MicroblogMondays: Hair Cut

No.. I didn’t get a haircut.  My hair is long and layered so I usually only get one haircut every 6 to 8 months.  During this pandemic, my hair hasn’t started to bother me yet.

It is a different story for my husband.  He would usually get one haircut every two months or so.  His last haircut pre-pandemic was in February around his birthday.  Ever since the sheltering in place started, he has been working from home and does not usually go out of the house except for taking a walk or going for a run.  I take care of all the shopping needs while he takes care of bringing home the bacon.  In those few months, his hair grew longer and longer and longer.  Honestly, in the 11 years that we have been together, I had never seen his hair so long and unruly.  I now am very certain where Okra’s super curly hair comes from.  I joked about seeing rays of sunshine on Bob’s head every single day.  Bob was so so bothered by his hair.  Towards the end of the 5th month not having a haircut, he was literally pulling his hair with both hands day and night in frustration.  I could only imagine how bothersome longer hair could be for a guy who is so used to having a neat and short hair style.  His usual hair salon was/is still closed in San Francisco.  His hair was bugging him so much that he was willing to let me cut his hair if I was willing to take a stab at it.  Well, I wasn’t.  I just don’t have enough confidence to even know how to begin to do that.  So when my friend/fellow twin mom/neighbor who lives on the next block told me that her next door neighbor is a hair stylist and started giving haircuts in her backyard, I got super excited.  Bob was at first apprehensive when he learned about this new opportunity.  After some consideration, apparently the benefits outweighed the risks.  The hairstylist would be masked.  Bob would be masked.  She would allot enough time to sanitize the area before his appointment time.  So on the day of the appointment, he walked a few minutes to that house and came back within half an hour with a huge smile on his face.  The difference between the before and the after was shocking.  A haircut does a person good on so many levels.  Even Bob’s gait looked different.  There was an air of confidence and lightness when he was walking home.  His smile told it all.  Who would have known that a simple act of getting a haircut would be so much appreciated when a pandemic hit?  This teaches us not to take anything for granted, even an everyday thing such as a haircut.  As for me?  I am holding out on my hair for as long as possible.  Now that Okra has an opinion about his own hair (which is No when I ask him if he wants a haircut), it will be very hard for him to let a stranger touch his hair.  We are probably looking at boy/girl twins who have never had a haircut on their third birthday.  And I am okay with that.  Bob probably doesn’t care since he now knows where he can go to keep his hair short and neat.

MicroblogMondays: Morning Time

Like I mentioned before, I have been working with a christian parenting coach via weekly Zoom meeting with a group of parents since May.  In light of our current challenges with Okra, I have talked with this parenting coach separately couple of times on the phone to brainstorm strategies to work with him.  A suggestion from the parenting coach for Bob and me was to intentionally pray for ourselves as parents and for the kids.  We had been lacking a time to chat and pray.  We tried it before at bed time but we were/are often too tired to even talk and sometimes we are short or impatient with each other.  Once I told Bob about the parenting coach’s suggestion, he said, why not get up early together, read the bible, and pray together?  I have never been a morning person.  I love to sleep until the last moment possible before I get up.  But, since Bob suggested, I accepted the challenge.  That was exactly what we did.  We started on June 8th, which was 6 weeks ago.  We have been consistently getting up one hour earlier to talk, read the bible, and pray.  There were a couple of times we got into an argument, but we made a choice to make up and pray before the kids got up.  There was one time when Bob really wanted to go for a run so he did, but he got back in time to pray with me before getting the kids.  I love this morning time.  My mind is clear.  The house is quiet.  I make a cup of coffee and have five minutes of quiet time/meditation time when I pray to the Lord.  I then write down the things I want to work on with the kids in a little note book.  I also have a bigger note book that I labeled “Intentional Parenting and Marriage”.  I write down thoughts on parenting, on my kids, and on the bible passage that I am reading that day.  After Bob is done with his reading, we chat a bit about how each other is doing and pray specifically for the kids, such as peaceful obedience, joy and peace, or self control.  After prayers, we get the kids up to give them breakfast.  I have really enjoyed this time with Bob.  We are so much more refreshed first thing in the morning.  We are in a much better mood and have much more patience with each other.  I am confident that since we have been doing it for 6 weeks, it is a habit to continue on.  We start the day right, and feel the most connected to each other in a long time.  It highlights the importance of married couples to connect with and pray with/for one another.  I feel so blessed that Bob and I are willing to devote this time to each other.

