March 21, 2013: Mammogram/Ultrasound

*****

Nope, Those Aren't Mine.

Nope, Those Aren’t Mine.

Well, things have been pretty quiet here since missing my Grandmother’s unveiling.  That one hit me hard – the repercussions of which are still setting my head spinning . . . but that is a subject for another post on another day (that is Still processing).

On to today’s topic.  My post-active-treatment (except for my second and hopefully last reconstructive surgery) life Does in fact go on, one day at a time.

Since my last post, we’ve had The Great Anti-Hormonal Experiment of 2013 – which was an unqualified failure, and is now over!  (Ten days on Tamoxifen before I became near completely non-functional, then [after a detox period] Six days on Raloxifene [Pre-menopausal use is apparently a new off-label use of what was only a post-menopausal drug] to start going down the same road as Tamoxifen).

Tamoxifen

My medical oncologist doesn’t know I stopped taking the second one.  Why not?  Well, making that phone call, then being basically “on call” during my working hours for his call-back to tell him that was not going to change the fact that I’m not taking it anymore.  I need to not be “on call” for a doctor calling me back every goddamn workday of my life.  And I’m seeing him again in two weeks (geez, has it really been almost three months since my last in-person visit with him Already?!) anyway, so I’ll tell him then.

Which basically skims over some shit I’ve been dealing with, the details of which may or may not ever “grace” the pages of this, my blog, to turn a phrase (:)), and catches us up to last week.

I made yesterday’s appointment six months ago – in August of last year – at my last cancer surgery follow up appointment.

First, they call me the week before the appointment to tell me that I have to come in an hour earlier than it was scheduled (thereby taking Another hour off work – which I have to make up) because there won’t be a radiologist there to read the films.  I’m sorry, what?

So, I deal with this, then try to make sure I’m getting Both a mammogram And an ultrasound.

You see, I have dense breasts, so having a mammogram alone actually isn’t even going to tell us what we want to know.  Therefore, I’m not going to go in and get my tender girls mauled for basically no good reason (and to Not get the information we’re trying to get).

Then I show up to see the work Unilat on my paperwork?  Is that, um, “Unilateral?”  As in they’re just going to test one side?  Um, no.

They’re both here, check them both.

I’m told that insurance won’t pay for checking the right boob (i.e., the one on the right side of my body, and the one that did not have cancer in it last year) because it has been less than a year since it was checked and I can come back in June (in three months from now) to check that one.

june_calendar_2013_H6X

So, you’re saying my two breasts are going to be on separate mammogram schedules?  Um, please refer to my comment above – NO!  That’s just stupid, and although I didn’t do stupid well before cancer – let me tell you I do it even less well now.  They’re both here now and I’m not going anywhere until they’re both checked out – thanks for playing!

I went half-postal on almost half a dozen people in that place getting them to understand that we were checking Both of my breasts, and if necessary I would have the “that’s just Stupid!” conversation with my insurance company.

But it turns out it won’t be necessary.  You see, they found something in my right breast on the ultrasound.  They tell me it looks like a cyst and my cancer surgeon gave me a choice of “wait and watch” or biopsy.

Hm, let me think – I’ve had breast cancer WITHIN THE LAST CALENDAR YEAR!  So, I’m NOT so much in a ‘wait and watch’ frame of mind – let’s stick that bitch and know for sure!

So, tomorrow morning at 8:00 am I’m having my second breast biopsy in less than a year.

Book Excerpts: Barefoot Season by Susan Mallery

*****

Barefoot Season by Susan Mallery

” . . . Once in the truck, she glanced at the house.  From the outside, it wasn’t much.  But to her it was everything she needed.  A place to retreat and lick her wounds.  Somewhere she didn’t have to pretend.  Sanctuary. . . .”

Thankfully, I have somewhere like that – my bed at home.  I’ve been spending a lot of time in it the last six months or so.  It’s a place I can go and shut the world out.  I’ve needed to do that for physical and emotional healing while I deal with the cancer and its effects on my body and mind – my life.  I’m glad it’s here for me, as I expect to need it off and on for quite a while yet.

” . . . “I’m sure her time in the army has changed her.”
Carly rinsed out the dishcloth and hung it over the sink.  “How do you know that?  You barely knew her before.”
“How could war not change someone?”

