Monday, May 31, 2010

Jammy Cow

The day of the 'procedure' arrives.  I have a shower and take care doing my make up and straightening my hair.  After much deliberation I have decided that I would take up Ex's offer of accompanying me.  Who knows...maybe this could be a turning point.

He's arranged to pick me up at 9.30am and is late, as usual.  I pace around the house, tying and untying my cobalt blue cardigan, worn to bring out the blue in my eyes.  I don't seem to appreciate that I will be having surgery soon.  My outfit is carefully chosen.  Where on earth do I think I am going?  I am dressed for a lunch date, rather than a hatchet appointment at a hospital.  I am a fool - but the distraction keeps my mind off the word 'cancer' and 'procedure'.  I wonder if he will hold my hand.

He finally arrives and is, as usual, on the phone.  At least it is work.  I listen to his conversation all the way to the hospital, feeling nervous but for all the wrong reasons.  My heart pounds and my chest heaves, with the assistance of my Victoria Secret hold-em-up-and-squeeze-em-together bra.  A pretty pathetic attempt to create a cleavage...he knows damn well underneath all the padding it's pretty much two raisins on a ribcage.  But this is the closest we have come to having 'a date' for over two years and I am giving it all I've got.

It doesn't seem to make any impression.

Waiting in the reception area we make small talk about mutual friends.  I want to bring up the subject of us but now doesn't seem the right time.  It never feels like the right time.  I'm a little irritated on hearing about his dinner dates with our old neighbours and how well our previously close friends are doing with their newborn.  "Oh, she's a natural.  Very relaxed." he remarks about a friend's second wife.  Is this remark innocent or a well disguised dig?  No matter.  It smarts.  It doesn't occur to me at the time that one of the reasons I was so on edge during our early days as parents was his own intense anxiety.  We were such a poor influence on each other.  Maybe he will be able to relax and enjoy it a little more the second time around...

Finally I get called in to see the surgeon.  I really haven't given much thought to the purpose of this visit and it is only when the Dr starts to discuss the procedure and the nature of melanoma that it strikes me.  I have cancer.  I listen to his description of melanoma being like a can of paint being thrown at the wall - the main blot of paint is easy to identify - it is the splatter effect which is the problem.  Today they are going to remove skin possibly containing 'cancer splatter'.  It will take an hour for the lab to provide initial results that they have removed a sufficient surface area and then I will be stitched back together.  I start to sweat.  I start to regret not wearing waterproof mascara.  I start to regret wearing mascara at all.  I start to feel a little scared.  I think I might even feel a little faint.

Pretty soon I am lying down wearing the requisite paper gown, my back being stabbed with numbing juice, the skin soaked in sterilizing solution.  The Dr starts to slice away and, whilst I can't feel any pain, I can almost feel pieces of myself being removed.  Warm blood trickles down from the incision and I feel the nurses wiping it away.  It seems to take forever.  Although I am lying down I still feel lightheaded, as though I am going to faint.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Just don't pass out, you big nelly.  Think of small children having life saving brain surgery.  Blogging friends who have undergone mastectomies and chemo.  This is Nothing in comparison.  Stop being such a bloody wimp.

The next thing I know I get an electric shock, which sparks out of the end of my right index fingers.  "What the...!" I exclaim.  "Sorry," apologises the surgeon, "maybe you have created a short circuit touching the metal under the bed.  Bring your hands up by your head."  I bend my elbows and place my hands under my head, a little tense at this point, it has to be said.  "JEEZ!"  I laugh as his next attempt to cauterise the skin produces an electric shock which sparks out of my left elbow.  "What's happening?".  We remove my watch, while the surgeon reassures me again and again that, in over 10,000 procedures, he has never seen this happen before.  "Yeh, well.  I've been told I have a very magnetic personality."  I tell him.  Thankfully it doesn't happen again - although now that I know they are burning the end of my blood vessels to minimise the bleeding I go back to feeling a little lightheaded.  The smell doesn't help.  Bacon, anyone?

