Friday, October 31, 2008

Biopsy Results

I started this month blogging about Breast Cancer Awareness Month and my personal experience with a breast cancer scare.  I thought the best way to close Breast Cancer Awareness Month would be in the same way.

Many of you have followed my scare and the process up until my surgery Tuesday.  Again, I thank you so much for your support and prayers.

A few people said I was brave.  If you have read my posts, you will know I was very afraid of the biopsy.

The day of the surgery, I was pretty calm until after the ductogram.  I do think that had a lot to do with being tired, hungry, thirsty, nauseous and in pain from that procedure.

I started to get emotional and then I thought about all the women that have had to go through the same thing.  I thought about all the women that had to have mastectomies.  All the women that had to go through chemotherapy and radiation.  All the women that are not so lucky as to find a problem very early.

Then I thought about the babies that were there that day.  I saw at least 4 children under the age of 1 going into surgery.  I thought about how terrified they were because they did not know or understand what was happening.

I relaxed and trusted that I would be fine.  And I was.  I am.  I still have had very little discomfort from the surgery and things seem to be healing well.

As promised, my surgeon called today with the results of the biopsy.

As she suspected, everything is fine.  It is not cancer.  It is a benign papilloma.  News that was much to the relief of my family and friends.  

Someone said she was sorry I had to go through that with it being nothing.  I am glad I had it done.  I would have continued to wonder what it was and the problem would not have ended.  It could have even grown larger. 

I won’t pretend I wasn’t afraid of the procedure or the possible results.  I won’t pretend that it was not painful and unpleasant. 

If I had known how painful it was going to be, I still would have gone through the procedure.  It could have saved my life.  If it had been cancer, it would have been so much easier to cure. 

Do not let fear stop you from saving your life.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I Didn't Always Like Halloween

When I was young, I hated Halloween. 

I hated it because I hate being scared.  I don’t know why people enjoy being frightened, especially intentionally. 

I never liked it.  It was made worse by my dad and sister.  They loved horror movies and haunted houses.  Since I was the youngest, I had no choice.  They dragged me to the movies and haunted houses against my will.

I was 6 when the movie “Poltergeist” came out.  They dragged me to that movie and I buried my head in my dad’s lap most of the time.  For years, I ran and leaped into bed because I was certain a clown was hiding under there ready to grab my ankles.

They dragged me to haunted houses even though I cried that I did not want to go.

It seemed the harder I cried during these things, the funnier they thought it was and the better time they had.

When I got a little older, I’d sit in the car while they went in the haunted houses.

My mom would get so angry when he dropped us off, but he would just laugh.  

When I got into High School, I didn’t hate Halloween as much.  I didn’t fear that clown under the bed so much.  I hated walking home from school on Halloween because people would egg or throw shaving cream at people, but I was lucky to avoid it.

Now, I like it but not for the fear-factor.

I love the fun aspect: the decorations, the costumes, the creative side of it.  I love fall as it is, but Halloween is just more fun to me as an adult. 

If you ever get down to New Orleans for Halloween, that is a blast!  I wish I could be there tonight!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Painkillers Made Me Sick

After my post yesterday, I showered.  I was so happy to get a shower.  Not that it had been a long time, just a day, but I felt gross from the biopsy and all the probing.

I had my mom help me remove the bandage (especially being that it was wrapped around my chest) and help me wash my hair and back.  I did not want to strain my right side.

It’s kind of amazing how much I take for granted.  I am right handed and don’t even think about the strain of small tasks, like pulling the blinds.  It’s a small strain, but when you have stitches, it’s still a strain.

After I got out of the shower, I got sick.  My mom was helping to wrap me back in my bandage and I got lightheaded.  When I said it to her, I suddenly became even more lightheaded.  I had to sit down and nearly passed out. 

I was literally dripping in sweat.  I had my head between my legs to try to help with that lightheaded feeling and it was dripping down my back, chest, legs…it was dripping from my chin.  I was so clammy. 

I nearly threw up a few times.  Then it passed and I was fine again.

I had thought it was just from the heat of the shower and the mild pain in applying the bandage.  Now I realize it was also from the painkillers.  All of those things are some of the side effects.  I stopped taking the prescribed painkiller.

It made me feel weird.  One of the side effects is an altered state of mind and moving between those states of mind.  I am not really in pain, so I am taking plain Tylenol, which is the only drug I can take other than the prescribed painkillers.

While on the painkillers, I was taking them every 5 hours.  By the 4th hour after taking the pill, I would start to feel the pain again.  It wasn’t bad, but it was like a pinching.  After I stopped taking the painkiller and took just Tylenol yesterday afternoon, I went 8 hours between and really didn’t feel pain.  I took the Tylenol at bedtime just to keep any pain away while sleeping. 

