Photographic evidence

While on my disappearing act from the internet world, I have been growing a baby and there is little evidence of it.  I kind of like it that way.

Because the Child is an awesome friend who just happens to be an aspiring photographer (I say she is one, she feels she needs appropriate education first, so fair enough).  Either way, she is good with a camera and she comes cheap (as in we paid her in ice cream and love), we did the whole cliche thing and had some “maternity photos” taken.

I love pictures.  I don’t love pictures of me.  And when you are 36 weeks pregnant, it is even more challenging to love pictures of yourself.  Just saying.  Plus, it isn’t like we are get photos taken people.  We are the kids that didn’t have engagement photo shoots and had the Child and Patrick’s Aunt take our wedding photos.  I wasn’t so sure about the whole pregnant belly picture thing.  The weekly belly picture thing was a definite no (although it would have maybe proved to some people sooner rather than later that I really do look pregnant).

Needless to say, after some peer pressure and parental convincing and some weird sort of gut feeling that told me I really should do this, we decided to do the photo shoot thing.

And you know what?  It was fun.  And not just because I got a nice scoop of peanut butter fudge crunch in the end.

So, here are a couple of the lovely photos from the adventure (photo credit to the Child who has a blog she doesn’t update here: https://everydaysnapsblog.wordpress.com).

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Excuses, excuses…

Hello world,

It’s me, Trisha.  The one who used to blog here daily and then it slowed down to a few times a week.  And, it seems that I haven’t posted a thing in something like 3 months.  That is a long time for me.

Confession…  In the time I haven’t been blogging, I also haven’t been reading many blogs, at least not ones that I regularly follow.  Heck, I haven’t even read many books that weren’t intended to teach me things about cancer or radiation.

I’m still alive.  Promise.

Are you ready for the giant list of excuses?  I have them.  And I think they are relatively legitimate.  But really, I know *most* people aren’t looking for excuses.  It’s not like this is my job or main life commitment. 

That being said, I really like blogging.  And really missed it (I know, then why did I stop doing it for so long?).  I have ton of things I would like to write about. 

My main excuse is the fact that I am very pregnant.  As in the Creature could make an appearance any day now.  And in the past few months, much of my energy has been put into growing this little creature or figuring out how to make our home/life hospitable.

Next up, I’m a resident.  Yes, I know lots of people are.  But, the combination of pregnant and resident is a whole lot to deal with.  Especially when you have issues with being a chronic overachiever who bites off more than they can chew, doesn’t want to say no to anything and has to do well on every single rotation.

Lastly, I have a life with other commitments.  I like my family and my friends and my church.  They all require time from me. 

So, by the time I got split into those three things, making sure I was clean, fed and got some semblence of sleep, there was little time left for blogging.  Sure, I had time I could have used for blogging or fun reading, but mostly, I wasted it mindlessly staring at the TV or What To Expect forums (more on those some other time).

Excuses, excuses. 

In summary (as if this is some sort of essay or proposal), I wish I wrote more, but I didn’t.  Now, I am going to try again.  Let’s see how this goes…

 

Just another day (and a “normal” one, at that)

It is Valentine’s Day.

Surprise world!

Image from nerdier.com.br

I know, you were oblivious.  I mean, if the ads and heart shaped crap everywhere didn’t give it away, it if your *apparently* love sick friends who post how awesome their spouse/partner/child is and how much they love him/her.

Last year, we had a friend text us saying thanks for not being so in your face and annoying about our relationships.  That she knew we loved each other and that she appreciated our not flaunting it all over the place.

We laughed, but I appreciated it because sometimes, I think people think I am a terrible person because I am so not sappy.

But really, you can show you care about someone without being all dramatic and in-your-face.  There is no reason to  try make everyone jealous or show off your great relationship.  To me (and this is my opinion), sometimes, the best proof of a good relationship is when people get along and function on a day to day basis.  Not just because of a made-up holiday.  In fact, Patrick saw an article earlier this year that said that couples that “flaunt” relationships are often statistically less happy than those who don’t (no, I can’t site the source… I am far too lazy for that).

Image from someecards.

