TT’s Ta-Ta’s

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On my beloved Foreign Service blogger’s Facebook group, folks have recently started giving their top ten best and worst things about their current global post.  This helps families looking into that particular area of the world to decide if in fact, that country would be of interest to them as a possible future place to live.  Very helpful and insightful and often very humorous and poignant.  Obviously, writing a top 10 best and worst list about having cancer would be a pretty callous.  However, I still love lists!!  I have an IPhone but I still prefer to write things down with a pen and paper. So, I am going to keep going with my beloved lists.  Here are just a few more of my thoughts on cancer:

 

  1. Don’t touch my earphones.  Anyone remember that from the movie, “There’s Something About Mary”? If anyone comes close to my chest or my side, I almost have a reflex where I want to punch them.  I need to wear one of those plastic doggy barriers around my chest.  A boob cone.  Can I patent one of those?
  2. A definite advantage of having a double mastectomy-dropping ice cream down your shirt doesn’t bother me because I can’t feel anything.
  3. My brain is spaghetti.  I can’t remember a darn thing, I mix everything up, and I say things that don’t make sense! 
  4. These hips are NOT made for dancing.  I can’t move around like I am used to-I realize now how much I am a wiggly person-whether it be dancing with the girls, bee-bopping with Rootie during the day, or having a spontaneous dance party with Sach and the girls after dinner to Ke$ha or Katy Perry (Sach just loooooooves that).  We are definitely an African booty dance family!  Well, not so much recently.  Every little move or jiggle makes me wince.  My ass and hips are so darn sore because I am not used to being so sedentary.  I am also a hands-on-my-hips kind of girl and because I can’t lift my arms to my hips, I have become this awkward person who doesn’t know what to do with my arms when I am standing still.  So I end up looking a bit like Gumby.
  5. I have a reason NOT to shave.  It’s liberating.  No one is going to tell the lady with cancer to shave her legs and armpits, right?  Reminds me of my Peace Corps days.  Now if we could just rid the world of underwear and bras, I would be one happy girl.  I have always joked with my (poor) modest husband that I should have been a nudist.  Or is there a word for someone who rejects bras and underwear?  That would be me.  And now that I have had this operation (at least for the time-being), I have an excuse to not wear a bra.  I just strategically place a scarf around my neck and that hides all the bits that need to be hidden.  Voilà!
  6. For the first time in my life, I can poke around and not feel bad about it.  I can be lazy and sit on the couch and not feel like I should be doing something! 
  7. I heave heard from friends from all over the globe.  Thanks, cancer.  I have made new friends.  Thanks, cancer.  I have re-connected with old pals, made new ones, and feel so blessed.  I have the loyal support of my family and I love us as a family!  I am reminded that all families have quirks and mine is no exception.  However, my family LOVES.  Unconditionally.
  8. Oncology massage-the one hour in three weeks that I was relaxed right before my surgery.  I went again on Wednesday and although I was a little sore, it was very relaxing.  Yay.
  9. The Real Housewives on Bravo t.v. and re-runs of America’s Next Top Model.  Oh wow, I AM losing my mind!
  10. Letting go of my controlling, type A personality.  How liberating and invigorating and terrifying that feeling is!
  11. The weirdest feeling is when I lean over and it feels like I spilled some water on my chest and it’s trickling down-I guess that’s the liquid saline moving around.  Ack!!!
  12. Lead boobs and jiggly tits (‘scuze my French).  I feel like I am carrying around two bowling balls on my chest.  Now, normally I would never say the “t” word.  It’s so crass, right?  But in this case, I think it’s merited.  Remi also keeps getting the words boo-boo and boobie (breast) mixed up and I just love her sweet, innocentImageImage take on my medical condition.
  13. I hate needles.  My lower right arm is STILL numb from the IV four weeks ago and all of the ER visits.  Must’ve hit a nerve.  Then, the reconstruction procedure consists of a needle being poked into each breast to essentially, “pump” me up every week for 3 weeks to stretch out the muscle.  And although I can’t feel much besides something moving around when the needle hits, it’s the thought that gives me the heebie jeebies. 
  14. My boobs are now bigger than they were pre-surgery.  That is kind of hilarious.  However, I am finally getting back to what I looked like before I nursed three little nuts!
  15. Funky dreams and foggy brain.  Thanks, anesthesia.  I was still having weird dreams, 3 weeks after my operation.
  16. Chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches.  I can eat two a day, right?  It’s part of my healing. 
  17. Cleavage.  And side-boobage.  Again, the hilarity of it all.
  18. Disadvantage-not knowing that my top was falling down because I am numb all over my chest and flashing the poor young waitress at the beach.
  19. Sacha and the girls will be leaving on August 6th for El Salvador and I won’t be able to join them until late September-ish.  OMG.  7+ weeks without my little nuts and Sachie???  And they will be overseas, in Latin America???  I would almost be happier if they were going back to Africa-at least I know the continent pretty well!  El Salvador is a different ballgame.  And it makes me very nervous!  So, our French-speaking babysitter/tutor, Danielle, will go with them and that’s a HUGE relief.  But I am still totally freaked out.  I actually think that I am going to have a harder time with this than they are.  Happy thoughts, happy thoughts, happy thoughts….
  20. I am OKAY!!!  I survived a year with Sacha working in Iraq in a war zone!  I have an awesome husband, wee nuts, friends, and family!!!  Fudge YEAH, I can get through this!!!  Cancer FREAKING schmancer!!!!!  I still gotta get that tee-shirt made that says, “I beat cancer.  And now I need an ice cream sandwich”.
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I Am Still T

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I haven’t typed anything for almost a week now.  It’s the longest I have been off of FB and email.  And I have been through childbirth three times.  But OH, the freaking pain.  Great googley moogley, as Mia would say!  Let the healing begin, mentally and physically.  And part of me healing mentally is writing all of this crap down and getting the hell on with it.  I apologize (from my controlling side) for the muddled thoughts and repeated information.  And I have not been drinking.  Although it may appear that I have been.  And lastly, sorry for a wee bit language.  And perhaps some typos.  Ack!  Typos bother me more than language, frankly. 

 

Since I went into hospital on Friday, June 15th at 11 am and had surgery at 1:30 pm, I have learned MANY things.  Here are just a mere 34 of them:

 