I slept really well last night.  I took Tylenol at 10:30 last night and have not taken anymore since.

I felt nauseated this morning, but I still have the painkiller in my system from 24 hours of it and all the drugs from the surgery. 

I feel pretty good so far today.

Again, I thank you all for the prayers and kind words.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Day After Surgery

I did not sleep that well last night.  I was so uncomfortable lying on my back. 

I normally sleep on my stomach or curled up on my side.  I could not curl up last night.  

I had to be straight.  I did prop a pillow along my right side so that I could sleep somewhat on my left side.

My back was hurting from being straight and flat like that for that long, it was waking me up.

I fell asleep around 1:00 woke up at 3:00, was awake until 5:00 and woke up at 8:00. 

I have had very little pain in my breast, however, which is really good.  When the painkiller starts to wear off, I feel some twinges of discomfort, like a pinching, but it’s not bad at all.

I noticed last night that my right breast is swollen a bit.  I would imagine that is normal after having so much trauma to it yesterday.  In about an hour or so, I will remove the bandage and see how everything looks.  I get to take a shower later too.  Woohoo!

Today, my biggest complaints would be some stomach upset, which is from the painkiller and a bit of a sore throat, which I would guess is from sleeping on my back.  I think if I sleep on my back, my mouth ends up open.

Otherwise, I am OK.  Just tired.

I made my appointment with the doctor for my follow up for next Wednesday.  Hopefully everything heals well. 

As I said yesterday, the results of the biopsy won’t be available until Friday or Monday.  I will let you know what I find out about the results.

Thanks again for all your kind words and prayers!

Monday, October 27, 2008

I Had My Ductogram & Biopsy Today

Last Friday I had some pre-surgical testing, which was no big deal.  Basically, they asked a bunch of questions, I filled out the paperwork that I would have had to fill out today, had some blood drawn to check blood counts and pregnancy (no babies here any time soon), etc.

That made this morning much easier.  I did not have to fill out any paperwork and I had a map with directions of where to go in the hospital.

I got there at 7:00 am, which as I am NOT a morning person, this was a challenge for me.

We checked in at the front, they strapped my hospital bracelet on my wrist and sent me with my paperwork to Ambulatory Surgery. 

I got there and handed my paperwork to the nurse behind the counter.  She told me to have a seat and as I turned to do so, my mom and I spotted my neighbor!

He was there with his eldest son for his colonoscopy.  I laughed and said we could have carpooled.  We did not tell them the real reason I was there, we just called it a procedure.  I didn’t want to deal with that so early, especially when other than the blogosphere, only my mom, step-dad and my closest friends knew about it before the surgery.

They called me back to a little cubicle after a while and got me started with all the questions, an IV and changed into a gown.  I was grateful to keep my pants on because it was so cold in there.  They weighed me and then shortly after I was wheeled down to the Ductogram.

If you recall, the Ductogram was the procedure I was not nervous about.  I knew that they were going to insert a needle and inject me with a dye.  I did not, however, expect it to be torture.

I have had a tattoo and laser hair removal.  To me neither hurt.  The mammogram I had a month ago did not hurt either. 

This hurt.  On a scale of 1 – 10, the total pain for the entire process, I would say was a 6, but I have a high tolerance for pain.  The rest of the world might say it was an 8.

It did not hurt through the entire process, which was about an hour, it just hurt at times.  Let me tell you what they did. 

They sprayed a pain reducer and then sanitized the area.  The doctor squeezed the nipple to extract the discharge in order to find the duct that was affected.  She continuously tried to insert a small, blunt edge needle into the duct.  It took her about 15 tries before it went in and that smarted.

Then they taped everything to me, including the syringe so that they could continue to inject more dye.  They took about 20 images via mammogram at various angles.  At that point, it was just the typical discomfort of the paddles.  When they had to move the needle to get it out of the image toward the end that really hurt.  I don’t normally make any noise when in pain, I just cringe.  I yelped.

They took the last few images and then went to read them.  The needle had already fallen out.  I was starting to get nauseous, though.  From the pain, lack of food and water and from being tired.

They came back and declared they found an area of concern, so they put me back in the paddles, however, this one had an opening on top.  They sterilized the area and injected a local anesthetic.  They inserted 2 wires to mark the areas and then 2 other thin wires I think looked like antenna.  They then took a few more images (I think I had my breast smashed about 40 times).  They removed the antenna ones before doing these images, though. 

Finally, that was done.  They cleaned me up (there was some blood) and bandaged me.  They got me back in the wheel chair and we headed up to the little cubicle again.  My mom was with and she said I looked red in the face.  I am a pasty girl, so red is unusual.  I said I felt nauseous. 

I started to get emotional at this point.  I was hungry, extremely thirsty, tired, nauseated, my IV line was uncomfortable and I was nervous.  I knew I had to have surgery.  I did not want surgery.

