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



Sunday, December 20, 2015

A little bit of Ho-Ho-Ho

We jolly Christmased the joint up!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Show Me the Snow!

Christmas in Idaho; usually we are buried in snow and the temps are frigid.  Not this year.  It's a balmy 31 outside and there are bigger patches of grass than snow.  Of course it's only mid December so there's lots of time for things to change.  (I let this post sit too long...we have gotten dumped on....at least 6" of snow over about 36 hours.)

We haven't put a tree up....yet.  Steve usually starts his forest tree hunt late November, but he feels like crap and hasn't even mentioned cutting a tree.  I put a few decorations out, but I haven't felt the Christmas spirit for a long time now.  It's hard to get excited about the holidays when no one is able to come here and we can't go to them.....same story, different holiday.   

Steve is looking at probably a pretty miserable 2016.  He saw the neurosurgeon last week.  Along with bulging discs from the end of his thoracic spine down to the end of his lumbar spine, he has an abdominal aneurysm.  I'm freaked about that, but laid back Steve is acting pretty blasé. The plan for now is:  See a doc at the pain clinic January 4th for steroid injections while he waits to get authorization for a vascular MRI.  Then, depending on the actual size of the aneurysm either watch it or stent it.  Then he can have those miserable discs taken care of.  I'm hoping he can get back to some activity by the end of summer.

I was thinking about Christmas when I was a kid and the traditions we had. My mom and I always went to midnight mass.  That was probably the only time that mass felt special, necessary, important.  The church was decorated beautifully and there were candles everywhere.  Father Coleman would wear his gold vestments and Mildred Harrigan, the organist, actually didn't mangle the hymns as badly as she did at the 10 o'clock mass on Sunday.   My dad had a special bathrobe...a red one...that he always wore on Christmas morning.  My mom worried about keeping the tinsel on the tree perfect...yes, she was one of those single strand at a time mothers......while my brother acted like he had never gotten a present in his life and grabbed at everything. I remember the year I got a bright red lunch box with a silver thermos.  Another year I got a zippered notebook for school.  I loved that notebook.    I vividly remember the year...1951..when I found all of the dolly clothes my mom had made for my bride doll, Sandy.  Ruined the Santa fantasy for me....served me right for snooping and yes, I had been poking in places I had no business poking in. 

My mom's family didn't exchange traditional gifts at Christmas.  My mom baked dozens and dozens of cookies every year...at least half of them were "Italian" cookies made from recipes my grandmother had handed down.  Mom would ship every single cookie to her brothers in Virginia (of course my dad and I stole cookies).  They in turn would send her a Smithfield ham.  I hated those hams almost as much as I hated the home made cranberry relish.  They were salt and pepper cured and to this day I am convinced that those hams are the reason I have high blood pressure.  Salty doesn't even begin to describe the taste. 

After I married, Christmas day was spent driving all over the place to visits the in-laws so they could see the kids.  No one could ever congregate at one house because someone was pissed about something that happened last year or 5 years ago or yesterday.   This was true with both of my ex-husbands.  Of course, by the time the day was ending everyone would be drunk, I was a frazzled mess and the kids were either zombies or brats.  I've blogged about #2 husband and #1 was just as big an asshole; he just had a different name. I doubt my kids remember one good Christmas until they moved out of the house.   

Steve and I always had everyone at our house while we were in So Cal.  One year the area around the tree was so crowded that I was tossing gifts to the kids.  It was chaotic, messy and I loved it.  My youngest son put up house lights for a few years and I worried he would fall through the roof so they stayed up after that......yup, lazy ass Christmas lights up in July.  In Idaho the lights stay up and on all year round.  We have multicolored icicle lights that make the house look tie-dyed at night.  I love them. 

We actually got a few gifts for the grand and great grand kids; not much, no money.  I made memory books at Shutterfly for our 6 kids, and for my 3 kids I put in all of the photos from my 70th birthday party.....titled the books Mom Turns 70.  I wonder if we will all be together again. 

Merry Christmas and the very happiest and safest of New Years.  May blessings abound for all of you that read this and know that I love you all.  I do.






Monday, November 23, 2015

The holiday that isn't, really. Yeah, I'm a bitch sometimes.

