There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Enough said. Let's put this lump to bed.

Patient Name:

Lucas-Olsen, Rosemary (Female)

Left breast biopsy (oriented lumpectomy for margin evaluation):
-  Benign breast tissue with nonproliferative fibrocystic changes 
and focal fat necrosis;
 negative for atypical epithelial or 
stromal proliferative changes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

I have to do what?

I recently got some good advice.  Angela (aka Hat) told me to Watch out for potholes.  jp (aka jp)essentially said If Louie doesn't pay rent he needs to be evicted.

I saw Dr. Kanning yesterday.  He was surprised, as was his nurse, that I was able to receive my biopsy results last Friday (someone needs to do a little office investigating).  We did a high five over the results and then it was all seriousness again.  While this is good news, it isn't all of the news.  I still have to have an excisional biopsy/lumpectomy in case fat ass Louie isn't just a fat, lazy necrotic lump.  That will happen this Friday.

OK, here is the deal.  We have to arrange with the hospital for you to go to radiology and have a wire placed.  They will secure it really well and then you have to have Steve drive you to the surgery center for the procedure.  Here is the consent and it covers anything extra I might have to do like take sentinel nodes.

Wait a minute; back up.  Steve has to drive me to the surgery center?  Just where is it?  I thought it was in the hospital.  What am I supposed to wear to this dance? 

Oh, it's just up 200.  You know where Paul Bunyan the burger place is?  It's right thereJust wear something that opens in the front.  I estimate it is a good 8-9 miles away.  I'm going to have to go shopping for proper attire because of course, I won't be wearing a bra.

After that it was a full explanation of how the wire will be placed.  The wire is actually flexible; it's the insertion sheath that is as big as a roofing nail.  The wire will be placed right where Louie is living and then other implements of torture will be used to "open you up" and take the lump and surrounding tissue.  I'm still not sure what the wire is for....maybe to be sure the doc slices and dices me in the exact spot. 

The nurse gave me a bottle of special shower stuff to use the night before and morning of.  Nothing to eat or drink after midnight the day of and then there is the whole Plavix bullshit. Dr. Kanning gave one set of instructions, Dr. Jenkins, my cardiologist, gave another.  I'm going with Dr. J.

So, off we will go at 9am on Friday to check in at the hospital.  The wire placement is supposed to be over by 11 and then, watching for potholes, it is off to the surgery center for the eviction notice to be carried out.  After that it waiting for yet another set of biopsy results and hopefully the end of this little breast drama. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Secrets revealed

Ummm, because I have access to my health records and I get a little email telling me when results, documents, bill issues are posted by the this case Dr. Kanning....I read this right now. Yup...I'm a fatty necrosed boob woman! I'll still see him Monday at 9:15, I'll still have to have the lump taken out, but my God....this is a HUGE stressor removed!  Of course I am assuming all of this pending the surgery pathology results. But, for now, YEA!!!!! Thank you all for being so supportive.
I do wonder if the office knows this happens.  Had this been horrible news....well, it isn't so.....

I copied and pasted so, sorry for the way it reads.



09/17/2015 11:25

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Twilight Zone

Over the last 5 years I have thought about death; my death to be precise.  I'm not afraid of the actual process of dying.  I've seen peaceful and horrible deaths and I think I know what to expect.....well, unless I go out in Thelma and Louise fashion, and even then the great accident of 2005 might have been a small version/vision of that. 

I want to live long enough to see Sachiko achieve her dream of becoming an astronaut, see Spencer become a man, have my great grand children old enough to remember me.  I will be 71 in a few months and for at least the last five years I was pretty sure I would see all of those things happen.  My mom was 75 when she died, my dad 83.  Average those out and I get 79.  That's not long enough to achieve those event markers if I think that my longevity is entwined with my parents by a number.   

I've blogged in the past about a few of my weird wonderings, but here is the biggest mind wondering.  How is it possible that my thoughts, feelings, emotions, all that my mind energy....just go pouf.  I fully understand the chemistry of the body, the slowing down, aging, wearing out of my body in particular. mind has put out my energy, my essence into the world.  I realize that I will live on in my children, grandchildren and others long after I am scattered in the wind, but that's not what I am talking about.  I'm talking about my actual thoughts, memories, emotions. 

I'm an important person...well, to a relatively small audience anyway.  I am loved by a lot of people.  I am a wife, mom, Gigi, friend and enemy. I have a good sense of humor, I can sing, I wrote a children's book, I can kill a level 4 Sudoku, I am compassionate...what happens to all of that?  How can my absolute love of music, the written word, my happiness, sadness, the love I feel for my family and friends just be gone.  Do I get days taken away for being an aggressive driver, for not returning phone calls sometimes, for lying to my mom when I was 16? I wonder if everyone feels like I do.  

