Saturday, January 31, 2015

The tale of two scans.

I will begin by telling y'all that I'm fine.  Completely fine.

I went on a Thursday for a mammogram.  Now, when I visited my family doctor in December, he kindly reminded me that it had been a while since I had a mammogram.  I didn't realize I had been so remiss.  I knew that I got an order for one back in April and honestly, I forgot all about it.

"Unforget," was the word that my dear doctor departed with.  He takes precautionary stuff like this very seriously.  I appreciate him doing that.  I went straight home and scheduled one.

On again to Thursday, January 22.  I was scheduled at 10 AM.  I went to the office that I had been to before.  I recalled it not being the most pleasant experience in the world, but it is what it is.  That very morning, K saw me go out the door with a stick of deodorant in hand.

"Um, Mom?  Why are you going with deodorant and not just putting it on?"

"You can't wear it when you have a mammogram."

"What's that?"

"Well, you go to have an x-ray taken of your breasts to make certain that they are healthy.  They have to use a machine that clamps your breast in it and squeezes it down real hard to make sure that they get a good view."

"Does it hurt?"

"Yes, it does."

"I don't ever want to have that done to me."

"A little pain from a mammogram sure beats breast cancer."

"Oh.  Okay, then."

I took K to school, volunteered for a bit, then ran down to have the mammogram done.  I was the only one at the office.  They took their time.  The machine, however, slammed down on my breast harder than anything that I could ever imagine.


The tech asked me if I was okay or if I wanted her to stop.

"No, I want you to do whatever it is that you need to do."

She did.  All was well and I went on my way.  I was certain, however, that bruising would crop up.  I seriously thought that she was trying to remove my sternum from my chest.  That pain lasted for a good solid 24 hours.

Fast forward to Monday.  I was brushing my teeth and trying to get out the door to work.  The phone rang.  It looked like it was some robocall so I didn't answer.  It was my gynecologist's office.

"Hi, Amy?"

"Yes," I say with a mouthful of toothpaste.  "Hold on.  Sorry!"

I got back on and she told me that I needed to go for a rescreen and a possible ultrasound because they saw some dense tissue in my scan.

"Should I be worried?"

"No!  This happens to me every single time I go.  Don't worry.  It's fine.  It's probably just some tissue layered over top of each other."


She told me that they'd call me that day to let me know of my appointment.  They did.  It was Wednesday morning at 9 AM.

Can I tell you that we were a bit concerned.  I know that the appearance of what looked like dense tissue could be nothing.  I also know that dense tissue could be VERY bad.

I should also add that this also crossed over what we consider the "dark days of January."  Our first kiddo, Bailey, died January 27 and was born January 29.  Those days kind of really suck.  We tend to be a bit more emotionally vulnerable at the surface and this didn't help.  :S

Fast forward to Wednesday.  They scheduled me at the local hospital.  I told work that I would most likely be late, despite being 5 minutes or so down the road and having a 9 AM appointment.  By the way, I was late by about 5 minutes or so.

I never realized how incredibly disturbing morning programming was until I heard Kelly Ripa yammer on and on.  I was seriously a nervous wreck and I didn't find her morning banter as a good distraction.  Thankfully, I brought my iPod.  The Talking Heads and Pearl Jam's Cincinnati concert bootleg from this fall were very helpful.

I did finally get called in, a half hour late, but I'd rather them take their time caring for people one at a time.  The woman did what she needed to do but I noticed something and spoke to her about it.  She let the machine down slowly with the peddle and hand cranked it the rest of the way.  The other lady let it down fast and it slammed.

It is here that I tell you that there was a HUGE difference between the two.  One hurt and one did not.  Let us guess which one was a bit better received.

"I've noticed that you hand crank it the rest of the way and not to have it slam down all of a sudden."

"I've found that it works out so much better."

"My guess is that you've had a scan or two."

"Yes, I have."  :smirk added:

I texted M that I was back out and was just waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting.  It wasn't really long but it did feel like an entire day of sitting there.

