Saturday, October 31, 2009

Here We Go Again

Well, it's 6:46AM and I'm blogging about my woes. I got a call from the facility this morning and Butch has been readmitted to the hospital with more chest pains. He was just in there in September with a heart attack. I am currently unaware if his enzyme levels are showing a heart attack or if it's just unstable angina. I don't know yet. I guess at this time, I don't know what road we are going down as far as a possible cardiac cath vs stent vs bypass. I can't keep letting this go on, so I will let the physicians make this decision. I do know it is dangerous with his blood clotting condition for him to have cardiac bypass and this can also effect his dementia. When his father had bypass many years ago, he suffered a stroke afterwards that left him in ICU for three months with many long term issues.

I feel very torn. I was just there yesterday, and spent the day with Butch. He seemed in a pretty good place for the moment, but I do see signs that we are getting ready to go back in a downward phase of his dementia. He is getting anxious and edgy. It's hard to explain unless you know him well.

As far as my upcoming appointment with the breast surgeon, I have just been counting down the days until I see her. My appointment is Wednesday, and no matter what, I can't put it off. I may have to depend on Jessica to be in N.C. with her dad if they do proceed with a surgical option. It will do both of us no good if I don't get some kind of an answer as far as whether or not these masses in my breast are benign or malignant.

I was just thinking last night about posting, but my mind has not been in a good place. I'm not making any plans for even next week, because I need to see what this is all going to bring. I have been trying to keep my thoughts positive, as I have read that 80% of biopsies are benign. I hope for once my luck will be good. Maybe I can manage to be in the 80% and not the other 20%.

Jessica herself, has been out of work since Tuesday. She was diagnosed with an Upper Respiratory Infection, which has since turned into bronchitis. I was afraid it might be the flu since she was not getting any better but when she went back to the doctor yesterday, they did do some blood tests and it is NOT the flu. Thank goodness! She has been miserable though and now Lewis has it too. That's what he gets for kissing on her when she is sick!

On a lighter note, when I went to NC yesterday, I took Lewis' sister, April, with me and her daughter Kaitlyn too. Kaitlyn always likes to see her "Uncle Butch" and she was as cute as ever. On the way down, we kept passing cotton fields and we were trying to explain to her about cotton. We told her that her clothes were made of cotton. I actually stopped at one point and ran out into a field and picked her a cotton boll so that she could see it. Later, at Wal Mart, we were strapping her in her car seat and she popped out with "My shirt is made of cotton candy!!" We got so tickled and said "Not cotton candy baby, just cotton, like on Q-Tips and cotton balls!" She is something else. I can't believe she is only going to be three next week.

Well, I'm going to try to lay back down and get a little more rest. Please send good thoughts my way this week. It going to be hard from all ends. I'm trying to stay positive, yet also prepare myself in case in doesn't turn out the way I want. Why can't life only bring one issue at a time? My shoulders are not quite broad enough to tote this load. I know, take it one step at time.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Our 100th Post - 100 Random Things About Us

Jessica and I decided that an appropriate post for our 100th post would be 100 random things about us. The first 50 are about Jessica. Here they are!

· I’m left handed

· I love the Twilight series

· I have the mindset of a 40 year old

· I’m scared of heights but love roller coasters

· I have a tattoo of a pink lotus flower on my back

· I got my tongue pierced at 13

· I can be very shy

· I’d rather stay home and watch a movie then go out to a party

· My hair color is constantly changing

· I’m deathly afraid of spiders

· I’ve probably read the Harry Potter series 10 times

· I didn’t get my license until I was 19

· My favorite color is purple

· I’m constantly worrying about making other people happy

· As I’ve gotten older I’ve started to dislike mayonnaise

· I truly did hate school and I’m glad I can go to college online

· I made the dean’s list my first semester of college when I thought I was going to fail

· Lewis and I are like old Mr. and Mrs. Hubbard

· I want a Nikon D40 but I’m too cheap to buy it

· I cheered for 11 years and loved it. I quit because I couldn’t tumble.

· I could probably kill a super big gulp in 10 minutes

· I could eat cheesy spaghetti every day for the rest of my life

· I hate when people argue about politics

· I hate people who bash Obama, keep your opinion to yourself.

