just my thoughts


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tunnel vision

Been looking at this tunnel for months now.  This year hasn’t been the best, but I really can’t gripe much, because it could be worse.  Yes, things can get worse.  I’ve had those years too.  It’s been a while since I felt like pieces of the sky were falling, and hitting my head, but this year has taught me that it is time to bring out the safety helmet before the next piece of sky whacks me.

I don’t mean to sound negative, and I am sure that there are plenty of oh woe is me blogs out there, and I am really not that type of person.  Mostly I’ve been numb and just not dwelling on this cancer in my breast.  I am good at avoiding stuff. When things get tough, I have a knack for just not thinking about a problem if there is nothing I can do about it. I have to say, this problem has given me pause though. Time to think about where my life is, where I want it to go, and things I haven’t done that I want to do.  We all think about things that way sometimes, right?  I mean, I know I can’t be the only person who has felt these things.

I feel like I have kind of skipped all those stages of grief that Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote about, and just went straight to numb. As numb as the armpit and shoulder where the lymph node was removed.  I’m glad for small things, like finding out this cancer has a 94%ish cure rate, and that the lymph node was negative.  It almost makes me feel ashamed for feeling this numbness.  But it is there, and I can’t make it go away, so I am focusing now on the light at the end of the tunnel.  And allowing myself to be numb for the moment.  Thinking as I watch the clock tick away and the hours go by until this next surgery later this morning to remove the cancer cells that were missed, and that the tissue biopsy revealed.

So I look at Goliath and wonder what it will be like to have a breast with a crater in it, dread being put to sleep and the loss of control over my own body, dread the discomfort and pain afterward because I am so effing ready to be well again, and not this recovering surgery patient.  I want my effing life back, things back to normal.  I have SHIT TO DO.

So, hurry up sunrise, and let’s get this show on the road.  I have a life to live.

the light at the end of the tunnel

 My parting shot is a favorite Pink song, that exactly fits my mood right now…(alert, explicit language)…

Is there anything in life BETTER than rock and roll????  

 …life is good, dammit, so raise your glass!!… ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter


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life, washed down with cherry garcia

These thoughts go hand in hand with #FridayReflection prompt:  Reflect on the following quote: “Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.” – Janis Joplin

When life throws me a curve, I head for my standby coping skill…music.  Lately it’s been music from my past, and last night it was the Grateful Dead.  I decided I needed some ice cream to add to my cope plan (that is my weapon for extreme emotional punches to the gut).  And my go to flavor is Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia. I grabbed some, and then spotted my newest coping obsession beckoning enticingly from a shelf on my way out.  I swear I didn’t intend to do it, but suddenly they landed in the cart.

So last night was a time for ruminating, minimal communication with my family to keep them in my loop, and just vegging with music and a sugar high.  Because let’s face it, the Grateful Dead still effing rocks, and Cherry Garcia slides soothingly across your tongue.

Along with a big ahhhhh of a bite of Banana Hostess Twinkies, a new flavor in a cake that is as big a part of my past as the Beatles, Disneyland, Santa Monica Beach and on and on.

And I realized as I slurped, chewed and listened, that what is happening is a bump in the road, and not a mountain. So it is time to deal, and move on, not to whine or worry.  Time to focus on the present, and let the rest take care of itself.

Sometimes, when you are grateful to be alive, all you need is the Grateful Dead in your ears, and some Cherry Garcia to wash it down.

…life is good with a little cherry garcia on it…  ~cat
i am @jonesbabie on twitter
 


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sex, drugs, and rock & roll

#Friday Reflection prompt: Reflect on how it’s important to make the most out of life.

Several weeks ago Wretch noticed the Steve Miller Band was going to be performing  in concert  in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in June. I told her to book three tickets and we would drag Stevie Wonder along to it. We’d missed the Magic City Art Connection and Corks and Chefs on April 26 because SW decided to break his pacemaker that weekend. We gave away three tickets so that Wretch and I could spend the weekend watching SW lie in a hospital bed in ICU waiting for a new ticker on Monday.

At the end of May, after a couple months of testing and retesting with mammograms, ultrasound and needle biopsy, I got the verdict. Breast cancer, caught early, and was told the recommendation. Surgery (lumpectomy), radiation, and oral medication for a few years. Not a problem. I was ready.

Then it hit me.

The concert I had waited patiently for was in a couple weeks.

Oh hell no, I thought to myself. I am not missing this concert, or dodging elbows with a boob that is in a sling. I talked to the surgeon, and although my oldest daughter wasn’t keen on it (neither was middle sister when she found out later on), Wretch understood where my brain and heart were. With the music. The surgeon assured us I that I would not drop dead if I put my surgery off for 3 weeks.

So I did.

Sunday my ass was sitting in a pool of sweat in a plastic stadium seat heated to oven temps by the 90F setting sun at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater. I sipped a glass of red wine in a plastic cup, groped SW a bit, and enjoyed some of the best music from the 70’s played by a couple of great bands, now old farts like me. (Steve Miller is 71.)

And damn, they can still play.

Some things just get better with age.

…rockin the good life… ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter


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don’t bury me yet!

Today I got the verdict. After almost 2 months, a mammogram, a repeat mammogram, an ultrasound, and a needle biopsy. 

I have cancer.

There. I can say it. Because several weeks ago I had a meltdown thinking all the what ifs. So I am past all that shit, and to the point where I am just ok, tell me what the percentages are, what my options are, and let’s get this show on the road. 

My youngest daughter and I were sharing a Subway sandwich when the phone call came. She had just had a job interview, and we went out to grab a bite. And of course, after waiting for days, the call managed to come at a not so convenient time. But really, when you are getting news like that, is there ever a convenient time?

So, after about one split second, I thanked the surgeon for calling me, and made an appointment to see her in two days to talk about my options. Being a nurse, and having discussed possible options while I was having the needle biopsy, I kind of already know where I will probably go with this. 

The bad news was that it is breast cancer. But between you and me? I knew when I saw it on the ultrasound that it most likely would be. So today was kind of anticlimactic. Meh. 


The good news? That it is very small, 7-8mm. Coming from the boomer generation, I had to use my converter app to figure out just how little it was. Eight millimeters is equal to 0.3149606299 inches. (Is that even a real number?) If you ignore all but the first two digits, that is less than a half inch. Little bit more than a quarter of an inch. Tiny. With, I am told, a 90-95% cure rate. That is good news.

I told the family, they were kind of subdued. A little bit of texting, a couple phone calls and silence. My family IS NEVER SILENT. So I can feel the gears in their brains working, from here to the west coast. I told Wretch before she left me at my office to tell Steve not to bury me yet.

It is going to take a lot more than a little lump the size of my smallest finger nail to stop me. 

Although I am thinking, maybe I could ask the surgeon to slip with the scalpel and do a tummy tuck while she is resculpting my right breast to match my left.

So, don’t bury me yet.

Oh, and ladies?  GET YOUR MAMMOGRAM. This cancer was so deep and tiny it couldn’t be felt, not by me or the surgeon. The mammogram we all love to bitch about having has most likely saved my life.

SO GET YOUR MAMMOGRAM. DO IT. EVERY YEAR.



…life really is good. ~cath 
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter