Tuesday, November 29, 2005

bugger it; went ahead and posted my comment. OG may or may not take offense; she seems like a nice broadminded gel to me.

the current emotional challenge is getting through the time when baby #2 would have been due; and the commensurate rash of very pregnant women who are due around the time I would have been due. oh, and happy mastectomy anniversary to me.

plus I've got a better offer on redundancy from work; now it looks like I might actually take it, I'm a bit apprehensive about being a complete sahm with no visible means of support other than a husband.

what the guy who comes to clear up the garden occasionally just shouted to me from his car as I stood at my gate, for the whole street to hear: "say hello to your husband for me. and start with the next baby, OK?"

sigh. waddaya gonna do? educate everyone who comes your way about fertility etiquette? or just go "yes George", and walk back inside and try not to cry?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

walking home, he wants to stop and investigate something. I say "I'll explain fire hydrants later, right now we need to keep walking." honestly, sometimes it's like having a little alien in tow; everything needs explanation.

an image from a Paris playground: a kid around eight, in a kind of eggcup thing that spun around; he'd got his bum wedged so far down he was stuck with his legs and head and arms sticking up. the eggcup was so finely balanced that it kept on spinning way past when the kid would have liked to have stopped; I was about to go and help him when his mother appeared. he looked like he thought he'd be there forever.

and 22/11: an anniversary. of surgery, which is not good. but also, in theory, of the cancer being removed from my body permanently.

K has apologised, as have I. we will need to discuss it sometime, but for now we're being nice to each other.

Monday, November 21, 2005

slight rash is just that: a slight rash. friend has rung and left message this morning, and I'm hoping when I do ring back (today, but when I'm ready), she'll apologise, I'll be gracious and apologise too and it will all be OK again. am hoping that my latest System for writing lists will magically get all those annoying little tasks and calls under control and free up lots of time for important stuff, like A. and writing. so maybe things are looking up.

latest source of anxiety; a number of hard, raised spots that have suddenly appeared on my right hand (the side where the cancer was). I'm worried enough about it to go see my dr this morning, even though I have an appt with her in a week. just to ease my mind, if nothing else. I'm hoping it's just early skin cancer. really. that would be better...

something about A: he's happy. he's just a happy kid. he laughs. he greets strangers. he finds things amusing. he enjoys conversations with me. he gets excited when he sees a Wiggle or a dinosaur for the nth time. he blows kisses to my Dad like this: "Mwah!". I want him to stay that happy.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

with husbands it's different; you have to deal with them on a day to day basis, which can make arguments either worse, as no one has a chance to get perspective, or better, as you have to resolve your differences. what do you do with friends when you fight?

As expected, K was at the party tonight. we barely spoke to each other; she returned a toy I left in my hasty departure last week, and I gave her two job ad clippings I'd cut out for her. otherwise, nothing. A played with her, of course, as he has no idea what is going on; her daughter, who is at a very social age, seemed somewhat wary of me, which is a pity.then we both talked to other people. but I ended up next to her on the couch during the buffet dinner and I listened to what she was saying to the guy next to her and you know what? if I'm judgmental, so is she. and opinionated, and forthright. and these are things I have always known, and things that are part of her appeal to me. when she's annoyed me with those traits in the past, either by being intolerant or immoderate in her statements, or turning her judgment on me, I've rolled my eyes and thought "that's just K."

but seeing as she seems to have withdrawn the same kind of allowance from her relationship with me, I'm taking a good hard look, and not necessarily much liking what I see. She pushes me around; the other week I came home to find she was about to take A and the dog out for a walk just as I was about to serve up lunch (dh was going to let her, of course); tonight she told her daughter to take A out and play with him when I was having a difficult moment with him on the couch. I declined. she often crosses the line I'd prefer to set with my child for people who are not family. on one level it's nice that she is so involved with him; on another I resent her taking control of the level of that involvement. And in her opinionated, forthright way, she's pushed me around a bit, scoffed at my opinions, behaved insensitively (she was the one who came to my hospital room after my mastectomy and spent ten minutes complaining how much trouble she was having finding a dress that her big boobs looked good in for a formal function). yet she's my friend, a close confidant, has been for years. more complicated, she's a core part of a small, tight group of friends and would be hard to exclude from my life even if I wanted to.

