Benign

The word every person wants to hear after hearing the word ‘biopsy’.

We leave for vacation with the kids tomorrow, I was so glad to get the call this morning alerting me to my results. Now I don’t have to worry about coming back to town for a doctor’s appointment mid-week.

I can go to the cottage. Relax. Eat. Drink. Kayak to my heart’s content without wondering or worrying.

I can breathe.

Let vacation begin!

50/50

One week ago I had a breast biopsy done.

I’m still waiting on the results. It could be 7-10 business days to get them to my doctor, and then I will have to make an appointment to see her to actually get the results.

I’m pretty sure that it’s going to turn out to be nothing. But then again I am sure every woman in my position says the same thing.

But right now, at this moment while waiting for my results… it’s not nothing.

In reality, I have a 50/50 chance of having cancer.

Until I get the results, it could go either way. There is no way to predict it. I feel okay normally but the lump they found was really small. I am a non-smoker, in general good health, with not much family history of cancer.

So I know, the chances are quite good that it’s just a cyst.

But the not knowing makes it difficult. The waiting. So until my doctor says the words ‘benign’, I have a 50% chance of being diagnosed with cancer.

Mr. J has been awesome through this ordeal.He’s been through it before – his mother died of cancer when she was just 56; and it started with breast cancer. She beat it, then had liver cancer two years later which she did not survive.

I haven’t told many people about this. I don’t see the point. My best friend knows, my co-worker knows, and that’s it. Mr. J talked to his father about it because he’s been through it. I would think it weird if Mr. J hadn’t reached out to his father about this. Even though he puts on a brave front, I know he’s worried.

But he was very good to me before and after the procedure.  He took care of me, and no one has done that for me in a long time. I’ve always been the strong one. Always been the one to take care of others. So it’s been nice to have someone who wants to take care of me.

The hard part is letting him. But I’m learning how.

Tick tock, tick tock… the clock is counting down. We are now day 4 post procedure. I do hope to have results by this Friday (day 8) as on Saturday we are supposed to go to the cottage for a week, but you never know what can happen. We’re trying to work out contingency plans but right now we are just taking each day as it comes.

May the odds be ever in my favor.

Much Ado About Nothing

The last few weeks were rough between Mr. J and I, and that never happens.

His concussion head has been going up and down in the 15 months since he was concussed, and so sometimes we’ll have a long period of good discussions, and then bam! Concussion brain hits, and he cannot function. He can keep up with routine – work, eat, sleep, etc. – but any discussions or small talk just… disappears.

It was the end of his week with his kids. The weeks with them always leave him a little frazzled.

I should have known better.

But I asked him how things were going with the divorce, as he and The Ex had had some discussion around it. Mostly her wanting to know why the rush, she can’t pay, and then finally a ‘you want it, you pay for it – that’s how it works’.

So a week or so had passed and I asked how things were progressing. Apparently The Ex has a document that’s required (I doubt it’s the right one so we’ll see if I am right about it) and Mr. J was supposed to get it from her.

So after not discussing it for the week, I asked him, “so, can I ask what’s going on with your divorce?”

He replied, “no.”

To say this did not go over well with me would be the understatement of the year.

I went upstairs and we didn’t talk for a bit. Then he came up and tried to talk but he really didn’t have a clue as to why I was so upset. I talked. He listened. And as usual, he was unable to return the discussion.

The following day, Saturday, I met him for lunch in our usual spot. After he had eaten and we was getting ready to go back to work I told him, ‘we are not a family. The three of you [meaning him and his children] are a family. The FOUR of you [included his wife] are a family. But WE? Are not.”

He chewed on that for a while, then later in the week I could see him getting better. I could see that he was able to concentrate a little more. And a full week later, we were able to actually talk about what happened. I had told him in our discussions that I will not stay with him if he continues to be married. I did say it in a much better way – it was not an ultimatum by any means. I told him that it’s not that I am looking to get married – I just don’t like the idea that he is still technically married to his wife. I feel it cheapens our relationship.

So we had some good discussions on Friday and Saturday nights, and again on Sunday. The children arrived back from an extended stay with Mom on Monday, and so I fully expect Mr. J to begin his downturn soon. Usually after a week spent dealing with teenagers, he begins to experience the after effects of his concussion again.

As we were walking last night, we talked as we normally do, and he got around to telling me that The Ex had dropped off the papers he asked her for.

