Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Taking Care of Me (is hard work)

How many people have touched or seen your breasts in the last few weeks? It was Valentine's Day after all, so probably 2. Or maybe 3 if you are still breastfeeding... My answer is 7 and that's not including me, my husband, or my son. But I'll get to that in a minute.

Like most new parents, I imagine, my health has taken a back seat since Dylan's birth. I haven't had any really big time-sensitive concerns, but I've had a few nagging physical issues (neck, back) and I knew I needed to get back into breast cancer monitoring, so I finally made appointments for myself a few weeks ago; one with my regular doctor and one with the Breast Clinic.

The appointments went well and I'm so happy I went, but...they weren't the end.  I needed to get x-rays and a blood draw, a Breast MRI, breast ultrasound, AND mammogram and I was even referred to physical therapy.

But I had to follow-up to make most of the additional appointments and it took a full two weeks to get the next round scheduled.  I still haven't done the x-ray so I haven't been able to call physical therapy, but I am getting all the breast stuff done which does make me feel responsible! : )
ETA: both done since initial draft!

All in all, I've gone to 4 appointments in the last few weeks, plus a blood draw and radiography and I go to physical therapy starting this afternoon.

I'm BRCA2+
I've written this before, but I have one of the "breast cancer genes," a mutation on the BRCA2 chromosome. Did you know that there are actually tons of different mutations in BRCA1 and 2? That surprised me.

Since my mom got breast cancer at 41 and my aunt at 44, I have always known I was at very high risk even before I did genetic testing 3 years ago. It seems to really throw many people for a loop, but my sister and I both took it in stride (both positive for mutation) since we knew our risk and wanted to have a reason for greater monitoring.

The current suggested paths are either monitoring (alternating Breast MRI and mammogram every six months) or prophylactic surgery (removal of breast and/or ovaries). My sister and I both initially chose monitoring since we were both still planning to have families, but now that I have Dylan, I'm thinking more and more about prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. But I am definitely not comfortable with the oophorectomy since it causes premature menopause and there are lots of nasty side-effects to that (BRCA2 has less risk of ovarian cancer than BRCA1, but the incidence is still one in my family has had ovarian cancer).  I reserve the right to change my mind down the road, but that's my decision for now. I'm thinking I'll do the PBM in a couple of years when Dylan is a little more independent.

*     *     *     *     * point is that it's a lot more work to take care of myself now than it was before. it's easy to see the need to proactively manage my cancer risk - for Dylan's sake. But it's a lot harder to spend the time to go to physical therapy once or twice a week. Sure my neck locks up for about a week every other month, but...

Also, in the interim, I quit soccer and am working on getting back into yoga. Did you know your first week is free if you've never been to Corepower? I just want the yoga to cut into school time rather than Dylan time and it's really hard to fit everything in. Sometimes taking care of Dylan is the easy part. But we really do need to take care of ourselves too.

So did I inspire you to call and make an appointment? Do it!

Also do your monthly breast self-exams! One week after the start of your cycle is the best time. I'll have another post for that soon.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Bottle Weaning...dun. dun. dun.

I was terrified of bottle weaning (and I still kind of am). My pediatrician says we can rest a little easier once Dylan hits 20 pounds, but he's still not there yet (at 13 months) and so worry, I do!

I knew we needed to bottle wean around a year. We introduced a sippy cups...well a variety of sippy Dylan starting at about 6 months. He didn't understand them and usually choked on the thin water (he's bottles were thickened). Eventually I bought a version that was basically a nipple and he did okay with it, but that really defeats the purpose of bottle weaning.

I bought at least 5 different types of sippy cups and straw cups and I even bought a honey bear sqeezy straw that is used in feeding therapy.

But I never really wanted to start because I didn't want Dylan to lose any weight in the process! At 12 months we were switching to Whole Cow's Milk (fortified with powdered Whole Cow's Milk) and DYlan had an ear infection, so it wasn't time to pull the trigger.

But Mr. GG had a business trip all of last week so the nanny was going to be with Dylan longer than normal and I figured it was as good a time as any.

After sucking on all of the sippys and knowing that Dylan didn't really understand how to suck from a straw, I eventually decided on the Take & Toss sippys.  Even though they don't have a valve, they are slower than some, they had a hard spout, and it was cheap to buy a bunch of them.

My ped said the bare minimum liquid that D should have in a day was 6 oz.  On day 1, that's about all he took and so after a lot of debate, I decided to give him a bottle at bedtime (after starting with sippy).  But each day was a little bit better than the last and I only did the night-time bottle for the first two days.  (Dad also gave Dylan a morning bottle the first two days of this week because he somehow wasn't listening...hmm.) But Dylan is now 100% on sippy cup and is eating between 10 and 14 ounces a day. It's not an awesome amount, but it'll work for now.

There were a few consequences of bottle weaning:
1) Dylan started eating larger solids meals! Score! A typical meal is still only about 2-3 ounces of solids, but he's had a few meals over the past couple of weeks that have been closer to 6! I hope this continues.

2) He learned how to suck and swallow thinner liquid.  I think this is why the volume is increasing so slowly. His brain had to somewhat re-learn how to swallow and he's had to learn how to control the faster flow of liquid. This was my #1 fear when weaning, but I think we're okay!

3) Dylan learned to suck! (on something besides his bottle) You know the pouches of food that most babies suck down in seconds? Well Dylan would just bite on the end of it and I'd squeeze a bit in his mouth (or we'd use a spoon).  Now he'll suck down 2-3 ounces in 30 seconds.  SO MANY CALORIES. SO LITTLE TIME! It's a revolution for us.