so right now I've got a lot of things to talk about, what with dh's father being ill, my own recurrent depression - I think that's what it is - over the constant threat to my own life, and the pedestrian issue of my employer and the fight over the redundancy. recently I've talked her through a similar battle with her ex-employer, taken her kids for a night when her dad was ill and generally listened to her problems at great length. and I feel this is a time she should be there for me. instead, it seems she's not interested in seeking me out to apologise or even discuss the events of the other night - whether she's snubbing me or simply dismissing it as an issue (the later is quite possible, she's a confrontational type and may not realise what a big deal it is) is hard to know. of course she doesn't know about FIL or the latest on the work thing. because she's not speaking to me. sigh. it's late, I've come home from the party relatively early because A wouldn't sleep there, I have a busy day tomorrow and right now I feel somewhat sad and alone. I guess I'll just focus on my other friends and let this ride for a while. I have some pride invested in it, and don't have the energy to fight a battle of any kind on a new front right now. (getting on better with dh this week, even before he went away, as part of a conscious decision after last week's fights. also the way K blew up at me made me think: am I like that to dh? do I attack that hard? maybe I should be nicer...)

so despite dh being in Sydney and there being no one to see us do it, we did the music school concert. most of my mothers' group boycotted it because of the bustling woman who runs the business and the way she spoke to us like kindergarten kids in class. (the regular teacher is a sweet young thing who calls the kids "friends" all the time and would never bustle us. we're way older and tougher than her). I had almost decided not to go myself, despite having bought a ticket, but A woke up in the middle of the night for a drink of milk and a read of his Wiggles book (the kid is seriously obsessed), with the result that he slept in and there was no call for a midmorning nap.

so off we went, to a chapel at the university, where maybe twenty or so families with dressed-up little kids had dragged themselves. there were three concerts scheduled for this morning, one after the other; being the littlest, A's group was on first. only four kids, including A, had turned up from that level. the mothers got up on stage with the kids (apart from one little girl who performed perfectly alone until she broke down in tears after the second number) and helped them wave their streamers, shake their rattles and play peekaboo with scarves over their heads. all seriously daggy. I found a nice woman in the audience who took photos for dh to look at later; she took it v. seriously, getting down on the floor at different angles like a newspaper photographer. then we stayed, of course, for the other kids' performances; a couple of class choruses and a couple of solos, including one 7-8 year old who just had a feel for her violin, you could tell.

talking to the mother of another bub's class kid, I admired her son's hair and said I wished A would grow some. her husband, who had a close-shaved head, said "being hairless isn't that bad really" and I laughed, wishing things weren't so complicated in life and that I could just say "yeah, I did a bit of baldness earlier this year myself: chemotherapy" without it being a social faux pas. ah well. same as when I ran into a neighbour a few days back. she said "you've cut your hair" and I said "yes, a bit of a change is good". which is the definition of a white lie, imho.

then A and I went down Lygon St to spend money on a cake for a friend's birthday tonight and have a spot of brunch together. he's not a great conversationalist, but he's OK company really. and his restaurant manners are great for a two year old if I say so myself.

said birthday dinner is going to be interesting; I'm taking A as it was short notice and I'm not really up for a late night anyway. and when I'm there, I'm sure to see my friend K, who I suppose I'm currently not speaking to. I visited her this week and when I allowed my lack of enthusiasm for the source of her new kitten (a pet shop, ie a kitten farm) to show just a tiny bit, she blew up at me, called me judgemental and generally attacked me, in front of her daughter and A. I was really shocked by the tone of it all and just left; to say anything would probably have been the end of our friendship. we've known each other 20 years and only had one previous falling out, at a time when we were too much in each other's pockets, but never nastiness like this.