Also, I need to point out that I hate public displays of affection and the creation of a “holiday” to share love.   Even though love is great and should be shared.  I just think it shouldn’t be so commercialized and sexualized.

So, this day drives me as crazy now as it did when I was single.

But, today was a good day.  I had band and went to the gym and cleaned.  We got to spend time with the lovely Child and D and play “Ticket to Ride,” which is an awesome game, in case you were wondering (check out the Tabletop video below).  Seriously.  It was easy to learn and efficient to play.  Also, it was one of the least disruptive games we have played (we tend to get kind of loud and aggressive), but not in a bad way.

Now, it is hockey night in the M house (if I can stay awake for the whole game).  And I get to drink from my new mason jar mug and enjoy flowers (because my romantic husband intentionally ignores my dislike for the holiday).  I also am having a skip the homework day today with the exception of submitting my abstract for a conference next fall that I probably won’t go to because flying across the country with an almost 3 month old seems like a not so good idea.

Today was like a normal people day.  I like those days.  I don’t need dates or fancy things or mush to be happy.  I just like being able to do things I enjoy and having a clean house, good food and friends.  I’m grateful.

A long New Years themed questionnaire

It is a few days after 2015 has started, but I have never been one to celebrate festivities conventionally (Okay, actually I did stay up until after midnight, saw fireworks as the clock struck twelve, toasted the new year (with sparkling apple juice) and kissed my husband… That is pretty darn stereotypical, I must say). I saw this 2014 in review questionnaire (one of many) done by a few of the lovely bloggers I follow and I decided to play along. Warning: it is long-winded and reflective.

YOUR 2014

What one event, big or small, are you going to tell your grandchildren about?

Tough one… Seeing Wicked on Broadway. Getting to see/hear “The Creature” for the first times.

If you had to describe your 2014 in 3 words, what would they be?

Emotional, blessed and nauseated.

What new things did you discover about yourself?

I learned that I am capable of depths of emotion on both ends of the spectrum (joy and sorrow) at levels that I previously was unsure were possible. I also learned that taking time to do the things I enjoy or spend time with the people I love is something that I too often put off, so I am gratefuly that I am now starting to do that more.

What single achievement are you most proud of?

Does being in the middle of growing a human count? I’m mostly serious. But, if we are going with tangible obvious things, it would be having completed my research project and presenting it at a national conference (although we are still editing it for publication… Ugh.).

What was the best news you received?

That “The Creature” continues to be growing and healthy. After a long wait for a baby and especially after losing Elim and knowing how many others wait and pray for well little ones, I can’t help but be so grateful.

What was your favourite place that you visited in 2014?

New York. Hands down. Best early 5th anniversary and partly free trip ever! I got to see musicals, Body World and eat a lot.

Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year?

My high-baseline optimism.

Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on?

Patrick, obviously.

Which new skills did you learn?

I apparently got pretty good at microscopy according to my Pathology evaluation.

My countouring skills are getting better. Bring on the head and neck cases!

I am getting better at transrectal ultrasound (I know, valuable life skills here, boys and girls) and inserting needles for prostate brachytherapy. Cervical brachytherapy seems to be a bit of a slower go for me, but it seems like whenever I’m on, the cases wind up being super complicated, so I get stuck not doing much.

Today, I have realized I have also become pretty stealthy at putting on Jeter’s harness.

What, or who, are you most thankful for?

I am most thankful for the many friends and family, particularly our extended church family God has stuck in our lives. They have loved us through a lot this year and keep putting my focus back on what really matters (sometimes with some laughs and healthy distraction on the way).

If someone wrote a book about your life in 2014, what kind of genre would it be? A comedy, love story, drama, film noir or something else?

A dramedy? I think that might be a genre.

What was the most important lesson you learnt in 2014?

It is not my story, it is God’s story.

Which mental block(s) did you overcome?

The perception or belief that I’m not “good enough.” Its an ongoing struggle, but grace is the gift that keeps on giving.

14.What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with?

This is challenging, there are many people with whom I enjoy spending time. I’m going to say C&C, A&P, K and M from our old small group (I know, that is 6). We got to have some special quality time with them for the first time in a few years and it was really enjoyable, meaningful quality time, even if it was brief. That doesn’t downplay the time we spent with many other very important people in our lives, it was just some of the most special time.

