Tuesday, September 30, 2008

a little notice would be nice! (rant)

Thanks to Trish, I now know that J-land is closing.  I hadn't noticed the banner up top which cryptically announces it's demise.  I'm sorry, but I  need a flaming, in-your-face, you-can't-ignore-it announcement.  Um, Trish's IM to me was perfect, but she's not going to do that to everyone.  LOL!

Here is a link to a journal I stumbled across. http://journals.aol.com/journalseditor/magicsmoke/

I mean I literally stumbled across this journal.  There has to be better communication.  There is NOTHING on the people connection page.

Apparantly these are the folks who are responsible for J-land.  They will be posting a blow by blow.  It seems that not only are the journals going, the hometown webpages are going (ack!  I have a lot of links to people's recipes! plus my baby and pregnancy pictures), and PICTURES is going.  The journals and pictures are most devastating to me.  Remember, last summer our computer blew and I lost a lot of pictures.  Well, I've got a lot of pictures in AOL Pictures.  I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THIS PEOPLE!  This is a 1 year project, at least, to back all this stuff up.  (drama queen)

They say that they will try to migrate everything to a new place, but from what I was reading, they were just trying to test it out.  Not much buffer built in there.  This puppy is going down in a month, let's get the kinks worked out!  So do I save and transfer all my stuff to a new place I find on my own, just to have to turn around and transfer it all again onto the new place they choose?  (who wants all that personal info out there in multiples?)  Or do I wait on them and risk having everything disappear?

I'm so mad I just ate two cookies and I'm contemplating more.  I don't like change.  I'm mad.  Why am I still paying for AOL if they take away these benefits?  What good is it?  Seriously.  Answer me.  And why?  There is no explanation of the why.  I ate two more cookies.

This is just my rant entry.  I will be posting later where I can be found.  I do have a myspace account for my walking.  I'm also in facebook.  But facebook is not a journal.  Myspace seems too public.

Friday, September 26, 2008

dazed and confused?

First off, it's good news.  I didn't even have to get a biopsy.  They ultrasounded me to death, taking pictures of the myriad of cysts I have (and there are a lot, he was estimating 20-30, but that's probably an exaggeration).  These were the reasons given to me.  They saw scar tissue consistent with the surgeries I've had, there are so many cysts and they all look like the same kind, it's not concerning to them.  If there were just 2 or 3, then they'd biopsy.  The guy said, why biopsy just a few, you'd have to do them all!  I don't know about that reasoning, but he's supposed to be The Breast Man at the hospital, the Mammogram Expert.  I believe him, but what about what the other two guys saw??  Aren't they just as qualified?  One of the men from last time was the radiologist who shot me full of radiation for my SNB.  I dunno.  I would have liked to have had the same docs or had those docs pulled in to confirm that they were viewing what they saw last time.

So the game plan is this: they have put in orders for an MRI in 6 months.  And I'll have MRI's yearly after that.  So my breast will be looked at every 6 months, either by MRI or mammogram.  I am happy with that. 

So what happened to my moxy, my bluff and bluster to get a prophylactic mastectomy if it turned out benign?  I don't know.  I'm kinda confused.  I guess since they didn't poke me, and I feel thoroughly examined, I don't feel that angst so much.  I think that the next time I get hauled in for a biopsy, that's when I'll say "enough".

My emotions are starting to resolve themselves.  I walked out of that place in a daze.  I suppose you'd guess I'd be jumping up and down for joy, but I didn't know how to react.  I guess I don't trust that I asked the right questions or probed and questioned enough.  Should I take them at their word?  I did confirm with them that they knew I had breast cancer on the other side.  Yes, they did.  And I think that's why they ordered the yearly MRI.  Because MRI's aren't cheap - it's hard to get that approved.  I'm concerned about our current station in life and the future.  With Gary contemplating retirement, we won't always have the stability of our health insurance.  And we won't always have the safety of a large, all-inclusive hospital.  I've made it clear to Gary that this is something he HAS to include in his consideration of our future.  I'm not of good health.  We need good insurance and we need to live in a place that is not a health-care black hole.

So right now I'm awaiting a return phone call from the plastic surgeon nurse.  Get that back in the works.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

a pit in my stomach, my inner chaos

Voila!  My journal finally recognizes me as who I am.  I got some unloading to do.