After what seems to be a lifetime, but in reality is probably only 45 minutes, the surgeon leaves the room and the nurse patches me up for my hour wait before I get stitched back together.  "Go and grab some lunch" she suggests.  I stand there in my gown and start to cry.  I can't stop.  This whole thing is so grotesque and so unexpected - and so reminiscent of days gone by, when I was in and out of hospital during my pregnancies.  My un-waterproof mascara starts to trail down my face and a combination of tears and snot drip onto my lips.  Lunch?  I can't think of anything less appealing right now.

I stumble out into the waiting room, still crying, and Ex gives me a lacklustre, tentative hug.  We go over the road to the ubiquitous Starbucks and I have a coffee.  Ex continues to make small talk but I no longer have any enthusiasm for meaningless conversation.  Is this really what we have come to?  Trying to compare notes on friends we have in common?  The hole in my back aches and is echoed in my chest.  I want him to hold my hand.  I want him to look at me with concern and love.  It's not going to happen.  It's nice that he volunteered to come with me, as a friend, but I no longer have the energy to put on a brave face in his presence.  I'm exhausted and know that this is the moment that I really have to let go and accept this relationship on the basis that he is comfortable.  It feels anything but comfortable to me.

Finally I return and get called back into the surgery.  Good news.  Initial results are good and they appear to have removed it all.  I should feel relieved but all my senses appear to be numbed by the anaesthetic.  I lie back down to be re-cauterised and stitched back together.  This is the part I have been dreading the most.  I don't feel any pain but there is still the oddest sensation.  It takes nearly an hour for them to re-attach the skin with nearly 40 stitches - and the whole time my body shakes with sobs.  I cry for Mack.  I cry for Ex.  I cry with the memories that are nearly 8 years old, but that seem as fresh as the wound that has just been inflicted.  I wish it was as easy to sew my life back together.  I feel as vulnerable and alone as I have ever felt.

Finally it is all done and I am able to leave.  I still can't stop crying.  Ex re-attempts the awkward hug but I fold into myself.  He is no longer my soft place to fall.  We part ways quickly at the exit as it is almost pick up time at school and he has the boys tonight.  I get into a cab and sob into my cobalt blue cardigan all the way home.  The last thing I want is to be returning to an empty house.  I want to see my boys.  I want to be somewhere I can feel looked after.  I feel frightened as I grip my bag of meds and ointments and care instructions.  Who is there to care for me?  What if something happens?  I don't want to be alone.

My paranoia continues through the evening but, miraculously, I get a good night's sleep and I wake in sheets that are still clean and not sticky with pints of fresh blood.  Well, that must be a good sign, I think. I get up and plan an active day, but within 2 hours I am back in bed, exhausted, and sleep for another 5 hours.  It takes at least 4 days for me to feel back to normal and physically able to be in charge of the boys without suffering a panic attack every 37 seconds.  Ex doesn't call to see how I am for the first 48 hours, despite seeing me like a pathetic wet rag after the surgery.  This, to me, speaks volumes.  Time to cauterise that particular wound once and for all and move on.  Time to really start to heal.

A couple of days later I agree that Ex can take the boys to Disney on the previously aborted trip.  Within a matter of hours a friend casually suggests that I accompany her on a freebie trip to a 5* resort in Barbados for 6 days.  Her husband has a work commitment that he can't get out of.  I hesitate for a couple of days, although for the life of me I can't think why.  A free holiday?  To Barbados?  5*?  When has anyone ever made me such an offer?  Finally I come to my senses and tell her I would love to go.  It coincides with the boy's Disney trip, so is perfect timing.  Within a matter of minutes my flight is booked.

How very jammy is that?

I am hereby to be known as The Queen of All Jammy Things.  The Jammiest Cow in town.


I am off to Barbados tomorrow, in fact.  I have packed all manner of flouncy and skimpy things.  Oh.  And SPF 55 of course.  As getting a tan is out of the question, I guess I will just have to sit under an umbrella sipping cocktails, pickling my liver.

It's a hard life.

And turns out, I am not so lonely after all.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It's Quite Scary How Well She Knows Me

So I had quite the most brilliant idea the other day.  I am looking for a place in North sister is looking for a place in North London.  We are both a bit short of money but could afford somewhere decent verging on almost spacious if we's just an obvious match made in heaven, isn't it?

