Rebuilding a Mazda 3: Part One

Hm, let’s start with my title.

My little stop-me-I’m-speeding-red daily driver Mazda 3 wasn’t hit (since last June, but that damage was fixed by the other guy’s insurance company) and didn’t strand me on the road (today anyway – last time it did was early December of 2012, when I was still in radiation therapy), but needed quite a bit of work:

– air conditioning compressor (that’s what crapped out on me and stranded me on the side of the road last December, thereby creating a 5-hour detour for me between my house and radiation therapy – never mind the fact that I was supposed to work that day.  Yep, never did make it to work that day)
– motor mount(s) (knew one was broken, decided to change all three since this is a known weakness on this car – turns out when they were all replaced that all 3 of the existing ones were busted – facepalm!) – Oh, and the new ones are black and red and grey and on my, so sexy!  I know, I’m weird, but I’ve found a few people who appreciate my weirdness, so it’s ok)
– shocks (one was leaking – I have 150,000 miles on the car, so that’s not the biggest surprise in the world)

Since some serious work was being done: all four tires coming off to do the shocks, the air conditioning compressor is on the passenger Bottom side (not a typo) of the engine and the motor mounts are two on top, one on the bottom of the engine, and because I can’t emotionally deal with flipping a car right now, not to mention the financials don’t support it (so we’re hedging against another 5 years with my little baby), the “while we” list got kinda long:

– struts, shock boots (to go with the new shocks)
– brake pads (we new at least one end needed to be done – let’s do ’em both)
– brake rotors (turns out this was a good decision, as Hubby said he didn’t think my old ones had another turn in them)
– rear adjustable camber arms (another Mazda 3 weakness – for some odd reason the OEM camber arms set such an angle that this car eats tires faster than it should – aftermarket adjustable units should let us adjust the rear suspension to stop doing that)
– radiator and new coolant
– transmission filter and new tranny fluid
– thermostat
– cooling system flush
– spark plugs
– oil filter and new oil
– air filter
– all light bulbs, both fore and aft
– water pump (this has failed at some point in every car Hubby or I have ever owned and I was starting to hear that tell-tale squeak which often presages a water pump failure)

I’m sure I’m forgetting something which, when I remember it, I’ll let you know about in a new post!

The photos below are what my baby looked like this past Saturday afternoon at 4:00 pm.  This morning when I went to work (leaving Hubby at home to continue working on it after calling in “I have no idea what” to work), it looked pretty much the same, but had lots more new parts on it than when these photos were taken.

Last night when the work was over and it was dinner time, Hubby said most of the “big-tool” jobs were done.  You know, the ones where power tools are used and/or something needs to be bashed on (which feel a bit risky with nothing but 4 little jacks holding up my baby – but those jacks ROCK!  Seriously, they’re Extremely Stable and took all the bashing Hubby had to do with brake work and shock work and all.  I’m just more comfortable being there overseeing the jobs that could get Hubby or the car hurt).  The only other “big-tool” job is reconnecting a belt after installation of the air conditioning compressor.  Everything else is what he calls detail work – tedious, but no big forces required.

He said if he worked on it another day, he thought it would be “drivable.”  Well, not so I can drive it to work since some of my lights won’t be here ’til Wednesday and we’re not putting the whole front end back together just to take part of it off again to replace light bulbs – but drivable enough so he could wander out to test drive the suspension and engine component repairs for safety and bedding in.

So I have no idea what it’ll look like when I come home tonight, but this was from Saturday afternoon (and still substantially looked the same this morning):

2013-04-06 16.03.12

2013-04-06 16.04.21

2013-04-06 16.04.16

2013-04-06 16.03.57

2013-04-06 16.03.22

2013-04-06 16.03.31

2013-04-06 16.03.44

2013-04-06 16.03.54

*****

Song Lyrics That Speak to Me – Call Me When You’re Sober by Evanescence

Call Me When You’re Sober by Evanescence

Call me when you're sober

Don’t cry to me.
If you loved me,
You would be here with me.
You want me,
Come find me.
Make up your mind.

Should I let you fall?
Lose it all?
So maybe you can remember yourself.
Can’t keep believing,
We’re only deceiving ourselves .
And I’m sick of the lie,
And you’re too late.

Don’t cry to me.
If you loved me,
You would be here with me.
You want me,
Come find me.
Make up your mind.

