The Boob Report – A Comedy of Terrors

After being diagnosed with breast cancer, all doctor appointments become a big deal especially since the drugs I’ve been on have side effects. It can be terrifying.

hot as hellLast week, I went to an OB/GYN appointment and a wrist and knee follow-up. I worried they all could go south, like in the Deep South of hell where it is as hot as hell since that’s what it is. After having several surgeries, I want to avoid any more of them at all cost. I scheduled a facial afterward, my first in years, as a reward.

OB?? Yeah. I got my period for the first time in three years on December 29th. My OB/GYN had told me to come right in if I had ANY kind of bleeding after ONE year. Full on sad, depressing PMS for two days should have been my first clue.

I’d been on Tamoxifen which can mess with hormones and is why my period probably stopped in the first place. I switched to Anastrozole this August since my oncologist believed I was post-menopausal and Tamoxifen has some cancer-causing side-affects. It caused night sweats and hot flashes.

After being off Tamoxifen for a week, the pit in my anxiety-filled stomach disappeared along with the other symptoms. To say I was stoked was an understatement. Anastrozole can cause osteoporosis. Not as bad, but still bad. Did you hear I broke my wrist?

The whoosh of bleeding and my “Oh, shit!” moment happened at night while binge-watching Homeland. I wasn’t about to go anywhere. Instead I did what anyone would do to calm her nerves.

I Googled it.

OH, MY GOD. WHAT A MISTAKE! I freaked and thought I would bleed out while sleeping that night. I almost called my family to say my goodbyes, but figured that would be way too dramatic and they would be annoyed if they worried all night and I survived.

When I was still alive the next day, I called my doctor. He and the phone nurse assured me as long as the bleeding wasn’t uncontrollable, I was probably okay.

It turned out to be a period, complete with a trip to the grocery where I was tempted to proudly tell people, “This box of tampons isn’t for my daughter. It’s for me. Haha!”

Humorous breast cancer storiesYeah, I know the bleeding could indicate a lot of bad things. But I had an endometrial biopsy last September. Don’t worry. It came back negative. Last week’s appointment was scheduled back then. My doctor was taking precautions. According to him, a biopsy is usually good for one year.

Doctors don’t fool around if cancer is on your permanent record. That is a very good thing. I like the pro-active approach.

During my follow up appointment, my doctor said he would be amazed if I started getting regular periods after all I’ve been through. You should have seen his face when I said, “I hope I’m getting my periods again. My wrinkles won’t come in as fast.” I must be in the minority…of one.

Did I mention that he rescued me during last summer’s biopsy?

Last summer I had a routine pap and pelvic. My OB-GYN Physician’s Assistant thought my uterus seemed larger when examining my womanly innard skinnards. She ordered a pelvic ultrasound.

Well, how do I describe this? Hmm. They put a condom on it. Continue reading

THINK BIG!

Think (1)

Monday morning, I drank my first cup of coffee of the day and alternated between checking blog stats and answering comments. Then a very loud voice shouted in my head.

“THINK BIG!”

I stopped what I was doing. What did you say? Think big?

“YOU’RE THINKING TOO SMALL,” the voice bellowed again.

I sat up and pondered this scream from my sub-conscious self.

It usually criticized and said cruel things like, “Are you ever going to stop surfing the Internet and get something done today?” Or “You are such a gimp. You wouldn’t have broken your wrist if you had gotten into shape after knee surgery last year.” Or, “You have no life. Make a plan.”

I immediately thought of how my voice was right. I was thinking too small. As part of my resolutions I had committed to blogging more frequently and have been working to get into a daily routine to finish old and new projects.

IDEAL SCHEDULE:

  1. Catch up on blogging and social media.
  2. Write new blog post.
  3. Hit exercise bike.
  4. Write a few chapters in my new book
  5. Work on querying first book series.

Like I said, I had been working on it, but hadn’t quite mastered the routine.

MONDAY’S ACTUAL SCHEDULE:

  1. Checked on blog and social media.
  2. Wrote new blog post.
  3. Checked on blog and Twitter.
  4. Postponed hitting exercise bike until afternoon.
  5. Checked on blog, Twitter and Facebook.
  6. Wrote one new chapter.
  7. Checked on blog stats and social media.
  8. Thought about hitting the exercise bike.
  9. Rewrote blog post.
  10. Checked blog stats and comments.
  11. Finally rode a few miles while reading a book.
  12. Watched The Bachelor while checking my blog stats, answering comments, live tweeting, and rewriting my blog post and then checked stats again.