He also said that she is looking for cheaper alternatives for the divorce. His lawyer originally quoted him $1600 which I told him was too high; the firm I used charges a flat fee for simple uncontested divorces. Mr. J went back to the firm and told them that and they agreed to lower it to $1200, which is reasonable. But The Ex says she has no money and cannot afford to pay for her half. She is insisting that it can be done for cheaper, and included the option of doing it without an attorney. She said, “but since you want it, you would have to do the paperwork and the filing with the court.”

So. Follow along: The Ex wanted out of the marriage so three years ago told him that she was ‘done”. They limped along, staying in the same house until she moved out year later.  She wanted to end the marriage but felt that it was fine for them to continue to be legally married. Now Mr. J wants to end that. She gets mad, says if he wants it he has to pay for it – which he is fine with, although had the situation been reversed, he would have offered to pay half. So even though he said he would pay for it himself, she is insisting that she has ‘no money’ and can’t afford $600 for half the cost (which he hasn’t asked for) and is pushing to find a cheaper alternative than using lawyers. All the while insisting that Mr. J must do it all since he’s the one who wants it to become official.

Do the words Control Freak ring any bells?

Holy shitballs, Batman. I seriously cannot believe this. No wonder she feels so much stress all the time – she is trying to control things that she should not be controlling. The only thing she has to do in this process is sign her name on the forms when she receives them. That’s it. Oh, and send them back by mail, let’s not forget that. Once Mr. J files the papers with the lawyer the entire process should take about three months. All the financial and custody issues are done,  so it should be simple.

But I guarantee she will make this difficult for Mr. J. I am going to try really hard to trust him, and work on communicating better with him so he feels he can continue to talk about the process with me. All I really want to know is that everything is in the hands of the lawyer. Then I know that it’s going to happen, that it will be moving forward – and I won’t worry and stress that it won’t actually happen.

Because it is going to happen.

 

 

Unexpected Results

As you know, I have been wanting to talk to Mr. J about going forward in getting his divorce finalized.

And on Wednesday evening, on our nightly walk around the neighbourhood, he finally told me that he was ready to do it, that it was ‘time’.

But I’m not exactly thrilled on how he came to that realization.

You see, Sunday night I was lying in bed after a long day, reading.

And… I felt a lump.

A small lump definitely, but… a lump nonetheless.

When Mr. J came to bed I asked him to feel it. And he agreed that it was ‘something.’

As a woman, we are told to examine our breasts monthly in the shower, and I have done that on occasion, but really never knew what I was looking for.

So Monday during work I called to book an appointment with my doctor. Thankfully I was able to get in to see her that evening.

She agreed that what I felt was ‘something’. So she made a referral to have a mammogram and an ultrasound on my right breast.

On Wednesday, I received word that there was a spot open for next day at 8:20 AM. I let Mr. J know that I would be going on Thursday morning. (This is four days after finding ‘something’)

He told me he would try to take the morning shift off work to go with me.

We went back and forth about it for a bit, I know he had to take the time off unpaid, and I didn’t feel that it was altogether necessary for him to do that. It’s not like he could go into the appointment with me, he would have to stay in the waiting room.

Regardless, it was done. He booked it off to drive to the appointment with me.

The night before the appointment, we went for our nightly walk. And he said that this news had given him something to think about and that, ‘maybe it was time I got divorced.”

Now, those are words I have been waiting eight months to hear, but I’m not really thrilled with the reasoning behind it.

As he talked, I didn’t jump for joy. All I said was, ‘well you have to be sure this is what you want. Don’t decide to do it just because of what may, or may not happen after tomorrow’s appointment.”

“No,” he said, “it’s not that. It’s time. It’s been three years since she told me she was leaving me, and two years since she has been gone.”

And then he said the magic words, “it’s really time to go forward with US”.

The next morning we drove to the hospital for my appointment. Mr. J drove, thankfully. We found parking, we checked in. He sat in the waiting room when I went in.

I was given a gown and told to wait. Then ten minutes later I was brought into the room where a really nice technician asked me to step up and she started the process of the mammogram. Two films on the right breast, two on the left.

Then she went to consult with the radiologist. As I sat and waited.

She came back in about five minutes later and said she had to do more film.

“Not on your right breast, but on your left.”

Oh.

She took two more films of the left breast. Then I moved to the room next door for the ultrasound.

The technician did the ultrasound on my right breast. She focused on the spot where I felt the lump.

After some time she said, “I think it’s just fatty tissue.”

I breathed a sigh of relief.

Then she looked at the left breast.

And looked again.

And kept looking.

And kept shifting me so that I was on my side, left arm up over my head. And I actually said, “draw me like one of your French girls.”