I am a fallen away/down/failed Catholic.  I'm not sure what I believe in anymore.  I pray when things get bad.  I am calmed by the prayers I learned in childhood, but I'm not sure who I am praying to.  I believe that Jesus was a Godly man just like Buddha, Allah, Hari. But, over the decades I have come to not necessarily question, but again, wonder about the trinity, the virgin birth and if God is really up there beyond the clouds.  And, then there is hell, purgatory, confession and on and on.  I wonder. 

I can't really put any faith I reincarnation because if anyone was going to come back into my life it would have been my Italian mom to tell me when I was overweight or my hair looked like a Brillo pad. I had a weird experience once with my dad after he had been gone for a while. I was in So Cal living in Covina in a house that my dad had never been in.  I was up on the back of the couch dusting the pictures on the wall and there was a large, oval mirror that had hung in a house that dad had been in.  As I inched closer to the mirror I had the feeling that if I looked in it I would see my dad.   I didn't, but, every now and then that same feeling comes over me....the mirror is hanging in the upstairs living room here, in Idaho, where my dad has never been.

I wonder about other things: Do cars and planes upset the balance of the world with their movement through air, fog or rain and snow, do trees have feelings when we cut them down or just limb them, do the stupid turkeys feel hurt when I yell fuck you go shit somewhere else, do my cats really know when I am feeling sad and lay on my chest or are they afraid I will forget to fill the feeders.....silly stuff, but, I think about those things. 

I have come to realize that I am not a horrible person, a failed parent or a bitch of a wife (most of the time). I guess I am spiritual and maybe I am looking for a way to cover all of my bases when it comes to dying.....but.....I really have to wonder about the fairness of death when I have put so much energy into living. 

I have no clue why I rambled on like this.  I started the post before the date with Dr. Kanning.  He was all business today and no warm, fuzzy stuff at all.  He explained the biopsy....numb with a needle poke and sting, he showed me the biopsy needle....big....explained the procedure, used ultra sound to find Louie, took 4 samples, I got a Band-Aid and compression pads to put on the incision...teeny, tiny one...wear my bra for a few more hours....torture.....come back Monday for results....and then there is the overwhelming stuff.  Surgery is penciled in for the 25th.  If the results come back positive that may change to coordinate with nuclear med ( to run a wire he said).  I will have a lumpectomy and sentinel nodes taken too.  If the biopsy comes back negative surgery will still happen to take the lump and more tissue to run pathology to be absolutely sure that it isn't cancer.  In the middle of all of this is the bullshit with my Plavix....and that is way too complicated right now to even try and figure out.  I feel overwhelmed, will talk to my daughter and step-daughter tonight, will not tell my sons at all until I know for sure I am either not OK or I am OK. 

I did not know that one in three women over 65 that get breast cancer have no family history.  Most breast cancers occur in older women yet studies are done on women usually under 40.  I am not under 40 for sure and there is no breast cancer in my family....lots of other cancers like lung, bowel, pancreatic and breast cancer. 

So, life goes on, I have to wait until Monday to know where this journey is going and then maybe I still won't know.  Right now there aren't enough rooms for me to vacuum or trees for me to talk to.  I might have to resort to washing the fucking windows. BTW, I have no clue how to make my blog friends posts show updated on my sidebar nor can I figure out how to upload photos...fuck blogger.

Monday, September 07, 2015

rosemary twitchel wanders

It's Labor Day weekend.  It has rained since Friday.  Bet there are a lot of unhappy campers right about now as they break down camp and head home to start another work week.  We did the same things we always do holiday or work, cleaned the garages, went to the dump;  retired people stuff.

I'm not sleeping well at all.  I do that a lot.  I lay in bed for hours thinking about all kinds of random things.  Other nights I roam around in the dark with Emma and Guido following me like puppycats. I try to not turn on the computer because then I will never get to sleep.  Last night I turned it on.

The blogs I regularly read are pretty much brilliant; book material.  The writers are absolute wordsmiths; creative, funny, serious, deep thinkers, artists.  In all the years I have been blogging I have never hit the next blog function; last night I did.

I did not know there were blogs about guns, fishing, surfing, liars and cheaters, disgruntled employees, boaters, bow and arrow hunters, inventors hawking products, divorcees, and on and on.  I figured there were cooking blogs, informational blogs and entertainment blogs, but people write about everything....every little thing.  People spill their guts, tell some of the most private things in their lives in blogs.  Me?  I will always keep those most horrible parts of me for me.  And, I am not a writer, not that I ever thought I was. I was a nurse.

