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I am a soon-to-be middle aged below knee amputee. I am also the Mommy to a very active little boy. I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

First Day of School!!

After much debate, Robby finally settled on his back to school outfit. He was torn between a turtle shirt, handmade for him by a friend, and an outfit his Nana bought for him. He finally decided to wear Nana's outfit because he was worried that her feelings would be hurt if he didn't wear it for its intended purpose.  The coveted Koopa shirt will proudly be worn to school on Wednesday.

I'm not going for drastic changes, but this year I am going to try to be more organized. I venture to guess that Robby only made it to school on time a dozen times last year after Timmy was born. Typically habitually prompt, I just couldn't seem to adjust our routine to accommodate Timmy's needs. This year will be different, and my little learning Koopa will arrive on time everyday.  At least, that is my goal!

It is hard to believe that Robby is starting the third grade! I remember dropping him off for Kindergarten like it was yesterday. I will never forget the tears and the pleas to stay as I left him in his classroom. I'll also always remember scaling the fence and hiding behind a bush so that I could spy in his classroom window. 

Three years have passed since that horrible morning, and I would like to think that both Robby and I have evolved. He is excited about going to school, largely because of his success from last year. This is the first time he will be going to the same school for the second year, and I am thankful for that consistency. With so much change in our lives, it is nice that this September school can be a comfortable constant. 

Even though I am not feeling my stereotypical dread, I will admit to having some butterflies. I'm excited and nervous for Robby. I know that he is going to have a fantastic year, and I can't wait to watch him grow and learn.  My mind is already swirling with my Room Mom possibilities!

Monday, September 01, 2014

My HAPPY Labor Day Post.

I have always hated Labor Day. As a child, I couldn't comprehend why people would celebrate the end of summer. Heralding the end of the warm days filled with playing and swimming, knowing that they would soon be filled with sitting behind a desk and homework, felt unnatural. Upon graduating and becoming a teacher, the anti-Labor Day sentiments remained. 

This is perhaps the first year I am not filled with remorse and dread when we flipped the calendar page to September. This year I have anxiously been awaiting Labor Day. The holiday has become my symbol, my beacon of hope through the past few months. Labor Day symbolically marked the end of my Surgical Summer, and the beginning of a new chapter which I intend to fill with happy memories.

Today is Labor Day and, although I am still feeling the discomfort from my last surgery, I feel victorious.  During the past few months I have been through hell, but we are now seeing the light on the other side. I am hopeful that my health obstacles are behind us and that I can concentrate on being a great Mom, wife, friend and employee. 

Robby starts school tomorrow, but this year I am not shedding tears. He is excited to return to the classroom, and his enthusiasm is contagious. I am so glad that he loves his school and teachers. The fact that his very best friend is going to be in his class this year is a much appreciated added bonus! I'm sure I'll miss him during the day, but between work and taking care of Timmy I have no doubt that the hours will fly by.

Timmy has never really known his Mom to be healthy, and I am looking forward to an Autumn full of adventures and experiences. The Surgical Summer is behind us. Today I am celebrating the beginning of our Awesome Autumn and the fact that my doctors now consider me to be CANCER FREE!


Friday, August 29, 2014

Quietly Waiting

I should know better than to consider any plans to be definitive. When a baby is involved, plans can change in an instant. I was expecting Timmy to come home yesterday. My Mom and I had the schedule worked out, and we were all chomping at the bit to welcome our little guy home. Unfortunately, Timmy developed a fever and everything changed.

Wednesday morning my Mom phoned and let me know that Timmy had a fever. As the day progressed his temperature continued to rise despite regular dosing of Tylenol. By the time evening set in my Mom was en route to Urgent Care. Being away from him during his first illness can only be defined as tortuous. 

My Mom, recognizing my growing panic, had the foresight to conference me into the room when Timmy was examined. I was able to communicate directly with the doctor, which certainly helped to set my mind at ease. Even though I couldn't physically with him, I felt better simply knowing that I was in the loop and involved. 