She snorted and said, ‘no one’s ever said that to me during a breast ultrasound before.”

Leave it to me to quote Titanic when being felt up by another woman.

So she continued with the exam. She kept using the wand over my left breast. On the side of it. Around it.

And then she went into my armpit.

After about ten minutes of imaging, she told me I could sit up and that she was going to have the radiologist look at the images.

The radiologist came in about five minutes later, and asked for me to lie back down. She used the wand over my left breast again and the two of them murmured together.

“So,” she said, “your right breast lump is just fatty tissue.”

“But there is a spot in your left one.”

Well. I didn’t see THAT coming.

“It’s very small,” she said, “but we are going to have you come back for an ultrasound guided biopsy, to see what it is.”

She reassured me that ‘it’ was tiny, and so because of that, I am considered low-priority. “Low enough that you aren’t urgent, but high enough that we want you to come back.”

So I probably won’t get called for an appointment soon, but I will be going back.

I thanked her for her work and went to change back into my clothes.

I met Mr. J in the waiting room. We took the elevator down in silence.

As I was paying the parking fee, I told him, “so my right breast is fine – it looks like a fatty tissue deposit or some such thing.”

And then I took a deep breath and said, “but they found something in the left one.”

We navigated out of the parking lot, which in itself was a chore. There was actually a valet trying to jockey the extra cars that were parked in front of other cars. Once we were clear, we decided to go for breakfast, since I’d not eaten that morning.

I don’t remember much of what we talked about on the drive to the restaurant. But once we sat down, Mr J said to me, “wow… that small fatty deposit might have just saved your life.”

I’m trying to not think of things like that. I’m trying to only keep it going one day at a time.  While we were at breakfast though, I did get up the courage to say this to Mr J. “I just really hope that, regardless of the outcome of today, you will do what you said you were going to do. I don’t want it to be like your passport: you decide it’s time to get one. You get the forms, you start filling them out. But then you leave it and end up forgetting about it and so for months it sits there incomplete. You know me. Now that you have mentioned it, twice, I know about it, and I am going to think that it’s going forward. I don’t want to be thinking it’s in progress only to find out six months from now that nothing has been started.”

Essentially I told him that I am not going to nag him about this. He said it’s time. He was thinking of me, and if there were expensive medications I might need, being on his benefits is the right thing to do.

It is the right thing to do, but I’m wondering if for the wrong reason. Even though I asked him and he denied it, I know that had this unexpected result not happened, he would be happy to continue on with things as they were.

It’s probably going to take him at least a month to bring it up with the Ex. And that won’t go over well. They had agreed to keep each other on their company benefits until they got divorced. She would be covered solo afterwards, unless she hooks up with The Boyfriend’s plan. (No news on their moving in together, we are starting to think that we might have misjudged that.) The children will continue to be covered under both of their plans.

And that’s where it stands. He knows what he has to do, and there isn’t anything I can do about it.  I am not going to hound him or nag him about it.

It has to be because he WANTS it, not because he feels he HAS to do it.

So for now, I wait.

I wait for an appointment that will tell me my next step in this journey.

I wait for Mr. J to put his ducks in a row and start making some phone calls/ sending some emails to get the ball rolling.

There’s not really more I can do about either.

 

 

The Acknowledgement

Last night did not go well.

I went home after work. Folded laundry. Washed dishes. Prepared dinner.

Chatted with The Daughter.

Mr. J came home. We had leftovers for dinner. He was tired, we didn’t talk much while we were eating.

I asked him what his plans were for the evening, and asked if he wanted to take a walk.

He thought about it for a moment and said, “I should probably go to Costco to return X and to look at Y. You can stay here and work with The Daughter on her homework.”

Um, pardon?

I can “stay home and work with The Daughter?” As her father, isn’t helping with homework your job?

I was hurt and angry. I changed then went out for a walk. I kissed him goodbye and said ‘see you later’. No anger. Nothing.

I walked for about half an hour, thinking of the situation. As I round the corner to head home, I see Mr. J and The Daughter in the van at the corner. He tells me they ‘won’t be long’. I say, “I thought I was helping The Daughter while you went to Costco?” As he stuttered his response I said, “Oh, I guess I misunderstood.” And kept walking.

They returned an hour later. I was watching TV. And fuming.

After ten minutes Mr. J comes up and has The Daughter’s homework with him. (She was supposed to have two people edit her work and then present the original, the one with our edits, and the fixed copy to her teacher. So, essentially WE were teaching her.)

When The Daughter went to shower I asked him if he had any idea why I was mad.

