Monday, November 30, 2009

How Can One Truly Study.....

When their cat is intent upon helping? When I am at home my cat, Tommy, is somewhere close by. When I go to bed at night, he is either on my pillow being a pig, with his paw touching my face, or under the covers fighting with the dog on who gets to sleep closest to me.

When I study, he is right besides me, or on my lap trying to push my book out of my way, or trying to sit on the laptop. Tonight he kept trying to grab my pen with his mouth and yank it out of my hand.

Notice his paw on my arm.....

You just can't get any closer than this!

Right now he is draped over my shoulder. Crazy cat!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Lot To Be Thankful For!

I had the biopsy on Friday and got the call today. IT WAS BENIGN!!!! I am so grateful and words can't even begin to describe the relief I felt. When I got the call, I was told that Dr C wanted to speak with me, which of course made me EXTREMELY anxious, but she got on the phone and explained what the findings were and I immediately cried. I just couldn't help it. There are a few other issues that I have, namely lymph nodes all over that are enlarged, so I will be following up with my hematologist/oncologist, Dr. D for that. I already see her every six months due to an another ongoing issue, so that is not really a big deal. The mass in my breast may have to come out at some point, especially if it continues to grow, and I will be monitored every six months with additional mammograms and ultrasounds. That is okay. I can handle those and at least I know that Dr. C will be following those findings. I will say this. If I ever have to have another biopsy, the next time I will insist on being knocked out. This deal of having a biopsy while being awake, sucked, if I may put it so bluntly. I won't go into any great detail, but uncomfortable was putting it mildly.

On another note, Jessica and I went to see Butch yesterday and he is stable. He had a cardiologist appointment and since he hasn't had any more problems with chest pains and his heart, we are going to stay on the path that we are currently on, which is medication management. He is back on his anti-psychotics and is doing as well as to be expected. Since we were there yesterday, we are not going down for Thanksgiving. Two trips in one week is just too much. We didn't usually spend Thanksgiving together anyways, as when he was able, he was usually with my dad hunting in years past. We will be going down on December 5th, since the facility is having a covered dish luncheon for the residents and their families to celebrate the holiday. We will also go down on Christmas morning to exchange gifts and we will probably go out to eat at the local Chinese restaurant there in town, since that is the only place open on Christmas day. I guess that will be our new tradition, Chinese on Christmas but that is the way it is. I am just grateful that Jessica will have her dad one more Christmas.

Jessica and I made a pact on the way home yesterday, and that is that we will be spending more time focusing on the simple things that Christmas brings. I guess it's like my favorite holiday special says in The Grinch That Stole Christmas (the original, of course)

"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more." - Dr. Suess

That will be our focus this year. It's not about money, it's not about stuff, it's about the people you love and what's in your heart. One night we will set aside to go out and look at lights on people's homes, like we used to when I was little, and when Jessica was little. Another day, we will set aside to make Christmas goodies, and yet another, we will watch all the Christmas specials and movies that we love. I think we will sit around in our p.j.'s and drink eggnog and eat junk. But isn't that what the holidays are all about? Watching Christmas Vacation, The Grinch That Stole Christmas, A Christmas Carol, and my all time favorite, It's A Wonderful Life.

Anyways, we have everything we could ever truly desire. We have each other. We may not have a lot of money, but we have a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, and food in our tummies, which is a lot more than others. We have family that loves us and we love them. It may not be what some would call normal, but what exactly is normal?

Sitting here tonight, I guess I'm a little nostalgic with what all has went on the last few weeks. I want simple. I want the box with nothing in it but a little love, and that's going to be our Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. My ham just came out of the oven in preparation for Thursday, Jessica just told me I'm the best mommy in the whole wide world and I got the best news from Dr. C. What more can one ask for?

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

P.S. Thank you to everyone that had us in their thoughts and prayers. I received so many comments, calls, emails, and cards that it makes one stop and realize how many people that they truly have that care about them. A special thank you to my mom and my childhood best friend, Janet, who was there in the waiting room while undergoing my biopsy. I couldn't have been as brave without you both. I love you. To my brother, Scott, thank you for listening. You always understand. Again, I love you all! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and new Mammogram Recommendations

As reported on the news yesterday, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended reducing mammograms for women under 50. Here is the link for the full article. Here is another link for the members of this task force and their credentials.

Obviously, with what I am currently going through, anything that I can possibly say about this will be skewed by my own personal experience. I do have some questions, since I see from doing a quick online search tonight, that this is turning into a firestorm with the recent health care debate.

1. Who appointed this task force and when? The findings that I keep coming up with is this is not a group that is appointed by the government. Yet another link here. Maybe it's late and I'm just damned confused.