· Some people say Kaitlyn and I look alike as babies even though we aren’t related by blood

· I love my music loud

· I’ve never known what it was like to have a real family because my dad’s side sucks and my mom’s side is really small

· I’m the only grandchild/niece on my mom’s side

· My favorite Yankee Candle is “Good Morning” but it has been discontinued

· My favorite Disney movie as a child was the Little Mermaid

· I love reading MckMama and Snarkymommy

· I’ve already got my wedding planned in my head and I’ve even picked out the bridesmaid dresses on David’s Bridal. No we aren’t engaged.

· I met Lewis in art class my freshman year of high school

· My favorite show is One Tree Hill

· I love cloudy/rainy days

· I really don’t think I take good pictures

· I’m scared to grow up

· It doesn’t take much for me to cry

· I love arguing with debtors on the phone at work, it’s funny

· I hate being late

· I secretly pray my dad will either live or be in his right mind enough to walk me down the aisle one day.

· Sometimes I wish I was still in elementary school

· I have very bad anxiety around large crowds

· I love my middle name, Hope

· My daughter will be named after a character on One Tree Hill, Peyton Elizabeth

· Lewis and I each sleep with a big box fan in our faces

· I have green eyes

· I worry about my mom a lot

· I drive a 1996 Toyota Camry

· I’ll never understand why Jon and Kate are famous, they aren’t the only ones with eight kids.

Now fifty things random things about me!

- My middle name is Louise after my mom,Frances Louise, who in turn was named after her cousin, Mary Louise.

- The first blog that I started following was Adventures In Everyday Life

- I was attacked by a dog when I was three and can still vividly remember it. I was very afraid of dogs and that is why we didn't get a dog until six years ago. I finally relented and am very glad that I did. I love Kasey to pieces!

- I want one more fast car in my life. My dad had a variety of fast cars over the years (Chevelle Super Sport, Plymouth Road Runner, Pontiac GTO, Chevrolet Camaro)and nothing gets my pulse racing more than hearing an engine rev.

- I watch very little TV. Usually news shows.

- If I was gay, I would have a terrible crush on Rachel Maddow. I think she's hot and smart.

- I HATE tomatoes. Something about the texture grosses me out.

- I love fried liver and onions. If I go out to eat and it's on the menu, it's what I will order.

- I no longer drink soft drinks. They are waaayyy too sweet anymore.

- I was the youngest person in my high school graduation class. I skipped the eleveth grade and graduated a year early. I have never regretted it.

- I prefer to drive a stick shift over an automatic.

- I love dancing around to music. I always think of that quote from the movie Working Girl "Sometimes I sing and dance around the house in my underwear. Doesn't make me Madonna. Never will."

- My all time favorite movie is Gone With The Wind. I've seen it too many times to count. I know all of the lines before the characters say them.

- My favorite book is "The Stand" by Stephen King. I hated the movie though.

- My brother is also my bestest(I know, not really a word) friend. He was the first person I called last week when I was told I would have to see a surgeon. He also understood me when I said I suddenly have the desire to rip of my shirt and show my boobs to some random stranger. I know, I'm not right.

- Jessica is the one thing in my life that I am most proud of. It is an honor to be her mom.

- I am afraid of the day that I lose my parents. I once heard that you are never really an adult until they are gone. I can't imagine my life without them.

- I stress over everything.

- I smoke. I am going to try to quit though. I have quit several times in my life but it is a major stress reliever for me. I try to hide it though from most people. I probably would have choked someone if it hadn't of been for that at times.

- I love coffee. I drink a 24oz cup everyday. I use a half of a teaspoon of sugar and a generous dollop of half and half. I used to drink much more but had to cut back.

- I want to travel out west before I die. I want to go to Colorado. I want to go up on Loveland Pass. I have never been west of the Mississippi.

- I loved going to New York City! Went there six weeks before 9/11. Everyone should be able to go to New York at least once in their lives.

- When I was a little girl, I thought lightening bugs turned into fishing worms. My mom lied to me so that I would let the lightening bugs go and told me that they would go underground and turn into fishing worms(because I like to go fishing with my great-grandfather). I had just learned about caterpillars turning into butterflies, so I never questioned her. I was a dumb little kid.

