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.

The Shit Hath Hiteth The Fan…eth

(Ten points if you  can name that movie!)

Since Mr. J mentioned getting divorced last week, he’s commented on it a few times.

On Friday night he was annoyed with The Ex and so he said he’d like to tell her to just ‘finish what you started. It’s been three years.”

I can tell he’s growing more and more frustrated with her. While I remain positive and supportive.

Yesterday he called me as I was driving home from work. I used the Bluetooth in my car to talk to him.

He informed me that while he was napping, The Ex messaged him again about their government benefits. (Backstory: she had been claiming them solo since they split, then she told him that he should apply for them as well. So he did, he was approved and has been receiving his share.)

The issue is that when he applied for them, he used the date that is on their separation agreement as the legal date of separation. Even though The Ex moved in June, the legal date for all their papers is six months earlier. For tax reasons it was easiest to use that date when drawing everything up.

She however, used the date of June for the date of separation.

So now since the government owed Mr. J an extra six months of benefits, where do you think they are going to get that money from? From an over-payment to The Ex, that’s where.

Basically, she has to pay back six months of benefits to the government unless Mr. J tells them the date was June and not December.

Which, in reality, is not his problem. All their legal docs say December. That’s when the retro for all bills, accounts, mortgage payments, debts, pensions, etc. were dated.

I guess she was not happy with Mr J not bending over backwards for her, and got testy. Then, he said to her that it was ‘time we formalized things and got divorced”.

I was speechless when he told me this. It’s one thing to mention it to me and talk about it but I never, ever thought he would approach her about it so soon. I figured he would think about it for the summer and then talk to her about it.

Well apparently it didn’t go over well, as was expected. I guess in her mind, the separation agreement was all that was needed; they didn’t really need to get divorced. They could just keep on, keeping on like they have been – sharing insurance benefits and la-dee-da.

(This is where Mr. J told me that he has been locked out of her insurance plan, meaning he can’t log in and apply his receipts directly. He has to submit them to her first, she gets the money back and gives it to him. Whereas he had left his open so she could go in with the password and apply hers right away.)

Obviously, nothing would change for the children; they would both remain covered under their parent’s plans, regardless of anything else.

Of course she was not really thrilled with this either. So she said to him, “fine, if you want a divorce, you can pay for it.”

Now Mr. J had told me that he would have been happy paying for half of it. Even though she instigated this whole thing, he would not have forced her to pay to end things. After all, they each paid a considerable sum to their respective lawyers when it came to arranging the separation agreement. Even though they did most of the work themselves, they still sought legal advice, which was not cheap.

My divorce cost $1150. Flat fee. The most important piece is the separation agreement. All you are doing is saying, yes, we will continue to abide by the agreement, we just want the marriage officially ended.

I’d be willing to pay for half of the cost myself if it means getting Mr. J released sooner. $575 is the best money I can spend.

But I know The Ex was pissed because SHE didn’t make the decision. She wasn’t in control of the situation. And I’m sure she never expected those words to come out of Mr. J’s mouth (or in this case, his phone.)

It’s been a day, so I am waiting for the shoe to drop. I’m waiting for The Ex to start the sad messages. The ones about how she never thought this would be happening, that she’s ‘struggling’ with this, or whatever other crap she comes up with.

Mr. J has reached his limit with her. He’s tired of her games. Tired of her bullshit. Tired of her control.

Tired of her.

I’m so very proud of him for standing up for himself and finally deciding what HE wants.

 

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.

 

 

Shine Bright Like a Diamond (or in this case, a Sapphire)

With apologies to Rihanna.

Since I last posted here, I had a birthday. And, oddly enough, I share the day with Mr. J’s father.

Since we were going to visit his family on my actual birthday, Mr. J surprised me one day last week. He bought me gourmet cupcakes, a beautiful card that brought me to tears, and an amazing gift: a set of sapphire earrings.

I was floored. Yes, he knows I like sapphires, and these are almost a half carat sized each. Studs, set in white gold, which I prefer over yellow.

I was baffled. Mr. J is very careful with money. These babies cost more than an iPad.

What does that mean?

Mr. J does not spend money easily. He’s not into high-ticket items. One of the reasons he doesn’t really like travel is he doesn’t like spending the money on it.

He is the first man to buy me expensive jewelry. For marriage 2 and 3 I paid for my own rings. (I am well aware of how pathetic that is.) Ring 2 is gone – sold at a yard sale as it was just a simple band with three tiny stones. Nothing to take to the jeweler.  Ring 3 I still have in a box – not quite sure what to do with it yet. I’ve toyed with the idea of making a new ring or necklace from it – and the wedding band – but I haven’t really given it much thought.

But no man has ever bought me fine jewelry before. Even my first engagement ring, bought by my now ex-husband in 1992, came from a mass department store and retailed then for $399. Solitaire. Square, yellow gold band. No bells, no whistles. But we were young, just starting out.

Back to the birthday….

So on my actual birthday, we spent it with Mr. J’s family. His two brothers, their families, and their dad spent the day eating burgers, drinking beer, and visiting.

I chatted a little with Mr. J’s dad. And he told me a few eye-opening things.

We had both had a few cocktails, so I’m not sure exactly how we got to talking about it. But I mentioned how I feel when The Daughter talks to Mr. J. I told Dad how it breaks my heart to hear her speak so badly to him, even though he just lets it roll off. I said that Mr. J has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever known (and this is where I got teary eyed.) I said that The Daughter talks to Mr. J just like her Mother does, because it’s been a learned condition.

Then Dad told me the bombshell: that way back, 20 years ago on their wedding day, Dad heard the way she spoke to Mr. J; how in fact her whole family spoke to him. And Dad told me that right then he ‘had a feeling it wouldn’t last’.