I sat with my mom for a few minutes before anyone came so I was able to wipe the few tears away and calm down.  The doctor came and went over the images, signed my shoulder (apparently the wires sticking out of me were not enough to indicate which side was to be operated on) and brought in the anesthesiologist.  He was super nice.  I told him I was nauseous and he went over what he was going to do. 

The nurses came in and put my lovely green cap on and we headed down to surgery.  I wasn’t nervous at this point.  I was just tired.  I trusted it would be fine and I was ok.  I was talking to the anesthesiologist about the Kindle when I started to fade.

Next thing I knew I was being wheeled into the cubicle for recovery.  The surgery was scheduled for 10, but it was closer to 11:00, which my surgeon was not happy about.  She was obviously annoyed when they took me for the Ductogram because she kept asking them about timing.

Since it was late, I was not out of recovery until after 1:00.  I was home by 2:30. 

I’m okay right now.  I have a bandage around my breasts.  If you’ve seen someone after a boob job, that’s what I look like.  Just without the large breasts.  They gave me a prescription for painkillers.  I took 1 around 4:00 and it knocked me out for an hour.  I don’t have pain, just some discomfort.  I’m not allowed to lift anything over 15 lbs for a few days, no vacuuming (I get a cleaning reprieve - YAY) and no shower for a day (I’ll just have to stink). 

I have to sleep on my back, which is going to be difficult.  I’m a stomach or right side sleeper.  I can’t do that with my stitches.  Hopefully, the pain meds will knock me out.

I will find out Friday or Monday what the results are.  They removed a small green grape sized piece from my duct.  My surgeon said she hoped to know by Friday, but the pathology department can get overwhelmed.  She will call me then and I have to go see her in a week.

I will let you all know what I find out.  Thank you all so much for all your support, prayers and well wishes.  It really means a lot to me.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tomorrow is the Big Day

Tomorrow is the big day. 

I have to be at the hospital at 7:00 am to check in.  My ductogram is scheduled for 8:00 am. 

If they find anything after the ductogram, which consists of having a dye injected into my nipple and a mammogram to get a clearer image of the ducts in my breast, then I will have to have the biopsy. 

The biopsy is scheduled for 10:00 am, so I should be done and home by 1:00.

I keep praying that they don’t find anything with the ductogram so that I don’t have to have the biopsy.  I would prefer to not have surgery, of course. 

I’m getting a little nervous about it. 

I’ve been grazing all day because I can’t eat after midnight.

I just received a call from the hospital to confirm the time and give further instructions.  

I am happy to know I can drink water up until 6:00 am.  They had been telling me that I can’t have any after midnight, so knowing I can have water makes me feel better.

I will blog about it tomorrow assuming I don’t have the biopsy.  If I do, it will all depend on how drugged up I am and how much pain I am in after.  

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Recylcing CFLs

I am so happy to find that CFL light bulbs can now be recycled at any Home Depot .

I started replacing the incandescent light bulbs with CFL’s over a year ago.  Other than the strange light bulbs that are teeny tiny, all of mine have been replaced with CFL’s.

I was most concerned with a couple of spots to start. 

The hood over my stove has 2 lights.  The button to turn them off stopped working about 2 years ago.  Therefore, the lights are always on.  We were going through a light bulb a week.  I replaced those last April (2007) and they have yet to burn out.

The second place was my step-dad’s home office.  He goes in there at 6:00 am and sometimes doesn’t come out until after midnight.  The lights are on 8 – 12 hours a day.  He did not want me to replace the regular bulbs, so while he was out one day, I snuck in and replaced them.

It was weeks before he noticed.  Now, all the bulbs in the house are replaced.  I was also happy to put them in the bathroom fixtures because those are really difficult to access.  The covers are a challenge to remove, so the less they need to be changed, the better.

Some have burned out in my step-dad’s office.  They were the larger wattage bulbs.  After I had several, I took them to Ace Hardware near my house to recycle, but they closed and I have been concerned where to take any that burn out in the future.

CFL’s MUST be recycled.  They contain trace amounts of mercury, which is harmful to the environment if put in landfills.  (If one breaks, you should follow certain steps to clean it up.)  

All you have to do is take the “expired” unbroken CFL to Home Depot, put in a plastic bag and place it in a marked orange receptacle.   

I understand IKEA is recycling them as well.

There is no excuse to not use them.  They are a bit more expensive, but you can find good deals at many home improvement stores.  You can even find coupons online.  I have also found them in Dollar Stores.

They last longer and use much less energy, which cuts your electric bill down greatly.  If it saves you money AND helps the environment, why not?

Friday, October 24, 2008

No Regrets

I have often heard people speak of their biggest regret or talk of things they’d do differently if they could go back.

