Tuesday, August 29, 2006

how good a mother am I? no, really, how good am I?

even though A woke me FOUR TIMES last night wanting water (a ruse, of course). even though he did this while I was battling a 39 degree temperature (those antibiotics may or may not be working). even though he did this the night before the last day I have to finish a major uni assignment, I still saved his life. how? by attaching a toilet lock (essentially a sticky childproof strap) to the large, heavy timber toychest in his room. while he was bouncing around at whatever-bloody-time-am this morning, I had a horrible vision of him opening the lid, not being able to push it fully upright, and having it fall on his delicate little neck. so today, after bending a key in the old lock so it's stuck there forever (an essential part of the process, I assure you), I got the toilet lock out and stuck it on. now he won't be able to open it. and so it won't fall on him. even though I feel like sh*t after last night's shenanigans.

see? good mother. it's a pretty low baseline these days...

Sunday, August 27, 2006

bad news: I have a temperature and a way sore "breast". couldn't reach the surgeon, but luckily I'm friends with the wife of an oncologist who locums for my oncologist and lives literally around the corner, and so I was spared a visit to the crappy 24-hour medical service or Emergency. I feel rotten but I now have antibiotics. due to see the plastic surgeon tomorrow.

good news (on the writing front): one of my stories has been selected for a national "best of" collection. can't say much more in case I blow my cover. but v.v.v.pleased, as BJ would say.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

if you wanted a demonstration of the pure looniness of my life, and the difficulties I have being a Person as well as a Mother, you couldn't do better than this afternoon, when I opened an email telling me I'd won a writing competition I entered. A. had been getting into the toilet training today, and chose that very moment to inform me he'd just pooed in his special "reward" Wiggles undies. unlike a nappy poo, an undies poo can't be left for a second. so I dealt with the matter and raced back to the PC Apple! to try to find the citation on the awarding organisation's Web site (no, they didn't email it to me). A. then decided he needed "Wiggles on the 'puter" immediately. of course the second computer wasn't working. so I surfed between the multicoloured four and the awards site, desperately trying to find the nice things the judge said about my story, and whether there was a prize (there was: $400. nice. not as much as I've spent entering competitions in the last two years, but nice.

meanwhile, another comp decided not to give me a prize, but to ask if they could use a story in their anthology. I said yes, reluctantly; it's quite a good story and I'd prefer it went into a frankly better mag that I also submitted it too. but I figure if the one I like better takes it, they don't have to know about the small suburban publication. which is why this blog is here, not on my writing site...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

things are a bit knife-edged around here at the moment: dh is copping a lot, but sometimes I think he deserves it - what he'll have to do to really be forgiven for letting things got as they got in Hong Kong, and the consequences, with which I live every minute, I don't know. I guess I'll never really be over it, particularly while he says he can't cope with me not being over it. if I don't die, if this *&^$ reconstruction ever gets finished, if I get another baby, then, maybe. but there's also the effects of chemo - I still get very tired sometimes - and I don't know if what I've done with my career (ie, trashing it in order to Write) is a good idea or self-delusion, cowardice. so of course the conflict between his work and my attempts at having a life is a little hotter than your average argument over who should take out the garbage.

the suture line still hasn't healed and may never: pretty soon I'll have to decide between no breast and chopping up other parts of my body to create one; meanwhile it's been four months since I was free to exercise properly. A is sleeping less so I've got less writing done. all of which has led to me being quite volatile and fairly unhappy, which of course A picks up on. the last couple of weeks he's been getting clingy at childcare when I try to leave. this morning it took half an hour and in the end I left him crying, which I've never done before. but all I could think about was how time to get on with my (possibly futile) writing was slipping away. in other words, of my needs over his.

I'm going to get the dh to drop A. off at childcare on Friday; I can't stand doing that twice in one week.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

one hell of a birth story from ovagirl (in terms of its writing, I mean)

and hell post-Beta for Mrs Negative

I really should get out on the blogosphere more instead of pining about here feeling sorry for myself.

14 August 2003: three months shy of his third birthday, he told his first lie.

We were in his bedroom, playing "monsters in the dark" (in which Mummy screams and A. is a scary monster). then I read him a book. then, while I was getting his clothes out, he threw a book across the bed. I said "did you throw that book?". He shook his head, no. First I started to say "you did", then I realised what had happened. he had lied. so like any mother I said "don't lie to me", and then made him apologise to the book, which is presumably what the lie was designed to avoid. I'm so proud. his first lie. another step on the road to an understanding of himself as a separate little human, whose view of the world may not be the same as everyone else's.

