the day the holiday stress came full circle

Monday, December 24, 2012 | | 0 comments
i have let the stress of the past week get the better of me.  i had a work week far busier than expected (and with the holiday i expected it to be really busy!) ~ full of very sick patients, difficult family conversations, and tons of paperwork to catch up on.  i'm working my butt off on a 90 minute educational talk that i'm delivering to my fellowship group a few short weeks from now ~ it's a difficult topic to cover and i really want it to go well.   santa is delivering a very large and quite impressive outdoor play structure....and the last few days have consisted of attempting to keep it secret while the grandpas have constructed this thing.  there are tarps covering our windows and i have NO idea how the kids aren't getting curious.  emma's birthday is coming up (the big 3!) and i'm hosting a baby shower the following week.

all of this has been bubbling under the surface for a while and i have physically felt the stress growing inside.

yesterday, sweet benjamin woke up with a swollen and red eye.  he seemed happy and cheerful ~ just like his usual self.  regardless, it worried us.  when he woke up from his mid morning nap, the redness and swelling had spread and was covering the entire right side of his face.  i was terrified and straight to the ER we went.  lots of poking, prodding, and dietary review later....the doctors think he likely had an allergic reaction to something.  what, i'm not sure....but we've been pumping benadryl into this kid like its going out of style.  i took him back in this morning after his sweet pediatrician (who i LOVE!) felt like she needed to see it too to make sure it wasn't a developing infection that could be quite serious.

it's just felt like one thing after the other.  when ben got sick cup just runneth over.  i've done it before and i'm sure i'll do it again.....the long therapeutic cry in the shower.  i'm not even sure what in particular i was crying about.....but it felt good to release all that pent up stress.

i'm not one of those people who has unrealistic ideas about creating a perfect picturesque holiday.  my needs are simple really.  family. friends. hugs. snuggles. if i'm lucky, a yummy meal (bacon wrapped, stuffed beef tenderloin?? a bauer family tradition).  and now, with that therapeutic cry out of the's time to bask in the true beauty of the season, just in the nick of time.

so tonight, we'll don our new christmas pjs and drink hot chocolate in front of the fire.  we'll talk about gratitude and read the night before christmas.  we'll also talk about how much we love each other and how the thing we are most grateful for in this life is one another.  we'll say goodbye to mr. juke as he flies back to the north pole and ryan and i will say goodbye to mornings spent jumping frantically out of bed to hide him last minute ;)  we'll leave cookies for santa and prepare for the (hopefully!) squeals of joy the morning will bring.

merry christmas eve, my friends.  may we all be blessed with simple pleasures tonight, tomorrow, and all year long.

newtown, we will not forget you.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 | | 0 comments
i've been struggling, searching, trying to find something eloquent to say about what happened last friday in newtown, ct.  the truth is, the fact that i can't find anything to say....well, that says it all.  there are no words for the pain....the chest-heaving, throat clenching pain....that we all feel in the wake of such an unimaginable day.  i am thankful for my own sweet babies every single day....but have been hugging them extra tightly lately.  i am grateful only for the fact that they are too young to understand what has happened and that i do not have to explain.

despite the horror, i have to continue to have faith in the good in the world.  the beauty i see in the eyes of my children. the fierce and indescribable love i have for them and the prayers of immense gratitude i say every day that god entrusted them to me.  i am their mother and they are my life's greatest joy.  this is my truth.  that love and that is what really matters.

to the families and community of newtown.  i think about you every day. we are all praying for you. we will not forget your sweet children. and we will not forget you.


my trip to ASH : an unexpected reminder

Saturday, December 15, 2012 | | 0 comments
i wrote this post earlier this week while i was home sick with the flu.....apparently i felt so bad i forgot to hit "publish".....

i'm home sick with the flu and while i should be sleeping, resting, taking it easy....i'm too hopped up on over the counter flu medicine to do any of that.  so i sit here, aching all over with skin that feels prickly ~ too warm to be covered in blankets yet stinging cold at the same time.  pity the fool.  the fool who thought the flu shot would actually work for me this time. thank goodness for sport beans because i'm pretty sure they are helping me feel better even if i can't train right now.

i returned home from a 4 day work conference in atlanta on monday (American Society of Hematology aka ASH).  despite my single room with a huge king bed and cloud-like down comforter, i still came back exhausted.  but i learned, and bonded, and ate some wonderfully delicious food.  one night in particular, a co-fellow and i were treated to a spectacular meal at woodfire grill (for any Top Chef fans...Kevin Gillespie's restaurant.  in a word...amazing).  it was dubbed the "women of hematology" dinner and we sat at a table with 5 women in particular who are doing great things with their lives.  they are hematologists, oncologists, mothers, wives, and friends.  they've been where we are and are paving the road ahead. a couple of them in particular are mentors to me and while i'm sure they tease me if they read this....they are the ones i look to in moments of uncertainty, the ones who inspire me, the ones i want to be like "when i grow up".  if you are reading know who you are :)

the conference was attending by a massive amount of people and some of them are very highly regarded in their field.  from basic science researches to leaders of major clinical trials.  from industry executives, private practice physicians, and practitioners from academic medical institutions.  from folks with focus in benign hematology to those to perform bone marrow transplants for diseases like leukemia or lymphoma.  between educational sessions, scientific research presentations, to career development workshops and beyond....there was a lot of learning to be done! it was a very diverse bunch from all over the world and the nerd in me picked up on the energy, the excitement, and the passion for the field.

ryan played single dad for 4 days while i was gone and assumed all the responsibilities that this entails.  from diaper changes to rides to and from school.  from the breakfast table to goodnight tuck-ins.  a tough job....but one that he has mastered since he's pretty much the best dad ever!! we tried to facetime a few times but for one reason or another the reception was wierd in atlanta and it didn't work well....i bugged him constantly for pictures and missed them all so badly.

the take home message from this trip is simple really and not one that is new to me. i am a very tiny fish in a gigantic sea.  but i love what i do and i care deeply for the people i take care of.  i love my family even more than all of that and i know going forward from here i will grapple with sneers from colleagues when i leave early to attend a soccer game or a dance recital.  but i'll do right by my patients and the people i work with.  i'll do right by myself and the family and friends i love dearly.  i think any working mom wonders if you can possibly do all of this....even i question it some days.  it's hard, a daily challenge, and something i feel like fighting for. deep down inside i truly believe that it's possible.  to have your cake and eat it to.  to be all the things you want to be in your life.  to have your priorities straight.  it may not always (or ever) come easily....but nothing worth having ever does, right?

these truths aren't always self-evident and sometimes we all just need a little reminder of the things we knew deep inside.  sometimes these reminders come in strange and unexpected ways.  thank you, ASH, for being my reminder.

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