Do you see a vicious cycle occurring?

Tuesday morning, I had a conversation in my head. Yes. I’ve embraced talking to myself:

ME: So how can I think bigger?

THOUGHTS: How about planning to hike Everest?

ME: Too big and I think you were talking about something more career related, right? Continue reading

BEWARE of Cyberspace Snake Oil!

Have you been bought?

Seduced by the glitz, the glam, attracting paparazzi like steel filings to a magnet, and for some, the bouffant hairdo their personal stylist creates, many are in a full-out sprint to the top. They don’t care what they have to do to get there. Nothing is comparable to feeling adored and having screaming fans shout out, “We want more! We want more!” They sneeze and fans applaud.

Beware of snake oil salesmen

 

Most of us, like 99.99%, will never experience this. But what if you could buy this feeling?

Would you consider buying people to like you?

Continue reading

An Open Letter to My Left Hand

Dear Left Hand,

I am sincerely sorry for falling on you and breaking one of Wrist’s bones. It was painful. What might have been worse was the relief I felt when realizing your superior twin, Right Hand didn’t break, because it’s like my, never mind. You have been in a rivalry since birth, but that isn’t what I meant.

An open letLet me start by thanking you for not waking me up at night. It must be difficult while being restricted by the air cast. You’ve never complained, except for when you reflexively tried to grasp the lettuce box as it slipped from Right Hand. I felt that yelp of pain.

I’m sure you think I like Right Hand best. I use it a lot more often than you and the truth is I find it stronger and more dexterous. So I’ll admit that I am guilty of this favoritism.

I shouldn’t have been so insensitive when frustrated by your limitations in the past.

When I heard that it was good for you to be used, I let you blow-dry my hair. You missed my head altogether. Then you tried to brush it, but couldn’t get the angle of the bristles into the strands. The worst was when you bruised my gums when brushing my teeth.

I oftentimes have no idea what you are doing. Continue reading

Want to change your luck?

How lucky are you? Lightning has struck my pointy head several times in my life. I’m that person, but believe you have to play in order to win. So when I drove to pick up Danny after skiing late Saturday afternoon, I made a pitstop at City Market to buy a Powerball ticket. I assumed there would be a long line and was glad he waited inside the Grand Lodge at Peak 7. The sun had set behind the Ten Mile Range and the temperature dove.

primark line

I thought the line would be as long as this one.

Across the country, hopeful winners waited in long lines to purchase their winning tickets. Not at this Breckenridge grocery store. No line existed.

I haven’t played in over a year and messed up the first two tickets. Luckily, no one waited behind me. When I finally filled in the little empty squares properly, the clerk asked, “So if you win, will you take the lump sum or a yearly payout? They take about sixty percent in taxes.”

The sound of a needle scratching a record drowned out the hum of bustling shoppers and Muzak playing from overhead speakers.

Whoa. That’s a lot of money for Uncle Sam. It doesn’t really seem fair since he doesn’t buy a ticket and then sweat while looking up the winning numbers.

“I don’t know. Probably a yearly payout.”

Chances were 1 out of 292,000,000 and nobody won. If you lived in an unplugged world for the last few days, you probably don’t know the jackpot grew to 1.3 BILLION!

I Googled the tax. They take 40% of the one-time payout. You would pay 4% in taxes if you live in Colorado and choose the thirty-year payout. Would I want Sammy boy to hang on to my money? I’m not sure. I would LOVE to have that problem.

There is quite a range of taxes. It depends on where you live. I got this from the USA Mega Millions Site: Continue reading

When Best Laid Plans Go Wrong

While waiting for my name to be called in urgent care, I thought about the last two days. No matter how much you plan, life has its own ideas. And why do they call it urgent care? There never seems to be any urgency at all.

me

It all started on Monday. Taking my own advice from A Tiny Tale of Terror, I purchased a planner and jotted down to-do lists for the week. It felt satisfying to cross off small steps toward my 2016 goals, but I was up in the air about Wednesday. Our mountain house is in the midst of a remodel and my husband, Danny, planned to drive up to check it out.

Angst formed in my gut. I considered going, but the round-trip drive would take four hours out of my day. “Why are you going?” I asked. “We’re paying a contractor to handle all of this for us.”

He shrugged and said, “You don’t have to go.” Unhindered by my concerns, he drove up. I decided to work at home. The angst in my gut twisted into a tight knot.

After working all morning, the Colorado warm before the storm drew me outside to take down Christmas decorations. It was another chore on my list and forecasters predicted snow to roll in late Thursday.

