As a woman of a certain age, and maybe you’ve noticed this too, my eyebrows have thinned along with the hair on my head. However, strangely enough, occasionally I find a sprout of coarse hair on my chinny chin chin…ugh. This growing older is not for sissies. What the heck? How can this be? But I digress.

I’ve had sparse eyebrows for my whole life, but after I lost my hair to chemotherapy, they never quite came back. Even when I lost them completely, I had a hard time drawing on eyebrows and perpetually looked surprised as I could never make them even. It was awful.

Fast forward to lately and I’ve been trying to color my brows because that’s the style, but I look like a four year old colored them with crayons and not inside the lines either! LOL I can’t seem to get the color right, nor the shape. Well, I have no shape, just a line that goes across, but at least it’s not a unibrow. But there’s no arch. Not a lot of hair and the hairs I do have tend to stick out from my skin instead of lying flat. No fun.

So when I saw a friend who recently got microbladed and while she had great brows to begin with, they looked even more fabulous afterwards, I was hooked! So guess what…I did a thing yesterday. I got my eyebrows microbladed. And let me tell you, it hurt, but it was well-worth it if today’s look stays. Luckily my friend drove me which was good because I’m not comfortable driving by myself long distances or to places I don’t know because with the heart issues, I don’t want to take any chances.

I figured I can’t try drawing on my brows while in the hospital for 7 days. Not that anyone’s looking at me, but still, there is a bit of wanting to look decent, isn’t there? And why not spoil me if it makes me happy? I figured I better do it before the surgery date because afterwards, I can’t do anything that could cause any infections. In fact, had I known, I would have had my eyelashes tinted and curled if I had known this woman did that too. Why not at least have the eyes looking ok without any effort while in the hospital, right? LOL

I have to confess though that there was a bit of panic when I saw the outline of where she was going to micro blade my eyebrows. They looked like two huge caterpillars in a weird color shade and I felt nauseous. My mind was on a loop of ‘what am I doing? does she know what she’s doing? how will I feel if this goes really badly? people will make fun of me!’ and so on…it was bad. My friend who was with me said the look of panic on my face was real. But I decided to just trust the process and the results that I had seen on my friend that this same lady had done. But it was hard to trust. Especially when you can’t change it and it’ll be that way for 2 years…

But alas, it’s just the brows and I’m fine with it. The eyelashes will just have to wait until later when I am healed. And who knows maybe I’ll not be up for doing that by then. This was a whim as it was. Now I’m just waiting for someone to notice. LOL So far, the kids haven’t noticed although I don’t understand why…I guess Mom is Mom and they didn’t see the redness around my brows yesterday…even though I did! Luckily today there’s no redness today which is good.

I think this makes my eyes pop a bit more too. There’s something about framing the face that makes my eyes look bigger, brighter…or maybe it’s my imagination.

Have you ever had your brows microbladed? Did you like it?

Posted in #womenofacertainage, heart, women 50 | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

All You Need Is Love

My friend Dwight posted here and he inspired me to spread the love. As a self-proclaimed Super Heroine I figured it was my duty to do as requested. Because, I agree. Our world needs more love in it.

While I’ve been super busy wrapped up in my own heartfelt pity party for the upcoming surgery, Dwight’s post was like a light switch that changed me. Spreading love and connections clicked inside of me. That was the reason I started this blog. To help others, to find myself again and to connect with people from around the world. To make a safe space to talk about divorce, heartbreak and the evolution of coming back to myself, all while helping others to find themselves. Authentically.

Don’t you feel like breaking out into song and singing All You Need Is Love by The Beatles? Come on…altogether now…

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

I think we need to get back to basics these days. Be kind to our fellow man. Lord knows that we don’t have enough of it here on this planet. It seems like every time we turn around, there’s more bad news. People killing people. Civil unrest. Unsafe conditions. Does it never end?

