I was in the supermarket today. It appears that many of my interesting encounters and overhearings occur in the supermarket.
Today was no exception.
I was alone in the supermarket. That almost never happens. I had meandered through the store with no plan for the week's meals. I hate doing that. Even working on the fly I was able to keep my bill within $5 of my budget.
I had found all that I figured I needed for lunches and dinners this week and I was checking out. Because my children were not with me I was able to hear things around me. I was able to hear the silence of the checker as she slowly rang up each of my items.
I was able to hear the lead cashiers talking about their weekends and who was working until what time.
And I was able to hear the customer at the lane next to me and behind me. I don't know how this topic came up. I'm not sure if the cashier asked this customer how her day was or if there was something wrong. I really don't know.
All I know is that this woman's, the customer, daughter had just had a miscarriage today. She was sad for her daughter and her son in law. I was sad for her daughter. The cashier was wonderfully compassionate.
The woman went on to talk about her daughter and how she wasn't that far along, just over 10 weeks. She went on to talk about how hard she was taking it. She then started talking about ultrasounds and dopplers. And this is what upset me.
She began going on and on about how she blames ultrasounds and the dopplers. She blames the doctors. She blames the medical field for her daughter being so devastated.
It's too early for ultrasounds. It's too early to hear the heartbeat. These doctors are getting people's hopes up and then killing them when they have a miscarriage. We shouldn't be doing ultrasounds and dopplers this early. It isn't right. We shouldn't be getting so many, either. Who knows what they are doing to babies?! When I had my kids ultrasounds weren't even really around.
I paid. I looked at her. I left. Upset. A little angry.
I wanted to stop that woman. I wanted to offer her my heartfelt sorrow for her daughter. I wanted to let her know how sorry I was that her daughter had to go through a miscarriage.
And then I wanted to go off on her.
Her ignorance angered me. Her opinion made me want to scream and cry all at once. Her words hurt me in some way.
If her daughter had not lost her baby would the ultrasounds still have been too early? If her daughter was not suffering this terrible loss would hearing the heartbeat have happened too early?
No, of course not.
If her daughter had started bleeding and the ultrasound showed a viable beating heart, would it have still been too soon? If her daughter had been exposed to radiation and an ultrasound at 6 weeks showed a living being growing inside, would it still have been too soon?
I get it. I do. This is woman is upset. Her daughter is hurting. She is hurting. She lost a grandchild. Her daughter lost a child. I understand that we speak out of pain in ways that we wouldn't normally speak. I know that we often look for people and things to blame when sad and senseless things happen.
I understand all of that.
I just was so upset by this woman in the supermarket. I was so upset by her words that, while understandably motivated by pain and sadness, were in so many ways ignorant.
Ultrasounds and dopplers saved mine and my daughter's lives.
Ultrasounds and hertbeats are incredible to here. They do give hope and sadly sometimes hope is taken away when what is meant and wanted to be seen is not.
I don't know why I took these words so close to heart. I mean I do know why, but they brought me to a point where I've wanted to cry. She was not speaking to me. She was venting and sharing and I overheard. Imposed. Eavesdropped.
I was nosy. Maybe I shouldn't have been. The words were not meant for me. She was not looking to upset anyone. She was expressing her grief as she is entitled to do.
And now I'm expressing my anger and sadness.
I hurt for her daughter and the pain, both emotional and physical, she is experiencing. I hurt for her and her anger at losing a grandchild in the making. I just hurt.
Monday, November 17, 2008
I was in the supermarket today. It appears that many of my interesting encounters and overhearings occur in the supermarket.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 7:35 PM
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Do you ever just stop and say, "Wow, when did this all happen?"
I'm not talking about marriage, kids, mortgage, bills, work, etc.
I had that moment. Sometimes I still do have that moment but not nearly as big as the first time I had it.
I mean, one day you're just laying around or doing something simple, mundane, ordinary or maybe it's extraordinary, and you stop and realize that where you were days, weeks, months, a year ago is so completely different from where you are now that you are in awe of how you got there.
I'm not speaking of awe in the sense that you are amazed at your strength and skill. Or that you are fascinated by the fact that you are an incredible person and you've muddled through some crappy shit as well as some happy stuff, too.
I'm not speaking of the awe that comes with the first birthday of your child. That moment when you are transported back to the room and that second that they put your child into your arms for the first time. Not the type of awe where you cannot believe it went by so fast and your once precious infant is now becoming a little person. Not that type of awe.
