May 10, 2005, 2:43 PM | Writing From My Journal
I am tired. Seven or ten hours of snarfing-snores and hubby snuggles won’t cure this exhaustion.
It throbs just behind my caffeine-propped eyelids and slithers stealthily throughout with tendrils, here and there; dousing the small bits of energy I have left before they burst into focused action.
Even my jawbone is lax, leaving me lip droopy and resistant to talk.
Regardless of what I’m thinking, my face is lazy and resembles a simpering sourpuss. This signals the beginning, noticed first — and cautiously from ten feet of distance — by my husband.
The second is the cravings. It’s a sugarlicious world of candy puffs, ice cream delights and toasted bread with strawberry jelly. On any given average day, the cravings are challenging, but not impossible to ignore.
But somehow, somewhere during this second phase the chocolate peanut butter cups will get swirled in and I won’t fight against them. When my husband finds out he’ll say, “You’re going to kill yourself with that stuff.”
My rational brain knows I’m not supposed to have it but it’s the hormone devil sitting on my right shoulder, screaming in the speakerphone that has my undivided attention.
Insulin levels be damned, I’ll counteract by gulping my afternoon and evening dose of Metformin – an insulin controlling medication — at once and also gnosh on a serving of refried beans – said to dampen the effect of refined food.
He’ll reach for the candy bag and I’ll whip it away scattering the loose paper wrappers, keeping only the one glued to my bottom lip with a glop of peanut butter. “Mine, mine, all mine. You can’t have it,” I’ll say, with the possessive craziness of Golum lusting after his precious golden ring.
“You’re killing yourself with food,” he’ll say and because he’s intent and focused and I’m sugar-glazed, he’ll snatch it on the second try easily.
“You don’t even like chocolate.”
It’s true I don’t, but I will still roar like a F4 rated twister spiraling forty mad lions and a thousand horn blowing semi-trucks through a field of screaming fireworks.
Then poof, I’ll have used up all my reserve power and then fall to the floor with back spasms. My husband will give me a ‘hurumph’ and saunter off to hide the stash.
I can never remember which works better, Tylenol or Motrin. Actually Women’s Tylenol works best, but I’m never prepared and we always have the other two on hand, so I’m left inch-worming my way to the medicine cupboard mumbling, rumbling, attempting to make a logical decision on which pills to pop.
Jared will choose this moment to enter the scene with some comment about his favorite video game.
Then he’ll stand over me, oblivious of the visual, whiny clues I’m sending and go into minute detail on how he wants his hair to look just like this anime action hero.
With a flick of his wrist he’ll have the glossy page he cut out from his gamer magazine pressed to my face and say, “Here he has long blue hair, and three spikes.
One here and here and one there, I need to remember to take this picture with me when I get my hair cut again. I want it exactly like this.”
He’ll look at me, with a discerning eye and say, “But how to I get the spikes to go right mom?”
I’ll be frozen flat to the ground, stunned – not by the talk of butt length locks and blue hues, but by the audacity of his callousness, can’t he see, I’m writhing, I’m needy and I must get medicine.
“Mom are you listening?”
He’ll lean his face in close and breathe on me.
At that moment his dad will walk back in the room, with a newly awake Craig. He’ll sense my distress – mostly the observation of me sniveling on the floor red-faced and shuddering will tip him off. My husband knows the signs and will yell, “Jared, run. Run now.”
Jared will look up at him confused and then look back down at me and my contorted features and as I miraculously levitate to standing, he’ll pick up on the clue: Mom has PMS.
I know he’ll take a few, staggering steps back, then with a speed he never shows for doing his chores, jog away, get his scooter and head out the front door and say, “I’m going to my friend’s house.”
He’ll give a quick look to his dad, their eyes will meet and a silent confirmation passes between them – one that means, by the time Jared gets back my blood stream ought to be loaded with aspirin-free pain killer and mostly acting as my normal self.
Hey if he’s lucky, I might even be cooking dinner by then too.
However, I’m still in the first stage of this monstrous pattern.
My husband has noticed the first signals and I tell him ‘sorry’ while I can, before I’m replaced with the body invader, before I forget I love him with all my being and refuse to be touched, talked to and spat fireballs of fury at the slightest annoyance.
He sighs and says, “Here we go again.”
“Yup.” Again, we are definitely headed down this trail again. But when did it become a well-worn predictable, even if crazy, route?
Most women have this routine down for years starting in their teens. Not me, sure when I was eleven it seemed to begin normally, but by the time I became a teenager something was amiss.
Doctors prescribed it to youth and I would ‘regulate’ when I was older. By the time I found out I was pregnant with Jared, I was skipping months of cycles and after he was born, years.
Finally when I was twenty-seven an Endocrinologist diagnosed me with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, also commonly known as PCOS. It explained my secondary infertility and all the other oddball, seemingly unrelated health issues I had dealt with.
Now, for this past year, I had this pattern and it was predictable, right down to what I ate. First were the sugar cravings, then the need for Chinese food and, the day before the big visitor arrived, I had to have corn-crunchy tortilla, salsa heavy and sour cream dolloped Mexican cuisine.
I’m on the same medications I was since I was diagnosed; I eat about the same – well okay, perhaps not as good now with less time to prepare – and I’m about the same weight as I have been for years.
The difference between now and the previous years is Craig. When I worried I wouldn’t have the mother’s instinct with him as I did with his brother when he was born, a friend of mine, who had adopted, said, “Don’t worry about it, your hormones will change just like you had a baby.”
I didn’t believe her and said as much. She said, “It’s true, women who are around a baby all the time change, there’s a study on it.”
A study? Sure, who conducted it, reported it or participated in it? It seems there is a study out there for anything you want to believe in being bandied about, so I said, “Okay,” and left it at that.
Then during the first few weeks when Craig was first home, when I held his soft, puffy-haired head close and felt like I was having let-down (the feeling mother’s get when breastfeeding).
I thought, ‘Oh, this is just a memory of when I had Jared. My body remembers holding him close and feeding him.” I passed that feeling off and the other smaller, intangible ones that alerted me to a self-embodied chemistry change.
One morning, when Craig was about two or three months old, after a particularly rough week of flu-like aches, pains and moodiness I woke up to a surprise, my first natural womanly cycle in years. For a year now, it’s been a regular occurrence and the longest run ever for me ever to function normally.
The voice of my friend comes back on occasion, perhaps with a laugh mixed in too, about how woman change when they hold a baby and take care of them, even if they aren’t biologically theirs.
I wonder briefly if that is the case with me, somehow loving and raising Craig has changed my hormones, balanced them and healed me in a way that not even the doctors could do.
It could be temporary, however, I’m too tired to think on this much more and at the moment. My back aches, I feel extraordinarily like crying — for no reason at a glossy magazine ad marketing Mother’s Day gifts — and I just can’t seem to focus on the list of things I should get done today.
I need something, something sweet, something chocolate – something yummy. I know, glop-a-licious chocolate peanut butter cups, now where did I hide them?