health

15 answers for 15 weeks

  1. I am due in September.
  2. I am actually seeing it as a positive that I will “have to make it through the summer.” I have fewer pregnancy clothes to buy, won’t have to lace shoes or even put on socks. I will wear dresses and flats, and live in either air conditioning or the pool. #winningallday
  3. I am now in my second trimester, but had an extremely easy first. I never got sick, dealt with a few weeks of exhaustion and mild nausea if I didn’t put some food in my mouth every couple of hours, and that was it. I got my energy back well before my second trimester started and had such an easy pregnancy, and I was pretty shocked when the doctor actually found a kid in my belly!
  4. I feel amazing. Every once in a while, I get worried or anxious. I had bad heartburn for a few days that is now under control. I literally cannot tell you how easy this has been so far and how insanely thankful we are for that. No trips to the emergency room, no special instructions. Just a boring,  easy pregnancy. Thank you, Lord!
  5. It doesn’t matter if it was “planned,” does it?
  6. We don’t know the baby’s sex.
  7. We won’t find out until it is born.
  8. We don’t think we are stronger or better or have more will power than those that do find out. We want to be surprised for ourselves.
  9. The nursery does not have a color because there is no nursery. We do not know where we will be living when the baby arrives, and if it is our current home the bassinet will hopefully fit in the corner.
  10. We will both return to work outside the home after the baby is born.
  11. We are extremely grateful to be surrounded by supportive family, all of whom are fighting over how much free babysitting they will be allowed to provide. We are overwhelmed by love and support!
  12. We do have names picked out. Ask next time I see you and I will be happy to share.
  13. I do not know how this baby will be fed, but it will be fed.
  14. We accept all offers of free baby supplies. Between my brother’s baby, our home, my parents’, and my in-laws, I can almost guarantee every item will be well-used and appreciated! And we promise to pass along any extras to others in need.
  15. We are super excited and blessed. Massimo is already an amazing father and takes care of me and loves us like crazy. We are enjoying every day left before we have a child to tote around, but also greatly looking forward to meeting this little person. #humblebragpro

-D. E. Barbi Bee

“Bring that down to a one.”

After shaking our hands and introducing himself, the surgeon sat down, clipboard in hand and light-heartedly asked, “So how nervous are you right now?”

I ran through a quick self-evaluation. How nervous was I? Up until just a few minutes ago, when I sat down in this cold, hideously yellow exam room, with its thin table/bed that looked like it could have been recovered from the ruins at Chernobyl, I have been surprisingly calm. But now, alert and slightly shaking, I was admittedly anxious.

“Probably like a six, on a scale of one to ten.” I answer.

“Okay, let’s bring that down to about a one,” he jokes. This comment would set the tone for the rest of the appointment: comments that were slightly comedic, mildly dark (“I could have cancer, he could have cancer, but I don’t think that you have breast cancer in that spot.”), and a whole lot of casual C.Y.A. At more than one moment in the appointment, I thought to myself, “Was this a waste of our time and money?” But I never said it out loud, and was able to justify that if I had not come here, I would have worried and wondered for months.

In March, I had to make the call to Massimo that my doctor had found a lump in my breast during my annual exam. Between that day and my appointment with the comedic surgeon, I had gone through a weeks of visits from a series of mental roommates – some welcome, others not.

The first to stop by after we learned that this lump existed was called Faith. She was, as she always is, wise and free-spirited. Faith assured us that all we needed to do was invite her over, and she would happily stay with us. She said we didn’t need anyone else besides her to get through this. I politely declined, assuring her we would get through this.

Next to come over when I said goodbye to Faith was Pride, who introduced himself as Responsibility. Of course, true Responsibility calls himself “Humility,” so I should have known better. Nonetheless, I spent some time at home and at work with Pride, who constantly reminded me that this could cost us a fortune. “You have a high deductible plan,” he said. “And your emergency fund was really not for tests, surgeries, and treatments, was it? You always said that was in case of a ‘car accident,’ Deborah, you didn’t plan for this! What if this is bad?”

Pride was relentless. I admit I should have shooed him away quickly, but he made some excellent points. Massimo and my mom assured me time and again that this is not the time for financial decisions; this is the time for health care decisions – the two should not be mixed. I eventually told Pride to leave, but before he left, he apparently called his friend, Fear, to stop by.

Fear came by for just a little bit at first, but his real power came after the ultrasound, when he teamed up with his sister, Self-Pity, and their friend, Logic. When this mass first came to our attention, I could easily brush it away as “probably nothing.” Logic, at that time, seemed my friend. Logic told me that most of the time, for someone my age, a lump was just a cyst or just plain tissue. “This is more of a hassle than cause for concern,” Logic told me. I let him stay on the couch for a week.

The day of the ultrasound, Logic sent me off on a great foot. The whole thing went very quickly. In fact, maybe too quickly. The tech took her pictures, left to speak to the doctor, and came back with him. He took more pictures, spoke for about 30 seconds, and left. I looked at the technician with confusion, hoping my face would convey my inner voice screaming, “What do I do now?”

She smiled at me and said, “You’re all set.” That’s not really an answer, lady.

The doctor said a few words that stood out to me: “Your age,” “Not a cyst,” and “most likely a fibroadenoma, which is benign.” That’s really all I had. He mentioned something about a surgeon, or biopsy, but it went very quickly. I walked out feeling like a two out of ten on the worry scale: pretty good.

We went home happy, and it wasn’t until a few days later, when my doctor got the report and decided to refer me to a surgeon for a consult that the visitors showed up again.

