure I sold my DVD’s a few years back when we were really broke. So, now I can’t get the movie to work, and we’re super broke due to Tom having a really small paycheck from surgery week. How broke are we? Well, we need to make $10.86 last us until he receives a normal paycheck again a week from tomorrow…and I can’t refill my mental meds until then. It’s gonna be a bit of a long week.

I’m not saying any this to receive pity. We’re gonna be fine, things are just a bit tight right now. And it’s never super fun for anyone when things are tight. At least we don’t have to worry about taking care of kids. Also, if you’re in the same boat, please know you’re not alone. I really do understand how much it sucks.

So, I’m going to keep digging in my video game mine, and in a bit I’ll see if the Chromecast is going to decide to be nice and let me watch the dinosaurs hang out with Jeff Goldblum.

And I now realize that I probably am hormonal, but the fact I’m out of all my mental meds probably is contributing to me crying over something so dumb as a movie not wanting to stream correctly.

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I’m not okay, and that’s okay.

Published May 20, 2021 by Malia

I went to therapy this morning.

I hadn’t been in a few months, and I realized on Monday, after getting Tom’s official cancer diagnosis from the doctor, that I really needed a session. 

I’m just so overwhelmed by my feelings at present. Since I have a really bad habit of refusing to acknowledge what I’m feeling and just squashing them down deep inside, I’m trying to break that.

Here’s the thing about therapy. I appreciate it. It’s been amazingly helpful. It is not fun. I don’t walk out and immediately feel better. But there’s something about sitting in a judgement free zone, talking about what I’m thinking that really makes a difference.

I’m learning that it’s okay to feel all the feelings. It’s okay to be sad or angry or frustrated or any other emotion that sweeps over me. It’s okay to acknowledge those feelings and give name to them. The important thing is what I do with those feelings.

I think it’s important to point out that just because I’m facing some dark feelings, that doesn’t mean I’ve lost hope or my faith. I’m still reeling from feeling blindsided by all this, plus I’m grieving right now. I’m still dealing with some grief over my old job. I’m grieving my lost babies. I’m grieving putting dreams on hold. And I’m grieving Tom’s kidney. I’m sure that sounds absurd, but that’s just how things are right now.

So, what about Tom? He’s always been incredibly supportive of me getting mental health help. He knows that I’m equally supportive of him seeking help. But doing so is a very personal choice. So, I check in on him regularly, and the door is open if he decides he does want to talk to a professional.

Things are hard, but we will get through it.

Not the worst news…not the best news…

Published May 17, 2021 by Malia

I know, I don’t usually cuss on this blog, but I think I’m allowed to today.

It’s officially cancer.

The doctor called this morning with to inform us. Tom has the most common form of renal cancer, and it is pretty aggressive. It had begun moving out of the kidney.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that the margins were clear, so the doctor is very hopeful that they got it all.

Tom’s surgery follow up appointment isn’t until June 1st, and I’m not really sure what more we’ll learn then than we already know. We’ll be spending the next five years having him get CT scans every six months to make sure he’s still in the clear.

Today feels extremely surreal. I am glad we have answers. I knew we were likely looking at it being cancer, but there’s a difference between suspecting and officially knowing.

You and me both, Wanda You and me, both.

Twister is now 25 years old. I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

Published May 16, 2021 by Malia

I’m really surprised at how fast Tom seems to be recovering. I don’t know if it’s because in the past every family member I helped care for post-surgery/coma weren’t as young and healthy as Tom, or if it’s because the robotic surgery is a little less traumatic than traditional surgery. Maybe it’s a combo of both.

On Thursday, after the surgery was complete, I met with Tom’s doctor who informed me that everything went as expected. Immediately after, I went back to the waiting area and I made the mistake of sitting down for a moment to collect my thoughts.

And then I tried to stand up.

All of a sudden, the sheer idea of standing up was so completely overwhelming, my body refused to cooperate. It was like a physical wall of exhaustion slammed into my body. I ended up sitting there, texting family, “I think I live in this chair now.”

Finally, after almost an hour, I got so nauseous because of dropped blood sugar, that I forced myself up and down to the cafe for what ended up being a really delicious bowl of udon noodles with chicken.

Yesterday, Saturday, Tom rested and played video games, while I worked on cards for some orders that came in over the last few days. Mid-afternoon, I got so tired I crashed in bed for a few hours.

Last night, I watched This is a Robbery on Netflix. It’s a documentary series about the big art heist in Boston back in the 90’s. It was interesting, but the music was unnecessarily creepy. I was quite glad Tom was home, since I watched most of it after nightfall.

Not much on tap for us today. I’m waiting for Amazon to drop off the new blade for my Cricut so I can finish the orders I was working on yesterday. I keep threatening him that I’m going to put Twister on because he doesn’t love it like I do, and his only escape is napping 😅

Today I am waiting…and waiting some more…

Published May 13, 2021 by Malia

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:

At least, I thought it was funny how she left her butt hanging out.

Before we left, I got this magical gem of a picture:

I call this the “Paint me like one of your French girls” pose.

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.

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.