So here’s my bit, I’m sending out a wave of understanding, free of judgement and full of kindness and love. You need a friend, I’m here with open heart and ears. You need to vent, speak up. You need to process what’s going on in your life, yup, I’m listening. Because you’ve all been doing that for me, so I’m passing it along and doing my part to help.

Feel free to link to Dwight’s post in case this one inspires you to send out more love! Happy Almost Friday! Yay!

Posted in heart, inspiration, love, music | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Crazy Dream

Last night I had this crazy dream (hence the title) which was that a friend was getting married and my group of girlfriends and I were all in her wedding. She had us all dressed in white short dresses that mimicked her gown instead of the usual bridesmaid dresses. By the way, this woman is already married and has been for decades which is weird. And we were all young, like in our late 20’s/early 30’s.

In the dream, I had to get ready and was running late (which isn’t unusual for me). But I also had a baby that I had to hold the entire time and it was the ex’s baby (not the kids we had together) and both of my parents (who are now deceased) were there and I was in charge of taking care of them as well. I remember that my parents were sick so that was hard, but they were also required to be at the wedding and that was a challenge.

When I awoke, I remembered so many details from the dream, but all I can now remember is the overall feeling – the feeling of being overwhelmed, responsible for everyone and everything and having the everyone mad at me for arriving late to the wedding without them realizing what I was juggling which was impossible.

What I’m thinking is that even in sleep my brain is trying to process this next chapter. And yes, I’m feeling overwhelmed. I’m trying to nest (like before the kids were born) and get things settled in case I can’t do things after the surgery. I’m trying to remember to schedule bill paying, lawn care, trying to clean the house, get ready for people to be here in case they begin to stop by while I’m recuperating. I’m trying to get the kids on a schedule (not easy) and worrying about the dog.

I go through stages when I just cry from the stress and fear of it all. I think I need to release all the stressors that way which helps. Even though my brother will help and be the on point person for the doctors, I have to get everything done on my own. Luckily I have a few trusted friends who have offered to help me which is good. Because I’m tired normally, but lately, I can feel my heart palpitating from the stress more often and getting dizzy more often. I haven’t fainted in awhile which is good though so somehow I’m stopping the stress before I faint. Thank goodness. At least that’s good.

Let’s hope I can continue it.

Posted in heart, women's health | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Sleep Evades Me And Other Silly Nuisances

I’m sleeping a lot, but I’m also getting up in the middle of the night. Well, not getting up, as in out of bed, but being awake and then I can’t get back to sleep. I toss and turn. I go over what I’d really like to say to some people but can’t/don’t. Although for some reason, I was able to sleep through until 5am this morning. Well, not according to the Fitbit, but I don’t remember watching the clock as much last night so that’s good.

I know it’s not such a big deal to have open heart surgery nowadays, but to me, it feels huge. Even after the 10 + surgeries I’ve experienced over this lifetime, you’d think it wouldn’t be a huge deal. But it feels that way. I can’t help it. I don’t want to go through it. But I know the alternative is that I don’t live. And I want to be here for my kids, even though life feels really flipping hard these days.

But there are times when I’d just like to be left alone to live the way I want until I pass. Just let me enjoy my life and concentrate on making more memories with my family and friends and not worry about the future, the kids, money, etc. You know, I quit smoking. Cold turkey. I quit April 25th, but I’ve cheated 2x. However, all in all, I think it’s good.

Last night I cheated though and had a glass of wine with one. Why? Because there are just some times when I want to cave in and have one. And so I did even though I know it’s not good for me. Please don’t berate me. I know what I did. I’m just being raw and honest here. Because I trust you. Because I want to and because I can. And I’m human. Lord knows, I’m human, full of foibles, contradictions and just trying to do my best under these circumstances.

It’s not easy these days, is it? For any of us? We’re all doing the best we can under the circumstances. I’m not one to judge. I’m more of an encourager because that’s how I like to be treated. Far be it for me to tell you what to do because I’m certainly not the guru around here. Not by a long shot.