Thanksgiving; it's almost here.  Because I worked in a hospital for decades I learned what holidays were important to me and which ones weren't.  I worked every single Thanksgiving the entire time I was a bedside RN. I also worked Easter, the 4th of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Mother's Day and any other holiday deemed important to anyone that wanted a day off.  I'd switch shifts, work doubles, double backs.....any hours, any day so I could have either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day off.  I never had both days off and never had Christmas Day off two years in a row....it was one or the other.  But, those were the days I wanted, so everything else was left for someone else to celebrate. 

I can't remember any really special Thanksgivings growing up. We had some traditions or maybe they were just routines.  My mom would roast the turkey in her Nesco roaster outside in the patio on top of the washing machine because she didn't want the house to smell like turkey for weeks.  She always made green beans and the nastiest cranberry relish ever.  She would clamp a grinder onto the counter, stuff in cranberries, apples and oranges, peel still on, turn and turn the handle and this mush crap that was so bitter it made my jaw hurt would slug out.  My dad loved it.  Thankfully, it wasn't something they made me eat.  She also made mince meat pies.  I have never tasted mince meat.  Just the name was enough for me to decline and the stuff  looked nasty to me. 

Most Thanksgivings spent with Steve and all of the kids featured chicken.  I am not a cook, don't like to cook, don't like to clean up so, meals were simple and put together when I got home from work.  One time I splurged and baked Cornish hens.  The kids weren't impressed. 

I do remember one Thanksgiving when I was married to Bob.  The whole family was gathered at Bob's mothers home.  She had a long, narrow dinning room, a large family, and seating was tight.  I wanted a picture of the family sitting down with the turkey and side dishes on the table and since no one was totally wasted yet, there were still smiles on faces.  I stood at the foot of the table and had backed up as far as I could go.  Bob's brother, Richard, was closest to me and I couldn't quite get him in the frame.  I told him to scooch in a bit, and then scooch a bit more.  He told me he couldn't get any closer to the table and I said to lean in.  He promptly laid down in his filled salad plate facing me and smiled.  I took the photo.  I still have that picture.  Richard was a really special man.  I'll have to blog about him....maybe next week.

After Steve and I had our home health care business I left hospital nursing.  I had all of the holidays off after that...I was sort of the "boss" and was a great scheduler!  We had Thanksgiving dinner at our home a lot after that.  Steve has two brothers and a sister.  His sister was notorious for being late...not just a little bit late, but a lot late.  One year dinner was long over, clean up was in progress when sister Cindy and her husband Tony arrived.  I had made plates for them to be nice.  I could have just told them too bad, you're way late, pick at the bones.  Cindy had the balls to tell me the turkey was dry. I told her to put more gravy on it and shut up.  Yeah, I was a bitch.

Another year, Cindy volunteered to make the pies for Thanksgiving dessert.   She told us to buy all of the ingredients and she would make two of her mother's special pineapple cheesecake pies.  Thanksgiving eve she arrived....late....made the pies, made a HUGE mess in my kitchen and then told us since she had worked so hard she was taking the pies home...and she did.  I put them in a grocery bag, one on top of the other so she could have pineapple cheesecake mush. Yeah, I was a bitch.   But, she topped herself one year when we had Thanksgiving at one of the brother's home.  He was recently divorced from his 4th wife (the first wife was Sonya, 2, 3, and 4 were all named Susan ) and needed his family around him....or, so he said.  We brought the turkey, divorced brother Larry bought potato salad, brother Joe and his wife brought rolls.  Cindy was supposed to bring a veggie.  She was late....really late, but she did bring a veggie....a can of corn.  I swear.

We have had one Thanksgiving with family in Idaho since 1998 when we moved here.  It was the year our doggie Goldberry died and my daughter Chris drove up here with my grandson Tyler.  They arrived with our Violet.  She was so tiny she fit in Tyler's palm.  She was already spoiled and would only drink bottled water like her Auntie Chris.  That was 13 years ago.

