Wednesday, January 16, 2008


So I feel like I owe y'all an explanation for my bloggy silence. I know really maybe I don't, but maybe I owe myself the explanation or, alternatively, the time to write and order my universe. Because I haven't been doing much writing lately either. Which is not just bad for productivity, but probably means that I'm freaking out.

Which I guess I am.

For a short while, I had the drama of some editing to do, then I finished that. Then Project Lumpy went into full swing -- and frankly everything -- down to whether Absurdist Lover thinks I should cook on a given night or not -- became about my breast health. My mother went to a Breast Cancer Support Group (for her mom, since she has breast cancer, but that wouldn't stop her from worrying about me) and got me info, my stepmother gave me the number of her OB-GYN and told me to keep her updated, and Absurdist Lover was writing down the names of hospitals he passed during errands and giving them to me. Though I still was doing research and wanted some specific referrals to go on, I was basically cornered. I had to make a decision about which doctor to go to and make an appointment. Then I had to call everyone else back.

I was sitting in one of these funks where I found it impossible to get on with the next step. I finally got up the strength to make this seemingly impossible decision and make the appointment (which with the breast center I've chosen involves a number of phone calls and steps before you're finally allowed to schedule an appointment) last week. Then I lived in Project Lumpyville until yesterday when it all came to a head. I had my first appointment. Absurdist Lover came with me. When he asked me if I wanted him to come with me, I said I didn't know, but then when he said he was staying here to play games, I found myself getting angry and slamming something. In short, I was totally irrational and he probably figured when I started behaving like a five year old that I needed supervision. (One of the soap opera plots in my head is that he came back into my life now because I need him to take care of me on my death bed. Oy.)

At the breast center, I had to fill out many pieces of paper. Most of the people in the waiting room were couples. Partners go there, I guess, as a matter of course. I'm sure people are getting bad news as well as having checkups after medication. Perhaps people were also getting chemo there, though I don't know.

For myself, I got a doctor who, I think, used my first name while introducing herself as Dr. Breast Surgeon. Typical. We talked a little, she looked at my mammogram and explained that my breasts are full of glandular tissue, then she felt me up and proclaimed my breasts "lumpy-bumpy," though she did feel the exact lumps (mirror images of each other) that have already had their close-ups on ultrasound. But these are star lumps, you see, and must be ultrasounded again. So that's next week. And then, Dr. Breast Surgeon says, if she can't see what she wants to see on the ultrasound, an MRI. She thinks surgery is unlikely. Which means that cancer or something else really bad is likely not even really considered a possibility. Though I confess that it was this whirlwind discussion between long bouts of waiting (to get in to the doctor, to be able to pay), and I struggled to keep up. When she asked for questions, I was totally tongue-tied. I asked a few clarifying questions, but I think that I didn't take in what was going on because of the possibility of an MRI, which is so frigging expensive. Then there was the small problem that the bill was more than my grandmother had given me for the appointment. (Our other major problem around here is that we don't have any money. It's a huge stressor -- at least for me. It's getting to AL a bit too, though he is a bit less of an anxiety-ridden alarmist whose worst nightmares are about not having money -- also about becoming a burnt-out addict, but that is a discussion for another time.) Thank goodness I had a little money (it was for insurance, but now it's just about playin' the angles, baby) in my account.

So then it took me half of day to get myself to schedule the ultrasound. Instead I was, I guess, procrastinating, by trying to find some adjunct work at a local college. I know this is ridiculous and that time is ticking by and that soon I'll only be able to apply at places on the quarter system, but I'm so drained by everything, including the inevitable phone calls I had to make today in order to update everyone on everything, that I can't imagine handling a class. I can barely handle the telephone. I'm always surprised when my professional phone voice takes over.

Today, while updating my mother and again expressing surprise at how crazy my life is (Absurdist Lover! A camper! Find a job! I have no money! I have a PhD? Project Lumpy!), she said my life was bumpy-lumpy. I kid you not. So that is why lumpy-bumpy or bumpy-lumpy is the word of the day.

So here I am, not quite sane, not quite functional. I have an article due by the end of the month on my coolest research. Then I have two conference papers to write. I barely remember when I was that person. I know I saw some of you at MLA (and how much I wish I had spent more time with y'all) but I barely believe I am a person that anyone would ever hire for a tenure-track job. I mean, wouldn't they just know how crazy I am?

Anyway, so with all of this craziness and the knowledge that I should write about my recent adventures and then the the pressure to get a job, I really have just wanted to curl up fetus-style in my bed (which now has a super-cool and homey, but not too Mrs. Brady, quilt on it) and stay there. The fact that Absurdist Lover does not deserve me to just bottom out and leave him to be the one doing everything is the main reason I get up and out of bed and do things. I feel like I'm doing something when I cook him dinner.

But really I know I have three projects: Lumpy, Job, and Article. None of these is playing Susie Homemaker. Okay, let's just say I have four projects then. I have project Susie too. Lumpy's gotten a lot of play recently and is, I think, full up until next week. Job is moving right along today and just needs some more work tomorrow. Article has been sadly neglected. I need to focus. I feel as though I'm behind a thick fog.

So that's all that's going on in my world. I think Absurdist Lover is home.


Hilaire said...

Hey, you. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this kind of health scare right now. I know it's a lot - too much. I'm thinking of you. Let yourself be scared.

AJ said...

Wow. I'm thinking of you. Today I was in the main office and a student asked Office Manager for the forwarding information of a former GTA--you. It made me sad for me and the rest of us here without you. But it also made me happy to know that you are in a better place. Definitely a better place. I wish it was all gravy for you and no health scares. Hang in.

Flavia said...

You don't owe the blogosphere anything, but the blogosphere (or at least this corner of it) sure is glad to hear that things sound as though they aren't nearly as bad as they could be. I wish they were even better. But I'm sure they will be, and soon.

Sisyphus said...

Keep your chin up! You are not crazy, you are having some heavy shit thrown at you all at once! I hope that soon some of this will be over and the rest will die down to the point where you can get a handle on everything.

PS how's mr tabby?

Maude said...

earnest, i totally hear the $ crisis thing. soldier boy and i were in the same situation not too long ago. and $ stress was the single biggest factor in the last couple of years that kept me from getting the work done on the diss i needed to. don't let it consume you!

i'm so sorry that you're in the midst of all this breast health scary stuff. i wish i were there. we could have margaritas and pina coladas (sp?) bigger than our heads and drink our cares away. the article will get done. the conference papers will get done. your boobs will be okay, and you'll find a job. but for now, it's okay to be scared and worried, like hilaire said. just take care of yourself.

post-doc said...

Thinking of you and hoping everything evens out in the near future.

What Now? said...

Bumpy-lumpy indeed. Blessings to you and AL at this scary time.

dr four eyes said...

I'm a bit late to this--I've fallen behind on blog reading the past few weeks--but I wanted to pop in and say I'm thinking of you. I'm glad to hear that early news from your doctor is positive, and I hope that, as Sisyphus wrote, some of your burdens will be resolved soon.