The world's best mammogram tech came out and said, "Good news!  It doesn't appear in any other scans.  You are good!  Keep up with your annual exams."

The sweetest words of my month.

I have a theory.  The instantaneous slamming of my breast in the machine didn't give it time to settle. It slammed tissue and as they said, could have superimposed tissue on top of the other causing the appearance of dense tissue.  When you roll the machine down slower, it allows flesh and tissue to more gradually compact and thus allowing a better image.  That and I might add that slow and steady doesn't hurt.  Slamming does.

So y'all, remember to go get your annual exam if you are 40 or more.  For some reason, I thought annual mammograms started at 50.  Oops.  I promise.  Every year.  Back to the hospital and back to the best mammogram tech EVER!

:wipes to the forehead:

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Go, K, GO!

Today was the Science Expo.  Dang.  It was a long day.  It started last evening, though.  K had to go last night to set up her science fair project.  We got a gander of those around her.  She followed the strict guidelines in the workbook that was given.  Most others did not.  We walked away and I said, "K, did you take a look at what was around you?"  "I did."  "I'm feeling pretty good about your project!"  "Me, too!"

K had her interview at 9:45 AM this morning.  Poor kiddo was so nervous.  All of our girls were.  She went, they talked with her a few and she was done.  She was out in less than 10 minutes.  She was given a participation ribbon and she was pleased as punch.  Not exactly knowing all of the in's and out's of this science shin-dig, we opted to stay on for the awards.  K's teacher said that all of the children get awards, but I found that the awards were on a "rating" type system.  Their rating system was:  Superior, Excellent, Good and Satisfactory.  

My baby got a superior!  :)  

Sorry that it's blurry.  It is the best that I could do.
I had an idea of what a superior meant, but when she came out with sheets in hand, it was like American Idol.  "Oh my gosh, M, she's going on."  And she is!  My baby is going on to the next step of the Science Expo.  That is a larger Science Day held at the local university where K takes swimming lessons.  What day is it?  Oh, it happens to be on the EXACT weekend every year that I have to go out as a buyer for work.  

Drat it all.  Hubs is trying to get the day off work.  He promises that he will take lots of photos.  :sigh:  It makes me feel bad that I will have to hand the baton off and have Hubs handle this one, but as K so politely said, "There are a lot of things that Dad hasn't made it to that he wanted to.  This one is okay, Mom.  Dad can do it with me.  I promise I'm okay with it."  And she is.  I know that she is.  IF he can't get off, I'll arrange it through work that I'll drive to Columbus for Friday, drive back that evening, go to her Science Day on Saturday, drive back to Columbus that evening, go to buy with them on Sunday, then drive back maybe Sunday night or Monday night.  (Hubs is off Monday, so he could cover me on that one, too.)  It's doable.  The people I work for are great and completely family friendly.  Bless their hearts, they'll be pulling for her! 

The project that my baby worked on.  So many hours.

Proud of her!  Onward we go!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The school district science fair. AKA, what was I thinking?

K came home months ago talking about how Mr. H was talking about the science fair.  A kiddo who loves science, she was excited to participate.  We encouraged her.  She heard nothing.

And nothing.

Oh wait.

And nothing more.

When we had a teacher conference in December, I asked about it.

"None of the kids seemed interested."

"I know that K and C were both interested."

He hunted for the paperwork, which took him a week to find.  When he finally gave the paperwork, he told the kids that they had to come in the NEXT day to let him know what project they'd be doing. Since we had no time to research more creative projects involving the parameters set before her and her original chosen project of earthquakes, we settled on growing beans in different light, with different growing medium and at a lower temperature than normal.

They registered her bean project and she was off.

She planted the beans on Christmas Eve.  She wanted to do them on the 21st, but she was ill with the viral respiratory thing that gave her a fever and general unwellness, so we delayed.  But!  She's been growing and logging in about these beans since 12/24.