So, Thursday we will make stuffing and bake a 22# turkey.  We will haul it across the street to Dan and Lisa's house because they will be alone for the holiday just like we are every year.  They are providing all of the side dishes.  I guess we could have had them over here, but I am really not feeling up to cleaning up all of the after crap.  Yeah, I'm a bitch sometimes.  But, I am thankful for so much this year.  My heart is strong and I am above ground, I can still exercise every day, Louie the lazy ass lump is gone and finally healed, my family is healthy and happy.  Hopefully Steve will have surgery before the year ends and will be back to being active and pain free.  I hope every one of my blogger friends has a wonderful Thanksgiving and that more blessings than you can all handle come your way.  Now.....if I knew how to load pictures you would see one of my ugly turkeys right in this spot.....but I can't figure it out so....close your eyes and pretend. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A little history, the wounds of war, a love story.

There was a special segment on one of the morning TV shows this last Sunday. It marked the anniversary or was a remembrance of the photo of a young girl named Kim running naked down a road in Vietnam.  She had been burned with Napalm. There was an interview with the now 50 something Kim. She is badly scared but happy.

Wars; the horrible things humans do.  Young men and women lost, those coming home walking wounded....some of them anyway.  

I met my second and third husband (same man, different marriages obviously) early 1968. I'll call him Bob.  I was a single mother of two living partly on the welfare system, cleaning houses for the rich, and going to cosmetology school.  Bob was just home from Viet Nam.  He had been in the motor pool and while he wasn't on the front lines I eventually learned he had been exposed to horrible experiences.  He was the second most handsome man I had ever seen; the first was Omar Sharif.  He was Hispanic and American Indian, had long, black hair that he tied back with a leather thong, was muscular and brooding.  I saw that as mysterious and a sign of strength I guess.  He was damaged. He was that way before he left for Viet Nam I am sure, but the war just compounded the issues already there.  He came back an alcoholic and a drug user. I knew he drank, but the drugs were another story. 

By the summer of 1968 we were married and in June of 1969 our son was born. Let's call him Alex. Here is how the first marriage went: Alcoholism, domestic violence, calls to the police, arguments about drinking and drugs and not being home, cheating constantly (him), domestic abuse over and over, more police calls, crying, lost jobs (his), frightened kids (all 3), and more of the same. We tried marriage counseling, several times. We divorced.  He saw our son regularly, but he always picked him up at either his mother's house or my parents home. 

I heard from his sister that he was in therapy.  So was I.  Again. Three years went by.  I was dating....lots of first dates, only a few second ones.  By chance we saw each other at a club.  The "romance" started all over again; we saw ourselves as "healed." 

Here is how the second marriage went:  OK for the first year.  Then, see the above first marriage, add child abuse to that list of misery, and at the end, things more horrible than god awful horrible.  The divorce was ugly.  He was only allowed to see our son with a court monitor.  He saw him once. 

Fast forward to 1998.  Steve and I are in Idaho, my son Alex is getting married.  Of course he wants his dad there.  Seems Bob had married again and divorced and had another son.  In the 4 seconds that I was sitting alone at the reception, he came, glass in hand, and sat next to me.  Hey, good to see you, how are you doing? he said. Get the fuck away from me.  Now.  I said; and he did. 

About 8 years ago, Alex called me in a panic.  He couldn't find his dad.  Their communication was sporadic at best.  He was a full blown alcoholic (I don't know how to describe someone that is beyond being just an alcoholic) and had been having health problems.  Alex had found out that his father had lost his job, his condo had been foreclosed on, and no one knew where he was.  Alex wanted to know what to do.  I told him to call the local jails, hospitals and start looking for his SUV at the bars in the town where he lived. 

Alex found him living in his SUV in back of a supermarket.  He was collecting cans to support his drinking, a little gas and food.  Alex offered to help his dad;  his dad declined.  The next time Alex saw his dad he had broken into that lost condo, the SUV had been repossessed, he was cooking Raman on a hibachi, there was no power, water, no nothing but a seriously ill man and his booze.  Alex became a one man interventionist.  Somehow, he managed to get his father to agree to go to the Loma Linda VA. 

The VA got him dry and into a program, treated his diabetes, heart problems, blood pressure and found him campus housing.  He was granted VA disability and when he was ready to leave campus living, he was placed in a sober housing complex.  That lasted less than a year. 

