Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Just salute and call me Arnold...

Super obscure Red Dwarf reference there. I promise, if you get the reference it is hysterically funny. Though I did cry the first time Martin said it to me...

But basically, I now have an "H" shaped scar on my forehead.

I saw a dermatologist for a mole next to my nose right before Christmas. That one was fine, though the doctor referred me to have it removed. Then, on my way out the door, he asked me if I had any questions. So I asked him to take a quick look at what I thought was an age spot (because my papa D has loads of them). He looked at it, then grabbed a magnifying device for a closer look. Then put some lubrication on my skin for an even closer look. Then he measured it. And said, "Hmmmmm..." Then he referred me to the maxillo-facial surgery department at Scunthorpe hospital. Six weeks later (which, incidentally, is lightening quick for the NHS!) I was having the "lesion" removed for biopsy. They removed the entire lesion as well as a small margin all the way around it, which was approximately the size of my fingernail. And because the area was so large they had to do some creative cutting on my face to cover it. A graft wasn't necessary, but they had to release my skin from my fascia and create "advancement flaps" to stretch over the wound.

This is immediately after the procedure.

Obviously I was numb for the procedure. There were a lot of dissolvable stitches underneath the skin, and twelve of them to close the outside flaps. The nerves were cut, and could take up to 18 months to regenerate, so the stitched area doesn't hurt too much. But holy Hannah, my eye puffed out like a proud father's chest, and I had some deep bruising that came out yellow about 3 days after the procedure. Seriously, my eye was nearly swollen shut!

I basically hid in the house for a week because I felt like a hideous beast, leaving only when I HAD to. But then the stitches came out, and it looked a bit better. But my right eye and cheek were still swollen. It felt like a really bad allergic reaction, but without the itching.

After the stitches were removed, I accidentally rubbed the wound lightly with a washcloth. It opened up on the bottom again. Only a little bit, but it bled for about half an hour. I just read a book while I applied pressure until it stopped. That is still some delicate skin! But it occurred to me what a miracle the human body is. A week ago, my skin was in a different place. A doctor loosened it and moved it, then stitched it somewhere else. And my body changed. Just like that! In another week, I will be able to start massaging the area so the scar tissue doesn't become too bulky, and a year from now you probably won't even be able to tell I had it done. The surgeon moved stuff around, but my body is going to accept that movement and heal itself in the new place. Amazing!

And now, three weeks later, it looks, well, almost normal? The healing process is coming along nicely, and I don't cringe when I look in the mirror any more. At least, not over the facial scar :D

Oh, and that mole next to my nose? Still there!

Friday, March 03, 2017

So our moving sale happened...

I've decided what it is about a trans-Atlantic move that stresses me out so much. And it's not the moving bit!

When you move house, you take your belongings with you. Yes, you have to pack everything up and get it from point A to point B, and that is a major nuisance. But you get to the new house, and you settle in and make it your own. You hang pictures, figure out where to put the telly, plug in the refrigerator, cook your first meal there to get rid of the previous occupants' food smells, etc. And you are surrounded by familiar things. Things that are still yours, just in a new place. Not so with this move, or the one we did over 11 years ago.

What we are trying to do, essentially, is erase our existence on this island. We are shipping some things over, yes. But we almost have to make it like we never existed over here. Our belongings aren't moving to a new place with us. They are being scattered all over the place, either with friends or through charity shops. Our house will have to be cleaned out and stripped of our presence. Even our car, that ridiculous soccer mom Renault that I hated for the first month I drove it, will either be scrapped or sold to another family. It will be like we were never here.

This move would be so much easier if I could just pack a few suitcases and boxes, and then go. It would feel like an adventure then, instead of the slow and systematic dismantling of an entire life. Four of them, actually.

A funny thing happened on Saturday, as we tried to sell off our earthly possessions. I lost it over an antique white enamel bowl. Such a simple thing, but I loved it. Irrationally! Martin and I picked it up on an antiquing day, not long after the children both started going to school full time. We went to some random town near Harrogate that is famous for its' antique shops, and rummaged around this converted factory. It was such a lovely day, and this old bowl was the icing on the cake for me. It is HUGE! And really old, with chips in the enamel that have rusted. The age and the rust made it all the more beautiful to me. And when our friend Naomi asked if I was selling it, I almost cried. Over a rusty old bowl. Plenty of other things that I love have been sold and taken away, but that bowl nearly undid me. I don't care about the clothes and shoes that I'm giving away, or the furniture we are selling. I don't even miss the microwave and toaster, both of which have already gone! But the memories tied to that bowl are so lovely, and I wanted to clutch it to my chest and hold on to it forever. So silly! I'm normally not that sentimental. Or emotional.

It's been tough to start saying goodbye to friends as well. We've met so many wonderful people, who have enriched our lives in countless ways. Luckily, I have my family to look forward to. They are the best sort of friends--the ones who stick with you no matter what. And I know we will meet new people, and rekindle old friendships as well. I am excited about the prospect. And so happy to be able to participate in the family events that we have missed out on for the past decade! There's the sealing of the little Bassetts, the birth of my newest niece or nephew, their blessing, Edith's baptism and confirmation, where her many uncles and her grandpa will be able to participate in the ordinance, the family reunions, and so much more. It makes me unbelievably sad that I have missed two weddings, a funeral, and more baby blessings, birthdays, and baptisms than I can count.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that things are pretty bittersweet right now. So many different feelings, each one contradicting the next. The only thing I know for certain is that our little family will be together, and that's what matters the most. Home is where the heart is, and my heart resides in Martin, Dylan, and Edith.

Still, a large part of me doesn't want to leave my home here.