She's been working on the district assigned science fair workbook.  It's for 5th - 12th grade.  I want you to know, there is nothing 5th grade about it unless she is Sheldon Cooper and I assure you that in smarts, my kiddo is just a good average kiddo.  I'm college educated with a degree, consulted with my equally degreed spouse and we had to look things up to explain them to her.  My husband's degree is in science.


K and I spent 8 hours in front of the computer today.  We researched together and I acted as her scribe.  We worked through the workbook together for the research paper requirements, my typing her very words and explaining things as we went along.

8 hours, y'all.  It is 15 pages double spaced and we still have an abstract to create and a reference page with a minimum of 5 references-- ALL FOR GROWING SOME BEANS!

Long gone are the days when you simply busted out a project overnight with a poster.  Nosiree.

Planting her seeds. 

The box that she drilled the holes in.  She had a lot of fun with the drill.

The box for the red light.

Plunking them up into the window.

A nice sunny day.

The best plant we have is the bean planted in the sterilized play sand. 

She has one decent plant in the red box.  The others are tiny.

One decent plant in the cardboard "shade mimicking" box, but she's tall and spindly.

Soon, my window will be mine again.  

I look at it like this.  This is an experience that I can give my kiddo.  She will not be getting graded on it, but she will also not be getting extra credit.  This is all on her own and she is one of four 5th graders who elected to work on the science fair projects.  The other three are working together in a group.  Their chosen project is biofuels and they have not created said fuel yet, nor tested it, nor written a word for a research paper.  Methinks that they are a hair behind.  My thought with K?  Give her something age appropriately more simple.  Give her a project that she can reasonably monitor and have the specific parameters met.  We were able to do that.  She'll be able to log this in as experience that she got in advance for a science fair in the future that will most definitely be for credit.  

Until then, this mama is tired.  But!  I can tell you the details of water crystals and their carcinogenic nature, the down falls of growing plants in sand and some further background on chemical plant foods found in bagged soil.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

And people wonder why I don't bother with high school reunions.

The party I attended last night is a big reason as to why.

The party itself was innocent enough.  A surprise 40th birthday party for a friend, given by her mom. Her mom is a great lady and just truly wanted to celebrate this milestone for her daughter because, well, her husband wouldn't have pulled together the shin-dig that she did.

I knew that going to the party was going to leave me out of the social loop.  I knew that going in.  I knew that though there were people there who I knew somewhat, I'd most likely be on the outside of conversation.


My kiddo, ever the kid loving social child, went running and playing with the kids of varying ages-- most she didn't even know.  She's good that way.

Since the party was an open house listed from 6-9 PM, our needing to be exactly on time wasn't necessary.  It also didn't help that we got stuck in traffic on our way back from visiting Hubs at work and that I somehow had it in my mind that the party was going to start at 6:30 PM.  Turns out that when we arrived, my friends had just pulled up a second beforehand.  She didn't notice it was me because she was just thinking that her kids were at open gym and needed a pair of shoes.  We waited a few to come in.  I told K that we needed to let her be surprised.  :)

Everyone had a place to sit.  Everyone was chatting and getting along well.  It left me without a real place to drop in and slide into a conversation without looking like I was butting in.  I was thinking that K would hang around a few, but she was off like a bullet.

Drat it all.  I was stuck with no one to talk to.

Her husband came over and we talked a bit.  Someone else's husband came to talk with him.  He knows me, but his wife has kind of decided to not to speak to the likes of me any longer.

That's quite okay.  Allow me to share with you why she isn't a fan of me.

Pretty much everyone who knows Hubs and me know that we are Democrats and quite proud to be.  We are blue through and through, but respect other's choices.  We're not here to convert.  We're not here to pound you with political choices and propaganda.  We feel the way we feel.  Every now and then something will leak out, but we really don't share because my mama taught me never to discuss religion or politics.  It really is a decent policy.

At any rate, back when Barack Obama was running the first time, I had an acquaintance decide that she was going to have an impromptu play date at my house.  She invited herself and her children.  That's fine.  I thought for a split second of taking my Obama sign down in my yard just so that I didn't offend, but I decided that she invited herself and that it wasn't like I was trying to smear her in the face with my choices.  For the record, I wouldn't have invited her clan by, but social convention being as it is, I had her come on over.  I was being kind.