Well I thought so.

So I called her and asked her.  She was a on the phone.  And then a little later I received the following in an email.  I read the first scenario with a big smile on my face...which soon turned into guffaws of laughter when I read the second.

Oh dear.  She really does know me and the boys far too well.  (By the way, for the following to make sense I ought to tell you that her nickname for me is Mergatroid and mine for her is Lurgatroid - it must be all the antibiotics and pain meds because I can't for the life of me remember why).

Scenario No. 1.

Mon: Good day at work.  Had a bite to eat with colleague before heading to the Zohar class.  Got home at 10pm, Mergatroid on couch with glass of wine, boys in bed.  Told Merg all about Very Attractive Man at Kabbalah Centre.  Merg told me all about Hot Downstairs Neighbour.

Tues: Another good day at work - seriously, I would do this for free if I could live on air.  Got home at 6:30, started cooking chicken curry whilst Merg bathed the boys.  They read their bedtime story to me and told me about their new friends.   Poured some pear vodka which I snorted through my nose when Merg told me what Johnny Drama had said that afternoon.

Weds:  Another good day at work.  Went to Yoga class afterwards, then to astrology class at K Centre.  Was invited out for coffee at weekend by Very Attractive Man (VAM).  Got home at 10, ate a ton of dips and watched some crap TV.  Couldn't sleep.  Too excited.

Thurs:  Seriously, they are paying me to do this?  Got home early, helped put the boys to bed after they had done a fantastic job of clearing away their toys, whilst Merg rustled up some excellent nibbles for Book Club.  Drank lots of vodka and talked about the finer points of foreskins.  Laughed until my stomach hurt.

Friday:  Slight hangover.  Work good again.  By some major miracle, boys with Ex for weekend so met Merg at K Centre for Shabbat at 7:30 followed by first meal.  Home at 11:30pm.  Merg then tells me that VAM rang the house and that she answered and he thought she was me.  Apparently I am meeting with VAM on Sunday for coffee.  He originally said Saturday after shabbat, but Merg changed the place and time, re: The Rules.  Fantastic.  Not sure I would have had the strength.

Saturday:  Arrived at K Centre at 9:30 to help prepare Shabbat lunch, which finished at 3pm.  Went home for a snooze.  Rented a DVD, Merg and I curled up on the sofa and had quiet night in, comparing the bums and chests of every single man that had passed through the Kabbalah Centre.

Sunday:  Nice lie in, mooched about in jim jams.  Did a spot of housework and laundry.  Went for coffee with VAM.  Think it could be love.  No, honestly.  Had a nice wander in Highgate Woods.  Merg got us invited to Hot Downstairs Neighbour's barbecue, who an eye for Merg and is great with the boys.  Really nice guy, to boot, I think she's in there... ;o)

Monday: Skipped to the tube filled with joy and love....

Scenario 2:

Monday:  Good day at work, although not too sure that colleagues were impressed with the cat hair and streaming eyes.  Had to have a lie down at the back of Starbucks before heading to Zohar class.  People think I have fleas.  Got home at 10pm, Mergatroid stomps down the stairs after sending Johnny Drama back to bed for the fifth time, downs a glass of vodka and asks whether it is really too much to ask to get a decent evening without any interruptions.  I think she is talking about the boys.  At least, I hope she is talking about the boys.

Tuesday: Got to work late after cleaning the boys breakfast off the walls and floor whilst Merg went upstairs to get changed for the second time.  Got home early and went to cook the dinner, but was seconded to putting the boys to bed as Merg was "sick to death of the sight of them".  Merg got pissed on vodka in the space of half an hour.  Had indigestion by the time dinner was ready.  Trod on some cat sick in my socks.  Nice.