What was your biggest break-through moment career-wise?

When I started realizing that I could answer questions intelligently in teaching sessions and during my treatment planning exams and that I totally couldn’t have done that last year. I didn’t notice at first, but looking back, I can see how much I am learning.

How did your relationship to your family evolve?

I find myself more attached and concerned for my family and extended family as I get older. Probably because I keep learning how fragile life is and how important those people are.

What book or movie affected your life in a profound way?

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. I don’t know if profound is the exact word I would use, but it made me think about my relationships with family, with patients and how I share my love of reading with certain people. It made me want to check out more books and to actually discuss them (instead of reading being a solitary activity).

What was your favourite compliment that you received this year?

It wasn’t a compliment. It was the most heartfelt hug and simply “thank you” from a patient’s husband.

What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life?

I love coming home to Jeter who immediately “flops” and expects me to give him a good rub as soon as I walk in the door. I also love the time Patrick and I have when we do our individual Bible reading, pray and just cuddle and talk about our days before I go to sleep at night.

What cool things did you create this year?

I’m not that creative. Probably a knitted mug cozie (and then I lost the mug it fit on).

What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)?

I’m a resident, so stressed.

Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year?

I ran for 20 minutes straight. Brachytherapy insertions. I played Munchkin, Gloom, Love Letter, and several other games. I saw Wicked.

What was your favourite moment spent with your friends?

I’m torn between kayaking with L, C, Child and D in the summer or playing games and having a BBQ with C&C, A&P and K this summer.

What major goal did you lay the foundations for?

I’m continuing to be a resident, so a suppose that is working towards my major goal of one day having a real job as a staff physician.

I would one day like to run 5k straight. I know for many people that does not seem like a big deal, but I am NOT an athlete by any means. Before I got pregnant and super sick, I was up to somewhere between 1.5 and 2km without a walk break and didn’t need too crazy long for a break. But now, I went for my first run again last week and I can barely run for 3 minutes without starting to get hot and out of breath (it has been about 12 weeks). I know that I can’t push myself excessively now, but I want to at least maintain (or improve) my fitness, so that after baby gets here, I can keep moving in that direction.

Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary?

Patrick always tells me worrying won’t make me taller. And he is always right. So, all of them.

What experience would you love to do all over again?

New York. The time we spent with our old small group friends. Our cabin adventure with most of the BIFFs.

What was the best gift you received?

I’m going materialistic on this one. Mr. Holland’s Opus, which was a surprise from Patrick who remembered me mentioning it was one of my all-time favourite movies, so when he stumbled upon it, he bought it and watched it with me.

How did your overall outlook on life evolve?

That is a deep question. I think I’m getting better at seeing how grace really plays out in our world and in our lives in all kinds of ways that are sometimes more challenging to see.

What was the biggest problem you solved?

I fixed our broken drawer. I know it sounds trivial, but Jeter broke that bloody drawer trying to get to the treats a couple years ago and I finally fixed it! Maybe not the biggest “problem” but definitely the best fix.

What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you think about it?

When we were in New York, there was a voice on one of the subway trains that said “Please stand clear of the closing doors” who just sounded so happy while saying it (and also like a CBC sports personality). Patrick thought it was hilarious and would mock it and get even more excited if it was the voice on the train we were on. After getting back, we would still periodically announce “please stand clear of the closing doors” in that voice and crack up. Then, we noticed the elevator they are replacing in our building has a small automated sign that says that exact phrase. We lost our minds laughing at that.

What idea turned out to be the best decision ever?

Choosing to work Christmas Eve, so that we would have Christmas day to ourselves and more time to spend with family/friends at home over the New Years half of the break. We got to rest and relax, enjoy our alone time and our time with people (and even saw almost everyone we wanted to) and it was the best break we’ve had in some time.

What one thing would you do differently and why?

I would have accepted more help from people. I’m often reluctant to admit that I need help, but there were points this year where I was so sad or so sick that I probably should have taken people up on offers of breaks or a hand with things around the house or at work than I should have. I realize now that the past few months would have been a bit better had I maybe taken another couple of sick days or evenings to myself.

What do you deserve a pat on the back for?