ON THEIR WEDDING DAY.

Mind = blown.

Then he went on to tell me that he knew the only reason Mr. J married her was because he was lonely. His two brothers were married (or planning to be soon), and one was already starting a family. He was lonely.

Been there, done that, so I know how he felt.

Then Dad went on to say how he doesn’t see that with us. He sees us as ‘real’. He says he can tell the way we look at each other; even when we are working together in the kitchen to put a meal together, he can see how we care and respect each other.

Again, I got misty-eyed.

So after we had finished dinner, and blown out the candles on the cake, we were driving home the following afternoon. I had mentioned to Mr. J that I had a nice chat with his dad. While in the van, he asked what we talked about.

“Just stuff,” I said.

“Well, just so you know, my dad’s advice isn’t always the best”, he laughed. “He’s got about 50% good advice and 50% bad.”

“No worries,” I said, “he wasn’t giving advice”.

“So what did you talk about?”

“Well,” I began,  “your dad just gave his opinion on stuff. And seeing how it’s just his opinion, it’s wrong of me to talk about it. It’s just his view, his thoughts. That’s all.”

Yeah – like I am going to tell him that his father thought it was a mistake for him to get married all those years ago.

No way, no how. Not my place.

Perhaps they already talked about this, perhaps Dad had told  Mr. J during one of their many talks over the past two years. Regardless, it’s not my place to share this information, so I didn’t.

I’m just thankful that he trusted me with it in the first place.

 

 

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.

Share and Share Alike

I wish sometimes I could get out of my own head.

I wish I could talk to Mr. J about these issues that are bothering me.

But then I wonder, are these really issues? Or am I just making things up to make up drama to make myself unhappy?

I want to be part of his life. I want to be more than a ‘house mate’. But the reality is seeming to be more and more that this is all that I am. Except we sleep together.

I share his bed. I share the bills with him – except for food and fuel for the vehicles. But that is all we share. We do not share anything else. Oh – and I am on his cell phone plan, but I pay for my phone in full.

With his wife he shares two kids – although I realized this weekend that to them, Mom’s house is ‘Home’. I’m pretty sure that Dad’s house is just somewhere they have to go every second week. At least I’m pretty sure that’s how The Daughter feels. I don’t really know about The Son – but he did say once to us that he helps out more at Mom’s house because, and yes, I quote: “well, you have Anonymous, and Mom is alone’.

When asked for more information he said that he feels ‘sorry for Mom’ because she’s alone, so he helps out more with chores around the house.

I won’t lie, I walked away when at that comment. I let his father talk to him about that, and Mr. J said that he set a few things straight, mainly about how that was what Mom wanted, and that Mom isn’t doing everything ‘alone’. She had her Boyfriend put their beds together when they moved and he also hung curtains and pictures. So don’t feel sorry for Mom.

But I digress…

What am I doing? I am taking a perfectly normal, happy situation and am trying to fuck it up in my mind. I can go days being normally happy and then like last night when I couldn’t sleep, my mind was racing with the same thoughts as before. Thinking of everything Mr. J and his wife share that we don’t: children, dentist, benefits through work, financial advisers, bank accounts, financial and tax information….

We don’t share anything. Except a bed.  And even that bed frame he shared with her when they were together (thankfully the mattress is new). And some bed sheets are old as well, although I keep trying to bring in new ones to replace. I try very hard to only use my own towels that I bought with me. Weird?

Since we moved in we’ve bought nothing together. We eat off their wedding china every damn day. (It’s Denby and he loves it, so what am I to say about it?)

This week is crazy busy with tutoring tonight, school concert tomorrow night, then Mr. J books summer work on Thursday morning so he needs to look at that beforehand. We have a wedding to go to on Saturday (my cousin’s) so we won’t really have any time to talk until Sunday or Monday when it’s just us again.

I enjoy travel, and I knew going in that it wasn’t his thing. But last year after his concussion he had a scare – the doctor told him he thought Mr. J might have an aneurysm, but the tests came back clear. And at the time, Mr. J told me that the possibility kind of scared him. He realized that his life might be short – as his mothers’ was – and so maybe it was time to live more in the now. So we talked briefly about taking a little road trip this Fall. Just the two of us. (I’ve mentioned this is past posts.)

But last night he pretty much told me that thanks to me paying half his bills, his money situation is good now. He’s happy with it. But that he still doesn’t want to spend the money on travel, as he isn’t comfortable with it.

So there goes one more thing we could do to bring us closer as a couple.

Although as he said that, I did say that I wasn’t convinced that he would have been fully present on a trip with me anyway; that I wasn’t interested in spending my time waiting for him to respond to messages that had no urgency nor need for being sent in the first place. You want to send your children the daily messages that you do (which all go unanswered), great. Awesome. But the other messages from your wife about nonsense? Yeah, no thanks.

This weekend at my cousin’s wedding will be a test. To see how much of the day he gives me his complete attention, vs. how many messages he receives from his wife – and how often he checks his phone.

All of this has been written previously. I’m just recycling the same information over and over. Nothing has come of it because I haven’t done anything about it. I can’t fault him for that, as he doesn’t know how I feel.

He doesn’t know how I feel because I haven’t told him how I feel. That’s on me. So unless I am going to tell him, I can’t blame him for something he knows nothing about.

Time to make a plan. And hopefully something good will come of this plan. I just have to wait for the right opening, and hope I can do it in a non-accusatory way. The key is for me to learn patience and how to discuss this in a mature way. Or should I just say, “what the fuck, dude?”

Yeah. THAT will go over well.