2. How long has this study been going on?

3. From reading tonight, the same data has been used by several different groups besides the government task force with different opinions. Why is the task force coming to a different conclusion than the American Cancer Society considering that they both used the same studies and data? Here is the link concerning this.

4. Will this same task force look at other screening procedures and will they be making further recommendations over all?

Gosh, is it more expensive to pay a little for early detection or perhaps pay more when it is full blown metastasized cancer? How about the human loss to families?

I guess since I'm under 50 I should just suck it up and not worry about what's in my right breast. Of course today, I have been optimistic. Yesterday, was a different story as I posted then. I suddenly feel like I'm bipolar since I have been playing the waiting game. One minute up, next one down. From what I have heard, this is normal. Would I say that it's been stressful? HELL YEAH!!! Gee, I would rather have the stress and know, than to have stuck my head in the sand and not know.

Please, please, please comment me and let me know your thoughts!!! I don't care if you disagree, I am fine with that. Where do you stand on this issue?

Edited to Update:

This post helped a lot. Another good link was here. I couldn't have said anything any better. Explains how the stats were used. Considering that in the U.S. there are 74,281,974 women between the ages of 25 to 64 as of the 2000 census and three percent of women will potentially NOT be diagnosed that figure would be 2,228,459. I guess 2 million plus people just arent' worth it, huh?

Monday, November 16, 2009

It's been one month and I am MAD!!!

I woke up this morning, not in the best of moods. I wasn't really sure why, but deep down I must have known.

It was another night of not being able to sleep. At 1:00AM, I finally broke down and took an Ambien to try to get some sleep. It worked for approximately five hours. That is about as long as it lasts anymore. 6:41AM and my eyes popped open. Lovely.

I didn't want to go to work. The sun is shining. I wanted to be at home and not stuck behind a desk. I know I'm whining, but I can't help it right now. I'm lucky to have a job. Any job. Really.

I'm mad that it's another week that I'm having to wait for an answer. Stupid rain storm. Stupid doctor's office that had to be in downtown Norfolk where it always floods.

I kept brooding and thinking. I do that too much. Think, that is.

I looked back on the blog to the day that I found out that I would have to see a surgeon for this lump. One month ago today. October 16th. I'm still waiting.....

If I was brave, I would take a razor blade and go in there myself. That's how bad I want to know. I want this thing out, like.....well yesterday.

Every twinge, every ache, I am afraid. Afraid that it is something ominous lurking around in my body. I try to keep my thoughts positive. It is hard to do when you are dealing with the unknown.

I don't know what else to say right now. I have a lot of school work that I could be doing. The semester ends in less than four weeks. I'm not doing it though. I should be writing a paper for English. I have three due this week. I'm procrastinating. I have a test in Medical Terminology tomorrow. I haven't even begun the chapter. It is on Oncology. Yeah, like I really want to do that one. I still have an "A" average in all four of my classes, for the moment at least.

I think when I get off work at 2:00PM, I will go home, change into some comfy clothes with no bra, and sit on my porch in the sunshine for a little while. Oh, that's right, I will definitely get some sun as Lewis had to completely cut down one of my Bradford Pear trees in the front yard. It looks weird without it.

I want sameness. I want my tree. I want an answer.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Storm Chasers

Today I was woken up by a phone call from my work telling me there would be a 2 hour delay due the the storm. While I was on the phone I looked out the window to see what the damage was and I found this.

Yes, to my surprise one of our beloved trees was broken, it didn't completely fall down but it looks weird with what is left so Lewis will be cutting it down this weekend along with another tree in the back yard that doesn't look like it'll survive another bad storm.
Thankfully, about 20 minutes after receiving the first phone call I received a second saying that work would be closed for the day. Lewis and I figured since neither one of us had to work we would go exploring. Here's what we found!

Yes that is someone's backyard!

This is during low tide and normally little boats can go under that bridge!

Soooo glad this isn't our front yard!


This is a golf course!

There are FIVE FOOT DITCHES in front of those fences!

And last but not best friend was on the way to get me so we could go to the store and she didn't realize that the water was about 5 foot deep. She called me freaking out and Lewis and I had to go rescue her. Thankfully once out of the water her van started up but it was still a very scary experience.
So as of 7:49pm the rain has stopped but the tide continues to roll in. The wind is somewhere between 50 and 70 mph. Lewis talked to his mother who lives about a block from my work and the power is out and the streets are still completely flooded. I'm crossing my fingers that we'll still be out of work tomorrow!