Right, so the current language is that a cancer patient “fights” the cancer.  ‘Nuff said.  Or if you don’t get what I’m saying from that, please see “Awakening.”

“She had to admit, looking better made her feel a little better.  More here rather than in some kind of emotional limbo.”

Emotional limbo – been there, know that place.  It’s not Always a bad place to be.  Sometimes it’s a way station for where one needs to go while necessary subsurface processing happens.

“. . .” You’re not stupid and you’re not alone.  We all do things that don’t make sense to other people.”

I’m sensing a theme here.  I like it.  I resemble that remark.

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012-2013 All Rights Reserved.

2013 Reading Challenges: Deliberate Abandonment

*****

REading frog

Abandonment.  That’s a word that usually has me diving for under the covers to take to my bed like the good Southern woman I’m Not (yep, born and raised here in SoCali and me with no blonde hair Or blue eyes- can you believe such a thing?!) and hide until the monster goes away.

But in true incorrigible, defiant (See “Quotes That Speak to Me“) woman style, I’m going to take that which terrifies me (always has) and use it as I see fit.

Specifically, in this context, I am, after much thought and deliberation, abandoning the reading challenges I so happily took on at the end of last year.

Not because I’m not reading anymore.  It’s precisely the opposite in fact.

I found that it wasn’t so much writing the reviews that was turning into another “to do (although that is a problem too),” but it felt like work to match it to all the reading challenges it worked for, then find the latest challenge linky post for that challenge and link it there.  It all became too much “to do,” and sometimes I’d just rather be reading the next book (most of the time, in fact).

Plus, I found myself picking books according to if it would fit a (or more than one) reading challenge, rather than something I was really excited to open up and get lost in.  And I love reading for the escapism (yes, books are cheaper and less self-destructive than other coping mechanisms), and the education (at 46 years old, I’m learning new words in the book I’m reading now) both.  So I didn’t want something that I didn’t “have to” do spoiling my lifelong love of books.

Therefore, I am consciously abandoning my reading challenges.  I will still post Excerpts and Reviews, but only when and because I wanna, not because I committed to doing so for no necessary reason.

So, from here on out, keep your eyes peeled for my Book Excerpts and Book Reviews, which will continue to show up – when I decide and for no other reason than that.

Quotes That Speak To Me

*****

defiant woman

As I posted on FB when I shared this there:

Um, no, I’m there. I haven’t actually heard it verbally from people in my life, but they sure have treated me like they think I am.

Oh, and um, I’ve gotten flack from some people in my life (who shall remain completely un-referenced) who recognize themselves and don’t like that I share here how their actions make me feel.  Hence, my (for the moment – I reserve the right to change my mind at any time for any reason, and surely will at some point) deliberate and extreme vagueness and referred anonymity.

Grandma’s Unveiling: The Night Before

gravestone

I’ve been antsy all day, for a couple of reasons, one of which is my Grandmother’s Unveiling is tomorrow.

That means my Aunt & Uncle and two cousins (one with wife and new baby as well) are in town.

We were going to have the ceremony and then brunch following . . . except that this afternoon my Aunt emailed us that she is ill, therefore they will be returning to the East Coast earlier than planned and brunch is cancelled.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m sorry that she’s ill.  And of course we all (but me in particular) now have to be careful tomorrow so as to not catch whatever creeping crud she’s got.

Plus, when tomorrow should be about my Grandmother (her mother), and maybe just a tiny bit about me since most of them haven’t seen me in many months (and, you know, I’m not doing anything interesting or difficult – it’s just Cancer Treatment), now it’s going to be about her with whatever transient illness she’s got.

Add to this the following facts that have not escaped my notice:

– after I was not able to commit two days prior to being at Thanksgiving and so did not see them on that occasion, not one of them has seen fit to check in with me at all – no text, no email, no phone call

– this is the first time in my living memory that I did not get a holiday gift from my Aunt and Uncle (it very well could be that they chose this year to change tradition because it was the first year there is a child in the next generation after me, which I can understand as a seemingly reasonable time to change things – still, the timing as to me is unfortunate and hurtful)

– I know the whole East Coast clan has been here certainly since yesterday and perhaps earlier in the week and there has been no direct contact whatsoever, let alone an invitation to get together outside the formal ceremony and related gathering tomorrow

Isn’t family wonderful?  (That one’s rhetorical.)