For a long time, I felt this way too.  I would have not said that to her, or I would have put up a bigger fight with him or I would have made a different decision on that.

Then I started to feel consumed by regret.  I was being swallowed by my past.

The thing with regrets is that they are pointless.

You CAN’T change the things you have done, so let it go.  We’ve all done things we are not proud of.  Being sorry for the mistakes and possible hurt you caused is sufficient. 

Holding onto it, feeling regret for something a decade or more later does no one any good.

What I have learned is that every action in our past makes us who we are.  If you had the opportunity to go back and change something in your past, you would alter who you are now and who is in your life.  Not to mention the person you will become.

Mistakes and adversity are not bad.  Your choices and experience might have made your life or others’ lives more difficult, but they are part of life.  They teach us lessons and develop us as human beings.

This goes for all people. 

Someone might have supported a bad organization 40 years ago and believed it was good then, but realized with age, time and life lessons that it was a horrible decision.  They are sorry, but it is in the past.

Someone might have supported a policy that they thought would improve several people’s lives and protect certain freedoms, only to later realize they were wrong.  They learned and moved on.

Someone might have thought that telling a loved one they were fat and making them feel badly about themselves would help them get motivated to lose weight and be healthy.  They later realized it not only did the opposite, but hurt that person deeply and caused a rift in their relationship.

Someone might think being negative or hitting their child was an effective parenting technique, but learned later, when the damage was already done, that they were wrong. 

Someone might feel horrible about the things they did in the past and the pain they caused.

You cannot change what you have done in the past, you can only learn from it and do better.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Mechanics Can Be Real Tools

One of the most frustrating things about being a woman is taking your car to the mechanic.

Mechanics are generally male and they assume that females don’t know anything about cars.

Truthfully, most women don’t.

I know more than most women that I know.  I can change a tire, check/add oil, fill most fluids and locate many parts.  This is thanks to my mom who paid attention to her dad.  My grandpa always worked on cars, mostly for fun.  She liked to help him.

When I was young and spent time with him, he let me help too.  He taught me to change a tire when I was 12.

I have found that when I take my car to a mechanic, they treat me like a clueless twit. 
My mom has the same experience. 

When I take my car, or anything else needing fixing, to the shop, I usually do not know what is causing the problem.  I tell them what is happening and ask them to check it out for me. 

I don’t think I sound wishy-washy or utterly baffled.  Yet, they always seem to come up with some strange answers.  Or they tell me they fixed it and did not.

One example was about 6 years ago.

When I got my car 7 years ago, my parents gave me remote start for Christmas.  A year later, it started acting up, so I took it in.  What happened was that I turned the car off and it wouldn’t start again.  I had to have it towed to the shop.  They claimed to have fixed it.  I had been out of a car for a few days, so I was relieved that they fixed it so easily.  I picked it up, drove home, stopped at the office to pay my rent and when I got back in the car to drive to the parking garage, it wouldn’t start. 

I was so angry.  I had to have it towed again.  They tried giving me some crap.  My step-dad had picked me up and taken me to the shop.  They thought he was going to do the talking at this point, but I was so angry, I went off on them and challenged them on every excuse they gave me.  They gave me a loaner to try to calm me down.

It seems that the only way to get mechanics to treat a woman with respect and the same honesty they use with a man is to get angry.  Anything less is construed as weakness, which equals a target.

My mom had to take her car to get new brakes this week.  They called to tell her what needed to be done and how much it was.  Then they called her to ask her if she has been using the parking brake too much.  She laughed and said she never uses it.  He said, oh, well that’s the problem.

Ok, first you tell me it’s worn because it’s used too much, now you’re telling me it’s worn because it’s not used? 

Then he says, he may as well do it since they are already in there.  He tells her it will be an additional $400, but they don’t have the part so it would be a few days. 

Wait, you just said you could do it since you will be “in there” anyway, but you don’t have the part?  So you wouldn’t be in there anyway.  You’d be done with the brakes.

No thanks, just fix the brakes like I originally asked. 

I find even places like Jiffy Lube try to “scare” you into thinking something could go terribly wrong if you don’t do what is recommended on the vehicle diagnostic screen.  Some really don’t care, they are just going through the motions, but others are higher pressure.  It’s annoying.

No, I don’t want to have my fuel line cleaned.  Just change my oil.  I understand it will make my fuel efficiency better, but just change my oil.  No, I don’t want to spend another $60, just changing my oil.  No, I don’t care that it will only take another 30 minutes, just change my damn oil!

I suppose I could remedy this by going to the local community college and learning to change my own oil, replace my own brakes and tune my own engine (that sounds dirty),  but that is not likely to happen.

Frankly, it shouldn’t HAVE to happen in order to get trustworthy and honest service.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Your Kid is FAT!