It's been too long in between my mammogram and the biopsy.  All last week I was googling my symptoms and re-visiting all my breast cancer websites that I had weaned myself from, making lists of pros and cons and having heartfelt conversations with my DH - being a nervous nelly in general.  The past 3 days have been alright.  But today, I get my mammogram results in the mail.  Yep.  They still mail it out even though I KNOW what the results are.  But it still hurts to see that "abnormal mammogram" box checked.  And now my stomach hurts.  (which isn't helped by the fact that I've been eating horribly - saw that letter and ran to the Triscuits and cheese).

My biopsy isn't until Friday.  Gary is taking me.  Men.  Get this, he had taken off Thursday last week for when I was scheduled to get my nip made.  Even though I told him he didn't need to, it's an easy procedure that'll take less than an hour and no anesthesia yadda, yadda.  Since that was cancelled, he went to work, but he didn't take off for Friday for my biopsy.  I asked him why and he said that it was just a few needle sticks.  Hello?  Don't worry.  I gave him a graphic description of these so-called "needle sticks" that he won't soon forget.  Needless to say, he's taking me on Friday.  I'll let him sit in the waiting room for 2 hours with those images running through his brain... Is that cruel? <bwah-hahahaha>

I really can't fault him though.  I think he was sheltered too much from the gravity of the situation and the depth of emotions I experienced last time.  My parents were here through most of it, so I expressed a lot to them, and here online and privately to God.  Plus he's great at denial.  I am too.

My life is reflecting the inner chaos.  I've not been a good housekeeper.  Well, I'm not a good housekeeper, I'm just worse now.  I'm behind in my Bible reading - which is probably the most devastating because I need this time more than ever.  I'm staying up WAY too late.  Like I already said, my eating is horrible.  I've just about finished up all the leftover pinata candy.  I have some other obligations that I've let fall to the side.  I'm just doing the bare minimum to get along.  I feel like life is in limbo.  I need to get answers NOW so I can get on with it.  I wonder how long it will take to get the pathology report.

Oh, I guess I haven't voiced yet my deepest concerns.  I can feel two lumps in the areas that they are concerned about.  One feels like a small frozen pea and the other feels like a frozen blueberry.  I say frozen to refer to how hard they are.  Hardness scares me.  Yes, I know already they are solid, so therefore they would feel hard, but you know, they are not the soft hard.  Yes, total paranoia here.  The pea one concerns me the most.  You know how they have those breast models that you can do a practice feel on and they have the good lumps and the bad lumps.  Yeh, I feel the bad lumps on me.  Again, it could be paranoia.  I hope it is. 

One of the popular DCIS statistics is that if there is a recurrence within 5 years, it's 50% likely to be invasive.  Now this wouldn't be a recurrence, because they removed that breast so this would be classified a new occurance if it is cancer.  I think even if it's DCIS again (which I doubt since this is such a different experience), that would move me from stage 0 to stage 1 automatically.  I'm not sure, I'll have to google that one.  Anyway, it's just a number, but ugh, it's not the safe place I've been.

So now you know what's going on in my head.  I hate cancer.

I'm sitting here putting together my Komen team and in the back of my brain I'm thinking that I could possibly be starting some form of treatment by the time the race happens.  Meanwhile I've thought of a cute little slogan to put on our team t-shirts.  How's that for a facade?  Life goes on, I gotta go on too.

Here's my shirt idea.  I thought up the phrase "freshly squeezed" (in reference to mammograms and/or self exams).  Okay, after looking at cafe press, it's not terribly original - but kinda original from the BC standpoint.  I thought about making the word squeezed big on the ends and narrow in the middle, like it's being squozed. (I know that's not a word) And then putting an orange on the end with a little pink ribbon on top.  There COULD be two strategically placed oranges, but that would be tacky (hilarious but tacky) and I'd have to explain it to my boys.  So I wanna keep it somewhat innocent.  But I don't have appropriate software to design this thing, nor do I have the creativity and know-how.  It will probably be another brilliant idea that never comes to fruition - I have a lot of those in a pile somewhere.  (similar to the Komen team link I was going to put on the side of this journal, but again, I don't have the know-how)

It helps to have gotten some of this stuff off my chest. 