  1. Hospitals are freezing cold.  The next time I have surgery (which is hopefully when cows fly), I am going to Imagebring my own down comforter.  Holy crap, they are frigid.  To kill all those bad germs, I was told.  Well, I am sure any germ left at Fair Oaks hospital was left crying for it’s Mama, it’s so darn freezing in that hospital.
  2. I hate bad breath.  And I have always tried religiously not to be the person that everyone quietly thinks has the stinky breath.  I am always very aware of the close talkers, ya know?  And I try to be kind driving down the highway of breathing etiquette.  Don’t breathe ON folks, hold your breath and exhale after you say your sentence if you feel you might have just eaten that onion quiche and you are talking to someone.  All those rules, I have carefully followed. Even during and right after childbirth.  But holy shishkebabs, I had severe dragon breath during this whole operation.  I have never really experienced dry mouth until now.  And I couldn’t do a darn thing about it after my surgery.  So, I just continued to apologize profusely to the poor doctors and nurses, technicians and physical therapists who were caring for me, lifting my arms, checking my wounds.  Even if the nurse brushed my teeth for me, I still felt like it took a good five days for me feel normal again and not cower when I was talking to anyone because of my darn breath.
  3. All vanity and modesty fly out the door when you have surgery.  Catheter, drains and surgical bra.  The nurses called the catheter my golden bag.  Remi called it my backpack.  Bathroom issues.  I am sure this applies to most surgeries.  But I remember even feeling more together during childbirth.  This time around, I went into my surgery washed, cleaned, and blow-dried.  I had shaved my legs and armpits and my toes were painted purple.  I was awesome.  I used that antibacterial soap pre-operation with pride.  (Boy, does that stuff smell crappy, btw.  Oil of Olay needs to get on with making a pre-surgery soap, in my opinion.)  I wore a cute long white skirt and a button down multi-colored top, plus sparkly silver flipflops.  My girls thought I looked lovely and they told me complete with oooohs and ahhhs.  I could have been getting ready for a morning of shopping but instead, I was off to the hospital.  I was getting ready for my “button-down” phase, knowing that post-op, I wouldn’t be able to lift my arms alone for a couple weeks.  I was all over the button-down pj’s.  My girlfriends from the area bought me some comfy mint-green pj’s.  My new friend (thanks, cancer, for introducing us) sent me over several more pj outfits, all button-down.  I was rocking the button-down look.  We left for the hospital at 10 am (no flipping tea for me that morning, boy was that weird) and we were off and running.  I got to put my clothes into that generic plastic hospital bag and change into their lovely hospital gown.  My dear better half took all of my rings (so many of them, ha ha) and my watch and then stood guard to be sure that nobody walked in on me changing (we were just in a cubby with a cotton pull-back curtain at that point).  He was my knight in shining armor and fended off a few unsuspecting nurses apparently.  All of this unfortunately did not prepare me for the impending doom of surgery that would soon follow. 
  4. Kids really do pick up on everything.  We had told the girls before surgery that Mummy was having an operation to make her feel better and that I would have a big bandaid but that I was going to be fine.  Bunny said that I had a scary voice on the phone when we talked while I was at the hospital.  All three of my little nuts have been particularly cautious around me and I can just feel that they want me to say I am okay.  We didn’t tell them that I spent the night in the ER on Tuesday night (my parents were here so there was no need to worry them and we were back by 4:30 am for morning wake-up.)  When I went back to the ER Friday evening, we just said I was going to a doctor’s appointment.  A four+ hour one.  My parents, again, were here to feed them dinner, bathe them, and get them into bed for the night before we came home.
  5. Jelly legs and wobbly writing.  I can’t walk or write or type, even nine days post-surgery, like I did before.  I understand the walking part, but the writing and typing surprised me.  I suppose it’s the still-numb/sore entire lower area of my right arm where the IV was is partly the reason nine days post-op.
  6. I am not Super Woman.  Boy, am I not perfect.  My flaws seem to be enhanced during this whole process and I am acutely aware of my mistakes.  I am tired, cranky, and I have little patience.   I look like doo-doo.  I feel like I have been side-swiped by a bus.
  7. I am Super Woman.  I freaking rock.  I have three little children, we have no real home base, most of our worldly possessions are in storage overseas and in rural Virginia, we live in an apartment, we were supposed to move to El Salvador on July 8th, we are now supposed to be moving to El Salvador (never having spent any significant time in Latin America) in 2-3 months, and we have just gone through the biggest health scare of my life.  Again, I ROCK.    
  8. Food tastes magnified.  Smells, too.  Nothing tastes good.  Not even freaking ice cream.  And I HATE prune juice.
  9. I was scared to take a shower and see myself. But my oh my, my boobies looked almost normal.  The incisions are under the breasts.  Apart from the drains poking out of me, I look okay.  But holy crap, those drains are so bizarre.
  10. The clock stops in the hospital.  I lost almost  seven hours during surgery and I lost four days between Friday am and Monday pm when I was released.  I remember waking up crying and vomiting and the first thing I saw was this huge sterile hospital clock that reads 8:12 pm and I remember thinking-what the hell?  I thought they said I would be in surgery for about four hours.
  11. “I want to go to that place”, as Liz Lemon from 30 Rock would say.  I want one of those $20.000 hospital beds.  My ass is so sore from being propped up in bed all I day, every muscle and joint in my body aches, and I want to just be suspended in mid-air to sleep.
  12. Robot walking/zombie jiggle/arms flailing in the hospital as I tried to walk normally.  A woman who just had some sort of major surgery lapped me as we walked in circles around the ward and I was surprisingly annoyed.
  13. Nurses are awesome.  I cried when I left the hospital.  The nurses who took care of me LOVED me.  I think I am a pretty good, caring person, but I cannot imagine cleaning up bodily fluid from a stranger.  And the nurses I met through this love their jobs.  The ones throughout my surgery, the ones in the ER, every single one of them has cared for me like I was their family.
  14. Am I really in the Bariatrics ward?  Apparently, when you have a Friday pm surgery in a hospital, they try to bulk everyone recovering into one ward in preparation for the weekend so the nurses and technicians don’t have to run up and down the different floors of the hopsital.  In my case, we all ended up in the gastric bypass surgery unit.  I thought at one point, I might be hallucinating as I looked around and saw all the signs for bariatrics, the large beds, the physical therapy tools and contraptions. 
  15. There is nothing like saying these words-Honey, can you hand me the stool softener, please?  Poor Sachie.  Emptying surgical drains and measuring all sorts of bodily fluids.  BLECH.  I was so grossed out.  He was a trooper even though he’s a modest guy at heart.
  16. Are you shitting me???  I have never had bathroom issues, never known what it’s like and don’t even like to say the word constipation.  I feel like a 90-year-old man.  Oh, my freaking word.  I am so beyond all this.  And my poor modest husband is totally freaked out.  But he still loves me and tells me I am beautiful.
  17.   Holy shit, am I really sharing all of this with you???!!  It feels a little embarrassing, but to be truly honest, it also feels invigorating to get this all off my chest.  Ha ha.
  18. I am controlling by nature but I cannot control this.  Part of me hates this new feeling, part of me is overjoyed to feel it.
  19. I don’t have enough cancer guilt.  This one is a little harder to explain.  I have been feeling some guilt from the start for not have “enough” cancer to merit all of this love and care.  My diagnosis was in the very early stages, so for some reason, I feel like those who have a Stage 1-4 should somehow deserve more attention.  I KNOW this is crazy.  And everyone tells me it’s silly, that I shouldn’t ever feel this way.  My brain is telling me this.  But emotionally, I can’t stop telling myself that I don’t deserve all of this.  I think that this part of things will take longer to heal than the physical wounds.
  20. Physical therapy tells me to do special cutesy little exercises and the reality is that I don’t have time for them-I just cleaned up the bomb that had exploded in my house and did, I think, much better exercises than any therapist gave me.  Of course, Nurse Mum told me not to and I didn’t listen to her.  Then I spent the next day regretting my over-exertion. 
  21. The pain, pain, pain.  Childbirth you walk out of the hospital with a little baby, this I left like I was missing something when I left the hospital.  Aching, throbbing, dull, constant pain.  Can’t get comfortable.  Just sat on the edge of my bed and listened to everyone else sleep around me.  Shooting pain in my arm where the butter knife-sized IV was.  Feels like I was electrocuted.  Remi’s lip started to quiver yesterday when I was trying to take off my sweater and my arm got stuck and then I moved my arm the wrong way and I had a shoot of pain through my arm.  She got scared because I yelled.  I cried when I had to have another IV in my arm at the ER on Tuesday night and I am not one to usually be afraid of needles.  My arm was just so freaking swollen, tight, sore, and numb all at the same time.  Can’t sleep.  I might sleep fitfully for 2-3 hours every night and then I am done.  Wide awake, stiff, and sore.
  22. My boobies.  They are gone.  Or at least, what was really underneath them is gone.   Enough said.
  23. I need to take a shower!  When I finally did take my first shower, it took about an hour and I kept thinking to myself, Why the hell do I have long hair?  I even shaved my legs, which was physical therapy in itself.  My Mum had to hold the drains and water got all over her as well, but we managed to succeed in cleaning me.  And holy moly, those four drains are fascinating.  I am the freaking bionic woman.  They literally are built into me.  I was horrified of the thought of them at first, but once I did see them, they are actually pretty awesome.  And again, the boobs.  Well, to be honest, every time the doctor or nurses lifted my surgical bra to look at the wounds, I would close my eyes.  I was terrified to see what I looked like.  Feeling it was enough-the odd numbness and aching pain.
  24. I am reminded of Melissa McCarthy’s quote from the movie bridesmaids when she burps/farts in the bridal gown store-“I apologize.  I am not confident which end that came out of.”  But this is the hilarious part-my adoring husband told me to eat some prunes and even better, I should have a prune bong contest (replacing beer with prune juice).  He also promised to make me a teeshirt that reads-“I had cancer and my husband made me do a prune juice bong.”  Don’t I have the sweetest husband ever!?!?!
  25. The kindness of strangers.  Six days post-op, I went to see my plastic surgeon for the first time and when we arrived at the office, I was already feeling weak and emotional.  When the receptionist proceeded to tell me that my doctor was behind schedule and there were three people in front of me.  Hearing this, I burst into tears.  This lady sitting waiting took one look at my sorry state and said to the receptionist, “She can go in front of me.”  Then she turned to me and said, “Honey, I am three months out of surgery and this is my second round of breast cancer.  I know exactly how you are feeling.”  We got to talking and she told me that she had a lumpectomy and radiation 12 years ago at age 39 (my exact age) and then the cancer came back this past spring.  So this time, she did the bilateral mastectomy and took care of it once and for all.  Then, she asked me if I was still trying to shower with those stupid drains.  When I said yes, (sniffling), she opened up her bag and pulled out a flapper-style long beaded necklace with a safety pin attached.  She handed it to me and said, “Here, take this, I’m giving it to you.  You just safety pin the drains to the necklace and then you don’t have to struggle with the drains.  The necklace can get wet and your shower becomes SO much easier.”  I couldn’t believe how kind this total stranger was being to me.  So I cried again, this time, in relief and gratitude. 