I met a friend for lunch the other day.  We were talking about her kids and she got really upset telling one story.

She has a 6-year-old daughter.  This little girl is not little by any means.  She is tall, a good inch or 2 above the other kids in her class.  She is also very sturdy.  She is athletic and always on the move. 

I would say she is a bit chubby, but not fat at all.  A lot of 6 year olds have a bit of chub on them, that’s normal (unless you have one like my niece who is super skinny and “slims” fall off of her).

This girl is built like her mom with her dad’s height.

They were all at a family gathering with her in-laws.  One of the aunts said to my friend that the girl is fat and needs to go on a diet.  She said they need to be careful and start watching her.

Not only did she announce this in front of the whole family, she said it in front of the 6 year old.

I did a post a while back about people needing a filter and I just can’t say it enough.

Do you NOT think?  Do you not realize that is setting that girl up for self-image and weight issues?

My friend was so angry because they do eat very healthy.  My friend has some medical issues that require her to eat organic and a lot of vegetables (I’ve never known anyone to eat so many veggies, to be honest).  She does have junk on occasion, but most kids do.  She is also a very active kid.  She takes 2 dance classes, plays sports and is always running around.  She has muscle, which is unusual on a 6 year old.

I was pissed listening to this.  It makes me crazy when people harp on weight.  Now, if someone is so overweight that they are at risk for health problems, then yes, that is a problem.  But if you are healthy and a little bigger, who cares?  It shouldn’t matter what you weigh or how you look. 

When I was a kid, I was a twig.  Just naturally.  I was tall and had the metabolism that most people would kill for.  I was called names for it.  Now, that weight would be considered ideal.  That is sad.

I have seen those onesies for babies that say, “does this make my butt look big?”

Are you F’ing kidding me?  For an infant?  Because 1st grade isn’t earlier enough to start with body image problems? 

I am hypersensitive to the way the media and other people attack someone for being soft.  Not even chubby, just soft.  Unless your bones are jutting out or you have a visibly toned body, you are crucified. 

What is that teaching our children? 

Women are no longer supposed to be womanly to be considered attractive.

Those standards have crossed over from celebrities to everyday people, kids included.

It’s sick.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dating Your Gynecologist

I was over at Alan Gay & Straight returning an entrecard drop and I started reading one of his latest posts.  He was talking about choosing doctors based on gender and sexual orientation.  Whether choosing a doctor based on matching your gender or sexual orientation makes sense.

He mentioned that women go to female gynecologists.  Now, boys, if this kind of talk makes you uncomfortable, consider this your warning.

I do prefer a female obgyn.  I am more comfortable with another woman taking care of my female issues.  

I know a man is just as capable, but I feel like a woman is probably a little more sensitive and understanding.  She had been there, she knows what it is like to have your feet up in those stirrups with all your business in plain view.  To have a spot light on your goodies while a cold metal instrument is coming at your hooha. 

I know many women do go to a female obgyn, but not all do.  One of my best friends goes to a male.  She has a crush on him, but she’s married and can only look and flirt innocently.

She has tried to get me to go to her doctor.  Not so much because she is recommending him for how great he is at his job, but because he is single and hot.  She wants me to date him.

I might be up for dating her obgyn, but I would NOT want to be his patient.

Personally, I feel that the guy I date, should not be privy to my lady bits PRIOR to the first date.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Not As Young As I Used To Be

When did you realize you’re not as young as you once were?

You look like you always have, you feel like you always have, until you do something you haven’t done in a long time.

Then it hits you.  I’m not as young as I used to be.

This morning I woke with a knot between my shoulder blades from all the painting I did. 

My thighs are sore as if I climbed a mountain from all the squatting painting around the baseboards.

A couple of months ago, however, was when I realized for the very first time just how far I am from being as young as I used to be.   

My sister’s family was over.  After a fun day, we had all come inside and I was on the floor with the kids.  My 6 year-old niece was doing some ballet moves and some yoga moves (though she doesn’t know it’s yoga).  She was basically being a contortionist.

She kept saying to my sister and I, “can you do this?”  We kept saying no, we used to, but not anymore.  Then she got into some position and asked the question.  I laughed and said, “no, but I can do this” and proceeded to do a backwards somersault.

After several minutes, I realized that it was a bad idea.  Not that I actually injured myself, but I was sore.  My neck especially.

I’m just not as young as I used to be. 

Monday, October 13, 2008

Strange Job Interviews

I had a job interview the other day and it was one of the strangest interviews I’ve ever been on.

7 years ago when I interviewed for the job that ultimately made me sick (anxiety and stress manifesting itself in twitching, hives, chest pains and nearing an ulcer), I thought that was the strangest interview. 