I finished my off-service rotations in one piece and made it through the first difficult 6 months of core Rad Onc in one piece (half of which I spent drowsy and barfy) with people somehow thinking I am keen and have a good attitude.

What activities made you lose track of time?

Board games with our lovely gamey friends. I can lose hours playing good games with good people. Also, as always, reading. And I will admit, because I am a big dork, clinic prep and contouring are huge time sucks for me and often lead to me losing track of time.

What did you think about more than anything else?

Having children and not having children. I know it is so cliché for someone in my age and stage, but this was a seriously consuming issue for me this year in both the good and bad.

What topics did you most enjoy learning about?

I love my job and my field, so I enjoy learning most about oncology and everything that goes with it from how people (on both sides of the desk) cope with cancer and live with it, to how it works to the technical side of treatments. I have also been really excited to be learning more about God this past year.

What new habits did you cultivate?

I was doing decently at going to the gym before the morning sickness took me out. Hopefully, I can get back to that. Patrick and I have been doing better with prayer together. I have also been trying to be more intentional with being “social.” I’m not saying I am a social butterfly, but I am trying to have meaningful (or at least some) conversation with people more often in situations where I would otherwise have tried to hide out.

What advice would you give your early-2014 self if you could)?

I don’t know. I’m not always a good advice heeder. I would probably remind myself to be patient and know that tough stuff is good for growing and learning and that worry isn’t going to make me taller (even though Patrick did tell me that).

Did any parts of your self or your life do a complete 180 this year?

Not especially. My caffeine intake is probably a quarter of what it was previously, but that is the fault of mind-numbing nausea.

What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year?

Getting back to some important things. Like playing music again. Seeing and staying in touch with people who have been important in my life. Most importantly, seeing the thread of grace that God has woven in our lives.

YOUR 2015

What do you want the overarching theme for your 2015 to be?

Growing.

What do you want to see, discover, explore?

I’m excited to do my Med Ed elective and improve/develop my teaching skills. I can’t wait to meet “The Creature” and figure out all that good stuff that comes with parenting. I am always happy to go on adventures anywhere, even if it is just close to home for the next while.

Who do you want to spend more time with in 2015?

Our families/extended family. We see them more now than we did our first few years of marriage, and I want to keep that up. Plus, their presence is going to be super important as “the Creature” grows up.

What skills do you want to learn, improve or master?

I need to learn how to be a parent at some point. As I said before, I want to work on my teaching and I just plain want to keep working on my clinical knowledge and skills. I always can improve on how well I love my husband and others. Plus, I want to be more fit, you know, the whole running thing, as I mentioned. If I could finally learn to play guitar, that would be great, but probably kind of a lofty goal given everything else.

Which personal quality do you want to develop or strengthen?

I’m not sure exactly how to word it, but I want to continue to work on my time spent with others. I want to be more open to people and more loving towards them and less afraid of interactions.

What do you want your everyday life to be like?

I just want to find joy in the mundane. Because that is what life is made up of, those ordinary moments that add together to make up our days.

Which habits do you want to change, cultivate or get rid of?

I want to keep working on our prayer time and devotions as a couple. I also want to get back to/get better at being more active.

What do you want to achieve career-wise?

I really want to pass physics and radiobiology this year (lofty dreams), so that I can just sit in on them when I come back from mat leave without feeling the pressure to have to write the exams and pass them with a toddler in the house. Doing adequately well on my other in-training exams would be great too. I also want to finish all of my rotations up to the start of maternity leave, so that I only have one 4 week block left of third year when I get back.

How do you want to remember the year 2015 when you look back on it 10/20/50 years from now?

I hope I remember it as a good year, but really, it is just a drop in the bucket.

What is your number one goal for 2015?

Read 67 books. Just kidding. That is a goal, though. I guess it is just to love and serve well.

My first band concert (in a long time)

Today was my first band concert and what turns out to be almost 7 years!

I played my last band concert with the previous community band I was in in August of 2008 just before I started med school.  That was 6 and ½ years ago.

This makes me feel super old.

And so does this band sometimes.