I wanted to be a doctor when I started high school.  That was quickly dismissed after getting a D in beginning A&P.  Then there is the story of how I ran into the asshole that became my first husband the second semester of freshman year. I had met him the summer before I had started high school. Long story not even worth wasting my time to write about.  We did have two pretty spectacular kids though. 

Aside from being extremely proud of my children, I am proud of the nurse I was.  I had more compassion for my patients than 10 nurses combined.  I was smart, kept up on all of the latest treatments and devices and got as far in school as taking a few Master's classes.  I never complained about my assignments....really, never.  I loved bedside care (other RNs called it Primary Care...whoooo), could start IVs when other nurses failed, put in a zillion PICC lines, took care of AIDS patients when no one else would, cried with families and actually still keep in touch with two wives of my patients.  I cleaned shit off of who knows how many butts, backs, bellies, private parts and a wall or two, helped take a carrot out of a man's rectum, a roll on deodorant bottle out of another, and then there was the alcoholic patient with the alcoholic friend who thought it would be funny to put a goldfish in an IV bottle (this was pre plastic bag fluids), and then yell because the fucking fish died.  I worked on an Ortho/Neuro floor and we were the dumping ground for isolation patients and ER DNR overflow.  I saw it all; the best and the worst of the human condition.  And I met Steve. Oh, the stories I could tell.  ~Sigh, memories~

I looked up all kinds of breast info last night.  See, Louie the Lump is acting weird.  Sometimes I can't feel it at all, sometimes it feels smaller, sometimes it is the same.  Whatever; Louie gets needled on the 15th. Steve is really over me constantly asking him to see if Louie feels the same or different.  I've never known nor asked if Steve is a boob or ass or some other body part man, but he for sure isn't a boob man now. 

It's 5:06 PM PDT.  I'm in my jammies and ready for bed. 

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Ok. Wait.

Every new lump is breast cancer until I can prove otherwise.

I've had three superficial breast cancer patients this year that did not have their masses show up on mammography, so consider finding it on ultrasound a positive.

I don't do the biopsy and removal at the same time.  If the biopsy comes back positive then I would just have to go back in and take lymph nodes and possibly more tissue.

I talked to Dr. Jenkins and here is the plan for your Plavix.....take it through the 9th, stop, biopsy on the 15th and back on it the 17th.

Cancer cells double in 150 days.  So, even having the biopsy done on the 15th gives us lots of time.........Well, what if the lump has been there longer than my finding it;  then what?  It makes it easier to find. 

That's it for now.  I'll see you on the 15th.  Don't let this get you down. You two seem like really cool people.  We'll take care of this.  Breast cancer is curable.

I made him laugh when he was examining me.....I told him I was the vision of a Phyllis Diller comment she made about her aging breasts.....they were 36 longs. 

I fell apart in the elevator.  Steve isn't talking much.

Friday, August 21, 2015


Buttons.  Get it...So (sew) buttons.  I heard that on a TV show.

I was up early today; had a big appointment with a 3D machine.  I showered; no lotion, deodorant or perfume.  I arrived at 8:25 AM for an 8:30 check in and an 8:45 appointment to have a bilateral diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound for a left breast lump.  They ushered me to the back right at 8:45.

The Women's' Imaging Center is brand new at our local building, new machines, new everything.  Very fancy.  A 3D mammo still requires 6.3 pounds of pressure with your breast smashed between two clear plastic plates, but the machine ticks around the plates and takes the images that are immediately on the technician screen and then sent to the IN HOUSE RADIOLOGIST.....wheeee, thank you dear Lord.  The radiologist read the mammo and said do the ultrasound.

Brand new ultrasound machine, said Nancy, the tech.  And.....let the ultrasound begin.  Nancy had a hell of a time finding said lump.  Left breast lump had a little sticker left over from the mammo and she marked it with a pen, but it was playing hide and seek and then, boom.....there it was. Click, click over and over and then Nancy went to show her fine results to the IN HOUSE RADIOLOGIST!

I know anyone that might read this skipped over all of my humorous stuff and is gonna read what comes away.

The IN HOUSE RADIOLOGIST does not know what my lump is. Get didn't show up on the mammo...nope, not at all.  It isn't indicative of a cyst normally found in breast tissue, it might be indicative of a cancer, but probably not, it might be something like a skin cyst....a sebaceous cyst, but maybe not.  He has no clue what it is.  He felt it, he sees it on ultra clue.  He would normally do a needle biopsy right then and there, but the type of lump he "needles" are not close to the surface like mine and the needles he has are too big.  I need to see my primary doc and get a referral to a surgeon that is a breast specialist. 