 

  1. The plastic surgeon’s office-Everyone who works in this office looks like they work in cosmetic surgery.  All the girls have perfect little noses and big boobies.  Poor Sachie was a little frightened when we went this afternoon.  The girl’s heels who helped us into our waiting room had to be at least 5 inches and she teetered and tottered into the room and I almost felt like I should have held HER up.
  2. Surgical gloves and stands of pearls.  When we were in the waiting room at the plastic surgeon’s office, Sachie decided he was going to make guacamole that evening and would be cutting up a hot pepper.  So, naturally, he came to the conclusion that he needed some surgical gloves to protect his hands.  So, I told him to take a pair from the box that was sitting on the counter.  And he did, but of course, he felt guilty in doing so.  (I, of course, did not feel any guilt at all.  It was one flipping pair of surgical gloves.)  However, when we were checking out with the receptionist, I made the mistake of opening my purse and we both (the receptionist and I) looked down.  She and I were both caught looking straight at the surgical gloves and the stand of pearls (that the nice lady had given me before my appointment.)  I do believe that this poor young receptionist now thinks I engage in some very kinky S & M.
  3. Nordstrom’s surgical bras!  A new friend who has had breast cancer told me about them, so I called the night before my surgery and they over-nighted one to me, no shipping cost.  If you ever have breast cancer surgery, you need one of these-they are specially made for the drains and they are much more comfortable than the hospital one you will be sent home with.
  4. My breast surgeon is Puss In Boots.  Or at least, he sounds like him.  Strong Spanish accent (from Peru), rather charming, mid-50’s, snappy dresser, slightly balding.  Soothing voice.  When he called me on the phone last week and said, “Tarrrrrrra?”  I was like, WTF, is Antonio Banderas calling me?  Because I wasn’t expecting his phone call.  But I can certainly talk to Antonio.
  5. My plastic surgeon told me I looked good when he came into my waiting room.  I told him, “Don’t you have to say that?”  I mean, though, doesn’t he? What the heck would a patient do if he walked in to the room and say, “Hey, you look like shit.”  So I told him that.  Well, not the shit part.   And he still insisted that he would just say hello if the person didn’t look good.  I don’t believe him.”
  6. Hold all calls, please.  I felt like a bit of a celebrity with my parents taking all of my calls for the past week.  Although I wanted to take the calls, I just couldn’t.  From Friday pm until pretty much yesterday (Thursday), I could barely speak.  And I might have even taken a couple of calls that I have no recollection of at all.  I do remember when Sachie came into my hospital room for the first time and I talked to him.  I remember talking to him but I don’t remember what we talked about.  I also remember that I was actually sleeping while we were talking.  I never knew that was possible.  I can recall almost looking down on myself in an out of body way and my mouth moving.  Truly weird.
  7. Drugs.  Well, I knew it deep down.  My body couldn’t not even handle one darn percocet.  I held off, trying not to take the stuff knowing that it’s a narcotic drug and that I would most likely feel nauseous taking it.  Coming home Monday evening, I didn’t sleep at all.  By Tuesday afternoon, I was in agony.  I had expected the pain but I had not anticipated the nausea and the headaches.  So I followed all the appropriate instructions, swallowed a few pieces of pretzels, took the anti-nausea meds, waited an hour and then gingerly took one pain pill.  I knew, as I said, that this was most likely a bad idea.  And within a few hours, I was throwing up.  By 11 pm on Tuesday night, we decided to go to the ER.  Boy, was that drive fun!  Back to Fair Oaks hospital and straight into a wheelchair.  Even though there was no one else in the waiting room, it’s still and ER and I was dehydrated as well as in need of pain and anti-vomiting meds.  So we stayed until 3:30 am.  It was 4:15 by the time we got to bed and up again at 6:15 to get Mia and Zoë ready for their first day of Camp Funshine.  I don’t even know if I can call it sleep-it was more fitful dozing.  I was floating out of body, pretty much, by the time we were up again and out the door to go back to the hospital where my doctor’s office is by 7:45 am.  Oh, and the valium.  They prescribed me valium for anxiety (routine) as well as for the whole reconstruction expander process (ugh) and I finally took one of those on Wednesday night.  For some reason, I thought the earth would shake with me taking one of them.  Well, it pretty much did nothing.  I still had the same level of pain and discomfort, my head was still turning, I still woke up in a sweat from a night terror dream about 2 hours taking the valium (try that after having major surgery-it freaking KILLS!), and I didn’t feel relaxed at all.  Either that’s a very good sign (I shouldn’t take drugs at all) or a very bad sign (I should be a crackhead).

 

  1. I have the best friends in the world.  My entire global group of pals have rallied around my family and I during this tough time and frankly, I know, the ones who are far away would be here in a heartbeat if I said I needed it.  I can’t tell you how many friends have offered to come and help, to take our girls, to prop me up in bed, to hold my hand.  I am, as I keep saying, grateful beyond words.  Friends that I have had my entire life and new friends who have just appeared magically to lend a hand.  Electronically and in person, everyone has been so kind to me.  Sending flowers, food, fruit baskets, cards, well-wishes, FB messages, emails, phone calls.  I am a million times over grateful for all of you and I love, love, love you all.

