Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

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Remember the good ol’ days when the news was delivered to your door by a snot-nosed Beaver Cleaver punk? Remember the times when we leisurely digested the day’s headlines with a mug of Sanka in our grubby ink-stained fingers?

Nah, me neither.

Then again, I’m not sure if I remembered to put on pants today.

[looks down] Oops.

These days, I don’t get my news from those silly 24/7 cable news channels, or even from my Facebook feed.

Come on over to my newest post on The Nudge Wink Report to find out my top secret source of the latest breaking headlines…

I’ve Got News for You, Millennials!

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And this concludes the regularly scheduled programming of She’s a Maineiac.

I will be on hiatus for the summer. My goal is to ignore all social media completely for 3 months before my brain atrophies into oatmeal.

[looks up] Too late.

But before I go, thanks for reading my blog. I’m fast approaching my 6th anniversary (what?!) and it’s been tons-0-fun all these years. 

Peace out, dudes and dudettes!

 

How Not to Impress Your Neighbors

I live in a big field that used to be an old cow pasture. Off in the distance, a newer pasture (with new cows) sits nestled in a pine grove next to a small barn. Picture a split-level ranch duplex surrounded by rolling hills, where the manure-scented winds come sweeping down the plain. Nothing like pungent cow ass to get your blood pumping in the morning.

My cowless backyard view (I think they were in the barn wearing sweaters and drinking brandy)
My temporary cow-less backyard view during the winter. (I sometimes imagine they’re inside the barn, shivering in hand-knit sweaters — and plotting to unleash a crap-ton of steaming poop stench straight into my nostrils come summer.)

The other drawback to living in a field?  It gets a little windy. When I say ‘little’, I mean once I got out of my car in the driveway and ended up in a tree two counties over still holding onto the car door. When I say ‘windy’, I mean every time I go outside I look like a mildly electrocuted Albert Einstein.

e=windy-as-shit
e = windy-as-shit

Aside from the cows’ evil lair, another duplex sits in our huge backyard hundreds of feet away. Or yards. I can’t really accurately gauge the distance because whenever I try, my glasses get blown clear off my head.

Our neighbor's house
Our neighbor’s house — yeah it’s far enough away.

On any given day, the relentless wind sweeps down the field and funnels between our two houses, only increasing its intensity. Our yard is a wind tunnel NASA engineers would envy. It’s not a constant wind, as there are times in between blasts when the air is calm.

Over the years, I’ve noticed an interesting phenomena that occurs with vast distances: voices carry.

Although my backyard neighbors are far away, once I stood in my open kitchen window and heard the elderly wife in her kitchen muttering “idiot” under her breath to her husband. Once I even heard her thinking the word idiot.

He had it coming. I heard what he was thinking.

This amplified voice-carrying thing played a big role when I first laid eyes on my new neighbors. They recently moved into one side of the backyard duplex, next to the ‘idiot’ husband and his long-suffering wife. All I knew about them was they were prim-n-proper, never-utter-a-cuss-word church folk.

It was a sunny and ridiculously breezy day when my daughter and I went outside to ride our bikes in the driveway. (One day I plan on attaching some helium balloons to my bike to see if I can make it to Italy.)

I glimpsed the new neighbors off in the distance cleaning out their car in the driveway. I couldn’t make out what they looked like, but I heard what they were saying. Except in their conversation idiot was replaced with sweetie, so I safely assumed they hadn’t been married long.

My young daughter is quite the daredevil. “Mom!” she yelled into the 55 mph gusts, her words no doubt carrying across the grassy expanse between our two duplexes like she was squawking into a megaphone. “I’m going to ride my bike down the hill!” Next to our house is a gently sloping hill that faces our neighbors.

“OK!” I screamed into the wind like a moron, my hair all Einstein-y, my eyeglasses probably in a ditch somewhere in Texas.

We walked our bikes up the hill. At the top, I took in the gorgeous view. Now the new neighbors were distant specks in their driveway. An eerie calm settled over us as the wind died down.

“Here I go!” my daughter whooped and I watched as she started her descent. That was when things went to hell. Or to heck, if the neighbors happened to hear my thoughts.

What happened next unfolded in slow motion — like in a Stephen King movie when you know what’s coming but can’t do anything to stop it. You’re paralyzed with shock and horror. Shorror.

She hit a bump on the ground, her butt lifting up off the seat into the air. As the bike accelerated, her legs shot out behind her. She gamely held onto the handlebars as she briefly hovered above the bike. For one timeless moment, (only a few seconds, actually) her entire body resembled a flag flapping in the wind.

Hell, even I'm scared now.
Damn, even I’m scared now.

There was nothing for me to do but think, Oh, shit! It was a thought so intense, it was probably heard loud and clear by the Thou-Shalt-Nots in the distance.

In her desperation to correct this disastrous turn of events, she instinctively tried to sit back down on the bike. Unfortunately, she sat directly onto the spinning rear wheel. Hard. Then the bike hit another bump.