Wednesday:  Woke up to the sound of the boys gently fighting on the landing.  Got scalded in the shower when one of them thought it would be funny to flush the loo - twice.  Discovered at the last minute that Bert the cat had thrown up all over my yoga kit, which put the kibosh on that idea.  Spent ten minutes rubbing cat hair from my clothes, but still managed to sneeze my way through an entire meeting (and one of these was a snot sneeze, in front of the MD).  Antihistamines not working.  Decided to skip the astrology class.  Arrived home to living room turned upside down, the boys playing battle games.  Tried to skulk off to my room for a bit of peace, but they followed me there.  Ended up shouting at them and they both ended up in tears.  Bad Auntie.  

Thursday:  Woke up unable to breathe and with face on fire, and discovered a large patch of cat hair on my pillow.  The boys thought it might be funny to let Ernie in to my room 'because he likes me'.   Went to work with a blotchy red face, my left eyeball hanging out and wheezing like an accordian.  Got home late, with a headache, and the boys still up, driving Merg crazy whilst she tried to entertain her Book Club guests.  Nobody in Book Club could look at me because my eyeball was hanging out.  Sloped off to my room and found Bertie hiding under the bed.  It took ten full minutes to coax him out, but which time Ernie had snuck in to escape the ensuing chaos downstairs.  Went to sleep to the sound of raucous screams as the Book Club ladies discussed the finer points of foreskins.

Friday:  Soaked my head in a bucket of cold water to ease the allergic reaction, but still looked like Elephant Woman.  Trod on one of those fucking sharp little shitty bits of Lego that Captain Underpants had dropped on the stairs.  Went to make a cup of tea, but no clean cups due to book club last night (where cups of coffee were consumed in a futile attempt to sober up).  Went to shabbat, was chatted up by a fat bloke who doesn't have an allergy to cats, but who had developed a really nasty skin condition on his thighs, apparently, which he thought was somehow similar.  Great.  Spotted a Very Attractive Man across the room, who looked in to my gummy eyes for a split second before wincing and turning away.

Saturday: Went to shabbat, but skipped second and third meal because the house is a complete tip and is full of cat hair.  Spent the afternoon tidying up and defurring everything.  Stopped itching at around 4pm, after overdosing on antihistamine.  Hoping that taking four tablets at once isn't going to kill me.  House stayed tidy until the boys came home half an hour later.  Must find effective method of hoovering cats.  Wanted to watch some TV and for the boys to play in their room just for a bit of space, but nothing doing.  Hid in room and googled "legal small child restraints UK" and scanned hopefully through 37,300 results for seat belts.

Sunday:  Was woken up at 6am and despite ear plugs and pillow over head, could not get back to sleep.  Made some coffee and returned to room.  Merg also hiding in room.  We hid together.  Whilst the boys trashed the house.   Finally braved it and did some washing, remembering to de-fluff the washing machine beforehand.  Clothes still full of cat hair but at least it is clean cat hair.  Got a phone call from fat man inviting me for coffee, and told me at the same time that he had a severe nut allergy and therefore couldn't possibly risk Starbucks.  Or Costa.  Or AMT.  Or actually any coffee shops, so maybe I could join him for a glass of water in an antiseptic environment.  Thought about nice ways to say no, but then decided that the best deterrent would be to invite him round here for half an hour.  He lasted five minutes.  Hot Downstairs Neighbour had a barbecue today, and came round to ask if we could 'keep the noise down for just five minutes because it sounds as though the flat is being rented to a herd of fucking elephants'.  Merg not happy.  Tried to watch rented DVD in evening and failed.  Resorted to vodka. 
Monday: Oh fuck, is it Monday already?

So I am still looking for a possible flat mate.  Any offers?  The cat hair is thrown in at no extra charge.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Rubber Band

So I can't help hoping that I am a Rubber Band Girl...that I get bent and stretched to capacity but ultimately that I just twang back into shape.  Also digging the strait jacket at the end of the video.  That would have come in plenty handy this week - although I think I am in need of a mental strait jacket to stop my mind whirling all over the place, going to places that I would prefer not to go right now.

Odd how a medical diagnosis - even one as optimistic as mine - can create both emotional clarity and chaos.

My first instinct and desire is to be with my husband.  For after all, he is still my husband.  I have dealt with every significant event for the past 13 years with him...and believe me, we have had our fair share of them.  There is noone else that I would rather have at my side right now.