(at this point of course my PC crashed and I moved to the Mac to try to rewrite the following pars).

meanwhile, my employer is offering me about a quarter of the redundancy payment I should be entitled to, because they say I've "returned" at one day a week, not four, whereas I say I'm still on maternity/sick leave for the other three days and their current offer (which isn't an offer but an estimate; no guarantee I'll get made redundant anyway) is discriminatory. fortunately in August when I went back I made sure the letter I got specified I still had a right to 30.4 hours a week, in case I needed to work more hours; now that letter might be worth $25,000 for me. always get it in writing, kids. but there has been no response from the higherups on my claim yet. I was pleased, though, to talk on the phone to a union organiser who used words like "outrageous" and "fight tooth and nail" and "comrades". he reminded me of my ex, who used to do exactly that job for exactly my employer. I'm glad there are still people with such passion for right in this country. and I'm glad one is on my side. if he gets me my full payout, he'll be getting some truly excellent wine for xmas.

so a bit of a stressful week all round. FIL's operation went OK, but no pathology results until the middle of next week. from my brief surf on bowel cancer, he's got about the same odds as me. not great. and as a couple of people have said, poor (my dh). two loved ones inside a year. not fair at all. but who said it's fair? it just is.

one reason I haven't blogged much is that long posts like this are best written just after I wake up from naptime but just before A does, and I've been using that time to write. after nearly a year I have 20-30 little stories and heaps of poems and one very pedestrian novel. a few have been published and I have sniffs of further publication. but it's slow going. I don't know if going back to uni and taking creative writing subjects will help or hinder me. it all takes up time. but it would certainly be a socially acceptable cover for my sneaky little habit.

ah well. haven't done the blog rounds lately, but I know I'm doing better than some. must never forget: every day in remission is an extra day I get to tell my son I love him.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

treatment news

no time to blog right now; things are getting on top of me with work/household etc. especially the etcetera: dh's father has just been diagnosed with bowel cancer and is having surgery later this week. no news yet on lymph glands and so on, though at least his CAT scan was clear. MIL very fragile and in need of support; dh will go up to Sydney for a few days and who knows what follows. turmoil...

Sunday, November 13, 2005

second birthday report: it was a mixture of admiration of my beautiful boy and angst about the anniversary of my diagnosis, which of course the birthday bbq preparations brought back to me in living colour. dh failed to either note the anniversary (though I'd mentioned it a few days before) or to offer anything in the way of thanks for his son or the extensive work I was doing on the birthday party (he "helped" by blowing up balloons and cleaning a bbq: I shopped in three runs, invited everyone, planned proceedings, made and iced a cake, put out food, made salads and gave myself a migraine in the process). so naturally we had a fight just before everyone arrived, I failed to catch my mini-nap and spent the party in a semi fog of skull pain, pouring drinks. he reacts to any criticism in such a full on way, cutting me off, but I feel I'm justified to some extent. plus we had to have the why-are-you-looking-at-net-porn-but-avoiding-being-sexual-with-your-wife conversation. I guess it's all too hard for him; I just don't have a lot to give, emotionally, these days. feeling bruised and like he should be the one to swallow his pride...

anyway. A now says "birthday cake" whenever a birthday is mentioned. he loves his trike, but he loved the balloons just as much. he loved his presents but his favourite thing is some Wiggles wrapping paper. He can name all four of them now; can't name his colours but he can name the Wiggles. sigh. at least it's not McDonald's. He's talking so much more; says "mummy do it" when things defeat him, "mine!" quite a lot, "no bath/home/whatever he doesn't want", "A drive car" when he wants to drive, and can name lots of people. he wore a short-sleeved red Chinese pyjama suit with silver dragons embroidered on the front for his birthday. well, if you can't dress up on your birthday, when can you?

