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



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

So.....

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 hospital....new 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 next...so....buttons away.

The IN HOUSE RADIOLOGIST does not know what my lump is. Get this....it 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 sound...no 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 checked.....no, 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 trial....to 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 were.....no 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!

Monday, December 09, 2013

The post ictal state of a vet visit.

The howling is over, the claws are retracted, the vet wasn't bitten but she was smacked. Emma's journey to the vet is done. The vet ruled out tumor, poison, and trauma so we are left with epilepsy unknown etiology until labs come back and then .....well, we'll see. If her labs are normal then the diagnosis stands and we will start phenobarbital. The "rule" is: If a cat has 2 or more seizures in a 4 week period then they start medication. Emma has had possibly three in 6 days; two for sure. She is not a happy kitty right now and Steve and I are sad. I refuse to think of her as sick. She simply has a condition that we will control. She is 6 years old. She is young and healthy otherwise and I love her even more for maintaining her cool for the most part and not potty-ing on me on the ride home like her brother did. Kiss, kiss my sweet Emma Lee.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

My Emma is sick. Not tummy sick or stuffy nose sick; she has had 3 seizures since last Tuesday. Tuesday we went grocery shopping. When I was in the snorgage room putting a few things away I noticed that a footstool was turned on its side, a few pictures were knocked over and the heart shaped rug had scooted across the floor. I laughed and asked Emma and Guido if they had a party while we were gone. Thursday night at 11:30 we woke up to the sound of bumping under the bed, a cat howl and when I turned the light on Emma was in the water bowl having a fit because she was wet....so we thought. She spent the night....until 4 AM....searching the whole house for some unseen mouse or toy or maybe Izzy. Friday morning Steve and I discussed the possibility she had a seizure but, that thought seemed ridiculous......not our Emma, not feisty, lovable, wonderful, my heart of hearts cat Emma. She's still a kitten; only six years old for heavens sake. No, not a seizure. We said we would watch her and watch her we did. Friday went by fine, Friday night was perfect with Emma curled up at my knees washing her face and paws before settling in for the night. Saturday was the same. Then at 1:30 this morning we heard bumps in the next room and there was Emma hiding under the china cabinet with foamy spittle around her mouth. Seizure.

Emma and Guido's pedigree can be summed up in 3 words; rescued feral kittens. I blogged how we found their pregnant momma, Sweetpea, in our pole building. She had 4 kittens under one of Steve's old cars. From the first glimpse of Emma the runt, my heart was stolen. We eventually trapped all of the kittens and Sweetpea, found homes for all and kept Emma and Guido, my babies. They are adorable. They are sweet. They are playful. They are lovable. Emma kisses me. Emma sits on my lap at night and watches TV with me or reads with me. She is my little girl. Steve says she is perfect.

 I know I love my cats ridiculously; ridiculously. I do. They (and the dogs as well) fill our days with happiness, have kept us active and filled our home with family. We have lost so many sweet babies in the last few years; Charlie, Penelope, Drakie, Fuzzy and Mimi Louise. I just cannot think that I will lose Emma. I have looked up seizures in cats....she hasn't hit her head, fallen out of a tree, been hit by a car.....she never goes outside. She hasn't eaten poison although she did lick a can of dog food last week. Does that count? I have ruled out all of the usual culprits but one. Tumor. I know that using the Internet can be dangerous in some cases and this is probably one.

We will call the vet first thing in the morning and do as much as we possibly can and afford. Until then.....I can only hope this day and night go by quickly because I know I am annoying Emma to bits with my constant touching and kissing.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Just because

I've spent part of the last two days going through boxes and files of cards, comic strips, letters, newspaper articles, kids drawings, essays and school projects. I threw out cards from people I no longer remember, some comic strips and a few other weird pieces of paper (meaning I couldn't figure out why I kept them) but, kept everything from my kids, Steve and grandkids. Among about 2000 Mutt's comic strips I found a 1978 letter from my mom. My mom and I had a difficult relationship. She never said out loud that she loved me until she was dying. But, the whole purpose of this letter was to tell me just that. Why is it I don't remember ever receiving that letter? Why? Right now I really wish my mom was still alive because I need to apologize to her for being such a fucked up kid and woman. She didn't deserve a lot of the misery I put her through. My excuse for being a poor mother was I did the best I could. Maybe she did too.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Ho-Hum

A friend of mine on Facebook mentioned a lack of blogging on her part...Tiffany Stewart to be exact. I'm not sure what blog she will post on or if she even will .....but, for sure I have sorely neglected mine. No excuses; I haven't felt creative, cat storied, family tale telling or anything that involves writing more than maybe 10 words or a "like" click. My life revolves around exercising, menu figuring out, mowing the lawn, my eternal house cleaning, Steve, the cats and dogs and seeing my cardiologist....in no particular order. We have had one grandchild visit this summer. Our family is busy and involved in sports, school, jobs and all of those activities young families do! But, I miss them still. I could carry on about the weather in rural Idaho, crab about dogs barking in the middle of the night or bitch about the woman next door cutting down her forest along the property line that irritates me beyond belief. But, why would I subject anyone reading this to all of that? Exactly. Life is good. I am healthy I think....I'll know more tomorrow after I see my cardiologist. I address the man by his first name; Ron. I had a nuclear stress test today because of pesky chest pain; sigh. I woke up this morning, have been upright most of the day, love Steve beyond words and my kitties give my hand a bath every day. Not much more I could ask for.....well, except for visits from that family of mine.



Monday, July 16, 2012

Loving a cat can mend a wounded heart. Mimi's miaow soothed mine for sure. Her little face caught my tears. She passed away at home today.