And he has offered to be there.

But he will still go home to his girlfriend.  So do I take up the offer, as well-intended as it is, or not?  Could this possibly be a situation that could pull us back together?  Or am I just too vulnerable to think straight right now?  

I want to share with him how I really feel.  Lay it on the line, once on for all.  After all - what's the worse that can happen?  We are already separated.  He already shares his life with a girlfriend.  If the status quo remains then my position is unchanged and maybe I can truly move on.  

This has not been solely prompted by skin cancer diagnosis.  There have been three other influences recently which have caused me to wonder if he is reconsidering our relationship.  So is he?  Surely there is only one way to find bare my soul?

I haven't up to this point.   I have tried to appear strong and funny and sexy and 'OK' - all the right ingredients to tempt him back, right?  Make him realise what he is missing.  Get him to ditch the American tart (no offence...I am sure you are a lovely girl and a super nice human being) for the simple reason that she just isn't me.  

Life is too short to play games, isn't it?     

Mind you, I'm not too good at games.  I once locked myself in the toilet for 45 minutes in a sulk at a dinner party because I was losing at Monopoly.

Shame the game of life isn't proving to be any easier.  

Or that I am still not capable of growing up and not getting into a big, fat sulk when I am on the losing end.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Turns Out The Dermatologist Is Having The Last Laugh

Being a SAHM you would think my week evolves around trips to the gym, lunching with lady friends, doing a spot of shopping and having time to be on top of Everything.

Why this is NEVER the case is something that irks me greatly.

This week my calendar was empty of all commitments and chores.  Yet still by Monday lunchtime I had managed to crack a tooth (task 1: book and attend dentist appointment), the brake lights on my car decided to remain permanently illuminated (task 2: get treated like a complete nelly at the local garage and be without the use of my car for a whole day) and my wireless router took a personal dislike to my computer (task 3: beg my computer literate friend to come and kick it into touch...although hopefully not too literally because then this would lead to task 4: buy new wireless router).

Last week was just as joyful, including a trip to a dermatologist to check out a dodgy mole on my back, that my primary doctor had spotted some weeks ago.

I'm not a great one for doctors or hospitals.  And to be honest, I contemplated ignoring my doctor's advice because I'm not the biggest fan of spending $20 to park downtown, then wait around in a doctor's surgery all day only to find out that everything is, in fact, hunky dory.  Not when, in my dream life, I could be mincing about in front of a mirror, dressed head to toe in Lycra waving a couple of 5lb dumbbells over my head or spending a couple of hours moaning about my life with someone - in person - while stuffing my face with $20 worth of Sushi.  Let me tell you something for nothing: if I am going to be spending $20 that I really don't have, then Sushi is going to win hands down every time.

I couldn't even see this mole (and Lord knows, I tried all sorts of ridiculous contortionist type attempts to track the bloody thing down).  Therefore, I wasn't entirely convinced it even existed.  And my body is completely littered with moles (I personally prefer to call them Beauty Spots...and if beauty is ever judged by the number of moles then it is patently obvious that I am very beautiful indeed) so why was this one deserving of extra special attention?  The one I couldn't even admire with the use of a 3-way mirror?

Ultimately, of course, I booked an appointment because it did represent a day out (of sorts).  And it's one more rational justification for why I am never on top of Anything in my life.

Within half an hour of arriving at the surgery I am sitting on the obligatory sheet of noisy parchment paper in a fetching peacock blue paper gown, gazing at rows and rows of pamphlets on every skin disease known to man (and possibly some known to aliens, judging by the photos).

I spend a few minutes picking at my nails.  I contemplate the state of my hairy, pale legs in quiet disgust. I start to look in detail at the plethora of Beauty Spots adorning my arms until I go cross-eyed.  Ultimately, there is nothing else for it but to peruse the damn pamphlets, purely for reassurance purposes.