They asked me things like what do I like to do for fun, when was the last time I went out, what did I do the last time I went out, what is the craziest thing I’ve ever done, etc.  Very few questions were asked about my qualifications. 

Last week, the interview was just as odd, if not more so, I have not decided yet. 

I sat with the HR person and an Executive Assistant.  It was the first round of interviews before meeting with the 3 people I would be supporting. 

They began telling me about the company, which is normal.  Then about their jobs and how long they have been there.  They told me about all of the benefits, which are excellent. 

Then, instead of asking me questions, they just said, “so that’s about us, not tell us about you.”  I told them about my work history and how it would fit into this job.  Well, as much as I could, because they didn’t tell me about this job itself.

After I finished my pitch, I thought they would ask more questions or ask if I had questions like in a normal interview.  Nope.  The one person excused herself because she had to take care of something. 

The HR person asked if I’d like a tour.  I accepted and we walked through the building.  I tried to show interest and sound somewhat knowledgeable. 

That was it.  They said they would be discussing the 5 candidates with the engineers one of us would be supporting and schedule those interviews this week.  She gave me her card and told me to feel free to contact her. 

I left thinking that I’d like to work there, it seems like a great place to work.  Plus there is a large pool of young, good looking men. 

Being that my record of weird job interviews has led to employment, maybe that’s a good sign.

Fingers crossed.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

We Must Trip Some Kind of Alarm

It seems we trip some unknown alarm at my trashcans.  Whenever we throw anything other than bagged garbage out there, the garbage pickers show up.

Whether it is a bucket or furniture, as soon as we walk away from it, someone comes to take it.  There are scrap metal trucks that come, but there are others than come and take ANYTHING that is not in a trash bag.

Yesterday, my step-dad tossed out some old office equipment.  Printers, keyboards, etc.  An SUV pulled up and we started hearing laughing, so I kind of walked to the side to see what was going on without being too obvious.  It was a young couple excitedly putting the things in their car.  I heard a few comments like “look at all this stuff!” and “can you believe all this office stuff is out here?”  It was kind of cute.

Today, while cleaning more junk out of the house, I threw away some old buckets, storage bins, shelves, mops and what I considered crap.  I normally take that kind of stuff (not the mops or crap) to AMVETS, but I know someone will come to take it, so I put it by the trash.

Shortly after that, I heard the tell-tale sound of things being tossed into the garbage picker truck.  CLUNK.  They took most of it. 

I don’t know what they do with it, but I am sure they do something good.  Either repurposing, selling for some cash or using it themselves.  We won’t do any of those things, so I’m glad someone can.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I Took A Lickin'

Do you remember the game “I Took A Lickin From A Chicken?”

I was in the grocery store yesterday and walked by a display of Webkinz animals and there was a chicken.  For some reason that chicken took me back about 23 years to a time when my favorite game was “I Took A Lickin From A Chicken.”

I LOVED this game so much.  I’d play it for hours.

I vaguely recall that there were a few games you could play, but I always did the tic tac toe game.  I really wish that I could find it and that I could record it so you could hear the noise, but if you won or lost, it would dance around and cluck.  It was very noisy and drove my mom and sister crazy, but I did not care.  It was too fun. The clucking and things the chicken would say was what made that game worth playing.

Of course, I enjoyed Hungry, Hungry Hippo and Pig Pong, but they required someone else to play.  When my sister was off with her “cool” friends (she’s 3 years older) and my friends couldn’t come over or I couldn’t go over there, it was all me.  That chicken was my fun during those times.

Perhaps it is all the time I spent on my grandparents’ farm.  Even though they did not have chickens…perhaps it’s all that time in the farm, shall we say, environment, that made me like the game.  Come to think of it, that might explain the Pig Pong game as well.  They DID have pigs.  How I loved those pigs.  I won’t eat pork because of my grandparents’ pigs.

Wow.  Look at that.  Who needs therapy when all you need to do is talk about your favorite childhood games and why you liked them!

That saved me $100.  Thanks guys!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Some People Need To Get a Filter

I have been reading some of the blog posts over at Mosaic Moments and over at Motherhood Unscripted about children with Mosaic Downs Syndrome and Downs Syndrome.

Yesterday, at Mosaic Moments, I read one about a woman who gave birth earlier this year thinking everything was fine, but was then given the diagnosis for her baby.  She mentioned feeling that her baby was perfect before they told her that her daughter has MDS.

This got me thinking.

To me, all babies are perfect.  Now, I am not an extremely religious person.  I do have my faith, though, and I am very spiritual.  That said, I don’t think God makes mistakes.  I think that all children are born the way God intended.  What some might find to be a flaw or a problem, I think is the grand design.

I do know that some illnesses or diseases that children can have can be devastating to the family and can be very challenging to handle, physically, mentally and emotionally.