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Pink Ribbon Month is coming!

I just registered my Komen Race for the Cure team.  If you wish to donate, you can visit my personal team page:  http://race.komenhawaii.org/site/TR/Race/General?px=1010661&pg=personal&fr_id=1020&et=7GR7BhV7o6CyiUQvPFSZ5w..&s_tafId=1410

You may just want to visit to see the two pictures I put on the page.

Now, to figure out how to put a nice link or button on the side here...  Any help, with elementary level detailed instructions, is greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

surgery cancelled

Come join me in my pity party.  My barbie boob will remain faceless/plain for a while longer.  Excuse me while I lie down and kick my feet and have a good old temper tantrum...

Yeah, that's too much work.  Tantrums are for two year olds for a reason.

So I guess I will be able to run when we do the Niketown 5K on Sunday.  rats.  that's a lot of work too.

No time to dwell.  Must take shower so I can battle a bunch of elementary school kids and try to teach them about Jesus - if they can keep their hands off of each other!

Friday, September 12, 2008

change in plans

I guess I'll be journaling more now.  

As you know, I was scheduled to get my nip done on Thursday.  Was.  Maybe still, but I don't think so.  I called the PS office to ask if I could have a consult with him at the same time as my procedure.  The nurse called back to find out the situation.  She can't give me a definite answer, but I'm now prepared that it may be wait-until-your-situation-is-settled.  She will email the PS (who is currently in a 3rd world country doing charity work - don't tell me that the military is all bad!) and get back to me on Monday. 

So, I'm a little pouty.  But this may turn out for the better in the long run.

Anyway, this whole experience is already so much different than when I was diagnosed 2 years ago.  Then, we had just moved here and I had no friends, no home church.  It was a very self-focused, solitary experience.  Not so, this time.  This morning I told my first non-family person.  We already call each other bosom buddies.  She is in her late 50's early 60's - very youthful and funny and energetic.  She had chemo and radiation, and her diagnosis was a couple years before mine.  She has this tiny little tattoo of the Christian fish done on her chest where one of her radiation dots were.  Anyway, we are in the aerobics class together.  I told her and we all gathered around and prayed.  And then I shared via email with (edited) two people in my church.   They both emailed me back saying they too have bosom concerns  - so we are bosom buddies now.  God brought us together at just the right time.  Because none of us were going to share with the class.  Now we are joined together as prayer partners.

I have not told my vortex friends yet.  It's really been just too busy, especially with playground business.  But I know they are there for me when I do tell them.

I'm going to wait to tell mom and dad.  Last time, when I told them they bought plane tickets the next day, stayed 10 weeks just waiting around for something to happen, and then bugged out just a few days after my surgery, when I could have used them for a little longer.  So this time, knowing what their reaction will be, I'm going to time it better.  I'm going to wait until a plan is set and dates are clearer.  Don't get me wrong.  That time together was precious - I wouldn't trade it for anything, but it would be better for all of us if it was timed better.

Actually, if everything is B9, I think they would be quite resistant to my decision to have a prophy mast.  It's just a guess, but that's what I think.  Maybe I shouldn't project on them?  If I do go forward with a prophylatic mastectomy (which I will heretofore refer to as PM), I hope it will be AFTER the marathon.  Yes, I'm determined to do it.  Of course, then I think about the timeline for fills and all that mess.  I won't finish the process here in Hawaii.  Well, I needn't project out that far into the future.  I've not even been dx'd with anything.

I have to type all this stuff out.  It was rattling around my brain at 4:30 this morning and I couldn't get back to sleep.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

a comfort

It's been an anxiety filled day, but God has been faithful.  I sat down to do my Bible reading and this is the very first thing I read.  I promise it was on my schedule, I didn't go hunting and pecking for words of comfort!

"Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God, trust also in me.  In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you."  John 14: 1-2

Those first two sentences nearly knocked me off my chair.

Now "going to prepare a place for you" may seem more doomsday than comforting, but yet it is.  Regardless the outcome, it's in good hands.  There's hope - it's a promise that I can trust.

