Monday, March 31, 2014

So Much Thanks

You guys! I'm so overwhelmed by the support and love following Thursday's post. My phone, email, Facebook all blew up with good wishes. Thursday night I went to choir rehearsal as usual and everyone was wearing these ribbons:

Thank you Molly, for making this happen!

Like I said, overwhelming.

Everything went very well on Friday. I arrived at the hospital at 7:45 and was home by 2:00. The whole weekend was a combination of napping and watching TV and movies. Sunday I was allowed to shower, which was both refreshing and exhausting.

Our niece Jackie drew a new picture of me. She's just the best!

I got flowers, chocolate-covered strawberries (thanks, Marla and Steph!) and these pralines from a mystery gifter. Anyone wanna 'fess up? There was no note and my investigative skills have been fruitless.

Today I'm still taking it easy but the beauty of working from home is that I can still be somewhat productive while healing. I'm sore but as long as I don't do anything silly like try to change my shirt without thinking, I'm OK. I should have pathology results this week, so fingers crossed that it is indeed the stage zero cancer.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Someone has to be the one in ten

I was never very good at statistics. As a business major, it was a required course and I squeaked through with a C-minus. Maybe the reason I dislike statistics so much is that inherently I think it's bullshit. I recently saw a headline in the local paper that read "Central Ohio's jobless rate lowest in state for February." That's nice and all, but if you're part of the 5.5 percent of people who are unemployed, it really doesn't mean jack shit.

And so, when a breast specialist (or boob doctor, as I like to call her) told me 3 weeks ago that I had some calcification in my breast and that "nine times out of ten it's nothing," I thought that doesn't really help the one who doesn't fall in that category.

This time I'm the one.

The good news is that it was caught very early. It's considered "stage zero" cancer. So while I know I'm very lucky in that it's extremely curable right now, it's still cancer and I want it gone.

I refuse to use pink.

It all started with my annual mammogram in mid-February. I have a family history of breast cancer so I've been getting annual screenings since I turned 35. A week or so later I got a call that something looked different from last year - the first time that's ever happened to me. The boob doctor wanted me to come in for magnified pictures and they had an opening the next morning so I went in. This was similar to a regular mammogram but admittedly a bit more uncomfortable. The doctor looked at the films while I was there and relayed the news about the calcification. "Since we can't be 100% sure, we need to do a biopsy."

The following Friday I went in for the biopsy. It wasn't too awful, except it involved lying on my side for longer than I'd like. They numbed up my boob and took samples and inserted a tiny chip as a marker and I had more mammogram-type tests, before and after. The whole thing took maybe an hour and a half. Afterwards, I was pretty tired so I took it easy with ice packed in my sports bra.

They said I'd hear something in two business days. I had the biopsy on a Friday so that meant I had to wait until Tuesday but I was OK with that because we were heading to Hershey, PA for the Sting/Paul Simon concert so I'd be distracted. Except, as you may remember, we never got out of town because I got hit with some kind of stomach flu. So not only was I stuck at home, unsure of which way to face the toilet at any given moment, but I had more time to think about the biopsy.

On Tuesday I waited anxiously for the phone to ring. When it finally did, around 3:00, I was told that the pathologist was sending my samples for "a second opinion." Fuck. Me. (Sorry, Mom.) She said that they should hear something Wednesday or possibly Thursday morning.

Gwensday came and went. Thursday dragged on and at 4:00 I finally called. Yes, the results had come in but the boob doctor had been in procedures all day and yes, she would call me that day. She called around 5:00. "Unfortunately I don't have great news." I have to say though that she was so sweet. She told me what the results were and then she paused and said "are you OK?"

I'll fast-forward a bit here. I got in to see a breast surgeon pretty quickly and tomorrow (Friday) I'm having a lumpectomy. It's an outpatient procedure and recovery shouldn't be too bad. I'll likely have radiation at some point but I won't need chemo.

I'm not sharing this to get sympathy. In the grand scheme of things, I'm pretty fortunate and this is just a blip on the radar of my life. Don't get me wrong, I'll take any good vibes or prayers or healing light or whatever good juju you want to send my way. I'm sharing this because I'm not the kind of person who keeps things like this a secret. I'm also putting it out there because I know that there's controversy about whether mammograms are necessary. You can make up your own mind about that; I won't preach about it. All I know is that I'm thankful for my annual mammogram and for doctors who are willing to be aggressive in hopes that my "touch of cancer" (my words, not anyone else's) is just that and won't ever come back.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I know it's cliché...