Remember those times when you were a kid and you felt raw pain, like when you skinned your knee or stubbed your toe? It’s as if the universe stops and everything goes dark. For a second, you can’t even breathe.

Well, my daughter was very vocal about her pain.

I ran down the hill to find the bike on the ground in a heap and my dear daughter doing a bizarre crotch-holding dance. She was hopping alternately from side to side on each foot while high-kicking her other leg, like she was performing with the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall.

Somehow she managed to not only run in circles in the driveway while grabbing her crotch, but to scream two words repeatedly into the voice-carrying air.

“My vagina!”

plug_ears
Uhhhh…did she just yell what I think she yelled?

“MY VAGINA! MY VAGINA! MY VAGINA!”

Oh dear god, not that word!
Oh dear lord..NOOOO!

She ran around the yard like this for a good five minutes, there was no stopping her. The more I tried to console her, the more she emphasized That Word.

Hey, at least she knows the correct term for that general area.
That’s good parenting.

I think so.
I think so.

I’m not sure my neighbors thought so, because the tall weeds at the bottom of the hill blocked their view of the bike mishap. For all they know, my daughter loves to ride her bike down a hill, then celebrate with a spirited genitalia dance.

I helplessly looked over at them, patted her back, and waited for the private parts chant to fade. After a few more eternities passed, they slowly turned away and went back into their house.

Maybe next time we’ll make a better impression. Tonight I plan on standing in my kitchen window and whispering into the wind, “It’s the correct anatomical term! And half the population has one! I’m a good mom, honest! I’m a good wholesome person!”

Let’s hope they won’t be able to hear my inner thoughts.

______________________________________________________
My daughter is just fine, no worries. I might be scarred for life, however. 

Have your kids ever screamed embarrassing things in public before?
Once my 3-year-old son sang a rousing rendition of “Old MacDonald had a penis” while he was in a Walmart bathroom full of old ladies.

 

 

 

 

14 Menopause Tips That Might Just Save A Life

 

  1. Never say to the woman, “This must be the menopause talking, right?”

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    The moment before all hell breaks loose.
  2. For hot flashes, freeze a washcloth, then slap your husband upside the head with it.
  3. Still feeling blazing hot? Carry a good portable fan.

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    Oh, darling, I do declare I shall hit you in the head with this here fan!
  4. Make mood swings fun. Get out a timer and count how many intense emotions you feel in three minutes. Then throw the timer at your husband.
  5. Practice saying sincerely to your spouse: “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to, honest. It’s the menopause talking.” Then strike the classic ‘Hold head in hands and look tormented’ pose.
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  6. See a mom with a newborn and think, That will never be me again! Yay!
  7. See a mom with a newborn and think, That will never be me again! STILL YAY!!!
  8. Realize that you’ve entered the I-Don’t-Give-Two-Shits-Anymore stage of your life and it is glorious.
  9. Crying a lot? Keep tissues in your bra. Worked for my grandmother.
  10. Chocolate is soothing. Always have it handy for those moments you feel like punching someone in the throat. I keep a bag of chocolate chips in my bra.
  11. Go full-on “old lady”. Buy the National Enquirer, a gallon of butter pecan ice cream, and a jug of cheap white zinfandel. Say things like, “She’s much too busty” or “That Harrison Ford sure is one hot ticket.” Get a short tight perm and start wearing cat sweaters. Or get ten cats, give them tight perms and name them all Harrison.

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    Work it, girl!
  12. Embrace feeling increasingly invisible to the opposite sex. Shave legs? Eh. Makeup? Please. Clothes? What’s the point?
  13. Eat a lot. Get bloated. Wear leggings. Fart in public. You’re invisible now, go for it.
  14. Rent the movie Sisters with Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. It will make you laugh so hard your chocolate chip and tissue filled bra will explode.

If you have any other menopause tips, please leave them in the comments below. I’m sure my husband will appreciate it. I’m running out of chocolate chips.

On Pins and Needles

One morning I was half asleep and slurping coffee when I thought, Hey! You know what would be good right now? Needles! Lots of tiny needles shoved into various body parts! 

I’ve suffered from chronic low back pain ever since 1997 when I hit a moose going 55 mph. The car, not the moose. Actually, the moose too. Those buggers can run like hell on their spindly legs when they have a good mind to.

Anyway, all moose-killing* stories aside, I figure a little acupuncture couldn’t hurt. Much.

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Looks like fun!

My acupuncturist is a lovely doctor from California who recently opened her practice here. She said it’s hard to find new open-minded patients like me. I informed her this is because most Mainers believe nothing cures ills better than a cold wash cloth and a full bottle of Allen’s coffee brandy. Then she told me to put down my coffee brandy bottle and get on the table.

You think I was nervous getting my first treatment? Try doing it semi-sober. The room was tranquil enough: gentle New Age music, soft massage table, comfy face hole pillow to drool into so I can wake up an hour later and pay the receptionist with pillow creases plastered across my face like a moron.