And the the old testament reading.  I'm in 2 Chronicles and reviewing King Jehoshaphat's reign.  His country is being threatened by the Moabites and the Ammonites wanting to make war.  Jehoshaphat led his people to fast and inquire of the Lord and then it follows with an amazing prayer.  The Lord spoke to a Levite (priest) and these particular words just leaped off the page at me: "This is what the Lord says to you:  'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours, but God's....'"  then in here is a promise for deliverance , it continues "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you."

The promise for deliverance is not for me.  It was for Judah and Jerusalem.  But I was so encouraged by the words to not be afraid or discouraged, and that the Lord will be with you, the battle is God's.   And God proved true to his promise.  Suh-weet.

Here we go again?

I hope not.  Cancer, the gift that keeps on giving...

I went in for my mammogram today.  It took under 3 minutes for me to undress and get squished.  If you haven't had a mammogram in a while, you will be pleasantly surprised (if you have a good tech).  My tech was a speed demon.  This is the same tech I've had for the past 2 years.

It took less than 10 minutes waiting in the waiting room for them to call me back for an ultrasound.  Several suspicious spots.  They put up my last year mammo and today's.  Obvious places of concern.  Yes, mammograms do pick up things, even in dense breast tissue.  Even I could see it.

So they ultrasounded those spots and eventually the whole breast.  They've got at least 2 areas that need biopsy.  So I come back in 2 weeks to get those checked out.  They try to reassure you - oh, it's protocol, they don't look concerning, but we want to get samples.  Well, I would insist if you didn't!  You can't tell one way or the other unless it's on a slide.  So pray that if there is any cancer, it is picked up by the biopsies.

I should have had a double mastectomy.

But I can't live in the shoulda's.  I'm so close to just telling them to take it off and let's be done with it.  This will be the 3rd time my left side has been biopsied.  I think that's ridiculous.

I don't know.  My stomach feels awful.  It's in knots.  I'm sure everything will be fine (how's that for a platitude?), but do I want to keep going through this?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

the New "new math"

My grandma used the term "new math".  And she was a school teacher.  She is long since passed, she was born in 1901 to give you an idea of her era.

Ryan has been struggling with subtracting large numbers.  I've been showing him how to borrow, but he's lazy and just wants to subtract the small number from the large number regardless of whether it's proper. 

Or so I assumed he was being lazy. 

Until I was checking Jake's math homework today.

Freaky stuff they are learning, I tell ya.

Here's the equation: 851 - 569   (I wish I could type this out like I can write it on paper)

You start with the numbers on the left. 
If the top number is larger than the bottom number, you put a plus sign.  And then you write down the difference of the 100's.  So you would write +300  (which is 800 - 500)

If the top number is smaller than the bottom number, you put a - sign.  And then write down the difference of the 10's.  So you would next write -10  (which is 50 - 60).

So in the ones spot, you would write -8  (which is 1-9). 

So far you have, 851 - 569 = +300 - 10 - 8

When you calculate 300 - 10 - 8  you get 282 which is the correct answer! 

What?????  How did that happen????  I've not figured out the mathematical logic to this yet.

And that's not all.  They are using the Everyday Mathmatics curriculum.  Which teaches like 12 different methods to add, and then 12 different methods to subtract, you get the idea.  I just glanced at Jake's math workbook check out what they've been learning lately: "trade first subtraction" (which I think is OUR way), "partial differences subtraction" (the method I just illustrated),  and "subtraction by counting up" (I glanced at that, and realized that that's what I do in my head a LOT).

A lot of moms HATE Everyday Mathmatics.  The jury's still out for me.  Because I understand that a lot of people don't process math easily in the way that we were taught.  And this method is supposed to help the child learn math by presenting a number of methods so they can pick the one that works for them.  I'm all for that.  As long as they don't get confused in the meanwhile. 

A con to E.M. is that you have to do it throughout your schooling.  So the new kids that move here are having a tough time of it.  I'm sure they'll get it soon enough, because E.M. is nothing if not repetitive.  It's learn a little, move on, learn a little, move on, etc. then rotate back and start all over again.  Feeds it to them in little pieces and repeats.

I think we have Ryan straightened out now.  He saw me showing that method to Gary, and his eyes lit up.  He said he likes that method.  It was easy to him.  So good, a connection was made.  THere's hope.