What I do know is that I’m exhausted. Mentally, physically, emotionally. I’ve read up on what’s in store for me with the upcoming surgery and I’m ambivalent about the whole mess. I just don’t want to do it. I know I have a choice, but I really don’t in my mind. I can’t leave my kids alone in the hands of those crazy narcissists yet. Someday, yes. But not yet. So I have to prepare myself for the agony.

And woe to those who want to pollyanna the whole mess to me as I’m not ready. I don’t care that I’ll have renewed energy once I have a new heart valve. That my broken heart will be fixed so I can find love again. That this is a new chapter. Etc. Etc……F-that.

Sure, I am not so obtuse that I don’t know all that…or haven’t thought of it. But I can’t see through to that because there’s so much pain, recovery etc first to deal with and I know what it’s like to recover from major surgeries. It’s not easy. It takes stamina, mental awareness and strength that I just can’t summon yet. You have to want to live, push through and stay here on this planet to proceed in this lifetime you’ve got. Otherwise, it’s only a half-assed effort which can go either way.

I still haven’t heard back from the cardiologist office to confirm the surgery date. It’s the end of May as of now. I have this weird feeling that they’re going to push it up suddenly and without warning I’ll feel like another rug has been pulled out from under me. I hope that doesn’t happen. In the meantime, what keeps me up is thinking of all I have to do, or should do, before I go into the hospital and how I will manage after I get out.

I know this isn’t insurmountable. I know help will be offered. I know I’ll have to release control over a lot of stuff in my life because I won’t be able to do what I’ve been doing for awhile now. I know, I know, I know. I just don’t wanna do any of it. Haven’t you ever felt this way?

Posted in #womenofacertainage, health, heart | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

Pass The Salt

My kids told their dad and his family about my upcoming surgery because they wanted support. While I didn’t really want the narcissists to know, it was important to the kids so that they don’t have to be bullied and that there’s some type of understanding when the kids can’t do something because they’d have to be taking care of the puppy or me after surgery. Because the narcissists don’t take no for an answer.

So they told them Saturday night. But it didn’t turn out like they thought it would. It was as if the kids had said, ‘pass the salt’ instead of ‘mom is having open heart surgery and we’re scared’ which was how/what they had said, but the response was nothing. Nobody in the ex’s family even raised an eyebrow or asked anything.

We were all startled by the response. The kids expected them to say they’d be there for them when needed (which wasn’t said), even though I can’t believe they wouldn’t be. And for me, well, I’ll admit, I thought they would be kinder towards the kids. Forget about me, I didn’t expect anyone to check in on me. Why would they? I’m sure the ex and his evil mother are hoping that I croak so he doesn’t have to pay alimony any longer. And yes, I’m that serious. I wouldn’t put it past them to now be excited that something could go wrong. Because that’s how they are.

I tried to reassure the kids that they would be supported by my side of the family and their dad’s even though they didn’t say anything. I can’t imagine the ex-MIL wouldn’t be thrilled to tell everyone how she was burdened into taking care of my kids while I left them alone (not saying I was in the hospital – because yes, she twists everything possible) and how she’s such an amazing grandma. Pardon me while I gag…and yes she’s done this before…in different ways…and I found out from the people she told whom she didn’t know I was friends with at the time. And yes I did set them straight with the truth, not her twisted version of it.

Additionally that ex-MIL bought flowers for my kids to give their dad’s girlfriend (of not even 9 months) to celebrate her on Mother’s Day. I don’t understand…wouldn’t that be their dad’s job to do that instead of his mother’s? And why? The kids hardly know her and she’s certainly not their mom. That one hit me squarely in the heart.

I guess I’m oversensitive these days. I can’t help it. Unfortunately I ended up feeling exhausted yesterday so we couldn’t go out to dinner like I’d planned. Luckily we got take out, but I’m more and more exhausted over little things these days which isn’t good. The specialist had said it might happen. I guess it is…so better that I get this surgery sooner rather than later…

I hope you had a great Mother’s Day…thanks for being so kind to me!