 

  1. I love my family.  My girls are the reason I want to get better.  They love me even if I have Medusa hair and wench breath and I stink like the dickens.  They still want to give me hugs and sit on my lap even though I have bionic drains coming out of my sides and Frankenstein stitches under my boobs.  Sachie is my rock.  He still calls me his Rapunzel, his tigress, his tall glass of water.  He has held my hand and has held back my hair while I throw up and caressed my arm and let me squeeze his hands throughout all of the awful IV’s.  He was  with me during the 7-hour surgery and horrible ER visits and doctor’s appointments.  We have laughed and cried together.  He is everything to me. 

 

My parents have also been life-savers.  My Mum has been my personal nurse and has propped up my pillows, helped me shower, brushed my hair, dabbed my sweaty face with a washcloth, and helped me brush my teeth.  She has cared for my troop of little girls-bathing, feeding, clothing, loving them.  My Dad has done his best, too-little jobs here and there, reading to my wee nuts and telling them funny stories, helping feed Remi, chatting with me to keep up my spirits.  They leave Wednesday and I honestly don’t know what I am going to do without them.

 

So, where does this leave me now?  We still hope to go to El Salvador, but obviously 2-3 months later than anticipated.  We will have to see in the next few weeks what the State Department medical office says in terms of Sacha and the girls.  I might have to stay here a bit longer than them, but we don’t know yet.  Most importantly, I have a clean bill of health, post-surgery, according to my doctor.  I won’t need radiation, chemotherapy, or hormonal drugs.  My doctor (for those of you not on Facebook) said that he found more cancer than he had anticipated but that it was still localized and they got it all.  Halleluja!!  I feel so blessed, so lucky, so grateful.  I hope to speak to many of you in the next few weeks once I start to feel better, and perhaps see some of you in the next few months.  And once again, I love you all.

Say What???

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Many of you, I have spoken to, many I have not.  On Monday of this past week, I was diagnosed with the earliest stages of breast cancer.  And this blog entry today is going to cover it all.  So, be warned, if you don’t like to hear the word “boob”, then this isn’t the right read for you.  It’s as much therapy as for me in writing as it is an explanation of everything that has happened to me in order to tell my friends and family across the globe.  It’s kind of rambling, it might contain typos (woe is me!), it doesn’t flow as well as I would like it to, I might repeat myself (I have had a few conversations this week of which I did not remember until the next day), and I cannot be held accountable for the amount of chocolate that I eat during this whole ordeal.  That last sentence I just put in to make myself feel better.  I wish I could call you all personally, but I just can’t.  I realize that I am not the Queen of England, but I do have a whole heck of a lot of folks who care about me out there who want to know what’s going on.  So, this is for you!

 

Early last week, I decided to go to see my doctor regarding some tenderness under my right arm.  She decided because we were supposed to be leaving for El Salvador in just over four weeks, that I should have an MRI.  She recommended an MRI on both breasts to be sure that we were in the clear due to my family history of breast cancer.  I scheduled the MRI and two days later, I was lying in a freezing cold MRI machine having the procedure done.  I didn’t realize how loud, uncomfortable, long, and freaking cold it would be.  Bring your blanket if you ever have to have an MRI!

 

However, I didn’t think anything of it.  Sure, I would have an MRI, but of course, I didn’t have cancer, right?  Well, only a few hours later the doctor who did the MRI called me and said that in fact, they did have some areas of concern in both breasts and I should most certainly have an immediate double biopsy.  Huh?  So, the next morning, there I was again, having yet another MRI, then a double biopsy, then another shorter MRI, and finally a “gentle” mammogram.  Gentle my ass!  First of all, just the thought of the biopsy needle was enough to make me nervous and I am not even afraid of shots.  Heck, I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Sub-Saharan-I can’t be!  And then I had to have it done on both sides.  Oiyvey.  A piercing, stinging sensation in my breasts was no fun at all.  I thought I was doing all right until after I was done, I realized that I was trembling all over and I could not stop.  Even my legs were shaking.  In fact, my doctor was worried that I was going to pass out, I was so white in the face and my body was shaking so badly.  I think, in the end, it was just my emotions and adrenalin getting the best of me.  I really thought I was fine, but clearly, my body thought otherwise.  As for the mammogram, it was just as squishy and squashy as I had remembered my first mammogram to be, (only a few months prior, of which I got an all-clear at the time) and that one was most certainly not right after a double biopsy.  I tried to take my mind off the pain while the technician was pushing and prodding on my still-numb-but-very-sore-boobs.  The first thought that came to mind was Kim Kardashian.  Not sure why.  Maybe big boobs and no brain?  This is what my mind thought for the next 3 minutes-Kim Kardashian, George Clooney, chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches, Reece’s Pieces, and Belgian Hoegaarten beer.  In that order.  Anything to get my mind off my boobs.

 

And then, suddenly, I was all done and on my way.  Literally about 30 minutes after.  Biopsy results 24-72 hours later, they informed me.  I shot out to my car, ran home, picked up Rem and Z, and then drove over to the Foreign Service Institute where Sacha is working to get a tetanus and typhoid shot and to get Remi’s second Rabies shot.  Yeah, I had two crappy shots right after my lovely morning at Fairfax Radiology.   And poor Rootie Bootie had a mean old rabies shot.

 

Again, I didn’t think anything would come out of the biopsies.  I thought for sure that they would come up with nothing.  The first two days, Thursday and Friday, my head was spinning.  I didn’t have time to think about things really.  I decided not to tell anyone because I didn’t want to worry anyone.  Perhaps I also didn’t want to worry myself.  But by Saturday and Sunday, time started to drag.  I had decided by Sunday night to call the doctor’s office Monday at about 11:30 am.  By 9:45 am on Monday, I had had enough and I called.  When they put me through to the doctor, she sideswiped me and said, “Oh, I actually got your test results about 20 minutes ago and have them right in front of me.”  Say what???  I don’t think I was quite prepared for that comment even though I was waiting for it, you know?  Felt like I almost had to pee my pants.

 

So.  The doctor told me I have the earliest stage of breast cancer in my left breast.  Stage Zero.  Which sounds a bit odd to me, but this whole process has been very surreal.  And the right breast is of concern for the future because of the three + masses, as well as my family history and my “young” age for being diagnosed with breast cancer.   Without the MRI, they would have never known anything was wrong and as my doctor put it, the cancer in my left breast would have become invasive in the next couple years.  And then I would have been in a much more dangerous position.  If I had been overseas, I probably wouldn’t have gone to see the doctor.  Too much trouble, especially in a non-Western post.  So, I am in fact, very lucky.  I guess it’s the best news of the worst case.  I am not sure why I decided to be so proactive, but in the end, it might have saved my life.   At the least, it saved me from a much more aggressive cancer.  Of course, I am not doing the happy dance here, but whew, I sure did dodge a bullet, so to speak.