I actually don't think we'll stay with sippys for too long. Now that he's learned to suck, I think he can handle straw cups so we'll probably switch to those soon (just to see if he'll take more volume).

But for now...we're still a little worried that he's taking in less calories than before, but it's close.  So bottle weaning is pretty much a success!

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Real Love

I wasn't planning to write a Valentine's Day post, but reading some others made me feel like a should. I have loved Valentine's Day forever. It's a big, fun day for me. But I don't have a mushy heart-shaped story to tell today. I want to talk about our real love.

I saw an infographic on pinterest the other day and it made me feel a little bit better about my relationship with Mr. GG.

We are squarely in the 67%, but who's to say whether it was infertility and IVF, having a premature baby and a 5 months hospital stay, or just who we are that has put us where we are today.  I do think the first two play a small role, but in some ways, they've made us closer.  The biggest factor is our (different) personalities.

The key though: we love each other and want to be married. I don't see that changing any time soon.

But we've got some work to do to make our marriage fun again, to really get the real love back.

The good news is that we are trying and we didn't really stop trying. The keys for us are hot tub time (where we actually talk to each other) and date nights...even if it's just dinner and a movie. Family outings are also really helpful.  What we need todo is both be nicer to each other (mostly in how we talk to each other).

I went to a wedding a couple of weeks ago that was mostly a disaster, but the ceremony was one of the best I've witnessed. Mr. GG was more focused on betting the over/under on the length of the ceremony with his friends, but I was listening and the officiant said two things that were not revolutionary, but they really spoke to me.

1) Marriage is not 50/50.  If you expect 50/50, you'll always be disappointed because people tend to overestimate their own effort and underestimate the other person's. Mr.GG actually does a ton and I really do recognize it...I'm just not sure whether I say it out loud enough. He needs to hear that I value the amount of time he spends taking care of Dylan. But he definitely undervalues what I do and I want to be appreciated too.

2) Put your partner's needs before your own. I'm sure this can backfire in some situations, but it's something we need to do more. It feels nice to give (if you don't feel like it's all you do) and giving breeds giving. We used to be more like this. Having a child has definitely been a factor in this one. It's harder to plan ahead to do something nice for Mr. GG when I'm living moment to moment. And I am really bad at planning ahead and making decisions which ends up paralyzing me and making nothing happen.

The wedding felt a little bit like therapy and it was nice.

My husband is not an emotional person. At all. And I have sort of always known that and I need to work to keep accepting it because that part is not going to change. (And don't think he's not funny, silly, caring, or any of that other good stuff.) He's just not emotional. He is much less than effusive in expressing his feelings.  And I think this is squarely where my issue lays. I need more than I'm getting. I need to feel the love.

And he needs things from me too.

I'm not exactly sure how to close this because it's a work in progress. It's our real Valentine's Day story. Our marriage is a work in progress...which is a good thing!  But we still have a lot of room for improvement.

So maybe I should get to planning some kind of V-day surprise for tonight like I have been contemplating...still a few hours left.  (We're going out to dinner tomorrow night.)

I think it's harder to talk about our marriages than infertility or sleep or feeding issues and just like in every other area, there seem to be perfect soul mate couples everywhere you turn. But there are many, many more couples who care about each other but have to work to make it work. Let's be real!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My Anxiety

I need to grade papers right now. Ironically (or sadly), they are the same papers I needed to grade when I posted on Monday. That probably does affect my type of anxiety, but it's not the main factor.

I really worry about how people perceive me. A lot. My department chair emailed me this morning and asked me to come by during my prep. She probably wants to run something by me about our meeting this afternoon. But I won't be able to stop worrying that she's upset with me about something until after I've met with her. Which makes concentrating on grading essays very difficult.

I really care about my job and profession. I'm very opinionated and I speak my mind. But at the same time, I'm very aware of perceptions and always try to frame things in a way that will be accepted and will not piss people off. And I'm wondering if I talked too much yesterday at our meeting. I don't really think so and I think what I said was important, but I don't want to step on anyone's toes or annoy anybody. And I can't stop worrying about it until someone tells me that I don't need to.

I'm talking with my principal about taking a leadership role for part of the day next year. It's scary, but I want to do it. But he said not to talk about it with anyone. I haven't...except the dept chair...who already knew about the position and thought I should do it so I figured it was okay. But I got a call from him during class later that day and while waiting for him to come on the line, completely freaked out. He knows I talked to P. He's pissed. I won't be able to do the position anymore. Etc. Etc.

But really he wanted to ask me to talk to another teacher about something I had already talked to her about.

I wish I was liked husband who couldn't give two shits about what people think. He literally does not get embarrassed. (To a fault...). 

But I care a lot and it makes me anxious and it makes me not get work done which makes me feel guilty which makes me feel more anxious.

ETA: It was just a normal chat...just like the rational part of my brain thought. Stupid.

In other news, dinner last night was not the simplest affair. 3 spoons. Yogurt throughout the hair and eyes when I was fetching the 3rd spoon. Lots of food on the floor. And 3 mouthfuls of sand at the park. 1) after falling off a step...tears 2) shoveling it into his own mouth with his hand 3) going straight to the source, mouth to sand #raisingboys! (And I say that not because girls don't do these things, but because I sure didn't when I was little. Ick.)

ETA: I broke my own rules by meeting a friend and her son at the park yesterday. Just learned he left school puking. Now I'm terrible mother on top of the rest. (Called Grandpa who's with Dylan today and he's totally fine at the moment.) 

Monday, February 10, 2014

A New Post

I really want to write a blog post and I have a new goal to write at least once a week...but I have to grade 50 essays in the next 2 hours, so now is not the time.

Hopefully you will settle for this instead:

Up next...the fearsome "Bottle Weaning."