I start off with the skins diseases featuring the most obscure names.  Far be it from me to pass up an opportunity to educate myself.  After all, knowledge is power.  Apparently.  Each accompanying photograph is graphically hideous and yet strangely comforting.  My skin, in comparison, is remarkable in its perfection.  Eventually I pick up the leaflet I have been consciously ignoring: Melanoma.  One interesting fact catches my eye; Melanoma is more prevalent in people who have over 50 moles on the body.  50?  That's a big number.  I'm pretty sure I don't have anywhere near 50 moles.  I start to count the moles on my left arm and stop when I reach 62 at some point half way up.  Oh.  Well.  I'm sure it doesn't mean anything.

Just as I am replacing the leaflet in the rack, the doctor walks in.  Male.  Youngish.  Fairly good looking. Oh hellllooo, I think to myself.  This appointment might be enjoyable after all.  I bat my eyelashes at him coquettishly while we have an introductory chit-chat.  I'm trying to remember if there is a suspect mole on my boob that he really ought to take a close look at, while I'm there.  Purely for medical purposes, of course.  I know for a fact there is one in my bikini region but, given the fact that the bush is in desperate need of a prune, I'm thinking I'll give that one a miss this time round.

He opens my gown and starts to look closely at my back.

"So, where did you grow up?  Where's the accent from?" he enquires.

"Oh, England."

"Hmmm.  And do you remember getting sunburned as a child?"

"Well...I grew up in England..." I deadpan.

"Yes, but do you remember getting sun burnt as a child?  What about on vacation?" he continues, ignoring my facetiousness.

"Not typically a great deal of sun in Scotland..."

The doctor is obviously not a huge fan of irony.  He continues to prod about on my back with one hand, while handing me a leaflet outlining the ABCDs of identifying melanoma with the other.  It is the C he is concerned about.  My mole is apparently pitch black, which is not a good colour.  He asks me if I remember using sunscreen as a child.

"Well, only if baby oil counts as sunscreen.  Or cocoa butter lotion.  I'm not even sure sunscreen was invented when I was a child.  Have you seen my date of birth?  Did they even have sunscreen in the dark ages?"

I can tell my constant stab at flippancy is starting to piss him off a little, but I just can't help myself.  For goodness sake - I grew up in England, in the 70s.  Of course, I didn't use sunscreen as a child.  Did anyone?  And can that really be my responsibility now?  I have used sunscreen pretty diligently since I was about 19 and went on my first holiday abroad, to Corfu.  But certainly have no memory of my mother slavering lotion of any description on our exposed skin during the summer months.  Apart from the heat wave of '77, there seemed little point at the time I suppose.

"Right.  Well, I recommend that I remove this mole and biopsy it.  I should get results back in the next week.  Just to be sure there is nothing to worry about."

"You're going to remove it now?  Like, right now?  I don't even get the time to go home, lose a bit of sleep over the next few nights, and possibly even a few pounds, with the anxiety of it all?  You're not going to give me the opportunity to come back and moan about having to pay another $20 to park for an hour?  Are you sure?" I laugh as I attempt to banter with him.  He still doesn't seem to be appreciating my light hearted wit.  I obviously need to try just a little bit harder.

"There's a choice of two different procedures I can use to remove the mole..." which he goes on to explain.  Both of which make my knees start to go a bit googly.  Did I mention I'm not really good with hospitals?  "Is there one which you would prefer me to use?  The second one might leave slightly more scarring."

"Hmmm.  Choices.  Choices.  Well, I guess as my Sports Illustrated calendar days are behind me I'm not sure the scarring is an issue.  Do you have a preference?  I mean, feel free to knock yourself out if there's one you need to practice more than the's not as if I'm even going to be able to see your handiwork anyway."

I begin to sense I have stretched his patience to the limit.  I'm really not trying to be rude, I just don't want it to be so serious.  If I continue to treat it like it's nothing, then of course, it will be nothing.

The doctor tells me he is going to slice the mole off, which sounds perfectly disgusting, and leaves the room.  I sit there in my doctor-appropriate knickers (full cheek coverage) and blue paper gown, feeling a little bit nauseous.  Scalpels.  Blood.  Not really my cup of tea at 11am on a Tuesday morning.  I begin to think that I might want my mum.