MicroblogMondays: 46

I wonder what I would have done instead if my birthday didn’t happen during a pandemic this year.

I turned 46 on Friday.  Because of the pandemic, we stayed in for most of the day.  In the morning the kids and I just hung out and had a great time.  The kids were playing when I asked them to sing me a birthday song.  They at first were willing to sing.  When I put my phone camera up to record them, it took a lot of coaxing, then Bunny started singing.  Okra continued to play with his toys.  I asked him to sing to me, and he said, “Mommy I am very busy.”  I was laughing out loud.  Last year they needed my help singing the whole birthday song.  This year they could sing it all on their own but apparently life is too busy for him to sing to me.  My mom treated me to a delicious dim sum lunch.  We went to pick up the take out with the kids.  My kids love dim sum so I thought for sure we would have a good time enjoying the food.  Unfortunately, my son had other ideas.  When I was washing his hands prior to lunch, he said to me, “I won’t let grandma eat dim sum”.  I responded by telling him that we treat everybody kindly and with respect, especially grandma.  He then told me not to talk.  Telling mommy not to talk is not permitted in this house.  When I told him that, he threw a huge tantrum that lasted a long time.  Needless to say, lunch wasn’t very enjoyable even when the food was excellent.  This reminds me of my birthday last year.  My kids were both very pleasant throughout the day, but threw a tantrum all day long the day after.  At least this time Okra only threw one huge one (that was big enough for Bunny’s share) and didn’t do it again the rest of the day.  But let’s talk about the highlights.  My niece wrote me a few days prior and asked if she could make me a birthday cake.  I asked for a mochi cake that she is so good at making.  In the afternoon, my brother, sister-in-law, niece, and nephew showed up with the cake that was made into a heart shape!  With one candle on the cake, the whole family sang me a birthday song outside our window.  It was truly lovely and heart warming.  Then the adults spent the next 30 minutes drawing kids pictures on the window, as if it was the kids’ birthday rather than mine, haha.  Dinner was takeout from this lobster restaurant that I had always wanted to try.  I went to college in New England and had the joy of eating unlimited lobster tails at a lobster festival put together by my school.  I had been craving good lobsters and Bob was kind enough to make it happen.  The kids had lobster roll for the first time and seemed to enjoy the brioche bread the most.  They did like the butter and finally dipped the lobster meat in there.  I had two lobster tails, some shrimp cocktail, a bowl of lobster chowder, and coleslaw.  It was a fantastic dinner that everybody enjoyed.  All in all, it was a low key but wonderful celebration.

Back to my question in the beginning of this post.  What would I have done if it wasn’t for COVID-19?  I think we would have gone to the zoo, or on a short trip, or Bob and I would have picked a nice restaurant for dinner just by ourselves.  Instead, I got to spend all day with the kids (Bob was working).  Even though we didn’t go anywhere special, and despite that one huge tantrum by Okra, being with my family would have been all I wanted.  And that was exactly what we did.  So in a sense, COVID not COVID, it makes no difference as long as I am with my loved ones.

Four more years before I turn 50.  I can’t even fathom that.  But it is also time for me to embrace my age.

MicroblogMondays: My Turn for Hysterectomy?