I mean the awe where all of a sudden you are laying on your couch, cruising facebook, avoiding lesson plans when BAM it hits you- EVERYTHING is different from what it once was and you cannot for the life of you remember actively changing anything.
God, I was sad last year. I was miserable. I wanted change so badly. I wanted it to be instantaneous. I wanted it then or I didn't want it at all. I wanted all the crap to stop. I wanted to be happy. I wanted to stop hurting. I just wanted it change.
I was sitting at lunch with my kids and my parents yesterday and my mother put down her burger, looked at me and said, "You look so sad. What is the matter with you?"
I stopped. I thought for a brief moment. I felt like crap- sleeping has not been kind to me lately and I'm averaging like 3 to 4 hours a night, plus I was just coming off the stomach flu. I had a headache because my three year old is a true three year old and talks and sings incessantly- and it's wonderful- but loud. I was frustrated because my daughter, who would eat dirt on a spoon if I offered it to her, would not eat her hot dog because she wanted her brother's bagel. But I was not sad.
For maybe the first time in a long time I could wholeheartedly and confidently say I was not in the least bit sad. I told her so and just said I was tired and didn't feel well- the God's honest truth.
I am not sad.
I've written about how lucky I am. And I am. I've written about how things are looking up. And they are. I've written about how things aren't always sunshine and roses and teddy bears. And they're not. All of that tonight, while laying on the couch, slammed me.
In a good way.
Sometimes the path we take to get to where we are sucks such big donkey balls (yeah, I said it) that we cannot see where we are going because we're so focused on the crap right in front of us.
I could not see where I was going until I got there. Or at least until I stopped for a moment.
I spent the day out at a football game today. A year ago, I would have found every excuse to get out of it to avoid having to be outgoing and social.
Last Friday night I went to friend's house to just hang out. A year ago, I would have canceled at the last minute to avoid having to make an effort at something that could hurt me.
This past Friday I told a really good friend of mine why a joke he pulled on me, while a little bit funny, actually hurt me quite a bit. A year ago, I would have bottled that and saved it for later.
I am not in awe of my changes. I am not in awe of how things have come out. I am not in awe of any type of strength. I am in awe of the fact that I've stopped and now I see where I am.
I am in awe of that fact everything is so completely different and maybe not so completely right but so different.
I am just in awe of it all.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:14 PM
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
At 28 years old I can say I've experienced, survived, been, done a lot of things.
I won't go into the extended list.
Yesterday, at 28 years old I was not so sure that I could I say I would be cancer free tomorrow or for the rest of my 28th year or beyond.
Today, at 28 years old I can say after my first mammogram and an ultrasound, I am CANCER FREE!!
My scans came back clean. I go back in 6 months and I still need to tackle my pain but there is no Cancer in my breasts!
I can't think of a better reason to celebrate tonight, tomorrow, and the days that follow!
Thank you to all of my friends and family who have prayed, shared words and thoughts with me and been there for me. You have NO IDEA how much it has meant to me.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 7:42 PM
Friday, November 7, 2008
I wanted to update all of you.
You've been so kind. So many of you have offered wonderful words of encouragement and prayer and thoughts.
I am so grateful.
Apparently, the second opinion was a good idea. Duh.
I'll talk about what held me back later. You know part of that.
WELL, not to knock on my OB/GYN but she sucked wind on this one.
I saw my primary. He is the perfect balance of doctor and friend and comedian.
He was dumbfounded at my OB/GYN's decision. Regardless of what she found. I am young and more action should have been taken.
He did an exam. We talked. He did some more exam.
He found a lump.
Not a cyst. Not nothing. A lump.
PS-I totally hate that word. Lump. It's kind of like p@nties. LOATHE that word!!
He found a lump somewhat near to my discomfort. The lump itself is not really painful, the area around it is.
He found a lump just centimeters away from where the cyst is. The same place that my OB/GYN looked and didn't find anything.
Maybe it wasn't there initially. Maybe I needed to wait these two weeks or so for it to be found. I won't visit that right now.
My doctor found a lump in my right breast.
I had a chest/rib x-ray just to be sure and get a picture of what's in there.
I have an appointment for the first available mammogram and ultrasound. Tuesday morning.
I have many feelings about this. Right now, I'm not ready to put them out there.
I've talked about them a bit. I've shared them a bit. I've been distracted since yesterday by work and friends. I plan to continue the distraction into tonight with a mini girls night. Then again, tomorrow, with Playhouse Disney Live, aka Hell in the Meadowlands!