 

How did I react to all this initially?  I had two kids running around me (Z and Rem) pretending they were My Little Ponies being chased by a monster, I couldn’t get ahold of Sacha for a couple hours, and I had only told a couple good friends about the whole ordeal because again, I hadn’t wanted to scare anyone prematurely.  Because I thought I didn’t have cancer!  It was a crazy few hours, to say the least.  I actually decided to take out the recycling a few minutes later because I guess I was perhaps trying to forget what had just been told to me on the phone.  I hadn’t told my parents yet because my Mum was having a colonoscopy 36 hours later and I didn’t want to worry her.  I hadn’t told my sister because it was just all a little too much to take.  So I blubbered away on the phone with my doctor and she very kindly talked to me for a good 30 minutes before we hung up.  Then, I spent the better part of the next 72 hours on the phone with doctors, insurance, State Department Medical, friends and family.  Keep in mind that we were supposed to leave for El Salvador just four weeks from now.  I am supposed to be thinking about packing out our belongings to air freight, plane ride with us (suitcases and carry-ons, stroller, car seats), and stuff we are leaving here in the DC area (cold weather clothes, stuff we have acquired here but we don’t need in Latin America).  Not to mention our car was already slated to be shipped and we were supposed to move out of our apartment and be on a plane to Miami and then El Salvador on July 8th.  It’s a fine dance of organization and preparation and if one thing goes wrong, then everything is set off.  And one thing most certainly did go wrong.  Obviously, our departure date has been pushed back for at least 1-3 months.  I am anxious that the folks who are reviewing our medical status may decide to keep us here in the DC area, which is NOT part of my plan.  I just want to get to El Salvador and get my children and family settled.  However, now, I have to wait.

 

By Tuesday of this week, I had seen both of my doctors again, talked to several other doctors and had been told the options for my sort of case-either a lumpectomy and radiation or a single or double mastectomy.  I decided, in the end, to opt for the double mastectomy at the advice of my doctors and several other women who have similar cases to mine.  I am “young” for having breast cancer, and the chances of it coming back with a lumpectomy and radiation are greater because of my age.  My family history-my Mum had breast cancer (she’s a 15+ year survivor) and my great-aunt also had breast cancer, so there is the family history.  And frankly, I don’t want this to be something that I have to worry about every 6 months to a year.  I don’t want to always have to wonder if this disease will come back.  I am still relatively young and I don’t want to live my life wondering.  And lastly, our lifestyle is a factor-we live and travel all over the globe.  I rarely ever see the same doctor regularly and I do not want this worry to be a part of my life.  I don’t want to put my trust in physicians that I do not know to be sure that this cancer isn’t going to come back.  I want to stomp it out once and for all.  Once I have the surgery, the doctor will be able to see if there is any invasive cancer that they missed and also they will do a biopsy of my lymph nodes to be sure that nothing has spread.  They will do this because the lymph nodes were in fact, where I felt the tenderness in the first place.  And an ultrasound that he did today didn’t come up with anything besides seeing that they are enlarged.  The enlargement could be for any reason-I might have had a slight infection or virus or maybe I just have big ol’ lymph nodes.  He saw no cause for worry there, but of course wants to be as proactive as possible during and after my surgery.  He and the oncologist will coordinate to see if there is any need for radiation post-op, but at this point, the breast surgeon does not think this will be necessary.  Finger’s crossed.   Nor does he think that I will need Tamoxafin, which is the hormone drug that many women (including my mother) have to take post-operation for several years.  I was grateful for this news.  Tamoxafin can cause the early on-set of menopause.  For a woman, it’s hard to hear that menopause might come sooner than expected.  I already feel like I am going to be a bit of an alien with fake boobs, I don’t also want to feel any less of a woman because I am forced into menopause in my late 30’s (I can still say that because I am 39, ha ha) due to a drug.  It’s actually quite an emotional thought.  Not that I wanted to have more children.  Sachie is convinced he wants to have #4, and well, I am not so convinced!  In fact, I was quite sure I did not want to have more children.  Well, throw a diagnosis of breast cancer into the mix and maybe it’s my emotions getting the best of me, but I keep crying at the thought of NOT having more children now.  So you KNOW I must be going batty, right?!?!  If I think of myself with four little nuts trailing behind me, I start to get dizzy.  And queasy.  But the thought of not being able to have more children due to this whole scenario is also enough to make me feel weak.  I know that I am SO blessed to have my three girls.  I am grateful every day for Mia, Zoë, and Remi.  And my adoring (heheh) husband.  All kidding aside, I think of couples or folks who are struggling to have one and here I have three gorgeous children?  Again, I am so truly grateful for what I have.

 

So, where do I stand now?  I saw a plastic surgeon on Wednesday, a genetic screening specialist yesterday, and a breast surgeon this morning.  The plastic surgeon was one of those scenes where you go, “Wait a minute, am I really here?”  He was lovely, really.  But I just couldn’t help looking at all the perfect-looking staff women and their perfect little bodies and thinking, “I am not supposed to be here”.  Even the doctor himself looked like Dr. 90210.  And although he was reassuring and kind and everything you would hope for in a doctor, when I was looking at all the photos of post-op boobies, it made me cry.  I complain about my boobs, yes.  They annoy the shit out of me, to be honest.  Breast-feeding three babies kind of sucked the life out of them.   (‘Scuze my language but I think I have a right.) But they were MINE.  And these new things, well, they aren’t going to be mine.  It’s tough to think about.  The whole process is also a lot more time-consuming and clearly painful than I thought it would be.  Not that I didn’t know it would be painful.  I just kind of thought that voilà, the reconstructive surgery leaves you with your new boobs, DONE.  I just had no idea that they use something called an  “expander” that essentially stretches you out over a period of 2-4 weeks with temporary implants.  Aiyaiyai.  Sounds like a medieval torture device.  Then, you go into a “hold period” for two months until you go back into the hospital for an out-patient procedure where they put in the permanent implants.  The recovery for this takes about a week and apparently, I can be cleared to fly to El Salvador by my doctors during the “holding period” while I am waiting the two months for the permanent implants.  Apparently, I can also go scuba diving if I want to.  Not that I want to.  But the doctor said it would be okay.  Now to convince the State Department Medical Department that I can also be cleared to fly.  That might be a whole different story.   I laughed when the doctor told me that in certain cases, they can actually take tissue from your stomach and “make” a breast for you.  However, I don’t have a lot of stomach fat.  Darn it all!  The results are apparently a lot more realistic and natural.  At that point, I wondered aloud if he could take it from my ass.  (I didn’t use the word “ass”, I think I said “behind”, to be polite.  But I was thinking ass.)  But!  Ha ha.  Big sigh here-he said they actually can do it but they usually don’t because it leaves a big scar on your tush.  Um, yeah, NO thank you.

 

The genetic screening test was yesterday, as I said.  They want to be sure that I am not a carrier of the breast cancer gene, which if it came back positive, would put my girls, my sister, and her daughter at 50% chance of getting breast cancer.  It is unlikely that I am a carrier, but of course, I want to know just in case.  Man, technology now is incredible, I must say.   It’s a DNA test, so I had a mouth swab complete with minty fresh mouth wash.  Not too invasive and much better than another needle.  The results will be back in a couple weeks and whatever the results are, they won’t affect the decision to have the surgery.

 

This morning, I drove yet another 20 or so miles in another direction to see the breast surgeon.  I am getting to know Northern Virginia!  For over an hour, the doctor talked me through the whole process, answering questions and going over every bit of information that had been given to me over the past four days.  Surgery will be about four hours and I will stay overnight in hospital.  They get me up and moving right after surgery and into physical therapy, but I will be unable to drive for about two weeks.  I go home with drains in my chest and have to be careful of infection.  I won’t be able to lift anything or anyone for several weeks.  Dr. Vargas was wonderful-so warm and very patient.  I wrote everything down because I am afraid I might miss something.  I still cried because again, it’s all a bit too much to handle in just a few days.  Then, at the end of the appointment, the nurse gave me a pink bag filled with “helpful” information.  As soon as I saw that bag, I felt a little sick.  Who wants a bag that’s a clear reminder of cancer?  Not to seem ungrateful, but I just didn’t want the bag.