(To be honest, I don’t think he had a clue that I even was mad.)

I told him that he made me feel like the hired help. I relayed the conversation about walking and his response. I asked, “how do you think that made me feel?”

“Well I was getting ready to go and The Daughter saw me…” he started, and so I finished, “and so she asked to go with you.”

“Of course she did. Even though you had told me I was to stay home and work with her.”

He replied, “I don’t remember the conversation going like that.”

Then he said that I mentioned (which I did) that he needed to get dress pants that fit him for the wedding on Saturday, and yes, I asked that he not wait until the last-minute to do so. (He’s a man, he would have gone out on Friday night after dropping the kids off at Mom’s at eight pm, only to not find anything that fits. Because he is a last-minute guy.)

In this brief discussion, I also said that I didn’t know what my role was. I said, “I’m always the last to know plans. I’m never in the loop. It’s fine for me to share your bills, cook, do dishes, do meal plans, and be on call to take your kids (which I apologized for saying because he doesn’t like that word, he prefers using their names, so I corrected myself) for tutoring sessions and to school for band concerts. We don’t share anything else but that. So right now you make me feel like the hired help.”

There was more I wanted to stay but at this point I had started to cry, which I do when I’m in a highly emotional state. I’m not sure if I was angry, frustrated or sad. But I was all three when he replied to my rant, “thank you for telling me how you feel.”

Wow. Seriously? Is that supposed to make me feel better?

But I know that’s how Mr. J communicates. He thinks that it’s all good, because he’s acknowledging my feelings. He’s not admitting to making me feel that way, be believes that I am the one making me feel that way. But he doesn’t realize that I feel the way I do because of his actions. Or in some cases, his in-actions.

The rest of the evening was strained, to say the least. At 9:30 I went to get ready for bed, per my usual routine. I was asleep when he finally made it to bed – well, I was well on my way to sleeping actually. Not quite there but not fully awake either.

Our morning texts have not been our usually cheeriness. He started by once again thanking me for telling him what’s been bothering me. And again, no discussion about it or thoughts on how to proceed.

The Daughter has a school concert tonight at seven. I’m really not sure that I should go. Do I want to go? Not really. I’ve had my fair share of school concerts this year and I’m pretty tired of them. It’s funny that a year ago I was upset because I wasn’t asked to attend her concerts, and now I don’t want to go. The last time we went to a school function, Mr. J barely spoke to me; while we were in line waiting to go in to get seats he stared at his wife and The Boyfriend the whole time (they were about six to ten people ahead of us in line). And last night, since The Son was at Mom’s doing homework with her, Mr. J thought it would be best if the Son just spent the night there since it was 9:30 and there was no word on when he would be home. He messaged Mom and she replied that it ‘would be easier to drop him off after’ rather than have him spend the night. Reading between the lines this means that she was either going to sleep at The Boyfriend’s house or he was going to be there. Either way, Mr. J made a comment about it, saying it was ‘interesting’.

Why? Why should it be ‘interesting’? Why do you still care? You have a woman you say you love, living with you, lying beside you every night. Having willing sex with you often. Helping you function as a family in ways that your wife never did. And yet it seems you do everything you can to NOT let her into your life.

Maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe I am making things out to be much bigger than they really are. Are we going to talk about this again? Probably not. Simply acknowledging my feelings doesn’t make it better.

Working to change the situation might.

And I’m scared that’s not going to happen.

Coincidence?

So yesterday I verbally vomited on my blog, purging everything that had been going inside my head for a few weeks.

And surprisingly, I felt better after doing so. Even though I didn’t magically find a solution, I did feel better.

Mr J. knows I have a blog but he doesn’t know where it is or what it’s called.

So I found last night’s conversation interesting.

We were in bed, Mr. J had taken his kids out to shop for Mother’s day gifts for Mom. They went to the mall, had dinner, then bought her exactly the same gifts they had bought her the year before.

For kids who love creativity, they really like to repeat.

As he was telling me about the evening, Mr. J said the following to me: “I think tomorrow I am going to message Mom and tell her that I took the kids out to shop for her but to please not do it for me for Father’s Day. I just don’t want her buying me anything, even if it comes from the kids. I think you should take them out instead.”

I joked, “why, you don’t want your 6-pack of beer and BBQ hot sauce?” (Joking because that is what he got last year from them).

“Well you should take them, I mean. It’s time. It’s overdue.”

Now this is where it gets interesting, because I replied, “yes, I agree. There are a lot of things that are overdue.”

And he replied, “yes, I know.”