As I said before, it is a “feeder” band and is mostly made up of junior high and high school students and their parents and then people like me who used to play in band but haven’t in a while.  So, the band that I often call the “good” band often calls us “the kids.”  Funny enough there is an age range in our band that I am smack in the middle of (although in near the older edge of that, I think).

The concert went fantastically.  The “good” band is AMAZING.  I could listen to them all day and they remind me of a somewhat better version of the band I played in in university.  The band I’m in played really well, and I think our sound was great even though many of our pieces are on the simpler side of things.

Patrick came and cheered me on like the awesome husband he is.

I remembered how much I missed performing in this kind of setting.  I’m so glad I am doing this and plan to keep on with it even after the baby and residency inclusive if both let me.

Also, speaking of baby and band, I am finally starting to look a little pregnant and not just fat.  As a result, I was stopped by an older man in the “good” band this afternoon on my way to the bathroom before the concert and he asked me if I was one of the kids in the 9am band.  I told him am in the 9am band (and refrained from the kid question).  And he asked again, are you one of the kids or are you older, so I told him I’m older, like way out of high school older.  He told me that was good because his wife pointed out to him that I was pregnant and they were concerned if I was a kid (or something like that… I was busy being puzzled by what was happening to get the exact wording).  I told him I’m happily married, have a career and am a good 10 years or more older than the “kids”.

It made me laugh pretty hard.  Partly because that was a bold statement (I could just be fat and I could be a teenager) and partly because I couldn’t believe that conversation really just happened.

Patrick took me out for a quick supper on the way home, so that I can spend my evening focusing on studying (and procrastinating while writing this blog post… whoops).

Day tripping with the parents

This past weekend, my Mom and Dad visited.  It has been awhile since they have been here and since we have seen them since our trips home have been limited as of late.

We got Starbucks one afternoon (mmm Peppermint Mochas) and went on a little adventure to a beautiful oceanside area not too far from where we live.

It was freezing cold out… No wonder, it is practically winter and we were by the ocean.  But it was quite lovely to have both the company and the scenery.

Evil Genius

Sometimes I feel like an evil genius. Not for especially good reasons either.

Image from cryhavok.org.

I feel like I beat the whole world because I took an in- lieu day and a couple vacation days to make an extra long weekend in early December to do all of that festive stuff that I need to get done.

It has become my routine during residency. The last few years, I took one day to get most of my shopping done. You see, I hate shopping at the best of times, and when Christmas comes and the crazies come out, it induces a kind of rage in me that is kind of terrifying.  So, I take a day off during the week and try to hammer out all my shopping while at least some of the crazies are at work.  This year, with the parasite, I decided it might take me an extra day or two and that I might have other stuff to do, so I took an extra couple days.

And thus, I hammered out all of my shopping, Christmas card writing and helped decorate the church plus I’m considering even doing some gift wrapping (if I can find last year’s wrapping paper…) before heading back to the world of work.

I even caught up on Grey’s and some other stuff I have been meaning to watch and cleaned out my closet! I may or may not have cried during both (for different reasons… I blame the tiny human).

Take that consumerism, festiveness and life! I can be festive and not want to die (it is sad how big of a deal that is to me).

Image from degrassiwikia.com. Interesting that this is from the Degrassi wikia page but is clearly a Boy Meets World scene… Fail internet. Fail.

The Cat’s Out of the Bag

So, I have an excuse and an announcement.

I haven’t been posting very often because my life has been consumed with trying to do my job adequately, sleeping and trying not to throw up.

Jeter has helped me out with the announcement part with his new choice reading material…IMG_0463 IMG_0469There is a tiny human growing inside me and in June, the M family will contain 3 humans (and a giant cat).  Really, it has 3 humans now, but one of them can’t live not inside of me.

Because of past events, my healthcare background (aka my insane ability to worst case scenario any possible health event because I have either seen it or have heard of it) and social norms (I know, I’m not always big on social norms, but fear was a big driver in this once) we decided to keep this whole thing on the down low until I hit the “magical” 12 week mark (which I don’t actually think is that magical).  So, now that we have released the gag orders on our parents and best friends and told our friends from our old small group, my “other mothers” and our church family, I get to tell the blogesphere (because not only am I now the kind of person who announces their pregnancy with annoying cat photos, I am the person who tells the internet).