She pulled in and handed Hubs her keys so that he could move her vehicle.  Um, the last I checked my husband was not a valet.  She did it with such airs about her.  It infuriated him.  It irritated me.  Little did I know that would be the highlight of the play date.

I don't really recall what she had talked about that much while they were here.  I can tell you that as she was wrapping up their stay, she stated that she had to "talk to you about that sign in your yard."


She went on about infanticide and different other crap.  Since we had watched the debates, I was able to effectively and honestly answer back to each and every one of the accusations.  To come to my house and berate me for how I am to vote took balls.  (I'm sorry.  Not nice, but it is what it is.  I could be meaner.)  To assume that I was voting for a man just because he was a minority and not that I actually considered qualifications just stunned me.  She had come to my house because of the sign in my yard to get me to vote in the other direction. She knew it was there and she was on a mission to convert me.  Um, she did not.

She left.  I don't believe we've ever spoken again.  Needless to say, she didn't speak with me last night.  That's why her husband came over to talk to A, but never said a word to me.  Nice.

I told Hubs that I felt Amish.  I sort of felt shunned.  For the record, Hubs had to work late.  He wouldn't have wanted to attend the party (he's not a party guy) but he would have gone for me.

She had a few high school friends there.  One knew me and talked to me for a bit.  I pulled up a chair to the end of a table and ate the food that I had grabbed.  I realized that though she had talked my ear off, my pulling the chair up was probably not appreciated by the three other people sitting there who didn't know me.  Opportunity arose to move the chair back and to sit in at the table behind.  There I sat.  Rose, mama of the birthday girl, came to sit with me and talk.  I think she felt bad.

Cliques.  How magical they were in high school and how they always made me feel left out.  At 41, you'd think that I could get past that.  Nope.

Damaged goods!  Hi!  My name is Amy.  I'm a Democrat, an artist and in the past few years, my family and I changed to the Methodist church from being Baptist for nearly all of my life.  PLEASE IGNORE ME!  I should have come in wearing a sandwich sign, some type of headband with obnoxious things bobbling from it and one of those drug store cash lane light up necklaces.  And a boa!  I suppose that if I wasn't to fit in, dammit, I should not fit in ALL the way around.

I missed the boat on the obnoxious.  Drat.

The birthday girl came to apologize that she hadn't been able to make it all the way around the room. I told her that it was no problem.  She and her husband can't be the people expected to entertain me and my daughter all night long.  Grant you, K wanted to sit at their table and I told her no.  I said that would be rude for us to do.

So life hasn't really changed with the social aspect.  Good to know.  I still don't fit in.  It's okay.  I don't want to.  Just sometimes, it would be nice for people to accept you regardless.  Boy, we're going to revisit this subject again and again with K.  Maybe it was nice for me to get a recent example to rip the top of that scab clean off so that I can better relate.


Friday, January 9, 2015

"Why did the kids have to go to school today?"

I stopped by the grocery to pick up a few things.  The dairy manager is one of our PTA dads.

"Why did the kids have to go to school today?"

:puzzled look:  "To be educated?"

You see, there are a bunch of schools that have today off again.  My nieces and nephew, as well as one of my best friend's children have been off since Wednesday.

Y'all, there is no reason why the children here aren't in school.  It was a little cold this morning, but nothing overlyeque.  K would tell you that yesterday WAS cold and that she could understand why there was no school.  Yesterday, the temperature was -2.3 F when we woke up and the wind chill was tickling -20 F.  I get that.  This morning, the temperature was 15 F and I think that the windchill was -1 F.

"Don't you have any pull with getting the days off," he asks while chuckling.

"Nope.  I'm responsible for the newsletter and won't be taking on anything more!"

We aren't in the snow belt.  We aren't in the secondary snow belt.  We get snow.  We get Lake Effect snow, but nothing like Chardon and where Hubs grew up.