Posted in health, heart | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Everybody Reacts Differently

I’m still in the phase of trying to wrap my mind around the whole situation here at Chez Leeds. I don’t think anyone’s ready for the words, ‘open heart surgery’ at any age, let alone at 55 after having so many other surgeries over the years. It’s been a long time since I was incapacitated by surgery, but I still remember the pain, the sorrow, the middle of the night insomnia filled with worry, etc. As far as I know, this won’t be much different from what I’ve endured in the past.

But what fascinates me is how each person reacts to the news. And how I can really talk with some people and with others, I feel uncomfortable sharing my feelings at this time. I love that all want me to be positive, but there’s also a painful reality that they seem to be missing which is unfortunate for me. Because yes, I want to be positive, but no, I’m not feeling it at this time so can you help me to process my emotions? Allow me to cry if needed, but let this unfold so that I don’t have to be strong with you too all the time? I have a lot on my plate doing it for the kids.

I think I’ve moved from denial to anger. I’m mad that my body is having this issue. I’m terribly sad that I have to endure this surgery. I just want to be left alone and live my life the way I want, come what may.

Yes, I said that. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s how I feel. And while I will do the surgery, abide by the rules for recovery and do my best to stay on this forsaken planet for as long as I can for my kids, going out the way I want, without restrictions, feels way the hell better in this very moment. And you can avalanche me with whatever you want, but I need to tell someone honestly how I feel. And since you can read or not read my posts, I hope you don’t mind the raw truth.

I’m tired. I’ve been through so much in my life, more than I’ve told here. I’ve been the responsible one for so many relationships, situations and I’ve put everyone else first in my life. I want to put me first. Part of that feels like I’d like to give up and just spend however many days I have left being with my kids, spending what little money I have on happy, frivolous things and enjoying life. I want to drink, smoke, laugh, dance and travel. I want to be irresponsible, take off on a trip and stop worrying. I want to do whatever I want, say whatever I want and not give a darn about what people think, say or how I’m judged. I want to be free. I want to spoil myself, my kids, my friends. Stay up all night talking and sleep all day if I feel like it. Eat the chocolate goodies without restraint, drink my favorite expensive wine whenever I want and order takeout whenever I feel like not cooking without worry.

But that’s not what’s acceptable. People frown upon that type of selfish thinking and irresponsible behavior. It’s not what a good Mom would do. And I’m a good girl and try to be a good Mom. Sigh….

Posted in #womenofacertainage, health, heart | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

I Can’t Stop Crying

I know it’s silly. I mean, crying doesn’t do much, but I can’t stop the tears from flowing down my face this morning. It’s really early, just the pup and me up, so I thought I’d write because I just can’t talk with anyone else right now about it.

There’s a million reasons why I’m crying, but none good enough in the end. And no, I’m not seeking to be dramatic, although my brother thought the whole heart thing was me being a drama queen until the cardiologist told him that I have a 50% mortality rate if I don’t have it done soon. So there. Who the hell would make up having open heart surgery to get attention? Seriously? But he’s a whole other story that doesn’t matter to me this morning.

The kids want to tell their dad and his side of the family. I know they need support, but they’ve been so mean to me that I don’t want to share anything with them. They stopped talking with me back in 2018 so I don’t think they merit any news about me ever again. But then again, this can’t be all about me because the kids need support from all sides of the family. It’s a shame though as I’d prefer they never know.

Not that I think they’re going to do anything helpful, except maybe feed the kids while I’m in the hospital for a week. Although I have friends who will help me and my brother will too. I don’t want them to use this as a way to twist the kids up into their web even more. I could see their narcissistic minds turning about how they can now really get rid of me (I die) and they get my kids.