“Okay, let’s get started, just relax,” the doc suggested. So I relaxed as much as anyone would before a good needle-jabbing. She gently inserted the first needle into my neck. Interesting, I thought. This feels… just like having a needle shoved in your neck! Yes, it was a tiny pinch, nothing major. Still, a needle! In my fracking neck! Am I drooling because stainless steel accidentally pierced my occipital lobe? Is this how I die? A paralyzed pin cushion listening to Enya while trapped on a massage table?

Then she slid about 20 more needles into my neck, spine, legs, and for good measure, about a half-dozen more in my sacral region (aka upper ass-crackage). Like they always say, the more needles in your ass, the better.

“How do you feel?” she asked. Um, like there’s 30 goddamn needles sticking out of my body! I wanted to yell. How long am I supposed to do this? 

“Good. I feel good.” I murmured. “It’s all good. Yeah.” Yeah, this entire situation is normal. I do it all the time. Pffft.

I tried to calm myself down by listening to the soothing music. “…who can say…where the road goes…where the day flows… only time…” Enya sang.
Such an asshole.

Then I heard the door close and the doc was gone. Probably off to the little room where she’ll eat popcorn and laugh at me through a two-way mirror. This was when my brain went into overdrive.

What am I supposed to do now? Just lie here? Oh my god! I can feel the needles! It doesn’t hurt, but I know they’re there! And the ones near my ass are really starting to tingle. Huh. You know what? It’s kinda nice. But what if she hit my sciatic nerve? What if I get a sudden urge to jump off the table? Would the needles fall out? Holy shit, shut up Enya! Die Enya die! Make this music stop! How long am I supposed to lie here? With needles sticking out of me! NEEDLES! THERE ARE NEEDLES IN ME! CALM DOWN, DARLA. CALM DOWN. It’s okay. You can do this. Just breathe in and breath out. Ah, nope, when I breathe I can feel the needles moving. What if one punctures my carotid artery? Just hold your breath, Darla. Just hold your breath until you pass out. This will only take 30 minutes, tops. Whatever you do, don’t move a muscle. It doesn’t hurt. The needles are fine. The Chinese have been doing this for thousands of years! But what if I have to get up to go to the bathroom? I think I have to go to the bathroom. Would the other patients mind if they saw a half-naked dude from Hellraiser creeping through the waiting room? How would I sit down on the toilet? Could I go standing up?  I think I tried it once on a dare back when I was seven, but there were no needles sticking out of me at the time…

v9ebl5jobqt23ox5oxpm
Holy needlenuts, I really have to pee now.

Maybe if I shift my lower body, I won’t have to go anymore…Oh god! I think one of the needles is moving in deeper! It’s–

The door creaked opened. “How you doing, Darla?”

“Wow! Is it over already? Those 30 minutes just FLEW by!” I sputtered into the drool-soaked face hole.

She plucked off the needles and gave me a hug.  I made an appointment for next week and left. But not before she suggested I try a bottle of herbal supplements to help with blood circulation. Among the long list of exotic ingredients: red peony root, licorice root, citrus peel, and eye of newt gingrich.

Even though I’m completely open to alternative medicine, I’m not convinced the pills will work. Red peony root is fine, I guess, and of course licorice root, duh. But what, no elderly Buddhist monk scrotum sweat?! For the amount of money I paid, it should contain at the very least the scrotum sweat of Newt Gingrich.

But I suppose I’ll try anything once. I’ll let you know if I survive next week’s treatment.

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*I would never intentionally harm or kill a moose. Believe me, I was pretty upset when I hit one because I love all animals. Except spiders. Yeah, they can live inside my vacuum for the rest of their days, I don’t care.

 

 

 

Oh, Mother!

 

I think we all know mothers are strong, wise and beautiful women. The moms in my family were no exception.

mothers
Three lovely ladies in hats: my mother, great-grandmother, and gram.

I bet you also realize moms have little time on their hands most days. Which is why I’m posting a short-n-sweet rerun about motherhood, so we can all kick back and savor our breakfast in bed Sunday morning.

I wish all of you moms out there lots of love, laughter, chocolate, and a moment of peace and quiet. You deserve it. Happy Mother’s Day!

My Dear, Sweet, Slightly  Manipulative Daughter

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My daughter is only seven years old, but don’t let her age fool you. When Little Miss J wants something, she doesn’t simply tell you, that would be too easy.

Always a clever girl, she makes little homemade cards to communicate. First, she lures the reader in with her sweet drawings, then goes in for the kill with a well-timed zinger. Over the holidays, she handed me a card and I couldn’t help but laugh. And feel a little afraid. It read:

Dear Mommy,

I hope you have a Merry Christmas! [drawing of Christmas tree]

and get me lots of toys! PLEASE! [drawing of gifts]

and I love you! [drawing of big red heart]

[back of card] and I am standing here watching you read this card 

Love, J

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As I lowered the card, she was right there. Standing. And watching. I get shivers just remembering the intense look in her eyes. She is ruthless.

Her eyes sear a hole in my soul.
Her gaze has the power to burn a hole in my soul.