My child wore her boots, a sweater over her uniform and made sure she zipped her coat up all the way.  She's good.

Go.  Get educated, my child.  Learn stuff.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Stuff and society.

This time of year always has me thinking about stuff.  Don't get me wrong, we do need things.  Sometimes, I am witness of the consumer of far too much.  Sometimes I am the consumer of too much stuff.  It can simply be going to the store on an empty stomach.  It can be as much as being sucked in by the notion that your child isn't going to be popular if they don't wear x, y or z.  (That's why I love, LOVE school uniforms.)  Consumerism is another big reason of why we moved Santa to observing the 3 gift rule.  You see, Santa would be out and about working on things all year.  There would be a limit that he would work with and he would be super about staying within that.  He would, however, do so well with that limit that there were so many things to open that K would get fatigue from it all.  (Mind you, the limit was about $50-60.)  Puzzles, dolls and games . . .  When the kids are younger, the stuff is cheaper.  

Hubs gifted me a turntable for Christmas.  We both discussed about how though we will now be collecting vinyl, it will be limited.  I wanted one R.E.M. vinyl and Hubs found that for me tonight.  I don't need them all.  I just had him find my favorite.  (It was $10!)  I don't need every CD purchased in vinyl.  It's not practical for a multitude of reasons.  

Our Christmas gifts tend to be somewhat limited.  Compared to what I hear, we're all on a fairly light family budget.  We do that for several reasons, but this song is very much a good one of those reasons.

But stuff.  We still have more stuff.



It's a mystery to me
We have a greed with which we have agreed
You think you have to want more than you need
Until you have it all you won't be free

Society, you're a crazy breed
I hope you're not lonely without me

When you want more than you have
You think you need
And when you think more than you want
Your thoughts begin to bleed

I think I need to find a bigger place
'Cause when you have more than you think
You need more space

Society, you're a crazy breed
I hope you're not lonely without me
Society, crazy indeed
I hope you're not lonely without me

There's those thinking more or less, less is more
But if less is more how're you keeping score?
Means for every point you make your level drops
Kinda like you're starting from the top, you can't do that

Society, you're a crazy breed
I hope you're not lonely without me
Society, crazy indeed
I hope you're not lonely without me

Society, have mercy on me
I hope you're not angry if I disagree
Society, crazy indeed
I hope you're not lonely without me


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

So very young.

Last week, my friend April texted me the link to a blog.  Since I have a smartless phone, I sat down at the computer and pounded the address in with the pink-pink-pink of the keys.  The face was Erin.  I could see her in there.  It has been since high school since we talked.  We didn't part on bad terms by any stretch.  We just went in different directions.

At this point, it should be said that we lived in a town somewhat divided.  You had the rich kids on one side of town and the middlers-lower income on the other side.  April and I were on the other side.

When the schools combined, they didn't combine at our school, they combined on the rich side of town.


I was not a terribly popular kid by any stretch.  I was the skinny kid who had funky hair, crooked teeth and had looked as if I was hit with the ugly stick.  My sister who was blazing a trail 3 years ahead of me was quite the opposite.  All of the boys thought she was hot stuff.  That would be great, but hi!  I'm over here!

When the schools combined, I brought with me my best friend but no one, and I mean no one, talked to me in any type of friendly way other than Erin.

She intrigued me.  She was different.  She carried herself differently.  She spoke intelligently but non-confrontationally.

Erin is a PK.  (Preacher's kid.)  Her dad was kind enough to come across town to pick me up every Thursday morning so that we could be in choir together.

I started to read the blog.  My heart sank.  Here, one of the people who I graduated with and who has been in otherwise most excellent health was facing something big-- Stage IV Colon Cancer that has spread to her liver.

Actually, in her case, they found the cancer in her liver first.  They knew that it had originated somewhere else.

If you could belt out some prayers for her, I know that she'd appreciate it.  If you'd like to keep up with her journal, ranting and some R rated language involved, her blog is The View from the 21st Floor.

Pray for Erin.