I have been very lucky, after a horrible delivery, and a rough start, my son really has been a complete joy. He is a quiet, loving, easy, polite, fun, active little boy. He is a total introvert, but that's ok, I never have to worry about him running off, talking to strangers, etc. I mean he had his moments, but we never really went through the terrible twos, threes, fours. He's never been a tantrum thrower, never an 'I want that' kind of kid, really a total cooperative momma's boy. Then he turned 5...well, I'm not sure if he stored it all away somewhere under a rock for all that time and now he is a like a volcano, exploding all over the place! WTF?! Seriously, can I trade in my new son for my old one? So now I have one child truly going through the terrible twos, and the other turning into the spawn of satan. Our alcohol consumption has increased dramatically since this new unimproved child has made himself a part of our lives. We do not believe in corporal punishment, but let me tell you, the thought sometimes crosses your mind when your child tells you they hate you and are going to kick you or run you over with their bike (he would never dare - I think). I am a single parent two days a week, and I know, wah-wuh lots of parents are single all the time, but those two days have pushed me to tears the past few months more often than not. I am so unprepared for these screaming meltdowns, the rudeness, the aggressiveness. I don't know what to do! Help! I have overindulged the grandma card this summer, and I'm sure he's just as rude to her, but sometimes mama needs a break. I have tried ignoring it, taking things away, getting him things he wants, spending quality time, time outs, yelling, not yelling, distractions, bed early, you name it. Nothing works! I am completely at the end of my rope. I want my sweet boy back - if you find him can you pass him my way?? Please tell me this is a phase?! I know a lot of times we need to look within ourselves, as parents and see if its coming from within. I am in a point in my life of transition. I am frustrated with my lack of income, my perceived lack of success, and my expectations of myself. It is this lifelong struggle we have as mothers, wives, etc. How do you be successful, be an amazing mother, an amazing homemaker, an amazing wife - how do we have it all? Can you have it all? I mean you can't, right? No, you cannot. But why do we want to? Why do we try? I have no answers, none, but I wonder if my frustration/my struggle is rubbing off on my kids? I don't know, I just don't know. I know I can do better, is all I can come up with.
A year ago I found out I am BRCA2 positive. If you are not familiar with this term it is essentially a genetic mutation that predisposes you to breast cancer and ovarian cancer primarily, but also increases your risk of pancreatic cancer and melanoma. My ‘official’ risk of contracting breast cancer is 55% (though my oncologist puts it more at 100%....awesome) and ovarian cancer around 10-20%. My sister, cousin, mother, aunt, grandmother and great grandmother (this last one is an assumption) are/were all BRCA2 positive. My mother, aunt, grandmother and great grandmother all have had breast cancer. None (to our knowledge) have contracted ovarian cancer - some had hysterectomies so there’s no real way of knowing if they might have in the future.
Anyway, when you find out you have BRCA1 or 2 you go through many phases (at least I did) - fear, grief, and then a desperate need to understand & know everything about it. You suddenly have a team of doctors, you are placed on a prevention plan - though I swear to God my doctor called it my list of problems yesterday - which involves bi-annual screenings: ultrasounds, mammograms, MRIs, skin checks, blood tests. Let me tell you as someone who has never (knock on wood) had health issues it is terrifying. You go in for these tests and then you wait, wondering - is this the time they are going to call me? Is my time coming?
The other thing that happens is that your doctors give you lots of advice, advice based on sound science, but not personal experience. And if, like me, you do not live in a major metropolitan city, none of these doctors are BRCA experts. They all advise you to do the following: cut of your boobs, get new boobs, cut out your ovaries and tubes, go into immediate surgically induced menopause at 35. Does this sound appealing to anyone?! Now, let me be clear - I am terrified of getting cancer, especially ovarian cancer (there is no accurate screening for ovarian cancer, the research is not as well funded, the mortality rate is not pretty). I am terrified of my kids having to watch me go through radiation, surgery, chemo, and God forbid, death. But I can’t help but find myself being frustrated that my only option is to do all of this surgery - which I will inform you the recovery is up to 18 months. Not only that, but if you have ever seen reconstructed breasts - let me assure you, they are NOTHING like breasts after a boob job. And furthermore - what if I do all this, cut my breasts off, cut out my ovaries and tubes, and then get some other form of cancer, get hit by a bus tomorrow, whatever? We all die eventually...right?