Sorry people, but I'm bitching about the weather. What the hell is up with Mother Nature? That crazy bitch nice lady has got to get her shit together and allow spring to happen.

Aaron and I love the movie When Harry Met Sally. I'm not usually a good quoter of movie lines but this is one that I have down. And don't get me started on the soundtrack. Harry Connick, Jr.? Yes please.

Recently I've been using this movie in conjunction with my feelings on The Winter That Will Not End. (I promise, if you click on the videos below they're just a few seconds, not several minutes.)

When we became urban dwellers we dreamed of carrying a Christmas tree to our house in the snow, and we have done that a couple times.

This is a great idea for December 25th, but NOT March 25th.

My version: "It'll be warm again. ....someday."

My version: "It looks so lovely outside, but actually it's fucking cold."


If you haven't already, head on over to Life According to Steph, where I'm sharing some of my current recommendations, including a movie, shoes and hair products. (Incidentally, Steph is not a fan of Harry and Sally, but I love her anyway.)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Where, oh where has my mojo gone?

Dude, the creative juices have just not been flowing this week. But I didn't want y'all to think I fell off the face of the earth so I'm here with some of my favorite things from this week, and with any luck I'll be back to my witty and charming self next week.

Those aren't my real nails. I went back to acrylic because my nails weren't cooperating and they kept splitting. I love this color; I think it's OPI "Dining Al Frisco." I'm desperately seeking spring, and so are my cats.

"Mama, we want to sun ourselves on the screened porch!"
They don't understand how deceiving that sun is.

Odd search term of the week: “trimming cute gila monster nails.”

I'm totally intrigued by the missing airplane. I like to fantasize that at least some of the passengers and crew are alive on an island somewhere...

I haven't bought Girl Scout cookies in a long time, but I love this coffee creamer.

It's March Madness! I don't really have a horse in this race but I do enjoy this time of year. I'm going for a three-peat as champion of our neighborhood bracket challenge. Go, Arizona!

And finally, I'm totally obsessed by the song "Pompeii" by Bastille, and yesterday I was introduced to this a capella cover. Love it!

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Monday, March 17, 2014

A Fantabulous Free Weekend Windup

The only thing better than a weekend with no plans is a no-plan weekend that turns into a fun and fabulous weekend complete with friends and family.

Obligatory cat photos coming up. When I came home from running errands I found this:

And it turned into this:

Aaron said "I think they're best friends."

We went to our corner bar, Little Rock, for happy hour. The stars had aligned and a bunch of our neighbors were also there. Then there was live karaoke with keyboards and drums. Needless to say, happy "hour" became many hours. Such a fun night!

My mom came over and we went to brunch at The Crest. I can't say enough about how delicious it was, and as an added bonus, I saw Alexis from Hummusapien (we had met last month at a Columbus Bloggers Brunch).

Clockwise from top right: we shared the honey-glazed goat cheese balls (amazing is not an understatement); I had the breakfast burrito with potatoes (the highest compliment I can give is that I didn't even put salt on these, they were that tasty); Mom had the coconut quinoa porridge with fresh fruit (yummmm). Not pictured: bloody Marys, also delicious, especially when doctored up with their housemade hot sauce.

Then Mom said, "let's go to that store where you buy all your clothes." OK, you don't have to ask me twice but this could be dangerous. And it was, but it was also super fun. I walked out of Cheesecake with three dresses, two tops and a pair of pants (two items pictured below). Now if only the weather would cooperate!

Aaron and a few guys from the 'hood, who are all running the half-marathon in May, decided to do a six-mile run combined with a pub crawl. One stop apparently included an encounter with a taxidermied bobcat (WTF?). While they were out, Amy and I took advantage of the sunshine and hung out on the screened porch, then met up with them at their last stop, Little Rock.

I had to sing a solo at the 8:30 service. Aaron went with me and our neighbor Michelle was there so the three of us went out for breakfast and then we sang for the 11:00 service. The afternoon was a lazy one and then I made dinner (chicken tagine, couscous and roasted asparagus).

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Happy St. Paddy's to those who celebrate it!

Friday, March 14, 2014

They Say It's Your Birthday

No, it's not already time for MY birthday but quite a few friends of mine are celebrating birthdays this weekend, three of them today.