Since then Bob has moved 5 times, survived a near fatal single car accident, lost toes to diabetes, had 2 respiratory arrests, one cardiac arrest, been treated for kidney failure, had a 5 vessel bypass, been in the hospital more times than Alex can count, had his bypass incision infected so badly he was in the hospital for a month, started on dialysis, and has never stopped drinking.  In August this year he was found non responsive in a strip mall parking lot next to his car, bagged broken beer and wine bottles under his head according to the police report.  He was released from the hospital a few weeks ago.  Alex can't find him.  He has a DNR in place; Alex has power of attorney.  Alex is waiting for the call to come.

My son Alex is a remarkable man in spite of his parents.  So are my two other kids; just remarkable humans given what they lived through. The three of them have forgiven me for the choices I made.  Forgiving their fathers is another story. Yes, there is a story with husband #1. 

Back in the 60's and early 70's our family was called dysfunctional.  Therapists either had a field day with our dynamics or didn't know what to do.  Now, the terms used are more advanced, more descriptive...PTSD, co-dependent, enabler, substance abuse disease, and several listings in the DSM-IV....or is there a V or VI now?

Bob was doomed long before I met him....a broken home, alcoholic mother, fraternal uncles killing each other, another uncle drinking after shave to feed his addiction, a sister that committed suicide, a brother that walked away from a deeply homophobic family never to be seen again, and on and on. 
Compared to Bob's family, mine was almost normal.  My dad was an alcoholic and my mother had affairs....what's to complain about?

Did I love Bob?  I did.  Obviously it wasn't a healthy love, or even close to one day of happiness love.  It was, in the end, just fucking miserable for both of us and the children we brought into our hell.  I take responsibility for my choices.  I don't wish Bob dead or in more pain than he brought on himself or what Viet Nam piled on top of that....but, he made his choices just like I did.  No regrets though.....I have Alex. 






Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Update: Vacant space available

Quick update.....saw the surgeon yesterday.  Steri strips removed and a few pieces of skin in the process.  Stray dissolving stitch removed.  Incision cleaned.  It looks just OK per the surgeon.  Keep it clean and non stick dressing.  As little tape as possible.  See you in a month.  You owe us 35 bucks.  Bu-bye.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Nothing important happening in the attic

Attention:  Started this before Tiffany wrote her blog post I Cyber Love You, Man.

This one gets bad towards the end.

As the title says....just another beautiful day in Idaho.  I used to call it paradise here, but I've changed my opinion lately.  I'll write about that someday. Not today because I am in a good mood and I don't want to spoil it. Should there be a semicolon after someday and then a lower case n?

So, the Louie thing really fast....my incision is infected although the surgeon won't admit it.  If anyone wants gore and purulent stuff, let me know.  No pictures.

Steve has jacked up his back from T12 through his sacrum per his MRI, and I'm talking bulging discs, stenosis, nerve root impingement....just everything that can happen to a lower back.   He can't get in to see the neurosurgeon until December 9th.  I hate to see him like this....all hunched over and walking with a cane.  He is miserable I know.  I am picking up the slack the best I can, but I am going to have to draw the line at lifting the 40# bags of corn he gets to feed the bambis that the craping turkeys steal.  If I knew how to use a gun, they'd be dead. The turkeys, not the bambis.

No more mowing the lawn.  Fine with me. It's not growing anymore because it is too cold and there are pine needles covering it anyway. 

The HELOC was an exercise in lying credit union people.  Another long story for another time.  See the above gun reference....only substitute loan people for turkeys.  Although, turkey and loan person might be interchangeable.

The cats are fine.  We have sort of settled into a routine with Emma and it is working!  She gets blue stuff cat food in the morning (I have no clue what kind of fish pate it is) and we sneak the tuna flavored phenobarbital in it and then she gets some kind of green cat food at night (there are actually 3 flavors of green so I stack them apart so I know which one she got the day before) and sneak the tuna medicine in again.  She gets kitty crack at night, but just 10 of them and she can freely eat her regular dry cat food all day long.....and night too.  Then On Monday and Thursday she gets an appetite stimulant pill (it is 1/4 of a pill and about the size of 1/4 of a pea).  We have to use a pill shooter thing to get that down her because the pill apparently tastes like shit if we judge her reaction to it before we got the pill shooter.  Her reaction?  She spit it out.  We love this cat a lot....and I mean a really lot. 

Izzy is still on a rotation with Emma and Guido.  Every other day he is upstairs and they are downstairs.  I wish he could behave and just calm down when they are all together, but he is the way he is and I love him no matter what. 