Couldn’t take the blame.
Sick with shame.
Must be exhausting to lose your own game.
Selfishly hated,
No wonder you’re jaded.
You can’t play the victim this time,
And you’re too late.

Don’t cry to me.
If you loved me,
You would be here with me.
You want me,
Come find me.
Make up your mind.

You never call me when you’re sober.
You only want it cause it’s over,
It’s over.

How could I have burned paradise?
How could I – you were never mine.

So don’t cry to me.
If you loved me,
You would be here with me.
Don’t lie to me,
Just get your things.
I’ve made up your mind.

This one is for those to whom most of it applies, and I don’t mean the alcoholic bit.

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.

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.

Interesting What People Do and Don’t Notice

Contact lens

Contact lens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve worked at my current employer for a year and eight months.

In that time, not once have I worn my glasses.

Today I’m wearing them because one of my eyes is bothering me enough that I don’t want to put a contact lens in it . . .

. . . and not one person has noticed.

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012-2013 All Rights Reserved.

Awakening

I think cancer is causing this awakening for me…

awakening

There comes a time in your life when you finally get it … When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out “ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling t…o hold on.” And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world from a new perspective………..This is your awakening.

You realize that it is time to stop hoping and waiting for something or someone to change, or for happiness safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that there aren’t always fairytale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you. Then a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

So you begin making your way through the “reality of today” rather than holding out for the “promise of tomorrow.” You realize that much of who you are and the way you navigate through life is, in great part, a result of all the social conditioning you’ve received over the course of a lifetime. And you begin to sift through all the nonsense you were taught about :

– how you should look and how much you should weigh,
– what you should wear and where you should shop,
– where you should live or what type of car you should drive,
– who you should sleep with and how you should behave,
– who you should marry and why you should stay,
– the importance of bearing children or what you owe your family,

Slowly you begin to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin re-assessing and re-defining who you are and what you really believe in. And you begin to discard the doctrines you have outgrown, or should never have practiced to begin with.

-Sonny Carroll (Awakening)

~via Soulfire Sacred Bodywork~

This is beautiful, and I think true for me, thanks to my breast cancer, and is put in a very positive light.

I don’t think it necessarily feels so positive to some other people in my life.

As I go through this transformation:

– I may be less likely to have conversations they want to have because I Don’t want to have it.
– I may be less likely to respond in conversation the way they expect me to.
– I may be less likely to respond to them in other ways they way they expect me to.
– I may not give them the time and/or attention they want or expect.

I think you probably see where I’m going here.  I’m simply no longer the person they think I am or who I actually used to be.  From my perspective it is all personal and positive – I Literally do not have time and/or energy to devote to things I no longer care about – and I do not do this out of Any malice whatsoever.  Still, I realize it can be disconcerting and confusing.  But that’s for them to work out, not me.

I’m definitely still in transition, a limbo I am accepting and quietly ‘being’ with until it shifts in its own time.  I don’t know who I’ll be when I come out the other end or what my (personal) life will look like or who will and won’t be in it.  (The basics of my life – Hubby, home, work are not likely to change – but even they, I suppose, could – NOT that I’m looking for them to.)

I’ll keep you posted.

Personal reflections – Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012-2013 All Rights Reserved.

100th Post: I Wore a Bra Today…

…all day, without padding my nipple with a nursing pad, and not once did my nipple harden and hurt for no discernible reason!

Well, not until I thought that it hadn’t and then, of course, it gave me a Zotz just to remind me it was still there.

I was composing this post in my head on my commute home, and let me tell you it was clever!

But, of course, after getting home, putting food stuff in the kitchen, realizing I left my iPad at work (confirmed by Find iPhone on my phone), getting out of work clothes and into snugglies…

…all that cleverness has evaporated.

Add to that evaporation the tiredness from the Tamoxifen (less than a week in and on only 5mg a day, for those in the know – does not bode too well going forward, eh?) and articulate speech goes nigh out the window.

That bra Also did Not hurt in either axilla – a definite problem the last time I wore one, so…

snoopy-happy-dance

Happy Dance!

Okay, theoretical Happy Dance (no Actual dance cuz of Tamoxifen fatigue, among other side effects already, to be shared in upcoming “Tamoxifen Journal” posts).

Or at least (hopefully) for another month or so until I have more surgery – possibly going in through the nipple(s), sending me back to step one with it(them)…

…but still!  I had today!

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012-2013 All Rights Reserved.