One of these nights…

One of these crazy ole nights…. Crap, now I’m singing The Eagles. Hold on, I have to go put on a CD. 

Ok, better now. I had another one of those sleepless nights last night. Nothing was wrong. We actually had a fantastic time last night for our anniversary. Dinner was fabulous and we had a lot of laughs. The waitress thought we were cute. (Well, that’s what she said. She was probably just hoping for a better tip, which did get.)

But I woke up at 1. Then at 2:15. Then at 3. Then at about 4:30. I never really fell back asleep after that and by 5, I was wide awake. WIDE awake. All night I was hot. I was cold. I couldn’t get comfortable. The dog needed more water. Then the list of things I needed to get done started rolling through my head. UGH! 

Michael’s alarm went off at 5:30 and I gave up and got up. Started the laundry. (It never ever ever ever ever stops.) I got the dog more water. Which reminds me, I’m starting to think something is wrong with him. He has been drinking so much water lately. The past month or so he goes through between 10-15 bowls of water a day! That’s not normal. Is it??  I did the dishes. I watched the news. And as exhausted as I feel, I can’t sleep. 

Is this menopausal crap? Is it stress? Is it normal “I’m getting old and better get used to it” fatigue? Is this why old people eat dinner at 4 PM?? They’ve been up since 4 am. By 4 PM, they’re ready to hit the sack for the night!

I’ve tried melatonin. It works for awhile. It puts me to sleep very quickly. But it doesn’t keep me asleep. My 1 am wake up call comes no matter what. I need to find something that will keep me asleep, but not knock me out so I don’t hear the smoke detectors. Or my phone. Or the emergency news report. Or a car pull in my driveway. Or the dog panting for more water.

And I wonder why I can’t sleep……  

Girls Night In…the follow up

I was going to blog yesterday about how amazingly awesome Wednesday night was, but I spent the most of the day not sure I really alive. After consuming a bottle of Malibu, mostly by myself, I’m pretty sure my morning started off yesterday with me looking as well as I felt. 

We managed to polish off 2 bottles of wine, 1 1/2 bottles of Malibu, and most of a bottle of cherry vodka. Oh and beer too. I stayed away from the beer. My friend Malibu was all I needed. Plus we had little umbrellas for the drinks too! I mean, hello?? Do you know me??? They weren’t all pink umbrellas, but they were still cute. We had lots of food but even more laughter! I think it will be a night to remember for a looooong time. But this was an evening we planned and will be doing again….soon!!

In my morning after haze filled with coffee and silence, I was texting with a friend about all that went on that night and laughing about stuff, and she decides, get this…..that we should go for a run. REALLY??? She could’ve suggested we lay on blankets in the backyard with the radio and some SPF 15. She could’ve suggested we take a nap!!! But no. And what did I do??? I AGREED!!! I’m telling you it was the alcohol still coursing through the veins because I don’t know what possessed me to agree to that! So I showered because in all honestly, I looked like death and even though I would be running and sweating and requiring another shower, I would rather shower twice than be seen in public like that! (And you just know that those are the times you run into the one person you wish you hadn’t and they think you just look like that ALL THE TIME!! You know exactly what I’m talking about!) I laced up and out the door we went. I didn’t wear my watch because, honestly, I would rather not time it than bring our average down with a bad run. So with no watch, too much coffee, not enough Exedrin in the world and our shoes on, we started. And we thought, wow! We aren’t doing too bad! I mean, ya know, for what we expected! For the first mile, even mile and a half, we were pretty good. “Oh! We GOT this!!” Uh huh. By mile 2 our pace slowed. By mile 2 and a half, I felt like my legs were filled with concrete. By the 3rd mile, I was actually thinking in my head that I could just lay down right there in the middle of the street and take a nap right there. Cars could go around me. Or, if I was run over, I would be put out of my misery quicker. But the last almost quarter mile, we finished strong.

I downed a carton of Pineapple Coconut Water and felt a little life spring back. After another shower, and Ryan hanging out at a friends house, the couch was calling my name. Well, not just calling, more like pleading for me to come lay on it. Who I am to ignore pleading? 

I’m alive today, feeling better, feeling stronger, I can handle noise above a whisper. So what would be a great plan??? Michael has to work late, Ryan is going to a party, and I think I’m heading out for drinks with the girls. Oh yea. And please don’t remind about yoga tomorrow morning. Not yet. 

 

Girls Night in

So tonight I’m throwing a Girls Night In party with some of my closest friends, lots of drinks, some food and some naughtiness thrown in. A few of my friends and I had been talking about doing this for a while, and we thought, “What are we waiting for?? Let’s just do it!!” So I looked into it, made a few calls and BAM. Here we are.