 

I was thinking they would also get me in for surgery earlier than later.  At least, that’s the impression that I was given from the start.  So, I was a bit shocked to hear that my surgery isn’t scheduled now until June 28th.  The problem is that both the plastic surgeon and the breast surgeon have to be free for the operation and both of their schedules are extremely tight.  They are the best of both in the area, of course they are busy.  But June 28th?  That’s three weeks from now.  They are trying to see if there is any other way they can squeeze it in, but for now, that’s the date.  My parents fly in from the UK on June 12th and they leave on the 27th.  The day before my scheduled surgery.   Talk about bad timing.  I had another moment, shall we say, on the phone with the scheduling nurse after hearing this.  I just cried.  Yet again.  And I believe I alarmed her because Dr. Vargas called me personally a few minutes later to say that they are doing everything they can to push my appointment forward.  Again, I am grateful.  Terrified, but grateful.  

 

Let’s see, so all in all, I have cried a LOT, laughed a lot (the thought of big boobs on me?!?), had many hugs from my husband, little nuts, family (virtually), and friends.  Sachie is actually having a bit of a hard time with the news, but I keep telling him that I will be back to nagging him in no time after my operation, ha ha.  Not to worry there!   I am so grateful for the many phone calls and messages I have already had from those of you who know.  The offers of help with the girls, or just the well-wishes and prayers of my dear friends and family.  I am trying to wrap my head around the idea that early last week, I had no idea of anything being wrong and now, I am scheduled for a bi-lateral (double) mastectomy on June 28th and I am going to leave the hospital without the breasts with which I was born.  That’s a hard pill to swallow.  As much as I joked about my boobs and the fact that I went from a size C cup to a size A cup after I nursed my three girls, I never thought it would end like this.  I joked about a boob job but I never wanted this scenario!  And the surgery itself.  Again, I am not one to shy away from needles or hospitals, but this is totally different.  Major surgery for about four hours.  Yikes.  Makes me need to pee again.

So, I gave the pink bag to Zoë.  I don’t want it.  I actually shoved it into my other bag leaving the doctor’s office because I didn’t want anyone to see it as I was walking out of there.  Kind of wanted to forget about it for a while and just head back to my car and sing along to the radio as I drove home and battled traffic along I66.  So that’s what I did.  And I ate two chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches when I got home.  Because I kind of felt like I deserved it today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I Dream Of Weanies

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Before reality hit, my dream job was always to be a food critic.  I just love going to restaurants and eating out with friends or family.  I also adore writing.  Voilà, the perfect combination.   To be paid to try different foods at an array of interesting and unique restaurants?  Heaven. My husband doesn’t share the same love of eating out with me.  He would much prefer staying and cooking in.  He’s actually much more interested in the drinks than the food.  And I want it all!  Bring on the happy hour, appetizers, main course, AND dessert.  Sacha rolls his eyes lovingly at me because I always ask for the dessert menu while we are choosing our main dish.  I need to see what’s on the sugar menu!  So, while I look at the dessert menu, he looks to see what’s on tap.  And then we eventually get around to the entrées.  He also thinks I am the queen of picky ordering and maybe I am-I just like things a certain way.  Oh yeah, I am the one with the special order.  So shoot me!

I am, and always have been, a food lover.  My dear better half, however, doesn’t share my love of yummy food.  And I particularly enjoy going out to dinner.  No dishes after?  Win win!  I love cooking but I hate cleaning up.  In fact, Sacha doesn’t like to go out to eat at all.  Definitely the male/female thing going on here.

Now, if I weren’t going to be a food critic, I thought that I would be a travel writer.  Adventures across the globe-my travels used to be more rustic, (hello, Peace Corps!?!) but these days, I would be a 5-star girl if I had my choice.  Bring on the luxury!   I might not be the best writer, but I am the most persistent.  I could have really gotten into the travel writing vibe.  I actually use writing as an excuse to procrastinate.  If I have a list of 10 things to do, I can drop them all, write it out, and then get back to whatever it is that I need to do.  Writing cleanses my brain, it’s good therapy.  I can go to bed with a brain that isn’t as full of thoughts and I can sleep better.  Usually, my head is racing and I can’t juggle all of the thoughts.

My girls are clearly turning out more like me than their Daddy when it comes to their love of food.  They thoroughly enjoy going out to dinner just like their Mum.  Daddy would much prefer to stay home, have some drinks and cook dinner.  Slowly.  I am more of a results kind of girl and when I am hungry, I want food!  Sachie always jokes that when it comes to food, I have a 15-minute window before someone gets hurt.  And it’s usually him.  Oh, and any mother can relate to not having to cook dinner, right?  And the clean up?  Even if the husband cleans up, there is still the clean up after the clean up.  You know?

My daughters are not good sleepers  (Exsqueese me, 5 am!?!), but they ARE good munchers-they even eat pickled onions and olives.  Even the Roo.  She gets practically giddy when there is anything pickled on the table.  That clearly comes from their Dad.  Their idea of a yummy snack is some pearled onions and an olive mélange.  Oh, and they also love sausages and bacon-that comes from moi.  One of Remi’s first words in French was “lardons”-BACON.  Zoë has a particular (and perhaps peculiar) love of mussels.  When we went to Croatia a couple years ago, that’s pretty much all she ate.  She was 3 ½  years old.  Mia has a special place in her heart for my black beans and homemade tortillas.  She came home on her first day of 2nd grade and told me a story about her teaching asking the class what their favorite food was-everyone else said chicken nuggets, mac-n-cheese, plain pasta with butter.  Mia announced that she just looooves her Mummy’s beans and tortillas.  Love that kid! 

Their love of sweets?  Now that comes, 100%, from me.  And I get it from my Mum.  She is British, after all.  We love all the homemade sweeties with fresh clotted cream.  And her homemade strawberry rhubarb pie is out of this world, my favorite dessert ever.  She makes the crazy-good homemade crust with orange zest.  I think I have mentioned it before.  I am crazy in love with this dessert.  Enough said.

Now, somewhere deep inside me, I think there is a Southern girl.  I just love Southern food-my Mum’s fried chicken, homemade buttermilk biscuits, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes.  Yup, I know-not an ounce of goodness in any of that.  Sacha is thoroughly amused by my passion for Southern comfort food.  And although we don’t ever do fast food (it might open a flood gate?), I have to say the one time I had Popeye’s, I could have knocked you down if you tried to take a bit of my food or distracted me.

My dear husband also lovingly calls me “Joey Tribianni” because frankly, I don’t share my food.  I share every darn other thing about my life, but what is on my plate is mine alone.  Especially when it comes to desserts.  Don’t bring me two spoons to share my hot fudge sundae with my husband (he doesn’t want it anyway) because it’s all mine.  And maybe that sounds selfish.  But as I said, I am happy to share most everything else in my life and it’s the one treat I have for me!

In the end, I hope to instill the social, family-first side of eating into my daughters.  It’s the family-table traditions that are important.  Eating together, sharing moments as a family.  That’s what my family did when I was little-we were required to eat dinner as a unit.  I appreciated it then and I treasure it now.  All kidding aside.  But if we are ever out to a restaurant, bring me my dessert menu first, please.   And I’ll take extra hot fudge on that sundae.  Hold the nuts.  Cherry on the side.  And a beer for my husband.

