I think I have a brain tumor

I think I have a brain tumor, and it is making me so freakin' irritable lately.

I may be serious about the brain tumor thing.  I have these dizzy spells at times, I have been so irritable lately, and there is some sort of bump on the back of my head.  Anytime I think about the bump, Steve is gone.  Of course.  And anytime he is home I don't think about it.  I like my neighbor, but it isn't like I can just go grab her and say "hey, do you mind looking at this bump on my head?"  I can picture it now: she has me sit down on a chair, and then starts going through my hair strand by strand...monkey style!  That is what a husband is for.  Hell, if Steve has see the worst of me during child birth, then looking at my head shouldn't be a big deal...problem is he isn't always home.  I did try to look at the bump the other day by carefully positioning a couple mirrors.  I didn't see anything.  I should clarify, one mirror was about 3 inches big, and I have rather thick hair.  The combination didn't work in my favor.

And just to clear the air...there is no reason for me to believe I am pregnant, so get that thought out of your head.  I actually questioned Steve the other day about this...he is the one in control of that department...and when I asked him "if I had anything to worry about" his eyes got big and he said something to the effect of "um...no....why?!" 

Let me answer the question you are all asking about now: how do brain tumors and pilot wives go hand-in-hand?  Well, I don't think I ever cried out of frustration while Steve has been gone, or at least I can't remember any cries.  Folks, I cried on day 3 of a 4-day.  I think it is the brain tumor.

Day 3 was just rough...and long.  The morning started out fine.  I got up with no alarm, and showered and got ready for the day.  I woke the kids up since CC had a MD wellness visit.  Afterwards, we walked over to the Hospital and introduced the kids to some fellow volunteers and my co-workers.  That was all great.  We got home, just in time for the appointment with the garage door fixer guy.  He never showed. 

We waited for the garage door guy for about 45 minutes before I loaded the kids in the car so that we could go shopping for CC's birthday party.  This is when the day went to shit.  The kids were just a terror.  I could go on and on about how badly they were behaved.  I wanted to hit both of them on numerous occasions, it was that bad.  I resisted.  I was beat as a kid, and I vow never to do the same to my kids.  I vow to keep as composed as possible, even when I am tested to the limit.  This all means that I gave them stern talks since I couldn't threaten "you better get your act together or else we are leaving." I had stuff to buy for the party.    I had to continue marching on...I had no other time to get this shopping in.  This is a total function of being a pilot wife...the weight of a lot of stuff lands on your shoulders quite often.  As I mentioned, Steve was on a 4-day, and was due home the day of the party.  There was no other choice but to buy everything I needed that day and time. 

I don't blame Steve for being gone.  I try my best for him not to feel the sometime pressure it puts on me.  But, that day I just was cursing his job!  If he wasn't some 3 time zones away, I would have gone shopping all by myself in about half the time...without kids that were testing me like no other.  

CC fell asleep in the car on the way home, and I carried her straight to her room to nap. I instructed Ben that he needed to nap.  Meanwhile, I sat my ass down, and chilled for a bit.  I needed to recover.  I swear God designed kids to need all that sleep so that it gives parents a break in the middle of the day.

CC and Ben napped around 3 hours.  I thought I was good and charged, and ready to tackle the evening...until I made the cupcakes for the birthday party.

I like to make cupcakes.  So, of course I would make them for CC's party.  I brought the cake mix out of the pantry, and the kids poured the mix into a bowl.  The kids really do love to help make things by pouring and stirring and mixing.  I figured the cupcake making would be a fun activity for the kids, and they would enjoy this.  The phone started ringing.  It was my mother-in-law calling to ask if I needed her to bring anything to the birthday party.  While I was talking to her I let CC pour 2 1/2 cups of water into the bowl.  No you don't need to bring anything, I think we are all set.  Just then both CC and Ben put their hands right into the dry/wet mixture.  Excellent.  Just excellent.

About 2 minutes later Steve called me.  He was going to bed to prepare for a red-eye, so he was making one last call to me. I will call our conversation short and sweet, since when he said "well, I am going to bed" I responded with "ok. goodnight." Click.  He calls our conversation "why did you hang up on me."  Ok, so maybe I took out my frustration out on him...3 times zones away. I shouldn't have done it. It wasn't fair to him.  He had nothing to do with the day gone to shit.  Maybe I wanted to blame him...someway, somehow.  I believe that would be called misdirected frustration.  But, that isn't right.   I tell you what, it is days like that day where I curse his job.

And what happens next is when I lost it.  Since CC, and Ben, were no longer allowed in the kitchen she decided to park herself on the comfy lazy boy type reclining chair in the family room....and then she decided to relieve herself all over said chair.

"Mommy, I just went pee-pee."

I truly lost it.  I really did.  My top blew off.  I like to think that I can control my emotions, especially in front of the kids.

"CC!  Why did you do that?!" I yelled. 

I had CC go to the bathroom.  Of course she didn't have to go.  I then walked myself upstairs, so that I could get her some new clothes in her bedroom.  On my way up the stairs and I sat down on one of the steps and cried.