The dogs....they are just dogs.  Violet is getting bitchier and losing bladder control.  That's not actually accurate.  She just stops mid walking somewhere and potties.  Wes still reverts to puppyhood every once in a while, and Pete is still asking if we are going to throw him away like his last parents did....no, Pete, we are not.  We love you.

Sunday 10.18.15

OK....so, I was in a good mood when this started.  Not now.

In case any of you have wondered or whispered: Is Rosemary depressed?  Why, yes she is.  Officially....diagnosed years and years ago.  I have been through therapy and told my story way too many times.  I refuse meds...just because I hate taking meds period.  It got way worse after I had my heart attack and my doc really, really wanted me on meds.  Nope.  My kids and one grandson call me Debbie Downer and Steve worries that my stress level is gonna kill me...but, I am what I am...a worrier and a bit gloomy.  I apologize.  But, at this late date I am probably not going to change.  I do have my better, maybe even really good moments.....occasionally.

Things haven't happened to me....I picked them and the fallout on my kids and extended family has been pretty bad.  I carry that in my head, my heart and I am sure if I have a soul it is there too.  It's called guilt and sometimes I call it regret.  I tried finding God again...or as Lorraine said to me once, I was looking for religion not God.  Whatever it was, he or she has not spoken to me in a long time....and then there are those weird, abstract things I have mentioned in the past about clouds, fog and other crap. 

Anyway here is the truth:

Fucking Louie has won for now.  It is almost 4 weeks since surgery...my incision is still open, the edges of said opening have healed, it is still draining some neon yellow shit and I cry about it every day.  If the doc doesn't do something, if he tells me it is looking ok I am going to lose it. 

This whole loan thing is overwhelming.  I vacillate between being pissed and something else I can't put my finger on...murderous, maybe?  We have been in financial trouble for 6 years now....we lost almost all of our retirement  in the recession, Steve, after he retired was at loose ends and started a "hobby"......buying coins and paper from the mint and hid it from me and amassed credit card debt beyond numbers I want to even put out there. I kept buying little things for the house...shower curtains always made me happy for some reason, and nic nacs that have since been sold in yard sales.  Anyway, we got ourselves into this money mess and now have to figure out Plan B. 

The kitties are my everyday happiness, Violet's pottying is driving me nuts, and the F.U.C.K.I.N.G. turkeys are dirty shit machines. 

I am spending way too much time just reading at The Knock.  I love the humor and it makes me smile.  I love reading blogs, but that next blog thing in the middle of the night is addicting and does not help my inability to sleep. 

Moving to Idaho, while a good idea in 1998, is no longer a good idea.  I am not looking forward to winter, Steve can't/won't be able to handle the snow, I ended up hauling not only the 40# corn bags, but the 50# seed bags too, I miss my kids more than I can even figure out how to express.  Yes, I was fried, burned to a crisp with being a nurse and the get-em-out-quicker-and-sicker mentality, moving 1500 miles away was not the answer.  We can't afford to travel to them and they can't afford to come to us. Holidays are spent alone...well, with Steve.....and I am over the whole Pioneer Woman thing.  There is no solution because Steve won't leave Idaho.  Period.  And....this sounds really awful....he is here all of the time.  We have few friends because that's what Sandpoint is all about....refuge from the masses....even two people are considered a crowd. 

So, there you have it. I'll understand if you all just sort of back quietly away.  Really, I will.  But, I'll still snork around Facebook and the blogs....so, be careful if you talk about me....because I am probably paranoid too! 

No spell check and Tiffany can correct syntax, commas etc.  I need to post this before I change my mind....umm, I can always delete it I guess if things get too weird, right?  PS....Can someone tell me how to post pics to my blog because I am to old too figure it out....some little circle thingy just keeps....circling.

Love you all, me..... warts, pimples and all

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

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

Patient Name:

Lucas-Olsen, Rosemary (Female)

FINAL PATHOLOGIC DIAGNOSIS:
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 provider....in 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.

 

LUCAS OLSEN, ROSEMARY (Female)

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 generates...an energy....just go pouf.  I fully understand the chemistry of the body, the slowing down, aging, wearing out of my body in particular.  BUT......my 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 ovarian.....no 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 not....house 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

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!