Friday, November 04, 2005

blubbering self-pity dept: yesterday morning I had the dr checkup; all fine, ultrasound, mammogram and manual check. yippee. four months and counting. next checkup; feb.

however...I asked for my referral to a plastic surgeon. time to get fixed up, as far as possible. when I rang the surgeon's rooms, I was basically told that a) I couldn't get an apptment until February next year and b) the surgeon only does one! of the kind of surgery I'll need (trans flap, it's called, involving two surgeons; one to remove fat from another part of my body, another to turn it into a "breast") a month, and by Feb, the March and April slots may well be taken up. I turn 40 in May. I had my heart set on getting myself looking normal and getting rid of this rubber object in my bra by then. so much so that I found myself crying big hot silent tears while I talked to the surgeon's receptionist.

after that call, I called my dr's rooms and asked if there was anyone else I could see, and went to bed for the afternoon nap in tears. I hadn't realised how much it's got to me, losing a breast, my hair, my fertility. I felt ruined, frankly.

when I got up there was a message from the dr's rooms saying they'd talked to the plastic surgeon and she would see me before xmas if I'd drive across town to see her. Of course I would. so I feel much better. I know whatever they do won't be perfect, and that I still have to wait months, but at least there is a prospect of it happening.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

back from Paris; happy to be home in the spring (hot enough for summer right now), missing the well-dressed bebes and not missing all the cigarette smoking. A is taking his sweet time adjusting; every night we wake up and get him up for a meal, partly because I was sleeping in too to start with and too wimpy to get him up at 8am every day to force him to adjust.

flight back pretty horrible. got onto the first flight (paris-singapore, 12.5 hours, starting at 12.30 in the afternoon) and almost immediately realised our presence was not welcomed by a well-dressed frenchman (pressed pinstripe shirt, cufflinks) on the window seat across the aisle. even when A was just happily eating dinner and so on we got dirty looks. then at the first round of crying, a "sshhh". later, when the baby was complaining but not actually yelling, another dirty look and a shake of the head. then, finally, at around 10 pm (everyone was trying to sleep as we were flying into morning in Singapore, A lost it again. I climbed into his seat with him (you'll recall we were in business class and A had his own seat), and held his very noisy body right up against my tired self, trying to calm him/muffle the sound. dh came over from the seat behind to try to help. then the frenchman again: "sshhh". at which, like any sane woman, Ilost it. the whole plane was awake anyway (yes I felt awful about that, I was doing everything I could to shut A up), so I pretty much shouted at him to shut up. he said something rude in French, probably something dumb like "your stupid baby is keeping everyone awake". at which I said something loudly, fast and angrily along these lines: "I'm doing everything I can, you're not helping by shushing me, it's only making me more tense and that's upsetting the baby." dh also told him to leave me alone. through this, he pretended he couldn't hear me (he was reading a book in English, so could understand me fine) and the Indian IBM employee seated on the aisle between us didn't know which way to look. I finished with "you rude individual", knowing that profanity/violence are not a good idea when you're sitting three rows from the cockpit flying into singapore. just after that I remembered the "quiet book", an activity book a friend had loaned me and voila! quiet if not sleeping baby. from then on Mr Welldressed Rudebottom ignored me and I glared at him. I wanted to say more, but restrained myself. I still feel he should have been punished more for such stupidity and intolerance, but at least I said something.

haven't blogged much at all of Paris. for A, it was a series of tired museum visits interspersed with fun at French entertainments for kids, like a puppet show in the Luxembourg gardens and various playgrounds. and of course, lots of "cake" (croissants)

and now I am back I have a million things to do; Christmas is already looming, friends have been neglected and I have the dreaded u/s, mammogram, dr visit trifecta underway. the first two were monday; all seemed OK, but I need the full report from the dr tomorrow morning. this is not something you have then don't have. it's something you have then might have, on and on.

A came back to a birthday party for two of his friends; everyone in the park with their kids. it reminded me why I love living here. he's talking heaps more, has a great sense of his own place and desires, and I laugh at him making raspberry sounds in his high chair, that little future master of the universe who one day will be Big and wear a suit, but for now is a baby thing, and all mine.

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