Last few weeks I started noticing that when I am lying down, the area below my belly button was bulging out and hard, like the size and shape of a small football.  When my bladder is full, the hardness seems to push out even more.  I had never noticed it before, and started to wonder if it was the mass behind my uterus that was causing the hardness.  Back in 2016, I had an MRI that showed that I had either an adenomyoma or fibroid that was almost bigger than my uterus.  That was the main reason why a gestational carrier was recommended to us because a pregnancy carried by my uterus might restrict a baby’s growth.  I was told by the surgeon back then that nothing needed to be done if I didn’t intend to carry a pregnancy.  The mass is benign and will shrink when menopause starts.  Since I am asymptomatic, I haven’t been doing anything about it.  Plus I haven’t had a period in a long time, so I am in full blown menopause and was hoping that the mass would shrink. When I started feeling the hardness on my abdominal area, I was a little concerned.  I was wondering if the estrogen cream that was prescribed to me for reducing menopausal symptoms was feeding into my mass.  I wrote the OB/GYN who put me on the cream. He said that well-balanced hormonal levels shouldn’t affect a fibroid’s growth. But he did order a pelvic sonogram for me.  I got it done this past Tuesday.  It is definitely an interesting time to get medical care with all the precautions taken at the medical building and the masks on everyone’s faces.  The results came the next day on my phone which was followed up with a phone call from my OB/GYN’s nurse trying to schedule an in-person appointment with me so that my doctor could examine me again.  That appointment was quickly scheduled for last Friday.  After palpating my abdominal area and comparing the results of the sonogram to the MRI in 2016, he gave me a few options:

  1. Do nothing, which is not advisable because the mass may continue to grow and press onto other organs causing problems
  2. Another myomectomy, which I don’t prefer because it is another major surgery that requires 6 weeks of recovery, plus the fibroids may grow back in the future requiring one more surgery
  3. Hysterectomy, removing the uterus and the fallopian tubes (because leaving the fallopian tubes without uterus may be associated with higher chances of ovarian cancer).  It also requires quite a few weeks of recovery
  4. Do Depot Lupron to shrink the fibroid for 6 months and do a laparoscopic or robotic surgery to remove the fibroid.  Recovery time could be a couple of weeks instead of 6 full weeks.  If we do Lupron, he’ll have to reduce the estrogen strength because it may counter the effect of the Lupron.
  5. Do Depot Lupron to shrink the fibroid for 6 months and do a laparoscopic or robotic surgery to remove the whole uterus.  Recovery time could be a couple of weeks instead of 6 full weeks.

Another thing that showed up on my results was a mild hydronephrosis on my left kidney.  I didn’t look it up too much about what it all means.  My gynecologist thinks that it is possibly due to the fibroid/adenomyoma pushing onto the area causing the swelling.  He thinks that taking care of the uterus will take care of that problem.

Since I am not symptomatic (no pain, no excessive bleeding), this is not a rush.  However, it would be good to take care of it because the mass did grow from 8cm four years ago to 12cm at this point.  I don’t really need the uterus so removing it makes sense.  However, my husband just switched to another group in his company so he would like some time to transition in his job before he takes time off to take care of me and the kids while I am out of commission.  Plus he is worried about getting a major surgery done during COVID time and wants to wait and see what happens after the winter months pass.  I spoke to Dr. E, my fertility doctor.  She thinks that we should get scheduled for a hysterectomy without shrinking the mass first as soon as possible.  She thinks that I will feel much better (no more hardness and other subtle pressure on my abdominal area) afterwards.  She also thinks that even doing Depot Lupron my mass might still be too big for a lap or robotic surgery.

My last surgery I just went with my OB/GYN at the time without consulting with another person.  Although the results were good, I vowed not to do that again.  This time round I want to get a few more opinions before I decide on a surgeon.  Dr. E gave me quite a few names and I will start thinking about who else to consult with before I make a decision about it.  And then we will determine when it is a good time.  Dr. E seems to think that surgeries will be shut down again because of COVID so if we can get it in before then, it’d be great.  I will have to ask many questions to determine the shortest recovery time because I do have two kids to take care of.  We will go from there.

How interesting that our gestational carrier had a hysterectomy and I may also need one….