America, I’m coining a term*

There are digital natives and there are the digimudgeons.

The digimudgeons are already over the internet.

They were clicking and dragging Geocities sites before most people even had dial-up in their own homes.

They joined Facebook when it was a college-only site. The signed up for Twitter in 2007 before their bosses and families were on there.

They miss Television Without Pity and Google Reader.

And they are pretty sure the social web is destroying the fabric of reality.

*I googled and in true digimudgeon fashion, this term has already been coined.

I miss spring

_MG_6426

Just sitting here covered in mosquito bites with wet hair (sweat hair) drying, acutely aware of just how much my air conditioning is killing the planet but unwilling to bump it lower than 74 degrees.

It’s what’s inside that counts

Since March, I have now had four or five pelvic ultrasounds (yes, both the external and the internal probe Congress loves so much) and a pelvic MRI.

Here is what we know:

There are masses inside of me and they are growing, and they need to be removed.

Here is what we think we know:

One of the masses is an ovarian endometrioma the size of a tennis ball (and growing). Until late June I’d never heard of such a thing but turns out I’m intimately acquainted and just didn’t know it. Essentially, I have endometriosis that has invaded my left ovary and taken over to the point that it likely cannot be extracted and removed; the whole ovary has got to go.

I have other masses in my uterus that are fibroid tumors. At least one of them is also the size of a tennis ball. I was sent to have an MRI this past week to find out the number and size and placement of them all, since apparently, from the expression on my specialist’s face, there’s a bunch of crazy shit happening in there, all together, that has her thinking I should get a hysterectomy, STAT.

My specialist asked me, while prodding around my guts with her fingers, if I was done having children. Well, I said, I didn’t think I was. She pressed her hand down on my lower stomach from the outside and pressed her fingers inside of me upward, so her hands met around the parts inside of me that are swollen and cramped, and I felt a pain so deep it didn’t register in my body but it registered deep in my emotions and I began crying.

I am 34. I have always had regular periods that last three to five days and that come with minimal discomfort. I’ve never been on hormonal birth control and I had a quick and lovely eight-hour natural labor and delivery. I have always joked about being built for breeding, with my wide hips. I have had friends and family who’ve fought with period pain, endometriosis, cysts, fibroids and excessive bleeding and have always counted myself as being very fortunate to have a system that seemed, more or less, to do its thing and keep the peace.

I have finally met the man I want to spend the rest of my life and have a family with, and, in my more selfish moments, it’s a little like a cosmic middle finger in the face to think that that might not even be on the table for us.

My gynecologist asked me if I have a high pain tolerance. On the one hand, how great to have not suffered from the discomfort of my insides twisting and growing and crowding my organs. On the other hand, the lack of pain means I didn’t even realize what was happening for so long, and now it’s likely too late to really fix it and keep it functional.

I go back to the doctor Thursday to find out exactly what the MRI shows and what’s next. I know it will not be great news because they called and moved my follow-up appointment up a week. They told me come by whenever; they will work me in. That only happens if something is concerning enough to need action.

My family and friends are of course being supportive and wonderful in every way. My mom had a major bout of fibroids in her 40s and ended up with a hysterectomy. But she’d already had three kids and had her tubes tied; she knew she was done adding to her family. But she knows what a tough row to hoe this can be for the brain and body when it happens.

I had hoped I was finally getting to start a family in earnest, with someone who loves me and my son. It will be difficult to let that dream die before it even had a chance, if that’s what it comes to.

I know I will need surgery. I just don’t know how much and how soon and how serious.

I know I can feel a dull thud of pain on my left side where the ovary continues to grow larger each menstrual cycle. That pain wasn’t there four months ago.

I know sitting up from lying down is increasingly uncomfortable.

I know I can feel tenderness all across my belly, and sharp pain whenever a not-to-be-named 4-year-old gut-checks me while wrestling.

I know I am scared.

‘They’re the chosen whites’

As much as I’d like to say “how did we get here again?” it’s clear we never left.

America, we are fucked up.

Two days in the Delta

_MG_6935

For Richard’s birthday, I thought it might be fun to drive down to Clarksdale to visit the famed Crossroads and visit the local museums and haunts known for their connection to blues history.

The trip did not disappoint. Even though we went during the week and live music offerings were limited, in part because lots of places have limited operating hours early in the week, we still got to see and hear some good stuff, and just bask in the muggy glory of the birthplace of the blues.

_MG_6907 _MG_6909

_MG_6943

_MG_6967

_MG_6973

_MG_6985 _MG_6987

_MG_7018 _MG_6993

_MG_7051 _MG_7075

_MG_7067

_MG_7150

_MG_7128 _MG_7143

_MG_7117 _MG_7097

_MG_7227

Check out the full photo set here.

Grey areas

grey areas

The thing for ladies to do these days is put shocks of pastel in their hair. You see it everywhere, across race and class lines. Lilacs and pinks and teals and robin egg blues. A sea of bobbing cotton candy, as far as the eye can see.

Not me. It reminds me too much of my high school, where girls would bleach their hair with peroxide and use Kool-Aid paste to color it a rusty red-orange when their mothers wouldn’t buy them real hair dye.

This morning I colored my own mop brown. Just plain old brown, like it used to be, before the grey crept in. It started taking over last year. It’s hard to say if it was circumstantial or if it’s just age. Maybe both.

I remember being so upset with my mom while I was a pre-teen when she openly contemplated coloring her greying hair. I felt like it was a betrayal of who she really was. My mom had this beautiful, lightly salt-and-peppered head of impossibly curly hair. Hugely curly hair. My mom wasn’t the sort of woman who was preoccupied with capturing and holding her youth hostage. My mom was aging beautifully and would never try to fool anyone. That’s what I thought at the time. That hair color was a lie.

I was a kid. I didn’t have any idea that the years would come for me too, some day, before I was ready.

Now, of course, I would tell my mother, “Do whatever you want! Be happy! Be free!” Life’s too short to let a sullen pre-teen make your decisions for you.

Mom never did color her hair. Still never has. Now it’s nearly all grey. Still huge and curly. Beautiful, of course, just like her.

As for me? I’m addicted to the boxed stuff. I battle the creeping grey invasion every few months with a new box, a new set of disposable gloves, a new chemistry set inside. Sometimes I think I’ll just leave myself be and let nature take its course and try to live like one of those fabulously sophisticated women with long, grey locks. But I am not those fabulously sophisticated women. I am still trying to get comfortable in this earthbound body and here it is changing shit up on me.

The grey got to me before I was ready. I’ve got to beat it back, like a fire. I’ve got to live the lie. The lie for me is more true than the grey.

The difference

_MG_5968

My mom said something to me a few months ago, right after I had made the leap to move into my own place and try to start a new, better life.

She said, “Linz, you don’t know what it’s like to have a man love you. You’ve not had it yet. When it happens, though, you’ll know it.” She said it with frustration. Not toward me, but toward all the men in the world who’ve hurt her baby girl.

And at the time it was sort of like Ouch, Mom, but I knew what she meant.

And she was right.

I had no idea what it was like to feel completely comfortable in my own skin while in a relationship. To feel my own agency and worth but to want constantly to be a better person, a better partner, because I want to make his life better too. The feeling of being a team.

Not to say insecurity isn’t always there, creeping around and poking its head in periodically. But to live without the constant drumbeat of anxiety and instead have it replaced by a safety net of love and acceptance? Incredible.

I am grateful.