Stuff got so much more real over the weekend (and strangely, will be a bit more real when I hit “publish”).

Funny how other people being in on your little gift from God can do that.

The cat is out of the bag, so they say.

So, yay new life who we celebrate every day because I get such frequent reminders of what a gift it really is.  I know I am so fortunate I am to get to be sick and tired and slowly expansile.  Sometimes waiting for something is hard, but the lessons in that wait are huge.  I keep seeing that piece more and more every day (more on that later too).

Snow. Yay?

I got a text from a friend while I was getting ready for work this morning.  It read “SNOW!”

In the mornings, I stagger from my closed curtains bedroom into our windowless bathroom, so I exist in oblivion to the weather unless it is raining hard enough for our leak to drip or is windy enough to shake the windows or sunny enough to shine through the curtains (which is not likely at 7am where we live right now).  It has been unseasonably mild the last two days or so, and I live in a bubble in which I check the weather only  before venturing outside to catch the bus, so that wasn’t exactly on my radar.

Now, lets be realistic.  I live in Canada and it is Fall, so snow is a given.  But that wasn’t the shock factor.  The shock factor was my initial gut response…. “Yay!”

WHAT?!?!

I don’t say yay to snow.  I’m more of a bah humbug, go away winter kind of person.  Usually I’m anti-festive until December and even then I get cranky if things are excessive.  I only like snow on the holidays not overlapping my travel plans (which it always does). The one thing I always love are Starbucks peppermint mochas and gingerbread lattes.  Mmmm.

But, that has been changing.  I started doing things like sending out cards (I need to buy my cards this year) and decorating.  I still don’t like excessive or commercialism, but I think because I am embracing the reason we celebrate, I am embracing the celebration more.

But moreso, I think friend is rubbing off on me too much.  And I’m okay with that.

So, I almost said yay to snow.  Not quite.  But almost.

To Elim, On Your Estimated Due Date

Dear Elim,

I thought I would write to you on this, your estimated due date, to say a few things that have been on my heart. Had we not lived in this fallen world, you would be in my arms by now or I would be just itching to have you the heck out of me so we could cuddle and do all that newborn-mommy stuff. But alas, that was not how it was to be.

I want you to know first of all that I love you. And I always will. Even though I barely knew you, I know God made you and I will cherish our short time together before you went to heaven to be with Jesus. A lot of other people loved you and mourned your short life too.

I miss you. I miss what could have been. But, I am so happy you are in heaven now. That you are safe and protected and loved. One day, I’ll actually get to meet you and that will be awesome.

You are a gift. You are an answer to prayers and longings. And you were used by God to teach me big lessons about redemption, real love and how to celebrate well and suffer well.

Because of you, I appreciate new lives more. I appreciate the miracle that it is to see a pregnancy progress and babies be born and children who grow. I want to celebrate new lives instead of hiding them with secrets and fear. I will be honest and say, I also know how fragile life can be and it scares me a little and that is okay. I empathize better with other Moms and Dads who have to miss their kids until they see them again for all kinds of reasons.

Because of you, your Dad and I got to learn to lean on God and each other a whole lot more. We got to grow up more (which I’m sure sounds crazy because we are theoretically grown ups, but even grown ups have more growing to do).  We got to see God do amazing things with what seemed like a terrible situation.  That is what He does, but I suppose you had that figured out already.

I been counting down to this day for many months. Not because of some sick fascination or because I wanted to feel sad or bad. Just out of instinct. I like numbers and it is simple math to know where I would have been with you at any given point. Plus, today’s date has been etched in my mind. And to be honest, I wanted to remember when you would have hypothetically come into this world. Just like I will remember when I knew you went out. Because I care. These are important moments, even though others may not see them as such.

You will have brothers or sisters, maybe both someday. I will be grateful for each of them and know them as individuals. I pray every day that they get the chance to grow up and that it will hopefully be a long time before you meet them (no offense). I also pray that they will all one day meet you in heaven. Know that in my heart you will always have a special place and when they are ready and old enough to understand, I will tell them about you.

You count in my kid count in my heart. So, happy “birthday.”

Love you always and forever,

Mom