I should have seen it coming: a few days ago we started to play "true" and "false" - he is only just getting the concept, but once he has it, the lies - transparent baby lies to start with - will no doubt come thick and fast.

surgery report: the little gap in the wound is still letting out a bit of fluid, but it seems to be slowing a bit, and I'm feeling a bit more hopeful that I'll get to keep the expander in. if it does heal up, it'll be MONTHS before I let the surgeon expand the skin; first because I really want to get my life back (swimming, riding, etc, etc) and second because the longer we leave it, the longer the skin has to recover and therefore the better chance it will cope with the next expansion. the "breast" is a slightly funny shape - very hard and rounded at the top instead of droopy - but the main point for me is that little crescent of skin that shows with any but the highest-cut summer shirts. I can live without a nipple for another year.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

like my mother never said: if you haven't got anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. hence my recent silence.

lessee...there were two days when the skin over my expander didn't leak, but now it's breaking down again. dh has no idea; he wants to help, but then forgets about it, or ignores housework that I then do; and I'm finding that even if I don't use my arm much, getting tired seems to affect it. I'm terrified that I'll get an infection, or have to have it taken out - no I haven't seen my dr, I don't expect much joy there - and meanwhile the beautiful weather seems sent to remind me that I can't swim or ride. dh said this morning: "why don't you just go for a walk" and I just burst into tears. he has no idea. oh, I've already said that. there is no comparison between walking, which is what I do all the time with A. anyway, and pushing my bike around Kew Boulevarde under the gum trees just after dawn, or swimming 20 laps at sunset in soothingly cool water. and every day this leaking continues is a day further from recovery. going for a trans-type surgery won't fix it either; there's no guarantee those will work either. the only sure way to get my life back is to take it out and have no right breast. and that isn't exactly going to help my mental health either.

I looked up reconstructions on the web and found a discussion board where the women were talking about the considerable pain the expanders cause, which is certainly what I experienced two weeks ago; I wonder if the surgeons really realise what pain means, what it does to someone's life. they seem generally to take a "just get through it" attitude.

meanwhile, one of A's little friends has been diagnosed as epileptic. which could mean anything, really, and of course I'm not going to quiz his mother on the details. she probably doesn't know herself. just that it's not good. he's a lovely sweet kid and I'm desperately sorry for them. that's one thing I should remember: at least A. is OK.

sometimes when I'm with my mother's group friends or visiting their kids in hospital, I have a feeling that behind my real liking for them and concern is an ulterior motive: if I die, A. will need a close peer group and support network all the more. and dh, while he probably won't let harm come to A, and can pay for care, has no idea (yes, I've said that); at lunch the other day he drank his whole juice without thinking of sharing with A, who was next to him. of course I ended up giving A some of mine. it's not about the juice, it's the mindset. he exists in a solo world, where he doesn't automatically stop and consider A - or me - each time he chooses to do something. which is what happened in Hong Kong. I got quite upset this morning, reminding him that just taking one day off work then and taking me to a doctor - I really was too tired and sick too get it together myself, I can see in retrospect - would have avoided all this, the mastectomy, the chemo...

fuck. I just want my life back. I just want to be able to hug my son without risking major surgery (the expander is that fragile). I just want to be able to ride and swim and sleep at night.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

this morning A was reading the paper and he said "Spiderman, Mummy, come and look." so I did, expecting some big movie ad or product feature; all there was was a tiny, tiny logo on the shirt of a kid in a photo of about ten kids. he had zeroed in on it. I've never mentioned Spiderman or given him Spiderman stuff - it's way too old and brand-y. but he's picked it up at childcare. I guess we'll buy him a Spiderman thing - T-shirt or PJs - at the market tomorrow.

tonight DH was out so I took A. into the city to go to a bookshop and we stayed to eat - I felt so nervous in the rush hour crowds, clutching his tiny hand with traffic everywhere. they're so small, so easy to lose.

plus I was a bit fragile myself; the reconstruction wound has opened up AGAIN after the "inflation" and I'm on infection watch. I basically can't use my right arm again. I'll need to wait months before we can do another inflation, and my original (not the plastic surgeon) surgeon suggested yesterday that it might not work at all. I just can't have that. I don't want to cut up the rest of my body and do skin grafts - let alone waste all the effort so far - but I don't want to go back to the removable rubber tit either. anyway, it's oozing a little (I know, tmi) and I'm being supercareful. I've put myself on a diet because not exercising is making me fat and that's even more depressing.

oh, and the surgeon agreed that yes, the glands in my left armpit are still up. but there's nothing "pathological" about it. not yet. Oncologist in September, mammogram/ultrasound in October, surgeon again in January - it just goes on and on.

A. is asleep and I'm on the web and mashing up stories for my zine. single parenthood isn't so bad, if you can afford to buy dinner, and if it's only for one night so you can skip the bath (like I said, my right arm doesn't work and it's all too hard.) early night, here I come.

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