Thxgiving, Kids, Cancer, Love, and I

Thanksgiving has come and gone. It was, as usual, pretty uneventful. Mothership and I ate some shrimp, saw Bohemian Rhapsody, and watched Eli Roth’s History of Horror. No, I did nothing with the boyfriend this year. We agreed that next year we’d try to weave each other into our holiday plans. We’ve only been together since August, you know. Three months does not justify holiday chaos. He agreed.

Chris took Addi up to her mom’s, and he spent Thanksgiving with them. People make weird faces when I say that he spent Thanksgiving with his ex, her family, and her boyfriend and his kids, but personally I find it nice that they get along and can spend holidays together for the sake of Addi. They might be exes but if they can stay friends Addi’s family won’t have broken up, it will have just gotten bigger. I wish that for them all.

I took some time off before Thanksgiving and spent some time with Chris and Addi. We took her to Mile High Comics, the big one in bumfuk nowhere, and while it wasn’t ALL pleasant, I think it was productive. You see, I’m still figuring out how to interact with Addi. I’ve seen how other interact with her, and kids her age, and I think it’s dumb. So, when we picked her up from school and she was in a mood… I mocked her whining, which made her cry and pout. Chris was fine with this. We let her cool off and she wanted Waffle House. We weren’t sure how to get to Waffle House on the way to the comic store, and she wanted to throw a fit about it…

Let it be known that I am not a parent. I would never tell someone how to raise a kid, because I don’t know how to raise a kid.

That being said, I was NOT fucking having it, for reasons I’ll get to.
I spun around in the seat and told her to stop. I didn’t yell. I didn’t threaten. I didn’t even tell her that if she didn’t stop that she wouldn’t get what she wanted. I just told her to stop, since we were TRYING TO DO SOMETHING FUN FOR HER, and that if she wanted to make pouty faces she could do it while looking down because I didn’t want to see it.

And you know what? She stopped.

We went to Waffle House and she was fine. We went to the comic shop and she was fine. We went to 2nd & Charles and she was fine. Any time she tried to make that high pitched whining noise I just said, “Hey, we talked about that noise.” She was great the rest of the day, for a 5 year old. It’s like no one had told her to stop before. It was crazy. We didn’t find any comics for her, but at 2nd & Charles I bought her the three Five Nights at Freddy’s novels. My hope was that since she wants someone to read them to her, maybe she’ll want to read.

The next night we went to dinner with Chris’ mom and Addi. I don’t like eating with Addi because the adults in her life have made food “a thing.” As a former (current) person with an eating disorder, I dislike when people make food “a thing.” So we’re at this restaurant and they get an appetizer and they expect her to eat some. They get a salad and they expect her to eat some. Then her food comes, and she’s five, and she’s not hungry because she had appetizer and salad. Your stomach is the size of your fist… she’s five: she’s got a small fist. You can’t expect her to eat a ton. Not all kids do. So, she’s fidgety and she drops her drink, and Chris wants to get mad, and I just couldn’t help it… I told him to calm down. He did. There was no scene, no reprimands, and no tears.

So they were trying to get her to eat, but then they went to get desserts. While they were gone I talked to Addi. I asked if she knew how to twirl her spaghetti. She was excited to show me, especially when I attempted to do it with penne (which you can’t, obvi). Then I was like, wow, that’s so much food…. you can’t really fit that in your mouth can you? Of course she could, and she was excited to show me that, too. She was bored! It was obvious. I get the feeling she doesn’t get treated like a part of the group very often… I’m going to work on that with her.

When we got back to their place Addi was excited to show me her room and how clean it was. Then she was excited for me to read Five Nights at Freddy’s to her. It was adorable. I had a coughing fit and Chris had to take over. Aside from that Addi asked when she can meet my monsters (dogs) and I told her it depended. She would have to prove to me that she won’t make that high pitched whining noise, because Kira hasn’t been around kids and I dunno what she’ll do with that. I don’t want Addi to get hurt. She said she’d work on not doing that.

