Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Surgery-Goodbye Tata

Parting is such sweet sorrow! I recently let go of my nursing bras I had been holding onto for that proverbial "when and if" we have another, because it became startlingly clear that I will not ever get that chance. Cancer sucks! I enjoyed getting to nurse my two children, especially the whole year with my son; it was a truly beautiful bonding experience. People keep telling me to focus on the positive, and I think that for the majority I do. However, there is a major grieving process in cancer as any self-respecting cancer survivor will admit to. And I had to take that moment to grieve.

Now I'm taking a moment again. This time it is to say "Goodbye". Tomorrow is my 2nd mastectomy. A year ago I had my first mastectomy, a complete one including two lymph nodes. The one tomorrow will be a skin saving one, with no lymph nodes. It is not prophylactic, though, because I not only had the 6 cm mass in the left breast, I also had a 2 cm mass in the right breast. So, to prevent the cancer from returning I have to say goodbye to my last tata!

It is so strange to have a part of yourself removed. I had never thought of mastectomies as amputations before, but really they are. There is a lot of stuff removed when "breast tissue" is taken out! Hence my inability to nurse a child again, because I won't have any milk ducts to produce milk. If this is too much info for some of you, I apologize. I don't mean to offend anyone, but I just spent the day parading around in front of doctors and a mastectomy garment fitter, so I've had to let go of some of the modesty and the "we don't talk about that kind of stuff" attitude. I had no idea what I was getting into when the words "cancer" was uttered into my life, and I know there are lots of women out there just like I was, so I'm not holding back. Plus I'm venting, so allow this girl some room and no hate mail!

Anyhoo, I've got about a six week recovery on light stuff, and I know about a year before I can be touched in the chest area without wincing. However, I'm having reconstruction in six months, so I've had just come to terms with the fact that I'm not only going to never see my "rack" bwahaha! in the mirror again, I'm also not going to sleep on my stomach or be without some added pain for the next year or so.

This is just telling it how it is. I'm sure in a couple of days I'll be my sunshiney self again. I'm sure the pain meds will help that part. I will try to post an update on how things went before the six months are up where I have reconstruction. I know it is cliche', but everyone, yourself and myself included, need to thank the Lord for every part of our body we have, even the ones we view as insignificant, because all those parts are special and there is no part that was not formed by God's hand.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Chore Chart- the OCD way

In case you haven't met me yet. I'm Rachel. Nice to meet you! I'm a little spastic, a bit crazy, and a whole lot OCD, which will be seen by the following post. Grab you a cup of coffee and be prepared to laugh at me and feel a bit more sane than you did before you came here.

Okay 1st point of my weirdness: I'm a homeschool mom. I know. Some of you just ran screaming. Some of you did a little "yay!" inside cause you're one too. Anyway, I'm not the most scheduled of people and tend to forget things (I blame the chemotherapy. What the cause was before that, I don't remember!) and I tend to not finish things (case in point, this post has taken nearly 2 months to finish). So, I wanted a way to tackle those problems plus teach my children about responsibilities, doing good work, accomplishments, while delegating some of the tasks I haven't made myself let go of yet.

I've got a major surgery coming up in the next month or so, and I won't be able to do my normal routine until about Christmas, so I've got to learn how to let go of some things, and delegate (without strings attached!) others. Yeah, that is sure asking a lot of myself, I know!!!!!

So what was my solution? A Chore Chart! Aren't you thrilled???? Haha!

Well I couldn't do just any chore chart, our tight budget wouldn't allow for that. However, I could go in true OCD style and over think every single point of it. Now, that I'm done, I thought I would share with the world in case someone else out there wants to do one cheaply. Plus, I've already laid it out for you, so it won't take you two weeks to do as it did me!! Seriously, two weeks...I kid you not.

In researching chore charts, I discovered my favorite (you can check out all of my favorites on my pinterest board here) was through a method used in Managers of Their Chores available at which is used by the Duggar family; you know the 19 and counting family? I am totally in love with, in awe of, and inspired by that family! Yep, several more of you just ran away.

