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Having a set surgery date helped me eliminate one uncertainty out of many that created lots of anxiety.  The surgery date was set for a week after coming home from my trip to Helsinki and Stockholm in May. 

When I found out about the confirmed diagnosis and planned surgery, I thought of cancelling the trip out of the irrational fear that I may keel over and die due to exhaustion in beautiful Stockholm next to the pier on a sunny spring day…. I mean, I have been living and travelling with this tumor for the last 5 years without dying, I know it is completely irrational to think that this trip would be any different.  My friend asked if I had ever regretted taking a trip.   I said no and she was right.

I was still working in February and I tried to distract myself from worrying excessively over many things that I cannot control by controlling things that I can such as planning my trip. Despite my efforts, I could not resist looking up articles on Transsphenoidal Surgery and recovery statistics. The more you know, the more you worry and I didn’t want to worry but I also couldn’t help it. Finally knowing what was wrong with me and having a plan to treat it was truly a blessing that I was grateful for. I did not expect the emotional stress creeping up on me to the point where I could not function at work anymore… I actually thought I could still work until my surgery date in June by taking a few days off here and there but the Universe had an other plan.

I went to my family doctor to have disability forms filled out in anticipation of being off work for more than 2 weeks after my surgery. My supervisor pulled me aside at work one day to tell me that she got a phone call from the manager whom got a phone call from the ability advisor notifying her that I am on medical leave. This literally came right after I had a meeting with my supervisor that morning planning the transfer of my clients and my leave of absence after June…. See what happens when I tried to plan? The date my family doctor filled out stating that I am unable to work was the date I saw her for a follow up appointment. So I should have been at home resting to prepare for surgery and not working. After some discussion, it was decided that I would finish the day and not return to work tomorrow. I felt like I was being fired and had to pack up my office by 4 pm. I was surprised and conflicted about it all while my friend at work was like “That’s awesome! You get to sleep in tomorrow, and the next day…and the day after…”.

Darwin loved that I was home keeping him company, giving him massages and taking him for walks.  I talked to my mom on the phone often while I paint and putter around the house.  After about a week of this, I quickly grew tired of being alone during the day with no humans around to tell me their problems.  This led me to look for studio space for creating art.  I came across Burnt Toast Studio and rented a space there to paint.  I had always wanted to have an art studio space…not because I don’t have enough space at home…well maybe I don’t.  My stuff occupies two small bedrooms, downstairs living room, basement and as Josh puts it my “creativity spills over” the dinning table as well.  Two months before my surgery, I developed a routine of driving up to the art studio at least a couple times a week during the day to paint – hoping that there would be other artists to chat with and make art.  However, it was not what I had envisioned.  The place was mostly empty when I am there during the day because people have day jobs….  I did make use of the space (I listened to hours and hours of podcast) and created a 48” x 48” painting that needed a van for transport.

#art #painting #memoir #amediting #yayoikusama #amwriting #story #personalblog

Planning Life

Josh and I have been trying to start a family the last four years.  We got married in 2014 and went on our honeymoon to Japan in 2015…  Shortly after our honeymoon we felt like we were in a good place in our lives to start taking on more responsibilities instead of being just a “DINK” – Dual Income No Kids.  Darwin, our French Bulldog also wanted to be a big brother so he could lick baby’s feet and nap with baby (he told me this with his big yearning yellow eyes…)  After a year of no luck, I went to my family doctor and was diagnosed with PCOS and subsequently referred to the fertility clinic.  That first year of trying to conceive on our own was so frustrating that led me to think about what else I want to do with my life instead of devoting all my time and effort in trying to be a mother. My revelation was to be Dora the Explorer!  These stories will be in a different post later.    

One of my favourite Woody Allen quotes: “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans”  Things didn’t go exactly according to plan the next three years of my life.

Being a nurse, and most of my nursing friends would concur that we are “Planners” We love to plan! Plan trips, parties, and life. We take comfort in calculated certainties in how things will go smoothly as long as it goes according to our carefully crafted care plans. And most of my nursing friends (if not all) would know that in reality…the above Woody Allen quote is most fitting in our life circumstances.