I call the weekend a win, overall. I don’t think I interact with kids the way other people interact with kids, though. I kind of just treat them like adults… but also account for age. She’s 5, she’s not an idiot. She has thoughts and opinions and social needs. She can be reasoned with and explained to if you take the time. I’m working on showing Chris how I would interact with his kid. A, I want him to know in case I need to babysit, but 2, my big thing is not to make stuff “things.” We got pizza one night and she wanted to throw a fit over mushrooms… I literally snapped my fingers at her and went, “Hey… just pick them off. Pick your battles, kid.” And she did and things were fine. I’m no expert on kids, but I do think that the less “things” in kids’ lives, the more adjusted they’ll grow up to be.

The reason I finally snapped at Addi, by the way, is because just a little while before we picked her up from school, I got a phone call informing me that my cervical biopsy revealed per-cancerous cells. They wanted to do a LEEP procedure, which entails essentially carving out the part of my cervix that has the cells. It sounds painful because it will be. I lost it. I started crying at this woman on the phone about how my reproductive system has been trying to kill me since I was 12, and how I refuse to have to do this every single year for the rest of my life when the cervical biopsy hurt so much already, and the dysphoria about the whole thing…

I got lucky the woman I was talking to was someone who had a hysterectomy already. She was very kind. She ran off to NP Slaughter and consulted with her, and NP Slaughter, refreshed on my history, decided I should have a consult with a doctor. We postponed the LEEP procedure until after my consult with a doctor, who will discuss all my options, including a preventative hysterectomy. I will probably still have to have a LEEP, to see what’s in my uterus and determine how best to remove it, just in case it’s something that could break up and spread to the inside of my abdomen. I’m not thrilled.

I spent a lot of time on the phone with my mom crying about it all, and trying to deal with how scared and anxious I am over it…. but the consult is in late December, so I chose to put off worrying until then. I just pushed it down into a little ball that will probably give me cancer… hopefully not new cancer, though. Let’s stick to organs I can remove.

I thought I pushed it down, anyways. I put it out of my mind as much as I can. Aside from snapping back at Addi, though… I’ve had… symptoms of stress. My lips are raw meat from chewing on them. My picking habit is out of control. I’m binging or not eating at all. Little things can get under my skin and throw me into a completely inappropriate rage. I pushed it down, but the anxiety isn’t gone. I probably think about it several times a day… and just try not to acknowledge it. So today I bit the metaphorical bullet and scheduled a talk therapy session.

It’s so hard to pry apart what’s being caused by new medications and what’s just a response to stress… I thought if I could get in with someone now, I could be sure to have an appointment lined up after my consult… cuz no matter what, that’s gonna be a bad time. So… working on that self care, I guess.

Chris has been really great about this whole cervical cancer thing, too. He doesn’t “get it” but he’s there if I need him. That’s really all you can ask for.

In unrelated, happier news, I played matchmaker and found someone a match. A month ago I hooked up Chris’ friend Rob with my friend Amber. I dunno Amber well, but she’s awkward and best friends with Robot Boy, so I guessed she might like Rob. Holy hell was I correct. They are attached to each other like crazy glue. She started by spending four days there, only coming up for air when she had to go to work. She did Thanksgiving with his family. They’re thinking about moving her in. I mean, I thought Chris and I moved fast, but damn. Still, I’m happy for them and I’m happy that I brought them together.

Their speed kind of made me question where Chris and I are… but it’s two very different scenarios. Chris and I are happy. Rob and Amber are happy. They don’t have to be the same happiness to be happiness. Chris and I have things to consider that Rob and Amber don’t. Kids, finances, wives… but we’re fine where we are. Conversely, I always think Bird and her man should be “farther along” since they’ve dated on and off for like 10 years, but they’re not. And they’re happy. So… why argue with that?

Speaking of Bird, this past weekend we went to a concert for Spiral Cell and Nordic Daughter, followed by playing Mario Party at my house. It was a blast! I lost so hard… but it was so much fun. The next night I made Chris dinner and we watched comedy specials. It was really nice. I loved our weekend. I love us. I love being happy. I do not love that he takes his steak medium, though… I’m a rare girl, and I’ve never cooked a medium steak… so I totally ended up with well done… but the potatoes and asparagus were good. Lol.

