ar_wahan: (Default)
Lifted from Windsparrow:

"In memory of family and friends who have lost the battle with cancer; and in support of the ones who continue to conquer it! Post this on your LJ if you know someone who has or had cancer. 93% won't copy and paste this. Will you?"


In memory of my grandmother Grace, my father Phil, and wonderful UU friends John, Kurt and Linda.
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I was very pleased to read this article Friday, but too busy to share it: In sum, it says that Boniva, a drug I am already taking to try to ward off osteoporosis, also reduces my chances of having a recurrence of breast cancer!


Apparently that story was published last year, but I missed it. This current story, which mentions it, is mainly about how these drugs also appear to *prevent* invasive breast cancer. (My breast cancer was not invasive, FYI.)
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My underpaid Muse seems to have decided to take Administrative Professionals Day off, because she is nowhere to be seen here. I am supposed to be writing a fundraising letter (two versions, one for donors, one acquisition) and I am stuck. I have lots of good material -- too much, if anything -- but I can't figure out how to get it started. I would know what to do it if were only a donor letter, but the approach I'd take there might not work with acquisition.

I can report some relatively good news, though, on another front. [Edited, because I mistakenly typed "involved" instead of "uninvolved." BIGGGG difference! ]

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Arrived in today's mail:

"Your mammogram shows findings usually caused by non-cancerous fibrocystic changes, normal breast tissue, or other benign conditions. Repeat mammogram in 4 months."

Better than another biopsy, not as nice as "repeat in 6 months," which is what I was asked to do years ago for microcalcifications; after a couple of years of no changes, they let me go back to once-a-year squishes.

Four months from the day of the last mammogram, I will be in Ireland. Four months from the day I got this notice, I'll be back. I'll have it done then.
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This has been an exhausting two weeks, dominated by followup medical visits and endless automobile and insurance paperwork. I think I'm just about over the craziness, though.

Nope! Spoke too soon! Even as I wrote that last sentence, the phone rang with an automated message from the high school -- they received "information" that caused them to evacuate the school at 9 a.m. and call in the police, who searched the building. After 45 minutes, the students were sent back in.

There was a fake bomb scare there March 30. The message didn't say whether it was a bomb threat today or something else.... sigh.

Back to our regular programming...

1. I'm pleased to report that the second CT scan of the head that Samurai had last week was normal.

EDIT: She has the same head this week, too, in case you were wondering if we'd traded it in. :P  Weird Sentence Construction R Us! Sale now in progress!

2.(Cut just for length)

3. I gave myself a headache Monday wrestling with a long and difficult project. I wasn't sure I could pull it off. I learned yesterday that the client was very happy with it, which is a huge relief.

4. Yesterday we transferred plates from the totaled vehicle and registered her Rav4. Because she can't legally write checks because of her age, I had to be there to pay the fees and sales tax to the state RMV. I sent the LAST of the insurance paperwork (I hope) back to the company. (Because she was injured, there were more forms than in a simple fender bender.)

5. I spent a chunk of time yesterday digging up our septic tank so it can be pumped tomorrow. My back hurts. One of our two shovels is missing, too. I couldn't find it anywhere.

6. I went to a looong UU board meeting last night. But, projects at church that have been hung up for some time are finally moving forward.

7. I finally got estimates for redoing the kitchen floor, with different figures for tile and Marmoleum. I have a tile I like, but don't know if I want to pay the extra cost (higher than vinyl). I want my friend Becca to come over and advise me on the different colors of the Marmoleum, but she hasn't called me back. *pouts*

8. We are supposed to get 5-6" of SNOW tonight and tomorrow!

That's all, folks.
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Yesterday I wrote how the Universe works in mysterious ways. The day I finished radiation treatment for very early breast cancer, I was asked if I wanted to write fundraising letters for the regional office of a major breast cancer research advocacy organization. I said yes.

Yesterday a FedEx package arrived with background info about the organization. I was in the middle of another assignment, and didn't bother to open it until today.