Angst evaporated in the afternoon sun. I made progress.

As I turned a corner to continue stuffing artificial garlands into a container, I slipped.

My brain went into s l o w  m o t i o n. That has never happened to me before. It’s always in hyperdrive. Talk about a crazy feeling.

One second slowed down to thirty.

THOUGHT PROCESS: Continue reading

When There Are No Words

I never have writer’s block. Words pop into my mind all day and all night in my dreams. They pop out of my mouth when I least expect it. Ask anyone.

Tell me to pick ONE word to symbolize 2016 and I go blank.

words

Diana S. Schwenk from Talk to Diana and The Bloggess brought the one word challenge to my attention. Diana chose “tenacity” in 2014, “service” in 2015 and “love” for 2016. The Bloggess chose “simple.”

Those were the words I was going to choose. GAH! Several other words crossed my mind and then swirled away in the wind like January snowflakes.

I’m pretty stoked for the new year, so “go” came to mind. It seemed a little too high energy. I don’t want to burn out by February.

Several Aries horoscopes suggested writing down goals and checking them off lists to keep me grounded and feeling like I accomplish something this year. This was after my last post about the SAME THING! Great astrological minds think alike. Wait. I don’t have one of those... Anyway, “grounded” seemed too blah or like I would be in “time-out” for a year. Not good.

When driving down from the mountains took longer than expected, I tuned into the week’s Top 40 Countdown. 

And then this happened. Continue reading

You Still Have a Chance!

I have spent hours sketching, drawing, crafting, cutting, slicing and pasting my Christmas cards in a sort of elf-like assembly line without the elves. While up to my elbows in paper scraps, I looked forward to that blissful nirvanic state attained after slipping them into envelopes.

A lot of love goes into each card and I would like to share it! Here’s your chance to win one.

Elf materials

Every year, I draw my family engaging in some kind of holiday or winter activity.

Guess what we are doing in this year’s card, leave a comment, and win!

Merry, merry!

 

Transition – A Photo Essay

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Seasonal transition in Colorado often means snow, one of my favorite things. What’s your favorite?

This is a response to The Weekly Photo Challenge – Transition. 

What was she thinking?

Fierce Bichon1

We all can be impulsive from time to time. We don’t think before speaking or can behave recklessly. I size up most situations, but sometimes it’s difficult to anticipate the reactions to our actions.

I’ll never understand my dog, Roxy. She’s a Bichon who is pint-sized at a whomping fifteen pounds of fur and energy. She’s submissive to us although she can be “independent” like most dogs.

When a dog is about Roxy’s size, she will play for hours. The kennel workers love her since she is “gregarious” and “super friendly,” much like her owner. She shies away from larger dogs.

With coyotes she gets a Wild Hair. We have a pack who frequently sniffs around our yard. It’s a part of living in Boulder County. We live in their territory. I respect them and try to stay out of their way.

Roxy doesn’t see it that way. She thinks she owns this plot of land and God help anyone or thing that trespasses.

Fierce 3

My office is upstairs with the best views of the house. While typing yet another query letter late yesterday afternoon, Roxy sat in her usual spot up on the back of couch. She likes to keep a watchful eye from her perch.

She growled and then barked. I assumed someone walked by with a dog. I kept typing. When she flew off the couch and rocketed through the house with a frenzied howl, I knew it was trouble. That particular yap is reserved for coyotes. Continue reading

The House Sitter – 450 Word Flash Fiction

haunting house

After turning off the ignition, the wiper blades stopped their rhythmic beat and Megan stepped into the mist. She pulled the mail from the wrought iron box and then shook rainwater from the plastic sleeve covering the newspaper. Glancing at the Victorian home cloaked in a gray shroud, she shrugged uneasy feelings from her tight shoulders. The home was horror movie cliché with its peeling paint and saggy railings propped up around its wraparound porch. Taking care of the Friedmans’ house while they traveled through Europe was easy pocket money, but something about it creeped her out. One more week.

She avoided stepping in puddles on the uneven sidewalk and made her way to the front door under a canopy of ancient oak trees. Megan imagined they stood guard with watchful eyes hidden within gnarled trunks until their knobby and arthritic branched arms reached out with claw-like fingers to snatch a length of her long hair. She shuddered.

Tapping the number into the lockbox, she retrieved the skeleton key Continue reading

Drop and Hop for New Followers, If You Dare…

Boston graveyard

Want new followers? The party starts right now. It will be fast and fun. Speed is good especially when zombies may lurk and your name is whispered by the wind. OooOOoooOOOoooo…..