Anyways. That’s all for me. And really… that’s enough.

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My Colposcopy With NP Slaughter

So back in October, I went in for a well woman exam, because I promised my doctor that I would do it. I hate well woman exams. I find them gross and somehow degrading. Plus, historically I’m always face to face with some nurse that insists she need to know the total number of people I’ve slept with ever, which is an answer I cannot provide. Kaiser doesn’t seem to care who I have slept with, though. I dunno how I feel about that, really… cuz they should care a LITTLE… but I digress. I hate well woman exams for a number of reasons, but the top reason I hate well woman exams is because I always, ALWAYS, bounce the pap smear.

Now, if you’re unfamiliar with a pap smear, lemme give you the quick and dirty summary of events. They jam a spreader (speculum) in you, which my doc says they can’t use lube with because it taints the specimen, and crank your vag open, and then they use this brush to scrape cells off the cervix and put it in a vial, and then some lab technician looks at it to see if your cells look normal or fucked up. If they’re fucked up, you might have cancer. Now, that might not sound super awful to you, either because you don’t have a cervix or because your pap has never hurt you, but for some of us this feels like someone took tweezers, grabbed some tissue inside our lower abdomen and tore it off like a piece of monkey bread. So… never really enjoyed the process. 

I’ve been getting pap smears since I was 12, because my reproductive organs have been trying to kill me since I was 12. Doctors are always horrified to hear this, since they don’t recommend paps until you’re 21 these days, but when you have fucked up organs you have fucked up organs, man. This means I know the drill. I know I’m going to fail. I know they’re going to repap. I know I’m going to get a coloscopy after that. It’s how it’s been for the better part of the past 18 years of my life, except the 3 years I took off because I was god damn sick of it. So, I wasn’t surprised when I bounced my pap. I was surprised we jumped straight to the colposcopy, though. 

So today was my colposcopy, but yesterday I freaked out about it. Why? Because we’re dealing with the C-word… not cunt… well… kind of cunt… but Cancer. I meant cancer. You see, everyone in my (maternal) family gets cancer. My grandma. My grandad. My great aunt. My cousins. My great grandparents. Just everyone. We’re all gonna get cancer. So I was freaking out yesterday because I don’t want to get cancer and die. Last time someone told me they thought I had cancer I freaked out for a whole weekend and cleaned my whole house and started dividing up my things to leave to people… like I was just prepping to die in the next month. It was insanity. You’d think I’d develop a coping mechanism. You would be correct.

When I freak out about something that makes me think I might die, I do this thing where I obsess over something completely unrelated, and set in the future. Yesterday I decided I wanted to buy a new house. I’m not in a position to buy a new house, but that’s what I decided to obsess over so I didn’t have to think about dying. I picked the house (the Polygon is up for sale still) and started trying to figure out how I’d buy it and who I could move in with me. So I was running numbers and figuring the best rate we could maybe get on Mom’s credit, since mine is still low, and asking Chris if he’d wanna move in (which was the point when someone should have asked if I felt okay). And then the crying started. I just couldn’t get far enough into this obsession to block out the idea that I was going to have someone tell me if I had cancer or not….

Joke’s on me, cuz I still don’t know.

So after a terrible day and evening of freaking the fuck out over this procedure, I go from denial to angry numbness. I was just mad when I woke up this morning. I got up and I just didn’t care. I dared god to give me cancer because I am just sick of dealing with this infinite problem hanging over my head. Chris made sure he was up in time for me to panic text him through my appointment… and that’s what I did. I snapped him through the rude reception nurse and the nurse assistant taking my vitals and the long wait in the waiting room because they were behind. It was all nonsense, and being numb I wasn’t even scared anymore. I was just angry this was eating up my day… but I don’t know what would have distracted me without him. 