- I love roller coasters. I hope I never get too old to ride them.

- I have three piercings in each ear but now only wear one earring in each ear.

- I have matching scars over each eyebrow. The left came from the dog attack, the right where two little boys were chasing me in first grade and I fell down on the rocks and split my eye open. I remember the school principal taking me to the doctor and getting it stitched up and on the way home, he had to stop by the bank and they gave me a lollipop.

- I didn't get braces for my crooked teeth until I was 18. I got them off at 20. Best $2000 I ever spent.

- I was 26 when I got married.

- I was 26 when I had Jessica

- I was always attracted to older guys. It was no surprise to anyone that I married Butch, who was 15 years older than me. I don't think I will ever get married again. One is enough.

- I'm funny about the way I do laundry. I always sort the clothes by color and then by whether or not they need to be washed in cold or warm water. I like to fold things in a particular way too.

- If I had a dream job it would be to help families of loved ones with dementia. I felt like I had to blindly find my way down this path until I met Susan with the Alzerheimers Association. I would like to repay her kindness by passing on what I have learned.

- I am very liberal. The older I get, the more liberal I get.

- I talk in my sleep.

- I can snap my toes.

- I am almost always late, but I am trying to get better. It drives Jessica nuts.

- I have a particular way that I load the dish washer. The dishes must be rinsed first. Everything has a certain place in there in a certain way. It has been hard letting Jessica take over the cleaning of the kitchen.

- I always shower, never take a tub bath.

- I had a pony when I was a little girl. I never got to ride him though because he was too mean and would bite.

- I can play the clarinet.

- I love the smell of wood smoke.

- I don't know what my hair color is anymore. I have been dying it since I was about twelve. I know there is gray there because I can see the roots. I think it's kind of mousy brown.

- I am not a religious person. At times I wish I was but truthfully I'm not. It doesn't make me bad though. I still celebrate religious holidays for the spirit behind them. It makes me mad when someone judges me because of this. If you are so Christian, then you shouldn't be judging others.

- I love looking at family pictures. It doesn't matter if I know the people or not, I find looking at pictures fascinating.

- I also like going through old cemeteries and reading the headstones.

- Butch and I never went to the movie theater together. I have only seen three movies in the theater in the last ten years. Two of them were Harry Potter movies.

- I have ran out of gas in my car over the years too many times to count. I have also locked my keys in the car once with the car running.

- I sing in the car to the music, really loud! I can't carry a tune though.

- I talk to myself, and I answer myself too. I know, it's a sign of a weird person.

- It was harder to come up with fifty things than I thought it would be!!! Phew! Over! Done!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Appointments, appointments, and more appointments

The weekend was easier than expected. My mom and I went to see Butch on Saturday. No, we did not tell him anything as I don't want him to get agitated. It is just not necessary. I will tell him more as the need arises. I keep hoping that ultimately there will be nothing to tell. That's my story and for the moment I'm sticking with it.

I have had several calls this morning. Leslie, the breast care coordinator, called to set up my surgeons appointment. She called at 8:03AM and I was awake, but was still snuggling under the covers with Kasey. She is such a warm little dog!! I love her. Gave her the name of the doctor that was recommended, who by the way will only take you if you have never seen any other surgeon before because she doesn't fix other doctors screw-ups. The ball is now rolling. She called me back by 9:30AM to say that my appointment is for Wednesday, November 4. That is only a little over two weeks away. I was expecting something much further out, but I guess Leslie wanted me seen this week. Dr. C's(this is what I'm calling her for right now)office is putting me on a waiting list in case of any cancellations. Personally, I think if this things been lurking around in my body for two plus years, what's another two weeks, but anyway......that's where we are with that.