DROP a link to your blog in the comments, including a pitch, describing what you write about.

haunted drop and hop

HOP to other blogs and check them out. Like what you see? Subscribe. Want them to know you came from the Drop and Hop Party? Tell them, “Susie sent me,” and they should click back to your haunt.

Blast this link on Twitter and Facebook or whatever flavor social media you prefer. The more that participate, the more followers you will gain.

The witch’s brew is bubbling and the finger sandwiches are fresh. The barista can make anything you like. The bar is always open.

The party will last as long as the ever living dead, so stop by anytime. 

Enjoy!

Please consider following my blog too, or else…. *insert cackle here*

 

Played by Inspiration

Nantucket Pier

Inspiration is an ephemeral ghost shimmering over shadows, cloaking deep and empty crevices of my mind. She appears from dark recesses and cobwebbed chambers in a momentary flash only to hide once again. I have tried to seek her out, but I do not know the rules of this game for she keeps changing them.

Sometimes she floats into common conversation forcing me to shift my view to see the world in a different slant of light.

Other times she appears in Technicolor dreams where she becomes my muse and skips through fantastic Continue reading

Now Everyone Can Sing Happy Birthday!

In 1893, Patty and Mildred Hill composed the Good Morning Song and sang it to Patty’s kindergarten class. In 1922, the sisters published the Everyday Song Book containing the Good Morning and Birthday Song. The Summy Company bought the rights in 1935. For the next eighty years royalties have been collected for singing the popular tune. When Warner/Chappell bought the song in 1988, singing it in movies, restaurants, or any other paying venue, could cost up to $10,000. That’s why you seldom hear the song sung in movies. Restaurants like Red Robin composed their own Happy Birthday song to stay out of trouble. Customers could sing it in restaurants, but not the staff.

Happy Birthday Song

On September 22nd, after years of disputing the rights to the song, Continue reading

The Moose is Loose!

I have always wanted to shoot a moose… with my camera. They are huge animals which can be aggressive and dangerous. They are also majestic and fearless, qualities I have always admired.

A few years ago, I freaked out and fumbled with my phone as a cow and her calf pranced by the liftline in Breckenridge. By the time I pulled off my mittens to take the shot, they had dashed into the forest.

Last Friday night, Danny and I walked the Pearl Street in Boulder after dinner. We stopped in a shop and I overheard a conversation about a moose encounter. The man and his wife had dropped off their daughter at CU and then hiked Brainard Lake, about forty-five minutes away in the mountains.

“I want to see a moose,” I whined like a two-year-old.

He pulled out his phone and showed me the extraordinary photos of a bull moose whose antlers were in velvet. Can you imagine stumbling over them in the spring? Whoa…

I Jonesed for a moose encounter, but Danny planned to play golf on Saturday afternoon. He doesn’t doesn’t have the opportunity very often. He had a meeting on Sunday. Hiking would have to wait.

With rising temperatures Saturday morning along with smoke from Western fires, he hoped to finish some yard work in the morning while I hosted a Drop and Hop Party on my blog.

Then divine intervention occurred.

He cut his right hand with the hedge trimmer. I sent him to Urgent Care and then found out how it happened. I won’t laugh because the last time, this happened…

After four stitches (only a flesh wound between his index finger and thumb) he was told to skip tennis and golf for the next ten days.

Now the afternoon was WIDE OPEN!

“You want to hike Brainard Lake?” he asked.

“Yes!” I abandoned my party. We packed water and snacks in one backpack and then stuffed jackets into another. We drove up Lefthand Canyon.

Like we had expected, the temperature was in the low 70’s. There were others hiking, but it wasn’t crowded like Rocky Mountain National Park. That place is a zoo in the summer.

We hiked on a trail through the aspen and evergreen forest up a thousand feet to another small lake in the high alpine environment.

moose munch

It was ablaze with wildflowers.

We avoided loud conversationalists and listened for breaking branches. A dude with a boom box passed us with his posse. Okay. This is a wilderness area and the third time this year someone has blared music while hiking. What are they thinking?

I had to say something this time.

“Dude. Although I appreciate that your music is turned down to a reasonable level, this is a place where people go for peace and quiet. You should turn it off.”

The group kept walking. He yelled something back at me. I think he said, “Thanks! Have a nice day.” Pshh.

The temperature dropped and the wind picked up. I didn’t want to get caught in a storm. It was hard to tell what kind of weather was afoot with all the smoke. We turned around. Continue reading