Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday Faves

Enough cancer talk for now. Let's lighten things up with things that made me happy this week.

1. We spent Easter with framily members and I took a couple selfies with two of my favorite young friends:

2. I was born and raised in Pennsylvania and I remain a Pittsburgh/Penn State sports fan, but I'm totally pulling for the Blue Jackets against the Penguins. The games so far have been nuts! And a couple weeks ago, on Chicago PD, one of the characters was undercover as a tourist and she was wearing CBJ gear!

Let's go Jackets!

3. I got a new iPad cover:

Did you expect anything else?

4. Our niece Jackie did it again! Check out her latest drawing of me:

5. I record Jimmy Fallon every night and watch it the next day. If you haven't seen the latest version of “Brian Williams raps,” you must watch this!

But what might be even funnier is the interview afterward, in which BriWi gives Jimmy shit. Hilarious!

Part 1

Part 2

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Time for an Update

If you start reading this and have no clue what I'm talking about, you can go here for the first part of the story.

So last week I had my follow up appointment with the boob surgeon. I already had an inkling of what was coming because he had called me after he got the pathology results. When he called, he said that he was "flabbergasted" by the results because instead of showing microcalcifications or even that everything was gone from the needle biopsy, the entire section of tissue that he had removed was full of DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ). He said we'd discuss options at my follow up and mentioned getting an MRI, genetic testing, maybe going in and taking more tissue followed by radiation, and "a mastectomy is a possibility."

Cut to two weeks later as Aaron and I are sitting in an exam room. This is when we found out that the size of the DCIS was six centimeters, as opposed to the four or five millimeters he was expecting. He started talking about a mastectomy rather than another lumpectomy/radiation and said that that was the way to go due to my family history and my young age. (If there's one thing that makes me feel good during all this shit, it's how often I get called "young.")

Once again, the odds are not in my favor.
But how much do I love Effie's butterfly dress?

Boob surgeon still says it's Stage Zero and noninvasive, but he's concerned because of the above reasons and because we were all surprised by the pathology results. So... last week I met with a genetic counselor and had my blood drawn for testing to find out if I'm genetically at risk for breast cancer (and for other cancers as well). Yesterday I met with plastic surgeons to talk about reconstruction options. In about a month I'll have an MRI to see if there's anything lurking that hasn't previously shown up.

As it stands now the plan is a bilateral mastectomy (meaning removal of both breasts) with reconstruction at the same time. If I were absolutely determined to save the breast, we could do more tissue removal, but I'm not. I want these traitorous body parts gone. I know that some people would not go that route, but fortunately I still have some control over what happens to my body. It's my decision and thankfully Aaron supports that.

It's an overwhelming amount of information. I'm always aware that this could be much worse. I'm thankful that I'm able to be proactive instead of reactive. I'm amazed and touched by my support system. I have an incredible group of family and friends and framily (damn you, Sprint, for making that word uncool). While I'm still in kick-ass mode, I also have my ugly-crying-in-the-shower moments, too.

I've been MIA in blog world, both writing and reading. Part of the reason I need to write about all of this is because I can't secretly pretend everything is sunshine and kittens when it's not. But I'm hopeful that I can get back to writing some inane fluff non-cancer-related posts while you all still understand that this other shit is going on.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Guess who's back? Tell a friend.

I took last week off from ye olde blog. I was in Denver for the Craft Brewers Conference (for those who don't know, I work for the Columbus Brewing Company, a microbrewery). I went with three coworkers, plus another friend who happens to be in the industry. We had three days of seminars, meetings, and trade show browsing, and four nights free for eating and drinking.

How many trade shows have beer stations at which you can sample beer all the live long day?

Restaurants/bars that I was able to enjoy included:

  • Yard House - huge beer list, yummy food; I had tacos which were fantastic and not just because I was super hungry
  • Lucky Pie Pizza and Taphouse, where I discovered a love of sour beer and sampled Bacon Peanut Brittle and beer battered cheese curds as well as pizza, of course
  • Falling Rock Taphouse (twice) 
  • The Cruise Room at the Oxford Hotel, where they use fresh-squeezed juice for their cocktails, resulting in the best Greyhound I've ever had
  • Illegal Pete's, which is like Chipotle in a dive bar setting. I like the flavors of Chipotle better, but Pete's takes that extra step of mixing up your burrito's ingredients before wrapping it.
  • Little India - I got takeout from here one night when I decided not to go out and party. While waiting for my food I drank a stellar Moscow Mule. The food was also excellent.
  • Euclid Hall, where the food was so good I can't even describe it. I had mussels for my entree, which were good but the side of fries with bacon aioli? Sweet Jesus, my mouth is watering just writing about it. We also shared appetizers including Shrimp and Grits Fritters, Carnitas Papas Fritas, and the Pickle Sampler. I could go on and on.

Note my fab flip flops, which I purchased at Walgreens for $6.99 due to blisters.

Friday night was the World Beer Cup gala. We didn't attend, but we had entered three beers. There were over 90 categories and over 2,000 total entries. We happened to be at Falling Rock, where they were showing the live stream of the awards on their TVs. Well, guess what? We won GOLD in the Imperial Red category!!