Our Weather

If you haven't seen the national reports showing our local weather here in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area, here is a little clip as to what is going on.
This is in the city I live in, Portsmouth. Jessica works in the area that is in this video. At the 1:31 time frame, that is filmed right in front of the law office she is employed at. You will see the big, white circular building that is right across the street. There is no way she could have got there today. As of right now, 4:10PM, we have had between 8"-13" of rain in the last 24 hours. High tide is coming in now and is expected to be at about 7.5 FEET above normal.

Jessica will be posting pictures here soon. One of our lovely Bradford Pears in our front yard has split and is down. Hopefully, this will be the extent of our damage.


Due to the inclement weather that we are experiencing here in the Hampton Roads area, my biopsy has been postponed another week. At this moment, I have nothing else to say. What I would like to do is throw a good old fashioned fit. It's not going to help anything though. I knew this was going to happen.

The way my luck runs, the friggin sun will be out in the morning.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank You!

No matter what your political leanings, I think it's agreed that all of our veterans deserve a giant THANK YOU!!!

Go here to see some more of our four legged friends greet their human parents home from their military duty.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Forty Years Ago......

I looked like this.......

and Sesame Street looked like this.......

Some things change but some things stay the same. Forty years ago, I was sitting in first grade at Dillwyn Primary School, Mrs. Dunnavent's class. A big television was wheeled in and my entire class got to watch the debut of a new children's show called Sesame Street. I had always enjoyed Captain Kangaroo (Bunny Rabbit was a personal fave) and Kukla, Fran and Ollie. This was certainly a new thing. Learning and t.v. all at the same time.

It was certainly different in those days of 1969. I was attending a school that was not yet intergrated. That would come in 1970. Virgina, and that particular part of the state was the last of the holdouts as far as that would go.

Girls had to wear dresses to school. Pants were only allowed on the coldest of days, and you had to take them off when you got to school, wearing them under your dress.

If you misbehaved, going to the principal could mean a tail whupping. I never got into trouble unless you counted the time that I slammed the classroom door and I had to stand there and open and close it fifty times correctly.

That was also the year that my teacher commented on my report card that I was not reading with "expression". Yeah, like what six year old does? I remember crying over the comment and in turn wanting to show that teacher that I could read with "expression". By the end of the school year I was the best reader in class. By my second grade year, I was the only child to be allowed to go to the library and pick out any and as many books that I wanted. Looking back, that comment really did me a favor. It broke my little six year old heart then.

Funny the things you never forget. Happy Anniversary Sesame Street!! You sure have aged well. Please let me in on your secret.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Two More Weeks

Well, that's the news tonight. I have to wait another two more weeks for a more definitive answer.

I really liked Dr. C today. She was really to the point. She is a no nonsense kind of person and I respect that. To make a long story short, the breast biopsy is scheduled for next Friday, November 13th and along with the breast biopsy, she is also doing a biopsy of the lymph node under my arm. The lymph nodes are swollen, so I guess just in case, we will find out if there is lymph involvement instead of having to wait. I wish that it was this Friday, but she is going out of town until Monday and since she only does biopsies on Friday, well..............the 13th is the soonest.

Once the biopsies are complete, we then have to wait on the pathology report, which takes 3-4 business days. She said either herself or her nurse will be calling me. After working in the medical field, I already know that if I get the call from the nurse, the news will probably be good and if I get a call from Dr. C. well, the news will probably be not so good.

I'm trying to keep my spirits upbeat, but to be honest, it is hard. This waiting is driving me crazy. I had to break down last week and call my primary care M.D. for something for sleep. The lack of sleep was making things worse, so I did that, and got something for those nights when I'm still tossing and turning at 4AM. I also called today and asked for a refill of Lorazepam, an anti-anxiety med. I hate to use it, but I haven't had to in many months, and it's not like I depend on it all the time. It just helps take the edge off when I'm having one of those panicky moments that seem to hit quite unexpectedly.

So, that's where things stand tonight. Yes, I have had a few tears today. I'm sure I will have many more in the days to come. I just hate how things will be fine one moment, and I will have a little hiccup the next. I have been told this is normal. I want this over with, but no matter how much I push and stress, it is not going to change a darned thing. I may as well buckle up and hold on for the ride. Personally though, this is one ride where I want to shout "Please stop the car and let me out!!!" Guess I can't do that, huh? But I sure would like to.


If this is nothing like everyone keeps telling me it is, then why do I have to go see the breast surgeon???????

Can anyone please answer that one?

I can't even look forward to having my boobs played with by some hot, good looking guy. Dr. C. is a lady. Shoot!!! I just can't seem to catch a break.

I will update later with what I find out, although I don't think I will have any real answers today.

Which brings me back to again, why do I have to go?