Our friend Ken turns 50 today. His wife Robin organized a different kind of surprise party for him. She asked all his friends to perform a random act of kindness in his honor and then post it on his Facebook page or Twitter or Instagram. She was hoping for 50 random acts and that number was surpassed!

My college friend Michelle a/k/a Mickey was not only my grand-big in our sorority (Gamma Phi Beta) but we were also in choir together and worked in the English department together. She lives clear across the country so we haven't seen each other in years, but we were reunited through the magic of Facebook. Here we are on choir tour during spring break, 1987.

I met my friend Mandy because I sing with her mom. Their whole family is like my second family and I love them all. Mandy is a therapist for kids, which I admire so much. In 2004, Mandy and her now-husband Keith and Aaron and I went to New Orleans for a long weekend, which is when this picture was taken. (Mandy, don't worry, this was on Day One!)

On Monday our niece Julia turns nine! Yes, she's a St. Patrick's baby. She has become such a sweet, caring, smart, creative girl. This is one of my favorite pictures when she was just 3 1/2.

Tomorrow is Steph's birthday. Many of you know her from Life According to Steph (and if you haven't already, go over there and check out her surprise of blogger birthday sentiments, including mine). Last year I devoted a post to her, you can read that here and see lots of pictures of us in various bars and on the beach at her wedding.

That's right, Steph and aren't just showbiz bloggy friends, we're for real friends. Steph's the kind of friend you want on your side through thick and thin. She also pays attention. One year for my birthday she made a mix CD that included my favorite songs as well as some of her favorite songs. That CD introduced me to this version of the song "One."

And here we are last November when I went to Philly to visit her.

Happy Birthday weekend to all these fabulous people!

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Gwensday Brain Dump, post-crud version

The bitch is back, bitches! I wouldn't call myself quite 100% following my recent intestinal distress, but I'm damn close. Yesterday I was able to eat without fear of what might happen next. I had hoped to go for a walk, as we got a wee dose of spring, but I settled for some screened porch time. Today is a great day to stay inside: rain, dropping temperatures, maybe snow, and probably the dirtiest of all dirty words, "wintry mix."

I did leave my house this morning, however, mainly to give my car a shower. It wasn't enough but it helped a little. I also made it to the grocery store for a few necessities. You know, like these:

I'm not a huge peanut butter fan, but what is it about the PB eggs that make them irresistible? They're somehow better than regular old Reese's cups (not that there's anything wrong with those, either). So I took the opportunity to springify (Not a word? I don't care.) my candy dish.

Basically just another reason to show off my kick-ass candy dish, courtesy of my friend Mimi.
On the left, Hershey miniatures and mini Cadbury caramel eggs.
Welcome back, whatever weight I lost during the illness.

For the first time, I'm watching The Voice and American Idol at the same time. It's weird. I haven't watched Idol in years but the combo of JLo, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. has me intrigued. Here's a question: when did they start going all Hunger Games on the eliminated contestants?

It's Daylight Savings Time for most of us, and I know people generally have strong opinions one way or the other about that. DST always reminds me of college. Those first days when the sun was out later and it actually felt like spring and everyone was outside and happy... Anyway, the good thing about being sick during DST was that my sleep was so messed up I didn't miss that lost hour and adjusting hasn't been an issue this time around.

I know that last week I said I'd do Gwensday updates on my Lenten challenges, but the crud put a temporary kink in those. I'm not giving up though, so next week I'll have some results.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Bitter, party of one

Remember this?

For Christmas Aaron gave me tickets to Sting and Paul Simon in Hershey, PA. That concert was last night. Guess who wasn't there?

We were supposed to drive over Saturday and come back today. Early Saturday morning I woke up with vomiting and diarrhea, and believe me, none of this was alcohol-induced. Obviously we stayed home but on Sunday morning I didn't have a fever and wasn't barfing (thanks to a prescription called in by a doctor friend) and wanted to try to make it. We stopped for breakfast on our way out of town and I ate a little bit but ultimately decided it was best not to go.

It was the right decision; I can't imagine being in the car for six hours and then going to a concert. I still felt awful all day yesterday. And I'm super pissed that I missed Sting again. (The last time I missed him was July, 2000, but that was for a happier reason, the birth of our niece Lauren.) Apparently I'm not meant to see him anymore.

So, if you're looking for me today I'll be on the couch or in bed, throwing myself a pity party.