I have an appointment with an attorney for Friday afternoon. I need to get some personal things in order and this has made me want to get that ball rolling as well. Butch made some statements to me ironically this weekend that really got my mind whirling. Something to the effect of "well, if you died I would sell the house and Jessica would have to take care of herself". Can I just say WTF?!?!?!?! I know he isn't mentally competent, but still......I guess somewhere along the line the old issue of "Janice just wants your check" has been put in his mind and this popped out. First off, your so called check isn't enough to pay everything, that is why I have always worked. Furthermore, I also want to keep the house because it is my child's only home and I want her to have it one day. That's what I thought we worked for. Personally, I could walk out the door of that house and what I want out of it would probably fit in my car and his statement really, really pissed me off. I know it shouldn't, but it did, and coming on Saturday after Fridays news, it just threw me for a loop. Kind of one of those out of the blue statements. Soooooo, whatever assets that I do have, I want them to benefit my child. End. Over. Done. Enough said.

I get to see the dentist this afternoon for a routine teeth cleaning. Gee, one of my other favorite things in life. I guess I will put off that crown until after the first of the year. The money just won't be there, at least right now. Got the copays coming up for the looming surgery and so forth, so the tooth will have to wait until after tax refund time. That's ok though because I really wasn't looking forward to the crown and I think the filling is doing fine the way it is.

Other than that, I didn't do a whole lot this weekend. Went to a lovely 50th anniversary luncheon for a friend's parents at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Portsmouth on the waterfront.

The weather sucked, but the room we were in(see pic) overlooked the river and it was cloudy and blustery, but all in all a nice afternoon. I guess that's one milestone I will never celebrate. Probably lucky to have made it to twenty. It made me a little nostalgic, but really it's not like my marriage was all wine and roses. Sometimes, that's what's so hard is that it's nice to be alone but then again there are times that I miss having someone else around to share things with. I guess you can't have it both ways, and maybe I'm just meant to be alone or alone with the kids, I should say. I like having grilled cheese, or ham and cheese sandwiches for dinner. I like not having to answer anymore about where I'm going or what I'm doing or how long I'm going to be. I like not having to cook dinner every night or feel like I'm responsible for somebody else's happiness. I'm just saying.....

So, that's where we are today. Tomorrow, I don't know. I am taking this one step at a time, one minute at a time for right now.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fall is here!

About a week ago Lewis and I kept Kaitlyn for the weekend and we decided something fun for her to do was paint a pumpkin for her Nana!

We had to take her shirt off otherwise the paint would have gotten on her new clothes! Thankfully it wasn't really cold yet.

Friday, October 16, 2009

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I am posting tonight with a heavy heart. I don't know what to say other than I found something a few weeks ago, which resulted in a visit to my physician. She ordered additional tests and they were performed today. After four and half hours in the Women's Center and five different sets of diagnostic mammograms and ultrasounds ending with the radiologist himself performing the last, I was told that I needed to see a surgeon. Yes, I have something that is not supposed to be there in my right breast. Ironically, it was not the lump that I first found, but another that was lurking much deeper and in a different part.

I am hopeful that it will all still turn out okay, but I also realize that I must put some type of a game plan in place in case it doesn't turn out how I want it to. I am scared. I have been up and down ever since I was called back the third time, while watching everyone else around me get the "All's good, you can leave now" spiel. Laying there on the fifth go round with the physician, I held back when he told me to get dressed and to meet him in his office. I knew what was coming. I knew the news was not good. Actually, even though I had thought I had prepared myself prior to going today, I just have been having a feeling that this was coming. I don't know why. I can't explain it. I wish I knew what made me feel this way.

I had wanted to post about this since I went to the doctor last week, but I had only told my daughter and my brother. I didn't want to worry anyone unnecessarily. It seems like ever since I went in, I have been surrounded by something daily about breast cancer. Duh!!! It is October, it is Breast Cancer Awareness month. What ever did I expect? I even had someone comment me on Facebook yesterday, who's wife is currently undergoing chemo for breast cancer. It prompted me to write him back and ask him why did he comment me now? Other than the initial invite, and I think I did comment him when he posted about his wife, we had had no contact. He said my profile had popped up and something just made him comment me. He was so sweet and kind to write back, especially considering he was home taking care of his wife yesterday. So Scott, if you are reading this, thank you and Andrea for taking the time and for announcing something so private, which was part of what prompted me to act when I did. Normally, I tend to push things like this to the back and not think that they are important. I'm glad I didn't stick my head in the sand this time.