Today she made me yet another “greeting” card. I had been scolding her all week for not putting her trash in the trash can. Instead she was hiding it all over the house, cramming cheese stick wrappers in my slippers, sliding banana peels under the couch cushions, etc.

I said to her for the millionth time, “You need to put the trash in the trash, okay?”

Clearly fed up with me, she frowned and put her finger to her lips, deep in thought. Then she ran off to get her markers.

Five minutes later she handed me a card:

AWWWW!!!!
AWWWW!!!! Well isn’t this the SWEETEST?
Oh, it's a sweet picture of her and a rainbow!!! My heart might burst!!
Oh, it’s an adorable picture of her and a rainbow!!! My heart might burst!!

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The best part? When she got home from school today and I asked her to turn off the TV, she said, “Where’s that card I made you this morning?”

I have no idea where she gets this behavior.

I Was a 12-Year-Old Psychic

Back in the early ’80s, things were innocent. I cherished my ribbon barrettes, my dog Princess, and my life-sized poster of The Hardy Boys. Sure, Parker was okay, but it was Shaun who stole my heart.

Bringing sleuthing to ridiculously handsomer heights.
Taking sleuthing to ridiculously handsome heights.

And much like the ancient prophet Nostradamus, I predicted stuff, too.

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I predict that one day I’ll shamelessly beg people to go visit another blog.

Uh oh!…I’m having another vision…I see you, dear reader, clicking on the link below and leaving comments and liking my new post on The Nudge Wink Report. Do it now! Don’t prove me a fraud!

2016 Prophecies Revealed!

P.S. I love you.

P.P.S. But not as much as The Hardy Boys, sorry.

P.P.P.S. Unless you click on my link above, then I love you more.

P.P.P.P.S. How long can I keep doing this?

P.P.P.P.P.S. I should probably stop now.

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. Hurry, go click that link!

Adventures in Anesthesia: The Urination Proclamation

Surgery

A few weeks ago I underwent abdominal surgery. If you’ve ever had surgery, the first thing you notice is how many times the nurses and doctors ask you what you’re getting done.  Apparently, this is their safeguard protocol in case you’re there to have a tonsillectomy and instead end up with one less testicle. I’m not sure why they insist on asking the patient at all. Wouldn’t they have learned to write this crucial information down somewhere? Maybe jot it on a post-it note:

TAKE OUT LEFT OVARY.
DO NOT REMOVE HER TONSILS,
NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO!

So there I was in pre-op, all splayed out in a johnny while an RN tried to start an IV.

“And what are you here for?” she asked. I had already been asked this by nearly everyone else in the hospital at this point, including the janitor, and my response was the same every time: “Why, a tummy tuck and boob job, of course!” (The janitor seemed to think this was a good idea.)

Some nurses have a sense of humor, but this time the joke fell flat. Maybe she’s heard this one before? She jammed the needle harder into the top of my hand. “OK, I’m kidding,” I winced. “I’m really here to have a hysterectomy. Yay. She’s removing all my endo and an ovary.”

“Which one?” she asked.

“Well… I only have one ovary left…so, I would say the one that’s still there. Tell you what — if they don’t see an ovary, then don’t take it out. If they do see one, take it out.”

Again, nothing but a solemn glare from Nurse Ratched.

She left the room. “Tough crowd,” I whispered to my husband.

A few minutes before surgery, my surgeon breezed into the room. She thought my tummy tuck joke was funny, but I noticed she didn’t actually agree to do it, so my hopes were crushed once again. Then she lifted my hospital gown and drew a circle over my left ovary.

Great, the success of my operation depends on a Sharpie.

I kissed my husband goodbye and reminded him that I might very well die on the operating table, but not to worry. Did he have my living will? Did he know how to make the kids breakfast? Did he know the Netflix password?

They wheeled me into the OR, and the last thing I remember is looking up at a large bright light, just like in the movies. The anesthesia kicked in and I drifted into a painless deep sleep thinking (and probably saying out loud to the surgical nurse) “Tummmmy tuuuuuuucccccckkkk…don’t forget it’s the only ovary there….no, no, no! Don’t take out my testicle!…just a nice tuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmy tuuuuuuck….”

My three hour surgery was over. After a strange block of timeless time, I started to drift back to the land of the living. I was doped up to my eyeballs on fentanyl so the pain was thankfully absent. But I had this horrible crushing sensation that my bladder was full and about to explode. It was unbelievably uncomfortable. The kind of urgency you feel when you’re stuck in traffic for hours after consuming a 64 ounce Big Gulp and you want to say “fuck it” and urinate into the nearest receptacle.

Before I go any further, I have to explain that Maine women are a unique independent breed. We tend to be strong, stodgy, stubborn and stupid. My grandmother lived to 100 and she used to take my brother’s dirt bike for a spin well into her nineties. My mother still moves heavy furniture around and she’s 82. I once mowed the lawn with a push mower while 9 months pregnant. After the baby popped out, I scooped him up and continued mowing. We don’t need no help, dammit! We’re built like tanks and can power on through anything.

Except holding in our pee.