The doctor seemed confident in her diagnosis of Roseola, a common childhood virus. Although I wanted to trust her, I called Timmy's pediatrician to inform her about the situation and diagnosis. I was proud of myself for remaining so calm and composed, despite my racing heart and frantic thoughts.

I was delighted when she called me back, almost as soon as I finished leaving the message. Deliberately trying to sound reassuring, she began to calmly speak.

"Mrs. Chenoweth, you need to take a deep breath and remember to breathe. Timothy is going to be okay. Please, I know that you are upset that you can't be with him, but breath and stay calm."  I felt that her constant reassurance was odd considering that I really thought I was calm. Apparently I was not nearly as stoic as I envisioned!

Timmy is still at my Mom's house and will come home as soon as his fever dissipates. I know that he is in great hands, but I selfishly want him home with me. I want to be the one rocking him and providing the comfort he needs right now. Yes, I suppose I am struggling with the omnipresent Mom guilt again.

With Timmy convalescing with my Mom, the miles seem to have grown exponentially. I've been left to sit and fret. I knew I had to get my anxiety in check when I tried to get a mug for my coffee and my neck went into an intense spasm. I spent the rest of the day alternating the heating pad from my stomach to my neck.  I can't help but feel that my body is betraying me.

Thankfully, Timmy is continuing to improve. It is amazing how quickly little ones bounce back!  I'm hopeful that he will return home in the next few days. Today I have an appointment with my surgeon to go over both my post-op progress and my biopsy results. Hopefully I'll hear good news on all accounts, and my life (and neck) can return to normal!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Reunited

Timmy is coming home home! I have missed my little buddy so much during the past few days. Although he doesn't freely admit it, when asked he still claims to "not be a big fan" of his baby brother, but I know that Robby has also missed him. My bet is that he sneaks him a kiss when he doesn't think we're looking.

My Mom is staying on for a few days to help with Timmy while we gauge my recovery. I am so fortunate that she is willing and able to help me out this summer. She has never missed a beat in her support and encouragement.

I go to the surgeon tomorrow and I am eagerly anticipating answers! Although I've tried to avoid thinking about the pathology report, I am ready to learn the results. I must confess that I'm nervous, teetering on terrified.

Living in limbo is difficult! I'm expecting good news, but am prepared to face whatever I might encounter.  Until I hear something definitive and to the contrary, I am choosing to believe that everything is just fine. When I feel weak and scared I think about my boys. They both remind me that I'm a fighter, and that I can handle more than I realize.

In the meantime, I am going to cuddle and rock my little teether. I can't wait to hold him and see his sweet little face.  I may not be able to pick him up and carry him around, but I am certainly healed enough to assume my position in the rocking chair. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Home Alone

The house is eerily quiet without Timmy and Scott. In some ways being alone with Robby is oddly reassuring. I suppose it reminds me of all the years it was just the two of us during the day, playing and learning together. Please don't get me wrong; I still miss Timmy terribly and I can't wait until he comes home. But in the meantime while I'm healing, I am going to try to enjoy rekindling the special bond I have with Robby.

Contrary to Scott's predictions, Robby has not wallowed away the time playing XBox and watching gaming videos on YouTube. Instead, we have been playing UNO and other quiet games. He has crafted and performed little plays, utilizing his turtle collection as both props and characters. We have spent hours just talking, sometimes about a specific topic but many times just sharing ideas and random thoughts. I have been reminded of his humor, compassion and ambitions during our quiet afternoons together.

Robby wants to change the world, starting with my prosthetics. Remembering the difficulties I have climbing up the narrow stairs for the water slides, he has carefully sketched what he perceives to be the perfect leg.  I have no doubt that his walk/run/climb/swim leg will revolutionize the industry!

After solving my prosthetic woes, he plans on becoming an archaeologist, gold miner and ice cream store owner. Rest assured, he has not abandoned his aspirations to make his own moonshine. He plans on taking up the craft as a hobby as soon as he is allowed to use the tools to build his own still. 