I am fine AT THIS MOMENT!! Five minutes from now, I don't know. The tears keep coming at some very unexpected times. Why am I putting this out there? Well, maybe if I do, someone else will read it as well, and it may prompt them to not put off something that is so important. I haven't disclosed all of the details here and probably won't for the time being, but writing on this blog always makes me feel a little bit better. I know that I am not alone. I have Jessica and Lewis. I have my parents. I have my brother, Scott and his wife, Felicia. I have wonderful friends who love me. I also have friends that I have met online and who follow my blog. I love each and everyone of you from the bottom of my heart. I know in the coming weeks, that I may need you in different ways. Ways that I may not even be aware of right this minute, but I know that you are there.

This is a path that I never wanted to go down, but I must. I know the cure rate is good, so that makes me feel a little better. I know that I will be seeing an awesome breast surgeon. I have heard wonderful things about her and my hope is that in the end, it will be just a small bump in the road. I guess that is life. Those twists and turns, the mountains and the valleys. Last week I was up on a mountain, the highest point in West Virginia in fact. Here is a picture of me Sunday on top of Spruce Knob, elevation 4,683'.

Tonight, I am in the valley. I will be up on that mountain again. With that smile. I promise.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cooking Fit

I have been kind of slack in the posting department for the last two weeks due to midterms and the start of two more classes. I did have a slight cooking fit almost two weeks ago. Thought I would share a little about that burst of energy.

First, I went to my mothers on a Friday evening as her brother, my Uncle Lynn, was coming in with his wife, Jan, to see my mom. She had requested that I make my homemade chicken pot pie. I cheated a little by using a pre-cooked chicken, but she said it was still yummy. I didn't get a picture, but I did get a new camera that weekend, so therefore, I did manage to get pictures the rest of the weekend of what else I cooked.

I had been dying to try out another recipe from Our Best Bites which was the apple dumplings and were they ever easy and delicious!!!

They probably would have been better served with vanilla ice cream, of which I had purchased, but they were so tasty alone, the ice cream never made it out of the freezer. I don't really eat too many sweets, but I could have licked the platter on this one.

Later that afternoon, I got another crazy yen for homemade pizza. I have been on something of a roll/bread kick, so luckily I had some yeast and decided to try to make my own dough as well. I searched around online and found a 10 minute dough recipe and here is the finished product!

This pizza cost approximately $3.00 to make and it was so dense, one slice was extremely filling. I ended up eating two slices and freezing the remaining slices. The frozen slices were just as good, and really much better than your typical frozen deal, I think I will have to make this more often, to just keep some in the freezer for those nights when there is nothing for dinner or perhaps a little late night snack. I probably could have rolled the dough out and made two pizzas out of this recipe but I wanted a thicker crust for a change. I'm usually a thin crust pizza person, but the taste of this dough was awesome! It's terrible, but I love raw dough. Sometimes, I would rather eat dough, than the finished product. I know, kind of gross, but I'm sure I'm not the only person to like raw dough and batter.

The weather has turned cooler here this week, so I'm thinking this weekend maybe I can try some kind of crock pot recipe. A big pot of vegetable soup would be good. I guess I will figure it out once Sunday gets here.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Butch's Birthday

Butch's sixty-first birthday was last Thursday, October 1. Lewis, Jessica and I went to see him and we took him out to a local restaurant for dinner. His recent heart attack sure hasn't effected his appetite. He got a seafood platter and ate everything on his plate. We then had the staff bring out a chocolate cake with chocolate fudge frosting for dessert. He was in heaven!!!!

He was very clear that day which was nice. It was one of our most pleasant visits in recent memory. Here are a few pictures.

Jessica and Butch - Butch used to always say she didn't look like him and it used to always make me mad. There is no denying that child!!!

Jessica and Lewis - One day I'm gonna burn that shirt that Lewis has on. It has Popeye on it and it is soooooo ugly!!!! I think he wears it just to piss me off.

A nice picture of Jessica, Butch, and myself. We never had an official family portrait done and we have very few pictures of the three of us together. Jessica and I are going to have an extra print made of this and enlarge it for Butch for Christmas. I think it will look nice in his room.