I also believe that everything happens for a reason and as it is meant to.  Even the bad stuff.  Especially the bad stuff.  We are given challenges and tests every day, so the devastation that can come with some illnesses and diseases are part of that.  Not a punishment, as some think, but a challenge to overcome.

I hope this doesn’t come across as me making light, because that is not the intent.

I do realize that for some families, the challenge can be more than they can handle.

I also think that those challenges are not intended solely for that family.  They are for all of us.  Not to sound like we should all join hands and sing kumbaya, but we are supposed to be a community.  We are supposed to help and care for each other, especially when someone is facing a difficult time.

I have heard stories, though of the opposite.  Of people putting down families and children with special needs.  It’s bad enough when another child acts this way, but when an adult acts this way, it is disgusting.  From children with autism to MD to DS, people need to not only learn to show some understanding and respect, but also to lend a hand or word of encouragement from time to time.

A friend of mine was telling me about a friend’s daughter.  This little girl is “perfect” except she has a port-wine stain on her face, which is really just a large red birthmark.  It is over her eye, forehead and cheek; it is quite large.  The mother was devastated when she saw this at the baby’s birth.  The baby is one now and is having laser treatment to remove the mark.

The mom is very self-conscious and sensitive about this.  I think, as many parents do, she blames herself.  It does not help that when they are in public, random strangers approach her and ask what is wrong with her baby.

First, nothing is wrong, she has a birthmark.  Second, how ignorant is that?  To walk up to someone you don’t know and say, “hey, what’s wrong with your kid?’

I’ve said it before, but I am often shocked by the ignorance of people.  Not only is asking what is wrong with her baby rude, it is hurtful.  It is hurtful to any parent to imply that their child is wrong.  Whether it’s a birthmark or something more serious.

It can also be damaging to that child.  Do you think they don’t hear you?  Do you think they don’t understand that you think something is wrong with them?  Do you think they don’t ingest that and feel badly about themselves?

I know that I would lose my patience with such questions and turn around to ask what is wrong with them.

I have seen people fly off the handle if someone asks how old their child is and why they are still using a pacifier or a bottle.  So, what makes you think that asking about a birthmark or disease in such a negative tone is less offensive?  I know many people would prefer that strangers come up to them and politely ask what happened if they are disabled rather than the staring or whispering.  I imagine that parents of children with some kind of difference would prefer the same politeness.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Keep Your Shirt On

Here’s a question for you.

Why do men feel the need to walk around with no shirt on?

Now, if said man is in shape and sporting nice pecs and six-pack abs, then go for it.  That’s a sight for sore eyes.

However, if said man is sporting man-boobs and double keg abs, please, I beg of you. Keep your shirt on.

Now let’s reverse this for the men’s perspective.  You love to see a hot woman walking around in her bikini, yes?  Small waist with curves in all the right places.

Yet, if the bikini-clad woman is spilling over through the mid-section, you turn your head or make some snide remark. 

It goes both ways, buddy.  We don’t want to see your gut hanging over your pants!  

Nor do we want to see your crack hanging out of your pants!  It’s a frightening sight from either end. 

This is bad enough in the summer when it is somewhat expected.  When it is 60 degrees on a fall day, however, it is like being hit head on by a Mack truck!

So, unless you look like this:

Friday, October 3, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: I Got Squished Conclusion

Continued from Parts 1 & 2

The doctor finally came in and asked me a bunch of questions, many the same as what the nurse had already asked.  She had me get on the examining table and she did an exam.  The reason for my visit is a discharge from one breast.  The color of it was the biggest concern.  She took a sample and put a bit of solution on it to see what color it turned. 

Apparently, discharge is not that abnormal.  It’s the color that they are concerned about.  She told me that tan and green are generally not abnormal.  To me, if I had green coming out of my breast, I think I would have fainted.  Clear and bloody are of concern.  After putting the solution on the sample she took, she found it had blood in it.

We went over the images and test results on a computer screen.  The results of the mammogram and the ultrasound were inconclusive, but because the discharge has blood in it, I have to have some other procedures done.

I have to have a ductogram which basically requires a little numbing of the area before a dye is injected into the ducts of the nipple.  It will cause the ducts to light up, so to speak, so that they are clearer on a mammogram. 

I also have to have a biopsy.  This requires surgery.  I will be placed under anesthesia and the doctor will slice an opening at a spot near the areola and remove the affected duct. 

They will be able to determine through these procedures what the cause of the discharge is. 

It is one of three possible issues.  1) The walls of the duct are inflamed and the irritation is causing the discharge.  No big deal.  2) There might be a papilloma, which is most likely not a big deal either.  It is basically a non-cancerous cyst.  3) It could be an early warning sign of cancer. 

I am not afraid of the ductogram.  I had done research prior to going for the mammogram and had determined I would probably need this.  I had hoped they could do it right there and then, but no such luck. 