There I was in recovery, drifting in and out of consciousness, alternating between yelling that I had to go pee and drooling helplessly all over my gown. I faintly overheard an RN telling my husband I needed to sleep. Sleep? My bladder is burning hot and bursting and she wants me to sleep?! After pleading, “I gotta go pee! Please let me pee!” a thousand times in a half hour, I had had enough. Goddammit, I’m going to find that janitor! He’ll let me pee!

“It’s just your bladder having spasms, dear,” Nurse Ratched kept insisting. “You don’t have to pee. It’ll go away in a few minutes.”

Of course, the nurse probably insisted I remain lying down so I wouldn’t hurt myself. Maybe this is because I just had major surgery. And okay, in my drugged-up haze I thought my husband was Sting and the nurses giant pesky bumblebees flitting about my consciousness. But at this point, deep in agony, I was unstoppable. The sweet relief of urination was within my grasp.

I swung my feet over the edge of the bed and things began to spin. For a few moments the entire room seemed to disappear into a milky white fog. I didn’t know where my feet were. When I reached up to scratch my head, my hand moved across my field of vision like it was encased in syrup. Where was my head? Who’s hand is this? Help me, Sting!

“I can’t find my head,” I slurred to my husband as he tried to steady me. An RN and a CNA magically appeared by my other side. Ugh, Nurse Ratched! NO! You will not stop me, devil woman! I plodded forward a step only to be snagged on something. I tugged at the annoying IV line, oblivious to what the hell it was and why it was holding me back. Am I in the jungle? Is this a snake?

Before I knew it I was out in the hallway/jungle with two nurses and my husband all trying to hold onto me. They were talking to me, but my brain concentrated only on the excruciating bladder cramps. My untied johnny hung loose in the front, leaving my ass to flap in the cold breeze. I shuffled along like a tranquilized bear, occasionally pausing to try and brush off Sting and the bumblebees.  “I GOTTA GO PEE!” I hollered at random patients and nurses in the hall.

I finally made it to what I judged to be an adequate hole in the ground by the bamboo trees, grabbed onto someone’s arm, sat down and let it go.

Into the toilet, of course. I’m not an animal.

And Nurse Ratched was right. False alarm. I didn’t have to go after all. Maddening.

Still ranting to no one in particular, “Why won’t they let me pee?!” they led me back to my bed. I repeated this charade at least three more times (that I remember), each time getting angrier and louder. I was in recovery for a very long time. My surgery was at noon and I didn’t get permission to leave until 8 pm. I was close to being admitted overnight, but I think the nurses for some reason were happy to see me go.

Later on, when I was a bit more lucid and back to my normal sweet self, my husband told me how funny it was when I shoved the nurses aside and dragged my IV down the hall while almost completely naked to go to the bathroom, when I didn’t actually have to go at all.

“Yeah, that must have been something,” I said, mortified at the thought.

I faintly remember after I was discharged, I continued to whine about peeing while the nurse wheeled me (hurriedly) out to our car. I think I might have grabbed her hand to pet it like she was a kitten, and told her that she was very nice but kind of mean, too.

I blame the fentanyl.

_______________________________________________________

Thanks for all the well-wishes. My surgery was a big success. All went perfectly and I didn’t die. I feel wonderful. Back to blogging!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Inside Story

Warning: This isn’t my typical lame humor post. In this one things get real. And graphic. I’m talking about (gasp) female reproductive health issues! Feel free to close your eyes and run away screaming. I won’t take it personally.  

Okay…are they gone? What? You guys are still here? Look, I’m not kidding. This isn’t the good fun reproductive stuff, it’s the uglier side about pain and disease. Fine, stay if you want but I tried to warn you…

Once upon a time I was a young girl who suffered agonizing pain during periods. I ate Advil like candy and spent several days every month writhing in bed with a heating pad on my belly. It was difficult to get up and walk around, much less go to school. People told me this was “normal” and that I was being a baby. I believed them and sucked it up.

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Funny, this is exactly how I looked when I had bad cramps.

In my late 20s I met my husband. We got married, and not soon after we decided to try to get pregnant. I felt becoming a mom was my destiny, a lifelong yearning rooted deep in my bones. We tried for over a year with no luck. Around this time I started to have strange vague symptoms: bloating, pelvic pain, urinary, digestive issues. I saw many doctors over several years. One said I was “depressed”. One told me I had IBS. Another said it was stress-related.

Well, I thought, if they think it’s all in my head, I must be crazy. I trudged on, trying to live my life while ignoring that nagging feeling something was very wrong. Finally, feeling humiliated and defeated, I gave it one last shot and saw a Nurse Practitioner. She patiently listened to me and gave me a pelvic exam. The next words she said changed my life: “You have a large mass. I’m sending you for an ultrasound immediately.”

During the ultrasound I wasn’t scared. I felt pure relief. That may be hard to understand, but when you’ve basically been patted on the head by doctors for so many years, when one finally believes you, and there’s proof something IS wrong, it’s like a godsend.

