Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

Published May 19, 2021 by Malia

I’m spending today binge watching Buzzfeed Unsolved. I just finished the available true crime episodes, and now I’m jumping into the paranormal episodes. I feel slightly bad for Tom, because the only reason I’m doing it today is because he’s home, and sitting within arm’s reach

See, I have a super overactive imagination, and I’ve found watching these sorts of things alone tends to be a super bad idea. So, watching creepy stuff with the level headed, super skeptic helps me not get completely freaked out.

Not sure why, but I’ve always been fascinated by this kind of stuff. I don’t like horror movies, but I’m genuinely fascinated by ghost stories, cryptids, and the unexplainable.

It’s probably good that Tom is such a skeptic, it brings balance.

Some days adulting is really difficult.

Published May 18, 2021 by Malia

I have an appointment with the endocrinologist today, and I am dreading it.

They asked that I turn in my blood sugar numbers from the last two weeks. Since I currently wear a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) that means what they have is every single blood sugar number my cgm has reported every five minutes for the last 14 days, and it ain’t pretty.

To be fair, I’ve spent the last two weeks in high stress mode. First, I was waiting for Tom’s surgery, and then there was the surgery, followed by days of waiting for results and caring for him. Then there’s the whole official cancer diagnosis. To top it off, I’m trying to compose an appeal letter to the insurance company because they determined that the necessary CT scan Tom had to have of his kidney is only necessary but not medically necessary (I’m still trying to wrap my head around that). And while I know things could be so much worse, and I am grateful that things have gone relatively well, it’s all been very high stress.

If you don’t have to deal with blood sugar monitoring, then you may not be aware of how stress messes with blood sugar. Even if I exercise and eat correctly, my numbers are all over the place. For example, on Saturday my numbers yo-yo’d all day. I went from 108 to 165 to 124 to 230 to 140 and so on. It was exhausting and frustrating.

I’m hoping they just give me a pass at the appointment since I’m currently going through this life experience. I’m genuinely trying to make positive changes in my health, but I’m also trying to keep myself from falling into a depression spiral. I’m just doing the best I can.

P.S. I’m running a giveaway on my Facebook page for some of my greeting cards. Check it out: In A Pinch Grab Bag Giveaway

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.

Can I just have a pile of dogs to cuddle with?

Published May 12, 2021 by Malia

12:57 pm

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.

3:12 pm

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?

So, medical bills are super fun…said no one ever.

Published May 11, 2021 by Malia

(The following post contains shameless self promotion)

The bills have started rolling in from the kidney cancer fun (and the surgery hasn’t even happened yet).  Yes, we do have insurance.  We’re already facing fights with them to cover things that absolutely were necessary, but they have determined were not.  Personally, I’m not sure how a CT scan to get images of a giant tumor and decide if surgery is needed can be considered “Not medically necessary.”

Things were already a bit tight, but we’ve been really careful. I’m not yet at the point that I can return to working a traditional job. So, I’m getting creative in an effort to help bring in some extra money.

Introducing my revamped Etsy shop, Made by Mannaberry.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/MadeByMannaberry

Right now, my main offerings are what I’m calling “In A Pinch Card Bundles.” The idea came to me a few months back, when I once again forgot to get a card for an event until the day of. There is little I hate more than going to the store on Sunday afternoon. It occurred to me that having cards ready to go at all time would save me from last minute Walmart visits. I realize that I cannot be the only one who constantly forgets to buy a card. Hence, the In A Pinch bundles.

Thanks for reading my plug for my shop. I promise tomorrow I’ll be back with a regular post.

I can’t sleep, so I might as well play Fallout.

Published May 10, 2021 by Malia

Kids, the insomnia is bad.  I even gave in and took the meds that normally help me sleep and so far…I’m wide awake.  I suppose I might be just the tiniest bit stressed about Thursday. 

That’s right, it’s surgery week!  We are officially in the homestretch. 

The more I think about it, the weirder this experience seems.  Kidney cancer.  The word cancer immediately brings to mind a whole list of awful components.  Chemo, long hospital stays, surgeries, death. And that’s just the first few things I can think of. I’m quite grateful that it seems the cancer had been caught before it spreads. The urologist told us that Tom’s not looking at anything like chemo or radiation for now. It’s very likely that if surgery goes well that will be all that’s needed. This last few weeks has been an overwhelming whirlwind.

This week feels crazy, and it hasn’t truly begun.