However, I couldn't afford to get the book at the moment and our local libraries weren't carrying it, so what did I do? I did what any creative OCD person would do! I decided to make one!

Items needed to make one of your own:

  • 2 sheets of posterboard (I bought mine from the Dollar Tree)
  • 1-2 rolls of printed, colored duct tape (I found mine at walmart)
  • Markers in your favorite colors
  • a ruler
  • a straight edge
  • several lengths of velcro (available by the foot at most craft stores, and get more of the bumpy side)
  • cardstock
  • a computer 
  • a printer
  • something to have close by for storage of the cards (more on that later)


Mark out how many ever columns across you need. I needed five which made each box be about 3 or so inches across. And each box was about 2 inches down. I used pencil first to mark out the lines with a ruler and straight edge. Then I went back over the lines with the marker colors each person had picked out. If you want time of day, then make sure to leave enough room to write the times on the left hand side. I didn't have enough blocks to put each half hour of the day so I just put the usual times we are doing things. If I had to go back and do it, I think I wouldn't put the time of day on there at all. Some things we get done faster, some take us longer, and then it gets the time slots all out of wack and my OCD just doesn't like that one teensy bit.
Next tape the poster boards together, then tape them to the wall, or in our case the pantry door, with your cute, printed duct tape.

The next part I had my kids help me with and they were great. FYI don't use the sticky backed velcro. Buy the kind sold by the yard without the sticky backing. It is not sticky enough for this project, unless you can find the industrial strength velcro which is just not cost effective to me, by the yard, for this kind of thing.

Have your kids cut the velcro into cute little squares like this:

Then glue the fuzzy velcro squares onto the grid on your soon to be chore chart! I say use the fuzzy side, so that if anyone rubs up against it (it is on one of the most used doors in the house after all), it won't scratch them. Also, I used three different glues, and lived with the various squares falling off time and time again, to be stepped on or otherwise lay unnoticed because the glue wasn't working. Finally, I settled on hot glue, extra strength. Obviously that part your kids can't do, unless they are older than my two.

When all of the fuzzy sides are glued on, this is what your chart will look like. Probably with different names at the top, though....Mercy isn't exactly a common name...

Now the fun part! If you were already having fun, good for you! If I'm totally boring you, I understand; just skim the photos and I'm sure you'll get the general idea.
The chore cards. I made up a lot of them! Remember the part of the title that says OCD? Yeah, I pretty much wanted a card for everything. My kids are young; they need instructions to know what to do and this is after all about training them up in the way this should go. Its also about training myself to have better habits, and just maybe help the husband in that department, too, just sayin'.

The individual cards are what took me the most time to compile, because I needed something my beginning reader could understand, and would be easily recognizable to all five of us in the house. I perused through google for all of these pics and put them in a grid pattern and put the words I wanted to use at the top of each one. Now, I went to all of this effort for myself, but decided I wanted to share for anybody who doesn't want to go to as much effort as I did. Therefore for the 18 pages of various cards, spanning chores, school, and appointments go here to and access the adobe file. 

I printed out the cards 12 to a page on cardstock and cut them out with a paper cutter from my scrapbooking days, but scissors work just as well. You could even color code the cardstock to where each person in your family had their own color cards. I didn't go that route because there are many cards that will alternate between us, like Check The Mail and Computer Work.

After you get all of the cards printed out and cut, glue a scratchy square of velcro to the back of each card. I made an assembly line on the kitchen table of cards turned over. It looked like a giant memory game for a little while! My oldest helped me glue the velcro on, pushing the square down after I used the hot glue.

Now all of the cards we are not using are stored on the other side of the door, in sheet protectors meant for index cards, giving the adults a various pocket, and two chore pockets. The kids sheet protector has one pocket for chores, one for school, and one for various things like Free Time and Go To Church.

I hope you enjoy this episode of "I'm crazier than you" and join us next time! There is no telling what topic I may be covering next! Also, feel free to leave your (nice) comments about this post, what you like, or ideas of how to tweak it. Have a blessed day!

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