I guess this is what I'm meant to be doing now....

ar_wahan: (Default)
that a former journalist (yours truly) and a recently retired journalist (the acquaintance I mentioned on Tuesday, who is quickly becoming a friend) would both end up receiving radiation therapy for breast cancer from a technician named...


ar_wahan: (bleh)
Came back from the last of this church year's UU Board of Trustees meetings and I am now eating dinner. We said thanks and goodbye to the outgoing treasurer, gave him a gift, and privately (in many of our minds) said thank you to whatever higher power(s) we do or do not believe in that he is gone. Lovely guy with a lovely heart, but growing more confused as time passes. He is a personal friend of mine, but he is increasingly forgetful, and/or selectively (as a few think) forgets things that have been decided by the Board when he wants his own way, and then uses this to try to make the Board revisit them. Consulting the minutes (which I am sure some of you will suggest) is one thing, but not *every little detail, including word choice in the minister's fellowship document that we have to send to the denomination,* ends up in the minutes. I had to remind him (and of course, he claimed no memory of this) that we had discussed this particular language on one section *endlessly* two meetings ago. Sigh.

The incoming treasurer, ironically enough, has Asperger's syndrome (I know this from his wife), and I also know from experience that he has some social skills issues that are part of this. But he has been treasurer before, was excellent, and will be easier to work with than my dear friend.

Tomorrow I have a long visit with the radiation oncologist's office again, to get a CAT scan and tattoos that will be used to focus the radiation therapy on my breast with great precision.

The outgoing president of the UU Board is very familiar with what is involved with breast cancer radiation therapy -- not that she's had it herself, but because of friends who have had it (and she has done a lot of fundraising for breast cancer). She told me the tiny tattoos are in blue ink.

Hmm, I am returning to my Celtic roots, I guess. Blue woad.
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A week ago this hour, I was lying under a Gamma Ray or something (not an MRI) hoping that the radioactive tracer injected into my boob would find its way to the lymph node nearest the cancer cells in my body. 

When I first learned I had cancer, my immediate and illogical thought was, "This is going to destroy our annual vacation on Cape Cod!" Indeed, normally the daily doses of radiation would still be going on during that week in July. (We booked our little house for a week back in January. It was the only week left at the time.) However, Dr. Smith (oh God, why did I just think of Lost in Space?) said I can talk to Dr. Stein, the radiation doctor, about delaying my treatment until we get back. She said studies have shown that delaying radiation up to 16 weeks has no negative effect. This would not be that long. Then I raised a question that had been in my mind before the surgery -- could I start the tamoxifen before I started radiation, just to get its protective effect? She thought that would make sense, although some radiation folks want to do their bit first. 

So she wrote out a prescription for tamoxifen right then and there. "Let him in on the fact that you have a prescription, and that if you don't start radiation before your vacation, ask, 'Do you have any substantial objections to me starting this drug before radiation begins?'"

See why I like this woman? :p
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I've mentioned a couple of times here that the day after I learned I had cancer, I spent a sunny afternoon with Becca the Wise (she'd *hate* being called that - giggle! - but it's true! ^_^). But I have never gotten around to posting what she said.

Part of it is that there was so much that we said to each other . . . ranging from past life memories of mine, to her insights into them and her reactions, to random exchanges about work, kids, spouses, gardens.

But this is what she said specifically about my current health situation. Paraphrasing, of course....

ar_wahan: (Default)

We bought this house in the summer of 1985. The following spring (20 years ago, if that is significant)), my husband's parents showed up with two lilac plants that were offspring of ones in their yard, which in turn were offspring of ones in the home they had purchased after their marriage in 1947, and where my husband had spent most of his childhood. One was purple, one was white. 

There was just one problem with this lovely gesture: My husband is very allergic to lilac blossoms.

So, that was twenty years ago. The plants grew, despite my husband's repeated efforts to "accidentally" mow them over. Eventually, one of them did succumb to something. I couldn't have told you if it were the purple one or the white, though because neither of them had ever bloomed.