Am I being fair?  Maybe not.

Is my viewpoint a tad skewed toward selfish?  Entirely possible.

Does it still hurt me and piss me off?  You betcha!

Hopefully having posted this will help me sleep well tonight so as to be rested and ready to defend myself against further hurt tomorrow, but if this isn’t enough catharsis, I’ve got a full bottle of Benadryl and I’m not afraid to use it!

Book Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Read by Kevin Collins

Beautiful Creatures

From Goodreads.com:

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps, and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything….

My Thoughts on the Matter:

Possible Spoiler Alert!

First, this is an audiobook, so I “listened to” it rather than “read” it.  With audiobooks, the narrator can often make or break a book.  In this case the narrator is fantastic, so good job choosing him.

Speaking of ‘him,’ I hit the end of this book in the middle of my commute one day and wasn’t sure I had the next one in the series downloaded and ready to go.  Consequently, I ended up listening to the first part of an interview with the authors that was tacked on to the end of the audiobook.

The first thing the interviewer focused on was the fact that, unlike much of YA these days, our book is written from a boy’s point of view instead of a girl’s point of view.  This point of the interview caught my attention, because it was something that had not occurred to me once during my “listen” of the book.  I say this as a compliment to the authors.  This was done so well that I Did Not notice it as being out of the norm, and it Did Not interfere with the story drawing me in, which it most certainly did.

Also, the authors have written a very smart book, bringing new and clever language to the age-old themes of good vs. evil and human vs. non-human (or not-entirely-human).  I love the names they give to categories of creatures.  They’re creative and make sense at the same time.

The story takes you where you want it to go, sometimes, and skillfully exposes new information along the way, keeping the reader interested without straying from the realm of (created) possibility.  It seemed to me one plot line in the book could only end one way, but it didn’t – I totally didn’t see this end coming, and it beautifully leads into the rest of the series.

I have to tell you when I hit the end of this book in the middle of my commute and realized I’d not downloaded the next one so I could go directly to it “without passing ‘go’,” so to speak, I was Pissed!  That’s how much it sucked me in…highly recommended!

This book has been reviewed for the 2013 Audio Book Challenge (and added to its page).  It is owned by me, was acquired from Audible.com, and cost $4.95.

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012-2013 All Rights Reserved.

Book Review: Barefoot Season by Susan Mallery

Barefoot Season by Susan Mallery

From Goodreads.com:

Michelle Sanderson may appear to be a strong, independent woman, but on the inside, she’s still the wounded girl who fled home years ago. A young army vet, Michelle returns to the quaint Blackberry Island Inn to claim her inheritance and recover from the perils of war. Instead, she finds the owner’s suite occupied by the last person she wants to see.

Carly Williams and Michelle were once inseparable, until a shocking betrayal destroyed their friendship. And now Carly is implicated in the financial disaster lurking behind the inn’s cheerful veneer.

Single mother Carly has weathered rumors, lies and secrets for a lifetime, and is finally starting to move forward with love and life. But if the Blackberry Island Inn goes under, Carly and her daughter will go with it.

To save their livelihoods, Carly and Michelle will undertake a turbulent truce. It’ll take more than a successful season to move beyond their devastating past, but with a little luck and a beautiful summer, they may just rediscover the friendship of a lifetime.

My Thoughts on the Matter:

I read this book today.  Yes, in one day.  Overall I found it a nice, light, quick read.

Ms. Mallery skillfully takes the plot where I wanted it to go, with a few surprises along the way.  This is a book of a woman finding her way back to herself, to who she was but as she’s also been shaped by her life so far, along with those around her who affect and are affected by her journey.  Helping things along are some misconceptions that get cleared up, some moments of characters temporarily letting down their defensive walls, and the book ends up with plenty of happy endings to go around.

I found it interesting (and worth bookmarking to try even) that Ms. Mallery employs a method of including extra value in her book that I first saw used by Debbie Macomber (who has used both cooking and knitting recipes), by putting a couple of recipes that feature prominently in the story into the back of the book.  I may actually make her version of chicken salad and see what I think.

If you’re looking for some very well-done escapism with a deeper meaning if you’re in the frame of mind to see it, I definitely recommend this book.

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012-2013 All Rights Reserved.