The ultrasound tech was very quiet for a long time. Not a good sign. Then she kept asking me if I had to use the bathroom. Finally, she left the room to get a doctor. Yikes. After several minutes, they returned. She finally turned the ultrasound monitor toward me and pointed. “See that?” she asked.

“What? I don’t see anything.” It looked all black to me with no discernible shapes that resembled organs.

“That is a mass. It is so large it’s covering all your organs. Your bladder is flattened. I’m surprised you can hold urine at all at this point.” She put her hand on my shoulder.  “Are you all right?” I was surprised at the technician’s warmth and kindness. It was probably the most compassionate interaction with medical staff I had had in decades, aside from the NP.

It turned out I had a large ovarian cyst, about 15 cm in diameter, or six inches, roughly the size of a soccer ball. I know, crazy. Why couldn’t it have been a baseball? Why not fruit of some kind? Pomegranates are nice. And how in the hell did I not know it was there? I suppose I thought I was just gaining weight or very bloated. Not to mention the rest of my abdominal organs were all squished to make room for this… thing. As much as I was happy to know what was wrong with me, I felt like a total freak. Like I should be on the cover of one of those old Ripley’s Believe it or Not! books: “Woman lives with giant tumor for months and doesn’t know it!”

Soon I met with a wonderful  OB/GYN (who went on to deliver both of my babies) and he said I had to have major surgery as well as a biopsy of the cyst to rule out cancer.  I was 31. My gut reaction? (pun totally intended) Get it out now. What in hell are you waiting for?

It was during this surgery that my doctor made another startling discovery. I had endometriosis. Everywhere. To put it simply, it’s when the uterus lining for some reason spreads and grows in other places it shouldn’t. Then every month it bleeds and becomes inflamed as if it were inside the uterus. And it was all over my bowel and my bladder and my ovaries and my fallopian tubes and oh, let’s just say it was all over the goddamned place.

Huh.

So I had one obliterated ovary, one disintegrated fallopian tube, and the stupid giant cyst thing removed. It was benign. “But doc,” I cried. “Can I still get pregnant with only one pathetic, diseased, lonely ovary?”

“Yes,” he said. And I believed him.

After several miscarriages, (and along the way another diagnosis of a blood clotting disorder to boot, called the MTHFR gene or as I like to call it, the Motherf—er Mutation ), I eventually had my two babies. I’d even go so far as to call them miracles.

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Unfortunately, the endometriosis didn’t go away entirely. (Maybe you’ve seen on the news this week that actress Lena Dunham knows what that’s like.  I wish I knew who in the hell she is.) For years I tried several IUDs and drug therapies to keep it at bay. For some reason, the endo didn’t get the memo. To say I was in constant pain is an understatement.

After much deliberation, I had a partial hysterectomy at 39. Worst surgery of my life.  And that was my fifth one. When my surgeon, in her words, “got in there to look around” (a phrase that makes me think of someone opening a suitcase and rummaging around for some socks) she discovered a horror show of Stage 4 endo. It was just a mess of adhesions and nodules and lesions, oh my. My organs — my bladder, uterus and bowel — were stuck together, some of them frozen in place, most of them crunched and flattened. What was supposed to be a quick 45 minutes turned into nearly 3 hours. She had to call in another surgeon to help her excise everything. I think there may have been a chainsaw or a weed wacker involved at one point. And to top it off, I was bleeding somewhere after the five incisions and they couldn’t stop it. Apparently, a nurse came out and told my husband it was “touch and go” at one point.

“It was a pretty hairy situation,” was how my surgeon put it later on when she sat by my hospital bed. “You really had us worried. You gave me a run for my money.”

Well. It’s how I do.

But I lived through it. I’m sure you guessed that part already. I even came home after a few days and managed to take care of my two year old not long after the surgery, a point I like to bring up to my husband whenever he has a cold. So, all in all I had a few good healthy years and felt like a new woman again. Until I felt like crap again.

Which brings me to today. It’s been over 6 years since my last surgery and you guessed it, another one is coming. I didn’t make this decision lightly. My doctor is open to alternative medicine and last year put me on a strict diet to curb the endo. I tried herbs, vitamins. I’ve seen chiropractors to help with my lower back pain.  I even tried Lupron last summer. (A horrible, terrible, no-good chemo drug used for men with prostate cancer. Too bad I’m neither a man nor do I have a prostate.)  I’m going to start seeing an acupuncturist this month. I’m not sure what’s left to try. Maybe a full body transplant? Give me Sofia Vergara’s.

So, another surgery it is. Will it finally cure the endo? I’ve read good things and bad. Mostly, the answer is maybe. Honestly, I have run out of options at this point. And chronic pain tends to wear you down enough to make you actually want to have major surgery. I admit I’m a little scared shitless this time. I suppose this is why I’m writing about it because it helps me gain some distance from that fear brewing in the back of my mind.