Jim, my father-in-law and a professor of agricultural economics, died very unexpectedly of a heart attack in March of 2003. There was a funeral mass, but because the ground was frozen, burial was delayed until May.

Every year at about this time, I would go out to touch the remaining lilac and see if it had flower buds. There never were any. But a few days before the burial, I noticed buds for the first time. I felt a jolt of joy and ran back into the house and insisted that my husband and daughter come out to look. "It's Jim!" I said. "He wants us to know he's all right!" While my husband didn't really react in my presence to this event, my daughter later told me he had been surprised and moved by it., and had referred to it several times since then.

There weren't a lot of flowers, but when they did open up, they were white. I took one and added it to the others that people placed on the coffin before it went into the ground.
In 2004 and 2005, the lilac was barren again.

This morning,  I noticed its highest branches are full of flower buds. When my husband came out of his shower, I annonced, "Guess what I discovered? The lilac's going to bloom again!"

"Oh, great," he said grumpily.

I felt a little hurt, but tried not to show it. "I prefer to think of it as a sign."

i could tell he was backpeddling from this gaff as fast as he could. "Well, I guess. But they'll still a headache."  (Later, lest you think him a complete clod, he asked at lunch where I wanted to go to dinner Monday night. "What's special about Monday night?" asked the samurai. "It's our wedding anniversary," he replied.)

I was curious about the meaning of lilacs, in terms of mystical properties., so I just did a quick Google search  One site mentioned they were often planted around New England houses for protection from evil spirtis. Another site  rather ominously said one should never give lilacs to sick people for some reason I can't recall. Another said simply,

Lilac: Exorcism, Protection 

Do you know of any other meanings? (Especially [profile] fastrr_pussycat? You seemed to have some good sources about lilies of the valley, etc. the other day.) For the longest time, I thought the reason it didn't bloom was because it wasn't getting enough light, but nothing in the environment has changed.
ar_wahan: (Default)
I have breast cancer.


Apr. 25th, 2006 09:51 am
ar_wahan: (Default)
So a week ago this hour, I was recovering from the biopsy and the surgeon was telling me I'd have the results possibly as soon as 48 hours, but surely by the end of the week. I have heard *nothing.* This morning I summon my courage and call the office. Turns out the doctor went out of town at the end of the week and just got back. OK, fine.

Then the secretary calls me back to say she contected the doctor between surgeries, and the doctor will call me this afternoon.

Can't she even give me a *hint*? No, probably not... and I'm going to be in and out all day! So I'll probably miss the call! And that damn office phone is busy 95% of the time (another reason I didn't try calling earlier).
ar_wahan: (Stella prefers *crunchy* Cheez Doodles!)
Still nothing on the biopsy results. Fine with me. What I dreaded was coming home this evening, after the surgeon's office closed, to find a message telling me to call them, and not being able to do so until Monday. That would drive me batshit.

Still no Fancy, the missing cat. Samurai isn't worried though, and neither is [personal profile] lurkittyStella, cat in icon above, doesn't seem upset either. 

I will say last night at 4 a.m., however, when I got up because I felt my blood sugar was low, something mildly creepy happened. Stella came downstairs with me and wanted to go out. We both went out onto the deck, which is on the back of our house facing the woods. Something very large was moving slowly and rather loudly through the woods. The first thought that flashed into my mind was, 

"This creature is not afraid to be heard. This is not a prey animal."

That was odd -- I had never made that connection before. And with low blood glucose, even! I don't know what it was. A bear, perhaps? It was too loud, I think, to be a coyote, and I think a canada lynx, even if not a prey animal, would make more of an attempt to be quiet. Samurai, when I told her today, suggested maybe it was a moose. It's so big, it wouldn't consider itself to be a prey animal.

Anyway, Stella heard it too, and turned right around and went back inside.

Yesterday's echocardiogram was uneventful, as predicted. The technologist was really funny and I liked her. At one point she said, "Heck, you have nothing to be worried about!" and then hastily covered her mouth. Then she murmured (no pun intended, since it is a heart murmur she was checking out) that since she's not a doctor, she's not supposed to make diagnoses. She had mentioned earlier that she is new to the area. I asked her where she was from, and she said, "New York City, 103rd and Riverside Drive."