The BucketEven when they took me back to the procedure room, I had a good fifteen minutes to dick around before I had to strip from the waist down or anyone came in. Now, I’m an adult, and I know you shouldn’t dick around with medical equipment… but I whipped out my Snapchat and took snaps of me investigating EVERYTHING including a suspicious bucket that I could not devise the purpose of. I always marvel at how in spite of our medical progress an examination room and its equipment still looks like the American government could dissect and analyze an alien there. 

When NP Slaughter (my nurse practitioner was named Slaughter… classic) came in, I was ready and looked very calm, even though on the inside I was burning with unbridled, frenzied rage, the likes of which I don’t even have a word for. Like, I was so irate that I was giggly. You ever been so angry you laugh? You ever been so angry at GOD and your cervix that you laugh? I have. Anyways, NP Slaughter, brought the vitals nurse to assist, as well as a Czech NP from another department who was learning how things are done in Gynecology. (I know she was Czech because we were talking about schools at one point and she went, “I went to communist Czech school…”) She went over what would happen, and who was in the room. I’d done a colposcopy before, so I wasn’t that concerned. 

A colposcopy is a lot like a pap smear, in the sense that someone is going to jam a speculum into your vag and crank you open. I mean, if you’ve been cranked open once, you’ve been cranked open a million times. Where it differs is that instead of taking tissue samples, they coat the cervix in vinegar and iodine and then stare deep into your cervix to see what it tells them. Why? Because cancer cells absorb vinegar faster than normal cells. The iodine helps you see what’s going on, as well as sterilizing the area. So, they swab me up, and NP Slaughter is staring deep into my womb, when NP Slaughter, the nicest NP I’ve ever met in my life, asks if the Czech NP can view my cervix for educational purposes. I agreed on the grounds that I could take a snap of all of them peering into my vagina. They thought I was kidding, but I definitely took and have that picture.

I used Snapchat to distract me from most of the procedure. I have a deep set cervix and a narrow pelvic bone opening… Meaning getting the speculum jammed that deep in there hurts, and cranking me open hurts. The whole fucking thing hurts. They do their best, but you can’t really prevent most of it. So they’re looking around and identify the probably problem area, and that’s when something happened that’s never happened to me in a colposcopy before. She took biopsies. I know that in reality it was like a 10 minute procedure, but it felt like she was in there digging out tissue forever. It hurt. It felt like I was being stabbed deep inside myself. It’s a Lovecraftian kind of pain; I would not have flinched if suddenly a door to another dimension had opened inside me and I was swallowed up into eternal pain or something. 

In the past, my doctor has looked at my cervix and told me I’m fine before sending me on my way. This time I was told we’ll know if I have cancer in 5-7 days and sent on my way in pain. I was told that I’d probably bleed from the biopsy for about 7 days, and that the stuff they use to help stop the bleeding was also gonna come out and look like coffee grounds. It was revolting to hear… later it would be worse to see…  I made it to my car before I broke down crying in pain. I called my mom and told her about the biopsy and how much it hurt. She said to take my time coming back to work, maybe get lunch, but I just didn’t even feel like playing hookie for a few hours to recoup. I made it back to work, but as the pain increased I realized I couldn’t stay at work. It was too painful. So, since I drove both mothership and I to work… I called Chris.

This man, my suspiciously supportive, thoughtful man, drove out to my work, picked me up, AND HE BROUGHT COCA COLA FOR ME. Then he let me hold onto his arm the whole way home. He didn’t even blink at coming to get me. To his credit, he’d also offered to go to the appointment with me. If I’d known we were taking biopsies I’d have let him. He took me home and I went to bed with a Percocet. 

So it wasn’t a great day. I might have cancer. I’m in pain. I had to miss work. My coworker and friend who took me to Vegas, Cat, has noticed I’ve been to the doc a lot recently. She’s now worried I’m dying, and going home in visible pain today did not help that. But… I have Chris… and he’s great. I love him.


In other news, my meds have changed again. I felt okay on 20 mg Cymbalta and 1/2 a Wellbutrin, so we decided not to get rid of the Wellbutrin. With that, I’m now on Ritalin. As my doc put it, I’m the dosage for an 8 year old. So it may or may not do anything. I FEEL like it’s doing something, but I can’t be sure yet.