Eventually the nurse comes in and sticks a needle in my back.  As I lie down a lock of hair falls over my face.  Oh good.  I can be distracted by counting my split ends.  Within minutes the procedure is done and the offending black blob is floating whimsically in a jar of saline.  Thank God that's over.  The doctor reminds me that the results should be back in a week or so and turns to leave.

"Er...excuse me?  Don't I get a sticker??"  I call after him.  My last pathetic attempt to get him to smile, at the very least.  He closes the door behind him, without responding.  The nurse grins at me.  "Well, I'm hoping you have a Star Wars band aid for me, at the very least" I say, giving her a mock stern look.

I get on with the rest of my scintillating week, far too preoccupied with matters concerning Divorce and Transatlantic Move to spare any for biopsy results.  In a moment of despair I do think, bitterly, 'well, I do hope it is fucking cancer - then he'll have to let me go bloody home'.

Which I guess is a lesson to be careful what you wish for.  The doctor called with the biopsy results yesterday and confirmed that it is melanoma.  Skin cancer.  He thinks it is localised.  He thinks it has been caught in the early stages.  I'm booked for surgery next week to remove more skin from the original site and need to have my whole body closely examined for further suspicious Beauty Spots to biopsy.  (Fact: If they need to remove every mole on my body, then there's not going to be a lot of me left.)

I'm sure it's all going to be fine.  I'm sure I don't have anything to worry about.  But it's still a little unnerving.  And trust me to piss off the doctor that diagnoses me with cancer.  Mind you, I'm still hoping the surgeon next week has a soft spot for smart alec's, coupled with an appreciation for irreverent cancer jokes.  Would that really be too much to ask?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Will This Boring, Whinging Story Line Ever End?

I am so sick of my situation.  Sick of thinking about it.  Sick of living it.  I am alternatively sad, nostalgic, hopeful, angry, terrified, lonely and guilt-ridden.

But most of all I feel pathetic.  And utterly exhausted.  Not a good combination.

It's hard to see an end to it all.  The past four years of my life have been pretty much dominated by the failure of my marriage - and still it drags on.  Will it ever end?  I can't even imagine how weightless I am going to feel when I am finally able to leave all this behind me and just move on.  And yet.  Part of me clings on with my fingertips...unwilling to let go of the life that I created with this man.  Unwilling to admit that the dreams are no more.  That everything I strived and worked so hard for has crumbled away to dust.  Mere memories.

How much easier it was, pre-kids, to just walk away and never look back.  To have time to grieve and get over it without having the emotional scab constantly picked at by this daily contact.  To not have to face the harsh reality of watching the person that you once loved - still love - moving on...and taking your children with them into their new life.

Not that he is trying to make things easier for me.  Well, why would he?

We still haven't managed to talk further about the move home.  Last week's 'reason' was an important pitch.  This week there is a global think-tank.  Of course there will be something next week...there is always something more pressing, which has more priority, than sorting out this godawful mess.

I don't really blame him.  In my heart of hearts I don't want to face it either.   The thought of having to go through the process of the divorce hardly fills me with gleeful anticipation.  But I have to face the fact it is in his best interests not to move forward - the longer he can (intentionally or otherwise) drag this out, the less he has to pay me and the longer his sons stay in Chicago.

Sounds so simple writing this's down to me so I just need to keep pushing, pushing, pushing until it's DONE.  Not so easy, though, for a woman who considers herself a little bit feisty and far too opinionated for her own good...yet hates confrontation.  Throughout this whole nightmare I have strived to be reasonable and rational.  To maintain a sense of love and gratitude.  To be patient and accommodating.  I certainly don't regret it - it has meant that we are incredibly amicable and that does make my life a whole lot easier.

Well, it did.

Now.  Not so much.

Looking at it objectively, I would say it certainly makes his life a whole lot easier but my life actually feels far from easy.

I feel so torn between wanting to honour our marriage, the love we once shared, the three children we had together by continuing to be kind, understanding, generous.  I know it will reap benefits in the years to come as we continue to co-parent our children together.  But at the same time, I'm not sure that he actually respects this behaviour or is simply taking full advantage of it.  He has his amazing career, his marathon running hobby, his pretty young girlfriend, his children as and when it suits him and full control of the money.  There is nothing about this arrangement that he wants to change right now.