"Unbelievable!" I exclaimed. It turned out I briefly sublet an apartment in the very same building she'd lived in, back in 1978.

Today I sent the copy for the town newsletter off to Gordon, who does the graphic design. (Sort of. I'll talk about all that some other time. See my post about aura colors and remember the whole "Blue" description when I do.) Thought I had a break. Then realized from an  email that the church secretary is planning to run the newsletter off on Monday, so that means I have to get it to my church newsletter graphics guy this weekend... and I haven't even started. Fortunately, it only takes me 3-4 hours. Tomorrow's task.

ar_wahan: (Default)
because sheesh, do I have a bruise! :P

I swear, my mare can hear my eyes open. I slept like a log until 10:23 a.m. Woke up, glanced at the clock . . . and immediately Pixel let out her, "FEED US, DAMMIT!" neigh. She does the talking for the rest of them.

My samurai later made me breakfast. :)  It's school vacation week here.

I've been fretting that I haven't sent out the Emily Dickinson' World brochures to the people on the existing mailing list. Called the church about something else, and learned that even with this delay, reservations have been coming in! I did get press releases out to other places, so someone's paying attention. This is good.

But I do have to get the town newsletter done... 

In an earlier thread,   [personal profile] teal_cuttlefish        agreed with comments made by Becca, a RL friend, that my samurai might benefit from a past life regression to resolve some guilt feelings about the death (or at least, disappearance) of her daughter centuries ago. I mentioned it to samurai yesterday, and she shrugged it off. Today she said it might be a good idea....

Meanwhile, samurai has an appointment this afternoon with a more conventional therapist (she checks in with him monthly; originally it was for depression, now it's for misc. teenage stuff). So we'll get lunch somewhere on the way.

Beautiful day out. Wish I had the energy to garden. but I even have doctor's orders not to lift heavy things just now.

ar_wahan: (Default)
... and yes, it did make me feel better.
ar_wahan: (Default)
Made ya look! 

Had a mammogram yesterday. For the uninitiated (which may include some of my male friends), it involves having one's breast flattened between two plates of glass -- making what one health writer (not me, for a change) once described as a "breast sandwich." Not fun. 

But necessary. Because now I've been advised to schedule a biopsy.

The day had been glorious -- finally felt like spring. The sun was setting as I drove home from the doctor's office. Unnerved as I was by the turn of events, I could not help but admire the colors (pink! like the Breast Cancer ribbon!) it cast on the clouds. And when I pulled into the driveway, I was greeted by the sight of my three horses cavorting in the paddock, leaping, bucking, and chasing each other around in play. this was also beautiful to see -- and cheering in another way, as Little Boy, the pony I'd told [profile] darkhorseman I was worried about, was trotting and cantering as merrily as the rest -- so I guess he was just a little stiff from arthritis last week. He seemed perfectly fit last night!

At 4 a.m., I woke up and my blood sugar was low. I treated it with orange juice, and let out a cat. The next thing I know, I'm having the weirdest dream . . . but it wasn't a dream. I'd overslept, and when my alarm went off, didn't turn it off. My husband came into the room and found me unresponsive from very low blood sugar. He almost called an ambulance, but managed to get some more orange juice into me. The weird dream was him trying to do this, and me not really being sure who he was or what was going on. I've only had a "low" like this two other times.... He said I resisted the juice, and even hit him in the face (I have no memory of that). He thinks the mental/emotional stress of the biopsy issue may have triggered the hypoglycemia. That would be odd, since stress usually raises my blood sugar. But I know in theory, stress can lower it also. My mother would go low when she was stressed out.

The good news is that my kid had already left for school, so she didn't have to witness any of this.

I don't know how low my blood sugar actually was, but it must have been really down there, because two hours later, I'm still chilled to the bone. I'm going to chug some more coffee and try to warm up in a shower. 


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