The fertility clinic gave me a plan to follow. Great. I love planning. I knew that having PCOS – the odds are stacked against me. I just have to beat the odds and how hard could it be to beat the odds when you are calculating how much sex you are having, when to have it and testing to see if Josh “hit the back of the net” as he calls it. And so I followed the plan…take some pills, eat a healthier diet, and minimize stress with activities that I enjoy. Well if you thought sex was one of them…you were wrong. It eventually became a chore when both of us continue to work full time (I was doing shift work and Josh was working 12 – 14 hour days running a company basically) We were exhausted. The first two trials of Clomid and carefully timed romantic intercourse with jazz music on Spotify and scented candles yield no return. Yet, I still thought to myself, third time’s the charm?

Third time was the charm. We found out I was 5 weeks pregnant and Josh was doing a hula “look I have a watermelon in my belly” dance. For some strange reason though, I was not as elated and actually had a terrible feeling of doom (I didn’t say this out loud though) Also, I had a trip planned to Oslo in 2 months! This was not in my plan! How am I going to travel on my own with morning sickness?? Josh called my traveling partner Princess Pea because by week 6 the size of the embryo would be a Pea. As it turns out, my intuition was right and I lost the pregnancy the following week just as I was starting to feel hopeful about my potential traveling Pea.

To be continued…

#nursing #memoir #nonfiction #lifestories #story

Unexplainable

I am one of those people that always have the “Parking Luck” – It would be Boxing Day or Black Friday at the busiest shopping mall in the city but somehow always manage to snag a good parking spot within 5 minutes of pulling in while other patrons have seemingly circled the parkade for hours. Josh used to be mad and then dumbfounded by my “Parking Luck” When he drives and I am in the passenger seat, our luck would be split. He would pull up near someone leaving but another person have JUST beat him to it coming from the other side or he would drive right by an open one and then someone behind him snagged it. When I drive and he is in the passenger seat, maybe it would take me an extra 5 minutes to get a parking spot on Christmas Eve at Superstore…

I always wondered where I earned this “Parking Luck” from… Why the Universe grant me this special power in life.

The day I had my surgery, Josh and my mom came home to grab a few things in the evening. When Josh walked in the house, an original Japanese woodblock print of two Shinto Samurais (gifted by my favourite psychiatrist at the clinic) that was hung on the wall for two weeks prior to my surgery had “flew off the wall” – Glass shattered to tiny pieces all over the living room floor. It also knocked off my Darwin painting below it but it was not damaged at all. The frame did not break but it landed far from the wall and the delicate print was intact and found out of the frame another feet away from it. My mom said Josh looked like he had just seen a ghost… They vacuumed up the shattered glass (which took a very long time) and Josh did not want to sleep at our home by himself that night so he went over to my parents for the night. Mom kinda teased him about being a “scaredy cat” – I can empathize with the reaction that Josh had because he had seen what my mom did not when I was a few hours post op and was throwing up blood through my nose and mouth looking like death and having to have a foley catheter put in on the unit because I could not get up to go to the bathroom. He probably never seen anyone that sick in his life.

Josh and my mom didn’t tell me this had happened (they did not know whether this was a bad omen or not because I had only came out of surgery) Not until I was discharged home the first time. Josh and I walked in the house and he froze and looked at the wall as he sat some stuff down on the kitchen table. I said “you look like you had just seen a ghost…what is it?” I had not noticed that the two pieces of art on my wall was not there anymore. That was when he told me what had happened. We kinda mulled over it for a little while over the Poltergeist phenomena and just chalked it up to it being a good omen instead because I am home now from the hospital (did not think that I would be returning to ER just 10 hours after)

When I started writing this part of the story, I looked at the print again (actually I had looked at it several times the last two days since I had been home) because it kept me curious… Josh had asked me what those two figures are. They are Shinto Samurais. Anybody have some understanding of Japanese culture and been to Japan may know that there are two kinds of places of worship in Japan. Buddhist temples and Shinto Shrines. Josh and I had been to both. Most recently in January before my tumor diagnosis. I prayed sincerely at both for good health for myself and my family. I think I have my answer of how and why that print had flew off the wall. The other piece of art left hanging on the wall is the self-portrait of me sitting in therapy with Darwin.

I don’t have a formal believe or declaration of a certain religion that I follow by any means. In fact, I am of the opinion that religion like Christianity is the biggest business driven conspiracy of all conspiracies…

What I do think is that the Universe work in mysterious ways (as cliche as that sounds) And that there are things that can be half explained and may not need to be fully understood but when you kind of get close to it, it is kind of mind-blowing… Like my mind is blown right now after writing this story.

One of my favourite Haruki Murakami quotes: “If you can’t understand it without an explanation, you can’t understand it with an explanation.”

To be continued…

#memoir #literature #nonfiction #supernatural #story #personalblog