Monday, April 29, 2013

The Days are Long, The Years are Short

Babies' lives are measured by weeks until there 3 or 4 months old.  Then the milestones are marked my months passed…. You can never NEVER say your child is “1”.  Because they’re not “1” – they are 14 or 17 or 22 months old.

But then. THEN. They turn 2. Their months become years and toddlers become little boys and they tiptoe (or crash into) bravery and independence.

Blink. Blink. Blink.

It passes sooooo fast.

Cam on his first birthday

Our first road trip and subsequent stop at a McDonald's playplace

Mom's favorite - first trip to the Science Center to see the Star Trek exhibit!

The afternoon after Cam's first ear tube surgery

Cam's first popsicle while I was celebrating my 30th in Hawai'i

And, his first haircut when we returned to the mainland!

Visiting the Red Rocks at the St. Louis Zoo

Pool stud.

Wouldn't ride a pony, but somehow, was convince to ride a camel!

Love the bounce house at his twin cousin's bday party

Little monkey for Halloween

Who's mama's favorite pumpkin?

Wearing red at Grandma Gigi's house to celebrate American Heart Month

Anyone see a future cardiologist?

Silly faces on mommy's iPhone

Indulging with (fake) donuts from Cam's play kitchen

Can you believe that this -

Turned into to this???

Me neither.  Can't wait to see what the next year brings :)

“Time does not really exist for mothers, with regard to their children. It does not matter greatly how old the child is-in the blink of an eye, a mother can see the child again as they were when they were born, when they learned how to walk, as they were at any age-at any time, even when the child is fully grown or a parent themselves.” ― Diana Gabaldon

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Next Step (Part II- A Gift of Time)

There are times at work when regular meetings are cancelled via email - when I am the one sending the cancellation, I often close the email with "I hope you enjoy the gift of time".  I know I appreciate getting the "extra" 30, 60, or 90 of time to redistribute as I please.  I enjoy tackling a nagging list or completing something early.  Some days, having the gift of time means getting to each lunch somewhere besides my desk (or getting to eat something for lunch that isn't the nuts and dried fruit I keep in my overhead cabinet); other times, it might mean leaving work on time and squeezing in some cardio at the gym before picking Cameron up from daycare.  Maximizing the gift of time feels like a tiny victory and I try to take this thrill where I can get it.

Two years.  Two years. Two years.

At the end of March, it was time for my spring cardiology appointment. Brian, who happened to be in town, texted me around lunchtime to tell me he was thinking about me. And offered to join me if I wanted him there.  I had not asked him to come to the last one (where I accidentally sobbed like a lunatic asking the doctor if he was TOTALLY SURE I shouldn’t get pregnant) so I immediately took him up on his offer.

My time with the doctor lasted about five minutes – if that.  He asked how I was feeling. I said I felt fine. He asked if I was experiencing any suspect symptoms – nothing new I said (in addition to a pretty low blood pressure as my norm, I occasionally feel some chest pain and goofy heart rhythms).  He gently asked how our quest for child #2 was shaping up – I responded we were planning to adopt.  

Since I am feeling good two years out, it means I don’t have to do a stress test this year (which is sort of scary) and that I’ll discontinue one of my medicines (which is also scary).  Brian was elated to hear this change.  I continue to feel suspicious and nervous.  The stress test/ultrasound gives me an opportunity to see that my heart is working (and that the damaged part isn’t getting worse). And, perhaps this is silly, but being on the meds are sort of like a security blanket. I’ll still be taking four pills a day

It has taken me two years to get used to this “new normal” – to really feel comfortable in it, to feel like I understand what it means in my life, to take the “second chance” and do something good with it. So I find it particularly unnerving that slowly, things feel like they’re going back to the “old normal”.  I don’t mean to sound ungrateful – It is thrilling to get kicked out of the doctor’s office because you’re not the interesting freak show anymore.  And given the statistics on SCAD, it’s a good sign to be in such a stable place (one more year and I’ll have passed the median length of time for a second occurrence).

Perhaps this will explain my feelings a bit clearer –

A few weeks ago, I met my professional mentor for breakfast.  It had been quite some time since we’d been able to meet and had much to discuss.  She asked me how I was – and I filled her in on Go Red and work and Cam/the future BGS. And then she said “But how are you… you know….. mentally?” I paused, thinking to myself “Well, she must not read my blog because I put my messy self out there pretty bluntly” 

I knew what she was asking.  For weeks, I’d driven past a billboard that included my picture – smiling in red – averting my eyes with the word “liar” ringing in my ears.  I am that happy face – I am a survivor and I am grateful to be able to smooch Brian and Cameron until there cheeks become rosy.  But I also think about death everyday. EVERY. DAY.  I get scared that, when Brian travels, something will happen to me and Cameron will get hurt and no one will know. I worry that I don’t wear my Road ID bracelet nearly enough.  I’m scared that even though I’m here, I still don’t have enough time. In the last two years, I feel like I have made so much physical progress but in many ways, I still feel like the disbelieving new mom sitting in the ICU. I hate that every spring, I can’t escape a tidal wave of bitterness over all this.


Life isn’t black and white.  You can be happy and sad. You can be a victim and a survivor. You can feel fulfilled and continue to search. You can look to the past and to the future and find the same answer to a question.  The journey can’t be rushed and neither can all of the feelings that need to be felt. 

"These things bring you to reality as to how fragile you are; at the same moment you are doing something that nobody else is able to do. The same moment that you are seen as the best, the fastest and somebody that cannot be touched, you are enormously fragile." - Ayrton Senna