Did you know that the ex demanded the kids tell him when they’re free on Mother’s Day so he could make reservation for them to see his mother? It’s Mother’s Day, I’m the MOM! He’s never done it before so I don’t know why he’s doing it this year. But he got shut down by the kids and now they’re seeing her Saturday which is fine with me. I’m not denying her seeing my kids as the grandma, but seriously? Wanting Mother’s Day time with my kids, leaving me alone and all of them together? Absurd.

I’m on Day 12 of not smoking, but this emotional rollercoaster is killing me. Thanks for reading. I just need a safe space to speak my truth.

Posted in heart, women's health | Tagged , , , , , | 21 Comments

Being Your Own Advocate

So I had to call the neurologist’s office to ask for the MRI results. When I called, they said he’d get back to me. So I waited. Then the office called so I thought it was the Dr. but they said they hadn’t gotten any paperwork from the radiologist so I gave them the place, the date, the time etc. and the woman assured me the Dr. would call me later with the results.

He did call me with the results about 2 hours later which was good and bad.

Dr.: Hi, I got your MRI results back. All is fine.

Me: That’s great. So there’s nothing there to show that there’s a problem with my brain waves?

Dr.: No.

Me: So I don’t have to worry or have another EEG?

He sounds confused. Dr.: No, it’s fine. Just let my office know if you faint again.

Me: How’s the cyst?

Dr.: Cyst? What cyst?

Me: The one on my right side? Has it gotten bigger? Smaller? Stayed the same?

Dr.: There’s nothing in the report about you having a cyst.

Me: How can that be? It’s shown in every MRI since I was 22. You mean it’s not there anymore? It’s gone? Disappeared? (at this point I’m incredulous, but thinking maybe something miraculous has happened)

Dr.: Let me look at the photos. (I can hear him clicking) Oh there it is. No, I see it. The cyst is still there. Hold on, let me compare it to the last MRI in 2013. (Clicking) They seem to be the same size. No change.

Me: No change? Same size? So why isn’t it on the report that there’s a cyst in my brain? Whoever read the MRI should have noted that. I don’t understand.

Dr.: Don’t worry. I saw it’s fine. No change.

He hurries me off the phone as I sit there with my chin on the floor in astonishment. So I call back and speak to a friend who works in his office and explain it to her. She’s appalled because it should be on the report. She calls the radiologist and asks for a new report with the added cyst information on it.

And so, I have to ask, why do I have to do the job of someone else? And how do I trust anyone to read these reports if this is an example of what happens…has the medical field gone down the drain? How do you miss a big cyst? I just don’t understand. And it’s not like there’s any record of it so that they’d just not write about it.

And you wonder why I’m worried….here’s one example of why….

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Thoughts In My Head

I’ve had a ton of brain MRI’s in my lifetime already. I’m no stranger to the loud clunking of the machine that no earplug has ever drowned out, nor the claustrophobia that is triggered when I’m not allowed to move for what seems like hours (even though it’s probably 50 minutes tops) encased in a coffin-like machine. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Hopefully you never have to experience it. 🙂

But because I’ve been healthy for a long while now, it was a bit of a stunner to be back inside of it. Then to add that my heart isn’t doing well and I may be in for more surgeries and hospital visits and I started to get overwhelmed last night just remembering what I’ve gone through and potentially could be facing again. And I know I can get through it, but I don’t want to do it.

I’m praying for a miracle, for the reader of the tests to be wrong by some stroke of good luck. As it is, I’m still waiting for the results of the MRI after hearing that there’s something wrong with my brain waves on one side. Deep breath…and the patient waits.

Tomorrow I have the other cardiologist appointment, the second opinion which I confirmed today. They still haven’t received the echocardiogram from the first cardiologist so I hope that my call to confirm today will make sure that they get the results so they have the information needed to advise me. They said that they will call me if they can’t get the information by today. Fingers crossed they get it.

But it’s all overwhelming me. I’m already tired and I’m not doing anything really because I’m just too tired. Worn out even before it’s really beginning. Not a good sign. And yet, here I am. Still here. Whatever that means…

Posted in #womenofacertainage, women's health | Tagged , , | 11 Comments