So, today is all buttoned up as far as boobs go.

We were approved for the HELOC after we jumped through the first ring of fire.  There will be several more to tackle.  Our daughter (Steve's Stephanie) got through surgery fine and our other daughter (my Christine)  goes under the knife next Thursday.  I see my primary doc next Wednesday at 1 for an exam and referral. I haven't told any of the kids about this boob adventure....they have enough to worry about day to day without adding mom to the list. No, they don't read my blog.  I got through the heart attack without them here and this could be a piece of cake or at least a mounds bar compared to that.  Steve, on the other hand, was a bigger puddle than I expected.  I asked the IN HOUSE RADIOLOGIST to please explain the results to him and he was OK until we got in the truck.  Then after we were done cruising around the market he stopped in the parking lot mid loading the truck of fresh stuff and just hugged me and snorted on my shoulder.  I waited until we got home to cry.  I see my cardiologist early October unless I have something other than just an easy peasy little lump removal.  So my social calendar is full folks; no invitations to wine tasting or lake cruises , please.

Did I mention I fell in WalMart Wednesday......I did.  There was a clear, little, quarter sized plastic water bottle cap that someone generously dropped or tossed in a main aisle. My right foot hit it just right and I totally splatted on the floor landing on my left knee and arm.  I was pissed and embarrassed all at the same time.  Nothing broken or badly injured, but I made the 12 year old manager fill out a ream of paperwork anyway just to be a bitch. 

On a really wonderful note, the 19 year old guy across the street is volunteering and fighting some of our 80 fires on his 2 days off....Wednesday and Thursday. 

I'm off to bigger and better things today....not sure what other than cleaning the litter boxes and hugging Steve a little tighter......but, that is the wonder of retirement....nothing to do!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

I prefer two

Here are a few things I know for sure.....frozen pizza does not taste like delivery, women sweat just like men, turkey crap when dry is light like brown cheese puffs, deer are nasty to each other, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, and I love being alone in the forest. The forest has replaced vacuuming as the best place for me to problem solve. Don't get me wrong....I still vacuum every day, but I walk in the forest every day too. While my problems have decreased significantly in the last five years, things pop up every now and then and tamaracks and hemlocks are the best listeners.

Five years filled with my heart beating 24/7, three great grandchildren, the kindest husband in the world (actually, he is a saint), sweet kitties and barking doggies......what could be a problem, huh?  Well, there was the foot issue, some money problems, the bike crash, the neck thing, and yesterday.

I really don't like Mondays in general.  Saturday and Sunday are no exercise days and I really enjoy not treadmilling and ellipticaling.  I have to get up at 5 on weekdays when it is hot to exercise early and that makes me cranky.  Yesterday it was hot and humid, thunderstorms were coming and with the lightening comes the threat of fires....I am afraid of fires.  I had cleaned the carpets Sunday and the whole vacuuming thing was a pain in the ass for some reason.  Add to that I hadn't taken my walk in the forest.   I was sweaty and sticky and when I got in the shower it was like standing in heaven.  I felt a lump in my left breast.

That's a really fast way to ruin a nice, much needed shower. Did I really feel that?  I felt again.....yup, there it is. Where did that come from?  Just like that it's there?   Over the course of the day I felt it oh, probably 25 times. I stupidly waited to tell Steve, it was too late to see the doc but, I finally called and asked the office to send the hospital an order for my annual mammogram that was last done in March 2013.  The office nurse asked if I wanted to come in and have it, just send the order.  When I called the Women's Imaging Center at 8:30 this morning I was told that the order was there, but it was for the wrong thing.......I needed an order for a bilateral diagnostic and ultra sound with lump in left breast.  Called the doc again, order will be sent this afternoon, called the Imaging Center back and the earliest I can get in is the 21st. 

Five years. I have gotten through a heart attack, 3 stents, a bike crash that caused me to bleed like I had amputated my arms, had my neck so jacked up that I couldn't hold my head straight, my feet hurt all of the time, I bruise if someone looks at me sideways, I take enough meds to cure heart disease in a small country, and now a fucking lump in my breast. 

I have been through the call backs after a mammogram.....they are annoying and scare the crap out of me....but, this is different for some reason.  The lump is still there.  Did I really think it was going to go away overnight? 

I don't know how to end this......I have to wait until the 21st and that is a Friday, then wait for the results and then what?  I have to wait.  In the meantime I'm gonna try talking to a Ponderosa Pine; see if that helps.

Friday, March 06, 2015

I'm a drug trial graduate.....and the story is a long one!