This time, Logic seemed to get along better with Fear than he had gotten along with me before. Logic explained very clearly the following facts: 25-year-olds, statistically, are just about as low-risk as one can be. But if a 25-year-old did get cancer, it would (statistically) be breast cancer. And if a 25-year-old did get breast cancer, it would be bad (physically and financially), and even if she survived, it may affect the safety of her having children some day.

Then Self-Pity chimed in and expressed her concern that of course I deserve a long, healthy life with my husband, and that I deserve to have children and raise a family and et cetera et cetera. I knew she couldn’t be right, and after a couple days of that malarky, Massimo set her straight and she packed her bags.

Massimo, of course, was amazing through all of this. I don’t know if he didn’t notice our unwelcome guests, or he was just better at ignoring them than I was, but I told him time and again that if there was a description of how I would like my spouse to act in these circumstances, I would base it off of him. He was amazing. His strength and support – both silent and spoken – were amazing.

When we finally acknowledged the roommates that we both hated: Fear, Logic, Pride, and Self-Pity, we got on a united front and kicked them out once and for all. With them gone, we had room to invite Faith over to spend the week with use before the surgeon appointment. Faith also brought over her friends Joy and Hope, and we all got along splendidly. Sure, in the back of our minds we were always wondering what would happen, but it was more of an intangible, almost (stress the almost) weightless thought, than an unbearable burden.

The only small frustration in those days shared with Faith, Joy, and Hope was planning. There was always a “what if” factored in to making plans and spending money. “What if I need a biopsy? What if this drains our account?” But Hope would chime in and say, “Even still, it is well.”

The day of my appointment went by in a flash. When the comedic doctor left after a brief exam, we couldn’t stop grinning and holding hands. I felt every breath come in and out of my through with such clarity. Joy rode in the back seat with us on the way home from the surgeon’s office, grinning just as wide.

Now, almost six months later, my follow-up appointment next month is practically routine. I learned a lot from those weeks between discovering the lump and being dismissed from the yellow office. I learned that worrying does one hundred percent nothing. I learned that no matter how much good I think it does, the sick feeling in my stomach, a result of fear and concern over things I can’t control, really sucks the joy out of every day.

I’m extremely thankful for all the Lord did for us in those weeks and since. Even though we got an excellent outcome from out tests and appointments, if it had been less than that, we still would have been safe and secure in our Savior’s arms.

Walkers, Rise Up!

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Even walkers can take workout selfies, just like runners.

I finally live in a town with sidewalks, and I have plenty of extra time during the summer, so, naturally, I have taken up the practice of walking 2-4 times a week. In the last month, I have walked a total of 30.4 miles over 8 hours and 19 minutes, burning 3,109 calories. You guys, I’m so pumped. I feel really good about this. I bought new clothes and everything.

The problem is that I can’t brag about it because I’m walking, not running. If I was a runner, it would go all, “Oh hey, I’m thinking of going for a run later. Do you think this rain will let up in time?” “Oh, you’re a runner? No kidding! Me, too. Are you doing the 5K for the Fourth of July? Let’s exchange routes and our favorite warm-up stretches.” And we would be great friends and have mutual respect for one another.

As a walker, though, it goes like this: “Do you think this rain will let up? I’m thinking of working out later.” “Oh, do you do yoga?” (Come on, I’m trying to do something significant here.) “No,I’m walking.” “Oh. Are you pregnant?” (Seriously?! No.)

So in this world, the only work-outs worth bragging about are yoga, running, and weight lifting. (Don’t believe me? Check Instagram.) Everyone else is not cool and pregnant.

I want to live in a world where walkers and runners get mutual respect. I want to live in a world where I can say, “I’m getting my walk on. #workout #fitspo #business” and I will be the envy of everyone sitting on his or her couch instead of moving. I want to inspire, and proudly brag about my workouts without reserve. I want that world! And so I say to all you walkers out there: Rise up! Stand proud and declare your love of walking and that this is a totally legitimate and serious exercise. Spread the word! And get stepping! You are just as worthy as those runners. Don’t ever look down at your feet, moving at a pace of 4 mph or slower. Walk on, little feet. Walk on.

Just to drive home my point that walking is just as good as running, let’s do a little side-by-side.

                                                                                Walking                                     Running

Burns More Calories

Than Binge-Watching Netflix                            X                                                         X

Gets You Out of the House                                 X                                                         X

Requires Special Workout Clothes                  X                                                        X

You Have to Wear Sneakers                               X                                                        X

You Get to Know Your Town                             X                                                         X

You Have To Awkwardly

Pass Strangers on the Sidewalk                          X                                                          X

There’s an App for it                                               X                                                           X

Improves Your Health                                          X                                                          X

You Can Take Workout Selfies                            X                                                           X

You Sweat                                                                   X                                                           X

You Feel the Cool Breeze

On Your Face                                                              X                                                           X

You Can Talk on the Phone

at the Same Time                                                       X

You Look Awesome                                                  X  

You Can Go To The Library

or Store and Carry Stuff Home                              X

Your Earbuds Fall Out                                                                                                              X

You Spit Up Drool and

Look Ridiculous                                                                                                                           X

You Get Weird Injuries

And Have to Go To Rehab                                                                                                         X

So, runners do tend to lose weight faster, and can get a medal for running a marathon (There are also a lot of reasons not to run a marathon.). But is that really worth it? Is that really enough to totally make us walkers feel like lame losers? At least walkers have something in common with their grandparents! So that’s all I need. Running is painful and stupid. And you get cramps and want to throw up. Walking is beautiful and it rocks!

Start the  movement! Walkers, arise!

-debarbibee