 

 

 

 

 

I Dream Of Weanies

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Before reality hit, my dream job was always to be a food critic.  I just love going to restaurants and eating out with friends or family.  I also adore writing.  Voilà, the perfect combination.   To be paid to try different foods at an array of interesting and unique restaurants?  Heaven. My husband doesn’t share the same love of eating out with me.  He would much prefer staying and cooking in.  He’s actually much more interested in the drinks than the food.  And I want it all!  Bring on the happy hour, appetizers, main course, AND dessert.  Sacha rolls his eyes lovingly at me because I always ask for the dessert menu while we are choosing our main dish.  I need to see what’s on the sugar menu!  So, while I look at the dessert menu, he looks to see what’s on tap.  And then we eventually get around to the entrées.  He also thinks I am the queen of picky ordering and maybe I am-I just like things a certain way.  Oh yeah, I am the one with the special order.  So shoot me!

I am, and always have been, a food lover.  My dear better half, however, doesn’t share my love of yummy food.  And I particularly enjoy going out to dinner.  No dishes after?  Win win!  I love cooking but I hate cleaning up.  In fact, Sacha doesn’t like to go out to eat at all.  Definitely the male/female thing going on here.

Now, if I weren’t going to be a food critic, I thought that I would be a travel writer.  Adventures across the globe-my travels used to be more rustic, (hello, Peace Corps!?!) but these days, I would be a 5-star girl if I had my choice.  Bring on the luxury!   I might not be the best writer, but I am the most persistent.  I could have really gotten into the travel writing vibe.  I actually use writing as an excuse to procrastinate.  If I have a list of 10 things to do, I can drop them all, write it out, and then get back to whatever it is that I need to do.  Writing cleanses my brain, it’s good therapy.  I can go to bed with a brain that isn’t as full of thoughts and I can sleep better.  Usually, my head is racing and I can’t juggle all of the thoughts.

My girls are clearly turning out more like me than their Daddy when it comes to their love of food.  They thoroughly enjoy going out to dinner just like their Mum.  Daddy would much prefer to stay home, have some drinks and cook dinner.  Slowly.  I am more of a results kind of girl and when I am hungry, I want food!  Sachie always jokes that when it comes to food, I have a 15-minute window before someone gets hurt.  And it’s usually him.  Oh, and any mother can relate to not having to cook dinner, right?  And the clean up?  Even if the husband cleans up, there is still the clean up after the clean up.  You know?

My daughters are not good sleepers  (Exsqueese me, 5 am!?!), but they ARE good munchers-they even eat pickled onions and olives.  Even the Roo.  She gets practically giddy when there is anything pickled on the table.  That clearly comes from their Dad.  Their idea of a yummy snack is some pearled onions and an olive mélange.  Oh, and they also love sausages and bacon-that comes from moi.  One of Remi’s first words in French was “lardons”-BACON.  Zoë has a particular (and perhaps peculiar) love of mussels.  When we went to Croatia a couple years ago, that’s pretty much all she ate.  She was 3 ½  years old.  Mia has a special place in her heart for my black beans and homemade tortillas.  She came home on her first day of 2nd grade and told me a story about her teaching asking the class what their favorite food was-everyone else said chicken nuggets, mac-n-cheese, plain pasta with butter.  Mia announced that she just looooves her Mummy’s beans and tortillas.  Love that kid! 

Their love of sweets?  Now that comes, 100%, from me.  And I get it from my Mum.  She is British, after all.  We love all the homemade sweeties with fresh clotted cream.  And her homemade strawberry rhubarb pie is out of this world, my favorite dessert ever.  She makes the crazy-good homemade crust with orange zest.  I think I have mentioned it before.  I am crazy in love with this dessert.  Enough said.

Now, somewhere deep inside me, I think there is a Southern girl.  I just love Southern food-my Mum’s fried chicken, homemade buttermilk biscuits, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes.  Yup, I know-not an ounce of goodness in any of that.  Sacha is thoroughly amused by my passion for Southern comfort food.  And although we don’t ever do fast food (it might open a flood gate?), I have to say the one time I had Popeye’s, I could have knocked you down if you tried to take a bit of my food or distracted me.

My dear husband also lovingly calls me “Joey Tribianni” because frankly, I don’t share my food.  I share every darn other thing about my life, but what is on my plate is mine alone.  Especially when it comes to desserts.  Don’t bring me two spoons to share my hot fudge sundae with my husband (he doesn’t want it anyway) because it’s all mine.  And maybe that sounds selfish.  But as I said, I am happy to share most everything else in my life and it’s the one treat I have for me!

In the end, I hope to instill the social, family-first side of eating into my daughters.  It’s the family-table traditions that are important.  Eating together, sharing moments as a family.  That’s what my family did when I was little-we were required to eat dinner as a unit.  I appreciated it then and I treasure it now.  All kidding aside.  But if we are ever out to a restaurant, bring me my dessert menu first, please.   And I’ll take extra hot fudge on that sundae.  Hold the nuts.  Cherry on the side.  And a beer for my husband.

 

 

 

 

 

I Dream Of Weanies

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Image

Before reality hit, my dream job was always to be a food critic.  I just love going to restaurants and eating out with friends or family.  I also adore writing.  Voilà, the perfect combination.   To be paid to try different foods at an array of interesting and unique restaurants?  Heaven. My husband doesn’t share the same love of eating out with me.  He would much prefer staying and cooking in.  He’s actually much more interested in the drinks than the food.  And I want it all!  Bring on the happy hour, appetizers, main course, AND dessert.  Sacha rolls his eyes lovingly at me because I always ask for the dessert menu while we are choosing our main dish.  I need to see what’s on the sugar menu!  So, while I look at the dessert menu, he looks to see what’s on tap.  And then we eventually get around to the entrées.  He also thinks I am the queen of picky ordering and maybe I am-I just like things a certain way.  Oh yeah, I am the one with the special order.  So shoot me!

I am, and always have been, a food lover.  My dear better half, however, doesn’t share my love of yummy food.  And I particularly enjoy going out to dinner.  No dishes after?  Win win!  I love cooking but I hate cleaning up.  In fact, Sacha doesn’t like to go out to eat at all.  Definitely the male/female thing going on here.

Now, if I weren’t going to be a food critic, I thought that I would be a travel writer.  Adventures across the globe-my tra used to be more rustic, (hello, Peace Corps!?!) but these days, I would be a 5-star girl if I had my choice.  Bring on the luxury!   I might not be the best writer, but I am the most persistent.  I could have really gotten into the travel writing vibe.  I actually use writing as an excuse to procrastinate.  If I have a list of 10 things to do, I can drop them all, write it out, and then get back to whatever it is that I need to do.  Writing cleanses my brain, it’s good therapy.  I can go to bed with a brain that isn’t as full of thoughts and I can sleep better.  Usually, my head is racing and I can’t juggle all of the thoughts.

My girls are clearly turning out more like me than their Daddy when it comes to their love of food.  They thoroughly enjoy going out to dinner just like their Mum.  Daddy would much prefer to stay home, have some drinks and cook dinner.  Slowly.  I am more of a results kind of girl and when I am hungry, I want food!  Sachie always jokes that when it comes to food, I have a 15-minute window before someone gets hurt.  And it’s usually him.  Oh, and any mother can relate to not having to cook dinner, right?  And the clean up?  Even if the husband cleans up, there is still the clean up after the clean up.  You know?