In a few short days he will be back in school, and Timmy will become my afternoon buddy. Although I hate that I am recovering from surgery, I am beginning to feel thankful for these quiet hours with Robby. He is growing up so quickly. I need to remember to continue to carve out quiet time, not necessarily for an adventure, but just to talk and hang out. If there is a silver lining behind my surgical summer, it is most certainly the quiet time spent together.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Quiet Healing

Despite my visceral overreaction to sending Timmy to his Nana's house, removing the stress and temptations that stem from wanting to take care of him has been a godsend. I miss him terribly, but the constant guilt I felt about not being able to pick him up or carry him has been eliminated. I have been able to sit with the heating pad on my stomach and heal, which is precisely what I need to be doing right now.

Timmy is both safe and happy, enjoying visiting his Nana and being spoiled by everybody in the house. I Skype with him a few times a day, not because I think he needs to see me but because I need to see his little face. If my Mom is tired of anything it is probably my pestering her about him.  She hasn't refused to answer my calls- yet.

With Scott being busy with back to school meetings all week, the house is quiet with just Robby and me. My little Koopa has enthusiastically assumed the role of helper, providing me with a near constant flow of tea, cookies and crackers. I know that I have said this before, but I couldn't ask for a better helper.

I think that these quiet days are precisely what I need to regroup and heal. Having somebody simply stay here and take care of Timmy, although much appreciated, wouldn't be as beneficial. I am too tempted to pick him up and feel guilty watching somebody else care for him. I needed to have the impulse to pick him up, even once, removed completely or I would have ended up hurting myself and delaying my recovery.  My mom, who perhaps knows my tendencies best, knew that I would recover quicker if the Mommy temptation was removed. 

I understand that this family decision has been upsetting for some, so I wanted to take this opportunity to clarify our intentions. We are not trying to exclude anybody from participating in our lives. Instead, I am doing the best I can to survive what has turned into the most difficult summer of my life.

At this moment in time, Timmy is where we need him to be so that I can heal. This isn't because we lack offers of in-home help, but rather because I do not want to contend with the overwhelming feelings of guilt and frustration that arise from not being able to help with the simplest of tasks.  Any insinuation to the contrary is simply incorrect.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everybody for supporting us through our difficult summer. We have been living in Survival Mode for the past few months, but the patient and selfless understanding that our family and friends have bestowed has made a world of difference. We are blessed to have such a strong support system. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Crying

Between the pain and the medication prescribed to alleviate it, the past weekend is a blur. I can get around the house, but moving is both slow and deliberate. Not being able to bend, twist or lift anything has certainly impacted my ability to do much of anything productive.

My mom had been at our house since Wednesday afternoon. While I wish that she could have stayed longer, I know that she has things that she needs to get done at home. We are very similar in respect to relishing routine and home. I know that she was missing her bed, and perhaps more importantly, her puppies. It would have been selfish to ask her to stay, although I'm sure she would have if I had asked.

Because I can't lift or bend, I am virtually useless caring for Timmy. Scott returns to work full-time today leaving us with few viable options. Timmy is enjoying an extended sleepover with his Nana. I know that he is being spoiled and loved, but my heart aches that I am not the one who is caring for him.

I hate not being able to take care of Timmy! I realize that the recovery is temporary, but sending him away makes me feel like a maternal failure. I should be the one taking care of him, and I detest the fact that I am unable to do so right now.

I spent the majority of yesterday sobbing after watching my mom and Timmy drive away. I felt foolish crying so hard, but I simply couldn't stop the tears from flowing. I would blame my overreaction on my new found menopause, but I suspect that it is too early to make that a viable culprit.  I think it was more a result of exhaustion and my fragile emotional state.

Unfortunately, crying after major abdominal surgery is not advantageous to comfort or healing. The harder I cried, the more I hurt, and the pain simply made me more upset. I dove deep into the disastrous abyss of self-pity, and the only thing I could do was fall asleep and try to claw my way back to reality.

Thank goodness for Skype! I am sure I drove my mom to the brink, but I might have pestered her to video chat with my little guy. He seemed unimpressed by seeing me, but watching him play did wonders for me!