Then we moved on to other topics but I wondered what brought this on. I wonder if something happened, if he had received a message from Mom that annoyed him, or if being with his kids and shopping for his ex was just something he didn’t want to do. I mean, she has a boyfriend, so why isn’t he taking them out to shop for her? Maybe Mr. J is tired of spending his money on her.

I don’t know the reason but I am pleased that he came to this realization himself. I didn’t nag or remind him or give him any negative attitude about the shopping. So that makes me feel good.

But it did open up the door to begin our conversation, even if I did it by text this morning. Last night, Mr. J didn’t tell me he was taking the kids out. I was meeting a friend for dinner and had no idea that they would not be home when I got there. I’m not sure if he felt that I would be mad that he was taking them shopping – it’s not like it hasn’t happened before on her birthday or Christmas, I knew it was coming. But the fact he didn’t contact me at all was a little annoying. Then I found out that he took the phones away from the kids and put them, along with his, in the console in the van, so that they could spend time together and not be on devices all the time.

This is excellent. I think it was really good for him to do that. But it got me thinking about our shopping expedition last week for the Confirmation gift, and so this morning I texted him this: “So I just wanted to say something about what’s been bothering me for the past couple of weeks. Last night I didn’t hear from you, you didn’t tell me you were going to the mall. That’s fine, you don’t have to tell me everything. But then you said that you made the kids put away their phones so you could have time with them, and so you did the same. Excellent. Really good. But, when we were at the mall last week, you were constantly on your phone checking and texting with Mom, so much that I had to stop and wait for you to finish. So can you see how that might come across as if I am not worth your full attention sometimes?”

I sent that this morning but I haven’t heard yet from him, and he hasn’t read the message. Maybe he has and he just doesn’t know how to respond. But no response is necessary – it felt good to get it out and to at least start the conversation.

This isn’t something that will magically disappear but I really believe that if I hadn’t written my post yesterday, I would still be feeling miserable about it. But I got it out, and so I feel better. Still not myself, I can still feel the depression there but it’s definitely lifting.

So if you are feeling anything like I am, talk to someone. Anyone. A friend. Your dog. Or write it out. Maybe it will help.

The Cohabitation Agreement

No, this is not an episode of The Big Bang Theory.

Today, I drafted up a Cohabitation Agreement for Mr. J and I to sign.

This shit? Just got real.

The bulk of my possessions have been moved into his house.

We’ve spent every night for the past two months together – the last day I slept in my bed was July 22.

And last night, we went out to dinner to discuss household stuff like bills and payment schedules.

We had some wings, I pulled out my phone to look at my budget, but he just told me that at the end of the month we would reconcile the bills and I’d just give him half, including the mortgage and property taxes.

And then he talked about signing a document that would allow us to each walk away without any further obligation should we choose to.

Ouch. Way to put a damper on the mood. Not the celebration I was hoping we would have.

I know he is just being practical and trying to avoid the situation he was in when he and The Ex split. He doesn’t want us to go through the hassle of dealing with pensions, RRSPs… any savings accounts.

He wants it to be simple – what’s mine is mine, what’s his is his.

And I am okay with that. Really. He might make a little more than I do (about $15K per year), but he also has two kids to clothe and feed and music lessons and sports fees, and before we know it, college tuition.

I know he is making sure I am protected as well, and he claims that while he makes more money, I will have more disposable income. And he is likely right about that.

I understand his need. I do.

I just wish that the thought of it didn’t stab me in the heart.

I really hope he doesn’t think that our relationship won’t last. Especially when he mentions that all the bills are in his name so I am “free to walk away at any time”.

And that’s when I wonder if this is all too soon for him. If the scars from his marriage are still too fresh.

Is that how he sees us, I wonder? That I am just biding my time until something better comes along? That when I get tired of being with him I will just throw in the towel?

Or does he say these things to put up a tiny wall around his heart, to protect himself from reliving the pain of the last few years?

He’s told me that ending things between us would hurt him, but it wouldn’t devastate him. I guess he’s been there once, and probably not likely to happen again. I mean – we have no children together, so there would be nothing to keep us tied to each other if the romance dies.

We’d be “free to walk away at any time”.

So of course I will draft and sign the Cohabitation Agreement. I don’t need financial support from him. What he earns when we are together is his. If his house appreciates in value, then he should benefit from that. I don’t need a share of it. I’ve managed my whole life without being dependent on a man, and I can keep doing it.

If it gives him peace of mind to sign such an agreement, I will do so.

So then why do I suddenly feel like our relationship just went from a grand romance to a business arrangement?