What a great way to end the trip!


Technical difficulties prevented me from posting yesterday, but it was my grandma's 96th birthday. She's currently undergoing rehab/physical therapy after having what may have been a mini-stroke, and damn if she isn't stronger than ever. Last year I wrote a post about her; you can read that here.

Since today is Haikuesday, I give you this:

She's one tough cookie
Grandma Elmo's ninety-six
Those are some strong genes

Friday, April 4, 2014

Trying to snap out of a bad mood

Fair warning: I am in a mood today. This has been an excruciatingly long week, it's raining for the third straight day, I feel like crap with a sore throat/cold, and I'm dealing with hot flashes. Why, you ask? Because one of the "bonuses" of breast cancer is that I had to stop taking hormones. I should probably back up for those of you who don't know me that well.

A couple years ago I had a total hysterectomy. I was only 44 at the time (I love to be able to say "only" 44) and my doctor put me on hormones so I wouldn't be plunged into menopause. Everything went swimmingly; I didn't have to adjust the meds at all. It was fab. But now I can't take them anymore. I stopped about two weeks ago and it would seem that the hot flashes have arrived. Cripes.

I have a much more lighthearted post going on today over at Life According to Steph, plus Steph and I have a giveaway right now so check it out! Unless you're Aaron... My post is about five ways I'm the "man" in our relationship but now I fear that it looks like I'm making fun of him. I mean, I am, but I was also trying to make fun of me. Oh well, I need to stop second-guessing myself. Told ya I was in a mood.

In looking for things to turn that frown upside down (ew, gross) I took a peek at my blog stats. I get a good laugh sometimes over the search terms people use that lead them to my blog. Observe:

I have no clue about the "bad period ecard" - I'm pretty sure I've never posted anything like that. The "flashback Easter dress" probably led to this post, in which I shared lots of old pictures of me, and some are even kinda cute.

But "gin swigging sister in law e cards?" I have three sisters-in-law and while they're not teetotalers, I don't know that any of them are "gin swigging," nor do I even want to think about why anyone typed in that search term. How bizarre!

And then... a couple friends shared this on Facebook and I absolutely love it. I hadn't heard about this, but apparently a few weeks ago Honey Maid (you know, the graham cracker folks) released an ad called "This Is Wholesome," celebrating families of all kinds, including multi-racial and gay parents. Naturally they received both positive and negative responses. Look at what they did with those responses:

Thursday, April 3, 2014

This Thursday's Whatnot

First, thanks again for all the well wishes! I'm healing nicely from last week's boob tissue removal. I have a follow up appointment with my surgeon in a couple weeks so we'll know more at that point. Luckily, next week I have a trip to Denver which will hopefully keep me distracted. Also, the mystery gifter of pralines has revealed herself - it was my friend and former co-worker Kendra! Phew, now I can enjoy that buttery, sugary goodness while knowing from whence it came. You know, not that I didn't enjoy them before...

As my friend Jimmy Fallon says, "here's what people are talking about." And by people, I mean the voices in my head.

I'm guessing by now you've heard about the Road Rage Karma video, in which a woman in Florida used her phone to video a dude who was tailgating her. After the guy flipped her off, he lost control of his car and spun across the road and hit a light pole. Look, I hate road rage as much as the next guy but lady, what the HELL are you thinking, taking videos on your phone while driving?! Turns out, she didn't even get cited for it. Um OK, lucky her, but seriously kids, don't try this at home.

I seriously shit the bed on my Lenten challenges. I mean, I have a pretty good reason but I really need to rethink these in the future. It seems like something always happens to screw me up. I'm not making excuses, I just need to not commit to such things publicly. That way when I fail, no one needs to know about it. I do still want to try to get rid of a bag a day ... someday.

Yesterday I managed to venture outside to walk to the post office. On my way a cat ran across the road and ran under a big ole SUV (which was in motion at the time). I managed to see the cat walking safely between two houses so I was relieved that it was OK. And then, the driver of said SUV drove around the block and stopped to ask me what it was that he may have hit and was the animal OK. Hooray for humanity!

Raise your hand if as a child you were obsessed with the Little House on the Prairie books. Please picture my hand firmly raised in the air. I owned the box set of books and read them over and over. (I know that those books moved with us to this house but I'm not sure if they survived Aaron's purging.) Anyway, Jana at The Townhouse Pioneer is hosting a Little House Book Club. It's super low-pressure; basically we're just reading one of the books per month. AND if you go here in the next three days, you can enter to win a complete set of books!

Speaking of giveaways, I'm participating in one with my sister-from-another-mister Steph. It's a stress relief package from Bath & Body Works, and includes hand soap, smoothing scrub, body wash, body cream, and a three-wick candle all in eucalyptus spearmint from the Aromatherapy line. As a recovering tax accountant, this time of year used to be super stressful for me, but who can't use some stress relief? I'm not savvy enough to include the giveaway entries myself, but if you go here, you can enter! And speaking of Steph, tomorrow I'm guest posting on her blog and you won't want to miss that.