Part of me knows that to achieve what I really want - to regain my independence and move home as soon as possible - the most effective method is possibly to remain humble and gracious and ruffle his feathers as little as possible.

I can see the logic of it - but even writing it just brings on fresh tears.  Just where am I meant to find the strength to carry on?  It all hurts too fucking much.  It would give me so much more satisfaction, at this moment in time, to tell him to stop dicking me around and get with the programme, or I will take matters into my own hands.  What is the point of mediation, if he can't prioritise his life a little to make an appointment and show up?  We've only been talking about it since February, for heaven's sake.

So here's my dilemna:  how to be strong and push forward with intelligence and dignity...without morphing into the quintessential ex-wife bitch.

The pathetic sap of a wife I have a handle on.

The ball-breaking ex-wife I think could come quite easily to me.

I don't want to be either.  Is there really an alternative?  One that will finally - finally - get the job done.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

His Thoughtfulness Stuns Me

Captain Underpants and I were having a quiet moment together in the kitchen last week, while I was making my usual pitiful attempt at rustling up something vaguely edible for dinner.

I was a little pre-occupied...lots of muttering under my breath while repetitiously opening and shutting the fridge and various cupboards in search of an elusive ingredient that might magically inspire a complete meal.  In between the huffing and puffing and general tutting I endeavored to answer Captain Underpants Questions of the Day.  The subjects ranged widely from "why is it possible to eat carrots raw but not potatoes when they are both vegetables and have both grown in the ground?" to "if Jet Ray has a battle with Luke Skywalker, who do you think would win?"

I consider all of my answers thoughtfully.  I know from experience that my 6 year old revels in having his questions answered with a certain level of brevity and seriousness, regardless of how far-fetched and winsome he is being.

Then one of his questions stops me in my tracks.

"Mummy, when will I have another daddy?"

I pause and try to gather my thoughts, knowing that it's important that I don't try to fob him off with a flippant reply.  But what to say?

"Darling, why do you think you're going to have another daddy?  You have your wonderful daddy, don't you?  And he loves you and sees you all the time and he will always be there for you.  Daddy will always, always be your daddy - even when you are all grown up.  Just like my daddy, Grandad Bagpipes and daddy's daddy, Grandad Chelsea.  They're our daddies forever - just like yours is."

My thoughtful child considers my answer before replying, quite lightheartedly:

"I know I have my daddy forever.  What I meant was...when am I going to get another daddy?  You know, a daddy that will be here for me every day?  The daddy that is here to love you and look after you, mummy?  That's the daddy I am talking about.  Another daddy.  The daddy that is here for you."

He gives me a big smile.  His expression is open and innocent...and totally filled with love.


I am so stunned by his words 'to love you and look after you' that I can't speak.  I go up and give him a hug and a kiss.

"I don't know the answer to that question, sweetheart.  But it is a really great question and I am glad you asked me.  Right now I have lots of friends and family that love me and help to look after me - and you and your brother too.  Including your daddy.  I'm very, very lucky.  Maybe one day things will be different, but I can't tell you when because I just don't know myself.  Is that okay?"


Mummy, how come all cats look quite the same and never get taken for walks...but dogs can be very small or very big and they all get to go out on a lead?  And are we going to get a dog?  You said we had to wait to get a dog until Johnny Drama was four - but he is over four and a half now, isn't he?"

Questions of the Day continues on somewhat safer footing.

But our conversation stays with me for days afterwards.  I'd hate to think that the responsibility of looking after me is weighing on his mind.  Maybe it's the fact that he is enjoying weekends with his dad and his girlfriend - and wants to replicate something similar at home?  It could be he is simply processing the fact that both Ex and I effectively have two sets of parents each - as both of our parents are divorced and with other partners.  It's possibly a combination of all these factors.

To a six year old the future is so simple.  Hey!  Let's get another daddy to live here with us!  That would be great, wouldn't it?!

I still can't see it myself.  But in an ideal world...that would be great, wouldn't it?