So what do you do? What would you do? Well, I have chosen surveillance - I get it's the riskiest course of action. No one in my family has gotten breast cancer before 50, no one in my family has gotten ovarian cancer (that we know of - granted most have had hysterectomy). The cure rate for breast cancer is over 75% right now. Neither my aunt or my mum died of cancer, both are in remission. This is my course of action until 40, and I am at peace with it...mostly….My sister has chosen the same path.
When I say I am mostly at peace with it, it's time for my 6 month tests. Last time I had to do my ultrasound twice because they saw a tiny cyst which they knew was nothing but because of my BRCA status they had to watch it. I hate these tests - they are uncomfortable, they are cold, they are scary. I am at peace with my choice until they back me into that MRI tube, at which point it takes all of my strength (and knowledge that if I move I have to go back in the damn tube again!) not to break down and sob.
But I am so lucky - so lucky I know, so lucky I have a fantastic team of doctors that really care about me (plug for Kaiser here - especially my Dr. Ring!). I know that they are watching me like a hawk, they are making sure I do my testing, that they are advising me, being compassionate and impartial. I am lucky, I know my family history, I was given the opportunity to take this test, I know my risk, I make choices equipped with the latest and greatest information. I am lucky.
So as I prepare for this round of tests, that is what I take with me - and a positive mental attitude!
I am open to any and all BRCA related questions - Ask away!
So as part of my identity crisis I decided it might be really smart to be VA - for those of you unfamiliar - this is a Virtual Assistant. Now it may be self explanatory but you work from home (virtually). I thought, how hard could it be? We have a VA for our business....So go on a recommended site - when I say recommended, I mean by Google, obvs; I will leave the site name out cause this is not a flattering post. Anyway, I go on this site and create a profile etc. So they recommend to take all these tests to enhance your profile - ok then...I look at the tests and my heart sinks. Web design, SEO, WordPress, awesome. Now, I worked in corporate America for many years folks, I mean, I made good money and they worked me into the ground - 80 hours a week, etc. But do I know how to do any of this?? Negative. So here I am with my completed profile (I took a spelling test and grammar test, lets not discuss the results) and I apply for a bunch of jobs. Now first of all, they only let you apply for a certain number of jobs until they start CHARGING you to apply - and to add insult to injury - they then take a up to 20% cut before they pay you! But I was determined not to be a negative nelly so onwards I go....and I get offered my first job - yippee!
Before we get too excited - its for $10 (this is less than what I am paying my nanny by the hour while I do this 'job'). And its transcription. But again back to my positive mental attitude. I do the transcription, its like watching paint dry, but whatever. I go back to the person who so kindly granted me my $10 and say the transcription isn't as long as she originally said is that ok? So she says whoops sent you the wrong file, reducing your pay by $2. Seriously? You made a mistake but I am being punished you say?! In conclusion I finished the job and took my $8 (well I guess minus 20% so like 50 cents).
So my husband and I go out on Saturday night, I have one too many margaritas at Machete (by one too many, I mean two - seriously if you have never been there my advice is moderation - those things are lethal (but oh so yummy)!), and we get home and I literally have a complete meltdown about this situation. I am never gonna get my career back, I feel so much guilt if I have to go back to a full time job, I can't get rid of the nanny we love her she is part of the family, etc....I think my husband thought I was losing it! It doesn't help that he kept telling me I was drunk - who likes to be told they are drunk when having a breakdown?!
My life lesson on this one is...what is my life lesson?...oh yeah, there is no such thing as easy money. But if you find something that is easy money, I want to know about it (please and thank you)