Last week, my doctor said it’s time to take out my remaining sad ovary and clean out the endo again, except this time I’ll be plunged into instant menopause. I don’t know about you, but just the sound of that gives me a hot flash. And to top it off, because of the extensive bowel endo I had last time, there’s a possibility of a bowel resection. (Oh, my god! I swore if there were anything I would never write about on this blog it would be a bowel resection!) She’s going to have a general surgeon on standby just in case they decide to yank part of it out. If they don’t, well, there’s a good chance I’ll end up with another surgery just for that in the near future.

“Oh, hell,” I told her. “Just take it all out! I don’t need no stinkin’ bowel! Could you give me a good tummy tuck while you’re at it? Maybe inject all that excess fat into my boobs? I swear I have a punch card somewhere that says Buy 6 Surgeries, Get One Free.”

The best part was when my surgeon, someone who’s been doing this for decades, said to me, “I’m not gonna lie, I am dreading your surgery. Dreading. It.”

When I told her, “that makes two of us” she responded with, “Yeah, but you’re the lucky one! You’ll be asleep! I’ll be awake!”

Good point. Let’s hope so anyway.

Thanks for reading this long, long, graphic TMI reproductive history of mine. I just had to get this out and let you all know I’ll be taking a very long break and won’t be around much. At least I get to lie in bed for a few weeks and read, right? But before I go, let’s review a few key points to ponder:

  • Always trust your gut instinct.
  • Always get a second, third, and in my case, seventh opinion.
  • Always make sure your surgeon is fully awake during your surgery.
  • Take care of yourself because it’s all you got, ya dig?
  • Tell me again, who in the bloody hell is Lena Dunham? I’m stumped.

After it’s all over and I’m fully recovered, maybe I’ll come back here and start blogging about silly stuff again. And if you care to send some positive vibes, say a little prayer, or just say to yourself, “Damn, girl! See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya!” I’d appreciate it.

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Endometriosis, Women’s Health

Endometriosis Awareness Month, What Are The Symptoms Of This Commonly Misdiagnosed Disease

The Personal, Painful Ordeal of Women with Endometriosis

Endometriosis.org, global forum for news and information

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lost Seinfeld Episode: The Soap Suc (Part 2)

image: craveonline

Last time on Seinfeld, The Soap Suc Part 1: George is moaning about his injured foot, Jerry’s pouring himself another bowl of cereal, and Kramer is about to determine whether Elaine’s breasts are lopsided.

ELAINE (pushes Kramer’s hand away, looks down at her watch): Oh, would you look at the time? I gotta go. I’m late for Mr. Pitt’s emergency meeting.

JERRY: What about?

ELAINE (crams her unwashed bras into her coat pocket): Oh, I don’t know. He probably wants me to run out to buy him some sharper knives to cut his Snickers bar or something.

Elaine leaves. Kramer plunks down on the couch next to George.

KRAMER (double take): Whoa. You are a mess.

GEORGE: I know.  Thanks.

JERRY: Aw, what happened to you, Georgie boy?

GEORGE: I was taking a shower and the stupid bar of soap fell right onto my foot! Right on top of it! (sniffles) I think it’s broken. I might have a hairline fracture.

KRAMER: Man, do I hate when that happens.

JERRY: What — the soap dish in your shower doesn’t work?

GEORGE: It never works! The soap just slips off the little shelf there. My entire shower is me getting pummeled by the soap over and over again.

KRAMER: They should make a little suction gadget, you know, like a suction cup you can stick to the soap and the shower wall so it’s there whenever you need it.

JERRY: Why don’t you just use a loofah and some body wash instead?

GEORGE: A loofah? What am I, Cleopatra over here?

JERRY: Well, you could stop taking showers altogether. Just take baths. Less chance of being hit by the soap.

GEORGE: Nah, too much waiting involved.

JERRY: How often do you take a shower anyway? Every day?

GEORGE: Eh, I could go a day without one. Maybe two.

KRAMER: I’ve gone a month.

George and Jerry cringe.

KRAMER: What? It’s good for the skin, let’s it breathe. Besides, did you know that Howard Hughes had an extreme fear of bathing? I think he was onto something.

JERRY (to Kramer): Don’t you have to be somewhere?

KRAMER: Oh yeah! (snaps fingers) I’d better get going on that soap suction thing.

GEORGE: Hey, whatever happened to that last idea of yours? You know, the uh… cookie-pretzel-muffin combination?

KRAMER: Yeah, the muffzookie.

GEORGE: I liked that one. You should do that.

KRAMER: Too crumbly.

GEORGE: Oh.

KRAMER (stands): Well, boys, I’m off to see Bob Sacamano. He’s just the man to help with my idea.

JERRY: Yeah, good luck with that.

Next scene: Jerry and George are sitting in a booth at Monk’s Cafe.

image: NBC
image: NBC

GEORGE (slurping coffee): I’m so dehydrated, Jerry. I’m always so thirsty. (to waitress) I need more coffee here! MORE COFFEE! (to Jerry) I’m parched. I can’t quench my thirst. There’s no quenching!

JERRY: Running those marathons again, George? You know, you really ought to pace yourself.

GEORGE (chuckles): Well, you could call it a marathon. (lowers voice) You know…with all the sex that I’m having.