July 2011 I was 13 months post heart attack with 2 stents placed. My nuclear scan was done July 5th. I was positive that 12 months of eating healthy and literally exercising my ass, stomach and boobs off  had reduced my remaining 70% occluded vessel by at least 25%, I would be taken off Plavix the platelet suppression drug that caused the most horrible bruises I had ever seen AND, all of this would be confirmed at my appointment to see my new cardiologist.

I had lost weight the doc said, my blood pressure was great, my heart rate nice and slow, no leg swelling, but, I was still 70% occluded said the nuke scan, Plavix was "cheap insurance" and I would be staying on the drug for quite awhile because another stent was needed and how did August 25th work for me?   Okay, I guess.

On the 25th while waiting in the cath lab patient room we were approached by a woman who identified herself and said she was a research nurse working with my cardiologist, Eli Lily and Daiichi Sankyo.  There was a drug trial going on that included the type of stent I was going to have inserted (drug eluting Paclitaxel), an oral drug similar to Plavix called Effient and daily aspirin.  She gave us a packet of information to read, my doc came in the room and fully explained the trial and said I was an excellent candidate.  I would get the drug free for at least a year (big benefit there because Plavix cost a bunch at that time), be monitored every 3 months by my doc and the research nurse, and get 50 bucks for each of the visits.  The point of the see if short(er) or long term platelet suppression therapy helped prevent cardiac vessel occlusion in conjunction with the stent drug and aspirin therapy.   I signed on the dotted line.

Here's how the trial was going to work.  It was a 5 year trial. Every patient enrolled would absolutely get the drug for the first year.  People included in the trial had stents placed, had an acute heart attack or other qualifying cardiac event.  After a year the patient (or number actually) would be double blinded and only the dispensing body would know if the patient was then getting drug or placebo.  Aspirin was to be taken every day.

It seemed to me that anyone with half a brain would know if they were on drug or not because of the nasty side effect of bruising. I continued to bruise if I looked at my arms or legs the wrong way, Steve looked at me the wrong way, I turned over in bed or simply took a deep breath.  From month 13 through month 30 I was to bipp along taking my drugs, seeing the research nurse, seeing the doc every 6 months and depositing my nice little check.  At month 30 I would be taken off drug or placebo, continue aspirin, see the research nurse every 6 months and deposit my check.  Sounded okay to me.

Month 30 was approaching and the nurse called to make my appointment.  She told me she had some important things to discuss with me and that a new consent would be needed to continue in the trial.  Warning bells went off.  Sure enough, there were important things said.

I was un-blinded.  Yes, I was on the drug and surprise I was going to stay on the drug for at least another year. Why? Because as the trial had progressed it was found that people who had been on the drug and then taken off at month 30.... well, a large number of them had cardiac events within 15-21 days of going off drug.  None of the events were fatal.....well, thank goodness for that.....but, more information was needed and rather than put those of us left in the trial at risk, we were to continue taking Effient.  At that point in time our results were going to be merged with another world wide trial called The DAP Trial (dual anti-platelet) that included Plavix and other variations of stents, drugs, etc. I would be seen at the end of month 42 and would find out what was decided then.  I deposited my check.

Month 42 appointment was yesterday.  I am/was one of the last people in the trial, # 1525/118, and the trial will be fully closed in 2 weeks.   The paper had been published (yes, we had read it) and the results one is sure whether keeping patients on long term platelet suppression drugs helps or not, but for sure it must be providing some sort of protection as evidenced by those poor folks that had events after month 30.

We had a really nice conversation, my cardiologist wants me to stay on either Plavix or Effient (I suspect it will be Effient) long term which in doctor language means til the casket drops, I was given 2 weeks of sample Effient and a script will be called in to my pharmacy.  My check is in the mail and will be deposited before the endorsement ink is dry.

If I typed trail instead of trial....sorry.....either way it has been a long trail in the trial.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Ass Hacks

My blog was hacked. Serves me right for not posting in forever. This year will mark 9 years of blogging. A lot has gone on during those years.....much loved pets lost, friends made and lost and then found, trips, weather, health issues, great grandbabies and on and on. How dare someone hack all of that. Ass Hacks. It has been an interesting journey getting to 70. On my fridge I have a little magnet where I wrote my mom and dad's ages when they died. I know....beyond morbid. But, if I average those numbers I come out at 79. Not good. So, I am treadmilling a bit more, eating a little better and trying to beat that average by....oh, let's say 25 years. I'm laughing too! I have said in the past that I would blog more, Facebook less and other not accomplished resolutions. But....if I don't try then for sure those won't be fulfilled. I'm gonna try. Besides, Facebook is... after all is said and done....just Facebook!