Friday, September 5, 2008

politics

I hereby declare this journal a No Politics zone.

I cannot get into a political discussion without getting upset.  I don't like getting upset, nor do I like having my words misconstrued, misread, dismissed and/or ignored.  I belong to a group of moms online and tried to get them to agree to no politics - some dissented.  We at least agreed to be nice.  I will not allow myself to be drawn into the fray if a fray begins.  So far, so good.

However, I belong to another group I will not mention and did get drawn in.  You cannot have a conversation with a person when their only answer is "we never should have gone into Iraq in the first place".  Okay, if that's your answer to everything, there's not a two sided conversation going on, is there?  The bigger problem, it's the mob mentality.  Oh, I forgot, the other answer is "she has an infant and her daughter is pregnant".  True, I can't help you with that one, but it doesn't address taxes.  Let's focus on policy people.  All politicians are evil - let's move on and try to sort things out.

Augh.  10 seconds after my declaration and I get embroiled with myself!!  That does it.  I'm not voting.  I'm going to just pop a tent up in Waianae and hide out until it all blows over.  Wake me up in time to go Christmas shopping.

(I think I married a wise man, because he refuses to rise to my baits of discussions that can get animated - much to my chagrin)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My babies are 9!

Yes, they'll always be my babies.  Here are some pictures I just took of them and the cupcakes I slaved on last night.  I was up till midnight making these things.  I think they are kinda groovy.

This is Ryan.  Don't mind the mess.  He's at the homework table and the shelves behind him house school supplies and all the paper junk they bring home.  He's currently eating a cupcake - which is a huge deal.  He's only been able to eat cupcakes for a couple of years.  This is the first year he's really eaten the whole thing and not just a tiny lick or a few bites.  Hooray!

This is Jake and his more serious pose.  You'll get the silly one next.  Notice in the background the outdoor table and chairs.  If you look closely you'll see one black chair with a black floral cushion.  The other chair and the table are beige.  This is my summer (now turned winter) project.  I'm supposed to be refinishing them.  The original is beige - with lots of rust.  The black is the makeover.  It'll be nice once I start working on it and get it done.  I'll take a better picture at that time.

This is the silly picture.  Jake has no problem with cupcakes.  He's gleefully cramming one in.  Again, don't mind the mess.  But do note the recliner in the background.  Yes, that's my sleeping/recovery recliner.  Wedged right in between the corner windows.  That's good sleeping!

These are the tie-dye cupcakes leftover from school.  Pretty cool, huh?  One tip, if you make 72 cupcakes, 9 little tubes of gel icing are not enough.  I would go with 15+.  I'm just guessing, because I only decorated 60 cupcakes and ran out.  At least 20 of those were decorated conservatively.  You can find the instructions on the family fun website, but here's how you decorate:  Make concentric circles of different colored gel icing and drag a toothpick (lightly) from either the center out or from out to in.  Center out looks more like tie-dye, out to in looks more like a flower.  I just so happened to have photographed both.  Wipe the toothpick clean between each drag.  This gets a little sticky/messy.  For the cake part, I made boxed cake mix, yellow, and stirred in a little bottle of colored non-pareils (sprinkle balls).  My tip for this - stir sparingly.  They melt very fast, and the more you stir the more the colors get muddled and the batter turns a purpley-brown.  Yuk.  I've seen online where people have separated bowls of batter and colored them and put blobs of different colors in the muffin cups.  Very cute.  Just google tie-dye cupcakes.  Lots of ideas out there.

Oh, the cupcake disaster.  Isn't there always one?  So I cleared out a shelf in the frig for the first batch of cupcakes.  I, mistakenly, put them in there without a lid.  They were on the middle shelf.   You can feel the disaster coming, can't you?  On the top shelf is the water pitcher thingy.  It's long and short and has a spigot that hangs over the edge.  I anticipated some drips so I put a ziplock baggie over the spigot.  Well, at one point I reach into the frig and somehow I notice water is pouring out of the spigot, filling up the baggie.  I'm panicking.  It's not easy stopping the flow, saving the cupcakes and figuring out what to do with the baggie all at the same time!  Water did get into the cupcake container, but I only had to take out 6.  Which is nothing compared to how much I had to bake.  Total disaster averted.