My daughters are not good sleepers  (Exsqueese me, 5 am!?!), but they ARE good munchers-they even eat pickled onions and olives.  Even the Roo.  She gets practically giddy when there is anything pickled on the table.  That clearly comes from their Dad.  Their idea of a yummy snack is some pearled onions and an olive mélange.  Oh, and they also love sausages and bacon-that comes from moi.  One of Remi’s first words in French was “lardons”-BACON.  Zoë has a particular (and perhaps peculiar) love of mussels.  When we went to Croatia a couple years ago, that’s pretty much all she ate.  She was 3 ½  years old.  Mia has a special place in her heart for my black beans and homemade tortillas.  She came home on her first day of 2nd grade and told me a story about her teaching asking the class what their favorite food was-everyone else said chicken nuggets, mac-n-cheese, plain pasta with butter.  Mia announced that she just looooves her Mummy’s beans and tortillas.  Love that kid! 

Their love of sweets?  Now that comes, 100%, from me.  And I get it from my Mum.  She is British, after all.  We love all the homemade sweeties with fresh clotted cream.  And her homemade strawberry rhubarb pie is out of this world, my favorite dessert ever.  She makes the crazy-good homemade crust with orange zest.  I think I have mentioned it before.  I am crazy in love with this dessert.  Enough said.

Now, somewhere deep inside me, I think there is a Southern girl.  I just love Southern food-my Mum’s fried chicken, homemade buttermilk biscuits, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes.  Yup, I know-not an ounce of goodness in any of that.  Sacha is thoroughly amused by my passion for Southern comfort food.  And although we don’t ever do fast food (it might open a flood gate?), I have to say the one time I had Popeye’s, I could have knocked you down if you tried to take a bit of my food or distracted me.

My dear husband also lovingly calls me “Joey Tribianni” because frankly, I don’t share my food.  I share every darn other thing about my life, but what is on my plate is mine alone.  Especially when it comes to desserts.  Don’t bring me two spoons to share my hot fudge sundae with my husband (he doesn’t want it anyway) because it’s all mine.  And maybe that sounds selfish.  But as I said, I am happy to share most everything else in my life and it’s the one treat I have for me!

In the end, I hope to instill the social, family-first side of eating into my daughters.  It’s the family-table traditions that are important.  Eating together, sharing moments as a family.  That’s what my family did when I was little-we were required to eat dinner as a unit.  I appreciated it then and I treasure it now.  All kidding aside.  But if we are ever out to a restaurant, bring me my dessert menu first, please.   And I’ll take extra hot fudge on that sundae.  Hold the nuts.  Cherry on the side.  And a beer for my husband.

 

 

 

 

 

I Dream Of Weanies

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Before reality hit, my dream job was always to be a food critic.  I just love going to restaurants and eating out with friends or family.  I also adore writing.  Voilà, the perfect combination.   To be paid to try different foods at an array of interesting and unique restaurants?  Heaven. My husband doesn’t share the same love of eating out with me.  He would much prefer staying and cooking in.  He’s actually much more interested in the drinks than the food.  And I want it all!  Bring on the happy hour, appetizers, main course, AND dessert.  Sacha rolls his eyes lovingly at me because I always ask for the dessert menu while we are choosing our main dish.  I need to see what’s on the sugar menu!  So, while I look at the dessert menu, he looks to see what’s on tap.  And then we eventually get around to the entrées.  He also thinks I am the queen of picky ordering and maybe I am-I just like things a certain way.  Oh yeah, I am the one with the special order.  So shoot me!

I am, and always have been, a food lover.  My dear better half, however, doesn’t share my love of yummy food.  And I particularly enjoy going out to dinner.  No dishes after?  Win win!  I love cooking but I hate cleaning up.  In fact, Sacha doesn’t like to go out to eat at all.  Definitely the male/female thing going on here.

Now, if I weren’t going to be a food critic, I thought that I would be a travel writer.  Adventures across the globe-they used to be more rustic,  (hello, Peace Corps!?!) but these days, I would be a 5-star girl if I had my choice.  Bring on the luxury!   I might not be the best writer, but I am the most persistent.  I could have really gotten into the travel writing vibe.  I actually use writing as an excuse to procrastinate.  If I have a list of 10 things to do, I can drop them all, write it out, and then get back to whatever it is that I need to do.  Writing cleanses my brain, it’s good therapy.  I can go to bed with a brain that isn’t as full of thoughts and I can sleep better.  Usually, my head is racing and I can’t juggle all of the thoughts.

My girls are clearly turning out more like me than their Daddy when it comes to their love of food.  They thoroughly enjoy going out to dinner just like their Mum.  Daddy would much prefer to stay home, have some drinks and cook dinner.  Slowly.  I am more of a results kind of girl and when I am hungry, I want food!  Sachie always jokes that when it comes to food, I have a 15-minute window before someone gets hurt.  And it’s usually him.  Oh, and any mother can relate to not having to cook dinner, right?  And the clean up?  Even if the husband cleans up, there is still the clean up after the clean up.  You know?

My daughters are not good sleepers  (Exsqueese me, 5 am!?!), but they ARE good munchers-they even eat pickled onions and olives.  Even the Roo.  She gets practically giddy when there is anything pickled on the table.  That clearly comes from their Dad.  Their idea of a yummy snack is some pearled onions and an olive mélange.  Oh, and they also love sausages and bacon-that comes from moi.  One of Remi’s first words in French was “lardons”-BACON.  Zoë has a particular (and perhaps peculiar) love of mussels.  When we went to Croatia a couple years ago, that’s pretty much all she ate.  She was 3 ½  years old.  Mia has a special place in her heart for my black beans and homemade tortillas.  She came home on her first day of 2nd grade and told me a story about her teaching asking the class what their favorite food was-everyone else said chicken nuggets, mac-n-cheese, plain pasta with butter.  Mia announced that she just looooves her Mummy’s beans and tortillas.  Love that kid! 

Their love of sweets?  Now that comes, 100%, from me.  And I get it from my Mum.  She is British, after all.  We love all the homemade sweeties with fresh clotted cream.  And her homemade strawberry rhubarb pie is out of this world, my favorite dessert ever.  She makes the crazy-good homemade crust with orange zest.  I think I have mentioned it before.  I am crazy in love with this dessert.  Enough said.

Now, somewhere deep inside me, I think there is a Southern girl.  I just love Southern food-my Mum’s fried chicken, homemade buttermilk biscuits, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes.  Yup, I know-not an ounce of goodness in any of that.  Sacha is thoroughly amused by my passion for Southern comfort food.  And although we don’t ever do fast food (it might open a flood gate?), I have to say the one time I had Popeye’s, I could have knocked you down if you tried to take a bit of my food or distracted me.

My dear husband also lovingly calls me “Joey Tribianni” because frankly, I don’t share my food.  I share every darn other thing about my life, but what is on my plate is mine alone.  Especially when it comes to desserts.  Don’t bring me two spoons to share my hot fudge sundae with my husband (he doesn’t want it anyway) because it’s all mine.  And maybe that sounds selfish.  But as I said, I am happy to share most everything else in my life and it’s the one treat I have for me!

In the end, I hope to instill the social, family-first side of eating into my daughters.  It’s the family-table traditions that are important.  Eating together, sharing moments as a family.  That’s what my family did when I was little-we were required to eat dinner as a unit.  I appreciated it then and I treasure it now.  All kidding aside.  But if we are ever out to a restaurant, bring me my dessert menu first, please.   And I’ll take extra hot fudge on that sundae.  Hold the nuts.  Cherry on the side.  And a beer for my husband.