Well, I have a lot more, but very little time. I did make an 83 on my midterm for Medical Terminology. I wished it had been higher but it was a very difficult test. I am happy with it. I had made a deal with myself that I would be happy with anything over an 80. I still am carrying an A average in all of my classes. Will start another class next week. Gee, can't wait! (said sarcastically)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Health Care and Women - Are they treated differently?

How are women treated differently in the health care system? What is the effect of this differential treatment? Have you ever had a negative experience based on gender?

Women are treated very differently both by physicians and insurance benefit companys. Let me give you just one example that took me less than five minutes to find on the internet. Medicare(which is a government benefit) covers routine mammograms each year for women over forty with a twenty percent copay(see However, Medicare covers PSA's, which is a prostate cancer screening test, at ONE HUNDRED PERCENT(see Prostate cancer is very slow growing type of cancer and most men diagnosed with prostate cancer die from something else long before they die of prostate cancer. Breast cancer however is the second leading cause of death of women. Why is our own government discriminating against women? Are testicles that much more important that breasts? I'm absolutely positive that is true because of another example that I have to give.

Back in 1997, I worked for a government contractor that processed medical claims and answered questions for Tricare beneficiaries. I took calls from providers(hospitals, doctors, labs, etc) and beneficiaries(people covered under Tricare). From the day that I started there, there was an issue with two types of claims. One was for mammograms and the other was for laboratory benefits for pregnant women. Neither of these claims would pay correctly. They were denied and we would have to override the system manually to make them pay. It was reported numerous times to the supervisors and we would always get the same response, that the government would have to give us the okay to update the system to make these claims pay correctly. We were told that it would take about two years for this to happen as it had to have Congressional approval. Okay, fine. Then in 1998, Viagra hit the market. In case you have had your head in the sand for the last fifteen years, Viagra is a drug that makes it possible to have and maintain an erection. Viagra was covered under the pharmacy benefit and was paid by Tricare. Within three days, there was an issue paying for these prescriptions at that pharmacy. They were denied as not covered. Within two more days of that, miraculously our system was fixed and there NEVER was another issue with Viagra being paid. Three days!!!! When I left Tricare in early 2000, the mammogram and pregnancy lab issue was still not fixed. That was three years later. Now you tell me what is more important? Women, their unborn children and their breasts or an erect penis? I think the answer is obvious, at least where the United States government stands.

As far as personal negative experiences, yes. I have. I have cared for others when it comes to medical issues for most of my adult life. My father suffered several heart attacks in 1991 and had five-way bypass surgery. I cared for him and went to the doctors with him too many times to count. My mother-in-law lived with my family for three years from 2000-2003 when she died. She suffered from diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and many other issues. Since she also did not drive, I too went with her to her doctor visits. Plus I have had vast experience caring for my spouse. We have spent almost twenty years battling a blood clotting disorder that has caused him to have multiple strokes amongst other medical issues. He also suffers from diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and now a type of vascular dementia. I particulary noticed the way that even physicians talk to women is very different than to men. This last hospitalization with my husband proved that to me. Even though my husband has dementia and it is well documented in his medical records that the doctors had access to, he was consulted regarding his treatment. I was told what the physician was going to do even though I had Power of Attorney. When I pointed out to the physician that my spouse was unable to make a competent decision due to his dementia, he questioned me as to whether or not this was valid. Look buddy, you have the records there in front of you. READ THEM!!!! I have been talked "down" to in too many ways to count over the years. I'm not sure if it is because I am fifteen years younger than my husband or that I am a woman. Either way, it should not have any bearing as to how I am treated by the medical community.

I am sorry that I am so angry when it comes to this opinion. I made the mistake of reading a few other opinions before writing mine and I just cannot see where, even now, people still don't see the blatant discrimination that occurs. I could go on and on here citing examples such as insurance companies trying to force drive through mastectomies, the willingness to pay for penis pumps for men, but not cover reconstructive surgery for breast cancer patients, and many, many more but my anger is too great at this point to go on. Perhaps, it is because I worked for many years in a family practice office and then in the insurance industry that I have such a different outlook on this. I guess when you are surrounded by it you can't help but see the differences.

I have to end my opinion piece here. I currently have an "A" average in this class. I will post here if I have any of my classmates respond to this.