I'm sure in the downtime thoughts will invade my mind and that's ok. I'll take them as they come. Just as I'm taking this as it comes.
I have to say I feel better. I feel as if I'm doing something. I feel as if I'm being pro-active. I am glad that I got the second opinion. Duh.
It is what it is and we move forward now. On to the next step.
It's a journey. Maybe not a journey I was planning on but it's here and now. And it is what it is.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 4:31 PM
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
We have a new President-Elect.
Barack Obama will be our President come January 2009.
Tomorrow he plans on opening his transition office.
Tomorrow he plans on appointing his new chief of staff.
Tomorrow he plans on getting to work on the Change he has promised.
I voted for that Change.
I voted for the promise of Change.
I voted for the unending possibilities.
Tomorrow Barack Obama better start making good on his promise to me and all of the people who also voted for that Change.
I firmly believe he will!
I am unendingly proud to call myself an American tonight.
I am unbelievably excited for the Change that is coming.
I was impressed by McCain's concession speech. I am proud, tonight, to stand by him as an American. I was impressed by his words and his promise of solidarity and unity as we move forward for Change.
I am excited for what tomorrow and all the tomorrows bring.
Change is no longer on the horizon. I truly believe it is here.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 11:55 PM
Sunday, November 2, 2008
It's such a simple word in so many ways. And in so many others, it's so very complicated.
I found my first Endocrinologist on a recommendation from a friend. I trusted this friend. I still do. I believed she was guiding me to someone who would really help me. I instantly liked the doctor. She was nice. Had a small office and an extremely kind office staff. She took her time with me. I handed her my trust willingly.
She told me I was infertile. I trusted her.
She told me to discontinue my birth control because it was making my disease and symptoms worse. I trusted her.
She told me that surgery was on my very close horizon. I trusted her.
When I called to let her know, 6 weeks later, that I was pregnant she informed me that she had zero experience with pregnant patients, especially those that had been exposed to radiation. She told me that my baby could be in danger because of the radiation. She told me that I needed to find another doctor.
I didn't need her to tell me that last part. I trusted my gut and had made the decision to find another doctor as soon as the stick read 'pregnant'.
I went through another Endocrinologist before finding one that I felt truly comfortable with. Before finding the one that would tell me that I didn't need to have my throat slit to find relief from my disease. Before finding the one that would lay it all out for me and explain things clearly and plainly.
Before finding the one that I trust, completely.
I first met my gynecologist when I was 19. I was scared. I was nervous. I did not want to be there. I was a little weirded out by the fact that not only was she my gynecologist now but she was also my mom's and my mom's friends gynecologist. But her couches were really comfortable and she was incredibly nice. I trusted her instantly.
I kind of had to. She was going somewhere that required complete trust.
I am alive because of her. Without her my first pregnancy could have ended badly. Without her my second pregnancy could have ended in a much worse way. She is the reason that my daughter and I are doing so well after a tumultuous 7.5 months.
I trust her with my life. With my children's lives. I put my faith into her and what she tells me. I have no reason to doubt her.
I was not completely ok with leaving her office last week without an order for more tests. I was not completely ok with being told to come back in two months. I was not completely ok with her un-decidedness about where my pain and discomfort were coming from. I was not completely ok with how the whole appointment went.
But I trust her. I do.
I waited a week. I knew that my monthly visitor would be making an appearance and maybe all of this was due to that. Maybe it was a pre-cursor to that. She had even randomly suggested that, after suggesting that I might be pregnant.
I really did not think so. I really did not believe that what was going on in my breast had anything to do with what was going on, or what was going to go on, in my reproductive region. I felt more. My gut told me more. I told all of you that.
But I trusted her. I still do.
I trust my gut more. I trust the fact that my monthly friend has come to visit and I am still in pain. Moreso that a week ago. I trust the fact that in the shower this morning when I went to wash my armpit and right breast the pain was more evident than it has been. I trust that I am not ok with waiting two months.
I am getting a second opinion. I am calling my primary and going to see him. I am demanding tests. I am trusting my gut. I am trusting what is within me. I am trusting what I know right now.
And I feel like I'm cheating on my doctor while finally being true to myself.
I was not ok when I left her office. I had to convince myself that I believed what she said. I had to convince myself to trust her.
And I do trust her.
I just trust me more.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 7:27 PM