I am talking that big cry where your eyes get all puffy and you make weird sounds.  I sat there for about a minute and just let the tears stream down my face. 

It felt good.  I needed it.

But at the same time, I felt like I couldn't control my kids.  Being a pilot wife, it is you raising the kids 57% of the time.  When the kids act like assholes, I see it as a reflection of me and my lack of parenting skills.  Now, when they act well I am all sorts of proud...and when they act poorly I am all sorts of deflated.  Feeling deflated sucks...plain and simple.

I will say it again, I can't blame Steve for being gone.  We both signed up for this.  But, days like that one makes me want to blame him.  Misdirected anger, what? Days like that one make you wonder why you ever agreed to this pilot lifestyle thing.  Days like that one are beyond tough.  When I need relief, I get none.  This is a very tough balance - being all sort of pissed off and frustrated and deflate, yet you have to present yourself to the kids as calmly as possible.  You can't let your kids know you are about to run out of the house while saying "fuck this all!"  Parenting is usually a tag-team effort.  However, when your pilot is gone, you are in the ring all alone. 

Most days I can handle it.  I cracked on this past pairing....and I totally think it is the brain tumor. 


The next morning Steve got home around 7:30am.  By that point, the kids had already crawled into bed with me.  Unfortunately, this ruined Steve "bedroom plans."  I don't know what it is about a red-eye, but this is a common occurrence with him.  The kids heard Daddy walking up the stairs and started to get big grins.  Steve walked into the bedroom and the kids yelled "DADDY!" and Steve came and gave the kids big hugs and kisses.

He looked at me and said "you okay?"

By that point, I was.

Just a couple hours later I loaded the kids into the car to run some last minute errands for the birthday party, while Steve slept off his red-eye.  While driving, unprovoked Ben said "Mommy, I am really sorry for behaving badly yesterday."

And there is where I become inflated again.  My kid is good.  My kids are good.  This made me proud.  I can do it...brain tumor and all!


Here are some pictures from the birthday party:

ETA (7-27-12): I went to the MD today to check said bump out.  Benign cyst.  It may go away.  It may stay the same. It may get bigger, which would make for a trip to the Derm or maybe even a Plastic.  I asked Steve if he still loves me, cyst and all....he does. It is all good.


  1. I could have written this post. Thank you SO much for sharing because sometimes I think maybe it is just me and surely no one else loses it like I do.

    As for the brain tumor...I recently have been thinking I myself have something wrong in my head. I have a spot where it seems to just get tight for a few days and then it isn't. I hope you remember to ask your pilot to check out your bump!

  2. IT IS NOT A TUMA! (Done in Governator voice;)

    Whew! "Single" Parenting...I'll leave it at that!

    Sounds like you needed/deserved that meltdown, lol! Great way to end the post, though...your kids ARE awesome!!!

    1. I like that term "meltdown"...because that is totally what it was!

  3. You are doing a great job Joanna! You are a good mama, proof in Ben's comment to you. :)

  4. Hi Joanna,

    Long time reader, first time commenter. My boyfriend is interviewing for a major airline and your posts give me a good idea of what life will be like if he decides to leave regional flying. Speaking of brain tumors, I often worry about my bf getting one due to all the radiation he is exposed to while flying, do you ever worry about this or am I paranoid lol? Hope you bump is nothing serious!


    1. Hi Julie! Thanks for reading along! Good luck to your boyfriend. I don't worry about radiation at all...as in, it never even crosses my mind. I guess this may be "ignorance is bliss" but I really just don't pay attention to it. Hell, I bet there is a much greater chance to be killed from a hotel van driver gone wrong.

    2. Julie,
      I've been flying for over 30 years and have been blessed to say that, so far, there's been no radiation issues.

      That said, get your bf into the habit of slathering sunscreen on for any day flights heading into the sun! I think it's just common sense, like laying out at the pool. Can't hurt to start him off on a career habit of wearing sunscreen protection!

  5. Ohhhh man do I know those days. This evening was close to it. I swear flight instructing is worse for me than K being gone for weeks at a time! I'm glad you had a good cry, sometimes you really just need it! And I'm melting at Bens apology, how sweet!
    Please get Tue bump checked out, better safe than sorry. I hope its nothing!

    1. Thank the good Lord Steve never did flight instructing. I take that back, I don't know if he did or didn't...he was through all that crap, I will call it, before I came into the picture.

      Steve did look at my bump...nothing to see too concerned about, apparently. I will go to the MD if it is still there in a couple weeks.

  6. Thanks for the replies Joanna and Eric, I will definitely suggest the sunscreen- great idea. Joanna you are right, chances of other awful things happening are much higher- best not to think about it too much!


    1. Julie - and you eventually get to the point, as a pilot wife, where the job just becomes so routine that you forget to worry about the things you once did.

      I mentioned your concern to Steve, and he said something about the long haul guys who fly around the poles may be more at risk than he is. So, there is some comfort there.

  7. I feel your pain! Thanks for your honesty! Its good to see that someone else has those kinds of moments!

    1. Oh yes, I think we all have these kinds of moments...I have said it before, and I will say it again, we all live parallel lives.


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