Saturday, March 31, 2007


DramaQueen has strep. I am lucky enough to have a doctor that sees patients on Saturday, so I was able to take her in just days after I visited for a sinus infection. If I get sick, the operation will have to be postponed, so I am willing myself to health so I can get this over with.

Someone in work commented, "You seem so calm; are you falling apart inside?" Dear Husband has made similar comments about my lack of grieving. Of course, right now I still have my right breast. It has not yet been replaced with an alien. For traumatic events (deaths are a different matter), I tend to grieve later--sometimes years later. Right now I have only one focus, which is to get to point A. How fitting that I should lose my breast on Good Friday. How could matters have been better arranged? I wonder if I will sleep through most of Easter, and will I be in the hospital for more than 3 days? I don't have the aversion to hospitals that some people experience (except for the knowledge that the longer you're there, the more likely you are to get an infection), but they are very dull.

Some other matters I've pondered: I'll be intubated for the surgery. That is a weird thought. I'll be catheterized as well--that's always jolly. I won't be able to eat or drink for I don't know how long after, in case they have to rush me back in. There will be some sort of inflatable things on my legs to keep me from getting blood clots. Of course, that brings to mind that I will be in danger of getting blood clots.

During the hospital assessment, the nurse asked me if how well I handle pain. Now, does anyone respond, "Oh, I can handle quite a bit, no problem"? And, if any of you do, are you crazy? Some people would rather be in pain that "out of it." Again, I ask, are you crazy? If I have to be stuck in a bed with a catheter, inflatable cuffs on my legs, and no food or water, I better get morphine out of the deal.

Monday, March 26, 2007

April 6

That's the date of my surgery. Thank you everyone for leaving me encouraging comments. Thank you for your prayers. My natural pessimism comes out at times like this and I start thinking about resistant strep and catheters. I also have an increasing and (I hope) unreasonable fear of being one of those people who wakes up during surgery paralyzed but fully aware of what's happening. I know I'll get to meet my anesthesiologist briefly, but what--he's going to tell me if anyone's woken up on his watch? The plastic surgeon has already sent me the scripts for post-surgery meds, which is comforting--percoset, valium. They can all be waiting for me on my return. How will Animal Planet look through a haze of percoset and valium? Did I mention that my MIL watches almost nothing but Animal Planet? And the news, which we have to watch in all its awfulness, even though you can go online and get it without having to listen to or look at the talking heads. Oh lordy, I think she watches court tv, too.

I think it will be a good time to watch the BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice straight through. And maybe both Bridget Jones movies.

I've also developed an obsession, as usually happens with me during times of stress. Right now it's homeschooling. Dear Husband will attest that I have checked out all the books available on the topic from the local library. And now I've ordered a set of the homeschooling books by Charlotte Mason, who is just way cool. There's a school here that follows her methodology, but it's expensive and you have to sign off on their statement of faith (probably could handle this), and their abortion position (too strict), and their discipline policy (which is mostly gentle but they make you sign up an okay for spanking "if needed"). Actually, anytime a school starts talking about "covenant children" I feel squirmy, as if I've walled my kids up in the Christian ghetto where the only thing on their IPod will be inspirational Christian pop and evolution has been carefully filtered out and replaced with, well, whatever it gets replaced with these days. Not the Bible, because the gigantuous Christian book publishing industry can't leave a marketing niche unfilled, while they continue to crank out Bibles in colors to coordinate with your outfits.

Well, I got a bit off topic there.

And now it's time to get Firecracker and DramaQueen to sleep. Hah.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


I haven’t posted because I’m just plain tired and my attention is flying off in all directions. The second biopsy discovered not only more atypia, but ductal carcinoma in situ, which is basically level 0 cancer (it’s contained and hasn’t spread). This biopsy was from an area that had not originally been targeted as suspicious, which means that most likely there is advanced atypia and who knows what else in all areas where there are microcalcifications. Meaning, everywhere. Meaning, I have to have a mastectomy. Meaning, a 6-8 hour operation, a 2-3 day hospital stay, and a month off work.

The upside? The plastic surgeon will use the fat from my abdomen for reconstruction. Glad to put it to good use. Also, I’ve been advised not to do laundry or other housework. Dear Husband will say that I never really did it in the first place, but at least I now have a medically sanctioned reason.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Rev Gals Friday Five—A Matter of Taste

1. I love olives. Dear Husband despises them. But he’s sweet and will think to buy them for me.
2. I like liturgical services. Dear Husband thinks they are dull and stilted (and too papist) and prefers contemporary worship.
3. Oranges are one of my favorite fruits. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Dear Husband eat one. My girls don’t like them, either, but they will drink orange juice sometimes.
4. Reading is one of my greatest pleasures. Dear Husband prefers books on CD--or the movie if that’s available.
5. I love the Arizona desert landscape—the saguaro cactus, creosote bushes, mesquite, big sky and rocky scrubby land. Dear Husband thinks it’s ugly and barren and that hell must look like Arizona.

And now, the thinks my husband likes that I don’t:

1. Liver and onions. I don’t know how anyone can eat that stuff. I mean, it’s the filtering organ for pete’s sake.
2. Right-wing talk radio. Yuck. And yet he also likes NPR, and adores Prairie Home Companion, featuring that adorable liberal, Garrison Keiller. He is a man of contradictions.
3. The Left Behind books. Gag me with a spoon.
4. Contemporary Christian music. Okay, so there’s the occasional song or group I enjoy, but they are few and far between. In general I think this music is shallow and bland—the lyrics are banal and the compositions are pathetic.
5. Pat Robertson. How did THAT happen, I ask you.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

3 biopsies, 2 ultrasounds, and 1 MRI

So, what had seemed like a simple matter keeps expanding into new territory. The surgeon I've consulted is not happy with all the calcifications in my right breast. She's worried that more atypical ductal hyperplasia is hiding out. An MRI did not help clarify the matter, but it did "light up" on the left breast, so now I have to have a biopsy on that side, too. And since the area in question doesn't show up on mammograms or ultrasounds, I'll have to have an MRI guided biopsy. So, I get to lie in a tube, with an IV and earplugs and a headset while the biopsy is performed. Maybe they'll be nice and remove the headset. Meanwhile I've had a second biopsy on the right side, to see if other tissue is affected. The doctor is sending off everything for a second opinion, because, as she says, "It's complicated."

Besides my own journey through the local hospital, Firecracker has been having more seizures, so her neurologist will be sending her to the hospital for a special EEG, one that will last from 3 to 5 days. They'll reduce her meds to induce seizures so that they can figure out what part of the brain is producing them. And at some point they'll whisk her off post seizure, sedate her, and do an MRI of her brain. That means that she won't be able to eat or drink anything. And, of course, she will have to remain in bed the entire time. And they will be videotaping her as well. This is happening in late April, unless we get to the top of the cancellation list. How do I amuse a bed-ridden but energetic 5 year old for 3 or more days, particularly when she can't eat or drink? I'm exhausted just thinking about it.