In preparation for tonight, I have been trying to clean and get organized, making room for everyone who is coming. It has also given me a new insight on to how crap I have that is not necessarily in boxes in the basement!!! Here’s how I know it can be labeled “crap”. When I remove it from the place it has probably been sitting for months (who I am kidding?? YEARS!!) has not been moved, touched or even acknowledged, it’s time to go. I cleaned off one entire counter in the kitchen to make way for drinks, food, drinks, napkins and drinks and I realized how much of that stuff is just clutter than doesn’t need to be there. I cleaned the dining room thinking WHY do I have this here?? It’s just taking up space. OMG, is this the beginning of some minimalist attitude??? ACK!!! I need to get on Amazon STAT!!!

I know that we will have a great time, because, well, we always have a great time! I also don’t think that for a fun bunch of girls to get together means we have to go out to a bar. I mean, I was ALL about the bar scene when I was younger. Especially after my first divorce. I had ever other weekend free, I was young, Woooooo Hoooooooo!! But at some point, the music became too loud, the well drinks were NOT as good as I could make them and the crowd kept getting younger and younger. I am not some stuffy fuddy duddy. I just don’t want to be THAT woman hanging out at some small dank bar where the bartenders know me by name and other people point and say “Oh her?? She’s always here.” Sigh….there is much more to life than being the “Norm!!!!” of a bar! And what better way to do it than a girl’s only party at a house where you can control the music, the atmosphere, the people and NOT serve icky well drinks! (And I refuse to pay with Ryan’s college fund for a great Cosmo made with Grey Goose out at some bar who opens a beer bottle by slamming it against the bar. Ohhhhh like that’s some awesome trick and shows off your mediocre bartending skills. Yes, that’s me rolling my eyes at you.)

I have invited a great bunch of girls and some of them are bringing other friends as well. It’s one of those nights where the vibe “Epic” is already oozing out. We can all feel it. The weather is supposed to be perfect, so we’ll be able to mingle outside as well. Maybe a great night for a bonfire too!! (Note to self, make Michael clear away all his pepper plants and prepare the bonfire for lighting so even **I** can do it) Michael and Ryan have been banished from the house. They get to spend father/son bonding time while I spend girlfriend bonding time. Sounds pretty perfect to me!

I have to put the finishing touches on some on my cleaning, try to do a once over, then time to get dressed and do my hair (YES! I still have pink in it! Don’t judge, it’s fun!) and try to wait to pop the first cork and unscrew that first frosted Goose bottle. I think I can wait. Then again…..it is MY party…….

Scars and Triumph

I had someone suggest to me to that I write about my scars and enlighten those who may not know how I got them and shed some light. Well, I can certainly do that and can also answer questions anyone may have. I will say I wasn’t sure whether to be flattered that this person thought I could contribute anything meaningful on the subject or once again embarrassed by the appearance of my scars. I will outwardly chose the former, although inside I know it’s the latter.

Cancer. The big C. One of the most dreaded words in the English language. It’s scary because it’s usually a death sentence. By the time it’s caught, it’s usually too late. I think everyone knows someone who has been diagnosed with some form. It affects all ages, races, rich, poor, men, women, everyone. It definitely does not discriminate. “Oh, you live in this big house and carry that gorgeous Prada bag….we’ll just skip you on this whole cancer thing!” Yep, doesn’t matter.

I have Melanoma. Multiple melanomas. My first diagnosis came when I was 27. I was just married to my second husband (also known well as Michael! I should start calling him my current husband so no one is confused.) my oldest son was only 5 and I received the call. Now, it is not like they show it on TV. I wasn’t called to come in and sit down in my doctor’s office and her saying, “Chrissy, I have your test results back. I don’t know how to tell you this, but you have cancer…..” (Cue the sad music) It was actually much more factual than that. They told me over the phone that my biopsy was positive for melanoma and I would need to come in and have another surgery to remove more tissue and have clean margins. Clean margins. That phrase has been repeated to me so many times I can’t count at this point. The area was in the middle of back, right between my shoulder blades. I now have a roughly 3 inch scar that was my first. She also had to go in extremely close to my spine, but thankfully, it had not spread that far.

I cried and I cried. I cried because I was scared, I cried because it hurt, I cried over the little things like how was I going to wear a backless slinky dress ever again because, ya know, I was soooo known for wearing backless slinky dresses!!! I cried because my Grandma died from melanoma and now here I was at 27 being diagnosed with the same thing! I’m only 27!! How can this be???

As I said, I have many, many scars, quite a few additional ones on my back, a few on my left arm, and the ones I’m most self-conscience about….2 huge ones on my left leg. One on my shin going vertical, one going horizontal across my thigh just above my knee. Wearing shorts and a tank top for me is quite a spectacle and it took me awhile to be brave enough to actually leave the house! The surgeries on my leg were pretty rough. The each required more than one surgery to get those clear margins and the cuts were long and equally deep. Some muscle was taken from my thigh along with the surgery. My doctor keeps saying the scars will fade over time. Ummm hmmmmm. Still waiting.

The recovery from each one was boring and horrible. I wasn’t supposed to move unless I was going to the bathroom or after a week, I was allowed to shower. Shower, back to bed. It exhausted me anyway, so I was glad to lay back down. It does NOT help my physique however! And it seemed like every time I would be cleared to resume normal activities, another one would pop up! For quite a few years, I was having a surgery every 6-9 months. That’s a lot of scars!!!

