Adjusting the Sails

For most of my life, I’ve struggled with adapting to change.  Well, let me take that back.  We moved a lot and I adapted to our new cities and my schools pretty well, but, if a plan ever changed, I struggled to adapt to that.  I’m the type who mentally prepares for one thing, and if that one thing doesn’t happen, I’ve been known to….just not handle it well.  However, I will say that that trait has relaxed a lot since getting married.  I roll with the punches much more easily, because honestly, I have to.  When you’re married, you have to relax a little because it’s not just about you.

When we got pregnant, I had an idea in my mind of how things would go when it was time for delivery and the weeks following.  My whole life I’ve anticipated my parents coming down  and spending those first few days or weeks with us as we acclimate to life as new parents. They would dote on their grandchild, help us cook dinner, watch her while we napped, and just be there.  I know we’d be capable on our own, but there’s something reassuring about your parents support and help.

Last year, my mom was diagnosed with leukemia.  In the past few months, it’s gotten more aggressive, leading her to enter chemotherapy sooner than we expected.  Initially, the chemo was going well, but after the second and third rounds she was hospitalized for weeks at a time, including the most recent stint at three weeks and five days.

Today, my parents met with her oncologist to discuss next steps.  The type of chemo she was having is now off of the table.  It’s just too harsh and she’s not responding that well.  So, there’s a new plan of attack and that includes new medicine starting next week.  She’ll be hospitalized for five days at a time during chemo just in case she responds poorly, and then she’ll have 21 days of rest between treatments to go home and recover and gain strength before the next round.  The doctor expects 2-3 cycles of the new chemo, and then, she’ll have a stem cell transplant, which is expected to be a relatively uncomfortable recovery that lasts quite some time.

There’s no time to take an extended break between treatment, as time is of the essence.

The timing of course does not go well with our due date at the end of July.  If all goes to plan, I’ll likely be delivering Gracie around the same time that she’s wrapping up her last chemo cycle and/or starting the stem cell transplant process.

The vision of my parents being here when Grace arrives is suddenly gone.

So, this brings me back to adapting to change.  I was talking to both of my parents this afternoon, and they knew I was disappointed that things weren’t going the way I imagined.   And you know what, if I’m honest, they’re right.  And I think it’s fair to say that they’re equally as disappointed.  However, I’m not so big of a selfish asshole to realize that it’s out of everyones control.  Grace’s due date is out of my control.  My moms chemo schedule is out of her control.  It is what it is.  It’s not what any of us expected or want, but it just is what it is.  I know they’d be here if there were any physical way possible, but obviously the treatment takes priority.  We’ll rely on facetime and phone calls, and hopefully they’ll be able to visit shortly after she arrives. Or, maybe we’ll be really brave and haul our newborn and all of her crap up to VA early on if they can’t make it down to us.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared of us being alone in those first few days and weeks.  I’m an only child and I wasn’t around babies or children growing up.  It’s all incredibly foreign to me, which might sound ridiculous, but it’s my truth.  I keep telling myself that Chris and I are totally capable of taking care of her, and we’ll be fine.  It’s just intimidating as hell.  Thankfully, Chris is pretty confident around kids and babies – we’re just going to have to figure it out together; intimidating or not.

So that’s it.  It’s nothing any of us expected or envisioned, but as Tim Gunn would say, it’s a “make it work” moment.  I’m sure we’re not the only ones to experience this exact scenario, and we’ll be okay.  Chris and I will figure it out as we go, and Gracie will be just fine.  The important thing is Grace and my mom are healthy, and if that means it has to go this way, then so be it.   The rest will fall into place later.

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The Challenges of Life

I’ve been thinking a lot about the challenges that life brings and how you can either let it take over everything, or just adjust your life until it gets a little bit easier.  To me, the latter is the better choice, though it’s sometimes easier said than done.

I’ve talked about it previously on this blog, but our big challenges started shortly after we got married.  At the time, I thought it was just the universe testing our new marriage, but now I realize that it’s just life.  It’s likely never going to get really easy.  Everything takes a lot of work, it’s just not a simple world of unicorns and rainbows.

We’re still dealing with a lot of the challenges we faced last year, but we’re adapting.  We have a lot of things that are nerve wracking and scary that are facing us, but, we’re making it, and I feel like that’s all that matters.

With as many challenges as we have, we also have a lot of wonderful in our life.  Chris has his health and hasn’t relapsed with the internal knee infection (we’re past the point where it was likely that could have happened), we’re moving into our new house in just a few weeks, and of course, we have a baby on the way.

So yeah, my mind has been thinking about the difficult stuff, but ultimately, the good and exciting stuff prevails.  Our  marriage is strong, our love is strong, and with that, we’re really capable of anything.

The Challenging Side of Life

When we decided to move to Raleigh in March, I think I envisioned the “All American Dream.”  I know for me, I pictured a slower pace, a cute town filled with southern charm and nice people, less traffic, more affordability, and better quality of life in general.  Living in the suburbs of Washington, DC without federal jobs or making six figures was hard.  Being newlyweds, we naturally wanted to build the best life that we could, but as time passed, that became harder and harder to do everyday.  I’ve met so many people who live here who are transplants from DC or NYC who all moved here for the exact same reason:  Better quality of life & lower cost of living.  I absolutely think that we made the right decision – no question, but I’d be lying if I said it’s been sunshine, rainbows and unicorns since we got here.

I love North Carolina.  I love it so much here, but we’ve had a rough go of it almost since day one, and it hasn’t been as picture perfect as we imagined.  In fact, life has thrown us some seriously difficult curve balls in the past 4.5 months, and we’re ready to stop striking out and finally knock one out of the park.

Chris had to undergo two emergency root canals the first month we lived here (um, we could have bought a used car for the amount of money that cost), then his truck died (we were gifted a vehicle after his truck died, so we’re grateful, but that needed repairs as well — cha-ching!) and now Chris’ knee has gone out.  It’s scary, I have to admit.  I sometimes find myself thinking “would this have happened if we never moved,” and I always go back to the answer that it would have happened no matter what.  There is no way we could have predicted the future and known what was going to happen – no way.  I wish we could have, but life happens and I’m grateful we were brave enough to pursue something like living somewhere new and building up our life together.

We’re in the midst of a lot of unknowns right now.   But I have to keep my mind clear and remember that bad days do not equal a bad life.  This is all so temporary and we will figure it out.  My biggest priority is getting Chris’ knee issue resolved and getting him healthy again.  If we have to live on one income temporarily, that’s okay.   We’re lucky we have a savings and cheap rent and can swing it for a month or two.

I overshare a lot of my life.  I know this, and this is my choice.  If I overshare the fun and the positive, why should I be ashamed of difficult times that are no fault of our own?  I shouldn’t.  Life is tough and we move on.  The difficulties, challenges and roadblocks are temporary; It’s how we handle the crap life throws at us and how we react that are more important.

I’m confident in our decision to live here.  I’m confident that things will get better.  I’m confident that we will get to that destination we believe in so much, and most importantly, I’m confident in the love that I have for my husband and that we will get through this together.