I am afraid of the biopsy though, and not as much for what they might find as for having surgery.  I am afraid to be put under and to be cut open.  I know it’s outpatient and not considered a major surgery, but I have never had surgery.  I have heard the stories of what can happen to people.  I have a friend who works in surgery.  I have heard her stories. 

This again is something I have to talk myself into.  I know it is best to have it done soon.  The doctor said it is not urgent and to schedule it at my convenience.  I am glad for that in that I do need to talk myself into it.  I had hoped to have to do whatever it was immediately so I would have zero time to think about it and freak myself out.

I have to find out when my mom can go with me as she will have to drive me home and then make the appointment.  I am hopeful that it is one of the first two options; however, I am very aware that it could be the third option.  If it is, I will face it and deal with it.  I am not immune, nor is anyone else.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: I Got Squished Part 2

Continued from Part 1

I got to the Breast Care Center early, as I usually do for everything, and ended up waiting anxiously for an hour before I was called.  I followed the nurse back and through the door.  She told me to remove my clothes from the waist up and put a gown on tying it front.  

She told me to have a seat and they would come for me soon.

I sat for another 20 minutes before I was taken back for the mammogram.  By that point, the fear had washed away as I removed myself from my body.  I was present, but as an outsider.  I wasn’t really participating.

I followed the orders and stood where I was told to stand and put my arm where I was told to put it.  I held my breath when I was told to hold it.

I had 2 images of each breast taken and then 2 close ups of the one that the doctor was concerned about. 

I think I have a higher tolerance for pain than a lot of people (I didn’t think my tattoo hurt).  The mammogram was not painful.  It was not fun, but it did not really hurt, it was more pressure than anything. 

The two close-up images did hurt.  It was a smaller area they were viewing and it pinched.  It wasn’t the kind of pain where you tear up or think you might hit someone.  It was more of the stubbing your toe kind of pain where you curse under your breath.

After that was done, I was taken back to the same room to sit and wait for the ultrasound.  Another 20 minutes and I was finally taken in a room for that.  I wasn’t worried about that because I knew what that would be like.  It did hurt though, more than the mammogram actually.  By that point, my breast was tender from being squished so much.  So, when she pushed down on it to get a good image, it was painful.  Again, not the kind of pain that causes you to tear up or hit someone, but still, unpleasant.

When that was finished, I was taken to a different room and was told to wait there for someone to go over the results.  This was a room devoid of any reading material or anything to distract me from what might happen, what I might hear.  I sat there for another 20 minutes.

I was then taken to a normal exam room and was told to have a seat.  I waited about 15 minutes before a nurse came in for a history.  She asked why I was there and about my personal medical history and my family’s medical history.

I answered all of her questions and tried to remain in good humor.  At this point, I was hungry and really tired of waiting around.  The nurse left and I waited some more.  I was getting antsy and was very tempted to just get up and leave.  I have a lot of patience with a lot of things, but being kept waiting is not one of them.

I will keep you waiting just one more day and I will finish this story tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: I Got Squished!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. 

Most everyone has been touched by breast cancer in some way.  At the very least a family member or friend has either had it or had a scare. 

My best friend’s mom had it about 12 years ago.  She, thankfully, beat it.  My mom’s close friend also had it and is a survivor. 

When my sister was pregnant with my nephew four years ago, she was working as a teacher in a preschool.  One of the parents was diagnosed and lost her battle.  She was my sister’s age.  My sister wanted to go to the wake, but she was due soon and everyone told her that the sadness and grief might be too much for her.

My mother and my best friend (the one whose mother had it) have had scares in which either they or the doctor felt or saw something.  They had to have further tests. 

Fortunately, they were fine, just false alarms.

I am in my early 30’s.  When I went for my yearly exam, I had some abnormalities, so my doctor ordered me to go for a mammogram and ultrasound.

I’ve never had a mammogram, as they are not required at my age. 

I will tell you that I was fearful of the mammogram as much, if not more, than the results.

I have always heard that a mammogram is painful.  My mother told me that it would hurt me more because I am a smaller breasted woman.  My best friend told me her mother, who is smaller than I am, says it is very painful.

Great, thanks.  Scare me more.

For me, if I am afraid of something, I have to talk myself into doing in.  It took me a few weeks to actually schedule the appointment, so it was a month after my doctor told me to go when I actually had my mammogram and ultrasound.

I was nervous.  So nervous that I didn’t tell anyone other than my mother about it for weeks.  I told my best friend since her mom had had breast cancer and she had had the scare; I knew she knew what I was going through.

The day finally came last week.  I scheduled it early because I had 3 appointments: the mammogram, the ultrasound and the consult with a surgeon.

I will continue this story tomorrow.

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