Now here’s the question (or I should say statement, because everyone seems to like to it point out) that I get all the time… “How can someone who has been diagnosed with cancer keep going in the sun and hanging out at the beach and and and…….” Well, let me address this one with “Because I can!!!” My doctor (who by the way and for the record, is one of the best skin cancer doctors around and I have gone to her since before my first diagnosis and I trust her with my life!) knows that I go to the beach. She knows I go out on my boat. She knows that I go to the pool. She knows I have been to tanning beds. She knows all of it. My type of melanoma is due to 2 factors; heredity and early long-term exposure. Neither one can I do anything about now. I can sit inside, or slather on SPF 100, or wear long sleeves and a huge sombrero (well, I couldn’t, but you? You could totally pull that off!) but that isn’t ME! The beach is ME! Sunshine and warm breezes and cool drinks with little umbrellas and cabana boys coming over to mist me so I don’t get too warm…. that is ME!!

I have done all of the above mention taboo activities even after my initial diagnosis. I am now……over 27! My doctor rocks! Do I want to hear on the other end of the phone “It’s melanoma again, let’s schedule something for this week.”?? Hell no. But I’m also not going to let it keep me from living my life. I can claim triumph over my life, and live with the scars.

Life Lessons from Yoga

I went back to my yoga class today after a 3 week break. OUCH! My body was screaming at me the majority of the time and I spent at least half the class, in my head, kicking my own ass for missing so many weeks and feeling so sore! How does it all go away so quickly? (If only body fat went away as quickly!!) So while I felt every muscle in my body shake and tremble at one point or the other, and in the midst of me cursing myself, it occurred to me how far I had come before my little hiatus.

I love my yoga instructor. She is patient, calm, gives alternates if someone (ME!) can’t do a pose and lets us go into childs pose when she hears me breathing a little TOO hard! And as much as I love everything about our class, I really love the end. No, not because it’s over! As we are all laying in Corpse Pose, she tells us a little story to take with us. To motivate us. As she does this, she goes to each one of us, as we’re lying there still and focusing on our breathing, and she straightens our legs, she pushes on our shoulders, she straightens my head and neck so we are completely aligned. It takes her only a few seconds, but I swear, when she’s doing that it’s heaven! I feel things pop or relax even more and it’s so wonderful! She has a magic touch for sure!

But I thought it was especially insightful today as she spoke of perseverance and how it’s sticking with it, and building upon the seemingly small things we learn and use to build upon newer things. And before you know it, you have made tremendous progress, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the moment. How many of feel that doing anything new? I know I do! I feel like that all the time! When we decided to take up running last year, I was slow. I walked a LOT! I would lose weight, but only a pound or two. Nothing seemed to be happening. I didn’t feel like I was making any real progress, Michael was running way faster and longer than I was and he started after me!!! How fair is that??? But when winter came and that bone crushing chill got in my bones and I stopped running, I looked back and realized how far we really did progress! I had lost over 35 pounds! I felt stronger, and most importantly I realized that each of those 3 miles loops I did was better than sitting on the couch not doing ANY loops at all!

My yoga practice is the same. I had never ever ever taken yoga before. Remember me = NOT flexible. But after my first class back I realize how far I did come in those few months because I felt every inch of being sore! And I think it’s weird for me to actually say this but it’s the cliché of a “good sore”. It’s about sticking with it, and making that small incremental progress that we can’t see until we look back and see the starting line. And THAT is a wonderful feeling!!

Death and the Dysfunctional Family

Death is a funny thing. I don’t mean funny as in ha ha. I mean is funny like peculiar. We’re all going to die. (Yea, like you didn’t know that) But how people deal with death is so different that it strikes me as odd.

You hear shrinks all the time saying how everyone deals with death differently, or how to be careful because you never know how someone is going to handle the loss of a loved one or friend. That’s all true. Not discounting it. But don’t you find it curious how people even in the same family handle it differently? Siblings deal with it completely different from each other. Parents deal with it different than their spouse. But what happens when you throw complete dysfunction into the middle of it? Chaos. Pure chaos.

I think in a “normal” family, these types of events tend to bring families closer. They lean on each other for support, they feel comfortable crying, reminiscing, even laughing about the past. I think the dysfunctional family has a way of drawing the worst out of each other. When you add alcohol to the mix, it’s a recipe for disaster. Complete chaos. And when everyone is fighting, or manipulating, or being a complete ass, where is the support that is needed to cope with the grief? Does it ever get dealt with properly?

I also wonder about how that event gets looked back on after time. Does the funeral become so tainted with the bad memories of what happened there that the person who passed away gets lost in the drama and chaos? Is that what you want to remember when you think back to that person? Or can you compartmentalize it or even try to forget the scene and only remember the person? I would like to think so, but I don’t know.

At this point though, I can only hope for the best in what is going to be a horrible situation and pray that everyone escapes relatively unscathed. And pray for peace….not just for the one who passed away but for the whole family as well.