JERRY: Ah, yes, with Shower Girl, right?

GEORGE: Yes! It’s nonstop! But she only wants to do it in the shower! You know, like the movies.

JERRY: What movies?

GEORGE: I don’t know, all the movies!

JERRY: So, what’s the problem?

GEORGE: What’s the problem? Have you ever had sex in the shower?

JERRY (chuckles): I don’t think that’s any of your business. (sips coffee)

GEORGE: Well, if you had you’d know that it’s terrible. Just sheer terror from start to finish. I mean, think about it. You’re in this cramped space, there’s water flowing everywhere, everything’s getting all sudsy. Elbows and knees are flying. It’s chaos!

JERRY: Well, at least you’re having sudsy sex.

GEORGE: Oh, so you broke up with Monica?

JERRY: Yeah. I just couldn’t do it anymore. She had this wonky eye.

GEORGE: You mean like she couldn’t see out of one eye? Now that I could work with. I like a girl who can’t see very well. I’ve often thought I should start dating a pirate.

JERRY: No, she could see fine, but it was like one eye was always wandering slightly to the side. It was very off-putting. I could never tell what she was looking at.

GEORGE (nods): Huh.

Kramer enters the restaurant and slides into the booth next to Jerry.

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KRAMER: Hey, guess who I just saw?

JERRY: Who?

KRAMER: Putin.

GEORGE: Vladimir Putin? The President of Russia?

KRAMER (clicks tongue): That’s the one.

JERRY (incredulous): You saw Putin. Here in New York.

KRAMER (steals a french fry off George’s plate): Yeah, he was buying Snowden a hot dog with extra sauerkraut down on 5th street.  Anyway, I’ve got big news, boys. Behold, the product that will blow your minds! (hands a couple pieces of plastic to George and Jerry)

JERRY: What am I supposed to do with this?

KRAMER: Stick it. See, they’re little suction cup holders I made. I need you guys to test them out. They have suction on both sides. You just slap them on whatever item you want, soap, shampoo, whatever, and (makes popping noise) stick ’em.

JERRY: Don’t they already have these?

KRAMER: Yeah, but Bob Sacamano got his hands on this new top-secret adhesive that doesn’t require a nonporous surface. So you can stick ’em all over the place. Use them for anything anywhere.

JERRY: Right. Just what the world needs — more useless plastic.

GEORGE: And what are you going to call these things? Stick-Its?

KRAMER: Well, we call those the Soap Sucs. S-U-C, short for ‘suction’.

JERRY: I think you forgot the K on the end there.

KRAMER: Soon we’ll roll out bigger suction cups for bigger items, like the TV Suc. Maybe even an Infant Suc. Need to put your child down for a second? (makes popping sound) Just stick ’em to the wall! I see a suction cup world, baby. (wiggles eyebrows)

GEORGE: All right, I’m sold. Look, I gotta go. (stands up and throws money on the table)

JERRY: More shower sex?

GEORGE: You’d think she’d wanna do it in the bed at least once in awhile. She’s killing me, Jerry. If there’s anything I’ve learned in all the years I’ve had sex it’s that I much prefer horizontal. It’s comfortable. I can rest when I need to. I’m just not built for stand-up sex. I never pictured myself doing it in the shower.

JERRY (cringes): I’ve never pictured you doing it period.

GEORGE (holds up the Soap Suc): Stick it, Jerry.

Theme music plays, commercial break

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Stay tuned for The Soap Suc Part 3…

This post is dedicated to my father who passed away in 1991. Not only is Seinfeld one of my all-time favorite sitcoms (along with Cheers, Friends and Roseanne) it holds a very special place in my heart. I remember watching the first few seasons with him back in 1989-90 when it was called The Seinfeld Chronicles. The ratings were terrible in the beginning. But my dad had a great sense of humor and he loved the show from the start. He thought Seinfeld was innovative and insisted it would go far. I still watch old Seinfeld episodes all the time and damn, was my dad right. 

 

 

 

Conversations with Coat Racks

Do you often find yourself struggling to read a magazine only to curse the length of your arm?

Do you own five pairs of really useless reading glasses?

Do you find Jeb Bush incredibly sexy?

Curse you, Jeb, and those smoldering bedroom eyes!
Curse you, Jeb, and those smoldering bedroom eyes!

Time to face facts– you are probably suffering from RDV, or rapidly declining vision. Don’t worry, this tends to happen as you grow old.

But not me, because my eyes are just fine, dammit!

This may or may not be what I saw at my last eye exam.
This may or may not be what I saw at my last eye exam.

My family and friends insist I’m in a deep state of denial. Well, guess what? I deny that I’m denying. Some of you readers may relate. So, grab the nearest eyeglasses, magnifying glass, or Hubble Space Telescope and click over to the Nudge Wink Report below to read all about the tragic story of Marla — a middle-aged woman who prefers to suffer in her blurry world rather than admit she once mistook Nair for toothpaste.

Despite Increasing Denial, Woman’s Eyesight Continues to Decline.